Thursday, January 27, 2011

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

It has been 10 years since since the first Harry Potter movie came out and now The Deathly Hallows is the 7th installment in the series. I'm not really a Harry Potter fan. I've never read the books and I didn't care too much for the first few movies since they were about little kids attending a school to learn magic. However, as the characters have matured and the series has progressed, I find myself liking each movie more.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed HP7. The series has gotten much more serious and much less cute. The more recent movies are much darker and scarier. The movie begins as all the evil characters have joined forces in an attempt to kill Harry. He ends up on the run with his two sidekicks. They are forced to hide in isolation as they continue their quest to find the horcruxes they need to destroy Lord Voldemort.

Their surroundings are dismal and this movie had a much more serious feel to it than the others. I was surprised at the level of violence, gore, and adult content in this movie. I had heard people complain that this installment was too slow and that the trio of kids spent most of their time hiding in a tent talking. I welcomed some of the slower scenes and thought they provided some balance for all the action scenes. There is still plenty of action and the special effects are great as usual.

This has been my favorite Harry Potter movie so far and I give it 8.0 stars. I'm actually looking forward to part two.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Last night as I was going to bed, my wife turned on an instant play feature from Netflix. We have been watching old X-files reruns for the last couple months. As the intro scene started, it showed a fisherman pull in his nets only to discover he had picked up a body of a woman. He was getting ready to radio the authorities when he saw the woman moving in the net. He helped her out and resuscitated her. As he headed back to shore to get her help, she told him she was fine and didn't want anyone to see her.

I was intrigued with the opening scene but I had never seen one last this long. I recognized Collin Farrel but was shocked to see that he could look so mature back in the mid 90's. After an additional 5 minutes of viewing and not seeing any aliens, Moulder or Scully, I finally realized I was not watching the X files, but Ondine. I must be getting old.

I watched the rest of the movie before falling asleep because I am due for a review, but I have to admit this is not a movie I was super excited about. I had seen some ads for it, but could never bring myself to putting it in my queue. Apparently my wife was able to.

I've decided to give my brief summary of the movie with the following keywords. Nice Irish accents, Collin Farrell with long hair, depressing fishing environment, mermaid-like lady (is she really a mythical water creature or just a lady?), A handicapped daughter, and a bad guy come to find the woman. It was a low budget production and had a drab feel to it and was a little slow. The colors were dark and depressing. It was the complete opposite of the ramped up bright colors you see on CSI Miami.

So there you have it in a nutshell. I give it 6.3 stars. It would have been lower, but I 'm giving it a break for the opening scene since I thought it was the X-files for the first 15 minutes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Movies I Probably Won't See

We live in a time when there are so many movies that you just can't see them all. Judging from some of the trailers I've seen, that's a good thing. Sometimes a movie just gives off a bad vibe and doesn't make a connection with a potential viewer. That is the case with the following movies that I'm pretty sure I won't be seeing.

The Sorcerers Apprentice-I was worried that this Nicholas Cage/Disney combination was going to be another National Treasure with long hair. I actually rented it but didn't end up getting through it, but I was right. It was directed by Jon Turtletaub who did National Treasure.

Country Strong- Gwyneth Paltrow playing a country singer kind of blows my mind. That's like Larry the Cable Guy playing James Bond. I'll be impressed if she can pull it off. The movie looks like it could be good, but I'm just not a country fan. I also don't want to watch Tim McGraw's beard.

Tangled- I'll bet it's a cute feel good animated movie with plenty of inside adult jokes for the parents, but I just don't see myself going to it. I have too many "real" movies to see first even if it is a good movie.

Rio- A cartoon about birds. I just don't care enough about cartoon birds in Brazil to watch this. It doesn't make any difference how many talented actors are doing the voice work for it. It also worries me when the trailer says "from the creators of...." as they try to ride on the success of other movies.

The Green Hornet and The Green Lantern. I usually love superhero movies, but neither of these green features look very interesting to me. I think Thor is one of the lamer super heroes, but that movie looks much better then these two.

Little Fockers- I really liked Meet the Parents. I heard the sequel sucked and now they decided to come out with another one? Did they really need to turn this into a trilogy?

Will this still be funny a third time?
I don't intend to see any of these movies because they just don't appeal to me. I could be wrong and if I do end up seeing any of these and they are good, I will be the first to admit it with an official review.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

True Grit

Last year I watched the original version of True Grit starring John Wayne and thought it was okay, but I wasn't too impressed. I've been looking forward to see how Jeff Bridges portrays Rooster Cogburn in this remake. After watching his performance, I have to admit that I was very impressed. True Grit is an amazing movie and one of the best I have seen in years.

The Coen Brothers adaption has their trademark style to it. There are ten times as many goofy and quirky characters in this movie that in Napolean Dynomite. All of the characters are very intriguing and entertaining. The acting was great and I also appreciated the dialogue too.

Bridges did an amazing job of portraying the crusty old Ranger. Damon was also great and I hardly recognized him in his role. I loved the banter between the two lawmen throughout the movie. There are some great quotes in this movie and I was surprised at how much humor there was for such a serious plot. Hailee Steinfeld plays the young girl who hires Cogburn to track down her father's murderer and bring him to justice. She personified "true grit" more than any other character. She was the main reason I liked this version so much more than the original.

The only two minor hangups I had with this movie was the encounter with the "bear dentist" who spoke like he was tripping on LSD and the abrupt ending. Aside from that, I was mesmerized during every scene and have not seen such an entertaining movie in a long time.

This is one of the few movies I have seen where I didn't find myself criticizing the movie for hard to believe effects or story line. It is very graphic and has a very realistic feel to it. I give True Grit 9.0 well deserved stars.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jonah Hex

There seems to be no shortage of DC Comics characters I have never heard of that have movies made about them. I can now add Jonah Hex to the list. Jonah Hex had  a sort of Wild Wild West feel to it with modern technology and contraptions that were toned down for the mid 1800's.

This movie takes place just after the Civil War. Jonah Hex is a confederate soldier and his commanding officer turns on him and kills his wife and family, then disfigures him and leaves him for dead. Hex is healed by Indians and then becomes a bounty hunter until he learns that the man who killed his family is still alive. He then sets out for revenge.

The casting for this movie felt strange. Josh Brolin played Jonah Hex, but there was not much to his character. He's just an angry half dead dude out for revenge, Megan Fox plays his prostitute friend. John Malkovich is type cast as the usual crazy villain and Will Arnet seemed miscast in this movie as a Union army commander.

Jonah Hex is pretty violent and features a heavy metal soundtrack. That combination along with Megan Fox makes me think it is targeted to teenage boys. The movie is not very memorable and I don't imagine anyone would be impressed with it, unless they had a role in the movie. I give it 5.4 stars.
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