Thursday, June 3, 2010

Get Him To The Greek VS Splice

Battling for your consumer dollars this weekend!! It's the perpetually humping bean pole Brit VS the gene spliced American Apparel model from HELLLL!! DOWN AND DIRTY IN THE MUD!!

Splice: This is the touching tale of White Stripes artists turned genetic scientists (or at least you'd think it by their outfits) who go from creating fat little slug monsters to whipping up their own baby girl..monkey..thing. Thus, Dren is born and the awkwardness begins. The splicing duo decide they don't need to kill their experiment since it is growing at an accelerated rate, knowing it will die on its own before long. Of course, as it happens in most films, the creature comes to maturity and stops aging...sort of. Dren goes through sort of evolutions, as we've seen in the trailers so i don't feel I'm spoiling anything by touching on the point. It seems she/it is highly intelligent and yet, emotionally immature. Through a small handful of tantrums from Dren, we get the Frankenstein aspect of the film...scientists with a God complex and such..but it is a theme diluted with the premise of a woman's urgency to bear a child. This creates the bond between Elsa (Sarah Polley) and her daughter, and spares the creature when it should have been terminated early on, and most likely would have at the hands of Clive (Adrien Brody).

This is where things get jumbled. We see Dren extensively, so apart from those first reveals of the creature in various stages of development, there is little mystery or suspense laid down. Those elements of horror you see in the trailers are sparse, the bulk of which don't happen until the very last scenes and are gone within five minutes. For the most part, Dren is a peaceful creature full of wonder and anxious to explore the world outside. Of course, this is impossible as she is still an experiment and you don't just let a creature like her loose on society...or even tell anyone about her lest you be thrown in jail as Dren is terminated and dissected for further research. So we are meant to feel bad for the creature and more so as her makers flip flip with their emotions which range from parental to cold and clinical to the perverse and extremely inappropriate. Once scene in this film will have you looking at Adrien Brody...differently...for the rest of your life. Since we are given little time with the scientists before they are thrown into the mayhem, we have very little information to explain their motives as they stumble along on their adventure. The adventure itself is one of exploration, making this film an above average Sci-fi tale, but one that doesn't really go anywhere. The entire premise is "We've created this we have to live with it"..something that seems more suited for an art house crowd rather than the main stream audience that made Avatar the highest grossing movie of all time.

With story telling born of convenience, few glimpses into the personalities of our primary human characters and a creature thrown into the spotlight and left there, abandoning all sense of mystery and relying on the strength of CGI that just doesn't cut it at times, we are left with a film that is very "What you see is what you get." It's a tale we've seen many times before in film and literature and while Splice approaches the subject in a somewhat engaging and thoughtful manor, I'd hardly call it fun...and just barely the horror film we are promised in the trailers. Splice may be somewhat shocking and absolutely memorable (if only for those shocks), but I have no desire to watch it twice.

Get Him To The Greek: A floundering record company may have found their cash cow through jump starting the career of Aldous Snow (Russel Brand who seems somewhat type cast), a hard drinking, drug abusing, sex crazed rock star on the verge of self destruction. Aaron Green (Jonah Hill) is charged with collecting Aldous, dropping him in NY for a talk show appearance and then off to LA in the space of three days. When a mild manored yes man with an inner party boy struggling to escape meets the Bacchus of the UK rock set...wackiness ensues.

I will be the first to admit this movie's trailer made me groan often with the thought of countless scenes of Russel Brand humping the camera and Jonah Hill stumbling after him as many a gross out scene unfolds. Amazingly enough, that didn't happen. Sure, there is still plenty of humping and little bits of grossness that go along with the super indulgent, super rich rock star life, but it is all executed with cracker jack comedic timing, fantastic writing and direction all rolled together creating the funniest movie I've watched in a long time. We had a fairly full theater at my screening and there were times when those watching laughed for 10 minutes straight at a stretch. This is just seriously well written material played to perfection by people that understood their roles fully and never attempted to chew up the scenery or attack the audience via the camera (as is the style of Will Ferrell.) Just about EVERY character that gets screen time says something funny. Yes, even P.Diddy!! That is a very rare thing.

Our chaotic duo finally make it back to LA after both expert and embarrassing sexual exploits, the obligatory out of control drug reaction, hysterical moments with Aldous' X Jackie Q (who might be deserving of her own mockumentary), a memorable cameo by Sarah Marshall and even a healthy dose of touchy feely self exploration, leaving the two better people by the closing credits. Awww. The film does wind down toward the finale as a somewhat filthy heart is exposed, but it doesn't hurt the pace of the film or detract from your enjoyment one bit. Get Him To The Greek is an awesome Saturday night! See it this weekend and prepare to hear half the lines repeated back at work Monday morning.

BONUS POINTS: 15 Second Killers Review: Contract Killer Kutcher gives up his bloody ways for spastically dorky Katherine Heigl until a small army of killers come after the couple to collect on a multi million dollar bounty. Plenty of shooting, car chasing and and spy-fu to be had in a one note film that limps along on a thin premise with a screaming Heigl, bad writing and no chemistry. Unless you NEED to see Kutcher with his shirt off, skip it.

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