Archive for Reviews

Movie Round-Up: May 21st, 2010

Shrek Forever After:

I still haven’t seen Shrek 3.  And I’m getting burned out on the 3D.  I’ll probably try to watch Shrek 3 sometime soon and this one when it comes out on DVD.

MacGruber:

I might have to eat my words here, but I predict a success of Wayne’s World proportions.  My reasoning is thus: what made Wayne’s World work where other SNL-skits-turned-feature-films failed was that they used the characters and the skit as a launch board into a complete world.  All the skits with Wayne and Garth were down in the basement doing their cable show, but the movie was “What happens when the camera turns off and they leave the basement?”  Unlike some other films that were more like “Let’s take the one joke of the skit, stretch it to 90 minutes and maybe shoe-horn a plot in that doesn’t spring from the character itself.”  With MacGruber, the skits are always the same: MacGruber is in a room with a bomb and there are a couple other people there, and as he tries to defuse the bomb he gets distracted with odd topics and they blow up.  The movie is basically going to show us what leads up to the room with the bomb, what happens after, and more.  Plus, I watched the trailer and it looks funny.  The only reason I might not see this in the theater is that the wife has no interest in it at all.

23 Hours

The fourth book in David Wellington’s vampire series, 23 Hours, continues the story of Laura Caxton and her pursuit of the blood drinking monsters.  This time, due to the events of the last book, Caxton is in prison and the world’s last vampire comes to play.

I’m a huge fan of Wellington’s work, read and loved them all.  So it is no surprise that I liked this one too.  After seeing so many books using vampires as romantic objects, it is nice to return to this world where they are more like sharks, mouths full of teeth, death on two legs.  Anyway, I hope I’m not spoiling too much when I say I’ll be eagerly awaiting book five.

Movie Round-Up: May 14th, 2010

Just Wright:

This actually looks pretty decent, and I’m a fan of Queen Latifah, but I’m always hesitant to pay full price for a romance film on the big screen.  Movies like this are just generally better sitting at home cuddled up on the couch with a girlfriend or wife.  I’m certain I’ll see this at some point, just not this weekend.

Robin Hood:

This story has been made into a movie so many times that you’d think I would be tired of it.  And yet, every one seems to find something new to bring to adds a little life to the tale.  Certainly this one looks action packed, and I like most of the cast.  However, the reviews around the Internet seem to indicate that this is barely a tale of Robin Hood and more a tale of the Magna Carta and the events that surround it.  This news both saddens and intrigues me.  If I can find the time and a few spare dollars, I might make my way to see this at an early show this weekend.  If not, I’ll catch it on Netflix for sure.

Letters to Juliet:

As previously established, I’m a sucker for romantic comedies.  I got to see a screening of this film a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it.  Amanda Seyfried puts in a much better performance here than she did in Dear John.  Here I actually believe her and that she is falling in love, whereas there she seemed wooden and unsympathetic.  Plus, here you get Vanessa Redgrave too, who does a fantastic job.  And the whole movie makes me want to visit Italy.  Anyway, completely worth seeing if you like to catch your rom-coms on the big screen.  Had I not gotten to see it for free, I’d probably have waited for DVD, but since I did get to see it for free, it was great to see with a full house and a crowd willing to laugh out loud.

Movie Round-Up: May 7th, 2010

Iron Man 2:

Yes.

Movie Round-Up: April 30th, 2010

Furry Vengeance:

I have to admit, since I’m a Brendan Fraser fan, I have a slight inclination to see this film.  But seriously, unless I had a gaggle of kids to entertain, there is just no way I’m paying to see this in the theater.  One day when it shows up on Netflix Instant, I’ll watch it, and it’ll probably be funny as long as I don’t think too hard about what is going on.

A Nightmare on Elm Street:

In 1984, slasher flicks were nothing new.  Jason was making abandoned summer camps unsafe, and Michael was making Halloween a little scarier, but with Wes Craven’s Freddy Krueger even sleeping in your own bed became a place you couldn’t hide.  And since Jason and Michael both got a reboot in recent years, giving Freddy a new start was a no-brainer.  Thanks to 43kixAtlanta, I got to see a screening of the new Nightmare this week.  What they’ve done here is to take the original film, push the characters around a little (just nudges, nothing huge), clean up Freddy’s make up (it looks like burns now and not pizza) and excise most of the one-liners.  The new film is darker and more serious.  Freddy’s origins are altered a little, and I think with good effect.  Overall, the new film is fun and scary.  It lives in the same neighborhood as the original, but under a broken street light.  If you like horror films, and you aren’t so in love with the original that you plan on hating a remake just on principle, I recommend going out to see it.

Movie Round-Up: April 23rd, 2010

Oceans:

What would Earth Day be without a documentary about the planet or animals or both?  These movies always look impressive, but not a single one has actually gotten me in the theater to see them.  I’m not exactly sure why.  I like nature.  It just seems odd to spend $10 to watch something I could see on TV.  Is this in 3D?  It probably should be in 3D.  That might get me there, but still unlikely.

The Back-up Plan:

I feel a little bad for Alex O’Loughlin.  He’s featured prominently on the poster, but he didn’t get above the title billing with J.Lo.  Sure, he’s not as big of a super-duper-mega-star, but still, he is the male lead in this romantic comedy.  Which I happened to see thanks to GoFoBo.  So this is a movie about a woman who has decided to go ahead and get pregnant using a sperm donor and within an hour of being inseminated meets the perfect guy.  First she doesn’t tell him, then she does, then they decide to give it a shot, then things don’t work out, then they do, and so on.  You don’t go to these sorts of films for shocking twists and turns, you go for the funny.  And surprisingly I found this movie to be pretty funny.  Also, the most graphic, wince inducing, yet hilarious birthing scene I’ve ever watched.  If the premise of this movie sounds good to you, then it’s probably worth your money to go see it.

The Losers:

It was a busy week, with The Back-up Plan, a movie that doesn’t drop until mid-May, and this one.  (Thanks again GoFoBo!)  Like last week’s Kick-Ass, this film is based on a comic book.  I’ve never read the comic, but I saw the movie and it feels like a comic.  The action is way over the top.  Despite the large amount of violence in the movie it keeps its PG-13 rating by keeping that violence as clean as possible.  That doesn’t really hurt the film, and in fact helps keep it lighter and fun.  All in all, I enjoyed this movie a lot and I’d say it’s worth seeing on the big screen.

Movie Round-Up: April 16th, 2010

Death at a Funeral:

I really enjoyed this film… when I saw it nearly three years ago.  Perhaps I might watch it on Netflix someday, but film remakes done so close to the original that aren’t from foreign language originals do not get my box office dollars.  The original was just so brilliant that I don’t see this one improving on that.

Kick-Ass:

This movie, however, will earn my money.  From the first trailer I’ve been wanting to see this, and I tried very hard to get myself in to a free screening so I could review it for release (and then probably go see it again), but I didn’t.  Still, normal folks trying to be superheroes just sounds awesome.  Can’t wait.

The Joneses:

Getting a limited release this week (around 190 screens) is a film about materialism.  Since I managed to see a screening of this film (thanks Film Metro!) I can tell you that the trailer is one of those “not quite true” trailers.  The Joneses is about a company that does self-marketing by putting a team in a neighborhood and then having them show off products and increase sales in the area.  They aren’t exactly salesmen, they aren’t selling specific goods, but they market a lifestyle and drop comments about how they like certain things and work that jealousy angle that gets people to go buy stuff they don’t need.  Demi Moore plays the lead of this sales team, and David Duchovny is the new member.  The basic story is that Duchovny at first doesn’t get how it works, then he proves he’s the best at it, and finally he feels bad about what they are doing.  Along the way there are a number of funny moments, as well as a few dramatic ones, and a few tragic ones.  Overall, I really enjoyed the film.  It might not be for everyone, but as someone who is pretty much beyond his “keeping up with the Joneses” phase and is working on recovering from the damage, it hit home.  I only wish they’d made this movie about fifteen years ago.

Movie Round-Up: April 9th, 2010

Letters to God:

At heart, I’m a softy.  This is the sort of movie that I enjoy watching (you know, to offset the horror and action stuff), but I get more out of it when I’m at home (you know, when I don’t have to worry about people seeing me cry).  If you like these sorts of films, you might want to venture out and see it, or you can be like me and watch it at home when it comes out (and no one can hear you weeping).

Date Night:

I’m really on the fence about this movie.  The idea of two adults getting away for a date night and having hi-jinks ensue seems awesome, but I’m not sold on the whole crime entanglement and super spy stuff that shows up in the trailer.  Plus, you know, I like Steve Carell except when he does that robotic shouting of obvious things.  “Oh no!  My pants have fallen!  Look everyone!  My pants have fallen!” as if the comedic scene is being described for any blind people who might be attending the film.  But, Tina Fey, she’s awesome.  I probably won’t end up paying full price to see this, and if I don’t see it this weekend I’m not likely to see it in the theater, but I’m sure I will enjoy it on DVD.

Movie Round-Up: April 2nd, 2010

Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too:

Jason’s I’m Not Going To See This Tyler Perry Movie Either.

The Last Song:

I’m usually a Nicholas Sparks movie fan.  As pompous and arrogant as he is, he does write a good love story most of the time, and they generally translate to film well.  But his last, Dear John, was a let down.  In that movie, the father-son relationship was great but the romance was stilted.  The Last Song is much better.  I got to see a screening of it thanks to Movie Jungle.  Here the father-daughter works in addition to the romance, so we get a whole movie instead of half of one.  Miley Cyrus isn’t the world’s greatest actress, but she does alright, however Greg Kinnear and Bobby Coleman steal the show.  It makes for a pretty good date flick.

Clash of the Titans:

I actually saw the original in the theater as a child.  I’m a fan of Ray Harryhausen’s work.  That said, I agree with David Jaffe that remakes aren’t evil, and in fact are needed to keep stories alive.  As proof, the wife saw the original for the first time this weekend, and after seeing current fare like Avatar, the old stop motion stuff just looks… old.  No kid born after the release of the original is ever going to really like it unless they are a huge fan of old stuff, and keep in mind that “kids” born after the original might be almost thirty years old.  Anyway, I was excited to see the new film.  Thanks to 43kix and Gofobo, I got to.  This isn’t the same film.  There are some parallels, but it deviates as much as it stays the same.  This is both good and bad.  For me, this was fantastic, because it means I could watch the film and not feel like I had to compare the new stuff shot for shot with the old stuff.  For some people, this will be bad because what they want is a shot for shot remake of the old one.  I’ve heard some people say the new film lacks character and depth, but I felt it actually added character and depth to what was a fun yet fairly cardboard plot.  In any event, I recommend seeing it.  I had a blast watching it.  A word of warning, however, don’t pay the extra money to see this in 3D.  Totally not worth it.  The 3D (added to the film after the fact, it wasn’t filmed for 3D) is flat and never adds anything to the scenes.  In fact, it makes watching the film more annoying because of having to wear the glasses.  See it in 2D, I promise you aren’t missing anything.

Movie Round-Up: March 26th, 2010

It’s “H” week at the theater…

How to Train Your Dragon:

This looks great!  Vikings? Dragons? in 3D?  Hells to the yeah!  Ok, sorry, got a little excited there.  But seriously, the movie looks like it will be good for families and even exciting for adults.  I want to see it, especially since it is in 3D.  I may just have to make time to go to the theater for this one.

Hot Tub Time Machine:

If you can get past the premise of this film, that three old friends get together and wind up in a time machine (yes, a hot tub time machine) and go back to replay the most important night of their lives in 1986, this movie is a blast.  It is funny, especially if you remember 1986, the time itself and the movies of that era.  I liked it almost as much as The Hangover.  Totally worth the price of admission, in my opinion.