January 2009

Taken

by Alan Rapp on January 30, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Taken
  • IMDB: link

taken-posterTaken is the film for you if you simply love Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme flicks, and are constantly bemoaning the fact that they have been relegated to direct-to-DVD and made-for-TV projects. If however, you want more out of a film than pace, so-so action, and a high body count you’re going to be disappointed.

For those of you who haven’t seen the trailer, Liam Neeson stars as a retired spy trying to reconnect with his estranged 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) who wants his permission to travel to France for the summer with her best friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy).

Of course knowing the hidden dangers in such a trip Bryan is reluctant to let his daughter go. That is until he’s guilted into agreement by his ex-wife (Famke Janssen, in full-on bitch mode) only to have his daughter and her friend kidnapped hours after they touch down in Paris. Note – never trust your ex-wife.

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Inkheart

by Alan Rapp on January 23, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Inkheart
  • IMDB: link

inkheart-posterHow much do you like fantasy films aimed at kids? That’s really the only question to ask yourself when considering seeing Inkheart. If you enjoyed similar films such as The NeverEnding Story, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Eragon, you might want to give it a chance. Maybe.

Brendan Fraser stars as a good-hearted but slightly dimwitted hero (hmm, sound familiar?) Mo Folchart. Years ago, accidently, Mo discovered he had the ability to read characters, objects and events out of books. That’s kinda cool, right? But there is a catch – whenever something, or someone, comes out of a book something, or someone, must take its place.

Years have passed with Mo hiding his gift from his daughter (Eliza Bennett) and searching for a copy of a book which holds something precious to them both locked deep inside. Things come to a head when characters from the book finally catch up to the “Silvertongue” with their own demands on how he should use his gift.

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Chandni Chowk to China

by Alan Rapp on January 16, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Chandni Chowk to China
  • IMDB: link

chandni-chowk-to-china-posterIf you took equal parts Bollywood musical, martial arts film, hero tale, screwball comedy, love story, and then upped the crazy blender to 10x what you would get would look an awful lot like Chandni Chowk to China.

The first Hindi film ever to be shot in China includes bright musical numbers, battle scenes, wire work, a hero training montage, mistaken twins, and an excess of buffoonery.

Akshay Kumar stars as Sidhu, a vegetable chopper from Chandi Chowk, India, who is mistaken for the second coming of a great Chinese warrior. Along with his unscrupulous friend Chopstick (Ranvir Shorey) Sidhu makes the travel to China not realizing the responsibility of his new fame. Also included is the tale of a former cop (Roger Yaun) and his displaced twin daughters Sakhi, an Indian television personality, and Meow Meow, Hojo’s personal assassin (both played by the lovely Deepika Padukone).

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Last Chance Harvey

by Alan Rapp on January 16, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Last Chance Harvey
  • IMDB: link

last-chance-harvey-posterAn American divorcee finds love in London with a goodhearted single woman. Well, that’s not exactly the most original idea I’ve heard for a movie, but the casting of Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson adds at least the air of respectability to what otherwise might have been just another forgettable romcom.

Harry (Hoffman) travels overseas for the wedding of his daughter (Liane Balaban), who announces she doesn’t want him to walk her down the aisle. Along with this news his job is hanging by a thread and his ex-wife (Kathy Baker) and her marvelous second husband (James Brolin) are running the festivities, much to Harry’s chagrin.

So, as you might imagine, Harry’s London adventure is a bit of a bummer, until he meets Kate (Thompson), a lonely airline worker who spends most of her time taking crap from angry, tired passengers…

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Gran Torino

by Alan Rapp on January 9, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Gran Torino
  • IMDB: link

gran-torino-posterGran Torino isn’t a bad way for Clint Eastwood the actor to go out (if this is indeed his last starring role), but Eastwood the director lets us down. Walt (Eastwood) is s a recently widowed grumpy old racist living in a neighborhood which has been taken over by the large immigrant population he refers to throughout the film as “gooks,” “chinks,” “zipperheads,” “barbarians,” and other terms of affection. Charming.

Walt is inconvenienced further when he becomes intertwined in the lives of his neighbors, a Hmong family, when the young boy (Bee Vang) is recruited by a local gang to steal Walt’s 1972 Gran Torino. Against his better judgement Walt takes the kid under his wing, finds him a job, and even helps out his sister Sue (Ahney Her) when she gets accosted on the street.

I could go into further detail about the other storylines involving a persistent priest (Christopher Carley) and Frank’s sons and grandchildren with whom he has nothing in common, but each are so predictable simply vaguely mentioning them is all that’s necessary.

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Psych all mashed up

by Alan Rapp on January 7, 2009

in Nework & Cable TV News 

  • Title: Psych
  • tv.com: link

Psych, the USA Network original about a psychic detective who’s not so much a psychic (or a detective), returns for a new season on Friday at 10/9C. I must admit I’m pretty psych-ed as I’ve been a fan of the zaniness (including many 80’s pop culture references) of the show since it first aired. The official site has tons of fun stuff fans of the show can enjoy including clips, games, quizes, and the ability to make your own Psych Mashup. Head on over to make your own! Here’s mine.

psych-mashups

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Top Movies of 2008

by Alan Rapp on January 7, 2009

in Top Tens & Lists

best-of-2008

Yeah, I know most people whittle their lists down to 10, but (as teh ‘monkey often observes) I’m not exactly what you’d call “normal.” And this way you get three more extra-good flicks at no extra charge.

2008 was the year of the cape. Super-heroes and comic book films hit theaters like Twilight tweens at a Robert Pattinson appearance, and most of them turned out to be pretty good (forgetting that second-half of Hancock and all of Punisher: War Zone). As a self-admitted and unabashed comic book nerd I couldn’t help but pepper my list with a few of these along with some heroes not in tights, a vampire, a pair of documentaries, and one kick ass panda.

Honorable mentions – Before we begin let me mention a couple films I missed including In Bruges, The Reader, and The Fall (the last of which made our pal Eric’s list), and offer some appreciation to the lovable also-rans who didn’t quite make the cut. These include Traitor, Tropic Thunder, The Visitor, Bolt, and Wall-E (the last film to miss the cut).

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