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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Love Happens

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Goolphipp Award: 2.1 (See the Cheap Matinee)


So we got free movie tickets to this movie. I hadn’t seen many previews for this movie, or really heard anything so I thought this movie was a romantic comedy, and it is in some respects. It actually leans more on the romantic drama side. So, there I was sitting in the theater, waiting for the comedy part – I was a bit frustrated the first 30 minutes of the film. After the frustration, I just accepted that this movie was a drama, and treated it accordingly.

This movie had its good parts, the quirk that I love – from the play on words with Jennifer Aniston’s sesquipedalian (a person who uses large words) character. I also enjoyed the scene in which Burke played by Aaron Eckhart, steals a parrot (actually it’s a cockatoo, but evidently according to my Google search, a cockatoo is a type of parrot).

Goolsby overall: 1.75
Meh, I just wasn’t feeling this movie. The cockatoo was the highlight of the movie for me. I think that says it all.

I’m a fan of Aaron Eckhart. He won me over in Erin Brockovich, and I’ve been a fan since. It was a happy coincidence that we got free tickets to this movie.

Like Goolsby, I was a little taken aback by this movie. I was expecting more of a romantic comedy. It is definitely a drama - a hard-to-watch drama. It’s tough to watch Burke (Eckhart) put on a smiling face and tell people how to deal with death, when he himself can’t deal with the circumstances of his wife’s death.

I am not a fan of Jennifer Aniston. But in this case, she was right for the part. She was the comic relief and the quirk. And wouldn’t you know, her character’s name was Eloise. I think I could count on one hard the number of times a character named Eloise is on film – I thought they just lived in hotels.

I really liked Martin Sheen as the father-in-law. It was believable. It was heartbreaking. Mr. Sheen can believably shout and cry. It’s impressive. I do believe he had a chin wobble…and I do believe I blinked back a couple tears in response. You can’t deny the power of a chin wobble.

While this movie was a good freebie, it wasn’t extraordinary, either. The cockatoo and Sheen’s performance were the most memorable.

And is it just me…but I’m still wondering why this movie is called Love Happens. Has anyone else figured that out?

Phipps overall: 2.5
It’s ok and things turn out alright. The cockatoo finds his way home.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All About Steve

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Goolphipp Award: 2 (See the Cheap Matinee)

All About Steve from the get-go reminded me of some other movie. Her red boots reminded me of Happy Go Lucky too much – crayon purple might have been a better choice. It was one of those movies where you had to grow to love the main character, and just when you wanted it all to work out – it simply doesn’t. At the end, you are left with your mouth hanging open in disbelief. It’s too bad, because you want this neurotically inclined, crossword-loving, smart girl to get the dude in the end. That being said, there were a lot of laughs along the way. I enjoyed the journey across the country with Mary. I did like the supporting cast. They were fun, and well cast. The details in this movie were stellar. Like I said, I would have loved this movie if Steve would have said, “When’s our second date?” at the end, but he didn’t. What’s a romance without a happy ever after? We need the kiss at the end. So, like Mary, we have to continue to search for a movie as normal as us.

Phipps overall: 2
Laughs kept it from being a total tanker.


I agree with everything Phipps said. This movie marketed itself as a romantic comedy, not some coming of age movie. Therefore, I had expectations that were not met. Plain and simple. As you can tell from Phipps, the girl doesn't get the boy. The end was just sort of flat, not worthy of the character they build throughout the movie.

Want to hear the good things? We've got apple people carvings, a baby born with three legs, the classic scene of Mary falling down a mine hole, tornadoes, random outfits that don't match, and a crossword - all about Steve. All in all, that's not much. If I can't recall details that keep me laughing after the movie is said and done, it missed. I would say it had so much potential, but I would be lying. It had potential to be slightly more than average, but fell short because of the unsatisfying ending.

Goolsby overall: 2
Try again.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009


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Goolphipp Award: 2.25 (See the Cheap Matinee)

This is the lame duck of the summer, which is possibly why studio execs waited until after all the blockbusters had left town. It was just a big waste of time. It was this movie that attempted to appeal to guys without alienating the chicks – which accounted for the “unnecessary shots.” You can’t very well strip down naked in -55 degrees.

There was too much running around without much explanation. Even toward the end, what explanation was offered as the root of the plot was simply glossed over and wasn’t satisfying. I didn’t buy it.

I didn’t buy Kate Beckinsale as a US Marshall in Antarctica. And it was obvious that most of the people involved in this movie were about as aware of the realities of the frozen continent as a third grade class. You really shouldn’t walk around with your face exposed in the extreme cold – everyone in Russia knows this. It just wasn’t a smart movie.

Phipps overall: 2
I wouldn’t even rent it, unless you are desperate for action.

What a let down. When you’ve got both of us sighing a big “Lame,” at the end of the movie, you know it failed. This looked like a promising action thriller. Lies. It was far too obvious. No suspense, save for the cheap shots, at all. It lacked everything.

From unnecessary shots involving Kate Beckinsale in a shower, to cliché and played-out plot, this movie just disappoints. There is really not that much to say about it. The acting was average. The CG was average. The plot was average. The whole lot, just average. The only place this movie succeeded in was the gore, not really gore, but close enough. Since the movie is set in Antarctica, we’ve got freezing temperatures. Throw in some murders, and you’ve got cold blood. The way they handled the blood was done really well. Yay for makeup artists, or who ever created those dead bodies, very convincing.

Goolsby overall: 2.5
There’s not much to say. Average.

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Friday, September 4, 2009


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Goolphipp Award: 4 (No Peanuts Chucked)

As a fan of Gerard Butler, I went into this movie blind. I thought I knew the basics, but boy was I wrong. This movie sort of threw me off balance. It paints a world where something popular like Sims evolves into a real life version – where human players control human avatars. The human avatars are not forced into their roles, but actually paid, basically creating a new caste system. Gerard Butler’s character Kable, is a prisoner who participates in a game as an avatar. If he survives, he wins his freedom.

I think the neatest part of this movie is the future society and technology it creates. The world was created down to the details with vivid, vivid detail. Yes, it was a shocking alternate universe, but a very interesting one. I enjoyed the plot line. This movie was very confrontational, in the sense that most of the movie puts the viewer in this awkward place. We saw the bad and very bad of this new society. I appreciated the originality of the movie, but felt out of my element during specific scenes involving sex and drugs.

I think the actors’ delivery was great. Everyone did a good job, nothing corny or over played. Dexter’s Michael C. Hall gave a spooky but amazing performance as Ken Castle, the creator of the new gaming universe.

I guess I’m on the fence at where this movie stands. I was fascinated and disturbed by the future society. There haven’t really been that many main stream satirical movies lately, but this one sure leaves me scratching my head.

Goolsby overall: 4
Gamer is in a category of its own. It pushes the boundaries, and as much as I want to give it a lower score, it really did a good job at delivering what it set out to do. Add it to your Netflix queue when it comes out, but be prepared.

While I agree with Goolsby, I thought they could have toned the sex and drugs aspect down a little. I got their point early, and didn’t really need reinforcement every five minutes. For this reason, this movie’s audience must be 18+. If you are on the conservative side, I’m not sure this is the movie for you.

But I honestly couldn’t help but be fascinated with the plot. I’ve heard complaints that there was no plot, but I thought it was complicated and real albeit reactionary. Our man Kable (AKA Gerard Butler) is reacting the entire movie – as are most of the secondary characters – to the actions of Ken Castle and the virtual (or not so virtual) society of gaming. I love all the ethical questions Gamer brought out. It totally unglued me, because the fact is, this kind of technology doesn’t require a ton of stretch – we could see it one day.

The action was solid. Cinematography and filters were definitely different and contributed to how the audience was stuck in, as Goolsby called it, an “awkward place.” It felt like we were participants by simply observing the story. I was disgusted when confronted with the worst aspects of human nature, which Gamer does not hide or apologize for.

Gamer simply shocks you out of your skin. It makes you think. It takes the world we are building via Facebook, Second Life, and Wii and shows us where it could go if we aren’t careful. As much as I hated watching this movie, I can’t deny that it was sort of brilliant.

Phipps overall: 4
Simply shocking…in that strange makes-you-think way.

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