Summer Movie Extravaganza – 2008

It’s time again for our Summer Movie Round-Up. Remember back when we were kids, the Summer movies always started on Memorial Day? Not so anymore. Pretty much all of May is now filled with big blockbusters.

Here we go…

May 2:

  • Ironman – Robert Downey Jr. makes a flying suit and becomes a super hero. No, I think he’s sober in it.
  • Made of Honor – Some chick flick with that dude from Grey’s Anatomy.

May 9:

  • Speed Racer – Well, the special effects look awesome.
  • What Happens in Vegas – Ashton Kutcher AND Cameron Diaz in the same movie. It’s like they took smaller parts from crappy movies and combined them into a super crapfest.

May 16:

  • Narnia: Prince Caspian – I like what they did with LWW. Here’s hoping for another winner.

May 22:

  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Indy is back! Yay! But he’s got Shia LeBeouf with him. Nooooooo! N-n-no!
  • PostalUwe Boll makes another crappy film. But hey, it’s got Verne Troyer in it.

May 30:

  • Sex in the City: The Movie – Well here’s a movie that makes castration appealing.
  • The Strangers – Meh. Some horror flick. Two in one weekend. Who’da thunkit?

June 6:

  • Kung Fu Panda – Dreamworks animated movie that looks hilarious.
  • You Don’t Mess With the Zohan – Adam Sandler plays a Jewish hairstylist. I bet “he can do it.”

June 13:

  • The Happening – M. Night Shyamalan’s latest. Gonna risk your $10 on this one? I may wait for the DVD.
  • The Incredible Hulk – Remember that Hulk movie a few years ago that bombed. This is to help you pretend that never happened.

June 20:

  • Get Smart – Steve Carrell certainly fits the part. Might be worth a look.
  • The Love Guru – OK, take all of the Austin Powers jokes and tell them with an Indian accent. Behold, the new Mike Myers movie.

June 27:

  • Wall-E – Pixar’s latest. Should be alright.
  • Wanted – WANTED…..Dead or aliiiiive. This is that stupid movie where they bend bullet trajectories. I suggest you sing Bon Jovi every time you see a poster for it. That’ll be more entertaining.

July 2:

  • Hancock – Hey look! A Will Smith movie on July 4th weekend.
  • Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery – When you go see Will Smith, pity the fathers getting dragged into this one.

July 11:

  • Hellboy 2 – I hated the first one. Was there really demand for a sequel?
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D – I still have no idea what to think of this one.
  • Meet Dave – Fresh off Norbit, Eddie Murphy makes another movie.

July 18:

  • The Dark Knight – Please be good. Please be good. Please be good.
  • Mamma Mia! – ABBA returns!
  • Space Chimps – If this were Pigs in Space, I’d so be there.

July 25:

  • The Longshots – Probably a longshot for being good.
  • Step Brothers – Will Ferrell and John C Reilly team up again. So basically it’s Ricky Bobby 2.
  • The X-Files: I Want to Believe – I want to believe this won’t suck.

August 1:

  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – Asian mummies. How bad can it be?
  • The Rocker – Not a clue what this is. Maybe it’s a chance for another Bon Jovi joke. But hey, it’s got Dwight from The Office in it.
  • He Just Not That Into You – That’s what she said.
  • Midnight Meat Train – That’s what she said.

August 8th:

  • The Pineapple Express – Now here’s a title that makes ya wanna go to the movies!
  • Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 – They made a sequel? Looks like I’ll be needing a 2-for-1 deal on those castrations.

August 15:

  • Mirrors – Reflect upon this and see if it sucks.
  • Tropic Thunder – Ben Stiller movie. I challenge you to speak this title without sounding like a WWE announcer.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Yeah, another Star Wars movie that is seriously lacking in hype. Maybe it’ll be good?

So that’s it for this year. Looks like it could be a strong one.

Hitman – Review

Love stories in action movies never work. They’re always forced on me – like rice with my burrito. I just want the burrito, yet I always get a plate half-filled with Spanish maggots. Who wants that?

Hitman is yet another movie with a tacked-on love story. The film is based on the game where you play an assassin (you thought I was gonna say “hitman” didn’t you?). Now I understand why the love story was introduced. Hitmen are usually depicted as evil. So in order for the audience to actually care about our hero, he has to have something to make him not-so-evil. The game handles this with a religious sub-plot. A priest assists you in your missions to kill only evil, non-innocent, bad guys. However, in the movie the priest gets replaced by a prostitute. Sure, she’s easier on the eyes than an old priest, but it’s really the easy way out of the problem.

Yes, I realize my expectations for video game movies are a little high, but I know that one day before I die, I’ll see a good one.

Hitman throws a lot of game references in like his walk, his weapons, the music, and the way he disposes of bodies. That’s all great and since I’ve played a couple of the games, I got a chuckle out of it.

However, my biggest problem comes with how high the body count rises. The game is stealth-based. You get in, make your kill (preferably by some ingenius method that makes it look like an accident), and get out without being noticed. In the movie, Mr. Hitman goes through the front door with guns blazing. And since all the faceless bad guys have gone to the Hollywood Shooting School, every shot misses. It’s ridiculous.

So should you see this? Not a chance. As bad as it was, I sort of liked it because I enjoy the games, but that’s the only reason. As a movie for everyone else on the planet, it’s awful.

Grade: C (For you, F)

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica

Hey everyone. Sorry for the delay in reviews, but I’m in the middle of Battlestar Galactica, Season 3. Anyone watch this? I caught discs 3 and 4 over the weekend and it’s some of the best Sci-Fi I’ve seen since Firefly. For a pretty simple plot (run from the bad guys), they do a good job of keeping things fresh.

Season 4 is already a few episodes in, but you can catch some missed episodes on Unfortunately, they don’t stay up very long. Hopefully, they’ll put up the season once it’s over.

Stardust – Review

A moment of silence is needed. This week, Netflix shipped my last HD DVD. After Stardust, I’m all Blu…and blue.

On that note, for those of you with HDTVs w/ HDMI, the upscaling DVD players out there give an outstanding picture for your standard DVDs. At around $100, they make a great stopgap until Blu-Ray gets cheaper.

When Stardust was released last summer, the critics were calling it the next Princess Bride. Hellooooo blasphemy.

Look at that poster. See Claire Danes? Not Buttercup. See the effeminate man-girl in the tranchcoat? Not Cary Elwes. He tries, but fails. I have no doubt that Robert De Niro could play a believable Andre the Giant. But he doesn’t, so it doesn’t count. Oh, and the other lady up there in the corner is Michelle Pfeiffer. I have no idea what rock she’s been hiding under all these years, but it sure kept her purdy.

So yeah, Stardust is not The Princess Bride. But on its own, it’s an outstanding movie. It’s quirky, it’s fun, it’s sweet, and you’ll enjoy every minute of it (well, most of it).

Remember when you saw Claire Danes in Romero & Juliet and you fell in love with her? Then, when you saw her in Shopgirl, you kicked her to the curb? In Stardust, you fall in love with her again (You fickle bastard). Of everyone, she and Michelle Pfeiffer were cast the best.

The rest of the cast is great, too. Even though I made fun of him (her?) earlier, the main guy does a good job. And I won’t spoil it, but De Niro plays one of his more memorable roles, hehe. Seeing the rest of the more famous faces pop up is great, with each getting a proper entry.

One thing I found odd is the director’s choice to make this rated PG-13. There’s nothing overtly offensive, but I thought it was an odd rating for what amounts to a fairy tale. Perhaps that’s what killed it in the box office.

Anyway, go rent this. It’s a few hours well worth your time.

Grade: A

I Am Legend – Review

Hey, check it out. I think this is review #50. Rock! \m/

OK, so I Am Legend. I wanted to see this in the theaters, but didn’t get the chance. As it turns out, I think the best experience for this movie is on DVD.

Lemme explain. When I first popped the disc in, I was greated with a big splash screen that said “Theatrical Version” and “Alternate Version.” That’s it. No previews, no explanations, just a big freakin menu with two choices. How is that helpful? What’s the Alternate version? Should I watch that one or go with the theatrical release? How much is different? It’s like those old Lethal Weapon movies where they have to choose either the red wire or green one.

After a moment of seriously considering to check the internet for the right choice, sanity returned and I realized it was just a DVD. My TV wasn’t going to explode. Ironically, I did hear a voice that said, “You chose….poorly” after I selected the theatrical release.

I thought the movie was ok. Definitely worth a rental, anyway. But I didn’t like the ending. It felt too “Hollywood” for me. It wasn’t bad, by any means. It just wasn’t great. So I figured I’d check out the Alternate Version.

I put the movie on fast forward and stopped whenever something new showed up. Out of the whole movie, two things were different – the ending and one extra/expanded scene. But holy crap. Those two alterations changed the entire theme of the movie. That could highlight just how much fluff there was in the story, but I was shocked at how different the Alternate version is.

I have a hunch that the Alternate ending was supposed to be the true ending of the movie. It leaves a lot more questions hanging for you to muddle over, but I think those help the rest of the movie. You hear a lot of stories about how the “suits” change movies to make it more accessible to stupid American audiences. I have a feeling that’s what happened here and it wasn’t until the DVD that the director could put his vision out there. They probably say that in the commentary, but who listens to those?

So yeah, if you haven’t checked it out, do so. Even if you saw it in the theaters, the alternate version might be worth a look. Let me know which version you liked best.

Grade: A- (Original Ending = B)