Sunday, April 02, 2006

HOLY FREAKIN' CRAP!!! I took the girls to see "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown" today, and the trailer right before the movie starts gave me a "Chubby"...no, it gave me a "Morbidly Obese!!" It starts with the camera tracing what appears to be a Superman logo. I can't remember what the voice over guy says, but it's the guy with the serious voice. The camera pulls back to reveal Homer Jay Simpson sitting on the couch in his underwear and a Superman T-Shirt, and he says "Oh, I forgot what I'm supposed to say!" Then Black background with The Simpsons Movie Logo. VO Guy: Coming Summer 2007 - "VO Homer: I guess we'd better get started. VO BURNS: Excellent!Best. Trailer. Ever.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More Quick reviews...

"Walk The Line": WOW! Expertly directed by Jim Mangold, with fantastic performances, both acting & singing from the leads (BYW Mr. Phoenix & Mrs. Witherspoon, congrats on your Golden Globes, here's looking forward to the Oscars!) and music. Learned a lot about the early 1950's rock tours! Even if you aren't a Johnny Cash fan, this is a great story few can resist! I will own it.

"Munich": Spielberg has a firm grasp on the complexities of the issues in the film and his deft handling sheds light on both sides. An incredibly eye-opening cinematic experience for me. Essentially boils the Israeli / Palestinian conflict down to what it is: Gang warfare on a global level. Great performance by Eric Bana. Once again, look for Oscar cred. See it now in theaters!

"Memoirs of a Geisha" : A wonderful score, beautifully acted and filmed, "Memoirs" is a great primer for those unfamiliar with the Japanese tradition of the Geisha. I loved it's majestic wonder. Another contender come Oscar time. Theater view!

"Cheaper by the Dozen 2" : One of the few films I've seen recently in no danger of having the term Oscar winnier attached. My kids dragged me to it, nuff said. Borrow it for your kids from a friend.

"King Kong": Believe the hype! Peter Jackson has pulled it off. Even though I try to avoid remakes, this is such a fantastic overhaul, it's impossible for me not to love it. The Kong VS 3 T-Rexs scene alone makes it worthy. Add Peter's brilliant direction and story development and Jack Black, I'm hooked before the first frame. A must-see in the theater!

"Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire": While it in no way compares with the books, I feel this one is the best adaptation of the books-to-film so far. So much is missing from the book that i was dissapointed a bit, but my wife and I enjoyed it. While the didn't get it right, it is a fun, harmless movie that sticks to the Harry Potter formula: If you can't make the book, make a good, exciting movie. PPV or Matinee.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe": Speaking of adaptaions that got it right, here's a perfect of example! This is C.S. Lewis' book done to perfection. The few minor little changes made were purley continuity and flow. They actually enhanced the story. One scene created for the film adds excitement! A near perfect book-to-film experience! Must see in theaters, will own it!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Simple Reviews:

Batman Begins: The best of the ENTIRE franchise, answers all the important questions, and follows the Dark Knight very nicely. I will buy it.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory: Tim Burton should have left well enough alone. I was forced to watch it, and while it is visually stunning, it adds nothing better to the original. I pray Corpse Bride will redeem Mr. Burton in my eyes. Avoid it

Cinderella Man: A very fine boxing film that I am sure will garner Russell Crowe an Oscar Nom. See it in the theater!

Fantastic Four: While lacking in the special effects department, a great big and funny summer popcorn movie. If you are in the mood for something light and non-threatening, this could be it. I loved that it kept the humor & fun of the original series, and Michael Chiklis (The Thing) was the best at playing his character. Wait for video.

Madagascar: Hands Down the funniest movie I've seen yet this summer! I will buy it.

March of the Penguins: A stunning documentary made even better by Morgan Freeman's spectacular narration. A great film! See in Theaters.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Say what you will about the 1930's stylized acting, the visuals and story are top notch! I rank this as the best just below "The Empire Strikes Back" in the series! It nicely sews together both sides of the saga into one epic story! I will buy it!

Unleashed: By far, one of the greatest opening fight scenes ever! Great action movie, must see. I will most likely own. Jet Li & Bob Hoskins are ferocious and Morgan Freeman greatly underplays his role. A suprisingly emotional action movie. Jet Li's finest to-date. I will buy it.

Wedding Crashers: A very funny look at an odd hobby. Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson are hilarious, and the ladies (Rachel McAdams and Ilsa Fisher are great as well. See it in theaters.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

This time: "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "
Garth Jennings does a great job capturing the feel of the book (Both book & Screenplay written by Douglas Adams. He was working on this before his death, so It's pretty true to the book, and most of the changes that have been made were sanctioned by Adams.) and depending on if you are a fan of the book or not, that's not necessarily a good thing. Don't Panic! I love the
book(s) and think this is a fantastic film version with a lot of the same humor and fun. I can see how people who are not familiar with the book might become confused and easily dismiss it, but I think those of us who love the book will be happy. (I saw people wearing robes and towels, which I didn't expect at all!) Martin Freeman (The Office & Love, Actually) is our reluctant hero Arthur Dent. Arthur is about to lose his house to road contruction when his best friend Ford (Mos Def) informs him he is really an alien and the Earth is about to be destroyed. They must hitchhike on one of the Vogon ships that destroys the planet and thus begins their adventure across the Universe. Armed with only their trusty towels and a copy of "The Guide." Along they way they are rescued (most improbably) by Zaphod Beeblebrox (hilariously over-the-top Sam Rockwell) and Trillian (actual name Tricia McMillian, a human Arthur once dated on Earth played by Zooey Deschanel) and the paranoid android Marvin (Warwick Davis is the body, and the voice is the perfectly droll Alan Rickman!) I loved seeing some of my favorite book characters fleshed out, and I recommend it to fans of the book, and recommend it with reservations to those who have never encountered it before. It's dry humor and odd situations may be too much for some, but for others, that's the appeal!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I know, I know, I've said it time & time again, I hate re-makes! BUT (and this is a big but) every so often, they remake one I've got to see (ie "Dawn of the Dead!,") and I think this is going to be one of them: WAR OF THE WORLDS (Warning: You should only view with high-speed internet access as it's a huge site with a lot of graphics and effects!)

Monday, March 07, 2005

"When it rains, it pours" seems to be the theme of my life lately. I'll go months without visiting a cinema, and then all of a sudden I'll see five or six films in the span of two weeks! I've seen "Ray" "Million Dollar Baby" "Hotel Rwanda" "The Aviator" "Finding Neverland" and "Hitch." I've also seen some movies on DVD or Pay-per-view. "Without A Paddle" "Shaolin Soccer" and the new release of "Bambi." Quick Review using the patented Jivemonkey System:
Will Own It = ($$$$$) Highest Rating
Must See in Theater = ($$$$)

Wait for Video = ($$$)
For Fans (actor, director, series, etc) Only ($$)
Avoid Like The Plague = $
Abomination = (no $)
"Ray" (Jamie Foxx Performance $$$$$ - Film itself ($$$) Riveting performance.
"Million Dollar Baby" $$$$ - Fantastic Character Driven film only about boxing on the surface!
"Hotel Rwanda" $$$$ - Amazing performances in a terrible true story.
"The Aviator" $$$$ - Wonderfully made & acted although I left unfulfilled.
"Finding Neverland" $$$$$ - Sweet, tender, lovely film. Must Own.
"Hitch" $$$ - Very Funny and enjoyable. A near-perfect date movie.
"Bambi" - $$$$$ One of Disney's finest animated films. It's a classic for a reason.
"Without A Paddle" - $$ While there are a few (very few) genuinely funny moments, not for me.
"Shaolin Soccer" $$$ - A sweet suprise! Very enjoyable, fun and silly!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sideways : WOW! I loved this movie for many reasons. First, Paul Giamatti as Miles was fantastic as a middle school teacher (hits close to home here) aspiring novelist & wine enthusiast (almost to the point of being an alcoholic.) He & His college buddy Jack (the very funny Thomas Haden Church) are going on a week-long wine tasting trip up the California coast to celebrate Jack's impending nuptials. While Miles has golf, wine and relaxing planned, Jack has other things in mind, namely getting himself laid. A lot. Enter Maya (Virginia Madsen) and Stephanie ( Sandra Oh) two local women the boys begin seeing. Miles is a regular visitor here, and has known (and has had a thing for) Maya for a while. Jack & Stephanie "hit it off" right away, and Jack begins to have doubts about his marriage plans. There are so many unexpected things about this movie! It's touching, hilariously strange and unlike most other films you'll see.
While the wines in this film are discussed almost like characters themselves, the real treat is watching these four play together. This is a very character-driven film, and if you are as sick of big-budget schlock as I am, you'll agree Sideways is a breath of fresh air. Alexander Payne has created this third great film in a row (Election & About Schmidt ) and I am looking forward to seeing his next film, Nebraska.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I have seen a slew of films on DVD recently, and here's a quick rundown:

"Friday Night Lights" It was great to see the kid (Lucas Black) playing the quarterback and Billy Bob Thornton from "Sling Blade" together again! Directed by Peter Berg, this is a great sports film, and I would say the best since "Rocky."

"Collateral" Director Michael Mann is at the top of his game! Tom Cruise is a hitman on a 5 person killing spree. He hires a cabbie played by Jamie Foxx to drive him while he commmits his crimes. This tight crime-thriller is filled with tension and excitement, but the action never gets in the way of the characters!

"AVP: Alien Vs. Predator " I should have known better. This is the exact opposite of the Reeses concept two great things that DO NOT taste great together. In general, a waste of time unless you really like hokey concept movies.

"The Village" While not his best film, M. Night Shyamalan never ceases to amaze me. He is four for four with this film. Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas Howard lead a great cast through the suprising twists and turns of another terrific thriller.

More to come...

Friday, January 21, 2005

I never expected the funny kid from "Scrubs" ( Zach Braff ) to make a fantastic little indie film like "Garden State." Andrew Largeman (Braff) is a struggling actor who receives a phone call from his estranged father ( Ian Holm ) to tell him of his mothers passing. Andrew must return home for the funeral after being away for over nine years. He still feels the guilt of causing his mother's paralysis when he was a young boy, and that also attributed to her demise. While in town for the funeral, "Large" as he's known, rekindles his friendship with Mark ( Peter Sarsgaard ) He meets a new girl, Sam ( Natalie Portman ) and Andrew quickly begins to grow quite fond of this self-professed "lying-epileptic." The visuals, the story, the directing and performaces are all top notch! This is a film worth owning. Check out "Garden State" for yourself soon!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Next up, three kids movies for my kids. "Shark Tale," "The Incredibles" and "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie."
"Shark Tale" starring Will Smith as the voice of Oscar, a lonely fish working at the whale wash and only wants fame and fortune. He also has a good friend (who would like more than friendship) in Angie (Renée Zellweger.) Lenny (Jack Black) would like nothing better than to please his mobster shark father Don Lino (Robert De Niro) and his toady Sykes (Martin Scorsese) a puffer fish. But Lenny isn't a meat-eater, and for a shark, this poses a problem. When Lenny's brother takes him for some practice at honing his hunting skills, an anchor accidentally kills Frankie (Michael Imperioli) and Oscar gets the credit and becomes "The Sharkslayer." His new-found fame goes to his head, and he succumbs to the age-old pitfalls of fame. His hot new girlfriend Lola (Angelina Jolie ), his manager Sykes and all the high class friends come at a price. This was a good movie with enough laughs to keep the kids entertained and a few inside jokes for the parents or older viewers, but it's strickly a matinee or rental movie.
The same can be said for "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie." While funnier than the other Undersea adventure "Shark Tale," it still isn't as funny as it SHOULD be. I was hoping for more. I guess soemthing was lost in the transition from 1/2 hour episodes to a 1 1/2 hour movie. Here's the gist: Mr. Krabs is opening a second Krusty Krab restaraunt in Bikini Bottom. Spongebob is expecting to be promoted to manager thanks to his 365 consecutive employee-of-the-month plaques. He is passed over by Squidward and slips into a depression at the "Goofy Goober" ice cream parlor (in one of the movies funniest scenes.)Directed by Stephen Hillenburg, the entire original TV voice cast returns:
Tom Kenny - SpongeBob SquarePants/Narrator/Gary/Clay Clancy Brown - Mr. Eugene H. Krabs Rodger Bumpass - Squidward Tentacles
Bill Fagerbakke - Patrick Star/Fish #2/Chum Customer/Local Fish
Carolyn Lawrence - Sandy Cheeks Mr. Lawrence - Sheldon J. Plankton/Larry the Lobster Mary Jo Catlett - Mrs. Puff, Jill Talley - Karen the Computer/Old Lady and rounding out the film voice cast is Alec Baldwin as Dennis the Contract Killer, Scarlett Johansson as Mindy and Jeffrey Tambor as King Neptune. Strictly for hard-core SB fans in the theater, all others should wait for the matinee or rental.
Next up, three kids movies for my kids. "Shark Tale," "The Incredibles" and "The Spongebob Squarepants Movie."
I've saved the best of the kiddie movies for last. Disney's final Pixar movie is "The Incredibles." This movie was hilarious, exciting, visually stimulating & unique! In short, it lives up to the title! Craig T. Nelson is the voice of Bob Parr/ Mr. Incredible who fights crime in the city everyday until he saves a civillian who didn't want to be saved (a young fan, Buddy Pine, causes the incident) and sues the government. Due to the rising cost of keeping heroes active, the gov. decides to end the program and all heroes are forced to "blend in" with the society at-large. Helen Parr /Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible are now married with children. They live in the suburbs with their 3 "super" kids: Violet Parr (Sarah Vowell,) Dashiell 'Dash' Parr (Spencer Fox,) and Jack Jack Parr (voiced by two actors, Eli Fucile & Maeve Andrews.) Bob and his friend Lucius Best/Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) spend their boys night out listening to the poclice scanner, hoping to secretly fight crime. Bob is contacted by Mirage (Elizabeth Peña) and offered the chance to do some real superhero work. Will he jeopardize his family for adventure, or will the evil Syndrome (Jason Lee) stop his plans? "The Incredibles" is a must-see movie!

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