Thursday, May 28, 2009


Directed by Pete Docter and Bob Peterson (Co- Director)

Written by Bob Peterson

Voice Talent by Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, and Jordan Nagai

Pixar again proves that they are the best at what they do, and no one else even comes close. Their latest release, Up, is a shining beacon of light in a dark world where throw away computer animated features come out left and right, that shows the true potential the genre has in the right creative hands.
I don't want to give too much for the story because it is something you should experience for yourself, but it tells the tale of Carl Fredricksen(voiced by Edward Asner) an old man who once had grand childhood dreams of going on adventures, but now whose life has moved on too quickly for him to ever fulfill his passion. Until now! Along the way he is grouped with Russell the boyscout (Jordan Nagai) and a talking golden retriever named Dug (a little absurd, I know, but he's hilarious).
What audiences will be surprised to see is that this is the most mature Pixar (and any family film for that mature) to date. If your eyes are not slightly moist by the first twenty minutes then chances are you cannot conceive human emotion, and are soulless. Pixar handles these mature themes with such a delicate, and sensible matter that parents shouldn't worry about what their kids are watching. Fear not though! Because it is still a ton of fun and there is plenty of hysterical laugh-out-loud humor to it. Pixar is able to blend moments of action, comedy, and touching moments perfectly together.
Up is also by far the best computer animated film to date. It looks absolutely gorgeous! You won't help but be stuck in awe, mouth agape looking at the fluid character animations that bring them to life, and the level of detail in every frame. It's truly breathtaking.
ItalicThis is definitely a must see for everybody. Pixar goes above and beyond the rest of their competition. Dreamworks wishes they could pull something like this off, but one dimensional characters and pop culture references won't get them any where. Up is a completely original story with brilliant, clever humor, and amazing unforgettable characters. It's impossible to not feel "Up" afterwards (pun intended).

5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Directed by Shawn Levy

Written by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon

Starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Robert Williams and Bill Hader

First and foremost, I hated Night at the Museum. For anyone who did like it and is looking forward for the sequel should stop reading now... Ok, my biggest gripe with this movie is that it is NOT FUNNY at all. I think I counted a total of three times that I actually had a small chuckle. The movie relies heavily on a formula that takes a gag (that isn't funny in the first place) making the character repeat the same lines over and over, and then dragging it on and on and on and on until you will want to shoot yourself in the face. And why does every comedy that comes out nowadays need the cast of The Office to appear as random cameos in it. They serve absolutely no purpose at all for why they are in it and are not funny. It's like they just magically appear as if to say "Hey! Remember me? I have a career too!". The only cameo that did get a couple laughs out of me was Jonah Hill playing the guard on duty, but even that bit falls apart fast and you have to watch another irritating two minutes of him and Stiller bicker.
Speaking of guards; the halls of the Smithsonian are running amok, windows and glass being shattered, yet there are no guards on duty what so ever in the entire museum. Plot holes like this are seen through the entire length of the film.
I really thought Ben Stiller redeemed himself with Tropic Thunder, and its sad to see him back as his old character he has played a million times before; the straight man who awkwardly mumbles through his lines.
But what can you expect from a family friendly kids movie, perhaps I'm being too harsh. I just don't fall under the correct target audience. I don't have kids, I'm not thirteen years old, and I absolutely hate the Jonas Brothers.

1 star out of 5

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Terminator Salvation

Directed by McG

Written by John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris

Starring Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, and Anton Yelchin

fans have long been waiting for this moment, to finally experience the future between man and machines. The whole series has been leading up to this. John Connor (Christian Bale) is the prodigal leader of the Revolution, the beacon of hope of humanity whose population has been cut by half and now living as scavengers in a post-nuclear holocaust world. It fulfills what it set out to do, but fans will leave theaters wishing there was more to it. Fear not, there are still two more sequels to be made.
Overall the acting is decent, but at parts a little rocky. Anton Yelchin, who plays the young Kyle Reese (John's father who knocked up Sarah Connor from the first one, but I won't get into the whole backstory. If you don't know then watch the first film) does an outstanding job portraying the character that Michael Biehn played in 1984. Props to whoever casted him.
The action sequences are everything a Terminator fan would want; big, intense, and explosions. The CGI helps to enhance these heart pounding moments.
But while watching the film I felt as though something was missing. Sure its continuing the story, its fun to watch, but it just didn't feel like a Terminator movie. What made the first two movies so thrilling was that they played off the fear of being chased after something that cannot be stopped, that won't stop until you are dead. In Salvation they are killing these robots left and right, there is nothing scary about them. And the (somewhat) absence of Arnold doesn't feel the same. Like it or not he's what made the movies so great, it wouldn't be Terminator without him. Sure, you make the argument that its a new story that takes the series in a differant direction, but its still not going to fill that empty whole inside of every Terminator fan.
But enough of my purist talk, Salvation is a good movie. It still doesn't topple T2: Judgement Day as the best in the series (and one of the best sequels of all time) but it is a awesome look into the future and revives the series (that seems to be happening a lot this summer).

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Angels and Demons

Directed by Ron Howard

Written by Dan Brown (novel)
David Koepp and Akiva Goldsmith

Starring Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor

The 2006 film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code proved that just because a book sells millions of copies and becomes a best-seller doesn't mean that it will work as a movie. The same goes for the prequel Angels and Demons. Though the story is more fast paced and suspenceful than Da Vinci, you have to wait over half to movie for it to pick up.
The first forty minutes are painfully slow. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) looks at symbols, statues, ancient scriptures, and delves in the Vatacin archives to find his next clue. Langdon cannot go one scene without describing in great detail the history of whatever facts he finds. I'm sure it's interesting and all, but there is so much information being pounded into the veiwers brain that sometimes it becomes overwhelming and hard to follow.
The performances are stiff and dry. Hanks seems bored most of the film, as he sluggishly half jogs to each objective. But to give him some credit, it must be hard to play a character whose excitement peaks when he enters a library. With such a good cast, including Ewan McGregor, its sad to see such talent go to waste.
But if you can stay awake long enough the movie does become intriguing. But this is not going to be a film that stands out from all the other competition coming out this summer.

3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rewind Volume 1: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly

With "Rewind" I'll review movies that have come out in past years that I missed out on.

Release: March 2007 (France) 2008 (U.S.)

Director by Julian Schnabel

Written By Jean Dominique Bauby (Memoir)
Ronald Harwood (Screenplay)

Starring Mathieu Amalric

Based of the memoir by Jean Dominique Bauby, The Diving Bell and The Butterfly tells the true life story of Jean, after awakening out of a three week coma from a stroke. He finds out he has locked-in syndrome, which paralyzes his entire body except for his one functioning eye, which he communicates with by blinking. For writing the memoir Jean had to blink for each letter of each word, adding up to almost 200,000 blinks to complete the book.
The first forty minutes of the film is shot in the first person perspective, with Jean either lying in the hospital bed or in a wheel chair. Jeans thoughts are voiced over and the actors are right in front of the camera. This is one of the most effective filmmaking seen. The audience is one with Jean, they see what he sees, they hear his thoughts. His disorientation, his frustration, his sadness, and his anger are felt by the veiwer. What makes it so beleiveable and powerful is the supurb acting. They are right in your face and the only thing you see. Without their spot on performances the movie itself would fail.
Jean does come to termss with his new life, and he becomes grateful for the things he does have control over; his eye, his imagination, and his memories. As the movie progresses there are flashbacks to his past life when he was a journalist. There are also scenes from his imagination, like going on a romantic date with one of his care takers, stuffing himself fat with all sorts of delicious food that he will never again be able to eat. Hence the name of the title, the diving bell, his own body that he is forever trapped in, and the butterfly, which is his conscience mind and imagination, free to go whereever he wants.
The film is simple and beautiful. Despairing and yet uplifting. It is an emotional tour de force that shows the triumph of a man limited to his hospital bed. For anyone who hasn't yet, check it out.

4 1/2 out of 5 Stars

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman

Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Eric Bana

Its a daring move to try and reinvent a cultural phenomenon like Star Trek, but Director and Producer J.J. Abrams pulls it off flawlessly. Star Trek has been rebooted for a new generation, making it more accessible for the general audience, and yet still holding true for the old school. A fresh young cast play the iconic characters, they make them their own, while at the same time remaining faithful to the original characters. One that stands out in particular is Simon Pegg as young Scottie. The plot is so-so, but its mainly meant for restarting the story of the series (literally) into something completely different and new for future inevitable installments. The CGI effects are amazing, but whats nice is that it doesn't take over the movie like so many other summer blockbusters do. Star Trek is a must see, even if your a new comer to the series. It still holds true to the mission statement of the original show; to entice the audiences' imagination, and the excitement of new discoveries.

4 1/2 out of 5 Stars

X-men Origins: Wolverine

Directed by Gavin Hood

Written by David Benioff and Skip Woods

Starring Hugh Jackman

Though not as bad as The Last Stand, it still lacks the charm and smarts from the first two in the series. A lot of unnecessary, ridiculously over- the - top action sequences, plot holes, and incredibly bad CGI. The characters are all one demensional and seem to have no other purpose than to fight eachother. But if your looking for a movie that doesn't require a lot of thought and moves along at an ADD pace, then Wolverine is right up your alley. To sum it up, the Crank of superhero movies.

1 1/2 out of 5 stars