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10 - a perfect movie or a movie I don't think I could live without even if it's flawed
9 - almost perfect/really great
8 - a great movie
7 - good/enjoyable
6 - give it a look, see for yourself
5 - take it or leave it
4 - not recommended
3 - only if you have a really good reason to see it, e.g. someone you love worked on it
2 - it really sucks but something in it is good, like the costumes or lighting
1 - I'm not sure why it exists
My Top 10 of all time:
The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition), Rocky, The Godfather, Star Wars: A New Hope, The Outsiders, Doctor Zhivago, The Usual Suspects, Top Secret!, Saturday Night Fever, True Lies
My favorite directors:
Francis Ford Coppola
Brian De Palma
My favorite actors:
Benicio Del Toro
Gael Garcia Bernal
Eddie the Eagle (2015)
I really love this movie
When I was fourteen years old, I watched the Calgary Games and fell in love with the Winter Olympics forever. One of the reasons was all the hope and good feelings that those games brought. Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards had everything to do with that. If you remember those Olympics fondly I can't imagine that you won't love this movie. His is such a cheerful inspiring story. The film captures all of that. Taron Egerton, who looks nothing like the real person, transformed himself into the goofy guy we all came to love. Hugh Jackman is also great playing to type in a supportive father figure-ish role. I also like the way the filmmakers used the music and what I would call bullet time. If done right, the film would have been emotional already but those things really heightened it to make it one of the all-time great movies about believing in yourself. Fans of movies like 'Miracle' or 'Billy Elliot' should love it. I've seen it twice already. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Man of Steel (2013)
I wish I could give it a zero
That's because it should not have been made.
I had no use for another Superman film. The Christopher Reeve films are there for us forever. The filmmakers of Superman Returns made a huge error with their storyline and therefore created what turned out to be a bad experience, but I would have given them a second chance. When they announced MOS as a reboot, I did not understand why anyone would bother. But when I heard Christopher Nolan was involved I figured there must be something good about it, since I love every film of his that I've seen.
Well it's apparent that the only reason for this film was to make money. The ONLY reason. Sears, IHOP, 7-ELeven, and U-Haul logos are shoved into your face during one of the "climactic" action scenes. And I mean you could see the washing machines at Sears. It was that bad. Beyond that those action scenes were just smashing scenes. Smashing buildings, smashing cars, smashing asphalt. The Hulk would have gotten sick of all the smashing. Just debris everywhere for a good half an hour. It literally made me tired. And the effects looked bad. People are tolerating this in movies lately for some reason but nothing about Superman flying or the explosions or the debris looked real. I don't understand how in 2013 the effects are looking faker/worse but they are. I guess to the video game crowd it doesn't matter, but my eyes want to believe what they're seeing even if it's a fantastical story.
The actors can't be blamed. They wanted to be a part of Superman. I get that. The fact is there wasn't anything they could have done to improve or make this movie worse. It was always going to be utter garbage. The story is stupid, the dialog is atrocious. I really sat there for about two hours wanting to slap someone, anyone. I haven't written a comment here in so long, but I had to. It was just that bad.
Get Him to the Greek (2010)
Liked it but not what I expected
Firstly, I love Russell Brand. Secondly, I have seen but pretty much hated My Favorite Year. I thought this was going to be the same thing. It is and then it isn't. It's not as much of a comedy to be honest. And they totally sell it as a comedy, which they do with all Apatow movies and I don't know why. Forgetting Sarah Marshall to me was barely a comedy because it's about a guy who is depressed the whole time. This isn't really that different. Just in this case it's a drug addict rock star who is pretty much headed on the road that many people have taken in recent years and ended up as a breaking news obit at the top of this website. It's another bromance as well, which is fine by me. All these movies are more sentimental than they'd have you believe in the trailers. I personally think that's detrimental to the movie because it makes people expect one thing and get another and then write on the internet how disappointed they are. Problem is, it's not a bad movie. It's actually a good movie about the record industry and people and how they treat each other in such a ridiculous lifestyle with some funny bits thrown in.
I love Russell Brand and Jonah Hill together. I think they have the best chemistry. Their scenes together, pretty much the whole film, were more personal than funny. The more comedic parts usually happen when other people enter the mix. P. Diddy, for example, had a much larger role than I expected and he was okay in it. I probably would have cast an actor with more comedy experience, as well as choosing a different rock star cameo for Jackie Q's other love interest. But apart from that I really have no complaints. Perhaps I would have used more of Aldous' songs throughout the film, but that's because I quite like Brand's voice. I don't know that it was necessary for the plot.
Other stuff. It's an R for a reason. There's sex humor and drug stuff going on. There are some breasts but not much else in the nudity dept. that I can recall. I guess I'd recommend it for people like me who like English rock stars and comedies with warm fuzzies.
Green Zone (2010)
Shake, Shake, Shake
Shake, shake, shake, shake your Damon.
I'm sooooo sick of shaky cam, seriously. I don't know how I haven't gotten literally sick yet. Whoever is telling people this is a really cool way to film movies, STOP IT! This movie was a waste of my time. Now I'm sure there is an audience for this. Probably a big one. Unlike the rest of the free world, I still don't buy Matt Damon as an action star. As far as I'm concerned he seems like someone who should be attacking books at the most. This movie had some running around and shooting, and a hopping translator, and a lot of grainy greenness. What else? I dunno. Some guy who looks like Telly Savalas with a mustache and a message that will make you think. But only if you've never ever thought before. Honestly, it was like a spoof of itself. A lot of people running around spouting lines in very stern ADR work so you'll know that you're supposed to be taking this almost as seriously as they are. And it's how seriously it takes itself that makes it funny. I remember a time when people complained about movies like Rambo for having very little dialogue. This was hardly any better. But that at least was a good movie. This completely wastes Jason Isaacs. And Brendan Gleeson just looks grumpy the whole time. And all you can think is 'when is the next Harry Potter movie?' Matt Damon fans who enjoy shaky camera work might like it. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it. But it's up to you.
Cop Out (2010)
Really really funny
I don't know what everyone else is on, but this movie was one of the best comedies I've seen in years. It's a HOMage to 80s buddy cop movies. But this actually improves upon them, imo. It didn't have that serious section that those did. This was wall to wall laughs. It wasn't just me. Everyone in my theater was laughing beginning to end.
The cast was sooooo perfect. He chose really funny people to fill out his cast all the way down to a pretty small role for Adam Brody who I didn't realize was hilarious until I saw him in 'Thank You for Smoking' where he was just great. I didn't like Tracy Morgan for a long time. I don't know maybe I got used to him. But he's seemed okay on "30 Rock". He's hilarious in this. But the funniest of the funny is Seann William Scott. You should see it just for his role. Susie Essman, Guillermo Diaz, the 11 year old kid, everyone really makes it work. In the beginning Willis looked a little bored, he works as often as anyone so maybe that should be expected, but eventually he got with it and then it was all smooth sailing.
I've seen some bad reviews and I don't know why. Maybe you have to be a movie fan, or Gen X or something to get all the references. And there is a doozy that references a cult favorite that I truly and loudly LOL'd at. I'm sure I missed some jokes because I was laughing at other ones. But I'll catch it when I watch this one again. And I know this movie is going to be super rewatchable. Even the songs they used were perfect. I would only not recommend this to people who have a problem with bad language. But why would they even be considering it anyway?
You have to wait for it
but it kinda pays off. For most of this movie, I sat there with a smirk on my face. The dialogue was pretty hard to take and some of the plot was pretty silly in how convenient everything was. But in a reversal of what usually happens in movies it got better and more interesting and was actually saved by the ending. Unfortunately the ending was taken from a very popular song from the 80s which immediately starting blaring in my head. I really don't see how that could be a coincidence.
It's interesting the thoughts that go through your head while watching a film. At one point I was thinking "How much money does Nic Cage have now?" And I got to that point because I realized he's been making action movies for 10+ years and he started off as a really good and quirky actor. But now he just runs around solving puzzles and averting disaster. I'd really like to see him act again. He must have enough money by now.
The movie is more of a horror movie than I was expecting. It's not gory or anything but it's full of horror elements and if you're comparing it to most horror films it's better than most of them. But there are many points where it's unintentionally funny. Still I have to give it credit, because it's trying to say things. It uses familiar elements but isn't like most movies you've seen. And I'll tell you the truth, I did not see this cribbed ending coming at all. Even though I've always hoped that is what will happen in that circumstance.
There is some hammy kid acting and we really need to figure out what to do about Cage's hair. But this movie was watchable. And maybe even rewatchable for genre fans who don't need everything to be too smart. Give it a shot if you're bored with nothing else to watch or if you're interested by the premise, which is solid, but don't expect anything too amazing. It's passable, lots of bad but lots of redeeming stuff too.
I Love You, Man (2009)
It's so different to me
I don't consider this a comedy, and I said the same thing after "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". I think we need a new word for these movies because they're not really dramas and I laughed a lot, but they're just not comedies. For the record I liked this a lot more that FSM, which I thought was alternately brilliant and dull depending on the scene. This movie has a really steady pace and I really enjoyed it. I thought while watching it, "This movie is just like a hug." Seriously it's just a really sweet movie about nice people who are friends and want to be decent to each other and help each other out, except for the one guy (played by Jon Favreau) but he was even cool.
I liked everyone in it. But the movie is mostly about Paul Rudd and Jason Segel who are a great duo. I actually thought that it would be nice if a performance like Rudd's would get attention during awards season. They usually don't, these understated but really genuine performances. This is going to go down and one of his best roles. And Jason Segel, I don't know if he's really like that, but I'm always waiting for him to turn out to be a serial killer or something. (And don't take that the wrong way because he was my favorite on "Freaks and Geeks" back in the day.) He's playing this real oddball and you just don't know what to make of him until almost the end and it's like a surprise that shouldn't have been. I can't explain it without spoiling but and I can't even come up with a movie to compare it to.
Like I said I think it's different. It's so very much it's own movie, and I just want to kiss it. It's so likable. It's like a teddy bear, or hot chocolate or Up with People. So if you like nice things, you should go see it.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
Not an original bone in it's body
This movie is an incredibly loud and obnoxious mash up of movies like 'Les Comperes' and 'Ginger and Cinnamon'. Those movies are annoying enough but to combine their strengths is dangerous for humankind. When this movie was coming out I knew it would be huge. It would have to be the worst movie ever created to undo the goodwill of ABBA. It's not that, but it's not good either. Props to Meryl for showing up and still doing her job without retching the whole time. I've heard loads about how bad Pierce Brosnan's singing was but I could deal with it, he's no worse than Gerard Butler. But the lead girl, although not tone deaf, her voice sounds to me like nails on a chalkboard. Otherwise you have good actors having fun.
I can only imagine what the people who paid theater prices to see this on the stage must have thought. At least a movie ticket isn't that much money. I'll clue you in to a better way to spend your money. I bought the CD of ABBA Gold about 15 years ago for probably about $13. It still plays like the day I bought it and I've listened to it a million times. If you have the CD and haven't seen this yet, just listen to that instead. If you've seen the movie and love it, do yourself a favor and purchase some real ABBA.
Seven Pounds (2008)
Really well done
One of the greatest things about this film is that it takes it's time. It was very deliberately paced and I thought that really helped since it tries to keep a secret through most of the film. Not that it's not predictable. There are points in the film when you think 'okay, I know where this is going', 'I know what's going to happen' but I realized that there isn't really anything wrong with knowing where a film is going. In this case the other characters don't, even if you do, so that's what's important.
Will Smith does a great job here. It's one of his movies where he actually acts, which he rarely does unfortunately. I also love that he chose this movie in the first place. You don't see superstars in this kind of picture much nowadays. Rosario Dawson is slowly becoming the huge actress I always thought she would. It mainly centers on them, with supporting performances from Woody Harrelson, Bill Smitrovich, and Barry Pepper amongst others.
I'm not going to tell spoilers but it's not necessarily the kind of movie Will Smith fans will go for. It's more of an Oscar season movie, something you need tissues for. But it's very well done. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes good cinema, but people looking to be "entertained" may want to look elsewhere. I'd hate to think this movie will get a bad reputation because it was marketed to the wrong people just to get good opening weekend numbers.
Quantum of Solace (2008)
I wasn't very impressed with this Bond film. The action sequences were alright. But looking back I think 'Get Smart' had more impressive action sequences. The story was, well, I'm not even sure what the story was. I could barely hear the dialogue and I'm not sure if it was my theater but I did hear all the punches and glass breaking just fine. It seems it was about oil or something, but then not really. I dunno. I'm not sure that the plot really matters much in most Bond films so that's not that big a deal but what really bothered me was how much the focus was not on Bond. I mean it almost seemed at one point that the whole film was revolving around the Bond girl getting revenge. Why in God's name should I care who did what to some Bond girl's relative? And why would I give a rat's patootie if she get's revenge or not? And I'm sorry but why was I watching an old lady take off her makeup and draw a bath? Who cares about that? I want gadgets, menacing bad guys, actiony action. It was pretty much missing here. There was one guy who was prominently portrayed in a photo Bond was carrying around who was on screen for about 2 minutes, and I'm not really sure that he said anything, but he was hot. I would have liked to have seen more of him and exactly what happened to him. But no, our villain was the guy from 'Diving Bell and the Butterfly' and the action sequences in that film were almost as good and numerous as the ones here.
I really don't know why I'm giving this a 6/10. It's probably worse than that, but I like Daniel Craig and I guess for most of it I stopped paying attention and daydreamed a better Bond movie starring Mr. Craig and myself. ;) By all means, see it yourself, especially if you're a Bond fan but I didn't like it. For the record, I liked 'Casino Royale' quite a bit but I didn't enjoy the Eva Green business either. But in that case the rest of the movie was good enough to balance out all the girl power. Not this time.
That's all this movie was and all it was about. I had heard about this movie for a long time. That it was supposed to be the most something. Can't remember what, but it was always in the back of my mind as a title I needed to see as a movie fan. But it's worthless. I watched it, sat all the way through it, and I have no idea what for.
I can't imagine why someone would want to make this film. I see no message in it. It isn't atmospheric, or pretty to look at, there isn't any decent acting and most of the time you're just watching some overly painted face tell a disgusting story. The torture scenes, if you actually put them together would amount to about 15 minutes of the film, the rest of it is these inane stories and you waiting for something to happen. Half of the "torture" happens at a distance so you can't really see what's going on anyway and the other half is people eating something they shouldn't be eating and it just makes you wonder why someone would want audiences to sit there and watch that. That's the real torture. The director was the real sadist.
I mean take the worst horror movie you've seen and the plot has got to be better than this film. Most horror movies even the bad ones have some message or moral to the story. This one is just trying to convince you that Nazis are the most disgusting people ever by showing you disgusting acts, or better yet the same disgusting act over and over. I mean I really just got aggravated because I had heard about this for so long but it was a complete waste of my time. The only people who would praise it are the type who want to seem sophisticated so they pretend to like everything as if they "get" some kind of "art" that only the best and the brightest can understand. Whatever. If you're a film fan who hasn't seen it yet, but thinks you need to, you don't. You can skip it.
The Dark Knight (2008)
If the votes went up to 11, I'd give this movie a 100
Somehow you knew seeing the trailers that this movie could possibly be one of the best ever but you tell yourself, "Nah, you're just buying the hype." Well it's better than it's hype and when nominating movies for best-movies-of-all-time lists you have to let it cool for a while, but I wouldn't be surprised if this went down in history as one of the big ones.
We'd all heard that Heath was amazing in this and it's absolutely true. It wasn't like he was acting. It was like the Joker was leaking out of his pores. Because not only was he absolutely this character, but the character he created is in itself a masterpiece. Of course you have to also give credit to the Nolans who wrote the character. The way that this written character and this actor came together to create a whole other kind of being will have to be explained scientifically someday. And I'm sure I won't even understand the explanation because it's close to something I stopped believing in a long time ago, and that's magic. They caught lightning in a bottle if you will. You'll have to see it to believe it.
But here's the problem with a performance like this, it can blow the other actors out of the water. But in an amazing feat by the entire cast, no one is left out to dry. Everyone is tip-top. And one of my favorite actors, Aaron Eckhart, does such wonderful work in this. It's almost sad that he won't get more attention for it because the focus is on Heath, but I'm sure eventually everyone will come around. Harvey Dent goes through so much. I can't explain further without spoiling, but Eckhart went through a full range of emotion in this film. There is a scene with him and Heath that is already one of my favorite scenes ever. Remember the restaurant scene in 'Heat'? Well, it's kid stuff compared to this one. That's right, I said it.
Now let me say something about Christian Bale. I think he may possibly be the best actor of his generation. And in this film he allows everyone else to take the shine. Don't get me wrong. He does the work and does it well but some other actors might be threatened and you'd notice some histrionics to garner the spotlight, especially when they're the title character, but not Bale. His slow and steady Batman was like the rock holding everything in place. Like Alfred is to Bruce Wayne, Bale was to his other actors.
Assembling such an outstanding cast, writing such an intricate film, and directing the whole thing is Christopher Nolan, who is now officially one of my favorite directors. I loved 'The Prestige'. On repeated viewings, it still knocks me on my butt. I was shocked at how high I had to include that film on my all time favorites list (yes I keep a list). Usually it takes me a while to bump something up out of respect to the other films but I thought it was brilliant and couldn't help myself. Well, I'm not even going to attempt to crack open my list for 'The Dark Knight' for a while. I fear for my top ten. The imagery, the music, costume design are all perfect. I mean there had to be something wrong with it right? I did have one complaint. But realizing that the plot point in question may not be what it seems, means I can't even complain about that. What I think happened may have not happened and even if it did then it's just a matter of preference and doesn't have anything to do with how insanely stupendous and awe-inspiringly magnificent 'The Dark Knight' is.
Who shouldn't see this movie? People with no senses. Maybe that one guy or gal you hate, so they won't get to enjoy such a gift. It's been 5 days since the first time I saw it, 1 since the second and I haven't stopped talking about it. I can't stop saying words like "best" and "ever" and "amazing". I'm going to wish as hard as I can that the Academy will decide that they need an award for Best Cast this year before it's too late. It's early but I'm hoping this at least gets a Best Picture nomination. If you haven't seen it yet, I'd like to see a doctor's note.
The Love Guru (2008)
I really enjoyed it
I don't know what everyone is complaining about. I've seen that it's getting bad reviews and I don't know why.
Mike Myers plays Guru Pitka ("The Love Guru") who is always playing second fiddle to Deepak Chopra. So in an attempt to get the recognition he seeks he takes on the task of helping the star of the Toronto Maple Leafs, played by Romany Malco, whose personal problems are effecting his game during the championships.
So the film mixes the kind of advice you'd get in all the self-help books from people like Deepak Chopra with jokes. So it's kinda making fun of it, but it isn't because it shows that the advice is pretty good, but it's still funny. I'm actually someone who has read a lot of those books and maybe you have to be to get how hilarious Guru Pitka is. But he's also Mike Myers and if you don't like Myers, you should probably know that by now, and shouldn't be seeing this movie. If you do like him however, I can't see a real reason why you wouldn't like it. Justin Timberlake has a small role as the opposing goalie, who is causing a great deal of Romany Malco's character's stress. Timberlake's sorta funny but kinda overdid it.
The film has some bathroom humor but not as much as you normally see in a Mike Myers film. It's much more about self-esteem and overcoming your baggage in order to succeed. I know it's a silly comedy but that stuff is in there. I guess people wouldn't want to take kids to it, because of some sexual humor, but otherwise I thought it was really funny and laughed throughout.
He'll save every one of us
'Don't Mess With the Zohan' was nothing like I thought it would be. I was expecting a zany comedy. And again, like 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall', we have a comedy that's not really about being funny. I think Adam Sandler movies usually have something serious to them but this was all about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I'm not kidding. In reality this is a message movie. That's what I meant about him saving us. His methods of making everyone silky smooth, and hacky sack tournaments with breaks for disco time may seem a little far-fetched, but if 'Rocky IV' could bring down the Iron Curtain, I don't see why this can't solve the problems in the Middle East.
If you're the kind of person who wants a droll comedy full of witty dialogue and sarcastic in-jokes, this isn't for you. This one is for those looking for the rainbow connection. It's silly, insanely silly. But it's got loads of heart. It's about not judging other people and working together to defeat real evil. It's a little like 'Undercover Brother' in that way.
The cameos were great. Adam always has the best soundtracks in his movies and that's no different here. I can imagine a lot of people being aggravated coming out of this movie because they were expecting something totally different. But I really enjoyed it.
As far as appropriateness goes, there are quite a few bum shots and a fair amount of sexual innuendo. So it's probably a teenagers and up kinda thing.
Speed Racer (2008)
Not really my thing, however
I can tell for those people who do like this sort of thing it's just what they would want. What the Wachowskis did here is obviously exactly what they meant to do. I barely remember 'Speed Racer' from when I was a kid and while watching movies, I usually mentally check out during car chases. I just don't get them. So for me, seeing something like this is kind of a bad idea. I went because it's one of the big pictures this year and Matthew Fox and Hiroyuki Sanada (who I love) were in the cast. So it wasn't meant for me, and I'm not surprised that I'm coming home with a little bit of a car chase hangover.
But if you like car chases, for instance the podraces from 'The Phantom Menace' or the chase after that changeling in 'Attack of the Clones', this movie should totally be your speed. The story is interesting enough. And there were international stars sprinkled throughout so that there should be something in it for a lot of movie fandom. It's very fast paced and the art direction is dazzling, and I think it's something that should keep the kids busy for a few hours at least.
You have really good actors in the cast, a kid who is the new version of Corey Feldman, and a chimp. The chimp steals some scenes, I have to tell you. My only gripe about the cast would be to question why they hired that guy instead of Tim Curry. You'll understand who I mean when you see it. But you know, it's exactly what it looks like it is. If it looks to you like you will like it then you will. It's extremely frenetic so if you're looking for a calming film, this isn't it. This is a cinematic sugar rush.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
Not too much of a comedy
I just got back from my second viewing of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (there was something wrong with the sound the first time) and I have to say I see it a little differently now. At first you remember all the funny parts because you know it's supposed to be a comedy but even still it seems more like a romantic comedy. But on second viewing you notice that it's really much more of a relationship movie and not even a romantic comedy. Most of the laughs go to the supporting players. The lead character played by Jason Segel, who I'm sure you know also wrote it, is just a guy going through a break up. So even if some of the situations are comical it's still kinda sad and you don't want to laugh at him. It's not a bad thing but if people go expecting to laugh the whole time I think they could be slightly disappointed. It's really a heartfelt movie about a poor guy who is trying to get over a woman he probably shouldn't have been with in the first place. The funny stuff happens around him.
Jason Segel is great. I've been a fan since "Freaks and Geeks" and I think he did a great job especially with the musical aspects of the movie. I loved Russelll Brand and Jonah Hill. I thought their scenes together were the best parts of the movie. And today I realized that the best chemistry was between all the male characters instead of between the male/female pairings. Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell are talented young actresses don't get me wrong. I just didn't sense a lot of chemistry between them and the guys. But that would really be my only complaint. Paul Rudd again is hilarious in a teensy supporting role.
It was an enjoyable movie that most adults should like. And I mean adults. I'm not saying teenagers can't see naked people. That's up to their parents. But it's about adult relationships that don't really concern them yet.
'Coming Home' for a new generation
It's horrible that we need a new one, you'd think people would learn their lesson the first, or hundredth, time they were taught it. But anyway, the movie is pretty good. At the very beginning it reminded me of 'Redacted' and then later 'In the Valley of Elah' and you could say with most movies that that would be a detriment but they're all telling stories about the same subject. So it's not like anyone is copying anyone else.
This movie is more movie-ish than those I mentioned. It works as entertainment(that sounds wrong) as well as being informative. It's showing you a certain situation people are going through but it's also a "movie", with action scenes, good acting, relationship issues, etc. As I said the acting is good. Ryan Phillipe is I want to say underrated, but maybe he's not rated at all. He's an extremely good looking person who could have just been in romantic comedies and made some nice money that way, but instead he's carved out an interesting resume for himself. He does some of his best work here. Joseph Gordon Levitt, everyone's favorite young indie actor, shows up here as well, although he has a smaller role than he normally does. He and the rest of the cast were also really good. Ciaran Hinds makes an interesting cowboy, btw. I wouldn't have guessed that. The only problem I may have had with the film is that I didn't like the ending. But that doesn't take away from the fact that I think this is a well-made movie.
The film is serious. It'll probably be depressing for most people. But hey life is depressing right now. Especially for people involved in this situation and maybe those folks should consider whether they should really watch it or not. Because I would think they'd want to escape that reality. The people who aren't paying attention to what's going on should see it. I'd have less problem recommending this to them. I think it's the least likely of the Iraq based movies to offend anyone. It's got a few violent war scenes but nothing over-the-top or terribly graphic. It's just basically wave at you saying "hel-lo, this is the stuff you're trying to ignore but should really be paying attention to.' There is a normal amount of cursing and no naked people that I can remember.
If you haven't been watching the Iraq war centered movies, it's time you saw one and this would probably be the easiest to take.
Superhero Movie (2008)
I thought this would be funny. I did. I don't know what happened. But I think a lot of the problem unfortunately falls with the casting. I don't know who this kid is, he could be a very nice person but he wasn't right for this movie. And the supporting cast was great which only makes it more obvious. For example there would be a scene with him and his love interest and your mind just starts to wander off but then Keith David starts speaking, or Leslie Nielsen, or Marion Ross, and it's like someone turned a light on and suddenly you can pay attention again and you think it might not be that bad. But when they get back to the main characters the lights go out again.
The spoofing material available in the superhero genre is plentiful so the fact that most of the jokes were basically a fart, makes you wonder who wrote this thing. I mean it had a couple of funny bits, as I do remember laughing a couple of times, but right now I don't remember why and it was only a few days ago.
Really I'm giving it a take it or leave it rating but I think most people should just leave it.
Vantage Point (2008)
Pulse pounding actioner
It didn't really look that way from the previews (looked more like a whodunit) but it is. It's like SPEED or THE FUGITIVE in that way and like RUN LOLA RUN in it's structure. So if you like those films I'd say it's a safe bet for you. It also has a really great car chase scene and this is coming from someone who usually doesn't "get" those. During that whole sequence all I could think was 'how did they choreograph that?' because it had to be really precise. I mean the cars were almost dancing.
You have a stellar ensemble cast here. Forest Whitaker plays a witness to the events who gets caught up in the whirlwind. I don't think I've even seen him run before so this was a little different for him. Matthew Fox and Dennis Quaid play secret service men. I was surprised how little screen time Fox had and if there is a star it's Dennis. I don't think it appeared that way in the trailer either. But mainly the whole thing was split up between all these different characters and their vantage points on this assassination attempt on the US president in Spain. William Hurt plays the president and I'm thinking I'm going to write him in in November. He just looks the part. Sigourney Weaver plays a TV producer who is a witness as she's producing the live coverage and for a minute I thought we didn't see her vantage point but her's was the first one we watched. We were watching along with her and I didn't realize we were already doing the multiple point of views thing. They all culminate at about the same point and once we've seen all of them the action continues from there into a perfect ending.
This film really gets going right away and there is no time for a potty break. There isn't a lot of cursing, just a couple words here or there, and not too scary violence so people who watch "LOST" and "24" level action should be able to handle it. This is the sort of movie you used to only get in the summer.
In this installment Rambo is somewhere in the jungle minding his own business catching snakes that he sells to the locals who use it for their business. Apparently he's isolated himself completely from civilization. But sometimes life still comes to find you.
So Rambo is reluctantly hired to take a band of missionaries into Burma where they intend to help the people of this war torn area. Now people, this is where it gets very graphic and that's approximately 5 minutes into the film. I think most people know that there is a high level of violence in this movie but this is 'Saving Private Ryan' type stuff only in vivid color. Lots of people get blowed up. So if that's not what you want to see, please don't go into this film and then come out of it angry and tell everyone that the movie is terrible. That's the whole point of this movie. And it's like that for the entire movie.
Onto the acting. No need for acting. There's no time. It's just action plus action with action. Stallone looks good but we already knew that. There is none of that characteristic Rambo screaming or any of that. Just a man getting' it done. I believe that it's realistic in it's portrayal of what happens in a war type situation. There are people fighting all over the world and this is happening everyday. Just because it usually gets cleaned up for the evening news doesn't mean this level of bloodshed isn't happening. This movie makes you happy that you don't live in one of those places. It also makes you want to find out exactly what is going on there and why.
I don't think this will be the last we see of Rambo. Mr. Stallone seems to be saying something with his films now. And I'm guessing he's going to have more to say through John Rambo.
Better than expected and entirely quotable
The trailers for this movie don't do it any justice. I thought it was going to be pretty bad. I mean it's silly, extremely silly but I laughed from beginning to end. The movie it reminds me most of is my #8 favorite movie of all time (yes I keep a list) 'Top Secret!'. Not since Nick Rivers have I seen such an amazing performance from a phony rock star. Also if you're a fan of cheesy biopics or "Behind the Music", this should really entertain you. Surprisingly, to me at least, it also is a very good musical. I'm not kidding. John C. Reilly is much better here than in his Oscar nominated performance in 'Chicago'. This is going to sound wrong but this part just fits him better. And he's a really good singer. I'm thinking I just might buy the soundtrack.
At different points you can see bits and pieces of 'Ray', 'Walk the Line' (of course), 'What's Love Got to Do With It', 'The Doors', every rock n' roll movie you can think of. Oh and I love the casting of the Beatles. Paul Rudd's awful portrayal of Lennon just rocked. You see, it's meant to be like all the bad TV movie portrayals of rock stars that you've seen. However, Jason Schwartzman could have passed for Ringo. But the casting of Paul is just priceless.
The movie, as I said, is really well done. I kept thinking "oh when I get home I'm going to use that quote as my sig". And then the next one would be even better. For that reason I think this movie will become even better on repeated viewings. But it's not for everyone. There's nakedness in this movie, lots. And some cursing and silly drug use. So if that stuff bothers you, it's probably not for you but I'd say it's for people who don't get offended easily and are fine with laughing at other people. I loved it.
Critics are dumb
These National Treasure movies are so entertaining that sometimes I wonder what critics are on. They hated the first one, which we all enjoyed, and now they hate the second. Gee whiz, who would have guessed? It wouldn't be a problem if I didn't think some people were influenced by them. This is a typical sequel. It's got the same sort of things happening to the same cast members and it's a whole lot of fun. Isn't that enough? It's suitable for the whole family, no naked people, curse words, blood or guts, and nothing too scary. It's got an unrelenting pace of adventure and clue solving that gives you less opportunity to go potty than the first film. The only difference is instead of the very sexy Sean Bean as the villain, you have the very sexy Ed Harris.
Anyone who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle for a couple of hours to drift into a light-hearted adventure, here's your movie.
Harry Potter and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
That's one of the alternate titles for the film I thought of while my mind drifted in the theater. Another was 'Everyone Says I Hate You'. Now obviously Sweeney Todd hates a few people but the real reason I came up with that is I was reminded of the Woody Allen musical from the 90s. In that film Mr. Allen wanted to make a musical where normal people with normal voices would just burst into song as if musicals happened in real life. Well that was the point in that film but Sweeney Todd is meant to be a proper musical but generally speaking it's cast can't sing. Now let me be specific Johnny Depp can actually sing. He has a very lovely voice, but I don't think Sweeney Todd should have a lovely voice. It should be forceful, vengeful, angry, not pretty. (I'm no musical expert but I felt like his voice was just the wrong range. Too high.) Helena Bonham Carter is a weak singer too and I even believe that the sound mixers pumped up the accompaniment at times to drown them out a little. Sacha Baron Cohen can sing but he only really sings one song. Alan Rickman has an icky speaking voice so it just makes you wonder why Tim Burton hired these people. Okay I know. He likes them, they're his friends, whatever. But I wish someone else had gotten their hands on this musical and cast people who could sing. Jamie Bower can sing but his acting amounted to a perpetual stink-eye.
I had a bad feeling from the beginning about this one but I kept hearing how great it was and now that I've seen it I just think people don't want to say anything bad about Johnny Depp. I don't either but there are so many other actors in Hollywood that could have played this role that it makes me long for the movie I could have seen. On top of that I didn't buy him as an angry vengeful guy. He's too nice. It comes through. Every time he squished up his face because he was singing/angry he just looked like a bunny.
On top of all that, it's too Tim Burton. I know he has his own style but because this was pre-existing material I would have liked it to look a little less typical Burton. One thing that I thought looked absolutely awful was the 'Clash of the Titans' vintage blood. When a character is killed in that film and the blood comes out it looks like spaghetti sauce. They got the same stuff for this film it seems. So all the people complaining about the blood in this film must eat their pasta plain. My one excuse for such sad looking blood was that it was some kind of throwback to the Hammer horror films, and it did seem like they were trying to make a Hammer musical but it was too dark and drained of all color for that. The attempts at humor didn't come off as dark comedy to me. It just strayed into silliness. So really I put it all on Tim Burton. I don't know what happened because I usually enjoy his films quite a bit. The one shining light was the little boy (Ed Sanders) who can sing and act.
I have seen the DVD of the stage version of this musical with George Hearn and Angela Lansbury. So I'm going to say that it really didn't help me to enjoy this film. If you haven't seen that, I'd say see this film first, if you're interested, then go back and watch that. They changed a lot from what I can remember. But if you've seen the musical previously I can't imagine that you'd be very happy with this version. The other thing is that there have been many musical this year with great singing in them. So if this one gets recognized when those others should, that'll be very disappointing.
I certainly hope people don't bring little kids to this because Johnny Depp's in it. Because even though it's pasta sauce and CGI meat, there's still a unhealthy dose of it.
I Am Legend (2007)
Pointless remake #257
I was dragged to this movie, but I did give it a chance. However there is nothing new here if you have seen 'The Omega Man'. Now 'The Omega Man' was a very cool (in a 70s kitsch way) remake of 'The Last Man on Earth' the very cool Vincent Price movie. Those two movies were different enough that I'm not sure I even realized that 'The Omega Man' was a remake initially. In this case however 'I Am Legend' adds very little, and if you've seen 'The Omega Man', I don't think there is enough to keep you from being bored senseless. What they've basically done is taken that film, added the fast zombies now that '28 Days Later' invented them, and added more backstory about Robert Neville and the virus. But it's minuscule. Some of the effects were pretty good and that's what I'm giving it 3 points for. Someone worked hard on those I'm sure. Otherwise, Will Smith should really focus on more actory movies, because he's good at it and stuff like this is just a waste of his talent.
I didn't know until the very end
how much I loved this movie. And I have to say it forced tears out of me quite violently. What a beautiful film.
As you can tell from the trailers this story is about the consequences of a misunderstanding. I don't know if people realize how much damage something like this can do. In the movies, it almost never happens. People say and do the right things all the time unless it's funny then wackiness ensues. But in real life it happens all the time. I almost wonder if some people will think that these things don't really happen and that it makes the movie unrealistic just because they're not used to seeing it.
Anyway, the film itself is beautiful and there is an incredibly amazing sequence when they get to a beach. It goes on for a few minutes and I really thought that was breathtaking. I don't think I'm familiar with the director but he did some great work. He and the cinematographer, because to look at it, it's just sumptuous. The cast was also amazing. A few different actresses played the young girl at different stages and I don't know if they really look that much alike or if I just bought into it because the movie was so absorbing, but they all did fantastic work. James McAvoy has one of those faces, it's so clear. You can't stop looking at him, kinda the same way you can't stop looking at Al Pacino. He was under-appreciated in 'The Last King of Scotland' so I'm glad to see he's getting some attention for another great role. And Keira Knightley continues to surprise me. Beautiful as she is she could just kick back and do a lot of vanity projects and collect Pirates royalties, but she continues to prove herself as an actress.
This movie will be loved by people who love a film like 'Doctor Zhivago' or 'The English Patient'. It's not as long as those but it fits into that epic love story genre. And Zhivago is on my very short list of favorites so I wouldn't say that lightly. There are some graphic scenes but of war wounds. Not the kind of graphic I was expecting. And there is one very bad word in it that becomes somewhat of a focal point. But if you're a mature individual who doesn't mind those things and who enjoys classic film with war and romance then this is most likely for you.