Monday, December 26, 2011
RKO Forty Acres
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Winnie the Pooh (2011) (Rating: B)
Disney's strategy seems to have been to make only enough of a movie that people will watch it. The shortness of the movie made me yearn for a sequel.
On a more positive note, the animation looks pretty good.
I would have felt a little ripped off had I seen this in the theater, but the movie is just right for a budget rental. It is not very deep, but I didn't expect rocket science.
There is an easter egg at the end of the credits that is worth waiting for.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Critics’ Picks: The Manchurian Candidate - Video Library - The New York Times
Sent from my iPhone
Hanging By a Thread - Video Library - The New York Times
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Fwd: Mickey Mouse
Monday, November 14, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
New Daily DVD Rental Price
Redbox is making an announcement about its prices today, and we want to make sure that you hear it from us first.
Starting on Monday, October 31, the daily rental charge for DVDs will change to $1.20 a day.* The price change is due to rising operating expenses, including new increases in debit card fees. Daily rental charges for Blu-ray™ Discs and video games won't change.** Additional-day charges for DVDs rented before 10/31 won't be affected, either.
In order to make the transition easier, Redbox will discount the first day of all online DVD rentals to $1.00 from 10/31 through 11/30. Additional rental days will be $1.20.***
If you have any questions, please visit redbox.com/pricechange. There, we've provided additional information.
This marks our first price change in more than eight years as we work hard to keep prices low for our customers.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
A tribute to B.O.B Monsters vs aliens funny
Friday, October 14, 2011
MTV News: 'The Thing': The Reviews Are In!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Public Enemies * * *
into the motivation or the background of the characters. When we first meet
John Dilinger, he is alreayd a bad man doing bad things. The movie never
bothers to explain why.
Inglorious Basterds * * *
I don't know if "Inglorious Basterds" is a brilliant film or an excessively gratuitiously violent movie. It is both. The movie repeats the same formula over and over: Clever conversation followed by horrendous violence. It does this about 6 times, so it started to feel repetitious. The scene at the end movie I found too disturbing.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Rise of the Planet of The Apes * * * 1/2
reviews, a Salt Lake City radio talk show host named Bob Lonsberry
summed it up very nicely: "I went to see a movie. There were apes in
it. That is good enough for me."
I went to see "Rise of the Planet of The Apes" with low expectations
because I thought that the trailer had given away the whole story.
Although I was partially correct, I didn't count on how skillfully
that story would be told. This is a well crafted and thought out
In several places the movie isn't totally logical or believable, but
for heaven's sake, a movie like this isn't suppose to be. Believability
takes a back seat to good storytelling.
This could be the best Planet of the Apes movie since the original.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
RIO * * *
My favorite part of the movie by far is the first 5 minutes where a little girl adopts an orphaned baby parrot, names him Blue, and they grow up together, which is easy to imagine since some parrots live really long lives. Within five minutes the movie establishes that the girl, Linda, has grown up and has a really strong bond with her parrot. I don't know if it is possible for a human and a bird to have such a strong bond, but it is a necessary part of the story since Blue and Linda become seperated in Rio de Janeiro. The rest of the movie is a somewhat familiar story about how they eventually get back together. It is not that different from 1,001 Dalmations or Finding Nemo, but the first 5 minutes did such a great job of establishing the bond that it made the story compelling.
There are some predictable villians and some not-so-predictable villians and at least one annoying musical number too many, which is typical for animated films. Overall, the movie is a good way to spend 90 minutes.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Star Trek * * * *
Friday, August 19, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Gone With the Wind * * *
The opening sequence practically endorses slavery, which I find almost unforgivable. The question is should I blame the movie or blame the book? I have an expectation that any movie based upon a book should be somewhat true to the book that it represents, so I partially blame the book. It is like asking if "Das Boat" is pro-Nazi? But I find it questionable that someone chose to make a movie based off of a book that has a sympathetic view toward slavery. The slaves portrayed in this movie are happier than they should be and incapable of independent existence.
I think that the people who saw this movie in 1939 weren't interested in the pro-slavery aspects of the film. Gone With the Wind was a very popular romance novel. People wanted to see the book/soap opera on the big screen.
A person could view this movie as an historical account, even if that history is not totally accurate.
Gone With the Wind is about the turbulent romance between the rogue Rhett Butler and the manipulative Scarlet O'Hara during the Civil War and Reconstruction. It is not just just a movie. It is an event. At almost 4 hours in length, it takes some patience to get through. The last hour and a half is nothing but a soap opera, and the rest of the movie is heavy in soap opera elements. I would have been pleased if the movie had ended an hour early with Rhett Butler and Scarlet O'Hara married and living happily ever after. However, the movie is not content to let its characters be happy. They must be in constant strife. Still, I thought that the ending, which I found somewhat moving, was worth waiting for.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Cowboys & Aliens * * * 1/2
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Carrie Fisher audition tape for Star Wars
Hereafter * * * *
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
The Iron Lady
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The opening sequence to this movie is a special effects bonanza that I think is a must see.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
A Boy and His Dog * * *
A Boy and His Dog is a 1975 low budget post-apocalyptic science fiction movie based upon a novel by Harlan Ellison, who is known for writing edgy science fiction. It takes place in an alternate timeline where man never went to the moon, but chose to develop other technology instead. After an apocalypse, a few humans live above ground in a kill-or-be-killed world that has little respect for life or dignity. The boy is a teenager, played by a young Don Johnson, who knows how to live by these rules. His dog is the result of a lab experiment, and is smarter than the boy and they communicate telepathically. The dog acts a mentor to the boy. Apparently there are other dogs that also have this ability.
The teenager come across a young lady in a state of undress and attempts to rape her. They don't get very far because they are interrupted by a band of murderous thugs. When the boy successfully defends the young lady from the gang, she temporarily becomes his lover. But it turns out that she is bait to lure him into an underground city, which is like a Utopian madhouse (not that different from The Prisoner) ruled by religious zealots, who use a deadly android to enforce their tyranny. The underground rulers want the boy for their own sinister purposes.
The boy and the girl escape the underground city, but in a controversial twist ending he has to choose between the life of the girl and the life of his dog. The fact that she tried to lure him into a deadly trap didn't help her cause.
This movie is not going to appeal to most people. The 1975 trailer (which is worth a look) refers to the movie as "a rather kinky tale of survival." The somewhat misogynist ending turned off some critics. But if you like science fiction, or survival films, or post apocalyptic movies, or Mad Max films, then this movie might appeal to you. I found the first 30 minutes to be rather slow, but I liked everything after that. The movie is available on Netflix streaming.
Monday, June 20, 2011
FW: Tree of Life (film 2011)
Sent: Monday, June 20, 2011 2:40 PM
I saw it. It may be one of the weirdest movies I have ever watched. It will definitely turn most people off. I had to go downtown to the Broadway to see it since it’s not in wide general release. It’s a polarizer, some people will like it (for me I tolerated it), many people will hate it. The story doesn’t flow chronologically, it jumps around. It’s especially difficult to watch if you have had a family member die. The subject matter is about a son that is killed at 19 and they reconstruct his childhood lifetime experiences many of which I could relate to. There is a lot of room for interpretation of this film. I’m not sure I get all that was being conveyed. Part of the film seems like a visual documentary on the creation of the universe and evolution. The other part is a drama about a family and their 3 boys, one that dies at the beginning of the film.
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 4:41 PM
I suspect that the movie looks at life and religion from a pantheist perspective.
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 8:45 AM
This looks interesting.
…” featuring sci-fi and surrealist themes and imagery through space and the birth of life on Earth, drawing comparisons in particular to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. “
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Monsters versus Aliens * * * *
Whoever made this movie had a great attention for detail, because there is a lot of detail in this movie, along with some over-the-top hardware. The important point is that the combination of action and intense detail kept my attention completely in same way that "Speed" captured my attention and never let it go.
But I feel that this movie has been slighted by the critics who put the film at about two and a half stars. Where should it be rated? For someone who understands the in-jokes, it is about 3.5 stars. Otherwise, it will come across as a slightly silly action comedy, worth about 3 stars.
*** Since I first wrote this, I have seen this movie three more times and enjoyed it thoroughly each time. I am not afraid to say that this silly action comedy should be rated 4 stars. It has to be the most under-appreciated movie in recent memory.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The Green Zone * * *
The real reasons that we went to war were complex, involving a great many sources, including Russian, British and CIA intelligence, all of which were in agreement with each other. We later found out that one of the key informants had lied, but that fact alone might not have stopped us from going to war had we known.
The only reason that I can recommend this movie is that it works as war action picture. The movie gives us some sense of what it must be like to be a soldier in Iraq.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
You Don't Know Jack * * *
Kevorkian would film and interview the people he helped die. The movie makes use of actual film footage to show that people really were suffering. I found this touching and it gave the movie more realism.
It should be noted that Kevorkian's friend and advocate, Janet Good (played by Sarandon), who he also helped to die, may not have had pancreatic cancer after all.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
True Grit (2010) * * * 1/2
Monday, June 13, 2011
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace * * * *
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones * * * *
I am very impressed with how Hayden Christensen consistently portrays Anakin as a tormented character. This is a tough trick to pull off, since we already know that the sweet boy from Episode 1 turns evil. The question is how did he get there? Here Hayden Christensen makes the transition very believable.
Star Wars movies are difficult to evaluate because there have been enough of them that different people have different ideas about what a Star Wars movie should be. Every time George Lucas takes the series in a different direction, which he has done with almost every Star Wars film, a certain number of people rebel against the change.
In 2002, I was blown away by this movie, but now just a little less so. In terms of action and special effects, this is the most intense Star Wars film. Technically and visually it is an amazing achievement, but it borders on turning into a video game; There is almost too much detail. The story is good, but a little less compelling than the best Star Wars movies. The relationship between Anakin and Padmé is simplistic making it less believable.
Since this is the second movie in the second trilogy, it is tempting to compare it with The Empire Strikes Back, which is widely regarded as the best of the Star Wars movies, and by me as the best movie ever made. However the two movies and the two trilogies are very different. The first trilogy was about good people rebelling against evil and caring for one another. The second trilogy is about the rise of evil. The emotion in this film comes not from a close group of people who care about each other, but from the struggle and suffering of the main characters. Personal relationships take a back seat to intense action and violence.
Middle movies in trilogies are transitional films because they have no clear beginning or end. The second movie in this trilogy seems overly intent on explaining events leading up to the first Star Wars movie.
Roger Ebert criticized the movie for not looking good (and for simplistic dialog). On the first release of the film, I noticed some brief technical glitches in the special effects that seemed to be gone 3 weeks later. This means that the movie was rushed to meet it's release date, but then the film was remastered and sent out to theaters again. The DVD version looks gorgeous and has no such problems.
Like The Phantom Menace, whatever flaws this film may have, it still feels like a masterpiece to me. The story is simply too good and the movie is a feast for the senses.
I happen to like the teaser trailer. The full trailer is here.
Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith * * * 1/2
The audio commentary available on the DVD is worth listening to. It gave me new insights into the film.
Star Wars Episode IV: The New Hope * * * *
Presumably George Lucas went to Hawaii to hide because he thought that the movie would be a flop. Instead it was the highest grossing film for a few years. It also started the greatest film franchise to date, and made famous the cast, the most successful of which is Harrison Ford.
But George Lucas could not resist tinkering with the film later. The 1997 Special Edition added improved special effects, extra scenes and minor changes. The most controversial of these changes is where Greedo shoots at Han Solo first. This is almost universally met with disapproval because it takes away from the rogue image of Han Solo. Other minor changes were made in the DVD version, and more changes are planned for upcoming Blu-Ray and 3D releases. It is unlikely at this point that you could see the original Star Wars as it appeared in theaters, unless you have an old video tape copy, but I am happy with the DVD version, which is the current standard for the film The upcoming Blu-Ray release may become the next new standard version of Star Wars.
I have seen the movie somewhere between 10 and 12 times. I have lost count. I found myself wondering if I would be bored seeing it one more time? Apparently not. I found myself quite caught up with the film. My only criticisms are that: 1.) It takes a while for the story to get going. We don't meet Luke Skywalker until exactly 15 minutes into the film, and Luke doesn't decide to leave his home until 30 minutes into the movie. 2.) The last third to half of the movie is almost all action, and as good as that is, it leave less room for character development, which is done better by the next movie.
The original movie trailer is actually pretty dreadful and does not do justice to the film.
Also see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSm9DDxQv8E
Also see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0uPzrx0n90&NR=1
Also see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAJgnUix2kI&feature=relmfu
Also see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mztK3s63_OM&feature=relmfu
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back * * * *
Having seen this movie several times, I was concerned that I might not enjoy another viewing. I needn't have worried. This is a really great film. It retains everything that was great about the first Star Wars movie while doing several things better:
1.) Character Development. The love story between Han Solo and Princes Leia makes the movie. The story arc of Luke Skywalker is also very good.
2.) Acting. If you look at all the different mannerisms of Han Solo, I defy anyone to find a better Harrison Ford performance. Carrie Fischer also does great work here. Mark Hamill shines more toward the end of the movie, but I don't think that he was given as much to work with. I think that he does his best work in the third movie. Finally, David Prowse should be given some credit for his intimidating presence as Darth Vader.
3.) Sets. Every room in the cloud city is like a different work of art. The other sets, for example on Hoth and on the star destroyer, are good too. This movie is a feast for the eyes.
4.) Special effects. 31 years later, most of the special effects hold up really well. There are some scenes that are just breathtaking.
5.) Ideas. Most writers would have been proud to come up with one really great idea. This movie has several. These include the ice planet, the walkers, Yoda, the city in the clouds, Luke having an imaginary battle with Darth Vader, Yoda's grammar and witticisms, the asteroid field, the space monster, and finally Darth Vader's revelation to Luke.
6.) Pacing. Rather than start slow and end with all action, The Empire Strikes Back mixes the action with story and character development to produce what may be a perfect movie. The only time I was a little bored is during the early scenes with Luke on Degobah. These scenes seem to drag out a little long before switching back to the story of the pursuit of Millennium Falcon .
The 1997 re-release of the movie introduced a few new special effects, mostly when the Millennium Falcon flies into the Cloud City, it does a flyover of the city. This makes the city appear larger than it did in the original release. I don't think that this meshes well with the original special effects because it looks too "real." The original special effects are all stop motion capture, and although they look very good, sometimes you can tell that they are stop motion capture. The added scene is all computer generated and looks more like what you would find in the second trilogy. I found myself wondering why do we need this?
The 2004 DVD release also changed the scene between Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine to have Palpatine played by Ian McDiarmid. The original shot of the Emperor was actually played by an uncredited woman in heavy makeup. Since the original scene was fine, I once again wonder why we need the change?
Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi * * *
Nevertheless, it is a satisfying conclusion to the 6 movie series. The events that happen here are interesting and necessary to conclude the story. The best scenes are the rescue of Han Solo, a high speed chase through a forest, the Death Star battle, and the final confrontation between Luke Skywalker, Emperor Palpatine, and Darth Vader.
Mark Hamill does a really impressive job portraying Luke Skywalker in this film.
Heart of Darkness
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The American * * *
He not only makes guns, but he knows how to use them as he
dispatches two hit men out to kill him early in the film. He spends
the rest of the movie looking over his shoulder wondering who might be
trying to kill him next. Early on, we meet his boss, who is
presumably Mafia, but we never know for sure. The rest of the movie
is exactly as I thought it would be: We see the American spend a lot
of quiet time making his gun, laying awake at night, driving though
the pretty Italian countryside, and constantly being afraid of just
about everybody. To make the movie a little more interesting, he
develops a relationship with a sexy prostitute and befriends a well
This is the kind of movie that is just a little too slow, but keeps
you going because you want to see how it ends. The suspense is the
only thing that carries the movie, but having seen the ending, there
is no reason why I would want to see it again. I honestly can say
that I enjoyed the movie, but even so, it was a borderline film for
me. I think that for many people this movie won't be enough.
I was hoping that this movie would give me a more favorable impression
of George Clooney movies. Oh well.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Good Night and Good Luck * * * *
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Clash of the Titans
I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it. When it came out last year the critics blasted it so badly I wasn’t expecting anything. I put it on my Netflix queue and forgot about it. It just came up in my queue and I watched it over the weekend. I would have enjoyed seeing this on the big screen.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Cowboys and Aliens
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Tangled * * * 1/2
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Riverworld (2010) * * * .5
Having just watched RIVERWORLD for the third time, I am very impressed with it. It got me to read the book, which I have been meaning to read for 30 years anyway. The 2010 version is the best, but the 2003 version is not bad either. Both were SyFy pilots that didn't get picked up, but both were well worth watching. Neither pilot seems to follow the book exactly, but given that there were a series of Riverworld books, the made for TV movies might have come from material that I haven't seen yet.
Richard Francis Burton is the Villain in Riverworld movie but the hero in the book.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Mega Mind * * *
Mega Mind feels like a cartoon comedy, and it is, but for what they spent on this movie, I expected more. I read that it cost $150 million to make, and it really does look terrific, but the story feels close to "Despicable Me", which is another animated comedy that failed to blow me away. These two movies are good, but the stories are nothing special, and the movies are even a little silly at times.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Harry Brown * * *
Sunday, March 6, 2011
The Crazies * * * 1/2
gets loose in a town and turns people into homicidal maniacs. What
happens next is a well written story that cumulates in a surprise
ending. This is one of my favorite movies that I have seen recently.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Monsters * * * 1/2
Spoilers below ...