Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Batman: Under the Red Hood


By Da’Mon Guy

      Batman: Under the Red Hood is one of the best animated movies in some time. It features a compelling storyline as well as great traditional animation. it’s a great combination of action, mystery and suspense. This latest tale adds a new dimension to the ever evolving character of Batman. The movie showcases a great voice cast that utilizes the talents of Bruce Greenwood (Double Jeopardy, Star Trek), Jensen Ackles (Supernatural, My Bloody Valentine), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, Doogie Houser), and John DiMaggio (Futurama). The movie is loosely based upon two of DC comics greatest selling mini series. (A Death in the Family and Batman: Hood)

      The movie begins with the death of Robin at the hands of Batman’s archenemy, the Joker (John Dimaggio). Batman (Bruce Greenwood) races furiously to save his partner but fails as he witnesses his death. The story then picks up 5 years later as Batman is in hot pursuit of a new villain, the Red Hood (Jensen Ackles). The Red Hood is Gotham’s latest vigilante. He takes no prisoners as he uses many of Batman’s methods but the Red Hood takes it one step further. He has no problem with killing anyone who may pose a problem in his conquest of Gotham city‘s underworld.

      Batman: Under the Red Hood digs deep into the character of Batman as it shows us multiple layers to his personality that is not often displayed. We see his vulnerability as he revisit’s the father figure/ partnership that he lost when Robin was killed. We are also shown how he has struggled with the grief or Robin’s death and his subsequent failure to save him. This movie makes Batman real. In showing us his flaws, the movie grounds him. It adds a human and more real aspect to the larger than life persona of Batman. We get a new take on the character of Batman in his quest to unmask and defeat the Red Hood.

      The other main characters in Under the Red Hood are equally portrayed very well. Each of them add a distinct element to the story. The Joker is played at his maniacal best right from the start. His crazed, psychopathic, are on full display as he adds to the mayhem that Batman must overcome. Nightwing, the first Robin, brings a bit of humor to this otherwise dark movie. The Red Hood gives a view of Batman’s dark side. He shows us what Batman could become if ever lost sight of his sense of justice.

      Batman: Under the Red Hood is a great movie. Comic book Lovers as well as casual fans will be satisfied when you watch it. This is one of those transcendent movies that becomes more than a good animated film. It’s an excellent view and a great buy. This movie is one of those rare films like The Dark Knight that becomes more than just a good “comic book” movie but it becomes a good movie. Don’t sleep on this because it’s a cartoon or because it’s one of those “superhero” movies. Give it a chance and you will not be disappointed. Batman: Under The Red Hood has definitely become one of my instant classics.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mama's Boy

By Da’Mon Guy
      Mama’s Boy is a straight to dvd comedy in the lines of Dumb and Dumber. This barely entertaining movie stars Jon Header, (Napoleon Dynamite, the Benchwarmers) Anna Farris, (Scary Movie, The House Bunny) Diane Keaton, and Jeff Daniels. it’s a bad attempt to poke fun at people who stay at home too long.

      Jon Header stars in this movie about a almost 30-year-old slacker who never leaves home based upon a misinterpreted quote from his late father. Header’s character, Jeffery, has a morbid fear of losing loved ones and whole heartedly takes up the charge to always be there for his mother.

      The comedy begins when Jeffery's mother Jan, played by Diane Keaton decides to begin to date again. She quickly becomes romantically involved with Jeff Daniels character Mert Rosenblum. Header becomes jealous and swears to break up the two. This begins a chain of comedic events. The two of them exchange various comedic blows. For example, Jeffery cuts the "ass" out of all of Mert's pants, Mert turns down the heat in the basement where Jeffery stays, and Jeffery plants "weed" in the house to frame Mert as a "pot head," just to name a few.

      Mama’s Boy is a minimally funny movie that is hardly worth the time you will spend watching it. There are some laughs but they are far and few.The exchanges are really the only reason to watch this movie. But they do not constitue sitting through the running time for this movie. Jon Header does nothing that he hasn’t done before and this time it is even less funny this time than the other times that it has been done. Anna Faris brings nothing to the film but a couple of dumb looks and a name. She isn't even as funny as she was in the last awful scary movie.

      PLEASE Don’t waste the time to even watch this. How this got to the screen I’m still trying to figure that out. Someone PLEASE find me a phone number, address, or something because I need to punch someone for making this. I also need to be slapped for sitting through it.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Be Kind Rewind: "A Heartwarming Story that is Shrodded in Silliness"


By Da’Mon Guy
      Be Kind Rewind is a lesser known comedy that premiered in 2008 in limited release. It's a touching comedy for the lovers of silly movies. Its illogical and almost dumb at times but that is wherein the enjoyment resides. This seemingly silly movie has a really warm message buried beneath its humor. Mos Def and Jack Black highlight a really good cast that includes Danny Glover, Melonie Diaz, Sigourney Weaver, and Mia Farrow.

      Mos Def and Jack Black star as two best friends who live in a small town, Passaic NJ. The two are very good friends but with different ambitions. Mos Def plays Mike, a video store clerk, who seeks the approval of Mr. Fletcher played by Danny Glover. Mr. Fletcher is Mike’s father figure and he eagerly wants to please him. Jack Black is Jerry, a mechanic with a few screws loose. Jerry has aspirations of stardom but no way to achieve it. Jerry’s chance for stardom comes when accidentally erases all of the VHS tapes during a visit to the “Be Kind Rewind” video store after a freak accident. Mike (Mos Def) has been left to run the video store in Mr. Fletcher’s absence and since he doesn’t want to disappoint Mr. Fletcher he quickly tries to conceal the accident. He devises a plan for he and Jerry to re enact the erased version of the movies. These versions of the movies later become known as “Sweded.” Mike and Jerry's "sweded" versions quickly become the talk of the town and the two instantly achieve a level of stardom that Jerry quickly takes to.

      Mos Def and Jack Black have really good on screen camaraderie as best friends and the “Sweded” versions of the movie create situations for all kinds of humor to unfold. As we watch the pair redo some of the best known Hollywood best know films such as Ghostbusters, Rush Hour, and 2001 a space odyssey. Jack Black’s portrayal of Jackie Chan is extremely entertaining.
      The message of the movie that is masked within the comedy is ingenuity, friendship, and people coming together as the two quickly learn that the video store is to be demolished. The devise a plan to raise money and the towns viewers of the “sweded” versions of the films all pitch in.

      The first 20 or so minutes of the movie is almost too silly to watch but if you can survive the silliness then you are in for a real treat. Be Kind Rewind is a comedy on the surface but it really has a lot of messages that makes this a very family friendly movie. The exchanges between Mos Def and Jack are at the core of the entertainment of the movie. They provide great comic relief in the delivery of the more subtle messages of friendships, creativity, and the sheer belief in yourself. I really liked the movie in spite of the silliness at the start. I would give it 3 stars. If you want to see the entire "sweded" versions of the movies that Mike and Jerry created you can go to

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just Wright: "Just Average"


By Da’Mon Guy

       Just Wright is a mildly entertaining romantic comedy that neither excites nor disappoints. Queen Latifah and Common star in this movie that entertains but does nothing new for movie goers. The movie features an ensemble cast including Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashaad, Pam Grier, NBA stars Dwight Howard, and Dwayne Wade who all come together to offer some “nice” performances but they can’t save the movie.

         Just Wright doesn’t “wow” you but it does offer some good entertainment for a night at home. Common gives a really good, heartfelt performance in his first leading role as NBA star, Scott McKnight. He does a great job at communicating his performance as a soft spoken individual through the subtle looks and gestures on screen. Convincing the audience with brief verbal exchanges.
      Queen Latifah is just the opposite. Her approach to her portrayal of her character is the downfall of this movie. She plays Leslie Wright, a physical therapist, and hardcore Nets fan that is nothing more than an extension of her usual lists of characters she has portrayed in most of her movies since ascending to the big screen. Just Wright’s failures can be attributed to the role of Queen Latifah. It seems just like she transferred "Kahdijah James from Living Single to the big screen. Just with a new name and different profession. She has used this persona too often as she has portrayed the same character in most of her movies. The wise cracking hipster from the streets. It has become her little "niche" in movies. Queen Latifah, like many other Afro American actors, play this role all to frequently.
      Latifah does offer her bright spots in her performance as Leslie Wright. She does have opportunities to portray the strength of modern woman and she does it very well. She shows how strong black women can be and it is very sincere and worth commending.

      Just Wright does have some good points and redeeming qualities. One of them is the inside look at the women trying to “rope” NBA stars into marriage was entertaining. The movie shows exactly what lenghts some women go through to try to bate NBA players into marriage. The ensemble cast of stars each provide some form of entertainment in their own manner.
      Overall Just Wright is “just ok.” I’d give it 3 stars. I really enjoyed Common’s portrayal of Scott McKnight. That was the highlight of the movie for me but the movie’s downfall was that it didn’t make me believe the love story between Scott Mcknight and Leslie Wright. There was little to no fizzle between them nor is it believable. We never truly “feel” the romance between them. There are brief moments where there is some chemistry but it quickly disappears. The movie also never convinces the audience of either character’s love for basketball. It’s has no where near the power of “Love and Basketball.“ It’s a nice DVD for to offset a boring night at home.