Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Hobbit

I recently saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and I thought it was one of the better movies I have seen this year. It is a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but since it has been over 30 years since I read The Hobbit, I am in no position to comment on how well the movie followed the book or complain about what artistic liberties were taken by Peter Jackson.

The story deals with the dwarf kingdom being attacked my a dragon and they are displaced from their homeland for years until a descendant of the king decides it is time to return to their kingdom and reclaim it. 13 dwarfs and a wizard recruit Bilbo Baggins to help them with their quest. You will see many LOTR characters that you are already familiar with in this movie including, Bilbo, Gollum, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Saruman.

The only thing that really distracted me were such extreme special effects. I understand that computer generated effects are a necessity when you are making a fantasy movie, but some of the scenes, like the dwarfs running away from the Goblins, just seemed too busy and reminded me of a video game. I also thought it was incredibly convenient that despite experiencing multiple life threatening accidents, battles, and falls, none of the good guys ever got injured.

There is plenty of action and special effects during this nearly three hour production. I just wish I didn't have to get strung along for three years in order to finish the series, but I am looking forward to the second installment next year. I give The Hobbit 8.1 stars.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Subtitles Gone Bad

I'm not very cultured or artsy, so most of the movies I watch don't involve subtitles. I don't mind reading subtitles as long as they are legible. The other day I watched The Hammer which is a true story about a deaf wrestler. Since many of the characters in the movie were deaf, there was a ton of signing and therefore, a big need for subtitles.

The problem with this was that the font was too small for me to read and half the time the white subtitles were transposed on a light colored background so it was impossible to read. At one point it got so bad that I thought I might be the subject of a practical joke show and started looking around my room for hidden cameras.

The last time I noticed such bad subtitle work was on the newest Pearl Harbor movie. Each time they showed what the Japanese were saying, the color of the subtitles just blended in with the background. How do movies pass their final editing and get released to the public with such poor subtitle work? I think this is a much bigger goof up than having the boom microphone show in the frame of a movie.

So my advice to those of you who may be making a movie involving subtitles- Do a better job of it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Last week before leaving town I decided to kick my vacation off by seeing Skyfall. I have been looking forward to seeing this movie for some time and I thought it was better than the the prior Quantum of Solace installment. Skyfall begins as a computer drive containing a list of secret agent's identities is stolen and the names and identities of those spies are made public. We later learn that the person responsible is an ex MI6 operative who has a grudge against M.

Daniel Craig gives a good performance in this film. One thing that I have liked about his character is that he is not perfect. The prior Bonds never seemed to make mistakes and relied too heavily on gadgetry. I have enjoyed seeing Craig as an agent with a human side. This is only the second Bond movie where he cries. The first was On Her Majesty's Secret Service after his wife was killed. I particularly liked the scenes that showed his difficulty in coming back to the service after sustaining an injury in the opening sequence.

The majority of this movie takes place in the United Kingdom. There is not the usual amount of exotic locations and globe trotting, but there are also some scenes in Turkey and China. Javier Bardem plays a flamboyant and creepy villain in this movie. Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney have minor roles, but are a nice addition to the cast. It was also interesting to see the introduction of a new Money Penny and Q. I think Judi Dench has done a great job as M over the years.

One complaint I had was how the movie took on a "Home Alone" turn at the end as they booby trap Bond's childhood home as they prepare to defend themselves against their pursuers. This may not have been the best plot or the best Bond film, but I was still glad to see it and enjoyed it more than several others (The World is Not Enough, Licensed to Kill, Diamonds are Forever, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, Never Say Never Again, etc.)

I was shocked when I read so many reviews of haters who didn't care for this movie. There have been 50 years of 007 films and some are definitely better than others, but I like what Sam Mendes did as the director of this installment and I give Skyfall 8.0 stars.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Taken 2

I really enjoyed the First Taken movie so I was glad to hear a sequel was coming out. I recently saw Taken 2 and overall I enjoyed it but I had a few serious concerns with this movie.

I never realized how pronounced some of the actors facial features were. Liam has a distinctive nose and Famke Janssen has some interesting eyebrows that kept distracting me. It's good to know that distinctive facial features are not a hindrance in Hollywood. I say that because my forehead is the same size as a regulation checker board.

Anyway, back to the movie... I enjoyed the performances of all of the actors, but I felt like his buddy friends were insignificant and were almost comic relief. They reminded me of the three Disney cartoon ducks during the scene when he calls them at the golf course.

I liked this movie but I had a little problem with him instructing his daughter to throw grenades off the roof tops so he could hear how far away she was from them. I found it convenient that he just happened to have them in his luggage- I know he is a security specialists, but most body guard's weapons of choice are not grenades.

The scene that really bothered me was when they stole a taxi with a shiny yellow paint job and had a chase through busy streets and experienced 5 or 6 serious crashes, yet there was not a single scratch on it! COME ON!!!

This movie obviously cost millions of dollars to make so why would they choose to ignore the fact that cars get damaged when they collide into other objects? I would rather see boom microphones hanging down in the picture or have visible crew members in a scene than have such blatant disregard for physics.

Despite my complaining, I still liked this movie. Liam Neeson may have a particular set of skills, but apparently so do I, picking the details of a movie apart. I give Taken 2  6.9 stars.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Total Recall

I saw Total Recall a couple weeks ago and have been so busy lazy that I never did a write up.

I always like futuristic/post apocalyptic scenarios where the masses are oppressed and have to fight against "the man", but this movie was missing something and I'm not really sure what. I thought Colin Farrell was decent in the lead role and can't put any blame on him.

Kate Beckinsale plays Farrell's wife who is actually a cop who is trying to kill him after he realizes who he really is. She was kind of like a Victoria's Secret version of the Terminator in this movie as she relentlessly pursues him. Jessica Biel's plays an ally to Farell who helps him evade the manhunt for him, but her role wasn't very developed and I had a hard time caring that much about her.

If you like science fiction, action, pretty women, and special effects, then you will probably like this movie, but it is more of a wait for it on DVD type of movie. I was hoping it would have been better. I give it 6.2 stars.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

007 Montage

I am really looking forward to seeing Skyfall in November. I recently came across this picture on the Internet. It made me wonder which Bond would end up walking away from the table with all the chips. Which actor is your favorite James Bond?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Premium Rush

Premium Rush is about bike messengers in New York City. Joseph Gordon-Leavitt plays a risk taking cyclist who is given a package to deliver across town. He soon finds out that someone is after the contents of his package and is trying to get it from him before he can make the delivery.

I've liked Gordon-Leavitt in every movie I've seen him in so far. I just wish he would loose the hyphenated long name. Maybe he just likes sounding like John Cougar Mellancamp or Jakie Joyner Kersey. Michael Shannon does a good job of playing an annoying bad guy who is easy to dislike.

I got a kick out of how this movie tried to make bikers look so dang hip and cool. Many of them had extreme hair styles and clothes and they all had major attitude. I'm sure most bike messengers don't fit the general stereotypes of cocky, traffic law breaking, risk taking athletes that were portrayed in this film, but it was still fun to watch. This movie may have had some cool characters in it, but none are were cool as the original "Speedy Delivery" Mr. McFeely.

Premium Rush does have some detractions. I liked the flashbacks which explained the story line better as the movie progressed, but I didn't care for how they showed the main character's super human ability to make split second driving decisions. After they showed his ability to redirect his driving course and work out multiple angles and options in the blink of an eye, it got kind of old. The escape scene where he steals a BMX bike and escapes from the police was also pushing it, but I'm sure they were just looking for an excuse to let a stunt double to show off his X games skills. There is also quite a bit of swearing in this movie.

Overall, I give Premium Rush 7.0 stars. It made me want to get a bike.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rated R Movies

Since I haven't been able to get out to a see a movie for a while, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on R rated movies. For those of you who may have time travelled from that past to read this post, rated R means kids under 17 will not be permitted without a parent or guardian due to the content of a movie. Ratings can be a helpful tool to determine what might be appropriate for certain age groups, so what gives with the parents who take little kids to see crap like Saw and Hostel?

My dad is a thespian and film enthusiast. His extensive video collection seldom featured big Hollywood block busters, but he did collect many dramas and award winning films and he regularly invited his kids to see foreign films with him. As a result, I grew up with many rated R movies in our home, but they were usually artsy movies as opposed to the "Bikini Babe Car Wash 3" genre.

I don't go to rated R movies today, but I've seen several when I was younger and have seen many that have been edited or on TV. I loved renting edited movies from Clean Flix before they got shut down over copyright issues. I'd like to get a clear play DVD player that allows you to edit the content of movies, but I am still a little torn over the concept of editing movies.

Many of my favorite movies like The Godfather, The Matrix, Gladiator, and The Shawshank Redemption are rated R, but I saw them edited. As a result, I don't know about all of the content that was originally in the movie and am hesitant to tell people how great a rated R movie was in case that person rents it and are turned off by the 35 F bombs or the sex scenes that might be in the unedited version that I knew nothing about.

Approximately half of the movies in the top 50 best movies on IMDB are rated R. Interestingly only 1 of the top 50 biggest money makers is rated R. I guess you can read a couple things into that. First, making a rated R movie will hurt how well a movie does at the box office since you are obviously excluded a large group of potential viewers. One might also read into this and assume that Rated R movies are typically more likely to win academy awards or receive more critical acclaim. Since 1970, 22 of the 42 movies that earned an academy award for best picture were rated R.

The MPAA rates movies with a panel of judges that have a somewhat secret formula. It's kind of like the formula credit bureaus use to determine your credit score. You have a pretty good idea of what certain things will do, but some subject matter can be hard to pin down and is not always consistent. I have seen some PG-13 movies that were more offensive than some rated R movies but inconsistent movie ratings is a topic for another day.

I don't really know what my point was about R rated films. I think the rating is helpful and I try to stay away from them. There are good rated R movies like Slumdog Millionaire, The King's Speech, and Schindler's List (so I've been told) and then there are just down right filthy and raunchy rated R movies. Since it is often hard to differentiate until you have seen a movie, I avoid them and have tried to make The Movie Guy a family friendly site and only review movies with a rating of PG-13 or below.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Bourne Legacy Insights

When I saw they were making another Bourne movie, without Matt Damon, I was very skeptical. I wasn't expecting much from the Bourne Legacy, but I actually enjoyed it despite some minor problems. If you are familiar with my blog, you know that every post contains spoilers so proceed at your own risk.

I thought Jeremy Renner was great in the lead role and I felt he was even more believable as a government assassin than Matt Damon was as Jason Bourne.

I'm not a big Rachel Weisz fan, but she had a good performance. The scene where she was being interrogated in her home was very intense and memorable.

If you would have told me the main character beats up a wolf and makes him swallow a tracking device and then the wolf is blown up by a laser tracking missile seconds later, I would not have given the movie much credibility, but I was somehow able to overlook this.

Jeremy Renner is not Canadian, but I think he must have been in a prior life. It's just a hunch I have.

Despite problems that critics and fans of the series have complained about, what's not to love about the concept of being a rogue secret agent that the government is trying to take out by using all of their secret  programs and resources?

With all the flashbacks, I was hoping there would have been a final cameo appearance by Matt Damon at the end of the movie, but there was not.

I give the Bourne Legacy 7.2 stars, but I'm a little worried that they will soon run out of suffix words for any future sequels.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Don't Be That Guy

I went to a movie this week and just as the previews were starting, a guy came in and sat right next to me. It looked like he had purchased one of everything from the concessions stand. He unpacked his stash and proceeded to eat his food. About half an hour into the movie he was still unwrapping stuff and crunching up wrappers and shaking his boxed candy each time he'd eat one.

I was shocked at how noisy this guy was while he was eating his snacks. If it's going to take you five minutes to open the cellophane wrapper of your candy, then do it during the noisy parts of the movie and not during the quiet dialogue scenes.

Speaking of movie pet peeves. I think I'm going to scream if I have to sit through that stupid Samsung Galaxy 3S commercial where the nerdy guy ties up the projectionist and then speaks to the audience for what feels like 15 minutes.

Sorry about the venting. I'm actually working on a movie review but just wanted to get this out of my system first.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Transformers "Dark of the Moon"

After seeing the second Transformers movie I decided I was done with Transformers, but I recently gave The Dark of the Moon a chance since it was streaming free on Netflix. The third installment was not as crude, dirty, or stupid as the second movie, but it still sucked.

I can take only so much pointless effects set to dramatic music. I like cool special effects and this movie had lots of them, so many in fact that I felt it was over done. The whole movie is pretty much explosions, robots transforming into vehicles, fighting, robot sounds, and destruction. I usually like this kind of stuff, but it went on way too long. It was just ridiculous and made me feel old.

Every time one of the Autobots and Decepticons spoke it almost made me laugh since that they took themselves so seriously. To quote Optimus Prime "In any war, there are calms between the storms. There will be days when we lose faith, days when our allies turn against us. But the day will never come, that we forsake this planet and its people."

I think Shia Lebeouf can be a good actor, but I don't think this franchise has helped his acting career. I didn't care for Shia's girlfriend in this movie. She came across as an unrealistic, fragile, porcelain doll. I later found out she is a Victorias Secret model who landed the role. She made Megan Fox look like a great actress. The laws of physics were completely ignored for this movie, but what do you expect from a movie based on cartoons and toys.

I can't blame Michael Bay for continuing to make these movies since people still go see them and they make him money. If he offered me to be in another Transformers movie, I'd gladly accept. That doesn't keep me from giving Transformers "Dark of the Moon" also know as "Transformers 3" by people like myself who refuse to give too much respect to the move just 6.0 stars.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chitty Chitty Bond Bond ?

"Van Dyke...Dick Van Dyke"
Some people don't realize the many similarities between Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the James Bond franchise. The movie pretty much follows the classic Bond formula and here are some reasons why.

This kids movie was produced by Albert Brocolli

The novel was written by Ian Flemming. I'm not making this up.

It features Gert Frobe (Goldfinger) who plays Baron Bomburst, Dewmond Llewelyn (Q) as Coggins, and Anna Quayle (Bond Girl from Casino Royale) who plays Baroness Bomburst.

If features the cool cars  with gadgets that 007 fans are used to seeing.

The female lead is named 'Truly Scrumptious". That's a bond girl name if I've ever heard one.

I'm pretty sure that the kidnapper in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is scarier than any bond villain I've seen.

I have been waiting a long time for the next Bond installment and I'm glad it's quickly approaching. In anticipation of Skyfall, here is the new trailer.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Over the weekend I saw The Dark Knight Rises and I was really impressed. I actually liked this movie more the prior two installments. I thought the Dark Knight was a great movie, but it was so dark and emotionally draining that I didn't really care to see it again.

The Dark Knight Rises picks up where the other one left off. Gotham city has been enjoying a very low crime rate for some time. Bruce Wayne is living a secluded life completely withdrawn from society and as a result, Batman has been in retirement for 8 years and is out of practice. It finally takes an attack on Gotham by the villain Bane to get Batman to come out of retirement.

After seeing this movie, I have yet again confirmed that Christopher Nolan rocks! He took 5 of the great actors he obviously liked working with in Inception and they are all featured in this film in very different roles. Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Marion Cotillard, and Cillian Murphy all have great performances. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and obviously Christian Bale all return to the cast and resume their prior roles. Anne Hathaway was a surprisingly good addition and I think Catwoman stole several scenes.

Bane who is a merciless and calculated villain with committed followers, attacks Gotham city and holds it's residents hostage and isolated from the rest of the country. He is able to capture Batman and torments him by making him watch from an isolated underground prison cell as he frees criminals from Gotham's prison and they overthrow the orderly government with a mob rules mentality. Not only was this story interesting, but it also featured some interesting twists at the end which I should have known to expect from Christopher Nolan. The movie was quite long, but it didn't feel like it to me.

I give The Dark Knight Rises 9.0 stars and am glad to see such a good ending to a great trilogy of Batman movies that have put all of the other ones ones to shame.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Artist

I recently saw The Artist and I really liked it. I thought it might be a challenge sitting through a silent black and white movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think it is ironic that in an age of amazing special effects, 3D, and technology, a simple film like this could be so entertaining.

The performances were great. Berenice Bejo who played Peppy Miller was vivacious, energetic, and fun to watch. Jean Dujardin did a great job of playing a charismatic movie star who is on top of his game. James Cromwell had a minor role, but I liked him more in this than I have in any other movie I've seen him in.

This is a touching story about an unknown actress who makes friends with Hollywood's biggest star. As the entertainment industry evolves, silent movies lose their appeal and the great Valentin ends up not only losing his popularity, but everything during the depression, while at the same time his young friend gains popularity and becomes the biggest star of the "talkies".

I give The Artist 8.2 stars. It pays homage to the silent film era, which I imagine, is something that few people remember these days. It's a refreshing movie with a great storyline and it's something the whole family can watch together.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Jar Jar Binks Factor

Last week my daughter wanted to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom since it was the only movie in the series she had not seen. I warned her that it has always been my least favorite installment despite having an exciting start.

As we watched the movie and Indiana's little sidekick, Short Round came on screen, I warned her that he was a little bit annoying and was there for comic relief kind of like a Jar Jar Binks. After watching the movie for another 20 minutes I realized I was mistaken. The real Jar Jar in this movie was Kate Capshaw.

I was surprised to see scene after scene of her pulling silly faces, complaining, over reacting, and being frightened by animals and creatures in the jungle. She may have been prettier than Marion was in the first movie, but her annoying personality detracted from the movie. I'm sure Capshaw was told to ham it up for the movie so she's not the only one to blame.

Having an annoying character in a movie is nothing new. I love The Fifth Element, but I cringe each time Ruby Rhod, who is played by Chris Tucker, gets screen time.

The next time you are bothered by an irritating character in a movie, just remember there have been many over them over time, but I'll admit Jar Jar Binks raised the bar when it comes to being obnoxious.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Amazing Spider Man

It's about time someone made a Spider Man movie, there have only been 4 of them in the last ten years! I guess this most recent movie is technically a reboot with a different cast and storyline, so it makes it a little more interesting than just making another sequel.

I really liked Andrew Garfield as Spider Man. He was quiet and unassuming and I thought he was a fresh alternative to Toby McGuire. I also enjoyed Emma Stone much more as Gwen Stacy than I did Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane.

Despite this movie being a re-boot, you still get the basic story of Peter Parker living with his aunt and uncle, getting super powers, and then acting as a vigilante as he protects the citizens from criminals. You also get the customary Stan Lee cameo appearance.

I liked this version, but I still struggled with a couple details like his endless supply of mechanical spider webbing and the convenience of having a teenage girlfriend who happens to have a part time job with high security access to Oscorp. I also felt the villain was kind of lame. I liked Curt Conner's character, but his turning into a giant lizard didn't do much for me.

The cast was good and also featured Dennis Leary, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field. I think Garfield is a good actor and brought some emotion to the role of Peter Parker that I haven't seen before. Despite some minor hangups, I still give The Amazing Spider Man 7.7 stars. Now I just wish we could get someone to finally make an Iron Man movie.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Men in Black 3

Men In Black 3 continues the series as an alien named Boris the Animal escapes from a lunar prison and is able to go back in time and alter history by killing Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) before he is was able to capture and imprison him. Agent J played by Will Smith also goes back into the late 60's in an attempt to save his partner. As a result, he and ends up meeting and working with a younger version of agent K.

This third installment is fairly consistent with the other movies since it features the same cast and director as the prior movies. If you enjoyed the other MIB movies and like comedy mixed with silly science fiction effects and gags then you will probably like this movie.

I always enjoy time the concept of travel in movies, but this movie also had a touching twist at the end I was not expecting. I also got a kick out of Jermaine Clement who played the villain Boris the Animal. I give Men In Black 3  7.2 stars. I got exactly what I was expecting from this movie.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Darkest Hour

The Darkest Hour is one of those movies that did not last long in the theaters. It got bad reviews, but I was willing to give it a shot. All I know about the movie is that it was about college aged students visiting Russia and while they were there, aliens attack and kill people off. The aliens use light or electricty to track people and they have to figure out how to combat their enemy to survive.

I'm just guessing that is what the movie is about since I only saw the trailer once about 6 months ago. This last weekend I rented the movie but I hate to say I never got around to watching it. I've had it a couple days and am now heading out of town so I'm afraid my viewing of this fne film was not meant to be. All I can really tell you about this movie, is what the DVD looked like.

Maybe some day I will have the chance to see The Darkest Hour. Perhaps my life will be empty and unfulfilled until that day, but I doubt it. This marks the first time I have I have kept a red box video for more than one day and the first time I have not given a rating to a movie.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

John Carter

Today I took my kids to see Disney's John Carter and I'd like to share some random thoughts and impressions I got after watching this movie.

How did Edgar Rice Burroughs (the author of the Tarzan story who was born in 1875) come up with a movie about Mars, space travel, flying ships, etc?

This movie reminded me of Star Wars for several reasons. The obnoxious alien dog looked like Jabba the Hutt, yet could move at supersonic speed. The desert terrain and creatures totally reminded me of certain scenes in Attack of the Clones.

I had a hard time with all the extreme jumping. When John Carter was transported to Mars, did he turn into a flea?

Mark Strong had a good performance as one of the mysterious alien guys who are trying to control the rival inhabitants of Mars. I'm guessing he's fine with being typecast as a bad guy these days.

My younger kids got bored and asked when it would be over. That's not a good sign at a Disney movie full of action and special effects.

I don't really like it when actors lend their voice to animation or CG movies. I think they should only get half the credit for being in the movie if there is no resemblance to the character they are voicing.

This movie juxtaposed different worlds and times against each other kind of like Cowboys and Aliens. It was only about as good as that movie too.

John Carter contained elements of Avatar, Star Wars, Prince of Persia, Cowboys and Aliens, and The Adjustment Bureau. It was a complicated movie with lots of foreign names but I still give it 6.4 stars sinceI liked seeing Gambit fall in love with Wolverine's girlfriend on another planet.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Snow White and The Huntsman

Snow White and The Huntsman and Mirror Mirror were this years biggest example of rival movies. I decided to watch the Huntsman version since it looked like it was the more action packed of the two. I thought this movie was actually better than many of the reviews indicate.

I probably would have been more excited about the casting if I were a teenage girl, but I was able to put my Twilight bias aside and was okay with Kristen Stewart as Snow White in this role even though she always seems so emotionless and detached. Chris Hemsworth was alright, but didn't do much for me in this particular role as the Huntsman. Charlize Theron stole the show as the evil queen who is obsessed with her beauty and power.

I loved the visuals, scenery, costumes, and effects in this movie. It had an authentic gothic feel to it and kind of reminded me of a Lord of the Rings in some ways, although it was not nearly as good as Peter Jackson's trilogies. This was a much darker movie than I anticipated. I really liked the dark forest and was surprised that some parts of the movie seemed more like they were more horror than fantasy genre.

I was really taken in for the first half of the film, but then it slowly stalled out prior to Snow White turning into a Joan of Arc figure before the final battle scene.  

I give Snow White and The Huntsman 7.1 stars. It's not your regular fairy tale and it's not for kids. You won't see Snow White in clean pretty dress singing to animals and doing housekeeping work for dwarfs in this version. Despite it's flaws, I still felt it was better than the critics said and think it is worth seeing for the  appealing visuals alone.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I'm always a little leery when the beginning credits of a movie mention Hasbro. I can understand making a movie based on a video game, but regular games and toys? It's only a matter of time until we see Chutes and Ladders on the big screen. I know I say "I wasn't expecting much" far too often on my reviews, but that was the case here again.

Flying Droidekas
Battleship is about an international navy competition that takes place in Hawaii. During routine exercises, they come across alien space ships in the ocean that end up attacking them and destroying much of their fleet. The lead character is an undisciplined slacker who finally has an opportunity to develop his leadership skills and save the world from destruction.

There are many inconsistencies, plot holes, and other problems with this movie that leave you scratching your head. Aliens ships the size of sky scrapers splashing in and out of the water 100 yards away from a small boat don't even make waves enough to rock the boat?

The scene I had the hardest time with was when a handful of surviving sailors decide to take the USS Missouri out to sea to continue fighting the aliens. I have the greatest respect for WW2 vets, but it made my stomach turn when there just happened to be several old veterans hanging out at the ship who were familiar with the vessel and ready to take it into battle.

In a short video montage accompanied by AC/DC's Thunder, a dozen soldiers quickly fix up and take the 70 year old decommissioned ship out to battle against superior alien technology that previously took out their modern fleet. It kind of reminded me of when Aragorn recruited the green ghost guys to defeat Sauron in Return of The King. I would not have been surprised if they also teamed up with the Black Pearl to help them fight against the alien invaders.

I give Battleship 6.1 stars for the following reasons:

1) They did a great job of product placement.
2) I no longer feel the need to see the newest Transformers movie anymore.
3) This movie teaches us that the elderly and handicapped can still save the day.

Young boys will probably still like Battleship, since it's a mixture of Top Gun, Battle Los Angeles, and Transformers and has great special effects. Maybe I'm just getting too old.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Biggest Money Making Movies

I enjoy following box office stats and am looking forward to seeing if The Avengers will be able to overtake Avatar as the biggest money maker in movie history.

As I've compared movies, I've noticed that of the 250 biggest money makers, most of them have been released in the last 20 years. I'm sure part of this is due to inflation, but I think another factor is a result of how many movies are released these days. Below I list the top 5 domestic money earners by decade.

The Avengers $552,700 (and climbing)
Toy Story 3
The Hunger Games
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Transformers-Dark of the Moon

14% of the top 100 highest grossing films have come out in the last 2 years

Avatar $760,505,847
The Dark Knight
Shrek 2
Pirates- Dead Man's Chest
Transformers- Revenge of the Fallen

60% of the top 100 highest grossing films came out between 2000-2010

Titanic $600,779,824
The Phantom Menace
Jurrasic Park
Forrest Gump
The Lion King

16% of the top 100 highest grossing films came out between 1990-2000

ET $434,949,459
Return of the Jedi
The Empire Strikes Back
Raiders of the Lost Ark

8% of the top 100 highest grossing films came out between 1980-1990

Star Wars $431,065,444
The Excorcist
The Sting

2% of the top 100 highest grossing films came out between 1970-1980

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Three Stooges

I recently took my younger kids to see the Three Stooges. They were not disappointed.... but they are little kids and don't know better.

I wasn't expecting much from this movie, however, I was pleasantly surprised that the three lead actors were able to portray the original 3 Stooges as well as they did. That being said, this movie probably would have been better as a short video tribute paying homage to the original characters as opposed to an entire movie.

This film was directed by Bobby and Peter Farley who's prior films include There's Something about Mary, Hall Pass, Shallow Hal, and Dumb and Dumber. I was impressed that they geared this movie more towards kids and toned it down to a PG rating. There is still some crude humor in it, but I'm sure it's not nearly as offensive as some of their other work.

If you like slapstick comedy and physical gags or if you are a fan of the original, then you may find this entertaining, but it is not nearly as good as I had hoped. I give The Three Stooges 5.8 stars.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Avengers

This week I was in the video store and was very surprised to see that The Avengers was already out on video. I don't understand what all the hype has been about lately. I thought it sucked. I expected more with a cast of Sean Connery, Ralph Fiennes, and Uma Thurman, but I was really let down. I also didn't recognize Robert Downey Jr. in it. He must have just had a cameo.

Now that my comedy routine is over, I will give you my official review of The Avengers (2012 release). I thought it was well done considering the subject matter. I wasn't expecting this movie to be as good as it was since I felt it was such a big task to bring all these characters together successfully in a good movie.

What's there really to say about The Avengers? Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, the Black Widow, and Hawkeye all join forces under the leadership of Nick Fury to fight against Loki as he attempts to invade earth with an army of aliens once he is empowered with that blue cube thingy that was in the Captain America movie. No, I can't remember the name of it and I'm too lazy to check on IMDB to find out what it's called.

Joss Whedon did a good job of keeping the background of each character consistent with the prior movies they were featured in. The special effects were great and there was plenty of action and even some humor. I never thought seeing Hulk smash a person like a rag doll could be so funny. This was also by far the best portrayal of Bruce Banner compared to any prior Hulk movie.

I thought it was strange that there was not a more equitable gender balance when it comes to the superhero ratio. Just one lone woman among all that testosterone? I would expect at least two or three women in a day of affirmative action. At least X-Men got that part right.

I give The Avengers 8.4 stars. It's over the top, but it was good and lived up to the hype.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Lockout is a futuristic, sci-fi, action movie about an innocent man who is sent to a prison in space. During this time the President's daughter is visiting the facility when a prison break occurs and she is taken hostage. The main character is then recruited to help rescue her. It's kind of an updated version of Escape to New York. I don't think Lockout had much of an advertising budget because it sure had a quiet release.

The biggest thing that stuck out for me in this movie was Guy Pearce. I have liked him in prior movies and roles, but he is sort of an enigma here. He has the cocky smack talk of Bruce Willis, the gravel voice of Vin Diesel, and the body of Mark Wahlberg. I kept asking myself "Is this really Guy Pierce?"

I saw Luc Besson's name was attached to this movie so I planned on suspending my sense of reality, but it still was pretty far fetched. It violated my cardinal rule about wounds healing themselves. In the opening scene, Snow is repeatedly punched in the face by interrogators, but there is no swelling on his face afterwards. The vice president's daughter is shot in the leg, but after wrapping a cloth around her leg, she is as good as new and stops limping for the rest of the movie.

The escaped prisoners in this movie are all homicidal maniacs and the really bad ones have thick Scottish accents. There are tons of loop holes and unanswered questions in this movie. It kind of reminded me of a movie based on a video game. Maybe it was. I'm also not a Maggie Grace fan so I had a hard time caring for her character.

I give Lockout 6.5 stars. It started out really good, but lost some of it's potential as it went on. Even so,  I still liked some aspects of it and it was some mindless fun, but you should probably wait for it to come out on video.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jim Gaffigan's Mr. Universe

I know Mr. Universe is not a movie, but since it was my entertainment this weekend, I have decided to review it. I've always enjoyed Jim Gaffigan's material. He is one of my favorite comedians and I appreciate the fact that he keeps his routine pretty clean which is quite rare for stand up comedians. I paid $5 to download his Mr. Universe special and I really enjoyed it.

Gaffigan is true to form with his self depreciating jokes, but there was also quite a bit of new material I had not heard before. He briefly talks about having kids before he addresses other topics like gyms, personal trainers, whales, above-ground swimming pools, and of course eating. He has also incorporated several new voices into his routine besides his usual alter-ego with the whiny voice.

He was pretty tough on some big businesses as he made fun of Disneyland, McDonalds, and Subway Sandwiches. I love Disney, and I enjoy Subway, but I found myself laughing and agreeing with some of his insights rather than getting offended. I also found it interesting that even though he bashed McDonalds throughout his routine, he was also their biggest defender.

Gaffigan has followed the lead of Louis C.K. by marketing his special directly to the public online. Some people might worry about pirating, but I think he has so many loyal fans that it is a win-win situation. You can download or watch Mr. Universe at Jim for just $5. That's a great deal when you consider how much it costs to go to a live performance. I give Mr. Universe 8 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Most Typecast Actors

I've always felt sorry for actors who make it big with a particular movie and then find themselves remembered almost exclusively by that role. Mark Hammil will always be known as Luke Skywalker and Leonard Nemoy will always be Spock. Despite Alan Alda's acting accomplishments he is known as Hawkeye and Roger Moore as James Bond. I've made a list of actors who have been typecast and are known for a particular character or genre.

The Hero/Good Guy- Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford. It's rare to see them in the role of a bad guy. When I saw What Lies Beneath I couldn't handle Harrison Ford being the bad guy so my subconscious mind took over and he became William Shattner for the last part of the movie.

The Villains- Christopher Lee, Sean Bean, Malcolm McDowell, Alfred Molina, and Boris Carloff.

The Weird/Crazy Guy- Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, John Malkovich, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Lorre.

The Mafia Member- Al Pacino, Robert Dinero, Joe Pesci, and Vincent Pastore.

The Nerdy Scientist- Jeff Goldblum owns this category.

The Romantic Comedy Stars- Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Drew Barrymore, Hugh Grant, and Sandra Bullock.

The Tough Action Movie Guy - Vin Diesel, Arnold Schwarzennegar, Steven Segal, Sylvester Stalone, The Rock, and Jason Stratham.

The Loud Mouth- Chris Tucker, Chris Rock, and Martin Lawrence.

The Tough Chick- Mila Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver.

The Spoof Movie Star-Leslie Nielsen.

The Crazy Comedian- Jim Carey, Will Ferrell, and Steve Carell. (Although I appreciate Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and Jim Carey taking on more serious roles or different genres during their careers.)

Many of those listed above have an extensive repertoire of films and have taken on a variety of genres, but they are still best known for their bread and butter roles they keep reappearing in. I applaud some of the more versatile actors who have shown their talent in a variety of roles like Russell Crowe, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, and Gary Oldman.
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