Monthly Archives: September 2009

9 Minute Trailer of “The Prisoner”

I was combing over the blogs that I frequent and I caught this sneak preview of the six hour AMC mini-series, “The Prisoner”. This remake begins airing in early November over the course of three nights. It stars Ian McKellan and Jim Caviezel.

**The trailer is sub-titled in French.**

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Ultimate Avengers (2006)

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You’re still a little man, Banner. Now, knock it off or I’m gonna squish you.

— Giant-Man

Being a big fan of superheroes, I wanted to get a taste of the Avengers universe. I rented Ultimate Avengers. The only thing I could say is that I hope The Avengers movie is a lot better than this.

The movie starts the origin of super soldier, Captain America (Justin Gross) when he tries to stop a nuclear missile made by the Nazis with alien technology. In the process, Capt is struck by the debris and is encapsulated in ice for over sixty years.

SHIELD director Gen. Nick Fury (Andre Wise) and Dr. Betty Ross (Nan McNamara) rescue him from the ice. Dr. Bruce Banner (Michael Massee) has been working tirelessly to replicate the super technology that made Captain the way he is today.

Everybody is under high alert when the dormant alien threat, the Chitauri, comes to wreak havoc on Earth defenses. Nick Fury tries to gather up the other members of the Avengers like Black Widow (Olivia D’Abo), Giant-Man (Nolan North), Wasp (Grey Delisle), Thor (Dave Boat), and Iron Man (Marc Worden) to help stop it.

The movie lacked any sense of danger for the characters. They weren’t in peril. You don’t go, “Oh, my god. They could die at any time.” You don’t get that feeling. It’s due to the lackluster plot. The characters were two-dimensional. Just another part of the team.

Judgment: This is a disappointment on every level.

Rating: **

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

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This is the Smithsonian! This is the big leagues!

— Larry Daley

I reviewed the first Night of the Museum and I liked the movie very much. A kid friendly movie teaches about semblances of history in a clever way. We fast-forward to 2009 with the release of Night of the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, the magic of the first film is there, but you have to dig to find it. That’s not a good sign. I’m glad I went to the cheap theater to see this movie.

After his stint as the night watchmen of the Museum of Natural History, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is inexplicably the CEO of his own company, Daley Devices. He left the inhabitants of the museum behind to invent the glow in the dark flashlight.

He goes back to the museum – no reason why – to see that the place is closed for renovations. Most of the exhibit pieces are in boxes en route to the Smithsonian federal archive. Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) tells Larry that the people are not coming to the museum. They want to have new attractions. Larry wants to find a way to have the museum open again.

En route to the Smithsonian, the capuchin monkey, Dexter steals the Table of Ahkmenrah to their new home in the basement. Larry turns into 007 to break into the restricted area. He awakens the inhabitants of the museum like General Custer (Bill Hader) and Amelia Earheart (Amy Adams).

Amelia becomes Larry cohort to help stop Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek) older brother, Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) from resurrect the undead army to take over the world with Ivan the Terrible (Christopher Guest), Napoleon Bonaparte (Alain Chabat) and Al Capone (Jon Bernthal) on his side.

I was still swept up with the fantastical moments of the movie. Bill Hader, Amy Adams and Mizuo Peck who plays Sacajawea were fantastic in the movie. They were the only enjoyable parts to the movie.

Many elements bothered me, especially the accent of Kahumunrah, the chase scenes in the paintings did nothing for me, and the whole thing with the villains was awful. It can’t say too much without spoiling the movie.

Judgment: A nice movie, but the first movie is much better.

Rating: **1/2

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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You want to talk to God? Let’s go see him together, I’ve got nothing better to do.

— Indiana

Don’t hate me, but I have never seen the first installment in the Indiana Jones quadrilogy in its entirety. I have seen the classic scenes of the giant boulder, the room filled with the snakes and the melting Nazis. This is the first time that I saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. I am so glad that I did. It’s #18 of the Top 25o Films of All Time on IMDb.

I am more of a Temple of Doom person. Some people don’t like that flick. I enjoy that it was campy and completely implausible.

In 1936, the famous archaeologist, Dr. Jones (Harrison Ford) is sent out on a mission to recover the Ark of the Covenant that once contained the Ten Commandants. He has to get it before Hitler and the Third Reich gain trouble control of it and have his army become invincible.

The first stop in Jones’ trip is Nepal where he meets an old love interest of his, Marion (Karen Allen). He tries to regain of the pieces of a magical staff that would guide the way to find the ark.

During the time there, a mysterious man in a black trench, Toht (Ronald Lacey) also seeks the artifact in Marion’s possession. There is a struggle. The duo escapes but not for long.

Hearing that the ark was moved to Cairo, they meet up with a famous digger, Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) to help with the effort.

The Nazis are not far behind in their quest to find the Ark with Jones’ French counterpart Bellroq (Paul Freeman), the Nazi officer, Colonel Dietrich (Wolf Kahler) and Toht.

It’s common knowledge by now it that producers wanted Tom Selleck in the role of Dr. Jones. I can only imagine about Selleck in the movie. It would have been cool if you wasn’t working on Magnum PI at the time. Harrison Ford is not a bad choice for Indy. He is damn sexy in the movie. You gotta love a man that can handle a whip. Mmm-hmm.

The action sequences and the jokes in the movie were great. The ending of the movie was anti-climatic and borderline silly, but other than that, a good time all around.

Judgment: A worthy installment in the Indiana Jones mythology.

Rating: ****1/2

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

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It smells like Thai food in here. Have you guys been fucking?

— Jennifer

Jennifer’s Body is the follow up to screenwriter Diablo Cody’s Oscar winning, Juno. After watching some of her work on television with The United States of Tara and this, I have a feeling that she was just a one trick pony.

Taking place in Devil’s Kettle (how fitting of a name?), the story mostly revolves around Needy (Amanda Seyfried) spiraling into madness after what happened to her classmates months prior.

She recounts the good times that she had with her boyfriend, Chip (Johnny Simmons) and her best friend, Jennifer (Megan Fox). The girls are the unlikeliest of friends, she is nerdy girl and Jennifer’s the popular beautiful cheerleader. Everybody questions why they are hanging out together. She doesn’t see anything wrong with that.

One night when the girls are at bar, there is a fire. Lots of death and destruction. Needy is torn up about it, but Jennifer is cavalier about it. She goes into the back of the van of the band playing that night, Low Shoulder. Needy has a bizarre incident when Jennifer back at her house when she appears covered in blood and puking black sludge.

Needy notices a change in her friend. It turns out that Jennifer is not “high school evil”. She is possessed by soul sucking sex demon that is killing the boys in the school in order to keep up her exterior beauty. If she doesn’t feed, she would look like a hot ass mess.

There is a reason why Jennifer is turned into the demon. I will discuss that in the spoiler section of the review.

The reasons to see this movie is Amanda Seyfried. She is very good in the movie. Very convincing. There is also the signature Diablo Cody dialogue that saves the film from being total shit.

Megan Fox is not horrible in the movie. She was fine. I think she was better when she was in her bitchy dark humor mode. Everything else falls flat.

Judgment: This movie tries to be a 2000 version of Heathers. Fail.

Rating: ***

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Happy Anniversary!

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I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that this is my first anniversary of this blog. It has been exactly one year today that I made my first movie review was the documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk.

Last year, I was in a transitional period in my life when I lost my apartment and I had to move back in with my mother. I had to put my pride aside in order to survive.

Being influenced by the hosts of Cinebanter, I wanted to start a movie review blog from movies that I have seen on cable or in the cinemas.

On September 28, 2008, I started my personal blog called “On the Queue” over on blogger.com. I know it’s the most uncreative title ever. It was something that came to mind.

At first, I had no idea what directions I was going to with the blog. The entries were short and to the point. I knew that I wasn’t going to be the next Roger Ebert or anything. I wanted to give my two cents about the movies that I have seen in passing.

In the beginning of the blog, I did the blog more for me. I needed an outlet to write something important. Writing is very cathartic for me. It still is.

Over time, a couple of friends of mine loved the blog. I wanted to make a small change with it. I wanted to change the title of the blog. I agonized over it for hours on end.

You wanna know how I got the name? Three words: blog name generator. I know! I know. It’s a copout. Sue me. Anyway, I searched on the internet for one. Some random names came up and one popped up, “foolish blathering”. I thought about it for a hot minute. Yes, that was perfect, but I wasn’t doing just one entry. I made it plural. Ooh!

After the name change, my reviews became more refined. I incorporated the rating system and the memorable quote or tagline on the review. I joined LAMB and the world opened up for me. I met some great people on this venture.

Then, I felt like my blog looked like everybody else’s. I wanted to have something distinctive. I included the patent pending, “last judgment”, the one sentence summary about how good or bad the movie was.

On April Fool’s Day this year, I made the switch to wordpress, because I was sick of being limited on blogger. I’m glad I did. I never looked back.

When I deleted the blogger posts, it messed up my blog posts. I wanted somebody to contribute to the blog. I found Mike Ezzo on Facebook. He said that he wasn’t a movie buff. That was fine. I’m glad that he contributed to the site. Even though he hasn’t written a post in LONG time, he is still welcome to make contributions in the future.

I wanted to take this time to thank everyone for their continued support of me and this site.

Thanks goes out to Michael and Tassoula from “Cinebanter”, Chazz Lyons from “Gone Cinema Poaching”, Alex from “Korova Theatre Presents”, Dylan from “Blog Cabins”, Jim from “Napier’s News”, Piper from “Lazy Eye Theatre”, Iain Stott from “The One-Line Review”, Heather from “Movie Mobsters”, Steve from “The Film Cynics”, the members from the Oscar Watchers group and various members of LAMB.

Thank you for a terrific year in blogging and hopefully for another year to make things bigger and better.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

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Ohh, for God’s sake! He’s got an arm off!

— Shaun

After being disappointed with Hot Fuzz, there was some trepidation watching the movie that started the Wright/Pegg/Frost invasion, Shaun of the Dead.  This movie is send up of the films of George A. Romero and the schlocky movies about zombies. By the ending credits,my feelings completely changed.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is the everyman. He is a customer service representative at a small electronic shop. He lives his mundane life with his roommate, Pete (Peter Serafinowicz) and his mooching friend, Ed (Nick Frost).

Shaun is having troubles with the relationship with his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) who wants Shaun to change his ways in order to move forward in their relationship. She breaks up with him.

He is also have a difficult time dealing with his mother (Nicola Cunningham) being married to his stepfather (Bill Nighy).

Slowly their sleepy neighborhood is overrun by the living dead. At first, Shaun and the others are compltely oblivious to this situation until one of the group is bitten by zombie and slowly turns. It’s up to Shaun to fight off the undead, win his girlfriend back, save his mother and friends.

This movie is not trying too hard to be the end all be all of zombie movie. It made fun of the zombie movie, but put a different twist on it. It was refreshing.

There were some jokes that fell flat. They were few and far between.

Judgment: If you want to see a humorous zombie movie, watch this flick.

Rating: ***1/2

Hostel (2005)

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We can’t rail a girl that’s in a coma. I think that’s illegal, even in Amsterdam.

— Paxton

I was not familiar with Eli Roth’s directorial efforts before I watched Hostel. Hearing that people were genuinely scared when they saw this movie when it was in theaters, it piqued my interest. I never got around to watching it until the other night. Opening statement, What is the big deal?

This movie coined the sub-genre term “torture porn.” I thought that it would have more of the torture and less of the drawn out crappy infantile scenes. Quentin Tarantino executive produced this. You can see some of his influence on scene. There is even scene from Pulp Fiction dubbed in Czech.

Paxton (Jay Hernandez) travels throughout Europe with his best friend, Josh (Derek Richardson) that is dealing with a horrible break up. Paxton wants his boy to get laid so he could get over his ex. During their journey, they meet a drifter Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson).

In Amsterdam,  Alex (Lubomir Bukovy) tells the boys about a hostel in Slovakia where they could have all the vagine that they want. Naturally driven by their dicks, they decide to make the trek there.

They trio meet a group of girls there, Natalya and Svetlana (Barbara Nedeljakova, Jana Kaberabkova) who flirt with them and have sex with them.

During the stay there, one of the guys disappear. Nobody knows what is going on in the there. Something is not right until another one disappears.

Overall, this movie was disappointing. There weren’t any scares. I found that the movie was misogynistic. These meatheads thought of banging chicks and name calling other females. There was boobs galore in this film. I was rooting for the bad guys in this movie.

The guys are complete assholes that you cannot root for any character that is not sympathetic to the audience. It cannot work. There was no character development to make the audience root for any one of characters survival.

Judgment: If you want to see real torture porn, I would suggest a snuff film. Not really.

Rating: **

Paris Is Burning (1990)

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I always had hopes of being a big star. But as you get older, you aim a little lower. Everybody wants to make an impression, some mark upon the world. Then you think, you’ve made a mark on the world if you just get through it, and a few people remember your name. Then you’ve left a mark. You don’t have to bend the whole world. I think it’s better to just enjoy it. Pay your dues, and just enjoy it. If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you.

— Dorian Corey

Jeannie Livingston’s Paris Is Burning has been a part of my collection for a long time. I watch it from time to time see the people again, learning a bunch of lingo and see a world that I never knew.

This documentary tells the story of the “ball” scene in New York City in the late 80s. Most African-American gay men were kicked out of the house when their family found out that they were gay. The impoverished men gather together early in morning in rented out banquet halls to have their balls.

It breaks down the different categories, the participants in those categories and the talking heads explaining the mechanics of their moment in a spotlight.

We are introduced to memorable people like the wise Dorian Corey, the fierce Pepper LaBeija, the fem queen realness of Venus Xtravaganza, the gorgeous Octavia Saint Laurent, and the voguing master Willi Ninja.

We learn about “reading”, “shade”, “voguing”, “mopping”, “house” and “mother.” We also learn about the lives of these people that want to achieve the unreachable dream. It’s sad at the same time.

Judgment: If you want to learn the real origin of voguing, check out this documentary.

Rating: ****1/2

Pulp Fiction (1994)

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I’m prepared to scour the the Earth for that motherfucker. If Butch goes to Indochina, I want a nigger waiting in a bowl of rice ready to pop a cap in his ass.

–Marsellus

It has been fifteen years since the release of Pulp Fiction, which ushered Quentin Tarantino in the mainstream. The movie has been heavily quoted since its release. It did win for Best Original Screenplay. That’s says a lot. It was also nominated for seven Oscars. It’s currently #5 on the Top 250 of All Time on IMDb. It belongs there.

I owned the VHS of this movie and played it repeatedly. I could quote almost every line from the film. It sucked that my brother’s former girlfriend took the tape with her when they broke up.

It been awhile since I have seen this. After watching Inglourious Basterds, I wanted to see this movie again. I still enjoy the dialogue, the classic music and most of the performances. This fringe movie bent the rules of the Academy. It deserved a lot more acclaim.

If you don’t know the plot of the story – shame on you – revolves around multiple narrative that intercept and become jumbled up. It starts with a pair of robbers, Ringo and Yolanda (Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer) holding up a restaurant where two hit men who had a interesting day on the job, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield (John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson).

In his signature broken narrative, there is also stories about Vincent taking his boss’s wife, Mia (Uma Thurman) on a night on the town, dealing with a skuzzy drug dealer, (Eric Stolz). The boss, Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) dealing with an aging boxer, Butch (Bruce Willis) to throw a fight.

Tarantino is known for his long, drawn out dialogue scenes with some sprinklings of violence. One sequence still bothers me to this day. It’s the moment about the origin of “the gold watch”. It didn’t make any sense to me. Why was that in the movie? Why was that the motivation to Butch?

Judgment: If you haven’t seen this movie, return your movie snob card immediately.

Rating: ****1/2

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