Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Underworld: Evolution

Underworld: Evolution was a bit different from the first movie. This film was able to delve deeper into a more complex story. Whereas, the first Underworld had to introduce all the characters so the story couldn’t be as deep.

I had my doubts as to how the second movie would hold up against something as new and fresh as the first one. But I wasn’t disappointed. The action was even more intense, the scenes a little a more gory. The special effects were great (especially, on such a small budget), with bigger, badder monsters this time around. We get more of a back-story on the original vampire and werewolf. And we get to see Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael’s (Scott Speedman) relationship develop further. Though there wasn’t a lot of talking in the movie other than Selene’s narration, the acting was exceptional as well. Specifically, Marcus, played by Tony Curran, was a wonderfully, complex tortured-soul. I love when you can somewhat sympathize with the villains. It makes them much more believable than just soulless monsters.

This movie was quite a bit darker, but just as fun as the original.

Zathura

I was able to see an advanced screening of Zathura last night. And I was surprised to say the least. Zathura was much better than I thought it’d be. I was assuming it’d be just a remake of Jumanji but for children. And while, of course, the game-coming-to-life aspect resembled Jumanji, there the similarities stopped. Zathura’s story revolves more around two constantly-bickering brothers and their relationship with each other. The youngest, Danny, finds a game down in their creepy basement. And after his first turn, they find themselves in an outer space adventure. The boys must survive a meteor shower, a defective robot, evil aliens, and their own strained relationship, aided only by a stranded astronaut.

The story is very touching, with a couple fun twists thrown in. The movie was very action-packed and suspenseful, but even the Gorgons (the lizard-like aliens that attack them) are toned-down and almost muppet-like as to not scare younger children. This is definitely a movie for all ages. The only complaint I had were the few swear words that parents might need to talk to younger children about later. I saw a mother in front of me lean over to talk to her 6 year old girl after the youngest brother, Danny, swore at his older brother.

The two boys Jonah Bobo/”Danny” and John Hutcherson/”Walter” were amazing young actors and very convincing as brothers. And the supporting cast of Dax Shepard, Tim Robbins, and Kristin Stewart were great as well. Since the entire movie remained solely in and around the house, no other actors were even seen.

Zathura is a fun, science fiction, action, suspense, drama, comedy, family-friendly movie.

Greatest Game Ever Played

 

Well, this week is the week for sneak previews! I got to see The Greatest Game Ever Played last night, Oliver Twist tonight, and tomorrow night is Into the Blue. Then of course, Friday is Serenity. 4 movies in 4 days! If I didn’t love movies so much, I might be burned out on them.

The Greatest Game Ever Played definitely surprised me. The movie was funny and heartwarming, a pure feel-good movie. I love leaving the theatre with that feeling. This movie is based on a true story about Francis Ouimet, a poor American boy who had a passion and talent for golf. His father didn’t approve of Francis’ dreams; and being working class family was an obstacle as well. But still, Ouimet gets the chance to play as an amateur in the 1913 US Open along side his childhood idol.

Francis Ouimet is played by the Disney Channel’s own Shia LaBeouf who does a wonderful job of making his character lovable and relatable. His ten-year-old caddie, Eddie, was played by Joshua Flitter, who stole the show in many scenes!

One of my favorite things about this film though, was the unique, artsy film effects of the golf games. Even for people like me who don’t care for golf, the way this movie flowed and the great camera shots, made it much more interesting and fun to watch. Many times I found myself holding my breath when someone was making a putt.

This was a wonderful, wholesome family movie that seems to be so rare nowadays.

Brothers Grimm

Well, the Brothers Grimm wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. And I don’t know why the director, Gilliam, was complaining about the PG13 rating that they received. This movie is definitely not for young children. Stories in books aren’t as scary, but when you see something on screen it brings a different reality to it. Some of the gore could have been cut out, and it could have been still pretty creepy.

Matt Damon and Heath Ledger were perfect in their roles, and made a great team. Damon played the level-headed older brother who is always ready for action, and Ledger played the scholarly brother that loves fairy tales. There was a great blend of action and comedy. It reminded me a lot of The Princess Bride. Except in this movie, the suspense was pretty much non-stop.

And yet, for some reason, I still felt like something was missing. I was a tad disappointed with how the fairy tales were mentioned. I expected a little more, I guess. It’s hard to say anything more without giving away any spoilers. But overall, The Brothers Grimm was a very fun, entertaining movie. And it made me want to reread some of the Grimm fairy tales.

Fantastic Four

 

The Fantastic Four was… well… fantastic! It was everything the comic is, but brought to life. Casting was exceptional. They couldn’t have found anyone who looked and acted more like Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic than Ioan Gruffudd. Reed is the distracted, quiet genius who finds himself the reluctant leader of the Fantastic Four. Michael Chiklis played the more difficult role of Ben Grimm/The Thing, who turned into a rock-man, the only one of the four who can’t turn his power on and off. I had reservations about Jessica Alba playing Susan Storm/Invisible Woman; but I have to say she did a great job as well. Susan not only plays the mothering, nurturing-role as the only female of the group, and older sister of Johnny, but she also holds her own as a brilliant scientist and powerful hero. Of the four though, I think that Chris Evans actually became Johnny Storm/The Human Torch, and did the best job of bringing his character to life. Johnny is the playboy, thrill-seeker who loves the media attention, and loves torturing Grimm in endless pranks and jokes. Victor Von Doom/Doctor Doom is played by Julian McMahon, who also does a great job as the Four’s benefactor-turned-villain.

The beginning of the movie seems a bit rushed. There are no slow parts in this movie. But I see where they needed to hurry with the events leading to the accident that changes them, just to get on with the rest of the story. Plus, with 4 people in leading roles, instead of 1 or 2, it’s harder to get into each character’s story. But with sequels already planned, they have plenty of time for more character development. This movie is mainly about how the Four get their powers, how they deal with them, and the beginning of the first super hero family.

Don’t expect the Fantastic Four movie to be like Batman Begins. The mood is completely different. Marvel takes a different approach with their comic book characters. Where DC characters, like Batman, tend to have darker stories and are more dramatic and mythological; Marvel is usually more comedic and light-hearted. The Fantastic Four is probably the funniest comic book movie ever made, without getting too cheesy. Plus it’s family aspect makes it unique as well.

The special effects for this movie were a huge challenge. Chiklis had to don a bulky rubber suit, that looked remarkably realistic as orange rock. Mr. Fantastic’s stretching was a concern of mine. I hoped it wouldn’t look too campy or cheesy. That, too, was well met. I was really impressed with all of the effects in this movie, especially The Human Torch’s fire property.

All in all, the Fantastic Four was an excellent movie and a lot of fun.

Bewitched

 

Bewitched, starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, was a pretty fun movie. Nicole did, eerily, resemble the former Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) at times. Though the movie did take a different approach on Bewitched. Kidman plays Isabel, a witch who decides she wants to live the life of a mortal. Ferrell plays Jack, a down-and-out actor who gets a chance to play “Darren” in the remake of Bewitched. Jack wants to be the star of the show, so he wants to cast a no-name actress for “Samantha.” Jack is egocentric and scene-stealing, but yet keeps a boyish charm that for some reason attracts Isabel. Isabel is a sweet, innocent, and naïve at times. Even when she gets mad and tries to get even with Jack for what he’s doing, she feels guilty and regrets it.

The scenes that I didn’t care for were the TV shows of Bewitched they taped. They were extremely cheesy and campy. I was hoping they would modernize it.

Other than that, I thought the story was fun, and the roles were cast wonderfully. It’s not going to win any awards. But if you’re looking for a light-hearted, feel-good movie I’d recommend it.

Blown Away By Batman Begins!

 

“Wow”… That’s the first thing I said when the movie ended. Batman Begins is probably the best movie I’ve seen in years. If it doesn’t do better than the latest Star Wars in overall sales (I don’t mean opening weekend), I’ll be surprised to say the least.

Yesterday, a friend surprised me with free passes to see the sneak preview to Batman Begins. I was looking forward to the movie, and jumped at the chance to see it early. Now, I was very skeptical that people had been saying that Bale would be a better Batman than Michael Keaton. After seeing the movie, I’d have to say… they were right! As much as I loved Keaton’s performances as Batman, Bale just took this movie to a whole new level.

Of course the supporting cast was excellent. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, and Gary Oldman couldn’t have been better cast. Michael Caine portrayed Alfred, a wonderful foster-father-figure and friend. Morgan Freeman played the smaller role of “Fox,” an inventor and employee of Wayne Enterprises. Gary Oldman, of course, played the incorruptible Sergeant Gordon, and we get to see the beginnings of the relationship between he (the future Commissioner) and Batman. Look closely, and you’ll catch a glimpse of a crying baby, Barbara (aka Batgirl/Oracle) Gordon. Cillian Murphy played a wonderfully creepy villain, Scarecrow/Dr. Jonathon Crane. Bruce Wayne’s mentor and martial arts trainer, a complex character, was played by the great, Liam Neeson. Katie Holmes even did a pretty decent job as Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend who becomes a District Attorney of Gotham. All of the other minor roles were also cast very well. I could go on and on about them. Thankfully, they’ve already snagged Oldman and Bale for the next sequel. I’m hoping for Caine to return too.

The story was exceptional as well. The movie begins with Bruce Wayne in a prison in Asia, and we see flashbacks to his younger years, and the story develops as to why he’s there. The story is complex, but not to the point of being confusing. Gotham is headed for destruction, and is overrun with corruption and criminals. The story is how Bruce Wayne comes to the decision of fighting for his city, and overcoming his fears. We see the events and decisions that he makes that change Bruce into Batman. And how “Bruce Wayne” becomes the façade, and Batman the real persona. While this movie is darker than the other Batman movies, there are brief elements of humor as well.

Gotham itself was an amazing product of special effects. They really outdid themselves in that area too. Now, since this was the story of how Wayne became Batman, not a lot of FX were needed the first half of the movie. But what they did with Gotham and Batman’s gadgets were outstanding. Like I said, I could go on and on about this movie.

Generation X

 

Generation X, the not-so-famous pilot movie that was supposed to usher in a tv series that never made it to the small screen, was inspired by the original Marvel comic series by the same name.
With the villain cast with the annoying, over-actor Matt Frewer (Max Headroom-himself) and a strange plot, is it any wonder it flopped? The movie centered around the Emma Frost (the White Queen) played by Finola Hughes with a bad wig, Sean Cassidy (Banshee), a small group of teenage mutant students who come under attack by the mad-scientist doctor (played by Matt Frewer) in their dreams.

In this version, apparently all mutants with the x-gene have some level of telepathy. I guess they felt sorry for Jubilee’s limited powers of a neat fireworks display. And two mutant teens, Buff and Refrax, were created just for this movie. Characters like Chamber, the mutant with half of his face missing and replaced with just energy, and Husk, who can shed her skin to take on the substance of whatever material she chooses, were too high of a budget for them to take on. Though this movie did not have much display of mutant powers. It was still a good representation of how teens act and treat each other when they’re different. The teens were cast pretty well, as was Banshee.

Even though the special effects were cheesy, and the villain was extremely annoying, it’s still a fun movie. I’m glad I found it on Ebay.