Archive for August, 2011

Rooster Cogburn

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , on August 31, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Because of his drunkenness and questionable use of firearms, aging U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn has been stripped of his badge. But he’s given a chance to redeem himself after a village in Indian Territory is overrun by a gang of violent, ruthless criminals, who’ve killed an elderly preacher, Rev. George Goodnight. His spinster daughter, Eula Goodnight, wants to track the criminals down and makes Rooster an unwilling partner. But Rooster must use care, because the criminals, led by Hawk and Breed, have stolen a shipment of nitroglycerine.

REVIEW:

If you’ve seen the original True Grit, then you’ll wonder why in the world there was a need for a sequel, but sure enough, there was Rooster Cogburn. Now, it appears this also happened to be a book, so maybe the novels make more sense, because this film seemed like it was nothing more than a cash grab and way to get a couple of elderly screen legends together in one film.

This is another one of those films that doesn’t really deserve a real review. Basically, here is the plot…Rooster Cogburn is still a U.S. Marshall from the old school, but his ways have finally gotten him into trouble and a judge takes away his badge. Being that they’re friends, though, he offers Rooster a chance at redemption by capturing the murderer of a local preacher in the Indian Territory.

The widow of said preacher is devout Christian spinster lady who is just as headstrong as Rooster, yet they have to work and travel together in order to capture the criminals, who have also shanghaied a shipment of nitroglycerine.

If you’re wondering to yourself, “what does this have to do with the original?”, then you have the same thoughts I had when watching this flick. Other than Rooster and his landlord and cat, the only reference to the previous film is a brief mention of Rooster’s horse and that film’s villains (nothing about Mattie, though).

As far as westerns go, this one is quite weak, but I suppose it could have been worse.

The original True Grit had many moments of comic relief, but this one doesn’t really have anything close to that. Well, there are, but they just aren’t funny.

The chemistry between Wayne and Hepburn is real good. It’s so good, it makes you wonder why these two have never been in a film together before (or after, if I’m not mistaken).

There is some action in this flick, but not enough to even classify it as an action flick.

I guess if you love the real True Grit, then you’re probably like me and curious as to what the sequel would be like. That, in all honesty, would be the only reason to even think about watching Rooster Cogburn, unless you want to see the pairing of Wayne and Hepburn. I recommend it for one of those reasons only. Otherwise, it is best to stay away.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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The Chaperone

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on August 31, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Ray Bradstone (Levesque) is the best wheel man in the business, but he is determined to go straight and be the best parent he can be to his daughter, Sally (Ariel Winter), and make amends with his ex-wife, Lynne (Annabeth Gish). As Ray struggles to find honest work, his old bank-robbing crew, led by Phillip Larue (Corrigan), offers him one last job. He agrees at first, but changes his mind at the last second leaving the crew without a driver. Ray decides instead to serve as a chaperone for Sally’s school field trip. When the robbery goes awry, Larue blames Ray and chases the school bus all the way to the Museum of Natural History in New Orleans. Ray must deal with Larue, while supervising Sally’s class on what becomes one of the craziest school trips ever.

REVIEW:

Recall that movie Faster? You may remember it was about a falsely accused wheelman who just was released from prison. Well, The Chaperone is pretty much the same thing, only instead of the con going out for revenge, he sets out to rebuild his family, starting with his middle school-aged daughter.

As with most girls, she has some kind of emotion issue with him suddenly showing back up and wants nothing to do with him. Couple this with the fact that his ex-wife has remarried, and Ray thinks he has hit rock bottom…then his apartment burns down. Things can’t get worse for the guy, so he volunteers to be the wheelman for a bank heist, but realizes while he’s waiting for them to finish that he shouldn’t be there.

It turns out that the daughter, Sally, is going on a field trip to New Orleans (is it me or does every movie seem to be set in New Orleans these days), and he was asked to chaperone, but turned it down. As a bit of a getaway he jumps on the bus and makes it appear as if he’s a chaperone, much to the chagrin of everyone, except the teacher.

As the film progresses, the bank robbers track him down and threaten both the life of him and Sally in an attempt to get the money back. Ray also has to endure the world of being an ex-con and not being able to find a job and not have anyone’s trust. He does get some quality time with his daughter, which results in her changing her tune, and a few of her classmates are in his corner from day one as well.

The film ends with a confrontation between Ray and the bank robbers, after they kidnap Sally and drag her into a cemetery (they’re in New Orleans, it was either there or Bourbon St…lol). Ray goes in HHH mode and saves his daughter, as well as proves his innocence for the time he was away but this current crime he was accused of.

I honestly thought this was going to be an epic fail of a film, but it really wasn’t. The major theme of Ray searching for reconciliation and wanting to start over was quite refreshing, because with a big guy like Triple H, they very well could have had him become some kind of brute enforcer (as he is in the other films he’s been in).

The chemistry between him and the little girl was pure magic. I felt as if there could have been a bit more comedy in the comedy film. Yeah, there were a few belly laughs here and there, mostly due to the incompetent criminals, but nothing more. That was a bit of a let down for me.

The real surprise here wasn’t necessarily the fact that I liked this picture so much, but rather that it was directed by the same guy who did Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Mr. Holland’s Opus. Yeah, I didn’t know those films were by the same guy, either. Guess it just shows he has range.

In his heyday on top of the WWE, Triple H was a main attraction, usually involved in a rivalry with Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock. I find it interesting the similarities between this film and the latter’s Faster. I can’t help bt wonder if that was done on purpose.

Well, what is the final verdict on The Chaperone? Well, it isn’t horrible, but it isn’t great, either. The film has issues, but if you’re just looking for a sweet film with a wrestler to watch with the family and don’t really want to take a chance on Tooth Fairy or The Game Plan, then this is for you.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

Police Academy 6: City Under Seige

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The police must investigate a series of robberies along a strip of land in the city. The Mayor (Kenneth Mars) assigns Captain Harris (G.W. Bailey) and Lt. Proctor (Lance Kinsey) to the case, but while on stakeout the Wilson gang manages to slip through their fingers. The Mayor wants Harris and Proctor to work with Commandant Lassard (George Gaynes) on apprehending the gang. Lassard assembles a seven-man team consisting of Hightower (Bubba Smith), Tackleberry (David Graf), Jones (Michael Winslow), Hooks (Marion Ramsey), Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook), Fackler (Bruce Mahler), and Lassard’s nephew, Nick (Matt McCoy). After distributing flyers as to the information of the Wilson gang and getting nowhere, Nick stumbles upon a paper heading of an antique diamond heading to a museum, and gets an idea to use it as bait: however the robbers nab the diamond anyway by cutting a hole in the truck and escaping through the sewer system. McCoy then decides to go undercover to get information regarding a possible hideout, but Harris decides to go undercover to get a confession. It turns out that Harris goes undercover as a window washer at a tall building, for which he has a fear of height, and gets a confession of himself on tape after Proctor accidentally knocks him over the balcony. The robberies are committed by a group of three dimwitted criminals who do not seem to be able to do this on their own, and it is revealed they are being guided by a literally shadow figure known as the “Mastermind”, who speaks to the three behind a wall of glass and uses a voice distortion device. He devises a plan to get the cops out of the way. Commandant Lassard and his men are later suspended after drugs are planted in Lassard’s locker, pending an investigation. The gang decides to clear his name by nabbing the gang and the ringleader. Accessing data files from a computer, Nick deduces that the robberies are occurring along a bus route, thus intentionally lower property values in that part of the city. They also learn that someone must be ‘leaking’ information to the bad guys, which is why they are always one step ahead of the Police Academy. The Police Academy force finds and does battle with the Wilson gang, while Nick chases the leader. A pursuit follows, which leads to Commissioner Hearst’s (George Robertson) office. It is revealed that the Mayor is the “Mastermind” and that Captain Harris has been unwittingly leaking information during his daily meetings with the Mayor. Hearst apologizes and reinstates the force, and a plaque is given to honor the officers’ bravery the next day. As the movie closes, Harris is sitting in a chair when a string tying the balloon float is cut, lifting his chair and floating him up into the air as he shouts Proctor’s name.

REVIEW:

Well, here we are on the 6th entry into the Police Academy franchise. I wish I could say that they’ve gotten progressively better, but that just isn’t the case. If anything, they’ve gotten worse.

I’m not going to even waste time on writing a lengthy review of this one, because, for the most part the plot is the same. The only difference is that there is no academy to be seen in this film, and the primary villain is an evil mastermind who isn’t seen (if you were a fan of Saturday morning cartoons in the 80s, you may recognize his voice).

Everything else is the same. The film opens with Harris and Proctor doing something make Lassard look bad, but it backfires. We meet the criminals. Then we find out what the major plot point of the film is. Then we get some hijinks from the officers, mostly directed towards Harris. Of course, we have to have a scene with Tacklberry and his triggerhappiness, Jones and his sounds, Hightower being intimidating, Hooks being the shy little violet she is, Fackler being the complete klutz he is, and of course one (2 in this one actually) where Callahan is making men faun all over her. Finally, we spend the last 30 minutes or so chasing after the villains, only to conclude with some sort of awards ceremony that is culminated with more hijinks directed at Harris.

So, as you see, the formula hasn’t changed. I’m not really one to mess with something if it works, but there comes a point when you need to change something.

This may actually be the strongest plot of the series, but that plus is negated by all the above mentioned repetition.

Needless to say, this is not may favorite entry into the franchise. Having said that, I think it was stronger than its predecessor. There just is too much recycled material. You know what they say, “You can’t beat a dead horse”. Well, they’re definitely beating the hell out of this horse. I’m tempted to not even bother with the last entry in the franchise and just say stop after #3, because that’s about where they jumped the shark, but then my OCD would get the better of me. That’s neither here not there, just know that this is not a horrible film, but everything has been done before, and better, in previous entires. The villains are the high point, especially Mastermind, so if you musty see it, there’s the selling point.

2 out of 5 stars

The Brothers Grimm

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Will and Jake Grimm (Matt Damon and Heath Ledger) arrive in French-occupied Germany during the late 18th century. They go to Karlstadt to rid the town of a witch’s ghost. After killing the “ghost”, it is revealed that the Brothers Grimm have actually set up a fake witch to trick the town. Afterwards, as they are celebrating, Italian torturer Cavaldi (Peter Stormare) takes them to the French General Delatombe (Jonathan Pryce). Delatombe forces them to solve a mystery: the girls of the small village of Marbaden are going missing and the villagers are convinced that supernatural beings are responsible. The Grimms are charged with finding who is responsible and they soon discover that it is the work of a real supernatural force: a beautiful, yet dangerous 500-year-old Thuringian queen (Monica Bellucci) stealing young girls to restore her own beauty. Will and Jake have a complicated relationship, since Jake is the smaller, younger more sensitive one that Will feels he needs to protect. Will is often very hard on Jake (dating all the way back to their childhood, when Jake spent their money that was to be used for medicine for their dying sister on “magic beans”) and orders him around. Will is somewhat of a womanizer and wants to make money, while Jake is more interested in fairy tales and adventures. Jake feels that Will doesn’t care about or believe in him, but Will is just frustrated about the way Jake acts so spontaneously, therefore making it hard for Will to protect him.

Long ago, King Childeric I came to the forest to build a city while the queen experimented with black magic to gain eternal life. A plague swept through the land and she hid in her tower, while her husband and everyone below her perished. Her spell granted her immortal life, but not the youth and beauty to go along with it. Her youthful appearance now only exists in her mirror, the source of her life, as an illusion and nothing more. She needs to drink the blood of twelve young girls to regain her beauty, ten have already been reported missing. The queen is working an enchantment to regain her beauty with the aid of her werewolf huntsman and his magic axe, crow familiars, and various creatures in the forest. The Grimms, with the help of Cavaldi and Angelika (Lena Headey), a knowing huntress from the village, intend to destroy The Mirror Queen. After another girl goes missing, Cavaldi takes the Grimms and Angelika back to Delatombe. Because they have failed, Cavaldi is ordered to kill both the Grimms, but after convincing Delatombe that the magic in the forest is actually caused by German rebels, he sends them back. While Cavaldi stays behind with Angelika in the village, the brothers attempt to get into the tower. Jake succeeds and discovers the queen and the power of her mirror. Meanwhile, another girl named Sasha is captured despite Angelika and Cavaldi’s efforts to save her.

Jake rides into the forest alone after a spat with Will, who follows him. After mistaking a dummy that is smashed into the tower for Jake, Will realizes that Jake needs him to believe in him, and assists Jake in climbing up the tower. On the roof of the tower, Jake notices twelve crypts in which the twelve victims must lie. When Sasha’s body comes up from a well, the werewolf takes her to a tomb. After rescuing Sasha and taking the werewolf’s magic axe, the Grimms return to the village. Delatombe captures the brothers and believes them to be frauds. French soldiers begin burning down the forest and Cavaldi represses his sympathy to the brothers, but they are eventually saved by Angelika. The werewolf is revealed to be Angelika’s father, who is under the Queen’s spell. It turns out that he is only able to keep on living due to an enchanted spike that is lodged into his chest and without such, the spell is broken. Angelika is drowned by her father, becoming the 12th victim. The Brothers reach the tower while the Queen breathes an ice wind which puts out the forest fire. Delatombe notices that the Grimms have escaped and goes after them with Cavaldi. When Cavaldi refuses to kill the Grimms, Delatombe shoots him, but is later impaled by Will.

Will and Jake enter the tower, where Will falls under the Queen’s spell by taking the enchanted spike from Angelika’s father and lodging it inside of Will instead. Jake shatters the enchanting mirror in the tower, preventing the queen from completing the spell that will restore her youth. With the last of his strength, Angelika’s father destroys the rest of the mirror by jumping out of the window with it, and Will, in an attempt to save the queen, tries to take back the mirror and falls with him, and both men are killed. Outside, Cavaldi survives, having donned the Grimm’s faux-magic armor. He finds Will’s body and recites an Italian curse, and the tower falls apart. Jake escapes, and Cavaldi informs Jake that he can break the spell and awaken Angelika with a kiss, which in turn resurrects the other girls and Will. With the menace gone and their daughters returned to them, the villagers of Marbaden celebrate and give their heart-felt thanks to the brothers. Cavaldi stays in the village and joins the villagers for the feast. Angelika kisses both the Grimms and tells them that they are always welcome at the village. The Grimms decide to pursue a new profession, presumably recording fairy tales although they are now wanted criminals of the state. One of the queen’s crows is seen flying off with the last shard of her mirror, still holding the queen’s watchful eye, and presumably, her living soul.

REVIEW:

We’ve all heard, read, or seen a fairy tale by the Grimm brothers, right? How many of us can say we know anything about them? Well, if you’re looking for some sort of history lesson then, then The Brothers Grimm is not for you.

This film takes us on an adventure with the brothers as they travel across Europe pretending to slay all manner of creature such as witches and the like. One day they’re ruse is discovered and they are only pardoned, for lack of a better term, if they discover the reason why girls are going missing from the village.

A side plot of the film involves the psychotic, sadistic French general and his Napoleon complex. Oh, and there is the film’s villain, a Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel hyrbid of an evil queen that is behind the disappearance of all the little girls so that she can regain her youth.

This is one of those films I’ve seen more than a few times, but I just never can really seem to get into it. I can’t really put my finger on the reason, either.

By all accounts, I should like this film. It has a decent cast, including the luscious Monica Bellucci. It’s a fantasy film that isn’t really serious, somewhat like another Heath Ledger flick, A Knight’s Tale. Yet for some reason, this flick doesn’t strike my fancy.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t boring or bad or anything like that, it just doesn’t quite suit me. Now, that doesn’t mean you won’t like it. With all the action and the few effects sprinkled here and there, as well as some comedy, audiences are sure to eat this up. I just can’t figure out why I’m not part of the masses.

3 out of 5 stars

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Horror, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In New Orleans, Dylan Dog (Brandon Routh) is an ace detective whose specialty is paranormal cases. Now, he must deal with vampires, werewolves, zombies, and a guardian all due to a client’s (Anita Briem) case. With the help of Marcus Deckler (Sam Huntington), his undead assistant, he will have to persevere for the sake of the Earth.

REVIEW:

One of these days, I just know that I’m going to watch a film that lives up to the potential it possesses. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, though, is not that film.

For those of you that don’t know, apparently, this is based on a widely popular Italian comic book. I haven’t read it, so I am not at liberty to comment on how close it is to the source material, but if we’ve learned anything from movies based on comics, they tend to take liberties at will.

Dylan Dog is a former paranormal detective in the city of New Orleans. Now, he is just a down and out detective struggling to get a case. When one finally falls into his lap, he suddenly shuts down and leaves.

It would appear that something major happened that cause Dylan to leave the paranormal investigating business.

That nights, some random creature attacks and kills Dylan’s assistant, causing him to come out of “retirement” to find the murderer, who is also a part of this mysterious case.

The film progresses with that film noir style of narration (which doesn’t quite fit, if you ask me), and we see Dylan meet some associates, as all detectives are known to do when they’re on a case.

After some time, the film shifts the morgue, rn by a couple of zombies and turns out that Dylan’s assistant isn’t dead. It was believed that a werewolf attacked him, but instead it turns out that it was a zombie, so know he is part of the undead.

From here, the film shifts into the real plot, which is finding out how to stop Vargas, the vampire in charge of everything from bringing Belail, a demigod to back to life.

Not to spoil anything, but there is a shocking betrayal that happens right at the film’s climax that no one could have seen coming.

Ok, so this is supposed to be some sort of action horror comedy, right? Well, there is very little of all 3. I think there is more comedy…or what passes for it…than anything else. The gags here and there are a little funny, but they wear on the viewer after a while, especially the zombie stuff.

As far as the horror goes. Well, nothing really is scary. I’m not going to say it is because of the way the creatures look, because if you go back and watch black and white movies with vampires, werewolves, and/or zombies, they look the same way and are actually scary, even to this day, so that wasn’t it. I think it was just that there was no effort put into the actual horror aspect of this flick.

Now, the action is barely there. I’m a little forgiving on this because it is more than apparent this film had little to no budget. This is most apparent in every scene there you would be ready to see something bad ass, and then they’d cut to Dylan or someone else, rather than what was going on.

The only exception to this  was the initial confrontation with Wolfgang, which was actually a nice little fight. Too bad the rest of them didn’t live up to that.

I alluded to the effects earlier, but let me go a little more in-depth on them right now. We’ve all seen some bad special effects and some out of this world ones, as well. The effects here tend to lean more toward the former, but not to the level of SyFy horridness. While this film had to have been on a shoestring budget, they did seem to at least be trying. The worst of it all was the werewolves, though. They looked like Rahzar from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze.

The cast seemed to have done nothing more than phone it it…or did they? I say this because if you think of Brandon Roth as an actor, he is not known for being the most emotional guy. Of course, as one review of this film said, he was great in Chuck. I also didn’t think he was too shabby in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Taye Diggs is usually a very capable actor, yet for some reason he seemed to be out-of-place here. I’m not sure if this is because he was just doing this for the paycheck, the horrible script they gave him, or what, but he could have done more than this. Having sad that, as a villain, he wasn’t too bad. It would be interesting to see him in another bad guy role sometime.

Sam Huntington plays a werewolf on SyFy’s Being Human and here he is a zombie. I guess the question is how long will it take for him to be cast as a vampire, if he hasn’t already. He seems to be one of those that is perfect as the sidekick. He has those quick quips and comic timing down to a science, yet, in this film, something was off. I thin it was more than Routh wasn’t really giving him anything to play off of rather than his material not working, though.

I’ve never been a fan of Kurt Angle, but if this is the beginning of his acting career, he may have a bit of a future. Like I told a couple of friends a little while ago, he’s a far cry from being the Rock, but at least he’s better than Hulk Hogan. Oh, in case you’re wondering, he plays the werewolf bodyguard Wolfgang.

The pacing of this film seems to be off. I mean, in film noire type films, things take their time to set up and everything , but this is far from your traditional entry into that genre, if you can even classify it as such.

Instead, it drags on and borders on being boring. I would have liked for there to have been more…anything, really. There just needed to be something that wouldn’t have made this such a fairly bad film.

I don’t want to make it seem as if I hated everything about this flick, but it sure makes it hard to find anything to like. There are scenes here and there that are interesting and seeing all the various supernatural beings area treat. Let’s not forget the incredible backdrop of the city of New Orleans which is perfect for a film like this. Other than those, there really isn’t much to get excited about with this flick.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night was not only all but ignored by the American public (raise your hand if you even heard about this…), bt it got trashed by critics from the source material’s native country, Italy. I’m not really one to rip a film apart unless it’s really just flat-out horrible, and while this is pretty bad, it isn’t as bad as Demon Seduction, so it has that going for it.

Would I say you should see it? I’m not really sure. I mean, for all its flaws, there are moments that make it worth the nearly 2hr runtime, and then other moments that make you want to end your misery. I guess it is just a matter of personal preference. For me, I think at some point I will check this out again to see if I still find it as bad as I do now, but in the meantime, proceed at your own risk.

2 out of 5 stars

Source Code

Posted in Action/Adventure, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Army helicopter pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal), last aware of being on a mission in Afghanistan, wakes up on a commuter train traveling to Chicago. He finds that to other people – including his traveling partner Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) – he appears as Sean Fentress, a school teacher. As he comes to grips with this revelation, the train car explodes, killing everyone aboard and derailing it and a tanker train traveling the other direction.

Stevens regains consciousness inside an unfamiliar cockpit. Through a screen, Air Force Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) verifies Stevens’ identity. She explains Stevens is in the “Source Code”, an experimental device created by Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright), scientist for Beleaguered Castle (a military unit named after the card game), that allows its user to experience the last eight minutes of a person’s life within an alternate timeline. Stevens is being asked to use Source Code to discover the location of a bomb aboard the train and identify who detonated it. Goodwin explains that the train explosion occurred that morning, and was a warning by the bomber as a precursor to a larger dirty nuclear device that will be detonated in downtown Chicago. Though Stevens’ actions cannot change the past and save the lives aboard the train, identifying the bomber in the alternate timeline will prevent the deaths of millions more in this one.

Stevens enters the Source Code several more times and continues to discard passengers suspected to be the bomber, as well as coming to a relationship with Warren. Within these jumps, he learns that these events occurred two months after an incident while on duty that reportedly killed him. Once he discovers this, he accosts Goodwin for more information. She is forced to explain that the remains of his body are on life-support at the Source Code facility while his mind is hooked up to its computer systems, the cockpit being a mental projection of his own mind to cope with the experience. Angered to discover this, Stevens makes a deal to complete the mission, demanding that they terminate his life support after it is completed, to which Dr. Rutledge agrees.

Back in the Source Code, Stevens eventually identifies a young man, Derek Frost (Michael Arden), as the bomber, and the location of the dirty bomb. On his return, his information is successfully used by the military to capture Frost before he can trigger the bomb in Chicago. Stevens is praised as a hero, but in private, Rutledge tells Goodwin to renege on the deal and instead wipe Stevens’ memory to be able to use him the next time there is such an incident. In talking to Goodwin, Stevens realizes that the promise has been violated, and convinces Goodwin to let him return to Source Code once more after which she will disable his life support against Rutledge’s orders.

Once back aboard the train, Stevens assures that the bomb is defused and Frost contained to be taken by authorities. He sends an email out, and then calls his estranged father under the guise of a fellow soldier, mending the emotional distance from their past. Finally, he takes Warren aside and prepares to kiss her as his eight minutes run out. As promised, Goodwin disables his life-support, in a scene that reveals his actual body as severely mutilated and comatose. Stevens is surprised to finish the kiss, still aboard the train with Christina well beyond the eight minutes, and realizes he remains in the alternate timeline. The train arrives safely in Chicago, and he and Warren ditch work to walk together and discuss their future.

Later that day, the alternate timeline Goodwin receives an email sent by Stevens earlier just as news breaks of Frost’s failed bombing attempt. The email explains that Source Code does work, allowing the user to change history within the alternate timelines. Stevens’ email ends with him telling Goodwin that when they use their Stevens, they make sure to tell him that “everything is going to be OK”.

REVIEW:

I’m not sure how many of you are aware of this show on Cartoon Network called Mad TV, but if you haven’t at least checked it out, you need to. No, it isn’t the sketch show that was on Fox all these years, but rather a series of animated spoofs on various topics in pop culture. In other words, they brought the magazine to life.

One day, I was watching it and they did on this film, Source Code, and it intrigued me because I had never really heard about this film…at least that I recall, anyway. Needless to say, I found that particular segment funny, bt didn’t quite get the references. Now, after watching the film, when that episode airs again, I am almost assured to be rolling on the ground laughing.

So, what is this film about? The answer is that is about the Source Code, which is the last eight minutes a person remembers after they die. Somehow, a military scientist has fond a way to send a person back in the form of another person’s memories. This science is meant to be used to help thwart future terror attacks.

The test subject is Cpt. Colter Stephens, a pilot whose plane went down in Afghanistan and is apparently in a secure location with only the home base of Beleaguered Castle able to contact him and vice versa.

The brass at Castle are very adamant that Castle succeed in his mission of finding out who set off the bomb that destroyed a train headed to Chicago with everyone on board and that he does not deviate from that plan. Of course, we all know that wouldn’t make for a very interesting film, now wold it?

Needless to say, though, eventually he learns that deviating from the plan does not work and strokes a deal with the people in charge that has an incentive if he completes the mission, which if successful would save the entire city of Chicago from destruction at the hands of a dirty bomb.

The film ends with a major revolution about Cpt. Stevens and an unexpected twist, for lack of a better term.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, though the constant Groundhog Day effect did get a bit old, yet it made sense at the same time because of the film’s storyline.

Speaking of the story, this is one of the more interesting plots in cinema that I’ve seen in quite some time, mainly because it is *GASP* an original idea (remember those?)

The puzzles and twists along the way really make for quite the interesting tale and capture the audience’s attention.

When I really got into the film, I thought to myself that it had elements of Groundhog Day and Quantum Leap. Well, lo and behold Scott Bakula (who starred in the latter) makes a voice cameo as Stephnens’ dad.

For some reason, the explosion of the train never really captivated me. I guess it was one of those things that you can only see so many times before you become dead to it, or something. It isn’t like it was some cheap effect or anything like that, bt rather just the opposite. Yet, for some reason, I didn’t feel blown away, if you will, by it.

The real surprise was the identity of the bomber. When they first revel that he needed to capture the bomber, I started trying to figure out who it was, but never came p with the guy it ended up being. Boy was I wrong!!!

Jake Gyllenhaal really flexes his acting chops with this film. Of course for a good portion of it, he has to since he’s in a room by himself with only a monitor with Vera Farmiga talking to him. Oddly enough, I think they had better chemistry than the scenes where he is with Michelle Monaghan’s character, of course, that cold have something to do with the fact that he’s not supposed to be himself there, too.

In the end, Source Code is an enjoyable sci-fi suspense thriller. Is it a must-see? Well, I won’t say yes, but I won’t say no, either. However, I think if you take the time to watch it, you’ll feel like you didn’t waste 90 minutes of your life the way some films do these days.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Take Me Home Tonight

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on August 27, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Set in 1988, the film begins in a music store with recent MIT graduate Matt Franklin (Topher Grace), his twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris), and his best friend Barry Nathan (Dan Fogler) as they try to figure out when to see Matt’s dream girl Tori Fredreking (Teresa Palmer). Following graduation, Matt has been working at a Suncoast Video store while trying to figure out what to do with his life. While working one day, Tori randomly walks into the store. When she asks him where he works, he lies and tells her he’s at Goldman Sachs. Tori then invites him to a Labor Day weekend party held by Wendy’s boyfriend Kyle Masterson (Chris Pratt). Matt, Barry and Wendy drive to the party later that night, but before they arrive, Barry steals a car from the dealership where he got fired from earlier in the day.

At the party, Kyle challenges people to ride the “ball,” a hollow steel sphere that is supposed to ride down the street. Matt runs into Carlos (Demetri Martin), a high school classmate who actually works at Goldman Sachs. Barry tries the cocaine Matt found in the stolen car, and is involved in a dance battle, after which Kyle proposes to Wendy. Then Matt and Barry leave with Tori and her friends to a business party in Beverly Hills. On the drive to the party, Tori tells Matt that her boss, Peter (Michael Ian Black) hired her just to see her naked. At the party, Tori reveals to Matt that she hates her job. Matt and Tori leave the party, enter the backyard of a neighbor’s home, and jump on a trampoline where they play truth or dare. When they get too far, Matt ends up sleeping with her. Then, Matt tells Tori the truth about his job, causing Tori to become upset and leave.

During the drive back to Kyle’s party, Barry tells Matt that he should have that one night of enjoyment. Barry snorts cocaine that was hidden in the glove compartment in the car they stole. He persuades Matt to do it despite driving the car. Matt gets distracted which ends up crashing the car. When they get pulled over by Matt’s father (Michael Biehn), he damages the car even more to say that Matt should be working for a better company to pay off all the damages. Mr. Franklin lets them off with a warning when they should have been in jail. He tells Matt to take a shot at anything in life.

Back at Kyle’s party, Wendy applied for graduate school in England at the University of Cambridge and is scared to open the admissions decision letter. Kyle opens the letter for her, and tells her that she has been rejected.

Matt and Barry walk back to Kyle’s party, where Matt tries to tell Tori he was sorry for lying to her, but Tori is unwilling to forgive him. After one party goer decides not to ride the ball, Matt raises his hand and volunteers to take his place. The ball damages several cars and goes off the road, coming to rest in a neighbor’s pool. Matt nearly drowns but gets up back in time. He then tells Tori he wants her number but if he is being too weird, he can leave her alone. Tori is impressed by Matt’s boldness by deciding to ride the ball, and he ends up getting Tori’s number. Wendy, who didn’t want Matt to ride the ball, ends up breaking up with Kyle.

Kyle pleads with her to stay but Wendy tells him no. Kyle sobs uncontrollably as Wendy leaves.

As morning comes, Matt gets the card with Tori’s number, and Mr. Franklin finds Matt’s Suncoast Video name tag in the pool where the ball stopped rolling.

REVIEW:

Alot of you that read this blog are about my age, so you know what movies from the 80s were like. Take Me Home Tonight apparently is meant to be an homage to those films, going so far as to even drop the name Shermer, the town commonly used in John Hughes’ films.

The plot of this picture is that a group of recent college graduates have returned home and are starting their lives. The star of the film is a grad of MIT, yet he is working in a Suncoast video store. Out of the blue, his high school crush walks in and he does everything he can to not let her know that he works there, thus the continuous string of lies begins.

He tells her he works at Goldman-Sachs, which prompts her to invite him to a party that night. Excited to finally be able to possibly hook up with the woman of his dreams, he continues the lie and even brings in his twin sister and best friend in on it. Together they steal a car from the dealership where the friend had recently been fired from. The twin has her own set of problems, too.

After Matt meets up with Teri at the party and they socialize for a bit, they get ready to head off to another party. Before he leaves, he bumps into an old classmate who actually works for Goldman-Sachs, and asks him not to rat him out. Sad friend is actually at the other party and keeps his word.

Matt and Teri go for a walk and end up having sex. Afterwards, he makes the most boneheaded move of all time and tells her the truth. Why he couldn’t have waited until after the moment has passed or the next day is beyond me, but whatever.

The rest of the film is spent with Matt trying to right things with her and prove that he isn’t a loser.

I saw that this was a film set in the 80s and I was super excited. I figured that this would either be a great satire on the era, much in the same way as Hot Tub Time Machine or it would be just another film set in the 80s that attempts to capture the feeling of the time, but fails miserably. This flick is the latter, sadly.

I felt as if this film was trying too hard to not be a goofy comedy, but rather wanted to be a more grown up one, even though the plot centers around two alcohol fueled parties that hearken back to high school days.

The cast, with the exception of Anna Faris, is full of 2nd rate actors who usually do nothing more than act as sidekicks (or the love interest in Teresa Palmer’s case), and yet they somehow try to make these actors work as a cohesive unit meant to sell the picture. It just doesn’t work that way.

Sure, Topher Grace was the star of That 70’s Show, but his movie career has not been the best. He is one of the biggest things wrong with Spider Man 3, but we won’t get into that right now.

The comedy in this film is ok, but once you get past the first few minutes, it goes from being stale to almost nonexistent. Having said that, Dan Fogler is great as the comic relief, and arguably the best part of the film.

This would have been a much better flick if it wouldn’t have forgotten it was a comedy halfway through and tried to get so serious, which really takes the audience out of it. To top that all off, how can you use the name of Eddie Money’s immortal hit “Take Me Home Tonight” and not use the song anywhere in the film?!?

Speaking of the music, the film starts with some classic 80s hits, but then about the point where it forgets is a comedy, the music becomes these modern-day covers of hits and really makes you wonder if this was supposed to be some sort of flashback type flick and they took that out and made the whole thing in 1988.

The final verdict on this film is that the premise is something we’ve heard oh so many times before, but the fact that it was set in the 80s is a plus. Comedy is great when it’s there, but they forget it halfway through and never recover. Basically, for every step forward this flick took, it also took 2 steps back, and never really hit its stride. With that in mind, I really can’t recommend this to anyone, even those that are really into 80s nostalgia. Just go rent an actual 80s film. As this film has so painfully shown us, there is nothing like the real thing.

3 out of 5 stars