Archive for December, 2009

The Music Man (2003)

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Professor Harold Hill, a con artist who makes a living by selling instruments and uniforms to aspiring musicians he fails to teach once they are delivered, sets his sights on the naive citizens of River City, Iowa as his latest targets. With the assistance of former sidekick Marcellus Washburn, who now is living in the rural town, Harold convinces the residents their only hope of saving their sons from the corruption of the local pool hall is to allow him to create a marching band and help them develop their musical talents.

Suspicious of Harold’s claim that he has a musical degree from the “Gary Conservatory of Music,” prim and proper town librarian and piano teacher Marian Paroo begins to investigate his background, much to the dismay of her mother, who hopes by participating in the band, Marian’s younger brother Wintrop will overcome the shyness he suffers as the result of a pronounced lisp. Marian tries to enlist the aid of Mayor Shinn, whose wife Eulalie and her friends always have looked askance at Marian due to her relationship with a man who left the library building to the town but all its contents to Marian. Mayor Shinn appoints four city councilmen to look into Harold’s past, but they fall under his spell when he encourages them to emulate a barbershop quartet and never quite manage to see his alleged credentials. By the time Marian uncovers the truth about Harold, she has fallen in love with the shyster and he in turn – much to his surprise – feels the same way about her.

REVIEW:

When this film first aired on television a few years back, I wasn’t a huge musical fan and had yet to see the original version, so my opinion of it was totally different from the one that I hold today, now that I’ve been a bit more educated.

The Music Man remains one of my favorite musicals…partially because I’m a music person, myself. As I’ve stated in many entries before, I am no fan fo remakes. However, there are always exceptions, and this is one of those cases.

The film doesn’t try to reimagine anything,which is good,  but rather it updates the cast. The script is the same, but that is based more on the fact that it comes from the original musical.

On the negative side of things, there is just something missing from this one that the original is not lacking. Don’t get me wrong, I throughly enjoyed it and all, but that magical feeling you get inside when you watch the 1962 version, just isn’t there with this one. It was kind of like they tried so hard to either not besmirch and insult the original or wanted to make it their own that they fogot to capture the audience. Unfortunately, that is the major downfall.

Musically speaking, the songs are same as the original, with a few little tweaks here and there, that only those with an ear for them will be able to pick up. They did extend a couple of the songs in order to incorporate some elaborate dance sequences. I’m not sure if those were in the stage production, but they just didn’t seem to fit.

The cast is pretty good. Matthew Broderick had the most pressure on him, filling in the shoes of Robert Preston. For the most part, he does a good job, but, like the film, he just doesn’t hit a home run. It’s more like a pop fly. Had I not seen Preston’s performance, though, I may have thought otherwise.

On the other side of the coin, Kristin Chenoweth eclipses Shirley Jones’ Mariann vocally, but Jones has her in the acting dept. Chenoweth comes off a bit too cold for my taste, but I can look past that due to the silhouette that these period clothes showed of her.

I’ve always thought of Victor Garber as one of those distinguished type of actors, so seeing him as the scatterbrained mayor, just didn’t quite work for me.

Molly Shannon seemed a bit wasted as Mrs. Shinn. Not that she did a bad job ir is a bad actress, but for the small amount of time she’s on screen they could have pulled someone off the street and pretty much gotten the same results…and for a lot less money.

As much as I like this film, I don’t love it, mostly due to my affection for the original. Many people who have seen both will agree, which is unfortunate, because this really is a great film, it just pales in comparison (and will always be compared to) the original. My recommendation is to watch them both, but make sure you put some space in between them, so that you’re not comparing one to the other, then make your own opinion, For me, this is worth watching, but if you’re looking to add one to your collection, go with the original.

4 out of 5 stars

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3D…is it really worth the hype?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2009 by Mystery Man

Remember the days when you could go to movie and the previews wouldn’t all be for movies coming in 3D? Those days weren’t that long ago. As a matter of fact, I think they were earlier this year. Somewhere along the line, the world of movies changed and now theaters, who already charge an arm and leg for everything from the tickets to just looking at the place, are looking for more ways to make money, so they charge the extra $1.50 for what equates to the rental of some sunglasses. The bad part of this is that you can’t keep the glasses…theoretically. Even if you did for the next time you go to a 3D film, you’d still have to pay the extra $$$. Man, we are so money obsessed in this world these days! Greed has taken control of filmmakers senses, rather than making good movies. This goes along the same line as remakes, in my book.

Check out these posts…

http://my.spill.com/profiles/blog/show?id=947994:BlogPost:1842854

http://my.spill.com/profiles/blogs/disneys-the-princess-and-the

Both of which touch on the topic of making why Disney should/should not have released The Princess and the Frog in 3D. That’s right….a movie that was hyped as proof that they could still make a good 2D animated feature is now probably going to be given the “magic touch” of 3D.

So, what is so special about 3D? Nothing really. You put on a pair of dark glasses in a theater only to see stuff jump out of the screen at you. At least, that’s what idea is supposed to be. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen 99.9% of the time.

Take for instance,   the winter’s big hit, Avatar. Sure, it is visually striking, but I really didn’t get my extra $1.50 worth. When I go see a 3D picture, I expect them to take advantage of the technology.

Seriously, with all the films that have come out in 3D lately, none have really done that, except for 2 (keep in mind that there are many films that were in 3D I didn’t see in theaters). My Bloody Valentine, if the trailer is like the film, really showcased what you can do with this stuff, but when it comes to 3D, none have done it better than  Beowulf.

Yes, Beowulf is the gold standard by which 3D should be measured. It is the ony 3D film that has lived up to the hype and delivered anything close to what was advertised. When I was sitting in the theater, I actually felt like the creatures were going to get me, the blood was going to splatter on me, and that I was really there. This is what you should feel when you see a film in 3D. You expect to see that 3rd dimension.

So, is 3D worth all the hype it is suddenly getting? From what I’ve seen, no. They seem to be making regular films using 3D film and slapping “in 3D” on the advertisements, just so they can charge even more for the already outrageously overpriced tickets.

Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this. It’s kind of like reality TV…as much as we hate it, we have no choice but to, at the very least, deal with it. Will I be going to more 3D films? *SIGH* I’d love to say no, but chances are I will, just to see if they can indeed live up to the hype, but I will always consider the 2D alternative.

You know what would have been good in 3D? Speed Racernevermind…that thing gave people seizures as is, probably would have been even worse in 3D…lol

10 Things I Hate About You

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , on December 30, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Cameron James, a new student at Padua High School, is given a tour of the school by Michael Eckman, who is an AV geek and former leader of a clique of future MBAs. Michael provides Cameron with information on the school’s various cliques. During the tour, Cameron spots the beautiful and popular Bianca Stratford and is immediately smitten with her. Michael warns that Bianca is shallow, conceited, and worst of all, not allowed to date. Michael does, however, inform Cameron that Bianca is looking for a French tutor.

At the Stratford residence, Bianca’s outcast older sister Kat receives a letter of acceptance to Sarah Lawrence College. Her protective father, Walter, is distraught by the news, as he wants Kat to attend college nearby. Kat distracts her father by revealing that Bianca was given a ride home from school by Joey Donner. Bianca begs her father to allow her to date, but to no avail. Kat’s aversion to dating prompts the father to come up with a new rule: Bianca can only date if Kat is dating.

Cameron starts tutoring Bianca, and she informs him of her father’s rule after Cameron makes many failed attempts to ask her out. This news motivates Cameron and Michael to set out to find a boy who is willing to date Kat.

Cameron suggests Patrick Verona, an outcast who is just as ill-tempered as Kat. Cameron tries asking Patrick for his assistance, but Patrick scares him off. Michael then poses the idea to Joey, also attempting to date Bianca, to pay Patrick to take Kat out. Patrick agrees, but Kat, however, wants nothing to do with Patrick. Cameron and Michael finally explain their situation to Patrick and inform him that Bogie Lowenstein is throwing a party (this is actually a plot by Michael to get revenge, as a rumor from Bogie had got him kicked out of their clique). Cameron and Michael spread rumors around school that Bogie’s party will have free beer and dancing, although it is actually a small private gathering.

At the party, Kat tells Joey to stay away from her sister. Joey brags that he cannot guarantee she’ll stay away from him. Kat gets upset and begins drinking, leading her to dance drunkenly on a table. Meanwhile, Cameron discovers that Bianca was using him to find a date for Kat so that Bianca could date Joey.

Cameron decides to stop trying to date Bianca, but Patrick convinces him to go for it. Bianca asks Cameron for a ride home after discovering Joey’s true character. Cameron drops her off and tells her that he really likes her and was very disappointed in her. At that point Bianca kisses Cameron. Patrick brings Kat home, and she drunkenly tries kissing Patrick. He suggests they should do that some other time, hurting Kat’s feelings.

The next day at school, Patrick publicly sings “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” (with the school’s marching band providing backing music) to Kat in front of everyone asking her forgiveness, landing him in detention. Kat gets him out of detention by “flashing” the soccer coach. Kat and Patrick spend the day together, and they both realize that they truly do like each other. Patrick, motivated by Joey’s bribe of $300, asks Kat to the prom. However, she is suspicious of his motives and they get into a fight.

Bianca tries to convince her father to let her go to the prom, but he refuses, since Kat isn’t going. Bianca confronts Kat. Kat then reveals that she dated Joey and they had sex, mostly because everyone else was doing it. However, when Kat told Joey that she wasn’t ready for sex and did not want to do it again, he immediately broke up with her. Even though she forbade Joey to tell anyone of their one time together or else she would tell all the cheerleaders how “tiny” he is, Kat still felt immense rejection, thus spurring her to not do anything ever again just because everyone else was doing it and distanced herself from her peers.

Bianca and Kat end up going to the prom with Cameron and Patrick, respectively. Joey is furious to learn that Bianca has gone to prom with Cameron, and confronts Patrick about the “arrangement” in front of Kat. Kat blows up at Patrick and leaves. Joey subsequently confronts Cameron about manipulating the ‘deal’ for himself, but after he punches Cameron, Bianca hits Joey three times herself (once for “making [her] date bleed”, once for her sister, and once for her), leaving him curled up in pain on the floor with a broken nose and a black eye.

The next morning, Bianca thanks Kat for going to prom and the sisters make up. Kat’s father allows her to go to Sarah Lawrence. At school, Kat reads a poem which she wrote for English class, titled “10 Things I Hate About You” (although it contains 14 things she hates about Patrick). While reading the poem, she reveals (in front of the entire class) how hurt she was by what Patrick did and how much she really cares about him (“But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all”). Patrick is shown to be touched by her revelation. In the parking lot, Kat finds a guitar Patrick bought her with the money Joey paid him, and he admits that he messed up their deal by falling for her. Kat forgives Patrick and the two kiss and make up.

REVIEW:

10 Things I Hate About You may very well be remembered as the film that introduced us to Julia Stiles and the late Heath Ledger (although, I think The Patriot brought us the latter). As much of a factor in this film’s legacy that is, the fact that this is actually an enjoyable film full on 90s goodness should be more the selling point.

The film is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. At one point, Ledger even refers to Stiles as “the Shrew”, sort of as a nod to the source material. I’ll admit that I’ve never read the play, like more than a few of you out there, but that doesn’t make this film any less enjoyable.

One of the best things about this picture is that, while it could very well have taken a cop-out, and become this sappy, weepy, chick flick romantic comedy, it decides to keep things light and go for the generic romantic comedy angle that will appeal to men and women, although it is geared more towards females.

Seeing how far Ledger has come from this to his last roles is nothing short of remarkable, but that is not to say that he wasn’t a star back then. As Patrick Vernon, he shines with his mysterious Australian bad-boy charm.

Julia Stiles seems right at home playing the hard-nosed “shrew” , Kat. Many of her roles are like thins and makes me wonder if she’s like this in real life.

Larisa Oleynik and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have some good chemistry that culminates at the end. I would have liked for them to have been on screen more, but this film is obviously more about Kat and Patrick.

One of the most memorable moments of the picture has to be Ledger’s rendition of “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, complete with marching band accompaniment. I found myself singing along with him. I do have to wonder what kind of freak high school these people went to. That place look like it was about the size of Hogwarts, and where in the world do the soccer team, boys P.E. class, and band all practice on the same field at the same time? Just an observation, not a complaint.

Do I have anything negative to say about this? Well,the minor characters, like Kat’s friend who is a die-hard Shakespeare nut, Bianca’s friend (played by then unknown Gabrielle Union), turns out to be a bitch, and the guidance counselor could have done with a bit more fleshing out if they were going to get the amount of time they did receive, but that’s just me.

Can you belive this picture is 10 years old? Wow! Where does the time go? When this film came out, the girl I was dating at the time, would get all a twitter whenever she would see Heath Ledger, as I’m sure many females (and some males) did. The sad part is, there really is no eye candy going on for the guys. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few pretty faces and whatnot, but they’re not in the lead and/or on-screen long enough. THat tidbit aside, this is a really great film and worth multiple viewings.

5 out of 5 stars

I Love You, Beth Cooper

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film starts with high school valedictorian Denis Cooverman (Paul Rust) stating to the entire gymnasium that he’s had a crush on cheerleader Beth Cooper (Hayden Panettiere) for six years. During the speech, he singles out the class bully, a pretty but shallow party girl and two girls with eating disorders, and takes a verbal swipe at Beth’s boyfriend Kevin and tells his movie-quoting best friend Rich (Jack Carpenter) to admit that he’s gay. Denis’ speech upsets everyone except Beth, who thinks it was “sweet,” giving Denis the courage to invite her to a party at his house that night. Beth’s boyfriend, military trained Kevin (Shawn Roberts), is angry at Denis for calling him an “over-aged loser who keeps company with high school girls because he can’t get a date with a girl his own age.”

After his declaration, Denis’ mother (Cynthia Stevenson) and father (Alan Ruck, from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) leave him and Rich alone at the house for their party, which no one attends, as they are social outcasts. Beth shows up in her tiny blue car with her friends Cammy (Lauren London) and Treece (Lauren Storm) at Denis’ house that evening. Kevin shows up with his army buddies and Denis and Rich are assaulted. Beth and Treece help Denis and Rich get away.

Beth is meant to be a dream girl, but has one glaring imperfection that shatters Denis’ fantasy. A turning point in the film comes right after the group gets away from Denis’ house. Denis and Beth go into a liquor store to buy beer, but the clerk (Samm Levine) refuses to sell the beer. Beth offers to “kiss you so hard,everytime you think about it, you’ll have to change your underwear.” The kiss is not shown, but Denis is disillusioned by her actions: “She’s not Beth Cooper.” In the novel, it’s slightly different; she offers to touch the clerk’s penis.

Eventually, the group heads back to the high school where Beth, Cammy, and Treece show off their cheerleading act. Denis notices that Beth has a tear in her eye. After the act, the girls head to the showers and Denis follows. Denis passively walks into the girls’ locker room and sees the girls changing. Knowing that Denis is looking, Beth smiles at him, drops her towel and shows off her bare back. Beth tries to get Denis and Rich in the showers with them when Kevin arrives. Rich stays back to fight off Kevin and his crew while the others escape. After escaping, Beth reveals to Denis that she only came to his party because it would be “funny”, leaving Denis disappointed. Denis gets a nose bleed and Treece, as a joke, gives him tampons to stop the bleeding, which is referenced to movie, She’s the Man. The next shot shows Denis with two tampons up his nose. Next, Beth tells Denis his shirt smells and forces him to take it off. Beth takes his shirt and holds it out the window to “air it off”; then the shirt flies out the window. They stop the car and Denis, in his underwear, goes to find his shirt. They all start laughing so Beth then gives him her poncho to wear. They both go out looking for the shirt. They find the shirt in a pile of mud where they encounter a raccoon. The raccoon tries to eat the shirt so they try to grab it when the raccoon yells and scares them both and they run back to the car.

The gang arrives at Treece’s fathers cabin where they all share a drink. Beth asks if anyone wants to go with her to see the sun rise, and Denis happily agrees. As they walk on the beach they talk about her brother, who died. Back at the cabin Cammy and Treece imply that Rich is gay. He continues to deny he is. So they decided to test him. Cammy grabs a condom and she and Treece take Rich into the back room to have sex, where it is revealed that he isn’t gay and they all share what they plan to do once the summer’s over. As the sun rises Beth and Denis talk about their plans after summer, and then share a kiss. The next shot shows Denis’ parents on the lawn discussing the damaged kitchen, when Beth’s car pulls up.

His parents realize they have seen the car before, then Denis exits. They ask what happened to him, and he replies only by saying that he’s fine. His mother, surprised about the mishap, chooses not to discuss it. She then says “I’m going to make pancakes, if she hasn’t made them already”, assuming Beth and Denis had sex. Next, Denis and his father have a father-son moment. His father implies that he will have to be punished, to which Denis replies, “Whatever that punishment is, it was all worth it.” Before going inside, Beth thanks Denis for loving her and they share another kiss. The girls depart, and before they enter the house, Rich reveals to Denis that he’s gay or might be bisexual. When Denis and Rich go through the door, Rich says that they will need rope and ducktape to kidnap Beth for Denis’ next step with Beth.

REVIEW:

Remember when teen comedies were all about two things…raunch and comedy? Well, these days, they have all but abandoned the raunch and try as they may, aren’t funny. Take I Love You, Beth Cooper for instance. The picture starts out pretty good, but then fizzles on the comedy side. Thankfully, it doesn’t get all drama-laden, but the jokes and gags and whatnot, while a valiant effort, just aren’t executed to a level high enough to make them worthwhile.

This film is based ona book. I’ve never heard or read it, but from those that have, this was pretty much a slap in the face to the fans. I’d have to read the book to tell you why, though, and if this outrage is warranted.

It is good to see Hayden Panettiere doing things on the big screen and away from Heroes, though, I do wonder if she can play anything but a cheerleader.

Lauren London is a little wasted here. She seems as if she’s on the verge of breaking out in Hollywood, but these minor roles where she’s doesn’t even get noticed, aren’t going to her career any good. Having said that, she and Lauren Storm do a good job as the bitchy/horny best friends…typical of a cheerleader, right?

The army guys really take the cake. Not because they are the best actors or anything like that, but rather they seem like the typical cyborg army guys. What’s even better is that they sell the roid rage, doped up part of their characters, and even act like they’re in battle or something. I was half expecting them to pull out some guns at some point.

Newcomer Paul Rust isn’t bad as the lovable loser. To me, he was like a mix of Zack Braff and Jason Biggs (and all the characters, they’ve played). This guy couldn’t seem to catch a break, though. Everything he did seemed to end up wrong.

In high school, I did pine over this girl for most of my 4 years, but I at least talked to her. I never wasted time by not talking to her, and even if I hadn’t, I doubt I would hav had the balls to get up in front of all the friends and family and declare my love for her. It is that part of the plot that makes this film interesting and cute. Not to mention sets up a nice little string of events that last the length of the film.

I Love You, Beth Cooper  isn’t going to win any awards, but it is a cute little film. Should it go on your list of films that you must see before you die? No, but it is one of those good date flicks, what with it being a romantic comedy and all. There are things that could have been done better and things that could have been done worse. My suggestion is that it is worth a viewing, but you don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to watch it, unless you’re a huge Hayden Panettiere fan.

3 out of 5 stars

Boat Trip

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on December 26, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Jerry (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Nick (Horatio Sanz) are two best buddies whose love lives have hit rock bottom. For Jerry, he vomited all over his uptight, pretentious girlfriend Felicia on a hot air balloon trip prior to proposing to her. For Nick, he has trouble meeting women because he may do (or say) something weird that scares them away.

After running into a friend who has married a beautiful girl way above him, the pair tries to escape their troubles and do the same by booking a trip on board a cruise ship, after learning that the friend had met his wife on a singles’ cruise, with a female-to-male ratio favoring men. On the way to the travel agency, they have an encounter in the parking lot with a (unknown to them) gay man (Artie Lange). Nick and Jerry walk into the agency, realizing that the man works at the agency, and resume the argument from outside. The manager (Will Ferrell) apologizes for the exchange and books their cruise personally. However, Nick and Jerry are unaware that the travel agency manager has just played a horrid trick on them in retaliation for Nick offending what appears to be his lover after they leave.

Though the cruise ship they’re to board has a large banner on the gangplank proudly proclaiming its service to the gay community, Nick and Jerry somehow miss it. After the ship leaves the dock, it becomes apparent that the ship is full of homosexual men. They both find a new best friend in Hector (Maurice Godin), who is a proud gay man that later teaches them that gay people aren’t what they think. In an attempt to leave the ship, Nick fires a flare gun into the air, hoping to flag down a passing helicopter. The flare ends up hitting the chopper, causing it to crash into the sea. The next day, the passengers of the helicopter, a Swedish bikini model team and their blonde, misandristic, sex-crazed coach Sonya (Lin Shaye), are rescued from their lifeboat by the cruise ship. Sonya catches Nick rubbing sun tan lotion one of her girls, Inga (Victoria Silvstedt) and she attacks Nick, immediately letting him know that she does not like him. Sonya’s hatred towards Nick changes after an accidental affair, Sonya falls in love with Nick and becomes obsessed with him and wants to be his girlfriend. She confronts him trying to convince him to let her perform oral sex on him as her way of saying “thank-you”. She tries to demonstrate with a baseball bat but Nick finds it both disgusting and interesting, and he runs off.

Jerry tries to make the best of the situation by pursuing Gabriella (Roselyn Sanchez), the lovely straight dance instructor after she saves him from drowning in the pool until trouble boards ship in the shape of his spoiled ex-girlfriend Felicia (Vivica A. Fox) who wants him back.

Though Nick is making progress with one of the bikini teammates, he also learns more about himself on the trip. He finds that he enjoys being in the company of the gay men who are becoming his friends, after learning that they’re not much different from straight men. After waking up with one of them in the same bed, Nick, believing he may have had sex with him, thinks maybe he could be a latent homosexual. Nick says goodbye to Inga. Inga is last seen riding off on donkies with her team and horny coach who is gaining sexual pleasure from the animal. Nick’s theory is dismissed when the man tells him nothing happened and he continues in his pursuits of the Swedish blonde.

Then, Jerry’s former girlfriend finds his cruise ship and intends to reunite. She sees him performing in drag. He tries to convince her he’s straight, but, at the same time, betrays Gabriella. Felicia and Jerry then go to get married and Nick kisses Jerry at the “forever hold your peace” moment and they run off to find Gabriella with Hector. Lloyd (Roger Moore) and Jerry then parachute down to the ship that Gabriella is on and they reunite and admit their love for each other and they kiss. Then Nick goes to Gettzemüllersteigen, Sweden, to find Inga, however she is in Italy for a three month modelling assignment. However, Inga has a little sister who also aspires to be a bikini model. The movie ends when Inga’s mother informs Nick that the little sister’s coach will be over for dinner, who turns out to be Sonya and she is delighted to see her “lover”.

REVIEW:

Boat Trip is a comedy that sort of flips the table on us guys. What I man is that instead of the girl getting treated like crap and then falling for someone else afterwards, it is the guy who goes through that…anguish. Luckily, though, this isn’t some sappy romantic comedy, but rather just a comedy, so that part of the plot is only hinted at here and there.

In the early scenes, we get a good idea and introduction to who the lead characters are, as well as a few little exchanges between Horatio Sanz’s character and some guy in the parking lot….not ot mention a cameo by Will Ferrell. Unfortunately, the film crashes an burns from there, with only the eye candy that is Roselyn Sanchez, Victoria Silvstedt and the Swedish tanning teams to keep things a bit interesting.

I don’t mean to say this film is a total waste of time, but it goes from being funny to a string of gay stereotypes, which while initially funny, get old and hurt the film in the end. While I’m not sure if any gay men were offended by this film, I have read more than a few reviews of straight men that were. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason they took offense. My guess is they were just looking for something to complain about.

The acting in this picture isn’t the best. As a matter of fact, everytime I watch this, I have to wonder what Cuba Gooding, Jr. was thinking when he signed on for this after winning an Oscar. Coincidentally, his career has been in a bit of a downward spin since this film. Horatio Sanz is what you would expect from him. Roselyn Sanchez steals the show with her beauty, but also gives a pretty good performance. Vivica A. Fox is just there, mostly to be the “villain”.

For good comedy, you can do a lot worse than Boat Trip, but you can also do a lot better. The humor of this film is primarily rooted in gay jokes, but there are more than a few that find those funny, myself included, so it works, but as I said before, it gets old quick. This isn’t a must-see, but it is one of those flicks that is worth watching if you have nothing better to do.

4 out of 5 stars

Oklahoma!

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Renaissance actor Hugh Jackman proves he’s more than just a pretty face (or a superhero, for that matter) in this impressive turn as Curly in the National Theatre’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” Jackman, accompanied by acclaimed thespians Maureen Lipman, Josefina Gabrielle and Shuler Hensley, sings the show’s best hits, including “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and the title song.

REVIEW:

Oklahoma! is one of the most revered and respected musicals. There is even a classic film version, which I initially thought I was getting this week, but turns out that this was a stage production. I don’t have any issue with stage production, per se, but it’s just not the same watching one on a screen rather than in person, so I was bit dissuaded in my opinion of this film.

Hugh Jackman stars  in the production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. I’m not exactly sure about the timeline, but I think this was before he became Wolverine. It is obvious the guy has talent, as he, not necessarily carries the production, but is obviously the star.

The rest of the cast is not known to most people, but are well-known to Broadway audiences as they are stage veterans, which gives them instant credibility.

Unfortunately for this picture, at 3 hours, it drags on. I even fell asleep at more than one point. I don’t know if this is necessarily an indictment of the film, though, because I’ve sat through longer films and actual stage productions Having said that, though, it is a very fine interpretation of this work and definitely worth the viewing, although, having not seen the classic film version, I can’t say which would be better.

3 out of 5 stars

Sherlock Holmes

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Holmes and Watson racing against time to prevent a human sacrifice ritual conducted by Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). They manage to stop the sacrifice ritual just in time. The police, led by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan), arrive after Holmes and Watson neutralize Lord Blackwood and proceed to arrest him.

Lord Blackwood triggers panic within the prison, even causing a prison warden to be struck down with a seizure. Holmes on the other hand has been bored silly in the three months between Blackwood’s capture and his impending execution. Meanwhile, Watson has met a girl named Mary (Kelly Reilly) whom he intends to wed, and will be moving out of his apartment. Holmes on the other hand gets re-acquainted with the only person who has managed to fool him twice: Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). She offers him a sum of money to pursue a case, and leaves his apartment. Holmes disguises himself as a vagrant and trails Adler to a coach, within which sits a man whose face is not seen. He has a wrist-mounted contraption that deploys a concealed short-barreled pistol, which he uses to chase the disguised Holmes away from the coach.

The day before his execution, Blackwood asks to meet with Holmes. Holmes notices that Blackwood has scrawled occult symbols and inscriptions on the walls of his prison cell, and Blackwood warns Holmes that death will not be an obstacle to him. He states that three more murders will occur, and there is nothing Holmes can do about it.

Blackwood is subsequently executed by hanging, and Watson himself personally verifies that Blackwood has no pulse and is clinically dead. Three days after he is buried, the stones that sealed his tomb have been shattered and a witness claims he saw Blackwood leave the tomb alive. Holmes and Watson are called to the scene to investigate. The coffin is removed and instead of Blackwood’s corpse, they find the body of a red haired midget, the very man Irene Adler had asked him to find.

With Blackwood apparently back from the dead, London is astir with rumors about his dark powers and Holmes and Watson resume their hunt to track him down and uncover the mystery of his resurrection. Their adventures lead them to uncover an occult-dabbling secret society known as the Temple of the Four Orders (similar in vein to secret societies such as the Order of the Eastern Temple, the Freemasons, the Illuminati and the Rosicrucians), with Blackwood eventually leading it on a quest for world domination. Blackwood leaves many (apparently supernatural) murders in his wake, while planning with the members of the Order to launch a major attack on the British parliament.

Holmes and Watson stop his attack on the parliament disarming a machine designed to release a chemical gas. In a battle on the construction site of the Tower Bridge, Holmes reveals all of the scientific methods behind Blackwood’s seemingly supernatural resurrection, powers, and murders. Blackwood falls to his death high above London, and Holmes handcuffs himself to Ms. Adler until she explains her motives to become involved with the case. She explains that the mysterious caped man in the carriage is one Professor Moriarty, who had used the battle to covertly steal an important component of the machine. Adler warns Holmes that Moriarty is just as brilliant as he is, and infinitely more devious. The film ends with Holmes learning of a new case involving Professor Moriarty.

REVIEW:

My background in Sherlock Holmes is resorted mainly to cartoons and TV shows that use him as a reference. I have never read the books, but will get on that soon enough. Without prior knowledge of the character, you can imagine that I’m  more or less going in here with a clean slate, which can be a good or bad thing.

Sherlock Holmes offers a mix of action and some brief bits of comedy, but mostly we get this dry borderline drama story with a couple of weird twists at the end that totally change the way you see the entire film.

I’m always up for some good one-liners to lighten the mood of a film. THere is no need to be all serious. I’m sure there is bound to be someone out there who is going ot bash the comic elements, though.

The action wasn’t that great, to tell you the truth. Well, let me take that back. It is ok for what it is. Obviously, there ar no giant robots, car chases, or rapid gun battles, but it just feels as if it was forced into the story to make it “more appealing”.  Even the climactic battle atop the unfinished Tower Bridge didn’t quite seem to fit. Going even deeper…a few times Holmes narrates what he’s about to do to someone in a fight, and then does it. I actually liked this, and think they should have him do it a couple more times, rather than just abandon it like it seems they did.

Robert Downey, Jr. really got into this role, even going so far as learning old English. His dedication to the art shows, as he gives quite the performance and captures Holmes’ ego, and even his need to monologue about his methods and such.

Jude Law is not who I would have chosen as Dr. Watson, but from what I’ve heard and read, the Watson in the books is totally different from the one we are familiar with. If that is indeed the case, than maybe Law isn’t such a bad choice.

Rachel McAdams has an interesting character, but its obvious she’s just there to be a pretty face and introduce Moriarty (for possible future films).

Mark Strong did a pretty good job as Lord Blackwood. At times, he was even a bit creepy, which for someone who has risen from the dead, that’s what you expect.

One thing I could have done without was this strange drama between Holmes and Watson involving Watson leaving. Sure it makes for good sitcom fodder, but just didn’t work for me or this film.

I have never thought of Sherlock Holmes as an action hero, but rather a man of high intellect, so you can imagine my interest in the film was that of skepticism. There has been much hype surrounding this picture. Was it worth it? I can’t very well say that, but at the sam time I can’t say it’s not. Mu opinion is that when there is no action, the film falls into this thick stew of muck and doesn’t recover until the next action scene, then it repeats, only the muck gets thicker. I need to see this again to know for sure, but it seemed as if this film doesn’t know what it wants to be. Should it be a serious picture? Or an action/adventure? Maybe even an action comedy? It bounces from one genre to the other and never finds sure footing, so how can we, the audience know what to think? Well, here’s what I think, it doesn’t suck, but I can all but guarantee that this time next year, you won’t remember Sherlock Holmes for anything other than something to add to these actors resumes (of course with Downey, you’ll forget by this summer with the release of Iron Man 2).

3 1/2 out of 5 stars