Monthly Archives: February 2009

Sita Sings the Blues

You can watch the movie legally online here or you could wait for the broadcast on PBS on March 7. Check your local listings.

I will write a review of this movie on the PBS broadcast.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Let me to tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope could drive a man insane.

— Red

I was not expecting to see The Shawshank Redemption last night. It was a pleasant surprise. I was flipping through the channels and it was starting on Encore. I thought, “What the hell?” Don’t hate me, but I haven’t seen the film from start to finish. I caught bits of the film in the past couple of years since it was released in 1994 on basic cable.

I thought that this is masterful storytelling by writer/director Frank Darabont. Based on the novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. It so weird. My favorite movies of all time were based on Stephen King’s material.

This was a vastly under appreciated movie that lost to that certain emotionally manipulative Tom Hanks vehicle that year at the Oscars. It was nominated for seven Oscars and didn’t win a single one. It is a crime.

It tells a compelling story about friendship developing between two inmates in Shawshank Prison, Andy Dufrense (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman). It dealt with the struggles from day to day in order to survive. Dealing with a corrupt staff that includes the Warden (Bob Gunton) and the Captain (Clancy Brown). It also deals with innocence and what is gained from seeking justice.

It is a wonderful film that is number one on the IMDB Top #250 list for a reason. It goes to show you that the Academy doesn’t know shit about awarding deserving movie, instead of atypical Oscar-grabby movies.

Judgment: If you haven’t seen this movie, you should be ashamed. Watch it immediately.

Rating: *****

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

As far as I’m concerned, that man’s whole body is property of the U.S. Army.

— Gen. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross

I watched a reboot of the failed Ang Lee’s vehicle, Louis Leterrier’s, The Incredible Hulk. This time is has Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and Liv Tyler as Dr. Elizabeth Ross.

I watched both Hulk films that I was bored with both of them. The first Hulk was great with career development, but light in action. This movie was heavy on the action, but light with character development.

I don’t know whose idea it was to do this movie, but Norton’s Bruce Banner was such a pussy in this film. It’s true. He is hiding out in Brazil so he won’t get captured by the government.

He is the only white guy in a fifty mile radius in his little apartment in Brazil. He would stick out like a sore thumb.

I just didn’t care about the movie. I think so people thought that if the good parts of both movie with cut together then it would have been a great film. It’s not. It’s boring. I was yawning with Bruce pining away for Elizabeth like this was a snappy romantic comedy. Whatever.

Judgment: Don’t bother watch this movie unless you want to torture yourself.

Rating: **

Wanted (2008)

Kill one, maybe save a thousand.

— Fox

Wanted was nominated for two Academy awards last Sunday for Best Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. It lost both in both categories. I was surprised that it was nominated at all.

I’m not saying that it was an atrocious movie. It was an action packed movie, but it was light on the plot.

The movie is about a wimpy account manager, Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) that is unhappy with the mundane life is recruited into “The Fraternity”, a secret society of great assassins. The leader of the group, Sloan (Morgan Freeman) introduces him to a world that he has never known. He leaves his old life behind to be a bad ass killer like his father that he has never known.

He is introduced to his handler, Fox (Angelina Jolie), who teaches Wesley the ropes about “The Fraternity”. He also meets The Exterminator (Konstantin Khabenskiy) that kicks his ass to try to toughen him up. Then, he is “healed” by The Repairman (Marc Warren) in some white goo. Lastly, Gunsmith (Common) teaches Wesley about having a clear shot of the target.

I thought that this movie was kick ass, but the plot is so stupid. I will be giving away some plot points. Be forewarned.

I have a couple of questions to ask. Wesley believes that Mr. X (David O’Hara) that was killed in the beginning of the film was his father and then it turns out that the “villain”, Cross (Thomas Kretschmann) is his real father. Thomas was born in ’62 and McAvoy was born in ’79. Think about it.

The assassins get their orders from a magical loom with binary codes. Say what?

There is the lazy screenwriting technique of having the main character do a voice-over. Why? I was surprised that Morgan Freeman didn’t do it. he is an expert at it.

This movie wass based loosely on the graphic novel by Mark Millar. The original concept of the graphic novel was not about a team of assassins. It was about a bunch of super-villains that had taken over society in 1986. A wild departure. This is the typical Hollywood watering down fringe material into a mediocre plot line.

Judgment: The movie was nothing, but a bunch of curved bullets, preposterous plot twists and a magical loom. It’s eye candy, not brain candy.

Rating: **1/2

Enchanted (2007)

The real world and the animated world collide.

Instead of watching the presidential address to the nation last night, I decided to watch Enchanted.

This Disney production begins with an animated sequence that is in the same vein as The Little Mermaid, Snow White and The Princess Bride. It gave the audience who grew up with Disney a little wink with some of the jokes and the situations.

Giselle (Amy Adams), the damsel in the distress longs for her one true love inside of her hallow tree in the land of Andalasia. She is surrounded by forest creatures as she made a mannequin of her love out of random items.

She begins to sing and the self-absorbed Prince Edward (James Marsden) hears her melodious song. He tries to find her. He is detracted by Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) to not let them meet, because if they marry than Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) would lose her kingdom.

Giselle and Edward do meet, fall in love and plan to be married the next day. Plans change when Queen Narissa disguised as an old hag pushes Giselle through a portal. She comes out in the middle of Times Square in New York City.

Bewildered, Giselle wanders around the streets to find her way back to Andalasia. When she sees a billboard of palace that looks like Prince Edwards, she meets a cynical divorce lawyer, Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his six-year-old daughter, Morgan (Rachel Covey). They bring her home.

Prince Edward, Nathaniel and Pip the chipmunk fall in the portal to search for Giselle.

During the course of the film, the traits of Giselle and Robert begins to meld with Giselle acclimates to the real world and Robert not being bitter about love, especially with Nancy (Idina Menzel).

Judgment: This was a fun movie. I had some genuine laughs.

Rating: ****

The Love Guru (2008)

Here is another steaming pile of excrement that I watched Oscar night, and I’m not talking about Slumdog Millionaire. It is the 7-time Razzie nominated and 3-time “loser”, The Love Guru.

Judgment: This movie is so awful that I won’t waste my breath with it.

Rating: *

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008)

I just want to make people silky smooth!

— Zohan Dvir

After watching the atrocious spectacle that was 81st Annual Academy Awards, I wanted to see a stupid, dumb movie to wash the bile out of my mouth. Here is the first movie of my double feature, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.

The movie centers around Zohan Dvir (Adam Sandler), a superhuman Israeli Special Forces Officer. He is like Superman with Jew-fro and an enormous junk that lives with his parents.

At the opening, he is on vacation on the coast when he is summoned to fight a Palestinian radical, the Phantom (John Turturro). Before the fight, he confides in his parents that he wants to quit the Israeli army, move to the States to become a hairdresser.

Zohan has the fight with the Phantom, which was ridiculous and defies all logic and probability. The Phantom thinks that he killed Zohan. Zohan swims off in the distance, he smuggles himself in a dog kennel and styles the two dogs in there.

In New York City, he tries to get a job with the Paul Mitchell Salon. He is denied that he is doing hairstyles from the late 80s. Side note– the cheesy 90s soundtrack of this movie was hilarious. “I Wanna Sex You Up” from Color Me Bad? Wow!

He meets Michael (Nick Swardson) on the street after a traffic accident. He crashes with him and his mother, Gail (Lainie Kazan) who thinks that he is an Australian/Tibetan man named Scrappy Coco. He has sex with her. Be forewarned, he bones a bunch of women in this movie with his magical penis.

He finds a job in Palestinian/Israeli neighborhood that is separated by the street called Rafael’s Salon by Dalia (Emmanuelle Chriqui) to be a hair cleaner. When a hairstylist quits, Zohan is given a chance to show his skills and also to boink the clients in the backroom.

There is a ridiculous subplot with a cab driver, Salim (Rob Schneider) recognizes Zohan and wants to seek revenge for him kicking his ass and stealing his goat. He teams up with his friends, Nasi and Hamdi (Daoud Heidami, Sayed Badreya) through the Hezbollah Terrorist Line to seek explosives.

Here are my main problems with this movie. Zohan himself, a buffed out guy who constantly rubbing his crotch on women’s shoulders, talking about doing the nasty, licking women in weird places and they are expected to swoon. Oh, please. There is a running gag of putting hummus on everything ala Windex panacea in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It grew tiresome after a while. The accents were incomprehensible to say the least.

There were some celebrity cameos in this movie, like Chris Rock, Kevin Nealon, Kevin James, John McEnroe, Dave Matthews and Mariah Carey.

Judgment: If you want to turn off your brain and enjoy a ridiculous movie, this is it.

Rating: **

The Omie Award Winners

The time has come. It is time to crown the most deserving movies and people in the First Annual Omie Awards.

Most Deserving Picture

“The Dark Knight”

Most Deserving Director

(tie) Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight”
and Darren Aronofsky, “The Wrestler”

Most Deserving Actor

(tie) Colin Farrell, “In Bruges”
and Leonardo DiCaprio, “Revolutionary Road”

Most Deserving Actress

(tie) Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
and Kate Winslet, “Revolutionary Road”

Most Deserving Supporting Actor

Eddie Marsan, “Happy-Go-Lucky”

Most Deserving Supporting Actress

Rosemarie DeWitt, “Rachel Getting Married”

Most Deserving Foreign Film

“Let the Right One In” (Sweden)

Most Deserving Documentary


Most Deserving Song

(tie) Rock Me Sexy Jesus from “Hamlet 2”
and The Wrestler from “The Wrestler”

The Ultimate Suck It Award:
Most Undeserving Movie

(tie) “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
and “The Reader”

Congratulations to all the winners. This goes to show you that the Academy doesn’t know shit about good movies, good performances or having good taste for that matter.

Until next year…

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

I just ate. So I’m still digesting. So my kung fu may not be as good as later on.


Kung Fu Panda is the last of the Best Animated Pictures currently nominated that I did not see yet. I know. I know. Shame on me. Now, I have a clear perspective on what I think should win the Oscar on Sunday. I think this movie should take the little golden guy than WALL-E. It’s my opinion and mine alone.

The story did not drag along. The animation was consistent throughout. No drop in quality. It did not become a parody of itself by the end of the movie.

Po (Jack Black) is a bumbling panda living in the Valley of Peace, running a local noodle shop with his goose father, Mr. Ping (James Hong). Mr. Ping wants Po to take over the noodle shop. Po doesn’t want to be a noodle man. He wants to a kung fu hero like the Furious Five, Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Crane (David Cross), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Monkey (Jackie Chan) and Viper (Lucy Liu). Each of the furious five represents every single discipline of kung fu.

In the Jade Temple, where the Furious Five train, Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), the wise old tortoise summons Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), the red panda teacher of the Furious Five to tell him that Tai Lung (Ian McShane), a snow leopard that betrayed them, will escape from the prison that he’s in for twenty years.

Upon hearing the news, Shifu sends Zeng (Dan Fogler) to the prison that Tai Lung is held to not let Master Oogway’s version come true.

In the meantime, it was time to pick the Dragon Warrior, the warrior that would battle Tai Lung who does escape the prison in an awesome action sequence. Everyone from the Valley gathers in the temple to watch the crowning of the Dragon Warrior.

Under some unusual circumstances, Po is chosen as the Dragon Warrior over the Furious Five by Master Oogway. This actions causes a rift between the warriors. Shifu tries to figure out a way to drive Po out of the way.

Po introduces the audience to the bear style that I haven’t seen before.

This movie teaches people that impossible is possible if you believe in yourself and have determination. Solid movie.

Judgment: If you want to see a movie with a good message, cool action sequences and bad ass kung fu, this movie is for you.

Rating: ****1/2

HellBent (2004)

I wanna know who sucks a green dick!

— Eddie

I wanted to see a fluffy throwaway film. I thought that I might check out, HellBent. This is directorial debut of Paul Etheredge. This is a campy slasher film filled with shirtless pretty boys, pretty boys making out, and pretty boys getting killed.

The movie is set in West Hollywood during Halloween time. At the beginning credits of the movie, a couple of horny boys are making out in a car in the middle of the woods. Then, a shirtless Devil (Luke Weaver) appears, brutally decapitates them with a hand sickle and takes their heads with him. A souvenir, perhaps? It was not explained.

The next day, a police detective on desk duty, Eddie (Dylan Fergus) is assigned to hand out fliers in West Hollywood about the killer. While passing out the fliers, Eddie meets Jake (Bryan Kirkwood) outside of a tattoo parlor, Devil Doll Studios where Jake is getting a new tattoo to cover up an ex’s name.

Later that Halloween night, Eddie, dressed as a cop –go figure– sets out to find out any information about the killer at the carnival. His friends tag along. There is Joey (Hank Harris), the mousy waiter from the gang’s hangout dressed as a leather boy. Chaz (Andrew Levitas), the slutty bisexual friend dressed as a sexy cowboy. Lastly, there is Tobey (Matt Phillips) dressed like a busted version of Veronica Lake.

Their first stop is the very woods that the two guys were killed the night before. The killer comes back that they think it’s another trick. They promptly presented their asses to him. The Devil leaves.

The Devil stalks the quartet through various dark alleyways and clubs.

As typical slasher movie genres go, the killer picks off the boys one by one.

I have to admit something. The killer is very sexy. It’s weird, but it’s true. I felt the same way with the killers in the Scream trilogy as well.

Judgment: This film is not breaking new ground. It’s fluff. That’s all.

Rating: ***

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