Thursday, December 31, 2009

Anticipation of 2010

2010 is shaping up to be a great year in movies. I have compiled a list of the 50 movies I am looking forward to most.

50. The Crazies

Current release date: February 26, 2010


It takes a lot for me to get interested in a horror movie but this one just really intrigues me for some reason and I'm also a pretty big Fan of Timothy Olyphant.

49. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Current release date: February 12, 2010


I am a sucker for Greek mythology and this looks like it has some potential if they do it right.

48. The Last Airbender

Current release date: July 2, 2010


The animated series is actually pretty good. This could be a very entertaining movie so long as they don't let M. Night Shyamalan write the ending… or really any of it.

47. Get Him To The Greek

Current release date: June 4, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

An intern is put in charge of getting an out of control rock start to a concert at LA's Greek Theater. Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, who were the only funny parts of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, reteam for this potentially hilarious movie.

46. Crazy On the Outside

Current release date: January 8, 2010


I actually really like Tim Allen and I love Sigourney Weaver and the rest of the cast looks great too. The trailer made me laugh so I will be checking this movie out.

45. Despicable Me

Current release date: July 9, 2010


This animated movie looks like it could be pretty good and pretty funny. The trailer is intriguing and the voice cast is pretty good.

44. Due Date

Current release date: November 5, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

A father-to-be is forced to go on a road trip with a college slacker in order to get to his child's birth on time. Robert Downey Jr. and Zack Galifianakis team up (my head just exploded) for this movie which sounds like it could be one of the funniest movies of the year.

43. Priest

Current release date: August 27, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

Based on a comic book about a priest who fights vampires, sign me up. Paul Bettany stars as the titular character.

42. Grown Ups

Current release date: June 25, 2010


Comic geniuses Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and Rob Schneider team up for what looks to be a great and very funny movie.

41. Youth In Revolt

Current release date: January 8, 2010


I have become a pretty big fan of Michael Cera and this role looks like something at least a little different for him.

40. The Bounty Hunter

Current release date: March 19, 2010


A bounty hunter learns that his next target is his ex-girlfriend, BEST.JOB.EVER! How does that not sound good? Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston team up for this one.

39. How To Train Your Dragon

Current release date: March 26, 2010


Dreamworks Animation brings us this gem that looks very entertaining about a bunch of Vikings learning to co-exist with and train dragons. It has a pretty good voice cast too that includes Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Kristen Wiig and Craig Ferguson.

38. 44 Inch Chest

Current release date: January 15, 2010


This high energy movie looks like the director took some notes from director Guy Ritchie. It's about a man who finds out his wife is cheating on him so he and his friends kidnap her lover to restore his ego, it looks like it could be pretty entertaining and funny.

37. Gulliver's Travels

Current release date: December 22, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

This latest adaptation of the famous book sounds like it's going to take more of a comedic tone. It stars Jack Black as Lemuel Gulliver and the cast also includes Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet and Billy Connolly.

36. Dorian Gray

Current release date: TBA 2010


The latest imagining of this classic tale about a man who has a portrait made of him and he never ages but the portrait does stars Ben Barnes and Colin Firth.

35. Green Zone

Current release date: March 12, 2010


This rogue CIA agent movie takes place in Iraq and stars Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear and Brendan Gleeson. It looks pretty good and is directed by Paul Greengrass who also directed Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum and even looks and sounds like a Bourne movie but whatever.

34. A Nightmare On Elm Street

Current release date: April 30, 2010


As I said before it takes a lot for me to get interested in a horror movie and a remake of a horror movie makes me nervous but I always liked the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and this revamp starring Jackie Earl Haley as the infamous Freddy Krueger actually has me pretty excited.

33. The Losers

Current release date: April 9, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

Based on the exciting graphic novel about members of a CIA black ops team that are betrayed and left for dead seek revenge against those who targeted them. It has a great cast that includes Jeffery Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans and Idris Elba. This movie is sure to be a lot of fun.

32. The American

Current release date: September 1, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

George Clooney plays an assassin hiding out in Italy for his last assignment. I'm sold simply on George Clooney, he is one of my favorite actors, and the premise sounds pretty good too.

31. The A-Team

Current release date: June 11, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

I still get a kick out of the fact they decided to make this classic TV show into a movie but I like the casting that includes Bradley Cooper, Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson, "Rampage" Jackson and Jessica Biel. Could be fun, even though unfortunately Mr. T won't be making an appearance.

30. Saint John of Las Vegas

Current release date: January 29. 2010


I am a pretty big fan of Steve Buscemi and this movie in which he plays an ex-gambler who is lured back to Vegas looks to be highly entertaining and funny.

29. Hot Tub Time Machine

Current release date: March 19, 2010


I'm not gonna lie, as weird as it is, the name just grabs me. It just sounds funny and the trailer backs that up. I am excited for this movie for John Cusack if nothing else. Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry and Clark Duke join him and Chevy Chase makes an appearance.

28. Daybreakers

Current release date: January 8, 2010


Finally, something a little different in the world of vampires. In this movie starring Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Sam Neill and Isabel Lucas, the vampires are actually the majority of the planets population and they are seeks a way to survive with a dwindling food supply.

27. The Rum Diary

Current release date: TBA 2010

No trailer at time of post.

Based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, this movie follows a freelance journalist on his adventures in the Caribbean during a turning point in his life. It stars Johnny Depp, Giovanni Ribisi and Aaron Eckhart in what could be a truly great movie.

26. Wolfman

Current release date: February 12, 2010


This is the movie that has cause me to put "current release date" because it has been pushed back so many times, I believe it was originally planned to be released in November of 2008. This is a remake of the classic 1941 Wolfman about a man who is bitten and subsequently cursed by a werewolf. It has a pretty great cast including Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving and Emily Blunt.

25. From Paris With Love

Current release date: February 5, 2010


This movie about an employee of the office of the US Ambassador who teams up with an American spy to stop a terrorist attack in Paris looks like a lot of fun and pretty funny as well. It stars John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

24. Toy Story 3

Current release date: June 18, 2010


A part of me is nervous that they are killing this story and the characters but then I am reminded it is Pixar and they are geniuses and don't really do wrong, they are 9 for 10 of their movies so far. It looks like it could be lots of fun.

23. Salt

Current release date: July 23, 2010


Angelina Jolie plays an American CIA agent who goes on the run after she is accused of being a Russian spy. The trailer looks good and it looks to have plenty of action to it. Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star.

22. Robin Hood

Current release date: May 14, 2010


Yes, I know there are a thousand different versions of this movie and I, inexplicably, love every one of them. This one comes from the amazing director Ridley Scott and has a fantastic cast of Russell Crowe as Robin Hood, Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian, Mathew MacFayden as Sheriff of Nottingham, Mark Strong as Sir Godfrey and Kevin Durrand as Little John. Sounds good to me.

21. Legion

Current release date: January 22, 2010


Based on the graphic novel about a biblical apocalypse that comes down upon the world and one angel helps defend a truck stop, that a waitress works at who is pregnant with the messiah, against an army of angels. That just sounds fascinating to me. It stars Paul Bettany, Dennis Quiad and Kevin Durrand.

20. Date Night

Current release date: April 9, 2010


Steve Carell and Tina Fey team up for this comedy match made in heaven about mistaken identity that turns a boring couples attempt at a romantic night into a thrilling and dangerous night of them trying to stay alive. This movie looks absolutely hilarious. It also stars James Franco, Mila Kunis and Mark Wahlburg.

19. Jonah Hex

Current release date: June 18, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

Based on the comic book series about a scarred bounty hunter who hunts down a voodoo practitioner by raising an army of the undead in the wild west. The comics are pretty good and the premise is great. Stars Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich.

18. Inception

Current release date: July 16, 2010


Honestly, not a clue what this movie is about. It is directed by Christopher Nolan and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger and Michael Caine. The trailer looks absolutely insane so hopefully it will be a fun ride if nothing else.

17. Knight and Day

Current release date: July 2, 2010


I honestly don't know much about this movie. All I know is that it's an action comedy, it stars Tom Cruise, who is one of my favorite actors, and Cameron Diaz, who is always great, and the trailer made me laugh my butt off. I can't wait for this one.

16. I Love You, Phillip Morris

Current release date: March 26, 2010


No, this movie has nothing to do with the tobacco company. It stars Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor and Leslie Mann. This movie almost didn’t get released in America because we're all a bunch of prudes apparently. I think it looks hilarious and it could be very good.

15. The Green Hornet

Current release date: December 22, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

I'm pretty excited to see this classic character hit the big screen written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and starring Seth Rogen as the Green Hornet. I am disappointed that Steven Chow left the production but I still think it will be a fun movie to watch.

14. The Book of Eli

Current release date: January 15, 2010


Denzel Washington is the lead in this post-apocalyptic action movie about a man fighting his way across America in order to protect a book that holds the secrets to saving mankind. It looks awesome and Denzel Washington looks great in it. Can't wait for this one.

13. The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Current release date: July 16, 2010


That's right, a live action adaptation of the classic Mickey Mouse cartoon. This version stars Nicholas Cage as the Sorcerer and Jay Baruchel as his apprentice. It also stars Monica Bellucci and Alfred Molina. The trailer just looks awesome and I think this movie is going to be so much fun.

12. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Current release date: May 28, 2010


This movie is an adaptation of the action video game of the same name. It looks great and loaded with action. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal (I don't know why either) as the Prince of Persia, Gemma Arterton, Alfred Molina and Ben Kingsley.

11. Machete

Current release date: April 16, 2010

Fake trailer from Grindhouse

That's right, Robert Rodriguez decided to take the fake trailer he made for the movie Grindhouse and turn it into an actual movie. It will be good and ridiculous. It has a pretty great cast which includes Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson and Steven Segal.

10. The Expendables

Current release date: August 20, 2010


This could be one of the greatest action movies of all time. It has probably the best cast of any movie which includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Jet Li, Eric Roberts, Terry Crews, Bruce Willis, Danny Trejo and the crème de la crème, Dolph freaking Lundgren. How can you not see this movie? It's going to be amazing.

9. Cop Out

Current release date: February 26, 2010


I still prefer the original title of A Couple of Dicks, but the studio wasn't going to allow that. This is Kevin Smith's latest directed movie. It is a comedy about two cops trying to track down a stolen rare baseball card and their misadventures along the way. It stars Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan and Sean William Scott. It looks to be absolutely hilarious, even though Smith didn't write it.

8. Paul

Current release date: TBA 2010

No trailer at time of post.

Written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and directed by Greg Mattola, this movie promises to deliver tons of laughs. It is about two comic book geeks who are traveling across the US and encounter an alien outside of Area 51. It stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver, Jane Lynch, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig and Jeffrey Tambor.

7. Predators

Current release date: July 7, 2010

No trailer at time of post.

Robert Rodriguez produces this re-boot of the Predator franchise. The title alone excites me as it implies that there will be more than one Predator for once. Cast includes Topher Grace, Adrian Brody, Danny Trejo and Laurence Fishburne.

6. Kick-Ass

Current release date: April 16, 2010


This movie looks to be a proper adaptation of the comic book, thank all that is holy. It promises to be funny and brutally violent, hence the R rating it got. They are making trailers centered around each of the characters, I suggest seeking out the one made around the character Hit-Girl, it is great. It stars Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz, Nicholas Cage and Mark Strong.

5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Current release date: November 19, 2010

Trailer only available on Blu-ray of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at time of post.

Finally, the first half of the last chapter in the Harry Potter saga. It sounds very promising and sounds like it is going to be dark and full of action. No rating yet but the things I have read about it indicate it will be borderline R rated. The cast of the first 6 movies return with the inclusion of Bill Nighy.

4. Alice In Wonderland

Current release date: March 5, 2010


Tim Burton takes the helm of this live action mixed with motion capture version of the classic tale. This one takes place after the original story when Alice is now 19 and she returns to Wonderland. It looks promising to me and it has a great cast that includes Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman and Christopher Lee. It looks exciting and I am looking forward to it.

3. Clash Of The Titans

Current release date: March 26, 2010


The classic 1981 movie of the same name gets a much needed update in 2010. It is the story of Perseus taking a journey in order to stop the underworld and it's minions from spreading evil across the world as well as the heavens. The trailer for this movie is awesome and it has me so excited to see this movie. It stars Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes.

2. Tron Legacy

Current release date: December 17, 2010


The current "trailer" that is out for this movie is actually just test footage that people at Disney made in order to get the movie greenlit. Either way, that test footage has everybody's mouth watering. This movie is almost a remake while still managing to be a sequel with amazing graphics. Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner return and are accompanied by John Hurt, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. This is going to be an extremely fun movie to watch.

1. Iron Man 2

Current release date: May 7, 2010


I loved the first movie back in 2008 and have been waiting for the sequel ever since. Jon Favreu is directing again and this movie looks to be bigger and better than the first one with the introduction of the characters Whiplash, Black Widow, Justin Hammer and War Machine. My jaw hit the ground when I watched the trailer for this movie, I am so excited. The casting is amazing and includes Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson. It is going to be an amazing ride.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2nd Annual End of the Year Movie Review

The Best of 2009

Best Comedy:


My review

I was actually a little disappointed in the quality of the comedies this year. There weren't that many true great comedies. Funny People was much more a drama about comedians than a comedy, Land of the Lost was just unfunny through most of it, Observe and Report was a pretty dark comedy with few funny bits in it. But there were some really great ones nonetheless. Hangover was much funnier than I ever thought it would be and almost won this category but Zombieland was just priceless. From Woody Harrelson's crazy gun happy character who loves to let loose once in a while to Jesse Eisenberg's neurotic and paranoid character to the best cameo I have ever seen. This movie is fun and funny from start to finish

Best Action Movie:


My review

This year did bring us many great action movies to enjoy, such as Terminator Salvation, Transformers 2, 2012, the brilliantly reinvented Star Trek, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, G.I. Joe, Wolverine and many more. But James Cameron's Avatar surpasses them all. The movie is loaded with beautiful graphics, a compelling story line and some of the best action and battle sequences I have ever seen. This movie really is a must see. It isn't just an action movie, it's also a great drama. The movie grabs hold of you and doesn't let go for the entire 2 hour 40 minute run time.

Best Sci-fi and /or Comic Book Movie:

District 9

My review

This year saw some great Sci-fi movies as well, and lots of them at that, great movies like Moon, Star Trek and Avatar top my list but District 9 was amazing. It is a beautifully done movie about a race of aliens being held captive on Earth just outside Johannesburg, South Africa. The movie is a beautiful metaphor for the time of Apartheid in South Africa. It is one of the most original movies I have seen in a very long time. This movie looked spectacular, which is amazing given that it was made for just $20 million dollars. The movie really touches your heart and your mind. It's not your daddy's E.T. that's for sure.

Best Drama:

Up In The Air

My review

Tough competition this year with movies like Sunshine Cleaning, Taking Woodstock, The Soloist, Invictus (which I have not seen yet) and Hurt Locker (again, I have not seen this yet). My personal favorite was definitely Up In The Air with George Clooney. Clooney gave such an amazing performance in this movie doing a wonderful job showing this character's hidden vulnerabilities. New comer Anna Kendrick did an amazing job with her role. The story was moving and interesting. Really everything about this movie was great. It is loaded with top notch performances, the direction was great, the cinematography was beautiful, there was just the right amount of drama and just the right amount of humor.

Best Family Movie:


My review

There were some great family movies this year, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Ice Age 3 and Night at the Museum 2. Up however was in a world all its own. The people at Pixar really out did themselves with this one. I actually at times have a hard time defining this movie as a kids movie because there are parts of it that deal with some really grown up issues. The story was great and funny and emotional. An old man being forced into a retirement home decides to float away to South America and along the way he makes a new friend. Every aspect of this movie was just great. In fact, it was so good that I keep saying that I hope it gets nominated for best picture this year at the Oscars, not just best animated movie, because it really is so much more than that.

Best Horror Movie:

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

My review

There were some good horror movies this year like this and Drag Me To Hell and many bad ones like the Friday the 13th remake and Halloween II was disappointing. I usually get nervous about prequel movies, they rarely turn out well, but this one was done very well. It's story is briefly told in the first Underworld movie and so they decided to make a whole movie about how the war started between the werewolves and the vampires. It was done very well and the action scenes were very intense.

Best Movie Nobody Saw

Whatever Works

My review

So many great movies come out that nobody ever seems to know about and they'll only play at one or two theaters in town if you're lucky. I must encourage everybody to seek out these movies in any way you can and watch them: 500 Days of Summer (did become a moderate hit), Away We Go, Moon, The Brothers Bloom, Big Fan, Bronson, Management, Sleep Dealer, The Girlfriend Experience, $9.99, Adam, Cold Souls, Paper Heart, Crazy Heart, World's Greatest Dad, A Serious Man and Black Dynamite. Whatever Works, though, was definitely my favorite movie that when I tell people about it they stare at me because they have never heard of it. It is written and directed by Woody Allen who I haven't liked any of the movies he's done for the last decade or so but this one is great. He actually wrote it back in the 70's but put it aside when the actor he wanted for it died, he then picked it back up when the writer's strike hit. Larry David is pure genius in the main role and I love everything he says. This movie is brilliant and very funny and definitely worth watching.

Biggest Surprise

All About Steve

My review

I really thought this movie was going to be a terrible and clichéd romantic comedy but what I got, and I am a little ashamed to say this, was a genuine and heartfelt comedy about a woman who doesn't quite fit in with what most people call normal and I loved every second of it. She is traveling across the country in pursuit of a guy she recently met and is determined to be with. The trailer gives the impression that she will change who she is and wind with the guy at the end. So not the case. This movie is really worth watching so check it out if you can.

Biggest Disappointment

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince/Inglorious Basterds

My review of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
My review of Inglorious Basterds

This year didn't have any major disappointments on the level of Indiana Jones and the Butchering of a Great Character, but there were two movies I was really excited about and I feel equally let down by each. I was disappointed in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince because after the events in the previous movies I felt the movie was going to take place in a really dark and scary time where everybody is fearing for their lives because Voldemort is back and he is seeking his revenge. What I got was a movie about a bunch of teenagers falling in love with each other and a bunch of random shenanigans going on around Hogwarts. I still liked it I just feel it could have been better. Inglorious Basterds looked like a fun, funny and violent romp through German occupied France during WWII following Brad Pitt's character and his men. What I got was a boring story about a girl who runs a movie theater. This movie could have been great but Tarantino named it wrong and filled it with long, boring and, most of the time, useless dialogue.

Best Cameo

Bill Murray in Zombieland

My review of Zombieland

In my opinion the movie has been out long enough that if you don't know about this by now you were probably literally living under a rock. Bill Murray proved that he can still be very funny and entertaining in Zombieland. In the movie Murray plays himself and is done up in Zombie make-up because "you don't see zombies attacking other zombies right?". The part of the movie that he was in I could not stop laughing as they re-enacted some favorite scenes from Ghostbusters. The movie is worth watching just for this scene.

Best Performance

Sam Rockwell in Moon

My review of Moon

Again, see this movie. It is amazing. This one was a little hard to pick as there were some great performances this year but it really came down to George Clooney in Up in the Air and Sam Rockwell. I chose Sam because he had to carry a movie by himself, he is the only actor in it, Kevin Spacey did the voice of a robot, GERTY, but Sam was the only person you saw on screen. Spoiler: On top of that he had to portray two different aspects of the same character, the Sam that just got to the Moon and the Sam that's been there for three years by himself. Then on top of that they interact. It is one of the best performances I have ever seen.

Worst Movie of 2009


My review

Bruno is easily the biggest waste of time and money that there ever was. Thankfully I didn't pay for my ticket but my friend and I still left about 20 or 30 minutes in because we realized there were better things we could be doing with that time, like beating myself over the head with a frying pan or stabbing myself in the leg with a pen or even gouging my own eyes out with a rusty spoon.

Best Movie of 2009


My review

There were many great movies this year but for me Watchmen was hands down the best movie of the year. This movie was the best and most perfect adaptation of a comic book/graphic novel/novel I have ever seen. The graphic novel is one of my favorite novels of all time and now the movie is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is the only movie I own two copies of, ever. I own the Director's cut blu-ray and the Ultimate Cut blu-ray that has the animated Tales of the Black Freighter woven back into the story line like it is in the graphic novel. Every shot of the movie is just beautiful, the acting is great, the writing is amazing, the music is so perfect, simply put, everything about this movie is amazing. This movie has possibly the greatest opening title sequence ever, watch this movie for that if nothing else. The movie contains some of the most dynamic characters ever written and some of the best social commentary as well. If I had the time, I could watch this movie over and over. It is a shame that it will be overlooked at the awards shows simply because it's based on a graphic novel. I still strongly encourage everybody to watch this movie.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Review: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

Grade: C

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is the sequel to 2007's Alvin and the Chipmunks. In this one, the chipmunks are back but after Dave gets injured he has them go live with his aunt and go to school in order for them to try to live a normal life. School is a terrifying place for the chipmunks as they don't quite fit in and nobody really seems to like them there. The principal, however, is excited for their arrival because there is a music competition coming up that could provide funding for their music department if the chipmunks win it. At the same time, Ian, who is now unemployed and broke, is searching for the next big thing when he happens upon the chipettes, a trio of singing girl chipmunks. He puts them up against the chipmunks in hopes of getting his career back.

This sequel just didn't have the magic that the first one did. I actually really enjoy the 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks, the humor was good, the story was pretty good and it really kept true and made many references to the original cartoons. This one seemed forced. The music wasn't as good, the humor was pretty bad, but it did make all the five year olds in the theater laugh, and the story seemed pretty uninteresting. For some reason Dave was hardly in it, maybe five minutes of screen time. The movie was basically an advertisement to get people interested in funding music programs at school. For instance the opening scene is the chipmunks performing at a Save the Music Foundation concert then the rest of the plot is the chipmunks getting ready for that competition to fund their schools music program because if they lose the school will shut it down.

I really get a kick out of the fact that they hired some pretty big names to voice the chipmunks and the chipettes because you can't tell who's doing the voice and all you need is a person who can speak slowly into a microphone. They have Justin Long (Accepted, Drag Me To Hell) voicing Alvin, Mathew Gray Gubler (500 Days of Summer, TV's Criminal Minds) voices Simon, singer Jesse McCartney voices Theodore, Christina Aplegate (TV's Samantha Who, Anchorman) voices Brittany, Anna Faris (Observe and Report, Just Friends) voices Jeanette and Amy Poehler (TV's Parks and Recreation, Baby Mama) voices Eleanor. Jason Lee (TV's My Name is Earl, Clerks II) reprises his role as Dave, but as I mentioned before he's barely in the movie. David Cross (Year One, She's The Man) reprises his role as Ian, who' not as good or funny as the first movie. Zachary Levi (TV's Chuck) plays Toby, Dave's second cousin who takes care of the chipmunks after an incident with Dave's aunt. Levi was actually pretty good and pretty funny in this movie.

This movie is definitely for kids and they will enjoy it. Unfortunately, unlike the first one, it doesn't have much entertainment value for adults but thankfully it's relatively short.

Great quote: "Hi I'm Theodore. Hi I'm Theodore. Hi I'm Theodore. Hi I'm Theodore. Hi I'm Theodore."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Review: Sherlock Holmes

Grade: A

Sherlock Holmes is on the case once again. Along with his trusted partner Dr. Watson, Holmes finally catches the mysterious serial killer and occult sorcerer Lord Blackwood and can successfully close yet another case. Holmes struggles to find a case appetizing enough for him to take while trying to cope with the fact that Watson is engaged and moving out. Then, the perfect case appears when Lord Blackwood mysteriously comes back from the grave and continues his killing spree. Facing off against Watson's fiancé, the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard and the dangerous advances of the temptress Irene Adler, Holmes must seek out the clues that will lead him down a treacherous path of murder, deceit and black magic.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous character has been in movies and entertainment since 1905, producing dozens of movies, radio programs and television shows. Director Guy Ritchie (Rocknrolla, Snatch) brings us the latest incantation, and he does a great job. Ritchie brings his gritty filmmaking style to the famous character, showcasing his wits and keen detection skills while also making Holmes an agile, brawling, in-your-face action hero. Ritchie reinvents these characters brilliantly for the 21st century all the while staying true to the 120+ year old character leaving in plenty of winks to the original books, movies and TV shows.

The performances in the movie were all top notch as well. I can clearly see now how Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) got a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of the titular character, Sherlock Holmes. Downey Jr. gave a brilliant and at times funny performance of the sleuth. His accent was authentic and his mannerisms worked so well for the character. Jude Law (The Holiday, The Aviator) plays the role of Dr. John Watson. Jude Law did a fantastic job with this character in one of his better performance, I really enjoyed it. Mark Strong (Stardust, Rocknrolla) plays the role of Lord Blackwood. Strong was great and very eerie and gruesome as Lord Blackwood, truly terrifying at times. Rachel McAdams (The Time Traveler's Wife, State Of Play) played the role of Irene Adler. McAdams was very impressive as the temptress who is secretly in love with Holmes while at the same time trying to kill him.

This movie is great and well worth watching. I do believe that everyone can enjoy it, from people who don't know much about Sherlock Holmes to the diehard Holmes fans. This movie is beautiful and the story is very engaging and all the performances are fantastic. Go check it out, you won't regret it.

Great Quote: "Oh no, he's killed the dog again."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Review: Avatar

Grade: A+

Avatar is James Cameron's latest epic. It is about a group of humans that go to a distant planet known as Pandora. They are there to mine an extremely valuable mineral. Only problem is, there is an indigenous humanoid race known as the Na'vi living right on top of the largest deposit of this mineral and they are not willing to move. A Paraplegic marine's twin brother died. He was in the Avatar program and they now need him to take his brothers place. In the Avatar program, with the use of technology, they put his mind in the body of a Na'vi/human hybrid. His job is to gain the trust of the people and then try to convince them to move. When he realizes they will never move a gung-ho colonel decides to wage war against the Na'vi in order to force them out. The marine now feels more at home with the Na'vi then he ever did at home on Earth and decides to help them fight back.

This movie was amazing. It is no wonder that it took so long to be made. This is the first movie that director James Cameron (Terminator 2, Titanic) has made since the critically acclaimed Titanic. I had faith that this movie would be good because the last time he created, wrote and directed something we got the Terminator. Cameron definitely did his research for this movie. The world of Pandora is beautiful. During the day it is a far reaching rain forest full of life. At night it becomes a bioluminescent paradise. The entire planet seems to work on a massive scale of symbiosis with connecting roots and these weird tentacle type things that all the creatures and the Na'vi seem to have that connect their minds together. The whole world lights up and takes your breath away. He also had a linguist come in and help him create an entire language that the Na'vi speak.

The effects in this movie are mind blowing. It really looks like James Cameron took a camera to another plant to shoot a movie. It is no wonder that it's been in post production for over two years to work on those effects. If this movie doesn't sweep the technical categories at the Oscars this year, then somebody is bribing the academy quite well. Every aspect of this movie's scenery and sound was awe inspiring. It made me wish that this were a real world that I could go to. I saw it on IMAX 3D, the way Cameron had really intended it to be seen, and it was so worth it. I'm not the biggest fan of 3D but this was something else. The 3D and IMAX really made you feel like you were there. It was beautiful.

The story was fantastic. It is very reminiscent of the story of John Smith and Pocahontas. A story about a man who goes to a foreign land and tries to connect with the locals and falls in love the girl assigned to show him their ways. In fact, the whole movie seems to reflect the story of the settling of America. The local people are extremely in touch with nature and cohabitate with it. The new people who come and try to offer them things they don't want so they just end up using force to get the natives out of the way. It's all very familiar but Cameron did it so well that I was completely absorbed into every aspect of the movie. You really connect and feel for the main characters and the Na'vi people. It is a very emotional movie at times. It has a run time of two hours and forty minutes but it seemed to be over so quickly because of how much fun it is to watch.

The cast was so perfect. Relative new comer, and sci-fi's new poster boy, Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) played the lead role of the paraplegic Jake Sully. Worthington did a fantastic job with this role. He is really going to go far if he keeps performances like this up. You connect with Jake Sully on so many levels because of him. Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Vantage Point) plays the role of Neytiri, a Na'vi who shows Jake the way of her people. Saldana did a great job and her career is going to go places as well. Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Galaxy Quest) plays the role of Dr. Grace Augustine, the head of the Avatar program. Weaver was great, her character, while never accepted by the Na'vi, loved the Na'vi culture and everything about their world. Stephen Lang (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Public Enemies) plays the role of Colonel Miles Quaritch, a man who has no sympathy for the planet of the local people and only wants to help the corpration mine their precious mineral by any means necessary. Lang was great as the trigger happy Colonel. The cast also includes Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel Moore, CCH Pounder and Laz Alanso.

This movie is amazing and mind blowing. This movie is really one of those must sees. I know that it's sci-fi and many people might not want to see it because of that, but this is a quality movie that can be enjoyed by everybody. Granted, this movie isn't quite groundbreaking on the level that Battleship Potemkin was like many people kept implying that it was, but it is still like nothing you've ever seen before. I really can't recommend this movie enough. Go see it and go see it in IMAX 3D if you can, you won't be disappointed.

Great quote: "Everything is backwards now, like out there is the real world and in here is the dream."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: The Princess and the Frog

Grade: A

The Princess and the Frog is an animated movie that retells the classic story The Frog Prince. This story centers around a girl, Tiana, who is a hard working waitress who is saving up to open her own restaurant in Jazz-age New Orleans. Prince Naveen comes to town around Mardi Gras in hopes of finding a woman to be his prince. Naveen encounters a voodoo magician who turns Naveen into a frog for his own nefarious plans. When Tiana encounters the frog Naveen she remembers the childhood story and kisses him in hopes he will turn back into a prince, instead she gets turned into a frog herself. Then with the help of a trumpet playing alligator, a Cajun firefly and an old blind woman, Naveen and Tiana race through the bayou and against time to break the curse and fulfill their dreams.

It is so nice to see the classic animation back in Disney movies… or any movies for that matter. This movie looks beautiful and brings back memories of many classics. It is very interesting to see a movie set in the golden years of the beautiful city of New Orleans. It reminds me that I must make my way to New Orleans soon. This is definitely one of the best animated movies of the year, simply fantastic. The story is sweet and funny at times and really keeps you interested throughout.

One thing that made me laugh before the movie even came out was all the controversy surrounding it. This is Disney's first black "princess" but her prince, Prince Naveen, is not black. This seemed to infuriate people for some odd reason. "In the year we have our nation's first black president we can't even get a black prince in a Disney movie" people would say. Well, Prince Naveen is a pretty non-descript race. Also, I feel this is better than having a black prince, for once a Disney movie is showing a mixed race relationship. Anyway, that was my two cents on the matter.

The voice cast for the movie was great. Anika Noni Rose did the voice of Tiana and she did a great job. Bruno Campos did the voice of the regionally non-specific Prince Naveen. Keith David did the voice of the evil Voodoo doctor Facilier. Terrance Howard did the voice of James and John Goodman did the voice of "Big Daddy" La Bouff.

This movie is just amazing and it's really great to see Disney getting back to their roots. I actually suggest everybody go see this movie, it is fun for all ages and I think most anybody could enjoy it.

Great quote: "You sure this is the right blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree in the Bayou?"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Argument Against Quentin Tarantino

With the recent Golden Globe nominations and DVD release of Inglorious Basterds many people have been once again asking me how I felt about the movie. Most people are under the impression that, given many other types of movies I love, that I am a Quentin Tarantino fan. Well, I'm not. Granted, in every one of his movies there are parts that I like the problem is they are all very few and far between which makes most of his movies unwatchable to me. I can admit that for the most part the guy is a good director, most of his movies look great, my problem with him is in his writing.

Let's start with his most recent work, Inglorious Basterds, which has now been nominated for four Golden Globe awards and it looks like it might get a couple Oscar nods as well given the critical acclaim it's received. I remember when I first saw a trailer for this movie, Brad Pitt with a big scar on his neck talking with a Tennessee accent to several Jewish-American soldiers about going behind enemy lines and scalping Nazis. That got me very excited. The tile of the movie and every advertisement for the movie was centered around Brad Pitt's character and his men, the Basterds. So when I went to go see the movie I expected to see a movie about a group of American soldiers led by Brad Pitt roaming through Germany and Nazi occupied France killing Nazis, what I got was a long movie about a girl who escaped being killed by the Nazis then a couple years later is running a theater in Nazi occupied France where the Nazis want to have a movie premier at. Brad Pitt was in the movie maybe 20 minutes and his men maybe 30 of the 150 run time. None the less, I will admit that this movie was more tolerable than most of his work, so much so that I might watch it again. One part of this movie that I did appreciate was Tarantino's complete disregard for history, I have always wanted to see a WWII movie where Hitler gets killed in the end and I got it. Still, as I said before, my problem is with the writing. The opening scene seems to drag on forever as the characters talk about milk for far too long and most other conversations involving the characters of Shosanna or Col. Hans Landa seem to drag on forever as they seem to talk about nothing. One of the scenes which seemed to be going in a great direction was the scene in the bar with a couple of the Basterds and Diane Kruger's character. At first this seen was good and quite funny at times, then it just kept going and going till all of a sudden everybody's dead in a flash.

This is the problem with Tarantino, he fills his movies with so much useless and irrelevant dialogue. I think the man just tries way too hard to be cool and to me he just comes off boring and stupid. The best example of this is everybody's favorite: Pulp Fiction. I re-watched this movie recently to give it another try and I almost regretted it. This movie is nothing but boring and completely useless dialogue that is wasting my time. What the hell do I care what a quarter pounder with cheese is called in France, does that have anything to do with anything? No. Now, I do enjoy dialogue heavy movies, for example all of Kevin Smith's movies, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Gran Torino and many many others. The thing is though, all of the dialogue in those movies is either very interesting or relevant to the story. I have had several people tell me "well he's trying to show you what it would be like in real life if these people were talking". That's great, problem is that real life is boring, that's why I go to movies, to get away from the boring and mundane that is real life. To me the there are only two parts of Pulp Fiction that are worth watching, the weird scene in the basement of that store with Ving Rhames because it's actually pretty funny, and the last scene with Samuel L. Jackson. The speech he gives at the end is great.

Alright, now I'm going to talk about Grindhouse and more specifically his movie Death Proof. This is the one movie of his that I can watch every once in a while, which is a little ironic. Let me explain, you can tell that the Grindhouse movie was Tarantino's idea as he has a thing for genre movies. The problem come when you realize that his movie is not a Grindhouse movie. The point of Grindhouse has always been exploitation movies, this means the movie is nothing but sex and action and violence. Robert Rodriguez's segment Planet Terror is a grindhouse movie, it is loaded with gore and action and sex. Death Proof however has a good 30 minutes of pointless dialogue then a quick action scene then another 30-45 minutes of dialogue followed by some good action for the last 15 minutes. Why I enjoy this movie I can't quite explain but I can say that I am begging the studio to release the theatrical cut of Grindhouse because it's great and the extended cut (which is the only cut you can get) of Death Proof on DVD pushes the movie towards unwatchability because Tarantino decided to add an additional 15+ minutes of dialogue.

The funny thing is Kill Bill Vol. 1 is more of a Grindhouse movie than Death Proof is. Kill Bill Vol. 1 is nothing but action and blood and gore. Sounds great but I still didn't like it. I know this sounds stupid but I remember when some of my friends took me to go see Kill Bill Vol. 1 opening weekend and I wanted to kill them for it, the movie was just stupid, there was no plot or story other than Kill Bill which just wasn't enough for me. The only parts of that movie I enjoyed were all of the scenes with Lucy Liu. I hated Vol. 1 so much that I refused to see Vol. 2 for years. When I finally did I appreciated Vol. 1 a little bit more because it at least gave us some story and David Carradine was great as Bill. However Vol. 2 was still filled with scenes that went on too long and some pointless dialogue, not as bad as all of his other movies though. These movies are tolerable to me but I still don't care to re-watch them.

Reservoir Dogs was another of his tolerable movies but it suffers the same issue of all of his others, too much pointless dialogue. And as for Jackie Brown, it has been forever since I've seen that movie but I do remember that I really didn't like that movie. I will admit that Tarantino seems to be getting better slowly, as I mentioned Death Proof actually was pretty good and Inglorious Bastards was alright but it just went on too long in many scenes and the title and advertising is a bit misleading. He hasn't screwed up so bad yet that I won't see any more of his movies, I'm going to keep watching his movies when they come out but I am going to be prepared for disappointment. In the meantime I am going to keep watching his friend and, at times it seems, partner Robert Rodriguez. When Rodriguez makes an movie, it's worth watching, even his kids movies aren't bad.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review: Up In The Air

Grade: A+

Up In The Air is about a man, Ryan Bingham, whose job is a corporate downsizer, in other words he fires people for a living. Having to deal with letting people go and dealing with their anguish, hostility and despair has left Ryan, for lack of a better word, distant. He refuses to make close personal connections to anyone, including his own family, even giving seminars about doing just that. Ryan is on the road, flying from city to city for 320 days a year, he lives out of a finely packed suitcase and loves every minute of it. When his company hires young determined Natalie who comes up with a new way of firing people that will take him off the road, forcing him to settle down and live in his small one bedroom apartment, he becomes determined to show her the error of her logic and takes her across the country to help him fire people in person. Along the way Natalie begins to discover the depressing and disheartening reality of her profession and Ryan begins to see the errors of his own way of life and realizes that connections are important.

This movie was absolutely brilliant. Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You For Smoking) directs his best movie yet. Up In The Air is a beautifully shot movie thanks to Reitman. He was just nominated for a Golden Globe for best director for this movie and it is very easy to understand why. The writing for the movie was fantastic as well. This movie really covers the emotional spectrum from happiness to depression to excitement to dread, it was all shown so beautifully through the writing and direction of it all.

George Clooney (Burn After Reading, Michael Clayton) plays the lead role of Ryan Bingham. I believe this is George Clooney' best performance to date. He does an amazing job of showing Ryan's emotional distance and his vulnerabilities. Clooney has been nominated for a Golden Globe for this performance and I believe he will be nominated for an Oscar as well. Vera Farmiga (Orphan, The Departed) plays Alex, a fellow frequent traveler whom Ryan meets and starts to become attached to. Vera does a wonderful job with this role, she is smart and witty and inspirational at times. Relative new comer Anna Kendrick plays the role of Natalie Keener, a young determined woman who came up with the idea of firing people over webcam. Anna Kendrick was spectacular in this movie, she showed true promise of a great career to come. She did a great job showing how strong her character showed she was but how helpless at times she really felt. I hope great things come to her after this role. The movie also features great appearances by Jason Bateman, Melanie Lynskey, Danny McBride, Sam Elliot, J.K. Simmons and Zack Galifianakis.

The title of this movie has a double meaning that says it all, sometimes it feel like everything we thought we knew is Up In The Air. What you thought was one thing could turn out be something completely different. This movie is wonderful and a must see for 2009. I rank it as one of the best movie of 2009, simply great movie going experience. I strongly encourage everybody to so see this movie as soon as they can.

Great quote: "Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Review: A Christmas Carol

Grade: A-

Disney's A Christmas Carol is the latest movie adaptation of Charles Dickens famous story. It tells the story of a lonely rich man, Ebenezer Scrooge, who only looks out for himself and holds everything that embodies the joy and spirit of Christmas in contempt. One Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner who pleads with Scrooge to change his life before it's too late. That night Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who take him on a journey of self-exploration and self-redemption.

This version of A Christmas Carol is adapted and directed by Robert Zemeckis (Beowulf, Forrest Gump) who uses the same motion capture technique he used in Beowulf and The Polar Express to create the best adaptation of the story I've ever seen. Thanks to the animation style, the actors are able to portray multiple characters which is very necessary in this story in my opinion. As I mentioned, this is a very accurate representation of the original story, so even though it's animated and is rated PG, I would not consider this a kids movie. Pretty much the entire movie, except the last 10-15 minutes, is very dark and very scary at times. For instance, as we all know, the third ghost is Death, there is a part of the movie where Scrooge is being chased by a carriage driven by Death being pulled by two demon horses that look just like the demon horse standing outside DIA.

Jim Carrey (Yes Man, Horton Hears A Who) really does most of the voices in the movie. He voices not only Ebenezer Scrooge in all ages that they show him but also the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. This is the part of this movie I really liked, reading the story I always felt it was implied that the three ghosts were, in essence, parts of Ebenezer's soul. Jim Carrey did a fantastic job with all aspects of his roles. The movie also features the voices of Gary Oldman, Bob Hoskins, Cary Elwes, Colin Firth and Robin Wright Penn who all did a wonderful job as well with their roles.

I know that this story has been turned into so many different movies and TV programs so many people are turned off by yet another adaptation. I must say though that this one is well worth checking out as I believe it is the best and most honest adaptation of the original story I have seen yet, trust me.

Great quote: "Being haunted by three ghosts is my one chance at redemption… I'd rather not."

Review: Ninja Assassin

Grade: C

Ninja Assassin is about a secret clan that, starting at early childhood, trains people to be stealth ninja assassins. One young assassin, Raizo, falls in love with a girl during their training but the clan kills her for trying to escape the village. Raizo shortly after decides to defy the clan himself and wishes to seek revenge for her death. Also, a Europol investigator has stumbled across a secret, that many assassinations over the last couple centuries can be traced back to a possible secret ninja clan. This agent finds Razio and they team up together to destroy the ninja clan.

This movie was pretty fun and entertaining. The action was great and the fight scenes were very exciting. It is a very bloody and gory movie. However, the dialogue is pretty terrible and overall the movie is very cheesy. Pretty much every cliché thing you can think of in terms of ninjas is put into this movie. Also, when they are being surrounded by ninjas the ninjas would whisper a lot like "the others" in TV's Lost, pretty ridiculous and corny.

Korean popstar/actor Rain (Speed Racer, plays the main role of Raizo. Rain definitely has the look for the part (extremely fit) but he is not that great of an actor, very bland and monotone, granted that did kind of help at points for the character. Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3, Street Kings) plays the role of Europol investigator Mika. Harris' job with this role was alright, she seemed pretty naïve at times but again, it all kind of worked out.

If you want a mindless movie about ninja assassins fighting other ninja assassins than Ninja Assassin is just the movie for you. But if you are looking for substance and plot, don't go anywhere near this movie.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review: 2012

Grade: B+

2012 is the latest effort by director Roland Emerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). It is a big budget end of the world movie. In the movie in 2009 a scientist discovers that the Earth's core and sub-crust are heating up and in a couple of years a major natural disaster will occur that will that will destroy most of the world. The government starts making preparations for this event and decides to keep the event a secret from the general public. In 2012, in accordance with the Mayan calendar, the world literally starts to come apart. The movie mostly follows a writer who is trying to save his family and get to some giant arcs in China that he found out about from a crazy conspiracy theorist, who happens to be right this one time.

If that sounded sarcastic I'm sorry, as much as I did enjoy this movie it is a little ridiculous at times. This movie was very visually stunning. The massive amounts of special effects were great. This is by far the most destructive end of the world movie ever. In 2012 you watch Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Vatican crumble and collapse under the force of massive earthquakes that create huge new canyons and most of LA sinks into the ocean, you watch Yellowstone explode with the force of a nuclear blast and turn into the largest volcano ever, you see Washington, India and several other locations get slammed by tidal waves that rise thousands of meters in the air, Hawaii is completely destroyed by it's volcanoes. This is all just simply fun to watch if you like apocalyptic movies, which I do.

Emerich's pacing gets better with this movie. Despite the movie's 160 minute runtime, it goes by pretty quickly. Unlike some of his past movies, Godzilla and Independence Day were the biggest offenders, where there is a little bit of action at the beginning then nothing but mushy plot for two hours then a bit of action at the end, this movie had the action nicely spaced out in between the mushy plot. Even though I don't think he'll ever make a movie as good as Stargate again, this movie shows improvement in his story telling and that his movies are getting better again after the horrendous 10,000 B.C.

The cast of the movie was great. John Cusack (High Fidelity, War Inc.) plays Jackson Curtis, a writer whom the movie mostly centers around. Cusack is great and I'll watch anything he does. Amanda Peet (Whole Nine Yards, Martian Child) plays Kate Curtis, Jackson's ex-wife. Peet did a good job even though I still feel like she didn't do much in it. Chiwetel Ejiofor (American Gangster, Children of Men) plays Adrian Helmsley, a scientist who helped discover the phenomenon that was about to occur. Ejiofor was great in this role, very passionate, and he did a great job showing how his character felt they should save as many people as possible. Oliver Platt (Year One, Frost/Nixon) plays Carl Anheuser, an aid to the president who helps come up with the plan to build the arcs. Platt did a great job showing his characters greed. Danny Glover (Be Kind Rewind, Lethal Weapon) plays president Thomas Wilson. Glover did a really good job with this role. The movie also features Thandi Newton as the president's daughter and Woody Harrelson as a crazy conspiracy theorist.

This movie was just plain fun to watch and if you are a fan of Emerich's or a fan of disaster movies, this is an absolute must see. As I mentioned before, so very much destruction, it can be so much fun to watch. Best part of this movie, in the end it is a utopia because the twilight movies were destroyed, haha, sorry had to say it.

Great quote: "When they tell you not to panic, that's when you run."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Review: The Men Who Stare At Goats

Grade: A

The Men Who Stare At Goats is a movie based on a story so incredibly bizarre that it has to be true. It is based around a small town Michigan newspaper reporter, Bob Wilton. Bob has realized that he has played it safe his whole life and that hasn't exactly been a good thing as his wife is now getting ready to leave him for not being adventurous enough. So Bob decides to try to go report on the war in Iraq. On his way to Iraq he meets a man by the name of Lyn Cassady who apparently used to be a psychic spy for the U.S. government. Lyn then begins to slowly tell Bob the incredible story behind the "Jedi Warriors" of the U.S. Army, a secret unit of the military that has been trying to find new ways to fight, or end, wars as we know it.

This movie was absolutely brilliant, I could not get enough of it. The great opening credit "more of this is true than you would ever believe" is a perfect way to start it all off. The movie itself is contemptuous, sarcastic and funny beyond belief at times. It is wonderful how they have Bob tagging along with Lyn as Lyn tells him about how it all started. In flashbacks we learn that Bill Django, a military man, left shortly after Vietnam and became a part of the New Age movement. After a while he returned to the military and convinced the powers that be that he could train soldiers to hone psychic abilities and create super soldiers. The story and plot are outrageous and the movie moves along pretty smoothly and quickly because of it.

Ewan McGregor (Angels and Demons, Star Wars Episodes I-III) plays the role of Bob Wilton, a reporter who got a little more than he asked for while looking for adventure in Iraq. McGregor is great and he really pulls off this role well and really helped make this movie so enjoyable. George Clooney (Burn After Reading, Michael Clayton) plays the role of Lyn Cassady, the former psychic spy. Clooney is always brilliant in his roles and this movie was no exception. Clooney's take on Cassady and psychic spies is great and hilarious. I will watch almost anything with him in it. Jeff Bridges (Iron Man, The Big Lebowski) plays Bill Django, the founder and trainer of the New World Army. Bridges is great and he has played a one of the best hippie-esque stoners in the past so this role was nothing he couldn't handle. Bridges is very funny and keeps the movie going. Kevin Spacey (21, Superman Returns) plays Larry Hooper, a fellow psychic soldier who is jealous of Lyn's abilities and ultimately leads to the end of Jedi Warriors. Spacey is great as always in this movie. The cast also features Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick and Stephen Root.

The Men Who Stare At Goats is a brilliant and funny movie with one of the best casts of the year to make it even better. I really enjoyed this movie from start to finish and would encourage everybody to go see it.

Great quote: "More of the is true than you would ever believe."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: Bronson

Grade: A

Bronson is a movie based on the true story of Britain's self proclaimed most violent criminal, Charles Bronson. Charles Bronson was actually born Michael Peterson. While he was still a young man, Michael decided he wanted to be famous in a very unusual way, so he decided to hold up a post office. Michael was sentenced to seven years in prison, he has now been in prison for 34 years, 30 of which have been spent in solitary confinement. During his stay in prison, the boy Michael Peterson seemed to slowly disappear as his alter ego, Charles Bronson, took center stage. All Charles Bronson wants: to be known as Britain's most famous and violent criminal.

This movie was absolutely brilliant. I can't get over how good and dare I say, mind expanding this movie can be. It truly is A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century. The direction was superb as the director seemed to take a lot of his cues from Kubrick himself. This movie delves into the mind of a man who is convinced that if he goes to prison and causes enough trouble, that he will become not just famous but rather infamous and have his name live on forever. This movie is smart and funny dark comedy. It is a little slow at the beginning of the movie, but once it gets started it is a great ride that is well worth taking. This movie often comes off as a brilliant one man show as told by Charles Bronson.

Tom Hardy (RockNrolla, Star Trek: Nemesis) plays the titular role of Charles Bronson. Hardy did a fantastic job with this role as he showed Bronson's many ticks and mannerisms. I could hardly recognize Hardy at first as he put on a lot of weight, all in muscle mind you, for this role. Hardy also does spend a good portion of this movie completely naked and as a warning to some, you can see everything as he is fighting off guards and yelling at a hostage to help butter him down as he waits for coming battle. As this movie really does completely revolve around Bronson, Tom Hardy had to basically carry the whole movie, and he pulled that off so well. This movie proves even further the star power and acting talent that Tom Hardy possesses and in my opinion should help launch his career to much bigger and better things.

This movie was really great and fun and one of the best movies that I've seen this year. If you are a fan of movies like Clockwork Orange go see this, it is amazing. This movie really did not disappoint, it is fun, witty, charismatic and completely psychotic. The only thing I felt this movie lacked was a better soundtrack but that really didn't hinder this movie either. It is currently playing at the Chez Artiste, go and check it out before it's gone.

Great Quote: "I was Britain's most expensive criminal, not quite the moniker I was going for."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: Law Abiding Citizen

Grade: B+

Law Abiding Citizen is a thriller about a man, Clyde Shelton, who's wife and daughter are brutally murderer one night right in front of him. The two killer's are caught and put on trial but one of them cracks a deal with an up and coming DA, Nick Rice, who just wants to protect his high conviction rate. That killer only goes to jail for five years. Ten years later the man who murdered Clyde's family is kidnapped and taken to a warehouse where he is brutally murdered by Clyde himself. Clyde is caught by the same DA that made the deal with this murderer and thrown in jail. However, somehow from jail it appears that Clyde is quickly picking off anybody and everybody who had to do with the trial and conviction of his family's murderers. As Clyde tries to teach Nick a lesson about what Clyde sees as a corrupt justice system, Nick must try to find out how Clyde is doing it and stop him before he kills anybody else.

This movie was fun and exciting. Throughout the whole movie you really have no idea how Clyde is pulling off all these murders from his jail cell. The action is great and the suspense is very exciting. I really enjoyed this movie and part of that was because it was a very nice commentary on how our justice system is, maybe not broken, but very flawed. Clyde's frustration over seeing his family's murderer get off so lightly because a DA doesn't want to risk trying him at the slight possibility that it might affect his conviction rate seems very real and can be relatable to some people.

Gerard Butler (Gamer, 300) plays Clyde Shelton, a techie who's family is brutally murdered. Butler's performance was very realistic and great, I really hope he keeps this up, I really enjoy most of Butler's movies. Jamie Foxx (Ray, The Soloist) plays Nick Rice, a district attorney who is only out for self gain, even if that means letting a murderer go free if it won't affect his conviction rate. Foxx's performance was pretty good, showing that his character does truly believe that the justice system works, but can admit it has some flaws. The movie is mostly based around these two characters as they play an interesting game of cat and mouse.

I highly recommend this movie to anybody who is a fan of revenge type movies. It was very entertaining and as I mentioned, a great commentary on our flawed justice system. The movie had high energy throughout although the ending was a little soft it was still overall a great movie well worth seeing.

Great quote: " You're the one who makes deals with murders yea? Well I've come to make mine."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Review: The Invention Of Lying

Grade: B-

The Invention Of Lying is a comedy about a world where nobody can lie. It is a very interesting world where people say exactly what's on their mind no matter how harsh it can be. It is a world where the blockbuster movies are just a guy sitting in a chair reading a "script" about certain historical events. The movie follows a man, Mark, who is a screenwriter for just such films. Mark appears to be a sad pathetic little man. He is unlucky at love and it seems everybody at his work hates him. One day, as he's about to be evicted from his apartment, he discovers that he can lie. He then starts to use this ability for his own personal gain. One day, while his mother is dieing, he tells her that there is an afterlife and that she has nothing to fear. Word of this gets out and things quickly get out of hand as he makes bigger and bigger lies to calm the public.

This movie was pretty funny but I have to admit, I think it would work better as a skit on SNL rather than a full length movie. The brutal honesty of people was funny at first but got old after a while. It was entertaining and funny after Mark first realizes that he can lie and he's trying to tell his friends about it but every lie he tells they just believe. One of the funniest parts of the movie to me were the advertisements. For instance; Coke: We're very famous. And my personal favorite; Pepsi: for when they don't have Coke. The movie does get interesting when he starts making lies about "the invisible man in the sky" and basically invents religion. Some people will probably take offense to that part of the movie but I thought it was great.

Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town, Stardust) plays the lead role of Mark. I've always liked Gervais, I feel that he has perfect delivery and timing and this movie was no exception, his character was very funny. Jennifer Garner (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Catch and Release) plays Anna, a girl mark has had a crush on and is trying to get into a relationship with. I don't care much for Garner but she worked for this role and she had her moments where she was pretty funny. Rob Lowe (Wayne's World, TV's The West Wing) makes a bit of a comeback in this movie. Lowe has always been pretty funny and does great with these comedy bad guys, I really enjoyed his role. Louis C.K. plays Marks best friend and he is surprisingly unfunny in this movie. Tina Fey is in it for a little bit and she was pretty funny. This movie also featured some seemingly random, and rather small, appearances by Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton.

Overall, this movie was pretty funny and worth watching but I might have to recommend waiting to rent it on DVD because it really just wasn't all that great.

Great quote: "Our children will be fat and have stubby little noses."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Review: Whip It

Grade: A

Whip It is a movie about a girl, Bliss, who lives a somewhat typical ordinary life in Bodeen Texas. Her mother, Brooke, is constantly putting her in beauty pageants that she just doesn't quite seem to fit into. Bliss and her best friend, Pash, dream of leaving Bodeen as soon as they can after they graduate high school. One day while in Austin shopping with her mom, Bliss finds a flier about a roller derby. Bliss and Pash decide to go watch the derby one night. While there Bliss tells one of the derby girls that they are her new hero. The derby girl convinces her to try out later that week. Bliss, hesitant at first, tries out and it turns out she's a natural talent. She quickly bonds with her teammates and they become her second family. Bliss discovers that the roller derby and the other girls makes her very happy and helps her deal with small town life and her over bearing mother by sneaking away a couple nights a week to practice and compete.

Whip It is the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore and I have to admit, she did a great job. I found Whip It to be amazing, heart warming and funny. The movie looked great and the roller derby scenes were fantastic. It all was set to a fantastic soundtrack. Simply put, this movie was great and well worth watching, one of the best movies of the year.

Ellen Page (Juno, Hard Candy) plays the lead role, Bliss. Page is, in my opinion, well on her way to being one of the best actresses of my generation. She was superb in this role, I loved every second of her performance. Alia Shawkat (TV's Arrested Development) plays Bliss' best friend Pash. She did a pretty good job as well with this role. Marcia Gay Harden (Into The Wild, American Dreamz) plays Bliss' mother, Brooke. She did a wonderful job playing an ex-beauty pageant contestant who seems to desperatly miss her past sometimes, great performance. Kristen Wiig (TV's Saturday Night Live, Extract) plays Maggie Mayhem, the person whom Bliss seems to bond with the most on the team. Wiig was great and very funny as usual. Juliette Lewis (Catch and Release, Christmas Vacation) plays Iron Maven, the leader of the Hurl Scouts rival team, the Holly Rollers, and Bliss' own nemesis. Lewis does a great job with the role of the cruel Maven. The movie also features great performance by the rest of the amazing cast which includes, Drew Barrymore, Zoe Bell, Eve, Ari Graynor and Jimmy Fallon.

Whip It was a truly great movie and a very enjoyable watch. I highly recommend going gout to see this movie. It was original but predictable, still wonderful though.

Great quote: "Go ask him if he wants a Squealer."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Review: Zombieland

Grade: A

Zombieland is a new comedy/horror out that takes an old story line, zombies, and puts a new and interesting twist on it. The movie opens with the line "Welcome to the United States of Zombieland" and sets up the movie. For once we have a zombie movie that doesn't take place at the beginning of the outbreak but rather at a time after the outbreak has taken over all of humanity and there are extremely few people still alive who aren't zombies. The main character who narrates the story is known only as Columbus. He is very paranoid but it helps him to survive. He has a list that he follows very closely to help him survive. Stuff like rule #1: Cardio, because the first people to go were fatties apparently. Columbus eventually meets Tallahassee and they decide to team up at least for a little bit. The two eventually encounter Wichita and Little Rock, two youngish girls who manage to swindle and rob the guys not once but twice. After the second time they are convinced to actually stay with Columbus and Tallahassee to try to increase their chance of survival as they go west to LA to go to an amusement park, so Little Rock can actually be a kid for once.

This movie was brilliant, from start to finish. It kept me interested and laughing the whole way through. Columbus's list of survival tips are great and I love that they pop up in the background somewhere whenever they are utilizing one of them, Limber Up, Check the backseat, enjoy the little things. It was all just so perfect and genius. Tallahassee's quirks were fantastic. The man is on a quest to find a twinkie to start. On top of that he feels that you need to let loose every once in a while in Zombieland or you'll go insane. So randomly throughout the movie, Tallahassee will pick up a bat or a pipe or something and just destroy whatever is near him. The bond between Wichita and Little Rock is great, they are sisters and you can really tell that they care about each other. To top it all off, this movie has the best zombie killing scenes I have ever seen in my life. Simply an amazing movie.

The cast for this movie was perfect. Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland, The Education of Charlie Banks) Was perfect for the main role of the neurotic Columbus. Columbus used to be a shut in and never really had a girlfriend. The first close experience he really seemed to have with a girl, she turned into a zombie shortly after. I really like Eisenberg and he shines in this movie. Emma Stone (Superbad, Ghost of Girlfriends Past) played Wichita. Emma Stone is becoming a better and better actress every time I see her and she was great in this movie, her performance was very believable. Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Nim's Island) plays Little Rock. Abigail Breslin is a fantastic actress, especially for her age, and she did great in this movie, I hav high hopes for her. To top off this fantastic cast is Woody Harrelson (Semi-Pro, No Country For Old Men) playing the seemingly insane Tallahassee. I have always liked Harrelson and he just keeps getting funnier and funnier and he was excellent in this movie, really kept me laughing the whole way through. The movie also has brief appearances by Mike White and Amber Heard and the best cameo I have ever seen with Bill Murray. That is the entire cast of the movie aside from the tons of extras who played the zombies.

The movie did have one key flaw: The characters in the movie rely too heavily on guns as a means of survival. As we all know, guns would not be the most efficient weapon to have on hand during the zombie apocalypse, especially something like a double barrel shotgun. Guns require bullets, what happens when your being chased and you run out of bullets or you need to reload? You get eaten, that's what. That's why you should rely on things like crowbars, swords and other blunt and/or sharp objects. A lead pipe doesn't need bullets, a 4x4 doesn't need to be reloaded. At one point in the movie Tallahassee uses a banjo and a baseball bat once then throws them away, that is just wrong.

I really cannot recommend this movie enough. If you love comedies, you'll enjoy this movie. If you love zombies, you'll enjoy this movie. If you love both and love movies like Shaun of the Dead, you are going to absolutely love this movie. the writing and the acting were all amazing and this movie really more than surpassed my expectations. One of the best comedies of the year. I will give fair warning, there is a bit of gore in this movie. Go see this as soon as you can.

Great quote: "Some one's in danger of having their hair brushed over their ear."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: Surrogates

Grade: C

Surrogates is a sci-fi movie about a future where the technology has been created so people can live their lives through surrogate technology. A company has developed robotics that can be controlled by people's thoughts. This technology evolves so far that they create robots that look just like their human counterparts and 90%+ of the population currently lives their day to day life through their surrogate. This has created crime and disease to drop to virtually nothing. There are factions of humans, however, that believe that living through surrogates is wrong. A detective, Tom Greer, is called to a crime scene where 2 surrogates have been destroyed. When they go to talk to the users they discover they had been killed using their surrogates. Now the heat is on as Tom and his partner try to find out how someone managed to kill a person through their surrogate and stop them.

This movie showed so much potential, pretty much none of which was realized. The concept was amazing, and while there were one or two brief scenes showing how people use their surrogates to live as hard as possible, they didn't do enough with this. Their could have been some amazing action sequences involving surrogates but that didn't really happen. The story and plot start out well enough before just getting weird and kind of confusing at times.

There were good parts of it too. The concept alone did keep me interested throughout the movie. I did like how they would show a couple of the users unplug from their surrogates and show that in real life, they look a lot dumpier (sometimes like meth addicts) and in some cases, completely different than their surrogate. It shows how, given the opportunity, many people live through a surrogate that looks like their idea of perfection. It also did a good job showing the shock it would cause if someone had to disconnect and live their life for a while in the real world.

Bruce Willis (Die Hard, The Fifth Element) plays the lead role, Tom Greer. During his investigation he encounters someone with a powerful weapon and his surrogate is fried and he is forced to live without it. Willis does a great job showing the shock that something like this would cause. Willis really did a great job with this movie. Radha Mitchell (Phone Booth, Pitch Black) plays Greer's partner Agent Peters. She did a pretty good job as well with her role. Rosamund Pike (Doom, Pride and Prejudice) plays Maggie, Tom Greer's wife. She did a good job with this role as Maggie has become obsessed with living through her surrogate and it seems like it has been a while since Tom has seen her real self. The movie also features James Cromwell (I Robot, W.), as the inventor of surrogate technology, and Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible trilogy) as the leader of the human movement, his character is known as "the Prophet".

This movie was good but not great. If you are a fan of sci-fi it is definitely worth checking out. Otherwise, it is kind of a disappointment and not worth rushing out theaters to see.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: Big Fan

Grade: A-

Big Fan is a dark comedy about a man, Paul Aufiero, who is the self proclaimed "biggest NY Giants fan". Paul works as a toll booth attendant in a parking garage and still lives with his mother at age 36. He frequently calls into a sports radio talk show to talk up the Giants and has developed a little rivalry with a man who calls himself Philadelphia Phil, an Eagles fan. Paul and his friend go to Giants Stadium for the games but just sit in the parking lot watching the games on a TV. One night, Paul is out with his friend one night when they spot Paul's favorite player and quarterback for the Giants. They decide to follow him in order to possibly meet him. They follow him into a club and when he finally works up the nerve to go meet the player, there is a misunderstanding and the player ends up beating Paul so bad he ends up in the hospital near death. The police want to investigate but Paul doesn't want his favorite player to go to jail because he feels it would cause the Giants to suffer, so he claims he has amnesia. His friends and family keep pushing him to do something and the movie follows his struggle to deal with the reality of the situation.

The movie is written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, who also wrote the award winning The Wrestler. Siegel's second venture into writing is on par with his first. The writing was amazing and extremely wonderful. The whole movie was a brilliant commentary on sports fanaticism and how crazy some people can be all in the support of their favorite team. The direction was authentic and made the whole movie feel very real. He also had one of the most genius and surprising twist endings I've seen in a while.

Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille, Observe and Report) plays the main role of Paul Aufiero. Oswalts performance was simply amazing. I am just amazed at his acting in this movie as I'm used to seeing him doing his stand up routines and popping up in random comedies as secondary characters. His first take at a lead role (aside from voicing the main character in Ratatouille) was great. If for nothing else, see the movie for his performance. I would say Oscar worthy but as the movie is so hard to find I highly doubt it will be considered.

Also in the movie, Kevin Corrigan (Pineapple Express, Superbad) plays Sal, Paul's best friend. Corrigan gives a great performance as a man trying to help and support his friend through a hard time. Michael Rapaport (Hitch, TV's The War At Home) plays Pual's rival, Philadelphia Phil. Granted, most of his performance is just his character calling into the radio station so you only hear his voice, you do see him at the end of the movie.

This movie is only playing for one week at the Chez Artiste and I can not recommend it enough. It was fantastic. If you can't get to the theater to see it, rent it when it comes to DVD. It is a brilliant movie with some of the best writing and acting I've seen all year. I loved it and I don't care about sports. It is, however, a very dark comedy. It will make you laugh, but not often.

Great quote: "It's going to be a great year."