Wednesday, December 29, 2010

RED


I was slow to getting around to seeing Red but finally did so. I'm not sure what took me so long. Who wouldn't want to see a movie starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren? The casting in this movie was great. Red stands for retired extremely dangerous. It is about several retired CIA agents who find themselves on a government hit list. They try to find out who is trying to kill them and why, and then they end up working together to fight back.

I liked this movie because it had lots of action but I liked it even more because it didn't take itself too seriously. There are plenty of fake moments, but I found those scenes to be more palatable since they were delivered in a light hearted tone. This movie was actually quite funny and I found myself laughing during several scenes.

Red reminded me of some other recent movies. It had a similar similar story line to The Expendables, The A-Team, and Killers. It also featured the theme of "old people" whooping on the younger generation which was kind of fun.

I give Red 7.4 stars for being a fun action movie.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tron Legacy


Tron Legacy is a sequel to the 1982 original. It continues the story of Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges, as he is trapped in a computer world. Flynn created a program named CLU to help him manage the virtual world, but it turns against him and keeps him captive. Flynn's son comes to rescue him after he's been missing for years. I was looking forward to the Matrix-like concept behind Tron Legacy, but I have mixed feelings about this movie.

The Pros- Jeff Bridges is kind of like a mellowed out hippie zen master in this movie as opposed to a tech-nerd. Bridges has been great in everything I've ever seen him in and can't seem to do wrong lately. Olivia Wilde plays Fynn's helper Quorra. She has the naive mentality of a child like Robot, but her looks make up for it. This movie is visually entertaining and has some really cool special effects.

The Cons- I didn't like Sam Flynn who was played by Garrett Hedlund. He seemed like a rebellious, spoiled punk so I had a hard time rooting for him. They used CGI to make a younger version of Bridges to play the villain. It was kind of cool, yet looked creepy and lifeless at the same time, like all the characters in the Polar Express. Also for some reason during the movie, I kept having subliminal flashbacks of Scare Crow and Mrs. King.

You may hear some people belly ache about how the plot was weak, but most people aren't going to see it for the plot. I went to see Tron for the visual effects and I think it delivered in that area. I give Tron Legacy 7.2 stars.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to go velcro a frisbee on the back of my shirt.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Yogi Bear

I'm not going to review Yogi Bear. I just wanted to make an official statement that there is no way I am ever going to watch this "movie". Was it really necessary to make a movie about Yogi Bear just because there was a cartoon about him years ago? I haven't seen or heard any reviews or even seen the trailer, but my spidey senses tell me that the stink-o-meter is off the charts with this one. I may end up eating my words when it wins 5 academy awards, but I doubt it. Why am I able to jump to such conclusions and judge a movie before I even see it? Because I'm smarter than the average critic.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days is one of those movies that got released with little publicity. It stars Russell Crowe as a man who's wife played by Elizabeth Banks is imprisoned for murder. He feels she was innocent but there is too much evidence against her to prove otherwise. After a rejected appeal, his wife becomes suicidal in prison and in desperation, he finally gives up on the legal system and decides the only course of action is for him to break her out of prison.

Once he makes this decision, he finds himself in an awkward position as he makes plans for her escape. He is a college professor and is very naive when it comes to criminal activity. Since he is not street wise, he suffers several setbacks, but persistently continues to study and prepare until he can wait no longer to put his plan into action.

I liked this movie for several reasons. First, it has a realistic feel to it, Second, the main character deals with multiple setbacks as opposed to an ideal prison break you might expect from an Oceans 11 type of movie. Another reason I liked it is because I once had to break my wife out of prison and I could totally relate to the storyline.

Crowe's performance is not quite on the same level as Cinderella Man or A Beautiful Mind, but it is still very good. I'm really surprised this film hasn't done better at the box office or received better reviews.  I give The Next Three Days 7.8 stars for being a very intense and suspenseful movie.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grown Ups

I have mixed feelings about Adam Sandler movies. Some of the funnier ones include Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Water Boy, and The Wedding Singer. Most of his other movies have some funny scenes that make you laugh, but they are not that great as a whole. Grown ups fits in with the majority of his movies in that it has some funny parts, yet it's only mediocre.

One thing that bothered me about this movie were the details behind the story line. A group of boys who were on the same basketball team as ten year olds come together as adults with their families 30 years later to attend the funeral of their old coach. They react to his passing like he was their father. I'm not expecting alot from the plot or storyline, but I felt that was just a lazy excuse to get the cast together and I didn't buy it.


Grown ups reminded me of an old Saturday Night Live reunion that they invited David James to. A total of 7 characters in the movie have been on SNL, so I expected it to be funnier than it was. There are the usual crude jokes and humor that you might expect along with the obligatory weird character cameo by Steve Buscemi.

I give it 5.9 generous stars. I wanted it to be better, but it was a lazy and sloppy effort when it had so much more potential with such a talented cast. I'm just glad Adam Sandler doesn't critique me at my job.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Killers

I heard this movie got some pretty unenthusiastic reviews so I waited for it to come out on DVD before I watched it, but it was actually much better than I expected. Killers is about a spy/hit man, played by Ashton Kutcher, who falls in love with a woman (Katherine Heigl) while he's on a mission in France.

He forsakes his career to marry her and decides to settle down in the states and begins to live a "regular" life. Several years later his past catches up with him and he discovers that there is a price on his head. He and his wife are forced to protect themselves as they are on the run from multiple assassins who keep coming out of the woodwork.


I am not a huge fan of Ashton Kutcher or Katherine Heigl, but I enjoyed them both in this movie and thought they had better chemistry than the leading couples in many other movies. I also found myself laughing quite a bit during this movie.

Killers is an enjoyable romantic action comedy that doesn't take itself too seriously. Some parts reminded me of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. One of the best performances was from Tom Selleck. I really liked him and Catherine O'Hara as the in laws. Killers has it's flaws, but it's definitely worth a watch on DVD and is not nearly as bad as other reviews say it was. I give Killers 7.0 stars.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Unstoppable

I've previously expressed how I feel about movies that are based on true events, so I had some concerns about seeing Unstoppable. This movie is about an out of control train carrying hazardous materials. The train company and law enforcement try to figure out how to stop the unmanned train before it reaches heavily populated areas.

I liked Unstoppable since it has a more realistic feel to it than most action movies. I also thought the movie did a good job with most of the technical details. There were certainly some embellishments and liberties taken with the story, but that is expected with Hollywood.

The best part of the movie would have to be Denzel Washington. He plays a veteran engineer who tries to stop the runaway train. Chris Pine was good in his role as an inexperienced conductor. I liked the rest of  the cast, especially Ethan Suplee as an incompetent train yard employee.

Unstoppable is directed by Tony Scott who is known for exciting action movies like Enemy of the State, Man on Fire, Top Gun, Crimson Tide, Spy Game, and Deja Vu. This is the fifth movie he has directed starring Denzel Washington.

I give it 7.3 stars and thought it was pretty solid. It had action, drama, and suspense.  The biggest problem I had with the movie is that is seamed like it ended quickly. I would have like to have seen more. Maybe they can make a sequel where the train breaks out of the train yard and goes on another rampage and they have to call the heroes back to stop it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Best and Worst of Batman

I like Batman. He's a more realistic type of superhero I think most guys can relate to. If fact, if I had enough money, I'm pretty sure I would be Batman. I recently read that Christopher Nolan is scheduled to direct the Dark Knight Rises in 2012 and most of the cast members are returning.

This news got me thinking about the prior Batman movies and I thought I'd rank my favorite actors to play Batman along with the best and worst villains. When ranking actors who have played the role of Bruce Wayne, I am only considering the six most recent movies, so Adam West and any older actors are out of the running.

The Best Batmen
1. Christian Bale- (The Dark Knight and Batman Begins)
2. Michael Keaton- (Batman and Batman Returns) I never expected Mr. Mom to be a superhero, but I thought he did a good job.
3. Val Kilmer- (Batman Forever)
4. George Clooney- (Batman and Robin)

The Best Villains
1. The Joker played by Heath Ledger was by far the best villain.
2. The Joker by Jack Nicholson was considered top notch prior to Ledger's performance.
3. The Riddler- Jim Carrey was perfect for a hyper Riddler. Too bad the movie was so lame.
4. The Scarecrow-Cillian Murphy gives a creepy smug performance. I wish we saw more of him.
5. Two Face- Aaron Eckhart

The Worst Villains
1. The Penguin- Danny Devito. What was up with that?
2. Mr. Freeze- Arnold Schwarzenneger
3. Two Face-Tommy Lee Jones
4. Catwoman- Michelle Pfeiffer
5. Poison Ivy- Uma Thurman

I know that comic book fans will not be happy with my selections since my choices are so limited, but I'm only addressing those in movies at this time. This is a movie blog, not a comic book blog.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Conflicting Movie Reviews

I have been wanting to get out and see a movie all week. I was hoping to see Skyline this weekend, but when I saw that Rotten Tomatoes had given it an 11% approval rating, I decided it will have to wait. You'll have to hear my review on that movie later. As a consolation, I thought I'd like to address the topic of conflicting movie reviews.

I am always amused when I hear a friend or movie critic bash a movie and warn everyone about  how horrible it is, only to hear another person heap praises on it and tell me that it's a masterpiece. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I'm also sure there are some rigged reviews out there too. We've all seen horrible movies that went straight to video that are endorsed with rave reviews by some unknown critic who calls it "non stop laughs from start to end" or saying that it "delivers" even though it might be the worst movie ever. I guess I shouldn't be too critical because if someone paid me enough, I might be willing to endorse movies like Baby Genius, Glitter, and Daddy Day Camp too.

Sometimes you see a movie that is not very good but there might be a few scenes that make it worth watching. Some examples of this include Hot Rod. It was a dumb movie, but had 4 or 5 scenes that were funny enough to still have me recommend it to my friends (immature guys.) Mystery Men is another example of a movie that was not so great, yet it is one of my favorite movies because it has more great movie quotes that any other movie.

I guess the debate about what constitutes a good movie just adds more drama and excitement to the entertainment industry. That was one thing that was always entertaining about watching Siskel and Ebert argue with each other. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Bounty Hunter

I recently saw The Bounty Hunter on DVD. I was afraid it was only going to be a mediocre movie and I was right. Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston star as a recently divorced couple.

She is a reporter and he is a bounty hunter. They split on bad terms so when he sees his ex wife has a warrant out for her arrest for skipping bail, he's more than happy to take her in. He basically kidnaps her, but before he can take her to jail, the mob and crooked cops come after them because Aniston has been snooping around and has uncovered some information about a fake suicide and police corruption . The two of them have to join forces to survive and during the process they fall in love again. Oops, I forgot to give a spoiler warning.

It's not that the movie was particularly bad, but it just seemed like an average romantic comedy. It just wasn't very romantic or very funny. I snickered a couple times at some jokes and a few parts, but it wasn't that great. I didn't really buy those two as being a couple either. Maybe I was just distracted at how much I thought Gerard Butler looked like Russell Crowe. I give it 5.8 stars.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Scariest Movie Moments

There have been many scary movies over the years. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a wimp and don't like being scared. I like suspense and surprises, but I don't care for movies that get in your mind and freak you out long after you watch them. I don't think movies about serial killers, chainsaw wielding psychopaths, or monsters are that scary, but I do get spooked with the more subtle stuff like ghosts.

The first movie I remember being scared of was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I saw it in the theater with my parents when I was a little kid. They ended up taking me out to the lobby. I'm not sure if it was the Oompa Loompas, watching kids get picked off, or Gene Wilder's hair, but something was just wrong and scary about that movie.

Here is a list of horror movies that scared me. Since I don't really care for the genre, I have not seen very many so my list is limited.

Psycho- A classic. The concept behind this movie has been copied quite a bit since then.
The Ring- I never thought a little girl could scare me so bad.
The Exorcist- I've only seen parts. I usually flip the channel when Linda Blair's head starts spinning.
The Shining- All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Nosferatu-The original from 1922 and Klaus Kinsky's 1979 version.
Salems Lot-Several things about this TV movie freaked me out.
Poltergeist- I've never looked at clowns the same after seeing this movie.
Nightmare on Elm Street-Scary premise, but I can't vouch for any sequels.
Alien(s)- One of the few " monster" movies I think is scary.
What Lies Beneath-Harrison Ford is not supposed to be a bad guy!
The 6th Sense-My wife's family all slept in their living room after watching it because they were too afraid to sleep in separate bedrooms.
The Others-Not that scary, or original, but I liked it.
Diabolique-Suspenseful foreign film. The original 1955 French version.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers- Both the 1956 original and the 1978 remake.
The Haunting in Connecticut-Makes you want to get a detailed history of a home before you buy one.

What are some movies that have kept you from wanting to go down in the fruit cellar at night?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2 Year Anniversary

Today is the two year anniversary of the Movie Guy. As is the tradition, I'd like to celebrate by summarizing the movies I have reviewed over the last year. This way you can see them at a glance and how they compare to each other. I have been accused of being a harsh critic, so I'd like to refer you to my rating guide on the side bar to better appreciate the ratings listed below.

Inception 9.0
Food Inc. 8.1
Avatar 8.0
Robin Hood 7.7
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 7.6
The A-Team 7.6
Invictus 7.6
The Blind Side 7.5
Sherlock Holmes 7.4
The Other Guys 7.4
Nacho Libre 7.3
Dr. Parnassus 7.2
Surrogates 7.2
Prince of Persia 7.1
Iron Man 2 7.1
Knight and Day 7.0
Salt 6.9
Killer at Large 6.9
Karate Kid 6.7
Alice in Wonderland 6.7
Extraordinary Measures 6.5
The Losers 6.5
Gentlemen Broncos 6.4
2012 6.4
The Losers 6.5
Duplicity 6.6
The Losers 6.5
The Invention of Lying 6.4
Legend of the Guardians 6.3 *
Percy Jackson 6.2
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6.1
The Brothers Bloom 6.1
Clash of the Titans 6.0
GI Joe 5.9
All About Steve 5.8
12 Rounds 5.8
The Spy Next Door 5.1
F-Force 5.0
An American Carol 4.9
* Did not actually see it. I judged it by the trailer. (But I did a post on it)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Extraordinary Measures

I really don't want to write a review, but it's time for an update after my last lame post, so here goes. A couple months I saw Extraordinary Measures on DVD. The movie is based on a true story of a man played by Brendan Fraser who basically quits his job and works full time to find a cure for his daughter's deadly disease.

Fraser ends up recruiting a grumpy old scientist (Harrison Ford) to help with the research needed to find a cure. They then face the task of getting corporate backing to fund their work. The movie portrays the many challenges they face as they race against the clock to find a cure.


It is an inspiring story and was pretty good, but I had a hard time getting into it. Ford's character is demanding, rude and abrasive to everyone he works with and is definitely not as likable as characters he has played in the past. Brendan Fraser was better in this than he has been in some of his recent crappy kids movies like Inkheart, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Furry Vengence.

I give Extraordinary Measures 6.5 stars mostly because the subject matter is about finding a cure to a disease for dying kids and I would feel guilty if I gave it a lower score.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Got Movies?

We are at the time of year where all of the big summer blockbusters have come and gone. As I have been checking out what is playing in the theaters, I realized I really don't care to see anything that is currently showing. This is sad since I love going to movies, but I just haven't been very excited to see any particular movie since Inception.

Sometimes I see a movie trailer and I say to myself "There is no way I'm ever going to watch that!" This recently happened when I saw a preview for "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole". This appears to be a movie about owls. WARNING: I am about to be very judgmental and closed minded.

The first problem I have is the title of the movie. Are you sure you don't want to add a 3rd title to your movie while you are at it? I'm guessing this movie is based on a book. It appears to have the voice work of a talented cast. It probably has a good message and it appears to have good reviews, but it is about owls and I'm just not feeling the connection. Without seeing this movie, I am giving it a 6.3rating.

That is the first time I have reviewed a movie that I haven't even seen. Please forgive me for being an unfair jerk and judging a book by it's cover movie by its trailer. I will be more fair on my next review. Usually at the end of the year, several good movies are released in an attempt to qualify for the Oscars. I am looking forward to that time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Salt

I am really torn and undecided about this movie. I am a guy who loves action and espionage movies. I understand Hollywood does not have a reputation for being realistic so I try to cut them some slack for all the "fake" things in movies, but I lost count of how many times I kept saying to myself "yeah right" during this movie.

Evelyn Salt is played by Angelina Jolie and she probably weighs 115-120 pounds, yet she beats the crap out of every man she comes in contact with. These aren't just your average guys, they are security personnel, policemen, special ops, and secret servicemen! Now I know there are some women out there who have lethal skills who could kick a man's trash, but that's just not the case with a skinny twig throwing men around twice her size.

Then there is the issue of jumping off of overpasses onto speeding trucks, not just once but several times. Inertia and the laws of physics apparently don't apply to her. I wouldn't be so critical if Salt was a superhero movie, but she is just a lethal double agent.

I was hoping for a more realistic feel after the opening scene showed her face bloodied up and bruised while detained and tortured in North Korea during a flash back, but I was let down. Despite non stop action involving dangerous stunts and her body taking a beating the entire movie she never got hurt. She only sustained a bloody nose and a cut by the end of the movie.

There were obvious Bourne Identity, Mission Impossible, MacGyver, and James Bond themes in the movie. As much as I liked the action, I really had a hard time buying Jolie as a wrecking ball of destruction. I was also surprised with all the blatant Russian stereotypes which you might have expected during the cold war era, but not today. Then there was the scene when she drove a car remote control from the back seat via taser shocks to the unconscious driver. It didn't surprise me when the president activated some nuclear war heads and the obligatory female computer voice began a long countdown.

Salt is entertaining and has some good qualities and overall I think I liked it alright, but at the same time it is hard to accept. I like Jolie and Liev Schreiber, but I think this movie asks too much from the viewer. Ask not what the viewer can do for your movie, but ask what the movie can do for the viewers. I give it 6.9 Stars.

Driving off an overpass with no seat belt.
 She holds onto the seat to avoid injury.

Bazooka made from a chair, cleaning
supplies, and a fire extinguisher. MacGyver?

Friday, September 10, 2010

M. Night's Curse

No explanation needed. This is funny because it is so true, and that's coming from a a big M. Night Shyamalan fan! I can't get this to show the whole screen, so double click on it to go to YouTube and get the full picture.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is based on a comic book. I had never heard about it before so it was all new to me. Experiencing this movie is a mix between watching a a video game and reading a comic book. It is funny, original, and very creative. Michael Cera and the rest of the cast are great in this movie.

As much as I liked this, I have to admit it may not be for everyone. Beware if you are annoyed by silly sound effects and visuals the entire movie. (It is literally like watching a video game.) I saw two older ladies come in the theater and sit down just as it started. They only lasted 20 minutes. It is definitely geared to a younger audience. There was also some content in the movie I didn't care for.

There is a little bit of everything in this movie. I features martial arts, action, comedy, music, and a love story. It is silly and doesn't take itself too seriously. My favorite scene involved a duel between Scott and one of the ex-boyfriends who had super powers from being a vegan. I give Scott Pilgrim 8.0 stars for being different, entertaining and a refreshing change from what you usually get at the movies. I've never seen anything like it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Prince of Persia

I finally saw Prince of Persia yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was pretty entertaining. It was much better than Clash of the Titans which was another action, adventure, fantasy movie that came out around the same time. When I first saw the trailer for Prince of Persia, I was expecting a middle eastern version of pirates of the Caribbean, but it was actually pretty good.

I thought it was strange that the Persians had British accents and were so good at Parkour. I guess with most of the actors being British, it makes sense to have them all speak with the same accent. The movie was somewhat unique (aside from the fact that it is based on a video game). There were several plot twists which kept it from being too predictable. I also appreciated some of the comedic references like the small business owner played by Alfred Molina who doesn't want to pay taxes and believes in conspiracy theories.

Gyllenhall and Arterton worked well together and I thought the entire cast did a good job. The CGI effects were a little over the top, but overall I give it 7.1 stars because I went to it to escape reality and to be entertained and it delivered.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

I recently watched Alice in Wonderland on DVD and fell asleep several times during it. I can't blame that on the movie since I was dead tired and it was late at night. I thought it was pretty entertaining and I liked what I remember about it but I do have a bit of a gripe for the special club of Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, and Johnny Depp.

They have an alliance like Steven Spielberg and John Williams, but they have also added actors to their special group. Maybe they should start wearing members only jackets since their movies obviously feature an elite closed group. I have listed some of the movies that all three of them have worked on and have put a star next to the ones that also feature Helena Bonham Carter.

Edward Scissors Hands
Sleepy Hollow
The Corpse Bride
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory *
Sweeney Todd *
Alice in Wonderland *

I think everyone in that group is great and I admire their work, but holy cow Tim Burton! Please give some other actors and composers a shot. We get the fact that you like working with the same people. Sorry about the gripe. I give Alice in Wonderland 6.7 stars.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Other Guys

For our anniversary I took my wife to the movies. There were 3 shows playing at the same time, so I showed her the trailers for Inception, Salt, and The Other Guys and told her to pick one. I was shocked when she picked the third one.

Will Ferrell is a funny guy, but we have all seen our fair share of mediocre to lame movies he has been in recently. I didn't have high expectations, but it was actually better than I expected.

There were many scenes in The Other Guys that made me laugh. One scene that comes to mind was totally idiot as Ferrell and Wahlberg theorize about Tuna fish attacking a pride of lions, but it killed me. Will Ferrell is much funnier in this than he has been in many of his other recent movies and has redeemed himself from recent movies like Land of the Lost.

Mark Wahlberg plays his angry partner and Eva Mendes his wife. This movie contains the usual crude humor and language you'd expect in a PG-13 movie, but it could have been worse. I give it 7.4 stars for making me laugh so much.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

12 Rounds and The Losers

Unless a movie is really good or really bad, I may not take the effort to do a full review. Occasionally I will address multiple movies in the same post if they are only mediocre. Since I am combining 12 Rounds with the Losers, you can probably guess that they weren't that great.

I first saw the premise for 12 Rounds on a Starsky and Hutch episode during the late 70's. The movie was also kind of like Speed because a crazed mad man was forcing the hero to run around town the entire movie. I wanted to like it more, but it was totally fake. I have a hard time taking John Cena seriously, but he can obvious act since he's had a successful career with professional wrestling. There were just too many close ups of his tennis shoes as he put the pedal to the metal in the driving scenes. I give it 5.8 stars.

The Losers was kind of like the rival movie for the A-team this year. A group of military special ops are betrayed and try to clear their name and get revenge. The Losers was not as nearly as fun as the A-Team. Its comic book style was kind of unique and it had some good scenes. The best part of the movie was the villain who was played by Jason Patrick. I give it 6.5 stars.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Karate Kid

I always enjoy a story involving a kid standing up to bullies and I love Jackie Chan so I was looking forward to seeing The Karate Kid remake when it came to the dollar theater. I think anyone who has seen the original knew what to expect. The biggest difference is that this version takes place in China and Kung Fu is the martial art discipline on display.

This movie has some problems, but I was surprised at some of the comments and reviews and how they said it could not compare to the original as if the Pat Morita version was The Godfather. I was also surprised how many Jaden and entire Smith family haters there are out there. I didn't think he's a great actor, but he is just a kid. I'm sure all the people who think he is a bad actor have kids who could do a much better job than him. Not! I also didn't think his character was as nearly as obnoxious as Ralph Machio was in the original.

The movie has quite a bit of scenery in China which provided a new look. I'm critical of movies that are filmed near famous landmarks yet there are no extras or tourists in the movie. It seemed fake to have Smith and Chan training alone at the Great Wall of China or the Forbidden City The movie also seemed long, especially if you see it with little kids. Finally, the final tournament obviously used wire work or CGI and felt more like a video game than a martial arts tournament.

The best part of the movie was Jackie Chan. He only had one fight scene, but it was nice to see him in a more serious role for a change. This movie is obviously aimed at a younger audience and I imagine most kids will enjoy it. I give it 6.7 stars.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Movie Star Egos

I appreciate the art of acting and could probably never do it to save my life. I think it is interesting how many of the geeky kids in high school drama productions eventually develop into famous movie stars. I appreciate their talents, but it's obvious that our society gives too much attention to movie stars. As a result, many gifted actors have developed huge egos over time. We've all heard stories of Lindsay Lohan not showing up for filming on time and making directors and cast members wait for her, but I thought I'd focus on more accomplished actors who's eccentric behavior and pride have turned off many of their fans over time.

My intention is not to make a list of movie stars and their faults with this post. It honestly hurts for me to write this post because I really admire the work of each of the actors below. I'm sure it doesn't help their cause when these guys constantly have paparazzi in their face provoking them and every detail of their personal life is documented and criticized by the public. I guess that's the price you pay for being famous.

Marlon Brando is know for being one of the greatest actors of all time, but after experiencing success he became a demanding prima donna. He was known for demanding large payouts for his later movie rolls. In some cases his contract stated that he not be required to read the script prior to shooting and then he would show up out of shape.

Steve McQueen was the highest paid movie star in the mid 70's. I guess that will play with your ego because he was known for fighting with directors and producers and for arguing about who would get top billing for the movies he acted in. He turned down a starring role in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, since he and Paul Newman locked horns over which actor would get top billing.

I really like Russell Crowe as an actor, but we've all seen reports of him losing his temper. He has been in several heated arguments and altercations over the years. I think he is one of today's better actors, but I would be scared to hang out with him in real life.

Mel Gibson gained fame with movies like Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, and The Patriot. I think his directing skills are even better than his acting as you can see in Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, and Apocalypto, but Gibson has been losing fans at a rapid rate over the last 5 years due to his drinking problems, anti-semitic remarks and his more recent sexist remarks towards women.  

Christian Bale is another one of my favorite actors and I was saddened to hear about his Terminator Salvation Tirade when he lost his cool and went off on the lighting engineer because he moved and distracted him during filming. There are also reports of him assaulting his Mom and sister last year which didn't help his reputation either.

On a lighter note, few people can deliver a dramatic line like William Shatner. He is very entertaining, but also has a reputation for not enjoying criticism. There is a line in Mystery Men where Mr. Furious says "don't correct me, it sickens me". This was attributed to a quote Shatner made on the set of Star Trek.

I love most everything these guys have done. It kills me when I hear negative news about them. When I become a famous movie star, I will be totally cool to everyone and directors and other actors will line up to work with me. I will have tons of  fans and they will love me. I will be way cooler than anyone else in Hollywood because I don't have a big ego.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Knight and Day: Actor Trademarks

I recently saw Knight and Day and am not going to give you a real review here, but I will give you my rating. I had heard from several people how good it was and others told me how disappointing it was. I guess they were both right. It could have been better, but I still enjoyed it. I really like Tom Cruise despite all of his critics. I give Knight and Day a 7.0 rating. While watching the movie I was reminded yet again of a Tom Cruise trademark that I have noticed in nearly every movie he has been in.

I first noticed this trend about fifteen years ago. At first I thought it was a coincidence or a random occurrence, but now I know it is an absolute given. If you see a Tom Cruise movie, you can expect a scene where he runs as fast as he can. If you don't believe me just check out The Outsiders, The Firm, Mission Impossible 1, 2, and 3, Far and Away, War of the Worlds, Collateral, Minority Report, Vanilla Sky, and Knight and Day, just to name a few. I was looking for proof of this and thanks to Youtube, you can see for yourself.

Cruise is not the only actor guilty of having a signature move. For Matthew McConaughey, it involves taking off his shirt. McConaughey's contract must state that he gets to take his shirt off in his movies within the first 10 minutes. I once pointed this out to others while watching Sahara and true to form, his shirt came off before the opening credits were even over.  Evidence of this can be seen in Fools Gold, EDtv, Reign of Fire, Failure to Launch, Sahara, and How to loose a guy in 10 days.

I'm really surprised that he kept his shirt on in Amistad. I'm guessing he must have pushed Spielberg for some reason to go shirtless during one of the court scenes. McConaughey may be the king of taking his shirt off but he has some close competition with Hugh Jackman, Jason Stratham, and Bradley Cooper close on his tail.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inception

Inception was one of the few movies that I was really looking forward to seeing this year. It is directed by Christopher Nolan who also directed The Dark Knight. I really liked the Dark Knight but didn't care to watch it a second time since it was so dark, however, I would love to see Inception again and will probably have to in order to fully appreciate it. The last time I remember saying that after watching a movie was after viewing The Prestige which was also a Christopher Nolan film.

This movie features all the action and visual effects that you could ask for, but it also has a complicated and intricate plot. If you are a person who gets confused easily with movies then Inception may be a challenge for you due to it's length and complexity, but I thought it was refreshing and intellectually stimulating. I'm sure Inception will make a killing at the box office due to repeat viewers (and since it is so entertaining.)

Inception is much like the Matrix in that it deals with perception, reality, altered states, and dreams. Despite some basic similarities, it is a very original film with several surprise twists. The musical score by Hans Zimmer is great as usual. The entire cast, many of which you will recognize  from prior Nolan films, gave excellent performances. This is definitely the best movie I have seen in years. The only fault I could find was my pet peeve of close range machine gun fire throughout the movie that never seems to do any damage. I give it 9.0 stars

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Invictus and Parnassus

Recently I saw two movies on DVD. They were Invictus and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. These movies have nothing in common, but I will attempt to give a quick review and share some of my delightful insights from each film. I can almost guarantee this will be the best dual review of both of these movies that you will find on the Internet this week.

I like sports movies, but I don't like Rugby. I like Matt Damon, but not with bleached hair. Despite these conflicts, I really liked this movie. Morgan Freeman did an excellent job of portraying Nelson Mandella. This movie kind of had a Gandhi feel to it with all the wisdom and self control that Freeman portrays. I think Clint Eastwood is a stud and an even better director than an actor. I enjoy his work and would gladly let him make a movie about me any day. Another thing I like about Invictus is how I can make a pun out of the title. I have been wanting to say "that they can't invictus of a crime we haven't committed," but there just hasn't been an occasion to say that yet. I give Invictus 7.6 stars.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is a Terry Gilliam project and has weird Monty Pythonness all over it. It is probably best known for being Heath Ledger's last film and it is very interesting how Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell all play different versions of the same character Tony. I thought the movie was very creative, but if you really want to get the most out of it, I'd suggest watching it after surgery while you are on pain killers. I give it 7.2 stars. The cast was great and they all had good performances, but If you don't like weird stuff, do yourself a favor and stay away.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The A-Team

I'm not a big fan of movies that are remakes of TV shows. When I first saw the trailer for the A-Team, I shook my head in disgust. I was never really into the A-Team when it was on TV to begin with so I wasn't up for a dumb re-make. For some reason I decided to check this movie out and I'm glad I did.

There are movies that have a sense of realism to them like The Pelican Brief and Black Hawk Down and then there are movies like The Transporter and Commando where you have to turn off your brain during the opening scene or you'd end up saying "yeah right" the entire movie. I knew The A-Team was in the latter category so I decided to shift mind gears and go along with it. I loved the introduction to the movie. It had me hooked from the opening scene.

I also laughed out loud several times during this movie which is a plus since it was not billed as a comedy. There is some of the funniest dialogue between Brian Bloom and Patrick Wilson during one of the scenes. I also liked Bradly Cooper and Liam Neeson's characters. Rampage Jackson wasn't bad, but he's no Mr. T. I guess Jessica Biel was cast to make it even more of a guy movie.

The A-Team is overblown, ridiculous, and stupid, and I loved it! I honestly can't remember the last time I had so much fun at the movies. I'd have to classify it as a guilty pleasure. The biggest fault this movie has is the totally over the top final action scene. I was prepared for fake stuff, but the CGI effects at the boat dock looked horrible and I felt like I was watching a cartoon towards the end of the movie. Aside from that detraction, I really liked it and give it 7.6 stars.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Clash of the Titans

I remember when the original Clash of the Titans movie came out in 1981. As a kid I was excited to see it and thought the special effects were cool, but today's technologically spoiled audience would probably just laugh at the special effects from back then. This movie was kind of entertaining, but I was disappointed overall. Below are some of my random observations.

Poseidon got ripped off. Of the three God brothers, he got less screen time than a Stan Lee cameo. Speaking of cameos, when Perseus picked up the stupid metal owl Bubo from the first movie, I was so thankful that he put it down and that was the end of it. Bubo was the Jar Jar Binks of the original.

I liked Sam Worthington in Terminator Salvation. He was alright in Avatar, but I just couldn't buy him as Perseus. Maybe it was his Aussie accent he forgot to cover up. Maybe it was the fact that he had a buzz haircut, yet every other male character in the movie had long hair.

If Andromeda was supposed to be the most beautiful woman in Argos, they should have spent more time casting or in makeup Sorry if that sounds rude. I'm sure she's a model but the thought came into my mind a couple times during the movie. While I'm on the subject of judging women by their looks, Gemma Arterton looks much better with a tan in the Prince of Persia previews than this movie.

What was up with the desert alien guys with glowing blue eyes? Seriously, was this supposed to be an episode of Dr. Who or a movie about Greek Mythology?

My other pet peeve was the whole 3D thing. I saw it in a regular theater and I kept noticing when objects would come flying out towards the screen. I reminded me of Dr. Tongues house of pancakes on Monster Chiller Horror Theater. The whole 3D thing is over rated.

On the positive side Liam Neelse, Mads Mikkelson, and Ralph Fiennes were good in their roles. Why is Fiennes always a bad guy? I will always remember him as Heathcliff, a Nazi, Voldemort, or Hades. It would be nice to see him in a comedy sometime. Maybe Dumb and Dumber 3. Overall I guess Clash of the Titans was somewhat entertaining and it made think Percy Jackson wasn't so bad after all. I only give it 6.0 generous stars and that's because I feel bad for saying rude stuff about the women in the film.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

This review will be short but I have been putting it off for too long and I figure a lame short review would be better than a lame long one. To summarize things: I liked it. I think one reason I enjoyed it was the stylized and unique feel it had. I'm not sure if it was because of the historical time period or if was because of Guy Ritchie's is directing style.

I am not a Sherlock Holmes expert, but I thought Downey did a good job with the role. I maintain my theory that Robert Downey Jr. can do no wrong these days and has made a miraculous turn around with his career. The performances by Jude Law and Mark Strong were also good, but I didn't really get Rachel McAdams in this movie and she just didn't seem to fit.

Overall it is a light hearted, entertaining mystery movie and I give it 7.4 stars.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Robin Hood

My anticipation of this movie has been a see-saw battle. When I first saw the previews I wasn't too excited for another Robin Hood movie, but then I saw it was directed by Ridley Scott so I was looking forward to a Gladiator type of movie. I then heard brutal reviewers bash the movie saying it was too slow and long and that there wasn't enough action. Needless to say, I didn't go in with high expectations and maybe that is why I liked it as much as I did.

I enjoyed the story since it is kind of a prequel and lays the ground work to to how the Robin Hood came to be. Russell Crowe is one of my favorite actors, but I had a hard time accepting him as Robin Hood. He seemed kind of quiet and kicked back for being the hero of the movie and this was not his best role. He had a great supporting cast of Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Max von Sydow, Mark Strong, and Oscar Isaac. The film is visually entertaining and has a nice score. It has a more authentic or realistic feel to it then the green tights and swinging from vines versions we've seen over the years. It's definitely better than the Kevin Kostner's Robin Hood.

The movie is not without it's shortcomings. I almost laughed when I saw the French landing on the English shore in wooden amphibian landing boats. It looked like they were trying to copy the scene from Saving Private Ryan. Seeing Marion and the "Lost Boys" from Peter Pan come to battle was also a let down. There were several unanswered questions and other little details that detracted from the movie too. My kids have been watching the Robin Hood series from the BBC recently which is total bubble gum, so maybe that is why this movie's seemed so good in comparison. Despite the harsh reviews, I still give it 7.7 stars and I'm not just saying that so Ridley Scott will let me be in his next movie.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kid's Movie Reviews

Over the last month I have seen some movies that were made for younger viewers. It's not that I wanted to see the following movies, but I am just an awesome parent and watched these with my kids. I saw Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Spy Next Door, and G-Force. Since I couldn't bring myself to do an official review on each of them, I am doing a brief summary and rating of each one.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians- It was OK if you are into the fantasy type of books with parallel universes. You also might like it if you are trying to teach your kids about mythology. There is some disturbing imagery in this movie and by that I mean seeing Pierce Brosnan as a centaur. 6.2 stars.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid- I had just recently skimmed through some of the books in this series and thought the movie would be funny. There were about 5 things that made me laugh during the movie. It had some potential but overall I wasn't too impressed. 6.1 stars.

The Spy Next Door- I'm a huge Jackie Chan fan so it hurts me to see him utilized like this. If you saw the Pacifier with Vin Diesel, then you have seen this. I had a hard time staying awake. 5.1 Stars.

G-Force- This is about Hamsters who are spies for the government. Enough said. I'm getting tired of celebrity voices in animated and CG movies. 5.0 stars

All four are pretty mediocre and cheesy. If you happened to be scheduled for execution this week and are given a request for a final movie, then I would suggest you forgo the above movies. If you have kids, they will probably enjoy each of these movies. I guess that is a comment about our society. Adults frequently don't like movies they let their kids watch. That's kind of like feeding rotten food to your kids that you don't want since they aren't discriminating enough to know better.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Movie's Greatest Surprise Endings

After hearing about the recent finale of Lost, it got me thinking about movie endings. I love movies where something happens in the final scene that is a shocking revelation and it causes you to re-think the entire movie. I have listed some movies below that are know for having some major twists and surprises at the end of the movie. CAUTION-major spoilers below! Read at your own risk.

Psycho-Norman has split personalities and was acting as his mother. The movie is named after him.

The Sixth Sense - Bruce Willis died in the first scene but didn't realize he was a ghost until the end.

The Others - Nicole Kidman is actually a ghost (where else have we seen that?)

The Usual Suspects - Kevin Spacey's inept character was actually the mastermind Keyser Soza

The Village -It takes place in modern times but they live in a protected sanctuary.

The Prestige - Christian Bale had an identical twin to help him pull off the tricks.

Planet of the Apes - They landed back on earth in the future and it had been taken over by apes.

The Empire Strikes Back - Darth Vader is Luke's Father (and even worse, Luke kissed his sister)

The Game -It was just an elaborate staged surprise for his birthday.

The Crying Game - The he is actually a she (never seen it).

Citizen Kane His dying word "Rosebud" was the name of the sled he had as a young boy.

Fight Club Edward Norton's character and Tyler Durden are actually the same person .

Soylent Green - This popular government subsidized food staple is made out of people!

So there you go. In just a few minutes I have spoiled over 60 years of Hollywood's greatest surprise endings. I warned you not to read if you haven't seen them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Based on a True Story

This week I finally saw The Blind Side. I'm too lazy to write a review, but just let me say I liked it and would give it 7.5 stars. How is that for a brief review? I think most people like movies that are "based on a true story". I usually do. A close cousin to this type of movie is the "based on actual events" genre. As inspiring as these movies may be, I always wonder in the back of my mind which parts or real and what parts Hollywood chose to spice up or exaggerate.

Take a war movie for instance. Is the reference to an actual war or battle the true part and the rest just someones imagination? Where do you draw the line? I would love to make a movie about myself and promote it as based on a true story. The real part would be my name, the fact that I'm a man, and enjoy eating pastries, but I would probably elaborate a little about the martial arts skills, being a secret agent, and the part about playing in the NBA.

Even when a real event movie is good like Rudy, Gifted Hands, Flash of Genius, Erin Brokovich, The Pursuit of Happyness, etc. it makes you wonder what parts were not that accurate. I can tell you one area that is almost always embellished. It entails using attractive actors for the lead characters in the movie. When you watch one of these movies and then see the special features on DVD after and they interview the person the movie was about, they seldom look like Brad Pit or Kate Beckinsale.

I am proposing that any time someone does a movie based on a true story, that they have to list in small print on the poster "Except in real life this person is not that good looking." I hope I haven't ruined inspirational movies based on real events and true stories for you with my cynicism, but this is something I have always struggled with.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Iron Man 2


It's a good thing I went to see Iron Man 2 this week becuase I was within days of losing my movie reviewer license since I hadn't posted for so long. I'm sure this will be one of the biggest summer movies, but it's easy to be let down with sequels so I was prepared to be dissapointed. Overall I thougth IM2 was pretty good. The story was only okay, so I'd like to focus more on the characters or actors.

I liked Robert Downey Jr's performance. Despite being mega rich, super intelligent, and owning several Iron Man suits, he also has some glaring personality flaws and weaknesses. I kind of appreciate seeing that side of the hero, instead of a perfect person.

I thought Mickey Rourke was awesome as the villain and stole the show. He is disturbing and mysteriousin in this movie. That dude is just nasty in many ways. The scene when he's sitting in jail in his underwear comes to mind.

I was expecting Scarlet Johansson to be a villain too, but she ended up being one of the good guys. I still can't buy her as being a tough chick who can take out 15 guys, but her stunt double did a great job with the lucha libre skills.

I liked Don Cheadle more than Terrence Howard as Col Rhodes, but I didn't care for him having his own Iron Man suit. Sam Rockwell and Gary Shandling did a good job at portraying the obligatory coprporate and political weasels which are so frequently behind the scenes in movies. I could care less for Pepper Potts and didn't think she contributed anything to this movie.

I'm not a comic book guy so the whole Nick Fury thing was over my head. Samuel Jackson got about as much screen time as Stan Lee's Larry King cameo. The action scene finale was a little too over the top, but what do you expect from an action/super hero movie? Overall, Iron Man 2 is entertaining with great special effects and unfortunately, that is all many people look for these days in a movie. I give it 7.1 Stars.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Explosions in Movies

I enjoy categorizing similar types of scenes from movies. This is especially true when it is something you have seen hundreds of times. I'm sure you have seen movies where the hero walks away without flinching or even acknowledging an explosion that takes place behind them. I think this is ridiculous, (unless it were to happen in a biographical movie about my life, then it would be cool.) I don't know how I missed seeing this video until now, but I love it. I don't have the skills to round up all the explosion clips or the talent to make a song about it, so I'm glad Samberg and Ferrell did.



Despite the brutal mocking of this frequently overused scene from action movies, I'm afraid we still haven't seen the last of it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Movie Sequel Complications

I recently saw the trailer for Iron Man 2 and noticed that Terrence Howard had been replaced by Don Cheadle for the role of Colonel Rhodes. It's usually not a big problem when a minor character doesn't return for a sequel, but it can be a challenge when the main character decides not to come back to reprise their role.

As you know Arnold Schwarzennegar was the star of Predator, but decided not to come back for another installment. Do you remember who took his place for the sequel? Danny Glover. Yes, I said Danny Glover. I thought I was dreaming or might have made that up when I recently remembered this, but I checked and it's true.

I know movie sequels can be a risky thing. Some series like Star Wars, LOTR, Harry Potter, and Spider Man do great at the box office, but many are just horrible and end up tanking. Speed 2 comes to mind, which has to be one of the worst sequels of all time. I don't think it was because Keanu Reeves was replaced by Jason Patric either. The Superman and Rocky sequels each got worse after the 2nd or 3rd installments too.  

I feel kind of bad when an entire cast comes together except for one actor who holds out. It may not be an intentional thing or because an actor thinks they are a prima donna, but it is still noticable when you see a main character missing. I recently saw that the 4th installment of Pirates of the Carribean is missing Keira Knightley. Maybe she just has enough sense to know when to say when.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Coolest Star Wars Characters



I don't consider myself a Star Wars geek, but like most Americans, I'm familiar with most of the characters in the series. I was recently thinking about some of these characters that George Lucas has made household names and thought I'd share my thoughts on the subject.
The Coolest
5. Chewbacca- The name, the fur, the crossbow, the wookie yell. What's not to like?
4. The Imperial Guard- Despite being bad guys and having a very minimal roles, these special red storm troopers are some of the coolest and most mysterious characters.
3. The Darths- This includes Sideous, Vader, and Maul. If your first name is Darth, then you can probably expect a career with the dark side of the force.
2. Boba Fett- This bounty hunter is a stud. I would have liked to have seen more of him.
1. Obi Wan Kenobi- I like both the original Alec Guiness and even the younger Ewen McGregor version. I think it is probably from the inflections of his voice.

Mixed Feelings
Han Solo- I am a big Harrison Ford Fan, but the tough rebellious guy who pretends not to care act gets old after a while.
Yoda- I know he teaches some great wisdom like "Do or do not, there is no try", but he is also guilty of being a Muppet and saying things like "Good Relations I have with the Wookies"

The Worst
5. Queen Amidala- R2D2 expresses more feelings than her. She is emotionless, sad, and depressing.
4. Battle Droids- These guys are absolutely worthless. They are about as threatening as a slinky and all they do is get sliced to pieces by light sabers. The coolest thing they do is come out of storage.
3. Ewoks-I didn't go to the theater to see jungle Care Bears in space!
2. The blue elephant, and long lipped singer who perform at Jaba's lair. Why throw in such dumb puppets that detract from the coolness of the movie?
1. Jar Jar Binks- No surprise here. I never would have thought that another Star Wars character could make C3PO look cool.
 
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