Saturday, December 15, 2012

Movie review - Fire & Ice The Dragon Chronicles

What a piece of crap this was.  Even as a made for TV movie this was a smelly piece of cow pie.  The movie of course is Fire & Ice The Dragon Chronicles.

It was grand in vision and light on delivery.  If one watches closely you can almost see a great movie hiding somewhere in the implausible scenes, bad acting, and poor writing. 

Even with some good actors the writing is so bad they cannot save the film.  There are two fairly well know actors in this movie.  First is Arnold Vosloo who played the mummy from the film of the same name with Brendan Fraser.  Arnold plays King Augustin in this film.  Augustin is a fair and noble king, he is also the father of our main character Princess Luisa.

Secondly we have John Rhys-Davies whom I will forever remember as the professor from the 90's TV show "Sliders."  John plays Sangimel in this film, Sangimel is the mentor of our main hero Gabriel.

Now that I have mentioned the good lets put the last piece of negative bread on this reverse compliment sandwich shall we.

Let's see, where shall we start.  The princess, she keeps sneaking out and no one ever seems to know where she is, why, because they have no f'ing guards.  This castle they live in has no guards to speak of and no real defences.

On to the dragons, how can you screw up dragons you say?  Make them look like giant sky going manta rays with dragon heads?  Hey that would be something that no one has seen before, lets do that.  No, don't do that.  The only redeeming value to the dragons is the fact that the fire and ice effects are done magnificently.

The sky battle between the two is very confusing though.  The scene keeps cutting to them fighting and to the so called heroes running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to go somewhere.  To safety, to the bad guys, to another movie with a better plot?

Another problem with this movie is that you never really get a sense of where the actors are.  By this I mean they seem to keep going from one place to another but you are never quite sure why they are going in the first place.

Having said all of this I have to rate this film two somewhat smiley Mike heads.  Sadly I have seen worse films, the array of movies at Family Video still amazes me.  They have both good and bad alike.  The fun of finding the gems among the rubbish keeps me going back though.




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Movie review - Attack the Block

Tonight's movie was a bit of an interesting Sci-Fi adventure.  The movie is Attack the Block.

This film was a telling of aliens in a metropolitan setting.  I was really expecting a goofy cheesy movie with not much substance; although this film had many serious aspects.  The film had drug dealers, muggings, violent killings, and lots of bloody gore.

Attack the Block follows the lives of several people in a London city block.  We start the movie following Sam (Jodie Whittaker). Sam is walking down the street when she meets up with a gang of kids.  This gang is led by Moses, (John Boyega), they then mug Sam. Sam gets knocked to the ground and while she is down notices something streaking toward them in the sky, then it crashes into the car next to them.  Sam takes this opportunity to escape her muggers.  We quickly find out that the object is an alien and is jumps onto Moses and scratches his face.  Pissed, Moses leads the gang to hunt down and kill the alien. This is where the film starts to get really get moving.

The aliens in the film were very different from your standard movie aliens.  The gang actually makes reference to this in one scene.  They are in the park following hunting down a new alien when they spot it.  Someone says they see its eyes, we see though that this is really his teeth glowing in the dark.  The aliens were really well thought out and had a motive for their actions.

They primarily cast the movie with amateur actors and kids from the streets to adding a sense realism.  The director really wanted to portray what it was really like being on the streets today.  The acting is phenomenal, professional actors could not have played these parts any better.

Special effects were also really well done and helped to establish some drama in the scene; however the effects were never overdone.

In the end I really enjoyed this film.  Being that it was a low budget movie that did some really big things.  I would recommend it to anyone who likes Sci-Fi movies that have a few lighthearted elements.

I rate this film four smiley Mike heads, for its inventiveness and creativity.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Movie Review - Mirror Mirror

This was one very creative and inspired movie.  The film is Mirror Mirror.  A wonderful retelling of the classic.  A bit more realistic than Disney's version ever way.

Let me just start with the costumes, I am very close to someone who has done costumes for theatre and she would be very happy by this movie.  The costumes are extremely elaborate, very well designed and constructed, I can only imagine the bolts of fabric in each and every dress.  For anyone who loves period pieces simply for the costumes than stop reading this and go watch it now.

Here is a link to the video review.  My first ever post to youtube.com

http://youtu.be/XJmPo2tpxJc

For those of you who wish to know a bit more about the movie I will continue.  The acting is superb and the story is fresh.  No more do we see the girl being rescued by the prince in shining armor.  One of my favorite parts of the movie is when Snow White finds the dwarves and they teach her to be a thief/bandit.  Snow gets tough and learns some really useful things.

As for the dwarves, they are very much what you would think of as dwarves in any tabletop role playing game.  They are not singing dancing folk like in the Disney tale, not these dwarves.  They are more like Robin Hood and his not so merry men.  They introduce them in a very dramatic way which allows for Snow to meet up with Prince Allcot.

Prince Allcot is played by Armie Hammer.  The prince actually has faults which makes him that much more endearing to Snow White when she first meets him.  Armie has the charisma in the role of Prince Allcot as one would expect however he also is a bit unsure of himself.  Armie brings a certain naiveté to this role as well.

 Snow White is played very aptly by Lily Collins.  Lily brings a certain strength as well as a naiveté to the role of Snow White.  You really get the feeling that Snow is growing up as you watch this film.  I think the fact that both characters are so untraveled of the world they make a perfect couple.

There are several other wonderful performances in this film as well.  One of my favorites of course Nathan Lane as Brighton the Queen's right hand man.  He is very much the bumbling idiot with a heart.  His role parallels that of Kronk in "The Emperor's New Groove."  He is asked to get rid of Snow White but instead he lets her go in the woods where she finds the dwarves.


The special effects are every bit what you would expect of a film of this magnitude.  There is a great scene when the Queen visits her special chamber and walks right through a mirror but comes out of a lake and onto a pier.  It is very much like the scene in "Labyrinth" where Davie Bowie walk up and around the edge of the platform that Sarah is standing on.  It was very well done and fun to watch.

For anyone who likes fantasy movies then you will very much enjoy this film.  It has sword fights, magic, beautiful costumes, great acting, there is nothing bad about this movie.

I rate this film five out of five smiley Mike heads for its fresh look at a much overdone classic.




Saturday, November 3, 2012

Movie Review - Skyline

This is not the typical type of move that I would rent.  I remembered seeing the previews and I was a bit intrigued.  The movie is Skyline.

I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by this film.  From reading the back cover of the movie box it seemed very much like a horror film; however it really feels like much more of an action/sci-fi movie.

I tend to get really invested in films when I watch them, so I don't really like movies that have a ton of suspenseful scenes in a dark environment.  While this movie has a few of those scenes they are shot with a sense of curiosity as opposed to a sense of dread, like most horror movies.

The movie follows two main characters with a small set of supporting characters.  The two main characters are Jarrod, and Elaine who are on a vacation in Los Angeles.  They are staying with a close friend who has hit it big in the entertainment industry and lives in a penthouse apartment in the heart of the city.  This apartment serves as the setting for most of the film as we watch as the aliens start to attack.

The aliens in this film are particularly creepy.  They feed on human body parts, particularly our brains to get the energy they need to continue life and to heal themselves.  I suppose this makes them a touch like zombies since they both feed on our brains.  They give off a weird blue light that hypnotises us to come to them where they snatch us up and rip out our brains.

The special effects in this film were amazing.  They really nailed it with most of the action scenes; although there was one scene that irritated me with a fighter jet bounced over the two main characters on the roof.  Why is it we much have this scene in all of the action movies now.  I am no expert but I'm pretty sure that cars/jets do not bounce when they hit the ground.  Especially not high enough to skip over the main characters while they remain unscathed.

The acting was pretty good in this movie as well.  There were a few scenes when the main characters felt a bit wooden.  They delivered their lines well but it was unclear what emotion they were portraying.  Perhaps it was because of the alien situation of the predicament they found themselves in.

Overall if you are a fan of action/suspense films then this movie is for you.  I especially loved the ending, it left you with a bit of hope for the human species.  The whole film was written very well.  It felt very realistic for a film of its type.  The film kept me guessing all the way up to the end.  As my readers should be aware of by now that an ending makes or breaks a film for me.

I rate this film four out of five smiley Mike heads.  Being that this is not my typical type of film and the acting was a bit stiff at times I rated it a bit lower than I might have otherwise.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Movie Review - Tower Heist

This movie is like almost like an Ocean's Eleven but with a load of crazy silliness mixed together with a little bit of heart.  The movie is Tower Heist, starting Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, and Eddie Murphy.

Josh Kovaks (Ben Stiller) is at the top of his game managing The Tower, a prestigious apartment complex in New York City.  Very quickly though his world gets turned upside down.  Josh is talking with Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) a big time investment broker in the beginning of the movie.  Josh and Arthur are fairly close given that Arthur lives in the building and Josh takes care of his every need.  Josh sees Arthur being stuffed into the back of a work truck and springs into action locking down The Tower.  Josh then personally chases down the truck when he is clotheslined by Special Agent Claire Denham (Téa Leoni) and the van is stopped by the FBI.  This is where we find out that Arthur Shaw is wanted for fraud and has defrauded all of his investors of their money.

The plot thickens when we find out that Josh had asked Arthur Shaw to invest the  pension funds of all the workers at The Tower.  Feeling personally responsible for this Josh hatches a scheme, why not steal the running money that he has stashed in his apartment.  He is pretty sure he knows where the safe is but he needs a team to pull off the job.  This is where the movie really starts to get interesting.  Josh recruits the biggest bunch of misfits that you could imagine to steal 20 million from a high profile target who is being protected by the FBI.

Ben Stiller does an amazing job in this film.  In the beginning of the film he is an overly professional guy who takes nothing personally and lives to server the residents of building.  Once his tough exterior starts to chip away you then get to see the real character underneath.  He could care less about the residents and completely about the staff who he has sworn to settle up with.  The transformation is pretty cool when you are watching it.

Alan Alda is fantastic as the hyper intelligent cold calculating prick Arthur Shaw.  His portrayal of the character make you really want to see him get it in the end.  The fact that he can elicit such an emotional response proves that he is a great actor.

Matthew Broderick is simply amazing in this role of Mr. Fitzhugh the out of work down on his luck stressed out financial manager.  In the film they mention he worked at Goldman Sachs handling their money.  He is very smart but also incredibly afraid of everything.

Eddie Murphy preforms a very exuberant dirty handed bad guy as Slide.  The way that Eddie manages to bring a little bit of humor to the role is excellent.  There is a great scene when Josh and Slide meet for the first time that had me laughing because of the way Stiller and Murphy work together.

The special effects were really well done.  It's not real obvious but there are certainly many scenes with special effects in them.  You can tell that they really put the extra money if for this one.  There is a scene where Mr. Fitzhugh is hanging off a building and it looks very believable.

All of the costumes are very appropriate for each character.  I would expect this of any movie that I watch.  There is a very wide variety of costumes to cover in the movie as well.  You have Shaw, rich and pretentious, Slide streetwise thug, Mr. Fitzhugh, business casual, and Josh who goes from expensive suits to causal dress.  It was all put together quite well.

The dialog always seemed very natural and not forced.  This shows a good writer at the helm of the ship.  When they can pull off this casual competence with the dialog it makes for a better film.

I rate this film five out of five smiley Mike heads.  It has humor, style, imagination, and action.  What's not to like, I highly suggest this film to anyone.  It seems like the producers actually cared when they created this film, and it shows.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Movie Review - Knowing

Wow.  That about sums up this movie.  Another mind twisting film from the mind of
Alex Proyas.  The movie is Knowing starting Nicholas Cage.  IMDB - Post

The other film that springs to mind when talking of Alex Proyas is Dark City.  Taking a peek at his resume show a list of credits for other films that I love.  This list includes, I, Robot, The Crow, Dark City and now Knowing.  His films have a way of being dark but not being overly intense.  This film is no exception in that it is creepy and dark, very suspenseful but not too intense.

The movie stars Nicholas Cage as John Koestler.  I know many people who do not like Nick Cage because he tends to play the same character in every movie.  I can understand that point of view, however I feel this role is a bit different for him.  This movie is not your typical action movie that Nick Cage is know for.  John is a astrophysicist at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT for short.  He is the father of Caleb Koestler our other lead role in the film.  While there are moments where you get the somewhat wooden performance that is Nicholas Cage he is very serious and portrays the brooding and thoughtful character very well. 

I only wish that he would have been more open with his son in this film.  He keeps many things from his son which perhaps in the end is a good thing.  I would like to think in his shoes spoken more with my son about what was actually going on. 

Speaking of sons Chandler Canterbury who played Caleb was actually quite good.  It is hard with child actors, you never quite know if they are going to be good or not.  I have recently watched a few films with horrible child actors, this film is not one of them.  Chandler is quite convincing in his role.  Caleb is very intelligent and trying to make a deeper connection with his father now that his mother is gone.  Chandler's acting all seems very realistic and natural which adds credibility to the role.

There are many other great actors and actresses in this film.  Everyone does a great job with the roles they are portraying.  Another small but important part in the film is John's father who is a preacher.  He has very few lines but delivers them exceptionally.  Right to the heart of his point without using too many words.

The special effects in this film are superb.  There are several big scenes in the film with very prominent special effects.  The special effects are very cool to watch, and are totally believable.  In some scenes it is a bit much, especially where you are watching people get burned alive.  It is still shot in such a way not to over dramatize things but to really show you what is going on.

I would highly recommend this film to anyone who likes mysterious films.  Likewise if you are a fan of suspense films you might enjoy this one as well.  While there is a few good action scenes I do not think this would keep the hard core action movie fans interested throughout the entire movie.

I rate this film to be four and a half out of five smiley Mike heads.  If the relationship between the father and son had been a bit stronger I would have given it five smiley Mike heads.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Movie Review - Run Fat Boy Run

Tonight's movie took me completely by surprise.  I was expecting a pure comedy much like Shawn of the Dead but this movie actually had a plot.  The movie of course was Run Fat Boy Run.  IMDB - Post

Simon Pegg is amazing at playing the awkward person.  The guy who just doesn't quite fit in right with society.  Dennis is no exception to this list.  Dennis is the main character of this film.

We start the film with Dennis at his wedding.  He is sweating profusely and absolutely beside himself with terror of his impending nuptials.  His best friend/cousin Gordon played by Dylan Moran is trying to comfort him in a poor men don't have feelings sort of way.  The last time Gordon tries to check on him Dennis has climbed out the window and is running down the street.

We flash forward 5 years, Dennis is still running.  As we zoom out from Dennis we find he is in a uniform, chasing down a shoplifter.  Apparently he is working as a security guard for a women's boutique.  He manages to tackle the perpetrator and wrestle the stolen pair of panties from her grasp.

As we follow Dennis further into his world we begin to find out that he doesn't have such a great handle on life.  He locks himself out of his apartment, and then has to talk to his pissed off landlord to let him in the front door.

The next scene shows Jake as played by Matthew Fenton watching Lord of the Rings on TV.  Jake is in his mother house waiting for Dennis to pick him up for a Lord of the Rings musical.  Libby, Dennis's almost wife is played by Thandie Newton.It is in this scene where we meet Whit played by the always excellent Hank Azaria.  Whit is Libby's new boyfriend, he is intelligent, organized, and well off. 

Libby who is understandably bitter towards Dennis, is accepting of him being in Jake's life.  When Dennis and Jake leave for the show we find out that Dennis does indeed not have tickets for the show and tries to buy them off someone only to find out that the gentleman is an undercover cop.  Dennis gets arrested for purchasing tickets from a scalper and gets thrown in jail.  Libby comes to his rescue and takes Jake home for the night.

A little later in the move we get to the plot of the film.  We find out that Whit is running in a marathon.  Dennis wanting to win back Libby agrees to join in and run the marathon as well.  Swearing to change his life and win back his girl Dennis makes a piss poor attempt to start training.  Only after his cousin Gordon makes a huge wager with his gambling buddies that Dennis will finish the marathon does he actually start training for real.  Gordon now having a stake in his success decides to be his coach.

For me this is where the film actually start to get interesting.  Watching Dennis be a complete loser for the first half of the film isn't exactly amusing for me to watch.  It is important though to show personal growth.  I do like to see a character grow in a film, to actually achieve something before the end of the film.  Makes me think I actually didn't completely waste two hours of my life.

The film has a absolutely wonderful ending, realistic, well, maybe.  Lets just say you won't be disappointed if you decide to watch this movie, at least I wasn't disappointed.

I rate this film four and a half smiley Mike heads.  It was funny, in a slightly uncomfortable mildly British humor sort of way but still fun.

If you like odd ball sort of movies I highly suggest this one for you.


Movie Review - The Hunger Games

A very interesting look at the future, yet frustrating to watch at moments.  I wish they had talked more about the revolution and why it happened.  I guess that's why you go out and buy the book after watching the movie, to learn more of the back story.  The movie is The Hunger Games IMDB - Post

The Hunger Games is set in the future.  They talk of a revolt against the federal government which failed.  As a way to remember the revolt and perhaps to control the population of the 12 sectors that staged the revolt the government sets up The Hunger Games.  Everyone is entered into a lottery once a year, if you win you are chosen to participate in the games.

They pick two people from each village to participate.  The games are essentially a winner takes all death match in the woods.  The woods however are filled with traps and the other competitors armed with weapons of all kinds.  The winner gets to go home to their sector to live out a happy life.

We start the movie following Katniss Everdeen, her mother and sister Primrose.  Katniss played by Jennifer Lawrence, sneaks outside the boundaries of the sector to hunt.  This is when she runs into her best friend Gale Hawthorne.  Gale is following her into the woods to keep an eye on her, and spend some alone time with her.

We cut away to people gathering in an assembly space.  They are getting ready to choose the names of the people that will participate in the 74th annual Hunger Games.  We see perhaps the first bit of color in the movie in Effie Trinket's purple dress.  Effie played by Elizabeth Banks is Sector 12's assigned cultivator.  She is the one who picks the names of the participants from the bowl.  When Primrose's name is pulled out of the bowl Katniss quickly volunteers to take her place.  The other person chosen to participate is Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson.  We soon find out that he has a crush on Katniss.  We then follow the two of them as they travel to the capital so they can begin the ceremonies surrounding the Hunger Games.

On the train ride we meet Haymitch Abernathy who acts as their mentor for surviving the games.  Haymitch is played by Woody Harrelson actually survived a previous Hunger Games to be in the position that he is in now.  They are also accompanied by Effie, the two of them try to explain what will be expected of them and how best they can represent Sector 12.  Once they reach the capital we then meet Cinna who is in charge of their public image.  Part Stylist and part fashion coach Cinna as played by Lenny Kravitz certainly helps them make a statement on their first public appearance.

As the movie progresses you start to feel how callous and shallow the people in the capitol are.  They could care less about the participants of The Hunger Games and are only interested in the show of it all.  It reminds me much of the spectators of the Roman Gladiators of ancient times.  You really start to feel bad for Katniss who has no interest in being a play thing for these people.  She just wanted to save her sister from being killed in the games.

The costumes were great, the acting was excellent, the sets were fantastic.  The capital is very futuristic and fun to explore.  The special effects were very well done as well.

It is an interesting view of a possible future for humanity.  Some things in this movie were hard to watch, but were always believable.  The ending was a far cry short of what I was hoping for.  I didn't realize going into this movie that this was based on a series of books.  Knowing that now it makes the ending feel a little less disappointing.  I can say I look forward to any future movies that may come out since they did a great job of creating an interesting universe of characters.

I rate this movie four out of five smiley Mike heads.  The ending left me feeling melancholy and felt unfinished.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Movie Review - God Bless America

Having seen a preview for this movie I knew that I had to watch it.  The movie is "God Bless America"  IMDB - Post

videoThe movie had a bit of a slow start but it had a big finish.  There were scenes that were absolutely true and so very funny.  I am of course getting ahead of myself as I always do, let's start at the beginning.

This film tells the story of Frank, a down on his luck average over 30 american.  Frank (who is played by Joel Murray) is in quite the down spot when we meet him.  Laying in his bed in his apartment you hear a screaming child and two people yelling at the TV.  There is a scene here that is a bit over the top but thankfully it is shot in a way that doesn't over dramatize it.  On his way to work we find out that he is divorced and that his 10 year old daughter wants nothing to do with him.  Once he makes it to work he flirts a little with the secretary and loans her a book to read.  This seems not much more than inocent office banter.  However we find out that the secretary has filed a sexual harassment charge against him and Frank gets fired because of it.

Now that Frank has no job, no family, and white trash neighbors who have no respect for his privacy Frank gets out his gun and decides to end his life.  Contemplating his suicide he is staring at the TV when a horrible reality show comes on.  He is watching Chloe, a spoiled teenage girl who has rich parents that buy her anything she wants.  The parents buy her a brand new reliable car and she is pissed it isn't an Escalade. Frank suddenly has a revelation, this girl must die.  She is not a good person, she is selfish and has a bad temper that she can't control.

We cut to a scene of Frank sitting in the woods waiting for Chloe to get out of school when Roxy stumbles upon him.  Roxy (as played by Tara Lynne Barr) thinks that he is a stalker pedophile and calls him such as she heads into school.  Later when Chloe is getting in her car Frank handcuffs her to the steering wheel and stuffs a rag in the gas tank and lights it on fire.  The rag falls out of the gas tank and he tries to grab it and stuff it back into the gas tank when Chloe's friends show up.  Faced with a tough decision he simply shoots her in the head and runs off.

On his way back to his car he finds Roxy watching him.  She asks if he just killed Chloe which of course he says yes he did.  At this point Roxy totally asks to come with Frank so they can kill more idiots who deserve to die.  This pretty much starts their killing spree which is equal parts serious and humor.  I'm sure that many of the people that they kill are based on real people.  There are some I recognize and many others I do not.

The movie is absolutely amusing to watch.  There are a few awkward moments between Frank and Roxy I could live without.  Although I attribute this to her being so wrapped up in the adventure she is just throwing caution to the wind.  I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who isn't squeamish about blood and guts, and loves a good comedy action film.

For the above reasons I am rating this film four and a half smiley Mike heads.

There was a moment at the end that kinda upset me.  It seemed thrown in and not well thought out, if it wasn't for this I would have given it five smiley Mike heads.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Movie Review - Griff the Invisible

Well, I certainly have an eye for odd movies, and this one is no exception.  The movie is Griff the Invisible IMDB - Post

This is a would be superhero movie, except the superhero is not what he seems in this film.  We follow the main character Griff as he fights crime and keeps his neighborhood safe.  As we progress in the film we meet Griff's brother Tim.  Tim stops by with his new girl in his life Melody, and Griff is afraid that Tim and Melody will see his super suit which is hidden behind a curtain in his living room.

There is a moment in this meeting where Griff and Melody seem to have a shared moment.  We soon find out that Melody is not quite what she seems either.  Awkward and shyly Melody doesn't think like regular people.  She has ambitions of walking through walls but she explains it in a truly scientific way.    

Griff continues to work at his day job at a shipping carrier in the customs office.  He does not fit in at work and there is Tony that is constantly tormenting him.  It turns out that Griff makes an Invisible suit and breaks into work to setup a gag to get back at Tony.  It is shortly after this where we find out that Griff was not invisible and he was caught on film.

This is the point in the film where you start to question whether or not Griff's reality is truly real.  They go back and forth between reality and fantasy at this point making things a bit confusing to figure out what was really going on.  Although I must state I had many interruptions and several breaks during the viewing of this movie.  So if I had a quieter and less distracted viewing experience I might have been less confused.

Melody keeps finding reasons to come over to see Griff and certainly is interested in him.  Griff is clueless as to Melody's intentions and is just worried about her revealing his secret identity.

At the end you find that both Tim and Melody both want what they think is best for Griff.  However they are at totally different ends of the spectrum.  Melody wants him to embrace his fantasy and Tim of course just wants Griff to be normal like everyone else.

In the end we have a great finish to the film and everything seems to get tidied up.

It had a love story in there but it was buried in the middle of the chaos that is part of the film.  I just couldn't seem to get into the film.

I rate this film three and a half out of five smiley Mike heads.  If it wasn't quite so in and out of reality and confusing I perhaps would have rated it a bit higher.  I must also admit that the ending seemed to just come out of nowhere.




Saturday, September 8, 2012

Movie Review - Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie

This is going to be a very short review.  I only watched about 15 minutes of this movie before I shut it off.  The movie is Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie.  IMDB - Post

This has to be the gayest movie I have ever seen, I mean that literally though.  Both Tim and Eric act like they are gay, the clothes they wear, the way they kiss each other on random body parts.

There are not enough bad things to say about this movie.  I can't believe that some of the actors in this film agreed to be in this film.

Please for the love of god or whatever dieity you prefer to pay homage to do NOT watch this movie.  Reading the description on the back of the box I knew it was going to be silly, cheesy but I didn't expect the large amounts of stupid and just pointlessness that is this movie.

I'm not sure if it was going to get better but I wasn't going to find out.

I rate this movie one negative smiley Mike head.

I hope if you do watch this film despite me telling you not to that you might find some redeeming quality that I was unable to find.



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Movie Review - An Invisible Sign

This was one of those movies that shows the main character at a low point in their lives.  Unfortunately this movie show our main character so low in her life you wonder if it is ever going to get better.

The movie is called An Invisible Sign IMDB - Post.

This film stars the very attractive Jessica Alba as Mona Gray.  We start with Mona as a young woman and we build a great relationship with her family.  She is especially close to her father a math professor who one day has some sort of medical emergency and is no longer all there in the head.

Mona obsessed with the idea that she can somehow make her father better if she could just act a certain way or find a perfect number.  Mona spends the rest of her childhood with this concept stuck in her head.  We quickly find out that the grown up Mona has not actually lived her life.  She has been trapped in her own little world trying to make her father better through her own actions.

Her mother seeing this decides enough is enough, and kicks her out of the house.  She forces her to get an apartment and find a job to support herself.  Her mother tells a few lies to get her into the school as a kindergarten math teacher.  This is where I would expect the hilarity to begin, (sort of like a Kindergarten Cop with Schwarzenegger screaming "It's not a tumor") however her time as a teacher is just really awkward to watch as she gets bullied and teased by the children and some of their parents.

One of the Ben Smith a fellow teacher notices her and begins to fall in love with her.  This budding romance is totally eclipsed by Mona's odd almost obsessive compulsive disorder behavior.  She can't admit to herself that she can have feelings for anyone other than her father.

Ben Smith as played by Chris Messina is a very cool science teacher who is lighthearted and funny.  Chris is nothing if not persistent, he continuously flirts with Mona to get her attention.

There are some really great actors in this movie and the acting is actually quite great, it just the writing that throws me here.  Among one of my favorites is John Shea who plays Mona's father, he is best know for his role as Lex Luthor in the TV series Lois and Clark: The new adventures of Superman.  He does a superb job playing the mentally unstable father.  We also have J.K. Simmons perhaps best know for his role as J. Jonah Jameson from the Spiderman Trilogy movies.  He plays Mona's math teacher in the elementary school where she is now teaching.  He is very quirky and interesting to watch in this role.

Despite the great acting I found myself physically cringing during certain scenes and simply uncomfortable with others.  Despite the fact that this movie does have a happy, if somewhat unrealistic ending does not save it from my chopping block.  It feels like by the time you get to the happy you have been dragged through the shit for so long your just glad the movie is over with.

For the many reasons that I have listed above I have to rate this movie two smiley Mike heads.


video

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Movie Review - Black Lightning (Chernaya Molniya)

I'm pretty sure this is my first Russian film that I have ever seen.  The film is Black Lightning (Chernaya Molniya). IMDB - Post  At the bottom of this post is my First Ever Video Movie Review.

I will put out this warning though, THIS IS A SUBTITLED FILM.  It is all in Russian with English subtitles.  I actually prefer my foreign films this way, since most English dubbed versions are terrible.


I was actually quite surprised by this film, I was expecting cheese and instead I got wine.  The acting was quite exceptional, everyone was spot on with their rolls.  There is a clear bad guy and of course there is a good guy as well.

The film starts with off in the 60's with a man obsessed with mining a huge diamond vein running directly under Moscow.  His giant penis looking drill doesn't have enough power to penetrate the mound to get at the diamonds.  Of course this sounds entirely like a personal problem to me.  However this problem sets Kuptsov on the path that helps bring about the plot of the movie.  Kuptsov then sets off in search of the Nanocatalyst, an unlimited power source.

We flash forward 30 years to the story of Dima.  He is a teenager who is going to college and lives with his family.  They are very poor and live in a poor neighborhood.  Dima who is going to a pretty fancy college and is friends with Maks.  Maks is a rich kid who's parents give him everything he wants.  The two make a stark contrast as they hang out together.  This is when they meet the new girl Nastya, and pretty quickly they are both vying for her affections.

Dima then goes home to find out that his parents have purchased him a 1956 Volga for his birthday.  The car has a matte black paint job and looks a beat up.  It is definitely an old car at this point in its life.  Embarrassed by the car Dima doesn't want to be seen in it.  Although he doesn't want to disappoint his family who worked hard to buy it for him.  Dima drives it far enough his family can't see him and then he parks it and tries to hop on the bus to school.

Trying to get to class on time for a lecture, another man who is also trying to get on the bus and asks him for his help getting on.  When Dima helps the obviously inebriated man get on the bus the man turns to thank him and blocks his way onto the bus and it takes off without him.  Of course this makes him late for his class.

When Dima gets to class he tries to sneak into the lecture.  Although the lecturer who turns out to be Kuptsov, decides to embarrassing him in front of the class for being late.  Dima undiscouraged by the embarrassment ends up talking to Kuptsov after the lecture is over.  Kuptsov gives him some advice, he says to Dima "Never help anyone if you want to get ahead in life".  

At this point Kuptsov's men find the lab where the Nanocatalyst was created.  Finding the plans for this they realize the Nanocatalyst was built into a car, and they know it is in a Volga.  Kuptsov knowing this sends his men into the city to find the Volga.  They start stopping and questioning everyone in the city who is driving a Volga.

Later when Dima get home His father asks him to go for a ride in his new car.  His father tells Dima to stop the car when he sees a mugger take some lady's purse.  Dima warns his father that the mugger might be involved with a gang or the mob.  His father jumps out of the car and quickly stops the mugger and gets the lady's purse back.  His father tries to explain how hard work and kindness will make you happy in life.  Dima again tells his father how dangerous it was to intervene.  They argue and his father gets out of the car.

Kuptsov's men see his father get out of the car but they don't want to lose the Volga so they pass him by.  They continue to follow him and Dima realizes he is being followed.  He of course thinks that the mob is trying to kill him for his father's intervention with the mugging.  He then tries to lose them in a high speed chase through busy streets.

When Dima realizes that he is going to crash right into Kuptsov's men he slams on the brakes only to find that his car is now airborne.  Hurtling through the air Dima is simply trying not to splat on the pavement.  The car turns out to be very difficult for him to fly, only when he crashes it into a pile of tires does he get away.

Of course this is when the movie really gets interesting.  There is a love story going on in the background of all the chaos and testosterone.  Although I doubt the love story is enough to make your girlfriend want to watch this with you.  Unless of course she is as much of a geek as you are for watching this movie in the first place.

I won't ruin the ending but I will say it is pretty great how they bring the whole thing to a close.  I truly enjoyed this film, and would readily recommend this movie to anyone who likes Sci-Fi movies.  If you simply like foreign films or you like sneaky love stories you would like this film too.

I rate this film four and a half smiley Mike heads, for it's imagination and the way it kept the story interesting.

video

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Movie Review - I AM NUMBER FOUR

This was a very cool movie.  The movie this time is "I am Number Four".  IMDB - Post

I knew it look superheroie but I wasn't really sure what it was about from the previews.  I did however know that I wanted to watch it.  I must say I was not disappointed with the film.

We start this movie almost like a teen drama with the popular kid in a beach town hanging out with his friends.  We quickly change the pace when a strange incident occurs to the main character of the film.  John Smith played by Alex Pettyfer then is told by his guardian Henri that he needs to pack his things they are moving out of town.  Alex does a great job portraying the teen full of angst and energy.

We quickly find out that John is not like other kids his age.  He has a special gift and will one day grow up to be humanity's savior.  Henri as played by Timothy Olyphant is John's protector from the force that wants to kill him.  Timothy is a seasoned actor who typically plays bad guys, but he does a great job as the hard nosed parental figure in this film.

The film really starts to get interesting when they start to get settled into their new place in Paradise, OH.  John transfers to a new school and then meets Sam.  Sam as played by Callan McAuliffe is the odd kid at school that everyone picks on.  A geek that is into UFO's and aliens.  We later learn that his dad went missing when in search of UFO's.

John also meets a mysterious girl with a camera Sara Hart.  Sara as played by Dianna Agron is really quite outgoing but doesn't have very many friends.  She shows John around the school and they have instant chemistry.  

As the movie progresses we start to see some really cool special effects.  Compared to some films these effects blend in well with the story.  There is never a part in the film where you feel like they added an explosion just to kick it up a notch.

The acting in this film is actually quite good, a nod to the actors in the film.  This is the kind of movie that I am a sucker for so perhaps my opinion is a bit skewed.  However I would highly recommend this film to anyone who like action movie and a well laid out and paced story line.

I rate this film five out of five smiley Mike heads.

The movie was simply well written, paced really well and the special effects were amazing.


Movie Review - Wild Target

This film had some of the best music I have heard in a film.  This is not to say that this film has better music than originally scored music in other films.  What I do think however is for having commercial music they did an amazing job is paired it with what was happening in the film.  The film is Wild Target IMDB - Post.


Of course the music is the first thing I noticed, but the film itself is nothing if not quirky.  In the end I have to say that I really liked this film.

Wild Target stars Bill Nighy (Not the science guy) as Victor Maynard infamous hit man.  Bill Nighy is actually one of my favorite actors.  He is perfectly capable of playing the bad guy or the good guy or just another guy.  Perhaps his most memorable role is Davey Jones from the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean.  Another of his roles that I love is Viktor from the Underworld series of films.

Victor Maynard is hired to kill Rose, a thief that is a bit on the crazy side.  Rose is played by Emily Blunt, who brings a really fun and bubbly personality to the part of Rose.  Rose has conned a very important and powerful man out of $900,000 by selling him a fake Rembrandt painting.  The man of course finds out that he has been swindled and takes out a contract on her.

After following Rose and being unable to successfully kill her Victor follows her and finds himself intrigued by her.  He is ultra stuffy and repressed, emotionless killer.  Rose is a carefree, and doesn't play by societies rules.  Victor had never seen anyone like her and gets confused by her.  There is a scene where he is trying to kill her in a parking garage when another party wanders in and attempts the hit instead.

Victor not having figured out his feelings for her jumps into action and kills her would be killers.  While he is trying to do something about the man he just killed he gets jumped by another man with a gun.  He had Victor and Rose up against the wall when out of nowhere he is saved by freaking Ronald Weasley.  Oh wait I meant to say Tony, who is played by Rupert Grint.  Rupert of course is famous for playing Ronald Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

Tony is a bit of a stoner type and not much different than Ronald Weasley.  Tony not really meaning to shoots the would be assailant in the arm.  Victor admiring Tony's great luck and raw skill makes a decision to not kill him.  He ends up in a car with Rose and Tony and people are shooting at him.  It is really quite comical who professional Victor is and how NOT the other two are.

As the three main characters spend more time together they really start to act like a horribly dysfunctional family.  It is truly amusing to watch.

The costumes in the film are very well made and appropriately chosen for each character.  Victor in his professionally tailored suits and Rose in her flamboyant and exciting clothing.  They have really put some serious thought into costumes.

Also as I have hinted at the acting is nothing short of amazing.  Everyone does quite well playing their parts in this film.  The cinematography is excellent as well, there are some really great shots in the film.

This movie while seeming like a serious movie is really quite comical.  It isn't a farcical movie like a Scary Movie or a Hot Shots but it takes the action movie genre and adds quite a bit of humor.

If you like action movies that aren't too serious then this one is for you.

I give this film five out of five smiley mike heads.

The wit coupled with the acting makes this movie great fun to watch.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Movie Review - Limitless

This was one of the few movies that I had thought was going to be a certain way but ended up totally different.  The movie is Limitless with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. IMDB - Post

Where to begin, it is one of those movies where a lot of things happen very quickly.  We start in the middle and then work backwards to the start and then progress from there.  If this sounds complicated well, it is.  The movie is however very easy to follow if you are paying attention.

Our star of the film Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra, a down on his luck writer who just can't seem to get things together.  Until a chance meeting with his ex brother in law Vernon on the street.  A drug dealer who is dealing something extra special, unlimited use of all of your brain.  The drug he gives Eddie as a sample allows him to completely clean his house in hours and still have time to write the first 90 pages of the book he was working on all in one night.

Amazed by this new found ability Eddie goes to find Vernon to obtain more of this wonder drug.  This is when the action really starts to get moving, he comes back from doing a chore for Vernon to find him dead.  While waiting for the police to come he finds the stash of wonder pills.

This is where the movie takes a fun turn.  Eddie, with his new found super power finishes his book and then decides to move on to higher aspirations and start trading stocks.  Needless to say with the ability to remember every minute little detail at a moments notice he does really well at it.

The rise to glory of Eddie Morra is very interesting to watch as he changes careers and really makes something of his life.  It truly is amazing to watch how things just seem to fall into place around him when he is on the drug.

They have a very artistic cinematographic shift to the film when he takes the drug.  They also change the color of his eyes while he is on the drug.  There are little things like this that make this film beautiful to watch.  The acting is of course excellent, Bradley Cooper does a great job of shifting from Eddie to Super enhanced Eddie with wonder brain powers.  We also have another of my favorite actors in this film Robert De Niro.  He does an amazing job playing the blood thirsty Wall St tycoon.

This is the one of the best movies I have seen recently.  There are many twists in the story that are all very well written.  There are many different layers to the story that really keep it interesting.  They actually have very many different and unusual camera angles in the film which I always enjoy watching.  

If you are looking for a film with action, adventure, and your not afraid of a little bit of blood and guts then this is your movie.  It isn't high energy like a Bourne movie is but it has it's moments.

I rate this movie five out of five smiley Mike heads for great writing combined with amazing cinematography and superb acting and casting.



Monday, August 13, 2012

Movie Review - Clash of the Titans (2010)

Boy how times have changed.  No claymation this time around only some really realistic effects.  The movie I speak of is the remake of Clash of the Titans.  IMDB - Post

I grew up watching the original movie from 1981.  I'm sure that I didn't understand half of what was in the movie back then, being that I was eight years old when the movie came out.  I couldn't have been but 10 or 12 when I saw it for the first time.  It was impressive back then but it doesn't hold a candle to this new version.

Clash of the Titans was amazingly well done.  The special effects were epic, the costumes were great, the acting was excellent.  I'm not sure who had to fit the wings on the horse for the Pegasus, but I'm sure that was the worst job ever.  Of course I am kidding, I know it was done digitally.  The effect is completely believable and realistic, which is the reason I made the comment.

The cast is a mix of Hollywood greats and unknowns.  The biggest star in the film is a personal favorite of mine Liam Neeson, known for his role as Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace.  Liam portrays Zeus in this film, and he brings his wisdom and experience to bear.  The main character of Perseus is played by Sam Worthington.  Sam is best know from his role as Jake Sully in the movie Avatar.  Sam does a good job portraying the anger of Perseus in this film.  The rest of the actors are relative newcomers but they do a magnificent job.  Prime example is Gemma Arterton as Io, she has a remarkable way of speaking that lends itself well to her roll.

We start the film with a lowly fisherman who finds a crate floating up to his boat seemingly from the sea floor.  In the crate is a baby and his mother, the mother did not survive but the boy is fine.  The fisherman who has no children of his own takes the boy in and raises him as his own.

We then show Mt. Olympus and the gods talking.  We learn how the gods depend on mankind's praise and worship.  We also learn the gods are receiving less and less of mankind worship.  Flash forward and we show a grown up Perseus and his family on their fishing boat coming up to an island with a giant statue of Zeus.  As they pass the statue we see a group of humans tearing down the statue.  This brings upon the wrath of the gods and Perseus family is killed in the act of retribution when Hades sees them.  This sets forth a series of events that helps to shape who Perseus is and why he behaves the way he does.

I really liked the movie, it was updated very well and it felt fresh.  It makes me want to revisit the original now that I'm grown up.

If you really like fantasy movies, or even just epic action movies I think you will like this movie.

I rate this movie four out of five smiley Mike heads.





Saturday, August 4, 2012

Movie Review - The Illusionist

This movie represents what I love about movies.  It is great entertainment and it keeps you guessing until the end of the movie.  IMDB - Post  When done right this is an amazing ride through the film.  The Illusionist has most certainly done this right. 

It is set in turn of the century Vienna so as with many other period pieces you have wonderful settings, costumes.  At the start we have a man on stage performing an act of magic who is about to be arrested.  We then turn back the clock and tell his story.  It is perhaps an overdone way of telling a story but I like it nonetheless.  

We have the character of Inspector Uhl as played by Paul Giamatti who narrates the story of Eisenheim's life prior to him being on stage in that moment.  We learn of the young love of two people from different walks of life.  Eisenheim as played by Edward Norton is a traveling Illusionist who happens to meet the Dutchess Sophia VanTeshen.  The Dutchess Sophia VanTeshen is played by Jessica Biel whom performs quite well in this film.  They quickly fall in love but are separated by the caste system, him being a peasant and her being a Dutchess.  Of course the reality sets in when parents and court members work to part them.

Eisenheim then travels the world forgetting about home to learn the secrets of illusion.  When he comes back to Vienna he opens his own show and quickly draws the interest of the Crown Prince Leopold.  The Crown Prince Leopold who is played by Rufus Sewell is a ruthless, dangerous, and power hungry man.

The plot thickens when The Crown Prince sends his escort up to be a volunteer from the audience.  His escort turns out to be none other than the Dutchess Sophia VanTeshen.  Eisenheim then begins to plans on how he can steal her away from him.  This is when the real fun of the movie begins.  We begin to twist our way through this tangled plot we have many fun events that take place.

As I have mentioned at the beginning of this review I really enjoyed this film.  The twists are all fairly original and are very entertaining.  As mentioned the costumes are truly beautiful to behold, I can't speak of their period correctness but they are all wonderfully crafted.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone, for any reason.  I truly had a wonderful time watching it and this review is just as fun to write.

I rate this film five out of five smiley Mike heads.




Movie Review - Issac Asimov's Nightfall

This is a great movie that I'm sure no one saw.  The movie is Issac Asimov's Nightfall.   IMDB - Post

My first impression upon putting the movie in the player was, wow this is going to be cheesy.  The menu music is super, super cheesy.  It really made me think that I was watching a film from the 80's or even the 70's for that matter.  It wasn't until I looked the film up on IMDB.com that I even knew it was made in the current millennium.

This film takes place on an alien world of Aeon.   Aeon has six suns that surround it.  With six suns the world has never known night.  The planet itself seems to be in a strange time limbo though, where we have both swords, blaster pistols, and magic.

The movie has almost no known actors yet the acting is pretty good.  There is one B movie film star in the in this movie, David Carradine.  David Carradine plays Gnomen the head professor of the Scholars.

There are two factions on Aeon that barely coexist on the planet.  First we have the University of Scholars and then the Temple of the Watchers.   The Scholars are a relaxed people that live the lifestyle of a college, where learning is the key point of life.  The Watchers are quasi-religious group that live the lifestyle of monks.

As you can imagine where you have intense faith on one side, and sharp intellect and knowledge on the other side things can be a bit strained.  I see this as a similar argument to creationism vs evolution.  Or pro life vs pro choice, as you can imagine things get a bit heated on both sides.

The film begins at a quarry of the Watchers where they make a strange discovery.  The head of the miners runs off to tell the Watchers of his discovery.  Muttering to himself he runs into Sheerin who overhears that the site could be over 1000 years old.  She then runs back to the University to tell her best friend Illyra so they can go check it out together.

Illyra our main character is a tenacious scholar who is trying to follow in the footsteps of her father Gnomen.  She is trying to bring knowledge and understanding to the people of Aeon.  Illyra is played by Jennifer Burns, a relative unknown in the world of Hollywood.  She brings a certain strength and sensuality to the part of Illyra.

When Illyra and Sheerin arrive at the quarry they are confronted by the workers at the mine.  They however manage to get a peek at the discovery in the quarry before they get forcible removed by the Watchers.  Intrigued they come back later when the workers are all sleeping.  Illyra manages to sneak into the cave of discovery and find a few relics before she realized the cave is full of snakes.  She is then rescued by a strange man with mysterious powers.

The two women just manage to make it out of the Quarry with their newly found artifacts.  This of course helps to increase tension between the Scholars and the Watchers.

The next day Illyra and Sheerin are wandering the streets of the market and happen to find a strange camera.  When Illyra inquires to the source of the camera the merchant points her to the local bar.  A man named Metron sold him the camera.  When Illyra and Sheerin get to the bar they find out that Metron is actually the man who saved Illyra at the quarry.

Illyra convinces Metron to take her into the desert where the camera came from.  Illyra swears Sheerin to a vow or silence as to where she has gone.  While in the desert they encounter the Sand Searchers who are a nomadic people who live in the desert.

The exchange goes badly they run for their lives and end up in a dark cave.  This is where Metron found the camera he sold to the merchant.  In the dark cave Illyra learns what it's like to be enclosed by total darkness when you live in a world of eternal light.

This is also where we learn of the impending doom to the planet.  Illyra and Metron survive to tell everyone else about the impending doom.

At this point the doom falls upon them and all hell breaks loose.  People turn on one another and well if you watch it you'll know what happens.

Overall I really like the message that the movie sent.  It was mostly in a vague sense don't be stupid and burn your house down.  Or perhaps it was don't be one of the sheeple in the street panicking.  Oh, I know, DON'T PANIC, oh wait some other movie already used that one.

I have yet to mention the wonderful costumes.  Illyra and Sheerin's costumes look just like they were taken right off the cover of an Isaac Asimov book.  I found this really interesting and cool that they would honor the cover art in such a way.  It was mostly lame's that are shiny and thin, like I said straight from the cover art.  Apparently in the future no one can afford real fabric so they just use this thin, cheap, lightweight, fabric to make all their clothes.  Although the Watchers had actual robes on, so this theory doesn't work for everyone.

Overall I really liked this movie, it had a good plot, costumes, and effects were adequate for a film of this caliber.  I wish they would have been able to explain a few more things along the way though.  There were a few scenes that they sort of glazed over to keep the movie moving along.  I'm sure the book is much better, as they usually are.

I rate this movie four out of five smiley Mike heads.

I would have rated it higher but it was a bit lacking in story in some places and some of the dialog seemed like it didn't quite fit the situations.



Isaac Asimov By Asimov, Isaac