Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3

After watching the first Paranormal Activity it freaked my wife out so much I think it made me like the movie even more! This movie reinvented the genius horror movie that never shows anything. Too many gory, ridiculous, cliche horror movies continue to come out each year that just strive for shock value. How much blood can we cause to spew out of this guys decapitated head? Paranormal Activity reset the genre again as what it should be, a movie you can't look away from no matter how bad you want to and one that causes goosebumps- not nausea.
I loved the first one. Skipped the second one after nothing but horrible reviews. Then the 3rd one came out. Anyone that just saw the Bloody Mary scene in the preview could tell this would return to the successful formula of the first one. Don't show anything, just imply. Well, they succeeded. This was more terrifying than the first. In fact it has been 2 weeks since I saw the movie because I was still freaked out! The story is a prequel to the first one and explains how the girl in the first one first met her haunted stalker- the demon that has followed her her entire life. The movie did it's job, it freaked me out!
Keeping this review spoiler free so you can enjoy the terrifying experience yourself is always a challenge, so suffice to say, the end did lack clarity. It seemed like they decided they would try to explain some of what this whole "thing" is. Unfortunately by choosing a first person story telling behind the creative boyfriends camera, the director could not effectively explain what he was clearly going for.
While the end was slightly underdeveloped and disappointing, the movie was great! Anyone who enjoys scary movies, not blood and guts but goosebumps, will love this!
See it in the theater, see it at home with the lights out and the surround sound in full effect, grab a bag of Twizzlers, and enjoy the experience!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dream House

Just a day after Footloose, we went and saw Dream House so I could regain my man card! Dream House is a suspenseful thriller about Will Atenton (Daniel Craig), a man who moves his family into a new house. His neighbors all act very weird towards him and it becomes known that some gruesome murders took place with the family that lived their before. This is not your typical horror cliche of a haunted house that a family moves into and is haunted by the dead family. Not by any means. The story is much deeper and much more interesting. And for those who do not like horror movies, this is not one. There is a lot of suspense and maybe a jump or two. But this is by no means a scary movie.
It's hard to give this movie a strong synapsis without ruining the movie. If you saw the movie trailer for this film and it seemed to give away too much, it did. The original trailer for this film gave away a huge plot spoiler. I won't ruin it here, but if you saw the trailer and feel like you know how the whole thing ends, you do, sort of. I would still rent it, but it will not satisfy you the same way as if you hadn't seen the trailer. If you haven't seen the trailer...DON'T!!! Go into this movie with no knowledge of the story and no expectations. I think then you may like it. It is hard to say, because the trailer ruined part of the movie for me. I still enjoyed it but I think if I saw it with fresh eyes I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
Daniel Craig always gets extra points with me because I am a James Bond fanatic. This was a good movie though. Definitely not worth the $12 I spent or the $16 I spent on popcorn and drinks (don't get me started!!), but I would rent this movie when it comes out. Turn off the lights, pop some $1 bag of popcorn and enjoy free water or a $1 Coke, and enjoy a very interesting thriller!

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Every once and a while, a man must make a sacrifice and see a movie he is less than thrilled to see because his wife puts up with action flicks, horror movies, and football weekends!! However, my wife has proven to me that she will only drag me to movies that she knows I will love. Two years ago I was dragged to what I would call the sleeper summer hit, Mamma Mia. Singing and dancing is not very realistic, but that was a fun movie.
Footloose is this years dancing surprise! I assumed I would sit through two hours of singing and dancing but then on Sunday we would go see a horror movie. Not so- this movie was great! After so many action packed, intense, and suspenseful movies, it's nice to have a relaxing and just fun movie! The story was identical to the original and there are some very fun nods to the Kevin Bacon classic.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Footloose is about a small town that endures a tragedy when some kids get killed in a drunk driving accident. The town decides to follow the leadership of one of the victims fathers, the town minister. In this movie, the minister is played by Dennis Quaid. The minister decides to work with the city council to introduce laws banning dancing, drinking, and playing loud music. Everyone seems to either follow the new laws or break them in secret but when an outsider arrives and starts school he challenges the local authority the minister has by encouraging his fellow students to dance and have fun. Of course this would not be a classic story if the main character doesn't fall in love with someone. To complicate the town's struggle at balancing fun and safety, the newcomer rebel has fallen for the ministers daughter who is still coping with the loss of her brother.
The cast was really impressive. For a cast of relatively unknowns, the acting was good, the comedy light, and the dancing incredible. Kenny Wormald plays the main character and rebel outsider Ren MacCormack. Kenny has had minor parts in You Got Served and Center Stage but in this movie he takes the spotlight and has some incredible scenes. Julianne Hough plays the attractive ministers daughter, Ariel Moore. Julianne is best known from Dancing with the Stars. Unfortunately her attractiveness is constantly up front on the screen but her dancing talent took more of a back track to Kenny's character. And Miles Teller plays the funny best friend Williard. The comedy that Miles brings to the movie makes the movie easier to swallow for men. Having someone that funny in the movie makes you forget you are watching a movie about dancing. But even as a guy, you can appreciate the dancing, especially during the final scene. Some of the things the back up dancers were doing were absolutely mind blowing.
So men, grab a Daiquiri and watch your wife's Footloose DVD while she is out with her girlfriends one night. I think you will be pleasantly surprised and will realize at the end, you kind of had fun!

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Real Steel

No one should enter this movie with high expectations. It's a movie about Wolverine fighting robots. But just wait until the kid comes on screen. This kid makes the movie and sets the emotional tone of innocence, perseverance, hope, and love. Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, a deadbeat dad who abandoned his family when the kid was born. He was a boxer but was discarded when robot boxing put him out of a job. Now he uses scrap heaps to enter illegal or small time boxing matches to earn beer money. After losing another robot in a bull fight at a local fair, Jackman is confronted by lawyers telling him his ex-girlfriend died and he needs to attend a custody hearing.
By a twist of fate and a money making opportunity, Kenton gets the kid, Max Kenton (Dakota Goyo) for one summer before he has to give him up to his aunt and uncle. Max finds a sparring robot at the junkyard and decides to train it to fight. After losing his last robot, Charie allows his son to enter his hopeless sparring robot into some small competitions. This robot was not built to actually fight, just train the other robots. However the heart and technical skill of Max and the tactics of the former boxer help get this underdog robot into the professional ring.
While the movie looked to be just average, most people will be surprised how emotional you get into the movie. Even with robots fighting, by the end you are reminded of how you watched the first Rocky and could not get off the edge of your seat during the final fight.
While the robot is not fancy or able to convince you to fall in love with it, the human characters get you on their robots side. Hugh Jackmans flaws as a human make him relatable and gives you hope he will find redemption through the robots victories and his child's admiration. Dakota's character gets you emotionally involved through his hope and faith that his dad will love him and his robot will win.
This was a fantastic movie and is definitely one to watch! I would not say it's a must see on the big screen, but an afternoon matinee would be a great choice.

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Money ball is an interesting story about the general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) of the Oakland Athletics through their more troubled, post-Ricky Henderson years. He struggles as it becomes apparent his team has become the "farm team" for the rest of the league. With his team bleeding talent and a tight budget he co-designs a groundbreaking budget with new comer Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). The plan uses a numbers and points system to determine the probability of a players potential which differs from their actual worth in the MLB. This allows them to see hidden or untapped talent and buy it for cheap before others figure it out. With this limited budget they are able to put together a rag tag team that ends up catapulting them from obscurity to the division playoffs!
This true story is an interesting one even for only minor fans of sports. The movie is more than the typical sports movie because it focuses on the management of the team and not necessarily the team itself. Brad Pitt is excellent as usual and Jonah Hil is great as is sidekick. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is also fantastic as the arrogant coach who is one of the more tangible antogonists.
Some people do not enjoy sports movies because of the often corny, tearful endings when the team pulls out the incredible win. This movie is so much more than the game though. It focuses mostly on the management of a sports team and how to afford a successful one on a tight budget.
This movie is not necessarily a must see in theaters but it is a must see. While I wouldn't expect Oscar nods, it should definitely at least make some people consider it. While a little long at parts, it is overall a great and very insightful film into how Baseball is behind the scenes.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

This was a fantastic movie! It had so much going for it and it leads in perfectly to the Avengers!
When we first got to the theater we were surprised to see that the showing we had chosen was in 3D. Don't get me wrong, 3D in certain movies (Avatar, Green Lantern) is very cool but I am getting a little annoyed that every movie is being transferred to 3D to milk the public for more money. I felt that Captain America could be just as good in 2D and was needlessly transferred to 3D. And I stand by my original conviction that this movie is great in 2D. But this was the first 3D movie which made me jump! There was a part when the shield richotes and comes straight at the screen. I jumped like a little girl! It was great!
As the 4th part in the Avengers lead up series, this film far surpasses Thor and Iron Man 2. While it was not better than the first Iron Man, its up there with the new Marvel greats.
The film is bookended with short prologues and epilogues in the present, but the real meat of this movie is in the middle set during World War II. The CGI on young Steve Rogers was incredible. To see such a huge guy like Chris Evans be a little scrawny kid was impressive. Chris Evans was backed up by a great supporting cast. Tommy Lee Jones was very funny and played his role well. Dr. Erskin played by Stanley Tucci did an excellent job as tutor and victim. Sebastian Stan was decent as Bucky. As a movie goer you will enjoy his role. As a comic book fan you may feel a little cheated as Bucky Barnes becomes such a huge character in the Captain America universe. Hugo Weaving was an incredible Red Skull. The make up was a massive improvement over the 1991 Captain America movie. It was even cool to see Dum Dum Doogan played by Neal McDonough. Dominic Cooper was like a young Tony Stark and it was neat to see that arrogance was a family trait!
The end was very impressive bringing in Nick Fury to recruit the future leader of the Avengers. Make sure you stay after the credits!!! While there is no additional scene leading into the Avengers, there is about a 1:30 teaser trailer that showcases next summer's huge blockbuster!!
I have to say this is a close 2nd to X-Men First Class for best Comic Book movie this year! The action was plentiful and throughout the whole movie. The comedy was light and not too much. Definitely go see this movie and get pumped up for next summer!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses adds to the great comedies of the summer (Bridesmaids and Hangover 2). After a disappointing watch of Bad Teacher I was all but ready to call Bridesmaids the hit of the summer and while Horrible Bosses does not top the all female Hangover-esque comedy, it comes pretty darn close. I would say it is neck and neck with the second installment of the Hangover. This may come as a shock to you- 3 B-level comedians funnier than Zach Galifinakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms? Its true, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day were hysterical!! Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey all had their moments but the real stars were the three main characters looking to off their horrible bosses.
Many people have been annoyed by Jason Sudeikis in the past especially on SNL, but after him stealing the show with better lines and timing than Owen Wilson in Hall Pass he has earned his right as a lead comedian. Charlie Day who hasn't been in much other than the cult classic It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, also performed very well alongside the other two B-level veterans.
The movie never really slowed down and had many laugh out loud parts. Unlike Bad Teacher that had some very funny parts but the laughter was far and few between large sections of bad story telling and plain boredom, Horrible Bosses is solid laughs from start to finish.
Also don't forget to stay during the credits for some great bloopers!! While Brett Ratner is a disgrace to comic book movies and pretty much every other genre, he is pretty decent as a producer/director of comedies (Rush Hour Series) and does a great job compiling bloopers for some after credit laughs.
I give this movie 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. This was absolutely hilarious and I highly recommend adding this to Bridesmaids for your top comedies this summer!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Transformers 3

Wow! What a way to close out a trilogy! Michael Bay was not lying when he said this was the best of the three and a fine way to end the series. Transformers 3 was by far the best of the series. Even though one was pretty cool to finally see the robots on the big screen- 3 had a similarly strong story line but much better action scenes.
The script was infinitely better than the last Transformers movie. Excuses were made for the second installment because of the writers strike, but few people will excuse that for a bad, weak, and confusing movie. This movie had a strong plot that carried the story from start to finish. Basically they go back in time to the destruction of Cybertron (Transformers home planet) and describe a weapon that could have saved the planet being taken by the leader of the Autobots. The leader and his spaceship were shot down and crash landed on our moon. The story ends with the Decepticons trying to bring what's left of their destroyed home world to Earth and create a new Cybertron on Earth using the humans as slaves.
Now for the casting, which also was enhanced with this final chapter. First, and most obvious, the replacement of Megan Fox by Victoria Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Michael Bay does not hold back by taking a few jabs at the departure of Megan Fox and he uses his foul-mouthed Autobots to describe how she left (the director-actor relationship did not end well). Rosie is 1) a much better actress and 2) much more beautiful. Her sexy (at times even ridiculous) poses felt more like natural movements than Megans did. Granted this is her actual career but still it made her character more believable. While she will not be winning Oscars any time soon she does contribute much more to the film than Megan ever did.
Another new addition was Leonard Nimoy voicing the old leader of the Autobots, Sentinel Prime. His iconic voice was fun to listen too and I have been a huge fan of his re-emergence with Fringe and the new Star Trek.
Patrick Dempsey played a wonderful part- although I will not go in to too much detail with his character. I was surprised by how good he was since we normally only see him in romantic comedies and Grey's Anatomy.
The cast also included surprises by John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and Ken Jeong (Mr. Chow from the Hangover). All played fantastic supporting roles.
The action was top notch. One of my biggest complaints with the second installment was there was too much happening on the screen to really tell what was going on. Not this time. We even saw it in 3D and it popped much better than the last one. Michael Bay had used new technology to make sure the 3D was not darkened and it worked beautifully. There was a fantastic scene in which Bumblebee changes from car mode into robot mode with Sam in the car, ejects Sam, grabs Sam and turns back into a car- all coming at the screen in 3D!!
If this truly is Michael Bay's last outing directing the robots in disguise- he left with style. I give this 4 stars! Great summer fun and a must see on the big screen- preferably in 3D!!!

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Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher is about a truly horrible person (Cameron Diaz) who is desperate to quit "teaching" and marry a rich man. The story revolves around her pursuit for a new substitute teacher (Justin Timberlake), her battle royale with a rival teacher (Lucy Punch), and the evolving friendship with the gym teacher (Jason Segal).
Some critics hailed this as the funniest movie of the summer. I have to disagree. There were several parts which were hilarious, but those moments were far and few between leaving long bouts of poor story telling and bland conversation. I have to liken this to Hall Pass which I felt was similar with its rare but truly funny moments. Bad Teacher's funniest moments come from Jason Segal and even Lynn Davies (Phyllis from The Office). Like Hall Pass, this film was carried by its sub-cast, not the main characters. Cameron Diaz's character was very difficult to like with little to no redeeming qualities. Her humor was predictable and flat. Justin Timberlake really was a empty shell of a character. His character works well in a short 10 minute SNL skit, but on the big screen his forced dorkiness is just absolutely annoying. He is not a terrible actor (The Social Network) but clearly he cannot adapt to every character and story.
Bad Teacher is definitely worth a rental (especially if you can get a free one or have Netflix). Its worth a watch- but don't expect side-splitting humor or it to rival the great Bridesmaids, The Hangover, and Old School. Its more on par with Hall Pass and Bad Santa. I give it 2 1/2 stars.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green Lantern

Just saw Green Lantern in 3D and I have to say, I don't know why its getting such bad reviews. I honestly liked it a lot. Granted I did go in after reading some reviews so I had very low expectations but I thought it was very entertaining and a great summer blockbuster. Was it the best comic book movie ever? Absolutely not. It was not better than X-Men: First Class but I did like it better than Thor. And I am a Marvel guy!!!
First of all- this is one of the rare 3D gems. While it still does not stand up to Avatar's level of 3D, it far surpasses some other recent films. The opening title sequence was very impressive in space. The 3D gave it a nice depth effect without the traditional overally used gimmicks of swords coming at the screen or someone shooting a gun at the screen.
Next to the cast. I felt Ryan Reynolds did great. He is receiving a mixed review from other critics for being too annoying and funny (but not funny). I did not feel that way at all. He was funny, some of it was corny but at the same time- its a comic book movie. Not everything has to be so dark and serious as the Dark Knight. Iron Man was cocky and funny and no one minded Downey Jr. Blake Lively was hot. Thats about it. She did not do a tremendous job (like in The Town), but she wasn't abysmal like Megan Fox in Transformers. The love story between the two could have used some more work and the chemistry wasn't quite perfect. Peter Saarsgard was a good villian. He is also receiving harsh criticism for not being a good enough villian. Is he Magneto or Joker? No. But he has his reasons for turning evil. He used his powers quite a bit. And he overall served his purpose. Mark Strong was great as Sinestro.
Now to the Corp. (extras). The voices of Toma-Ra (Geoffrey Rush) and Kilowag (Michael Clarke Duncan) were spot on. It was a shame to see the most well-known non-human Lanterns cut from most of the film, but this movie is about Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) and his new Green Lantern career. It was about saving earth and unlike a 70 year old comic book, this was a two hour movie. An entire 70 years of history could not be forced into one movie. The CGI to create these characters looked great. The only extra I missed seeing was the flying squirrel- always hilarious!
The CGI was incredible in this movie. The first trailer made everyone doubt the quality of this movie, but sure enough, the finished product looked as real as CGI can and furthered the story and the origins of the Green Lanterns. Many reviews compared Parrallax (the main villian) to the stupid Fox-Created Cloud- Galactus from Fantastic Four. Once again- this is a movie. Do you really want a giant purple humanoid alien actually eating a planet or will general audiences be more understanding of a nebula like being that devours planets. So Parralax didn't look like he did in the comics- honestly I had no idea what he looked like. So far me, his structure made sense.
And finally the story. The story and direction is taking the most heat of the bad reviews. I just don't get it though. I felt like the story was good. Could it have been tweaked- sure. Villian development was not as strong as it could have been. Hal Jordan's training on OA (the Green Lantern planet) was only about 10-15 minutes long and was the only time we really saw Toma-Ra and Kilowog. But once again, the studio decided to make cuts and shorten the length of the film. I am sure a directors cut will include an extra 20-30 minutes of footage that fans will appreciate but that weren't neccessary to a wide audience.
Normally my reviews are much shorter but I really felt this movie got a bad rap from some really critical reviewers that were hoping for another Dark Knight or Iron Man. This is not those movies, its not even X-Men First Class. But its a lot better than X-men 3, Wolverine, Elekta, and Daredevil contrary to some reviews. Someone even said the Phantom with Billy Zane was better. Clearly these people just had way too high expectations for this movie and are now just committed to destroying the future of any DC movies.
I recommend this movie. And I think you should definitely see it in 3D- it really did make a fun difference. I am very critical of 3D movies but this helped the movie. I give it 3 1/2 stars.

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Friday, June 10, 2011


Limitless was a very entertaining movie. It takes a brilliant idea that any person would jump to take advantage of and then show you exactly why you do not want it. The movie is about a struggling author (Bradley Cooper) who starts taking an illegal black market pill that turns on his left side of the brain so that he can do anything. It basically creates a better version of you. Of course there are downsides like with any drug (cue the 5 minute rant on side effects): memory loss, drug dealers, dead hookers, nausea, vomiting, and death! But hey, plug into the stock market- make a couple million- sounds like a fair trade off right?
The end did come rather quickly I felt. The movie was just over 1 1/2 hours so it could have played out a little more instead of rushing to the end. But the end did make sense and was done very well.

Overall a very fun movie to watch but definitely watchable as a rental- 3 out of 5.

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The Rite

The Rite was a rather obscure exorcism movie that came out in the early part of this year. Not much was heard from the movie and before anyone noticed it was already on DVD. The movie stars Anthony Hopkins as an Italian priest who performs exorcisms and who begins training a new protege who has his doubts of God and the practice of exorcisms in general. As the story progresses the new priest is forced to reconcile his family issues, doubt of the existence of God and the Devil, and perform a practice he never thought necessary.
The movie was okay but not greatly interesting until the very end when it turns out the two main priests are real people. One practices outside of Chicago and Anthony Hopkins still performs exorcisms outside of Florence. The movie was about average for an exorcism movie. Nothing made it stand out as unique. Anthony Hopkins recreated the eeriness of Hannibal Lector but failed to be convincing in his role. The rest of the cast was a bunch of nobodies that was quickly forgotten.
The movie wasn't bad but it definitely lacked anything memorable. I give it 2 stars and definitely recommend it as a rental.

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X-Men: First Class

I'm going to start off by saying this was easily the best movie of the summer (so far) and the best X-Men movie to date. X-Men First Class does for the X-Men series what Batman Begins did for Batman. Pre- First Class, the X-Men franchise was in trouble. After over a decade of casting ideas, story ideas, directors, and scripts Bryan Singer finally brought X-Men to the screen and while the first one had a small budget, it was huge for comic book nerds and mainstream movie goers alike. The second X-Men movie was arguably just as good or better with a bigger cast, better action sequences, and a manageable number more mutants. The end gave hope for an incredible future for X-Men movies. And then Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) got his hands on the Marvel franchise and single handily (with Fox's help) killed X-Men. Fans feared the worst had come when X-Men 3 destroyed the story Bryan Singer had so carefully crafted. But then Wolverine came and made X-Men 3 look like an Oscar worthy picture. Wolverine began destroying the very timeline that the first 3 movies had created. Characters and stories no longer made sense, the action sequences were not complete and looked fake, the movie was a disaster.
And then- First Class. As the movie started development fans (including myself) were skeptical and downright hateful towards this movie. While Xavier and Magneto were well cast, the rest of the cast was a disaster. These were not the original mutants considered to be "first class". In fact Cyclops' younger brother Havok was cast which destroyed that whole timeline since Cyclops' was a teenager in the 80's according to the Wolverine movie. There were many other complaints but this is supposed to be a positive review.
The moment the movie started my doubts disappeared. This movie was incredible!! Forget the original 5 X-Men- this was great! This movie took all the best elements of comic book movies- the action, the amazing story line, the realistic nature of it, the acting, and then even included costumes that oddly enough did not look that ridiculous. From start to finish the movie was entertaining. The cameos fit in perfectly with the story without seeming forced.
The only thing I did not like was towards the end (Spoiler free) Magneto starts up his Australian accent out of nowhere.
Thats it...Everything else was X-traordinary!! Hopefully this spawns a successful trilogy managed by Matt Vaughn and him alone. I give this movie 5 stars out of 5. Looking forward to seeing it again!

Hangover 2

The Hangover 2 was exactly what you expected. The movie was for all intents and purposes the same as the first time around- just in Thailand. It was no doubt hilarious but did not bring anything necessarily new to the story. The best part was once again at the end during the credits when they recap the night of forgotten experiences.
There's really not a whole lot to say. If you loved the first one, you will like the second one a lot. However the comedy hit of the summer still remains Bridesmaids- shocker- but true!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011


Bridesmaids or "Hangover: Women's Edition" was hilarious! I must admit I was truly shocked by how funny this movie was. The hype had been big, the movie was still selling out every night during the week at the Drafthouse and we had to wait in line for about an hour before the movie started! This was a lot to accept for a comedy featuring not only an all woman cast but also one with SNL actresses! SNL has for the most part been doomed when their comedians venture onto the big screen. But Kristen Wiig was brilliant. Her SNL character did not appear too much during the movie and the few times the "one-upper" came up it fit the movie perfectly. This was a great comedy for guys as well as girls.
In Bridesmaids Kristen Wiig plays the best friend of a girl who just got engaged. Kristen's character is a total mess: her cake business went under, she lives with the worst roommates, and cannot seem to break from a series of one night stands with Jon Hamm (who is also pretty funny). While Kristen is her friends maid of honor there is a new friend fighting for the spot and constantly undermines Kristen (hence the one-upper game).
This movie sits right up there with recent classics like the Hangover, Knocked Up, and Wedding Crashers. It will be interesting if it can maintain its success and standing against Hangover 2 in just one more week!! I highly recommend getting to the theater and seeing this- before you get left behind and don't understand the jokes around the office!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Something Borrowed

Getting suckered into chick flicks always sets the expectations a little low, especially when there is not a lot of apparant comedy in the trailers, but this movie was really good.
Ginnifer Goodwin plays perfectly (once again) the quiet, hopelessly romantic girl getting screwed over. It reminded me a lot of her role in He's Just Not That Into You. I really liked Kate Hudson in this movie. She played her role as the frenemy very well and although I did not read the book, my wife said she played the part perfectly. John Krasinski was the part I really liked in the movie. He added the aspect that allows guys to see this and enjoy it and not just roll your eyes. John's character was funny in the serious and sarcastic way that we would all be if our friend was in this position- supportive at first, but then tired of all the drama.
The movie is basically about a two best friends (Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson) who have grown up together. Ginnifer is the quiet one and allows herself to be railroaded by Kate Hudson. Ginnifer falls for this guy in law school but does not act on her feelings allowing Kate to come in and "steal" him away. Now Kate and the law guy are engaged and it finally comes out that not only does Ginnifer have feelings for this guy, but he has feelings for her too. The two get involved in an affair behind Kate Hudsons back.
The story was framed the way most romantic comedies are with lots of indecisions, one grand point of contession, and then redemption. This one has a few little twists that kept it interesting and like I said John Krasinski's humor lightened the mood.
Overall a pretty good film. I give it a 3 and say girls that read the book will probably be dying to see it in theaters, otherwise a nice rental for a Friday Night Movie Night.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011


Last night began the Marvel Movie Marathon which involved watching Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man 2. Sadly, as I watched these movies in order, I remembered how each one had been progressively worse than its predecessor. Iron Man was incredible and is still enjoyable to watch over and over again. The Incredible Hulk was good, at least a lot better than Ang Lee's Hulk. Then came the robot overload in Iron Man 2 that made the story seem redundant. Iron Man 2 at least had the redeeming quality of really pushing forward the Avengers story with lots of screen time with Nick Fury and the Black Widow.
After seeing Thor tonight I fear for how much worse it can get as we head into Captain America and then close with the Avengers. Thor was a massive disappointment. But not from a story perspective- Kenneth Branaugh may be the worst director ever!! Without any spoilers- below are the 3 main reasons I did not like Thor.
1) This is a comic book movie. Remember that Ken. Beginnings of movies that are just a short tease as to an event later in the movie using the exact same footage is screwing the audience out of some valuable story building time. This movie was less than 2 hours, and a good 10 minutes was wasted by showing the same scene twice (opening scene, flashback to the beginning of the story, then catch up to current time). This strategy of filmmaking should only be used when making artsy movies while trying to prove something profound.
2) This is a comic book movie. Quit trying to make it artistic. Iron Man 1- lots of action backed by a strong story. Iron Man 2- even more action than the first- backed by a great story. Thor- completely boring at parts backed by what could have been a great story. Numerous times the action would start to build in the movie and you would feel that twinge of almost excitement, but before you could fully realize the intensity of the scene, it would end in some ridiculous artsy shot. Or it would switch back to Asgard (another complaint- way too much of Asgard in the middle of the movie). There are numerous fight scenes in which Kenneth slows down the pace of the movie by using slow classical music, instead of rock and roll superhero kick butt music. I never thought I could be bored in a comic book movie but I had to eat Twizzlers to stay awake in this.
3) And 3- this is a comic book movie. No one will be upset if you make it 2 hours or 2 1/2 hours. But when you introduce a new hero in a movie less than 2 hours, you lose some of the storytelling capabilities. Sif and the Warriors Three were almost annoying by being in the film at all. If they were not going to be developed more as vital characters to Thor, they should have been left in the background or just disregarded completely. Ideally though an extra 15 minutes of footage building up these characters would have proved invaluable to the quality of the movie. And its not like you could slow it down anymore.

So now- what was good about the movie? The casting was perfect. I could not think of better actors to hold the parts. Chris Hemsworth is Thor and his meddlesome brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was brilliant. Anthony Hopkins was also powerful and of course Natalie Portman played well with the others.
And the end- STAY AFTER THE CREDITS!!! I do not understand people that still leave during the credits. Do they not remember that all of these movies have awesome teasers at the end! This one is no different. I will not tell you what the end is- but its incredible and has now got me pumped up to see Captain America and the Avengers.
At the end of the day, you have to see this movie because it does further the entire story and there are some cool hints at other movies and characters. If nothing else check it out to see Stan Lee with his first lines in a movie!! If you get bored, just fast forward to the end past the credits- its worth the less than two hours worth of sub-prime movie in front of it. I rate it just a 2 star movie but check it out as a matinee before Captain America comes out. You will enjoy it much more after seeing Thor.

Movie poster found at:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let Me In

Let Me In is the American remake of the cult classic Swedish film, "Let the Right One In". The story is about a young boy who is bullied at school and becomes friends with a girl who moves in next door to him. Their relationship quickly becomes romantic and he starts to discover that the girl he is falling in love with is a vampire.
The movie was a very good adaptation of the original movie and while I never read the book, the majority of the story stayed the same across both films. I have to say that the American version did show a lot more violence and action than the Swedish version. This probably has a lot to do with the available budget each studio was given.
The American version keeps the intrigue, intensity, and the innocence that the first one exhibited. The love story between the two kids, while odd, is very innocent and sweet.
I really liked this movie and felt that even with a realitively unknown cast, the overall quality was very good. I give this 4 stars and would highly recommend it. Think Twilight but grittier with love less sexy and more pure.

The movie poster was found at:

Case 39

Case 39 starring Renee Zellwegger and Bradley Cooper is a thriller/horror movie about a little girl who is perceived to be a demon. After a social worker (Zellwegger) discovers an abusive family and exposes their plans to kill their daughter, she takes the little girl in until the system can find a home for her. Quickly she begins to learn the girls real parents may have not been as crazy as they seem as people start dying and accidents become more frequent around Zellwegger.
The movie is not without its intensity and classic jumps, but the end was quite predictable. Even watching this in the daytime, there were several parts that freaked me out. Unfortunately the end was as predictable as any other satanic kid story.
I give it a 2 1/2 stars. It was freaky scary rather than gory scary but still left a lot to be desired from the story and the lackluster end. Its a good rental during the Halloween season!

Movie poster found at:

The Next Three Days

The Next Three Days is about a woman who is falsely accused of murder and her husband who makes it his life's goal to get her out by any means necessary.
The premise sounds great and the previews show an exhilarating thrill ride. Unfortunately thats not what we get until the very end. The first half of the movie builds up the big adventure at the end. However it is a little too long and slow at the beginning. The second half of the movie really picks up and is very intense.
Paul Haggis (Crash) was the writer and director of the movie, however it did not showcase is normally high talent for dialogue and story telling. The question of the woman's guilt is only slightly teased. It should have either been explored deeper or left out completely. The wife also seems to be almost ok being stuck in prison for a crime she claims she didn't commit. Even as her husband is trying to break her out of prison, she seems reluctant to leave. It seemed unrealistic for a woman who claims the system failed her to be content with spending the rest of her life in prison away from her husband and kid.
Overall this movie was slightly below average. I give it 2 1/2 stars for how slow the first half of the movie was and the annoying wife.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Scream 4

After 11 years Scream returns to the screen!! I have to say that even though the last 2 were pretty bad, Scream has remained a great franchise in my opinion. The first one set the bar for pretty much the next decade of horror films. It was a healthy mix of the violence you expect in a horror movie and the intensity of a solid thriller.
Scream 4 was by far the best one since the first. It had all the original elements and there was even the classic line "Don't f*** with the original!" I find it hard to classify this as a horror film because really there was very little to be scared of. There were a few intense moments that make it more of a thriller.
The best part of seeing this movie (other than the bottle of Malbec), was the twists and the revelation of who the killer was! It had us guessing the entire movie and then that person would get knifed and we would have to search for the next killer. Even my wife who is extraordinary at ruining whodunnit movies was stumped until the very end.
After reading the news and seeing its dismal box office performance do not be dismayed. This movie was great. There was 0 promotion for it though unlike the first 3. After 11 years, people tend to forget or lose interest in sequels and the lack of advertising did not help either. I remember seeing only 1 trailer on the internet, no trailers in theaters, and not one tv commercial.
While this movie left something to be desired in the horror, scary department, the intensity, writing, and plot twists in the movie have earned it a 3 1/2 stars with me. I also always enjoy when they make fun of the horror movie genre and themselves. Its not neccessary to see this in theaters, but it definitely is a must see for anyone that loved the first one!

movie poster image:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Attack on Darfur

This was not a widely released movie so I am just getting to this Billy Zane, Edward Furlong movie about the genocide that was allowed to occur by the international community.
While it is not the greatest script, it is extremely emotional similar to Hotel Rwanda.  It shows not only the atrocities of the sickest humans and the cowardice of the international community but also the heroic actions of a few who at least tried to do the right thing.
It is fascinating how George Bush and Tony Blair could invade Iraq but not see the need to save these hundreds of thousands of people. Its strange that Barrack Obama would push for international military action in Libya but no one would make a strong case to stop the genocide in Darfur.
It is not only sickening to see the actions of perverted and soul less men, but also to witness the cowardice of those we call leaders.
Darfur received a lot of attention due to hollywood advocates and timely films, but once again a genocide occurred and the world failed to care until it was too late.
This movie was gut wrenching but worth the watch to ensure everyone understands the atrocities that occurred again under our watch.

Movie poster from:

Arthur (2011)

This remake was sadly not as funny as its original. Even with Russell Brand's humorous timing and off the cuff comments, Dudley Moore's version was still better. There were some very funny parts, mostly extended scenes already seen in the trailer. Helen Mirren was fantastic in this version. After seeing her perform so well in many drama's and action movies, it was refreshing to see her comedic side. Russell Brand's real love interest in this movie, Greta Gerwig was unflattering and sometimes a little annoying. She played the quirky but fascinating love interest that Zooey Deschanel always played so well. Sadly she did not live up to Zooey's precedence.
Honestly the best part of this movie was one of the previews- a full trailer for The Hangover 2. I laughed harder during that preview than the entire almost 2 hour Arthur.
Even with the mildly humorous parts, I would only give this movie 2 stars. It was by far not the worst movie I've seen but if you miss this one, I wouldn't lose sleep over it. Definitely a rental, at best.
Movie poster from:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Source Code

Last Sunday we went and saw Source Code at the Drafthouse. For those of you unfamiliar with the Alamo Drafthouse, its a theater that serves food and drinks while you watch the movie making dinner and a movie very easy and delicious! Being an Austin staple, this theater though is very weird and does a lot of unique screenings and pre-show previews. Their pre-show is a compilation of videos that pertain to the movie. For instance, during the new Star Trek show, they would show clips of the old Star Trek TV show. Well before this movie they showed clips of Groundhog Day and other lesser known similar films. It really helped set the tone of the movie- Source Code is like an action packed sci-fi Groundhog Day! This was a very interesting movie, containing lots of twists and non-stop action from the very beginning. The cast all did very well, the script was great, and the idea was an old one with an enthralling twist. Its hard to talk about this movie, because I felt like the previews ended up not really showing you anything about the movie. You go in thinking you know what this is about, but the longer you watch, the more you realize you knew nothing when this movie started. So without spoiling anything, I will just say this. During the wrap up towards the end, they start explaining things. In my opinion, there was a fatal flaw in the timeline that ended up not making any sense at all. I understood the direction they were going and why they went that way, but I feel like they messed up the timeline. The very, very end though was really cool and well done. Unfortunately I am very picky with movies and the fact that they seem to have messed up the end a little, I am going to give this just 3 1/2. However, if someone can explain it to me to my satisfaction, I will definitely up it to a 4!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sucker Punch

I was very excited to see this movie. Even though little is known about the story, the visual effects made it seem like the first big summer blockbuster.
Overall the movie was good. It was entertaining. Much like Inception, it dives deeper and deeper into dream states so that sometimes you forget this is all taking place inside of a mental hospital.
The visual effects and cinematography in this movie were astounding. Very cool fight scenes, epic wide shots of incredible, artistic scenery, and a color scheme that seemed to change based on which reality you were currently in, made this movie an experience.
I really enjoyed the fact this was a new story. This was not a sequel or a remake or even something I felt like I had seen before. The idea was original and while the story itself was not extraordinary, the idea made this movie stand apart.
This movie definitely did have a epic comic-book movie feel to it, similar to Zack Snyder's other movies: 300 and Watchmen. This was more unique than 300 and not preachy or as long as Watchmen. It will be very interesting to see how he tackles the new Superman movie next summer. He seems very capable of shooting fun, intense, and epic battle scenes that Superman movies to date have sorely lacked.
Based on the incredible picture and epic fight scenes I would recommend seeing this in theaters. I am going to rate this as a 3 1/2 stars. It is a solid start to what appears to be a pretty incredible summer.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hall Pass

Hall Pass was an interesting idea! I felt like the idea was something different which is always good when you are developing a comedy. While the preview showed some funny parts, I felt that there were still some good surprises in the movie. Unfortunately I did not think Owen Wilson was all that funny. His comedic style has started to get stale, much like Jim Carrey's over the top comedy eventually got tiresome. However Owen did perform a lot of set ups for Jason Sedeikis who stole the show. He had most of the funny lines and his comedic timing was perfect!
The movie is actually not just a guys movie as the preview makes it seem. The girls also by de facto get a break from marriage and go have some fun as well. The movie was a good commentary on how men just can't live without their women and how men go through stages in their lives while always hanging on to the last stage for as long as they can.
I like this movie even if it wasn't the funniest. I would recommend a rental and give it 3 stars.

The Adjustment Bureau

The best thing about this movie is that the previews set up the premise of the story to get you interested but did not really tell you a thing about the movie. Going into this movie I was most excited just to see Matt Damon, aka Jason Bourne, and those awesome hats! The story was very interesting. It was a love story that was intermixed with enough action to keep the guys interested. The reasoning behind the "men with hats" may disappoint some and some may call it a cop-out. Honestly I thought it was brilliant and very different. I don't want to give anything away but while its not a new idea, it is different and not expected.
The cast and acting was pretty good. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt were fantastic as lead characters. The chemistry was not perfect but was enough to make the whole thing believable. John Slattery (Mad Men) was also very good as one of the men in hats.
I really liked this movie and I would highly recommend it. It does not have to be seen in theaters, it would also be a great date night movie night at home. I give it 4 stars.

Battle: Los Angeles

Battle: LA is exactly what you expect from the previews. This is not an Oscar contender and really just the kick start to an awesome, mindless, action filled summer! I liked the movie. It starts off in the action, then builds up the story quickly, and then back to non stop action the rest of the 2 hours. The action was very intense and while character development was lacking you did get enough of a connection to care when some of the characters were slaughtered.
The one downside to this movie is found about 3/4's through the movie when Aaron Eckhart loses another "soldier" and decides its time to step up and give a typical American G.I. pep talk; lots of yelling, grunting, and "rally the troops" talk. The speech could have just been shorter and it probably would have been fine, but a 15 minute speech on saving the world and we have to do this and work together because I won't lose any more men, was just a little much.
Not the best acting, but thats also not why you go see this movie. You see it for the same reason you saw War of the Worlds, Aliens, and Starship Troopers- the action is just really cool. I recommend seeing it on the big screen to enjoy the full intensity- although maybe it would be best caught as a matinee. I give it 3 1/2 stars.


So we watched Sanctum during our last movie night and I have to warn you- worst movie ever (or at least in a while!)! The cinematography was the only impressive aspect of this movie. The plot was unlikely, the acting was abysmal, and the script was ridiculous. The script sounded like it was written by a 13 year old boy who just learned all the curse words. The cursing was awkward and misplaced which just made it sound like a frustrated kid who can't think of better words than just dropping f-bombs in completely the wrong context.
And I cannot get over the acting!! Ioan Gruffudd (Mr. Fantastic) was horrible. Of course a lot of the fault rests with the script, but even so, it seemed like he was there for the paycheck and didn't even care about the quality of his own performance. Richard Roxburgh (Mission Impossible II) was also horrible- not that he has been impressive in anything. These two, who are usually supporting actors, were unfortunately supported by even worse cast members. While their poor performances usually are forgiven by better main actors and a strong story, in this case they were the leading men and had a bunch of amateurs straight out of community college's acting classes backing them up.
Honestly this movie is not even worth your time if its on network tv in the middle of the summer. Better to just pick up a National Geographic and admire cave exploration in real life. Not even worth giving a star rating.

The Lincoln Lawyer

While no A Time to Kill, Matthew McConaughey does do an excellent job in the Lincoln Lawyer. Unfortunately the previews gave away the major twist which was disappointing. The movie takes the basic premise of Primal Fear and updates it with a new crime and a new series of twists. Even though the major twist is given away in the preview, the revelation in the movie is still intense and backed up with several other twists that keep you interested.
The supporting cast was also quite extensive including McConaughey's doppelganger Josh Lucas, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, the always tragic William H. Macy, John Leguizamo, Michael Pena, and Brain Cranston (dad from Malcolm in the Middle).
The movie was good and quite entertaining. It was nice to see Matthew back in a courtroom even if it still was not on par with A Time to Kill. I would suggest this be at the top of your rental list and give it 3 1/2 stars.