Archive for December, 2008

2008 Movie Awards

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2008 by Mystery Man

Well, another year has come and in a matter of hours, will be gone, so it is now time to hand out awards for the year 2008. If you have been an avid reader of this blog, you will know that it wasn’t started until August. I debated going strictly by the films I’ve reviewed, then I decided to go ahead and use the entire year. So, without further adieu…I present to you the 2008 Let’s All Go to the Movies Move Awards!

Best Animated Film Viewed
Here are the nominees
Wall-E
The Aristocats
The Incredibles
Beowulf
The Adventures of the American Rabbit

…and the winner is

Best DVD already owned
Here are the nominees:
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Transformers
Hairspray
Shoot ‘Em Up
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

…and the winner is

Classic movie viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Seven Year Itch
The Magnificent Seven
The Five Pennies
The Glenn Miller Story

…and the winner is Photobucket

Overrated film viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
The Dark Knight
Full Metal Jacket
Scarface
Dragon Wars
Rocky Horror Picture Show

…and the winner is Scarface

Best Musical Viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
Hairspray
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Mamma Mia!
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
West Side Story

…and the winner is Hairspray

Worst Movie Viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
The Onion Movie
Catwoman
Dracula 3000
The Center of the World
Death to the Supermodels

…and the winner is

Best Western Viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
The Cowboys
The Magnificent Seven
The Alamo
The Mask of Zorro
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

…and the winner isThe Magnificent Seven

Best Comedy Viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
College Road Trip
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
House Bunny
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
You Don’t Mess With the Zohan

…and the winner is Photobucket

Best Fantasy Film Viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D
The Matrix
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Nim’s Island
7th Voyage of Sinbad

…and the winner is

Best Superhero Movie Viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
Spider Man 2
Ghost Rider
Hancock
Iron Man
X2: X-Men United

…and the winner is Iron Man

Best Drama Viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
Steel Magnolias
Tristan & Isolde
Now You Know
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
August Rush

…and the winner is Photobucket

Best Action Movie Viewed in 2008
Here are the nominees:
Van Helsing
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Iron Man
Transformers
Shoot ‘Em Up

…and the winner is Shoot 'Em Up

 

and now the moment you’ve been waiting for…

Best Film of 2008
Here are the nominees:
College Road Trip
Superhero Movie
Nim’s Island
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Baby Mama
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Iron Man
Speed Racer
Wanted
War, Inc.
You Don’t Mess With the Zohan
The Incredible Hulk
Get Smart
The Love Guru
Wall-E
Hancock
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
Meet Dave
The Dark Knight
Hamlet 2
House Bunny
The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The Spirit

…and the winner is Iron Man

The final category is

Movie most looking forward to in 2009
Here are the nominees:
Watchmen
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Monsters vs. Aliens
Dragonball
Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Toy Story 3-D
Where the Wild Things Are
A Christmas Carol
Coraline
Sherlock Holmes
Up

The Princess and the Frog
Alvin & The Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel

…and the winner is Transformers: Revnge of the Fallen

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my awards and my blog in general. Keep coming back for more reviews! Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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Back to the Future

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Marty McFly is a 17-year-old living in Hill Valley, California. On the morning of Friday, October 25, 1985, his eccentric friend, scientist Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown (Lloyd), calls him, asking to meet at 1:15 the following morning at Twin Pines Mall. After school that day, a solicitor approaches Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer (Claudia Wells), asking for donations to preserve the town’s clock tower which has not run since it was struck by lightning thirty years before. Upon arriving home, Marty finds the family car wrecked in the driveway. Inside the house, he finds his weak-willed father George (Crispin Glover) being bullied by his supervisor Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson), who had borrowed and wrecked the car. At dinner that night, Marty’s mother Lorraine (Lea Thompson) recounts how she and George first met when her father hit George with his car as George was “bird-watching”.

That night, Marty meets Doc as planned in the parking lot of Twin Pines Mall. Doc presents a DeLorean DMC-12 which he has modified into a time machine. As Marty videotapes, Doc explains the car travels to a programmed date and time upon reaching 88 miles per hour using plutonium in a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of power it requires. Demonstrating how to program the machine, Doc enters in November 5, 1955 as the target date, explaining that it was the day he conceived the idea of the flux capacitor; the device which “makes time travel possible.” Before Doc can depart for his planned trip into the future, a pair of Libyan terrorists, from whom he stole the plutonium, arrive in a Volkswagen bus and kill him. Marty jumps into the DeLorean and is pursued by the Libyans until he drives at 88 miles per hour and is instantaneously transported back to 1955.

The car stalls shortly thereafter; Marty hides it, and makes his way into town on foot. He finds that the town square now reflects the popular culture of the 1950s, and that the clock tower once again operates. Marty runs into his own father, then a teenager, being tyrannized just as he was in 1985 by Biff, then the school bully. Marty follows George (who turns out to be a peeping tom, not a birdwatcher); as George is about to be hit by a car, Marty pushes him out of the way and takes the impact. The car turns out to be driven by Lorraine’s father, resulting in Lorraine becoming infatuated with Marty instead of George. Marty is disturbed by her flirtations, which contrast sharply with the prudish mother he is familiar with. He flees from her home to track down Doc Brown.

The scientist at first believes that Marty is a lunatic. Marty convinces Doc by recounting the story of how Doc got the inspiration for the flux capacitor, and then by showing Doc the videotape of the 1985 experiment. However, when he hears his older self describe the power requirements for time travel, Doc is shocked. He tells Marty that aside from plutonium, which is “a little hard to come by,” the only possible source of that much power is a bolt of lightning, which cannot be predicted. Marty remembers that the lightning strike at the clock tower will occur the following Saturday. As a result, Doc begins planning a way to harness the bolt’s power. Doc also deduces that Marty, by saving his father from the car, has prevented his parents from meeting, and instructs him to set things right.

After several failed attempts at playing matchmaker, Marty eventually works out a plan to have George appear to rescue Lorraine from Marty’s overt sexual advances on the night of a school dance. However, Biff shows up unexpectedly and orders his friends to lock Marty in a car trunk. Heavily intoxicated, Biff jumps into the car and attempts to force himself on the horrified Lorraine. George arrives as he and Marty have planned and is shocked to find Biff instead of Marty. Biff orders him to turn around and walk away, but George cannot bring himself to ignore Lorraine’s pleas for help. When Biff attacks him, George finally snaps and knocks out his tormentor with a single punch. A smitten Lorraine follows George to the dance floor, where they kiss for the first time, ensuring Marty’s existence.

Doc, meanwhile, has used cables to connect the clock tower’s antenna to two lampposts, which he plans to have Marty drive under in the DeLorean, now sporting a lightning rod, the moment the lightning strikes. Before Marty can leave, Doc finds a letter in his coat pocket that Marty has written, warning him about his future murder. Doc indignantly tears up the letter without reading it, describing the dangers of altering the future. Marty instead adjusts the time machine to take him back to 1985 ten minutes earlier than he left, giving him time to prevent the shooting. Upon his arrival, however, the car stalls and Marty arrives at the mall too late to save Doc. As Marty begins crying over his friend’s body, Doc sits up and opens his radiation suit to reveal a bulletproof vest. He shows Marty the letter he had written, taped back together. When asked about his belief in not altering the future, Doc replies, “I figured, what the hell?”

The next morning, Marty finds his family has been changed for the better. Most notably, Lorraine is physically fit and is no longer prudish, and George has become a self-confident novelist who orders a weak-willed and servile Biff around. Just as Jennifer and Marty reunite, Doc arrives, insisting frantically that he has visited the future and that they must go back with him to work out a problem concerning their future children. The three take off into the sky in a newly upgraded DeLorean that can fly, and disappear into the future.

REVIEW:

For me, this is one of the quintessential 80s films (with a bit of the 50s thrown in for good measure). Every time I see it, there is something that I either missed or forgot from the last time I saw it which makes it that much more enjoyable!

Michael J. Fox really came into his own with this film and proved that he could do more than just be Alex P. Keaton (from Family Ties).

Leah Thompson, when we first see her seems like your typical frustrated housewife who drinks to escape her misery. Then we go back to 1955 and realize how beautiful she is. Talk about a good make up job they did making her look old and unattractive.

Christopher Lloyd is perfect as Doc Brown. If his acting doesn’t make you a believer, then his facial expressions should do it. Like Jim Carrey, Lloyds face says a lot without him saying a word.

The rest of the cast is pretty good. Headlines by Crispin Glover as George and Thomas F. Wilson as Biff.

The score to this film is by Alan Silverstri, but at first listen you’d think it was John Williams. When the film shifts to 1955, Silvestri decides to pay homage to the science fiction films of that era in the score. Masterful! Not to mention, how can you not leave the theater (or seat) singing the main theme or even the Huey Lewis song included in the soundtrack?

I guess if I have an issue with this, it would be that we never see what’s happening to Marty’s family in 1985 while he’s changing history, except in the picture, and never learn why the Delorean turns cold upon re-entry. A couple of minor things, which tells you how good this film is.

This is an enjoyable film, you even learn something. In all my years of school, the only place I even heard of a gigawatt was while watching this. Of course, I know there are some of us out there that wonder what our parents were like in high school, myself included. I don’t know if I could take going back and having my mother obsessed with me or seeing me in my underwear. Still, this is one of the more enjoyable films of all time and I recommend seeing it and/or reacquainting yourself with it.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Tin Man

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

DG (Zooey Deschanel) is a waitress in a small town, living on a farm in Kansas with her parents (Gwynyth Walsh and Kevin McNulty). She feels as though she does not fit in her small-town life, and her dreams are plagued with strange visions of places she’s never seen and a lavender-eyed woman (Anna Galvin) warning her that a storm is coming. These dreams are realized when the sorceress Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson), tyrannical ruler of the Outer Zone (O.Z.), sends her soldiers, called “Longcoats” through a travel storm to kill DG. DG and her parents evade them but are dragged by the storm into the O.Z. Mistaken for a spy, DG is captured by munchkins and meets Glitch (Alan Cumming), a “headcase” who has only half of his brain because the other half was removed by Azkadellia.

DG and Glitch escape and discover Cain (Neal McDonough), a former “Tin Man” (policeman) who has been locked in an iron suit for years as punishment for opposing Azkadellia’s rule. They soon meet a “Viewer” named Raw (Raoul Trujillo) who they rescue from being eaten by creatures called Papé. Travelling down the “old brick road” the fourseome arrive at Milltown, where DG is reunited with her parents only to learn that they are actually androids who had been tasked to raise her by her real mother, the lavender-eyed woman of her dreams. DG is given a magical symbol upon her palm and is told to go to Central City to meet the Mystic Man (Richard Dreyfuss), who has a message that will help her find her real mother. Azkadellia, meanwhile, sends her Longcoats in pursuit of DG and her companions.

Before being captured by the Longcoats the Mystic Man directs DG and her companions to the Northern Island, where they find the ice castle of the former Queen of the O.Z. They learn that Glitch was once the Queen’s advisor and that DG is both the Queen’s daughter and Azkadellia’s sister. As a child Azkadellia killed DG using dark magic, but the Queen revived her by light magic and gave her secret instructions on how to find the “Emerald of the Eclipse”, which Azkadellia now searches for.

Azkadellia and her Longcoats confront the group at the castle. DG and Raw are captured and Glitch is left for dead after a struggle with Azkadellia’s mobats. In a fight with the Longcoat captain Zero (Callum Keith Rennie), Cain learns that his family, whom he thought Zero killed years ago, are still alive. Zero shoots Cain in the chest and he falls out the castle window into the ice lake.

Glitch rescues and revives Cain, who was not harmed by Zero’s bullet because it was stopped by a metal trinket made for him by his son. Glitch and Cain journey to Azkadellia’s castle to rescue DG. Azkadellia interrogates DG about the Emerald of the Eclipse, but the only clue she can get is that it is protected by the “Gray Gale”. DG is placed in a cell adjacent to that of the Mystic Man, who advises her to head south and is then killed by Azkadellia. DG is released from her cell by a small dog and she and Raw are reunited with Cain and Glitch. After escaping Azkadellia’s castle the dog is revealed to be a shapeshifter named Tutor (Blu Mankuma), DG’s childhood teacher (nicknamed “Toto”) who instructed her in the use of magic. The group heads south, not knowing that Tutor is acting as a spy for Azkadellia by marking their path for the mobats to follow.

During their journey south the group again crosses the fields of the Papé, who were once farmers but became deadly hunters when their crops were destroyed. DG rediscovers some of her magic by restoring one of their withered fruit trees. Resistance fighters help the group evade the Longcoats while crossing a great chasm. Cain discovers the cabin where he was told his family had resettled, but finds only his wife’s grave and an empty iron suit. He shoots and kills Azkadellia’s lead mobat as it attempts to retrieve one of Tutor’s markers.

Arriving in the lake country of Finaqua, more of DG’s memories return. As children she and Azkadellia were close and loving, but that changed when DG found a cave in the Finaqua woods and accidentally released the spirit of an ancient, evil witch (Karin Konoval). Faced with danger, Azkadellia knew that if they stuck together and held hands, their combined magic could protect them from harm. DG panicked and ran, however, and the witch possessed Azkadellia. DG is horrified by the realization that all the tragedies which have befallen the O.Z. in the last fifteen years are the result of her mistakes as a child.

DG finds a magical recording left behind by her mother instructing her to go further south to find Ahamo (Ted Whittall), who is her father. Following their trail is Azkadellia, who also finds the recording. Tutor’s treachery is discovered by the group, but he insists that he is no longer working for Azkadellia and wants to help DG recover her magical abilities. The others accept his company on the condition that he remain in his canine form. Cain leads them to the Realm of the Unwanted in search of Ahamo.

The group is betrayed by a fortune teller (Tinsel Korey) and all except DG and Tutor are captured by Zero and his Longcoats. DG is snatched away by a man who reveals himself to be Ahamo and provides her with a magical compass which will lead her to the Emerald. Glitch, Cain, and Raw are freed by resistance fighters led by Cain’s son Jeb (Andrew Francis). They learn the rest of Azkadellia’s plan from Zero: As the queen’s advisor, Glitch, under his real name Ambrose, had designed a machine called the Sun Seeder which was meant to slow the movement of the sun in order to extend the growing season. Azkadellia removed his brain to get the plans and turned it into an Anti-Sun Seeder capable of locking the O.Z.’s two suns behind the moon during the upcoming double eclipse, covering the O.Z. in permanent darkness. Glitch’s brain is wired into the machine, and Azkadellia requires the Emerald of the Eclipse to make it work. Jeb wishes to execute Zero as revenge for his mother’s murder, but Cain convinces him to let Zero live and instead locks him in the empty iron suit while the resistance carries out its attack on Azkadellia’s fortress.

DG and Ahamo follow the magical compass, traveling by the same hot air balloon which carried Ahamo to the O.Z. from Nebraska. They find the hidden mausoleum of the O.Z.’s royal line and the tomb of Dorothy Gale, DG’s “greatest great-grandmother” for whom she was named, and “the first slipper” who traveled to the O.Z. from Earth. Concluding that Dorothy is the “Gray Gale”, DG enters the tomb and finds herself in a black-and-white representation of her farm in Kansas. There she meets Dorothy, who is wearing bejeweled slippers and who gives DG the Emerald of the Eclipse.

Before they can re-board the balloon Azkadellia captures Ahamo, takes the Emerald, and entombs DG in a sarcophagus of green marble within the royal mausoleum. DG escapes using her magic, and Tutor guides Glitch, Cain, and Raw to her location. Reunited, the five companions make their way to Azkadellia’s fortress. As the double eclipse nears totality Azkadellia uses the Emerald’s power to lock the suns in place behind the moon. DG encourages her sister to fight back against the witch who possesses her, invoking memories of their love. Meanwhile, Cain, Glitch, Raw, and Tutor attempt to stop the Anti-Sun Seeder. Finally Azkadellia clasps hands with DG, who pulls her free of the machine’s beam and separates her physical body from the spectral form of the old witch. The two sisters hold hands, their combined magic shielding them against the witch’s attack until DG’s companions are able to reverse the machine’s pulse, causing the witch to melt.

The royal sisters are reunited with their mother and father. Together with Cain, Glitch, Raw, and Toto, they watch the suns come out from behind the moon and bathe the O.Z. in “suns-light.”

REVIEW:

This has to be the best film the Sci-Fi Channel has ever produced. Usually the movies that come on that network look homemade and seem like they bought the story from some random person who write one.

Zooey Deschanel is an underrated actress and I wish she would get more roles like this that allow her to carry a film, because if this is any indication, she can pull it off.

Richard Dreyfuss, in his very limited screentime, get the chance to really use his vastly educated brain and acting talent as The Mystic Main.

Little known Kathleen Robertson is one of the best witches I’ve seen. A mix of beauty, cunning, conflict, and pure evil, you can’t go wrong with that.

Fans of The Wizard Oz movie and book should enjoy this. There are plenty of nods and references to the original story. This is not a remake, but rather a re-envisioning. That nay be the reason why I like it. I’ve made no qualms about my distaste for remakes.

The music to this film is eerily similar to the score to Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. Not saying that is a bad thing, just something I noticed.

Caine may be the most complex character, which may be why the movie is named for him, even though it’s about D.G.

I didn’t really care for Toto, but can’t tell you why. He just seemed to rub me the wrong way. I guess I just wanted D.G. to have a little dog with her from the get go or have met him earlier on.

I guess if I have anything bad to say about this film it is that what they dragged out into a miniseries, could very well have been condensed into a 2 hr feature length film. Having said that, I think they made the right decision by making it a mini-series. The length, though, will keep me from watching this over and over again. I’m no fan of lengthy films.

This is not your parent’s Wizard of Oz. It’s an Oz for a new generation, but will never replace the original. Still, its an excellent re-envisioning and is worth the 4 1/2 hours it takes to watch the whole thing. Jut be sure you clear your schedule and enjoy!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Swingers

Posted in Comedy, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Mike (Jon Favreau), a recent transplant to Los Angeles, has recently broken up with his long-time girlfriend of six years and is still having trouble letting go and moving on. His friend Trent (Vince Vaughn) takes him on an overnight trip to Las Vegas in an attempt to get him back in the game. Trent picks up a cocktail waitress (Deena Martin) and her actress friend (Katherine Kendall), but Mike’s obsession with his ex-girlfriend spoils the one-night stand.

Back in Los Angeles, Mike attends various Hollywood and Los Feliz hot spots while his friends, Rob (Ron Livingston), Charles (Alex Desert) and Sue (Patrick Van Horn) coach him on the rules of seduction. Mike makes several awkward attempts at speaking to women, but they all end disastrously. Along the way, the group discusses movies, video games, and their floundering careers in show business.

When Mike learns to accept himself and eschew the pretenses and self-promotion involved in the Hollywood dating scene, he finally connects with a beautiful girl named Lorraine (Heather Graham). The next day, he gets a call from the ex-girlfriend he’s been obsessing over but rejects her offer to get back together when Lorraine rings in on the other line. While discussing Mike’s new situation at a diner, Trent interrupts to make a disastrous attempt at flirting with a woman nearby. As Trent tries to recover from the embarrassment, Mike smiles as the tables turn.

REVIEW:

This film has garnered critical acclaim from all sorts of critics and various other people. Unfortunately, I was not as impressed by it. For me, it may take another viewing to really appreciate it, but for me this was a glorified chick flick, but it was for guys.

I did like the swing soundtrack. The dialogue was snappy and witty with a few funny moments in there. An extremely young Vince Vaughan and Jon Favreau give good performances. I just think this was over hyped which in turn caused me to be think to was better than what it was. Had I have seen it when it actually came out, it may be a different story. I was getting rather bored with it actually, until Heather Graham showed in the last 10 min or so.

Having said that, I do believe this is a film worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see a young Vince Vaughan and Ron Livingston is something other than Office Space. Sorry ladies, but this is more for the guys., but you can enjoy it, too.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Beetlejuice

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam (Alec Baldwin) Maitland decide to spend their vacation decorating their idyllic New England country home. Upon returning from the trip to town, however, Barbara swerves to avoid a dog wandering the roadway. The couple’s vehicle crashes through a covered bridge and plunges into the river below, killing Barbara and Adam. The couple soon returns home in spirit form and, based on the fact they have no visible reflection in the mirror, quickly come to the conclusion that they are dead. A book entitled Handbook for the Recently Deceased confirms the couple’s suspicion that they are, in fact, dead. Adam then attempts to leave the house to retrace his steps, but finds himself in a strange otherworldly dimension referred to as Saturn, which happens to be covered in sand and populated by enormous sand worms.

After going back into their home to seek refuge, Barbara and Adam’s peace is soon shattered when their house is sold and the new residents arrive from New York City. The Deetzes, consisting of Charles (Jeffrey Jones), aspiring sculptor and Charles’ second wife Delia (Catherine O’Hara), and Charles’ Goth daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) from his first marriage, move into the home.

Under the guidance of interior designer Otho (Glenn Shadix), the Deetzes begin transforming the house into a horrific piece of modern art. The Maitlands seek help from their afterlife case worker, Juno (Sylvia Sidney), who informs them that they must remain in the house for 125 years. If they want the Deetzes out, it is up to them to scare them away. The Maitlands’ attempts at haunting their home prove ineffective.

Although the Maitlands remain invisible to Charles and Delia, their daughter Lydia can see Adam and Barbara and becomes their friend. Against the advice of Juno, the Maitlands contact the miscreant Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a freelance “bio-exorcist”, to scare away the Deetzes, but Beetlejuice is more interested in marrying Lydia in order to re-enter the land of the living. It takes the combined efforts of the Maitlands and Lydia to defeat Beetlejuice and banish him to the afterlife. The Deetzes and the Maitlands then decide to live together in harmony.

REVIEW:

This is one of the fist movies I remember going to see on my own, so it has a special place in my heart. 20 yrs after its initial release, it hasn’t lost any of its charm.

Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are quite believable as a young couple who just drowned in a river and are coping with the afterlife. Winona Ryder shows off her young acting chops and is a bit freaky when she first appears on screen. Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara are tremendous underrated actors who give excellent performances with what little parts they have.  This brings us to the star if the film, Michael Keaton.

Hard to believe that this guy a year later would be Batman, or that later in his career he would be a snowman and the voice of a cocky race car. Here we see what Keaton can really do. This is the kind of film that made Keaton what he is. A role where he can just ad-lib and be himself. Beetlejuice would not be as memorable a film or character if not for him.

This is a dark comedy that doesn’t even try to take itself seriosuly. A trait that films of today seem to forget how to do. It is very entertaining and refreshing.

If I have any quarrel with this movie, it is that we don’t really know much about Beetlejuice, such as how he died (other than his mention of surviving the Black Plague), his relationship with Juno, why his name has to be said 3 times, etc.

Tim Burton is a genius. I don’t think I’ve seen a film of his I don’t like. Having said that, aside from the Batman films, this may be my favorite from his resume. You should check it out for yourself. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

5 out of 5 stars

Napoleon Dynamite

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) is a high school student from Preston, Idaho who lives with his Grandma, his brother Kip and their pet llama, Tina.

Kip Dynamite (Aaron Ruell) is an unemployed 32-year-old who boasts of spending hours in Internet chat rooms with ‘babes’ and training to be a cage fighter. Napoleon daydreams his way through school, doodling fantastic magical creatures and getting bullied. Grandma is admitted to a hospital after she has a dune riding accident while visiting friends.

Believing her grandsons cannot be trusted to look after themselves, she asks Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) to stay with them while she recovers. Uncle Rico is a middle-aged failed American quarterback who lives in an orange 1975 Dodge Santana campervan and is stuck in the year 1982 (a fact which caused a breakup with his girlfriend). His presence, although increasingly irksome to Napoleon, is a boon to Kip as he and Uncle Rico embark on a joint project to become door-to-door salesmen selling a Tupperware-like product. Kip reveals that he would like to earn some money to enable him to meet his new Internet girlfriend from Detroit, Lafawnduh Lucas (Shondrella Avery). Uncle Rico is not averse to using Napoleon’s name to gain credibility in his attempts to sell herbal breast-enhancement products to Napoleon’s school mates, causing increasing friction between Uncle Rico and Napoleon.

As the plot progresses, Napoleon makes two new friends from high school, Deb and Pedro. Deb (Tina Majorino) is a shy and sensitive girl who seems to take a liking to Napoleon. The two have a fight however, when Uncle Rico attempts to sell her breast-enhancement herbs and implies that Napoleon suggested it. Pedro (Efren Ramirez) is a transfer student from Juarez, Mexico, who promptly decides to run for class president against the popular ‘babe’, Summer Wheatly (Haylie Duff). Despite a couple of hiccups, the campaign goes well right up until the time Pedro is just about to deliver his final speech at which time he realises that each candidate has to perform a skit afterwards. Having not prepared any such routine, a despondent Pedro gives a short speech believing that his candidacy is over. However, Napoleon displays uncharacteristic quick-wittedness by giving the tape in his Walkman to the sound engineer and performs a well-rehearsed, energetic dance routine, which wins a standing ovation from the school audience.

The film closes out with a montage of scenes showing a happy ending for all concerned. Pedro wins the class presidency. LaFawnduh, having journeyed from Detroit to visit Kip, is immediately smitten. After she transforms Kip’s fashion, they leave town together. A fully recovered Grandma returns and has clearly missed Tina, the llama, more than her grandchildren. Uncle Rico’s girlfriend, who is mentioned earlier in the movie when Rico and Kip are eating lunch, returns to Rico and his van, as well. And finally, Napoleon is playing tetherball by himself until Deb shows up and starts playing with him, having forgiven her friend.

A post credits scene reveals Kip and LaFawnduh getting married.

REVIEW:

It took me forever and a day to finally see this film the first time. Seemed like everyone I knew had seen and was talking about it. A couple of years later, I finally saw it and loved it. To this day it is still one of my favorites.

This is one of those independent films that doesn’t have any big stars. I think the biggest name is Haylie Duff, and she’s known more for being Hilary’s sister than anything else. However, it did launch the career of Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez isn’t doing too shabby either.

The thing that bothers me the most about this film, or it may be the charm about it, is that you’re not exactly sure when it is set. It appears to be taking place in the 80s or so, then Kip talks about internet dating and stuff and it brings it into the present. I guess styles and stuff are supposed to be a little behind up there in Preston, Idaho.

This film is one of those polarizing type of movies that you either love i or hate it. Some may even flip flop on it. For me, I love it, but then I like most comedies if they can make me laugh, and this one definitely does it. The 80s music helps the movie’s cause out a bit, as well. This a must-see!

5 out of 5 stars

X-Men: The Last Stand

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A pharmaceutical company called Worthington Labs announces that it has developed an inoculation to permanently suppress the X-gene that gives mutants their powers, offering the so-called “cure” to any mutant who wants it; the cure is derived from a mutant boy named Jimmy. While some mutants are interested in the cure, including the X-Men’s Rogue, many others are horrified by the announcement. In response to the news, the X-Men’s adversary Magneto raises an army, warning his followers that the cure will be forcefully used to exterminate the mutant race.

Cyclops, still heartbroken about the loss of Jean Grey, returns to Alkali Lake, where Jean sacrificed herself to save the X-Men. Jean appears to Cyclops, and as the two kiss, Jean changes and appears to kill Cyclops. Sensing trouble, Professor Charles Xavier sends Wolverine and Storm to investigate. When they arrive, the two X-Men encounter telekinetically floating rocks, Cyclops’ glasses, and an unconscious Jean. Meanwhile Magneto ambushes a military transport and frees Juggernaut, Mystique and Multiple Man, during which Mystique blocks a shot of the mutant cure aimed at Magneto, only to be left behind because she is not “one of them” anymore.

Xavier explains that the majority of Jean’s power is seated in her unconscious mind and that, as a result, her powers are largely fueled by instinct, and not under her complete control. In fact, when Jean was a little girl she was so powerful that he had to put telepathic blocks on her mind to help keep her powers under control. Her bottled up powers manifested themselves as an id-like alternate personality called the “Phoenix” — a purely instinctual creature, ruled only by its own violent desires. Wolverine is disgusted to learn that Xavier has kept Jean in check telepathically, but when Jean awakens, he realizes she is not the Jean Grey he knew. Wolverine asks about Cyclops, but she cannot remember and fears she killed him. Jean pleads with Wolverine to kill her before she harms anybody else, but when he refuses and offers to have Xavier help her, the Phoenix surfaces and telekinetically slams Wolverine into a wall. She then flees to her childhood home. Magneto, also aware that Jean’s powers are loose, meets Xavier at Jean’s house. The two men plead for Jean’s loyalty until the Phoenix resurfaces, unleashing her devastating power. Furious at being caged within Jean’s subconscious for twenty years, she destroys her family’s house and engages in a psychic battle with Xavier. She eventually overpowers and disintegrates Xavier then leaves with Magneto, temporarily weakened.

Following the losses of Xavier and Cyclops, and pained by her inability to get physically close to her boyfriend, Rogue decides to take the mutant cure. The X-Men regroup and confront Magneto’s army, which is attacking the pharmaceutical company’s laboratory on Alcatraz Island. The battle begins when Magneto moves the Golden Gate Bridge to land at Alcatraz Island, which is being guarded only by a company of soldiers. The Brotherhood’s first charge is ineffective as Magneto is unable to destroy the soldiers’ plastic weapons. The first group of mutants, which Magneto refers to as “pawns”, are hit with the cure cartridges and depowered. Arclight destroys the weapons with her shockwave, as the X-Men arrive. During the battle, Kitty Pryde leaves to save Jimmy and at the end of the battle, Iceman goes one-on-one with Pyro, where he transforms his entire body into ice and ends up defeating him, Beast injects Magneto with the cure, nullifying his mutant powers. After this, Wolverine nearly coaxes Jean back to sanity. However, soldiers arrive and fire upon Jean. The Phoenix quickly emerges and begins to disintegrate everything and everyone around her, vaporizing the soldiers. While the other X-Men flee to safety, Wolverine fights his way to Jean, relying upon his healing abilities to save him from her destructive power. Momentarily gaining control, Jean begs Wolverine to save her. Telling Jean he loves her, Wolverine reluctantly kills her with his claws.

Despite the X-Men’s losses, life goes on. The school will continue, even without Xavier. Rogue returns and tells Iceman she had to take the “cure.” The two reconcile and continue their relationship now able to touch each other. Magneto, now an ordinary man, sits at a chessboard and reaches out toward a metal chess piece that trembles slightly — indicating that the cure might not be as permanent as originally thought. Following the closing credits, Dr. Moira MacTaggert checks on a comatose patient who greets her with Xavier’s voice, implying that he has transferred his mind into this new body.

REVIEW:

This is a fitting end to the X-Men saga. The characters have come a long way on screen since the first film, and the ending leaves you wondering if there will be a fourth.

There are those that have bashed this film for its bastardizing of “The Dark Phoenix” saga. I could do that, but I’ll leave that to true fanboys. I will say that it could have been handled better and closer to the actual story rather than some writer who probably saw the comic cover or heard the story and decided to write a screenplay based on that.

It was good to see Beast and Angel. However, I was a little disappointed because they made a huge to do about Angel being in the film and he was barely in the film, and on top of that he wasn’t involved in any of the fight scenes. It is my opinion that if they were going to have him and the cure storylines, then go on a and turn him into Archangel while you’re at it.

I have to wonder why, if Cyclops is supposed to be the leader of the X-Men, that in the movies he’s treated as nothing more than a glorified extra. In this one, he gets killed and they only briefly mention it. WTF?!?

There is no weak link in the X-Men trilogy, but this one seems to try its hardest to earn that dishonor. While it is an excllent film, it strays the farthest from the source material, thus alienating its core fan base, the fanboys and ruining a perfectly good storyline that could very well have been the basis for this film on its own. Still, its worth watching.

4 out of 5 stars