REVIEW: Kick-Ass

2 08 2010

I can’t think of many titles that describe their movies so aptly as this one. “Kick-Ass,” the R-rated superhero movie that indirectly spoofs “Watchmen,” hits us with a one-two punch of comedy and action. The punch is pretty much a knockout.

It’s devilish fun when the action is as outrageous as the comedy. The movie follows Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a teenaged New York geek who unleashes his inner fanboy in a way that would make everyone at the comic book store pee themselves with envy. He decides to rise above the common crowd and become a superhero, despite having no actual powers and few confrontational skills. Still, he holds onto the hope that a fancy scuba suit and a cool name, Kick-Ass, will scare off his opponents. But at first, as one of his rivals points out, he should be called “Ass-Kicked” because that’s the only thing that really happens to him.

As entertaining as the adventures of Kick-Ass can be, it’s the other heroes who steal the show. They should really call the movie “Hit Girl” because we’re always waiting for that precocious child vigilante with a foul mouth and impressive combat ability to return to the screen. It’s hard to tell where most of her allure comes from: actress Chloe Moretz or the script. Moretz has shown skill playing adult characters written for kids to play in “(500) Days of Summer,” and she really seems to get how to make them read. The sheer absurdity of hearing the words come out of her mouth is a comedic masterstroke.

“Kick-Ass” also marks a semi-comeback for Nicolas Cage, at least in my book, who has been getting a bad rep for all the abysmal action and horror movies he has been doing recently. When you have an Oscar, it’s OK to branch out and try other genres, but Cage has strayed far from the nest. One more flop and he could have been a laughing stock. “Kick-Ass,” however, was an excellent choice for the actor. It’s a crowd-pleaser, sure, but it requires him to act. He took a supporting role as Big Daddy, father and shaper of Hit Girl, and it shows off the crossover appeal Cage has. The part allows him to be funny as well as an action star, and there’s even room for him to deal with little bit of real human drama.

Matthew Vaughn does a great job directing the riot that is “Kick-Ass,” never taking himself or the material too seriously. One can only wonder how he will handle the “X-Men” franchise, which has an entirely different tone and involves people with real powers. Hopefully he can bring the same fun he brought to this movie, just leaving the farcical stuff on the side.  He directs a superb movie, but the fact that it devolves into “The Chloe Moretz Show” so easily might raise a tiny red flag in your mind.  A flag so tiny, in fact, that you might forget to realize it’s there while you’re laughing so hard.  B+ /





Random Factoid #311

4 06 2010

Another factoid on censorship, this time a little different.

Yesterday, I went to the theater to see “Kick-Ass” (yes, I realize that it’s two months old and I’m just now getting to see it).  Or should I say “Kick-A**.”  Both my ticket and the sign on the theater used an asterisk instead of an s.

It just kind of struck me as odd.  The theater owners put up plenty of posters with the full and uncensored title displayed, yet they can’t put it on the marquee?  Or the ticket, which a child would only see if they were going to see the movie?

Their logic clearly escapes me.





Shameless Advertisement #11 – April

1 04 2010

Welcome to the first official month of spring AND the last month before summer movie season!

After the poll of what you were most looking forward to this month, there seemed to be a fair majority voting one way. Props to “Clash of the Titans,” “Date Night,” and “I Love You Philip Morris” for each collecting one vote.

But, you all clearly felt that the biggest attraction in April is …

Read the rest of this entry »





What To Look Forward To in … April 2010

24 03 2010

I completely forgot that I needed to do this post, so for any of you who happened to be waiting all month for this, my apologies.  But maybe having the April preview post closer to the month itself will increase voting in the polls (wishful thinking) or increase excitement for the month’s releases.

April is usually that awkward month before Hollywood comes out all cylinders firing for summer, but I think this year boasts one of the month’s finest lineups in a long time.

April 2

The first truly BIG action movie of 2010 finally arrives!  “Clash of the Titans” is that taste of high-octane blockbuster that will serve as the perfect tease for summer.  After seeing the success of “Avatar,” Warner Bros. saw that they had the capability to create a 3-D version of “Clash of the Titans.”  So, now the movie arrives in both the second and third dimension.  This is the first time in my memory that three huge 3-D movies have come out within a month of each other, and I think it is only a preview of what is to come (just pray that your theater can accommodate the demand.)  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first big live-action movie to come out in 3-D.  I’m excited.

Tyler Perry is at it again with “Why Did I Get Married Too.”  The first one did pretty well, but if Perry can expand beyond his normal audience is still a question.  Oh, and I forgot to mention it in the March preview, but the latest Nicholas Sparks sob-fest, “The Last Song,” comes out on Wednesday, March 31.  It stars Greg Kinnear and some unknown actress named Miley Cyrus.

April 9
The comedy gods smile upon us at last! Tina Fey and Steve Carell together in “Date Night” seems long overdue. Let’s just hope that the writing of this movie deserves their talents.

And for those of you who liked Christian entertainment like “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants,” then “Letters to God” will surely excite you.

The Runaways” opens wide this weekend, but I don’t think this will be any big event given its lackluster performance in 244 theaters in this past weekend (strangely, not a one of them was in Houston, the fourth largest city in the county).

April 16

There seems to be a large cult fan base gathering around “Kick-Ass.”  Sometimes that can be bad (“Snakes on a Plane”), and sometimes it works (“Cloverfield”).  This seems to be a pretty entertaining premise: basically a send-up of “Watchmen” and ordinary people becoming superheroes.  I think I’ll wait to get the audience’s take before I slap down some cash for this.

Please do yourself a tremendous favor.  Before you go see Chris Rock’s urbanized version of “Death at a Funeral,” be sure to rent the original British version.  Even if this latest spin fails, you will have seen one absolutely hysterical movie.

April 23

Disney Nature rolls out its annual Earth Day “nature porn” documentary, “Oceans,” shot in sweeping views that could make your heart turn green.  Meanwhile, CBS Films (?) gives us Jennifer Lopez in “The Back-Up Plan” as a woman who bypasses the normal steps and gets pregnant.  But in typical coincidental rom-com fashion, this all happens on the day she meets the perfect man.

The best of the worst this weekend appears to be “The Losers,” starring Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).  The movie follows a group of CIA agents who seek out the group that tried to assassinate them.  Who knows, maybe this will make a good rental.

April 30

“The Nightmare on Elm Street” looks legit.  I’m scared.  Plus it has Jackie Earle Haley, the man who made “Little Children” crazy good. (For a different kind of nightmare, see Brendan Fraser in “Furry Vengeance.”)

As for the indie scene, which doesn’t seem to be too big in April, the best offering seems to be “Please Give.”  A hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the movie follows a married couple (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) who have to wait for their elderly neighbor to die so they can expand their apartment.  It seems to be that nice blend of comedy and drama which really has the ability to hit home.

“I Love You Phillip Morris” was slated for release back in February, but it’s here now for unexplained reasons. The movie premiered at Cannes last year and after some issues finding a distributor is finally finding a way into a theater near you – or will it? Rumor is that the movie had to be tamed down to find distribution due to its strong homosexual content. The two lovers here are Jim Carrey and Ewan MacGregor, a pair that discovers their love in prison. Before heading to the slammer, Carrey’s character was a straight Christian policeman from Texas. Now, he finds himself determined to bust out to be reunited with his lover. I’m curious to see if Freestyle Releasing can get it in front of a large audience … this is the third month that I have published this same blurb. Will they ever settle on a release date?

Thoughts, anyone?  What are YOU looking forward to in April?