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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review: The Ugly Truth

Synopsis: A woman who is in charge of a failing morning show is forced to work with a man she despises. You can pretty much guess what happens, it is after all, a romantic comedy.

Stars: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler, Bree Turner (I kept trying to place this woman’s face the whole movie and couldn’t. I am sorry to say after some research, I discovered that I recognize her from Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo as the fish store attendant), Eric Winter, John Michael Higgins, Cheryl Hines, Nick Searcy

Romantic comedies. I cannot lie on this and tell you that I am above such entertainment. They are a guilty pleasure of mine, just like many other people. I go to them because they are laid back, usually easy to watch and follow, funny, and relatable. So sue me for seeming to have a sensitive side. My girlfriend would tell you that I am overly sensitive, which would in turn, make me cry. Salty sad tears of… sadness. Right.
I quite enjoyed this film. It was a nice relaxing comedy for me to just enjoy and not get too worried about. I knew it was either going to be really bad or just fine. Just fine it was.

What I Liked:
Katherine Heigl- I SO want to dislike this woman. In her personal life, which is no business of mine but I cannot help but be exposed to it due to the way this country handles it celebrities, she is an obnoxious bitch. She seems to be a fine actress though. I have found here very likable in both of the movies I have seen her in (the other of course being Knocked Up). How does she pull that off? She must go to hours of acting classes every day to see what it’s like to be a nice and/or smart person.

Gerard Butler- It’s not quite true that I liked him 100% of the time. I liked Gerard Butler most of the time. Whenever he wasn’t being the over the top chauvinistic pig I liked him. Whenever he had scenes with Katherine Heigl I liked. Of course, maybe that was the point. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to like him when he was over acting like that? Brilliant! Ok, brilliant is too much. I feel dumb now that I’ve thought that out.

What I Didn’t Like:
Generic predictable storyline- I can’t really fault the movie for this. I mean, it’s a romantic comedy! You get what you paid for. For me to find something completely original in any such movie would come as a total shock to me and I look forward to it happening someday. As of now, hasn’t happened. It didn’t take away from the movie for me to know how it would turn out. I’m just saying that it wasn’t anything new.

What I Hated:
Soundtrack- Once again, for a romantic comedy, this is practically a given. There was some really REALLY bad music. Of course. I hate that “Take me away” song they play on those damned commercials.

I explained to my pal Will how I rate the movies in my head, and I suppose it would be fair to tell anyone else who bothers to read this what I think when it comes down to the verdicts. It’s a number system, because numbers are easy. The number correlates to how I felt after seeing the movie.
5- Go see it in the theater. Pay any damn price!
4- See it in the theater at a matinee. This means that I liked the movie, but I don’t necessarily think it has to be seen on the big screen to appreciate it. It could be a rental and still enjoyed.
3- Rent it. Means I liked it, but not enough that I feel you should rush out to see it.
2- Rent at your own risk. This one can mean that I was sorry I saw it on the big screen but I think it should be watched for some amusing things about it, or because it has some good scenes. Or maybe because you are going to watch it anyways because you are sick in the head.
1- This means that the actual film on which the movie is printed should be taken out to the street and publicly burned. Possibly while dancing and asking the Gods for forgiveness.

Does that help anyone else? It helps me. This movie is a 4 in my opinion. I liked it. I would see it again if so prompted. But I’m a sucker for the romcoms, like I said.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Review: Terminator Salvation

Synopsis: A terminator movie that takes place during the actual machine war. The machines are taking large amounts of hostages, no one knows why. And some other stuff with a robot guy and a hit list with important people on it and a mute kid. Right, I don’t get it either.

Stars: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood (WTF? That sounds like the kind of name Todd McFarlane would come up with. I call BS), Helena Bonham Carter, Anton Yelchin (This kid also played Chekov in the new Star Trek) and of course, Common. Because you can’t make a good movie without Common.

The humans are dead! The humans are deeaaaad! Well, they should be. It seems like the robots have a pretty good hold on the planet. For instance, the few human that remain can blow something up and attract a few robots to the area in a matter of seconds. Except, you know, when they are shooting and blowing things up right next to their base of operations. Because the robots can’t find that, it’s too special. Yeah, that’s got to be it.
So I thought this movie was pretty goofy. It didn’t instill the fear I felt of being pursued by an unstoppable killing machine like the first 2 movies did. It seemed more like a generic action movie. Which is, in my opinion, sucksville. These were always action movies, sure, but they were also thrilling/horrifying suspense films. The new movie wasn’t all bad, just mostly I think.

Things I Liked:
Different Robots- There were some very cool looking robots of course. The T-600 looked like a more primitive T-800 (which it was). And some of the ships were very cool looking. On the other hand, fish robots? Or eel if you will. They could have made those water machines look like anything. Why did they take a page from the matrix and decide, yeah, that’s good enough? ‘Splain it to me Lucy.

The last 30 or so minutes- I don’t want to spoil this part too much, but there is a few awesome fight and flight scenes here that made me feel like I was watching a Terminator movie again. This was about the only time, besides a few scenes with Marcus (The main character, not John Conner) that had me really into it too.

Things I Didn’t Like:
Running in large groups- See, this was what I had problems with the most in the film. It’s just uninteresting to see the helpless people being chased and grabbed. Not slaughtered, but collected for some reason. Who knows? And who thought it was a good idea to introduce an old wise looking woman in the middle of the film for 1 minute and then do nothing with her after that. As soon as I saw her I was like “dear God, please don’t make her turn out to be some sort of stupid oracle.” But really, DO SOMETHING WITH HER!!!

The last 30 Minutes of the Movie- Wait, did I just say I liked this? Yeah, well, there was a huge problem with it too. SPOILER!!! So they go to the main machine city, and for some reason there are no robots. That’s it. That’s all I’m going to say. It just didn’t make any sense.

Things I Hated:
Kill them why don’t you?- See, they had this hit list with a couple of characters on it that people would recognize from previous films. And at some point, they even capture some of these people. They don’t kill them though. Oh no. They put them in cells, possible hoping they will expire of old age. THESE ARE THE DUMBEST MACHINES EVER!!

Mute Kid- What the hell?? Why was the kid mute?? Why did we need a somewhat adorable kid with an afro?? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!!!??? Fire the casting director.

Ok. It’s all out of my system now. So truth be told, I thought it was a fair flick to see on screen for the 3 dollars I spent at the cheap theater. For everyone else out there, I recommend renting it. If anything just for the last bit.

Oh yeah, I just remembered that I kept thinking they should have named this movie "Terminator Redemption". It would have made more sense to me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mini-Review: Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs

Synopsis: Sid steals some eggs. Eggs hatch Dinos. Dinos come from crazy dino filled land found under the ice. AHHH OHHH EEEEEE! Oh yeah, and the female mammoth is pregnant.

Stars: Denis Leary, Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Simon Pegg

This is a mini review, so I won’t be going through my likes and dislikes. But why Joel? Didn’t you see this movie twice and therefore should be somewhat of an expert on the film? Well, kind of. I did see the movie two times, but not because I am a lover of all things Ice Age (Although I did like the first one). My brother and his horde of children came to visit our humble home here from Utah, and being the fun uncle, I had to entertain the kids somehow. So I took a few of them to see the new Ice Age, and then alter took a few more. Both times, I was not really watching the movie. The thing is with children at hand, I was not worried about what I was missing on screen, I was worried about what I might be missing in the seats. Gabriel having to go to the bathroom. Mia spilling the popcorn and Sam spilling the drink. Ethan devouring a hot dog in 3 seconds flat. I miss those kids a lot already and they haven’t even been out of my hair that long. But I see I got a request on behalf of my nephews that I review the movie, so in that respect, THIS ONE’S FOR THE CHILDREN.

I was disappointed by the movie. Not really, I didn’t have high expectations for it really. I don’t like Ray Romano, he is just not funny to me. I do like Denis Lear and John Leguizamo, but they really didn’t have anything to funny going on here minus a few scenes. As far as I’m concerned, Simon Pegg as Buck stile the show. His character was hilarious almost 100% of the time he was on screen. And a still love that squirrel thing Scrat even if everyone else is tired of him. He had quite a few funny scenes and that song where he dumps the acorn had me smiling both times I saw it.

Not a very good movie really. Kind of boring most of the time. I think the kids really liked it, but I could be wrong about that too. I should have asked them. It’s a rental movie at best.
Sam, Ethan, and Gabriel, remember the rule. No one can pick your seat but you… at the movie theater.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Synopsis: Harry and pals 6th year at Hogwarts. Wow, Microsoft Word capitalized Hogwarts for me.

Stars: I’m not going to list all the stars that have been in previous Potter movies. The only new actor of note is Jim Broadbent, who plays Professor Slughorn.

I have read all of the Harry Potter books. I have loved them all. They are such amazing pieces of literature that grew up as their first audience also grew. Not that I was in that group. I was in my 20’s when I started reading them. Still am, in my 20’s, cough cough. Having read the book that this movie represented, I find myself doing what everyone does, comparing it to it’s counterpart. And this movie as all the others, was found lacking. I really want to love these movies, but I always seem to walk away a little disappointed, feeling sorry for all the people who haven’t read the books. Oh those fools, they don’t know what they’re missing. They don’t know about Harry’s secret love affair with Neville Longbottom. Wait, never mind, that’s just my sick imagination. Or is it?

Things I liked:
I’m not going to put individual points of like here. It was the same director as the last movie, same actors. I like how dark it was, because the books did become progressively darker and more serious. And the actors always do great. I’m just being lazy around here I guess, heh.

Things I Didn’t:
See things I hated.

Things I Hated:
Once again, a lot was missing- I understand that this is a kids (or kid at heart) type movie with the intention of keeping the short attention spans us movie goers have for 2 and a half hours, but come on. Cut out the quiditch scene, put in some more Voldemort flashbacks. Cut out extra Deatheater stuff, there has to be more things, that are important, that happened in the book, that could have been put in! And why wasn’t Ralph Fines in the movie at all?? What the hell? Sigh.

In the beginning- Dumbledore is such a cock blocker. See the movie, you’ll know what I mean. What an asshole.

So. That was rather negative wasn’t it? I have been milling this movie over and over in my head. What I really wanted to get out of it was to be reminded of all the great things that happened in the book, the things that made it so hard to put it down at night. And it just did not come through for me. It seemed to hit most of the major plot points, and call it a day. Whatever, as a sort of OCD completetist about such things as stories, I had to see this movie in the theater. And everyone who has seen all the other films should go see it too, I’m not gonna tell you not too. But do yourself a favor, and see a matinee. I am going to go re read the books now. Maybe that’ll cheer me up.

Oh yeah, I just remembered. THEY BARELY EVEN MENTIONED WHY IT IS TITLED THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE! WTF!!! Ok, less caffeine.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Review: I Love You, Beth Cooper

Synopsis: The valedictorian of a graduating High school class decides to use his speech to admit his love to a girl who didn’t know he existed. From there the movie follows him and his friend (Who is not gay) through the rest of the crazy night.

Stars: Hayden Panettiere, Paul Rust, Jack Carpenter, Alan Ruck (I totally recognized this guy, but could not place him for the life of me)

Dear God the main guy is ugly. Wow, sorry. That just came out. But look at his SCHNOZ! Someone has to do something about that. I mean, if he doesn’t get plastic surgery, then maybe one of the better special effects companies can just, you know, take it down a few notches. Thank God this movie wasn’t in 3D, I would have been ducking every time he was on screen.
Okay okay, enough about that. The director of this film was none other than Chris Columbus. He also directed a couple of Harry Potters, Adventures in Babysitting, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire. Several classics that I hold dear to my heart and/or appendix. This movie was not up to that caliber unfortunately. That isn’t to say I didn’t like it. I went in expecting the typical teen movie and I got something better than that, so it scored a lot of brownie points right there. It was a funny movie and I hope others will go out and see it.

What I Liked:
Flashbacks- During the movie a character would mention some past event, or ask a question of someone which would cause them to reflect, and we would have a flashback scene. And every one of these scenes was really funny. It seem like the actors were all ready to make themselves look terrible and act terrible to get a chance to tickle our funny bones. Nice work on that.

Hayden Panettiere- She’s hot. Wait, sorry, that isn’t what I was going for here. She did well in her character. Playing the head cheerleader, shallow, but never stupid. I wonder if she will ever be cast as something else…

What I Didn’t Like:
The Main Character- Made me want to puke. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. Paul Rust just played a really, really annoying nerd. And yes, I know he was supposed to be uber geek. But he was pathetic on a level that I reminded me of someone I knew while working at a certain game store. AND I WANTED TO KILL THIS PERSON EVERY DAY. Well, kill is a heavy word. Maybe just maim. Did I mention his nose is GIGANTIC?

What I Hated:
Eh, I can’t really say I hated anything. Maybe I should go into these movies after I have stubbed my toe really bad. That’ll get me ready to be more critical!

This was a funny little flick. It made me laugh quite a few times, out loud I might say, and I would even go see it again. Especially since I missed the last 10 minutes of it because some asshat was texting on his sidekick in the front rows of the theater. Die you bastard. As a favor to us all. Anyway, it’s probably a rental for most of yous peoples. But it’s a good rental. You’ll like it.

And for those who care, you get to see the cheerleader’s side boob. Tee hee!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just a little news...

I signed up for to film classes at Moorpark college yesterday. I haven't been to school in quite a few years and I am nervous. I like review movies so much though, I thought I might want to learn more about film in general. Wish me luck people.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Review: Brüno

Synopsis: An Austrian fashion show host comes to the US in pursuit of stardom. Brüno Brüno Brüno Brüno Brüno Brüno, cough cough, sorry about that.

Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten, some other people blah blah blah

I never saw Borat. There, I said it. Go ahead and start judging me for my lack of movie watching experience. I choose not to see it. I don’t like movies where people are embarrassed on purpose. I don’t like any movie where I just feel bad for someone all the time. Not to say I thought that would happen. I was probably afraid I would see myself reflected in peoples bigotry against foreigners. As much as I am a true California (read San Franciscan I suppose) when it comes to open thinking and the acceptance of other beliefs and cultures, I tend to think of foreigners as backward. Big problem for me really, I want to be fair to everyone. When it comes to gay culture, I am not squeamish. Now, that doesn’t mean I want to hang out with any queens on St. Patrick’s day (is that ignorant? I was going for funny) but I respect people, no matter their sexuality. What all this is leading to, is that this movie didn’t shock me at all. NONE TO THE SHOCKING. My thought is that maybe it will be shocking to the general population, assuming they are all homophobes. Or maybe I’m not giving them enough credit. I don’t really know. Here is what I thought.

What I Liked:
A few gags that got my funny bone- This is pretty unfortunate. Most of the funny stuff was shown in the previews. The HUNDREDS of previews. My girlfriend thought this movie had already been out for a while, and I can understand the mistake. You have probably already seen most of this movie just by going to other movies early enough to catch the previews. Now, there were some things that they couldn’t show obviously. Nudity, cursing, such and such. I thought the funniest parts of Brüno were the parts that were fully scripted and completely fake. A few “love making” scenes, and I use that term loosely, were very funny. And there is one scene towards the end of the movie that I loved, but not necessarily because it was funny, but more because I like it when stupid people are the butt of the joke. In fact, the parts where stupid were interviewed had me laughing too. It’s just so crazy that there are people so, in my opinion, sick out there. That could be turned around against Sacha Baron Cohen of course, but we already knew he was sick. But not because he is ignorant. That’s a whole different kind of sick.

What I Didn’t Like:
No offense guys, but it was kind of boring- Well, I feel like saying it was boring is kind of harsh. I was enjoying it the whole time, so to speak, but I wasn’t laughing, or disgusted, or angry at much at all. Like I said, if you have seen all the previews, you have basically seen the movie. There is one part I had seen in the previews where Bruno is at a clothing store that was not in the movie at all. They should have put that in there, because the whole flick was less than an hour and a half long. There could have been more I feel. I don’t know why they chose to put in so little.

What I Hated:
Eh, nothing here to hate really.

It wasn’t a terrible movie, it just wasn’t anything special. I’d say it was like something some amateurs could put together on YouTube, assuming they could get access to some celebrities. Even a connoisseur of gay jokes like me didn’t find it all that funny. You won’t miss anything if you don’t see this in the theater. Rent it if you must, but like I said, you aren’t going to be missing out on much of anything at all.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: Away We Go

Synopsis: An early 30’s couple get pregnant and go across the country looking for family, a place to call home, and the true meaning of Christmas (ok, not really).

Stars: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Catherine O’Hara, Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal

I am biased. I was excited for this movie ever since I started hearing reviews for it. The people whose opinions I respect when it comes to reviewing films have been raving about this movie since the early previews. So, I apologize in advance for this. I agreed with all they said on almost all points. Someone said this was the Juno of 2009! I want to smack this person, as Juno has nothing to do with this movie, other then the female lead is pregnant. NOTHING YOU SICKO! This is not a teen movie disguised as an indie film. If anything, it was the Garden State of 2009. If that’s not your cup ‘o tea, go watch a movie starring John Cena. By the way, I also apologize to all you Juno fans out there. I saw it after all the hype and felt disappointed.

What I Liked:
Main Characters- Oh Burt and Verona. You two. YOU TWO. The relationship between the main couple was unrealistic in most senses. No one has a relationship that good. No one understands each other’s personality, quirks, mannerisms, hygiene (?) like that. But the way they acted together, the chemistry of the characters was intoxicating. Beautiful. This was a couple you could feel good for, sorry for, worry for, give a flying EFF about. And that is important because they are the glue to every whacky detail in the story. Their journey would not have been as meaningful if they had been the couple that fights all the time. This is leading to another Like point.

The Journey- So, spoilers? The main couple travel around the states, looking for a place they can settle and be near people that they can relate too. They meet up with couple after couple that are just not what they are or will ever be. We meet a couple of bad parents, funny stuff and also sad. Then we meet the EXTREME hippies that just throw out what the man has told them they have to do with children and make everything their own to an INSANE level. And rather than continue with the “everyone is crazy but us” theme, we meet a good family. And that makes it all the more tragic when you find out what their real deal is. The point is, when it comes to pacing, their travels around the country have no boring, uninteresting, or pointless parts. You are worried about Burt and Verona. You want everything to be ok. But sometimes you wonder how that can be in a world so crazy. That’s when it all comes to

The Ending- It was great the way it ended. That’s all I’m going to say.

Things I Didn’t Like and/or Hated:
I hate to disappoint the few people who read this, but I have no gripes this time.

Really? You need a verdict? I freaking loved this movie. I recommend it to everyone who likes movies like Garden State. It was amazing. I am going to go see it again. Later.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Review: Public Enemies

Synopsis: Public Enemies is an apt title as it features not only John Dillinger. but “Baby Face” Nelson and other assorted crooks and criminals. The movie follows Dillinger (Johnny Depp) as he is pursued by the FBI and specifically Agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale) up until (SPOILER for some people I suppose) his famous demise.

Stars: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, David Wenham (Faramir!), Stephen Dorff, Giovanni Ribisi, Stephen Graham (Tommy from Snatch!), Lili Taylor, Leelee Sobieski. Honestly, there are so many faces in this movie I cannot even name them all.

I am not familiar with any movies preciously directed by Michael Mann. I did not see Heat, although I have heard many a great review of it. Never saw Ali, always enjoy Will Smith in serious roles though. And Miami Vice, ‘nuff said. I found Public Enemies to be particular arty, something I was not expecting going into it. That said, I can’t really say what I expected, but I was pleased with the end result.

What I Liked:
Characterizations- This was an amazing movie when it came to who was being portrayed. When I saw Billy Crudup as Edgar J Hoover, I felt an instant spout of joy in my SOUL. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but they even made his ears stick out for the role! And when he leans over to his assistant, and tells him that Agent Purvis “may call me J.” Awesome. Johnny Depp is always great, same with Christian Bale of course. Everyone in this movie seemed to be really pushing their acting chops. I found Marion Cotillard very endearing as Dillinger’s love interest. Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson? Genius, for reals.

Cinematography- This film was beautiful to look at. The scenery always fit the feeling of the scene it’s self. The violence had a poetic touch to it that I loved, finding it both horrific and fascinating. Holy crap! It must have been good because I just read that the movie was more than 2 hours long! I had no idea. I had my eyes glued to the screen the whole time. The cities, the forests, the restaurants, the race tracks. Everything had a classic look feel to it. Really beautiful.

What I Didn’t Like:
Something weird about the way people talk?- I have to say, the first 5 minutes of the movie? There were a lot of times I had no idea what anyone was saying. There was mumbling, and thick accents, and just some weird sound things going on. For instance, there is a part where Dillinger is talking to someone he is in a car with, and the camera is outside of the car. The sound is muffled, which makes sense I suppose, but for all purposes other than realism it was really unnecessary and frustrating. They should have made sure everything could be heard before the movie came to the theater. That all said, I really doubt I missed any important dialog because of the few audio problems.

What I Hated:
Listen HERE People-
This has nothing to with the film. But the last two times I went to the movies, people stood by the entrance, the alcove right before the seats, and talked. DURING THE MOVIE. What the hell? Do they think we can’t hear them? If you aren’t sure where to sit, just find an empty spot and sit, then change your seat after you get a sense of where you want to go. Whisper, WHISPER! I don’t care how loud the movie is, I CAN HEAR YOU DUMB ASS. So can everyone else. It’s just rude.

Verdict: This is not an action movie if you were wondering. It has a lot of shooting, but it lies between great dialog and wonderful scenery. When it comes to my ideas about the 30’s in this country this movie basically verifies everything I imagined (With the tommy guns and shoot outs and such). It was really cool, REALLY COOL. I highly recommend the movie to anyone who can stand a little violence and a little art. It was really very good.