Monday, February 28, 2011

The Social Network

The Social Network is a true story about a young computer nerd who invents Facebook and becomes a billionaire.I'll admit that I'm jealous any time I hear a story about some college student who starts up a project in their spare time and then ends up being a multi-billionaire several years later. How can they do that when I can't even get 35 followers on this blog?

I appreciated the fact that this movie featured the obstacles and conflict that Zucherman encountered while developing Facebook. I think the destroyed friendships and legal battles were insightful. Jesse Eisenberg did a great job of portraying Mark Zuckerberg. He was intelligent yet cocky, obnoxious, and awkward, which is kind of ironic since he ended up creating the world' largest social network. I still feel kind of indifferent towards him since he came across as being kind of empty like he didn't have a soul. It's hard to root for a character you don't really care about.

I wasn't expecting special effects in this movie, but I learned that the Winklevoss twins were both played by the same actor. A stand in was used as one twin and then the face of Armie Hammer was digitally added over him. I couldn't tell the difference and was impressed with the technology. We've come along way since the Brady Bunch episode when Peter Brady met his identical twin at school.

I give this movie 7.5 stars. The Social Network may have been good, but I'm really looking forward to a movie about Wikipedia since I'm sure it will have more action and stunts in it.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Unknown stars Liam Neeson and it's about a scientist who travels to Berlin with his wife to attend a research conference. Upon his arrival he is involved in an auto accident and sustains a head injury. He wakes up from a coma 4 days later and when he finally tracks his wife down, she claims not to know who he is and there is another man who has taken his identity who claims to be him. He trys to figure out why this is happening to him and struggles with the idea that he just might be going crazy.

Diane Kruger plays a taxi cab driver who helps him as he reconstructs the past events in order to figure out what is happening to him. My least favorite part of the movie was January Jones who plays his wife. Besides having a ridiculous name, her performance was flat and emotionless. I felt like she was a robot from West World that wondered off the set and into this movie.

There were several details that I had a hard time believing, but some major twists and surprises compensated for that. SPOILER ALERT: I don't want to give the ending away, but imagine The Bourne Identity with an older lead and some major revelations at the end of the movie ala The Sixth Sense. (No, he's not a ghost.)

Some people were critical of this movie because they said it had unrealistic details. If it were claiming to be a documentary I'd be more worried about such details, but since it's a mystery/thriller, I give it 7.3 stars for being an entertaining movie.

PS- I've heard some people compare this movie to Taken. I can see why since they both star Neeson, take place in Europe, have one name titles, and have nearly identical posters, but Unknown is more of a mystery thriller and does not have as much action and violence as Taken.

Monday, February 21, 2011

James Bond Withdrawal

Lately I've felt something has been missing from my life. It wasn't until this week that I realized what it was. It has been two years since Quantum of Solace came out and I am having a fix for a new James Bond movie. Unfortunately, I will have to wait until  November of 2012 for Bond 23 to come out and I'm starting to get the shakes.

MGM studios had some financial problems which slowed down the production of the next film. If money was a problem, they could have contacted me and I would have taken over the role for a fraction of what they will be paying Daniel Craig.

The last I heard, Daniel Craig and Judi Dench were the only two actors who had signed on for the new installment. I've only heard rumors about who the Bond girls will be, but I hate speculating about rumors. It appears Javier Bardem was offered the role as the villain.

I was skeptical when Craig took over the role, but I've really enjoyed his style. I know some of the old school Bond fans prefer the witty, clever style (ala Roger Moore) who relied more on gadgets and intellect and seldom got his hands dirty, but I think many younger people like the physicality and unrefined nature of the latest Bond.

The Bond movies are the longest running and most successful movie series in movie history (yes, even more than the Martin Lawrence's Big Momma movies.) 007 first came to the big screen back in 1962! I've seen them all multiple times, but the first one I saw in the theater was Moonraker back in 1979. I'm used to seeing a new installment every 2-3 years so it's hard for me to wait until November of 2012 for the next one.

When Bond 23 is released, you can expect to see me in line on opening night dressed in my tuxedo. If Star Wars and Harry Potter fans can dress up, then why can't I?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Actor Trivia Quiz

It's been a while since I had a movie or actor trivia quiz and since the Academy Awards are approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to do a new one. Feel free to let me know how many questions you got right in the comments section.

1.What actor has received the most academy awards?
-Tom Hanks
-Spencer Tracy
-Jack Nicholson
-Dustin Hoffman

Match the actor with one of the first jobs they had
2. Brad Pitt                  a. worked in a circus
3. Pierce Brosnan         b. dancer
4. Jennifer Lopez         c. moved refrigerators
5. Jennifer Aniston       d. waitress

6. Which one of the following has never been on the X-files?
-Jack Black
-Lily Tomlin
-Peter Boyle
-Betty White
-Luke Wilson

7. Which of the following actors is the oldest?
-Robert Duvall 
-Judi Dench 
-Morgan Freeman 
-William Shatner
-Peter O'Toole 

8. Which actor did NOT drop out of high school?
-Russell Crowe
-Jennifer Garner
-Jim Carey
-Demi Moore

9. Which actor did NOT change their birth name?
-Nicholas Cage
-Tom Cruise
-Chris Rock
-Kirk Douglas

10. What role have Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Keanu Reeves, Natasha Henstridge, and Vincent D'Onofrio all had in common?

Answers: 1-Jack Nicholson, 2-C, 3-A, 4-B, 5-D, 6-Betty White, 7- William Shatner, 8-Jennifer Garner, 9-Chris Rock, 10- They have all played aliens.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ghost Writer

I didn't have any idea what Ghost Writer was about so it was nice to see a movie with no pre-conceived notions or expectations since that seldom happens. This film is about a retired prime minister of Britain played by Pierce Brosnan who is in the process of writing his memoirs. A man hired to assist him with the project dies and he is replaced by a new ghost writer played by Ewen McGregor. He is taken to a secured resort on the Eastern Coast and begins the process of working on the memoirs.

As he works on them, an international scandal involving the minister develops which makes the process more difficult. He eventually comes across several clues which cause him to suspect that his predecessor was murdered. As he continues to piece things together and uncover past relationships, he begins to fear for his life. This is not an action movie, but rather a mystery/thriller. It has a Hitchcock-like feel to several scenes, which I miss seeing these days.

The acting was great and the cast was a very interesting mix. I was shocked to see Jim Belushi and Kim Cattrall in this movie, but they were better then I expected they'd be. It wasn't until the end of the movie that I realized it was a Roman Polanski film. I've enjoyed most everything I've seen of his since his movies seem so realistic.

Ghost Writer is not a perfect movie, but it has many good elements. The biggest distraction I had with the movie was that I kept thinking Ewan McGregor looked like Jason Bateman. I really liked this movie because it was an original story and I found it very thought provoking and entertaining. I give it 7.7 stars.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Last Airbender

I heard that The Last Airbender was bad, but I decided to rent it anyway since I've been known to like movies that others didn't care for. This movie was adapted from the cartoon series Avatar and was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Talk about your downward trend. This guy was one of the most promising directors when he started his career. I loved his first 3 or 4 movies, but he has been on a downward slide ever since then.

This movie is a fantasy film about a world where people are divided into 4 kingdoms of air, earth, water, and fire. There is an Avatar (bald kid with tattoos on his head) who has the power to join all the kingdoms and bring peace to the earth, but those in the fire kingdom wage a battle against him and try to stop him... blah blah blah.

After watching The Last Airbender for a few minutes, I realized that it was a kids movie. The acting was flat and emotionless.The dialogue and robotic acting  was the most painful part of the movie. Some of the special effects were cool, but they just can't compensate for a bad movie.

I give The Last Airbender 4.7 stars and it's only that high because there were some previews I was able to watch at the beginning of the DVD.
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