Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Movie Day

Three movies last week, two movies this past weekend, two movies today, plus another tossed in there... so here we go...

If you didn't like the first movie, you will not like this movie at all, as its really nothing more than a two hour extension of the first film, 2006's "Night at the Museum". This flick picks up about two or three years where the first one left off, as Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) has left his night guard job at the Museum of Natural History, becoming an inventor and owner of Daley Devices, making, among other things, the glow-in-the-dark flashlight.

Upon his return to visit his night-time museum friends, he learns that through renovations of the museum, Jedediah, Octavius and Sacajawea and the gang are being shipped to underground storage of Washington's Smithsonian. There's an issue with the golden tablet that brings them to life every night, Larry rushes to Washington to save his friends and runs face to face with Al Capone, Ivan the Terrible, General Custer (an always hilarious Bill Hader) and Kahmunrah, a [fictitious] Pharaoh hell-bent on taking over the world. And, Larry run into one Amelia Earhart.

Here's the thing... this is a goofy, silly, fun little movie. Besides the suspension of disbelief needed to believe in the whole "wax figures come to life at the museum due to this golden tablet", you also have to go a step further and believe some pretty outlandish coincidences, some pretty crazy situations and some pretty odd occurrences... but you don't worry about that. With this movie, you know what you are going to get... lots of historical figures making pop culture references, lots of funny action and Ben Stiller doing what he does best.

And in this particular film, there are two scene stealers, the first being Hank Azaria, who not only plays Kahmunrah to the hilt, leaving you convinced that he had a blast playing this part, but he also does the voice of the Brooklyn-accented Thinker sculpture and of Abe Lincoln, fresh out of the Lincoln Memorial.


And of course, Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with. She does her best Amelia Earhart with zest, gusto and all the energetic adjectives you can come up. In fact... she's put forth the biggest challenge to date for the crown of The Goddess. We shall see.

Speaking of Ben Stiller, I saw this via Netflix a month or so ago. Its raw, its bawdy, its totally wrong, but it is oh so funny. Loved every second of it.

I thought the first Terminator, as far as story goes, was the best. I thought the second Terminator, as far as visual effects, was downright stunning and amazing. The third, despite that pretty rockin' crane chase scene, was quite a letdown. The fact that Christian Bale was in the fourth was really the only reason I was giving it credibility.

Bale broods much like Vin Diesel in "Fast & Furious", and in fact, were I not d$ but Scott the Blind Vampire, I'm not sure I could tell them apart. He fires lots of guns, he blows lots of crap up, and he is trying to save Kyle Reese, who, if you think back, is Michael Biehn's character in the first Terminator... in that film, Kyle goes back to 1984, gets it on with Sarah Connor, and John Connor is born... in this current film, Kyle is a teenager, and an adult John has to save his teenage dad, so his teenage dad can grow up, become an adult, go back in time, get it on with Sarah and... well, the circle of time flimflammery continues.

If you like lots of explosions and robot violence, then this film is for you. There are very few curse words, there are very little scenes of people getting killed, its mostly just robots and humans duking it out. All in all, I enjoyed the film, I enjoyed the underrated Bryce Dallas Howard, and I enjoyed the random Terminator scene--you'll know what I'm talking about--towards the end when John is in Skynet.

This is an old school western that came out last year, directed by Ed Harris, who also stars along with Viggo Mortensen. They play Virgil and Everett, hired by the town to defend them against the villainous Randall Bragg, played in a DieHard With a Vengeance Sneer by Jeremy Irons.

The movie isn't bad, but it really doesn't work for me due to one thing... Renee Zellweger. She just doesn't fit in the movie, her lines are terrible, her acting is terrible, and really the only person who you really like in the entire film is Viggo, who is just always cool.

As it happens, I'm watching WWE Raw, as we speak. This is the much heralded performance from Mickey Rourke last year that earned him a Golden Globe award and his first Oscar nomination. And let me tell ya, as Randy "The Ram" Robinson, Mickey Rourke is brilliant.

The Ram was a huge megastar in the 80s, but now he's doing nothing but low-attendance high school gym wrestling shows and crappy barn shows. His only daughter won't speak to him, and his only friend is an aging stripper, played to beautiful perfection by Marisa Tomei. Marisa, by the way, is like a fine wine... just getting better with age. You see lots of the wrestling, some of the behind-the-scenes scripting for matches, but mostly, you see a man who wants to be something he's just not anymore, just trying to do the one thing that he was at one time incredible at, but now is only pretty good at--though he still thinks he can be brilliant.

This movie is raw, there is a ton of language, and Marisa Tomei's boobies make a few appearances, along with a really random and possibly unnecessary getting-it-on shot between The Ram and some random bar chick. You decide.

Awesome. Just awesome. Absolutely awesome.

Kim is taking a trip to Europe with her friend Amanda, with the support of mother Lenore (when did Famke Janssen get so old??) and against the wishes of father Bryan. And when bad things happen to Kim, father Bryan springs into action.

Hey, hairy foreign dude... you're going to want to tell Mr. Neeson what he wants to know...

The beauty of Liam Neeson's character is that you are never really told what it is that he did for a living, you just know that he possesses one heck of a skill set. Perhaps by that omission, it allows Bryan Mills to do whatever the heck he wants under the canopy of "former job". Either way, he's bad-a and its freakin' cool watching him do what he does. Everyone I know that has come out of this movie has told me they liked it, and I admit the same. One of my favorite of the year so far.

This is a movie that really, only Clint Eastwood could star in. Clint plays Walt, a gruff, tough widower who has been living in his house forever, and isn't too happy to see the Hmong Asian family move in next door. He warms up slowly, mostly due to the persistence of Sue, the teenage girl, and her brother Thao.

The family sees trouble when a local Hmong gang pressures Thao to join them, going to the point of assault and threats. Walt gets involved, against his better judgement, and a whole lot of bad things happen before the final scene of the movie, including one that made me sigh, and thank heavens that The Lovely Steph Leann didn't see what I just saw.

Excellent film, but full of language and violence.

Greg Mottola, same guy who did Superbad, did this flick, and it looked hilarious. Its got Bill Hader, its got Kristin Wiig, it takes place in a 1980s amusement park... what can go wrong? Plenty.

Though it has its funny moments, this movie isn't nearly as funny as I thought it would be... should be, even. Its really nothing more than a love story between James (Jesse Eisenberg) and Em (Kristin Stewart... yes, Bella from that movie "Watching Paint Dry"), and he looks dorky all the way through, and she whines a whole lot, and a great character turn from Ryan Reynolds is all but wasted and... well, I just was really disappointed.

Having said that, however, I'm looking forward to watching it one more time because I think now that those expectations have been lowered, I think I will appreciate the more personal aspect of this story...

In the next few weeks... Disney Pixar's "Up"... Nia Vardalos in "My Life in Ruins".... Denzel & Travolta in "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3"... and Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock end up together at the end of "The Proposal"...


  1. Matt (Destin, FL)May 25, 2009 11:27 PM

    I thought Taken was the best of these that I have seen. I really liked The Wrestler and Gran Torino though. Both have great endings that I didnt really see coming (except for maybe The Wrestler).

    I still want to see Tropic Thunder, and now even more since reading what you wrote.

    I do want to recommend Angels and Demons though. I thought it was an excellent movie, much better than The Da Vinci Code, and anyone who is offended by anything in it obviously walked into the theater with their mind already made up about it. I thought Opie went out of his way to not criticize the church, and if you look at it like any other Tom Hanks mystery/thriller, it is entertaining and interesting....all I ask for in a movie. I would be interested in your opinions on it if you ever see it.

  2. I will probably see Angels & Demons, and my not seeing it yet is more of the fact that there are movies I want to see more, not that I dont want to see it. The Da Vinci Code was eh, but I have heard this is even better... im not too worried about movies that criticize the church... after all, Dogma is in the Dave100...

  3. I watched "The Wrestler" the other night. Pretty dadgum good. "Night at the Museum" and "Taken" are on my to do list as well as "Star Trek", GI Joe", "X-Men: Origins", and maybe "Transformers."


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