August 2009

Taking Woodstock

by Alan Rapp on August 28, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Taking Woodstock
  • IMDB: link

taking-woodstock-posterAng Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lust, Caution, The Ice Storm) has crafted some moving films over the years. He’s also responsible for a few which have missed the mark (Hulk, Ride With the Devil). Sadly, his latest is the later. In terms of recreating the scope and magnitude of Woodstock, the film succeeds, but in almost every other way it fails to impress.

In Taking Woodstock, Lee takes on a subject which has been done to death in film and television over the years. Not surprisingly, the director finds it hard to bring anything new to the table.

The story centers around the creation of the event and how it transforms a small community into the lovefest for the ages. The Daily Show alum Demetri Martin stars as the bright skittish young man (was this role originally pitched to Michael Cera?) who uses the event to help save his parent’s failing hotel by finagling a deal with the organizers of the event to hold it on the farmland of a neighbor (Eugene Levy).

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Glorious “Basterds”

by Alan Rapp on August 21, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Inglourious Basterds
  • IMDB: link

inglourious-basterds-posterQuentin Tarantino is a filmmaker. Love him or hate him, the man has a passion and reverence for cinema as well as a definite style in crafting his own projects. Inglourious Basterds, the writer/director’s latest, took more than a decade to come to the screen. The film is many things, but boring isn’t one of them. Insane and glorious, Tarantino has finally succeeded in crafting a film I can’t help but love.

Although I’ve always respected Tarantino as a director (less so as a producer), and will easily admit to the quality of Pulp Fiction, at times his career has taken him down paths I wasn’t keen on following.

I had a mixed reaction to Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and I’ve forgotten nearly everything associated with part two (except my disappointment).

I give him full credit in making strong choices with his stories and jumping in with both feet. Kill Bill just wasn’t my type of crazy; Inglourious Basterds is. And, oh boy, is it crazy!

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by Alan Rapp on August 14, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Bandslam
  • IMDB: link

bandslam-posterBandslam is a cliched, hackneyed, overdone, montage-filled paint-by-numbers tale of teenage angst, love, lessons about life, and triumph.

And yet it’s still better than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. As unoriginal, and at times truly awful, this film is, it’s also got a little spark which provides moments better than they have any right to be. In no uncertain terms Bandslam is a trainwreck, but it’s a trainwreck with cute young girls, some spirit, and passable music.

It’s exactly what you expect a teen musical, made in part by Walden Media, to be.

The story centers on your typical geeky-loser-teen Will Burton (Gaelan Connell). Will’s an all-around good guy, if only someone would stop and notice. Without describing anything else about the film I bet you can see where this is going. So could I.

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G.I. Joe: Rise of C.R.A.P.

by Alan Rapp on August 7, 2009

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
  • IMDB: link

gi-joe-rise-of-cobra-posterLet’s get this straight right from the get-go: I had no real expectations with this film except wanting to leave without getting too bored or having the film make my eyes bleed. One out of two isn’t bad. Even with the bar set so low G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra finds a way to slither underneath like champion limbo dancer Hermes Conrad.

Based on a toy line and 80’s television show Rise of Cobra plays like one long Michael Bay action reel (think The Rock, if it were directed by Zack Snyder). It’s got the brains of the old cartoon down cold (ridiculous premise, tons of vehicles and ammunition) but hardly any of its style.

It doesn’t help the Cobra never really exists in this film. Instead we’re given a well-funded unnamed group of terrorists. It is also problematic that the baddie chosen to put center stage isn’t Cobra Commander (almost completely absent from the film), or even the unmasked Destro (Christopher Ecclestion), but the Baroness (Sienna Miller, because I guess Kate Beckinsale was too expensive).

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  • Title: Psych
  • link

For those unfamiliar, both Psych (USA) and The Mentalist (CBS) center around main characters with heightened skills of observation who solve crimes. The premise which Psych took and ran with to create an extremely silly, but nonetheless entertaining, show was tweaked by CBS who last season decided to create their own, less silly and more dramatic (though, to be fair, also entertaining), take on someone with this particular skill set.

And now Psych has tweaked back in this short commercial. Psych, along with Monk, returns with new episodes this Friday on USA.