Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Netflix Delay

Despite being on vacation for a week and not seeing any movies during this time....and despite my son losing a movie for several days causing me to not see 2 movies last week...Netflix decided to pretend that the several movies listed at the top of my queue were unavailable after they received my DVD on Tuesday. Therefore, they are sending The Other Boleyn Girl today. So now I will only get 1 movie again this week. I guess when Netflix decides to throttle you, they throttle you hard.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Bank Job

I always enjoy a good movie where the bloke gets his rump kicked by a bunch of wankers. If this sounds like your kind of movie, then you'll love The Bank Job.

This movie is based on true events that occurred in London during 1971 that are commonly called the Baker Street Robbery. In this event, robbers tunnelled from a store front, under a Chicken Fast restaurant, and then under the vault of a bank on the corner. There they pilfered the boxes of all of the contents, including some scandalous photos.

Some of the photos obtained were purportedly of Princess Margaret getting naked and romping the room with some Jamaican drug trafficker. The problem is that while the bank robbery is going down, a ham-radio operator hears what is going on and reports it to the bobbies. Unfortunately, he has no idea where it's coming from, so the authorities have to go to every bank in the area and check them out.

What was interesting was in the credits, they gave an update as to what really happened. Of the x hundreds of boxes that were robbed, the majority of the owners refused to file a police report and identify the missing contents. I would suspect that it contained lots of blackmail material that no one wanted identified.

Subplots in the movie are the romance between 2 of the robbers (yes, one is a woman), the relationship between said woman and a member of M5 or M6 or whatever, the mafia guy and his relationship to Terry (Jason Stratham), the Mafia's tie to the Jamaican, the mafias tie to the Royal Family, etc, etc, etc...

As you can probably expect, there will some shootings, some torture, some arrests, and some people running from the law with hopes of living a new life under a new identity - because they can't arrest everyone or shoot everyone, well they did in Reservoir Dogs, but that's a different movie.

The movie also stars Saffron Burrows as (Martine Love, oh how fitting), Daniel Mays as Dave (pronounced Dive), and a smattering of some other British actors that I've never heard of, but do a good job.

Overall, I would say that this is one of the top 5 movies that I've seen this year. I must admit that the first 30 minutes seemed a little slow, but the rest of the movie grasped my attention and I could not look away. The Bank Job Rated R for violence - lots of it, nudity, violence, British cursing, occasionally incoherent British conversation, and, of course, more violence and language. The movie is 110 minutes long.

I give this movie 4 stars and recommend that you put this in your Netflix queue if you haven't already.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Definitely, Maybe

Definitely a chick-flick, maybe. But as I have said before, I seem to be a sucker for many of these. There are always really cute girls that I like to look at. And usually there's some jackass guy that makes me angry and wonder why hot chicks dig jerks. But I digress.

Definitely, Maybe is an Adam Brooks movie staring Ryan Reynolds (Waiting..., Van Wilder) as Will Hayes, the divorcing father of Maya (Abigail Breslin). When he announces his impending divorce, she throws a tantrum and refuses to talk to him. Finally, good sense comes to her and she decides to throw 4 billion questions at him about his love life and he begins telling her a story of the romantically conflicting time he had with 3 girls.

One of the 3 girls (Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks, and Rachel Weisz) would end up being Maya's mother, so throughout the story, she is trying to decide which one she hopes is her mom. To throw her, he changes the name of all of the girls, or so we are led to believe.
In his youth, he meets a hot girl working at the Bill Clinton headquarters in New York City. I told you he was conflicted, right? It's deeper than romance. Anyway, he then meets a girl who is married to/dating a professor (a really old Kevin Kline). And finally, there's the college sweetheart who still lives in Texas. All have their great traits, yet all of them have something that drives him nuts.

A friend of mine said the movie was kind of corny. However, I liked it. Like Maya, I was unable to figure out who the mom was. And there's a nice little twist at the end. See - love does win in the end - at least in the movies. The rest of us are schluffing away at our jobs only to go home and do laundry and the kids to bed.

Another movie meant for my wife that she has yet to watch, I gave this movie 4 stars. There's enough humor and cute girlness that I think the guys will like it. And it's kind of interesting seeing Ryan Reynolds not being a total jerk like in the rest of his movies. The movie is just under 2 hours long and is rated PG-13 for language, sexuality, "frank discussion", and, get this - smoking. Gasp!!!!

10,000 B.C.

Sometimes, CAG (computer animated graphics) can help enhance a movie. The Spiderman series of movies were tolerable. And all of those fantasy-like movies have them - Narnia, Spiderwick Chronicles, Bridge to Tarabithia, etc... However, I think what also makes them successful movies is they also have a good plot and storyline. Not so for B.C. and for several reasons.

In 10,000 B.C., (this is 12,000 years ago!) Gog, Lar, Atouk, or is it D'Leh (Steven Strait), is in a village that gets attacks by an evil war lord and the cast from Mad Maxx, or was it the 10,000 Maniacs? Anyway, they steal his woman, Ooga (Camilla Belle - which if I'm not mistaken is French for too much makeup), and take off with her because they love her makeup and her well manicured hands and feet, let alone that great push-up bra she was wearing. D'Leh is determined to chase them down and get her back. Fortunately for him, she plays Gretel and leaves bits of Ritz crackers and beads from a necklace on the ground, which he is able to find over the hundreds of millions of acres of land on the Earth.

This is a long and perilous journey and what's a trek across Eurasia without running into a 10,000 pound sabre-toothed tiger that he helps set free from a trap. Instead of tearing him to shreds the tiger sniffs him and then together they enjoy a hug and he names him Fluffy.

Then there's the comical woolly-mammoth chase. I think Chevy Chase may have directed that scene. D'Leh then chases the marauders across the mountains, through the plains, through the desert and finally to the Suez canal, but before the British get there, but yet he gets there 5 minutes too late as he got caught up in traffic. He does manage to follow the boats and finds that the villagers had been kidnapped to help build the pyramids, most of which would be built 8000 years after 10,000 B.C. Perhaps they were busy organizing the day labor camps for the illegal immigrants in anticipation of the pyramids that would be built thousands of years later.

And while they were building the pyramids that weren't built for 8000 years, the woolly mammoths were utilized for their great strength to pull large carts of supplies and stone sleds. Using animals to pull carts would become very popular 3000 year later when people starting using animals to pull carts.

So here is D'Leh, 10,000 years ago, in Egypt building the future pyramids along with millions of other slaves. He's ridiculed for his ridiculous French name, but eventually is able to lead a revolt against the evil slave owners, most of them from Mississippi. But would it be in enough time to save his girlfriend with the great tan, the moisturized skin, and the cleanly shaved legs and armpits?

Anyone who has studied history will have a major problem with this movie. There are so many observations that are inconsistent with what we know, plus there's the heavy Americanization or Europeanization of the characters. I'm actually surprised that I didn't see contrails from a Boeing 767 flying over the pyramids.

Fortunately for the viewer obligated to watch the movie because of their subscription to Netflix, 10,000 B.C. is only 109 minutes long. The movie is rated PG-13 for violating documented history, time era violations, inaccurate animal scenes, violence, and actresses wearing too much sun tan lotion.

I give this movie 2 stars. For some reason I didn't hate it enough to give it one star like a Rosie O'Donnell movie, but it was pretty bad and I would recommend avoiding it.


What do you do when your daughter receives the brunt of a family curse and ends up with a pig nose? Fake her death and hide her in a home in the country, of course. Christina Ricci stars as Penelope, the cursed girl, who has come of age and is seeking an acceptable suitor who will help end the curse.

Penelope's parents, Catherine O'Hara (the overbearing obnoxious one) and Richard E. Grant (the passive and honest one), arrange for gatherings with male suitors who flee at the first site of her. Unfortunately, Edward Humphrey Vandermann III (Simon Woods - Rome), the son of rich businessman, is one of those suitors and he, like the others, flees when he sees her, but runs to the police to report a monster living in the burbs. Reports of a pig-like ogre with huge fangs that attacked him spread through the newspapers.

In an effort to get her pictures to the press, they evil dudes hire Max (James McAvoy - Atonement, The Last King of Scotland, Narnia), to woo her and take the pictures. Only problem is, standard Hollywood script requires him to fall in love with her and eventually renig on his promise to help cage this monster.

Despite her encounter with Max, Penelope is totally despondant and decides to leave her parents and set out on her own with her mother's stolen credit card. She meets Reese Witherspoon (check out those beautiful eyes) at a bar and who wouldn't want to meet Reese Witherspoon at a bar. They befriend each other until the hired authorities catch up with her. Edward has an evil plan that will help destory her. Will Edward's plan work or will Max be able to win her back? Or will Penelope figure it all out and find love and happiness on her own? Will the curse be broken or will she learn to love despite the curse?
This movie is geared to preteen girls, but adult enough that parents would not be disappointed. My 8 year-old daughter loved the movie, but my 10 year-old nephew who was staying with us for the week did not like it. He was hoping for more high speed car chase scenes and some battle ax fights with snakes and volcanoes. And my 6 year-old son fell asleep 5 minutes into it, which was good.

Penelope was produced by Reese Witherspoon. It is rated PG for some language and mild violence and a scarry pig nose on an otherwise attractive Christina Ricci. The movie is 89 minutes long, just long enough to start and have it end when the kids are good and ready for bed. My daughter gave this movie 4 stars. I probably would have given it 3 stars, but the movie was not intended for me, so we'll go with the 4 stars. (Editor's note: my daughter has never rated a movie less than 4 stars)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Futurama: Beast With A Billion Backs!

I have bad news everybody! Futurama: Beast with a Billion Backs is Matt Groenig's 2nd of 4 full-length movies with the cast from Planet Express.

In the newest movie, a crack in the universe appears resulting from Bender's overuse of time travel and the gang must figure out what to do with it. At a scientific symposium, most scientists conclude ultimate defeat, but Professor Farnsworth (Billy West), the distant relative of Fry (Billy West), says that it's the obligation of the scientific community to learn as much as possible about this anomaly and try to solve it. Guess host Professor Stephen Hawking (Stephen Hawking) agrees.

Planet Express is sent to explore the crack, only to have a visiting monster with millions of neck-penetrating tentacles come flying out of the crack. The problem is that the monster makes everyone feel good. "We love the tentacle" they say, sort of an allusion to 1984, the book by George Orwell. To make matters worse, Fry becomes the Pope of the New Order of the Tentacle. Meanwhile, Bender (John DiMaggio) no longer feels loved by the humans and joins the League of Robots, which is governed by the Robots Rules of Order. The highly sexual Zapp Branigan (Billy West) is then sent to destroy the monster, only to accidentally kill Kif (Maurice LaMarche), Amy's (Lauren Tom) new husband.

As Yivo (David Cross) the love monster slowly takes over the universe, Leela (Katey Sagal) is the only one left without a tentacle in her neck. She is finally able to find a weakness to the monster and save the world.

The movie parodies many popular movies including Pirates of the Caribbean and Steamboat Willie. The movie is full of hysterical gags that only the most educated eye will catch. Having knowledge of the highly popular TV series helps with the understanding of the movie as there is no character development.

The movie is unrated since it went straight to DVD (usually a death knell for a movie, but this is certainly an exception), but I would image that it would be Rated PG-13 as it contains some sexual situations (Zapp Branigan) and some animated violence. It is 90 minutes long, but it goes by quickly. I give the movie 4 stars and highly recommend that you watch the 4 Seasons of Futurama first.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Be Kind Rewind

Some movies are made to entertain you. Others movies are made to spread a message. And finally, there are some movies where the actor or director wants to express themselves artistically. These are usually the movies that suck.

Be Kind Rewind is on of the artistic expression movies. The movie stars Jack Black as a hopeless movie clerk who works at Be Kind Rewind, a movie rental place that is stuck on renting video tapes, not DVD's. The owner, Danny Glover (pronounced Gwubba when said with his mild speech impediment), decides to go away for a while and leave Jack Black in charge. You know this is a bad idea. Didn't you see Nacho Libre?

Jack Black and his friend Mike (Mos Def) decide to do a science experiment on his brain, but inadvertently erase all of the video tapes. In an effort to rectify the situation, they decide to remake all of the movies themselves using sheets of aluminum foil, bike helmets, and whatever other props they can find. Some of it is clever. Most of it is like, "whatever."

To their surprise, people actual enjoy these home-made versions of the movies. However, the big evil corporations get wind of this and they realize that they are losing hundreds of billions of dollars from these fraudulent impostors. They make it their mission to destroy them. Mia Farrow and Paul Dinello stage a sit-in to help save the store. (That almost sounds like something they would do out of character, doesn't it???) Danny Glover returns home from his hiatus and wonders what the hell is going on.

The situation is eventually resolved, but does it satisfy both parties? The movie intentionally lacks a lot of color (this is the artistic part). It also sporadically lacks direction and humor. Some of the stuff they do is just dumb. I recall watching the clock wondering when this movie was going to end. Fortunately, it's only an hour and 40 minutes, so it did come to an end, just like Bill Clinton's Presidency.

The movie is rated PG-13 for some sexual references, bad acting, and lack of primary colors. I only give this movie 2 stars. If you're a super huge Jack Black fan, you may enjoy this. I know there are no Danny Glover fans out there, so I don't need to comment there. I recommend that you find a different movie.

The Bucket List

The Bucket List stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman in this instant geriatric classic. Nicholson, if you can believe this, plays Edward Cole, a grumpy old arrogant curmudgeon who owns a hospital and gets whatever he wants. Freeman plays Carter Chambers, a humble auto mechanic.

Coincidentally, both men are stricken with illnesses and end up in the hospital. Tests prove that they are both battling cancer. Both are admitted to the Oncology centers of Cole's hospital. Seeing a poor black man in his room, Nicholson is furious and demands a private room, only to be reminded that it was his own policy that no one get a private room and that it would be a public relations disaster to do otherwise. So now these 2 guys are stuck with each other.

Nicholson sits there all pissed off most of the time while Freeman, though not formally educated, does very intellectual things like make a bucket list of things he wished he could do before he dies. Over time, the 2 start getting along, though only cordially. Nicholson eventually gets the list and being a cocky old bastard decides that the 2 of them are going to start doing the things on the list.

The 2 break out of the hospital and start doing the things on their list - such as playing casino in Monte Carlo and race cars at a race track. Freeman's wife is getting hysterical about her husbands antics and their relationship is on the rocks.

Eventually, one of them is stricken and gets ill really fast and eventually dies. The other then decides to finish the list and do something that he should have done a long time ago. I will have to admit - when the last thing on the list is accomplished it is a very poignant moment and I got a lump in my throat - because I'm smart and I got it. You have to remember what that item was because they didn't quite come back and remind you what it was.

This movie is rated PG-13 because of Jack Nicholson's glasses that he wore in the hospital. Oh, and some language and dirty old men sexual references. The Bucket List is just over an hour and a half long. I did like it, but overall, the movie didn't send me over the edge of appreciation. I give The Bucket List 3 stars. It's definitely a movie that you can see with a lady-friend. You'll get the crude humor, she'll get the love and drama.

No Reservations

When I first got this movie, I thought it was your typical romantic comedy. I got it for my wife who has yet to watch it. Figures.

Anyway, No Reservations stars Catherine Zeta-Jones as a Kate, the head chef at some hoidy-toidy restaurant in New York City. No one there really likes her, but she runs a tight ship and the food is good. In fact, I was getting hungry watching the movie. And now I'm getting hungry while writing this review.

Kate's sister and niece are coming to visit her, but sadly, Kate's sister is killed in a car accident. Kate is forced to take in her niece, a prospect that does not exactly excite her. She's been without a date for several years and this will not help matters. The girl, Abigail Breslin (Definitely, Maybe; Little Miss Sunshine), obviously distraught over the loss of her mother, must now learn to live with with an aunt who's clueless about raising a child. This is evident with the dishes that she makes her for dinner and the ones she packs her for lunch. All kids like Mandarin chicken over marinated saffron and pork rice for their school lunch, right???

Meanwhile, the owner of the restaurant, Patricia Clarkson (Lars and the Real Girl, Good Night and Good Luck) decides to hire a suex chef while Kate is on bereavement. When Kate returns to work, Nick (Aaron Eckhart - The Dark Knight, Thank You For Smoking), is running a fun kitchen with music and laughter, yet still turning out wonderful dishes. Did I mention that I'm really hungry?

Fearing that her job and kitchen are endangered, Kate and Nick squabble and threaten each other, pretty much for the rest of the movie. Kate brings her niece to the restaurant and she falls in love with the whole atmosphere, plus she loves hanging out with Nick. So guess what? Nick and Kate fall for each other. Here's the romantic part of romantic-comedy. So maybe it's a romantic-drama.

Now the problem is - will the restaurant succeed with both of them and can they work and date together? Only watching this movie will tell.

This 2007 movie is rate PG for "some sensuality" and language. No Reservations is 104 minutes, so that's a buck 40 that you'll have to suck it up if you're watching this with your lady or sensitive boyfriend. I give this movie 3 stars. It's predictable, but no so much in a bad way. You know what you're getting when you watch the movie and you shouldn't be disappointed. And as the pun of the title implies, you should no reservations about watching this movie. Get it?

Drillbit Taylor

Though I haven't written a movie review in a while, it doesn't mean that I haven't watched any movies. My movie viewing has slowed somewhat now that we are in the summer, but it hasn't come to a halt. That being said -

Drillbit Taylor is a comedy staring Owen Wilson as Drillbit Taylor, a charming vagrant who relies on the handouts of others, so much like his characters in Wedding Crashers, The Big Bounce, and You, Me, and Dupree. Hey, when you play a roll well, you play it often.

Wilson, easily the ugliest guy in Hollywood, is a funny guy. His quick and verbose responses are hysterical. In this movie, three nerdy kids are being pushed around and harassed by a couple of bullies, one of which is Josh Peck from Drake and Josh. How do you get bullied by Josh? He was the fat and spastic nerdy one. Anyway, these kids get tired of being shoved into lockers, having their lunches smashed, and all other things that bullies do to us regular people.

Which reminds me - there was a guy at Bel Air High School that thought he was the coolest thing ever (he had a real pretty blond mullet) and he stiff-armed everyone in the hall. What a corn cob! He probably still drives a bitchin' Camaro.

So the kids put out a help wanted message on the Internet for a bodyguard. They perform a series of funny interviews with potential candidates, only to have their hopes dashed when they present their price. Finally, Drillbit Taylor comes to their aid. The only problem is that he is in cahoots with other vagrants with the intent to rob these kids' parents houses of everything they are worth. To make matters worse, Drillbit has no real intention of helping these kids. He takes them through Drillbit self-defense classes, which have techniques that he makes up on the fly.

Drillbit then infiltrates the school as becomes a substitute teacher. While on watch patrol, he falls for English teacher Lisa (Leslie Mann - 40 Year old Virgin, Knocked Up) and they love their "planning period".

To make matters worse, Ryan, one of the 3 kids, lives with his overbearing and over-loving mother. Wade, the skinny nerdy kid, lives with his mom, his jackass meathead step-father, and his do-no-wrong football step-brothers. Finally, there's

Finally at the end, Drillbit is fired as their bodyguard and the kids stand up to the bullies themselves with some moderate success. But will that success withstand in their attempt to bring down the bully or will they need Drillbit to come in at the last moment to save them? The movie has guest appearances from David Koechner, who specializes in 30 second roles, and stars Nate Hartley, Troy Gentile (who I think plays Seth Rogan as a child in all of Seth's movies),

The movie has some funny one-liners, none of which I can remember at this point. The movie, released in 2008 and spending more than 6 days in the theatre, is 101 minutes long, Rated PG-13 for some crude sexual humor, violence, bullying, and Owen's naked butt. I give this movie 4 stars. I think it is funnier than most of Owen's movies, so give it a shot!
My Zimbio