Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

While I’ve never been the biggest fan of Seth MacFarlane’s work on Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show, I certainly recognize that the guy has talent, and so I was intrigued to see what he would do with a live action, feature-length film. The result is sort of like a more tonally-consistent version of Drop Dead Fred. Whereas Drop Dead Fred was a movie about adults full of truly childish humour seemingly aimed at boys under the age of ten, Ted gets it right by having a child’s plaything – a teddy bear – spew filthy adult humour. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Ted, and a few witty pop culture references, like the inclusion of Sam Jones as Flash Gordon and an off-hand joke about Tom Skerritt of all people, did a good job of getting me grinning. Mark Wahlberg plays off the CGI’d Ted quite well, and I thought Joel McHale made a terrific douchebag antagonist. The stalker plotline that’s thrown in with Giovanni Ribisi was a bit much for me, but overall, this was a solid comedy.
3.25 out of 5

Casa de mi Padre
Casa de mi Padre does for Spanish telenovellas what Planet Terror did for b-movies, exploiting the tropes of the genre to great effect, making jokes out of the typical mistakes you might see, but playing all the subject matter perfectly straight and to great effect. However, this is not a movie for everybody, and I got the feeling while watching it that if I hadn’t seen any telenovellas or Spanish cinema, that the movie might go right over my head. There are, however, some genuinely clever moments, like the obvious seams in the matte paintings, the villains trying out-do one another by saying “goodbye” in as many languages as they can think of, and an entire special effects sequence that was apparently removed at the last minute and replaced by a written apology for its absence. If you’re a fan of genre cinema, b-movies, and/or foreign films, then you’ll probably get a big kick out of Casa de mi Padre, but this is a movie for a niche audience, so if you watch the trailer and don’t think it would appeal to you, you’d probably be best to skip it. Me? I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
3.5 out of 5

The Amazing Spider-Man

There is nothing amazing about this iteration of Spider-Man, and in fact, I found myself thinking that The Amazing Spider-Man actually makes me appreciate Spider-Man 3 more, because at least that movie evoked an emotion in me (disdain). The Amazing Spider-Man is really bland. Peter Parker isn’t played as nerdy – more like a hipster Edward Cullen with a skateboard – and frankly, I think he acts like a dick to a lot of people. He’s not quippy or funny, his awkward stammering just made him seem dumb, and he appears way too old to be in high school – but then, maybe that’s because we JUST saw Andrew Garfield as a university graduate in The Social Network. The villain is flat, his motives are nonexistant, and there’s a scene where he talks to his alter-ego that made me long for Willem Dafoe’s campy Green Goblin. But the biggest crimes this movie commits are removing two of the pillars of Spider-Man: J. Jonah Jameson and the line “With great power comes great responsibility.” It wasn’t until he was absent that I realized that J. Jonah is actually the glue of the entire Spider-Man franchise, because not only is he the person who turns the police force against Spidey, but he gives all the villains their names! When people start calling Kurt Connors “The Lizard” in The Amazing Spider-Man, it’s jarring and doesn’t really work at all. And as for the Spider-Man mantra, without it, Uncle Ben’s death has little to no emotional impact, and I actually forgot Uncle Ben had died as the movie was drawing to a close. I have many more complaints about The Amazing Spider-Man, but I’ll spare them and say that at least the webslinging CGI was pretty good. But overall, this is the Green Lantern of Spider-Man movies.
2 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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