The Story: A Hard R retelling of the battle of Thermopylae in 480BC’¦and away we go’¦Persian King (thinks he is a god) Xerxes wants it all’¦The king of Sparta sees a problem with that’¦while politicians and religious leaders are paid off to be anti-war’¦King Leonidas takes his best 300 father/warriors (too keep the blood lines going) to greet them. The next hour is a lesson in slow motion vivisection that would even shame red lobster on a Friday night.
Why I Like: This was a big one for me. It’s a tragic tale’¦but so is being a dude sometimes’¦and this is a dude picture. Boobs’¦blood and fighting. Spike TV will have it in the rotation for years to come’¦right alongside Roadhouse. Director Zack Snyder is an up and comer’¦He understood the comic book style’¦the glory’¦the sacrifice and the ‘œGuy’ level the flick needed to be at to be great. While a lot of it was grainy (more likely it was because I went to the excellent Mann’s Chinese theater’¦and their superb digital projection showed the flaws) the flat sepia tones made the story feel like it was being told from old faded texts. Very Nice Indeed. And all done in a green screen (blue really) sound stage like Sin City’¦but unlike Sin City’¦it had a lot of outside vistas, cliffs and mountains. Evil horde wants domination, civilized society doesn’t see it coming, leader gives life for ideals. Societies rally behind the fallen hero. Causing a chain reaction that allows western civilization to survive’¦surprisingly it happened a few times before and after Christ was born’¦So much for learning from the past.
Charlie Wilson’s War
The Story: A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects
Why I Like: Not a lot movie take seriously 80’s politics’¦mostly because we all were making money and when that happens’¦people don’t care that much beyond their own lives. That being said’¦the tight writing of West Wing with the likability of Tom Hanks and the truly inspired screen time of Philip Seymour Hoffman for a brilliant retelling of how we secretly were shooting down Russians during the cold war.
The Story: Pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.
Why I Like: Not a lot a musicals out there’¦and for good reason. This one won’t go down as a great (hell’¦South Park was better musically) but it was fresh and fun and produced a few smiles (and a few cringes’¦anytime John Travolta (who I like) was on screen..I would have suggested Kathy Najimi)
The Story: A marksman living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to track the real killer and find out who exactly set him up, and why.
Why I Like: Kinda put on film who the real patriots are’¦and how no matter who you are’¦don’t go against them. Jounyman camera work and acting…but a good, tight flick.
Live Free or Die Hard
The Story: John McClane takes on an Internet-based terrorist organization who is systematically shutting down the United States.
Why I Like: Les Wiseman has a great eye’¦his dynamic nighttime sequences he created for Underworld were amazing. Add that unflinching action to John McClain’¦and even a lackluster story gets some head tuning fun. And McCain fighting a jet with a truck’¦just a hoot to watch. Good for multiple viewings.
The Host (Korea)
The Story: A monster emerges from Seoul’s Han River and focuses its attention on attacking people.
Why I Like: This one put a fun and excellent finish to my South Korea movie phase. A monster movie for sure’¦but not told by the generals fighting it’¦or the scientist defeating it (ala Godzilla)’¦but by a poor shop owners struggle to find his daughter that was taken by the beast.
The Story: Remy is a young rat in the French countryside who arrives in Paris, only to find out that his cooking idol is dead. When he makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant’s new garbage boy, the culinary and personal adventures begin despite Remy’s family’s skepticism and the rat-hating world of humans.
Why I Like: This was a mixed bag for me’¦I like Patton Oswald..but not this time’¦I hate Jeanine Garafalo’¦but not this time. And the story made us feel for rats’¦ummm’¦yuk. Of the Pixar films this finishes very low’¦but every movie out of that place is in the top 10% of all films’¦so don’t feel too bad. Truthfully I like the quirky fun and camerawork of the lesser know ‘˜Surfs Up’™ better’¦.but overall Ratatouille is a class act.
The Story: An ancient struggle re-erupts on Earth between two extraterrestrial clans, the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, with a clue to the ultimate power held by a young teenager.
Why I Like: Popcorn movie’¦and it pays off. Military porn and giant robot fighting with an unlimited budget’¦.who needs a story more complex than the original 80’s cartoon?’¦it doesn’t.
The Story: Jealous colleagues conspire to get a top London cop transferred to a small town and paired with a witless new partner. On the beat, the pair stumble upon a series of suspicious accidents and events.
Why I Like: ‘˜Shawn of the dead’™ gave Simon Pegg lots of chips in the big movie game. The far more polished Hot Fuzz is a simple delight to watch’¦unexpected bad guys..and a true cop/buddy picture homage throughout’¦for the comedy/action film geek in us all.
The Story: A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.
Why I Like: Well’¦all the same people’¦same budget..same director’¦whats not to like. (except Mary Jane is still alive)