Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks play best friends who live together.  They both have dead end jobs that don't pay much.  After they find out they can not pay their rent for the next month, they decide to make a porno film to make money.

The first half of the film wasn't that great.  It was kind of long and boring, but once they start filming their porn, the film gets better.  Shooting the porno scenes in the coffee shop is very funny.  Those were the best scenes of the movie.  The phony dialogue they create and the way they use the coffee shop in the scenes is hilarious.  The most outrageous scene has to do with the camera man filming an anal scene.  You do not see it coming!  So watch out!

Rogen and Banks were both good in the film.  Actually all of the actors were pretty good, including some of the real porn actors.  I didn't think I would get attached to these characters, but I actually sort of did.  I started to care if Rogen and Banks would get together.  

The biggest surprise of the film was Justin Long.  He plays the boyfriend of Bank's high school crush.  He is a gay porn actor with this weird deep voice.  I thought he was very good and quite funny.  I'm not his biggest fan, but I was surprised how good he was in this movie, even though it was only one scene.  

Overall, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" is a good comedy.  It isn't great, but it is fun to watch.  There were some pretty good laughs in it.

B-  I recommend it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sicko (2007)

"Sicko" is a Michael Moore documentary about the United States healthcare programs.  Not only is the healthcare program in the United States discussed, but the healthcare programs in England, Canada, France, and Cuba are also examined.

"Sicko" is a very good documentary, but it is difficult to know what is true when it comes to Michael Moore.  He uses trick editing to make things seem worse than they actually are.  That is not a fault of the movie however.  I just take his films with a grain of salt.  I don't believe in everything he says.  

The American healthcare program, shown in the film, is horrible.  Moore follows several people who were heroes in 9/11.  They have all had medical issues since the attacks, but our healthcare program does not aid them due to their financial restraints.  The group takes a trip down to Cuba where they receive free medical examinations and medicine at a much cheaper price.  A bottle of medicine in America which costs more than $100 is only 5 cents in Cuba.  It is ridiculous the way our system works.

The most emotional part deals with interviews with people who lost loved ones because they did not have the money to see a doctor.  It is a very sad thing.  One lady told the story of how she lost her baby because the system took so long to give her medical treatment.  Another story that shows how our system works, involves a man who lost two of his fingers.  The doctors told him that it would cost $5,000 to reattach one finger and $50,000 to reattach the other.  It is amazing that doctors have the nerve to put a price on body parts.  In other countries around the world, all of the benefits are free.  Doctors could not begin to fathom putting prices on your body.

The thing that bugs me most about Michael Moore's films are that he does not show the entire story.  Sure medical benefits are free in other countries, but look at the living conditions they are in.  Cuba, for instance, has great benefits, but when the country is shown, it looks like a hellhole.  America may be expensive, but it is worth it to be in a country that has everything you could possibly want.

In every Michael Moore documentary he talks about how great Canada is.  He always visits the country and shows how much better it is than America.  If he really believed that, then why is he still living in the United States?  

Even if it might be a biased film, it is still worth seeing.  It achieves what it set out to do.  It gets you to think about our situation with American healthcare programs.  Things need to change and this is a good way to get people to start thinking about change.

B  I recommend it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Star Trek (2009)

I have never been a "Star Trek" fan, but I thought I would give this movie a shot.  It is actually pretty good.

An evil villain came from the future to seek revenge on future events.  In the future, his planet will be destroyed and he blames Spock for this.  After being sucked into a black hole, he has come back a hundred years and he wants young Spock to pay for what he will do in the future.  

Jim Kirk is a rebellious young man, but he decides that he wants to become Captain one day of the Starship Enterprise.  The villain, back from the future, killed his father and he wants to seek revenge as well.

The movie is good.  It has characters that you really like, especially Spock.  He is the best character in the picture.  You really feel something for him, especially when his home planet is destroyed.  I thought it was very neat to have Leonard Nimoy come back to play future Spock.  Zachary Quinto did a great job as Spock.  A lot of emotion went through him, even though he was limited due to the fact that Spock does not show much emotion.  

The best thing about the film were the effects and sound.  These are some of the best effects I have seen.  The scene that really shows off the effects is when giant animals are chasing Kirk trying to kill him.  The sound was brilliant.  It really adds to the excitement of the picture.

My biggest problem was the editing and/or shooting of the picture.  During the action scenes, it was hard to follow what was going on, due to fast cutting and shots that were just too close up.  There was even a few scenes were conversations were shot and cut in a strange way.  They crossed the line a few times disorienting the viewer.  I don't really understand that.

Another problem I had was the villain.  I thought he did not look good.  He didn't look menacing enough.  Plus his minions looked exactly like him, so it was hard to follow which one he was.  

One other big problem was the concept of time travel in the movie.  It was all very confusing and it didn't make much sense.  I guess people can travel in time because of a black hole created by Red Matter.  The whole Red Matter thing just didn't make much sense to me.  A tiny drop makes a huge black whole, but an entire canister of Red Matter doesn't cause much more damage.

"Star Trek" is a good action movie that is worth watching.  I didn't like it enough to see a repeat viewing of it, but I will see the sequel.  

B  I recommend it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Angels & Demons (2009)

Sequel to "The DaVinci Code".

Hundreds of years ago, the Catholic Church was against a secret society called the Illuminati.  The Illuminati is now back to seek revenge on events from long ago.  Four Cardinals that could soon be the next Pope are kidnapped and a bomb has been placed somewhere in Vatican City.  After a clue is given, Tom Hanks is hired to decipher them and to find the Cardinals and the bomb.  

I thought that the movie was very good.  It reminded me of the film "Seven" and the television show "24".  It is learned that the bomb will go off at Midnight, but in the hours before, each of the captured Cardinals will be killed.  Hanks follows clues given by the killer to figure out where the next Cardinal will be killed.  I thought the clues were very clever.  They may not all be factual, but it is still interesting.  

Some of the deaths in this film are pretty graphic.  The most disturbing scene to me was when one of the Cardinals was found dead with rats eating away at his skin.  

I think the most suspenseful scene involves Hanks inside the Vatican Archives.  When the power goes out, no oxygen is being released inside.  Hanks has to find a way to escape.  It looked like death was the only way out.  

An underlying tone of the film was whether science or religion was the correct way of thinking.  I thought it was very creative the way that the film shows science being used by religion.  They need to exist together.  The only thing that bugged me about it was the ending.  They basically tell the audience that science and religion must exist together.  They didn't have to be so on the nose.  The audience could have figured it out. 

In fact, the entire ending I thought was a little disappointing.  I thought it was very predictable and a bit far fetched.  Even with this ending, it is still a good film that I would watch again.

B+  I recommend it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dead of Night (1945)

Before films like "Tales from the Crypt", there was "Dead of Night".  "Dead of Night" is a film compiled of several horror stories.  A group of people are gathered at a house and they all tell the group of an experience they had with the supernatural. 

At first the film was a bit slow.  The horror stories involving ghosts and a possessed mirror were good, but very predictable.  The final story, about a ventriloquist dummy, was the best.  It was shot very well and it was very creepy.  The best thing about the film is the way that all the stories come together at the end.  It was shot in a very unique way and it was incredibly eerie.  The scariest part is when the ventriloquist dummy comes to life, gets up from his chair, walks over, and strangles the main character.  SPOOKY!

The audio is a huge problem with the movie.  It seems that all of the audio was done in ADR and it was in poor quality.  I assume they did this because of a low budget.  

"Dead of Night" overall is an average horror film with a couple very good sequences.  Still I think it is worth watching for a fun time.  An audience today could most likely guess the way stories end, but it is still fun to see the route the director takes to get you there.

B-  I recommend it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Name is Bruce (2007)

One night, a group of kids wreck havoc on an old graveyard.  During the wreckage, they awake an ancient Chinese demon who kills anyone he comes in contact with.  The town does not know how to stop the demon, but the kid who awoke it has a plan.  He is a huge Bruce Campbell fan.  He has seen everyone of Campbell's movies. The kid thinks that the only person to stop the demon is movie action star, Bruce Campbell.  So the kid decides to kidnap Campbell and require his help.  Campbell thinks this is all a strange movie that he is acting in.  When he realizes this is all real, he runs home.  He then needs to decide if he wants to live as a coward or return to face the demon.

This has got to be one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen.  I can't believe this was ever made.  I like Bruce Campbell in the "Evil Dead" films, but this is just ridiculous.  It just doesn't make sense to me that an entire town of people would believe that an actor, who plays action heroes on film, could save them.

The ancient Chinese demon was so lame.  He beheaded a lot of people,  but then you figure out that he is the God of bean curd.  So if you are eating bean curd, he will spare your life.  This is so dumb...

This movie also has some of the worst acting I have ever seen.  I was fine with Campbell's acting since he is always over the top anyways, but the villagers were extremely bad.  I guess you have to deal with bad actors when there is such a bad film to be produced.  

Bruce Campbell must have thought this film was a brilliant idea since he not only starred in it,  but directed and produced it.  Or perhaps, this film is just a way for him to fill his ego.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

W. (2008)

"W." is a biopic of former president George W. Bush.  The film shows all the struggles that Bush had to go through to basically make his Dad proud.  It shows how Bush was a bit of a loser in the past.  He was in trouble with the law, he was a drunk, and he had no ambition.  He then decided to run for president to basically prove that he could achieve what he put his mind to.

The film is not very good.  It is one of the most boring movies I have ever seen.  You never feel anything for Bush.  He is not a very likable person.  He is just an all out loser.  

The only thing that was good about the movie was the acting from Josh Brolin.  He did a great job.  Looking at Brolin, you would never think he would be able to pull off playing Bush, but he does.  He was very convincing.  

The other actors were just ok, but Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice bugged the hell out of me.  I usually like Newton, but her performance in this just seemed like a phony impression of the real person.  

"W." could have been an interesting movie especially if they dealt with 9/11.  The film was just long and boring.  If you have a chance to see it, skip it.  Don't bore yourself to tears.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Philadelphia (1993)

"Philadelphia" is the story of Tom Hanks suing his former employer after firing him.  He is convinced that he was fired because of the fact that he was gay and that he had AIDS.  Hanks hires Denzel Washington to be his lawyer.

This is a heart breaking film.  It is tough to watch the pain that Hanks' character is going through.  You really feel horrible for him.  AIDS is a terrible thing, as everyone knows, but this film really shows how painful it is for the carrier.  Hanks won an Oscar for his performance and he did deserve it.  He really looked like he was dying.  

Denzel Washington is very good in the film also.  Denzel did not want to take Hank's case at first, but he eventually came around.  It is very interesting to see his character development.  He is homophobic, but he has to put that aside to win his case.  

The film is very good, but very depressing.  I was in a funk for several hours after viewing the movie.  It makes the viewer think about what homosexuals deal with everyday, how terrible a disease AIDS is, and death. 

A-  I recommend it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Bette Davis and Joan Crawford play sisters who used to be famous movie stars.  Bette Davis plays Jane who used to be known as "Baby Jane".  She was the Shirley Temple of her time, but people have long since forgotten about her.  Joan Crawford plays her sister, Blanch.  After the success her sister had, Blanch decided to get into pictures.  She became the most famous A list actress.  At the highest point of Blanch's career, she is in a car accident causing her to be paralyzed for the rest of her life.  

All of these incidents happened in the past and the movie then takes place in present day.  Jane has become a shriveled up, old hag who must take care of her sister.  She treats Blanch like crap because she is convinced that her career was ruined by her.  If Blanch never became an actress, then Jane would have remained the star of the family.  The rest of the film focuses on the crazy things Jane does to torture Blanch.  She tortures Blanch relentlessly.  The movie has a twist ending that I won't spoil, but it is a real shocker!

Bette Davis is incredible in this movie.  It is hard to believe that she was ever a beautiful movie star because she is so ugly and disgusting in this movie.  The scene that really shows off her versatility is when she calls the drugstore on the telephone.  She wants to buy alcohol, but she can only do it with Blanch's permission.  She knows Blanch will not agree to this, so she puts on an act, pretending to be Blanch.  It was incredible to watch her in this scene.  What is really great about Davis' performance is you really understand why Jane is crazy and such a horrible person.  You are able to witness what goes on inside her mind.  She is living in the past, when she used to be a star.  You actually start to feel bad for her.  

My favorite part of the film involved Blanch's lunches.  Since Blanch can not walk, Jane has to bring up her food.  When Blanch starts to eat her lunch, she sees that her dead pet bird is served on the platter.  Whenever Jane brings her food from that point on, she is hesitant to eat it.  There is so much tension built to find out what crazy thing Jane had done this time to her lunch.

This movie is great in every aspect.  It has wonderful direction, music, cinematography, but what makes the movie the masterpiece that it is, is the incredible acting job from Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

A  I recommend it.