Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Movie Review "Gran Torino" and "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li"

"Gran Torino," with Clint Eastwood

What sucks about this is that this is gonna be Clint Eastwood's last movie. Not because it was a bad movie, because it wasn't, but because he said so himself. His character is Walt Kowalski, a Korean War vet who is probably the biggest racist ever. His racism is old fashioned, making mean jokes about minorities and badmouthing them. The kicker is that every white guy in the movie (except for his relatives, who appear in a few scenes, and his priest) are racist too. He especially hates Asians and Asian-Americans, which gradually changes. He's the only Caucasian in his neighborhood when the movie starts with the death of his wife. Everyone else is Asian-American. The entire movie is him befriending his neighbor's grandson, named Thao, and protecting him from a gang led by his cousin. That's it. But like Million Dollar Baby (which I didn't like except that it had Clint Eastwood in it), he took a really simple concept and made it complex.

What is worse than Kowalski with his racism is everybody else but the rest of his neighbors. His sons and grandchildren are arrogant and uncaring, with one of his grandddaughters literally telling him that she should have his vintage car once he dies (a Gran Torino). The priest is a guy convinced that he is God's agent and that his mission in life is to help Eastwood's character. The characters who aren't his neighbors are just bad people.

The movie has a surprising number of F-Bombs for a movie from a pretty old guy. It's funny only because Eastwood takes his racist bastard of a character and makes him the guy you like the best. Thankfully, in the end, after all the violence, which is pretty messianic, all the characters get what they deserve.

Now, though I'm only a sophomore,that doesn't mean I can't admit that Clint Eastwood did a good job. He did a good job. In the end, this is a good movie because it blends drama, violence, and humor to make something that you like to watch. It could've beat Slumdog Millionaire for the Academy Award, but even without it, at least Clint Eastwood's last hurrah wasn't a failure.

Score: 8/10

"Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li," with the chick from "Terminator: Salvation," the chick from "Smallville," a guy that I've seen in a few movies, and Michael Clarke Duncan

20th Century Fox has been on a roll. They made this movie and "Dragonball: Evolution" within a month of each other (they even released Dragonball the same day as Hannah Montana: The Movie). But this one, as cheesy and stupid as it can get, isn't bad.

It's based on a video game (Street Fighter 4 went into stores 4 months ago), but very loosely. There are only four characters who are from the actual video games (Chun Li, M. Bison, Balrog, and Vega), and one mentioned at the end, since they were obviously intending to make a sequel (Ryu). The story has nothing to do with the video games, and the movie has almost nothing to do with the "Street." The really should've called it "Fighter," get sued for copyright infringement, and dealt with it.

So Street Fighter fans will hate this. I don't know that much about Street Fighter (although I do like it and the video games are fun), but obviously the guy who made this just assumed "oh, it's a Street Fighter movie. So everyone will love it." Every reference or nod at the video games failed. Hell, the got the outfits wrong two, and the villain (M. Bison) somehow changed his race from olive skinned military guy (in the game) to sharply clothed white guy (in the movie).

The fight scenes are generally good, I guess, though it is kind of cheesy also. The woman who plays as Chun Li (the chick from "Smallville, named Kristin Kreuk), not only is she hot, also does a good job considering how effed up the script is. But this film isn't that bad. Just sedate any Street Fighter fans nearby and you can watch a stupid but decent movie.

Score: 7/10 (because it really wasn't that bad)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Movie Review "Hannah Montana: The Movie"

"Hannah Montana: The Movie," starring Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana (sarcasm intended)

Yeah, I was forced to see this today by my cousins (both of them are girls, by the way), and they would've killed me (literally) if I didn't. My older cousin claimed it was an awesome movie, I made the typical guy response of saying it was horrible. I was about 3/4 right.

Since I have seen snippets of the show sometimes (when I'm really bored), from the first moment of the movie i saw (a British tabloid editor is demanding that her paparazzi find some dirt on Hannah Montana), it is automatically better than the show (which sucks ass). The movie doesn't have a linear plot (Hannah Montana does a concert to save her hometown being turned into a shopping mall or something like that), the characters are not likable (except for Miley Cyrus, I guess), and if you're a guy like me, you're not really gonna care what happens.

But if you're a girl, on the other hand, this is the second coming of Christ. If you like the show, you'll sure as hell like the movie. It has songs (less than High School Musical, thank God), attempts at comedy, and even some romance (between Miley and some redneck farmer guy she knew as a kid). Hannah Montana fans will be overjoyed.

But going back to my previous point, if you're not a Hannah Montana, you won't like this. At all.

But being fair about it, it's not as bad as I thought. Most of the time it's bearable. Miley Cyrus does a good enough job (better than anyone else, anyway), and hell, she's cute, so I can forgive her for the really bad role she's in. The worst part is the script. Whoever wrote it obviously was either being controlled by Disney (possible), or a total idiot (possible). Either way, whoever wrote the damn script should lose his job, because it was one of the worst scripts in a movie. it also had cameos from Tyra Banks (who has a shoe fight with Hannah Montana), and Taylor Swift (who randomly shows up in a concert hall and sings something). The songs look just like music videos, quick point. It is funny in a couple moments. But though you won't hate the originally characters, you'll hate the new ones. And the "Hoedown Throwdown" and "The Climb" songs are good. But it's the same old Hannah Montana crap, and if you don't like that, well it's too bad.

Score: it's kinda hard to give a score for such a divided movie like this, so here goes:

For most guys, and girls who don't like Hannah Montana: 0/10

For girls who like Hannah Montana: 10/10

My score: 6/10 (Miley Cyrus gets a 8/10 because she really did do a good job)

Note: the guy who plays her love interest (his name is Lucas Till) was a classmate of my dad's receptionist (they went to a high school in Georgia). That's cool in a really odd way.

Oh, and my cousins saw the honest-to-God Hannah Montana in Savannah, Georgia, filming. That makes me jealous because I've never seen a celebrity in my life

Movie Review "The Pink Panther 2"

"The Pink Panther 2," with Steve Martin, John Cleese, Jean Reno, Alfred Molina, and Aishwarya Rai

This one is actually better than the first one, which is a shock. The first one sucked, and thankfully there's actually some funny moments in this. The villain has the completely frightening name of the Tornado (sarcasm intended). The Tornado steals several of the world's greatest treasures (according to the movie anyway, the artifacts really aren't as valuable as you might think), and then the Tornado makes the mistake of stealing the world's greatest diamond, the Pink Panther. The whole movie revolves around Clouseau (Steve Martin's character) being assigned to a multi-governmental detective gang called the "Dream Team" (and that is the honest-to-God name). Lots of the usual gags from a movie like this happen, including a really unrealistic one of Clouseau being launch from a car and flies several hundred feet in the air over the Eiffel Tower (and that does happen). The plot twist near the end (the Tornado is actually a member of the "Dream Team") is pretty stupid. And the cartoon Pink Panther appears as well at the end.

Steve Martin's Clouseau is very different then the originally one from the old Pink Panther movies (my dad made me see all of them, since he's a huge fan of the films). Peter Sellers (the original Clouseau) is just as stupid as Steve Martin's Clouseau, but the difference is that the older one is just a lovable idiot. Steve Martin's character is self-centered, is a sexist and kind of a racist (watch the movie to get what I mean if you want), and humiliates himself constantly without even realizing it. He also looks like they had to airbrush him a lot to make him look younger. But still, the kiddies will like this, and there's even a little bit of adult humor. and Aishwarya Rai is hot as usual.

So in the end, who's my favorite character in the movie who isn't Aishwarya Rai? The Pink Panther diamond.

Score: 6/10

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Blog

In case you're wondering why everything looks so out of date, it's because I can't customize my blog for some reason. Once I figure out how to do that, I'll update the polls, stuff, etc. Hopefully you'll enjoy what is on my blog, and check out my Facebook page too (search for Palmer Rubin).


Movie Review "Knowing"

"Knowing," with Nicolas Cage

The concept is pretty simple. A girl who looks just like the girl from the Exorcist writes down a series of random numbers for a time capsule project in 1959. But the teacher grabs it from her before she finishes. Then the time capsule is buried, and the girl disappears. The teacher finds her later in a closet, with some numbers scratched in the door, her fingers bloody and creepy. Then you see Nicolas Cage and his Discovery Channel obsessed dork son. They have the usual widower-kid banter. Then Nick Cage's son gets the same paper that the girl from the 50s wrote for the time capsule when it's unearthed 50 years later. Then the son, who has a hearing aid, suddenly gets ovices in his head. The rest is Nick Cage, whose character is a college professor who has been an atheist since his wife was killed and has a bad haircut and a drinking problem, try to stop the numbers (which is a code predicting correctly every major disaster from 1959 to this year).

This film switches tracks a lot. It is drama one point, thriller the next, action the next, then horror, then sci-fi, all in a mixed up order. You're going to see a plane narrowly miss Cage, then see black oval-shaped rocks hover around him later. Cars get hit by trucks, people die, kids are kidnapped. It does explain why Nick Cage's character of all people is the guy whose kid finds the paper. He explains in a class to his students about how one theory of how life is the way it is is how it's destined to happen (a very religious thought). So because it was destined to happen, Nick Cage is chosen to save the world. Which he doesn't.

The ending suggests that everything that Nick Cage did was all for nothing. It literally is a bad ending. Because the sun shoots out a solar flare that reaches Earth and destroys us all. Because there are black-clothed pale blond guys stalking Nick Cage's kid. Because those same weird blond guys are actually aliens (no I'm not kidding, they make the blue guy from "Watchmen" look normal), because they take Nick Cage's son and the granddaughter of the woman who wrote the paper (and two of every other animal, a la Noah's Ark), and then they leave in weird blue spaceships, leaving everyone else to die, including Nick Cage. Then it gets worse. The very last minute shows the kids on an alien planet, the aliens dropping off all the animals, then they run off towards a funny looking fruit tree. And you have to be a total idiot to realize what that tree is. That's right, they run off to eat an alien version of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (from the Bible). Then as they're about to reach the tree, the screen goes black. Roll end credits.

Oh, yeah, it's also an action movie.

Score: 5/10

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Movie Review "Push" and about 20 minutes of "Inkheart"

"Push," with Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning

Push is a more realistic, gritty version of X-Men. Except instead of being called mutants, the super-powered people are known as "us", "them," and very vague terms suggesting them. Chris Evans (The Human Torch from "Fantastic Four"), is a "Mover," a guy who can use telekinesis. Dakota Fanning is a "Watcher," who can see the future. The two of them are trying to stop Division (which is a corrupt branch of the US government trying to capture all of the super-powered people in the world and create an army. The odd thing about Division is that their leader actually has super powers himself, and he's called a "Pusher," who can put thoughts in your mind. The super powered people's similarities to the X-Men are obvious. They're all pessimistic, whiny bastards who constantly mope about their powers, and don't really give give a damn about causing as much collateral damage as possible though they are the good guys. But at least X-Men had a plot, as stupid as it was.

The director of this film had no idea what he was doing. the plot is broken down into something like "must find case with thing needed to stop bad guys so we can rescue Dakota Fanning's mother and then everyone will be happy yayyyyyy". That really is the plot. The silver lining (kind of) is that it was done on purpose because the movie constantly acts like there's going to be a sequel. The guy who plays the main bad guy is the only guy doing a decent job, though he sucks as much as everybody else. It also said on the back cover that the guy who played as the villain was nominated for an Academy Award. Chris Evans' character is a total hotshot, and I've never really liked him in any of the roles he's in. Dakota Fanning completely fits the role, since the character is almost exactly like every other character she's played in movies. Then there's another "Pusher", played by some twenty-year-old (Oh, and she's dating one of the Jonas Brothers or something). Her character has three jobs in the movie, to make out with Chris Evans, to be all mysterious like, and to switch sides several times during the course of the movie.

There are many problems with it. One, no one in this knows how to make a film. The visual effects are really good. That's about it. The fight scenes are some of the blandest you will ever see. The main question I have about this film, is if it was filmed on such an obviously high level, why does the end result look like some crappy indie film? And why the hell does there need to be a scene with Dakota Fanning in a strip club (and no, she wasn't stripping herself)?

Score: 3/10

The first 20 minutes of "Inkheart," with Brendan Fraser.

Compared to "Push," which I just reviewed, that movie is an Academy Award winner. You need to be a special kind of bad where you immediately want everyone to die. I didn't see much of it, only about 20 minutes or so. But the recommended period of viewing time for this is about 2 minutes. There is only one bit of OK-ness in this piece of crap, and that is (oddly enough) Brendan Fraser. He is one of those horrible actors who keeps on going through inertia and yet you can't hate him. He personifies the dopey idiot who somehow is an action hero (because he isn't a badass). He also finally is starting to wrinkle, his neck looks like my grandpa's. Other than the comforting fact knowing that he's in his zone (because the movie that is geared towards teenagers but is actually watched by 4-year-olds is where he's king), suckage. His character can make the characters from books come to life. Yay. The movie constantly make lines about the "magic of books" and how they can be a "powerful weapon". This movie is a powerful weapon. It's a perfect torture device for the guards at Guantanamo Bay if they ever wanted to stop torturing the prisoners.

Score: 1/10

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Movie Review "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and "12 Rounds"

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine", with Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, and Wil.i.am

This is the most brainless superhero film I've ever seen. That doesn't mean it's bad, and it has a good plot on paper, but when 20th Century Fox filmed this they obviously screwed up. The only superhero films more brainless than this is Fantastic Four (and that's only bearable because Jessica Alba is in those films). The beginning is when a scrawny pre-teen Wolverine (in the 1800s), sees his "dad" killed then kills his friend's dad with his newly grown bone claws, then finds out that his friend's dad is his dad, too, all in the space of about a minute. Then the entire opening credits has Wolverine and his friend/newly discovered brother fighting in the Civil War (for the Union, weird because they're both Canadian), World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War (all for America, obviously). Then his friend/brother (called Victor, but in the comics his name is Sabretooth), tries to rape a Vietnamese woman, is stopped by an American soldier, then grows claws from his fingers and kills the soldier, then forces Wolverine to help him, and then they're put in front of a firing squad, then the opening credits are over. Oh, and they survived D-Day.

So then the movie actually starts with them both in a prison in the late 1960s. A dude named William Stryker (a character from another X-Men movie), meets them and forces them to join a mutant team for no reason. Then I think the movie goes to like the 1990s or something because Wolverine and Sabretooth are with a bunch of other mutants (with Ryan Reynolds, who is in the movie for less than five minutes as a sword wielding guy called Deadpool), and they're in an African country. Than Stryker finds some odd metal on a desk, asks the leader of the people he's after where he got it, takes the mutants to the people who found it, and when they won't tell tells the mutants to murder them all. Then Wolverine gets cold feet (because he's the good guy, duh), and leaves. Then six years go by, he's dating a teacher who won't shut up about a Native American story about some dude that picked flowers for the moon and couldn't give them to "her," (probably an actual myth, but I have no idea). But the guy in the myth has a name that means "Wolverine" in a Native American langauge, then Sabretooth comes out of nowhere and apparently kills her, then Wolverine screams, then he goes after Sabretooth, then he stupidly lets Stryker take him to some place to have adamantium (a made-up metal that's "harder then diamond") injected into his bones so he is literally indestructible, including his claws, then he escapes.

The rest of the movie is Wolvering trying to kill both Stryker and Sabretooth at the same time, fighting almost every mutant he meets, good or bad. There's mutants I've heard of in this movie (Gambit, Deadpool, the Blob, Professor X from the other X-Men movies, Cyclops from the other X-Men movies), and mutants I haven't heard of (all the other mutants in the movie, and some guy who can fire guns really good called Zero, and Wolverine kills him). The final villain (called Weapon XI, who has what looks like almost clear goo covering his mouth, black tatooed lines all over his body, and swords growing out of his arms) is so stupid that the response to his obvious defeat is "Finally!". Actually, this movie is so funny at some points that it's almost a comedy dressed up as an action flick. Lots of people die. Dun dun dun. And Wolverine kicks all their asses. A good action film, but kinda cheesy.

Score: 7/10

"12 Rounds", with John Cena

The thing that threw me off is the back of the cover, which shows that this was made by the same wrestling group that John Cena fights in. The only big guy in this is John Cena, and he does a good job for a guy who's acted in only one other film (The Marine), as far as I know. But this movie is decent, though the villain is some arrogant jewel thief. The story: A jewel thief is almost caught by the FBI in New Orleans (yes, New Orleans), so the FBI makes the obvious move to send average grade cops (John Cena and a friend) after some guy who's avoided every other guy sent after him. So John Cena and Co. actually catch up to this guy, his friend the other cop is shot in the ass (literally) by the jewel thief who's hiding in the trunk of his smokin' hot girlfriend's car (Not to mention that the jewel thief's name is literally a rip off from the Mission: Impossible movies), and then John Cena ends up breaking several minor laws just trying to catch the jewel thief. He stops our friend the jewel thief by grabbing the hitch for a tethered up speedboat and pushes it in front of the approaching car the jewel thief is in. They crash, both the girlfriend and the jewel thief come out alive, jewel thief gets girlfriend to make a run for it before John Cena catches both of them, the music gets more climatic, she's almost away...then she's literally run over by a car. And then cops pop out of nowhere and catch jewel thief.

The screen says "A Year Later". So John Cena and his girlfriend are having the usual little banter that movie couples have, their sink breaks, a plumber comes to fix it. Cena's girlfriend leaves to go on a ferry to get to work. And then jewel thief calls Cena and kidnaps the girlfriend at the same time. jewel thief, being the melodramatic bastard that he is, forces Cena to play a game called "12 Rounds" to get her back. So Cena does all kinds of amazing stunts that you would never have expected a Grade-D cop to be able to do.

That doesn't mean the movie is bad. Oddly, Cena, the only guy in this movie who isn't actually an actor, does the best job. Everyone else is just a cliche. The villain, the loved one, the best friend, the law enforcement guy who's much higher up the ladder than the main character but somehow does a worse job, etc. Oh, and don't forget the cute little dog that Cena seems to like more than the girlfriend. Cena has only two emotions in this movie, annoyed and angry as hell. He doesn't crack a smile once. But despite all the bad stuff about the movie (the worst part about this is everyone else's reactions to "12 Rounds," treating it like an ultra-important game of Clue, with such gems like "You only have x number of "Rounds" left!"), it's still good. John Cena does a good enough job that you want him to win, and though he doesn't give a damn about anyone else (he destroys New Orleans' main power plant in an attempt to stop a trolley in one "Round"), at least he's catching a jewel thief that only kills one person in the actual movie. The villain is so laughably bad that you want John Cena to kill him. For that reason, you're on John Cena's side the whole time.

Score: 7/10

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tropic Thunder

Embarrassing fact, but it's been over a year since Tropic Thunder came out and I finally saw it today. My mother was pissed. And it's hilarious, if you haven't seen it by now. If you haven't seen it, you need to. Right away. Doesn't matter what gender, race, religion, sexuality, anything, you need to see it. Actually, African-Americans might be offended by Robert Downey Jr.'s character (the character pulls a "reverse-Michael Jackson, yeah I know he died like a week ago, and has a surgery to change his race.), and Tom Cruise (TOM CRUISE!) appears as an oddly Jewish producer who says more F-bombs then anyone else in the movie and has an obsession with modern rap music. But unfortunately, just like TV shows like Family Guy and South Park and movies like Borat and the upcoming Bruno (which I hope is funny, looks funny) can be very offensive against certain genders, race, religions, and sexualities, those two are the funniest characters. Hell, Downey Jr. got an Academy Award nomination for this, but lost it to Heath Ledger (who deserved it). But since 9 times out of 10 you've seen this, I'm not gonna review it. But to quickly refresh all the celebs who appear in this movie at any time, you have Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr. (IRON MAN!), Nick Nolte, Steve Coogan (from Night at the Museum), Danny McBride (from Land of the Lost), Matthew McConaughy (in the best role of his career as Ben Stiller's character's agent), Tom Cruise, Tobey Maguire (SPIDER-MAN!), Martin Lawrence, Tyra Banks, Maria Menoumos (some woman I saw in a makeup commericial and someone on Access Hollywood, according to the part she's in), Jon Voight, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Love Hewitt, possibly Charlize Theron, Lance Bass (the singer from N-Sync who came out of the closet), and Bill Hader (one of the cops from Superbad).

So yes, Tropic Thunder was awesome. But Jack Black sucked.