Posts tagged ‘Movie Reviews’

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

SPOILERS:

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.

SPOILERS

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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

Movie Review: The Blue Max (4/5)

The Blue Max (1966) starred George Peppard as a WW1 German fighter pilot focused on winning the Blue Max, the top German ace medal.  He’s from a poor family and winning the prestigious honor will insure that he receives the respect he craves from his higher-bred countrymen.  The film includes “cameo” scenes with the Red Baron and an unnamed, but distinctive german messenger with a very small mustache.

The film contains a number of biplane dogfights that are pretty good and Ursula Andress which is pretty spectacular.  James Mason plays the Luftwaffa General and there were other familiar faces though I don’t know the actors’ names.  The interesting part is that Peppard speaks with his characteristically cool American accent, Mason with his impeccable British accent , Andress with her Swiss accent and various others with British and German accents, though all of the characters were supposed to be German.  For a serious drama, the various accents were very amusing.

At 2 hours 36 minutes, it is a bit long but very entertaining.

April 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Movie Review: Old Dogs (1/5)

Definition of “Trying too hard.”

Skip it.

April 6, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Movie Review: How To Train Your Dragon

Took the family to see this Dreamworks 3D movie tonight and the verdict was a unanimous thumbs up.  We didn’t see the IMAX version, just a normal screen in 3D which was very impressive.

The main character Hiccup doesn’t measure up to the average Viking in his village which is a problem since his dad is their leader.  He tries to make up for his slight stature with various gadgets which annoys his dad.

Then he meets his dragon and any more would reveal too many spoilers.

The most recent cinematic equivalent in my opinion is Disney’s Lilo and Stitch, but this one’s much better.   Go see it.

March 26, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Movie Review: The Book of Eli (5/5)

Took my wife to the dinner and a movie last night for an early Valentine’s Date.  The dinner was at Wild Gingers on 116th Street, Fishers, Indiana.  The movie was The Book of Eli.

Quick review:  I want to see it again.

Denzel Washington is normally an awesome actor and this movie is no exception.  When we first meet him, he’s like the man with no name – doing what is necessary to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  As we get to know him, we meet a man of extreme faith following his path with iron conviction.  He is carrying a rare book that he is willing to die to protect.

Gary Oldman (my wife believes he is the greatest actor living today) plays the antagonist, Carnegie.    An evil man, but not a comic book villian.  He needs the book that Eli carries, but for a twisted purpose.

Mila Kunis wants to escape from the clutches of Carnegie and sees Eli as hope for a better life.

See it.

February 14, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Movie Review: Avatar

Took the family to see Avatar (2D version).  The 2:40 run time went by fairly quickly though our youngest family member had to excuse herself twice to visit the facilities.  This film has been called “Dances with Smurfs” and “Pocahontas 2009” and perhaps other deragatory names that I haven’t run across.  The technical aspect of the film does live up to the hype.  Is it a game-changer on the same level as “The Jazz Singer”?  No.  But the influence of Avatar will be at least as great as “The Matrix” and the plethora of bullet-time shots used in films and commercials which followed.

However, I do prefer the original classic tale of the search for that scarce mineral “unobtainium”, or rather “upsidaisium” as it was originally known back in the day of The Bullwinkle and Rocky show.

January 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm 2 comments

Movie Review: Into The Wild (4 of 5)

Shortly before deer season, Brigid loaned me the audio book, “Into The Wild” based on the true story of a modern (1990’s era) vagabond named Chris McCandless.  The book tells the captivating story based on journals left by McCandless and interviews with people he encountered during the two and a half years of his wandering adventure.  The picture described is a young, self-centered man from an upper middle-class family with an overinflated self-importance that was never-the-less charming and very personable.  A fairly typical twenty-two year old male with the belief that he alone truly gets it and that everyone else in the world is living a lie.

The 2007 movie of the same name is produced and directed by Sean Penn (yes, one and the same).  The movie is pretty faithful to the book, leaving out the stories of McCandless’ fellow wanderers, and adding a few touches that were not in the book including a few which contradict it.  For example, the movie ends with McCandless writing a letter with his final understanding of the truly important things in life and signing his name.  But the book details the difficulty in identifying his remains since he hadn’t left any signature other than Alexander Supertramp.  The movie also explains that he ate poison sweet pea plants where the book dismisses this theory and states that he ate the seed pods of the wild potato plant which were not recognized as poisonous by the reference book McCandless depended upon.

Still, the movie was pretty faithful to the book and enjoyable.  It had several art-house style touches without overdoing it to distraction.  While Emile Hirsch does a fine job and Vince Vaughn is surprisingly good, Hal Holbrook delivers a stand-out performance that makes the others pale in comparison.

Warning: there is quite a bit of profanity, some nudity (though not of a sexual nature) and a scene of McCandless butchering a moose that may affect those that get queasy over such things.

December 24, 2009 at 7:25 am

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