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Showing posts from August, 2011

Quick Movie Review: 30 Minutes or Less

My only real problem with this movie is that it is too crude. I know crudeness is mistaken for comedy a lot these days, but when are they going to learn that it often isn't comedy? And when it is, it's only because it's done right. In this case, it's hit and miss.

Okay, now that I've got that out of the way, we can move on. I liked "30 Minutes or Less". I liked the whole cast, I laughed a bit, and I have a sweet spot for Danny McBride and Jesse Eisenberg. Danny McBride does this sort of role so well. So maybe he is typecast, and yes, his range isn't exactly far, but I love the one or two types of roles I've seen him do. If he was a dramatic actor doing serious roles, I might have a problem, but he's Danny McBride, so...

Despite being overly crude, it is actually a pretty funny movie. It probably could have been funnier, and it's not perfect, but it passes the test. I liked the ending, too.

My grade: B

Quick Movie Review: Vampires Suck

Funnier than I thought it would be. Not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny all the time, but not a dud. I liked the actors, and the actress playing Becca nailed Kristen Stewart's mannerisms. And the guy playing Edward is kind of hot. That never hurts. He also looks like Cam Gigandet.

I wish spoofs nowadays would take a cue from classics like Naked Gun (all three of them!) and Airplane! Now those are funny. This one could benefit from a better script and smoother scene transitions.

Oh, and the guy who played Oswald in The Drew Carey Show plays Becca's dad, Frank. Hehe.

My grade: B-

Movie Review: The Maid

Another foreign film that I picked up. Very tense! Raquel has been the maid for a family for 23 years. It's a good family, and Raquel is practically a part of the family. They treat her well. Her life outside of them is non-existent, as far as I can tell. But now the work is getting to be a bit too much, so the mistress decides to hire another maid to help her. Raquel hates that! So what does she do? She runs the new girl out of the house. It doesn't matter that she is nice or does her job. Raquel is a bit insane, irrational, and hard to sympathize with at times. She has some emotional issues, I think. You know where she's coming from, to a point, but that doesn't make what she's doing right. She also seems to have an issue with the eldest child, Camilla, for no reason at all. Camilla tells her mother to open her eyes and see that Raquel hates her, even though she almost raised her. It's never explained why Raquel doesn't like Camilla, as she's a nice g…

Movie Review: Monster Thursday

I love a good foreign film. Unfortunately, this one is a fail. Coming out of Norway, we have "Monster Thursday", a film about a man, Even, whose best friend, Tord, marries the woman he loves, Karen. She's also heavily pregnant. Tord has to go to Singapore for two weeks and asks his buddy to look after his wife while he's away. Yes, he is fully aware that his friend is in love with his wife, and she knows it, too. Apparently no one takes this seriously. So Even decides he needs to learn how to surf in order to impress her, I guess because Tord is "flawless" and is himself a surfer.

Next we have Even learning how to surf for the first time. It's mildly interesting stuff. He learns from a retired pro while hanging out with his other friend. It's all predictable, however. I know I use that word a lot, but I find that so many movies curse themselves with predictability and blandness.

The romance aspect is a fail. There are three reasons for this: (1) th…

Book Review: The People Who Watched Her Pass By by Scott Bradfield

"...But it's definitely how kids live today, constantly being monitored and tended, exercised and educated until they're as docile as sheep. Only they don't produce anything useful, like wool or lamb chops. They just shuffle along, doing what they're told, thinking what they're supposed to. They never surprise you. They're always the same as everybody else."

I like this little novella. I liked it before I even read it. Glancing at the cover and the synopsis, I knew that I would more likely than not enjoy it, and, oddly enough, I was right. It's the slice of literature that I've been looking for.

"The People Who Watched Her Pass By" is about a little girl, Salome, or Sal, as she's called, who is kidnapped by a man who is hired to fix the hot water heater. She's three years old at the time, although I don't think her age is ever said in the book, since Sal herself is not aware of how old she is. It's told in third pers…

This Bothers Me a Little...

I don't like that Christine O'Donnell is associated with Delaware. I mean do people consider her a Delawarean? I don't want folks thinking that everyone in Delaware is like or her agrees with her. She's giving it a bad name!

For the record, she was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in New Jersey (please take her back!). She's in The First State to be a "politician (more like a joke) and she sucks at that.

I'm just saying. She is not what Delaware or any state is all about, just like Sarah Palin is not what Alaska is all about, and so on. I wanted to point that out in case anyone was getting the wrong impression... that is all *flips out an anti-masturbation pamphlet and gets her flying broom out of the cupboard*

Movie Review: Escape From L.A.

"Snake, call me Snake."

 That is the kind of dialogue that comes out of this terrible movie. Kurt Russell does a whispery gravelly thing with his voice, never projecting or displaying a whole lot in the personality department. I'm assuming that was intentional on the film maker's part. because it sounds too stupid to be an accidentally allowed.  This is one of those times when they were probably like, "That's right, this is funny, now laugh. See? We don't take it seriously. We're excellent dudes from Dudeville." Or something like that.

What a stupid movie. I mean good lord!  I think it's a more-or-less-aware-of-how-stupid-it-is movie, but there are times when it seems to take itself seriously, and other times when it seems to be stupid on purpose.

It's not gripping or funny in a good way (I was laughing at how bad and cliche it was at every turn), and there isn't really anything new about it. The characters are nothing to grab hold …

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

It's been out for a few weeks now, but I finally got to the final Harry Potter installment. I actually watched the premiere on YouTube, and since my mom is the big fan, I told her about it, and she started tearing up at the end. She was blowing her nose by the end of Harry Potter, as well.

I've always liked Harry Potter, the books and the movies, but I've never been a huge fan. I don't mean that as an insult, it's simply that I don't get excited about it. Or a lot of other things, for that matter. But I still enjoy it, and it was still a part of my childhood. We have the first three films on VHS. Seems like a long time ago, doesn't it?

I thought Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 was great. I know some people thought it was slow moving and dull in parts, but I didn't. Part 2 has all the action.

Part 2 is great, as well, although there were instances when it could have, should have, had more of an impact; gone further in depth so that it really hit the audience. Par…

Movie Review: Whip It

One of the best assets "Whip It" has is a great cast. Drew Barrymore, who also directed, displays great personality. She has, in the past, annoyed me, but I loved her in this. It was great to see Alia Shawkat and Daniel Stern again, too. Ellen Page never really annoys me, but there is a sameness about her in all of her movies, although that doesn't mean she doesn't have a decent acting range. I liked her in Hard Candy and Juno and some other film that I can't recall. She's quite good and likable, but she's also...Ellen Page-y...

Know what I mean?

"Whip It" is filled with cliches and runs on a few basic formulas, but it's fun and entertaining, which means it's not a dud. There's also some girl power, which is never a bad thing. The roller derby scenes are some of the best, due to the high energy factor and the coming together of the more colorful characters. But like I said, there's a lack of originality when it comes to a good pa…

Quick Movie Review: Quinceanera

This is one of the better movies I saw this past week. Set in Echo Park, "Quinceanera" is about a girl, Magdalena, who discovers that she's pregnant just as her fifteenth birthday is approaching. The thing is, she's a virgin. No one believes her, or at least most people don't, including her parents. And it just figures that her dad is a preacher, doesn't it? Now she must forget her fancy coming-of-age celebration (involving a pretty dress and a Hummer limousine), called a Quinceanera. She leaves her family and goes to live with her old uncle and black sheep cousin.

I must say, I love the plot. I wasn't completely sure what the movie would turn out like, but I was not disappointed. The cast is good, as are the characters they portray.

This is in English and Spanish, so there are some subtitles.

This movie probably isn't for everyone, but I liked it. Interesting story and characters.

My grade: B+

Classic Movie Review: Monkey Business

Ugh. Right, I love Cary Grant, but this movie...just...NO! I know, it's a classic, but damn. It wasn't smart, funny, or interesting. The synopsis made it sound better than it was. A chimpanzee gets loose and completes Dr. Barnaby Fulton's (Cary Grant) youth formula, unbeknown  to everyone. Then he dumps it in the water cooler.

And I want to bring this up because it bothers me a tad: this is not a Marilyn Monroe movie. Yes, she is in it, and yes, she died young therefore making her infamous, but she is not the star of this film and her role is not that important. I'm not criticizing her, I'm just pointing out that it shouldn't be advertised as her movie. Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers are the actual stars.

Honestly, I did not like it. It has an interesting premise that could have been funny and goofy, but I found it more irking and snooze-worthy than anything else. Maybe it's just me.

My grade: C

Movie Review: Speak

Ah yes, a TV movie. You never know what you're going to get with them. I read good things about this, and it just happened to be a movie that I randomly picked up at the library. I haven't read the book, so I don't know which is better (usually the book) or how faithful or how accurately cast it is.  It doesn't really matter if I read it first, but I prefer to. Its just a thing of mine.

Basic plot: Melinda Sordino (Kristen Stewart) was traumatized over the summer (by that they mean she was raped), and after losing all of her friends and going back to school, she decides not to talk.

This is a minor complaint, if you can even call it a complaint, but given the title and the description, I was under the impression that Melinda, a selective mute, would actually stop talking. Granted, she doesn't talk a whole lot (there's more over voice), but it's more than I expected. I suppose by "mute", what they really meant is that she chooses to be quiet about …

Movie Review: Bride and Prejudice

I saw this a few years ago shortly after it came out. I decided to re-watch it again since I didn't remember much of it. The only thing I recall is that I wasn't impressed. But I thought it might be better than my memory gave it credit for.

Unfortunately, I still don't like it. I will say this: I don't like song-and-dance movies, which is what Bollywood films are like, therefore the odds were against me on this one. If you like Bollywood films, then you probably will like it more than I do.

As a "Pride and Prejudice" fan, it's hard to resist a remake or a different take on it. But while the storyline is there, the characters are different. Will Darcy is nothing like Fitzwilliam Darcy. He's handsome, but lacks presence and attitude. He seems harmless and nice, only he says stupid things sometimes. Lalita, on the other hand, who is our Elizabeth, is the one with the problem. She comes off as more of a snob than Darcy, and she's kind of in biotch te…

Book Review: In Too Deep (An Arcane Society Novel) - By Jayne Ann Krentz

Book One in The Looking Glass Trilogy
The main beef I usually have with mainstream books is that they aren't written all that well and they're formulaic. It's not what I consider real literature, which makes me sound like a book snob, I know, but it's not entirely an insult, either. They may have lower standards, but they're easy and fun to read, and I can whip through them in a few days without any effort. The thing about mainstream books is that they don't need to be exceptionally well written; the author just needs to know how to tell a story. You're not in it for language and artistry, just a gripping story with the proper hooks. Krentz has had over 50 books on the New York Times Bestsellers List, so I guess she knows this.

"In Too Deep" is a paranormal romance/mystery starring two psychics: Isabella Valdez, who is on the run from people who are setting her up for a crime she didn't commit and who want to kill her; and Fallon Jones, who …

TV Review: Zen- Episode Three

This is the best episode of Zen yet! In "Ratking", Zen is asked to help free a man being held for ransom. Naturally, there is a conspiracy or two in the backround, and, as in the previous episodes, Zen is being followed. It gets old. Meanwhile, his girlfriend is getting a divorce and they are having hot sex in her apartment. There's also a new Chief of police who loathes Zen for being a "self-promoter". You can tell that this guy is one of those Christian Fundamentalists who hates everyone and wants to rule the world Nazi-style. Or something like that. He also has a problem with fornication. Not that he's physically incapable of doing some old-fashioned copulation, he's just generally against it...yeah.

The interesting thing about "Ratking" is it keeps almost ending. I can't count how many times there was a grand finale, a climax, and it felt like the end of the show. Then it continued and had another grand finale. Eventually it did end.

L…

Movie Review: The Devil's Diary

Yay, a Lifetime movie about the Devil's Diary! Me, me, me so excited!

So, as you know, Borders in closing down, and they're having markdowns (I'm waiting for it to go past 50%), and I happened to spot this in a neglected bargain box along with a bunch of throw-away books. There was another Lifetime movie starring Catherine Bell, but I could tell it was sappy, and I don't like sappy the majority of the time (plus Lifetime movies aren't that great to begin with), so I decided to spring for this gem. It was less than five bucks, so who cares.

This is it: Two girls find a mysterious diary in a graveyard, and one of the girls starts writing about all of the people she hates in it, and intentionally maims and/or kills them. The diary is fueled by hatred, and it makes her crazy as heck. I don't know what's more disturbing; a guy getting his eyes poked out with a pool stick or this girl, Ursula, resembling Avril Lavigne. I'm serious here. She already has the …

Movie Review: Captain America -The First Avenger

I never saw the original Captain America, but from what my brother tells me, it wasn't that good. Luckily there's this remake that is both fancier and more expensive.

I'll be frank: I laughed more than I was supposed to. That's not a compliment. "Captain" is riddled with cliches and cheesy dialogue. It runs predictably whether you know the story or not. In the end, I was hoping it would be above average, but it turned out to be mediocre. Not terrible, but lacking. It started out good. I liked seeing "shrunken" Steve (they shrunk Chris Evans' body for the movie, and his buff bod is the real deal...meow) and it was going somewhere, it really was. Then, all of a sudden, it became...less good. Again, not bad; it's an entertaining film, but it doesn't have much to boast about.

The cast is okay. I kind of felt like Chris Evans was nothing extraordinary in the part. He's likable and basically does the role well enough, but there's no gr…