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Trailer Reviews for May 13, 2011

BRIDESMAIDS



Who says crude humor is only for men? This movie is like the female comedians’ response to The Hangover, complete with the Vegas connection. I never particularly liked Kristin Wiig while she was on SNL, but she seems to have done rather well for herself. Better even than Maya Rudolph, who was more popular than she was on SNL but now just tags along behind her and takes secondary roles in her movies. Though I applaud the existence of this movie, I can’t say that it really interests me at all. Kristin Wiig is awkward and weird. The boyfriends are all boring looking. And I hate jokes related to bodily fluids. But if these things float your boat, hey, then it’s worth $11.50, right?

PRIEST



Paul Bettany, haven’t you already made one ill-advised foray into the world of badly written apocalyptic horror-action films featuring the Christian religion? (Remember Legion? I wish I didn’t.) Are you starting a collection? Or is the prospect of simultaneously ripping off Batman, Blade Runner, and Equilibrium what appealed to you? I experienced no surprise when I learned that this movie was based on a graphic novel, because it is utterly ridiculous. A bald-headed monk with a giant cross tattooed on his face gets in a slow motion karate fight with a cowboy? Give me a break. Producers, I know you want to capitalize on the recent success of vampire related things and comic book movies, but is this really the best way to do it? I predict ten seconds of public attention, and then a rapid slide into obscurity.

LAST NIGHT



Dammit, I knew I should have kept the Awesome List a secret. Someone’s definitely taking advantage of it. I would never watch a movie like this if it weren’t for Sam Worthington (although Keira Knightly is very close to being on the Awesome List herself). What’s he even doing in this movie when he can do pretty much whatever he wants by this point? Actors (and writers and directors) always seem to be fascinated by adultery. There are an awful lot of dramas where the central question is: “to cheat or not to cheat?” and most of them have managed to attract star casts. Maybe it’s their way of exorcising their demons or something. There’s Unfaithful, The Other Boleyn Girl, American Beauty, The Graduate, etc. etc. and of course, Closer, which is pretty much the same movie as this one. I never like characters who cheat, and I don’t sympathize with their “conflict.” Maybe I’ll get out of having to watch this one. It’s very unlikely my theater will even get it anyway.

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Trailer Reviews for May 6, 2011

THOR



Remember two years ago, at the very end of Iron Man 2 when those S.H.I.E.L.D. guys who were totally unnecessary to the plot found a big hammer in the desert? Well, this is the film they were referring to. It was kind of pointless for them to start pimping it so early, since the average person’s attention span only lasts about 30 seconds, but now the movie is finally here! I’m not excited because I know a lot about Thor (I know nothing), or because there was much in the trailers to get excited about (they’re very cagey about what the plot actually is). I’m excited because there were a couple of jokes in the promos that made me think it could be like Iron Man (i.e. clever and funny)… and because it’s got Chris Hemsworth (Captain Kirk’s dad!), Natalie Portman, and that girl from Charlie Bartlett. Oh, and Kenneth Brannagh is directing it (what??). I’ll let you know whether it’s actually worth getting excited over in a couple of days.

SOMETHING BORROWED



“He was handsome… charming….” aren’t you leaving out “girly,” Rachael?
“I love Rachael…” not for herself, but because of something she did for me by accident. Nice. Great BFF material there, Darcy. One of the commenters on youtube guessed that the moral of the story was “pick your best friend wisely,” and I agree, because neither Miss Passive Aggressive nor Miss Self Interest are doing each other any favors.
Anyway, the old trailer made it seem like John Krasinski was either the gay friend or the “real” love interest that Rachael would realize she was into at the last possible second after ruining her life over Dex, but for this one they threw in that line about him being Darcy’s ex to clear up the confusion. So I guess he’s DARCY’S “real” love interest (since it’s obvious she doesn’t really care about Dex all that much). See? There. You don’t even really need to see the movie now because the trailer told you everything. Congratulations, you just saved $11.50.

THE BANG BANG CLUB



South African accents always sound fake to me. Maybe it’s because the only time I ever hear them is when some American is putting one on to play a character in a movie. Taylor Kitsch appeared briefly in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as my favorite X-Person Gambit, so I’m already predisposed to like him, and of course Ryan Phillippe has been on my awesome list for ages. Apartheid is a period in history I really don’t know that much about, so I’m eager to see this movie and learn a little bit. It’ll also be interesting to see the story told from a photographer’s point of view, because I’ve always wondered if they’re bothered by the fact that they’re always intruding yet never really influencing anything (though I suppose they could change people’s opinions with their photos). The title makes little sense to me.

JUMPING THE BROOM



Before you ask, no this is not a Tyler Perry movie. Note the absence of Tyler Perry’s name. And it’s not one of those DVDs with two obscure romantic comedies in one package. It just has a poorly designed poster.
So, wait, whose mom is the poor one and whose is the rich one? It seemed like the poor one was HER mom, but then she said she didn’t want to marry him because of HIS mom. Maybe his mom was being spiteful too, but in a rich way, and they didn’t show it in the trailer. At any rate, I’m confused. Poor mom (Loretta Devine) is awesome, though. She was hilarious in Urban Legends: the Final Cut, and she was great on Eli Stone and Grey’s Anatomy. I want to see this movie just because of her, even if it does have a confusing trailer.

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DVDs for January 18, 2011

Justified

I love Justified, and not just because it has Timothy Olyphant in it (he’s on the list). On the surface it looks like just another cop show. Raylan Givens is an FBI agent, he lives in Kentucky, he hunts bad guys, etc. But it’s so much more deranged than that. The bad guys are crazy, drugged out, rednecks with a penchant for violence and Raylan’s not much better. The only difference is that he’s got a badge… and a cowboy hat. Get this set and watch it just before the show comes back for its second season to minimize your “what happens next?!” torture period.

Buy Justified on DVD or Blu-Ray

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Buried

I have not seen this movie on account of I saw the CSI episode about being buried and that stretched the idea quite far enough. It stars Ryan Reynolds as a guy who gets buried alive in a coffin while in Iraq, because apparently his attackers ran out of bullets and didn’t think to bash him over the head with the shovel and save themselves the trouble (just kidding, I don’t know why they kept him alive). He’s got a lighter and a cell phone, because otherwise it would be a giant soliloquy in audiobook form. By all accounts it can be very tense at times, but I’ll just have to take their word for it, because I can’t see myself actually bothering sit through all two hours of it to find out.

Buy Buried on DVD or on Blu-Ray.


Animal Kingdom

According to the box, Animal Kingdom is Australia’s answer to Goodfellas, which came out in 1990, so they took their sweet time thinking of a reply. It’s about a young Australian who gets involved in organized crime. I’m in something of a bind when it comes to this movie because I hated Goodfellas (I usually hate crime movies where douchebags/bad guys are supposed to be the “good” guys) but I love Australian movies. I was surprised by Dirty Deeds and Gettin’ Square, which were both Australian crime movies that I actually liked, so I might have to give it a chance.

Buy Animal Kingdom on DVD or on Blu-Ray.


Takers

Apparently no one told the Takers people, but this movie has already been made about a hundred times – and done better. Ocean’s 11, The Italian Job, The Usual Suspects, The Bank Job, etc. The problem with heist movies is that they are all necessarily the same, so if you’ve seen one you’ve seen ‘em all. I’d only bother seeing this one if you (for some reason) are a huge fan of heist movies and must see every one ever made, or you’re a fan of one of the lead actors: Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Idris Alba, Zoe Saldana, or Paul Walker.

Buy Takers on DVD or on Blu-Ray.

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Country Strong Review

poster from the Screen Gems film Country Strong

No, I did not go see The Green Hornet. I know it was the biggest movie releasing this week. I know it looked cool. It was my original plan to see it this week but if you’ve been following along you’ll know that my plans got thrown off when it took our theater an extra week to get Country Strong. So this week I had a choice: superhero action vs country music. You’d think it was a no brainer, right? It was, but not in the way I would’ve thought if you’d asked me before I saw the Country Strong trailer. It has a story that goes like this:

A young singer-songwriter meets a country music superstar while she’s in rehab and gets invited to open for her on her comeback tour where he witnesses first hand the price of fame.

Add in the fact that it stars Garrett Hedlund and Gwyneth Paltrow, both of whom are on the list, and I had my winner. So was Country Strong worth the wait, worth throwing off my whole schedule? It must have done something right, because even though I hate country music, I love this movie.

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Iron Man 2 Review

copyright Marvel Entertainment and Paramount Pictures

I’ll admit it: when Iron Man came out in 2008, I pretty much had to be dragged to it by my much-more-enthusiastic-for-comic-book-movies brother. The trailer hadn’t made it look particularly interesting or different, and I was skeptical about their casting choice for Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr.?? Wasn’t he one of those guys who got famous, took up drugs, and fell off the end of the earth?? But I went anyway and I loved it. It was action packed, Robert Downey Jr. did a fantastic job, and it was unexpectedly funny, which endeared me to it instantly. Needless to say I jumped on tickets for the Thursday night midnight premiere of Iron Man 2 like a fat kid on a Smartie. The basic story for the film went something like this:

A slowly dying Tony Stark must pull himself out of his downward spiral of partying and eschewing his responsibilities to stop the military, his competitors in the arms business, and a bitter Russian physicist, who have teamed up to steal the iron suit technology.

I seem to be in the minority here among both critics and normal people but I loved Iron Man 2 less than Iron Man. (I’m used to it – the same thing happened with Batman Begins/Dark Knight) I think part of it is my instinctive loyalty to whatever I see first, but it’s more than that.

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Clash of the Titans Review

While I am inclined to like Sam Worthington (you’ll remember that he’s on the list), I am not inclined to like Greek mythology or indeed any story that features a lot of swords and dust and men wearing skirts, so I hesitated over Clash of the Titans. But the nature of the list meant I had to go, so I did. Twice. Once in 3-D and once in regular D. I wouldn’t have PAID for it twice, but the second time my Dad treated me.

If you haven’t already seen Clash of the Titans or the atrocious 1980s film of the same name that it’s based on, the basic story is this:

When gods Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) send a huge monster to punish mankind for its ingratitude, Perseus (Sam Worthington), a mortal son of Zeus who wants nothing to do with the gods, turns out to be the only one who can stop it.

You see, the Gods need mankind’s prayers. Mankind is not happy, so they’re not offering many. In a stroke of pure genius, Zeus (who sparkles like the Cylons from the old Battlestar Galactica) and Hades (who looks like Voldemort) decide that the best way to reinvigorate their gratitude is to send the Kraken to wipe out their city. (I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me more grateful than having huge fangy monsters sent to kill me).

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The Crazies Review: Not All Remakes Are Bad


Timothy Olyphant, you are now on my list of trust. You know the list I mean. I talked about it in my Avatar review. It’s the one of people whose movies I’ll automatically watch, trusting that they’ll be good. It’s a secret list that’s been becoming less secret the more I mention it. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about adding you for a while. There was Scream 2 and A Life Less Ordinary when I was little, then later Girl Next Door and Catch and Release. Around A Perfect Getaway I thought “a pretty good trend is developing here” and now, after I’ve seen The Crazies deliberation is over. You are officially awesome.

The Crazies is actually a remake of a George A. Romero film from 1973. Normally remakes are bad. They add nothing/change practically nothing and exist solely to part idiots from their money. Not this one, which has a plot that goes something like this:

When a startling number of townsfolk start losing their marbles and turning to murder, a sheriff in small-town Michigan (Timothy Oliphant) tries to escape the contaminated zone with his pregnant wife (Radha Mitchell).

Sounds like your standard virus apocalypse scenario, right? Well yes and no. About fifteen or twenty minutes in, the plot takes a left turn off Standard Avenue and onto Awesome Boulevard.

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Avatar Review: the blue one, not the anime one

In my head, I have a list of film professionals (writers, directors, actors, composers, etc) whose involvement in a project triggers my automatic ticket purchase reflex. It won’t surprise you to learn that Avatar warranted a reflex purchase, but you might raise an eyebrow if I told you it was Sam Worthington’s name, not James Cameron’s, that triggered it. (If you’ve ever seen True Lies you know why James Cameron is not on the list).


I wanted to love Avatar. I went into the theater hoping to come out feeling the way I felt when I saw Star Wars for the first time – awestruck and excited. When it was over, I was forced to admit to myself that I was neither, though I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I maybe went to see it again, it would be better, just because I wanted it to so bad. So I did, but it wasn’t.

I can blame some of my disappointment on the hype. I tried to stay away from it. It was pretty easy in Cape Breton (the theater wasn’t even full on opening night) but impossible on the internet, which was teeming with pictures and videos and articles on James Cameron and his blue people. With so much anticipation built up, if Avatar was anything other than the most amazing and moving film ever made it was going to be a disappointment.

For those of you who are cave dwellers and STILL haven’t heard of it even though it’s made over a billion dollars, here are the cliff’s notes:

Avatar, a movie James Cameron has been working on for something like 15 years, is a full 3D film that blends live action with motion-captured CGI to create lush jungle planet called Pandora and the a race of blue natives that inhabit it.

The story follows Jake Sully, a wheelchair bound ex-marine who is recruited by a ruthless mining company to take over his dead twin’s avatar and finds himself caring more about the clan of natives he’s infiltrating than the interests of the company he works for.

Sounds amazing, right? And it is, sort of. Is it an amazing accomplishment? Yes. Should James Cameron quit now to rest on his laurels/money? No.

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