a la The Flixter
Mycenean King Agamemnon
is going around making additions to his kingdom. He
finds the perfect reason to surround Troy when
his brother's wife, runs off with
to that city. So his forces surround that city, and war is on.
is pretty awesome as his star warrior,
The guy is a fierce fighter. When he is introduced, he has just
crawled out of bed, but that doesn't stop him from going off and
killing a giant challenger with a single blow. He is reluctant to
convinces him to join the forces and become part of history. So
he gets on board one of the ships that make up
huge fleet of 1,000 ships, that are headed towards Troy. Inside
Troy we have King Priam,
played by the great Peter
O'Toole (I was kinda
shocked to realize he's still around, Sorry). He has some
forces by his side, which include his sons
The action begins and never lets up until its over.
is hard to sympathize with since he comes across as pretty much
First, he steals another man's wife and then he doesn't even have
the guts to stand up and fight much of the time. Let's not
sure, she's hot but she is kind of hard to sympathize with since
she's pretty much a hoochie (I hope you won't have me elaborate
on that) bringing about the demise of all these people. At
one point, Priam
says that war is just young men dying and old men talking. How true.
A very awesome looking movie, but when the whole part with the
comes about, I couldn't help but think of the Trojan Rabbit from
Monty Python and the Holy
Grail. The fights (mostly
computer generated when shown from a distance) are amazing. The
face off between Hector
is just plain amazing. Very good but a little short
a la The Flixter
Its been five or six days since I saw this one, so let me try my
best to recall all fond memories associated with this cinematic
extravaganza (yup, I am being sarcastic again).
is not the same geriatric protagonist of
Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Here he is embodied by
Mr. Hugh Jackman
from the X Men
movies) and he is going around killing off monsters, slowly making
to the master fiend, Count
Dracula. He meets up with
(hate to call that place my hometown). She(once again,
not hard on the eyes) is on a personal crusade against these
monsters, since her family has had a tragic past with these folks.
Anyway, Count Dracula
is in his castle with his brides. His plan is to use
monster (the only sympathetic character) to gain some sort of powers.
brother, her only surviving relative, has been turned into a werewolf;
also, in the beginning, is
alter ego, who is there briefly as a humongous-type thing.
So the stage is set and you should know what you are in for. A whole
bunch of dizzying special effects, as eye candy takes precedence
over any serious attempts at entertaining the filmgoer.
I am sure there are many who will be entertained, but I wasn't one
of them. It was pretty disappointing to know that it was from director
who was behind such entertaining movies such as
and The Mummy Returns.
The summer movie season has begun and hopefully has better offerings...
a la The Flixter
are best friends and neighbors. They both work at a factory that
makes sand-paper (???).
is a dedicated worker while
is a dreamer. His biggest flaw, as illustrated by the progress reports,
is a lack of focus. How can he focus when he keeps getting these
insane ideas for inventions? His latest is a product he calls "Va-poo-rize."
Its a spray can that you carry with you when walking your dog. The
dog does its business, you spray
on the mess, and it evaporates. Sounds good, but according
its just another crazy idea from his pal. That is until
working with a scientific guy, makes it happen.
is born and becomes an instant hit.
gets wealthy beyond expectation. But he won't leave his best bud,
so he just turns his house into a castle, right across the street
He drives fancy cars and even buys a white stallion; he gets a butler;
he gets a merry-go-round for his kids.
kid plays a grand piano while
son bangs away on garbage can lids......and
still lives hand to mouth and goes to his job like always. Of course,
the title kicks in, as
has to constantly see all this and hear it from his wife about how
he is a moron for letting that golden opportunity go by. In
comes Christopher Walken
as a homeless vagrant that
meets in a bar.
Tim lets all he is holding
in, out, and Walken's
nut, the J-man,
puts ideas about getting revenge in his head.
goes along even though
has always treated him as a best friend, sharing as much as he can.
So revenge is plotted and plans back fire as expected. Plus, a campaign
starts brewing that demands to know,
"Where does the sh*t go?"
The movie is funny but
how long can you laugh at dog poop jokes? I started out loving it
but by the time it was over, it just felt ok. Both
have done a lot better. And what about director
An Oscar winning director (Rain
Man) who has done plenty
of great films. I am a huge fan of his Baltimore trilogy(
Diner, Tin Men, and
How the hell did he end up sinking to the level of poop jokes? God
knows how things work out in Hollywood....
Man On Fire
a la The Flixter
Mexico City is a dangerous place, especially if you are a child
with wealthy parents. Kids get kidnapped left and right and held
for ransom. That is where
has ended up. He used to be a CIA operative and assassin. But that
was a past he is trying to leave behind; you know that, because
he is always sulking and chugging down alcoholic beverages. Then
a friend (Christopher
Walken) hooks him up with
wealthy industrialist. He and his wife have a precious young daughter,
and they want Creasy
to be her bodyguard. Creasy
accepts the job. In the
beginning, he is strictly her bodyguard, stoic and serious.
tries to be friends with what she describes as "a sad teddy bear."
does give in; he becomes
her friend. He becomes her swimming coach. Pretty much, he becomes
the father figure and friend that the little girl can't even see
in her own father. Then she is kidnapped.
is left injured and lying in a hospital. The parents agree to pay
the ransom but somehow the drop-off gets bungled. The money disappears
and the kidnappers are not happy. It appears that they have killed
That is when Creasy
He goes after whoever is on his way to finding the culprits. There
are corrupt cops, many foes, and a few allies. He doesn't let anything
get in the way. The movie gets brutally violent as he kills, maims,
and tortures, anyone that gets in the way. There are twists
and turns but eventually a happy ending.
gives another great performance. He is a mourning loner who
starts to recover with the help of an unlikely friendship. Then
he is a vengeful mourner who will stop at nothing to make the wrongdoer
pay. But its surprising to see the young
match, and at times top, her older co-star. Its good,but director
brother) gives it a few too many music video touches and the ending
is a little too compromising. From somber to Hollywood in
a very short time..
THREE and 1/2 STARS
Kill Bill Vol.2
a la The Flixter
is back. But you probably need a brief recap.
(her name was never revealed), played by
was an assassin working for
The Deadly Viper Assassination
Squad (I am pretty sure
I got that right) that takes its orders from
(voice of Keith Carradine
who actually shows up physically in this one). She got pregnant,
left the Squad, and was getting married. But
wouldn't let her off so easy. The wedding was hit by her former
allies and everyone was killed. Even she took a bullet to the head
and went into a four year coma. She woke from the coma and went
out after those who had done this to her. The movie skipped around
in time and we saw her take on her enemies. It was bloody as hell
but it was great cinema. Now we pick up where we left off.
(her name is revealed) is still on her avenging crusade. She goes
after Daryl Hannah's
one-eyed former colleague. She goes after
former ally. She goes after whomever is on the way to
and once again the movie jumps around in time. We see her go to
a martial arts master, an old and grumpy
a big fan, of course) and get training. That is pretty brutal but
she leaves well trained. Then finally she faces
who has a surprise revelation for her that came at the end of
But the standout here is when the screen goes pitch black for a
pretty long time. The
Bride has been thrown
into a coffin and put in a grave. Her agony is muffled by the sound
of the dirt being thrown on the coffin. The grave is filled and
you sit there looking at the black screen, listening to her struggle
and wondering what will come next. Just go watch it, if it
sounds like something that may interest you (watch the first one
first, though). Its not as bloody as the first one, even though
a character gets their eye plucked out and squished under the
I loved it. The music is great. An absolutely amazing movie
with a great story, amazing action, and a pretty poignant end....
a la The Flixter
kills the son of powerful crime boss
but that's part of his job. He's a cop and it happens during one
of his final jobs, while he is impersonating an arms dealer.
Then he plans on retiring and leading a quite existence with his
wife and son. But you know how the best laid plans of mice and men
comes after him and attacks during a family reunion. Not only does
he kill his wife and kid but pretty much wipes out his entire family,
siblings and parents included....... and
Living in a dreary apartment building,
works the nights going around and eliminating wrong-doers and slowly
making his way up to Saint.
His neighbors, a couple of geeky room-mates and a beautiful waitress
start to get suspicious about their misanthropic neighbor and eventually
become allies. The waitress (Rebecca
Romijn-Stamos) also provides
a potential love-interest.
The movie is based on a
Marvel comics hero
but the hero doesn't have any super powers, just an endless supply
of ammunition. The movie is extremely brutal. Sadistically so, when
a seemingly endless scene of torture turns to the body piercings
of one of the neighboring allies. But its not too
bad, even though some digressions into humor go on for too long.
is in pretty standard villainous mode. I think the movie works best
when the violent ways are put aside and a little deviousness is
used to turn Saint
against his wife and best
friend. Like I said before, its not too bad, but I also liked
from ten years ago or so, even though it had the great thespian
(yes, I am being sarcastic) in
the title role and a bunch of French-Canadian types playing Italian
THREE & 1/2 STARS
a la The Flixter
In case you forgot the
here's a reminder. Sometime in the early to mid 1800s, (I am not
too big on history), the
was surrounded by Mexican General
army. On the inside were about 200 or so
On the outside, were many, many more times
The stage was set for an epic battle for survival, that Hollywood
dreams of...... Certainly so, since there have been many movie versions
of that stand-off. This one may be the most expensive one, since
according to some accounts,
spent close to a $100 million to bring this to the screen.
Anyway, on the inside, we have
Billy Bob Thornton's
David "Davy" Crockett,
along with Jason Patric's
to name a few famous people. Meanwhile, a little farther away
is Dennis Quaid's
unfortunately, doesn't get too much time and most of the time he
gets, he is pretty tipsy, thanks to his fondness for alcohol.
General Santa Anna
is a meanie, of course, and
life isn't just threatened by the bullets since he is terminally
ill (means he's dying). Many, many fights happen as
the Mexicans keep getting closer and closer.
We all know the outcome, so no surprises there. The movie
was pretty slow despite all the flying bullets and cannonballs.
There isn't much to write about. The
gets surrounded...... People on the inside are outnumbered......
They put up a tough fight..... The
falls.... That's about it..... Despite having sat through
a two hour account of how bad the Mexicans were, I stopped over
at Taco Bell
after the movie, to get my daily Chalupa.
a la The Flixter
The year is 1945. The Nazi master plan during World War II involves
opening a portal into Hell itself, and letting some heat into our
world; they manage to do that but the Allied forces arrive just
in time. They blow up the portal but one thing that manages
to come through is
a little infant, devil-type thing.
But the soldiers take kindly to the boy and they pretty much adopt
him. Over the years, Hellboy
has become a part of tabloids, with both TV and Print speculating
on his sightings.
In present day, Hellboy
has grown to a pretty huge size and keeps busy smoking cigars, grinding
down his horns, and fighting crime. The government has utilized
his abilities pretty well. He has been raised by a father-figure
scientist (John Hurt)
at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development (or something
like that) in our very own
But things get messy again when one of the original villains,
(a resurrection of his name-sake
re-emerges, intent on opening up the portal again. He does manage
to do so, letting some nasty Hell creatures loose. Meanwhile,
there is a whole bit going on with
Hellboy being in love
with one of his fellow freaks,
human torch who can set her surroundings ablaze when she's in a
So the battle begins, including some spectacular set pieces, mixing
some awesome pyrotechnics with some equally huge creatures.
is great as Hellboy,
mixing some poignancy with humor about his potential for a love
and its good to see Guillermo
del Torro return to directing
something decent after the horrible
Some may call it a wannabe
but I think the two can hold their own ground (but I do like the
movies a little better.)
A fun time, if not much more. A pretty decent comic book adaptation
(can't wait for The Punisher)..
a la The Flixter
Chon Wang is still in America. He's actually the sheriff in some small desert town where they all pronounce his name
John Wayne, but he has to give up his duties there, to go to England and avenge the murder of his father. But first he stops over in
New York City to get some money from his friend
Roy O'Bannon. You see,
Roy was supposed to have wisely invested their fortune (from the first film), but instead
Roy working as a waiter --- since he lost that fortune. The two fight, but in the end, they head off to England. There they have to track down the evil
Rathbone, who killed
John's father and stole the Imperial Seal. Joining them is
Lin, also on a quest to avenge her father's death; she also finds herself becoming the object of gigolo
Rathbone, a distant heir to the throne, is actually planning on eliminating all his competition, so he can be next in line. That's enough of an explanation of the plot.
There are many, many awesome fights and a whole lot of comedy thanks to Owen Wilson's Roy (who is pretty much a male, dumb, blonde). Like I have said in other reviews, I am a huge Jackie Chan fan; he is perfect as John Wayne. And I have to hail him a genius, since many of the fights are just pure works of art because of their scale and complexity. This movie more than makes up for the thoroughly disappointing Tuxedo.
P.S. The police officer who helps them is a wannabe author by the name of Artie (full name: Arthur Conan Doyle). And the young street boy who picks their pockets and later becomes an ally is named Charlie (last name: Chaplin).
How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days
a la The Flixter
Andie (Kate Hudson) wants to be a serious journalist and do stories about world events. She wants to write about socio-economic issues but instead gets handed tripe about superficial feminine issues, by her boss. But maybe if she can do well with her latest assignment, her boss will let her do her own thing. The latest assignment she gets is to write about "how to lose a guy in ten days". She has to hook up with a guy and do everything so wrong that the chap won't be able to stand her past the ten days; her diary will be the article. Enter
Ben (Matthew McConaughey) on an assignment of his own. He's an "ad guy" who wants to land a big jewelry account --- his mission is to get a girl to fall in love with him in ten days.
The two meet at a club and the fun begins. Andie tries her hardest to make Ben leave, while he tries his best to make her stay. Kate Hudson was absolutely great ---NO, not in this movie. I am talking about her breakout performance in Cameron Crowe's love letter to music, Almost Famous. Over here she is just plain annoying; as she tries so desperately to lose a guy in ten days, she almost succeeded in losing me as an audience member during the first half. Then the movie shifted into a regular romantic-comedy mode as the two leads begin to see past their assignments and actually start bonding. Matthew McConaughey is in pretty standard romantic comedy mode as well. You know that I am a wuss for a good romantic comedy --- this just wasn't one of them.
Final Destination 2
a la The Flixter
Kimberly and her friends are heading down to Daytona Beach for Spring Break.
Just before she pulls onto a busy highway,
Kim sees a vision of a massive car wreck, taking place on that highway. She "freaks out" when she sees a truck carrying lumber pass by --- it is the same truck that caused all the mayhem in her vision. She tries telling her friends, but they are just not listening. So she blocks the entrance ramp to the highway with her
SUV. All the people behind her are getting angry and a cop, who is among them, gets out to see what is going on. As she hysterically tries explaining, the accident happens and everyone is silenced by the chaos.
The accident that she had envisioned is one heck of a spectacle; an absolutely awesome demolition derby. Like the first film, death's system will not be disturbed. All the people who were supposed to die are going to die. And they do so in some very stylized and gory death scenes; they get decapitated; they get sliced; they get squished into mush. All the while, Kim tries desperately to find a way to stop the chain reaction. She even turns to Ali Larter's Clear Rivers, the only survivor from the original who is now in a padded cell at a mental institution. The moral of the story seems to be: Don't do any good. For instance, don't help some old lady cross a busy street, because if she doesn't get hit by a speeding car, she will just die being impaled on some knitting needles while knitting a pair of booties (or something like that.) But seriously, the movie is pretty damn cool. All the death scenes are spectacularly set up. I loved the first one, and I enjoyed this one too, even though there's not much new here.
Three and a half Stars.
a la The Flixter
James Clayton (Colin Farrell) graduated at the top of his class from MIT. Still haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father, he is working as a bartender and marketing his new computer programming "break-through". Along comes
(Al Pacino) a sort of talent scout for the CIA. He gives
Clayton a chance to be recruited by the Agency, which
takes; consequently he is taken to
The Farm, a training facility for recruits. There he is put through all the usual spy training stuff --- and among his fellow recruits he also finds a love interest in the form of
Layla. But things start getting out of hand when the line between the training and reality starts to get blurry. Is there really a mole in the training camp or is it just part of the training? And if there is, then could
Layla be the one? Plus
Clayton is starting to see a father figure in
Burke, which also complicates things, when loyalties are pitted against a potential romance. But then again, is it really love or is
Clayton just being strung along as part of another test? There is a very simple but delicious twist towards the end, as once again the players come to realize what is and is not.
The movie doesn't add anything new to the espionage genre.
performance is not too different from what he has been doing in the past. But it's entertaining and I enjoyed it.
A Guy Thing
a la The Flixter
Paul (Jason Lee) is getting married to
Karen (Selma Blair), his boss' daughter. The morning after his bachelor party, he wakes up with
Becky (Julia Stiles) who was one of the
Tiki dancers at his wild party. As he is trying to make sense of what might have happened, his fiancй returns. A hectic comic, cover-up happens as
Paul tries to get
Becky out before his fiancй sees her.
Paul is trying very hard to carry on, but he can't get
Becky out of his mind. Its a very standard romantic-comedy --- not many surprises.
Jason Lee is pretty funny, especially when he gets obsessed with a huge and obese male dance instructor.
Like I said, a very standard romantic comedy..... Not much to write about....
a la The Flixter
has locked his keys in the car; he is desperately trying to get into his car, when a cop pulls up. Officer
Hank is suspecting foul play seeing a black man trying to get into a locked car. Things proceed to get messy and Officer
Hank is accused of "police brutality".
Hank is stripped of his badge and is sent off to prison for six months. Once there, he chooses to spend his time in solitary confinement, rather than dealing with vengeful black prisoners who want a piece of this "racist cop." When he gets out, he joins a security firm and continues his quest to find the guys responsible for killing his partner. There is only one problem; he is paired with
Earl, who has also joined that same security firm. What follows, is another "mismatched buddy movie".
Martin Lawrence does his usual thing as Earl, and Hank, Steve Zahn, gets pretty annoying going through most of the film with the same pained expression. If you have seen the preview, you have seen the comedy.
a la The Flixter
Monty Brogan's final day before he begins his seven year prison sentence. The movie takes place over those final 24 hours, as he mulls over his life while making a final round of
NYC, along with his best friends,
Frank is a slick Wall Street trader and
Jakob is a high school English teacher; then there is
Monty, the Irish-American drug dealer who is about to pay for his dirty deeds. The highlight of the movie takes place when he goes into the bathroom of a bar; there
Monty looks into the mirror and launches into an angry rant against all the members of
NYC's "melting pot." However, he finally sees that he has only himself to blame ( that particular scene could just as well be a modern "to be or not to be" soliloquy ).
Edward Norton is absolutely great as Monty; Barry Pepper is good as the hotshot Frank, but it's Phillip Seymour Hoffmann who is tops as Jakob, a teacher under torture by a "Lolita-esque" student played by Anna Paquin. Rosario Dawson is also great as Monty's longtime girlfriend ---- and let's not forget the great Brian Cox as Monty's dad, who can't figure out how or why he screwed up......... There is an almost surreal prelude to the finale of the movie, when Monty and his father mull over what can or cannot happen.
This was a great movie from director Spike Lee...... a really great movie.
a la The Flixter
is an angry young man, so angry in fact, that his frequent outbursts
against his fellow shipmates, gets him sent to a Navy psychologist.
Of course, he is not too cooperative there either. His first
couple of sessions are spent clamming up while the "shrink" tries to get
him to open up. Consequently, the doctor starts "playing along";
sits quietly on the couch while the doctor does his paperwork --- no
words are exchanged. This works because soon words are being
exchanged and a depth is revealed behind the hostility.
Born in prison, and having run the gauntlet of abusive foster care,
to see a father figure in
Denzel Washington's doctor
personage. The doc, meanwhile, is having his own marital
problems. When Antwone
is invited over for a
Thanksgiving dinner, he sees a
family he's been searching for and the doctor sees a son that he can't
have..... it might sound
"sappy" but it's
is great and the great Denzel
Washington is just as good in
front of the camera as he is at his directorial debut.
The movie is extremely satisfying as
learns to return the affection of a femaler co-worker and seeks to find
his original family. Based on the real
autobiography, it is simply one of
the best movies of the past year.
Catch Me If You Can
a la The Flixter
have moved to a new town. On
the first day of school, out of nowhere, sixteen year old
Frank Abengale Jr.
steps in front of the class and
introduces himself as the teacher. The real teacher is out sick
and nobody knows Abengale yet; plus his confident manner is
convincing. A whole week goes by before the school realizes what
is going on. The parents are called in, but young Frank sees a
whole new world of opportunity....
DiCaprio is great as
Frank Abengale, Jr. He
is just as confident playing the role as his character is at "conning"
people. Before he has turned 21, he's fooled people into believing he's
an airline pilot, a physician, and a lawyer. Additionally, he has
cashed over a million dollars in bogus checks. All the while, he
is being pursued by FBI Agent
Carl is played by, the always great,
Tom Hanks, whose FBI character is always a step behind
Abengale . However, the chase here is a pleasure; probably the
most fun you will have at the movies all year.
The movie is based upon the true life exploits of the Real
Frank Abengale Jr. , who was
an an advisor for the film makers.
This is the most light-hearted movie from director Steven Spielberg in a
long, long time.
P.S. Christopher Walken is also great as Frank Abengale, Sr. .
Maid In Manhattan
a la The Flixter
is a struggling single mother.
When not chauffeuring her young son around, she is working as a maid at
The Beresford, which happens to be a luxury hotel, full
of ultra-rich and important guests. One day, she, along with her
fellow maids, starts fooling around with a patron's expensive wardrobe.
She happens to bang into "Senate hopeful" Chris Marshall
while she has one of those expensive robes on --- he thinks that she is
also a guest at the hotel. Sparks fly and she has to carry on the
lie she unwittingly perpetuated, along with her very supportive
co-workers. They wanted to see Marisa make it
to management, but now see an even better pay off for the hard working
mom. Of course, the political hopeful is being hounded by
paparazzi who see a scandalous story in the whole situation.
Yada yada yada, you know how romantic comedies work...
Jennifer Lopez is great as Marisa and Ralph Fiennes is just as good as the political hopeful. I am a huge
fan of his; ever since he broke out as a ruthless Nazi in
Schindler's List, he has not done a bad movie. And
this one is no exception. Much of the comedy comes at the expense
of Stanley Tucci's campaign manager who is trying to steer
his candidate away from any scandal. Bob Hoskins is
also very good as the hotel manager who is also a father-figure to
Very good movie. Call me a
wuss or whatever, but I liked it. ..
a la The Flixter
Dr. Ben Sobel is at his father's funeral. Before
he can go up and say some last words about his departed dad, he keeps
imagining himself up in front of everyone, talking about how bad a
father his dad really was; then his cell phone rings and it's one
of his former patients complaining about how someone is trying to kill
him. But the patient in this case happens to be gangster
Paul Vitti, now in prison ---- so there might be some truth to his
fears. Ben hangs up, but is called in by the
Feds the next day. It appears that
Vitti has gone a little crazy and the
Feds want to release him into Ben's custody
since he was Vitti's shrink before his imprisonment.
Reluctantly, Ben has to do it and, as a result, finds out
that Vitti was just faking it.
Vitti just wants to get his gang back together and return to
his old ways.
Watching Robert DeNiro, as Vitti, trying
his hand at comedy again is amusing at first until one realizes that its
pretty much a rehash of what he did in Analyze This.
But there are some pretty funny moments, especially during the scenes in
which his mobster tries his hand at regular jobs like car salesman and
working at a restaurant. Billy
Crystal is also pretty funny
as the reluctant chaperone
Sobel who has to deal with
Vitti and carry on with his regular life, which
includes an impressionable son and a "not-so-happy-with-the-situation"
wife (Lisa Kudrow).
Pretty funny. I think I got my
a la The Flixter
It's the not too distant future and once again it seems there won't be
any drought problems since the rain is constant.
Dr. Chris Kelvin is a psychiatrist specializing in "grieving". When he is not trying to help his patients, he
is trying to cope with the suicide of his wife,
Rhea. Then he gets called for help --- his friend, who was
on a space station orbiting the planet Solaris, has
sent a video tape requesting his help. There have been strange
occurrences on the space station and the friend thinks that
Kelvin should come up and check them out, so Kelvin is off to
the space station (I forgot
Once he has arrived there, he finds that there are only two survivors.
When he falls asleep, he dreams of Rhea, and
wakes to find her beside him. Yup, strange things are happening.
George Clooney as Kelvin just
may be his best performance; beyond that, the movie is
dank, depressing, and extremely slow
moving. It's a remake of
Russian director Andrei
Tarkovsky's "just as
slow" movie. Thank God, it was only ninety something minutes long.
I don't think I could have stayed up past that..............
It might become a critical "fave" like Insomnia
(which I also found unbearably slow), but this critic did not like it
too much. Director
Steven Soderbergh and
Clooney did great with Ocean's Eleven.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same here.
Die Another Day
a la The Flixter
As is Bond tradition, the movie starts off with an
over-the-top-action-set-piece with loads of big explosions. But this time the
sequence ends with James Bond (Pierce Brosnan)
being captured by North Korea; then we go to pretty traditional opening
credits with silhouettes of naked women dancing around and doing
gymnastic routines to a
Madonna theme song (she also
pops in for a cameo) --- and this time those ladies are joined by scenes
of Bond being tortured in his imprisonment. Then
the movie really starts.
Bond has been in prison for 14 months. He is released as a
trade with a North Korean prisoner that the
Brits had. Ironically, he happens to be the same guy
that Bond was caught trying to kill. As a
result of that failed attempt, he has a face full of diamonds. The plot,
as is another Bond tradition, is overly complicated, involves
stolen diamonds and an arch-villain who is building
an eternal sun. The action goes all over the globe --
from it's North Korean opening to its finale in an ice castle
on the top of the world. Of course, there are two
Bond girls. There's the American agent
Jinx, played by Oscar winner Halle Berry....and
another woman who also has to hop in the sack with
Bond so he can see if he can trust her.
Bond's weapon supplier Q is played by
John Cleese. He hooks
Bond up with an
Aston Martin that can become
There are plenty of cheesy one-liners and a whole stretch in the middle
that tries to establish a reason for another big-bang finale. But who
cares about all that. We want to see Bond movies
for the action and the babes --- and we get to see both. In
reality, Bond would be seventy-something years old by
now and retired. He could spend his retirement helping raise the
many grand-kids he should have since he hasn't been much of a
But who'd pay to see that.
Half Past Dead
a la The Flixter
is Sasha Petrosevich, a car thief, who along with his
Ja Rule), gets busted by the Feds and is shipped off to prison.
The prison is the infamous
Alcatraz, now called
New Alcatraz. Once inside, the movie becomes a
standard prison movie for a while, with a sadistic warden and some
sympathetic prisoners thrown in..... One of the prisoners
happens to be a killer on death row who stole over 200 million dollars
in gold that was never recovered. Then the prison gets taken over
by a bunch of bad guys who want to know the location of that gold
before that guy gets "fried". They take over the island and hold
all the officials hostage; one of the officials happens to be a
Supreme Court justice who is there for the execution.
Of course Sasha is not what he appeared to be; he, along
with the other prisoners, manage to turn the tables on these,
Those of you not too familiar with Seagal's
school of acting may find yourselves on the edge of your seats.
No, not in anticipation of what will happen ---- but in an attempt to
decipher the dialogue streaming out of his barely parted lips. His
best movies have been those where he had some help from some very good
actors, like Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones in Under
Michael Caine in On Deadly Ground. OK, the second one is not such a great movie but
Michael Caine is still a fine actor. Anyway, here
he doesn't have any help so the movie sucks. If you really want to
see it, wait for it to come out as a rental. Don't spend $8.75
like I did.
Footnote: I used to take karate (tae kwon do) a
while back. One of the key elements in punching and kicking was not
telegraphing your move, so the opponent doesn't know what you are about
to do. Steven Seagal must be an awesome martial artist.
He doesn't telegraph his moves at all.... heck, he doesn't even
telegraph any emotion. You have to sit there and figure that out
too. "Gee, he must be pissed because
he just used a cuss word."
So if you decide to go see this, remember it won't be a relaxing
experience. You will first have to decipher what is being said; then you
have to figure out what kind of emotion lies behind what was said.
a la The Flixter
A white rapper breaks through the ranks and gains enormous success and
fame. A decade ago, that would be Vanilla Ice,
but he was not so critically acclaimed. Even his movie,
Cool as Ice, bombed with both critics and audiences. Thank God, the
rapper here is the very controversial and
just as talented Eminem. True, I found his first hit,
My Name Is..., to be just as annoying as any
Spice Girls ditty or
Eminem rose above that in his
later efforts, delivering some very harsh lyrics accompanied by some
slam-bang rhymes ---- many have hailed him as the best rapper around. I
am not big on hip-hop, but even I admit that he is pretty
damn talented. Here he plays Jimmy Smith Jr.,
aka Bunny Rabbit; who, when he splits with his girl friend,
has to move back in with his mother.
His mother, a very good Kim
Basinger, is pretty much the
epitome of white trash. She lives in a trailer with
Rabbit's young sister and a boyfriend. (The boyfriend happens to
be a guy that Rabbit went to school with.......) Her only
aspiration seems to be
hitting it big on bingo at
Rabbit works in a factory and
wants to become a rapper. He goes to a club that holds "improv" nights where people have 45 seconds to let loose a
barrage of rhyme. His first time there, he freezes in front of a
heckling audience that is not used to seeing a "white boy" on stage. But he manages to find a muse in the
form of Brittany Murphy's
Alex, plus he has some very
supportive friends who want to see him succeed.
Mekhi Phifer is one friend who keeps pushing him to
compete in the poetic face offs ---and Jimmy finally
is able to find his voice.
The final rap show down is
ABSOLUTELY brilliant. The
audience in the theater broke out in applause as
Rabbit lets loose all that he has held inside (the movie is
very close to being an Eminem bio-pic.) When you see his
trailer trash mommy, you kind of understand why he has been so
harsh to her in his songs.
Unbelievably great movie.
a la The Flixter
The beautiful and poisonous flower of the title comes into play early
on in the movie.
Ingrid Magnusson uses it to
poison her boyfriend because she thinks he's cheating on her.
She goes to jail to serve a life sentence while her young daughter,
Astrid, has to serve a sentence of her own.
She is taken in by the proper people who are looking out for
her best interests and will put her with some loving foster parents
--- which begins the poor young girl's gauntlet through foster care.
She is taken in by Robin
bible-thumping, born-again, mother of quite a few kids.
That doesn't work out too good, once she starts seeing her boy-friend
beginning to set her sights on Astrid.
Next up, she is taken in by a wealthy film-industry couple.
Renee Zellweger is the actress who can't have any kids
of her own. Things actually look promising there as she and
Astrid bond while the husband (Noah Wyle) is away working on some movie. But that
doesn't go too well, thanks in part to Michelle Pfeiffer's imprisoned
Ingrid who keeps interfering
from behind bars. So poor Astrid, played by a very good
Alison Lohman, is growing older under the most
horrible of circumstances. Along the way, she meets
Patrick Fugit's Paul, who is
also in the "home" and just as artistically inclined as her.
There are signs of hope there, but the movie is pretty slow and
depressing as hell. What else could you expect from the movie
adaptation of an Oprah's Book Club selection.
This is pretty much a
chick-flick but there are
some great performances and an undeniably powerful story. Too darn
a la The Flixter
Dr. Hannibal Lecter has just ended a dinner party.
Since we already know about his cannibalistic side, we can't help but
laugh as his guests commend his culinary skills and ask about what he
used to make these exquisite dishes. Just after the party, FBI
agent Will Graham comes to visit
Lecter with some questions about a case. But his stabs
at what might have happened are too close to what happened, which
leads to a violent confrontation
between the two.
Graham almost dies and
Lecter is captured. And that is just the
Flash forward a few years. Graham is in
semi-retirement. His boss calls him back for some assistance
with a new serial killer they call the Tooth Fairy.
He's been breaking into houses, killing entire families and smashing
their mirrors .....and for assistance Graham has
to turn to Lecter. Meanwhile, we get a little
glimpse of what is making the Tooth Fairy,
who calls himself the Red
Dragon, tick. Its
memories of a horrible childhood combined with a facial disfigurement.
But he gets sidetracked when a slight romance starts developing with a
blind co-worker. But back to work he must return, which
culminates in one heck of a bang-up finale. The great
(I am a huge fan) is the
Red Dragon. His character, I am ashamed to
say, is almost sympathetic. I mean, there are times, especially
during his doomed romance, where you feel bad for the "sicko".
Edward Norton is agent Graham, in another great
performance and of course,
Anthony Hopkins returns as
Lecter. There are so many great actors
--- Emily Watson as the blind love interest ---
Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a tabloid reporter whose stories are
used as bait for the Dragon. On and on. And all under
the direction of Brett
Ratner, the director of the
very different Rush Hour movies ( In my review for
Rush Hour 2, I goofed and linked him to the
crap-trap Virtuosity -- my apologies ). In 1986 director
Michael Mann made Red Dragon;
it was called Manhunter. (Very good movie.) But
Mr. Ratner tops him with this version.
Absolutely awesome. I wish I could add some more stars to my
rating system but five's the limit.
a la The Flixter
is a pretty talented taxi driver;
so talented, in fact, that his driving skills get him on the good side
of millionaire Clark Devlin. He hires him as his personal
chauffer. And Devlin is not just a millionaire -- he's a
secret agent. Tong drives him around and tries to learn
what makes his boss such a charming and suave man with the ladies.
If he can learn, then maybe he can have the guts to talk to the pretty
lady at the art gallery. But Devlin gets
hurt in a bomb blast and instructs Jimmy to put
on his tux. Once the tux goes on, the klutzy
Jimmy is transformed into a person as suave as his now
comatose boss. He can sing, dance, and kick ass; the tuxedo is a
billion dollar weapon that gives its wearer these powers
(the wrist watch is the control panel).
Jimmy has to step in for his boss with these newly attained
powers, then along comes agent Del Blaine
to assisst Tong, who she thinks is
Devlin since she never personally met
him. Their task is to stop some bad guys from
polluting the national water supply.
I am a huge Jackie Chan fan. I have seen pretty much all
of his Hong Kong stuff. His role here as
James Tong has to be the worst thing he has ever done. The movie was pretty bad
-- the cool fights that are a Chan staple
are not there. Heck, even the out-takes, that follow every
Chan flick, are not that funny here.
And Jennifer Love Hewitt, is pretty bad as
Del Blaine.... I am also a big
fan of hers (if you catch my drift). But this movie was
one heck of a disappointment ---- not too well directed. No
awesome fights; no funny bits; nothing that is usually in a
Jackie Chan movie regardless of the budget.
a la The Flixter
Joe Hickey, wife Cheryl, and
cousin Marvin have a nice kidnapping business going;
they have successfully collected the ransom and gotten away with four
such endeavors. But their fifth one's a
doosie --- they kidnap the 6-year old daughter
of a pretty well-off doctor. The action takes place in three different
locations. Joe is holding the doc's
wife hostage at home. Joe's wife
(Cheryl) corners the doc, while
the kidnap victim is in a far off location with the dim-witted
cousin. But complications arise when they realize that the child
is severely asthmatic and needs her medications. Both the mom
and dad start turning the tables on their abductors --- things
culminate in a big-bang finale involving many cars and everyone
converging on that same stretch of highway.
The movie was absolutely gripping --- no, just kidding. It
sucked, i.e., it was an awful piece of crap that wastes a lot of talented people.
Kevin Bacon, who can generally be counted on to
redeem stinkers, fails here as the gang leader,
Charlize Theron is wasted as
the mom......and...well pretty much everybody is wasted. As for
that big-bang finale, my question is where did everybody go??
Once all the cars and trucks are done crashing into each other, its
just the principals left chasing each other around and shooting.
Nobody else is there in those banged up cars. And no cops or
ambulances show up.
Anyway, very good cast.
But very lousy movie...
One Hour Photo
a la The Flixter
Sy Parrish leads a lonesome existence. His
days are dedicated to working the photo counter at the local
Sav Mart. For the most part, he gets to
develop inane photographs from all walks of life. Some of his
customers are amateur pornographers or insurance claim adjustors.
But one of his long-time customers is the Yorkin
family: a beautiful young couple and their young son
Jake (who calls him Sy
the photo guy). Sy has been
developing their pictures for years.
When Sy gets off of work he goes to his lonely
little apartment; that's when we see the obsessive nature of his
relationship with the
Yorkins. He has been
making extra prints of their pictures and has a whole wall dedicated
to this seemingly perfect family. He dreams of being part of
them; the Uncle Sy that young Jake should
have. But like he says in the beginning, photographs only show
the happy times --- never the bad ones. He realizes that his
perfect family is not so perfect ---- and he is willing to go to any
lengths to make it perfect.
Robin Williams as Sy is
absolutely brilliant. This has to be his
best dramatic performance. Actually, his
BEST performance period. And overall, the whole
movie is brilliant; absolutely riveting. As it hurtles towards
its ending, it delivers the most heart-breaking, suspenseful
narrative, I have ever seen.
I loved it .... very depressing though. No
wonder I hate getting pictures taken.
City By The Sea
a la The Flixter
The best way to describe Lt.
Vincent LaMarca's position
is to say that he is in the middle of a dysfunctional
sandwich. His father was
convicted and executed for the kidnapping and murder of a child in the
1950s. Then there's his own self: an honest and hardworking homicide
detective in Long Beach, New
York (the city of the title
which actually is Asbury
Park, New Jersey) and
finishing up that sandwich is his son
Joey, a druggie who hasn't
seen his father in years. What brings them together, is the
murder of a drug dealer (which Joey
commits) and the murder of
LaMarca's partner (which
Joey did not commit). The senior
LaMarca is investigating the former case, which results in
the later. The son turns to his long gone father to prove that he did not kill his
partner. It's pretty safe to say that Robert DeNiro is one of our best actors and his performance here as
Vincent LaMarca just solidifies that statement.
James Franco (who won a Golden Globe
for his portrayal of James
Dean on cable a while back)
is excellent as the drug-addled son. There is a romance brewing
between LaMarca and his downstairs neighbor (Frances McDormand). One of the only comic moments results
when LaMarca is telling her some things she did not
know before....but the movie was excellent. It's based on actual
events and an Esquire magazine article about those events.
Gripping. Tragic. Great.
fear dot com
a la The Flixter
Something strange is happening in New York City --- people are ending up getting killed in the
goriest of ways. Detective Stephen Dorff is investigating the cases accompanied by
Natasha McElhone, who works for the city's
Health Department. She is on the case because an
Ebola-type virus is being suspected (??) as a possible cause of
the deaths (the victims have bleeding eyes.) A common link is
found in all the deaths; all the victims had gone to the same website
less than 48 hours ago. The website, Feardotcom,
is a display of grisly murders, being recorded and broadcast, while
they take place; the man behind that website is
Stephen Rea (nominated for an
Oscar a while back).
People were walking out of the
movie before it ended. But I sat there, because I had to see
the end credits and make sure that it was really those three fine
actors in this horrendous piece of crap. If you are looking for gore, there's
plenty of that --- but the lines are laughable and the acting
horrible. The movie was shot on location in the New York City borough
of Luxembourg ??? --- Oh wait ---
Luxembourg is not a borough. It's some dinky
little country in Europe (that explains the ample parking) and I guess
their biggest industry is allowing crappy movies to be shot there.*** All I can think is that director
gets these great actors to appear
in his movies because he knows something about them that they don't
want the rest of us to know. His last movie,
House on Haunted Hill, had Oscar-winner
Geoffrey Rush --- and now, not one, but three
fine actors going to waste. A long while back, a very young
Stephen Dorff was in a cheesy horror movie called
The Gate. That movie seems awesome after watching
A reminder that the
Flixter's opinions and descriptions do not necessarily reflect those
a la The Flixter
Victor Taransky (Al Pacino)
is a struggling Hollywood director. He has been around for a while and
just wants to show that he has staying power -- he is not a burned out,
"has-been". But then the star
of his latest project (Winona
Ryder) walks out because her
trailer is not big enough.
Taransky is afraid that the
studio exec., his ex-wife (Catherine
Keener), will fire him. In
comes a dying computer genius who has the solution: he has created a
virtual star --- a simulated one ---- or Simone.
She is a composite of great actresses, from Garbo to
Katherine Hepburn and Meryl Streep,
and she requires no make-up or assistants or even a paycheck.
Taransky finishes the film with
Simone and she is a huge hit with the media and audience.
The only problem is that only Taransky
knows the truth. Everyone thinks that Simone is
real and they want more of her; the press want to interview her; the
fans want to meet her. Things start getting tougher and tougher
for Taransky as he piles on the lies ----
Simone is afraid of crowds..... Simone is in
a third world country on a charitable mission..... And on and on.
Then Simone gets nominated for an Oscar; how
things get resolved (or do they?) should be seen, because there is
only one word that can describe this movie: BRILLIANT.
Simone's physical attributes are borrowed from a
real Canadian model. Beyond that she is simulated. Writer-director,
Andrew Niccol, once again shows his brilliance. He
helmed the sci-fi great
Gattaca and also wrote the
screenplay for the highly under-rated Jim Carrey
film, The Truman Show. This movie just tops an already
impressive resume. The movie is absolutely hilarious one instant and
thought-provokingly touching the next.....