Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby – A Movie Review

We all knew this was going to be a silly one.  I mean, Will Ferrell, while absolutely one of the funniest men in the movie business, is not known for his intellectually stimulating material. 

That being said, I thought this move was hilarious.  Yes, there were moments that made no sense whatsoever, moments that were purely there for laughs.  The plot was threadbare at best, but still cohesive enough that there did actually exist a storyline with some real characterization.  In other words, if you’re a “story” person, you won’t be completely left out.

Make no mistake, though, this movie was all about the laughs.  Ferrell performed at his best, John C. Reilly was surprisingly funny, even Michael Clarke Duncan showed us some comedy chops.  But, in my opinion, Sacha Baron Cohen nearly (I said nearly) stole the show.  His French racecar driver as a villain to Ricky Bobby had me rolling.  Of course, if you’re under forty you probably know Cohen better as Ali G or Borat.  I was also ecstatic to see an actor playing the part of a “friend” to Cohen’s character.  I won’t spoil who it is, but this grossly underrated performer was much welcomed in my book.

All in all, this film is every bit as funny as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and, dare I say it, made much more sense as far as a storyline went.  If you’re a Ferrell fan, you’ll be most happy.  If you’re not a Ferrell fan, first of all, what’s wrong with you?  Second of all, you may find yourself tolerating the movie and even emitting a chuckle or two.

Borat – A Movie Review

I would have really enjoyed Borat had I not seen seventy-five percent of it already in the promotions.  Even the majority of the extra footage had been aired, despite their claims.

Hey, I know, I know … I should have gone and seen it in the theater as soon as it came out.  It’s my fault for waiting for it on DVD.

Even so, it still was pretty hilarious.  Some of the scenes that weren’t appropriate for television were especially funny/disgusting.

If you like Borat, you’ll like this movie.  If you don’t understand what he’s about and demand a tight plot, I think you’d rather watch something else.

Sweeney Todd – A Movie Review

How can you go wrong with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp?  Answer: You can’t. 

First and foremost, you must understand that Sweeney Todd is a musical.  Many people don’t make this realization before they sit down to watch the film.  If you’re among them, don’t feel bad-you’re not alone.  However, bear in mind this is a film adaptation of Steven Sondhiem’s musical and the vast majority of the movie is pure song.

That being said, while I’m not particularly a fan of musicals, I am a fan of Burton and Deep, Burton, and Depp (in that order).  We get the classic gloom and melancholy playfulness we love from Tim Burton, and Depp makes Sweeney Todd his own with emotional glares, terse dialogue, and a stylistically eerie appearance.

And while it was obvious none of the actors were professional singers, I didn’t find Depp’s singing nearly as distracting as I thought I would.  Be aware, though, at times the music itself grates on the nerves.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise Sweeney Todd offered was the scene-stealing acting and singing of Sacha Baron Cohen.  Of Borat fame, the nearly-unrecognizable Cohen dazzles with multiple accents, mesmerizing body movement, and probably the best singing existent within the film.

Burton, as usual, gives us wonderfully morose scenery and costumes.  Never a slave to convention, a musical would have been the last endeavor I would have expected him to undertake, but I’m glad he did.  It goes a long way to solidifying his versatility, and the fact he did it his own way with tremendous risk in casting only reestablishes my faith in his artistry.

Be aware, however, that had anyone else directed Sweeney Todd, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to watch it.  If you’re a fan of Burton/Depp collaboration or musicals, I think you’ll be pleased.  If you don’t particularly enjoy either, I’d make a point to avoid Sweeney Todd.