Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Death At A Funeral (movie review)

Title: Death At A Funeral (2007)

It is a real shame that this is being remade this year. I mean, the movie is barely old enough to stand on its own and it gets remade. I do not want to speak too ill of the remake as I have not seen it yet, but I know from experience that the original is often better than the remake.

And this movie is quite awesome. From the opening credits to the guy falling out of the casket to the midget getting stuffed in the casket, I was constantly laughing while wondering what would go wrong next.

Turns out, the only thing that went wrong with the movie was that it ended. Leave it to the British to come up with a hilarious movie yet again. Sometimes I wonder if I should be living there just to make watching these movies easier.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bell Book and Candle (movie review)

Title: Bell Book and Candle (1958)

Good ol' Jimmy Stewart. I just love his simplistic nature and acting style. Nothing over the top. Nothing shocking. Just simple, home-town goodness.

In this particular movie, we see Stewart and fellow Vertigo star Kim Novak fall in and out of love. Novak plays the witch to Stewart's "average guy." But being such an older movie, very little is done to explore the lifestyle of the witch and warlock underground. We just know they can perform magic, cast spells, and hang out in an underground bar that looks like an early hippie love den.

Not the best of Stewart's movies, that is for sure, but it is good enough to watch if you have time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Surrogates (movie review)

Title: Surrogates (2009)

This movie is certainly no Die Hard or Hudson Hawk.

And it certainly does not replicate either one. Even The Fifth Element is better than this sci-fi snoozer. Yes, you heard me right, this was a boring movie. One that I am glad I picked up on Pay-Per-View instead of DVD.

Now, while it was a slow moving and low on action, the concept of the surrogate was an interesting idea. Not a new idea (just look at that old episode of SeaQuest DSV) but an interesting one. And it is an idea that I would have loved to have explored in more depth. You know, delve into the social ramifications of a surrogate world.

Instead, we got an action movie. That did not have much action. If it had more action, I might have forgotten about the deep thoughts on hoe the human race would be impacted by surrogates and if they should have the same rights as humans. But the action was confined to a few scenes that were, well, mediocre. So I began thinking about the surrogates and if they should have rights.

Anyway, a moderately boring movie that I would recommend only if it is in the bargain bin.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Long Green Line (movie review)

Title: The Long Green Line (2008)

Ahh, the good old days of running cross country in high school. Of course our team was not even close to being that full. In fact, I think we barely had ten runners.

Anyway, this documentary film follows the York High School cross country team through another season of victory. Coach Joe Newton is a solid leader among these boys and he does his best to shape them into young men. And fast runners.

Coach Newton is old school. And old. But he brings that stern fatherly figure to the table that many of the kids need, especially in a sport that is very tough mentally. It may be a team sport, but you are out there running by yourself with only your competitor keeping you company.

Along the way to winning, there were some bumps. Some members were kicked off for various reasons and others were dropped from the top spots based on their performance. Very much like working in the real world.

In the end, this was a mediocre film on how some high school kids excel and other fall. But in the end, it is really about how much effort you put into it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hot Fuzz (movie review)

Title: Hot Fuzz (2007)

Simon Pegg. Nick Frost. A British comedic duo that needs to continue. Forever.

Yes, I have been on this great British comedy theme for some time now and this is yet another installment in that trend. The dynamic duo of Pegg and Frost does not let you down in the bizarre tale of an overachieving police officer in London that gets moved to a rural town because he makes everyone else look bad.

In his new home, he tries to keep up with his previous pace but is continually hitting a wall with the local villagers. And he gets partnered with an underachieving officer. The hilarity increases on pace with the increase in accidents in town. And while Pegg's character thinks he has the killer cornered, he realizes a little too late that the conspiracy is larger than expected.

As I have noticed with many of Pegg's movies, this is a bit bloodier than I would expect from an "American" movie, but it is not nearly as bad as a horror movie. And with all the comedy, I can deal with a little blood. So be sure to check out this installment of the Pegg and Frost comedy team.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Hurt Locker (movie review)

Title: The Hurt Locker (2008)

This movie hurts on a few levels. Namely it just won an Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year. Do not get me wrong, it is a good movie. But not the best.

I did enjoy the action and some of the mental anguish you see the soldiers go through. Not that I enjoyed their anguish, I just enjoyed that it was a glimpse into the realities of war. And I loved that it focused on the EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) group. But it just did not measure up in other ways.

Take the action. Sure it was realistic in some scenes, but it did not carry the weight that other movies did about the seriousness of war. Take Saving Private Ryan or even Band of Brothers. While there is some romanticism of war in each, they are also very grounded in reality. The Hurt Locker did not carry that as well as I would have liked. It was too soft and cozy at times.

The actors did a great job though. They stood out quite well above the plot and the action. The tension between them, the bond between soldiers, everything was there. Even the loss of sanity. Maybe a larger cast would have helped.

In the end, The Hurt Locker was good, but not great. With a plot that had some holes and all the hype that makes you expect a ground-breaking movie, I was disappointed. Even though they are much lighter in their mood, I think you would get more for your money by watching The Devil's Brigade or Memphis Belle.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spirit Of The Marathon (movie review)

Title: Spirit Of The Marathon (2007)

Another running movie that is free on Hulu. Overall, this is more of a documentary film than a movie. It covers some of the history of the marathon, how it came to be, what role it played in the Olympics, and how women were treated early on.

But it just barely touches on all of these interesting facts. Instead it focuses on some of the current names in marathon history and follows a few runners through their first time in a marathon. It does a decent job in motivating you to run and even makes you consider attempting a marathon.

Living up to the title, it goes into the "spirit" that is behind the race and the "spirit" that is needed to run the race. I just wish it covered more of the history of the sport.

So while it was disappointing in its content and scope, the story of the new runners, the camaraderie they share, and the skills of the elite runners make this an easy documentary to watch.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Big Nothing (movie review)

Title: Big Nothing (2006)

Lately I have been on a HUGE British comedy kick thanks to my pal in New Jersey, Pabba. It initially started with his suggestion to watch a British TV show, Black Books. From there, I went to Spaced and The Book Group. All of which got me hooked on the wonderful acting ability of Simon Pegg. Which brings us to our movie review today.

Big Nothing stars Simon Pegg and David Schwimmer, both talented comedic actors. The premise is fairly simple, but hte twists and turns leave you laughing and jumping at the same time. There is clearly a lot of violence, but nothing as terrible as a horror movie. In fact, most of the deaths are hilarious or shocking or both.

Pegg and Schwimmer and Alice Eve team up to commit a simple crime. A simple crime that goes wrong from the start. Then it gets worse. And worse. And, well, you get the idea. Needless to say, things do not turn out as you would expect them to. And that is what makes this such a fun movie to watch.

Stay tuned for more reviews with Pegg as I cannot wait to watch some of his back list of movies. In the meantime, you can watch Big Nothing on Hulu for free (while it lasts).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Mist (movie review)

Title: The Mist (2007)

I am by no means a Stephen King fan, nor a horror movie fan. So it felt very odd in not only recording this movie, but also watching it. But I survived the movie. Unlike most of the characters.

And the characters were great. They were "real life" examples of a wide variety of people. When placed under dire circumstances, some people stand up to the pressure while others crack. In this case, we have a mysterious fog that descends from a secret military experiment. We do not see what is in the fog right away, but soon enough we see the blood and guts of the stereotypical horror movie. And the writhing tentacle of some mysterious monster to go along with it.

And with that amount of blood, there were several times I had to stop watching the movie and switch to something more light-hearted. Despite the bloody mess and scary beasts this movie had, I was continually brought back to the movie by the characters. They were great. Flawed most certainly, but easy to relate to on so many different levels.

Until the end. And this is where I was seriously depressed and pissed off. Not just because of the ending, but also because of the choice made by the main character. I know it was done in an effort to show the futility of life or something like that, but sheesh. No thanks. And that is why I do not enjoy King and his work. Something too depressing and scary about his stuff that makes it almost as bad as Elie Wiesel's Night.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hart's War (movie review)

Title: Hart's War (2002)

This is no Stalag 17. Or a Great Escape. In fact, this movie is barely a movie worth watching. We see Bruce Willis do his best to act in a serious role while spending most of his time on camera with an expression that looks like he is about to bust out laughing. Not that Bruce Willis cannot act, because there are plenty of other movies where he performs miles above the rest of the cast. Hell, he was even better in Friends than in this movie.

Aside from Willis turning in a poor performance, we have a decent supporting cast. Most are names that are easily missed, with one exception. Jonathan Brandis. Yes, the star of one of my favorite television shows, SeaQuest DSV. But his scenes were cut from the film. And the rumor is that was his reason for committing suicide. Was it the real reason? We may never know. But if his performance was like many of the others in the supporting cast, he may well have had a chance at restarting his career.

The plot of the movie is a bit lame. A POW is murdered, a black airman is charged with his death, and the rest of the POWs are out to convict him for the crime he did not commit. From there, the rest of the story is predictable. Even before the trial begins, a good skeptic will know who committed the crime.

So in the end, the movie was okay. Certainly worth watching if you can catch it for free (like I did), but not worth buying on DVD.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Technical Difficulties

We recently experienced an outage of one of our external hard drives. While we work to repair the issue and restore our lost data, we will need to take a short hiatus. In the mean time, please feel free to browse through some of our older posts.