Monday, September 28, 2009

Movie Review(s) - Summer Movie Catch Up

Alright, so as I am tired of writing about my failing sports teams (except KU - Rock Chalk!!!!!) I will post my shortened reviews of the movies I saw over the summer before the days when I had a blog to tell all three of my fans about what I thought.  I guess I will start at the beginning (from release date):


X-Men Origins: Wolverine - * 1/2

I had somewhat high hopes for this one and was sorely disappointed.  Admittedly, I am a HUGE X-Men fan and loved the first three movies in the francise (yes, even the third one, despite it's Ratner-fied-ness).  However, this one just seemed rushed out to capitalize on the X-Men name.  No coherent story, no good character development, an emotional center that was just...not emotional.  Not to mention, this fell in to the trap of most prequels in which it had to tell the story of every little detail of the life of Wolverine as we know him and chose stipid cameos (Cyclops, Professor X, Gambit) and meaningless tidbits (how he got his leather jacket) over a coherent storyline.  This was a movie with potential that fell flat on it's face and even only had decent action scenes.

Star Trek - * * *

Alright, so I delayed seeing this one as long as I could.  I have always been a HUGE Star Wars fan my entire life and never understood the point of Star Trek.  Why wax philosophical about space?  Just have fun with it and have some cool action/fight scenes with aliens and spacecraft and whatnot.  But I digress.  This movie was actually really good.  They found a way to modernize the Star Trek formula.  I can safely say, if there was no preconceived notion of Star Trek for me, I would be a huge fan of this awaiting the next installment, but it's hard to shake the stigma.  Good performances by Zachary Quinto and Eric Bana give them even more points.  The only gripes I would have would be why they felt the need to introduce a time travel storyline and fit in actors from the tv show.  Could've done without that...and Winona Ryder.

Terminator Salvation - 1/2

Talk about SUCK.  Not even sure what exactly to write about this one.  I am a huge fan of the Terminator series and have loved the 2nd one especially since I was young.  However, this move, in all it's McG-i-fied glory floundered from the start.  The movie was 60% action, and I am not talking normal action scenes, 60% of this movie had NO DIALOGUE AT ALL and was filled with chase scenes, car crashes, and extremely loud explosions.  The special effects were decent but Terminator has transcended due to the story, they didn't advance the Terminator storyline one bit.  Christian Bale was wasted in this movie (not even sure why he did it) and it didn't feel like a Terminator movie at all.  Basically, dont waste your time.  The only good thing about this movie was it was the first one I got to see at the new theater downtown which is awesome (the theater...not the movie).


Land of the Lost - * * 1/2

At first glance, this didn't seem like it was gonna be a funny movie.  After seeing enough previews and realizing how much I love Danny McBride and Will Farrell I decided to give this a shot.  I was not disappointed.  This movie was far funnier than I thought, providing many good laughs.  There were still the obligatory toilet and sex jokes geared towards 14 year olds, but there was enough other intelligent funny parts to make it worthwhile.  Ultimately, the funny parts were funny, the story was decent considering the source material but the movie was kept from being a classic comedy by not staying within itself and trying to go a little too far for laughs (Will Farrell dancing and singing show tunes to keep baby pterodactyls asleep?  come on).  However, this summer, definitely worth your time.

The Taking of Pelham 123 - * *

I didn't expect much from this movie, and got about what I expected.  Denzel always brings his A-game and this movie was no different.  Seriously, any movie he is in you can find something enjoyable, half the time he is only what makes it watchable.  On the flip side, John Travolta did his best Al Pacino impression making himself a very angry very overacted character.  James Gandolfini plays the part of a NY politician very well and a semi-intriguing storyline save this movie from the dumpster.  Worth your time, but for nothing more than a diversion.

Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen - * * *

This movie was one of the most anticipated of the summer for me, and it did not disappoint.  I will admit, I am a little biased due to my love of Transformers from my childhood.  Some critics have bashed this movie as it was not as kid friendly as it made itself out to be.  This is true, however, I think it's true audience are people like me who grew up with the toys.  It also is what it is.  You don't go see a movie such as this with the intention of being wowed by the filmmaking ability or the acting.  This movie is not going to win awards, it's going to make money and be a damn good time for 2 1/2 hours which it was.  Lots of action, great special effects....and Megan Fox.  The first installment took a bit to get the Transformers center stage, but this wastes no time and they are the main characters this time around and it made for a very enjoyable movie.


Public Enemies - * 1/2

Talk about disapointment.  I was so geared up for this movie after seeing the preview at the Oscars in February.  However, this movie just plain failed to deliver.  There was a lot of action and talking but I don't feel like anything happened, and when I walk away from a movie thinking that, it is usually not a good sign.  This movie was a collection of scenes that we were supposed to think was a good movie just because it was filmed to beautifully.  There were plot holes throughout and different parts of the story that could have been fleshed out with minimal effort that would have added alot to the movie.  It is a shame to waste the talents of Michael Mann (director), Johnny Depp, and Christian Bale with what was obviously very little source material to build off of.  This movie had potential to be great, but maybe it tried to hard, and just failed.


G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra - * *

Didn't know what to expect from this one but what I got was a decently entertaining movie.  I was never into G.I. Joe much growing up so this wasn't a huge attraction.  The movie sputtered along in the beginning, trying to have a somewhat dramatic center to the story but really just missed.  Then came the scene with the accelerator suits which was one of most fun scenes I have seen in a while and made the movie worth the price of admission alone.  After the scene the movie picked up and became more enjoyable.  The storyline was hokey at best and the actors were stale and more like set pieces than actors but they served their purpose and the sequel looks like it might be entertaining.  Worth your time.

District 9 - * * *
This was hands down the most innovative movie of the summer.  From humble beginnings came his movie.  The ingenious story of an alien spacecraft that crash lands over Johannesburg in South Africa and the people of that city decide to go inside and harbor the aliens in a part of their city they call District 9.  The ensuing storyline is not what you would expect and isn't quite like anything you have seen before.  The special effects are great and the acting (by all unknowns) is great.  The only thing I will say is the movie had a mocumentary style from the start and then moved to a more conventional style so at times it was hard to tell whether it was supposed to be a "documentary" or the normal movie.  I also did not expect as much interaction between the main character and the main alien.  These are minor quips and this movie just goes to show that a good story and good acting/filmmaking make are better than $200M of special effects.

Inglorious Bastards - * * * *

Best movie of the summer and possibly of the year.  See my previous review in the movie review section.

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