Friday, December 30, 2011


Columbiana is one of those movies that didn't get very good reviews, buy I still wanted to see it anyway. Maybe it was because it had Luc Beeson's name attached to it. Maybe it was because Zoe Saldana made such an impression on me as Uhura in Star Trek that I was willing to overlook the low rating. The movie started well and had promise, but I felt it failed to deliver.

Columbiana is about a young girl who's parents are killed by a drug lord. She escapes to the United States, grows up, and as as adult, she seeks revenge against him. I can feel empathy for a young girl who was subjected to seeing her family killed, but her parents were criminals and the relatives she later moved in with were murderers so it's hard to side with someone who has basically grown up to become a vigilante serial killer. I guess it helps if they are pretty.

I liked the idea behind this movie, but it just didn't work. I know there are many women who know how to handle themselves and could kick my trash, but I still have a hard time buying the fact that a 115 pound girl can beat up grown men. (yes, I'm also talking to you Salt and Hannah). It would have been easier to accept if Saldana had some muscle on her, but she is just a skeleton in this movie.

I felt a couple scenes were particularly ridiculous. One involved her uncle pulling out a gun and shooting a car and causing it to crash near a crowd of people. It was just an object lesson to teach her about different types of crime. They simply strolled away after with no questions asked, but as a result, she decided to stay in school so it must have been worth it.

The other incident was when a photo of half of her sleeping face made it to the police station's computer data base. Their computer was immediately able to match her ear and nose and come up with a 100% match and help them find her. The way the computer showed this process was just laughable.

I'm sure there are many younger guys who will enjoy this movie since it features a hot chick shooting guns and stuff blowing up, but I didn't have a very good time watching this movie. The main character is an unhappy, angry woman who is consumed with getting revenge. I only give Columbiana  5.6 stars which is kind of sad because I wanted to like it more.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol continues the MI series as Ethan Hunt and his team are framed for bombing the Kremlin. They are disavowed and cut off from any support or funding from the government, but you'd never know it from all the equipment and gadgets they still have at their hands.

Tom Cruise is in top form for this movie and I think he has done a great job with the entire franchise. The supporting cast consists of Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, and Jeremy Renner. This installment didn't feature a memorable villain like Phillip Seymor Hoffman in MI3 but Hunt still had his hands full trying to prevent a nuclear bomb from going off . Ethan Hunt globe trots like James Bond in this movie and there are some exotic locations featured in the film.

Ghost Protocol is a very exciting, but I had a hard time with a few things in the movie. This is obviously not your Tom Clancy genre of spy movie. I know we are supposed to suspend our sense of reality for this kind of movie, but a couple things were pushing it.

I can handle tearing off masks and fake gadgets, but the holograph screen in the Kremlin and the floating magnetic suit were a little too much. I also think the whole concept of dismantling a bomb in the last few seconds before it detonates has been done so many times in so many movies, that I have become immune to the excitement that it may create for most people.

Despite these minor irritants, this movie was still very entertaining and had non stop action. It also features a staple of every Tom Cruise movie, which is him sprinting for his life. I don't think MI4 was quite as good as most people said it was, but despite my nitpicking, it is still a pretty fun movie and I give it 7.9 stars.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Last week Sherlock Holmes 2 was released and I finally had a reason to go to the movies. I enjoyed the first movie and thought it had a unique style to it. The second instalment feels almost identical to the first when it comes to the cast, visual effects, and music, but the sequel was still original and very entertaining.

The second installment continues as Sherlock Holmes and Watson attempt to stop Professor Moriarty from secretly orchestrating a world war. I found it interesting that Sherlock Holmes comes across as being so cool, yet he is a paranoid conspiracy theorist who suffers from substance abuse.

I really like the style that Guy Ritchie has given to Sherlock Holmes. There is action, humor, and some cool slow motion cinematography. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law give great performances.

The female characters in the movie weren't given the change to make very big contributions with their roles. Rachel McAdams is only in the film for a few minutes and Noomi Rapace was just a tag along. Some people might accuse the most recent Sherlock Holmes of resorting to Kung Fu and MMA more than he does to sleuthing, but I still thought A Game of Shadows was pretty good and I give it 7.5 stars.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Movie Complaints

I am very frustrated right now. I have some movie passes and I have time off work, but I don't care to see any of the movies that are currently in the theaters. When are some good movies going to be released? Below I have listed some of the movies that are currently in theaters and I really can't see myself watching any of them (even on video).

Jack and Jill- Shame on you Adam Sandler. You used to be funny. Your movies are getting worse with time. Have you been hanging out with M. Night Shayamalan? I won't be wasting my time on Sandler in drag.

Happy Feet Two- Why? Was there really a demand for a sequel? Would I ever watch this? No way!

Muppets- I like Frank Oz, but I have never been into muppets, not even as a little kid. I hear this movie is cute and fun and got great reviews, but it has no appeal to me.

Puss In Boots- Another animated movie that has good reviews, but I'm a grown man and if I'm going to see a movie, I don't want it to be a cartoon about a cat with a sexy Spanish voice.

Alvin and The Chipmunks- Chipwrecked- I'm afraid the catchy pun title to this movie is the only thing going for it. Three characters with high pitched voices for two hours? No thanks.

The Smurfs- Really? The Smurfs? Have I been transplanted to a parallel universe where the only movies you are allowed to watch are based on cartoon?

Arthur Christmas- This has good reviews. I have no idea what this is about, but it's ANOTHER dang cartoon!

New Years Eve- This looks like a total chick flick movie with a huge all star cast, but I have a feeling there are no stunts, action, or special effects in it.

I'm sorry to be so negative about these movies. I understand they may be cherished treasures to some people, but I am so ready for an action movie and I'm getting tired of waiting. Please bring on Mission Impossible 4!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Favorite Movie Composers

Music is an important part of movies that is often overlooked. My wife is a violinist and occasionally plays recording sessions for movie scores. She has frequently commented about how incomplete a movie is until a composer adds the score to a film. Most horror movies would not be scary without the right kind of background music. Music makes a huge impact on the final cinematic product.

John Williams
I'd like to highlight some of my favorite movie composers. These artists improve the quality of movies and I also enjoy listening to their soundtracks. Some of my favorite composers are:

Thomas Newman-The Green Mile, Cinderella Man, Road to Perdition, Meet Joe Black.

James Horner-Braveheart, A Beautiful Mind, Titanic, Avatar, Troy, Sneakers, Star Trek.

John Williams- Star Wars, Jaws, Superman, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park.

Hans Zimmer- Gladiator, Inception, Sherlock Holmes, Pirates of The Caribbean, The Dark Knight.

John Barry-A bunch of James Bond movies, Dances with Wolves, Somewhere in Time, Out of Africa.

Randy Edleman-Shanghai Noon, While You Were Sleeping, Last of the Mohicans, Gettysburg.

Danny Elfman-The Simpsons, Beetlejuice, Batman, Good Will Hunting, The Simpsons.

Eric Serra-The Fifth Element, Golden Eye, Bandidas.

There are many other great composers missing from my list, but I really like the work of these guys and I can usually identify their styles and recognize their work while watching a movie. I'm grateful that I didn't live during the era of silent films that featured standard background organ music to all of the movies.
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