Friday, February 24, 2012

(Movie Review) Water for Elephants

So, the question of will R. PAT be ok after the Twilight franchise is answered. That answer is yes. But not because he is a great actor, or even a good actor, or even an actor at all, but more so because people will continue to throw parts at him until no one will pay to see him any longer. I say YAY for him. I will, however, say boooooooooo to Reese Witherspoon. She, once again, makes me dislike a movie just by being in it.

Storyline: A veterinary student abandons his studies after his parents are killed and joins a traveling circus as their vet. - FROM IMDB

Thoughts: The movie sets you up for a "tear jerker" at the ending and leaves you with nothing. There is a little bit of actual acting from the always wonderful Christoph Waltz, but the rest of the cast is trash. Witherspoon should have retired after Sweet Home Alabama or Walk the Line, because I cringe every time I see her name attached to a film these days. Pattinson is as flat as a piece of paper...but we already knew that. The only star that didn't disappoint was the elephant. Skip it.

(Movie Review) Friends with Benefits (2011)

Ah. The age old question. Could to have your cake and eat it too? Sure. You could. But then you would want milk too....and that is the main dilemma. It's like that episode of Seinfeld where they want "this, that & the other". It ALWAYS would turn into something more. Even if you don't want it to. The fun thing about this movie is that it's not the typical "girl falls for guy" kind of movie. It's two people that aren't supposed to get involved that kinda start to look at each other different at the same time.

Storyline: While trying to avoid the clich├ęs of Hollywood romantic comedies, Dylan and Jamie soon discover however that adding the act of sex to their friendship does lead to complications. - FROM IMDB

Thoughts: I love everything that Mila Kunis touches, and this movie was no exception. She and Timberlake make this a funny poke at the world of complicated relationships. What I love is that she doesn't play the "googly eyed school girl with a crush" part. She is a professional business woman that happens to have a fling with a good friend who is equally tired of the dating world. Could it have been better. Sure, most things can. But as it was, the movie was funny and didn't take itself too seriously. Check it out.

(TV REVIEW) LIFE ON MARS (2008-2009)

Sometimes you wonder why strange and quirky TV doesn't last longer than it does. Sometimes it just doesn't find the audience, it's "groove", or the character development never really shapes up. Regardless, this is always part of why these projects fall to pieces. So, why did this show die? I think it has a tiny bit to do with ALL of those.

Storyline: In 2008, Detective Sam Tyler is struck by a vehicle and awakes to find himself  stranded in 1973 with no way of knowing how to get back. As he moves into a new detective job in 1973 he begins to solve cases that, in some instances, he remembers from his childhood. But when he starts to get messages from someone claiming to be able to help him get home (back to his own time) he finds that his world begins to make less and less sense. In the end, Tyler makes his way out of 1973...but is it the right "home"?

Thoughts: This was actually a fun little show to watch. I can't imagine that it would have gone on for too many seasons, but the "throw back" cop show with a supernatural twist actually worked in a lot of ways. Sure, the writing was a little weak, the show never had a huge audience, and the character development was a liiiiiiiitle was still a pretty fun show. Check it out on netflix some time. With only 17 episodes, the show doesn't have time to get stale and makes for some interesting, albeit sloppy, TV.

(Stand Up Review) Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain

There is not a lot that you can really break down into a proper review for a stand up special. If I did, I would ruin half of the jokes. I did want to just talk a little about what type of comedian he is. This guy does a better job of pulling comedy from his personal experiences than any other comedian out there today. The place that he pulls his jokes from is so original and so organic. He doesn't do a lot of gross out comedy or crazy elaborate fake energy (like Dane Cook) but you can relate to almost everything that comes out of his mouth. From talking about his father, to his children, to all other aspects of this life, Kevin Hart is one of the funniest men in comedy today.

(Movie Review) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Cage manages to leave Ghost Rider 2 a burning wreck that even Allstate couldn’t save

Nicholas Cage. The name alone can bring joy to some and pain to others. While Cage has had an “uneven” run lately, I think that it is always best to remember him as a man that has actually made some very good movies in the past.  Heck, he even won the Academy Award for Best Actor with his performance in Leaving Las Vegas. So to say that he is not a good actor is a far cry from the truth. In fact, I believe him to be a very good actor that has made THE WORST film choices possible in the past few years.  There isn’t a job that he won’t take in Hollywood (mostly due to his recent financial problems) and that has resulted in a serious “hit” to his career. While I may be a fan of his overall career, there is no excuse for the “flaming bag” that he left on the doorsteps of the world with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Storyline: Johnny Blaze (Cage) has been on the run for a while now. His running has landed him in Eastern Europe where, during the day, he hides in the darkness of his home, but at night…The Rider tries to break free.  When a man named Moreau (Elba) finds Blaze he informs him that the Devil is trying to invade the body of a small boy so that he can permanently walk the earth once again. Moreau, in an attempt to stop this, has called on The Rider to help him in his quest. If Johnny agrees to let The Rider out, Johnny will win back the soul that he traded to the Devil many years ago.

The problem with this movie can be summed up in one word. CAGE. It pains me to say that, but Nicholas Cage is the only real problem that this movie cannot overcome. If they would have recast the role, it would have been so much better. The movie itself, with the exception of Cage, is miles above the first film. The story is pretty interesting, the bad guys are actually a little more interesting, and the effects are much better than the original movie. The only thing that I hated was Nicholas Cage. He has a few scenes that he overacts the part so badly that I laughed until I cried. That is not the reaction that you should get in a dramatic scene.

Worth the admission? If you catch it at a discount matinee? Sure. Just be prepared for some truly horrible scenes. If you are paying full price? No. This movie had the potential to be a great kickoff to an AMAZING year of Superhero movies. In the end, it turned out to be a joke.
Let me know what you thought of it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

(Movie Review) Zookeeper (2011)

I wish that Kevin James' career would make up its mind. It can't choose between awesome projects like King of Queens/Hitch/Paul Blart or crap-tastic projects like Grown Ups/The Dilemma. I stay on the fence about him because his film choices seem so uneven. He is like Adam Sandler. When I like him, I LOVE him. When I don't like him, I HATE him.

Storyline: A group of zoo animals decide to break their code of silence in order to help their lovable zoo keeper find love -- without opting to leave his current job for something more illustrious. - from

This movie is a conundrum for me. If I had not gone into it expecting it to be the biggest pile of crap every made, I probably would have hated it. But since I went into it thinking that it would completely suck, I was actually surprised that I laughed at it. Was it good, no. Was it the worst movie James has ever made? No (that glorious title still belongs to The Dilemma). So, in the end, I giggled a few times and thought that it was a passable addition to the "talking animal" genre of films. If it is on tv (for free) check it out. I wouldn't waste money to see it.

(Movie Review) The Kids Are Alright

Why is it that Julianne Moore has to show her boobs in almost everything that she is in? Who sat down one day with the director and said "you know what? I could stand to see me some boobs that looks like old fried eggs hanging on a nail. Something really pancake-ish". I then imagine that they both looked at each other and said "JULIANNE MOORE"! Granted that they are only in a fraction of a scene, but still. Ew. She is gross to me. In the way that her whole body looks like one giant freckle with teeeeeeny tiiiiny pieces of Elmer's Glue colored skin peaking through. In short. I find her repulsive. Now on to the movie.

Storyline: Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) are a lesbian couple that have raised two teenage children, Laser (Hutchernson) and Joni (Wasikowska), after they both gave birth to one child each via sperm received from a sperm donor. The teens become curious about their biological father and reach out to the sperm donor to arrange a meeting. Paul (Ruffalo) is introduced to the children and later to Nic and Jules. While Raul, Jules and the kids all hit it off, Nic is hesitant. Paul, now a new part of the family's life, exposes some very deep problems that are already going on with the family and are now being brought to light.

Thoughts? The movie was alright. It had some comedy and posed a few interesting problems, but it almost made EVERY character unlikeable in the end. Nic as an over controlling partner with a drinking problem, Jules as a confused lesbian (and *SPOILER* I thought that her cheating with a man to be a slap in the face to lesbians everywhere) and Paul as a dirt bag with no respect for the existing family structure. I mean, seriously, they made almost EVERY man in this movie look like complete sh**. Paul almost ruins the family, Laser is a jerk, and Laser's friend is a little psycho path. If this was a movie about making characters that people want to hate, it succeeded.

It has been out a while, so most that are going to see it have probably seen it. If you are like me and just put it on the back burner, it might be worth a peek. Check it out on netflix.

PS. If the part about what the lesbian couple watches while in bed is true....I know much less about people than I thought.

(Movie Review) Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace 3D (2012 re-release)

I'm not going to go through the normal steps here, because everyone already knows the story. This is the origin to the Star Wars Saga that shows how Anakin is first exposed to the ways of the Jedi and how his story begins to unfold. The only thing that has changed since 1999 (when this was first released) is that this time the movie is in 3D AND Yoda is now digital instead of a puppet (he was changed to digital in Episode 2 and 3). So, as you might expect, the parts that you found boring as hell the first time that you saw the film are JUST AS BORING in the version. The pod racing is still boring. The story, in general, is still boring. None of that is changed with 3D.

The great thing about this movie is that every action scene really does look better than the original. Lightsaber fights are better, the ships look cooler, and anything that has action set to it looks amazing with the post 3D treatment that Lucas has done. Honestly, it adds a depth to some scenes that truly needed it. Not only that, but with this movie having such boring and pointless dialog...visual depth is a big deal to this movie.

Now for some truly negative comments. George Lucas is a note trick HACK that does not deserve to be a projectionist at a movie theater, much less have one of the most successful franchises in the history of movies on his resume. He has proven that the only trick he has in his back pocket is the regurgitation of old projects. He destroyed Indiana Jones and has beaten a dead horse with Star Wars his entire professional life. Is he condemned for it? NOPE. He is praised by hordes of geeks for it. Somehow, he re-releases a movie 13 years after it is bombarded with HATE from the film viewing community and it opens in 3rd place last weekend? That, my friends, is what is wrong with the world. Much like Michael Bay thinks explosions are substitutes for cohesive storytelling, Lucas thinks Special Effects are substitutes for every component that makes up a film.

Complaint #2: Jar Jar Binks is a pile of excrement. Really. I hate him. I hate him sooooooo much. I hoped that Lucas would wise up and KILL HIM in this version, but no, he lived. Misa thinks this is big'em time problem, okie day? (see how annoying that is)

Complaint #3: Darth Maul is a tragedy in the franchise. Lucas, being the HACK that he is, took what could have been a true threat and a really interesting character and turned him into a one note bad guy with no back-story. Seriously. What the fudge. This guy has red skin and horns and you let "old Ben" chop him in half after one fight. I think that this should have been a two picture villain. At least.

So. I actually give this movie credit for the 3D conversion. It added a much needed element. But overall, the movie is just as weak as it was in 1999 and Lucas still sucks for being a greedy little troll.

(Movie Review) Journey 2 : The Mysterious Island (2012)

The only mystery in Journey 2 is why this movie ever made it to theaters
We all know how movies are made. An idea is pitched to some corporate “big wig”, they like the idea and decide to fund the project. Scripts are written, actors are hired, locations are scouted to shoot at and production crews are assembled. Then, after the movie is shot and wrapped they edit the film and release it to a salivating mass audience that is eagerly waiting to gobble up the latest gem that Hollywood has to offer. So the “how”, in regards to this movie being made, is pretty simple and basic. My question is “why”? In what world did someone look at this project and say “this is a winner”?
Storyline: When Sean Anderson (Hutcherson) intercepts a secret message from someone that he believes to be his missing grandfather (Caine) he begins to hatch a plan to rescue him. Sean’s mom’s boyfriend, Hank (Johnson), sees this as a bonding orportunity with Sean and offers to help on this mission. Sean reluctantly accepts after some convincing by Hank and the duo set out on the adventure with the help of a helicopter pilot and his young daughter. When a storm crashes them on a mysterious island they are amazed to see the magical wonders that the island has in store. But all is not right with the island and the group must find a way to escape the island before tragedy strikes.
I will say this. The movie was entertaining for my little sister. She laughed a lot. So I guess that they did well with something on this film. If their target audience was for only nine year olds…they succeeded. However if they were trying to make a movie that works for everyone, they failed epically.
I also want to take a moment to point out the gigantic failure that is the performance of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I have loved a few movies that he has been in. The Rundown and Fast Five are both winners in my book. But this “gentle giant” approach that he is taking with his movie career is not a good step. Sure, he may get a few more movies under his belt for now, but this will ultimately end his career. He doesn’t have the acting chops to play a soft character. At least when Schwarzenegger took on roles like that he had an accent to fall back on that made the comedy seem natural. All Johnson offered in this movie was a cardboard performance and, dear God it pains me to say this, a music number. In closing with my gripe about Johnson, it says a lot about a man’s career when he is forced to lap up the scraps of Brendan Fraser. First the Scorpion King and now this. I fully expect to see him in Airheads 2 next summer.
Worth the admission? If you are going to take children to see the film, sure. If you are going because you think that it will be funny and want a good laugh...use that money to hire someone to tickle you. It would be a much better investment.
If you are an adult and LIKED the movie, please let me know what you liked about it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

(Movie Review) Chronicle (2012)

Chronicle superpowers its way to the top box office spot
There will be a time when “lost footage” movies are no longer appealing. We know this because all good things must eventually come to an end. Some people think that Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity are the movies that popularized this subgenre of movies, but those of us that are old enough remember can remember this being popularized by The Blair Witch Project (1999). The point is that “shaky cam” movies are popular because they draw the audience in. They give the illusion that the viewer is a part of the experience because the other characters are interacting with the camera screen (when in reality they are interacting with the camera operator) and this, essentially, is an example of “breaking the fourth wall”. So a movie that is poor in concept, dialog, and acting can often resonate with viewers on a much deeper level because they tap in to a part of the viewer’s mind that most films cannot. By design alone, this style of movie is more engaging.
Storyline: When three high school students find an underground tunnel, they decide to follow it to see where it ends. When they reach the end of the tunnel they find themselves face to face with a large glowing mass that releases energy and knocks them unconscious. When they wake, they find that they can move things with their minds. As time goes by their powers grow. When this new found power becomes too much for some of them to handle they begin to unravel. Who will be able to control their new found power and who will be controlled by the power?
This movie reminds me of a quote I once read from Abraham Lincoln.  Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. “ That is the best example that this movie makes of power. Not necessarily that “power corrupts” as that makes power sound inherently evil. More so that power exposes the darkness that already resides deep in some people. That is what corrupts.
Worth the admission? Absolutely. It was funny, full of action, and gives hope to me that one day I will touch a big glowing rock and become a superhero. The movie was a little too much for some people to handle. Scenes with rapid camera movements often make people that are not accustomed to such movie feel a bit disoriented. For me, it was great. I recommend that you check it out.

(Movie Review) 50/50 (2011)

Who would have thought that the kid from 3rd Rock From The Sun would have grown into such a great actor. Not only in a comedy, but just in how he owns a scene. He has had one of the better child-to-adult careers that I can remember. Never took the wrong roles and if the character wasn't up to snuff, he didn't take the part. That is how your stock stays up in Hollywood, and this kids stock has never been higher.

Storyline: Adam (Levitt) is a 27 year old writer of radio programs and is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. With the help of his best friend, his mother, and a young therapist at the cancer center, Adam learns what and who the most important things in his life are. -from IMDB

This is one of the few movies that I LOVED Seth Rogen in. Not since Knocked Up has he played such a lovable (yet foulmouthed) character. Everyone is great in this. I wish that I could say something negative to critique this movie but, as far as I am concerned, it is as solid as a movie can get.

Watch it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

(Movie Review) Abduction (2011)

Hmmmm. I'm not going to really try to hard with this review. Why? Because I would like to exert as much effort in talking about it as they did making it. With that said, it will be short.

Overview: A thriller centered on a young man who sets out to uncover the truth about his life after finding his baby photo on a missing persons website. - from

Thoughts? A lazy, sloppy example of why the Twilight kids are going to suck at life (at least in Hollywood). This movie is a failed attempt at an action movie. The fights are JUNK. So stupid. The acting isn't up to par. I could have been an ok film, but it failed on all points.


(MOVIE REVIEW) Attack the Block (2011)

Something that has always bothered me has finally been answered. "Why are all movie alien invasions in the US?" I know that I cant be the only one that ever wonders this. LA, DC, NY...they are always getting visitors from other planets. But when is the last time that you saw aliens invade Mexico? Canada? At least now I can tell you what would happen if an alien invaded South would get the crap kicked out of it by a bunch of teenagers.

Overview: When a local gang of teens find an alien that has crashed into a car, they kill it. Thinking that they have thwarted a major alien invasion, they decide to celebrate at the local drug dealers hideout. When this first alien turns out to be the first (and smallest) of many they have to make a choice. Abandon their "block" of stay and fight.

Thoughts? The biggest complaint that most had with this movie was that they couldn't understand the people in it because of their thick accents. I was prepared for this and actually LOVED the heavy accent. I also have no problem with the main character, Moses, being more of an anti-hero. He is a thief that is not polished and lovable. Just a young man that is put in an extraordinary situation that he must make the best of. It adds a level of realism to a very unrealistic movie.

Overall, I thought that the movie was great! The aliens are scary, the characters are interesting, and the movie has some great standout points that make it a winner. The only thing that I would have liked to see more of was from the performance of Nick Frost. I really like him and thought that he would be in more of the film.


(Movie Review) The Ides of March (2011)

Political movies are so "meh" to me. They are basically saying "Hey. Be prepared to hate every single person that you see in this film." They show the worst of the worst...even in the best of the best. That is always such a discouraging thing to me. To see that people, even when they start out to do something grand, can be consumed by their greed end up being as bad (or worse) than those that they initial set out to be better than.

Overview: An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail. -from

This movie didn't really set me on fire. I mean, it was ok (good even), but I was expecting something so much bigger than what it delivered. They have a LOT going for them in this film. A wealth of talented actors that all, for the most part, play their characters perfectly. The problem is that sometimes good acting is not enough. If the movie is so slow that snails can outpace it...there isnt much that acting can do to save it.

I will say that my only complaint about an actor in this film is Evan Rachel Wood. She, as always, sucks. I have liked exactly one film of hers and that was Across the Universe. But she just looks gross to me and acts as if she is an understudy for Kristen Stewart.

Overall I think that you would probably like this movie just fine, but it's not something that I would break my neck to see.

(Movie Review) Five minutes into Man on a Ledge and I was ready to JUMP

There are some times when getting something extra is a good thing. When you go to Wendy’s and find out that you got an extra order of fries or when you get change for a twenty when you paid with a ten are a couple of good examples. The exact opposite is true as well. Sometimes, just sometimes, getting something extra is the last thing that you would ever want. Finding out that you have two cavities, learning that your spouse has had two extra martial affairs or, and this is the most heinous, trying to force two INCREDIBLY stupid movies into one.
Storyline: An ex cop, Nick Cassidy (Worthington), is serving an extended jail sentence for a crime that he claims that he did not commit. When Nick learns that his father has passed he is allowed to go to the funeral. Nick sees this as an opportunity to make a daring escape and he takes it. Instead of taking the easy way out and going into hiding, Nick finds his way to the ledge of a downtown office building in an attempt to get enough attention focused on him to prove his innocence. Proving his innocence is one thing, but with dirty cops involved at every corner, surviving this ordeal will be a much harder task.
Now. After that nice little description I am going to go ahead and tell you all to skip this movie. Go watch Red Tails or The Grey. Heck, you would have a better time sitting at home watching Tom and Jerry reruns, because this movie is about as fun as a colonoscopy. Sam Worthington, who I have been waiting to show his true short comings as an actor, really proves a point that I have made in the past. This guy got lucky. He got lucky by being in the biggest film in history (Avatar) and is now going to great lengths to prove that he does not deserve to be the star of the highest grossing film ever made.
Worth the admission? Never. No way. I would pay another $8 to have the movie erased from my mind if I could. It tried to be too many things but never accomplished being good at one. I would also like to put the majority of blame on the films casting department. There is no way that anyone would take Elizabeth Banks serious as a Police Psychologist. She doesn’t even look the part, much less act the part.
My final complaint is about Sam Worthington. This is a silly thing to bring up, but his hair is the most visually distracting thing that I have seen in a movie in years. It looks like a greasy rat with curls has been trained to sit on his head for the duration of the film. His real disservice to the movie is his horrible acting. I have not seen acting this wooden since Pinocchio asked Geppetto why he couldn’t be a real boy. Yes. It’s that bad.
If you think that I am being a little harsh, or if you think that I am hitting the nail squarely on the head, let me know.