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Movie Review : Snakes on a plane – Believe it, it’s all true.

Posted by topofmind on August 25, 2006

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If you believe everything you have heard of this movie, then don’t go see it, because what you have heard and believed second-hand will be confirmed. Don’t wast your $ 12 or whatever you pay for movies in your area. Go see Lake House or an art house movie, you will probably enjoy it more.

But if you are interested in seeing a movie that makes no bones about what it is all about, then maybe, maybe this movie is for you. From the laughable simplistic and honest title, you already know what there is to know about the movie.

You don’t need to know any other character than Samuel L Jackson’s FBI agent Nelville Flynn, you don’t need to know about the guy who witnessed a crime implicating a dangerous criminal, you don’t need to know about the “your booty goes twang,” rapper and his two bodyguards, the two honeymooners, the obnoxious business traveller or the two little kids travelling on their own. You don’t need to know about anyone, OK maybe Julianna Margulies because, she is Julianna Margulies.

And you definitely don’t have to know about the plot.

But what you will see are lots and lots of snakes, and how these lots and lots of snakes will gruesomely kill these passengers. There are big snakes, black snakes, black and red snakes, small snakes, snakes that fight with each other, snakes that kill a cat, snakes that bite the breasts, snakes that bite the heavily made up fat women, snakes that bite a guys dick, snakes that spit venom, snakes that bite the lips of a women, snakes that come out of the toilet, snakes that come out of the oxygen mask containers, snakes that fall down from the light fixtures, snakes that come out of a hand bag, snakes that jump out of an airsickness bag, snakes that bite a little boy, snakes that bite the fat ass of a man, snakes that eat the ugly little dog, snakes that eat the fat obnoxious business man – well I hope I am not giving too much away, but you get the idea. Naming the movie, anything other than Snakes on a plane would have been a mistake.

As for the oft repeated line about mofo snakes and mofo planes, I expected the movie to be laced with swear words, but there was only one other instance of the F word. For a movie that is totally unrestrained, it was almost shocking in it’s lack of swear words. Anyone remember David Fincher’s Alien 3?

I have not had the creeps in a movie since I last watched “Nightmare on Elms Street,” but this movie made me cringe and gave me goosebumps during the extended, extremely graphic sequence that you could call the Snake Attack. For that, it was worth it and I was extremely entertained in a sick sort of way.

You walk into Taco Bell and order a $ 2.99 Burrito, you know what you gonna get. Same here, go see the movie, knowing full well what you gonna get, and you just might be entertained. Oh and by the way, don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

Now here is an honest look at the movie. Samuel Jackson on the Daily Show.

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Movie Review : My visit to “The Lake House.”

Posted by topofmind on August 19, 2006

505138the-lake-house-posters.jpg Reeves and Bullock had good chemistry in Speed, and that more than anything made me go. Of course the premise was interesting as well.

The plot is classic; it is all about two lonely people desperately trying to connect in a world that they cannot control, and there are external forces that are keeping them apart. You cannot get a more angst ridden, oft-used love-story than that. But the twist here is that Kate is in 2006 while Alex is in 2004 – and the only thing that connects them is the post box at the said Lake House.

I got to say upfront that, if the possibility of time-travel/connection bothers you , don’t see this movie because it will continue to bug you as you go deeper into the movie, not that they make a big deal out of it. My suggestion is just to go with the flow, accept that reality, then you will enjoy the movie.

Loneliness as a theme runs throughout the movie. The two key locations, the Lake House and Chicago are beautiful in their own way, yet lonely places. Both Kate and Alex form relationship with their colleagues, boyfriends, brothers, fathers yet they are all somewhat distant, never really connecting.

But somehow, as Alex asks early on in the movie “Could this be happening?,” they manage to get in touch with each other through the post box at the Lake House and somehow they connect. They start exchanging mail about what their favorite thing to do to the sharing of their daily routines – a dialog of sort forms through time.

Through coincidence they somehow manage to meet, Kate not knowing who Alex was, while Alex, who knew who he was talking to, couldn’t bring himself to tell her of their future connection. “Coward,” she called him as they have their first fight, and in trying to make amends, Alex asks her to meet her at a place. A date. Tomorrow for Kate, two years in the future for Alex.

So Kate goes and waits, and waits and waits, yet Alex never really shows up, and since we are going into spoiler territory I will stop here.

While both have aged somewhat since we last saw them together, both Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock play their roles well, Christopher Plummer makes an appearance as Reeves estranged father. The dialog, is also just right – never really over or under.

It is a still movie, things move slow, but the plot engages straight from the beginning. But slow is fine here because you know that you have entered a magical realm of sorts and you don’t want the magic to end. In other ways it is quite a suspenseful movie because you want these two lonely characters to come together, to meet, to connect with each other.

Then ultimately you want to know if they will somehow manage to be together; which brings me to the ending. I guess that it has to end somehow, but I felt that they took the easy way out of the whole thing. The impact could have been greater if they had ended it the other way. But then that is just me.

Other than the quibble I have with the way this beautiful movie ended, I have to say that I enjoyed the movie. It is not necessarily a date movie, but for those who have lived on their own for some time, the movie will resonate.

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Owen Wilson does – You, Me and Dupree

Posted by topofmind on August 12, 2006

you-me-and-dupree-posters.jpg There are movies that should be made, and then there are movies that shouldn’t. I went to see the latest Owen Wilson fare with little to no expectations, and came back pleasantly surprised – not much, but it was enjoyable.

Now if you have seen most of Owen Wilson’s other movies, he plays the “lovable f@#k up,” that he has played in so many other of his movies, so nothing really new there. As much as I liked it earlier in his career in Shanghai Noon to Wedding Crashers it is getting old by now.

It is obvious that he can play other type of characters like he did in Behind Enemy Lines. I mean the writers must have had him in mind when they had him say that he was a “lovable f@#k up,” during one of the emotional scenes. Admittedly they needed such a character and they found the perfect fit in Wilson. While he was doing the same old thing here, there were some genuinely funny moments in You, me and Dupree.

The plot revolves around how such a lovable f@#k up crashes the newly wed life of Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson with hilarious results, then things go downhill, tears are shed, hurtful words are said, and an un-necessary chase ensues, and the marriage nearly breaks up. But in the end, Dupree manages to fix it all – and finds his calling in life. I doubt that I am giving too much away of this formulaic plot.

Having just said that there are some quite humorous lines and scenes in the movie – especially when Dupree had just moves in. Then there is a pretty funny discussion between Michael Douglas who plays the father-in-law and Matt Dillion about hyphenating Dillion’s character’s name, or the one with the vasectomy. And I found myself laughing out loud along with the rest of the audience in the theater in such scenes. And yes, there was an un-necessary scene with Hudson in heels and a bikini and Lance Armstrong (don’t ask)..

Matt Dillion played the emotionally repressed Carl who is losing his “Carlness.” Not a great performance, but it works. Kate Hudson plays the smart school teacher who works with inner city kids – come on!! can’t there be other nice professions that a women can have in these romantic comedy movies?

But the most notable performance came from Michael Douglas who plays Carl’s pushy father-in-law, who thinks Carl is a wuss; only because he was just reading his lines here. While I am a fan of Douglas, he was bought in for no other purpose than his star-power.

Don’t expect intricate plot lines, don’t expect great character development, but expect to see some genuinely funny moments, competent actors playing shallow characters and a movie that just allows you to tune off the world for about 90 minutes, then you got your movie right here.

There are movies that should be made, and then there are movies that shouldn’t. This movie falls somewhere in-between – if they didn’t make it, no one would have missed, but now that they have – give it a try, you just might come back, unexpectedly entertained.

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Movie Review : Miami Vice

Posted by topofmind on July 28, 2006

miamiviceposter.jpg I never really watched Miami Vice on TV, heard a lot about it, but was busy watching other shows, so this is where my review is coming from.

Why they wanted to call this movie Miami Vice is beyond me, it could have easily been called Another Kick Ass Movie From Michael Man and I would have been perfectly happy with it. Make no mistake, this is Michael Man through and through, and it is all good.

If Collateral appealed to you in any shape or form, then you will like this. It has shades of Collateral throughout the movie, especially with it’s grainy, monocromatic look and feel. Unfortunately it is missing Collateral’s dramatic tension – where you are really rooting for the Tom Cruise character, but feel that you shouldn’t. That kept that movie going.

Miami Vice on the other hand almost plays out like a TV show where the cop goes undercover, falls for the wrong women and at the end .. I will not spoil it, but if you are familiar with the undercover cop formula, then you can guess how it ended.

But then that is not why we go and see Michael Man’s movies, is it? We go there for the cool action scenes, the shoot-outs look realistically nasty and noisy, we go there for the perfectly framed shots – Sonny in the background, on a speedboat, hair streaming, Rico, in the foreground looking worried, another scene – close up of Jamie Foxx’s face as he is caught in a standoff where his girlfriend is being held, a panoramic shot of the Miami skyline at dusk. Visually it is as distinctive as Collateral was, although the tone and manner is not as consistent.

Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx do their thing and they do it well. They are believable as Crockett and Tubbs, but the only problem I had was how their characters were too similar. Both can be bad asses when they want to be, and be Mr. Sensitive the next, but there was noting that really differentiated the Crokett and Tubbs characters..not in a tangible way that is.

Gong Li, despite her previous work was spectacularly, unspectacular. Perhaps because she was playing against Farrell, or perhaps the way her character was written. She does add some color, so to speak, but that was all she did. And somehow the chemistry was missing between the her character and Crockett despite the screen time.

Another quibble; somehow the bad guys don’t seem that bad, perhaps they were a bit too understated!! SO yes, there are things that bother me, but overall I enjoyed it.

Ultimately is it worth seeing? Fans of Collateral should not miss it, fans of good action movies should not miss it either. Let me put it this way, of all the summer’s movies, this is the one with the attitude, and for that it is worth seeing.

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Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest Reviewed

Posted by topofmind on July 9, 2006

If you liked the first one, then you should see it. If you enjoyed the character of Jack Sparrow – excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow, then it is a must.

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In some ways this is “just” another pirate movie – with buried treasure, dastardly pirates, ship-to-ship battles, mysterious strangers and spectacular swordfights. But this movie is so much more because of the different but really cool characters that inhibit the movie.

There are some returning characters and we find out so much more about them in this movie. They are as compelling – which makes us want to see the third movie, simply because we want to know more about them, what happens to them.

Captain Jack Sparrow : Depp does it again and this time it’s better. Because this time he gets to expend his character – he is still the quirky character from the first one, but you now see some dept to him. In the first one we always get the impression that he can be a “good man” but in this movie we see more evidence of that. But I do have to say that making “Jack” into a “good man,” might not be a good idea. We loved him in the first movie because he was such a scoundrel. Besides, in this one, we get to see some really evil characters and I am not referring to Davy Jones either. Either way Depp delivers and we look forward to having his character on the screen.

Elizabeth Swann : What can I say about Knightley that hasn’t been said before. She gets don breeches and gets to kick some dead-pirate butt. While I wish there was more, in a movie filled with interesting characters, she got some good screen time and mostly at the right moments.

Will Turner : Bloom also does his character well, but he is overshadowed by the other characters, especially the other male leads. But we learn some interesting things about him also and can look forward to whether he gets to keep his promises that he made in this movie.

Davy Jones & His Crew : The effects are well done and Jones and his crew are totally believable. If you think that the “Black Pearl” was cool the “Flying Dutchman,” is awesome.

There are other returning characters – some expected, and well loved, others unexpected and still well loved. The actions scenes are also well done and can be quite amusing. But you have to see them for yourself.

The movie, obviously sets it self up for the next movie and it does have a cliff hanger. We do want to know what happens next, but that is will not be the only reason that will bring us back to the cinema when the third movie comes out. Kinda like “I am your Father,” type of cliff hanger, we want to know if it is true, but we also want to know what happens to Han, Leia, etc..

Pirates is a very different type of movie from Superman Returns, but it gives you plenty of action, laughs and interesting characters to keep you amused for the rest of summer.

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Superman Returns on IMAX 3D

Posted by topofmind on June 29, 2006

Glorious 3DJust saw Superman Returns at IMAX 3D. Let me say that whether you are a fan of superhero movies, or adventure movies, you should go see it. If you have IMAX 3D in your area, drop everything you are doing – including reading this review, and see it now.Glorious 3D

Singer manages to bring back the magic of seeing the first movie. While I have seen a lot of different “wow” movies since then, I still felt goose-bumps when the opening credits rolled with John Williams theme. Yes, the theme has been redone for Return, but the opening was essentially the same. The end credits also ends the same as the first movie – except without Superman looking into the camera and waving/winking.

Daily Planet – while I haven’t seen the first movie in years, strongly reminds me of the first move – along with that rotating door into the building, where Clark Kent is always getting stuck/bumping into the door.

Jimmy Olsen is even more Jimmy Olsen than the one in he first one. Although the Olsen bit was overdone, I liked it.

Lois Lane. Well, all I can say is that Kate Bosworth is definitely not Margot Kidder in how she plays Lane. Somehow she didn’t feel like Lois Lane (even Terry Hatcher’s Lane feels like Lane) if that makes sense. She is more of a prettified Lane, but the spunk that Margot Kidder or even terry Hatcher showed as Lane is missing entirely. It’s almost like casting for Katie Holmes in Batman Begins – just doesn’t work.

Clark Kent/Superman. Because Brandon Routh spookily and strongly resembles Christopher Reeve, it made me feel that I really am watching Superman 3. I almost expected to see Margot Kidder opposite Routh in the movie. In fact he plays Clark Kent better than he plays Superman. While I think that Singer overdid the extreme close-up of Routh’s heavily pan-caked face, I am still reminded of Reeve. I guess that is a good thing.

Lex Luthor. I am a big fan of Kevin Spacy, he had some good moments in the film – like the very first time he takes off his wig and hands it to a little scared girl, but such moments a few and far between. They could have written Luthor better.

The Plot. Make no mistake about it, it is a chick flick, cleverly dressed up as an action adventure movie. The whole movie revolves around the different relationships – the one between Kent and Lane, Superman and Lane, Lane and her son and Richard, and the love triangle. There is a bit of a surprise late into the movie, although I kinda expected it from the trailers, which will (when there is a new Superman movie) bring a whole new side to Superman/Clark Kent.

3D IMAX

So how was the overall experience? Because it was IMAX, visually it was stunning – everything was BIGGGGG, I mean, I have to turn my head around to take in some panoramic scenes – Metropolis, the Kent Farm etc.. and it was good, all good. Sound was great as well – both, of course, are expected at an IMAX.

Now here is the thing on the 3D part. Only some select scenes are rendered in 3D and generally they picked the right ones. I only wish they had picked the opening credit – where Krypton explodes. The “put on the 3D glasses” is a bit distracting as I keep wondering if I should put it on now or not. They have discrete, but easily visible “put the darn things on” sign flash seconds before the scene begins, which cues you to it.

While the 3D added to the overall movie, some fast cutting scenes were a bit confusing – don’t know if it was my glasses, or they were not positioned properly or the sync was off, things get a bit blurry when a lot of elements are on the screen – especially at the first one at Kent’s Farm where Clark, as a young teen, was running through the field. Other than that, it was a good experience that added to the overall movie.

Conclusion : This is perfect summer movie to see, not too heavy, not too light, with just the right amount of action, romance and wow.

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