Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 2/28/12

Hugo: For some reason I had no real interest in seeing this when the original trailer came out, nor was I that interested when it was in the theater. But, the film has had a lot of great reviews and was nominated for quite a few academy awards. So, I have actually become even more interested and will definitely be checking it out.

Johnny English Reborn: I have to admit that I really enjoy Rowan Atkinson. Mr. Bean was downright hilarious and I have enjoyed most of his bit parts in film over the years. So, when Johnny English came out I was pretty excited. It was fine - not great. So I was surprised to hear a sequel was made. But, I will check it out.

Beneath the Darkness: Had never heard of this until I saw it was being released on DVD. Looked it up and it has some seriously horrid reviews - including a 0 percent on rotten tomatoes. The premise, however, seems interesting to me. Doubt I will check it out though, but still sounded better than a 0 percent rating.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 2/21/12

Tower Heist: When I first saw the trailer for this I had zero interest in seeing it, but after looking at it a few dozen times now it looks like it may not be that horrible. So, I am sort of interested in seeing it now.

J. Edgar: I have really started to enjoy Leonardo DiCaprio and these biopics usually get my interest up. You'd think that with the pairing I would be all over it, but for some reason I am just not there with this one yet.

Martha Marcy May Marlene: This one sort of went under my radar despite its huge critical acclaim. It wasn't until I saw it was coming out on DVD and I did a little more research - it actually look like I may enjoy this one.

The Way: I had never heard of this one. But, it looks like it also has received some great reviews. Directed my Mr. Mighty Duck starring himself and his father. May give this one a try.

London Boulevard: I love Keira Knightley so anytime she is not starring in some period piece I am definitely all over it. Here she stars with Colin Farrell and it looks like it may have some sort of action in it. I'm in.

Friday, February 17, 2012

16/50x2: Predator

This will probably be a quick review, because although I enjoyed it, there really wasn't a ton going on in the film.

Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels to Guatemala with a special task force, which includes George (Carl Weathers), Blain (Jesse Ventura) and a handful of others in Predator. Dutch believes he is heading into the jungle on a rescue mission - but as things progress he realizes that he wasn't informed everything when he accepted the mission, and that his team is heading into an even dangerous situation.

After taking down a guerrilla encampment, they take a girl with them - and soon find out that they are not alone in the jungle. It isn't just the guerrillas, there is something else out there.

The Predator hardly presents itself, as he is able to cloak and blend into his surroundings.

He is able to take out nearly every member of Dutch's team, until it is pretty much Dutch vs. the Predator.

The rest of the film is a cat and mouse game between the two - and it's obvious that only one will survive.

Like I said, there wasn't a whole lot going on in this film - but I truly enjoyed it. It was a typical 80s Schwarzenegger film with its terrible, but funny one-liners and catch phrases, and a ton of action. It's nice to have a no-nonsense film every no and then.

I am now excited to check out Predators but am unsure if it is worth seeing the first sequel, Predator 2. I will have to do some more research on that.


50x3: The New List

So, I have been slowly pumping out the second 50 list and it got me thinking about what I could do for the third list.

Well, I ended up recruiting five people and had them pick 10 films that they think I should watch.

It was actually not too difficult, even though there was some back-and-forth between many of them because they had selected films I had already seen. But, in the end we managed to come up with 50 films I have not seen before - and I am really looking forward to diving into them.

This is how things will work. I will watch one film from each person's list at a time, that way there is a good mix of films throughout the entire process. I must say that a few of these films are certainly branching out of the type of films I usually watch, and in some cases my own comfort zone. But, that is what this is all about.

I only gave two rules in the selections, no full-on horror films with a ton of gore and no foreign, subtitled films.

They stuck to those guidelines (for the most part), but you will see a few films that do fit into the above categories - those are where I am sort of branching out a bit.

Anyway, enough talk. Here is the new 50 films list. Once I complete the list I am working on now, I will be diving into these.

Aimee's List
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Far and Away (1992)
Freeway (1996)
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Legend (1985)
Mad Max (1979)
Mermaids (1990)
Run Lola Run (1998)
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
The Piano (1993)

Matt's List
About a Boy (2002)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Brazil (1985)
Brick (2005)
Fearless (1993)
Les Miserables (1998)
Son of Rambow (2007)
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Three O'Clock High (1987)
What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)

Erika's List
Elizabethtown (2005)
Ella Enchanted (2004)
Marley & Me (2008)
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
P.S. I Love You  (2007)
Rent (2005)
The Crow (1994)
The Help (2011)
The Notebook (2004)
Waitress  (2007)

Jessica's List
A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Feast of Love (2007)
Flakes (2007)
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Melancholia (2011)
Out of Africa (1985)
Peacock (2010)
Say Anything (1989)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Oscar's List
28 Days Later (2002)
Cloverfield (2008)
Dirty Dozen (1967)
Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Killing Fields (1984)
Lost Boys (1987)
Lost Highway (1997)
Moon (2009)
Stay (2005)
Timecrimes (2007)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

15/50x2: Brewster's Millions

It's funny that I really enjoyed John Candy as an actor, but I realized I hadn't seen quite a few of his films.

Candy is the sidekick, Spike Nolan, in Brewster's Millions to Monty Brewster (Richard Pryor). Brewster is a pitcher for the minor league team the Hackensack Bulls.

After a game the two get into a bar fight and are dropped from the team, and forced to stay in jail because they can't afford to post bail.

A man comes to the prison, bails the pair out and takes them to New York City. There, Brewster is notified that a relative of his had passed and has left him (his only living relative) his entire fortune - but of course there is a catch.

Brewster can either take $1 million up front or spend $30 million in 30 days and get the entire $300 million fortune. There are also a bunch of rules that he must follow, but the main one is that at the end of the 30 days he can have nothing of value, no assets that he didn't have prior.

If Brewster fails in any of the above then the law firm receives all of the funds that was left for Brewster.

So, for the remainder of the film Brewster goes nuts in his spending spree and he is not allowed to tell anyone about the $300 million only that he has inherited the $30 million.

Of course, the law firm is hoping for Brewster to fail and has inserted a junior lawyer, Warren (Stephen Collins), to do all he can to have Brewster just that. Angela Drake (Lonette McKee), a paralegal from the firm, must stay with Brewster and to keep track of his spending. She is also the fiance of Warren, but did not know about Warren's plans.

I really enjoyed the idea of this movie. And I am sure if I saw it in the 80s it would have been amazing, but it felt really aged.

It sort of reminded me a bit of Mr. Deeds with the fact that a relative that he had never met left him a large sum of money. Of course, Deeds didn't need to spend all of the money to make more, but it does sort of had that same vibe.

Again, I think it could have been better - and if it were re-made today it may be pretty decent.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Theater Review: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace 3D

It's pretty much a known fact that I am a huge Star Wars fan, and although I do feel the prequel trilogy is a bit subpar compared to the original trilogy, I still find the need for them and have learned to enjoy what they do have to offer.

That being said, I know I am not going to chance anyone's feelings about the films. If you are like me and have learned to enjoy them, then you already enjoy them. But, if you like to pick things apart and truly hate the film, there is no way that I am changing your mind.

So, I was able to take my family to see Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D in the theater. Say what you want, but being able to experience a Star Wars film on the large screen is truly spectacular. The first time I heard John Williams' epic score as the crawl came on the screen always gives me goosebumps. And, it did again when I heard it this time.

My son has really started to enjoy the Star Wars franchise, much like I have. This was his first experience seeing one of the films on the big screen - and I am very excited that he was able to get that experience.

I guess I will just talk about a few parts of the film. The Phantom Menace, although needed in my opinion, is probably the worst of the six films.

There are two things, however, that The Phantom Menace has that may be superior to some of the other films.

First, the pod race. That is one of the most breathtaking scenes in the entire franchise. And, seeing it on the big screen - and in 3D - was spectacular.

Second, Darth Maul. I have said it before, but it is worth repeating, Darth Maul (Ray Park) is one of the best villains ever created. And, he hardly gets any screen time - and even gets killed off (though if you follow the Clone Wars this may not be true) near the end of the film. Maul was experienced in the Force, had martial arts training, and carried a double-bladed light saber - how cool is that?

Plus, he took on two of the most powerful Jedis - killed one and was surprised by the other. That is a great villain - and I am sad that we got saddled with Count Dooku over two films while Maul was limited to part of this one.

Now, the 3D portion of the film. If you are expecting crazy 3D like light sabers coming out of the screen at you, don't bother. This is the type of 3D that I enjoy - it shows the depth of the images and I felt it worked amazingly well.

I am truly excited to see each and every film in this franchise, and it is only going to get better as the movies progress. I wasn't expecting for these releases to take six years to finish, but I guess they are trying to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the original Star Wars when Return of the Jedi is finally released.


14/50x2: Lost in Translation

There was a lot of hype about this movie after its release, and was one of the catapults in Scarlett Johansson's career.

Bob Harris (Bill Murray) is an American movie star, who is on the downside of his career in the film Lost in Translation. He is in Tokyo filming a commercial for a whiskey - a commercial that will pay him $2 million.

Also in Tokyo is Charlotte (Johansson), who has traveled there with her husband John (Giovanni Ribisi), a photographer.

Bob is quite possibly in the middle of a mid-life crisis and is dreading having to go back to his marriage, which after 25 years is lacking a bit of romance. Charlotte, meanwhile, feels abandoned by John as he runs off to multiple photo shoots - and also suspects that something may be going on with an American model named Kelly (Anna Faris).

By chance both Bob and Charlotte meet at the hotel bar repeatedly over the course of a few days. On one of those nights Charlotte invites Bob out on the town to meet up with a few of her friends, and he accepts.

They strike up an unusual friendship and begin to bond with the fact that they both feel quite alone in this culture, and are curious with the differences between Japan and America.

I feel the film was beautiful to look at and the performances by Johansson and Murray were spectacular, but I wasn't drawn in like I thought I would be. I guess that is the downfall of the hype machine.

I also couldn't really identify with either of the characters. I have never been to a foreign country alone, and have never been overseas. Plus I am a little young to be going through a midlife crises - though I am sure it's on its way.

But, even after that it was still a pretty decent film. Though, I doubt I would ever sit down and watch it again.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

HOT: Big

Before Tom Hanks became a huge star, and started getting some amazing roles (those will come later), this film was my absolute favorite of his.

Hanks stars as Josh Baskin, well the adult version, in the film Big. Baskin is a 13-year old boy (David Moscow), who sort of has a crush on this older girl in his school.

One night Josh and his family go to the local fair and he notices his dream girl standing in line for a pretty intense ride. Trying to impress her Josh gets in line and talks big about having ridden on the ride a bunch of times. But, when he gets to the front of the line they all find out he is too short to ride the ride.

Dejected, Josh walks away and finds this strange machine called a Zoltar. The machine asks you to make a wish and if you shoot the quarter in its mouth, your wish comes true. Josh sinks the quarter - and his wish will come true. But, he notices that the machine is working without even being plugged in.

That night Josh goes to sleep as a 13-year old boy - and when he wakes up is an adult (now Hanks).

Scared out of his mind, because his mother doesn't believe it's him, Josh seeks out his best friend Billy (Jared Rushton). At first Billy doesn't believe him either, but Josh is able to convince him.

They come up with the idea to move to NYC and blend in by getting a job until they can track down the Zoltar machine so that Josh can be switched back.

The film (and Hanks) portrays Josh as a young, naive man who is trying to figure things out in the adult world. Including his first girlfriend and possible sexual experience with Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), which is both sweet and, if you think about it, creepy. Both the film and Hanks portrayed this masterfully.

Big is one of the few films about switching bodies that actually did well during the era. But, it was the lone film that wasn't about switching bodies with another person.

Since then, we have had a few ripoffs, 13 Going on 30 and 17 Again! come to mind. Neither is even close to the quality of Big, though 13 Going on 30 is decent and from a girls' point of view.

The film, despite being released in the late 80s, still pretty much holds up. Sure, the toys that Josh is helping create and plays with are of the 80s persuasion, but heck they're all coming back out again anyway - so that shouldn't stop you from enjoying it.


Tuesday's With Movies: 2/14/12

OK, not a great selection of films releasing this week. In fact, I will not be watching any of them.

The Rum Diary: Every so often Depp does one of those weird, drug induced films. I really have no interest in any of those. And, I have seen the trailers multiple times and I have no real interest in this one either.

The Dead: Had no idea what this was, but it's yet another zombie flick.

Take Shelter: This may be the lone film I have any bit of chance of seeing. I am not sure if or when I will see it, but out of this crop of films it is certainly the best - if that is a good thing.

Human Centipede II: So, if the first Human Centipede wasn't disgusting enough they decided to make an even more disgusting film. So, nope.

Top 10: Movie Couples

So, today is Valentine's Day. That got me thinking about the best movie couples. There are so many, and so many I have not seen. So, this is technically just a nice list of movie couples.

I tossed up a poll on Facebook and got some feedback, but I felt odd putting some couples on the list of films I haven't seen yet. So, this is a list of couple from films I have seen.

10) Memphis Raines & Eleanor - Gone in 60 Seconds

This was one of the suggestions I got on Facebook, and I felt it was far too funny not to include. This is the car that is the most difficult for Raines to boost, which is named Eleanor.

9) Romeo & Juliet - Romeo+Juliet

I had to put them on the list. They are the quintessential couple and are almost always brought up when thought about the top couples. I can't put them too high on the list, because they are such a boring answer.

8) Jerry & Dorothy - Jerry Maguire 

Kind of funny that a film that is about sports, somewhat, has one of the top movie couples. But, the relationship between Jerry and Dorothy is wonderful.

7) Lady & Tramp - Lady & The Tramp

A couple from opposite sides of the track, but they are dogs not humans. Lady, growing up in the well-to-do house, while Tramp is living off the streets. Together they are the cutest couple, who knew?

6) Jack & Rose - Titanic

Just like Lady and Tramp, Jack and Rose come opposite sides of money. Rose has a ton of it and Jack has none. But, Jack has something that Rose needs, a way to have fun.

5) Shrek & Fiona - Shrek

The ogre who thought he always wanted to be alone meets the beautiful princess with a secret - and they lived happily ever after.

4) Leia & Han - Star Wars

She's a princess and he's a smuggler, but when forced together there true feelings come out and an intergalactic love story is born.

3) Kat & Patrick - 10 Things I Hate About You

Kat hates dating and men in general. She is courted by Patrick, a loner who everyone has made rumors up about. He is paid to take her out so someone else can date her sister, but he ends up falling in love and so does she.

2) Buttercup & Westley - The Princess Bride

Buttercup is a rich, young girl while Westley works on her farm. He falls in love with her and she with her, but he is kidnapped by the dread pirate Roberts - and she is forced to marry Prince Humperdink, will they get back together?

1) Ellie & Carl - Up

OK, this was sort of a toss up between them and Wall-E and Eve from Wall-E. I think the final straw was just how great the first part of Up is and how much they truly loved each other.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

13/50x2: The Kids Are All Right

The first time I saw Mark Ruffalo in a film, at least I think it was the first time, was in the Big-like film 13 Going on 30. I can't recall ever seeing him again, but he reminded me of someone (someone that escapes me now).

Since then, Ruffalo has become a pretty well-known actor, who seems to be in quite a few films each year - and will soon be stepping into the role of the Hulk in this year's The Avengers.

I have really enjoyed watching him become such a good actor, and so I definitely found it necessary to check out the well-received The Kids Are All Right.

In the film, Nicole (Annette Benning) and Jules Allgood (Julianne Moore) are a married, lesbian couple who have two children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson).

In order for this lesbian couple to have children, they went went to a 'bank'. Nicole carried one of the children, and the next go around Jules was the mother.

As the children have become older, they begin to get curious as to who may be their real father. As they do some digging they find that Paul (Ruffalo) is the father of both of them.

Paul is a bit 'out there' in life, I would say a bit of a hippie, but when he meets the children they all get along and Paul is excited about possibly being a part of their lives.

The entrance of Paul into the family really turns them upside down, as they begin to realize some of the things that have been going on in their lives - mostly with Nic and Jules.

Nic has been the main provider of the family as a OB/GYN and is also the discipline of the family. Jules is much more laid back and has gone through business after business - now trying her hand at landscaping - and feels unappreciated by Nic.

So with the entrance of Paul and these feelings coming to the surface, would it bring the family closer together or split them apart?

An amazingly well acted film. I have only seen Wasikowska in two films now, but I really think she is an up-and-coming actress. I have come to either love or loathe Moore in films, and here I thought she was amazing. And, I may be wrong, but this may also be the second time I have seen Benning in a film - and again she was a lot like her character in American Beauty. But, that works for her.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie and it is great to show that there is not much difference between a gay/lesbian household compared to a straight household. Both have difficulties and both worry about their children. Hopefully films like these allow those who feel strongly against same-sex households to change their tune - but of course it is tough to change bigotry.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday's With Movies: 2/7/12

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part I: Mrs. Kano likes (I am not sure if it is loves) these films. I am not that huge of a fan, but I usually watch each film once after we pick it up with her. She has watched a ton of films with me that I am sure she hasn't liked - it's just something we do together. And, I get to make fun of it a bit.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas: I am a huge fan of the first film in this series. It was definitely a huge surprise and truly made stars out of its stars and re-invigorated the career of Neil Patrick Harris. The second one was good, but I don't think it lived up to the original. This one has received some good reviews, so I am excited. I hope I didn't miss a lot by not seeing it in 3D.

Anonymous: This appears to be a film based on the conspiracy theory that someone else actually wrote the works of William Shakespeare. I heard something about this when it was first announced, but I hadn't heard anything since. Not sure if that is a good thing or not. It may be interesting, but as of now I have no plans to see it - that may change though.

Sunset Limited: I really have no idea what this film is truly about. All I really know is that it stars Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson and was a made-for-HBO film. It appears to be a film about race, because the last thing I do know is their names are Black and White.

Monday, February 6, 2012

HOT: Punchline

This is one Tom Hanks film that I know I had never seen before. Not even a little bit. For some reason this is a film that I had never come across on a cable channel or anything.

Punchline stars Sally Field as Lilah Krytsick, a stay-at-home mother who has a taste in her mouth to become a stand up comedian.

She heads out a few nights to a comedy club where she encounters Steven Gold (Hanks), who is the top comedian at the club - but also has a few skeletons in his closet. Gold is supposed to be in medical school, at least that is what his father believes.

Gold believes he can make it big as a comedian, and leaves med school in his rear view mirror.

Only issue is, despite Gold's talent, every chance he has at making it big he chokes for some reason.

Krytsick, however, is struggling to find her niche as a comedian - and she tries to befriend Gold and learn from him. Though at first he wanted nothing to do with her he eventually becomes friends with Krytsick and helps her hone her jokes - and it works.

Krytsick is also feeling the pressure, but not in making it big, she is getting flack from her family most notably her husband, John (John Goodman). He doesn't understand why she needs to head out and leave her family. He believes her place is in the home and should be helping him entertain his clients.

I can sort of see how this isn't on television a lot for me to see, but it was a decent watch.

It was sort of nice to see the backstage happenings of comedians, and how far they need to go just to get a laugh.

Also, a few now-known actors/comedians were co-stars in the films, such as Damon Wayans and Taylor Negron.

Great film? No. But overall a decent film.


Friday, February 3, 2012

12/50x2: Sherlock Holmes

I have to admit that my knowledge of Sherlock Holmes only truly comes from heresy and the Disney film The Great Mouse Detective (even though that is technically not Holmes).

So, my vision for Holmes was not truly what Robert Downey, Jr.'s portrayal in Sherlock Holmes. 

So, Holmes and his partner Watson (Jude Law) are on the hunt for a murderer, Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). They capture Blackwood before he kills a woman during what appears to be a ritualistic killing.

Months later, Watson is on the verge of taking off from Baker Street and getting married. Holmes is also visited by Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), a thief from Holmes' past. She asks him to find a missing man named Luke Reardon.

Around the same time, Blackwood's tomb explodes from the inside. A gravedigger claims that he has seen Blackwood himself, and when Holmes and Watson check the coffin, Adler's missing man, Reardon is in his place.

I'm obviously doing this review a bit too late, because I actually had to get a jolt to remember what the premise of the film was all about. I don't know if that is a good thing or not.

I do remember somewhat enjoying the film. I also remember that for the entire film I thought Blackwood was Andy Garcia - imagine my surprise.

The main reason I added this to my list is because its sequel came out in December and I figured I should see the first before the next one is on DVD.

That being said, I do hope the sequel is a little bit better then the first. I enjoyed the actors, but the story must not have been that great - especially if I had trouble remembering the plot just a few months later.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

HOT: Dragnet

It's funny, I always thought this film was a straight-on film about the television series. Having never actually watched the series, but seen clips, I guess that could be a common mistake. Apparently this is more of an homage (or sequel) to the television series.

Sgt. Joe Friday (Dan Aykroyd) is the nephew of Joe Friday from the original show. In Dragnet he is (again going off what I have seen/heard) much like his uncle. He does everything straight by the book. So, of course, he gets partnered with Pep Streebek (Tom Hanks), a crazy off-the-cuff detective. And it takes awhile for their two different beliefs to mesh.

What brings them together is a case against P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness And Normalcy). When tracking them, they are lead to a virgin sacrifice. That virgin is Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul), who Friday becomes sweet on.

After a rescue of Swail, she helps identify the leader of the P.A.G.A.N. army. And the rest of the film is Friday and Streebek not only trying to get the help of their fellow detectives, but taking down the P.A.G.A.N.'s and their leaders.

Again, like The Money Pit, I don't think I have ever watched this film in its entirety in one sitting.

With all of the adaptations of films from television series nowadays, I guess this would have been one of the originals.

If it is an homage to the original series, I guess it worked. Because from what I have seen it is a lot like the series in that way. But, that also means I may not be a complete fan of the series.

This was good for a watch, and possibly if I catch it on television at some point and nothing is on I will watch it - but it was not that great of a film.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

11/50x2: The Informant!

Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon) is up-and-comer at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a company involved with an additive in livestock products called lysine.

Whitacre, who apparently suffers from a bipolar disorder, realizes that the company is fixing the price of lysine for their own benefit.

In order to bring down the company, including his boss Mick Andreas (Tom Papa) and to save his own ass, Whitacre agrees to work with FBI agents Brian Shepard (Scott Bakula) and Robert Herndon (Joel McHal) to become The Informant!

Over the years, Whitacre records hundreds of hours of video and audio to help bring down the company. But, he begins to crack and his stories begin to fall apart.

I honestly was not a huge fan of the movie. To have such great comedic actors in Papa, McHale and to a lesser extent Damon in one place and the movie was just not that funny. If you were going for a drama with a bit of comedy, then I don't think you need to hire comedic actors in those roles.

The only bright spot was Damon. He really shined in the role of an odd company man, with bipolar disorder, who is constantly freaking out - and excited to be working with the FBI.

Anyway, it was okay for one watch, but I highly doubt I will watch it again.