Monthly Archives: October 2010

Alpha and Omega (2010)

I almost wanted to not review this movie, but I thought since I haven’t seen a movie in a long time. I thought that I would suck it up. I went to see Alpha and Omega with my niece. I barely knew anything about this movie. Looking at the trailer, it is the same story in a different configuration. Her choices were limited to this or Secretariat. Slim pickings. Help me get through this review without a narcoleptic episode.

The story is basically about a two wolf packs in Jasper National Park in Canada. It’s like a Romeo and Juliet for the animal kingdom with the awkward Omega wolf, Humphrey (Justin Long) is hopelessly in love with the Alpha wolf of the pack, Kate (Hayden Panettiere). She sees him as a friend only. Her life goal is to lead the pack like her father. Having a fun is foreign concept for her. Besides, Alphas and Omegas are forbidden to be together.

The fathers of the Western and Eastern packs, Winston (Danny Glover) and Tony (Dennis Hopper) are trying to arrange the marriage of Kate and groomed Alpha wolf, Garth (Chris Carmack) together so the packs won’t starve for food.

During a moonlight howl, Kate realizes that Garth is a little defective. Getting his chance to strike, Humphrey tries to tell Kate about his feelings when they are both tranquilized by rival park rangers and shipped to a national park in Idaho. They are befriended by a golf playing French/Canadian goose named Marcel (Larry Miller) and his  caddy, a duck named Paddy (Eric Price). They show them the way to get back to Jasper before war breaks out between the wolf packs.

I know that I wasn’t going to love this movie. It was made for little kids. I was bored to no end with this flick. The story is cookie cutter storytelling. Everybody knew what was going to happen. Yawn! The animation overall was poorly done. It felt like it was on the shelf for years before it was released like Delgo. Anyone remember that movie? If you do, I’m sorry. The fur on the wolves looked like the material on a stuffed animal. It was like stuffed animals walking and talking. That took me out. I’m glad it was under eighty minutes. It was like watching paint dry. My body felt like an elephant sat on me. Sitting through this movie was excruciating pain for me.

Judgment: It was a cute film with elementary school type humor. That’s all.

Rating: **

Red (2010)

I remember the CIA being tougher.

— Marvin Boggs

I was sold going to see Red was when the image of the regal Helen Mirren in holding a machine gun spraying at the bad guys. I was over for me. I had very little knowledge of the limited comic book series created by Warren Ellis a couple of years ago. My research showed that the comic and film are two different entities and I wish that it was like the comic book.

Former CIA black ops agent, Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is not content been retired, living alone in his empty Cleveland house. The only break to his monotonous life is calling a customer service rep for the Social Security Administration, Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker) who he likes.

In the middle of the night, a group of South African militants try to kill Frank, but he quickly disposes of them. He sets out on a road trip that vaguely reminds me of Knight and Day last summer. Frank knows that the people trying to kill him bugged his phone. Sarah could be in danger. He is considered R.E.D. which means “Retired Extremely Dangerous.” Going to Kansas City, the reception of Frank’s presence is not what he expected. He has no choice but to kidnap and protect her.

After the botched assassination attempt, CIA operative William Cooper (Karl Urban) is dispatched to personally bring down Moses, because of what he knows about a mission in Guatemala in 1981.

Frank knows the same information when a New York Times reporter is killed because of uncovering the story and compiling a list of people who where there. Frank seeks the advice of fellow Joe (Morgan Freeman), who is in a rest home in New Orléans to find out who is still alive and find out why the CIA is coming after old operatives in their retirement.

They enlist the help of Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) who due to his years long exposure to LSD is extremely paranoid about anything and everyone around him and a former assassin for the MI-6, Victoria (Helen Mirren) to bring down the bad guys once and for all.

Learning about the original comic plot with Moses dealing squarely with the CIA would have been a great action thriller. I don’t mind that writers Erich and Jon Hoeber made dramatic changes to the movies to make a team of retired operatives taking down their former bosses, but I thought the movies was very clunky. I understand that director, Robert Schwentke wanted to make an action comedy, but the romance part of the movie with Frank and Sarah seemed off-putting. An act of Stockholm Syndrome in a comedy is a fantastic plot device. (I was being sarcastic.) Some of the jokes fell on deaf ears.

I did enjoy the actors, especially Helen Mirren (My girl) and Malcovich! The action sequences were expertly well done. I enjoyed the hell out of the movie when that was going on, but the rest left a lot of be desired.

Judgment: Helen Mirren shooting a machine gun. Come on. It can’t get any better than that.

Rating: ***

The Social Network (2010)

If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg

Two forces of nature, director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin have come together to make the adaptation of the book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich come to life on the big screen as The Social Network. I knew the back story of the origins of the Facebook that it was strictly for college students. I didn’t want to be a part of that community, because it wasn’t me. I jumped on the bandwagon last year and haven’t looked back since. However, after watching this movie, I almost contemplated deleting my account… almost.

The movie dramatically recreates the genesis of the latest social network phenomena. It mainly focuses on one of the creators of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) who may or may mot suffer from a case of Aspberger’s Syndrome. Zuckerberg’s “ah-ha” moment stemmed from the breakup of his fellow Harvard girlfriend, Erica ( Rooney Mara) in 2003. He gets drunk, blog bashes Erica and creates his first site, FaceSmash, which measured the hotness of two random Harvard girls.

Mark gets into serious trouble with school officials over violating privacy laws, breaching online security, etc. Zuckerberg was nonchalant about the hoopla surrounding him. Acting smug to get some attention, but the wrong attention as he is listed as public enemy number one on campus. His antics attract the attention of a pair of affluent twin from the school’s rowing team, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (dually played by Armie Hammer) and Divya Navendra (Max Minghella). They want to hire Mark to work on their idea of an exclusive dating site called “The Harvard Connection.”

Mark shuts himself in his dorm room and furiously types out of the codes to create a site, but not the dating site he promised. He enlists the help of his only friend, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) to get the algorithm and some startup money to fund his little side venture. Mark wanted to build on the idea of making a social network of his very own that would be better than MySpace, Friendster and The Harvard Connection combined.

The popularity of the site exploded almost overnight. Hearing the whispers of Mark’s brainchild throughout the campus catches the attentions of the Winklevosses and Divya who filed an injunction on “The Facebook” as it was called then. The rapid success of the site drives a wedge between Mark and Eduardo when Napster founder, Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) comes into the picture to shake things up.

I felt the same way with this movie like I did with Juno. If you could get past the rapid fire Aaron Sorkin verbal volley match, then you would enjoy this movie. The movie in my opinion became better as it moved along. The beginning was a little rocky that goes to an Earth-shattering finish. Eisenberg is not trying to be a poor man’s Michael Cera. He was not doing his schtick. He did not imitate Zuckerberg, but gave a subtle performance. Hammer as the Winklevoss twins was very effective with the cadence in his voice. Very commanding. I believe the standout performance of this movie was Andrew Garfield. His character went through a whole range of emotions that had me rooting for him in one moment and hating him the next.

Justin Timberlake is generating some Oscar buzz for his performance as Sean Parker, but I don’t see it. He played Sean like a fey swindler. I kept getting distracted by his mannerisms.

Judgment: Overall this movie is good entertainment that took dramatic licences.

Rating: ****1/2

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