Archive for movie reviews

Quick history of Watchmen and a review of the movie

Posted in comic books, movies, pop culture, reviews, Watchmen with tags , , , on March 12, 2009 by Paxton

Watchmen poster

Okay, I convinced Steph to come with me to see Watchmen last night. Wednesday nights are sometimes our impromptu movie nights because the theaters tend to be devoid of annoying teenagers talking on their cell phones and to each other.  We saw Iron Man this way and it can be a pleasant experience.

I’ve had several people ask me what I thought of this movie so I thought I’d do a semi-movie review.  I’m also going to talk a bit about the graphic novel because I’m guessing the majority of you may not know the history behind it.  It’s interesting how big a release this movie became considering the average movie going patron may not really know who or what Watchmen is or where it came from.  So before I talk about the movie, let’s just do a quick recap about where the story of Watchmen came from and what it’s about.  If you just want the movie review, you impatient sonova-bee sting, then skip down to that section.

Watchmen was a twelve issue comic book limited series released in 1986 and 1987 by DC Comics.  It was written by legendary writer Alan Moore who also wrote other famous limited edition comics League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta and From Hell.  Moore is notorious for being extremely anti-establishment and has preemptively dis-owned the movie versions of all of his comic novels.  Alan Moore’s idea was to take a hard look at superheroes and portray them as normal, flawed human beings.  Moore based the story in our reality, albeit a slightly altered one in which superheroes existed.  In keeping with our reality, even though the characters are called superheroes, only one character displays obvious supernatural powers.  The appearance of these heroes has altered the outcome of certain historical events including the Vietnam War, which we win with help from the heroes and Richard Nixon’s presidency which is extended because of the win in Vietnam.  Moore would use this setting to deconstruct the idea of superheroes as benevolent crime-fighters and show that they, too, are susceptible to the human traits of selfishness, greed and murder.

Watchmen graphic novel

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The Movie Board: Worst Movies of 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, humor, Movie Board, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , on January 15, 2008 by Paxton

Movie Board

Allright, last week I gave you my 5 favorite movies of 2007. Now it’s time to unleash upon your delicate sensibilities the 5 worst movies I saw in 2007. Be warned, these movies are bad. Some of them may be bad enough that I’ll recommend watching them, but only for the bold. Do you have the stones to sit through 2 hours of crap? We’ll see.

Here they are in no particular order:

Kickin it Old Skool
Kicking it Old Skool– You’ll find that most movies on this list are here because they had a ton of potential, but completely squandered it. This movie has a funny premise; Jamie Kennedy is an elementary school break dancing king in the early ’80s. During a particularly dangerous move, he falls and is put in a coma for 20 years. When he wakes up he has to adjust to the fact that all his friends have grown up and break dancing is no longer cool. Classic fish-out-of-water premise using the ’80s and break dancing. I love it. Except the movie is terrible. Almost unwatchable. The best part of the movie is about 5-10 min in. Jamie Kennedy’s doctor is played by Alan Ruck (Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Ruck’s character in this movie is named Doctor Frye and he even mentions paying off his father’s Ferrari. Steph and I about died. Great stunt cameo, this movie is gonna rock, right? Wrong. DEAD wrong. STAY AWAY.

Shoot 'em Up
Shoot ’em Up– This looked so good in the trailer. Clive Owen is a mysterious “nanny” that gets caught up helping a woman and a baby escape hired killers. It looked like a cross between Pulp Fiction and Lucky Number Slevin; lots of action and funny dialogue. Well, this movie is weird. Monica Belucci plays a prostitute who lets grown men breast feed from her. Paul Giamatti plays a hitman with an overbearing wife. The dialogue is ridiculous. I had serious issues staying “in the movie” if you get what I’m saying. Just weird, with a few good action scenes. This is here mostly because it should have been much, MUCH better.

Knocked Up
Knocked Up– Oh Seth Rogan, you magnificent bastard. What happened here? The cast for this movie is pretty much part and parcel from the very funny TV show Underclassmen (if you remember the 1 season it ran back in the early ’90s). Seth Rogan is on a roll lately and the premise seemed amusing. However, Seth and his friends in this movie are lame. Seth’s character is even somewhat of an A-hole. Katherine Heigl’s character is a little witchy (with a ‘b’). I could not laugh at this movie because the whole thing is so tragically sad. Paul Rudd saved the 5 minutes of the movie he appeared in. Other than that, I say go see Superbad instead. I really wanted to like this one, too.

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The Movie Board: My Favorite Movies of 2007

Posted in Academy Awards, Movie Board, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , , , on January 10, 2008 by Paxton

Movie Board

Well, 2007 is over and the Oscar nominees are being decided as we speak (the 2008 Oscars are supposed to air on February 24). When the nominees are finally announced, I’ll be sure to let you know and I might even give a little review of how the Oscar committee did like I did for last year’s Oscars nominations. Did I get to see everything I wanted to see this year? No. Of course not. My wife and I love movies and there are several movies we missed this year. However, we did see a lot of movies in 2007.

In Dec 2006, I decided to keep track of all the movies released in 2007 that I got to see. Whether it was in the theater or on DVD. I started this because I would read all of these “Best Movies of the Year” articles and wanted to write my own. However, by the end of the year, I’d forgotten all the movies I’d seen except for a select few. So, I decided to keep a running record. I set up a white board in my cubicle and wrote down every movie I saw throughout the year. I called it “The Movie Board”. People would come over and check it out to see if I’d add any new ones over the weekend. It was fairly popular. Well, now that the year is over, let’s take a look at the final tally. Remember, these are only the movies released in the 2007 calendar year. My wife and I saw many more movies, these are just movies released within the current year.

2007 Movie Board

There it is above, The Movie Board (click the picture for a bigger view). According to its all knowing whiteness, I saw 57 movies last year that were released in 2007. Well, the board actually says 58, but I mistakenly put Knocked Up twice. And, well, crap, now that I look at it, the first two movies, Blood Diamond and The Good Sheperd, were released in December 2006, so that reduces the list to 55. That’s about 4.58 movies a month. Just over 1 a week. Not bad. That doesn’t include the older movies Steph and I rented and/or own that we watched.

So now it’s time to peruse this list and see what my top 5 favorite movies are for 2007. Notice I’m not saying these are the 5 best movies of 2007. “Best” is subjective. I’m not telling you one movie is better than another for whatever reason. Sure, I could wax philosophic about my favorite movie saying it’s the most important movie of the year. I could talk about how deep and profound the script is, how it tackles many issues on several different levels. I could discuss how lush and royal the colors and scenery are. I may even delve into the hearty tone, smart characterization and sweeping scope using flowery words that mean little but sound like I know what I’m talking about. The truth, I really have no idea what I’m talking about. You know it and I know it. The following five movies are the ones that entertained me the most. Period. I’m letting you know so that you may enjoy them too. Shall we begin?

Here they are in no particular order:

3:10 to Yuma
3:10 to Yuma– What a really good movie. Russell Crowe is a captured outlaw and Christian Bale is a poor rancher who is somewhat railroaded into helping escort Crowe’s character to the departing prison train of the title. Wonderful performances by Crowe and Bale as well as strong appearances by Peter Fonda and Ben Foster. Check this one out, seriously.

Stardust
Stardust– I wanted to see this in the theater because it looked fun, but I was surprised at how good overall it was. It’s a wild and crazy fantasy movie with many characters and a plot that is really hard to describe. I’ll try: A guy is in love with a girl who doesn’t love him. He promises to fetch her a fallen star if she would love him back. He goes to find the fallen star and his adventures in trying to get the star back to the girl is the main adventure. Such fun adventures with a lot of magic, witches, pirates, sword fights and danger. I highly recommend this. How old is Michelle Pfeiffer, by the way? She is still unbelievably beautiful in this movie (quick trip to IMDB tells me she’s 50 years old…WOW). See it.

Bourne Ultimatum
Bourne Ultimatum– This end to the first trilogy (hopefully there will be more) is a fitting one. Bourne returns to put a stop to the government’s dogged pursuit of him and what he knows. Damon was born (pun intended) to play this role. Exotic locales, unbelievable action sequences and smart dialogue make this one as good as the first Bourne movie.

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Review of Superman Returns

Posted in movies, reviews, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , , on June 30, 2006 by Paxton

Superman Week

Well, I finally made it. Day 5 of Superman Week. I think I may take a small break next week to recover.

Well, in case you missed a day and want to go back, here are links to the last 4 days of Superman Week:

Day 1 – Review of Look, Up In The Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman
Day 2 – Scary Superman Merchandise
Day 3 – Review of Christopher Reeve Superman Movies
Day 4 – Stupid Superman Powers

That’s enough looking back, let’s move forward with Day 5.

Superman Returns

I’m going to keep this review simple because you really need to go into this knowing as little as possible. But know this, for me, this is the perfect followup to Superman I and Superman II. Brandon Routh IS Superman. Kevin Spacey IS Lex Luthor. The story is phenomenal, the effects are gorgeous, the dialogue is crisp. I loved every minute of it. Bryan Singer has taken great pains to make this movie “fit” into the universe started by Richard Donner back in 1978. The Fortress of Solitude, the opening credits, Superman’s ship crashing on Earth. All of it has the appearance it did back in Donner’s footage of Superman and Superman II. Even Marlon Brando returns as Superman’s Father. It all just fits together so well.

As for performances. Brandon Routh is wonderful as Superman. He plays the separate roles of Superman/Clark Kent superbly. Kevin Spacey is particularly menacing with a tinge of insanity as Lex Luthor. I even enjoyed Lois’ boyfriend and little kid. As far as Kate Bosworth, I’m still not COMPLETELY sold on her, but I thought she did a good job as Lois. This is not necessarily a minus for me, as in the original Superman, I didn’t like Margot Kidder, but I thought she did an okay job. So that’s just one more thing to help it “feel” like the orignal movies.

So, I’m not going to say anymore. The special effects were awesome, the acting was great and the story was phenomenal. Go see it. You will NOT be disappointed.

A few final tidbits…..


Bryan Singer used all the main Superman themes from John William’s score of the original movie. It was great to hear it. It made me dig out my old CD of Superman – The Movie. The one that was released by Rhino in 2000. It is all released and unreleased musical cues from the original Superman: The Movie. It’s awesome to listen to as I enjoy listening to instrumental movie scores when I work on the computer (Back to the Future, Star Wars, Superman, etc.) I might even get the Superman Returns soundtrack.


I actually bought the Superman Returns movie novelization by Marv Wolfman a month or so ago when it was released. I’ve been sitting on it until I saw the movie. You can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be reading this as soon as I finish the 2 books I’m reading right now.

Superman Which Way
My friend Marlene actually gave me this book. It brought back a lot of elementary school memories. Everyone remember Which Way? books? They were awesome. Just thought this was a neat little gift. Thanks, Mar. In case you were wondering here are the other books in this particular series.

Well, that concludes Superman week. Hope you enjoyed it because I may take a break for a week or so. Hope everyone has a good one and I’ll see you when I update again.

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Reviews of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies

Posted in Christopher Reeve, movies, reviews, Superman, Superman Returns with tags , , , on June 28, 2006 by Paxton

Superman Week

We are finally here. Day 3 of Superman Week. Superman Returns releases nationally today. Those of us who aren’t famous or aren’t in the “biz” can now, finally, watch the movie. I, however, won’t be able to see it until tomorrow night. So, in lieu of reviewing the movie, I’ll do quick reviews of the first four movies staring Christopher Reeve. Enjoy.

Superman the Movie
Superman: The Movie – A classic. I really don’t have to review this as everyone has undoubtedly already seen it. Christopher Reeve’s dual portrayals of Superman and Clark Kent are nothing short of spectacular. The effects, while sometimes dated, still work very well. Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor is played more for comedy than the comic version, and I really liked it. Hackman is great in whatever he does. I’m still not a fan of Margo Kidder as Lois Lane. I don’t know why, I just don’t like her. I wish they would have gone with Ann Archer or Leslie Ann Warren. But that’s just me. There is a reason this is considered the model for comic book movies. If you haven’t seen it, I ask, why?

Superman II
Superman II – Another classic, both in the movie itself, and the behind the scenes drama between the producers, the Salkinds, and the director, Richard Donner. Easily 70% of this movie was filmed during the production of the first movie. When budgets were tight, they stopped shooting this picture and finished the first one. After the first one was a hit, the producers decided to return to this. Due to failing relationships between the director and the producers, they picked Richard Lester to finish shooting. All of the main scenes were shot including all of Gene Hackman’s stuff. He refused to work with anyone but Richard Donner. Lester finished the picture and it finally released. It turned out to be a very good, if flawed, movie. The three main villains from the Phantom Zone were a great idea and the final showdown at the Fortress of Solitude was exciting, if a little confusing as it featured powers Superman had never shown before….he can disappear?. Also having the plot device of Superman losing his powers was a really nice touch (at least I thought so). But why did Supes have to sleep with Lois? Kinda creepy. All in all, a very good followup. For a breakdown of the different footage shot by each director go to Superman Cinema’s Superman II Section.

Note: The new Superman movie will ignore all the movies after this point. Superman Returns takes place roughly 5 years after Superman II. After watching parts III and IV, you’ll see why.

Superman III
Superman III – Here’s where things get a little dicey. Despite it’s glaring problems, I enjoyed this movie. Richard Lester continues as director and the cast adds Richard Pryor as a bumbling computer programmer. I did not like Pryor’s character, but I loved the subplots of Superman exposed to “dirty” Kryptonite and turning evil and Clark’s journey back to Smallville where he reunites with Annette O’Toole as Lana Lang. Those two subplots made the movie for me. The fight at the end with the supercomputer was silly and Robert Vaughn as the main baddie made me cringe. This is a toss up whether you will like this movie.

Superman IV
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace – The first Superman movie with a subtitle. Where do I begin? I don’t even think the word HORRIBLE begins to describe the absolute atrocity of this movie. Superman decides to rid the Earth of nuclear weapons and throw all of them in the sun. Luthor plants DNA on one of the rockets and uses the sun’s radiation to create Nuclear Man, one of the stupidest, most ridiculously dressed villains of all time. I wish Reeve had stuck with his initial idea of retiring the role of Superman to someone else. Even though Gene Hackman returns for this final sequel, I can’t in good conscious recommend this to anyone. Seriously. You’ve been warned.

BONUS:
1. Check out the original theatrical trailer for Superman: The Movie
2. Here’s a short sketch from a show called Robot Chicken. It’s a parody of Real World where 5 super-heroes are picked to live in an apartment together. It’s called Real World: Metropolis.
3. Here is a trailer for a Superman/Batman team-up movie called World’s Finest. It’s fan-made, but very well done.

Check out the other days of Superman Week here:

Day 1 – Review of Look, Up In The Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman
Day 2 – Scary Superman Merchandise
Day 4 – Stupid Superman Powers
Day 5 – Review of Superman Returns

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