Above: Hey buddy, why the long face?
I'm not gonna' cry...sniff. I'm not gonna' cry....
Everybody was telling me that I was going to cry my eyes out when I went to see "War Horse". And that was just from the previews .It has all the ingredients. War. Horses. Sep
But since I'm nearly 18,now,I have to be the strong one, so I manned up to see this beautiful story about a young lad named Albert ,who is raised by a troubled father who spends all of their money on a horse called Joey to work their farm.Despite the bond between Albert and Joey, the father sells Joey to the Military for service in World War I.
The rest of the story follows Joey, and the people he comes into contact and take care of him during the war. Albert, meanwhile, had promised Joey that he would never give up hope on finding him again and eventually joins the Military, hopefully leading to a very happy ending that I'm not going to give away.
First of all, just looking at the cinematography of "War Horse" is astonishing. Director, The Sir Steven Spielberg," Lord Of The Extra Terrestrials" (Someone has been very busy this week) shows amazing detail and scope in filming and telling this compelling story that is both intense and moving.
The cast is mostly unrecognizable but very authentic, showing you don't always need well-known actors in big budget films. But of course the star of "War Horse" is the War Horse himself, Joey,(played by Johnny Depp in his most daring performance ever-obviously I'm kidding, but wouldn't that have been cool?).I don't know the Horse's real name, but the Oscar for most Animalistic performance is a horse race between "War Horse" and that dolphin from "Dolphin Tale".
"War Horse" is episodic and a little overdramatic at times, but not enough to keep it from James Eagan's Top Ten List Of 2011.4 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Realistic War Violence and Tear-Jerking Moments If You Are Less Sensitive Then I Am. Now if you will excuse me, I've done enough reviewing for one year. It's 11:57 P.M. New Year's Eve and Ryan Seacrest's ball is about to drop.
Above: "I won't let anyone take my widdle Snowy Wookums!"
Man, Tintin is old!...
So old he comes straight out of a 1930's comic, a story that follows a young reporter and his dog, Snowy as they go on many dangerous, madcap adventures without parental guidance. Young people today aren't very familiar with Tintin, although he seems to be a hit with worldwide audiences. Well, how 'bout instead of American kids spending time watching obnoxious, disease-ridden Chipmunks, they should give "The Adventures of Tintin" a go.
In "The Secret of the Unicorn",Tintin(Jamie Bell) buys a model ship which carries something very valuable inside.Two suspicious men try to buy the ship from him. One warning Tintin of great danger, and the other a man named Sakharine (Daniel Craig),who has nefarious plans of his own.
Tintin, and his dog, "Snowy" are kidnapped and taken to a ship, but finds an ally in drunken schlep of a captain named "Haddock",(Played by Andy "Can We Give This Guy A !#!!$@ Oscar" Serkis).Haddock is a descendant of the original captain of the "Unicorn",and together they search to discover the secret to unlocking the key to the secret for the key, uh, I forgot where I was going with this. Just go see the movie.
The motion-capture animation is always impressive(yet somewhat creepy) to see, but "The Adventures of Tintin" is done the way it's supposed to be, like a very well detailed cartoon. The characters look very realistic, but not to where it's nightmare fuel for the little ones.
Since "The Sir Steven Speilberg, Lord of the Extra Terrestrials" is directing here, the cast is, of course, top notch, with Jamie Bell a very likeable Tintin, James Bond himself making a fine, old-fashion villain, and the hilarious British duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost chewing up the scenery as bumbling, twin Detectives.
As for the great Andy Serkis,I have made it my mission in life to get this man (and Gary Oldman!) an Oscar Nomination this year,so it's time to rally my loyal troops to contact the Academy with phone calls and very strong letters. Time is of the essence ,people. THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES.BUT THEY'LL NEVER TAKE AWAY OUR OSCAR NOMINATIONS!AND FREEDOM!
"The Adventures of Tintin" runs a bit too fast, with just a little too much happening to be flawless, but it's a good old-fashion, "Indiana Jones" style adventure that deserves an audience.3 1/2 Stars. Rated PG for Cartoon Alcoholism(The Captain Needs An Intervention) and A Rather Grisly, Bloody Shooting That Shocked The Kaka Scared Out Of Me.
above: You got them in sight? Take them out. *cocks gun*
Aw,look at those cute little chipmunks.Here little fella, I got some food for you.You want to eat out of my hand? Look at your furry little faces! Wait,you're talking? You,you're singing? LADY !$!!%@^@ GAGA?!?!
Even when I was growing up in the 1960's(Oh yeah.I'm 17),I never got the appeal of watching cartoon rodents screetching the latest hit from Elvis,or Maddona or Eminem(Check out the Chipmunks un-edited version of "Lose Yourself".It's straight trippin',dawg.)
Now,after the first two awful "Alvin and the Chipmunks" grossed around $400 Million Dollars(where as smart,mature and clever family films like "The Muppets","Hugo" and "Arthur Christmas" may not even reach $100 million.Outrageous),they've dropped another load of chipmunk pellets on us with "Alvin and the Chipmunks:Chipwrecked".
This time,Dave(Jason Lee) and the three vermin(and verminettes?) take us all on a cruise to Hell,causing havoc,mahem,chaos,destruction and homicide(we're the victims).Along the way,they end up gliding all the way to a deserted island,where they have no other means of survival,so they have to eat each other(well,that's how I saw it in my mind).
So Dave has to save them for tax purposes,and brings along Ian(David Cross in a duck suit.Oh,his dignity!),the chipmunks meet some crazy lady,there's something about a treasure,one of the chipmunks turns into a brave Frenchman(Ha! A brave Frenchman).Trust me,the whole film is a total disaster.
Look,folks.I've got better things to do than spend any time stating the obvious."Alvin and the Chipmunks:Chipwrecked" is bad.I would love to give this a whopping 0 Stars,but,full disclosure,I didn't wan't to miss "Sherlock Holmes" or the trailer for "The Dark Knight Rises"(P.S.It's gonna be awesome).So I left ten minutes early.
The last thing I saw before I left was a volcano erupting and Chipmunks scurrying away in fear.I figure they all die.The end.1 Star.Rated G for Good God It's Awful.
above: So THIS is what you do in your off time,huh?
Yeah.I'm sure THIS is what Sir Artur Conan Doyle had in mind.
Sherlock Holmes worshippers were not exactly happy with Director Guy Ritchie's 2009 version of the famous English detective,with the very American Robert Downey Jr. being an odd choice as the brilliant but eccentric Sherlock.Lots of loud noises and explosions and stuff,filmed like a Michael Bay blockbuster.
Yet,despite some obvious flaws,Ritchie's "Sherlock" was pretty enjoyable,due to the chemistry of Downey Jr. and his portly sidekick,"Watson"(played by the not so portly Jude Law),and an exciting but frenetic pace."Sherlock Holmes:A Game of Shadows" takes all the best parts and greatly improves on the "original".But it's still really,really loud.
In "Game of Shadows",Sherlock must face his greatest,mortal,evil,scary,diabolical,monsterous enemy in Professor Moriarty(Jared Harris),who is plotting the destruction of everything,everywhere by plotting the deaths of very,very important people.Holmes and Watson must find the evidence to trace the crimes back to the Professor before it's too late.
Like the last film,the plot is a bit messy(and did I mention,LOUD),but the direction is controlled and assured,with amazing action scenes that are impressively and originally elaborate.It's a smart action film really unlike any other.
But "Game of Shadows" wouldn't work as well without truly liking the characters and the actors playing them.Downey Jr. and Law are great together with enjoyable and believable chemistry.Harris makes an awesome and smart villian(I always like my villians smart),and Stephen Fry is hilarious as Sherlock's way less cool brother.
"Shadows" is worth the price of admission for the final 25 minutes alone,where Holmes and Moriarty begin their final confrontation with a suspenseful game of chess(As if chess was'nt suspenseful enough,right! Can I get an Amen!)
A film that could have gone way over the rails,"Game of Shadows" is so exciting and fun,it's easy to forget about the flaws and just enjoy the ride.3 1/2 Stars.Rated PG-13 for Suggestive Moments,Cheeky British Humor,and Cheeky British Violence.
above: "Hello,I am Borat.We make sexy time?"
Has there ever been a week in movie history where three films opened with so much critical acclaim?
Of course,we're talking Sandler,Beiber and the Chipmunks.
NO! We're talking "The Muppets","Arthur Christmas",and,now,"Hugo",brought to us by Martin Scorcese,the acclaimed director of other holiday classics,such as "The Departed","Taxi Driver","Goodfellas",and,who could forget that wonderful,heartwarming family favorite,"Raging Bull".
'"Hugo"(Asa Butterfield) is a young orphan,whose late father(Jude Law) had left him an "Automoton",a small,mechanical man who only works with a special key that is no where to be found.In Hugo's search for the key,he meets a toy shop owner (Sir Ben Kingsley) and his grandaughter (Chloe Grace Moretz),who may hold the key to the,uh,key for the Automoton.Meanwhile,Hugo has to avoid capture from a station inspector(Sacha Baron Cohen) at the train depot where Hugo is hiding out,living inside of a giant clock.
I've never seen a Scorcese film before "Hugo",and now I know why he is considered one of the greats.His style is unique and classy,catching your attention immediately and drawing you into this amazing world.The visuals are beautiful,possibly the best-looking 3-D movie this year.
Scorcese is known for drawing top-notch actors,and in "Hugo",they are all terrific,and the two young leads are able to carry the movie very convincingly.The film is a tribute to the classic movies of the silent era,vividly showing the roaring 1920's France and clips of it's films,and it even plays like a silent film in certain moments.
You will not see a more strikingly different film this year than "Hugo",which will be on many critic 2011 top-ten lists,and will certainly be on mine(Which is more awsomer than any other critics lists.Let's see you top this,Ebert) 4 Stars.Rated PG for Vulgar Language,Ruthless Mob Violence and,Uh,Oh Wait.Those Are the Other Scorcese Films.Naw,It's Fine For The Kids.
above: YOU WILL BOW TO US!
You have to understand something.I have had a rough month of November.After seeing "Jack and Jill" a few weeks ago,I thought I may never love again.It was a torture that only me,God and Adam Sandler can truly understand.
Yet,suddenly,the clouds have parted.Peace has been restored.And the movie theater smells of Heaven.And Roses.
Leave it to "The Muppets" to make a cynical "old" movie critic like myself feel like a kid again.The new "Muppets" stars Jason Segal as "Gary",who,has a Muppet brother,"Walter"(Momma' had an active social life).Along with Gary's girlfriend,Mary(the impossibly cute,sweet and adorable Amy Adams),they head to the run down "Muppet Theater",which is about to be torn down by an evil rich man named RichMan(Chris Cooper).So it's time to bring the "Muppets" back together,with Kermit(Kermit T. Frog),Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang to raise enough money to save the day.
It's amazing after 30 years how witty and fresh "The Muppets" still are.Every joke will bring,at the least,a smile to your face (Even Fozzie Bear's "Bad" ones).The writing is absolutely terrific,and the celebrity cameos are hilarious,with a script that does'nt lose any steam for the entire movie.
Kermit the Frog gives a ribbit-ting,toad-ally convincing,Oscar worthy performance.Miss Piggy is a little hammy,but really brings home the bacon.Gonzo's performance is out of this world,Fozzie is not over-bearing,and Animal is,well,an animal.
I hereby declare and demand you to see the most sensational,inspirational,celebrational,muppetational movie of the year.
4 Stars.Rated PG for Muppet Situations and Frog/Pig Romance.
above: " It's a letter from James Eagan.Is'nt he on the naughty list?".
Wait! I'm not ready for Christmas yet.I can't get into the spirit until I burn off all of these carbs from the turkey,pumpkin pie,and macaroni and cheese(Yes,the pilgrims shared their mac and cheese with the Native Americans.Read a history book.)
But after seeing "Arthur Christmas",suddenly I feel all jolly and Christmasy.and even a little Arthury.I'm ready for decking my halls ,jingling my bells,and donning my gay apparel.In the original sense.
Times have changed.Santa (Jim Broadbent) no longer uses the ol' sleigh and reindeer routine.With the help of his son,Steve(Hugh Laurie),they use a giant spaceship looking thingy and a legion of elf soldiers to deliver toys one city,instead of one house at a time.Overpopulation and all.I blame Obama(Everybody else does).
But after one present is left undelivered,Santa's younger and clumsier son,Arthur(James Mcavoy) teams up with his Grand Santa(Bill Nighy),and a female elf with a gift wrapping addiction(Ashley Jensen),to do it the old-fashion way and makes sure no child is left behind.
"Arthur Christmas" is made by Ardman Studios(The people behind "Wallace and Gromit" and "Chicken Run",two of my personal favorites).So you know the humor is going to be cheeky.But completely wonderful.It's such a unique story that celebrates Christmas with a joyful attitude that forces you to get into the holiday cheer.
The animation is unlike else you'll see,in a kooky but charming way that adds to the personality of the characters,who are loveable.I was expecting something cute to entertain the kids,but ended up loving everything about it.
What a great way to start the holiday movie season.It can't get any better,can it? 4 Stars.Rated PG for,well,I'm Not Really Sure Why It's Not Rated G.
Above: "I won't let anyone take my widdle Snowy Wookums!"
Man, Tintin is old!
So old he comes straight out of a 1930's comic,a story that follows a young reporter and his dog,Snowy as,they go on many dangerous,madcap adventures without parental guidance.Young people today aren't very familiar with Tintin,although he seems to be a hit with worldwide audiences.Well,how 'bout instead of American kids spending time watching obnoxious,disease-ridden Chipmunks,they should give "The Adventures of Tintin" a go.
In "The Secret of the Unicorn",Tintin(Jamie Bell) buys a model ship which carries something very valuable inside.Two suspicious men try to buy the ship from him:One warning Tintin of great danger,and the other,a man named Sakharine (Daniel Craig),who has nefarious plans of his own.
Tintin,and his dog,"Snowy" are kidnapped and taken to a ship,but finds an ally in drunken schlep of a captain named "Haddock",(Played by Andy "Can We Give This Guy A !#!!$@ Oscar" Serkis).Haddock is a decendant of the original captain of the "Unicorn",and together they search to discover the secret to unlocking the key to the secret for the key,uh,I forgot where I was going with this.Just go see the movie.
The motion-capture animation is always impressive(yet somewhat creepy) to see,but "The Adventures of Tintin" is done the way it's supposed to be,like a very well detailed cartoon.The characters look very realistic,but not to where it's nightmare fuel for the little ones.
Since The Sir Steven Speilberg,"Lord of the Extra Terrestrials" is directing here,the cast is,of course,top notch,with Jamie Bell a very likeable Tintin,James Bond himself making a fine,old-fashion villain,and the hilarious British duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost chewing up the scenery as bumbling,twin Detectives.
As for the great Andy Serkis,I have made it my mission in life to get this man(and Gary Oldman!) an Oscar Nomination this year,so it's time to rally my loyal troops to contact the Academy with phone calls and very strong letters.Time is of the essence ,people.THEY MAY TAKE OUR LIVES.BUT THEY'LL NEVER TAKE AWAY OUR OSCAR NOMINATIONS!AND FREEDOM!
"The Adventures of Tintin" runs a bit too fast,with just a little too much happening to be flawless,but it's a good old-fashion,"Indiana Jones" style adventure that deserves an audience.3 1/2 Stars.Rated PG for Cartoon Alcoholism(The Captain Needs An Intervention) and A Rather Grisly,Bloddy Shooting That Shocked The Kaka Scared Out Of Me.
Above:"Congratulations! It's a ...WHAT THE @!$!%%^ !"
Now,any comment or joke we are about to make is not really fair,seeing as how only one of us has actually seen either of the "Twilight" films.James here takes his responsibility as a film reviewer so seriously that he dared go where no man should ever go,bravely making it through all of the first and about half of the second,before escaping to the shower,where he frantically scrubbed himself pure until his testosterone returned to normal levels.Which he wants you to know is really,really high.
As our dozens and dozens of fans know,we did a "Mock" review of "Twilight:Eclipse" last year,not to make fun of it,per say,but to explain why we can't just walk into the theater to see a film about romantic Vampires and lusty Werewolves.Because we're dudes.Because other dudes will laugh at us.Heck,we would be pointing and laughing at us.
Look,the whole story is pretty easy for us to take a shot at.Bella,who is kinda' whiny and needy and,like, "Oh,I need two men(sort of) to protect me." Not exactly "Girl Power" material.And Edward the Bloodsucker is a Peeping Tom who would have had a restraining order put on him by now.As for poor,shirtless Jacob the overgrown Chihuahua,he's just lonely puppy who pines away for a girl who would rather be with a guy who sucks.A lot.
So in "Breaking Dawn",Edward marries Bella and impegnates her with the Spawn of Satan.We're not sure how someone who is "Undead" can make a baby.Ok,we know HOW.Heck,apparently he destroys the whole room in the process.Dang,Edward.You Nasty! Of course,the baby is a Vampire and is eating Bella from the inside.And is'nt child birth hard enough without the baby eating you?
Now,be honest.Did we really exaggerate any of this?
Please understand ladies,we would be happy to take any of you to see "Twilight",and we're sensitive enough to understand that you enjoy all the romance and passion and destiny.Girls love that crap.Just remember that any guy who walks out of the theater telling you how much they were moved by all of this,they're faking it.
Above:"I'm carrying Edward's baby,too!"
I wonder what the record for unneccesarry sequels in one year is?
Here's one almost no one was asking for."Happy Feet 2",which,unlike the fairly entertaining story of the original,is a complete mess.The Penguins of Antarctica are in trouble when a huge chunk of ice breaks off and comes crashing into their home.The only Penguins who are'nt trapped are "Mumbles"(Elijah Wood),and 3 little Penguin twerps,including his son,"Eric",who kinda' sounds like a girl.
They go to get help from other distractions,I mean characters,including a Puffin(Hank Azaria),a Walrus like blob,and a group of Penguin dwarfs(led by Robin Williams).There is also a subplot featuring a couple of "Krill"(Brad Pitt and Matt Damon),who add nothing to the story except to make it 30 minutes longer,and to question if the Krill are really just "Friends".
"Happy Feet 2" may have sounded like a good idea for a sequel,but there just is'nt enough story here to tell.They would have been better off with a 30 minute TV special,instead of 1 1/ 2 hours that,to be honest,gets pretty boring and gave me a headache.
The animation is pretty,and the cast is great,but it's just not all that funny,and has way too many underdeveloped charcters that add nothing to the story.Just lots of filler.
Now,i'm not a huge fan of the Oscar-Winning original,but "Happy Feet 2" is not as clever and is a lot messier,especially for anyone over the age of 6.And that's no small "Feet".2 Stars.Rated PG for Possible Penguin Peril and Plenty of Puffin Poop.
above: AHHHHHH ONE SANDLER IS TORTURE ENOUGH!
Remember when I said that "Puss in Boots" may have been a sign of good movies to come this season? I would like to make a public apology to my loyal readers,my family,The President,our Military,and even God himself.I would say I should be tortured for my sin,but,Good lord,was'nt seeing "Jack and Jill" enough!
I realize we're talking about an Adam Sandler film here,and he,at times,has set the bar very low.He's not exactly Al Pacino or anything.I mean,it's not like Pacino would be caught dead making a film his horrible.Oh no.Oh crap! Not you,Al.
Anyway,for anyone who has wanted to see Sandler in a dual role as a dude and his hideously ugly sister,well,I hate ya.The grotesque man-lady visits her/his brother for thanksgiving and "Hilarity" ensues.And by "Hilarity",I mean an assasination of comedy.A murder has been committed.And the victim is you,the audience.
So,guy Sandler makes commercials,and he wants Sir Al Pacino(Played by Sir Al "This is to pay off my mortgage" Pacino) to make a "Duncan Donuts" ad.Al,who is either blind or drunk,finds the Schnauzer mesmerising,so guy Sandler uses his hideously,ugly,grotesque,schnauzer of a sister to land "The Godfather".
The story sucks,the humor is childish,the writing is idiotic,the stereotypes,are offensive,and the cast should all be embarassed.Katie Holmes,who plays Sandler's wife,seems to be there just to be pretty(Love me!),and Johnny Depp shows up for about 40 seconds in a role he will not be putting on his resume.
My dad tells me that Al Pacino is a legendary actor.Somehow,I don't think he'll be be showing this when he gets his Lifetime Achievement Award.As he says at the end of he film,"Burn this! No on shall ever see this!" Could'nt agree more,Al.0 Stars("Zookeeper" has "Worst of the Year" competion).Rated PG for SUCKING!
above: Nobody neuters Puss in Boots!!!!!
Aw,not another "Shrek" movie! I mean,how many green ogre's can you milk after 3 sequels and...wait.My editor (8 year-old sister,Julia) is informing me that this isn't a sequel.It's a prequel,of sorts following the exploits of "Puss In Boots" everybody's favorite character from the last 3 "Shrek" films,in his own epic yarn(First of many cat jokes).
"Puss"(Antonio Banderas) follows the legendary "Gato" in his early days as a thief who meets up with his old buddy,a bad egg named "Humpty Dumpty"(Zach Gallif-Gallaf-you know,the guy from "The Hangover"),and a beautiful kitty cat(Salma Hayek).Dumpty hatches(Get it! Hatches!He's an egg!) a plan to steal some magic beans that will find the beanstalk that will find the golden goose.Puss wants to use the gold to help his mother and the village he had to leave behind,but Humpty is a little more hard-boiled and may have plans of his own.
From the previews,It was pretty obvious "Puss in Boots" would be funny,and it consistantly is the whole way through.Banderas is awsome playing a version of his "Zorro" character,the only difference being that "Puss" can lick himself innapropriately.Gallaf,uh,Gallifin,ugh,the guy from "The Hangover II",is great as an ordinary egg scrambling to come out of his shell,poaching some of the best yokes,er,jokes.You could say his performance goes down over-easy.Hayek has purr-fect chemistry with Banderas,and puts a lot of feline,I mean feeling into her role(Ok,I'm out of material).
"Puss in Boots" looks great with "Dreamworks" improved animation(Look out,Pixar).The plot's fun but a little predictable,yet it has great dialouge that will entertain both kids(Julia gives it 4 Stars),and adults(Its' for my Glaucoma!).There has'nt been much to reccomend since this summer,but,hopefully "Puss in Boots" is a sign of of good movies to come.3 1/2 Stars.Rated PG for Cartoon Violence and Some Sneaky Adult Humor.
above: Yeah, i know i'm no Kevin Bacon
I had no idea how passionate fans of the original "Footloose" were.I don't get it ,myself.Just not my cup of tea to break into dance in public.Or in private.
Still,I'm reviewing the new "Footloose" for all of you who gotta' ,gotta' cutloose.The new version is basically just a re-do of the original.Young rebel moves into small town where no one is allowed to dance,yet,amazingly,just about everyone knows how to.The pastors daughter has a wild side,falls for the new guy,and makes her dad unhappy until he realizes that you can't stop the dance,you can only hope to contain it.
This review is easy.If you're into this kind of thing,the new "Footloose" is well-made,with some good dancing,solid acting,and one fine lookin' leading lady(Julianne Hough) ,who looks WAY too mature to pass for a teenager.(Wish she was at my High School)
Personally,I was pretty bored.I just can't get past how silly,and predictable,and,well,dancey the whole thing is.As I said before,never saw the original,knew exactly what was going to happen.But Dennis Quaid is good as the Preacher who does'nt want to shake his grrove thang',and I guess if you love the first "Footloose",you'll love this version.I won't judge you.2 1/2 Stars.Rated PG-13 For Sexual Content,And For Some Naughty,Naughty Dancing.
above: He's a wrecking machine......literally
Have'nt I seen this movie before?
Not just because I first saw the trailer for "Real Steel" way back in February.But because this film could have come from the 1980's,when every action movie had a cheesy,pop/rock soundtrack,villians straight out of a "Bugs Bunny" cartoon,a father/son relationship to resolve,an underdog who,against all odds,wins redemtion.And a robot who just wants to be loved.
"Real Steel" stars Hugh "Wolverine" Jackman as a broke former boxer,and deadbeat dad, who bravely avoids paying the debts that he owes.Robots have taken over for humans in the ring,and Jackman is desperate to find the next robot Mike Tyson.When his ex-girfriend dies(without any explanation),he is forced to become a father to his genius son.
The two bond over finding an old "sparring" robot,and they train him into becoming the best recycled pile of old Budwiser cans to ever win a championship,all while somehow finding time for some sweet love with the pretty landlady(Evangeline Lilly).
"Real Steel" is harmless,but predictable.If you've seen the previews,you know exactly what will happen,but it's intended to be an old-fashion crowd pleaser.It's a well-made one,with nice special-effects,and appealing leads.The kid is'nt as annoying as you'd expect.But it's the well-choreographed robot fight scenes that make it fairly enjoyable.
The over-the-top "villians" nearly ruined it for me,but "Real Steel" succeeds in being silly,cheesy fun.2 1/2 Stars.Rated PG-13 for Mild Language and Exploiting Robots For Our Own Sick,Personal amusement.
Above: "Eeeaaa! Eeeaaa! Aaaiii! Eeeaaa!" (English translation:"Hi!" )
Oh great! Yet another film that's advertised as, "Heartwarming"."Inspirational"."Tearjerker"."Sexy". I'm not sure I can trust another movie like this,after "Soul Surfer", "Secratariat" or "Transformers:Dark of the Moon"
But "Dolphin Tale" is'nt like that.It's not trying to hit you over the head with a tail,ooh,sorry.I mean,it is an inspirational tail,er story,but it is'nt overly long or over dramatic.Until the tail end.(Uggh,I'll stop)
"Dolphin Tale" is about a real life dolphin who really did lose her tail."Winter",(Played by "Winter" herself) is saved by a socially awkward boy who helps rehabilltate her,but without her tail,"Winter" is helpless as a fish out of water.Enter Sir Morgan Freeman, who plays God again by building "Winter" a prosthetic tail that gives her back the ability to swim.From that point on,it's all sprinkles of love and shredded cheese.
Honestly,"Dolphin Tail" really is a "heartwarming" film,and it's amazing true story is quite "inspirational". "Winter" is an incredible fish,er mammal,and the people who devote so much to her help make the movie entertaining,without laying the schmaltz on too thick. Yeah,it's a little to "Hollywood" at times,and there's a very annoying pelican who appears randomly just to p-,I mean,tick me off.
"Dolphin Tail" is a pleasant,likeable suprise with a fine cast and a true star in "Winter".I smell an Oscar.And some Tuna.3 Stars.Rated PG for Intense Thematic Elements,and For Trying To Make Me Cry On Porpise.
above: Can you feel the epicness tonight?
My first "Re-Release" of my reviewing career also happens to be the first movie that I ever saw as a kid.
It was 1994. The birds were chirping.And the pants were dead.Peace was in the air,every American had a job,and the President was chasing booty all the doo-daa day.I was a young lad of 5..... Months.And "The Lion King" became one of my all-time favorite films.
Disney has now re-issued "The Lion King" in EYE-POPPING 3-D,and it's savagely devouring the competition,ripping the flesh out Hollywood's "Circle of Life",and leaving nothing but a "Circle of Death".
You all know the story.King Mufasa and his old lady have a son,"Simba", whose reckless behavior gets his father knocked-off by his evil Uncle.Simba selfishly runs away,leaving his poor,greiving mama and his hot shorty,"Nala" at the mercy of Scar and his posse.
Buzzards try to eat him,but he is saved by a flatulent,morbidly obese hog,and his "life-partner",a gopher who immigrated to Africa from Brooklyn.Anyway,they adopt Simba,who grows into an adult in about 30 seconds.Nala and a psycho babboon with a raging case of hemroids convince Simba to return to Pride Rock and,take his place on the throne,and bust a cap up Uncle Scar's tail.
The EYE POPPING 3-D is utilized to good effect for "The Lion King", which enhances Disney's awsome animation,and it's memorable characters.There are many reasons "The Lion King" is a classic,from the depth of the writing and it's relateable story,it's re-release is giving a new generation a chance to see a timeless masterpiece on the big screen.4 Stars(Duh!) Rated G.
Back to school.Aggh! That usually means that Hollywood will give us such classics as "Apollo 18". "Shark Night 3-D". "Predators 5: Beiber vs. The Jonas Brothers" (That might be awsome!).
But this year they seem to have surprised everyone with "The Help",which has brought in over $100 million dollars.I know,so did the "Smurfs",but this is a film that deserves it's praise.
Viola Davis stars as Aibileen,a maid in 1960's segregated Mississippi.Emma Stone plays Skeeter(A nickname,I hope),an aspiring writer who decides to write about "The Help",black women who basically lived in servitude for their white employers.
Minny,played by Octavia Spencer,joins the ladies to tell her story,and she does'nt hold anythying back,recounting the indignity and helplessness of their daily lives.
The story may not have been geared towards teenagers,but I thouroughly enjoyed "The Help".To tell such a deep story,and yet give it so much personality,wit and entertainment is a real accomplishment.It's wonderful to see younger audiences embrace a story that many of us may not have known the struggles so many went through.
The performances here are "Oscar-Worthy",with Davis,Stone and Spencer(who steals every scene she's in) giving so much reality to their characters.They enhance the 1960's southern settings,which are beautiful and well-directed.
Having not read the book in which it's based,"The Help" does feel condensed,even though the film comes in at 142 minutes,and a few of the maid's employers seem more like stereo-types.But there are many reasons to earn 4 Stars here,and it certainly rates a very high 3 1/2 Stars.Rated PG-13 for Language and Tough Subject Matter(And The Eating Of A Very Special Pie)
above: Hello, im the only reason any adults are seeing this movie
YOU may have all the time in the world,but I sure don't.
I could make a lot of lame,unfunny,"time" jokes,but unfortunately,"Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World" has done that for me.That's disapointing for me,because I really enjoyed the first in the "Spy Kids" series back in the old days.But like most movie franchises,this one has been milked more than Uncle Sam's Nipples.(It's from "Family Guy".Don't ask.)
You probably know the idea of the movie.It's about these kids.Who are spies.In this case,their mom(Jessica Alba.Growwll!) is a spy who retires to raise her step-kids after she catches the evil Jeremy Piven(who apparantly inhaled the Universe's supply of Helium.But 1 year later,the evil Jeremy Piven escapes and teams up with "The Time-Keeper",a Darth Vader knock-off with a clock for a head.
"The Time-Keeper" is upset that people waste too much of their time,so he is going to take it away from them.The Spy Kids team up with their talking dog(Ricky Gervais) who talks,and talks,and talks(It's excruciating).Oh,and their Dad(Joel Mchale) is a Spy Hunter.And he sucks at it. ,
Now,I can see you're wondering,"What the deuce does this have to do with the other 'Spy Kids' movies?" Well,the kids from the first 3 films arrive to show the new spies the ropes.There is an obvious plot twist that I should've seen coming,but at that point,I just did'nt give a darn.
Like many sequels,"Spy Kids 4" is unneccesary.There is little point in rehashing the kids-as spies theme again,and the script is tired and,even though the moral of not wasting too much time in your life is a good one,it's wasted when you realize you just spent an hour and a half and 8 bucks watching little bombs that fire out of a dog's butt,flying barf bags exploding in bad guys faces,and Jeremy Piven seemingly auditioning for "Alvin and the Chipmunks 3".
Like in his previous stinker,"Shorts",Director Robert Rodriguez seems to pick kids off the street and says,"Hey,wanna be in Spy Kids 4?.But you gotta work for free!" Oh yeah.And the "Smell-O-Vision"? Did'nt need it.I could smell the failure just fine without it.To be positive,the villians' lair is kind of cool looking.
1 Star.Rated PG for Disgustingly Crude Humor and for Breaking The Fourth Wall.(Completely Smashed It).
above: This place is smurfing huge
"You know, i didn't hate this as much as i thought i would. Don't get me wrong i still hated it." That is the line uttered by "Jack A..." I mean "Grouchy" Smurf towards the end of "Long Anticipated" opening of "The Classic Animated Series" .Well,the 1980's cartoon,"The Smurfs".
It's your usual Smurfs out of water story.Creatures from a magical land find their way through a magic portal that sends them to New York City.Basically,the same premise done in the Disney film "Enchanted".Only with jokes about blue poop.The Smurfs are trying to find their way back to Smurfytown,but the evil "Gargamel"(Hank Azaria,the funniest part about the movie) wants the Smurfs to capture their "Essence",or "Smurf Juice",or something disgusting like that.
Papa Smurf,Smurfette,Flatulent Smurf,Hippie Smurf, Samuel L.Jackson Smurf(He's in everything) and the rest of The Smurfs end up moving in with Neil Patrick Harris and the cute lady from "Glee" with the big eyes.They teach Neil an important lesson about appreciating what you have and being a good father,and Neil teaches them to stop using the word "Smurf" to describe every Smurfing thing they say.
I still don't quite get the appeal of "The Smurfs". Yeah,they're cute and blue,but also,annoying.And blue.I don't understand why they made a major motion picture out of them,but they recently made one about fake looking Zoo animals who help a pudgy idiot get a beautiful girl,so ,hey,waddya gonna do.It's predictable and wayyyyy too long for a film this childish.Some may like the 3-D animation,but I found it creepy and all up in my face.
To it's credit,"The Smurfs" are harmless,Neil Patrick Harris was good,the voicework was fine(Katy Perry is Smurfalicious),and there at least is some effort with the script to make a halfway,decent film. It's still a piece of Smurf,though.2 Stars.Rated PG for A couple Of Scenes Of Brief Smurfing.
above: ROAR!!!! BRING US KEVIN JAMES!!!! HE MUST PAY FOR ZOOKEEPER!!!!
NOOOOOOO! THEY DID IT! DARN YOU! DARN YOU TO HECK! YOU DANG DIRTY APES!
Aside from those famous lines from the original 1968 film,I know nothing about "Planet of the Apes",except parts of the Tim Burton version,the Statue of Liberty in the sand,and Charlton Heston in a Loin Cloth.Now that's just nasty.
I was not really looking forward to the new Prequel/Reboot,which stars James"Man,was I stoned at the Oscars!" Franco,who plays a scientist testing on Chimps,in hopes for finding a cure for Alzheimers,a disease his father(John Lithgow) is suffering from.
After the usual,"Holy Cow,what just went wrong with our experiment!" experiment,Franco takes a baby Chimp home and raises it ,but "Caeser" develops increasing intellegence due to the serum.He becomes too much to handle,so he's taken to the Zoo,where he and the other Apes are abused.Then they did what any Ape would do.Lead a revolt to enslave the world.
My first impression is that the motion-captured visuals for "Apes" looked too fake and unrealistic,but most of it turned out to be quite impressive,through the detail and performance of the actors wearing the motion-sensor...thingys(Sorry,I don't know what they're called).Andy Serkis,who we all know as "Gollum" in "Lord of the Rings",is the real star of the movie,capturing "Caeser's" movements,facial expressions,and humanity of the chimps plight.
The cinemotography is amazing.The beauty of the settings in Northern California,San Fransisco,The Golden Gate Bridge and the Redwood Forest is an astonishing sight.If I'm ever chased by angry Simians,that's the place I wanna be.The story is involving enough and entertaining,although there are some flaws.Freida Pinto,who plays the love interest,looks pretty but has no effect on the plot.And,to be honest it's hard not to snicker unintenionally when computer-generated chimps are assaulting human actors.
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is a 2 1/2 Star movie made 3 Stars,thanks to the Oscar-Worthy score and "Caeser".Can we please get Andy Serkis a nomination,please? Rated Pg-13 for Extreme Monkey Buisiness.
above: "Time to put these steroids to good use!"
Do you remember the 1940s? Or the 1950s? ...The 1980s? Well if you like good time-old fashion movies that your parents would cheer as much as you, than maybe you can drag their old butts to see "Captain America."
Chris Evans stars as, with some computer generated help, a young, small and weak American soldier during World War II. He volunteers for a radical, government experiment, and transforms into The Human Torch, er , Captain America ,a buff, Nazi fighting machine with a cool oufit.
Of course, there is a villinous villain with a nasty sunburn, Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), who is intent on building ultimate weapons to drop all across the United States, so the Captain and the U.S.army send those German Nazis back to wherever the heck they came from.
I really had never paid much attention to the "Captain America" character or Comic Books before, but he's won me over. He and the film are very patriotic, and in a more relateable way than, say, Rambo or Micky Mouse. The film looks great, and the 1940s settings seem like how the 1940s would look in a history book, down to the tiniest detail. (Other than the Laser, Death, Woofer thingy).
The cast of "Captain America" is great. Chris Evans has done the super-hero thing before, so he does a good job carrying the film. Hugo Weaving plays Red Skull just as well as I knew he would, and Tommy Lee Jones steals the movie with his spot-on Tommy Lee Jones impersonation.
The story is fine, but a little silly. Kind of like most super-hero films. The romantic part of the story is weak and unnecessary ,but I left "Captain America" feeling Gung-Ho. It's good, patriotic fun. 3 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Super-Hero Violence, and....You Know What, It's Actually Pretty Tame.
above: Kiss me you fool!
I told you this was going to be EPIC!
I've been saying since "Harry Potter" began almost 10 years ago that the 7 previous films in the franchise would all lead up to a monumental, thrilling conclusion. Amazingly, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" blew away my expectations. (It even made me get that dang zoo movie I just saw out of my system).
Let me get you up to speed. Harry and his little friends are trying to find the last couple Horcroxes (the source of that butt-ugly Voldemort's immortality) The search leads them back to Hogwarts ,which is now in ruins. When Voldemort arrives, that's when all Hell breaks loose. Harry uses all of his powers and spells, and waves his magic wand all around in what becomes one of the most exciting and spellbinding finales in movie history. (I'm not kidding. It's spectacular).
The cast and the acting is perfect. The kids have grown into fine actors ,and the supporting cast of Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman is absolutely perfect. It's truly a wonderfully told story, and easier to understand than the last "Potter" film.
"Harry Potter 8" looks, well, like, totally, wow! When studios get the special effects right, as they do here, it's absolutely amazing, and it's action scenes rival those in "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings." It's that good.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the kind of movie that I got into the movie review buisiness for. It certainly will go down as a classic. Can Hollywood top this anytime soon? (The Smurfs? Really?) 4 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Plenty of Scary Situations and 'Cause the Bad Guy Has No Nose.
above: Ah, sweet memories
Pooh. (Laugh...Giggle...I am so immature.)
Now that I got that out of my system, let's get down to the real pooh. The newest "Winnie the Pooh" follows the adventures of Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and the rest of Hundered Acre Wood gang on their search for Eeyore's tail. They misread a note from Christopher Robin, and think he has been taken by a monster.
I know it's not much of a plot, but this is for the kids, and "Winnie the Pooh" is a wonderfully simple film, and yet it treats it's young viewers (and adults) with respect, unlike sillier movies like "Gnomeo and Juliet" or "Mr.Popper's Penguins." It's sweet and very charming, and the hand-drawn animation is very nice to see again done so well.
There is way too much violence and blood...naw, I'm just kidding. "Winnie the Pooh" is perfectly safe for the whole family, although I may have soiled it with my "pooh" jokes. The voice work is just perfect and the writing actually made me laugh, with some great back-and-forth between the characters.
My 8 year old sister, Julia and I agree, "Pooh" is truly a wonderful movie for all to enjoy, and probably won't make near as much money as it should at the Box-Office. (C'mon, people!) 3 1/2 stars. Rated G, But It Has Some "Sticky" Situations.
above: "Sorry buddy, the set for Planet of the Apes is that way."
Sorry for the delay. I've been in recovery. From the effects of seeing what has got to be the most grotesque, insulting and downright disturbing film I have seen since this site began. And it's not even a horror movie!
Just plain awful. And weird. And not in a good way. Just all around dreadful, the likes of which I hope to never see again. America, I give you "Zookeeper."
Finally answering the question, "Is there any script or idea Hollywood will say no to?", "Zookeeper" is the heartwarming tale of a, well, zookeeper, who is trying to win back his "way too pretty for him" ex-girlfriend and decides that being a zookeeper isn't sexy enough. When he plans to leave the zoo, guess what happens? Yep, the animals can talk. And they think they're funny.
"Zookeeper" is a mess. This heartwarming tale ends up lacking heart. They should have gotten film from National Geographic with real gorillas bonding. When a monkey in the film says "Let's throw some poop at it!", that pretty much describes the script (Amazingly, there were 5 script writers!). There just isn't anything funny about it.
Worse, it's 104 minutes! Well, about 95 for me. Once the animals started singing "More Than a Feelin'", I stood up and said "Done!", and walked out. I know I'm supposed to be a professional here, but I'm also human. No one, human or animal, should be subjected to such torture. The animals were singing "More Than a Feelin'"! Ahhggh!
"Zookeeper" is the first movie I've reviewed that I walked out on, and will tell all of my loyal followers to avoid at all costs. You're welcome. 0 Stars. Rated PG, But With Way Too Much Crude Humor For A PG Movie.
above: You are way too pretty for Justin Beiber....just saying
You all understand, right? You know going to see a chick flick on steroids isn't exactly my idea of a fun Saturday. How 'bout giving a complete body wax to one of those freakish werewolves from "Twilight" while listening to "Justin Beiber sings Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train"? Ok, too far.
There are a few things that made reviewing "Monte Carlo" bearable. There is some pretty scenery. And by pretty scenery I don't just mean Selena Gomez (although that's worth worth a full star by itself). The city of Monte Carlo is the real star of "Monte Carlo", which stars Gomez, Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy as young girls who go on the adventure of a lifetime, which involves lying, deceiving and identity theft. That's right, all you young girls in the audience. That's our moral for today.
So the trio takes a trip to France that doesn't go according to plan. But after some rather strange circumstances, Gomez is mistaken (Mistooken?) for a bratty princess (Also Gomez 'cause they look alike), causing all sorts of girlie mayhem. In the end, they all get sentenced to life in prison without parole. No, they fall in love and everything works out just fine.
"Monte Carlo" is all fantasy where the situations and plot aren't realistic, and some of the romantic dialogue is just plain awkward. But every parent and every teenage girl who wants to see "Monte Carlo" knows that they're watching a fairy tale, and they'll love every second of it. However, my 8 year old sister, Julia, didn't like any more than I did, and she loves Selena Gomez.
The locations of Monte Carlo and Paris look great, making a really cool travel video, but the movie left me needing a serious shot of Testosterone (When is the next showing of "Transformers"?) 2 Stars. Rated PG for Comic Mischief and Lots of Mushy, Touchy, Feely Girl Conversations.
above: "Finally, time to make my....wait! What? I'm only in 2 scenes? WHAT A RIP-OFF!"
Man, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" was just plain awful. By any standard. A true disapointment to any true "Transformers" fan like myself, it's just one of those movies where everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. Look, it's not like I'm asking for world peace, here. I just wanted to see some stinkin' transformers blow up stuff. How do you find a way to make a movie about giant, alien robots un-entertaining?
Now that I've got all of that out of my system, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" gives me exactly what I need. Fight scenes that last more than 5 seconds. Transformers with less "robotic" personalties. Transformer villains who are more complex and threatening. And most important, no annoying, racially insensitive transformers who would embarass any minority Transformer in the audience.
"Dark of the Moon" has no plot. Really. It has no plot that has any real effect on the story. Basically, The Moon Landing that you all learned about in school was really a cover-up to investigate a crashed space shuttle, containing "Sentinel", the original "Autobot" leader. Years later, the Government cover-up is discovered by "Optimus Prime", who really ain't too happy about it (Yep. Another "government cover-up" story).
Meanwhile, "Sam" (Shia Le, Buff? Bouf? Butt? Barf? Really, I don't know how to pronounce it) is adjusting to life without Megan Fox, but lucky for him, he's got a hot model to keep him company. So once again he gets wrapped up in another epic battle between the "Autobots" and the "Decepticons", led by a now-weakend "Megatron." Then you get the big battles and big visuals and big explosions.
"Transformers 3" isn't exactly exactly a good movie, but it is exciting. It pleases the fan inside me. Where "Fallen" was kind of, well, just stupid," Moon" is, well, stupid too, but a well-crafted, crowd-pleasing work of stupidity. "Transformers" isn't about the performances, although there are some fun characters. But the best are the vocal performances, which makes the "Transformers" much more awsome.
It's no surprise the visuals and special effects are top-notch and look really ,really expensive. To see all the great "Transformers" characters the way they were meant to be seen is good enough for me. Now, was that so hard? 3 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Language, Mindless Destruction of Public Property, and Yet Some More Suggestive Footage Exploiting The Pretty Girl.
above: Hey! Was Michael Bay involved in this movie?
CHILL OUT CRITICS! Pixar has spoiled you. OK, so Pixar's track record has been awesome. But they aren't all gonna be Academy Award winners like "Toy Story 3", so they were due for a bit of a letdown. Heck, even I have my off days. I mean, not publishing till Monday? How un-professional.
The original "Cars" wasn't exactly my favorite of the Pixar films. The look of the film was great, and it still had a lot of charm, but sometimes my expectations are just too dang high. The average film critic has been trashing "Cars 2", using terms such as "Rusty" and "Clunker." "Flat", "Ex-Hausted." "Out of Gas." And every other car-related term you can think of.
In "Cars 2", Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) brings his best friend, Mater (Larry T. Cable Guy, seriously, I think that's his last name) on a World-Wide race across the world, competing against his new racing nemesis, Francesco (John Turturro). Of course, Mater gets himself mixed up in some international intrigue when he meets up with super-spy Finn McMissle (Michael Caine) and his assistant, Holly (Emily Mortimer), whom Mater has some serious gas for. Meanwhile, there's an evil professor who is sabotaging the World Gran Prix. Of the world.
So the story and plot don't exactly meet Pixar's usual high standards, but there is nothing at all to hate about "Cars 2." The animation is still terrific and inventive, and the action scenes are surprisingly awsome (The fight scenes in "Transformers 3" better be this good). It's not exactly hilarious, but it's funny enough, especially when Francesco is around, and all the rest of the voices are great.
Let's face it. "Cars 2" may be Pixar's worst film. But it's still better than most of Dreamworks animated films. Or Blue Sky Animation. Or Sony animation. Or anybody else in the business. 3 Stars. Rated G. Despite a few explosions, nothing here is as traumatizing as the incinerator scene in "Toy Story 3." (Seriously! I wet my bed every night for weeks!)
above image: "Hey, what are you guys laughing at? Do I got something on my face?"
Have you ever seen a movie and you think: This is, like, bad? And yet, quite satisfiying and strangely entertaining?
Well,welcome to "The Green Lantern", from D.C. Comics, who brought you the "Batman" and "Superman" films (Some really, really good and some really, really bad). Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal the Idiot (His character really is an idiot) who recieves a powerful ring from an alien who looks like a giant Smurf. He becomes a "Green Lantern"(Apparently, there are a bunch of them),and joins their epic fight against "Parallax", a monstrosity bent on consuming the universe.
While all that is going on, a scientist named Dr.Hammond (Peter Saarsgard), who is studying the remains of the alien who gave Hal the ring, is infected by the "Parallax" and turns into a big butthead. Literally. Oh, yeah, there is a love interest (For Hal, not the Butthead), played by Blake Lively, who basically is used only to be a "Damsel In Distress".
As you can tell, the plot is incredibly jumbled, and, well, dumb. There are some superhero movies, like the recent "Batman" movies, that have stories with depth and take their audience seriously, but "Green Lantern" doesn't take the time to explain or make sense of the mayhem going on. The characters have potential, but they are underdeveloped, such as the scientist who turns into a butt, and the Red "Green" Lantern (Mark Strong), who may have bad intentions. (Possible sequel?)
But "Green Lantern" sure looks great. The visuals are over the top, like the "Green Lantern" home planet, which looks unreal but sure is neat eye candy (Kind of like Blake Lively), and yet it is kind of hypnotic and mysterious. Imagine a wild laser show. But a giant smoke monster is trying to eat you .And "Parallax" is one of the coolest CGI creatures I've ever seen.
Ryan Reynolds has his moments, but there isn't anything special about the performances, except for Peter Saarsgard, but only because he's so over the top, it's hard not to laugh because it goes so far. And that's what describes 'Green Lantern." Turn off your brain, strap yourself in, and feel the G's, man! 2 1/2 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Scary Images and Over-The-Top Violence.
above image: I think he just wandered onto the set of Happy Feet 2
AHHHHHH!!!!! I just had the worst nightmare! There was...There was Jim Carrey. And... penguins. And lots and lots of POOP!!! IT WAS EVEREYWHERE!!! WET! AND GOOEY! AND WHITE!!! SO, SO WHITE!!!
Thank goodness it was just a nightmare. Wait. It wasn't? You mean 65 million collars was spent on CGI penguin "doody"? Don't we, as a society, have better things to do with that money? Maybe save the rainforest? Or real penguins?
"Mr.Pooper's"... I mean, "Popper's Penguns" stars Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper, who is a divorced dad who inherits six penguins from late scientist father (At least, I assume he was a scientist. It never really explains. He could have been a gourmet chef). His life is turned upside down by these adorable, but constantly pooping, penguins. "Oh the hilarity." He decides to keep them beyond all reason, because they make his kids happy, and because he's still got the hots for his ex-wife (Carla Gugino).
Meanwhile, an EVIL zoo keeper is trying to take the dookie-dropping penguins to an unspeakable, terrifying place called...THE ZOO!!! (Oh, the inhumanity!!!) I mean, what kind of monster would dream of taking animals out of an apartment and take them to the zoo? But at this point, Carrey gets attactched to the little turd-machines and does everything he can to keep the penguins from such a horrific fate.
I am not kidding about the poop, people.This is the main theme of "Mr.Popper's Penguins." Every joke falls back on poo, kaka, flatulence, and any other kind of bodily function a penguin has. And there is a scene of Mr. Popper getting hit in the little poppers with a soccer ball. And the audience actually erupted in laughter. Seriously.
I, however, didn't even laugh once. Nope, not once. And I like Jim Carrey. He is usually very funny, in an awkward kind of way, but this time, it's just awkward. The whole movie is awkward and immature, relying on every childish joke that they can. But my biggest complaint is instead of using the natural cuteness of penguins, they use CGI to make them do things penguins don't do. Like dancing, flying and smashing into walls. Now, the poop, is that CGI? Please, somebody let us know.
"Mr. Popper's Penguins" is harmless enough and will probably please your 4 yr. old, at best. Bottom line, too strange, too juvenile, and too poopy.1 1/2 Stars. Rated PG for All the Reasons I Mentioned Above.
above image: HOLY COW!!!!!! WHAT IS THAT? GODZILLA????
FINALLY!!!!!!! They're making movies about the exciting, intrigue filled world of naional hotel chains. Can't wait for "La Quinta: First Class", "Best Western: Cowboys vs. Aliens", or "Nightmare on Motel 6".
I know you really thought this about an alien who destroys a hotel chain.....BUT IT'S NOT! "Super 8" is about......wait, you know what? Not gonna tell you. That's right. I went there. Besides, if i told you what it was about it would ruin the suspense.
I'll tell the part of the story about the kids. A young boy loses his mother in an accident, and everyone in town to explain the details (Note: this has nothing to do with the monster). Fast forward a couple months or several months later, he and his friends are filming their own zombie movie. Then BOOM! A train crashes, releasing a creature unlike anyone has ever seen before. That's all i can tell you. But there are military cover-ups, people dissapearing, and some intense family drama.
Steven Speilberg produced "Super 8" and the experties, and attention to detail. Overall, it's very exciting and not showing the creature till towards the end really adds to the suspense. (just like the Great White Shark in "Jaws"). The cast doen't have any big names, but i think it's cool you don't need big stars, like oh say Tom Cruise or Shia Lebouf. Besides the acting great anyway.
With that said, "Super 8" isn't very original, and having the bad guys be the usual big bad military and/or sceintist conspiracy is getting pretty old *cough* AVATAR! But it's done so well and expertly, it's mostly just fun entertainment with a nice human interest touch to it. It's not "Super" 8. But "pretty darn enjoyable" 8. 3 1/2 stars. Rated PG-13 for Scary Moments and because some of these kids got some real foul mouths.
above image: Use the force Magneto
It's time for my first x-rated review.
Ok, well not really, but it is my first oficial "X-Men" review. And for the record, a huge improvement over "Wolverine." Uggh!
"First Class" is set during the Cold War, where a young Professor Xavier (James Mcavoy) and his best friend (For now) Magneto (Michael Fassbender) are forming the X-Men alliance with different young mutants, of which there are way too many too mention. (By the way, I volunteered, but they had already reached their quota). The X-men battle the Six Mutant Degrees of Kevin Bacon, (Played convicingly by Kevin Bacon), who wants to start a nuclear war between Russia and the U.S. We blow each other up. Evil mutants rule the world.
The thing that stands out in "First Class" is the time devoted to the script and story. It could have gone off the rails, but it stays consistent and exciting throughout, and breathes some life back into a movie franchise that was losing a little steam.
The cast and acting is top-notch. Fassbender and Mcavoy have some big shoes to fill in replacing Ian Mckellen and Patrick Stewart., but they seem very comfortable from the start. Bacon sizzles and is crisp as the nasty, Nazi villain, and the young mutant cast is excellent (who knew there were that many young mutants in Hollywood of all places).
A couple of minor characters are underdeveloped, but besides that it's almost a perfect X-Rated, I mean, X-Men movie. 3 1/2 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Violent Acts (including a very creative scene involving a quarter and some one's skull. You'll see).
above image: The evil Lord Shen (Gary Oldmen) who spends most of his time plotting his revenge and looking cool.
What is the worst movie title ever? "Furry Vengance"? "Mr.Popper's Penguins"? "Cowboys and Aliens" (at least it looks cool). "Kung Fu Panda" is right up there, but Kaitlyn has already covered that subject so I'll skip that list for now. As far as "Kung Fu Panda 2" goes, in the endless stream of summer sequels, it's the rare one that improves on the original.
"Po" the Panda (Jack Black) discovers that his noodle-loving goosey father is not really his father (Whoa, man. Didn't see that one coming). He embarks on a quest to find out who he really is, while trying to stop a diabolical peacock (never trusted those feathered freaks). "Shen", played by the truly awsome Gary Oldman, wants to destroy all of Kung Fu with a secret weapon.
The animation in "Panda" is really top-notch and full of amazing sights, especially in the fighting sequences, which are elaborate and exciting (Jack Black did not do his own stunts).The characters are also more developed this time. Jackie Chan has a bigger role as the Master Monkey, and he's hilarious. Jack Black is back in funny form after "Gulliver's Travels" and Angelina Joile, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, David Cross and Lucy Liu all have better parts this time. Of course, Gary Oldman steals every movie he is in (If I were creating a movie villain, I want Gary Oldman to play it).
This kind of story follows some predictable patterns, but you already knew where it was going anyway. "Kung Fu Panda 2" is funny, well-animated and has a heart bigger than Po's belly. 3 1/2 Stars. Rated PG for a Little Crude Humor, and Animal on Animal Violence.
above image: Blackbeard (Ian Mcshan) pointing his sword at us in 3D.
I wish the the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disney World would last this long. The film series has slowly petered out after the first great "Pirates" movie, but after "On Stranger Tides", it's official. Number 4 may be the weakest of the bunch. Arrgh-ubly.
"Pirates 4" fortunately still has Johnny Depp, who returns as Captain Jack Sparrow on his quest to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. He's forced to join the famous pirate villain Blackbeard by a former pirate girlfriend, played by Penelope Cruz. Meanwhile, Jack's old nemesis Barbosa is hot on his trail. There's also lots of Mermaids and lots of Booty. But not in the same scene. Sorry.
The plot is too much of a puzzle, with too many pieces that just don't fit or go anywhere. "Pirates 4" could have been a really fun story, but it's too hectic for it's own good. The look and feel of the film and it's settings helps salvage it, somewhat. The set and surroundings resemble the actual ride more here than in the previous 3 movies.
As for what else that works, you know that Depp will nail the Captain Jack role. He could play it in his sleep. He has real chemistry with Cruz, but her part is a little forgettable. As usual, "Pirates" has great villains, with Ian Mcshane's Blackbeard no exception. Geoffery Rush's Barbosa isn't really necessary, but he's always great to have around in any movie.
Really not that much to get excited about for a film that cost $150 Million to make. Just think what I could do with that kind of Booty. Instead, they made another so-so "Pirates" movie. 2 1/2 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Scary Situations and Arrgh-uments about Pirate Booty.
above image: ARRGHHH!!!! I'M ODIN!!!! ARRRGHHHH!!!
Iron Man. The Incredible Hulk. Captain America. Thor? What in the world is a "Thor"? I dunno, but it hurts like heck. Hah!
Thor may not be the best known of the "Marvel" superhero team, and "Thor" certainly isn't the best of the movies, but it is a pretty fun action movie that really gets you excited for next year's "Avengers" film.
Thor, son of Oden, comes from the realm of Asgard. Oden, by the way, is played by Anthony Hopkins, and looks like a weird mix between a pirate and Hannibal Lecter. Anyway, Thor and his old man do battle with what could be the giant blue people from "Avatar" if they were under fed and left out in the cold. Thor's arrogance and stupidity gets him banished from Planet Earth, where he convienently runs into Natalie Portman. And what guy is going to complain about that.
From that point on, it's boom, bang. Explosion, fight, collision and more explosion. And, oh yeah, Thor's brother turns evil and tries to take over the world (anyone with a brother knows this could happen).
"Thor's" action scenes are awsome, with some of the best visuals you will see in a movie this year. Chris Hemsworth and his steroids are impressive, and the rest of the actors are likeable in likeable roles. Even the villian is three-dimensional (and a little sympathetic).That said, "Thor" isn't about character development.
A neat film that doesn't always make a lot of sense, "Thor" is probably worth only 2 1/2 stars, but thanks to it's good sense of humor, I'll go with 3 Stars. So get your Asgard to the theater, if it's not too Thor. Rated PG-13 for Violence, and some scary, gruesome images of Thor with his shirt off.
above image: Kicking tail? Not at the Box office.
Is it possible to be dissapointed in a movie made so cheaply?
Despite the small budget, the original "Hoodwinked" was strangely funny, and had a clever take on the "Little Red Riding Hood" tale told from different perspectives. "Hoodwinked Too" isn't very funny, or clever or different. Just strange.
This time around, little Red Riding Hood is finding her inner Bruce Lee as she teams with the Big bad Wolf, Twitchy the Squirrel,and her adventerous Granny to save Hansel (Hansel? Hansel? Hansel! Hansel. Hansel?) and Gretal from the Wicked Witch.
Where the original "Hood" told it's story from 8 different perspectives, "Too" tells the story straight, and it's just not interesting enough, and,with it's long, laughless stretches, not entertaining enough. And that's when you notice the flaws with it's production value. I've seen straight-to-video releases that look better. Not to be mean,but the computer animation for "Alpha and Omega" looks like Pixar compared to this.
"Hoodwinked Too" isn't awful. Bill Hader and Amy Poehler, with their silly German accents, are automatically funny, and getting Cheech and Chong to play the 2nd and 3rd little pigs is pretty amusing, but all and all the sequel is pretty disappointing. 2 Stars. Rated PG for Crude Humor and Racially Insensitive Ogres. Seriously.
above image: AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!
Why is it that classy, intelligent, well-made documentaries tank at the box-office? Just because there's no werewolves, or vampires, or superheroes, or good looking girls? Ok, I get that one.
Disney's latest, "African Cats", narrated by Morgan Freeman, er, I mean Samuel L. Jackson, who is in most movies, follows a family of lions and some solitary cheetahs across the African plains as they protect and raise their cubs.
There are a lot of wonderful moments in "Cats", with plenty of excitement for the kids, and plenty of "AWWWW, isn't that adorable" moments for the parents. It does have some "Dang nature! You scary!" scenes, but if your kids have seen "The Lion King", they understand the whole "Circle of Life" thing.
The footage and scenery is amazing, and "African Cats" is a great educational opportunity for parents to share with their children about how special and important nature and wildlife are. Or, you could wait for the next "Twilight" movie. Your call. 4 Stars. Rated G.
above image: Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and the constantly drooling bulldog Luiz (Tracy Morgan)
Hola, mi compadres. Yo quero taco bell. Ay caramba! Mi pantalones es en fuego! Donde es la bano?
I'm half-hispanic, so I can speak spanish muy bueno. Now that all that's out of the way, you want to know what I thought of "Rio."
It's a beautiful city, full of culture and wonder, with friendly, warm people.Er, wait, I'm sorry.
I'm talking "Rio", the movie,starring Jesse Eisenberg as a Blue Macaw named "Blue", the last male of his species who is being taken to Brazil to mate with the last female of the species (this is rated G?), who is played by Anne Hathaway. They are chased by poachers and thieving monkeys, but are befreinded by some very odd animal characters, voiced by Jaime Foxx, Tracy Morgan, Will.i.am, and of course, George Lopez. Because you can't have an animated film with animals without George Lopez. (Even my cat is voiced by George Lopez. And Cheech Marin)
This is the same kind of plot and formula used recently in the diabolically awful "Alpha and Omega", but "Rio" has far more thought and care put into it. As you would expect, it is predictable,and a little safe to protect the G rating, but the animation is beautiful, bringing the city of Rio to life.
It's a strange, but funny script, and the actors are really good, especially Tracy Morgan's adorable drooling bulldog, and Jermaine Clement as a darkly twisted (but very funny) cockatoo.
"Rio" just concentrates on nothing but entertaining the audience, and harmless family fun. Not fantastico. Just bueno. 3 Stars. Rated G.
How come well-meaning,insperational movies tend to be so cheesy and underwhelming?
Most of the film critics have gotten it spot on with "Soul Surfer", which tells the amazingly true story of teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost an arm, but survived a gruesome shark attack. This is the kind of story that deserves to be made into a great Hollywood film, but usually ends up corny and overly preachy.
The problem with "Soul Surfer" is that you could learn a lot more about this brave girl and her family from watching a documentary, or by reading a book. Instead, the movie is predictable and covered in that same-old same-old Hollwood cheese that's been made so many times before.
The main cast, starring Anna-Sophia Robb as Bethany, and Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents, are fine, but they are presented as cliches (which in English means something important,but if it were really important, there would be an English word for it. Just saying.)
The cinematography and the surfing scenes are impressive, except the actual shark attack scene. It only lasts a few seconds, but it looks pretty fake, and the shark is demonized as a heartless, soulless monster. (It's just a hungry fish that does'nt know any better). In the end the film is still missing something. Maybe it's charm, and the ability to make you know and really like the characters. Seeing the real story of Bethany is a lot more inspiring.
"Soul Surfer" is very upfront with it's Christian morals, although I think it kind of hits you over the head with it. It's a well-meaning film that fails to inspire .2 Stars. Rated PG for Adult themes.
Above image: E.B. auditions for a hare-metal band.
Wait. You want me to review what!? From the same guy who directed the DREADFUL "Alvin and the Chipmunks!?" Oh well. Thank goodness for low expectations.
Based on the incredible true story of E.B.(The Easter Bunny. Get it?), "Hop", played by Russell Brand, who somehow got to marry Katy Perry, has to take over the family egg-delivering buisiness from his hare-raising father (Hugh Laurie, who plays a house in a t.v. show). He runs into one of the X-Men (James Marsden) with some job problems, and they team up to save Easter while causing all kinds of havoc. And by the way, E.B.wants to be a drummer.
Surprisingly, "Hop" has something that those dang chipmunks with rabies didn't. Charm and likability. The voice work is great, especially Russell Brand and Hank Azaria, who plays a power hungry chick (the cute, fluffy kind) who is bent on taking over Easter. The animation is really fun and it blends well with the live-action. The humans aren't as interesting as the animated characters, and the story is pretty much silly. Although at least the story and writing is intentionally funny, unlike my last-reviewed film, the laughably over-dramatic "Sucker Punch."
"Hop" is pretty acceptable for the whole family, by a hare. Personally, I'd give it a higher rating, but darn me and my higher critcal standards. 2 1/2 Stars. Rated PG for crude humor and hare-brained schemes. (pardon all the hare jokes).
Above Image: GET TO THE CHOPPAH!!!!!!!!!!
What...in the world! What's up with that? Sorry, I'm not quite sure how to explain the magic that is "Sucker Punch", the newest film from Zach Snyder, director of "300", "Watchmen" and the supremely UNDERRATED "Legend Of The Guardians."
"Sucker Punch" stars a cute actress who is sent to an institution full of other cute actresses against her will. She retreats to an alternate reality in order to plot a very loud and violent escape from the weirdos who run the place. Yep. That's the plot
Aside from Scott Glenn, who plays the spiritual mentor, the acting is very unexpressive and bland. Plus, the writing is way too serious for such a stupid plot, but strangely, I kind of liked the mindlessness. This is one of those "It's so bad, it's good" kind of movies.
The film itself is amazing to look at. I'm talking about the visuals and not just the underdressed ladies. "Sucker Punch" has everything from explosions, loud music and awsome creatures, and as laughable as it all can be, at least Snyder made the film he wanted to make. And to top it off, the end credits may be the creepiest sequence of all time.
I kind of enjoyed this "Sucker Punch." It did'nt hurt much. 2 1/2 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Violence, Skimpy Clothing and More Violence.
above image: Hello racially insensitive alien. Have you met the twins from Transformers 2?
I guess for for every great day, there is a bad day. For every grape snow cone, there is a "lemon" snow cone. For every U2 song, there is a Justin Beiber song.
And for every "Rango", which is funny, original, exciting and well-thought out, there is "Mars needs Moms." Which is none of the above, and a whole lot less.
Look, my dad keeps telling me not to be mean about it, but he's not the one who had to sit through an empty theater without one cute girl in it, and yet forced to watch another dang "Never Say Never" preview. (Didn't that come out last month?). So sue me if I'm a little cranky. I've been through the bloody bowels of hell.
Ok, so there is this little twerp who won't listen listen to his mom, won't eat his veggies, won't take out the trash (kid needs a good spankin' if you ask me), and wishes his mom would just disappear. So guess what happens? No, take a minute. Take another minute. You'll never guess.
She's kidnapped by aliens and probed (Oh, wait, wrong movie), and the little snot-nosed brat teams up with an annoying man of large girth to follow the aliens and save his poor mother who deserves better from the unappreciative little fart.
Not only is "Mom's" not funny, it's also annoying. Not just the kid and his porky friend, but especially the aliens themselves. They are some kind of weird, Jamaican, Reggae stereotype that makes Jar-Jar Binks look politically correct. The only redeeming feature is the animation, which is kind of cool with some interesting visual backgrounds. But that's it.
Remember, kids. The moral of "Mars needs Mom's"? If you aren't kind to your mother, aliens will kidnap and probe her.
(Disclaimer Notice: James's Dad does not endorse talk of "little farts", "probing" or "Justin Beiber")
1 1/2 Stars. Rated PG for Crude (Unfunny) Humor, and Insensitive, Ethnic StereoTypes That Would Make Al Sharpton Cringe.
(above image: Sherrif "Rango" making like a really ugly John Wayne)
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, having to say publicly for 2 months that "The Green Hornet" was the best film so far of 2011 (Oh ,AGONY!), we finally get the movie that I and anyone with taste has been waiting for. Heck, I could have made my own documentary, "Waiting for Rango."
"Rango" is an animated western starring Johnny Depp as a lizard, or chameleon, or a gross, scalely thingy that looks like a tube of toothpaste with his eyes squeezed out. He finds himself green with envy when he arrives in a dusty old west town inhabited by other peculiar looking critters and quickly becomes Sheriff, and the hero he always imagined he could be.
This movie has everything. I laughed. I cried (Manly tears). "Rango" is one of the strangest, but most original stories I've ever seen. Completely different from the opening scene, it is funny all the way through, with interesting humor that many people won't get, but experienced and worldly movie critics like me understood. (For instance, the film's "Spirit of the West" character? Got that right away.)
The cast is perfect all the way around, and Johnny Depp has created another great character as "Rango", playing him as a strange mix between Kermit The Frog and Clint Eastwood. How many actors can pull that off? YAAAAAAAY! (That's my "Kermit" impersination)
I don't understand how some lamer critics don't appriciate the incredible animation of "Rango." Every detail on every character and the settings spot-on perfect. Every character has amazing attention given to them, and they are all well-written and funny. The best scenes are the back-in forth conversations between "Rango" and the townsfolk.
"Rango" is a little long for it's plot and maybe one scene too long. That's an awful lot of weirdness for 110 minutes, but that's a small price to pay for something that has so much imagination and care put into it. Obviously the best film of the year. Watch out Pixar. There's a new Sheriff in town. 4 Stars. Rated PG, but not exactly the most kid friendly movie for parents, for Language, a couple Freaky, Frightening Scenes, and some Naughty Humor.
Above image: the commander asking himself ''Why aren't I in a better movie?''
What in the world was I just watching!?
"I Am Number 4" is a Michael Bay produced film. Where there is 2 hours of explosions, plotless storylines, and lots of overacting? Instead, we have too much plot, not enough action, and, well, some more overacting.
I'll explain this unexplainable story best that I can, and just make up the rest. 9 alien children, who look like they must be models from the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue, whose planet was destroyed for unexplained reasons by some way-too-cool-for-this movie aliens, blend into society to do something that must be important, although I don't know what it is. Apparently, they suck at it, because 3 of them have been brutally killed.
So now the pretty boy (No.4) has to blend in to a new town. From then on, it's just talk talk, problems problems, yada yada, BORING. The first hour and a half is mind numbing (although my head started to hurt. So how could it be mind numbing? My thoughts started to drift. Should I have gone with butter on the popcorn? Mmmm, popcorn.)
Any hoo, what we're we talking about? Oh yeah, the final 25 minute battle between the models and the big green aliens, who are totally awesome and should have gotten their own movie, partially redeems the movie, but not quite enough to reccomend it.
So, maybe bring your PSP and play "Final Fantasy" for the first 3 quarters of "I Am Number 4" until it gets to the good stuff. 1 1/2 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Alien Violence and Lots of Pouty Teens Whining About Their Love Life.
Image above: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, DO NOT TURN AROUND!!!!!!
Finally! A movie for me to review. Why, a critic without a movie to review is like Justin Beiber without his girly hair. Or Bella without that blood-sucking hippie. Or Lady without the GaGa. Alone and useless.
Unfortunately, I'm not exactly coming back with "Hamlet", or "MacBeth", or "Romeo and Juliet."
How 'bout "Gnomeo and Juliet" ? Gnomes? Really? What's next? "Taming of the Chia Pet"? Shakespeare wishes he'd thought of it.
I'll try to refrain from making any gnome jokes, (but I make Gnome promises) as I tell the tale of "Gnomeo", which stars the voices of James Mclevoy and Emily Blunt as Rome, er, Gnomeo and Juliet, two gnomes kept apart by a family feud between red gnomes and blue gnomes. But they vow to be together. Gnome matter what.
Gnome matter how I tried to dislike this film, it's pretty harmless (except for the gnome in a speedo. Wouldn't advise seeing that in 3-D). There are a few funny moments and the animation is fairly detailed. It's pretty harmless for parents to take the little ones. I guess it's, uh-oh, kind of cute.
It's just too bland to reccomend for anyone else above the age of 6. There's nothing exactly memorable for me in watching the romantic adventures of garden gnomes .I'd rather stay at gnome and read Shakespeare. 2 Stars. Rated G, despite the animated gnome butt-cheeks.
image above: The Green Hornet (Seth Rogen) admiring Kato's (Jay Chou) butt.
Sorry for the long delay. We've had every computer curse you could imagine. Stolen. Broken. Vaporized. Slow Connection. At least it hasn't been melted yet.
But in the end, nothing can stop me from my responsibility of bringing you Hollywood's greatest fims. Like the breathtaking "Gulliver's Travels." Or the heart-racing "Alpha and Omega." (Of course, we're being a little sarcastic). And now the mildly enjoyable, somewhat entertaining "The Green Hornet."
The Greatest Action Hero Who Ever Lived, Seth Rogen stars in the title role as a spoiled rich playboy (not that "Playboy"), who,after his father's death, wakes up and decides out of nowhere, "Hey! I'm going to become a superhero, and my sidekick can be this guy I just met a few hours ago! What could go wrong!''
Actually, it's pretty enjoyable despite the ridiculous plot, with some state-of-the-art action sequences and 3-D graphics that ain't half bad. He isn't exactly Batman or Iron Man, but Rogen does ok with the action scenes and is funny, but he talks too much, and Jay Chou as Kato is a pretty good martial artist. But some of the better scenes comes from the supporting cast, like Cameron Diaz as the would-be love interest who punches Rogen in his little Geen Hornet, and Christoph Waltz as the villianious Chub Slotcksky, or whatever his name was.
The first 20 minutes or so are hurried, but it settles into a nice groove and becomes a nice action diversion for the new year. Not half bad for January, which as we all know is the worst month for movies. 2 1/2 Stars. Rated PG-13 for Violence and for having a Potty Mouth.