Friday, July 20, 2007

Lady In The Water

Lady In The Water is the latest film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan who also did The Sixth Sense (great movie, I are this a 10!), The Village (so-so movie, rate a 6)), Signs (I didn't see), and Unbreakable (not too bad movie, rate a 7).

I didn't know what to expect with this movie, I had no preconceptions other than it was something of a fantasy.

Cleveland Heep is an apartment superintendent who one night rescues what he thinks is a young woman, named Story, from the pool at the apartment complex. He discovers that she is actually a bedtime story character who is trying to get back to her home. Cleveland, who knows nothing of this bedtime story, manages to piece together what is needed to try to help Story to get home. He involves all his tenants in trying to figure out what has to be done in order for Story to get home.

I was pleasantly surprised at this movie. It was not only a fantasy, but also a puzzle in the Hitchcock fashion, maybe The Never Ending Story, or like a game of Clue where you have to figure out who is needed to do what to come up with the right ending.

No one really stands out much in the acting. Paul Giamatti is good as Cleveland. Bryce Dallas Howard is OK as Story, it's not a very strong part anyway, but I have a little trouble adjusting to Opie having a daughter (she looks very much like her father). The rest of the characters just play supporting rolls.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie, but the "bad guy" being worked over by the "good guys" at the end of the movie ruined it for me. Still, I give it a 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I have to confess, I gave in to all the nasty media pressure and did not go to see this movie in the theaters when it was out. I should have known that this was all sour grapes provided by a jealous industry that puts down anyone who doesn't play their game or are new comers (I have first hand experience there).

The media said that this was overly violent and extremely bloody. To a point, they were right. But, what they didn't say is that this was a good story, great photography and well acted. What more do you need for entertainment?

The story revolves around a small tribe of South American Indians who are attacked and captured by the, now in decline, Mayan Indians who intend on using the men for human sacrifices. The story is centered on Jaguar Paw, who is captured along with his family and whose focus is on getting back to save his wife and child who he managed to hide during the attack.

This film has humor, pathos, yes it is violent, yes it is bloody, but, not unnecessarily so. Certainly not near as bad as some of the horror flicks of late. The story quickly endears the viewer to the subject tribe and it's people. The bad guys are real BAD GUYS and there are no grey areas. I found the ending very satisfying.

If you can stand a little violence, this movie is a good rental. I give it 8 out of 10.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Children of Men

This is another movie I waited to see on DVD, but after seeing it I almost wish I never bothered. This is a future story of the world in 2027 in total disarray due to war and terrorism, which have ravaged the world to the point that the UK is the only viable country left. Consequently, they have a huge immigration problem and have camps and golags for illegal immigrants. But, the biggest problem is that there have been no new births in over 18 years. No one knows why.

Our hero, Theo (Clive Owen), a former activist, agrees to transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea where scientists may be able to help save the future on mankind. The plot is slow, dull and I had to turn on the sub-titles in order to understand a lot of what they were saying. The film also has an almost non-ending which leaves you saying ... "so what? ... is that all?"

I should have known this would be bad because the film company was called Hit and Run Films!! I give it 3 out of 10. Miss it if you can.

Letters From Iwo Jima

I've started to review films I see on DVD also, since I am reluctant to pay the outrageous prices at the box office for something I am not sure is worth it.

My first film is Letters From Iwo Jima. This is a fine film, directed by Clint Eastwood. It's the story of the Japanese soldiers preparing for and then engaging the American invasion of Iwo Jima during WWII. This movie is largely based on facts taken from letters of soldiers stationed there and a few survivors. This story tells of the great divide within the Japanese military as a whole as well as the differences between the officer and common ranks. It shows the futility of war and the sides of war we just don't want to admit are there. Nicely photographed and well acted by the Japanese cast. All spoken in Japanese with subtitles. I rate it 8 out of 10.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

Ok, so my son came for a visit from Colordo Springs and we saw some movies. Today we saw the latest in the Die Hard series, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. My background with the Die Hard movies is mixed. I thought the Original Die Hard (1988) was a great movie except for the tremendous amount of bad language and too much gore. The cast was good (Alan Rickman always plays such a good bad-guy) and the plot was well thought out. The next two entries (Die Hard 2 - 1990 and Die Hard With A Vengeance - 1995) were just copies of the same formula with way to much foul language for me. Like all the Die Hards, this is crammed with Special effects, some of which are pretty poor by todays standards.

In case you haven't guessed, I hate all the bad language used in films. It distracts from the story and usually has no reason for being other than to get an R rating (I don't do R rated any more either). I was very pleased to see they rated this one PG-13 and I only remember hearing one profanity (although I'm sure there were others), this was certainly nice to hear, or not to hear, depending on how you look at it.

This entry has the same action formula (John McClain survives all, gets well beaten up, knocks off the bad guys one at a time, etc, etc). But, this time he has Justin long as a co-star playing a computer geek and the pair come off very well together. The plot, though totally unbelievable (as they usually are), was still fun even though predictable. Even so, I found this another good 2+ hours of entertainment. So, if you're a die hard Bruce Willis fan (pun intended) you'll like this one. I rate it 7 out of 10.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I broke out of my movie boycott slump, since there wasn't anything much out there I thought worthy of my hard earned money, and saw the TRANSFORMERS. I must admit I have never been a Transformers "groupie", never read the comics and never watched the cartoons. I just knew enough to have a general knowledge of what it was about. So, no preconceptions on my part.

I must admit that I was very impressed with the translation from a cartoon to the "big screen". The special effects were superb, especially Optimus Prime who they did an awesome job on special effects with. The story was not bogged down with unnecessary plot or boring conversations which made it pure entertainment. It was 2 1/2 hours of pretty much non-stop action, a plot that made sense and just the right amount of comedy to make it real entertainment, which is so hard to find nowadays, IMHO.

The only negative I have is my usual pet peeve about te jerky camera action in the action scenes with the special effects. I'm convinced that this is done to cover up flaws or just make the SPX cheaper to do since the viewer really can't tell what is happening. This really dives me crazy. But, the almighty dollar dives the film industry probably more than the rest of the corporate world, so I have to live with it. But, I'll rate this as 8 out of 10. Go see it if you want to just get away from it all and have a good time.