Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I need a drink.

Could you pass me a cigarette?

I'm not saying that I'm a freaking Sherlock Holmes genius, but I have a hard time watching murder mystery movies because I can usually figure how 'who done it' before they inform the audience.

Let's all have a drink.

Laura, the 1944 murder mystery staring Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, however, had me thinking the entire time. Andrews, who also starred in the recently viewed The Best Years of Our Lives, is Detective Lt. Mark McPherson, a serious, accusatory, and sometimes flippant man who's been put on the case to find out who killed Laura Hunt.

I need a light.

Tierney, who played Laura, was murdered and now there are suspects everywhere. The movie starts with the current time, then flashes back to build up to the murder.

Would you like a cigarette?

Tierney, who in real life died of emphysema (image that), is a beautiful cosmopolitan/socialite who is set to be married to Shelby Carpenter, who is played by Vincent Price, the evil voice of The Thriller and who died of lung cancer and emphysema (image that). However, Laura's also good friends with Waldo Lydecker who is played by Clifton Webb, who one would have called a dandy in 1944. He also starred in the original Cheaper By the Dozen and the Mr. Belvedere movies from the late 40's and early 50's.

Pour me a drink, please.

As the movie progresses back to the current time period, Lt. McPherson is interrogating everyone while he has a drink and a smoke. Nobody likes him very much. McPherson, moreover, begins to act very strange while in Laura's house and is accused of fallen in love with her, even though she's dead.

The plot takes a major turn and all suspicions are thrown out the window. The movie ends in typical 1940's style - with a kiss and a cigarette.

I liked this movie, though I had never heard of it. I picked it up off of the shelf at the library. It is only 88 minutes long, so it's one you can easily squeeze in before you go to bed on nights when American Idol is on and you don't really want to watch it.
So have a drink and watch the movie.

I give this movie 4 stars. It kept my thinking throughout the movie. Plus Gene Tierney is easy on the eyes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Netflix decided to throttle me again. I returned a movie yesterday and received this message today:

We expect to ship your next available movie by Wednesday.

This seems to happen about once per month. I'll keep track of it to see how often it happens. Fortunately I have a trove of lent movies to watch. The next few reviews will probably be some movies from the 90's.

Earth Girls Are Easy

In typical 1980's comedy style, Earth Girls Are Easy is set in Southern California during the Valley Girl era and shows a lot of hot pink, yellows, and day-glow greens. Also in typical 1980's style, the movie stars Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. But don't let this porn-sounding name trick you. There is no nudity or sexual escapades. The movie is rated PG.

In the movie, a spaceship has some mechanical trouble and must land on Earth and get repaired. The three characters on board resemble hairy Teletubbies. Geena Davis discovers these hairy freaks, but realizes that they are friendly. She takes them to a friend who happens to be a beautician - because everyone in L.A. is a beautician. After some trimming and makeup, out come 3 hot guys - Mac, Wiploc, and Zeebo, more commonly known as Jeff Goldblum, a young Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans.

The problem now is that the 2 girls are falling for these hot guys, and wouldn't you know it - Geena Davis already has a boyfriend. Now she must help them repair their ship, but also party with them without getting caught.

This movie is quite silly. Jim Carrey's character doesn't say much, but certainly acts goofy. Goldblum's character is apparently the big studly guy of the movie - yeah I don't get it either. And Damon Wayans is just there. I wouldn't say the movie is particularly funny. Just silly.

I saw this movie on Comcast OnDemand because there was nothing much on. I wish I would have gone downstairs and cleaned the basement instead. Fortunately this movie from 1989 was only 100 minutes long. I give this movie 2 stars. It wasn't so terribly horrible that I had to pluck out my eyeballs as I did know most of the actors. However, if you're bored on Saturday and this is one of the options, clean the basement instead.

Dan in Real Life

One would think that I was writing about another Disney Movie here. Dan in Real Life is about a dad who is a widower raising three girls on his own. I know - it fits perfectly with the Disney formula.

Steve Carell stars in this 2007 movie, along with Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook who's not wearing healies in this movie, Dianne Wiest (of Footloose and The Lost Boys), Jessica Hecht, whom I recognized from Friends as Ross' ex-wife's lesbian girlfriend, and John Mahoney, the dad from Frasier.

Steve Carrell's character, Dan Burns, is an advise columnist and he is joining his family for a week at the camp or summer house. Dan has been overwhelmed in life and needs a break. After having a trist with his middle teenage daughter, his mother sends him out to get a newspaper in the morning to get away for awhile.

Dan stops in a little shop on the water that sells various sundries including books. There he meets a woman named Marie and they have a quick and funny conversation. He really likes her so he invites her to breakfast. Finally she has to leave, but sadly informs him that she is in a relationship, but she really liked him and loved the conversation.

When Dan gets back to the house, he announces that he met a wonderful woman at the bookstore and thinks he's in love. Then his brother (Dane Cook) introduces him to his new girlfriend, the same lady from the bookstore. For the rest of the movie they struggle with their inner desires for each other, but with the restraint they know they must keep. As the movie progresses, Dan becomes more irritable, distracted, and less loving of his daughters. He is basically becoming unravelled.

Anyone who has ever loved someone, but cannot have her will be absolutely drawn to this movie. It's funny. It's sad. It's depressing. You know what he's going through. You'd think I was a 28 year old woman writing this blog, but I've been there and I know you've been there, too.

I like this movie a lot, so I am giving it 4 stars. I would rate it on Netflix, but it appears that after their website was down all day yesterday, they no longer allow users to rate movies. This should certainly help no one find movies they like. Hopefully Netflix will raise their prices since they are offering less helpful service.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's A Wondeful Life

If you can believe this, I had never seen It's A Wonderful Life until last week. Yes, I know. It's un-American. What's wrong with me? What rock have I been living under? Whatever.

So I finally saw it. This 1947 classic features Jimmy Stewart, one of the most likable guys in this history of movies, plays George Bailey, just an all-around nice guy who helps everyone in town (as you would expect Jimmy Stewart to do). He has grown up and married Donna Reed's character, Mary Hatch Bailey. However, mean big banker Henry F. Potter, played by Lionel Barrymore, is out to crush Bailey.

If Barrymore sounds familiar, then know that he is the brother of actor John Barrymore, uncle of actor John Drew Barrymore, and great-uncle of Drew Barrymore.

Bailey starts to get frustrated with life and becomes a big ole' curmudgeon. When Bailey's uncle loses $8000 from the bank that they run, Bailey becomes so distraught that he contemplates suicide. He climbs up on a bridge, but before he can jump off, he sees an old man fall in. Bailey jumps into the icy waters to save him.

Finally in a safe warm place, Clarence identifies himself as Bailey's guardian angel. Bailey wishes he would never have been born, afterwhich Clarence grants his wish and Bailey must see what life is like without him ever being there.

Bailey doesn' believe what is going on, but no one seems to recognize him and he gets really frustrated. Even the local cops, Burt and Ernie (were the muppets named after a couple of cops from the movie?) do not recognize him and threaten to take him to jail for being insane.
Bailey gets so frustrated that he runs back to the bridge in the snow and declares that he "wants to live again!" Suddenly everything returns to normal and Bailey joins his family and they sing a horrible rendition of Ole Lang Syme.

The movie was directed by Frank Capra, who's known for other great movies such as Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, It Happened One Night, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

I give this movie 4 stars. The movie is 130 minutes long or just over 2 hours for those of you who cannot do math. It didn't quite have that sentimental appeal that I was hoping for, but it is classic story line that is often repeated. Or was the movie itself repeated from a classic story line? A Christmas Carol seems to have many of the same themes. Hmmm….

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Southland Tales

Is it a comedy? Is it science fiction? Is it drama? Yes, though its official genre is listed as Independent. To me, that's like asking someone what their sexual orientation is and they answer Lutheran. One has nothing to do with the other.

Regardless, Southland Tales is one that casts itself as a "star-studded" film because a bunch of people are in 18 second bit parts and some other "studded stars" have some longer parts. Actors include Dwayne Johnson, better known as "The Rock", Seann William Scott, better known as "Stiffler", and Sarah Michelle Geller, better known as "Daphne". These are the main characters. The other actors include Mandy Moore, Justin Timberlake, Nora Dunn, John Larroquette, Jon Lovitz, Amy Phoeler,...okay. Let's just say that nearly the entire cast of Saturday Night Live is in this movie.

The premise behind the movie is that post- 9/11 Los Angeles is near political, financial, and social collapse. One man can see the future, but he doesn't know if he can stop it. Reading this, one would think that it could be a documentary of current day Los Angeles. Is it not near total collapse???

The movie wavers between ridiculous and comical. The Rock is a timid and anxious man. How would the Brooklyn Brawler feel about this? There are stabs at the Bush Administration and talk about the war in Iraq. It had a similar resemblance to Peter Sellers' movie, Dr. Stranglelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb from the 1960's, which it attacked nuclear war.

I've read a few reviews of Southland Tales and some claim that the movie was aiming to be a cult film, much like Dr. Strangelove. I would agree that this is a movie you will either love or hate. Much of it is just too goofy to be taken seriously. However, other parts made me laugh. If I see this movie another 10 times, I may become one of those cult movie believers. Until then, I will give this movie 2 stars.

One special note. The DVD sleeve claims that this movie is 1 hr 40 min. However, it took me 2 hours and 17 minutes to see those 100 minutes that it claims. If a movie runs over my 5 minutes or so - no big deal. When it runs over by 37 minutes, then someone should be fired.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Another movie for my daughter. You would think that with all of these pre-teen kid movies I was trying to win favor with my daughter. Not the case. She ignores me anyway.

Enchanted is a Disney movie that mixes animation with reality. The characters from the cartoon are swept into New York City and Prince Edward must find Princess Giselle. Princess Giselle meets up with Patrick Dempsey and his daughter. In typical Disney style, it's another father-led family with no mother. Think about it:

Beauty and the Beast
The Little Mermaid
The Goofy Movie
Finding Nemo

Sometimes they are referred to as the Dead Mothers Club or Disney's Absent Mothers Club. Anyway, Patrick Dempsey does not have a wife, but does have a girlfriend, which you can probably predict presents an uncomfortable situation when he decides to help Princess Giselle.

Susan Sarandon plays the evil mother of Prince Edward and at one point in the movie appears as the witch from Snow White. I had always wondered what Susan Sarandon looked like without makeup.

The movie is narrated by Julie Andrews and also stars Amy Adams as Princess Giselle, and I pretty actress that I predict my daughter will look like when she gets older, James Marsden as Prince Edward, and Timothy Spall, who many nerds will recognize as Wormtail from the Harry Potter series.

Again, in the end, good prevails and evil fails. The movie is an hour and a half and is well paced. It kept my kids' interest throughout. Being another kid movie, I let my kids decide to rate this one. They have it 5 stars (are you surprised?) I was told that it was not as good as Nancy Drew, but better than Bee Movie. If the movie makes my kids happy, then it makes me happy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bee Movie

If you like yellow, this movie is for you. Bee Movie, the computer animated movie from DreamWorks Animation, has an All-Star cast that includes celebrated actors such as Jerry Seinfeld, Renee' Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, Oprah Winfrey, Barry Levinson, Larry King, Ray Liotta, Sting, Rip Torn, Michael Richards, and John Di Maggio. Why they are celebrated is beyond my comprehension.

Anyway, in typical made-for-kids, but made for adults style, the movie is swimming in innuendo and other adult humor. And if you like 90 minutes of corny bee references, you'll love this movie. Why do you think Sting is in this movie?

Seinfeld stars as Barry B. Benson, who graduates with straight B's in school and is now ready to start working. However, he learns that he will be doing the same job for the rest of his life, which like any busy-bee would put you in a tail-spin. He decides to sneak out of the hive and bee on his own. He discovers a human and really likes her. She becomes his honey, even though he keeps bugging her. Unfortunately, he also finds out that humans are consuming honey and even use captive bees to grow the honey. Barry decides he is going to do something about it, but it becomes a real sticky situation.

The stinger of the drama is that a wrong move by Barry could bee-come catastrophic, not only to bees, but to life in general. A tenuous court hearing in which John Goodman tries to sweet talk Judge Oprah could spell doom for Barry. Will he be able to save the day? (It's a kids' movie, what do you think?)

I let my 8 year old daughter rate this movie. She gives it 4 stars. She said it was funny and when describing her favorite part she got the giggles and couldn't stop. She says it's definitely not the best cartoon she's seen, but it was still funny and she would like to own it. Wasn't that a bee-utiful review?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Country For Old Men


I usually write reviews to just provide enough information to give the reader a taste for the movie without revealing how it ends. However, for this movie, I must change my style.

What do you call a movie that ends without any conflict resolution? No Country For Old Men. What do you call a movie that kills off the protagonist a half an hour before the movie ends? No Country For Old Men. What movie leaves you thinking, "What the hell just happened?" No Country For Old Men.

I must admit that the first hour and 45 minutes of the movie had me on the edge of my seat. The premise of the movie is that Josh Brolin finds a field of cars and dead bodies. He had come across the results of a drug deal gone bad. He finds a bag with $1.5 million in it and decides to keep it. However, he soon learns that he is being chased and begins to run.

What we learn is that he is being pursued by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a Hispanic hit-man hired by the Mexican mafia to retrieve the money. This guy is an absolute psychopath and deserves the award for best supporting actor. Also chasing Brolin is Carson Wells (Woody Harrelson), a hit man and apparent former collegue of Chigurh. Finally, Sherrif Tommy Lee Jones, an older soon-to-be retiring police officer with a great wit, is searching for both. This trail of dead bodies across the state gave him an interest in the case.

Without giving away the good part, we culminate in El Paso, Texas. Brolin is trying to get the money to his wife so that she can escape. He's been running from Chigurh and think's he may have escaped him. What he is not ware of is that the Mexican mafia has not lost him. The next thing you know almost everyone is dead. Tommy Lee Jones returns to the crime scene later that evening and the viewer knows that Chigurh is there, however he is hiding and there is no interaction between the two and Jones leaves.

We then go to Chigurh who's sitting in a chair in the bedroom of Brolin's mother-in-law's house and Brolin's wife returns from the funeral. After a short maniacal conversation, we see him leave the house wiping off his shoes. We assume he killed her.

Then, here's where the movie takes a big poop on your desk and the movie doesn't feel bad about it. The movie's last scene shows Tommy Lee Jones talking to his wife. Apparently he retired. He's talking about two dreams he had about his father. After the second dream he woke up. And the movie ends.

What the hell???? I had to check the DVD player. I thought it accidentally skipped to the end. What did I miss? Did I fall asleep for 30 minutes? How can a movie end like this. I need conclusions. No loose ends. Now my mental imagination thinks this Chigurh dude is still out there and, quite honestly, I'm scared. What if he knows that I hated the ending of the movie? Is he going to come looking for me?

How do I rate this movie? I don't know. How about this - the first hour and 45 minutes of the movie deserves a solid 5 stars. The tension, the drama, the action - it's all worth it. The final 15 minutes - 2 stars. Were the Coen brothers expressing their artistic side? The self-recognizing Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems to think so. They gave this big piece of poo the award for best movie. Boo!!!!

If you like movies with hugely dissappointing endings, then this movie is for you. If you like logical endings, skip it. You'll be so irritated you won't be able to sleep and you'll have to eat a bag of Doritoes and watch Letterman until you can calm down. (At least that's why I had to do!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Once Upon A Time In America

Any movie with Robert De Niro is a good movie to me. One of the most versatile and prolific actors of our times, RDN is that likable guy, whether he's a good guy or a bad guy.

I picked this movie up off of the library shelf, not knowing the movie, but seeing RDN's picture on the front cover. It's an older movie, came out in 1984. There will probably be a 25th anniversary silver screen edition coming out next year. Oh, well.

The movie has a cast of well known actors including James Woods, who seems to have dedicated his life to Disney movies, Elizabeth McGovern, who put out some great movies early in her career (Ordinary People, Ragtime, Racing With the Moon), Treat Williams, Joe F'in Pesci, Danny Aiello, and Burt Young (Adrian's brother Paulie in Rocky).

The movie is set to several time spans. Much of the beginning of the movie is set in the early 1900's as RDN's character Noodles is growing up. There he becomes friends with Max (Woods) and they begin doing odd jobs for the local mafia. They finally make it big during Prohibition with a method for retrieving cases of alcohol that are dumped overboard in the river.

Meanwhile, Noodles is in love with McGovern's character Deborah. As a kid, he is often shown peeking at her while she dances and at one point she undresses knowing he is watching through the peephole. There's another racy scene of them in the bathroom, keeping in mind, they are both still young teenagers. The movie has been criticized for its use of underage sex. However, the imagery is appropriate.

As they grew older, they got more involved in the mafia, crime, and politics. The movie ties it all together and shows how they got where they are, all in dramatic fashion.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding this film, in addition to the sexual imagery. The movie was made by Italian producer Sergio Leone, best known for his 'spaghetti westerns' such as Fistfull of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. However, the original cut when released at the Cannes Festival was 3 hours and 49 minutes. Warner Brothers demanded that the movie be cut dramatically for its cinematic debut. The movie lost 90 minutes, mostly of the ground-setting flashback scenes. In addition, the original version of the movie is non-sequential. The cinematic release is in chronological order, allowing the movie to lose much of its relevance.

It did take me much of my life to watch the entire movie. Actually it took about a week and half worth of ironing clothes at night to see the whole movie. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I give this movie 5 stars. I think that this is one that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. And they did a great job of predicting what RDN would look like when he gets old. As I was watching it, I thought 'how did they get the old De Niro in the movie? Oh, yeah, that's makeup.'

Broken Bridges

I love Toby Keith. No, not like a man-crush. And certainly not like those guys on Bravo and HGTV love each other. Toby Keith is cool. I like his songs. He loves his country. And he is busy with the USO singing to soldiers. That's why I love Toby Keith.

When I was in the library and I saw this movie Broken Bridges that starred Toby Keith (as Bo Price, which sounds so much like Bo Bice), Kelly Preston, Burt Reynolds, and Willie Nelson, I knew immediately that I needed to see it.

The movie starts off with Kelly Preston, a single mom with a teenage daughter who receives a phone call that her brother just died in a military training accident. She then must return home, a place she hasn't been in years. There she must face her father who is mad at her and try not to run into her daughter's father, Toby Keith.

When Preston left, Toby was a misguided, irresponsible country singer who would never make anything of himself. (Funny, isn't it?) However, he meets his daughter who also likes to sing and play guitar. They find that they like each other. Burt Reynolds plays the jerk father who is not very accepting of his granddaughter and her independent thinking. And Burt, what were you thinking? That jet-black dyed hair looks horrible!

Anyway, things got a little hairy there for a while, but with a little arm-twisting from Toby Keith, Willie Nelson came through and saved the day. (It probably doesn't hurt that Willie and Toby performed together in the Beer For My Horses video, which is a great video. Funny, too!)

In what appears to be a made-for-tv-movie, everything works out in the end and everyone loves each other. Everything feels good. I'm sure this movie will even be on the Lifetime Channel soon.

I give this movie 3 stars. It has star-power, but the plot is tried and true, but a little worn. It's definitely a chick flick.

The Best Years of Our Lives

I picked up this movie at the library solely for the purpose that it won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1946. I had never heard of the movie. I did not know any of the actors in the movie. And the DVD cover looked more like a soap opera cover.

The basic premise of the movie is 3 men are returning home from World War II and they must readjust to the world they left. All 3 hitch a ride on a B-17 as it crosses the country. One man, Harold Russell, is from the Navy. He had his hands blown off in a non-combat incident. Originally written as a seaman who lost his hands in a combat mission, the part was rewritten for Russell who really did lose his hands to a non-combat incident. Another is a captain, Dana Andrews, in the Army and the third, Fredric March, is a Sergeant.

Ironically, the high ranking captain returns to the drugstore where he worked only to find his position gone, but does get a job working at the perfume counter. The Sergeant, on the other hand, is a high ranking banker who easily gets his job back. The seaman, however, spends little time on his career, if at all, but focuses on his girlfriend and the challenges of being in a world without hands.

In another subplot, Andrews returns to his wife that he married just before he shipped off. He doesn't seem to love her as much as he thought he did. On the other hand, he met the Sergeant's daughter, Peggy Stevenson, who's probably in her 20's, and they think may be falling in love with each other.

In typical 1940's post-World War II fashion, in the end everything is all hunky-dory. However, the movie was the first to deal with the problems that many soldiers faced after the war. The movie was met with much acclimation and after the Korean War in the early 1950's it was re-released.

The movie itself, in my opinion, was not that great. However, it was very relevant for the time and often that is what makes a movie important. I gave this movie 3 stars from a movie viewing perspective. If you are searching for movies of importance, then I would view this as a 5 star movie.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It Happened One Night

Every now and then I sneak a classic into my movie viewing. This time it was It Happened One Night, the 1934 winner of the Academy Awards Best Picture. In fact, according to the ever reliable Wikipedia, the movie won all 5 major categories (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay), the first movie ever to do so, a feat that would not be repeated until 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

It Happened One Night is a sort of romantic comedy. It stars Clark Gable (Gone With the Wind, and who would have turned 107 years old in February) as Peter Warne, a charming reporter, and Claudette Colbert (Cleopatra) as Ellie Andrews, the eccentric daugher of a Wall Street banker.

Despite it's name, It Happened One Night spans several days. Colbert is fleeing New York to escape a wedding that she does not want to face. On the way she meets Gable on a bus. They butt heads at first, but because she's on the run, she has to keep a low profile and he helps her along the way. What she didn't expect to happen is to fall in love with him.

The relationship is a typical love-hate relationship. The humor is a bit dated, but still funny for its time. I enjoyed watching the old bus, the cars, and even the passing train (an old steam locomotive).

One thing Colbert did not know is that Gable is a reporter and he knows who she is and he knows he has a story to tell. Will be turn her in for the reward? Will he sell his story for the money? Or will he give it all up to be with her? These are the questions I was asking myself during the movie.

I gave this movie 4 stars. This is truely a classic, be it a lesser known classic. Many movies have followed this same plot, but they didn't star Clark Gable. The movie is a little over an hour and a half, so it's a good one to slip in to you movie viewing.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

With Dustin Hoffman, Jason Bateman, and Natalie Portman, this movie cannot go wrong. Note that there was a requirement that all stars of this movie have their last name end with "man".

Mr. Magoirum's Wonder Emporium is run by Mr. Magorium is a plus 200 year old magician(?) who owns a toy store in New York, but is facing his soon demise and must transfer ownership in order for the store to survive.

Dustin Hoffman is a man of many characters, in life and in the movies. He doesn't disappoint. Natalie Portman, on the other hand, could have been asleep and done the same job acting. She's nice to look at, but she's such a dull actress.

There's also Zach Mills who plays Eric Applebaum, the hat collector. He's a loner kid that likes to hang out at the toy store and do amazing things. At one point I said to my wife, that kid acts like a younger version of Mr. Magorium. She just looked at me and I was like, "Oh........!".

Jason Bateman plays the accountant whos' trying to balance the books. He plays a dry, boring, and someone mean straight guy who suddenly finds his way at the end and helps to save the toy store.

This is mostly a kids movie. My 6 year old son lost interest in it about 20 minutes into the movie, though my 8 year old thought it was the greatest movie ever. On the other hand, she thinks that every movie she sees is the greatest movie ever. (You remember being like that as a kid, right?!)

I gave this movie 3 stars, not because I thought it was great, but because it filled its niche. It is meant for younger viewers and my younger viewer liked it. It is a feel good movie that you know will have a happy ending. If you have kids, they will probably enjoy this movie. If you only have dogs, you probably will not like this movie as much.

Death at a Funeral

Normally I am a big fan of British comedy. From Monty Python to Faulty Towers to Keeping Up Appearances, I seem to like them all. However, Death at a Funeral helped to brake my thinking.

This is one of those movies that has a great trailer. The trailer seemed hysterical. However, this is where you give credit to trailer makers. They took a bucket of crap and made pretty flowery drapes. Perhaps the trailer makers should have produced this movie instead of Frank Oz. He needs to stick to Miss Piggy and Fozzy Bear.

The premise of the movie is everyone is gathering for the funeral of their father. However, at the funeral a midget (vertically challenged?) dude who's about 1/3 of their father's age claims that he is his father's lover and has pictures to prove it and unless he gets a portion of the will, he will release the pictures.

There are various contributing elements that are meant for comedy, but come off as "whatever". This includes the wheel-chair bound cussing grandfather, the fruitcake boyfriend who's accidentally tripping on drugs, and the irrational brothers who are scrambling to (pardon the borrow) keep up appearances.

The movie peeks when the family thinks that they accidentally killed the midget and they try to hide him. The movie is only about an hour an a half, which is one of the best traits of the movie. I am disappointed that I wasted one of my Netflix slots for this movie. I would much rather have seen American Gangster (Very Long Wait), Michael Clayton (Very Long Wait), or Things We Lost in the Fire (Long Wait).

I give this movie 2 stars. It wasn't so bad that I wanted to go out and burn my neighbor's house down, but this isn't a movie that I'll recommend to my friends. Now you, on the other hand....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The King of Kong

"If anybody wants to see, there's a Donkey Kong kill screen coming up. "

I am a nerd. There is no denying that. However, there are varying degrees of nerdom. Some people look nerdy. Others act nerdy. Still some do nerdy things. I think I fall into the 'do nerdy things' category. Come on, I write a couple blogs and edit Wikipedia articles. However, I do not have a pocket protector, nor do I stand up for the sanctity of the top gamer in the world.

"If anybody wants to see, there's a Donkey Kong kill screen coming up. "

The King of Kong is a documentary about one man's challenge over The King of Nerds and his persuit of the Donkey Kong title. The world record was held by super king of nerds and mullets Billy Mitchell (not the same Billy Mitchell that was the father of the American Air Force) His challenger is Steve Wiebe, an otherwise normal looking guy.

"If anybody wants to see, there's a Donkey Kong kill screen coming up. "

This movie helps the casual gamer to peer into the nether dark and unknown world of Geekdome. It captures the torture, pain, and deceipt that one must go throw to reach a kill screen. You don't know pressure until you've had thirty-five 40 year-old losers peering over your shoulder on a Friday night waiting with anxious anticipation of your new world record. Some shake. Some tremble. Hearts flutter. Accusations fly. You know the board is rigged. He must have seen the tapes. He knows the moves. This is more movie than the average person can handle. And Mr. Awesome knows it.

" I want you to remember that no punk bastard ever got a gnarly piece of poontang by being sensitive and considerate! "

As Wiebe attempts to break the record, he videotapes his games. His children tend to be the bigger challenge. His kids' requests for food, attention, and wiping of the butt are ignored or pushed aside to be tended later. Later in the movie, his daughter asks him what the Guiness Book of World Records is. Wiebe tells her, to which she replies,"So why would people want to ruin their lives to be in this book", which leaves Steve speechless.

"Everything would've fell right into place, but he forgot about one thing: About me convincing Steve Wiebe not to be a chump, talking him out of chumpatizing himself. "

The interviews are hysterical. The movie is chocked full of colorful and eccentric characters. Who knew that nerds were so territorial about their high scores and so defensive of their cliques of other nerds? Don't mess with nerds. They have technology. They'll make taunting videos of you that will destroy your Twin Galaxy street 'cred.

"Sounds like he just cleared another board, but we could have a wild barrel, or some aggressive fireballs."

Interviews include Roy Shildt, who dubs himself as Mr. Awesome. Then there's Brian Kuh, proud defender of Billy Mitchell and inspector general of high scores and captain of gaming conspiracy theories. And let's not forget Walter Day, owner and founder of Twin Galaxies, the head quarters for gaming nerds around the world. When you watch the movie, you won't miss him. He's the mentally ill psychotic looking guy who looks drunk and possessed while wearing his referee shirt.

"I thought I was gonna be the first FunSpot kill screen, and then I had three fireballs trap me, I had the hammer in my hand, they still got me"

The movie is beyond funny. It is documented proof that some people have been stuck in a time warp and they probably don't even know who Meatloaf is. I give this movie 4 stars. You'll get a good laugh!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

3:10 To Yuma

Every now and then a good movie comes along and you know you'll want to watch it again. To me, 3:10 to Yuma is one of them.

The movie stars Russell Crowe as a bad-ass gun slinger who happens to get caught after a stagecoach heist. Christian Bale (Rescue Dawn, The Prestige, and the little kid from Empire of the Sun), is a homesteader trying to raise his family in post-Civil War western America. He lost part of this leg, which makes his life even more challenging.

Bale wants to help the sheriff and his deputies take Crowe to jail and they have to get to the town to put him on the 3:10 train to Yuma, hence the name of the movie. Problem for Bale is that Crowe's posse is hot on his trail and will make life for him miserable.

Crowe's character is a talker and a very likable bad guy. He's also influential, but also very smart and dangerous. They don't call him a bad-ass for no reason. He's as good with his gun as he is with his cell phone.

The movie goes from high action to slow talking, but nothing that really made you want to take your eyes off of the screen. The action is solid and the chase is captivating.

I give this movie all 5 stars that I'm allowed. Crowe's plays the best New Zealander British Commander cowboy that you can imagine. Bale's character is gutsy and you want to cheer for him, too. I was almost cheering for Bale to join the bad guys.
My Zimbio