Saturday, November 15, 2008

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Rating: B+

Most of the time, sequels are not as good at the original movie. Sometimes, in a rare instance, the second movie is actually better. Such is the case with The Dark Knight, Empire Strikes Back, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, and Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, and Madagascar 2. I laughed through most of this movie. All of the characters are back from the first adventure. Alex, Marty, Melman, Gloria, Julian, and all the penguins leave Madagascar in an attempt to make it back to New York. They have left the arrangements up to the penguins, so needless to say, they don't make it very far. The plane crash lands in Africa, and our heroes have to get in touch with their more "natural" sides. The penguins are hilarious. When they are on the screen, you will not stop laughing. There are some parts with Marty that drag and could have been left out, but the rest of the film is pretty well paced. There is a little too much of the groin-kicking old lady from the first one. The late Bernie Mac, Alec Baldwin, and join the cast this time around and are all wonderful. is fantastic as Moto Moto, the blubberly fascinated hippo. He likes em big, he likes em chunky. Being in Africa, dealing with lions, there will be comparisons to the Lion King, but don't you believe it. The movie has heart, and is an enjoyable kid and well as adult movie. You need to see the first one first if you haven't already to really get the full enjoyment out of Madagascar 2.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Upcoming Release Dates - Updated 11-15-2008

Release dates are subject to change, so check back often.

November 26: Four Christmases
November 26: The Transporter 3

December 5: Punisher: War Zone

December 12: The Day The Earth Stood Still

December 19: Yes Man

December 25: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
December 25: Bedtime Stories
December 25: The Spirit

December 26: Valkyrie


January 9, 2009: Clive Barker Presents: Hellraiser

January 23, 2009: Inkheart
January 23, 2009: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

February 6, 2009: The Pink Panther 2

February 13, 2009: Friday the 13th

February 27, 2009: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li

March 6, 2009: The Watchmen

March 13, 2009: Race to Witch Mountain

March 20, 2009: The Box

March 27, 2009: The Accidental Husband

April 3, 2009: The Wolfman

April 10, 2009: Dragonball

April 17, 2009: Crank: High Voltage

May 1, 2009: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

May 8, 2009: Star Trek

May 22, 2009: Terminator Salvation
May 22, 2009: Night at the Museum: The Battle of the Smithsonian

May 29, 2009: Up

June 5, 2009: The Land of the Lost

June 12, 2009: The A-Team
June 12, 2009: Fast & Furious

June 19, 2009: The Tooth Fairy

June 26, 2009: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

July 1, 2009: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs

July 10, 2009: 2010

July 17, 2009: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

July 24, 2009: G-Force

August 7, 2009: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

August 21, 2009: Final Destination 4

October 16, 2009: Where the Wild Things Are

November 20, 2009: Area 51

November 25, 2009: Old Dogs

December 18, 2009: Avatar

2009 to be announced:

Battle Angel
Ripley's Believe It Or Not
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe
Spy Hunter
A Nightmare on Elm Street


January 15, 2010: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
January 15, 2010: Hoodwinked 2: Hood vs Evil

January 22, 2010: Legion

March 5, 2010: Alice in Wonderland

March 19, 2010: Alvin and the Chipmunks 2

March 26, 2010: How to Train Your Dragon

April 16, 2010: Alpha and Omega

May 7, 2010: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of Dawn Treader
May 7, 2010: Iron Man 2

May 21, 2010: Shrek Goes Fourth

May 28, 2010: Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

June 18, 2010: Toy Story 3

June 25, 2010: The Green Hornet

July 16, 2010: Thor

November 9, 2010: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

2010 to be announced:

Beverly Hills Cop 4
Cats and Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore
Sherlock Holmes


March 18, 2011: Rango

May 6, 2011: The First Avenger: Captain America

May 20, 2011: Pirates of the Caribbean 4

May TBA: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
May TBA: Spider Man 4

June 3, 2011: Kung Fu Panda 2

July 15, 2011: The Avengers

December TBA: The Hobbit

2011 TBA

Cars 2

December 2012 TBA: The Hobbit Sequel

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Departed

Rating: A

This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, let alone this year. It's got Oscar written all over it. Normally I'm not a fan of Martin Scorsese, but this one is a home run.

The Departed is a twisted tale of the Boston cops and the Irish Mob and all the spys that are between the two. Jack Nicholson, in one of his best recent performances, is the head of the Mob who recruits Matt Damon at an early age to be his snitch inside the police department. Leonardo DeCaprio is a cop who goes undercover in the mob for his boss, Martin Sheen. What follows is a cat and mouse game of who knows what, and who finds out what, full of twists and turns and surprises.

This movie is long at 151 minutes, but as the minutes tick away, you fall deeper and deeper into the story. There were a few parts where everyone in the theater gasped and jumped. The best way I can put it is in the words of a black guy after the movie ended, "That's some crazy white people."

Matt Damon plays the character so well, that if you didn't already hate him, you will after this. Leo also puts in his two Oscar cents. Nicholson shines playing the character that he was born to play, a crazy, cussing embodiment of evil. Other strong performances are turned in by Alec Baldwin, Mark Walberg, and Martin Sheen. It's like a democrat convention. If there is a weak point, it's the main woman, Vera Farmiga, who plays a shrink who falls for both Damon and DeCaprio. She seems rather wall flowery. She does have an important role in the movie, but the whole love triangle thing just doesn't seem necessary in my eyes.

All in all, you should drop what you're doing now and go see this movie. There aren't many that I say this about, so when I do, take it to heart, and we'll all see this movie next March at the Academy Awards.

Flags of Our Fathers

Rating: B-

I was discussing Iwo Jima with some friends of mine, and after finishing, I realized that a lot of people do not know the story of what really happened on Iwo Jima. Most folks think that the Marines raised the flag on some mountain after the US forces had taken Iwo Jima and that they returned as heros to America. Clint Eastwood addresses these and other myths in his latest, "Flag of Our Fathers".

This movie centers around the photograph of the famous flag raisers that won Joe Rosenthal the Pulitzer Prize and spurred America's resolve to win WWII. The facts of the case are that the flag in the photo was actually the second flag raised, there were 30 more days of intense fighting before Iwo Jima was secured after the Mount Sarabachi was taken, and that 3 of the 6 flag raisers died on Iwo Jima in that fighting. The movie is the story of the 3 surviving soldiers and how their lives were changed and used after being in the right place at the right time.

The main thing about this movie is how it is edited. It tends to jump around from one time to another. One moment, it's in the beginning of the battle, suddenly you're a few days earlier, then months after back home, then mid way through the battle, then here, then there. It makes it a little hard to figure out who is who behind the helmets and grimey faces. It also serves to soften the battle scenes a bit as opposed to Saving Private Ryan, where the initial 15 minutes pound you into submission. The special effects are amazing, but in this day and age, it's almost not worth mentioning because great special effects are expected. Looking later at actual pictures of the day, Eastwood got it spot on.

When our heros make it back to the States, they are shuffled around from town to town to raise money for the war effort. While one loves the spotlight (Rene Gagnon, played by Jesse Bradford), the other two (John "Doc" Bradley - Ryan Phillippe and Ira Hayes - Adam Beach) are less than excited. Hayes especially feels guilty that he survived and the "real" heros are the ones that died on Iwo Jima. Watching his life spiral down the road of alcohol and guilt is heart wrenching to watch. Other that Hayes, most of the other characters blend into the background and don't strike a chord with anyone. There are a few surprise appearances such as Paul Walker, Terminator 2's Robert Patrick, and the guy who played Sulley in Commando as President Truman.

Flags of Our Fathers is a story that needed to be told and is done justice by Eastwood's storytelling. It's just not a great as I expected from Clint. Not as great as say, Million Dollar Baby. It's a fine movie that stands above most of what's at the box office, but I know Eastwood can do better.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Jackass Number 2

Rating: B

Johnny Knoxville and his band of merry stoners are back for another installment of the grossout humor that we've all come to know and love. Well, at least, the men have grown to know and love. A lot of folks know that Jackass 2 will not win an Oscar, Golden Globe, or any other award out there. It's not made for that. This movie is just a bunch of guys being stupid, doing stupid things, getting hurt, and you know what? For what it is, it's fantastic.

It's not as good as the first one. I know it seems wierd to analyze such a steaming pile of cinema, but here goes. It seems to me that most of the guys returning for the new movie just aren't into it as much as they were before. I don't know if it's that some of them, most notably Steve-O, Bam Margera, and Chris Pontius, all of which have had some mild success on TV, just don't care or what. The stunts range from just mildly amusing to I-Can't-Breathe-I'm-Laughing-Too-Hard. Not something you'd want to see twice, but it's worth seeing. On more thing, guys, leave your women at home. They just don't understand.


Rating: B-

As hard as he tries, Jason Statham just can't carry a movie on his own. At least not a major one. He looks good, fights good, says all the right things, but he just can't get it done all the way.

Crank pulls no punches as it throws you right into the main storyline with no buildup whatsoever. Statham plays Chev Chelios (who came up with that name?), a hitman who has been poisoned with some mysterious drug called the "Bejing Cocktail". The only way he can stay alive and get his revenge is to keep his heart rate up. So bring on the violence, drugs, car chases, more violence, dismemberment, shootings, beatings, robbery, and sex. Chev gets some help from his doctor, played very well by a Dennis Hopper-esque Dwight Yoakam. A very sleepy Amy Smart plays Chev's girlfriend, Eve. The movie is billed as he has to proctect Eve, but that never really comes into play.

Crank takes some time to get used to. The camera work is erratic at best with constant freezing, jerking, and zooming in and out. It makes you wish you took some drugs yourself, mostly for seasickness. There is also a never before seen use of Google Earth to make the transitions between locations. Neat.

It's not a bad movie, nor is it a good one. There are some very funny moments, and Statham plays to them very well mostly in the sense that they are funny because it is Jason Statham thr tough guy that they are happening to. A lot of the time, the plot is so confusing as to who is who and who is on whose side that you just want to let go and ride the ride until the end and see who is left standing and who is left with which bodypart in tact. Rent this one and make sure not to eat beforehand.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Superman Returns

Rating: B-

I stuggled a good bit with this rating. During the first half of the movie, it was an A, but as the story dragged on, the rating dragged down. While the movie is long (2 1/2 hrs), when it's done, you are left with a somewhat hollow feeling.

The movie starts out with the premise that astronomers have found the remains of Krypton, Superman's home world, so the man of steel takes off for 5 years to go see for himself. While he's gone, life on Earth goes on. Lois (Kate Bosworth) gets engaged and has a son, who is now 5 years old (hmm), and the rest of the world gets on with thier lives like nothing ever happened. Lex Luther (Kevin Spacey - the only really big name in the flick) gets out of jail, marries an old rich lady and gets her money when she kicks off to finace his eeevvilllll plan to take over the world. We'll get to his performance in a minute.

Finally, Superman returns in one of the best action/special effect scenes in recent memory. Everyone is happy except Lois, who according to Jimmy Olsen, still carries a heavy heart for the man of steel. The awkward scenes between Supes and Lois are great. They really capture the emotion of a long lost love that is returning with all the passion that has been missing. Very nicely done. Brandon Routh captures the dorky Clark Kent of Christopher Reeve to the letter. He even looks like Reeve.

Spacey basically phones it in as Lex Luther. Sure, he's evil, got his stooges around him, has a plan to take over the world, and all that, but it never seems that he's just bored with it all. A lot of the tensions of the movie take their hold in the first 4 Superman, and if you're like me, it's been a while since you've seen them, so a lot is expected of you to remember. There's no back story, the movie just jumps right in, which is distracting.

As a movie on it's own, Superman Returns is not really all that bad. As an attempt to revive the Superman franchise, it falls flat. In a world of fantastic redos such as Batman Returns, the expectations for the Man of Steel were very high. Too bad that the movie didn't meet them. Will there be a sequel? Probably. Will people see it? Probably not as many as this time, which bodes bad for Superman.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

X3: The Last Stand

Rating: B

The Mutants are back and they're pissed off in the third and final(?) installment of the successful X-Men trilogy. There are many changes in this movie as compared to the other two, most notable is the lack of character development and the abundance of new blood to keep track of. It was mentioned in X2 that there are many mutants out there in the world, and in X3, we see a whole bunch of them. Joining the regular irregulars of Storm, Professor Xavier, Wolverine, Cyclops, Rogue, Magneto, Mystique, Pyro, and Iceman are Juggernaut (Gone in 60 Seconds' Vinnie Jones), Callisto, who has super speed and can sense mutants, Beast (Kelsey Grammer in all his blue fur glory), Angel (The Punisher's Ben Foster), and Multipleman. Some other mutants who were in the background get a promotion to the forefront are Kitty Pride and Colossus. Confused yet? That's not all. There are others that are mostly names only. One mutant conspiculously absent is Nightcrawler. Maybe there's a quotent of only 2 blue people in each movie. Jean Grey, who was very much dead at the end of X2, returns as the alter-ego personality Phoenix, a mutant of unlimited power as well as limited control over said powers.

The events of X3 happen 3 years after X2. The plot focuses on a drug company that has found a cure for the mutant "X" gene. The conflict starts there with which mutants would want to be cured to be like everyone else, and if the government will make the cure mandatory. Storm protests that mutants, "Are not a disease that can be cured, because nothing is wrong with us". Magneto sees the cure as a threat and declares war on the human race, and hilarity ensues.

The whiz bang special effects are great as expected for a 210 million dollar(!) budget. But the big showdown fights between certain mutants don't last as long as I would have liked. The big end battle is nicely done, but just doesn't have the same feel as the other two movies. Without giving too much away, I'll tell you to be prepared for many casualities on both sides. Magneto seems a lot more meaner this time around. Perhaps his funny looking helmet is on too tight. It supposedly leaves things open for a sequel, but personally, I will need a lot of convincing before I'll get excited about it. There is a Wolverine spinoff in the works, as well as a prequel involving Professor and Magneto as younger, friendlier folks.

Overall, I expected more from this film, but left only a little disappointed. I didn't like the portrayal of Juggernaut, nor did I like the intro of Beast. One more thing, stay for the end of the credits and you'll be rewarded with a short, but poingant scene that leaves more questions. If you're sharp, you'll connect this scene to one earlier in the movie. You really only get glimpes of Phoenix's power until the end battle, but even then, you're left wanting more. This movie just doesn't have the same feel of the other two, perhaps due to a different director. Still, it's worth seeing, it's the first major blockbuster this year (sorry MI:3).

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mission Impossible III

Rating: B

Tom Cruise takes a break from jumping on couches, muzzling Katie Holmes, and generally being a tabloid writer's dream to take on the bad dudes in the third installment of the popular Mission Impossible series.

This part not only holds it's own, but in ways, it's better than is predecessors. Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt has retired and married to Michelle Monaghan, a nurse who doesn't know anything about Ethan's agent work. An agent (Kerri Russell) gets captured by a arms dealer (played beautifully by Phillip Seymour Hoofman), so it's back in the field for Ethan to save the day. Fan favorite Ving Rhames is back as Luther Strickwell. Joining the fray this time around are Laurence Fishburne, Billy Crudup, Maggie Q, and one time James Bond frontrunner Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Action is the name of the game in this one. That is a good thing because there is absolutly no chemistry between Cruise and Monaghan. There is one especially excruciting rooftop scene that will leave you groaning and praying for something, anything, to blow up. None of missions match the first one's CIA scene, (it's even referenced by Rhames) but they are enjoyable and are easy to get lost in. The intensity kicks up a notch when Hoffman is on screen. His portrayal of a menancing arms dealer really cements his place as one of the best actors in our time.

Hopefully the tabloid funk that's on Cruise won't affect this box office too much, because this really isn't a bad movie. It's a great way to start off the summer movie season.