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!

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

Get Smart

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

PLOT:

Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) (Steve Carell), the top analyst of the top secret American intelligence agency CONTROL, hopes to become a field agent like his idol and best friend, Agent 23 (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). But despite scoring extremely well in the acceptance tests, Max is denied the promotion because the Chief of CONTROL (Alan Arkin) thinks Max is too valuable in his present assignment. This changes when CONTROL headquarters is attacked by its arch-enemy, the terrorist organization KAOS, led by a man known only as Siegfried (Terence Stamp). As a result, almost all of the identities of CONTROL’s agents are exposed. Max becomes Agent 86 and is partnered with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), whose recent plastic surgery has protected her identity, while former field operatives such as 23 are demoted to desk jobs.

Max and 99 travel to Russia on a mission to determine how KAOS has been getting nuclear weapons. Along the way, Max slowly proves to 99 that despite his inexperience and clumsiness, he is actually a good field agent. Max also begins to show, as does 99, that he has slight feelings for her, and she for him. However, 99 does not want to have a relationship with any agent, as she previously blew a mission due to her being in a relationship with a partner (as it turns out, Agent 23).

The pair try to infiltrate KAOS’ Moscow nuclear weapons factory, which is disguised as a bakery, and even though Siegfried has been expecting them, Max and 99 overpower the guards and plant explosives that will bury the nuclear weapons under rubble. Max even saves both 99’s life and his own by helping one of Siegfried’s henchmen, a man named Dalip (Dalip Singh). Saying “I know you!” in Dalip’s native Punjabi language at first, Max advises him on his marital problems using information gleaned from his analyst work. The Chief sends 23 to oversee clean-up of the bakery, but 23 reports that he has found no evidence of nuclear weapons, causing CONTROL (and an upset 99) to believe that Max is a double agent.

Siegfried reveals that KAOS has distributed nuclear weapons to unstable dictators and will supply them with the activation codes unless the American government pays him $200 billion, and decides to establish the credibility of his threat by destroying the Walt Disney Concert Hall with a nuclear bomb during the president’s visit. The vice president does not believe CONTROL’s claims that KAOS is a serious threat, so the Chief, 99 and 23 go there to personally convince the president, but to no avail.

Dalip sends Max (who is in custody in Washington D.C.) a tip-off about the bomb via a radio call-in show, so Max escapes custody, equips himself with vintage items from the CONTROL museum and travels to Los Angeles to meet with the Chief and tell him about the bomb. Agent 23 does not believe Max’s claims or his innocence because he has a crush on agent 99, even though the Chief and 99 do believe him. This, plus the fact that Max detects trace radiation on 23 (who had walked through the Moscow nuclear facility), causes Max to realize that 23 is the double agent. Despite Max being his friend, he becomes enraged and takes 99 hostage and flees with the bomb’s remote detonator, and Max and the Chief give chase.

Agent 23 ties 99’s hands into his car. Max and the Chief save 99, with Smart kissing Agent 23, which was a trick to distract him, and kicks him into the now flaming, track-led government GMC Yukon. When Max and 99 are stuck in the car, Max saves 99 by throwing her to the ground while he tries to cut himself free. After the car and 23 are destroyed, Max, 99, and the Chief realize the bomb, hidden in Walt Disney Concert Hall where the president is attending a concert, will be triggered when the orchestra plays the final notes of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.

Reaching the hall just in time, Max tackles the conductor, stopping the orchestra and thus the bomb. However, the orchestra is doubtful there was a bomb. Maxwell guesses correctly that the bomb was under the piano and shocks the guards. During Siegfried’s escape, the terror mastermind insults Dalip once too often, and Dalip throws him out of their moving car, off a bridge and into a river.

The heroes celebrate their success in CONTROL headquarters. The president is very impressed with the agency, especially Max’s heroics. Max and 99 begin dating and have bought a puppy, named Fang. The characters Bruce and Lloyd also introduce their newest invention, Hymie the Robot (Patrick Warburton). The film ends with Max and 99 leaving CONTROL through the set of high-tech security doors; of course, Max cannot leave the last door (which does not close) alone and repairs it with his pocket knife, causing the door to close on him, and another mini harpoon from his pocket knife to stick him in the cheek.

REVIEW:

Although the TV show aired before my time, I still became a big fan due to reruns.

If you were to ask me who would be the best choice to play Maxwell Smart, I’d have said Steve Carrell. He doesn’t disappoint, either.

Anne Hathaway has never looked better, especially when she is her party gown and her underwear and robe. Yes, there are many other actresses that could have taken role Barbara Eden immortalized, but I believe Anne is the only one that could have done it justice by not taking to too seriously.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shows here that he hasn’t forgotten how to be an action star. As a matter of fact, in the climactic fight at the end I could swear he used some of his WWE moves.

Masi Oka and Nate Torrence (who must be Jonah Hill’s good twin) really come into their own as the gadget guys. However, I don’t think they warranted their own film, but at lest it was direct-to-DVD.

I almost thought for a minute that Alan Arkin was the original chief. He is that much into this role and does a bang up job.

The rest of the cast is pretty good. Terence Stamp is a little underused for my taste, though.

One review I read said that this was an action-comedy that just had the title and characters from Get Smart. I have to agree. While there are a few funny moments, it doesn’t have the slapstick feel of the original show. Something that is sorely missing.

I can’t do this review without bringing up the kiss between Max and Agent 23. Who would have ever thought a man’s man like The Rock would kiss another man. It was unexpected. Of course, 23 being the mastermind behind the whole thing was a surprise, especially since they make it seem like he’s the best agent CONTROL has.

This is a very good film. It’s not perfect by any means, but its actually enjoyable. If you were a fan of the original series, you may be a little disappointed, but there are lots of references to keep you happy. For everyone else, its a good action-comedy that’s worth a viewing.

4 out of  5 stars

Say It Isn’t So

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , on December 28, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

The film begins with Gilbert Noble (Klein) taking a stray cat named “Ringo” to the pound at which he works. Advised about a haircut, Gilbert goes to a hairdresser’s where he meets a beautiful young hairdresser woman named Josephine Wingfield (Jo). As Jo cuts Gilbert’s hair, she mentions that she lost a tail-less cat named Ringo a while ago, leading Gilbert to tell her that Ringo is at the pound. Immediately after this revelation, Jo accidentally cuts off a part of Gilbert’s ear, and he is rushed to the hospital.

To make up for the incident, Jo invites Gilbert to her house for lunch the next day, where Gilbert meets Jo’s self-centered mother Valdine (Sally Field) and stroke-suffering father Walter (Richard Jenkins). After the lunch day, Gilbert and Jo start dating frequently, and eventually fall in love.

As the days go by, Gilbert and Jo see each other and eventually have sex for the first time. But just as Gilbert prepares to propose to Jo, he receives a call from an agent who has been searching for Gilbert’s long-lost mother. Apparently, the agent has come up with the news that Gilbert’s mother is really Valdine Wingfield, something that shocks them all. Jo then leaves the Wingfield household, and Gilbert stays there where the news somehow leaks out of them having sex as siblings.

A few months later, a surprise comes to the Wingfield doorstep in the form of a young man named Leon Pitofsky (Jack Plotnick) who claims to be Valdine and Walter’s son. When Leon reveals the proof (birth papers), Valdine and Walter, who gets better for a few moments, angrily lash out at Gilbert and force him to leave. Gilbert runs for his life and flees Indiana to Oregon (where Jo lives) to tell her the news. Valdine phones the police station in the county where Jo lives, reports Gilbert as a sexual preedator in order to stop Gilbert from telling Jo. She tells the police to keep the whole thing quiet but the police prove to be just as corrupt as the criminals they capture and hang “Wanted” posters all over Gilbert’s destination town, depicting Gilbert as a “sexual predator” (or, as a dumb foreigner puts it, a “Prevert”).

On his way to the town, Gilbert meets a legless middle-aged African-American named Dig McCaffrey (Orlando Jones), who gives him directions and hands him a business card should he ever need him. However, Gilbert is soon spotted by people who saw the posters, and is immediately shunned by the society as a “pervert”.

Meanwhile, Josephine is engaged to Jack Mitchelson (Eddie Cibrian), a rich and powerful young man who secretly deals in cocaine and controls over half the county by paying off numerous politicians. Valdine keeps on pushing Josephine for the marriage, although Josephine still loves Gilbert.

As Gilbert tries to hide from the authorities, he seeks Dig’s help, who frequently manages to aid him in his escape from muggers and killers. Ultimately, after countless escapades with mental-patient Mr. Campisi (C. Ernst Harth), Gilbert finally manages to find Leon (Valdine’s real son). Determined to win Josephine back, Gilbert, with Dig’s help, makes a plan to change Josephine’s mind before the impending wedding. But the plan backfires when Leon gets away from Dig and Gilbert gets in an awkward situation (with his hand inside a cow’s rectum) and Josephine sees him. Another attempt to have a message (“JO! I’M NOT YOUR BROTHER! MARRY ME!”) flashed across the sky from a plane ends up in Gilbert being arrested and being sent to an asylum (after the word “NOT” is ripped off by a nearby tree as they take off in Dig’s plane).

Ultimately, Gilbert is not able to stop Josephine from marrying Mitchelson. But police arrive at the marriage scene to inform that Gilbert died in car accident, which was actually a sabotage by Leon. But unknown to everyone, Gilbert was not driving the car at the time of the accident. One of Mitchelson’s goons who had taken the car from Gilbert was the one whose ashes were found. Even better for Gilbert, Walter makes a good recovery and reveals to Josephine that it was Valdine who planned the whole thing to destroy their relationship and force Josephine into marrying Mitchelson. Also, the news that Valdine is Gilbert’s mother was fed to the detective by none other than Mitchelson.

Seeing Josephine defy her for the very first time proves to be too much for Valdine to handle, as she has a stroke and falls unconscious while attacking Leon, who also participated in interrupting the wedding.

Thinking Gilbert to be dead, Josephine goes back to the roof of the animal shelter where they used to hang out to disperse Gilbert’s ashes and to give him the one gun salute (as Gilbert used to give dogs who were about to be put to sleep). Gilbert, who has just joined back his old job, sees her and is mistaken that she wants to commit suicide. They are finally reunited on the roof of the same animal shelter which was a catalyst for their coming together.

A few months later, Gilbert and Josephine are married, with Walter, Valdine, Leon, Dig and many other people attending, this time with Walter on his feet and Valdine in a wheelchair during a stroke. Also, as a surprise wedding present, Gilbert’s mother agent turns up and tells Gilbert that he has truly found his mother. In an ironic twist, Gilbert’s mother turns out to be Suzanne Somers, a famous actress/sex symbol about whom Gilbert used to fantasize while masturbating.

A deleted scene or alternate ending on the DVD release shows Gilly & Jo opening thier own animal shelter together & they are seen standing on the same roof top happily in love. Jo has also become pregnant with their first child.

REVIEW:

I remember watching this when it came out back in 2001 and thinking it was pretty average. Years later and my opinion of this film is that while it has a few funny moments sprinkled in, for the most part it is pretty lame.

Chris Klein, best known for playing Oz in the American Pie movies, has the acting chops to carry a film, and this seems like the kind of bad movie that was just a stepping stone, but I still think he could have done so much better.

Heather Graham’s career has been up and down. This is one of her down moments. Not her finest role.

Speaking of one who shouldn’t have taken a role in this film, the venerable Sally Field is above films like this, unless she did it just for fun, then its ok, but if she actually auditioned for this role, then she made a mistake.

The script for this picture is just not good. There’s no if, ands, or buts about it. Since the script is so bad, it makes the rest of the picture seem sub-par. The only bright spot was Orlando Jones’ Dig. He saved the film from mediocrity.

In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of this flick. However, its not the worst film I’ve seen and there are parts that are worth sitting through. This is the kid of movie you rent as a date movie with the explicit purpose of having something going on while you make out and can easily have playing in case someone walks in (parents, roommate, etc.)

2 out of 5 stars

Just My Luck

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The movie is about always lucky and popular Ashley Albright (Lindsay Lohan) who is never used to a normal life. Luck always keeps striking her side and on the other hand there is Jake Hardin (Chris Pine) who is the manager of a music band called McFly. He is exactly opposite to Ashley and always has bad luck with girls.

Ashley,through persistent methods of keeping a client at the office, manages to convince him about her idea of a masquerade party.All this however was done without the presence of Ashley’s boss and to her suprise,Ashley’s boss Peggy is impressed and and leaves Ashley the task of organizing the party. Jake wants to come to the party with the idea of meeting a very famous person who could publicize the McFly band in New York City.He claims to be a dancer for the masquerade bas and gains entry.

A fortune teller at the place tells Ashley that there may be a change in her life because of fate and she may get bad luck but Ashley doesn’t believe her. When Jake sees Ashley there he is stunned by her beauty and asks her for a dance and neither of them can see the other because they wear masks. When both of them kiss their lucks swap and Jake gets good luck and Ashley gets bad luck.

Jake spots the person (Phillips) whom he has wanted to get to publicize the band he coaches,McFly.A cut off cab heads straight towards Phillips but Jake pushes him out the way thus causing himself to be hit by the cab.Through his luck he is unharmed and as a thank you ,Phillips who is in charge of a major record company signs the band which actually is to his liking.

Ashley’s bad luck soon kicks in and she goes to jail because the guy that she set her boss up with for the party turns out to be a prostitute. When she returns home she finds that her house had been affected by a flood and a mold infestation in her walls.She is given a mere box of what is left of her possessions.

She goes to her friends’ house, where she plans to stay until she bounces back from her unfortunate turn of events. At her friends’ place she breaks the mirror and then drops her contact lenses off at the cat litter box and wears it again causing a major eye problem. She hunts down all the dancers from the same company who supplied the dancers at the masquerade bash.Being as Jake was not an actual dancer she is forced to run out of hope for getting her luck back fro which a visit to the same fortune teller entails that she must kiss the same person from the party for her life to return as it once was.

Upon returning from prison yet again for ruining a work of art the previous night Ashley stops at at a cafe where she is rejected because of a lack of funds.As she leaves she creates mass chaos and makes a mad dash out of the cafe with the help of Jake who in turn offers Ashley a chance to get his previous job as a janitor/food delivery person at the bowling alley.Ashley desperate for a job accepts and after much trials she gets the knack of how her job is done.

On a rainy day, Ashley is helpless and Jake takes a reluctant Ashley to his huge house where she tries to wash her clothes but puts too much powder into the washing machine due to her bad luck, (resulting to a room full of bubbles),where they almost kiss but are interrupted from Jake’s young cousin Katy.

Later, Jake takes her to the place where McFly is practicing and she finds out that Jake is the one who has her luck and kisses him and then Jake gets his bad luck back. As Ashley’s luck finally returns, she runs into her old boss who offers her to work again for the high position of her VP which she would be appointed at a meeting that night. That night, she thinks about how her life was when she still had her luck and how Jake used her good fortune after giving it to him.She decides that her life was more enjoyable without luck and she chooses to not attend the meeting of her new presidency but instead to arrive at Jake’s first concert for McFly of which things aren’t running too smoothly.

At the concert, things begin to take a wrong turn when one of the band members, Harry Judd, goes missing and then Ashley comes, kisses Jake returning to him her luck and Harry returns, and turns the concert into a big hit.

Ashley decides to end contact with Jake as she doesn’t want their luck to be switched again being that Jake put the good luck to better use than Ashley ever did. She goes to the railway station where she finds Jake and he tries to convince her that she was all he wanted. They then kiss each other relentlessly causing their lucks to swap without stopping and without them knowing who has good luck and who does not. Then, they both see Jake’s little cousin, kiss her at the same time and she gets all the luck and wins a scratch card lottery of twenty-five dollars. Later, they find a quarter deciding that they still have some luck left only seconds later to be drenched in water by a broken water line thus signifying that they truly are out of luck.

REVIEW:

This film isn’t half bad, but it isn’t half good either.

Lindsey Lohan carries the entire film on her back. Take her out, and this thing goes to pot. None of the other character are of any interest at all, except maybe Faizon Love who is grossly underutilized in this role and Carlos Ponce who is more of a cameo than an actual character.

Having said that, the plot of the film is one that has been explored before, but not with such positive results. Now, I’m not saying this is the best film about luck switching, but they could have done a lot worse. I think my issue is with Chris Pine. Nothing against him as an actor, but I think they could have cast someone that could carry the load of being the lead actor better. Pine just doesn’t cut it…and just think, he’ll be Captain Kirk in the upcoming Star Trek film.

I can’t say you should go out and rent this, but chances are it won’t be coming on TV anytime soon, so unless you want to wait it out, then go ahead and rent it, but don’t rush to see it, unless you’re a Lindsey fan.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Dark Knight

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In Gotham City, the Joker robs a mob-owned bank with his accomplices, whom he tricks into killing each other. That night, Batman interrupts a meeting between the Chechen, a Gotham mobster, and the Scarecrow, but suffers wounds from the Chechen’s dogs, allowing the Chechen to escape and prompting Batman to re-design his batsuit. Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon contemplate including new district attorney Harvey Dent in their plan to eradicate the mob, as he could be the public hero Batman cannot be. However, Batman wonders if Dent can be trusted. Bruce runs into Rachel Dawes and Dent, who are dating, and after talking to Dent he realizes he is sincere and decides to host a fundraiser for him.

Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol and the Chechen meet with other underworld gangsters to discuss both Batman and Dent. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs them that he has hidden their money and fled to HongKong in an attempt to pre-empt Gordon’s plan to seize the mobsters’ funds. The Joker arrives unexpectedly, offering to kill Batman in return for half of the mob’s money, an offer the mobsters refuse. In Hong Kong, Batman captures Lau and delivers him to the |Gotham City police, where Lau agrees to testify against the mob. In retaliation, the mobsters hire the Joker to kill Batman and Lau. The Joker issues an ultimatum to Gotham, stating that if Batman does not reveal his identity to the public, people will die each day. When Commissioner |Gillian B. Loeb, Judge Surillo, who was presiding over the mob trials, and Gordon are murdered, Wayne decides to reveal his identity. Before he can, Dent announces at a press conference that he himself is Batman and is arrested as part of a plan to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker attempts to ambush the police convoy carrying Dent, but Batman and Gordon, the latter whom had faked his death, intervene and capture him. In recognition of his actions, Gordon is appointed police commissioner.

Later that night, Dent and Rachel disappear. At the police station, Batman interrogates the Joker, who reveals that their police escorts were on Maroni’s payroll, and have placed them in warehouses rigged with explosives on opposite sides of the city — far enough apart so that Batman cannot save them both. Batman leaves to save Rachel, while Gordon and the police head after Dent. With the aid of a smuggled bomb, the Joker escapes police custody with Lau. Batman arrives to save Rachel but instead finds Dent. Batman successfully saves Dent, but the ensuing explosion disfigures Dent’s face. Gordon arrives at Rachel’s location too late, and she is killed when the bomb detonates. In the hospital, Dent’s grief drives him to madness. Aboard a tanker, the Joker burns Lau to death atop a pile of the mob’s money and has the Chechen killed, before taking control of his men. The Joker goes to the hospital and convinces Dent to exact revenge on the corrupt cops and mobsters responsible for Rachel’s death, as well as Batman and Gordon.

After sparing the Joker, Dent goes on a personal vendetta confronting Maroni and the corrupt cops one by one, deciding their fates with the flip of a coin. The Joker announces to the public that anyone left in Gotham at nightfall will be subject to his rule. With the bridges and tunnels out of the city closed due to a bomb threat by the Joker, authorities begin evacuating people by ferry. The Joker places explosives on two of the ferries—one ferry with convicts, the other with civilians—telling the passengers the only way to save themselves is to trigger the explosives on the other ferry; otherwise, he will destroy both at midnight. Meanwhile, Batman locates the Joker and the hostages he has taken. Realizing the Joker has disguised the hostages as his own men, Batman is forced to attack both Gordon’s |SWAT team and the Joker’s henchmen in order to save the real hostages.

Meanwhile, the Joker’s plan to destroy the ferries fails after the passengers on both decide not to destroy each other. Batman locates and subdues the Joker, but refuses to kill him. The Joker acknowledges that Batman is truly incorruptible, but that Dent was not, and that he has unleashed Dent upon the city. Leaving the Joker for the SWAT team, Batman leaves in search of Dent. At the remains of the building where Rachel died, Batman finds Dent holding Gordon and his family at gunpoint. Dent judges the innocence of Batman, himself, and Gordon’s son through three coin tosses. As a result of the first two flips, he shoots Batman in the abdomen and spares himself. Before Dent can determine the boy’s fate, Batman, who was wearing body armor, tackles him over the side of the building. Gordon’s son is saved, but Batman and Dent fall, and Dent is killed. Batman and Gordon realize that the morale of the city would suffer if Dent’s murders became known. Batman persuades Gordon to preserve Dent’s image by holding “Batman” responsible for the murders. Gordon destroys the Bat-Signal, and a manhunt for Batman begins.

REVIEW:

Before I begin this review, let me say that I am a Batman fan from way back and that the Joker is my favorite member of his rogues gallery.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me say that while this is a really good film, it is overrated. I’m so tired of hearing people talk about it like its the best thing to hit the big screen since films went to color.

Christian Bale isn’t the worst Batman, but he’s not the best either. AS Bruce Wayne, he’s a total douche. This deviates fro the comic and I would be willing to be dollars to pesos he had something do with Bruce being that way on film. On top of this, what is up with the voice thing? It’s ok that he wants to give Batman and Bruce Wayne separate voices, but keep talking like that and he’ll end up pulling something. Now Bale is off to ruin the Terminator franchise.

Heath Ledger give the performance of his life. That’s quite fitting seeing as how this was his last role. There are those that have said his take on the Joker freaked them out. I don’t see how, other than the tongue thing. For me, he was just another villain. His performance is an excellent one. whether he deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award is debatable, as is his place among on-screen Jokers, but one thing for sure, he made the character his own.

Aaron Eckhart may very well have been the best and most accurate part of the entire movie. In the comic, Harvey Dent is a dashing young D.A. who gets his face scarred by acid. For the film, they changed it to him being burned. I can live with that, but what makes him most impressive is that he looks dead on like he does in the comic. It’s like they lifted him from the books and put him on the screen. No offense to Tommy Lee Jones, but Aaron Eckhart just knocked the role of Two-Face out of the ballpark.

Maggie Gyllenhaal could have been used more. I’m not saying that just becuse I’m a fan, but becuse I feel that if you’re going to change actresses, then you need to give the new cast member time to show what they’re made of. If you’re going to kill her, then keep the original actress. Still, she did a much better job as Rachel than Tom Cruise’s zombie slave, Katie Holmes.

Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine round out the cast in their supporting roles as Lucious Fox and Alfred, respectively. Both show why they’ve been in this business for as long as they have with masterful performances.

For my taste, this film was too dark and  just not entertaining. Granted it was better and kept my attention more than Batman Begins, but that’s not saying much. I think my issues with this film lie in my distaste for Christian Bale and the fact that I’m not a fan of Christopher Nolan’s vision for Batman. I know he’s dark character and all, but this was just too much.

Judging by the amount of money this film has made, there many out there that loved it. Do not count me in that number. I won’t deny that this is a pretty good picture, but it’s not my cup of tea. I can only say that you shouldn’t go strictly on my word, but rather rent it and make your own decision. Maybe you’ll agree with me and maybe you won’t.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Spirit

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

Down these mean streets a man must come. A hero born, murdered, and born again. When a Rookie cop named Denny Colt returns from the beyond as The Spirit, a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces from the shadows of Central City. The Octopus who kills anyone unfortunate enough to see his face who has other plans. He’s going to wipe out the entire city. The Spirit tracks this cold hearted killer from the city’s rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront all the while facing a bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love or kill the masked crusader.

REVIEW:

THe best way I can describe this film is that it is a mixture of The Shadow and Sin City. I, for one love these type pf film nor films, not to mention those that are filmed almost entirely in green screen, so there’s no real surprise that I loved this film.

Virtually unknown Gabriel Macht really holds his own in what I believe is his first leading man role. If this film is any indication of the talent he possesses, I’m sure there will be more in his future. Did I mention he holds his own against Samuel L. Jackson?

Who better to play an over the top villain than Samuel L. Jackson? He pulls off this character with such ease and finesse that only he can bring to the screen.

Dan Lauria, best known for his role as the dad on The Wonder Years,  gives a good turn as Commissioner Dolan. and Louis Lombardi is hilarious and the Octopus’ henchmen.

How can I go without mentioning the bevy of beautiful women in this film. Eva Mendes gets a chance to have some fun with her body as well as flex some acting chops as Sand Sarif. Paz Vega, who I like to call Salma Hayek-lite, is uber-sexy as always and shows off her dancing moves as Plaster of Paris. Jamie King is a bit mysterious and you don’t really get the chance to see her, but she has a very important role. Sarah Paulson is a beauty as The Spirit’s girlfriend and doctor, as well as the commissioner’s daughter. Lesser known Stana Katic will be steaming up screens (and magazine pages) soon. She is definitely the forgotten bit of hotness among these ladies. Finally, how can I forget the ever-luscious Scarlett Johnsson? Her role as Silken Floss may be the most complex character because it seems there is a major backstory there. I do wish we got to see a bit more skin from her, and we do get a couple of scenes, one where she shows part of her midriff and the other with  her massive cleavage, but for the rest of the film she’s covered up, but still sexy.

I will admit, I’m not very familiar with The Spiritcomics, so for me to sit here and say that this deviated from the source material would do no good, but something tells me that they did, just because every other comic book movie seems to do the same thing.

From the moment I saw this trailer back in the summer, I’ve been eagerly waiting to see this. All the buildup may have cost this film a star from me, though. It wasn’t as good as I thought.

A complaint that I have about many films is that they start off too slow. This is no exception, for the most part, but it did seem like it was going to go somewhere when it first started, but after the initial fight between Spirit and Octopus, it seemed to lose momentum and never really got it back until the end. Even then, it didn’t fully regain it.

Still, this is a beautifully filmed movie. Whether you like it or not, you can’t deny that. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is Sin City 2, because it isn’t, they just have the same look. Of course, I think The Spiritmay have the hotter women (not counting Olde Towne in Sin City).

I was waiting for them to explain who the woman that kept appearing every time the Spirit got shot or had some kind of fatal injury, and they never did. The last time they do say her name, but that’s about it. I know its a small thing, but I just feel like they could let us know a bit about her, such as who she is and what her importance is.

I don’t want anyone who’s reading this to think that I didn’t like this film. I loved it! However, like many films, it is not without issues. I will be getting the DVD when it is released, and if possible going to see it again in theaters. I suggest you give The Spirit a shot. What’s the worst that’ll happen? Are you scared you’ll like it?

4 out of 5 stars

Van Wilder

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on December 27, 2008 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Van Wilder is an outgoing, friendly, and extremely popular student who has been at Coolidge College for seven years. For the past three years he has made no effort to graduate, instead spending his time organizing parties and fundraisers, doing charity work, helping other students, and posing for figure drawing classes. But after seven years, with no return on his investment, Van’s father decides it is time to cut his losses and stops paying Van’s tuition.

Meanwhile Gwen Pearson, a star reporter for the student newspaper, is asked to do an article on Van. It proves to be so popular that she is asked to write a follow-up article for the front page of the graduation issue. Although that would be a big win, she is rather put off when Van interprets her attempts to schedule interviews as romantic advances — especially because she already has a boyfriend. Gwen’s boyfriend, Richard Bagg, happens to be the president of the student union and the leader of a fraternity. He takes personal offense at Wilder’s attempts to steal his girlfriend, and becomes very stressed out at having to deal with this burden on top of preparing for medical school and leading the Delta Iota Kappa (DIK) fraternity. Subsequently, a rivalry develops between the two men.

The rivalry grows as they perform increasingly disgusting pranks on each other. For instance, one scene involves Richard inviting Van over to a dinner with him and Gwen’s family to prove a point about Van’s lackadaisical attitude towards life (in which Gwen’s parents are only pleased by Van’s easy-going attitude, and Gwen, increasingly turned off by Richard’s stress, only feels that Richard’s actions were too under-handed.) In one infamous scene, Van and his friends replace the cream inside some donuts with dog semen and send them to Richard’s fraternity, where the frat brothers begin eating and don’t realize what it really is until it’s too late.

At one point, Richard also sleeps with another woman from a sister sorority, which would be the final straw for Gwen later on. Richard also sets up Van at one of his own parties in which there are some (very) underage drinkers and reports it to the police, which leads to Van almost being expelled. However, Van proposes an alternative punishment: that the school force him to complete a semester’s worth of work in the six days remaining, and then graduate. The committee agrees to this by a three-to-two decision.

Gwen is impressed that Van is taking the initiative to get his life together. She then learns of Richard’s infidelity, and decides to take retribution. On the morning of Richard’s interview with Northwestern Medical School, Gwen laces his ritualistic protein shake with a powerful laxative. Since there are no bathroom breaks allowed during the test, Richard has to hurry through the 2-hour exam in 20 minutes, “dialing down the middle” towards the end and disgusting the other test-takers with flatulence. Afterwards, before he can reach the bathroom, he unexpectedly runs into the medical school interview committee. They pull him into an office to begin the interview, and Richard ends up defecating into a trash can right in front of them. He is briefly seen again in the film, reading Gwen’s article in the school paper in the bathroom (presumably, his medical school dreams are ruined, as he mentions to Van in a deleted scene). Meanwhile, Van Wilder does well on his finals and celebrates his graduation with Gwen.

A side story of the film depicts the saga of Taj Mahal Badalandabad, an Indian foreign exchange student who is accepted (out of many “talented” applicants) to be Van’s personal assistant. The main reason for his application for this position, Taj explains, is he wants to have sex with an American girl before he goes home. He meets a girl named Naomi, and Van pushes Taj to go for her (“Naomi- that’s ‘I moan’ backwards,” Van explains) but Taj accidentally sets himself on fire with massage oil. At the end of the movie, Taj meets another Indian girl, and it seems like they are going to hit it off.

REVIEW:

WE all know that slacker type guy who was also lovable and wanted to help everyone else. Van Wilder is that guy in movie form.

Ryan Reynolds pulls this role off without a lick of trouble, and at the point in his career that this was released, I can’t imagine anyone else that would have been more perfect. He mixes his comic smarminess with a hint of lovable loser and an abundance of charisma that make Van Wilder human and not just a character in a script.

Tara Reid in this film is in one of her better performances. Given her recent personal and health issues, looking back at films such as this, American Pie, and Dr. T. and the Women, really make you remember that she does have a bit of talent as an actress and isn’t half bad looking, especially in a bikini…shame we don’t get to see that until the end of the film, but better late than never, right?

The rest of the case forms a nice little ensemble that compliments the film nicely.

This film is hilarious on many levels, especially for those of us that can identify with Van because we spent more than the normal amount of time in college. The plot, for me has no holes in it or anything that just sticks out as a major issue, but I’m sure there are those out there that want to bash this film to Kingdom Come. To each their own, though.

If you’re in for a good laugh, you should see this. I recommend the unrated DVD, but if you wait long enough it’ll be on Comedy Central, like it was tonight. Watch and enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars