Tag Archive for movie

A Number of Reviews

Lets start with the beginning… Spider-man 2.

Oh my.

And I mean that, really. Its very rare… in fact, I’m not 100% I’ve ever encountered it… this sequel was better than the original. And when you consider how good the original was… damn. It was just simply awesome. I was amazed at the first film with how well they took Spidey from the comics to the screen, and with this film I’m just floored with how well they continued it. When Batman came out, one of the actors (I forget which) from the TV series said, "I would have gone to see Batman 2, and 3, and 4, and so on… but Batman Returns?" That’s how I felt about the Batman series, and when X2 came out, I had the same reservation. But X2 was as good as X-Men, so when hearing about Spidey 2, I thought "X-Men pulled it off… but…" I should never doubt Sam Raimi though. All my reservations vanished as the movie unfolded… I was literally on the edge of my seat at some points.

Rock on Sam Raimi… I’m in, Spider-man 3, and 4, and 5… I’m in.

Now, some quick NetFlix reviews…

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Not bad. It wasn’t like super totally mega awesome, and Jodi didn’t like the ending, but I’m satisfied. It ended how it had to end. Quality.

The School of Rock. Jack Black is god… a god of what, I’m not sure, but he’s got to be one. And the movie was good, but after seeing it, I don’t want to see it again. It wasn’t side-splittingly funny enough for me to want to own it. A thumbs up, but only one time.

Seabiscuit. I had no desire to see this movie in the theater. Horse racing? Bah! But there was buzz about it, Oscar nominations and stuff, so I was intrigued. Well, I finally saw it, and it was good. A very solid movie… a testament to the will of the person who will never give up, never quit. Two thumbs up.

Pieces of April. A good, oddly funny film about a disfunctional family at Thanksgiving. I enjoyed it. Oliver Platt is the man.

The Core. HA HA HA HA HA HA! Oh wait, its supposed to be an action thriller? … HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Man, oh man.. I couldn’t stop laughing at this movie. It was ridiculous, but fun.

Honey. For a movie about a dancer who gets into the music biz while trying not to leave her roots behind and open a dance program "for the kids", it wasn’t too bad. It helps that Jessica Alba is hot.

The Missing. This was good. I remember the previews. It came out at a time when there were a few horror movies out, and the preview, in its attempt not to give anything away, made it sound like a monster or ghost movie. But its not. I liked it. Ron Howard doesn’t disappoint.

And that’s all I can remember for now…

Taking the “Bad” with the good.

Recently, we (Jodi and I) came to the realization that we were paying our cable company a bunch of money to give us access to movie channels we never watched. I mean, we are avid DVD fanatics, and we buy any movie we love (read: watch more than 3 or 4 times), so these channels go unwatched. Mostly they go unwatched because they show the same crappy movies over and over again, and any original programming they have is either on at a time we are unable to watch it or we just assume at this point that its going to come out on DVD.

To that end, I called up the cable company and had them cancel all the premium movie channels. Saving me somewhere in the area of $30-$40 a month. I took some of that savings, and realizing that we still wanted to see movies, reinvested it into reactivating our subscription to NetFlix (there is a link over on the right side somewhere).

NetFlix rocks. For $20 a month, they mail us movies of our choosing, we watch them, mail them back, and they mail us more. We can have 3 out at a time, and with a distribution center really close to us, its a 2-3 day trip from when I drop a movie in the mail back to them to when we get the next movie.

That’s the good of the title of this article… Now on to the "Bad".

Its in quotes for a reason. We got "Bad Boys II" in the mail the other day. For the first time in a long time, you are going to see me say.. I was unimpressed.

Sure, it had some funny lines. Sure, it had chase scenes and cool explosions. But, to be honest, unlike the original Bad Boys, I didn’t care about any of the characters. They could have all died in this film and I would have shrugged it off. And when they go to Cuba… well, lets just say that believability isn’t just tossed out the window, its loaded onto a rocket and launched into space. Exactly.

Anyway, in the end, I felt like I wasted 2 hours of my time, and 5-6 days of my NetFlix life. Stuff blows up good, but the overall movie is bad.

The Girl Next Door

I just got back from seeing this movie, and for the first time in a while, I just felt I had to come write something about it before sleeping on it.

When I first heard about it, I laughed. When I first saw the preview, I laughed. But from what I heard and from what I saw, I expected to see a funny, yet typical movie about a not quite so cool kid who meets a girl who makes him into the cool guy he always had the potential to be.

What I saw can only be described as a Risky Business for a new generation. It was funny, and sexy, and it just drew me in in a way that your typical comedy can’t. The story is excellent, the comic timing is superb, the acting is perfect, and the girls are hot.

Its ‘R’ rated for a reason, and it needs to be. Much like American Pie, and the afore mentioned Risky Business, its not just kids, comedy, and naked chicks. There is quality here.

See this film.

Sometimes, you just have to say, ‘what the fuck?’ Make your move. Go with it.

Dawn of the Dead

I love zombie movies. Ever since I saw the original Night of the Living Dead, I’ve just always liked them. One main reason is that within the span of the movie, a good zombie movie remains internally consistant, and its not hard to be a good zombie movie. Do your zombies run or walk? Are they capable of any speed movements or are they always slow? Do the only attack humans or anything that lives? Is the whole body reanimated or is it just the brain keeping it going? Is anyone who dies capable of being a zombie or do they have to be bitten by one?

Answer those questions, stick to them, and you can have a good zombie flick.

When I went to go see Dawn of the Dead this weekend, I knew alot of what to expect. I had seen the original (though not recently), and knew it was about a bunch of people who wind up in a mall while the world outside spirals into zombie hell.

It was good in that it was scary. It was good in that is was consistant. It was good in that it had funny moments to break the tension, and calm you down as a viewer.

But I didn’t love the movie…

Now, before I continue, let me get something out of the way:

** SPOILER – DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE MOVIE, INCLUDING HOW IT ENDS – SPOILER **

Okay, now that everyone has been warned, let me talk about why I didn’t love the movie.

Night of the Living Dead is a cornerstone of the zombie genre. At the end, everyone from the house, the story you’ve been watching is dead… but, the human race is winning. Zombies are getting under control and the bodies are being burned. In a way, it has a very War of the Worlds feel to it. We are on the bring of destruction, but as dawn arrives, we start winning.

Return of the Living Dead (and its sequals) are the flip side of the genre. They are pure camp. The zombie say funny things, do funny things. People die in funny ways. There are two actors who are in every movie (they play different people and die in every one of them). And the movies end with total destruction. In fact, more than one I believe ends with us (the Army) nuking the infected town only to further spread the infection in the form of contaminated rain.

The original Dawn of the Dead ends when the people from the mall decide to make a break for the harbor, where they plan to get on a boat and sail off to an uninhabited island or somesuch. The movie literally ends with a shot of the boat sailing away, abandoning the main land. In this end, its similar to both Night and Return… We (the humans) have lost, and have turned over the main land to the undead, but there is also hope because we are sailing to a safe place.

The new Dawn of the Dead ends in the same way. I could feel in myself, and in the sigh of relief in Jodi, and the other members of the audience, a sence of relaxing, and sadness, but also of hope as the boat sails away. Like the original, we lost, but we survived. However, as the credits rolled, snippets of film continued in the form of seconds here and there on a video camera found on the boat. Food on the boat, which had been idle for weeks, is covered in maggots. They run out of gas. The engine catches fire. They find a row boat with a cooler, and in the cooler an undead head (funny, but… ). Snippets, until they pull up to shore at the island. The dog is barking, and runs off. They have guns out and start to move down the dock. Then dozens of undead rush the boat and camera, which drops to the ground and you keep seeing snippets of undead running by, screams, and death. The movie finally ends with total destruction… we lost, and we didn’t survive, and it wasn’t funny enough to laugh it off.

In the end, the new Dawn of the Dead leaves you without hope, and not enough to smile about.

Is it worth seeing? I would say yes, but just make sure you leave when the credits begin to roll.

Eurotrip

I went.

I saw.

I wet my pants.

Seriously, this movie was hilarious. I was literally howling in laughter throughout most of it.

And to boot, it has some catchy tunes. "Scotty doesn’t know!"

A butterfly flaps its wings…

I went out on Saturday and saw The Butterfly Effect at the theater. And wow. It was good.

If you don’t know, the story is simple enough, a man is able to "travel" back into his past to try to fix what went wrong, but sometimes when he thinks he’s doing right, the world spins out of control more.

The movie was well written, filmed, and all that. It was just solidly good.

Oh, and Ashton Kutcher, to my surprise, can actually act.

The Thunder of Guns

I command you, if you have any interest in seeing Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, then do so in the theater. A good theater. Drive many miles if you must.

I will admit, when I first heard of this film I though to myself, "A movie about sailing and boats." But as I learned more of the story, an English ship sent out to sink, burn or capture a particular French ship finds that the French of in fact hunting them, it got more interesting. Still, even after seeing some previews and scenes and interviews with cast, the movie didn’t really call to me.

However, the movie is fantastic. And as the title of this little review suggests, the cannon battles between the two ships litterally rocked the theater. This is definately one of those films that just won’t be the same at home…

… at least until I can afford that home THX theater.

28 Days Later…

I picked up the DVD for 28 Days Later… last week and watched it a couple nights ago.

Wow.

I had heard good things about this film, but actually seeing it I was blown away by the simplicity of the look and feel of the film, it just draws you in.

If you don’t know, the story is about a man who has been in a coma who wakes up 28 days after a bizarre virus has been unleashed in England.  The virus infects people and makes them “rage”, forgetting everything else except an unbridalled hatred for everyone they see.

I think the best part of the DVD though is they include the original ending, the alternate ending, an extended version of the alternate ending, and an ending they never filmed.  That last one is really the coolest part as the writer an director show the story boards and read the script explaining what would have happened if they had filmed it.  Most importantly though is the point where the description pauses and the director states something like “and right here is why we didn’t use this ending, its very cool, and I really liked it, but this one point right here just isn’t possible, it goes against things we’ve already established in the film.”

Definately worth the money to pick it up.

December and Christmas…

As December decends upon us, it is clear that the time is nigh to draw close the books on 2003.

I’m not feeling particularly jolly this year. In March my mother died, and from all I ever saw, the holidays from Halloween to Christmas was her favorite time of year. So as a result, this being the first year without her, I’m stuck in a funk. I just can’t seem to get happy.

Add in to that the fact that my job is… well… unsatisfying, and that finding a new one isn’t going too good… add to that that I’m still mostly broke with the same pile of debt I had last year (though it seems bigger)…

In all of this though, I have become decidedly clear on one thing. If I had a million dollars, do you know what I would do?

I’d buy the rights to the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Sure, that sounds to be a horribly poor choice of where to spend the money, but I want to bring back something that I miss from my youth. See, a long time ago, Republic, the company that owned the rights to the movie wasn’t enforcing them, so, every TV station would show “It’s a Wonderful Life” about ten or a thousand times from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

The movie itself isn’t the most fabulous thing in the world, in fact, when it opened in the theater, it bombed. The story isn’t terribly fantastic, and these days you’d almost consider it a “cookie cutter” Christmas tale. But as I was growing up, there was something magical about it. I’d be waking up for school and while eating breakfast I’d flip on the TV, and George would be yelling about finding Zuzu’s pettles… then I’d come home, and sure enough, George was getting boxed in the ear for not delivering the pills… on Saturday, George would be jumping into the lake to save his brother and messing up his ear… Wednesday, they’d be singing “Buffalo Gals won’t you come out tonight”… Every time you had a few minutes before getting lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, you’d catch a minute here or a minute there… you’d be flipping the channels looking for something to watch for 10 minutes until the show you wanted to see came on… it was there, in the background, blending in and hiding away, sometimes you wouldn’t even realize that you’d actually watched the movie three or four times, although never at a single sitting… until finally, you’d pick a time and set your mind to settling down and watching it… but even if you didn’t, it didn’t matter, because you’d seen it, it was there….

Then through the legalities of the business world, someone found out they owned the rights and pulled in their strings. It only airs once or twice a year now. I bought it on video (and then on DVD), but its just not the same… there’s something missing, something less about it now…

So that’s what I would do… If I had a million dollars, I’d buy the rights to “It’s a Wonderful Life”…

And then I’d let everyone who wanted to to show it as often as they wanted to, for free.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

So I take my own advice and go see a horror film on Halloween.

The remake for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.

Now, I’ve seen about half the original, and to me, well, it just wasn’t good.  I know lots of people find it to be a classic of horror films and such, and so do I, but I also recognize the fact that its about 20 years old.  The movie production values of those days just don’t hold a candle to these days, and there is just something about some movies where just the images, the special effects, the level of acting, just keeps you at arms length and constantly reminds you “It’s only a movie.”

All of that is gone.

Take the script of the original and film it today.. that’s what you have with this remake.  They didn’t update it, the story still happens in 1973, so no Pokemon, or MTV, or any of that.  And everyone who died before still dies.  There is no happy happy ending.

Did I mention its scary?

Yeah, I jumped a number of times.  I even gasped a time or two.  My arm was removed from its socket a dozen times by my fiance.  And when it was done, I felt a rush of blood, heart pumping, “Its over and I made it.”

Oh, my.