Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Movie Review: Batman: The Dark Knight (2008)




Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart
Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Action
Rating: PG-13

Christian Bale is back as Batman, but now it's the Joker (played by Heath Ledger) who is disrupting things in Gotham. Batman soon realizes that he is his most devious counterpart. Batman still has Alfred and Lucious, played by Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. He, however, doesn't have Rachel. She is now with Harvey Dent, Gotham's District Attorney.

Batman: The Dark Knight is definitely the darkest of any previous Batman movie. This mood is helped Ledger's wide-open portrayal of the Joker. Director Christopher Nolan let Ledger loose and it really shows. Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face is a good added feature, but not as much of the movie as I would have thought.

The movie is a little long at 152 minutes, but it is the kind of movie you want to sit with for awhile. Thoroughly entertaining and will be enjoyed by most. Great special effects and a lot of blow-em-ups. A true summer blockbuster.

"I'm a guy with simple tastes. I enjoy dynamite and gunpowder and gasoline. They're all cheap."


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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Movie Review: Hancock (2008)




Starring: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron
Director: Peter Berg
Genre: Action

Rating: PG-13

This year's Will Smith summer blockbuster. A ton of action and special effects as one would expect. He plays Hancock, "a super hero", who seems to be vulnerable to nothing. He, however, is tired of the whole super hero thing and doesn't care what people think anymore. In comes a public relations guy, played by Jason Bateman, who thinks he can help with Hancock's image. But it is his wife who changes Hancock more than anything else.

Hancock seemed to be two movies in one. The first half was a good summer shoot-em-up flick which seemed to end quickly. The second half felt like the deeper and more thoughtful sequel. Kind of weird. Smith, Bateman and Theron are all well cast for their roles. I would have liked the movie to be a little longer and maybe go a little deeper into the plot.

Overall a good movie and a must-see for any Will Smith fan.

"I'm real good at down!"


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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Movie Review: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)



Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant
Director: Len Wiseman
Genre: Action
Rating: PG-13

An internet-terrorist organization is attempting to take down the United States and destroy all of the people that helped them get along the way. John McClane who now works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is told to bring in a hacker played by Justin Long. Suddenly McClane and the hacker and involved in this dire situation and must help save the U.S. and McClane’s daughter. This includes seeking help from odd places such as underground hackers.

Live Free or Die Hard is the Die Hard for the new generation. Bruce Willis shines once again as John McClane. Justin Long plays the perfect funny yet very helpful sidekick. There is a scene with a semi truck and helicopter that is hard to beat. Oh, and the van in the elevator shaft scene. This movie and The Bourne Ultimatum are the two best action movies I have seen in a long time.

I'm glad they made this fourth movie and by all means make a fifth with the same ensemble. A must see for any Bruce Willis, Die Hard, or action movie fan. If you know how to spell internet you have to see this movie.

“Seriously, when was the last time you ever turned on the radio to listen to popular music? 70's, 80's? Michael Jackson was still black? Pearl Jam, maybe?”

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Movie Review: We Are Marshall (2006)





Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, David Strathaim
Director: McG
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG


We Are Marshall tells the true story of when most of the Marshall college football team and coaching staff died in a plane crash in 1970. The team, the school and the town must find a way to live on after this tragedy. Some wanted to totally disband football entirely, while others wanted the team to continue to play on Friday nights. Matthew McConaughey plays the new coach that is hired to bring football back to Marshall. He then must go out and fill out the rest of his coaching staff and players. Can he rally his new team and the town behind him?

We Are Marshall is one of those films that won't win any of the big awards, but is entertaining and is definitely worth seeing. I was born after the crash and I didn't know much about the story beforehand and I think this movie did a good job of telling me the entire story. This movie is well done showing the human aspect of college sports without being too sappy.

A movie about hope, dreams and coming together in the worst of times. A PG movie for the family.

“Then I thought about a team, and a school, and a town that’s gotta be hurtin' real bad. And I thought, hell, maybe I could help.”

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)




Starring: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles
Director: Paul Greengrass
Genre: Thriller
Rating: PG-13

Jason Bourne is still on the run and now he is getting closer to finding out how and why all of this began. He is slowly getting his memory back and remembering details about how the man called Jason Bourne was born. There are those who are still after him to prevent his story being exposed. He must travel to Moscow, Paris, Tangier, London and New York to uncover the truth. Along the way he has to avoid assassins at every turn. You know, same story different day for Jason Bourne.

I think that The Bourne Ultimatum is the best of the series. The most amazing scenery from the great locations and some of the best action scenes. If you like fights and car chases, well here you go. And who knew that Jason Bourne could drive a motorbike? The man can do it all. Matt Damon is excellent to me and it still surprises on how strong he is in this role. Just like the Die Hard movies, there just can't be enough of these movies. Great fun and it is PG-13. This movie won three Academy Awards for Best Editing, Best Sound and Best Sound Editing.

For anyone who liked the first two Bourne movies. A great way to end the series; if it is the end.

“Someone started all this and I'm going to find them.”

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Movie Review: Charlie Wilson's War (2007)


Starring: Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts
Director: Mike Nichols
Genre: Drama
Rating: R

This is based on the true story of Congressman Charlie Wilson. He along with the help of his friends were able to get the Russians out of Afghanistan and eventually lead to the downfall of the big Soviet power. Tom Hanks plays Wilson and Julia Roberts plays the money generator and Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the rogue CIA agent. This motley crew became an unstoppable force.

Charlie Wilson's War is a good movie with great characters. Hoffman as Gust, the CIA agent, was hysterical. He deserved his Oscar nomination. Hanks was believable as the eccentric and determined Congressman. I did think though that Julia Roberts as Joanne Herring, the rich woman from Texas who ran fund-raisers for Wilson, seemed out of place. She looked odd in the role and didn't pull the role off for me. Other than that, the movie moved very cohesively.

For any fan of these stars and of U.S. history. You'll learn something.

"It's just been my experience that when people with money and too much free time get involved in politics, pretty soon, I forget who it is I'm supposed to be shooting at."


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Movie Review: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007)





Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Justin Bateman
Director: Zach Helm
Genre: Family
Rating: G

I gave this movie a try because I'm a fan of Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman and Jason Bateman. You get a magic movie store run by Dustin Hoffman who plays Mr. Magorium who also is an avid shoe wearer. Natalie Portman as the loyal employee of the store and Justin Bateman at the mutant, I mean accountant, who tries to make heads or tails of the finances of the store.

It is a decent G rated movie. A good cast who seemed to have fun with their roles. A movie about believing and using your imagination to achieve the impossible. Well, having a magic store helps too.

It should be liked by kids as it is funny as well as having a good story. The cast plays it off well and most will find it as a entertaining movie.

"The hot dog/bun ratio, why for the love of mustard are there never enough buns?"


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Friday, April 25, 2008

Movie Review: Lars and the Real Girl (2007)



Starring: Ryan Gosling, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Craig Gillespie
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13

Ryan Gosling plays Lars, who is one odd little character. He lives in his own little world in a large garage owned by his brother. His mind comes up with an idea to get him into the world of the "normal". Order a life-size girl doll on the internet and poof you got yourself a girlfriend. Hilarity and strange looks follow Lars afterwards.

I thought the plot of Lars and the Real Girl was very interesting, but that it could have been a little more polished. I felt that I needed more of a background of Lars and his family to make the movie more cohesive. There seemed to be too many gaps in the timeline. I really like Gosling in the title role, but I think the town people come off sillier than they are supposed to be. I wanted to like this movie so much, but even with its uniqueness it just didn’t completely appeal to me.

If you want a unique movie with a sometimes humorous plot this would be a good pick.

"The cheese inspectors beat the crap out of us."


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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Movie Review: The Darjeeling Limited (2007)





Starring: Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman
Director: Wes Anderson
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R

Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman star as brothers on a journey to the Himalayas to find their mother who left the family to become a nun. Most of their travels are on the train Darjeeling Limited. Wilson’s character Francis tries to be the leader of the bunch which doesn’t always go over well. Brody’s character Peter has a wife who is 7 and a half months pregnant and she doesn’t know he on this trip. Schwartzman’s character Jack is an odd writer who looks for some companionship on the trip.

The Darjeeling Limited is quirky and unique and at times you feel that some scenes are inside jokes. The three actors play their parts to a tee. I think that Wes Anderson did a great job of directing this movie. He showed the comedy and even tragedy in scenes without overplaying or underplaying the other. I also like the idea of the camera mounted on the train to show the landscape of India as the end credits go by. Anderson also wrote and directed The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I liked this movie much more than the others. If you liked those movies, you'll like this one.

These three need to make a sequel or at least another movie together. These characters are too interesting to leave after just one movie. This film also includes a cameo by Bill Murray.

"Is that one of Alice's pots?"


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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Movie Review: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)




Starring: Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R


A highly dysfunctional family goes out to California to help the seven year old daughter compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. Her parents, brother, grandfather, uncle and she all pile into a VW bus and try to make it to the pageant on time. There are some funny and serious moments along the way. The trip forces them to coexist unlike they have had to before. They don’t get along, but they are doing all of this to fulfill the little girl’s dreams.

Little Miss Sunshine did live up to all of its hype. I like this movie more every time I see it. I especially like Steve Carrell having to play this depressed but at times the most positive character in the bunch. It seems that every character clashes with every other's personality, which definitely causes for an interesting journey. I thought Alan Arkin did a good job and had a good role, but an Oscar win; I didn't see that coming. It also won for Best Original Screenplay. Great cast with Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette and rounded out with Abigail Breslin as the little girl.

Definitely a fun movie to show a family who sticks together even though they are as different as can be imagined.

“Oh my God, I'm getting pulled over. Everyone, just... pretend to be normal.”



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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Movie Review: Sideways (2004)



Starring: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Hayden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh
Director: Alexander Payne
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R

Two friends go out on a road trip to the California wine country looking for a last getaway before one of the two gets married. Paul Giamatti plays the failed writer/wine connoisseur and Thomas Hayden Church plays the actor who is trying to sow his wild oats one last time before getting hitched. Along the way they meet up with two women they develop feeling for. The women are played by Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh. Things start to get complicated but more interesting and entertaining for the viewer.

Sideways really surprised me. It was written by Alexander Payne who wrote About Schmidt. I really didn’t care for that movie so I had no real expectations for me liking Sideways. I don’t know if we are supposed to like these characters, but I sure did. All of them have faults that made them so relatable. Of course some things are extreme, but it just adds to the quirkiness and the true comedy of the movie. There is one scene of not-so-nice male nudity. Yikes! But don't let that prevent you from seeing this gem. Look for the part in the movie where the two guys are leaving a gas station and the gas price is around $1.70. Ah, the good old days of only a few years ago.

Great performances throughout and this film won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. I would recommend for any wine fan or anyone who can use a corkscrew without hurting themselves.

"And the more I drank, the more I liked what it made me think about."


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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Movie Review: Sweeney Todd (2007)


Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman
Director: Tim Burton
Genre: Drama
Rating: R

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are together again and this time they are taking on the popular Broadway musical of the same name. Depp plays the deranged barber who is out for revenge against those who took away his family. Mrs. Burton a.k.a. Helena Bonham Carter plays the barber's new love interest. On his way to his path of revenge they concoct a twisted and gruesome money making venture.

Sweeney Todd is well designed and the singing is entertaining from all involved. Burton definitely doesn't hold back on some of the close shaves. Watch your step because the blood does flow in this one. The carnage works in unison with the dark London background that hangs over the entire film. The movie does get a boost from Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) who plays a rival. He is an odd little character who throws some comedy in the fold.

This is definitely for the Burton-Depp fans out there. I'm usually not one for musicals, but this kept my interest and was intriguing to me.

"At last! My arm is complete again!"


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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Movie Review: 300 (2007)




Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West
Director: Zack Snyder
Genre: Action
Rating: R


So that's what blood splattering sounds like. Wow, a lot of graphic (computer graphics that is) violence in this one. Gerard Butler plays Leonidas who leads his 300 Spartans against the enormous army of the Persians despite the oracles (groovy psychics) telling him it is a lost cause. A story that has been told for centuries and an event that changed history forever.

300 is a story of never retreating and never giving up. It is full of intense battle scenes and a lot of blood going every which way. They may have gone a little overboard with the CGI. Believe me when I say there must have been a lot of green scenes used in this one. That said, that doesn’t really take away from the fighting sequences or the other scenes in the movie. You are definitely rooting on the Spartans throughout the movie and are impressed with their fighting tactics.

For those who like great battle sequences. The movie will also instill the fact that you aren't doing enough situps.

"You see, old friend? I brought more soldiers than you did."


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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Movie Review: Stand By Me (1986)


Starring: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell
Director: Rob Reiner
Genre: Drama
Rating: R

Based on the novella "The Body" by Stephen King, this movie takes us through the journey of Gordie (Wil Wheaton), Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O’Connell) who go off to find the dead body of a boy deep in the woods. It is told through the eyes of the adult Gordie, who is played by Richard Dreyfuss. Among the obstacles they face are a dog, leeches, a train and the bad dudes from town led by Ace (Kiefer Sutherland). A movie that shows the great friends and the imagination you had as a kid.

Some of Stand By Me’s scenes are actual real life happenings of Stephen King's childhood and this includes the leeches. It is superbly directed by Rob Reiner with great performances by the young actors. Absolutely great characters and one of my favorite movies ever. A movie to never get tired of. Any movie with a Barf-o-Rama scene has to be good.

Every adult should see this movie to at least remind them of a simpler time in their life and the feeling of being surrounded by great friends. It is poignant, funny and entertaining.

“Alright, alright, Mickey's a mouse, Donald's a duck, Pluto's a dog, what's Goofy?”



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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Movie Review: Pulp Fiction (1994)


Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Genre: Drama
Rating: R


This is four intriguing stories that commingle with one another and they all come from the mind of Quentin Tarantino. You have two hit men, the hit men’s boss and his girlfriend, a boxer and two small-time crooks. Two hit men are perfectly played by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta. Many feel this role is Travolta’s career comeback. I mean who saw Look Who’s Talking? Ving Rhames plays the hit men’s boss, who is very stern but who eventually has an act on forgiveness. Uma Thurman plays his drug induced girlfriend who once made a pilot TV show. And don’t forget the boxer, played by Bruce Willis, who doesn’t like to take a dive. These are some strong personalities. Can they all co-exist together?

I have to say that Pulp Fiction is still my all-time favorite movie. Tarantino gathered all of the right people to play these great characters. There are too many top notch scenes to count with some of the best dialogue. Reading off Bible passages, drinking five dollar milkshakes, telling of life in Amsterdam, cleaning a house before the wife gets home and Christopher Walken telling the story of generations of men “hiding” a watch are just a few of these. The movie is shown out of chronological order, which adds to the uniqueness of this great movie. A classic that is so textured in performances, dialogue and cleverness. Oh, yeah it is the #5 highest rated movie on IMDB.com.

A must see movie for anyone who can take a little bit of violence and seeing Travolta doing the twist.

“That's thirty minutes away. I'll be there in ten.”


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Friday, March 28, 2008

Movie Review: Atonement (2007)



Starring: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan
Director: Joe Wright
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, this story takes place in England in 1935. It centers around a young girl named Briony who accuses a man (Robbie) of a sex crime that he didn't commit. She does it out of jealousy of her sister Cecilia, who is played by Kiera Knightley. This causes him to be taken away and Cecilia must live on without the love of her life. Robbie pays the price while the actual sexual deviant is free to live as he pleases.

Atonement is a tour-de-force of emotions. The powerful performances portray the agony, bitterness and devastation of the lie that lives on for years. Joe Wright does some really quirky things as the movie's director. This includes showing the same scenes in different perspectives and having repetitive flashbacks unlike other films. As many have said before, the best part of the movie is the end with Vanessa Redgrave playing the 77 year old Briony. She finally reveals the entire real story and Redgrave does a fantastic job.

This was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture. A well-done drama.

"Never trust a sailor on dry land."


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Movie Review: Chaos (2005)


Starring: Jason Statham, Ryan Phillipe, Wesley Snipes
Director: Tony Giglio
Genre: Action
Rated: R

Another good action movie from Jason Statham. He plays Quentin Conners, a detective who has been suspended but is brought back to help in a bank heist. But this isn't your ordinary everyday bank heist. Ryan Phillipe plays the newbie cop who works along side Conners and he learns quickly on how to bend the rules to find the truth. Wesley Snipes plays the head of the no-good bank robbers.

Chaos does have some twists and a lot of mysterious happenings going on. Ryan Phillipe is especially good playing the least experienced, but the most savvy of the bunch. I did correctly figure out the end game in this with a half an hour to go, but it was still an entertaining movie. A lot of thrilling action. You even learn a little about Buddha.

A movie that was swept under the rug that deserves at look at especially if you like Statham, Phillipe or Snipes.

"You picked the wrong day not to use the ATM."


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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Movie Review: Shawshank Redemption (1994)


Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
Director: Frank Darabont
Genre: Drama
Rating: R

This movie is based from Stephen King's short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption". Although it was a good read, this has got to be one of the best screen adaptations ever. It is the story of Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, who is sent to Shawshank Prison for killing his wife and her lover. He claims he is wrongly imprisoned. He befriends Red (Morgan Freeman) at Shawshank and they learn many things from each other about life and surviving. Andy knows that he can’t stay cooped up in there forever, so over many years plans for his escape.

The Shawshank Redemption takes a life of its own that the short story did not. Everything from the dialogue, the characters to the story itself is superbly done. The movie is so rich in character and spirit. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Actor (Morgan Freeman).

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are both fantastic. If you like either of the two main actors or if you are over 16 you owe it to yourself to see this movie. A classic film for generations to come.

“On the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.”


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Movie Review: Blood Diamond (2006)



Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
Director: Edward Zwick
Genre: Drama
Rating: R

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Danny Archer, a diamond smuggler who tries to do business amongst civil war in Sierra Leone. Jennifer Connelly plays a journalist who wants to interview him about what is going on. DiCaprio meets up with a local who loses his son to rebels and who also is looking for a rare pink diamond. The local is played by Djimon Hounsou.

Blood Diamond was nominated for 5 Academy Awards. Among the nominated were DiCaprio and Hounsou. It also is directed by Edward Zwick who directed Glory, Legends of the Fall and The Last Samurai. The movie is intriguing with its many tense scenes. You really do care about what happens to these characters. It is chock full of great performances and DiCaprio's South African accent grows on you.

This is a must for every DiCaprio fan and for anyone has likes large diamonds.

"In America, it's bling bling. But out here it's bling bang."


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Movie Review: Saw IV (2007)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Lyriq Bent
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Genre: Horror
Rating: R

Ewwwww! I won't be eating spaghetti and meatballs anytime soon. Jigsaw may be dead, but his little contraptions and his mind games aren’t over. He wants the one surviving detective who tried to bring him down to play a game. You probably know what that means. The detective is in a world of hurt.

For me, Saw IV is better than Saw III. It seems to flow better and is more interesting. It does tie up some loose ends from the previous Saw movies. So you’ll see at least a couple of characters you thought you’d never see again. And per usual, Jigsaw has an elaborate set up and everything of his works to perfection.

Just like all of the other Saw movies, this is not for those who are squeamish in any way. However, if you liked the other Saw movies you should like this one.

"You think it is over, but the games have just begun."


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Movie Review: Waiting... (2005)


Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris, Justin Long
Director: Ron McKittrick
Genre: Comedy
Rating: R

The movie details the goings on at a restaurant called Shenaniganz. That is a perfect name for the place. All of the employees try to keep themselves entertained while working. The leader of the bunch is Monty, played by Ryan Reynolds. There is a lot of hi-jinx, games and pranks. Some can be pretty gross, but darn funny.

Waiting… is a funny and raunchy comedy. It has a good amount of laugh out loud moments. The cast of characters who work there add to the humor. Anna Faris from the Scary Movie series, Justin “the Mac guy” Long, and Dane Cook highlight the crew. Luis Guzman plays one of the cooks who is partial to playing games. It is definitely not for the easily offended, that's why I liked it.

For any fan of Ryan Reynold’s other films (e.g. Just Friends, Van Wilder, etc.). Oh, be careful when you return your food and beware the goat!

"I'll have a shot of whiskey and a double shot of whiskey. She'll have a water. Ah, hell, it's our anniversary. Why don't you bring her a Pepsi."


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Movie Review: The Nanny Diaries (2007)

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney
Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13


Scarlett Johansson plays a woman just out of college who doesn't know what she wants to do with her life or even just for the summer. A job as a nanny "chooses" her and she soon is working on the upper east side in NYC. Her job is to live with this new family and take care of their son. It seems her biggest chore is to protect the child from the parents.

My wife read The Nanny Diaries and thought it was okay, so we saw the movie to see which was better. Unfortunately, it seems the book was better. I just couldn't get into the movie like I wanted to. It is directed by the guys who did American Splendor. I guess they really like Paul Giamatti, because he plays the father of the child. Giamatti isn't in this one much at all, but at least he does have his usual “angry Giamatti scene” which is always good.

I think women will enjoy this movie more than me, especially those who know people in New York. Will nannies like it? I’m not sure about that.

“The teddy bear has been compromised.”


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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Movie Review: Horton Hears a Who (2008)


Starring: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett
Director: Steve Martino, Jimmy Hayward
Genre: Family
Rating: G


The classic tale from Dr. Seuss comes to life with the aid of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. Horton, the elephant, believes that he has found a small city called Whoville that lives on top of a pink clover. As you can imagine no one believes him. There are even some who want to destroy the clover led by Kangaroo who is voiced by Carol Burnett. She wants things to be normal and Horton's "imagination" is getting in her way.

Horton Hears a Who is a very well made version of the Dr. Seuss story. The talents of Jim Carrey and Steve Carell are used to perfection. Like every other Dr. Seuss story at the heart of it is kindness, believing and imagination. I even found it to be pretty funny. There's even some Japanese anime thrown in.

A good animated movie for the kids.

"You just take care of that meatball sir and leave the freaking out to me."


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Movie Review: Dan in Real Life (2007)


Starring: Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche
Director: Peter Hedges
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13


Steve Carell plays Dan, an advise columnist, who is a widower with three daughters. He meets a woman (Juliette Binoche) in a library and they immediately have a strong connection. The problem is that he soon finds out she is dating his brother, played by Dane Cook. Oops. This can create some problems.

Dan in Real Life does have some pretty funny scenes because of Carell, including making fun of the high gas prices. It did, however, seem to float from one topic to the next and float back again in a rather choppy way. I thought the movie needed more scenes with him and his kids. The family conflict seemed to go on too long.

Good casting with two of the most popular dudes now in Carell and Cook. Binoche is believable as Dan's soulmate. I was expecting a little more, but I would say that it is still a good movie for any Carell fan to see.

"But if I let you, you might not live."


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Friday, March 21, 2008

Movie Review: Shoot 'Em Up (2007)





Starring: Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci
Director: Michael Davis
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: R

You can tell in the first 30 seconds that this is a movie that won't be taking itself too seriously. Clive Owen plays Mr. Smith, an angry, opinionated guns expert who likes carrots. He finds a newborn that he has to protected from Mr. Hertz played by Paul Giamatti. Mr. Hertz wants the baby and the baby’s mother dead. He has only friend in a hooker played by Monica Bellucci. Can Mr. Smith and the baby survive the wrath of Mr. Hertz and his henchmen?

Shoot ‘Em Up is like crack for those who like a good action movie with a lot of gun violence. Guns are a blazin’ and bodies are a droppin’ in about every scene. Along the way Mr. Hertz is throwing out funny quips around every corner. As in Sideways, an angry Paul Giamatti is good cinema. The actors seemed to enjoy themselves making this action movie.

"Guns don't kill people! But they sure help."


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Movie Review: War (2007)



Starring: Jet Li, Jason Statham
Director: Phillip G. Atwell
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: R

Jason Statham plays an FBI agent whose partner gets killed. He thinks he knows who killed him and goes out to find him. This isn't your typical 'partner gets killed and then seek revenge' movie, however. Not when you throw some serious plot twists and Jason Statham and Jet Li in the mix.

While watching War you’ll think you’ve seen this movie before, but you haven’t. There is a whale of a plot twist that will throw you completely off. The movie has good pacing and as a plus has Luis Guzman thrown in for comedic affect.

This is for any fan of the two stars. Many a men bite the bullet in this one. There did need to be more fight scenes with Statham and Li in them, though. Otherwise, an above average karate choppin’ good time.

"Plastic surgeon down in Panama accidentally impaled himself with a kitchen knife making a turkey sandwich."


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Movie Review: 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster
Director: James Mangold
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: R

This is a remake of the 1957 movie of the same title which starred Glenn Ford and Van Heflin. This newer version has great casting, but it seems weird that you get Christian Bale from the United Kingdom and Russell Crowe from New Zealand to play the leads in an American Western. You get Batman and the Gladiator in this one. The premise is the same. You still have Dan Evans trying to get bad boy Ben Wade on the 3:10 train to Yuma.

This 3:10 to Yuma is a little different and I think a little better than the original. This version is a little edgier and a big part of that is because of Ben Foster. He plays Ben Wade’s head henchman. He is one bad dude. It also has a more concise ending than the original, which some didn’t like. It is directed by James Mangold, who directed Identity and Walk the Line.

If you like westerns or if know how to operate a blender, you should see this movie.

"I've always liked you Byron, but even bad men love their mommas."


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Movie Review: Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006)

Starring: Martin Sheen, Peter Horton
Director: Chris Paine
Genre: Documentary
Rating: PG

Chris Paine, a former EV1 (Electric Vehicle) driver seeks out the truth behind the demise of the electric car. Who's to blame? Is it the oil companies, the car makers, the U.S. government or the consumer? This documentary gets into the heart of all of these culprits and gives a verdict for each.

Who Killed the Electric Car? is a very eye opening and well-made movie about decisions that can go on behind the scenes that affect us all. You'll probably end up mad after seeing the advantages of an electric car and what they do to them. You may want an electric car after watching this, but oops you can't. Celebrities who drove the EV1 are among those interviewed for good measure.

Overall a good documentary that makes you think, which is what a documentary is supposed to do. We shall see what the future hold for the electric car. This movie will increase your awareness of what the electric car can do.


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Movie Review: The Fountain (2006)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: PG-13


This is the story of three parallel worlds. One is where a scientist (Hugh Jackman) has a wife (Rachel Weisz) who is dying from a brain tumor. Through a project he is working on he is trying to find the cure for her disease. He is so determined to save his wife’s life that he loses focus on the real purpose of his project. As this is going on in one parallel universe his character is traveling in a bubble rising to the dying star in a nebula. Oh, in another world he is a conquistador on a quest to find the Tree of Life. Will he reach his goal in each world?

The Fountain tries too hard to show three parallel stories. Where each story takes you it gets too convoluted and not interesting. I felt that some scenes were even laughable and silly. I didn’t care about the characters at all and honestly toward the end I just wanted it to be over. It could have been so much more. Jackman and Weisz could help this movie.

"Death is a disease, it's like any other. And there's a cure. A cure - and I will find it." See what I mean?


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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Movie Review: Hostel (2006)



Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson
Director: Eli Roth
Genre: Horror
Rated: R

Wow, I now have to rethink my planned backpacking trip throughout Europe. That is what these two young American guys are doing in this slasher. Our two Americans meet up with a guy from Iceland and together they make their way to a hostel that is supposed to be happening, if you know what I mean. Well, its happening alright, but in more of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre turned into a business kind of way.

Hostel is a cross between Saw, The Twilight Zone and Faces of Death. It's obviously not for the those with weak stomachs or who just ate at a buffet. I think that for the kind of movie it is that it's pulled off very well. I was surprised. I thought it was great that the hero is not the typical hero. He is not the choir boy or valedictorian, but he has scruples and he is deeply concerned for his friends.

The plot keeps you intrigued and the characters are extra creepy. A must see for those who like all kinds of slasher and horror movies.

"We were just going to the spa."


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Movie Review: The Brave One (2007)



Starring: Jodie Foster, Terrence Howard
Director: Neil Jordan
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

Jodie Foster plays radio talk show host Erica Baine who becomes a victim of random violence. When ready, she goes out as a vigilante and finds low-lifes at every turn in NYC. She is hellbent on getting revenge herself for what happened to her and her fiance. Erica befriends a cop (Terrence Howard) who is investigating these vigilante crimes. He is also struggling as he is going through a painful divorce which is influencing his decisions. It all comes to a head when he realizes what Erica has done.

The Brave One has major holes in being realistic and I found myself laughing in places where I'm pretty darn sure the director didn't intend to be funny. The best thing about the movie is Terrence Howard as the good cop. You knew there had to be only one. But, because of the cast and the flow of the movie, it does create a mostly suspenseful time for all.

Those who like or live in New York City might not like this movie. It doesn't show NYC in a very good light. With the crime, the people and how the police are portrayed.

"Great. It's Jennifer Aniston!"


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Movie Review: The King of Kong (2007)



Starring: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell
Director: Seth Gordon
Genre: Documentary
Rated: PG-13

This documentary goes into the weird world of diehard arcade gamers. The main focus of this movie is that even 25 years after the height of the Donkey Kong game, there is still two men on a quest to hold the World Record. One is Billy Mitchell. He'll be the first to tell you that he is the greatest guy in the world. The other is Steve Wiebe who out of boredom and the feeling of failure in his life wants to hold the world record at Donkey Kong.

The King of Kong is a fun flashback for anyone who spent hours at arcades in the 80s as I did. It goes into the lives of those whose worlds still revolve around little moving colored pixels on a screen and you trying to get to the next level. The movie is even suspenseful with the viewer not knowing who will own the record until the end.

If you have ever played Donkey Kong or if you like documentaries or if you like competition of any kind you have to see this movie.

"If anybody wants to see, there's a Donkey Kong kill screen coming up."


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Movie Review: We Own The Night (2007)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Walhlberg, Robert Duvall
Director: James Gray
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Two brothers played by Marky Mark Wahlberg (Joe) and Joaquin Phoenix (Bobby) find themselves on opposite ends of the spectrum. Joe has followed his father, played by Robert Duvall, by being a cop for the New York Police Department. Bobby, on the other hand, manages a night club and deals with some violent people. The three men can never seem to all coexist together until a Russian mob bad dude is out to get them.

We Own The Night makes you feel the tension as it builds as the movie flows along its path. There is a great car chase scene that is filmed extremely well and is unlike any other. However, there may be moments when you feel unfulfilled where some scenes don't show off the actors' skills. Overall I think it is an enjoyable movie due to the actors and the director. Any fan of the three actors has to see this one.

"Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six."


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Movie Review: In The Valley Of Elah (2007)



Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron
Director: Paul Haggis
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Tommy Lee Jones, in his Oscar nominated role, plays the father of an Army soldier who comes back from Iraq and almost immediately goes AWOL. He goes to the Army post and is determined to find his son. He gets help from an investigator played by Charlize Theron. With her help can he uncover the facts about his son?

In The Valley Of Elah has a few turns along the way. This movie doesn't hold anything back from showing the extremes of loss and despair. I would understand if some would think that middle of the movie to be slow. I think it is Haggis showing how methodical the father is to find all of the answers without missing anything. A movie that can prove to be emotional. Also, I'll bet that you won't guess the ending to this one.

Another great role for Tommy Lee Jones playing a very sympathetic role. Jones and Theron are an interesting pair and make this film the better. Worth the rent.

"And so David went down into the valley to challenge Goliath."


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Movie Review: Gone Baby Gone (2007)


Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman

Director: Ben Affleck
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

A strong drama about a little girl who gets kidnapped and those who are trying to find her. Her mother seems to be preoccupied with herself There are a lot of answers that need to be solved. One is why does Ed Harris look so much like Viggo Mortensen in "History of Violence" in this movie? Never figured that one out.

Anyway, you can see some things coming in Gone Baby Gone, but the sharp performances are great. Casey Affleck plays a private detective hired to find the kidnapped four year old. He has to work through finding the girl, tension with his girlfriend and dealing with the girl's family, especially her mother. The movie works up to the point where Casey's character has to make a very difficult decision. The result will impact many lives in many ways.

Casey did a great job for his big brother Director Ben, also has a nice showing as a first time director. After watching you'll think about whether you would make the same decision that he makes at the end. By the way, the closing scene is great.

"Kids forgive, they don't judge, they turn the other cheek, and what do they get for it?"


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Movie Review: American Gangster (2007)

Starring: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Josh Brolin
Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Ridley Scott directs this gritty story of drugs and corruption in New York City in the 70s. Denzel Washington plays Frank Lucas, the drug kingpin who is trying to take over. Russell Crowe plays the one detective who is trying to take Frank down and who is not on the take.

For me, American Gangster starts off a little slow, but eventually simmers and cooks into a boil with the two trying to end up on top. This is based on a true story. I didn't know the story beforehand and I have to say that I was pretty surprised by the ending. That made the movie more enjoyable for me. It doesn't get much better than having Denzel and Russell getting lost into their characters. It's what they do best.

Overall this has great casting, including Josh Brolin who seems to be in every movie this year. This is a very well done show by the two Oscar winners. If you are a fan of the two stars, you have to see this.

"My investigation indicates that Frank Lucas is above the Mafia."


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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Movie Review: No Country For Old Men (2007)

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R

Winner of the Best Picture Oscar and winner of three other Oscars, including Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem). It is based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same title. The Coen brothers are at it again. They have created a movie that you have to inhale the entire 116 minutes before realizing what you have seen. It is unlike any movie you will ever sit down to watch.

Tommy Lee Jones plays the sheriff in a small town who has to deal with a rash of killings in his small town. Javier Bardem plays Chigurh the cold-blooded killer who will stop at nothing to get the drug money that he claims is his. Josh Brolin's character happens upon Chigurh's money and he wants it for himself. Chigurh is on his trail and the tension builds as we see the journey that he takes on his quest. Also, Woody Harrelson has a small funny role as a bounty hunter thrown into the mix.

I am a huge fan of Coen brother movies (Raising Arizona, Fargo and O, Brother Where Art Thou? among them). The Coen do an amazing job with pacing and timing throughout the movie. This is a movie that will be talked about and will have many interpretations. Go see for yourself why this movie is well deserved to be the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture.

"What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss?"


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