Monday, September 28, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Another series of movies that are out of order (see Star Wars), X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the prequel to the previously released X-Men movies. Fortunately for this movie watcher, I never saw the others, so watching what should be the first in the series is actually the first one for me.

One of my most recent Netflix rentals, Wolverine is studded with many 1st and 2nd tier actors including Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, and Danny Huston. Lynn Collins stars as the female protagonist who you've probably seen in the Number 23.

The film starts with Wolverine as a young child, then follows his brother and his progression in wars throughout history. The dude never gets old. After a mission that has a disastrous ending, he decides to leave the group and try to live a normal life.

However, after many years, the leader of the group comes back for him with bad news. Someone is killing the X-Men. Unnerved at first, he changes his mind after his girlfriend ends up dead.

The forthcoming battles will not disappoint. It is full of high-tech special affects and non-stop action. And the ending totally leaves the series open for more sequels.

Wolverine, directed by Gavin Hood, is rated PG-13 for almost non-stop violence and some partial nudity, though if memory serves me right it was Hugh Jackman's butt. If that's your thing, you won't be disappointed.

I enjoyed this movie and would watch it again. I give it 4 stars.

Dangerous Minds

Now and then, as previously mentioned, Netflix decides that I've seen enough newly released movies and will send me something from the bottom of my queue. At the bottom of my queue - Dangerous Minds.

I've always had a slight thing for Michelle Pfeiffer. I mean, wasn't she pretty hot in Batman Returns? And who can forget Grease 2? Or Scarface?

In Dangerous Minds, Pfeiffer unknowingly takes the toughest job at the local high school, teaching the kids that are bussed in from the BAD part of town. Intitially dejected, she returns with the will not to be defeated.

Pfeiffer changes her strategy and decides to connect with the kids using some bribery and some unconventional teaching methods, much to the objection of the by-the-book douche-bag Principal. After some more failures, she begins to make some strides. However, there are gang wars putting outside pressure on the students that have the potential to destroy everything that she had gained.

Dangerous Minds is rated R for language and some adult situations. Directed by John N. Smith, the movie is only an hour and a half long.

The plot is a bit thin and in my mind inconclusive. It seems as if the movie ended without any conflict resolution. The best part of the movie is the Coolio soundtrack.

Often considered an "inspirational movie", this movie was only inspired me to give it 3 stars.

Ocean's Eleven

I love watching the original movie of any remake. Ocean's Eleven is the original that was remade into a series of Ocean's movies in the 2000's starring George Clooney.

The original Ocean starred Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean and, like its successor, had an all-star cast that included the who's-who of the 1960's, including members of the Rat Pack - Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford; and also Angie Dickenson, Cesar Romero (the Joker from the Batman series), Norman Fell (from Three's Company), and Red Skelton, the famous clown and comedian.

The premise of the movie is that some World War II veterans get together and decide to pull off the perfect heist in Las Vegas. Not everyone is convinced that this aging group can pull it off, but put to the gun of peer pressure and starring face-to-face with their own mid-life crisis, they all decide to go through with it. Under the veil of the New Year's Eve celebrations, they will hit the major casinos of the day - The Sands, The Stardust, and The Flamingo, among others, and rob them of their booty. But, of course, crimes don't always go as planned.

Ocean's Eleven was directed by Lewis Milestone, known for such other classics as All Quiet on the Western Front, Of Mice and Men, A Walk in the Sun, Porkchop Hill, and the 1962 remake of Mutiny on the Bounty.

Released in 1960, Ocean's Eleven is not rated, but would easily be stamped with a PG rating. At just over 2 hours long, the movie is packed with humor, drama, and a little bit of action.

I give this movie 4 stars and consider it a must-see classic from the 1960's.

As a bonus, in one scene they are walking down the strip past one of the casinos and the marquis displays "Louis Prima and Keeley Smith" as the entertainers, two of my favorites during the era of big band jazz. Check it out!
My Zimbio