March 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

by Alan Rapp on March 26, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: How to Train Your Dragon
  • IMDB: link

Aside from the fact that How to Train Your Dragon includes Vikings and dragons it’s very similiar to many teenage comedies Hollywood has put out over the years.

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is your typical Ugly Duckling character. Although the term “nerd” is never uttered it’s fair to say if the Vikings had a word for Hiccup this would be the modern translation. On the Viking island of Berk the clumsy Hiccup is as far from the Viking ideal as one could get, and a constant irritation to his father (Gerard Butler).

Much like nerds of our era, Hiccup struggles with his ineptitude. He thinks too much, makes crazy inventions, and is the butt of jokes by not only the gang his own age but everyone in the village. And, of course, our hero has a crush on a girl (America Ferrera) who’s everything he’s not: athletic, self-assured, and a true warrior.

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  • Title: Chloe
  • IMDB: link

“I try to find something to love in everybody. Even if it’s a small thing.”

What makes a good erotic thriller? The simplest method I’ve found is what I call “the giggle test.” If either or both the dramatic and sexually-charged scenes of a movie make you giggle (or groan) it fails the test. An erotic thriller that makes you guffaw uncontrollably may become a cult classic (see Showgirls) but a slight giggle or two means only mild amusement at best (and only at the expense of those on screen). Chloe doesn’t pass the test.

One might expect, given the cast at his disposal and experience in this genre, director Atom Egoyan (Where the Truth Lies, Exotica) fully capable of adapting the French erotic thriller Nathalie… for American audiences. One would be wrong.

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She’s Out of My League, or is she?

by Alan Rapp on March 12, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: She’s Out of My League
  • IMDB: link

Take your average Ben Stiller vehicle (such as Meet the Parents or Along Came Polly), sift it through a Judd Apatow filter, and what you get is something like She’s Out of My League. Original? Not really, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some fun to be had.

Jay Baruchel is your typical slacker loser you’ll not doubt recognize from similar movies. He’s got a dead-end job, absolutely no confidence or self-respect, a crappy car, and appropriately riotous friends (T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence). Kirk’s life is even more pathetic thanks to a family who cares more about his ex-girlfriend (Lindsay Sloane) and her new boyfriend than our star.

In his job as an airport security officer Kirk meets the lovely Molly (Alice Eve). Without really realizing it Kirk does a couple of favors for the beautiful damsel in distress. Molly, who’s just getting out of relationship with a real jerk (who wants to bet he’s the opposite of Kirk in every possible way?), decides to give this unsuspecting loser a try.

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So that’s the sound of liberty

by Alan Rapp on March 9, 2010

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Chuck – Chuck Versus the Beard
  • tv.com: link

chuck-vs-the-beard

I do love my some Chuck, and last night’s episode gave us Morgan discovering his best friend’s secret, evil spies breaking into Castle (led by Batman: The Brave and the Bold‘s very own Dark Knight), and the revolution of the Buy More employees trumpeted by the dulcet tones of Jeffster.

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The Ghost Writer

by Alan Rapp on March 5, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Ghost Writer
  • IMDB: link

Historically not all of Roman Polanski’s choices have been good ones (and I’m not just talking about Pirates). Say what you want about the director’s personal life, the man knows how to tell a story and how to build and hold dramatic tension without relying on unnecessarily cheap plot twists.

Adapted from the Robert Harris novel The Ghost, The Ghost Writer begins with the death of a ghost writer working on former British Prime Minister Adam Lang’s (Pierce Brosnan) autobiography.

Into the fray steps the new Ghost (Ewan McGregor), never referred to by name, who soon has second thoughts about taking the job. Our new writer’s job is made more complicated by his subject being charged publicly with war crimes, a sneaking suspicion of other dark secrets hidden in the shadows, a media frenzy, and a growing paranoia of his over his safety.

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