Month: June 2010

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

             The first time The Day the Earth Stood Still was presented to movie goers it fit right in with the science fiction genre.  I haven’t seen the original, which is considered a classic that was directed by Robert Wise, but its predecessor won’t be classified under the same file of great movie lore.  Many films are trying to resurrect that feel of impending Armageddon by way of an unknown interstellar force that was hugely popular in the sci-fi driven 50s and 60s.  War of the Worlds did a wonderful job of having everyone completely paranoid about thoughts of a possible alien invasion.  Unlike its remake, the recent Day the Earth Stood Still doesn’t offer that same aura.  Keanu Reeves plays Klaatu, an alien who arrives on Earth with one mission: to preserve the planet Earth at any costs including the destruction of the human race.  He doesn’t come alone; his entourage consists of a twenty-foot tall CGI generated robot which the U.S. government dubs as GORT (Genetically Organized Robotic Technology).  The government also enlists the aid, without asking of course, of the world’s top scientists and engineers.  Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), an astrobiologist, is one of them and also a single mom to her very rebellious son, Jacob Benson (Jaden Smith).  There are Independence Day & The Fugitive moments mixed in throughout the middle of the film...

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The A-Team

From 1983 to 1987, you could always count on George Peppard, Mr. T., Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz as Hannibal, B.A,, Face and Murdock to help an indivi- dual  or a group out of a tight jam as the A-Team- if they could find them and afford them. It kind of lost it’s “fun” factor when Robert Vaughn was added to the mix- and the permanent releasing of Murdock. But all in all, it was a good action series. With Hollywood’s pop culture icon mania (3 D seems to be taking over now) covering nearly everything from the 50s onward, comes the crazy action packed ver- sion of THE A-TEAM to the big screen. And thankfully, it sports all the plain, hard hitting, action packed  fun of the original series. Co-written by Joe Carnahan, our reckless four has been replaced by Liam Neeson, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Bradley Cooper and District 9’s Sharlto Copley. The premise is similar, just upda- ted for the Iraqi War. Instead of robbing a bank, our fearless four are set up in a scam involving counterfeit engraving plates. Naturally, they are found guilty, sent to prison and orchestrate a masterful escape hoping to clear their names. Joe Carnahan is one of a mere handful of directors who could have helmed the remake of the iconic series. I’m sure his assassin actioner Smokin’ Aces was sump-...

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‘Showgirls’ (1995)

In 1995, a little movie called ‘Showgirls’ made it’s debut. I saw the commercials, I recognized the pretty blond from ‘Saved by the Bell’ ( a cheesy pre-teen t.v. comedy from 1989), and then ………a bomb went off. I can still feel the vibration of the walls and floors as EVERY  “respectable” film critic, from the East coast to the West coast slammed this film. Slammed is putting it mildly, more like pummeled it into oblivion…..then they got mean!  I had not gone out to see this film right away because of the backlash, but caught it on cable a few years after it’s release, and thought to myself  “Hmm….not so bad, I even liked it.” Then I thought ‘Does this mean there’s something wrong with me? Do I suck at picking movies? Due to the nature of the film, am I a lesbian?!’. Not to panic, the answer is none of the above, well at least for the last question. The truth was, I was afraid to tell anyone I liked this film because everyone was having fun jumping on the bandwagon to say “Yeah, this movie sucked!”. Never was one for “bandwagon jumping”, and I never will be. I caught ‘Showgirls’ again on cable recently………and I still like it. Here’s my review. The movie ‘Showgirls’ (1995) was written by Joe Eszterhas (‘Basic Instinct’, ‘Flashdance’), and directed by...

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Toy Story 3 (2010)

            Until I became an older brother, I was an only child for the first 6 years of my life.  All I had to keep me busy were my school friends, my parents (my father still remains undefeated in our career of random play fights at the very youthful age of 52) and my gi-normous box of toys which I had all to myself.  I will take great pride in stating that even though I probably had every toy imaginable in my legendary “toy box”, I was never a spoiled brat.  My mother refused to let me be.  I think I still might have some battle bruises from the wars I also lost to her.  Of course, that was back in the 80s and many kids nowadays would probably have no idea what some of those toys were.  But ultimately, toys made my world go round, that and whenever my mother packed Kool-Aid instead of milk in my Knight Rider lunchbox.  I also remember losing a lot of those toys but had never had any idea how that happened.  It wasn’t until 1995 when a completely computer animated film called Toy Story was released and I discovered that my toys might actually be alive.  I was like 13 by then so that premise never stuck but it did make me think.              For those of you who have lived...

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The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band – Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte)

Every once and awhile, a movie challenges it’s viewers to really think about what they are watching and to come to their own conclusions without a neatly wrapped resolution at the end. This is exactly what The White Ribbon, an Austrian/German film, sets out to due and it accomplishes it’s goal wonderfully. The White Ribbon, directed and written by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, has enjoyed enormous success since it’s release. It won a Golden Globe for best foreign movie, was nominated for 2 Oscar awards including best foreign movie, won 10 German film awards including best film, best director and best screenplay, an European Film Award for best European film plus many film festival (Cannes) and film critic association awards and nominations throughout the U.S. and Europe. In a small village in Northern Germany, a few years before the start on WWI, strange things keep happening. First, the village doctor is injured when the horse he is riding is tripped by a nearly invisible wire that was tied between two trees. Next, a rich family’s son goes missing until he is found in the village sawmill strung up by his ankles and the victim of a savage canning. This is followed by the disappearance of a mentally disabled village boy who is found tied to a tree with his eyes almost gouged out. There are also other curious things taking place...

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