Friday, May 27, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

My View:  Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides  (2011):  Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is back and is on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth.  Penelope Cruz is also trying to find the Fountain of Youth to save her father, Blackbeard (played by Ian McShane), whose death has been foretold. Geoffrey Rush returns to his role as Barbossa, whose is in league with the English King, to find the Fountain before anyone else. This film starts out with a rousing chase through the halls of Buckingham Palace and the streets of London. Unfortunately, this film peaks early and nothing else happens to match the excitement of the early scenes. This movie is overly long, the use of 3-D is minimal (people keep pointing swords around to show that it is in 3-D) and the cinematography is extremely dark, making even scenes in daylight seem drab. While I like Cruz and she does a good job with the swordplay, the film misses the spark that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley brought to the early films. I think it's time for Capt. Jack to put away the eyeliner. My Rating: Cable  Pirates of the Caribbean Website
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst film of all time):
#43 Best Film: 
The Shawshank Redemption (1994): If you haven't seen this movie recently you need to revisit it (quick, turn on TNT, it's probably playing right now). This is a superb film about friendship and rebirth. Tim Robbins plays a man who has been accused and sentenced to a corrupt prison in the 1940’s for the murder of his wife and her lover, which he may or may not have committed. Using his wits, humor, and ability to size up people he survives the harsh environment with the aid of another fellow prisoner he befriends, Red, played with grace and charm by Morgan Freeman. The director of this film, Frank Darabont, creates a world full of interesting, sometimes terrifying characters that Robbins has to navigate through. Robbins does a masterful job of making us care, rooting for him all throughout the film.  The Shawshank Redemption Info

Forgotten Film: Time After Time (1979): Malcolm McDowell plays the Science Fiction writer, H.G. Wells who has invented a time machine. When he discovers that his good friend is Jack the Ripper (played by David Warner) and sets out to catch him. Jack the Ripper hijacks the time machine to transport himself to 1979 San Francisco, and Welles follows in hot pursuit. Welles encounters a world that he had only imagined in his books, meeting a cute bank teller (played by Mary Steenburgen) who decides that this out of place man won't survive without her help. McDowell and Steenburgen have great chemistry (so much so, that soon after this film was made, they got married), with Steenburgen winning both McDowell and our hearts. Can Welles adapt to this new world and catch Jack the Ripper before he starts on another killing spree? Watch this entertaining movie to find out!  Time After Time Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD): I Am Number Four (2011): Alex Pettyfer plays an alien with magical powers, posing as a high school student. In this movie, based on the Young Adult novel (of the same name), Pettyfer is one of a select few young people that have been put on earth to hide from another alien race hellbent on wiping them out. He hooks up with a couple of ordinary students (played by Dianna Agron and Callan McAuliffe) who learn that the world is very different than they had previously imagined from growing up in their small town. This movie takes way too long to move the plot along, trying to build up the romance between Pettyfer and McAuliffe. Unfortunately, the most interesting character, Number 6 played by Teresa Palmer, doesn't show up until the last third of the movie. This film, aimed at the Twilight crowd, just doesn't make me care if there is a number seven, eight or ten. My Rating: Cable  I Am Number Four Info

Weird Credits: From the credits of Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010): Cave Guardians

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Horrible Bosses (2011): Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis play three friends whose bosses are so horrible they decide to help each other kill them. The reason to see this movie isn't the leads but who are playing the bosses: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell. Should be great fun.  Horrible Bosses Trailer
See You Next Time!

Friday, May 20, 2011


My ViewBridesmaids  (2011)  Kristen Wiig co-wrote and stars in this very funny comedy about a group of women serving as bridesmaids for Maya Rudolph’s wedding.  Wiig plays a women whose life is unraveling; she’s lost her business, has a boyfriend (played by Jon Hamm) who treats her badly and has roommates from hell.  She is asked to be the Maid of Honor, and everything that she plans for the bride goes from bad to worse. This movie has a very strong supporting cast led by Melissa McCarthy, who, as the brassy sister of the groom, steals every scene she is in.  My only reservation about this film is a scene in the first half of the movie that most of the audience found funny, but I found it just gross.  Good writing and a strong, charming performance by Wiig makes this a film worth seeing.  My Rating:  Full Price   Bridesmaids Website
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst film of all time):
#43 Worst Film:
Batman & Robin  (1997)  This horrible mess of a film was directed by Joel Schumacher and stars the miss casted George Clooney as Batman and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, who goes way over the top.  This film is too long, the big action sequences are boring, the dialogue seems to be aimed at 10 year-old boys and every actor goes way over the top in delivering their dialogue. Giving the Batman and Robin costumes nipples was just one of the many bad ideas that this film delivers.   Batman & Robin Info
Forgotten FilmA Boy and His Dog  (1975)  In a post-apocalyptic world, a young Don Johnson tries to survive with his dog, who he can talk telepathically.  It turns out the dog is smarter than Johnson as they scavenge in the ruins for both food and sex.  Johnson meets a young woman, who lures him to an underground world where things aren’t what they appear to be.  Based on a Science Fiction novella by Harlan Elison, this is a funny, interesting film that moves at a quick pace.  Johnson does a good job as the wide-eyed scavenger, and Tim McIntire (Soap, Rich Man Poor Man) is hilarious as the voice of the Dog.   A Boy and His Dog Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  The Illusionist (2010)  This is a noteworthy animated film based on a screenplay written by the great French filmmaker Jacques Tati (Mon Oncle, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday).  A French magician is out of work and travels to Scotland for a job.  There he encounters a young woman and allows her to travel with him.  He takes a fatherly approach to their relationship, and tries to provide for the young woman.  As in the tradition of Tati’s films, there is almost no dialogue, which allows the picture to tell the story.  It’s a loving tribute with the typical bittersweet ending that are in so many of his films.   My Rating:  Full Price   The Illusionist Info

Weird Credits:  From the film The Beaver:   Beaver Puppet Handler

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouMidnight in Paris (2011)  I have not liked the last few films that Woody Allen has made (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010), Whatever Works (2009)), but word from critics that have seen this romantic comedy say it’s very funny.  Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams play a young couple vacationing when Wilson learns that there is a whole other world on the streets of Paris after midnight.   Midnight In Paris Website
Until Next Time!

Friday, May 13, 2011


My ViewThor  (2011)  In this new film directed by Kenneth Branagh, the God of Thunder comes crashing down to Earth and is banished from his world for being a hot-head by his father, the ruler of Asgard.  Found in the desert by a scientist, played by Natalie Portman, Thor has lost his power and has to live among the mortals.  His brother, Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, in Thor's absence, makes a play for his father's throne.  This is a fun action film, and Chris Hemsworth makes a convincing Thor. Anthony Hopkins gives a blustery performance as the king.  What surprised me about this film was the excessive humor, which I think was Branagh's personal touch.  Please note, this movie was not shot in 3-D, so don't pay the extra money for the glasses. Be sure to stay through the credits because, as in Iron Man 2, there is a scene setting up the next Marvel film.   My Rating:  Full Price   Thor Website
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst film of all time):
#44 Best Film:
Unforgiven (1992)  Clint Eastwood starred in and directed this western about a retired gunfighter (Eastwood) who takes a job to seek revenge for a prostitute who has been assaulted and left for dead.  Eastwoods character enlists the help of a wannabe gunslinger, played by Jaimz Woolvett, and a wizened old cowboy, played by Morgan Freeman.  The cinematography is dark and has a sinister feel to it, giving the film a gritty look.  The soundtrack fits perfectly and contributes a unique quality to this picture.  Eastwood showcases one of the better performances of his career, and the rest of the cast is filled with talented actors as Richard Harris and Frances Fisher.  This is filmmaking at its best, and a western that doesn't always fit the typical mold.   Unforgiven Info
Forgotten FilmAdventures in Babysitting (1987)  When a teenage girl, played by the beautiful Elizabeth Shue, gets stood up by her date, she agrees, at the last minute, to babysit three children overnight.  Things start going bad when her best friend calls from a downtown Chicago bus station and needs to be rescued.  The baby-sitter takes the family car and the kids with her when a string of chaotic happenings begin.  This funny, intelligent film is directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire) and it is one roller-coaster of a ride.  Shue is perfect as the goody suburban girl who is just trying to get the kids home safely.   To accomplish that, though, she has to deal with frat boys, hospitals, blues bars, the mob and locate a missing Playboy magazine.  Is she up for this adventure?   Adventures in Babysitting Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  No Stings Attached (2011)  Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman (Black Swan)  has made some bad pictures this last year, and this is one of them.  Portman plays a busy and over-worked medical intern who doesn't have time to be in a relationship.  She makes a pact with a friend, played by Ashton Kutcher, and they agree to start a non-committed relationship with each other where they use the other only for sex.  The catch in the deal is if either starts to develop romantic feelings, the arrangement will be called off.  This film isn't funny, its premise is just stupid, and Ashton Kutcher is his usual, stiff self, relying on his good looks to avoid having to really act. Kevin Kline is just dreadful as Kutcher's father, who, in this film, is a washed up, one hit actor. There is only one redeeming thing in this lame, romantic comedy:  Ludacris, the rapper, is surprisingly understated in his role as a preppy bar owner.   My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See This Again   No Strings Attached Info

Weird Credits:  From credits of the film Thor:   Special Thanks to Ralph Macchio

Coming Soon To a Theatre Near YouCrazy, Stupid, Love (2011):  The cast is what makes me want to see this comedy/drama; Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei and Emma Stone.  Carell plays a guy who is getting a divorce (from Moore) and looks to man-about-town Gosling to teach him how to pick up women.  I think this one will be a big hit.   Crazy, Stupid, Love Website
Until Next Time!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


My ViewTerri (2011)  John C. Reilly plays a high school Vice Principal who takes an overweight 15 year-old boy,  named Terri (played by Jacob Wysocki), under his wing.  Terri’s life is complicated and isolated, as his parents leave him to care for his bi-polar uncle whose moods seesaw from an almost cationic state to a hyper-productive state. Terri has given up on life and school, and in the midst of his depression, only wears pajamas.  He also has a crush on a popular girl but chooses to only stare at her from far away.  With the help of the Vice Principal, Terri starts coming out of his shell and even makes a few friends a long the way.  Reilly is good in this small but well done film, and Wysocki gives a powerful understated performance.  My Rating:  Full Price   Terri Website
The 50 (a movie from my best/worst film of all time):
#44 Worst Film:
The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)  This bomb-of-a-film about the excess lifestyle of the 80’s is directed by Brian De Palma (Carrie, Dressed to Kill)Tom Hanks (in a role he was never meant to play) is a financial wizard whose life begins to come apart when is his mistress (played by Melanie Griffith) hits a boy with her car.  A tabloid journalist (played by Bruce Willis) uncovers the accident and exposes the couple’s secret.  Hanks, throughout the film, looks as though he knows he is making a stinker and there is absolutely no chemistry with Griffith.  I’m not sure Griffith even knows she is in a film, and Willis plays his character with a permanent smirk on his face.  Meant to be an ironic commentary on the wealthy and the justice system, the film ends up being a commentary on how Hollywood can take a wonderful novel (by Tom Wolfe) and make it into a really bad film.   The Bonfire of the Vanities Info
Forgotten Film:  The Sure Thing  (1985)  Rob Reiner (Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally) directed this comedy about two college students on a cross country trip to CaliforniaDaphne Zuniga is a straight-laced, proper college student who is going to visit her boyfriend and decides to let John Cusack come along.  Cusack takes the road trip to chase a beautiful girl who has been known to sleep with any man – a sure thing. The couple does not get along and encounters a number of obstacles in getting to California.  But, as they spend more time together, something begins to spark between them.  Will this odd couple ever get to their destination, and will Cusack find his “sure thing?”   The Sure Thing Info
In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD)From Paris with Love (2010)  This was, by far, the worst movie I saw last year.  John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers play two CIA agents who are trying to stop a bomber in Paris.  I think this movie was made so Travolta could eat his way across France, and he looks as if he was successful.  There is no “buddy-buddy” chemistry between the two agents, and the fight sequences are just uninteresting.  It’s one of those movies where you don’t care how it ends, just that it does end…and soon.  My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again   From Paris with Love Info

Weird Credits:  From the film The Troll Hunter:  Rabies Consultant

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near YouThe Beaver (2011)   Mel Gibson hopes this is his comeback film. Directed by Jodie Foster, Gibson plays a depressed man separated from his wife, when he discovers a beaver hand puppet in a trash bin.  He starts using the puppet to communicate with people, and the beaver takes over his life, as he can only talk through the beaver.  Foster has a good track record and Gibson can act, so I am hopeful, but I am not so sure the American public is ready to love Mel again…especially using a beaver hand puppet.   The Beaver Website
Until Next Time!