Monthly Archives: April 2009

Movie review: Role Models

[Blu-ray | DVD]

So this movie wasn’t all that original, but I enjoyed it very much. The plot is pretty basic. One part relationship troubles, one part mentor-mentee stuff, one part friendship stuff, one part transformation plus some curse words and some nudity and you have role models. That said, I thought it was a good watch because it seemed kind of earnest. None of the situations in the movie was any kind of real, but I thought it did a good job of showing the progression of the characters in their relationships. Just an enjoyable flick.

Movie review: Choke


I kind of grew out of reading Chuck Palahnuik novels awhile ago. So I never read Choke. But I was excited when I heard it was becoming a movie. It came out in theatres to what seemed like lackluster reviews. I guess now that I’ve seen it, rightly so.

The movie kind of meanders its way to the end. It was written and directed by Clark Gregg and was definitely not as tight of a movie as Fight Club [DVD]. Of course that one was helmed by David Fincher. I just felt this movie didn’t really go anywhere. The flashback scenes seemed useless. I mean they showed the kind of nomad/fugitive life that created Sam Rockwell’s character, but just seemed to be there. Nothing about this movie really stood out to me. I know it’s not much of a review, but it just seemed like a bit of a lackluster effort all around.

Movie review: Death Race

[Blu-ray | DVD]

You know what I love about this movie? There is not a single subtle thing about it. Not a one. It doesn’t take itself too seriously (until the very end of the movie). It knows what it is and revels in it. It’s a definite throw back to the 70s and the 80s. Pick just about any cliche you can think of for a guy movie and it’s in here. Just great stuff.

I had zero interest in watching this when it came out in theatres. Usually Jason Statham + driving = me watching, but the whole weaponized car thing was just too much. I like old school driving Statham (i.e. Transporter 1). And I was never into the whole Mad Max [DVD] thing. But then Netflix decided to NOT send me any blu-rays. I even leave slots open, but no. So I have to add old movies and think might as well. And I’m glad I did. Just a fun time. Total unabashed guy movie.

I also think it’s pretty much a directorial requirement of Statham that he gets more ripped for each successive movie. Ian McShane does his normal gravelly thing. If you like 70s and 80s guy movies and need nearly two hours of mindless fun, this is your movie.

Movie review: Two Days in April

IMDB: Two Days in April

This is a pretty straightforward documentary about the NFL draft. It follows four players as they prepare for the draft. There was some legal issues keeping it from release, but all of that is boring. Of the four players, one had high draft position hopes and the rest were going to be late first day picks, or so they hoped.

The preparation part of the documentary was pretty simple. I think it’s not a big mystery that these guys go through inordinate amounts of training in preparation for the Senior Bowl, the Combine, or pro days on campus. The most riveting part of the documentary was watching the players and the families of the players watch the draft. Name after name being called and just waiting. And how heart breaking it was that they kept getting passed over. And the relief and jubilation that came with finally being selected.

This is a pretty good documentary for football fans. And the drama of the end makes it a decent documentary for non-football fans as well.

Movie review: Lakeview Terrace

[Blu-ray | DVD]

Okay, so Sam L. hates white people and holds a serious grudge. There’s your movie for you. For a movie where that’s the basic plot, I don’t think they really took advantage of the situation to really get more great Sam L. yelling scenes. While I don’t think Lakeview Terrace was really trying to hit home any racial arguments, it was so superficial. I mean the race conflict was so surface. Hell, Guess Who [DVD] did a better job dealing with interracial relationships.

Perhaps the one aspect I thought this movie really did well was to show the stress on a relationship. How so many arguments between Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington devolved into a basic single foundation. Otherwise, not much else. I mean not even the hijinks Sam L. inflicts on Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington are all that inventive or fun. It just seemed to be a movie that was on a loop for 75%, then added on a “tense” ending. I wasn’t that impressed.

Movie review: RocknRolla

[Blu-ray | DVD]

A return to form for Ritchie? I suppose. I was in the minority by thinking Revolver [Blu-ray | DVD] wasn’t THAT bad. Clearly not up to par with Ritchie’s early stuff, but not entirely unwatchable. This movie was more in line with Snatch [Blu-ray | DVD] and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels [DVD]. I did kind of miss Statham in this movie, though Gerard Butler did well.

The typical Ritchie convoluted plot filled with a circle of crime and mishaps was in full effect. Almost too much. But I didn’t mind it too much. Though you almost know what’s going to happen, even if you don’t know the details, just by knowing Ritchie’s MO. Sort of like you always know to expect a “twist” in an M. Night movie.

I thought the acting was great. I know he’s British, but weird to hear Idris Elba speaking with a British accent. I guess he’ll always be Stringer Bell to me. Tom Wilkinson proved he can play all roles. To go all James Lipton, he’s an absolute treasure. Across the board I didn’t think there was really a bad performance.

Hopefully this return to form means good things for Ritchie’s upcoming Sherlock Holmes film. Anyways, should definitely check this movie out. I hope the end note about the “sequel” James Bond style really happens, as I could watch a movie about this world with these characters some more.

Movie review: Bolt

[Blu-ray | DVD]

So a lot of people raved about this movie. And it was supposed to be Disney’s first Pixar movie, but not Pixar movie. I can definitely see the second part of those two sentiments, but not so much the first. Maybe it’d be different if I saw it in theatres on the big screen or 3-D.

The animation was amazing. The base of the story was interesting. But it had to be like 2-3 movies in one. The “Truman Show” [Blu-ray | DVD] part, the [insert name of animal buddy road trip movie here] part, and then the action movie reunion part. I thought they kind of short changed the middle part with the little kiddie animation dotted line on the map bit.

On the whole it was enjoyable, but it definitely was a step below Pixar movies.

Movie review: Body of Lies

[Blu-ray | DVD]

So I read/listened to a ton of reviews and expected a big heaping pile of shit. But it certainly wasn’t as bad as everyone said. Though it certainly was a wasted opportunity. So much talent attached to this movie and it just didn’t pan out.

The movie chugged along well enough until a fairly ridiculous ending. I couldn’t 100% explain it, as the movie which had held me interested for the most part, had pretty much lost me by this point. All I know it was a lot of ridiculousness following some other ridiculousness.

I thought this was a middling effort from Ridley Scott, poor effort from Russell Crowe, and a decent effort from DiCaprio.

Two bits really stuck out to me in this movie though. One was when Leo was captured by the terrorists and they told him no one was coming for him, etc. And made it very pointed saying something like “Welcome to Guantanamo” or something like that. The second bit was at the very end when Crowe’s CIA lead guy says to his agent DiCaprio something like “You know what it means to turn your back on me… You’re turning your back on America.” To which DiCaprio responds “Watch yourself calling yourself America” or something like that. The first was I think everyone’s nightmare scenario of America’s policies of the past coming back to bite. The second stood out because so much has been cloaked in the shroud of “AMERICA” that anyone with the logic to question the underlying thing is accused of betraying the country. Given the global climate that created the force to have those two ideas articulated in a movie, I guess it’s no wonder (among other real, rational, worthy reasons) that Obama won the election.

Movie review: Confessions of a Superhero


This documentary follows four of the performers in superhero costumes on Hollywood Blvd. Superman (Christopher Dennis), Batman (Maxwell Allen), Wonder Woman (Jennifer Wenger), and the Hulk (Joseph McQueen). This documentary ostensibly follows these characters and interviews them to get some depth and insight into their psyches, but it didn’t really accomplish that mission. There were a few detours into the reasoning of the individuals, but for the most part it kind of followed them around being themselves without much in the way of change, story, or anything. Though I suppose that could be the story. These individuals trying to scratch out the dreams of Hollywood and failing miserably, but hoping beyond hope that being these costumed heros on Hollywood Blvd. for the tourists will lead to the big break they so desperately seek.

It’s kind of a sad look into these peoples’ lives, but then again, I’d imagine many/most documentaries kind of are.