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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.

Movie review : The Time Traveler’s Wife

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The Time Traveler’s Wife

When I go to the movies I like to sit back, relax, eat popcorn and wash it down with that monster diet soda, especially now that I don’t have to worry about missing key parts of the movie while making a trip or two to the ladies room. (RunPee.com). The Time Travelers Wife is not a movie that allows one to do that. Even though it’s a nice love story, it is confusing. I spent way too time tying to figure out if Henry,the time traveler, was the Henry of the past or the future. However, I did enjoy the scenery and Eric Bana was easy on the eyes.

What did you think about The Time Traveler’s Wife? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Bandslam

Bandslam

Bandslam reinforced a lesson that I’ve learned many times: never judge a movie based on it’s genre. I’m not a fan of horror movies but I’ve seen many horror movies that I love. And I’m not a big fan of cop/gangster movies yet I think some of the movies in that genre are great. And since I’m more than twice the age of the oldest teenager you would think that I wouldn’t like teen movies, such as Bandslam.

But I’m happy to report that I’ve found another instance of a movie that I loved from a genre that I generally don’t care for.

Bandslam is just an old fashioned good movie. It’s solid story telling and avoids the common cliches that teen movies are prone to have.

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

Movie review : District 9

District 9

You can tell from the previews that District 9 is slightly atypical. Much of the movie is shot as a documentary. Especially the first 10-15 minutes. After that it begins to stray into a more conventional filming style while retaining a hint of the documentary camera style. The director Neill Blomkamp finds a nice balance – meaning he didn’t use it so much that it became irritating.

As a science fiction fan I’m always hoping that a movie like this will become an instant classic. In that aspect I’m quite disappointed. However I did enjoy the movie. It was good. Not great.

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

Movie review : G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra

GI Joe - CollectionaryIt’s good to keep in mind that G.I Joe is a movie based on action figures. The good guys are good guys and want to be even better. The bad guys are bad guys and want to be even badder. There is no internal conflict. No questioning motives. Okay, maybe a tiny bit but nothing like the internal conflict of X-Men or Spider Man. But that’s okay. G.I. Joe is from a generation that didn’t have that whole conflicty thing going on. The most recent generations – you know who you are – just thrive on internal conflict to the point of inflicting it upon Superman – which is really just wrong on so many levels.

No, G.I. Joe is pretty much what you might get if you gave a 10 year old Spielberg the entire action set and then stuck electrodes in his head that could record his imagination. Lets have big fights between teams of fighter jets underwater. And then lets have these two guys fight each other a lot because they both fight with swords. And of course the bad guys inevitably must capture one of the good guys so that there can be a rescue.

There is nothing wrong with G.I. Joe if you want lots of action and a shallow and easy to follow plot. If you’re big on intrigue, twisty plots and the ubiquitous internal conflict then you might be a bit disappointed in this film. This might be an action film that baby boomers like more than twenty somethings.

BTW, anyone know where I can preorder an accelerator suit? 🙂

What did you think about G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia is a story driven film and pretty light on plot. But that isn’t a bad thing by any means. The script by tells a good story that the director put together masterfully. Which shouldn’t be difficult since both jobs were done by Nora Ephron: Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, et al. Combine that with exceptional acting and you have a good film. I’m not saying it’s great or not. That takes time and rewatching to discover. But there is that potential.

Most surprising is the number of times the audience laughed. There were at least 6 scenes that got a goodly percentage of the audience to laugh out loud. A few times it was enough to miss the next few lines of dialogue. While I wouldn’t label this movie a comedy it was funnier than most of the moves that do so.

Of course Meryl Streep’s performance was what one would expect: perfect. She is astonishing in her abilities and we see it here. Amy Adams does a fine job as do the supporting men playing their husbands. There really isn’t a weak link in the film.

What did you think about Julie & Julia? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Aliens in the Attic

Aliens in the Attic

Reviewing kids movies is really hard. I doubt if there are many adults out there who are seriously thinking about seeing this unless it’s to take you kids to see it. And honestly this isn’t the sort of movie that does anything for the mature crowd. Men in Black it aint. 🙂

Aside for looking for PeeTimes during a movie I try and keep track of the number of times the audience laughed. I counted 5 solid giggles out of the kids and a few laughs for the adults.

I’m going to give it a 6 out of 10. It didn’t suck but it really wasn’t very good.

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

Movie review : Funny People

Funny People

Funny People is partly about a guy with a terminal illness. And it’s partly about a guy who screwed up and didn’t marry the woman he loved when he had the chance. And it’s partly about a few other things. But ultimately it’s a bro-mance about two guys and the growth of their relationship.

Fortunately the title of the movie isn’t ironic and there are a few good laughing points. But it isn’t hilarious. The acting is right on which might be the biggest problem with the movie. The characters are like, you know, fairly normal people and where’s the fun in that?

It is a good story, not great. I cared for the characters and their development. Something that is important to me in any movie is that I believe the relationships and that’s where I felt this movie stood out. That being the case I’d give it a solid B. It isn’t good enough to get a B+ but they didn’t really screw anything up either to get a B-.

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

Movie review : Orphan

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Orphan

PeeTimes for Orphan are up. Our reviewer told us there is only one decent PeeTime (35 minutes in), so we suggest using that as a proactive pee break. That way you can enjoy the non-stop second half of the movie! CREEPY!

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What do you think about Orphan? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Let me start by saying that I’m not a big Harry Potter fan. I’ve seen all of the movies and thought they were okay. But I haven’t read any of the books. And I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan – both of the books and movies.

I must confess that I didn’t like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at all. I’m not saying it was a bad movie. It just lacked anything to get over the hump of being average.

The most notible failing is the acting/directing. There are very few scenes where the actors have any expression other than a dower expression of impending doom or feeling dejected over their inability to form a relationship with the ones they really love. And there’s hardly ever a smile, or quirky expresson of playfulness. In only a few scenes during the movie did the audience laugh out loud.

Since impending doom is the flavor of the day, throughout the movie they should have worked with it by getting more closeups of the actors in anquish. But the camera seems to always be far enough away that we don’t feel the actors. We only see them. I never felt any connection to any character at all.

The first hour-and-a-half or so of the movie is also filled with many short choppy scenes, with hardly any connection from one to another. It’s as if they decided to film a few pages of the book here and there without aluding to what was skipped over. But I’ve found all of the movies, except the first one in this series, to have a similar flow. If it didn’t bother you then then it won’t bother you now.

Lastly, the music was completely underwhelming. Where’s Hans Zimmer when you need him? 🙂

Ultimately, this movie seemed like it was put together from scenes from a great movie that fell on the cutting room floor.

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

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Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire


Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

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