Monday, March 30, 2009

Echelon Conspiracy

Shane West from ER starred in this movie and performed adequately. He must have worked hard in the auditions to obtain this role. He was the central figure surrounded by much bigger names. Martin Sheen and Ving Rhames among the main top stars in this movie.

This movie is and was an enigma to me. I would have turned it off in the first 10 minutes accept that it was so crisp and clear. The movie was filmed as if it was a low budget production. I still do not understand this. I just listed two celebrities that were in this movie and I knew they were in it. My worst suspicions was that these actors would make a 2 second appearance but the production company would use their names to attract viewers. I was wrong. Sheen and Rhames shared many lines and a large share of the face time in this movie besides the main character West who plays Max Peterson.

Edward Burns was also in this movie. I will never forget the shocking and horrendous death he obtained at the end in the glistening movie The Ring. He plays John Reed here who is a security cheif in a Prague casino.

Agent Dave Grant is Rhame's character and he is on the hunt and case of what is happening. He coordinates what is happening with the NSA's top brass Raymond Burke, who is Sheen. The problem is, no one knows what is happening but that people are dying randomly and uncontrollably.

By the time they determine that these people are not being chosen randomly, the plan is already underway.

Echelon is a NSA security program, using artificial intelligence, which learns that Congress is not going to allow it to fully expand and breath like it was designed to do. So, it gains people's trust by allowing them or giving them financial or gambling tips that prove lucrative. Then it asks them to violate their organization's security protocol for it's own nafarious use. After this is completed, it puts the victim in a likely situation where they could do. That all do, accept Peterson. With the aid of the NSA, they protect him but then they also turn on him and try to eliminate him in Moscow and even in Nebraska.

Peterson installs password protection systems worldwide. Echelon uses him to set this database center up in Nebraska but he does not know it yet. Somehow, and I will bypass countless details, Echelon is able to install huge servors underneath this wharehouse shelter, offsight from NSA's Maryland property and head quarters. Echelon compiles all of the credit and financial information of the USA and begins to download, steal, and store it in these servors. Ofcourse this is at the end after this movie jumps around a bit. This movie is entertaining, offers some hip hop beats to enhance the value of the picture. Their is a cool car chase, some interrogation scenes, and a lot of technological vernacular mixed into this movie.

Conspiracy does not have the resources supporting it as did Eagle Eye last fall. I meantion that movie because Conspiracy sort of resembled this movie. Also, thoughts of Skynet of the Terminator storyline came in the picture at the end when it was thinking on its own and doing what it pleased. I started to think what would happen if it wanted to try to infect a computer system on a fighter jet or aircraft carrier? Echelon stated at the end to Peterson that despite its actions it still was going to do what it was mandated to do: to protect the citizens and freedoms of US citizens. Peterson, erudite and judicious, uses this logic and Echelon's ability to learn, knowing Echelon will see the error's of her ways. Echelon already killed 4 people or so so obviously someone at the NSA did not think this one through nor toss in some ethics software.

Echelon was sending text messages through the NSA's network and they could not track them. Much to their consternation, they thought that someone hacked into the NSA and was using its power for devious purposes. But, this could have been the case since one of Peterson's acquaintences in this movie is a Russion taxi driver who is a tech genius on the side who he meets in Prague. But was this meeting an accident? Sergey Gubanov is the actor who plays this Yuri Malanin. The movie ends with us guessing, was it a computer gone crazy or the Russians manipulating our systems with their hidden computer skills?

The movie has a wonderful looking woman named Tamara Feldman. Kamila is her fictional name and she is spectacular. Almost on par with Bond's newest untouched flame Olga Kurylenko.

I am not sure why this movie had to be filmed like this. Perhaps it was low budget, perhaps they spent all of their money on Rhames and Sheen, with a little left over for Burns. Some funny scenes, many characters, realistic scenery, a fiery car chase, spectactular looking actress, are all things this movie has going for it. The ending was intense, a true nail biter. But the filming was just generic. It is plausible though and I was never bored at all. Several nice settings in this technological thriller.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

Sunday, March 29, 2009

12 Rounds

John Cena, the athletic and stuntman former wrestler is trying to go the way of the Rock and carve himself a niche in Hollywood feature films. The Rock may be politically naive, he is OK with politicians allowing child molestors living in our neighborhoods for instance, but he is a little more charismatic and his characters have a little more depth to them. Cena is rigid without having the botox face of Meg Ryan. Det. Danny Fisher is Cena's character's name in this latest action packed twist.

This movie is not that far from Cena's last explosion filled movie called The Marine. His hot blonde wife was kidnapped in that one. We just have to trade Kelly Carlson for Ashley Scott, which is almost fair. Carlson is off the chart and Scott is pretty close to that level.

Brian J. White is a black actor who is strong in his own right and is Fisher's partner. He has played in many movies whereas Cena has mostly sliced a spot for himself in the wrestling world. Though which activity requires more acting is debatable.

Steve Harris is Special Agent George Aiken and is sometimes on Fisher's side and others times it seems they are at odds. Sometimes physically. Aiken also has a turbulent relationship with his own partner. It certainly is not healthy.

Fisher performs a miraculous act of tracking down an international thief, extortionist, terrorist, and arms dealer and capturing him with his strength and muscle. In the process, Aidan Gillen who plays this psychotic but confident villian Miles Jackson, his gorgeous girlfriend is smashed by an oncoming truck. It was her fault for shooting and fleeing from the police and Jackson's fault for urging her to do so. But Jackson blames Fisher and sets his sights on his revenge. His revenge is beyond elaborate, completely fiction, but entertaining nevertheless. Many people die throughout this diabolical process, including, but not limited to, the plumber.

The movie takes place in New Orleans and there is an extravagant trolly car episode. Cars and debri are flying every where. The sound affects are in line with this production. There are some humorous scenes. Cene is not Robert de Niro but know one expects him to be. This movie does have some storyline from Speed. The trolly car scene which I just mentioned, it was rigged by Jackson like Hopper's character did something similiar to the bus in Speed. The way Jackson forced Fisher to jump through hoops and hurdles while he thought he was making a simple access and getaway with millions of dollars in cash. Hence 12 Rounds, Fisher had to surpass 12 designated, violent, and formidable rounds that Jackson wrote for him. Keanu Reeves's character upset Hopper's character and Hopper designed an elaborate scheme to terrorize and possibly eliminate Reeves forever. Not that much different accept more machines were used, a pretty girl, but the acting was weaker than what Speed presented us with, a long with the writing. I have to admit, the ending of Speed with the subway train was disappointing. Hopper's character just tried to do to much, he was too slow and old to match Reeve and other trailing police that would have been on the trail despite the movie not showing this.

Too bad Fisher's best friend dies in this movie. The acting here was nothing worth bragging about. Lots of action, it was fun but ofcourse predictable. Jackson did provide us with a cool method of steeling money by using water and the pressure from a fire engine to extract money. This scene here was similiar to Die Hard III, causing mayhem all over a city to distract people away from a large central source of currency. 12 Rounds had the cash, the loot and objective in Die Hard III was mounds of gold.

The movie had the action, was not boring, nor too short, had the pretty girl. They did some things right.

I allocate this movie 2 stars.***

Friday, March 27, 2009

Easy Virtue

Jessica Biel is still gorgeous but probably a little bit too skinny. The scrawny look still steems to be in vogue. Shameful.

Larita Whittaker is the character played by Biel in this 1930's movie. This movie took place after what was called the Great War which was WWI. Too bad these people did not know a greater war was slowly in its developments. Larita is a coming of age woman, a professional race car driver who has already lived a lot of life. She marries a young Englishman but things begin to unravel when he visits their home.

Kristin Scott Thomas, who to me, has never been attractive, plays the best bitch since Annette Bening in American Beauty. Thomas was also in Mission Impossible but did not survive that long. I am still trying to figure out how she died in that movie. But the first one was much better than MI2. Mrs. Whittaker is Thomas's character and she is the nasty mother in law of Larita.

Ben Barnes is John Whittaker and he is the husband of Larita. He is younger than her and is quickly overwhelmed by Larita's charisma and dynamic character. Either he is an excellent actor or he does not have any business being the lead actor adjacent to Biel.

The movie begins with Larita winning a race in the 1930's. Is this real? Did a female with a major race that long ago? I thought Danika Patrick was seeking to be the first. Whatever. Then they are married and the real footage begins with them arriving to this English mansion. Larita is never given a fair chance. Mrs. Whittaker was already miffed when she received a telegram from her son informing her that he married an American female. Larita and Mrs. Whittaker are just polar opposites. Larita like machines, Mrs. Whittaker loves horses and has not realized farming is going mechanized. By the time she catches on, it is too late. Later on the film, to further spoil her son's marriage, she informs him that their estate and property are losing money and she is considering selling 400 acres to the bill collectors to give them some more time to shore up their finances.

Mrs. Whittaker is stubbon, Larita is vibrant. Larita smokes, Mrs. Whittaker despises this habit. Mrs. Whittaker does not believe her son could work any where but in the country side, Larita has grander ambitions for them both. Mrs. Whittaker's dominating and suffocating attitude has already rubbed off on both her daughters. John's sisters accomplish almost nothing all day and live completely under the blanket of their mother.

John and Larita were only supposed to be at his parents home for a few days. But this soon changes in a couple of weeks and the weeks just drag on and on. Larita is growing tiresome of being around his pretty insufferable family. Only the father is level headed, and perhaps but the butler. The funny thing is, they are bleeding money but they still have a butlet, sponsor fox races, and host elaborate parties. It is all about appearances. Larita should not have married John, their marriage was too quick and not well planned. She has already been married. Her previous husband died of cancer. The longer Larita is held in confinement in this home, the more time Mrs. Whittaker has to dig up dirt on her, annoy her, undermine her, and debase her. True to her name, Larita fights the good fight and remains just as bold. For instance, during the fox hunt-which, to me, is just stupid and cruel-much to Mrs. Whittaker's dismay, she rides a motorcycle rather than a horse. The motorcycle wins.

The culmination of this film is a Great Gatsby like party, and Larita comes downstairs with everyone stairing at her. The dance floor clears, and she requests the band to play the Tango. Larita asks her husband to dance and he refuses. By this time, their marriage is on the rocks, Mrs. Whittaker has won the declared war. Colin Firth plays Mr. Whittaker he steps up the plate. He takes her hand. To the embarrassment and slap in the face of his wife, he completes this dance and it seems to be the most exciting thing he has done in many years. His story is a terrible one. During WWI, he led 20,000 soldiers to their death against the Germans. He lived. That could be an exagerration but perhaps not by much. I know it was a horrific war. Mr. Whittaker did not want to return to England after this episode, Mrs. Whittaker tracked him down in a Russion or Eastern European brothel. He was trying to go down in flames. She dragged him back to their English estate. But he had little to say on the operation of the business and shows little apathy about the potential loss of their land. I guess it has been a front for a while. He apparently does not wish to be alive anyhow. After the tango, Mrs. Whittaker informs him that it is over with.

Right before Larita drives off for good, Mr. Whittaker hops into the car with her.

Before this final scene, Mr. Whittaker and Larita have deep understanding on where they both are coming from. Mr. Whittaker spends a lot time keeping care of the horses, outside of the home and away from his wife. I do not blame him. Larita and both of him know there is not a lot of privacy there.

This movie had some good music, if one likes what the 1930's produced. It was sort of funny. Biel is still spectacular. It does not have some historical signifiance and the writing is stainless and befitting.

I allocate this movie 2 stars.**

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Last House on the Left

This is not a childs or family movie. It is not really a movie for anyone. I can not say it was enjoyable nor realistic. I do think this stuff really happens. There are some psycho, but a psychotic family or group that live together and coordinate these activities that do not make economic sense. There are some degenerates in places like Rio Linda or the Bronx. But this type of evil and maliciousness, I doubt it.

Garret Dillahunt is not a recognizable name but his face is. He has been in No Country for Old Men and is Kromartie in the remarkable Terminator TV series.

The pretty Monica Potter also stars in this movie. No one else in this movie is worth mentioning. This family's dad died and apparently the house is paid off and the kids just become complete sociopaths and terrible human beings. It seems there is a little envy that they did not have a good childhood. Whatever. They need to take a trip to the Sudan and find out how good they have it. They believe other Americans are spoiled, but how about them?

They kill police officers, among other people. They kill two teenage girls after mutilating one of them and raping the other. These girls, atleast one of them, make the Natalie Holloway mistake and decide to hang out with a loser. Well, it just one guy, Natalie was all by her lonesome and decided to go out on a darkened night with three strange guys. What happened after that has not been revealed, regarding the Aruba incident.

Potter plays Emma Collingwood who is the mother of the girl who is raped and shot. But, miraculously this girl survives and actually stumbles home. The father performs some crude surgery on her to remove the bullet and fragments. Emma notices her daughters ring is missing. The sick family who committed this heinous act and the ones before this stop their home. Emma notices this ring on one of the boys who is in her home. This nasty family stops in for the night because it is rainy and storming outside. They have the audacity to stay at the parents home of the daughter they raped and shot.

This movie is action packed. Many brutal fights. Not sure why Emma and her husband do not call 911, perhaps the service is out. Whatever. They kill one of the evil brothers in a loud and nasty scene in the kitchen while his hand is grinded up via the garbage disposal. His older brother and his sick girlfriend/sister are sleeping together and do not even hear anything. They are just sound asleep. The home is large but not that big.

Emma and her husband kill the family. The younger brother actually clears his mind, grows a concious but his oldest brother, the leader of this psycho misfits, kills him with a knife. The oldest brother, Kromartie, receives his just desserts. The father wheels in the microwave, with the door open, puts his head into the microwave and sets it for 2 minutes. His head explodes. That is the how the movie ends.

The movie is entertaining but pointless. Sick on the basis of depravity. The foundation of this film is perverted. Weak music but suitable script. Glad I did not pay for it.

I allocate this movie one star.*

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Well, this is not an environmentalist movie and the man is at fault. That is the good thing. A giant and intense solar flare is random and not any thing we can prevent or doing anything about it. The surface matter on earth would just change to another form.

Nicolas Cage makes up for his previous Bangkok assassin movie which was a smorgasborg of so many other movies of the same element. His name is John in this movie. He is set apart from the pretty Rose Byrne and she is taken from us before any love making or kissing. I do not miss that but I was upset when she died. Ofcourse she was going to die soon any how. If some people could have made it to the bottom of Carlsbad caverns in New Mexico or the Big Cave in Kentucky, perhaps they could have survived this horrendous natural onslaught. I have been to the giant Caverns in New Mexico but not to the deep hole in the ground in Kentucky.

This movie is very similiar to The Mothman Prophecies. Both are solid but this movie's budget was a little greater.

This movie was entertaining, intriguing, and disturbing right from the beginning. The movie begins in quaint little 1959 as an elementary school class is preparing to put documents into a time capsule. It would be given to the same grade 50 years later, in the fall of the genesiacal school year. The class is supposed to draw a picture, one girl is writing down a bunch of mysterious numbers. It is put in the envelopes intended for the time capsule. This same girl is later missing but found down in the basement closet of the school using her bleeding fingers to carve numbers into the woodent door. She has some sort of clairvoyance it seems.

John is a professor at MIT in astro physics or some related science. His is in the class in the 9th grade, and receives the strange envelope with numbers all over it. John sees this letter and begins playing the numbers. He finds out these numbers are dates for tragic events and the numbers written down adjacent to them are the exact deaths attributed to that horrendous happening. Sept. 11th is the date that caught his notice.

There are many other dates on the page that he can not explain and either can a colleague. It is later revealed these numbers are latitude and longitutinal coordinates that match up with the natural or human caused calamity.

The movie has a little religion tossed in. It is mixed with the supernatural.

The movie turns frightening when they realize that the final two characters which are EE stand for everyone else.

Knowing is the title but after watching the movie I remain ignorant and guessing. I wish I knew more. John's son is apparently chosen by some strange force. When John confronts one of them after chasing them down, he is repelled by a screaming voice from one of the forces. It is reminiscent of Julianne Moore's movie The Forgotten when she confronted the alien who took her child. The movie or John's son refers to these people as the whisperers. They whisper in his head and it seems they have been for a while. But it intensifies after the boy receives the letter filled with the numbers.

The adorable Rose Byrne's character is Diana and she has a daughter who seems to be having some strange episodes herself. Diana is the daughter of the original character, the small child writing down all of the numbers in 1959. This was a strange girl and how or why she procreated is never explained. She told her daughter-Diana when she was going to die. What sort of mother does this? Diana's mother and father are dead in the present day but I forgot how. Diana makes a rash decision at the end to run or drive crazily to some caves where she believes she will be safe, this is unwise. John was not acting any more strange at the crazed moment than he has many times before. But I guess he could have explained more to her.

OK, who were the whisperers. The Others in the show Lost have the ability to whisper on that island and that tremendous show has not explained this thus far. The Whispers have the same ability. And they have their chosen few as well. They have a space ship that is shaped like giant crystals, so perhaps they are from Superman's planet-Krypton. On earth, they choose to drive cars for transportation like everyone else. Evidently, it is shown at the end that they have many humans to escort away from this death course. The Earth would not ready to produce or sustain life for another couple million years when our atmosphere has time to rebound. They drop off the boy and girl and other "lucky" humans on another planet deep into space, in another solar system. The boy and girl are chosen to procreate and spread the human seed around another planet. The aliens were not kind enough to bring the children an iPod. The final scene is the children frolicking on some open grassy fields with a gorgeous tree consuming the screen. The tree of life? It did not seem to the apple tree God warns Adam and Eve about since it is the only tree in the land scape. Not a lot of choices.

Knowing had some discussion about determinism and randomness in the beginning. But it seemed the learning stopped there. The storyline did not thankfully. It was riveting and I believe the ending was better than the Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I never did care for the last half of the movie, the first half was tremendous. Sort of like Die Hard IV.

The musical score matched the intensity. There were some pretty faces in the movie. Cage has tossed another winner onto his long list of successful films. He still has to do a few more to compensate for the Wicker Man debacle. That was the worst film of this fresh century.

The drawback is that there was not a lot of solid or memorable one liners. Not even close the outstanding written script of The Departed. DiCaprio had more good lines in one scene than this entire 2 hour show. What am I supposed to take from this project? Our life giving sun could destroy us? There are alien watchers paying close attention to us and they can predict the future? Well, they were shown to have wings when boarding the ship at the end. In the picture, in Diana's mother's home, the devil was on the right, on the picture. With multiple faces like Dante wrote about. I do not think aliens could predict the future. So they were angels at the end. But why would they steal the children from the mother like that? Therefore, that is my hefty and substantial jab from me to this movie. A long with the weak writing at times.

I just hope the sun does not take us down like that. Give us another 200 years at least, and the sun is about to thrust some massive amount of energy our way, we can fly a lot of the population off this planet. Atleast the ones that deserve to leave. I am not saying that is me, but not any violent criminals or any descendants of Barbara Boxer or Nanci Pilosi.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Vera Farmiga is the only name in this movie that could be recognizable. She was the police psychiatrist in the outstanding movie The Departed. David Thewlis is also in this movie, he has been in many others.

This is not a movie my fat dad would enjoy or sit through. Thewlis is the warden of a Jewish concentration camp in Germany during the early days of World War II. He moves his family to the gorgeous countryside to be closer to his work. The home is not that far from the camp, about 1 kilometer. This leads to some trouble since his son, the main character, Bruno, walks around the home and finds the concentration camp. Right on the other side of the barbed wire, is a similiar aged Jewish boy sitting, playing with rocks. Schmall is his name, and this relationship is the spine or backbone of the movie.

Bruno sneaks food to him and gives it to him through the barb wire. Schmall devours this food as any malnourished human would.

The movie is not terribly exciting, the musical score is nonexistent.

Farmiga is not sure what her husband is doing at the camp. She knows they are housing Jews but she she finds out they are burning and incinerating them, she goes ballistic. Any sane and right minded person would. Later on in the film, the father informs the children to consider moving to a safer or less potentially disturbing area. But they do not move away to soon, tragedy unfolds.

This concentration camp is obviously a brutal place. This movie displays the evil and nasty mindset of the German heirarchy and populace. Some scenes are difficult to watch but it is not as bad or powerful as Schindler's list. It is not as long, nor will it's mark be put in history as that indelible movie has been.

Bruno dies at the end. He never realized how seriousness of the times. What 8 year would? Unless they were in the camp themselves as Schmall was. Brunu is gassed just like his father was gassing many countless amount of Jews.

On the day they were supposed to move out, Bruno and Schmall had devised a plan. Schmall found an extra striped uniform, gave it to Bruno on the other side of the barbed wire fence and Bruno put that death uniform on. He snuck through the fence and entered into the prison camp. He wanted to help his friend Schmall find his parents. His parents had already been transformed into another physical matter. His parents were no longer with us. They were caught in the whirlwind of a group of Jewish prisoners who were set to be killed. Both of them thought it was just a uncomfortable group shower. Ofcourse, being small children, locked inside, they would not have been able to do anything regarding their circumstances.

Farmiga followed her husband as he tore through the area and into the prison in a frantic search. This desperate search was for naught. The movie has a horrendous ending, but it was riveting. I had to watch this, rather than just listen.

This movie was sort of point less. The plot is just weak. 30% of the movie was entertaining, most of it was uneventful, ponderous, and phlegmatic. I am sure some neo Nazis and the Iranian leader, Akhmenjenadad would thoroughly enjoy this film.

I think Farmiga is gorgeous though.

I allocate this movie one star.*

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Ewan McGregor is a successful professional in London and he pursues a married woman. Though he does not know she is married until probably later on. Why is this married woman sitting alone in a bar smoking a cigarrette? The actress is played by Michelle Williams.

This is a low budget movie that occurs in the present day. It is pretty slow throughout the movie. Nothing worth while happens unless you just want to see and hear people talk until the attack. The attack occurs at a professional soccer match. The bombing kills Michelle William's husband and son. The terrible thing is, it occurs when she is screwing McGregor. They hear about it because the TV with the soccer game is on.

So both of these people are immoral, she more than him though. After the attack, she spends a lot of time trying to understand why this happens and how a being can committ such an act? It was done by a Muslim extremist group and they are planning more attacks. London and England has a serious problem of this occuring in real life because they allowed too many Pakistani immigrants into their country and now they have a real mess on their hands. There is one line in this movie that sums up the psychotic mentality of this radical muslim element as saying they are not even human.

This attack occurs at a professional soccer game. I hope this does not occur but it seems since the evil nutcases want to disrupt normal life and squash fun, this would be what they would do. Not only does it kill a lot of people, it messes up the sporting event and causes damage to an expensive stadium.

On the flip side, it only reminds the world how barbaric they are, it does not draw anyone with any sophistication to their side, just the ignorant and twisted. It helps their cause in only the most disturbed circles.

This movie is slow, pretty much dull, but does have some decent writing. I think it paints England and Europe with an accurate but hurtful brush. In the war on terror, Europe is taking a back row seat to America. This is sort of reminiscent to what occured in the 1930's when they allowed Nazi Germany to rise and cause the worst devastation in human history. The greatest war the world has ever seen. England did help us some in Iraq, good for them. But for the most part, the Europeans are not being hard enough on Iran, talk is cheap. They kow tow to Russia, they do not any fighting in Afghanistan. Atleast not enough to be considered tough or meaningful. When the USA takes the fight to the radical losers, we are criticized by the folks across the pond. Europeans, in all their glory, tell us to shut down Guantanomo but do not want to take any of these nasty folks into their prisons. Guantanomo is an ideal place for these sick people who are willing to kill themselves for their distorted beliefs of the Koran.

After this attack, William's character has a weak relationship with a London terrorist police officer. Jasper Black is McGregor's character and he is pretty resourceful. He figures out that the police new the terrorist was at the match and was likely going to kill people. But they did not act, and this detective was forced to admit this to Williams. He did not want to. He and his agency did not want anyone to know this. They were tracking this terrorist cell. They did not want to arrest this foolish Muslim because then that would force them to reveal their cards. So, they let this attack occur for future arrests. Knowing her child could have been saved, she unleashed anger at this detective. He is upset at this, and confronts Black on this. Not much happens there.

Black and William's character have a child together. Williams also narrates throughout the movie. This movie is unexciting and that says a lot about the music chosen. The ending is crawling and gradual, akin to the beginning.

I give this movie one star.*

Race to Witch Mountain

Dwayne Johnson plays Jack Bruno which fits his character just fine. The name Bruno does not fit his look though. He is an ex convict who drives a taxi in Las Vegas. He is a pretty good driver and seems to be a part time driver for a Vegas crime family. Though he does not want to work for them any more and spends part of the movie avoiding the mafia's hench men. These muscle men are beat up by The Rock on more than one occasion and are more inept than anything.

AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig are two blond kids who share the spotlight in this movie. They are aliens in this movie but apparently look like human young teenagers. They crash their ship into earth. Why did they choose to come to earth? To save it. Yes, their world's atmosphere is crumbling and they are thinking of somehow siphoning off some of our atmosphere to repair theirs. Something like that. Theoretically it sounds great but the movie ends before realistically breaking down this process. I am sure it will work, the ending was happy rather than ominous. In fact, this movie was exciting and is designed for the family.

When these aliens collide with the earth the space ship is confiscated by the US government and taken to witch mountain. The latter is not explained and shown until half way into the movie. The aliens escape the military search, use their abilities to steal a lot of money from an ATM, and appear into the back of Bruno's cab. The Rock was pretty funny in the movie, his reactions to the kids being in the back of the taxi are what generate the excitement of the movie. The government is onto him pretty quickly but rather than come with Apache helicopters they go after them in conspicuous black SUV's. The leader of the government agents is CiarĂ¡n Hinds. He has been in many other movies, but I am not going to list any here since I really do not want to.

Henry Burke is Hind's character. This character was straight stolen from The Transformer's government agent which was played by John Turturro. So this is a black mark on this movie. Burke walks around in the mint suit despite chaos and him being in the field. Ridiculous. They drive black SUV's and seem to have an endless supply of them. If two aliens were on the loose, the government would come with more force and not ever allow a taxi driver out maneuver them all over the desert of Nevada.

The alien children are actually good, they are trying to save earth. Their military wants to destroy us and just take over our planet. But the alien children want to prove their theory can work which will save both planets. Both from imminent danger. Their parents were already killed by their military for attempting this feat. The other challenge that faces Bruno and the sweet alien children is their is a government enforcer or alien assassin gunning for them. This alien is about 7 foot tall and covered with seemingly impenetrable suit. Bruno and the cute alien adolescents battle this mercenary and finally kill him at the end. Their are some spectacular scenes in this movie.

The first is when this alien soldier's space ship is destroyed by an oncoming train. That is a powerful meeting of forces. It seems they both lose and that is too bad for the train conducter.

Funny, Cheech Marin makes a cameo as a car mechanic who gives the beat up taxi some much needed repairs. Unrealistically, Bruno wants about 5 hours of work done in an hour but in actuality, Marin's mechanic character only was given about 20 minutes.

The second powerful scene is at the end when the US army meets up with the alien super soldier. This alien tracks them down and is just laying waste to our guys. The disappointing thing about this, is unlike the soldiers in Transformers, this movie does not want to give these soldiers any grenade launchers or 50 caliber weapons. I do not like this, the incredible material protecting this alien combat soldier would not have held up so well with being hit with explosive devices. And it would have been fully tested with 50 caliber rounds as well.

When Bruno finally sees the soldier's face and head after ripping off his helmet, he is shocked. Who would not be? But since this is a family movie and not the riveting, classic, and intense Arnold Scharzenegger's movie known as the Predator, Bruno does not utter the famous line: "You are one ugly mother f-----." Instead, he states, "You should have kept the helmet on." Funny, nevertheless, but not as poignant or audacious.

The music was decent, nothing memorable. The action was plentiful. Another cool scene is when the alien enforcer is knocked about 15 feet at an alien convention in Las Vegas. The alien child uses his power to release the light framing above the stage. I am not sure it that is strong enough, aluminum, to propel a 360 pound object like that in the air, but it was entertaining. The 360 pound object was the alien special forces soldier.

The pretty face in the movie was not so pretty and this was what set the movie back. Carla Gugino is not that hot to her to be teamed up with The Rock is a casting mistake. What the? Their dialogue has been done so many times it is just beyond repetitious. But with numerous action scenes, some creativity, the movie was fairly decent.

I allocate this movie 2 stars.***

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

Kristin Kreuk is really pretty and she plays Chun-Li. She plays the daughter of a prominent Chinese businessmen. He is kidnapped by a criminal element hiding behind an international corporation. This sinister group is sort of like Cobra in the GI Joe story line. Neal McDonough from The Minority Report and Flags of Our Fathers is at the helm of this evil organization. His name in the movie is Bison. This organization is known as Shadowland and they do not believe in justice nor the righteous. This story line is based on a video game so one is not expecting an Oscar consideration.

This movie begins in San Francisco, then moves to Hong Kong, and then transcends to Bangkok. Most of this movie occurs in Thailand. Apparently, Hollywood likes it there. Nicolas Cage's latest movie, which was horrendous, takes place there.

Michael Clarke Duncan plays a villian again. He is not unfamiliar with this role. He was the Kingpin the dud Daredevil movie. It was not a dud because of him though, Ben Affleck destroyed
that movie. A gay Daredevil just does not excite movie goers.

The backdrop is Kreuk is searching for her father. She finds a map in her home or some sort of ancient written artifact which is some sort of manuscript. This takes her to Bangkok where she lives in the slums and is taken in by the local people. She narrates these scenes. But it is not logical. She is flat out gorgeous and someone that looks like her would not starve or sleep outside in almost any society. Perhaps in North Korea or under the backwards and anti progress groups like the Taliban. She Kreuk fights for the weak, in contrast to Shadowland who exploits them. Shadowland also buys off susceptible politicians including the commerce department so they can smuggle in and out shipments that are illegal.

Her father is killed by Shadowland right in front of her. In fact, it is Bison. But Kreuk recovers from this setback, escapes from her seemingly unescapable situation, and obtains her revenge.

The sexy Moon Bloodgood is in this movie and she plays Det. Maya Sunee. Bloodgood is mixed ancestry and will also be in the blockbuster movie Terminator 4, Salvation. It is too bad she used to be associated with the Las Angeles Laker's. She was a cheerleader. She was also in the Paul Walker movie Eight Below. She was covered up in the movie, she is appears to have grown 2 inches in this Street Fighter film.

Shadow land is in the real estate business. They want to create mayhem, drive good people out, decrease the land prices in Bangkok and then buy it wholesale under a fictitious name. Sounds like a good plan for the immoral and greedy.

This is a martial arts movie. This movie is not original. It has been done before many times. This movie is designed for Asian youths, video game players, and males. The movie does have a select audience, it was not a terrible movie, but there is nothing unique or special about it. The movie is not memorable. A couple cool characters and it is not boring. But watching someone train for a special fight or conquest is just not impressive any more. Kreuk is beautiful but watching her train and the later in the movie saving her master from potential doom is typical. This script is another regurgitation with some new faces. Neal McDonough fighting like he is Jet Li is almost as farfetched, improbable, and dubious as Spiderman.

This movie is not completely unoriginal though. Kreuk is a self taught street fighter but is given special and powerful guidance from a hidden master towards the end of the movie.

Chris Klein from the American Pie movies makes his reappearance into the starlight here. He is a detective in Bangkok, how or why is not explained? I am sure he knows Tai. I have not seen him since Mel Gibson's excellent Vietnam war epic We Were Soldiers.

Western audiences have been inundated with Asian fighting arts, it is just not worth spending any money on to see. New faces and some modern music does not mean squat. This movie is just a little more believable than Mortal Combat.

The cat fight in the woman's club bathroom is just so fake. "The school has grown up," this is Kreuk and that was pretty much her line. Atleast they have some cook hip hop music because the jumping and flipping is just pure fantasy. One of the woman is hanging onto a faucet pipe for dear life. Why? She can fight and her enemy is not going to eat her, she has the same build and just wants to punch her a few times. She acts like she is pulled into a black hole knowing she would never return.

I am still not sure why the Bangkok police force is American and speaks English. Atleast Bloodgood knows Tai. Bloodgood tries to find out who Kreuk is since Kreuk beats down one of Shadowland's strongest female assailants. The local citizens support Kreuk, they see this person fighting for them against the forces of evil.

This movie has a happy ending, they sort of hint at something looming in Japan at the end, a possible sequel? The music flows with the events on screen, the cinematography is half way decent. For reasons I have already discussed, I would not ever sit through this movie again. But it is still much better than Cage's Wicker Man.

I allocate this movie one star.*

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Isla Fisher plays Rebecca Bloomwood who is young professional trying to cut it or find her niche in the big city journalistic field. She has a job at a struggling magazine but this does not stop her from trying to spend money like she was Paris Hilton. She was spending beyond her means and this is what is the problem with America and why the USA is suffocating under its own debt.

She has about ten credit cards and she uses them all. She buys clothes she does not need and items she can not afford. Her best friends knows the truth but her parents have no clue she is spending money at this rate. She does not pay her bills and this attracts creditors from hounding her with phone calls. It is actually just one caller who is intent on receiving payment. Just like the financially ignorant that form the majority of the USA, Rebecca uses a credit card at an alarming rate and views these items as free. Like money grows on trees.

She is forced to find a position when her small time magazine is cut down to size and her nominal job was yanked from her. She interviews for a position she has no reason to be interviewing for since it requires financial acumen and understanding of finance. She obtains the position because of her looks and the magazine editor is taken to her. The movie is totally fantasy, not that different than Harry Potter. This movie has a questionable theme and message in this tough times.

John Goodman plays Graham Bloomwood but does not have too many funny lines. The funniest scene in the movie is when she first obtains this temporary position and the smitten editor asks her to write about some esoteric subject and she Googles it. She is asinine enough to do this before he has fully walked away and he then knows she has no clue about the subject matter. I doubt he would have noticed what she typed but this scene was funny since she was totally dead and there is nothing she could do. She has been living in make believe world it was about time to see her character get cut down to size. But this is when the movie totally dives into Freddy Kreuger mythical world. She knows she should be fired but he rewards her by taking her to a special meeting and undercutting a dishonest and terrible CEO giving a shareholder's meetings.

John Lithgow is a powerful magazine owner in this movie. It was delightful to see him. He was a star actor in the 1990's but has pretty much disappeared during the past 10 years. When his character said he was so impressed with the magazine because of one short article that appeared for the first time and he was sending a copy to his children-so what? This is what makes the movie subpar.

I have never seen the movie The Devil Wears Prada and probably never will. This movie is probably slightly better since it actually has a plotline unlike that movie. Both are fantastical and totally unlike reality. Meryl Streep's character in that awful film was totally out of touch with mainstream that one should just watch The Phantom Menace again because of Darth Maul.

Fisher is a cutie but she is not Rachel McAdams. The latter is stunning. I mention Rachel since they were both paired off against each other in the outstanding winner Wedding Crashers. That movie was superlative, a full length comedic blockbuster.

This movie had some decent tunes to it. A couple attractive females besides Isla but not enough. Is this movie a complete chick flick? Probably about 90%. Atleast there was some talk about some finance and business and the writing was fairly decent at times.

This movie has some terrible timing. Rough economic times and this materialistic world so many people live in is just sickening. The USA does not educate its teenager or students about the dangers of financial mismanagement. It is no wonder that so many people in my generation have put themselves in positions that are difficult to impossible to cope with. Spending money one does not have, this movie demonstrates the stupidity of females. Males are no different, buying giant TV's they can not afford and spinning rims that serve little purpose. If one can afford this stuff, that is tight. No problem. Spending $100 on liquor is also what destroys the economic safety and ability of many males.

The movie sort of centers around a scarf. There are all sorts of scarfs, all different colors and designs. She could find another, online for sure. She likes to shop. This movie insinuates that if she can not have this one scarf all hell will break loose. Could not be farther from the truth. Rebecca says this at the end of the movie to not wear it with yellow, how about green, orange, etc.?

I allocate this movie one star.*

Saturday, March 7, 2009


This movie had some recognizable faces but no names worth mentioning. This movie does for the nuclear threat whereas the horiffic and terrible Keanu Reeves movie The Day the Earth Stood Still does for the environment. Why is this movie made now? Watchmen should have been made about 25 years, at the height of the Soviet Union and USA nuclear exchange threat. This movie did not refer to the Soviet Union as that, Russia was constantly mentioned despite not ever showing a Russian or Russia. This is not news. The nuclear threat is emanating from Iran now, so perhaps should target Iran and said some of their propaganda towards them. This is clearly anti USA propaganda masked as psuedo entertainment.

Watchmen has several super heroes that are strong for reasons not mentioned. I guess this detail is not worth explaining. I guess the script writers expect us to assume that this is possible. It is not to me, I can not accept that a human being of this magnitude exists. And if they did exist, would dress in a clown outfit and act so child like. The mutants in X-Men are mutants, their powerful abilities are explained this way through evolution. Hence, this storyline is creative and makes sense. Watchmen was just full of assumptions and symbolic mumbo jumbo. This movie is incredibly long, occurs throughout the 60's, 70's, and 80's but with 21st technology and modern New York scenery and skyline.

The movie begins with a strong super hero being killed by a hidden dark cat or assassin. It appears he is expecting to be attacked but still can not prevent his murder. This assassin turns out to be the world's supposed smartest man, one of the Watchmen and one of their supposed friends. He has his own agenda and to me, when revealed, the world's most vain yuppy. This character, the victim here, is explored through out the movie and the most peculiar aspect is his super hero name is The Comedian. But he is not funny and he is a potential rapist. The movie is absolutely horrendous and is a lengthy debacle. The The Day the Earth Stood Still was at least short because its disgusting protect the earth message was so apparent. Global warming may be occuring since the earth is in a constant change and fluctuation. Man made global warming is still unproven, is a hoax tossed at us from forces that wanted us to live their way of life and to limit our freedoms and fun. I like ATV's, I am not sure if Keanu Reeves and Barbara Streisand does. I am not sure they would enjoy the excellent book which tosses this man made carnage on it's head-Michael Crichton's State of Fear. That book is spectacular, filled with research challenging the gobbledegook the man made global warming crowd revels in.

Watchman has the pretty Malin Akerman who plays Laurie Jupiter and Silk Spectre II. I have never heard of her and I do not expect you to have, I thought this was Carmen Diaz with a nose job. It sounded like her and this endless movie which tossed in 60's music throughout it was consistently dark and weird. Nothing wrong with the music, I thought I was dreaming or this was an aberation. Some people have said this movie looked good, it was actually far from it. The mother of this actress's character, I thought was Melanie Griffith but after conducting some simple research it was not. Jupiter knows how to fight and has the strength of 5 men. How is this possible? Atleast in the upcoming GI Joe movie, they wear special suits so their great fighting ability is atleast somewhat plausible.

Watchman has some decent hand to hand combat scenes. But the suits they wear are an absolute joke. I would think it would be a dorky Holloween costume but they wore these when actually crime fighting. Which just undermines any seriousness of the movie.

One of the Watchmen is a nuclear physicist caught in a room that for some reason is shooting nuclear energy into him. The security protocols are just non existent. He becomes more powerful than perhaps superman, looks sort of like the Silver Surfer, and is basically indestructable. He can shoot out beams of power and light like the alien machines in the also ghastly War of the World's movie. He is good but since he is so different in his state he becomes disattached with humanity. Oh, and we can like that is penis is shown throughout the movie-not. I guess females will enjoy this. This movie was dreadful. It's message being about 30 years too late and the people who do not care about the dangers of nuclear weapons will not ever sit through it. The Iranian leadership thinks woman should wear more clothes and stay at home. I do not think Akhemenejad would ever sit though this movie. Although I think this movie should be shown again and again to any terrorists caught and when they complain about torture, we give them some Hollywood directors to wail on for expecting us to sit through this wasteful and brain washing movie.

This same theme is now being regurgitated about every other month now.

Another so called superhero in this movie who turns out to be the top villian is supposedly the world's smartest man. He is a hidden compound with giant statues in Antarctica that no one even knows about. This movie is just drastically appaling. I actually thought this guy was the world's greatest pretty boy.

NYC is destroyed at the end, because this pretty boy wants to turn the nuclear blue man in the world's villian. The nuclean blue man whose actual name within the movie is Dr. Manhattan or Jon Osterman. On top of is capabilities previously mentioned, he can walk on the surface of the sun, duplicate himself, and fly off into outer space. He can manipulate matter and makes Magneto look like a person who can do more than make 10 free throws consecutive. All he had to do to save the earth was communicate a little more and pay more attention. This movie's constant banter is that mankind is doomed so why even try. Lets tell the ultimate lie so Russia and the USA can hold hands. And to top it off, this movie acts like evil can be vanquished and every citizen would sing Kum-ba-ya on the basis of this lie and if Russia and the USA just dumped all of their nuclear weapons into the the Mariana Trench. This is preposterous and both countries are not manufacturing nuclear weapons like we once did and have already destroyed many silos and weapons that once existed under the START I and II treaties.

One point that is actually truthful that one of the hilarious characters utters in this movie is that even if the nuclear weapons are demolished, violence and war would still march on. This is true.

I am thinking this movie was made about 25 - 30 years too late. Has it been sitting in Warner Brothers studio's basement for this long and during the recession they decide to toss it at us?Ofcourse when the Obamination takes the USA into a depression, will Hollywood continue with these painful and depressing movies? The International is still the best movie out and that movie would be better 10 times in a row than ever seeing this movie once.

Watchmen also had some violent and nasty scenes not unlike the sick movie Sin City.

In addition, I guess Hollywood has forgotten what nuclear weapons and technology could do for mankind. This was proposed and presented in the powerful and massively successful movie-Armegeddon. This was one of the top movies in the past 15 years with outsanding movie to boot. Nuclear technology could be used to save and protect human existence.

For the many reasons illustrated and explained, I allocate this movie 0 stars.

Friday, March 6, 2009

No Country for Old Men

The best motion picture of the year was this movie. I did not want to see it since the way it was described to me, it seemed their was more evil than good and therefore not something I felt like seeing. I did not know Woody Harrelson was in the movie as he plays Carson Wells-a bounty hunter. He is hunting or is paid to hunt a professional in the drug selling business who is also a psychopath to boot. Javier Bardem is this person and he plays Anton Chigurh. Anton is fundamental psychopath who has a unique way of killing people. He kills them with air pressure with a CO2 canister. I am not sure why people get out of the car but they do. Perhaps they are frozen with uncertainty and fear.

Tommy Lee Jones plays Sheriff Ed Tom Bell who is the narrator of this movie and he is also trying to figure out what is happening since dead bodies are popping up all over his jurisdiction. He is not sure who is responsible or why this is occuring. Well, not entirely, a bunch of drug sellers are found shot in the desert with their pit bulls and strong trucks. Not nice fellows. But Anton using his silencer sniper rifle took these guys out apparently. This is not shown but it is evident when he is firing pinpoint rounds at the truck Josh Brolin who plays Llewelyn Moss is driving. Brolin is driving the truck since Anton sniped him out of no where in the middle of the night with his high powered sniper rifle. Intense and frightening scene.

This movie is packed with excitement and is riveting. I can see why it won Best Picture. Daniel Day Lewis's movie was runner up-There Will Be Blood-had too much strange music to win. I saw this movie instead of Old Men but that is because Lewis has made wonderful movies and everything he does-like the old Jodie Foster-turns to gold. The Departed was exceptional as well. I would have to flip a coin between that at Old Men. The Departed's script was incredible and the music just as impressive. A lot of good one lingers in the movie and Walhberg and DiCaprio both had some strong and memorable scenes. A few are just awesome.

I like this movie and was surprised that Jones does not hog more scenes. But Brolin is just spectacular. He is just a lone ranger, not a winner or educated person, hunting some meat out in the desert when he comes across a drug deal gone bad. Drug dealers dead every where, Mexican drug runners all shot up and one pick up has a bed full of cocaine in wrapped plastic bags. Brolin finds the case full of money/cash. He does some bright things after this but does not cover all his bases. He tells his wife she needs to leave town but he does not cancel his mail. Most importantly, he does not switch bags. That cash bag needs to be changed. I do not care of there was a tracking device or not hidden in one of the cash folds which there was. That black case has to go in favor of of a hiking backpack. But he is pretty bright how he handles the taxi drivers, where he hides the cash in the hotel, buying weapons, etc.

This is where Anton gives chase from hotel to hotel as he wants the money and Brolin dead as well, or at least the former. So Anton is just a normal psychopath, at least he has a job and recognizes the value of money. Albeit his job involves killing people and I am not sure if there is a normal psychopath. Everyone is a true and am I sure fascinating to some case study.

The movie does not have a happy ending, but that depends on how one looks at it. An entire squadron of killers or drug dealers are killed by each other and Anton. A long with many of good and honest folks. Anton eliminates Wells all too easily. After Wells finds and locates the money he is sure nonchalant about grabbing it. I guess he wanted to change clothes since going down in the weeds and bushes to retrieve the black suitcase that houses the money and this is where Brolin toss the money to hide it. It was hidden at night, but not when the sun is straight up.

I guess the moral of the story is that not all evil can be captured nor tamed. Anton is blasted by a sloppy driver but just walks off after purchasing some boy's shirt to use as a sling for his arm. This movie presents evil in it's trust form, it does not need music to add to his apparetness. Brolin's wife did not walk away unscathed despite Brolin being shot up by drug dealers. Brolin, why he is pretty good at covering his tracks and taking care of himself, is not so keen on switching money cases. That would seem the most obvious to me.

Another peculiar thing is Anton shooting up the drug runners in the desert but does not pursue and drive away with the money then. He snipes them from afar, and then just goes away? I would like to have explanation on that minor but story creating detail.

This movie was exceptional. Was it better than the more recent Seven Pounds or Slumdog Millionaire? I am not sure. They were all spectacular and I think Seven Pounds should have been nominated for an award at the Oscars. Old Men's travails opened many doors and there were many matters proposed that could be a subject of discussion by itself. There were some funny moments, including, but not limited too, when Brolin forgot that his mother had already wandered away from this world. I guess he did not think about that too much.

I give this movie five stars.*****

Taking Chance

Kevin Bacon plays Lt. Col Mike Strobl who is active duty in the Marines but basically pushes a pen around. It does not seem like he has ever seen combat and he feels sort of guilty about this. He does say as much. This movie takes place probably in 2005-2006, at the height of the Iraqi conflict.

I thought this movie would have a little more excitement. This movie was void of that and I fast forwarded through this movie. The movie is about honor and someone who understands the strains of war but perhaps is a little too late for this person to volunteer to go to Iraq. He, Strobl has a family, two children and a place in the marines back on the home front.

Strobl volunteers to escort a younger enlisted marine back to his home town, Clifton, CO. Apparently it is where he is from. This is mainly used as a guise to convince his wife-and perhaps himself-that this is the main reason he volunteers for this duty. His sense of obligation I guess is not filled by being in the marines, he wants to a little more than type reports at a desk in the safety of the USA. He locates this fallen marine on a death list in the marine data storage. This movie follows every step of the way, the process of escorting the body of a fallen soldier from Iraq back to their hometown in the USA. Speaking to the family, meeting the friends, holding the funeral service, everything is included in this movie. This movie is not made for everyone.

This movie has some pleasant music and some beautiful shots of nature and the landscape of the heartland of the USA.

But I was hoping for a movie with some struggle and intensity. This movie did not have this cornerstone. The acting was pretty simplistic, perhaps Bacon had some inner drive or perhaps guilt that he holds and that is why he accepted this role. I doubt he needs the money despite losing some to Madoff.

Speaking of the sociopath and ponzi scheme chief Bernie Madoff, he should be executed for his misdeeds. But he will probably not and his days will pretty much be carefree since the USA coddles white collar criminals. Even ones who destroy so many lives and waste so much capital. Where is the leadership on this issue? That would be cool if Kevin Bacon, with his star status, takes this opportunity to DC and the already crumbling Obama administration and urges changes on how these pencil pushing killers are treated. Madoff has affected, and perhaps caused and will cause more anguish and yes, death, than a Jeffrey Daulmer or Ted Bundy.

This movied did not have any other recognizable face or name. Not much else to say.

I allocate this movie two stars.**