Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: No Strings Attached

Grade: C-

Adam just found out that his dad is sleeping with his ex-girlfriend so he goes on a bit of a drinking binge. He wakes up in the morning at the home of Emma, who he’s met a couple times. They end up having sex and Emma comes up with the suggestion that the two of them keep their relationship purely physical, which both of them think is a great idea. They come up with some ground rules; no jealousy, no fighting, no flowers, no nick names etc... The problem is, after a while, Adam begins to develop strong feelings for Emma, who is resistant because she seems almost terrified of a true relationship and is determined to stay single.

The plot and story line of No Strings Attached is a pretty basic and tried-and-true almost color by numbers romantic comedy. However, I am glad to say that I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie, I really thought it was going to be bad. The characters in the movie manage to make the movie rather enjoyable and really funny. The two main characters are pretty cliché but their friends are interesting and hilarious. The first hour or so of the movie is actually genuinely funny with some really great moments in it. After that it slips into your typical romantic comedy but still manages to slip in some good laughs here and there.

Natalie Portman (Black Swan, V for Vendetta) plays Emma in the movie. My admiration for Natalie Portman keeps growing and she was the main reason I agreed to see this movie. She did not disappoint, she was very enjoyable and very funny at times as well. Ashton Kutcher (Killers, Valentine’s Day) plays Adam. I usually really dislike Ashton Kutcher and just about everything he does. However, this is the first thing he’s done since That 70’s Show where I didn’t want to punch him in the face. He was actually pretty decent in this movie. Greta Gerwig (Greenberg) and Mindy Kaling (TV’s The Office) plays Emma’s friends Patrice and Shira and Jake Johnson (Paper Heart) and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (RocknRolla) play Adam’s friends Eli and Wallace. These are the characters that really helped move the movie along and really helped keep the laughs coming. Lake Bell (It’s Complicated, Pride and Glory) plays Lucy, a co-worker of Adam’s. She wasn’t in the movie a lot, but when she was I couldn’t stop laughing, her character is one of the best parts of the movie. Kevin Kline (The Pink Panther, A Fish Called Wanda) pops up in the movie as Adam’s father. Kline is hilarious in this movie and was a total surprise.

No Strings Attached may be a by-the-book formulaic romantic comedy but it delivers some genuine laughs. It is a fun and funny movie and makes for a great date night movie. I love that they are coming out with more R-rated romantic comedies lately. There isn’t much new in the world or rom-coms but this way they can get some great laughs.

Great quote: “Wow… It looks like it’s coming right at me.”

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: The Mechanic

Grade: B

Arthur Bishop is the best mechanic there is, but not in the typical sense of the word. He is an elite assassin with a unique talent for cleanly killing people and making it look like an accident. One day, the people he works for give him his hardest assignment yet, he must kill his only friend and mentor, Harry. After he completes the job, he befriends Harry’s son, Steve, who is looking for vengeance but doesn’t know that it was Arthur who killed his father. Against his better judgment, Arthur decides to begin training Steve to become a mechanic as well. As the two prepare to take on a high valued target, secrets become revealed about the people they work for and they become targets themselves.

The Mechanic is a fun and enjoyable action movie. It does start out a little slow but the story itself is pretty good and keeps you interested during those slow moments. Once Arthur actually begins to train Steve, that is when things really start to get interesting. The two main characters are very different people and it’s interesting to watch them work together. Arthur is cold and calculating, never making a misstep and planning everything out way in advance. Steve on the other hand is extremely impulsive and that gets him into trouble a couple of times. The last 20 to 30 minutes of the movie make the whole experience worth it. The movie has a couple interesting twists in it and it has plenty of action and gunfights to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Jason Statham (The Transporter, Crank) plays the role of Arthur, the mechanic. I really enjoy Statham and all of the movies he’s done. The Mechanic is in all honesty a pretty typical Statham movie, he seems to play these types of roles a lot. I don’t know if it’s type casting or if it’s what he really wants to do, I honestly don’t care because I can’t get enough of these movies. He was great in this movie and is what completely sold the movie for me. Ben Foster (Pandorum, 3:10 to Yuma) plays Steve, the son of Arthur’s mentor. Foster is great and he was very enjoyable in this movie. He played the role extremely well and played alongside Statham extremely well. Donald Sutherland is also in the movie as Harry, he’s not in it long but he is always enjoyable to watch on screen.

The Mechanic is a pretty typical assassin/action movie and a pretty typical Jason Statham movie. So if you’re like me and love those two types of movies, than I suggest getting out and seeing this movie, you will definitely enjoy it. It is loaded with action, sex, and violence and with just a touch of humor. Plus, let’s be honest, during the slow movie months of January and February, there’s not much else to see.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: The Green Hornet

Grade: A-

Britt Reid has lived a life of privilege and has spent most of that life partying and drinking. His father, James Reid, runs a newspaper where he and his staff try to expose the dark underbelly of the city. When James Reid dies suddenly, Britt is left with his media empire. Britt befriends his father’s mechanic and assistant Kato and one night they decide to go out, while they are out they end up stopping a robbery. This event inspires Britt to become the Green Hornet, a masked crime fighter who poses as a villain to get close to the bad guys. He finds out that all of the crime in the city is run by one man, Chudnofsky, and that man is determined to kill the Green Hornet. As Britt goes deeper into the seedy underbelly of the city, he uncovers some hidden truths that he must get out.

I was pretty skeptical of The Green Hornet for a while. I don’t know why but for some reason the trailer just didn’t inspire too much hope. So I was glad that when I watched this movie, I ended up really enjoying it. The story is pretty good and entertaining to watch. The action in the movie is great and really fun to watch and the movie is loaded with great laughs. I know some people are upset that this movie is kind of a comedy. They feel the character should have been taken seriously. I honestly don’t know much about the Green Hornet character but what I’ve heard is that he is kind of a bumbling idiot and Kato is the one that does most of the heavy work, and that is exactly how this movie plays out. I thought it was great, Britt Reid was a privileged rich boy with no training who decides to be a hero and Kato is a martial arts expert who helps him out and does most of the fighting.

Seth Rogen (Funny People, Zack and Miri Make a Porno) stars as Britt Reid/Green Hornet. Rogen lost a bunch of weight over the last couple years for just so he could make this movie, and it paid off. Rogen was great in this role and really made it fun to watch. He was funny when he needed to be and he handled the action very well. Jay Chou plays the role of Kato, a mechanic and martial arts expert. Chou really held his own in this movie and did a great job with the role. He was amazing during the action sequences and he was very funny at times as well. Cameron Diaz (Knight and Day, The Holiday) plays Lenore Case, Reid’s assistant at the newspaper. It is amazing how little they advertise that she is even in the movie. Diaz was her usual enjoyable self in the movie. The movie also features performances by Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, David Harbour, Edward James Olmos and some interesting cameos by Edward Furlong and James Franco.

The Green Hornet is a very enjoyable action/comedy movie. It is a lot of fun to watch and is a surprisingly good movie. The cast is great and the story is a lot of fun. If you like action/comedies and comic book movies, then The Green Hornet is for you.

Great quote: “You’ve got balls, and if there is one thing I like on my women, it’s balls.”

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review: Season of the Witch

Grade: F

Behmon and Felson have fought alongside each other for many years during the Crusades. One day, when they invade a town and are instructed to kill even the innocent, the two knights abandon the Army and start wandering around the country. After several months of walking, the two come upon a town that is being ravaged by a horrible plague. There they are recognized as being deserters and are informed that they will be allowed to live and go free if they transport a woman who confessed to being the witch who started the plague, to a small monastery where a group of specialized monks will destroy her once and for all. The two accept the task and while neither of them believes at first that the girl is a witch, strange things begin to happen along their journey that test their faith and humanity.

Season of the Witch turned out to be pretty much exactly what I thought it was going to be: a bland and underwhelming horrorish story. The trailers made this movie look somewhat interesting and that’s exactly what it is. The story is ok and the acting is stiff but if you like movies like this, you will probably enjoy it. One of the main problems that I had is that it is obvious that Season of the Witch was originally intended to be rated R, but for some reason they seemed to have edited it down to PG-13. I really don’t like PG-13 violence as I think it looks ridiculous and I think this movie really could have benefited from an R rating. However, despite its PG-13 rating, the movie does still have a fair amount of violence and it manages to keep a rather tense overtone throughout the movie. The movie is also unfortunately short, not allowing much time to get to know the characters or feel for them. The last 20 minutes of the movie are a lot of fun to watch, however, and actually kind of make it all worth it.

Nicholas Cage (Kick-Ass, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) plays Behmen, a former knight in the Crusades. I usually really enjoy Nicholas Cage, I think he’s a fun actor to watch, but he really seemed to be phoning in his performance in this movie. It’s as though even he didn’t care much for the material. Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Blade II) plays Felson, Behmen’s closest friend. Ron Perlman was enjoyable in this movie and had his usual attitude filled brand of humor, but again, it’s not the most enjoyable performance of his. Both of the main actors clearly seemed to just view this movie as another paycheck. The movie also features Claire Foy, Stephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen and a brief appearance by Christopher Lee.

Season of the Witch is the exact kind of movie I expect to be released in January or February, a movie with decent actors in it but it’s a movie that the studio has little faith in and dumps in these release slots to fill space when there is nothing else coming out worth watching. If you are looking for some cheap thrills and some decent action and fighting scenes, then this is the movie for you. Really, I think this movie is only for the Nic Cage fans out there like me who just like to be entertained by the man.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Years Resolutions...

Well, it’s a new year and that means making new years resolutions. I am usually against making resolutions because they tend to be somewhat meaningless and you tend to forget about them by the end of January. So I am instead setting some goals for myself that I am determined to actually do something about this year.

To start, yes, I am going to set the goal that 95% of Americans probably did on January 1st, I would like to eat healthier and lose some weight. There is more that goes along with this because my knee is still screwed up so I am also setting a goal to do more physical therapy on my knee to make it better so that I can work out more.

My next goal is to try to read more. I used to love reading and would do it all the time. Over the last couple years my reading has really dropped off and I want to get back into it. I have a huge stack of books that I am determined to get through by the end of the year, and if I read more than that stack, great.

My last goal is a big one and will take some explanation: I want to more actively pursue my dreams. I know, that sounds vague, ambitious and pretty much everybody says this. I do have steps that I am going to take this year to try to accomplish this.

To start, what is my dream? Many of you know this, some may have figured it out, but my goal is to make movies. All of my life I have had a passion for movies and it has only grown. It has gone from watching movies, to discussing them to writing about them and finally in 2010 I realized that I want desperately to actually be apart of them. I have zero interest in acting so I’m talking behind the scenes type stuff. I don’t know what specifically yet but I figure that will come with time.

I am going to apply and hopefully go to film school this year. I am currently looking at the Vancouver Film School in Canada as the number one place I want to go. I love Colorado and I never thought I’d leave but the more I have thought about finally doing this, the more I realized that I can’t stay in Colorado if I want to make movies. I don’t have a story to tell now but if inspiration hits, I have a strong feeling I’ll be making my movie in Colorado.

I have a couple of people that have inspired me to finally actively pursue this goal. One of the main influences would have to be my brother, Adam. A couple years ago, Adam realized that there was a career path that he wanted to take and he quickly started to seek out opportunities in that career. A little while back he even moved out to California and started making a name for himself out there. Now he is playing Superman, a role he has always admired and I couldn’t be more proud of him for all that he has accomplished and for the fact that he sought out his dream and is now living it. He gets to fly all over the world and meet interesting people and do great things. I also greatly appreciate my brother because he has encouraged me to pursue my dream of making movies more than anyone else, so much so that he got me a camcorder for Christmas saying “If you’re going to make movies, you’ve got to start somewhere.” Thank you, Adam.

The other major influence in this decision is writer/director Kevin Smith. The first time I saw Dogma over ten years ago, I knew that this man wrote great movies and I quickly sought out the rest of his movies and would go see any of his movies as soon as they came out. Then a couple years ago, I started to listen to the audio commentaries on the DVDs and that is when in inspiration hit. I started looking up everything this man has ever done, the books that he wrote, his blog, his weekly podcast called SModcast, everything. What fascinated me the most was his story about how he made Clerks. Through a series of events, Kevin Smith one day decided that he wanted to make movies. So he enrolled in film school in Vancouver, where he met his best friend and producer on most of his films, Scott Mosier. He dropped out after only a couple months and decided to write Clerks. Then he took a huge gamble and racked up $27,000 of debt, got his friends together and made his movie. Thankfully, that movie got picked up, went to Sundance and was distributed by Miramax.

Kevin Smith had a dream and then decided to live boldly and take chances in order to make that dream come true. Now he gets to do what he loves for a living, has the extensive Smodcast Podcast Network, he opened the world’s first podcasting theater SModcastle and is changing the way movies are made, advertised and released with his latest movie Red State. On twitter he inspires me in a new way almost everyday with his “SMonologues” where he encourages people to pursue their dream, lose weight or better their life in anyway. One of his latest posts about Buellerism is a discussion I have had with my friends in the past and is how I want to live my life in 2011.

Kevin Smith’s Red State of the Union Q&A’s podcast really solidified the fact that I want to make movies for a living, especially #5 when he talked to the Assistant Director of Red State, Adam Druxman. If you like movies, I strongly recommend listening to these podcasts. They are available for FREE at and on iTunes.

I want to make it perfectly clear, I am in no way comparing myself to Kevin Smith and I am in no way claiming that I could be the next Kevin Smith. If I could be half the filmmaker that he is, I would be extremely pleased with myself. I feel as though I am getting a somewhat late start on this as I am 24, but I feel that it’s better late than never. This is officially the beginning of phase two of my life and I really hope it works out.

More inspiration from Kevin Smith hit last night, January 23, 2011, when he and Jon Gordon screened his new movie Red State at Sundance. After, Kevin Smith got on stage and gave a speech about how Hollywood has changed and how the current way to release movies is ridiculous. His solution, self distribution. Kevin Smith and Jon Gordon, calling themselves The Harvey Boys, have decided to start their own distribution where, using new media, they won't spend any money on advertising. It is incredible, these two are reviving and reinventing independent film, right as I'm getting ready to enter it. I couldn't be more excited about what is to come.

To quote Kevin Smith “If you chose to work doing something you love, you will never work a day in your life.”

I would just like to say thank you one more time to my wife, my family, my friends and everyone who is supporting me in this decision.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Anticipation of 2011

These are movies to keep an eye out for in 2011.

Source Code, Drive Angry, Your Highness, Priest, The Muppets, Fast Five, Three Musketeers, Unknown, Mission Impossible 4, Scream 4, The Mechanic, Rise of the Apes, X-Men: First Class, Real Steel, The Tree of Life, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Sherlock Holmes 2, Burke and Hare, Green Hornet, Super, Rango, Battle: Los Angeles, Super 8, Adjustment Bureau, Hanna, The Tree of Life.

10. Green Lantern

Current release date: June 17, 2011


Based on the classic DC Comic book character, its about a test pilot who encounters an alien one day who gives him a ring that gives him mystical powers as well as a membership into an intergalactic squad tasked with keeping peace in the universe. Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern and I think he’s going to pull off the role well. I think this movie is going to be great and a lot of fun.

9. Red State

Current release date: March 2011 playing at Sundance January 23.


Kevin Smith’s latest movie about fundamentalism gone wrong outside a Midwestern town. Smith who is known for his certain brand of comedy takes a break from his usual material to make this horror movie. I don’t entirely know what the movie is about but it looks like Smith has grown up and evolved greatly. Word is to keep an eye on this movie for an amazing performance by Michael Parks. The movie also features Melissa Leo, John Goodman, Nicholas Braun, Stephen Root, Michael Angarano and more.

8. Cowboys and Aliens

Current release date: July 29, 2011


A western with a sci-fi twist, count me in. Produced by Steven Spielberg, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde and Paul Dano. The trailer for this movie looks great and I can’t wait to watch this one.

7. Paul

Current release date: March 18, 2011


I have been excited about this movie since I first heard about it. Written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and directed by Greg Mattola, this movie follows Pegg and Frost, playing two British comic book nerds, as they drive across America in search of famous UFO spots. They then encounter a real, live alien (voiced by Seth Rogan) outside of Area 51. The movie looks hilarious and Pegg and Frost are great.

6. Thor

Current release date: May 6, 2011


Based on the Marvel Comic book character, which is based on Norse mythology, Thor looks to be a lot of fun. The cast includes Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Stellan Skarsgard, Tom Hiddleston and more. The trailer looks great and I’m sure this movie is going to be very fun.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Current release date: May 20, 2011


I really like all of the Pirates movies and while I will agree that a fourth was unnecessary, I am still really looking forward to this movie. To start, they got rid of Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom who’s characters and acting really brought down the last 2 Pirates movies. Also, they cast Ian McShane as Blackbeard, which is pretty exciting in my opinion. The movie is about Captains Jack Sparrow and Barbossa in a race to the fountain of youth. I think it will be a lot of fun and hopefully will be the last Pirates movie.

4. Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Current release date: July 1, 2011


I actually really enjoy the Transformer movies. They are popcorn flicks and sometimes, I like to just sit back and be entertained. The teaser trailer for this one looks rather intriguing as it goes back to the moon landing and implies that there were alternative motives for going to the moon back in 69. I for one am looking forward to big explosions caused by giant talking robots thanks to Michael Bay.

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Current release date: July 15, 2011

Trailer for part 1 and 2

Part 1 was fantastic and kept us on the edge of our seats. Those that read the books know what’s coming in part 2. I did read the book and I know that part 2 is going to be loaded with action and excitement. I am really looking forward to finally concluding this saga.

2. Captain America

Current release date: July 22, 2011

No trailer at time of posting

Based on the Marvel Comic character, I have been waiting for a Captain America movie for about a decade. This movie looks to be a lot of fun. It stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America as well as Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Sebastian Stan and many others. This is going to be a period piece set during World War II and I think that is a great idea.

1. Sucker Punch

Current release date: March 25, 2011


This is director Zack Snyder’s (300, Watchmen) latest movie. It is also his first movie based off his own original material. It’s about a girl who is institutionalized by her evil step-father. There she retreats to an alternate reality inside her own mind as a coping mechanism. She then uses this alternate reality to come up with a plan in order to escape from the facility. The trailer looks great and it’s going to be a beautifully visual movie if nothing else. Zack Snyder just keeps getting better and better as a filmmaker and I can’t wait to get Sucker Punched.