Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quick Shots 24 Part II

Title: Rock of Ages.

Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Bryan Cranston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige.

Brief Synopsis: Sherrie (Hough) a girl from a small town heads to Hollywood to become a star and immediately gets robbed. But, she meets Drew (Boneta), an aspiring musician who works as a bartender at The Bourbon Room - and gets the owner, Dennis Dupree (Baldwin) to give her a job as a barback. Meanwhile, The Bourbon Room is in trouble in more ways than one - the wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore (Cranston), Patricia (Zeta-Jones) is trying to shut them down because she is trying to rid LA of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. But, she may not have to worry as the bar is also struggling with money - but hopes a concert by Stacee Jaxx (Cruise), who got his start at The Bourbon Room, would get them back on the right track.

Opinion: A lot of people hated this - my wife being among them. But, honestly, I really enjoyed it. I really liked most, if not all, of the music that they performed - and all of the actors did a pretty darn good job at performing. As a fan of Glee I saw this as a pretty long version of that - tons of great music and actually a few storylines playing out along the way.


Title: Green Hornet.

Starring: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, David Harbour, Edward James Olmos.

Brief Synopsis: Britt Reid (Rogen) is a spoiled rich kid, who pretty much had everything handed to him. He partied all the time and didn't have to work a day in his life as his father James (Wilkinson) was the owner of the newspaper The Daily Sentinel. After his father's death, Reid awakes and realizes everyone who had waited on him hand-and-foot was now gone. But, he brings back the guy who made his morning coffee, Kato (Chou), and befriends him. After a night of partying the two decide to 'make a difference' and become superheroes, with the help of temp, Lenore Case (Diaz) the two makeup the alter ego The Green Hornet, but soon get in the way of a drug kingpin, Chudnofsky (Waltz).

Opinion: This could have been worse, but it could have also been a lot better. Not to fault Rogen, who played the spoiled rich kid pretty well, but I just don't see him as a superhero. Though I am not too familiar with The Green Hornet, the absolute best thing in this movie was Kato - he was funny and was pretty much the real superhero (which I am guessing may be what actually happens in the comic). But as far as Green superheroes, I will take Lantern and Arrow over Hornet.


Title: Next Day Air.

Starring: Donald Faison, Mike Epps, Wood Harris, Omari Hardwick, Darius McCrary, Cisco Reyes, Yasmin Deliz, Mos Def.

Brief Synopsis: Leo (Faison), works for Next Day Air - a package delivery company. He is a pretty big slacker that enjoys smoking weed, and one day that catches up to him. On a delivery meant for Jesus (Reyes) in apartment 302, he drops it off to apartment 303 where Guch (Harris) and Brody (Epps) live. Not a big deal, except the package held uncut cocaine meant to be dispersed on the streets by Jesus. Guch and Brody, though, get in touch with Brody's cousin Shavoo (Hardwick), who happens to be a drug dealer, to try and sell the cocaine. Jesus, meanwhile, is in trouble with his supplier and believes Leo stole the package for himself.

Opinion: The only reason I got this movie was because of Faison. My love for Scrubs has been shown on this blog site many, many times. So, I thought I would at least give it a try. The movie was ... decent. Nothing to write home about, but it was ok. Kind of cool to see McCrary in a film - best known from Family Matters.


Title: Wild Target.

Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Eileen Atkins, Martin Freeman.

Brief Synopsis: Victory Maynard (Nighy) is an assassin, and he is good at his job. It was handed down to him by his father and his mother is always on his case to be better. But, Maynard feels he may be missing out on a relationship. Ferguson (Everett) is swindled by a thief, Rose (Blunt), in an art deal and hires Maynard to kill her. But, Rose catches Maynard's eye and soon he and Tony (Grint), a street kid in the wrong place at the wrong time, look to protect her from Ferguson and his back-up assassin Hector Dixon (Freeman).

Opinion: Wow, I absolutely loved this movie. I can take or leave English humor, but here it was at its best. I think I got this movie because of Blunt and Grint - and they were both fantastic. Also cool to see Bilbo Baggins as an assassin. I read somewhere that Grint may be the character from Harry Potter that can't branch out - but after seeing this, he has the chops to certainly continue doing well - perhaps not Emma Watson style, but certainly a decent career. 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday's With Movies 6/25/13

The Call: The promotion for this movie was absolutely horrible. I think I may have heard that it was coming out the week that it was and then I never heard about it again until a few weeks ago when it was coming out on DVD. It was like they wanted it to fail. Or, they knew it wasn't very good - which by the looks of things might be correct. Doubt I will check it out.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: Looks incredibly stupid. So, of course I am in. It looks like Jim Carrey may be rebranding himself a little bit - getting back into some comedies where he is not exactly the headliner - which in the long run may help him out. And, because I like him in a lot of his films, I do hope that pans out.

Upside Down: I know I keep going to this well, but this looks like yet another way to tell the Romeo and Juliet story. Two people fall in love - this time though they are from twin worlds that pull in opposite directions, and are now 10 years from a forced separation. The star crossed lovers of course will continue to try and see each other. I am all for a rebranding if it works - and I will give this one a try.

Phantom: Ed Harris vs. David Duchovny with the fate of the word at stake. I would have to side with Harris on this one, and he appears to be on our side. Don't think I will rush to check this one out.

Into the White: British and German soldiers are stranded in the wilderness during World War II. And, to survive they must rely on each other and put apart their differences. Normally, not something I would be very interested in, but after watching Wild Target I said I would hope Rupert Grint could have a decent career - and he stars as one of the British soldiers.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Quick Shots 24 Part I

Title: Argo.

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Rory Cochrane, Kerry Bishe, Kyle Chandler, Victor Garber, Scoot McNairy, Christopher Denham.

Brief Synopsis: During the Iranian revolution, the American embassy in Iran was overtaken and those present were taken hostage. Six, however, got away and took 'sanctuary' in the residence of the Canadian Ambassador. Without wanting to start something in Iran, the CIA and Canada set up a joint operative to get the six out, led by Tony Mendez (Affleck), whose idea to put on a fake movie - with the help of Hollywood types John Chambers (Goodman) and Lester Siegel (Arkin). A crazy idea, that needed to look real.

Opinion: This film was nominated for an Oscar for a reason, and Affleck really continues to impress ever since Gigli and his breakup with Jennifer Lopez. I love these type of Based on a True Story films, and this one is no different. All of the characters were very well done, and I honestly didn't even recognize Rory Cochrane, great transformation. Obviously dramatized a bit, but it still had you on the edge of your seat as you hope Mendez and his fake movie idea works.


Title: Django Unchained.

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Don Johnson.

Brief Synopsis: Dr. King Schultz (Waltz) is a bounty hunter who comes across a line of slaves. He frees one in particular named Django (Foxx), who he befriends and agrees to help find his wife, Broomhilda (Washington). Django and Schultz work together bringing in bounties and making money before finally tracking down Broomhilda on a plantation run by Calvin Candie (DiCaprio). Hoping to outsmart Candie, the two try to purchase Broomhilda without him technically knowing that is who they come for.

Opinion: I would probably rank this right around No. 3 as my all-time favorite Quentin Tarantino films. Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction still have to go ahead of it - but that is still great company. As much as I loved Waltz in this film, DiCaprio certainly stole the show for me. I feel he deserved the nod in the Supporting Actor category. Tarantino may go over the top on most of his movies, but they certainly prove to be entertaining. And, I absolutely despised Jackson's character in this film - which means he just did a great job.


Title: End of Watch.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Natalie Martinez, Anna Kendrick, David Harbour, Frank Grillo, America Ferrera.

Brief Synopsis: Brian (Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Pena) are partners on the South Central LA police force. A bit off the book they sometimes put themselves in more danger than they need to, whether making busts without back up or saving people in a fire - they took chances, but they were good cops. But, after busting a drug and human trafficking house, a hit is ordered on them by the drug cartels.

Opinion: Pretty interesting take, and occasionally shot in the Southland-esque way of shaky came as Brian was filming for his vlog. I would have to say a pretty life-like look of a cop on the beat in dangerous neighborhoods. And, as the two felt they were invincible, it proved to be incorrect.


Title: The Last Stand.

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega, Jaime Alexander, Luiz Guzman, Zach Gilford, Genesis Rodriguez, Johnny Knoxville, Peter Stormare.

Brief Synopsis: A small-town sheriff and former LAPD officer, Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) is looking for a nice, relaxing day off - until the FBI tries to transport Gabriel Cortez (Noriega) and he is able to escape. Now, he is armed with an extremely fast car and is trying to cross into Mexico through Owens' jurisdiction, and he and his crew may be all that can stop him.

Opinion: Excluding his small role in the original Expendables this was Schwarzenegger's first large role since he became governor of California. I think the film was unnecessarily panned, I got exactly what I wanted out of this. It had great action, some humor and those crazy one-liners Schwarzenegger is so well known for. I thought it was a pretty good first outing since exiting as governor.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday's With Movies: 6/18/13

Jack the Giant Slayer: The film seemed a little out of place in all of these epic-style films that have come out. Looks like they went more the children-film way than say a Lord of the Rings. Critics were not kind and the film also came right around breaking even at the box office. Though, I would never even think of checking this out in the theater - but I may give it a try on DVD.

21 & Over: One of the lone bright spots of the remake of Footloose was the guy that played Willard - Miles Tenner. Well, he seems to get an even bigger role here and I have been looking forward to checking this out. I am sure its not as good as I am hoping, but still gonna check it out.

The Last Exorcism Part II: How the hell is there a second film after something that was called The LAST Exorcism?

Movie 43: Terrible reviews.I mean like colossally bad. Still will look at it.

Stoker: OK, from what I can tell - a girl's father dies and her never-knew-existed uncle comes to live with her and her disturbed mother. Though he appears to be more than he seems, and it intrigues his niece. Mia Wasikowska is a great up-and-coming actress, really enjoyed her in The Kids Are All Right and Alice in Wonderland. Not sure if this is a movie I will enjoy - might be something I check out later on.

Late Quartet: A string quartet - that appears to be going through all of the same issues that a rock and roll band go through. Don't think it's for me though.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday's With Movies: 6/11/13

Oz: The Great and Powerful: Saw this in the theater. Wizard of Oz is my wife's all-time favorite movie, so of course we were there as soon as we could. I really enjoyed it, but looking forward to giving it a second watch.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters: Wow, low critics grades for this one. But, I don't follow those. This looked pretty darn cool to me. Talk about taking a children's story and going totally adult with it. I will definitely be checking it out.

Snitch: Out of all The Rock movies that came out this year, this has to be the one I least cared about. But, that doesn't mean I won't at least give it a shot. So, at some point I will watch it.

Knife Fight: Never heard of it, but it has Rob Lowe as a politician - who struggles with staying slimy as some of the work he has done comes to haunt him. Probably won't be looking into this.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Theater Review: Star Trek Into Darkness


If anyone out there actually follows this blog, you probably have noticed that the first Star Trek film that J.J. Abrams came out with in 2009 was probably my favorite film in many years.

There isn't many films that as soon as I walk out of the theater I think to myself 'when can I see that again?' But, the 2009 version of Star Trek had that effect on me. I absolutely loved it. And, I probably watch it more often than I should on DVD.

Anyway, I had been longing for the sequel (Star Trek Into Darkness) of that film - and the many more that I hope to come in the future. And, I made sure to run out and see it on opening weekend - pretty much opening night. But, I waited on my review, because I had to see it again before sitting down to write my thoughts.

As in the original incarnation of these films, the main characters of the film were always Spock, McCoy and Kirk - with the other characters, while not considered minor, were still secondary characters. And, that continues here.

In the first film the characters are introduced to each other and thrust into action together without truly knowing each other that well. In this film, they have gotten to know each other a little more, but are still learning about each other.

The relationship of McCoy (Karl Urban) and Kirk (Chris Pine) was strong, in an out-insult one another-type ever since they became friends at the academy. But, the relationship that seems to have grown the most is that of Kirk and Spock (Zachary Quinto). Despite still not grasping what the other is thinking, the two have a mutual respect for each other - and because of their growing friendship the jokes are getting better as well.

The difference between the old Star Trek and Star Wars was Star Trek was more about dialogue and relationships, while Star Wars brought the battles and excitement.

Here, we get both - and that is why I am absolutely loving this incarnation of the films.

Now, the movie itself.

After breaking the rules - again - and getting turned in by Spock, by accident, Kirk has lost the Enterprise to Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood). But, because Pike sees something special in him, he persuades Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller) into allowing Kirk to be his first officer.

Meanwhile, a starfleet officer named John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) has gone rogue and set off a bomb in London. All of the fleet's captains and first officers gather to decide what to do when Kirk realizes that Harrison just might be planning a separate attack - when in fact he is, on those gathered.

In the attack, many officers are killed, including Pike. Kirk requests to Marcus that he and the crew of the Enterprise track down Harrison, who has gone into hiding on the Klingon moon of Kronos. Marcus agrees, but only if Kirk takes the 72 long-range torpedoes with them and uses them to kill Harrison without starting a war with the Klingons.

Like in Iron Man 3, the true identity of the villain is hidden. Harrison turns out to be a genetically engineered superhuman named Khan, who is over 300 years old. And, for a little while, the audience is unsure who the villain of the film actually is. For those that have watched the original films, Khan is of course a terrifying villain. But here, reality is blurred.

As the Enterprise sits unable to move in space due to a core overload - caused by tampering - Alexander Marcus and his huge starship show up to take Khan from Kirk.

McCoy and Carol Marcus (Alice Eve), who turns out to be Marcus' daughter, travel to a nearby planet to open one of the torpedoes - only to find a human inside the torpedo. Alexander Marcus had awoken Khan years ago, but left all 72 of his former crew asleep, and all 72 were hidden in the torpedoes.

Khan and Kirk join forces to take down Marcus' ship, that is threatening to destroy the Enterprise and kill everyone on board. But, Scotty (Simon Pegg) who is on board of Marcus' ship, has given them a small window to save their ship.

It is here, and only for a little while, that we start thinking perhaps the villain of the film is Marcus, not Khan. But, Kirk is not turned at all - and as it turns out it is Marcus and Khan who turn out to be the villains.

Do I consider myself a Trekkie? I don't think I was. As I said, Star Wars was always more fun to watch because of the battle scenes and lightsaber battles. But, Star Trek always had the better writing, the better dialogue, the better interactions between the characters.

What we have here, is a mixture of both. And, I can now consider myself a Trekkie. And, I am even more excited for the next installment of Star Wars with Abrams at the helm.

What he has done here is amazing. He took something that was so special to so many people and rebooted it. And, came out smelling like a rose. He still has the dialogue, the relationships and the humor from the original - and also tosses in some homage to the films as well (Khan, tribbles). But, the exciting battles are what puts it over the top.

The crew continues to shine. They did it right on the casting. They all get a little more to do this time around than in the first, Pegg probably getting the most action after Kirk and Spock.

Cumberbatch is amazing as Harrison, and Khan of course. It was the worst kept, best kept secret. Abrams released his character as John Harrison and never once mentioned the name Khan, despite the blogosphere jumping to the conclusion that it would have to be Khan. But, still not a peep - and I went in not really knowing if it was him or not - until the reveal. Which was outstanding.

With the arrival of Nero in the first film, the voyage of the starship Enterprise is now skewed and things that happened to the original Kirk, Spock and crew are changed forever. So, even with the arrival of a familiar foe, many things have changed - but some things continue to be mirrored in some sort of way.

And, the good thing is, the Enterprise hasn't even started its five-year journey yet. The embark on that journey at the conclusion of the film. So, two films down and we are just now starting the actual journey of the Enterprise - I hope we can see this journey in many films to come.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday's With Movies: 6/4/13

Identity Thief: I like Jason Bateman, and I think I am learning that I like Melissa McCarthy in small doses. I think since she has been tossed into everything ever since she broke out in Bridesmaids. Not sure how this one will be, but I will be giving it a try.

A Good Day to Die Hard: Heard bad things, got bad reviews. But, come on. It's Die Hard. Things will blow up and Bruce Willis will say some sort of yipikaya phrase. Definitely checking it out.

Warm Bodies: Not usually my cup of tea, but the trailer really got me interested. So, I will give this one a try at some point.

Escape from Planet Earth: This one came and went in the theater pretty quick, so I am not sure if it is any good or not. But, this looks like something my son would like to watch - so we will check it out.

Mental: This stars Liev Schreiber and Toni Collette. Not really sure on anything else, Collette I think is a some sort of nanny. This is probably the only one this week I am not checking out.