Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I got out this past weekend to see a movie on the big screen because of one simple word. “PIXAR.” I could care less about the story, characters, or topic, if the word Pixar is attached to the movie, you can be guaranteed I will be there. My confidence with regards to Pixar was justified in their latest offering, “Wall-E.”

The story takes place on earth some time in the far, or possible near future depending upon your thoughts about how quickly we are destroying our planet. The earth has become so polluted, that it is no longer inhabitable. The only thing that is left is one huge junk pile. Wall-E is a little robot that has been left on earth to slowly clean things up in the hopes that one day the human race can return home. Some how after a few hundred years of cleaning, Wall-E has some how managed to develop human like emotional traits. Each day Wall-E, and his little friend (a cockroach) go out to do his job of cleaning, and as he cleans, he picks up little trinkets, as well as replacement parts for himself, but when the day is done, he is all alone on earth. One day a large rocket lands and releases a small futuristic robot named Eva. After a rocky start, Wall-E and Eva become some what friends, but while out one day, Eva finds a tiny plant growing in the ground. She quickly snaps up the plant inside her, and then clams up like a safe while sending out a signal to the mother ship that dropped her off. I will leave the story line alone from here.

The story is original, the scenery is mind blowing, and the film runs the whole gambit of emotions. There are scenes that will have you laughing out of your seat. What can I say? This movie is fantastic in every way. Finding Nemo was a masterpiece, and this movie in the long run may very well out do it.

If you have ever wondered about the company that produces these forever classic movies, I encourage you to watch “The making of” DVD of Finding Nemo. These people are on another planet as far as research, animation, and production goes. They spare NO expense trying to replicate whatever environment the story takes place in, down to the smallest detail. You could basically watch one of Pixar’s movies a hundred times, and still find new things each and every time you see it.

There are so few family movies that every person will thoroughly enjoy, but this is one of them. You can not see this movie without walking out of the theater and wanting to go right back in and watching it a second time.

One final note, before the movie starts, Pixar shows you a quick cartoon called Presto. It’s a “short” about a magician, his magical hat, and his rabbit. This is the funniest things I think I have ever seen in my entire life. There was not a single person in the theater that was not rolling in the Isles.....Be prepared to laugh yourself silly.

My rating for this movie is 9.00 out of 10.00

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I’ve got a good weekend rental movie for you if you have not seen this one yet. Jumper staring Hayden Christensen (Anikin Skywalker from Star Wars) is what I call a “Brain Candy” type movie. It’s nothing really worthy of high praise other then some pretty spectacular scenery, and special effects towards the end of the film, but when all is said and done, it’s a fun movie to fantasize about “What if?” What would you do if you had the ability to go anywhere on earth with just a simple thought? Well, Hayden’s character David does quite a few of those very things that would probably enter your mind first.

The story starts out with David as a young teen trying to impress a girl in school by walking out onto a river that has frozen over. Of course the ice breaks, David falls in, and he is quickly being swept down stream in the frozen water. During the horror of coming close to drowning he thinks about one of his favorite places to go, (The local Library) and BOOM! The next second he is lying on the library floor soaked in frozen water. He has no idea how or why he got there, but realizes quickly that he has this ability to transport himself. There are a few funny scenes of David practicing his new found gift trying to learn how to control it. Eventually he masters his skill, and is soon “borrowing” money from banks all over the world.

The story then switches to David in his twenties I would guess, and as he is enjoying is life of travel, and luxury he finds himself going back to his home town in search of that special girl that he tried to impress that fateful day on the frozen river. He sweeps her off her feet with his wealth, and love of travel, and they are soon having the romantic time of their life, but the happiness is short lived as a clandestine group of bad guys that have a single purpose which is to kill all “Jumpers.” Yes, as David finds out eventually, he is not the only jumper. In fact there are many of them, and they have been around for thousands of years, just as the group of people that are trying to kill him have been. This group of bad guys is headed up by Roland (played by Samuel Jackson)

Roland and his jumper hunters have different fun electronic devices that help hunt down jumpers, and one particular fun device can actually catch them like flies in a spider web. Some how if a jumper is caught in some kind of electrical current, they are unable to jump, so taking advantage of this, Roland has a device that is similar to a stun gun, but resembles more of a web. Once in the web, and unable to jump, Roland disposes of the jumpers with what I guess is some sacred knife. The chase continues all over the planet, from jump spot to jump spot, and along the way David encounters another jumper, and together they try to take the bad guys down. As I said in the beginning, the later parts of the movies have some fantastic special effects which I won’t get into, but trust me it is worth a look just for those scenes.

Fair warning, this is not an Oscar winner in any way, it is simply a fun action packed adventure that stretches the imagination, and in the end is left wide open for a sequel.

My rating for this movie is 7.00 out of 10.00

Monday, April 28, 2008

"The Tudors"

I’ve only done this once before, but I have a TV series that I must put on here for those who have not seen it, or may not even know about it. This show is an absolute must see. I can only describe it as watching an A+ movie but you get to watch it every week!

The Tudors in a nutshell is basically the history of King Henry VIII. While at a first glance some might say, that history is boring, but if you look at the life and times of King Henry in detail, I would have to disagree. What this fantastic series brings to light is some of the most intriguing history to happen between the Kings of England, and the Roman Catholic Church. Power corrupts totally, and in this particular time line, it was never as true as with Henry. As a youth he was athletic, highly educated, was fluent in many languages, and a musician of many instruments, but as an adult his lust for women, and power shattered the religious world as it was back then into a thousand pieces.

While Jonathan Ryhs Meyers would not have been my first choice for playing the part of King Henry VIII, I will admit as the series progresses, his acting continues to improve and form up nicely with the way King Henry’s life and times were chronicled. Another bright star, Natalie Dormer plays the part of the king’s mistress (eventually crowned queen) Anne Boleyn, and she is outstanding in every way. The Estranged Queen, King Henry’s first wife Queen Catherine of Aragon, is played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, and although she is not on camera a lot, the times she is she is masterful in her role. There are a dozen other actors scattered through the plot line, and I can’t say that a single part played that was not of great caliber. Even Peter O’Toole as Pope Paul III is amazing.

Already knowing full well the brilliance of creator / writer / producer Michael Hirst from his breath taking work in Elizabeth the Golden Years, he continues with film sets, landscapes, wardrobes, and an overall look of fantastic proportions that has only been seen in huge feature films, and yet this is a TV series. All be it a program only available on Showtime, this single program alone is worth buying the monthly subscription. If you do have Showtime, I highly suggest going to Showtime on demand where you can go back and watch the entire first season episode, by episode.

While admittedly there is some free lance creating / writing going on from scene to scene, the historical accuracy with which they tell this story is spot on as far as my research has gone. Not only do you get top notch acting, beautiful pageantry, and A+ content, but you get a history lesson on top of it all. This is a win / win TV series that is worth watching in every way.

My rating for this TV series is 9.00 out of 10.00

Sunday, April 6, 2008

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

I’ve got a Jim Carrey movie for you to check out if you’re looking for a movie to watch in between the release of the bigger movies this month. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind,” is one of those mind twisting movies that you may even end up watching twice just to catch some of the subtleties you missed trying to keep up with the plot on the first go around.

I don’t think this movie ever really got much play either in the theaters, or the rental stores because of its bizarre nature, but I do think it’s worth a look just because of the very interesting scenes Director Michel Gondry creates towards the ending part of the film.

The basic plot involves a couple Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) who are both a little on the strange side of the street to begin with but find each other and at the beginning they both enjoy the relationship. As the story continues the relationship sours, but something more then strange happens when Clementine finds a doctor who actually has found a way to literally erase a person from your mind. She has the procedure done, and Joel no longer someone she even knows exists. Angry and despondent that she would do such a thing, Joel has the same procedure done to erase her from his mind. From there the story unfolds as each memory is slowly deleted from Joel’s mind.

This movie is spotted with some fantastic acting by both Kate, and Jim, but also there are some scenes with the secondary characters (the people that do the erasing via a computer program) that were down right obnoxious. Just for originality alone this movie received high marks from me. Very few original concepts are tossed out there in Hollywood land these days that I applaud anyone that goes out there and tries something different then just remaking an old movie that has already been done.

Warning, this movie does take a little while to take shape, but once it gets going, it goes places not very many story lines have gone before, and along with the story line being original, there are a lot of great scenes where Joel’s mind fights the erasing process that are filmed in a way that really stretches your imagination. In the end it makes you stop and think about your life, and relationships. While some may have ended in a very bad way, would you give up all the good that happened just to get rid of that bad ending? If you had the chance, would you erase some one from your mind? This movie asks this question, and answers it in many different ways.

Being a wannabe film writer / director I look at any movie I see closely, and I usually find a way that the story could have been told better, or filmed better, and this movie is no different. This really could have been a stellar film from start to finish with just a few small changes, but when all is said and done, I will take the good with the bad just because of the thought provoking nature of this story.

My rating for this movie is 7.5 out of 10.00

Monday, March 24, 2008


Well it has been a while since I’ve been able to review a good Sci-Fi movie, but I did find one. “Sunshine” has been out for a while, but I just recently got a chance to check it out, and what a pleasant surprise it was. If you are a Sci-Fi fan like myself, and have not seen this yet, I highly recommend it.

Hollywood has come up with thousands of ways to destroy all mankind, and yet some how always manage a way to save it, and while this story shadows that very premise, it is a little different, and that little difference is what makes it good watch.

The basic sustaining source of all life as we know it is our Sun. We are set perfectly in the solar system to where the Sun warms the planet, and allows plant life to grow, which is pretty much the basis of all life. In Sunshine, the Sun is dying. I don’t specifically remember the reason as to why it is dying, or even if they said why, but obviously without the Sun, Earth would cease to have life on it. Scientists figure out a way to rejuvenate the Sun, and send a space ship that has a payload of some form of “Fix it’ called Icarus. Earth loses communication with Icuras, and it is presumed lost, so they send Icuras 2, which is where the story begins.

As with all good Sci-Fi movies, everything that can possibly go wrong eventually does and the crew is left scrambling to some how find a way to save the mission, and of course save humanity as we know it. The Crew has too many actors to list on here, but they are some folks that you would definitely recognize from other projects, and they all do a fantastic job interacting with each other through thick and thin during the mission.

While all these things mentioned already help this movie along, I think the best part of this movie is its realism. Being a fan of N.A.S.A. and Space travel as it progresses in real life, I very much enjoyed how true to life they made things look and feel. If you have ever watched any of the shows about our planned trip to Mars, you automatically get the feeling when watching this movie, that serious planning was involved with every tiny detail to make it as realistic as possible. This is what made the movie a large notch above just your typical run of the mill Sci-fi flick. I also enjoyed the “2001 a space odyssey” type vibe I got throughout the entire film. There is this very tangible feeling of doom waiting around each corner if just the slightest thing goes wrong, along with this deep sense of un-knowing as the crew gets closer and closer to its destination. There is a hundred different twists and turns as the story unfolds, and I’m not about to ruin even a single one more then what I’ve already disclosed earlier, you will just have to watch it and see for yourself.

My rating for this movie is 8.5 out of 10.00

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"The Notebook"

I’ve got an older movie for you to check out in case you missed it back when it came out in 2004. It’s called “The Notebook.” This book turned movie is definitely more along the lines of a “Chick Flick,” however it was so well done that I found myself enjoying the entire film. As I’m finding out quite often, there are these little gem movies that just continue to fly under my radar that I stumble across down the road and they end up making a great weekend rental.

Gena Rowlands plays Allie Calhoun. She is an old woman stuck in an old folk’s home towards the end of her days. The disease she is dying from has robbed her of her memory with the exception of brief snippets of time where she wakes back to the reality of her real life. For the rest of the time she doesn’t remember anyone or anything. James Garner plays the character of Duke. He visits Allie every day at the old folk’s home, and reads to Allie out of a book. The book contains the touching love story of two kids that meet and fall in love, but because of their different backgrounds (one rich the other not) they are forbidden to see each other. The broken hearted boy goes off to war, and sends letter after letter, but they all go unanswered because the mother hides them from the girl. Every once in a great while as Duke reads to Allie, this story manages to find that deep place still buried in her mind of her real life the way it was, but most of the time it is just a sweet love story she enjoys hearing.

The main part of this story is the actual kids as they fall in love, and end up being separated. Ryan Gosling plays the young man. Noah Calhoun. He has started to stack up a nice little list of movies, and his acting is very good in this one. Rachel McAdams plays the young Allie Hamilton, and her acting is equally as good as her counterpart. These two are wonderful together as kids, and later on as adults that meet again to re-kindle what was once lost. I’m afraid I can’t get much more into the plot of the movie because the story that leads up to the sad but very fitting, and touching end would be spoiled, and for once Hollywood got this ending right so heaven forbid I blow it by giving out TMI.

I for sure have to give a nice shout out to director Nick Cassavetes. While he has quite a few feathers in his cap, this is one of the more bright ones that are worth mentioning. The casting for this project is A+ across the board. The scenery, cinematography, pageantry and all around good shots in “The Notebook” is also top notch. As I’m sitting back trying to remember anything bad about this movie, I’m just not finding anything. Perhaps the story takes a little while to unfold and take shape, but with a good story line like this, it’s worth the wait. If like me you never even heard of this movie until now, or did hear about it, but didn’t watch it, go grab it for this weekend, you won’t be disappointed.

My rating for this movie is 8.00 out of 10.00

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Charlie Wilson's War"

Up next is a film I got to check out on the big screen a while back, but I just was never able to find the time to get a review up for it, but as of now I’m trying to get caught up here, so here we go.

Charlie Wilson’s War is not a movie that you can easily fit into a single category which is why I felt a little confused as I was watching it. On one hand you have the main character, Charlie Wilson (played brilliantly by Tom Hanks) who is this fun loving playboy type congressman, on the other you have this very strange time in history during which Russia had invaded Afghanistan, and somewhere in the middle the two stories meet.

A rich socialite Joanne Herring (played by a very sleek and still sexy Julia Roberts) convinces Charlie that aid needs to be brought to the afghan’s in the way of arms, and supplies, but in a subversive way in which the American Government can’t really be spotted as the one helping them out. Charlie proceeds to get the funds from the government, and permission from the Pakistani dictator of the time to help kick the Russians out of Afghanistan. Along the way are the funny stories of how Charlie hooks up with an outcast CIA agent Gust Avarkotos, (played by one of my up and coming favorite strange actors Phillip Seymour Hoffman) gets the intel needed to fight this undercover war against the Russians via the Afghanistan soldiers.

As I said before this movie is torn between a serious look at a strange time period, and almost a comedic at times story of how this stranger then life congressman figures out a way to help the situation. There were many classic scenes of dialogue between Tom, Julia, and Seymour that make the movie memorable, but then there are the scenes of Afghanistan during the incursion of the Russians that would make your blood boil, and your heart break.

Mike Nichols, the director of one of the funniest movies I have ever seen “Bird Cage,” I doubt highly doubt did this film single handedly considering Tom Hanks ranks as a director / producer these days, but he is listed as the sole director, so to him go the props. Charlie Wilson’s War is a fun and interesting film, with some very good acting by all involved with the project, and for sure is worth the price of the rental when the movie is released on DVD April 22nd 2008, or if you are big Tom Hanks fan, it is probably worth even buying to stick in the DVD collection.

My rating for this movie is 7.00 out of 10.00