Directed by Craig Brewer
Written by Dean Pitchford and Craig Brewer

Why, yes, TarsTarkas.NET did get into another free screening, thanks for asking. Footloose is the first screening where we were given instructions that we were required to mention we went for free. As that’s part of the running joke about how TarsTarkas.NET sold out, that isn’t a problem. So are we still sold out? Read on, dear readers…

Standing in line waiting to get into the theater to see Footloose, something happened. My foot began to be loose! Was that budding excitement for going to see the movie? Nope, just a shoelace that came undone. In addition, the official Paramount film crew was there to tape people for commercials, causing us to feign excitement that we’re waiting to see Footloose. We were convincing enough the operator only had to redo filming several times!

Finally, we were let into the theater. Did you know that giving away free stuff is the most effective way to sway opinion to your side? And that food is the most effectively used free stuff? In totally unrelated news, there was a bunch of free swag on our chairs! We got a cup, a bag of candy, and an issue of Footloose Magazine! Finally, something to put next to my issues of Highlights and Tiger Beat! As for the candy, my wife got Smarties and a Butterfinger, and I got some weird colored circle disks. Lame. Strike 1, Footloose! I just stole another candy bag from one of the many empty seats, and got my Butterfinger. There was also a dance contest where they filmed a few people dancing to put up on the official Footloose website so you could vote for a winner to go to the premier in LA. The movie stars were supposed to be there as a surprise, but they were stuck in Phoenix due to plane delays. Strike 2, Footloose! Below I’ve put a photo of all the swag:

None of this could possibly influence me. Mostly because it wasn’t enough of a bribe! If I’m selling out, I’m going to demand top dollar! TWO Butterfingers!

“This movie is about being a little punk rock and bucking the system” says a designer in the free Footloose Magazine handed out right next to their $149.99 designer shoes from the Footloose movie.

The Footloose remake follows the original film closely. Very closely. So closely it eliminates one of the reasons to remake a film: to give a different take on the story. The names are the same, the plot is the same, the events that happen are the same, many of the clothes are the same (yes, ladies, they kept the red boots!) The opening sequence with the feet is the same, at least three of the songs are the same (probably more, I forgot to take count!) Director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) even filmed a speech before the film saying how he wanted to respect the original, they got original scribe Dean Pitchford to help write this new version, and the Footloose magazine is filled with people talking about the original film along with the new. I think the fear of being too different may have stifled their creativity, while remaining true to the original probably helped more than it hurt. It is a weird dichotomy that we’ll try to break down more below.

There are a few differences. Ren is more angsty, his mom is dead now (from cancer), the setting is now the deep south and you know it. The tractor race is dumped in place of a school bus roller derby race. Yes. That’s where the buses explode.

But forget all that, what people want to know is, is Footloose 2011 any good? And my answer is: sort of. There are a lot of problems, but it isn’t horrific. It’s perfectly adequate. I can see young kids today liking it just as much as we did as kids. But in a world of High School Musicals and Glee, I’m not seeing this resonate with the same music vibe.

Let’s meet the cast, then jump into the story

Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) – The new kid from the East Coast who is now stuck in the smalltown south after his mother’s death. Almost instantly runs afoul of the antifun laws, and leads a revolt against them. The authority figures don’t like him much, but as authority figures are jerks, who cares!
Ariel Moore (Julianne Hough) – Good girl gone bad in rebellion against her father after the death of her brother and the institution of new regressive laws. Ariel Julianne Hough was on dancing with the stars for several years and grew up near where the original Footloose was filmed in Utah.
Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) – Father of a boy who died in an alcohol and dance fueled accident and acting patriarch for the entire town. Reverend Moore has a lot of worries, including his rebellious daughter. And then this new kid comes into town. Freakin’ new kids! Rev. Moore is presented more calm and Dennis Quaidy in this version of Footloose, which helps give his character a different light. You can see his pain and struggles, it is a good performance and the best acting in the show. His wife Vi is played by Andie MacDowell.
Rusty Rodriguez (Ziah Colon) – Ariel’s best friend since childhood, who is saddened that her friend has spiraled out of control after her brother died. Ziah Colon is a delight, and would be the best part of the film if it wasn’t for…
Willard (Miles Teller) – Willard is the character you will be bring up as you and your friends leave the theater and you awkwardly press to see if they liked the film or not, as Willard is easily the best part and is a safe jumping off point. He befriends Ren as soon as he comes to town and needs to be taught to dance like the original Willard (Chris Penn). Ziah Colon is like they took Shia LaBeouf and turned everything that makes Shia annoying into awesomeness.

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Footloose remake trailer explodes buses all over your heart!

UPDATE: Read our FULL REVIEW of the new Footloose movie, and discover the mystery of the exploding buses!

The pointless Footloose remake is trailerized, and it is filled with some dancing and buses exploding and drunk driving and dancing and sexy train dodging and the lead doing his James Dean impression for the entire film. Starring Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough, Dennis Quaid, and Andie MacDowell. What the original movie needed was more sexy train dodging.

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Review)

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Directed by Stephen Sommers

We all knew GI Joe was going to get a movie the second Transformers made a gajillion dollars at the theaters and suddenly every toy franchise in the universe got a movie deal (coming this summer…Starriors: The Movie!) and GI Joe was the other major 80s toy line Hasbro had. So the question is, would it be as horrible as the Transformers franchise? Surprisingly, GI Joe is not as terrible as Transformers. Or maybe it isn’t that surprising, as it is pretty hard to be as terrible as Transformers. Entire generations have lived and died and not made a movie as horrible as Transformers 2, but that is another review for another time. Now, we dip out pen into the mediocre ink that is GI Joe.

The GI Joe toy line started in 1964 with 12-inch action figures (in fact, the GI Joe line invented the term action figure. I have to pay them $3 every time I use the term “action figure”) and the modern 3 3/4 inch line began in 1982. As that is the line that was around when I was a kid, it is the best line ever and all others pale in comparison. The modern GI Joe line were dubbed “A Real American Hero” and spent their time fighting a terrorist group known as Cobra that wished to conquer the world. As those who watch the cartoon are aware, Cobra would come up with a lunatic plan to take over the world, GI Joe would bumble into the middle of it, Snake Eyes would breakdance, Cobra Commander would have a Trillion dollar secret base shaped like a 6 mile high giant cobra, and Shipwreck would get drunk and puke on Scarlett. Then the plan is foiled and Cobra Commander and crew get away, with no casualties ever. Except a few in the comic book (and some in that multi-part alternate universe cartoon episode that was awesome!)

So now, with the US actually in a controversial war on terror and the international fallout of such war, one wondered what that would do to the GI Joe movie. Because, nowadays, many movies make more money overseas than in the US. And, amazingly enough, movies where the USA runs around and blows up whoever they want willy-nilly doesn’t get a lot over play overseas. Movie studios are soulless corporations that desire only one thing: mad money. Sorry to burst your bubble if you thought movie studios cared about telling good stories, but the recent trend of rebooting everything under the sun should have opened the eyes of the few of you still living in the dark. Thus, GI Joe is now a multi-national secret organization. To prove how multi-national they are, they have two foreign dudes. This generated some controversy among pundits, but pundits are morons, so who cares what they think. The main thing is they changed things a bit from when I was a kid, and thus they raped my childhood with a red hot poker. Sideways.

Actually, I don’t care that much. What I do like the least about this film is it is an origin story. Why do we need an origin? Who cares how GI Joe got started, I want to see them blast up some Vipers! Save the origins for the tie-in comics. I am sick of origins. What’s next, a prequel showing us what Lil’ Duke did in high school and how Cobra Commander had sex with a pie? Because if Eugene Levy is in it, I’ll go see it. No I won’t.

They did two things to try to appeal to an international audience. First, they got the most British-est US president they could find. The last time someone that British was in charge of the USA, we were thirteen colonies shooting from behind fences. Second, GI Joe is now an international team. In fact, G.I.J.O.E. is now an acronym for “Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity.” Someone get the rape whistle!

So do you like nanotechonology? Because this movie will nanotechnology the frak out of you! If you believe this movie, nanotechnology can do anything! Every scene is just “Nanotech, nanotech, nanotech!” and then things blow up. Nanotech is this movie’s magic fairy dust. It explains everything, even what the writers are too dumb to explain properly themselves. Nanotech also explains why I am reviewing this so late, because I was fighting a nanotech virus. I nanostabbed it in its nanosoul, and it nanodied.

We’re going to assume you are familiar with the 1980s cartoon for the purposes of this review, so if you ain’t, jokes are going to fly over your head. So you better be prepared! Because knowing is half the battle…

Captain Duke Hauser (Channing Tatum) – Duke is in the House! Wait a minute, I thought Duke was his code name? Oh, well. Duke is the main character and he was also best buddies with Cobra Commander and was dating the Baroness until they all went evil, so now he is in GI Joe.
Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) – We need a Wayans brother in this movie or it ain’t a GI Joe flick! Ripcord is an army dude who always wanted to fly jets, which is why he joined the army and not the air force or the marines.
General Abernathy / Hawk (Dennis Quaid) –General Hawk runs GI Joe, but after he gets injured the Joes pretty much run themselves and Hawk doesn’t seem that useful.
Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) – Shana O’Hara has red hair and will kick your butt. That’s her entire character.
Snake Eyes (Ray Park) – The mute ninja dude who was so cool in the cartoon is now cool in real life. Except for the fact his character has fake molded lips on his costume! What in the world were they thinking? And he doesn’t get Scarlett, she’s too busy being picked up by Ripcord. Sorry, Darth Maul!
Breaker (Saïd Taghmaoui) – Let’s add a French Moroccan dude to GI Joe! No one will notice! Oddly enough, this Breaker is more memorable than the original Breaker, of which I remember nothing except that he died.
Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) – It’s….that guy! I don’t remember him from the old series, and barely remember him in the film. That’s not Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s fault, that is the movie’s fault for being terrible.
Destro (Christopher Eccleston) – James McCullen is Destro, the military hardware company executive who goes all terrorist to increase sales….um….I’m not sure why he went evil. But now he has a metal head!
Rex Lewis / Cobra Commander / Dr. Mindbender (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – Okay, he isn’t the real Dr. Mindbender, but he spends half the film pretending to be. Like Cobra Commander would spend most of the film in hiding. With his ego, he’d be out and in front. This is a guy who carved his face into the moon!
Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) – Snake Eyes’s nemesis who shows up here because we need to complete the Snake Eyes arc. Won’t kill women, which makes him sort of honorable. In the comics he was framed, but here he’s too dead for us to find out if he was framed. But he’ll probably be back in the sequel.
The Baroness (Sienna Miller) –The Baroness is really named Anastasia ‘Ana’ DeCobray because we gotta be very obvious about how she’s affiliated with Cobra. She also used to date Duke and is the sister of Cobra Commander. And she’s being controlled by nanobots because hot women would never be evil by choice!
Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) –He’s the master of disguise who doesn’t have giant face tattoos and a changing face color. Which means he can actually do disguises better! Actually pulled off rather well.

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The Seniors (Review)

The Seniors

DENNIS QUAID!!! as Alan Darby
Lou Richards as Steven Elliot
Gary Imhoff as Ben Adler
Jeffrey Byron as Larry Bronson
Rocky Flintermann as Arnold
Priscilla Barnes as Sylvia
Alan Reed as Professor Heigner

Ever wonder what 1970’s college sex comedies look like? You have? That’s odd, because really no one cares. Not one bit. This is the 21st Century, we are saturated with good sex films, mediocre sex films, terrible sex films, Skinimax, Showtime, HBO, the Internet, The Lion King, and Girls Gone Wild. Going down memory lane is a waste of time for our instant gratification society. Once you head down that path, you encounter junk like this that makes you wonder how people in the Seventies could watch such trash, until you remember everyone was on drugs. That also explains disco. The drugs. Seriously, just look at Staying Alive. They’re all high on cocaine. Cocaine would help with this film immensely. If you enjoy long drawn out plot filler (but little actual plot), sex scenes with little nudity (and not much sex), and long montages to terrible 70’s folk rock, then this movie is your holy shrine! This movie managed to be a beginning point for Dennis Quaid, while several other stars give swan songs or almost swan songs. Let’s not forget the nobodies who went no where. Most of them died undignified deaths such as being stabbed in a clamdigger bar or trampled by emus or by swallowing a Slinky. Just kidding, none of them ever swallowed a Slinky.

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