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Another Carol of Christmas

December 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Despite not having the best review copy I found Disney’s A Christmas Carol staring Jim Carry and Gary Oldmen both creepy and awe inspiring displaying what can be done with 3D these days. What I loved best were the amazing director’s insight to take your vantage point to new places like behind a door knob that would not be able to achieved with a video camera and the hand held feel of much of it, really brilliantly story boarded.

I liked how it followed closely to the book and most if not all of the talking seemed right out of the original text exposing a universal audience to a richer form of English then most Hollywood movies and Disney audiences which never hurts our word knowledge.

It was amazingly dark, both the color tones used, old style art, how wretchedly hideous Ebenezer, and Marley looked and the visual effects. The second ghost in particular goes out in a fashion I’d never seen before, it was not New Years or even the end of Christmas Day so why he dies and becomes a mummy does not make sense and only upstages the rather dull 3rd ghost a hard act to follow and really makes it hard to feel frightened a second time for a silent silhouette grim reaper.

The tomb scene and over the top next morning seemed to loose my emotional strings, they just did not feel very personal. I’m not sure if it is the 3D or story telling but that usually is the best part of the story for me but it was powerless for me this time around.

Also he goes and buys the biggest turkey to presumably send to Tiny Tim’s family but the father goes to work and never says thanks or mentions anything.

Over all a great portrayal of the book and a Christmas classic that shows us that giving more to others on this time is what Christmas should be about. Jim Carry did quadruple duty on this one but really only makes a presence with Scrooge and ghost of Christmas present.

In finding pics for this post I was amazed to see so many different advertising and many trying to be so dark feeling, it’s a kids and family Christmas story.

Categories: Movie Reviews

Ghost Town

February 1, 2009 1 comment

ghost-town-poster-2This is a fantastic movie! At first you say “not another Ghost movie”, but right away you see it opens up very different and keeps you guessing and hollering the whole time. Staring Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, Tea Leoni, the last two are great actors but I’d never heard of Ricky Gervais before but seems to have had a long career in writing/producing TV shows and a standup comedian, he really brings something new to the story, a role they might have casted Huge Grant in as a awkward Brit, but would not have been as funny and witty, as the big guy really plays both who he is to start and who he becomes so well, they are so opposite yet so him. Great movie, I’m not going to give away more of the plot, very worth watching, meaningful, light and one of those movies like “Stranger then Fiction” that do not get a lot of promotion but are well worth the time and well written and acted.

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Stranger than Fiction (2006)

December 6, 2006 Leave a comment

stranger-than-fiction-2006-poster-1-small.jpgThis is an interesting and simple movie with an overall well told storyline and ending. It also could have been called “more boring then real life” as it was a bit slow moving and you feel like Will Ferrell was on sleeping meds, perhaps to keep him form being hyper and getting naked. The whole time you feel that he is on his best behavior and making a sincere effort to play this drama roll, though I think it could have had more light moments interspersed after all he was acting with Dustin Hofmen ( Meet the Folkers), Emma Thompson (Junior) Queen Latifah (Bringing Down the House). They could have played on a whole number of things but they didn’t and the movie just has this flat vanilla flavor all the way through without any real highs and lows that draw the audience in to the characters lives. People have compared it to “Truman Show” but I would not go that far it lacks the draw power and emotion that that other film had.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, (World Trade Center, Confessions of a Dangerous mind) did a good job though her character is a bit splotchy and predictable but a good leading role for her and we’ll see what she get to do next. It is refreshing to see newer leads now and then and I think she was a good balance to Will’s boring role.

It’s a sweet story free from any obscene language or behavior, a sweet film to see on your day off or something. Well written and acted but no one really does a stand-out job, unless you consider Will Ferrell going nearly two hours with clothes on.

Categories: Movie Reviews

Borat (2006)

December 5, 2006 Leave a comment

borat.jpgThis is a crazy film and I do not really recommend it as it has many rather distasteful events in it that you are really better off not seeing. for example  two naked hairy guys wrestling on a bed (in a suggestive 69 no less) that even had off- color humored Conan O’Brian squirming as he admitted in an interview with the actor Sacha Baron Cohen.

The reason I screened it is the other day I was out for a walk and ran into one man and his family and he mentioned the film in light of my writings for XYZone on the countries where I live and travel and that coming from an outsider’s view of situations and events can be very interesting for locals to see through another’s eyes. Of course I do not do satire though sometimes I try to make light of events or tell things in a humorous way.

The film was well told and really gets you believing he is Kazakh or could be except that he is at least a foot taller and paler then anyone in Romania (where they filmed “his village”).

More then anything it shows the USA for real, you know “his village” and relationship with “his producer” is a skit but the real-life events and interactions with Americans really shows a light on many less then favorable attributes. You can find even funnier cuts that were to long for the film at YouTube without all the off-color stuff in the film.

It would have been a good little film if anyone else would have done it without all the distasteful parts as his character is kind of like Tom Hanks in “Terminal” simple and experiencing the US in a unique way via a documentary angle and real-life responses, it’s just that it has to have so much S.B. Cohen’s signature junk in it.

After all the eccentric, wild shock-and-awe antics and personal setbacks he does learn that he should not have been after a girl (Pamela Anderson) “with plastic chest” and it ends with a happy simple ending Borat style. Not as outrageous as I thought or trailers made it out to be showing more range from the actor then I thought he had before and even gets a bit drama-ish at times. But there really are better things to do with your time.

Learn from me, the cultural learning for make benefit of your time for the glorious nation of Heaven!

Having said that there is probably no one else who has put as much thought and devotion into a relatively unknown country as Kazakhstan then Cohen and showing their flag and music to the world stage, sure he makes things look ridiculous but you still foremost remember the country, you can’t help it. Even if the title “make glorious nation of Kazakhstan” is in jest it makes the world say a name and country you’d never say or think of otherwise.

Categories: Movie Reviews

Bandidas (2006)

December 3, 2006 Leave a comment

poster1_full.jpgThis was one lousy film. The story telling is so weak that it seems that the producers were just rushing though the story parts (bank robberies, helping their people) to get to the parts that just showcase the female actresses making the overall film very week.
And the acting, really after her last few films and talks of Oscar nominations you’d think Salma Hayek would do a little better but still she was fun to watch and nice to see her in a corset and a gun holster again as it has been far to long since Wild, Wild, West.

The idea that she can’t shoot a gun for beans but can throw knives with dead aim is rediculous.

Since they were not casting for Oscar bids I’d really rather have seen Salma and Jennifer Lopez go at it as two sultry Latin ladies. Penelope Cruz showed that not only she can’t act but she can’t be sultry either, despite wearing a top that would have made anyone else very hot on her it does not, not even wet. It goes nearly half way down her chest and you still don’t see cleavage. The idea of the girls hitting it off  and cosy by the campfire smells of female Brokeback Mountain but really useless for the story and just adding sexually were they could not with the storyline.
Steven Zahn does a rather good job and I’d wouldn’t have even recognized him if it weren’t for his unique voice, I imagine it was not to hard to decide to take or even beg the director for the roll, some of the best “perks of the job” that I’ve seen in a movie in a long time.

The Jayman verdict is: light entertainment, really too boring to bother renting, perhaps travel worthy if you do not have any where else to go if it is playing on a plane or bus.

Categories: Movie Reviews

Defending Your Life (1991) Movie

October 20, 2006 Leave a comment

200px-defending.jpgDefending Your Life; This is an older movie that I had never seen before, they had it so we looked at it and it was very witty and fun. Written, directed and acted by Albert Brooks about a man that dies in a traffic accident and has to appear before a hearing and review parts of his life before it is decided where he ends up in the after-life. unlike “Heaven can wait”, “ghost” etc he can not interfere with the world he’s left and it is up to his defence team to see if he gets to go to heaven or not. the story itself might be a bit predicable but the events and sub-plots i found interesting and fresh delivered by very funny and witty lines and chemistry of Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks), Bob Diamond (Rip Torn) and even Julia (Meryl Streep). Great cast and storyline. It’s not to common to find a well written script and inspiring story like this anymore.

Categories: Movie Reviews

Wedding Crashers (2005) comedy

March 26, 2006 Leave a comment

wedding_crashers_200w.jpgThis is a fun movie. I’m not really sure I’d recommend it but now that I’ve seen it I’ll review it and you/your home can decide on getting it or not. At least you’ll have been told. From looking at the acting line-up you can get an idea of what to expect but only an idea, it really is even funnier then that. It explores the life of two long time friends who are in their 30’s and still act like collage kids when it comes to the “wedding season”. They “crash” weddings of any race or religion till they finally meet their match and all their long preserved rules of crashing come crashing down on them.

A rather predictable storyline as these kind of comedies do but you are so busy laughing (or picking yourself off the floor as was the case with the guy sitting next to me) that you hardly care to notice. I found the suggestive gay elements unnecessary to the story but there seems hardy a film these days without one and this one was more bark the bite though you really feel sorry for the dude involved as there really is nothing he can do, but again just pointless. The quote “you reap what you sow” could really be true for these guys as they learn some of life’s simplest lessons the hard way. It is well casted but you get kind of bored seeing the same few guys (or various combinations) always acting like fools all the time.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn keep it flowing together and make a funny on-screen pair. Will Ferrow’s character is off the deep end as usual and glad he did not have a bigger part then he did in this film. Not a particularly memorable film but Christopher Walken puts in an interesting performance in a rather subdued but key role. Rachel McAdams shows her star power and hope she can get some better leads and that we’ll see more from her to come.

I imagine it would be good for killing time like traveling on a plane or some time when you got nothing else to do but not something very high on the list to show to bring home. Pure entertainment.    

Categories: Movie Reviews