Monday, March 28, 2005

Movie Review: Robots

In keeping with the spirit of the movie club, last Friday, even while out of town, I grabbed my neice and nephew (while not official club members they do provide good excuses to see an animated movie) and went to see Robots. So here is my review.....

With Robots, Fox Animation tries to show that 'Ice Age' was not a fluke and they can play ball with the big boys from Dreamworks and Pixar. Short answer, they can. In fact, Robots has more in common with earlier Pixar movies like "Finding Nemo" than Pixar's own latest release "The Incredibles".

Robots is the perfect type of movie for the whole family. Kids of any age will be able to find humour in almost every joke while those of us who are a little older will see the many extra levels. This is especially true of all the music used throughout the picture. Much of it is at least 10 years old and while the style always fits the scene, for those of us who remember what was happening when each particular song originally came out, the jokes are just that much better.

The voice acting of all the stars involved, from Ewan McGregor to Jennifer Coolidge, works perfectly. While they often use big name actors to provide the characters voices, they all seem to be able to make their characters real and do not just sound like they are reading their scripts in a sound studio somewhere. Overall, a very well casted picture.

As for the animation itself, Fox shows they are definitely on par with the big two. From the shine of the new robots to the rust and grime on the older models, every detail seems like it was painstakingly brought to digital life.

Even if you don't have any kids to use as an excuse, go and see Robots. You will not be disappointed.

4.5 out of 5

Thursday, March 24, 2005

One Member's Plea

On Thursday March 31 I will be making an 8 hour pilgrimage (I do believe this will be my 8th year) to the holy waters of Blind River - 1.5 hours past Sudbury. We (the Hungrymen) usually arrive an hour before last call, and drink our faces off at the local bar, pass out, get up bright and early, and curl our asses off at the rink. Repeat until Sunday. Then we go home.

April 1st, as we all know is the opening of "Sin City." I would love to go, but I will be drunk on the ice, far far away. I understand my fellow FMMC members need for popcorn, comfortable seating, and above all He-Man cinema. So it is with in mind that I ask this most difficult of questions; "Can you wait?" No, not wait in line for ticket, but one week. And no, I don't mean camp out for "Star Wars" tickets. I mean wait one week to see "Sin City" with me on April 8th?

There is not much opening for the next two weeks after. Whatever your decision, I will accept it.

May all your popcorn be buttered. Cheers, MacDaddy

Friday, March 18, 2005

Movie Review: Phil the Alien

If you go into this movie expecting a well polished, Hollywood type production you will be very let down. If, on the other hand, you go in expecting a good, Canadian type production, you will only leave feeling a little let down.

'Phil the Alien' doesn't even pretend to be something it's not. From the intentional over the top acting, to the odd assortment of characters (how many movies do you know where a Beaver is a central character) it is a Canadian home brewed comedy all the way.

Story-wise, it jumps around a lot. Normally that would be a hindrance, but here it kind of works by putting us in Phil's shoes; lost in a strange world never quite sure what's going to happen next. Of course a little more structure wouldn't have hurt the movie.

As for the acting, like many of our homemade movies you will recognize a fair number of the cast, even if their names don't immediately jump to mind. Of the entire bunch though, I think Boyd Banks deserves special mention. Without him as 'Slim' I don't think this movie would have been half as enjoyable as it was. While there were some other good performances mixed throughout the movie, his was the glue that held the movie together. Always popping in at the right times to add just the right touch of humour.

If anything, the biggest drawback for me was Rob Stefaniuk's overuse of the close-up. Almost every scene is made up of a series of facial zooms with very few wider angle shots where we can see all the participants of a given conversation or even much background (with one obvious exception which is so set up it is almost painful but still funny). It's like watching a bad 'Pan and Scan' version of a half decent widescreen movie.

While I don't see any Oscars in 'Phil's' future, I hope it does well. Just go in with reasonable expectations and you should come out with a smile on your face.

3 out of 5 (with a full 1 point of that due to Boyd)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Friday March 18 - March 25

Looks like there is no strong runner for this weeks movie.

The current favourite, The Ring 2 is currently struggling around the dreaded 30% on RT and with Rat AWOL for the weekend it looks like we might just skip this Friday. (Although there is a building grass roots drive to go see Phil the Alien at AMC).

Next Friday is the start of the Easter long weekend so since there is no work to escape, there will also be no club "meeting".

In a last ditch effort to avoid work this afternoon, Phil the Alien was chosen for our Friday movie. Even Rat is taking a break from his vegetating on the couch to go. (Although I hope he doesn't expect me to come pick him up)

Time: 2:00 (while not technically a Friday morning it is the only time it's playing)
Place: AMC

Friday, March 11, 2005

Movie Review: Hostage

Hostage is essentially two movies in one. The first is a great movie, definitely worth the $9.95 to get in. The second is a product of a rookie director trying too hard on his first big budget production.

On the one hand, the acting is outstanding, as is the overall story. Willis plays the role of a cop struggling with a past failure perfectly and 7 year old Jimmy Bennett does a terrific job as both a young boy afraid for himself and his family as well as pint sized hero. While similar stories have been done in the past, this one has a very tight screenplay that leaves little out. You have action, violence, drama and even horror (to a small degree), all rolled into 113 minutes with very few breaks.

But even with all this going for it, a movie is only as good as it's director and that is where I believe the problems with Hostage are the most apparent. Up to this point, Florent Emilio Siri had spent most of his time in the domain of video games, and it shows. While each scene in the movie seems well shot and acted, it is all the little things, like the needless use of slow-mo and the background music, which seem to prevent you from becoming totally immersed in this world. Even the style of the opening credits (which were well done from a technical standpoint) seem to be a much better fit to Willis's next movie 'Sin City' than to this one and the music throughout the movie kept me wondering when the 'Caped Crusader' would swing in and save the day. Add to that, scenes that would feel more at home in movies such as "The Grudge" or "The Crow". It just did not fit with the overall tone of the movie and, in my opinion, kept putting up walls that I just grew tired of climbing over.

When it comes to scoring this movie, the only fair thing is to score each component seperately.
  • 4.0 - Acting
  • 4.0 - Story
  • 0.5 - Music
  • 1.5 - Overall 'Feel'
Overall score: 2.5 out of 5

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Friday March 11

Barring an unlikely rally from Robots, it looks like this Friday's movie will be Hostage.

Time: 10:35
Place: SKC

Due to technical problems at SKC we've decided to go to a later showing.

New Time: 1:00
New Place: Silver City

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

He-Man Friday Morning Movie Club Rules Amended

First thing, our name: I have changed us to the He-Man Friday Morning Movie Club.
Why? I love women and I love to make love to women - Love it!
So now on to HMFMMC Patriot Act.
Formal club rules:

1) All members must see the same movie on a Friday. Majority rules, solidarity among the brotherhood.
* (unless you invoke the No Lemming clause, which states: If the Rotten Tomato meter is under 30% fresh, a member may opt out and go to a better film provided the show times are close and nobody has to wait around for you in the lobby.)

2) No chick flicks unless there is blood and mayhem in the storyline.
* (or Scarlett Johansson)

3) Members should keen their senses to wake up members who have fallen asleep. Look for down-turned heads or listen for snoring.

4) Members should encourage other members to eat more snack food (especially that MacDaddy guy - he needs to eat more popcorn).

Friday, March 04, 2005

Movie Review: Be Cool

While it's no Get Shorty, I have to say for some reason, I still can't figure out, I found myself liking Be Cool. I went in with some pretty low expectations and came out pleasantly surprised.

I find most sequels this far from the original (has it really been 10 years?), and in fact sequels in general, tend to depend a lot on an audiences affection toward shared characters to carry them. In 'Be Cool', almost all of the central characters are new, so the success or failure of the movie rides with them. Nowhere is this more evident than Vince Vaughn's Raji. If you can accept Vaughn's portrayal or a white record manager desperately seeking 'street cred' than I think you may just be able to ride out the rest of the movie in relative comfort.

The Rock's performance as Raji's gay bodyguard Elliot, and André Benjamin's as Dabu, the world's worst gangsta, are reasons enough to see this movie. Their characters are somehow both totally out of their element and genuine. I think this 'Rock' guy might just have a future in acting.

As for the rest of the professional actors, their performances are passable enough to not hold the movie back, but don't really help sell it either. Don't get me started on the over abundance of cameos.

Overall, worth watching but not necessarily remembering.

(At least it wasn't 'Ocean's Twelve')

3 out of 5

Thursday, March 03, 2005

FMMC Patriot Act

Formal club rules:

1) All members must see the same movie on a Friday. Majority rules, solidarity among the brotherhood.

2) No chick flicks unless there is blood and mayhem in the storyline.

3) Members should keen their senses to wake up members who have fallen asleep. Look for down-turned heads or listen for snoring.

Movie Review: Constantine

Transplanted from my Blog.

Just went and saw the movie Constantine and I have to say while it won't win any Oscars next year it was worth the $10 to get in.

Of course I may be partially swayed by the fact I had one of the best Wetzel Pretzels I've ever tasted. Right out of the oven and into my hand. (I'm drooling over it just writing about it.)

Anyway, back to the movie.

If you're a fan of the comics the movie basically stays true to the character (with the exception of an absentee British accent). No blatantly obvious changes, so the main concern for the comic readers is probably the story itself.

Personally, I liked it. Nothing too original, but good enough for the 2 hour runtime.

The basic story is that Angels and Demons are battling for the souls of all mankind but not suppose to directly interfere. In the words of the famous Doc E, "That ole Chestnut".

Of course the bad guys are trying to stretch the rules as much as possible, but that's where John Constantine comes in. He basically gives anyone found cheating a one way ticket back to hell. Of course the bad guys are getting a bit braver now that they've found a way to cheat the system so John's a little busier than usual.

I won't go into much more detail, since I hate reviews that give away all the plot twists (he's really dead; the aliens are afraid of water; Rosebud is the sled) but the best advice I can give is if you liked The Prophecy than you'll probably like Constantine (with the exception of Rat Kawanga who slept through most of the first hour). They both share a similar story and pace.

3.5 out of 5

For more detailed reviews you can always check out Rotten Tomatoes to see what the experts think.

MacDaddys rebuttal review
Constantine sucked ass. Nice looking film, but a snooooozer.
At one point during the film I heard a noise. I realized that Rat Kawanga was snoring.
Save your money and two hours of your life and go see something else, like "Million Dollar Baby."
- MacDaddy

Movie Review: The Jacket

I have to admit I am a sucker for these type of time travel thrillers however often I'm disappointed by the payoff as they tend to be amaturish compared to the execution of the setup. While this one didn't totaly disappoint I did see that it was going for a light fluffy ending and figured out the direction early on which diminished my enjoyment as I was hoping for a darker movie along the lines of The Butterfly effect which took a similar premise and executed it perfectly.

Technically the film was well acted as you would except from Adrian Brody and Kiera Knightley was very good as well though I think that a little more depth to the characters would have added more to the story, the screenplay seemed to be thin in this respect trying to focus too much on the premise instead of character. I found John Maybury a little lacking as a director with him using too many extreme close-ups trying to increase the tension only actually succeeding in being very distracting and bringing me out of the movie experince.

Overall I fine effort but with a little tweeking it could have been a much better film I give it a 6/10.


I say screw it - why do we have to suffer because the greedy pockets of Hollywood want to slap together all the elements of a great film (the right cast, music, story, etc.) but don't take the time to really iron it out.
I say we hit "The Jacket."