Posted on 10/13/10 03:42 PM
This movie made me want to grab my gun and a lawn chair, park my ass outside the local Circle K, eat a taco, and wait for the first illegal to ask me if I wanted some oranges.
Posted on 8/10/10 04:41 PM
Man, what a weird movie. It's so different than any other movie that you'll normally see... While it has its moments, it never really gels into a cognitive story. The movie really just dances around a couple of incidents that are thrown together into some sort of half-assed storyline.
The 'story', revolves around a semi-desperate reporter/journalist Bob, played by Ewan McGregor, who met an odd ball in town to interview that supposedly had psychic powers. Brushing off the guy as crazy, he goes back to work and encounters a series of strange incidents over the following days that lead him to venture out of his normal life. The next scene takes us to Kuwait in the middle of the latest Gulf War to Bob talking to his estranged wife about his adventures, when in reality he hasn't had any yet.
That night he runs into Lyn, played by George Clooney. In a funny/strange/hostile meeting, Bob and Lyn begin to talk about Lyn's true identity, and Bob quickly realizes that he is one in the same with a man that was desribed in the beginning of the movie by the so-called 'crazy' guy that Bob interviewed.
Bob finds that Lyn is his ticket into Iraq, and that Lyn has been 'reactivated' for a military mission that uses his psychic powers. In a series of twists, turns, abductions by hostile Iraqi's, Bob and Lyn finally wind up where Lyn's visions were taking them.
As they are recouperating from their wounds at the secret compound in the desert, they find that it is being run by Lyn's old nemesis, Larry Hooper (played by Kevin Spacey) in the covert psi-ops program that they were both in back in the 80's. Hooper was the soldier that got the original program shut down back in the 80's by showing how dangerous psi-ops could be, and pinning an incident on Lyn, getting him dishonorably discharged from the Army.
Anyway, getting back to the 'story', Lyn is reunited with his old mentor (and creator of the New Earth Army psi-ops program) Bill Django (played by Jeff Bridges). We also find out that was the true mission for Lyn, to find Bill and to put right were there was once was wrong, and take out some half-assed justice on Hooper. I'll leave out the specifics of the climax, since it brings the most laughs.
While the acting is strong, I wish I could give this movie a fresh score, but unfortunately cannot, given it's flimsy plot and patchwork flow.
Posted on 8/07/10 05:52 PM
First off, let me say that I told myself if this movie would stay above the 50% mark on the T-Meter then it would be good enough for me to see in the theater. Narrowly squeaking in at that mark, I found myself at the AMC theater a couple days ago.
As the movie starts, we are quickly thrown into a situation which is slightly confusing but eventually reveals itself to be somewhat of an origin story for the 4 main characters. And as some critics have pointed out, the movie starts out with some impossible stunts that are hard to swallow, but at the same time add more to the original TV show mythos and back-story that already exists. After their first encounter together as a 'team', they quickly find themselves a cohesive unit. I will point out that everyone does a good job in their roles and Sharlto Copley really pulls of Murdock quite well.
Jump 8 years into the future and directly at the end of the Iraq War, we find the team together winding down operations in the Gulf and getting ready to head home. Enter the CIA... They offer the team another mission that trumps all their other missions' importance put together, and even more impossible to pull off apparently. Naturally Hannibal wants the job, but many people that himself and the team know are trying to persuade them not to do it, but to no avail. After a planning sequence and flashbacks/forwards to the mission going down, the A-Team pulls off the mission and delivers the goods. Just as they get back to base with their prize though, things go awry and they are taken into custody. Naturally they know they were set up, just not by whom.
6 months later we're taken to Hannibal's prison and find the same CIA agent that gave him the mission talking to him. He agrees to finish the job for the CIA and coordinates prison breaks for the rest of the team. I will say that the prison breaks were both clever and funny, yet the final escape scene (the infamous C-130 plane ride and tank parachute scenes) was ridiculous. Luckily the movie didn't do much more cartoony action after that point, otherwise I wouldn't be writing a positive review for it.
After some twists and turns, we land at the climatic ending where it gets a bit more confusing of what's going on, but if you were paying attention to some of the finite details before the ending scenes you can make out what's going on and what's going to happen. Ending with a satisfying conclusion, the movie leaves itself basically where a new TV show, or sequel could be made, and a whole new generation of TV kiddies could be entertained by mindless, non-lethal violence. Just like I was.
Posted on 8/07/10 04:33 PM
A by the numbers, feel good comedy, that's light on hearty laughs, but manages to pull out a win, but just slightly.
Up front, I will admit that I have never seen the french original that this movie uses for source material, but I can only guess that's a good thing (For one, I don't like french films much, and for two, everyone says its better than the remake).
However, it's easy to jump into where this movie wants to go. Paul Rudd plays an up-and-coming executive that's looking to get a promotion that will help him both impress his girlfriend and pay for his lavish lifestyle. Coming in with an agressive proposal fresh on the heels of a current firing of one of the upper management, he finds his opportunity and jumps on it.
The boss is impressed, and tentatively gives him the job, just as long as he can pull his own weight at his monthly dinner party that is set up to find the most ridiculous person alive and make fun of them.
Cue Steve Carrell. By happenstance, Rudd's character, Tim, runs into Carrell's, Barry, literally. After a strange interaction, Tim realizes that he's found his 'idiot' for the dinner party.
Quickly thereafter, things start to go downhill. As we're introduced to Tim's girlfriend Julie, her boss Kieren (played excellently by Jemaine Clement), as well as Carrell's boss Therman (played by Zach Galifinakis), we're offered some decent laughs from all, and Tim's life starts to quickly fall apart. This is all because of Barry, of course.
Most of the movie is fairly subdued, but standout performances from Galifinakis and Lucy Punch (playing a crazy ex of Tim's) make up for the slower material.
When we finally get to the dinner scene, things start to ramp up a bit. All the exec's have brought their respective 'idiot', and are put on showcase of their 'talents'. This eclectic group of folks brings the best laughs of the movie, and the final 'showdown' between both Barry and Therman as well as Tim and his rival Caldwell (played by Ron Livingston).
Without going into any more specifics, we see the dinner spiral out of control and Rudd's character Tim regain his conscious as he's forced to make decisions that will affect his personal and professional life.
At the end, we get the entire package wrapped in a neat little bow, which undoubtedly will satisfy the general audience, however leaves a ho-hum conclusion that tries to show the good in everything.
While it was mostly satisfying, I wish that sometimes movies like this wouldn't end with the canned ending that we know that's coming, but rather something that plays to the darker side of comedy. You can feel the movie wanting to go in this direction, but either the lack of balls by the screenwriter to write something like that, or the lack of confidence that the studio would actually produce something edgy, leave you with an ultimately unsatisfying finale that's too polished for its own good.
Posted on 3/03/10 10:38 AM
District 9... I'm conflicted by this movie in a couple ways... When it came out, it was hailed as a unique and emotional whirlwind, based in a very realistic setting. I found that somewhat correct, except for the emotional part. Let me explain...
Okay, first all the good.
1. The visuals. This movie actually had the correct amount of CGI. I've said if for a long time, CGI is lazy-man's film-making. Yeah yeah, I know how much 'work' goes into a computer to do that stuff, but it still comes off fake in 90% of the movies out there..
2. The realistic nature of the sets and locations that it was shot in. I could literally smell the trash in the shanty-towns that the Prawns were living in, and have seen some of that stuff first hand to know how nasty that it is. Hats off to setting the 'tone' of the movie. I honestly felt like I should've taken a shower after watching the movie. Only a few movies nowadays encapsulate like that.
3. The acting. This has been a major problem with actors that have to do green screen work with their 'co-stars' (a computer!), and usually comes off weak and cardboard. I really thought everyone did a great job of interacting with the CGI images.
The bad... Not much, but enough..
1. The script. Yeah, it was original, but very weak when it comes to certain points. First off, if a alien ship were to come to the earth and just 'hung out' for years, we would've broke into that stuff and have been doing reverse engineering through every major government on earth, vice just a small UN type privatized company messing with it.
2. The emotionality of it.. I know it was supposed to be gut-wrenching and all that, but I honestly found myself laughing most of the way through it versus being 'moved' somehow by the transformation of the main character or by the 'treatment' given to the Prawns.. I dunno. Just wasn't buying into it. And the baby Prawn thing, just plain stupid.
All in all, an entertaining movie that does breathe a bit more life into a waning SCI-FI genre that needed it. I was much more 'entertained' by this movie than say, Avatar. At least I laughed out loud a bit in this one, and saw some sort of depth in the character development...
Posted on 1/13/10 06:35 AM
Given the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about the Watchmen graphic 'novel' (comic book!), I came into this movie about as unbiased and spoiler free as possible. By now, I'm sure everyone knows its premise about it being an alternate universe and all, so I won't spend much time on it.
To start, the whole alternate universe in where these people exist is hard to grasp, especially in the opening scenes and in flashbacks where The Comedian and Dr. Manhattan were fighting the war in Vietnam. I mean, with all the power that Dr. Manhattan has, why wouldn't have he just wiped them all out or something instead of just contributing to the war effort? Whatever, I don't really care, just plot holes (that may have been explained better in the 'novel')
Secondly, the acting is all over the place, some good, some really bad. Malin Akerman, while I love her body and some of her co-star roles, just sucks in this role. Her emotions look faked, her lines sound fake, just all in all crap from her. Plus the wasted talent of Carla Gugino as her drunk mom. Ugh.
Third, the movie starts off way to slow and begins to bore quickly. The scenes with Rorshack are good up front, but the movie drags on far too long before having any sufficient action (I know this is a hard thing to get right, as some movies go over-the-top right from the get-go and end on a boring note). Additionally, it's very easy to see (IMO) who is going to be the bad guy in all this, there's really no mystery to it. I have to admit, the prison scenes where about the best in the movie though, and a nice addition.
Lastly, while some of the fight scenes pay off, the slow-mo crap is getting old and I sometimes wish that The Matrix hadn't used that style so well that people would rip it off for the next 10 years, but again, whatever.
All in all, a faily mediocre film with some decent fight scenes and an overall crappy ending. Obviously they were setting it up for a possible sequel, but given how bad it did in theaters it'll probably end up getting the 'reboot' treatment in about 3 years. lol.
I would however be open to see a spin-off with just The Comedian character, as he seemed the only superhero (maybe Rorshack too) in it with enough depth to pull it off.
Posted on 1/03/10 12:16 PM
Arg... I wish I could give this movie a lower rating, but for reasons I'll explain, I cannot.
I'm not going to worry about explaining the plot of this movie, AT ALL, because if you're on this website you should really already know it. So with that, let's jump into a very short review that will explain all you need to know about Jim Cameron's 'Masterpiece???', AVATAR.
First the negative. The story. It is sooooo played out. I really felt like I was watching a watered down version of Dances With Wolves IN SPAAAAACE (muppet reference!). The story was just a spring board for Cameron to display his new technologic invention rather than illicit any emotion from the viewer. Matter of fact, there really isn't any depth or real emotion from the characters in the movie either (this HAS to be because of the green screen that they had to act in front of for 90% of the movie). The latter Star Wars movies felt as cardboard in the acting areas as this did. The story really just moves through it's paces and you really don't feel any tension at all throughout the film.
The positive (it's REALLY positive). The 3-D environment and technology that Cameron has made here. There is simply few words that can be used to describe how far technology has come and the 3D is positively mind blowing. Every shot feels like your sitting in a cockpit, or on top of one of those winged creatures they flew around on. The 3D was used in a way that wasn't hokey and the viewer is allowed to be fully immersed in the world that Cameron has created.
So, in all the story really gets a C- for being SO unoriginal and played out, and the effects get a huge A+ for how far they've come. I can only hope that the sequel (you know it's coming) will have some sort of depth to the story versus just another platform to show off Cameron's gloriously shiny new toy.
Sam Worthington (Dances With Wolves)
Zoe Saldana (Stands With a Fist)
The only thing missing? The TATONKA!
Posted on 1/03/10 10:42 AM
Well, count me pleasantly surprised by this. While I wasn't totally wrong on my initial assumption that the movie would be kind of cheesy, it still maintains an air of the original stories by Doyle.
With that being said, the movie definitely starts out sort of slow and gradually builds to a successful climax and a lead-in to another film (given the monetary success of the first, of course).
The movie starts off with Holmes and Watson tracking down the main villian of the film which ends with them successfully capturing him. After the villian's 'hanging', he somehow is resurrrected and starts his killing spree again. With the city scared of the villian's supernatural abilities, Holmes and Watson set out to settle this case for good. The ending leaves the viewer with a satisfying conclusion to the case, and leads directly into their next one.
Supporting cast member Rachel McAdams is beautiful in it, but adds little to the movie as both Holmes old nemesis/girlfriend/lover, but does act as a bridge between this movie and the inevitable sequel. Maybe she'll have a better go-round in the next one.
All in all the movie is good, with Downey utilizing a perfect British accent throughout (so good sometimes you can't understand him due to the speed of his delivery). The story builds as it moves along, but is still about 20-30 minutes too long for its own good. Jude Law does really well as the best friend/sidekick as well, and I'll look forward to them working together on the next one.
Posted on 11/20/09 03:37 PM
Well, well, well, where to start with this one?? As I'm sure everyone already knows the plot and the relative ending of this movie I'll stay away from those details. So, I guess I'll dive and barrel roll my way into the film, just like the private plane in the movie did.
The movies premise, based on many different religions and ancient civilizations would seem to be a great film. But that's not the case here. Instead of actually exploring ANY of the Mayan, Aztec, Hopi, or Cherokee myths and calendars, or any type of science at all, the movie tends to gloss over all this history in a single sentence about how 'They were right'. Wow. That one sentence encapsulates the movie's depth as a whole.
After breezing through the intro into the catastrophe, we start rolling quickly with the nitty gritty. As John Cusak's character takes his kids on a mini vacation to Yellowstone, he stumbles upon the government running tests on a dried up lake bed. This leads to him running into the most charasmatic character of the film, played by Woody Harrelson. His over-the-top portrayal of a radio host similar to that of Art Bell or George Noory (with a few more screws loose) is actually kinda funny, but still feels forced. Luckily, we get to see his demise, as well as billions of others.
Other notable points in the film are hard to find. Nearly every scene is a straight up cliche' of other actioners that we've all seen before, leaving the thought of 'COMON' MAN!' just wanting to roll off our tongues, but alas, we can't say that since we're so dumbfounded by the carnage on the screen.
While there are some very mildly touching moments in the film, most of the actors come off flat, especially Danny Glover. It was like he was put on auto-pilot or something, just reading lines. Other scenes made me chuckle outloud inadvertently when I know I was supposed to be mortified. We're left with a somewhat predictible ending that dragged on for about 30 minutes too long.
So, in summary, lol, the movie is visually impressive in some spots, not so much in others. Besides the needless flight patterns that they chose to take underneath buildings and skimming across peoples heads in the middle of main surface streets, there were a couple good scenes worth seeing. I feel bad for Cusack somewhat, but hey, for the paycheck he probably got, I'd do it too.
The saddest part is, I just saw this movie an hour ago and can't remember any of the character's name. At least in ID4 we were rooting for Will Smith and co. to kick some ass. In this, all we get is everyone running from assured destruction. Oi.
Posted on 11/19/09 06:55 AM
I'm not a big proponent of remakes/reboots, but this has been the exception to the rule. While I don't consider myself a trekkie, I do feel that I am a fan of the series/mythos. Right from the opening sequence, you can feel a sense of renewal and excitment that hasn't been felt since TNG series hit the air, but at the same time you can tell it's going to be something different, possibly even better.
Shortly after the story has been set and time/history has been skewed, we're thrown into the world of both Kirk and Spock as children and get to catch glimpses of what events are shaping their new futures. Kirk shows more of a roguish style, but still very cocky and sure in his actions, living up to his original history as well. Spock on the other hand, grows up relatively unchanged, except now we get a better grasp of how he's had to deal with being ridiculed as a half breed and the emotional struggle within that.
Throwing in the mix of the other original characters origins, it does feel a bit rushed, but understand that the Star Trek mythos has always really focused on the Kirk/Spock relationship and how they've shaped history together, so it doesn't draw away from the story too much. At the same time, homage is thrown to McCoy, Scott, and Uhura, as the new actors try to successfully recreate the inconic roles that they are stepping into. This is done in both a respectful and fun manner as well, especially with dealing with McCoy and Scott.
All in all, the visuals are ground-breaking, the story is plausible (for Star Trek) with a balanced mix of science and action, and the acting is superb. The storyline has been left open-ended now, without screwing up the original cannon, leaving hard core fans feeling somewhat okay with new possibilites.
Do yourself a favor and see this in BluRay, it's as good or better than seeing it in the theater, and really shows the technical achievements that this movie has conquered.