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March 31, 2007

Movies: The Lookout

The Lookout
Directed by Scott Frank
Screenplay by Scott Frank
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeff Daniels

You can view the trailer here: Trailer

The Lookout is about a star high school athlete, Chris Pratt, who's life changed after a tragic car accident. This accident changes his personality and upsets his memory of his past life. He is now a different person to friends and family. For money, he works as a janitor at a bank, but strives to be a bank teller. Unfortunately he gets mixed in with a group of people who want to rob the bank, which starts the trouble in this movie.

This movie was sub-par to say the least.  The acting was great and really portrayed the characters well, but the plot was very predictable after seeing the trailer.  I also did not like that the trailer left out the fact a key part of the plot, that Chris Pratt was now mentally challenged.  As the movie progressed, character's motives and personalities were easily predictable since all they were all designed in a simple manor. 

All in all the movie was alright, but not something you would want to see unless you were bored and it was on television. It was not anything special and made me feel like I wasted two hours of my time and ten dollars.


Posted by diamantj at 03:37 PM | Comments (2)

March 25, 2007

Movies: Wedding Crashers

Wedding Crashers
Directed by David Dobkin
Screenplay by Steve Faber and Bob Pisher
Starring Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher

You can view the trailer here: Trailer

 Wedding Crashersis a comedy filled with fun, excitement, and laughter mainly because of the stellar performances by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.  Their on-screen chemistry is uncanny and unmatched by any another other comedic duo in Hollywood.  There could not have been better casting for the roles of Jeremy Gray (Vaughn) and John Beckwith (Wilson).  Although Christopher Walken and a famous cameo actor have their moments, Vaughn and Wilson easily steal the spotlight.        

As successful lawyers, Jeremy and John crash weddings in order to score with beautiful vulnerable woman.  By using ridiculous identities that woman fall for (such as charter member of the Oprah Book Club) they are easily able to sweep these women off their feet.  Although their abilities to woo women are implausible and somewhat pathetic, their tactics are comedic and deserve recognition. 

Although this film is a romantic comedy, the main emphasis should be placed on the comedic element.  The love story between John and Clair is underdeveloped and their chemistry cannot hold a candle to that of John and Jeremy.  The love between John and Clair is not as apparent as the unquestionable brotherly friendship between John and Jeremy.  Without trying to sound too cliché, John and Jeremy’s relationship literally come off the screen.  Vaughn and Wilson however, cannot take all the credit for their performances.  The clever writing by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher make possible hilarious interactions and childish arguments of the comedic duo.  This is immediately established in the opening scene of the movie where John and Jeremy cooperate and use their sharp rhetoric to settle an angry divorce between a couple arguing over miniscule frequent flyer miles. 

The movie, however, does have a few loop holes and loose ends.  Some scenes are absolutely ridiculously and have very little substance other than for humor.  But if you can look past the unrealistic elements and walk in to the film ready to laugh, then you will certainly be in for a treat.  Expect anything more than humor and you may be disappointed.  But what most definitely won’t disappoint you is the on-screen chemistry of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.  

Posted by vatran at 04:06 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2007

Movies: Executive Decision

Executive Decision
Directed by Stuart Baird
Screenplay by Jim Thomas and John Thomas
Starring Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal, Halle Barry, John Leguizamo

You can view the trailer here: Trailer

Executive Decision is a great Action, Adventure, Thriller that most people have never seen or overlooked. The movie is about terrorists who take over a 747 that is traveling from Athens to Washington, D.C. In order to control the terrorists, the US Military decides to attach to the bottom of the plane, allowing a team of experts to regain control of the airplane.  After having issues boarding the plane mid-flight and discovering an onboard nerve gas bomb, the team signed up more than they can handle.

In my mind whenever I hear this movie, I compare it instantly to the Harrison Ford classic Air Force One, that came out a year later than this movie. Most people have probably seen Air Force One, so let me tell you.... these movies are no comparison. Executive Decision blows it out of the water.

This thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat as you worry about the passengers, the hidden team, and the issues surrounding the US government.  If you are in the mood for an action movie or want to see Air Force One again, save it and rent this one instead.

Posted by diamantj at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2007

Movies: City of God

City of God
Directed by Fernando Meirelles Screenplay Bráulio Mantovani
Starring Alexandre Rodrigues,Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Seu Jorge     

You can view the trailer here: Trailer

City of God is an awesome film.  It is easily considered one of my favorite films of all time.  The film is about the lives of several individuals and the corruption in a city in Brazil, Cidade de Deus (City of God).  The narrator of the film, Rocket (Rodrigues), introduces the Cidade de Deus as a poor place where people struggled to get by.  The city was initially filled with friendly type gangs that stole to help the poor but eventually as time went on the gangs became territorial and eventually dominated the city within twenty years.  Rocket is faced with a dilemma because he is not a gangster and nor does he want to be, but is somehow caught up with the gangsters because of his notorious older brother.  Everything is corrupt in Cidade de Deus including the children, the drug lords, the police, and the government.  With no one legally involved to help Cidade de Deus it is only a matter of time before everyone in the city is living in fear for their lives. 

I love this film because of the character development.  The film follows many different individuals whose lives are intertwined in one way or another.  You are never second guessing the credibility of the characters, whether is the gangster tendencies of drug lord Li’l Ze (Firmino), the suaveness of Benny (Haagensen), or the timidity of Rocket.  Because the film follows many of the main characters from the time when they were children to twenty years later, we get a true understanding of who the characters are and where they come from.  We also understand the reasons for the corruption in the Cidade de Deus and of how it almost seemed inevitable.  The thrill of the film is anticipating how something that is inevitable is going to be overturned. 

When I initially saw the film I did not know that it was based on a true story, but when I found out that it was, I loved the film even more.  City of God leads you into the intricate lives of several individuals along with the intricacies of a corrupt city.  The film never has you questioning anything that you are not suppose to be questioning.  Although the story seems surreal and unrealistic, the filmmakers do an excellent job of bringing Cidade de Deus to life.  As unrealistic and trivial the plot may seem, the film is believable and that’s probably because it is a true story.         

Posted by vatran at 04:05 PM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2007

Movies: Heat

Directed by Michael Mann
Screenplay by Michael Mann
Sarring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight

The trailer for this movie can be viewed here: Trailer

Heat is suppose to be an action packed bank heist thriller but is far from these expectations.  The film is about Detective Vincent Hanna (Pacino) attempt of capturing expert thief Neil McCauley (De Niro) for the robbery of an armored truck that resulted in the death of a police officer due to one of McCauley’s trigger happy crew men.  Hanna jeopardizes his relationship with his wife due to his obsession with capturing McCauley. McCauley, knowing that he is being monitored, plans one last retirement heist to get him out of the game. 

Throughout the film there are several “close-calls” between Hanna and McCauley but none of which are as exciting as they should have been.  Hanna almost captures McCauley several times but often in an anticlimactic fashion.  After all of the hype, drama, and tension, the two finally face off in an incredibly disappointing manner.  After all the build up, the final encounter between the two is just lame.  The scene lacks suspense and just happens without any real excitement.  Another gripe I have with this movie is the lack of character development.  Although we see McCauley pull off the only exciting and impressive heist in the beginning of the film, his credibility as a master thief diminishes as the film goes on.  The same can be said for Hanna.  Hanna is supposedly a distinguished detective but none of which is really apparent in the film.

If there was one thing good in this film, it was the acting.  Pacino and De Niro met my expectations but my last and biggest problem with this film is the lack of screen time that they shared.  This film was hyped because Pacino and De Niro, two acting greats, were going to finally be on screen with one another, especially since they did not have any screen time in The Godfather II. In Heat they were only on screen together for a couple of minutes and that scene quite frankly sucked.  Filmmakers deceived us into believing that Pacino and De Niro were actually going to face off but they barely did.  My final comment about Heat is “Don’t believe the hype.”

Posted by vatran at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2007

Movies: The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect
Directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber
Screenplay by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber
Starring Ashton Kutcher, Melora Walters, Amy Smart, William Lee Scott

Here is the trailer: Trailer

The Butterfly Effect is a great Drama/Fantasy movie that will open your mind the life of Evan Treborn, played by Ashton Kutcher.  Throughout the movie Evan has random blackouts, where he cannot remember what occurred during a past moment. Since the movie is through the eyes of Evan, as the audience, we cannot see what occurred during these lost memories.  As the movie continues, Evan learns how to access these lost memories and change them.  This allows him to wake up in an altered state of reality since he has changed his past.

I believe everyone should see this movie since it allows you to see how changing your past can change your entire life. The movie also shows how each character is effected by individual decisions one makes and how you cannot always change your past.

Even though this is Ashton Kutcher's first serious acting role, I think he did a great job.  He showed emotion and portrayed his role very well.  He keeps you on the edge of your seat and allows you to empathies with his emotions throughout the movie. If your bored one weekend, go get this movie.

Posted by diamantj at 04:24 PM | Comments (2)

March 04, 2007

Movies: Half Baked

Half Baked
Directed by Tamra Davis
Screenplay by Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan
Starring Dave Chappelle, Harland Williams, Guillermo Diaz, and Jim Breuer

The trailer can be seen here: Trailer

Half Baked is considered a cult classic among American stoners.  It is the story about three pothead friends Thurgood (Dave Chappelle), Scarface (Guillermo Diaz) and Brian (Jim Breuer) trying raise money to get their friend Kenny (Harland Williams) out of jail.  Kenny ends up jail while getting munchies for his buddies and decides to feed a police horse out of the kindness of his heart.  It turns out however that the horse is a diabetic and Kenny ends up being a “cop killer” which lands him in jail.  Kenny however is obviously not “receiving the respect that a cop killer deserves” and therefore Thurgood, Scarface, Brian must begin selling marijuana to raise money for their kind-hearted friend Kenny’s bail.

I’ll be the first to admit that the plot is ridiculous but that is what makes this film funny.  The lack of brain cells that the characters have due to their excessive pot smoking is convincingly portrayed on the screen (maybe even too much.) The three close-knit friends do not think like normal people and are always, I guess you could say, thinking outside of the box.  Their logic and mannerisms are simply hilarious and make you both envy the lifestyle of a pothead while also never wanting to smoke pot in fear of looking that dumb.    Also what is great about this film is that we are able to see Dave Chappelle before he was popular, before his Chappelle Show days.  Half Bake represents what Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan (co-writer of Chappelle Show) were prior to their hit show on Comedy Central. 

Posted by vatran at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

Movies: Office Space

Office Space
Directed by Mike Judge
Screenplay by Mike Judge
Starring Ron Livingston Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu

You can view the trailer here: Trailer

Office space is a classic comedy with funny lines and endless corny office humor. Ron Livingston (Peter Gibbons), David Herman (Michael Bolton), and Ajay Naidu (Samir Nagheenanajar) make this movie amazing since they all play their roles to perfection.  After watching this movie, you will agree that no one could play their roles as perfect.

These three characters have jobs at a boring software company Innotech. When a bunch of consultants come in to improve productivity and lay off workers, everyone becomes worried about their jobs, except Peter. He has decided that he does not want to work anymore.

If you have not already seen this movie, I suggest you ask any of your friends about it. If they don't respond to your question with "What, you haven't seen this movie?" or "Lets go watch this now," they aren't true fans of this movie.  After watching this movie you will find yourself repeating lines constantly and adding it to your new favorite movie.  I can watch this movie so many times without it ever getting old. If you haven't seen it, rent it, buy it, or get it from a friend NOW.

Posted by diamantj at 04:15 PM | Comments (2)