Friday, January 27, 2012

(TV REVIEW) FlashForward

Destiny. Freewill. Two powerful words that most people can never truly gasp the weight of. The idea that a person is destined to do something. Maybe something great, maybe something evil, or maybe just to help move the pieces where they belong. Then you have to consider Freewill. If we have a destiny, does that mean that we are in control of our lives? Are we the rudder or the ship? Do we actually make our own choices, or is it all part of a grand plan that we have no control over?

Storyline: After the entire world's population blacks out for approximately 2 minutes and 17 seconds, which in effect causes the entire world to see a glimpse of life 6 months into the future, an elite FBI task force is formed to investigate who/what caused the global blackout, whether the events foreseen were simply flashes or true events of what's to come, and whether or not it could possibly happen again. ---From IMDB

There is something that is mentioned in this show that I have heard before and I love the thought behind it. Schrodinger's Cat. This is an experiment that was designed/performed in the 1930's to describe a paradox. Basically, it talks about the possibility of two events taking place at the same time in the same place...and since we cannot see which possibility is playing out, we have to assume that BOTH are happening...thus, a paradox is created. It's truly amazing to think about.

That concept plays into this series a LOT. Because the people involved have knowledge of where they will be in 6 months. Since most of them are trying to change that outcome, they set forth on missions to change the future. The problem is that they are, in most cases, moving themselves into a position to CAUSE that future. So, until they actually arrive at the place in time that their Flashforwards takes place they are left to believe that BOTH Destiny and Freewill are at play here. A really cool and amazingly deep concept.

The only real problems that I have are with some of the character developments that take place. That and the lead actor, Joseph Fiennes, plays the part of Mark Benford so gruff that he is pretty unlikeable. While Fiennes has been in plenty of shows/movies/plays, I don't think that he was strong enough to play that part.

I think that you should check it out. It's a pretty solid show that is better than a lot that is on TV now and, for content alone, it should have gotten a second season. You can watch it for free on Netflix.


I have a real problem with jumping on the bandwagon. Always have. I don't follow trends and, usually, I will go to great lengths to avoid a popular trend...even if it is something I want to take part in. That was how I felt about the series LOST. I did not get involved with it from the beginning and figured that it was something that people had "oversold", so I made a point to avoid it. Recently, since the series ended in 2010 and all season were on DVD, I decided to borrow them all from a friend and watch them. It took my wife and I 2 months to watch 5 years of TV....and it was worth it.

Storyline: After a mysterious and bloody airplane crash, 48 survivors are left stranded on a Pacific Island... miles off course. It soon becomes apparent that they will not have to cope only with the forces of nature, but with the island's secrets, including the Dharma Initiative, the 'Lost Numbers', the "others" (or hostiles) and the strange black smoke- to name a few. There is also much more than meets the eye, as it becomes apparent that everyone is connected in some way and that everyone has a purpose to live on the island... and for some, to die.--- from IMDB

I will admit to this. I was WAY wrong. This show was not oversold in any way. It is one of the most unique shows that I have ever watched and I am so glad that I finally decided to check it out. I LOVE shows about destiny, purpose, and all things "other worldly"...and this shows has ALL OF IT. Honestly, this is one of the better shows that I have seen. People that know me, know that I am a bit of a snob when it comes to TV. Lost managed to work it's way into my top 5 favorite shows of all time. The other 4 are some SERIOUSLY heavy hitters. So this is not a small feat.

My only regret is that I waited so long to see it. That, and that by waiting this long to see it, I will never get that feeling of anticipation of waiting for a new season to air. Sure, we missed two months of out lives because of this show, but I would do it all again in a second!

I need to add this. Claire, by herself, is one of my least favorite characters in recent history. That being said, her and Charlie's relationship is one of the more beautiful things I have seen on a TV show. I will openly admit that during that final season, when they "remember" I was in tears. Loved it!


(Movie Review) Something Borrowed

The only thing that is worse than a bad movie that is a typical "point by point" standard genre film, is when a good movie is a "point by point" standard genre film. By that, I mean that you already know what to expect. You know who is going to get the girl and you are secretly rooting for someone else the whole time but you KNOW, because it is the industry standard, that the other guy gets her. Why? Because movies are sometimes stupid like that and you spend 5 minutes after the movie shaking your fist at the screen and saying WHY!?!?!.....or at least I do that. 

Storyline: Friendships are tested and secrets come to the surface when terminally single Rachel (Goodwin) falls for Dex (Egglesfield), her best friend Darcy's (Hudson) fiancĂ©. When another friend, Ethan (Krasinski), finds out about the feelings between the two friends, he decides to help stir the pot, stand back, and make all involved re-evaluate their feelings for each other.

Thoughts? I am going to throw some spoilers in under this, so do read too much further if you don't want to ruin the movie. But even if you do, it's ok, because the movie kinda ruins itself. This is the one time when they should have broken the protocol and said "this time the best friend gets the girl", because Dex is a GIANT piece of garbage in this movie. The film would have been better if Ethan and Rachel would have ended up together in the end. I'm pissed at this movie for following crappy movie protocol. So for that, and because it wasn't that great anyway, I would say skip it.

One shinning star, as always, is Krasinski. He makes the movie fun and i liked him a lot.

(Movie Review) Contraband

Call him what you want, Marky Mark, that guy from the Calvin Klein ad, or Donnie Wahlberg’s (from New Kids on the Block) little brother, but never make the mistake of calling him fluke. I think that people forget that Wahlberg has had an incredibly successful film career. People poke fun of him in a lot of ways. Usually this is because of his time as Marky Mark (along with the Funky Bunch). My point is that no matter where he came from, or how he became famous, Wahlberg has been in some highly successful and critically acclaimed movies in his career. While this film doesn’t live up to his performance in The Fighter, it does show that he actually deserves any success that he has garnered over his career…and that is not something that MANY in Hollywood can say about themselves.
Storyline: Chris Farraday (Wahlberg) is a man with a dirty past. That dirty lifestyle is something that he has worked very hard to get away from. When his brother-in-law gets in over his head, by following in Farraday’s old footsteps of international smuggling, the situation calls for Farraday to come to the rescue. The only way to do that is to go back to the life that he once rejected and to smuggle drugs and money into the country. When he thinks that the job is coming to an end he quickly realizes that not everyone can be trusted and that some friends are not what they seem. Chris must find a way to not only protect himself from these drug lords, but to also protect his family.
Wahlberg, as I said, turns in a great performance. However, the real show stealer in this movie is Giovanni Ribisi as a low life character named Tim Briggs. Ribisi is always great in almost anything that he touches, but he took a character that most people would have played “over the top” tough and turned it into an immoral greasy gangster with no allegiance to anyone except himself. He easily has some of the more memorable moments in the film and plays the part perfectly. While the movie would have been good without him, his presence adds something truly unique. He will not win any awards for this role, as I do not think the OSCARS have a “greasy drug dealer” category, but I do think that it is a great performance.
Worth the admission? Yes. I originally planned to watch the new Underworld film this weekend (only to see if they have properly revived that lame-duck franchise) but am really glad that I saw Contraband instead. The movie is funny, has some nice action, and ALWAYS keeps the level up suspense heightened. Take time to check it out. The Funky Bunch demands it!
Let me know what you thought of the movie

Friday, January 20, 2012

(Movie Review) Warrior

Fighting movies are awesome. FACT. There are few that you can name that did not kick serious ass when they were released. The Wrestler, Rocky, The Fighter, Bloodsport, etc. The list goes on and on! So, it is without doubt that you will like this movie. Why? Because if statistical history has anything to say about this, you are guaranteed to like the movie.

Plot: The youngest son (Hardy) of an alcoholic former boxer (Nolte) returns home from war, where he's trained by his father for competition in a mixed martial arts tournament -- a path that puts the fighter on a collision course with his older brother (Edgerton). From

Thoughts: First of all, the writers/directors almost made a fatal error with me. They almost made the heroes a little too unlikeable. Tommy (Hardy) is the least likeable character that I have seen in a movie in a LONG time. Not only is he unlikeable, but he is the kind of unlikeable that almost sours the whole film. Then, with Brendan (Edgerton) the manner in which he dismisses his father, to me, is something that is uncalled for. Granted we never see how horrible Paddy (Nolte) has made life for his family in the past, we have to assume that his acts of regret and pleads for forgiveness are sincere. For a "hero" to not grant someone forgiveness is the least heroic thing they can do.

Other than that, the movie was great. Wonderful "underdog" story that really gets you involved with the story and the fights. I thought that it was a solid movie and would recommend it to anyone.

After seeing Hardy in this film, it is making me more and more excited to see him take down Christian Bale's Batman in this summer's The Dark Knight Rises.

(Movie Review) Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Origin movies. They can be tricky. You can completely flub one, like they did with Green Lantern, or you can hit the nail square on the head, like with the original Superman movie or Captain America. Either way, it is a hard thing to do. To take a story that someone already knows and say "but this is how it all started" and make it flow effortlessly, as if it were always there but just not yet seen by the rest of the world. George "the butcher" Lucas will tell anyone that keeping a consistent theme from a series of films in the 70's to releasing their origins over 30 years later is a very difficult task to complete. But the people from Rise of the Planet of the Apes made it seem effortless and for that they get my respect.

Plot: At the story's heart is Caesar (Andy Serkis), a chimpanzee who gains human-like intelligence and emotions from an experimental drug. Raised like a child by the drug's creator, Will Rodman (James Franco) and a primatologist Caroline Aranha (Freida Pinto), Caesar ultimately finds himself taken from the humans he loves and imprisoned in an ape sanctuary in San Bruno. Seeking justice for his fellow inmates, Caesar gives the fellow apes the same drug that he inherited. He then assembles a simian army and escapes the sanctuary - putting man and ape on a collision course that could change the planet forever. from

Thoughts: The movie is a solid origin story and I enjoyed it. It's when movies like this come out that you want to go release all of the animals from the local zoo. While this movie does not completely share the same tone as those from the 70's, you can get a pretty clear picture of why the world turned out the way that it did and that, at the root of it all, we were to blame for the future enslavement of all mankind. Karma is a hell of a thing. Check it out.

(Movie Review) Cowboys & Aliens

I'm hesitant with certain movies. Why? Because the past shows me that some movies will garner an undeserved amount of praise or that they are so universally hated that my watching them, in either case, is either going to prove that everyone else is right or prove that I am odd and that I don't fit in with mainstream. Either way, it is an unsettling feeling to think that you are different from everyone else on how you view something. As far as Cowboys & Aliens...I apparently am not part of the mainstream. Where most people saw a giant pile, I thought that it was pretty entertaining.

Plot: The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been... Written by Universal Pictures

Thoughts: First of all, I didn't think that it was as boring as most people pegged it to be. It was a Western (which are typically slow paced) that also had aliens (which is usually an action filled genre). If you mix those two, you have to be prepared to expect a mix of an Action Movie and a Journey Movie. If you were not expecting that going in to the film, you obviously do not know how merging genres works. Regardless, this movie was ok. It had some action mixed with some decent characters. I thought it was a pretty good movie (for a $1 investment at redbox). Check it out.

(Movie Review) Cold Souls

Finding the perfect movie is such a serendipitous experience. Not only does it have to have the right theme, tone, acting, and music, but it also has to have that little something extra that make you NEED to see it. I saw the preview for this movie about 4 months ago and thought that it would be exactly what I wanted to see. I love it when I'm this RIGHT.

PLOT: Paul Giamatti (played by Paul Giamatti) is an American Actor that is about to put on a Russian play, Vanya,  in New York. When Paul feels that he is overwhelmed in his work and his life, he starts to look for a way out. He feels that something is weighing him down, but he can't figure out what it is. Then he is given information about a company that will extract his soul and store it in an effort to free him from his current problems. When he goes through with the procedure he is, in the short term, cured of his problems. However, when his cure quickly proves to be a much worse existence than that of having a "damaged soul". When he tries to retrieve his soul, he finds that it had been misplaced. Paul must find his soul so he can begin to feel like a whole person again.

Thoughts: An absolutely wonderful movie. Paul Giamatti has been one of my favorite actors for a long time, but this movie was just great. Some people will hate it. Some, people like me, will love it. It shows that the little things about ourselves that make us HATE ourselves sometimes are the things that others love and would miss. Things that we take for granted. It also explains some things about the soul without the idea of religion being involved, which was nice...because this was not a movie about religion, it was a movie about learning to finally appreciate yourself and the thing that make you the unique person that you are.

All in all, this was a great movie and I loved it. Please be sure to check it out.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

(Movie Reviews) Colombiana

I'm not too bright. Why? Because I did not know that Zoe Saldana was the star of this movie. I, since I first saw the theatrical trailer, thought that it was Thandie Newton. After sitting through the first few seconds of the movie I FINALLY realized that I was an idiot (most people realize this much faster). With that perplexing ordeal out of the way, I was free to enjoy the movie...and enjoy it I did.

Plot: A young woman grows up to be a stone-cold assassin after witnessing her parents' murder as a child in Bogota. She works for her uncle as a hit man by day, but her personal time is spent engaging in vigilante murders that she hopes will lead her to her ultimate target - the mobster responsible for her parents' death.- provided by IMDB

Thoughts? This movie has a little of everything. It has action, sex, action and sex. I'm sure that some other things happened in it too, but I pointed out the 4 main things. Joking aside, this movie was a pretty fun ride. Zoe plays the part of badass vigilante well, and actually has the acting chops to pull off the more dramatic scenes too. Rent it!

(Movie Review) Apollo 18

I'm not going to give you a bunch of fluff on this one. The movie is trash. complete trash. There is nothing scary or interesting about it. It is junk. Do. Not. Watch. It.

Plot: Decades-old found footage from NASA's abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon.

It is such a stupid movie and such a waste of time. I called it Paranormal Inactivity...because it tried to be like PA but NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS. It is slow. Not even like a "slow boil" Sci-Fi film, just SLOW. It sucks. And just to be a jerk, I'm going to spoil the ending. The monsters are ROCKS. Little crawling spider/alien/rocks. How stupid. It wasted two hours of my life. Don't let it do the same to you.

(Movie Review) Another Earth

I have been waiting for this movie to come out for a while now. I saw a preview on an indie movie almost one year ago and I have been patiently waiting for it to hit DVD. I didn't even know it had until I visited my local redbox and saw it in the new release section. All I can say is that the time waited was well worth it.

Plot: On the night of the discovery of a duplicate planet in the solar system, an ambitious young student and an accomplished composer cross paths in a tragic accident. - provided by IMDB

The plot summery above is an incredibly simple description of the movie. This film has a lot of emotion and a lot imagination. One of my favorite topics is the idea that we are part of a multi-verse. This movie takes that idea one step further and implies that there is a mirrored earth twin that is the exact same as our planet, and that the inhabitants are almost EXACT replicas of us. The only difference is that since there is "free will" then some small decisions made by each Earths inhabitants has caused them to be slightly different.

I loved it. I don't think that you will find a more original movie that has been released in 2011. You need to be completely open minded when going into it, but the movie is great! Check it out!

(Movie Review) Crazy, Stupid, Love

I have had a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to Steve Carell. Unless he is playing something very over-the-top it is usually a disappointment (please see Dan In Real Life for example). That, mixed with Ryan Gosling taking his first big "swing" at comedy...I wasn't too optimistic. Luckily I had faith that anything with Emma Stone in it would be worth the time (please see EASY A for example).

Plot: Cal (Carell) is blindsided by his wife Emily (Moore) when she tells him that she wants a divorce. After spending many nights crying into a drink at a local bar, he is confronted by a man named Jacob (Gosling). Jacob offers to help Cal regain his manhood. Cal assumes that this is through learning how to pick up women and gladly accepts. But when he finds himself in numerous unsettling circumstances, due to his new found "game", he is forced to make a decision on what kind of man he really is.

Thoughts? I really liked it. Gosling is funny as hell in it and the movie, overall, was fun. I HATED that they, like most movies, made it the husbands fault that the wife cheated. Not only that, but he is demonized for finding a life after she asks him for a divorce. The only other complaint I have about this is the curve ball they throw at you with the "nana" reveal. Seemed like they dropped that on us just for shock, and I didn't care for that. Other than those two small complaints, the movie was well worth renting. Check it out.

(Movie Review) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Normally it aggravates me when we have a low release weekend. I always like having a few options when I go to the movies and most of the time I have seen almost everything that is playing at the local theater. So, I figured since I hit a weekend that did not have multiple films being released (and our local theater didn’t get The Devil Inside) that I would watch something that has been out for a few weeks, just to see if the “buzz” about it was deserved.
Plot: A bit of time has passed since the last time Holmes (Downey) and Watson (Law) have seen each other. In the span of that time Holmes has been building a case. Taking news articles from the disappearances and deaths of many influential people that, seemingly, have no connection. When a common denominator, Professor James Moriarty (Harris), presents itself, Holmes uses the facts to spring into action...even if it interrupts Watson’s wedding.  When the case proves to be a matter that could usher in global scale warfare, Holmes takes it upon himself to bring those involved down. Holmes and Watson will have to face off against a villain whose intellect rivals, if not exceeds, that of the great Sherlock Holmes in a battle that will test them mentally and physically. When the dust settles, who will be left standing?
I’m going to admit that I didn’t think that this movie was going to be worth a lot of the praise that it received. I figured that I would basically be watching another version of the first film with a “run of the mill” interchangeable villain that would fail to impress. Jared Harris (Moriarty) is not only a better villain than the first Holmes film offered, but the way he plays the character puts him near the top of my favorite villains of 2011. The perfect combination of genius and madness. A wonderful addition that makes this installment better than the original.
Worth the admission? Can Holmes ride a pony (you will get this during the movie)? YES. While Downey has a knack of going overboard with the character from time to time, the more serious delivery from Law helps this movie find its footing with the audience. I hope that they continue the franchise to include more tales from this wonderful, and complimentary, duo.
I will also point out that this movie has some AMAZING action scenes. There are a few that rival some of the best that I can recall. What this “Holmes” lacks in being a gentleman, he makes up for with action.
Let me know what you thought

Thursday, January 5, 2012

(MOVIE REVIEW) Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol

Fifteen years. That is all that I can think about when I look at this movie. This franchise has been active, in movie format, since 1996. That is impressive. It is even more impressive when you look back at Tom Cruise fifteen years ago and see that he looks the exact same as he does today. Maybe those Scientologists are on to something, huh? Or, as I have stated in the past, maybe Cruise really did get turned into an ageless vampire in Interview with the Vampire. Either way, whatever he is doing works.

Plot: After recently being freed from a Russian prison, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team are given a new assignment. When that assignment leads to them being falsely accused of blowing up the Kremlin, the US Government decides to shut down the IMF and enforce Ghost Protocol (which means that all field agents are left on their own). Hunt and his team take it upon themselves to go on a mission to clear the name of the IMF and to bring the true perpetrators to justice. The odds are stacked against them and completing the mission is unlikely….but nothing is impossible.
This movie, to me, is a rare thing. It is an action movie that doesn’t rely only on the action to keep people interested. It actually has a good bit of comedy mixed in (thanks to the always funny Simon Pegg).  It was nice to see a full new team put together for this movie and I could see, if they keep making them, that William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) take over the franchise and Ethan Hunt becomes the director of the IMF. As the franchise will need to have a younger person in that role at some point. Sure, Cruise still owns the role, but on the schedule that they currently make these movies, Cruise will be 55 by the time that the next one comes out. That may not make for the most believable superspy.
Worth the admission? Absolutely! This movie is a perfect mixture of funny, intense, and full of high tech gadgetry. It has a little something in it for everyone. I’m also glad that they didn’t add the gimmicky “love interest” story in like they usually do in movies like this.  If you haven’t already made your weekend plans, make this movie part of them.
Note: I think I was most excited to see Josh Holloway (Sawyer from LOST) in a big budget movie. He doesn’t star in the film but he did have a solid part. I wouldn’t bring this up, but I am on a LOST “kick” right now and was surprised to see him in this film.
Did you like the new team as much as I did?

(Movie Review) Straw Dogs (2011)

The thing that usually bothers me about a remake is that it takes a story that is so great, so perfect, and it waters it down to make it more accessible to the current audience. Directors take those scenes, characters, and themes and change them to make the movie "their own". If you want to make it original then maybe you should make an original movie. Simple, right? I can understand remakes of iconic franchises, Jason, Freddy, Leatherface...these are characters that deserve to be updated from time to time, but trying to cash in on the name and controversy of a movie like Straw Dogs is pretty low.

Plot: L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both.- provided by

Thoughts? I LOVED the original movie. One of my favorites. I probably would have liked this one if it would not have tried to piggyback off of the original films name. I will say this, the idea of what a person would be willing to do to survive, and who that person becomes when they hit their breaking point...that is a very interesting topic to me. We are, no matter how much we want to pretend that we are not, animals at our core. So to see that survival instinct come out when your back is against the wall and you have no other options...that is a very chilling thing to watch. James Marsden plays the part well and does great justice to a character that I never thought anyone would be able to play as well as Hoffman did in 1971. All in all, the movie is not bad (it's actually pretty good) but you are way better off going and renting/buying the original.

PS. Why move it to south? The original film was in Europe, why move it to south and show us all as a bunch of racist hicks??