Posts Tagged ‘21 Jump Street

13
Jun
14

Review: 22 Jump Street

They got lucky the last time, now there's a lot of money invested to keep this thing going.

They got lucky the last time, now there’s a lot of money invested to keep this thing going.

When it was announced a couple of years ago that the TV series 21 Jump Street was going to be made into a movie, I’m almost positive that a collective sigh was uttered by just about anyone that knows anything about movies. I mean, we all know we’re living in the age of reboots, remakes, sequels, and franchises; but I don’t think anyone thought that a dated tv show from the 80s starring Johnny Depp would ever be referenced again, let alone be turned into a movie. Yet, in 2012 we were all pleasantly surprised that the new 21 Jump Street was such a breath of fresh air with it’s buddy cop premise and whip smart self referential humor.

Of course this wouldn’t be a true Hollywood moment if 21 Jump Street didn’t get a sequel. I mean, after all, it opened to critical acclaim and grossed a ton of money. Flash forward to today, and we have a sequel to a movie that not only pokes fun at itself and the genre, but it makes fun of Hollywood itself.

Right from the beginning we know that normal tv and movie conventions are going to be made fun of when the film begins with a standard tv open “Last time on 21 Jump Street . . .” and then proceeds to recap for us what happened in the last movie like a regular tv show would. While the recap isn’t so funny in and of itself, it is a signal from the directors that tell us “hey, we know what this sequel is, and we’re going to play with that expectation throughout the film.” From that moment on directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller not just return to some of the same comedic gags that made 21 Jump Street so fun; I almost want to say they turn the genre on its head and go full bore in making 22 Jump Street not just a continuation of the first film, but parody of epic proportions.

Giving it the old college try.

Giving it the old college try.

In an early scene of the film that setups Schmidt and Jenko’s new assignment, Captain Dickson (played by Ice Cube) not just lays out their assignment for them, but it also doubles as a jab at the hollywood studio system. Dickson outright tells Jenko and Schmidt that since they did so well on their first assignment, the department decided to upgrade their division and have Jenko and Schmidt go out for another assignment–in the same exact fashion. Dickson even explicitly states that they have “double the budget” for everything and tells the guys to “do the same exact thing as last time” to catch the drug dealer. If this isn’t making fun of the blueprint that Hollywood likes to follow for sequels these days then I don’t know what is.

Along the way the film takes shots at a lot of police, action, and buddy cop tropes as well. From Michael Bay’s signature ‘plane flying over Miami sign shot’ to a dig at John Woo’s doves, to the constant reference of the fact that this movie is a sequel; Miller and Lord pile on the satire and provide the film with so many high level laughs and references that it becomes to many to count after a while.

Meta jokes aside, on its surface 22 Jump Street does manage to pack in a lot of great humor. Playing on college stereotypes, relationship stereotypes between partners, sports stereotypes, and police stereotypes; a lot of the jokes are smart and funny, though sometimes not all of them land as well as they should.

As mentioned earlier the previous premise for the first film is recycled, though it’s given a good spin with the change of setting. Again though, it’s really the relationship between Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s characters that provides a lot of the heart to the film. While we know Hill does comedy so well, again it’s Tatum that provides a lot of unexpected laughs.

Watch out, Jump Street is about to jump up in your crack.

Watch out, Jump Street is about to jump up in your crack.

While the first film looked at their partnership in terms of how much they needed each other, in 22 Jump Street we get to find out what happens when partners are together for too long. Do they rely on each other too much? Do they hold each other back? While Jenko and Schmidt go through similar arcs like they did in the first film, the circumstances this time around are different and provide enough differentiation that the trope of the ‘buddy cop comedy’ doesn’t get tired.

Finally, I’d be remiss if i didn’t talk about the closing credits of the film. There’s nothing spoilerish here, but the end credits basically call out studios for running amok with the sequel treatment for movies. In the same way 21 Jump Street ended with Captain Dickson giving Jenko and Schmidt their next assignment of going to college; this same scene is played out again, but taken to the Nth degree. This time around Captain Dickson continues to give assignment after assignment and each time title treatment is shown for the next sequel. After about 12 sequels were named, I stopped counting and just watched to enjoy the absurdity of creating more sequels. While I don’t think it would be impossible to make a 23 Jump Street, Miller and Lord pretty much set it up so that anyone that does will already be called out for trying to attempt something that is not original at all.

Overall I really enjoyed 22 Jump Street and while I loved all the high level references the film made, I don’t think everyone will get some of the humor that’s in the film. The conceit of rehashing the previous assignment also is a bit of a downer since we are covering familiar territory. However, I still believe 22 Jump Street is a hilarious movie that will make almost anyone laugh. As a follow up to its predecessor, I might even go so far as to say that this is one of those cases where the sequel is better than the original.

Cinematic Scene

“Cinematic Scene” is a new element to reviews. In an effort talk about some of the more technically creative and/or emotionally charged scenes in the film I’ve decided to break off a specific section at the end of each review to discuss these noteworthy scenes. Whether it’s fancy camera work, brilliant use of special effects, or heart wrenching acting; I will pick one notable scene from the film that you should definitely pay attention to.

“Cinematic Scene” is a new element to reviews. In an effort talk about some of the more technically creative and/or emotionally charged scenes in the film I’ve decided to break off a specific section at the end of each review to discuss these noteworthy scenes. Whether it’s fancy camera work, brilliant use of special effects, or heart wrenching acting; I will pick one notable scene from the film that you should definitely pay attention to.

In a really great scene that showcases Channing Tatum’s comedic chops and intersects with the creative minds of the directors, Tatum’s character Jenko is about to come to grips with a major revelation that connects Schmidt and Captain Dickson. While the audience already knows what it is and as Schmidt and Dickson talk about it, Jenko takes a few seconds for all of this to sink in.

When the realization hits of course Jenko’s reaction is priceless. However, keep your ears open otherwise you’ll miss the small ding of a bell going off signaling the exact moment that the everything clicks. It’s such a subtle effect, but it’s really great because it literally puts us into the mind of Jenko. In the few seconds before the bell goes off we get the sense that Jenko hasn’t quite figured things out yet. When the bell goes off it illustrates for us the gears turning in his head and makes the scene a lot more humorous.

22 Jump Street is currently playing in theaters everywhere.

4 out of 5 stars // R // 1hr 52min

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07
Feb
12

Super Spots 2012

Darth Vader wasn't too keen on this year's crop of Super Bowl trailers. And he wasn't the only one.

The Super Bowl. Probably the single biggest sports day in America every year. With approximately 111 million people tuning in to this year’s game, it’s understandable why commercial spots reportedly were coming in at $3.5 million for 30 seconds–with a captive audience you know your commercial is going to be seen by a lot of people.

With that in mind, I didn’t think this year’s crop of trailers provided any Earth-shattering splashes. Almost all the trailers shown this year employed a good mix of combining new and old footage. What I didn’t like this year was the whole “teasing” or “previewing” and even releasing of trailers and commercials days before they were to air. To me, you spend all this money to play it before a captive audience and I just feel it dilutes the commercial by releasing it online before the game. Isn’t the point to try and make people stay to watch your commercial and not give them a reason to not watch it during the game? I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

In any case, there were some things that got me excited for the upcoming crop of films that we’re going to get later this year. A thing to remember about these “mini-reviews” is that they mainly talk about the level of excitement that I felt for the film after watching the trailers AND NOT on the potential quality of the films.

THE HUNGER GAMES :: Pre-Game :: Excitement Level: 4/5

As we’re only about six weeks out from release, it only made sense that Lionsgate released a trailer from the film. While there was old footage shown, I thought we got a lot great new footage as well. Of the new stuff that we saw, I think I enjoyed seeing the interaction between Stanley Tucci’s TV host character and the District 12 tributes in the scenes where they’re being interviewed. The sacrifice of the Reaping and the hardship of the games themselves were definitely conveyed well in the trailer as well. On a side note, fans will be happy to know that this trailer wasn’t just limited to being seen during the Super Bowl. The minute long trailer is also a theatrical trailer and will be playing in front of select movies at a theater near you.

21 JUMP STREET :: Pre-Game :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5

I thought there were some really great one-liners that this trailer brought out that definitely are playing up the comedic vibe of the film. I don’t really recall ever watching the TV series, but I don’t think it was a comedic television series. Jonah Hill we all know can bring the funny and hopefully by playing off straight-man Channing Tatum will make the new 21 Jump Street a fun action comedy.

 

GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 2/5

Wasn’t too excited by this trailer. Probably the best thing going for it is that there seems to be some really well done CGI action sequences which come through from the trailer. Other than that, there’s not too much to write home about.

ACT OF VALOR :: Pre-Game & 4th Qtr :: First Reaction(s) :: Excitement Level: 4/5

Probably what I liked best about this trailer was that they mixed great footage with Eminem’s Not Afraid–which by itself was pretty good to begin with. However, what really made it better was that they sync’d it to the chorus; which I thought really fit with the theme of the film and the scenes they showed in the trailer. Inspirational, harrowing, a sense of brotherhood . . . all the things Navy SEALS represent or convey.

 

SAFE HOUSE
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5
I think it’s safe to say that anytime you have Denzel Washington going guns-blazing, in hot hot heat, and getting into Ryan Reynold’s head (which all appear in this trailer) . . . you’re going to end up with a fun time at the movies. The trailer plays up the movie’s strengths: the chemistry between the two leads and showcasing the action. Formulaic to be sure, but it’s got everything you need for a solid star driven action film.

THE DICTATOR
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 2/5
I actually think it was a good movie to cut this trailer for the Super Bowl. With the exception of the introduction about knowing the final score of the game, all the footage is from the current theatrical trailer. When it played, everyone at my viewing party seemed to get pretty good laughs out of it–a good indicator that the current trailer hasn’t had too much exposure. Personally, I’m not a Sacha Baron Cohen fan, but like I said, good exposure for the film.

BATTLESHIP :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5

I don’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that for maybe the first 10-15 seconds of this trailer, people thought that it was another installment of the Transformers franchise. I will say that I liked seeing a lot of new footage of the aliens and a lot more action sequences. What definitely troubles me is that we actually saw the aliens themselves and I don’t ever recall the last time we’ve ever had “cool looking” aliens. After seeing the new footage in this trailer I’m a little bit more excited for the film, and hopeful as well because it was partly shot in Hawaii.

JOHN CARTER
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
I just don’t know what it is about this film, but I can’t really get excited for anything about it. I thought the clip-collaging in the shape of the film’s title was the most uninspiring thing in the world. It was as if the title of the film is more important than showing us what it’s about. Granted the extended version (linked above) shows more full screen footage that shows off the film, but what we saw during the game didn’t have that. Not good when you only have a few seconds to make a great (or not so great) impression.

DR SEUSS’ THE LORAX
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5
I have no idea what The Lorax is about, but I do know it’s vibrantly animated and appears to have a few good laughs. What I like is that even though the film is from a different production company and studio than the previous Seuss movie (Horton Hears a Who), it pretty much looks to have the exact same style–definitely a good thing as those that liked Horton will probably come back for more. It should also bring in people who like great animation as well.

STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
What I didn’t like about this trailer was the fact that they mixed in footage from the Original Trilogy (OT). I can sort of understand why they did it (it’s because Episode I kicks off the entire trilogy in 3D), but it really felt like they were trying to bamboozle people by saying that the OT films will be in 3D.

THE AVENGERS :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 5/5

This was by far my favorite trailer from this year’s Super Bowl and I was actually kind of surprised because I hadn’t heard any pre-game buzz about a new trailer coming out. What I liked was that we saw the superheroes working together more in the clips in this trailer. The best part definitely had to be towards the end where there was the camera shot spinning around the team–talk about money shot. Then to top it all off, in the extended version (embedded above) the final sequence is of the Hulk jumping in the air and taking down some flyers. Can’t wait for May!

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 4/5

You have to admit, the visuals alone definitely make this movie look exciting. The film is based off a cartoon so some of the more “out there” moments have to be expected . . . I just hope that they learned their lesson from the first installment and allocated more of the budget to the CG effects AND a better story. The Rock seems to be a solid choice to be in the film, especially since he looks almost like his character from Fast Five. Though I think the addition of Willis maybe a bit over the top.

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This year’s Super Bowl also featured a number of movie related commercials that weren’t movie trailers. I thought it was a cool and smart move by these companies to go this route as it definitely offered a different hook for their spots and overall I felt left a good impression with viewers. Something else that stood out was that a lot of the spots were also directed by feature film directors as well.

Honda CR-V’s ‘Matthew’s Day Off’ :: Directed By – Todd Phillips (dir. The Hangover)

It was probably one of the most anticipated commercials going into the weekend . . . before Honda released the trailer online. They did a really great job of teasing the spot by releasing a short 10 second teaser the Thursday going into the weekend. However, by the next day the full spot was online, which I definitely think deflated its appearance during the game. Nevertheless, I liked the spot and how it riffed off of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, though I didn’t really notice the car in the commcercial. An extended 2+ minute version was also cut and released. In the extended version, there are more Day Off references and more shots of the CR-V.

VW’s ‘The Dog Strikes Back’ :: Directed by – Lance Acord (cinematographer – Where the Wild Things Are)

The movie reference in this commercial doesn’t happen till the end, but I thought it was really fun that VW referenced their Super Bowl spot last year by putting Darth Vader in the Mos Eisley Cantina as a post-credit stinger of sorts. Short, sweet, smart, and funny.

Chrysler’s ‘Halftime in America’ :: Directed by – David Gordon Green (dir. Pineapple Express)

Aside from The Avengers, I’d have to say that this was the commercial that I liked the most. The only movie reference that you’ll find in this commercial is that actor turned director Clint Eastwood narrates and appears in the spot. It’s edited together very movie trailer-like with Eastwood’s narration providing inspirational and uplifting words. Though I thought the metaphor was a little off, I still thought it was really well done and built on their “Imported From Detroit” message that they started last year with the Eminem Super Bowl spot.

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With another Super Bowl in the books, luckily us moviegoers won’t have to wait till the fall to see if the excitement from these trailers is warranted. Was there a particular trailer from the big game that you liked or another movie related commercial that I missed? Hit us up in the comments to let us know and share your thoughts!




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