Friday, October 28, 2011

Puss In Boots (Imax 3-D)

Awwww. This is just about perfect- the animation, the story, the beloved Puss in Boots from Shrek.  It's a "before Puss was in Shrek" background story. And it is great. Just great. I only had 10 people in the audience with me, and they didn't laugh out loud- but they didn't look like the types to get the jokes that were from such movies as Fight Club, etc. If you love cats, you'll get the same visceral reaction to an animated cat as you would from a real one. Antonio Banderas is the voice of Puss and Zack Galifianakis is the voice of Humpty Dumpty.  Salma Hayak provides the sultry voice of Kitty Softpaws. The first half is slower than the second, and the second half is far funnier. Stay for the animated credits- short but fun.  I can't imagine someone giving this film a bad review- even if they are cat haters! I really enjoyed the IMAX 3D. If you get the chance to see it that way, do so. I give it 4 stars because on a rainy, cold and miserable Seattle day, it is just what you need to cheer up!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


You can always tell it's a remake when the woman behind you SINGS EVERY LAST NOTE of EVERY SONG.  How annoying is that? And yes, it's quite a remake- it's full of updated dancing moves and slutty girls, etc. Very modern of them. Dennis Quaid is the preacher dad and Julianne Hough is the preacher's daughter (with what looks like some solid restalyne in the upper lip area making her a little duck-like to watch).  The problem isn't the acting, even if Julianne Hough seems limited to acting with her eyes and not that frozen mouth. The problem is that the story is hugely dated. And there is no way to update it short of putting the entire mess in a Southern Baptist Day Camp where, in some way, dancing might be forbidden. But no, it's still in Bomont Georgia. The music is catchy, the acting is passable, the script is okay and very unoriginal- but  the problem is the novelty has worn off. It really was better in the original. So, spend your money if you will, but you've been forewarned. It is just not good enough to stand up to the original.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Real Steel

The title is actually a description of what you need to put in your undies from sitting for 127 minutes in order to watch a movie that, from the first frame, you know how it will end. But end it will. What happens in those 127 minutes? Okay- if you are a 10 year old boy- EVERYTHING- robots boxing, a kid reunites with his long lost dad and becomes his own hero, a pretty girl wears Daisy Duke shorts and no bra at times, and fighting- lots of fighting!  If you are an adult who tripped over your kid's transformers until your feet bled, it's a pleasant, winsome and at times funny movie. It is also the most blatant piece of commercial product placement I have EVER seen! If you get bored, just play "count the products".The final scene takes place in the Bing arena, sponsored by XBOX 720, Pepsi, redbull or whatever the kid is drinking with enough caffeine to kill him, and numerous other products. But you can see that the producers figured this movie might be a dicey sell to the audience, and so they had to sell out while they could. Look, I liked it. I found the kid to be a great little actor. Hugh Jackman acts like he is sleep walking through the mugging machine, and Evangeline Lilly acts like the patient girl who knows Jackman really has a heart of gold-yada. OF COURSE it is lame and you've seen it a thousand times before- it's generic and sappy in parts. But the kid- the kid is great.Oh- and the robot, too. We humans think that anything else that has eyes also can see the world as we do, even if it a newt or a muppet. The robot has a real relationship with the kid-I blame it on the eyes- at least as far as the kid is concerned. So, you've been forewarned. Reread this two or three times and be sure you are signing up for the right movie.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Ides of March

Let's have a quiz- how many ways can you spell CLICHE? Well, there's THAT way and then there is "Ides of March".  It's supposed to be a story of political intrigue and how dirty politics are. But it starts out with every liberal anti-Republican cliche that can be said- but lo and behold, then it skippitydoodahs right on out of there so that George Clooney can show you that Democrats can be just as bad. What a surprise- who knew? Clooney, a die hard liberal despite his villa in Lake Como, carbon footprint like Sasquatch and fake teeth, has remade a mishmash of The Candidate, True Colors, Murder at 1600, Power and probably almost every other political movie except Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Look, I love George Clooney in the abstract- he is funny and dashing and doesn't pretend to be interested in home and hearth- fine by me. But this film is carried totally  by the cast because it is a great cast. There is nothing new- not a damn thing. Not even the interpretation. All politicians use the public- because all politicians want to be elected and they don't CARE- repeat after me- they DO NOT CARE- they are saying what YOU want to hear. They might trick themselves into thinking they believe it UNLESS their numbers come in poorly. If you don't understand that about politics, you might be mad at Clooney for picking Democrats to be the focus of the movie rather than the opposition to Democrats (of any ilk).  I don't care one way or the other- he's a multi multi millionaire and I'm not - and that's my problem not his (if it IS a problem). But to make a contrived film that's as predictable as Biden and McCain being best friends, well, jeezuz louisus, George- gimme a break. Any critic who calls this movie profound is an idiot. Okay- here's something- the lighting was fantastic. Kudos to the set designer, too.  Enjoy the handsomeness (excluding Giamatti and Hoffman) because that is all you are getting. It's called the Ides of March and as much as you are hoping for it, no one gets stabbed 23 times. Now THAT would have been a movie!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


This is sort of about the Oakland A's- and their turn around based on a mathematical formula for hiring players. It stars Brad Pitt- and really, it only stars Brad Pitt- as the general manager, Billy Bean, who used that formula and went on to break some long standing records for wins. The plot is simple. But it is really well written and is dialogue driven. It has the least amount of sports footage that I've ever seen in a sports movie. It's like a more intelligent Jerry Maguire-but  no real romance, no sex, not much cursing and lots of snappy talk. And it is Brad Pitt who carries the entire film. Jonah Hill was cast as the nebbishy apprentice who keeps the stats and knows the theory- but he is, in my opinion, woefully miscast. He looks every bit like a middle-aged lesbian and nothing like a guy who might be a baseball nerd. The farther you get into the film, the more effeminate he looks. I am not at all sure that is what this movie needed. In fact, Pitt is so likeable and so real in this that he almost needed no one else in the cast. I'm not a huge Pitt fan, but I really respect what he has done in this film. It could easily have been one of the worst movies of the year and instead comes through as one of the best.