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Movie review : Everybody’s Fine

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Everybody’s Fine
Everybody's Fine

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Another ho-hum movie. Nothing much to say about it, either good or bad. This is a watered down performance from Robert De Niro.

Times used to be that De Niro in a movie meant something. But de Niro playing an old man/father is something I can do without. Leave that to other old men. De Niro needs to play a character that could be bound to a wheel chair and still strike fear in the heart. Sadly, those days are probably passed. I think I’m going to go watch Head just to wash this out of my mind.

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

Movie review : Brothers

Brothers
Brothers

[ Spoilers ahead ]

This really pisses me off. The previews made the story up to be about an affair between a wife and her husband’s brother while the husband is off fighting in Afghanistan. But there wasn’t an affair. It was nothing but a kiss? Just a kiss?

The real drama came from what Sam – the husband – had to do while he was a POW. That’s some serious stuff and more than worthy of carrying a dramatic story.

But we only get a little bit of that, and then a little bit of the brother/wife indiscretion, which splits the story right down the middle. If the producters had just chosen one or the other they could have made a much better and more focused movie.

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

Movie review : Up In The Air

Up In The Air
Up In The Air

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A very enjoyable movie. Plenty of laughs and the story doesn’t trod down Predictability Lane. It’s a little difficult to associate with the characters since they lead rather unconventional lives. But the issues they face are similar to what many of us deal with, which brings it back to earth.

The most predictable aspect of this movie is George Clooney’s typically great acting. You would think that he would mix it up every now and then and turn in something rather flat and uninspired, but I suppose he just doesn’t have it in him.

The cast around him more than holds their own. Anna Kendrick is perfect as a competent and confident college graduate who gets slapped around by life. Vera Farmiga – George’s love interest – doesn’t have a lot to work with. Her role seems rather undemanding except for one scene which she plays very well. Personally I enjoy seeing actors play roles like this and do it well. In many instances the actor feels like they have to turn everything up a notch and overact just to be noticed. Vera didn’t do that. She just played her part and did it well.

And this is another well done job of writing/directing from Jason Reitman. He did Juno and Thank You For Smoking. I think this means we can expect to see a good many more enjoyable movies from this young talent.

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

Movie review : Old Dogs

Old Dogs
Old Dogs

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I didn’t expect much out of this movie. It seemed to me that I had probably seen everything worth seeing in the previews. Fortunately I was wrong. There were a few good and funny scenes that they saved for us.

The performances are what you would expect from great actors who aren’t asked to do much with their roles. Robin probably does a better job because he plays the dad-role fairly often. Travolta was good. Not the sort of role we’re used to seeing him in, outside of the Look Who’s Talking oeuvre. It’s sort of fun to see such a likable actor switch it up from time to time. Fortunately, he has a shaved head and carries a gun in his next movie: From Paris with Love. So it’s back to the good times. 🙂

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

Movie review : Ninja Assassin

Ninja Assassin
Ninja Assassin

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[ No Spoilers ]

The previews billed this as the greatest ninja movie ever. We’ll you guys just go on thinking that. But we all know it’s not true.

This is a great movie for people who like really bad acting and poor cinema photography and lame fighting choreography. Did I mention the bad acting? Lots of that. There probably would have been even more but they had to spend a lot of time showing us the bad fighting scenes.

At least they mix it up. Just when you think you can’t take any more bad acting they go into a long fight scene to release us from our misery. And then when you think you can’t take any more of the bad fight choreography they save us by switching back to the bad acting. In that since it’s pretty well paced.

[ Spoiler ahead ]

And it wasn’t just the acting and fighting that was lame. The story has as many holes as a ninja caught at the wrong end of a dozen throwing stars. My favorite is when our favorite ninja and Mika get separated. It ends with Mika running over a bad ninja just as he’s about to kill the good ninja. He then jumps in he car and Mika says to him, “I can’t believe I found you.” Like that’s supposed to fix it right up.

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

Movie review : The Blind Side

The Blind Side
The Blind Side

[ no spoilers ]

This is without question the best role I’ve seen Sandra Bullock perform and she was certainly up to the task. Most of the roles I have seen her in are of the quirky woman variety – Miss Congeniality, All About Steve, Speed, etc – or the woman in love character: see every other movie she has made. She’s very good at both of these but it’s good to see her spread out into something a little different ( note – I’ve not seen every single movie she’s been in).

I’ve heard some people saying that this is an Oscar nomination type of role. I hope so. She deserves to at least get on the ballot for this performance.

And she’s not the only one who deserves some Oscar love. Quinton Aaron nails his role. I’m not sure that acting shy and quiet is the toughest role for an actor, but I never once thought that I was watching someone act.

I would also like to give some props to the writers and director. I like the fact that they focus on letting us know that Michael isn’t exceptional in anything other than being a left tackle. The real Michael Oher made tremendous academic strides, but so could anyone else who is given the resources and motivation that Michael had. We can’t be reminded often enough that the only difference between the richest people and the poorest is money. In every other way we are equals and given the right circumstances our lots could have been otherwise.

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

Movie review : The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Twilight Saga: New Moon

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Let me say first off that I didn’t hate this movie. In fact I sort of enjoyed it even though I’m not remotely in the target demographic. And you have to give kudos to the writers and director for really nailing this genre. It takes real talent to master a genre so completely.

This is sort of the female version of Transformers. Gigantic machines that can punch through an air craft carrier and well endowed, heaving girls are to guys; as boys with piercing glances, furrowed abs and a deep dark side are to girls.

Here is my theory as to why this sort of movie is so popular. We all have our genetic programming. If you are a teenage girl then you automatically have a huge decision to make because you are now biologically capable of having children and therefore must choose a mate. In today’s world this may not actually happen for many years but a teenage female’s body is telling her that it’s time, now. That decision is going to have everlasting effects and thus we have teenage angst.

Kudos to the director for discovering so perfectly what female teenage angst looks like: head down, eyes up, scrunchy forehead. That is the default look that Bella has for everything.

Dad: Bella, what kind of cereal would you like for breakfast – Cheerios or Raisin Bran?

Bella: [ tilts her head down, looks up with her eyes and scrunches her forehead up ] Oh Daddy, I don’t know. I used to always eat Raisin Bran but I’ve been trying Cheerios recently and I really love both of them now. Part of me wants to go back to Raisin Bran. But If I do I’m worried that I’ll have to give up on Cheerios forever and I just really want the option to have Cheerios in my life. [ Tilts head down even further and look up with even more forehead scrunchyness. ] I think I’ll have Cheerios but think about Raisin Bran.

Dad: [ Rolls eyes and says under his breath ] Teenagers.

Come to think of it, Edward and Jake both put on angst-face a few times. I think when the DVD comes out we have a new drinking game. 🙂

What did you think about The Twilight Saga: New Moon? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

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Movie review : Planet 51

Planet 51
Planet 51

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I was hoping this would be better than it was. I think the only really funny bits were the alien pet and Rover.

The novelty of an alien planet going through our version of the 50s was okay at times. Of course kids aren’t going to have much of a clue about what that’s all about. It’s pretty much just window dressing for the adults taking the kids to the movies.

What did you think about Planet 51? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

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Movie review : 2012

2012
2012

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2012 was a disaster and I mean that in a good way. Not a great movie but wow does Roland Emmerich know how to tell a disaster story. And if you like disaster movies, like I do, then maybe this is a great movie.

The good: rocking good special effects. Epic in the destruction of California, Yellowstone, Rio, Rome, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Washington DC, . . . you get the picture. This movie is full of disasterz – that’s the plural of disasters. ( Plural of a plural if you will. ) The characters and their motivations are good enough to keep the dialogue going. And there are plenty of laughs. Even a few LOLs from the audience – which is more than I can say for most of the “comedies” I’ve seen this summer.

The bad: I thought the crisis near the very end with getting the door shut was a bit too much. I’d much rather see a little more in the denouement – post disaster. But I guess Roland figures more is better and wants to make sure you get your moneys worth of destruction.

I love the way Roland provides just a shred of science behind his stories. If you’re a science fiction fan then you may recognize the genesis of this story from Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Songs of Distant Earth. But the science ends there. Thankfully what he postulates in the story isn’t possible but it’s a good enough launching point. I’ll give him credit just for mentioning neutrinos. Who knows, maybe some kid out there sees the movie and then does a little reading on neutrinos and ends up becoming a physicist. So kudos Roland.

This would make a good night out with friends movie. Lots of food for conversation presented in this story, such as: would you be more like Carl or Adrian?

I saw the film at a midnight showing and the audience seemed genuinely captivated by the story and effects. There were even a few applauds. Yes the critics are going to pan this movie. But that’s like criticizing Playboy magazine for showing too much skin. Critics can be real bone-heads sometimes.

What did you think about 2012? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : This Is It

This Is It
This Is It

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In case you didn’t know This Is It has a documentary format. Seems pretty obvious but I just wanted to make sure you were clear on that. This documentary is a sequence of shots from the rehearsals for MJ’s planned tour. Most of the action focuses on MJ, as you would expect with a bit here and there from the dancers and musicians who were performing with him.

I’m not a huge MJ fan but I enjoyed watching This Is It. I was happy to see that MJ didn’t act like a prima donna. He took direction from his advisers and offered feedback to his support cast without being overly sensitive about it.

What I really enjoyed was watching the process that everyone, even MJ, went through to produce the show. It isn’t like MJ walks out and nails a dance move or musical note on the very first try. Even the greatest get it wrong more often than not on the first try.

The downside to this documentary is that it seems rushed. My guess is that the powers that be wanted to get a version of the documentary to the theaters as quickly as possible. And then in a few months we’ll see the DVD that has much more footage than a movie ever could. So if you’re not dying to see this then hold off and wait for the DVD which should be much more complete.

What did you think about This Is It? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Prima donna