|Movie: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian * Preview *||In Theaters: May 22, 2009|
|Runtime: 105 minutes||Directed by: Shawn Levy|
|MPAA Rating: PG for mild action and brief language||Gecko Rating:|
I’ll say right off the bat that my kids liked “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” better than I did. I LOVED the first “Night at the Museum,” and this sequel seems like a throw-away to capitalize on the first movie and showcase all the stuff in the Smithsonian. That said, there are a few things I like about it; namely, Amy Adams as the plucky Amelia Earhart.
Ben Stiller returns as Larry Daley, only instead of working as a night guard at the Museum of Natural History in New York City, he’s running a big corporation now and doing infomercials for all his products, like a glow-in-the-dark flashlight.
Meanwhile, the Museum of Natural History is closed for renovations and upgrades, and the displays are being shipped off to the archives underneath the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Not all the displays are going, however, and when Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan) accidentally get boxed up and shipped off, Larry goes on a rescue mission to the Smithsonian to find them.
So that’s the main story. When Larry gets there, he ends up tussling with Egyptian ruler Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria), Ivan the Terrible (Christopher Guest), and Napoleon (Alain Chabat). But working on Larry’s side are the snappy-talkin’ Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) and Bill Hader’s General Custer (who knew he had self-esteem issues?). Larry’s son, Nicky (Jake Cherry) is running recon on the computer at home, giving logistical intel to Larry via cell phone.
The highlights for me are Adams’ jazz-age-inspired Earhart (she made me want to go find some adventures!), as well as some of the exhibits at the Smithsonian. Famous paintings come to life a la Harry Potter, and there’s a sweet trio of singing Cherubs, voiced by the Jonas Brothers – only they’re singing the Bee Gee’s and “Titanic” theme song rather than ancient chants, which makes it fun.
Still, the movie drags a bit and a lot of the one-liners fell flat. It did well at the box office this weekend, but I think it’s just because there aren’t a lot of other new family movies out right now.
NOTE TO PARENTS: This movie is fine for kids 7 and older. Language includes insults and a few “dammits,” and there’s a couple of kisses and a sweet romance. Most of the PG material comes from action and violence. Larry and his pals are chased and threatened with spears, swords, guns, etc. A giant octopus threatens characters at one point, but most of the action is lighthearted and fun.
Images: TM and © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
|Movie: Angels & Demons * Clips & Trailers *||In Theaters: May 15, 2009|
|Runtime: 138 minutes||Directed by: Ron Howard|
|MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, disturbing images, and thematic material||Gecko Rating:|
One thing people didn’t like about “The Da Vinci Code” was that the first part of the movie included lots of talking and explaining of the symbols and history. Still, it would be difficult to have a movie like this without the explanation, unless you’re a symbologist yourself and know what’s going on.
“Angels & Demons,” a sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” also based on a book by Dan Brown, includes quite a bit of explanation in the early scenes, as well. It’s kind of funny, because at one point, Tom Hanks’ character, Robert Langdon, looks at the Cardinals and says something to the effect of “Don’t you people even know your own history?” I had to laugh, because while I felt like Langdon was explaining a lot to moviegoers, it’s probably true that many Cardinals and priests don’t know their own history either.
The story begins with Langdon swimming in a pool at Harvard University, where he teaches symbology. (And way to go, Tom Hanks! He’s definitely logged some gym time for this movie!) The Pope has died, and just as a conclave of Cardinals is about to gather to elect a new one, four of them are taken hostage by a group claiming to be the Illuminati – an ancient society known for being at odds with the Catholic church.
The group announces that they’ll publicly murder each of the Cardinals, then detonate a canister containing powerful anti-matter created in a top-secret lab run by Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer). Exactly why this anti-matter is being made, I’m not really sure.
Langdon and Vetra join forces in a chase across Rome to follow the symbols, figure out where the Cardinals are being held, and stop the group’s diabolical mission. Meanwhile, also caught up in the story are the Pope’s right-hand man, Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor); the high-ranking Cardinal Strauss (Armin Mueller-Stahl), and Swiss Guard head Commander Richter (Stellan Skarsgard).
Aside from the overly talky parts of the movie (which, as mentioned, are pretty much a necessity when you’re explaining Catholic lore, conspiracies, and traditions), I loved all of the scenes in the Vatican’s underground tunnels, the streets of Rome, the churches, and the Vatican Archives, a highly guarded area that contains shelves and shelves of Catholic info. There’s a funny/dramatic scene that takes place in the Archives, which I won’t reveal. You’ll have to see the movie.
Overall, I wouldn’t mind seeing “Angels & Demons” again. It’s a fun, well-acted movie with some interesting plot twists and turns.
NOTE TO PARENTS: This movie has quite a few graphic scenes: Cardinals are “branded” with a symbol on their chest, and characters are imprisoned, stabbed, burned in a fire a la Joan of Arc, and shot. One even has an eyeball torn out – we don’t see the act, just the disembodied eyeball later. Language includes “damn,” “hell,” and “goddamn it.” Because of the violence, I don’t recommend it for kids younger than 14, but for older kids, “Angels & Demons” is well acted and features an interesting storyline and locations.
Images: Angels and Demons, Sony Pictures Releasing, 2009
Tags: angels and demons, angels and demons review, armin mueller-stahl, ayelet zurer, dan brown, ewan mcgregor, Movie-Reviews, movies about the Catholic church, prequels, robert langdon, ron howard, stellan skarsgard, the da vinci code, the illluminati, tom hanks
“A Plumm Summer” is one of those sweet little movies that will probably fly under the radar of most DVD watchers. It’s a home-spun tale reminiscent of the live-action Disney movies of the 60s, only with an edge to it.
Based on a true story, the movie takes place in a small town in Montana, where kids wait impatiently to see a green marionette named Froggy Doo and his buddy Happy Herb on TV every day at 3 PM. All the kids LOVE Froggy Doo, especially Rocky Plumm (Owen Pearce), whose older brother Elliott (Chris Kelly), can’t understand the obsession at all.
When Froggy goes missing from the TV station one day, the FBI’s attempts to recover the missing frog go nowhere. So Rocky convinces Elliott to start their own investigation into the disappearance. With help from a cute neighbor Haley (Morgan Flynn), the group set out to find the frog.
Ok, so that all sounds nice and sweet, and could easily have starred Dean Jones and Kurt Russell in a 60s Disney movie. But here’s the edgy part. While all this is going on, the boys are dealing with daddy issues. Namely, their father Mick Plumm (William Baldwin), a former Olympic quality boxer who’s sunken into a dismal life of alcohol and regret.
See what I mean about the edgy part? It doesn’t really belong in this movie, and trying to fit two completely different stories into what could have been a cute family film doesn’t really work.
If I was in charge of the world (and this movie), I would have slanted things more towards the cute kid movie rather than the grownup family-dysfunction movie.
Still, it’s got a few things going for it: Henry Winkler plays Happy Herb, and it’s always fun seeing “The Fonz” on screen. His story is more in the “cute family movie” vein – he’s so entrenched in his life with Froggy Doo that he’s missing out on the “real world” things going on around him.
Also, “A Plumm Summer” is narrated by Jeff Daniels, whose calm, steady voice reminds me a bit of the narration in “The Wonder Years.”
There’s also plenty of action and bumbling cops and inventive technology from the kids in catching the villain. It all works out, and everyone is happy.
I’m not sure which age range to recommend for this movie. The cute family movie is fine for ages 6 to 9. But the alcoholic father movie is better suited for teens and grownups. It’s a conundrum, for sure.
Bonus Features include deleted scenes, a gag reel, behind-the-scenes music video, behind-the-scenes on the red carpet, theatrical trailer, and audio commentary by writer/director Caroline Zelder and writer/producer Frank Antonelli. Both offer plenty of insight and background info on the script, story and production.
|Movie: X-Men Origins: Wolverine * Trailer||In Theaters: May 1, 2009|
|Runtime: 107 minutes||Directed by: Gavin Hood|
|MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity||Gecko Rating:|
The best thing about “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is the ending. So even if you don’t like the earlier parts of the movie, be sure to stay til the end. Two people in front of me at the theater actually got up and walked out in the middle. I thought, gee, it’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s not THAT bad.
The movie takes us back to the childhood of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). We know him from the first three “X-Men” movies, but he had a wild and interesting life before he showed up in those. Even as young Jimmy Logan in 1845, he had those spiky hands, only the spikes were crude, bony-looking things then, emerging whenever Jimmy got angry. His heritage included some daddy issues, and a half-brother named Victor Creed a.k.a. Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), complete with fangs and all.
A series of quick scenes shows the non-aging brothers fighting through several wars, including the Civil War, World War Two, and Viet Nam. We also learn that the evil Stryker (Danny Huston) is building an army of mutants called Team X. But after a particularly gruesome incident in Africa, Jimmy walks out on the group, and ends up as a woodcutter in Canada with a hot schoolteacher girlfriend (Lynn Collins).
After a devastating tragedy, Stryker convinces Jimmy to undergo a procedure that will make him indestructible. It’s an agonizing operation that injects a substance called adamantium into his skeleton. And presto-chango, he’s “Wolverine,” his once bony spikes now shiny, titanium-looking weapons of mass destruction. And Victor comes back into his life, as well.
Here’s the thing about “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”: It’s not a bad movie, and Hugh Jackman and his awesome muscles are not hard to look at. But the writing is cheesy, and they could have done more with the various characters who show up in this movie, including card-shark Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), The Blob (Kevin Durand), John Wraith (Will.i.am), and Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds). I mean, I get that the movie is called “Wolverine,” but most of these characters are only in the movie for a few minutes, if that.
If you’re a fan of the X-Men characters and movies, you should check this one out. But you might want to wait for the DVD.
Note to Parents: There’s lots of action and fighting and explosions, including one awesome scene with an exploding helicopter. Oh, and Hugh Jackman gets naked from a distance in a couple of scenes. But overall, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from a PG-13 movie about a mutant superhero.
Image: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, TM and Copyright 20th Century Fox Film Corp., 2009
Tags: danny huston, deadpool, Film, hugh jackman, kevin durand, lynn collins, Movie-Reviews, Movies, ryan reynolds, stryker, taylor kitsch, will.i.am, wolverine review, x-men movies, x-men origins: wolverine
|Movie: Fast & Furious * Trailer *||In Theaters: April 3, 2009|
|Runtime: 107 minutes||Directed by: Justin Lin|
|MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual content, language and drug references||Gecko Rating:|
After watching the opening scene of “Fast & Furious,” my 14-year-old son and I both proclaimed it the Best.Opening.Scene.Ever!
The stunts are ridiculously awesome: The crew is stealing fuel from a tanker semi-truck hurling down the highway. They pull up behind the semi, turn their vehicle around so they’re driving backwards, unhook the trailer full of fuel and hook it to their own vehicle – all while moving down the highway at a fast clip.
But the best stunt comes a few moments later, when the flaming semi is bouncing towards them, and Dom (Vin Diesel) waits until just the right moment to blast forward, driving underneath the truck as it bounces in the air, narrowly missing being flattened.
And of course, he does it all with smooth confidence, never getting riled up over the impossible stunt. His girlfriend, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is a little less passe over it and ends up screaming at him to do something.
This fourth installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise is all about the stunts; really, the plot is secondary. It brings together the four characters from the original movie – 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious,” which won a slew of awards.
Dom Toretto (Diesel) is a fugitive ex-con working south of the border who heads back to L.A. to investigate a crime. Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is a federal agent, who gets involved with the same crime, but from a different angle. The two have a touchy history, but end up working together to bring down a shared enemy. Also working on the sidelines is Dom’s sister, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), who used to be involved with O’Conner.
I won’t give away too much of the plot, but suffice to say it involves several bad guys and, as mentioned, some awesome stunts involving muscle cars, street racing, and a wild race through a Mexican tunnel across international lines.
It would be good to see the original movie before seeing this one, as it will give you a better feel for the characters and their history. But it’s not totally necessary, because this movie does a good job of getting you caught up.
If you like movies involving fast cars and cool stunts, then “Fast & Furious” is for you. The main characters aren’t hard to look at either, and Vin Diesel has this damaged-by-life persona that shines through in this movie. You sort of just want to hug him and make it all better.
NOTE TO PARENTS: “Fast & Furious” includes plenty of violence, including explosions, gunfire, fistfights, and car chases. There’s a couple of love scenes, but no outright sex is shown; however, a few scenes show skimpily-dressed women kissing each other and dancing. Language includes “s**t” and “b**ch.” Characters drink, smoke and deal drugs.
Photo Credits: © Universal Studios
Tags: car movies, drug movies, fast & furious, fast & furious review, watch fast and furious, film reviews, jordana brewster, michelle rodriguez, Movie-Reviews, movies about cars, muscle cars, paul walker, vin diesel
Love does have to strong part in life. It takes us to success with every thing. So too Derek Charles, he was a hard working man. Worked as a asset manager in a private company. Pretty happy with his beautiful wife and only daughter, because of his hard work he just got a huge promotion. But suddenly he got a temporary worker. She was hot and smart on work. She is influence to personality of this young mature man. With her young attractive behaviors Derek is also have some thing to hide from his heart too. But whether this new girl Lisa is desperate to get close to him he won’t let her to do so.
Obsessed (2009) is based on the passion of a women and responsibility of a married man. As the days go from time to time Lisa gets forwarded with her work. So too the Derek let her do some things beyond the line. It was the tragically change man in the end. One moment Lisa proposed him to live together. But he reject. Obsessed (2009) is a movie suite for many man how fell in to young hot girls at the office. Obsessed of this women show in the movie pretty lively
At last she went to suicide her self to attract this man. But she did not die. With that incident all the hidden attraction and happening been opens to Derek’s wife. So his family is on danger. Also this girl Lisa won’t give up too easily. She fight back for secrete passion. This movie was produced by Steve Shill. In the cast Beyonce Knowles, Idris Elba, Ali Larter, Jerry O Connell, Christine Lahti is joining. It was a thriller to remember for some time. Are you on crash?
It was time to make the fortune delivery. With a single mistake one gets millions In hand and the other thousands of problems. A man delivers the box package to door to door having a fun life. He name is Leo Jackson. His mom owns the company of delivery and it was the coolest job he has. He never works on time and some times mix up the work because he is not putting much attention to the work. Next Day Air (2009) movie is all about having responsibility at work. Because of risking it, group of people was down in to a hole of problems due to one wrong delivery.
Next Day Air (2009) is starting with lot of adventures. It does got the color of black American culture and also the gangsters are involving in the process. With the package that contain drugs delivered to wrong place. The particular person received it tries to resell the drugs. But also the drug dealers are looking for their package.
In the end they have 24 hours to make the mix up correct. But it was never too easy with the millions of money involve. But any how they got to do it. Lot of gangster action make Next Day Air (2009) very interested. Donald Faison, Wood Harris, Omari Hardwick, Mike Epps, Cisco Reyes cast in the movie. Benny Boom is the director of this movie. Bryan Turner, Bruce McNall, Steven Markoff joins in the production. Its no time to waste they only have 24hours to make it clear.
|Movie: Monsters vs. Aliens * Trailer *||In Theaters: March 27, 2009|
|Runtime: 94 minutes||Directed by: Rob Letterman / Conrad Vernon|
|MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi action, some crude humor, and mild language||Gecko Rating:|
There’s really only so much you can do with a kids’ movie these days. There’s usually an evil guy, a main character with issues, some kooky supporting characters, and a big crisis that needs to be stopped.
“Monsters vs. Aliens” has all of these elements, but what puts it a notch above most kids’ movies is the animation. The movie is offered in both 3D and regular versions. I saw the 3D version, and while most 3D movies don’t measure up, this one did. The filmmakers really made good use of the 3D, with balls (and sometimes slime) being thrown at the audience, planets swirling about, and an alien spacecraft filled with all manner of cool techie stuff.
The story follows Susan (voiced wonderfully by Reese Witherspoon), a girl who’s about to be married. In fact, the first scenes are at the church where she’s to be married to a self-involved TV weather guy, Derek (Paul Rudd). But outside the church, a giant mass hurtles towards her from space, and later at the alter, Susan starts to emit a greenish glow.
A few seconds later, she grows in size to nearly 50 feet, crashing through the church roof and scattering the wedding goers everywhere. The government immediately shows up, capturing Susan – now known as Ginormica – and locking her up in a secret facility where other monsters also reside, including a blue blobby guy named B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), the techie Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), and a big furry guy named The Missing Link (Will Arnett).
When an evil alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) invades Earth with a giant robot, the government, including President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) and General Monger (Kiefer Sutherland), realize they don’t have the forces to defeat it alone. So they call upon the quartet of monsters to stop the invasion and put things right again.
The story takes place in California, and one of my favorite scenes occurs on the Golden Gate Bridge, where Susan and the monsters must try and save motorists from falling to their doom because of the alien robot. The animation in this scene was top-notch down to each little detail, from Susan realizing her newfound strength to the peril involving the collapsing bridge. I got a little anxious during this scene!
Aside from the awesome animation throughout the movie, I also loved the growth of Susan. I’m not talking about her growth to nearly 50 feet. I’m talking about her growth as a woman. She realizes that she doesn’t need to rely on a man for her happiness, and that’s a great message to send to young girls.
At first, she’s depressed over the fact that she’s now ginormous, but she soon realizes how wonderful her new monster friends are, as well as what she has to offer the world with her new size. Maybe this is a little philosophical, but we get thrown a lot of curveballs in life, and the best thing to do is just move forward and work with what you’ve got. Sometimes, it’s a lot better than what you’ve lost. Thus ends the philosophical portion of this review.
My other favorite character is B.O.B. When he’s not falling in love with green Jello, B.O.B. has the ability to absorb things and humans, then spit them back out again unharmed. Voiced by Seth Rogen – who has the nerdiest laugh in the world – this character really jumped off the screen at me.
Note to Parents: The story includes a lot of peril, including the aforementioned bridge scene, the monsters being locked up (though you don’t feel like they’re being tortured or anything), the scene where Susan is captured at the wedding, and the government forces dispatched with heavy artillery at every turn. For this reason, I don’t recommend it for very small kids, but it’s ok for kids 7 and older.
Photo credit: Monsters vs. Aliens ™ & © 2009 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Tags: animated movies, b.o.b., conrad vernon, family monster movies, Family-Movies, Film, film reviews, ginormica, hugh laurie, kiefer sutherland, monsters vs aliens, monsters vs aliens review, Movie-Reviews, Movies, new movies
|Movie: Duplicity * Trailer *||In Theaters: March 20, 2009|
|Runtime: 125 minutes||Directed by: Tony Gilroy|
|MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and some sexual content||Gecko Rating:|
I’ve been excited to see “Duplicity” since I first heard about it. Not only does it pair Julia Roberts and Clive Owen in a movie with lots of snappy banter and intrigue (they did “Closer” together in 2004), but it also teams them with Tony Gilroy.
Gilroy earned a place in my heart with films like “Michael Clayton,” which he wrote and directed, and the “Bourne” movies, for which he wrote the screenplay. He also wrote the screenplay for “State of Play,” the upcoming crime thriller starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck.
The trio of Roberts, Owen and Gilroy works, for the most part, and Gilroy wisely plays up the stars’ snappy banter and cat-and-mouse chemistry.
“Duplicity” is all about corporate intrigue, spies and secrets, but it’s more light-hearted than you might think at first glance. Instead of missiles and terrorists, we’re dealing with something more benign, along the lines of body lotion, hair gel and pizza crust.
The story begins with the heads of two companies, played by the great Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti, on an airport tarmac surrounded by their respective staff and entourage. The scene plays in slow-motion, as the two corporate giants fly at each other and eventually end up rolling around on the ground like schoolboys. It sets the scene for the rest of the movie, which while filled with intrigue and a twisty-turny plot, always has a comic air to it.
Clive Owen plays Ray Koval, an ex-MI6 agent who butts heads with an ex-CIA agent named Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts, with a more world-weary look than in previous films). The two former spies have joined the private sector, working in security for the research and development departments of the companies helmed by Wilkinson and Giamatti. There’s a secret new product being developed by one or the other, and we don’t get to know what it is until later in the film. But it doesn’t much matter, because the product is secondary to the goings on of Koval and Stenwick.
Their history goes back five years and has played across the globe in Dubai, Rome and Cleveland. You have to keep an eye on the screen and read the subtitles telling us just where we are in the couples’ timeline. It’s all about who’s double-crossing whom and when and where, and the film ends differently than you might expect it to end.
While overly long and a little plodding, this movie is worth a look if you’re a fan of the main players or Gilroy or romantic spy movies, in general. For me, it wavered too much between being a romantic spy movie and a dark mystery-thriller such as “Michael Claytons.” I wish it would have been one or the other.
Note to Parents: Rated PG-13, this movie is fine for kids 13 and older. However, the story is complex and twisty, and teens not into this type of genre might lose interest. Sexual content includes lots of innuendoes and sexual banter, as well as several scenes of the main characters in bed together. Language includes “sh*t,” “a**hole” and “swinging d**k.”
Photos: Universal Pictures; Copyright: © 2008 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Via Image.net.