Movie Reviews

Maybe they should have called it the 'True Believers Diaries'

princessdiaries2.jpgThe other day I was watching The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (don't judge me) and I was startled by what I saw on the screen. The climax of the movie happens when Mia Thermopolis, played by the always cast as the ugly duckling Anne Hathaway, is to be crowned queen. The will she or won't she tension is running high as various people fill the hall were the coronation is set to happen (I won't tell you what happens). I was half paying attention when I saw something that startled me.

"I know that old dude," thought I as I rewound the movie (thanks to the magic of digital cable). Sure enough, it looked like some random dude part was being played by none other than Stan 'I created the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and the X-Men' Lee. A quick trip to IMDB confirmed it.

Odd, huh?

Match Point

matchpoint.jpgEarlier today I did a little shopping and in my travels I saw that Match Point is out on DVD. I meant to see this movie when it was in the theater but I never got around to it (I'm a busy man). I then made up my mind that I would watch it tonight thanks to the magic of On Demand.

I demanded that my TV play the movie for me and play the movie it did (and so I watched it).

If I didn't know that this was a Woodie Allen movie I wouldn't have guessed it. The normal tips that you are watching an Allen movie (it is set in NYC, Woodie Allen is in it, or if he isn't there is a character that is him) were missing though the themes (love, money, and sex) were par for the course.

Overall, I thought this movie was very well done (though I think that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is kind of creepy looking, which works in this movie). The ending leaves you hanging a bit, but it ties in well with the theme of 'I'd rather be lucky than talented.'

I know many people aren't big fans of Woodie but who doesn't feel like this every once and awhile?

Superman Returns

supermanreturns.jpgSpeaking of being alone, the workday ended early for me on Monday so I thought, 'What is a young, attractive man like myself going to do with a few hours free in the afternoon?' The answer was clear: go see a movie (I actually typed 'go see a woman' at first, which isn't what I did but perhaps my subconscious is telling me something).

With no woman to see, I went to see the 3:30 showing of Superman Returns, the fairly controversial new addition to the superhero movie cannon. I'd heard all the talk of this movie making Superman gay (which I didn't see at all, I mean the dude spends the entire movie pining for Lois Lane), the Christ aspect being played up a bit too much (this I agree with. Yes, Superman, we know you're better than we are. Now frickin' save us and keep the preaching to a minimum, ok?), and the kerfuffle over 'Truth, justice, and all that stuff' (which I thought was odd but I suppose the 'American Way' might not play well in Iranian movie theaters).

Anyway, I found a seat in the theater and awaited the movie to start. A nice young lady, who was alone, sat in a seat next to me (well there was an empty seat betwixt us). I thought to myself, 'Ahh, a young woman who would go to see Superman by herself, truly my kind of woman.' I could have sworn she looked at me a few times, but me being me I ignored her the whole time (it is my strategy with the ladies). Anyway, enough of my lady misadventures (if that can even count as a misadventure) and onto the movie!

Now, there might be a spoiler here or there in the remainder of this post, so if you haven't seen the movie and want to go in unbiased stop reading now.

The Good in the movie:

The opening credits: I loved the fact that the opening titles used the same font and theme as the Reeve movies. It was a nice touch, though I can't imagine actually watching the title sequence at an Imax movie theater. I got dizzy watching it and I was just at a regular old movie theater.

The Daily Planet Building: updated, but still it felt like the good old Daily Planet (and 'Great Caesar's ghost' was uttered so they get a couple of points for that).

Jimmy Olsen: Annoying, as he should be.

Lex Luthor: Well, Kevin Spacey really. He does a great job with what little role he gets. Lex is almost always depicted listening to classical music, something I've always liked about the character. He surrounds himself with elegance and yet he is, at his core, a thug.

Gotham: News reports list a number of cities that Superman is thwarting crime in since his return and Gotham is listed as one of them. Cool, though I wonder what Batman has to say about that.

Not so good:

The plot: It was flimsy at best. Oh! Superman is back! Hurrah! Oh yeah, Lex Luthor is doing some crap too. Boo!

Lex Luthor: His plan is lame, lame, lame! As I point out above, Kevin Spacey is a great Lex but he is squandered in this movie. Lex and his plan seem like an after though to counteract the Superman/Lois story-line.

Superman: I'm pretty sure he doesn't need to breathe (though I could be wrong). That bothered me greatly (as you well know I am a gigantic geek).

Overall, it was a fun movie but Batman Begins was much better.

Update: It turns out that Superman originally fought for 'truth and justice.' 'The American Way' jazz was added during WWII (which makes sense), so I can forgive the film makers for axing it. Via Dave.

An Inconvenient Truth

aninconvenienttruth_l200604101748.jpgWe all know that I am not a political person, nor am I a treehugger. Politics disgusts me, and I think the outdoors would be far better if it were inside. That being said, An Inconvenient Truth is a movie that everyone should see. It is eye-opening, stunning, and frightening.

Sure, some may let the occasional snipe at the Republicans blot out what the movie is really about and that is a shame. This movie isn't about politics (though Al Gore mentions a number of times that politics is part of the solution), rather it is about the very future of our civilization.

I'll say that again: the future of our civilization.

No, I haven't lost my mind.

We, as a species, have had an incredible impact on the planet, so much so that we are changing the very climate. I'm not sure why some people find this so hard to believe, but it is true. The planet is getting hotter and we are to blame.

I'm not a spiritual person, I believe in science. Science tells us that we are getting ourselves into a real mess, however, we can turn things around. Thoughtful use of technology and public policy can make the environment safe again (and create jobs at the same time). What a shocking idea.

This movie really sparked something in me, and I hope to change certain things about the way I lead my life for the good of the planet.

Anyway, I have rambled enough. Bottom line: see the movie.

Oh, and thanks to Marisa for inviting me to see a screening of the movie!

Brokeback Mountain

brokebackmountain.jpgI would like to see all 5 of the movies nominated for 'Best Picture,' and to further that goal I saw 'Brokeback Mountain' last night along with Marisa, Sherri, and Luna (Howard went with us but since he has seen Brokeback already he opted for 'Tristam Shandy,' which I would also like to see; perhaps sometime this week).

The movie started at 7pm, but we got there at 7:10pm (for a variety of reasons, so we had to sit in the first row. Not the best place to see a movie, but it wasn't that bad.

So, gay cowboys, how can that be sad? I mean, you're combining two things which are fun:

  • Gay folks are known for being happy
  • Cowboys live the life of freedom, and what boy doesn't pretend he is a cowboy?

How on earth can you go wrong? This movie should be a laugh a minute, right? Nope.

My initial reaction, as we were walking out of the theater: 'Well. That was a downer.'

I don't want to ruin the ending for anyone, but let's just say that these gay cowboys do not ride off into the sunset holding hands. Point of fact, they never go anywhere holding hands. They are forced to go on 'fishing trips' in the mountains were they can hold hands (amongst other things) so that the local folks (and their wives) won't see them being gay cowboys.

Even though it was a downer, it was a very good movie (duh), and I heard several sobs in the theater at various times as well as a number of people drying tears as the lights came up in the theater.

If you're looking for a light, fun, gay cowboy movie then don't see 'Brokeback Mountain'. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a heart wrenching love story... then 'Brokeback Mountain' is the right movie to make those tears trickle down.

Check out the trailer, if you have been living under a rock.

Verdict: 4 out of 4 Blankbabies

Coen Brothers Collection

Coen Brothers CollectionI bought the Coen Brothers Collection at some point this weekend because it cost $40, and you get 4 movies. If I know my division, and I think I do, that comes out to roughly $3.99 a movie. How could I pass that up? I couldn't, and you know it, the American people know it, we all know it.

I should note that I am a big Coen Brothers fan. My favorite movie of theirs? The Hudsucker Proxy, of course. You know, for kids.

What movies are included in said collection? Here they are:

  • Blood Simple - The Coens first movie (I believe), I saw it long ago and don't remember much about it.
  • The Big Lebowski - The Dude abides. What more does one need to say?
  • The Man Who Wasn't There - Shot in black and white, so I am sure that scared some folks again, but I think this movie deserved much better than it got at the box office.
  • Intolerable Cruelty - Not their best work, but it was very entertaining and it has Catherine Zeta-Jones in it, so why wouldn't I watch it?

Overall, a fine way to spend $40. Plus I'm thinking of having a little 'Coen Brothers' screening this Saturday. Watch the Hudsucker Proxy and one other movie, and whomever wants to stop by can stop by (and if no one is interested I'll still be watching some good movies).


Last night I caught the tail end of Bananas, a Woody Allen movie from his 'funny' period (his latest movies, not so funny). I really enjoyed the absurdist humor, so I thought I would share this quote with you.

Woody's character is being tried for various crimes against the government to which he says:

I object, your honor! This trial is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

Oh, Woody, please be funny again!

Revenge of the Review


People have been demanding it (mostly Julie and Frat Boy 'A'), and finally I will publish my Revenge of the Sith review!

Here it is in bullet list format:

  • Acting: wooden
  • Dialogue: Horrible
  • Special effects: incredible
  • action: non-stop
  • Yoda: Ass, kick he does
  • Darth: Frickin' Vader!

I went into the theater not expecting much, and I left heartily entertained. I would rank 'Sith' ahead of 'Jedi' on my list of Star War movies I like.  It would look thusly:

  • Empire Strikes Back

  • New Hope

  • Revenge of the Sith

  • Return of the Jedi

  • Attack of the Clones

  • The Phantom Menace

Would I see it again in the theaters?  Yes, there is just so much going on in each scene that it would benefit from a second viewing. I would want to see it in digital projection and in a theater that is equipped with THX, sadly PA seems to be the land of crappy movie theaters, so that may not happen.

So long, and thanks for all the fish

hhgtg.jpgThe Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy defines summer movies based on beloved novels thusly, 'These movies grow out of the author's desperate grasping for attention which has a direct correlation to the amount of time his mother spent with him when he was a child. Never as good as the book (even when the book wasn't all that great) these movies are best avoided; except when they based on anything written by Douglas Adams.'

Of course it has to say that since Mr. Adams wrote it.

Thanks to Becky, of Good Grief! fame, and Type E (I don't think I can use his real name, so I shall use his blog name, even though I think blog names are a bit silly) I was able to partake in a sneak preview of 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' tonight, and best of all it was free! Second best of all is that it was a veritable who's who of the Philadelphia Blogosphere. I was there, Becky was there, Type E (Can I link to his blog? Better not) was there, as was the Lunabomber himself! Jealous yet? Well, you should be, bastard.

Oh, and there were some non-bloggers there as well (like the other Scott), so that was cool.

How was the movie, I hear you ask. Full disclosure here: whilst I was in college (the best 7 years of my life) I wrote a paper entitled, 'Douglas Adams is a god to me' (you see kids, I was a geek in college too!), so it goes without saying that I enjoy his work.

Therefore I really, really wanted to like this movie. It could have been the worst movie I had ever seen (it wasn't) and I would have still liked it. I liked it. The book was better but the film was good. I mean, come on, Author Dent on the big screen? A whale plummeting to its death? Where else are you going to find that?

However, if you haven't read the book you really should. I reread it in preparation for the movie and I still like it as much as I ever did. I wish Mr. Adams hadn't died so young, I am sure he had plenty more wacky adventures brewing in that head of his.

Rittenhouse Square Reviewed

My only sojourn to the Philadelphia Film Festival (so far) has been to see Rittenhouse Square with Becky, of Good Grief! fame. We were supposed to meet at 3:30, so I thought I would sneak over to Barnes and Noble and try to buy a book that I would like (the Pocket Ref, if you must know).

With iPod in ear, and a song in  my heart, I made my way purposefully though Rittenhouse Square (the park, not the movie).  As I was striding like a conquer who did I spy but none other than Becky!  She had thought that she forgot to correct for day light saving time, so she was early and figured why not hang out and enjoy the weather.

Now, once I made a plan I like to stick to it, and I get thrown if I can't.  So I suggested to Becky that I would run to Barnes and Noble while she continued to enjoy the park.  She readily agreed since she was talking to some dude (no doubt more interesting than I), so off I went.

Sadly, they didn't have the book that I wanted and that put me in an odd mood for some reason.  I made my way back to Becky and then we went to get some ice cream.  My conversation skills may have suffered a bit since I was still thinking about the fact that I didn't get that darned book.

The ice cream was good, as was the company and a good time was had by me (at least).

After the ice cream we had a little while before the movie started, so Becky went to Tower Record and I popped into Borders to be disappointed yet again.  Back to Tower to meet up with Becky, and she has decided to get some CD's.  So while we  were browsing near the line an older woman says to me, 'Excuse me, do you work here?'  I said, 'No, I'm just hip.'  To which she responded, 'Oh, well you looked very impressive.'  Which I will take as a compliment.

With CD's in Becky's hand we shuffled off to the movie.

So how was Rittenhouse Square you ask?

It started late, which annoyed me.  First some dude in charge of the festival had to talk and then some lady from the PA Film Commission told us all about the 20% tax break film crews are getting for filming in PA.  And then they played us some PA propaganda, at which point I leaned over to Becky and said, 'Don't they know we already live here?"

And then the Governor showed up to give an award to the producer (Max Raabe) of the film.  And Mr. Maaxe SLOOOOOOWLY made his way to the podium and SLOOOOOOOWLY said thanks.

Finally the movie started, and I liked it enormously.  It really wasn't about Rittenhouse Square, but rather the people that use it (with a particular focus on one little girl for some reason).  I recommend the film, and if it comes out on DVD I think I will buy it.


robots.jpgNot only did I see 'Steamboy' yesterday, I also saw 'Robots' the main difference besides the fact that they are two different movies, and they played in different theaters was that I went with Scott to see Robots whereas I just went with myself (also Scott) to see Steamboy.

Confused? I didn't think so, you, my dear readers, are too bright to get confused by my writing.

So what did I think of the movie?

As I said to Scott, and I wasn't talking to myself, as we left the theater it had its moments. It definitely looked great, the backgrounds were awesome. The design of the movie was great. The story and characters? They could have used a lot of help. A lot of help.

I'd rent this one if I were you.


Steamboy_1Yesterday was a busy day for Scott. I did manage to see Steamboy at the Ritz (I even made the 2:40pm showing, as planned).

When I got into the theater there were three other men there, and they were all alone as well, so that gives you a good idea of the target market of this movie.

Anyway, I settled in with my book, large Dr. Pepper, and medium popcorn (no butter, thanks) and read my book until the previews began. There were no previews that were of interest to me.

Then the movie began. It started off a little slow, but gained some momentum and became a pretty good movie by the time it was over. Patrick Stewart seemed to be having a great time over acting as Steamboy's grandfather, and the rest of the actors were good. However, I could have done without the Scarlet character, she was just flat-out annoying. I also think that the translation left a little to be desired. There was a few times during the movie when the dialogue just didn't make sense.

However, all the steam powered contraptions were very cool to watch. However, for some odd reason Robert Stevenson (famed Victorian poet and novelist) was cast as one of the leading inventors of England.

Bottom line, if you like Anime or steampunk this movie is for you, if you are like 98% of the world population and you don't enjoy these things perhaps you should go see 'Hitch.'

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

confessionsoftdq.jpgContinueing my descent into insanity I watched Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. I can't even say that it was on so I watched it, nope, it was a conscious decision. Since I have digital cable I have 'Comcast On Demand,' and CoaTDQ was on so I ordered it up (it was free though, so don't go thinking I paid for it).

Starring Hollywood It Girl Lindsey Lohan as the titular Teenage Drama Queen this movie reaches new heights of horrible. Mary (played my Lindsey) wants nothing more to be an actress and marry her favorite band's front man (the name of the band escapes me, as I soon hope most of this movie will). Mary makes everyone call her Lola. Lola was born and raised in NYC, and at the beginning of the movie her family must move to NJ, and Lola's life is over.

She quickly meets a 'crew' at her new highschool, gets into a few wacky scraps with the highschool's most popular girl, and in the end the mean popular girl gets her comeuppance at the school play's cast party in the form of the front man of the forgotten band coming to visit Lola.

Now, don't be cross with me since I ruined the movie for you, it really is for the best.

Overall, Blankbaby no likey.

Solo Movie Trip: Sideways

sidewaysjpg.jpgAs was foretold on Blankbaby a scant few days ago, I went to see Sideways at Philadelphia's famed Ritz Movie Theater purveyors of indie films (and the occasional big movie). Unlike my previous solo movie experience this time the showing was sold out.

Now, I had carefully picked out the showtime because I figured who would be going to see an Oscar nominated movie at 4:25 on a Saturday afternoon? Turns out a great number of people would, and so the theater was packed. At first I thought this would be a bad thing, I mean I don't even like people. However, since Sideways is a comedy the reaction of the crowd made it all the more of an enjoyable movie going affair.

The movie itself is quite entertaining. I laughed, I didn't cry, but I did think it was well acted. I see alot of myself in the Paul Giamatti character. I fancy myself a writer, though I haven't written a novel (yet). It has been awhile since I have been in a relationship, and I am an expert on wine. OK, I don't drink wine, but I am slightly neurotic, so I have that going for me.

Anywho, if you haven't seen Sideways you should check it out.

Weekend Movie Excursion

sidewaysjpg.jpgWell, since my first solo movie going experience went so well, and I have nothing to do this weekend, I though why not see the movie that everyone is talking about?

No, not Fat Albert, I'm talking about Sideways which has garnered rave reviews, and several award wins and nominations.  However, I haven't seen it yet!  Where have I been living?  I mean, it features that dude from Wings!, (no, not that one, that one).

So, probably this Saturday or Sunday I will be venturing forth to see this movie, expect a full review after I see it.

The Princess Diaries

princessdiaries.jpgContinuing my anthropological study of movies of which I am not the intended audience, I just watched The Princess Diaries. I had seen the last 10 minutes of this movie somewhere in my travels, but tonight was the first time that I had seen the whole thing.

Overall, it was a cute little powder-puff of a movie. I must admit that my feelings about this movie might be clouded by my feelings for Julie Andrews. She is one of those people who I could watch eat pudding for an hour and feel entertained. Plus, I thought she was kinda hot in the Sound of Music (and I still do. Come on, a renegade singing nun? Mama mia!).

There is a cat by the name of Fat Louie in this movie, and by the end of the movie the kitty is wearing a tiny kitty crown. It doesn't get much better than that.

I need to get some hobbies or something.


holes.jpgI just spent 2 hours of my life watching Holes, that time would have been better spent in a deep, dark hole in the middle of the desert.

Under no circumstances should anyone watch this 'movie.' The acting is bad, the premise is silly, and it just isn't interesting.

Appropriately enough one of the characters in the movie is named 'barfbag,' which is what you will need if you sit though this horrifically bad movie.


collateral.jpgYesterday was just a day full of movies! I also watched Collateral starring Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise. Let me just start off by saying I am not a fan of little Tommy Cruise, I find him annoying and often cast in roles where he is supposed to be uber-cool.

This is one of those kinds of movies. Cruise is a hit-man who hijacks Jamie Foxx's cab and forces him to drive him from hit to hit, much to Jamie's consternation.

The script was originally set in New York, but the director decided to move it to LA, so there are a few things about the script that make little sense (there is a big emphasis on LA's subway, which while it does exist it isn't as vast or well used as the movie suggests).

The final chase scene is fairly exciting, but the movie peters out and finally disappoints.

I'd pass on this one.