Sunday, January 31, 2010

Moon (2008) R - 3 Stars

Not only is this movie a little confusing but it's also on the depressing side. Though I love Kevin Spacey, I'm not sure his was the best voice that could have been used for the robot. Maybe that's because I was thinking of more of a "Hal" type voice. But considering the movie is filmed with just one physical actor, if you like SciFi, I think it's still worth the rental price.

Sam has just spent almost three years on the moon living in solitary confinement working to extract H3 to send back to earth. His only companion has been a robot. That is until another version of Sam shows up.

Astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), works for Lunar Industries mining Helium-3 (H3), from the moon. Mankind is now harvesting the moon for this precious comity which brings energy to planet Earth. Since machinery does almost of the work, Sam is all that is needed to run the entire production solo. He's left his wife and small daughter back on earth and can only correspond with them via taped messages that surface every now and then.

But being cooped up alone with no one to talk to other than a computer Gerty (Kevin Spacey), Sam starts to imagine he's seeing things. In one mirage, he looses control of his vehicle and crashes into the mining equipment,t rendering in out of commission. A rescue ship is on it's way to help fix the problem and take Sam back home to earth. Or at least he thinks, instead he is rescued from his lunar explorer, by a man that looks strangely familiar. Once back at the ship, Sam is faced with this younger version of himself who's in much better shape and thinks he's a clone. He tries to convince Sam he is a clone too and if they don't escape, they will be rendered useless and replaced. With Sam's health ailing this pair of Sam's looks for answers before the rescue ship arrives to take one of them home.

Awards Include:

2009 - National Board of Review - Best Independent Film
2009 - National Board of Review - Best Directorial Debut

Liberty Films, Stage 6 Films, Xingu Films, Limelight Fund
Director: Duncan Jones
Writers: Nathan Parker, Duncan Jones
Producers: Alex Francis, Julia Valentine, Justin Lanchbury
I viewed 1/10

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cadence (1990) PG13 - 4 Stars

A classic movie that many have not heard of and everyone should see at least once. Starring both Charlie and Martin Sheen, this great hit shows you why you've come to love both these actors, especially together. If for no other reason, rent it to see the great marching song where a group of black men teach this white boy how to get his groove on.

This is the story of a young soldier who after learning about the death of his father, gets drunk, goes AWOL and ends up in a military barrack. The stockade is run but a stern racist Sergeant (or is it Sargent?) and occupied mainly by African American males that don't welcome this white boy easily their hood. The Sarge. and Bean portray the perfect conflict of being caught in the middle of a generation gap during the rebellious years of the 1960's. Though the movie starts out racial it isn't about the race but instead looks way deeper into the soul of the ordinary fight of a man.

Franklin Bean, Jr. (Charlie Sheen), gets a good drunk on and refuses to comply with his superiors, which lands him in a military barrack run by Sergeant Otis V. McKinney (Martin Sheen ), who guaranteed to whip him back into shape to further serve his duty. From the moment he steps foot into the compound he's challenged with his white skin by a group of African Americans doing time there. Stokes (Laurence Fishburne), seems to be in charge amongst Spoonman - Bryce (Blu Mankuma), Sweetbread - Crane (Harry Stewart), Lamar (James Marshall), Webb (Michael Beach), Gessner (Ramon Estevez) and Lawrence (John Toles-Bey). Bean is riled all the time by Sergeant McKinney and the immates but Bean doesn't surrender and instead quietly tries to do his time which drives McKinney to the verge of insanity as he's determined to break him soul.

Republic Pictures Productions, New Line Cinema
Director: Martin Sheen
Writers: Dennis Shryack, Martin Sheen
Producers: Richard Davis, Patti Allen
I viewed 12/09

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ladron Que Roba a Ladron (2007) PG13 - 3 Stars

If you're okay with watching subtitled foreign movies, as I am, I think you might enjoy this one. Aka, To Rob a Thief, if you speak Spanish, I know you'll like this one. Though it takes a little time to get the movie going, it surprisingly picks up and has a good ending I wasn't entirely expecting. Sort of like Robin Hood with the rich giving back to the poor. I liked these two professional thieves who get even with a millionaire who's made his money feeding off the poor. People should learn that if it sounds too good to be true, it's not true.

The acting is fairly average with a few English words thrown in here and there as to not miss the intent of the movie while reading the bottom of it. Think of it as "The Sting" Hispanic style.

In America, the land of opportunity, infomercials are a normal occurrence. Attracting and praying on the vulnerability of depressed people seeking miracle cures, these infomercials give hope to some too embarrassed to seek help elsewhere. All from the comfort of their own homes, Moctesuma "Mocte" Valdez (Saul Lisazo), has made millions peddling his useless hope and dreams to the poor. Creams to wipe your stomach fat away, lotions to massage into your scalp and even enlarge the penis, money pours in from people looking for a miracle. But he goes way too far when he starts peddling "Water of God" as a cure all for cancer.

Emilio (Miguel Varoni), and Alejandro (Fernando Colunga), are professional thief's but even they draw the line at stealing from their own people. Along with the help of a group of illegal immigrants, Rafaela (Ivonne Montero), Anival (Gabriel Soto), Miguelito (Oscar Torre), Rafa (Ruben Garfias), and Gloria (Julie Gonzalo), the plan and pull off the greatest heist of their lives, leaving "Mocte's" to not know what hit him.

Director: Joe Menendez
Writers: José Angel Henrickson, Jojo Henrickson
Producers: Ben Odell, Roni Egvia Menendez, Benjamin Odell
I viewed 1/10

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Perfect Getaway (2009) R - 3½ Stars

First off, are there actually places you can purchase permits and hike into private beaches on Kauai? I wish I would have known that when I went there. The acting is cast well and actually pretty good through most of this movie. Steve Zahn does a good job of turning from the Mr. Magoo to a cracked out Rambo. I didn't expect the ending but the movie didn't really explain how the couple was found out, via camera mode. It does have parts that drag on a bit and there is one scene where the CGI is just awful but all and all, it's worth the rental.

Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich), are on their honeymoon headed to an 11-mile hiking trail that takes them into the secluded beaches of Hawaii. Along the way, the meet a group of girls talking on the phone to their father about a murderer on the loose who's just killed a newlywed couple on Oahu. The suspect is a young white couple. When they meet a Nick (Timothy Olyphant), along their route, at first they are leery of his help across a treacherous cliff. Again they meet up with Nick and his girlfriend Gina (Kiele Sanchez), and even though the foursome want to trust each other, they start to think the worst of each other as the trip carries on.

Rogue Pictures
Director: David N. Twohy
Writer: David N. Twohy
Producers: Robbie Brenner, Robbie Brener, Mark Canton
I viewed 1/10

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Proposal (2009) PG13 - 3½ Stars

Here's a cute role reversal with the strong woman as boss and the meek mannered male assistant. Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds work well together in this fun romantic comedy. Lots of laughs and I always love seeing an appearance of Betty White.

Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), is an well respecting editor who has poured herself entirely into her work. But instead of being promoted, her company finds out she is an illegal alien from Canada and threatens to send her home. Her quick wit finds a way out as she announces to her bosses that she is engaged to an American citizen Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), her assistant. Andrew, put on the spot from his boss, has nothing he can say but to agree with her. After all the torture he's endured working with her, he makes sure he's getting something out of the deal for going along with it.

Meanwhile, with immigration hot on their tail, this new couple sets off on a "Meet the Family" retreat in Alaska. After spending time with Grandma Annie (Betty White), Joe (Craig T. Nelson), and Grace Paxton (Mary Steenburgen), Margaret gets a taste of what family life can really be like and grows a new respect for her less than equal, Andrew.

Touchstone, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director: Anne Fletcher
Writer: Peter Chiarelli
Producers: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman
I viewed 12/09

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Paranormal Activity (2009) R - 3½ Stars

Well I have to say this movie gave me the total creeps through the first half of it. Being one not always comfortable in the dark, that comes from my numerous wake up episodes due to California earthquakes, it made feel extremely uneasy to enter my dark bedroom. Cootoos to this pair of young college students in their valiant effort of trying to scare the hell out of me. It worked! However, having said that, after the episode with the "Ouija Board," I stopped believing. When your girlfriend has just been drug downstairs by her feet and encounters a huge foreign looking bite mark on her back, it's "911 - What is your emergency" time for me.

Katie (Katie Featherson), has just moved in with her boyfriend Micah (Micah Sloat). They seem like your average young college aged students living the good life in his nice two bedroom house. But average they are far from. Katie has been having strange things happen to her since she was 8. Now these strange occurrences are effecting both their sleep so Micah gets a high tech video camera with very sensitive microphones and computer equipment in order to capture the events on film as proof they are being toyed with. But they both get mush more then they bargain for when they try and make contact with the demon.

Paramount Pictures
Director: Oren Peli
Writer: Oren Peli
Producers: Oren Peli, Jason Blum
I viewed 1/10

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Hangover (2009) R - 4 Stars

While there is nothing funny about capitalising on alcoholism, I have to say this movie is freaking hilarious. I can't remember the last time I gave a comedy 4 stars and even the closing credits, which I rarely watch, end the movie on a humorous high. Completely refreshing with nothing completely predictable. However, when I lent it to my neighbor, she didn't think it was funny at all and extremely predictable. Goes to show, one woman's trash is another woman's treasure. For me, BIG thumbs up and WTG!!!

Four friends set out on a Las Vegas adventure two days before one is about to get married. Well, three friends and a tag along from the brides side that after a night of escapades, they loose the groom.

Doug (Justin Bartha), is getting married it two days. He and three of his groomsmen, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis), head to the "Sin City," Las Vegas, for one last blow out before the ball and chain sets in.

The next morning, when they finally come to not knowing any details of the night before, their Caesars Palace Suite has been completely trashed. A baby is found in the closet, a tiger has taken ownership of the bathroom, and the soon to be groom is no where to be found. The trio tries to obtain clues on Doug's disappearance by retracing their steps from the night before. Problem is no one can remember many details and time is of the essence to find Doug and get him back to the alter in the next 24 hours.

Awards include:

2009 - Detroit Film Critics Society - Best Ensemble
2009 - Hollywood Foreign Press Association - Best Picture - Comedy or Musical

Green Hat Films, Legendary Pictures, Inc., Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Todd Phillips, Jon Lucas, Jeremy Garelick
Producers: Daniel Goldberg, Todd Phillips
I viewed 12/09

Sunday, January 24, 2010

District 9 (2009) R - 3½ Stars

As Sci-Fi's are one of my favorite types of movies, I was eager to see this movie. Talk about segregation of illegal aliens, this one makes you take a good look at how society seems to act now. I did find it visually stimulating but in a depressive way, ending with so many questions asked and an obvious sequel in the works.

Almost 30 years ago aliens from another world, the last of their race, came to earth in a ginormous space craft. Instead of attacking the planet, these beings were quickly rounded up and confined to an alien refugee camp in South Africa. In all this time, nothing has been learned from these creatures, nor any advancements made by humans to learn any new weaponry technology. As a matter of fact, the humans aren't real fond of sharing their planet with these hideous garbage eating creatures. To solve the problem MNU, the Multi-National United, is formed to watch over and keep the aliens under control. But their real goal is to try and figure out how to get any of the alien equipment to work. This way they can be the first to profit from their discoveries. The problem is the weaponry will not work without alien DNA.

MNU field operative Wikus van der Merwe (Sharlto Copley) is exposed to some sort of bio techno virus that causes his DNA to mutate altering him closer to the aliens make up. Now he is the only one that can operate the alien technology, making him the most hunted man on the planet with no where to hide but District 9.

Nominated for 4 Oscar's, Awards include:

2009 - Austin Film Critics - Best First Film
2009 - Chicago Film Critics Association - Most Promising Filmmaker
2009 - National Board of Review - Best Independent Film

Sony Pictures Releasing, TriStar Pictures
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writers: Terri Tatchell, Neill Blomkamp
Producers: Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson
I viewed 8/09

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With (2006) NR - 2½ Stars

The coming attractions for this movie looked pretty good so I added it to my queue at Blockbusters and when it arrived popped it anticipating a good laugh or at least a cute romantic comedy. Okay being fair, some of the parts are cute and/or funny, and I do like Bonnie Hunt and Jeff Garlin, but I found it more on the depressing side. I think movies suffer when you try to direct, write, produce and star in your own film.

It's the frustrating struggle of one man's life long path of rejection, while trying to find the one for him. I think deep down, we all are looking for someone to eat cheese with.

James Aaron (Jeff Garlin), is a overweight grown man still living at home with his mother (Mina Kolb). All he really wants in life is a good role in his acting career, to loose some weight and to find that someone special to eat cheese with. But things seem to be looking rather bleak for James as his constantly cheats on his diet, his girlfriend (Rebecca Sage Allen) , leaves him, his agent Herb Hope (Richard Kind), drops him and he can't grasp his dream role in an upcoming movie as Marty. As a matter of fact, he can't even get an audition. Instead he's doing stand up a couple nights a week at a local Chicago small time club.

He just can not get anyone to take him seriously and practicing in front of a grammar school class, with teacher Stella Lewis (Bonnie Hunt), even the kids find he has little to offer. Trying to confront his inner soul, he makes way for the ice cream parlor and meets Beth (Sarah Silverman), behind the counter. He instantly notices her quirky style and realizes she's actually not repulsed to be around him. Could this be his someone to eat cheese with?

IFC Films, First Take (IFC)
Director: Jeff Garlin
Writer: Jeff Garlin
Producer: Erin O'Malley, Jeff Garlin, Steve Pink
I viewed 11/09

Friday, January 22, 2010

Poison Ivy (1992) R - 3½ Stars

I really liked this version of Poison Ivy starring Drew Barrymore as Ivy. She plays an extremely erotic seductive teen age girl who will stop at nothing to get the life she has dreamed of. Even if it means, going against her best friend, seduction of an older man and murder. Good performance also from Sara Gilbert, and Cheryl Ladd.

Ivy (Drew Barrymore) is an orphaned teen age girl from a broken poor family, no friends and a definite style of her own. She goes to school with Sylvie Cooper (Sara Gilbert), also a wall flower, friendless and not living the greatest family life since her mom Georgie (Cheryl Ladd), has taken ill. With Georgie's extreme depression, Sylvie's dad Darryl (Tom Skerritt), is trying to be as supportive as possible to his wives needs, leaving Sylvie to feel neglected and alone. The two girls strike up and unique inseparable bond to rely on each other.

When Sylvie invites Ivy to live with her family, Ivy is overjoyed and gladly accepts as deeply desires the perfect family life style, with all the luxuries, that she thinks Sylvie has. But Ivy gets a taste of the good life, her intentions turn very bad as she plots to take over the household by seducing Darryl, killing Georgie and pinning the rape on Sylvie.

New Line Cinema
Directors: Katt Shea Ruben, Andy Ruben
Writers: Katt Shea Ruben, Andy Ruben
Producers: Peter Morgan, Melissa Goddard, Andy Ruben
I viewed 10/09

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Pilot's Wife (2002) PG13 - 3 Stars

Based on the book by Anita Shreve, thing I liked about this movie is it's about real life people. It doesn't need special effects to tell the tale of a wife learning her husband has been living a double secret life. Unfortunately it slows down to a crawl in many places but the story line has enough to hold your attention.

When a wife's husband dies in an airplane crash, questions are raised as to whether it was an accident or a suicide. Now, not only does the wife have to deal with the pain of loosing her husband but now she must also doubt everything they shared together as to whether it was the truth or a lie. She will fly to Ireland to put the pieces together for herself.

Kathryn Lyons (Christine Lahti), thought she was living the perfect life with her commerical pilot husband, Jack (John Heard). But when the 747 he is flying explodes in the middle of it's flight, a crew of government investagators swarm Kathryn house, drilling her with questions of her terriorist husband. The infamous "black box" is recovered and seems to point to her husband and co-pilot Robert (Campbell Scott), creating a terrorist act. She learns along the way that nothing in her marriage was as it seemed to be.

Lionsgate Film
Director: Robert Markowitz
Writers: Christine Berardo
Producers: Judy Cairo, Christopher Zimmer
I viewed 11/09

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) PG - 3 Stars

This is actually a very cute movie and I am sure if you have children, they may rate it much higher. The animation is very good and I especially like they way Susan's eyes are just off kilter making her her a natural looking beauty.

Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon), is about to get married when she is hit by a meteor, knocking her out. When she comes to, she's grown to a size of 49 feet 11 inches tall. The military gets wind of the event and whisks her away for observation. She's named Ginormica and put in a secret military compound with other monster like creatures. It's there she meets B.O.B the squishy thing, The Missing Link fish monster Insectosaurous, and Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. . But when an alien robot lands on earth stopping military in it's tracks, the President is persuaded by General W.R. Monger to enlist the help of this monster team to fight off the alien and save the planet.

DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Pictures
Directors: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon
Writers: Glenn Berger, Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky
Producer: Lisa Stewart
I viewed 11/09

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Love You, Man (2009) R - 3½ Stars

Finally a refreshing comedy! Since it's not really a chick flick, (or is it?), can we call this one a "dude move"-eeee? I don't recall seeing a story line quite like this before about a sweet couple, about to get married but the groom doesn't haven't any male friends to stand up for him. His goal, to find a best man before the wedding day. I think the casting for this movie was perfect with everyone believable in their roles. I always love seeing Jane Curtain in a movie.

Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), is a successful realtor trying to sell Lou Ferrigno's home in order to bank some extra cash before he and his fiance' Zooey (Rashida Jones), get married. But as the big day gets closer, Peter realizes he doesn't have any male friends to stand up for him at the alter. To solve this problem, Peter goes through a series of meetings or "man dates" in order to find the perfect best friend.

By chance, Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), shows up at Peter's house opening and the two hit it off right from the start. As the two males bond they become inseparable leaving Zooey feeling a bit left out. While Peter begins to let loose he starts to question why it is he is getting married in the first place. Now Peter must decide which is more important, the woman of his dreams in marriage or his new found best friend.

Paramount Pictures
Director: John Hamburg
Writers: Larry Levin, John Hamburg
Producers: Donald De Line, John Hamburg
I viewed 11/09 & 1/10