Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Knight and Day" - in theaters

Even after seeing this movie, I still don't get where they derived that title. Part of it makes sense, but the other piece is lost on me...

Anyway, even though I know that Tom Cruise is banana sandwich in real life, I usually like his movies. He's got charisma, and in this particular film, it's practically oozing out of his pores. Cruise plays covert agent Roy Miller, who runs into Cameron Diaz's character, June Havens, at the Wichita airport. June owns a garage in Boston (which I thought was pretty rad), and was in Kansas finding parts for a car she's restoring to give to her baby sister as a wedding present the following weekend. But wouldn't you know it? June gets mixed up in Roy's business, then all of a sudden, they're in a plane crash, then June is being questioned and kidnapped and Roy is saving her, and it's all very action-packed and entertaining.

I'm pretty sure that Tom Cruise made an arrangement with Scientology so that he never ages, because he looks great in the movie. He and Diaz have pretty rockin' chemistry, which drives a large portion of the film. I was disappointed in the sense that a lot of the action scenes are blurred over, seen from the perspective of June, who Roy seems to keep drugging to protect her.

Roy's mission is to protect Simon Feck (played by Paul Dano, who is fabulous in the pathetic nerd category), who invented the everlasting Gobstopper of batteries. This battery is now wanted by every major arms dealer, not to mention Roy's ex-partner (Peter Sarsgaard, who always adds that sketchy element to any bad guy) who double-crossed him and made Roy look like he had gone rogue. Which always seems to happen to Tom Cruise, doesn't it?

Much in the same manner as "The A-Team" this film was light, entertaining, summer fare with pretty backdrops and quality action. So on the CWeave scale, I give this a solid 6.5. I'm too curious for my own good here, so minus points for the breezed over action sequences, but bonus points to Tom, who seemed to do all of his own stunts. I mean, seriously, the guy does NOT age.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"The A-Team" - in theaters

I believe that I'm too young to have been a fan of the TV show "The A-Team", but I did know that Mr. T played B.A. Baracus, and that pretty much sold me on the idea of a film version. I mean, anything involving Mr. T has to be great, right? (Please note the sarcasm...)

I don't know how much this film complemented it's television predecessor, but I will say that it was one heck of a fun ride.

You meet the first of the A-Team in a dilapidated warehouse in the middle of Mexico. Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) is handcuffed to a chair, getting the snot kicked out of him. He's in Mexico to rescue his comrade, Face (i.e. Bradley Cooper) who recklessly went after a Mexican general on his own. After Smith escapes the handcuffed chair (and why wouldn't he?), he runs into B.A. Baracus (Quinton "Rampage" Jackson), basically carjacks him, rescues Face, then goes to a mental hospital to spring Murdock (Sharlto Copley), an insane pilot. And thus, the four become a team.

Fast forward 8 years, and they're all in Iraq in the last days of the occupation. Suddenly, they get a mission that everyone is telling them not to do, but non-verbally telling them to do it. So they do, then get framed for murder and sent to jail. With the help of Agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) of the CIA, they bust out in pursuit of vengeance. And this is all within the first 45 minutes.

Needless to say that this movie is filled with action, most of which is pretty spectacular. The only time when I was sort of "meh" about the effects was during the L.A. dock scene that concerned all of the steel cartons. If you see the film, you'll know what I'm talking about.

But even more than the action, I really appreciated the characters. I thought they were all done very well. Liam Neeson is a totally believable action hero, with his cigar and croaky voice. Bradley Cooper was all sorts of tan and very muscular, with a penchant for not wearing his shirt. He was also cocky as hell, and had some of the best lines. Jackson was tough, and I really wouldn't want to cross him, but he's also vulnerable, being very open about his fear of flying. And Sharlto Copley was hysterically funny as a mostly sane man with slightly insane flying techniques.

The only character that I could have done without was Jessica Biel's character. She was purely one-dimensional and peripheral, and whose only purpose seemed to be to give Face some romantic credibility.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie an 8. Good action, lots of laughs, and a shirtless Bradley Cooper. And that's really all I need in my life.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Get Him to the Greek" - in theaters

I read a review of this film in Entertainment Weekly before I saw it, and I must say that I agree with the writer's statement regarding the health of it's star, Jonah Hill. He is seriously unhealthy, and there were times when I couldn't concentrate on the film because I was so focused on that. Not good.

Overall though, this movie was very entertaining, although not as funny as I hoped it would be. Don't get me wrong though, this film will totally make you laugh out loud in certain places.

The main character is Aaron Green, played by Jonah Hill, who is a lowly assistant to Sergio (P. Diddy), the head exec of a record company. When sales are down, Green comes up with an idea to have a concert where Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) will perform. The only issue is that Aldous Snow is a drunk, drug-addicted narcissist who hasn't had a hit song in over 3 years. But Aaron, a true fan, is determined to get him to the theater.

Needless to say, hi-jinks ensue, some of which are hilarious (like when they stop in Vegas and Jeffrey shows up), some are touching, and some are somewhat disgusting (threesome anyone?). You feel bad for Aaron, who pretty much has to do anything Aldous wants him to, not to mention an emasculating doctor girlfriend (played by Elisabeth Moss) who wants to move to Seattle and with whom Aaron just had a major fight with.

The cameos were fantastic but I was a little disappointed that Jason Segel didn't show up. After all, Aldous is a character for Segel's screenplay "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", so I had my fingers crossed for him to appear.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a 6. It's pretty funny, and it might get funnier with another viewing, but that won't be happening any time soon. I had to take points off for Jonah Hill and my concern over his health, but extra points for P. Diddy, who was frickin' hilarious.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" - in theaters

I soooooooo wanted this movie to be spectacular. My thought process went as follows: Oh, it's Disney. It's Jerry Bruckheimer. It's going to be like Pirates of the Caribbean all over again!

But alas, this movie fell short.

The story revolves around Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), an orphan boy of Persia who by happenstance gets adopted by the King, and spends his adolescence fighting with his brothers instead of against starvation. But anyway, all three brothers and their uncle (Ben Kingsley wearing entirely too much guy-liner) are hanging with the army when they decide to attack one of their more religious cities, based on some shoddy information if you ask me. However, they attack, and Dastan gets his hands on a dagger that seems to be very important to the princess of the city, Tamina, played by Gemma Arterton.

Come to find out, this dagger can turn back time. And before you know it, Dastan is framed for his father's death, and his brothers are hunting him and the princess down. Their adventures take many turns, but the most entertaining is when they enter the Valley of the Slaves (at least that's what I think it's called), and come across Sheik Amar, played by Alfred Molina. The audience always loves a gambler and degenerate, and Molina delivers on that note.

Personally I was a bit confused as to what happened during the film's climax, but of course, everything turns out the way it should in true Disney fashion.

Overall, the effects were cartoony (which was a real disappointment, given the director was Mike Newell, who helmed "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince), and the acting, save for Molina, was sub-par. I was expecting a lot more, especially out of Gyllenhaal, but I was disappointed. His hair was quite gross, and considering he lived in the frickin' desert, a trip to the tanning salon wouldn't have been out of order. Not to mention his accent sounded ridiculous. I mean, I'm just sayin'....

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this a 5.5. And let's be honest here: it would've scored higher if Jake had his shirt off more. But I'll tell you one thing: although it was no "Pirates", it sure was better than "Sex and the City 2".

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Just Wright" - in theaters

I was eager to see this film, mostly because I really like whenever Common is in a movie (i.e. "Smoking Aces", "Date Night", etc.). I also enjoy Queen Latifah, so needless to say I was sold from the get-go.

The focus of the film is on Latifah's character, Leslie Wright, an unlucky-in-love physical therapist, who just bought a fixer-upper house, has loving yet meddling parents who live close by, and a cousin (Paula Patton) who is taking advantage of her hospitality. Leslie is a self-proclaimed Nets fanatic, and one night after driving home from a game, she meets the star player, Scott McKnight (Common) at a gas station. They exchange banter and he ends up inviting her to his birthday party. She brings Morgan, the cousin (whose goal in life is to become a ball-player's wife), and before you know it, Morgan and Scott are engaged.

Things go great for awhile, but then McKnight gets injured, and the Nets might not re-up his contract if he's not in shape for the play-offs. Morgan decides that Leslie is just the person to fix him up, haves her move into their house, and then Morgan promptly leaves Scott because she "just can't take it anymore". So not only is poor Common injured, he's also a jilted lover. It's a bad head-space to be in when you're trying to recover from surgery.

The rest of the movie pretty much goes as planned for a romantic comedy, but the movie itself doesn't feel generic. I think I liked this movie so much because I personally identified with Queen Latifah's character, so I was really rooting for her. Plus, she was a strong, independent woman who was still open to the possibility of love, which is tough to find in today's cinema. She made you think that even if she didn't find somebody that she would still be okay. And I really appreciated that message in today's romantic comedy market.

So on the CWeave scale, I rate this movie a solid 8. It was funny and heart-warming, and I don't think that it's getting the credit that it deserves.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Sex and the City 2" - in theaters

Right off the bat, I'm going to disclose that I did NOT want to see this film. Unfortunately though, when you're having a college reunion, the majority rules, so I went, kicking and screaming, to the theater.

The reason I didn't want to see this movie exists on a few levels. A. I wasn't a huge fan of the show, mostly because I didn't have HBO. I've seen most of the episodes, but I was never too impressed. And B. I saw the first movie and thought it blew.

That being said, I found this movie to be more entertaining than the first, but overall, it kind of stunk. The show of Sex and the City focused on four women: Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte York (Kristen Davis), and Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon). (And can I just say that I should get bonus points for knowing their first AND last names!) All of these women had different careers and love lives, but the heart of the show revolved on the friendship that existed between these women.

The second film in this franchise did these women a disservice. First off, Samantha is OBSESSED with being younger to the point where she's taking all of these hormone supplements (which, as a breast cancer survivor [and oh yeah, they never mention that] is totally unbelievable), trying her best to delay menopause. I found it to just come off as shallow. Charlotte is having trouble with motherhood even though she has a full-time live-in nanny. Carrie and Big (who I think to be a total douche-bag) have hit a slump, and Miranda hates her job. Suddenly Samantha gets an all expense paid trip to Abu-Dhabi (because that happens to everyone!), and they're all whisked off for fun in the desert. Once they get there, it's all indulgence all the time, and wouldn't you know it, but Carrie runs into Aiden while simultaneously losing her passport?

Out of all of that crap, I found Miranda's story to be the most relate-able. She also had some great ensembles that she sported. Not all of them, but when she rocks the green dress at the nightclub, it is fabulous!

However, most of the clothes were WRETCHED. Seriously. At one point, Carrie is wearing acid-washed parachute pants. When has that EVER been okay???? WHEN??


Bottom line: it's all glitzy and fabulous and has absolutely no relevance to 99.9% of the women that will go to see this film. So on the CWeave scale, I rate it a 4. It had a few laughs, but I couldn't get past some of the character flaws, not to mention the 2 hour and 25 minute running time.

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Robin Hood" - in theaters

I saw this movie quite a while ago, so some of the details may be fuzzy. (And the reason I didn't write a review is sheer laziness. I've got two more to do after this one!)

First off, I'll say that this movie COULD have been spectacular had it been rated R. But it wasn't, and I'm guessing it's because Hollywood finds that PG-13 movies are more widely attended than R-rated ones. Needless to say that this "Robin Hood" was a watered-down version of what it could have been but I still found it more than enjoyable. It was also extremely long, but Ridley Scott (the director) does a fairly good job at intertwining action sequences with dialogue and other filler scenes.

Russell Crowe takes the mantle as Robin Longstride, an archer in King Richard's army, butchering their way back across France in attempt to get home after 10 years fighting a Crusade. In a series of circumstances, Robin and his motley crew end up carrying the King's crown home (because apparently, King Richard dies in this version of Robin Hood), and carrying a dead knight's sword home to his father. And wouldn't you know it, but the dead knight's name is Loxley, and his wife is Marianne (played by the fabulous Cate Blanchett).

The motley crew is composed of Will Scarlett, Little John, and some other bloke that I can't remember the name of. Little John is played by Kevin Duran, whose characters are usually more threatening so it was refreshing to see him play a good guy. Friar Tuck also makes an appearance, and yes, he's as drunk as ever. Mathew McFayden plays the Sheriff of Nottingham, who is DISGUSTING, but not overly evil or threatening. Considering this movie acts as a prequel, I'm sure there's plenty of room for him to grow in his vileness. It's a shame too, because I love Mathew McFayden, and this movie kind of ruined him for me.

Anyway, after Robin delivers the crown, effectively making Prince John KING John, he goes to Loxley's place where he's given a warm welcome by Loxley's dad, and a not so warm welcome by Loxley's wife. Sir Loxley decides that Robin better pretend that he's his son, otherwise Marianne will lose the land, and Robin slips into the character with great ease.

There were many plot points to this film, including how all the orphan boys of Nottingham live in the forest, running wild because their dads are all gone, and then there's the threat of a French invasion, and then there's civil unrest in the north of England, all of which culminates in a final battle on the beach.

Oh, and Robin and Lady Marianne fall in love (duh). And they're named outlaws because King John is pissed that the people like Robin better than they like him. Seriously. That is his reasoning.

Ah, the twelfth century. Good times.

So, on the CWeave scale, I give this a 6.5. Points off for the non-R rating (I really would have loved more gore, you know?) and the length of the film, but bonus points to Russell Crowe, who still looks good without his shirt on. Bravo sir. Bravo.