Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Movie Brothers Podcast Episode 5

The Movie Brothers are joined by guests Cinema Obsessed, two film enthusiasts and bloggers from http://www.cinemaobsessed.com, we talk Top Movies of the 90s, Love and Other Drugs, Cyrus, and have a triva contest with the Cinema Obsessed.

Check out www.cinemaobsessed.com and follow us at www.twitter.com/themoviebros.

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Miracle

Focused on achieving the impossible — defeating the Soviet Union’s unbeaten hockey team at the 1980 Winter Olympics — brash U.S. hockey coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) unites a motley group of college athletes and turns them into a force to be reckoned with. Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich and Eddie Cahill co-star in this inspirational drama based on an improbable true story that shocked the world.

Matt
Rating: 7 out of 10

I was highly skeptical of Disney making this movie because the story itself is truly inspiring, dramatic and climactic, and doesn’t need any over-the-top sticky, gooey love on top.

Shockingly to me, Disney handled this film well. It was dramatic without hitting the audience over the head with sentimentality. Director Gavin O’Connor (Pride and Glory) developed his characters intelligently by focusing on Coach Brooks, played very well by Kurt Russell, and spending enough time with the players so we know and care about them, but don’t get all of their unnecessary back stories. If O’Connor had spread out his time trying to develop even three of the 20 players plus the coach, we would have ended up with thin characters we didn’t care about and a slow moving story.

Russell brought great tension to the role. He had a fierce edge with a bit of bitterness. This was one of his better performances of late — I also loved him as Stuntman Mike in Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof.” You have to set aside the fact that we know the ending, we know the feel-good, we know we conquered the commies. But what most of us didn’t know was the difficult back story these men faced. This movie portrays that drama in compelling fashion.

The Andromeda Strain

A satellite crashes in New Mexico, prompting scientists to race against the clock to stop a deadly virus from spreading in this Oscar-nominated sci-fi classic based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name. The alien illness that sprang from the probe has already killed most of those living near the crash site, and now it’s up to a team of scientists to stop it. Note: Contains graphic scenes that may be unsuitable for young children.

Victor
Rating: 8 out of 10

When I reviewed “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” I lauded director Robert Wise for his phenomenal diversity in tackling the many genres that make up the pantheon of Hollywood films. I applaud Robert Wise once more for taking on what Stanley Kubrick had only done until “The Andromeda Strain.” The cerebral sci-fi film was released in 1971 and is based on the gripping novel of the same name by the late Micheal Crichton.

In fact it seems as if 2001 and Strain are almost polar opposites in design. 2001 is about mankind’s expansion and Strain is about the demise of man from a strong, super-bad virus from outer space. It comes piggy backed via a satellite that crashes and wipes out an entire town, save but only an infant and an old man.

The film follows the book closely and Robert Wise allows no pretention. There is a race on to catch a super germ from outer space and the feds need the scientists to catch it. We get very straight talking scientists and straight talking G-men in this cold and calculating geek-fest. There are many great elements, such as the art direction, which was nominated for an Oscar. Like MGM’s “Forbidden Planet” (soon to be reviewed), it has a complete electronic score by Gil Melle that is very cold and eerie. Composition and color stand out amazingly much like his work on Star Trek The Motion Picture.

Andromeda Strain is a great sci fi medical thriller but it’s possible scenario is what makes it hit home with many fans of the virus outbreak thrillers. Full of suspense and surprise I highly recommend “The Andromeda Strain.”

Love and Other Drugs

 Pharmaceutical representative Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes a player in the big game of male-performance-enhancement-drug sales and, along the way, finds unexpected romance with a woman (Anne Hathaway) suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Based on the real-life Jamie Reidy’s memoir, Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, this satirical look inside the culture of Big Pharm is directed by Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai).

Matt
Rating:7 out of 10

Once in a while a movie is completely marketed wrong by film companies, and “Love and Other Drugs” is a perfect example of that.

We’re lead to believe this is a romantic comedy – which is why my fiancé and I went to see it. The beginning of the film sets up like a romantic comedy, but the last half of the film goes to full drama, which may be why she liked the first half better than the second half, and I liked the film more than she did.

If we want to classify this as a romantic comedy, it’s certainly head and shoulders above most of them. There are some truly funny and relatable characters who meet in unlikely circumstances – a cocky, good looking lady’s man meets a woman with early onset Parkinson’s disease. It sounds corny, but the characters were developed enough that we believe in them and care about them by the end of the film when they are going through dramatic moments. It was a bit too long, and it does follow formula – boy meets girl, boy loses girls, boy gets girl back. But I think the situations they are in are unique and the acting is strong.  

Predators

Rugged mercenary Royce (Adrien Brody) inherits command of an elite team of human fighters — including dorky-but-dangerous Edwin (Topher Grace) and tough-but-beautiful Isabelle (Alice Braga) — as they are hunted by a race of ruthless alien trackers known as Predators. Director Nimród Antal’s sci-fi action explosion, which also stars Laurence Fishburne and an uzi-toting Danny Trejo, is a direct sequel to the 1987 blockbuster Predator. Directed by Nimród Antal (Vacancy).

Matt
Rating: 5 out of 10

This could have been a whole lot better, given the strength of the source material and cast, along with the fact that Robert Rodriguez (Machete) produced the film.

It wasn’t a total disaster. There were some interesting characters, which ended up being the film’s weakness. There were just too many of them. All of the characters had to be cookie-cutter stereotypes because that’s all you can develop when you have seven primary cast member in a 90 minute movie. You’ve got the ninja (who still calls themself a ninja?), a tough girl assassin, the anti-hero war vet, the surly Russian, and so on. They tried to throw in some new predator arch to the story. They use these crazy alien hunting dogs, which I liked, but they also tried to wedge in a back story about two types of predators that are warring. The only difference between them that we get to see is that one is taller than the other. Not very compelling stuff. I did like the concept of all these varied soldiers getting dropped off in the jungle and hunted by predators, though. It made for some good action.

This is not a very good movie, but it’s certainly the best Predator movie since the original, which was very good.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Prince Dastan, who pairs with spunky Princess Tamina (Gemma Arterton) to keep the Sands of Time — a mystical dagger that gives its holder control over the flow of time — from falling into the wrong hands and putting the world in peril. Mike Newell directs this sweeping live-action adventure based on the popular video game series, co-starring Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina. Directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).

Matt
Rating: 6 out of 10

Film adaptations of films just don’t work, and we’ve written about it before. I even ranked this film as one of the Top 5 movies you shouldn’t waste your money on last summer.

But I will say this — as stupid as this movie was, it was pretty fun. The concept isn’t great. It’s a film about a boy adopted into a royal family who is later framed for his father’s murder by his uncle, and while he is on the run finds a magic dagger that can bring you back in time one minute — throw in heavy doses of action, adventure, fights, and a hot chick. You get the formula.

This is not a good movie, but I’m not always in the mood for an intellectually challenging movie. Sometimes, I just want a movie to distract me from the hustle and bustle.

Thor trailer released

Matt

The trailer for Marvel Comic’s “Thor” was released this weekend, giving audiences the first glimpe at the company’s next major release.

I have been skeptical of the whole concept of having a movie based on Thor — a norse god in the Marvel Universe who is pretty much unstoppable. In order for a hero to be relatable, likeable and someone we care about, they have to be flawed and vulnerable — like Superman’s love for Loise Lane or TonyStark/Iron Man’s drinking problems. It looks like they solved the biggest problem I saw by having Thor kicked out of his world and onto Earth, and losing his powers. It’s a nice touch. We also get to see him whoop some ass, too, so it doesn’t look like it’ll be devoid of action like Ang Lee’s “Hulk.” 

Natalie Portman will play scientist Jane Foster opposite Chris Hemsworth in the title role. Hemsworth is pretty much a total unknown, but he looks the part and his acting doesn’t seem stunted. It’s different from recent comic book films that go for known actors, like Christian Bale as Batman and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, but I think it could work. This already has surpassed my expectations, and I’m now looking forward to it. Enjoy the trailer!