28 December 2011

We Bought A Zoo

Spanks - 5

Director - Cameron Crowe

Writers - Aline Brosh McKenna and Cameron Crowe

Starring - Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Colin Ford and Maggie Elizabeth Jones

Release Date - 23 December 2011

MPAA Rating - PG

We Bought A Zoo is very loosely based on the book of the same name by the owner of the Dartmoor Zoological Park in England Benjamin Mee. Mee bought the struggling zoo with his entire family in 2006. The film takes place in Southern California and the Benjamin Mee played by Matt Damon quits his job a few months after his wife dies and wants to move to start over. He finds the perfect house that he wants to buy, but then is told that the property is a zoo that is being run by the state. Mee is a writer and has no idea how to work with animals and run the zoo.

The movie follows a lot of the traditional Hollywood formula, but it is done well. A good part of the movie is the struggle between Benjamin and his son who wanted to say with his friends in the city. The film is more about the family while the book is about the animals and the zoo.

We Built A Zoo is a good movie to take the whole family. It has some good laughs and it has some heartfelt moments scattered throughout also. It is a holiday movie worth seeing.

15 December 2011

The Muppets

Spanks - 4

Director - James Bobin

Writers - Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller

Starring - Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Kermit and the rest of the Muppets

Release Date - 23 November 2011

MPAA Rating - PG

The Muppets are back! It is their first big screen appearance since Muppets From Space in 1999. In the new movie, The Muppets have all moved on with their lives and Muppet Studios is falling apart. Muppet fans Gary and Walter are on a trip to Los Angeles and while on the studio tour Walter overhears oil tycoon Tex Richman trying to buy the land out from under The Muppets because of the oil located underneath. Walter tells Gary what he heard and they find Kermit to tell him and try to convince him to get the gang together to save the studio.

The film is surprising not a reboot of the series (a thing Hollywood does more and more of now). The writers did a good job of trying to update The Muppets while keeping the feel of the old movies and show when Jim Henson was in charge. It could have used more of the old style of Muppet Jokes.

If you enjoyed The Muppets when you were younger, you will continue to enjoy them with this movie.

Bonus video from a few years ago because it is awesome!

01 December 2011

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

Spanks - 4

Director - Todd Strauss-Schulson

Writers - Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg

Starring - John Cho, Kal Penn, Thomas Lennon, Amir Blumenfeld, and Neil Patrick Harris

Release Date - 4 November 2011

MPAA Rating - R

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is the best adult Christmas movie ever made (editors note: as far as I know it is the only adult Christmas movie). The film follows the format of the previous Harold & Kumar movies with the heroes on another adventure. This time, they are not looking for a fast food restaurant or clearing their names as terrorist, the duo are in search of the perfect Christmas tree to replace the one that they caught on fire and are being chased by the Russian mob.

The same hijinks occurs with this adventure. They smoke weed, make weed jokes, make dirty jokes with the only difference is the 3D aspect. They make jokes about the 3D and use it way more then necessary at times I think to make fun of the unnecessary use of 3D in Hollywood post Avatar.

Neil Patrick Harris continues to spoof himself as the woman loving drug addict that he played before. His few scenes are one of the funniest parts of the film. A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is a hysterical movie that is just simple fun and I hope everyone sticks around for at least one more adventure.

23 May 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Spanks - 4

Director - Rob Marshall

Writers - Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio

Starring - Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane & Kevin McNally

Release Date - 29 April 2011

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth chapter of the series and is loosely based on Tim Powers novel On Stranger Tides. In the film, Jack Sparrow is now searching for the Fountain of Youth. Captain Barbossa who is under orders from King George II, the Spanish, and Edward "Blackbeard" Teach are on the hunt for the fountain as well.

After the previous two sequels, I did not have my hopes that high that it would get better. On Stranger Tides, is better then both Dead Man's Chest and At Worlds End. They didn't milk all the jokes from Curse of the Black Pearl like they did in the first two sequels either. The only mentions of those other movies in the plot is Barbossa, The Black Pearl and Jack the Monkey, if you did not see any of the other films you can jump into the fun of this one and not be lost. There are a few Easter eggs for the long time fans.

The film goes back to what made the original so good. It is funny, full of swashbuckling action, complex characters you can love, hate or both and (best of all) pirates!

08 May 2011


Spanks - 4

Director - Kenneth Branagh

Writers - Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and Don Payne

Starring - Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings and Clark Gregg

Release Date - 6 May 2011

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Thor is the first of two films released by Marvel Studios this summer. It is the origin story of the superhero Thor. It begins on Thor's home world of Asgard and tells why he came to Earth and how he became one of the heroes of Earth. It also introduces Jane Foster and how she got thrown into Thor's life.

The movie has some really good action scenes with Thor kicking ass. Kat Dennings does a great job as the comic relief playing Jane Foster's intern. The people who designed and created Asgard did a fantastic job "building" that world.

If you are a fan of comic book character movies, you will enjoy this film. I am looking forward to a possible confrontation between Thor and Iron Man in next summers Avengers film.

03 May 2011

Fast Five

Spanks - 4

Director - Justin Lin

Writers - Ben Ripley

Starring - Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Elsa Pataky, Tyrese Gibson and Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges

Release Date - 29 April 2011

MPAA Rating - PG-13

There are only two words to describe Fast Five. Absolutely ridiculous. In a movie based in reality, the main characters are more invincible then superman and physics are thrown out the window of a Ford GT40. The film is hilarious too, but I am not sure it was written to be funny. One example; in the opening sequence, Vin Diesel's character is broken out of the prison bus by having it flip over end over end (multiple times) using a sports car while both are driving at high speeds. Everyone on the bus survives and there is not a scratch on the sports car. The screenwriters also wrote a screenplay full of plot holes. If they needed something to happen to fit their story it just did without logic or explanation.

After Dom is freed from going to prison by Brian and Mia, the trio escape to Rio de Janeiro. Once there Dom decides they should do one last job to be set for life. To pull if off they bring in everyone who has helped Dom and Brian in the previous four movies. The DEA send special agent Hobbs and his team to apprehend Dom and his gang and crime lord Hernan Reyes don't make the heist easier.

Despite everything wrong with Fast Five, the film is entertaining, only because of the ridiculousness. It is not an award winning film except for maybe an MTV Movie Award. If you have a crappy rainy afternoon, this could be a good two hour escape for you.

15 April 2011

Source Code

Spanks - 5

Director - Duncan Jones

Writers - Ben Ripley

Starring - Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga and Jeffrey Wright

Release Date - 1 April 2011

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Source Code is one of the only films not based on an existing character or story that has been released this year or due out this summer. It is about a secret program called The Source Code that can send a person back in time for the last eight minutes of a persons life. This can be done as many times as needed, reliving the same 8 minutes. The intent of the program is to go back and stop disasters and terrorist attacks. In this situation, a bomb goes off on a commuter train in Chicago. Air Force Captain Colter Stevens is tasked to go back an locate the bomb and find out who built it.

Throughout the whole film, I was trying to predict what would happen next, and each time I tried I was incorrect (also hoping I could use The Source Code to go back and see what I missed to get it right). You would also think a movie that takes place over the same eight minutes over and over would get boring and get predictable, but it never does. It is one of the best movies of 2011 so far.

Source Code is the movie you want to see this summer instead of another remake, or sequel, or comic book movie, or reboot, or based on that bestselling novel by that person because all but one tent-pole movie is one of these.

02 April 2011


Spanks - 4

Director - Greg Mottola

Writers - Nick Frost, Simon Pegg

Starring - Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Blythe Danner, Joe Lo Truglio and Seth Rogen

Release Date - 18 March 2011

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Paul is the first movie Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have starred in together without Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz director buddy Edgar Wright. It is almost as good and as funny as those two films. Paul is about two British sci-fi geeks who, after San Diego Comic Con, go on a road trip of UFO hot spots around western United States. Everything is going according to plan until they run into Paul. Paul is an escaped alien from Area 51 who crash landed on Earth and just wants to get back home.

The laughs start off a little slow, but once all the characters are properly introduced, the laughs are nonstop. I am not a huge fan of Seth Rogen, but he does an awesome job as the voice of Paul (who was created using CGI). The movie has its share of fart jokes, but there are plenty of more intelligent jokes... and who doesn't like fart jokes.

15 March 2011

Battle: Los Angeles

Spanks - 4

Director - Jonathan Liebesman

Writers - Christopher Bertolini

Starring - Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan

Release Date - 11 March 2011

MPAA Rating - PG-13

I went into Battle: Los Angeles expecting things blowing up, cheesy dialog, aliens, and gun fights and that is it. That is exactly what I got and there is not anything wrong with that. The film follows Sgt. Nantz, a US Marine whose retirement is approved the morning of a strange worldwide meteor shower. It turns out it isn't a meteor shower, it is an invasion. His retirement is overturned and he is assigned to the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines under 2nd Lieutenant Martinez who is fresh out of the academy. Their orders are to rescue survivors located inside "the hot zone" and return in three hours before the Air Force bombs the area.

The film is an alien invasion version of Black Hawk Down. After about twenty minutes of character introductions, it is an hour and a half battle filled with explosions, destruction, chaos and mayhem. The film is shot in the same style as well.

Battle: Los Angeles is a summer popcorn flick. If you want a movie with substance and award winning writing this is not the film for you. If you want a fun filled movie with with quotes like "I am only qualified to work on animals and aliens" said by a veterinarian then head to the box office straight away.

09 March 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

Spanks - 4

Director - George Nolfi

Writers - George Nolfi

Starring - Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, and Terence Stamp

Release Date - 4 March 2011

MPAA Rating - PG-13

The Adjustment Bureau is loosely based of off the Philip K. Dick short story "Adjustment Team". The film follows Senator David Norris and his accidental run in with the Adjustment Bureau, a mysterious organization that keeps individuals from deviating from "the plan". David meeting Elise was not a part of "the plan", and David is determined to beat the Adjustment Bureau so he can be with Elise.

The film is part thriller, part romantic, and part science fiction. It uses all three together well. It does start off a little slow, but about half way through it picks up once you start to learn the mythology of this world. It takes a couple of turns that you don't expect to keep you on your toes. The Adjustment Bureau is not the best movie ever made based on a Dick story, but it is no where near the worst.

30 January 2011

The Mechanic

Spanks - 3

Director - Simon West

Writers - Richard Wenk and Lewis John Carlino

Starring - Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Tony Goldwyn and Donald Sutherland

Release Date - 28 January 2011

MPAA Rating - R

The Mechanic is the latest action film starring Jason Statham. I just found out, after seeing the film, that it is a remake of a 1972 film starring Charles Bronson. The film is about a hit man named Arthur who after a hit on his good friend Harry, must fight back against the company he works for who made the hit on Harry. Arthur takes Harry's son Steve as an apprentice after the death of his father.

From watching the trailers before seeing The Machanic, I expected the film to be a no holds bar adrenaline thrill ride like Jason Statham's other action movies like The Transporter and Crank. It does not compare. There is only two action sequences including the climax of the film. The climax that is so quick that if you blink you can miss it. The story is nothing original, and I got bored a few times waiting to see what I came to see...gun fights and stuff blowing up.

04 January 2011

True Grit

Spanks - 4

Director - Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Writers - Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Starring - Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper

Release Date - 22 December 10

MPAA Rating - PG-13

True Grit is a western based on the book by Charles Portis and is also a remake of the 1969 film starring John Wayne, but follows the book more closely. The film follows teenager Mattie Ross, who goes to Fort Smith Arkansas to pick up her fathers body after he was murdered by Tom Chaney. Disobeying her mother, she sets out to personally hire a US Marshall to hunt down Tom Chaney to bring him to justice. She chooses Rooster Cogburn because she is told by the town's sheriff that he has "true grit".

The film is very much more a period specific then a lot of recent westerns in that it uses a lot of dialog that they would use in the 1870's. Mattie uses some words that I have never heard before because they are words that every day Americans don't use anymore. Hailee Steinfeld, the actor who plays Mattie, is a very talented young woman who should be a big star in the next few years.

The Coen Brothers have made an excellent film. The acting by all three stars is brilliant. Who would ever think The Dude would win Oscars 12 years later. And how did they get Matt Damon to grow that mustache?

If you are not a fan of westerns, you don't have to worry about not liking the movie. My girlfriend never wants to watch westerns with me, and she loved True Grit even more then me.