Saturday, September 25, 2010

Easy "A"....9 out of 10

So last Friday, Lu and I did a double feature movie. That doesn't happen very often, what with the cost of seeing a movie what it is and all, but we were so torn by what we wanted to see, we decide what the hell? And I'm so glad we did. It was a night of good movies. I've already reviewed M. Night Shyamalan's "Devil" and now we move on to "Easy A".

"Easy A" is a story about consequences. It's a story of how sometimes even something you do with the best of intentions can go horribly wrong. What's that saying? Oh yeah. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive." Emma Stone plays Olive, a girl who's practically invisible at her high school. She gets good grades, stays out of trouble, and secretly crushes on the same boy since 8th grade. But things go horribly awry when she pretends to have sex with a friend in order to help his reputation. The one lie leads to more and the situation soon spirals out of her control.

It's an absolutely hilarious movie. The dialogue is witty and sarcastic. The themes are handled well. It's not your typical teenage movie ala "Superbad" (although, I did laugh my butt off at that one too). It's got much more depth and a moral to the story.

Excellent performances by a host of funny characters. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are laugh out loud funny as Olive's parents. And Thomas Hayden Church plays a fantastic English teacher. Personally, I think he's totally under utilized by Hollywood. Love that guy.

All in all...9 out of 10 stars. If you're looking for a film to go see to get your mind off of your troubles, this is it. Or if you just like films with great one-liners, again, you're in luck. Whatever the reason...just go see it! You won't be sorry.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Devil 9 out of 10

Lu and I saw this movie opening night. I will fully admit up front that I am an M. Night Shyamalan fan. I think the man is brilliant. Okay, not all of the films are winners for me. I did not really like Unbreakable. And The Village was not my favorite either. But for original ideas, taut psychological drama and films that make you think...I give him high marks. I know he has his critics and that some of the general movie going public may not necessarily understand all his films, but so what? I like him. That said, I always go to his films with my fingers crossed. I mean, no one makes a winner every time. This time, I was rewarded.

Devil is about the actual Devil. One of the characters, a catholic security guard narrates part of the movie with a story his mother told him about the devil. It sets the background for the story nicely. Then, 5 strangers are trapped in an elevator together. Each has something to hide. And each are targeted for death by the Devil, who wants their souls. It could have been cheesy. But it's not. It's a tight drama filled with jumps and twists. It's a scary movie with a moral. In the end it's about salvation, redemption and forgiveness.

It's a good scary movie that will make you jump, leave you with that "creeped out" feeling, and give you something to think about for days to come. That adds up in my book to 9 out of 10 stars.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Iron Man 2...10 out of 10

Last Tuesday night Sean and I went to see Iron Man 2. I was torn between wanting to see it and wanting to see the new Robin Hood. We went with Iron Man, and boy am I glad. It was amazing. I love movies that are funny, action-packed and star studded. So I'm easy to please? Sue me.

The first Iron Man was great. Robert Downey, Jr and Gwenyth Paltrow rocked those comic book characters. The second Iron Man lived up to the high standard the first had set. In my humble opinion, anyway. I'm sure some of the die hard comic book fans found some things to nitpick (I mean, disagree with), but not having that background, I'm a fan of the movie.

Since I don't want to give anything away, as it's a relatively new release, I'll just say that the cast was an awesome ensemble. Of course, Robert Downey Jr delivered as Iron Man. Gwenyth is a beautiful and elegant Pepper Potts. Mickey Rourke was genius (quite literally) as the bad guy and Scarlett Johannson kicked ass (also literally) as Agent Romanoff. With other performances by Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle and John Favreau, how can you go wrong?? You can't!

I've heard it argued that the fight scenes were too brief, the love story too developed, and the plot lacking. I don't care. If you want action, laughs, and an all around entertaining movie...this is the one to see. I give it a great big nerdy 10 thumbs way up.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Otis...9 out of 10

So most of you are probably going Otis? The hell? Has Spot strayed off the deep end?? No. Well, not yet anyway. Otis is a charming little black comedy that I'm pretty sure most people overlooked! I know we did at first. Luckily, we found our way back to it and got to enjoy some big laughs.

Sean and I first saw a trailer for Otis while watching one of the 8 films to die for. I don't remember which one or even what year it was from. Most of those movies are totally forgettable. But Otis stuck in my mind. Last week, before my stunning and public breakup with Blockbuster, we found the movie in the horror aisle. It probably should have been in comedy.

Anyone who loves a good laugh, laced with a little blood, gore, and violence will enjoy this movie. The concept is that Otis, played by Bostin Christopher, a local pizza delivery guy, has been kidnapping teenage girls. He keeps the girls locked up and tries to force them to answer to the name "Kim" and help him live out some deranged high school fantasy. The girls keep winding up dead. Whether through Otis' brutality or their own doing, it's hard to say.

When Otis delivers a pizza to Riley Lawson's (played by Ashley Johnson) home, you know she will be the next victim. But Riley's not like the other girls. She plays along until her chance to escape comes. She gets away and phones home. Her family, played by Illeana Douglas, Douglas Stern and Jared Kusnitz, decide to take matters into their own hands. They set out for Otis' house to mete out some payback. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned.

It's an hour and a half of giggles and some very quotable lines "What is wrong with you?". We were happily suprised and you will be too. Give it a chance. What do you have to lose?!


To see a trailer, click here.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Crazies...9 out of 10.

The Crazies opened last Friday night. And after seeing the previews, Sean and I had already agreed to catch the movie opening night. After all, it was right up our movie going alley. It had people turning into monsters (the psychological kind, not actual, you know, monsters). It had loads of blood and violence. Woo-to-the-hoo!! What I did not know was that it was a remake of the 1973 George Romero film of the same name. WTH?! How did I miss a Romero film? What kind of fan am I?? I can tell you what kind of cake Stephen King had for his 11th birthday*, but I completely missed an entire film by George Romero?! Oh! The Shame!!

Having not seen the original, I can't compare the two. But what I can say is that the remake most likely did the original film justice. It was very good. And definitely had the feel of George Romero's films about it. While not a zombie film, it had a lot of the same feeling.

I think currently, films like these are even scarier given the recent swine flu panic. Everyone is more germ conscious these days. We avoid obviously ill people like the plague and carry hand sanitizer with us. And even if we didn't you can find it mounted on the wall in most restrooms. Our society has become much more aware of the possible spread of contagion. This film completely hits that nerve. Add to that our fear of government control and isolation and you have one scary as shit movie.

The movie centers on a small town in Iowa. Just your average everyday town until someone (patient zero in this case) walks onto a baseball field during a high school game with a shotgun. Soon, he's not the only one displaying odd behavior. The contagion spreads quickly and we quickly find out that it's the military's fault! Total shocker, huh? Okay, not really. C'mon, I didn't say the movie wasn't predictable. Soon our main characters, the town sheriff, his pregnant wife (who's also the town doctor), her teenage receptionist, and the deputy are fighting for their lives. Both against the infected, and the military, who have swooped down to contain the problem. Very soon, most of the people from the town are dead, the vehicles disabled and our four characters are completely cut off from the rest of the world. Getting to safety becomes their only goal. Unfortunately for them, they have to avoid not only the infected, but the military too.

Fortunately for us, that makes for one good story. The plot was fully fleshed out, if somewhat predictable. The acting was good. Timothy Olyphant, who seemed like a newcomer to me (until I found out he'd been in Stop Loss, The Perfect Getaway, and Catch and Release), is very good in his role of town sheriff torn between his duty to his badge and his friendship with the townspeople. Radha Mitchell, as his wife is also good. You may remember her from Surrogates, Silent Hill or Pitch Black.

All in all, 9 out of 10 from Sean and I.


*I don't really know what kind of cake he had. Geez! I'm not some crazy stalker.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Legion~ 9 out of 10

So last night was Tuesday night and you know what that means? Well I guess for some people it means meatloaf for diner, but in our house it means cheap movie night! Although it may not be for long as both movie theatres in town were sold to another company recently. I don't know if they'll keep the Tuesday special going or not. I certainly hope so! The Tuesday special is that everyone gets in for matinee price, which around here is $5.75, and you get a free small bag of popcorn. Last night my kids were especially generous and Lu took us out to eat Mexican and Sean paid for the movies. I left tip at the restaurant and bought us a large soda at the movie (Lu had brought her own). We had all three been dying to see Legion so the movie choice was unanimous.

I will do my very best to not give out spoilers since the movie's so new and most people may not have seen it! But the basic storyline, which you can get from the trailers, is that God has had enough of man and decides to destroy his creation and start over. He sends the angels down to exterminate mankind. But the angel Michael rebels against his command. He still has faith in mankind and the possibility of it's salvation. He falls to earth and cuts off his wings to become human. Then he sets out to find Charlie, the girl carrying mankind's only hope for survival and redemption.

He finds Charlie, an average ordinary girl, working at a tiny little diner/gas station in the middle of the desert. She's 8 months pregnant with a baby she doesn't want and plans on giving up for adoption. There's not a lot of back story but you get the idea her life hasn't been easy. Charlie is played by Adrianne Palicki, not an actress I'm familiar with, but she does a good job. She's employed by Bob, the alcoholic owner of the diner, played by Dennis Quaid. Now I've always been a Dennis Quaid fan, and even as an aging rough alcoholic he's still got that engaging little boy smile. He has a son, Jeep, played by Lucas Black. Jeep is an odd young man with a serious crush on Charlie, even though it's not his baby. He's been having oddly prophetic nightmares about her. Also present at the diner is Percy, the one armed cook, played by Charles Dutton. You get the impression, that though odd, they are their own type of family.

Several strangers also get stranded at the diner just in time for the Apocalypse. A rich family of three with some relationship issues played by Jon Tenney, Willa Holland and Kate Walsh. And a tough guy with a heart of gold, played by Tyrese Gibson. The first clue that there might be a problem is the loss of TV signal, phone lines and then power. Also some weird ass clouds rolling in. The next clue comes in the form of a creepy old lady who orders a rare steak and then proceeds to cuss fluently and insult everyone while telling them they're all going to burn. She tops off this performance by ripping out someone's jugular and crawling on the ceiling. Luckily, tough guy Kyle has a gun and knows how to aim it.

There's a token escape attempt that quickly goes bad and then the angel Michael shows up to take charge. He tells them what's up and that they all must protect Charlie until the baby's born if they want to have a chance. What follows is some really creepy shit. Suffice it to say that I will be checking all the teeth of any strangers I encounter (even small children) and I may run for cover if I hear an ice cream truck. Oh, and after that granny scene, I'm pretty sure nursing homes are out too. Sorry Grandma.

The movie is action and violence packed. It incorporates religious themes and characters without being too preachy. It definitely challenges everything you thought you knew about angels. I mean, they wear black armor? I thought white was the good guys? Also, apparently their wings = razor sharp. You can wield those puppies in battle like a circular saw blade. What kind of feathers are those exactly? And why are they black too? I'm so confused...

And if you thought demon possession was scary...wait until you see angel possession on a mission. Everyone ends up with shark teeth and scary jaws that seem to unhinge. And angels are really hard to kill. And oh yeah, they do not fight fair. At one point, in a fight between Michael and Angel Gabriel, I'm pretty sure Gabriel junk punches Michael. Dude. So not cool. Ever. Especially if you're better armed to begin with.

Anyway, we unanimously liked the movie. We heard a few grumbles outside the theatre. One guy complained that he didn't think there was a plot. Really mister? Because I thought the plot was pretty obvious and easy to follow. I'm sorry you missed it. No. I take that back. You're an idiot. And two girls were complaining that it was too "God-y". Really? A movie with angels in it had too much God? How did you not know there might be religious themes?? And it wasn't preachy. Trust me, I'd be the first to call it out on that account.

It was full of action, it moved along at a good pace, the acting was good and it was plausible. Well, provided you believe in angels and God to begin with. And Paul Bettany was kick ass in it. He was all hott and buff and wait...lusting after an angel might be a no-no...damn.

I would definitely recommend it. We will, in fact, probably buy the DVD when it comes out. My thought on leaving the movie? Little Baby Jesus' story might have turned out a lot different if Joseph had carried a gun...


PS~ I just read some reviews and they weren't good. And alot of people had some really ridiculous questions and said that the movie didn't explain things. Seriously? People are dumb. I'd prefer to have to think a few things out on my own. And frankly, I thought the things that weren't specifically explained were pretty obvious. This totally explains why most movies are so predictable and easy to figure out. The movie going public feels the need to be spoon fed instead of thinking for themselves. *shaking my head in despair*

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gamer~ 7 out of 10

First, let me just say Mmmm. Gerard Butler. Really, I didn't care what the movie was about once I saw he was in it. "Of course we can get that one!" I said. Okay, so I did know what it was about. I'm not a guy. Geez. I don't pick movies based on what kind of eye candy they provide. But I'm not averse to having some man candy to look at just in case the movie is a dud.

Gamer is centered around an interesting concept. The idea that technology will be so advanced in the future that they'll be able to inject tech cells into your brain that will replicate and receive signals from the outside, thus enabling someone else to control your actions. Of course, they can be implanted to send signals too. This allows someone else to think of an action and you are compelled to do it. WTF?! Who would be crazy enough to do that?! Ever hear of free will people? The concept of liberty?? People died to make sure we had free choice and you're just going to turn around and hand it over??! The hell?!

Oh. I guess I totally forgot to mention that the people who opt to be controlled are considered "actors" and they're paid to hand over their free will. They act out a real life version of SIMS called "society". So not only does someone else get to pick out your clothes, your makeup, and put words in your mouth, they get to control who you sleep with. I'm pretty sure there's not enough money in the world for me to consider this a good idea.

There's also a game version which gives new meaning to the phrase "live action". The game pieces here are convicts on death row. They don't get paid, they just get a chance at freedom. Survive thirty battles and your pardon is in the mail. Sadly, no one has managed to accomplish this feat yet. (Really? Go figure). Enter Gerard. He's a badass game piece the world calls "Kable". And he's just survived battle number 28.

Of course there's one man who controls all the technology. And his name is Ken Castle (played by Michael C. Hall). He's a billionaire techno whiz with a hidden agenda. (You weren't surprised, were you?) Turns out he's modified his technology to suit his evil plan of world domination. Muahahaha. (Evil genius laugh). And he has no intention of letting our hero convict survive his thirty battles. Why? Turns out Gerard knows a thing or two about our evil genius that he doesn't want the world to know.

Enter the renegade faction called the "Humanz". They've figured out that (*gasp*) handing over your free will to someone else is probably a bad idea! (Dude, really? I didn't see that coming!) Okay, I totally did. Anyway, long story short, they find a way to bust "Kable" out, free his wife (she's an "actor" in the "society" game, and give them back their control. Unfortunately, evil genius Castle has their only daughter. I won't reveal the ending but good does win out.

Last but not least, I will give you a warning about the gross out factor. If you've ever wondered about who was on the other end of a chat session you don't want to watch this movie. One of the "controllers" in this movie is a mostly naked, seriously obese dude who eats waffles dipped in syrup while playing "society". Not a pretty picture. Oh yeah, and he controls a girl character. Kind of a double "eeew".

I know I'm poking fun at the movie, but I did enjoy it. It had plenty of action (so much I may have had to cover my eyes a time or two), a twist (even if I figured it out beforehand), and some decent acting. Oh yeah, and eye candy. Kyra Sedgewick does a good turn as a talk show host who's not buying into Castle's altruism and ends up with the renegades. Allison Lohan plays one of the rebels and does some kick ass motorcycle riding. There are other good bit performances. All in all, it was entertaining and didn't take too much thought. Sean gave it a slight higher rating than I did. Lulu rated about the same as I did. And hubby managed to stay awake through the whole thing. Which is saying something.

7 out of 10 thumbs up!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Avatar~ 9 thumbs up.

So Sean has been begging asking to see Avatar since it came out. And I'll admit it...I was pretty intrigued too. We go to the movies alot on Tuesday nights because the theatre runs a special~ everyone gets in for matinee prices and you get these little bags for free popcorn. Sometimes we buy a soda, sometimes we sneak ones in (yeah, I'm like that). So we headed off to the movies last Tuesday night. (Yeah, the night before I left on my trip because I'm insane.)

When we got there we got a surprise. They were only showing Avatar in 3D. Not a biggie, except that it was an extra $3 per person, which kind of defeated the whole purpose of going on the cheap night. So we paid our money, got our free popcorn and a soda and found seats. Let me just say...the new 3D is amazing! I mean, I remember the old red/blue paper glasses. And if you took them off the whole screen was wavy and red and blue and made you want to hurl. They always gave me a huge headache and the effect was usually somewhat cheesy. Not so with the new technology. The glasses resembled those worn by Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black. No red and blue anywhere. And if you took them off, still no red and blue! But wavy. So we got a preview of the upcoming Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland and I freakin swear the Cheshire Cat's head was right in front of me. Like scary close. I may have jumped. And Sean may have laughed at me. And Avatar? No cheesy effects for them. It was so subtle, more like you were actually in the movie than things popping out at you.

The movie itself? Personally, I thought it was fabulous. Visually stunning. Of course I had no doubt that it would be. James Cameron is known for his special effects and epic movies. The plot was well developed, if predictable. The characters were interesting and engaging. I felt the plight of the indigenous population and joined them in their loathing for the greedy, planet destroying, corporation. And the combat happy military force. Wait a Mr. Cameron trying to make a social statement here? How dare he slip that into my mindless entertainment!! The hell?!

I know there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the film. The Vatican is incensed because it promotes the worship of nature. Um. Dude. Didn't your God create all nature? So shouldn't we revere something he busted his ass on? And if he made nature and he made us...aren't we spiritually connected to the Earth?? I mean, I'm not dissing any religion here, but it makes sense to me. I don't think Mr. Cameron was trying to convert anyone to an older, nature based pagan religion here. I think he was just trying to point out that if we don't start respecting the Earth and clean our acts up, we're screwed. And you pretty much have to be an idiot not to have figured that out already, so settle down Pope. I don't see people leaving your religion in vast droves. See discussions of this here.

I also heard that the film was causing mass depression and even a few suicides. For real??! Wow. People truly are more stupid than I think. Should you be depressed? Um. Maybe. I guess that depends on how huge your carbon footprint is. But suicide? Because of a movie? That's probably the biggest bunch of ridiculousness I've heard lately. I guess that's one way to wipe out your carbon footprint, drastic though it may be. But I left the movie in a good mood. I mean the little guys( figuratively, not literally because they were like 9 feet tall) won! They kicked our polluting butts off their planet. They kept their spirit trees and Unobtainium (seriously, who came up with that name for the power source??). They joined forces with the other living creatures on their planet. And the hott marine got to stay in his alien blue body and have working legs and alien sex and ride dragons. Doesn't that just scream "Happy" to you? Because it did to me!

So overall? I give it 9 out of 10 thumbs up. It was a tad long but I was never bored. (My hip just started aching sitting there so long!) And the glasses did give me a slight headache, but I thought it was worth it. Very entertaining. And really, isn't that the point?

happy viewing,