Friday, April 11, 2014

Lakeview Terrace (2008) PG13 - 4 Stars

I like this movie a whole lot more than most other critics out there. For me, I think Samuel L. Jackson is perfect in his character. The macho cop, looking after his kids, but holds a grudge against everyone for the fact he's doing it alone. It's a good high charged movie throwing the proverbial wrench into the gear at every opportunity. The grass isn't always greener at the top of the hill.

Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson), is a LAPD officer living with his two children in the upscale neighborhood in Lakeview Terrace. Chris Mattson (Patrick Wilson) and his new wife Lisa (Kerry Washington), have just moved into their dream home, becoming new neighbors with Abel. Abel is not impressed with his new interracial neighbors. Instead shows contempt at any glace thrown his way.

The first night in their new home, the newlyweds are rudely awakened by powerful spot lights, illuminate their bedroom. Abel has a sophisticated light system, surrounding his home, to keep intruders out. But it also makes it impossible for Chris and Lisa to sleep as the light blares in their bedroom window.

Tensions escalate, from both sides of the fence, as Abel's children are exposed to a midnight love making session in the new neighbors pool. It's not long after that, Chris and Lisa start receiving threats from their new neighbor. But no one will be ready when the sparks ignite into flames too hot for any of them to put out.

Overbrook Entertainment, Sony Pictures Releasing
Director: Neil LaBute
Writers: Howard Korder, David Loughery
Producers: James Lassiter, Will Smith
I viewed 2/09

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Air I Breathe (2007) R - 3 Stars

Great all star cast, I was hoping the movie would be over the top but instead falls into the mediocre. The movie splits itself into 4 separate stories, based on an ancient Chinese proverb of four emotional cornerstones of life: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. But with all the great acting, the characters don't fall into place properly. While each name star gives a great performance, I didn't feel that powerful connection in the end to Sarah the way the director probably intended. On the same plane as movies like "Crash" and different lives intertwining, it does allow you to get close to the characters, feeling their pain and desperation but it just doesn't come all together properly, instead leaves you depressed and wondering what that point is suppose to be as the time line is so confusing.

When a nerdy businessman, "Happiness"(Forest Whitaker), is in the right place at the right time, he over hears three men talking about a horse that's a shoe in in tomorrows race. Taking his entire life savings, he attends the race putting his life on the line to find out there is no sure thing and now finds crime boss Fingers (Andy Garcia), about to dismember him if he doesn't come up with the money. This once quiet man, now desperate, robs a bank to come up with the cash.

A gangster, "Pleasure"(Brendan Fraser), who works for Fingers, is assigned the task of collecting money along with his nephew Tony, (Emile Hirsch). His assignment is to go after Trista "Sorrow", (Sarah Michelle Gellar) a famous pop singer, who has lost her contract to Fingers without her knowledge. Along the way he has a powerful premonition keeping him from doing his job.

A doctor "Love"(Kevin Bacon), will learn the true meaning of the word as he attempts to save the woman he loves Gina (Julie Delpy), who is dying from serious injuries. But her rare blood type will test his abilities in playing God with the one he loves. Each event seems to have an effect on the other characters to come to a head at the end.

ThinkFilm, Pathe International
Director: Lee Jieho
Writers: Bob DeRosa, Lee Jieho, Jieho Lee
Producers: Darlene Caamano Loquet, Paul Schiff, Emilio Diez Barroso
I viewed 4/09

Monday, March 3, 2014

Extract (2009) R - 3½ Stars

Now here's a refreshing, simple and sweet independent comedy. While it's not a movie to give you huge belted out laughs, it's a cute little story of a too nice of man that everyone seems to takes advantage of. If you like simple comedies, I would add this one to your list.

Joel (Jason Bateman), is the owner of Reynolds Extract company which manufactures items such as vanilla and root beer extracts. But lately his mind is not into his job and he spends too much time with his pot smoking bar tender friend Dean (Ben Affleck). When two workers Mary (Beth Grant), and Gabriella (Lidia Porto), see Step (Clifton Collins Jr.), bragging about his 'soon to become' floor manager position, Gabriella decides if he can goof off, so can she and walks away from her busy assembly line. Without pushing that important stop button, this soon causes a huge disruption to the production causing a painful injury to Step. Brian (J.K. Simmons), the plant manager brings in unethical Cindy (Mila Kunis), in an effort to help get production back on track. And it just might do the trick if Joel could stop imagining his wife Suzi (Kristen Wiig), in her chastity sweat pants, might be having an affair.



Miramax Films, Ternion Entertainment
Director: Mike Judge
Writer: Mike Judge
Producers: Dave Krinsky,Tom Lassally, John Altschuler, Michael Rotenberg
I viewed: 12/13

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stranded: I've come from a Plane That Crashed (2007) NR - 4 Stars

This is a very moving documentary about the 16 survivors of Uruguay's cricket team, who's plane crashed deep in the Andes October 13, 1972. After stranded 72 days, high atop the Andes mountain range of Chili, 2 exhausted survivors did the unthinkable by trekking over 8 large mountain ranges to get back to civilization. When all other hopes of rescue exhausted, these two brave young, men with little choice but to make it or die trying, crawl to freedom from their frozen tomb. Once they were found barely alive, their only thoughts were of getting help for their 14 friends still trapped in hell on the mountain. This documentary will make the hair stand up on your arms listening as the recapture their ordeal in the Andes.

I read the book, "Survived", when I was young and it has always stuck with me how these young men were forced with the decision to eat their fellow players in order to survive. Even learning that grinding done parts of the bone would give them a source of magnesium and calcium supplements their bodies needed to survive. These 16 survivors have uniquely special bond of a lifetime. Now, 30 years later in 2006, they reunite at the crash location and tell the stories to their families, and us the viewers, of permanent memories etched in their heads of the lose of their fallen friends.


Jose Algorta - Himself (as José Pedro Algorta)
Roberto Canessa - Himself
Alfredo Delgado - Himself
Daniel Fernandez - Himself (as Daniel Fernández)
Bobby Francois - Himself (as Roberto François)
Roy Harley - Himself
Jose Luis Inciarte - Himself (as José Luis Inciarte)
Alfredo Mangino - Himself (as Álvaro Mangino)
Javier Methol - Himself
Carlitos Paez - Himself (as Carlos Páez)
Nando Parrado - Himself (as Fernando Parrado)
Ramón Sabella - Himself
Adolfo Strauch - Himself
Eduardo Strauch - Himself
Antonio Vizintín - Himself
Gustavo Zerbino - Himself
José Gilberto Bravo Castro - Himself
Laura Canessa" - Herself (as Laura Inés Canessa)
Antonio Caruso - Himself
Juan Catalan - Himself (as Juan Catalán)
Sergio Catalan - Himself (as Sergio Catalán)
Jorge Massa - Himself
Juan Pedro Nicola - Himself
Mateo Nicola - Himself
Carlos Páez Vilaró - Himself (as Carlos Páez-Vilaró)
Madelón Rodríguez - Himself
Alejandra Strauch - Herself
Lucas Zerbino Payssé - Himself
Martín Zerbino Payssé - Himself
Sebastián Zerbino Payssé - Himself
Bernardo Antonaccio - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Rafael Beltrán - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Mauro Bettega - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Mario Bianchi - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Hilario Canessa - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Rodrigo Castellanos - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Pablo Collazo - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Juan Antonio Damiani - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Alfonso Díaz Cat - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Pablo Di Leva - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Nicolás Estrada - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Nicolás Furtado - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Joaquín Jaume - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Simón López Ortega - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Romeo López Ortega -Actor in reconstructed scenes (as Romero López Ortega)
Pablo Magariños - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Silvana Magrini - Actress in reconstructed scenes
Javier Martínez - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Pedro Musto - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Pilar Pelfort - Actress in reconstructed scenes
Carlos Scure Lacoste - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Ariel Tornin - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Rafael Soliwoda - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Alejandro Zivov - Actor in reconstructed scenes
Ernesto Cantu - Narrator (noncredit)

Columbia Pictures
Directors:Gonzalo Arijon
Writers:Gonzalo Arijon, Deborah Ford
Producers:Sally Jo Fifer,Mariela Genta,Sergio Gándara,Virginia Martínez Vargas
I viewed 4/12

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lake City (2008) R - 2½ Stars

This could have been such a better movie. Sissy Spacek is perfect in this type of a rural setting, playing a troubled mom out in a remote location. She's great as usual, however, she can't hold it up on her own and should have saved her talent for movies worthy of her. It's not that I thought the acting was horrible starring Troy Garity but the movie is slow and leaves unanswered questions and takes so long to make any connection to the characters. I understand why Billy is having problems relating to his newly discovered son but why do you wait till almost the end before you know why? If Billy had been doing so well cleaning up his act, what the hell is he doing with the drug infested Hope? What happened to Spacek's husband? What's the band at the gas station all about, you never even hear them play? And why is Billy leaving now? Is he together with Jenny and why is he leaving his son with grandma? Characters just pop in and out of this movie without any substance to them? I guess my favorite part is when Spacek and Garity make amends, and maybe the corn field chase scene but other than that, it just wasn't there.

Maggie (Sissy Spacek), is a single aging mom taking care of the land she raised her kids on. Even though the developers of a new highway want her to sell her property, Maggie has memories of her children there and doesn't want to leave.

Meanwhile, Billy (Troy Garity), is on the run from a drug dealer wanting his money. He's on the road with a young boy Clayton (Colin Ford), as Clayton's mom has suddenly abandoned them both along with the dealers drugs. Billy seeks refuge at his mothers house deciding what to do next. But Maggie and Billy have many issues to work out from their past before anyone can start the future new.

Screen Media Films
Directors: Perry Moore, Hunter Hill
Writers: Perry Moore, Hunter Hill
Producers: Donna Bascom, Sally Pope, Mike Ryan
I viewed 2/10

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Expendables (2010) R - 3 Stars

Gosh, I usually love Lionsgate movies but for having such an all star cast, the movie is not only predictable but cheesy in oh so many ways. Though, if you like a good action movie to increase your testosterone levels, you'll probably love this one. I don't get how this macho Stallone, full of void and void of emotions, lets a woman he just met, get to him. For me, the best part of the movie is the massive gun Hale Caesar uses to blow everything away. Arnold Schwarzenegger even makes a brief cameo appearance.

Barney Ross, (Sylvester Stallone), is loyal to no one except his team of modern day warriors. When Church, (Bruce Willis), offers him an profitable assignment in Vilena, he quickly pulls together his team consisting of Lee Christmas, (Jason Statham), a former SAS who prefers knives to guns, Hale Caesar, (Terry Crews), weapon specialist, Gunner Jensen, (Dolph Lundgren), a precision sniper, Toll Road (Randy Couture), expert on blowing things up and the short guy, Ying Yang, (Jet Li). Their treacherous mission is to overthrow American Vilena dictator General Gaza,(David Zayas). In doing so, they will learn who their real enemies are in James Munroe, (Eric Roberts), former CIA and his body guard Paine, (Steve Austin). As Church and Ross scout out the island, their contact Sandra, (Giselle Itie), a guerrilla fighter, refuses to leave her people behind and is captured instead. Non emotional Ross, can't seem to bare he failed getting Sandra off the island, so he returns with his merry mob determined to save this damsel in distress.

Lionsgate
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Writers: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham
Producers: John Thompson, Kevin King-Templeton, Avi Lerner
I viewed 12/10