Tag Archive for movie

Snakes on a Plane

Where do I begin?

When I first heard of this movie, I was excited because I love monster movies. A true monster movie is one where something, not human, shows up to kill people and the people try to kill it. No trying to save it or understand it, just survival. I also liked the concept, that airport security has become so tight that a man who wanted someone dead would have no viable way to sneak a weapon on board, so instead puts a giant crate of venomous snakes in the cargo hold timed to be released at a certain point during the flight.

And then you have Samuel L. Jackson, a man who excells at doing action flicks. By far, my favorite performance of his is in Deep Blue Sea. If you haven’t seen that, go see it. In fact, see it first, because his role in that actually makes one scene of SoaP (the stupidest shortening of a movie name in history, by the way) funny when it is not really supposed to be.

So… what went wrong?

First, there was the Hype. Originally the hype did nothing but make this movie better. The rating went from PG-13 to R, ensuring a bloodier and scarier movie. And it kept the name. At one point, as I’m sure you heard, there was a plan to rename the movie to “Flight 121″ or something like that, but Sam Jackson actually threatened to quit, so it stayed “Snakes on a Plane”. But then the hype went too far… t-shirts, blogs, everything… just too much. The hype blew its wad too soon, and left its date unsatisfied. If the hype would have just coincided with the release of the film a little more, it would have worked so much better.

Next… well, I’m not going to spoil it, but… crappiest ending ever. Seriously. It was a good monster movie right up until “the line”. Yes, that one you’ve heard about when Sam drops two MFs in one line venting his frustration with the snakes. After that the movie went down hill. It had potential, all the right elements were there, but Kenan Thompson just totally blew it.

The movie, overall, was worth seeing… it is a good monster movie. But its not the end all be all of cool like the hype wants you to believe. See the movie if you want, or wait until DVD (3 months, tops, and maybe they’ll have a half dozen kickass comentary tracks). In the end, I enjoyed Deep Rising alot more than Snakes on a Plane.

Accepted

I went out and saw a sneak preview of Accepted the other night. The story: A kid gets rejected from 8 colleges and rather than disappoint his parents more, he invents a college, makes a webpage and fakes an acceptance letter… then his dad wants to drop him off, so he uses the tuition money to lease a building to fake a school… then dad wants to meet the dean, so they hire a friends crazy uncle to play the part… then it turns out the webpage works, and a couple hundred kids also got accepted… you can see where this is going, right?

The movie was completely predictable in just about every way, but that didn’t stop it from being hilarious. Justin Long already has a decent career going, and I think he’s got a bright future ahead in comedies. All the rest of the cast is good too, and they work well together. And the college they invent is a place I would have rather spent my learning years because I might have actually learned something useful.

I recommend the movie, so when it opens, go see it.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man`s Chest

Did you like the first one? Yes? Then you should go see this one too.

Pirates of the Caribbean 2 is just as good as the first one, the blend of action and comedy with a few nostalgic bits thrown in for those of us old enough to have seen the Disney ride before they began to overhaul it, but it does have one minor flaw. If you have seen the Back to the Future trilogy of movies then you are well familiar with this flaw. Since they filmed movies 2 and 3 at the same time, there are elements of the second film that are clearly setup for the third. In fact, from a purely story and plot standpoint, number two is not a satisfying film because while the story moves along nothing is really resolved.

But the swordfighting and ship combat is as good as ever. Seeing this movie will leave you itching for the final chapter… which should be along for Memorial Day 2007.

Click

Openning today is a new Adam Sandler film, Click. Last night, the wife and I went to a Sneak Preview of it.

Click is about Michael Newman, a typical guy with a wife and two kids who spends a little too much time at his job working to provide a life for his family that barely shares with them. Frustrated when he can’t even figure out which of his dozen remotes turns on the TV, he sets out to find a universal remote to replace them all. The only store open is Bed, Bath & Beyond, and wandering into the Beyond section he meets Morty who hooks him up with a truely universal remote, one that controls his universe.

If you’ve seen the trailers then you know he does some silly stuff with it, but the movie isn’t all about the jokes. There is also the story about deciding what’s more important: work or family. Michael keeps picking work, and soon enough the remote’s built in intelligence starts skipping moments in his life for him base on the decisions he’s been making… and everything spins out of control.

I wouldn’t recommend this movie if you want slapstick comedy. If you are looking for a Wedding Crashers or a 40 Year Old Virgin, this one isn’t quite as balls out funny. But, like Robin Williams “Bicentennial Man” from 1999, this movie is funny (riotously funny in moments) with a sentimental undercurrent that surges to the surface as the story unfolds. And if that is the kind of film you want to see, Click is an excellent movie.

Cars

I went to see Pixar’s Cars this past weekend, and it didn’t ruin the streak of excellence that I have some to expect from Pixar.

Originally when I saw teasers for this film way back when, I thought to myself “Talking cars? Eh…” Then I heard some rumors about a split between Disney and Pixar, and that Cars was a last contractual effort (which in my experience means, “get it done, but put no heart in it”). All in all, I had very low expectations for this movie.

The message of the film is that faster isn’t always better. Its the story of Lightning McQueen, rookie racecar superstar who on his way to a final showdown race to decide the winner of The Piston Cup gets stuck in a little town called Radiator Springs. Radiator Springs sits on Route 66, the Mother Road, but like the road has long been forgotten because the new interstate road gets cars where they are going faster. So, McQueen learns a thing or two about slowing down and applies them to his racecar life and all is well in the end.

It was funny and heartwarming, everything I’ve come to expect from Pixar, and as always I’m in awe of the detail that they work into their animations. Simply a stunning film.

Prior to the movie, you will be treated to a new short film, One Man Band, that gets a few giggles. And after the movie, be sure to stay for the credits and see the tribute to John Ratzenberger (who has been in all of Pixar’s movies), as well as a few other things.

Overall, Cars is a good family movie. So load up the kids, stop by the bank for cash to cover the astronomical prices, and go see it. You’ll probably buy it on DVD too when it comes out.

The Break-Up

Monday I got to see a sneak preview of the movie The Break-Up.

Damn it was funny. Seriously, everything you can think of that would be funny about a couple arguing and breaking up, its all pretty much in here. The end was a little bit dopey, but at least it wasn’t a cop out… and if you see the movie, you’ll know what I mean.

And I’ve come to realize I need a rating system of some sort… so I’ll have to work on that. But in the meantime, I’ll give The Break-Up four out of five whatever they are.

X-Men: The Last Stand

Let’s just get it out of the way… it definately wasn’t worth staying up until 3am to see it at the midnight show. If I were to use only one word to review this film, that word would be: weak.

The original pictures I saw of the Juggernaut made me cringe. I can at least happily say that in the finished film he looked a little more impressive. Although him actually using the line “Do you know who I am? I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” was just about the worst possible thing. Well, maybe next to the fact that they didn’t bother to show in any way that Cain Marko (the Juggernaut) is Xavier’s half-brother (or something like that, its been so long since I read an X-Men book). And then of course, Peter, you know Colossus, he’s not Russian any more appearantly. And they did the fastball special, twice, and it was stupid both times.

On the other hand, while I remained solidly underwhelmed by the movie, I wasn’t disappointed. It was exactly what I expected. The film is a fanboy’s wet dream and nightmare combined. They managed to cram in so many comic book references and characters that the theater was constantly filled with little chuckles and gasps. At the same time, they managed to deviate from the comic in so many ways that those same fanboys were bordering on tears. And of course, the plot of the movie rears its head every now and then, something about a cure and Magneto fearing a repeat of the Nazis, oh and Jean kills lots of people. It was pretty much exactly was I expected going in. Well, almost… in both the first two X-Men movies, they went to great lengths to avoid killing people. In this movie, however, when I say Jean kills lots of people, I really mean lots of people. And Wolverine too. Without blood of course, but still, lots and lots of dead people.

Hopefully when they do the Wolverine movie next, it will be good since it will only have a couple or three main characters instead of twelve with a few dozen more supporting ones.

The final word then is weak, but fun. Its not a horrible movie, but it could have been better.

Just My Luck

I am married, so just get over the fact that, yes, I went to go see a chick movie in the theater.

That said, its wasn’t a bad film. It was funny, all the parts well cast and played, although it was typical, and by that I mean the basic plot is a “switch” story, like a Freaky Friday, Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son or 18 Again, only without the body switching. In this case, an almost teminally bad lucked guy switches his fate with that of an overly blessed young girl. His life is crappy, hers is blissfully wonderful, and then suddenly his life is fantastically awesome and hers is in the pits. And of course, when he (unknowingly) runs into her again he can sympathize with her woes and helps her out, leading to romance…

Yeah, typical chick movie. But I laughed, so its all good. Well, except for the $14 we spent to see it. AMC raised their matinee price to $7. Now it will actually be cheaper to buy movies on DVD than to go to the cheapest showing at the theater.

Wrath of the Dragon God

Long ago when I saw the first preview for the Dungeons & Dragons movie, I got excited. First off, I love D&D, and second, it had Jeremy Irons, Bruce Payne, and Thora Birch. It looked like they were making a real class film. Somehow I managed not to know that Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans were actually the main heroes of the film until I sat down in the theater. Wow, this movie sucked! It was so horribly campy. At least the special effects weren’t bad, and the scenes with the skies filled with hundreds of dragons were kinda neat.

Last year, when I heard they were making a sequel, I groaned. I actually looked into the film and found that while Bruce Payne had returned as Damodar, they’d managed to fill the rest of the cast with people I’d never heard of. I decided to pass. However, later a friend told me that it wasn’t that bad, it was even good. So, I dropped it into the Netflix queue and waited for it to be released.

This weekend, I finally got the movie and watched it. About the best review I can give is: At least Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans weren’t in it.

First off, the special effects were not good. Ever watch TV shows like Charmed? The computer generated stuff looks fine, but when they put it together with the live action it doesn’t mesh well. They don’t touch in the right places, actions and reactions aren’t timed correctly. It just makes you increasingly aware that the person and the monster were never actually in the same room.

Second, and this is both a praise and a slam, this movie was exactly like a gaming session of D&D. The good part is that the story elements were pretty cool, it was like I was flipping through one of the old AD&D campaign modules reading about the kingdom and the towns, all the people and the history. The bad part… the dialogue. It was like someone had literally set a tape recorder down on the table while a group of guys played this module. When one of the characters died, I could almost here his player saying, “What? You’re going to bury me? Come on! There has to be a temple around here when I can be resurrected! Come on! You know what? Screw you guys!” and then he takes his Cheetoes and Mountain Dew and goes home.

This is one of those movies that seems to have so much potential going for it, but loses because the budget is a little too small and the script writer can’t lay off the wooden trite dialogue.

I think for the first time ever on one of my web reviews I’m actually going to say… Stay away from this movie. Its just not worth it.

Instant Gratification

When it comes to movies, its been years since the world has gone to a model of instant gratification. I want to say it was Batman that sealed the deal, but I don’t know for sure. I do know that that is when I noticed the change. Before then, having a solid opening weekend and good review was what companies wanted… followed by their movie staying at the box office for a few months, maybe more. Somewhere in the late 80′s that changed and studios began pushing for a mega-opening followed by… well… nothing. Advertising for films push the opening weekend so hard, and any movie that doesn’t crack twenty million at least is considered a failure. And if you notice, up until that opening weekend you’ll see commercials, and hear radio spots, but after that first weekend, any movie that didn’t finish in the top 5, doesn’t have critical acclaim or an Oscar bid will vanish. No more ads. It lost. The only exception to that rule is a movie that came out before a holiday but might experience a surge due to a holiday, like any romantic comedy or date film type movie that came out in January always gets a second push for Valentine’s Day… if its still in the theaters.

Television in the last few seasons has finally caught up to movies. This season saw Emily’s Reasons Why Not get a huge advertising push prior to its debut, then when it didn’t snag a monster share of viewers, not only was the advertising dropped, it was cancelled. After one single airing of the pilot episode, the network scrapped the show. Now, I’m not saying that Emily was a great show. It was kinda funny, and Heather Graham is nice to look at… but one episode? First off, it was airing in a slot that had previously belonged to Monday Night Football, so people who watch fluffy romance comedy shows weren’t likely to be on that channel at that time. And to be honest, as much as ABC claimed they promoted the show, if I didn’t normally watch shows on ABC I’d have never known it was on as most of their ad push seemed to be commercials on their own network during shows that, while popular, were not anywhere near the same demographic… I kept seeing the commercials during Lost and Invasion. Sci-Fi fans aren’t likely to watch romantic comedy shows.

Outside of Emily, CBS has pulled Love Monkey after, what, three episodes? It was a quirky show about the music industry using unknown acts and delivering rapid fire dialog. Obviously they pulled it because some page of numbers somewhere indicated that this show should have dominate the dial pulling in 30 million viewers… and obviously there are some TV execs with their heads firmly planted in their asses if they thought this show was going to be anything other than a niche show until at least a dozen episodes had aired and allowed word of mouth to spread. ‘Night Stalker’ also got cancelled a while back because it was only pulling in ‘X-Files’ ratings (a show that started slow, but ran 9 seasons, had a movie, and continues to sell seasons on DVD for $70 despite that the usual season price these days sits around $40-$50) and not ludacrisly lofty ‘American Idol’ numbers. And there are lots more examples…

It seems like Television, as with their Film counterparts, have lost faith in anything but the Out-of-the-Gate success. And its a shame, because lots of these shows that are falling by the wayside are good shows, and half of the ‘monster hits’ of the past wouldn’t survive under today’s rules. But then again, I think I have loved every show that has ever been pre-maturely cancelled, so my view may be biased.