Welcome! I'm MovieKnight

Movies are my passion. Movies are my life. If you can't talk about movies, I can't talk to you.
I don't have a "5 Stars" or "two thumbs up" rating system of my own. I rarely see a rating I agree with, and I'm not about to make the same mistake myself.
I do my best to make this blog interesting, useful, and informative.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Informant! (September 18, 2009) R

Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting 1997, Green Zone 2010)
Scott Bakula ("Quantom Leap" 1989-1993, "Men of a Certain Age" 2009-2010)
Melanie Lynskey (Up in the Air 2009, Helena from the Wedding 2010)
Tony Hale ("Arrested Development" 2003-2006, HappyThankYouMorePlease 2010)

The Informant! was definitely not the slapstick, hilarious movie I thought it would be.

And I was surprised to learn it's a true story! Did they say that in the previews? Is my ADD that bad?
The film was interesting, well acted, and mysterious. I had questions in the back of my mind the whole time.
Matt Damon did a really good job.

Factoid: Matt Damon wore a wig, mustache, and fake nose for The Informant!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sherlock Holmes (December 25, 2009) PG-13

Robert Downey Jr. (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 2005, Iron Man 2 2010)
Jude Law (Enemy at the Gates 2001, Repo Men 2010)
Rachel McAdams (The Notebook 2004, Morning Glory 2010)
Mark Strong (Stardust 2007, Robin Hood 2010)
Eddie Marsan (Hancock 2008, London Boulevard 2010)

I always wondered if Dr. House could solve crimes---now I know he can.

Although Sherlock Holmes was a very entertaining movie, I kept waiting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous character (Sherlock Holmes) to appear. Alas, I do not believe he did, and my mother, who's read Doyle's books, agrees. She also pointed out that the Holmes she grew up reading about didn't have aspergers or any symptoms of it, genius aside.
I do not believe that Downey invented the character he so excellently portrayed, and so I do not believe it's Downey's fault that the character was so off the mark of the "real" Sherlock Holmes.
The creators of this Sherlock Holmes movie captured Holmes's genius accurately enough, but it was his character (or lack thereof) portrayed in this film, and his apparent James Bondish abilities that narrowed my brow several times.

Honestly, they could have just given the detective a different name and the film would have been, perhaps, even more enjoyable. But then it wouldn't be as marketable.....

My goodness, I've cracked the case!

Factoid: Lionel Wigram wrote graphic novels about Sherlock Holmes, based off Doyle's famous detective mysteries. This film was based off of one of Wigram's novels.
Also, Downey Jr. and director Guy Ritchie both feel that their Sherlock Holmes is an accurate adaption to Doyle's books...hmmm...the case reopened!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Avatar (December 18, 2009) PG-13

Monday the 21st of December I saw this for my second time, except this time on IMAX 3-D. It was awesome!

Sam Worthington (Terminator: Salvation 2009, Clash of the Titans 2010)
Zoe Saldana (Star Trek 2009, Takers 2010, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Sigourney Weaver (Aliens 1992, Galaxy Quest 1999, Night Train 2010)
Stephen Lang (Gettysburg 1993, White Irish Drinkers 2010)
Michelle Rodriguez (Fast and Furious 2009, Battle: Los Angeles 2011)
Giovanni Ribisi (Boiler Room 2000, The Rum Diary 2010)

After seeing commercials for this movie on TV every 10 minutes for the last month I thought I'd pretty much seen everything that was going to be in Avatar. I was wrong.

It wasn't the commercials that give away the plot and storyline of Avatar, it's numerous other movies I've seen before that give it away...:

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest
Dances With Wolves
A New World

Star Wars: Episode I
The Matrix
The Matrix Revolutions
Battle for Tera (I actually haven't seen this one yet)

HOWEVER!!! Despite the lack of originality of the plot and story, there were lots of elements of Avatar that make this a movie that should definately be seen in theaters (like, soon). It was truly a feast for the eyes--I can't wait for it to hit Blue Ray. The planet Pandorum depicted in the film was beautiful beyond words (and almost as dangerous).
I fell in love with the native Na'vi people like Sam Worthington's character did. They were beautiful, intelligent, and pure.

I enjoyed the film immensely, and think it's something most people (who can sit through a 2 hour and 45 minute movie) would enjoy seeing very much in theaters.
It was intense, suspenseful, powerful, action-packed, beautiful, entertaining, and ENORMOUS. James Cameron (director of Titanic, Terminator, and Aliens) lives up to his rep with this movie.

Factoid: There has been a lot of internet chatter about whether Avatar copied Battle for Terra (since the plots are so similar) or if it's vica versa. However, Avatar was in production long before Battle for Terra was. And I just read a blog that lists "10 Films Avatar Unfortunately Resembles" and none of them are in my list. Also, the 10 listed don't (unfortunately) resemble Avatar at all... sorry fellow blogger.

Also, you may have heard on the news or radio, the look of Neytiri (the lead female alien character) as well as the other Na'vi was designed around James Cameron asking the question of his alien creation, "Would I want to do her?" The original alien models had fins and gills, and looked much more alien and strange, but James Cameron wanted more human-looking aliens, and the "Na'vi" were born.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Push (February 6, 2009) PG-13

Chris Evans (Fantastic Four, The Losers 2010)
Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse 2010)
Camilla Belle (When a Stranger Calls 2006, Mary Mother of Christ 2011)
Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator 2000, The Tempest 2010)

Better than I expected, especially after my disappointment with Jumpers which is similar in plot and nature.
I liked the performances I saw all around from all characters major and minor. The plot is simple: keep the badguys from gaining power and killing you. But even with the machine-gun-wielding Chinese henchmen running around I still thought that Push was and is original, well-done, and worth watching.

Factoid: Djimon Hounsou has played major roles in the following films:
The Island
Blood Diamond
The Four Feathers

All of these films make strong statements about treating all people equally and humanely no matter their origins, race, birth, or differences.

The Box (November 6, 2009) PG-13

Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary 1998, Knight and Day 2010)
James Marsden (X-Men 2000, Superman Returns 2006, Death at a Funeral 2010)
Frank Langella (Superman Returns 2006, Frost/Nixon 2009, All Good Things 2010)

With the moral to the story already apparent in the trailers seen on TV I thought that The Box would offer something else besides, well, a moral lesson.
Regrettably I did not enjoy The Box as much as I had hoped. While the story was relatively original and the acting by Diaz and Marsden was excellent I left the theater disappointed.

Factoid: The international mortality rate is 107 human deaths per minute. Also--
When asked "Would you push the button in The Box?" pollers voted as followed as of 12/19/09:
In a heartbeat: 22%
Never: 42%
It depends: 22%
That button is suspicious: 13%

Gamer (September 4, 2009) R

Gerard Butler (300 2006, The Bounty Hunter 2010)
Amber Valleta (Transporter 2 2005, The Spy Next Door 2010)
Michael C. Hall ("Dexter" 2006-2009, East Fifth Bliss 2010)
Alison Lohman (Matchstick Men 2003, Drag Me to Hell 2009)

Definitely a GUY movie. Gerard Butler should ALWAYS have a large machine-gun in his hand. Even in real life today, right now, I hope he has a machine-gun with him because life is better when he has one.

If you've seen trailers than you've probably figured out that Gerard Butler plays the character Kable, a death-row-destined prison inmate who chooses to participate in a kill-or-be-killed real-life video game in exchange for the chance to win his freedom.
Gamer depicts a near-futuristic world where nano technology has made virtual-reality more like plain ol' reality. If you can pay, you can play, and your "avatar" isn't some 3-D animated video game character. Rather, you control an actual person in a real location somewhere in the world.
Some pay to control others, some get payed to let themselves be controlled.

Plenty of violence and enough plot to justify all of it.
Great acting but, lets face it, who cares about the acting in a movie like this?
Great movie. All dudes should see it.

Factoid: During shooting, Gerard Butler toted around a Radio Flyer wagon with weights on it that he used to work-out between takes.

Zombieland (October 2, 2009) R

Woody Harrelson (Kingpin 1996, Zombieland 2 2011)
Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland 2009, Zombieland 2 2011)
Emma Stone (Superbad 2007, Easy A 2010)
Abigail Brenson (My Sister's Keeper 2009, The Wild Bunch 2010)
Bill F***ing Murray!!! (Ghostbusters 1984, Ghostbusters III 2012)

With the success of Shaun of the Dead it was only a matter of time before yet another zombie comedy hit theaters. With the equal success of Zombieland there is now a new official genre called "Zomedy," and it's a great genre indeed.
It was like a zombie/date movie. The girls can gag during the bloody scenes (which were many) and the guys can gag during the emotional scenes (which were TOO many).

The best part of Zombieland (besides how hot Emma Stone was) was definitely Woody Harrelson. I'd never thought of Woody as the "tougher than nails" type, but now it's like that's all I want to see him play. He was brilliant!

My only complaint looking back now (though I didn't complain ever during the film) was that there weren't enough zombies. True, the film was as realistic as zombie films can be, but I wanted to see more zombie guts and less of Jesse Eisenberg standing around impotently while simultaneously narrating.

The second time I saw this in theaters I loved it all over again, and the third time was almost as good as the second.

Factoid: Woody Harrelson has never done a movie that he's wanted to make a sequel for until he did Zombieland.

(500) Days of Summer (September 2 2009) PG-13

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick 2005, Inception 2010)
Zooey Deschanel (Elf 2003, Failure to Launch 2006, Your Highness 2010)

I love Independent Films!!!

How often do you watch a film and think, afterward, that it was "flawless"?

If you've seen trailers for (500) Days of Summer then you think it's a chick-flick. As the film asserts in the first 10 seconds, it's NOT A CHICK-FLICK. It's a comedic drama. And a completely histerical one at that.
I saw this film with a bunch of dudes, and we were laughing out heads off the whole way through.
It's a great film worth seeing and worth buying.

It's one of the best, most original films of 2009.

Factoid: Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been in TV and movies since he was 7-years-old, participating in such shows as "Murder She Wrote," "Family Ties," and "Quantom Leap" before landing his starring role in "3rd Rock from the Sun" when he was 15.

The Time Traveler's Wife (August 14, 2009) PG-13

Rachel McAdams (The Notebook 2004, Morning Glory 2010)
Eric Bana (Troy 2004, Star Trek 2009, Factor X 2011)

I cried a little. Just wanna get that out of the way.

The Time Traveler's Wife was heart-breaking, soft, and difficult. It didn't go in the directions I thought it would go, and instead stayed true to its own set of rules that, well, worked great for the film.

A great date movie, although as a guy/Trekky I was finding myself questioning the nature of Eric Bana's character's time-travel ability. The film makes attempts at scientific explanation that I wasn't overly fond of. I would have just as well preferred the film simply to have Eric and Rachel shrug their shoulders simultaneously at the question of "how is this time-travel possible?"

Factoid: When McAdams and Bana interviewed each other (regarding The Time Traveler's Wife) for Moviefone, McAdams admitted that she can relate better to Bana's character because of her transient life-style.

He's Just Not That Into You (February 6, 2009) PG-13

Ginnifer Goodwin (In the Land of Women 2007, Ramona and Beezus 2010)
Justin Long (Live Free or Die Hard 2007, Going the Distance 2010)
Jennifer Connelly (Requiem for a Dream 2000, What's Wrong with Virginia 2010)
Jennifer Anniston (Derailed 2005, The Bounty Hunter 2010)
Ben Affleck (Pearl Harbor 2001, The Town 2010)
Scarlett Johansson (Scoop 2006, Iron Man 2 2010)

This movie was like Hitch, only instead of educating men on how to get girls, this movie attempts to educate girls on how to tell when guys like them.
It asks the question: "How can you tell when a guy really likes you vs. when he just wants to get into your pants vs. when he's really just not interested?"

The acting was decent enough to get the message across. Even with the gorgeous cast, the only character in the film with a head on his shoulders was Justin Long's. All the rest were swimming blind in a sea of dating confusion.

I only saw most of it to be honest. I wasn't inspired to see it through, if that's an indication of anything.
Then, of course, I'm not curious how to tell if guys are interested... I don't live a politically-correst, gender-neutral life...

Factoid: He's Just Not That Into You was based off an advice book of the same title. Other films which have done something similar are Mean Girls (based off Queen Bees and Wannabees) and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (based off a book of the same title which was based off the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie which is this blogger's favorite self-help book!).

Defiance (January 16, 2009) R

Daniel Craig (Casino Royale 2006, Dream House 2011)
Liev Schreiber (The Omen 2006, Salt 2010)
Jamie Bell (King Kong 2005, The Eagle of the Ninth 2010)

Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber killing Nazis with a vengeance.
That was enough for me to want to go see Defiance the first chance I got. Especially when I heard it's based on a true story.
Unfortunately circumstances prevented me from seeing it in theaters, so I had to wait till it came to DVD. This is one of those movies that deserves theater treatment, and not just because of the scale of this film.
Defiance shows its audience what it really means to be responsible for the lives of others. It shows how desperate WWII made the Jews who chose action over death.
It showed what it takes sometimes to be a true, real leader instead of just being the guy in charge.
It was a little long, but it never wasted any time on anything less than interesting.

I loved Defiance, and I bought it shortly after seeing it for the first time.

My respect truly goes out to anyone who fought in WWII.

Factoid: Defiance is based on the true story of the Bielski brothers who protected 1200 Jews in German-occupied Poland during WWII. There's a historical biography called "The Bielski Brothers: The True Stoy of Three Men Who Defied Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews" that's available at Amazon.com.

Inkheart (January 23, 2009) PG-13

Brendan Fraser (The Mummy 1999, Extraordinary Measures 2010)
Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code 2006, Legion 2010)
Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001, The Hobbit: Part 1 2011)

Look at that cast! You'd think this movie would have been good! But, alas, it was terrible. And it had such promise, too.
I looked forward for over a year to the release of Inkheart starring three of my favorite Hollywood dudes. The plot looked interesting and original, and I expected the film to at least be good.
Such was not the case though.

The film's only redeeming quality ended up being the acting, since the plot was ruined by the ending of this movie.
And, for me, a hero is only as good as his villian is bad. The villian (Andy Serkis) was great, very threatening, but HIS boss was a joke.

Factoid: The film Inkheart was based off the book of the same title. Cornelia Funke, author of Inkheart, told Brendan Fraser that he inspired her book character Mo, who Fraser played in the movie.

Public Enemies (July 1, 2009) R

Johnny Depp (Secret Window 2004, The Rum Diary 2010)
Christian Bale (Batman Begins 2005, The Fighter 2010)
Marion Cotillard (A Good Year 2006, Inception 2010)
Stephen Graham (Snatch 2000, Season of the Witch 2010)
The cast goes on...

A must-see for anyone who loves gangster films.

Johnny Depp IS John Dillinger, the machine-gun wielding, bank-robbing, bar-raising gangster from the 30's.
The trailers inspire high expectations, and those expectations were met and exceeded.

Covering the life of John Dillinger starting when he first broke out of prison, I don't want to say much because not knowing anything about Dillinger's real life helped me enjoy the film that much more.

Probably the only disappointment in the film was Christian Bale's depiction of Melvin Purvis. It's possible that maybe Purvis was kind of a bla guy in real life, but Bale's portrayal of him seemed bland, uninteresting, and half-hearted.
I hate to talk smack on one of my favorite people, but Bale's performances this year have all been disappointing. Dark Knight, Terminator: Salvation, and now Public Enemies. Perhaps Bale should stick with artistic Independent films, rather than high-budget entertainment-geared films.
Even a boring character can be portrayed in an interesting way.

But Bale aside, the film was excellent and I totally loved it!

Factoid: Johnny Depp grew up fascinated with John Dillinger, having grown up 160 miles from where Dillinger grew up, and having a father and grandfather who both had a serious criminal history.

The Hangover (June 5, 2009) R

Bradley Cooper (The Midnight Meat Train 2008, The A-Team 2010)
Ed Helms ("The Office", Cedar Rapids 2011)
Zach Galifianakis (What Happens in Vegas 2008, Dinner for Schmucks 2010)
Justin Bartha (National Treasure 2004, Holy Rollers 2010)
Heather Graham (From Hell 2001, Vengeance: A Love Story 2010)
Ken Jeong (Pineapple Express 2008, The Zookeeper 2010)
Mike Tyson (Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles 2001, Co2 2010)

So funny, I woke up with a massive headache and sensitivity to light and noise.
A pissed-off Mike Tyson, naked pissed-off Asians, pissed-off cops, a pissed-off tiger in the bathroom, and a formerly pissed-off group of friends in fabulous Las Vegas.

The cast was hilarious. Period.

Mike Tyson was great.

The plot was what you expect: the worst hangover experience ever.
The guys wake up to find their best friend (and very soon to be GROOM) missing, and have to find him. Dude, where's my friend?!

The funniest movie of 2009.
And soon-to-be-40 Heather Graham is HOT HOT HOT.

Factoid: Ed Helms says he got cast for his part because the character reminded Todd Phillips (director) of Helms in real life.

17 Again (April 17, 2009) PG-13

Zach Efron (High School Musical 2006, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud 2010)
Matthew Perry (The Whole Nine Yards 2000, Down and Dirty Pictures 2010)
Michelle Trachtenberg (Harriet the Spy 1996, Young Americans 2010)
Leslie Mann (The 40 Year Old Virgin 2005, What Was I Thinking? 2011)

Wow. A movie with a moral.

And what's that moral?
Wait until you're married to have sex.
Who saw that coming from a movie made in THIS country?

The movie wasn't my first choice to see, especially in theaters, but I ended up laughing the entire time and genuinely enjoying it.
Zach Efron was great, and I have more respect for him now than I did before.

Factoid: Efron get slapped numerous times during 17 Again, but he says there were a lot of slap takes that aren't shown. He went to shoot that day, the day he got slapped the most, thinking there was a way to "fake slap"...he was wrong, and surprised.
And Mr. Efron was offered the leading role in a Footloose remake (set for release in June, 2010), but turned it down because, he says, "I'd love to do some non-musicals."

Ninja Assassin (November 25, 2009) R

Rain (Speedracer 2008, Awaken the Dragon 2010)
Naomie Harris (Street Kings 2008, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll 2010)

Lots of blood and guts, killing and fighting, ninjas and Feds, death and injury. All this, and a surprisingly bearable amount of heart.

Anyone who wants to be a real ninja should start by watching this movie. It may change your mind when you see that chances are you'll DIE!!!

I entered the theater hoping for lots of killing, and left having seen a supremely excellent movie. Who'da guessed?

Factoid: Rain was the first Asian music artist to perform at the MTV Music Awards.

Saw VI (October 23, 2009) R

Tobin Bell (Saw 2004, Saw VII 2010)
Costas Mandylor (Saw V 2008, Sinners and Saints 2010)
Betsy Russell (Saw III 2006, Unearthed 2010)

Suspenseful, gorey, bloody, and controversial as always. Saw VI dives deeper into the mysterious and fascinating past of the original and new Jigsaws.

The story was different from the others, just like always. But it was still dark, dank, and heartless, just like always...

And the special effects. Can you blog about a Saw movie without mentioning the horrific and real-looking special effects?

And the end of the film, of course, screamed (literally) for yet another sequel... I can't wait.

Factoid: Costas Mandylor isn't a fan of all the blood and gore and darkness in the Saw movies. It can get to be too much for him, and he says he finds himself trying to lighten the mood between takes to avoid everything becoming too "heavy."

Mutant Chronicles (August 7, 2008) R

Thomas Jane (Punisher 2004, Run 2010)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy 2004, Season of the Witch 2010)
Devon Aoki (Sin City 2005, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead 2010)
John Malkovich (Rounders 1998, Spiderman 4 2011)

With such a winning cast to legitimize the film, I thought that the cheesey-looking trailer would turn out to be deceiving, and that Mutant Chronicles was going to end up being a good movie.
I was wrong.
Mutant Chronicles was a terrible movie, poorly imagined, and terribly executed. The acting was good enough to full cameras, but not a live audience.

What the film does accomplish is creating a dismal, sad, depressing-looking future where private enterprises hire private militaries to help them monopolize the world. The depressing and never-ending war finally accidentally cracks open a hole in the ground that millions of mutants come out of. Apparently the mutants had been hanging out their whole lives waiting for this one spot to open up.
The mutants have blade arms, so they neutralize the superior technology of the millions of heavily-armed soldiers. Huh?

Ron Perlman ends up being humanity's only hope, as it was his religion to see all this coming, and he knows how to stop it. So he and his fellowship of heavily-armed, heavily-attituded soldiers embark on a ridiculous journey to save an already-dead world from already-dead mutants.

What a crap movie. The ending though, the VERY END, was great. I laughed hard for a while, though I doubt that's what the writers intended.

Factoid: The title, "Mutant Chronicles" deterred Ron Perlman from reading the script that was handed him when he was offered his role. However, out of boredom, he read the script and loved it, believing it to be a "smart" script, well imagined. Go to www.iesb.net for the complete interview.

Inglourious Basterds (August 21, 2009) R

Brad Pitt (Fight Club 1999, The Odyssey 2012)
Eli Roth (Grindhouse 2007, Piranha 3-D 2010)
B. J. Novak ("The Office")
Melanie Laurent (Paris 2008, Beginners 2011)
Christoph Waltz (Herr Lehmann 2003, The Green Hornet 2010)
Diane Kruger (Troy 2004, Unknown White Male 2011)

Maybe if I hadn't seen previews for this film prior to seeing it, I wouldn't have been so disappointed.
The trailers I saw created an anticipation of seeing Nazis get Tarantinoed on camera, blood and guts everywhere, scene after scene of evil, Jew-killing Nazis getting butchered by Lt' Aldo Raine's notorious Basterds.
Talk about having material for Tarantino to work with!
But, alas, I left the theater thinking that maybe the only thing Tarantino can do well is dialogue. LOTS AND LOTS OF DIALOGUE.

Don't get me wrong, many Nazis were killed, but there were incredible amounts of "down-time" between killing, which is the only reason why a film like this should be made.

Surprisingly, the best part of the film (besides Melanie Laurent...) was Brad Pitt. I'd expected him to be ruining the film with his corny impression of that weird accent, but he was relatively enjoyable and entertaining.

Factoid: This film is based on a true story. Except the end of the film, that part was totally made up.

Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li (February 27, 2009) PG-13

Kristen Kreuk ("Smallville" 2001-2009, "Chuck" 2010)
Chris Klein (Say It Isn't So 2001, The Wild Bunch 2010)
Neal McDonough (The Guardian 2006, Ticking Clock 2010)
Moon Bloodgood (Pathfinder 2007, Beautiful Boy 2010)
Robin Shou (Mortal Kombat 1995, City of Angels 2012)
Taboo (Cosmic Radio 2007)
Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile 1999, Bailey 2010)

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from a random, uncalled-for sequel to Van Damme's Street Fighter (1994), but I actually relatively enjoyed this movie.
The fight sequences were good, the acting was good enough, and overall the film worked.

Weird though, I didn't expect to see Kristen Kreuk in an action movie like this. She can really move!

And do you see that cast?! How did they get a Mortal Kombat star to appear in this?!?!
And of course actors Neal McDonough and Michael Clarke Duncan add their super-star legitimacy to the film. I wouldn't have guessed they'd appear in what I thought would be a B-quality movie sequel.

Good movie. Not the best, but better than I'd expected.

Factoid: Kristen Kreuk's trainers and choreographers didn't speak English, and mostly taught her without the aid of verbal communication. She describes that experience as "rare and wonderful" (www.girl.com.au).

Taken (January 30, 2009) PG-13

Liam Neeson (Batman Begins 2005, Clash of the Titans 2010)
Maggie Grace (The Jane Austin Book Club 2007, Knight and Day 2010)
Famke Janssen (X-Men 2000, The Chameleon 2010)
Olivier Rabourdin (Actrices 2007)

Liam Neeson gave a great performance in one of the best movies of 2009, Taken. The film has something for everyone, and is quite entertaining.

Scary thing is, it's based on real-world happenings. Liam Neeson's character is purely fictional, but the world of European human trafficking is completely real.
I admire the creators of Taken for bringing slavers' crimes to the lime-light.

I think it's a movie everyone should see.

Factoid: Liam Neeson went through four weeks of hand-to-hand combat training, stunt driver training, and gun training for Taken.

Angels and Demons (May 15, 2009) PG-13

Tom Hanks (Road to Perdition 2002, The Lost Symbol 2012)
Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge 2001, The Ghost Writer 2010)
Ayelet Zurer (Vantage Point 2008)
Strellan Skarsgard (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest 2006, Thor 2011)
Nikolaj Lie Kaas (The Half Life of Timofy Berezin 2006, The Whistleblower 2010)
Armin Mueller-Stahl (Pilgrim 2000, Eastern Promises 2007)

Tom Hanks is mis-cast again in what was supposed to be a good sequel to 2006's The Da Vinci Code.
It's a shame to see an Academy Award-winning actor, a fantastic actor, possibly the greatest actor of our day next to Daniel Day-Lewis, and see this actor star in a simple money-maker.
And who knew Ron Howard would fall so far!!! He directs A Beautiful Mind and then Cinderella Man, which were both amazing and ground-breaking, and then sells out and does Dan Brown novel adaptions.
What's next? Is Martin Scorsese going to direct Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides???
is Ridley Scott going to direct Spiderman 4???

The movie was just another conspiracy movie with some real-life history thrown in. You have to wonder, though, what's historical and what's Dan Brown filling in the gaps...

I think a movie like this is pointless, and unnecessary.

I can't believe I just wrote a negative review about a movie that starred Tom Hanks and featured Ewan McGregor. My heroes!!!

Factoid: To recreate enormous plaza in the movie, the creators rented an enormous parking lot in Hollywood and turned it into the huge, round, life-size replica.

Friday the 13th (2009)

Jared Padalecki ("Supernatural" 2005-2010, Friday the 13th: Part 2 2010)
Danielle Panabaker (Mr. Brooks 2007, The Crazies 2010)
Derek Mears (The Hills Have Eyes II 2007, Friday the 13th: Part 2 2010)
Aaron Yoo (Disturbia 2007, Kid Cannibis 2011)
Travis Van Winkle (Accepted 2006, Last Call 2010)

The cast list goes on and on, full of good-looking young people, as usual for a Friday the 13th movie.

You obviously wouldn't see this movie for its artistic contributions to the film industry. You would see this movie to watch good-looking young people being horny for each other and then getting slashed to death by hockey-mask-wearing, immortal murderer.

I was disappointed, though, because I thought there would be some tangible, or, at the very least, noticeable reason for the remake of the original of 1980.
I thought maybe they'd develope some complex back-story about Jason, but his back-story kinda sucked... I saw no reason for this film to exist... unless Jason fans couldn't stand the thought of not getting to watch the giant psycho kill in creative ways. That's possible.

If you're a fan of the Friday the 13th movie series then, let's face it, you've already seen this movie.

Factoid: The original Friday the 13th of 1980 was created to be a bloody combination of murder and laughter. It's since grown into 12 movies, a TV show, novels, comic books, and various merchandise including action figures.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (August 7, 2009) PG-13

Channing Tatum (Step Up 2006, Dear John 2010)
Ray Park (Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 1999, The King of Fighters 2010)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Killshot 2008, Inception 2010)
Christopher Eccleston (Gone in Sixty Seconds 2000, "Lennon Naked" 2010)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ("LOST" 2005-2006, Farming 2011)
Byung-hun Lee (I Come With the Rain 2008, Iris: The Movie 2010)
Sienna Miller (Stardust 2007, Hippie Hippie Shake 2010)
Rachel Nichols (Star Trek 2009, The Loop 2010)
Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003, Hysteria 2010)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy 1999, Way of the Warrior 2010)
Marlon Wayans (White Chicks 2004, Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? 2010)
Dennis Quaid (The Rookie 2002, Legion 2010)

This movie was completely action packed. I really don't recall a moment when there wasn't something exploding, shooting, or moving really really fast.

And look at that cast! Really, how could you go wrong?
Well, I don't know, but I feel like there really was something wrong with this movie. Something was missing.
Maybe it was the awkward back-and-forth the film did between trying to be realistic while simultaneously being completely, ridiculously UNrealistic.

But don't get me wrong, I'm glad I saw this in theaters.

Factoid: Channing Tatum was mildly jealous of the girls in this movie, because he thought that they got to do all the cool fighting scenes while he got his "butt kicked" (www.collider.com).

Fast and Furious (April 3, 2009) PG-13

Vin Diesel (The Fast and the Furious 2001, A Man Apart 2003, Hannibal the Conqueror 2011)
Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious 2001, Running Scared 2006, Takers 2010)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious 2001, Resident Evil 2002, Machete 2010)
Jordana Brewster (The Fast and the Furious 2001, Annapolis 2006)
John Ortiz (American Gangster 2007, Jack Goes Boating 2010)
Laz Alonso (Miracle at St. Anna 2008, Straw Dogs 2011)

After the last two sequels to 2001's ground-breaking, box office smash I really wasn't expecting much from this third, and maybe final, installment to The Fast and the Furious saga.
Fast and Furious, however, was very well-done and entertaining. Paul Walker may have taken acting lessons since the first two installments. He was great in Running Scared and he was great in this. He was intense, believeable, and funny all when he needed to be.

And Jordana Brewster has grown more beautiful over the years...

The plot was similar to the others. Not much new there. But then, we don't watch these movies for the plot any more than for the acting.
We watch these movies for the cars...

Truth be told, I was disappointed in the cars in this film.
A beautiful '72 Ford Gran Torino Sport
A '70 Chevy Chevelle
And a '70 Dodge Charger
Of course there were other cars too, but they weren't as impressive.

Factoid: Paul Walker told director Justin Lin that he wanted to die in this movie. Lin told him no way.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1, 2009) PG-13

Hugh Jackman (Australia 2008, Prisoners 2010)
Liev Schreiber (Defiance 2008, Salt 2010)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night 2007, Robin Hood 2010)
Will i Am (Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa 2008)
Lynn Collins (The Number 23 2007, John Carter of Mars 2010)
Kevin Durand (3:10 to Yuma 2007, Robin Hood 2010)
Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 2001, Pet 2011)
Taylor Kitsch (The Covenant 2006, John Carter of Mars 2010)
Daniel Henney (Ma-i-pa-deo 2007)
Tahyna Tozzi (Beautiful 2009, Needle 2010)
Ryan Reynolds (Smokin' Aces 2006, Deadpool 2011, Green Lantern 2011)

A great movie for anyone who didn't already know a thing or two about Marvel's greatest comic book character, Wolverine.
This film further damages the once angry and mysterious X-Men champion. Hugh Jackman's Wolverine could be Cyclops's older brother. What a sham.

The movie was entertaining, don't get me wrong, but it's a shame to watch my favorite Marvel character get changed/updated for the worse.

I'm a purist, and I am angered by X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The producers should be embarrassed.
I can't blame Hugh Jackman though. He is who he is, and he isn't Wolverine. He would have made a great Sabretooth though...
And I thought Liev Schreiber would do so good as Sabretooth, too. I was wrong. He could be a good bad guy, a fearsome animal, but he just wasn't cutting it.
They never even call him Sabretooth. Probably cause the name wouldn't fit.

The one good thing that came out of this movie (besides Kevin Durand's Blob) was Ryan Reynolds. I look forward to his spin-off movie, Deadpool. He really was born to play that role.

Factoid: On days when Hugh Jackman will be playing the character Wolverine, he starts off his day with a cold shower so he can recall that angry feeling that makes Wolverine who he is. By nature, Jackman is not an angry guy.

Star Trek (May 8, 2009) PG-13

Chris Pine (Smokin' Aces 2006, Carriers 2009, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Zachary Quinto ("Heroes" 2006-2010, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Eric Bana (Troy 2004, Armored 2011)
Bruce Greenwood (National Treasure: Book of Secrets 2007, Meek's Cutoff 2010)
Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2002, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Zoe Saldana (Guess Who 2005, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz 2007, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
John Cho (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle 2004, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog 2006, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Ben Cross (War, Inc. 2008, The Guardian 2010)
Winona Ryder (The Crucible 1996, Alpha Numeric 2010)
Chris Hemsworth ("Home and Away" 2004-2007, Thor 2011)
Jennifer Morrison ("House M.D." 2004-2010, Warrior 2010)
Rachel Nichols (Charlie Wilson's War 2007, The Loop 2010)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day 2009, The Experiment 2010)
Leonard Nimoy ("Star Trek" 1966-1969, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan 1982)

I am a Trekky, and I LOVED this movie. It is one of the best movies of 2009. It's up there with District 9, The Watchmen, (500) Days of Summer, and Taken.

And I say that the opening scene of Star Trek is the best, most exciting movie opening of all time. Dramatic, intense, action-packed, heart-breaking, explosive, and fast-paced.

The rest of the film keeps up with the opening. The characters are re-introduced smoothly and appropriately... or, rather, inappropriately. Kirk wrecks his family sports car, Spock beats up a fellow student, Uhura is at a bar, and Bones tells Kirk he might puke on him. Sorta makes Scotty's intro kinda dull, him simply being banned to a "Hoth"-like ice planet next to Vulcan.

Then there's the bad guy, Nero, who introduces himself by blowing up Federation exploration vessels. I didn't know Eric Bana could be so bad. He was great at being bad. I loved it.

The whole movie was completely entertaining, exciting, original (for a quasi-remake), and well-done.

The question now is:
Is this a remake?

Factoid: Part of the decision on creating the plot for Star Trek (2009) was to free the writers and creators from having to fit new plots into the former Star Trek movies. This new Star Trek movie actually fits into the original movies perfectly, while also allowing the writers to do, well, whatever they want.
Who knows what the sequel will be about?!?!
Also, Chris Pine's version of Captain James Kirk was not a William Shatner impersonation. This new Kirk is almost entirely Chris Pine and J.J. Abrams' (director) creation.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Daniel Radcliffe (December Boys 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Rupert Grint (Wild Target 2009, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Emma Watson ("Ballet Shoes" 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2004, The Book of Eli 2010)
Maggie Smith (Hook 1991, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Alan Rickman (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves 1991, Alice in Wonderland 2010)
Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 2001, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
David Thewlis (Timeline 2003, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge 2001, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II 2011)
Robbie Coltrane (From Hell 2001, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 2007, Alice in Wonderland 2010)
Dave Legeno (Outlaw 2007, Centurion 2010)
Timothy Spall (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street 2007, Alice in Wonderland 2010)
Tom Felton (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 2001, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Jessie Cave (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II 2011)
Evanna Lynch (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter and the Sorverer's Stone 2001, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I 2010)
Warwick Davis (Willow 1988, Shortfellas 2010)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the worst of the Harry Potter movies. I am not a fan. Even less happened in this movie than in the last one! And not much happened in Order of the Phoenix.
Full of young romance, well, love potions... that seemed to go in circles to finally nowhere.

Then there's the plot. You can't tell me the script/story writers didn't have a lot to work with.

The movie does what the last three movies have done: It builds toward Deathly Hallows.

If Deathly Hallows isn't completely amazing... like, Star Wars amazing, then the entire movie saga will be for nothing.

Factoid: Evanna Lynch acts, in real life, a lot like her character, Luna Lovegood. At least, she reminds ME of Luna...

Terminator Salvation (May 21, 2009) PG-13

Christian Bale (The Machinist 2004, The Fighter 2010)
Sam Worthington (Macbeth 2006, Clash of the Titans 2010)
Moon Bloodgood (Pathfinder 2007, Beautiful Boy 2010)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek 2010, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Lady in the Water 2006, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse 2010)
Michael Ironside (The Machinist 2004, Liberty 2010)

I thought Christian Bale was supposed to be the star of Terminator Salvation, but I was corrected. He was practically the antigonist at times.

The star of the movie, Sam Worthington, does great. Worthington is definately one of the up-and-coming actors to watch in 2010 and '11. So far I've only seen him in two roles; this and Avatar, and he plays a conflicted character torn between worlds in both films. I'm interested to see him in Clash of the Titans soon........

Mr. Bale, however, plays America's favorite machine-killer, John Connor. And though it pains me to say this about Bale, I think someone else should have been cast in his role. I just don't like to see Bale playing such mindless, action roles. Something just wasn't right.

The movie, however, was fantastic. The special effects were huge and fitting. The plot was exciting. The characters were real. The conflict was desperate.
It's just a great movie.

Spoiler alert: Though he is not credited, Arnold does make a brief appearance in Terminator Salvation.

Factoid: It was during the filming of Terminator Salvation that Christian Bale had his infamous "freak out" when a lighting tech walked on set while cameras were rolling. Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0auwpvAU2YA to listen. WARNING: CONTAINS R-RATED LANGUAGE, but you will love Christian Bale more afterwards...

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (June 24, 2009) PG-13

Shia LeBeouf (Transformers 2007, Transformers 3 2012)
Megan Fox (Transformers 2007, Passion Play 2010)
Peter Cullen (Transformers 2007)
Hugo Weaving (V for Vendetta 2005, The Wolfman 2010)
Isabel Lucas ("Home and Away" 2003-2006, Red Dawn 2010)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers 2007, Life as We Know It 2010)
Tyrese Gibson (Deathrace 2008, Legion 2010)
John Turturro (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? 2000, Art's Demise 2011)

I loved this movie, even though it wasn't as good as the first.

The plot didn't make sense, and there were discrepensies in the movie that just couldn't be ignored.

The film did, however, have all of the same great action and humor that the first one had. Shia LeBeouf was great (again), Megan Fox was extremely hot (again), and the Autobots and Decepticons blew a lot of stuff up (even more stuff this time).

My only complaint was that Optimus Prime wasn't in most of the movie. But when he was on screen, he was kicking major butt.

I can't wait till the third...

Factoid: At one point in the movie there was a Decepticon in two places at once. On another occasion, an Autobot spontaneously disappears from a scene without explanation. And Sam Witwicky's make-shift wrist-brace randomly transforms into a real, doctor-made arm-cast (while he's wandering around the desert).
You'd have to see the movie to understand.

The Watchmen (March 6, 2009) R

Jackie Earle Haley (All the King's Men, Shutter Island 2010)
Carla Gugino (Sin City, Elektra Luxx 2010)
Malin Akerman (27 Dresses, The Bang Band Club 2010)
Billy Crudup (Public Enemies, Eat, Pray Love 2010)
Matthew Goode (The Lookout, Leap Year 2010)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan ("Supernatural", Red Dawn 2010)
Patrick Wilson (The Phantom of the Opera 2004, The A-Team 2010)

There is so much to say about one of the best movies of 2009--The Watchmen.
And it's rare for a comic-book-based movie to ADD to the original comic instead of taking away from it (coughWolverinecough!).
Hailing from a semi-black-horse cast of brilliant actors, I found every actor seemed to disappear into the roles they played.
The comic book-based characters Rorschach, The Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Silk Spectre I & II, and Night Owl all quickly became some of my favorite heroes, immediately taking place in my heart next to Wolverine, Xavier, Batman and Superman.

The movie itself does not require that someone has read the internationally acclaimed comic book of the same name. I read it after I saw the movie, and I enjoyed the movie even more the second time after having read the greatest graphic novel of all time.

Back to the film.
It was dark and mystical, realistic and supernatural, epic and non-insisting.
The acting was perfect and not overly dramatic.
The cinematography was fitting and stylish.
The story quite loyal to the comic.
It's not a movie made to be loved by all. It caters to the same crowd the graphic novel appealed to.

Factoid: Although The Watchmen is about "superheroes", there's only one character in the whole film with any actual super-powers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

District 9 (August 14, 2009) R

Sharlto Copley (The A-Team 2010)
David James (Bridge of Names 2010)

A native of South Africa, Sharlto Copley had virtually no recognized acting experience before his amazing performance in District 9. In my opinion, his performance was comparable to Heath Ledger's Joker. It was one of the greatest performances I've ever seen.
First time's a charm?

Intense, fast-paced, and dismally realistic, District 9 was better than I'd ever expected. I didn't know, going into the theater the first time seeing it, that it would be the best movie of 2009.

The movie starts out documentary-style, with interviewees making vague references to Wilkus Van De Merwe's (Sharlto Copley) decisions and character. It then gives you an inside look into how the government and bureaus of South Africa are handling the 800,000 aliens who came to earth from off of the city-sized ship hovering above Johannesberg. Those 800,000 have multiplied to over 2 million, and they need to be relocated from one alien slum to another.

Van De Morwe works for MNU (Multi-National United) who are over all things alien, and is head of the department in charge of relocating the aliens. As he collects eviction notive "signatures" from the aliens, he gets pulled into a world he only thought he understood.

Best movie of 2009

Factoid: The team that wrote, produced, and directed District 9 (including Peter Jackson) were slated to do the Halo movie, said to be coming out in 2012. When the Halo movie project was delayed, and most of those involved were released from the project, many still wanted to do a realistic alien genre movie. District 9 was born. And a sequel is being whispered about...

State of Play (April 17, 2009) PG-13

Russell Crowe (Gladiator, Robin Hood 2010)
Ben Affleck (Pearl Harbor, The Town 2010)
Rachel MacAdams (The Notebook, Sherlock Holmes 2009)
Robin Wright Penn (The Princess Bride, The Conspirator 2010)
Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber, Howl 2010)
Jason Bateman ("Arrested Developement", Paul 2010)

Though the movie seemed like nothing new to Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck, I'm glad I saw State of Play.
Touching on the controversial topic of the privatization of war and combat, State of Play is a well done film with plenty of twists.

To be honest though, a conspiracy film with plenty of twists, plot, and surprises is nothing new.
I'm afraid I can't recommend this film. Not unless you're willing to sit through a full-length film for the sake of seeing Rachel MacAdams looking completely beautiful.
Or if you just want to see Robin Wright Penn for the sake of seeing, well, Robin Wright Penn.

Factoid: Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck have a scene together in a motel in Smokin' Aces, and they do again in State of Play.

Two Lovers (November 19, 2008) R

Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator, The Village)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Se7en, Iron Man, Iron Man 2 2010)
Vinessa Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes, Leave 2010)

The predictability of this film didn't ruin it for me, because the anticipation of disaster can sometimes be as fun as anticipation of the unknown.
I wasn't going to blog about this November 2008 film, but having finally seen it (and it being Joaquin Phoenix's last film...) I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

What maybe ruined it for me was the film's complete lack of a moral message. I try to think of what this film is trying to say, and none of what I come up with is all that inspiring...
I just wrote a list of possible morals and deleted them because they revealed too much.
Granted, there are morals buried in the film, and if you concentrate (like you would on a Magic Eye) you can see them line up.... but, well, you'd need to see it to understand.
I was left with a feeling of "So what?" afterwards.

Anyway, Joaquin delivers a great performance, as always, portraying a confused, messed-up, bla young man who lives with his parents in the Bronx.
The title implies some bad decision making, but nothing prepared me for the stupidity of Joaquin's character.
Gwyneth Paltrow's character competed for the idiot award, and some might say she won, but I don't care because her performance was mediocre and there's probably a dozen actresses who could have done better. Her performance in Iron Man comes to mind... She keeps getting handed these great roles and she does nothing with them.
It would have been possible for Vinessa Shaw's performance to have compensated for Gwyneth's lack, but her character was a minor lead, and wasn't featured enough. Vinessa has promising talent though, always disappearing into whatever character she plays (Such as The Hills Have Eyes and 3:10 to Yuma).

Two Lovers. If you're a Phoenix fan, you still don't have to see it.

What pushed me to blog was that Joaquin's character actually raps in this movie, and Joaquin left acting (in real life) to pursue his dream of being a rap music star.
I couldn't ignore that little factoid...

I wonder if they'd have made him wrestle a crocodile in this film, would he have gone off to be the next crocodile hunter?

Carriers (September 2, 2009) R

Chris Pine (Smokin' Aces, Star Trek 2009, Untitled Star Trek Sequel 2011)
Lou Taylor Pucci (Horsemen, Brotherhood 2009)
Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly, Ashes 2009)
Emily VanCamp ("Everwood", "Brothers and Sisters")
Christopher Meloni ("Law and Order: Special Victims Unit", Dirty Movie 2009)

What would YOU do in an outbreak? A MAJOR, GLOBAL outbreak? How would you survive? What would be your new rules for living?
Carriers raises great questions about peoples' survivalist instincts. It raises the question, "Do we even HAVE survivalist instincts?" And it answers with a resounding, "Yes, but they're not that great."

If you liked Star Trek's Chris Pine this year, you'll love his depiction of the emotionally straight-armed Brian, who is bent on survival at any cost. His acting was convincing and he knows how to grab your attention.
But Pine's great acting isn't even the best part of Carriers. The story, the originality, and the personal questions and conversations this movie will initiate make it a movie worth seeing.

Factoid: U.S. Weekly calls Chris Pine "the new Harrison Ford."

Brothers (December 4, 2009) R

Tobey Maguire (Spiderman, Spiderman 4 2011)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 2010)
Natalie Portman (Star Wars: Episode III, Thor 2011)
Sam Shepard (The Notebook, Border Crosses 2010)

FINALLY!!! A movie with some emotional and psychological MEAT to it!
And having not seen Tobey Maguire in anything new since Spiderman 3, I was surprised to discover that he truly is a great actor.
Never in my life did I think I would say this, but Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal couldn't keep up with Tobey. During one of the greatest "freak out" scenes I've seen, Natalie almost ruined it with her mediocre acting.

The movie also featured great acting on the part of Bailee Madison and Taylor Geare, who played Tobey and Natalie's young daughters. They were lovable, and believeable.
If you've seen the previews, then you're already anticipating an explosion on the part of Tobey Maguire. The plot still remained unpredictable for me.
Loved it. Great movie. Lots of "Holy cow" scenes.

Factoid: In Jarhead, Jake Gyllenhaal played a soldier in the Gulf War who comes home to find his girlfriend sleeping with another man.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Blind Side (November 20, 2009) PG-13

Sandra Bullock (Miss Congeniality, One of the Guys 2010)
Tim McGraw (Flicka, The Kingdom, Love Don't Let Me Down 2010)
Quinton Aaron (Mr. Brooklyn, Cred 2009)

I was expecting this film to be good, especially after hearing from reliable sources (including my brother Tim) that it was very well done. Sure enough, my brother was right.

Even if you're tired of all the football movies that have been coming out, you can still enjoy The Blind Side. It's almost not a football movie, it's more about what it means to be a good person. It reminds me of what Dale Carnegie said in his best-selling How to Win Friends and Influence People, that the best feeling comes from helping someone who won't be able to pay you back.

I'm left wondering, also, who the real star of the movie was. If it was Sandra Bullock's character, who fought against the ignorance her social standing seemed to inspire, or if it was Quinton Aaron's character (Michael Oher) who struggled with things like trying to live in a white school, academics, and himself.

The message I gathered: help others even if they can't help you back. Cause you never know, they may end up going pro in the NFL and you'll get a movie made about you.

Factoid: According to sources, The Blind Side was a very accurate representation of Michael Oher's life. What the movie didn't seem to touch much on though, was that Oher almost couldn't read when he was enrolled in a Christian high school.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (October 20, 2009) R

Sean Patrick Flannery (Boondock Saints, Sinners and Saints 2010)
Norman Reedus (Boondock Saints, Night of the Templar 2010)
Billy Connolly (Boondock Saints, Gulliver's Travels 2010)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Star Trek 2009, Brothers, The Experiment 2010)
Julie Benz (Rambo, Answers to Nothing 2010)
David Della Rocco (Boondock Saints, nothing new on the horizon)
Bob Marley (Boondock Saints, nothing new on the horizon)
Brian Mahoney (Boondock Saints, nothing new on the horizon)
David Ferry (Boondock Saints, nothing new on the horizon)

All hail All Saints Day!

I was worried and excited when Troy Duffy posted a video, shot from the backyard of his house, announcing that he was going to make a sequel to the holy and sacred 1999 cult classic Boondock Saints. I was worried it would do what Pirates II did to Pirates, and excited to see the MacManus brothers back in black shooting evil men.

My worries were stoked during the first 20 minutes of the film, and I feared my favorite shoot-em-up film's sequel had gone the way of so many other cheesy sequels.

But the film's uneasy start proved misleading, as the film's plot and characters began firing.

There's a dance--very careful steps that a sequel has to take in order to be taken seriously. It has to be similar to the original in the right ways, and different/seperate from the original in the right ways. This film put two irons to the back of the dance's noodle, said a prayer, and showed what a good sequel should be.
This sequel is to the original what The Godfather: Part II was to The Godfather. Yes I just said that.

If you liked Duffy's style of showing the saints' murderous aftermath, then taking you back and showing how it happened, then you'll love All Saints Day.
If you wanted some backstory on the Il Duce (the Saints' father) then you'll love All Saints Day.
If you wanted to see Rocko at least once more then you'll love All Saints Day.
And if you wanted to see Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus reprise as your favorite Irish twins killing lots and lots of people who deserve to be killed then you'll love All Saints Day.

The whole cast, every last one, is featured in All Saints Day. Including detectives Dolly, Duffy, and Greenly.

The film featured more comedy than the original, and myself, my brother Tim, and the rest of the audience loved it. The film was not only funny--it took itself seriously.

Also, the film makes ambiguous hints to yet another sequel.............. not in 10 MORE years I hope.

All Hail All Saints Day!!!

Factoid: Troy Duffy, director and writer of Boondock Saints I & II, has only directed and written those two movies. The films are the high-points of the careers of many of the actors in them.