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."