Saturday, January 31, 2009

Not Easily Broken

It is absolutely incredible that men marry woman like this. And this is after they know they have a mother in law just as terrible as the daughter. Should society feel sorry for this person or man who chose to marry this woman?

Well, this man is Morris Chestnut who plays Dave Johnson, just a regular guy who has an unhealthy marriage does not realize it. His wife harangues him on every issue. The only good thing in the movie is when she gets hurt in the car wreck and not him. Ofcourse she lives, which is a tragedy and she just verbally assaults Johnson during her rehab. On top of that, the mother in law has moved in to "supervise" the rehab. The ironic detail here is, is that it is her fault her husband got into the car wreck. Luckily they were not sued in civil court and did not lose everything. Johnson's wife, Taraji P. Henson who plays Clarice Clark plays this role exceptionally well. The nasty and man hater role, she receives an A- in this role. It also appears her mother probably drove her father away since he is never shown. It would not surprise me at all.

Johnson has two loyal friends who are both professionals and have stable careers but the mother in law thinks they are gang members.

His wife diatribe's are pushing him away. She does understand men at all. He wants to have children and she wants to spend money they do not have. She tries to buy a meal for a bunch of people when she has not been working and her husband is not content with that. They are married so his money is her money but the way she says like she has full control and just asserts herself like that, not good. The card bounces and this only exacerbates the situation. Fortunately, another diner at their table picks up that tab. But this does not prevent his wife from screaming at him when they return home.

More tragedy occurs when one of Johnson's kids dies in a swimming accident. That is a freak accident and perhaps may be a little too fictional but it does bring more drama to this well shot film. Johnson is an active child mentor, in baseball and in swimming. Something his wife and mother in law despise. That is right, they loath him for it. Fascinating. He married the wrong woman.

This movie verifies it's theme: be careful who one marries and be happy with what one has. Decent music in the movie, nothing memorable. Not a spectacular film, but solid nevertheless.

Wood Harris from Remember the Titans is involved in this film. He was one of the fierce linebackers on the team. He is a strict father who kills the idea of his son having a dream. Just because he tossed away everything and chose drugs over his baseball scholarship, he targets the world for his bad choices. He does not allow his boy to have fun and is integral on why the boy is to tightly wound. This is another element to this movie.

Johnson has a friend who provides some comedy relief. He is funny.

Johnson's wife realizes she has been in the wrong and horrible to be around. She explains this to him and they call off the divorce. This movie works itself in the end, it took some physical exertion and a different perspective. The characters figure it out. And Johnson and his wife are set to have a baby at the end of this film. Allot of dramatic scenes but happiness and sensibility prevails.

I allocate three stars to this movie.***

Friday, January 30, 2009

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Apparently Kevin James has done something right since he is receiving his own movies now rather than sharing them with other stars, aka Will Smith.

This movie James plays a mall cop. Obviously he is over weight and much of the comedy stems from this fact. He is one of the few guys in the world who actualy profits off of this poor health. He is funny but this movie does not amount to much. I did laugh a lot as expected, probably more than Hitch. But, this movie was not as well done as Hitch, and despite Hitch having a terrible ending with Smith begging the girl to date him after she tried to ruin his career and lie about him, Hitch had better and more credible characters.

This movie did show the segway a lot which is a tremendous machine. But this movie shows why using this machine all day can lead to lack of exercise and unlike other negative aspects about someone, one can not hide fat.

Jayma Mays was in this movie. I am not saying one should know who she is but she was not highly attractive in the movie. But online, her real life pictures and appearance, she is only half as attractive which is not a compliment. But in this poor economy, I can see why the studio would choose her for this role.

The movie had a pleasant ending. It was predictable but I did not expect a movie or story like Syriana.

The funny parts are probably when James is drunk and feeling the cell phone store manager's ear, when James is trying to hide from some robbers and his stomach is failing him, and when he is involved in an obstacle course and he falls down and then falls asleep.

Paul Blart is basically a pitiful loser and has many fallabilities. But he has an honest and works hard and the indignities and narcissism of mankind preys on the Blart's of the world. No one is impeccable, but Blart's naivity and softness allows people to walk all over him. In some cases and with certain people, stand on him. Despite this, he has people that love him and he loves them. James can play this character all day, as can Adam Sandler. But James is clearly an obese man and the writers tie this to his character.

The movie is hokey and totally unrealistic. A crowded mall would not be cleared that easily, where was mall management, and James's Paul Blart would be unable to continue any physical activity after jumping off a speeding vehicle and impacting the ground.

The movie did not have any special music, below average writing, and forgettable characters. But James is funny and when his character eats half eaten lolly pop he finds on the ground to increase his sugar content, is nasty but entertaining. It symbolizes how deplorable this character is. But he is innocent and a soft hero.

I allocate this movie one star.* It was still 6 times better than Nicolas Cage's Wicker Man.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Hurt Locker

This was an interesting movie. It had some major names here but I guess with budgetary constraints they could not afford them for longer than 5 minutes. Guy Pearce is one of them, his role was in the beginning and he died from a IED bomb blast. Yes, this is an Iraqi war movie and I am sure they will have several of them coming out for the next couple of years. Perhaps longer. I am not sure how Pearce died since he had the full gear on and the blast was about 40 meters behind him. So, that was not filmed that accurately.

Ralph Fiennes graced us with his presence. But he died as well from a sniper fire. The sniper scene in the middle of this movie takes about 15 minutes was well filmed. The dried lips, thirsty heat, bugs in the eye, and the nuts and bolts of ground combat in Iraq were documented in this scene. This is where the three of soldiers bond. After Pearce's death, this new leader steps in. He is a renegade and has a bravado about him that imresses some but frightens up his immediate two team members.

Jeremy Renner is this new recluse I am describing. He was the villian in SWAT. Anthony Mackie is a black guy who we have seen in Eagle Eye and We Are Marshal. I like him, he is a solid actor and seems to take his roles seriously.

The Lost star Evangeline Lilly makes an appearance at the end. He is Renner's wife. Renner loves being in the military. This is a realistic military movie. Some people enjoy it, others do not. Renner does his time in Iraq, flies back to the states, kisses his wife, cleans the rain gutters, probably changes the oil in the car, and kisses his baby. After a couple of weeks or relaxation, flies back to Iraq for another year of bomb disposal. Wearing the bomb suit, at the end, which seems to have some buttons on the right wrist area, a little more high tech and safer than the previous version, this seems to be the reason to pinpoint the camera on that slight detail. Another way to look at is, is that technology may change, but evil never stops. The twisted and wicked are still in shape to wreak havoc and cause mayhem. Good thing the USA and other freedom loving countries have someone like Renner on our side. We would not have freedom any other way. Renner and Mackie's characters are what the miltary work and have outlasted Al Queda in Iraq.

This movie did not have any special music. There were some humorous scenes. What makes this movie tick and good is that it has many characters, several intense scenes, allot of action, and the type of action in this movie was so varied. I thought this was an excellent movie. But, there were some dialogues with some characters that were not that well done, they stretched the movie in a way that one could construe this movie dragged on. That is the knock on it, I know this movie did not have any magnificent expectations. And, I guess the budget did not want to fit in a musical director or anyone in that department with atleast half way talent. Music is what puts a movie over the top. Just go ask the makers of Juno and more recently Slumdog Millionaire. Putting cutting edge and creative music like that in a movie is not an accident. One is a fool if one thinks it is.

I would allocate this movie 3 stars.***

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

There is not too much to say about this movie. It is not special, it is dark and dreary. But this is what one should expect. Despite this, it still still too dark and the movie was not that good to overcome this. No gorgeous Kate Beckinsale, Rhona Mitra was the hotty in this film but the skinny look she displayed in Shooter is a turn off. Mix in a burger, skip the cabbage. She is too skinny and not much is shown so that aspect is ruled out.

I still like these movies because the same characters and actors are used. So the viewer, me, does not have to spend half the movie trying to figure who replaced who and what happened to the original charactor or actor.

Good to see Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy back. I guess the elder, Victor, he does not have wings. Because the second Underworld presented us with some pretty powerful vampires, frightening actually, who could fly and use their wings as some serioius weapons. I would like to see them fight Wolverine or the Terminator. That would be fascinating.

This movie was not that good though. By far, the worst of the three. The entire movies takes place in central Europe somewhere, probably around the dark ages.

The acting was nothing to call anyone up about, there was not any good musical scores, the storyline was simple and redundant, the action was OK, there was some blood and fast movements. I am sure this movie will not see a second weekend in the movie theatres.

The ending had some decent action. The elder vampire, ran like a coward at the end. Amazing people would fight for such a terrible leader.

I have some questions: who were the wolves roaming around the castle? Why would vampires want to create wherewolves or likens? Victor appeared to have died at the end but I knew he could not die since he was alive in present time, in the first Underworld. Selene, the amazing Beckinsale, slices his head diagnally at the end of that spectacular film. That one was much better than this one. Like the Blade series, each one is worse than the previous. But this movie is actually worse than Blade III.

Who are the vampires who just follow Victor around? Just mindless zombies? Death dealers were mentioned in this film but not shown. Whatever.

I went back and watched Underworld, just the part where they show the scene where Lucian's lover is killed. It was not Rhona Mitra but that is fine. Apparently they had no idea the series would extend to three. It may not get to four because this third one was pretty weak. They better spend a little more time with the story line if they want to make a 4th. I would like to see a wherewolf fight an alien from the movies, Aliens.

I would allocate this movie one star. *

Friday, January 23, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

This is a spectacular movie. There is a lot of strong elements. But I did not learn much besides seeing how some of those people in other countries become disfigured. Apparently it is not always a childhood birth defect, some abnormality, or from a war. It is another person purposely scarring them. It is sickening.

Why would someone do this? So they can entice an instant sorrow feeling from the passing sucker tourists or other money carrying natives to donate money to this poor looking child. I am not sure how India became this over crowded but it is horrendous. I would not ever want to visit such a place.

This movie has tremendous music and that is what sets it apart. The song in the beginning is tremendous when the kids are running from the security force that is attempting to protect the airport. Why this over weight, uniformed man is trying so hard to catch these kids is beyond me? They only have to scare them off the run way and that is it. But perhaps his superior wants him to actually grab one of these kids and return with them. Whatever.

The two brothers are forced to make money and survive in any way shape and form after their mother is murdered because they are Muslim. The Hindus kill them one day while the police are too busy playing cards or something like that. This forces them to hop on passenger trains and hock items and steal food. They steal money to unsuspecting folks watching an open air opera. They hock more items at the Taj Mahal and pose as tourists. This is what they do after they escape the gangster who pimps out children to beg. Along this ride or much of it is a gorgeous girl called Latika played by Freida Pinto. The storyline has them fighting over this girl but we all know the girl is only really interested in one of them.

I think it is better than Benjamin Button because of the music. This is what sets them apart. To me, it is hard to look at that ugly baby in the beginning and Button's old man appearance is hideous. But that is how it is supposed to me. He is funny though, when he asks that man what it is like to live in a cage. That was funny.

The movie falls back and forth to the game show and the interrogation tactics of the game show's managers. One of the brothers, the nicer one who was violently told to leave from the room after it was his idea to find Latika. I guess the other brother was pretty happy and impressed when they saw Latika after a year or two had passed. But the brother who proves he is not afraid to use violence is correct, he had to kill that child pimp since he would have been hunted by the gangster and his men for years to come. No one wants to live by always having to look over one's shoulder.

The two brothers go there separate ways. Latika, as a young girl, did not seem to object when the gun toting brother told the peaceful brother, the one who came back to find her, to bust off. Movie changing scene. Kids grow up fast. The ugliness of the world came home. One brother ended up working for a rival gangster and the other one worked through his teenage years. The latter somehow earned a shot at India's version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? After he wins the money the game show producers electrocute him since they believe he cheated to have answered so many questions correctly.

The movie had the pretty girl, outstanding music, it was entertaining and powerful. I can not find a flaw. The movie is impeccable. Well, we will see. Better than Braveheart, Shawshank Redemption, Apollo 13, Backdraft, The Transporter, Ocean's 13, The Departed, 7 Pounds? Those movies had greater budgets and superstars in them. The only thing I can fault this movie is is that I did not learn anything. I knew India had slums, the largest in the world, I know their economy has been magnificent in recent years, and I knew India had some pretty woman. The story is fun and the plight of the brother's are not really sad since they are basically childhood thieves. The brother's mother is attractive as well, too bad she is brutally murdered and dirt poor. Why people in slums choose to procreate is beyond me? China has the one child per family rule which is sensible. I am not sure if India has ever invoked such a law when they should have about 70 years ago or perhaps even before that.

Body of Lies, which was intriguing, riveting, and exciting, is one the movies in the past couple of months that is exceptional. 7 Pounds is probably the best though in recent months. Yes, 7 Pounds is better than Button. The Wrestler I do not think as good as any of these movies. But I like Mickey Rourke and I am glad he has rebounded from his shaky state.

Leaving Las Vegas and The Wrestler are on the same level. The latter is the most recent obviously but is not nearly as good as 7 Pounds, Slumdog, and Body of Lies.

I did not like the scene when the American woman insists that her husband give the boy some money when he is being beaten by a larger man. It is all a scam. The woman being a sucker and ordering her husband to fork over money, this has been done before. The man kowtowing to his wife and the wife being such a sourpus. It gets old.

Why did the brother have to die at the end? Is it because he stole the girl from his brother's girl in the middle of the movie? He is the one who made her freedom possible in the first place by bringing the gun. But he was reluctant to pursue her any how. Oh well, he had some fun in life before going out and he took out two terrible men. So perhaps his purpose was fulfilled. He died surrounded by money while he was born with nothing.

The ending was not as powerful as the beginning but it was solid. The boy gets the girl, this ending was not nearly as dramatic as 7 Pounds. Nor was it as creative as the ending of Button. It also was not a true story like Defiance but it had much better music than all of them. I think this is best music in a movie since I saw Juno. I would watch this movie again over Button, most likely. Slumdog is a marvelous movie though, for sure.

I allocate this movie four stars.****

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Jamal Woolard is not someone anyknows. He performed pretty well as Notorious BIG. This movie will draw the inner city and mainly black audience. I found it interesting since I am from the west coast and I like Ice Cube. I grew up listening to him and I had little clue who Notorious BIG was. Never heard of this person really until he was murdered.

I am not sure why, after Tupac was shot, he would be driving around, late at night, without any body guards. But it does show how callous ghetto people are, shooting each other, stealing the car, not caring about anything but themselves. But that is the world Notorious lived in and exploited. Live by the talk, die by the talk. Promote that world, die by that same world.

Derek Luke, I like him. Denzel helped him establish his career with the decent movie called Antwone Fisher. He plays Sean Combs in this was the agent that brought us Biggie Smalls. I think he makes the movie, I like the way he talks and walks. His demeanor is funny when it wants to be and his countenance is serious when has to be.

This movie was not an epic by any means, it was not spectacular, and it there was anything memorable with this movie. It probably will not last longer than 1 weekend in the theatre. Regardless, it's purpose is fulfilled: to share the story of this talented but violent and over weight rapper. Do I think he had the talent or lyrics as an Ice Cube? Not even close. The movie stated this point, there was not anyone else, so anyone with halfway talent could make stardom and give some east coast rap some respect.

The fat rapper's mother is Angela Bassett and she is still wonderfully appealing.

The story of Notorious is similiar to many other rappers. He was a successful drug dealer who started from the bottom. How he became to run corners and not someone else, I am not sure. Did he work harder, remain more focused, and/or have superior sale's skills, could be all of them. He rapped on the side and finally someone told him to put a song on record. Some people liked it, so spoke with Sean Combs and they pumped out an album. This was successful. But Notorious did not wise up, was involved in some sort of car wreck, had or already had two children, so he decided to drop another album on the public at large. When promoting this album in LA, after Tupac was shot, him and his friends were shot by some gangsters that approached them on the other side of the car while they flirted with some ugly whores standing on the sidewalk. Typical. Brain dead.

I am glad Ice Cube has been smarter to either remain above this fray or avoid this type of behavior. I mean driving around at 0200 and talking to some useless and tore up woman while being in the wrong neighborhood. Perhaps Ice Cube never visited an east coast city, along with Dr. Dre. Regardless, they remain alive.

I like Ice Cube's lyrics in his 2006 Album, "I never got jacked, never got got in a parking lot." Something like that, that is even better than me.

Good to see Eminem come along and blow the rap world apart with an entire new set or lyrics and different style. His politics and jacked up but aren't they all? Even Ice Cube is radically against responsibility and still blames the white man for mythically holding down the black man. Comical. Excuses, and it only diverts the real reasons many black people can not figure it out. Bill Cosby is right. Shameful the mainstream media allows inner city blacks to blame the white man. Do Japanese and Koreans make the same complaint? Do they have race baters like Al Sharpton representing them? Hell no.

I would never spend any money on this movie but it was worth watching for free. Derek Luke is a good actor, too bad he has not taken off but he is not unemployed. Not by a long shot.

I allocate this movie two stars.**

Friday, January 16, 2009


Daniel Craig is back but it is not as a James Bond hero but as a regular man tossed into a whirlwind of struggle and calamitous misfortune. I am not sure really where this movie takes place, in Poland or Germany. Most of it take's place in the woods, retreating and hiding from the Germans.

Craig plays Tuvia Bielski who is a brother who is forced to become a leader. He has the strength, health, and wherewithal to be that leader. He chose to only live by himself he would be considered a failure. When the Germans first started to round up Jews for systematic slaughter and deportation into work camps, or both, he hid out and escaped.

Liev Schreiber who has played in many movies, like The Sum of All Fears and The Manchurian Candidate, excells in another film. Craig's name may be larger now than Schreiber's but the latter has been on the big stage longer. Both are brother's in this wonderful tale which is based on a true story. Jamie Bell is the third brother, the youngest, who can barely hold it together when the Germans first begin to murder Jews. By the end of the film, he a motivational and energetic leader who enables the large Jewish contigent to successfully evade the Germans.

The Bielski brothers soon become locally famous since they the leaders of this group. I would not say they were are a resistance because they are not seeking this, they are merely seeking survival and escape. Apparently, the Jews have been labeled weaklings by the Russians and others for not fighting. More on this later.

The movie is frought with struggle, strife, and accomplishment. The hiding brothers soon take in more fleeing Jews who are not that able bodied but do not want to be mistreated by the Germans all of the same. They are not sure what to do, nor which direction to go.

The movie does mix in some humor. It is well balanced and I think the subtitles are fine because they are not completely through. Tossing in the other languages reminds us Americans that this is not nearby and the language difference is just the beginning. The Russian, Jewish, and German language are necessary for accuracy and to instill in the audience who these people really are. Cultural differences are spoken about and depicted in this excellent film. There is allot of killing but that is the nature of this brutal time.

An internal struggle erupts in the first half of the film with the Bielski brothers. Tuvia and Zus have different ideas on how things should done. Tuvia is more a social savior, he wants to take in as many Jews as he can and support and feed them. Zus disagrees with him for many reasons. He believes the more people they absorb, the easier it is for the Germans to find them. Which is true. Zus also is not inclined to help many of these Jews since allot of them are from the wealthy class in Jewish society and would not lift a finger to help them just months prior. Would not allow their daughters to even look at them, and so forth. This leads to a public fist fight, Zus, the largest, middle brother and Tuvia fight it out. Zus is tired of attracting the masses, he does not want to be a civic leader, he wants to seek revenge and be surrounded by people with this same notion. He wants to have a lighter, more fluid group of people. Whereas, Tuvia is apt to attract the masses. Tuvia wins the hand to hand conflict but loses his brother. Zus storms off, but in control, and announces his intentions and asks for those wanting to fight the Germans to come with him. Many younger males, not wanting to hide out in the cold forest for an unknown amount of time, leave with him.

Zus and his Jewish loyalists kill some Germans in a series of small hits at checkposts and what not. After this, Zus meets up with a lost Russian outfit that is also hiding out in the forest. By this time, the Bielski name is widely known, even by the Russian leader. The Russian soldiers, or this small brigade, are attacking the Germans in small confrontations when the time is right. Eventually the Russians take off and the brothers reunite when Tuvia and the other Jews are in dire straights with some attacking and approaching Germans. The Germans sent a tank this time and this after an air attack on their small forest shelters.

Their was some happy moments when the youngest Bielski brother married a cute Jewish girl. The Jewish wedding traditions are shown here. The movie never did show any hunting scenes, like for deer and other meat. An attacking dog was killed in one frightening scene, and they were growing potatoes since a large amount of potatoes were shown once or twice in the movie. The brothers settled the group near a water stream since having a constantly fresh water supply is obviously important.

In one scene, a Jewish lady is bathing in the stream and says she is getting too skinny and she jokes with some friends that when she returns to society she will eat nothing but cakes to fatten up. I guess she does not understand that fat is ugly and unhealthy. I understand it is a different culture though.

The movie was well spread out. The ending was suspenseful and Tuvia finally breaks down at the end. He has had to make so many life saving and balancing decisions, their dilemma after the German bombing attack and where to go, just overwhelms him. His psyche is about to give way when the youngest brother steps forth and leads them through these swamps.

The movie has a pleasant ending. Apparently, 1200 Jews live in the forest for for a couple of years and build a small town out of the forest. Hard work and perseverance is the centerpoint here.

Good characters, well casted, intense action, realistic scenes, creatively written, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It is more entertaining that Schindler's list but it does not have the big time director that that movie had. It could win some awards though. Interesting to see Craig not as the super human, imposing, and totally confident James Bond but as a solid man nevertheless thrust into this human made carnage.

I would allocate this movie four stars.****

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Tom Cruise finally takes this movie to the public. It has been sitting on the sidelines for some time now. The Germans were against this for many reasons. They do not like what Cruise stands for in terms of his joke philosophy which is supposed to be a religion. It is not the latter and Cruise's outspoken and borderline agressive promotion of this quasi-religion only puts Scientology in a bad light. Ofcourse it is already and will always be in a negative light to me since it is just strange and is an organized cult. Even more so than Mormonism.

The Germans want nothing to do with an odd cult like this because is not understandable by any reasonable person, much like Nazism. The Germans objected to this film on multiple counts. Some I have just mentioned. They do not want the world to be reminded of their past and they did not like the star of the film any how. I understand them not liking Cruise and the strange irony in him being the star of this movie. But the world should never be forgotten of this time in man's history since it is so dark. We should not forgot our history. Not that different than certain leftists in the contemporary era trying to forget that Sept. 11th ever occured.

This movie was stimulating. It showed how a coordinated plan of this magnitude and secrecy was initiated. Cruise plays Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who was one of the military elements of this coup. Terence Stamp plays Ludwig Beck who was going to lead Germany out of this horrendous moment of their history. He was going to be the new face of Germany.

Their plan was to wipe out the Fuhrer which was Adolf Hitler. Unlike the terrorist organizations of today that seem to have multiple heads, the Fuhrer could supposedly be toppled if the head is cut off. In this case, literally blown up. This movie does not indicate how many people died in the explosion, one needs to turn to Discovery channel or read some history on Wikipedia or a variety of other sources. It would have been nice if this was explained. I do know that Hitler was spared from being killed in this manner because someone in the room moved the briefcase and the solid oak table prevented the explosion from taking this arch enemy out. The movie does explain at the end in text that Hitler committed suicide in his bunker about 9 months later. So, if this coup was successful, it would have only wiped 9 months off of Hitler's life span but this was probably several thousand lives. Ofcourse Stauffenberg and Beck do not know how much longer the war will last nor how much longer Hitler would exist. For they know, they could be saving years of fighting and not just about 9 additional months. Ofcourse knocked 9 days off of war would have been worth the effort.

Tom Wilkinson plays General Friedrich Fromm who I have read about in the history books. Fromm is not as dedicated as Stauffenberg nor this clandestine group that wants to severe the head of Germany. He attempts to have it both ways and is in the awesome position to do so. He is cognizant of the attempt and sort of purvey to some of the actions that are supposed to be taken after the operation succeeds.

Tom Wilkinson is just on a torrid streak. He is recieving some coveted roles. I first saw him in the excellent but frightening movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose and he performed magnificently. He was in the winning hit which was Michael Clayton. Among other films, he performs well as General Friedrich Fromm. Fromm wanted to wait until and if the assassination was successful. It seemed to be at first, for the first several hours, but then later on that night, the terrible message was sent out by Hitler to indicate he was still alive.

Stauffenberg and his secret group wanted to control Berlin using the Valkyrie plan which was developed just in case the Fuhrer was ever eliminated. They were to use those troops and men to arrest the evil SS and all of the Nazi offices in and around Berlin. This coup was well staged and executed almost to the T, but the bombing strike was not successful. It would have been if Stauffenberg was willing to take his own life. But he is not psychotic Muslim and he had a wife and family. He could have remained in the room and just held onto the briefcase to ensure Hitler was eliminated.

The plan was thrown a loop when the meeting was to take place in Hitler's secured bunker. This bunker was air tight and the explosion would have blown the fire and explosion through the corridor killing everyone. This was explained in the middle of the movie by a ordinance expert. But because of the heat this meeting of military news and strategy was held in an open window, above ground, meeting room where the blast was spread around and never seemed to ignite like originally planned.

The movie could have explained more but it did enough. There was not any wasted scenes, the writing was solid, it was suspensful. It was not Schindler's list but it was close. This movie was a planning movie, I like this stuff. It resembled Robert Redford's The Last Castle and even a little of Prison Break. This is cool to me. The attention to detail was realistic and this movie does transport the viewer back into Nazi held Germany.

Seeing Cruise in an eye patch was different but Stauffenberg lost his eye fighting in Northern Germany. In the beginning, he was seen while narrating his anti fuhrer views, writing down his viewpoints. Though sensible to us, it would seem unwise to put those notions to paper for any reasons. If those papers ever wound up in the wrong hands, he would taken away by the SS one day or night and never heard from again. Also, placing his family at risk.

This movie was better than Australia. Probably not on the level of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button but it is still worth watching. Button was too creative and that is what sets this movie apart.

Valkyrie, seems more akin to Viking vernacular than German. Perhaps it is.

I allocate this movie 3 stars. ***

Friday, January 9, 2009

Marley & Me

Owen Wilson plays John Grogan in this full length family picture. Jennifer Aniston stars as his wife and I do not care how much time she spends in a tanning booth, she is not what she used to be ten years ago when she first hit the scene.

This movie starts out in Florida and the last thirty minutes is in Philadelphia or outside it in their large suburban home.

The movie centers around a labradore which is fine until the two main characters do not believe in training the dog. Apparently this is an alien concept to them. This movie is a poster film for anyone who does not believe in training a dog, ever punishing an animal, and not ever raising their voice to the animal. The dog which is named Marley just destroys the home. When he is a puppy and they first buy the dog, that seems OK and plausible. But as the movie goes on and Marley is destroying their home, barking at the lightning-never growing out of this, running all over the neighborhood, it sends a negative message to viewers.

I have never met anyone who did not believe in training a dog. Some people pay for it and read books on the subject, others have a more natural instinct on how this is done. Or should be. Either way, train the dog. But I guess in this movie, the fictional characters are too politically correct or liberal to actually believe in some authority, or any. The dog repeatedly causes them frustration and yet they do nothing about it. When they do take the dog to a training class with a woman who supposedly knows about animals, she can not control the animal and does not know how to convey to the Grogans why this is important. Grogan seems content with the dog acting out and anarchist. The scene when the dog runs back and jumps on this woman is pretty weak. I guess some younger kids would think this is funny but anyone around animals or with any sense would not be caught flat footed like that. She saw the dog running at her. The writers wanted to send a negative message to anyone who uses a whistle on an animal is an animal hater. I guess the animal is supposed to be equal to the owners despite the animal not being able to survive without the owner feeding and watering her.

This movie is superior to Adam Sandler's Click of a couple of years ago because that movie started out funny but the last thirty minutes was a deplorable mix of sadness and scene switching. It was unbearable. This movie mixes in some comedy but is mainly a light family drama and this mood slowly sinks in from the first half of this picture.

The movie does highlight the positive aspects of living in Florida, or warmer temperatures, and cooler ones. Grogan is a newspaper writer and this movie explains pretty well the difference in the temperments and attitudes of a columnist and a reporter.

Newspapers are a dying centerpiece to American culture. As they should be though. Many are liberal, paint a socialist and big government picture. This does not draw a following and turns many people off. They are not very practical either. Online news and the success of sources like Fox News, newspapers are losing circulation every year. Now they are begging the law makers, public servants, to give them money so they can support themselves. This is just incredible but is actually occuring. Anyone who knows about the market does know that newspapers glory days are probably behind them. The US is massively in debt, how an organization that is not critical and chose not to invest in the web can clamor of tax payers money/assistance to pay for itself is just abhorrent.

This movie is not that funny but it is not supposed to be. So typical Owen Wilson fans, which I am, may not enjoy this movie that much. As I did not. Good thing I can skip the slow scenes. This movie is made for females and I am sure they will see this movie in droves. Jennifer Aniston is not that appealing to me, her tan is produced and just annoying to me. She is not that funny. I am surprised she chooses not to work and to remain home with the children. I am sure this aggravates the feminists.

Marley causes allot of damage but since Owen Wilson is a high paid writer, I guess it is not a big deal to him. Too many people though, in this tough economy, this is not going to relate to them that well. How many people have their income doubled at once? Too feed an animal that eats this much and devastates property while the owners display complete apathy, just laugh it off-fantasy.

In reality, a dog like this would irritate neighbors which would have led to Grogan getting into a fight. Perhaps police would have to get involved and they would be forced to give up the animal or regulate it's behavior. And yes, this would involve training and some get serious measures. But in Hollywood thinking, the latter can not happen. An unchecked animal would also lead to a possible lawsuit in any given scenario which one with even a small imagination could think of.

The movie had some decent music, it was full length, and had some family situations that are realistic. Like the difficulty of having a family in the first place. For this, I give it some merit. But I will never sit through this movie again and I hope Wilson's next movie is better. Wilson made Drillbit Taylor about 9 months ago and this was amusing. But it only starred him so it's box office take was probably less than what Marley will absorb. Oh well, Marley is not for me.

I allocate this movie 2 stars. **

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jackass 3

This is not really a movie. Just a bunch of clowns doing mainly disgusting things. I skip allot of that. One good reason not to see it in the theatre is because one has to withstand allot if segments that are more disgusting than amusing.

I like the sections and ideas where they mess with strangers. Johnny Knoxville is the star he does this when he is bending over to tie his shoe and he purposely has his ass sticking up in some guy's face. I am sure most would say something but there is always that lone, weak fool who just tolerates it. At the same time, this sorry man is visibily and clearly bothered by this intrusion while he is eating his meal. Or trying too.

The guy eating the food out of the trash can while the surrounding citizens believe it is a diaper-that is funny. When they cut that guy's hair off and top him with a ridiculous tupee, that is comical. He sneezes in public and his tupee purposely falls off to the unknowing and unaware public that is it all a prank. Obviously, they believe this was an accident, that is entire point.

This type of stuff is not for everyone. Not for the up tight folks atleast.

No star allocation since this is not a movie. I sort of forgot this stuff existed.

The Spirit

I read somewhere that Hollywood is cutting down the amount of movies they have been making because of the weak economy. But they chose to make this debacle. This movie is not as bad as Wicker Man but real close. Samuel L. Jackson is in this movie because he does not say no to anyone. This movie is so terrible it makes Snakes On a Plane seem like A Time To Kill. Does he dilute himself making these garbage movies? I am not sure about that.

Gabriel Macht is the hero. Not much else to say, this movie is anti entertaining. I am sure he was happy being around more famous people. I would be happy being around Scarlett Johansson in any circumstances. But she is covered up in this movie, the movie is devastatingly dark, and her role is just bizaare. Do not expect to be impressed with her in this film. It is not worth seeing for any reason.

Gorgeous woman in this movie but it is black and white, the entire movie is dark. It is horrible.

I allocate this movie 0 stars. I would have given Wicker Man -1 star since not only should someone have paid for my admission, I should have been paid to sit through such a despicable movie.

Eva Mendes was in this movie. I am not as big on her as other people. But this movie is so horrendous, it is not ever worth renting. I doubt any human could sit through this movie. I do not think anyone will. I know I did not. It seems to be a spoof or satirical jab at the superhero movies Hollywood is making. Whatever.

Paz Vega appears more attractive in this black and white debacle than in reality. She has a nice figure, no one will argue with this.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bedtime Stories

Adam Sandler stars in this movie. It does not matter how many movies he makes he will not beat Pineapple Express nor ever top his best-The Waterboy. That is one of the top comedy movies in cinema lore.

This movie has Sandler playing Skeeter Bronson who is the maintenance man at a prestigious hotel. He babysits these two children, who is his neice and nephew, and the stories come to life since they do not have any thing else to do before the fall asleep. They have old west, a middle age, and a Roman gladiator version. The two kids are politically correct cute, with a guineu pig that has large eyes. Why does it have large eyes? That is not funny and it is ugly.

The children's mother does not allow the kids to have any fun, they can not eat meat, play video games, eat fast food, it is borderline child abuse. Any child raised like this would surely loath their parents soon enough and their rebellious teenage years would even be more vicious than normal.

Keri Russell is in this movie and she is pretty. But Teresa Palmer is the hottest of them all and is just stunning. She portrays a Paris Hilton type, her father being the goofy CEO of this huge hotel chain. If Paris Hilton looked like Teresa Palmer, she would not be pulically reviled by anyone with a clue but would be actually glamorous for a reason.

This movie is designed for kids. Guy Pearce is in this movie for whatever reason, I guess some Christmas money. He is trying to take over the hotels since Palmer's old and weird father, but successful businessman, is setting to roll down a hill into the sunset. In a strange and accidental meeting, he forces Pearce's character and Bronson to work on and unveal a new hotel theme. Pearce's character, as predicted, is a narcissistic jerk, totally conceded, and vain. He has the college degree, Bronson has the technical degree, blah blah, blah blah.

Russell Brand is a new entertainer coming to light, he is funny and pretty creative with his language. At the end of the movie, he is dressed in a female costume. Why? Just strange. This movie should have been straight to video, probably one weekend in the theatres.

This movie has decent music, gorgeous Teresa Palmer, but not much else. There is nothing on the line, the ending is predictable, and movie is pure and utter fiction. Not one creative aspect was carried out in this movie. No one will talk about it and is completely forgettable.

Courteney Cox is also in the movie and probably does not do any acting. She is Bronson's sister and I am sure she really raises children in this fashion.

I would allocate this movie one star. *

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

That is a funny name. Brad Pitt tries his best to beat Tom Hank's Forrest Gump but falls short. I am not sure if a movie of this type can ever trump the journey that Gump takes us through and all of the characters it gave us. But this movie does try hard and Pitt offers up his best.

He is born old, yes, it is quite funny and strange. He has a young mind, born old and decrepit, crippled, a freak of nature. As he ages, or time progresses, he gets younger and more vibrant. Only Pitt makes menial labor seem fun and taking a bath in the filthy Gandes river seem like something one should do or worth while. Not at all to me. I have done the formers and it is not fun and I have no interest of traveling to India and especially taking a bath in dirty river like that.

The pastor yelling at the young/old Benjamin to walk and to get out of that seat was funny to me. With prayers and the will of God, Button takes his first steps, and his first fall.

Pitt plays the name in the title. Why he does not want to stick around and try to raise his daughter is controversial? But I guess he wants a normal or more traditional father for his daughter. Daisy later achnowledges this was a wise decision.

Cate Blanchett is the other star in this film. I am not a big fan of hers, never have been, so that is my arrow against this movie. If one likes her, then this movie will probably move them. She is not that attractive to me at all so that is it. She is introducted to us Daisy as she is a child. Button is old and decrepid, but mentally they are on the same level. About 9 years old. She does not understand this or realize this I do not believe because Button is born with multiple physical disabilities and just looks terrible. He is born practically in a wheel chair and it takes the will of the communities prayers to get him to walk with sticks. And even this is a sore sight.

There is not allot characters to mention that are recognizable. Faune A. Chambers performs outstandingly not very many people are going to watch the movie because of her. She is prettier in reality than her character is in this movie.

This movie does show some US history in it. It discusses WWI and WWII. Button is almost killed by some Japanese in a short but brutal sea battle. This scene is top and only action sequence in this movie. Button is the ship's cook, he does not fire one shot and ducks for cover as most of his friends are killed, including the charismatic Irish Captain. Button's expression and countenance during this firefight was funny to me. Sad too, he never hurt anyone in his life, totally gentle, and yet the forces of the world are trying to end him. Irony or just cruel intentions, WWII was a terrible time in man's history.

When Button is living with Daisy and they are sleeping on their lone mattress, where is he working during this time? Where is their income coming from? I guess they obtained a good deal when selling his father's home. His father who abandoned him as a child. Button's mother died during child birth.

The gorgeous Lake Pontchartrain is shown in this movie in many scenes. Benjamin goes through his life cycle, not sure if this is possible, but he grows smaller into a little boy. His long time companion-Daisy, does not stick with him during this time, she is busy being married, raising a small family, her daughter and Button is the father. Button, at the end of this movie, grew downward into a cute little baby. Died cute, born ugly.

I am not what she was thinking just dancing like that out in the middle of the street. Not bright. Lucky she only shatter her leg and not her spine. With Pitt being the narrator throughout this movie, he was really carrying along with his voice in this scene. In Paris, sometime in the 1950's it seems. Daisy was a world class ballerina and her stage status was ruined in this wreck, cutting her career short. She later opened up a ballerina school in New Orleans. Button comes to visit her during her recovery in Paris and she does not want to see him. Their relationship is touch and go throughout the movie but regardless, it is special and totally heartfelt.

The movie is touching and Pitt could win an Oscar since he has performed well before. 12 Monkeys was spectacular with Pitt really putting on a show. Too bad his character was too much of a head case in Seven, the villian Kevin Spacey taking full advantages of this cockiness.

Best Picture could be in this movie's future.

This movie is allocated four stars. **** I would give it five but like I stated before, Cate Blanchett just does not get the job done for me. She is a fine actress though, a star performer. Looks matter a little too much to me though. I did not care for her in the Indiana Jones movie either and this movie was just OK. Some fun scenes but the monkey and ant scenes were just too over the top for me to cope with. They copied this generic stuff from The Mummy movies.

Button died as an innocent baby. Born an old man, he was just gentle as can be. He lived a full life, going backwards. I am surprised his plight and uniqueness did not become a news sensation. But he seemed to stay out of the spotlight, only a few knowing his story. How that remained a secret, I am not sure.

One negative shot at this movie is the beginning. Too many cartoonish special affects. Hollywood must be on a shoe string budget, Forrest Gump never had computer scenes like this-that were recognizable.

2008 did not have that many quality movies until the end. Now we have 7 Pounds, The Wrestler, and Button. The former takes it. Despite giving the world a terrible movie a year ago, a total let down, fake as can be, Will Smith's I Am Legend was horrible. But the winning and hilarious Hancock, and now the powerful 7 Pounds. Will Smith may be winning the Oscar this year. No way Michey Rourke does with his wrestling movie. One must have something in their docket to grab a trophy like that.