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Nine

No.

I'm not even really sure what Nine is about. I saw it and almost fell asleep... nine times...

The musical numbers seemed pointless. I didn't like a single one of the songs nor did I care about them because they were all about Daniel Day Lewis's character, whom I didn't care about. Clearly, all of the women either had been in a relationship with the director or wanted to be in one whether it be casual or meaningful, but I didn't care and neither the acting nor directing helped to get me involved at all.

I'm not familiar with the source material, but I'm pretty sure that even having seen 8 1/2 wouldn't have helped. I couldn't possibly recommend that you see Nine.

My Sister's Keeper

No.

My Sister's Keeper may as well have been a made-for-TV movie. Absolutely horrendous production value. The acting was awful and the fact that they COMPLETELY changed the end of the book was unnecessary and irresponsible. (I didn't read the book, but I can understand why fans of the novel would be furious.)

Don't even consider watching My Sister's Keeper.

The Ugly Truth

No.

The Ugly Truth was released in theatres on 7/24/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 11/10/09.

Yes, I did laugh. You will probably laugh as well, but the gags are of little to no substance and you will most likely forget what you thought was funny as soon as you take the disc out of your player.

There was nothing genuine or realistic about the situations in the movie. Every scene was specifically placed to set up the scene after it. With all of the industry folk who read my blog, I'm nervous to mention it, but The Ugly Truth probably would have made a better half-hour comedy series for HBO or Shotime because that's how it's set up.

The Ugly Truth television series outline:
Episode 1 - Introduction (girls wrestling in Jell-O)
Episode 2 - The Deal
Episode 3-4 - He gives her a make over. (Baseball game scene.)
Episode 7 - Vibrating Underwear.
Episode 10 - The trip to Collin Ferguson
Episode 11 - He quits.
Episode 12 - The balloon festival.

Fill it in with some actual, meaningful character development and you would have a pretty entertaining season of television. As a movie though, it's lacking in any kind of depth or realism and so is pretty unrelatable.

Like I said, I laughed and you probably will too... but then you'll forget that you even saw it... my parents saw it in theatres and when I told my mom that I got it from Netflix, she had absolutely no recollection of ever having seen it.

Sherlock Holmes

mmmmm, no.

In my personal rating system, I gave Sherlock Holmes a 3.5 out of 5. This is the first time in 23 months that I've been keeping this blog that I've even mentioned a rating system because I promised, in the header at the top of the web page, that there would be 'no stars, no thumbs. Just a simple yes or no.' The reason I'm doing so is because, while my answer to 'the question' is "NO", I wanted to show you that a contradiction can exist.

Sherlock Holmes is British, as are the rest of the characters. They also speak very quickly. It is, therefore, very difficult to understand much of what they are saying. Eventually you get used to it, but until then, you are left in the dark to figure out what is going on for yourself.

We really do join these characters in the middle of several stories. There's the splitting of Holmes and Watson that is already happening at the beginning (Which, by the way, exceeds the fun of witty banter and enters into the realm of lover's quarrel very early on in the movie and can be somewhat uncomfortable to watch). There's the case involving Lord Blackwood that we jump into at the beginning of the film. There's also the relationship between Holmes and Rachel McAdams character that has clearly been going on for quite some time. Maybe you needed to have read the Doyle's original stories to feel included while watching this movie... I'll never know.

Yes, Sherlock Holmes is an entertaining movie, but no, I don;t think you should see it in theatres. Wait for the DVD and watch it with the subtitles on.

It's Complicated

Yes.

If you are the movies target demographic (45-dead) you will love It's Complicated. If you're under 45 and have seen everything else and have nothing else to do, It's Complicated is a fine way to spend 2 hours.

There is something of a double standard, though, and I found myself getting slightly angry during parts of the movie. Why is it cute and kind of acceptable for Meryl Streep to smoke pot? I mean not according to the MPAA, they did after all give the movie an R rating; I feel like if Meryl's kids were smoking pot and acting the way she and Steve Martin were acting, there would have been a significantly lesser amount of senior citizens snickering in their seats.

You can't go wrong with Meryl Streep. I love Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin is always great in these types of roles (pseudo-serious). It's Complicated is pretty entertaining albeit seemingly pointless and definitely forgettable.

Up in the Air

Yes.

I really liked Up in the Air. I'm not 100% sure why, though. It's charming and depressing. Quirky and dramatic. It's artsy, but not too artsy. There's a message about the value of human connection, but I'm not sure what it is and when the credits begin to roll, the story has been satisfyingly unresolved.

George Clooney plays a man on the move. His job requires him to be traveling for a significant portion of each year and he loves every second of it. When he finds out that he may be out of a job, he begins to realize that he has poured every ounce of himself into his career and he has lost virtually all contact with his family and friends.

Sounds depressing... and it could have been if it were made by a less skilled/more experienced director and starred an actor with less wit. As it is, Jason Reitman and George Clooney have created a masterpiece of depth and levity that so many, myself obviously included, can relate with.

Up in the Air will make you laugh, cry (if you're a pussy), and think, and it is well written, directed and acted. In a time when there are more than 200 movies released each year, that's really all one can ask for.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

No.

What a terrible, terrible movie. The animation is for shit, the story is boring, the voice acting is bad and this is the THIRD movie in the series. The Ice Age movies really only ever were worthy of a 21 minute cartoon on Saturday mornings and it is absolutely mind boggling to me that we are now in the $500 million range for the three movies combined.

Please stop going to see these movies so that I can stop having to watch them... please.

Invictus

No.

I want to set aside the fact that I had no real interest in the story, as well as the fact that I couldn't understand 90% of the dialogue due to the thick accents of the characters. Invictus has to be the most poorly made film Clint Eastwood has directed... at lest in the last 6 years.

I don't know if it's because the story wasn't really film-worthy, or if there actually wasn't any real story there to begin with. It might be that the film was trying to cover too many different elements of the story. There's Mandela with his political issues, family issues, and health issues. There's Matt Damon with his personal issues and his Rugby issues. Then they add in the the bickering between the secret service agents while they try to work together to protect the President even though they are overworked and exhausted. Eastwood tries to squeeze all of that in while telling the story of how a leader successfully unified a nation and tries to teach Americans the rules of Rugby and I think that might have been the movie's downfall.

Since the movie was so jam packed with plots and sub-plots, many are left dangling, seemingly after Eastwood realized that they had no real impact on the outcome of the movie. At one point the only black player on the rugby team injures himself, only to be forced to sit out for a game (which the team wins without him) and then be well enough to play the rest of the World Cup. I thought that maybe the team would be accused of kicking him off the squad because they were racist, but... nothing. It had no effect on the rest of the movie. At one point the secret service agents find Mandela after he had collapsed from exhaustion. The doctor insists that he rest and holds a meeting with the presidents aides to tell them that he cannot work at all, even from bed. In the next scene he's in a meeting. Maybe it was poor editing, but it was a very awkward transition and again, completely unnecessary to the outcome of the movie... at no point during the remainder of the film does anyone mention his health.

I guess Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon acted well... I'm not sure because I don't know what they should have sounded like. The majority of the supporting cast, specifically the secret service, were terrible actors.

I can't imagine that even in a world with 10 Oscar nominees for Best Picture, that Invictus would be one of them. The fact that it's directed by Clint Eastwood and that Eastwood was robbed of a nomination last year for Gran Torino may be the film's foot in the door. I never thought I'd say this about a film directed by Clint, but Invictus is a bad movie. When all is said and done, Invictus is just another inspirational sports movie. If you don't know what happened, you can still guess that the team will either win, or it will lose, but will still have been an inspiration to the entire country. That being said, go see The Blind Side. It's a better movie, probably because it probably wasn't trying to win an Oscar.

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

No.

Did You Hear About The Morgans? is a stupid movie with a stupid title. My response to the title is "No, what? Who the fuck are the Morgans?" and rightfully so since even in the fictional world the movie takes place in, the Morgan's are nobody. He's a lawyer and she's in real-estate. Who cares what happened to them?

Plus, there really wasn't much to tell. The Morgan's witnessed a murder and entered the Witness Protection program for a week. The whole thing ends so anticlimactically that I was barely aware that the movie was over.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? is such a colossal waste of money on the studios part (and subsequently the part of the suckers who pay money to see it) that I actually think it was irresponsible of the studio to release it in our current economic climate. Fuck it... they shouldn't have made it at all.

Avatar

... really? No, but I'm still gonna say yes.

So here's the skinny. Avatar is visually stunning. A real modern marvel, some phenomenal special effects; it's true movie magic... then the movie goes on for another 2 hours.

It's absolutely shocking to me that people are claiming that James Cameron has changed the face of movies forever and giving the film rave reviews. We fell into this trap before with Cameron and Titanic. I was 'on board' with the 'titanic' buzz about Titanic (see what I did there?) all the way through to it's Oscar wins and it's VHS release (remember that? it was on two video tapes... you had to take out the first tape and put in the second one to see the rest of the movie... I don't think my copy of the first tape ever made it into the VCR). Now when I look back at Titanic, I cringe. The movie really was terrible. The story was barely passable, but the dialogue was horrific. Then the selfish bitch goes and throws that rock into the ocean... WHAT?!?! James Cameron needs to spend more time coming up with an original, plausible story and realistic dialogue, then complement it with dazzling special effects. Not the other way around... with bad writing... like he does.

For instance, if the natives know that we are using avatars to access their tribe and learn about them, why do we need the avatars? Why not just put on gas masks and go down to the planet that way? Do you think it might be a more suspenseful plot if the humans were going to the planet as avatars... undercover to try to infiltrate their clan without the natives knowing that they were human at all? I do. Also... unobtainium? Really? is that 'cause it's really hard to get or is there a scientific reason we're calling it that? Maybe we can send the Vampanese from Cirque du Freak to get the unobtainium for us. Stupid...

Look, I'm going to say that, yes, you should go see Avatar... in 3D... preferably in IMAX (I didn't see it in IMAX, but I'm sure it enhances the experience). But a Golden Globe nomination? Everybody calm down! Give Cameron a Technical award for his wizardry at a ceremony held at a separate location, but let's not overreact... it's very cool to look at for about 30 minutes, tops... but that's about it.

"If I wanted to hear endless nonsense spewed from something good-looking, I'd watch The Tyra Banks Show."
- Matt Pais of Metromix.com

World's Greatest Dad

Yes.

World's Greatest Dad was released in theatres on 8/21/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/8/09.

This movie is wrong on so many levels... in a very good way...

Level 1 - It's written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait... yes it is... yes, he is the guy from the Police Academy movies with the weird voice... no I'm not kidding you... yes, it's a very good movie and I liked it a lot... let it go.

Level 2 - It stars the kid from the Spy Kids movies with the red hair and his character is into strangling himself while jerking off, German Schei├če porn, and likes to watch his neighbor, a 70-something overweight woman when she changes her clothes with the blinds open.

Level 3 - ... actually it's difficult to tell you anymore without giving away a major scene in the movie that, while it said it in the synopsis on the Netflix envelope, I was unaware of and was a really shocked when it happened.

This movie falls in with Very Bad Things as a member of the "So Dark it shouldn't really be called a Comedy Comedy" genre. So if that's your thing, rent World's Greatest Dad.

Shrink

Yes.

Shrink was released in theatres on 7/24/09 and on DVD on 9/29/09.

Shrink is a little film starring Kevin Spacey along with a handful of supporting actors whose faces you'll recognize, but you can never place where you know them from.

It's ultimately uplifting, but it really makes you wade through shit to get there. There're multiple suicides, self-medication, therapy sessions and so on and so forth... I mean, the movie is called Shrink after all. I got the movie from Netflix at the beginning of October and I put off watching it for months just because I thought it would be boring and depressing but I was very pleasantly surprised.

I really liked this movie and if scanning the shelves at blockbuster or adding movies to your queue, Shrink will be worth your while.

Paper Heart

Yes.

Paper Heart was released in theatre on 8/7/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/1/09.

Paper Heart is a strange mixture of documentary and fiction. The film starts out as a documentary in which comedian Charlyne Yi travels cross-country to ask people from different backgrounds to define 'love'. When Charlyne, who has never been in love and who doesn't believe in love, meets fellow performer Michael Cera, sparks begin to fly and the movie transforms into a "documentary" about a girl (Yi) who doesn't believe in love, grappling with emotions that she doesn't understand and the effects her issues have on those around her.

What's super interesting about this film is that Yi and Cera were actually dating at the time (I'm not aware of their current relationship status). Many of the tender moments between the two required little acting, but the awkward moments that (for the most part) dissolve when you really get to know someone are all so natural that you really might think this was an actual documentary if I hadn't ruined the effect for you by telling you that the whole thing was scripted... sorry, by the way.

If you're looking for an interesting, down-to-earth, funny romantic comedy/mock-documentary (or mockumentary as we call it in the biz) give Paper Heart a rent. It'll make you smile.

The Princess and the Frog

... no...

I have to say that I was a little bored. I was expecting the magic of Aladdin, The Little Mermaid... even The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It could never have been as good as Beauty and the Beast, but at least it wasn't as bad as Pocahontas.

Every one of the songs was about living in the bayou/New Orleans or were message songs and none of them seemed to have any influence on the advancement of the plot (like Kiss the Girl and Be Prepared) they were all about things that we already knew (like Colors of the Wind).

This is definitely for little girls, at no point would a boy (young... or 30 years old) have anything to relate to during this movie. I'm happy that Disney is making an effort to go back to their roots, I was hoping their first attempt at "hand-drawn" animation in 5 years would be more significant. It's not. If you have 2-8 year old girls, they are the target audience for this... they might enjoy it more if they're black... otherwise, don't waste your money; any other demographic will just be bored.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Ummm... nah.

Fantastic Mr. Fox has a very strange combination of "family film" animation and not "adult", but definitely "grown-up" humor. You can tell that this is, without a doubt, a Wes Anderson movie from the moment the first image hits the screen.

It's possible that the critics had over hyped this one for me (or it could be that Fantastic Mr. Fox was the final slot in an all-day movie marathon that began at noon and ended at about midnight) because I can't necessarily pick out anything specific that I didn't like about it. Unfortunately, I cant think of anything about the movie that I loved either, so I just can't bring myself to recommend that anyone go out of their way to see it in theatres.

The Road

Yes.

The Road is extremely bleak. It's definitely a drama and it could be set 10 years or so after the events of the movie 2012. The world has pretty much ended and the few survivors have taken to eating each other for sustenance after all of the food/animals have been killed off.

The cannibalism is the only part of the movie that offers any kind of action as the father and his young son who have not (yet) taken to eating people, try to get to to the shore... and for what? Even they don't know. They have a plan and they stick to it, and if it fails... they have a gun with two bullets.

The performances are powerful. Viggo Mortenson gives us an emotional portrayal of a man desperate to provide safety and a life for his young child. Knowing full well that that will never happen, he settles for merely protecting the boy for as long as possible.

Without giving too much away, there isn't much of a resolution... it's not as if, all of a sudden, the flowers are starting to bloom at the end of the film... and as such, The Road is kind of a downer. It is well made, however, with performances that are strong enough for me to recommend the movie.

The Blind Side

Of course, you should see The Blind Side.

The story is fine, the acting is... above average, at most. I was expecting this film to be significantly more emotional and uplifting than it was.

... I honestly can't think of anything else to say... The Blind Side is a well constructed mildly heartwarming biopic, but ultimately it's just another sports movie. Go see it. You won't be disappointed.

Precious

It's impossible to answer.

The performances ALMOST make it an absolute must see. Gabourey Sidibe does a really good job portraying Precious, but the real stars are, believe it or not, Mariah Carey (if only out of pure shock that she didn't destroy the whole movie) and Mo'nique, who (and I never thought I'd say the next phrase in my entire life) 'will most likely win an Oscar' for her portrayal of a woman so evil that she may have a chance of bumping Hannibal Lecter out of the #1 spot on the American Film Institute's Top 100 Movie Villains list.

I spent the majority of the movie with my hand covering my mouth and my bug eyes staring in absolute shock at what I was seeing on the screen. I would be recommending that you see Precious if not for how horrible it was to watch. I wouldn't suggest that anyone sit through that horrific ordeal, except maybe for parents to show their children how good they really have it.

A Christmas Carol

No...

... or yes...

The animation still creeps me out a bit. They've made great advances in the motion capture technique adding weight to the characters and objects as well as a little bit of life to the characters eyes. In Zemeckis' previous motion capture efforts, the animators weren't able to convince me that the characters weren't dead inside.

Disney's version of A Christmas Carol is a well made, perfectly acceptable version of the Dicken's classic. You will LOVE this movie if you're a huge fan of the story and are looking for a new interpretation. The casual movie-goer, however, will most likely be bored with it. The only reason I didn't leave early was because of the 3D effects and some very cool animation.

The Girlfriend Experience

No.

The Girlfriend Experience was released in theatres on 5/22/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 9/29/09.

I'm having a hard time figuring out who Steven Soderbergh is as a filmmaker. I'm pretty sure that he just loves his craft, so much so that he feels the need to be constantly making movies. Over the the past 10 years, Soderbergh has directed 13-14 films with 3 more currently in production for 2010-11. He just doesn't stop. He makes movies when there is no movie to make. If a studio gives him a budget, he comes out with an Ocean's movie or some Oscar bait. If not, he makes Bubble or The Girlfriend Experience.

The Girlfriend Experience is shot like a documentary and is about a woman who is looking to be more than an escort. She has meetings with PR people and managers to try to establish herself as a 'girlfriend for a day'. She seems to genuinely care about you, and is interested in your job and the topics that you want to talk about all for a tremendous amount of money. The conflict in the movie is with her real boyfriend who is trying to move up in the personal training world.

If I saw it on HBO, I would have assumed it was one of their "Real Sex" documentaries. The actors are unknown and the whole movie is filmed with a handheld camera. I quickly became disinterested when I realized that there was no point to it. It's one of those movies for which the first hour is filler because the story is only about 20 minutes long. The running time was about 85 minutes and it felt like 150 minutes.

You've probably never even heard of The Girlfriend Experience, but if you have and you were going to rent it, don't.

Lymelife

No.

Lymelife was released in theatres on 4/8/09 and on DVD and Blu-ray on 9/22/09.

Lymelife takes place on Long Island and is your pretty standard indie film. The only thing that helps it along is the cast. With Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon, Timothy Hutton, Rory and Keiran Culkin and Emma Roberts on board, it's hard not to see it through to the end once you've started watching... soooo... you might want to avoid starting to watch this one.