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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eat Pray Love

Photo courtesy of filmofilia.com
Goolphipp Award: 3.8 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Goolsby:
I have not read the book. I was actually a little afraid to see this movie because I thought it would make my Gypsy-foot ache. I've got a horrible traveling bug. I had a great time at this movie. We have a friend who just got back from Italy, and it was great to imagine her there in the movie.

This movie is about one woman's search to find herself. Liz Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts, travels to 3 destinations in the course of one year. I'm not sure how long she stays in each place, but I would think it is about 4 months in each place. I am curious to know how much a trip like that would cost. We get to see bits of Italy, India, and Bali. Each leg of her trip teaches her something new. She learns how to eat, pray, and love. More importantly she learns the importance of each of those aspects in her life.

The performances were great. Javier Bardem plays Felipe, a divorcee love interest that we get to meet in Bali. The chemistry between Roberts and Bardem was really great. James Franco plays the rebound boyfriend. Franco is such a strange guy, he always brings an element of surprise.

There is this moment in the film when Liz is in the process of finalizing her divorce. Her husband, played by Billy Crudup, represents himself and they have a pretty heated argument. I really found this moment gut wrenching. So props to the actors in that scene. This movie also had great funny moments. Goolphipp was by far the loudest people in the theater laughing. There is a minor character named Luca Spaghetti, played by Giuseppe Gandini. I absolutely loved this guy, for no real apparent reason. Haha.

Goolsby overall: 3.75
A great movie, but missed that extra umph.

Phipps:
Lemme just start by owning a meltdown I had after I saw this movie. I blame Bali - the "love" portion of Liz's year abroad - and Javier Bardem's character, Felipe (and Bardem for portraying him). Kid is fascinating, and this grown woman is crushing on him. Anyway, as far as other notable performances, I thought Richard Jenkins, who played "Richard from Texas," delivered something special. He's had a good year of performances between this movie and Dear John. I wasn't blown away with Julia Roberts, but she did the job. In fact, I think I liked the supporting cast best - full of fun moments.

This movie invites you to "meditate" about your life. Decide what's important. I appreciated it. One of the best moments was the "alternate" birthday present idea. Liz decided that all her friends should donate the money they would have spent on her birthday to a good cause. I liked that. I couldn't help but think, what would the world be like if we all functioned like that?

Aside from those thinking moments, like Goolsby, I couldn't help but wonder how the woman funded a year abroad. From what was portrayed in the movie, it appeared that she didn't budget or worry about money the entire time. I'd like to get my hands on the financial plan and maybe copy it someday... and substitute the places. Because I know eating in Italy is expensive.

You know, it occurs to me now that all the technical stuff was top-notch. Everything was cohesive and seamless. Props to the people behind the scenes.

Overall, this movie is a solid choice for a ladies night. I'm actually not sure what guys would think of it. The whole movie might be a little too sappy for them. Let us know, guys, if you agree/disagree. I think this movie deserves a watch. You'll be entertained.

Phipps overall: 4
Solid, Darling.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Last Airbender

Picture courtesy of moviedatalist.comGoolphipp Award: 2.6 (Wait for DVD)

Goolsby:
Once again, we know nothing about the roots of this movie. This movie is based off the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. For someone who knew nothing of the cartoon, I was pleased with this movie, but not impressed. I thought the CG was lacking in most cases. The actual "bending" of the elements was done well, but everything else got forgotten. The acting, sub-par. I was excited to see Dev Patel because I have been a fan of his since his start on the BBC series Skins. Patel got to play the jaded Prince Zuko, and I thought it was a good practice role for him. He got to try out something new. I wanted more out of the actors, but accepted everyone about half way through the film. I loved the magical world created. My favorite things in the movie were the animals. The above pictured Appa, a Sky Bison, is one of the coolest creatures I've seen. It is up there with Falkor from The Never Ending Story and Ludo from The Labyrinth. I also loved this flying lemur thing.

Goolsby overall: 2.5
A movie with potential, but didn't quite make it. I didn't think it was horrible, just not fantastic.

Phipps:
I hate when people make a movie with the intention of making at least 2 more, but then the movie doesn't do well in the box office, and you never get to see the rest (ie, Eragon and Airbender). The reviews from the normal people were really mixed on this one, so Goolsby and I put off seeing it. People who were fans of the original show either hated it or walked out. People that knew nothing thought it was decent. I fall into the latter category. The plot line was interesting. Mostly due to the fact that the movie takes us into a different world, which is always fun. Goolsby is right, though, the CGI is sub par outside of the element bending. I could read into the spiritual symbolism throughout the movie, but I don't necessarily want to get my back up about it. Overall, I thought it was an interesting movie...which...given my love of fantasy, I can foresee myself pulling this movie out of a $5 dollar bin and buying it in the future. I would say this is a good Netflix or redbox rental: action-packed, clean on the language end, your kids will love it, and you won't be bored.

Phipps overall: 2.75
A few hours of entertainment via Netflix or redbox.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Picture courtesy of g4tv.com

Goolphipp Award: 4.1 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Goolsby:
I know nothing of the comic books. What I do know is that this movie rocks. I loved it all. I had heard that this movie would embody and fully embrace the comic book roots, but I was blown away at the awesomeness of this film. It truly is a comic book brought to life (or so it felt that way to me). I'm so curious to know if someone who has read the comic books liked the film...

So Scott Pilgrim, played by Michael Cera, must defeat 7 deadly exes in order to be with the changing-hair-colors-Ramona. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Ramona, and I thought she did a decent job acting mysterious and independent. I would really like to see Michael Cera in a different role, that boy needs to stretch his wings and try something out of the glamorized-geek role.

There is a character called Knives. I loved her. Ellen Wong, I commend you on your stellar performance as the obsessive crazed teenager in love. Your mad fighting skills, very impressive. Haha. Anyway... so the show stopper? Mister Kieran Culkin plays Scott's gay roommate. I fell in love with this man. I've seen Kieran in other things, and he has a presence that always swirls around and becomes this huge driving force.

The best part about this movie was the details. For instance, when the exes are defeated they burst into coins - yes, just like in a video game. Towards the end of the movie, the burst of coins actually make outlines of people on the ground like a crime scene. I am also very happy that this movie was not 3-D. I can see how it might be an obvious fit, but it would have just been too much.

Goolsby overall: 4.25
Geek to the max. Oh, make sure to watch for the Vegan Police.

Phipps:
This movie was great. I loved almost every single moment...but I hate - and I do mean hate - Michael Cera. I'm sick of him in this lameski dork sort of role. I would have liked to see someone else. And that basically concludes my rant, as well as the listing of things wrong with this movie. What I loved about this movie was the playfulness. It embraced the video game framework and graphic novel roots. In an age where nobody wants comic-booky style in a film - because it so often goes really bad - this movie pulls it off with flying colors. I liked the rest of the cast. Kieran Culkin stole every scene he was in. The seven exes are all equally well-cast and interesting. Scott's two exes are also well-cast. The character of Knives is essential to the plot, and is expertly acted by Ellen Wong. The whole crazy teenage deal is hard to nail. Everyone was on the top of their game (with the exception of Cera, of course). While I also know nothing about the original storyline, but I found the movie plotline to be interesting and fun. I have nothing to complain about. This movie was great about the details to create the entire package of fun. For example, in one scene when Scott fights off minions of an evil ex, after he kills them, they become body-shaped piles of coins (again, the cohesive gaming theme). I expected this movie to be put in the 15+ category, but it was unexpectedly clean. I think they blipped out most curse words (which was cool). This could almost be a family movie. It's a little dark for the kiddos. I'd advise that parents should watch this movie first if your kids are 13 and under. For most mainstream movie watchers - this is a fun movie, and would make a great date movie. Video game themes, true love, fights to the death, second chances, spunky characters: all the makings of a good movie.

Phipps overall: 4
One whole point off for casting Michael Cera. (And no, I won't get over it.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ramona and Beezus

Photo courtesy of justaskmarlene.com
Goolphipp Award: 4.25 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Phipps:
I loved the books growing up, but aside from remembering characters...I couldn't remember a single plotline to save my life. I was so excited to see this movie, though. Ramona is a tough one to do justice! However, this movie captured the spirit of the books. Like I said, I can't say if the plot deviated from the books, but the movie's plot was satisfying. I loved that they pulled in the illustrations from the books. I think they were faithful to the books in the little things too, i.e., making sure Picky Picky (or Icky Sticky as Mr. Quimby would say) was a member of the family. As far as casting, I'm not a particular fan of Selena Gomez, but I think she did a great job bringing Beezus to life. John Corbett was a little hurdle in the beginning, and I think it just getting used to the particular style of the screenplay, because by the end of the movie, I wasn't bothered at all. Miss Joey King, the little gal that plays Ramona, did an amazing job. I can't think of anyone better for the title role. She showed a range of emotion and depth of performance that was unusual for her age. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Duhamel (teaming up for the second time) had fun chemistry - I personally loved their characters' storyline. I loved the cast so much, it's hard to stop talking about them! As a whole, I had so much fun at this movie. As an adult, I wasn't bored...this movie will engage practically any age group (I'm not sure about men, though!). It's a good bet for family movie night...spunky, funny, and endearing.

Phipps overall: 4.5
The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Goolsby:
I sort of remember reading these books. When the movie paid homage to the books with the doodles of Ramona, my memory was jogged. I wasn't as excited as Phipps going into this, but I did enjoy myself. It was a good film. I loved seeing John Corbett as the father. I think he did a great job. Kudos to him for picking age appropriate roles. I also think this movie touches on a very real subject - families with parents who have been laid off. I think the family dynamics in this movie were terrific. It stands to remind the grown ups who go see it that everything they do affects the little ones in the house. Can I also say that I was completely jealous of their house. It's in Portland... the current metropolitan area that owns my heart. That yellow house and picket fence... sigh. I loved how this movie depicted the "terrifical" world of Ramona. The CG stuff was just so, it was perfect.

Goolsby overall: 4
A good film for the whole family.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dinner for Schmucks

Picture courtesy of blogs.creativeloafing.com

Goolphipp Award: 3.4 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Goolsby:
At my request, this was my birthday movie. Goolphipp and a group of friends all went together, and I was by far that most excited and entertained person in the theater. I was really excited to see Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and Zach Galifianakis all on the same screen. Turns out, when all was said and done, my friends were not too stoked about the movie afterwards. This movie is quirk, to the max. I am quirk, to the max. Match made in heaven? Pretty much.

This movie is all about the dinner, but it takes a while to get there of course. I was prepared for this, and although it felt slow on getting to the dinner, I was okay with the necessary plot building that had to take place.

Carell plays Barry, a Mouseterpiece maker, he is a schmuck, and I will not deny that I did feel sad for him. Goodness, the character is such a pathetic case it almost hurts. Rudd plays Tim, the up and coming business man who befriends Barry. By the end of the movie you get to see who the real schmucks are.

Some scenes to watch for - Barry's fighting technique is to "play-dead" and of course it works every time! I was by far the loudest person laughing in the theater. All the scenes with Jermaine Clement (from Flight of the Concords), who plays Kieran the animalistic-artist, are hilarious. When Kieran and Barry share a bench and talk about life, all the while with Kieran sporting ram horns, it is pure classic genius. I loved it.
This movie had heart, and I knew that it would. In life, you've got all types of creatures, good, bad, mean, strange, and sometimes fantastic. This movie shows all walks of life. And yes, I most likely will eventually own this movie. This movie may not stick with you like some Thanksgiving feast meal, but you can't deny that food is food. The laughs flow free during this movie, and that can't be overlooked.

Just so you know, this film is based on a french film by Francis Verber called Le diner de cons (The Dinner Game). I have not seen this film, but according to others, the actual dinner is never shown in the film.

Goolsby overall: 4
That is a real live vulture featured in the dinner scenes. Real. As in, could have eaten out someone's eyes. Talk about filming dangers.

Phipps:
I am not as enthusiastic about this film like Goolsby. I was curious to see Carell, Rudd, and Galifianakis on screen. And it was pretty funny. However, the character Kieran (played by Jermain Clement) stole the show. The play on eccentric, sex god artist was amazing. When I think of all the memorable moments in this movie, he is in at least 80% of them: dressed up like a fawn, wearing horns, or being completely arrogant. There were a bunch of solid jokes along the way - the play dead, mouseterpieces, Kieran - but the way to dinner just dragged out. I lost patience with it a couple of times. When we finally got to the dinner, I laughed for the last fifteen minutes. As a whole, I think this is a Netflix movie. Something to watch on a lazy Friday night. It was just okay on all the levels - except perhaps the mouse taxidermy, which was oddly cool. For the record, they did not use the word "schmuck" once. What the heck. That's the bloody title, and you didn't use it once. "Idiot" just doesn't have the same punch as "schmuck."

Phipps overall: 2.75
Meh...a few funny moments.

Despicable Me

Picture courtesy of jabcatmovies.com
Goolphipp Award: 2.8 (Wait for DVD)

Goolsby:
I was really excited for this movie, and granted, I did laugh excessively, looking back I want more. Mister Steve Carell has been very busy lately. I don't think parts of this movie were rushed, but it just didn't have that umph that I was looking for. Plot - bad turns out to be good. Nothing really shocked me. I got what I was expecting, but nothing above and beyond. One thing to note is that Jason Segel (well known for his role as Marshall on How I Met Your Mother) is an amazing voice for animation! I can't wait to see him give his voice in another animated film. I liked the yellow-blob minions, I wonder what's the difference between the ones with two eyes and the ones with one eye. We did not see this in 3-D, and it didn't really look like this movie would even warrant a 3-D option. Seems like they make anything 3-D anymore... On a random note, I loved Vector's lair with the shark swimming underneath the floor.

Goolsby overall: 3
Nuff said.

Phipps:
Despicable Me ain't a Pixar film. And it shows. There's the usual lack of pizazz present. However, it was entertaining at times. I don't need to see it again, but I did like the little minions and the theme of adoption. I loved the rocket beds on the wall...like machine-operated bunk beds. There was also attention to detail that was quite impressive. Each minion had his own name and was in some way different from the rest - different hair, one eye, etc. Steve Carell actually does a decent job as an animated voice, as does the rest of the cast - even Russell Brand. The X factor was missing. I don't know what that is...but Pixar sure does. There was a lot of physical comedy, so kids will laugh at that, but some of the dry humor was probably a little over their heads. It was a standard animated movie, but nothing to write home about.

Phipps overall: 2.75
Fun, but I'd just Netflix it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Inception

Picture courtesy of scifimafia.com

Goolphipp Award: 5 (Opening Night Excellence)

Goolsby:
You must, must, after reading this, go get in your car and see this film. This movie was a trip and a half. Everything about it was amazing and top-notch. This movie makes you think, and I so very badly want to discuss the plot with more people! Don't worry, Goolphipp won't be spilling any beans, read on without worry. Here's the concept - dreams hold people's secrets, memories, and ideas. When people enter your dreams they can steal information, plant ideas, and experience your whole world.

Let's talk acting. All performances were great. DiCaprio delivered and there is a scene at the end between him and Marion Cotillard that sort of took my breath away. The kid sure does know how to use his eyes. I was also really pleased and excited for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He is making such wise decisions with his career, and on top of it, hes getting to work with so many stellar actors. The action was... impeccable. Since this is a dream world you can bet there were some complicated special effects going on. I loved how the dream worlds were created. There is a anti-gravity sequence you might have seen in trailers, it is one of the coolest things I've seen on screen in a long time. This movie keeps details in mind, and even hold true when you see someone bleeding in anti-gravity.

Now the plot leaves me a bit confused, but I'm okay with that. Surprisingly, it wasn't as hard to follow as I thought it would be. Phipps and I were looking for some bigger switch at end, but once you get the concept, it's easy to swallow. The concept of this movie is so refreshing. We saw a late showing, and when I went to bed that night, I guess my brain hadn't had enough time to digest. I had an Inception-inspired dream! Talk about a movie that makes an impact. Point blank, awesome concept, great acting, superb special effects, add a dash of well-placed humor, and ta-da, success!

Goolsby overall: 5
You've got your keys in your hand right? Go now.

Phipps:
Inception is easily one of the best movies this year. I haven't met a person that didn't like it. I think part of the draw is our fascination with dreams as a culture. We love the idea of dreams. Inception plays with this fascination. The action scenes were just stellar. There was a fight sequence in zero gravity - and it was done well. All the camera work and use of technology came together seamlessly. You think that this movie is going to be a little sci-fi from the tralier, but in reality, it feels really normal. This dream hacking thing is just part of the plot. The most important part of the movie is the character, Cobb, which I suspect is why DiCaprio signed on for it (not to mention working with Christopher Nolan). Everything revolves around him. It's quite an accomplishment to create a movie that is so character driven, while giving the illusion of being an action movie. Props to Nolan for that. DiCaprio delivered an amazing performance. I'm not a huge Leo fan, but he was impressive in this movie. The rest of the supporting cast was great too. It was nice to see a couple familiar faces from Gotham - Michael Cane and Cillian Murphy. Ellen Page was an interesting choice. I think it was a good transition/spread-your-wings type of movie for her, and while she wasn't involved in any of the down-and-dirty action sequences, it makes a nice resume line. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I just like that kid. He's grown into a versatile actor - a result of carefully crafting his career. He's talented, and I can't wait to see what the next two years bring for him. All in all, it's a gooder.
Let me just say though...I figured this movie out...and I was about ten steps ahead of where it ended. I'm hoping for a sequel.

Phipps overall: 5
Fights in zero gravity.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Photo courtesy of screenrant.com
Phipp Award: 4.25 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Phipps:
I saw this movie opening night with my mom. There were about 5 other people in the theater. It hasn't done an amazing job in the box office. However, I do want this to be a sleeper hit, because I want a sequel. It is such a fun family movie. The special effects were on par. The overall concept of this movie is interesting, and it was executed well. I didn't even mind Nicholas Cage. This is a good transition for him into the older-guy/dad sort of roles. I love Jay Baruchel, and he does well in the underdog role. The hands-down best moment of the movie was the nod(s) to Fantasia. I love when movies embrace their origins! I'll probably end up owning this movie, because it was a stellar time. I'm sure there were dozens of geek moments that I didn't catch the first time. And yes, there is a hilarious Star Wars line. A word to the wise, stay to the very end, there's an easter egg. So, take your fam to the movies and enjoy the ride.

Phipps overall: 4.25
History and magic - how can you go wrong?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grown Ups

Picture courtesy of turntherightcorner.com
Gool Award: 3.75 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Goolsby:
I saw this one with a friend, not the Phipps. Me and my friend are both comedy lovers, and this movie pleased. We were laughing pretty much non-stop. Of course I had high expectations for this movie. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider. Throw in a random Steve Buscemi too. The humor was great, but now as try to recall this movie days later, it doesn't seem to have stuck with me. The thing that sticks out in my mind the most is the recurrent breast milk scenes. It was a little over the top. It was very different for me to see Maria Bello (who plays Kevin James wife, the breast milk producer) in this intense comedic role. I got to know her from The Jane Austen Book Club, which is a far more dramatic role. All in all this was a good film. Not a keeper for me, but a good time. And so not appropriate for young audiences. I would say high school and up at a minimum.

Goolsby overall: 3.75
All star cast, but didn't stick
.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eclipse

Photo courtesy of gossipteen.com
Goolphipp Award: 4.75 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Where we stand: Fanatics, but not the creepy kind

Goolsby: Yes, there is some imaginary line when fans become crazed fans. I don't think Goolphipp falls into the crazed section, we're just enthusiasts. I love the story, and more importantly I loved this film.

Phipps: After I saw New Moon, I wrote on this blog, "I'm super stoked about the next movie...but I'm not going to stalk the set in Canada." And that is still technically true. However, Goolsby and I did take Movie Extravaganza Tour of the Pacific Northwest, which included the real Forks, La Push, and Port Angeles. In addition to that, we visited nearly all the filming locations for Twilight. We took some pictures at each place and that was it. It was cool and fun, and just our style. So I suppose, we can now be labeled fanatics...but we most certainly did not carry around cardboard cutouts...and I still don't write or read fan fiction.

Audience: Teens and up

Goolsby: I think it has been in the theaters long enough now to safely say there will be minimal teen-screaming, or stampeding for that matter. If you're trying to avoid the teens and watch this movie in peace, and without those prolonged sighs from some drooling teens, then so see an early or late late showing. This movie brings something for everyone, so enjoy.

Phipps: 14+. There's more action in this one, and the themes are more adult. Eclipse has been labeled the "most guy friendly," and I would agree. There's less moping around and more wolves. Girls, of course, will love it if they love the books or vamps and wolves in general. I think most people will be able to find something they like. While we were waiting in line, we saw three generations of women: a grandmother, a mom, and her teenage daughter. That's one neat thing about this franchise, it allows for some common ground in the generation gap.

Storyline and drama: Classic Love Triangle

Goolsby: Tried and true the triangle always forces viewers to choose one side. And this is where we get the Team Edward and Team Jacob shirts. But hey... what about Team Quil Ateara? (Sorry, my geek is slipping out.)

Phipps: Stuck to the book plot fairly closely, aside from a few minor deviations. Each script gets a little better in capturing the spirit of the novel. General summary: Bella loves two men - a vampire and a shape shifter. And in the midst of the emotional turmoil, someone is trying to kill her. There's your hook. Angst for the women, and cloak-and-dagger for the boys.

Continuity: Hey look, they match

Goolsby: We sat through all three films for the midnight showing trilogy thing. I literally had to tell myself "pay attention" the first 20 minutes of this film because it felt so seamless. I appreciate the plot sticking to the original book plot. I was so glad that all the background history of the other Cullen family members got to be explored. Maybe I change my mind - Team Jasper Hale. (Entering full geek mode.)

Phipps: There isn't a marked difference in the cinematography. In fact, I think David Slade really tried to make a movie that fit with the other two. Crazy Goolphipp saw the trilogy opening night on the big screen, and Eclipse felt like an extension of the other two. As a whole, all the characters got to shine...and the plot was completed. There were no wasted scenes. Slade did a great job with the action sequences. I felt like this movie was almost the complete package. I say almost because they missed the sparkly vampire skin in quite a few scenes. That's part of why they are in Forks - no sun = no sparkle. I almost feel like a post-release touch up of these scenes would be beneficial...but nobody listens to me.

Delivery: Nailed it

Goolsby: Everyone is finally well seated into their characters. I think any forgiveness we gave in the first two movies has paved the way for great performances. I'm indifferent to the whole Kristen-Stewart-as-the-right-Bella conflict... I don't really care. Heck, at least she stopped that incessant blinking she sported in the first film. Billy Burke as Charlie always, always, always, steals the scenes. Perhaps I change my mind again, Team Charlie. Haha. But really, great supporting cast on this one. I loved Julia Jones as Leah Clearwater, she really nailed the pissed off look. And Boo Boo Stewart (poor kid has to live with this name) as Seth Clearwater was perfect - so eager and outgoing, loved it.

The filming was great too. I loved all of the action scenes. I wanted more. A few times they went really fast, and the vampire parts flying around were hard to catch. The sound mixing was great! Awesome. I love a good fight.


Phipps: People nailed their characters as usual. I'm still not a fan of Kristen Stewart...I'm sure there was a better Bella out there. I love Taylor Lautner. In my opinion, that kid just knows his character inside and out, which makes for the perfect Jake performance. Pattinson was allowed by the script to really show the old-fashioned, gentleman side of Edward, and that was amazing to see brought to life. The supporting cast - especially Jasper (played by Jackson Rathbone) and Charlie (played by Billy Burke) - stole some scenes. Overall, I was really satisfied.


Phipps overall: 4.75
The missed sparkle...automatic deduction.

Goolsby overall: 4.75
Phipps is right. Almost perfect.

Goolphipp award: 4.75 (Worth 11 Bucks)


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Photo courtesy of truthoncinema.com
Goolphipp Award: 3 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Goolsby:
This movie is Aladdin meets The Mummy. Brendan Frasier is getting old, and after seeing Jake Gyllenhaal's performance as Dastan in Prince of Persia, I can rest easy knowing the corny-action-hunk role has a formidable predecessor. This movie did seem a little long-winded. There wasn't a constant flow, felt like the breaks between action and plot set up were obvious and not well integrated. The corny was husky, and I loved it. In fact, I wouldn't have minded a bit more corniness. Most of the action parts, the running around and jumping off crazy things, was fairly believable. I had seen an interview before the movie came out about the sport Gyllenhaal trained in, called Parkour. Parkour is the act of using your surroundings to efficiently and with speed, get to your destination. Basically act like a spider-monkey and do crazy things. There were only a few jumps that were hard to believe, but those get swept under the rug as gimme-points. Only a few stylized hotness shots. The ones where the hot people, in this case Gyllenhaal, suddenly burst onto scene in slow motion. I liked this movie, it was what I was expecting, and it was full of a great supporting cast.

Goolsby overall: 3
Made me laugh, smile, and shake my head all at once.

Phipps:
Well, I literally could not watch the trailer for The Prince of Persia without laughing. The cheesiness didn't seem like it was going to be my style. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too over the top, and mostly stuck to the The Mummy type of cheese - which I happen to like. There was decent action. Gyllenhaal sported a Brit accent, which I must say, wasn't horrible. I imagine it helped to have natural Brits around to help. There was enough romance for girls and enough action for guys. There were enough jokes to satisfy most humors as well. I think it's a good date movie, honestly. There is something for everyone. I really liked the theme of adoption and family throughout. This movie was predictable to a certain extent - as most movies are - but it was an interesting journey. It's not the best summer movie I've seen, but if it's at the cheap theater, don't hesitate to take your family. I'm glad I saw it, but I hope there is not a sequel...not enough oomph for a second.

Phipps overall: 3
Solid, but not wonderful.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The A-Team

Picture courtesy of ramascreen.com
Goolphipp Award: 4.3 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Goolsby:
I'm a huge Liam Neeson fan, so add in some classic action and A-Team corniness and you know I'm going to be there. I had a great time at this movie. You had a pretty easy and obvious plot, but who cares about that. The action scenes were great, and not over stylized like most current action movies. You had the classic team chemistry of the original A-Team. I don't claim to know much about the original series, but I have seen a handful of episodes. I think everyone did a great job bringing to life the characters. I'm really glad to see Neeson owning the older roles. He did a great job playing Hannibal Smith. Bradley Cooper seems like the perfect fit for Faceman. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson owned the role of B.A. Baracus. Last but not least Sharlto Copley did a stellar job playing Murdock. I loved all of them! They really did a great job together, and they made me want to be part of the A-Team. This movie is chock-full of humor, and a range of humor at that. Phipps and I felt like we were the only ones laughing in the whole theater. Hilarious. The movie embraced the corny and I enjoyed.

Goolsby overall: 4.25
I'm glad this movie was done so well, it brought the A-Team to a new generation.

Phipps:
I came out of this movie thinking, "I pity the fool!" and how I wanted to bring the phrase back into fashion. I was in my car saying, "Foo." While admitting that is rather embarrassing, it does show how much I liked it. I think the cast was perfect. I heard people complaining about the lack of Mr. T in the movie, but man, our Rampage owned it. It must have been tough to step into that role, but I thought he did a good job. Neeson totally brought a sexiness to the Colonel that I didn't expect. I'm also not a fan of the TV show, I've seen maybe one episode - it was on while I was still figuring out how to walk, so you can't blame me there. However, just from the pop-culture consciousness and the one episode I've seen in my adult life...I noted that all the classic lines were present and accounted for in this movie. Everything that the A-Team was known for is here. It's entertaining. The action sequences are sharp. Bradley Cooper is a too-tanned stud. Murdock...well, he's still crazy and brilliant. This movie embraced all of it's history and rocked it like a leather jacket. In other words, these guys got the heart of the show. Action without seeing dead bodies covered in blood. The cheesiness was like a breath of fresh air. It was just fun. See it. It's one of the best movies I've seen so far this year.

Phipps overall: 4.5
I just know I'm going to own it someday. I pity the fool! (See...I can't stop...)

Robin Hood

Picture couresty of www.daemonsmovies.com
Goolphipp Award: 2.75 (Wait for DVD)

Goolsby:
I wasn't that excited to see this movie. Goolphipp had been on vacation, and we were going through movie withdrawals, so along comes Robin Hood. Point blank, I was not impressed, with anything really. I'm tired of hearing this story, and I didn't really think this new spin on it brought anything new to the table. The pairing between Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett was odd. It did not feel like they had chemistry, in spite of me wanting them to. I think the best part of this movie was the supporting cast. The three other guys that made up Robin's gang were awesome, and hilarious. Scott Grimes (from ER) played Will Scarlett; Kevin Durand (from Legion) played Little John; Alan Doyle played the musician of the lot. I think the movie as a whole had some really great parts, but at the end of it all, there was no "it" that made me cheer in excellence. Robin Hood: Men In Tights remains my favorite, followed closely by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Goolsby overall: 2.5
There was a reference to home-brewed mead though.

Phipps:
Honestly, this movie came recommended. I didn't think it was a complete waste of time. There were moments that were worth it, but overall, I think this is just the next installment to the technically-superior-remakes-yet-short-on-heart series. Make fun of Kevin Costner all you want, but his version had heart - something about it makes you want to pick up a sword and join the fight against injustice. While Russell Crowe actually sports an English accent, I felt his performance was mostly flat. The strongest moment was Robin's monologue to the war party, which reminded me of Gladiator. I also felt that Cate Blanchett as Marian was miscast. While the Marian in this version was a bit more tough than all the other previous Marians, there wasn't enough femininity to soften the edges. I did, however, really love Max Von Sydow's performance as Sir Walter Loxley. I think it's because this aspect of Robin Hood was new - one of the new angles...and surprise! It was the most fun. Another historical angle I liked was the tie-in of the Magna Carta - which I totally remembered from 5th grade during the movie - and turns out, is historically-accurate timing. I appreciate that. Overall, it was a good movie for a cheap matinee or future Netflix queue item.

Phipps overall: 3
Decent, with some good moments.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Shutter Island

Picture courtesy of iwatchstuff.com
Goolphipp Award: 4.1 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Phipps:
I went for Goolsby. And I have to say, it was well done. The music seriously was channeling Jaws, and achieved the same emotional effect because it creeped me out. Between the two of us, Goolsby and I pieced together most of the big stuff. I'm very proud of us. Man, there was some great performances. DiCaprio – although I'm not a huge fan – did a wonderful job. I love hearing him with a Northeastern accent. The attention to detail for the 1950s era was there. Wartime flashbacks were also cool. This movie was and is not my cup of tea, but I can't deny that it was well shot, well acted, well put together. I'm glad I saw it. It was a little freaked out about the mental hospital angle. I went to a college that was a renovated mental hospital (with plenty of atmosphere), so mental hospital movie tend to weird me out. See a movie called Session 9 for another creepy mental hospital movie. I would say that this is definitely a movie for 17+.

Phipps overall: 4
Well done, but not my cup of tea.

Goolsby:
Yup, Phipps finally caved and went with me to see this. What a crazy movie. We did piece most of it together. I think sometimes that ruins a movie. When you know something is up and all you can focus on it trying to figure the plot out. I don't think anything will ever surprise me as much as Fight Club did, well reading it that is. So perhaps it was all the hoopla I heard about this movie that had be so focused on figuring it out that it was a bit spoiled.

I loved the characters. Michelle Williams gave a creepy performance. Her whole ghostly spaced-out-ness just creeped me out. I really liked the intensity of this movie. Phipps mentions the Jaws music, but at times the music was hardly noticeable, so they did some great sound mixing and placement. I love movie that play off of small details. I just love smart finely tuned movies. Surprisingly, I jumped once. I might rent this movie once it comes out on DVD just to satisfy my curiosity of seeing all the stuff I missed the first time.

Goolsby overall: 4.25
Kudos to this movie.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just Wright

Picture courtesy of woooha.com
Goolphipp Award: 3.5 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Phipps:
Confession – I own a couple Queen Latifah movies, and I've seen most of her movies at one point. I've come to the conclusion that you can count on Ms. Latifah to deliver an decent movie. And this one is no different. I have a feeling I will eventually buy this one, just because I identify so much with Leslie's (Latifah) character. Again, this movie is pretty mainstream, but isn't stale. It's still funny and charming. I personally was bummed out because Leslie was always the gal pal, and it took her until she was 35 to find the right guy. Oi – it's like arsenic to a single lady such as myself. But my personal depression aside, this movie is worth seeing. And multiple generations will appreciate it...and will not be offended in the process. It's a good time. What I liked most about this movie was the depiction of the different types of women – it's a little too true. I'm thinking that most people will find something to like.

Phipps overall: 3.5
For all us Leslies out there.

Goolsby:
I love Queen Latifah. Last Holiday is one of my favorite movies, her and Gerard Depardieu just make me smile. Phipps mentioned the different type of women this movie depicts. So true. Ugh. Those conniving women who will say and do anything, but push come to shove, they cant hack it. Latifah's character Leslie is real and down to earth. I loved her hooptie car with its special dimple (major dent). One of the things in this movie that really kinda peeved me is Leslie's mother. There is this scene when the mom is about to hand over these special earrings that she met her husband in to one of the girls, and she hands them to the skanky liar of a cousin instead of her own daughter. Poor Leslie. You really get invested in this character. But what erks me is the fact that the mother never really seemed to apologize or own her wrongs in front of Leslie. You see the mother watching the TV and realizing just how special her daughter is, but never to her face. I thought Leslie's father LLoyd, played by James Pickens Jr. (who is known as Dr. Webber on Grey's Anatomy), did a great job. He really owned the more mature father role. Oh... I don't really follow rap music, but the main guy is the rapper Common. Can he act? Yea, I guess. It wasn't an amazing performance, but convincing enough.

Goolsby overall: 3.5
Solid movie.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Letters to Juliet

Picture courtesy of allmoviephoto.com
Goolphipp Award: 2.8 (Wait for DVD)

Phipps:
I was seriously excited for this movie. Two reasons: I'm a sucker for sap and I think Christopher Egan is a good looking chap. On the subject of the latter – he walks funny. On the subject of the former, well, I wasn't disappointed. This movie is everything you think it is...the trailer doesn't lie or mislead you. It's a chick flick, which if I'm being honest, will eventually worm it's way into my collection. What's nice about this movie is that it's a family movie. I don't remember a single thing that I wouldn't want my grandma to see. Letters is, of course, really predictable, which is always the number one complaint of critics. News flash, most people who watch chick flicks don't care. It's all about the sap. The dialogue was delivered with some snap. Franco Nero is a studly older guy. I must confess that being one of Juliet's secretaries would be a dream job. Overall, it's a safe bet for conservative audiences. It's a solid Girls Night Out movie.

Phipps overall: 3
Sapfest...and I liked it.

Goolsby:
Phipps is right. I have no idea why critics complain about predictability. Girls see these movie (and occasionally boys that get pulled along). These formula movie are staples to the movie world just like flour is to the kitchen. Aside from my supportive rant, I agree, this movie was good. Gave me what I expected and wanted. I was also happy to see that Gael Garcia Bernal who plays Victor, is getting some more mainstream American roles. I also thought that Vanessa Redgrave who plays the older role of Claire delivered some really touching moments with Amanda Seyfried. The cheese was a bit much for me to stomach. I'm more of a comedy girl and quirky movie person, but this movie was manageable. There is a scene in this movie where tourist who pay Juliet's balcony a visit in Italy can rub a statue of Juliet. This status really does exists, and it is good luck to rub her breast. True story. Looking back though, not really many memorable moments.

Goolsby overall: 2.75
For the cheesy balcony scene.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Babies

Picture courtesy of www.impawards.com
Goolphipp Award: 3 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Goolsby:
This is a documentary that follows babies from birth to 1 year in 4 very different places - Mongolia, San Francisco, Namibia, and Tokyo. Hands down I loved the kid from Mongolia. He was adorable. This movie had no subtitles, but wasn't really about any dialogue anyway. It was about the cute things babies do! And oi! They are cute. It was really interesting to see how different babies are raised - from huge metropolitan cities to the rural yurt homes. No matter where babies are, they are cry and laugh. Oh goodness. This film was adorable. There is a scene where the Mongolian baby is pulling on a cat's ear pretty roughly, and that cat just doesn't mind at all, it was just precious. This movie is not life changing, but I think it would touch a certain soft spot in most women's hearts.

Goolsby overall: 3
I loved watching the first steps of all the babies.

Phipps:
This documentary was fun. I know I shouldn't have favorites, but I loved Bayar, the baby from Mongolia. He was hilarious...and mellow. My one issue with this film is you only see the good times. Not the 2 AM feedings or the spit up. But I suspect that was the point. It was neat to see how similar child rearing is across the globe. Of course, there were also moments that were dissimilar, and was really interesting! Raising a kid in Namibia is hardcore! I think the filmmakers did a good job weaving all the footage together. Like Goolsby pointed out, there was hardly any dialogue, which to be honest, I kind of missed for the first half. Then I accepted it and moved on, but I wanted to know what people were saying! Overall though, it was just a fun experience. There were so many "awww" moments. I laughed too. It was sweet.

Phipps overall: 3
Yup. Everyone loves babies.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man 2

Photo courtesy of timeoutny.com
Goolphipp Award: 4.25 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Here comes the sequel: Consistent

Goolsby:
This movie was what I expected of the awaited sequel. At some parts I felt it was long, but I'm sure it was just the more lengthy plot. I felt the characters were in line with what was delivered the first go round. I knew Terrence Howard was not returning as Rhodey Rhodes, but I was still sad to see him missing. Don Cheadle was a good replacement, and I particularly liked how the first lines he spoke sort of alluded to the fact he was replacing Terrence. I thought that Paltrow gave a little bit more in this performance as Pepper Potts - loved it.

Phipps:
I thought it was a decent follow-up. I really loved the first one...and I think it's still better. I talked to a friend of mine beforehand, and he mentioned that while the technology surrounding Iron Man is obviously futuristic, the first movie really tried to be as realistic as possible. Whereas Iron Man 2, just plays with lot of fun futuristic technology that's really too advanced for even a hint of realism. I agree. I get that it's a superhero movie...and is supposed to be out-of-touch with reality...but I think they took it a little too far. But honestly, that's my only complaint - other than the ridiculous height of Pepper's high heels.

Action Sequences: Fast and hard

Goolsby:
Some of the car scenes were a bit sharp on the edges - meaning I think they could have done better. Perhaps some cleaner green screen work? The scene in particular that comes to mind is when Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke, is walking towards Iron Man with all these cars crashing into each other behind him. Needed a tad bit of work. I also noticed towards the end when the droid Iron Mans attack. Oh, and did anyone else think the atrium scene looked like the Kill Bill nature scene?

Phipps:
I thought it was decent, although, I stand by the fact that the first is still superior in this area. They were meticulous about it. This one...while still looking good...is just a tad lazier on some of the details.

Delivery: Who can play a better narcissist?

Goolsby:
Robert Downey, Jr. plays a stellar Tony Stark, and at his second pass, he seems so comfortable on screen in the role. You just have to love him in spite of yourself. He's dashing and witty, and I'm sure most girls swoon a bit. I really felt that he gave a great performance.

I also felt on the opposite spectrum that Sam Rockwell's performance as Justin Hammer was a bit... annoying? I know the character isn't supposed to be loveable, but come on... his portrayal of the character just didn't sit with me the right way. Anyone else feel this way? Or am I missing something from the comic?


Phipps:
Of course, Robert Downey, Jr. is the only one that could play Iron Man. He's already cocky. Paltrow was great as Pepper Potts. I'm not a fan of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. I didn't really believe she actually did all her action sequences...other than the "pause for effect" moments. Don Cheadle was a good replacement - I certainly don't blame him for stepping in - but seriously! Terrence Howard was a good Rhodey. Don't replace people - unless the actor in question is lame (like Katie Holmes in Batman Begins - Maggie Gyllenhaal is much better). Mickey Rourke freaked me out as a creepy Russian...thanks to whomever did his wardrobe and makeup. Sam Rockwell. What can I say? I normally like his performances, but I didn't quite buy it this time. As Goolsby says, he's annoying. I wish he had more of an edge - he's capable of breaking people out of jail. He should have a crazy side showing.

What was the best? The prospect of The Avengers movie!

Goolsby:
I loved Samuel L. Jackson in this movie. I don't claim to be a comic person, but I know the general basics. Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, and according to wikipedia Ant-Man and Wasp. I've never heard of the last two, but I know of the others. I'm way excited for this. I know it will take forever to come, maybe 5 more years? Perhaps more? But I'm so excited. It is going to be awesome!

Phipps:
Actually, The Avengers movie is slated to come out sometime in 2012. Captain America and Thor next year, and I'm pretty sure they'll just introduce Ant-Man and Wasp (who I've also never heard of) in the big Avengers movie. All the leads from the movies are on board, because that's part of the deal. I'm super stoked as well. Midnight showing anyone? One more thing, I loved that Nick Fury and team were more apart of the storyline. It's a good lead-up into the Avengers.

Goolsby overall: 4.25
I really liked this movie. It was what I wanted and expected. It didn't surprise me which was sad, but it satisfied me. Oh, oh! Mickey Rourke's fingernails, I just hope that a makeup artist is behind those gross looking things. Eck.

Phipps overall: 4.25
You know I'm going to buy it. Not as good as the first, but pretty darn good for a sequel.

Goolphipp Award: 4.25 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Losers

Photo courtesy of gordonandthewhale.com
Goolphipp Award: 1.3 (Total Tanker)

Goolsby:
I went to this movie for Phipps. I wasn't happy with this movie. The saving jokes and comedy were too far and few between. This movie is based on a comic, I haven't read the comic, and I'm curious to know what people who have read the comic think about this movie. This movie basically had problems left and right. The biggest one being the fact that if a man is shot in both this legs (whether it be the kneecap itself, or below the knee) he will not be able to walk. They mention this fact in the movie, but then break their own rule! They've got this guy up and walking, climbing walls, and doing crazy stuff after his legs get bandaged. Not going to happen. Perhaps the only good thing about this movie - the amazing explosions and Chris Evans' character Jensen. He was funny and witty, but it couldn't compensate for the horrible wreck of the rest of the movie. Bad plot, bad characters, bad acting, just bad. I did however like a sharp shooter named Cougar played by Oscar Jaenada, but perhaps that because he only said maybe 10 words the whole movie.

Goolsby overall: 1.25
Sad day.

Phipps:
Yep, it was a trainwreck. It had potential, but it was just bad - tanker status. As Goolsby mentioned, Chris Evans and Oscar Jaenada were the best parts of the movie. I'm a fan of Chris Evans, and I'm super stoked that he is going to be Captain America, but this was a bad choice. I could have done without the rest of the cast.

The plotline was your basic framing for a crime. Instead of really focusing on their expertise as a team, it was "poor us." There were witty moments combined with sharp shooting, but not enough. Fact: no matter how big or accomplished the man, you take out his knees and it's over.

So I suppose the bottom line here is that it's a crappy movie. The worst I've seen in a long while.

Phipps overall: 1.5
Evans and Jaenada tried...but it was a sinking ship.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Date Night

Photo courtesy of ncm.com
Goolphipp Award: 3.75 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Goolsby:
Tina Fey and Steve Carell as husband and wife, throw in some Mark Wahlberg and James Franco and you can count me in. I went into this movie with pretty high expectations given the two leading roles. I wasn't disappointed, but I think I would have appreciated it more if I wasn't single. This movie is general enough for all people, but I'm sure it really hits home for long-time couples and married people.

This movie had quite a few random moments in there. At times the supporting cast stole the show. Which is understandable considering you've basically got a shirtless (actually insistently shirtless) Wahlberg. James Franco and Mila Kunis were great paired together. I loved the volatile chemistry between them.

The action scenes... believable I guess. You don't examine them that much considering this is a comedy movie. This movie covered all your comedic bases though - physical, mildly crude, and dry sarcastic.

Goolsby overall: 3.5
Good laughs.

Phipps:
I have not run into a person that hated this movie. Date Night is built on chemistry: Tina Fey and Steve Carell, James Franco and Mila Kunis, Fey and Wahlberg and Carell. And the banter was stellar - and believable. I shouldn't be surprised, since Tina Fey is the queen of banter. Because I am unmarried, I can't really comment on the portrayal of a married couple, but I have a feeling that it's pretty close to reality (sometimes, anyway). You go through all this crap, but at the end of the day, it's worth it - which really is the end message. And apparently getting chased by dirty cops all night revives a struggling marriage. I just loved Fey and Carell together. Overall, this movie is pretty clean. Full of "dad" jokes. And I think a bunch of jokes related to New York City culture, which of course, went right over my head. One inconsistency drove me batty - Tina Fey's ridiculous high heels. One minute they are off - because they were running through the park - and no one appears to be holding them...and the next minute she's running on concrete with them on. Come on, ladies, you know we would have ditched the shoes...and they would have stayed ditched. I'm guessing it won't be long before this is running on TV. It's pretty mainstream. It's a complete package. I'd watch it with my parents. I'd peg the audience for 14+. If your kids watch The Office, they can watch this.

Phipps overall: 4
For Tina Fey and Steve Carell.

She's Out of My League

Photo courtesy of icelebz.com
Goolphipp Award: 4.3 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Goolsby:
I love this movie. Hands down, I love this movie. Everything about this movie was pretty much perfect for me. It gave me unexpected elements, very unexpected - I'm talking about the out-of-left-field shaving scene involving two men. But even this unexpected scene was done with some bit of class. There was no unnecessary nudity and there was enough humor to cover up any awkwardness.

I loved the story line. A 5 guy dates a 10 girl. I loved the message at the end of this movie, that numbers don't matter. I loved the supporting cast too. Leading man Jay Baruchel plays Kirk and the British Alice Eve plays Molly (by the way, she did a pretty good job covering up her accent). I'm a fan of the gangly Baruchel. He knows how to own his geeky awkwardness.

This movie is all in the details. You would think they might have problems with the cliches of the basic plot line, but they side stepped all of the gimme moments and packed the movie full of "Did that just happen?!" moments. There is a scene where Kirk's ex-girlfriend clotheslines him. He goes down like a bag of hammers, and I couldn't stop laughing. I have to give some props to Nate Torrence who plays Kirk's friend Devon. Torrence has some amazing comedic ability and I'm so glad he was part of this movie.

The only bad part? One of Kirk's other friends Stainer, played by T.J. Miller reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite too much. Perhaps it was just his looks, but his character just had that annoying jerk quality that I couldn't embrace. Maybe too much jerk and not enough redeeming loveableness.

Goolsby overall: 4.75
This movie will someday soon be part of my collection.

Phipps:
This movie did horribly at the box office, and that's too bad. It actually was worth seeing. Like I've said before, I'm really wary of comedies, because they tend to be overly raunchy. While this movie had those moments - all the other moments far outweighed them. I laughed through most of the movie...good mix of physical comedy and wit. Disney jokes were made. People fell. But most of all, the movie had some heart. The characters were pretty ordinary with ordinary hang-ups - crazy families, webbed feet, and ex's you can't get rid of. One thing I'm grateful for is airport accuracy in this movie! People can't run through the airport to chase down the love of their lives anymore (unless you know people in TSA). As I think over this movie, I realize how much fun I had watching it. I don't have too many complaints. As Goolsby said, there were unexpected moments, but all in all, I think it was as tastefully done as possible. I wouldn't watch it with my parents, but I sure had a good time. If I remember right, the soundtrack even contributed to some laughs. As far as audience, I would say 16-18+. It's not squeaky clean, but it's probably as close to a "made for people in their 20s" comedy as it gets.

Phipps overall: 4
Pretty darn funny.

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

Photo courtesy of examiner.com
Goolphipp Award: 4.3 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Goolsby:
Phipps and I saw this separately. I saw this after her, and was excited because she told me it was really cute, and it's true, this movie is super cute - and surprisingly teaches a really good lesson I thought. I loved the characters. The whole movie I was trying to figure out the voice of Hiccup. I could not for the life of me place Jay Baruchel's voice. Baruchel is know for his roles in Knocked Up and the recent She's Out of My League. The animation was great. I saw this in 3D and was happy with the 3D moments, but not overly impressed. Being an animal lover, I guess my love extends to mythical animals too - I absolutely loved Toothless the Night Fury dragon. The friend I saw the movie with said she was surprised to see how much of the dragon's characteristics were similar to a dog. It's true, but it didn't bother me at all. I loved his personality. I liked how the Viking world was depicted and I think this story sends a good message to kids. The one shocker though, the ending. There was one detail about the ending I didn't see coming at all.

Goolsby overall: 4.25
Sign me up for dragon flight lessons!

Phipps:
I really liked this movie. Lots of jokes and action. The animation was good. I'll probably end up buying this movie someday. It is pretty violent, and some of the dragons are scary, so I'd say audience would be 6+. I saw this movie with a 10-year-old boy, who ended up really liking the movie also. Again, know your kid. I have two things more to discuss. First, I thought it was really interesting that the older generation of Vikings actually had accents, while Hiccup's generation didn't. It struck me as strange. Second, the ending. What the dirty. Totally unexpected. I can't help but wonder, was it necessary? Bottom line, How to Train Your Dragon is a good movie. See it.

Phipps overall: 4.5
You can't beat dragons.

Kick-Ass

Picture courtesy of photogallery.filmofilia.com

Gool Award: 4.75 (Worth 11 Bucks)

Goolsby:
I saw this movie with another friend, but I have a feeling Phipps would like it too. I loved this movie. I knew what I was getting into, and I was not disappointed. Actually, I was expecting far worse, well, as far as language and inappropriateness goes. The violence was just about how much I thought there would be.

Kick-Ass is the story of normal people who decide to take a stand and become crime fighters - super heroes. These people have no special powers and can bleed and get hurt just like us.


This movie is not a kids movie. It is rated R for a reason. And I know that being a rated R movie only attracts more teenagers to it, and they will probably sneak in anyway. It's really not the younger generation that has a problem with this movie, I think the older generation (40 and up?) might agree with Roger Ebert in calling this movie "morally reprehensible." If you have heard about this movie in the news then you know all the controversy comes from an 11-year old girl kicking ass like a superhero does and cursing like a truck driver all along the way. She throws down the "C" word, and I think that's where all the hoopla comes from.

I saw a teaser trailer online that was a snippet of a fight scene with Hit-Girl, played by Chloe Moretz. I remember being a bit shocked by the cursing child star, but I was intrigued anyway. By the time the movie came out, I couldn't remember any of the details of the explicit trailer, but was prepared for much worse than delivered.

The real hoopla should be about the sound plot and excellent ensemble. This movie has superheroes that you are proud to root for, and bad guys that demand to be hated. All the action scenes were amazing! Fast paced and loaded. I'm sure if I knew more about weapons I would have been in heaven, but having no knowledge of weapons I was still impressed. From bazookas, knives, hand held guns, to a very well placed amazing weapon contraption (I'm not spoiling this so sorry for the vagueness). The fight sequences were on point.

The heroes: Aaron Johnson plays Kick-Ass and does it so well. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fogell from Superbad and Role Models) plays Red-Mist and pulls off a cape. Hit-Girl is played by the young and talented Chloe Moretz. Hit-Girl's father Big-Daddy is played by Nicolas Cage.

We saw this Friday opening day, and I was very very surprised to find that the theater was not packed. Tell everyone you know to go see this movie. It is amazing and hardcore and I love it.

The best parts - The car scene with Kick-Ass and Red-Mist. A fight scene involving a strobe light type of thing. I also loved all of the little jokes in between the major dramatic parts. Just when you can feel this movie getting way too heavy and more involved than you bargained for, a strategically placed joke rescues you.

This movie is not for the weak. If you don't mind cursing and major violence, go give it a shot. This movie is based on a comic and makes me wonder if it stayed true.

Goolsby Overall: 4.75
A bazooka, are you serious? Yup! Amazing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Clash of the Titans

Photo courtesy of www.heyguy.co.uk
Goolphipp Award: 3.75 (See the Cheap Matinee)

Goolsby:
So the original Clash of the Titans came out in 1981 - I wasn't even born yet. But, I do remember watching it later on VHS as a kid. Of course my older brother loved it, and I remember I did too. However, I haven't seen the original for a long time. I wanted to rent the original and watch it before we went to see the movie, but we just didn't have time. So I'm starting off with fond memories of the original and random details - like the metal owl!

First and foremost, the owl was the most important thing to me, haha. I'm a sucker for all things puppets, and the owl used to be basically a puppet or prop. I am glad to say the owl was paid homage in this movie. I literally threw my hands up and cheered a silent yes.

I liked this movie. I had fun watching it. Heck, its' a well known fact that I've got a thing for Liam Neeson. And boy oh boy was I happy, he looked a least 10 years, if not more, younger in this film. The makeup job was done very well. He played a very stoic commanding Zeus and I loved it. The whole cast did a really good job I thought. It was a good mix of people. Ralph Fiennes played Hades, and once again proved that he can be the ultimate villain (he also plays Voldemort in the Harry Potter films).

The action was intense and super fast. I had a hard time keeping up. Very quick. I loved the scorpion scenes. The CG was decent. There were only a few times where it felt the technology was being pushed to its limits. I guess we are having a theme of great wings this week, but once again, we were given amazing CG wings. The Pegasus had these beautiful black wings. Everything about that horse was spot on perfect. No complaints from me, gets an A+ in my books. Medusa on the other hand... her CG wasn't as seamless and left something to be desired.

I enjoyed the film, but it felt there was something missing. It needed some extra sense of umph, but I'm not sure where or how they could have given us that extra zing.

Goolsby overall: 3.75
Almost a 4.

Phipps:
I remember watching the original Clash of the Titans in elementary school. What I remember most is thinking, "that looks fake." But despite being slightly crippled by effects, because the technology just wasn't there at the time, the original had something special. It's been a while since I've seen it, but it had heart.
For this version, all the effects were in order, with the exception of Medusa. Stellar wings again. Everything looked right...and even with all the big names...there was no sparkle. While I normally love Sam Worthington, I just wasn't feeling it...from most of the performances. The exceptions: Ralph Fiennes (as Hades), Pete Postlewaite (as Spyros, Perseus' adoptive father), and Gemma Arterton (as Io).
I appreciated the obvious nod to the original with the robotic owl, and I'm sure there were more that I didn't catch.
This movie was a solid action adventure. There was clean action, comic relief, short skirts, and crazy creatures. It's entertaining. It's appropriate for the family with older kids.
That being said, the X-factor wasn't there. It has to be the performances, because there is no blaming the effects. Give me Harry Hamlin any day.

Phipps overall: 3.75
There was something missing.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Legion

Photo courtesy of xcitefun.net
Goolphipp Award: 1.3 (Total Tanker)

Goolsby:
I knew angels would be involved from the previews. I always like to give apocalyptic movies a try. I like them, what can I say? I'm a sucker for good action, and I appreciate "smart" apocalyptic movies. Now poor Legion, it just couldn't make up its mind - couldn't decide if it wanted to be action or drama. Too much lag time in between the gotcha-pop-out-of-nowhere scary moments. Lag time in a movie like this, unless done correctly, just tanks the movie. I think Legion could have been a better movie, but perhaps what would make it good would be some overhaul on the general plot and action lines. This means it was a total draw back, when the answer to resolve a movie is to rework the outline, there's a problem.

The plot - End of the world scenario, woman's baby will save the world.

The good? There was some. The angels wings were very nicely done. They weren't flimsy and delicate, and I liked that. Paul Bettany's performance as the angel Michael was well delivered. And a very random Lucas Black plays a character named Jeep. This was the weirdest cast ensemble I've seen in a while. Tyrese, Dennis Quaid, Kate Walsh (Addison from Grey's Anatomy), and Charles S. Dutton (from Rudy).

I think a lot of people will have a problem with this movie. Following suit as a typical apocalyptic movie, it pulls heavily from the Bible. When I watch a movie like this, I don't view them as a representation of the Bible. I just see it as a story. So if the Bible was misquoted, it went over my head. Story had plenty of flaws beyond any misquotes anyway.

What really got my goat - the horrible ending! If you have seen Constantine, just think of that. You have invested time in this movie, and then boom, nothing at the end but some lame message that doesn't even make any sense.

Goolsby overall: 1.75
For the succinctly choreographed action scenes and the wings.

Phipps:
I hated this movie. Really.

The good points were very few. One, the CGI work on the wings was stellar. I liked the battle gear too. However, I think they spent all the budget on the wings...and didn't have any left over for people crawling on the ceilings. Paul Bettany was the best part of this movie...his performance is worth noting. The battle between Michael and Gabriel was the best sequence.

I'm a Christian, and quite frankly, this movie was insulting. I try to give some leeway with apocalyptic movies, because there are a lot of uncertainties in the theology. However, this movie did not just play with the acknowledged gray areas, they took liberties with the character of God. At that, my friends, I can't dismiss.

My points of contention:
  1. God loses faith in mankind. Legion cites Genesis 6, where God lost faith in man the first time, and so sends a flood. The actual word in Genesis 6 is "grieved." Grief and losing faith are different things.

  2. Legion theology says, angels bow before men. God told them to love mankind. Twinges of angelic jealousy - over the fact that God loves mankind and not angelic beings are seen throughout. The only scripture that this would be drawn off of is 1 Peter 1:12 which cites "angels longing to look" into the activities of the Holy Spirit working within man. I think it's a gross misinterpretation, but check out the chapter for yourself.

  3. God orders Michael to do something wrong. Then rewards Michael because God realizes that He was wrong...and Michael actually knew best. (Specifically, what God "needed.") Which is laughable. In fact, Legion's description of God reminds me of a child having a tantrum. That's not in line with the Bible at all. In fact, the book of James describes God as a Father that "does not change like shifting shadows." This is the point where I lose respect for the writers and the film makers in general.

  4. A man was tied to a makeshift cross upside down, then spews acid when he blows up in the sun, which ends up killing another character. Allusion to St. Peter being crucified upside down? Maybe.

  5. Michael blowing a cross-shaped hole through a building, and walking through it. Effectively setting Michael up as savior. Meh, there's one savior of the world, people. Quit inventing new ones.

  6. I've never heard of angels in God's employ - which excludes the demonic - possessing people. Ever. Check your Bible.

  7. Constantine features Michael as the bad guy, well, in this one, they chose Gabriel, because after all, there are only two angels mentioned by name in the Bible. If you are reinventing scripture, might as well name a few new angels.

I don't go off on theology often, but this one was asking for it. So much crap. Even a feeble attempt to reference 1 Corinthians 13:13 - with the "faith, hope, and love" bit. I am pretty disgusted.

So, in my opinion, don't see this movie.

Phipps overall: 1
Some talented people made those wings. Here's your recognition.