Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Review

When a movie like the Curse of the Black Pearl makes as much money as it did, you know that there is going to be a sequel.  Not only that, but you know that the sequel will be highly anticipated and will also make a ton of money.  That ensures a third movie.  What the producers did here was smart.  Knowing that a third movie was a given, they decided to make the story for Dead Man's Chest part one of a two part story.  That way they can focus on telling an entertaining story without having to wrap anything up in one movie.  This allows for a little more depth in the writing.  It also keeps the viewer on the edge more because they can do absolutely anything to the characters and delay explaining anything until the next movie.

It is this that makes Dead Man's Chest the best of the first three movies (I have yet to see the fourth one and am going tomorrow night.  I also hope to watch At World's End tomorrow afternoon and have a review up before it is clouded by the fourth one).  For many of the same reasons I gave in my review of X2, Dead Man's Chest is at least better than Curse.  First, it is more intense and darker.  I am amazed that they could get darker than an undead crew that turns to skeletons in the moonlight bu they managed to do it with a crew of aquatic/human weirdos led by an evil "manopus."  Second, the action is better.  The scenes with the Kraken are superb and the special effects are better all around.  Third, they introduce a cool new character in said manopus, Davy Jones.  The myth of Davy Jones goes back farther than I know and Dead Man's Chest does a great job of telling it.

This one also takes what was really successful from the first and pushes it further.  Johnny Depp's antics as Jack Sparrow are more animated and funnier especially when he is escaping from the savages.  However, they still focused way too much on the love story between Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann.  It pains me to say that because I really like Kiera Knightley; just not in a role like this.  Everything she does seems forced and wooden.  I do not, however, like Orlando Bloom.  He's nothing more than a pretty boy with little talent.  I firmly believe that the only reason he was cast in the first place was to make it easier for guys to get their girlfriends to consent to see these movies on a date night.  This sub plot was so interwoven into the story of the first movie that I really see no way they could have taken back a notch.

All in all, I say see this movie.  You do have to watch Curse first to avoid too much confusion (I did review that one as being kind of difficult to watch).  But I would say it is worth it.

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Hangover Part II

I saw the first movie and thought it was funny but not anything near a classic.  I also had no desire at all to see it again.  So I should have known better.  This movie is nothing more than the first one regurgitated.  There is absolutely nothing to separate it from the original; not even the plot.  Save for some minor differences and pushing the envelope ever so slightly, it is the exact same movie.  I was skeptical going into it but I thought I should at least give it a chance.  And it really did nothing but disappoint.  I'm not the only one who felt this way.  The friend I saw it with had the same sentiments.  I also noticed that the audience wasn't really laughing that much either.

Most of the time I had to force myself to laugh.  I also found that there were a few instances that I thought were funny and I was literally the only person in the theatre that laughed.  I guess I'm not in college anymore or a redneck idiot (I'm speaking to you, idiot girl who sat behind me and gave a moronic play by play. THE POSTER HAS ED HELMS WITH A TATTOO! IT WASN'T SHOCKING TO SEE IT IN THE MOVIE!!!).  I just don't find uninspired low brow, appeal to the masses humour that funny.  There were a couple of Zach G moments that were humourous but most of them were the same old schtick.  It was funny in the first Hangover but wasn't even funny in Due Date.  We get it.  You can play "painfully awkward and quirky."  I realize it's the same character in this one so he has to play it like that.  But a repeat should never have been attempted.  Be careful Zach.  You are one more performance from forever being a one trick pony.  It may even be too late.

Don't see it.  In fact, if I find out you read this review and still paid money to see it, I will be very tempted to come to your house and beat you senseless with a spatula.  Everyone who put their name on this project should be very ashamed.  Sadly, it made a ton of money on opening week so we'll likely see a Part III (well, I won't but most of Saskatoon's intellectual "elite" will).  Let me guess, they go to Rio and Allan gets raped by a horny goat while taking care of a pet iguana and Stu gets his brain pierced.  Ridiculous.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Die Welle (The Wave) Review

Wow.  What a great movie.  It's a story about how a fanatical dictatorship can form given the right direction and environment.  On the surface, it is about a high school class who says that a dictatorship could never exist in Germany again.  Their teacher starts a seemingly benign project to prove them wrong and it spins out of control.  Dig a little deeper and you'll realize that it explains the fragile balance between individuality and community that exists in our world to maintain peace and order and how that balance can be disrupted so easily.  It also shows how easy it is to sway people's opinions and beliefs using logical arguments at first and build their loyalty using more and more ridiculous persuasion (the Wave salute for example would not have been effective early in the experiment but seemed logical nearer to the end).  It does nothing to justify autocratic regimes like Nazi Germany.  In fact, it denounces them.  But it does open your eyes to how something like that could happen.

Technically speaking, this film is excellent as well.  While it is another non-English language film, I still assume that the dialogue delivery is very good.  Jurgen Vogel does a great job as the teacher everybody already likes.  His charisma comes through strong when he's addressing the students.  Visually, everything seems pretty strong as well.  The locations used seemed to be lower-middle class which provides the right environment for this type of group to form.  Some of the techniques used to get the kids to follow the Wave seem a little cheesy and unrealistic.  You think, "there's no way teenagers would follow something that dumb."  But you need to realize that it is a caricature of real life situations to show how simply the masses can be swayed.  Some of the scenes, also, I did not fully understand.  In a film like this, I would expect everything to have two purposes; one to further the plot and the second one to dig deeper into the movie philosophically.  A few of the scenes did not seem to do that.

However, I would still say "See this Movie."  Not only do I recommend watching it, I recommend that everyone should seek it out and see it.  It entertains but it also educates.  It really opens your eyes to how things like this can happen on a larger scale and, if we know those dangers, we, as a society, are far less likely to repeat them.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Versus Review

I finally made it back to movie night at my brother's house.  This was Jason's pick.  Seeing as how the guy spent about ten years in Japan, I'm not surprised he picked this.  I will start with the good.  For a movie with a budget of about $400,000, they did a decent job.  The camera work is very good and the effects, while not great, are superb for such a small budget.  Overall, the acting isn't too bad but I have a hard time telling when the actors aren't speaking English.  But never mind that.  It still wasn't enough to save the movie.

This movie is just one big long fight scene.  And, while the fighting is good, it really makes for a thin movie that cannot hold my attention.  Add to that the fact that the gore is on par with movies like Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun and it's too much.  There is very little story or plot and, what there is, is just ... so ... bad!  I did find some of the characters entertaining (the flamboyant gangster was quite amusing throughout) but there were others that were not needed at all.  The runt, the cops and a few of the gangsters were not needed and if they had gotten rid of them, they could have taken some of the film to tell us what the hell was going on.  There's just so many holes and unanswered questions that makes this movie too confusing.

I wouldn't say it is unwatchable.  As I said, the fights are good and the camera work is quite decent.  But I have to recommend that you do not see this movie.  The confusion just isn't worth your time.  Stick to something like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Winter in Wartime Review

I will start by saying this is a very good movie.  However, it is not really a war movie in the traditional sense.  It is more a story about loyalty and doing the right thing in spite of very difficult circumstances.  It is also about being able to recognize what is the right thing when everything around you seems to be in shades of grey and the loss of innocence that can be a result.  That is why it is set in winter.  The film has a very bleak and grey quality to it that cannot be ignored.  It takes this theme and presents it in a setting that we normally view in cinema as being black and white, morally speaking.  That is the setting of World War II. (I also got the feeling that it was going to be about riding your bike as much as possible).

What I really liked about this movie is that it does not bog itself down into the morality of war or the participants in a war like so many World War II movies do.  There is a place for those movies but this was not it.  Instead, it allows us to see that nothing is black and white in a situation like that and doing the right thing is going to hurt other people.  Keep in mind that, when this movie is set, the outcome of the war was inevitable and predictable.  So why were they going through all the trouble to still do the right thing?  This makes the "doing the right thing" angle that much more intense.

From a technical standpoint, I would say this film is very good.  At least, I assume it is.  The directing and cinematography is good but I have a hard time determining the quality of the acting.  Most of it is not in English and is subtitled.  Therefore, I cannot really determine if the actors are delivering their lines convincingly.  But, from their non-verbal cues, it would seem that they are.

If you like artsy independent non-English movies, see it.  Otherwise, I would say give it a miss.  There's nothing revolutionary or different about the movie to make you go out of your way if you really do not like subtitles.

Monday, 23 May 2011

A non-review post

A friend of mine who reads this weblog says that it's a good weblog but I need to do some non-review posts so that my use of the word "Review" in the titles does not seem redundant and extraneous.  So here it is: my non-review post.

I like movies.

X2: X-Men United Review

It is rare for a sequel to be better than the original.  This is especially true for most action and comic book movies.  In the case of the X-Men franchise, they were able to pull it off.  While I enjoyed X-Men, X2 is vastly superior for the following reasons.
  1. It is more intense.  For an action sequel to be better, it has to have an element of darkness that the previous movie did not have.  X2 does this very well with the sinister plot by William Stryker to rid the world of the mutants.  It reverses the roles of the humans and the mutants morally and has the audience relate better to their opposites.  The darkness is furthered by utilizing a creepy little girl in the hallucinations forced by Stryker.  It really makes your skin crawl a little.  X2 does this so well that you never mind that the movie is over 2 hours long.
  2. The action is better.  Whether or not the producers held back with the first one to allow them to do more with the second one or not is irrelevant.  X2 has better action sequences.  I especially thought Storm's weather control was better with this one.  And I really like Pyro's fireballing of the Boston police.
  3. X2 introduces cool characters.  Most comic book movies use the best characters in the first films and they get worse as the franchise grows.  With X2, they introduce a really cool mutant, the Nightcrawler, which is played brilliantly by Alan Cumming.  I grew up with a grandmother from Germany so I know his accent is pretty authentic.  He also plays him in such a way that really makes you pity and love him.  The second really cool character is Stryker.  But this level of coolness would have been lost if they hadn't had Bryan Cox play the part.  Cox is absolutely brilliant when he plays self-serving bad guys.
  4. They focused on the good from the first one and let the subpar stuff go to the background.  From the first movie, it looked like the franchise was going to put a focus on Rogue and Iceman.  This would have been a huge mistake and they (thankfully) put Anna Paquin in the background.  She may be a good actress but she just can't seem to deliver in these kinds of movies.  Instead, they focus on their core of Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm and Jean Grey (who oddly enough does not have a cool name).  They also further the animosity between Xavier and Magneto which is what made the first one so good.  That leads me to my last point:
  5. A good franchise sequel has its own story that can stand on its own while still progressing the underlying big picture of the whole franchise.  X2 does this.  The story of uniting rival mutant factions against a common enemy works and is played out great.  But they still reveal more of the underlying story of the origins of Wolverine and his tortured soul in a plot the is woven together well.
 Put all of this together and you have a very, good action/comic book movie.  See it.  But make sure you watch the first one before diving into this.  Then you can focus on the good qualities of this film without trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Slammin' Salmon Review

The one thing you really need to remember when you start watching this movie is that it's a Broken Lizard movie.  It is not going to have any superb acting, writing, directing or anything else really.  There is no way it is going to win any credible awards and most people will say it is crap.  But, if you aren't one of those movie snobs that has a steel rod up your arse, you will realize that Broken Lizard movies are hilarious and deliver what they promise.  They never try to be anything else.

The five guys always look like they are having fun.  It's like they're making Muppet movies for adults.  You can tell they are at their most comfortable when they are interacting with each other rather than other actors.  These are five guys who just want to get together and have fun.  And it translates well to the audience.  While there is a basic plot to give some form of reason to the antics, it really is not much more than the Broken Lizard troupe trying to see how much they can get away with in an evening of waiting tables.  And that's not a bad thing because they are a very funny and clever group of guys.

So, down to the buts and bolts: the guys aren't really good actors, there is no real plot or character development and it seems like not much more that a rip off of Waiting.  There's really nothing that sets the movie apart from anything else except for one thing.  It's damn funny.  While these guys will never make another film that has the quality of Super Troopers, they continue to roll out fun physical comedy that doesn't rely on making you want to throw up mixed with "you numbnuts" dialogue that just makes you want to be a part of it.

See it.  Just know that you're getting a Broken Lizard movie and have some fun.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

This movie has a very unique and promising premise.  It's a slasher film without a slasher.  Two well-meaning hillbillies go into the woods to renovate their new vacation home.  A group of college kids mistake them for crazy killers and antics ensue.  While it takes a little time to get going properly, it gets pretty funny, pretty quick.  The misunderstanding humour is in the same vein as Frasier or Three's Company and the dialogue humour is very well written.  Both Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine give great performances as hillbillies; especially Labine.

So, we've established that it's funny.  As for the rest of the movie, I would say it is fun but not great.  The slasher effects are decent but nothing to write home about.  But that may be because there's not much you can do to push the envelope with blood and gore anymore.  Visually, it is well shot.  It's all out in the woods on location and done with a hazy feel that hearkens back to decent slasher movies.  As far as the story goes, I got a little disappointed as it progressed.  Rather than staying true to its original premise, this movie reverts back to the traditional slasher genre with a crazy guy.

I'm kind of conflicted on this one.  On the one hand, I wish it had followed its original premise all the way through.  But, on the other hand, there's only so far you can take that before it gets boring.  All in all, if you don't mind a little gore, I'd say see it.  It's just unique enough to hold your interest and definitely funny enough to keep you entertained.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Muppets From Space Review

I now know what I want to do with my life.  I want to be an actor and get just enough fame to be asked to be in a Muppets movie.  They all look like they're having a blast.  There is only one word to describe this movie: fun.  From all other standpoints, it is a pretty bad film.  It isn't well acted, well written or even well shot.  It's very obviously shot in a sound studio and not on location.  But could you imagine trying to shoot Muppets on location?  It would be a nightmare.

The story isn't much and it is quite thin.  The whole thing is about Gonzo finding his roots.  As he's doing so, he winds up being kidnapped by a government agency looking for Extra Terrestrial life.  It is here where a lot of the funny stuff happens.  Jeffrey Tambor is perfect for his role and the bumbling bear is quite good.  The crazy brain doctor, on the other hand, reminded me eerily of my American Studies professor from college.  So I found that a little disturbing.

Ignore the fact that it has the thin story and poor acting though and you get what you expect: pure, unadulterated, Muppet fun.  And that's really all you want for the time you invest in it.  While it does have a little too much of some of my less favourite Muppets (Rizzo and Pepe), you get classic Muppet deadpan humour that you will repeat to your friends.  If that's what you want, see it.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Review

I know, I know.  We've all seen it.  So why would I bother again?  I want to watch the fourth one and so I'm going to watch the first three.  I remember this movie being better eight years ago.  Watching it this time I noticed that, while it is a well shot movie with a really good story, there are a couple of things missing.

First, it is not well written.  They never properly explain why they need Bootstrap Bill's blood.  Or, if they do, it's done in a confusing way.  Something that important should not have to be googled after the fact.  Second, the acting is pretty bad.  Even Geoffrey Rush gives a hackneyed performance.  I expect sub par from Orlando Bloom, but not Rush.  With the exception of Depp's lunatic actions and the Rosencrantz & Guildenstern pirates, the acting is quite poor.  Third, it is too long.  They could have easily trimmed 30 minutes here and there and kept my interest better.

But, the film does have some very cool effects with the undead pirates.  While the skeletons do move a bit jerky-like, it is forgivable because of the sheer scale of effects needed.  And, it was eight years ago after all.  All in all, it is a decent and fun swashbuckling story.

My official recommendation is to see it because you need to to watch the franchise.  But, let's face it, if you haven't already seen it, you aren't interested.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer Review

Often, when I see a movie based on a book, I will try to read the book.  This is no exception.  In the case of the Lincoln Lawyer, it is not only because of the quality of the movie but the fact that I felt a little confused trying to follow the plot and characters.  That being said, this is still a great legal thriller.  While it may not be as good as the Pelican Brief or A Time to Kill, it is still very well done.  There are a lot of twists and, while many of you may say you saw them coming, I will admit that I didn't see a few of them.  And I think everything got wrapped up well.

The one thing that really struck me as good about this film was the acting.  Matthew McConaughey gives a very solid performance as the hero and the supporting acting is quite well done too.  Even Trace Adkins does a good job.  But the one that really blew me away was Ryan Philippe.  Who would have thought that one of the best actors to come out of the 90s douchebag pretty boy era would be him?  He and McConaughey do a really great job playing their little convoluted chess game.

Finally, I thought the directing was really good.  It started out with some of that damn shaky camera work and I thought, "oh no, here we go."  But they didn't stay with that and actually ahd some really cool shots; especially with regards to the Lincoln.  The movie does slow down a bit when McConaughey has his obligatory "crisis of conscience."  But it picks back up quickly and moves well to the end.  The only thing I really didn't understand was the need for the whole "Lincoln" thing.  It seemed like a bit of a gimmick and unnecessary.  But I didn't mind.  Boxy Town Cars are cool.

See it.  It is a very good movie and definitely one of the better legal thrillers out there.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Ugly Truth Review

Just a bad movie all around.  A comedy is supposed to be funny.  This is not.  The story is weak, there's too many holes and the acting is bad.  I would expect bad acting from Katherine Heigl.  She never delivers.  But Gerard Butler was a surprise.  I normally like his acting.  But here, he was constantly talking out of the side of his mouth and it was just distracting.

There were two other big problems with this movie.  First, there was really nothing original.  Heigl going to dinner wearing vibrating underwear may seem original but all it does is create the same effect we saw in There's Something About Mary with the "hair gel" and the restaurant scene in When Harry Met Sally.

Second, the realism was lacking big time.  I'm willing to suspend belief when the type of movie warrants it.  Most romantic comedies do not.  There is absolutely no way that subject matter would be allowed on a morning show.  There is also no way a baseball team would put a woman frantically wiping a man's crotch to remove spilled soda on the jumbotron.  Finally, there is no way a late night talk show would ask the question that Craig Ferguson asked.

Do not see it.  It is just that bad.  I can't find any reason to justify watching it over just about any other romantic comedy.

Friday, 13 May 2011

X-Men Review

I've seen this movie a bunch of times.  This is the first time I've seen it since I started reviewing movies on this weblog though.  So, if I've seen it so many times, you can imagine that I like it.  I do.  It is a very well done comic book movie.  It makes the changes necessary to adapt it to the big screen (no stupid costumes), it is well written and it is built to be a franchise.

For an action movie that came out 11 years ago, X-Men's special effects age very well.  Part of this is due to the quality of them but I believe that it is mostly due to the fact that the film does not rely on effects nearly as much as it relies on a strong story and good characters that are decently acted.  This is where it loses a bit.  Only three of the actors give above average performances.  The rest are either average or below.  There is really no reason to make Anna Paquin have a southern accent that seems forced just to have it disappear halfway through the movie.

Hugh Jackman is the perfect man to play Wolverine.  He's got the look and the ability to play a "don't really care" kind of guy.  Ian McKellan is great as a villain with a chip on his shoulder even if he plays a guy who grew up in either Poland or Germany and magically acquired a British accent.  Finally, Patrick Stewart is always nothing but class.  Even when he's playing a guy who writes a movie about women getting naked (Extras) or the proprietor of an erotic bakery (Saturday Night Live).

The bottom line is see it.  It is just long enough to not leave anything out and it moves fast enough to keep your interest for the whole thing.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Vegas Vacation Review

I must admit, it took me 14 years to see this movie.  The only reason I did see it is because it came in a four-pack with the other three Vacation movies for $10 at Shoppers Drug Mart.  While it is still entertaining in its own way, it is by far the worst of the four.  I know I shouldn't expect too much from it because it is a Vacation movie.  But most of the time it just felt like they weren't trying.  For example, if they had spent just a few extra dollars, the green-screened shots of Clark at the Hoover Dam would have been much better.  I was also very disappointed in Randy Quaid (there's five words I never thought I'd have to say).  His character, while hilarious in the others is just bad here.

The whole movie is a lot like the others in the fact that there's very little story and it's just Chevy Chase's antics.  I will admit that his antics do make this movie watchable.  It is near impossible to not find Chevy Chase's subtlety funny.  But, for some reason, it did not seem to hold this movie together like with the other three.  I think part of the problem is that Audrey and Rusty are not complete losers in this one like they are in the others.  In the other movies, Clark is actually the least loserish of the bunch and it just doesn't feel the same.

That being said, there are a few redeeming qualities in this film.  I've already mentioned Chase's antics.  Those are quite good; especially his interactions with Wallace Shawn (the Blackjack dealer).  The scene with Clark in the dive casino playing the ludicrous games was quite funny too.  And, finally, Beverly D'Angelo is still smokin' hot (at least she was in 1997.  I have no idea about now); especially in the dress Wayne Newton gives her.

I'd say if you really feel the need to round off the whole franchise, you'll probably want to spend the 90 minutes.  Bad enough for me to say don't do that.  But, failing that, don't see it.  Watch Vacation or European Vacation and get the same type of movie but much better (Christmas Vacation is really different but just as good).

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dancer in the Dark Review

It had been a while since I had been to a movie night at Karl's.  When Shauna disclosed that she had chosen a musical that starred Bjork, I was kind of wishing I had waited another week.  But, as it turns out, this movie is very good.

It is a very tragic tale of Selma (Bjork), a Communist refugee in the 50s whose life is the polar opposite of her favourite movie genre, the musical.  It does a very good job of juxtaposing her ideal life with her actual life.  I originally thought that it would have made a fantastic tragedy without the musical numbers.  And I still think it would have been a very good movie.  However, when you add in the musical numbers in the manner that they did, it creates that much more depth and lets you see into Selma's mind so much better.  The songs (written by Bjork) have raw lyrics that evoke thoughts of being written by children.  But it's all the imagination of a simple person and not really meant to move the plot like a conventional musical.  The musical scenes come at times when Selma's life is falling apart.  This is the exact opposite of most musicals out there.  In fact, they even bring up the point that nothing bad ever happens in a musical.  The musical scenes in Dancer show you how Selma wants her world to be.  Lars von Trier shows this entire juxtaposition brilliantly by using vastly different camera work and lighting from the main scenes.

The acting in this film is very good too.  I was surprised because normally, musicians are pretty bad in films (even musicals).  I never thought I'd see the day where anything Bjork did made sense, but she does a fantastic job of playing the adorable innocent girl who cannot control her life spinning away from her.  There is not a point in this movie where you don't want to just jump into the screen and save Selma.  The supporting cast is very solid as well even if none of them can sing.  But it isn't about how they sing.  It's about how Selma wants them to be.  As an aside, I also especially liked how David Morse played the "back against the wall" character.  He's just so good at playing the guy you want to hate.

Definitely see it.  While it is long (2.25 hours), the last half hour or so is so powerful that it makes the wait worthwhile.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Thor Review

I know absolutely nothing about the Avengers story line or that of Thor.  So I don't know if this movie is true to the comics or not.  I'm guessing that, if Stan Lee is so close to these projects now, it probably is.  I do know one thing though.  This movie is very good.  I saw it in both 3D and Ultra AVX so that did enhance the experience somewhat.  3D wasn't really worth it but the AVX sound was better than just good.  It was spectacular.

The special effects are second to none too.  Visually, Thor is a real treat.  The earth scenes are really nothing too spectacular but the stuff that takes place in the other realms is beautiful to watch.  Even the fact that the costumes seem a little too over the top for my taste.  I chalk that up to the comic book factor.

Overall, the acting is surprisingly quite solid.  There are a couple of cheesy deliveries by Natalie Portman but she was the victim of a writer who I would guess thought it was good enough.  But the rest of the cast does a very good job; especially Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba.  And I had never even heard of Chris Hemsworth before.  He's perfectly cast.  He's got the look for a superhero and can deliver a line well too.  Overall, there is just enough comic relief to keep it light and just enough drama to make you relate.  I could have used maybe one more action or fight scene but I think I just wanted to feel my hair shake a little more from the sound.  The only real complaint I may have is that the Destroyer looked and acted like it was just ripped off from the Day the Earth Stood Still.

If you are a comic book fan, you don't need me to tell you to see it.  You probably already have.  But, for everyone else, see it.  The action will entertain even the most hardcore action junkie and the morality play part of it should keep everyone else entertained as well.  And spend the extra money for the Ultra AVX if its available.  But save your money on the 3D option.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Irish Jam Review

Well, what can I really say about a movie that involves Eddie Griffin winning an Irish pub in a contest to raise money so a small Irish fishing village will not be turned into an amusement park called Leprechaun Land?  Doesn't that really sum it all up anyways?  It's a "fish out of water" story that is really very similar to King Ralph.  There is a half-hearted attempt at depth and Griffin learning that there's more to life than  taking care of your own interests.  But he is never really portrayed as a bad guy who will sell his own grandmother to make a buck (which is kind of what you're supposed to believe).

This movie is really nothing more than a goofy comedy to showcase Griffin's hip chattiness.  What makes it worse than King Ralph is that it tries to become a morality play.  I never had any delusions of it being a landmark piece or anything like that seeing as how my brother paid $3 for it at Zellers.  But the fact that it even tried kind of bugs me.

So, we've established that it's a bad movie.  But it is really an entertaining movie as well.  Griffin's antics, while not as good as Undercover Brother, are still quite fun to watch.  And the supporting bits from the villagers are pretty fun too.

If you're in the mood for a straight to DVD "classic", I would say see it.  But if "so bad, it's fun" or goofy lead acting is not your thing, give it a miss.  But, for me, it isn't a bad way to waste an hour and a half.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Fast Five Review

I love car chases.  Always have and I always will.  This movie does not disappoint in that.  Then again, if a Fast and Furious movie didn't deliver on the driving scenes, there's no way it would make money.

This movie starts out like it's going to be disappointing.  At the start, the acting is very wooden and the intensity between characters seems very forced.  However, once they get the whole heist portion (the real plot) of the movie started, the comic relief comes in and it seems that the whole cast relaxes.  That's when it gets really good.  There's a lot of jabs between characters and the acting picks up in quality.  It just seems that the timing gets better.

Sadly, we realize two things in this movie.  First, Vin Diesel should never smile.  Wow, he's a funny looking man.  Second, we found the type of character Dwayne Johnson should not play.  He's excellent when he's quiet and brooding or when he can get a bit goofy in an action comedy like he did in Faster, Be Cool and The Rundown.  In this one, he tries to be the intense, take no shit good guy and most of it seems very forced.

There's a lot of good action in this film.  As I said, the big chase is great.  The rest of the action is too.  Especially the big fight scene.  Some of the stuff near the end does not follow the prototypical line for movies like this.  I won't give it away though.

Definitely see it.  And, if you can see it in UltraAVX, do so.  The rumbling bass will actually shake your hair.  Also, I won't tell you why, but make sure you stay until the end of the credits.  Trust me.  And, if you do see it, maybe walk to the theatre or have someone pick you up after.  Your adrenaline will be so amped up that driving might actually be dangerous.

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Incredible Hulk Review

I find it sad that this movie didn't get great reviews or do well at the box office.  I think it is one of the best comic book movies in recent memory.  I really like the way they make Banner a more human character that anyone can relate to.  Too often, this doesn't happen with the alter-egos in comic book movies.  This is due in large part to the excellent use of music and the terrific acting by Ed Norton.

The Incredible Hulk is also brilliantly cast.  All of the actors make their characters believable.  The trick to this is to act like you're in a comic book but without the over the top cheesiness of a comic book.  That's a tough thing to do and they do it very well with this one.  The possible exception is Liv Tyler.  But that could be because I'm just not a fan.

See it.  It's actually very good.