Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Looking through my DVDs I came across this and thought I would watch it again on a cold Sunday afternoon.

The first few minutes of the film was confusing. It basically whisked the main characters off to Africa from New York using a quick montage and narration. I actually thought at first that the DVD was scratched and the player skipped ahead a few minutes. But, after that the story got under way and things started making sense.

It was pretty much more of the same, with the usual witty jokes, some of which kids would not get at all. The plot was standard stuff, nothing original at all, these types of films rarely are, but it matters not as I am just here for the jokes.

The voice cast were all perfect, I thought they were all brilliant. Bernie Mac died the same year the film was released.

I have not seen Penguins of Madagascar yet, so I will check that out sometime.

Date watched: February 25th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2018: 20

The Cable Guy

I was reminded of this film recently in a podcast I listen to called Movie Crush. I have seen this at least once before, but had forgotten a lot of it, so I went to a DVD rental place last night to get it out, along with some newer films.

This film came out in 1996, at a time when Jim was pretty much at the top of his nutty game. He received $20 million big ones to star in this, a new record at the time. A year earlier he was paid $10 million for Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Ben Stiller directed.

Compared to his earlier films, this one was a lot darker and at times pretty weird, probably too much so for some audiences. Rotten Tomatoes gives this a 53% rating which I think is a bit low as I enjoyed the mix of comedy with a stalker plot line.

Jim Carrey (Chris Farley was considered for the role) was what made the whole film work. There were some scenes which were obviously created by Jim, such as the nipple scene in the prison (which Carrey based on a scene in Midnight Cowboy).

Looking through Jimbo’s filmography I see that this is the last film he made before his films started to become a bit more sugar-coated. The next film he made was Liar Liar, and after that The Truman Show, both very different and not quite as good as far as I am concerned. But, has has made some memorable films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and I Love You Phillip Morris (I must watch that again too).

Bob Odenkirk had a small role with one line…

This is not the best film Jim has ever made, but I thought it was still a pretty good laugh.

Date watched: February 24th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2018: 19

A Day Without A Mexican

This is a 2004 mockumentary about what happens when all Mexicans suddenly disappear from California.

It is quite low budget, and on the whole quite tedious as it constantly reminds us just how important the Mexican community is to California. There are one or two slightly amusing jokes, but I was just waiting for the whole thing to finish.

It is a pity this was not made after the Orange One was elected president last year, the writers could have had a field day.

I can’t think of much else to say really, except to give it a miss.

Date watched: February 24th
Score: 2/10
Film count 2018: 18

The Assassination of Richard Nixon

I had already seen this many years ago, so long ago in fact that I can’t find an entry for it in this blog. I had forgotten a lot of it though, so I didn’t mind watching it again.

This is the partly-true story of Samuel Byck who tried to hijack a plane which he wanted to fly into the White House to kill Richard Nixon. Most of the story focuses on the events leading up to the hijacking, starting out one year before the event, with the actual hijacking taking up only the last fifteen minutes. So, it is a long slow-burner mostly.

The acting is fine, especially Sean Penn who I find to be great in some films, and not so great in others. Naomi Watts and Don Cheadle are both equally good.

The story left out a lot of details such as Samuel picketing the White House dressed in a Santa Claus suit, or being investigated by the secret service after he threatened the president (although these events took place before the events portrayed in the film). The actual hijacking was reasonably accurate though.

Not great, not bad, somewhat forgettable.

Date watched: February 21st
Score: 7/10
Film count 2018: 17

Yes Man

I have had a hankering to watch a Jim Carrey film film recently, so I chose this one.

The last time I watched this was back in 2011, and I had seen it at least once before that, so I remembered most of the story and jokes. Still, I found it to be quite enjoyable again.

Jim Carrey was the highlight of course, but Rhys Darby was great in his role, basically playing his character from Flight of the Conchords again. Zooey Deschanel was also tops.

The story was a bit silly, and quite standard really, but Jim made it fun to watch, although he has been funnier in other films.

He seems to have stepped away from comedic roles, and films in general. I see on Wikipedia that he will be starring in a new TV series next year called “Kidding”, which is described as a “dramedy”, he is also one of the executive producers.

Not essential, but it is harmless fun.

Date watched: February 17th
Score: 7/10
Film count 2018: 16

A Smattering of Sounds

I have not added much to the music collection recently, but here is what I have purchased recently…

Sugar Ray – 14:59
I have been a closet Sugar Ray fan for some time, not a huge fan I declare, but nonetheless I appreciate their upbeat songs and sense of humour. This album starts off with a short and amusing track called “New Direction” which is basically a death metal song with Mark McGrath (he was funny in Sharknado) attempting to do metal growls but ends up coughing. The rest of the album is a mixture of pop, rock, and ballads that will make you feel like getting into a convertible car with your mates, turn up the tunes and wave your arms about as you drive along a beach road on a hot day, stopping for an ice cream with your loved one, then having a huge water fight.

Burial – Rodent
Burial is a one man band from London who makes some of the finest ambient dubstep you will ever hear. He decided a few years ago to only release singles instead of making full albums, which I think is a good idea. I hadn’t checked up on his work for a while, so I went to Bandcamp last week and found a few new releases and bought this one. Like all of his work it is atmospheric and very chill stuff. I like a lot. Best listened to in the dark with headphones.

Emapea – Zoning Out Volume 1
I did a search on Bandcamp for “dubstep” and chanced upon this release. I had never heard of Emapea (from Poland) before, but as Bandcamp made this available as a pre-release for only one dollar I thought I may as well order it. It was released two days ago and I am now listening to it. It is a mixture of hip hop and chill, mostly instrumental. Worth much more than a dollar I must say, and is now $10 as a normal release.

And that is all for now, not much, but all good stuff.

Album count 2018: 21

The Devil’s Backbone

This is a 2001 Spanish/Mexican film directed by Guillermo del Toro.

The story is of an orphan boy taken to an orphanage where he discovers it is haunted by a boy ghost. The villain of the story is a helper who grew up in the orphanage, and who knows that the people who run the orphanage have some gold bars somewhere in the building, and he will do anything (mostly dastardly) to get it.

It is set in Spain towards the end of the civil war (1936 to 1939).

The story was reasonably original, and there were a few surprises, but it was also quite predictable at times. The acting was superb, especially from the young boys, and it was nicely shot.

I liked the way the ghost was portrayed. I won’t go into detail, but I thought it was better than the usual scary ghosts we see in most films.

A very worthy ghost tale.

Date watched: February 15th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2018: 15

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