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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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Movie review : Bruno

Bruno is funny, crass and explicit. And pokes fun at just about everyone and everything in Hollywood. That alone makes it worth seeing. The swinger’s party, near the end, is possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in a movie. If you just want a good laugh, go see Bruno.

If you’re offended by onscreen sex, nudity and foul language, or if the thought of seeing two men kissing makes you queasy, then do not see this movie… go see Ice Age instead.

Note from polyGeek: my mother, who did this review, is a big fan of South Park and Family Guy. She commented to me that Bruno is sort of like an uncensored version of those shows.

She also said that she thought this was one of the funniest movies she had ever seen and in the next breath said, “And you probably wouldn’t like it.” Not sure what that says about me. 🙂

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

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Movie review : Public Enemies

[ no spoilers ]

Guess what: Johnny Depp is a fantastic actor. Once again, he plays his roll with aplomb. I think that Depp and Mann – the director – play well together. Depp is able to commanded the scenes he was in without overdoing it, which is a tribute to their team work.

It’s hard to say if Christian Bale did a good job because his character is so unassuming. In a way, I wish he hadn’t been in this movie. There are many actors that could have done a fine job of playing FBI agent Melvin Purvis leaving Bale to shine in something more demanding of his talents.

The only other character to get enough screen time to be recognized is Dillinger’s girlfriend played by Marion Cotillard. The only problem I had with the entire movie is that there didn’t seem to be any magic between her and Depp that would justify the attraction and sacrifices that the characters made for each other.

Michael Mann, the director, does a nice job of making a modern 1930s movie. The colors are muted throughout the film and occasionally he fades to a sepia tone to give it that news real footage.

From reading back over this much of my review I see the failing of this movie: there is nothing magical about it.

Everything in the movie seems to be slightly muted, just like the colors. There isn’t much to cheer for or against. And because it’s based on a true story there is little, or no, suspense. Of course Depp creates a likable but not lovable Dillinger. Bale’s character is no different. And the one thing that probably could have made the movie much better would be to create a real love story between Dillinger and Billie. But that doesn’t quite get off the ground either.

So there wasn’t anything wrong with this movie but there also wasn’t anything right about it either. If I didn’t have to see it professionally – to get the PeeTimes – then I wouldn’t have missed seeing this one. But then again it wasn’t a total waste of time either.

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

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Review: Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen

The sequel to the 2007 blockbuster “Transformers” is out and it is rockin!

When I see trailers for movies I decide (because of my ever-shrinking budget) whether it is going to be a “wait for the DVD” movie or “go see it in the theatre” movie. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” was a “Go see it in the IMAX, baby!!!” And I am certainly glad I shelled out the extra bucks to do so. Getting caught up in the special effects and sound was worth it, because that is at least half of what make this movie so great! I am not saying it in the snide, put down way that “bite the hand that feeds you” Megan Fox did. (What the heck was she thinking?)

The movie critic “Movie Mom” said of the 1st Transformers “the robots are just so cool!” She was right then, and it hasn’t changed now. They’ve gotten even cooler with way more personality.

Let’s talk personality. Bumblebee – come on, that is one hot car and if he were human I would totally want to date him. Courageous, loyal, sensitive, strong – everything a woman wants. But there was one thing in the movie that confused me; what happened to his voice? They made a big deal out of giving him James Earl Jones’ voice at the end of the first movie and gave some lame excuse as to why it doesn’t work now. Don’t get me wrong, I adore him without the voice, he expresses way more through radio and song – but it was a little cheesy the way they glossed it over. And while I am pet peeving on this; James Earl Jones as the voice for a hot car like Bee? No way! JEJ has the voice for Kings and Gods, not a hottie like Bee. Let’s think along the lines of Samuel L. Jackson, or Ice T., or even Vin Diesel. That would be a tough voice!

I’ll go ahead and get my other problem with the movie out of the way. This is not quite a spoiler; but if you haven’t seen the movie yet, skip this paragraph. I could have thought of at least 3 different ways to help Sam in the desert without going all mystical like they did (OK, 1 and if I thought really, really hard I could come up with 2 others, but you get my point). It reminded me so much of the way The Matrix was ruined by trying to take it to some “higher purpose” when the purpose was already high enough! Come on guys, is uniting 2 alien races not enough for you? We can’t even get peace on one planet; I would think engendering trust between 2 planets is a huge deal. Why the great beyond stuff?

OK – spoiler part over, you can read again.

Things I adored;

Sam’s Mom: this woman is hilarious! Between crying over sending her only child to college and sampling some of the “special” brownies being sold at the bake sale – she will have you dying. Do not drink too much Coke, you will have to go to the bathroom from laughing so hard.

The Twins: they almost destroy as many things fighting each other as they do the Decepticons, but do not attack one of them. They are brothers, and you do not mess with brothers.

Transformers hiding: just like in the first movie, the Transformers attempt to hide. I have no idea why I find this so funny, but I do. It reminds me of my 6 year old standing up straight as he can behind the tree in hopes I won’t kill him for using my china for flying saucers.

Sam: he is just great. Every tiny expression is perfect. You can tell just how nuts he thinks his roommates are to just how devastated he is by a great loss he experiences, and how much guilt he feels over this loss.

Bumblebee: I love this car, I want this car. I will even take the old beat-up version of this car as long as I get one that cries when I say I am going to leave him behind. Oh and that comes out shooting military grade bombs at any adversaries. I think he would be great in Atlanta traffic.

The plot was not great in this movie. There were some pretty Swiss cheese type holes. But the acting and the special effects more than made up for it in my opinion. Michael Bay was not going for Drama of the year or an Oscar with this film, he was looking to give us all a good time – and he succeeded with that spectacularly.

Can I have my Bumblebee now, please?

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, language, some crude and sexual material, and brief drug material. The twins’ language is particularly “street” foul language. I would definitely pay attention to the “13” part of it. Your 5 and 6 year olds are going to beg to see this because it looks so cool, but unless you want to spend the entire movie going “don’t repeat that” – then you will probably want to hold off until the DVD version.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

What do you think about Transformers Revenge of the Fallen? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Transformers


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Movie Review : Land of the Lost

If you’re a fan of Will Ferrell, this movie won’t disappoint you. He does what he does best – slap-stick humor. I did find myself laughing out loud a few times.

A word to the parents that are not Will Ferrell fans: if you can safely drop off your pre-teen/teenager at the movies and go shopping, please do so. And don’t worry about the kiddies seeing something shocking…Most everything in this movie can be seen on television. Lots of slime, spit and urine being tossed about. The kids will love it. I can’t say anything bad about Land of the Lost. You’ll be entertained and the final scene with Matt Lauer is priceless…..

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

Review: Year One

Parents, are you uncomfortable sitting through a Cialis commercial with your preteen, dreading to hear the words “erectile dysfunction” and waiting for you kid to ask you, “what is an erection and why do you need to see a doctor if it lasts more than four hours?”…

If the answer is yes, don’t go see this movie with your youngster. I’m not saying don’t see the movie. DO see this movie – just not with your kid. It’s a hysterically funny parody of the Old Testament with some great lines delivered by some great characters; there’s poop and urine humor, some hints of bestiality, and of course gay humor. Part of the story takes place in Sodom and you can imagine the fun the writers had with that scenario.

I saw Year One at the first showing and was amazed to see the number of kids under 13. A mother with four young boys sat in front of me. The kids laughed all the way through the movie. The mother did not…

Go see it with a friend or your spouse – not your kid! 🙂

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

Review: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

[Spoiler Free]

There was nothing wrong with The Taking of Pelham 123. The acting in Pelham was more than adequate, as you would expect with high caliber actors Denzel and Travolta carrying the load. The story was okay; the direction was okay; the writing was okay. So as much as anything that’s what is wrong with Pelham. It was just okay.

There are no great reveals and no great plot twists. Which in and of itself is no crime but that leaves the movie as nothing more than a simple story. And that can work well if there are compelling characters. Characters that you want to live, or die, or overcome some obstacle. Someone to root for. But that’s not the case here.

Denzel played his character just fine but the character as written was unassuming and humble. So no great attachment is made with the audience.

Travolta’s character – Ryder – wasn’t terribly evil or malicious. So it’s hard to root against him. It seems as though an effort was made to make the audience associate with Ryder and think, “This could be me under those circumstances.” But the story just doesn’t quite pull it off.

What did you think about The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

The acting in Pelham was more than adequate, as you would expect with high caliber actors Denzel and Travolta carrying the load.