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Joe’s Review: Bolt (in 3-D)

December 1, 2008 by Joe · 1 Comment 

Bolt Movie PosterFor those of you who haven’t had a chance to check out Bolt yet, I highly recommend you do.  If you have the chance to see it in Disney Digital 3-D, go out there and check it out for sure.  Bolt has to be one of the better movies that I’ve seen this holiday season.  While the numbers have not favored the film at the box office (its sitting at 66.9 M as I write this) those do not do the film justice.  This might have something to do with the bias towards Pixar films when it comes to CG movies, but don’t let that deter you.

Bolt is the story of a dog who actually thinks he is a superhero.  He believes that his goal in life is to defend his person, Penny (Miley Cyrus), and will do anything for her.  To help him believe this, the producers of the show have immersed Bolt in this lifestyle, making him believe he actually has super powers and is a hero.  Penny truly loves Bolt, and wants only the best for him.  However, the show is suffering from falling ratings, and to try to draw people, they add a cliffhanger into their latest episode.  Unfortunately for Bolt, he really believes that Penny is still in danger, and breaks out in order to try to rescue her.

During his search, Bolt ends up in a packing box and is shipped across the country unknowingly.  On his journey  back to rescue Penny, he befriends a few other creatures: Mittens, a declawed and abandoned housecat living in New York, and Rhino, a hamster who wants nothing more than to help his hero, Bolt, on his journey.  Throughout their adventure, Bolt discovers the truth behind who he really is, and faces many obstacles in getting back to his person, Penny.

To find out more, check out the movie!  I’d like to comment on the 3-D part, because I saw it.  It’s pretty traditional in that you need to use glasses in order to see the 3-D, but it was done very well.  There are objects flying out at you, and it really does immerse you in the action quite a bit.  What was even better is that there were trailers in 3-D, which were excellent.  I know that watching a movie in 3-D costs more, but if it’s available, as I said before, you should definitely check it out.  It really gives a new perspective on how you can watch movies, and makes you see what theatres can still offer that you can’t get at home.  The experience is worth the extra cost.

Bolt is a great family movie, and I enjoyed the characters of Bolt and Rhino tremendously.  John Travolta does an excellent job, and Miley wasn’t even that annoying (even though I can’t stand her voice).  Disney did an incredible job on animation, they might actually be catching up to Pixar!  The only thing this movie could have used was a short beforehand, but I’m not going to complain.  I haven’t genuinely laughed this hard during a movie for a while.. and it was one that the girl and I actually enjoyed together!

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

- This is not a film to miss.  See it in 3-D!

If this stirring review doesn’t inspire you… maybe this clip will!

Joe’s Review: Role Models

November 21, 2008 by Joe · Leave a Comment 

One of my friends told me that this “was the best movie he ever saw”.  I was skeptical, but I decided to go check this out because I thought it did look funny.  That and you can’t really go wrong with a movie with McLovin in it, right?

Well.. almost right.  While this wasn’t one of the best movies that I’ve ever seen, I thought it was pretty funny and enjoyable.  The characters fit their roles well, and it had the same kind of feel as The 40 Year Old Virgin, which I also didn’t think was as good as everyone else did.  Both Role Models and Virgin fit in the “Good, but not Great” category to me.

So what’s it all about?  Well, Danny and Wheeler are employees for an energy drink company, Minotaur.  Danny becomes extremely frustrated with his job, and on an energy drink bender, ends up trashing the company truck.  His former girlfriend, Beth, manages to wrangle them a deal to get out of jail.  All they need to do is volunteer their time mentoring kids at the Sturdy Wings program.  Of course, things aren’t as easy as they expect, as their littles turn out to be more than a handful.

The two end up getting themselves into all different sorts of situations, and like you’d expect in this type of movie, they alienate their littles.  Things do end up getting better, but you’ll have to check out the movie to see how!  I do recommend this movie if you’re looking for some good laughs.  Sean William Scott and Paul Rudd are two pretty funny fellas.

I also have to say that Ken Jeong does a great job in all his roles…surprised to find out he’s also a doctor.. guess you have to have a backup huh?

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Joe’s Review: Saw V

November 20, 2008 by Joe · Leave a Comment 

Yep, I saw this movie a couple weeks ago and am just now getting to review it.  I admit that I am not usually a fan of horror movies, but I have enjoyed the Saw films that I’ve seen.  I still cringe when I think of some of the traps, as the movies have just gotten bloodier and bloodier, but I appreciate the fact that Saw is not your typical slasher film.  As a guest said this weekend after seeing it: “I like that it makes you think.  It’s not a regular halloween movie.”

The latest incarnation of Saw takes a look at the history behind Jigsaw, and how all the people who have helped him with hs traps have come together.  It starts with a Jigsaw like trap, where a man is bound in a room.  Jigsaw’s tape begins to play, letting us know that this trapped man is responsible for taking a life, but got out of jail on a technicality.  Now, this man is forced to crush his own hands, which he used to take a life, in order to save his own.  If he does not, then he will be sliced in two by the blade that is swinging on top of him.  He proceeds to crush his hands, but the blade does not stop, and he is sliced in two.  Before he dies, he takes a look to his right, and sees someone watching him…..

The story then shifts back to the events of the second and third film.  We see Detective Hoffman enter the room where Jigsaw died, and shoots Jeff Reinhart in self defense.  There is a tape waiting for him, which tells him that his curiousity will be the end of him, that he should find solace in the room where he is now trapped.  Not one to listen to Jigsaw, Hoffman finds his way out of the room, but is attacked by a man in a pig mask.  When he awakens, he finds himself trapped with a glass box over his head, which begins to fill with water….

And that all happens within the first 20 minutes.  It’s definitely a thinking movie, and if you’re kind of turned off by that, there is a back story with plenty of traps and Jigsaw puzzles that the people who are trapped must solve.  The movie also follows Hoffman as he tries to figure out who is taking over for Jigsaw.

Personally, I enjoyed this movie.  Like the guest said, it really did make you think, and it had all the traps to go with it as well.  Seeing as its the 5th movie in the series, I wasn’t expecting too much, and so I wasn’t disappointed.  The pace of the movie was good, and the traps remind you of why the movie is called Saw.  After you read this review, it’s likely that your local theatre won’t have this film anymore, but if you have a chance and you want to see a bloody interesting film, go check it out!  They’ve already been greenlighted for 6 and 7 as well, so we can expect more to come next Halloween!

Like the tag line says: You Won’t Believe How it Ends!

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Weekend Wrap Up: More Chihuahuas at the Top

October 15, 2008 by Joe · Leave a Comment 

In a late edition of the Weekend Wrap Up this week (sports have kept me busy), Beverly Hills Chihuahua managed to find it’s way to the top again!  I think this affirms the fact that people were in fact looking for something that their kids could see with them.  Usually, with a movie like Quarantine out, I tend to find that kids movies like the Chihuahuas do better because kids will try to buy tickets for that movie while intending to sneak into their film of choice.  I get to foil them though, so I don’t mind!  Here’s how the rest of the box office turned out: Read more

Joe’s Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

October 13, 2008 by Joe · Leave a Comment 

Nick and Norah PosterFinally!  The guy who runs a movie blog manages to make it out and see a movie.  This past weekend, I headed out (after a very early morning), to go check out Nick and Norah’s infinite Playlist.  I have to admit, this was the movie I really wanted to see last weekend, so I was very happy I actually did!  What really drew me to want to see it so bad was the “b-day” scene. lol.

The Infinite Playlist stars Michael Cera as Nick, a high school student and member of a Queercore band called The Jerk Offs.  His girlfriend, Tris, recently broke up with him, and he’s having a lot of trouble dealing with it.  He makes up mix cds, sending them to her.  Tris, however, is not interested at all, and just throws them away whenever she gets them.  Norah, on the other hand, is a huge fan of the mixes… and usually grabs them to put on her iPod.

The basic plot of the movie is that Nick, Norah, Tris, and many of their friends are scouring the New York Club scene, hoping to catch one of their favorite bands, White Fluffy.  The problem is… they don’t know where White Fluffy will play, and have to rely on clues they find and messages on the radio to guide them.  Along the way, Nick and Norah find out a lot about each other, all the while trying to find Norah’s friend, who gets extremely drunk and runs away from the guys who are supposed to take her home.

I was very pleased after watching this movie.  I missed some parts (ugh!) because I got some phone calls and text messages while I was in the theatre, but overall, it was a humorous, enjoyable movie.  Nothing too serious in terms of a message or anything.  It was a movie for teens… but different in that it didn’t involve something going wrong at school.  I liked how the movie was really based around a lot of indie bands…I might have to check out the soundtrack to find out what some of these bands can do!

The acting was also very good.  I’ve always enjoyed Michael Cera’s characters.  He seems to play them all the same way, but makes each role his own.  Kat Dennings was pretty good as well.  I enjoyed her in this role.  She’s moved on a lot since being the daughter of the woman Steve Carell is trying to get with in The 40-Year Old Virgin!

I’d give Nick and Norah a 7.5 out of 10.  Check it out if you get a chance.  It disappointed at the box office, but it won’t disappoint you!

Joe’s Review: Tropic Thunder

September 2, 2008 by Joe · 2 Comments 

I finally got around to seeing this movie, and after hearing all the controversy about it, I have to say that it was really overhyped.  If you don’t know about the uproar this movie caused.  Basically, it was that people felt the movie was making too much fun of “retarted” people.  If you watch the movie and check out the scene they’re talking about, it wasn’t really that bad.  I’m sure that the director knew what he was doing, and it was all really taken out of context.  There was no reason to make a big stink of it, and I for one believe it is still worth seeing.

Tropic Thunder is a movie based on a movie that a group of guys made about a book that a guy wrote about something that happened to him during the Vietnam War.  As if that last sentence wasn’t confusing enough already, it stars a whole bunch of guys who look like they were just thrown together to make a movie.  A drug addict, a washed up action star, a young kid who is looking to make it big, a black dude, and a guy who’s playing a black dude.  Throw in their crazy producer Les Grossman and agent Rick Peck, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a comedy.

The movie starts out with an amazing action scene, filled with explosions.  Well, it didn’t really start there, but I missed the fake previews and commercials… think Grindhouse, but with comedy instead of horror.  I’ll have to check them out the next time I’m at the theatre.  In any case, from the beginning of the film, the actors are having trouble getting along with each other.  Stiller’s character, Tugg Speedman, feels like he’s constantly in the shadow of Kirk Lazarus, one of the best character actors ever.  Add to this the fact that their movie is already behind schedule and way over budget after just one day of filming.  When this gets back to Les Grossman, he is extremely angry and demands that the movie get back on schedule or they’ll never work in Hollywood again.

The director, Damien Cockburn, is at a loss.  He doesn’t know what to do to bring the guys together and allow them to be able to work together.  Fourleaf Taybeck (Nick Nolte), who wrote the book Tropic Thunder, has a suggestion: take the guys out of their comfort zone, and put them in a real situation.  Little can he expect what could possibly go wrong with this, as the guys end up in a real dangerous situation, and they don’t even know that they’re not on the set anymore!

Through their journey, the guys find out more about themselves and each other, and bond… in a really hilarious way.  I highly recommend this movie if you’re looking for a bunch of good laughs.  It’s not a cinematic masterpiece by any means, but it made me laugh.. and that’s all I’m looking for in a comedy.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

Jenn’s Review: Swing Vote

August 8, 2008 by Jenn · 3 Comments 

Barack? McCain?

What if the future president of America rested squarely on one lone, individual vote? So is the question presented in Swing Vote, starring familiar names such as Kevin Costner, Kelsey Grammer, and George Lopez. The movie begins with the viewers looking into the daily life of Molly Johnson, a highly intelligent grade school girl living in the small town of Texaco, New Mexico, with her underachieving and lazy father, Bud. She cooks, she cleans, she even drives! On election day, Molly expresses the importance of the voting to Bud — which is no doubt a message to the movie patron as well, stating that it is the American civic duty. Bud replies with a smart aleck comeback, which gathered chuckles from the other four people in the movie theater.

Although promising his daughter he would vote, Bud screws up big time. After in-sourcing and many acts of laziness cause Bud to be laid off from his job at the Egg Factory, he decides that getting smashed would be the best way to retaliate. When Molly finds Bud unfit to vote, she decides to take matters into her own hands. However, while sneakily attempting to vote in Bud’s place, an error with the voting machine occurs, and Molly frantically rushes out to return to the smelly trailer in which she and Bud reside.

Life continues on as normal for Bud and Molly. The presidential election is at a standstill, being split completely down the middle. The error of the voting machine was discovered, and with the election riding on the sole county of Texaco, a confused Bud is given a chance to recast his ballot. Both presidential candidates scurry to win his vote, abandoning everything they stand for in the process. The rest of the movie conveys themes of family, humanity, and love all with a touch of humor involved. Who will Bud vote for? I can’t spoil that for you! Seriously!

I thought the movie was decent, although not amazing. Its humor and serious undertones will always leave you captivated. However, it was trying a bit hard — attempting to touch upon all the serious controversies in our modern society today with silly jokes in order to make the tone of the movie continuously light. It will definitely rejuvenate your spirit and have your patriotism at an all time high upon leaving the theater. I give it one thumb up and one thumb down… looks like my review needs a swing vote of its own!

Swing your butt on down to see Swing Vote!

pleasure blogging with you!
~Jenn

Joe’s Review: The Dark Knight

July 21, 2008 by Joe · 2 Comments 

I’m sure that you guys have read tons of reviews of The Dark Knight. Yes, I should have had mine up earlier, but I guess I’m not supposed to provide opinions on movies before they come out because of the privilege I have of seeing them before they come out. But back to the reviews. Do I agree with the majority of them? Let’s sum up what they mainly say:

  • The Dark Knight is awesome.
  • Heath Ledger did an incredible job as the Joker.
  • This is the best movie of the summer so far.

Uhhh.. YEAH. Those words definitely sum up what I thought of The Dark Knight. Honestly, it was a really incredible movie, very well done. DC comics has a definite hit in this movie, and it made the numbers that Iron Man put up look like nothing. Yes, The Dark Knight has set record after record, and I really feel that it deserves it.

Dark Knight PosterThis film picks up where Batman Begins left off. Gotham City, once overrun by crime, is starting to get some sense of order. With the help of Batman, the Mayor, Lieutenant Gordon, and the new D.A. Harvey Dent, the war against crime has an end that everyone can see. The mob’s money is being tracked, Batman is bringing people to Justice, and Dent is putting them away for good. Everything seems to be working out just fine, until a crazy guy who just goes by “The Joker” begins starting his own havoc. He doesn’t even seem to have any goal, he just wants to cause crime.

In steps Batman. He’s never faced an enemy like the Joker before, and has to use all his resources, and bring himself to the edge of his own morals to decide what to do.

I really really don’t want to spoil this for anyone, so I’m sorry if the synopsis I have there is a little lacking. What I can say is.. this movie is definitely worth seeing. There’s going to be a lot of talk about who is the better Joker, which one will really make more money, and which Batman movie is the best, but I’m not going to go there right now. I will definitely encourage you to make the trip out to go see it. The dark vision that Christopher Nolan was going for really worked. What this new franchise is providing is a deeper look into “who is Batman?”

Not everyone will agree with me, but for a character actor, Christian Bale really does Batman well. I’ve enjoyed his performances in the past two films, and I do hope that he continues in the franchise. I’m also going to say that I think Heath Ledger had a wonderful performance, and is deserving of all the talk of a potential post-mortum Academy nomination. You may not agree with me on that point either, but I would like to hear why, because I think he did a fanatastic job. It was scary how good that performance was.

If you’ve seen the movie, what do you think?

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★½

- Best movie of 2008 so far!

Joe’s Review: Hancock

July 14, 2008 by Joe · Leave a Comment 

So I haven’t posted in a while (again), but I did actually get to go see a movie! Yesterday the girl and I went to go see Hancock. Coming into the theatre, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew that the movie put up big numbers, but that could’ve been just because it was a Will Smith movie. Luckily for me, I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed this film. It was good entertainment!

Hancock is the anti-hero. He drinks, causes a ton of damage when he is fighting crime, and doesn’t get along with anybody. While a high speed chase and shooting is going on, Hancock is passed out drunk on a bench. He has to be awoken by a little boy and see the chase on TV to even think about going. Whenever he takes off, he leaves behind a path of destruction, not caring about what he does, but still getting the job done.

In comes Ray Embry, PR “expert”, and the guy who is going to turn Hancock’s life around. They meet when Embry’s car becomes trapped on some railroad tracks, and Hancock tosses his car on top of another to prevent him from being hit by an oncoming train. (Isn’t it usually a damsel in distress on the train tracks?) Anyway, the people around aren’t happy, criticizing Hancock’s techniques, calling him names, and booing him. The city of LA even called for him to leave because of the damage that he’s caused to the city.

Embry, however, feels that there is a side of Hancock that people have yet to see, and still need to see. His plan involves Hancock going to jail so that the city will miss him, and at the same time work on his image and other characteristics so people will approve of him when he comes back.

Does it work? Well, you’ll have to see the movie to find out. For me, Hancock was a very enjoyable film, providing action, and a surprisingly good back story. You really felt for Hancock (in the end), and it had some great humor as well. I would’ve liked to hear some more details of the back story behind the movie, mainly more history about who Hancock really was… how he came along, what he was, etc.

Overall, I’d rate Hancock a 7 out of 10… definitely something to consider seeing! Let me know how you feel about it!!

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Joe’s Review: Wall-E

July 5, 2008 by Joe · 2 Comments 

Disney/Pixar’s latest release was one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, and now that I’ve seen it, I can say that Wall-E deserves all the hype it gets. After the incredible success of Ratatouille last summer, Pixar hit the nail on the head again. This is definitely one of the cutest, well executed movies that I’ve seen so far this year. In fact, I can’t think of anything offhand that tops it.

Wall-E takes place many many years in the future… about 700 I believe. The earth has been abandoned due to the buildup of waste products and pollutants over the years. The company that has basically taken over the world, Buy N’ Large, has decided to take matters into it’s own hands. Large, luxurious cruise ships have been built to take people into space for a five year cruise, while Buy N’ Large uses robots to clean up the Earth, with the hope that people will be able to return afterwards.

Things don’t seem to have gone as planned. The movie begins following Wall-E around as he(?) performs his daily duties, taking trash in and compacting it. As he moves around, we see that there are many robots that are no longer functioning, as Wall-E’s only companion is a little cockroach who manages to get himself into a lot of squishy situations. Earth is a barren wasteland, but little Wall-E follows the same routine every day, compacting trash, and collecting items as he dreams of finding love (I know, cute huh?).

All of this changes one day when a probe ship comes, and drops off a probe to see what life is like on Earth now. In comes EVE, scooting around and probing everywhere, with Wall-E not far behind, as he has fallen in love. After finding some evidence of plant life growing on Earth, EVE is returned to the ship she came from where people have been waiting 700 years to return to Earth. Is this the sign that they will finally be going home?

Wall-e PosterDefinitely going to recommend that you go out and check out the movie to find out about all the crazy antics Wall-E gets himself into. Something I really enjoyed about Wall-E was how they worked out the dialogue.
There really wasn’t much at all. However, the sounds that the robots emitted and the music set the tone very well. It was actually possible to feel the emotions that they were feeling, and get swept away in the journey. As usual, Pixar’s animation was stunning. Now that I think about it, I didn’t really even think of it as a computer animated movie. It felt just like any other regular movie.

No doubt Wall-E is more for the kids, as illustrated by the about 200 or so mothers, fathers, and screaming babies I saw it with, so definitely take that into consideration when heading out to see it. I recommend a late show if you really want to enjoy it in a quiet theatre, as that did mess it up a little bit for me. However, despite that annoyance, Wall-E is surely worth seeing. You’ll be swept up by the beautiful animation and great story.

The little featurette beforehand was awesome also!

Did you enjoy as much as I did?

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

- A Must See!

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