Thursday, May 31, 2007

Death of a President (Drama 2006)

Wow, for a fictional documentary this was damn convincing flick. If I didn't know any better, I woulda thought that this was real and I was watching the History Channel or something.

This movie was actually very good because it realistically showed what would probably happen in the aftermath of an assassination. When you couple that with the fact that politics and government love to prey on the general ignorance of the public, what you get is overwhelming pressure for blame, guilt, retaliation, and adaptation. I'm not saying that everything that happened in this film would happen in real life, but it isn't too far fetched to imagine.

The making of this film is probably the most impressive. I don't know how they got all the video footage or the speeches, but yeah, I must reiterate again how "real" this movie seemed. Not too shabby for an indi.
Rating - A

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Action Adventure 2007)

How in the Hell do you mess up a pirate movie! It's such an easy equation to stick to: have a simple, direct plot, have enjoyable characters that make you laugh, and have a buttload of special effects mixed in with music. This is what made Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl kick so much ass; I don't see why they felt the need to change stuff around.

I think I'm blaming this one on the writers just because the special effects were good and the director seemed to be the same guy. The story did not flow well at all. In the middle of the film you had almost every single major character in cahoots with someone they weren't supposed to be messin' with. To make matters worse, the main characters got split up, so you had random people on different boats and locales, escaping from one and into another, making it very difficult to keep track of things. This is a Disney movie for Gods sakes, try to simplify a bit. I, as an audience member, became so bamboozled at all of this nonsense that I couldn't help but glance at my watch close to 8 times (that's pretty bad). This film was the longest out of the trilogy and by Jove, did it drag it's slow, not-funny ass across that finish line.

Prior to the last battle, Keira Knightley sealed the deal for this movie. She started giving this inspirational speech to the pirates about freedom, much like Mel Gibson would in Braveheart, Bill Pullman would in Independence Day, or Gerard Butler would in 300. But what do all these films have that this one does not? Legitimacy. Pirates are usually bad, not good, remember that kids. When you apply that logic to this speech, it'll make your head cock to the side. I actually scoffed in the theater.

The only admirable trait that this film had were crazy special effects. The end of the ship battle was especially memorable, very Matrix-esque. The music wasn't good because it was the same old melody, just louder, as a fruitless attempt to hide the craptacular story underneath it.

The only reason this movie is making so much money is because it's, hopefully, the last film in this series. It's popularity, by no means, should be a litmus test for it's entertainment value.
Rating - D

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth (Fantasy Drama 2006)

The trailer for this one totally tricked me into thinking that it was going to be a unique, artsy film. But unfortunately, all of the scenes that you see in the trailer are the only ones that exist. Sad. The rest of the movie played out to be any other mediocre film. Without the backing of an interesting plot or creative characters, this movie fell flat on its face.

The story follows around this girl, as she and her mother are taken to a remote mountainous area of Spain during a fascist era of its government. The main antagonist is the girl's father (through marriage), a captain in the military and one sadistic fuck. One of the early scenes in this film was probably one of the most violent I've ever seen in my life; very peculiar because the feel to it was initially very PG-13.

I can't think of a lot of descriptions for this movie because it isn't worth my time. It was very blah and didn't seem to be well written at all. I guess the artsy scenes might've been this chick's imagination and how she used it to rationalize the world around her, but it was not developed enough. The plot lacked substance and the end was very anticlimactic. I'm blaming writer/director, Guillermo del Toro, for its failure. If the story was better written, it coulda been something above average, but I don't know if that's possible because he also wrote Hellboy. I'll say no more and leave it at that.
Rating - D

Friday, May 25, 2007

Letters from Iwo Jima (War Drama 2006)

Since Clint Eastwood directed both this film and Flag of Our Fathers, it's hard not to directly compare the two because they are much like two sides of a coin. Unfortunately, this side ended up in worse condition than the other.

The story looks at the Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese army. Everything was subtitled, so I know there is a certain percent of viewers who will bash it just because of that fact. I don't mind at all since I watch a ton of movies, but yeah, just needed to throw that out there.

The story was ok, but the characters were a little lame. I don't know what they were trying for, but nobody was really interesting. Ken Watanabe played General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, who was pretty much the main character. He did his regular "good acting", much like Denzel would, but his character was too perfect. I wonder if this guy was really that noble in real life. Shido Nakamura, who is in a ton of foreign flicks I've seen, played a run of the mill, headstrong officer. Those two peeps were the only named actors I recognized.

Another major character was some guy whom I've never seen. I just didn't like his character, which is probably one reason why I was so annoyed. This guy was a baker who got drafted into the Army near the end of the war. He was leaving behind a wife and an unborn baby girl. I think Clint Eastwood was trying to show how he had a family to worry about and was not concerned with the whole nationalistic, "Die for the Emperor" mentality. Historically, Japan was totally like that during WWII though; peeps would go on suicide missions all the time instead of surrendering. That's good and all, but it made this character seem like such a spineless pussy. At least in Flag of our Fathers, it was shown, in detail, why the 3 main characters felt the way they did. This film attempted to get some character development going, but it just didn't come through all too well.

The movie was not horrible; it just did nothing for me. I didn't feel sorry for anyone, I didn't care when someone died, and I pretty much remained unstimulated throughout the whole film. Not all will agree, but some definitely will.
Rating - B

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shrek the Third (Animation 2007)

I'm assuming by now that everyone has seen the first and second Shrek movies, so everyone is probably already familiar with all of the characters and the general feel of the setting. The familiarity of it all seems to be both a blessing and a curse becasue there is not really anything "new" that can be done with it; but at the same time, there is no need to waste any minutes on introductions.

If I were to make a short statement for this film, I would say that it very closely resembles Shrek 2. You have your core characters, a few new characters are added, and a plot is put in so that the peeps have something to do. The humor is ok; I think I laughed around 10 times, so at least it left an impression of being funny, but after walking away from the theatre I couldn't help but think that it was not all that. I didn't really like the story and I especially didn't like the whole "morale" portion of the plot. The analogy to onions in the original Shrek was good, but they shoulda just stopped with that. This movie had a very deep "after school special" feel to it, which made me wonder why I was even watching it. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to remember that I watch everything, even if it's for a younger demographic.

Although I could grade this film more critically, I won't, just becasue while watching it, I was indeed entertained. I'll probably opt out if offered to be shown it again, but for a one time use, it wasn't all that bad.
Rating - B

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Catch and Release (Romance 2006)

Leave it to a girl to write and direct a ludicrous story where the main character "finds herself" in a period of self-discovery and mourning. If a guy would've written it, logic woulda played a greater part in the decision-making aspects of her choices, but since writer/director Susannah Grant thinks her shit don't stink, lets have emotion dictate everything.

This movie blew on so many levels that I was caught wondering, on numerous occasions, why I was even wasting my time on it. The reason probably had to do with my own curiosity and wanting to see if the end was recoverable. I'll save you the trouble and just say that it wasn't.

The story started out ok; a guy who was supposed to marry a girl accidentally died during his bachelor party and now the girl has to deal with the cleanup of both of their lives. During this time, she discovers that the guy had some skeletons in his closet that eventually leads to more drama down the road. The girl moves in with the dead dude's friends and opens her legs to one of them. The pisser is that this same dude totally got some from another girl at the beginning of the film; why would Ms. Grant write that the same guy gets with some random girl and the main character?! That's unbelievable and stupid. She obviously has no idea what an STD is.

The film also had details that I normally dislike in a movie: the setting was in a "nature" oriented town in Colorado, the house everyone lived in was very nature-like and reminded me of an episode of Northern Exposure, the music that played throughout the film had a very hippy, unemployed feel to it, and the acting was just so bad, especially for Jennifer Garner. I've decided that she is a shitty actor, just like Jessica Biel. The whole movie was awful and didn't flow at all. Plot injections were very artificial and nothing seemed to have been storyboarded beforehand. Maybe the writer should have spent more time writing about an interesting plot instead of thinking about trees, rivers, and giving it up to sleazy guys. I bet she was basing this film on some sob story of "one that got away"; $20 bucks says that he was from some wet, muddy place that had a lot of acoustic guitar-playing losers like Portland, OR.
Rating - D

Monday, May 14, 2007

Spider-Man 3 (Action 2007)

It actually pains me to write this. How could someone take one of the greatest comic book heroes of all time and write up a half-assed script and think they could get away with it? Sam Raimi, that's who. What a fucking prick. This film had so much money backing it along with a bottomless pit of material; one would think that it was a shoe-in for success, but as it turns out, evidently not.

The whole intro started out strong with some character building and awesome CG. Sandman and the Vemon parasite's movements were hella tight. I don't even know how they pulled it off becasue the programming behind it would have taken some really smart programmers to write out the engine. Good work on the technological innovation guys. Sadly, though, this ends the praise that this film will receive from my end becasue the rest was just utter shit.

First off, since when did Spider-Man and Harry Osborn have super-healing powers? They were kicking the living shit out of each other, while going through walls and stuff and neither one had any real injuries. Bullshit. No spider bite or chemical serum can pull off something that only Wolverine can do. Secondly, since when did Harry's butler become a forensics expert in stab wounds? If you see the movie you'll know what I'm talking about. Also in this very same scene, how did Harry heal up a burn wound in a matter of weeks? And finally, what the fuck was up with the American flag at the end, along with that tacky British news reporter?

But the golden ass award goes go to the whole "Pimp Peter Parker" scene. That shit, along with the Jazz club scene, was just like a very long Axe Body Spray commercial, except that it was totally out of place and had some horrific music to go along with it. I've never seen a movie plummet that fast on my ranking scale; it literally fell off a cliff.

The last scene was "nice", but the damage had already been irrevocably done. They had killed off two of the main characters and let the last villain "float away" with the wind...whatever. I don't think anyone in the theater cared at that point. I'm still shaking my head in disappointed amazement.
Rating - D

Friday, May 11, 2007

Trust the Man (Drama 2005)

Did you know this movie had adultery in it? Well it does just to let everyone know. I guess that was a large part of the plot so I can't really knock it down too low just for that (Although I will).

This film is about relationships or the fact that dysfunctional ones exist all over the place. The two guys, Duchovny and some nobody named Billy Crudup, played pretty boring, cliche roles as dumb-ass guys who don't know or appreciate what they have in front of them. This story has been told before though, too many times it seems, because while watching it I kept on getting this nagging feeling like I've totally seen this before, although I haven't because I woulda remembered hot Maggie Gyllenhaal prancing around in all her great outfits.

Nothing was exceptionally bad about it, but there was nothing really good either. The kids in the movie were ugly and annoying, which makes me really not want kids, especially some punk male child. It will take less than 3 weeks for me to have totally forgotten this movie even exists; that's how much substance it lacked.
Rating - C

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Deja Vu (Action 2006)

At first I wasn't really interested in seeing this film just becasue the trailers were more blah than usual, but upon a recommendation from Mr. Kerry, I rented it and was not disappointed at all.

This was a "run of the mill" action flick with a little twist pertaining to plot. Denzel performed his expected solid acting, while Paula Patton was just hot. Too bad she didn't have more of an active role, but I'm sure she'll be in more films in the future.

There is really nothing more to say other than it's a fairly descent action flick. It'll never be worth purchasing, but it's worth watching if you're on a plane or feeling lazy on some random Saturday.
Rating - B

The Queen (Drama 2006)

Going into this film, I was expecting some mind-blowing acting on the part of Helen Mirren but boy did that not happen. If you consider good acting, merely sitting there looking stoic, then perhaps she did deserve to win an award, but I didn't see anything worthy of praise.

It kinda sucks how I never paid any attention to current events while in HS and college, because then I would have maybe had a preexisting opinion on this film's plot which were based on actual observations. The story was about how the monarchy dealt with the death of Princess Diana and how they were essentially villainized because the queen felt that Princess D was not officially part of the royal family and did not deserve a state funeral and all the attention. The debate was fairly stupid: tradition vs. public opinion.

I suppose you "got into the mind" of the queen, but there was not much going on there besides the obvious dilemma. I don't see what all the hype was all about. This was a very average flick, if not a little slow. The only interesting part was when a few scenes showed Corgis running around.
Rating - C

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I Called It!

I don't know how many of you guys watch the news, but tonight's NBC Nightly News was all about living in old shipping crates. Yup, the same idea I've been hawking about for years is finally getting taken seriously by peeps who want cheap and affordable housing. Who wouldn't want to live in an old shipping crate? Throw down some carpet, insulate the walls, get electricity and plumbing going, bury it underground, put a few solar panels on the roof, install a central heating/cooling system on the surface, and then bam you got yourself a weatherproof batcave. Perhaps attach a secondary shipping crate to be an underground garage. Man I'm gettin' excited; what a wondrous idea!