Saturday, July 31, 2010

July: Month In Review

Movies in theatre: 6

All Movies:

The A-Team 2.5/4

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Theif 2/4

Despicable Me 3/4

Inception 4/4

The Sorcerer's Apprentice 2.5/4

Quills 3/4

Exit Through the Gift Shop 3.5/4

Other posts:

Hey, Mama, Welcome to the 80's

Circle Time Note

Top 5 "Mirror of America" Films

Top 5 Favorite Endings

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Like Sasquatch, the Lock Ness Monster, and the 1969 NASA moon landing, Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop has people wondering if this movie is for real or not. However, when it comes right down to it, does that even matter?

This documentary follows Thierry Guetta, a quirky Frenchman with an obsession for filming. Guetta befriends an array of grafitti artists including Space Invader, Borf, Shepard Fairey (the man who came up with Obama's 2008 election poster), and, of course, Banksy. Guetta eventually sticks with Bansky while the two of them embark on a wonderous grafitti expedition. After a while, Banksy convinces Guetta to turn the camera over to him while Guetta tries his hand at art, with an unbelievable turnout.

Whether this film is legit or not, everything about it, for the most part, feels authentic and that is an astonishing feet for any "prankumentary", if indeed that's what this is. The real decade-old footage mixed in with the seemingly spontaneous humor of the ensemble makes this movie feel like the real deal, which I guess you could pin on the grade A acting, if indeed it is exactly that.

Like I hinted at earlier, this movie is funny, really funny. The dimwit humor of Guetta, cupped with countless attacks on Guetta's dimwit ways, makes this movie very enjoyable. If nothing else, this movie provides the audience with something (rather someone) to laugh at. But what is great about this movie is that it keeps the audience laughing while also keeping the audience engaged; we are constantly deciding for ourselves what art is and where we draw the line between vandlism and self-expression.

In the end it does not even matter if this film is a true story or not; it's funny, it's engaging, and it is just plain old fun. Besides, we get plently of enjoyment out of fiction anyways, don't we?

See this film.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


If you were asked "What is your favorite Geoffrey Rush moive?", how would you respond? The House On Haunted HillPirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl? How about Finding Nemo? It's a tought choice, right? Well, to help make your decision even more difficult, consider Phillip Kaufman's Quills.

Geoffrey Rush takes the lead role in this fact-based film about a craized writer named Marquis De Sade. Napoleon Bonaparte sentenced Marquis to prison for his inapropriate writings and Marquis ended up in Charenton, an insane asylum run by The Abbe du Coulmier, played by Joaquin Phoenix. Of course the asylum cannot stop Marquis from publishing his writings as he continues to sneak his work out of the asylum through means of a laundry maid played by Kate Winslet. When he finds out that Marquis' writings are still being published, Napoleon sends in a doctor of sorts, played by Michael Caine, to handle the situation.

This film has a lot going for it: a good director, a good script, and a very talented cast that can definitely do something like this. The end result? A very risqué drama that grabs hold of you from the beginning and never lets go. Kaufman is really passionate about this story and it comes through in his script and direction as each character developes tremendously throughout the course of the film. Of course this film is star studded and with actors like Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, and Michael Caine, it's hard not to have character development.

This film flows smoothly. There are not a whole bunch of random cuts that don't make any sense. The story is seamless and it is easy to follow along, which makes any movie more enjoyable. When a movie flows smoothly it makes it easier to notice other details because you're not sitting there wondering what in the world is going on. For instance, with everything flowing smoothly, Geoffrey Rush's Oscar nominated preformance stands out more.

As I said before, this movie is very risqué; it definitely earns its R rating. So if you are uncomfortable with male nudity and the talk of certain bodily functions, then this may not be the movie for you. Also, the supposed love triangle in this film does not feel as strong as it could, though the idea of a love triangle in this film makes things more interesting, it isn't very effective.

With all that said, this movie is a very enthralling; once you start it, you will definitely finish it. Phillip Kaufman has done a good job with this movie, it is very well made, and all the preformances bring this film to a whole other level.

See this film.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Top 5 Favorite Endings

5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Very rarely is human society portrayed in a microcosm that is both entertaining and impressively accurate. This is a film adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel stars Jack Nicholson as a man, who may or may not be crazy, living inside a mental institution to escape the Vietnam War. This film portrays the consequence of conformity (or nonconformity?) with an ending that is sure to leave you wondering, "What is it to be crazy?”

4. The Ghost Writer

With endings that are as controversial as he is, Roman Polanski continues to baffle us. His latest film, The Ghost Writer, stars Ewan McGregor as a ghost writer hired to tie up some loose ends on a biography of a very infamous politician; however things are not as they seem. Things go from strange to stranger as the movie becomes more and more thrilling as it all leads up to an ending you won't see coming.

3. Gran Torino

As both the director and the star, Clint Eastwood can definitely shelve this film with his greats like Unforgiven, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and Million Dollar Baby. Following the story of an old Vietnam vet after the death of his wife, Gran Torino is a moving film about the virtues of love and sacrifice. With a powerful ending that will leave you in awe, Clint Eastwood keeps proving that he is getting better with age.

2. Inception

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Christopher Nolan is a master filmmaker and just like Eastwood, he keeps on getting better. Inception is Nolan's latest thriller about a dream team, led by Leonardo DiCaprio, who is hired to plant an idea into the head of an heir for a very powerful company. Nolan takes us through the human psyche, but as they advance through the levels, things become increasingly difficult. Once the team reaches the end, everything seems normal, but is the happy ending really a happy ending?

1. The Mist

With enough chills, thrills, and plain old scares, The Mist is arguably one of the best film adaptations of a Stephen King novel. When a thick mist rolls into town, maneating creatures start appearing and a handful of surviving residents must take shelter in a supermarket and fight to stay alive. Prior to viewing this movie, it may be a good idea to visit the bathroom and empty all the contents of your stomach. With an ending that only Stephen King could deliver, The Mist will haunt you long after you've seen the movie, so make sure you sleep with a nightlight on.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The next Pirates of the Caribbean film doesn't come out for another year, so Disney Studios and fammed movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer have teamed up once again to fill that gap with another goofy action film. Only this time around, it's Nicholas Cage's turn to take the lead roll.

This movie follows the life of our hero, Dave ( apparently not having a last name is the latest fad in New York City ), from a very young age, starting from his first encounter with Balthazar ( Cage ) in his antique shop. After revealing to Dave that he is the "chosen one", Dave accidentally releases the evil Horvath ( Alfred Molina)  from a magical imprisonment, inevitably engaging Balthazar in imortal combat. Balthazar then imprisons himself, along with Horvath, in a ten-year prison so as to buy the world time. Of course when the ten years are up, the two enemies are released and end up finding their ways back into Dave's somewhat normal life. Now Dave must master the art of sorcery if he wishes to save the world from complete annihilation.

Well, it ain't no Harry Potter or Narnia movie, but The Socerer's Apprentice has enough magic and action to make the recent Percy Jackson film look  like it's an unoriginal, unentertainning adaptation of a teen fantasy novel ( like that's so hard to do ). There is constantly some sort of magic spell being cast in this movie and most of that magic is being used in such a way that it enhances the entertainment value of the action sequences, thus making this film more fun.

This film has a cast of great actors that will definitely draw the attention of people who wouldn't otherwise care for a movie like this. Among them are Jay Baruchel, no doubtedly rounding up the younger audience, the very talented Alfred Molina, drawing in all those Spider-Man 2 fans, and the great Nicholas Cage, whom everybody loves. Everybody in this movie can act ( with the exception of the kid who played the young Dave, who was obviously hired only because he looks like a young Jay Baruchel ) and Molina does a good bad guy, but it is Nicholas Cage who really shines in this one.  Cage brings himself into this film, making us laugh, cry, and laugh again in the way that only he can deliver.

The direction in  this film is was interesting and none of the camerawork was too distracting. Most of the action sequences were not filled with quick cuts, which was a relief because I could actually tell what was going on for the most part. The script was funny and it added to the overall goofball atmosphere of the movie; however, the love-dovey sequences in this film were boring and started ocurring too often which dragged the movie along in some parts.

The beginning narrative that gave the background story of Balthazar and the rest of the Merlinians was awkward and did not feel like it fit in with the rest of the movie; it was cliché and does not serve as a formitable attention grabber. The beginning of this film with the young Dave is also boring and it doesn't pick up until Cage's character  is finally introduced ( which is luckily only ten to fifteen minutes into the movie ) and the ending is unsasisfactory to the rest of the movie.

Overall, The Socerer's Apprentice is a fun film that survives on Cage's comedic skills, love for its characters, and great pop culture refrences including Star Wars and Magic the Gathering.

See this film.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Outta Five

Dear Readers,

      My friends at and,  myself, and a few more friends are converging to create an awesome megablog that will consist of many different media reviews including video games, comics, music, television, and of course, movies. It is sure to be an awesome blog once it gets up and going. Don't be shy, stop on over for a visit every once in a while.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Despicable Me

When you think "supervillain", who comes to mind? The Joker? For sure. Lex Luther? Definitely. How about others like Darth Vader, Magneto, or even Gargamel? Ohhh yeah. Well how about Gru from Universal's first ever 3D animated film Despicable Me? Yeaah, not so much.

When the Great Pyramid of Giza goes missing, it is called the crime of the century and the world doesn't know which of its supervillains is to blame. Unfortunately for Gru ( voiced by Steve Carell ), it wasn't him. So in order to secure the title of crime of the century, Gru plans to steal the moon and hold the world ransom; however, he must first steal back the shrink ray gun from his arch nemisis, Vector, by adopting three little orphan girls who can gain access into Vector's lair by selling him cookies. The scheme seems to be going as planned until Gru finds himself becoming distracted as he inevitably grows more and more attatched to his newly adopted daughters.

Universal Studios took their shot at 3D animation and it paied off for the most part. The 3D in this film is pretty good and offers a couple of "wow" moments during the few scenes that were obviously intended for 3D viewing. However, no film has yet to even come close to the 3D animation of Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon, which was amazing. With that said, the 3D in this film is still far superior than any 3D that Pixar has dished out.

Okay, so the 3D is all fine and dandy, but what about the story? Well, the story in this film feels pretty original compared to what Hollywood has been giving us, so that's a good start. However, once the movie progresses it can feel a little slow at times, but the light-hearted comedy and heart of this film is what saves this movie from being boring.

Overall, this film is light, heartfelt, and as goofy as Steve Carell's accent. It has enough eye-popping visuals to keep the kids entertained and enough heart and good spirited humor to keep parents into it as well.

See this film in 3D.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Top 5 "Mirror of America" Films

Happy 4th of July, everybody! In honnor of our great nation's 234th birthday, I have listed off the top five films that I think best reflect America.

If America looked in the mirror, which films would it see looking back? There are many films that are good represenetives of American culture, but I have hand-selected the top five that I think do the best job.

5. The Original Godzilla films

How does Godzilla represent America? I say, "how doesn't it?". I couldn't think of a better metaphor for Japan- U.S. relations ( if you're a SNL fan, "Jap-Anus relations"). When American is against Japan, Godzilla is seen as a giant monster destroying Japanese cities, but when America befriends Japan, suddenly Godzilla is saving Tokyo from bigger, uglier monsters and now Godzilla is a huge pop culture icon recognized all around the world. Besides, how much more American can you get than a giant, mutated lizzard who breathes fire? Not very.

4. The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin was one of the largest stepping stones for what would eventually transform America into the world's entertainment capital- Hollywood. However, that is not the only thing that ended a Chaplin film in my list. In The Great Dictator, Chaplin plays a goofy interpretation of the world's most fierce dictator- Adolf Hitler, while he was still in power. Chaplin's courageous stand and outrageously large cojones are represenetive of the American attitude that you need to have the balls to stand up for what you believe no matter how strange, bizzare, or in Charlie's case, how ridiculous you look with a tiny stache.

3. American History X

Taking the term "American" into consideration when looking for "American" films is pretty important, so we also have to look at the darker side of American culture. American History X does a wonderful job of pulling back the curtain on one of the darker aspects of our culture- racism. There will always be a natural prejudice that exists between human beings, but it is until we learn how to put that aside and  accept people who who they are, can we truely understand what it means to be "American". This film does a wonderful job of explainging this in a way that is both depressingly accurate and very entertaining.

2. There Will Be Blood

What better way of explainning modern, political, and ecenomic corruption than in the old west? One of the concepts in this film is "money corrupts". When most people hear the term "America" they probably think of a few things. One is Daniel Day-Lewis. Another is probably freedom. But probably, the thing that pops into peoples' heads most often, is corruption. This film is probably the greatest fictional example of American corruption.

1. Independence Day

Being depressed by my list is probably not what you want to be doing this fourth of July. So, for a lighter feel, I have decided to end my list with probably one of the most American films ever. As a general rule, I don't like Roland Emmerich, but there is an exception to every rule. Independence Day has many morals, one being: if you try to invade Earth, America is going to kick your butt, so don't even try, alien scum. But perhaps the greatest message from this film is the message of unity. Sure you can blow up our White House, our Pentagon, and pretty much every major city in our country, but when our freedom is threatened, we don't hessitate to stand together to fight for it, and I think that's why we all gather around the American flag on Independence Day.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful 4th of July!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Circle Time ( On Demand ): Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

I do not think that I could find a longer title for a posting anywhere on Blogger, even if I tried.

Centars, minotars, and satyrs, oh my! If you want them, we've got them. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is chalk-full of mythical creatures and magic, enough to make an obsessive dungeons and dragons fanatic wet his pants.

In this film adaption of the pre-teen novel, Percy Jackson, the son of the sea god, Poseidon, is accused of stealing the master lightning bolt from Zeus, king of Olympus. Zeus threatens Poseidon with a war of the gods if the master bolt is not returned to him by the summer solstice. It is Percy's job to clear his name and make sure that this war is over even before it begins.

You would think that by this time, after all the film adaptations of novels about magical, fantasy worlds like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter,The Chronicles of Narnia, and  even Twilight, we would all be tired of the whole concept and not want to see another one. However, this film is quite unique in the way that it puts a contemporary twist on actual mythology and brings it to us in a way that is actually entertainning.

'Percy' is filled with almost as many recognizable faces as it is mythical creatures ( the kind of faces where you know the face, but you don't really know the name ). People like Catherine Keener, Rosario Dawson, a rugged Pierce Brosnan, the aging Joe Pantoliano, and a scary, but always enjoyable, Uma Thurman make this film more fun to watch.

This film is fast paced, starting off with an opener that catches your attention and holds it there while you ride right along with the film. There are also parts of this film that offer a pretty good laugh or two. If you're into mythology and the magical world scenario then this is a pretty good film. However, if you're a realist this movie can get pretty ridiculous, even with its more realistic scenes and Alexandra Daddario does not play a very convincing love interest in this film.

With all that said, 'The Lightning Thief' is a pretty entertainning film that keeps your attention until the very end.

See this film.

Circle Time Note

Okay, gather round children. Uncle Jordan has something that he wants to tell you guys. Now, you all are aware that I review DVD's, but from now on I will do so in a segment called "Circle Time". Why "Circle Time" you ask? It's quite elementary. DVD's are circular shape. Look for this segment about once or twice a month. Thank you for reading.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hey, Mama, Welcome to the 80's

Which decade is this? Last time I checked the year was 2010, the beginning of a new decade. Why, then, when you walk into a movie theater does it feel like you've stepped back in time 30 years?

Have you ever stopped inside your local movie theatre and taken the time to actually look at all the movies being advertised, whether it be on a big screen t.v. they have hanging up in the lounge, a poster hanging up on the wall, or a giant cardboard cutout? If you haven't, take some time next time and just peruse around. For those of you who have, does it bring back any memories?

Sequels, Prequels, and Remakes.

Look at this, a new A Nightmare On Elm Street movie came out in February of this year. I am sorry but Wes Craven's original, released in 1984 mind you, is a classic and it didn't need a remake ( added on with countless, terrible sequels ) to ruin it for this generation.

Who was a bigger movie star than Tom Cruise in the 80's? Nobody. That's who.  So what would a step back into the 80's be without Mr. Cruise? Let's see here... How nostalgic can we make this? Oh! I know. Let's get Tom Cruise to play a secret agent and have him co-star with another pretty actress! How original.

"Wax on, wax off". Sound familiar? Well how about, "Jacket on, jacket off"? If none of this is ringing a bell then you must be living under a rock because whether you grew up in the 80's or today, there is a Karate Kid for everybody. 

So you say that none of this sounds familiar? That the only thing you remember from the 80's is Schwarzenegger going mono-e-mono with an intergalactic space alien? Don't worry. We got something for you too. Predators is set for release later this month so if you're ready to relive those masculine memories,  you don't have to wait too long.

Ahh. Good, old Wall Street. We love you and trust you and look forward to the next financial collapse. Oh, sorry. That's not the same Wall Street. For those of you who are Michael Douglas fans ( and I know that's ALL of you ), you probably loved 1987's Wall Street, which brought Douglas an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Well Douglas fans, it's your time to shine again because Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is hitting theaters later this year. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Shia LaBeouf will be in it, for all you new millenials.

So who's fault is it that we're spending the beginning of this new decade in the middle of decade that started 30 years ago? Is Hollywood to blame for the lack of original storytelling? No. Unfortunately it is us, the moviegoers. We spend $7 to go see something that was brand new almost 30 years ago. Is this bad? For those of us who like the same old, same old it isn't; however, for those of us who like original stories and seeing something that's new to us, it is. Maybe we just like the nostalgia.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The A-Team (2010)

Boom! Boom! Pow! ( Yes I am aware that I just started this review off by naming a Black Eyed Peas song. Please don't hate me. ) That's what you'll get if you pay the overcharged fee of $7 to see the matinee of The A-Team. Too bad there isn't more of it.

If you were to ask me what the plot of this film is, I could answer you truthfully with another question: "Plot? You paied $7 for a plot to a movie tittled The A-Team?" Then I would finish it off by slapping you clear across the "Face" ( Hahaha! ). No, but seriously, there is a plot to this film, I am just not exactly sure what it is.

Like I said, plot does not really matter when you are dealing with an action film based off an 80's television show where things just blew up. Sadly, this film does not do well with the things that do matter. Looking for character development? Don't look for it here. How about a nice moral to your story? Sorry. Fresh out. But if you want lots of explosions and the big black guy to say "fool" a lot, then this is the movie for you.

With all that said, this film doesn't take its self too seriously which is good because if it had tried to actually be a "good" movie, it would have failed miserably. It knows what it is going for, which is to be entertaining, and it succeeds for the most part. There were some parts in The A-Team that seemed as if it was trying to get you to actually feel some emotional connection with the characters. This is The A-Team, we don't want any lovey dovey, we want explosions and "fools".

In the end, The A-Team succeeds in only being mindless entertainment and dumb fun, which is pretty much how the television show was, so I guess it will bring back those warm, fuzzy feelings you had for this show when you were like eight years old. So if you have a few bucks lying around and absolutely nothing to do then you might enjoy this film.Otherwise, if you're waiting for The A-Team to take home the Oscar for best picture, then I  pitty the fool ( Hey, if B.A. isn't going to say it, I mine as well ).