Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday's With Movies: 2/1/11

Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2: Um, no thanks.

Let Me In: Nope.

Conviction: This one looks like it has some promise, but I just read about it for the first time a few minutes ago. I will need to look more into it before I decide if I will watch it.

Never Let Me Go: Doesn't look like a movie for me.

3/50: MacGruber

I must say, I am glad that I tossed at least a few comedies in my list. I found myself longing to laugh a few times - so I decided to toss in a comedy.

I really had no expectations heading in to watching MacGruber, but I was not expecting much at all. However, it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be.

Will Forte stars as the titular character, MacGruber, from the Saturday Night Live skit. MacGruber has been living in hiding since faking his own death, but is called back into duty when a nuclear war head is stolen.

He is teamed up with new agent, Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) and his widow's best friend, Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) to track down who stole the war head - which MacGruber believes is his archenemy and the person who killed his wife, Dieter Von Conth (Val Kilmer).

Like I said, I wasn't expecting much at all, but the film actually had a decent story, some nice action and quite a few laugh out loud moments. I was very surprised.

What is even more surprising is that Forte was able to carry a film as a lead. He has been very good in bit parts or secondary characters, but I never expected him to be able to do a film as a lead, and he did it well.


2/50: 3:10 To Yuma

For some reason I have never gotten into Western films. However, a little while ago I watched the series Deadwood and I have sort of become a little hooked on 'some' Westerns.

Even before that, however, I was very interested in seeing 3:10 To Yuma and had heard a lot of great things about it. But, I never got around to watching it - thus why it was added to my list.

Let me first start out by saying that I totally forgot that Christian Bale was in this film. I am not sure why, but I remembered Russell Crowe, but forgot Bale - so that was a pleasant surprise.

So, anyway, Crowe stars as Ben Wade a very well-known criminal that leads a pretty rugged gang. Bale is Dan Evans, a struggling farmer with a huge amount of debt.

Wade has eluded the law for many years, but manages to get himself caught after a recent heist. In order to stay ahead of Wade's gang they get together a small crew of their own, including Evans who makes a deal to help lead Wade to his train for a price and to get out of debt.

The rest of the film is the journey that the crew heads out on to get Wade on a train to take him to his trial. Which could sound rather boring, but it was nothing but.

Crowe's Wade was a lot less of the bad guy than I was expecting, he ended up being more of a psychological villain while in custody. The larger villain ends up being Wade's right hand man, Charlie Prince (Ben Foster). It's Prince that convinces the rest of Wade's gang to track him down and get him out of custody.

The film was great. I have had by issues with Crowe in the past, but I thought his performance was amazing here. As I said before, I wasn't expecting to see Bale, but he was outstanding as well. I have become a fan of Foster and it was great to see him play such a great villain.

There was great action and a lot of good dialogue - especially between Crowe and Bale. I figured this movie was going to be good, but it was even better than I thought it was going to be.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who? What? Where? #9

Fletch swooped in and captured a pair of points this week by correctly stating that the person to the left is Will Hayes from Definitely, Maybe. I thought for sure that this would have been a much harder week - but you are all too good.

Jess beat Fletch in the actor department to claim a point for identifying this week's actor as Ryan Reynolds.

Congratulations to the both of you.

Finally, the game has been moved once again and will now be posted each Wednesday at 6 pm EST. Hopefully this will allow for me people to get involved. Good Luck!

The concept is simple: each week I will place a photograph of a character within a film. It is up to you (the participant in the game) to tell me the following:

1) The name of the actor (or what the actor goes by in his acting profession).

2) The name of the character in the movie.

3) And, the name of the movie.

Each correct answer gets you a point - so if you get all three correct on a given week, you can get three points. I will keep a running chart each and every week. As of now, this will be played for bragging rights only - but we shall see what the future holds.

So here is week #9:

Matt - 9 points
Mrs. Kano - 5 points
Jess - 5 points
Fletch - 4 points
Nick - 1 point

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday's With Movies: 1/25/11

Red: Wanted to see this film in the theater. A bunch of former CIA agents (Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Bruce Willis) get back together to help protect the woman that Willis' character loves. It looks like great fun - with tons of action and comedy sprinkled throughout. Exactly the type of movie I enjoy.

Secretariat: Another horse film about what is the most successful horse of all time. However, it comes years after Seabiscuit and I haven't heard anything (good or bad) about it. I will still check it out because it is a 'sports' film even though it is about a horse. I ended up enjoying Seabiscuit when I finally got around to watching, so I should give this one the same chance.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest: Apparently these stories have become pretty popular, and I have been hearing about them a lot - however I have no idea what they are truly about and so far really have no interest in seeing any of them. I am sure that will change in the future once I know more about them, but for now I am staying away.

Saw VII: This is what is supposed to be the final installment of the Saw franchise. I will believe that when it happens. Anyway, like I said before I have not seen a single installment of this entire series - the only one I am told I may have a small chance of getting through is the first so I am definitely not going to be checking out the seventh.

Open Season 3: OK, seriously. The first one was somewhat cute, but it was by no means an amazing enough film to even qualify for a sequel, yet here is the third. Plus, neither of the main actors even returned for the second movie, and the one's from the second are now missing from the third - that should tell you something. But, someone is obviously watching these if they keep making them - it just isn't me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

1/50: Red Dawn

At the beginning of the year I pledged that I would do my best to watch 50 films I had not seen during the coming year. I once thought this would be a difficult task, but I have already knocked out almost 10 of those movies and it isn't even the end of January. So, I decided to add another 50 to that list - but I must first finish the original 50.

So, the first film of the year that I watched from the list was Red Dawn.

Red Dawn
came out in 1984 when I was just three years old, and for some reason (like many of the films on the list) I just never got around to watching it. I had the basic premise down, but I didn't know exactly how things played out.

Let me say, they wasted no time getting to the plot of the film. Not five minutes in and the small town is being attacked by Soviet/Cuban military.

A group of friends led by brothers, Jed (Patrick Swayze) and Matt (Charlie Sheen) find their way to the woods to try and wait out the attack. What they thought would be a few days begins to turn into months - fearing he worst the brothers and Robert (C. Thomas Howell) head back into town to see what is going on. The Soviet/Cuban military has taken over and tossed anyone who owned a gun into a prison, including Jed and Matt's father.

As they head back to their hideout, the group stops at a family friends house for food and shelter - only to be asked to take care of the family's granddaughters, Erica (Lea Thompson) and Toni (Jennifer Grey).

Realizing now that they are all on their own, the young group decides to become a militia - calling themselves 'Wolverines'. They end up being joined by a member of the US military whose plane is shot down, Andrew Tanner (Powers Boothe). Together, they take it upon themselves to take out as many of the Soviet/Cuban forces as possible.

I hear that this film is being remade, which is going to be very difficult. It is hard to believe that even in 1984 military forces could land in a small town undetected - but not in 2011. Plus, the group of kids had no communication to the outside world except a small radio - do you really think nowadays that none of the kids would have a cellphone on them?

I thought it was a pretty decent film. Weird to see a young Patrick Swayze and an even younger Charlie Sheen. Funny to see C. Thomas Howell's character go a little crazy and blood thirsty. And, weird to see so many of these characters in an action/war movie when we are used to them in romantic comedies.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

100? of 2011

As many of you have seen I made a list of 50 films I will watch in 2011.

Well, I have actually made quite a dent in that list already and we aren't even out of January yet.

So, I am going to be making a second list of 50 films which I will also try to see in 2011 if all goes to plan.

That is where you come in - please send all recommendations to me in my comments section or my Facebook page (either one). I will then go through those recommendations and create a list (adding some that I have that didn't make the first list).

So, have at it. Please try and remember that I DO NOT like horror films at all, and I am not all that excited about 'old classics' - unless you provide a convincing argument.

Thank you - I hope to have the list created sometime in February, but that is up to all of you - so get in those recommendations.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Who? What? Where? #8

Alrighty, Matt continues to climb up the charts. Last week he correctly selected that the person to the left is indeed Jonathan Brandis as Bastian Bux in The Neverending Story II. I actually thought this one would have been a little tougher - but Matt proved me wrong.

So, congratulations, Matt!!!

This week I am hoping it will be a little harder. Make sure to get your guesses in.

The concept is simple: each week I will place a photograph of a character within a film. It is up to you (the participant in the game) to tell me the following:

1) The name of the actor (or what the actor goes by in his acting profession).

2) The name of the character in the movie.

3) And, the name of the movie.

Each correct answer gets you a point - so if you get all three correct on a given week, you can get three points. I will keep a running chart each and every week. As of now, this will be played for bragging rights only - but we shall see what the future holds.

So here is week #8:

Matt - 9 points
Mrs. Kano - 5 points
Jess - 4 points
Fletch - 2 points
Nick - 1 point

Tuesday's With Movies: 1/18/11

A day late, I am sorry. But, here is Tuesday's with Movies.

Buried: Ryan Reynolds gets taken prisoner in Iraq and is buried in a coffin alive with just a cellphone, candle, a lighter and a knife. In a race against time, Reynolds' character must find out where he is and how to get that information out. Looks like a pretty interesting thriller - and from what I can tell Reynolds will have to pull off his inner-Tom Hanks to carry this movie alone. Definitely will be checking it out.

Takers: Looks insane, and probably has too many characters, but I am a sucker for heist films so I will be checking it out when I can. I mean, the poster itself even looks photoshopped.

Death Race 2: Kind of surprised by this one. A direct to DVD sequel to Death Race (which I am told is actually a prequel), but starring some decent actors like Ving Rhames and Danny Trejo. I have yet to see the first one, but I think I will - so once I do I will try and check this one out. I usually don't watch direct to DVD movies, but this one actually has me intrigued.

Stone: Um, I have never even heard of this at all. Apparently it stars Edward Norton, Robert De Niro and Milla Jovovich. Why was this not given more publicity? The premise actually seems decent. I mean, in the past two days I have seen previews for Gnomeo & Juliet about six times and this film can't get a tv preview. Since I just heard of it, it may take some time, but I will probably check it out.

Paper Man: Another stellar cast (Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Lisa Kudrow, Kieren Culkin and Jeff Daniels) and again I have heard nothing. This one has me even more intrigued than Stone does. Daniels' has a friendship with Stone and an imaginary super-hero (Reynolds) which helps him have a second adolescence. Cazy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Quick Shots 10

Title: Grown Ups

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello

Brief Synopsis: A group of friends reunite at a camp on the lake after their basketball coach passes away. A lot has changed with the friends over time - and some start to realize that they may have not changed for the better.

Opinion: As much as I heard this film get blasted, I have to say I actually enjoyed it. Is it amazing? Absolutely not, but it was pretty good and I definitely laughed out loud a handful of times. Sometimes the actors do play out a joke a little too far, but there were enough to make this an alright film.


Title: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Starring: Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, Ellen Wong, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Jason Schwartzman, Brandon Routh, Chris Evans

Brief Synopsis: Pilgrim (Cera) plays in a band that is looking to make it big. He also happens to fall in love with Ramona Flowers (Winstead). Little does he know that in order to date Flowers he must defeat her seven evil exes.

Opinion: I loved it. Wasn't sure how everything would play out, but it was done really well. Kieran Culkin as Cera's gay roommate was amazing, and each of the seven evil exes battles was done really well. I loved the video game aspect - just done really well.


Title: Twilight: Eclipse

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Talor Lautner, Kristen Stewart, Bryce Dallas Howard, Xavier Samuel

Brief Synopsis: The third installment of the Twilight series. Bella (Stewart) has chosen between Jacob (Lautner) and Edward (Pattinson). However, Victoria (Howard) is still out to destroy her and rip apart the Cullens. She has created an army led by Riley (Samuel) to track her down and kill her. The Cullens are forced to join forces wit he werewolves in order to protect Bella and the town.

Opinion: I feel I liked this one a little better than before, but it is still way too much of a love triangle for me. I was pretty jazzed for the vampire and werewolf fight, but was a bit let down as to how short it was. I thought the entire movie was building to that point and it was sort of rushed in my opinion.


Title: How to Train Your Dragon

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill

Brief Synopsis: Vikings and dragons have always been enemies and it is up to the vikings to kill the dragons in order to stay alive. At least that is what everyone believed until scrawny Hiccup (Baruchel) befriends an injured dragon and learns the real truth behind why the dragons are attacking the village.

Opinion: I have to say this was a very good movie, however, I am not sure why it is considered to be even close to Toy Story 3. That being said, this was the second best animated film I have seen all year. It was beautiful to look at, and it had a great story. And my son loved it - which is a good way to judge animation in my opinion.


Title: Dinner for Schmucks

Starring: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis, Jemaine Clement, Stephanie Szostak, Ron Livingston, Bruce Greenwood.

Brief Synopsis: Tim (Rudd) is really looking forward to getting a promotion at his company in order for his girlfriend to think he is a big shot and marry him. He is very close to getting the promotion when he finds out he needs to find a loser to bring to a dinner so everyone can make fun of them - lucky for him, he meets Barry (Carell).

Opinion: I will say this, I did laugh a few times during this film. But, I also have to say that I was not expecting it to be as bad as it was. Everything seemed forced - especially the humor. The only redeeming quality was the underlying story of Barry losing his wife, except we didn't get any real closure to that in the end. So, I do not recommend this film.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quick Shots 9

Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

Starring: Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes

Brief Synopsis: The seventh, and second to last, installment of the Harry Potter franchise. Harry, Hermione and Ron head out to find Voldemort's horcruxes and destroy them. Along the way they face off against each other, death eaters, and other various hoodlums. This installment sets up what should be the final battle of Good vs. Evil in Part II.

Opinion: I really enjoyed this film and thought that each of the main characters did a great job. It is still not my favorite of the franchise as that still goes to Order of the Phoenix. I do hope that in the end my favorite will be Part II. I guess, like Lord of the Rings before it, this film is just too incomplete for it to be a favorite - it lacks an end.


Title: The Professional

Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello

Brief Synopsis: Leon (Reno) is a professional hitman. He lives in an apartment with his plant and drinks a lot of milk. Overall, all he really does is kill and has no real life. Then along comes Mathilda (Portman), a 12-year old girl in his building that lives with her abusive father. One day a man named Stansfield (Oldman) comes to Mathilda's apartment while she is at the store and wastes her entire family. She sees this as she comes home and heads to Leon's apartment for safety - and an amazing, yet strange, bond is formed between the two.

Opinion: I did not watch the original Leon film like Nick instructed, however, I still feel like this was a good enough version. I loved Oldman's over-the-top villain role here and Portman was amazing at such a young age.


Title: Avatar

Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Giovanni Ribisi, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel Moore.

Brief Synopsis: Humans look to become close with a tribe of Na'vi on the moon Pandora in order to help gather a rare mineral called unobtanium. In order to get close to the tribe, some of the humans become Na'vi through an avatar. Jake (Worthington) is an old military vet who was paralyzed from the waste down. After his twin brother is killed he is tossed into this mission to control one of the avatars. While there, a military boss promises him he can get his legs fixed if he reports back all information to him. Jake, however, begins to become one of the Na'vi tribe members for real and even begins to fall for Neytiri (Saldana).

Opinion: Amazing. Simply stunning. And so poignant about what the message was trying to portray. There were so man amazing details - but I have to say that my favorite was the simple fact that the Na'vi had four fingers, and all the human avatars had five. It was just a beautifully filmed movie with an amazing message that became really entertaining as well


Title: From Paris With Love

Starring: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Kasia Smutniak

Brief Synopsis: James (Rhys-Meyers) is working his way up as a spy and finally gets his big break when he is asked to escort American spy Charlie (Travolta) around. Of course, Charlie is a bit crazy and James tries to keep him in line - or at least understand what he is trying to do. As they begin to unravel a terrorism plot that is right under their noses, it's up to them to try and stop it.

Opinion: I liked this much more than I thought I would. Travolta can certainly have his duds for roles, but I actually enjoyed him in this role - and I really like Rhys-Meyers and I don't think he does enough of these films. I honestly didn't see what happened coming, so


Title: Street Kings

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans, Hugh Laurie

Brief Synopsis: Tom (Reeves) is part of a crooked police force that includes himself. After his partner rats him out for something, Tom tails him and ends up at the scene when his partner is murdered - and evidence points to him. He recruits Paul (Evans) to help him clear his name and eventually uncover the truth that is hidden inside the police force.

Opinion: This one I thought I would like more than I did. I was still pretty decent, but not as good as I thought it would be. I really like Evans as an actor - and it was great to see Laurie in something outside of House (and still doing his American accent). However, the story was pretty obvious to me - so the end was not as good because I knew what was coming.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who? What? Where? #7

Week Six Results:

Sorry for missing out last week, but Matt comes through two weeks ago correctly guessing that his was in fact Tom Everett Scott as Josh from Dead Man On Campus.

With that Matt has moved into first place with six points so far.

Congratulations, Matt. And good luck to the rest of you this week.

The concept is simple: each week I will place a photograph of a character within a film. It is up to you (the participant in the game) to tell me the following:

1) The name of the actor (or what the actor goes by in his acting profession).

2) The name of the character in the movie.

3) And, the name of the movie.

Each correct answer gets you a point - so if you get all three correct on a given week, you can get three points. I will keep a running chart each and every week. As of now, this will be played for bragging rights only - but we shall see what the future holds.

So here is week #7:

Matt - 6 points
Mrs. Kano - 5 points
Jess - 4 points
Fletch - 2 points
Nick - 1 point

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

50 Films of 2011

As a few of my fellow bloggers have decided to do, Nick with his 60/60 and Fletch with his 50 films, I decided to look through my films that I have yet to see and create a list for myself.

Nothing too spectacular, but I have collected a number of movies over the years and some of those I have just not been able to get to.

So, over the course of the next year I will be digging in to the films below and hope to finish all 50. I have not included any theatrical releases, but I will be also seeing a handful of those this year - nor have I included any DVDs coming out past February - but a few of those will be watched this year I am sure.

Anyway - here is my list for the 50 films I will watch in 2011. I am off to a roaring start as I watched Red Dawn for the first time yesterday and am about to toss in 3:10 to Yuma after this post is complete.

3:10 To Yuma
Alice in Wonderland
Despicable Me
District 9
Donnie Darko
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Frozen River
Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Kill Bill Vol. 2
King Arthur
Knight and Day
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Pretty in Pink
Prince of Persia
Pulp Fiction
Red Dawn
Requiem For A Dream
Reservoir Dogs
Robin Hood
Shrek Forever After
Sixteen Candles
Taxi Driver
The Nines
The Social Network
This Is Spinal Tap
Up In The Air
Walk The Line
Where The Wild Things Are
Winter's Bone
Young Frankenstein

So there you have it. 50 films I have yet to see, but will be checking out this year before the next ball drops. I have my work cut out for me, but it should be fun. Wish me luck.

I will review each of these films as time goes on - especially once I finally get caught up this week.

Tuesday's With Movies: 1/11/11

OK, since I missed last week's Tuesday's With Movies and this week only has a few I have decided to include last week's films as well. Enjoy!

The Social Network: As I explained in my rant yesterday this is one of those magical films that will not be coming to me for at least another month. However, it is released country wide today on DVD and it is one of the films I really want to see. I have heard great things all around about this film - from the film itself to the actors in the film. So, as soon as I get the chance I will be checking this one out.

Piranha 3D: As I have stated in the past I am definitely not a horror movie guy. I can get by on some great thrillers, but gore just is way over the top in my book. I don't see the necessity of seeing people killed and tortured. So, I will probably be skipping this one.

Alpha & Omega: One I had not heard of until I was looking for movies to add to my Netflix queue. I am sure it isn't a great flick, but it's a cartoon and I am sure my 4-year old will love it. So, I will probably be checking it out sometime in the near future.

Machete: OK, I am not sure the extent of what is shown in this film, but I am pretty interested in seeing this despite what I said in my Piranha 3D post. I have a feeling there will be a little gore in this film, but I am not sure. Either way, I am intrigued and I will definitely see it - once Netflix allows me.

Dinner for Schmucks: Already have seen it and I will have a small review up by the end of the week in my Quick Shots as I attempt to get caught up quickly.

Camille/Howl: Two films that I have never heard of, but star James Franco. Doubt I will be checking them out until I know a little more about them.

Case 39/The Last Exorcism: Two films that have horror written all over them that I will not be checking out.