Friday, March 30, 2012

Jeff Can Come Live With Us Anytime: Our Review of "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" (2011)

Directed By: Jay & Mark Duplass

Starring: Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, Judy Greer

Rating: R for language including sexual references and some drug use

Synopsis: Jeff (Segel) is a slacker who lives in his mother's basement. One day he receives a wrong-numbers phone call for someone named Kevin that he takes as a sign. When his mother (Sarandon) sends him on a simple errand, he ends up following his "sign" instead and runs into his brother, Pat (Helms). Together they try to figure out if Jeff's destiny truly does lie with "Kevin" and whether or not Pat's wife (Greer) is cheating on him.


Andrew: Hello readers! Tonight the wife and I decided that we would face the treacherous Friday night middle school/high school crowd to see a movie at the theatres. But we felt comfortable enough that we wouldn't have to deal with a crowded theatre because tonight we saw Jeff, Who Lives at Home, which is decidedly NOT a big movie like The Hunger Games or Mirror Mirror.

No, we wanted to see Jeff, Who Lives at Home for basically one and only one reason. Sarah, would you like to explain to our readers what that reason was?

Sarah: Andrew and I really love Jason Segel! We both loved Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I Love You, Man, both of which Segel is so good in combining humor and heart. But, our love truly grew when we became hooked on How I Met Your Mother and just continued with his turn as the villain in Despicable Me. We are really looking forward to his upcoming films The Five-Year Engagement and This Is 40 (the sequel/spin-off to Knocked Up). 

So that's why we wanted to see this movie. Andrew, what did you think of Jeff, Who Lives at Home?

Jeff (Jason Segel) receives a phone call that might change his life

A: To be honest I didn't really know what to expect going into it. I knew from the trailers and what I had read about the film that Segel played a lovable stoner (when DOESN'T he play a lovable character?) and he happened to run into his brother while out and about one day. Besides that I was going in blind.

So I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Segel and Helms are genuinely funny guys on their own and played off each other well in this film playing brothers. They usually both play characters that are lovable or are good-natured, but I was caught off guard by how much I disliked Helms characters for most of the movie. Did you get the same vibe?

S: You're right, I was a little surprised too, but I must say that the characters just seemed lost in their own ways. A major plot point is that they all still seem to be dealing with the loss of their Jeff's and Pat's father, even though it had almost been 20 years since he passed. Jeff, especially, seems to be going along with life hoping to bump into his destiny or at least follow a sign that will lead him to it.

Ed Helms (center) and Jason Segel (right) play brothers in Jeff, Who Lives at Home

What I really liked about this movie is that it starts with literally nothing. A couple lines, a water bong and a wrong number. That's it.  From there the film grows so organically that it is almost beautiful.

A: I like the way you put that. It really is organic. For a film that clearly makes "destiny" or "fate" a big part of the characters' plot lines, it could have easily felt forced and I don't think it was forced at all. In fact, even though I felt that Susan Sarandon's sub-plot was pretty useless for most of the film, I like how it all tied together really neatly in the end.

I wanted to point out another part of the film that I really enjoyed, and that was the camerawork. It was all hand-held and at times it could be a little shaky, but I enjoyed the times when the camera would focus in real tight on Jeff's eyes or Sarandon's face when she smiles. It was the little things I noticed about the film that maybe raised the film up from being just an okay film to a good one.

S: I agree with you on Sarandon's plot and the camera work. I usually don't like the hand-held look, it's usually too shaky for my taste and up in the actors face, but this really worked for me. 

I also liked how there were funny parts that had me laughing for a little bit but for the most part it was kind of serious with some deep story plot points. I definitely left the movie thinking.

Pat and Jeff argue while visiting their father's grave.

A: The script does do a good job of making the humorous parts come out of the natural progression of events, or how the characters would really react to a certain situation.

That said, I think that's a great opportunity to say that the film was pretty slow at times, so if you're the kind of moviegoer who fidgets and gets restless when there's not a whole lot going on, this may not be the film for you. This movie is very deliberate in what it's showing. It's actually a pretty short film, too, but it still may linger a little long on unimportant things for some viewers.

Ok Sarah, when all is said and done, what's our final verdict on Jeff, Who Lives at Home?

S: While this was a nice movie to see in the theatres on a Friday evening we really think that you could Netflix it on a rainy weekend.

(Out of Five)

Picture Courtesies: TimeFlicks and BitsMovie Fanatic

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our Preview of This Week's New Releases (For Friday, March 30th)

Andrew: Hello reader! We missed last week's Thursday preview of new releases thanks to our vacation in Michigan, but we're back with it this week. Last week will be hard to top because of the massive success that was The Hunger Games, but there are some films coming out this week that have certainly been getting some air-time whether through tons of commercials or being talked about in the news.

The biggest film coming out this weekend, arguably, is Mirror Mirror - the first of two Snow White adaptations hitting theatres this year (the other being Snow White and the Huntsman). Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as The Queen who will do anything to make sure she remains the "fairest of them all" and also stars up-and-coming actress Lily Collins (The Blind Side) as Snow White and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as The Prince.

Sarah, personally I think this adaptation of the classic fairy tale looks too.....childish. What do you think?

Sarah: Oh yes, it is definitely the kid-version of the two that are coming out this year. Now, I don't think it looks as bad as you think it looks. I actually wouldn't mind seeing this one just so that we can say that we saw both of the Snow White movies that unfortunately decided to come out in the same year. I actually think that both of them have weaknesses so it will be interesting to see what those are. 

What do you think about it?

Official Trailer for Mirror Mirror

A: I won't mind seeing it (and we will, because we write a movie review blog), but I do think it looks too cheeky for my taste; a little too jokey. Compared to how Snow White and the Huntsman looks like, Mirror Mirror seems like it's more for the younger crowd.

That said, I AM interested in seeing how Hammer does in a comedic role, what Roberts' take on The Queen will be, and to see what Lily Collins can do in such an iconic role. I've really only ever seen her in The Blind Side and she didn't get much to do there, and we didn't see her in Abduction or Priest because they both looked horrible.

S: Well, I suppose we will see when we see it!

Ok, the second big film coming out this week is Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans. Now I did not see the first one, but the previews for this one actually look like a pretty good action flick. This movie is also filled with some pretty big names – Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes - so that could be kinda cool to see as well. What do you think about this one?

Official Trailer for Wrath of the Titans

A: I did not see Clash of the Titans either, and that was because while it looked like it had some good action in it, it looked like a crappy movie overall. We have friends who've seen Clash and say they liked it, so I think we should maybe rent that first and then see Wrath.

Again, because I haven't seen the first one, I only know that it's loosely based on the tale of Perseus. I also know the new one coming out is about Hades and Ares releasing the Titans on the Earth, so I'm more intrigued with the sequel because I'm a fan of Greek mythology and am interested in the depictions of all the characters involved.

S: Ah the strain of Greek "bio" pics. But yea, I wouldn't mind seeing it.

Ok, moving on to Goon, a sports comedy with Sean William Scott and Jay Baruchel. I don't know too much about this one except that Scott plays a hockey player. I do love Baruchel though so that might convince me to head to the theatres. What are your thoughts on this one?

Official Trailer for Goon

A: I've been looking forward to Goon for a while now. The concept is relatively simple - Sean William Scott plays a bouncer who signs with a minor league hockey team to be their "enforcer" and not much else. Michael Dowse, who also directed Take Me Home Tonight, a film I thoroughly enjoyed, directs it and it was written by Baruchel and Evan Goldberg (Superbad), so it sounds like the pedigree behind it really cared for it.

The only other release this week that is noteworthy is the documentary Bully. It's been making splashes in the national media because the MPAA originally gave it a R rating due to language. The Weinstein Company tried to appeal the rating to a PG-13 so teenagers could see it in theatres without needing their parents but was unsuccessful. Arguing that it's an educational movie that should be seen in schools, and with the backing of a number of Congressmen, the Weinsteins are releasing it unrated to make a statement.

I know that AMC Theatres will be showing the film in limited release this weekend and will allow children under the age of 17 to see it with a signed permission slip from parents, which I think is a great idea. We saw the trailer for Bully yesterday - what did it make you think, Sarah?

Official Trailer for Bully

S: I really think that Bully looks amazing. It’s a movie that I think will really make waves not only in the movie circuit but also in the political circles and parent groups. This is a movie that sounds like it should be seen by everyone. We need to be reminded that bullying is not limited to the homosexual children or children of a different race. It can really affect anyone. It actually really disgusts me that it has taken children killing themselves for the world to stop and go, "Oh, this might be a problem." I really hope that this will change things. 

A: Well said. I hope that it gets to a theatre near us soon because I definitely do want to see it, and agree with what you said. Readers, watch the trailer and tell me that the teacher who says the kids on the bus are just angels isn't despicable.

Ok! With all of that said, it's time for us to rank the films coming out this week in regards to which ones we're most likely to see in theatres:

1.) Mirror Mirror
2.) Bully (when it gets near us)
3.) Goon
4.) Wrath of the Titans

We should also say that Jeff, Who Lives at Home and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen both finally got to our neck of the woods, so we'll be trying to see those as soon as we can and get our reviews up for those. As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Like Casa de Ron Burgundy!: Our Review of "Casa de mi Padre" (2012)

Directed By: Matt Piedmont (long-time writer on SNL and Funny or Die)

Starring: Will Ferrell, Genesis Rodriguez, Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal

Rating: R for bloody violence, language, some sexual content and drug use

Synopsis: Armando Alvarez (Ferrell) is the youngest of two sons to a wealthy farmer in Mexico. One day, Armando's more successful brother Raul (Luna) returns home and brings two things with him: a beautiful woman, Sonia (Rodriguez), and trouble. Can Armando fight the feelings he has for his brother's fiancee? Can he save his brother from local druglord El Onza (Bernal)?


Andrew: Hello readers! Tonight…was a good night. Maybe not so much for the actual movie we saw tonight – Will Ferrell’s latest, Casa de mi Padre – but because of what we found out when we exited the theatre…which we’ll get to at the end.

But first! Casa de mi Padre – I personally had been looking forward to this movie for a little bit because I was interested to see what an all-Spanish-speaking film with Will Ferrell would be like. Sarah, what WAS it like?

Sarah: Well…it was Will Ferrell. If you didn’t know what you were going into (a Spanish Anchorman mixed with Talladega Nights) then you might be looking at the screen at the end going “what the…” But, I knew what I was getting into and I have to say…it was pretty bad. Like, not “Dios mio, que horrible!“ but just kind of “Wow, probably won’t be seeing that again.” What did you think?

Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) in a final confrontation with La Onza, a local druglord

A: Hmm. That’s a pretty fair assessment. I don’t think I would say it’s a mixture of Anchorman and Talladega Nights, but I will say that it’s totally in the vein of those two films by being extremely tongue-in-cheek, and while the humor isn’t consistent through the whole thing, it’s more like a series of skits.

Going in knowing that literally everything the filmmakers did on the screen was entirely on purpose, I actually think the movie is better than most would give it credit for. I liked that it had purposefully awful looking backgrounds, that the actors’ wardrobes would change in mid-scene; things like that had us laughing and that was its intended purpose.

S: Yes. Actually it was those things that had me laughing, not the dialogue. This movie was filled with little quirks that had us looking in every scene to see what was out of place or different from the last shot. The whole idea that the movie is a parody of telenovelas and other Telemundo programming, which makes it all that much better. I love movies where the actors make fun at their own expense. It shows good humor in Hollywood.

A: Exactly. I applaud the effort taken by all those involved to do the whole film in Spanish and with subtitles, I know it could not have been easy for the filmmakers and Ferrell, but they pulled it off.

Overall, we’d say that unless you’re a REALLY big fan of Will Ferrell, you probably don’t need to see this film at all in your lifetime. But it wouldn’t be the worst film to Netflix someday and check out if you’re interested.

(Out of Five) 

As we were leaving the theatre tonight, Sarah checked our TwoTicketsFor… Twitter feed (follow us @TwoTicketsFor) and saw the news that Ferrell had gone on Conan today and announced, in character, that Paramount will be making a long-awaited sequel to Anchorman!!! Check out the video below!

2004’s Anchorman was a modest success at the box-office, making $90.5 million after only costing $26 million to make, but became ever more popular on DVD with the college and teenage crowd afterwards. A sequel has been up in the air for years now, especially considering how most of the supporting actors moved on to bigger things in their careers (Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd most notably) so it would have been tough to bring everyone back together with the same salaries.

But somehow, after all these years, it’s actually going to happen and Two Tickets For… couldn’t be happier! The original film is even listed on Andrew’s Top Ten Favorite Movies for crying out loud.

As we find out more about this developing story, we’ll make sure to bring you the news. As always, thanks for reading!

Merlin's Beard! An Anchorman sequel is actually happening!

Video Courtesy of: Conan

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Odds Are Most Certainly In Their Favor: Our Review of "The Hunger Games" (2012)

Directed By: Gary Ross (Seabiscuit)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland

Rating: PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens

Synopsis (We're going to let author Suzanne Collins explain): In a not-too-distant future, North America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss' young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss (Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta (Hutcherson), will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.


Andrew: Hello readers! So first and foremost, let us apologize for being silent for the past week. As mentioned the other day, we just got back from a weeklong vacation and were unable to see any new films and/or write about them. But we're back, and we're going to be coming with reviews hard and fast from now on starting with.......

The Hunger Games. Adapted from Suzanne Collins' international best-selling novels, this film has been HIGHLY anticipated by both the world and by Two Tickets For. Sarah, did The Hunger Games live up to your expectations?

Sarah: It did! It really lived up to all the hype and pizzazz. I think that this movie was about as close to the book as it could have been. Jennifer Lawrence (Oscar nominee for Winter's Bone) was a spot-on Katniss and the rest of the ensemble cast really brought the story to life. What did you think about it?

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, in the middle of the Hunger Games

A: I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Minus, like, three things that they changed, you're totally right in that this was about as close to a perfect book-to-film adaptation as you can find.

Lawrence is the perfect Katniss - she's tough, arrogant, strong, and smart; but she also exudes the half of Katniss that is loving, caring and vulnerable. Since we've read the books, what we know about her character in the future films makes me believe that when all is said and done, Lawrence's Katniss will go down as one of the most popular and best film characters ever (especially since there's very few female characters of her ilk nowadays).

In regards to the other actors and characters, who in particular stood out to you - whether it was in a good or a bad way?

S: I was actually really surprised with Josh Hutcherson's (The Kids Are All Right) portrayal as Peeta. I actually think the character is a little weak in the stories but I really do think that Hutcherson brought him across beautifully. Elizabeth Banks' Effie Trinket was also a great portrayal, but I would have to say my favorite would Stanley Tucci as the host of The Hunger Games, Caesar Flickerman. His character was so awesome!

Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, host of The Hunger Games, with Katniss

A: All in all I thought they casted the film perfectly, but if I had to choose one that surprised me the most it was Hutcherson as Peeta. His eyes were so expressive that he didn't need to say a word a lot of times. In fact, one of my favorite scenes is where Peeta and Katniss are talking with each other the night before the Hunger Games start and they sit in silence for a bit, but Hutcherson and Lawrence are such good actors that it spoke volumes. Or right after Peeta and Katniss are selected for the Games and they're being driven away? Hutcherson's on the verge of tears and it killed me.

I did feel that while Woody Harrelson was very good as Haymitch, the mentor to Katniss and Peeta, I also felt that they portrayed him nicer than he is in the book. Or at the very least he came off as more affectionate than in the book. Am I wrong?

S: Yeah really was a great part. And I agree with you that his expressiveness was really good. 

In regards to Harrelson, no, you are not wrong. He should have been so much grouchier. He really is not a likeable character in a lot of ways but they made him loveable in the movie. Also, while I feel that Donald Sutherland was a great choice for the role of President Snow, I wish he was a little less grandfatherly and a little more conniving. I do know that he gets to be a little bigger of a character in the next book so I will hold out for that. 

Now as for the Games themselves, those were done really well! They did a great job of editing down the long bits where Katniss is trying to find water and is just kind of wandering around. They also did a great job of keeping the violence there but without all the blood so as to keep it PG-13.

A: I like your point about the editing out the slow parts, because there definitely were some once the Tributes get into the arena, but I still felt they could have cut some more parts out. Once the film shifted to the actual Games, it slowed down a bit for me. That's really my one big complaint for this film - that the film was better in pace and storytelling before the Games actually began.

Katniss being led to her starting point in the arena just prior to the Games

I did appreciate that the film was relatively brutal in the teenager-on-teenager violence. Because of it's PG-13 rating I was bummed they couldn't show the violence as much as you get the picture in your head when reading the book, but they way they edited the film and insinuated the violence was very good.

Ok, before we wrap up our review (which is a little long, and we apologize), what were your favorite and least favorite parts of this adaptation?

S: My favorite adaptation would have to be the citizens of The Capitol. They looked exactly like I though they would! It looked like so much fun with all of the colors. 

I didn't really have a least favorite adaptation but I will have to say that it bothered me slightly how close to the books this movie was, and I think that points more toward the editing. I would have to agree with you, Andrew, that it was a little slow in parts.

But what about your favorite or least favorite adaptations?

This is exactly how we imagine The Reaping would look like!

A: My favorite part of the adaptation is that the film just LOOKED exactly how I imagined it in my head. The Capitol, Katniss' home of District 12, the arena, everything. Same with most of the costumes, all of it was great.

My least favorite part of the adaptation is something we touched on earlier with Haymitch - that he needed to be tougher on Katniss, along with how little there was of Lenny Kravitz's Cinna. I feel he was more important than they gave him screen time for in this film. I hope they change give him more for Catching Fire. (Editor's note: after a $155 million opening weekend, the only bigger guarantees than Catching Fire being made are death and taxes.)

I also want to note here that I disagree with any reviews I’ve read about how the film doesn’t delve into the disgusting nature of The Capitol rounding up kids from each district and having them kill each other for entertainment. I thought they did a great job showing that, even from the very first scene of the film. But I digress.

Ok! All of that said, what is our final word on The Hunger Games?

S: Oh, well if you want to remain in the loop of life, you must see this one in the theatres!

(Out of Five Clapboards)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Site News/Update

Hello readers! We just wanted to write a quick a post and apologize for the lack of review or stories this week on Two Tickets For...

We have been on vacation back in our home state of Michigan since last Saturday, but we will be coming back with new reviews for many movies we need to catch in the near future as soon as this weekend.

Be on the lookout for a possible New Releases Preview at some point tonight or tomorrow, and we'll definitely be coming out with a review for Jeff, Who Lives at Home as soon as Sunday.

Oh, and look out for our review of The Hunger Games no later than Monday night!

Thanks for sticking with us, and with the spring/summer movies starting to get hot, we'll be bringing you tons of new content and reviews right here on Two Tickets For...!

Friday, March 16, 2012

From the Streets, Back to School: Our Review of "21 Jump Street" (2012)

Directed By: Phil Lord & Chris Taylor (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs)

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube

Rating: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence

Synopsis: Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are a pair of underachieving police officers who went to high school together. After screwing up their first arrest, they're reassigned to the revived 21 Jump Street unit and sent as undercovers officers to a local high school to bring down a growing drug ring. Alas, 7 years after graduating high school themselves, things are not as they remember them.


Andrew: Hello readers! It's been almost a week since our last review, and we apologize for that, but I think the wait was worth it because Sarah and I saw 21 Jump Street this afternoon. Starring Jonah Hill (Moneyball) and Channing Tatum (The Vow) and based off the old television show that jump-started a young Johnny Depp's career, we've been waiting a long time for this film, haven't we Sarah?

Sarah: Yea we have! From the first time we saw the trailer we were like, "We gotta see that!" And I don't know about you, but I think it was AWESOME!

A: I know we agree a lot more than we disagree, but I can’t agree with you more here. I also can't stress this enough, readers - 21 Jump Street is the funniest movie I've seen in theatres since The Hangover. And honestly, because of the script, the performances and the organic nature of the humor in this film, I might say it's better.

S: I have to agree with you! The chemistry between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum was perfect. The classic "used-to-be-nerdy" guy and the original jock teaming up against the bad guys but in such a great way! I love how they make no bones about the fact that it is a homage to the original TV show. Now, there are a ton of fun moments in this movie that we will not be giving away in this review. It is so clever that you all really have to go see it for yourselves.

A: There are countless things in this movie that had me laughing out loud, and if we were sitting closer to the aisle I might have been rolling in it, that's how funny this film is.

And you're SPOT ON about Hill and Tatum's chemistry. This movie wouldn't have been nearly as good if it weren't the two of them, but they were SO funny playing off of each other. We've known Hill is funny for a while, and he's great in it, but Tatum absolutely kills it. Playing the dumb jock with a heart of gold, his facial expressions and delivery are impeccable.

I also love that they took an original concept and turned it on its head. In the beginning of the movie Hill's the outcast and Tatum is the popular guy, and when they get assigned to the 21 Jump Street squad and are sent undercover into high school again, their roles flip because of their incompetence. And it's a stroke of genius.

S: It really was a stroke of genius. I will say, I wasn't laughing as much as Andrew was. I did feel that they gave away a lot of the funny parts in the trailer, but they play into the movie really well. The set-ups for the jokes are awesome! Definitely going to get some one-liners out of this movie.

And this is really the first time that we are seeing a skinny Jonah Hill hit the big screen and I gotta say, I don't hate it! I don't look at him and go, "oh he's just funny because he's the lovable chunky kid" anymore. He is just continuing to show that he has some serious movie chops.

A: I do think it might be fair to say this film may be funnier for the male crowd simply because of the kind of humor it uses, but I think it's funny all-around as well. It has funny moments were it's a satire (i.e. jokes about modern day things) and moments were it's a parody (like the over-the-top action sequences and the guys' reactions to said sequences, or music that sounds like a Michael Bay movie at points).

It all works. I could gush on and on about this movie but I think we've said more than enough to boil it down and say: just go see it in theatres. Please.

S: Yes, see this movie. It's really fun and I would have to venture a guess that we will be buying this on DVD when it comes out.

A: Oh I guarantee it.

(out of 5)