Movie review : Whiteout

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Whiteout

Writing reviews for average movies are the most difficult. So this will be a hard review to write. The one thing that inspires me to make this a slightly better than average movie is Kate Beckinsale performance. She did just about everything that could be done with her part. She’s a fine actress and did her job in this movie just right.

The rest of the cast held their own. I was pleasantly surprised to see Tom Skerritt in the movie. He’s a great actor as long as he plays exactly the same role over and over. And he got that role here in Whiteout. This isn’t a knock against Skerritt, there are many actors who can’t do any roles well. But there is hardly any difference between Skerritt’s characters in Alien to Top Gun to Contact to Whiteout. That’s probably why it’s good to see him in a movie because it’s almost like seeing a old friend.

The story itself is just ho-hum. There are twists to be sure. But you know that there are going to be twists and they’re not anything that makes you think, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming.” It’s more like, “Yeah, that makes since” sort of twists.

That just about does it for this very average – at best – review. Now hopefully next week there will be either an awesome movie or at the very least a movie that sucks so I can write a better review. 🙂

What did you think about Whiteout? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review : 9

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9

[ No Spoilers ]

Although this film drips with Tim Burton’s style he was only the producer and not the writer/director as he is with many of his films. Shane Acker is the director and the creator of the original story. So kudos to Shane for making such a outstanding film on his first try. I’m looking forward to seeing more of what he creates.

The visual appearance of the movie is wonderful. It reminds me of a cross between The Matrix and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. And the similarities with The Matrix don’t end with the visual. The story and characters also seem to have influences from The Matrix while not at all being obvious. It’s easy to understand why since Acker originally developed the story in a short 11 minute film back in 2005.

The movie is PG-13 which seems about right. There are many violent scenes but no blood since there are only a few scenes with humans. But we come to think of the characters as human so some of the film might be a little traumatic to young children. However the ending is moderately happy. As happy as you can really get considering that a handful of characters die and the world is in a post apocalyptic state.

What did you think about 9? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Summer 09 Movie Recap

Now that the summer movie season is over – because I say so – it’s time to recap. USA Today reports that the season started out with a bang but withered at the end. Overall Hollywood brought in just a little more this year than last, but adjusting for ticket prices the attendance was actually down 2%.

What is really significant about this summer is the emergence of RunPee.com – hey, it’s significant to me! So what was the most popular movie viewed here at RunPee.com this summer? First let me give you some clues: RunPee is sort of attractive to the geek crowd because a lot of technically oriented websites like Mashable, Engadget, Gizmodo, etc, reported on it. Especially early on in the summer – another hint.

Turns out that Star Trek was hugely popular – big surprise. It also came out right before RunPee had its initial huge traffic spike – server crash #1-of-5.

Here’s the breakdown from RunPee: ( Movie – visits )

  1. Star Trek – 103,518
  2. Terminator Salvation – 69,263
  3. Angels and Demons – 65,263
  4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine – 54,641
  5. Harry Potter – 29,748
  6. The Hangover – 23,871

According to the Examiner.com – Los Angeles the box office take for this Summer’s movies are:

  1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – $399.6
  2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – $295.1
  3. Up – $289.9
  4. The Hangover – $270.7
  5. Star Trek – $256.8

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review : Gamer

Gamer

This movie would certainly have experienced a horrible, bloody, disfiguring death at the box office if it weren’t for Gerard Butler lending a hand to save it. But though he saved it doesn’t mean the movie survives in perfect health. Far from it. If this movie were embodied in human form it would be paralyzed, missing a few fingers, and certainly suffering from extensive brain damage to the point that it couldn’t hold a coherent thought in it’s head.

Even though Gerard Butler saved the movie this isn’t something he’s going to be proud of. No amount of acting talent is going to make a lame role shine. The only fault I can find is that Gerald needs to be more selective of the roles he accepts. He’s a great actor and probably has a buffet of roles that are offered to him. So Gerald, buddy, don’t fill up on stale bread sticks when they’re serving steak and lobster.

If you loved the Crank movies – from the same directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor – then you might be tempted to see this movie just for the action scenes. But then you could see 90% of the action by watching the previews. If you do find yourself watching this movie just for the action scenes then you can leave as soon as Kable escapes from prison.

And now a special note to the directors: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Just because you read a few issues of Discover Magazine doesn’t mean you understand enough to use some future tech as the plot basis for your movie. The ending was lame, lame, lame.

What did you think about Gamer? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review : All About Steve

All About Steve

I must confess that one of the reasons I enjoyed All About Steve is that Mary’s character – played by Sandra Bullock – is a lot like my wife. So I’ll admit that I have a bit of a prejudice for the film.

That aside the film was rather bland. There was little or nothing that was outrageously funny but lots of little chuckles throughout. The story isn’t particularly riveting. The best that is offered is the message to not give up on yourself no matter what a freak you are.

As a date movie it might be okay. But there isn’t much depth to the story that would lend itself to a conversation about the dynamics of the story over dinner afterward. Unless you’re really desperate to see a movie let me suggest catching this on DVD.

What did you think about All About Steve? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review : Extract

Extract

Since Extract billed itself as the funniest movie of the summer I think I have grounds to demand a refund based on false advertising. I think The Hangover wins that title hands down, or is that hands together? 🙂

I’m not saying Extract was a bad movie. It just didn’t quite get over the hump of being a good movie. Throughout the film I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. It finally dawned on me, “This movie would have been much better if the Coen Brothers – Raising Arizona, Burn After Reading, No Country for Old Men, etc. – had rewritten and directed it.” ( Do you agree? )

Now it’s impossible for me to fairly review the movie because I can only think about how much better/funnier it could have been. If you really want to go to the movies and see a comedy this is probably your best option since there isn’t a lot of funny in the theaters right now. Otherwise, wait for it on DVD or better yet wait for the Coen brothers to remake it. 🙂

What did you think about Extract? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review : Taking Woodstock

Taking Woodstock

To me one of the most important aspects of a film is the pacing. Ang Lee is a masterful director and you can see his handywork here. I can’t think of another film that used pacing as a part of the story so effectively. The movie is very slow to get started. But you know that something huge is going to happen because, well, it’s about Woodstock.

Pacing like this can be dangerous because it depends so much on the mood of each movie goer. If a person is in a hurry to be entertained, they will get bored quickly. But if they trust in the story to deliver something entertaining and meaningful…then it can work. So I can tell you now: if you go into this movie in the mindset that you want to be grabbed by the story right away then you’ll be disappointed. You’ll just have to trust that Ang Lee is going to get you there.

The question is, does the story deliver in the end? This is where I’ll give the movie a B+. I think an A+, home run for the movie would require that I felt, for just a moment, like I had actually been at Woodstock. Which would be a tall order. However, by the end of the movie I did wish that I could have been there . That’s good enough for me and I think that makes the story a success.

Aside from the story the movie performs well as a documentary. I understand a good deal more about the events surrounding Woodstock.

What else do you need to know? The acting, cinematography, etc, were all rock solid. I don’t see anyone getting an award for their role, but that’s mainly because there isn’t all that much to get excited about. If anyone stood out I would say it’s Elliot’s father. I thought he did a marvelous job.

What did you think about Taking Woodstock? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

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Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review : Shorts

Shorts

I sort of like kids movies but this one was really horrible. I even asked three kids coming out of the theater what they thought. Two boys – 8-10 years old I guess – said that it was okay and a little girl said, “It sucked“. I laughed harder at that than anything in the movie. In fact I don’t recall anyone in the theater laughing during the film. If anyone did laugh it wasn’t loud enough to be heard over the soundtrack.

It’s hard to pan the acting of these kids but it was bad. I seems as though the director, Robert Rodriguez, asked the kids to act like kids. What you get is like kids doing a parody of what kids are like.

The worst thing about the movie is the non linear story telling. That can work great in some instances but here it seemed really forced and there was no point to it. Besides, I really wonder if kids are going to care or even be able to follow it.

Even if the story had been told sequentially it still would have been bad. I’m not sure what we were supposed to learn from this movie.

Perhaps to be careful what you wish for. But that doesn’t really work too well, because most of the time people were using the rock unknowingly. For instance, when the sister says, “I wish you would grow up” to her boyfriend. Of course we know what happens, but that’s just a cheap trick. And it isn’t what she intended.

By the way, can someone explain to me why that stuff about the brother and sister playing the don’t blink game was in this movie? What was that all about?

I could go on but it would be a waste of time. There’s nothing meaningful, entertaining, surprising, or funny in this movie.

What did you think about Shorts? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Buy the RunPee Mobile App for 1.99 at iTunes

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review : Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds

[ No Spoilers ]

This is classic Quentin Tarantino. It’s violent but not horrifically so. If you’re just a little squeamish then there are probably only two scenes that you’ll want to glance away from. ( One being when Sgt. Donny Donowitz brings out the baseball bat. I can’t tell you the other without spoiling the movie. ) Most of the violence is just your standard blood splatters from getting shot with a machine gun. If you could sit and watch Saving Private Ryan you can certainly watch this.

The movie is about 2 1/2 hours long and kind of feels that way. There were a few times in the movie that I thought, “Can we get back to the Basterds now?” Some of the scenes seem to run a bit longer than really necessary. But that’s just Tarantio’s style. He’s in no hurry to tell the story. So the long scenes are either going to annoy you or make you appreciate the story teller’s method of giving details that aren’t essential to the plot.

Brad was wonderful as Lt. Aldo Raine. His opening speech to the basterds was reminiscent of George C. Scott’s speech in Patton. In this case I wish he would have taken a little more time in his delivery. Otherwise it was fantastic.

The rest of the cast gives perfectly good performances. Christoph Waltz stands out as Col. Hans Landa and probably has more screen time than anyone. Much of the credit goes to Tarantino for doing a great job of directing. Great actors can really suck with poor direction but give them the right support and you’ll get their best. Fortunately the cast is very tallented and Tarantino brings that out.

There were a good 4-5 scenes that the audience laughed at. Nothing hilarious but some good chuckles. If you laughed during Pulp Fiction, and I was practically rolling in the floor a few times, then you’ll get a good snort here and there.

For my part the most annoying aspect was the subtitles for the German and French lines. Normally I don’t mind but it makes it very difficult to take notes since I can’t tell what is being said unless I look at the screen and I can’t look at the screen and take notes at the same time.

What did you think about Inglourious Basterds? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Buy the RunPee Mobile App for 1.99 at iTunes

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Movie review : (500) Days of Summer

(500) Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer is the best romantic comedy I’ve seen in a long time. I’m going to put it in that group of great romantic comedies that sits right under When Harry Met Sally, and Four Weddings and a Funeral.

It was funny, but not hilarious. There were a handful of laugh out loud scenes that were funny to the audience but not funny to the characters ( I think we call that ironic comedy from now on).

What really surprised me is the effectiveness of the non chronological storytelling. The movie begins with day 500 and then skips around through the days non-sequentially. But it isn’t as if the story skipped around for no reason. Each jump was based on what the characters were thinking at the time. At no point was I lost thinking, “Is this the before or after breakup? Where are we?” The entire movie is a sequence of flashbacks but you hardly notice. And it seems obvious why it is written that way: it’s because this is how we actually remember things. So kudos to the writers and director for a job well done.

Zooey Deschanel was a perfect cast for this part. She is cute and quirky without being too beautiful for the role – just beautiful enough is more like it. 🙂 ( Yes, I’m a Zooey fan. ) It is fun seeing an actor like Joseph Gordon-Levitt go from the brother in G.I. Joe to this role. Even though I just saw G.I. Joe last week I didn’t recognize him. He played the role superbly by not overdoing it. He’s just an average guy who got his heart broken.

And let me add that this movie has the best post first-sex music montage ever.

What did you think about (500) Days of Summer? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.