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Movie Review: Where the Wild Things Are

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Where the Wild Things Are

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Directed By: Spike Jonze

Starring: Max Records, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O’Hara, James Gandolfini, Chris Cooper, Catherine Keener

Plot:

An adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world–a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler. [IMDB]

Pre-Review Editorial:

I read an actual review of Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are that stated the following:

Authentic though it may be, this movie will appeal to douchey hipsters. If you are upper-middle-class, liked I Heart Huckabees, have Buddy Holly glasses, listen to rap ironically, and/or believe yourself to be an undiscovered genius or otherwise tortured and unique person, this is right in your wheelhouse for Movie of the Year. [Film School Rejects]

Now, let me put on my horn rimmed glasses and get on with my douchy hipster review of Where the Wild Things Are.

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Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Mélanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz

Plot Synopsis:

Inglourious Basterds begins in German-occupied France, where Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.

Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as “The Basterds,” Raine’s squad joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own… [TrailerAddict]

Review:

Quentin Tarantino‘s films are event films.  Because he isn’t a “hired gun” director, Tarantino gets to take his time and make the movies he’s interested in making.  He’s one of the few directors who works this way, and the only current director with his own style (granted his style is a mish mash of influence) and his own stamp on a film.  You know when you’re watching a Quentin Tarantino movie.  With only 5 previous films under his belt, Inglourious Basterds is Tarantino‘s 6th film (if you count the Kill Bill films as one film), his first period film, his first war film, and his finest film since Pulp Fiction.

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Movie Review: District 9

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District 9

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Directed By: Neill Blomkamp

Starring: Sharlto Copley, Nathalie Boltt, William Allen Young

Plot Synopsis:

N/A.  Go in fresh on this one.

Review:

District 9 is the kick in the pants that this summer needed.  I absolutely loved it.  Finally an event film/special effects extravaganza that is entertaining, stunning to look at, action packed, and thought provoking.  In fact, District 9 makes all the other “Summer Event” movies look like a total joke.

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Movie Review: Transformers – Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

Directed By: Michael Bay

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Ramon Rodriguez

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen exists only to fuel Michael Bay‘s U. S. Military and Gigantic Explosion masturbatory fantasies.  It is an exercise in excess gone horribly wrong.  Maybe Michael Bay just wanted to create a Frat Boy Drinking Game movie, “Every time you see an explosion or cleavage, take a drink!” So, maybe he succeeded in what he set out to do.  However, Mr. Bay, I’ve cut you slack numerous times, but I would like my 2 AND A HALF HOURS of my life back.

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Movie Review: The Hurt Locker

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The Hurt Locker

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty

Plot Synopsis:

When a new sergeant, James, takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amidst violent conflict, he surprises his two subordinates, Sanborn and Eldridge by recklessly plunging them into a deadly game of urban combat. As the men struggle to control their wild new leader, the city explodes into chaos, and James’ true character reveals itself in a way that will change each man forever. [Uncredited, WorstPreviews.com]

Review:

Finally, we’re starting to hit the real films of 2009.  This summer has been plagued by pretty lousy “event” films.  Most of the pretty horrible and underwhelming.  While I enjoyed G. I. Joe for what it was, The Hurt Locker arrives and shows us what a real war movie is.  Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Point Break) gives us her best work to date with The Hurt Locker, bringing us the best modern warfare film since 2001′s Black Hawk Down.

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Movie Review: G. I. Joe

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G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Directed By: Stephen Sommers

Starring: Channing Tatum, Rachel Nichols, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christopher Eccleston, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Park

Plot Synopsis:

Director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Van Helsing) adapts the beloved Hasbro G.I. Joe toy line with this Paramount Pictures production that pits the Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity against the evil forces of the organization known as Cobra. [Jeremy Wheeler, All Movie Guide]

Review:

No movie this summer has been made fun of pre-release like Stephen Sommers‘ take on G. I. Joe.  The marketing was horrible.  The scenes we saw early were unimpressive.  And the characters looked stupid, uninspired and goofy.  Meanwhile, the Transformers 2 marketing seemed to showcase a better take on cartoons and toys from the 80s, and we all know how Transformers 2 failed on all levels as a film (yet raked in tons of brainless cash).  So, is G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra better than this summers earlier disappointments? Yes!

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Movie Review: Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Directed By: McG

Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Michael Ironside, Helena Bonham Carter

Plot Synopsis:

Set in post-apocalyptic 2018, John Connor (Christian Bale) is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet’s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind. [Warner Bros. Pictures]

Review:

Let me rant for a second.  McG is a stupid name for a director.  I don’t care if it’s your Frat Boy nickname or whatever.  If you want to be taken seriously as an artist, ditch the first name only names.  Let alone a name with no vowels.  The Rock changed his name back to Dwayne Johnson for movies.  Rappers-turned-actors are my pet peeve.  Whenever I see names like Common or 50 Cent appear in credits, I roll my eyes.  Now we have a McG film.  Dude, are you a rapper, a frat boy or a director?

Stupid names or not, Terminator Salvation delivers on action, great effects and sound, but is sorely lacking in a compelling lead performance or a compelling plot.  For the most part, this is a fun, brainless thrill ride with some fun action sequences.  It’s a good looking film and I don’t doubt all the money is on the screen.  Terminator Salvation looks great and sounds great on the big screen.  Just don’t prepare to get your mind blown.  While I don’t think it’s as bad as most critics are saying (and most are being extremely unfair), this isn’t the best movie of the summer.

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Movie Review: Star Trek

Star Trek

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Directed By: J.J. Abrams

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Eric Bana, Leonard Nimoy

Plot Synopsis:

The greatest adventure of all time begins with Star Trek, the incredible story of a young crew’s maiden voyage onboard the most advanced starship ever created: the U.S.S. Enterprise. On a journey filled with action, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits must find a way to stop an evil being whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind.The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals. One, James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), is a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy. The other, Spock (Zachary Quinto), was raised in a logic-based society that rejects all emotion. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before! [Paramount]

Review:

Star Trek has been something I’ve known my whole life.  At a very young age, I used to watch the original episodes with my grandpa whenever I visited (which was often since we lived next door).  In 1987, when I was 9 years old, my Dad and I got hooked on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  This was a fond Dad/Son time we’d share, staying up late to catch the new TNG episode after the late night news (since it began in syndication).  I’ve seen/own every Star Trek film (the good and the bad) and while I’ve never considered myself a Trekkie/Trekker (or whatever), I’ve always considered myself a fan of the Star Trek Universe (with the exception of the spin-off shows: Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise).

With all that said, J. J. Abrams Star Trek is the shot of Romulan Ale the Star Trek Universe needed after 2 lack luster feature films in the Star Trek franchise.

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Movie Review: Bolt

Bolt

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Directed By: Byron Howard and Chris Williams

Written By: Dan Fogelman and Chris Williams

Starring: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Malcolm McDowell

Plot Synopsis:

Bolt tells the story a dog who plays a heroic pup in a hit TV show and has some trouble recognising that he is in fact not possessed of extraordinary powers beyond the ability to lick his own nether regions. This becomes something of a hindrance when he is accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York City. From there he has to make his way home with only the help of a manky old cat and an overweight hamster in a plastic ball. John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman and Mark Walton provide voices. (Trailer Addict)

Review:

Disney Animation has been in a bit of a slump recently.  Their last non-Pixar Computer Animated Chicken Little was a turd, and other than direct to DVD sequels to their classics we haven’t seen much.  So, much to my surprise, along comes Bolt.  This is the first non-Pixar movie that is up to par in quality with The Incredibles; a fun, action packed and funny little movie.  Of course, Bolt was executive produced by Pixar’s John Lasseter.  So Bolt can be a distant cousin of a Pixar movie.

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Movie Review: Watchmen

Watchmen

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Directed By: Zack Snyder

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Matthew Goode

Plot Synopsis:

A complex, multi-layered mystery adventure, Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes.

As he reconnects with his former crime-fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching the watchmen? (Trailer Addict)

Review:

With the sort of reputation and scope of Alan Moore‘s epic graphic novel, Watchmen, one can imagine the strong reaction and expectation fans have given Zack Snyder‘s film adaptation.  In fact, there was such hype that I believe there was no way Zack Snyder could deliver on everyone’s expectations with the film version of Watchmen.  Just look at the reviews.  Main criticisms included: confusing plot, strange song selection for key scenes, superhero sex and a blue penis.  Granted, this is a complex plot.  But song choice, sex and a blue penis are not what I was focused on.  Critics are a strange breed.

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