erik lundegaard

Movie Reviews posts

Friday April 08, 2011

Dueling Movie Critics: O'Hehir vs. Edelstein on “Your Highness”

“Gingival surgery would be more fun than watching this brain-draining, spirit-sucking attempt at a stoner spoof, which combines the cutting edge of frat-boy wit, the excitement of a mid-'80s made-for-TV action flick and the authenticity of a Renaissance Faire held in an abandoned field behind a Courtyard by Marriott. A bus trip from Duluth to Sioux City would be more fun, and don't think I didn't do my research: That takes 13 hours and costs 96 bucks.”

--Andrew O'Hehir, “Is 'Your Highness' the Worst Film Ever Made?” on

“How low does Your Highness go? As low as the deepest pits of Adam Sandlershire, the darkest pools of Kevin Smithport, the coprophagic caverns of John Waterstown. As its title implies, it also soars as high as Mount Cheech-and-Chong. It features geysers of gore; bare boobs; Natalie Portman’s bum; and a long, stiff Minotaur knob, which is something you don’t see every day. The trick is that Your Highness is played like a straight sword-and-sorcery epic, with nary a whisper of camp — a cunning weave of low and high, regal and smutty, splendiferous and splattery. It conforms to popular (bad) taste in ways you might find alarming. But on the far side of alarm is nirvana.”

--David Edelstein, “'Your Highness' is Bad Taste Done Right,” in New York Magazine

Looks like O'Hehir on points: Rotten Tomatoes' top critics currently have “Your Highness” at 10%.

A publicity shot from "Your Highness," starring Danny McBride, James Franco and (gulp) Natalie Portman

This is similar to the critical reaction, too.

Posted at 05:56 PM on Apr 08, 2011 in category Movie Reviews
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Friday August 07, 2009

How the French Feel Watching Americans Blow Up the Eiffel Tower

This weekend we get to see how dumb these guys are. And by “these guys” I mean 12-to-18-year-old boys. “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” opens today in—Jesus!—4,007 theaters? My god. Enough of this. Wait til next week for “District 9.” Go out and play already. With a G.I. Joe, sure, just play. Just don’t hurt us anymore, kids.

The movie didn’t screen for critics, of course, but it did open earlier in the week in France, where the following review appeared in Le Monde. First my crappy English translation, then the French:

The distinctive feature of “G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra” is that it was inspired, not by a comic strip or a video game—that’s become routine in Hollywood—but by children’s dolls; by toys to whom the film gives life. It goes withou saying that their origin myth is particularly poor.

You can’t say Stephen Sommers' film has much consistency. These G.I. Joes are special troops devoted to preventing a mad scientist and a rich and megalomaniacal arms merchant from becoming the rulers of the world—helped in this by hardened and cruel veterans who have at their disposal the most up-to-date and extreme technologies of death and destruction. (They destroy the Eiffel Tower!]

This production, consisting of shamelessly borrowing from everything in the universe, from comic strips to martial arts films to the inventions of the Matrix saga, contains numerous action scenes that are particularly confusing.

The use, ad nauseum, of digitalized special effects and infantile humor, quickly give this G.I. Joe the feel of a big cartoon.

Et maintenant…

La particularité de G.I. Joe Le réveil du cobra est de s’inspirer, non d’une bande dessinée ou d’un jeu vidéo, ce qui est devenu la routine à Hollywood, mais de figurines pour enfants, de jouets à qui le film a pour objectif de donner vie. C’est dire à quel point la mythologie d’origine est particulièrement pauvre.

On ne peut pas vraiment dire que le film de Stephen Sommer lui donne beaucoup de consistance. Les “GI Joe” constituent une troupe spéciale vouée à empêcher un savant fou et un riche et mégalomane marchand d’armes de devenir les maîtres du monde, aidés en cela par des combattants aguerris et cruels, disposant des technologies de mort et de destruction les plus récentes et les plus radicales (ils pulvérisent la tour Eiffel !).

Cette production, constituée d’emprunts éhontés à toutes sortes d’univers, de la BD au cinéma d’arts martiaux en passant par les inventions de la saga Matrix, contient de nombreuses scènes d’action particulièrement confuses.

L’usage ad nauseam d’effets spéciaux numériques et un humour infantile donnent des allures de gros dessin animé à ce G.I Joe. Le Réveil du cobra.

Posted at 11:24 AM on Aug 07, 2009 in category Movie Reviews
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Thursday August 06, 2009

The Rise of Something Anyway

From Richard Kuiper's Variety review of “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” which was not screened for most critics:

Playing more like a highlights reel from an established franchise than a movie intended to launch it, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” interrupts its barrage of CGI action for only the barest minimum of anything resembling character development. Still, young auds switched on to precisely this sort of entertainment should turn this futuristic, military-themed pic into a significant worldwide hit...

No they shouldn't.

Posted at 08:28 AM on Aug 06, 2009 in category Movie Reviews
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