Posts tagged ‘Movie Reviews’

Surprisingly Awesome (4 out of 5)

After dinner tonight, I took my wife to see Real Steel.  She picked the movie – because of Hugh Jackman, of course (yes, he takes his shirt off).

For the guys in the audience, you had basically a replay of Rocky starring the Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots … and Evangeline Lilly (no, she keeps her shirt on).

As the post title indicates, the movie was surprisingly enjoyable.  Perhaps the best popcorn movie of the season.  Hugh Jackman channels a little Sylvester Stallone as a down-and-out robot wrangler who gets stuck with the son-he-never-knew after an old girlfriend dies.  Over the course of the film, he matures a bit and develops a relationship with the kid.  Pretty typical formula, but executed brilliantly.  Pretty silly premise (boxing robots) played straight and very effectively.  Both the wife and I enjoyed it a lot.



October 8, 2011 at 10:25 pm 1 comment

Movie Review: Gnomeo and Juliet (3.5 / 5.0)

It’s been a while since we’ve been to the movies.  My wife wanted to see Beastly, but our daughter wanted to see Gnomeo and Juliet so that’s the one we saw.

The verdict?  Pleasantly surprised.

The soundtrack is filled with Elton John tunes – some of them rewritten to fit the movie’s theme a bit.  The voice actors do a good job of bringing their characters to “life.”  The story is an adequate retelling (more of an “inspired by”) of ole’ Shakespeare.  There are a number of sight gags and references to the Bard’s various works, as well as a pretty humorous story.

Behind a duplex occupied by feuding senior citizens (barely seen), are two gardens – one red and the other blue.  The gardens are filled with tacky decorations, primarily gnomes.  And the two groups do not get along.  Juliet is the daughter of the over-protective Red King and Gnomeo is the son of the widowed Blue Queen.  They meet, fall in love and much conflict results.

Our whole family enjoyed the movie a great deal.  Though not worth paying to see a second time, we will definitely look for it when released on dvd.  A very solid 3.5 out of 5.

Minor Spoiler:







An inspired touch that mostly worked was introducing a “Shakespeare” character to complain about the changes to his story.


March 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Movie Review: Inception (5 of 5)

Let me be honest.

I don’t like Leo DiCaprio.  We own a copy of Catch Me If You Can, but I’ve yet to watch it.  I’ve never been in the mood for a Leonardo DiCaprio movie.  Not sure why, may be his (IMHO) over-inflated reputation as an actor.  In fact, that is probably the primary reason.  I’m seldom impressed by anything that’s forced down my throat as “THE NEXT BIG THING”.  I’ll make up my own mind, thank you very much.

That out of the way:  I loved Inception.  Everyone in my family did as well, though truth be told, my eleven year old daughter did get a bit bored in the middle (we let her go out to the lobby for a popcorn refill), but then Percy Jackson is more her speed.

Is Inception as perfect as some have claimed?  No.  There are flaws – some obvious – but they did not detract or distract from our enjoyment.  I went in prepared to not like this movie and I’m very pleased to report that I was wrong.

So what’s it about?

Leo is a thief.  His team enters the dream of their victim and trick them into revealing confidential information, but they’re not always successful.  As a result, he has enemies out to get him.  Neither can he return home to the US to be reunited with his children (for a reason important to the plot).  Pushed into a corner, he takes a “impossible” job – Inception: implanting an idea into the subject rather than extracting one.  He assembles his team (including Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and stage their assault.  But dreams can take on a life of their own.

I never should have doubted Chris Nolan.  His movies, from Memento to The Dark Knight, have been consistently excellent, thought-provoking and above all else, entertaining.

Isn’t that what movies are all about.


The biggest flaw involved the use of gravity and lack thereof.

August 1, 2010 at 12:07 pm 1 comment

Movie Review: The A-Team (4 / 5)

A Great Popcorn Movie !

Colonel Hannibal Smith, Face, BA and Murdock are back and this time they actually shoot people.

The A-team starts by quickly introducing us to each of the characters (and them to each other) in pretty quick order.  This isn’t great drama, but a roller coaster ride with nice references to the original series (BA’s tattoos and fear of flying, Hannibal’s cigars, Face’s grifter talents and Murdock’s insanity).  Instead of Vietnam, the boys are veterans of Iraq and this time we see the job that gets them wrongly court martialed.  Soon they escape and continue to fight for the USA while trying to clear their names.

Liam Neeson is awesome as usual and Bradley Cooper exudes charm and charisma.  Quinton “Rampage” Jackson nails it as BA and Sharido Copley is hilarious as Murdock.  The casting couldn’t have been better.

The movie is fast-paced with several laugh-out-loud moments.  In fact, while I knew that Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz had cameos in the new movie, I completely missed them.  I guess that I’ll have to see it again.

My wife and I both enjoyed it and give it a thumb’s up, but we left the kids at home.

h/t:  Cars+Movies


There is a team called Black Forrest that was probably meant to represent Blackwater and they aren’t the good guys.

June 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm 1 comment

Movie Review: Toy Story 3 (4.5 / 5)

Toy Story 3 returns us to the world of Buzz and Woody just as their owner Andy is preparing to leave for college (I thought it was interesting that he was 17 instead of 18).  Many of our old friends are already gone and the remaining toys are worried about their own fate.  While Andy isn’t ready to pitch the lot of them, our old friends find themselves on their way to a children’s daycare due to a reasonable misunderstanding.

While most of the toys are ecstatic at being in toy’s paradise, Woody is willing to risk everything to return to his owner even if it means leaving all of his friends behind.  Of course, the daycare isn’t the paradise it appears to be and when Woody finds out, he abandons his quest of returning to Andy in order to rescue his friends.

An exceptionally well-done threequel.  Though not quite as good as the first two movies, Toy Story 3 easily surpasses any reasonable expectations.  So why do I subtract 1/2 point?

Obvious video game sequences.  Ever since The Phantom Menace, blockbusters have had scenes apparently tailor made for the associated video game.  Watching these scenes tend to take me out of the movie as I start to analyze “how to defeat this level.”

Overall, an excellent movie that the whole family enjoyed and highly recommend.

June 26, 2010 at 10:09 am

Movie Review: Shrek 4 (3 of 5)

Took the kids to see the new Shrek movie over the Memorial Day weekend.

Shrek learns that it’s A Wonderful Life.  While very predictable, it was still enjoyable.  Better than Shrek 3 and a decent end to the series.  All of the favorite characters return (except Farquaad) and it’s nice to see them again.  If you’ve caught the trailer then you’ve seen many, though not all, of the best scenes.  The alternate Puss was a favorite for my family.

While I was willing to shell out for the family to see it in theaters, I wasn’t willing to pay extra for the 3D version, so I can’t comment on it.

Still, Shrek Forever After was a fun family night out.

June 1, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Friday Movie Night: Robin Hood (2/5)

I saw Robin Hood last night despite the poor reviews it’s received.  Mainly because my wife has a thing for Russell Crowe.  I had low expectations going in, but was presently surprised – until the third act.

Robin Longstride has spent 10 years fighting as a common archer in the army of Richard the Lionheart.  After returning to England, he travels to the village of Nottingham to return the sword of a fallen Sir Robert Loxley to the knight’s blind father, Sir Matthew (Max van Sydow).  Sir Matthew asks Robin to stay and impersonate his son in order to protect his daughter-in-law, Marion.

Meanwhile, King John’s chief advisor, Godfrey, has arranged to betray the king and deliver England to France’s King Phillip.

The beginning and middle of the movie were well done, but could just as easily have been made without the “Robin Hood” connection.  Max von Sydow rocks (per usual) and there was some nicely done action and a bit of humor.






Yes, Marion grabs a sword during the attack on Nottingham, but only to fight her way to the burning building where her people were trapped.  She didn’t turn into Summer Glau (at least, not yet).

However, once Robin rides from Nottingham (in the North?) to repel the French invasion (on the Southern shore) without breaking a sweat, it all goes downhill fast.

First, Robin the archer deserts his post with the other archers in order to charge into battle waving a warhammer.  He’s joined by Marion (in custom armor, no less) who is now an expert swordswoman.  She’s followed by a group of lost boys on small horses.  Then Robin the archer goes toe-to-toe with Godfrey using a sword.

Not to mention the horrible shaky-cam (complete with close-ups) during the Saving Private Ryan style French landing.  Ridley Scott is renowned for his directing style in movies like Alien, Bladerunner and Gladiator.  Watching the Saving Private Ryan ripoff, all I could wonder is what the hell happened?

For a movie that claims to be very historically accurate, how did France manage to acquire 20th century style landing craft?  Okay, Scott built them out of wood, but the design is obviously based on WWII landing craft.

In summary, I can’t recommend it.

May 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm 1 comment

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