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Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Movie Review: I Am Number Four

In Uncategorized on February 27, 2011 at 2:04 am

This was one of the films I have been looking forward too since I saw the trailer a couple months ago. The story looked intriguing and the effects looked spectacular in the trailer. I am happy to say, this movie is well worth the money to take an afternoon off and enjoy.

Unlike most sci-fi / action films, which try to weigh the viewer down with some heavy, complicated plot, this film is straight forward and to the point. Bad guys come down from another planet to kill 9 “chosen” good guys from said planet in order. This is laid out in the first five minutes of the movie with voice overs from #4. The rest of the film is #4 trying to hide his powers from us mortals here on earth, #4 hiding from the bad guys, and falling in love. Simple and easy.

Because the plot is so simple, you have rely on the cast to help keep you entertained. And even though there is really no “name” actor in the cast (Timothy Olyphant would be biggest name), everyone does a great job of keeping you engrossed in what is happening onscreen. Normally, I am not a fan of love stories in action films, but in this one it is not forced or contrived. It happens naturally throughout the course of the movie so by the end of the film, you are not rolling your eyes screaming “where did that come from!!”

The star of this movie is the effects and fighting scenes. There are two fight scenes in particular that look absolutely AMAZING on the big screen. And the effects throughout the entire movie are eye catching without being completely and totally over the top. They fit right into the natural progression of the movie and are not just there to be there.

The downside to the movie? At times, the lighting is bad, and the scenes are so dark, you really can’t see what is going on. Also, there are a few small plot gaps (which I won’t go into because it would be a spoiler) that left some “what happened to?” questions in my mind as I was leaving the theater.

3.5 out of 5, all in all an enjoyable movie worth seeing over the other garbage that is currently showing on screens.

My Most Anticipated Movies For The Coming Months

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

Everyone knows that January and February are dumping months for bad movies. Granted every now and then a gem pops up and surprises me in these months (last years Legion for example) but on the whole it is just the time of year for studios to dump projects they had little faith would truly succeed in the heavier summer and fall months.

The good thing about this strategy is that spring not only brings the warm weather, but also the hope of good things to come for the year in movies. So, with this in mind, I give you my ten most anticipated films on my radar for the coming months:

10.

A new, darker twist on Beauty and The Beast with a very scary looking Olsen twin.

9.

Amanda Seyfried has sort of become the new “it” girl, and this film looks like something completely different from things she has done in the past.

8.

I have not read anything about this, but the trailer looks so good, I can not wait to sit down in a theater and see this

7.

Love Paul Betney, think he is a completely under rated actor, and this movie looks to be in vein of the Underworld series, which is fantastic.

6.

The release for this film actually was pushed back from December to August…looks like it will be worth the wait

5.

Yes, I am a sucker for romantic comedies, and this looks like the best one of the bunch coming out.

4.

A John Grisham-esque style plot and an all star cast….ummm.sign me up please!!

3.

I could care less about the drama going on in his life, to me Gibson is still one fine actor, and this is my kind of movie in every way

2.

Clive Owen is one of those actors who I will watch, no matter what he is in. But when you add the sensitive nature of the subject matter, plus what looks like some amazing writing and direction, I am all over this one.

1.

I saw this trailer about 3 months ago and I was just speechless. Nothing has changed since the first time I saw it. I am not a big Zach Snyder fan (absolutely hated 300, and thoughts Watchmen was good, but not great), but Sucker Punch looks absolutely phenomenal.

Movie Review: Morning Glory

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2011 at 6:29 am

A couple reviews back, I did my roadmap to making a good “chick flick” (it was the Letters To Juliet review). The concept and formula is not a hard one to follow, and all the enjoyable, entertaining romantic comedies stick to the basic idea. This movie decided to blaze new territory in the genre, and does so with mixed, unspectacular results.

First let me say Rachel McAdams could have a long and successful career playing this type of character. She is what we saw in Reece Witherspoon 10 years ago. In this movie she comes off as a cute, adorable down to earth every girl type, and because of this, I think most everyone can instantly identify with her character. Her performance is without question and best party of this movie, and what made me want to keep watching.

Diane Keaton seems to be typecast now as the neurotic, older lady who is perpetually pissed off at the world. I really have no problem with this, because she does it so well, but her Chinatown days are far behind her when it comes to any substance or depth to her roles. You know what you are going to get with her, and she does a quality job.

The problem with this movie, and where the movie eventually just falls flat on its face, is with Harrison Ford. The idea of the old time real news reporter becoming the anchor of a Regis and Kelly type show has much promise and could be comedic gold…..but not here. The reason is because Ford is completely unlikable in every sense of the word in this movie. There is NO redeeming value or quality to his character at all. In these feel good, sappy movies, it is hard to root for someone when you have zero desire to see their character succeed in any way.

I don’t think it is just the material Ford was given to work with either (although his character is written HORRIBLY). It is actually his performance that most turned me off. He had the ever present ” I really don’t want to be here and am just doing this for a paycheck” look we see far to often on actors faces these days (think Pacino in 88 Minutes). It is sad to watch such great actors just go through the motions to cash a check, and that is exactly what happens here. Ford had NO business being in this movie, and it shows from the first time he is onscreen (Tom Selleck would have been a much more entertaining choice for the role).

There are other issues I had with this movie too. There is no clear timeline set or followed in the film. The viewer is never given a sense of how much time has passed from scene to scene. There are also some bit players (Jeff Goldblum being one) that never have enough time onscreen. You are left guessing what their job is and why they are important to the overall plot.

1.5 out of 5, would have been even lower if not for McAdams entertaining performance.

Book Review: The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy (Bill Carter)

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Let me start by saying I find neither Leno nor Conan especially funny or entertaining. I really did not care who ended up in the Tonight Show chair. What I do find entertaining is the behind the scenes stories of how television shows and movies make it to the screen. I devour these kinds of books (and am always open to suggestion is anyone out there has a favorite in this genre).

The War For Late Night is a no holds barred look at inept follies of NBC in dealing with The Tonight Show. If you think this situation came about quickly, you would be wrong. The book traces the roots of the disaster all the way back to the beginning, which is 2001 when Conan initially turned downed FOX to be their new late night host. (FOX eventually went with Chevy Chase, and we all know how that turned out).

The author is completely unbiased in his assessment of the whole situation. He lays bare both the good and bad sides of Conan and Leno, which was refreshing given the almost saintly treatment the Conan fanboys have bestowed upon him. If you are in Team Coco’s camp, you will not like this book, because it actually exposes the truth behind some of the mistakes he made throughout the whole process.

The book also does a good job of showing the mistakes of Leno, in a fact based way, as opposed to the vilification he endured in the press while the switch happened. The author clearly shows how in the end, both Conan and Leno made the best business decision for themselves and their staffs. He does not put Conan in the God-like nature most of the Conan fans do, and also steers clear of painting Leno as the mean spirited, egomaniac.

Instead, the author clearly lays the blame for the fiasco exactly where is belong: at the feet of NBC management, specifically Jeff Zucker. It is clear that every step in this disaster was orchestrated by Zucker, going all the way back to 2004 by promising Conan the Late Night chair in 5 years even with Leno miles ahead of any other late night competition.

The best thing about this book is that it takes emotion and conjecture totally out of the process. Everything here is the facts, not opinion. It delves into the contracts of both the major players, and links that contracts to all the minor players in late night (including John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Letterman, Kimmel and Handler). The author helps connects the dots to all these players, and shows how each of them is a piece of the puzzle to understand what happened in Leno’s move to 10:00pm.

This is not a book is you looking for celebrity gossip. This is a book about the business side of the industry and how early decisions can snowball into mind boggling results.

A very strong 4.5 out of 5 and highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the entertainment industry.