Thursday, July 09, 2009

Romgad At Wars

What does it stand for? Well, Robots, Old Man, Greeks, Angels, Demons And Travolta Wearing A Rocking 'Stache, of course... time for some movie reviews...

THE ROBOTS… “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”
I’ll tread lightly. I wrote a slightly negative review about “Speed Racer” a while ago, and got blasted by two people I’ve never even met (though I’m thankful they read the blog), and admittedly, I’ve never been a huge “Speed Racer” fan… I have, however, been and am a big “Transformers” fan.

Here’s the deal. I liked the movie. What I liked about it is really what everyone wanted to see… big, bad robots beating the crap out of each other, and that’s just what happened. From the big single wheeled robot tearing up the streets at the beginning to the awesome appearance of the Constructicons at the end, the robots did not disappoint. Michael Bay is a genius when it comes to explosions, loud gunfire and crazy battle climaxes.

What I didn’t like was everything else. It was too long. It was full of cheesy dialogue. The characters, who I really liked in the first one, sometimes became too comical and stupid. Megan Fox is good looking, but really, if you look around and see that mouse sitting beside your computer, you are looking at an object that can act about as well as she can.

And for the record, anytime the phrase “If we don’t stop them, they’ll destroy the sun which will destroy our planet!” is uttered in a movie, in any variation, its ridiculous.

If there is any issue with Pixar movies, it is this… one day, they are going to make a bad movie. One day, they are going to release flick that is just… well, not good at all. So far, we’ve been entertained by a lovable robot, a friendship between a cowboy and a Space Ranger, a bunch of ants with four legs, some monsters in the closet, talking cars, cooking rats, a lost fish and ranking 49th on TheDave 100, a family of superheroes. So, could this be it? A movie about an old man and a Wilderness Scout who fly in a house to South America? Could this be the inevitable misstep?


“Up” is magnificent in every way possible. The story is fun and sweet, and somehow, the theater gets a little dusty after the first fifteen minutes. The music is fantastic, especially in that first fifteen minutes. The characters are likable, even lovable, from a dorky Scout who is deeper than a dork, to a goofy talking dog, who doesn’t talk by normal Disney standards, but through an inventive collar. Perhaps the least likable character is the actual bad guy, who is really only unlikable because you don’t see much of who he is, other than a jerkface. The main character though, is Carl, who seems cantankerous and miserly, but you’ll discover has his reasons.


The color is marvelous. The scene when the roof comes off and the balloons fill the sky is incredible, a feast of color and animation brilliance. My recommendation is see this movie in 2-D, not 3-D. The 3-D glasses tend to dim the color slightly, and you don’t want that diminished in any way.

Enjoy the splendor, enjoy the color, enjoy the story, grab a hanky for the first few minutes of exposition between Carl & Ellie, and start worrying that maybe the next Pixar movie—Toy Story 3 in 3-D—will be the misstep.

FYI, found this nugget on the interweb.... The villain Charles Muntz is named after Charles Mintz, the Universal Pictures executive who in 1928 stole Walt Disney's production rights to his highly-successful "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" cartoon series. This led Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse, who soon eclipsed Oswald in popularity.

THE GREEKS… “My Life in Ruins”
I am loving me some Nia Vardalos, who just happens to be my very favorite Greek actress. Don’t know who that is? She’s the star of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. She’s just pretty enough to be borderline beautiful, yet not so pretty that, if she lived around you, she would be unattainable.


I had a feeling this would be a movie I would enjoy, but I didn’t realize I would like it as much as I did. I loved it. It’s not perfect, its flawed, and let’s be honest, this is a blip on the radar screen of the summer movies. It spent about two weeks in the big theaters, and I saw it today on the dollar screen…

Nia plays Georgia, a tour guide for a small company that gives week long tours in Greece. She loves the history, she loves the architecture and she loves Greece, but she struggles with being entertaining to a group of tourists, some American, some British, some Australian and some just old and annoying. Her co-worker, Niko, does everything he can to appeal not only to his group, but Georgia’s group as well, being funny, buying them food, skipping the boring history to go shopping and so on.

The movie is about a week in Georgia’s life, and how she figures it out… through a number of sources, including an excellent Richard Dreyfuss playing the typically loudmouth funny old guy, “Irv” and a bus driver who takes a liking to her--a bus driver who's name is pronounced "Poopy Cacas"

The movie is a bit long, and towards the end I was hoping it would come to a conclusion… and finally, it does. “My Life in Ruins” is light, its breezy, its fun and Nia Vardalos is her beautiful, real self.

And even though its getting some pretty terrible reviews, I will probably go see her other film that's out, "I Hate Valentine's Day".

THE ANGELS & DEMONS… “Angels & Demons”
Sigh. I didn’t hate this movie as much as I hated the fact that I thought it was silly. It wasn’t smart. It wasn’t riveting. It wasn’t suspenseful. It was silly. When you use the words “Catholicism”, “Illuminati” and “anti-matter’s destructive power” to write your screenplay, I’m not sure it works. I’ve heard the book is awesome, and I have no doubt that is a fact, but the movie just didn’t work for me. Eh.

I miss fun Tom Hanks.

AT WARS… And Travolta Wearing A Rocking ‘Stache
"The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" has a formula has been done before, and I don’t mean in the original movie. I mean, someone (in this case, John Travolta) takes something (in this case, NYC subway car 123) hostage, and a very unlikely someone else (in this case, Denzel Washington) ends up being caught right in the middle.

But you know what? Despite the fact you’ve seen this plot a thousand times, despite the fact you have a good idea how this is going to end before the first ransom demand is made, this movie works. It works for two reasons… 1) Denzel. 2) Travolta as a bad guy.

Well, fine, 3) Travolta’s rocking ‘stache.

Tony Scott directed, and you can tell if you’ve seen the other Tony/Denzel collaborations like “Crimson Tide”, "Man on Fire" or "Deja Vu", or Tony's earlier works like "Enemy of the State" or “Top Gun” or any of the other frenzied action movies he’s led. After one particular crazy camera shot, I leaned over and whispered to The Lovely Steph Leann, "That's a very Tony Scott kind of shot." She agreed.

Its full of F-bombs and violence, a few over the top action scenes and the plot is actually pretty good, one of those back-and-forth cat & mouse games, and unlike "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", John Turturro is actually respectable and believable.

And what's come up now? Well, "Public Enemies", which we'll probably go see this weekend... "Inglorious Basterds", which I'm sure I'll go see with Mikey... "GI Joe: Rise of Cobra", which is sure to be a ridiculously bad yet fantastic movie... "The Ugly Truth", which I'm sure The Lovely Steph Leann will make me take her to see... and of course...

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