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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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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


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.