Thursday, April 30, 2009

Review: Wolverine

Just caught a 7 pm showing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Theater wasn't packed, but to be fair, it's a holiday here today and most people are out doing other stuff. I wasn't sure what to expect of the movie. I somewhat successfully managed to stay away from trailers, clips and stills, as I didn't want to get spoiled. I knew it's about Wolverine (duh), the great Liev Schreiber plays Sabretooth, the Friday Night Lights kid is Gambit (finally, Gambit!), Dom Monaghan is in this for some reason and Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool (what's a Deadpool?).

My brief X-Men history first so you know where I'm coming from reading this review. I've never read the comics, but I did watch the cartoon when I was a kid. Wolverine wasn't a favorite: I liked Gambit and Rogue. I liked X-Men and X2, but never saw The Last Stand.

First something that I loved! The opening title sequence. It was beautifully done. The credits played over scenes of Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) fighting in several wars, but never dying. A good font was picked too. I hate it when movies have stupid colored fonts that don't stand out from the background. Kudos to the people behind this sequence.

Logan and Victor eventually meet Stryker and join Team X. The other members are Wade 'Deadpool' Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), Chris 'Bolt' Bradley (Dominic Monaghan), Fred 'The Blob' Dukes (Kevin Durand), John 'Kestrel' Wraith ( and David 'Agent Zero' North (Daniel Henney). Or so Wikipedia tells me. It was fun seeing these guys interact. I would have liked to see more of them, but this movie is called Wolverine and not Team X unfortunately. More on that later.

Then comes stuff mostly about Wolverine and his girlfriend Silverfox (played by Michelle Monaghan 2.0, Lynn Collins), which is where the movie fell flat for me. I just didn't care enough. I kept waiting for Sabretooth to reappear to make things interesting again! That's not a good sign, I think. Though it's a compliment for Schreiber I guess.

This next bit is SPOILERY: the movie feels pretty short with a runtime of 107 minutes. This is probably just me being hypercritical but whatever, I'm just going to say it: there's a scene that feels like filler. I was actually sitting there thinking 'what is the point of this scene? who wrote this crap?' As established early in the movie, Wolverine cannot be killed by guns, him having healing powers and all. Yet there's like a 15 minute sequence where Zero tries to shoot him even though he knows he can't kill him that way. They sorta make up for it by at least acknowledging their stupidty afterwards. END SPOILERS

The ending left me wanting more, but not in the sense that I want to see a sequel. This has more to do with the movie feeling short and the final battle not being that suspenseful. This is a prequel and we know certain characters appear in the X-Men trilogy. It should not be a surprise that Sabretooth survives.

I want to talk about the other mutants a bit. BEWARE OF SPOILERS! I read a lot about Ryan Reynolds' casting as Deadpool. I know Reynolds is a fan of the character and that's why he agreed to do the movie. I love Ryan. I'm very pro-Ryan in movies. But this felt pointless. He's in the movie for 5 minutes, just like Dominic Monaghan. Come one! I know this is Wolverine the Movie, but if you include these guys, use them. wasn't bad at all as Wraith. Good choice! I liked Durand as the Blob. Taylor Kitsch was an okay Gambit. I think my expectations were too high for that one. He didn't really feel Gambit-y IMHO. The movie includes a young Scott Summers (Cyclops). I wasn't really feeling his addition. It made me confused timeline wise. But I'm no expert.

Overall, the movie was enjoyable, but it felt flawed to me. Hugh Jackman gave a good performance, but it was Liev Schreiber who kept my interest. A 3/5.

Happy birthday, Kirsten Dunst!

Happy 27th birthday, Kirsten!

Monday, April 27, 2009

And now time for my monthly Bradley Cooper post

I haven't been around much.. anywhere actually except for work or over at Ali Larter Fan. My girl has a new movie out (that would be Obsessed), so she's been keeping me busy with updates. I read two Bradley Cooper related posts over at days ago that I've been wanting to talk about.

First up is the poster for Coop's upcoming comedy The Hangover with Ed Helms and Justin Bartha. It looks like such a guy movie.. I like that! I'm getting tired of crappy chick flicks. Check out the trailer here. Fun poster. Fun trailer. Bradley Cooper. This should be good. And how adorable is it that Justin Bartha gets the "with" credit on the poster? *crickets* Okay, just me then. I thought Heather Graham would be more likely to get it even though she hasn't really been in a successful movie for about a decade. She's still more famous than Bartha I think. Yes? No? I've really enjoyed Bartha in the National Treasure movies and Failure to Launch so I'm happy for him.

Next up is the trailer for a movie I knew nothing about, Case 39. I didn't even know Bradley was in it when I started watching it. How is that even possible? Anyways, Case 39 stars Renée Zellweger as a case worker and Jodelle Ferland as a creepy little girl. I have never seen Ferland play anything else but a creepy little girl (see also: Silent Hill, Kingdom Hospital, Supernatural). She does it well, but it kinda gives me a "been there, done that" feeling. Like I've seen it all before. There must be other creepy kids out there. Trailer looks interesting. Not sure what to think of what's going on. I hope it's not a ghost movie, because I don't like ghost movies. Not in a 'they scare me sense', but they kinda bore me. Like all those J-horror movies.

It's quite a Bradley Cooper year we're having. First Yes, Man (well, it was released in my country in 2009), then He's Just Not That Into You. Now we still have Case 39, The Hangover and All About Steve to look forward to.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Review: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

All the boys love Mandy Lane, huh? Well, I think I kinda love her too. I would've much rather watched this on the big screen than Friday the 13th. I'm really puzzled by the release troubles of this movie, but I digress.

BEWARE OF SPOILERS (Also for Valentine, Prom Night 2008 and Mindhunters)!

Looking at the cast, I thought this would be a case of David-Boreanaz-in-Valentine-logic. I use this term to refer to the odd one out in the cast. Someone that seems out of place and therefore must be the killer. Like how Valentine stars a group of women and they are stalked by some guy they used to bully when they were kids. Enter David Boreanaz as the main guy in a pointless role as Marley Shelton's ex-boyfriend. See also Johnathon Schaech in the Prom Night remake. I was very happy to find out that this logic didn't apply to Mandy Lane and that the underappreciated Anson Mount, being older than the main cast, didn't end up being the killer.

The plot is very simple: Mandy Lane is a hot girl. Every guy wants to get with her. She gets invited to a ranch party and there people start to die.

I loved the beginning of the movie where Michael Welch's character manipulates Mr. Popular to jump off the roof into the pool. Of course it goes horribly wrong. It's an 'all bets are off' moment. In any other movie the popular guy would have made the jump. Not here. Now we know anything could happen. Plus, I'm so used to seeing Welch's as Amber Tamblyn's nice but geeky younger brother on Joan of Arcadia. It was great seeing him play such a different character.

At first, I didn't think Welch would be the killer. It seemed too obvious. I thought he was a red herring. But he was. More on that later.

I was surprised that I ended up liking the teens. Sure, Aaron Himelstein got a free pass, because I liked him on Joan of Arcadia as well. I didn't know the others except for Amber Heard. I think all the teens were fairly realistic and no castmember was annoyingly bad. Example: I can't stand watching Freddy vs Jason, because Monica Keena and Jason Ritter - OUR LEADS - are so awful. The Mandy Lane cast did well. Besides Himelstein and Welch, I really liked Whitney Able and Edwin Hodge. There was more to them than just stereotypes and in the hands of worse actors they could've been just that: stereotypes. Heard was an appealing lead and I'm not surprised she's been cast in many projects since.

I think the movie took a bit too long to get to the main action, but I was never too bothered by it. And once we did get to it, the movie delivered. The main thing I love though is the cinematography. The entire film looks gorgeous! I haven't been this in love with the look of a film since the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. The movie feels like an old school horror film which is nice. While I'm very pro-Scream and like many of the slashers that followed it, Mandy Lane feels like a breath of fresh air in a tired genre.

Now for the ending. About halfway through Welch is revealed as the killer. I thought, 'hmmm.. okay, best friend is so in love with her he kills for her.' Kinda lame, but okay. I found the gun as weapon of choice interesting as it reminds of various high school shootings. Then it turns out Mandy was in on the shootings all along and they had a suicide pact, which made me think of Columbine etc. even more. Welch and Mandy being losers picked on by the popular crowd so they decide to kill them and then themselves. Interesting angle, but I can imagine it's not one that is appreciated by many, especially if you've lived through it.

Why she turned on Welch in the end is open to interpretation and not something I care to discuss right now. I do wonder if Mandy was involved in her parents' death à la Jonny Lee Miller in Mindhunters.

Overall, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is an enjoyable and solid horror flick. A 4/5.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fave Movie Moments... House on Haunted Hill

I love House on Haunted Hill. I love many moments. Any scene with Chris Kattan is great. I also have a fondness for this scene:

"Stephen, you poor clueless old geek. All it would've taken is a simple divorce. You ripping our pre-nup to teeny itsy bitsy little pieces. No matter how it ended, please just know one thing. From the first moment I set eyes on you, I've always always loved.. your money. On the other hand, just the sight of you has always made me want to puke."

"Is that a fact, Princess?"

This scene shows how twisted their relationship is. Geoffrey Rush and Famke Janssen play so well off each other. This movie is worth the watch for their interactions alone.

Congrats, Sarah and Freddie!

People is reporting that former vampire Slayer Sarah Michelle Gellar is expecting her first child with husband Freddie Prinze Jr.! The cute couple have been married since 2002.

Sarah and Freddie met each other on the set of 1997's I Know What You Did Last Summer, but didn't start dating until 2000. They have since appeared together on the big screen in the Scooby-Doo movies.

I love them together! They're fun to watch on screen and they seem like a nice couple in real life. Here's an excerpt of Sarah's 2002 interview with Movieline:

Who knew it was love first - you or Freddie?
You ask him, he's going to say me. It was probably me, but there's one "movie" moment that happened where we both looked at each other.

Was that moment when you worked together on IKWYDLS?
Oh, no. We were just friends then. We had nothing in common other than just hanging out and having fun. He was in a serious relationship then.

So when did that moment occur?
Five years later. We lost touch when he got really busy doing She's All That and Head Over Heels. Then he broke up with his girlfriend and did that thing where you try and get back in touch with your old friends. And I called him and said I heard he was back and if he wanted to go for sushi to give me a call. I'm still learning how to talk about this because I've never had a relationship that's public before.

What did Freddie have that none of your previous boyfriends had?
He balances me. We're both homebodies. We love to have friens over. We love board games - we'll play them until three in the morning. I love Scattergories, Scrabble, Director's Cut, Facts in Five.

How many children would you like to have?
No idea. If you ask Freddie, he'll say "a gaggle, a bushel."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Simple Explanation

I just watched the much talked about House ep "Simple Explanation". Beware of spoilers, also for Ally McBeal, Angel, ER and Buffy.

I'm just a casual House watcher. I usually tune in when there's an actor I like playing the patient of the week (e.g. Breckin Meyer, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kevin Zegers). When I heard Kal Penn's character Kutner committed suicide, I was suprised like many other people across the globe. I watched the ep to see how they pulled it off. Not in the morbid sense to see how he killed himself, but to see how the explained it in the show. Well, they didn't. We, the audience, are just as clueless as the other characters on the show.

In real life there isn't always a simple explanation why someone commits suicide. Looking at it from that angle, I guess the story worked. Was it a satisfying conclusion for a beloved character? No, I don't think so. I like my television realistic, but it's also a form of entertainment. I see sick people on a daily basis. Death is an unavoidable aspect in my line of work. There is not always closure. When I'm watching a television show and they kill off a character I care about, I would prefer some closure. Life can be harsh enough as it is already.

Kutner's suicide may have worked for shock value, but ultimately it didn't hit me emotionally. The entire episode didn't. And I regularly cry watching television shows. I cried when Billy died on Ally McBeal. I cried when Doyle died on Angel. I cried when Joyce died on Buffy. I didn't cry watching this ep. I can't put my finger on it. I think it's sad what happened to Kutner, but I'm not feeling it. I don't know, maybe it's because the other characters on House weren't really feeling it either. Billy's death had a huge emotional impact on Ally and I felt it. Doyle died a heroic death on Angel and his goodbyes were heartbreaking. Buffy finding Joyce's body and her reaction to it is what really makes Joyce's death sad at that moment. When Foreman and Thirteen found Kutner, I wasn't feeling the sadness. I think the scene was rather brief though. More of Thirteen crying might have helped it.

I can't help but think of Dennis Gant (Omar Epps)'s death on ER. Gant, an intern, jumps in front of a train (off camera) and ends up unrecognizable in the ER. The docs are pissed about his absence and start paging him, only to realize that their John Doe patient on the table is Gant when his pager starts beeping. Now that was a shocking ep! And sad! And memorable! Gant's death was over a decade ago and I still remember it so well. I don't think I will remember Kutner's death in six months. Sad..

In other news, congrats to Kal Penn on his awesome new job!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hello, Freddy

This man is Jackie Earle Haley. Former child star turned Oscar-nominated actor for 2006's Little Children. Rorschach in Watchmen. And now he's Freddy Krueger in Platinum Dunes' upcoming remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. [x]

I don't really know what to say about his casting. I've never seen Haley act (yes, shame on me). I can tell you that any news related to remaking Elm Street leads to me jumping up and down in a fit of rage. Okay, no, not really. I just sigh somewhat annoyed. I truly feel remaking Elm Street is unnecessary. I know I don't have a say in it, but still..


DAMNIT! I grew up watching Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger. It started when I was ten. My best friend and I would have sleepovers and for some reason our parents let us rent Freddy, Michael and Jason movies. It's been our thing for over a decade. How excited were we when Freddy vs Jason hit theaters. The first time (and probably last time we thought) ever we got to see these icons on the big screen! Then the Halloween remake happened, which I didn't like, but my best friend kinda did. Then the Friday the 13th remake happened, which I didn't really like, but my best friend kinda did. For the record, she pretty much likes everything. Best friend, I love you, but that's f*ckin annoying. How many times have you made me watch The Haunting?!

Anyways, the point of this story is: STOP RUINING MY CHILDHOOD! It's not funny anymore. What's next? A remake of Scream? That movie is 12 years old. I bet the Platinum Dunes guys are on the phone with the Weinsteins right now.

Back to topic, what is the point of this remake? When the Powers that Be wanted to remake The Hills Have Eyes I thought 'sure, why not.' The original was crappy and dated, so an upgrade didn't seem like such a bad idea. But why Elm Street? Robert Englund as Freddy? Iconic. Johnny Depp sucked into the bed? Classic. Top that, Platinum Dunes! (I really seem to be hating on Platinum Dunes right now so I have to add that I do love The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Yes, I'm a complex person).

There's a small upside. Kyle Gallner, better known as Cassidy 'Beaver' Casablancas on Veronica Mars has signed on to the Elm Street remake as well. Since the inclusion of big bro Dick Casablancas (aka Ryan Hansen) was among the few things Friday the 13th got right (as in, Ryan didn't make me want to stab my eyes out), I'm sure Beaver will amuse me as well.

Btw, I remember there's one movie my best friend doesn't like.. Sex and the City.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A little rant

Ohw gosh, I haven't posted here in ages. And for days I've been wanting to blog about why Doug (Aaron Stanford) from The Hills Have Eyes is one of my favorite movie characters and share my appreciation for the remake. And that I can't sit through the commentary because Aja's accent makes me giggle. But that will have to wait, because I'm tired, hayfeverish and unable to be witty and/or coherent right now.

I will say this: I feel old. I read the gossip sites and the movie sites and lately I feel I'm only reading about Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, and the Twilight stars. I'm actually trying to think of more teen stars, but I'm drawing a blank (I think that's a good thing). And what pains me the most is that I used to love Young Hollywood. My generation had talented young stars with critical acclaim. And when I'm talking about my generation, you know when I was a teen, I'm just talking about 10 years ago.

Check it: 1999 was the year of American Beauty. Thora Birch and Wes Bentley gave wonderful performances (whatever happened to them, seriously?). Kirsten Dunst was great in The Devil's Arithmetic and The Virgin Suicides, but was also effortlessly funny in Dick. Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were on the rise thanks to the still great 10 Things I Hate About You. Elijah Wood and Christina Ricci were well on their way making their transition from child star to adult roles since their memorable performances in 1997's The Ice Storm. Reese Witherspoon impressed with Election, while the cast of American Pie was a breath of fresh air.

1999 was a great year for young talent. 2009 not so much. Yes, Kristen Stewart is in Twilight and she's a great young actress. But how does Vanessa Hudgens compare to any of the actresses mentioned in the paragraph above? To be honest, I don't know much about the current teen stars. I want to keep it that way. But it kinda makes me sad for the current generation that that's what they have to look up to. People were always making fun of the now defunct WB network and its stars, but really, was it that bad?

Ahhh see, incoherent rambling. Sorry about that! I'm off to watch House on Haunted Hill. The remake one. And at one point I will make a post about remakes. You know, as soon as I figure out where I stand when it comes to those things..