Capn Design

Film Reviews

Rating: 8 of 10

The King's Speech

I hate period pieces and am constantly bored by the British monarchy, but this movie was awesome. It actually makes me want to read more about George VI!

If you’ve seen the movie already, I suggest you watch the following. It’s the speech that King George VI gave after they entered World War II. If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely skip this. It’s total spoiler material.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t a copy of his speech at Wembley Stadium that started off the film. If you have any luck, I will buy you a pack of Pretzel M&Ms.

Rating: 7 of 10

A Piece of Work

This documentary about Joan Rivers cements her among comedy’s greats. At 77, she’s still working every day and her fear of being forgotten drives her more than ever.

Of everything, I was most impressed by her card catalogue of jokes. GQ has a slideshow of sample cards and the relevant clip has been posted to Youtube.

Rating: 4 of 10

Get Him to the Greek

All of the dick jokes of previous Apatow films with none of the soul.

Rating: 8 of 10

Hot Tub Time Machine

Rating: 8 of 10



The latest film from the director Bong Joon-Ho — who most recently directed The Host — is pretty spectacular. Last weekend, BAM had a retrospective on Joon-Ho’s work and I caught this and Memories of Murder. Joon-Ho was there for a Q&A session and mentioned that after showing the movie to his mother, she has never again brought it up.

Joon-Ho has a gift for integrating comedy into a suspenseful story and his latest is no exception. My only disappointment in this regard is the lack of drop kicks. The director loves them, but there’s only one in Mother. I can forgive this sin, since the story is quite riveting.

When Joon-Ho spoke (via an interpreter), he made it clear that he likes to use very ordinary people in his films. Watching them respond to extraordinary situations is why it’s easy to relate to his characters. Pro-tip: The leading lady in Mother has been a domestic figure in Korean cinema for 40 years. This information will improve your viewing experience.

Rating: 5 of 10

Cop Out


I like Tracy Morgan. He is a funny dude. I also like Bruce Willis. At one point I liked Kevin Smith, the director. With that out of the way, this movie was better than most will tell you but not great. If you like Tracy Morgan, you should see this movie.

Rating: 7 of 10

Memories of Murder

Rating: 7 of 10

A Serious Man

Hello again, reviews. It’s been a while. I am a longtime lover of the Coen brothers. They’ve had only a few misses in their days (hello there, Ladykillers) and A Serious Man escapes that fate.

I’ve got to say, being a Jew will improve your enjoyment of the film. The opening scene in Hebrew school was especially hilarious. Of course, this movie is not nearly as much of a comedy as the previews depicted. Mostly, it’s a mindfuck. A mindfuck in the “No, what are you doing that for?” way rather than a “What the hell was that? Who is that guy? What the hell is going on?” way.

I liked it. While it’s not in the top half of my Coen brothers films, it’s still far better than most of what’s out there. Definitely worth a rental.

p.s. I couldn’t help but notice there are some thematic similarities with Dr. T and the Women. Ya?

Rating: 1 of 10

Kicking and Screaming

Uhhhh, so bad. I just wanted something light and fun, but neither the movie nor Will Ferrell could really deliver. Will was funny, but not enough to save this piece of crap. The editing and the soundtrack were possibly the worst I've ever experienced. Really, it was that bad.

I recommend this film to Satan, as a potential torture device.

The plus is for the handful of times Will made me laugh and for the delicious banana pudding from Sugar Sweet Sunshine that Karen was nice enough to share.

Kung Fu Hustle

Stephen Chow, the mastermind behind Shaolin Soccer, has done it again. Thankfully, he is getting a proper release and, as far as I know, little to no American-ification of his work.*

The film is a kung fu parody with really great kung fu. Chow comes from a comedy background, but made good choices when it comes to picking kung fu choreographers and actors. He also did a brilliant job of balancing the action with the funny.

Chow's characters, the good guys at least, are typically regular joes; people who live average lives but have a secret talent. This works amazingly well, just as it has for decades in comic books. Unlike Sin City, it's easy to connect to the characters because of their unremarkable positions in society. I know more landlords than I do freakishly huge bouncers who revel in ripping off men's genitals, but it's possible I'm alone there.

Kung Fu Hustle is a ton of fun. My only complaint, which is forgiveable but somewhat signficant, is the lack of a true protagonist with a clear goal. Although Stephen Chow's character emerges as the hero, I initially disliked him and wasn't able to get behind him until halfway through the movie. Also, people who you thought would be heroes early on, end up leaving the forefront. This might have been less of a problem in Chow's native Hong Kong, where everyone knows him well. Still, this didn't stop me from being glued to the screen at 10:30am on only four hours of sleep.

The movie will be in theaters on Friday.

*Shaolin Soccer was cut by 30 minutes in the barely released U.S. version.

She Hate Me

Dear Mr. Lee,

Oh, Spike. I knew I shouldn't have watched this. Everyone said it was completely worthless. Still, I hoped there would be a glimmer of something here. Really, there wasn't.

The reason I give you only a D is so you'll have a sliver of hope. I just read an interview with Steve Albini from the latest Comes with a Smile where he discusses Neil Young's career and forgiving Greendale. "Yeah, because, well, the high points -- not in Greendale, but the high points in his career -- for me justify the experimental process that he's undergone the entire time." I can't put you on the same level as Neil Young, but the analogy works.

I'm wiling to forgive She Hate Me, Girl 6 and School Daze because of Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and 25th Hour. Please though, let's work harder on avoiding movies like this one.


p.s. Why did you put his face on the sperm? That was creepy.


Thanks to Karen, I was able to see this movie a week early and I'm very thankful. Not only was this one of my favorite movies of the last five years, but the plot is so detailed that I would have been pissed if someone had spoiled the ending.

Without giving too much away, OldBoy is the story of a man who gets imprisoned for fifteen years without knowing why. The movie follows his attempts at piecing the puzzle together. The gripping storyline tied with amazing visuals makes this movie unforgettable.

Since I don't want to say much more and give away anything else, I'll give you something to think about when you see it. One of the best scenes is a fight sequence that happens in a hallway. While discussing it with Karen, it made me think about whether he was influenced by video games, specifically side-scrolling fighters. I'm curious to hear if any of you see the influence of videogames elsewhere in the movie.

And in conclusion, go see this movie.

The House of Flying Daggers

Everybody loved Hero, Zhang's last movie, because it was a great movie. I may be wrong about this, but Hero was Zhang's first martial arts and its success likely inspired him to try it again. Well, I think he made a mistake.

Before I rip into the film, the cinematography was breathtaking. Every scene was exquisitely composed, especially the early scene in the brothel and a number of the forest shots. The costumes were also well done. This film was undeniably beautiful.

Unfortunately, the film also had one of the worst scripts I've come across in a while. Flying Daggers was essentially a bad soap opera. There were love triangles and inane dialogue and an absurd amount of plot twists. "I'm not your mother, I'm your sister! Fooled you, I'm your coworker from the software company...or am I?!?" That's not a direct quote, but I wouldn't have been surprised to hear it.

For me, that overshadowed everything Zhang did right. Everyone speaks very highly of his early films, especially Red Sorghum, so I was surprised by this film. If you can look past the storyline and focus on just the imagery, you'll be fine. Keep in mind that the movie is a full two hours.

I recommend you rent this movie, so you can save some dough and then decide on your own if you want to sit through the whole thing.

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie

Over Thanksgiving, I was promised to my two little cousins for one Saturday afternoon and that time was to be spent watching a movie. We chose Spongebob and I'm glad because I doubt I could have shelled out $10 to see that on my own in the city.

I really liked the movie. I don't watch the show on a regular basis, but I think it's a lot of fun. I think Spongebob is a great character because despite being very juvenille, his heart is always in the right place. This way, kids can laugh alongside Spongebob while still rooting for him to do the right thing. Oh, and he's hilarious.

The major fault of the movie is that it doesn't take the show to the next level -- it's just a 90 minute version of the television show. The truth is, that's not bad at all. Spongebob still has a ton of laugh-out-loud points, most revolving around his Goofy Goober obsession (I loooved the song) and Spongebob's general silliness (at one point he refers to himself as Nutjob McSpazzalot).

People need to get over their need to seem adult. If you want to have fun and be silly, then go see this movie. In hindsight, I would have been proud to go on my own (even though I'd probably end up pretending the kid next to me was my nephew or something).

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

This movie was beautiful but boring. Kerry Conran, the director, focused too much on creating a 1940s feel and not nearly enough time on the plot and dialogue. I felt almost no attachment to the characters. Additionally, it felt like they were playing bad versions of old characters in movies (Gwenyth Paltrow tried desperately to be Hildy from His Girl Friday). There just wasn't enough nuance.

The spectacular visuals are what made this movie tolerable. If you love love love CGI, then you should see this movie (almost every scene was shot on a blue screen). Otherwise, skip it or wait to rent it. It's definitely not worth $10.

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster

I hate Metallica. I never really liked their music and the Napster fiasco was a huge turn-off. Still, Some Kind of Monster has managed to give them a human quality that you hadn't seen before. Whether this was calculated or not I don't know, but it was definitely effective.

The documentary made me wonder if I had always given them a bad rap, or if they have toned down in their age. It seemed to be more of the latter, as they are getting older and being forced to deal with adult issues (families, relationships, etc.) that were not an issue in their wild-stallion days. It was hilarious to watch them, the most popular heavy metal band in the world, go through therapy together. And I couldn't believe how wimpy Dave Mustaine is.

This movie also works for the die-hard fans as it gives a frame of reference for their newest album, St. Anger. It's easy to see where the songs originated and what inspired them. This aspect alone makes the movie worthwhile.

I highly recommend this film. Possibly my favorite rock documentary. Then again, I haven't seen quite enough of them.

RIYL: I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

Fahrenheit 9/11

You should see this film. Despite its shortcomings, which I'll get to momentarily, Michael Moore brings to light facts about Bush and his administration that everyone should know. So, make a point to see this movie.

That aside, I was not terribly impressed with this film. Although it was passionate and well researched, the only cohesive element is Moore's disdain for Bush, which was not enough. The film would have worked better as three or four news magazine pieces. I couldn't describe any aspect of this film as boring, but it seemed to jump from one argument to the other without any clear connection. This is why I though that this was not Moore's best effort and it was sub-par as far as a documentary-ish film goes.

Even though the mechanics of the movie were flawed, I was intrigued by Moore's message. His op-ed style documentaries are fun to watch and are a perfect balance to the right-wing crazies (Limbaugh, O'Reilly, etc.). We need someone around to trumpet the beliefs of the left.

The truth is, I can recommend this movie because Moore does a good enough job of showing Bush's flaws and this film should convince people that he needs to be ousted in November.

Good reviews from...


Jesus. This movie is crazy.

I'm not sure what to say and I'm not sure if I liked the director's style and I'm not sure if I could understand everything, but I was totally immersed in the film and will not forget it. This is why it got a high rating.

This is a film that makes you rub your eyes when it's over, wait for someone to remind you it's over, and then proclaim, "Awesome." My only complaint is the ending. I don't think it fit with the tone of film and made it a bit too preachy.

This review is mostly over, but I'm bringing something new into my movie reviews. In a nod to CMJ New Music Monthly, I shall now bring you R.I.Y.L. (Recommended If You Like...).

R.I.Y.L. craziness, manga/anime, sexy corporate espionage, ChloƩ Sevigny

Kill Bill Vol. 2

It's almost unfair to review this film without considering the first one. In fact, I don't think they can be separated at all. Each volume provide elements of the story that would be virtually meaningless if you haven't seen that film's counterpart. That being said, I loved the second part of this film.

The pace is significantly slower than the first installment, but that doesn't mean it's boring. In fact, I think I was more on the edge of my seat this time around. The acting by Uma Thurman is great and I really loved Daryl Hannah's character. She was a lot of fun.

I don't have much else to say. I think this is one of the better films made in the last century. Aside from an amazing score and beautiful cinematography, Quentin has a knack for knowing how to combine art, coolness and action into a movie and this may be his crowning achievement. Go out and see this one.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Once again, I am impressed by Charlie Kaufman (who is 45 by the way, who knew?). He has found a few subjects -- memory, time and space -- that are incredibly interesting and fit his writing style perfectly. His newest adventure is wonderful and Jim Carrey is able to give an appropriately subdued performance. I really like it when he brings it down a notch or fifty.

I would highly recommend this for fans of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation or the time/space continuum.