The Med City Movie Guy has moved to the Post-Bulletin Center Stage BLOG. Bookmark it for local movie talk.
The Med City Movie Guy has moved to the Post-Bulletin Center Stage BLOG. Bookmark it for local movie talk.
With the exception of "Office Space," I am not sure any film has ever accurately represented the I.T. world -- as the list below clearly demonstrates. This list several years old -- harvested from old BBS posts and emails (does anyone remember CompuServe?) -- but some of these are timeless gems:
Things computers can do in movies
Hollywood Video has now left Rochester and except for a kiosk presence, Blockbuster, too. In there place are the likes of Netflix and Redbox. Some lament not having a brick and mortar shop to browse, others like the cost, convenience, and selection of online or self-serv access.
What say you?
When you're not getting your cinema fix in the theater, how do you access movies? Let me know and maybe I'll include your comments in an upcoming column.
(In the mean time, recall my Kit Kittredge: An American Girl rave)
It’s a Fantastic Voyage of the psyche in Inception, the new film from The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan that stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a dream sharer who can infiltrate people’s minds and plant ideas while they sleep.
Dominic Cobb (DiCaprio) is an expert in subconscious security and is routinely hired to break into executives’ minds and steal trade secrets. It’s the business of corporate espionage and business is good. But it’s cost Cobb his marriage and children; maybe even more.
This time, he’s not hired for an extraction, but rather for an “inception,” the implantation of a thought to influence the son of his boss’s corporate rival. Cobb puts together a team that includes extraction veterans and a young grad student (Ellen Page) to penetrate several layers of the corporate scion’s reality – essentially orchestrating a complex dream within a dream scenario to gain the trust necessary to deeply implant the suggestion. Multiple-level dream sharing is not without risk and Cobb has some secrets of his own that he needs to suppress, not the least of which is the truth behind his wife’s death.
To say Inception is at its core a “heist” film – a Mission Impossible-type caper – is oversimplification. It is that, but it is also one of the most tightly woven stories of all time. Indeed, the plot’s intricacies are only later truly appreciated and after considerable thought. The levels of irreality that coexist are staggering and Nolan (who penned the film, as well) does a great job of entertaining us without confusing us.
All of that is on Leonardo DiCaprio who delivers an as Oscar-worthy performance here as he did earlier this year in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. Ellen Page, conversely, does little more than bring her demographic into the theaters. Both take a backseat to the special effects, which are at times mind-boggling.
Inception is an intensely riveting and intellectually satisfying psychological thriller. That’s either my objective opinion or something Warner Brother planted last night. Either way, this is one of the year’s must-sees.
Oscar-winner Adrien Brody and film legend Laurence Fishburne star in the new sci-fi action adventure Predators, a sequel to the 1987 original that spawned two governors. Memo to election judges this November: add the write-ins for Morpheus to the Fishburne tally.
Eight humans, each killers hardened in their own way – military types, underworld enforcers, a death row inmate -- have mysteriously parachuted to a strange jungle. It’s not immediately obvious, but these human “predators” have themselves become prey on an alien game preserve planet. Together they must first overcome their distrust for each other then, using their own heinous acumen, battle this new more advanced breed of predators who’ve honed their skills after centuries of hunting humans.
Director Robert Rodriguez, who gave us coarse classics like El Mariachi and From Dusk Till Dawn as well as the Spy Kids trilogy, does a respectable job with the “Predator” franchise that suffered a few setbacks with the disappointing (to fans, anyway) AVP films.
While not technically a remake, the crux of the film is similar and precisely what Ernest Hemingway penned almost a century ago, “there is no hunting like the hunting of man.” Since then, of course, many screenwriters have said the same thing. Films like The Naked Prey, The Most Dangerous Game, and this one can be counted-on for adrenaline-filled action that is contagious and riveting.
Brody, star of the 2002 drama The Pianist, is an unlikely action hero, but so was Liam Neeson in Taken.” Both surprised me. Rodriguez admitted he wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger and failing that wanted to cast a kinder, gentler, and much more complicated leader. Brody is that, however, the supporting cast is less remarkable with the exception of veteran Laurence Fishburne who always delights. TV’s Topher Grace (‘That '70s Show’), who has lucked-out with minor roles in major films like Traffic and Ocean's Eleven, here leaves us wondering for much too long, why, as a physician, he’s among the no-accounts.
Though cinematography is something often overlooked in the genre, Predators capitalizes on shots filmed in a Hawaiian rainforest with panoramic shots that are at times actually stunning. But let’s be honest, that’s not the draw. This one’s all about the action, and there’s plenty of it and it’s engaging almost immediately. Yes, there’s some gore -- someone is separated from their spine and in the final battle royal there’s green blood everywhere (they’re, y’know, aliens) – still, far less than I expected.
Predators is not for everyone, but sci-fi and action film fans won’t be let down.
2 1/2 Honks
MPAA Rating: R for strong creature violence and gore, and pervasive language.
Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and comedian Carlos Mencia ("Mind of Mencia") star in the comedy Our Family Wedding which comes to DVD on July 13th. To share the fun, Fox Searchlight Pictures has sent The Med City Movie Guy two copies. You can win one of them.
Start by answering this question:
One of Forest Whitaker’s earliest roles was as a hustler in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film, The Color of Money which starred Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. In that film, Cruise used a high-end pool cue. What was the brand/signature of that cue?
I’ll pick two names from all the correct answers next Saturday, July 17th. Email your response (and name and address) to themedcitymovieguy@yahoo (dot) com by Midnight, Friday night.
In the new sci-fi/fantasy The Last Airbender, a young boy wrestles with the responsibilities that come with being an “Avatar” capable of controlling all four elements: air, water, earth, and fire.
Four nations exist -- the Air Nomads, the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, and the Fire Nation -- each with their own “benders” who can manipulate and control that element. In the entire world, however, only one person can dominate all four elements: an Avatar; and it is the Avatar’s duty to facilitate peace between the nations, three of which are perennially under attack from the Fire Lord. These days, things are even more chaotic than normal as the current Avatar is nowhere to be found.
Frightened by the awesome powers he was only learning to control, the reincarnated Avatar Aang (Noah Ringer) ran away when he was just a boy 100 years ago. Frozen since then, but now "defrosted," he must first complete his training then suppress the Fire Nation’s incursion.
Remarkably, The Last Airbender, did well in its opening weekend (though it was predictably bested by the third Twilight installment, Eclipse). That says more about the sheer number of pre-teen diehard fans of the similarly-titled Nickelodeon anime series on which this is based than it does the preposterous plot that I found as uninteresting as it was confusing.
In fact, this was one of the most unwatchable movies I have ever endured. As evidence, I present my writer’s notebook. You see, the fewer notes I jot during a film, the more engaged, or amazed, I am. Conversely, the worse a film is, the more I tend to scribble. For average ones, scribed commentary along the lines of “Malkovich is a delicious villain” or, “the alien drinks bottled water” is pretty typical. For the real bad movies, my notes are numerous and tend to be more ridiculing than pointed. For this one, I penned things like, “I’ve seen better acting in a grade school production of ‘Glengarry Glen Ross,’” “The best defense against the water bender is a good paper towel” and something I am still trying to figure out: “How about a Civil War-era prosthetic leg.”
What the film lacks in story and acting, it overcompensates for with special effects. Unfortunately, so much of the film is green-screened, that it takes on an eerie fake feel that further distances us. The 3D option did not enhance my viewing pleasure either, however, completely opaque glasses might have made it more tolerable.
This one takes two spots on my list of the ten worst films.
MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action violence and a very cool tattoo that no 12-year-old can get in the State of Minnesota as of July 1st
... for more reviews and movie talk, visit themedcitymovieguy.com
Theirs was the coach's only championship team and his uplifting words have buoyed them through adulthood, so on the occasion of his death, the team reassembles, this time with their families, at the same cottage on Amoskeag Lake where they celebrated their victory 30 years ago.
A lot has changed — Lenny (Sandler) is a big-time Hollywood agent with spoiled kids, Eric (Kevin James) has fallen on hard times, Kurt (Chris Rock) is an unfulfilled house-husband, Marcus (David Spade) is still single and Rob (Rob Schneider) is in a rather unconventional relationship.
But one thing hasn't changed. Locals (Colin Quinn, Tim Meadows, Steve Buscemi, et al.) still claim Lenny's winning shot was not legitimate. With just one weekend together, they manage to mend all of their relationships, straighten out the kids, and right things with the town yokels.
Director Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore, Saving Silverman) does the impossible, turning a plot as thin as it is predictable (penned by Sandler) into an extremely watchable movie thanks to pratfalls like James' rope-swinging fiasco and sassy dialog from Spade (who, at one point, call's Schneider's vintage wife "The St. Pauli Grandma").
That's OK. Not every film has to be a Citizen Kane. In fact, summer fun is more often synonymous with guilty pleasures like Stripes or Smokey and the Bandit than with loftier titles like Sophie's Choice or Lawrence of Arabia. That said, Grown Ups has nothing to apologize for.
There's not a lot to brag about, either. For one thing, the soundtrack comes off as an afterthought. Great selections, every one of them (Triumph, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, Bob Seger) but they serve only as awkward segues, not mood setters.
Worse is that the cast is far from maximized. David Spade merely plays himself (to be fair, cracking wise is his milieu). Kevin James is "Paul Blart Goes to Camp" (though "Honeymooners" fans might detect a homage to episode No. 39). Maya Rudolph, one of the funniest SNL alums, is still looking for a showcase. Rob Schneider is always a treat, but except for his melodramatic rendition of "Ave Maria" brings nothing new.
The bottom line: Never put comedians in an ensemble; there just isn't enough room for them all to spread their wings.
Still, few movies have kept me laughing so hard throughout that I forgot how unremarkable the storyline actually was.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude material, including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity (David Spade's not Kevin James' which is why it's PG-13 and not NC-17).
(July 5, 2010 NOTE: In retrospect, I may have been overly generous having come away from some extremely disappointing comedies)
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