Tag Archives: Movie Review

Monsters University Movie Review

28 Sep

Monsters University Logo

Guest Review of Man of Steel by Jason F. SmithHere’s another review from Jason F. Smith. Tremendous apologies to writer and readers alike. I had this sitting in my email and I just kept forgetting to sit down and add it.  If you’re thinking of renting or purchasing the movie, hear what Jason has to say about it.  Since there’s a possibility that a youngster or discriminating parent may read this review, I’ve taken the liberty to water down some of Jason’s more colorful language.

 
It’s been a heck week here and yesterday at about 3:25 I had had enough. I told my son Riley to get up and we were going to the movie. In Heber, we had Man of Steel and Monsters University as choices, and I hated Man of Steel. At 3:40 we arrived to the 3:30 showing of Monsters University, handily skipping all the previews, and sat down.

Let me just say: Perfect Movie.

  • The animation is incredible. It just gets better and better in terms of quality of looking real.
  • The animation of the monsters and the campus was also absolutely incredible, the feel of a college campus was evoked while at the same time each frame was chock full of details and bits and hidden little jokes.
  • The two main voice actors, Billy Crystal and John Goodman are absolutely perfect.
  • The story… perfect. Not a single itch. NOT A SINGLE ONE. Never once do you go… what the …? NEVER ONCE.
  • The characters, motivations, are intricate, yet simple, and believable. There were genuine moments of emotional honestly, and my heart filled with emotion more than once.

And… the writing was always ‘fresh’, clever, and funny. This can’t be understated: The story itself surprises you, and yet it doesn’t. It delivers what you expect, but in a surprising way, without having to be hokey and irritating. That is a skill lost in Hollywood. The desire to ‘surprise’ you like in that hokeyTom Cruise movie Oblivion led them to the stupidest decisions. Pixar has no need to do that. They surprise you within the story, yet fulfill your expectations. No need to make you gasp. Instead… you just smile and nod your head.

If I had one word describing this storytelling? Graceful. It’s gracefully done.

And finally, seeing it with my 17 year old son was a trip, because as a child he LOVED Monsters Incorporated, it was one of those DVDs that he watched over and over again at home. Now grown up to watch it from a more adult angle, he really enjoyed it, and the time we spent together. It was cathartic magic.

Am I blowing this movie up out of proportion? Probably. But man it hit the spot.

 

Monsters University - Mike and Sulley

Dredd Movie Shots

1 Sep

Dredd Movie Title Poster

Netflix added Dredd (2012) yesteday, so I finally decided it was time to see it. I wanted to watch it in the theaters but I’m lazy and cheap. I wanted to rent it from Redbox but I’m lazy and I guess even more cheap than I thought. Anyway, whatever. It done been seen, son.

How did I like it? I actually really liked it. I hadn’t read up on it, so I didn’t know what to expect. Karl Urban (Dr. McCoy on Star Trek) plays Dredd and handles himself quite well right up to the credible Dredd scowl. I liked Olivia Thurbey as Judge Anderson. She wasn’t a waif or some over-wrought tough girl. She just did her part in playing a character I could believe in. Another one of my favorite scowlers, Lena Headey, convincingly played the nutty antagonist  as well.

I was surprised that almost the entire movie was held in a single massive building. I like my action films to mix it up with lots of different locations (i.e., Bond and Bourne), but Dredd kept it close to the vest and pulled it off neatly. The progression of the film was well-paced and the script stayed away from unnecessary complications. There are no major plot twists and the ending was exactly the way it should have been without the annoying sentimentality that pervades so many action movies. Who the hell needs a bunch of platitudes, unspoken endearment, and good-natured Happy Hour ribbing at a bar?

Plot summary: The film is set about a century from now, I think, although I don’t understand why people are driving vehicles from the 1980s to now. Surely there would have been at least different looking cars in the future especially since Volkswagen buses most surely can’t run for over 100 years. Anyway, the world has gone to shit and most of the population in the United States is now located in massive pollution and crime-choked cities. Huge buildings have been constructed to house entire communities. Unemployment and social discontent is pervasive. To manage law and order as best as possible, “judges” work the streets as sanctioned police, judge, jury, and execution authorities.

The main protagonist of the story is Judge Dredd, a bad-ass dude with a reputation to be respected. He has just been assigned a rookie named Anderson who is a powerful mutant psychic but who failed out of the judge academy. Because of her psychic powers, the chief wants to give her a shot at proving herself on the streets. Dredd is tasked with mentoring her to see if she can pass muster.

While out on patrol, Dredd and Anderson respond to a report of a triple-murder at the Peachtree complex, a monolithic 200-story building that houses 75,000 residents, most of whom are unemployed. Dredd and Anderson discover that the murders are tied to a new drug called Slow-Mo. The drug’s users experience a unique sensation of time slowing down to 1% of normal speed. The special 3-D technology that showed what that experience looked like was incredible. That alone was worth watching.

The criminal activity in the building is run by Ma-Ma, a scar-faced former prostitute with ambition and a psychotic temperament. She exudes a calm exterior but that only makes her more frightening when she passes her own judgment on enemies and followers alike. Ma-Ma gives the order to shut down the building when the judges discover one of the primary perpetrators for the murders, a close acolyte of Ma-Ma’s named Kay. Fearing that his interrogation could yield information on Ma-Ma’s criminal network, she announces to the entire building that the judges are not to leave alive. So begins the cat-and-mouse game that runs most of the rest of the movie.

This is a furiously violent film. Lots of bodies explode and lots of people die. If you haven’t seen it yet and you’re a fan of the comics, I’d say this is one adaptation that’s worthy of carrying the name. Sure, films are always different than comics, but this film was actually as good as the source material, albeit differently. John Wagner, co-creator of Judge Dredd, gave it his blessing.

Gaze into the Fist of Dredd comic

4.167 out of 5 stars

Here is a bunch of screen shots.

mega city buildings judge dredd on motorcycle motorcycle
headshot ma ma slow mo falling bodies
ma ma scarred face slow mo fighting slow mo face shot
slow mo face shot slow mo face shot slow mo helmet
slow mo bullet judge anderson judge dredd clan techie eye
shooting gatling gun judge dredd explosion ma ma shooting gatling gun
kay pissing himself judges execution of ma ma
ma ma falling anderson and dredd dredd and anderson
judge dredd closing credits mega city ending

Disney’s Song of the South Movie Review

30 Aug

I’m old enough to remember seeing a re-release of Disney’s Song of the South. I don’t remember where or when, but I’m pretty sure it was in Thailand in the 1970s. The memories I’ve had of it are the Br’er Bear, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Rabbit animated sequences. A few years ago, I decided to watch all of the Disney animated feature movies in sequence, so I rented them or checked them out at the local library. I didn’t realize at first that Song of the South wasn’t part of that canon since it had live action scenes, but decided to go find it anyway since it was a part of my childhood.

I was really surprised that I couldn’t find it on video or DVD except for snippets on Sing-Along-Songs. I got online to do a little research and found out that it was never released on video in the United States. Curious. So I did a little more digging and found out that Disney had decided it wasn’t a good idea given the possible backlash due to concerns about its racist nature. Apparently, Uncle Remus and the live action scenes were rife with stereotypes along the lines of Gone with the Wind.

Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby

Br'er Fox from Song of the South

I played Br’er Fox for a 4th grade school production in Chaing Mai, Thailand. Br’er Rabbit was played by an Aussie. Br’er Bear was played by another American. The tar baby was played by an Israeli kid name Ofir. There were no Africans or African Americans.

I didn’t remember any of those themes and figured it couldn’t be any worse than most of the films that glorified the slave period. Besides, all I cared about was seeing Br’er Rabbit hanging out in his Laughin’ Place. I found out that Disney had released the movie to video in the UK, so I got on eBay and bought a rather expensive copy of it from over yonder. Since our friends across the pond are ass-backwards on most things (driving on the left? drinking warm tea? a monarchy?), I guess racism wasn’t a problem for them. I felt a little guilty about it, but well, I guess not guilty enough. Of course, our pals in the UK use the PAL video format, so it’s not compatible with VHS. That means I had to shell out some additional dough to get it converted.

Anyway, that’s the background on how I got a hold of the video. And here’s my review:

It sucked. I was right. It wasn’t any more racist than Gone with the Wind and much less so than Birth of a Nation, so that didn’t bother me. Of course, I’m white, so what the hell do I know. But what it is … is really boring. The live action scenes were the most tedious and felt like it should have been called Uncle Tom Visits Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. The animated sequences were typical Disney and I did enjoy the songs and some of the Br’er animals antics. But, the veneer of fond memory had worn off and even those scenes were somewhat droll, especially since they weren’t the main focus of the film.

I don’t know what else to say about it. If you’re sensitive to Uncle Tom racism, steer clear. If you thought Disney’s 1944 The Three Caballeros was annoying, this is along those lines. I wouldn’t bother buying it. Having said that, mine is for sale $40 in the U.S. including shipping. I’m sure there are some of you that might enjoy it for it’s collectibility.

Song of the South, Disney Movie

Here are some stills from the movie.

Guest Review by Jason F. Smith: Man of Steel

4 Jul

One of my friends wasn’t impressed with Man of Steel, so I asked him to give me a review based on his perspectives. All of the pictures are mine and hopefully they don’t distract you from the review.

Superman Man of Steel Review

Guest Review of Man of Steel by Jason F. Smith

Jason F. Smith, guest reviewer

My wife looked at me the other day and said: “You ruin movies for people.”  What? Me?  “You analyze them, find the holes, and then make people realize how terrible the movie really was.”

My recent destructions include the Tom Cruise led Oblivion and the J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness.  But don’t worry, she has forgiven me because she now enjoys well told stories on a much higher level.

I like to say, in my defense, that I don’t go after bad story telling.  If you just don’t have the talent to do a good job, there is no one to blame except the Maker.   But what we don’t like is LAZY story telling.  Hollywood is currently suffering from a plague of lazy story telling that might have something to do the big budget special effects.  And my reviews are not self-indulgent diatribes. They have a purpose: To aid the world by pointing out bad storytelling so people can avoid it in the future.

Consider this… the effects in Superman Man of Steel are jaw dropping…. BUT… they aren’t really.  Why?  Because everyone who has a toy camera and a big budget loves to destroy cities like New York and we’ve seen it all before!  The Japanese were onto something years ago when they had Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo!  It took America and Michael Bay a while to catch up.

Speaking of Michaeal Bay we have the Transformers meet Godzilla mash up Pacific Rim coming July 12th.  It’s hard to imagine this movie being good… but there is a part of me hoping it is!  Review forthcoming?  Perhaps…

But we were talking about Superman: Man of Steel:  What went wrong?

The whole first part of the movie fell flat for me.  The visuals of Krypton were fantastic.  But… it seemed to spend a lot of time there when I didn’t really know anyone, and I didn’t much care.  The planet was going to die because the people had over used its resources… hm… that’s original.  We only hear that from leftists Hollywood types every other minute.  Can we come up with something original?  Oh wait, and one man realizes the impending doom… but everyone else is blind to it.  Hm… Okay… heard that one before too…

But here comes the stupid part.  As part of this lumbersome backstory the writers want you to realize that this advanced Krypton society doesn’t have live births anymore.  In a Matrix like goo pod parody they just grow people, and they grow them for ‘specific’ purposes.  Communism done right!  And Jor-El and his wife have a child… the old fashion way.  A real live birth. Welcome to the world Kal-El!  And with the planet about to implode… they decided to imprint him with the genetic code of his race to preserve them.  To preserve what? The ability to create ‘Krytponians’ in goo pods like before?  While Jor El is having a live son, he’s also trying to preserve the old method of manufacturing his people?

Before I go further, however, I have a few questions:  Question #1: Why do these Kryptonians look like Humans?  Doesn’t anyone ever wonder that? Later when Zod arrives on earth and steps out of his UFO… not one single person shown in the movie says: WTF???  Aliens look like humans?  On some level you have to explain how Kryptonians and Humans look exactly alike.

Next, you have an advanced star faring race… the Kryptonians.  They can travel the stars… they can terraform planets and make them livable.  Wow!  These guys are kind of like the Federation in Star Trek.  They have outposts, the whole nine yards.

And so… if their planet goes… why don’t they go somewhere else?  They have outposts.  They can terraform planets.  Why this big ‘our race is over’ story?  That doesn’t make sense.  Here is another question:  Jor-El and Lara decide to send their baby boy away to some other planet to preserve him and their entire race…

Why in the hell didn’t they just go with him?

Jor-El from Man of Steel

Hey, Lara. It just occurred to me; maybe we should have gone with Kal-El. D’oh!

Seriously.  Why didn’t a LOT of people just go with him?

The whole planet is being destroyed because we overuse the resources idea is so trite… mostly because the writers don’t even believe in it themselves.  If that was something they deeply believed in and wanted to tell a story about, it would be a valid exploration and something that would show up again.  It doesn’t.  It’s just a trite idea they throw out to explain Krypton going boom.

Which further elaborates the entire problem the movie and the character.  Superman was created in a time when America was not the big boy on the block, but was suffering some serious worries and needed a hero to build our self-esteem.

But what does Superman provide for us today in a meta sense?  Christopher Nolan had good luck with Batman, and in large part due to his movies being topical to what we are all going through today.  A world (city) in decline with more and more corruption.  How to fight that corruption while remaining clean?  Hell that’s the story of our time.  How can we stop this decline in America while not turning into a savage? His enemies are people who want to clean the world up (Ra’s al Ghul) or are products of its savage decline (the Joker).

General Zod on the other hand is programed to preserve his race as a warrior.  He’s just doing what his little Matrix programming tells him to do.  And for what it’s worth, he just doesn’t resonate very well to me as a relevant bad guy.  He wants to preserve his people… but he does it in stupid ways.  That doesn’t work for me.

The entire character of Superman is suspect. Yes Nolan and Snyder tried to give you a window into some of the angst he suffered growing up, but what should have been the core of the story was instead a few bits of additional fluff so we could fast forward to the big fist fighting city destroying Michael Bay wanna-be action scenes.

How did movies devolve into this?

Superman is broken on two main levels:

1.    He’s too powerful.  No one relates to having that kind of power.

2.    He’s too good.  No one relates to his ‘perfect’ character.

In this movie, they dealt with #1 problem by having him battle another equally powered Superman from his homeworld.  Okay… but that’s kind of weak to me.  I would love to see a human battle Superman and somehow using his wits and intelligence put the hurt on him.  Anyone seen Lex Luthor around?

They dealt with #2 by deciding he wasn’t so good after all, he’s a neck breaking murderer.  Not sure if that’s a satisfying way to go… but at least it deals with the problem somewhat.

Megamind move character

Did I just get an endorsement? O-lo!

Anyone here seen the fantastic movie MegaMind?  I’m not a big fan of Will Ferrel, but I want you to overlook his involvement in this movie as it relates to Superman.  (And to be fair, I think his voice work was great).  MegaMind is basically the story of Superman told in a new way, where TWO children are sent from the dying planet.  One powerful and perfect, the other weak and dumb and picked on.

So who is the main character in MegaMind?

The weak dumb character.

Yep, because the makers of MegaMind realized right out of the gate that the Superman character is NOT a main character because you and I, dear readers, can’t relate to him.  We can relate to the dumb, weaker, foolish guy who gets picked on and wishes he got the girl. The guy who eventually defines himself as a villain in order to gain a modicum of self-esteem.

MegaMind is the solution to Superman.

Okay, back to Superman.  For me, the whole growing up bit was the best part. It felt the most human, and the most relatable.  But it was just filler…

Nolan opened Batman Begins with a long and deliberate training session with Bruce Wayne and Ra’s al Ghul that was just incredibly interesting.  The theme of the decline of America was richly woven in, and when Bruce returned and donned the cape after refusing to kill someone… the stage was set for the battle for Gotham (America’s?) soul.

Superman didn’t have any of that.  It was just backstory until the big Zod arrives.

Speaking of Zod, so the guy arrives with an admirable idea: He wants to preserve his people.  So he finds Superman, who has the information necessary to do so.

In any logical encounter, Zod and Superman would have sat down and had a talk.  Both probably would have agreed that they desired to preserve the Kryptonian race.  They both were probably on the same page about that one.

General Zod character from Man of Steel

Yes, but I like genocide, Jason.

Zod’s idea was let’s destroy EARTH by terraforming it… (killing 7 billion people) and restart here.  At which point, our earstwhile Kal-El (aka Clark Kent, aka Superman) might have said something like this: Hm… I got a better idea.  Let’s not kill all these innocent people.  Let’s just take our technology elsewhere and terraform…say, Mars? Or some other planet.

That scene had to happen.  It’s logical. It’s lazy not to include it!  You have to explain why Zod would turn down such an idea.  Why his need to murder 7 billion people.

He’s programmed to defend and propagate his race.  So be it. He would fulfill that programming in the most effective and intelligent way possible.  Fighting Superman sounds like a pretty dumb idea compared to just hopping over to Mars.

And what about Zod being a super warrior trained his whole life for battle?  How in the HELL does Superman beat him?  Wouldn’t happen.  Training would win out.

And let’s not even get started on Lois Lane.  Her entire inclusion seemed superfluous to me.  It was pretty unbelievable that she snuck out into the cold and chased Superman down…

Speaking of Superman…how does he fly?  Why is really stronger? What’s going on in his cells?   Does he have a liver? Does he eat? Does he go to the bathroom?  Can he breed?  We got the brief explanation… the sun’s radiation affected him differently. Something his father Jor-El expected (which begs the question again why Jor-El didn’t head out with his son to become a GOD).  But how does this stuff work? It’s a scientific culture.  We want to know why things work the way they do, and I for one want to know how he ‘defies’ gravity and flies.  What substance is his skin made up? How does his normal human looking muscles have so much strength and them?  And lasers?  Really?  Lasers from his eyes?

Ug.

– Jason F. Smith

Comics A-Go-Go! says: Ouch. I agree with Jason’s wife, he does ruin movies for people. My perspective is that Man of Steel was a passable movie mostly because it is just summer blockbuster fodder that gives you a joy ride to escape the “getting out of school but nothing to do” doldrums. Jason’s opinions on movie story-telling are right, though. There aren’t enough good stories out there and it probably is an excuse to say superhero storytelling isn’t meant to be profound. That illusion is shattered by the Christopher Nolan Batmans, I think. Jason could probably pick those apart too, but as you can see above, he sees purpose and relatability in those films, so the possibilities really are there. I for one would like to see the Frank Miller “Born Again” storyline in Daredevil converted to film. That’s profound storytelling, unlike the terribly loose conversion of the Elektra storyline in the Ben Affleck disappointment. But that’s something to review at another time.

And as for breeding, Jason, the answer to that was found in Family Guy.

Superman finds out Lois Lane is pregnant

Movie Review: The Devil’s Double

24 Jun

The Devil's Double Movie (2011)

No one should ever forget the effects of past tyranny. Too much power in the hands of too few is dangerous anyway, but when that power is in the hands of sociopathic or psychopathic leaders, large numbers of people will suffer terribly. So it was for over three decades in Iraq.  Saddam Hussein, like so many sinister men with a hunger for power, took advantage of timing, positioning, and fear to consolidate his dictatorial rule. Saddam borrowed a page out of Hitler’s book. He was good at dividing his enemies, creating paranoia about internal or external threats that may or may not have existed, and keeping people off kilter by showing random acts of benevolence and violence in an arbitrary fashion. Whew! Dictators have so many heads to juggle at the same time!

Donald Rumsfeld meets with Saddam Hussein and shakes hands with him.

Saddam’s progeny inherited his genetic dysfunction or at least were bred to eschew empathy and humane leadership.  His eldest son, Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti, took his father’s charm and turned it up several notches, fueled it with cocaine, sexual aggression, and way too much money. Whereas Saddam’s methods seemed to employ violence as a means to secure power, Uday just seemed to enjoy it regardless of the motive.

Saddam Hussein's family

Saddam and Uday Hussein

“Father, let me honor you by spilling the blood of a thousand Shia!”
“How are you going to get the courage to do that, nitwit? Ravage their men and women with your syphilis? Your mother shouldn’t have home-schooled you as a teenager.”

Saddam and Sajida Hussein at a party

This was one of the last pictures I grabbed. By then I was bored. So, I made some blank word balloons for you. Go ahead. Make up your own witty dialogue. You’re welcome to post it in the comments.

Saddam and Sajida Hussein on vacation

Within an oppressed society there are those whose outrage will not tolerate injustice and in spite of the possibility of retribution, they will fight for the good cause. So it was not uncommon that the Husseins found themselves at risk for assassination. A standard practice by dictators is to use body doubles to minimize the risk of a successful operation. Saddam had his doubles and as Uday grew into a big shit of a man, he too inherited the need for a stand-in.

Early photos of Saddam Hussein and Sajida Talfah

In actuality, it made sense that Sajida served as her husband’s occasional body double. She shared many of the same facial characteristics given that she was Saddam’s first cousin (thus explaining Uday’s Deliverance disposition), she was burly and mannish, and when they both grew out their mustaches, they were dark and full.

Latif Yahia and Uday Hussein

Latif Yahia and Uday Hussein

Enter Latif Yahia, a boyhood schoolmate of Uday’s. He looked remarkably similar to Uday and was tapped, against his wishes, to fill the role of the double. Latif served as the nutcase’s public distraction for several years before a falling out between the men led to Latif running for his life. Eventually, Uday went tits up and Latif’s story became public.

Well, that’s the story anyway. Like so many outrageous biographical stories, there’s always the possibility of deceit or at least embellishment. Biographical dramas, after all, play ambiguously in the real world and make-pretend land. There are several sources that dispute Latif’s claim. But for the sake of this post, let’s assume that the facts are essentially there and that The Devil’s Double is mostly accurate.

The Review

Dominic Cooper in The Devil's Double

The Good: If you liked Scarface, chances are you’ll like this movie. The bombastic lifestyles of the rich and famous with their excesses of drugs, women, guns, cars, and money have a certain pornographic appeal. People loath the wealthily corrupt but are voyeuristically fascinated by them. The Devil’s Double  paints the picture of an obscenely charasmatic pyschopathic who held everyone around him in terror while he went about his business of self-indulgence.

Uday Hussein killing Kamel Hana Gegeo

Uday was always the death of the party.

Dominic Cooper looked close enough to Uday to pull it off, especially after the gap-toothed overbite was inserted. He did a convincing job of playing both the Uday and Latif roles concurrently. Dominic made us believe he was two separate people.

Dominic Cooper as Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia in The Devil's Double.

The other players were minor backdrops except for Ludivine Sagnier as Uday’s lust interest, Sarrab. She plays a sexually charged sympathetic character in the film.

Sarab Dancing at the Disco

What’s interesting in biopics is when real world events course into the story. All of the major events depicted in the film occurred, even if they were tweaked liberally. Uday did slaughter Saddam’s food taster Kamel Hana Gegeo (purportedly because Saddam met his second wife through Kamel, which enraged Uday because it insulted his mother), Uday did go near the front lines to rally the troops during the Iraq-Iran war, Uday did suffer grievous injuries in an assassination attempt, Uday did torture players of the Iraqi soccer team when they lost games, and Uday did make a habit of trolling for young girls.

Uday survives an assassination attempt

Contrary to rumor, Uday’s dick didn’t get shot off in the assassination attempt. He was born without one. So, no harm done, really.

It isn’t quite as clear if Latif’s story of individual events were historical, like the time another man’s bride killed herself after being raped by Uday on her wedding day or Uday’s tryst with a transgender person. It’s probably only speculative that Uday had a quasi-incestuous relationship with his mother or that Sarrab was even a real person. We also don’t know if Latif actually slit his wrists while arguing with Uday. But, it all makes fantastic storytelling!

Uday Hussein has an incestuous relationship with his mother

I believe it. Why not? Sajida was Saddam’s cousin so there was already a precedence for this sort of thing.

uday-makes-out-with-drag-queen

Also believable. Uday was a sexually progressive man. A knuckle-dragging, skull-smashing man, yes, but still progressive. It’s amazing what a chick with a dick and a man with no glans can come up with in the sack.

The Bad: OK, the good is also the bad. The risk a biopic drama takes is that if it purports itself to be a story “based on actual events” it has opened the door to speculation. Taken as a story in and of itself, The Devil’s Double is engaging. But with the noted parenthetical claim, it does stand to suffer because skepticism is inevitable for those viewers that value authenticity. Again, we don’t know if Latif’s claims are primarily truthful, but we have to wonder.

The actual events in The Devil's Double are suspect.

The film isn’t profound. It doesn’t really leave you with any sort of moral judgement and Lee Tamahori (director) doesn’t flower up the movie with a bunch of artistic elements. Even the violence is somewhat limited given the scope of the malevolence that Uday purportedly employed (don’t get me wrong, though — this movie is plenty violent).  The primary intention is to mirror a madman with his anti-doppelgänger, and depict the counterfeit man’s struggle to maintain his identity and humanity.

Uday Hussein looks like Steve Harvey

There was a brief “Steve Harvey” period too. Steve thought he was going over to Iraq to do some impersonation sketches. During a taping, he even went so far as to flip the switch on an electric line attached to a detainee’s junk, but as soon as he found out it was all “for real,” Steve kept it real and jetted out of the country as soon as he could. In a recent interview he explained: “Of course I left. What do you think? I mean, Uday is a kook. And besides, the ladies had more facial hair than I do. It kinda tickled when we got into a thing, but at the end of the day, I’m not a Tea Baghdadder. Much.”

The Ugly: The box office. While the budget was small (about $19 million), the take at the theaters was an abysmal $1.3 million. It’s unfortunate that concurrent films like Conan the Barbarian or Cowboys and Aliens got a massive marketing and media budget and thereby crowded out opportunities for small films like The Devil’s Double. Well, here’s hoping it gets some its money back in sales and rentals. If you have Netflix, go put it into your queue.  It’s not the best film in its genre (I’m calling it a “historical thriller” because that’s so original, right?), but it’s worth far more than the box office reflects.

Dominic Cooper in The Devil's Double

In the end, Dominic Cooper’s man meat still wasn’t enough to draw people into the theaters.

Our take on things:  3.5 out of 5 stars

Other pictures from The Devil’s Double

Sex in The Devil's Double
Latif Yahia in Devil's Double Latif Yahia attempts to commit suicide by cutting his wrists Sarrab dancing sensually at the discoUday Hussein was violent sexually

The Players

Dominic Cooper as Latif Yahia in The Devil's Double

Ludivine Sagnier as Sarrab in The Devil's Double

The Movie Poster

The Devil's Double Movie Poster

Click for the crazy big version of this most awesome of awesome movie posters.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 279 other followers

%d bloggers like this: