Megan Fox

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Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Published August 21, 2014 by mrsrag

Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek/Johnny Knoxville, Jeremy Howard, Danny Woodburn/Tony Shalhoub,  Tohoru Masamune, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Rated: PG-13; Action/Adventure/Comedy; 101 minutes


I was a child of the ’90’s.  So, of course, I absolutely loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  And I still do.  I had the Gray Box Nintendo game, I went to see all of their movies and I owned plenty of TMNT themed toys.  I knew it was just a matter of time before Hollywood took another crack at bringing the oversized reptiles to the big screen.  Especially because our technology continues to improve and reach new milestones.  Are these the best looking ninja turtles I’ve ever seen?  Not necessarily.  I actually prefer the old cartoon-style crew.  But this film managed to capture the essence of each member while maintaining their naturally cheesy air.  The storyline even had a new plot twist explaining how the Ninja Turtles became mutated and why they ended up in the sewers.  Ninja Turtles were first spawned as an American comic created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.  In, none other than MRSRAG’s favorite year, 1984.  The history behind the creation of this series is actually an incredible story of two friends who were just brainstorming and goofing around.  Look it up on Wikipedia – it’s impressive.  I was pleasantly surprised by the new movie and would endorse it with their signature catch phrase: Cowabunga!

It seems like every time I’m lukewarm about seeing a movie, I end up loving  it.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is no exception.  Maria explained her reasons for wanting to go, and Ethan has become interested in them through their reincarnation on Nick.  Me?  I remember the 1990 version with Elias Koteas playing Casey Jones, as being pretty decent, but wasn’t sure how they were going to reinvent the wheel twenty four years later.  Well Casey Jones doesn’t even make an appearance here, and Maria mentioned the change in backstory, so this TMNT has a fresh coat of paint and shines bright in the 21st century.  Megan Fox as April O’Neil is, believe it or not, fantastic!  I know, right?  She was dreadful as Shia Labeouf’s eye candy love interest in the Transformer movies.  And failed horribly when given her own starring vehicle in the unwatchable Jennifer’s Body.  But I thought she turned a corner in This is 40, a movie I hated, but she stole the show with a small part that poked a bit of fun at her persona, and was easily the best part of that Apatow dud.  And she nails the Turtle’s pal April here in TMNT.  With her sidekick cameraman Vernon Fenwick (the always amazing Arnett), she is what drives the movie forward.  The Turtles themselves are buffed and badass, and their personalities haven’t changed much over the years.  The writing is crisp and the chemistry between the main players is natural and easy.  One negative: the casting of William Fichtner as seemingly good guy Eric Sacks was a horrible mistake.  The guy always plays an asshole, and we all knew instantly he was going to turn out to be a bad guy.  Dumb move.   

I was hoping they were going to pull a double switcheroo – and have him seem bad and then turn out good.  But they just stuck with his usual evil shenanigans.  I was really impressed with how they outfitted Shredder, donning head to toe shiny silver with retractable knives, the leader of the dreaded foot clan looks more dangerous and fearsome than ever.  Growing up I was a hardcore Leonardo fan, but in time I learned to love Michaelangelo.  He’s pure entertainment and provides a lot of the laughs here while swooning over Fox.  TMNT has always had the same formula – Raf acts like a jerk, Splinter almost dies and then one brother has to save the other three.  Ninja Turtles has never taken itself too seriously.  And that’s what is most important to keep in mind.  It’s fun.  And sometimes you just have to allow yourself to revert back to 8.  I felt like a kid again.  Oh, and there’s some rapping.

Michaelangelo, definitely my favorite, and I’m not even a stoner.  The bottom line here is this is one non-stop, funny, entertaining movie.  The Turtles kickass, the bad guys are super bad, and the special effects create scenes that are mesmerizing and jaw-dropping.  Raphael can still be a douchebag, but he comes around, and near the end when they thought they might die, he laid it all bare and had me on the verge of tears.  Seriously.  There’s no way you won’t have a good time at TMNT, unless you’re humorless with no imagination or sense of adventure, in which case you wouldn’t have gone in the first place.  So, bring your kids, have fun and then take them out for a “99 cheese pizza” after the show.  Wait, that’s physically impossible, isn’t it??

Maria’s Rating: 3.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Ross’ Rating: 3.75 Gummies.






Recent DVD Release: This Is 40

Published May 1, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segal, Megan Fox, Charlyne Yi, Robert Smigel.

Rated: R.  Comedy.  Running Time: 2 hours 14 minutes.

I am a fairly big fan of writer/producer Judd Apatow.  I loved Freaks and Geeks, the series that launched more careers than my daughter Gina launches F-bombs.  And there’s Ron Burgundy, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Step Brothers, Year One, Bridesmaids.  The guy makes me laugh, most of the time.  He does throw in the occasional dud, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Wanderlust, Five Year Engagement.  But honestly, even those sub-par efforts had some decent moments and entertainment value.  This Is 40, a quasi-sequel to Knocked Up, in that we pick up the lives of the always unhappy couple Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Mann) and their growing kids Sadie (Maude Apatow) and Charlotte (Iris Apatow), is at the very bottom of his body of work IMO.  While Pete and Debbie were fine side-kicking Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up, watching their train wreck of a marriage and life for a Hobbit-like two plus hours, was excruciating.  Businesses failing, marriage failing, oldest daughter spoiled and screeching throughout, just very few laughs in this “comedy”.  I thought the youngest Apatow was the best of the clan here.  Iris’ Charlotte was cute, wise beyond her years, and had more sense than the rest of her family.  You know a movie is in trouble when a highlight is Megan Fox.  She does a fine little parody of her persona, and seems to being having fun with it.  This Is 40 is nepotism at it’s best, or should I say worst. 

I usually love an Apatow flick.  The endless sea of hilarious one liners from the bulk of his work have been uttered from my lips millions of times.  I had a lot of hope for This Is 40.  Cute Paul Rudd.  Bitchy, but always a hoot, Leslie Mann.  I dug their take on marriage in Knocked Up.  It rounded out that little film nicely, but on its own this story of real life problems is weak.  I mostly enjoy going to the movies to lose myself or to gain a fresh perspective on something.  There was no such lesson or shred of entertainment to be gained here.  Also, it was just strange.  Was this a sequel?  Were Rudd and Mann just supposed to play the same couple in a parallel universe?  It was all very confusing.  The moments of laughter were fleeting, the story seemed forced or stretched and the cast didn’t have its usual spark of chemistry.  And it was WAY too long.  It was like an epic tale of doomed suburbia.  This film felt like the friend that won’t stop telling you about their relationship problems, but won’t do anything to resolve their issues.  Ross is definitely right in stating that the highlight of this diddy was Iris Apatow.  That little nugget has a bright future in acting.  I am not completely renouncing my allegiance to Mr. Apatow.  I would only like to say to him: “Judd, listen dude, take a little time off.  Come up with something fresh and get back to us.  Don’t just spit movies out for the cash and to distribute titty shots of your wife.  We’ve all seen them…about one hundred times since Big Daddy.  We get it – you think she’s hot.  We do too, you don’t have to keep bombarding us with it.”

Boring, long and not funny.  Definitely three things you don’t want in a comedy.  It really is hard to figure out what they were trying to accomplish here.  Did they look at this finished product and say, “Oh yeah, we nailed it!”?  Hey, I’m with Maria, I’m not giving up on Apatow, but you never know.  Look at  M. Night Shyamalan.  The guy wows with The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs.  Then slowly drags us down into the abyss with The Village, Lady in Water and The Happening.  You could draw some parallels, both have been truly great and REALLY bad.  No, no ,no, I have faith.  Judd will be back.  My advice: give Will Ferrell a call.

I stand by the fact that on the set of Signs, M. Night & Joaquin Phoenix were drinking bad water.  It seems those two lost something after that.


How’s that rap career going?  Also, quick note to self Joaquin – write the words on the opposite hand next time.  Anyways…Apatow will be back.  Just did not have the right formula for This Is 40.  If I were you, I’d just skip this one altogether.  Your welcome.

Ross’ Rating: 1 Gummy Bear out of 5.

Maria’s Rating: 1.5 Gummies.