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The Soloist


The Soloist was released in theatres on 4/24/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/4/09.

(500) Days of Summer


Am I allowed to just say that I smiled throughout the whole movie? I did. It really was a very nice movie; clever, witty, and entertaining.

500 Days of Summer really is the anti-romantic comedy. I'm having a really hard time coming up with anything else to write because nothing stands out as overly great, but I also have absolutely no complaints about it either. I'm gonna cut this one short by reiterating that I just really enjoyed the 95 minutes I spent watching this movie. I highly recommend it.

Post Grad


This movie is not acceptable for anyone. I know that when they were writing, filming, and editing Post Grad, I was the furthest thing from their mind, but it sure doesn't feel that way. I'm white, have a wacky family, a job that doesn't support my lifestyle, and want everyone to feel bad for me. It's like they're telling my life story... The fact is that I'm pretty sure the filmmakers don't even know who their target demographic was.

If they're looking to lure in post grads or anybody at all, Alexis Bledel was the wrong choice. She is completely unconvincing as anything, let alone a human being. She certainly isn't capable of conveying the plight of an unemployed college graduate... to be honest, I didn't really believe her as a high school graduate looking for her pants. She's not really capable of portraying a character with more than one dimension, and that really is a "must-have" characteristic of any actor, in any movie, ever.

Let's talk about the supporting cast for a moment. WHAT?!? Michael Keaton? Jane Lynch?? Carol Burnett??? Rodrigo Santoro???? It's sad enough to see Carol Burnett being put out to pasture like this, but I was destroyed to see the final half of Lost's Nikki and Paolo juggernaut being reduced to a soulless wisp of a character with absolutely no substance. First Nikki in A Perfect Getaway... now this???

On a serious note, I think the creators of Post Grad had this movie backwards, if there really is one here at all. If I'm a producer, and you come to me with the idea for what Post Grad ended up being... I laugh in your face. If you come to me with Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, and Carol Burnett as the main characters in a movie where the daughter graduating from college and moving back home is a subplot... and starring almost anyone but Alexis Bledel... you're on a much less rocky path to the big screen. I will never understand how some movies get green-lit...

Inglourious Basterds


I watched this 2 hour and 45 minute movie twice since it's release on Friday. I liked it the first time and I loved it the second time. I think the reason for that is, there were a couple aspects of the movie that were unexpected and slightly off-putting at first. Since I've decided that I would have liked to know them before I saw Inglourious Basterds, I'm going to tell you now. Skip the next paragraph if you don't want to know, but don't worry, there are absolutely no plot spoilers.

While Brad Pitt may be the biggest name in the movie, he really isn't in it all that much. The story isn't necessarily about the Basterds, they're just a part of it. The movie is set in Nazi occupied France and therefore most of the characters are French or German and speak in their respective languages... so... subtitles. A lot of them. If you can't stand reading subtitles, you'll have a hard time enjoying this.

The movie was surprisingly linear for a Tarantino flick. With the exception of a few flashbacks, it started at the beginning and ended at the end. Other than that, it's Tarantino through and through with all of his trademark storytelling devices; bloody violence, foul-mouthed wordsmiths speaking in monologues, and the film is organized by chapter. One of the things I love about Quentin Tarantino's films is his ability build tension with words that aren't particularly threatening. The Big Kahuna Burger speech from Pulp Fiction, much of what Bill says in Kill Bill, and just about everything that Hans Landa says in Inglourious Basterds, specifically the scene about milk and the scene about strudel (mmmm... ). Christoph Waltz will be nominated for supporting actor at this year's Academy Awards and if they were given out now, he'd win. I don't know how they do it; if he wins, the supporting actor award will have gone to three of the scariest movie villains in as many years. Make no mistake, Pitt may be the face of this movie, but the real star of Inglourious Basterds is Christoph Waltz.

If you can get past the afore mentioned omissions from the marketing campaign (the lack of Brad Pitt and the subtitles), you should LOVE Inglourious Basterds. Just don't rely on it for a history lesson, like Titanic, it's set against the backdrop of a historical event but that doesn't mean it's based on a true story.



This is really just an insult to kids. I never got into any of Robert Rodriguez's movies. Not the Desperado series, or the Spy Kids movies. I didn't really expect to like Shorts, but I really didn't expect to hate it either... and man, did I hate it. I got up and walked out of the theatre 3 times. I couldn't leave until the end of the movie and it made me feel like I was being punished.

It's really bizarre. Shorts seems like what you would get if Quentin Tarantino directed a family movie because the story was told out of order. It was all crass dialogue, lowbrow humor and over-the-top acting. It was just awful, so I feel silly bringing anything specific up, but there is a point when the kids are holding the wishing rock while they are being chased by bipedal alligators and it takes them what felt like four hours to realize that they could wish themselves out of the situation.

I can't even think about this anymore. It's terrible, don't watch it.

District 9


One of the things that gets me pumped about going to the movies, is when a film maker has a truly original idea. With at least 250 movies being released each year, it's an enormous feat to say the least. It's not really fair, but since originality is so lacking I can be harsh in my opinion when a new idea is brought to the screen. First, because I would hope that the innovator is also a visionary and that they would go out of their way to put the best representation of their story on the screen. More importantly, while it may have been their idea, it's a waste of originality if it sucks. No one else can make that movie without people comparing it to the original film, even if they think the rip-off was a superior version. When you have a new idea, DO IT GOOD!

They didn't do District 9 good. My biggest problem is how it devolved from a really good idea, with the potential for cultural exploration and social commentary, into a brainless action movie. Also, realizing that it might have been counter intuitive even for me (the critic), they probably should have cast a big name action star in the role. I didn't like/believe the actor in the lead role and I definitely think it would have benefited from the star power. Finally, there were several plot issues that just didn't make sense and some that needed to be fleshed out more and saved for the sequel.

District 9 is an extremely original film with great special effects, but they really dropped the ball when it came to the story and "human" portions the film's execution (writing, acting, and directing).


If you're like me? No.

It's difficult to recommend Ponyo since I really don't like Japanese anime as an art form. It would be like asking me to recommend a good entree at a seafood restaurant or Mel Gibson to recommend a good Jew. I just don't like anything about anime...

The easiest thing to pick on is the actual animation. It's so simplistic that I find it difficult to invest any real emotion into it. What makes it worse though, is that it seems like they over-do the other parts that make up the movie as a way to compensate for their lack of ability to create an interesting visual landscape. The voice acting is always over acted; especially the moments of dialogue that no one would ever say, ever. Very often, you will hear someone saying a line out loud that represents what they are thinking. In my opinion, it's like comparing apples to rotten apples, but in WALL-E, the artists were able to convey emotion throughout the majority of the movie, without the characters uttering a single word. There should be no reason for a character to say out loud, when no one is around, that they wonder what another character is doing or thinking.

The other thing is sort of a bittersweet complaint because it really was the only thing I enjoyed about the movie. When set as the background to the simplistic 2D animation, the lush, powerful orchestral score seemed entirely out of place. I'm a sucker for good movie scores... i love them, but they absolutely must make sense in the context presented by the film.

I've forced myself through several anime films from renowned filmmakers like Mizhyaki (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke) strictly because they get such rave reviews. I just don't get what is so special about these films, though, and I probably never will.

Race to Witch Mountain


Race to Witch Mountain was released in theatres on 3/13/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 8/4/09.

A Perfect Getaway


I'll write more soon, but it was imperative that I put something on here so that you don't go see this crap... stay away from A Perfect Getaway at all costs.

More to come...

So, I really didn't want to revisit A Perfect Getaway long enough to complete this review, but I'm going to force myself through it with a short list of assumptions followed by a short list of facts.

- This was directed by a first time director.
- Everyone involved in making A Perfect Getaway thinks that the general public is, on average, dumber than a post.
- Steve Zahn and Milla Jovavich are hard up for cash.

- Milla Jovavich is one of the worst actresses on the planet; lacking both talent and personality.
- The screenwriter has absolutely no respect for the art of filmmaking.
- The director of A Perfect Getaway will never win an award, ever, save for a Razzie or two.
- A Perfect Getaway is the worst movie of the year.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra


G.I. Joe is just empty. Poorly written, acted and directed, you leave the theatre with an indifference about how you spent the previous 2 hours. It's like having ice cream for dinner... bad ice cream. You might enjoy it at the time, but you get no satisfaction from it.

They tried to cram too much story and too much action into 105 minutes. There was too much coincidental conflict between the two organizations making an already unbelievable story all that much more unbelievable. The dialogue is awful; at one point in the middle of an action sequence, Baroness tells a civilian woman that she likes the woman's shoes. The plot itself was so inconsequential that I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I do remember that it ended in a way that wholly contradicted the title of the movie. If you're going to imply doom in the title of a movie, it shouldn't end well (example: The Empire Strikes Back/Revenge of the Sith). It seems that COBRA rises and falls during the course of the movie and so the title could easily have been G.I. Joe: There May or May Not Be a Sequel... It All Depends On How Much Money This Movie Makes.

If you liked Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, you'll absolutely love G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. If you have any intelligence at all, however, you probably won't. Ooooooooh, burned.

The Haunting in Connecticut


The Haunting in Connecticut was released in theatres on 3/27/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 7/14/09.

They really try to get you to care about the outcome, and you probably just won't. It's probably the fault of the writer and/or director since the performances were generally good.