Thursday, February 19, 2009


Not real gung ho about the Academy Awards this year, only a handful of films & performances I liked are up for trophies, but since I've been asked here's what
I think/hope will happen (Sometimes I just can't separate what I want from what
I predict!)
BEST PICTURE : I simply can't pick the odds on favorite when "The CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON" was so vastly superior to the other nominees. A part of me actually believes that 'BB' is more the type of film the Academy feels is 'Best Picture' worthy than the low budget/amateurish 'Slumdog', so my prediction & my hope is for
BEST ACTOR : SEAN PENN. It's as simply as this - he isn't a gay man, just he played this part without a hint of hetero in him - the competition played a steroid abusing freak, which is what the actor is in real life. Should be no contest. Again predicting who I want - SEAN PENN.
BEST ACTRESS : I've seen enough of the B.S. to convince me they are going to give it to KATE WINSLET, which is a shame. I think ANGELINA JOLIE deserves it. & MERYL STREEP gave the best performance of her career in 'Doubt'. But unfortunately I believe the Academy will give it to KATE WINSLET because she wasn't Gawdawful in 'The Reader'.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR : HEATH LEDGER Will win/deserves to win.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS : Wow, what a dog category this is! I'm going with PENELOPE CRUZ simply because she was in a Woody Allen film & its been a while since Oscar has smiled on one of its favorite over-rated sons. If I were selecting from these 5 nominees, I'd give it to AMY ADAMS, hands down. I liked Taraji P. Henson as well, but DOUBT's cast deserves a win.
DIRECTOR : It's a toss-up, but I'm going against the norm (Best Picture/Best Director
go hand-in-hand) & I'm going to say they give THIS award to DANNY BOYLE, even though DAVID FINCHER made a much, much better film...

RATING THE NOMINEES. (If they're not listed, I didn't see the performance)
#5 STEPHEN DALDRY (Reasons - Fincher made a remarkable film to watch / Howard took a dull story & somehow made it interesting / Boyle's film was ambitious, even though I didn't care for it / Van Sant focused too much on 'Gay Rights' & not enough on Harvey's relationship with his eventual murderer / Daldry took a great story & made it difficutl to watch pedophilic porn - blows my mind that he's nominated & Clint Eastwood, who made two of the best films of the year isn't.

OKAY, LET'S GO AHEAD & PUT MY LAME PICKS OUT THERE - Get ready to scoff, because a lot of these films were not well received by the critics...
*He was the co-star of that film, let's be honest
ACTRESS : I have no problem with the 5 actual nominees, I wouldn't change them.
HEATH LEDGER (The Dark Knight) / BILL NIGHY (Valkyrie) / MICHAEL SHANNON (Revolutionary Road)
SUPP. ACTRESS : HIAM ABBASS (The Visitor) / AMY ADAMS (Doubt) / TARAJI P. HENSON (Benjamin Button) / FRANCIS McDORMANT (Burn After Reading) / BETTE MIDLER (Then She Found Me)
DIRECTOR : CLINT EASTWOOD (Changeling/Gran Torino) / DAVID FINCHER (Benjamin Button) / BAZ LUHRMANN (Australia) / JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY (Doubt) / EDWARD ZWICK (Defiance)
BEST CARTOON - I liked BOLT much more than WALL-E (Though the latter will win)
BEST DOCUMENTARY - Wasn't even nominated! 'RELIGULOUS' is trhe best doc I've ever seen - enlightening & laugh-out-loud humorous. See it, America, we need to start wising up in this country.
I welcome your comments - ridicule my picks, I won't care. I liked what you disliked & I gave my reasons - I disliked what you liked & I had my reasons, so before you lash out at me, please read the review & tell me where you think I unfairly judged something you enjoyed. In the end, we all have different tastes & we're allowed to have differing opinions. All in all, it was a weak year, but not as weak as the Oscar nominees make it appear! I will say, if Sean Penn wins, I'll be happy & will continue to watch future Oscar shows; If he doesn't win... bye,bye Lard-Oscar!
If you don't want to go 'public' on the blog, you can get a personal response from me at

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


“The INTERNATIONAL” (Clive Owen & Naomi Watts)

Ah, just what I’ve been waiting for – a film about the banking business!
This is, of course, no ordinary bank; the IBBC is the most diabolical bank since the Bank of the United States back in Andrew Jackson’s time. The IBBC wants to take over the world & apparently the only man that can stop them is Lou Salinger (Clive Owen)
But, as diabolical banker Skarrsen tells Lou – “Even if you kill me, there’ll be someone new to take my place.” So, what’s the point?
“The International” does raise some intriguing questions & possibilities; having said that, I only give this film a C+ rating mainly because Naomi Watts gives the absolute worst performance of her career. I don’t know if she simply couldn’t embody the character she was playing, or she was bored with her role in this film or I’ve been too infatuated with her since “The Ring” & “21 Grams” that I’ve overlooked her shortcomings, but she is awful in this film – I mean Kate Winslet/Drew Barrymore awful; she seemed to be reading her lines by rote & at times appeared to be clueless as to how her character was supposed to react. First, Charlize in “Hancock” & now this – my favorite blonde actresses are failing me!
The bulk of the scenes without Naomi’s Eleanor aren’t that bad – with two exceptions; the e-l-o-n-g-a-t-e-d shoot out scene at N.Y.’s Guggenheim museum & the totally inexplicable circumstances which lead to the final showdown between Lou & Skarrsen(Ulrich Thomsen) on the rooftop of the world’s largest Turkish temple. I’m giving nothing away by revealing that, it is in the trailer; Skarrsen points a shakey finger at Salinger & says, “You don’t have the authority to arrest me!” & Lou replies, “Who said anything about arresting you?” & raises his gun to eliminate the diabolical banker. The reason that scene loses its impact is due to the fact that moments earlier Saarson is surrounded by bodyguards & then, for some unexplainable reason they dessert him just when he needs them the most!
That seems to happen quite frequently in ‘thrillers’ doesn’t it? Even the rare ‘diabolical banking’ thriller can’t seem to escape the screenplay writers ‘easy out’ of simply leaving the lead bad guy unprotected without having to bother with thinking up a reason as to why his henchmen abandon their boss... I mean, how difficult would it be just to have one of them look at his watch & say, “Oh, sorry, boss, it’s time for our mandatory Union break, we’ll be back in fifteen minutes.”?
There was only one more ridiculous writing brain fart, but it was a doozy! Thankfully it happens during the twenty minute shoot out scene at the Guggenheim where every possible pane of glass is blown away in classic glass shattering slow motion! The plot unfolds that the IBBC uses the same assassin to bump off world leaders that aren’t willing to fall in line with the bank’s plans to take over the world, so Lou, with the aid of two NYPD detectives track the hit man to the museum where he is gunned down by about a dozen IBBC thugs armed with automatic weapons of mass (glass) destruction. Now, the 2 policemen had to show credentials in order to get their pistols thru security, yet the dozen or so assailants stroll thru the exhibits with firearms in hand without anyone batting an eye! The dumb line comes from Lou; every time one of the machine gun toting hired killers approaches, the thought-to-be-dead hit man springs back to life & blows them away with a single shot. Lou, who comes across as a fairly intelligent character then aims his gun at the guy that has just saved his life multiple times & says, “Drop the gun!” Even the assassin has to chuckle at the line – it was almost like the actor couldn’t believe Clive actually went along with the writer & director in thinking that was a reasonable thing for Lou to say...
These few ‘mistakes’/poor writing moments actually ruin what is otherwise a fairly interesting concept – Other than the one dumb line, Owen is very good in this. I liked him in “Inside Man”, but this role has more meat to it & he finally proves he can ‘command’ the screen as the lead actor - & most of the supporting roles are filled competently; I liked Armin Mueller-Stahl as one of the diabolical banker’s backers & Luca Barbareschi as Umberto Calvini, an Italian politician. If only Naomi hadn’t been so disappointing, I may have been able to forgive the flaws...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009



America, I hate to tell you this, but your darling film of 2008 is, for the most part, a piece of crap. To quote my sister-in-law, Dayna; “Someone should have told the director ‘Disturbing & Cheesy’ don’t go together.” So I wasn’t alone in disliking this movie. I came away thinking, ‘humans are sheep’ – If enough so-called experts tell them something is entertaining, they to will fall in line & say it was enjoyable because to say otherwise would make them a ‘minority’. It reminds me of when I was 10 years old & all of my friends started smoking; suddenly I became an outcast because I didn’t join in. I have never been one to do something because EVERYONE else is doing it. So for all of you that enjoyed this movie, here’s Mr. Go-Against-The-Grain’s logical summary of why you might possibly be covered in wool...
When the movie ended my first comment was, “The morale to this story is ‘Don’t Ever Become a Game Show Contestant in India Because They Will Torture You If You Win’.” The police attach a car battery & jumper cables to a kid’s toes in order to get him to confess that he cheated while playing India’s version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ even though there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that the young man figured out a way to cheat . . . HUH?
In the first of several flashbacks, we see a bunch of small boys playing on an airport’s landing strip – they are run off by airport security, one of whom yells, “If the planes don’t kill you then I will!” He’s trying to scare the brats away for their own safety & we’re supposed to regard this cruelty towards children... HUH? !
The story revolves around 3 children, Jamal, his older brother Salim & Latika, who becomes Jamal’s lifelong ‘dream girl’. We are witness to Salim & Jamal’s mother being murdered while washing clothes. No explanation is offered as to why a group of men rampage thru the slums of Mumbai, murdering & setting fire to both property & people other than one yelling “Death to Muslims!”
The children then find themselves in the care of 3 adult men that take in several orphaned slumdogs & ask them all to sing. The ones who sing well are blinded... HUH? Later we are told the reason for this is due to the fact that blind children singing on a corner bring in more money panhandling than sighted singers... Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense – Let’s blind the talented ones because they’ll make us a couple extra rupees! If it were a case of becoming ‘rich’ by turning one of these kids into the next Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles, it would make a little bit of sense (Not much, but a little) But these are beggars who are going to spend their lives singing on street corners & at train stations! It was just plain dumb. So far we’re led to believe that in India its okay to torture game show contestants & burn out the eyes of orphans.
The soundtrack was atrocious! The loud annoying songs were giving me a headache & then it dawned on me that 2 of these musical blasphemies were nominated for best song.
I was so glad when Salim & Jamal fell off a moving train because the horrible singing that was accompanying the scene finally stopped!
We then move forward a few years & now Jamal suddenly speaks perfect English – there’s no explanation for this, & apparently Salim & Jamal have been living on their own, begging & thieving their way thru life. Who taught them how to speak English? The boys spend their childhood hoodwinking & stealing from innocent tourists, & we’re supposed to feel sorry for these miscreants?
The movie keeps flipping back & forth from childhood to the adult Jamal (Dev Patel) playing ‘Millionaire’. I was so happy when Jamal answered the million rupee question correctly because I thought the boring game show scenes were finally over!’... But no, apparently in India winning a million rupees doesn’t make you a millionaire, winning 20 million rupees makes you a millionaire... HUH? So, unfortunately, we’ve still got a long, long way to go...
Another problem is that Jamal had the personality of a soap dish. He was a BORING character. Did I feel sorry for him? Yes. Did I find him to be an interesting character? Not in the least.
The ‘heart’ of the story of course is Jamal’s never ending love for Latika. Let’s examine this touching relationship; they spent a short time together as children while in the care of the ‘3 blinding mice’. Then they have brief encounters as teenagers & as young adults; in the teenaged encounter, Salim commits a murder of revenge & then forces Latika to have sex with him for saving her. For some unexplainable reason, Jamal accepts this & leaves them to have their ‘affair’.
After being tortured for ‘cheating’ on a game show, Jamal is interrogated & tells the police chief that he wanted to get on the show because he knew Latika watched it. No explanation is offered as to HOW an ex-slumdog/now tea server at a call center was selected to be a contestant, but it is obvious from the beginning that the powers that be at the TV station didn’t want him on – so how did it happen?
So, Jamal & Latika don’t really know one another at all. The longest time they spent together was as small children. So the whole ‘love of my life’ concept is a little far-fetched. ‘Slumdog’ also suffers from having bad actors play uninteresting roles.
When time finally catches up to the modern day, “Slumdog Millionaire” turns into a third rate, poorly acted ‘gangster’ film. The actor that plays adult Salim is one of the worst in movie history. Somehow during his growth period, Salim’s facial bone structure underwent some radical changes which left him with an oddly shaped chin/jaw line & he’s almost impossible to understand. Salim’s final scene is laughable - & keeping with the theme of the film, no explanation is offered as to why he began shooting his co-horts while sitting in a bath tub full of money (Insert another ‘HUH?’ here)
At the beginning of the movie a question is printed on the screen – How could a boy that grew up uneducated in the slums of Mumbai answer the questions that were put to him on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ A) He knew the answers B) He cheated C) He guessed D) It is written... The answer is A) We know this because with every question we are shown a flashback that tells us why he knows the answer – For example, when they finally start asking him questions that an uneducated Indian lad shouldn’t be privy to, the first one is ‘Whose picture is on the American $100 dollar bill?’. As Jamal stares at ‘Hindu Regis’ with the same blank look he’s used on every question, we are shown a flashback of young Jamal encountering one of the blinded children he knew & he gives the boy a $100 bill. How did Jamal, a homeless kid, get a $100? & why did he give it away? Did I doze off from boredom & miss something? Because that didn’t make sense to me at all!
Anyway, after showing us repeatedly how Jamal knew the answers, the initial question is put up on the screen once again at the end& we’re shown that the ‘real’ answer ISN’T A) He knew the answers . . . All right, all together now – HUH?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


“HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU” (Affleck,Aniston,Barrymore,Connelly,Connolly,Cooper,Goodwin,Johansson & Long)

As you can tell by the list of ‘stars’ – this is more or less an elongated episode of ‘Friends’ – the only thing missing was the annoying monkey. The acting was very much along the quality of ‘average’ TV fare, the only surprise was Justin Long who showed a glimpse of possibly becoming a passable film actor. Bradley Cooper(Previously known to me as Rachel McAdams fiancĂ© in ‘Wedding Crashers’) has movie star looks, but needs to prove himself at least adequate in other genres before he can be taken seriously. Other than that, I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again – Scarlett Johansson can’t act a lick, but who cares? Goodness gracious, great balls of fire, what a body that little minx has!
So, getting to the meat of this film... well, that’s going to be difficult because this is lightweight stuff – 9 characters all mingling together at various times, coming together, breaking apart, finding a new character to mingle with, discovering they’re not the ‘right one’ either, mingling on... Yet, despite the ‘Friends’-like setting, this film was almost as depressing as ‘7 Pounds’
The highlight was when Ron Wood’s “I Can Feel The Fire” was heard playing in a bar. The low-lite was that the actors were trying to talk over it instead of shutting the hell up!
Here’s a rundown of the characters – You got Affleck & Aniston (Ben & Jennifer) as a couple that have been together for 7 years; she wants to get married – he maintains that marriage is a boulder that will weigh him down & he won’t be happy as a husband. So they split up & he goes to live on his boat. The creepiest moment happens in the first scene involving Ben & Jen; it takes place in their apartment where there’s a painting of a bald, stocky older man who appears to be peaking into the room from behind a curtain or a doorway – Throughout the entire scene I kept wondering ‘What is wrong with these people that they would put something like that in their abode?’ Needless to say, I have no idea what was said between the two characters, but I have a feeling I didn’t miss much – She wanted him to do a simple favor for her & he refused, would be my guess since that seemed to be the ‘heart’ of their relationship. It was like watching ‘The Break Up 2’ without Vince Vaughn.
Then there’s Connelly & Cooper (Jennifer2 & Bradley) as a married couple that are in the midst of renovating their home when they should be renovating their relationship. They split up when Jennifer discovers Bradley is having an affair with the incredibly gorgeous Scarlett Johansson; If she came on to me, I’d do the same (sorry, honey)
To Bradley’s credit he resists for a while, but holy maracas, look at that rack!
Scarlett is being pursued by Connolly (Kevin) a squeaky-voiced wimp that ‘pretends’ to be gay in order to make real estate deals... Yeah, right, little fella, its all ‘pretend’ isn’t it?
The 2nd most creepy scene in this film is when Scarlett is shown in bed with this freckled, hairy Mini-Me draped all over her. It sent shivers up my spine.
Fortunately, my least favorite actress, Drew Barrymore has limited scenes; she too is surrounded by gay men in her workplace who are constantly offering dating advice. Problem is Drew’s character doesn’t have a d--k...
Which brings us to the final characters played by Ginnifer3 Goodwin & Justin Long - These two are not a couple as Justin’s ‘Alex’ takes pity on Ginnifer’s pathetic ‘Gigi’ when she comes into his bar looking for the quasi-gay real estate agent Connolly. Long & Connolly are buds, so Alex informs Gigi that Kevin will never call her back because (Insert Movie Title)
Alex becomes Gigi’s dating mentor – every time she meets someone, she calls Alex & alerts him of the situation - & every time Alex tells her to pack it in, her date is only interested in one thing & it isn’t a ‘lasting’ relationship. The reason I’m giving more detail on this pair is because I could relate to Alex (in a sense) I too, have been known to reveal the unspoken secrets of the male mind to female friends in order to try & save their hearts from being broken – but I’m a happily married old fart – A young, unattached guy like Alex has no business breaking the rules because – 1) He’s on the prowl himself & 2) he starts ‘informing’ the moment he meets this girl – not only that, he’s ratting out his best friend! But as Alex & Gigi interact, you can understand how she begins to feel that he’s secretly trying to ‘conquer’ her & this is just plain wrong. Gigi is such a pathetic loser psycho nut case that no sane man would EVER return one of her calls or even hint that there might be a chance at a second date. So the fact that psycho Gigi was falling for Alex merely because she pieced together clues that he ‘wanted’ her, you knew it was going to end badly.
Due to the title of the film, I thought for certain that this would be an inventive ‘chick flick’ & that none of these people would have the fairy tale ending, but oddly enough, most of them do – So obviously somebody gets INTO somebody before the ending credits, which makes me wonder why not call this movie what it REALLY is? – “Needy Broads & Dorky Dudes”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


“TAKEN” (Liam Neeson)
I have been chastised for paying money to see ‘Paul Blart:Mall Cop’, which, prior to the release of ‘Taken’ was #1 at the box office. The main reason I went to see ‘Taken’ was BECAUSE it was #1 after its opening week – perhaps it was better than what I surmised from the weak trailer? After the lights came up, I thought to myself – I feel more embarrassed for having paid to sit thru this dreck than I did at Paul Blart. Why? The ‘Mall Cop’ trailer made me chuckle a couple of times, so I felt justified in giving it a shot. I thought ‘Taken’ looked stupid from the trailer as I wondered why would Liam Neeson’s character tell his daughter to get under the bed & then ask her to describe the kidnappers out loud? Wouldn’t it have made much more sense to hide in a closet where she could SEE the kidnappers before they discovered her whereabouts? Hiding under the bed – she sees nothing until its too late. From the closet she could have taken a picture of the kidnappers & then put the phone inside a coat pocket for daddy to find... Yes, I spent way too much time analyzing the preview to this, but that’s beside the point – the fact is – I was right – this is moronic crap & usually when I stumble upon popular moronic crap I reveal a lot more about the plot than normal as I want to warn those who might think this is an ‘awesome’ movie that no, it isn’t, & here’s why...
Yet again, I found myself finding the main characters grating – In this case, the daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) she is a spoiled brat 17 year old with an extremely wealthy step-father who buys her a horse for her 17th birthday. Watching Kim climb up on her exorbitant present & trot around the mansion she lives in made me sneer in disgust. Her pretentious mother (Famke Janssen) was even worse – acting indignant because ‘birth’ daddy Bryan (Neeson) wanted to give Kim’s present to her directly instead of putting it on the ‘under $1,000 gift’ table. When next we see Kim, she is begging daddy to allow her go to Paris with her friend Amanda. When real dad says he’ll have to think about it, Kim bursts into tears... like the spoiled rotten brat she is - & we’re suppose to care when this little nimrod is kidnapped?
& here’s one of those little nuances that bugged me, & probably no one else even noticed, but Kim’s posture was distracting – there seemed to be numerous scenes of Kim walking away from the camera & each time I found myself wondering if that was the way the actress actually walked, or her odd sloped shouldered, gangly bouncing steps were ‘instructed’ by the director.
The plot is simple; Kim, of course gets her way & she & Amanda arrive in France & within minutes are ‘taken’ – Just as daddy predicted & why he was reluctant to let her go.
Liam with his ‘certain’ skills gained over a long career as a bodyguard arrives in France before anyone in Gay Paree even knows the girls have been abducted (Must be one of those bodyguard skills that allows him to fly faster than Superman)
He immediately ascertains that the girls were taken by ‘flesh peddlers’ that kidnap exceptionally rich offspring of foreigners & sell them to the highest bidder... Now, explain to me how that makes sense – Here we have 2 attractive spoiled teenage girls moving into the ENTIRE 5th floor of a swanky hotel & these clowns decide to go to the trouble of drugging them, making them available for sex & then selling them off as harem girls to obscenely rich slave owners... Wouldn’t it be simpler to hold them for ransom so their equally obscenely wealthy parents can pony up the big bucks to get them back?
Numerous times I’d hear Dana Carvey’s Church Lady saying “How conveeenient!” as Bryan tracks down his daughter’s kidnappers with ridiculous ease. The only comical moment I had to create myself; at one point, as Bryan zeroes in on one of his daughter’s abductors, a speeding bus comes from nowhere & flattens the guy. I pictured Sandra Bullock behind the wheel & since she had to maintain a speed of at least 50 MPH, she couldn’t slow down - It was like my mind was so starved to be entertained, it had to make up its own parody.
What I hated about this film is that it THINKS its ‘clever’ – We’re SUPPOSED to be impressed with how quickly Bryan uncovers his daughters whereabouts, when, in fact, it isn’t clever at all, it’s entirely dumb luck. “How conveeeenient” was it that of the long line of prostitutes Bryan has to pick from, he approaches the one who’s pimp will lead him right to where Amanda is being held? “How conveeeenient” was it that one of the drugged kidnapped victims just happened to have his daughter’s jacket in her room? "How conveeenient" was it that the one out of dozens of kidnappers would say the words "Good luck" to Bryan - the same words he said into Kim's phone? Yes, Bryan set it up by asking them to translate the words written on a piece of paper, but wouldn't the guy who said that into the phone realize the trap & NOT be the one to translate the message?
Later, Bryan is on a boat full of bad guys with automatic weapons & every time the gun Bryan is shooting runs out of ammo, a villain sticks his weapon thru a doorway so Bryan can slam the door on his arm & take his firearm & keep shooting another dozen or so evil sailors. Prior to this, Bryan is speeding the wrong way down a one way street for what seems to be several miles – Bryan is not paying attention to the road as he is looking at the boat he needs to get on as it sails down the river. Miraculously, he doesn’t crash; he doesn’t even scrape a fender as the cars coming directly at him leave just enough room for him to weave between lanes . . .How conveeenient! I was just surprised that they didn't have the 'Super' ex-bodyguard talking on his cell phone as he drove.
Prior to that scene, well-past middle age Bryan runs after a speeding car for several blocks... & keeps up with it! Why was this guy a bodyguard when he could have broken every running record known to mankind if he’d just entered one Olympic Games?
And when you finally get a look at the last bad guy – the big wig that purchases 4 kidnapped girls, costing well over a million dollars, you have to laugh out loud. Of course, the film doesn’t expect you to, but if you’re anything like me, you will find the gayest looking crime boss in film history to be hysterical. I wondered - did he buy these chicks for sex, or to have them ‘do his nails’? Picture a short, fat, nearly bald Emperor Nero-type in a red toga with thick black eyeliner & you’ll begin to understand why this movie sucks on every possible level.
There is one memorable scene which involves the Paris police chief (An old friend of Bryan) & his wife. Although I liked the unorthodox way Bryan gets the chief to cooperate with him, I found the closing line “& be sure to give my apologies to your wife” unnecessary & yes, kind of stupid...
As bad as this dumb film is, I already know it won’t be the worst movie of 2009 – that spot is already reserved for ‘Miss March’. Just from the viewing the trailer I am ready to anoint it #1 on my bottom 10 list of 2009, & the great thing is – I don’t have to watch a second of it! There, see? I found a way to say something good about the #1 movie in America after all – its trailer couldn’t hold a candle to ‘Miss March’ for dumbness!
Take my advice, dear movie goer & stay away from this boffo box office blunder -
Just tell anyone that wants you to go see it with them that YOUR seat is 'Taken'...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


“INKHEART” (Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany & Helen Mirren)

On the whole, I liked this film – for a total fantasy aimed at a young audience, it was entertaining enough for an old coot like moi. My main complaint is that it should have been ‘wider’ – it had the premise to go way beyond what it does; but when all was said & done, I enjoyed the fairy tale adventure.
Brendan Fraser, who other than a cameo appearance in the great “Crash” hasn’t made a memorable film in YEARS, stars as Mo Folchart, a man who discovers as he reads to his infant daughter Meggie that he has the ability to bring characters from books to life simply by reading them out loud. Nicknamed ‘Silvertongue’ by the characters he brings into our world, Mo stops reading when the ability leads to the disappearance of his wife.
The book Mo was reading was ‘Inkheart’ & the story unfolds as he searches the world trying to find another copy of the book.
Paul Bettany plays Dustfinger, a sad, frightened character from the book that has the ability to create fire in his hands. His only wish is to have ‘Silvertongue’ read him back into the book so he can be reunited with his wife & family.
Helen Mirren takes the role of Aunt Elinor & though a lesser talented actress would have sufficed in the part, Helen lowers herself somewhat to fit the character of the intolerant yet caring Great Aunt to Meggie.
Andy Serkis (Best known as Gollum) plays Capricorn, the villain of ‘Inkheart’. Using a substitute Silvertongue who stutters, Capricorn has had many of his army of ne-er-do-wells join him in the real world; these misfits all have a defect due to the stutterer’s inability to speak clearly. So to bring The Shadow, the monster of ‘Inkheart’ to life to take over the world, Capricorn needs Mo to read him into reality.
It seems everyone has a stake in wanting Mo to read out loud once again & it becomes your typical good vrs. evil scenario.
By saying I wish the film had a ‘wider’, or broader vision, I mean in the sense of who is brought to life during the film – Toto & the flying monkeys are brought out of The Wizard Of Oz; There’s also unicorn & a minotaur in Capricorn’s stable. Then a ‘thief’ from Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves appears. Cinderella’s glass slipper is seen shortly after Tom Sawyer’s raft comes crashing into Capricorn’s castle – in other words, ‘tidbits’ are read to life, whereas they could have gone hog wild with the fantasy & created a vast quantity of classic literary characters.
Jim Broadbent plays the author of ‘Inkheart’ & I didn’t think his character was very well written. Seemed to me the author should have been a better writer since when the very fate of the world depends on him, Broadbent’s character develops writer’s block.
But in the end, you have to come back to the fact that this is pure fantasy & thus nothing HAS to make sense as long as unlikely characters become heroes & the villains are conquered.
‘Inkheart’ isn’t an instant classic, but neither is it so childish that it becomes annoying (ala Fraser’s ‘Journey To The Center Of The Earth’) As long as you don’t take it as a ‘serious’ blockbuster, ‘Inkheart’ is a pleasant little fun fantasy tale with just enough originality to keep it interesting throughout

Monday, February 2, 2009


“PAUL BLART – MALL COP” (Kevin James)

Every funny moment is in the trailer. Watch it – save your money.