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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Wreck It Ralph – Movie 90 of 365

Wreck-It Ralph 2012I’ve resisted seeing Wreck-It Ralph for a while.  I just wasn’t in the mood for a chick-flick trip down memory lane.  I had seen Toy Story and except for the little green men really didn’t care for it.  Yeah I know, I’m a horrible person.  But Wreck-It Ralph was at the “dollar” theater today so I figured I might as well see it.  If it was horrible I would just lose the time and not that much money.  In the beginning, I was sure I was wasting time in the theater.  Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly)  is a video game character, more appropriately, he’s the bad guy in the Fix-It Felix Jr. game.  For 30 years, day in and day out he wrecks things, Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) fixes them, and then Ralph gets thrown off the top of the apartment building.  At night when the humans are away, Felix Jr. and the rest of the game characters live and party in the nice apartment building while Ralph is regulated to the dump. Needless to say Ralph is getting a tired of this.  He wants friends, he wants praise, he wants something to sleep on besides bricks and garbage.  But only good guys get to sleep in the apartments, so Ralph goes on a quest to become a good guy.

This movie gets better over time.  About the first quarter of the movie I was bored.  I got the references to the old arcade games I used to play as a child but it really didn’t do anything for me.  Once Ralph starts his adventure the pacing gets better and that probably has a lot to do with an added plot involving the character Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) who is a glitch in the game Sugar Rush.  With having someone for Ralph to interact and connect with makes this movie infinitely better.  By the end I’m a little teary-eyed and darn-it kids movies aren’t supposed to do that to me.

The storyline is good once it gets going.  The effects are great, especially all the little minor things that made it feel like a video game world, like how the eight-bit game characters moved a certain way even when they weren’t drawn eight-bit.  The way some things were pixelated like it would be in the game.  I love how they are able to travel between games.  However, the part I like the best, really had nothing to do with the storyline per-say.  It was that the kid playing the first-person shooter game was a girl; that Sugar Rush was played by boys and the squadron leader in the, I assume Heavy Gear take off game, was female.  It was nice that they didn’t go traditional here and I think it made the movie even more universally appealing.   I really loved the ending, I can’t tell you why because it would give things away, but let’s it’s Disney feel, but not your usual Disney ending.  And darn-it  I had to wipe all that dust out of my eyes before the theater house lights came up.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Premium Rush – Movie 89 of 365

Premium Rush 2012When I first saw the previews for this movie I knew I wanted to see it.  First for the obvious reason, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but it also seemed like it would be an interesting concept.  Kind of like the movie 16 Blocks but with bikes.  If nothing else, I thought, there should be some really cool stunts.  But I wavered on seeing it in the theater, what if it was a one bike-trick pony with no substance?  Now I wish I had seen it in the theater.

Premium Rush follows a group of bike messengers  through the streets of New York city.  Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has to do a “premium rush” delivery of a envelope across the city to Chinatown; he has ninety minutes.  But Detective Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) also wants what’s in the envelope for entirely illegal reasons and is chasing Wilee across town to get it.  Now if the story completely just focused on these two it would be a bit boring after awhile but it doesn’t.  I call this a light thriller because as much as it focused on the plot involving the envelope there is a lot of focus as well on the day-to-day of a bike messenger, the relationship issues between Wilee and Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), as well as his competition with  fellow messenger, the very egotistical Manny (Wole’ Park).  Since this movie is filmed in close to real time it doesn’t dwell on being overly dramatic because with the location constantly changing there isn’t enough time.

One thing interesting about this movie is the violence.  There isn’t the type of violence you would usually expect from an action/thriller.  Meaning there is nothing really in the way of gun violence or hand-to-hand fighting.  That’s not to say that this movie is all fluffy bunnies and rainbows, imagine a at most ten pound bike zipping thorough a crowded moving maze of congested New York traffic.  Violent things are going to happen.

Even with the interesting story and sub plots this movie still could’ve been boring. However the way this was filmed proved to be on of it’s best assets.  Using some visual elements that  reminded me of Guy Ritchie, this movie pulls you into story.  Mapping the routes taken, using interesting camera angles so that you feel like you are right beside the bike or in the drivers seat, giving us a visual representation of what’s going on in the bikers mind, all work together to make you part of the movie.

You know, on the other hand, it’s probably good I didn’t see this in the theater.  I found myself doing a lot of talking to the screen plus reacting loudly to the crashes, flips, and did-you-see-that action.  Maybe everyone else would have been doing that as well, or maybe I’d have gotten kicked out of the theater.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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RocknRolla – Movie 88.4 of 365

rocknrolla(Rewatch#4)  All that talk about One Two yesterday and I just had to watch it again. For those who haven’t watched it yet, and if you haven’t why not, the plot it simple.  One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba), borrow a large amount of money from Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) a man shall we say that isn’t entirely above board, to buy a building.  After buying the building they can’t get zoning to  do anything with it so they can’t pay back Cole.  He takes the building and they still owe him interest.  Little do they know Cole is the reason the zoning didn’t go through and he was screwing them all along.

Enter story line number two, Uri (Karel Roden) approaches Cole to help him with a zoning issue of his own.  He’s willing to pay a lot of money for it as well.  With the help of his accountant Stella (Thandie Newton), he disappears seven million off his books and sends it to Cole.  Except the problem is Stella knows One Two and tips him and his gang, the Wild Bunch, off to the money delivery so they can nick it before it get’s to Cole.  Of course she gets a percentage of the take.

Think I’ve said too much?  I haven’t scratched the surface.

That’s what I like about Guy Ritchie, his ability to weave so much plot and different story-lines into one great movie.  Also the actors always just seem to work so well together.  Add to that the shooting style of the movie, including words on the screen, first person film shots (I guess that is harness cam stuff) and a great soundtrack, you just can’t help but fall in love.

Mr. Ritchie promised a sequel and I’m waiting impatiently for it to develop.  If I can have one wish for the second movie would be definitely more of Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy).  At the time I first saw this I still wasn’t making the connection with Tom Hardy(only recently starting to appreciate his attractiveness), but I loved the character he played.  There is a part in the movie when he tells another character to “do as your told,” … I would’ve handed Handsome Bob that phone too and anything else.  But other than that I want to know the further adventures of the rest of the Wild Bunch and find out who is the real RocknRolla.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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G.I. Joe:Retaliation – Movie 88 of 365

GI Joe  Retaliation 2013So why do you want to see the new G. I. Joe movie?  Action? There is a lot of that, both hand to hand and weaponized. Good looking actors? Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Byung-Hun LeeAdrianne Palicki, etc. got that covered.  Interesting tech?  One word, fireflies, you’ll understand that later.  A plot that makes sense, without gaping plot holes and what the hell moments?  Um, let me get back to you on that.

I went into G. I. Joe: Retaliation with low expectations, I went to see action and eye candy.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Now the plot, well if I paid attention too much it began to bug me a lot.  The plot without giving too much away, basically the Joes get screwed over royally but they are also the only ones that can save the world from a threat by COBRA. A threat the world won’t recognize until it’s too late.  There is also a subplot involving Snake Eyes, continuing from the first movie.  It would’ve been interesting if they hadn’t cast RZA in the role of Blind Master.  Now I’ve got nothing against RZA, who I loved in The Man with the Iron Fists or non-traditional casting.  However, he just distracted me away from the subplot and didn’t make it feel nearly as serious as it should’ve been.  It was a clunky subplot at best and that wasn’t all RZA’s fault.

The last thing that truly bugged me was what I like to call plot-device of the moment.  It’s when the actor suddenly possesses or has access to something there is no good reason they should have.  A quick example main character is homeless, destitute living on the street.  They need to get across town immediately to do whatever major plot point.  Suddenly they are getting on a top of the line motorcycle and zipping through town.  You don’t see them steal it or borrow it, they just pull out a set of keys start the ignition and go.

That doesn’t happen in this movie, but there are plenty of other things that inexplicably show up at the right time.  Really high tech things that the Joes shouldn’t have access for various reasons.  If it happens once I ignore it, but it happened enough that it started to get on my nerves.  Maybe there was a lot of film left on the cutting room floor that  would explain things, somehow I doubt it.

So if you ignore those things I like it.  Favorite parts involved just about anytime Firefly is on screen.  Yeah he’s a villain but he is also played by the very talented Ray Stephenson who is one of the few people who breathes any life into their character.  One of my other favorite parts is the bromance between Duke (Tatum) and Roadblock (Johnson). It felt real whenever they were interacting.  I wish their on-screen chemistry had translated to the other characters because I think what was missing most from this movie was heart.

See it for the action, the tech, and the eye candy and you won’t be too disappointed.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Fangirl Friday – Gerard Butler

Object of my obsession: Gerard James Butler – November 13, 1960
My favorite appearances: Timeline (Andre Marek), 300 (King Leonidas), RocknRolla (One Two),  Law Abiding Citizen (Clyde Shelton)

Gerard-Butler-300

Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in 300

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Idris Elba, Gerard Butler, and Tom Hardy in RocknRolla

Most people when you mention Gerard Butler tend to immediately think King Leonidas in 300.  Me, I tend to think of him in One Two in RocknRolla.  It’s not my second favorite role of his but I rather thinking of him as One Two than be on his “To Kill” list in Law Abiding Citizen.  He’s very good as Clyde Shelton, very intense and a bit creepy.  That’s what I like about Gerard, his flexibility; killer; warrior; con man; and romantic interest in movies I haven’t yet brought myself to seeing. Not mention he doesn’t seem afraid to make himself look a bit goofy.

A sneak peek at Gerard's belly.

A sneak peek at Gerard’s belly.

Let’s be honest here, he’s a great actor of course, but he also has great eyes, a killer smile, and you couldn’t ignore the chest and abs in 300.  On the big screen they were impossible to avoid.  But this picture to the left, it’s my favorite of him.  In fact it was this picture that launched an obsession of mine.  I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to photos catching that little peek of midsection on various people.  I’ve got about seventy photos so far but this one is still in my top three.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Fangirl Friday

 

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Saint John of Las Vegas – Movie 87 of 365

Saint John of Las Vegas 2009Review spoiler: I laughed a lot more at this movie than the previous one.   While not a laugh riot Saint John of Las Vegas is a pretty solid movie about a man and his luck.  John (Steve Buscemi)  is a gambler but not particularly a lucky one, and when you live in Las Vegas that’s not a good combination. One day he gets in his car and leaves, driving until his runs out of gas in Albuquerque,  New Mexico.  He makes a decent life for himself, a house in a gated community and a nice steady job as an auto insurance claim processor.  His gambling has been reduced to scratch-off tickets and the instant lottery, neither he has any real luck with.

John decides it’s time to ask for a raise and goes to ask his boss,  Mr. Townsend (Peter Dinklage).  Instead of a raise he gets reassigned to a new position, fraud investigator, with a chance for advancement.  He is assigned to work under the surly and sometimes downright hostile Virgil (Romany Malco) on a suspected fraud case in of course, Las Vegas.

This movie is an interesting combination of the odd and the lovable.  All characters are a bit strange from Tasty D Lite (Emmanuelle Chriqui) the now wheelchair bound stripper who filed the insurance claim, to Smitty (John Cho) the part-time tow truck diver and part-time sideshow act.  Sarah Silverman is cute and not annoying as John’s smiley face obsessed co-worker Jill.  And you can’t help but root for John’s luck to change. There are a few plot twists, one odd reoccurring dream, and a pretty sweet ending.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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The Ten – Movie 86 of 365

The Ten 2007It’s a sad thing when bad movies happen to good people.  I wanted to like this movie but there was just no helping it.  From the first scene I felt bad for the actors.  I think I may have laughed twice during the whole thing and this is supposed to be a comedy.  The Ten is a series of sketches dealing with the Ten Commandments.  My first problem with this movie is that a lot of the sketches only vaguely or abstractly deal with the commandment it’s supposed to be about.  If I’m finding myself going “what commandment are we on?” you’re really not writing effectively.

My second problem is that most of the humor is set at either the pubescent or frat boy level.  I think everyone has those two humor triggers inside and they are okay in very small doses.  This wasn’t very small.  The rest of the humor, I found myself going was I supposed to laugh here.

Okay I’m not wasting any more time talking about this.  I am just completely disappointed with this movie and would’ve turned it off before it finished if I didn’t need to watch a movie today.  I’m glad all the actors I liked who starred in this found better vehicles after this travesty.

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Movies, Reviews

 

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