Archive for the ‘Reviews – Movies’ Category

Is Raising Cain a good movie or not?

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

I came across Jack “Jackula” Shen’s video review of the Brian De Palma movie “Raising Cain” and I had to agree with him that I’ve never been able to tell if it’s a good movie or not. It has a LOT of dumb bits, like the shocker moment where a sudden switch of a TV screen to security camera footage reveals Lolita Davidovich’s character (who is supposed to be dead) staring into the camera with murder in her eyes.  “I’m gonna get ya for trying to kill me!” is the obvious meaning. That’s a real shocker. It makes you jump, and it’s well done. And then you give it a moment’s thought and realize that::

  1. She has no clue where her murdering husband is, which means…
  2. …she couldn’t possibly know if he was watching the security footage at that exact second, which means…
  3. …she’s just staring daggers at a camera for no reason and got way lucky.

Yeah, this movie has a lot of that.  A lot of blatant foreshadowing, sudden narration, explanations of plot to the viewer and tons of exposition, including a lot of verbal diarrhea by a psychologist that just goes on and on for minutes.  And yet (as Jack shows here), that scene is brilliantly done in a continuous 5-minute walk-and-talk that is pulled off in a single take.  It ends with a shocking reveal of a drowned woman that is shown to the camera for a solitary second.

Problem is, it’s too quick for the audience to realize the identity of the drowned woman (there have been several).  See, the entire conversation leads you to think that the body of Lollita Davidovich has been found, and then the sheet is removed and, if you had the presence of mind and the time to study it, you’d say, “Oh, what a twist.  It’s actually the earlier murdered woman.”  But we’re talking about the twisted blue corpse of a bedraggled drowned woman glaring in a frightening rictus right into your eyes.  You’re too busy wiping up the new stain on your theater chair (or for 99% of America, the couch) to say, “Hey, that was a different woman.”  And the two women look a lot alike when they’re not drowned.  To make this work, de Palma should have made the first woman African American or 300 pounds, because that’s about the only way  he could achieve a shocker AND get that point across in one second.

Just when we’re all ready to write this off as a mediocre shocker with a couple legitimate scares and intelligent twists…Jackula hits on how brilliant this movie is.  It’s certainly nothing I’d have ever been able to pick up on, so this review has to be seen.  Take it away, Jackula!

(Note: Language warning.)

“Infestation” is great popcorn fun

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Last year, as Hollywood Video was closing its doors here in Rochester, MN, I was running around the place grabbing any movie that looked halfway decent… and a bunch that weren’t even that. If you think “Hump Day” sounds hilarious, you’re right: it sounds hilarious. The back of the DVD talks about two guys who dare each other to be in an amateur porn movie. (It doesn’t say that it’s just them in it, without women. “Zack and Miri” it ain’t!)

I thought the premise of Marines in Afghanistan taking on giant sand monsters sounded great, but “Sand Serpents” proved me wrong.

And while I’ve thought all of my life that there is a truly great movie to be made from the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, the Tony Todd version of “Minotaur” was not it. Oh, it’s good, but not great. That one’s at least worth a watch.

So, did I find any real gems? Yes, I found one. “Infestation” is a great popcorn flick. It has good acting and a decent plot. In fact, I’d say it’s a very decent plot, inasmuch as it rarely has moments where you’re chiding the characters for doing something stupid. The dialogue has wit, and there’s a running gag that I won’t spoil but it’s excellent. The ending is rather unique, too.

“Green Lantern” movie review

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I am, perhaps, not the person to write this review.  I may be the world’s biggest Elongated Man fan, but of the big guys at DC Comics I was a Green Lantern fan going all the way back to his first appearances on Super Friends.  Hal Jordan was my hero.  He had determination and strong character and he wasn’t afraid of anything. He was also manly, macho and handsome, without peer in his chosen dangerous profession.  Oh, and he’s smart and inventive, because the ring is only as good as the brain of the person wielding it.

Of course, they didn’t make a movie about that guy.

No, we can’t have someone who is professional and capable.  We all hate guys like that, apparently, which is why the last several decades has seen the degradation of all of our heroes into screw-ups and man-children.  In the comics, suddenly Hal became a drunk driver and  a wash-out always on the cusp of losing his job.  Then Geoff Johns took over on Green Lantern, and Hal becomes a womanizer to boot.

Thus we meet the movie version of Hal Jordan waking up from a one-night stand with some blonde, realizing he overslept on the day of a very important test, and endangering the lives of other people as he speeds down the highway trying to wrap a birthday present with newspaper.  I should mention: the gift isn’t even needed until later that evening, so the wrapping on the fly is only for the purpose of showing us how much of a screw-up he is.  Aside from his flying skills, he is regarded by even his friends as a loser.  He participates in the flying mission, which is intended to show off the abilities of two new fighter jets, and instead he makes the new products look like failures because he thinks a demo for the buyer is the right time to show off…and in the end, he costs the company millions of dollars in destroyed inventory and lost jobs.  (That Carol later salvages the situation is beside the point.)

This is all to show the guy growing into a better person in his origin story, a la Iron Man.  That it is such a well-trod tale that the whole thing becomes a paint-by-numbers plotline isn’t even my main complaint.  As it stands, I actually found the movie’s plot to be better than average.  There are twists and surprises that defy expectations, and that’s good.

No, my problem is that I hate Hal Jordan because I expect better from a 25-year-old Air Force veteran.  When your company has a major contract that is depending on you, you get to bed early, sober and alone.

I just can’t believe the power ring would choose this guy out of 5 billion people, millions of whom have the self-discipline and courage to make for great Green Lanterns right out of the gate.  I don’t believe the ring is going to go looking for the diamond in the rough who could be fantastic with a lot of training and personal growth.  What’s more, this whole “first I’m a jerk and then I grow” story is just so tired!  Why couldn’t we have a story where the character growth is about something else?

This really is my only major complaint about the movie. Thus, if you like watching undisciplined screw-ups learning life lessons that are arriving far later in life than they should, your mileage may vary.

Is the CGI a bit of a strain, being so unnecessarily glitzy and at times muddy and video-gamey?  Yeah, but it’s offset by enough cool and some moments of sheer brilliance.  Geoffrey Rush’s voice (as Tomer-Re) makes the buttload of exposition easy on the ears.

The actress playing Carol Ferris is especially good, bringing some depth and strength to a role that could have been flat and two-dimensional.  I’m not sure I buy her as a pilot, as she doesn’t look like she has the muscle to be jockeying a plane.  But from an acting POV, she stands out.  Let me put it this way:  I can entirely buy her as a young executive who can pull off a military contract way more than I can believe Maggie Gyllenhall and Katie Holmes as district attorneys, or Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane.

The Green Lantern Corps…well, it’s… not only is it “video-gamey”, but the shots of the various Corps members go by so quickly. It feels like an episode of the Simpsons, where signs flash by rapidly and you need to freeze-frame them later.  In other words, all there is is the promise that at some later date I may get a kick out of seeing some of my favorites who went by in a half-second, but for right now…I spotted Stel, Olapet, Xax of Xaos (or Bzzd) and I think the F-Sharp Bell.

I could complain about little stuff, like how each sector of space is said to contain several galaxies, whereas I think one galaxy divided up would still be an overwhelming amount of space to be patrolled by only 3600 Green Lanterns… but I’m honestly trying to not be a nitpicky fanboy.  My complaints about GL are from a point of film criticism.  My fanboy side was sated when I not only saw a non-Green Lantern character from the DC Universe but we even got to see her origin tale right out of the comic books!  That was awesome.

You know…I like Geoff Johns, but I’m a little aggravated at how much of the Green Lantern in this movie is his Green Lantern.  The “Highball” call sign, Hal’s one-night stands, Parallax as a fear entity, the yellow ring of fear with the meaningless logo, Hal and Carol being friends from childhood… and worst of all, that “will” thing.

I’m getting off on a rant, one that’s long overdue on Geoff Johns’ version of GL, but… will is NOT AN EMOTION!  You can have a strong will about spreading fear, for example.  I always interpreted that whole “willpower” thing with Green Lantern as the explanation of how the green energy is employed.  In other words, you use your willpower to make the energy take shape, and your willpower/determination dictates how strong the construct is.  That’s all.  It’s not that the green energy IS will in liquid form. All the other colored lanterns also employ their energy to do things via their mental effort, a/k/a their will.

It’s like saying that a cowboy fights the bad guys with the power of forefinger.

Final verdict: The Green Lantern movie is a solid B.

Can we see Joihn Wayne’s Alamo restored now around its 50th anniversary?

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

I never knew that the 50th anniversary of this epic picture has come and gone.  I never knew that the celebration was coming and was never in a position to properly celebrate it regardless.  Dan Gagliasso writes thus.

The other weekend in San Antonio over 600 people gathered for the 50th anniversary re-premiere and celebration of one of the great American-themed epics of the early 1960s, John Wayne’s The Alamo. People came from far and wide to watch a director’s cut of the film on the River Center Imax screen and attend a dinner, concert and museum exhibit at the real Alamo featuring costumes, props and art work from this 1960 classic.

Seeing The Alamo on a big screen where it was meant to be experienced really emphasizes the powerful imagery that has helped this film endure for fifty years. Wayne’s Alamo defenders are as one biographer described, “…an undisciplined group of rugged individualist from Tennessee and Texas who love freedom and resent authority.” Sounds like a bunch of lovable Tea Party members to me. That innately American sense of unbridled freedom celebrated in The Alamo is one of the reasons the film still resonates so well with so many people here and even abroad.

american-flag1

Made during the heyday of widescreen roadshow epics like El Cid and Lawrence of Arabia, Wayne’s film has always been a highly popular DVD title for the financially ailing MGM/UA. The biggest movie star ever, Wayne directed, produced and starred in this uniquely American story.  Nominated for seven Academy Awards, contrary to unsubstantiated claims of box-office failure the film was actually one of the top ten domestic grosser of 1960-61, but The Alamo’s then huge $12,000,000 budget initially cut into its profit margin and could have bankrupted Wayne. The film set box-office records in London, Paris, Rome and Japan eventually earning a then $28,000,000 world-wide during its initial 1960-61 release.

Unfortunately Wayne sold United Artists his participation in the future profits of the film.  He so believed in the power of the Alamo story that he had mortgaged his own home, other real estate and even his family cars and reluctantly agreed to star in the epic in order to bring it to the screen his way. At the time Wayne told the press, “I’ve gambled everything I own in this picture – all my money… and my soul.”

I love this movie.

I never knew that as the film was originally (and successfully) composed there was a roadshow version and a theatrical version and I did not know that my VHS and DVD copies of this masterpiece were not the originally intended versions of either film.

John Wayne says

Our damned liberal friends are screaming about violence to take our minds off of the pornographic bad taste that is being made in the motion picture business by their confreres.

I might never have seen the movie as it was intended to be presented.  If Robert A. Harris has his way I just might. He is working on restoring the film but not that the original film was damaged as a natural result of the fact these sorts of wonderful product were not created at the time to be preserved in and of itself in its original format in the original form.  Although doing so might be work on the scale of literally reversing old age.

What Makes Lightning McQueen Run? (Tick? Turn Over?)

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Someone cut open Lightning McQueen. This must be one vicious Disney chop shop.

Although all told, he does look pretty happy. Click to make big.

(Keep in mind that I’m stealing bandwidth here, and pray someone forgives me).

Now since Pixar typically packs in a good number of (only necessary) details on how each world seems to work (as much as is necessary to the plot, yet no more lest it distracts) it’s not wrong to just imagine, ponder, how these wanderers seem to work. The automobiles in Cars obviously are not designed to carry passengers, as the dominant lifeform seems to be, obviously CARS! We also see the interstates traveled by individuals driving themselves, which means a traveler traversing the country is doing so under his own power, and we saw this in the film. These are individual organisms equipped to self-propel across vast tracts of land, although these organisms need rest, fuel, much like people. The amount of wear-and-tear a CAR can take is evidently greater than that of a human for traveling the same distance under its/his/her own power.

I grabbed the link from among the comments on the page I linked to a few minutes ago but this is a logical follow-up, no?

Review: Toy Story 3 in 3-D

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I’m 40 years old this year. “Toy Story” debuted when I was 25, and though I was no longer a kid, that film transported me back to the years when I would let my imagination run wild just like Andy in the movie.

Pixar immediately established itself as what the Disney brand used to be: a guarantee that the movie that followed would be visually impressive, thoroughly entertaining, well-told and family-friendly. They have yet to make a movie that wasn’t a superior film to most anything else made by Hollywood. Half of their films should have been Best Picture contenders if not winners.

“Toy Story 2” was originally going to be a cheapo straight-to-video, second-rate cash-generator, as the Disney studio has been cranking out for the last two decades. (“Lady and the Tramp 2”? Really?) Pixar wasn’t all that interested in doing sequels…but as the plot came together, they fell in love with the idea, shifted gears and made a sequel that was as good as the original in story and better in terms of visuals.

“Toy Story” was about a child’s natural tendency to lose interest in old toys as new toys debuted, with a side-plot about the kinds of children who do not treasure toys. “Toy Story 2” carried the theme a little further: that a child’s fascination with toys doesn’t last forever, and is it better to be treasured in a glass case or to be loved intensely for a limited time?

There is a logical flaw in “Toy Story 2” which I only realized as I re-watched it this week-end. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t wreck the movie: it may be illogical, but the actions are driven by emotions.) The entire misadventure occurs because a damaged toy is being put on the yard sale and Woody tries to rescue it. Of course, rescue it from what? If it sells, won’t the penguin toy be off to a new home with someone who loves it the way it is? Isn’t that better than sitting on a shelf, un-repaired and gathering dust?

It turns out that this question is the entire theme of the third movie: What happens to the toys when the child becomes an adult? Should they be kept in the attic for a possible future generation of kids to play with, if the adult even remembers they’re there? Should they be handed down to someone? Given to a charity toy drive? Kept as an un-playable memento of childhood? Or perhaps, being in a glass case in Tokyo should have been given more consideration? How about winding up in a landfill, only to be dug up by Wall*E 700 years later?

(Spoilers ahead!)

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The toys’ donation to a day care center turns into a nightmare, where they are beaten on by toddlers by day and bullied by a toy overlord by night. The second half of the film becomes a prison escape movie. The climax, which I will not spoil, is almost too frightening for kids. Frankly, I’m amazed that this is a rated G picture, given the intense drama of the climax. Also, this film features the dreaded bug-eyed monkey toy that has prompted more than one horror movie, and the sight of it frightened me!

By the end of this film, I had tears in my eyes. I can only imagine how powerful “Toy Story 3” would be to someone who was Andy’s age when the original movie came out.

As for the 3-D, I would say skip it…except that the short film “Night and Day” playing before it is a stunning example of what can be done with today’s 3-D techniques. Aside from it, the 3-D does little to enhance the film.

Podcast 6: Avatar and More

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Erik and I did a pile of podcasts in January, and it’s taking me a while to edit them. However, I couldn’t let Avatar hit shelves without posting Erik’s thoughts on it and several other films (then in theaters, now on DVD).

No flying cars, neither.

Monday, February 8th, 2010

So I’m watching “Can’t Buy Me Love“. It’s a 1987 movie from when Seth Green was a little punk.

In it, Patrick Dempsey plays a 17-year-old geek who arranges for a senior class hottie to date him for a month so that the “In Crowd” will consider him to be one of them. As the month wanes, the cheerleader sees him as a real person and begins to fall for him, especially when he takes them out for their last date. As they look through his telescope at the moon, he tells her that when he is his dad’s age there will be people living and working on the moon.

And then it hit me. 1987? His dad is played by Dennis Dugan of The Unidentified Flying Oddball
, who was 41 in 1987. I was a 17-year-old geek myself in 1987, so that math is pretty easy for me to do: Patrick’s character would be turning 41 in 2011.

Are we living on the moon yet? No. We’re even canceling the next generation of space travel.

Oh well, movies never get the future right. “2010: The Year We Make Contact” thought we’d still be locked in a space race with the U.S.S.R., and there are only five more years to invent hoverboards. On the plus side, I think Back to the Future 2 was a bit conservative in thinking the trend among teenagers would be to wear clothing inside outs. Last week, in 5 degree Fahrenheit and blowy Minnesota, I saw a punk walking down the street with his entire boxer shorts showing above his jeans, which he could only be supporting with his thighs. (Idiot.)

No jet-packs, no flying cars, no living on the moon. The only monumental thing to happen since 1987 is they remade “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Podcast 5: Superman’s 50th Anniversary TV Special

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Podcast 5 is up…and it’s still 2009! I promised Erik Burnham that I would have all of our older recordings published before the end of 2009… and I have 1/2 hour left to make that promise KEPT. This one’s less than 10 minutes long. Just a brief recording that wasn’t worth throwing out, despite some audio problems, because I relate to Erik an old TV Special that I enjoyed.

I don’t even have any Amazon links for this one, because sadly enough, it was never released on video.

Podcast 4: Chatting about Movies and Star Trek

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

This started out as a test of my new equipment to see if the sound quality improved (it did). Unfortunately, you should not get two guys with extensive video store clerking experience chatting about random movies. We talked for about 50 minutes! We learn that Erik pronounces “bio-pic” without the hyphen. I tend to be vocabulary-challenged and say “like”, “um” and “you know” way too much. I prepare for an MST3K version of Star Trek, and my brother ruins “Fellowship of the Ring” forever. Also, who wants us to do a list of “Great movies you may not have seen?” (Erik talks over my sarcastic line, “Have you ever heard of The Princess Bride?” Could have been a gem. Oh well.)

Recorded June 30th. I had to laugh when I heard what I say at 55:05.


Mentioned in this podcast:
Erik’s “Creature Stole My Twinkie” T-shirt on Zazzle; we also discuss blogging at his Burnhamania site.

Phantom Menace epic review (or epic fail?)

Friday, December 25th, 2009

This one is especially filled with obscenities, so please be doubly-warned before pressing play.

But really…if you like funny reviews, you need to see this! It’s hilarious, and yet it makes some hard points…such as:
WHO was the main character of the Phantom Menace?







RedLetterMedia’s ST: Nemesis review (hilarious!)

Friday, December 25th, 2009

I know I didn’t like Star Trek: Nemesis, but this really helps bring to light that I only thought of half the reasons it sucked.




RedLetterMedia’s Generations Review

Friday, December 25th, 2009

I haven’t posted in a while. To make up for it, here are a ton of reviews on YouTube that I found. These are hilarious and insightful, culminating in a wonderful takedown of Phantom Menace.

PLEASE NOTE: A lot of these have language that is NSFW.

Let’s start with his review of Star Trek: Generations:


A few more thoughts about G.I. Joe

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

These thoughts regarding G.I. Joe contain spoilers, so I’m hiding them after this break.

REVIEW: Cobra assaults civilization; “G.I. Joe” assaults senses

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

One of the highlights of the film is a sequence where our heroes pursue terrorists who are threatening to destroy Paris with a W.M.D. Guns blazing, they take out the terrorists but not without many casualties. While Paris and millions are saved, the Eiffel Tower is destroyed and it is a Pyrrhic victory.

But enough about Team America: World Police.  We’re here to talk about G.I. Joe, which is very similar except that the acting isn’t as good.

First, I will start with the best surprise about G.I. Joe: it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be when they first announced that G.I. Joe would be an international force headquartered in Belgium. Unless I missed it, and in this cacophonous film that is certainly possible, Belgium is never mentioned, nor the new acronym for the organization.   This film’s production has been as tumultuous as the many aborted attempts at bringing Superman back to the big screen.  Hard to believe that the film now subtitled “The Rise of Cobra” once had a script where Cobra didn’t appear at all since the creators thought it was a dumb organization.

To its credit…and also its detriment… G.I. Joe is for the most part a live action version of what we got in the cartoon show.  Swarms of one-person vehicles firing blasts at other vehicles.   A villain with a campy voice whose motivations don’t make a lick of sense.  And two organizations seemingly drowning in money for headquarters, equipment, ships, planes and weapons.

Summaries of the plot can be found everywhere, so I’m not going to bother beyond what’s necessary.  Christopher Eccleston plays Destr- er, McCullen, a weapons manufacturer who has invented nanites that can tear down anything.  He built the technology with NATO funds, which is why he has to steal them back from NATO forces.  Of course, he also has a subterranean complex the size of Wichita, so he doesn’t appear to be hurting for money.  His is the most complex character in the film, since he wants to take over the world (boo!)  and take revenge on the French (that’s fine).

Dennis Quaid commands the screen in a thankless role.  As macho as he comes across, his part is still the equivalent of Basil Exposition’s in the Austin Powers films and he probably filmed them in a couple of hours.

Sienna Miller turns out to be a very good actress, much more than just a pretty butt that is highlighted in all the posters, and there are other excellent actors in this film, but with this script there is not much for them to do to give their characters more depth.

The action in this movie is non-stop, probably so that the audience doesn’t have time to reflect on the wisdom of the plot.  The editing makes Michael Bay’s Transformers look like a Benji movie.

Unlike the cartoon with the ubiquitous parachutes, here people die in large numbers.  To avoid an R rating, no result of any gunshot is ever shown.  People scream and then the camera immediately cuts to something else.  The video game-style loss of life reaches the height of ridiculousness in a sequence that puts the Matrix to shame. Two Joes in accelerator suits are running through the city streets of Paris chasing after a Cobra Hummer that begins chucking mini-vans full of people at them.  Duke and Ripcord dodge the vehicles and keep on running with nary a thought towards the families that are getting squished.  They might as well be hopping over barrels hocked at them by a giant ape.  Focusing on the civilians for even a few seconds might help to put the stakes into perspective, but would probably get in the way of the adrenaline rush.

The frantic, rapid, constant camera cuts may be fine for this current ADHD generation of teens… and I add that qualification only because my niece says the action in Transformers wasn’t hard to follow at all, so she may have some kind of Wally West perception thing going on… but I found the movie to be a headache waiting to happen.

When the movie ended, the credits rolled and the soundtrack cranked up to some really horrible boom boom rap song, I thought it was the appropriate ending to a mediocre film that made my eyeballs bleed.  Actually, the perfect ending would still have been an instrumental version of the “A Real American Hero, G.I. Joe is There” theme song, but I knew the film-makers had avoided it.  For a second, I thought about toughing it out through the whole credits just to see if there might be a silly PSA where Ripcord saves a kid from a construction site or something, but I gave up.

Look, you all know my politics.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe, despite the ample evidence that American films with a “rah-rah go America” attitude do just fine in overseas sales, maybe this film would have been dismally wounded in sales as every critic east of the Seinne would have been making comparisons between G.I. Joe and America’s military arrogance, etc.  All I know is that the oh-so-obvious attempts to distance this property from America gave this thing a stinking odor that it did not need to have…and the many ways it stinks in addition to that did not help.

It’s sometimes hard to believe that “The Mummy”, a pretty good action film that is rock-solid entertaining, is still Stephen Sommers’ best film.   Is there no greatness in him?  Can’t he try to do something with just a little more maturity than that of a 9-year-old playing Hungry Hungry Hippos?

Podcast 2: Batman Movies, part 2

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Our second podcast is finally here, sponsored by TooManyLongboxes.com. In honor of the 20th anniversary of Mr. Mom playing Batman, Erik Burnham and I review the Batman movies directed by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher.

My review of UP

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Well, I just came back from seeing it, and to be honest, judging from the first trailer , I didn’t have high expectations. I remember when seein g it originally, I thought, ookay, flying house and an old man, so where’s the story potential? Even the title ‘UP’ sounded lame.

I’m just glad to be proven wrong.

SPOILER ALERTS

The story follows Carl Fredricson, who, when he was a young boy, dreams of going on adventures in a lost land somewhere in South America with his friend, and future wife, Ellie. After many years setting up their dream home, and trying to make their dreams come true, however, Ellie unfortunately passes away. This is all covered in the first 15 minutes of the film, through a series of clever montages, as we see the couple date, get married, build a live, and suffer misfortunes.
I can honestly say that no one can go through this part without shedding tears. I can also say that while shedding said tears, it is difficuly to dry one’s eyes while wearing regular and 3D glasses, but I digress…
Carl, in the present day, is in the process of being evicted to a retirement community against his will. To make things worse, he is being annoyed by Russel, an 8 year old scout trying to earn an elderly badge (ah, the scouting days). On the day he’s to be sent to the home, Carl had managed to inflate thousands of baloons, and make modifications to his house, to float away in the sky, to keep his promise to Ellie.
Unfortunately, Russel stows away, and hilarity ensues.

All in all it was a great film. Not as dynamic as The Incredibles, but it really doesn’t need to be. Ed Asner’s portrayal of Carl is on the ball, and Russel, along with the inevitable animal sidekicks, provide wonderful comic relief.

‘UP’ date:
A truly touching story…

Capsule movie review – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

It is a sign of a great movie that I love it despite the massive hippie-ness that infests the plot.

Star Trek IV is a great movie. If they needed to go back in time to fight Gorn Marines to save San Fransisco hippies to insure the future… it really wouldn’t change the fact that what makes the movie awesome isn’t the whales/macguffins, but the characterization, the dialogue (and the score). (more…)

Movie Review: Oliver Stone’s “W.”

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I just saw Oliver Stone’s biopic of President George W. Bush, “W.”

I am a Democrat and proudly liberal. I did not vote for Bush, did not like Bush, did not agree with his worldview, his policies both foreign and domestic, or his actions. I furthermore do not think he was a particularly good President.

All that being said: the man deserved so much better than this film.
(more…)

Watchmen: First thoughts review

Friday, March 6th, 2009

I’m sure I can put together a lengthier, more thoughtful review when I’ve had time to reflect on it, but this is my initial take after leaving the theater:

The special effects are great…

…and that about says it all when it comes to Hollywood’s adaptation of a book that is mostly conversations.

Spoilers ahead; I’m assuming you’ve read the original.

(more…)