Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Early Thoughts: The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet ArtIn a new twist on my reviews, I finally saw a movie not only before it hit DVD, but before it even hit theatres everywhere! Last week, after bitterly missing the opportunity to see an advanced screening of "True Grit," I got a second chance at a preview screening when I got an e-mail invite for tickets to see "The Green Hornet" more than 3 weeks before it releases. I was definitely excited since it was a movie I was interested in (although, I'll be honest, I wanted to see "True Grit" more). So, after anxiously waiting, returning cell phones to the car and being wanded (they really don't want you to pirate the movie) I finally got to see the movie. Since the movie is still a ways away and there aren't really any other reviews of the movie floating around out there, I'm going to hold off on a full review (don't worry, I already wrote it up so I wouldn't forget) until probably the first of the year. I think it'd be a fitting way to ring in a new year of writing reviews. With all that being said, I will leave you with a few tidbits of what I thought of the movie. A tease, if you will:

- After what seemed like a pretty dry year for comedy (and still will be since this technically releases next year), this is definitely the movie that I laughed the hardest during.
- Christoph Waltz (Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds) plays the villain quite well.
- James Franco has a brief, uncredited role.
- The film has, at times, a campy feel to it (as a throwback to its radio roots). It doesn't make the movie campy itself, though.
- I watched the movie in 2D and it will apparently also be released in 3D. You can tell which camera shots, etc. were designed for the 3D, but it isn't too distracting (as it mostly fits in with the aesthetic of the movie)

"The Green Hornet" will be released January 14, 2011 and is rated PG-13 for sequences of violent action, language, sensuality and drug content.

Transformers: A Creation Cop Out

With Christmas coming up, I haven't had a chance to watch as many movies. Here are the few that I have gotten to, although 'Transformers' is from a while back (one I forgot to review):

Cop OutCop Out - (2 Stars)
There are plenty of buddy cop action comedies out there, including one of my favorite movies, so Cop Out already starts itself from a bad position. Add in the fact that this is the first time Kevin Smith is directing something he didn't write, and things are not looking any better. Had Smith written and directed this, it might have fared better as I've enjoyed some of Smith's previous movies, but not all of them by any means. This movie is going to be added to the "not so much enjoyed" list.

The movie starts funny enough with a good mix of visual and verbal humor from leads Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan but then nothing really happens. The story, which is never top focus in this type of movie, is pretty weak and the laughs drop off dramatically once the main arc of the story picks up. I ended up finding myself bored more than laughing. There wasn't even that much action to pick up the lack of comedy.
(107 minutes - Rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, violence and brief sexuality - 2010) (Netflix)

CreationCreation - (2 1/2 Stars)
Paul Bettany does a wonderful job with his very emotional, human portrayal of Darwin. Most times when people think of Darwin, they focus on his theory and not on what lead Darwin to his theories. Creation instead makes an interesting focus on Darwin's religious beliefs and the conflict he felt with his newfound discovery. But, it's not without its faults. Creation is another movie that builds well, but falters near the end. Creation, like many movies that dwell in the realm of emotions, built up but never hit that perfect end note.
(108 minutes - Rated PG-13 for some intense thematic material - 2009) (Netflix)

Transformers: Revenge of the FallenTransformers: Revenge of the Fallen - (2 Stars)
After the very successful first 'Transformers' movie, it would have seemed that Michael Bay could only improve on the flawed but fun movie. Instead, like many people predicted, Bay created a mess of a sequel. There is simply too much going on for a movie that should know that it's more about giant fighting robots than complicated exposition. It's too long, too tedious and too ridiculous, and that's hard to do when you are already expecting to see giant, transforming robots.

The first entry into the Transformers series wasn't great by any means, but it was at least more than an excuse for Michael Bay to blow stuff up and overcomplicated mythology. Okay, it probably was just an excuse for Michael Bay to blow stuff up, but at least (unfortunately) it made me interested in seeing the second one. Now the only reason I want to see the third one is to see whether or not the train completely derails or gets back on track. Just don't expect me to head to the theatre to do so.
(150 minutes - Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material - 2009) (Netflix)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas Movies

I always find that certain movies are best watched at specific times of the year. Obviously, in this case, I'm referring to Christmas movies (much like I did previously with Halloween). Everyone has their own favorite Christmas movies they have to watch each year, and I am no different. I'm not even sure my list is that different than other people. I did notice, while looking at my list, that I picked movies from different decades. So, I decided to work back chronologically with my 5 favorite Christmas movies instead of any sort of preferential order:

Friday, December 3, 2010

After the Movie #1 - The Ghost Writer, Repo Men

Here is the first of my new "After the Movie" posts where I will expand further on my reviews. This is going to have spoilers in it, so don't read unless you have seen the movie. To make it easier, I'll use the page break to keep everything after the jump. I can't decide whether to do one post for each movie, or lump them together and use the "Spoiler Tag" method (highlight the text to read). Please let me know what you think in the comments section (Thank you!).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Christmas Repo Writer

Today I have two new reviews and one old one that I missed. These movies still fall a bit on the underwhelming side, but each has their own interesting aspect that bumped their reviews up a bit. I also have some tidbits for these movies that will work well in my first "After the Movie" post. I'm a bit miffed that I missed out on an easy chance at winning tickets again today (I thought they were just more tickets to see Due Date, and I'm good in that respect, but they were actually for any movie so I never called). So, no Harry Potter review upcoming just yet. Anyway, here are the reviews in order of my viewing:

Repo Men – (2 ½ Stars)
I'm a sucker for a well done, clever Science Fiction story. So, going into the movie, I thought there could be some potential for a surprise. To me that's one of the best movie going experiences, when a movie completely delivers something you don't expect. And while "Repo Men" has an interesting enough concept, it doesn't completely deliver in the end.
Repo Men
Jude Law and Forrest Whitaker play the title characters who, in the semi-near future, are tasked with tracking down and repossessing artificial organs that the owners have fallen behind in payments on. The idea is both well executed and sloppy at the same time. Some plot holes exist because of this (or I guess, more along the lines of logic or character motivation holes). 

The movie still moves at a pretty quick pace and provides some decent action. I actually gave the movie a higher rating because of the ending (which I will discuss more in my AtM post). While it may lack in some areas, "Repo Men" at least offers some action and some interesting ethical dilemmas. For example, to think of predatory lending extending to something that is actually in your body is a scary idea indeed.  
(119 minutes - Rated R for for strong bloody violence, grisly images, language and some sexuality/nudity - 2010(Netflix)

A Christmas Carol – (2 ½ Stars)
A Christmas CarolI will be very happy when this 3-D fad finally comes to an end and movies will be made for the sake of the story, and not to serve a gimmicky technology. Disney's latest version of Charles Dickens' classic is a perfect example. What starts off as a seemingly faithful adaptation quickly falls prey to ridiculous flying scenes and various objects coming at the camera just for the sake of a 3-D audience. I did not watch the movie in 3-D, so it just came across as awkward and, well, unnecessary.

Since Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is such a well known and beloved story, there's not much to say that people don't already know when it comes to the story. At times, this version follows the story closer than other adaptations. But, just when you think it might be on the right track, another gimmicky chase/action scene is thrown in. Jim Carrey does a pretty good job at channeling his inner miser (and the various spirits), but even that isn't enough to save this rendition. However, it still had some enjoyable moments. But this is mostly due to its source material. 

Note: Since it does try to keep closer to the story, there are some frightful moments. This is not recommended for younger kids. If you have younger kids, watch the much better Muppet Christmas Carol. If you don't have younger kids, watch Scrooge, or you might as well still watch the Muppet version anyway, too.
(98 minutes - Rated PG for scary sequences and images - 2009) (Netflix)

The Ghost Writer – (3 Stars)*
There was a lot of press build-up for Roman Polanski's latest film due to his possible extradition to the US and being placed under house arrest, and so on and so forth. To be honest, all of the press probably helped this movie get noticed, but it doesn't really help the movie as a whole. Especially when there are definite parallels to Polanski within the characters in the film.

The Ghost WriterEwan McGregor is the ghost hired to help pen the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister (Pierce Brosnan) when the previous ghost writer is mysteriously found dead. The movie takes this premise and builds a suspenseful, complicated web of politics and deceit. The scenery in the movie is fantastically dreary and only adds to suspense. Perhaps the strongest aspect of the movie is Polanski's directing. However, the story is where things begin to unravel.

"The Ghost Writer" builds everything up incredibly well, but it all falls apart and becomes rather simplistic by the end. The movie, based on a book by Robert Harris (a former BBC reporter), also doesn't really try to hide its political opinions and message. So, instead of a good suspense movie to take you out of reality, you have a suspenseful movie that tries a little to hard to force an idea on you. Overall, there are many elements to this movie that are extremely well done, in the end it just fizzles.
(128 minutes - Rated PG-13 for language, brief nudity/sexuality, some violence and a drug reference - 2010) (Netflix)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Secretariat: A Horse (and movie) of a different color

Secretariat - (3 1/2 Stars)
Whenever I watch an "inspirational sports film" I always go into the movie skeptical. It can't be helped. How many movies like Secretariat out there recycle a similar sports story and, despite the fact that they are based on true stories, still utilize the same tired plot points? There are many. So, going into Secretariat, I had my concerns.

SecretariatFor one thing, this movie is about a horse and not a person. Horse racing isn't exactly at the top of my list of "Must Watch" sporting events. Secondly, perhaps the biggest concern, I knew how the movie was going to end, or rather, how the story ends. My concerns weren't allayed at first. The movie starts as you would expect, with a dramatic voice-over quoting something or sharing an anecdote complete with your typical dramatic sports story music (compare soundtracks to sports movies sometime, they are quite similar). But where Secretariat goes from there is much better than I expected. In fact, it delivers a very entertaining story that, while following the exploits of a horse, also has a very human aspect to it in the story of the people who owned and trained and rode Secretariat.

The cast is top notch. Diane Lane does a pretty good turn as the tough, not-going-to-back-down Penny Tweedy nee Chenery and John Malkovich is always entertaining, and does a great job bringing his charisma to the cast. As for knowing how the movie ends, "Secretariat" still does an excellent job of building and maintaining suspense throughout the movie. I found myself several times questioning what I knew to be true. In the end, "Secretariat" delivers a well-acted, solidly entertaining inspirational sports movie. While it's not groundbreaking or anything particularly new, it's definitely worth a watch.
(123 minutes - Rated PG for brief mild language. - 2010) (Netflix)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Last Greenberg Apocalypse

In a move reminiscent of Christopher Nolan, I have some movie reviews that are out of chronological order with my other posts. I watched them all before I watched Inception (but I mentioned at the beginning of that review, referring to an "endless quagmire of mediocre or sub-par movies"). Nothing that stands out in this bunch, unless being very bad stands out.

The Last Song - (1 Star)
The Last SongWithout even putting the DVD into the player, this movie had two strikes against it: Nicholas Sparks and Miley Cyrus. Some will probably say that it's a little harsh/biased to go into a movie thinking that. Trust me, in this case, it's not. "The Last Song" is another typical Nicholas Sparks movie that includes all of his usual gimmicks. The acting gets pretty bad at some points in the movie, especially the first introduction between Miley Cyrus' character and her eventual love interest, Liam Hemsworth, where it literally felt like Miley was reading cue cards behind his head. Probably enjoyable for younger teenage girls, a demographic to which I obviously don't belong.
(107 minutes - Rated PG for thematic material, some violence, sensuality and mild language - 2010) (Netflix)

Superman/Batman: ApocalypseSuperman/Batman: Apocalypse - (2 1/2 Stars)
A follow-up to the previous Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. As someone who has read the source comic book, I can say that it plays like a mediocre adaptation. It doesn't really change much or bring anything new to a story that was just kind of okay to begin with. Still enjoyable if you're looking for an animated superhero movie, just nothing special.
(75 minutes - Rated PG-13 for violence and brief sensuality - 2010) (Netflix)

Greenberg - (2 Stars)
GreenbergInstead of being awkwardly funny or awkwardly touching it's just awkward. The film is more of a character study in that it basically follows Ben Stiller's character, Roger Greenberg, who's neurotic and often socially inept. I wasn't a fan of Noah Baumbach's previous movie, "The Squid and the Whale," but I enjoy his contributions on Wes Anderson's movies (then again, that might just be due to Anderson). Stiller does do a great job with the role, but it's not enough to make the otherwise aimless movie worth watching.
(107 minutes - Rated R for some strong sexuality, drug use, and language - 2010) (Netflix)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Due Date: Planes, No Brains and Stolen Automobiles

*See the bottom of the review for more information about the idea proposed in this month's poll.*

Due Date - (2 Stars)
The first thing I thought when I saw the preview for "Due Date" was that it looked like an updated version of the movie "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," as I'm sure many other people did. The movie was basically marketed as "Planes..." meets "The Hangover." Fans of "The Hangover" will be much more interested than fans of the "Planes..." (in fact, Todd Phillips directed both "Due Date" and "The Hangover"). Although, even they might not find it too funny. I was not particularly amused.

Due Date"Due Date" uses the tried and (usually) true method of pairing two mismatched people for comedic effect (call it an odd couple, or the "jerk and the moron" or even a variation of the straight man to the funny man). The problem is that most of the time you really don't like the "jerk" or sympathize with the "moron." I'd like to say that along the way their characters grow and get better, but they really don't.

The aspect of the movie that bothered me the most and really put me out of the movie-going experience was that "Due Date" wasn't a realistic, sincere type of comedy. Now this wouldn't be a bad thing except that it's not on the opposite end of the spectrum, a ridiculous, funny slapstick style of comedy either. The movie starts out believably enough (and enjoyably enough as well) but quickly begins veering more towards stupidity and away from being funny or believable.

One of the reasons I wanted to like this movie more than I did was that I have enjoyed Robert Downey, Jr.'s performances of late. I was more than a little disappointed when I saw that he was going to be in this movie, but held my breath that perhaps he and Galifianakis could pull it off. However, Galifianakis seems to be playing a vaguely similar character to his Hangover counterpart, who I didn't enjoy the first time around and Downey is channeling a more smarmy version of Tony Stark, his character from "Iron Man." Except where Tony Stark's character is a likable character with some personality flaws, Downey's character in "Due Date" is just completely unlikeable.

In the end, there were definitely funny parts throughout the movie, but many of them also showed up in the trailers. "Due Date" never hits any real comedic stride and really peters out by the end. In fact, as the movie went on I found myself wondering how long it was. While it officially clocks in at 100 or so minutes, it feels closer to north of 2 hours.
(100 minutes - Rated R for language, drug use and sexual content - 2010) (Netflix - February 22)

I'm toying with a new idea and have added a poll to see what people think. I try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible, but I often have more to say. What I'm thinking of doing is creating a series of posts that would be extra, spoiler-filled commentary for people to read after they have seen the movie. For example, there are several things from this movie I wanted to elaborate on but didn't want to spoil anyone as to what specifically occurs in the movie. There was also a lot in Toy Story 3 and Inception as well. Please take the poll and let me know what you think about this idea!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to Train Toys for Inception

After what seems like an endless quagmire of mediocre or sub-par movies that I've been seeing lately, these are some of the best movie options of the year. There are two animated movies, both of which are wonderful for both kids and adults alike, and a movie that I may end up considering one of my personal favorites. I can tell you right now that I recommend that you check out all three of these movies. So, before I go ahead and make the actual reviews superfluous, I better just stop typing...

Inception - (5 Stars)
First thing I will say: this is the best movie I have seen all year. Second thing: This may be the best movie I have seen in a while. I am and have always been a huge fan of all of Christopher Nolan's movies. As soon as I see his most recent movie, I'm looking ahead to see what he has coming up. Memento was the first of his movies that I saw, and it blew me away. His takes on Batman have been equally brilliant (with the Dark Knight considered by many to be the best comic book movie out there) and The Prestige is one of my favorite movies of all time.

InceptionSo what did I expect going in to Inception? Nothing short of brilliance again. I don't really want to go into what happens in the movie as it is definitely one that needs to be watched for oneself, but I will say that despite my really high expectations, it delivered way beyond what I had hoped for. The story is smart, engaging and a little bit puzzling (in a good way). The scenery/imagery is fantastic. There were several scenes in the movie where I was blown away. They were the kind of scenes that are iconic (some of which have, unfortunately, been in the trailers). Hans Zimmer also delivers a haunting, reverberating (literally) score that pairs wonderfully with Nolan's vision. Perhaps the aspect that works the best about this movie is its phenomenal ensemble cast. Every person, from Leonardo DiCaprio to Tom Hardy to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fit perfectly into the puzzle without a piece missing or out of place.

I realize that I haven't really explained what the movie is about and for the sake of those of you who may be on the fence about seeing it, think of it as a con/heist movie that takes place within the mind. There's action, suspense, some funny parts and some real emotional moments as well. Definitely worth seeing (several times).
(148 minutes - Rated PG-13 for violence and action throughout - 2010) (Netflix - Dec. 7)

How to Train Your Dragon - (4 Stars)
When it comes to animated movies, I'll admit that sometimes I'm a little biased towards Pixar movies. That's not to say that I'll only watch their movies or that I turn my nose up at Dreamworks or other studios movies, it's just that when your track record is as good as Pixar's it's hard not to be jaded towards the competition. That being said, 'How to Train Your Dragon" is by far the best movie Dreamworks Animation has put out.
How to Train Your Dragon

Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, "How to Train Your Dragon" follows a young viking by the name of Hiccup. He lives in a world where vikings and dragons are engaged in a constant battle against each other for existence. The vikings believe that all dragons should be killed on sight and the dragons, well...what would you do if you saw a big, hairy guy swinging an ax? However, when Hiccup encounters a young, injured dragon he begins to learn that things aren't so black and white when it comes to the scaly beasts.

"Dragon" has a pretty decent voice cast, smooth animation and a good story that makes Madagascar look even more like it was written by a group of chimpanzees (sorry, sorry...but it's true...Madagascar is a mess). It's also reinforces that not everything is always as it seems (or don't judge a book by its cover). Hopefully, though, it doesn't also give kids the idea to walk up to the nearest scaly reptile and attempt to pet it. Overall, "Dragon" is a solidly entertaining movie that both kids and adults should enjoy. It's not as funny as I thought it would be, but it's still a great time.
(98 minutes - Rated PG for sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language - 2010) (Netflix)

Toy Story 3 - (4 1/2 Stars)
Inception's challenge was all about whether or not Christopher Nolan could top his previous movies and How to Train Your Dragon's was whether or not Dreamworks could put out something decent and on almost on par with Pixar. Toy Story 3 probably has the biggest challenge of the three: How do you create a sequel, more than ten years later, to one of the most beloved franchises of all time? The movie itself is the answer to that question. Pixar has outdone themselves with Toy Story 3 by creating a movie that is both fresh and nostalgic and is a sequel that doesn't just retread old territory but provides a proper send-off for some of animation's most beloved characters.

Toy Story 3Toy Story 3 picks up about 10 years after the last Toy Story (so, just about as long as it was in real life). Andy is getting ready to head off to college, and his favorite toys are starting to get nervous because they haven't been played with in a long time. Eventually, due to a mix up, the gang ends up in a daycare center. This provides the opportunity for a lot of new characters to be introduced. However, at no point does the amount of toys get confusing or detract from the main story.

Once again, sticking with my usual stance, I don't want to go into too much detail because I don't like spoiling what happens (hopefully my explanation above only covers what was in the previews). I will say that there were parts that I did feel where a bit rehashed or tired (although, I will admit that when I watched the movie I was in the midst of an annoying cold and was a bit more irritable about stupid stuff) but by the end of the movie I completely forgot about them and was fully engaged and emotionally invested in the story. Pixar shows that, once again, they are the masters of animated storytelling and that they know how to properly end a story as cherished as Toy Story.
(103 minutes - Rated G - 2010) (Netflix)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween B-sides

As I was working on my list of my personal favorite Halloween movies, I found myself having to leave out several movies in order to keep it to 5. I also wanted to keep my list to those that have a great October creepy feel (with the exception of Nightmare Before Christmas). So, that means that I was left with several great Halloween comedies that didn't make my list (but are definitely worth watching). Consider these the lighter alternative to my previous list: the B-Side. A way to laugh away any lingering creeps you may have left over from Halloween. Click on through to view the list (note: there are parallels to some of the titles on the previous list):

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Personal Halloween Movie Picks

Let me start off by saying that these are my favorite Halloween movies to watch each year and NOT what I consider to be the best Horror/Halloween movies of all time. That would be a separate list, one that I will probably not make anytime soon. Please feel free to weigh in with your Halloween movies in the comments section (and to add a little suspense to the list, I've added a 'jump.' You'll have to click on through to see the list).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Survival of Temple's Iron Hood

Here are a couple more movies I've watched recently. It's a pretty mixed bag with mixed results as well. Temple Grandin is from a few weeks ago (forgot to include it before), but the other 4 I just watched this week and most are relatively new releases.

Temple Grandin* - (4 Stars)
A touching, and wholly interesting look at the life of one of the leaders in humane livestock handling who also happens to be autistic. Won the Emmy for best Made for TV movie (it was on HBO), as such it is not rated. It is basically the equivalent of a PG movie along the lines of Finding Neverland (no real objectionable content but not really interesting for younger kids). (103 minutes - NR - 2010) (Netflix)

Survival of the Dead^ - (1 Star)
George A. Romero has officially lost his touch with zombie movies. It's a good thing "The Walking Dead" starts on AMC on Halloween night (10pm) or else there would be nowhere to turn for good zombies anymore. I have four words to summarize how bad this movie is: zombie riding a horse. Oh yeah, and he uses digital effects instead of makeup effects (see my review of Zombieland if you really want to know more about how I feel about zombie movies) (90 minutes - Rated R for strong zombie violence/gore, language and brief sexuality - 2009/2010)(Netflix)

Iron Man 2  - (4 Stars)
Great follow-up to the original. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. I like that they are building up to a big team-up movie (The Avengers), but they are forcing too much information into the Iron Man story that could just be saved for the actual Avenger movie. As a side note: I thought Sam Rockwell stands out as being perfectly annoying as Justin Hammer, Tony Stark's business rival, whereas my wife just found him annoying. (124 minutes - Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some language - 2010) (Netflix)

Robin Hood - (2 1/2 Stars)
Ridley Scott, who apparently lives to make epic battle movies, brings his style to a Robin Hood prequel tale. Some of the changes to the mythos work, others are just confusing. I found myself liking some parts and hating other parts of this movie. Overall, the movie is a bit long and convoluted (too many extra characters, some of which are probably set-up for a potential sequel) and probably would have been better had it not been about Robin Hood. (140 minutes - Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content - 2010) (Netflix)

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths^ - (2 1/2 Stars)
Not the best and not the worst of the DC Animated movies. Standard comic book fare that is at the very least an entertaining popcorn watch. (75 minutes - Rated PG-13 for action violence - 2010) (Netflix)

*Recommended Pick of the Week
^Netflix Instant Play

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh, The Movies I've Watched...

Here is a (mostly) complete list of the movies I have watched since I last posted (in July). Some of them have brief fragments attached to them, as I was in the process of reviewing them. At some point, I would like to come back and expand on them (at least the ones worth expanding on). In any case, here are the movies I've watched over the past 2-3 months (in no particular order, although it's kinda-sorta in the order I watched them):

Alice in Wonderland – (3½ Stars)
Everyone knows the story, or at least bits and pieces, of “Alice in Wonderland,” whether you’ve seen the Disney cartoon or one of the various live-action versions or read the books. Enter Tim Burton and his love for remaking movies with his own spin (Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, Planet of the Apes…). What happens when you let Mr. Burton, whose movies often evoke strange and gothic-esque atmosphere, handle Alice in Wonderland? A better than expected, fresh adaptation of the wonderfully unusual Lewis Carroll stories.
(108 minutes - Rated PG for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar - 2010) (Netflix)

Dead Alive – (3 Stars)
One of the most ridiculous movies I have ever seen with over-the-top gore effects, cheesy and hilarious slapstick humor and lots of other strange happenings. The MPAA rating for the R-rated version says it all: an abundance of outrageous gore.
(97 minutes - NR - 1992) (Netflix)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – (4 Stars)
A pretty decent adaptation of the penultimate Potter book. As with all of the other movies, some liberties are taken to keep it consistent with the others. The movies have taken an upswing starting with "Order of the Phoenix" (my favorite of the movies) and "Half-Blood Prince" that hopefully will hold up into the two-part finale. Although, any Potter movie would be better than the train wreck that was "Goblet of Fire."
(153 minutes - Rated PG for scary images, some violence, language and mild sensuality - 2009) (Netflix)

The Wolfman – (2 Stars)
A remake of the Lon Chaney version with pretty good casting. This version is more of an action movie than a horror movie but the problem is: it’s a very slow action movie. The characters lack any real emotional depth, which is integral to this movie really working. Although, the soundtrack has shades of the original, which is a plus.

Brothers – (3 Stars)
A tense, unsettling and sometimes even heartbreaking movie that shows some of the potential extreme effects of war.

Sunshine Cleaning – (3 ½ Stars)
Quirky dark comedy full of great characters with a focus on the importance of family.

Kick-Ass – (2½ Stars)
Interesting enough premise, but a poor execution. I didn't care at all what happened to any the characters, which isn't exactly great for a superhero movie (yeah, I know it's not supposed to be a 'typical' comic book movie).

Shutter Island – (3 Stars)
Great atmosphere, building suspense mounts to a disappointingly predictable ending…or is it?

The Crazies – (3 Stars)
A respectable entry into the infected / ”zombie”/crazy-person horror genre. Creepy and foreboding, without being an unnecessarily violent slasher movie.

Green Zone – (4 Stars)
A solidly entertaining political thriller that has the look of a Jason Bourne movie, without actually being one. The movie is a fictionalized account of the search for WMDs. Some may find it “too political,” but I viewed it as enjoyable fiction.

Green Lantern: First Flight – (3½ Stars)
Animated re-telling of Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s origin story. This is a good movie for people gearing up for next years theatrical Green Lantern movie who want a basic understanding of the GL universe.

Batman: Under the Red Hood – (3½ Stars)
A decent adaptation of a very good Batman comic story arc. This is probably not the best story for people new to Batman, but it does its best to fill in the uninformed. The screenwriter is actually the same person who wrote the original comic, so it's interesting to see the changes the author makes to his original source material. Most of the changes are for the better, but some just seem unnecessary.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – (3 Stars)
Funnier and more enjoyable than I expected. The movie does seem drawn out at times (which isn’t good when the movie is only 90 minutes to begin with). I haven’t read the books myself, but I assume most kids would enjoy this if they liked the original stories. If not, they can always read the books again (Yea for reading!).

The Book of Eli - (3 Stars)
I find myself usually drawn to post-apocalyptic movies of this type for some reason. I think it has to do with wanting to see how people react and stand out in a world that is starting over without rules or other preconceived notions. Eli is just a slightly better than mediocre attempt at this. The movie is pretty slow at most parts, only speeding up for the rather dull (and expected) fight scenes. There are definitely some interesting aspects of the movie, but overall not much here.

She's Out Of My League - (2½ Stars)

While funny at times, the movie is mostly a pretty typical comedy that I guess would be the male equivalent of a 'chick flick.' It kind of feels like a B version of a Judd Apatow movie. Jay Baruchel is likable enough as the lead.

Letters to Juliet - (1 Star)
A painfully dull, cliché ridden romance movie that meanders onward for what seems an eternity (figuratively of course, the movie is only 105 minutes), making all the predictable stops along the way. It even has a groan-inducing ending that I saw coming a mile away.

An Inconvenient Truth - (1 Star)
A movie about Al Gore...who happens to be talking about global warming. Not a very engaging documentary, and an even less engaging subject. Would have been more interesting with the focus off of Gore (and no, my opinion is not based on any particular dislike of Al Gore or the concept of Global Warming).

Youth in Revolt - (2 Stars)
Michael Cera stars as himself (ok, not really...but he's basically always the same character). Having been unlucky in love in the past, Cera sets up an alternate bad boy persona to impress a new girl and mayhem ensues. Not particularly funny or clever, just more of your typical Michael Cera fare.

Probably missed a few, but I will add them as I find them. Also, I will more than likely try to at least put out a full review here and there. I have passes to see Secretariat, so I will definitely post a full review for that one, since it is new to theatres.

Updating in the Dark

Well, it's been some time since I have fully reviewed and posted my thoughts on any movies on here. I'd say that a lot has been going on but it hasn't, at least in the sense of being busy. The truth is that I've found it hard to write and take the time needed to make my reviews meet my expectations while I am currently unemployed. As I said before, I have plenty of time in which to write, but the spectre of being jobless hangs over me every time I think to start working on a review. But, I have been keeping track of movies that I have watched so that I could eventually fill in these gaps once I find some sort of employment.

The question then is, why after almost three months have I decided to write anything here? I felt that it would at least explain why there haven't been reviews, first of all. Also, I really want to be writing and posting reviews and plan to get back to it when I have some means of income, so I wanted to keep this alive. So, that leads to where I am now: for the meantime, I have decided to post my ratings for movies I watch. I'm not going to be fully reviewing them, but will be putting them up as at least a placeholder to fill in later. If at any point anyone would like to know more about why I gave a particular movie a certain review, I will gladly respond to Facebook posts, tweets or e-mails. Hopefully this will enable me to keep up with movie reviews and still help a few people out there when it comes to selecting their evening (or anytime) entertainment. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

(Not So) Grown Ups

Grown Ups - (1 1/2 Stars)
Adam Sandler has been making movies for quite some time. Most of these movies, at least the ones he writes, are fairly similar. They follow a loveable loser, always played with the same immature charm by Sandler, who must overcome some obstacle or solve some problem. A common solution to these problems is that Sandler’s character needs to simply learn to grow up and take more responsibility. Also, there are usually a decent amount of laughs to keep the story chugging along. Lately, however, these laughs have been coming fewer, farther between and a lot more forced. “Grown Ups” continues this downward trend despite its all star cast of funnymen in Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider.

The group of friends, who played together on a CYO championship basketball team, is brought back together after 30 years when their coach passes away. Sandler, the leader of the group, is now a successful Hollywood agent whose kids are so spoiled they text their nanny for hot chocolate. The rest of the group, while not as well off as Sandler’s character, seem to be doing well enough. After the funeral they decide to spend the holiday weekend together at a lake house they often spent summers at to reminisce and put the coach to rest. It is at the lake house that they begin to realize that maybe things haven’t turned out the way they had hoped and aren’t living their lives the way coach may have wanted.

The movie is full of the usual sight gags, as well as many scenes where the comedians just riff on each other. Either way a lot of the jokes felt contrived or out of place. Often a joke would immediately be followed by a scene change or transition as if they were trying to fit in too much. While there are some parts where I found myself chuckling, overall the movie never really hits its stride.

I found myself wondering often throughout the movie why, with all of the talent involved, the movie wasn’t funnier? My best guess is that the actors just really wanted to do a movie together and hang out.  Unfortunately, this hang out time does not equal more laughs.

In the end, “Grown Ups” ends up being a disappointment. Despite its title, the comedy included in the movie is a bit childish. If you are looking for a summer movie that you don’t really have to think about and maybe laugh a little, “Grown Ups” should do just fine. If you’re looking for something a bit meatier, I’m sure there are plenty of other good choices at the theater right now.
 (102 minutes – Rated PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity – 2010) (Netflix)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

John the Night Road Stalker: In Rome!!!

Finally, after quite a long hiatus, I have some new movie reviews. I've had a lot going on and just haven't had the time to getting these reviews finished and posted. They've been partially completed after I watched each movie, but now here they are. Part of the reason I didn't post was also due to not watching as many movies (nothing coming in, starting to watch "Fringe" again). However, now there should be a pretty steady stream of movies coming in (and maybe a few theatrical reviews as well!)

*The Road – (3 ½ stars) – 
The Road“The Road,” based on the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, is a bleak vision of a post-apocalyptic American wasteland. The story follows a man and his son as they trek the wasteland in search of food and hope for a place that is free from all of the destruction. The movie is fairly faithful to book, however some character chemistry is lacking until the end of the movie, which does take away from the movie since most of the story emphasizes the relationship between the man and his son. I also found that the young actor who played the boy was quite annoying (more than I remembered the boy being in the book). Overall the movie does an excellent job of adapting the book although, at the same time, you really could just read the book.
(Netflix) (111 minutes - Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language - 2009)

The Night Stalker / The Night Strangler
The Night Stalker – (3 Stars) – A television movie that kicked-off a subsequent series, “The Night Stalker” is the supernatural precursor to “The X-Files.” The story follows the exploits of the great character of Darren McGavin’s Kolchak, a newspaper reporter, as he tracks down what he believes to be an actual vampire preying on young women. The movie is a bit dated, but still a lot of fun. There is a second movie and the series, however it was short lived, but there was another an attempted resurrection a few years back (to no avail). Also, for those not familiar with the name Darren McGavin, he is the dad who finally relents to getting his son a Red Rider BB gun in “A Christmas Story.”
(Netflix) (74 minutes - Not Rated/Television Movie - 1972)

Dear John

Dear John – (1 Star) – Chances are that if you are sitting in on “Dear John” you are either the intended audience or were dragged there/coaxed into renting it by the intended audience. Either way, expect the expected. As is standard in a Nicholas Sparks book-to-movie adaptation, we have our typical boy meets girl story full of bad acting, annoying characters and plenty of clichés. You can definitely tell that Sparks is a man trying to write a woman character because they always turn out terribly two-dimensional. By the way, I checked with the intended audience (two teenaged girls and one twenty-something girl): they didn’t like it either.
(Netflix) (108 minutes - Rated PG-13 for some sensuality and violence - 2010)

When in Rome

When In Rome – (3 Stars) –“When in Rome” is a romantic comedy that doesn’t take itself seriously and doesn’t require you to. Starring Kristen Bell (who is most know from her turn as Veronica Mars on CW) and Josh Duhamel (mostly known for being Fergie’s husband), as the couple of interest. They meet at a destination wedding in Rome near a famous fountain of love. The movie includes some funny bit parts from comedians Jon Heder, Danny DeVito, Will Arnett and Dax Shepard (Bell’s real-life love interest). Overall the movie is pretty predictable but remains enjoyable.
(Netflix) (91 minutes - Rated PG-13 for some suggestive content - 2010)

Upcoming Reviews:
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (for real this time)
The Wolfman (2010)
Dead Alive

Some potential movie reviews currently in theatrical release:
Grown Ups (definite review incoming, I have free passes)
Toy Story 3

Monday, June 21, 2010

Checking in...

Alright. I haven't posted a blog in almost two weeks and I really need to. I've been a bit busier as of late with a week-long vacation and then starting a new job, I've had a hard time finding the time to put my movie thoughts into word form(at). My plan is to try to get a post up sometime in the next few days and get back to a weekly post. If I don't have any movies to review, I'll come up with an original post, that is related to movies in some way (top 10 lists, etc.), to fill the gap.

For this week I do have a few movies to review:
The Road
The Night Stalker
Dear John
When In Rome

Until then, feel free to post ideas for movie-less weeks in the comment section.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Avatar Primer - Invictus: The 9 Lovely Crazy Edge of Daybreakers Day

Well, since I will be gone all next week, I held back some reviews to make this special jumbo sized review. As you can see from the mouthful of a post title, there was quite the variety of movies. In the spirit of Clint Eastwood (who is represented in a movie this week) we have the good (Primer, Invictus, Daybreakers, 9), the bad (Valentine's Day, Edge of Darkness) and the ugly (Legion, The Lovely Bones). Stuck between them of course, are the mediocre (Avatar, Crazy Heart). Hope everyone has a good week, I know I will. New movie reviews will be up sometime around June 14-15.

*Primer – (4 ½ Stars)

I’ll start this review off with a warning: “Primer” is probably the most confusing 
Primermovie I have ever seen. However, because of how intricately layered the narrative is, I wanted to watch it again after I finished it. “Primer” follows two young engineers who are trying to create the next big thing. What exactly they are trying to build? That’s debatable, but what they end up creating is a time machine (of sorts). Their venture into time travel results in an incredibly original take on the time travel genre.

One of the reasons “Primer” works so well is that it doesn’t lay everything out for you. It is a puzzle to be decoded and as a result it is definitely worth multiple viewings because it leaves many facets of story open to viewer interpretation (purposely). There are various articles and timelines out there to help decipher what occurs, and I do recommend checking them out, but only after you have watched the movie through at least once.
(Netflix) (77 minutes – Rated PG-13 for brief language – 2004)

Invictus – (4 Stars)

InvictusAfter spending almost 30 years in prison for opposing the apartheid in South Africa, Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) is released from prison and several years later is elected the first black president of South Africa. However, he still faces many tough trials in a divided post-apartheid South Africa. Looking to peacefully unite the White Afrikaners and the Black South Africans, Mandela turns to the Springbok rugby team, a longtime symbol of the apartheid.

“Invictus” focuses on these events as the basis for its story. We follow Freeman’s Mandela as he attempts to set up his new government and promote equality and eventually meets with the captain of the springboks, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) and enlists his help. The movie is a well acted, uplifting story. Freeman has Mandela down to a ‘t’ and the story stays very engaging, whether you know how rugby is played or not. “Invictus” is a truly inspiring movie with a good message, despite your opinion of Nelson Mandela.
 (Netflix) (133 minutes – Rated PG-13 for brief strong language – 2009)

Avatar – (2 ½ Stars)

Going into a viewing of “Avatar,” probably the most hyped movie of all time, it is hard to do so with an objective mindset.  Everywhere you turn, someone has an opinion of “Avatar” be it good or bad. With this in mind I did my best to put aside outside opinions and just focused on the movie and my own perspective on James Cameron’s opus.
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is a paraplegic marine enlisted to journey to the distant planet Pandora where he will participate in the Avatar program, an interface that allows Jake to take control of a genetically engineered hybrid of Pandora’s native Na’vi people. Some want Jake to use his Avatar to help gain a rapport with the natives and learn their way of life, while others want him to gather military intelligence. The Na’vi are in-tune with their surroundings on a different level than humans have ever been. They literally possess the ability to plug in (via their extensive hair braid) to various plants and animals. However, situated directly below their tree home, is the planet’s largest deposit of unobtanium, the main reason humans are on Pandora.

I’ll start with what works. “Avatar” definitely does feature some of the finest CGI of any movie out there. If everything didn’t look so fantastical, the line between real and CGI would definitely be blurred. With that being said, it’s still CGI and severely overused. In my opinion, CGI should be used to complement the real effects, not be the entire movie. Make no mistake “Avatar” is all about how it looks. It’s definitely not about an original story, as “Avatar” borrows heavily from a lot of different sources (one can’t help but think of Pocahontas as one). Even the musical score seemed to borrow pieces from various other movies.

 “Avatar’s” weakest area is definitely the script. If it weren’t for the state-of-the-art special effects, I’d think I was watching a Sci-Fi SyFy channel original movie. It’s painful to hear some of the phrases that come out of these character’s mouths. This dialogue ineptitude really ends up hurting the character development as well. They seem to be more caricatures than characters. Cameron definitely seemed to dip into the well of stereotypical characters to fill out the story.

Is "Avatar" a terrible movie? No. Does it deserve to be the highest grossing movie of all time? Probably not. But, if I were to make a list of the worst movies of 2009, it would not be on it. The story, while not exactly spectacular, is still coherent and fluid and the CGI is second-to-none in most respects. In the end, “Avatar” is simply mediocre.
(Netflix) (162 minutes – Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking – 2009

Valentine’s Day – (2 Stars)

Valentine's DayFollowing in the success of movies like “Love Actually” comes “Valentine’s Day,” an ensemble Romantic Comedy starring quite a long list of stars. I’m sure this works for getting people into the theatres, but for the story it makes everything drag a bit because there are just too many people. I will give them credit for at least tying everyone together in one way or another, but some of these extra characters could have been cut in order to focus on some of the more important character stories as they only really serve as “bridge” characters. Overall, “Valentine’s Day” is a pretty typical, politically correct and overlong romantic comedy.
 (Netflix) (125 minutes – Rated PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity – 2010)

9 – (3 ½ Stars)

9Sometime in the future, the world has been rendered a post-apocalyptic wasteland due in part to mankind’s dependence on machines. The only creatures still stirring appear to be strange burlap dolls, each with a number designated them and “the monster.” “9” is a fun and inventive animated feature. It has a great voice cast, an interesting and cohesive story and wonderful, creative visuals. The movie is for an older audience, as there is some violence and some images that may be too much for younger kids.
 (Netflix) (79 minutes – Rated PG-13 for violence and scary images - 2009)

The Lovely Bones – (1 Star)

The Lovely BonesSusie Salmon is dead. She was murdered, she tells you, when she was 14. What follows in this movie, one would hope, is the tracking and catching of her killer and her family finding peace and coming to terms with her death. What actually happens? Not too much. The story starts out promisingly enough, but drags on endlessly as we follow Susie through the “in-between” as she watches her family deal with her loss. However, for whatever reason, we don’t really seem to connect to the characters due to the fractured storytelling. One “bright” spot is Stanley Tucci, who is unnervingly perfect as the neighborhood creeper who murders women out of some deep-seated need. It’s sad that the portrayal of the serial killer is the best part of this movie.
(Netflix) (135 minutes – Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language - 2009)

Edge of Darkness – (2 Stars)

“Edge of Darkness” is Mel Gibson’s first acting gig since 2002’s “Signs.” One wonders what exactly about this script made him decide to come out of quasi-retirement. Gibson plays Boston cop Tom Craven, whose daughter is murdered in front of his eyes on the front porch. While the police think he was the intended target, Craven suspects that his daughter was caught up in something dangerous and sets out on his own investigation.

Edge of DarknessWith a setup like this, one would expect “Edge of Darkness” to be a typical action revenge thriller. Instead, we are treated to a convoluted and poorly executed conspiracy picture. The movie is very low on character development and we meet a lot of different characters, some of which we never really understand who they are or what they do. What ends up resulting is a very sloppy movie that is not quite action, not quite drama and all kinds of slow-moving. I did discover that this movie is actually based on a BBC miniseries, which makes infinitely more sense. In a mini-series I could see characters being developed and the story taking shape in a much better way. “Edge of Darkness” is just a little too long and yet still not enough happens in it.
(Netflix) (117 minutes – Rated R for strong bloody violence and language– 2010)

Daybreakers – (3 ½ Stars)

Daybreakers“Daybreakers” is a different take on vampire movies. In the year 2019, most of humanity have become infected with a disease that turned them into vampires. As a result, humans are basically an endangered species and are hunted and farmed as a food source. But, there are some humans who claim to have found a cure. The movie does a lot of interesting things with vampire mythos that work (and some that are a bit over-the-top). There are also some interesting conclusions/comparisons you can draw from the situation of mankind in the movie.

Overall, “Daybreakers” is a pleasant surprise of a movie. For the most part it keeps a brisk pace, with only a few plot points and moments that drag it down. The actors all fit pretty well for their roles with Ethan Hawke playing the vampire with a bit of a conscience and Sam Neill as the vampire who definitely doesn’t have one (he also looks quite nefarious as a vampire).
(Netflix) (98 minutes – R for strong bloody violence, language and brief nudity – 2009)

Crazy Heart – (2 ½ Stars)

Crazy HeartBad Blake is a grizzled old country music singer who is prone to drinking and all around hard living. Jeff Bridges plays the alcoholic Bad in a sympathetic, likeable way but movie just seems to aimlessly follow Bad’s exploits for most of the movie before deciding to get to his potential redemption and rejuvenation. Maggie Gyllenhaal co-stars as a reporter who gets to meet the person behind the singer and helps him try to turn things around.
(Netflix) (111 minutes – Rated R for language and brief sexuality – 2009)

Legion – (1/2 Star)
In “Legion,” God apparently loses faith in mankind and decides to eradicate them. Michael the angel disobeys and goes to protect humanity’s only hope: the unborn son of truck-stop waitress. Angels act like demons, possessing people and spouting off expletive laced diatribes, and terribly cliché action sequences abound. Every single character in this movie is completely unlikeable and it doesn’t help that the plot really goes nowhere. “Legion” is one of those movies where you think the writer and director just wanted to “do some cool things and blow stuff up.”
(Netflix) (100 minutes – Rated R for strong bloody violence and language – 2010)

Upcoming Movie Reviews:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Did You Hear The Young, Crazy Superman in the Air got Tenure?

This is a double week of movie reviews, although it's about the same as some of my previous week's worth. It's a modest bunch of movie, none of which truly stand out, but since it was nominated for several awards (and I enjoyed it, along with the director's previous works), I selected "Up in the Air" as my pick of the week. "Tenure" was close, but I think I need to watch it again to see where I stand on it. I also don't think it would appeal to many. Next week's movies are quite the beast. I will finally watch and review "Avatar," which I will try to do as objectively as possible (I'll also pretend I'm watching it on a big 3-D screen for full effect). But, that's next are this week's movies (Side-note: I really like my title this week):

*Up in the Air – (3 ½ Stars)
Up in the AirGeorge Clooney is Ryan Bingham, whose job it is to fire people when their own company doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to do so. He spends his days literally up in the air flying from point to point on his seemingly cold-hearted endeavors. However, in an effort to save money, Ryan’s company takes the advice of its inexperienced recent hire (Anna Kendrick) and begins to implement a new means of firing people. Feeling his way of life being threatened, Ryan tries everything he can to stay in the air, which leads to Natalie (Kendrick) accompanying him on his journeys.

“Up in the Air” takes the viewer on a tough journey. Due to the nature of Ryan’s job, we are witness to a number of individuals at their lowest. But there are plenty of light moments to lift the mood as well as many funny moments. Ryan’s slow turn from the detached, disconnected (albeit charming) loner who spends most of his time on the road is engrossing and the interactions between Natalie and Ryan are often amusing and insightful.
(Netflix) (109 minutes – Rated R for Language and some sexual content – 2009)

Crazy on the OutsideCrazy on the Outside – (2 ½ Stars)
“Crazy on the Outside” finds Tommy (Tim Allen) released after a three year stint in jail. Fully intending to turn his life around and restart his father’s painting business, he runs into some snags in the form of his parole officer, a zany sister and his old partner in crime. Allen’s directorial debut is a well-meaning comedy with some funny moments, but it just doesn’t quite deliver what it could have.
 (Netflix) (96 minutes – Rated PG-13 for Sexual content and language – 2009)

The Young Victoria – (3 Stars)
The Young VictoriaVictoria (Emily Blunt) is the only heir to the throne of England. Unfortunately, nobody seems to really think she is fit for the job. “The Young Victoria” chronicles the early life of England’s longest serving monarch including her romance with her future husband, Prince Albert. The movie is a great looking period piece with pretty good acting all around. However, the directing leaves something to be desired. “…Victoria” shows signs of being an excellent movie and perhaps in the hands of a better director it would have been. But clunky cuts and strange transitions bring an otherwise entertaining movie down.
 (Netflix) (105 minutes – Rated PG for Some mild sensuality, a scene of violence, and brief incidental language and smoking – 2009)

“Did You Hear About The Morgans?” basically ended up being exactly as I had expected. Take two of the most annoying “romantic” leads in movies (Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker) and have the bicker and argue. Mix in a typical “witness protection” storyline that throws them into the middle of nowhere and you have the “big city/country” angle. There are some moments that are funny, and the movie does have a redeeming quality about it, but I just couldn’t get past most of everything else to really enjoy the movie.
 (Netflix) (103 minutes – Rated PG-13 for Some sexual references and momentary violence – 2009)

Tenure – (3 Stars)
Tenure“Tenure” stars Luke Wilson as college professor Charlie Thurber, who has never been able to gain tenure, despite being an intelligent and well-meaning guy. He seems to finally be on track to gain tenure at Gray University until a new Yale educated professor is hired into the department as direct competition. With his Bigfoot-obsessed colleague at his side (David Koechner), Charlie sets out to show that he has what it takes to earn tenure. “Tenure” is not as funny as it could have been (and this is its biggest drawback), but there are a lot of good moments throughout. Perhaps I enjoyed the movie more because I identified with Charlie’s plight, but I enjoyed tagging along on the journey.
(Netflix) (89 minutes – Rated R for Language, some sexuality and drug content – 2009)

What do you do if your arch-enemy becomes the President of the United States? Based on the graphic novel by Jeph Loeb of the same name, “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies” has DC’s greatest superheroes team up to stop Lex Luthor in his latest bid to take over the world. Or has he finally turned over a new leaf? As a comic, the story works a lot better. There are certain intangibles that just don’t translate from comic to screen and this is the case with “…Public Enemies.” The movie is good, the comic is better.
 (Netflix) (75 minutes – Rated PG-13 – 2009)

Upcoming Movie Reviews: