Thursday, July 28, 2011

Source Code

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Source Code - 4 out of 5

Mix in a little bit of Groundhog's Day with some of The Matrix and you have yourself Source Code. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the young soldier Colter Stevens who wakes up on a train to Chicago only
to discover he's in another person's body. True horror finds him as the train becomes a target in a terrorist attack but Stevens wakes up to find himself in a mysterious pod after everything goes boom. He soon learns that he is a part of military experiment involving a mysterious device called the source code that allows Stevens to return to the scene of the terrorist attack for 8 minutes at a time in order to discover the attacker's identify--all in order to prevent a future attack. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I only compare it to Groundhog's Day because Gyllenhaal is reliving the same moment--this movie is NOT a comedy.

"We'll be fine..."

"Okay, maybe not."

When I first saw the film's trailer, I wrote it off thinking it would be weak but after sitting through it, I was quite shocked. The story is tight and the film is put together so well that there is never a dull moment. Source Code not only delivers a unique story but is also able to keep you glued to the
action unfolding without resorting to cheap twists and turns in the plot. While the mystery of the government installation and the project called source code turned out to be something entirely different than I expected, the film keeps these surprises believable and stays away from the cliche Shyamalanian twist. Finally, Gyllenhaal's skill makes the character of Stevens real and you start to feel for him as he's forced to go through this rigorous test of endurance as he must relieve the same 8 minutes over and over and over again.

Source Code turned out to be one of those movies that pleasantly surprised me. Going into it, my hopes were not high but the DVD practically jumped out of my player, kicked me in the nuts and yelled at me for doubting it.

"Oh, shiny thing!"

Season of the Witch

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Season of the Witch - 3 out of 5

A couple of deserting knights are asked (well, forced) to transport a suspected witch, who is believed to be the cause of the Black Plague, to a sacred monastery. After leaving the Teutonic Knights, these two come across a Cardinal (played by Christopher Lee) stricken with the disease
and are coerced to him a little favor. Mainly save the country-side from the pestilence. My first question about this film is this: Is Nic Cage only doing movies now that have something to do with Hell, evil beings and the devil? I half expected his head to burst into flames and start dealing out justice from his hell-forged chopper. That being said, Season of the Witch isn't a half bad film. It will definitely keep you entertain despite the fact that neither Cage and his partner knight played by Ron Perlman have European accents. If you're able to ignore that, you won't walk away totally disappointed from the film. Hell, the movie actually does a decent job of giving the appearance of the 14th century.

"Whoa, check it out, two dogs doing it!"


That is until the final 10 minutes of the film...

For the most part, the movie has some great special effects and the film's supernatural aspect is
toned down and seems pretty real. Granted it's still out there with the whole witch aspect but the story keeps it at a more down to earth level--until the last reel of the film, then all hell breaks loose--literally. At this point, Cage and Perlman must do battle with an evil spirit that seems to take the form of shitty CG. Everything until this point in the movie is adequate. The action is passable. Perlman isn't as good as he could be but he's not terrible. Christopher Lee's small role is interesting. The story is okay and Cage's acting isn't the usual annoyance that comes off as aided by cocaine. The movie isn't the best but it's not so bad that you'll regret the dollar you spent to get it from Redbox. However, if you want to see a really good film that involves the Black Death, I suggest you check out Sean Bean in...wait for it...Black Death.

"I am Death. Vengeance is mine!!!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sucker Punch

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Sucker Punch - 5 out of 5

When this movie came out in theaters, I proudly went to see it in an IMAX
theater and walked out extremely pleased. However, as I spoke to friends and read reviews of the movie, I discovered the audience was heavily polarized. People either loved it or hated it and I found no one going in-between. Even when I took my girlfriend to see it a second time in the theater (believe it or not, she wanted to see it) we walked out with different viewpoints. She hated it and I fell into the "love it" category. When I walked into the theater, I wanted to see highly stylized action set to kick-ass music featuring hot chicks in skimpy clothes and guess what? That's what Zack Snyder gave me. Thank you, Zack.

After the death of her mother and sister, Baby Doll (Emily Browning) is
sent to an institution by her sexually abusive stepfather and there she discovers other girls yearning to be free. Baby Doll escapes into a fantasy world where the institution becomes a brothel and she uses her sexually provocative dances to seemingly create a virtual world where the girls fight to get the tools they need for their escape. What follows in this film is a visual orgy of style, music and violence. Zack Snyder packs in a feast of hot girls in high heels and thigh highs who are packing guns and then, as it to hit the overload button, Snyder delivers killer robots on a foreign planet, dragons and goblins as well as steam-powered Nazi zombies in what I like to dub, my geek wet dream!

Many have criticized a lack of plot, lack of character development and the undeniable evidence that the film is basically a brought to life video game mashed together with a music video as the reasons to hate this film. While I won't deny the characters are flat and the plot is so razor thin it's barely there but like I stated before, I got what I wanted going into this film. I didn't expect intricate story telling or an Academy Award winner going into this. I didn't expect any pretentious actors hamming it up on the screen or complex metaphors being unfolded. No, I just wanted hot chicks shooting guns and I flipping got that!


Did I mention there's giant samurais in the movie? Because there is!


Now, I was going to glance over the fact that some have called the movie misogynistic in its portrayal of women. While that can be seen, the fact that nearly every male figure in this film is a
scum bag put in their place by a woman can almost nullify this argument. However, the girls are still show in barely there costumes. Does the film showcase ladies in a negative light or does the trapped girls fighting for their freedom offer a sense of empowerment? There is no definitive answer to that question because you take your own into this film and can justify which ever stance you take and have it backed up with evidence from the movie. For me, Sucker Punch is just entertaining and I take no social meaning from it. Now you see why I was just going to glance over this topic for the film? It took away all the funny from my blog.


I also forgot...there's a mech in it!


In the end, you'll either love or hate Sucker Punch. You'll either find it fun to sit through as you watch the tight editing, slick presentation and awesome special effects or you'll find it to be a ridiculous piece of shit with a face palm-inducing story and over-the-top delivery. I can almost guarantee that you won't walk out with a feeling of "meh."

Oh, yeah, one more thing...Jon Hamm is in it. That guy is awesome! Also, this movie has made me decide that I want to enter every room like this...


The Next Three Days

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Next Three Days - 2 out of 5

Okay, I think the true meaning of the title of this film is the fact once you start it, it may take the next three days to finish it. I'm not saying the movie is long but the parts that drag are so bad, I had to turn the film off and come back to it later because the movie started to feel like a chore. And this fact becomes such a compound fracture when you see the parts of the film that really works.

The Next Three Days stars the phone throwing Russell Crowe as a man who is trying to break his
wrongfully accused wife (Elizabeth Banks) out of prison. That's all there is to it. There's no twist or catch to the film, the synopsis is that simple. So, then, why couldn't the film work? Don't get me wrong, there are portions of this movie that kicks ass. Watching Crowe's character study the necessities he needs to break his wife out and the final escape is very action pack and gripping but the other hour and half of the film that doesn't involve this is so dreadfully boring. Then, to cap it off, Elizabeth Bank's character comes off as a snark little brat. Why is that important enough to mention in this review? Because I'm suppose to want Crowe's character to break his wife out of jail. How can I do that if the character is an annoying, self-righteous upstart? Right as the film starts, Banks and another character have a debate about women in the work place and Banks defends a woman's right to lead in the office as a boss. Okay, I agree with that but Banks talks down to the person she is debating and uses insults to get her point across. Way to go movie, right as the film starts, I already want to see this jerk rot in jail. Of course, it's not like Russel Crowe really brought much to his role either and he seems more bored than anything else.


"Are you not entertained?" No, not with this one, Crowe.


Finally, this movie adds elements that really do nothing for the story--they don't hinder it in anyway
but they sure don't help. The biggest example comes in the form of the cast--mainly Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde. First off, Wilde's character was almost pointless and the story could have existed without her but it's almost as if the filmmaker's felt the movie needed pointless sex appeal so they cried out, "Get me the hot chick from House." Finally, why was Liam Neeson in this movie? He plays a dude who escaped from prison and Crowe seeks him out for advice but he's in the movie for about 2 minutes. You think they could have got someone cheaper for such a small role. Honestly, if you blink for an irregular amount of time when Neeson's time in the film comes, you'll miss him.

The Next Three Days isn't terrible, in fact the last half hour is the best part of the film and about twenty minutes at the beginning is pretty good, too. However, there's too much padding going on to bring this film out needlessly to a two hours and change running time as well as pointless characters who literally bring nothing to the story, ends up causes this movie to be something that is better to be passed over than given a shot.

The Winning Season

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Winning Season - 3 out of 5

I'll be honest, there was only one reason I watched this movie: Sam Rockwell was in it. The guy is not only talented but he's one of my favorite actors and I'll pretty much see any film he's in. Also, I will never forgive the Academy for NOT nominating him for Moon.

The Winning Season sees Rockwell as a down-on-his luck former basketball coach who now sees
himself bussing tables at the local cookie-cutter chain restaurant. Heavy drinking with a side of smoking is the man's main course in life with a dessert of a broken marriage and a timid relationship with his daughter. Rockwell's character (Bill) sees a possible redemption come in the form of a high school principal and friend (played by Rob Corddry) who offers him a job as a girl's basketball coach.

For the most part, The Winning Season is your basic formulaic underdog sports comedy where the relationship between the coach and the players is difficult at
best but ends up becoming as strong as steel by the time the credits role. Even the estranged relationship between Bill and his daughter hits all the usual beats you would expect but with Rockwell playing the part with a combination of wit and charm, the movie become pretty damn entertaining. While the movie is never a laugh riot, the film does a great job of creating a balance of drama and comedy. Unfortunately, the story doesn't share the same balance as the relationship between Bill and his child will take a backseat for much of the movie but it's clear that the relationship between Bill and his team and his quest to build himself back up to his former glory is the true emphasis of the film. So, The Winning Season isn't the best sports film I've ever seen but the movie has enough heart that it's fun to watch. Also, Sam "Freaking" Rockwell is in it and that's enough reason for me.

The Adjustment Bureau

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Adjustment Bureau - 3 out of 5

There are those out there that believe that our fates--everything from the toothpaste we choose to the toilet paper we buy (and I'm sure other choices that go beyond the bathroom)--are decided and control by some unseen force. Some say it's god, some same it's a race of aliens and others say it could possible some sort of pile of spaghetti that has the ability to fly. Others, like myself, say all this is bullshit but it sure would make for an interesting story. And that's what we get with The Adjustment Bureau.

Matt Damon stars as a young senator who comes across a young lady and promptly falls head over heels in love with her. Then, by
chance, he discovers that there is a shadowy organization out to keep them apart because it was declared that these two being together wasn't part of "the plan." Well, as any guy will tell you, no man will let anything get in their way when there's a pair of legs they want to get in-between. Not a boyfriend or husband, not a restraining order and not even mystical beings who seem to control all actions. So, Damon decides to go against the plan and get the girl only to discover that the Bureau is larger than he anticipated.

Now, I know I only gave the film a 3 out of 5 but the movie was pretty interesting. The story is pretty damn original and the film was treated in such a way that you can interpret the Bureau as pretty much any supernatural source you can think of. However, the movie tends to drag and doesn't go into enough depth with what the Bureau is or capable of. I'm not saying that I wanted them to come out and say whether or not the Bureau was God, I'm just saying there was so many much more they could have done with them and the power they hold over humanity. With that being said, the treatment the film DID give the Bureau ended up creating one of the film's most interesting aspects.

You can tell by the way we walk that we are ladies men...

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the filmmakers allowed you, the viewer, to decide who t
he Bureau was. The argument could easily be made that the individual that's called The Chairman is God and all the agents of the Bureau are the angels. One, played terrifically by Terence Stamp, is nicknamed "The Hammer" because either he's good with the ladies or a real bad-ass but one could argue he is the best of the angels and is, effectively, the hammer of God. The agents also seem to possess super-human abilities that seem to give them control over the world around them--HOWEVER, one could argue that Bureau could be a alien race out to guide us along our journey as a species. Despite the fact they appear human, the agents constantly make references to "you humans" and they apparent manipulation of the world around them could have to do with pre-cognition (John Slattery's character comments to Matt Damon when he raised a tile in the floor to make him trip, "You didn't think I'd see that one coming") or maybe even telekinesis. The point I'm making it would be easy to just say, "Oh, they're angels and it's all about God" but the filmmakers provide enough doubt and other evidence to come up with other possibilities and that, my friends, I found particularly interesting.

Kneel before the Hammer.

The Adjustment Bureau was filled with potential that never quite gets pulled off. That's not to say it's a bad film, quite the contrary. The movie is definitely entertaining but it just never lives up to the promise that the film COULD be.

Taxidermia

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Taxidermia - 3 out of 5

If you want a true movie that can make you say, "What the fuck?!?" then the first place you need to look is beyond the good ole U.S. of A. Sure we can do some mind-bending films like Inception (made by a non-American) but for true, no-holds-barred, completely wild shit, you need to get a completely foreign flick and Taxidermia is about as messed up as it gets.

The films surrounds three generations of Hungarian men from World War II to present day. Our first generation is a lowly servant to a lieutenant who is forced to do menial tasks. This man often
escapes into fantasy to forget the horror he lives in--often these fantasies are sexual in nature--and after impregnating the lieutenant's wife, he's put to death and the child is raised by the commanding officer to become a competitive eater. Then, after having to endure gorging and vomiting from this man, we meet his son who is the polar opposite of him and his well-filled wife. A scrawny, emaciated man who looks more like a serial killer than anything else decides that he doesn't want to enter the glamorous world of competitive eating and becomes a taxidermist--all the while burdened with his grotesquely obese father that he must take care of. After having his fill of being belittled by his dear old pappy, this final generation has had enough and, after meeting a unique artist, decides that he is going to leave this world and make an impact by making himself a work of art.

That was the best way I could describe the film without giving away important plot details and
without giving you all the juice--and sometimes downright disgusting--moments of shock the film delivers. Now, it's quite possible this film was made for that purpose, to be shocking, but when all the technical aspects are done perfectly, it's hard to argue the movie was just trying to be lewd. The camera work, cinematography and the editing was all tight and the special effects used were very VERY realistic. Usually when a movie just wants to gross its audience out, these departments suffer. It's odd but despite the vomit, blood, graphic (very graphic) sex, disturbing subject matter like insinuated child molestation and parental abuse, this movie can be poetic if looked at it from a critical eye. It would be too easy to sit down and just label this vulgar and move on.

While Taxidermia is interesting--even with all the wild shit you'll see--however, I doubt I'll ever watch it again. Maybe to just show some friends so I'm not the only one to experience the film's unique brand of madness. The film is beautifully put together and the commentary the film makes about gluttony, sexual lust and family within its story could spark a discussion that could last a week--maybe longer. I wish I could sit here and say that the movie was just too weird for me to ever watch again but that's not the case--I also can't say it's because of the shock factor I won't watch it again but I've seen much more shocking films (I watched A Serbian Film for crying out loud). The reality is, I don't really know why I won't watch this movie again. The film is creative, unique and truly one of a kind but after viewing it once, I don't think I have much reason to re-visit it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Unknown

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Unknown - 2 out of 5

So, the story to Unknown opens with Liam Neeson and January Jones (it seems as a husband and wife combo) checking into a hotel in Germany. Neeson's character leaves, grabs a taxi and is in a horrible car accident that throws him into a coma. Once his memories start to come back, he seeks out his wife only to find that he's not the man he believes he is and must frantically work to uncover what has happen and who the hell he really is.

Nothing really new going on here. We've seen the movie where the main character acts like a complete looney trying to figure out why all the people he knows and loves no longer recognize him anymore. However, this movie tries to change it up a little bit by offering a different twist then we're used to but the problem is, the twist isn't that new either. The movie does a decent job of hiding the ending from you but once it happens, there's no "AH HA!" moment...just an "okay, that's what you're
going with, eh?" The only true saving grace of this film is Liam Neeson. As you would expect, he delivers like a boss but the boring story and lack of a decent backup in the acting department to submerge Neeson in only further hurts the package. Sure you have the beautiful January Jones (come on, that's a porn star's name, girl) but let's face it, she's just a pretty face. Her acting skills are kinda limited and weak. She's barely passable as Betty Draper in Mad Men and the reality is in this film, she could have been replaced by thousands of other girls with equally visually appealing faces but with acting skills to boot.

With a story that barely keeps your attention and Liam surrounded by either actors incapable of delivering or actors who just don't feel like it, Unknown proves to me that somethings are better left not known. (And there ya go, a shitty pun to end the review with.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Saw the Devil

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

I Saw the Devil - 4 out of 5

Revenge is a dish best served for the movies! I absolutely love revenge movies and when I saw the trailer for this film, I knew I had to see it. Have you seen the trailer? Well, here ya go...no need to thank me.



I Saw the Devil is about a sick man who ends up killing the wrong person. I don't recommend murder but don't murder the pregnant fiancee of a special agent. Byung-hun Lee plays the grief-stricken man out to get revenge on the sadistic man who, in one act of sickness, took everything he
loved. Lee, of course was Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra but more importantly, he was the Bad in the amazing The Good, the Bad, the Weird. If you haven't seen that one, you must! But with that being said, Lee is just brilliant and eerie as special agent Kim Soo-hyeon as he calmly, collectively and with a near evil streak that would make the film's bad guy (Kyung-chul) almost shit in his pants. Soo-hyeon won't be happy with an eye for an eye...he must make Kyung-chul suffer and know the pain he now holds.

Backing Lee up is Min-sik Choi (Oldboy) as the chaotic evil Kyung-chul. Watching both Lee and Choi on the screen is like seeing an absolutely perfect piece of art on display as each man seems to be different sides of the same coin. And to wrap all these great things together--the story, the beautiful visuals and camera work and amazing acting--is director Jee-woon Kim (director of The Good, the Bad, the Weird--seriously, see that movie). Kim artistically blends the deep low's of Soo-heyon's anguish with his lust for vengeance and makes them dance with Kyung-chul's madness and perversion.

Oh, and did I mention this movie gets brutal? Because it does!

I Saw the Devil is one of those amazingly executed revenge stories that is nearly perfect. The film tends to be on the long side and there are a few (very few) moments where the story kinda drags after some intense action sequences but is this enough to hurt the film? Absolutely not. Especially once you get to the awesome final moments of the movie!

Sharktopus

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Sharktopus - 2 out of 5

This Roger Corman produced, SyFy original movie about the U.S. Navy commissioning a research facility to make the ultimate killer is truly one of the best party movies I've seen—right up there with Birdemic: Shock and Terror and The Room. Sharktopus is one of those films that is great to just get together with a whole bunch of friends and laugh your collective backsides off. But with a title like Sharktopus, how could you NOT know that going into the movie.

Okay, so the movie is about a research facility that combines an octopus and a shark together to create not a hunter but a killer (at least that’s what Eric Roberts’ character says in the movie—that’s right, Eric Roberts is in this, so you know it’s going to be cheesy and awesome). But not only does this facility make a sharktopus, it creates comedy gold as the film is just terrible…and un-apologetically so.

The acting is atrocious and the lead “hero” of the film is a late 20’s, early 30’s douche bag who apparently is the “best in the business”—although it is never actually mentioned what business he’s best in. One could infer that he’s some kind of veteran, hired by the company to clean up their mistakes but he looks too young for that but it could also be assumed that he was hired out of college and just proved to be the best person the company ever had. However, this gets you to wondering, how good can this company be if they need a guy to hunt down their mistakes? But one thing is for certain with this guy—well, two things—Number 1) he can’t keep a shirt on but with the abs he sports, it’s no wonder (gotta balance out all the bikini babes somehow. Eric Roberts ain’t going to do it) and Number 2) the guy comes off as a total douche bag who, when the director yelled cut, was probably popping roofies into any of the bikini-clad extras who left their drinks unattended.

The true icing on the cake that is Sharktopus has to be the overwhelming amount of continuity errors. The creature (called S-11, because calling it a sharktopus on film would just be silly) and its size will change dramatically as the movie progresses—mostly getting bigger. In addition, the depths of the water will, like the sharktopus, get larger and deeper. Yes, there is a sequence where the shartopus walks (that’s right I said walks) into a rocky, waterfall area complete with small, almost large puddle-like sizes of water and, somehow, the sharktopus is able to completely submerge himself in these 2 feet deep (and that’s being generous with the guestimate) ponds—also, when you get to see the underwater shot of these dives, there is no shore in sight, no rocky outcroppings, so it appears to be the middle of the ocean. Way to go and reuse the shots from earlier in the film! That must have saved some cash!

And speaking of saving cash, they must have saved LOADS of bills when they commissioned whatever college dropout to do the CG effects. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it cost more money to get the girl who is actually billed in the credits as "bikini girl with bum" to be in this movie than it cost the production to pay the people who are responsible for bringing sharktopus to life. But then again, when you watch a SyFy original—especially one produced by Roger Corman and ESPECIALLY one called Sharktopus—do you really want good effects? Hell no! If you have good special effects in a shitty movie, you get Avatar.

So, if you feel like getting some pizzas, some cold beers, some buds and possibly some buddies as well (get it, that was a bad weed joke), try throwing in Sharktopus into that recipe as well and I think you’ll find a lot of laughs to be had.

Cedar Rapids

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Cedar Rapids - 4 out 5

Who would have thought that a movie about an insurance convention would be funny? Certainly not I, in case you were wondering. Cedar Rapids stars Ed Helms as a young, slightly—okay, VERY—awkward insurance salesmen named Tim Lippe who is forced to take the place of another rep who dies while engaging in autoerotic asphyxiation. His boss, played hilariously by Stephen Root, all but demands that Helms’ character win, for a fourth year in a row, the coveted insurance "Two Diamonds" award.

The film becomes your typical fish out of water story (although many of these stories don’t involve insurance salesmen, so how typical can it be?) when Lippe meets with some colorful characters that shatters his world. You’ve got Isiah Whitlock Jr. as the dry talking Ronald Wilkes and John C. Reilly as the in-your-face, wild guy type that Reilly can play so well. And the final partner in this cavalcade of characters is Anne Heche as the over-sexed harlot of the group. However, Reilly’s character also comes off as over-sexed so maybe she’s basically just the female version of that character. Either or, at least she's not acting crazy or claiming she's talking to God or aliens like she's done in the past. Of course, it goes without saying that Lippe isn’t use to all this and he’s quickly thrown into a world of prostitutes (played by Maeby from Arrested Development), drugs and booze. Who knew insurance salesman could party so hard?

From the get go, Cedar Rapids has the makings of one of those boring indie comedies that puts more emphasis in the soundtrack that surrounds the typical boring and depressed lead character but instead goes with great, humorous characters (especially Ed Helms who, in this movie, has shown me he may have what it takes to follow in his buddy Steven Carrell’s footsteps as a potential leading man) and jokes that will range from the incredibly witty (like Isiah Whitlock Jr. referencing The Wire) to the downright insane. While the film may never get to the point you’ll bust your gut laughing, the emotion placed in and the perfect balance the film brings in the form of story, character and wit, Cedar Rapids proves to be an enjoyable movie.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - 4 out of 5

I really dig seeing what people in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and even the 70’s thought the future would be. Hell, even in the 80’s their idea of what the future would be is cool to look at. Some movies from that era predicted flying cars by the year 2009 and that in 1997, the entire city of New York would be a prison colony—which brings me to the coolest thing about what the past thought the future would be and that’s how it's presented in movie form. With the advancement of modern technology and filmmaking techniques, our films can bring to life the “world of tomorrow” that was envisioned back in the days of the World’s Fair. Although it’s kind of amusing that we have the technology to create the science fiction of what people believed would now be science fact.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is basically a blended cocktail of a bunch of pulp fiction stories, comic books, old cartoons and “What ifs” from the past set in a alternated 1939 where a fighter pilot hero called Sky Captain must uncover the mystery of some destructive robots terrorizing the world. The story is incredibly simple (and that’s fine) but the true beauty of this film lies in the presentation. Incredibly and absolutely visually appealing, as the film is made to look like an old film serial (kinda fitting with the story). While the movie lacks in the action department, the look the film delivers on the screen really creates a feast for the old eyeballs.

The only real downside to the film is the casting of Gwyneth Paltrow as the reporter Polly Perkins. She’s basically Sky Captain’s Lois Lane. I’ve never been a fan of Paltrow and every role I see her in, she plays the same person but then again, this is seen in nearly every starring role actor. Isn’t that right, Tom Cruise and John Travolta? When the film first starts, she tries to do a sassy, fast-talking reporter type (basically, what was considered acting when the talkies first began) but quickly gives this up in the first five minutes. But can you blame her, she was actually trying to act—it took a lot out of her.

However, old Gwyneth's generic acting is quickly forgotten when she’s backed up by Jude Law as Sky Captain and the very talented Giovanni Ribisi is around playing the Captain’s right-hand man; Dex. Also, deceased actor Laurence Olivier makes an appearance despite the handicap of being dead. That's right, modern technology was able to take archive footage and make him act again. I bet they never though they would see that at the World's Fair! Add that to the beautiful visuals and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is one really entertaining film that I wished I saw in the theaters and didn’t put off until now to see. But that’s what I get for listening to my old roommate who told me it sucked. I should have known because he thinks the Transporter movies are genius.