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Wow... Yes.

What a weekend. There's literally something new for everyone and it's all quality. Wanted is something that the American movie going public needed. I'm trying to remember the last really good R rated action movie. True Lies, Terminator 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance? A movie that's not afraid to show the result of violence... blood and death and onlookers exclaiming with actual profanity. Oh, look at that... it's time for a rant...

Why is it that kids are allowed to see violence that doesn't result in blood and death? If we're so concerned about kids accidentally, or purposefully injuring themselves or others, why don't we allow them to see the actual result of guns and knives. I truly believe that it's possible, that if young adults were exposed to violence such as in Saving Private Ryan at a younger age, that they might learn to fear violence as opposed to thinking it's cool like in the Bond and Bourne franchises, in which people can dodge bullets (or if they do get hit, there's no blood and little pain).

That being said, this movie is definitely not for kids. Not because of the blood and death, but more because of the Loom of Fate. Yes, I said it... it's a loom... with the gift of foresight. I just don't think it's a good idea for our impressionable youth to think it's OK to kill anyone that a hand-operated or power-driven apparatus for weaving fabrics tells them to kill.

Wanted is a ridiculous, well written, acted and stylishly directed actioner. It's a fast-paced, high octane edge of your seat thrill ride that is more than just mindless fun...

"Ohh, what's really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything?" - The Oracle

P.S. The main character of Wanted can go fuck himself. We can't all be super assassins and he shouldn't be so judgemental.



If Wall-E isn't perfect, it's only because it's a little too long. Other than that, this is the best Pixar movie since The Incredibles. The whole movie looks and sounds beautiful and as far as that is concerned, this is the best Pixar movie... ever. If you're looking for pure entertainment value, Pixar has done better.

Wall-E is, at it's core, a simple love story. The love story is integrated very well into the "save the earth. save mankind" science-fiction portion of the movie, but the main plot is the relationship between Wall-E and Eve. The director and animators do a phenomenal job showing the relationship between the two, especially with their limitations. "What limitations," you ask? Well, I'll tell you. For the first half hour of the movie the only three words spoken by any character are "Wall-E", "Eve", and "directive". Even with the minimal amount of dialogue, thanks to the extraordinary animation, you can really sense the curiosity, loneliness, and longing. The beginning of this movie seems more like a work of art than a family friendly adventure story.

As for the Sci-fi "sub"-plot... the state of mankind in this movie is hysterical and sad at the same time, and unfortunately, seemingly inevitable. I can't imagine Wal-mart or Target being too keen on marketing this movie since it seems to be blaming them for the collapse of mankind in the not too distant future.

Thomas Newman composed the score again. His first time back to Pixar since Finding Nemo. The only reason I bring that up is because there are two scenes in the movie where if you close your eyes and try to just listen to the score, you might think you're watching Star Wars IV.

So now I have to make a decision... is Wall-E the best movie of the year? I'm leaning towards yes, but the current #1 movie is putting up a strong fight. I'm gonna have to think about it a little bit more, but the fact that I need to make that decision at all says quite a bit about this movie. Even if it loses, it's still the 2nd best movie of 2008 (so far).

One Missed Call

I won't even dignify that question with a response.

One Missed Call was released in theatres on 1/4/08 and then on DVD and Blu-ray on 4/22/08.

The other day, on a short break at work, one of my managers and I were trying to come up with what we thought were the worst movies and then look on to see how "rotten" it actually was. I think The Perfect Man (Hillary Duff, Heather Locklear) 5%, 88 Minutes (Al Pacino) 6%, and Elektra (Jennifer Garner) 9% were the worst ones we came up with. You see above where I wrote the release date for One Missed Call? I didn't remember that off the top of my head... I went to to find it out. Turns out that One Missed Call?... 0%. ZERO!!! 67 news sources reviewed this movie and not one of them had something nice to say about it. Instead of trying to come up with my own witty remarks, I thought I'd share some of theirs...

"It’s hard to know what’s scarier—the fact that Asia keeps producing these movies, or that Hollywood keeps on remaking them." - Time Out New York

"The temptation exists to call the movie one missed opportunity, but honestly, I don't think anyone involved in this mess ever seriously tried to make something good." - Aisle Seat

"A brow-furrowing blend of child abuse and adult trauma, Andrew Klavan’s screenplay sacrifices coherence for atmosphere at every turn." - New York Times

"The best part of the movie is the fact that, at a running time of an hour and a half, it's mercifully short." - Toronto Star

"I staunchly refuse to be afraid of my cell phone, or at least if I'm going to be afraid of it, I need better reasons than the ones given in this." -

"The deadliest call the cast and crew of One Missed Call ever received was the one from their agent telling them that this was the best work available." - Minneapolis Star Tribune

"This is nothing less than bottom-of-the-barrel junk." - Reel Film Reviews

... and there you have it. Not only did the critics think it was bad, but the studio execs clearly knew it was shit because they released it on January 4th. People are just getting back to work and school and the ones who are going to the movies are either catching up on Award season films or dropping their kids off at the theatre so that they can go wait on line to return the crap they got for Christmas.

This movie isn't even worth a rental, so stay away at all costs.

Get Smart


Get Smart wasn't as funny as it could have been and didn't have as much action as it could have had. It was a little bit too long and most of the best parts were in the trailers. But it is perfectly cast and is at least mildly entertaining. It does exactly what it was supposed to do and then you go home.

It's forgettable fun at best, but if you think about the other comedies that have been released this summer: Made of Honor, What Happens in Vegas, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, and The Love Guru... Get Smart is Citizen Kane by comparison. Even the special effects in this are better than some of the summer blockbusters we've seen this year (cough, hack, indiana jones, cough, cough).

If you're looking for a comedy, this is your only choice. If you want to go to the movies, but don't have a specific genre in mind, there are plenty of better, more entertaining options.

Go see Get Smart if you want to, but keep your expectations low if you really want to enjoy it.

The Love Guru

no... no... ...

I just looked on to see how long I had to live because I decided, about 10 minutes in, that this is the last Mike Meyers movie I would ever see. It turns out that he has two, count them, one, two movies coming out next year. You know the old saying, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone"? Well, it turns out that Mike Meyers hasn't appeared on screen since 2003!!! Ahh the good ole days.

Interestingly enough, when I got to the Internet Movie Database, I noticed that they neglected to list The Love Guru in Meyers' filmography. He's listed as a writer, producer, and as playing himself in it, but under "Actor", it does not list this movie. I'm not sure what my point is... maybe it's that he can't act and therefore didn't act in this movie... I don't know. Speaking of bad acting, Jessica Alba continues her downward spiral, Verne Troyer hasn't been to any acting classes... ever, and I never thought I'd say this, but I was a little disappointed in Justin Timberlake's acting... I know he was playing a character who's name is Jacques "le Coq" Grande, but he proved he could act in Alpha Dog and Black Snake Moan. He made a bad choice with Southland Tales, but The Love Guru was quite possibly the worst decision he could make if he wants to be taken seriously in the movie industry.

Unfortunately for the unfortunate souls who pay to see this unfortunate movie, Mr. Cinco won't be there to make shadow puppets on the screen while they are watching it. Without his artistry (he was trying to pick Mike Meyers' nose during his unnecessary and irrelevent performance of "More Than Words"), this is just a bad Austin Powers movie... and that's saying a lot.

The Happening


The Happening is a suspenseful mess. M. Night needs to start directing other peoples screenplays. As I was watching the movie, I would be on the edge of my seat and then someone would open their mouth. The acting was horrific, but they really didn't have much to work with. For example, if I were trying to convince someone that I wasn't crazy and rational dialogue wasn't doing the trick, the next logical step would not, I repeat, NOT be to start singing Black Water by the Doobie Brothers and then say, "... see? We're normal."

Another huge problem with this movie is (also directly related to the screenplay) the relationship between Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. There's no rule that states that "people in healthy, stable relationships can never be the central characters of disaster movies," and yet it's always a budding romance or a marriage on the fritz in these situations. This is a natural disaster movie, albeit unconventional. Being unconventional, however, I kinda hoped Shyamalan would avoid the typical "relationship works out as the disaster works out" scenario... but he doesn't, and that's exactly what happens. The biggest problem is that we don't know these people well enough to care... we're too preoccupied with the fact that everyone else is killing themselves.

As bad as the screenplay and acting are, The Happening does show off Shyamalan's brilliance when it comes to scaring the crap out of you. Earlier I called this movie a suspenseful mess and I want to give credit where credit is due. I was frightened. I was afraid to see how these people would kill themselves. Afraid to see how they would react to the unknown and how fear could turn them against the familiar even though it's all they have left.

It's clear that Shyamalan didn't know how to end The Happening. I'm pretty sure he didn't even know what was happening in his own movie... and if he doesn't know, who could?

The Incredible Hulk

Surprisingly (to me) yes.

Ed Norton is good in pretty much everything he's in. Liv Tyler is her pouty, whiny self as always.

The Incredible Hulk is exactly what Ang Lee's version should have been. Speaking of which, I really should thank Mr. Lee for lowering my expectations for this new version. When this movie opened with flashbacks of Bruce Banner being exposed to gamma rays and then went straight into the story of him in hiding from the U.S. government, I actually panicked a little and thought that they might reference the previous incarnation... thankfully they did not. If you haven't seen the last movie, don't. If you have, wipe it from your memory because there is no need to suffer through recalling what happened in it. Just pretend, as The Incredible Hulk's filmmakers have, that Ang Lee's Hulk never existed.

The special effects are good, the performances are good, the direction is good (even though I had never heard of the director before). It's just a good movie.

The scene that should have been after the credits is actually before them so there's no need to wait... and it is a very pleasant surprise. It looks like Marvel is putting something together here that could be unbelievably great. They need to secure the actors from all of these movies and not mess the whole thing up before it gets to where it is, clearly, going. This summer may be the best Superhero summer ever... as long as The Dark Knight lives up to it's hype... and it will.

Kung Fu Panda


Everyone at Dreamworks Animation must be fat and ugly.

It's actually kinda funny. I was driving home from work today and there was a commercial for a program on the Oprah channel on XM radio. (I was listening to O and A, not Oprah.) The program was on the child obesity problem in America. I heard that and I just kinda ignored it, then I went to see Kung Fu Panda. The message of the movie is that we shouldn't judge people based on their size. Obviously I agree... I mean, look at me... but isn't this sending a different, wrong message to children? While the main character, Po, yearns to know all there is to know about kung fu... wants to train and become a kung fu master, the panda never actually gets into shape. He actually uses his fatness and his overall ineptitude to achieve his goals. Yes, it's important for kids to know that it's OK to be themselves, but they should also know that an overweight lifestyle is unhealthy. Shrek is ugly, part of that ugliness is that he's fat. Po is cute, but fat and out of shape. These should not be characters that we put out there for kids to get a message from in a world where we're so concerned about an obesity epidemic in children...

... who put that soapbox there? Where was I? Oh yeah... yes you should see Kung Fu Panda.

It always amazes me when a movie is able to mock something and genuinely pay tribute to it at the same time. The writers' love of the kung fu genre is evident, yet they consistently destroy every kung fu movie cliche you can think of. Kung Fu Panda has a tired message and a formulaic plot, but it's a colorful, sharp, funny movie without the pop culture references that tainted Dreamworks Animation's previous efforts (Shrek, Shark Tale). While I hope the industry has the balls to leave this one alone, if they treat the sequels with the same amount of care and respect that they put into this one, they might actually have a good, worthwhile franchise on their hands.

The Visitor


Sixty-two-year-old Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins of Six Feet Under) is sleepwalking through his life. Having lost his passion for teaching and writing, he fills the void by unsuccessfully trying to learn to play classical piano. When his college sends him to Manhattan to attend a conference, Walter is surprised to find a young couple has taken up residence in his apartment. Victims of a real estate scam, Tarek, a Syrian man, and Zainab, his Senegalese girlfriend, have nowhere else to go. In the first of a series of tests of the heart, Walter reluctantly allows the couple to stay with him.

Touched by his kindness, Tarek, a talented musician, insists on teaching the aging academic to play the African drum. The instrument’s exuberant rhythms revitalize Walter’s faltering spirit and open his eyes to a vibrant world of local jazz clubs and Central Park drum circles. As the friendship between the two men deepens, the differences in culture, age and temperament fall away.

The Visitor is both sad and uplifting. It is a story about how a complete stranger can change your life forever, for better or for worse. The movie itself is a slowly paced character study depicting a man who's heart and mind are opened by music and friendship. Richard Jenkins does a stellar job portraying a man who has lost everything and who's life is slowly rejuvinated by a chance encounter. The movie was beautifully filmed, written, and acted, and is the first real Oscar contender of the year. Maybe not for Best Picture, but certainly for Lead Actor and Original Screenplay.

The Visitor won't be in theatres for much longer, so do your best to seek it out quickly. Certainly rent it when it becomes available for home viewing.

You Don't Mess with the Zohan


Where to begin... well, I guess I'll start off by saying that it's a rare thing to find a movie with the intention of making you laugh that doesn't make you chuckle at least one time. Yes, there have been a few, but this is not one of them. I did laugh at least once during You Don't Mess with the Zohan. Unfortunately for Adam Sandler, with movies like Borat and Superbad, movies that are so cleverly written and acted that you don't even realize something is a joke until three jokes later, it just simply isn't enough anymore. These are jokes for 10 year olds.

Try this experiment: pick a stereotype... any stereotype; smart/musically inclined Chinese people who can't drive, drunk Irish people throwing potatoes at each other during a bar brawl, Hispanic landscapers waiting outside the local Home Depot for a job, or gun-wielding gang bangers dancing at each other. Pick one and repeat it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over... for two hours. TWO HOURS!!!! I just want to be perfectly clear... I love stereotypes. Used in the right context and in a clever way, they can be hysterical. But in the wrong context and just repeated with absolutely no deviation, they can be offensive to people that don't even fit the stereotype.

What's worse, and I've done absolutely NO research on this, is that the stereotypes in Zohan aren't even accurate. I may sound ignorant here, but I sat through You Don't Mess with the Zohan, so go fuck yourselves if I'm wrong, but aren't hummus and gyros Greek food? They use hummus as a running gag throughout the movie... "they love hummus so much that they use it for EVERYTHING and the eat it anyway they can!!!" Goddamn it, we get it... and speaking of God...

Maybe "the Sandman" (ugh) and his friends should get together and have a screening of this movie with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. If they see both sides living together without hate as they do in his movie, maybe Adam Sandler can end some of the conflict in the Middle East. Forget the "holy land"... build a mall on it. Then all middle easterners can realize their dreams of owning small businesses such as hair salons, shoe stores and electronics boutiques.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that You Don't Mess with the Zohan is the most presumptuous, immature, embarrassing mess I've seen in a long, long time.

First Sunday


First Sunday was released in theatres on 1/11/08 and on DVD and Blu-Ray on 5/6/08.

I bet you're asking yourself why I even bothered watching this. I'm clearly not the demographic they were aiming for when they made the thing. The truth is I didn't watch it... not the whole thing anyway, I fell asleep about 20 minutes in.

The reason I gave it a shot is because of Tracy Morgan. He is hysterically funny on 30 Rock and I wanted to give him a chance in this. I won't be making that mistake again.