Sunday, April 26, 2009

Observe and Report

Observe and Report - review by ZackRelease Date: April 10th, 2009

Click here for the Observe And Report Trailer.

The first Seth Rogen film of the new year......well the first where the actor was in person(voice of Bob in Monsters vs Aliens), puts the actor in the role of Ronnie Barnhardt, the "Chief of Security" at the Forest Ridge Mall. Ronnie rules his mall with the iron fist of justice, taking out skateboarders, shoplifters, and the occasional disgruntled customer. Ronnie feels unappreciated but sees his chance at proving his worth when a flasher attacks some women in the parking lot as well as the make-up counter worker Brandi(Anna Faris), Ronnie's dream girl who won't so much as look at him. But things get hairy when the detectives of the Conway Police Department, headed up by Detective Harrison(Ray Liotta), take over the investigation and the mall is suddenly robbed. Now it is Ronnie's job to not only track down the robber, but the flasher as well, and all before Detective Harrison does it first. With his motley crew of security guards Ronnie embarks on his mission to bring the criminals to justice and to prove that he is good enpugh to be accepted into the Conway Police academy, all while trying to win the affection of Brandi.

Well, if you've seen any of Seth Rogen's other films(Knocked Up, Pineapple Express) then you know that the actor's credits don't go far past being a pot head and one wonders if he can handle being funny without being high. The easiest way to sum up this movie is Paul Blart on crack. This movie takes everything that was sweet and lovable from the Kevin James flick and turns it into a crude, foul-mouth laugh fest. Let me tell you that this movie isn't for the faint of heart. This movie is very funny. Rogen does an impressive job as the hard core mall cop. The best thing about his character are the illusions of grandeur Ronnie has. The movie transfers from the mall to Ronnie's house for the majority of the movie. The time spent at the mall is all driven towards finding the flasher and defeating Detective Harrison while the scenes at Ronnie's house focus on Ronnie and his super drunk mother.

Rogen has a nice supporting cast in this movie. Ray Liotta(The Rat Pack) stars as the hard core Detective Harrison. Harrison absolutely hates Ronnie and wants nothing more than to see him dead. Liotta adds is classic sadistic spin to his charactet taking out of the boundries of a typical police detective. Then there's Anna Faris' character Brandi. Brandi works at the make-up counter and is, in fact, the dream girl of our hapless hero Ronnie. Faris didn't have a major role in this movie. Her character was the "office slut" type character so most of her scenes involved her having sex, minus the nudity (for anybody who just wants to see that you will be sadly disappointed). But the cast was all around funny. Liotta had that crazy/scary funny he typically had, Faris had her typical humor and Rogen did his usual foul-mouth crazy character that you can't help but love.

As for the movie, it was very entertaining. The plot was something completely different from anything you've seen in a movie. Chasing down a flasher at a mall isn't something that gets pitched to directors a lot. One of the coolest parts was the fight scenes Ronnie engaged in.There is one where Ronnie bears up a couple of drug dealers with an expandable knight stick and another where he takes on 12 officers from the Conway Police Department with nothing but a flashlight. Now, while you would expect Ronnie to get his ass kicked, you are pleasantly surprised to see Ronnie doing the ass kicking. He takes put all 4 drug dealers and half of the cops before becoming overwhelmed. The man fights like Jackie Chan which is ironic considering he is a fat mall security guard. But probably my favorite, and most hated part of the movie was the end. I'm not going to ruin it for you, but it was the funniest. most disturbing, and most unexpected endings I have ever seen. It left you cheering for Ronnie on the inside while laughing hysterically on the outside all the while thinking "Why in the world am I watching this?"

Overall Observe and Report was a typical dark comedy that was surprisingly enjoyable and worth watching. And if you are a fan of Seth Rogen or dark comedies, then this movie is worth even a second watch. I give Observe and Report 8 Fat Mall Flashers out of 10

Monday, April 13, 2009

Top 10 Movies That Predicted The Future Wrong

10 Sci-fi movies that didn't predict the futureEverybody loves a good sci-fi flick every now and then and it seems that the main focus of most sci-fi films is to do their best to predict what the future will be like for us. A noble goal but one that most people don't get right. Well here is a list of the top 10 movies that did a not so great job of predicting the future.

10.)Back to the Future II(1989) - The classic movie about a boy, a scientist, and a Dalorean time machine. This movie, though widely entertaining, unfortunately predicted an inaccurate future for us. We probably won't have a Jaws XII, clothes that dry themselves, shoes that tie themselves, and, much to my dismay, there will not be those ridiculously awesome hoverboards. At least not by 2015 like the movie predicts, although it did do a good job of predicting the 1997 Pennant win of the Florida Marlins.

9.) Bicentennial Man(1999) - According to this movie, by 2005(which has already come and past for those not paying attention) we will have personal assistant robots, who look alot like Robin Williams, that are able to do all the house cleaning and handy work. Instead we got a Roomba with a slightly larger dust pan and open source technology. Close, but no cigar.

8.) 12 Monkeys(1995) - In the year 1996, a mere one year after this movie was made, most of the world's population has been killed off by a terrible virus. But as you can see we are all fine, no virus has taken us out, though Staff Infection and Bird Flu have tried.

7.) 1984(1984) - A future dominated by "The Ministry of Love", a large government organization, intrusively invades and monitors every actions of every citizen on the planet, political jargin is spewed from the television, and songs are now written by computers. But, in the actual future we have all access, all day news channels, Homeland Security, and Kanye West. A good thing their future didn't come true.

6.) Blade Runner(1982) - An incredible work of art and film making, Blade Runner is director Ridley Scott's masterpiece. However, unlike in Scott's 2019 future, we most likely won't have sentient robots in the form of Daryl Hannah or off-world colonies and alien friends. However, the company Terrafugia has just successfully tested the first flying car so maybe are dreams of a flying dalorean are close indeed!

5.) Soylent Green(1973) - This movie predicts the most disturbing future of them all. In the year 2022, the population in New York City is about 40 million, as opposed to the 8 million recorded in the 2000 census. Food is scarce and the old are euthanized. They dead are then processed into a substance known as Soylent Green, the food supplement that feeds the masses, and the people don't know they are actually eating each other! But I don't think that is going to happen.

4.) The Island(2005) - In 2019(a popular year for future events) people will be able to pay to have themselves cloned, in case they need anything, like an organ transplant. However, the clones are alive and "living" their life in a facility under the false pretense of a nuclear war which has contaminated the surface. While we have only cloned sheep, human cloning might come around sometime in the future. Lets just hope anyone of us can get a clone of Scarlett Johansson.

3.) 2010(1984) - By 2001, we should have had killer sentient computers and manned trips to the planet Jupiter, according to "2001: A Space Odyssey." In the sequel 2010, there is another huge misprediction. We should, in a few months, go to war with Russia in another Cold War on the brink of WWIII. But unless Obama really pisses off Putin, we should be safe.

2.) Deathrace 2000(1975) - The U.S. has a new style of entertainment, an transcontinental race where the speed and number of innocent bystanders killed is the only way to win. However, in the actual year 2000, the only thing that came close was a heated presidential election. Though the reasons for the race in the movie was a massive financial collapse. So hopefully things get better or we can aal start mounting the machine guns to our soccer mom minivans.

1.) Escape From New York(1981) - In 1981, WWIII and increasing crime rates were a strong possibility because the Soviets just pooped into Afghanistan and there was a peak in the homicide rate of America. Except in the intervening time the USSR flopped and the crime rate took a %75 drop in New York City. So, if the President ever did get trapped in the city and needed rescue from the one and only Snake Pliskin, it would be because he was stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel and not because he was kidnapped by a group of hip hop gangsters.

So, even though these movies gave it a good effort, they were very unsuccessful in predicting our future. I guess our only hopes lie with Neo and the Matrix or the discovery of a Galaxy far far away.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas - review by ZackRelease Date: November 7th, 2008

Click here for The Boy In The Striped Pajamas Trailer.

The movie, based on the novel by John Boyne, is the heart breaking Holocaust story of a German boy and his uncanny friendship with a Jewish child.

Bruno(Asa Butterfield) is a privileged boy living in Berlin with his sister, mother, and father, who happens to be a high ranking Nazi soldier. But when his father(David Thewlis) is transferred to a new post in the German countryside, Bruno, along with the rest of his family, must accompany him. At his new home, Bruno, having no friends or anyone around to make friends with, is becoming lonely, restless, and bored. From his window, Bruno notices a "farm" a little ways down the road where the "farmers" where funny stripped clothing, or as Bruno calls it, pajamas. Bruno is told not to go into the back garden by his mother(Vera Farmiga). But the undenying curiosity of young Bruno is too much to overcome and he disobeys his mother and ventures out of the garden and beyond. It is here he finds his way to the "farm", which is actually a concentration camp. When he reaches the fence, he is greeted by Shmuel(Jack Scanlon), a Jewish prisoner who is eight years old, the same age as Bruno. After meeting, the two boys form a timid and careful friendship. They play catch and checkers and Bruno even sneaks food to Shmuel through the electrified barbed wire fence. Bruno is naive to what is going on with the Nazis and the Jewish people. When a tutor arrives to teach Bruno and his sister(Amber Beattie) the new German curriculum, Bruno starts to hear of the "terrible things" the Jews have done to the German people. It is here Bruno starts to question the motives of the war and his father, whom he once viewed as a hero. When Bruno's father learns of him asking questions of why the Jews are so bad and of his kindness and his liking of the Jewish people, he decides to move his wife and children somewhere else, away from the concentration camp. But before he leaves, Shmuel tells Bruno that his father is missing. So together, the two hatch a dangerous plan to look for Shmuel's dad, and it is here the movie reaches it's heart breaking climax.

Thewlis does an impressive job as the father in this movie. He is a fantastic actor and, in such a dramatic movie, is the perfect fit for such a role. Farminga also does a great job. She is so warm and loving, it almost makes you forget her husband is a Nazi. Then there is Butterfield and Scanlon. These two, being so young, really handled the pressure of such dramatic roles. One thing about this movie that was off putting was that everybody in the film spoke in a British accent. I mean, considering the movie was about Jewish people and German people, I figured the characters would have the respected dialects. At least all the characters spoke in a British accent unlike in other movies like Valkyrie (read my review) so it wasn't completely terrible. But overall this movie was very interesting. It was also shot very uniquely. I think it was the color. It was all kind of dark and grey, except for the Nazi flag which, as always, was bright red and noticeable. The color really set the tone for the whole movie. You felt kind of sad and melancholy when you watched and the only thing that brought you the slightest joy was the happy friendship between Bruno and Shmuel. Yet it also brought you the most anticipated sadness, because you know that something very bad will happen to Shmuel, because obviously something terrible is going to happen to him. So the entire movie leaves you wondering everytime you see Bruno and Shmuel together when the inevitable climax will happen.

Overall this is a really good movie. The writing is good, the acting is good, the story is good, and everything is just all around enjoyable. I would highly recommend this movie for anybody who is in the mood for a good drama or who likes movies based in the World War II era. I give The Boy In The Striped Pajamas 9 "Farms" out of 10.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

10 T.V. Shows That May Get Canceled

T.V. Shows That May Get CanceledIt's hard these days for a new t.v. show to hook an audience and stay alive for multiple seasons. While there are a lot of ideas for shows that sound interesting, and even may be entertaining, it is difficult to grab the attention of an audience whose main downtime is spent watching t.v. Audiences are very hard to please these days and it takes a truly new and creative idea to hold peoples attentions. Well here is a list of t.v. shows that people like, but maybe not enough to keep them alive.

1.) Fringe - Joshua Jackson stars in this newest sci-fi series comparable to the X-Files. The show had a sluggish start and but has really picked up in recent weeks, especially since the show is getting into some cool mythological creatures and what not. Audiences are starting to like Anna Torv and the weekly monsters are proving Fringe to be a pretty cool action/sci-fi show.

2.) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Since the only other show with robots in it, Battlestar Galactica, is over it would really be a shame to lose the other one. The Terminator movies were big hits and it is surprising to see this show in danger of cancellation. Although it does tend to bore with family trouble drama, it always makes up for it with awesome terminator technology.

3.) Celebrity Apprentice - The original "Apprentice" was getting a bit bored to some. The Trump bossing around and firing everyday people was good for a time but it could only go so far. But the new addition of Donald having the ability to boss around celebrities has added a brand new interesting element to the show which has made it more enjoyable. But sadly ratings are slowly dropping. Maybe it is because the celebrities are c-list stars and old sports stars doing what they can for more t.v. time.

4.) Chuck - This is a surprising show to be seen on this list. Chuck is witty, cool, and in general fun. The plot of a nerdy computer tech guy getting wrapped up in government officials and spy-like stuff. Its just a really good show.

5.) Dollhouse - This show has an interesting plot. Actress Eliza Dushku plays the role of a woman who has a programmable identity. She works for the government who can wipe her memory and make her anything or anybody they want. But this show has started off slow, but it also took shows like Buffy and Angel to get going. Creator Joss Whedon is trying hard to get the kinks worked out so the show meets the high standards of Whedon's fans. Lets hope the show gets a second season to make it happen.

6.) Life - The L.A. Detective with a zen like attitude and a love or fruit has become one of the most likable t.v. cops. This is all because of Damian Lewis' quirky, deceptively placid charisma. The cases have gotten stronger, the supporting cast stronger, and a more twisted underlying plot.

7.) Better Off Ted - Everybody loves a good workplace comedy. These shows really making working in a cubicle bearable. Since "The Office" has been lacking lately, "Better Off Ted" is trying to fill the gap. This show is more like "Andy Richter Controls The Universe". It has an innate silliness and a unique quirkiness that may tune off those who prefer the straight forward shows like "Rules Of Engagement".

8.) Kings - "Kings" is a new, ambitious show which brings a whole new world to life. The twisted story of dirty deals and backstabbing has gotten particularly juicy. This tale of a rich, powerful, and corrupt monarch has a broad, epic feel that can not be held to just few episodes. And it is good to see Ian McShane in a starring role after "Deadwood".

9.) The Unusuals - The pilot for this show has been released and it has audiences hooked. However, it might not last. It has police cases with a hearty dose of comedy. But the comedy may be too oddball for some viewers.

10.) Southland - Another show that only has a pilot out, "Southland" is a gritty and twisted show about the cops of L.A. However, NBC has a hard hitting list of Fall shows hitting in a few months and there isn't a whole lot of space for this show in the 10 p.m. spot where it needs to be.

So there you go, a list of show that are good, but may be in trouble of ending before their story is finished. While there isn't a whole lot you can o to stop these shows from ending, the best thing you can do is to watch the show you want and get others into it to boost ratings.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quantum of Solace

Release Date: November 14, 2008

Click here for the Quantum Of Solace Trailer.

The newest installment in the never ending James Bond films and the second to introduce new Bond man, Daniel Craig.

James Bond has taken a new style to his work. Ever since the death of his love, Vesper, Bond(Daniel Craig) has become more ruthless, more determined, and more cavalier in going about his business of tracking down Vesper's killers. His recklessness is becoming so severe that his superior M(Judi Dench) is seriously considering cutting of Bond all together. In his desperation to find Vesper's killers, Bond discovers a massive, secret organization known only as Quantum. The biggest thing is that Bond believes this group may be involved in Vesper's death. In his search he follows the group to Haiti. It is here Bond meets the beautiful Camille(Olga Kurylenko), an mysterious and very driven women with hidden and unclear motives. It is through Camille that Bond comes into contact with Dominic Green(Mathieu Almalric) a ruthless business man who is secretly involved with Quantum. Green's motive: to control a very valuable resource in Bolivia, South America. It is through this that Green gets involved in a plot to overthrow the Government in Bolivia. Upon investigating the group, Bond realizes how deep the group runs and their ultimate motives. Bond takes it upon himself to overthrow the group and their sinister plot, but at what expense? In doing this Bond forgoes all of his protocol and orders to do what he must to stop Quantum.

Like Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace brings something to the Bond franchise that not many other bonds do, and that is insane action. My favorite thing about Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale and Daniel Craig as Bond is the way Craig approaches the character. As seen in all the other bond movies, every actor portrays Bond in the same way; the cool, suave, well mannered, well dressed, sophisticated Bond. Craig, however, does it very differently. His Bond is bare knuckles bad ass Bond. He's dirty, gritty, and adds this kind of psychopathic tendency to Bond that lets you know he will kill you and he does not care. All the other Bonds seem like they would kill as a last resort but Craig's Bond kills as a first resort. Obviously, the great Sean Connery is widely considered the only Bond, but Craig is definitely the best Bond to reprise the role.

Now, to talk about the movie. It was really good. The movie starts off the very first scene with a crazy car chase through a mountain side road with cars flying every which direction, huge explosions, and cool gun fights. But the action doesn't stop there as the movie is cram packed with action. Craig's fighting skills are also very impressive. He's like an English Bruce Lee mixed with Spiderman because not only does Bond engage in high speed car chases and boat chases but he also races over the rooftops in Italy. The story of Quantum of Solace was entertaining. One of my favorite aspects was how Bond was continuously framed for doing things. Throughout the movie, M was constantly on Bond about killing everybody. But there were multiple parts in the movie were something would happen and a person would die, but not by Bond's hands. When news reached the ears of M, the information was twisted into making it look like Bond was a ruthless killer on a vigilante mission of revenge. This aspect lead to the intensity of the movie. Not only was Bond after the group Quantum and dealing with dodging their assassins, he was continuously pursued by agents of MI6 on orders from M. It was like Bond had to be aware of everybody at all times. Like Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace had incredible action and an amazing performance from Craig. My one fault with this, and the previous Bond movie, was that at times the story was hard to follow and got you confused a few times. Other than that it was a fantastic movie.

I give Quantum of Solace 8 Blonde Bonds out of 10

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Australia - review by zackRelease Date: November 26th, 2009

Click here for the Australia Trailer.

Australia is the tale of love, adventure, loss, and drama that spans multiple genres of film into one big movie.

Nicole Kidman is Lady Sarah Ashley, a prim and proper noblewoman from England who travels to the "land down under" to convince her estranged husband, Lord Ashley, to sell his cattle ranch to a money hungry monopolizer named King Carney(Bryan Brown). But when Lady Ashley arrives to find her husband has been murdered, things take a drastic turn. A worker of Lord Ashley, named Fletcher(David Wenham, Lord of the Rings), whole heartedly tries to convince Lady Ashley to sell to King Carney, who Fletcher is secretly working for. Lady Ashley is ready and willing to sell when she witnesses Fletcher beating an aboriginal boy named Nullah. At the site of this cruelty towards Nullah because he is of mixed race, Lady Ashley decides to take her herd of cattle into Darwin to trade with the army in the beginning of World War II. Despite her admirable deed to do this, she can not do it alone so Lady Ashley enlists the help of lone cowboy and cattle driver Drover(Hugh Jackman, X-Men). Together, along with Drover's partners, Nullah, the Chinese cook, the house maid, and late Lord Ashley's drunken accountant, the group spans the treacherous badlands of the Australian Outback.

Being a big fan of Hugh Jackman and a decent fan of Nicole Kidman, I wish I could give this movie high praise and an exalted review but sadly I can't. Deciding where to begin with the negatives of this film is no small task, considering there are so many. My first and foremost problem was that of Nicole Kidman's acting. It was horrible. Overacting is an understatement in this scenario. When her character first reaches Australia is when it really starts to go downhill. From over-the-top monologues of jumping kangaroos to an extremely exaggerated scream when one is shot is just the beginning. Throughout the whole movie Kidman is consistently acting like she is performing in a children's play where the goal is to be silly and down right ridiculous at points to entertain a laugh from little kids. But Kidman isn't the only one. Nullah(Brandon Walters), the little mixed race aboriginal boy narrates the movie because the view of the film is mostly told through his eyes. Now, while narration in films is good sometimes, it really isn't in Australia. Nullah's narration was just kind of goofy. And, since the boy was Australian, he was sometimes impossible to understand. Now, Australians are hard to understand some times obviously, but Nullah's character seemed like a normal kid trying to force an Australian accent. Nullah was cute, however. A creamy colored child with a bright smile and wavy dirty-blonde hair made him hard to hate. But thank goodness not everybody was a terrible actor in this movie. The saviors of the cast reside in Hugh Jackman and David Wenham. Wenham plays the devious and ruthless Mr. Fletcher. Fletcher wants nothing more than to git rid of Lady Ashley and buy her land of Far Away Downs. Through Wendham's performance, you really get a sense of how truly evil this man is. It is almost chilling at times when you hear him speak. His oratory and deliverance of key lines is something to be admired. Hugh Jackman, as always, performed magnificently. Laying the rugged, "Outback Jack" character really fit the native Australian perfectly. He came with one of his best performances and made the movie tolerable.

But the poor acting wasn't the only downfall of this nearly three hour movie. The plot didn't flow together at all and really didn't make sense. The beginning of the movie started with words fading in and out about the mating of white men and aboriginal women to make the race whiter and "breed" the black out of them. It also talked about the mixed children that were taken and forced into the army and were known as the "lost generation". but the movie didn't really focus on this at all. It had two main points in the movie which felt like two entirely separate movies forced together. The movie also had four different genres that also didn't seem to mesh well. The beginning of the movie was trying to be a light-hearted comedy but came off as goofy and dumb. Then it switched scenes to a western type film as the characters attempted to drive a herd of cattle across the outback. This part of the movie wasn't so bad. The scenes in this part had a good chemistry between the actors, the all seemed fairly normal, and there was even some action when Mr. Fletcher attempted to scare the herd of cattle into running over the edge of a cliff. But after this part of the film, the cattle is moved into Darwin, and everybody seems to live happily ever after, which is good, if you wanted to end the movie there, which is exactly how it was shot. The feel of these scenes and the way they were arranged made it feel like the movie was coming to an end when in reality, the movie was only about half over. Next the film switched genres once again to a sort of love story between Jackman and Kidman falling in love and Nullah become their some what unofficial son. This section of the movie, gratefully was short. But, as luck would have it, there is yet another part of the story! After the brief love story comes the climatic World War II dram section of the film. The only part connecting this part of the film to the rest was the brief occurrences where the war was mentioned. This part is the other god part of the movie which is weird. It's like the movie is split into fourths and every other section was good. The movie kind of went bad, good, bad, good. The war sequence was the most dramatic. It started with Mr. Fletcher becoming the head of King Carney's meat monopoly after Carney met with an unfortunate "accident". Then Nullah is taken from Lady Ashley and sent to an Island with a catholic mission, and to top it all off, the Japanese bomb the hell out of the whole place. Everything looks grim, Nullah is thought to be dead, Lady Ashley is thought to be dead, and Drover is out herding cattle and has to come home to the destruction. There was also the part of Nullah's grandfather known as King George. His role made little sense. He was framed for the murder of Lord Ashley and just kind of hung around in the background making little appearances hear and there. His character somewhat felt out of place.

I don't know what the director was thinking but the movie just didn't flow. It really did feel like it was two movies crammed together. Personally I think this movie would have done better if it was released as two individual movies, splitting after the herd was delivered. But puting it together just did not work. This, coupled with less than stellar acting from some, and an all around seamlessly pointless plot made for a drag of a movie that is good for one watch through at most, but the 165 minuet run time is severely pushing it.

I give Australia 4 Down Under Cattle Herders out of 10