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Showing posts from October, 2008

W. Movie

Movie title: W. Movie (2008)
Grade: D- (1 star)
Rated: PG-13
Directors: Oliver Stone
Producers: Moritz Borman, Bill Block, Paul Hanson, Eric Kopeloff,
Starring: Josh Brolin “George W. Bush,” Stacy Keach “Earl Hudd,” Ioan Gruffudd “Tony Blair,” Ellen Burstyn “Barbara Bush,” James Cromwell “George Herbert Walker Bush,” Elizabeth Banks “Laura Bush,” Richard Dreyfuss “Dick Cheney,” Toby Jones “Karl Rove,” Thandie Newton “Condoleezza Rice,” Scott Glenn “Donald Rumsfeld,” Jeffrey Wright “Colin Powell,” Bruce McGill “George Tenet”
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Summation: From his youth until just after 9-11 in his presidency, the life of George W. Bush is portrayed.
Spoilers ahead: No

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Where one stands politically really shouldn’t matter in critiquing movies. Whether you’re a nutty (in my opinion) 9-11 conspiracy theorist, or a staunch Republican Bush-bot who believes ole’ W can do no wrong, it matters not. But if you’re going to do satire on the shortcomings of either the left or the right, make it funny! D…

I'd Rather Have Taco Bell

Movie title: Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)
Grade: C- (2 stars)
Rated: PG
Director: Raja Gosnell
Producers: (Exec.) Steve Nicolaides, John Jacobs, Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis (Aunt Viv) Voice cast: Andy Garcia “Delgado,” Drew Barrymore “Chloe,” George Lopez “Papi,” Placido Domingo “Monte,” Edward James Olmos “El Diablo,” Paul Rodriguez “Chico,” Cheech Marin “Manuel,” Eduardo ‘piolin’ Sotelo “Rafa,” Luiz Guzman “Chucho,” Loretta Devine “Delta,” Michael Urie “Sebastian”
Genre: Comedy-Adventure-Family
Summation: A pampered, upscale Chihuahua (Chloe, voiced by Drew Barrymore) from Beverly Hills goes on a surprise adventure in Mexico where she is lost, but pursued by another Chihuahua (Papi, voiced by George Lopez) out of his love for her.
Spoilers ahead: No

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I bet you’re wondering what Beverly Hills Chihuahua has for you. I bet you’ve got your list of questions lined up about the movie, like are there hot and studly Mexican gardeners? Well, there’s one. It seems tha…

Wall-E is E-pic

Movie title: Wall-E (2008)
Grade: A+ (4 stars) Recommended!
Rated: PG
Director: Andrew Stanton
Producers: Jim Morris, Lindsey Collins
Starring (voice): Ben Burtt “Wall-E,” Elissa Knight “Eve,” Jeff Garlin “Captain,” MacInTalk “Auto,” John Ratzenberger “John,” Kathy Najimy “Mary,” Sigourney Weaver (Ship's Computer Voice)
Genre: Comedy/Family/Adventure/Animation/Romance/Sci-Fi
Summation: In the future, earth is void of humans. Wall-E (a waste allocation robot on earth) meets Eve (a life search robot from space), and the two find a new purpose in life.
Spoilers ahead: No

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Being a movie critic can be hard on the eyes. Imagine sacrificing two or more hours of your life on a regular basis to attentively view films that feel like they are slowly turning your brain to oatmeal! It’s not always fun, believe me! Only rarely does a movie exceed hopelessly average standards and rise to the heights of greatness. So naturally, when that does happen, we take a few moments to stop and breathe in the fres…

Saw V: The Outliving of Usefulness

Movie title: Saw V (2008)
Grade: C + (2 ½ stars)
Rated: R
Director: David Hackl
Producers: (Exec.) Daniel Jason Heffner, Mark Burg, Oren Koules
Starring: Tobin Bell, Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell
Genre: Crime-Horror-Mystery
Summation: In this (the fifth) installment of the Saw series, Hoffman remains as the apparent torchbearer of Jigsaw, the infamous murderer, and now it’s time to tie up loose ends.
Spoilers ahead: No

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My descriptive title for Saw V can be used to summarize not just part V, but also part IV, in that the series has (sadly) outlived its usefulness. Both movies have some good and bad qualities, and how one views the Saw movies is, of course, open to interpretation. But one thing that should not be disputed is the fact that the Saw series has gotten rather old by now.

I give it a weaker 2 and-a-half stars, and that is fair. But while I can’t give it a glowing recommendation, if you love the Saw series (I, for one, do), then I do recomme…

Unrealistic Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Movie title - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Grade - D+ (one and a half stars)
Director - Steven Spielberg,
Producers - (Exec.) George Lucas, Frank Marshall
Key Actors - Harrison Ford, Kate Blanchett, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Karen Allen, Shia Labeouf
Genre - Action, Adventure
Summation - Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) goes in search of a powerful ancient artifact and is pursued by soviet forces seeking to learn its secrets.
Spoilers ahead - No

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Indiana Jones, like James Bond, is an untouchable American icon. If you grew up in my generation, you remember when Raiders of the Lost Ark made theatres and etched an indelible impression on the world of entertainment. Then Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came along, but it went out with more of whimper than a bang by comparison. Then came Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which proved to be another monumental directing achievement. And now, almost twenty years later, we have “Dr. Jones” before us aga…

Kung Fu Panda

Movie title: Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Grade: A+ (4 stars) Recommended!
Rated: PG
Directors: John Stevenson, Mark Osbourne
Producers: (Exec.) Bill Damaschke, Melissa Cobb, Glenn Berger
Starring (Voices): Jack Black “Po,” Dustin Hoffman “Shifu,” Jackie Chan “Monkey,” Seth Rogen “Mantis,” Lucy Liu “Viper,” Angelina Jolie “Tigress,” David Cross “Crane,” Randall Duk Kim “Oogway,” Ian McShane “Tai Lung,” James Hong “Mr. Ping,” Michael Clarke Duncan “Commander Vachir,” Dan Fogler “Zeng”
Genre: Animation/Adventure/Family/Comedy
Summation: Po the Panda, the son of a lowly noodle cook, pursues his dreams to become a martial arts legend and discovers that he is the chosen dragon warrior.
Spoilers ahead: No

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Let’s try some animated film arithmetic, shall we? What do you get when you add top-of-the-line animation, fancy-footed martial arts action moves, big-name celebrity voice casts, a diverse crew of Kung Fu-ish animals, and one fat panda? You get Kung Fu Panda, undoubtedly of the best films of 2008. Kung …

Can You Take The Payne?

Movie title - Max Payne (2008)
Spoilers ahead - No

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A disturbing trend has been making inroads in the entertainment world for the last several decades, although it has more recently been gaining ground over the last several years. Aside from stacks and stacks of bad movies, poorly directed and pathetically brought before us on the big screen or released on DVD, we have the hair-brained efforts of Hollywood directors and writers in their bringing to life videogames as movies. That is the disturbing trend to which I refer. It’s disturbing because it has been shown not to work, and yet it is still being done!

It started with Tron. It had its beginning as a videogame. It became a movie, but was less than spectacular on the big screen when compared to the game. Much later came Mortal Combat and Double Dragon—huge embarrassments to put it nicely. Doom and Resident Evil are the most recent arrivals with only a meager few liking Resident Evil. Before us now is Max Payne. It too got its start a…

The Incredible Hulk

Movie title: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Spoilers ahead: No

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There is a sadness in my heart. An empty void remains as I contemplate the way things used to be with my favorite childhood superhero. At the end of each show, he was Bill Bixby, walking backwards to the tune of pretty piano music while thumbing for a ride. He played David (a.k.a. Bruce) Banner. But when he became the Hulk, he would emerge in the form of Lou Ferrigno, a massive, towering, green-painted man, standing 6’5 with 23-and-a-half inch arms, weighing 330 pounds. Limited special effects of the time didn’t take from the feeling that when those eyes started turning green, and when those shirts and pant-legs began to rip, all hell was about to break loose!

But movies aren’t the same now. Animation does nearly everything. Character nuances and subtle facial expressions are done (or I should say overdone) with special effects. I have never been drawn to modern animation. To me, Hanna-Barbera did it way better, leaving more r…

This Movie is a Disaster!

Movie title: Disaster Movie (2008)
Spoilers ahead: No

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In middle school, I was in band. I played the bass guitar. I sucked, but I wasn’t the only one who sucked. The tuba players also sucked. In fact, they sucked so terribly that our seventh-grade band teacher even had a phrase he would use every time they messed up: “Clean that mess up before you leave!” It was funny and it became kind of a catchphrase at the time. I wanted to open this article with something witty like that, but I couldn’t think of anything akin to that to describe this movie. Being at a loss for words (a very rare occurrence for me), I found myself really scratching my head to come up with something. Minutes turned into an hour, and I still couldn't think of anything better than, “Clean-up on isle six.” That didn’t fit the bill either. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, I just don’t have anything witty or clever to say about this movie. It’s awfulness left me speechless.

Now I have seen a lot of bad movies in…

The Dark Knight

Movie title: The Dark Knight (2008)
Spoilers ahead: No

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When it comes to “cannot knock” movies, there just aren’t that many made. Well, let’s be clear; technically, there are none, but practically, there are a few, and this is especially true of comic book movies that tend to have a limited audience. In the case of The Dark Knight, we have one such movie. “Memorable” isn’t doing it justice; perhaps “legendary” is! Movie critic Michael Medved, in his review of The Dark Knight, called it “possibly the greatest comic book movie ever.” Well, at least it’s in the top “unknockable” five, I’d say.

Heath ledger’s acting was truly marvelous as the Joker. He won an award for it because you could feel the Joker’s troubled past every step of the way. Few times in film have I seen a character so well adopted by an actor. His performance was phenomenal. It almost saddens me to admit that even the great Jack Nicholson has been outclassed in performance. I am not only a huge Jack Nicholson fan, but N…