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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.