Friday, May 06, 2005

The Pacifier

After my wife and I went to Hitchhiker's Guide... we went out to eat and then went back to the theater for another film. Our first "double feature" if you will. Our second choice was The Pacifier. We've both wanted to see this one ever since we saw the trailer for it. Brief summary is that Vin Diesel (xXx, Knockaround Guys) is a Navy SEALS Spec-Ops officer and ends up being in charge of watching over a gov't scientist's children when their mother has to go to Switzerland to retrieve the contents of a safe deposit box.

Visuals: Only a 3 here. Very basic stuff. Not really any dramatic cinematography or special effects. Just your average movie going experience as far as visuals go.

Sound: Sound is worth 3 as well. Nothing really sticks out in the sound department. Some of the dialogue is very cheesy, but that's to be expeceted with this type of movie considering the target audience.

Story: Well, I'd say this is worth 3.5. I take into consideration that I am older than the target audience here. I try to imagine that I were a kid here, and the rating would go up to a 4.5. If I had children, I can foresee them REALLY enjoying this one. It's along the lines of Kindergarten Cop and Mr. Nanny, but better. And yes, I've seen both of those as well.

Entertainment Value: Overall, a 3.5 for this film. Again, if you have children, definitely go to this movie or rent it when it comes out. Your children will really enjoy this one, I'm sure of it. It's not too painful to watch it as an adult either. See it at the cheapseats if you can. I recommend it.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Well, I went to this one yesterday afternoon. I found it to be quite entertaining. There were a few things that were annoying to me, but overall, I enjoyed it. I have not read the book, so I can not nit-pick any small details that were left out, or exaggerated, or anything along that line. So... that may be a good thing for me. If you're familiar with the book, then you know what to expect of the movie's plotline. If not, here's a small summary for ya. The story follows a British man, Arthur Dent, and his adventures. Following a crazy morning of lying in front of a bulldozer to protest the destruction of his house, finding out his best friend is an alien, and being airlifted by an alien spacecraft to avoid being blown up with the rest of the planet Earth, he ventures all over the galaxy, rescues his love interest, gets answers to his questions from an interactive encyclopedia, finds out the ultimate answer of life, and has lunch at the end of the galaxy. Not neccessarily in that order.

Visuals: I give visuals a 4. There were some very cool special effects in the movie and most of them were believable. I really liked how the Hitchhiker's Guide consisted of a bunch of Flash animations. Good stuff. There were only a few moments where I was thinking "Oh, that's a special effect and you can tell."

Sound: This gets a 4 also. You definitely have to watch this movie in a surround sound setting. There's one point that sticks out in my mind as awesome. There's something falling, and as the characters are walking away from the camera, you hear the falling object crash behind you. Great stuff. Very subtle, but great none-the-less.

Story: I give this a 4 also. Since I've never read the book, I can't base my judgement on details that were left out. I've read reviews that say the movie sucked because "such-and-such" was left out, or that "so-and-so" wasn't cast right, or what have you. Well, I enjoyed the casting with one exception. That being the President of the Galaxy. He was very annoying to me and there were aspects about him that I didn't understand. Well, he was supposed to be annoying, so that's ok. They cast the part correctly then, right?

Entertainment Value: Overall, a 4. As you can see this movie is above average in my opinion. It isn't an "OH MY GOSH I'M GONNA RUSH OUT AND BUY THAT THE DAY IT COMES OUT" kind of movie, but I wasn't sorry for spending the money to see it in the theater. Well worth it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Meet the Fockers

So... the last film we rented this past weekend was Meet the Fockers. If you've seen Meet the Parents, you already know what to expect from this movie. Except this time Gaylord's parents, Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz Focker (Barbra Streisand), are in the mix. Since his parents are involved, you can only imagine what sort of things they come up with to embarass Gaylord, aka Greg. This is pretty much what the movie consists of.

Visuals: As far as visuals go, I say 3.5. There's really nothing special about the visuals in this movie either, but if you pay attention to detail, you'll be able to appreciate some great artwork that can be seen in the Focker house. I don't know who the artists were/are, but I do know that I liked a lot of the pieces/decorations that were in the house.

Sound: This gets a 3. It's just your basic music at times when it's called for type of sound. Nothing special, nothing fantastic. Fits the movie.

Story: Here I give a 3.5. Some of the events that take place are quite funny, but nothing that made me roll on the floor laughing. I found myself amused during the movie, but nothing over the top. My favorite scene would have to be Gaylord's speech at the party. Something that Jack Byrnes (Robert DeNiro) does to him before hand makes it very truthful. But, I'd have to say that I like the first of these two films better.

Special Features: I only watched the outtakes as far as special features go, so I can't give a fair rating on this one. For a full list of bonus material, visit the official site and click on bonus material.

Entertainment Value: Overall value of the film according to moi? I say 3.5. Just above average, but nothing really all that special about it. Would I own it? Maybe. I own Meet the Parents, and I might just buy Meet the Fockers to have them sitting side-by-side in my collection, if I can pick it up on sale or something like that.


The second film my wife and I watched was Spanglish. It's about a hispanic woman Flor (Paz Vega) and her daughter Christina. They move from Mexico to LA. Flor works two jobs, but as Christina matures Flor realizes that she needs to quit her night job to make sure her daughter stays out of trouble. The job she finds is as a housekeeper for the Clasky family. At first there's misunderstandings because of the language barrier between Flor and the Clasky's. As Flor gets more involved with the Clasky's, she decides to learn the english language.

Visuals: I give this a 2.5. It's very average as far as visuals go. There aren't any moments of wonderful cinematography that stand out in my mind. There are no crazy special effects. It's just a normal feeling movie. Nothing extraordinaire about the visuals.

Sound: Only a 3 here. There are no incredible things about the sound of this movie either. There's music in the background when there should be, there's silence when it's appropriate. Just as with the visuals, nothing special here.

Story: I give the story a 3.5. I really liked how it flowed in the beginning of the film, but as it got into the middle it tended to drag a bit. I also enjoyed the overall feel of the film at the beginning, but not as much as it went on. I should also note that there are some great moments of comedy as well. I especially like the scene with Christina confronting John Clasky (Adam Sandler) about the deal for the glass. You'll have to watch it to see what I mean.

Special Features: I wasn't able to watch any of the bonus material for Spanglish, so I can't give a rating here. If you wish to see a full list of special features, visit the official website.

Entertainment Value: Well, overall I say 3. It's just an average romantic comedy, if you ask me. Nothing special about it. Will I buy it? Even though I'm an Adam Sandler fan, I have to say no. I most likely will not buy this one.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

To anyone who cares,

This past weekend my wife and I rented 3 movies, and we've finally finished watching all of them. The first was Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. The basic plot rundown is three incredibly intelligent children are told that their parents have just died in a disastrous fire. They have inherited an enormous fortune which cannot be used until the oldest, Violet, is of age. Until that time, they are to stay with their "closest" relative, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey). They discover very quickly that the Count is only after the fortune for himself. The rest of the film is filled with antics of Count Olaf doing anything he can to acquire the fortune.

Visuals: A 4.5 is well deserved here. I really enjoyed the look and feel of the film. All the different areas that are travelled to present their own mood. The visuals give you the same feeling you get from a crazy Tim Burton film.

Sound: As far as sound goes, I'd say a 4. The musical score is very fitting to this film. It doesn't stand out from the rest of the film, and if you've read my other reviews you know that I believe that's a good thing. The sound of this movie fits right in with the visuals as well.

Story: As far as story goes, I only give this a 3.5. I enjoyed the smoothness of Jude Law's narration as Lemony Snicket. But there are some weak points in the story. The reason I say this is because there were times where I was wondering how certain things happened and they were never explained. I enjoyed the actions of the characters more than I did the actual storyline of the movie.

Special Features: Based on what I watched, I give the bonus material a 2. Keep in mind that I rented this movie, so this is based on the one disc version of the dvd. I'm sure the 2 disc set is much better in this catagory. With that stated, I watched the deleted scenes, the outtake reel, and a very small part of a featurette called "Making an Evil Character" or something like that. I liked the outtakes because it's basically Jim Carrey being his crazy self. The deleted scenes were very boring. I should note that there is also a feature commentary with director Brad Silberling, but based on what I saw of him in the small amount of the featurette I watched, I have a feeling that the commentary would be very dull.

Entertainment Value: Overall entertainment value... hmmm... I say a 3.5. The visuals of this film were definitely my favorite part of the whole thing. My wife enjoyed the movie more than I did, and I don't know if we'll end up owning it. I wouldn't mind receiving it as a gift for Christmas or something. But I don't think I'll go out and spend $20 on it myself. Worth renting just for the visuals.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Two Brothers

Two Brothers is a film for the entire family. It's a story of two tiger cubs, Kumal and Sangha, seperated from their parents and eventually from each other. You'll follow their stories individually and eventually see them face off against one another. Kumal and Sangha have their own unique personalities. Kumal is the bold one and Sangha is timid. Kumal ends up watching out for Sangha up to the point of their seperation. Kumal is taken from the jungle by Aidan McRory(Guy Pearce) and ends up becoming part of the circus where he loses his jungle spirit, and Sangha becomes a trained fighter. Of course, after these events is when they are faced against one another.

Visuals: Two Brothers deserves a 4.5 here. This film is definitely visually stunning. If you really like nature, then you'll enjoy the fantastic cinematography of this film. Jean-Marie Dreujou was the cinematographer for Two Brothers, and I believe he did an excellent job.

Sound: I'd say a 3 is deserving here. There really isn't a lot for sound as far as I can remember. There's a lot of ambient noises in the jungle which is nice. The fact that there were moments when noises of the tigers were added in is what brought this score down a bit. I felt some of the tigers "growling" sounded a bit out of place.

Story: I give story a 3 as well. The plot is a bit weak, but entertaining. It is by no means a "happy" story about the life of the tigers from birth to adulthood. They have a lot of unfortunate things happen to them, all because of selfish humans. This is not a tear-jerker either. It's a story that makes you feel sorry or bad for the tigers.

Special Features: A 3.5 is well placed for rating the special features. There are a lot of short (3-5 minute) behind-the-scenes events/documentaries. There's a 30 minute documentary on tigers narrated by Guy Pearce which I found to be very informative. I haven't had a chance to listen to the feature commentary with director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear), but based on how friendly he was in the behind-the-scenes stuff, I have a feeling it's a good commentary. For a full list of bonus materials, visit Two Brothers website, enter the site, and click on Bonus Features at the bottom.

Entertainment Value: Goodness, I have to give Two Brothers a 4 here. The story isn't all that strong, but it's a great movie for the entire family. I'm a fan of nature, so I really enjoyed the cinematography of the jungle scenes. I also enjoyed the bonus materials. If you have to choose between The Bear or Two Brothers... get both!! The bottom line... Two Brothers is worth viewing for sure. Go out and rent it for an enjoyable two hours of family fun.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Finding Neverland

Up until now, I've only been doing dvd reviews, but I feel that's going to change. If I see any movie now, I'm gonna be putting something up about it. My wife and I went to the cheapseats and saw Finding Neverland last night. OH MY GOODNESS!! What a great film.

Finding Neverland is about a playwright (Johnny Depp) who is having a bit of a dry spell in his creative streak. He meets a family of 4 boys with a single mother in the park where he frequently does his writing. He feels great when with these boys because they help him to be a boy himself. This in turn, helps his creativity come back. It's a very FUN movie to watch. So... review is as follows:

Visuals: I say it's worth a 4.5. The cinematography and editing were well done. The glimpses into "Neverland" were absolutely amazing. Fantastical even.

Sound: I give this a 4. To be honest, I wasn't really paying attention to the sound of the movie. It was one of those things that happens in the background unnoticed. Which is good, mind you. It helped the story move on and didn't get in the way.

Story: A 5 for sure. The script, the story, the idea are all wonderful. I've always been a sucker for the story of Peter Pan as is, but this was absolutely brilliant. It isn't an obvious Peter Pan rip-off. I don't feel that it's a rip-off at all, actually. It's a story of heart.

Entertainment Value: A definite 5. I feel that EVERYONE should see this film. It really is THAT good. If you have not seen this one yet, go out and do so as soon as you possibly can. It is such a great movie. Seriously.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Bourne Identity

Yesterday was a pretty lazy day for me, and I ended up watching The Bourne Identity. I really enjoy this film. I think Matt Damon (Ocean's 11 & 12; Good Will Hunting) does an excellent job in this film. He plays a man with amnesia who is found floating in the ocean. He soon discovers that he has abilities that normal people don't have. Also, he is being hunted down to be killed. He finds clues as to who he is while trying to stay alive, but doesn't have enough to figure it out.

I also feel that Franka Potente (Run Lola Run, The Princess and the Warrior) does an excellent job as well. She plays an innocent citizen who's hard up for money. Damon asks her for a ride to Paris for $20,000 toward the beginning of the movie, and she agrees to help him. If she only knew what that decision was going to get her involved in. I don't want to say too much more or I may end up ruining the film for you.

If you want to sit down and watch an edge of your seat action film, then this one will suit you just fine. I feel that it easily keeps you interested, and you start to put Damon's identity together along with him. It almosts makes you feel like you're in his shoes. How much fun would that be? Onto the review catagories.

Visuals: I give it a 4. This is based on the fact that there is some excellent cinematography. There really aren't many visual effects in the movie, and when there are, you don't go "Oh that's an effect." While I was watching the commentary, Doug Liman (director) (Go, Swingers) points out some moments where there are visual effects, and they're so subtle I would've NEVER realized it while watching the movie. That's a true sign of well done visual effects.

Sound: I give this a 4.5. The musical score to this film is nicely done. It's not like Liman's other films where there's a bunch of techno thrown into the movie. Another reason this is such a high score is from what I found out during the commentary as well. Liman and his sound advisor sat with the musician for 6 hour sessions just to pick out what music would work best where. Also the fact that it sounds GREAT in 5.1 surround, as far as sound effects go.

Story: I give this a 4.5 as well. This film is based on the well-known novel by Robert Ludlum, but Liman took some liberties with it. In my opinion, they are good ones. For those familiar with the novel, you should be able to know where these liberties take place. For those of you not familiar with it, you can find out some of them by listening to the commentary.

Special Features: Oh yes, special features. I give them a 3. I do NOT own the "explosive extended edition" so this score is based on the "plain jane" version of the dvd. There aren't a LOT of features that are good, but the ones that are make up for the ones that aren't. There are quite a few features on the disc. The features I enjoyed were:

  • The Birth of Bourne - 15 minute documentary on how the movie's idea started
  • Moby "Extreme Ways" Music Video - a pretty cool music video (as far as movie music videos go)
  • Feature Commentary with Director Doug Liman - this is very interesting and informative. Liman seems to be a very down to earth kinda guy.
  • Production Notes - there's some really cool behind the scenes info. to be read in here

Entertainment Value: Overall, I give this dvd a 4. I really like the movie. The special features could be better. Should you buy it? If you're an action movie fan, YES. If you can get it for $15, yes. If both of these apply, then definitely yes. If you're leary on my opinions, then RENT it for sure. While you're at it, you could get The Bourne Supremacy as well, and see the whole story up to this point. Also, in case you're wondering, the third film The Bourne Ultimatum, has been announced too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


So... I watched Hulk the other night. My wife was doing homework in the den and I was getting tired of playing PS2, so I decided to watch a movie. I hadn't even opened it since I had bought it at for $.29. That's right, 29 cents. It was one of the movies I picked out during my introductory package. I saw this movie in the theater with my brother, so I knew what I was getting. I figured that 29 cents was worth it for this movie. So... onto the review.

When I saw Hulk in the theater, I thought it was good with the exception of one part. This was remembered when I watched it the other night. There's a point in the movie where I think it should've ended, but NO... Ang Lee(director) just HAD to continue the movie. The only reason I can come up with is that he wanted to leave it open at the end for the possibility of a sequel. The thing is, I feel if it would've ended where I think, it would still be logical for a sequel to continue from that point. The thing with sequels is that you can make a sequel start anywhere. You can always make something happen at the begginning of a sequel to link it to the first one (can you say BACKSTORY?). I personally feel that a movie should be self-contained EVEN IF there is a planned sequel. That way, if something falls through with the sequel and it never gets finished, you still have a complete movie that isn't dangling at the end. And you can be proud of that.

Visuals: I give it a 3. Why? Well, The Hulk was obviously done in CG. I don't mind the fact that he's CG, but make it realistic looking instead of making him look like a freakin' cartoon for cryin' out loud. I think it would've been better if they would've had the Hulk as a costumed actor filmed in front of a green screen and made the tanks and stuff CG (there are some spots where the tanks were CG and you couldn't tell). That would've been more believable.

Sound: I give it a 4.5. I feel that the sound effects were great. The sound of the choppers, tanks, explosions, bullet fire, everything is really good. There's a scene with a pack of genetically-enhanced dogs that stands out in my mind as excellent in the sound effects catagory, because there's all this snarling, the Hulk with his labored breathing, the breaking of branches, the breaking of bones, and all of the ambient noises. Great stuff there.

Story: Overall, I give it a 2.5. It was a bit weak. They did a good job to let you know that Betty Ross was very important to Bruce Banner, but it was easier to realize this when Bruce was in Hulk form. The moment of the movie I mentioned earlier where the film continued after the point where I thought it should've ended is what brought this rating down. It was just plain stupid storyline after that point. If that wouldn't be in there, then this rating would be a 3.5 at least.

Special Features: Overall, I give it a 4. Disc one includes:

  • The feature commentary with director Ang Lee
  • "Hulk Cam" - allows you to watch special feature clips as the film plays by selecting the icon that shows up during the movie (kinda like an infiniFilm)
  • Deleted scenes - I can understand why they were cut. There weren't any that I felt should've stayed in the film
  • There are also other features on disc one, but not really worth mentioning besides the Cast and Filmmaker Bios (I thought those were great)
The second disc is chock full of special features. Some of my favorites include:
  • "Evolution of the Hulk" - 15 minute documentary on Hulk history
  • "The Incredible Ang Lee" - 15 minute documenary on director Ang Lee and how ambitious he was with this film
  • "The Dog Fight Scene" - 10 minute behind the scenes featurette
  • "The Unique Style of Editing Hulk" - 5 minute look at how they used editing to get the feel of a comic book into the film
  • There's more on disc two as well, but I can't list 'em all. I've gotta leave some surprises for you.

Entertainment Value: I give it a 3. Would I buy it for $20? No. Would i pick it up on sale? Well, I bought it for 29 cents, so I guess I'd have to say yes. If you can get this movie for around $10-12 and you like Marvel comics, then go for it. If you like seeing things being torn apart, broken to pieces, and tanks flying through the air, then make sure you buy this one. And oh yes, if you want to see Lou Ferrigno and Stan Lee, keep your eyes peeled when the film takes you to the Berkely Biological Research Center. Overall, I think it's a good film with the one exception in the storyline.