Posts Tagged ‘up

06
Jan
10

Top Ten Movies of 2009

What a year it has been for movies. From a film for fanboys (“Watchmen”) to a teeny-bopper supernatural romance (“New Moon”), from a Jarhead visiting a world of blue people (“Avatar”) to ugly aliens visiting our own (“District 9”), from man’s continuing struggle to against the machine (“Terminator Salvation”) to the machines having taken over and a scientist’s soul divided into mini-creations trying to survive (“9”), from the return of 80’s cartoons as live action (“G.I. Joe”) to the return of 80’s horror (“The Stepfather”) and everything in between (there were TWO movies about mall security cops), it truly has been a year.

As far as film goes and in my own opinion it’s been a tough year. One can blame the economic recession/depression for monetary aspects, but it’s been an overall success for the Industry for the year. This year was more about the aftermath of the 2007-2008 writers strike than any other single factor.

It was difficult making this year’s list because the overall feeling from watching movies this year was “meh.” I enjoyed quite a few movies, but the indies seemed to have peaked the year that “No Country for Old Men” saw release and the blockbusters haven’t held the caliber of “Iron Man” (although “G.I. Joe” was more fun than “Transformers 2”) Another problem with constructing the list was that three of my favorite films I saw this year (“Frost/Nixon,” ‘The Wrestler,” “Gran Torino”) were limited release 2008 in cities such as NY and LA and therefore had to be struck from the list.

Here, in order of release/when I viewed them, are my Top Ten movies of 2009 and my thoughts:

“Star Trek” – “Alias” and “Lost” creator JJ Abrams was given the keys to Kirk and Company and made a fun and enjoyable movie that was truly a reason to go to the movie theatre. Chris Pine channeled a bit of Shatner while Zach Quinto did a spot-on Spock. Some have called it “Star Trek for Star Wars fans” and that may have a bit of truth to it, but it doesn’t take away from being a solid, enjoyable film.

“Up” – If this year had a theme it would be “films that other people thought shouldn’t work but did.” “Up” was being crucified before it got to the theatres. I saw an article where “Wall Street” experts were predicting it as a failure for Pixar. The result? A heartfelt, beautifully colored solid story about a former balloon salesman uprooting his house for the ultimate adventure of his life taking along a stowaway who needs a father figure. It may not have the technology of “Avatar” but the story was original and solid and Pixar up’d their technology work with the brilliance of their color palette.

“The Hangover” – A movie I probably would not have watched had it not been for the free screening. The initial WB test screening went so well they ordered a sequel, which I had never heard of happening before. My brother and I went to a PACKED screening at the Commerce Crossings theatre two weeks in advance. Walking out of the movie my brother gave it the best endorsement I’ve ever heard for a movie: “I would pay to see that again.” So would I.

“District 9” – Following “Moon,” (which gets Honorable Mention) director Neil Blomkamp took racial prejudice in South Africa and changed it to alienation of aliens. Shot on a limited budget and handheld/doc-style, it was an innovative sci-fi film and one that should raise the bar for doing science fiction films.

“Inglourious Basterds” – Tarantino threw everything but the blender into this one: a hodge-podge of war films, exploitation, film geekness, and World War II. This film ran the risk of being exclusively for those who love films and/or Tarantino and while that concept may seem to be running on fumes, and trust me it has its faults, overall it tied together at the end. It’s not “Kill Bill” or “Pulp Fiction,” but it’s a worthwhile addition to the Tarantino catalog.

“Capitalism: A Love Story” – One of the most personal of Michael Moore’s films and his best since, “Bowling for Columbine.” It got snubbed for next year’s Academy Awards and that just goes to show Californians DO love their money…

“Paranormal Activity” – Most likened to being this decade “Blair Witch,” this really IS the little movie that could. Done for $15,000 and shot in one location this preyed on those times when you sit in a house, alone, and hear the creaking of the floors, strange noises, etc. This is a film that works best on people who have imaginations, as opposed to those who enjoy the “idiotic group of college teenagers going out to an abandoned shack” formula. I caught a late showing on a Tuesday night and couldn’t get the final scene outta my head. On DVD next week!

“The Blind Side” – So I had to put another “heartwarming” movie on the list. It wasn’t groundbreaking and you could tell the smarminess from the get-go, but I enjoyed the film. Not everything I watch has to be earth-shattering or socially conscious; sometimes it’s nice to fit in an “uplifting” movie.

“Me and Orson Welles” – Charming, amusing movie rooted in its when and where. I am not a big fan of Orson Welles as a person or his personality, but Christian McKay did such a spot-on job with playing Orson Welles it’s uncanny. It was great speaking with Ed Hart about this one; it truly deserves to be recognized. I wish it luck.

“Avatar” – I initially thought against putting this in the Top Ten but Cameron’s attention to detail and use of 3-D technology make this one to be seen. It’s not a great story; in fact, you’ve already seen it as “Dune,” “Dances with Wolves,” etc. The attention to detail and world of Pandora that Cameron created are what sets this above the others.

There are others that deserve mention (“Moon,” “Zombieland”) but these were the ten best for the year (that I watched). Feel free to give your comments. Happy holidays and see you at the movies!

Chas Andrews

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17
Jun
09

Movie Review: Up

up

 

The Spirit of Adventure.

Starring the voices of Ed Asner, Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai, Delroy Lindo, and John Ratzenberger. Directed by Pete Doctor and Bob Peterson

Nice, charming, amusing and dare I say, delightful.

Carl Fredricksen (Asner) was just a kid when two important events occurred: his boyhood hero Charles Muntz (Plummer), world explorer extraordinaire, is ostracized and called a fraud when scientists question the bones of a rare bird he returned with. He subsequently returns to South America vowing to only return to Stateside after he has captured the elusive, rare bird. Also, Carl meets fellow Muntz-fan and future wife Ellie. In a silent montage we watch Carl and Ellie grow up, get married, buy a house, try to have kids, Carl become a balloon salesman, and the death of Ellie.

Carl is now 78-years-old and the home he rebuilt and grew old in is now the only small plot of land not owned by a corporation planning to build. Aside from loneliness his life is interrupted by the construction crew and Wilderness Scout Russell (Nagai), who pesters Fredricksen in order to earn his Elderly Assistance badge (we didn’t have that in Boy Scouts). When an altercation with Carl’s mailbox leads to a further altercation with a construction crew member, Carl is sent to court for damages and is sentenced to spend his days at Shady Oaks retirement community.

On the day he is to be picked up Carl releases thousands of balloons that are strung through the chimney. It’s up, up, and away as he heads to Paradise Falls in South America just like his boyhood hero, Charles Muntz. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned because while in mid-air, there’s a knock at the door. Russell had hid under his front porch and would like to come inside. Thus begins a friendship between two unlikely people who need each other more than they would admit; Carl needs someone to help him out on his adventure and Russell needs a father-figure in replace of his dad who left his mother for another named Phyllis (a nod to the “Mary Tyler Moore” show). Along the way the duo become a group adopting a talking dog named Dug and the rare bird that Muntz had went to retrieve (which Russell nicknames “Kevin”). Matters get worse when Carl and Russell meet Muntz himself who will do anything, including murder, in order to capture the bird.

This movie works on sheer simplicity; there are no hidden layers, the love story was laid out within the first 10 minutes, etc. It’s about two characters whose growth comes through adventure and it’s better than I thought it would be.

Thinking back there weren’t any certain scenes better than the others; the movie is pretty even. I watched this in Disney Digital 3-D and the color was amazing. There is one particular scene in which the floating house is being dragged in front of a red-purple sunset. That and the color on the bird (which looks like a gigantic, rainbow-colored Dodo), are fantastic. Aside from that you get attached to the characters; Russell’s life really affects you.

One final note for the “trivia” crowd: John Ratzenberger plays Construction Foreman Tom. And a final personal note: I enjoyed this more than “Wall*E.”

My grade: A

30
Apr
09

May Movie Releases

AD_INTL_1SHT_GLOW_2

 

 

“The Merry Gentleman” – A woman moves to Chicago to start life over and meets a guy. Both are trying to escape their past lives and need to become more than they are. Stars Kelly MacDonald and Michael Keaton, who also directs. Opens May 1, 2009

 

 

 

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” – Hugh Jackman’s back in the role that put him on the map: Wolverine of the “X-Men.” Watch for Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth. Opens May 1, 2009

 

 

 

“Next Day Air” – When a package delivers driver drops off a shipment of bricks of cocaine to the wrong address, it’s a battle of wit and wills between the dealer, the buyers, and the recipients. Stars Mos Def and Mike Epps. Opens May 8, 2009

 

 

 

“Star Trek” – Chris Pine plays Captain James T. Kirk is this “reboot” of the franchise. Also stars Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, and Leonard Nimoy. Opens May 8, 2009

 

 

 

“Wild Child” – Emma Roberts is a SoCal socialite brat stripped of her privileges and sent to boarding school in England. Opens May 8, 2009

 

 

 

“Angels and Demons” – Tom Hanks returns to the character from “The Da Vinci Code” for this installment, a sequel based on a book that was the prequel to “The Da Vinci Code.” Got that? Opens May 15, 2009

 

 

 

“The Great Howard Buck” – John Malkovich plays a magician whose illusions are becoming more transparent. He takes on an assistant played by Colin Hanks. Watch for Tom Hanks playing Colin Hanks’ father (there’s acting for ya). Opens March 20, 2009

 

 

 

“The Limits of Control” – Isaach De Bankole is a mysterious loner on a job, probing the depths of his soul. Also stars Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Opens May 22, 2009

 

 

 

“Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian” – Ben Stiller is back, as is Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wilson as Jedidiah. New historical personalities include General Custer, Ivan the Terrible, Al Capone, The Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, and Ulysses S. Grant. Opens May 22, 2009

 

 

 

“Terminator Salvation” – Christian Bale stars as John Connor in this installment of the franchise taking place in 2018. Opens May 21, 2009

 

 

 

“The Brothers Bloom” – Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo are brothers pulling one last con on eccentric heiress Rachel Weisz. Opens May 29, 2009

 

 

 

“Drag Me into Hell” – A loan officer tries evicting an old woman from a home but has an evil curse put upon her. Directed by Sam Raimi. Opens May 29, 2009

 

 

 

“Up” – The next Pixar movie about a 78-year-old man named Carl Fredricksen, who uses balloons to make his house fly. Unfortunately he has a stowaway: 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer Russell. Opens May 29, 2009

 

01
Dec
08

Movie News and Views December 1, 2008 Trailer Edition

angelsanddemons

 

 

 

“Che” – Benicio del Toro in the first part of a two-part film series by Steven Soderbergh about revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Opens December 12, 2008 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=974&item=1

 

“What Doesn’t Kill You” – Ethan Hawke and Mark Ruffalo are guys who grew up together in South Boston. After a trip to prison both return, but Ruffalo has a family to take care of and has to ask himself if the job Hawke wants to pull is worth it. Opens December 12, 2008 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1337&item=0

 

“The Wrestler” – Mickey Rourke plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a former 80’s wrestler who has one last shot against his nemesis, The Ayatollah. Trouble is, this match could kill him. Opens December 17, 2008 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1207&item=0

 

“Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans” – A prequel to the two previous films. Stars Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy, and Rhona Mitra. Opens January 23, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1096&item=1

 

“New in Town” – Renee Zellweger is an ambitious company exec living in Miami who suddenly gets transferred to Minnesota. Hilarity and attraction to Harry Connick, Jr, ensue. Opens January 30, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1343&item=0

 

“Nothing But the Truth” – Kate Beckinsale plays a D.C. reporter who outs a CIA agent but refuses to reveal her source. Also stars Alan Alda, Matt Dillon, and Angela Bassett. Opens January 9, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1029&item=0

 

“Dance Flick” – The Wayans Bros. are back this time spoofing movies such as “Save the Last Dance,” “O,” “Hairspray,” “You Got Served,” and “High School Musical. I thought the trailer was funny… Opens February 6, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1340&item=0

 

“He’s Just Not That Into You” – Ginnifer Goodwin, with the help of Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore and Scarlett Johansson, try to figure guys (Ben Affleck, Justin Long, etc.) out. I just wasn’t that into the trailer… Opens February 6, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1016&item=1

 

“Pink Panther 2” – Steve Martin reprises his role as Inspector Clouseau. This time around, he has to stop a continent-wide crime wave. Opens February 6, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=752&item=1

 

“Race to Witch Mountain” – Disney remaking Disney, this time with Dwayne Johnson s a Vegas cabbie taking two teenagers to Witch Mountain. When he finds they’re really aliens and are on the run from government agents and an alien bounty hunter, he takes it upon himself to protect them. Opens March 13, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1129&item=0

 

“Duplicity” – Clive Owen is ex-MI6. Julia Roberts is ex-CIA. Together, they plan to make two rival companies go at each other. Opens March 20, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1240&item=0

 

“Adventureland” – A 1987 period-piece where a recent college graduate (Jesse Eisenberg) gets a job at an amusement park. Opens March 27, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1047&item=0

 

“The Ugly Truth” – Gerard Butler is a chauvinistic TV host and Katherine Heigl is his new producer. He tries to help her romantically with a “new guy,” but his work has unexpected results. Opens April 3, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1238&item=0

 

“Star Trek” – Chris Pine plays Captain James T. Kirk is this “reboot” of the franchise. Also stars Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, and Leonard Nimoy. Opens May 8, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=450&item=3

 

“Angels and Demons” – Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon. This time he’s taking on the Illuminati. Opens May 15, 2009 View the teaser trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=659&item=0

 

“Up” – The next Pixar movie about a 78-year-old man named Carl Fredricksen, who uses balloons to make his house fly. Unfortunately he has a stowaway: 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer Russell. Opens May 29, 2009 View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1190&item=1

 

“2012” – It’s not the year 2525, but it’s just as disastrous… Roland Emmerich is behind this apocalyptic movie staring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, and Oliver Platt. Opens July 10, 2009 View the teaser trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1275&item=0

 

“Give ‘Em Hell Malone” – Thomas Jane. Ving Rhames. Elsa Pataky. A private eye fending off thugs from loot. All done Seventies-style. From the director of “Highlander” and “Resident Evil: Extinction.” Coming soon! View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer2.php?id=1345&item=0

 

 “The Great Howard Buck” – John Malkovich plays a magician whose illusions are becoming more transparent. He takes on an assistant played by Colin Hanks. Watch for Tom Hanks playing Colin Hanks’ father (there’s acting for ya). Coming soon! View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=138&item=0

29
Jul
08

Movie News and Views July 29, 2008 Trailer Edition

 

 

 

“Fly Me To The Moon 3-D” – Three insects plan to hitch a ride to the moon on the Apollo 11 mission. Animated/CG. Featuring the voices of Christopher Lloyd, Kelly Ripa, Nicollette Sheridan, and Tim Curry. Opens August 15, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.moviefone.com/movie/fly-me-to-the-moon-3-d/31337/trailer?trailerId=2175044

 

“Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys” – Love, career, wealth, relationships, affairs… all between two families struggling to work together. Stars Jennifer Hudson, Kathy Bates, Cole Houser, Robin Givens, and Tyler Perry. Opens September 12, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1166&item=0

 

“The Duchess” – Keira Knightley plays 18th aristocrat Georgiana Devonshire. Opens September 19, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=813&item=2

 

“The Lucky Ones” – Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams, and Micael Pena are all U.S. soldiers who return from Iraq to find life has gone on without them. Opens September 26, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1239&item=0

 

“How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” – Based on the magazine article, Simon Pegg is a British journalist who is hired by a New York magazine. Also stars Jeff Bridges, Megan Fox, and Kirtsen Dunst. Opens October 3, 2008 View the trailer at:

http://www.moviefone.com/movie/how-to-lose-friends-and-alienate-people/27150/trailer?trailerId=2164233

 

“Body of Lies” – Russell Crowe and Leo DiCaprio in a movie about trying to trap a dangerous Al Qaeda operative. Opens October 10, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1008&item=0

 

“W” – Oliver Stone presents a story of a man who knows how to party, how to gamble, how to have a good time. This man has some lows; notably, bad management over a sports team and oil company. However, he triumphs and becomes President of the United States. This piece of Americana opens October 17, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/review.php?id=1237

 

“The Brothers Bloom” – Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo are brothers pulling a con job on a wealthy woman (Rachel Weisz). Also stars Robbie Coltrane. Opens October 24, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=779&item=0

 

“Saw V” – More horror and carnage from the franchise that, like Jason, refuses to die. Opens October 24, 2008 View the teaser at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1128&item=0

 

“RocknRolla” – London. Underground. Gangsters. Guy Ritchie. What more do you need? Also stars Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Ludacris, Jeremy Piven, and Tom Wilkinson. Opens October 31, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=972&item=3

 

“Quantum of Solace” – Bond is back! Opens November 7, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.moviefone.com/movie/quantum-of-solace/26922/trailer?trailerId=2150289

 

“Yes Man” – “Yes is the new ‘no’” as Jim Carrey is a guy who begins saying “yes” to everything, and eventually winds up with Zooey Deschanel. Opens December 19, 2008. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1076&item=0

 

“Watchmen” – Based on the graphic novel/comic book series, this follows an alternate 1985 where a superhero is killed and the investigation into his murder reveals a plot to discredit all superheroes. Opens March 6, 2009. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=590&item=0

 

“Terminator: Salvation” – Christian Bale takes the role of John Connor, lone savior of our future against the giant Cyberdine/Skynet cyborgs. Opens May 22, 2009. View the teaser at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=333&item=0

 

“Ghost Town” – “Office” and “Extras” creator Ricky Gervais is a jerk dentist who, after being dead for 7 minutes, is able to see ghosts. He’s imposed upon by Greg Kinnear to stop his former wife (Tea Leoni) from getting married to the wrong guy. Opens September 19, 2009. View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=933&item=0

 

“Surfer, Dude” – Matthew McConaughey is a surfer with a problem: there’s a drought in the wave department. His manager (Woody Harrelson) gets him to try to endorse a “3-D” surfing game. Dude. Also stars Willie Nelson. Coming Soon! View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=1139&item=0

 

 “Up” – Quoting the Official Plot Summary: Carl Fredricksen spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life. “Up” takes audiences on a thrilling journey where the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures. Coming Soon! View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/headline.php?id=9519&count=0

 

And, stuff from Comic Con:

 

 “Origins: Wolverine” – Here’s the bootleg of the new “Wolverine” movie; basically, a “prequel” of sorts. View the footage at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=143&item=0

 

“Tron 2” – More bootleg stuff from Comic Con. Disney Pictures has given the “go ahead” for “Tron 2” (or “2.0”) and it looks like Jeff Bridges is back as well. View the footage at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/headline.php?id=9511&count=25

 

“Untitled Friday the 13th Sequel” – Let’s get this straight: you already know that a hockey-mask wearing psychopath named Jason Vorhees is out to kill teen/twenty-something campers as they’re about to have sex. You may proceed… View the trailer at:

http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer.php?id=158&item=0