Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)

ALEXANDER

  • Directed by: Miguel Arteta
  • With: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould
  • 81 Minutes

How would you feel like if you were having the worst day of your life while the rest of your family was having tremendous luck? For Alexander, this was his daily routine and he didn’t care that much about it until the day before his anniversary when he decides to wish a really bad day for his family after going through a really crappy day at school… This is the premise presented by Disney in the up-coming movie Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner.

“Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life-a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn’t had one.” ((c) Disney)

Perhaps I’m losing my sense of humor or perhaps I’m simply too grown up to enjoy children feel-good movies… I would go for the second one but then one thing hit me… If someone mixes great actors with a Disney Channel movie script they are clearly asking for something bad. Potentially funny from the looks of the trailer yes but unfortunately the predictableness and the “dumb” script ended up ruining what could be a funny ensemble with Steve Carell in the middle. For me this is the best way to describe Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day but since I want to leave you with a more complete analysis of the movie, keep reading this to find out what you might find.

Steve Carell is clearly out of the picture and it’s just there to make the whole thing a lot more tolerable. His performance is probably the best thing in the movie since his jokes and actions are what provide a more natural look to a movie filled with some of the most stereotyped characters I’ve seen… First there’s the girl who dreams about the prom since the day she was born and who still believes that it is going to be the best night of her life. Then, we have the jackass who wants to steal Alexander’s reputation by throwing a huge birthday party on the same day of his which would destroy his social life for good. We also have the theater addicted, the influenced friend, the baby who says the first the first word in the most adequate situation ever and at last but the least Alexander, the guy who passes through really crappy days while the rest of his family is having luck every time. When you gather the stories into one short movie like this one the result is the typical children movie with a clear attempt of teaching a lesson after a series of inexplicable events that turn out fine.

But while Carell’s performance added something to the movie, Jennifer Garner was simply there because they probably wanted a known mother for the story… It’s not easy to understand the good casting picks when the premise of the movie is basically a kid who wishes a very bad day to the rest of his family simply because he was jealous of their luck and because a stupid guy was throwing a bigger party that was about to ruin his “love” chances,,, Basically watching this movie is like watching college/high school dramas being discussed by 12 year old kids. Why am I not telling you what happened during that day? Because… Honestly, if I ruined that to you there was no good reason to watch the movie. The premise is dumb and the characters are too exaggerated but I ended up finding some events quite funny, even though they look a bit silly and stupid, because let’s face it, if you were having a series of really crappy days I bet you wouldn’t curse the rest of your family so that they could feel what it’s like to be you. That, in my opinion, is too insensitive and mean.

If you are looking for a good time with your kids, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day might be a good idea to make the entire family laugh a bit but if you intend to watch this without kids I should advise you that there isn’t much of substance in it. The movie like a crappy comedy without any nudity, swears and totally suitable for children. There’s a party with Magic Mike but no alcohol in the middle… There’s Stiffler’s mom without sex and there are teenagers behaving in a PG way. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day lacks emotion and realism and focuses more on showing funny things instead of making me care about the message in the finale. So, if you don’t care about all this bad things I mentioned and you wish to see this just for Steve Carell’s presence, I will “allow” you spending your money on this one but in a month filled with such pleasant and amazing movies this one should be left as a backup plan.

Although it features some really funny moments, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is nothing more than just another children movie and it was bit disappointing for not being the funny flick I thought it would be. There are funny performances but the story fails a bit for being too predictable and not natural at all. It was like watching a plot originally written for teenagers that was in the end changed by Disney to be suitable for all ages and therefore better to maximize profit. However, despite all these bad things, I can assure you that your kids are probably going to enjoy it. Quick, funny, far from being clever and with really cute animals that will make you say “Oh you’re so fluffy!”, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day could have been a lot better.

See it in: IMAX | Dolby ATMOS | 3D Theaters | 2D Theaters | Rental

★★

Horns (2014)

horns

 

  • Directed by: Alexandre Aja
  • With: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella
  • 120 Minutes

“When I heard Radcliffe screaming to some reporters: ‘How about you guys beat the shit out of each other and the winner gets an exclusive interview with me?’ I realized that perhaps ‘Horns’ was trying to reflect on how crazy and obsessive journalists become to get the best exclusive but a couple of minutes after this I realized it was just Radcliffe being one of the funniest devils I’ve ever seen…”

What it’s like to wake up with two horns in the face? Perhaps this question looks a bit hard to answer but for Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) the answer might be simple. The new face of the devil is fresh, funnier and definitely more provocative but when a teenage love tragedy is in the middle you must also prepare yourselves for the pain and the sadness. Daniel Radcliffe returns to the big screen in Horns, a horror-comedy about a guy who loses the love of his life and who wakes up with horns on his face feeling the forces of evil inside him. Could this be a great idea or is it too ridiculous? To find out my opinion you must continue reading this review!

“Based on the novel by Joe Hill, Horns is a supernatural thriller driven by fantasy, mystery and romance. The film follows Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe, “Harry Potter” films), the number one suspect for the violent rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple). Hungover from a night of hard drinking, Ig awakens one morning to find horns starting to grow from his own head and soon realizes their power drives people to confess their sins and give in to their most selfish and unspeakable impulses – an effective tool in his quest to discover the true circumstances of his late girlfriend’s tragedy and for exacting revenge on her killer.” ((c) Radius-TWC)

After watching my dear beloved Harry Potter falling in love with Zoe Kazan it was time to see him in a completely different role and even though his performances are most of the times enjoyable, this time that was not enough to save the movie. Irreverence is often good but in this case I didn’t appreciate it that much. After watching Horns, I learned a couple things like the fact that Daniel Radcliffe is always capable to impress me a bit and to make me forget in a curious way his performances in the Harry Potter franchise. Radcliffe is an awesome actor of modern times that gives joy and a quite amazing style to most of his movies and this time was no exception. His character, Ig Perrish or simply the Devil, is confronted with the death of the love of his life (a love story that began in their childhood years) which leads him to a spiral of crazy events. Against everyone in the village who claims he is a murderer, Ig seizes the fact that his demon side is capable of controlling everyone to find out who murdered his girlfriend Merrin. In the middle of such awkward events, Radcliffe seizes some of the exaggeration to give an irreverent and confident performance that made me laugh and that ended up being the best point of the whole movie. Horns has several characters like Ig’s friends and his dead girlfriend but unfortunately the way most of the events are explored kind of failed expressing the right emotions to the audience. I enjoyed Dan’s “crazy” performance but the rest was simply too distant in terms of impact which made in my opinion no sense at all since the movie focuses on Ig’s search for truth. Some of his friends clearly make a good effort in their performances but Radcliff shines in a way only another main charismatic character could stand out in the movie.

While the characters are enthusiastic, irreverent and somewhat funny, the story of Horns is far from being attractive and interesting. First there’s no empathy between the characters and they all seem a bit disconnected which prevented me from feeling anything for them. Second I like innovation and movies like Horns sometimes display a great sense of clever humor but this time I was confronted with some cheesy jokes and some dumb comedy. Let’s look at the premise… After knowing that his girlfriend was murdered and that he is considered the main suspect, a guy awakens with two horns in his head looking like the devil… At first sight this could only mean one of two things: a) The movie is clearly bad because let’s face it even the premise is dumb ; b) This is probably one of the most surprising movies I have ever seen, funny, irreverent that seizes a weird premise in a way I never felt it was possible. I had faith in option b) but unfortunately a) ended up being the correct one (sad face). Daniel Radcliffe tries his best but the story and some characters simply follow his charisma and style. The way the events occur is a bit forced and when there were reasons for me to feel something about it, I didn’t felt any connection to the story. For me watching Horns was like reading a book just to know how the story goes… It was predictable, some jokes weren’t adequate for a movie that tries to be different than the mainstream and the movie ends up pleasing only audiences looking for a good time at the movies. Fortunately, despite all this, the story is far from being boring and watching Daniel Radcliffe as the devil entertained me a bit.

For most of the moviegoers, Horns could be an interesting pick because even though it fails in being attractive and consistent, there’s a funny and peculiar atmosphere surrounding the weird events that could please those who seek for things out of their comfort zone. However you should know that the movie is more suitable for younger audiences that don’t look for any message in particular. Horns don’t seize its potential and ends up failing in being different and surprising. Perhaps I’m being too harsh but when I first saw the trailer I actually believed that Horns could become one of this year’s funniest movies. Unfortunately I was wrong but Daniel Radcliffe’s performance ended up saving the movie from a bad rating. No, I didn’t like it but I also didn’t thought it was that bad…Horns is mostly a mediocre movie you’ll probably forget by the end of the year but for Radcliffe’s biggest fans it could be a good pick for a Friday night.

See it in: IMAX | Dolby ATMOS | 3D Theaters | 2D Theaters | Rental

★★

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