Monday, June 29, 2009

Year One

Release Date: June 19th, 2009

Click here for the Year One Trailer.

Zed(Jack Black) is a hunter caveman in the first year of man's existence. However, Zed is the worst hunter and isn't even capable enough to be a gather like his best friend Oh(Michael Cera) who is already deemed weak because he is the only male gatherer which is considered a woman's job. While Zed and Oh are out exploring, Zed runs into the famed Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The one rule of the world is not to eat of that tree, but Zed decides to do it anyway, despite the disapproval of Oh. Believing that he is now the smartest man of the tribe, Zed and Oh return to camp to partake in the feast provided by Morlack, the tribe's best warrior/hunter. During the feast, the tribe learns of Zed's breaking of the one rule and the tribe shaman(Bill Hader) banishes Zed for ever. Angry at the tribe, Zed vows to make his own tribe and asks if anybody wants to join him. Only Oh decides to go with him.

While traveling, the two come across a herd of cattle and Zed attempts to kill one. When he is unsuccessful two brothers, Cain(David Cross) and Abel(Paul Rudd), appear and begin to converse with Zed and Oh until a fight breaks out between Cain and Abel. Cain takes a rock and kills Abel and asks Zed and Oh to help him cover it up. The three of them then return to Abel's home where they meet Cain's father Adam(Harold Ramis) who lets them sleep there for the night. In the morning, Abel tells Zed and Oh that they need to get out of town because everybody is going to blame them for Abel's death. The three then flee into the city.

When they get to the city, Zed and Oh find Maya(June Raphael) and Eema(Juno Temple), the two woman from the tribe they wanted to "lay" with, have been captured and sold into slavery. When Cain goes to negotiate for the release of Maya and Eema, Zed and Oh end up becoming slaves. While en route to their owner's home, the slave caravan is attacked by soldiers from Sodom who take all the slaves except for Zed and Oh who manage to escape. Zed and Oh plan to wait for the soldiers to fall asleep to rescue the girls but end up falling asleep themselves. The two wake up to find the soldiers are gone. Zed and Oh begin walking. They come to a mountain where they find a man named Abraham(Hank Azaria) preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac(Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Abraham believes Zed and Oh are angels sent by God to stay his hand. Abraham invites Zed and Oh to his home where they feast. Zed and Oh then learn of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and realize that Maya and Eema are being held in Sodom. When Abraham tries to circumcise Zed and Oh, the two quickly leave and head for Sodom. They are followed by Isaac who wants the two to sneak him into Sodom to party. Isaac runs away when Zed and Oh are taken prisoner by Sargon(Vinnie Jones), Sodom's military General. The two are about to be tortured when Cain, who is now a Sodomite soldier, walks in. When he is recognized by Zed and Oh he tells Sargon that they are his brothers and they are released.

Cain then makes Zed and Oh soldiers in the Sodomite army. The three men are walking around the city when Princess Inanna(Olivia Wilde) is ushered by. When all in the city except Zed, who is intoxicated by Inanna's beauty, bows before her, Inanna believes Zed to be "The Chosen One". Inanna sends her handmaiden, who happens to be Maya, to fetch Zed and invite him to a party. Zed is taken into the palace to clean up while Oh is forced to go off with Zaftig the Eunuch(Kyle Gass) who paints Oh's entire body gold and makes him act as a living statue at the party. At the party, Oh finds Eema who is working as a slave server. But before Oh can talk to her he is summoned by Sodom's openly gay High Priest(Oliver Platt) who forces Oh to rub warm oil all over his extremely hairy body. Zed is then ushered to his meeting with Princess Inanna who, thinking he is the chosen one, wants him to enter the Holy of Holy Temple and tell her what it is like in there. When he enters he finds Oh who is hiding from the High Priest. The two get into an argument and leave to find the King(Xander Berkley) and his guard waiting for them. The King was made aware of them entering the Temple by Cain. As punishment for their crimes they are sentenced to be stoned to death. But Zed pretends to be the "Chosen One" which gives them a lesser sentence.

The King, feeling betrayed by Princess Inanna, decides to make her and two virgins sacrifices to the gods in return for rain. Zed and Oh realize that the two virgins are Maya and Eema. Zed and Oh then stage a desperate rescue attempt which insights a riot. Oh rescues Eema and Zed grabs Maya while all the authoritative powers are killed. The Sodomite then want Zed to be their leader because they believe him to be the "Chosen One". Zed declines and decides to become an explorer with Maya. Oh decides to take Eema and form his own tribe and the two part ways, but not after a tearful goodbye.

Directed by Harold Ramis(Groundhog Day, Analyze That) I expected a bit more from this movie. I did have mixed feelings about this movie. When I saw the previews I thought it looked like an interesting comedy on a subject that hadn't really been touched. And when it came out, I heard of all the negative reviews it was getting. But, I wanted to see it myself and give it my own score and I was happily surprised. This movie had a very interesting concept, taking viewers back to the very beginning of time. Director Harold Ramis took most of the concepts for the movie from the Holy Bible. Cain and Abel, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Abraham and Isaac, and Sodom and Gomorrah are all straight from the Bible. These concepts, however, made for a decently funny concept to what some people perceive as the beginning of man. Jack Black adds his unique style of comedy to the movie with his fast paced and crazy antics while Michael Cera added the balance with his calm, meek, timid sense of comedy. The two really are a good balance. The comedy isn't extremely over the top thanks to Cera and it isn't too bland and calm thanks to Black. Add in other comedy players like David Cross, Oliver Platt, and Hank Azaria and you have a nice blend of different comedy styles that mesh well with each other.

I do think there could have been so much more to this movie. Harold Ramis is a funny actor and a really good director/writer of comedy movies with such great classics like National Lampoon's Animal House, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters. But his comedic prowess seemed somewhat lost in Year One. The movie was funny, but only decently funny. It had potential to be extremely funny but some of the jokes seemed to be lost in translation and some punchlines left out. I would also have liked to see a different comedic side of Jack Black. All his roles seem to be the same and I think the movie would have been better if Black explored his inner comic deeper and pulled out something original. Cera brought his interesting take on comedy with his mild mannered demeanor. Cera definitley has a different take on comedy, and it is really refreshing. While the insane antics of comics like Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, and even Jack Black are very funny, it is nice to see a different aspect of comedic style portrayed by Cera. He has a sort of innocent style of comedy that makes him lovable as well as hilarious.

All in all this was a decent comedy worth an initial view and maybe more if you really enjoy it. Fans of Jack Black will enjoy the actors trademark antics and will also find Cera to be a nice counterpart. The same goes for the fans of Michael. A good movie but one that did not live up to the potential it had. Some decent humor and a unique and interesting story grants Year One 6.5 Incompetent Caveman out of 10.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Release Date: June 24th, 2009

Click here for the Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen Trailer.

Two years after the defeat of Megatron(voice: Hugo Weaving) the Autobots, lead by Optimus Prime(voice: Peter Cullen), have joined forces with American and British army special forces who have teamed up to create NEST, a secret military organization designed to hunt down and destroy all of the remaining Decepticons who are still hiding on Earth. When Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, takes a team to Shanghai China to take out Decepticons Sideways and Demolisher. Before Demolisher is destroyed by Optimus Prime, he utters out the words "The Fallen will rise again!"

When the president orders National Security Advisor Galloway to be added to NEST, he immediately begins berating the Autobots and demanding their departure from Earth, believing that the only reason the Decepticons stay is to kill the Autobots. Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky(Shia LaBeouf) is trying to live out a normal life after his encounter with Optimus Prime and Megatron two years ago. He has enrolled in college and on the day he leaves, Sam discovers a piece of the All Spark, the essence of the power and existence of the Transformers. Sam thought all but one piece of the All Spark had been destroyed and that the remaining piece was heavily guarded in an American military base. Upon touching the All Spark, images of the ancient language of the Transformers are imprinted into his brain and begin displaying before him, causing him to have a slight mental breakdown. When the location of the guarded All Spark piece is discovered by the Decepticon Soundwave, he dispatches the Decepticon Ravage, who looks like a one-eyed jaguar, to steal the All Spark piece, which he successfully does. A team of Decepticons is deployed to the Laurentian Abyss, the resting place of Megatron. Using some parts from another Decepticon and the piece of the All Spark, Megatron is resurrected. Megatron then travels to a Decepticon planet and meets with The Fallen, one of the original Transformers and Megatron's master. The Decepticons are attempting to breed an army, but all the hatchlings die instantly after birth due to a lack of energon, the "life force" of the Transformers. Using an ancient machine, The Fallen hopes to destroy the Earth's sun to harness its energon, providing enough of it to create his army.

Sam has entrusted his piece of the All Spark to his girlfriend Mikaela(Megan Fox) who hides it in her father's safe at their auto garage. When a tiny Decepticon known as Wheelie tries to steal it, Mikaela captures him. Sam is approached by Optimus Prime, who asks Sam for help, saying there is much that Sam does not know and he needs to be ready. Sam declines, saying it is not his fight, and Optimus leaves. Sam then tells Mikaela to get to him at college so they can figure out what is going on. When she gets there, a Decepticon Pretender, who has taken the form of one of Sam's co-ed dorm mates, is attempting to kill Sam. Sam and Mikaela, along with Sam's roommate Leo Spitz(Ramon Rodriguez), a conspiracy theorist who is trying to prove the existence of the Transformers, flee the college and dispose of the Decepticon Pretender. While fleeing, they are picked up by the Decepticon Grindor, who is in helicopter form. Grindor drops the car into an abandoned warehouse where Megatron, along with Starscream and The Doctor, capture Sam and attempt to kill him and retrieve the images from his brain. But before they can complete their task, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, Sam's personal Autobot guardian, attack the Decepticons. Bumblebee attempts to take Leo and Mikaela while Sam gets into Optimus Prime. While fleeing from the Decepticons, Optimus turns and takes on Grindor, Starscream and Megatron alone. During the epic battle, Optimus kills Grindor and severs Starscream's arm. But before he can finish the job, he is impaled through the chest by Megatron. Optimus then enters a stasis lock mode, basically making him dead. Sam, Mikaela and Leo escape in Bumblebee with assistance from the other Autobots who arrived to help.

The Fallen hacks into a U.S. satellite and broadcasts a message all over the world demanding the surrender of Sam. If Earth does not comply, the Decepticons will start open war. The U.S. government disbands NEST and the Autobots believing them to be the cause and makes Sam and enemy of the state. Leo decides that they need help from his rival conspiracy website runner RoboWarrior. RoboWarrior turns out to be ex-Sector Seven Agent Simmons(John Turturro). Simmons then takes Sam, Leo, and Mikaela down into a secret Sector Seven archive below his family's deli, where he shows them every known record of the Transformers. Wheelie reveals to Sam that the language he is seeing is that of the Dynasty of the Primes, who were the original seven Transformers. The Primes would power the all spark by destroying suns with a machine called a Sun Harvester. They only had one rule, do not take the sun of any inhabited planet. Wheelie then leads the group to Jetfire, an Decepticon deserter who traded to the Autobots. Jetfire teleports the group to Egypt. Jetfire reveals that the Sun Harvester was powered by something known as the Matrix of Leadership. When one of their own, The Fallen, betrayed them and tried to take the Matrix of Leadership and destroy Earth, the formed a protective cocoon using their own bodies to protect it. Sam believes that the Matrix can bring back Optimus Prime, who is also the only Transformer capable of destroying The Fallen. Sam finds the Matrix, but when he picks it up, it crumbles into a pile of dust, still believing it can help Optimus, Sam gathers the dust in a sack and the group begins heading to a location in Egypt where Major William Lennox(Josh Duhamel) and Chief Master Sergeant Robert Epps(Tyrese Gibson) have dropped in with the NEST members as well as the Autobots and Optimus Prime's body on request from Sam.

As Sam and Mikaela travel to the drop zone, the Decepticons attack. During the ensuing battle, Megatron, Starscream, and devastator, a gigantic Decepticon made of the formation of the Decepticon group the Constructions, attempts to unearth the Sun Harvester. While Sam is running to Optimus Prime's body, he is severely injured by Megatron. While unconscious, a vision of the seven Primes comes to him, telling him that Sam was the chosen one, and that the Matrix of Leadership is earned, and they give it to Sam, when Sam awakens, the Matrix has reformed and he plunges it into the power source of Optimus Prime, who comes back to life. As soon as he does, however, The Fallen teleports on top of him and steals the matrix from Optimus' chest and then teleports to the Sun Harvester and begins powering it up. Jetfire offers Optimus his parts so he can be healed and go fight The Fallen. Optimus agrees and after he is re-energized, he attacks The Fallen and destroys the Sun Harvester. In an epic battle, Optimus takes on Starscream, Megatron, and the Fallen, destroying the Fallen and badly injuring Megatron and Starscream. Heading the advice from Starscream, Megatron goes into hiding, uttering that it isn't over yet.

Probably one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen attempts to take all that was good in the first movie and multiply it by a hundred, and in my opinion, thats exactly what happened. One thing i thought the first movie lacked a little but of was fighting. In the first film, there were two or three really really big fight scenes, but in this one, the whole movie was like one big fight scene. everytime you look up a Decepticon was getting ripped in half or decapitated. That is where this movie really improved on from the first, with the level of detail taken in each fight scene. Director Michael Bay worked hard to deliver detailed close-up shots of the Transformers ripping each other apart. It was astounding how detailed the movie got during the fight scenes. Another added bonus was the addition of lot more Transformers. The basically doubled the amount of Autobots and Decepticons from the first film which made the story feel more epic.

The story itself was pretty good. It wasn't like some typical sequels where the original bad guy comes back and tries the same old stuff again, it was original and it added a new leading bad guy in "The Fallen". The amount of dialogue given the Transformers was also a plus for me. All of the Transformers had major speaking roles, unlike in the first where basically Megatron and Optimus Prime spoke. Another nice feature was the addition of some comedy in the film. Michael Bay did an o.k. job of adding in a decent blend of humor but sometimes it went a little too far. When I say too far I primarily mean with the characters of "the twins" or Mudflap and Skids. Bay attempted to make ghetto Autobots with these two characters. Most of their dialogue was spoken in cliche "thug" language, and Bay even went as far as to give Skids a gold tooth. While they were primarily funny for a majority of the film, it sometimes felt like too much. Another surprising addition to this film was the use of cursing. This is a PG-13 movie but the sensors are pretty lackadaisical. some of the language may be offensive to parents who bring their children to see this movie hoping to find good family fun.

The acting from the human characters was done really well. Shia LaBeouf did an excellent job reprising his role as Sam Witwicky. LaBeouf has shown that he can handle major roles like this and appears to be an actor with a strong career ahead of him. The ever sexy Megan Fox did a really good job as well. However, it appeared sometimes that Michael Bay would rather focus more on accentuating her physical assets instead of giving her a real chance to explore her talent. I'm not saying accentuating Fox's "assets" is a bad thing though. Newcomer to the scene, Ramon Rodriguez, who played Sam's college roommate Leo, also added some nice comic relief to the set. Him along with John Turturro played off of each other perfectly and seemed to have a good comedic chemistry about them. But overall this movie , for me, lived up to all the hype. The acting was great, the story was great, and the attention to detail and the animation of the Transformers along with all the other special effects was flawless. Definitely one of the best films of the year for me.

I give Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen 10 Trnasforming Alien Robots out of 10.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Taking of Pelham 123

The Taking of Pelham 123 - review by ZackRelease Date: June 12th, 2009

Click here for The Taking of Pelham 123 Trailer.

Walter Garber(Denzel Washington) is an MTA dispatcher for the New York City Subway system assigned to the Rail Control Center. The day is going just like any other day until four heavily armed men lead by a man who goes by Ryder(John Travolta) board the subway 6 train Pelham 123 and proceed to take it over. When Garber notices that the train has stopped, he radios the car and asks what the problem is. Instead of getting an answer, Ryder and his men unhook the first car from the rest of the train and block of the entrance to the tunnel, keeping 18 hostages in the first car with them and letting everybody else go. Ryder then radios Garber and tells him that he is holding the car and the people in it hostage and that he demands $10 million dollars for the prisoners. Ryder tells Garber to look at his watch and tell him what time it is. He sees that it is 1:13 pm. Ryder tells him that the city of New York has exactly 1 hour to give him the money or he will kill one hostage for every minuet the money is late.

The police are promptly told about the situation and a hostage negotiation team lead by Lt. Camonetti(John Turturro) arrives on the scene and relieves Garber of his position, taking over talks with Ryder. When Ryder hears that Garber is not there, he becomes angry and threatens to kill the trains operator, a classmate of Garber's in motor school, if Garber doesn't return. Lt. Camonetti calls Ryder's bluff, and Ryder kills the train operator. Garber is quickly escorted back to the radio within one second of Ryder killing another passenger. Camonetti sets up a sniper team in the subway tunnel, which Ryder is fully aware of. Camonetti orders the team to hold fire until ordered otherwise. Ryder will only speak to Garber, threatening to kill a hostage if anyone else takes over. The reason for Ryder only speaking to Garber is unclear until Camonetti learns that Garber is on probation pending an investigation into allegations that Garber took a bribe from a Japanese train manufacturer to refer their company as the next contract with MTA. Camonetti then questions Garber about being involved, but nothing is proven. In the meantime the Mayor(James Gandolfini) is intercepted by his staff on a train in the Bronx, and told about the situation. He agrees to pay the group their money and begins making arrangements.

The money is put into a police car and begins heading to Grand Central Station, but when the cop car is hit by another car, it flips off of a bridge and crashes. The motorcycle escort then grabs the bags of cash and speeds to the station. The money is late and Ryder plans to make good on his promise of killing a hostage. He approaches a woman holding her son and gets ready to kill her when another passenger stands in front of Ryder, prompting him to kill him instead. Ryder obliges and shoots the man several times in the chest. Garber tells Ryder the money is there and Ryder demands that Garber bring it down into the tunnel personally. Garber agrees and heads down into the tunnel where a police officer stashes a gun in one of the bags and shows Garber how to use it. When Garber gets to the train, Ryder forces him to drive because their other driver, and ex-MTA train operator named Ramos(Luis Guzman) was shot and killed by the police snipers when a rat crawled into the pant leg of the sniper and bit him, causing him to lose control and discharge his weapon. Garber takes the train to a special area of the tracks where the hijackers and Garber exit the train, but not before Ryder installs a locking mechanism on the train controls that holds the stick at full speed, by-passing the dead-man's switch. Garber escapes from Ryder when another subway train cuts them off from each other. Garber then follows Ryder who separates from the other two hijackers and gets into a cab. Garber tracks him to the Manhattan Bridge where Ryder is found walking along the sidewalk. Garber pulls his gun and confronts Ryder, telling him that his plan is over and not to move. Ryder then makes one final deal with Garber, telling Garber to kill him and if he doesn't then Ryder will kill him. Ryder counts down from 10 and at the last second draws his gun when Garber shoots him one time in the chest. Before dying, Ryder tells Garber that he is his hero.

Remakes seem to be popular in Hollywood. However, this remake of the 1974 film of the same name, isn't a crappy rip off of the first film and actually changes some things around to make it more original than a traditional remake. This movie is based on hostages and hijackers and a very hefty ransom. This formula usually calls for a lot of gunfights, explosions, and action, yet this movie didn't have hardly any of that. Instead, this movie decided to focus the drama on the dialogue and the interaction between Travolta's character and Washington's character, which worked out really good. Travolta did a really good job of making you see a different side of the criminal "Ryder". The whole concept of a typical hostage situation is the ransom money. But for Ryder, it was more about blaming the city of New York. In some points of the movie Travolta makes you actually sympathize with Ryder and see him as something other than a crazy hijacker/murderer. Travolta and Washington also worked well together in this film. The two actors had a good chemistry. Washington has this amazing ability to make you completely forget that he is a highly famous actor and believe he is the same person you see him as in the movie.

I liked the way Ryder and Garber's character aced with each other and how Ryder made it seem like they were friends. Travolta's character seemed to really like Washington's character, often saying things about him like "I like him" or "he sounds cool". One thing you wouldn't expect from a movie like this was comedy. A highly dramatic thriller like this wouldn't seem right if it made you laugh, but the funny parts in this movie actually worked. The mostly came from Travolta's character. Ryder was often seen making racial remarks against John Turturro's character and just saying crazy things that were so wild they were funny. Not to mention Travolta's profound use of the "F" bomb every other word. The used this word, and multiple variations of it, so many times that it became a little redundant and there came a point where it was just too much. I'm not trying to down cursing in a movie, but it has to have a sense of realism about it and Travolta's character said it to the point of absurdity.

But probably my favorite aspect of the movie was the twist. I love a movie with a good twist, and this one had a decent one. They didn't wait until the very end of the movie to unveil the true plot of the hijackers, and if you are observant then you may be able to figure it out sooner than others. I'm not going to tell you what the twist is, because I'm going to let you figure it out, but it definitley makes the story more interesting than a simple hijacking for ransom movie. I also liked how even though this movie was a remake, they didn't remake it frame by frame from the first movie. They changed a lot of things around. For instance, in the 1974 movie, the man who talked to the hijackers was a Transit Police officer named Zachary Garber(Walter Matthau) instead of the Walter Garber dispatcher played by Washington. They also bumped up the ransom from $1 million in the 1974 film to $10 million to make it more relevant to the times. They also didn't have the same twist in the original movie. All of these little things give this remake the originality missing in most movies remade these days.

Overall this movie was pretty good. Travolta and Washington performed as good as you would expect from two award-winning actors and the direction of the movie was good. It brought originality to a story that had been done before and really did a good job of drawing you in and holding your attention through the whole movie. Although the unnecessarily overuse of the "F" word could draw you away from the film, it isn't quite enough to ruin the whole thing for you. I give The Taking of Pelham 123 7 Hijacked Subway Cars out of 10.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yes Man

Release Date: December 19th, 2008

Click here for the Yes Man Trailer.

Carl Allen(Jim Carrey) is a Los Angeles bank employee who takes no pleasure in life after his wife Stephanie(Molly Sims) divorced him three years ago. Carl says no to every oppurtunity that comes his way, blocking out his friends and everything around him. Carl would rather spend his time alone in his apartment watching movies than to be out enjoying life. Carl's best friend Peter(Bradley Cooper) is furious when Carl misses his engagement dinner. He tells Carl that if he doesn't change his ways he is going to wind up sad and alone for the rest of his life.

While Carl is sitting outside of the bank that he works at eating lunch, he bumps into an old colleague of his, Nick(John Michael Higgins), who is stunned that Carl is still working at the bank. Nick tells Carl about him joining this program that has given him a new outlook on life. Nick now embraces life and lives it to the fullest from doing one simple thing, saying yes to life's opportunities. Nick invites Carl to the seminar which he reluctantly agrees to attend. At the seminar, Carl is singled out by Nick as being a new attendee. The seminar spokesman, Terrence Bundley(Terence Stamp) approaches Carl after Carl says "no" to coming up on stage. Bundley then forces Carl to make a covenant with himself, promising that he will say "yes" to every oppurtunity life throws at him. Carl's first chance at saying yes happens as soon as he leaves when a homeless man asks Carl for a ride. Carl agrees to driving him as well as letting him use his cell phone, in which the homeless man runs down the battery. The man then asks Carl for some money, and Carl agrees. Carl's "yes" attitude seems to paying off in a negative way when his car runs out of gas and he can't call AAA for help.

Carl walks to a gas station where he meets Allison(Zooey Deschanel), a quirky woman filling up her scooter. Allison gives Carl an adventurous and terrifying ride back to his car where she kisses him and drives away. Carl's life is starting to turn around from saying yes. He accepts a flyer from a band promoter who he continually says no to. When he goes to the concert, the band, an weird, eccentric band performs with the lead singer being Allison. The two meet again at the show and become attracted to each other and begin to date. Carl is suddenly saying yes to everything life throws at him, making him give out over 500 small loans at the bank he works at, take flying lessons, guitar lessons, Korean lessons, making him join an Iranian mail-order bride service, plan the bridal shower of Lucy Burns(Sasha Alexander) Peter's fiance, and going to a Harry Potter themed party at his lovable but clueless boss Norman's(Rhys Darby) house.

But things suddenly take a turn for the worse. Carl and Allison decide to go to the airport and take a trip on the first plane out of town, which takes them to Lincoln, Nebraska where they go to the Frank H. Woods Telephone Museum, go to a Nebraska College football game, and go skeet shooting. The two take refuge in a barn when it starts raining and Allison asks Carl to move in with her. Carl hesitantly says yes, which worries Allison, but the two get over it. When the two try to book a flight home, they are apprehended by F.B.I. agents who, because of the activities Carl has recently started, think he is a terrorist. Peter, being a lawyer, flies down to Nebraska to explain to the agents that Carl must say yes to every oppurtunity he comes across, which explains his somewhat strange behavior. Allison hears this and believes that the only reason Carl is with her is because he has to say yes. Allison, after being released from the agents, leaves Carl at the airport.

Carl then goes to Terrence Bundley's seminar and hides in the back of his car. Carl wants him to break the "covenant", allowing Carl to say no. Carl pops out of Bundley's back seat and startles him, making him run a red light and crashing, landing both of them in the hospital. When Carl wakes up, Bundley tells him that the "covenant" was bogus, it was just used to get Carl on the idea of saying yes, allowing Carl to say no if he needs to. Carl finds Allison and explains everything to her, telling her he really doesn't want to move in with her just yet, but that he really does care about her.

Jim Carrey is one of the biggest comedic geniuses in the film industry. He brings a crazy eccentricity to his movies that is so fast paced that it almost leaves you tired watching him. Carrey has proven that he can do serious roles like his films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Truman Show and The Number 23 but his true genius is in comedy, and he definitley delivers in Yes Man. This movie is reminiscent of Carrey's film Liar Liar where he is forced to tell the truth for 24 hours whereas in this movie he has to say yes to everything.

Carrey brings his trademark energy to this film. The whole movie is go go go from the very beginning. This movie was good and I really enjoyed it. I am already a huge fan of Jim Carrey and this is another movie that is going on my favorites list. first of all, the premise of the movie is what first draws you in. A man who says no to everything and then suddenly has to say yes makes for an interesting twist of fate. Not to mention that Carrey, being as funny as he is, is also supported by funny cast members. Zooey Deschanel adds her own little quaint quirkiness to the film and her and Carrey have great chemistry together. A real show stealer for me was the character of Carrey's boss Norman, played by Rhys Darby. Everything about him was funny. His accent, his clueless demeanor, and his genuinely friendly and nice attitude. He is the type of guy that wants to be everybody's friend and just wants you to like him. But the true comedy lies with Carrey. This is definitley one of his better works.

I do not think this movie will as funny to you the first time you watch it. Like a lot of Carrey's movies, they appear to get better and better each time you watch them, as was the case for me with Fun With Dick and Jane. But Carrey dose his best to provide laughs throughout the whole movie. Carrey is a very physical actor and it shows in Yes Man. He is like the man with the golden touch, but instead of making everything he touches turn to gold, he makes it funny. This movie is classic Jim Carrey. It has high energy, big laughs, a great cast, and a lovable story that keeps you hooked. I give Yes Man 8 Harry Potter Themed Parties out of 10.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Righteous Kill

Righteous Kill - review by ZackRelease Date: September 12th, 2008

Click here for the Righteous Kill Trailer.

NYPD Detectives "Turk"(Robert De Niro) and "Rooster"(Al Pacino) have been partners on the force for over 30 years. After such a long and decorated career in the twisted, run-down streets of New York, the two should be heading for retirement. But before they can hang up their badges, they have one last case to solve. There is a vigilante on the streets taking out pimps, rapists, and drug dealers leaving a small poem explaining himself. All the victims, besides being the low-life of society, have one thing in common, they were all convicted of their crimes and then released by the court system.

Turk and Rooster are assigned by their Lieutenant, Hingis(Brian Dennehy), to the case. They are aided by fellow detectives Perez(John Leguizamo) and Riley(Donnie Wahlberg) as well as Turks girlfriend Detective Corelli(Carla Gugino). Turk and rooster are angered when they are in a court room hearing of an accused rapist and the judge lets him go. Turk threatens the man, telling him to watch his back. A few weeks later, the rapist is found shot to death in his apartment. While discussing the case, Rooster realizes that each victim is shot at close range, with no signs of struggle or forced entry, alluding to the idea that the killer knows each victim. Considering that each victim is a criminal, it is supposed that the killer is a cop. Perez and Riley agree that it is a cop which angers Turk, who doesn't think for one second that it could be a cop.

While trying to investigate the murders, Perez and Riley begin to suspect that the killer is Turk. They try to set him up by having a known drug dealer, Spider(Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson), who Turk and Rooster tried to bust earlier, to lure Turk to his club and confess to something. Turk, however, already knows what is going on and sets up Perez and Riley by embarrassing them when they try to bust him. Perez and Riley leave, and then the true killer is revealed, all ending in a dramatic final confrontation.

When you put two legends like Pacino and De Niro in the same film, you are expecting great things. Sadly, that isn't the case for Righteous Kill. You don't get much better than Pacino and De Niro, the are two of the greatest and most respected actors in the film industry. But even their award-winning acting skills can't make this movie any better than what it was, which wasn't that good. From director John Avnet(Fried Green tomatoes), this movie is a typical cliche good cop/bad cop drama set in the unoriginal setting of the NYPD. While De Niro and Pacino were good in the film, the whole thing was just the same old stuff you would expect to see. There was a good number of A-list stars in the movie but it still didn't make up for the poor story. A killer is killing bad guys and people suspect a cop. That is basically the movie in a nutshell. Being a cop movie, I would have expected a bit more action, i.e. shootouts and gun play. But the only real time you saw any of that was the two or three shots fired into all three of the victims. Aside from the opening scene and a small shootout in a club, there wasn't much there.

I am disappointed in this movie. The trailer looked good, and who doesn't love the classic style of Pacino and De Niro? But this movie suffered from a poor story, poor concept, and unoriginality. Despite great performances from De Niro and Pacino, it wasn't enough. I giveRighteous Kill 6 Murdering Poets out of 10.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gran Torino

Release Date: December 12th, 2008

Click Here for the Gran Torino Trailer.

Walt Kowalski(Clint Eastwood) is a grizzled Korean War Vet living the a run down neighborhood in Detroit. Bitter at everyone around and mourning the death of his wife, Walt's only pleasure in life is the racial remarks he makes with his friends about everybody around. After his wife's death, Walt finds a new person to make fun of, the priest at his church Father Janovich(Christopher Carley). Father Janovich became close with Walt's wife in the months before she died. It was her last wish, entrusted to Father Janovich, that Walt go to confession. However, Walt doesn't much like the idea of confessing to an "over-educated 27 year old just out of his seminary". But Father Janovich is persistent, and visits Walt on a regular basis, continuing to witness to Walt while learning from him as well.

Walt is bitter at everything; his spoiled sons Mitch(Brian Haley) and Steve(Brian Howe) and his spoiled, vain grandchildren Ashley(Dreama Walker) and Josh(Michael E. Kurowski) as well as the abundance of Hmong immigrants that have invaded his neighborhood. Walt does his best to avoid his neighbors at all cost, but when his neighbor Thao(Bee Vang) is attacked by his cousin "Spider"(Doua Moua) and his gang for failing their initiation of stealing Walt's mint 1972 Gran Torino and refusing to go along with them, the fight spills onto Walt's lawn, something Walt does not like at all. Walt goes out with his M1 Grand from the war and scares off the gang members. The next day, Walt's worst nightmare comes true, all the Hmong neighbors on the block, believing Walt to be a hero for saving Thao, are showering him with customary gifts from their heritage. Walt wants nothing to do with any of them and does his best to keep away from them. But when Walt sees Thao's sister Sue being hassled by three black teenagers, he steps in to help, pulling a gun on the teens and putting Sue into his truck and taking her home. Sue isn't like the other Hmong immigrants. She laughs at Walt's racial remarks and cracks jokes and snappy remarks back at Walt, which slowly begins to grow on Walt.

When Sue invites Walt to a barbecue at her house, Walt decides to go, enticed by the free beer. Walt, despite despising the Hmong immigrants, is starting to come around. He still cracks his racial remarks, but doesn't hate them as much as he used to, except for Thao, who he thinks is worthless and dumb for trying to steal his car to be in some gang. But even Walt starts to come around on Thao when Thao's mother makes him work for Walt to repay him for trying to steal his car. Walt then becomes like a father figure to Thao, teaching him about cars, tools, and earning your living, even getting him a construction job. When Thao is mugged and burned by a cigarette by his cousins gang, Walt decides to take action. He goes to the gang member's house and beats one of them up telling them to stay away from Thao and his family. The gang retaliates by doing a drive-by shooting on Thao's house, wounding Thao. Sue returns later, beaten and raped. When the neighbors refuse to talk due to their strict heritage and way of life, the gang gets away with it. Walt has had enough. Thao urges Walt to take him to the house so they can both retaliate for what happened to Sue. Walt tells Thao of what it is like to kill a man, and the horror it brings on someone. Walt locks Thao in the basement, keeping him from harm. he then calls Sue and tells her where Thao is and how to get him out. Walt then proceeds to "Spider's" house. Walt's final confrontation leaves you with a surprising ending that you wouldn't expect from Walt, but one that ultimately leaves you applauding.

O.k. so I don't know if this movie was intended to be funny, but I definitley thought it was, mainly because of Eastwood's performance as the disgruntled, racist old man. Eastwood's character was that cliche old American vet, he loves his country, his flag, and doesn't much like seeing the foreigners moving in on his "turf". Eastwood goes behind the camera and in front of it again in this movie, starring in it and directing it. Eastwood proved he was an incredible actor from his earliest movies like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and showed that he had the chops to be a director with his movie Million Dollar Baby which won four academy awards, including the Academy Award for Best Director.

This movie was just good. From seeing the first preview, with Eastwood confronting some black teenagers, I was sure it was another Dirty Harry movie. Eastwood's performance was brilliant. What I most liked about his performance was the way he delivered his lines. He spoke with this very grizzled, almost growling voice that was very intimidating. Yet his voice was also a bit humorous. When he gave some of his racist remarks in his voice, you couldn't help but laugh, but I'm pretty sure that was the intention of Eastwood. But the story is where this movie really gets you. It is a sort of "redemption" story in the way that Walt is saved from his lonely, bitter way of life and finds forgiveness and peace from the things he did in the war, which were the things that were really haunting him. It is also a story of enlightenment. You start off with a racist, foreigner-hating Walt, and by the end of the film, you have a Walt that finds Thao and his family closer than his own flesh and blood family. This is a cinematic work of art. It does what I think a lot of movies these days are missing, depth and substance. With movies like Dance Flick and My Bloody Valentine its good to see a movie that can appeal to people who are mature enough to not be amused by the mundane, cliche antics of some movies these days.

Eastwood does it again with Gran Torino. It is gripping, dramatic, has a great story, great acting, and an ending you can not help but be shocked at. I give Gran Torino 9 Racist War Vets out of 10.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Hangover

The Hangover - review by ZackRelease Date: June 5th, 2009

Click here for The Hangover Trailer.

When four guys get together for a bachelor party in Vegas, shenanigans ensue that none of them planned and that none of them can even remember.

Doug(Justin Bartha, National Treasure) is about to get married to the girls of his dreams, Tracy(Sasha Barrese). In celebration, Doug's friends Phil(Bradley Cooper, He's Just Not That Into You), a bored school teacher and Stu(Ed Helms, The Office), a dentist, take Doug, along with his future brother in-law Alan(Zach Galifianakis, What Happens in Vegas), an inept but rather smart individual, for a weekend of male debauchery in Sin City. When they arrive, they upgrade their room to a Villa suite and go up to get ready for a night on the town. Before they begin, they guys sneak up to the roof for a view of the Vegas strip and a little toast to Doug with some shots of Yeager.

The next morning, the guys wake up in their Villa, which has been completely trashed. The worst part is that none of them has any idea of what happened the night before. When they search the room for clues, they find some things they don't expect. They guys find a baby in the closet, a tiger in the bathroom, and they also realize that Doug is missing. When they can't find Doug anywhere in the hotel, they group gets worried and tries to retrace their steps from the night before, the steps none of them remember taking. Searching their pockets, the find some clues: Stu's missing tooth, an ATM receipt for $800, a VIP parking pass, and a medical bracelet on Phil's wrist from the local hospital. More confusion ensues when the valet brings the group, now accompanied by a baby, a police cruiser instead of the vintage BMW Alan's dad, Sid(Jeffery Tambor, Arrested Development) let them borrow for the trip. At the hospital, the guys realize that Stu, who is trying trying to keep this whole experience away from his controlling girlfriend Melissa(Rachel Harris, Desperate Housewives), got married the night before. When they go to the chapel, they realize that Stu married a stripper named Jade(Heather Graham, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me). When they go to Jade's apartment to get the marriage annulled, the find out that the baby is hers. When the guys are trying to figure out what else happened, two cops, the owners of the stolen cruiser the guys have been riding around in, bust in the door and arrest the guys. Making a deal where the guys test out stun guns for a group of kids, they are released from jail and get there BMW back from the impound lot, amazingly without a scratch on it. When they begin driving, they hear a banging sound coming from the trunk. Thinking it is Doug, the guys pull over and open the trunk. Instead of finding Doug, a very angry and very naked Chinese man, Mr. Chow(Ken Jeong, Roll Models) jumps from the trunk and beats up the three guys before running off.

The guys decide to go back to the villa to look for more clues. Upon arriving they find former boxing legend Mike Tyson, the owner of the mysterious tiger in the bathroom. Mike Tyson forces the guys to bring the tiger back to his home. Alan drugs the tiger with Ruffalin, or roofies, and the load it in the BMW for transport. When the tiger wakes up and destroys the inside of car, the guys are forced to push the last mile to Tyson's house. Once they arrive, Tyson shows the guys his security tapes from his cameras, which shows Doug with the group and still alive. Upon leaving Tyson's house, the group is crashed into by a big black SUV. Out steps Mr. Chow, who tells them that they have $80,000 in Belagio casino chips and that he has Doug. They guys are confused until they see a man in the back of Chow's car with a sack over his head, who they believe to be Doug. Chow gives the guys until dawn to find his purse and the $80,000 or he is going to kill Doug. When the guys can not find the money, Alan uses his amazing card counting skills to win back $82,400 at the black jack tables to give to Chow. Upon trading the money, they find out that Doug isn't their Doug. This Doug is a black drug dealer who sold the roofies to Alan, thinking they were ecstasy. Black Doug(Mike Epps, Next Friday) doesn't know where the real Doug is either. But when Phil is about to tell Melissa that they can't find Doug, five hours before their wedding, Stu realizes where he is. They find Doug and proceed home to the wedding. Getting a tuxedo delivery by van while driving on the highway, the four men make it to the wedding just in time.

Wow, o.k. so when I first saw the previews for this movie, I laughed instantly. Directed by Todd Phillips, who also did Old School, this movie looked like it was another movie just like the Will Ferrel comedy. I always have reservations about going to comedies these days. Comedy is by far my favorite genre of film, but recently, all the comedies I have seen drew me in by the previews and proceeded to put all the funny parts of the movie in the previews leaving nothing new and funny for the actual movie. The Hangover definitley did not do that. This movie was hilarious. It's about a group of guys who have one wild party and it contains all the drunken comedy that you would expect. Justin Bartha, who was funny in the National Treasure movies, was moderately funny in this movie. But he didn't get much chance to work considering he was missing for the majority of the movie. Bradley Cooper, who played Doug's best friend Phil, portrayed the typical best friend who wants nothing more than to get hammered and layed and to take you down with him. Cooper added the brains to the group. Mostly remaining calm and keeping the group organized. Ed Helms, who played Stu, was the typical friend we all have who tries to be the voice of reason and tries to keep the group out of trouble. Helms did a great job. I really liked the way his character changed throughout the movie. He went from the conservative mild mannered guy to a guy who didn't care what happened by the end of it, just as long as they got Doug back. But Zach Galifianakis was the center comedian. His character was the one of the kid at school who used to sit in the corner and talk to his hand. His immaturity was key in what made this movie so funny. He was like an overweight infant with a beard.

The three main characters all had hugely different personalities which all fed off each other perfectly. The chemistry between Cooper, Helms and Galifianakis was on spot the whole movie. The point of The Hangover is, of course, comedy. The hardest thing to do in today's film industry regarding comedies is making a movie funny from start to finish. Well, Todd Phillips with writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore did what so many comedic directors and writers fail to do, make a movie funny the entire time. But my favorite aspect of the movie was how you, the audience, actually got worried yourself about what happened to Doug. It made you feel like you just woke up from the night before with the guys. It kept you wondering the entire time what really did happen the night before and where the hell Doug is. The movie really kept you locked in. even if you hate this movie, finding out where Doug is and what happened is enough to keep you for the whole film. A true comedy in its purest form. When it comes to having a good time at the movies and laughing your ass off, nothing comes close to The Hangover. I can't really say anything negative about this movie, except, maybe, for the part of the movie where you see an 80 year old man's sagging, wrinkly, white-haired, naked butt. But thats about it.

I give The Hangover 9 Drunken Bachelor Parties out of 10.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seven Pounds

Release Date: December 19, 2008

Click here for the Seven Pounds Trailer.

Academy Award Nominee Will smith reunites with director Gabriele Muccino(The Pursuit of Happiness) in Seven Pounds, an emotionally driven story that follows one man and is attempt to change seven lives.

Will Smith is Ben Thomas, an IRS agent hiding one very big secret. Two years ago, Ben was driving with his wife when they were in a car accident Ben caused. Seven people, including Ben's wife, were killed. Ben decides to take the road of redemption and believes it is within his power to drastically change the lives of seven deserving people. Ben sets out on his quest and starts by donating a lung lobe to his brother(Michael Ealy). Ben then decides to donate a part of his liver to Holly(Judyann Elder), a child services worker. George(Bill Smitrovich), a junior hockey coach, is Ben's next recipient. Ben gives George one of his kidneys. And finally Ben donates bone marrow to a boy named Nicholas)Quintin Kelley).

Looking for his final three people to help, Ben contacts Holly and asks her to find someone who needs help. Holly directs Ben to Connie Tepos, a woman who lives with her abusive boyfriend but is too afraid to leave. After not being able to take to take it anymore, Connie calls Ben, who gives her the keys and deed to his beach house. Connie moves in, free from the abuse and fear of her boyfriend. Ben then begins the search for his final two candidates. He contacts a man named Ezra Turner(Woody Harrelson), a blind, over-the-phone meat salesman. After being very cruel to Ezra, and not receiving an angered response, Ben knows he has found his next candidate.

With his IRS powers, Ben finds his seventh and final candidate, Emily Posa(Rosario Dawson), a self-employed wedding invitation/greeting card maker who suffers from a weak heart and a rare blood type. The two begin to fall in love, but when Emily's condition gets worse, Ben realizes what he must do. Ben leaves Emily at her house, and returns to the motel where he has been staying. He then fills the bathtub with ice and water and calls his friend Dan(Barry Pepper). Dan is to act as executor to Ben, to make sure everything Ben wishes happens. Ben then dumps a box jellyfish into the tub, which proceeds to electrocute Ben to death. After his death, Ben's corneas are given to Ezra who, thanks to Ben, has now been given the sight he was robbed of his entire life. Emily, having the same rare blood type as Ben, receives his heart. Ben's road to redemption is complete.

Will Smith has proven to be an incredible actor who can powerfully deliver those dramatic scenes. Working with the same director as the Pursuit of Happiness, Smith prepares to deliver a dramatic performance from start to finish. Smith does deliver a powerful performance, but it doesn't make up for some of the major flaws in this movie.

First off, the story was incredibly complex at the start and extremely hard to follow. The only way I was able to fully understand what was going on was to watch the entire move, which is probably a good way to keep audiences in the theater but a bad way to keep them interested. The beginning of the movie was very choppy and jumped around a lot, always giving you little tid bits of information here and there but never enough to fully comprehend what was going on. Most of the movie left you confused until the end when Michael Ealy's character semi-explained it all to you. And even after that you racked your brain trying to figure out which seven people he helped, who he was, and why he did what he did. The movie's plot was said to revolve around Will Smith's character drastically helping seven different people. But the story mainly focuses on Smith helping Rosario Dawson's character for the majority of the film. While this isn't a bad thing so to speak, it is if you make the movie out to seem like there is going to be more story with the other six recipients of Smith's help. But mainly it focuses on Smith and Dawson's characters.

Aside from the super confusing story, the acting was actually really good. Smith delivered a powerfully gripping performance with Dawson adding the softer, more innocent side. Kind of like I Am Legend the movie almost completely revolves around smith giving him a large majority of the screen time. But this isn't a bad thing because Smith is a very good actor.

I wish more would have been done with the way the story moved. It was very hard to follow and because of that it made the movie, which could have been a huge success, not enjoyable to watch. Despite the powerful performance from Smith, it just wasn't enough to save this movie from a poor storyline and sequence of events.

I give Seven Pounds 4 Acts of Generosity out of 10.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Release Date: May 29th, 2009

Click here for the Up Trailer.

From the people that brought us such great movies like Monster's Inc., Toy Story, and The Incredibles comes Disney-Pixar's newest film, Up.

Carl Fredricksen(Edward Asner) is a boy who love adventure and wants nothing more than to meet his long time hero, adventurer Charles F. Muntz. When Carl is on his way home from a documentary film on Muntz, he hears a kid playing in an old dilapidated house. When he goes to investigate he meets Ellie(Ellie Docter), a tomboy girl who shares the same love of adventure and Muntz that Carl does. The two fall in love and live out their lives together, always promising that they will one day go to Paradise Falls, a lost and mysterious land and the last known location of Charles Muntz. There dream always seems out of reach and when Ellie passes away, Carl suddenly looses the desire to go.

However, when a construction crew starts building up big corporate buildings on all sides of Carl's house and trying to get Carl to move, Carl refuses. All the trouble with Carl has been peaceful until a bulldozer breaks the custom mail box Carl and Ellie made when they first moved in. When a worker tries to grab the mail box and fix it, Carl whacks him in the head with his cane, causing him to bleed. The court then orders Carl to be transferred from his home to a retirement village. But Carl has something else up his sleeve. When the men come to take Carl to the retirement village, he breaks out his plan as thousands of helium balloons emerge from Carl's chimney and his house lifts off the ground, flying away. Carl is going to Paradise Falls.

High in the air, Carl hears a knock at the door and opens it up to find Russell(Jordan Nagai), a young Wilderness Explorer who had come by earlier to assist Carl and receive his assisting the elderly badge. Carl allows Russel to come in and the unlikely duo make their way to Paradise Falls. Upon arrival, the two meet an assortment of unlikely characters. First, they meet a large, colorful, tropical bird who Russell wants to keep but Carl can't stand. The bird follows the two explorers and Russell decides to name him Kevin. Then the two meet a dog named Dug(Bob Peterson) who has a collar that translates his thoughts into verbal speech. When the group is attacked by a larger group of dogs with similar collars, Kevin runs off and the rest are bottlenecked into a cavern where the one and only Charles F. Muntz(Christopher Plummer) emerges and invites the group to dine with them. Muntz soon realizes that the Russell can get a hold of Kevin, a bird that Muntz has been trying to capture for 60 years. Muntz suddenly turns from friend to villain and orders the dogs to attack Carl and Russell and to capture Kevin. The group, including Dug and Kevin, must now race through the jungle to escape the clutches of Muntz and his army of talking dogs.

Now I am all for animated movies like this one. Toy Story and The Incredibles are two of my favorite animated movies. So naturally, when I saw the trailer for Up I got a little excited. This movie looked like a good, funny family movie and something that was different from all the special effects, explosions, and action that I have seen in the all the recent summer blockbusters.I expected this movie to be funny, but what I hadn't expected was this movie to be hilarious, which is exactly what it was. The first part of a drive-in double feature me and my girlfriend saw, Up was just a pure joy to watch.

The direction of the movie was great. They started off with a the main character, Carl, at a young age and then went into a montage of his life with his wife Ellie, showing the love they had for each other and how both of their lives were complete. Then they turned Carl into a curmudgeonly old man who just wanted to be left alone. However, Carl was the likable, grumpy old man that you fell in love with, as opposed to the angry mean old man that you see in movies like Monster House. The other character if Russel, was probably one of the most likable and adorable characters I have seen in an animated movie. His innocence and overoptimism made him easy to fall in love with.

While a good family movie is the main focus of the movie, there is no getting around the outstanding comedic aspects of the movie. This film was very very funny. Most of the comedy erupted from Russell's constant go-go-go way of life, his constant jabbering, and his optimism as opposed to Carl's slow, annoyed way of doing things. Russell is all the wile trying to get Carl's attention or approval while Carl just ignores him or gives him one word answers like "no" or "let's go" in a very annoyed tone. These two polar opposite characters work off each other perfectly. Then they add in the talking dog Dug and the large, flightless bird Kevin, both of which Russell loves and Carl hates, just add to the humor. There are so many little things in the movie that bring out the most laughs. One of my favorite scenes that was extremely funny is a scene where Muntz is at the helm of his dirigible and all his dogs are talking at once at him through the speakers. Muntz finally has enough and screams out "Does anybody know WHERE THEY ARE!?!?" at which point Russell, holding on to a line of balloons, smacks into the side window of the dirigible and is slowly dragged across making a very loud and unnecessarily long squeaking noise with Muntz looking on in exasperated disbelief. Moments like these fill the entire movie and are the points that make it so enjoyable.

But Disney-Pixar took this movie one step further. They are showing this film in both normal 2-D and even enhanced 3-D. I didn't see the movie in 3-D, but reviews from the web say it makes the film even better.

This is definitley a different story for Pixar. A brave movie to make, and one that performs perfectly. It doesn't matter what age you are, you are sure to enjoy this movie. It has something to offer to any age group and appeals to that inner explorer in all of us. A wonderfully unique story paired with great characters, big laughs, and good voice acting make this a movie you are definitley going to want to check out.

I give Up 9 Flying Houses out of 10.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

17 Again

17 Again - review by zackRelease Date: April 17th, 2009

Click here for the 17 Again Trailer.

O.k. so this movie was my "guilty pleasure". Me and my girlfriend both wanted to see this movie, just not in theaters where anybody we knew could see us. So we went to one place where we were pretty sure nobody we knew would show up, the drive-in. First of all, if you haven't been to a drive in movie, I can tell you first hand that it is a wonderful experience, especially if you have a convertible like me. There is just something so peaceful about sitting under the stars with someone and watching a movie in almost solitude.

But back to the movie. In 1989, Mike O'Donnell(Zac Efron, High School Musical) was the star of the basketball team, the coolest guy in school, and had the prettiest girlfriend in school. The day of the biggest game of his career, and with a college scout in the stands offering him a full ride if he plays good enough, Mike's girlfriend Scarlet breaks the news that she is pregnant. Scarlet wants Mike to play in the game and go on to live out his life, but Mike walks off the court after Scarlet, giving up everything to be with her. 20 years later Mike(Mathew Perry) is still holding on to what could have been had he not stayed with his now wife Scarlet(Leslie Mann). Mike's life is taking a turn for the worse. Scarlet is divorcing him, his two kids disown him, he just got passed up for a promotion at work, and Mike is now staying with his best friend Ned(Thomas Lennon), a high school nerd turned techno-billionaire.

One day, when Mike is visiting his old high school and dreaming about the glory days, he is approached by an old school janitor(Brian-Doyle Murray) who asks Mike that if he wishes he could live it all over again and Mike, without hesitation, says absolutely. That night, Mike sees the old janitor atop a bridge, ready to jump. When he does, Mike rushes over to help and ends up falling into the water himself. When he wakes up and goes back to Ned's, he comes to the shocking realization that he is 17 again. With help from Ned and his vast knowledge of everything nerdy, the conclude that Mike is on a spirit path set before him by his spirit guide, the janitor.

Mike decides his mission is to go back to high school and do it all over. But when he gets there, he notices that is daughter Maggie(Michelle Trachtenberg) is going out with the schools residential psycho jock/bully Stan(Hunter Parish) and that his son, Alex(Sterling Knight) is the school punching bag instead of the popular kid Mike thought him to be. Mike now realizes that his mission isn't to relive his glory days, but to help out his family and to make a better life for them. Through his journey, Mike remembers the reason he gave everything up and realizes that which is truly important in his life.

O.k. so Zac Efron isn't the type of person I typically want to go and watch. I mean, High School Musical really isn't my cup of tea. But whenever I saw the previews for this movie, I couldn't help but laugh. So I moved past my embarrassment of seeing a Zac Efron movie and bought a ticket and I wasn't completely disappointed. The story isn't really that original. A person going back in time or something of that nature to get a second chance or to come across some great moment of self discovery has been done before. This one was a little different with the main character traveling back time in physical appearance only.

When I first saw the previews for this movie I thought it looked pretty funny. Mathew Perry has always been a decent comedian, however he didn't have a primary role in the movie, just small parts in the beginning and the end of the movie. Zac Efron was the main focus of the movie and, in turn, had to handle most of the comedic pressures and he handled it fairly well. However, most of the comedy came from Thomas Lennon, who played Efron's best friend Ned. Lennon's character was the typical nerd who played dungeons and dragons, was bullied in high school, and grew up to be a billionaire. Even at the age of 37, Ned's house is packed full of geeky merchandise from wall to wall. It was his character that was primarily funny. His funniest moments were the ones where he unsuccessfully attempted to woo the principal of Mike's high school, Principal Masterson(Melora Hardin).

The movie was decent in it's own right. It was a good family movie, but some of the language used isn't recommended for audiences too young. Efron did good despite his only acting experience comes from High school Musical(sorry I just can't stand that movie). He showed that he can handle the big screen and by the way he performed, I can see him having a good future in acting. I want to see him take on a serious role for his next film and get out of the teenie-bop movies because I think he can handle it. I liked this movie. I was, on the other hand, expecting it to be funnier than it actually was but I did get some pretty good laughs out of it. The movie also had some pretty good life lessons in it which could give people a new respect for issues in life.

Overall, a good comedy with better than average acting and a semi-original plot. I give 17 Again 6 37 year old teens out of 10.