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Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

Review: In Bruges

Posted by rapaleeman on June 24, 2008

Whoever said Colin Farrell can’t act is a moron.  Wait.  That was me.  Anywho… In Brughes is the darkest, funniest comedies/dramas I have ever seen.  It is great.  Go buy now.

Not enough?  Ok I’ll elaborate.  Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play hitmen who are sent to Bruges (it’s in Belgium) to hide out after a job.  Not giving anything away, but obviously things didn’t go well and the two are on edge.  Farrell, a young Irish guy and Gleeson, an older British dude are essentially the opposite of one another.  Farrell would rather be drinking and parting with midgets (oh yeah there is a midget) while Gleeson’s character would rather be sight seeing and enjoying the suroundings. 

Obviously again this leads to some odd couple style of relationship with the two leads and it works great.  they care about each other but never truely show it until a scene in the park towards the end.  What follows is an extremely funny and downward spiral into the land of Bruges and the minds of these two hitmen.

In vein of movies like Trainspotting and Stay, you get this almost surreal feeling.  Like everything is happening but then in turn not happenning.  I can’t really describe it.  The movie just sort of happens around you as you watch it and the ending is very fitting to the overall tone and style of the movie.

Awesome film.  Rarely has a movie made me laugh my ass off, but made me think about the message at the same time.  It is really unheard of in this day and age of film making.  I guess it is fitting to call this a film and not a movie.  It entertains, but unlike a straight up action movie or drama, you actually take something away from it and it makes you talk about it.  Like the aforementioned film Stay for instance.  As it should be, this movie is without a shadow of a doubt.  Highly Recommended.

Oh, for a final reason to see the film.  Colin Farrell karate chops a midget.  Tell your friends.



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Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Posted by rapaleeman on May 28, 2008

Let me preface by saying that yes, I am an Indy fan.  Even with this fact out there this review is not going to be pretty.  Onward we go.

So this is the fourth movie in the Indy franchise (I refuse to re-type the title and I am too lazy to cut and paste, deal with it) and with that comes the typical swashbuckling crusade on dry land that Dr. Henry Jones Jr. is known for.  There is action, comedy, drama, suspense, well maybe not the last two.

The best parts of the movie are when Indy is on-screen being Indy.  He is and always has been a wise-cracking super smart professor that would get himself way over his head.  That runs true here and to be honest it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Sure there are some sweet action scenes and the stunt doubles do a fairly decent job, but the chase through the jungle is terrible and the pivotal scenes are just so far out there that it completely hangs itself with what little bit of Indy’s famous whip there actually is in the movie.

Without giving anything away this movie is out there.  Both literally and metaphorically.  This particular franchise has always suspended belief, but not reality.  Most of the ideas behinds the movies are soild facts with a paranormal-type of explanation.  It’s what made them fun (like the first National Treasure movie, but not the second, it was terrible).  Essentially you could legitimately believe what was happening in the film and play along with the Jones as he discovered what the hell was going on.

Not in this one folks.  I got lost about 20 minutes in and the opening of the movie is just crap.  It doesn’t even feel like an Indiana Jones movie.  That doesn’t start until almost a 1/3 of the way in.  Part of the issue is Spielberg and Lucas thinking bigger = better.  Not here it isn’t.  There is so much CGI that this is just unbelievable completely.  Did we need CGI in Star Wars and Transformers?  Yes since they were both fantastical (is that a word) franchises.  Not in Indy.  Practical has always been better (hence the Experience at MGM Studios) and when the stunt doubles are going at it I was glued to my seat.  When the waterfalls and random Mayan dudes show up I was counting down the time for the credits.

Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones.  No question how old he gets, he is the man.  Much like Stallone is still Rambo and Rocky, or Bruce Willis is John McClane, Ford pulls off the age well, though he does sound a little more cynical with his speach.  I swear I heard and saw Han Solo for a few minutes here.  Not a bad thing, but definately uneven for such a great actor.  Shia (however you spell his name, the kid from Transformers and I,Robot) is not that bad as, well I won’t spoil it but if you think about it, you already know who he is and why he is in the movie.  A few others make some good extended cameos from the previous films and some of their dialogue with the Jones is actually great.  The only problem is Cate Blanchett.  Great actress, terrible role.

I think that is the whole problem with this film.  There is so much you can do with this franchise and honestly they didn’t know what direction to take it in.  Do you stay grounded, or go bigger?  The dynamic duo tried to do both and in term almost ruined the film for me.  The last five minutes are epic (and they don’t have any action in it go figure) and will make you grin and at least feel somewhat ok that you just sat through one of the most ludicrous movies you have ever seen. 

If your an Indy fan your going to see it.  Shut up, you are.  I’m tired of people saying they won’t.  You will.  The question is should you?  The answer is yes definately since even though the chapter in this saga is really bad, the ending to the story (or is it?) is really worth it.  You learn about a few key characters and why Indy is who he is.  Also how much his father has actually impacted him in his present life.  It’s weird, Connery isn’t in the movie (not really) but his spirit and precense is all over Ford and his character.  Ultimately that is why you should see this movie.  Indiana Jones.  The man named after the dog.  Dr. Henry Jones Jr.  Part-time professor, full-time badass and explorer.  He as a character evolves here much like Rocky Balboa does in the movie of the same name.  Old, but not too old and never forgetting who he once was and who is now.

This is getting a Recommended for that fact.  Not because it is a good movie.  It really isn’t, but because of the spirit and characters it contains.  And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing Indy back for number 5 if only to allow for him to finish on a high note.  This franchise deserves that much.


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Review: Iron Man

Posted by rapaleeman on May 5, 2008

Go see this movie.  It is the second best best comic book superhero movie ever created (Batman Begins is number 1).  Amazing film.

Oh you want a little more?  Ok.  For starters this is a great movie.  It has a ton of humor and action, yet it takes itself seriously.  A weird mix, but it works quite well here.  Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark.  People that say he isn’t need to shut the eff up.  I haven’t been this sold on a character since, well Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne.  He defines the character as his own, yet makes him seem extremely real.  True the character is a personification of many, but RDJ pulls it off with just the right amount of randomness to make it seem like one complete entity. 

Rhodey is played by the great Terreance Howard.  His opening scene as Rhodes at an awards thing is terrible, but otherwise his performance is spot on in character.  Gwyneth Paltrow is hot and works quite well as Pepper Potts, Tony’s assistant.  She brings a down home charm to the character and as with Stark, makes it believable.  Along with her chemestry with RDJ, it just works.  The rest of the cast is throwaway (nice cameo by Leslie Bibb as the reporter glad she is getting work though) except for 2.  Jon Favreou, the director as RDJ’s driver is great and just funny with a few of his Swinger ad-hoc lines.  While the subtle cameo of Paul Bettany as Jarvis, the automated computer system, is really well done.  His sense of humor while lacking a sense of humor is great.

Ok, enough of the semantics, the reason people are going to see this movie is Iron Man and the tech that makes him up.  First though, Starks lab must get a mention since it is just a great set piece.  He has a sweet set-up with 3d imaging and modeling.  Awesome sets.  Also a robotic AI type of voice command robot thing (not Jarvis, but like a crane or arm).  It is actually funny by itself and this is a great feet since it doesn’t talk.  No spoiler here, but the scenes with this little robotic thing are just laugh out loud funny.  Makes me want to go see Wall-E even more.

Fine. I guess I’ll talk about the tin can.  Iron Man, the suit, is great.  I believed for every second RDJ/Stark was actually in it at all times (and sometimes he is, since for what it’s worth they actually built a few of them, go Stan Winston).  The CG was great and even on the main baddy the Iron Monger looked realistic and believable.  The opening and closing of the mouthpiece on Iron Man is definately of note since the blend of CGI and live action is right there.  I’ll let you guess what is fake in that scene.  Give ya a hint, it isn’t what you would think.  ILM did Transformers and you can tell that they know how to make realistic, belivable CGI.  Again, it just works.

The overall story is great, borderlining perfect for a summer popcorn flick.  It is really light on plot and if you don’t see the “twist” coming you should be slapped and banned from movies for a while.  It is a tad long, but it really needed to be.  I never once wondered when it would be over though.  So that accounts for something.  Long without being long as it were.

Again, this movie is great.  It has action, drama, and lots of comedy and humor.  Plus a ton of technology and an Audi R8 which is just sexy.  It just all works and fits nicely together.  Defiantely need a sequel to this.  Please.  Also stick around to the end of the credits which are actually really long, but ultimately worth it.  Give ya another hint with a quote: “This is how I talk!!!!  Haven’t ya seen my movies?!?!?!?!”.  That’s all you get but think Dave Chappelle and you’ll understand.  You will be giddy like a schoolgirl.  Trust.


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Review: Cloverfield

Posted by rapaleeman on April 25, 2008

As promised.  Here it be.

Ok so everyone saw the trailer when it was 1-18-08 and attached to Transformers last year.  Everyone shocked and awed at the same time with speculation of what movie it was.  Everything from the Transformers sequel to Voltron was named but they were all wrong.  It was a small budget, big monster movie produced by JJ Abrams (Lost, MI:3). 

So 1-18-08 came and went.  I saw the movie in theaters and was both amazed and strangely disappointed at the same time.  It was a movie, shot handheld style (think Blair Witch but not as lame) about a giant monster destroying New York.  It had twists and turns (literally) in the viewing of the movie and the funny reports about people getting sick in the theaters gave me a little tickle.  In all I liked the movie, but didn’t really understand it besides the obvious monster attacking New York thing.

Well, it is several months later and the DVD is finally out (oh buy it at Target to get a cool little CD full of Indie songs that are actually good).  I bought it, watched it and also followed up on some of the viral marketing (the character’s mySpace and a few others) and finally have come to turns with the genious that is behind this idea and the overall execution of this property.

The movie is the same movie it was in the theater.  It satrts out as Rob, the main character that you can see, is leaving to take a new job in Japan.  They throw a big party for him and essentially we pick up in the middle of these individuals lives.  The catch is the movie is captured and being played back for us, the audience.  The movie that we are seeing is actually recorded over another “movie” of Rob and Beth, his former girlfriend, as the spend a day together.  This is key because at points when Hud, the cameraman shows footage to other people, stops recording, or drops the camera we can see what was on the tape in portions or little skips just like a real camera operates.

This concept works great and feels less like a gimmick and more like a fulll thought out delivery medium.  It also helps to break up the action or pass some time for our “heroes” to move to another place in the city.  It works and needs to be commended since I would hate to have to be the director and editor on this beast.

Anyway, as the party is flowing on, the monster attacks obviously and all hell breaks loose.  They core group try to get out of the city, but then realize that Beth is trapped in her apartment and needs help.  So Rob decides to trek back into the city to get her.  They do and obviously have a few run in with authorites and the beast.  An awesome “fuck yeah” situation happens when troops show up and start launching technology at the beast from the middle of the street.  It is pretty awesome.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the movie for you, but there is some pretty cool stuff to be seen and dialogue is pretty funny at times to break up the “holy shit” theme of seeing a giant forty story creature.  It is a fantastic movie.  The acting is a tad week at times, but overall Hud and Rob (who carry the film since the chicks can’t really act) do a good job.  The script or lack thereof since I hear a ton of it was improv is well executed with only a few “issues” that you will notice when you see the movie.  If not just ask me and I will explain further.

The special effects are good to the point of excellent and that is because you don’t notice them.  There are a ton of transitions and CG elements that (other than the monsters) are not that obvious and help towards building the realistic feeling of the movie.  The sound is overall good since it is essentially from a single mic on top of the camcorder.  It’s not, but it is supposed to be and it sounds like it, just in 5.1 surrond sound.

The main complaint is the jerky camera and angles.  Yes, it is supposed to be like that, but sometimes you can’t tell what is going on.  It is supposed to make you fell like “one of the gang” but it is kinda distracting.  Especially at the party which goes on for way too long.  Other than that a great movie.

The extras are pretty good.  They help to explain a little more.  The real focus should be for people to go online and spend 20 minutes on the various viral sites.  They will essentially help you get an idea about where the monster comes from (the ocean) and how old it is (a baby).  Other things like why people are at the party and other cool things.  Worth the extra effort to expand on this flick.  Not required, but definately interesting.

Overall this is a great must-see movie.  Period.  Buy it.  You will want/need to see it again to get everything it has to offer.  Not to mention the viral stuff.  This is by very definition more than a movie.  Definately pick this up.  Also remember Target gives you a sweet CD.


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Review: In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale

Posted by rapaleeman on April 22, 2008

Ok, I know everyone has been eagerly foaming at the mouth for this one (does sarcasm come across well in written form?).  This review will be pretty short in the fact that there wasn’t much to this film.  The overall arching story was terrible and barely coherent.  The characters were clunky and most importantly: why was it over 2 hours long?

The story is that a farmer, named Farmer (Jason Statham, the only part of this movie that can be called ok) whose son is killed by the Kruug, decides to go kick some ass to get revenge.  Oh and his wife along with the rest of this random village on a cliff (which seems to be the only village in the land besides the castle) have been taken prisoner to be slaves or whatever.  Who cares?  The story is stupid.  It has no point only to build up this tension that the Kruug are bad and this wizard or something, played by the usually reliable Ray Liotta, is trying to take over the land as the leader of the Kruug.  Liotta is doing the nasty with some other magician’s daughter to steal her power or something and Matthew Lillard (they say his name three different ways in the movie so I don’t remember what it was) is the King’s nephew and hates the King.  If none of that made any sense to you then join the club.

After some massive intrigue and awesome plot twists that you never see coming (how’s that sarcasm coming?) the movie just plays out.  The ending is terrible.  The battle scenes, for which there are many, are fake and unconvincing.  The same with the props.  Though when the Kruug catapult flaming people through the air at the King’s army, I laughed and was amused for a few seconds.  No, I didn’t make that up.  They fling people.  The final showdown between Statham and Liotta is terrible with horrible SFX and the fact that The Stath can break Liotta in two at any given point in time makes the fight more ludicrous than it already is.  They are so uneven and Statham is just going through the motions in the fights.  Anyway, a terrible story.

The acting is even worse.  Liike I said above The Stath is the best part about this movie and he really isn’t that great here.  Liotta hams it up pretty bad, along with Hellboy, Ron Pearlman who looks just like Hellboy here, but not red.  Weird really.  Claire Forlani as the damsel works, but she can’t act.  She’s hot enough to actually warrant a save, but seriously can’t read a line to save her life and neither can the stupid kid they got to play Staham’s son.  Lillard is terrible as well and cries most of the time.  Where’s Shaggy when you need him?  Let’s see, Brian White was servicable, but his character was terrible and Leelee Sobieski (or however you spell her name) was as wooden as ever.  She is the female Keanu.   One face/reaction to everything.  Kritanna Loken was in this for like 10 minutes.  She was Painkiller Jane in the forest.  One person I didn’t mention was the King.  Burt Reynolds is the King here and I wonder how much he was paid/needed to do this movie.  For that matter, how the hell did Uwe Boll get any of these actors/actresses.  Most are at least decent B-listers with a few big names in here.  Puzzling, but I guess money does buy everything.

Look, I’m not going to go on anymore about this terribe, terrible movie.  Do not buy/rent/watch or even think about this tripe anymore.  It’s sad that this is Uwe Boll’s best movie.  It really is but when you make crap, some piles smell better than others depending on what you eat I guess. 


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