Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crossing Over

This is a immigration movie. I am surprised Hollywood has not done this before. It is amazing something we hear about all of the time has escaped the scripted writers computer keyboard. This movie was an original in a time where if it is not a sequel, it is just combination of a string of past movies, i.e Fighting.

Harrison Ford plays Max Brogan who is an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Lt. This is the first good movie Ford has played in since, I believe Air Force One which really was not that great either. He is paired up with Cliff Curtis who is his partner named Hamid Baraheri. Curtis was the villian in Collateral Damage and has been seen in other movies. He does not have to play the villian any more. He has moved up the latter. Good for him. He is a good actor.

Brogan is not a normal ICE Lt. nor employee for that matter. He really cares about the illegal immigrant, spends his own time tracking down illegal alien family members to help them out and even puts his own money down if that is required. He drives to Mexico on his own time to offer solace to downtrodden family members.

This movie has many characters and I thought it would be all tied together at the end. But it was not. Regardless, it was still a solid movie and linking all of the characters at the end was not necessary. It was not another Babel, every character had closure.

Ray Liotta is Cole Frankel who works for INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service). He sits in a cubicle and is an adjudication officer. I may not have that correct, his title could be a little different and sounded a lot cooler until they showed his tiny cubicle, small desk crowded up with older computer monitor clogging up most of the room allotted to him. It appears his wife makes most of the money since he is able to afford a nice new SUV. Alice Eve is gorgeous, she is one of the pretty faces in this film. Claire Shepard is her character's name and she is from New Zealand. She compounds a poor day by not checking traffic before pulling out in the lane. Cole hits her but it is her fault since he has the right away. Cole understands her sob story and decides to take her out to lunch. Albeit his reasons are not altruistic and obscure.

During the meal, Claire realizes that Cole is trying to hint that he can make her a legal citizen for sexual favors. Claire spends a lot of this movie on her back but is really disappointed when Cole calls it off and takes mysteriously off. This is not until a month has passed of her being his sex slave. He is not rough or abusive, but the role and act disgusts her.

Cole's wife is Ashley Judd. She is Denise Frankel. I mentioned her lucrative status already but did not explain too much more than that-or anything. Denise does not work for free but her heart is too make every human being on this planet an American citizen. She is a sick human being and does not realize that the USA is already over flowing with enough folks. America can not afford to house every unskilled worker who wants to come her. Financially, and culturally, it is not feasible. I am sure she should change her mind-momentarily-if she was physically attacked by an illegal alien. Denise has no doubt made it easier for violent illegal aliens to roam our streets. The movie takes place mostly in LA and this is known as a sanctionary city. It is not the only city in the US with this nafarious distinction, not even the only one in California.

The other pretty face is Summer Bishil. Taslima Jahangir is her character's name. I did not spend one second of this movie feeling sorry for her. Perhaps her family who she royally screwed. She chose to write a pro terrorist paper in her High School and the principal sent this to the FBI. She is basically a huge smart ass. Except the concept of smart was not included in her line of thinking. She did not realize that she is borderline illegal and so is her parents. In her paper she wrote that suicide bombers could be morally correct. She showd sympathy for the 9-11 suicide attackers. Part of the assignment was to present her paper to the class and she did this in a proud and attacking manner. The class was cursing her out, laughing, and mocking her. She wears the customary Muslim head scarf which attracts more attention. She chose to be controversial and stand out. Incredible, the people she is defending do not even believe she should be in school obtaining an education. All are dumb.

The authorities search her house legally and arrest her. Denise becomes involved and argues on her behalf. Denise also presents the terms to Taslima's parents. Option C is what they choose. One parent must return to Palestine with Taslima. This occurs at the end. Taslima is so smart she is stupid.

Denise drives Cole crazy when she proposed they adopt an African child who is homeless. Cole is content with Denise feeling passionate about her work, but adopting a child. He is upset but agrees to think about to make her feel happy. Cole wants to divorce Denise and pretty says this to Claire in their final meeting. Cole wants to start over with Claire, he wants to adopt her. Claire wants no part of that idea. She is not into Cole even if he chooses and could be really sweat to her. When INS raid Hamids lover's work place and finds fake identification cards of Claire-they pay a visit. She tells all when they ask. She receives a free flight home, back to New Zealand. Her dream of becoming a movie star goes up in flames. Atleast that path. Cole is arrested and Denise is shocked. Oh well, Cole was not too happy with his life any how. Prison could be worse but atleast he got into trouble over a pretty girl unlike Bill Clinton.

Hamid is Iranian. Hamid's sister does not act like an Iranian female. She has become Americanized. But her affair is not moral in any land. Hamid's brother kills their sister and her lover. Max figures this out but so does the LAPD. Hamid's brother goes by by during a naturalization service. He is arrested when the national anthem is being played. I like the detective's line, 'that is just unpatriotice." That is awesome. Now that family loses a second child. He was a successful lawyer.

Hamid knew about this and this appears to cost him his job. The movie does not really follow up on that which I am disappointed about.

Ford, with his hair combed backward, is holding up. Judd performs well. This movie is not dull in any scene and the classroom part with the American students laying in to that female muslim is hilarious and reassuring.

This movie passes muster. It reaches the summit and remains there. It presents the chaotic case America faces with all of the different cultures that it contains. They mention that people with special talent can obtain a Visa which is good to know. America needs to attract talented and gifted people. LA is accurately shown, probably the most diverse city in the world. The movie shows the pitfalls and precarious situation people are in. I feel sorry for them but with 310 million people in the USA already, immigration policy needs to change and not everyone should be granted citezenship. I do not believe someone who is born in the USA is automatically a citizen. Ireland cut that out, so should the USA. I do not care if they are an island, the USA is loaded with people. Some do not assimilate, mainly muslims. They should not be allowed to stay. We can not afford to allow untrustworthy people to live amongst us.

Hamid kills four gangster Koreans and saves another from throwing it all away. At the same time, he is about to throw his life. He is drinking and driving it away, luckily a gun battle sobers him up. That would sober most people up.

Too bad it did not work out for Claire. America can always make room for attractive people. She was not a lazy person, just struggling and worrying about everyone else in this world. She was hanging out with a borderline illegal lying Jewish young man. But she leaves him at the end as well, after she rightfully sold out Cole.

This movie was void of any decent music but some humor was tossed in. Interesting characters and outcomes. I did not know how it would end, it was intriguing. I was never really bored, not at all. Well written and shot. Duplicity was better though, and The International carries more weight as well.

I allocate this movie four stars.****

Monday, April 27, 2009


Channing Tatum plays Shawn MacArthur, a nobody who turns himself into a somebody with his firsts and street fighting skills. He does not even train and he still wins most of his fights. Inexplicably, training never seems to cross Shawn's mind. He would rather chase Zulay Henao who plays Zulay Valez. I do not blame him too much for this but it would be a little more credible if he decided to jump some rope like Rocky.

I like any movie with Terrence Howard in it. This is a step down from the titan Iron Man movie but his presence still provides a certain buoyancy to a film. A movie can only sink so low with him in it. In this movie, he is, from his own mouth, a two bit hustler named Harvey Boarden. Harvey tries to steal some money from Shawn while Shawn is trying to sell some fake items. He is trying to sell a rip off Harry Potter book for instance. Everything is $20 and it seems like most people are trying to rip him off when at first it seemed like that was his intention.

The story unfolds when it is explained that Shawn is from Alabama and apparently he came to New York City to be poor and practically homeless. This does not make a lot of sense but apparently he does not like his dad much. Harvey has his boys rob Shawn but Shawn puts on a show and while he does lose some money he dishes out some haymakers on these loser antagonists. They later become Shawn's posse as Shawn wins fights. Harvey seems to know some people on the under ground fight scene in NYC and this is how it all starts. The first fight pays $5000 and this is more than enough to entice Shawn who is broke, without a future.

Shawn pretty much gets pummeled in the fight against, to me, is a European fighter, perhaps French. Shawn wins by slamming this champ into a porcelain drinking fountain which lays this guy out cold.

His second fight is against a huge black bruiser, this is street fighting though, there is not a weight class. Shawn can box though and is punching this down and the fight goes into a nearby conveinence store and then gun shots are heard. Harvey saves the day, grabs the gun, and Shawn and the rest of the crew escape unscathed in their SUV. I am not sure if this was a set up or the store owner's daughter did not want their store to be ramshackled. I do not blame her for that. But he or she should have locked the back door so the fight could not spill into the store.

Harvey has some competition in the Shawn sweepstakes. The name no one recognizes but that ugly face that has been in and out of movies for about 20 years is in this one. He has been in War and so many other movies. Luis Guzmán plays Martinez who is also involved in the fight scene, seems to own a club, and is a little more established in the fight and underground circles than Harvey. But Harvey found Shawn first and pursued him. Harvey and Shawn were made for each other but this story is not epic nor that powerful. This movie is not better than last year's Never Back Down because that movie had fresher faces and a hotter female.

Shawn does not like his father since they broke apart in an ugly incident in Alabama. One of them punched other out in front of the public and it was a press spectable. One of Shawn's teammates, black guy named Brian J. White who goes by the name Evan Hailey in this fight movie sticks around on the kickboxing team and wins a championship with his father. Shawn quits and runs away from the state. Not a pretty scene, it did not end well for Shawn and apparently his father made some mistakes as well.

Shawn then fights a Asian assassin, kick boxing maestro who, like the first fighter Shawn faced, is much quicker than Shawn and seems to have done something before the fight that seems like a novel approach for the main character: practice. This fight occurs in a rich hotel lobby with Martinez present talking trash to Harvey. Martinez is popping off statements like, "you do not belong in a place like this." Harvey is nervous, which is normal, and just tones up, sucks it up, and Shawn proves again he can some punches and kicks. This Asian fighter is fast and is just pounding Shawn and almost knocks him out with a round house kick that Shaw blocks with his fists. But this probably only absorbs about 15% of the blow but it is enough. Shawn gets tangled up in this fighter's legs and is close to getting choked out but Shawn, using his leverage and leg strength, picks his aggressive opponent up and slams his back to the ground. I am sure this knocks the wind out of this Asian beast and Shawn quickly takes the upper hand and puts this guy into a sleeper hold. He holds him until he is unconscious. Shawn is extremely winded after this and his posse picks him and informs him that he won. Harvey is vindicated, Martinez is inherently pissed. But the big boys on the scene admit that Harvey is representing a winner.

Evan is the next fighter. By now, Shawn has some spending money and buys some sweet presents for Zulay. She has a child, this would be enough to turn away me but Shawn is still entranced by her. The web becomes tangled when it becomes clear that Harvey knows Zulay. I am not sure in what capacity. This movie is a story of how small this world can me. Evan and Shawn have deep history and both end up in NYC and it seems like where ever they go, they seem to run into each other and have unkind words and expressions for each other.

Evan and Shawn are paired up to fight. This is logical since this movie is not that original and it can not spread out forever. Atleast they have Shawn training a little bit. He is riding the subway late at night and he decides to use this opportunity to practice his fighting skills. He uses the pull in the subway car to separate his punches. Good for the writers, the movie becomes a little more believable.

Shawn is a tough fighter. Hard to believe he quit fighting with skills and tenacity such as his. But fighting is strange and has a character of its own. The first fighter had the better of him until Shawn slammed him into the drinking fountain. But Shawn seemed to understand better than all his opponents, their is not too many rules. Shawn used gravity, the hard ground, and his surroundings to his advantage.

The movie tosses in some cool and entertaining music. Only one real cutey and she is no where near Amber Heard from Never Back Down. The latter was better since it showed the training and hard work that this sport demands.

Evan is a jerk, almost the jerk Cam Gigandet is in Never Back Down. Harvey wants Shawn to throw the fight at the end. He does not believe Shawn can win and he decides to take the safe way out. He wants Harvey to throw the fight, allow Evan to win after several minutes of intense battling. This fight is going for $100,000, winner takes all. Street fighting, no gloves, bare knuckles are all of these fights. That is brutal which limits the duration of these fights. No 12 round brawls here. Shawn secretly has Zulay put the money on him. Yes, Harvey uses Zulay as the money currier. The promoters talk their usual trash to anyone associated with Harvey. Shawn wins, in a fight not even as intense or nerve racking as when he fought the Asian kick boxer or the lethal French fighter for his first NYC street bout. It was suspensful, Shawn was slammed against a window several times and this fight again, which is realistic, went from the designated outside roof top back inside to the top floor restaurant. Evan is knocked out, Shawn gets up and his posse is laughing it up. Martinez informs Harvey is a dead man. Martinez also put money through Harvey that Shawn will blow the fight. $250,000. The mafia also did the same. Harvey knows he is a marked man. But he still glad his boy won.

Unbeknownst to Harvey, Shawn took that $500,000 and put it on him. He returns to Harvey with $1 million in cash. In the beginning, Harvey says something about opening up an Ihop or wishing too. He is from Chicago, but he chose to run off to NYC. I am not sure how much Shawn kept, but not only is Harvey happy that is gets to live, he just become a modestly wealthy American. Especially in this market. They drive off to Alabama, then perhaps to Chicago. Harvey comes, leaving his posse behind to enjoy their winnings as well. Zulay, Shawn, and Harvey, drive off in their unappealing vehicle leaving the big apple behind.

The title of this movie is unimpressive. This movie had some slow parts, in between the fighting and Terrance and Shawn dialogue. I was not following Zulay that much, her relationship with Shawn has been done before so many times. This movie is does not have too many original ideas. But there were some comical scenes. The movie was OK. I guess it only takes 2.5 wins to reach a mega fight in the under ground of NYC.

I allocate this movie two stars.**

Saturday, April 25, 2009

State of Play

State of Play is a modern day All the President's Men with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. The problem is that newspapers are dying as they should because their business plans are obsolete and their print is too far slanted to the left. This is movie is entertaining and well scripted, but its storyline has been presnted to us already in the running and incredible series of 24 this season. And the 24 series is still ongoing. The villian is companies that contract with the Department of Defense (DOD) to handle missions that the DOD does not want their armed forces doing. Either it is too dangerous, boring, or could be construed as controversial. I have no problem with the DOD doing this. The only reason they do this is because of the rise of political correctness. Too many naive and ignorant citizens do not realize people die in war and blood is spilled. There were some travesties in the Vietnam war and these soldiers should have been court martialed and tossed into Fort Leavenworth. If the nasty cultural phenomenon of political correctness never put a strangle hold around America, then our military would have the ability to accomplish what it is supposed to.

Corrupt and anti-American organizations like the UN do not help either.

Russell Crowe stars as an overweight but hard core and old school journalist named Cal McAffrey. Cal writes for the Washington Globe, a fictional newspaper ran by the English actress
Helen Mirren. She plays Cameron Lynne who is well aware that the new ownership wants to sell newspapers and the old paradigm needs to change. Cal is sometimes at odds with this and this is a realistic subplot. Cal is teamed up with the always pretty Rachel McAdams who plays the net and blog savvy Della Frye. The Globe does have an online division and Cameron is not afraid to spit out to Cal this is the side of the newspaper that is growing and emerging. He is the side of the dinosaur, the side on life support.

Pretty boy and white collar Ben Affleck stars in this movie as Rep. Stephen Collins. Collins is a Democrat who thinks he is fighting the good fight but is really just undermining America's safety. But he has the support of Charlie Sheen and Madonna I am sure. Collins actually undermines himself by falling for a pretty staffer and this lack of restraint becomes a tabloid affair when this staffer turns up dead. This staffer is named Sonya Baker.

Collins is married to Forrest Gump's Robin Wright Penn who plays Anne Collins. Anne is having an affair with Cal which I never really heard how this began. It does raise some questions how Cal is even associated with this story in the first place since it could have been a conflict of interest. But he is the lead reported on this story. The even stranger thing is that Stephen admits he has very little friends in his life and his only friend is admittedly Cal. This is just a had scratcher here, he knows Cal slept with his wife and seems to have shrugged this off. Every time their is a crisis Anne comes running to Cal to either talk about it or holler about it. This movie shows both of these conversational formats, the quiet and outburst kind.

The Matrix's Harry Lennix represents the police here as Det. Donald Bell. He seems to have a casual relationship in this movie with Cal until a victim is finished off by Michael Berresse who is Robert Bingham. Robert executes a young and scared black teenager in the beginning and then shoots a bicyclist who could be a witness to the crime. This cyclist though is guarded by a uniformed police officer in the hospital. As he is slowly recovering from his 2 day coma because he was shot twice by Robert, he is visited by Della. Della is invited to help cover the story by Cal and Cameron. Coincidentally, Della's online blog has mentioned and covered the staffer who was murdered by Robert Bingham. As Della is trying to explain to the officer, doctor, and nurse why she is in the room with this recovering medical patient, the room lights up with gun fire as Bingham finishes this potential witness off. About four shots, the one to center mass does the job.

Bell and the police are not happy with the Globe knowing this shooting victim is tied to emerging political scandal. Cal defends his paper by saying they were not sure what they had. Bell does not buy this and makes a wisecrack to a comment made by Della. Della may have been over her head in this police-journalistic confrontation. But she felt like putting her two cents in. Probably should have just remained silent. She has already moved up higher in the paper's heirarchy by being able to work on this massive story.

Jason Bateman from Juno holds some screen time in this movie as Dominic Foy. He is prominent public relations professional in this city. He works for PointCorp which is the ominous private defense contractor in this movie. Well, it is one of his clients. PointCorp has Foy try to calm down this staffer who works for Cal's team as a research assistant. She becomes impregnated by Cal but this is not known to him. This movie has many twists and turns. Cal is ex military so is respectable from this front but becoming a politician and he seems to toss away any honor he once had. In the Persian Gulf war, the original, he saves Bingham's life. But Bingham is not wanted by the army when the bullets stop flying because Bingham does not have all his marbles.

Since Cal is having an affair with this staffer whose name is Sonya Baker. Sonya acts suspicious at times. For instance, when Cal is over at her home and a fax comes through, she quickly covers it up and muffles her voice when she is talking onto the phone. She is spying on Collins since Collins is trying to dig up dirt on PointCorp. Why she decides to have this relationship with Cal when she can follow his leads and steps in the day time while working for him is beyond me. She is a fool and this is what leads to her doom. She was playing with fire and should have taken the $26,000 per month PointCorp was tossing at her and her miniture pay check from the US taxpayer-which was just icing on the cake. She had to take it a step further-unwise and which shows little social discretion.

Dumb and Dumber's Jeff Daniels is in this movie as well. He plays Senator George Fergus who is the top Democrat on the hill and offers Cal some strategic advice. Cal chooses to continue the hard core question of PointCorp in Congressional hearings. Much to Fergus's dismay. Fergus was corrupt or atleast tied to this labrynthine criminal underpinnings in some way. Fergus may have been having a sexual relationship with Sonya's mother. He recommends to Stephen's staffing manager that this 25 year old vibrant and bright female could make a good fit to Stephen's team as a favor to avoid any blackmail threat. Sonya's mother is Ganeen and this seems to strike a chord when Cal mentions this to Fergus outside the large, gorgeous Washington opera house. This is a Bill Clinton story involving more people.

The movie had a solid ending. PointCorp takes a beating in the press and the CEO resigns in disgrace with tomatoes being tossed at him. Much like what should happen with GE and NBC heads of office in this real world. Stephen loses his seat and is thrown in jail. His involving of Bingham and asking him to follow around Sonya does not look good despite his suspicions being correct. Stephen is Collin's friend but he can not hold back this story, it is his job if he does. Not with his paper having new ownership and stiff competition. They need the sales. Even in the newspaper's hey day, whenever this was, perhaps 30 years ago and prior, this story would have run. Collins made some bad moves. He knew Bingham was unstable. He should have hired a private investigator or been implicit with Bingham-do not lay a hand on her. Do not approach her regardless. But Stephens did not and Bingham, remembering that he owes Stephens his life, took it to another level and devastated Sonya's life. Bingham was distraught over Sonya's deciept and flipped upside down. Sonya probably did not stand a chance but since she was playing with dynamite, she should have been carrying a gun herself or atleast a stun gun.

Not sure happens to Fergus if anything. I am sure he consulted a lawyer but being a Democrat he is probably one himself.

This movie has it all, it has some famous American music, several complex and dynamic characters, a little comedy, intrigue, and suspense. I am not sure if it is better than last year's Russell Crowe's Body of Lies but it approaches this. It is probably the second best movie this year behind Clive Owen's The International. The ending was not as climactic and their was not as much on the line as there was in The International.

I allocate this movie four stars.****

Into the Blue 2: The Reef

Marsha Thomason from Lost is the only face that is recognizable in this movie. Her name is Azra here and she is a battle tested fighter, not unlike her Lost character. But in Lost she does not show the urge to demolish a city. This is a B rate film that is a sequel to the Jessica Alba and Paul Walker film of a few years ago. It occurs in Honolulu and is a diving movie. There are some cool under water scenes but nothing worth bragging about or even talking about.

There are some gorgeous girl in the movie and they are lovely. But this movie is not that good. The two main characters run a small diving company in Honolulu. This couple run a respectable business where they retreive artifacts, charter their boat, and take people out in the sea to dive. Ofcourse these people are customers.

Things look bright when a strange man and woman walk in from England and want to hire them for a week. After a day of diving and making merry, things start to do down ward. These English folks spit out some garbage story about what they are seeking, it is not a lost ship but two strange cargo boxes. One of the boxes is found and that night the Americans go out there to see what is in this mysterious box. They conduct a night dive and in this box is some mysterious hard ware. When they return to their boat that, the English folks are waiting for them with guns and they are taken hostage.

It turns out that these English people are terrorists, not sure if they are a real couple but they are intent at blowing up Honolulu. They want to make their own version or create Pearl Harbor II as they say it. The two boxes contain the hardware the nuclear fuel/fision to form this lethal weapon.

The American couple becomes separated since the female performs heroic feat of escaping their boat at night as she is fired at from above. She dives and swims away. But nearly dies from cold as she clings to a buoy all night long.

The villians are eventually over whelmed and outsmarted by the heroes. Another local couple is taken hostage and one American female is shot and killed by the Englishman. He was trying earn compliance by he only managed to earn further distrust and hatred.

The movie had some decent music and the action was half way decent. It was no where as exciting as the original. This movie did show me a water machine that I have never seen before. It is held by one person, with two hands, and can pull someone under or on the surface of the water. It looked like a lot of fun and appears to be able to drag someone about 15 mph.

Azra survives and she kills the top money man in the movie and walks away unscathed, on the run, and into deep hiding. Evil persists.

This movie was still twice as good as Nicolas Cage's wicker man.

I would allocate this movie one star.*

Monday, April 20, 2009

Crank: High Voltage

Jason Statham is back as the psychotic Chev Chelios whose schitzophrenia seems to have progressed. I thought they would do a prequel since he died at the end of the Crank. But I was wrong because he did not die. Chelios was instantly picked up by the Chinese Triads and hauled off to a makeshift medical transportation ward. His heart was taken out and was replaced by a plastic and artificial heart.

Apparently Chelios was lying in this hidden rat trap hospital for about 3 months. They were going to carve up Chelios's body. The first thing they took was his heart and they gave it the leader of the triads. A 100 year old man with a long grey beard. This is explained later on in the movie since Chelios spends half the movie chasing this younger Chinese guy around who is carrying a small cooler. But it is revealed later on in the movie that Chelios's heart is not in this cooler but something else. It was not shown.

This movie was not as good as the first just because this movie was so out of control it could not be taken serious. Chelios is shot at by about 500 rounds and is never hit. There is multiple shooting scenes and Chelios walks away unscathed and even survives a shootout in a limo with several Chinese assailants. I can not understand what the point man, the strong man, the Chinese maid man says here when he informs Chelios he is not there to help him. Chelios asks, in rhetorical manner, something like so that is the way it is going to be? I am not sure what the Chinese mafia boss says here.

Crank brought us Chelios running around with a powerful poison in his body. This new alteration brings us with Chelios having to charge his heart so it keeps beating. The artificial heart is only designed to survive for a few days and is not proven to withstand a lot of stress and strenuous activity. Chelios, that is all he knows. So he the movie is entertaining in that it has Chelios recharging his heart in all sort of fashions. Any where from using a car's battery cables and the battery, with one the cables grabbing onto his tongue to a dog electronic device.

It is ridiculous when he beats up a bunch of police officers. One would have just shot him, Chelios never wears body armor. The slutty Amy Smart is Eve again and she is as skinny as usual. She gets rocked by Chelios in front of everyone at the Long Beach horse race stadium. Right there as the horses race by, that is hilarious. But the funniest part in a movie that I have seen in about 9 months was when Chelios was at the horse race and his discredited but very knowledgeable doctor told him any skin contact can transfer live saving electrons to him. So Chelios walks up to this guy who is sleeveless and begins to rub his arm against his. That was hilarious. The guy is like, "what are you doing?" Chelios does this twice before the man flips out and Chelios blames it on him. This leads to Chelios having public intercourse with his girlfriend who followed him to the race.

The movie brings back some familiar faces. Chelios's arch nemesis Verona played by Jose Pablo Cantillo is shown in the end with his head in a water tank with tentacles attached so he can communicate through a television and speaker system. He thinks the words and his voice comes alive. He wants to see Chelios die. This ending and wish is interupted when Efren Ramirez appears who plays the goofy friend of Chelios. Venus is his name and he is the brother of Chelios's gay friend from the original. They look just the same. He has a bizaare and violent disorder that erupts at the worse times. But his vengeance is earned at the end when the ultimate and strange villian-El Huron-is vanquished. Clifton Collins Jr. is the actor here and he has been in movies longer than Statham has.

The movie had the action, the naked girls, the violence, and lived up to the hype. The problem is that not much was explained but not much had to since the plot was pretty simple. Like the first one. The villians were scary and were probably real life dark spots on the community. It was a short movie, the dialogue was child like throughout most of it. The Vietnamese whore was just over the top. Her character was about as fictional as Harry Potter. There are a lot of weapons in LA since it is a haven for losers and a sanctionary city too boot. The movie is designed for the brain dead people of society, the video game freaks who needs that non stop action to sooth their addiction. The first movie was more credible all around. When Statham was fighting the Chinese guy and they turned into a Japanese Godzilla segment, I started to think of Southpark or something.

It was over the top. I would give it one star but I liked the idea of him having a short time to live. The heart situation was inventive and prolific. It will probably last 2 weeks in the theatres. The grotesque nature will push many normal Statham fans away.

I give this movie two stars.**

Saturday, April 18, 2009

17 Again

Zac Efron is no one I have heard of but he is the star of this funny movie. He plays Mike O'Donnell (Teen) who is 17 years old. This movie is hilarious. It is as funny as Observe and Report without showing some naked guy's private parts.

Leslie Mann is in this movie and she was pretty in the Owen Wilson comedy Drillbit Taylor. She returns as Matthew Perry's wife-Scarlett O'Donnell (Adult). He plays Mike O'Donnell (Adult). What happens is Mike is totally upset with the decision he made to chase the distraction, his girlfiend in the final seconds of an important High School Varsity basketball game. There was a college scout there that was on the verge of offering him an athletic scholarship. Mike ends up marrying Scarlett but never attends college. They have two lovely kids together and a wonderful home. But this endless guilt of what if never expires. It just drives him crazy and causes Scarlett to divorce him. Mike has tossed this guilt trip and sadness at her for years. Why he could not go to college and marry her is beyond me? She walked away from him during the last moments of a pivotal hoops game. What type of person does this? She must have been pretty selfish or ridiculously impatient. What really occured is she told him-Mike-something that alters the direction of one's life. She may have been moving, it was far reaching for sure. It shook his thoughts, but the viewer will never know.

Melora Hardin is the gorgeous principal named Principal Jane Masterson. She is preyed upon Mike's make believe, present day dad Thomas Lennon-Ned Gold. Ned is awefully rich who sparked his fortune in some sort of online music software. He quickly becomes Mike's dad after Mike falls or voluntarily allows himself to be sucked into a time portal near a bridge. The school janitor is somehow involved in this. He gives Mike a second shot at redoing his life. But this movie is not a copy of Tom Hank's Big because he goes from adult to child rather than vice versa.

The movie takes Mike back to High School, in the modern world. High School is portrayed to be more of a circus than in reality but not by much. Kids kissing the classroom, teachers are portrayed to be baby sitters, slightly above moronic, and it does not seem any home work is given out-ever. When Mike returns to the same high school, the same coach is there. The basketball coach, is 20 years older but he still should recognize Mike as looking like a player he coached 20 years prior. But this is another subject.

Too bad Mike does not have Matthew Perry's height at that tender age, he would have had more scholarship offers, and perhaps already have signed earlier in the season. He must of had a growth spurt after high school, as well as Scarlett.

If the water boy ever ruined a team picture like that in any sport he probably would have been physically assaulted or tossed off the team at some point. I doubt coach would allow any player of his to dance with the cheerleaders during half time or before the game in a game of this caliber. Again, another subject. We will allow these transgressions to pass.

The movie was entertaining. It was not that long, nor was the music score anything worth noting. They mentioned Guns n' Roses but I do not recall any song from that movie nor any song from the contemporary music list that is making its rounds on FM stations around the world. The movie did toss some attractive females our way, had the typical home bashing high school party, and showed the typical rich boy high school fights. Mike had the jump on his futute teammate but high school jerk but this guy still was able to get the better of Mike and slug him several times. No one broke it up, not that realistic. This part borrowed the script from Never Back Down in that the fight was recorded on several camera phones and then shot all over the glove in nano seconds. Somehow, Mike was able to keep and instantly retain his bravado. They do make the brunette Allison Miller look like a young Leslie Mann which is impressive.

The first half was funnier than the second. I found myself giggling more in the first part of the film. The movie has a happy ending, Mike is playing basketball in the same circumstances and he walks away from the game and his coach after Scarlett who is twice his age. But the janitor is mysteriously in the crowd and in the hall way, the same one, the time warp appears for Mike and he flips back to his normal self. The large, yuppy, chunky Matthew Perry. Ofcourse Scarlett is tight as always. She was shaken when the younger Mike sent a kiss her way by shooting it like a basketball. The memories and eariness of this irks her and Mike walks away from the game which is obviously not a priority to him at all.

The good in all of this is Mike's rich adult friend meets the principal, which will turn out to be is life long flame. Mike's daughter is dumped by her punk boyfriend who also is the one who beat up her dad, she will march onward to the liberal and anti American institution Georgetown. Mike's best friend as a teenager, and son as an adult, makes the basketball team and developes his confidence which has been roaming around the gutter.

Mike and Scarlett will live happily ever after. He comes around and realizes his decision was sound in the first place.

I allocate this movie two stars.**


This movie does not have any major stars in it and not one character dominates the scenes. Some faces are recognizable though. The main actor is Jesse Eisenberg who plays James Brennan. He obtains a job at a local amusement park called Adventureland and the typical stuff happens. Losers trying to cheat to obtain a top prize and the hot summer days marching on by. His character has been done in Juno, Superbad, and so many other movies. He is the good guy, the honest person, the person afraid to use common teenage jargon. Like "intercourse" rather than the word that is normally used by teenagers.

It is another high school love story as well. The good guy trying to grasp the heart of a cute girl. But this girl is not an Alicia Cuthbert or anything even approaching this. Kristen Stewart is attractive, kind of like an Avril Lavigne but without the musical talent. Stewart plays Em Lewin.

This movie is not nearly as funny as its main competition-Observe and Report. It does not even approach this film in hilarity. The latter would mop the floor with this lame duck film.

Ryan Reynolds is in this movie. He is the stud of the film but he is not a jerk like Cam Gigandet's chracter was in last year's hit Never Back Down. He is the mechanic and maintenance man of the rides at this mediocre amusement park.

The movie takes place during the summer of these teenagers. Reynold's is not portrayed as a teenager in this movie, just someone in the neighborhood. I am not sure why the US education system still has 3 month summers. We are not an agriculture society any more. The entire educational year should be changed for adolescents.

The most appealing girl in this movie, the typical teenage hottie, who does even know what the word preceeds means is: Margarita Levieva. She plays Lisa P. But this movie has a lot of characters in it, even the main actor-Jesse Eisenberg-shares a lot of screen time with other characters. This movie is diluted but there is a reason for this, this guy can not carry this movie or probably none other. Lisa P. does have a job though, she also works at this amusement park.

Em and Lisa P. become mixed up in the same guy. James is running back and forth like a chicken with its cut off. The movie is not that appealing. Not one character is memorable or worth quoting.

Em and James make it right at the end and Em admits she made some mistakes. This movie is not original at all. It will probably last one weekend in the theatre if that. Not one scene was hilarious, a few scenes made me smile. It was no where near American Pie, I can not even say it equals American Pie III just because that movie put forth January Jones.

The amusement park is called Adventureland but the movie should be called Regurgitation.

I give this movie one star.*

Friday, April 17, 2009

Observe and Report

Anna Faris is in this movie and I have always liked her. She is more than cute and plays a cosmetic employee named Brandi. It is good to see her in a movie that is not a spoof. Albeit she is funny in those movies.

Seth Rogen is back and is the star in this hilarious movie as Ronnie Barnhardt. He is a nutcase security guard at a local mall. Oops, he is the chief security guard at the mall. The mall resembles Arizona Mills in Tempe but I am not sure where it is at. The movie never specifies.

Ray Liotta plays Detective Harrison and he is working in this circus case of a serial flasher who streaks across the day time parking lot in front of woman randomly. Ronnie takes this personal, it is his mall and the pride he has for his job is at an unhealthy rate and in this case it reaches a feverish pitch. The problem is that Ronnie is a fool, a blowhard, and has little common sense. He also treats people poorly. This behavior drives Harrison crazy and they become at odds.

We can not blame this all on Ronnie, his loony behavior is partly attributed to his mother who boasts out loud to all his friends and co workers that she used to screw all of his high school friends. This can obviously have some disturbing affects on a growing child.

Ronnie does not like Harrison movie onto his mall turf. So part of this movie is spent with Ronnie returning that favor. He applies to become a police officer, and breaks into Harrison's car for a ride a long. The writers stole a page from the powerful and riveting movie Training Day in this scene. Harrison drives Ronnie into the heart of the ghetto and gives him some little small talk about the history of this violent corner. And how the police, with the hard work from Harrison, were able to stem the drug flow distributed from this small area. Harrison placates Ronnie by saying they started off on the wrong foot and how Harrison will allow Ronnie to walk around the area. Ronnie wants to prove himself. When Ronnie is about 50 feet from the car, Harrison starts the car and drives off.

Ronnie is upset and is soon approached by a child. This child offers to sell Harrison some drugs-cocaine. Ronnie, in all his ignorance and zealousness, attempts to make a citizen arrest on this child. At 10 pm at night, no one else is around. The child's father walks into the scene with his gangster friends. They pull a gun on Ronnie but when they are argueing amongst themselves, Ronnie grabs a pipe laying on the street and destroys 6 men and arrests the child. He must have walked the child back to the police station, punking and cussing him the entire way. That is what he is doing in the police office while Harrison is laughing with his detective buddies about what he did and how he hopes Ronnie is terminated. He is shocked when the opposite occurs, not only does Ronnie escape unscathed, he mopped up the local element and made an arrest. Then he hugs rather than strikes Harrison and thanks him by whispering in his ear how he is so happy that Harrison showed confidence in him and gave him this striking opportunity. Harrison's friends are about to die laughing. Harrison is shocked. It is quite entertaining.

This movie is funny. The Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill movies like to show a picture of a dick though, I do not like that. Doubt any guy does. The movie is entertaining throughout and the insufferable Ronnie is non stop and hilarious. He does not become a police officer because he fails the psychological test. He acts like he is shooting the woman psychologist, he tells a horrific and disturbing story and acts like it is no big deal. Then he assumes he won by having a premature party with his mother, friends/co workers. He is oblivious to the reality around him.

Apparently he is carrying an actual gun at the end of this movie. The streaker is nabbed by Ronnie in a action packed final scene. He gets his job back at the mall. He lost is because he went berzerk at Brandi's cosmetic booth for being unfaithful. What did he expect though, she is shallow, brain dead, and a drug addict.

The movie was not that long but it was hilarious. I am not sure if it was better than Pineapple Express though because that movie had a longer story line and involved more characters.

I give this movie three stars.***

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Burning Plain

Guillermo Arriaga is back after making Babel and 21 Grams. This movie is not much different, diverse characters located around in separate areas that share or will share a common bond. This movie takes place in two different areas, the Washington coast, the southwest right along the border, and in Mexico. The Washington coast is cold and rainy like how I remembered it when I visited Seattle a couple of years ago.

Charlize Theron is Sylvia who owns or seems to own a restuarant along the Washington coast. Right on a cliff overlooking the pacific. She had a baby about 12 years prior that she walked away from two days after it was born. The daughter is raised in northern Mexico but still seems to know English. Her father is severly injured when a bird stalls the engine of his crop dusting plane and it falls out of the sky. No explosion, this movie is realistic, not a Lethal Weapon type movie. But an explosion is not needed to wreck any human body inside the cabin.

Kim Basinger plays Gina who is having an affair with the villian in Clear and Present Danger. Joaquim de Almeida is Nick and he sets up their get away retreat in a trailer in the middle of the desert/shrub plain. Gina has a full family and truck driving husband. She wants to call off this affair with Nick because her teenage daughter, the cute Jennifer Lawrence senses her mother is not acting right and is living a double life. And perhaps the guilt is destroying her from within. But Gina can not call it off too soon before tragedy occurs. Jennifer plays Mariana and Mariana is perhaps the most controversial figure in this story.

Sylvia has her own guilt up in Washington. She seems to have a nice apartment, she does, a steady and comfortable lifestyle. But the guilt of running away from her child is also eroding her mental stability. She is sleeping with different guys and can not seem to settle on any anything until her daughter arrives with a co worker/friend of her father. Sylvia does the cowardly thing at first and walks away when she first sees her daughter in about 12 years. They link up, they communicate after renting a room where her daughter and the man are staying. They have drove a long way almost for naught before Sylvia and her daughter discuss matters. Sylvia joins them and they drive back to Mexico so Sylvia and her daughter can see her father as he passes away. It does not seem like a recovery is likely.

Mariana is struggling with what her mother maybe doing. She follows her mother to the trailer on her bike. She makes an excuse to her siblings by saying she forgot her home work while they continue marching off to school. Gina wants hot water in the trailer so Nick sets up a propane tank and hot water heater for the trailer. Mariana is not a trained firefighter, knows little about arson, and even less about being a pyromaniac. But her actions to lead to a sizeable explosion and the death of two people, including her mother. She only wants to scare her mother, possibly burn down the trailer. But the fire she lit leads to the newly installed propane tanks that Nick conveinently set up for his lover-Mariana's mother. To make her comfortable. Both are blown up and incinerated. Their bodies melted into one. Mariana is devastated and no one is the wiser. Their is not any witnesses in the middle of the desert. The two lovers wanted their privacy.

Nick was a father of a couple of boys and his mother is pissed. She is upset at her adulterer husband and does not even show up for the funeral. Attending that she leaves up to her boys. At the funeral, Mariana's father tosses racist slurs at them like "wetback" right in front of his children. Stupid father, his wife is just as at fault as their father Nick was for what occured. And his own daughter caused the destruction but he is none the wiser on this. No one is.

Mariana is being followed by one of Nick's sons-Diego J. Torres-who is named Cristobal. He just wants to learn more about the woman who his dad fell for and would rather spend time with besides his own mother. Cristobal also becomes fascinated with Mariana and Mariana is interested in him. They fall for each other. When both families find out, they are distraught. Cristobal's mother says he will be in hell with his father, in the same place. Mariana's father wants to shoot Cristobal. Mariana and Cristobal leave and that is how the movie ends. They sleep in his old Chevy pick up truck, discussing their options. She is pregnant, she wants to have an abortion. He says they can build a life in Mexico. Crazy love or asinine decisions. Both are actually pretty mature, neither are foolish. They are just about 10 years early in their relationship. Get some skills, graduate high school first.

The movie does not have any stunning music. The script is good. The movie bounces around time, but that does not mean it is too hard to follow. It is entertaining. Only a couple of scenes could have been skipped. It did not bounce all over the world like Babel did, this movie occurs all in North America, in three different places. Though two of the places seem like similiar terrain. It was not funny but it was stimulating. Good acting, a powerful film. Not as life threatening or suspenseful as Tears From the Sun or Behing Enemy Lines, but still good. I liked it better than Babel since the Mexican maid who took the children across the border is just stupid. I did not like that scene nor her line of thinking. But Babel took us more places and was perhaps a little longer.

I would recommend this movie. Theron is really skinny, she is not as hot as she used to be. I have not been big on her since The Italian Job.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Craig Ferguson: A Wee Bit O' Revolution

Craig Ferguson is a funny man. This is not as funny as Martin Lawrence's Runteldat or Eddie Murphy's Delirious but it is entertaining. I never laughed hysterically but his range of subjects and interesting perspective is worth noting. He has just became a citizen and he discusses how much he loves America. Too bad America is crumbling because of over spending by our government and lack of leadership from our politicians. Nevertheless, Craig marches on and loves America for what it is. I am not sure he knows how America became a great country or if he realizes that America is slowly disentregrating. I think it is easier to detect this outside the country than within. Some people are disillusioned but many Americans do see many of the freedoms they used to enjoy being taxed away.

Craig is in Boston in this act. This comedy show is at a famous Boston theatre. I never heard of it but Craig hypes it up in the beginning, it is called the Wilbur Theatre. Craig takes some shots at Bush but it is funny and ironic that Bush's tactics gives the freedom Craig enjoys to trash the former President. Yes, Bush spent too much money and his last 18 months in office he was beleagured with problems, much of his own undoing.

Sean Connery to drugs is discussed and poked fun of by Craig. He shows no bounds and great range in his topics. He is charismatic but I do not put him up there with Larry the Cable Guy. Nor is he on the level of the funny Bernie Mac who is no longer with us. I enjoy Craig's late night comedy and when he makes fun of the English royalty, that is hilarious. That is funnier than anything he did in this Revolution comedy act.

I am glad Craig loves America and it is refreshing to be reminded by someone why America is great and America does a lot more good things than bad. There is some gratitude that someone actually wants to be a US citizen in light of USA's might diminishing. I guess that says more about the rest of the world than USA. Even with jacked up politicians who dislike the US constitution and care more about terrorists' comfort rather than Americans' safety, America is still somewhat of a shining beacon to the rest of the world. We are fortunate to have Craig on our side and I am glad he is a citizen. He brings something to the table unlike millions of illegal aliens that Obama is about to make legal with a stroke of a pen. Then 15 years from now, America will 12 million other losers banging on our door on our door step for citizenship.

"Do you have that in fat ass?" That was hilarious when he said and when he was trying out for "Suddenly Susan." He tried to change his Scottish accent to a Spanish one, and one of the producers called him "Ripley's Believe It or Not." That was funny. But many of his jokes, stories, and acts, I was just ho-hum about them.

I allocate this comedy routine one star.*

Friday, April 10, 2009


This documentary was on the greatest fighter of my lifetime. I am not new school in terms of fighting. I do not care for the MMA stuff, I prefer boxing and the big fights of the MMA and UFC do not even compare of the huge fights of Tyson's heyday. I miss that, those huge heavywight bouts. The announcing, the entourage, the hype, Saturday night, it was cool, it was happening, it was exciting. What has replaced this? UFC, those little ally fights in the octagon? Whatever, I do not think so.

This documentary was well done. I knew most of it but I did not know everything. I knew Tyson grew up as bully but according to him, he was robbed and bullied when he first arrived in the Bronx. He bought some pigeons, a punk loser killed one of them and this enraged a 12 year old or so Mike Tyson. Mike the adolescent, with a wild flury of punches beat this guy up, enacting his revenge. This put the fighting motivation in Tyson and the rest of the story is told and written.

I knew Tyson had a good coach in the 1980's and was surrounded by some good people. But when he was 19, Cus D’Amato, his beloved coach and father figure, passed away. This person and positive influence was never replaced. Don King put his own people in place around Mike Tyson, and he squeezed Tyson for everything he was worth throughout his career. I actually like Don King, this was Tyson talking in this documentary calling King a leach. Some of this could be true but Tyson was never the brightest person around. Until I hear King's side the story, I will refrain from judgement. Tyson was successful and I know Don King never told Tyson to blow away $200 as fast as it came in. Just stupid and wasteful.

Holyfield was the first fighter ever to confront Tyson and not back down. This was not something Tyson was used to and Tyson did not know how to handle it. The Spinks knockout of Tyson in Tokyo in 1991 was a fluke. I do not take this seriously and I remember being saddened when this occured. I was glad Tyson continued on his career, Spinks did not carry the flame or mantle for that long.

Tyson was sidelined or sidetracked by a fallacious rape charge. That stupid gold digging woman should not have been upstairs with Mike Tyson. What did she Mike Tyson was going to do? Offer to play chess with her? She is selfish and she took the champ away from his fans and other sports fans for about 18 months. Changing boxing history, this brain dead woman did what no other boxer could do. Ofcourse she needed law enforcement to control Tyson through this brutal ordeal in Indiana. It was a waste of time, it did not teach Tyson anything accept to distrust woman even more than any successful, famous man should. I am not sure what that dumb woman obtain, how much cash, she did receive some publicity her loser behind never deserved. No sympathy from me. Kobe Bryant went through the same trial and tribulation, and that selfish money grubber took him for $3 million. Kobe slipped and his cost him millions in endorsements.

Tyson was a charismatic and incredible fighter. He would get in on bigger opponents and blast them with pin point punches. His fault is that the only person with Tyson's best interests died before Tyson matured and this cut Tyson's success short. Tyson was successful, but did not accomplish as much as he could have.

I wish they included some of the Tupac songs since Tupac used to write some of the rap songs that Tyson chose when walking up to the ring before he was about to lay carnage on another foe.

I give this documentary four stars.****

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Haunting in Connecticut

There is not anyone in this movie worth mentioning. This movie is about a family that is struggling to survive and the oldest boy is dying from cancer. They move closer to this cancer treatment center into a large home. The family of 6 is enamored with all of the room inside and out. But they sense there is something wrong with the home. They are right, it used to be a mortuary.

The mortician left all of his tools and devices in a locked room, in the mortuary, in the basement. The older boy chooses to sleep down there not knowing there is a lot of strange history 20 feet from where has chosen to sleep. He chose to sleep down there since the drugs he is on forces him to hurl on a regular basis and he does not want to do this in front or near the rest of his family. There is a bathroom down there.

The home is haunted and the spirits seem to go after him. They center on him. Perhaps because they know he is the weaker one or perhaps his vicinity makes it easier.

The older seems to be door to the other side, every time or almost every time he touches someone he seems bizaare and terrifying images.

The movie has been done before. Mirrors last year with the gorgeous Paula Patton and Kiefer Sutherland was more disturbing and action packed. But also more unrealistic. The Haunting was not as fantastical as other movies, there was not too many original scenes. The Skeleton Key actually comes to mind a little when watching this film.

This family is attacked because they have imposed on this spirit filled home. The homes needs to be blessed or burned down. The father chooses to get drunk and attack his family. His self pity and selfishness is damaging to the family when they need that masculine strength. Drinking oneself into a stupor is a terrible choice and in this situation, could prove fatal. The mother turns to a priest to help pinpoint the source of evil, to fight the possessed home. This man roots out the evil or believes he did. But in the movie, the only thing he does is upset the demon and force this evil to follow him as well as continue to target the older boy. Traumatic events continue. This holy many did not complete the job, perhaps he should have called a friend for assistance in fighting a source of evil this powerful.

Why would a mother or family buy a home before checking all of the rooms? Before ordering the previous owner to clean it out? Especially if it has weird objects like a tools from a mortician? That does not make a lot of sense, even if they were just renting the home.

This former mortician was a psychopath. He stole bodies from a nearby cemetary and buried them in between the walls of the home. The mortician also enlisted a teenage boy to allow spirits of the dead to travel and converse through his body. This seemed to be about 70 - 80 years ago. The bodies are finally discovered by the oldest boy in a climactic culmination that is befitting this movie. Is the evil rooted out though? It does not matter if there is a sequel, another movie with a different title will continue this type of genre. There is a market, certain people like horror movies.

Atleast the father comes back to offer some strength and solace. The nearby watering hole will miss him. Perhaps the oldest boy will see his cancer into remission. This movie was a far from one of the most frightening movies in my life time, Poltergeist.

I allocate one star for this movie.*

Fast & Furious

Vin Diesel is back in a action packed block buster that involves Mexican drug traffickers, gorgeous woman, fast cars, and an explosion testosterone. I really enjoyed it since they killed off the average looking Michelle Rodriguez right in the beginning. That was spectacular. I see nothing special about this actress. She is not even close to being hot.

Paul Walker is back as Brian O'Conner and he plays the renegade FBI agent that I think Hollywood first presented us back with Keanu Reeves's superlative and heroic character Johnny Utah in the ever lasting movie Point Break. Utah screwed up though at the end which caused his partner Gary Busey to be shot and killed at the end. Though I am not sure why he was not wearing a bullet proof vest.

The cute Jordana Brewster is back as Mia Toretto. Her and Brian continue their love affair which is probably what the audience expects and wants.

John Ortiz is Campos and his main body guard bad ass is Laz Alonso who plays Fenix Rise. Fenix is the muscle man who squares off with Dominic Toretto throughout the film. The ending was disappointing in that regard since I wanted to see Toretto and Rise have a lasting fight at the movie's zenith. Rise dies too quickly when Toretto uses his car as a battering ram and pinches his body between two cars.

The plot is that one of the Mexican drug cartels is hiring street drivers in LA to movie large quantities of drug products for them around SoCal and across the southern border. There is some secret caves in the mountains that are used to high from the satellites and heat sensors used by US government agencies. The drug cartel has a pretty good racket, they kill the drivers after they are used, host another race to choose other sucker street drives to enrich the cartel and risk their lives transporting lucrative heroine, cocaine, etc. So the main antagonists in this film is not Toretto and his posse, his posse was broken up at the end of the first Fast and Furious film as everyone knows. Toretto is living and working in Mexico after visiting his girl friend and friends in the LA area. He knows the heat is around the corner and leads him to reside in Mexico. He returns to the action when he receives word his girl friend was murdered. This happens to be the same people the FBI and Brian are investigating and trying to hunt down.

The music is heart pumping. The cars are fast and gorgeous. Most of them are. They even toss in a hummer and smash around in that.

Rodriguez is replaced by Gal Gadot. She plays Gisele Harabo and trading her for Rodriquez is probably the best trade since the Celtics picked up Kevin Garnett from the Timberwolves. I have never seen Gadot before but she is smoking hot. She is working for the cartel and has a similiar role and possible ending like Miami Vice. Accept the Japanese business woman in Miami Vice was married to the cartel's CEO and she fell in love with Miami police officer-Colin Farrell. Toretto is certainly not a police officer.

Toretto had a chance to escape at the end of the film but he chose to stick around. Why? Not sure. He made a wise joke with the wounded Brian but he should have drove back through the tunnels and hid out for a while. Overall, the ending was controversial and disappointing. The major fight scene never occured with Toretto and Fenix. Then Toretto is tossed in jail which he probably deserves but he has suffered enough. He should have driven off. But he did not and was arrested and was not given any leniency by the judge. The judge tosses him in jail for a good and society saving sentence of 25 years to life. As he is being escorted to this desert prison in the remote badlands of CA three drivers are on pursuit. Mia, Brian, and two of Toretto's friends that were showed in the beginning. Ridiculous. Stupid. So Brian tosses away his FBI career to spring Toretto free. I would think that the CA corrections would have a separate or trailing car during this escort of about 30 hard core felons.

The despondent ending probably had the wharped view of many of America's youth cheering.

The movie had the action, girls, music, everything that is needed. The ending was doleful though. I am sure they will make another one. Rodriguez being replaced, it was entertaining, and the script writing fit the audience and characters like a tiger's stripes wrap around it.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

I Love You, Man

This movie does not have any stars worth mentioning. But it is funny regardless.

Peter Klaven is the main character's name and he is about to marry his pretty fiance Zooey. The problem is and the center point of this movie is that Peter does not have a best man. He does not have any guy friends. He is alone in the world. I knew a guy in high school who ditched his friends to constantly hang out with his girl friend. I will probably not understand that type of thinking and now there is a movie that depicts this. Peter has always been close to the opposite sex and getting married for him or atleast getting a girl to say yes is pretty easy to this nice and handsome fellow. The plot has been set, he needs to find a friend.

The movie constantly refers to this as a man date which is just hilarious. So he goes on a series of man dates with the support of his wife and she tells all her friends about this. It is funny. He has this open house since he is a part time real estate agent. He is trying to sell Lou Ferrigno's house, the Hulk, from the TV series that aired in the late 1970's. At this open house, he meets a good guy named Sydney. Sydney is there for the free food, is the ultimate bachelor, lives on the beach, goes out whenever, and seems to know alot.

The characters run into problems and butt heads when Zooey is upset Peter is spending too much time with Sydney. They fight and they temporarily break up. Ofcourse they join back together at the hip and Sydney and Peter work out their differences.

The funniest part is probably when Peter throws up on this ego centric, vain, muscle head at his regular poker party.

The annoying aspect of this film is that Peter has a tendency to say goofy lines. He tries to make analogies he can not complete and attempts to be funny when he does not have that gift and often times when the conversation has run its course. He is the worst conversation ender in SoCal.

The movie has some decent music, some class rock n roll. It is funny, and entertaining. It is not blockbuster or a champion by no means. Not even close to that heavyweight prize winning movie. That one was one for the ages. Something I hold all comedies up to. The Waterboy and Wedding Crashers come close for instance. This movie does not have the heavy hitters but it tries hard with the budget that it was given. The story line is relevant and original.

I allocate this movie two stars.**

Friday, April 3, 2009


This movies echoes the Ocean 11 movies with his multiple screen and goofy or annoying music. But the positive attributes from the Ocean 11 series are endemic in this movie. This is a full length smoke and mirrors movie that leaps around corporate espionage and more specifically, the high stakes game of medical research and production. It is a feel good Michael Clayton. Funny thing is, Tom Wilkinson is in this movie. He plays a medical company's CEO. Howard Tully is his name he courts Julia Roberts's character Claire Stenwick to perform a cloak and dagger task for his gigantic firm. Roberts, much to my and other people's disappointment was also in the Ocean 11 movies. When they first presented her in Ocean 11, I and I know other guys were expecting a gorgeous woman, much hotter than her. Those movies had enough stars, I guess they wanted a female star amongst all of those male household names.

Clive Owen plays Ray Koval in this smooth talking movie. This is a corporate James Bond movie, but without the nail biting action. Koval is a former M16 spy who seems to have chosen greener pastures with corporate America. Koval and Stenwick hook up for a goal to sneak away with $40 million. They want that money, that big pay day, instant wealth. Both are already staying in suites but they want more. Greed and avarice, their loyalties are too themselves. Their clandenstine styles are masterfully presented in this entertaining movie.

Stenwick drugs and robs Koval of some sensitive information in Egypt while in Dubai. Several years later, Koval spots Stenwick about this and confronts her. He later courts her again and gets her back in Italy by canceling an important phone she is supposed to receive and then embark for Cairo. This movie is strange. Koval confronts Stenwick a second time with the same lines that he used on her in NYC. Why does this movie fall down these steps? Well, this is revealed at the end.

One flaw with the music, besides the annoying music that I already mentioned, is Paul Giamatti who plays Richard Garsik. I am not a Giamatti fan, they make him seem intimidating but he is not and it does not matter how much profanity he spouts or how many cool one lines the script writers give him, he is not an intimidating character. I do not care for him, I do not think he should be in movies that are supposed to have some suspense. He should be in comedies. Giamatti, perhaps because he is Italian some people think he can pull these roles off. But he does not and can not.

This was a unique and original movie where the main characters were played at the end. They were conned. Garsik is the CEO of a rival medical company and he is always going for the jugular of their rivals, especially Tully's company. This movie has a title befitting it's story line. The stars of this movie, the ones that usually end up with all of the money and live happily ever after in a fantastical mythical world separated from the world most of us are in. Well, like us, the viewer, are played and conned with the best of them. All for naught, all for no reason other than to discredit one in a magnificent way at their shareholder's meeting. Garsik would never recover. No amount of damage control could over come this massive of a screw up. The panacea for baldness which turns out to be a common skin cream, this calamity would send him down the river to a crocodile lagoon where escape, if possible, would result in him being a drastically different person. Perhaps the new Garsik would be less pretentious and more focused on producing ideas that are not stolen.

The movie is funny. Duplicity has a cool title, and the storyline is spectacular. It is not as good as The International because that movie had an inspirational and energetic musical score. But if one wants to be sweetly entertained without the death and kill suspense, perhaps Duplicy is the superior choice. Duplicity had the acting and characters to carry this theme into the promised land. Good prevailed, treachory and larceny should not be rewarded. The Ocean 11 movies painted the casino boss as shallow and nasty, so in Ocean's 11, perhaps this was OK. This movie, the good company played an elaborate prank on another. That is immoral, but they rooted out some slimy characters which happened to be the usual heroes in movies. This turn around, they were the usual suspects.

Koval and Stenwick were living a comfortable existence, were employed and respected in their fields, both chose to toss it all away in pursuit of riches and private glory. Niether were hurt at the end physically, only time will tell if their psyche's were scarred.

I give this movie four stars.****