Movie Reviews

Shi mian mai fu (or, 'House of Flying Daggers')

housedaggers.jpgAs I mentioned before, I had a short day at work yesterday, and I got it in my mind to go see a movie, specifically 'House of Flying Daggers.' Having recently seen Hero, it made sense to see another Chinese movie.

After work, it was off to the Ritz for my movie. This is the first movie I have ever gone to alone, and it probably won't be the last. I am not sure why I have avoided lone movie going; if you think about it movie going is a perfect activity to do alone. You go to a big dark room and sit quietly for a few hours. Why do that in a group? So you can enjoy not talking to each other?

Anyway, I purchased some popcorn and a Sprite (thought I should have gotten a Dr. Pepper), and settled in for some movie watching. I was early so I read a little and watched as people trickled in.

There were quiet a few people there by themselves, further proving my theory about movies.

House of Flying Daggers was visually stunning, if a bit slow in parts (I admit that I nodded off for a few moments during the film). The fights were, of course, well worth the price of admission. They really are more liking dance routines than fights, but they are a lot of fun to watch.

Unlike Hero this movie suffered from a pretty lame script (which Julie warned me about before I went), and some of the acting was over the top.

The climactic fight at the end of the movie is well worth waiting for. Overall, I would say that House of Flying Daggers is a fine matinee movie.


Netflix launches a blog

It is called the Rocchi Report and, according to the site, it is run by this dude:

About James Rocchi: Netflix Movie Reviewer Netflix Movie Reviewer James Rocchi has the scoop on great DVDs, old and new, in his Recommendations -- you can also read his take on what's hot and what's not Now in Theaters!

And, comments are turned on, so if you disagree with him you can let him know.

Found via Hacking NetFlix


The LadyKillers (2004)

ladykillers.jpgI just watched The Coen Brothers The Ladykillers, and while I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers, but I heard many not so good things about the movie.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie, and the soundtrack. I was tapping my toe along with the gospel music, and I am seriously contemplating purchasing the soundtrack, posthaste.

Overall, I would recommend the movie to all you Coen brothers fans, not their greatest but you will still enjoy the delightful dialogue, especially from Tom Hanks' character.


Hero

heroI saw Hero with Dave (although he prefers to be called David) this Saturday. He gets a bunch of free movie passes, so I didn't even have to pay, so that was very cool indeed. However, I would not have felt cheated if I had to pay to see this movie.

This is one of the most beautiful movies I have seen in a very long time. The colors are vibrant, the set pieces are massive, and the fights are more than just fights, it is like the characters are dancing.

I do think the crowd at the movie theater was not expecting the movie that they got. I overheard some people saying, "I bet the fights are going to have blood spurting out all over the place," and their friend replied, "Well it is a Quentin Tarintino movie." I knew they are in for a shock, since QT (as I call him) may have had a hand in this American release of the movie, but he had nothing to do with the actual production of the film.

There is a lot of floating about, very much like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and the crowd did giggle a bit the first time Jet Li floated across the screen.

Overall, swords up for Hero.


Sweet Home Alabama

sweetalabWhat can I say about Reese Witherspoon? Of course she is a very good actor, and she is very easy on the eyes, and one of her ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I declare this movie to be neither sweet nor Alabama (I am not sure what that means, but hey I am trying to be clever here). Predictable to the last minute, there are no surprises in this film. I suppose some women might like the part where Reese's character is lead into Tiffany's and told to pick whatever ring she wants, but that didn't do much for me.

I did like Murphy Brown though.


Comic Book Villians

comicbookvillainsWhat happens when a lifelong comic book collector that lives with his mother dies in a town with two competing comic book stores, and he leaves behind a massive comic book collection? Well, that is the question this movie poses, not exactly earth shattering. But is it entertaining?

Not really. Who is the target audience of this movie? The movie pretty much shows comic book collectors in a very negative light, and the only way the main character finds happiness is by 'out growing' his comics and traveling the world.

So, if you make fun of the comic book geeks, who do you have left? No one else cares about these geeks and the small details of super heros they obsess over. Take it from me, I was a hardcore comic book guy for awhile, and then the mid 90's rolled around and the business men started speculating in comic books. Suddenly every comic was reset to issue #1, because they were thought to be worth more, and it seemed every comic had some kind of crappy holographic cover, even the Archie comics.

Bottomline, this forgettable movie isn't worth your time, go pick up a copy of the Fantastic Four instead.


Igby Goes Down

igbyAnother movie which ended up in my Netflix queue without me knowing how it got there. I am sure that I put it in there at some point, but darned if I can remember it. Unless there is some kind of evil gremlin adding movies that I have no real interest in to my queue.

The movie was well acted, but over all it left me feeling empty. I wasn't sure why I had watched it, or why anyone had written it, produced it, and acted in it.

The movie is about a young kid from a very dysfunctional family. Igby is trying to live his own life, but his family won't let him. Of course, the life he wants to lead doesn't seem all that interesting to me, and I thought the kid was more of a brat than anything else.

Overall, I would skip this one.


Sleeper

sleeperI haven't seen as many Woodie Allen movies I would like, but those I have seen I have liked. It goes without saying that most people think that his early work far surpasses his latest efforts, and I think it is true.

Sleeper is a sharp, biting satire about technology, sex, and democracy. It is too bad that Mr. Allen seems to be more impressed with the fact that he is who he is rather than concentrating on making good movies. Hey, Lucas, this applies to you too, buster!


Garden State

I was planning on seeing Garden State this weekend, but Becky emailed me today and asked if I was still interested in seeing this flick. Since I was, I responded in the affirmative and we made plans to meet at the theater at 7 (for the 7:30 showing).

My co-worker, Paul, told me that this movie was life changing, and perfect for someone in 'my stage of life,' whatever that means. So, I was excited to see the movie and understand what the hell he was talking about.

After seeing the movie, I still have no idea what he is talking about, and I just might be a tiny bit offended.

First my thoughts on the film:

Overall, I thought it was a good movie. The writing was solid, the acting was good, and there were many truly funny and touching scenes. However, as I said to Becky, I am not sure what the 'message' of the movie was. Am I supposed to stop looking outside for answers about my life? Well, not really since it seems the path to happiness involves being in love. Is the message that love will overcome? Well, the two main characters only know each other for 3 days or so, and they fall in love, however, these 3 days are the first few days of which the main character isn't on some kind of mood altering medication, so is the love real?

Perhaps the message is, you have to scream at the abyss.

Anyway, as we were leaving the theater I told Becky that I wasn't sure why Paul had said what he said to me. I said, "The only thing I can think of is that I am 27 and the main character is 26."

Becky said, "You're 27?! You're so young!"

I didn't ask how old Becky thought I was, but I will take that as a compliment of some kind.

So, in short the movie was not life changing nor was it particularly relevant to me, however it was a good movie and I say if it is playing near you, check it out.

Also, Zach Braff has a Typepad blog about the movie.


Serendipity

serendipityI am not sure what possessed me to put this movie in my Netflix queue. It truly a date flick, however, that is not to say I didn't enjoy it.

I am a sucker for any movie that takes place in New York during Christmas. I want to live in that cinematic New York filled the hustle and the bustle of holiday cheer. I want to watch as the snow comes down in slow motion, and unlikely groups of people carol in the streets of the Big Apple. I want to shop at Macy's, Bloomingdales', and Gimbal's then end the day with a carriage ride through Central Park sharing a thermos of hot chocolate with some cute, witty young lady.

Anywho, that has very little to do with movie and everything to do with my fragile psyche, so let's move on.

This movie is full of cliches and very unlikely scenarios, and yet it is very enjoyable to watch. Everyone knows that in the end the main characters are going to live happily ever after (it is a rule in Hollywood, isn't it?), but watching them get there is a lot of fun.

Eugene Levy plays a small, but funny part in this film, as does Molly Shannon.

Oh, and Ms. Beckinsale, if you're reading this I think we would have a lot in common. I mean, you're a hot english woman and I am fluent in english. You're a movie star, and I enjoy watching movies. You're rich and famous; I can do a pretty good impression of Robin Leach.

Until next time, champagne wishes and caviar dreams.


Star Trek: Nemesis

nemesisThis being the 10th in the series of Star Trek movies, common Star Trek logic says that it should be good. If you are not a Trekker, let me explain; there is a belief that all odd numbered Star Treks are bad (Final Frontier, Search for Spock) and all even numbered Trek movies are good (Wrath of Khan, First Contact).

Does Nemesis live up to this? Sadly, it doesn't. It isn't an awful movie, it just seems a bit off. Romulans have always been good bad guys, however for some reason this movie felt the need to create a new version of Romulans called (cleverly) Remans. For years the Remans struggled as slave labor for the Romulans on the world of Remus. Under the leadership of a clone of Capt. Picard the Remans rise up and gain control of the Romulan Star Empire so that the Picard Clone can destroy Earth because he doesn't feel loved.

Oh, and Data dies, but the movie doesn't dwell on that.

Anyway, the Romulan War Bird has been upgraded for this film, and if you ask me it looks pretty cool:

coolrom

Too bad they are in all of 5 minutes of the movie.

Overall, it was an OK Star Trek movie, but it had the potential to be one of the best.

And yes ladies, I am single!

Live long, and prosper.


Timeline

timelineI wish I had access to a time machine, so I can get back the 116 minutes I wasted on this movie.

Don't get me wrong, I am as big a fan of Billy Connolly as the next guy. I loved his work in 'Head of the Class,' but he is wasted in this movie.

Can someone explain to me how Paul Walker has become famous? I suppose he is good looking, but he can't act worth a croissant.

Overall this movie made me wish I was born in medieval France, so there would have been absolutely no chance of ever seeing this movie.


I, Robot

irobotI wish they had named this movie something else, I really do. I have nothing but respect for the achievements of Isaac Asimov.

When I was in highschool I went on a real Asimov kick, reading anything I could find that he wrote, and there was a lot to find. This list contains 464 books that the good Doctor penned while he was alive, and it is just an estimate. He wrote all the time.

Anyway back to the movie, which was "suggested by the book by Isaac Asimov," has almost nothing to do with the book. However, it was a pretty good SciFi movie. The real star of this movie are the robots, in particular Sonny. The special effects are worth the price of admission alone, and the acting that fuels Sonny's performance was very good.

Don't go into this movie expecting an arthouse film, or a faithful retelling of the book. If you go in expecting a fun summer movie you will not be disappointed.

But you don't have to take my word on it, you can take Glenn's.