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Posted on 3/23/09 09:43 PM
Well, I can at least say that this is an enjoyable movie.
There is one thing I usually hate about movies like these. When it comes to romantic elements mixed with buddy elements, there almost always seems to be a scene where everything is made horribly awkward. I think the movie that turned that into an art form was "Meet the Parents" with Ben Stiller. Until that movie came out, I never felt so awkward in my life in place of someone else. Yes, "Meet the Parents" was nothing but a big huge bag of awkward, but for some strange reason there was that final blow that shoved it into overdrive. Throughout the entire movie, after I had been embarrassed enough for the main character who has such a hard time making male friends, I was anticipating to the most awkward moment in movie history.
It never came. It was a bit of a relief but at the same time it was slightly disappointing.
I think the movie was going for more of a realistic feel to capture the audience. We can all relate to these characters because we have either been in a situation like them or know the same people they do. However, there are characters (such as the jerk who throws a temper-tantrum whenever he loses) that just got on my nerves. There were moments in the movie where things seemed more annoying than funny because they were delivered by characters who's personalities I did not like. Not to say the movie isn't enjoyable. I think it is a decent offering. However, I was not in line to see an awkward movie. I was hoping for pure drive humor, much like "Role Models" where the gags were so outlandish that we could never picture ourselves in those situations.
I guess the problem with the movie is that it was too "real" for me. I identified with the characters, which is good, but they were in incredibly awkward situations the entire time. What use is aligning yourself with the character when you are going to feel embarrassment for them? Especially when it is meant to be a comedy?
Nonetheless, I recommend it. I think it is worth a look.
Posted on 3/05/09 10:53 PM
This...is a bad, bad movie.
It is very hard for me to not like a movie, and even then, in some weird, strange way I enjoyed this flick. It was so awful that I had fun making fun of it, and that is not saying much.
Everything about this movie is awful with the exception of a few fight scenes that are well-choreographed. Even the starting monologue is horrendous with a somewhat cheerful yet wistful Chun-Li recounting her life's story. Next, we see the abduction of her father. I remembered being slightly impressed at that moment, but then it gave way to nothing.
Chun-Li has grown up and one day she gets a strange letter and she suddenly had this strange compulsion to go digging around into ancient history and look for her father after her mother conveniently dies because she just "somehow knows he's alive." So, she moves to Bangkok and leaves he rich and previleged life behind because some old man said she needed to be a homeless bum to find some dude that might help her. Maybe.
It is probably a good amount of time into this movie and I had not seen a decent fight scene yet. This was probably the only part of the movie that had me move up a little in my seat. Chun-Li spots an innocent man getting beaten up by thugs and she intervenes. The fight scene is very good, but I remember being impressed by this scene alone.
Guess what? Turns out that the man who got beat up was the bum she was looking for! HOO-FREAKIN'-RAY! She instantly goes and lives with him and finds out her kung-fu sucks and that he is somehow way better. The way we discover his power is by way of cheap special effects that should have been scrapped. I laughed as her mentor, Gen, produceds a ball of chi as chessy as special effects can be.
Listen, I'm just going to get down to brass tacks here. The worst actor in this movie, by far, is the male cop lead. He is awful. He makes you hate the movie and every line he speaks is a pure annoyance. Even Micheal Clarke Duncan has let me down in this role. I'm thinking that all the actors were either high, or they were purposely doing poor because they knew this was a "B" rated script.
Maybe, someday, this movie will be a cult classic in the way that the first was a cult classic. But it is going to take many years for that to happen. Until then, save your money and let this movie die quickly so that we can make room for better movies at our theaters.
Posted on 3/05/09 10:35 PM
I was lucky enough to have the time to attend an all-day movie marathon at the theaters. It was pretty amazing: $25 for five Oscar nominated movies with bottom-less soda and popcorn. Life couldn't get any better.
After getting settled I had to watch three movies before I got to the coup de gras. First it was "Milk", then "Reader, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", and then "Slumdog Millionaire." ("Frost/Nixon" followed and it was a great movie too).
I never heard a thing about this movie. In fact, with the exception of "Benjamin Button" I had trouble remembering if I even heard about the others. So, I went with my friend and his family not knowing what to expect. When it finally came to "Slumdog Millionaire" I was constantly on the edge of my seat.
I think to fully appreciate the movie, the viewer must have been outside the U.S. at least once. I lived for some time in the Philippines toward the Negros Occidental region so I can say with authority that this movie was very realistic. The filth that is prevailant in third world countries brought back memories, along with the people who are happy regardless of where they are. The myriad of colors and the crowded and busy life of the city was what I experienced whenever I had to resupply in a big city. The setting is very realistic and is every bit what you would see in a third world country.
The characters are likable and complex. The children echo third world children who face perils everyday but are somehow enlivened by it. The activities they did in the movie where what I watched some children do in a run-down basketball court.
But enough about my memories. Let's talk about the actual movie and story a bit. I really enjoyed the setup. It left me wondering where the story was going to go. Also, it was a great way to show how our character grew up and how his relationships with all his friends and family changed over the years. I don't think there was any moment within the movie where I had to tap my foot impatiently and beg the movie to continue. The movie was quick and to the point, rapidly bringing us up to date as to why the character is in his peculiar situation. It is simple at first glace, but then we are slowly exposed to the love interest who seems to take precedence over everything that involves the young protaganist. (Including his jealous, yet caring older brother). I've already written too much. Just go see it. It's worth it. I promise.
Posted on 11/04/08 06:33 PM
If you see only one superhero movie this year, I hope you plan on seeing this one.
"The Incredible Hulk" is definitely my favorite superhero movie this year, and that even puts it above "Iron Man". That is no small feat to put a great movie like "Iron Man" into second place and here is why: while "Iron Man" was great in its humor and pleasing to those looking for entertainment, "The Incredible Hulk" has a darker tale and is more suspenseful.
The movie opens with our main character (Bruce Banner played by the great Edward Norton) avoiding the United States Army while searching for a cure for his radioactive poisoning. Although the past is not explained to us, it is revealed at such times where those who are new to the story are hit hard by the facts. Oddly enough, I thought the action scenes where Banner was human were more intense than when he transformed into the Hulk. I loved the Bourne-like chases through the university and Brazil and thought it was very well done. At points I even cheered on one of the villains as he took on the Hulk as an ordinary man...yeah, he was doped up on super-soldier juice, but it was a sight to watch him battle the Hulk with duel pistols. That scene even beats the final fight when he is fully transformed.
Any case, while "Iron Man" is great in its own right, I think those who appreciate a movie with a more serious tone will find "The Incredible Hulk" to be more deserving of your attention. In "Iron Man" the man character enjoys his powers with child-like glee while Bruce Banner is tortured by his inability to control his dark side. Bruce Banner makes for more of an interesting character in my humble opinion...
Posted on 10/27/08 08:44 PM
This is probably the only shakey camera movie that I love to pieces so far.
I do have my gripes with the movie. It has been quite a while since I saw it in theaters, but I do remember going in and wondering what odd creature the protagonists would be facing off against. The opening credits started in lieu of military footage and I was on the edge of my seat. It was a freaking awesome idea and sent the idea across that whatever happened in this movie was in the past. And that it was freakin' important.
However, then the footage begins to show and we see these everday people doing everyday things. I remember I sat in my chair, my arms folded, my foot tapping, waiting for something cool to happen. It seemed like ages which probably turned out to be something more like twenty to thirty minutes...The opening is important in the director's view since it lets us know the relationship with the characters and gives them a base from which they may develop. A smart move for character development which would prove to help out later, but a bad idea for people who wanted to know the answer to the mystery. Their was no anxiety...there was only boredom for the first part of the movie...but then, freakin' catastrophic gold hit in the form of Lady Liberty's disembodied head.
Once the movie starts up it just doesn't quit. You are involved in events that have no explanation. You have no idea what is going on and you find that you yourself would act the same way the characters do in such a situation. The shakey camera gimick, in this case, is incredibly effective in its presentation. The direction and its pacing is incredible as well. We learn very little, very slowly, but the action is so unrelenting that we don't care. We are caught up in the struggle for survival in a world gone flippin' nuts. It's interesting that I hated the characters and found them annoying at first, but then I grew to like them as they went through the whole ordeal. It made them seem more real, seeing that I think we can all agree that we hate annoying teenagers (or lower twenty-something folks) who think only of themselves. Ah, but I kid. (In most cases). Through their adventure they become something amazing. It really helps that the actors did a FANTASTIC job as well...especially in a movie that had to make a PG-13 rating.
Posted on 10/19/08 01:46 PM
There was a time where I looked at the title of this movie and laughed. I thought it was a very odd idea for a film and I thought that I would never have the patience to watch it. In the end, I realized that I almost missed out on an amazing movie.
Everything about this movie is golden. The animation is very well done and the characters are charming. The American voice actors took great care in keeping in touch with the personalities of their respective characters. Kiki (voiced by Kirsten Dunst) is in fact, a young girl who struggles with her place in the world. Jiji (voiced by Phil Hartman) is a smart-alecky cat who is hesistant but is loyal and loving to a fault. Tombo is the kind and caring friend while Osono is the friendly neighbor we wish we all had. All of these characters are distinct in their personalities and are very endearing. They interact with each other and not solely with the main character.
Not only are the characters well done, but the world in which they live in is beautiful and scenic. I wanted to live there. Great attention is paid to background art and it adds to the atmosphere of the movie. The city is alive and bustling, which is something we notice from the side of our eye as we watch the characters. In most animated films there are only a few characters on screen at once, which is what I love so much about Miyazaki's films. There could be dozens or even hundreds of people on screen at once, merely serving as a backdrop.
Even the music is suitable to the movie and seeks to elevate the mood as it relates to Kiki. The music will swell as she takes to the sky, become calm as she walks about the city, and becomes dramatic as she faces her problems. Of course, this is in any movie, but it is so wonderfully ochestrated that it deserves mention. Joe Hisashi does the track as he does for most of the other films Miyazaki does.
In the end, it is a well-woven tapestry that I almost passed back. It is a great movie for children and adults.
Posted on 10/18/08 05:45 PM
I pretty much thought I was being invited to watch a porno movie when I heard the name of this movie. I had forgotten I saw a preview of it in theaters. I pretty much saw this on a whim and had no expectations of what it was going to be, so I am pretty sure my review will be a fair one.
I'm not a big fan of raunchy humor...I don't like it when movies do too many gross out gags, especially since I usually go out to eat with friends before I go to a movie. Thankfully this movie didn't do too much of that, although there were times I had to close my eyes and try not to hear the discriptive dialogue.
Now, onto what I think about the actual movie: it is good. It is more than some brainless sex romp movie where character "A" finds himself in situation "B" which leads him to locale "C". There is actually character chemistry in here and the characters are pretty well developed. The show stealer is the male best friend who plays chauvenistic jerk and woos the ladies at every turn. He has all the best moments in the movie, but the male lead and the love interest have their great moments as well. Seth Green makes an awesome appearance as the wise-cracking, back-talking Amish car mechanic who is somehow well versed in his practice. IN fact, I wish there were more scenes with him. Also, the main character's brother is pretty much a hilarious representation of big brothers everywhere and may cause feelings of nostalgia (or even trauma for those who had one-too-many wedgies in their youth).
The ending has its good amount of twists and plot turns and even I was wondering throughout the movie how it would all pan out. The movie does a good job of being unpredictable at times, but this isn't something we haven't seen before. It's a great movie, but it by no means will be a living legend. Instead, it will be a movie that will be remembered fondly and occasionally quoted between good friends whenever they need a good laugh.
"RUMSPRINGAAAAA! WHOO!" *thud*
Posted on 10/18/08 04:48 PM
I am a conservative, so evidently my review will be biased. Having said that, I loved this film and laughed out loud many times. Not only that, it was refreshing to see a movie out there that actually took a swing at liberal Hollywood. And not just a "swing" which means a "light poke" when they do it to themselves, but an honest-to-goodness "roast."
I was pretty much laughing since the beginning, when terrorists gathered together and plotted a way to prevent Iraqi citizens from holding free elections. A stern looking man grabs a befuddled "enlistee" and fits him with a "stylish vest" covered in explosives and gives him a ricketly bike to ride down a hill toward the citizens.
"But this bike is pretty old and flimsy...I don't think it will make it back up the hill..."
"Uh...you don't need to worry about that..."
"But the brakes...they are, uh, squeeky...I don't think they will be enough to stop me."
The man puts a hand on his comrade and says gravely, "Allah will stop you."
It is irreverent jokes such as these that pepper the entire movie. There are moments where it creates a chain and I find myself rolling with laughter for minutes at a time. However, there are times where I am scratching my head when a joke falls horrendously flat. Not to mention that Kevin Farley, try as he might, can only make me feel nostalgia for his long-lost brother who would have made me care and love the main character. Kelsey Grammer does a great job as General Patton and the serious scene (with George Washington) is thought provoking...out of place, perhaps? But still, a lesson is presented in that scene and whether the movie-goers agree with it or not is up to them.
In the end, if you are a Republican or a Conservative, this will definitely be a new member to your top ten list. If you are in the middle you will find yourself laughing quite often. If you are a Democrat or a Liberal, I can honestly say that this movie will get your blood boiling with indignation. I cannot stress this enough: if you don't like anything right-wing and can't stand listening to anyone who professes to be right-wing, DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. It will not be a pleasant outing. Even I said to myself, "Man...this movie rips them kind of hard..."
Posted on 10/18/08 04:23 PM
I have to say this: I am pleasantly surprised. I remember seeing the previews for this movie and I thought to myself, "Oh man...Hollywood is hitting a new low." This was coming from a kid who loved anime, drew it for art projects in school, and almost had no shame when it came to cartoons. (Although admittedly I could never stand the jerky animation in "Speed Racer"). As I heard good things I slowly became intrigued and I wondered what it might be like.
Finally, my roommate picked up a DVD of it and we plugged it in. Imagine my surprise when I actually got caught up in the storm. Yes, the special effect border on the line of amazing and ridiculous. (I rolled my eyes as I watched the previews...especially when the tires on racing cars pretty much had a duel). However, when I finally watched it in context with all the other many things going on around them, I was much more accepting of the universe the Wachowski brothers created.
People have slammed on the acting...but to me, judging acting is pretty much like judging figure skating. It's stupid, pointless, and so arbitrary that I can't believe people get paid to do it. The only time where I agree with critics on acting ability is when the acting is SO bad that it is undeniable. But in those cases, I hardly need a critic to tell me a performance is unbelievable. Having said that, some may see the acting as cheesy, but I thought it was very touching. I enjoyed the bit where Speed would speak to his father, or where he faced off with the leader of a conglamorate.
Then, there is the directing. I was pretty much on the edge of my seat as I watched the races. I actually WANTED Speed to win. I was so invested in the characters and his purpose for racing that it would have wrecked my day if he lost. There were moments where I looked at my screen and said to myself, "Alright, that was pretty stupid", but then there were moments where I felt what Speed must have felt. In the final race, where he begins to pass his opponents and he enteres the "zone" and as he passes the finish line, the daze he must have felt as a result of his victory carried over to me. It was truly energizing. It even FELT triumphant. Yes, there are many weird parts in the movie, but if you are willing to let go and give it a chance, the movie will grab you and take you for a great ride.