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Ghost Rider (2007)
No Boo Here
Johnny Blaze (Cage) sells his soul to the devil (Fonda) to help his father and his girl friend (Mendez)
The Ghost Rider is based upon a Marvel Comic character. I never read that one.
This production was very good as far as the CGI went and some auto stunts as well. Nicolas Cage is one of the actors I really enjoy watching, the others being Jack Palance, Patrick McGoohan, and sometimes Jack Nicholson. But, on the whole, there was a big letdown for me.
The movie started too slow with too much time spent on Johnny Blaze's youth before he became the Ghost Rider. The dialogue here suffered too between Johnny and his father (Bret Cullen) and Johnny and Roxanne (Mendez) and Johhny and the Devil (Fonda). Hope they didn't use the dialogue from the comics. In comics the dialogue works, but to actually say the lines in a movie ..well, they don't always translate well. OK, forget the Batman comic, TV dialogue.
There was too much watching Ghost Rider with head, arms, legs and bike all aflame. That was okay, but I came to see Nicolas Cage one of the actors I really enjoy watching. When Cage did appear without flames he didn't disappoint. He is always good.
The rest of the cast were fine, stilted dialogue and all. Can't blame them, but the director should have upgraded conversations to present-day give and take. The best dialogue was between adult Johnny Blaze (Cage) and Sam Elliott, the caretaker (of the cemetery). Someone forgot to tell Peter Fonda that this wasn't a play and a little too much soliloquy crept into his lines, but I am being picky here. He was fine. Not often that we see him.
The cops treated the Ghost Rider as Public Enemy Number One and we really didn't see an acknowledgement that the cops realized Ghost Rider was one of the good guys. Maybe Ghost Rider II, eh? And, I do hope Nicolas Cage plays the part again because, as noted, he is one of the actors I really enjoy watching.
Violence: Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language:No
Seraphim Falls (2006)
Good Western. Keeps your Interest
Something happened at Seraphim Falls and that is the reason Carver (Neeson) has been chasing and trying his best to kill Gideon (Brosnan).
It is not often you watch a movie and do not know who the good guy or the bad guy is. This movie goes on for such a time without telling you that you are left to wonder: are Carver and Gideon both good guys? Well, one is constantly shooting bullets and one is dodging those bullets and this goes on for quite a while and still we don't know who the good guy is. So it keeps your interest.
Good performances by all, not just Neeson and Brosnan, who were perfect. I couldn't help thinking that Brosnan's role of Gideon could have been played by Dennis Quaid because he looked like Dennis Quaid for most of the movie. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it was the beard.
The cinematography was very good as were the stunts and no CGI here. The stunts looked real. The dialogue suffered in places but that was just so we in the audience were not to know what was really happening in the story until the end. So it keeps your interest. It's annoying, but it does keep one glued to the seat and questioning everything.
Two things I found wrong. One: Angelica Houston's snake oil sales woman with wagon in the desert and the Indian at the Spring were totally wrong. If hallucinations were meant, they were out of place. The dialogue here really suffered and it wasn't so that the audience was still to be kept in the dark. The movie could have been shortened without losing anything if those scenes were cut out. And, two: I have learned enough from Louis Lamour novels to know that if nothing grows next to a Spring in the desert, it is probably poisoned. Nothing was growing near that Spring where the Indian sat. Yet both Carver and Gideon drank from that spring and lived. Hmmmm.....
There is something else that bothered me. None of the characters seemed concerned that the horses weren't given anything to drink in the desert. They, of course, drank generously, from their canteens, but the horses were not considered. Nothing for the horses. A Louis Lamour character would never let the horse suffer like that.
Aside from my misgivings, I did think the movie was good and entertaining. Now, who was the good guy? I'll never tell.
Violence:Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: only a couple SOBs and GDs
The Queen (2006)
First Class all the Way
The Queen Queen Elizabeth II, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen
First Class all the Way
Queen Elizabeth takes too long acknowledging Princess Diana's death in 1997 to the point some are talking about abolishing the monarchy in England. Oh, oh, this can't be good.
(Bob, you put Queen Elizabeth down as one of the actors) --Yeah, so? She did a good job-- (Yes, but Helen Mirren played the part of the Queen) --You sure? She was really believable, awfully good
Any time Inquiring minds can take a peek into the lives of the monarchy in England, we and the rest of the world are there. We want to see how the other half lives, the half that we can never be and have no real interest in becoming. We want to see how they break their bread at the table, what they consider when they dress themselves, and, yes, what they think of the rest of the world.
This movie could be considered embarrassing to the English monarchy. Why did the Royals wait so long to see they were making a huge mistake in not showing the proper timely grief in Diana's death? It could have cost them the monarchy had they not given in to Tony Blair's (Sheen) suggestions. We shall never know. But, could it be that they knew something we can never know for sure? Was the whole story told here? There are some reports that Diana was never in that car with Dodi Fayed and that it was someone else, a decoy. Okay, enough conspiracy.
After the Oscars for which Helen Mirren won the Award for Best Actress, she told one interviewer that she was to have a meeting with Queen Elizabeth. My question is who will emerge from that meeting to the point no one will notice who the real Queen is? Now, that would be a movie.
And, when they do meet I am sure they will laugh out loud together regarding Mrs. Blair's curtesy. It was described to the Queen as "lame" and when you see it and also see the Queen's reaction to it, you will laugh as I did. I am still laughing.
The whole production was first class. The performances by all were simply outstanding.
But, since we peered in, what other things did we learn about Queen Elizabeth? She was a mechanic after WWII; she keeps a diary; she drives vehicles around her property without security guards; she wears glasses that are too big for her face; she is called "cabbage" by Prince Phillip; and despite how she acts before her people, she is most loved and always forgiven.
Another thing I learned was that performances by the British about the British should have their own Oscar category. To put them in the same ring with US gangsters, cowboys, businessmen, etc, just doesn't do the British justice, but they will win almost every time. We don't stand a chance.
(So you liked the movie and Helen Mirren's performance?) --Yes, but are you sure Queen Elizabeth didn't play herself in this? Wonder what is in that diary?--
Violence: No, Sex:No, Nudity: No, Language: Yes, Mrs. Blair (Helen McCrory utters one F-bomb)
Night at the Museum (2006)
Larry Daley (Stiller) is down on his luck and needs a job. He takes a job at the museum as a Night Watchman and has no idea that the exhibits in the museum literally come to life each night.
The Promos kind of ruined it for me. There were too many of them and they appeared too often. Oh, they were good as Stiller has the timing thing down. In some ways he is reminiscent of the old time comedians who could do a certain thing over and over again and each time you watch it you would laugh. That is because they had timing and it never got old. The problem here was the promos were the best part of the movie and there was no real surprise when you saw them again in the movie. Yes, they were still funny and the rest of the movie was okay, but there were no real belly laughs. I kind of expected more. And, there were no really good lines.
I hate to say this but the dialogue was too predictable. I mean if I knew what a character was going to say before he/she said it, then it is too predictable and not worthy.
The CGI was fantastic, and the best scenes were with Larry and the T-Rex. No matter, kids will love all of it.
One thing I really liked about the movie was the star-studded cast. It was nice to see Dick Van Dyke, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Mickey Rooney (he's still alive?), you only hear Brad Garrett's voice, and Anne Meara all having a supportive role. And, BTW Anne Meara, who played Debbie, the Employment Counselor is, in real life, Ben Stiller's mother.
All in all this is watchable and good family fun but it is mostly for the kids. They will feel good at the end of it.
Violence: Not really, Sex:No, Nudity: No, Language: No
Deja Vu (2006)
Solid All Around
ATF Agent Doug Carlin (Washington) gets called in by a secret government agency to help out in the bombing of a ferry boat with 500+ passengers aboard in New Orleans.
There is something to be said about a Denzel Washington movie: it never disappoints.
When you watch a movie you want the beginning of it to really capture your attention and this one does that. Fantastic scenes is all I can say. Kind of unbelievable too.
The secret gov't agency Task Force Leader, Pryzwarra, (Kilmer) has some new toys to help catch criminals and it involves time-shifting technology that allows looking 4-days into the past into any area via the use of triangulations of digital satellite imagery. That's as far as I am going to go with that technology as it does become complicated, but extremely interesting to watch. This is a thriller of the highest order, and there is no way you will figure out the twist at the end.
Performances all around are outstanding. And, yes, Paula Patton does indeed resemble Halle Berry, who is now the standard for beautiful black actresses. The cinematography is also outstanding, and the dialogue is believable.
You know, I have this feeling that I wrote this review before Hmmmm .. You know, I have this feeling that I wrote this review before Hmmmm ..
Violence: Yes, Sex, No, Nudity: Partial, but in a darkened scene. Can't see much. Language: No
The Last King of Scotland (2006)
It Was Okay
Scotsman Dr. Nicholas Garrigan (McAvoy) graduates from school and decides to make Uganda his first practice. He is befriended by Idi Amin (Whitaker) who makes him is personal doctor.
I remember reading things about Idi Amin when I was working overseas and the movie hardly touches on the brutality this man was capable of. And, through the eyes of Dr. Garrigan, the movie touches on Amin's violent mood swings, but doesn't go far enough. He almost becomes likable and I hope that wasn't the intention.
Looking back on it there is probably no one better to portray Idi Amin than Forest Whitaker. He did a good job and was rewarded with an Oscar Nomination for Best Actor. The rest of the cast and crew were very good too, and James McAvoy could have copped the Best Supporting Actor Award, but no one thought of him. Too bad as he was the barometer we gauged Amin by and he performed exceptionally well. Too bad no one thought of him.
Now, what does all this have to do with the title of The Last King of Scotland? Idi Amin liked Scotland and it's people and referred to himself that way at times. Nothing has been given away and the movie is worth seeing to catch a glimpse of what this evil man was about. And, again, the movie hardly touches on his brutality, and the director wanted you to get some sleep at night after seeing it.
Violence:Yes, Sex: Yes, Nudity: Yes, Language: Yes
This is the story of some hotel workers and some guests leading up to the moment that Bobby Kennedy is shot on that fateful day by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in California.
This is impressive. I thought I was going to see the same type scenario regarding Bobby Kennedy's last moments on that fateful day. I was not prepared for the angle the director (Emilio Estavez) took and was pleasantly surprised. I am going to assume that research was done regarding those hotel workers and guests and what they were involved in that day prior to Kennedy coming to the hotel, but if not, it doesn't matter what was true and what was not true. But the stories were probably true. Well, some of them anyway. Doesn't matter.
The editing is superb mixing the film with real footage of Kennedy at different campaign stops including the Ambassador Hotel. This editing, especially at the close of the movie, is something to see. You would think Kennedy was shot at the end of the movie during the making of the movie. That's how good it was.
In flashbacks you do hear Kennedy on various topics, the Viet Nam War, the closing of coal mines, and what he thinks we can do as a country to get the United States moving again. But, these flashbacks are short and quick and to the point. It's the stories of the workers and some guests that carry you to the final moments, and nothing is belabored here with many quick scenes and the movie never drags. Early on in the movie, it becomes clear to you why you are seeing what you are seeing and what will happen later on. Still, when the shots are fired you are not prepared.
The list of actors in here is impressive too and a good job was done by all. This is the kind of movie the stars would probably pay to be in. Okay, just a thought.
Violence:Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: Yes
The Good Shepherd (2006)
Long and Boring
Edward Wilson (Damon) is a career CIA agent who is trying to unravel the mystery of who caused the Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba to fail. The story goes loosely into the beginnings of the CIA as well and some Russian defections.
This movie reminded me of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. That, to me, was long and boring too, but admittedly, a better told story on film. I think for viewing future spy movies we should be equipped with the Green Night Vision Glasses and one of those large hearing discs along with earphones. Too much in this movie was in staged in dark, shadowy areas; and too much of this movie was barely audible due to "well, you know, we have to talk softly so others can't hear." The Director didn't let the audience hear too much as we might endanger national security. I gave up rewinding the DVD to determine what was going on at times.
The acting was dead-pan all around except for a couple outbursts by Wilson's wife, Margaret (Jolie), and she was totally underutilized. Where is Laura Croft when you need her? This could have used some humor too.
I need to explain something. It is my understanding that the Wilson character was based on a real live CIA agent, who actually, was the way Matt Damon played him in the movie. So we can forgive the dead-pan portrayal by Matt Damon as he was doing the right thing. That doesn't forgive the rest of the cast or the director who needed to put some life into this. I mean we can't have Angelina doing an outburst too often.
You know, if truth be told, being a Good Shepherd is a long and boring job too.
Violence:Yes, Sex: Yes, dark scenes but you know what was going on. Nudity : No, too dark to see anything Language:Yes, there was some, not much
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
This is a must see
This is based on a true story. Chris Gardner (Smith) has a hard time selling bone density machines to doctors and hospitals and looks for another way to help his family. He takes an internship at Dean Witter, a prominent brokerage firm. Problem is the internship pays no salary and he must prove himself for 6-months and still there is no guarantee of a salaried job.
This is a not an easy movie to watch. No other way to say it. No matter what events are true or embellished by Hollywood theatrics, Chris Gardner had it extremely tough. Obstacle after obstacle is thrown in his path and yet he knows giving up is not an option.
This could have turned into a real sappy mess, but it didn't. You get caught up in Chris' drive to succeed and along the way there is some humor to blunt the adversities that come his way. And, it was this humor that helped us believe that Chris might make it, but we kept asking when will this turn around for him as so much is thrown his way. He keeps asking his son to trust him and his 5-year old son always complies in the affirmative. I think many men would have given up or done something different, but Chris Gardner had something he could count on and he knew it. He had a talent. He was good with people and with numbers and for him that had to work in his favor.
Will Smith and his real life son, Jaden Christopher Smith, make this a memorable movie. The performance by Will Smith is Oscar caliber and he was nominated for Best Actor in this movie. The rest of the cast performed well, but it is Will Smith, who alone, makes this work.
Violence:No, Sex: No, Nudity: NO, Language: No
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Quite Good (little did I know)
IRS tax auditor, Harold Crick (Ferrell) is a character in a story being written by author Kay Eiffel (Thompson), but he can hear Kay's voice telling him, in the third person, what he has already done since he got up in the morning. We assume that, as Kay speaks, she is typing as well. All gets worse when Kay lets slip that she is looking for a way to kill off Harold Crick in the novel. Harold hears this and is now more than worried. Who wouldn't be?
Little did I know that I would ever be praising a Will Ferrell movie, but that is exactly what I am doing. Finally, he is doing what he should be doing and that is acting in a dramatic role (selling cars was my second choice for him). His performance is perfect. There I said it.
Dustin Hoffman, as a literary analyst, is always good in his dead-pan way. Emma Thompson shines as the author, who constantly searches for a way to end her novel and the life of (gulp!) Harold Crick; and Queen Latifah, does a good, but understated, job as a literary enforcer trying to get Kay to finish the novel for the publisher. But, we fell in love with a baker: Maggie Gyllenhaal almost at first sight and Harold falls for her too and doesn't want to die. We just hope her tattoo's are washable.
Yes, there are some laughs in here - very subtle ones - but nothing memorable to write about. And, "little did I know" is a clever catch phrase in the story and you will see how it's tied in.
This movie should win, hands down, for Original Screenplay and writers and authors will take note and understand the concept of parallel universes which would offer an infinite number of events. So be on the lookout for copycat writers using a mix between fictional characters in a story and real people. To analyze this any further would get us into time travel, chicken or the egg well you get the idea. We should get some interesting reading and maybe a movie or two.
Actually, I did know that Will Ferrell would be good in a dramatic role. I have always said that. An Oscar nomination for him? Um, maybe. Will I get a finder's fee? Hmmmm Probably not.
Violence: No, Sex: No, Nudity: Yes, backsides only as characters pass within a men's shower on the way to the swimming pool, Language: Yes, I think I heard Hoffman drop an F Bomb
Children of Men (2006)
The year is 2027 and man has not procreated for the last 18-years when a virus or plague caused this condition in everyone worldwide. Well, that is until this movie. The movie opens with the news that the youngest living person on the planet has just died and he was 18-years old. Theo (Owen) takes on the responsibility of taking a pregnant Kee (Ashitey) to her people (shhhhh, no one knows she is with child). Yes, this is all about hope.
If you haven't had nightmares since you were a kid, you can get reacquainted with them thru this movie. One shouldn't go from watching a movie where a whole country goes killing-mad (Blood Diamond) to another movie (this one) where all of England goes killing-mad. It's a nightmare. Theo and Kee are constantly dodging bullets, bombs and rocket grenades thru some of the most desolate and bombed out towns and cities one could only conjure up in a nightmare. So I guess it's safe to say the cinematography is really good?
What we have here is this: someone took a short story and made a long movie out of it. Plus to confuse us, they decided to make everyone speak English, you know, from London Town and the only ones we could understand, for the most part, were Michael Caine and Owen. Okay, we understood Kee as she was clear as a bell with no accent. However, I think, in the future, for "English" type movies that Michael Caine should play all the parts so we can understand what the heck was said. When the director views the movie before the editors get it, can't he tell no one can understand much of the dialogue? The problem is that he knows the lines and anything close will pass. What a guy.
Maybe the movie should have been titled The Great Escape (already taken) because 95% of the movie is Theo and Kee running trying to get Kee to safety and no one can be trusted. I don't call dodging bullets acting, but that's not being fair as there was some good stuff in here by Moore, Caine, and Owen. Except for not hearing clearly (maybe it's me) the acting by the entire cast was fine. And, the dogs and chickens performed well too. My problem is that the whole movie reeks of a nightmare no one should have or even live thru in a conscious state. I hope they didn't waste color film on this because everything I saw was black and white. Ooops, the police car lights were blinking blue come to think of it.
So if you can console yourself that it all about hope you might enjoy this movie. But, it is brutal in the telling, so you are warned. And, as a thriller, it's pretty good too. However, I need to pick up some of those almost-comedic comedies.
Violence: Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: Yes, Language: Yes
Blood Diamond (2006)
Should have won the Oscar for Best Picture
Solomon (Hounsou)a fisherman turned diamond miner for the rebels in Sierra Leone finds and hides a Blood Diamond (also known as Pink). Danny Archer (DiCaprio), a diamond smuggler knows Solomon hid the diamond. The two must work together to achieve their very different goals.
I thought I had seen enough movies where violence and sheer killing madness ruled, but I was not prepared for this one. It is the most violent I have ever seen, but consider this: the choreography of such killings was outstanding. That is a terrible thing to say, but when you see what is going on, everything flowed like poetry. You couldn't help but notice that. That director gave us a sense of something we should never see, or hear about. It was like I was there and I kept hoping it would all stop and never start again. You keep asking yourself how could human beings act this way and I am talking about the rebels in Sierra Leone in the late 1990s. These things really did happen and most of the world knew nothing about them. Now, get this: the rebels recruited young boys to do much of the killing too. Solomon's son was one of them. The story is fiction, but the events in Sierra Leone, at that time, were very real.
I know The Departed won the Oscar for Best Picture, but I would have given it to this movie. All in all, the production, and the acting was a cut above everything else. DiCaprio is in a league of his own and he makes all the others in the cast better. There is no other way to say it even at his young age. Yes, he came up with a Rhodesian South African accent and that was fine. Marlon Brando did much the same thing with accents dependent on what was needed for the story. DiCaprio also did a New Jersey accent in The Departed. It worked.
The movie is long but never drags. When it looks like it may slow down, here comes a gang of rebels or soldier children in jeeps killing everything in sight. At the end of the movie a notice says that today Sierra Leone is quiet, but that there are still 200,000 soldier children. That's still scary.
The movie itself and the director Edward Zwick should have been nominated and they weren't. DiCaprio was nominated for Best Actor and that's something, but not good enough. Do the nominations have to be limited to five?
Violence: Yes,Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: Yes
Rocky Balboa (2006)
Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Rocky Balboa (Stallone) feels he has one more fight in him and comes out of retirement to box the present Heavyweight Champion of the World (Tarver) in an exhibition match.
We have seen all the Rocky movies and we still believe with this last one (let's hope) that Rocky can do it. So we are not surprised by anything. The film is nicely paced and Rocky takes us down memory lane for those who didn't see Rocky I thru V. The flashbacks of the previous Rocky fights and of the neighborhood and his deceased wife, Adrian, are good and don't last long, however Paulie (Young) is up to here with them. Well, we had to have some other conflict other than Rocky's son (Ventimiglia) tired of living in the great man's shadow.
Maybe this movie will motivate some to go and see the other Rocky movies. Then again, maybe not, but they are worth seeing at least once.
Rocky meets the little girl, Marie, he used to walk home when she was a kid in the neighborhood. Marie (Hughes) is no longer a little kid, and the movie sort of romanticizes the relationship without going there. Does that make sense? Anyway, a good family movie except for the littlest kids who will cry at the sight of blood or someone hitting someone else (unless it's them doing the hitting). Well, there is a fight, you know. And, a darn good one it is too. Ranks up there with the fight in Million Dollar Baby. No, we don't forget the good ones. Let's just say, this fight becomes more than a boxing exhibition. Very good.
Violence: Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: No
Casino Royale (2006)
WOW, when is the next one?
James Bond (Craig) goes toe-to-toe at the Poker table with banker La Chiffre ( Mikkeisen) who supports terrorists.
This is based on Ian Flemming's first novel. And, here we see a different Bond, one who is arrogant, and has an attitude, but forgive him, as he is on his first mission. He has just earned his OO License-To-Kill status and apparently likes it. We learn how he gets the Aston Martin, why he prefers married women, how he likes his Vodka Martini, how he gets his first custom-made tuxedo, and how he makes mistakes to the dismay of M (Dench), his boss.
What we don't see is Q with his gadgets from other Bond movies, no sharp one-liners Bond usually quips after some encounter with a bad guy, no hat toss onto the hat tree as Miss Moneypenny watches because there is no hat and also no Moneypenny. And, here I am not sure, but I don't think I heard the line, "Bond, James Bond" uttered by Craig. I am almost positive I didn't hear it.
This is an exciting James Bond and we hope he stays around a while (shades of George Lazenby). This one is energetic and in shape and he needs to be after the all out foot-chase in the construction yard in the beginning of the movie. The stunts were awesome in that construction yard and the way many things were toppled and fell it was amazing no one got hurt. They were so real I checked myself into a hospital just in case.
The supporting cast were all excellent and even though the La Chiffre (Mikkeison) character played it too subtle and cool, he was an enjoyable bad guy. Kind of looked like Tom Berringer too. Dench as M was perfect and Eva Green is a beautiful and sexy Bond girl.
I know I read the book years ago and do not recall that poker was the game of choice in there. It was Baccarat, which is featured in most of the Bond movies. This does not take anything away from the story, just wanted you to know.
So what can we expect from future Bond movies? Will it be Poker instead of Baccarat? Will he ask where Q is with his gadgets? Will Miss Moneypenny show up? Will he finally say, "Shaken, not stirred " as he gives his drink order? Are we going back to some evil Bond nemesis who is bent on destroying much of the world with missiles, super lasers, bombs or a change in weather patterns? I guess we will have to wait and see.
But, we should see a more structured, and mature Bond and one who knows not to break into M's house anymore.
And, aside from the Bond music not playing as often or as loud as it should have, I just have one question: when is the next one?
Violence:Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: Yes, Bond is stripped and tortured. And you thought something else? Language: No
Good PR, Not Funny
Borat (Cohen) a TV reporter, leaves his home in Kazakstan and goes to the United States to learn the culture there and report back. Along the way he sees a picture of Baywatch's Pamela Anderson and decides he is going to marry her.
The PR on this film is truly outstanding and the DVD is flying off the shelves. However, once you see it, you cannot figure out what the celebration was all about in the first place. This is not a funny film. Many sketches can be considered offensive, but the way this was done, I can't see anyone taking offense because anyone watching could tell it was a comedy bit and not to be taken seriously. The words "comedy bit" is used loosely here. I mean Cohen's big toothy grin is always looking at you, the audience, during the sketch, to get your reaction to what he thinks is hilarious. Many of the sketches were clever and some were mildly funny for me, but on the whole, not that funny, no belly-laughs as many claim. Admittedly, there were a few funny lines, or questions rather, and they cannot be repeated here as rough language was used to shock.
As mentioned some of the sketches were mildly funny, but if you really took a serious look at them you could see where they rushed the sketch and had they taken more time, then the sketch would have been funny. But, this was all too spontaneous, too fast, and when a sketch is rushed, the results are going to be mixed as you can tell by my reactions.
The best part of this movie, for me, was when Borat was learning dining etiquette, and I must admit, this was a fairly funny bit. If only the rest of the movie was along these lines, but they departed from this.
I like subtle humor and if this was done more along those lines, then yes, it could have been funnier that what I witnessed. But, this was too much in-your-face comedy (term used loosely), and hence not funny for me. And, I do like physical comedy when it is funny however, there is a point when physical comedy is just physical motion, and this movie achieves that.
Violence:Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: Yes male frontal, not erotic, Language: Yes
Man of the Year (2006)
Funny and Witty
Comedian Tom Dobbs (Williams) decides to run for President of the United States and wins, but Eleanor (Linney) knows the truth about how he won.
This is a good movie. It moves along at a good pace, no one overacts, and you like the characters. Despite all the good things about this movie, the question remains: could a comedian run and win the presidency of the United States? Probably not, but if done the way this was handled maybe. As Dobbs' manager, Jack Menken (Walken), says in the beginning of the movie, one thing led to another and next thing anyone knows Dobbs is the President Elect.
This is a comedy but there are some elements of a Thriller, too, as some people don't want the truth about how Dobbs won to get out and there is a bit of a chase. There is no language to speak of, but there are risqué conversations. Okay, a little more than risqué, but they fly by fast. Some will find them funny, but we've heard them before and there is nothing new in them and I am not really sure why they were included.
Overall, this is good adult entertainment and there are many funny and witty lines regarding politics of the day and people in general. We have heard some of these things before but when Williams does them, they seem to be fresh and new and, "Wow, I didn't realize that!" However, there is new stuff in here as well.
One of the things I like most about this movie is Christopher Walken. He is one of my most favorite people to watch perform, and he never disappoints. You see him a lot in many movies because the powers that be realize he should be in many movies. And, I hope the powers that be continue to put him in many, many more movies. He is great.
Violence Yes, hard to believe in a comedy, but . Sex:No, Nudity: No, Language: No, BS was all I heard, Dialogue: Sometimes risqué.
Good Family Movie
Katy (Lohman) a teenager finds a wild mustang and decides that is her horse and sets out to tame it. Her father (McGraw) doesn't want her to end up on a ranch and wants her to go to college.
Yes, it's corny, sappy and all that. But just like a great big, juicy, cheeseburger sometimes you just "gotta have one." This is good family entertainment and the kids will love it. Everything works, the dialogue, the scenery, the acting, the music and, of course, the horses.
What's not to like when you see a herd of horses running full out over the plains and there are many scenes like that in here as the ranch is a Quarter Horse Ranch. There is something majestic watching those horses run.
The setting is in Wyoming and we get to see some really great scenery and the camera could have lingered longer on this landscape and yet we did not see the Big Sky, something for which Wyoming is famous for as well as Montana. I was once in Wyoming and saw the Big Sky and there is nothing like it. You look at those nearby gigantic, almost touchable, clouds and you know there something special there. And, when you look, you don't have to look up too far. But, sadly, no Big Sky in here. Maybe Flicka 2?
However, as mentioned this is good family fun and I'm getting hungry. Maybe a cheeseburger .
Violence:No, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language:No
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Lets us know they were all heroes
This is based upon actual events during WWII and it is another view of how a simple picture of 5-Marines and one Navy Corpsman planting the flag on Iwo Jima helped win the war.
Yes, this is another view of that story and some things may surprise you regarding how that flag was planted. We see only three of the men who planted the flag as the other three died shortly thereafter. The most famous of them all was Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian, who like the other two didn't feel like heroes the public saw them as. Ira Hayes's story was immortalized in the movie, The Outsider with Tony Curtis and also in the song by Johnny Cash.
The battle scenes were spectacular, but the inside buildings scenes had the feel of a Made-For-TV movie. Sorry, but that is the way they came across to me. Still good, but had that TV feel and there is nothing wrong with that. Some of the battle scenes were more gory than I expected, but I actually had the feeling I was there. That is how good those scenes were. Yes, I was ducking.
I would have used well-known actors in the starring roles, the 3-Heroes if you would. Why? I remembered Tony Curtis as Ira Hayes and I am sure I will not remember who the actors were that played the parts of the 3-Heroes. If well known actors had played these parts there's a good chance I would remember both the actor and the name of the man he played. And, I think that is important because Mr. Eastwood shows us that there is a another cost of doing WAR after the war is over as he followed the 3-Heroes in civilian life for a bit. Mr. Eastwood was kinder to his Ira Hayes than The Outsider portrayed and that Johnny Cash sang about. And, Hayes is still the one I will remember, but not who played him in this film although all the actors performed exceptionally well.
But, I will remember that picture and the story of how the flag was planted and all those on Iwo Jima who fought defending it. All of them were heroes.
Violence:Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: No
The Prestige (2006)
Two Magicians Angier (Jackman) and Borden (Bale) who were once friends now are intent on destroying the other by learning each others' magic secrets. Sounds like this will be very good, doesn't it?
"There are 3-parts to a magic act" as Cuttter (Caine) tells us in the beginning and at the end of the movie, the Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige. Who knew? You want me to tell you what each one is, don't you? Not going to happen. I just like the parts where now you see it, now you don't; or where you see nothing and then you see something. Anyway, now you know there will be twists and turns and that is what you expect to see, and you are not disappointed.
The beginning of this movie is somewhat confusing, but it all works out and yet, there are still some parts I am not up on. I might have to see this again. They go into flashbacks and somehow you have to keep telling yourself it is a flashback you think. See? Troubles there too. And, the problem with the flashbacks have to do with a murder that you didn't see happen and that was confusing until the last 10-minutes. It was confusing because I kept asking myself for most of the movie, how was the murder committed? Why is this person in jail? See? Was I misdirected by the Director who knows misdirection is the key to magic? Hmmmm .
The audio (or was it the English accents) was a problem for some of the dialogue that I couldn't get, but otherwise the cinematography, the dialogue in general, and the acting performances were okay. However, I keep thinking that Christian Bale was not right for the role he played. I don't think he brought his "A" game. Is there another Batman film in his future? Wasn't truly aware that David Bowie (he played Tesla) was in this. He is outstanding. And, when he spoke I said "that sounds like Pierce Brosnan, imitating a slow-talking Chinaman speaking very good English." It was great. I loved it. Michael Caine is always good and he is the only Englishman I can understand easily. As for Scarlett Johansson, I wasn't aware she was in this movie also (I don't look at the box). She is, as always, excellent, but needs a movie with more lines. We don't see enough of her.
Again, some humor might have helped this production, as things were played much too seriously, and, there were too many scenes that were too dark to really see what was going on. And, you will never guess the outcome in the last 10-minutes. And, after you see the outcome, you may want to see the movie again to be sure you understood what you thought you understood. Save me a seat as I need to catch up on some things too.
But, despite some shortcomings, this is a good movie, not as good as The Illusionist, but okay-good.
Violence:Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: No
Powerful but too long
A rifle shot in the Moroccan Desert links people from Morocco, Mexico, Tunisia and Japan causing an international incident.
First of all it's Babel, not Bayble. You never heard of a Baybling Brook, did you? So it's Babel. Got it?
This is a powerful movie and would have been more so had it not been so long. Too often a scene stayed around when it didn't need to. We got it. Move on. I would say this movie is more about pain and the helplessness that comes with not being able to do anything about it right away. The rifle shot caused a lot of pain for some people in the countries mentioned and understanding it all was not easy, hence the title Babel. Maybe.
Not a lot of dialogue from Brad Pitt or Cate Blanchett who are husband (Richard) and wife (Susan), and not a lot was needed. We knew what was going on. This was very well acted by all. One of their kids, Debbie, is another Fanning, this time Elle Fanning, so the Fanning Dynasty begins. And, yes, Elle did good. Not a lot of dialogue here, too, but we knew what was going on.
Because many scenes were too long when they didn't need to be it is hard to give a rousing recommendation for this movie. Kind of dragged at times because of it. It is what it is, but if many scenes where shorter, the movie would have had more impact, I believe, and then I could give a rousing recommendation. But, still, not bad. Would I have nominated this for a Best Picture Award? No.
Violence: yes, Sex: No, Nudity: yes full frontal of teenage girl, Drug Use: Yes,some, Language: Yes: some
The Departed (2006)
Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) is a mole inside Costello's (Nicholson) crime gang. Colin Sullivan (Damon) is a mole inside the Boston Police Dept. When the cops and Costello find out each has a mole among them, things get more than interesting.
It is more than nice to have an all star cast performing an excellent story. This doesn't happen often and doesn't disappoint. Plus the fact that it moved along at such a lively pace the 2 ½ hours didn't seem like 2 ½ hours. One can easily see how this was nominated for Best Picture (which it won) and also how Martin Scorsese was nominated for Best Director (which he won). And, one can also see how some of the stars could have been nominated for Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor: DiCaprio, Damon or Nicholson (but none were).
But, there is one area that surely needs to be recognized and that is the film editing, and by-God it won for that too. This was a cat mouse-chess game and the shots went back and forth at a rapid pace at times and yet, and you didn't lose the thread. Great editing job.
This is a movie you have to stay with. If you give yourself an intermission while the DVD is still running, you may lose something you probably need to know later on. So pay attention.
When we saw the Academy Awards we saw Jack Nicholson looking like Mr. Clean, Lex Luthor, Kojack, or Daddy Warbucks (take your pick) and we feel the reason for this is because Jack saw himself in this movie and realized he had a really bad hair day all the way through. Also, did anyone but me notice some facial similarities between DiCaprio and Nicholson? Hmmmm .
Everything was excellent, the cinematography, the dialogue, the editing, the acting and yes, the music was, at times, very good too.
Violence:Yes, Sex: Yes, Nudity:Partial, Language:Yes
Gridiron Gang (2006)
As Good as The Titans
Gridiron Gang Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
As Good as The Titans
A detention camp supervisor Sean Porter, (The Rock), comes up with a way to decrease the high percentage of teens returning to a life of crime after they serve their time. He plans to teach them football, and getting this idea past his boss won't be easy.
I said this was as good as the Titans and in many ways, better. The action, football and non-football, comes at you at a fast pace and if I didn't know better the non-football action seemed pretty real to me. The football sequences didn't allow anyone to hold anything back. This program is real and works and we get a little taste of it here. Yes, a lot of clichés are thrown about, but they are really needed for this hardened group of criminal teens. They work.
A lot of credit needs to go to the real Sean Porter and his staff by making something like this work. How far this program has extended itself outside the boundaries we see in the movie was not mentioned or if it was I missed it.
The Rock continues to amaze me. He is pretty good as an actor. All the cast performed in excellent fashion. The editing for the football action sequences was outstanding.
The dialogue was downright real and humorous dialogue was abundant. I remember one line that went something like this: I just love sacking quarterbacks. Hard to believe it's legal.
All in all a very good movie and keep in mind it's based on a real program in California to help troubled teens.
Violence: Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: Yes
The Movie is a mystery too
This is based upon a true event. George Reeves (Affleck) gets the part of Superman on television, but wants to be recognized for more than that. Reeves' mother doesn't believe the suicide version of her son and hires private eye Louis Simo (Brody) and he tries to unravel the mystery in 1959 that we still have today: Suicide or Murder?
Reeves' story line runs in flashbacks as his life's story runs counter to Simo's investigation and back again and so forth. When we follow private eye Simo, we discover there are some gaping holes in the official version of how Reeves died. What we do know is that he was shot with one bullet to the head and we are shown three plausible scenarios as to how it all happened. Which one? Which one? Oh, the questions.
Now, if Ben Affleck wanted to portray George Reeves properly he should have done more to make this character his. I felt he played it tentative. We saw bits and pieces of Affleck's Reeves and are not sure this was the real George Reeves. I remember the Superman TV shows with George Reeves and looking back I find Reeves a better actor than Affleck. Okay, Affleck's Reeves didn't like playing the part and this movie showed this a little too much. But, in looking back to the Superman TV shows, in my mind's eye, I didn't get the impression George Reeves didn't like playing the part. He may have had his reservations, but they didn't come thru on the TV screen. It did here with Affleck.
But, you know something? When the real George Reeves smiled, there was a genuine happiness in that smile and as a kid watching the Superman TV show, I saw a happy smile. I didn't find that in Affleck when he smiled while in the Superman or Clark Kent character. To me he displayed a painful smile. Did the director have anything to do with that? Oh, the questions.
Did anyone recognize Diane Lane? I confess I didn't know who she was. Throw a wig on someone and I see a different person. She was Tony Mannix, wife of Edgar Mannix (head of MGM) played by Bob Hoskins, and they and all the cast performed extremely well.
I found the production a bit on the slow side and the only thing that might have excited it would have been some good one-liners, but I found none worth mentioning. The thing that keeps nagging at me is this: the scenes with Affleck in them were too short. In other words, here he is, there he goes. No time to really see George Reeves. Again, I see the director's hand in all this. No question here.
Another mystery is why was this movie made? There is no conclusive outcome regarding suicide or murder of George Reeves. Will this movie instigate another investigation into the matter? Probably not. Did we see the real George Reeves? Was this movie entertaining? It would have been, for me, if this was wholly a fictionalized story, but it is based upon a real event with nothing definitive to show for it.
Violence Yes Sex Yes Nudity Partial Language Yes
Employee of the Month (2006)
Super Club is a huge store (like a Sam's or COSTCO, but I think much, much bigger) and the there is a race to be Employee of the Month between Zack (Cook) and Vince (Shepard). Amy (Simpson) has just transferred to the store as a new Cashier, and word is she will only go out with the Employee of the Month. Let the games begin.
This is billed as a comedy, but it's not really. There are no big laughs in here and I heard only one good line. There are some clever things and some watching would probably howl at some of the goings on. I didn't howl at anything. So we need another name for a comedy that is not really a comedy. More on that later.
Although there are no big laughs here, there are also no stupid or silly-silly goings on either. No one overacts, and no one tries to upstage anyone else. Nothing is done to illicit a cheap laugh. All is quite sane, somewhat comedic, and no one goes overboard or ballistic, and Will Farrell is not in this.
This is a pleasant story done at a good pace. Well, yes there are some silly goings on, but not silly-silly goings on if you get what I mean. One has to expect some silliness in something called a comedy that is or is not really a real comedy. This is really not a real comedy. Really.
I was very impressed with Simpson's Amy. Quite a laid back chick in this, and some of her facial expressions were priceless. Ms Simpson should do more movies. The acting by all the cast was very good and the story had merit.
OK, I lied. The employees are playing a softball game against another big store and Zack pulls everyone together because they are losing and says, "We are Super Club and we buy in bulk because ." And, here the rest of the team screams out, "because it's our GD right." Caught me by surprise and I did howl a little bit. You see, that is what happens when the total dialogue isn't funny up to that point, and all of a sudden something works.
The new name for a comedy that really isn't a real comedy is "somewhat comedic." Think it'll catch on? Probably not. Did I mention that Super Club is much bigger than Sam's or COSTCO?
Violence: No, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: No
Prior to the US entering WW I (The Great War) it appears there were some Americans who went to France to fly bi-planes against the Germans.
I was all set not to like this movie. I mean I am getting tired of War movies and Remakes in general (this was not a remake) and this surprised me in how good it is.
The dog fights were spectacular and I am sure CGI was employed and I don't have a problem with that as others appear to have. If it helps the story along, I am all for it.
All the acting was superb, but Jean Reno stands out as French Officer Captain Thenault in charge of training the Americans. I couldn't help thinking that if all Frenchmen behaved as he did in the movie, maybe we would like the French more. I looked forward to him being in any scene. He was outstanding. Actually, he is outstanding in everything he does.
Now, for me, some of the most impressive scenes had to do with Rawlings (Franco) getting next to a French country girl, Lucienne (Decker). Rawlings doesn't know French, Lucienne doesn't know English, but they are drawn to each other and the word-play between them was touching. Anyone watching could very easily fall in love with Lucienne. I know I did.
All in all I am glad I watched. Why I thought I wouldn't like the movie was because all the promos only showed the dog fights and it looked to me like 99% action and very little story. I was wrong and happy to be so. Remember, I go to La La Land when the action goes on forever, but this had a very good story as well. Well done.
Violence: Yes, Sex: No, Nudity: No, Language: No