Saturday, February 27, 2010

3 Combined Movie Reviews

I recently watched three unrelated movies that I didn't care for. I don't have the energy to write a review for each one, so I am going to combine them in this post.

The first movie was All About Steve staring Sandra Bullock. It was not very good although it had some funny parts. I thought the best part of the movie was Thomas Haden Church, who played the Sandman in Spider-Man 3. I didn't care for him at all in that movie, but I thought he had stole the show in this movie. The movie is about an insecure woman who basically stalks a guy across the country after one short date with him. I give it 5.8 stars.

The other movie I saw was The Brothers Bloom. I had never even heard of this film and wasn't sure how it ended up in my Netflix queue. It appeared to take place in the early 1900's but then there were scenes with Lamborghinis in them. Although it featured several talented actors, I just couldn't get into it and actually stopped watching it about 20 minutes before it was over. Ouch. Sorry, I just didn't like the style of the movie. If you want to see a good movie about con men, watch the Sting or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels instead. I give it 6.1 stars and that's because I felt bad for giving up on it.

The last movie I had to endure was An American Carol. It is a film that came out last year which spoofs Michael Moore. I thought the idea sounded funny and I had heard it had poor reviews, but I figured it was because it was supposed to be a right wing comedy with a conservative message and was probably just blackballed. It was directed by David Zucker who did Airplane and Naked Gun, so I was hoping it would be funny, but I was wrong. The idea had some potential, but it was butchered. I give it 4.9 stars and that's only because it was trying to make fun of Michael Moore.

So there you have it, 3 lame movies that I am making share a review. Take note movie makers. If you want your movies to get their own review on my blog, you'd better do a better job.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Last night I watched Duplicity on DVD and it was a strange experience. This movie reminded me of Oceans 11 and the Italian job because it had to do with spying, stealing, and conning. It also had a similar sound track which gave the movie a sassy feeling. The story is about two people played by Clive Owen and Julia Roberts who work for two large rival Proctor and Gamble type of companies. These rival companies constantly compete with each other and employ more spies than the CIA and FBI combined. The movie was interesting and had some funny parts but was also confusing as crap.

It usually bothers me when people complain about being confused during a movie. I have little patience for people who can't follow a plot or can't handle a flashback or don't have the patience to wait for all the pieces to come together at the end of a movie, or don't like long run on sentences, but this was different. This was confusing on steroids. I have to admit it was not entirely the movies fault. First of all, I was starting to nod off and was in and out of consciousness for some of the scenes. Netflix also sent me a scratched disk that kept skipping back to prior scenes and many of the scenes have identical dialogue so I couldn't tell if I was watching the same scene or experiencing deja vu. On top of that, I was watching a movie that had more flashbacks than any movie I have ever seen. Not a good combination.

I'm not a huge Julia Roberts fan, but she was okay in this movie despite being so cold and calculated the entire movie. I'm still not sure if I buy the chemistry between the two stars, but I thought it was kind of funny how they were so mistrusting and constantly tormenting each other. Paul Giamati was great in his role. He seems to steal the show in every movie I have seen him in (Big Fat Liar included). Seriously, he rocks.

Despite the abundance of confusion I had to endure while watching this movie, I still give it 6.6 stars. I would tell you to wait for it to come to video, but that would be like me telling you to get ready for Y2K. By the way, I know I am no Roger Ebert, but you gotta love the Movie Guy because despite his critiquing shortcomings, his heart is in the right place.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Killer at Large

I recently watched the documentary Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America's Greatest Threat. It got off to a slow start and was a low budget production. I was irritated by the poor audio quality and background music towards the beginning of the documentary. Despite a slow start, half way through the pace picked up and it got more interesting.

This film addresses the increased incidence of obesity in the US and discusses many of the causes of obesity. Some of these causes included genetics, inactive lifestyles, the elimination of PE in many schools, fast food, portion sizes, marketing to children, the food pyramid, poverty, etc.

A good part of the program is critical of the USDA and their role in the obesity epidemic. The movie also points a finger at the Bush administration as been responsible for the problem. This is done in classic conspiracy theory fashion. I understand the government can influence how we eat, and there may be some truth to the information, but I would have enjoyed it more if they didn't throw politics into the documentary as much as they did. They also addressed the role of government vs. individual responsibility and I found that debate to be interesting.

Overall, I liked this movie and would recommend it to anyone concerned about their health or the rising rate of obesity that effects so many people. Even if you are not obese, it is insightful to see how much junk food we eat. I would have liked to see more solutions presented in the video, but it was still informative despite its shortcomings. I give it 6.9 stars.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


When I first saw the trailer for Surrogates, I was looking forward to seeing it, but after hearing several people give it unfavorable reviews and seeing it only got 6.3 stars on IMDB, I decided to wait until it was out on DVD. I think the best thing you can do to make a movie enjoyable is to go in with low expectations. Since I had only heard how mediocre it was, I was not expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised and actually enjoyed it.

Bruce Willis gave a good performance. In this film, he is a serious, depressed, and vulnerable cop unlike the cocky invincible character he played in the Die Hard movies. I really appreciated the details and the special effects and the visual contrast between many of the characters and their robot avatars or surrogates.

I thought it was a cool sci-fi story and although much of it was original, there were still occasional shades of I Robot, Westworld, Faceoff, The Matrix, Avatar, and Minority Report. I'm sure the book was better than the movie, but aren't they all? I really liked how the movie portrayed people's reluctance to experience face to face human interaction.

Spoiler: The final scene features dazed citizens coming out of their homes exploring the real world after all their surrogates have been destroyed. The look on their faces reminded me of the fear and discomfort a teenager might display when asked to unplug from their Ipod at a social gathering or to get off the computer when company comes over.

Surrogates is not a perfect movie, but it is much better than what I expected. There is quite a bit of social commentary and insight into human nature. It addresses confidence, fear, pride, vanity, while at the same time providing a mystery story, with action and cool special effects. I can't complain. It was more mentally stimulating than most movies. I give it 7.2 Stars.

On a side note, I'd like to congratulate Avatar for recently passing Titanic. I was hoping Dark Knight could have done it last year, but apparently it took another James Cameron movie to do so. I just hope he's doing ok financially now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Counterfeit Movies

I was recently looking on Netflix for new releases and I saw that Sherlock Holmes was already available on DVD. Something didn't look right and upon further examination, I realized it was a different version of Sherlock Holmes that just happened to be releasing to video at the same time the Robert Downey Jr. version is doing well in the theaters. That is more than a coincidence, it is actually a parasite attempt to benefit from the success of a more popular host movie. When it is that blatant I actually classify it as a tapeworm movie.

Counterfeit movies are not uncommon. I remember seeing a video called The Titanic which was a TV movie which came out on video around the same time that Titanic did. Counterfeit movies are a distant cousin to the Rival Movie concept. I don't mind rival movies that copy a similar plot as much since I now keep track of them, but I don't care for the counterfeit ones where they bank on the viewers being confused or just riding on the advertising and hype of another movie. The movie producers must figure that if someone sends their grandma to the video store to get a DVD she may not realize she is not getting the right one. Shame on those movies and shame on people who are so lazy they send their grandma to do their errands!

In 2008 There was a crappy remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Fraser. Surprisingly there were also two other direct to video movies released at the same time based on the same plot with the exact same title. Coincidence? I think not. Here are some blatant parasite movie titles: Da Vinci Treasure, Transmorphers, Snakes on a Train, and The Day the Earth Stopped. I also noticed that The Haunting of Winchester House came out at the same time as and The Haunting in Connecticut. Both similar horror movies.

It wouldn't surprise me if when Avatar comes out on DVD, you see other videos with the title Avatar in them that are released straight to video at the same time. I guess I can't blame them for wanting to benefit from the advertising. In fact I can kind of relate. I have been thinking of changing the name of this blog to IMDb.
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