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Movie review : Green Zone

RunPee - PeeTimes linkGreen Zone
Green Zone
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I think the best way to describe how good this movie is is to compare it to a very good George Clooney movie with all the very good parts taken out. There’s nothing wrong with Matt Damons work at all. In fact he was very good. But the story just doesn’t quite grab you by the throat. Instead it seemed a little confusing right around the middle part.

There’s nothing much to make this a compelling movie to see in the theater. I’d say wait for the DVD.

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

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Movie review : Brooklyn’s Finest

Brooklyn’s Finest
Brooklyn's Finest
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If you’re a fan of either Don Cheadle, Richard Gere or Ethan Hawke, or just like cop movies, then you’ll love Brooklyn’s Finest. This movie is a little like Pulp Fiction without the dark humor.

There are three plots and each is germane to the ending. You see each of the characters crossing paths several times during the movie in small ways, so you know that somehow they’re going to be brought together and they are in a dynamite ending.

I’ve read a number of other reviews of Brooklyn’s Finest and no one gave it anything better than a “B”…good….let me be the first to give it a resounding “A”.

What did you think about Brooklyn’s Finest? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Cop Out

Cop Out
Cop Out
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Cop Out was hard to watch. It…um… sucked. It had humor and adventure and really bad guys, with independent but loyal female characters. Some moments provoked a giggle or two.

With me so far? Cop Out cast me nostalgically back to 80s police movies like Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard (Bruce Willis: “I never saw that movie”) and hell, strangely, Star Wars. Why not? Sounds okay, right?

Cop Out still sucked.

Kevin’s Smith’s latest work is a mish-mash of nonsense that even Bruce Willis can’t redeem. Unless you absolutely love Tracy Morgan’s gummy elucidation, you won’t laugh as much as the script thinks you will. I would have really enjoyed Tracy’s extended ‘homage’ debriefing had he taken the marbles from his mouth. Is this actor missing some teeth? Is there some chew in there that precludes comprehensibility? And by what clever notion does common penis/bowel-movement vulgarity equate humor (outside of a South Park episode)?

And Bruce. Sigh. Lovely, sexy, straight-man Bruce. You need to get together with Harrison Ford and commiserate about Extreme Measures and this miserable wacked-out flop. There was some decent buddy-chemistry with Tracy. We know you tried. You know we still love you, right?

We will still pay good money to watch your cute, vulnerable/tough guy shtick.

Just please, don’t do these lightweight jobs that should reasonably embarrass everyone with their names in the credits.

Lastly. Kevin Smith, we won’t hold this against you. We KNOW you can do subversive and funny. This just wasn’t it.

Somewhere between a C+ and B-, but we recommend you wait for the DVD.

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

Movie review : The Crazies

The Crazies
The Crazies
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[No Spoilers ] The Crazies is a good solid zombie flick but certainly not the best of the genre. There isn’t a lot of action to speak of so this doesn’t compare to something like Resident Evil. And I don’t recall a single funny scene, so it’s nothing like Shaun of the Dead. What this movie does have over most other zombie flicks is good solid realism. I didn’t just say that, did I? 🙂

Seriously, what would happen if a small Midwestern town suddenly came down with zombiecitis? I’d say this is a pretty good depiction of what to expect.

They play around with the zombie mythology a bit in this film to make it seem more realistic. You’ll see what I mean. And there is a cause for how and why this disease has hit this town. But the movie doesn’t waste time on tracking down causes or secret government conspiracies. All of those details are dispensed with in about 5 minutes of screen time. Maybe less.

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

Movie review : Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson& the Olympians
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
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A very enjoyable flick! Kinda Harry Potter meets the X-Men. Fun, watchable, an A-.

Since this is the first installment in what I am expecting to be a new franchise, I am willing to give the plot a lot of leeway. So yes, the denouement is rather awful, but the build up more than compensates. And each step of the Pearl Gathering trials was so completely enjoyable I can’t decide which of the three parts I liked best. Medusa? The Hydra? Or the little detour in Las Vegas?

(I might have to pick Las Vegas. Although Uma Thurman did some wonderful scene chewing at “Auntie Em’s”).

I’ll also give the young actors some time to settle into their roles. There was nothing egregious here, and I look forward to returning to a peek at how the Olympian Gods live within our own society.

One thing though: Hades? It’s not Hell. Writers, go back and read your mythology texts.

What did you think about Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day
Valentine's Day
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[ No spoilers ] First off the cast is great and huge. In the first 30 minutes of the movie there were at least 15 different scene cuts and it didn’t seem like we visited the same actor/actress twice. This movie is packed with highly recognizable stars.

There are many movies that have massive ensembles where we gradually see how their lives are intertwined. And doesn’t it seem like movies like this always take place in Los Angeles? What’s up with that? Well, there was Love Actually that took place in London. But all the rest are LA based. 🙂

I thought the movie was pretty good. Not great. Certainly no where near as good as Love Actually and probably not as good as Magnolia which is another one of my favorite’s in this genera – whatever this genera is called.

There were a few good laughs. Some surprises here and there. One thing is certain: if you see this movie then absolutely hang out through the beginning of the credits. There are a few minutes of bloopers and the last one is not to be missed. 🙂

It was very difficult to get peetimes for this movie because most of the scenes aren’t more than 2 minutes long. Plus, I knew that something that might seem innocuous but then turn out to be hugely important later on. That’s how this type of movie goes. So I just had to take my bust shot. I think the peetime after the camera man says, “High school love…ignorant of reality” is the best one to use.

What did you think about Valentine’s Day? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart
Crazy Heart
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[ No spoilers ] For most people, if asked to name a Jeff Bridges movie, more than half would say Starman. I’ve always felt that it was his best role. Until today.

Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake, a wash-up, alcoholic country singer reduced to singing in bowling alleys for chump change will go down in cinema history.

Bridges’ performance as Bad Blake has never and will never be equaled. He looks the part of a tired old man who’s seen the bottom of a shot glass too many times. He’s overweight and poorly groomed and even though his voice is still able to hold the attention of everyone in the room, you know that he was so much better when he was at the top of the charts.

I think that’s part of the magic of this movie, you know who he was before the bottle took over his life, without resorting the cheesy flashback. Maggie Gyllenhaal is great as the love interest. And what can I say about Robert Duvall as Bad’s mentor. He’s Tender Mercy all over again.

Movie review : From Paris With Love

From Paris With Love
From Paris With Love
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[ No spoilers ] I was really looking forward to this movie. And while I’m not hugely disappointed I’m also not exactly thrilled with it either. I guess the good news is that it’s a decent movie because it could have really sucked. But with the talented combination of Travolta acting and Luc Besson writing there’s only so bad it could get.

Getting peetimes for this movie wasn’t easy. That’s because there’s a bit of a mystery going on during the middle of the movie as Wax and James try to figure out who’s running the show. I kept having a feeling that this could be important later. Ultimately it wasn’t that big of a deal. If you’re going to see this movie for the plot then you’re probably going to be very disappointed.

The action was average. Lots of Wax – Travolta – shooting dozens of people while never getting a scratch on him. That’s as good as it gets. Wax does have a few good lines here and there but nothing iconic. Well, just one line that is a reuse of an iconic line he delivered in Pulp Fiction. You’ll like that moment.

The other guy – Jonathan Rhys Meyers – as James was decent. Nothing award winning but then it’s not that kind of movie.

It does seem that they were trying to set this up as a franchise, as the two desperate characters work well together as a team, blah, blah, blah. But I doubt if this is going to have the popularity it will need to bring on a sequel. Because in the end it’s just an average action movie.

One tiny little thing that bothers me is the movie poster. It didn’t happen in the movie that way. Not that it’s important, but James isn’t driving when Wax is shooting the rocket launcher. And besides that, Wax doesn’t even shoot the rocket launcher from the car. What movie were these guys watching when they made this poster? 🙂

What did you think about From Paris With Love? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Dear John

Dear John
Dear John
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[ No spoilers ] The movie schedule this week worked out to where I had to see this movie instead of my mother or wife. So a middle aged guy is probably not the demographic this movie was aiming for. I’m pretty sure I was the only single guy in the entire theater. Most were groups of young women or couples of all ages.

Getting peetimes for this movie wasn’t too hard because there are really just a few moments in the movie that are remotely missable. Personally I think the love/sex scene is the best time to get away because really, not a lot going on besides the camera panning over their bodies for a minute or so. You’re better off missing that than some important dialog.

The acting and production values were all spot on. Amanda Seyfried was pretty great. And I just discovered that she played Lilly Kane in Veronica Mars. I thought she looked familiar. 🙂 She pretty much carried the show. It isn’t that Channing Tatum is bad or anything. He just plays a young, fairly dower Army guy. Not a lot of expressions going on there. But then if he did it might seem a bit misplaced. So kudos for him not trying to over act the part.

I was really impressed with the job Richard Jenkins – John’s father – did. It was a fairly small role but he did a lot with it.

I think what most people will want to know is how emotional is this movie? Well, it’s both happy and sad which is probably what you want to hear. And I’ll bet that 99% of the women who see this movie will shed a few tears and a large percentage of men will as well. And then there’s the one scene where I actually heard people sobbing. So yes, this movie brings the emotion pretty well. And hey, there’s even a few explosions and gun fights tossed in there so everyone can be happy. 🙂

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

Movie review : Edge of Darkness

Edge of Darkness
Edge of Darkness
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Mel Gibson provides just the right touch in Edge of Darkness – he’s a sweetheart father, a rough Boston cop dedicated to his job, and pretty darned good at psyching people out to give up their creepy intel. He’s also lucky to make it to the end in one piece (so to speak) with that nothing-left-to-lose ‘tude he pulls on everyone in his path. Yes, he’s done that before in Lethal Weapon, but that was back in the Pleistocene. Mel’s a grown up now, and a lot darker.

It was hard to find PeeTimes for this movie, since you really do need to pay ATTENTION to everything that goes on. And sometimes, even when you are paying close attention, you still miss a subtle clue, or just can’t untangle what someone with a quiet but thick English accent might have just said.

Is this a scary flick? No. There’s some vomit and blood, but it all makes sense with what is going on. You’ll startle at least once (there’s a thing with a car door…). Are there laughs? A running gag about what’s legal in Massachusetts got the audience going each time. Will you cry? I tried not to. I almost made it. That last 15 seconds got me over the edge, dang it.

An excellent score by Howard Shore backs up this surprisingly thoughtful thriller. Dark, complicated, intense, a few light laughs and a tiny bit of tears at the very end. See this film. A-

What did you think about Edge of Darkness? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.