Willie Waffle

Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

incredibleburtwonderstoneposter.jpgYou are just begging for the mockery when you put an adjective like "Incredible" right in the title, so the folks behind The Incredible Burt Wonderstone had to deliver, or suffer the ignominy of puns being tossed at them like rotten eggs hurled at the house of the guy who gives apples to Trick-Or-Treaters.

Steve Carell stars as Burt Wonderstone - one of the most successful magicians in the history of Vegas, and his life is falling apart in truly comedic fashion.  The act he created with his best friend, Anton (Steve Buscemi) is starting to get tired.  People aren't buying tickets the way they used to.  The casino owner, Doug Munny (James Galdolfini), wants to fire him, and a new magician, Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), is starting to challenge his status as the top dog, so we have to wonder if Burt has what it takes to get back to the top.

thecallposter.jpgI have to admit The Call is not even nearly as horrible as I thought it would be.  In fact, the first hour is MARVELOUS!  It's that last half hour that becomes, ummm, problematic (which is just a nice way to say the movie's last half hour STINKS!).

Halle Berry stars as Jordan - a top flight 911 call dispatcher who has lost her confidence after she can't save a young girl from a murderer.  Jordan has stepped into the classroom as a trainer, but, while visiting the call dispatch center, a young girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin), is kidnapped and calls 911 from the trunk of car speeding through Los Angeles. 

It's Jordan's chance for redemption, but can she help the police find this madman?

ozthegreatandpowerfulposter.jpgIt's hard to overcome your preconceptions when going in to watch a movie.  We see the ads and the trailers.  We have our reactions to the stars or the clips or how it fits in with what we want from a movie.  Then, sometimes, you get a bit of a surprise.

Set in Kansas in 1905, James Franco stars as Oz - a flim flam con man traveling from town to town as the magician in a carnival show.  As he tries to make his getaway from the angry husband of a lady he has been romancing, Oz jumps into a hot air balloon at the same time a massive tornado moves into the area (sounds familiar, doesn't it?). 

As you can imagine, it blows him all the way to the land of Oz, where our con man is considered the prophesized one who can save the land from the evil Wicked Witch.  Along the way, he meets three witches and we have to wonder if Glinda (Michelle Williams), Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz) will be able to help Oz become the King, and collect all of the riches that go with the title (the King gets a sweet pad in the Emerald City, so I was kind of jealous).  

Who is The Wicked Witch?

Can Oz defeat her?

Who knew Kansas was the portal to all that is wonderful and amazing?

Jack The Giant Slayer - Review


jackthegiantslayerposter.jpgFee Fi Fo Fum, I smell the stink of a horrible bomb! 

Jack The Giant Slayer is almost exactly what you think it is - a blatant, horrendous ripoff of Jack and The Beanstalk with more stabbing, more failed attempts at snappy one-liners and more teen angst than classic fairy tales will allow, because the lawyers told them to change some stuff up to avoid the plagiarism lawsuit.  Too bad you can't sue for bad taste.   

Nicholas Hoult stars as Jack, the farm boy who trades his horse for a bag of beans, but, of course, they end up being magical beans, and you're not supposed to get them wet (I guess you shouldn't feed them after midnight, either).

When he does, that beanstalk that used to be in the title sprouts all the way to the sky and reaches the giants who were vanquished generations ago by the King.  Now, the giants want revenge, especially when Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) finds herself wrapped up in this mess.  I could explain how, but we don't have that kind of time.

Phantom - Review


phantomposter.jpgAt first glance, Phantom has the promise of being one of those surprise sleeper movies with stars like Ed Harris, David Duchovny and William Fichtner heading up the cast.  C'mon, we like those guys and we know they are good.  Then, like me, you fall asleep for 10 minutes during the movie because it fails.

Set in a year some time during the Cold War, Harris plays Demi - a Soviet submarine captain who has a bad reputation, but his Dad was a legend, so the navy puts up with him.  He has been given one last assignment to take an old, beat up, heap of junk sub out into the ocean before it gets sold to the Chinese.

Because it is a rush assignment, Demi doesn't have his normal crew, and some of the new faces, including Bruni (David Duchovny), seem to be up to something suspicious, and Demi has to rely on the loyalty of his long time right hand men to stop a potentially disastrous outcome.

argoposter.jpgWinning Best Picture at the Oscars is one of those dreams that only lives in the deepest recesses of every actor's, producer's, director's, crew member's, and studio flack's wildest fantasies.  That, and being so rich Hollywood starlets throw themselves at you even though you look like Harvey Weinstein or Ron Howard.

A win here puts you in the league and hush-filled rarefied air of movies like Schindler's ListTitanic, Gandhi, The Godfather, Casablanca, and Around The World In 80 Days (OK, they can't all be Casablanca, so give the guy behind Around The World In 80 Days a break).

Winning Best Picture means you can finally make your dream project, if you can convince Charlize Theron or George Clooney to star in it.  And, you can get that Twilight kid's autograph backstage because he sees you carrying the big bald statue and wants to know what it's like to touch an Oscar.

What movie will be Best Picture this year?

snitchposteer.jpgDwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as John Mathews - a successful owner of a construction and trucking company whose son, Jason (Rafi Gavron), is facing some serious jail time.  Jason agreed to accept and hold a package of drugs for a buddy, and the Drug Enforcement Agency swept in and cuffed him.  Locked up and awaiting trial with a penalty of 10 years in the big house, Jason seems screwed, until John comes up with a plan.

John makes the ambitious federal prosecutor and congressional candidate, Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon), an offer she can't refuse.  He will go undercover and help bring down some major drug kingpins if she frees his son (I didn't say it was a good plan).

What could go wrong?

spielberglincoln.jpgThe day before the Oscar nominations came out, if you had told me Ben Affleck would get snubbed for Best Director this year, and Michael Haneke would be nominated instead, I would have asked you what you were smoking and drinking and are you related to Michael Haneke in some way? 

No one in their right mind would think Ben Affleck was going to get snubbed for Argo.  

No one in their right mind thought Kathryn Bigelow was going to get snubbed for Zero Dark Thirty.

No one in their right mind thought Tom Hooper would get snubbed for Les Miserables.

Yet, the directors went el loco and gave us the strangest and hardest to predict group of nominees in modern history.  

Who will emerge from the field to be named Best Director on Sunday night?

danieldaylewislincoln.jpgAre you ready for some history on Oscar night?  It's going to happen in the Best Actor category. 

No man has ever won Best Actor three times. 

The list of men who have won twice is substantial (Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Gary Cooper, Dustin Hoffman, Marlon Brando and more).  Nicholson has even won three Oscars, but one is for Best Supporting Actor (Terms of Endearment). 

Is this the year for Mr. Lincoln?

You bet it is.  You can take this one to the bank.

jenniferlawrencesilverliningsplaybook.jpgOver the last few years, the most exciting Oscar battles have been the ones waged for Best Actress.  Not only did we get some amazing performances, but the depth of nominees and the number of great roles for women were bountiful.  It was a cornucopia of estrogen!  

Not so in 2012.

I am not saying the nominees are not deserving, I just think some of the people snubbed last year would have been considered frontrunners this year (Charlize Theron in Young Adult).

Yet, we do have some solid nominees for Best Actress, and one could be at the start of an amazing career.  Yes, the woman to the left. 

Who will win the Oscar for Best Actress?