a la The Flixter
The year is 1989 and Iraq has taken over Kuwait. So we go back to
the first Gulf War under the senior
President Bush. The movie is an adaptation of
Anothony Swofford's book about his time there.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays "Swoff," who is totally not the 'Marine type", but that is what he
becomes. His unit gets shipped off to the war, but before that happens, there's
the whole bit about the boot camp and the tough training.
Jamie Foxx (in another disappointing turn since his Oscar win) is the staff
sergeant who makes the training hell for the recruits. That's about where most of the action
Once these snipers
are sent off to the desert, the movie falls asleep. Or maybe it was me? The poor guys looking
for action have nothing to do. Sure they are protecting the Kuwaiti oil fields but there's not
much threatening them while they try to kill time. How? Well they play football. But
Foxx tries to
make it a little harder for them by making them play their games with their gas masks on in
the heat. Then there's pornography to keep them occupied while their wives and girlfriends
cheat on them back home. But there's not much war action, of which they had anticipated, and
they are not the only one's who are disappointed. I was also very disappointed.
The acting is decent. I
know I called Foxx's turn here disappointing but its disappointing when the entirety of the role
is taken into perspective. He is good as the tough-ass drill sergeant but is in the middle of
a situation that doesn't let us appreciate the performance beyond its surface. Why? Because it
starts to get boring after a while. Same old, same old. Where's was the action? This is
probably one of the most boring war movies ever made. Jake Gyllenhall would not have been
suitable for a role that would have required a giant leap from his "pretty boy" roles. But
since there isn't much toughness required for the state of inaction, I guess it can be deemed
an appropriate transition. Most disappointing is director
Sam Mendes; he won an Oscar for his first feature,
American Beauty. His second one,
Road to Perdition, was even better in my opinion. And now his third one is
a la The Flixter
A police informant wakes to find himself with a steel trap around
his head; the thing is lined with spikes. A taped message informs him that the trap is timed
to snap shut unless he uses the key to unlock the thing and remove it. Where is the key? Well,
the key has been implanted in his eye.. a scalpel has been conveniently provided. So he can
use the device to cut open his eye, take the key out, and remove this steel venus-fly-trap
snaps shut. He begins but does he do it? Take a guess.
He is the psycho who was introduced in the first Saw. He can't really be called a serial killer, as he puts it, since
he hasn't actually killed anyone. He gives people the option of living or dying. The guy (Tobin Bell) is a
terminal cancer patient who has decided to make the goal of his remaining life to make those
who don't appreciate their life, appreciate it. I guess they end up doing that, but not for
too long. This time, once again, he has captured and imprisoned a few people (sinners
according to him) and given them just a little time with even littler options of escaping.
There's a drug dealer, a drug addict, a snitch, etc... The eight unfortunates, as they are
informed, are also being slowly poisoned by a nerve gas that is seeping into their dungeon.
The antidote is in a safe close by, and they are told that the combination to the safe is in
the back of their minds. On the outside, Detective
Wahlberg) is racing to get to the victim's
whereabouts because his son Daniel has also been kidnapped and is one of the unfortunates.
Actually, Daniel is the only clean one among the eight captives. He is being held to punish
for not appreciating his wife and kid. So the race is on, the trap is set, and the eight
start turning on one another while meeting a violent demise, one by one.
The deaths are gory, the
movie soaked in red, and the tension extreme. I liked the first Saw, but this one actually improves
on it. There are implausibility's, of course. Like how could this dying cancer patient manage
to capture these eight healthy people? But who cares, he did it. The guy's got will power. I
almost feel guilty saying that the suffering of those eight provided some great entertainment.
The only thing I can hold against it is that the final twist, though clever, is there so there
can be a sequel.
a la The Flixter
Here's another one that is based on
true events... and, of course, I don't know much about the
actual basis for the origin, so I will just address it as a
movie. Josie Aimes
(Charlize Theron) is a single mother who has
recently left an abusive husband. She goes to work as a miner in
Minnesota's Iron Range. The majority of the miners are men, her
father being one of them and they don't take kindly to their
female co-workers. Even her own family isn't supportive. Her
father (a fine
Richard Jenkins) has always been distant from his daughter. Ever since she became pregnant as a teenager, he has resentments about his daughter. Her teenage son has to
put up with rumors about his mom sleeping around with married
co-workers. Only her mother (Sissy Spacek) is supportive of her daughter,
but then comes the constant barrage of abuse from the male
miners. Her female co-workers are used to it by now. Sure there
is shock when one opens her lunch box and finds a sex toy
inside; and there is disgust when obscenities are scrawled, on
the walls of the women's locker room, with human feces. But the
women need the job and the money, consequently they have been
putting up with it. The only support Josey finds is in the form of a female
co-worker, Glory (an excellent
Frances McDormand), who is also the boss of the
women's union. But the advice given to Josie, "work hard, keep your mouth shut,
and take it like a man," can only last for so long. Especially
when the abuse starts getting too close as in the form of a
supervisor who also happens to be a former, abusive boyfriend.
Inspired in part by the sexual harassment hearings, involving
Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas and
that is transpiring at the
time, she turns to local hockey-hero-turned-lawyer,
(an excellent Woody
Harrelson). The only
problem is that the other victims of the abuse, her female
co-workers, are not willing to talk because they fear losing
their job. The company's lawyers bring up
past as their defense. Things start getting nasty but, of
course, how often does Hollywood turn its attention to true
events that don't wind up with a crowd pleasing finale? But that
is not the point here. The point is to bring forth a series of
human crassness and the human endurance that triumphed over
those events, and the movie does that extremely well.
The performances are great. I think I used the word "excellent"
to describe a few of the actors. Let's not forget that Charlize Theron
is also excellent in another performance worthy of an
Who knew that a beautiful, South African, blonde, model turned
actress, could excel at roles that don't rely on physical
beauty? Likewise, Sean
Bean is also
"excellent" as Glory's
husband, a former miner, who has doubts about
resolve to bring her complaints forward. Not that he doubts her
intentions, its just that he believes, like so many others, that
it won't do any good.
An excellent movie... Great performances... Great direction ...
(by Niki Caro).
Two For The Money
a la The Flixter
Brandon Lang (Matthew McConaughey)
was doing great as a star football player in college; then came the injury that put an end to
the possibilities there. But he hasn't given up on his favorite sport. He has a knack for
picking out winners. Hell, he's so damn good at picking winners that he gets the attention of
Walter Abrams (Al Pacino), who runs a
sports betting outfit out of Vegas - and its not just any outfit. He's got a multi-million
dollar gig going with many hardworking employees, a regular client base, and money pouring in
from all sides. Of course, Brandon
accepts and pretty soon he's cruising around in a brand new Mercedes, drinking $10 bottles of
water and champagne that runs into the thousands.
Walter, on the
other hand, is in bad shape. He's a reformed gambler with a really bad heart condition and a
habit of chain smoking. Plus he's got a young daughter and a young and attractive wife. That
starts getting a little too close to Brandon.
Or is it just another setup by Walter
to test the new recruit? Like I said before, Walter
is a reformed gambler and his new high seems to be letting other people risk their money at
his fingertips. Brandon
starts off great but you know that there is going to be a downward slide. However, he does get
to bag a super-rich client, played by Armand Assante,
who wagers in the millions on a single game.
scratch-offs and daily number drawings, I really don't know much about this aspect of
gambling. But this movie did manage to immerse me in its content even though I didn't know
much about the background. So, apparently, sports betting is a $200 billion dollar industry.
And another useful gem I learned is that a gambler is not addicted to winning but instead is
addicted to the fear of losing. Wow!! Never though of it that way.
Getting back to the
movie now: it was a great piece of entertainment that is supposedly based on true events.
is great but not really too different from the many other profane and crooked characters that
he is known for playing. McConaughey is also very good. Like I said before, the movie is extremely
entertaining. A very fun time. Just sitting there watching these people win and lose so
much was a truly vicarious experience. Oh well....
Into The Blue
a la The Flixter
let me try to recall a movie I saw a long time (five days) ago.
This is how it
went: Jared (Paul Walker) and Sam (Jessica Alba) are living on some island in the Bahamas. A couple of their
friends visit, so they decide to take their friends, Bryce (Scott Caan) and
Amanda (Ashley Scott) on a tour
of the undersea. Upon this tour they happen to make two discoveries. One is a downed plane
that must have belonged to some drug dealers, since its got a whole load of cocaine on board.
Second is a shipwreck that was mythical until they stumbled upon its riches. What results is a
parting of ways... Bryce and Amanda want the drugs on the plane. Jared wants to find the rest of the
shipwreck and its riches and the good Ms. Sam wants to report all of it to the authorities, even though she
and her boyfriend could really use the money since they are living pretty poorly. But, of
course, things are not meant to go as planned.
The owners of the plane
(the drug dealers) find out about their discovery when Bryce and his gal try to sell some
of that stash. They come back demanding all of it be returned, some way or another. Things
start getting violent and it wouldn't really be an aquatic flick unless some sharks were
thrown in. So, yes, there are shark attacks and some bleeding.... and there is some other guy
who used to have a monopoly on treasure hunting in those parts. Of course, he isn't too happy.
You know who else wasn't too happy? Me.
The movie was so damn
boring. Unless you are talking about seeing Ms. Alba in her swimsuit. Yes, that was fun. But otherwise, it was a
pretty long and boring. And Jessic Alba, pretty as she is, is not that great an actress. Good thing that
a lot of the movie takes place underwater and you don't have to put up with the dialogue..
TIM BURTON'S CORPSE BRIDE
a la The Flixter
another animated feature from director Tim Burton.
But the animation is not typical cartoon-type stuff. It is stop motion animation like the one
he produced in his classic A Nightmare Before
Christmas. So, once again, the actor whose name
appears in the parenthesis is the one providing the voice for the character.
Victor Van Dort (Johnny Depp) is the
bachelor son of parents who see his marriage as a way of climbing up the social ladder. They
arrange his marriage to Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson). What they don't know is that her aristocratic family has
fallen on some hard times and see the Van Dorts as a way of bailing them out of those hard times. But
nervous and shy man, bungles up his vows on the big day, even though he and
actually fallen in love upon their first meeting. So he decides to go to the woods and
rehearse before his second attempt; he repeats his vows and places the ring on a dry tree
branch for practice. What he doesn't know is that the branch is actually the skeletal hand of
a body buried there. And the body happens to belong to the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham Carter)
who was murdered on her wedding day. She rises and the two are wed, unintentionally on his
behalf. He gets sucked down into the underworld where his new bride proceeds to introduce him
as her new husband to her fellow cadavers. Those cadavers, skeletal as they are, don't refrain
from partying, which includes a few song and dance numbers, to show their joy.
Victor is stuck below ground while
finds herself in a different conundrum above ground, since Victor is assumed to have run off.
Her parents want to marry her off to some other suitor..... and Victor starts to feel sympathetic
for the Corpse Bride. Her words, "just because a heart has stopped beating doesn't mean it can't
break," make him want to help her. So her killer has to be unmasked and
Victor has to
kindly convince her to let him return to his world and stop another heart from breaking.
The movie is a visual delight,
and its a bonus that it is also very entertaining. It is absolutely hilarious and unbelievably
touching, which I wasn't really expecting. Tim
Burton shows us how his wackiness extends into the
animation realm, but he also gets a hand from co-director Mike Johnson. The movie is based on
a Russian folk tale and is a must-see for anybody who won't let animation stop them from
enjoying a great film.
Lord of War
a la The Flixter
Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage) is an
Ukrainian immigrant. Back in the 80's, he happened to walk in on a mob hit, and that just
sucked him into the gun trade. As he tells it, there is one gun for every twelve people in the
world, so his big concern is how to arm those other eleven. Meanwhile, he makes his way in the
very prolific illegal gun trade. He goes all over the globe and provides arms to everyone; he
has no loyalties. The only person he didn't provide weapons to was Osama bin Laden. Why? Because he was
We follow him around as he
makes deals, sometimes providing arms to both sides of a battle. Hey, a customer is a
customer. On his path he meets a beautiful model,
Bridget Moynahan, marries her, but never reveals
anything about his trade. His ally along the way is his brother Vitaly (Jared Leto). But he ends up
developing a cocaine habit along the way rendering him, at many times, useless. However,
also seems to develop a conscience, when he sees some of their customers in their horrid
reality. And in constant pursuit of Yuri is an Interpol agent played by Ethan Hawke.
The movie is really fast
paced. Time just flies by as we join Yuri on his journeys.
Nicolas Cage is great, even though he doesn't seem
to age through the decades. But Jared Leto's drug addicted character is pretty similar to the one he played
in Requiem For a Dream (another great movie). The great
Ian Holm pops up in brief bits. Director
continues to add to his very impressive resume as writer/director (Gattaca, Simone) and writer (The Truman Show). The
movie is extremely great. It is hilarious. It is sad. It is just such a great overall
experience. I loved it..
a la The Flixter
Derrick Vann (Samuel L. Jackson) is
after some arms dealers spreading their goods; enter dental-hygiene salesman
Andy Fidler (Eugene Levy)... He's on
his way to a convention of his peers. He stops at a diner, identities are mistaken, arms
dealers think he is the buyer, and he gets sucked into the whole operation. Vann, of course, is
not happy, but has to go along since the bad guys think Andy is the man to be in touch with,
i.e. the one who has all the cash to buy their goods and spread them on the streets. And, of
just wants to go to his convention and make his speech which he had been practicing tirelessly
at home. But things don't always turn out the way the characters want. Especially in a buddy
movie where the buddies start off hating each other but will eventually grow close.
Anyway, I should just get to the point since I have pretty much explained the plot.
The movie is essentially
laugh-free. Although, there was some woman sitting in the center who was going hysterical.
These days you never know. Maybe she was talking on her cell phone and that conversation was
funny. Because, if anything, the goings on on the screen were just plain unfunny and
embarrassing for the players. What the heck was the talented Mr. Jackson doing in this piece of
crap? Even Eugene Levy should be above this type of junk. The film-makers try to squeeze the most out
of his Andy's gas problems. Fart jokes are abundant and you can almost feel the stink
seeping through the screen since this movie stinks. Of course, their is a detour along the way
where Andy helps Vann get close to his estranged family. How touching!!! What can you say
about a movie that thrives on poop and fart jokes and ends with the hilarious horrors of
cavity searches? Not much. It even gives the hackneyed genre of mismatched buddy movies a bad
name. Wish I could watch some movie where I had more to say. Not the case here..
A Sound of Thunder
a la The Flixter
year is 2055. And cajillionaire
runs a time-traveling hunting company. Yes, the same
who won an Oscar once, offers his super rich clients a chance to
go back 65 million years and hunt dinosaurs. His
supercomputer T.A.M.I. (don't know what it stands for
though I am sure it was probably mentioned) is able to pinpoint
dinosaurs that are about to die by some natural catastrophe.
The time machine puts the hunters by those ill-fated creatures a
few minutes before they will die. So the hunters get there and
get the thrill of the kill by shooting down those creatures.
accompanying them is
Dr. Travis Ryer (Edward
Burns). He's the
watchdog who makes sure that the hunting party follows the very
strict rules. None of their guns can fire until his
fires... and they better not step off the glass path that is
laid out for them because they might accidentally kill some
miniscule bug or something, which can alter the entire course of
human history. OK, now what about the dinosaurs? Sure they will become extinct but when the
giant creature falls to its death, won't that kill some of those
creatures laying around? Anyway, during one of these
hunting expeditions, panic ensues and one of the chicken-hearted
hunters runs off the path. He is checked to make sure that
nothing extraneous was killed. They come back, and guess
what? He did step on something. Which is why things
in the future start changing.
The city turns
into ruins, strange creatures start roaming the streets, and
plant life gets overpowered by some super weeds. When
tracks down the inventor of T.A.M.I, she explains that messing
around with the past does not have an immediate effect on the
present; changes come in waves. The only way to find out
what went wrong with the last trip is to re-create it and follow
it step by step. So they get around to doing that in an
attempt to save humanity. Its definitely not easy since
the streets are a mess, the strange creatures are abundant, and
the lab, when its gotten to, is a wreck. But they
persevere and things start showing signs of hope. Unless,
of course, you are talking about the movie. Because having
sat through it so far, there was definitely no hope for redemption
in my eyes.
The acting is bad,
the action boring, and the special effects extremely cheesy.
made more convincing dinosaurs in his B movies. When the
first one of those showed up, I couldn't believe my eyes.
EXTREMELY horrible looking. I mean, forget about the thing
dying from a natural catastrophe, it looked like it was going to
die of bad health problems. Really, really boring movie
and even more badly put together. Horrible!!!
(approaching from the negative side)
a la The Flixter
(Rachel McAdams) is dedicated to her job as a
hotel manager. In other words, she's a workaholic. But she gets
a chance to get away from her job when grandma dies. So its not
a perfect setup for a getaway, but she gets away from her
stressful job dealing with rich and snotty customers. She gets a
flight to her destination only to be stranded at the terminal
because of flight delays. One of her fellow passengers offers to
buy her a drink at the airport bar. She accepts not heeding the
warning of the guy's
ominous sounding name.
Jackson Ripner (Cilian Murphy) is charming and there seems to be
a mutual attraction. Furthermore, she finds herself seated next
to the guy once they manage to get on the plane. She's got the
window seat so she is pinned. Once the plane takes off,
Mr. Ripner unbars his true intentions.
There is a
guy parked outside her father's house. All the guy needs is a
Jackson in order to kill her father. What
can she do to stop it from happening? Well, the Secretary of
State is a regular guest at her hotel and is coming to stay with
his family. She just has to call the hotel and have him moved
from his usual suite to a different one. Why?
is an assassin and the Secretary is his latest assignment. And
finds herself unintentionally becoming a key piece in his new
venture. Like I said before, the poor girl is pinned in her
seat. She tries by making an excuse of going to the ladies' room
and leaves a message on the mirror. Doesn't quite work out. She
tries all options that spring to mind in her very tight
situation....and the audience will find themselves trapped in
their seats like she is trapped in hers.
least I was hooked. The movie is extremely tense and its coming
who is usually dealing with screen horrors of a different kind.
The guy is best known for being the guy behind
in the Nightmare on
Elm Street movies. I
am not really a big fan of that series but he shows his range
here by making one of the most tense and suspenseful action
movies I can recall in recent memory. The plot is pretty simple
and the execution is masterful. The cast is great.
is a great damsel in distress and
is absolutely loathsome. Let's not forget that
the ground is played by the great
I had a really great time. Loved it...
a la The Flixter
Caroline (Kate Hudson) is
becoming a nurse. The ghost that haunts her is the death of her father and how else to make
peace with that but by taking care of the elderly in a nursing home.. and then unwinding by
partying away at some club at night. But the death of a patient makes her realize how
money-oriented the whole health care business is, and that is what makes her make the move
from Hoboken (New Jersey, of course)
to the Big Easy (New Orleans).
Once there, she moves in with
Violet (Gena Rowlands) to help
take care of her husband,
Ben (John Hurt), a stroke victim who only has a month left to live. Their house
is huge and Caroline is given a key that opens all the locks in the entire house; all
paralyzed and unable to do anything. That's what
thinks until she finds a white sheet with "Help Me" scrawled on it by
uses the key and makes some sinister findings, the most sinister of which is a room filled
with the belongings of two former black servants who were lynched for being witchdoctors
(flashback time, of course). So the house definitely has a history. Of course, Caroline should
just get away from her creepy surroundings but then how could a horror movie, inclusive in the
history of all movies, ever be possible if the protagonist just took a logical step. Plus she
finds a way of redemption from her dad's death (the poor guy died alone) by
only help is a former roommate and
lawyer. The latter, played by
cannot be trusted, of course, since he starts off by coming across as a typical lawyer type.
Is this horror movie scary? Or is it
horrible? Well, its not really scary but its also really not too horrible.
gives a pretty good
performance. The rest of the cast is also pretty decent, and the final twist (you know there's
gotta' be one of those) is actually quite surprising. I won't say that you should run
out to see it but if not much else is happening, then its a worthy diversion.
a la The Flixter
we find ourselves in the near future. How near is never really made clear. It can't be too far
since Muslim terrorism is still pretty rampant. Three pilots for the U.S. are part of the
elite that is at the forefront of the fight against the enemy. There's
and to keep thing's interesting,
to keep a gender balance. But all three of them find their positions in jeopardy, along with
the rest of the flyers when
actually EDI, a warplane that flies on its own, and fights on its own. It is the future of
aerial warfare, designed to eliminate human casualties from the fliers; at least that is the
intention. That all changes when Eddie flies through a lightning storm and is hit by a bolt of
lightning. As a result, it develops a mind of its own. It ignores the orders and goes
bombarding places that it sees appropriate, ignoring any human losses that may result. So the
three pilots, who at first are supposed to be guides for this new technology, find themselves
trying to stop this developing menace. On top of breaking the Air Force's rules of engagement,
breaks the law by illegally downloading MP3s from the Internet and continuing to constantly
play its downloads at a blaring volume in the cockpit. If that sounds ridiculous, then its
because it is ridiculous.
The movie loses
its grip on a potentially captivating concept. Meanwhile, the movie switches from an
aerial thriller to a ground-bound
actioner when Biel's Kara is shot down and finds herself trying to survive behind enemy lines. But that
really doesn't matter because it is still
boring, loud, and tedious. Jamie Foxx is the real disappointment since this is his follow up to his
Oscar winning performance in Ray. Kinda' reminds me of Louis Gossett Jr. How? Well, he won
an Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman
and followed that with a similarly bad aerial-actioner
And where is he now? See where I am going with this?
PS. I also
happened to catch The Island before I saw this one. Never reviewed it, but just think I
should mention that it was pretty damn good. Not something you would expect from popcorn movie boy Michael Bay. It has to be his most
intriguing film with a lot of depth beyond the action and eye candy and some great
performances from Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansenn. If I had written a full review for that one, I would have
definitely given it Five Stars.
ONE STAR (since some of the aerial action is cool at first...)
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
a la The Flixter
This will be a pretty brief review. What to blame? Well its been almost a week since I saw
this. Plus the heat is killing me; that and the unbearable mugginess. But let me stop
Johnny Depp steps
in as Willy Wonka, that manufacturer of delicious chocolates. His factory is a no man's land.
Nobody goes in but the candy continues to come out. Who makes them? Nobody knows. That is
until Mr. Wonka decides to open his factory to the people. Well, not all the people. He puts
five golden tickets in his candies. Whoever finds them, gets the tour. Sounds easy until you
factor in the fact that the candies go all over the globe. One of the finder's happens to be
young Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore). The poor kid lives in a tiny shack with his parents and
grandparents (all four of them). One of the grandpas has been telling him stories about the
time when he used to work for Willy Wonka and that is the grandpa that he decides to take with him to the
factory. The other winners are whiney, rich, brats and Charlie is the only likable one.
So they all enter the factory
with their chaperones and are given the tour by the wacky Willy Wonka. What follows is a
true visual delight as we see how the candies are made. There's the Oompa Loompas and the truth about
their origins; and there's the nut room where we see a horde of trained squirrels do the nut
cracking. But what is the real reason Wonka has decided to open up all of a sudden? Well, that is why you
are there, too... to see Mr. Wonka's strange design on things. Like I said before, the other
winners are a bunch of brats and not the least bit likable. So we see them all meet their
respective fates, as only Charlie seems destined to survive this dream trip.
Director Tim Burton is in full wierdness mode
as he brings Roald Dahl's classic to the screen. Honestly, I have never seen Will Wonka and The Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. This was a first time for me and it was an absolutely great
time. Visually stunning and pretty hilarious. Johnny
Depp gives another great performance and also
present is Helena Bonham Carter (the director's wife) as Charlie's mother. A kiddie movie,
that is dark enough to also give adults a great time...
a la The Flixter
Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) is
recently divorced. She can't afford to live in pricey Manhattan so she and her young daughter,
Ceci, move to
Roosevelt Island, which is just a short train commute away (honestly, I never knew about
this). They get a decent place in an apartment building; actually, only the building is decent
looking, because the apartment itself is a rundown hell-hole. But the real estate guy,
played by a great John C. Reilly,
is very convincing. So mom and daughter move in and that is when things start turning for the
It all starts with
a leaky ceiling that drips incessantly. The super (Pete
Postelthwaite) doesn't seem too concerned. His lack
of concern is pretty much teetering on not giving a damn. Then there are the noises coming
from the upstairs apartment; plus Ceci manages to find a friend in a young girl that only she seems to
have seen. So what exactly is going on? Well, its a remake of a Japanese horror hits, so there
is definitely something supernatural lurking beneath the surface. Dahlia starts investigating the
strange happenings and some unexpected revelations (SURPRISE!!!) happen. Could
friend, imaginary or real, be the girl who used to live in the upstairs apartment? Why does
the water, leaking from the ceiling or coming out of the faucet, keep turning black? Is there
any hope for this single mother?
Jennifer Connelly definitely gives a
great performance. I have been a huge fan of hers ever since I saw her in
was a long, long time ago; she was a little girl but I was also pretty young. Since then her
performances have been very decent (The Rocketeer,
The Hot Spot, Requiem for a Dream, A Beautiful Mind,
etc..). Heck, I may be one of the few who remember her in the music video for Roy Orbison's,
I Drove All Night. Yes, I'm definitely a fan of this gorgeous and talented actress.
But how was this movie? Pretty decent. But that's about it. Decent. An acceptable explanation
is what makes this kind of movie perfect... and the reasoning and explanation here was only
so-so. Its definitely creepy, though. Plus the show is nearly stolen by an almost
unrecognizable Tim Roth. Good. But not that good..
THREE & 1/2 STARS
War of the Worlds
a la The Flixter
Three barbecues (no, I don't eat much) and many fireworks (I was not involved directly) ago, I
went to see director Steven Spielberg
put on his own fireworks display with the help of
Tom Cruise. Yes, its another feel good adaptation of
the H.G. Wells
novel of alien invasion. Here Tommy boy
a NJ dockworker and deadbeat dad. His ex-wife is remarried and pregnant; she and her new hubby
are going away and want Ray
to look after their (she and Ray's
) two kids. Not such a problem for Ray
until a strange electric storm hits Bayonne.
Yes, strange things are happening in the skies. But stranger things start happening on the
ground when the roads and sidewalks rip and out come these giant alien tripod things. Seems
that they have been buried for eons and the aliens have been waiting for the ideal time... and
that time is now.
aliens go about their business, which is basically destroying all bridges and buildings,
including churches. None of the motor vehicles are working, with the exception of the one
belonging to Ray. So he grabs the kids, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie (Justin Chatwin) and starts driving northward. Of course, the highways are jam
packed with cars that are not working and whose owners try to stop Ray for help. But its survival of
the fittest and having a working car is definitely fit. There are some stops on the way.
A truly creepy one by a lake that is full of swollen and bloated dead bodies. Or maybe a
creepier one is the one made at the residence of Tim
Robbins' lonesome survivalist. Is there any hope?
Not from the looks of it, since everything has been destroyed.
Anyway, how was it? Well in terms of eye candy, you will get more than your money's
worth....and that's about it. It is an extremely well done special effects extravaganza. But
character-wise, there's not much to go for. Ray is not that likable. His son is a typical brooding and alienated
teen and Dakota Fanning is just plain annoying with her incessant screaming. And at the end I
was really not sure about how the aliens were defeated. It took a lot of thinking, which is
not good when you have been expecting just an escapist, summer flick. Good but not
THREE & 1/2 STARS
a la The Flixter
Its been almost a week since I saw this great film; (I know that
I just gave away my final verdict). But life has been hectic, so
now I will attempt to write a review.
Of all comic book heroes (I think I mentioned that I usually
like their on screen translations),
, in my opinion, is the best. Why? Well, because he doesn't have
any superpowers, unless you count a load of wealth. He is
basically an ordinary guy who chooses to throw on a costume and
fight crime. Here we go back to the origins.
As a kid, Bruce Wayne
saw his parents become the victims of a thug in a dark alley. As
a grown up, Wayne
travels to Asia where he is taught by some guy named
awesome as always) to fight. He goes through a pretty vigorous
drill to learn the ways of the ninja. Plus,
teaches him to overcome his fear of bats. Well,
had a pretty traumatic incident as a child when he fell down a
well inhabited by those nocturnal creatures. So he masters
his fear and chooses to turn those creatures into his alter-ego.
Upon his return to the crime-infested
he becomes Batman
by night and fights criminals. By the way,
happens to be a billionaire; he gets assistance from his
family's company's science division director
Plus, there's the loyal butler,
And there's plenty of crime to be fought. There's the local mob
boss (Tom Wilkinson)
and a shrink who keeps helping criminals get an insanity plea.
The latter, by the way, is arch-villain
Of course, to detract any suspicion,
hooks up with his childhood sweetheart,
But a more major villain rises in the form of
yes, the same guy who trained him, who comes to Gotham City
with his League of
Shadows. Ducard sees
the city as the epitome of degeneration and wants to destroy it.
calls it home and sees a chance at redeeming his deteriorating
Much kick ass action happens. Plus the
is there in the form of a giant tank-type thingee. So I
had a great time. Its great to see director
redeem a deteriorating franchise. Plus, the ending sets it up
for a sequel..
a la The Flixter
Scotty Doesn't Know
becomes a pretty decent hit, much to
chagrin. On the day of his high
school graduation, Scott
Mechlowicz) finds out that his
has been cheating on him for well over a year with the rocker who has
penned that ode to that infidelity. (That rocker, by the way is
played by Matt Damon
in a brief cameo.) So the graduation celebration turns somber when
breaks up with Scott
and he breaks down in front of the camera that is taping his educational
Relief comes along in the form of
has been chatting with this German guy, on the Internet, for a while
now. He realizes that his German is not too good, when it turns out that
is actually a gorgeous, blonde girl. But the realization comes a little
too late, after he has e-mailed her saying that he doesn't wish to carry
on this cyber friendship. All attempts to re-establish contact fail,
since the heart-broken Mieke
has blocked any e-mails from
Scott. The only way to
get to Mieke
go to Berlin; so Scotty
is off to Germany, accompanied by best pal,
who is tagging along, and hoping, for a wild, European sex-odyssey. From
there, its Europe all the way, with stopovers in London, Paris, and
Paris is pretty funny when
Scott gets violent with a
street mime and Amsterdam is wild, of course, with its liberated
atmosphere of legalized drugs and prostitution. But their most memorable
stop is in London, where they hook up with a bus-load of Soccer
hooligans who end up being their unlikely escorts. And the search
goes on. By the way, the two also hook up with two other schoolmates,
who happen to be twins. Jamie
is an extreme geek, whose knowledge of the structures come in handy when
impersonating a tour guide. There are plenty of laughs, especially when
the four find themselves sharing a train car with an ultra-horny Italian
guy. However, many of the jokes get a little carried away, to the
point where they just become annoying. Like the time when they
accidentally ring the bell in the
signaling the Pope's
death... or when they venture onto a nude beach, in search of girls but
only finding a bunch of desperate and ugly men, also looking for girls.
That part, in particular, gets pretty gross with an over-exposure of
bare behinds and phallic counter parts. It is pretty funny when
the jokes work, but not all the jokes are funny. Some are just
plain annoying. Of course, the ending has to be all sappy, which
seems to be becoming the new trend in Hollywood. Not bad, though....
50 First Dates
a la The Flixter
is a veterinarian working at some aquarium-type place in Maui and,
romantically, he has a pretty convenient set-up......he only goes for
the tourists. A short fling happens, they leave, and he stays. But
comes along. She, literally, catches his eye at a local waffle
house when the glare from the sun, reflecting off her mirror, distracts
him from eating (she is building a house from the waffles). He goes
over, offers her a few tips, and the two hit it off very well. They soon
part ways but
goes to the same place the next day, expecting to meet her. She is
there and doing the same thing with the waffles. He goes over and starts
chatting again, but she freaks out and doesn't seem to have a clue as to
who he is. A baffled
does some investigating and finds that she isn't kidding. It turns out
was in a car accident and has suffered some pretty unique mental damage.
She recalls everything up to the day of the accident, but after that,
she wakes up each morning without a clue about the previous day.
delves further into his potential love, he finds that everything has
been altered to her condition; no one tells her what actually happened.
is celebrated every day and a newspaper from the same day is placed on
the doorstep everyday. Dad has stockpiled those newspapers and the
charade goes on. The family sits and watches
The Sixth Sense
everyday, when Lucy is the only one shocked by the ending while dad and
brother are dozing off.
how can Henry get this girl of his dreams to remember him for more than
a day? He has actually found his love and won't let up that easy. So he
joins forces with her dad, who is reluctant at first, and the quest
begins. I am not that up with psychiatry so I can't really vouch for the
authenticity of the whole situation. But the concept is promising, as we
see the two meet each day as if its the first time they have met. Many
hilarious situations result, as
gets aid from some friends, including fellow
who pretty much steals the movie during his brief appearances.
The movie is pretty damn funny and I was kind of embarrassed when I
realized how loud I had just laughed. But it gets a bit too mushy
towards the ending as
starts to come to terms with her condition and
starts to get away from his
playboy lifestyle. Plus there is a little too much bathroom humor
involving his aquatic patients. Funny, yes, but memorable it's
not. You'll laugh and get just about your
money's worth.. Plus the soundtrack is pretty good, with modern covers
of some classic tunes from
Echo and the Bunnymen.
THREE and 1/2 STARS
Barbershop 2: Back in Business
a la The Flixter
is still running the clipping joint his father established in the '50s
and the place is still the same old hang-out for the
customers. Heated discussions are carried on as locks are trimmed and
snipped. The topics range from current events, both celebrity gossip and
political stances, to events from the past. But the verbose tranquility
place is threatened by a real estate developer who offers to buy the
place so he can put up a
or some other such place.
rejects the demanding offer. So the guy just goes ahead and opens a
super-slick salon across the street.
has upgraded versions of what
has to offer and his survival is put in jeopardy. But the new dad, along
with his loyal clients and employees, some of whose loyalty is tested by
some tempting offers, isn't about to back down so easily.
The scene stealer, once again, is Cedric the Entertainer as an employee whose loyalty goes way back to the
beginning when Cal's dad saved him from cops chasing him for
stealing some food on a Fourth of July --- and there's also his longing
for a female who has been a specter in his lonely life. This time
around there's also a female employee in the shop in the form of singer
Eve. Of course, her presence results in some tension since
she has more than one suitor. Let's not forget
Queen Latifah as a fellow entrepreneur who has a women's
beauty salon next to Calvin's.
The movie is very funny. Absolutely hilarious when the debating gets
heated. Where else would you hear the
DC area sniper being called the
Jackie Robinson of white-crime? But then
there's the whole deal with a small business going up against the big
dogs. So there is a lot of sappiness and a very predictable outcome.
Sure its what the audience would want but can we be a little realistic
without catering to the masses? But that's where the money is....
The Big Bounce
a la The Flixter
Wison), not to be confused
with Tom Clancy's
protagonist of the same name, is a pretty petty criminal taking parts in
some pretty petty crimes/cons. He's almost in retirement and
having fun, surfing away in Hawaii when he meets
Foster). She wants him to
teach his ways to her so she can take $200,000, or so, from corrupt real
estate mogul, Ray Ritchie
Its either the money, or that
that brings Jack
back into the game. Along comes
as a judge/motel-owner, who has dealt with
and now seems to be part of the whole con-game.
comes along as well, as a friend of
even though the two are fighting most of the time, either verbally or
physically. That pretty much sets up the whole scene as the
attempted con moves on.
is absolutely gorgeous. Let me say that again:
SHE IS GORGEOUS.
Which is why she should stick to modeling and not try her hand at
acting, because she is pretty awful at it. Her lines are mostly
delivered in a monotonous drone that gets to be annoying after a while.
continues to corner the market of male bimbos; and he is pretty good at
being one. It worked great with Jackie
and OK with Eddie Murphy
But not here. I don't think author,
whose book this is based on, should be too happy. After all, some of his
other works (Get Shorty,
Out of Sight,
and Jackie Brown)
have translated to the screen much better --- not this.....
Barely worth a few smirks..
The Butterfly Effect
a la The Flixter
has been troubled since his childhood. After all, his dad was in a
mental institution and his mom was trying her best to raise a kid who
may have inherited some of daddy's
(But he has been having blackouts since that childhood --- periods of
time when he can't remember where he is or where he has been.) The
shrink's advice is for
to keep a journal, a constant diary of what he has been doing.
As a grown up,
has made some progress and hasn't had those blackouts for a while. But
his troubled past is hard to leave behind, especially the time when his
childhood sweetheart's father (a briefly appearing
put him, along with his own daughter and another friend, in his home,
Plus there's the time when
went to visit his father and saw him get clubbed to death by the
institute's security guards when pop tried to kill his son.
finds a way to go back into his past through his journals and by reading
those journals, he finds that he can change some things in his past.
That's where the title of the film comes into place.
The Butterfly Theory
suggests that the flap of a butterfly's wings can cause a chain reaction
that can result in a typhoon on the other side of the globe. So whatever
changes in his past results in the present changing as a result. He ends
up in prison or his sweetheart ends up becoming a druggie/hooker. The
key is for him to find a way to change the past so the present is not so
unpleasant. So we jump back and forth as he goes forth on his quest to
change the past and have a happy ending in the future.
During my brief stint in college, the Butterfly Effect came into
discussion in Calculus and Physics class. Unfortunately, I wasn't
paying too much attention which resulted in me losing my scholarship and
eventually dropping out.... and this is the first time, since then, that
I have thought about that theory. Intriguing, yes, but viable, no,
in my opinion. But that can still make a good movie, no?
Unfortunately, not in this case. This is the kind of material that the
master, David Lynch, could have worked wonders with as I have
seen his Lost Highway countless times; I love that movie
but can't explain what the heck is actually going on. Confusing,
yes, but also entertaining. Which is not the case here. This
one is just one confused mess, as we try to see
Mr. Kutcher try to climb his way out of the goof-ball image he
seems to have patented for himself. During his many confused placements,
you almost expect him to say, "Dude, where's my car?" That doesn't
come and the movie remains a sluggish, hodge-podge of ideological
a la The Flixter
works as a risk manager (or analyst) and has become overtaken by his career.
Everything he does is preceded by a careful analysis of
But he does manage to find a wife and it's on their honeymoon, when he overlooks
the risk of sending her off with a scuba instructor (a nearly unrecognizable
sporting a French
accent). The point is hammered in when he comes across the two in a compromising
position that has nothing to do with scuba diving. He leaves her and returns
home with a broken heart.
Back home he tries to return to normal life while getting sympathies from
everyone, since his mom hasn't been too secretive about her son's situation.
He runs into Polly
a girl he used to go to school with and hasn't seen since then. The
two start going out, even though she is his direct opposite in doing things,
without thinking of the "what
She eats nuts out of the bar tray even after he has lectured her about the
serious health risks that may be involved. They go to a Latin dance club
where he stands to the side, while she parties on.... She just does what
comes along, while he calculates the risks that may be involved with any
potential activity, however, he has a friend (Phillip
Seymour Hoffman) who keeps pushing
him to go on... (That friend, by the way, can't seem to get out of a child
star role that he had in a film that no one seems to know.)
are worlds apart in mentality, but this is a romantic comedy so the destination
is not too indefinite. Hank
Azaria is hilarious as the wife
stealing scuba instructor; Alec
Baldwin is a hoot as
boss. But the best is Bryan Brown
(haven't seen him for a while) as one of
clients who just goes ahead and does what he wants whether its parachuting
off of skyscrapers or swimming (literally) with sharks. There are plenty
of laughs but not much new. However, its a good time and that is what
you are paying for.....
a la The Flixter
has given up on his father's tall tales. After all, that is all that
seems to have given him.
has been living in Paris
with a wife who is now expecting their first child. That's when
calls him back since Dad
is on his deathbed. Will
and the Mrs.
come back and its Daddy's
turn to tell the wife those stories. We visit the elder
younger days, and see how he had an encounter with a witch who showed him
his demise; we also see him as a star athlete in his small Alabama town.
We witness him befriend a giant and leave the town for the giant's sake
and we see the two become part of a traveling circus run by
Well, you get the point. There are many, many tales but the question
remains, is anything true?
Since I am still in Florida,
it's time to digress. I had no idea that this was such a competitive
State. There have been quite a few occasions when I was driving around with
my cousin at night and he, being the driver of a fancy-schmancy car,
got challenged to a race...... and the race just happens on the highway
and he is not one to turn down a challenge........ I sit tight
in my passenger seat while we hurtle down these roadways.....and everybody
is doing this here! I have even seen an old lady challenging him.
(Believe it or not, she was a tough one but we won.) Consequently,
the question remains: aren't there cops around here? I see more back
in Jersey in one day, then I have seen here since I arrived in Florida well
over a week ago.... So God bless
and its Law Enforcers...... Back to the movie.
is an absolutely amazing piece of work. Director
works his weird magic again and catapults us through this fantastical
setting where fantasy and reality are attempting to separate. Plus it is
absolutely gorgeous to look at.....
does a great job as the younger
and Albert Finney
(definitely try to find The Browning Version)
is great as always as the elder
However, the movie is not a "normal and straight forward thing." Yes,
its a love story at its core, but don't expect a traditional one. Definitely
watch it on the big screen, though.....
HANDS DOWN, THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR(2003)
a la The Flixter
has a nice business going. He
is some high-tech guy who offers his aid to big high-tech companies
in the development of new ideas; these ideas belong solely to these companies,
therefore, once he is done with his work, they completely erase any memory
he has regarding the project. Its with his consent, and very probable, since
it takes place in the near future ( I don't know how near, though).... and
then comes the big one. He will get eight figures ($92 million) to
work on a technology for some company being run by a very shady-looking
The only catch is that it is going to take three years --- 3 years for $92
million..... hmmm.... yup, he agrees.
next thing you know, he is being woken up and told that he has finished
his job. The money has been deposited in his account and he is free to go.
(Or so it seems.) There is no money since he apparently walked into
the bank a week ago and forfeited the shares. (Of course, he has no memory
of it.) Uma Thurman
comes along as a lover that he had around the time of the wipeout. (But
there is no memory of this...) All that he has are twenty random objects
that he mailed to himself a week ago which come in handy at the oddest of
occasions. Along comes Paul Giamatti
who may be the only friend that
has, and the hunt for the answers begin as
is being hunted by folks who want him dead, and the cops who are after him
since he also stands accused of murder.
Now let me digress slightly. I saw this movie in
Yes, I am on a vacation of sorts... The movie going experience here in
is totally different. How? Well, first of all the ticket prices are
a lot cheaper than they are back home in
Plus you can get an extra half off, if you present a student ID. I
couldn't get that since these people apparently don't consider the
School of Life
as a valid school..... And they don't have those warning commercials
to turn off cell phones during movie. Also, the local paper didn't have
"the show times" so I had to turn to the Internet, however, the movie theater
itself was actually very clean (we,
should be ashamed). So, how the hell was the movie, you are saying. It was
pretty good. Its based on a short story by that great sci-fi scribe
Phillip K. Dick.
Unfortunately, he hasn't been around to see some of his works become some
great cinema (Total Recall
and Blade Runner,
are two of them). This movie was just so cool.
does a great job, as always. The action scenes, though not very frequent
are very kick-ass. But, I don't know if I told you this before,
is such a mediocre actor. So its kind of hard for him to carry this movie
on his own. Uma Thurman
is good but its Paul Giamatti
who is great, once again. Let's not forget
a fatal fate; very slow beginning and a very hectic finale. GOOD, BUT NOT
GREAT. Great concept, though..
LORD OF THE RINGS:
THE RETURN OF THE KING
a la The Flixter
are still on their quest to destroy the ring in the fires of
Their guide is none other than that schizophrenic
that was introduced in The Two
Towers. In the introduction
we see how Gollum
got to be that way. He used to be normal until the day he stumbled
onto the ring with his friend. As soon as he lays his eyes on it,
the ring casts a spell on him. He ends up killing his friend over his "precious"
and morphs into the horrible, sorry-looking, and pathetic-ass,
that we see... Yes, the ring is pure evil and that is why the hobbits are
out to destroy it. But Gollum
still has his eyes set on the ring around
neck. He tries to get it by trying to drive a wedge between the two friends.
in another part of Middle-earth,
is preparing to fight hundreds of thousands of
at Minas Tirith.
By his side is the King
of the title, Aragron
who is trying to regain his crown. In another sub-plot,
two fellow hobbits, Pippin
(kind of like the
Sigfried and Roy
of Middle- earth)
are on their own quest; and in another sub-plot..... I think you get the
This feature, (the final part of
adaptation of JRR Tolkein's
2,000 or so page opus), is complex. But
must be a genius for adapting the whole thing into nine-plus hours of cinematic
eye-candy. The battle scenes are amazingly spectacular, especially
when the opposing army thunders in on elephants the size of a ten story
uses the beautiful setting of his native
to frame the action. Did I mention that this was a long movie? I went
to see it on Thursday night and didn't stumble out of the theater until
Friday morning. Yes, its about three and a half hours long; I am still hurting
from sitting that long. The first hour was kind of slow so I decided
to get something to eat. Ended up getting a small pizza, the size of a small
plate and cooked on the premises,.... for nine bucks.
Anyway, the movie wasn't too bad. Unbelievably amazing to look at
and the action, when it happens, is very awesome. Some of the people there
were laughing their asses off at certain points. Maybe, I just wasn't
fan enough to get the jokes. Sean
Astin sure has come a long way
from The Goonies
shows his abilities are not limited to gore, as in his classic zombie flick,
The Dead Alive. Sure, you should
go catch it on the big screen. But I don't think its
Best Picture material like some
critics are trumpeting it.
a la The Flixter
are Siamese twins. Anyone who calls them that, is politely corrected with
a, "No, we are American."
So, as it is politically correct, they are conjoined twins and are both
attached at the hip. Separation has not been an option since they share
a liver and Walt
only has a fifty percent chance of survival. They have managed to
live their lives in their given condition. As a matter of fact, they have
been pretty successful. They own their own restaurant in
where any order, big or small, is guaranteed in three minutes. Newcomers
have tried to challenge that guarantee by placing huge orders, unaware that
the two cooks can work magic with their four hands. They have also excelled
at sports; hockey, since no one can score a goal past the double goalies,
boxing, since the opposing fighter has to defend against four fists instead
of two. Walt
is also a pretty passionate actor, who gets standing ovations from the audience
just hangs around his side (literally).
pursuit is to make it in Hollywood.
finally agrees and the two are off. Once they get there, the realization
is made that its not as easy as their hometown. They manage to get an agent
who is just a geriatric mess. Meanwhile,
(as herself) is trying to get out of a TV series that is below her standards.
The perfect way out comes in the form of the twins, and she demands that
her co-star be Walt;
finally gets a chance to meet his Internet love, who has no idea about his
condition. Is this sounding too serious? Sorry about that,
because its not. The Farrelly
wouldn't give us something of the sort. It is absolutely hilarious as we
go along for this ride; the TV series scenes, in particular, are absolutely
hilarious as Bob
just stands by while his brother shows his acting chops. Of course their
secret gets out and complications ensue.
also joins the action, playing herself.
has his love interest and Walt
finds his in the form of Eva Mendes
who is in Hollywood to pursue acting. So much happens; they
have to fend off some hecklers resulting in a bar brawl, they get caught
for drunk driving, and their agent finds them a movie job (turns out to
be a porno). Eventually,
sees himself as a hindrance to his brother and wants to go ahead with the
surgery even though it may end his life.
As politically incorrect as they may be, the
Farrelly Brothers' movies have
always had a good heart. And this one does too as the movie drifts
towards sappiness in its finale. But there is more than a fair share of
Bringing Down The House
a la The Flixter
Peter Sanderson (Steve
Martin) has a pretty hectic life. When not
busy at work, he is taking his two young kids all over the place. But
he has met someone on the Internet.
He has been chatting with a nice looking blonde named
finally set a date; he's got everything ready for her arrival
-- champagne, some nice romantic music --- and then the doorbell rings.
He opens the door and its Charlene.
But its not the Charlene
whose picture he has on his computer. This
Charlene is in the
form of Queen Latifah
and we all know that she's no petite blonde. It seems that
Peter didn't look at
the picture hard enough. In the background of his "dream blonde" is the
being arrested and escorted by the police. So he tries hard as hell to
get this real Charlene
out of his house. But she says that she was
framed and wants him to help clear her name. Complications keep piling
up, as Peter's
daughter and son start to bond with
Charlene. And to top it off,
Peter's fellow lawyer
becomes romantically obsessed with Charlene.
As mismatched as they are, even Peter
starts to take a liking to
Charlene. But they
are not about to get together; Charlene
wants to help Peter
get his ex-wife back.
Much hilarity ensues, including a classic
in a hip-hop club to get some evidence to clear
Queen Latifah is very
good, but Steve Martin
is absolutely awesome. I am a huge fan of the
guy. He is not just a comic genius but a REAL genius, period. He has
updated classics like Shakespeare
in the form of LA
Cyrano de Bergerac in the form of
Roxanne and even in
updated classic dramas like George Elliot's
Silas Marner in the
form of A Simple Twist of Fate.
And this movie was just absolutely hilarious.
a la The Flixter
rushes out of a meeting and flies home to his girlfriend (Juliette
Lewis) only to find her
fooling around with, not one, but several individuals; so that's the end
of that relationship. He proceeds to rent a house very close to a
college. He is aided by his friends
is a recovering alcoholic (his nickname used to be
is a supposedly "happily married one."
recently married, gets into trouble with his wife when he gets back into
drinking while at one of the many parties, at
bachelor pad. These parties also get
into trouble with
on whose campus his house is situated. So instead of getting evicted,
he makes his house into a "frat house", largely on
advice. And then the real partying begins -- he has to let people join
this so-called fraternity. While some members are students, many of
them are just come out of nowhere, like one 90 year old member. The
word of this wild fraternity, gets out and everybody wants to join,
including a few of
co-workers. And there is some hope of love for the guy when one of his
old classmates enters the picture.
didn't laugh too much. Some of the people in the theatre were
laughing their asses off at some very unfunny comic pieces that
seemed to be targeted at audience members who would not be old enough to
be allowed in the theatre. But there are a few chuckles as the frat
members are challenged into showing some academic and athletic ability.
If you loved director
(not me), then you will love
his latest venture. Otherwise, skip it...........
a la The Flixter
looks up to his "prize fighter dad", however, one day he sees
what his dad really does, which is
shaking down people
and beating them up for some "mob guy". Poor
can't stand the truth. As he is running away, he gets into an accident
involving chemicals; as a result, he loses his sight. But he also gains
super senses in all his other functions; he can hear small things
happening far away, and his reflexes are really superior. His father
gets killed because of his shady dealings with the wrong kind of people
and yada, yada, yada,
vows to find the killers. Flash forward to
future. ---- He has become a lawyer, as was his dad's dream. But at
night, he dons a flashy red costume and fights crime as
Some of the people he goes after are the same ones that he couldn't
pin in the courtroom. Enter
a Greek heiress with a "billionaire daddy". Their meeting is probably
the best part of the movie as they exchange verbal squibs and martial
arts moves, in a children's playground. (Of course a romance starts
blooming as a result of that encounter.) Then comes the search for the
almost mythical Kingpin,
a powerful crime boss who may also have been involved with the murder of
looks pretty hot as Electra,
who suspects Daredevil
of being her father's killer.
Michael Clark Duncan
is in standard villainous mode as the
is also there as Bullseye,
another bad guy. Sadly, most of the fight scenes are so choppily edited
and badly lit, that the viewers may find themselves as visually impaired
as the blind hero. Oh yeah,
Matt is able to see
by something having to do with raindrops falling on her skin. Go
a la The Flixter
The year is 1961. The cold war is heating up. Both the US and
Russia are ready with their nukes. Russia sends out its nuclear sub,
the K-19, for a test run, after which it is
supposed to stay off the US coast in case things boil over. It
gets off to a bad start. Even before it has gone to sea, nine of its
crew members die in mishaps preparing for the launch. A further ominous
incident is the failure to bust a champagne bottle on the sub's hull at
it's launching ceremony. And things are not too well on board
either; the original captain,
Liam Neeson, gets replaced by
Harrison Ford. So there's a jealous rivalry there.
And Ford's captain is pretty much a tyrannical
buccaneer minus the peg-leg. The sub gets launched and is off to
the Arctic to do its test. But further complications arise when
the sub's reactor starts melting down. Things start going from bad to
worse as the crew starts to get mutinous and radiation starts to spread
through the ship, causing many of the crew members to die horribly,
while puking all over the place.......all the while trying to repair the
core in ten-minute shifts into the reactor. They have no contact with
their HQ and a US war-ship starts looming above.
VERY GOOD; captures the claustrophobic environment with some
dizzying shots that take you from one end of the sub to the other
without any cuts. The only thing that can be held against it is the
casting of Ford and Neeson as
Russians --- but they are great actors and carry their responsibility
with grace. The real star is director Kathryn Bigelow, the most kick-ass female director around (watch
Point Break, Strange Days, etc.).
P.S. I don't get
why they have to talk with a Russian accent in these types of movies. Why can't they talk
normal? If they want authenticity, then they would talk in
Russian and have subtitles. But NO .....
They act like Russians on the job speak English, but with an accent...... Just something to think
Road to Perdition
a la The Flixter
Michael Sullivan is a
depression-era mobster loyally serving Paul Newman's
father-figure Irish mob-boss. Then one day
Sullivan's young son witnesses his dad at work, rubbing out a foe
in a violent change of pace for Hanks.
Newman's son, who already feels threatened by his
dad's fondness for Sullivan, takes the opportunity and goes after his
family. He succeeds in killing his wife (a very brief appearance
from the great Jennifer Jason
Leigh) and one son.
Sullivan grabs the other son and goes on the run
--- what follows might be the best picture of the year.
Both Newman and Hanks give
great performances. Jude
Law is also excellent as the
assassin on Hanks'
trail. I guess
Tom Hanks is just trying to show that he can also "do bad";
though, it is hard to hold the majority of the killings against him,
since he does them to protect his son. Director
Sam Mendes shows that he didn't just get lucky by winning an
Oscar with his first feature, American Beauty; the guy's got skills. Though here, he is helped
a great deal by two great actors: Hanks and
Newman. Hanks has
shown that he doesn't need a great cast to help him along. After all one
of the best movies of all time had him co-starring with a volley-ball (Castaway).
GREAT MOVIE. But please don't go expecting what
we have come to expect from
the great Mr. Hanks.
Perdition means an eternal death, soul and
all. Why someone would name a town (Hanks and son's destination) that is beyond me.
Reign of Fire
a la The Flixter
The movie starts off in present-day London.
A young boy goes to visit his
mom, who is working on a construction site at a subway station.
The boy wanders deep down into the station and comes across a long
dormant dragon. He wakes the beast from its slumber and starts off
a flaming fit from the dragon. Flash forward twenty years. The dragon is now a whole lot of dragons.
London is a smoldering heap. The young boy has grown up
to become Christian Bale, and is leading a small band of survivors.
I wonder if they know that this guy is the one who started their
demise?? It turns out that the fire-breathing dragons have taken
over the entire world. In comes Matthew McConaughey as the Yankee soldier who finds his way to London,
fighting dragons on the way, with his platoon. The Brits and Yanks
merge to fight off the dragons. A lot of "actiony" stuff
happens with lots of explosions and fires. Not too great, though.
A promising concept gone to waste....
POWERPUFF GIRLS: THE MOVIE
a la The Flixter
I saw this movie on opening day, but I have been thinking about doing
the review. ---- Should I or shouldn't I ?? If I do, then I
will be categorized as being a wuss and what
not...... If I don't, then I will be turning my back on one of my
favorite cartoons. So I will. Yes, I am a fan of the
PowerPuff Girls. And I saw the movie the first day
it came out. I took my cousins with me so I could say that I was
bringing some kids, but once inside the theater, I was all smiles,
watching my favorite
super-trio siblings kick
ass. Lonely Professor
Utonium mixes sugar and spice
and everything nice to create three perfect little girls. But lab
monkey, Jojo, knocks over some Chemical X into the
ingredients, thus creating the Powerpuff Girls: Blossom, Bubbles (my
favorite), and ButterCup. The three girls have superpowers
resulting from Chemical X ---- they can fly around, shoot lasers from
their eyes, and have some pretty super-human strength. But the
Chemical X also has an effect on Jojo. He
develops a freakishly large brain and seeing the
Professor neglecting him, turns his new found intelligence to
becoming the girls' arch nemesis, Mojo Jojo.
First the girls are just having fun with their powers but then they
harness their abilities to fight crime and their foe Mojo Jojo.
There is some pretty funny stuff --- the kind that has made me a fan.
Actually, on my last birthday, my cousins wanted to get me a
PPG lava lamp. But I thought the pink hue from that
would not be appropriate for my room. Had a great time with the
P.S. The movie
is preceded by an all new episode of Dexter's Laboratory, another Cartoon Network original cartoon.
Men In Black II
a la The Flixter
In my review for Minority
Report, I said that there were
two kinds of sci-fi films --- there are the ones that just provide an
escape via special effects and there are the ones that make you think.
I was wrong --- kind of. A sub-genre of the former is the
sci-fi comedy. Special effects that give an escape
and laughs; that's where the
MIB movies are.
Will Smith returns as Agent Jay of the highly
clandestine Men in Black, whose job is to monitor and filter the
many aliens that have come to Earth. He gets back into the real
action when a really evil alien comes to our planet and disguises
herself as a lingerie model, since that's the first thing it sees in a
magazine (good thing its Lara
Flynn Boyle). Jay has to
bring back his partner Kay (Tommy
Lee Jones), who has no idea
about his past and is busy working as a postal employee, not knowing
that most of his co-workers are aliens in disguise (ha-ha). Once
his memory is brought back, the two men are back in action doing, pretty
much, what they did in the first film. The scene stealer is
Jay's partner in Kay's absence, Agent Frank, who happens to be a dog
with a motor-mouth that breaks into song in the midst of all the action.
Although not much is new compared to the first one, the movie gives a
fair share of laughs with some pretty cool special effects.
P.S. A pop-up
cameo from Michael
Jackson is not so
funny because of it's content, as it is for its implications.
a la The Flixter
Another war movie?? Mel Gibson was
collaborating with his
Braveheart screenwriter Randall
Wallace for an adaptation of true events
during the Vietnam war when a platoon of 400 or so American soldiers
found themselves surrounded by thousands of Vietnamese fighters.
So I went to see it, knowing full well that this wasn't going to be any
escape. After all I had paid over a hundred bucks for Braveheart
and had to see how they did here --- but why I paid so much for
Braveheart is another story. Gibson is Lt.
Col. Moore; happily married with five kids, he finds his regiment sent
off to fight in Vietnam. Greg
Kinnear, in another great
performance, plays his star chopper pilot. Chris Klein is
a new father and lieutenant; and Barry Pepper
tags along as a journalist who gets more than a story on the war.
Meanwhile, back at home, Moore's wife, played by
Madeline Stowe takes lead with the wives, all of whom are
waiting for their husbands and dreading the arrival of a telegram.
But the scene stealer is Sam
Elliot as a war-hardened Major
whose blunt outlook is comic yet ominous. Of course its depressing
and bleak - but it is also powerful. The woman behind me kept
letting out expressions of shock at the violence. What the
hell did she expect? Meanwhile, whenever there was a
silent moment in the movie, I would hear her partner snoring.
Very annoying. But that's another story.
Excellent movie. Very bloody and violent, though.
Rating: FOUR STARS.
a la The Flixter
Doing movie reviews can be tough.
Like this weekend, I had to decide what to go and watch since none of
the Studios sent me any passes to check out their new releases. It
was a choice between
Bruce. There was the
Pop Princess making
her film debut and there was Bruce
"Chich's boy" Willis in a war drama (I
will explain that nickname later). Guess which one I chose? (Hint: look at
the title at top of page).
You might have been misled by the promos for this movie.
Bruce Willis is only a supporting player.
Colin "I don't know what else he's in" Farrell plays Lt. Hart, a newly arrived POW at a German camp
during WWII. There he is put under
Willis' Colonel McNamara. Racial tensions arise when two
black POWs are brought in. One of them gets accused of killing the
head-bigot and the movie turns into a courtroom drama as Hart, a former
law school student, is chosen to defend the accused. Some surprise
Bruce Willis has done some excellent movies --- sure he
has done some crappy ones (Color of Night, Hudson Hawk etc.) but he's human. The only thing I can hold
against him is that he's got to smile more. I don't think he does
that a single time in this movie --- sure its a bleak POW camp but
there's always memories of time ago. Anyway, I liked this movie.
It was slow at times and not much of an escape, since it takes place in
a prison camp and... anyway, good movie.
Chich is a friend who is a big fan of Mr. Willis.
"Hey, Mr. Willis, if you are around the
Garden State, you might want to
>email The Flixter. You can meet
Chich." Anyway... .
Rating: THREE STARS.
a la The Flixter
Why is a great action director like
John McTiernan doing remakes? He directed the awesome
Schwarzenegger vehicle Predator and the genre-defining actioner
Die Hard. He
translated Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red
October onto the big screen --- then
recently he remade The Thomas Crown Affair ---- and that was not too bad. But now another
remake?? Granted he is not working with something that was great
initially....... but this movie sucked.
really follow what the hell happens in this game. It's the not too
distant future and Rollerball
is THE sport (it's
a violent hybrid of several other sports). And when promoter
Jean Reno sees ratings soar due to an accident, he
arranges for more of these accidents to happen. Poor
Chris Klein is the hottest player and stuck in his newly attained
celebrity role; Rapper turned actor LL Cool "Mama
Said Knock You Out" J is one of team mates;
Rebecca Romijn Stamos is another player/love-interest.
This movie even makes her look not-so-hot....
this movie could hold a mirror up to the mommies and daddies who indulge
in the simulated violence (AKA wrestling) with their kids --- but it
could have done that in a better way.
long, its making me re-think about Collateral Damage. Maybe it just wasn't a good weekend to spend at the
Rating: ONE STAR.
a la The Flixter
This movie was supposed to come out
in early October of last year. Then the tragedy of
happened and it got pushed off 'til now. Why it would get delayed
is apparent as the movie begins.... An act of terrorism by
Colombian drug-dealer/terrorists has echoes of what happened in NYC. In the
movie, it takes the life of Arnold "Conan"
Schwarzenegger's wife and young son. A
mourning Arnie, playing a firefighter here, sees the government not
doing much and takes the law into his own hands. D'uh!!!
So he travels to Colombia
and tracks down the perpetrator himself........and
action stuff happens.
First of all, I don't get why
Arnie's been going the mourning route. He was a
suicidal depressed action hero in End of Days
and here he is a depressed widower. Seriously, we don't want to
see you act --- we just want to see you blow up the bad guys. And
did I mention he also speaks in Spanish while
he's down in Colombia. Realistic, yes, but we were happy
just seeing him slip in a few syllables in English while terminating bad
guys. Director Andrew
Davis proved his mastery of
action set pieces when he provided Harrison Ford
with a reason to escape by way of a fabulously staged train wreck in
The Fugitive. But here there is too much quiet
time until the action hits. Thank God, some of that time is
taken up by cameos from the great John Turturro
and sometimes annoying John
Rating: TWO STARS.
a la The Flixter
my opinion, this was one messed-up movie. Was it a
romantic-comedy?? Was it a
romantic-thriller?? Or should we just
scratch off the romantic part?
if you have seen the previews, you might know what I am talking about.
Lonely Ben "I don't think he is related to Charlie"
Chaplin works in a London bank. As any
lonely fellow would do in these high-tech times, John gets himself an
e-mail-order bride. In this case, a Russian one named
Nadia, played by Nicole Kidman in a pretty OK performance. John
finds out, a little too late, that she doesn't speak a word of English.
They try to make it and that ends the romantic-comedy part. Then two of Nadia's acquaintances follow her
into John's home and the thriller part kicks in. I won't say too much
about what is going on. Just that they want John to rob the
bank --- and yada-yada-yada, the movie ended.
are good performances from both Chaplin and Kidman. Beyond that, it was kind of boring.
Oh sure, it had two of the
Flixter's favorite genres
(romantic-comedy and heist) mixed in one, but there wasn't enough of
either one. Plus I am holding something that happened
off-screen against the movie. I am talking about getting lost on
the way home and seeing parts of the Garden State I
never knew existed (studio heads can
e-mail me if they are
interested in that tale of survival).
Anyway, it was an
OK movie. Watch Truth About
Cats and Dogs -- a romantic comedy with Ben
Chaplin. Its more entertaining.
Rating: TWO STARS.
Count of Monte Cristo
a la The Flixter
long time before he got associated with the Kevin Costner
Kevin Reynolds directed a brilliant film
titled The Beast. No, it's not the adaptation of
Peter "Jaws" Benchley's novel about the giant octopus. It's the one about
the big Soviet
tank (the beast of the title), lost in the desert and pursued by the
whose village it destroyed. Excellent anti-war drama ----- if you can
find it (tough to find), watch it. And now he is at the helm of
" Three Musketeers"
(not the candy) Dumas
revenge classic adaptation. Let me
count...Its the eleventh remake of that awesome novel which I read a
long long time ago.
Caviezel (watch that one, its
awesome) is Edmond Dantes
who is sent off to prison
thanks to bud Guy "Memento"
Pearce (read my review and
watch if you may). Any prison would be nice, but he is
shipped off to Chateau d'If, an island dedicated to imprisoning those
who are unjustly accused. There he spends about thirteen years plotting
revenge and getting educated by the guy in the next cell,
Richard "still doing shots" Harris. He
pretty much steals the movie during the short time he is in it.
fiancйe played by
Dagmara (I swear I am trying to spell it correctly)
Domincyzk, gets married to Fernand. Do
you think Dante is able to bust out and exact revenge? If that made you
wonder, then you probably didn't see the iceberg coming in
Fun. I had a great time.
Rating: THREE and a half
a la The Flixter
Twister sure had some talented people in it ---
you know, that stupid movie about those scientists chasing
Helen Hunt went on to star with Jack
As Good As it Gets and win an Oscar for her
performance. And now another one out of that tornado chasers film,
looks like he will be headed for the podium. I am
referring to Todd Field, the co-writer and director of this excellent drama.
I know, the title may suggest something that would be on late at night
on one of those Adult cable networks. But its not so; the story centers
around a couple, Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson,
and how they deal with the death of their only son. The son is
actually murdered by the ex-husband of his lover, played by
Marisa Tomei. Their suffering is conveyed by the two
leads in two of the best performances of the past year.
Why am I giving this movie only three stars? Did I mention it was depressing? You
might recall that The Flixter uses movies as an escape. I never
watch the news because you never hear about the guy who managed to get
home safely (unless its baseball). Its always about the people who
didn't and so on and so on....
Great direction. Great
everything. Just too many tears.
Rating: THREE STARS.
At first, it might appear that a
bunch of Hollywood mommies and daddies coerced the studios into
giving their kids a job. There's Colin Hanks (Tom's son) in the lead as a reformed "surfer-dude" desperately
trying to get into Stanford ---- and Schuyler Fisk (Sissy Spacek's daughter) as his supportive girlfriend. And they
under the direction of Jake Kasdan, son of
Lawrence "The Big Chill" Kasdan.
But Jake Kasdan is a good director. (Those who saw the
under-rated Zero Effect, know that.) And this movie was just as good.
Funnier, actually. Thanks mostly to Jack
Black as the stoner brother of
Hanks. Lily Tomlin's ditzy guidance counselor mixes up the transcripts which
result in Hanks being rejected from Stanford. But Black won't let
his brother's dream die so easy --- they are all off to Stanford in his
truck to convince the dean about the mix-up. What follows is star
The movie is full of cameos.
Chevy Chase, Kevin Kline, Ben Stiller, and on and on. But Jack Black is the real star here. He
stole the movie from John Cusak in High Fidelity.
And he does the same here, except that there are a lot more to steal
Rating: FOUR STARS.
a la The Flixter
am not limited to heist and action films; actually, I love movies.
The only condition is that they have to be good. I don't care if
they are stupid and don't make sense---as long as they provide the
escape. Good romantic-comedies, like
Sleepless in Seattle, Green Card, and
Blast from the Past, are just
as good an escape as any macho action movie, as long as you are
not afraid of being called a wuss. And
Kate and Leopold was a pleasure.
Leopold, played by
Hugh Jackman (Wolverine from X-Men)
gets hurled from 1876 to present day New York where he falls for a
present day, ad-exec played by Meg Ryan. Of
course, they start off on the wrong foot, but she is not used to being
treated like a lady and you know the rest.... If you don't, then
this should make a good introduction. You know that romantic comedies
are predictable. You know where the guy and girl, no matter how
different, are going to end up. What matters is how the trip there
is going to be..... For the protagonists and the audience.
And the trip here was fun.
a la The Flixter
The movie ended and I just sat there. Everybody was leaving but I just
sat there transfixed. Tom
Cruise had finally
collaborated again with director Cameron Crowe, for
the first time since Jerry
Maguire, one of the best
movies of the last decade. And this movie that had just ended was the
biggest piece of crap I had seen in a looong time.
Based on the Spanish film,
Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes)
which came out five or so years ago and that Cruise had bought the
remake rights to, was so bad that I can not find a word worthy of its
suckness (that's probably not a word, but I have been numbed by this
I am not going into details --- just that Cruise plays a rich
Cameron Diaz is his sort-of
girlfriend and Penelope Cruz, who was in the original, is another one of his
playmates. Diaz, in a jealous rage, drives herself and Tom
off the road. Then things get stranger and stranger. And then the movie
It hurts to even try to explain this movie. Rent
Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe's love letter to music and
his youth. Rent Magnolia to see a good Tom Cruise performance. But "open
your eyes" does not suit this movie. Keep them closed and
save a few bucks. I am predicting a big opening weekend and then a
huge drop. The one star I am about to give this movie is for the music.
A great soundtrack that should not be attached to a horrendous movie
I wish I had my money back; I wish I had my two hours and fifteen
minutes back. But most of all I wish I had my innocence back
--- the innocence of thinking that Cameron Crowe
is a great director and Tom Cruise a fine actor.
Rating: ONE STAR.
a la The Flixter
I love heist movies.
Ever since I saw the great
Peter Ustinov and his
cronies pull off the impossible in Topkapi, I
have been deeply intrigued by the genre......You know, the one where the
hero, although a crook, breaks into the impenetrable and steals
something of enormous value. No, its not living vicariously on my
part....and no, I am not looking into the symbolic significance of
penetrating the impenetrable. They are just fun to watch.
Ocean's 11 was
awesome. It's a remake of the Rat Pack
classic. By the Rat Pack, I am referring to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., etc. and not Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, etc... (the later is the Brat Pack.)
Now that we have that
straight, the new rat pack is just as star studded.
George Clooney steps in for Sinatra as Danny Ocean, the
Brains behind the operation to rob Andy Garcia's
Las Vegas casino. As soon as he steps out of prison, he and buddy
Brad Pitt start getting a crew of cons together to do the deed
---- Matt Damon is one of them. He's good but the show is
stolen by Don Cheadle's performance as the cockney member of
Just to give you an idea of inflation, the original had the rat pack
stealing 10 to 20 million
dollars from five casinos ---
here the haul from just one casino is over 160 million dollars. Plus the crew in the original was made up of army
buddies while these guys are just convicts or ex-cons.
Oh yeah, Ocean also has something personal in the whole bit. His wife,
played by Julia Roberts, who left him when he went to jail is now
hitched to Garcia.
But it was awesome how
they pull things off. It's a lot more high-tech than the original.
I was just sitting there with a smile.
Another great addition to
Steven Soderbergh's impressive list of directional efforts.
a la The Flixter
Is The One, the one that makes Jet
Li a superstar in the US??? (OK that was cheesy).
But this flick does have the makings of a blockbuster. It kept me
involved with it's intricate sci-fi plot and awesome fight scenes.
As with Jackie
Chan, I am also a big fan of
Li's Hong Kong movies, and
this effort is his best yet from Hollywood. The movie takes place
in the future and Li plays a few different roles. It is a future
world made up of a universe that is "multi-verse" --- travel
between parallel worlds is possible, however it is not allowed. A
Villainous Li is hopping from world to world killing his counterparts in
each of those respective worlds ( following me so far :-))...
As a result of this, he gets stronger and stronger which make the fight
scenes even more powerful ( cooler) since that Li (the bad one) can run
faster, jump higher and deliver a stronger punch..
The only one who can stop him is the "good Li" in a
parallel universe --- and this Li is a cop and has also gotten stronger
from universe hopping...... Get it ?? The movie was fun and the
fights were awesome. Watch it for a good time, not for drawing out
the complexities and meaning of life.......