Category Archives: Adventure

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Hey, Cameron. You realize if we played by the rules right now we’d be in gym?

— Ferris

I have to say that I am surprised that it has taking me this long to write this review on John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I watched the film almost a month ago and now I have to chance to write about it. Weird. I must admit that I have not seen this movie in its entirety. People regard that this movie is his masterpiece. I would beg to differ.

A smart-alecky Chicago teen named Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) pretends to be sick so that he would miss a test that he did not study for. His parents, Tom and Katie (Lyman Ward, Cindy Pickett) buy into his fake illness, but his sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) can see through his bullshit. She tries to rat him out, but the parental units do not want to hear it.

When everybody leaves the house, Ferris basks in his day of leisure by addressing the camera to talk about his master plan of spending his free day. His best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck) is actually at home sick in his home. Without having a car of his own, Ferris calls Cameron to ask to borrow the classic of Cameron’s dad. Ferris also wants to have his girlfriend, Sloan (Mia Sara) in on the action, by pretending that her grandmother had died to get her out of school.

They think that they get off scott free, but the Dean of Students, Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) knows that Ferris is faking being sick. Ferris has been absent eight earlier times during the school year. Rooney tries to find a way to catch Bueller in the act so he could humiliate him.

I am not the first person or the last person to skip school. Almost every teenager does it at some point in their lives. Some get caught and others not. I thought that nobody could do all of things in a span of a couple of hours. How the hell can you go to a baseball game and be in a parade? Really?

Judgment: I know that this is a movie, but it seems a little far-fetched to me. Ferris is slick, but he is not an evil genius by any means.

Rating: 6/10

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Thor (2011)

Oh, no… this is Earth… isn’t it?

— Thor

I don’t know if you know this, but the comic book adaptation of Thor is my first time seeing a 2011 release in the theaters. I know! Surprise! I had a unoffical boycott of the theaters since the quality of the movies sucked major elephantiasis balls last year. I heard that the movie was getting some positive reviews. I was like okay. Besides, I want to see The Avengers next year, so I have seen all the components before the geeky movie ever comes out. I went with a friend of mine. She wanted to see Jumping the Broom and I should have went with her.

The only knowledge I have about Thor is that he is the Norse god of thunder and that he talks in Elizabethan language. I knew this because I had read the only copy of Thor that my older brother had when he collected comics as a kid. Thankfully, the movie does not have that. That the only good thing about it.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth), his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) are in a battle with the Frost Giants lead by Laufey (Colm Feore). Laufey tried to invade Asgard before Odin defeated his army and took the Casket of Ancient Winters, which is the source of their powers as their own.

Odin is getting older and needs to chose a worthy successor to weld the hammer, Mjolnir and possess the powers of the Thunder God and lead the Asgardian people as their new king. Thor believes that he is the right one for the job, because he wants to fight to protect his people, not diplomacy. He is very arrogant about what the right thing is for everybody that he is about to swear to protect. Loki wants to have a chose to ascend.

When Thor is about to be crowned the new king, a couple of Frost Giants broke into the palace to try to take the Casket. They are defeated. Loki, Thor,  his childhood friend, Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and the Warriors Three; Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Joshua Dallas) and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) accompany him to Jotunheim against Odin’s orders to demand how they were able to get in the palace. A battle ensues and Odin comes to rescue.

Odin is disappointed in Thor that he is unworthy of having the powers of Thor and banishes him to Earth. There Thor is found in the middle of New Mexico desert by astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård). They want to know where did he comes from. The hammer, Mjolnir is found miles away like Excalibur. Agents from S.H.I.E.L.D., headed by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) want to find out as well about the circumstances of Thor coming to Earth.

I was expected to be blown away by this movie, but I wasn’t. The movie seemed liked a Nordic soap opera with banishments, finding babies that are not their own, an old man falling into a “Odinsleep”, betrayal and it everything in between. The sequences in Asgard where very over the top, melodramatic and yawn inducing. The only thing that saved this movie was Kat Dennings as Darcy. I would never think that this girl would make me love her for delivering one liners.

Judgment: This makes me worry about the Avengers movie. If Captain America sucks, then you know all of them together is gonna suck times a million.

Rating: 4.5/10

Monsieur Ibrahim (2004)

A man’s heart is like a caged bird. When you dance, your heart sings… and then rises to heaven.

— Monsieur Ibrahim

After the utter disappointment of Doctor Zhivago, I wanted to watch one of Omar Sharif’s recent flicks. I picked up Monsieur Ibrahim thinking that it couldn’t get any worse that the three-hour monstrosity that I just saw. I knew that it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. I was surprised that I enjoyed the movie, very much.

Living in poor neighborhood in Paris, a young Jewish boy named Moses (Pierre Boulanger) is trying to find his way in the world. He thinks that it is chasing the local prostitutes would make him a man when he turned sixteen. He is living with his father (Gilbert Melki) that is very hard on him. The father compares Momo as he is nicknamed to his older brother, like he is not good enough of a child. The mother is noticeably absent in his life.

Momo buys the daily groceries to cook for the two them across the street at the conveience store of Monsieur Ibrahim Deneji (Omar Sharif). Sometimes he does shoplift a couple of items because they have that much money to spend on food. Momo thinks that Monsieur thinks that he is slick about his pilfering, but Monsieur Ibrahim is a wise man who knows everything.

Monsieur Ibrahim and Momo begin to have a close friendship. Momo becomes a surrogate son to him when Momo’s father abandons him and he has to fend for himself. Their lives are forever changed as they grow a common bond with each other. Momo teaches Ibrahim how to be young again and Ibrahim teaches Momo about life and the meaning of it.

This movie is very imitate in its storytelling that I wanted to get to know the characters more. I wanted to have a Ibrahim in my life to teach me the ways of the world and how to go about it.

Judgment: This movie will make have a deep appreciation for the older people in your lives.

Rating: 8/10

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

You lay life on a table and cut out all the tumors of injustice. Marvelous.

— Zhivago

The winner of five Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, Doctor Zhivago is another movie that I have never seen before. Besides, the lead male character in Must Love Dogs watched this movie every time that he is depressed. I wanted to see what the fuss with about. Let me tell you, it’s not that good.

Based on the book by Boris Pasternak, the setting is the Bolshevik Revolution when a poet Yuri (Omar Sharif) is studying to be a doctor practicing general medicine. There is a young idealistic man, Pascha (Tom Courtenay) is handing out leaflets about the upcoming revelation when he is almost arrested, but his 17-year-old fiancé, Lara (Julie Christie) intervenes. She wants to stop with his radical ways before they get married. There is a complication with the relationship. Lara has an affair with the manipulative Komarovsky (Rod Steiger).

One night, a peaceful demonstration erupts into a massacre outside of high society party that Lara and Yuri attends.Yuri watches from the balcony. He quickly rushes to the injured people to aid them, but he is urged to stay out of the conflict. Pascha is injured in the fight and has to leave the city to survive. He wants to take a job teaching.

When Lara’s mother takes ill, Lara and Yuri finally meet, but Yuri’s learns of Lara’s relationship with Komarovsky. After Victor Komarovsky wrongs Lara, she seeks revenge on him. World War I separate all the characters until Yuri and Lara meet up when he is doctor on the front line and her a volunteer nurse. They have a bond with each other even thought they are both married Lara to Pascha and Yuri to Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin).

From the first frame of this movie, I knew that I was going to hate this movie. These characters are awful. Why should I feel sympathy for any of them? Then, I was confused by Russians speaking with British accents sometimes speaking in French. What? The characters keep referring to each other by at least three different names. Besides, the movie is over three hours long. Mind you, there are three hour movies that I loved like Seven Samurai or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but come on. It was like torture watching. I hated this movie with a passion. I didn’t care about what happened to them whether they died or lived. Who cares?

Judgment: It was complete waste of time. Drivel.

Rating: 1.5/10

Apocolypse Now (1979)

What do you call it when the assassins accuse the assassin? A lie. A lie and we have to be merciful.

— Colonel Kurtz

I have no idea what is my problem. There are so many classic movies that I have never seen. Francis Ford Coppola’s epic movie, the #36 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Apocolypse Now is one of many. I knew very little about this movie when I saw it. It was a good thing, because would not have enjoyed it more than I did. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won two for Best Sound and Cinematography.

A disillusioned Army Captain Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) is tired of waiting around to find action in and around Saigon. he is finally recruited by Con-Sec Intelligence for a top-secret mission in Nha Trang. Willard meets with Colonel Lucas (Harrison Ford) and General Corman (G.D. Spradlin) to talk about the mission.

There is a decorated Green Beret named Col. Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) that has played renegade with his own missions with the consent of the US government. At first, Kurtz was praised for his efforts, but soon his leadership skills are questioned when he goes rogue. The men listen to secret tapes of Kurtz talking about the possibility that he is insane and that his actions are monstrous.

They let Willard know that Kurtz has crossed into Cambodia with his Montaguard army to take over a tribe there. There is a warrant out for Kurtz’s arrest for the murder of four Vietnamese Intelligence agents that he thinks were working as double agents. His ultimate mission to follow the Kurtz’s path to Cambodia, infiltrate his team and eliminate him.

To accomplish his mission, Willard is take on a Navy patrol boat down the river.  There is the surfer, Lance B. Johnson (Sam Bottoms), Jay “Chef” Hicks (Frederic Forrest) and 17-year-old, Tyrone “Clean” Miller (Laurence Fishburne) make this ragtag group that Willard has to deal with. There is the captain of the boat, Chief Phillips (Albert Hall) that knows that Willard is not being escorted down the river just for R&R. He knows something big is about to happen.

The movie was an example of how war cam fuck you up mentally, physically, and emotionally. Sometimes when you are in a life and death situation for so long that your moral core erodes away and you don’t know the difference between right and wrong. The actions of some of the characters are awful and despicable, but their conscience is not there.

The movie is dirty and beautiful at the same time. Who knew that Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” could fit perfectly with bombing of a Vietcong village?

Judgment: This movie shook me to the core.

Rating: 9.5/10

Eat Pray Love (2010)

Maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic. It’s just the world that is and the only real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.

— Elizabeth Gilbert

I haven’t heard glowing remarks for Ryan Murphy latest directorial effort, Eat Pray Love, based on the best-selling novel. I was in the mood to see fluffy romantic comedy, because I was having a crappy day. Well, the movie did not put me in a better mood.

Julia Roberts plays a travel writer named Elizabeth Gilbert. She travels to the most gorgeous places in the world, but she doesn’t have the best life. Her husband, Stephen (Billy Crudup) is very unsure about what he wants to do with his life. It causes conflict with the two, because Elizabeth wants to have kids, but she sees that will never be the case. At a party, Stephen holds Delia’s(Viola Davis) baby like hold a big bag of poop.

Liz have an epiphany when she is reminded of the words from a wise man from one of the places she visited, Bali, Ketut (Hadi Subiyanto) that she will have a major change and that she will come back to find herself. Liz decides to leave her husband, but she winds up in the arms of a vegetarian actor, David (James Franco). Their relationship is on the fast track, but Liz reminds herself that she has either been with a guy or breaking up with a guy.

She wants to take a vacation for a year to find herself and find inner peace. Her loved ones think that she is a fool for doing such a thing. She wants to visit Italy to find comfort with herself, India to reconcile her mind and body and finally Bali to fulfill Ketut’s prediction for her.

I thought that the movie was going to be like Under the Tuscan Sun where a woman is in a crossroads in her life and she is trying to find herself. I get that what was Ryan Murphy’s intention, but it did not translate well on-screen to me. I saw glimmers of it here and there, but not that much to keep me interested in the story.

There is something about Julia Roberts that bothers me. I don’t know if it’s the way her face looks, those three veins protruding out of her forehand that freaks me out.

You have a solid cast with Richard Jenkins as Richard, a man from Texas trying to have a solace in an ashram or Javier Bardem as a businessman who is trying to woo Liz. The story was rushed is some ways and dragged on in others. I kept thinking throughout the movie, when will it be over? It was over two hours long. It felt like five.

Judgment: There was a choice of watching the theatrical or the director’s cut, I thought why bother with the director’s cut.

Rating: 4.5/10

The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

The four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. Of these, I call your attention to two: air and fire. Though it is your privilege to live in the air, you will die by fire.

— Major Sherman Joy

The Tuskegee Airmen was a made for television movie for HBO back in 1995. I never heard of the movie back then, but the film was nominated for many Emmy awards. I wanted to learn more about the historic 332nd fighter squadron when I traveled through Tuskegee, Alabama on the Greyhound.

In 1942, a young pilot trainee, Hannibal “Iowa” Lee Jr. (Laurence Fishburne) has been drafted into a special government program to let Negroes fly Army fighter planes for the US. He meets others on the train to Tuskegee, Alabama like the cocky Billy “Train” Roberts (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and a licensed pilot Walter Peoples III (Allen Payne).

Upon arriving at the base, they are greeted by their commanding officer, Colonel Noel Rogers (Daniel Hugh Kelly), Major Sherman Joy (Christopher McDonald) and their liaison officer (Courtney B. Vance).

They are in for a rude awakening when Major Joy thinks that Negroes are not capable enough to fly a fighter jet. He wants to make them fail by any means necessary. It seems to be what is going on as 1/3 of the cadets were gone when they were halfway through the training. One particular cadet’s death rattles the spirits of Leroy Cappy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner).

Not to be deterred from the ultimate goal of graduating, the cadets exceed all expectations to be the the very first Negro pilots to serve in World War II. Their time to celebrate may be short-lived as Senator Conyers (John Lithgow) wants tp dismantle the program, because of unfounded evidence to their ability ti fly the planes.

I am glad that I watched this movie. I learned a part of history that is not taught in schools. We hear the name “Tuskegee Airmen”, but we never get the chance to see what they have done, what they accomplish. I thought the performances were stupendous across the board. I have to give a special mention to Laurence Fishburne who was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy and Andre Braugher who was nominated for his convincing role of Benjamin O. Davis in the Supporting Actor Category.

Judgment: It takes you on the journey of these men without boring you with facts and figures.

Rating: 8/10

Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)

We all have baggage.

— Ramona Flowers

Film nerds everywhere were almost salivating over the release of three-time Omie Award winning, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I was one of those people, but I didn’t have the dollars to watch the film at the time. No, wait, that was when I saw The Town instead of this, right. Big mistake that was. I was bummed that I didn’t get the chance to see it until now.

The movie starts with the classic Atari 8-bit making over the opening credits. You know that it’s going to off-kilter from there. The titular Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22-year-old nerd from Toronto that between jobs and is dating a high schooler named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). Scott is the bassist in a band named Sex Bob-omb with lead guitarist, Stephen (Mark Webber), his morose ex-gf drummer, Kim (Alison Pill) with Young Neil (Johnny Simmons) hanging around them.

Hearing the band play obviously bad music, Knives is convinced that they are awesome and should go into Battle of the Bands to get a record contract from G-Man aka Gideon (Jason Schwartzman).

One day, Scott meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) at a library. He falls hard for her and wants to know everything about her when they meet again at a party. He convinces her to go out on a date with her. What Scott doesn’t realize is that in order to date her, he has to get past her seven evil exes.

The movie is a Nintendo style video game come to life with the pop up points, life points, the way the exes explode when they are defeated. There is one thing that I didn’t enjoy was Michael Cera’s obvious stunt double that had a Raggedy Andy mop top on his head. That threw me for a loop.

It was nice to see something different in a quirky romantic comedy. I think that this movie is too cutting edge for me. Everybody seems to love the film. I like it. It’s probably going to be one of those that I have to watch again to fully appreciate it. It might happen with The Big Lebowski. Who knows?

Judgment: If you like to see a guy with the built of a Holocaust victim beating the crap out some people, this is your flick.

Rating: 7.5/10

Into the Wild (2007)

I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.

— Christopher McCandless

I was always wanted to see the #145 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Into the Wild where people in the movie blogger community was saying that this movie got shafted at the Oscars when it was only nominated in two categories for Best Editing and Best Supporting Actor for Hal Holbrook. People were showering this movie with endless amounts of praise. When I saw the movie was on the shelf at my local library, I jumped at the chance to rent it. After watching the movie, I was thinking to myself what is the big deal.

Bad boy actor, Sean Penn wrote the screenplay and directed the true life story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch) based on the book by Jon Krakauer. McCandless came from a privileged life in the early 90s. He graduated from Emory University, but he feels that his parents, Billie and Walt (Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt) are living in a superficial world of wealth and affluence. Chris wanted to live in a world where money doesn’t matter.

He decides to sell his possessions, cut up his credit cards, cash out his life saving and abandon his car to hitchhike across the country to find his authentic self. He doesn’t tell his parents or his younger sister, Carine (Jena Malone) about his whereabouts.

The audience gets to see Chris having chance encounters with a hippie couple, Rainey and Jan (Brian H. Dierker, Catherine Keener) in Arizona, working for a farmer, Wayne (Vince Vaughn) in Iowa, meeting  a  girly that crushes on him, Tracy (Kristin Stewart) and a broken war vet, Ron Franz (Holbrook).

I understand that this movie was supposed to talk about living an authentic life, finding yourself in the world and all that. The whole spiel about quoting Thoreau, having the holier-than-thou attitude about other people left a bad taste in my mouth. It is a sad story. If I don’t care about the lead character, why should I care about this movie?

Judgment: The movie was gorgeous to look at, but it felt empty to me.

Rating: 6/10

127 Hours (2010)

You know, I’ve been thinking. Everything is… just comes together. It’s me. I chose this. I chose all this. This rock… this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It’s entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It’s been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I’ve been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I’ve taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.

Aron Ralston

After I was puzzled by the massive success of Danny Boyle’s last directorial effort, Slumbog Shit-in-there, I wanted to see if he could redeem himself with the 219th Film of All-Time on IMDb, 127 Hours. It recently received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. I was happy that the movie expanded this weekend that I could finally watch it. It is a fantastic film.

Best Actor nominee James Franco plays Aron Ralston who penned the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” after his ordeal. The setting takes place  in April 2003 where Aron is hiking in Moab, Utah where he slips trying to climb Blue John Canyon where he gets his right forearm crush beneath a boulder. As the title suggests, Aron is stuck in the canyon for almost a week with little food and water.

Aron tries in vain to remove the rock from sheer brute strength. Survival mode kicks in where Aron tries to chip away at the rock with a cheap pocketknife that eventually dulls it. As the hours drag on, Aron has to deal with the brutal elements of extreme hot and cold, malnutrition, dehydration and having the sense of claustrophobia. Feeling a sense of his impending doom, Aron uses his video recorder to document his harrowing journey to break free.

Slowly, his mind beings to drift away to his parents played by Treat Williams and Kate Burton, not being in his sister, Sonja’s wedding (Lizzy Caplan), recalling his fling with Rana (Clémence Poésy) and having a chance meeting with lost hikers, Kristi (Kate Mara) and Megan (Amber Tamblyn). Soon, Aron has to make a choice between killing a part of himself or killing his whole self.

I have never been so physically moved with a movie that would make me weak in the knees. That’s what this film has made me feel afterwards. It’s no surprise that there is an arm-cutting sense in this movie. I thought that it would more gruesome than it actually was. It was a brief bit of horror on-screen. The film actually made me want to throw up. That has never happened with a gory horror movie. That has to say something about Danny Boyle’s way of directing. His fernetic pace actually work here where Aron is slipping into a claustrophobic madness.

Judgment:  My faith is restored for Danny Boyle. Case closed.

Rating:  *****

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