A Thunder Matt Movie Minute

June 28, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Live Free or Die Hard: Or Die Hard 4.0 for our European readers. John McClane is back and balder than ever. Having not seen the first three for a solid decade, when fellow bartender Brant Brown had the VHS trilogy playing on loop in our dorm room, it would be unfair for me to try to compare this latest entry to my vague but positive memories of the other three.

But as a stand alone action flick this is summer escapist fare at it's finest. Shakespeare it's not. I have minor qualms, namely a rather weak lead villain (compensated for by his bad-ass Kung Fu girlfriend) and one scene in particular where it is painfully obvious that the dialogue has been altered in the editing room to pare it down to a teen-friendly PG-13 rating. Though to be fair, the PG-13 doesn't really affect the amount of violence, blood and ass kicking. It just means substituting lots of 'shits' for 'fucks'.

But on to the good stuff. John McClane is back in full force. Lots of the cheesy one-liners that we've come to love, and surprisingly good chemistry with the "I'm a Mac" guy, Justin Long, who proves to be less annoying than one might fear. They have some genuinely funny exchanges. On screen chemistry between a dweeb and a tough guy hasn't been on display with such force since the infamous Rob Schneider/Sly Stallone pairing in Judge Dredd.

Some of the big stunts require a suspension of disbelief, but they are so cool that you won't care. There is a refreshing lack of excessive CGI, and the action comes so fast and furious that plot holes be damned. There is no time nor any use in over analyzing this. It's like a thick juicy burger and a side of steak fries. It's not particularly good for you, but goddamn if it doesn't taste good.

John McClane shows Spidey and Jack Sparrow how to stage a real 'summer event' movie. Buy yourself big-ass popcorn, the largest soda money can buy, and hell, splurge for some Junior Mints. Enjoy the air conditioning.

Yippee kay yay Motherfucker.
Thunder Matt Rating: 4 Thunderbolts out of 5

Evan Almighty: This is strictly kids stuff. A 90-minute Sunday School lesson disguised as a comedy, Evan really shares nothing in common with it's purely average predecessor, Bruce, save for Morgan Freeman in a white robe. This one comes equipped with Bible verses, montages of Steve Carell hitting his thumb with a hammer, and lots of birds shitting on people. If that is up your alley, far be it from me from stopping you from seeing this. It remains watchable due to some good lines courtesy of 'sassy black woman of the moment', Wanda Sykes and a few good deadpan Steve Carell moments. Overall you're better served just watching reruns of The Office. Or even Bruce Almighty for that matter.
Thunder Matt Rating: 2 Thunderbolts out of 5

Ratatouille: You know, in general I tend to stay a safe distance away from the kiddie animated genre (insert inappropriate pedophilia joke here). Full disclosure, I've never even seen Shrek. I figure there's plenty of time for that stuff once I start adopting kids from Africa. So I was none to pleased to have to sit through the latest Pixar flick, Ratatouille. Color me pleasantly surprised.

The animation itself is 'knock your dick in the dirt' good and the story is at the very least original, especially given the target audience (Gourmet food? Paris? Voiced by Patton Oswalt?). Perhaps it's because I'm a foodie myself, but I found this to be charming. Almost made me want to reproduce. Almost, but not quite.
Thunder Matt Rating: 3.5 Thunderbolts out of 5