Thursday, October 30, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth

I always get the newly released "kids" movies because I'm a great dad, right? This week I got Journey to the Center of the Earth starring Brendan Frasier. I figured it would be a great action movie that would keep their interest and I recall seeing a dinosaur in the preview.

Nothing keeps my son's attention better than dinosaurs. This movie should not be confused with the Jules Verne book of the same name. This movie does not follow the same story line. Brendan Frasier does mention the book, but in this movie, his brother had traveled to the center of the Earth and was never seen again. Now Brendan is going back and looking for him, but he takes his 13 year old nephew and an attractive field guide. What's an action movie without an attractive young field guide?

There is action throughout the movie, though most of it is unrealistic with a lot of "whoa's" and "ahhh!"'s. And everyone always escapes in the nick of time. It reminded me a lot of the National Treasure movies - lot's of action, but lot's of luck.

My kids started losing interest in the movie about 1 hour into it. I kept the movie on, but started losing interest myself. Of course, Frasier saves the day and everything is fine in the end.

The movie is rated PG for intense adventure action, some scary moments, and a brief kiss between Brendan Frasier and Anita Briem. Fortunately, it is also only 92 minutes long, so it ended in time for me to get the kids in bed.

The movie also has a note indicating that it is appropriate for kids 8 and older. Most likely, the movie is only interesting for kids 8 years old.

Despite not wanting to finish watching the movie, my kids gave this movie 4 1/2 stars. I personally gave it 2 stars. It is not an adult adventure movie and most adults would not find this movie enjoyable. So take my multi-rating into consideration.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Netflix Delay

I checked Netflix at 6:15 in the morning on Friday the 24th and it indicated that they had already received my movie that I dropped in the mail on Thursday. This got me excited. It said that the next available movie would go out today, meaning Friday.

I had Path to War, the 2002 movie with Alec Baldwin. I also added Billy Bathgate, a 1991 movie with Dustin Hoffman. Both movies indicated that they are available Now. Also in the queue is War, Inc, which has a Very Long Wait.

Which movie did I get? None! All day it indicated that I would get the next movie today. Then around 3pm it changed to show that my next movie would come on Monday. As of right now it still says the next movie will be shipped today. I removed Path to War and Billy Bathgate and I am hoping to get Journey to the Center of the Earth, which releases tomorrow.

My wife keeps telling me to drop Netflix because of their shenanigans and go with Red Box. I like the option of seeing older movies, which you cannot do with Red Box. But I'm starting to agree with her.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Don't Mess With the Zohan

There is a club that many in Hollywood are trying hard to avoid. It's tragic prerequisites have been met by many well-known actors such as Robin Williams, Mike Myers, and Kevin Neland, though there is some controversy on him. This club is the People Who Used To Be Funny Club.

Recently I watched Don't Mess With the Zohan and was afraid that Adam Sandler was getting ready to be added to the club. Fortunately for Sandler, the second half of the movie was funnier than the first half.

Zohan is a top Israeli secret agent who secretly wants to become a hair stylist. To do so, he fakes his own death and escapes to New York City where all former Israeli secret agents go when they want to become hair stylists. Not lacking in confidence, he wants everyone to know how hot he is emphasizing the early 1980's Paul Mitchell styling catalog that he owns.

Of course Zohan meets a girl and her shop is in danger of being closed. But he's there to help. However, through his triumphs comes a challenge from his former nemesis. Will this divide New York's Jewish and Arabic populations? Tensions are high and no one's sure who to blame. But the Zohan will save the day! The movie also stars Rob Schneider, a half Jew, who plays Salim, an Arab. I thought it was funny.

The movie is slap-stick corny and punks a lot of different movies. If you can appreciate it for what it is, the movie is average funny. If you're looking for cerebral humor, you will be disappointed.

I have to say that Adam Sandler is in great shape. If you didn't know that Zohan was him, you probably wouldn't know it between all the hair, the accent, and the muscular build. Not that I'm checking him out, just observing his appearance.

Don't Mess With the Zohan is a zanny comedy that is rated PG-13 for simulated violence, strong sexual content throughout, language, and brief nudity. Don't get excited. It's Adam Sandler's butt.

Overall I give this movie 3 stars. It's okay funny, not great funny. But if you can see it, watch it. If you miss it, don't fret.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing

If you've ever seen Grease with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta you'll be pleasantly surprised by the opening of Love Is A Many Splendored Thing. And if Olivia Newton-John married John Travolta, would her name be Olivia Newton-John Travolta? Or Elton John - Olivia Newton-John John. Or Wayne Newton - Olivia Newton-John Newton. Or John Wayne - Olivia Newton-John Wayne. Or if she married John Wayne first then married Wayne Netwon - Olivia Newton-John Wayne Newton?

Back to the point. Remember when Sandy and Danny were rolling around in the surf at the beach before the opening credits of Grease? I know you do. The song that was playing was Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, and you'll be surprised that it is the theme song to said movie.

The movie stars William Holden as Mark Elliott, a journalist during the Korean War, and Jennifer Jones who plays Dr. Han Suyin, a Eurasian doctor in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, at the time Asian or mixed-Asian actors were not widely used except for minor roles, so Jones had some eye-work to make her look slightly Asian.

The two stars meet, but find that society shuns them because of their different races. Holden continues to pursue her, but as luck would have it, she is fired from her job from the hospital. He meets her family but it is evident that they do not accept him. Finally, he is sent off to Korea as fighting increases and she longs for him to return.

I'm sure in the mid-1950's, this was a sad and romantic tale. By modern standards it is a bit predictable. To Jones' credit, she was nominated for Best Actress for the movie and the movie itself was nominated for numerous theatrical categories for a movie, including Best Music, Best Sound Recording, Best Cinematography, etc…

The movie was produced in 1955, well before the highly secret society called the MPAA was created. However, if it had been rated, I'm sure that it would have been PG. The most scandalous thing in the movie is them kissing on the beach and him having admitted that he was still married. I don't even think William Holden threw a punch. An interesting note is that the movie spawned the soap opera of the same name, which lasted from 1967 to 1973 and starred Donna Mills.

As classic movies go, this one is pretty good. There are others that I would recommend first, but if you ever come across it, it's not bad. I give this movie 4 stars.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cruel Intentions

A friend recommended this movie to me based on the fact that I have a secret obsession for Reese Witherspoon. Oh, crap, it's not a secret anymore!

Anyway, Cruel Intentions is a 1999 movie that stars Reese Witherspoon as Annette, the daughter of the head master of a private school. She's Miss Perfect and made a pledge to stay pure until her wedding, at which time I'll assume she'll be impure. However, Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Geller) has some other plans. She challenges her step brother Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe) to deflower the headmaster's daughter before the school year starts. If he succeeds, his step-sister will let him have sex with her. Hmmm…a bit unconventional. If he loses, she gets his prized car.

To add to the mix Selma Bair plays the absolutely ding-bat sex-crazed idiot, who, at the time, was already 27 years old playing a high school girl. She is sent there by her mother, but sometime in the past she had stolen a boyfriend from Kathryn, so Kathryn is out to ruin her. Though not graphic in nature, she has a difficult time keeping her legs closed - and I'm not talking about any nudity. Just a lack of social norms. It's quite amusing.

The whole twist in the plot is that while Sebastian is trying to win his bet, he inadvertently falls in love with Annette. His challenge now is does he stay faithful to the bet or to the girl that he has fallen in love with?

The sinister plot is interesting in this movie. Sebastian keeps a diary which he names Cruel Intentions, listing his conquests. For the most part, the acting is what you would expect from a movie staring a bunch of young adults. Okay, but maybe a bit over-dramatic. And in death, the acting was a bit silly.

The movie is Rated R for strong sexual situations including a long-lasting lesbian kiss, and Reese Witherspoon having sex (uh-oh, did I spoil anything?), some strong language, 2 guys being caught together in their underwear in bed, and implied oral sex. Oh, and sex, and adult sexual situations and sex. But again, no nudity, unless you count Ryan Phillippe's butt, and I do not.

Overall, this movie was interesting. I'd probably see it again. I'll give it 4 stars. Reese Witherspoon, not with her fork, may be the tipping point for me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

88 Minutes

Hoo-whaa! Al Pacino is in another movie. And what makes Al Pacino so great is the way he talks. If he talked like anyone else, he wouldn't be interesting.

88 Minutes stars Al Pacino who plays FBI forensics expert and law teacher Dr. Jack Gramm who was an expert witness for a trial of the Seattle Slayer, which led to the conviction and recommendation of execution of Jon Forster (Neal McDonough).

Forster's brutal murders were unique in that he used some chemical to sedate his victims, then hung them upside-down, and committed some unseen act, which led to some blood being shed which caused them to die. The unseen act is part of the mystery of his method.

However, trouble brews when another victim dies in an identical manner just hours before Forster's scheduled execution. And to make matters worse, Dr. Gramm gets a phone call informing him that he has 88 minutes to live.

Throughout the movie he is reminded of the number of minutes he has to live while he tries vigorously to track down this mystery person. Meanwhile, he starts to suspect that all of the students in his law class are the culprit.

This thriller certainly kept my attention as I was unable to pin the perpetrator of the crimes. However, clues were too conveniently distributed near the end at just the right moment, not giving the viewer the ability to use the clues and figure out for themselves what was going on.

Of course it's not until the end when it all comes together, a culmination of events that I believe most people would not have suspected, but again, one of convenience for the director. It was like a Scooby-Doo mystery where very few clues are given and Fred and Velma explain what happens in the end.

This movie is Rated R for violence, language, disturbing scenes, and an unrealistic reference to someone being a fan of the Seattle Mariners. The movie is an hour and 40 minutes long. The movie also stars Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski, Amy Brenneman, and William Forsythe, names I know little if anything about.

I certainly didn't hate the movie, but I wish I was given more opportunity to figure it out. Al Pacino certainly makes a movie interesting and I found myself imitating his quirky statements in additional to randomly yelling out, "Hoo-wha", which for those of you in your 20's is a reference to Scent of Woman.

I give this movie 3 stars. It was okay. Not great, but not bad either. And how do you like the French poster? Couldn't find an English one, not that I looked that much.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Funny Face

The 1950's can often be considered the paramount of film production. Many classic movies were made, including Ben-Hur, Rebel Without A Cause, On the Waterfront, Singing in the Rain, and to some degree Old Yeller. It was also the beginning of the end of the musical.

Luckily for me, the library decided to stock up on some classics for their DVD catalog rather than all this newfangled crap that kids these days watch.

Funny Face is a classic musical staring Fred Astaire as Dick Avery and Audrey Hepburn and Jo, the attractive starlet with no relation to Katherine Hepburn.

In this movie, Dick works for a fashion magazine and they are looking for that new hot face. They want an intelligent, sophisticated look to their model, so they take her to a bookstore for a photo shoot. Much to Jo's chagrin, the uninvited guests trash the bookstore.

However, after reviewing the photographs, Dick decides that it is Jo they need for the photo shoot. Unfortunately, Jo wants nothing to do with the magazine, but after some finagling, they convince her to do it and head off to Paris. Along the way, Jo and Dick start to fall in love, which is kind of weird because he was, what 40 years older than her???

Unlike many other classic musicals, this one contains no songs that I knew. I am usually pleasantly surprised when I watch an old film and hear a song I know. This was not the case with Funny Face.

Funny Face is not rated because it's too old, but if it had to be rated, I think it would be PG for smoking and some romance. The movie is 103 minutes long, and is in color. This is important information when reviewing a movie in the 1950's!

I have a bias in reviewing this movie. I like Audrey Hepburn. I loved her in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sabrina, and My Fair Lady. I have Roman Holiday on my list of movies to see. I give this movie 4 stars. I have an appreciation for classic movies, for musicals, and for Audrey Hepburn. Enough said.
My Zimbio