Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quantum of Solace - a sleeper

AS IN PUT YOU TO SLEEP. Events here happened either too quickly to care about or too slowly to stay interesting. No further commentary.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Must-See: Religulous

Bill Maher takes a trip around the world and interviews/investigates why people are so irrational when it comes to religion. What he finds might scare you. Bill Maher's irreverent interview methods provide some comical deer in the headlight moments, punctuated by brief flashes of more serious yet inappropriate scenes to drive home his point more.

Bill Maher wants us to question our beliefs. Blind faith makes for easier leadership, makes it easy for the shepherd to keep the sheep together. Yet, Bill is very rude in some of his interviews, which makes for comical moments, yet probably doesn't help the "intellectual discussion" he purports to foment. However, Bill is as close-minded as the faithful he's trying to instill doubt into, so it doesn't seem like there will be any middle ground meeting in the future.

For those atheists that already disbelieve in a god, or agnostics who are still on the fence, this will probably be a good laugh. Otherwise, this movie takes potshots at a good majority of the popular religions today, so cover your ears when yours comes around, and you might not take offense.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Get Smart: quite entertaining

Get Smart stars Steve Carell in an action-comedy of secret agents and saving the world. The original Maxwell Smart television series was something I vaguely remember from my youth. Most importantly I remember he used his shoe as a communication device. I always used to play with my own shoephone as a kid. But I digress.

Steve Carell is an office analyst for a secret agency called Control. Supposedly the agency was disbanded after the cold war era, but that was just a cover story. Steve is, to this very day, working for Control, posing as a bumbling Office manager in Scranton, PA. But Steve aspires to be more than just an intelligence analyst. He wants to get into the front lines, G.I. Jane style.

Steve gets to train with a professional wrestler in order to get ready for field work. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is Agent 23, who is one of the best in the business. It's nice when you have the protection of the big guys in the joint.

Well, after years of yearning, Steve gets his wish. He gets to be a field agent! His partner? A stone-cold bitch hardened by years of training under the tutelage of one of the most vicious fashion magazine editors in the world: Agent 99.

Cue all the n00b secret agent comedy, and even some surprises. Great stuff. Grade A for Steve and Anne.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull: ungood

Going in with high hopes is a sure disappointment. Harrison Ford is an old man, he needs to retire already. That Fedora of his needs to be colored so he can become the spokesman of RedHat in his old age, much like the venerable William Shatner is for

Nearly 19 years to the day since the previous movie with Sean Connery, this Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull becomes much too predictable, rehashing already tired jokes and themes, and far too tipped toward the comedic end of the spectrum for my expectations. When I want a comedy I'll go see a comedy.

Harrison Ford just went through the motions on this movie. There may definitely have been more action than previous movies, but the dialog and pacing of this felt rushed, and I didn't feel immersed in the adventure like I remember in previous movies.

Again, it could be my age. Damn, I'm 32 now. Where has the time gone? I wasted it watching this movie. C+ for Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What Happens in Vegas

Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz pair up in this romantic comedy about getting hitched in Vegas, winning a jackpot, and trying to cut and run with the whole bag of money. Except when they take it to court, Judge Dennis (Whopper) Miller doesn't have any of it. He forces them to go to marriage counseling with Queen Latifah for six months, before they can revisit the issue of divorce.

The two go head to head in an attempt to make married life hell for each other, so that they can get the full bag of money instead of splitting it after six months in a divorce settlement. It gets pretty ugly, of course, as each one tries to one-up the other in silly ploys to push the other out.

I'm a sucker for romantic comedies, so I liked it, but I also went in thinking it wasn't going to be that great either. So don't go in with your hopes up, and they just might be met. This movie gets a B.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Iron Man: starting 2008 summer blockbusters

Iron Man seems to mark the beginning of the 2008 summer blockbusters. This is again based off a comic book series. Totally original. Great special effects and decent story line if you ignore logic. But well, how many movie blockbusters are logical anyway?

So, Robert Downey Jr. is the CEO of Stark Industries, a totally patriotic corporation that builds weapons for the United States. After getting high off his successful demonstration in Afghanistan, his caravan is attacked, ironically by weapons of his own creation. He is captured, and forced to build the same weapon for the terrorists.

He builds an armored suit and jailbreaks out of his cave. Oh, but before then he builds a miniature power reactor the size of two D batteries that can power the armored suit. Impressive. He returns home and refines his design to be smaller and sleeker than his juggernaut in the desert.

The rest is not covered in the trailers, so I won't continue the summary. But it's definitely a great blockbuster in special effects, action, and pyrotechnics. Just try not to reason out the why of the plot lines.

Iron Man: A for special effects and coolness factor. C for physics, logic, and psychoanalysis.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Bank Job

I'm on a roll with Hollywood Historicals recently. The Bank Job is yet another movie in a string of movies that I've seen, based loosely on historical events. This one is about a 9/11 bank robbery in the year 1971. Holy crap, that's exactly 30 years before 9/11/2001. Coincidence? Yeah, probably.

There are quite a bit of stories in this movie. We start off with some gratuitous nudity: some faceless girl is having a fun time at the beach, and is also seen in a threesome. Sweet. She also is getting her picture taken without her knowledge.

Fast forward a year, and we see some guy who owns a used-car dealership get the rough treatment from some thugs. Apparently he owes money. I guess that's a good enough reason to go rob a bank. After the thugs leave, some girl he's known a long time drops by and tells him about a job. He has to think about it. What he doesn't know is that she recently got caught trying to smuggle in some cocaine or heroine in her luggage.

There's also a black activist who calls himself Michael X in honor of Malcom X. He's kind of like Denzel Washington in American Gangster, except this is in London. He's all into extortion and bullying the local small shop owners to give him things for a discount, or for free, or something.

Holy crap, there's a porn king who owns a bunch of brothels and has cops on the payroll. What would a bank robbery movie be without corrupt police officers? Some higher government officials frequent these brothels. One likes it hard. Harder. Yeah. They are also getting their picture taken without their knowledge.

One of the bank robbers has a 12 inch cock, and has made a movie or two filmed by the porn king. That was random.
The government wants this bank robbery to happen as a "black op" in the hopes they can acquire the contents of safety deposit box 118, which has nude pictures of someone in the Royal Family. This safety deposit box is owned by Michael X, who is using it as his trump card to continue his terrorizing of the local citizens unchecked.

The bank robbers are quite amateurish and in over their heads. MI5 is keeping tabs on the bank robbery through the girl that got caught with drugs. I guess that's her ticket free. One of the bank robbers orders food using his real name while they're still tunneling underground. A ham radio operator manages to tune in to their walkie-talkie frequency and calls the police. It's not looking good at all.

It's a definite suspenseful thriller of a movie: B+

Negative points for cramming in way too many characters to keep track of. Some people were given too little back story to care about them.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Battlestar Galactica is back!

I haven't watched the first episode of the new season yet, but here's a recap of all the previous seasons. This is an awesome summarization of the events that lead up to Season 4, which started up again last night. If you haven't watched Battlestar Galactica then perhaps you shouldn't watch the recap. Instead, start renting from the miniseries then Season 1.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

21: True Story!

Loosely based on true events, 21 is the Hollywood depiction of six MIT students who raked in the money counting cards at the blackjack tables in Las Vegas. This movie is based on the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. I haven't read the book fully, I actually read the juicy parts in a Wired Article: Hacking Las Vegas years ago.

Essentially, a group of really smart and clever MIT students gang up on casinos with an elaborate strategy of signals and teamwork to rake in the cash by playing the odds back against the house. Blackjack is one of the only games where it's actually possible to recognize when the odds are in your favor: card counting. Led by one of the professors, this gang repeatedly rakes in the cash during weekend trips from Boston to Las Vegas.

Lawrence Fishburne is a contractor working at various casinos trying to spot cheaters, and taking care of them old school style. He's a dying breed, now being ousted from the business by face recognition software. Sort of reminds me of the movie The Cooler. The Cooler was a great movie, but I digress.

So Lawrence Fishburne is a loss prevention agent who scouts the video feeds and watches for people who are a bit too successful in their gambling. That's how he spots the MIT gang initially. In reality it took the casinos two years to figure out the MIT game, but we only have two hours okay? So Lawrence Fishburne easily identifies the signal the MIT team uses to mark a table as 'ready' to rake. I spotted it too. But this is a movie, so we have to make it easy for the audience to recognize since they're not as smart as MIT students.

Anyway, I won't spoil the rest of the movie, but if you read the Wired article you've probably gotten your money's worth of 21. This movie is great if you have no clue about the true story. Some of the characters are funny. I was offended at the portrayal of the asian kleptomaniac.

I give this Hollywood Historical 50%, for the obvious historical horseshit, and for presenting the Monty Hall Problem. I wasn't offended. That's me being melodramatic.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

10 Most Historically Inaccurate Movies

Yahoo movies lists the 10 Most Historically Inaccurate movies which is a pretty good list. Included are Braveheart, The Last Samurai, 10000 B.C., Gladiator, 300, Memoirs of a Geisha. All of them great Hollywood Historicals, as I like to call them.

Too bad The Other Boleyn Girl didn't make this list.

The Other Boleyn Girl

After a long hiatus, I'm back to writing faux reviews on a blog. Both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johannson are my faves, so of course I had to see this movie, right? Wrong. Bitches and hoes both of them.

Have to remember that this is a Hollywood Historical, so facts are fudged for maximum melodrama. It's unbelievable how deceitful and scheming Natalie is as she seduces the King of England away from her own sister. "TWIN SISTAH! (inside joke)" No they're not twin sisters. I wouldn't put it past Hollywood to twist it that way though.

King Eric Bana has children with both Scarlette Johansson and Natalie Portman. A boy for Scarlette, and a girl for Natalie.

I admit I didn't pay attention during my European history classes, so it was surprising for me to find out that the resulting offspring of Eric Bana and Natalie Portman was a girl named Elizabeth, who later grows up to become Cate Blanchette.

I don't remember what happened to the boy. BASTARD IN A BASKET.