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Capone's Mainstream Round-Up with 30 MINUTES OR LESS, THE HELP, FINAL DESTINATION 5, and GLEE in 3D!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

A busy writing & editing week and some much-needed prep for this weekend's big Flashback Weekend Horror Convention out in Rosemont, which I emcee, haven't given me much time to get new reviews together, so I've had to do something I haven't done in years--a round up of films coming out this week. Just a few paragraphs on each film, and hopefully that'll do the trick. Some good stuff this week, so pay attention...


30 MINUTES OR LESS
This is a funny fucking movie and one that flies in the face of polite society in all the right ways by giving us four main characters who are largely difficult to like, which of course made me like them even more. Jesse Eisenberg is stoner-slacker-pizza delivery guy Nick, who is best friends with Dwayne (Aziz Ansari), a school teacher who really hates kids. On the other side of town, low-life thugs played by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson devise a plan to hire a hitman to kill McBride's overbearing father (Fred Ward) and inherit a tidy sum of money so he can build his dream business--a tanning salon/brothel. To make this happen, they kidnap Nick, strap a very real bomb to his chest, and force him to rob a bank to get the money.

Naturally, everything goes wrong once the robbery is done and hilarity ensues. I was especially happy to see "Parks and Recreation" star Ansari get this much room to finally create a character. He and Eisenberg make an especially strong comedy team that I would love to see in another story. McBride and Swardson are maybe not quite so richly drawn, but McBride (in his familiar asshole mode) sells a lot of the scenes and jokes that would not have worked in lesser hands. I've never been a big fan of Swardson, but he plays his character fairly low key, so at least he doesn't tank the film. The secret weapon of 30 MINUTES OR LESS is Michael Peña as Chango, the hitman, who is just smart enough to know how play the game and just stupid enough to know when he's being played. With a high-pitched voice and gangsta look, he's a riot.

I was genuinely surprised by how violent the film gets and how great the action sequences are in the hands of ZOMBIELAND director Ruben Fleischer, who sometimes is more of a wrangler than a director of this movie. There are a lot of different comedy styles going on in this film, and he manages to make them all come together nicely. Above and beyond all else, the movie is damn funny but without going too over the top as to pass into the realm of unbelievability. 30 MINUTES OR LESS marks another in a long line of great 2011 R-rated comedies to hit theaters this summer, and I've already seen OUR IDIOT BROTHER, so I know there's more to come before August is done.


THE HELP
I don't have any issue with an author or filmmaker of one race creating a novel/movie about another. But what I don't get are people that are against the idea without having seen or read the finished product. Are they afraid that the creator won't get it right because they're the wrong color? Or are the really afraid they will get it right, disproving the theory that you have to have lived something to write or create a work about it? This seems to be the case with Kathryn Stockett's novel THE HELP, which serves as the basis for the film by writer-director Tate Taylor, a film that isn't exactly told from the point of view of southern maids circa the early years of the Civil Rights movement, but it certain sees the world more from their point of view than most film before it.

The issue I had with The Help was that, despite some award-worthy performances, the story isn't all that new or interesting. Plus, I don't see the need for it to be told through the eyes of a young white, 20-something woman named Skeeter (the great Emma Stone), when it easily could have been almost entirely been about these wonderful women who sacrificed raising their own children to look after other people's kids. I'm not questioning Skeeter's motives in wanting to collect stories from the maids during a turbulent time in Mississippi and the nation, I just don't think the middle-man storyteller is necessary.

I was especially impressed with the performance by Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark and Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson, two of Skeeter's first interviews for her book. I also really liked the story of Celia Foote (played by TREE OF LIFE's Jessica Chastain), a curvaceous beauty accused of stealing another woman's fiance. I'm actually a fan of Bryce Dallas Howard in most films, but her portrayal of the sadistic Hilly Holbrook is too cartoonishly racist to be taken seriously. That's more a fault of the writing than the acting, but her character comes across as ridiculous too often. There's too much to like in THE HELP to dismiss it on principle, but the idea that this fictional white woman is such a huge motivating factor in maids standing up to ill treatment by their employers seems to short change the courage these women had all on their own.

Fortunately for the film, Stone has so much innate kindness emanating from every cell of her being that she actually sells Skeeter's kindness. But by the final third of the film, it become just a waiting game to see which white person will be the meanest to which maid. Not only have we seen moments like that in countless other films, but director Taylor doesn't even try to give us an interesting twist on these scenes. THE HELP is beautifully shot, perfectly acted, and has the beginnings of a great story told from the least interesting perspective. That's a mild recommendation from someone unfamiliar with the novel, but I'd be interested to see how those who did read it respond.


FINAL DESTINATION 5
I actually find the FINAL DESTINATION films one of the a stronger franchises across the board (with the exception of the fourth film, which I thought was kind of awful). But let's face it, good or bad, these movies are a waiting game. We've learned not to care if the characters are fully developed, because almost without exception, they will die. The success of all the films is solely dependent on the quality and extremely kooky nature of the deaths and the initial event from which some of the characters avoid death's icy grip and all that shit. And for the most part, these movies have delivered wild kills in a short amount of time.

FINAL DESTINATION 5 is an interesting work, whose biggest moment I can't reveal, but that's okay because the slightly less big moments leading up to it are fantastic and richly gory. The catalytic event is a suspension bridge collapse, which looks like it cost a metric shit ton of money to realize. Nicholas D'Agosto ("Heroes"; FIRED UP!) plays Sam, who is a passenger on a bus filled with his co-workers going on a work retreat. Sam has the vision of the colleagues dying and manages to get a handful of them off the bus to safety. His actions draw the attention of FBI Agent Block (Courtney B. Vance), who is thinking the bridge incident might be a terrorist attack. He begins to wonder a great deal more about Sam's involvement once his friends start dropping dead.

Among the survivors are Emma Bell (FROZEN; "The Walking Dead") as Sam's girlfriend Molly, and company boss David Koechner, who supplies a few more laughs than these movies usually have. Also floating around the action is coroner William Bludworth (the franchise's staple Tony Todd). I laughed as much as I screamed in FINAL DESTINATION 5, and I think that's the point. These movies are actually fun; they mostly take place in the daylight hours, which makes the 3D actually appear pretty crisp; and, as I mentioned, the deaths on glorious. My favorite involves a gymnast; you'll know it when you see it. The film's director is Steven Quale (this is his first feature), a second-unit director on AVATAR and TITANIC, who shows a playful flare for storytelling and keeping things at a brisk pace. All of this being said, I think the franchise is at a place where they can stop and not go miles beyond it's welcome (Hello, SAW movies. How are you?). There's a kind of closure at the end of this film that seems appropriately clever and a nice way to wrap up the cycle. It's nice to see the fifth movie in any series stand up so well. Don't be afraid to check this one out.


GLEE: THE 3D CONCERT MOVIE
Whose idea was it to unleash this travesty on the public? Who was it that thought interviewing the cast members IN CHARACTER(!) backstage before a concert was a good idea? And for the love of God, who thought between-song interviews with "real-life" high school outcasts/fans whose lives were touched by the show was the right way to go? (Actually, the dwarf cheerleader would make a great character on "Glee.") Anytime this concert film strays from simply allowing the cast to sing and dance the tunes that have made the show so popular, this movie is a certified train wreck.

I don't have much to say about the film beyond that. The song choices are a mixed bag of new and old popular songs and showtunes. I was a little surprise how little series favorite Chris Colfer gets to showcase his strong voice. I was also disappointed that clearly the best dancer of the bunch, Heather Morris, who plays Brittany, only got one real stand-out number. I've got no qualms with the song choice. My toe was tapping during most of the routines, all of which seemed about as intricately choreographed as grade school play. And there were times where it really seems that people were lip-synching; I won't say who, but not everyone on the show is strong singer. *cough* Gwyneth Paltrow *cough*

As a casual watcher of the show ("fan" seems like such a strong word at this juncture), I found this entire experience really irritating and ill conceived. I'm sure there were more songs to pick from, so why bother with the whole "fan experience" nonsense? It feels like filler because it is. And the 3D doesn't add anything to the enjoyment facto, but that's not really a surprise to anyone. The movie is so mind-numbingly bad that it actually will take away from my enjoyment of the show in the coming season, unless the opening lines of the season premiere are: "What did you do over your summer break?" "Starred in a shitty concert film. How about you?" "Same." Spare yourself the pain, I beg of you.

-- Capone
capone@aintitcool.com
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  • Aug. 12, 2011, 2:44 a.m. CST

    primero?

    by Mr. Waturi

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 2:45 a.m. CST

    si. primero.

    by Mr. Waturi

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 2:46 a.m. CST

    Segundo?

    by Steve

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 3:02 a.m. CST

    GLEE 3D

    by Volllllume3

    Isn't that fucking fad over allready?

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 3:18 a.m. CST

    I WON'T BE SEEING A SINGLE ONE OF THESE MOVIES!!!FACT!!!

    by CreepyThinMan

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 3:36 a.m. CST

    You mean they didn't call it "Glee-D"?

    by Johnny Wishbone

  • I'm a lifelong Horror fan but these movies do absolutely NOTHING for me and I say that as a fan of the Friday the 13th series which specialized in the mindless destruction of teenage flesh. But say what you will about the F13 movies, at least they had a charm to them that I find completely lacking in the Final Destination movies and the two other major Horror franchises of this era; Saw and Resident Evil. These movies just simply bore the shit out of me. Sure, they have some nice gore and effects but that's not enough for me these days. There is no real characterization nor do I give a shit whether anyone lives or dies. Now, the F13th movies were hardly Citizen Kane but the characters were clearly defined (the jock, the nerd, the hot chick, the mousey girl etc...) and were usually played by people who I found to be likeable for the most part. But everyone in these franchises today are fucking assholes. The worst thing is that I feel no real suspence in these movies. You KNOW the characters are going to get it and it's just a matter of how and when. I think the movie makers don't bother trying to make me care about these people because they see them as disposable meat puppets. Their lack of interest causes my disinterest. What I think the people who make the Final Destination movies should do is relaunch the Faces of Death series since watching people getting splatttered is what the FD movies are all about anyway. But don't waste out time with these boring and fucking vapid useless cunts they call characters. Just show people getting wasted. That's all. No bullshit, just present the scenario and let us see some horrific shit and do it documentary style.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 4:33 a.m. CST

    Capone: Please read. Very important.

    by Robert79797979

    Please learn the difference between "its" and "it's".

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 4:34 a.m. CST

    That Little dancing kid in the GLEE commercials...

    by choonie

    is the grossest fucking thing I've seen all year.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 4:44 a.m. CST

    Would be boycotting the racist, anti-white The Help ...

    by ReportAbuse

    ... If I had any intention of seeing it in the first place. Moral of the story, if any: Do your own housekeeping.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 5:17 a.m. CST

    Fuck this, I'm reading a book.

    by DOGSOUP

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 6:36 a.m. CST

    You had me at "dwarf cheerleader".

    by buggerbugger

    Oh, wait. I thought that was in the 'Final Destination 5' review.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 7:26 a.m. CST

    Glee 3D, reportabuse and FD5...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Glee 3D... I saw a commercial where everyone was talking to each other as the characters. I was confused and blown away by this. What a stupid fucking mistake. People who do see this movie(god help them) will just roll their eyes at this. reportabuse... Really? I'm sick and tired of tea party members trying to do this reverse racism shit. Anti-white? Um that period in history should be focused on and black people then were horribly mistreated. Saying the film is anti-white just shows you have some serious issues in your life... Instead of dealing with them you've lowered yourself to these basic and pathetic attempts to either be edgy or allow hatred into your life. Very sad. The main reason I'm looking forward to FD5 is that they are attempting to change up the system. Adding the idea that if you kill someone you dodge death's bullet is interesting and actually builds a moral issue to a very basic plot. One day i hope they dive into the fact that so many people can see the future or deaths plan. They could really dive into a backstory of those people... Doubt they'll ever do it but it would be cool if they did.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 7:30 a.m. CST

    Final Destination 5...

    by Paul Dronet

    ...was garbage. None of the death scenes were fun or creative. They just felt lazy to me. The characters are awful. The....."plot".....if that's what we're calling it.....could have been interesting. But they take the one intriguing aspect and do very little with it. People, stay away from it.

  • That's racist against white people waaaah

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Once burned, twice shy...

    by Hipshot

    The reason blacks complain about whites making movies about their history, is that when white filmmakers make movies about black people, is that they can only display a white perspective on the question. Now, sometimes that's enough. But you can't REALLY step out of your skin, no matter how gifted some people are at simulating this. Male directors can portray women, and women men, but both are still in their skins. Generally, when whites make movies about black people, white audiences are a lot happier with the results than are black audiences--those films reinforce the perspectives whites have. Blacks agree with some of those perspectives, and disagree with others. Neither side really has the "truth" in this matter, but it shouldn't be hard to see that any "group X" would be happier with a member of "group X" telling their history of oppression by "group Y" than they would having a member of "Y" tell that story, whether you're talking about Fat people, gay people, women, blacks, or any other group. Think Jews would rather have a Jewish director tell the story of the Holocaust than a German one? This is natural human stuff. Of course, many times, members of the "Y" group really can create moving, honest, artful statements of lasting value. But the nervousness of the "X's" is just human: once burned, twice shy.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 8:39 a.m. CST

    FD Movies

    by Autodidact

    I enjoyed all of the first 3 especially the 2nd one. FD are on the same shelf as Scream and Shaun of the Dead for me.... sort of meta-horror or comedy-horror.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 9:36 a.m. CST

    I love the "racist" thing

    by Hipshot

    The blatant absurdity of saying a white white producer, director and writer made an "anti-white" racist movie is just so funny, I almost spilled my coffee. Clearly, some Talkbackers are just making a very sly satirical dig at racist assholes who think the world revolves around their lack of melanin and history of privilege. Thanks! Made my day. That was really, seriously hysterical!

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Glee

    by lonecow12

    I wish Glee would figure out what it wants to be. At it's best it is Anti-High School Musical At it's worse it is High School Musical

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 10 a.m. CST

    Django Unchained will be better than The Help

    by Spandau Belly

    mark my words!

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 10:23 a.m. CST

    The fact

    by shodan6672

    The fact that 30 Minutes or Less has a lower Rotten Tomatoes score than The Glee movie is yet another reason why I tend towards hating humanity.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 11:57 a.m. CST

    spandau belly

    by Hipshot

    I have a mild interest in seeing "the Help" but a huge one in seeing "Django." While not perfect, the script looks almost unique, and I can't wait.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 12:08 p.m. CST

    catchtheman

    by darksith

    You're not the only one. Long time horror fan here as well and you couldn't have described my feelings for those 3 franchises any better. Completely agree.

  • Love it when Skeeter's got her six shooters out, aiming to gun down the whole lot of them white society women, and she says, "Somebody give Hilly a gun."

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 2:08 p.m. CST

    The "great" Emma Stone???

    by Roane Gaddy

    Christ, the chick's been in like 5 movies - one of which is a "Teens gotta get laid" thing, and the others are all by the book formula comedies, and all of the sudden she's Meryl Streep! Gimme a break! Alright, I'll give credit where credit is due and admit that she was pretty decent in that Steve Carell movie, but she's not exactly Oscar bait.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Capone, did you lose a bet with Massa?...

    by Shut the Fuck up Donny

    These films tend to be put on his plate for consideration...

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Problem with Final Destination movies...

    by Executor

    ...beyond the first one (which had the mystery of its newness) and the second (which actually built on the first) is that they are not movies anymore. They are a collection of death scenes. The death scenes are sometimes awesome and hilarious (the gymnast, as he stated is fantastic) but you can watch these deaths in a 10 minute youtube compilation and be okay for not having seen the movie. The main problem is that they always try to insert a plot device (here it is: if you kill someone else, then you can take their life and "death" skips you.) Then they flirt around this plot point til they eventually ignore it. And everyone dies in the end. Predictable. Boring. SPOILER. It would have been interesting if they actually bought in to their own premise, or even if the ending played into it -- sorry its neither a surprise with the main character talking about going to paris the whole movie, nor interesting. Have the surviving characters CAUSE something to happen (like Mr. Glass from Unbreakable), show that they caused the plane crash from the first one, instead of just them happening to be on the plane. Reused footage + coincidence is not a cool ending and doesn't tie things together. It's just a mish mash of ideas that don't make a movie.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 3:07 p.m. CST

    Of course you can be white and have an anti-white attitude

    by ReportAbuse

    Witness most of the commentators here (& on similar forums), whites who will defend anything that makes whites look bad. I don't know exactly what the psychology is that buys into that sort of self-hatred though I'd guess that a lifetime of official propaganda and schooling saying your race is basically evil and guilty of everything it has ever been accused of has a lot to do with it. Along with that propaganda is the usual self-contradictory miseducation, viz., "no such thing as race" (except when there is), race is just a matter of the melanin content of your skin (newsflash: light-skinned Asians are not white. Albino negroes are not white.) And so forth.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 3:37 p.m. CST

    Cool! 4 movies I will never see. Glee 3-D being the worst.

    by Quake II

    The Glee phenomenom amazes me. I assume this show is beloved by mostly virgin girls, awkward tweens, nerds and gay men? I try watching it and it's annoying. The characters actually creep me out a bit and the dialogue is delivered in a strange "campy" sort of way. I don't get it at all. Is Glee supposed to be funny or a musical drama? 30 minutes or less is the only film I would consider seeing but only for free if there was nothing else on.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 4:33 p.m. CST

    FD is a huge imptovement of Faces od Death.

    by cookylamoo

    Faces of Death looks crude and amateurish while the FD movies make death look stylish and flamboyant. Once again, film improves on reality.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Racists

    by ChestRockwell

    I wonder how white racists would feel about black people if black people used to own white slaves, treated whites like property, killed whites while the law looked the other way, raped white women and children, etc. I wonder if they'd say things like "get over it", "that was in the past", "it didn't happen to them so why do white people still bring that up?".

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 6:15 p.m. CST

    They're doing it now, still.

    by ReportAbuse

    Black criminals rape and murder white people all the time, at a rate exponentially higher than that of the races reversed. In addition we face a nonstop onslaught of anti-white propaganda in every media and educational institution. Not only are we told to get over it, it is hardly ever brought up. Because you see pointing out racism on the other side is racist.

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 8:13 p.m. CST

    CatchTheMan

    by Stogz

    Dude, I am seriously sorry to hear that you are a horror fan like I am, you seem like the biggest douche on here with your all caps posts and that nonsense about "FACT!" when 90% of the time your so called facts are garbage...I love how you spend all this time talking about how predictable the deaths are and how you know who's going to die, and then you mention how Friday the 13th is different?!?!? Have you really watched them? It's always obvious in those movies that only the heroine will live, everybody else dies, they're just as predictable as FD. I also love how you complain about characters in these movies, so really, the same cliche'd characters they've been using since the 80's is clearly defined huh? Those are characters you care about huh? The ones you refer to as "the jock, the nerd...etc". I'm not saying FD flicks are the best horror out there, but your points are literally retarded, please STFU and stop posting your BS on this site!

  • Aug. 12, 2011, 10:24 p.m. CST

    So FD 5 is a . . . prequel?

    by Turingtestee

    As someone here suggested a while back, the third one should have involved whole parts of the same city as death kept having to play an ever larger game of catch-up. Could have had a strange apocalyptic series of inexplicable terrorist events sort of feel. Maybe that's ass, maybe borderline tasteless, but I thought it was kinda neat.

  • Aug. 14, 2011, 11:37 a.m. CST

    30 min or less was great if youre not easily offended

    by sunwukong86

    Im surprised at a lot of the things they got away with. There were tons of race jokes.

  • I grew up on these enjoyable but forgettable adult comedies released in August: Men At Work, Stakeout, Married To The Mob, Its always nice to see a superior genre film like 30 Min or Less. Sure it may have bombed but that's part of its charm. And also while it will be a cult film 15-20 years from now. Congrats Aziz and Danny for making me laugh but not have to think to hard about it. See you at The Wright Stuff XVII.

  • Aug. 15, 2011, 6:03 p.m. CST

    FD5 Awesome, best sequel of the series

    by Kakii

    Theres some great deaths in this but no doubt with David Koechner in it, there had to be a Whammy of an ending, which I must admit really makes the film and puts a big smile on the "I didnt see that coming" face, even though like the deaths, the signs are there! Go watch and enjoy!

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