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The Strangers

Do you like horror movies? The answer to that question is the answer to whether or not you should see The Strangers.

I liked it. Unlike The Hottie and the Nottie, there is absolutely nothing original about this movie. This is your stereotypical "black lady yelling at the dumb white girl on the screen" movie. You know exactly what is going to happen every step of the way.

The first official "attack" is intense and prolonged and the shaky cam style of shooting the film is extremely effective. I think that the fact that it is rated R tremendously adds to the suspense. I have a serious problem with PG-13 horror movies. You know right away that there won't be any sex/nudity or gore in it and that it is going to rely heavily on cheap shots at making you jump. I finally see a benefit to them though. I've become so comfortable watching PG-13 horror movies that now whenever I see an R rated one it adds to the suspense. While you may know what's going to happen, you don't know how extreme it will be. This movie didn't have any sex/nudity and it wasn't overly gory, but just the fact that they gave it an R rating made you question how far the killers would go and what the filmmakers would show.

I do have a few complaints. The Strangers, believe it or not, is not perfect. The first two, I've mentioned already. The predictability and the idiocy of the main characters. It's mind boggling how someone could be so thickheaded so as to not believe someone when they tell you that there are people trying to get into the house. Especially if the person trying to convince you has resorted to hiding in a corner with a very large knife. My biggest issue however is that the killers are either ghosts or ninjas. The way they can be standing in the middle of the road, and then when the camera pans away from them for a moment, they can be gone by the time the camera turns to that area again is remarkable... or impossible, I'm not sure.

It boils down to whether you like to be scared. Occasionally I do, so I did enjoy The Strangers.

The Hottie and the Nottie


The Hottie and the Nottie was released in theatres on 2/8/08 and then on DVD on 5/6/08.

The Hottie and the Nottie is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a very long time. It's rare that you get an original idea that gets developed so perfectly. The direction is world class and the screenplay... the dialogue is emotionally stirring. I mean, when Nate, the male lead, tells Cristabelle (Paris Hilton) that he truly cared about the well being of her best friend June (the "Nottie"), I truly believed every word he said. I was shocked to learn that he was only trying help her with her self image so he could get with Cristabelle. And then... I really don't want to ruin it for you... but when Nate starts to fall for June, I was shocked and moved at the same time.

As good as the production was, it's the acting that effected me most. This was some of Paris Hilton's best work since House of Wax. Christine Lakin was so great at acting hideously ugly that when she turned out to be stunning after her makeover and dental work, it blew me away. If you see this movie I'll kill you.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I know that there isn't much I can say to stop you from seeing this blather, but I have to try... it's for your own good.


The main reason you shouldn't see this movie is out of respect for the previous films. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark but it introduced the character effectively and led to, what I believe to be, two of the greatest adventures ever put on film. You'd think that with a history including drinking from the cup of Christ and recovering the Cross of Coronado, that the film makers might want to reference the previous films... not so much. Short of getting a peek of the Ark of the Covenent and seeing a picture of his father and Marcus Brody, it's as if George Lucas wants to ignore the fact that there ever were any other Indy movies.

A screenplay was written by Academy Award nominated writer and director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) but George Lucas didn't like it. The new screenplay was written by Academy Award winning writer Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love), but that one was trashed. Oscar nominated writer Frank Darabont (The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption) wrote a screenplay for a fourth Indiana Jones movie, but Lucas rejected that one as well. After three stellar writers were turned away, Lucas went with a screenplay by David Koepp (Zathura, War of the Worlds, Secret Window). This proves that not only is George Lucas not talented himself, but he also can't recognize talent when it's right in front of his stupid face.

The fourth installment has none of the witty banter or believeable action sequences from the original trilogy. At no point did I feel like any of the characters were in danger; they are all such great duckers. I can actually say that I was bored from beginning to end. The special effects looked worse than they did in 1981 and back then, they had none of the capabilities that we have now.

If Steven Speilberg has anything to say about it, in Jurassic Park 4 we'll find out that that the dinosaurs are from outer space. He loves aliens. But I truly want to thank George Lucas. He has proven that the original trilogies of Star Wars and Indiana Jones were flukes. Next on his list of trilogies to destroy are Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings and The Godfather. Someone really should assassinate him.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Yes... as long as you've seen The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

To be fair, you really could see this movie without having seen the first installment and be able to follow it, however they make quite a few references to the first movie that took me a minute to get and I saw it.

Prince Caspian is pristine. The special effects are perfect and the movie is put together very well. The dialogue left something to be desired; sometimes it was melodramatic and although there were a lot sarcastic remarks made and several attempts at banter, the wit was not that sharp. At 2 hours and 35 minutes, it was a bit long, but it kept me interested throughout.

As far as fantasy epics go, this is certainly not the best one, but it's far from the worst. In a ranking of the May 2008 blockbusters I'd put it at number 2 between Iron Man and Speed Racer. So far, this summer is lightyears better than last summer. By this time we had already had three of the biggest disappointments of the year with Spider-man 3, 28 Weeks Later and Shrek 3.



Untraceable was released in theatres on 1/25/08 and then on DVD and Blu-ray on 5/13/08.

There's a disturbing new trend in R rated movies. There was a time... well, for most of my life, I think, when it was absolutely unconscionable for an animal to be killed, or even hurt in a movie. Fuck humans, slice 'em and dice 'em as far as the movie going public was concerned, but until recently, it was rare to see an animal murdered on screen. Two critically acclaimed R rated movies from last year, No Country for Old Men and American Gangster, have scenes in which a dog is shot and killed. Incidentally, Josh Brolin is the actor that shoots both of those dogs. I'm not worried about the motion picture industry; they should have been killing animals for much longer than they have been. Neither is my concern with Josh Brolin; I don't think he has anything against animals, it's probably just a huge coincidence that he has been out of the limelight since Goonies and when he finally makes his big comeback, he only chooses to play puppy-killers. Who I am concerned about is us. Society. Is this a last ditch effort to shock us? Are we so numb that the only way to make us cover our eyes is to is to trap an adorable kitten on a glue trap and turn on heat lamps effectively cooking it? That's the opening sequence in Untraceable. Before the first actor's name apperas on the screen, we're killing kittens.

Untraceable is, when you take out the curses, baked kittens (and people), and the skin floating in a pool of battery acid, just a glorified cop TV series boiled down to it's most important hour and 45 minutes. Actually, it might have been better as a series because the personal lives of the characters and what their job has entailed up to this point might not seem so ridiculous. Not to say that the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI is silly, just that it's portrayed poorly in this movie.

The thing that bothers me the most is actually how good the idea is. With a better cast and screenplay, Untraceable might have been Silence of the Lambsish. As it stands, it might as well have been called CSI: Portland The Movie.

Son of Rambow


In 1980s Britain, when young Will Proudfoot, raised in isolation among The Brethren, a puritanical religious sect in which music and TV are strictly forbidden, encounters something beyond his wildest fantasies: a pirated copy of RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD, his virgin viewing of the iconic thriller blows his mind – and rapidly expanding imagination – wide open. Now, Will sets out to join forces with the seemingly diabolical school bully, Lee Carter, to make their own action epic, devising wildly creative, on-the-fly stunts, not to mention equally elaborate schemes for creating a movie of total commitment and non-stop thrills while hiding out from The Brethren. But when school popularity finally descends on Will and Lee in the form of, oui, the super-cool French exchange student, Didier Revol, their remarkable new friendship and precious film are pushed, quite literally, to the breaking point .

This is a drama, spoof, fantasy, tragedy, comedy that bounces around religion, 80's pop culture, friendship, family (and the lack there of), death, and imagination with absolutely no regard for the audience. I had no idea where the movie was headed until the end... and by that time I just didn't care.

Throughout the movie, Will peforms stunts like falling out of a very tall tree, being blown off of a garbage heap by a strong burst of water, having a ceramic cat shot off the top of his head with a crossbow, and flying head first from a jeep into a wall, landing in a pool of oil and getting trapped by the debris that lands on him. He walks away from all of this with nothing but a few scratches and bruises. His overly religious mother has no idea what he is doing in his spare time. For some reason, all of a sudden, she is permitting him to miss prayer meetings without asking for explanations as to where he is going or why he is getting injured.

It felt like they made a movie, edited out 2 hours of footage and put the deleted scenes together to make Son of Rambow. The movie that they extracted the scenes from probably would have been good, I think I'd like to see that movie.

Speed Racer

... yeah...

I saw Speed Racer in IMAX and to be honest, I don't know if it made the experience any better or worse. I was surprised that the aspect ratio was the same as it would have been on a regular screen. There were a lot of cars crashing and flipping over each other that might have been easier to see on a smaller screen. It was, however, very cool to see the cars and various aircraft coming at you at such immense speeds on the overlarge screen.

The movie itself was 20-30 minutes too long. One of the things that I mentioned in my review of Iron Man was that the final action sequence wasn't too long and that that was something that I appreciated. I feel like action movie directors of the past two years have chosen action and special effects over story and substance. While the Wachowski Brothers didn't necessarily choose one over the other for Speed Racer, it seems like they had very little faith in their emotional storyline and attempted to compensate for that with overlong car race sequences. If they had cut out 5 minutes of emotional parent-child dialogue and 20-25 minutes of racing, the movie would have been a little more tolerable.

The only other issue that I had with the movie is the lack of explanation for the Racer family's incredible self defense skills. It was like Speed, Pops, and Trixie were all black belts and never took a class (that I know of.)

Speed Racer is a stylish, fastpaced, family friendly movie that is a major step down in quality from Iron Man, but a welcome addition to the summer season.

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay


This is a sequel to Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

That was supposed to have convinced you.

OK, let me try it this way... The sequel to Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle is called Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

No? I'll try one more time... In one movie, they go to White Castle. In the other movie, they escape from Guantanamo Bay... the military prison...

You know what? If that's not enough to deter you, then there's nothing I can say. Enjoy.

Iron Man

Absolutely, yes.

There are certain genres that I hate... I happen to have a soft spot for superhero movies. This makes it all the more difficult when I'm anticipating a release and it ends up being... Daredevil, Hulk, Electra or Spider-man 3.

I had mediocre expectations for Iron Man. I knew, literally, nothing about the comic book. I have no idea how accurate the movie is in its protrayal of the origins of Iron Man. I viewed it strictly as a movie and I really enjoyed it.

Since there aren't a lot of special effects sequences, the movie relied heavily on the performances of the actors. Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges were all very good in their roles. Robert Downey, Jr. wins the prize, though. (There is no prize.) Everytime he was on the screen I was engaged. Iron Man had realistic characters inhabiting a realistic world with realisticish technologies. Although the technology that provides Iron Man with his suit is obviously impossible (so far), it doesn't seem so unrealistic in the world that director Jon Favreau has built.

Speaking of the technologies, the special effects were phenomonal. The final battle sequence was perfect in length as opposed to a movie like Transformers, which I thought was a little drawn out at the end.

If the story sucks, then what's the point, right? Tony Stark didn't need to build a gold alloy mechanical suit in order for this to be a good movie, he could have become a political activist. It wouldn't have been a summer blockbuster, but it still would have had the potential to be a good movie, the story holds up on its own.

Some of the people in the theatre said that they were disappointed that it wasn't more like the comic book, but a 45 year old story needs to be updated and I think this one updated well... go see it.