Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who? What? Where? #13

We haven't seen our winner from Week #12 since the very first post, but Nick came through in correctly stating that the person to the left is in fact Paul Reubens as The Spleen in Mystery Men.

I am beginning to think that it may be impossible to stump all of you, but nevertheless, I shall keep trying.

Anyway, congratulations, Nick. And good luck 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 #13:

Matt - 11 points
Jess - 10 points
Fletch - 6 points
Mrs. Kano - 5 points
Nick - 4 points

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday's With Movies: 2/22/11

Megamind: I have heard some good things about this film. It is currently on my 50 films of 2011 list, and once I get it (either Netflix on purchase) I will be checking it out with my family. From what I have seen it looks like it may be pretty decent.

Due Date: Um, I will definitely be checking this out, but I have heard nothing but bad things about this film. Which, is too bad because it looks like it has all of the makings of being a great, comedic film. Like all films, however, I will wait to make my own opinion - but so far the voices have been negative.

Get Low: From what I have seen and heard this is supposed to be a very good film, Unfortunately, from the trailers I have seen, I just have had no interest in seeing it from the content. I enjoy Bill Murray obviously, and I sometimes enjoy Robert Duvall - perhaps I will see it sometime in the future.

Friday, February 18, 2011

22/50: The Nines

Um, I am not really sure what to think of this movie. I am sort of lost. I also feel like I was a little bit cheated by the ending.

Nevertheless, I checked out The Nines starring Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds plays three separate characters in the film, as the film is actually separated into three different parts - it makes sense at he conclusion.

Things sort of feel out of place for Reynolds' characters, as he senses that things are happening around him that really aren't happening.

Honestly, I don't really know how to rate this movie. It was very odd and I was really hoping to like it - and I thought it was building to something that would really pay off. But, it really didn't.

The oddness of the film intrigued me, but the pay off was annoying to me. So, if this film ended in a different manner I would have really enjoyed this movie. That being said, I can't give it a horrible grade or an excellent grade - so I will just stay in the middle. I didn't hate it, but due to a bad ending (my opinion) I didn't really love it either.


21/50: The Village

If I may paint a picture. There is a movie that involves a small group of people that appear to be from the late 1800's-early 1900's. But, they are actually from the present day, but are living in hiding for reason's that we, the audience, have no idea why.

Plus, there appears to be some sort of creature that is living in the woods near these people, that if disturbed could reek havoc on the small group.

Does this movie sound interesting? I think it does. Now, lets say that the director is M. Night Shyamalan. Your idea of the movie changes, doesn't it?

Again, I had heard a ton of horrible things heading into watching The Village. So perhaps, my expectations were so low that anything would be an improvement to my thoughts. However, I really came away enjoying the film.

I can't really explain much about the plot besides what I already have because I don't want to give too much away. Let's just say that what transpires actually made a little sense to me.

Also, I came away with so much more respect for Bryce Dallas Howard. She had a small role as Gwen Stacy in Spiderman 3 and played Victoria in Eclipse. But, other than that, she hasn't really been in much.

She really killed it as the blind Ivy Walker, daughter of one of the leaders in the group, Edward (William Hurt).

For years the group has needed to stay out of the woods due to the creatures and not head to 'The Towns", but when Ivy's love interest, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix) is stabbed and they need medicine to save him - Edward grants Ivy permission to head to "The Towns" to help save him.

Howard was the best part of the film, and like I said, I really came away with a great deal of respect for her after seeing this - especially having to play a blind woman.

So, I enjoyed this film. I know it is probably taboo and I will get reamed for liking this film, but I honestly did. A lot of that may have to do with Howard's performance, and the fact that I looked at this film, not as a Shyamalan film, but just as a film.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

20/50: The Illusionist

I wanted to pair these two films together, because they both had the theme of illusion/magic in them. It is odd that in 2006 both of these films came out, and both featured, if not the same, but similar plot lines.

The Illusionist is much more of a - like I mentioned in my Pretty in Pink review - Romeo & Juliet-type story.

The film starts in the past and shows a young Eisenheim becoming friends, and soon falling in love, with a young girl named Sophie. Eisenheim is a peasant boy while Sophie is of rich and royal decent. So, this love affair is prohibited.

Fast forward many years and Eisenheim (Edward Norton) is becoming a very successful illusionist. In his former hometown, he becomes a bit of a hit, especially from local law-enforcer, Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti). As the word spreads, Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) wants to see the show - including Duchess Sophie (Jessica Biel).

Eisenheim recognizes Sophie right away, but it takes her longer to realize that this is in fact the young boy she fell in love with years ago.

The rest of the film plays out like Ocean's Eleven, in my opinion. It's another film that you have to pay attention to as things unfold - and the payoff is pretty amazing.

Honestly, as close as the two films are, I think I enjoyed this one a tiny bit more - even though the grade won't show it.

More great actors in this film that had great performances - I don't think I have seen Sewell in anything else except A Knight's Tale, but he truly plays a great villain.


19/50: The Prestige

What do you think you would do to become the absolute best at your craft? Would you steal? Would you go to jail? Would you, possibly, kill?

That is just one of the many ethical questions being asked in Christopher Nolan's The Prestige. Which, despite being very good, may be my least favorite of Nolan's film that I have seen.

Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) are each part of a magician's show - as they each try to become magicians themselves. Angier's wife, Julia (Piper Perabo), is the magician's assistant, who gets lowered into a bucket of water and releases herself.

Borden believes that the show could be better, and despite being told not to, ties Julia up in a different way - which ends up not allowing her to escape, and she is killed.

This is the start of the dismantling of Bordern's and Angier's friendship. Borden is quite possibly one of the best magicians, but his stage presence is lacking. Angier, however, has a ton of stage presence, but doesn't have the tricks that Borden is able to come up with.

Angier begins to obsess over becoming the best and beating Borden, especially have seeing one of the most amazing tricks he has ever seen - Borden's 'The Transported Man'. In order to figure out how he does it, Angier sends his stage assistant, Olivia (Scarlet Johansson), to become Borden's assistant and steal his secrets.

Like most of Nolan's films, you really have to pay attention. There is a lot going on in this film and just like Angier with Borden's diary, we have to try and figure out what is going on. Angier feels that being the best magician is the most important to him - even more important than the one's that love him.

Nolan really gets great performances out of his actors - Bale and Michael Caine continue to be his go-to guys and they perform great in this. Jackman also stands out, and you can see just how obsessed he has become to dethrown Bale's character.

Much like the Pixar films, Nolan has really begun to out do himself. It is hard to move The Prestige passed his newer films like Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Inception and even Memento. Although I would need to watch Memento again from what I remember I think it would still be ahead of this film.

That doesn't mean this is horrible, far from it, just that Nolan's lesser films still standout against most other films that are out there.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who? What? Where? #12

Congratulations to both Fletch and Jess for chiming in last week and collecting two points and one point, respectfully.

Jess correctly stated that the person to the left is Jonathan Pryce. Meanwhile, Fletch nailed it on the head that it was in fact Gov. Weatherby Swann from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

I was going to be generous and let the person who guessed the movie be correct with just a Pirates of the Caribbean guess, but Fletch nailed it.

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 #12:

Matt - 11 points
Jess - 10 points
Fletch - 6 points
Mrs. Kano - 5 points
Nick - 1 point

18/50: Alice in Wonderland

I have heard a ton of horrible things about this film. I for one am not a huge fan of Tim Burton, and I absolutely hated Charlie in the Chocolate Factory - but that could be because it was a 'remake' of my absolute favorite movie.

But, you know what? I loved Alice in Wonderland. Was it crazy? Of course it was. But, that is what Alice in Wonderland is supposed to be - so honestly, it was the best vehicle for Tim Burton to just go nuts.

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now a 19-year old woman, who believes that Wonderland is a dream that she has been having over and over again in her head. Her mother has arranged for her to get married, but while at the engagement party (right when the man has asked her) Alice notices the white rabbit yet again - and chases him down the rabbit hole.

Once in Wonderland (or Underland that it is called here), the lovable characters we have come to know - the white rabbit, the blue caterpillar, the dormouse and Tweedledee and Tweedledum, begin discussing if this is indeed the Alice who was there before - even though she doesn't believe it. Apparently, Alice is supposed to lead the people out of the tyranny of the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter) - and allow the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to take over. She must, however, slay the Jabberwocky to do so.

On her journey, the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover) is out to capture her and stop her from her destiny. Along the way, she comes across the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), who gives himself up in order to keep her safe.

I will say no more about the film plot itself, but I thought it was great. Depp was absolutely crazy as the Mad Hatter - and despite my feeling that the look of the Queen of Hearts was a bit over the top, it may have actually been necessary to everything that she was saying.

I had not seen Wasikowski in a film before, but I thought she was brilliant in her role as Alice. And, the slew of characters were done just right, in my opinion.

I know this film is either loved or hated - but I feel it was great. Just my opinion.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

17/50: Up in the Air

Wow. I was totally not expecting to like this so much. It really surprised me.

I guess I just didn't understand what Up in the Air was all about. I was expecting a love story - which I sort of got - but that wasn't the heart of the story. I was just really knocked back by how much I enjoyed this film.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) fires people. I mean, that is what he does - it's his business. Companies hire Bingham's firm to lay off their employees, and steer them in their next direction.

Because of this job, Bingham is on the road pretty much the entire year. He lives on airplanes, in airports, hotels and on the road. It is what he likes. He doesn't like being tied down - he doesn't like having baggage.

On one of his trips he meets another woman, Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), who, much like himself, is constantly on the road and they strike up a friends with benefits friendship. No real strings, just meet up whenever their paths are able to cross again.

Bingham's "home" is in Nebraska, and his boss, Craig Gregory (Jason Batman), has called all of the travelers to home base for a meeting. It turns out a newly hired genius, Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), has revolutionized how the company will do business. Things will now be done over the computer instead of face-to-face, saving the company tons of money - but also taking people like Bingham away from what he loves.

Apparently, Bingham has a goal he is trying to set - seventh person ever to fly 10 million miles. So, he raises a bit of a stink with his boss and he is teamed with Natalie to show her the ropes in face-to-face firing.

I am not going to give too much away about the movie because a lot actually happens with them while they are out on the road together. If you haven't seen it, I hope that you do sometime soon.

Also, Kendrick needs to get better roles from here on out. She is a fantastic actress - not to mention pretty darn cute - but her roles since this film (which she was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar) have been extremely minor. Small roles in the Twilight series and a bit part as Scott's sister in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Get her better roles.

This grade may be a bit higher than it should, but honestly I came away from this really liking it and was so pleasantly surprised that I am sticking with it.


16/50: Winter's Bone

Let me first start by saying that I did not see this performance coming from a million miles away. Mrs. Kano and I may have been two of the 25 people that actually watched "The Bill Engvall Show while it was airing on TBS. It was a pretty decent little family comedy - but by no means anything real special.

But, lo and behold, there was apparently a diamond in the rough. Because on that show starring as Bill's daughter, Lauren, is Oscar nominee for Winter's Bone Jennifer Lawrence.

She seemed like a great actress, the kind that come from the Disney Channel or soap operas, but honestly I had no idea that she could end up being this talented.

The movie itself has Lawrence's Ree taking care of her adolescent brother and sister, along with her sick-in-the-head mother in Ozark Mountain.

She finds out from local Sheriff Basking (Garret Dillahunt) that her drug making father, Jessip, had put up their house and land to post bail - and if he didn't show up for his hearing that they would lose all that they had left.

Some family members and friends offer to take care of the little kids, but not together. Ree, wanting to keep her family together, heads out to look for her father through some of the toughest parts of the county - dead or alive, as long as he shows, they can keep their property.

Ree doesn't get much help in her search until Jessip's brother, Teardrop (John Hawkes) steps in to keep some local tough guys away from Ree.

The film itself looks amazing, but very bleak. Top notch acting all-around; I spoke of Lawrence, but Hawkes, who I have liked for a long time, did a great job as Teardrop - and even Dillahunt as the local sheriff. Good to see these two "Deadwood" grads doing so well.

I had a tough time grading this because I feel the film deserves an Excellent, but due to rewatchability I was seriously considering giving it a Suspense is Killing Me. In the end, I went with my first thought and gave it what the movie deserved.


Tuesday's With Movies: 2/15/11

Very limited selection this week - usually I can find at least five major releases, but this week I could only find two.

Unstoppable: Looked pretty action packed from the trailer. Probably not the most realistic film, but it still looks like it could be some good, solid fun. Enjoyed Chris Pine in Star Trek and Denzel Washington is good for a solid film every so often. Definitely will be checking this one out.

Waiting for "Superman": This is a documentary of the American public school system, or better yet, the failures of the American public school system. This probably won't be a film I receive from Netflix, but I may check it out once it hits instant streaming.

Monday, February 14, 2011

15/50: The Wrestler

So, this film was called the return or resurrection of Mickey Rourke. I decided to look up Mickey Rourke's previous films to see what he was returning to - because I had always heard the name, but never could place him in a movie. The lone movie (besides 91/2 Weeks which I have not seen yet) that I have seen Mickey Rourke in before the explosion of films he has been doing - Double Team (you know, with Dennis Rodman.....crazy).

Anyway, that really had no significance on my reaction to The Wrestler only that I wanted to see where he was coming from in his past.

Rourke stars as Randy, a professional wrestler, and probably one of the best known for his time. As the years wear on, Randy continues his wrestling gig - albeit in much smaller venues, but he continues to be the draw for the crowd.

It becomes apparent that Randy has nothing else going for him in his life except wrestling. After an injury knocks him out for awhile - and doctors tell him he should never wrestle again or it could kill him - Randy begins to reach out to the two people in his life that he cares about.

First, a stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) who has shown him kindness over the years and he has gotten to know - at least he thought he had. After she helps him out on a few things and he buys her a drink he shows her that he is falling for her - something that she is unable to reciprocate.

Second, his estranged daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). She is a student that has written Randy out of her life because he has never been there for her in the past. He does his best to repair the damage that he has caused - and for awhile it appears to be working.

There is just one thing that is still missing in his life - his love for wrestling. And with a rematch 20 years in the making with The Ayatollah looming, Randy must make the decision to return to what he loves the most, but risk his life - or hope that the relationships he has created are enough.

This was a pretty good movie, but I don't feel it was as good as I was expecting thanks to all of the hype from the Oscars a year ago. I am sure if I was a wrestling fan that I would have felt a little bit more for the film, but I am not.

I do believe that all three of the main characters did amazing jobs in their roles. Tomei was great and Wood was a definite surprise (I don't remember seeing her in too many things that I have come across).

As for Rourke, well this is definitely the return he needed as he has exploded onto the scene as of late. I just can't remember for the life of me where he is returning from. Guess I missed something.


14/50: Pretty in Pink

The Brat Pack has been a huge part of my childhood - at least I thought so. These were '80's classics, but when I started looking into the actual films I had seen - I had only seen two (Breakfast Club and Weird Science).

So, I thought with this little experiment here I would try to rectify that. This is the first of two "Brat Pack" films on the list, and the one I was expecting to be the least favorite of mine. And, I was pretty much right.

Pretty in Pink stars Molly Ringwald as Andie Walsh, a poor high school student who pretty much takes care of her unemployed father after her mother runs out on them both. She makes her own clothes and is shunned by the rich kids of the school.

Prom - you know that all important event in every high school kids life - is coming up and she of course doesn't have a date. She could probably go with her lifelong friend, Duckie (Jon Cryer) who has been in love with her forever, but she has no intimate feelings for.

A few weeks before prom she is asked out by one of the rich kids, Blane (Andrew McCarthy), despite the ridicule he receives from the other rich kids, including his best friend Steff (James Spader). Blane begins to fall for Andie, and vice versa.

However, right before the prom Blane all of a sudden gets cold feet from the pressure he is receiving from his rich friends for dating a poor girl - and calls it off.

This has a sort of Romeo & Juliet feeling to it. Two star crossed lovers, one from each side of the tracks, who can't seem to co-exist in each other's worlds.

I have to say, I wasn't really a fan. I am not sure if the quality and it being 25 years old had any factor in that, but I am sure it swayed me a little. But, overall I just didn't get involved with the characters and the ending was far too predictable. I hope I am more impressed with the rest of the "Brat Pack" films.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

13/50: The Expendables

I was so excited to see this film last summer, but like most films I was unable to check it out at the theater. This has everything that a summer blockbuster would want - action, a bit of comedy, and more action. Of course, it looks like it should be from the 80's with the cast.

The Expendables is a virtual cornucopia of action stars from the 80's. Sylvester Stallone is the main star, but also has parts for Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mickey Rourke. Some of the new tough guys are also along for the ride, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Steve Austin, Terry Crews and Randy Couture.

Barney Ross (Stallone) is hired by Mr. Church (Willis) to overthrow a brutal dictator, General Garza (David Zayas). Ross and is crew, Lee Christmas (Statham), Yin Yang (Li), Hale Caeser (Crews) and Toll Road (Couture) take the job, but soon find out that it isn't exactly Garza that is controlling everything, but ex-CIA agent James Munroe (Eric Roberts).

Like I said, a ton of action. Some pretty brutal scenes, especially with Crews' special gun. But overall, very good action film. It wasn't an amazing film, but everything that you would expect from a Stallone action film. Great summer popcorn flick.

Only thing missing as Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. Maybe next time.


12/50: District 9

I felt this movie was set up to be a lot better than I felt it was. I am not sure if I am missed something judging by the reviews of some of my counterparts, but I just didn't feel this movie as much as I thought I was going to.

Upon seeing the trailer for District 9, I have to admit I was pretty jazzed. However, when I finally saw the film, I was sort of disappointed that the aliens were basically in the film throughout, because I feel the less we would have seen of them the better. But, that is just me.

Anyway, the film is basically shot as a documentary with parts shown during and after the events that are taking place (if that makes sense). Aliens have been living in South Africa for a handful of years now and the humans have decided to remove the aliens and transfer into a camp - which almost looks like a concentration camp.

Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is place in charge of removing the aliens and transferring them to the new camp and remove all of the alien weapons that they have stored in their huts. Along the way he comes across a hut with no weapons, but finds a tube with some black liquid in it that explodes onto his body.

Van De Merwe finds the father and son alien that had been collecting the liquid and discovers that they have a fully functional shop beneath their hut. So it is up to him if he is to allow them to leave the planet and return home or capture them and send them back to the new camp.

Honestly, as things started I was coming in not expecting to see the aliens, so to see them right away really disappointed me. I was really excited about the documentary style shooting that was going on, but once some of the things started happening with Van De Merwe that style didn't really make sense to me anymore.

Was it a horrible film? No. But it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The message being portrayed in the film is great though. Plus, I really enjoyed Copley in The A-Team and was hoping for a bit more from him here. He did well, but not what I got from him as Murdoch.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who? What? Where? #11

First off, sorry this is coming in a day late. I forgot to put a time stamp on and it never posted. So, for those of you who were looking - I am sorry.

Second, congratulations to Jess for the sweep of three points last week - although it was probably the easiest that I have done. I felt in the spirit of the day it was needed. Jess correctly said that the person to the left was Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson from Groundhog Day. Nice job, Jess. And with that you move closer to the top of the leader board.

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 #11:

Matt - 11 points
Jess - 9 points
Mrs. Kano - 5 points
Fletch - 4 points
Nick - 1 point

11/50: Walk the Line

I got this movie a long time ago, probably when it first came out on DVD. But, for some reason I didn't get a chance to watch. My wife, however, did watch it and absolutely loved it. So, she has been telling me that I should watch it - and I finally did.

Walk the Line is the biographical story of Johnny Cash starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character. I must admit that I was not really a fan of Cash's music, so I really had no interest in his story. But, after watching the film, I do like a lot of his songs.

Anyway, the film starts out about 3/4 of the way through as Cash is sitting back stage about to head out and play his famous Folsom Prison concert. Then, the flashback occurs and we start out seeing how Cash's childhood was like and how he got his start.

The film has it all, and everything that you would expect from a music star's life. If you can think it, it most likely happened in Cash's life.

All-in-all Walk the Line is a love story. Most of the film is Cash pursuing his love for June Carter (Reese Witherspoon), most of the time with Cash is married already. So, despite the feelings that June may feel for Cash, there is always something in the way of them getting together.

Witherspoon took home the Oscar for Best Actress in a Lead Role for her portrayal of Carter while Phoenix was also nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role for his performance as Cash.

I came away very pleased, more knowledgeable of Cash's life and actually far more interested in Cash and his music. In fact, I am now the owner of the Walk the Line soundtrack.

Terrific film and I have to give my wife some props for telling (read nagging) me to watch it.


10/50: Despicable Me

When I first saw this preview last year during a very rare trip to the theater I didn't know what to expect. And honestly, I never really became interested in seeing it even after the full trailer was released.

However, Despicable Me began to get some good press and, of course, any time there is a somewhat decent cartoon film out my son will want to see it.

As it was not as good as either How To Train Your Dragon or Toy Story 3 it was still a decent enough film - and it made me laugh a handful of times.

The premise is this, Gru (Steve Carell) is a want-to-be super villain. He has come up with a way to be the greatest super villain in the world by stealing a shrink ray gun and shrinking - then stealing - the moon.

He goes to a bank that deals exclusively with loaning money to super villains run by Mr. Perkins (Will Arnett). Perkins agrees to Gru's plan if he can steal the shrink ray gun. However, another up-and-coming villain named Vector (Jason Segel) steals the gun first.

In order to break into Vector's house/workshop, Gru decides to adopt a trio of sisters, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher).

Of course, things go wrong and what you expect to happen does begin to happen - but it is done rather well.

Now, we come to the minions. Gru has a huge amount of 'people' working for him that are called the minions. When I first saw these creatures I thought they were a bit of a ripoff of the aliens from Toy Story. And, to a small extent they are. However, they were very funny and actually sweet - so they fit in nicely.

So, it wasn't an amazing film, but it was a nice watch and I did laugh a few times - plus my son liked it, so there's that.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

9/50: Salt

This is one of the films I had on my list to see in the theater over the summer, but didn't make the cut on my very few visits.

I was interested in seeing how a film that was made for Tom Cruise would come across with Angelina Jolie in the lead instead. So, I checked out Salt.

First, I am not the greatest Angelina Jolie fan. I have enjoyed a handful of her performances, but there is something about her that sometimes throws me off of a movie - although she isn't near Julia Roberts territory for me. That being said, she was very good as Evelyn Salt a CIA agent who is forced to run for her life after being targeted as a Russian spy.

The movie had me going so many different ways I wasn't sure what was happening some of the time, which I like about a movie. I am usually one or two steps ahead of films, but this one I was even scratching my head a few times wondering if what I was watching was true or not.

Not to give anything away from the film, but I am not sure if I totally buy how the spies are being planted in the United States. It just seemed a little far fetched - but that's Hollywood I guess.

Other than that, not too much to complain about. A lot of great action and a decent story line that kept me both scratching my head and entertained throughout.

It's now hard to imagine Tom Cruise actually portraying Salt, because it feels like it was written for Jolie.


8/50: Tombstone

As I said before when reviewing 3:10 To Yuma I have never really been into Western films. I have, however, had my interest piqued with some of the well known crusaders of the west.

Because of that, I was very interested in viewing Tombstone during my 50 films of 2011. One of the things that stood out to me was just how small the Battle at OK Corral was. Hearing about it so many times I assumed it was a huge shoot out - when in fact it was four men taking out a gang of cowboys.

Anyway, the film depicts a retiring Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) joining his brothers Morgan (Bill Paxton) and Virgil (Sam Elliott) in Tombstone. Earp is well known for being a successful lawman, but is now looking to retire and make money panning for gold or owning a business.

The Cowboys, as they have been called (and also carry a red sash), have sort of taken over the town. When Earp arrives he is asked repeatedly to take over as sheriff of the town, and repeatedly turns them down.

One night, acting sheriff is gunned down my a drunk cowboy named Curly Bill Brocius (Powers Boothe) and Morgan and Virgil decide to take over as the town's sheriffs. It isn't until the Cowboys begin to mess with the Earps and their families that Wyatt decides to join the crew. With the three Earps and Wyatt's life long friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) - the four take on a bunch of the Cowboys in the Battle of OK Corral.

Things start to become worse as both Morgan and Virgil are shot by the Cowboys, and Wyatt and Doc round up a few other men to go on a Cowboy killing spree.

The movie was rather brilliant, not as great as I was hoping, but still very entertaining. The fight scenes were a little lacking for me, but for a 1993 movie I guess I can accept them. The absolute gem of the entire film was Kilmer's performance as Holliday. One of the best characters on film that I have had the pleasure of seeing. His performance alone bumped up my grade for the film, though I did enjoy it anyway.


Tuesday's With Movies: 2/8/11

Life As We Know It: This has gotten some bad reviews, and I must say that ever since Katherine Heigl became way too full of herself and left Grey's Anatomy I have a bad taste in my mouth about her. Nevertheless, I am a fan of Josh Duhamel and it actually looks like a decent premise. So, it is in my Netflix queue and Mrs. Kano and I will be checking out sometime in the near future.

For Colored Girls: I have a pretty good idea that I am not the target audience for this movie. What is the deal with Tyler Perry? Does he not like other races at all? Anyway, reading what the movie is actually about it does seem to have a good message, but again, this is not a movie that was designed for me.

You Again: If I said it before, I'll say it again: It is almost guaranteed that if Kristen Bell has a role in it I will see it. The film itself looks a little crazy, and it also jumped on the Betty White bandwagon - hopefully it payed off. Again, I will check this one out soon.

I Spit On Your Grave: Definitely not my type of movie - but I enjoyed reading the actual plot, it makes sense why the attacks happen. Still isn't going to sway me into watching it though.

Paranormal Activity 2: Didn't see the first for obvious reasons and I will not be checking this one out either. Plus, I just read that the dog in the movie is named Abby - the same as my dog. Yet another reason to stay away - too freaky.

Monday, February 7, 2011

7/50: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

I wasn't sure what to think about this film heading in. I really hadn't heard too much about it, which for a film of this nature isn't a good sign. Plus, I really had no background about the film because I had never played the video game for which it was based on.

That being said, I sort of enjoyed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. No it wasn't epic or anything of that nature, but it was a fun and exciting film.

Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is adopted by the king, and he and his two brothers take on another kingdom after finding out they are supplying illegal weapons to their enemies.

Upon overtaking the kingdom, Dastan finds a special dagger on one of his enemies - a dagger that proves very special. They also come across Princess Tamina (Gemma Aterton), whom his father agrees should become Dastan's first wife.

As the king and his subjects begin to celebrate, Dastan gives his father a gift that he received from his brother, which ends up killing his father and Dastan is blamed - but escapes with Tamina and the special dagger.

I won't give anything away, but the rest of the film really has a lot to do with the dagger and what it can do. Dastan obviously must prove to his brothers and the rest of the kingdom that he didn't kill his father.

It was actually a very fun film, which had a lot of action and some great comedic scenes as well, especially from Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina), who runs a gambling establishment based on ostrich racing.

Sure, it wasn't Oscar worthy, not many of these blockbusters are. But, it held my interest throughout and Gyllenhaal actually did a decent job as an action hero.


6/50: The Fugitive

The Fugitive is yet another film that I am very much ashamed that I have not seen. I mean this came out in 1993 and stars one of my favorite actors - yet here I am 18 years later finally tossing in the DVD.

Dr. Richard Kimble's (Harrison Ford) wife is killed after a benefit dinner at their house. Kimble was called into work for an emergency surgery after the dinner and upon returning home fought with his wife's murderer - a one armed man.

Law enforcement, however, didn't believe Kimble's story and he was convicted of killing his wife. As he is being transferred to prison, the bus transporting him and a handful of other prisoners crashes and is hit by a train. Kimble escapes and becomes a fugitive on the run.

U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) and his team are brought in to capture Kimble and bring him back to prison. Kimble's main goal is to stay out long enough to track down the one armed man that killed his wife, bring her to justice and prove his own innocence.

Great acting along the way by both Ford and Jones. Tons of great action scenes and a powerful story of a man seeking redemption for both himself and his murdered wife.

It was fun to see so many actors in bit parts that are now more recognizable, such as Julianne Moore and Jane Lynch to name a few. Always nice to see Joe Pantoliano as well - really enjoy him as an actor.