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Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

This version of “Insomnia” is a Norwegian movie which the 2002 American made film, same name, starring Robin Williams and Al Pacino is based on. This particular movie, starring Stellan Skarsgard, is quite good, but it is different than the American version in a few but important areas. The American public would have never of approved of some things which happen or are implied in the Norwegian movie. I like this movie just as much as the American counterpart, but it does have a few more holes in it than the newer version.

The story starts off the same, a young school girl is beaten to death and is left dead in a garbage dump. The setting is in the extreme north of Norway, above the Artic Circle, so there is 24 hours of daylight. A Swedish detective, Jonas, played by Stellan Skarsgard (King Arthur), in Oslo is sent up to the great white north with his partner to help solve the crime. During the hunt for the suspect, Jonas accidentally kills his partner. The suspect witnesses the shooting and attempts to blackmail the detective so he can get away with killing the girl.

Main differences between the two movies are, in thisversion, the suspect actually has sex with the 17 year old girl and the two detectives are not facing an Internal Affairs investigation back home. Jonas just happened to be sleeping with a suspect in a major criminal investigation. During the course of the movie, Jonas also has his hand up the skirt of the victim’s best friend, who is also 17; minor differences but in major ways.

I liked the movie, and I wish I had seen this version first instead of the American version. If you have seen the American version, you should go ahead and see this version, because it shows how much censorship there is here in the USA.

Brian – the Naked Gun

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I, RobotWhen I went to go see “I, Robot,” I was not expecting to see a very good movie. I have seen way too many Will Smith saves the world pictures, i.e. “Independence Day,” “Men in Black,” etc. Will Smith does a great job of saving everybody and acting very much like a machine, ala Arnold Schwarzenegger. Except, Arnold can pull it off, and Smith can’t ALL of the time. However, “I, Robot” was a delightful switch, where we get to see Smith have faults, be human and save the world at the same time. Oh, the movie is also quite good.

The story is, in the future, a company has created robotic machines which serve mankind and are not allowed to hurt any person. It’s a part of the three rules, which you will learn about in the movie. Scientist Dr. Alfred Lanning, played by James Cromwell (The Green Mile), who created the first set of robots and most of the artificial intelligence in the movie, comments suicide at his office under suspicious circumstances. So, Det. Spooner, played by Smith, is sent to investigate.

Spooner is very suspicious of all robots and for very good reasons. While doing is initial investigation, he meets robotic psychologist Susan Calvin, played by Bridget Moynahan (The Sum of All Fears), and the robot who may have actually committed murder, Sonny, voiced by Alan Tudyk (Dodgeball). From here on, it’s a quest to learn how Dr. Lanning died and the greater conspiracy in the robotic company.

The best part of the movie was the character Sonny. It is very hard for me to be sympathetic to a non-human character in movies not named Yoda or E.T., but the writing for this character added the correct amount of human element. Tudyk played it correctly, and so I really enjoyed watching that character.

Actually, I thought the writing for all of the characters were above average, which is a major achievement for writer Jeff Vintar. He last wrote “Final Fantasy,” and whew, what a winner that was. Director was Alex Proyas, who has done lots of movies including one of my favorites, “The Crow”–the first one. His touch is in the movie, because the atmosphere is a little dark–no where near “The Crow.” However, it is still a little darker than other Will Smith movies.

I cant think of any reason why to not watch this movie. If I thought there was anything wrong, it must have been small, because I have forgotten it. This movie is quite entertaining and is one of the better action movies of the summer.

Brian – the Naked Gun

 

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People seem surprised when I say that this is one of the better movies I have seen in quite sometime and the best movie I have seen this year. While the message isn’t as deep as say Schindler’s List or the acting as powerful as The Godfather, this is a very good movie because it sets out on its goal and completes it from beginning to end.

Sergeant Nicholas Angel, played by Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead,) is the best police officer in the city of London, England. As a matter of fact, he is so good and making everyone else looks so bad that his superiors transfer him to the quite village of Sandford where the crime rate is zero. He is partnered with the over eager Officer Danny Butterman, played by Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead,) and while on patrol in the small town he notices that while crime is incredible low with absolutely no murder’s to speak of, the villages accident rate is incredibly high. As Angel investigates he continues to discover that there is something sinister behind all of these accidents that lead to a stunning and wondrous climatic scene.

I know it seems odd to mention Hot Fuzz in the same breath as with Schindler’s List and The Godfather. I am not comparing this movie as a whole to either one of those films in terms of its greatness in cinema or in quality of movie as the other two. What I am saying is that in Schindler’s List, for example, there will be, in my opinion, no finer film done in the fictional historical drama genre than Stephen Spielberg’s movie and there has been no finer film done in the spoof/satire/farce genre then Hot Fuzz. The writing and directing is so good that the men behind this movie, and Shaun of the Dead, are masters at this sort of film making. I would even say that with the exception of the film The 40-Year Old Virgin, it is probably the best comedy to come out in ten years.

The reason why I say this, and the reason why the two idiots who did Epic Movie as well as the Wayan Brothers should see this film, is because the film is a wonderful farce/spoof/satire on action films yet there is a real, believable story written with real characters feeling real emotions. The situation that they are in is as absurd as any of your better 80’s action movies but there is no suspension of disbelief when it comes to the story itself as well as the characters.

I can go on and on, but I won’t. Safe to say I like this movie very much and I think that this is a must see at a movie theater near you and must own on DVD. Hot Fuzz is a movie that should reaffirm to the clowns that made Epic Movie that they are in the wrong business and should leave as quick as possible.

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Bruce Willis, the action hero, strikes again in another decent action movie which takes itself way to seriously in almost all aspects. “Hostage” provides action, suspense, drama, and comedy, which should pay for the admission ticket, but won’t make anyone forget the great action movies of our day i.e. “Die Hard,” “Terminator 2” and “The Hunt for Red October,” all from the 1980’s.

“Hostage” is about a hostage situation in a hostage situation. Three young guys break into a house to steal a car, but the house belongs to an accountant for some mob organization. The kids quickly get in over their heads, and one of them shoots a cop who responds to a silent alarm. Police Captain Jeff Talley, played by Bruce Willis (The Whole Ten Yards), comes to the house, but he quickly hands over responsibility to the county sheriff. However, the mob isn’t happy, and they capture Talley’s wife and daughter, tell him to retrieve important information from the house or they will die.

The movie doesn’t sound complicated, and maybe I am oversimplifying it, but that is basically it. However, it does allow Willis to do what he does best, and may I say, also show a more human side which I haven’t seen him do before in any movie.

The rest of the cast is okay, and I am looking forward to watching Michelle Horn (Return to Secret Garden), who played the accountant’s daughter Jennifer, grow up. She is going to be a hottie. Also of note is Rumer Willis, Willis’ real life daughter, who also plays his daughter in the movie. She doesn’t do a bad job. She must have learned her on-screen b**chiness from her mother Demi Moore.

The movie is fun, enjoyable and, like I said, worth watching. However, I don’t know if it will ever make my movie collection.

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I have a hard time liking horror movies because most of the people who die in the movie are stupid and deserve to have an axe put through their face. This movie also has this same problem; however it makes up for it by actually being scary. The sound effects in this movie are what make this movie into an above average thriller.

The story is about an American exchange student nurse, Karen Davis, played by my favorite yummy actress Sarah Michele Geller (Buffy, Scooby Doo,) who has to take care of an invalid American woman. She is replacing a nurse who ended up missing on the first day of the job, or so they thought. The woman lives with her son and daughter-in-law, the son works and the daughter-in-law stays home. Both the son and daughter end up missing on the second day. Karen is sent as a temporary replacement and discovers the old women comatose and the house a mess. There Karen discovers that the house has an evil presence and a dark past.

While the story is the run of the mill ghost story, the key to the whole movie is the sound that the main ghost makes as it approaches its victim. Quite possibly one of the single most frightening human sounds I have heard in a movie. I can’t describe it but its there and used brilliantly. The sounds made by all of the ghosts are quite chilling.

These great special effects make up for the fact that all of the humans, both Japanese and American, are stupid, even my beloved S.M.G., and deserve to die. If you know the house has evil in it, and people have died in it, mysteriously, THEN YOU DON’T GO INTO THE HOUSE. You find a bulldozer and destroy it, or you set it on fire, as long as you don’t go inside. Dumb, dumb humans.

The director, Takashi Shimizu, who wrote and directed the Japanese original Ju-on, did a nice job on a movie that he probably ran through the numbers. I don’t know why the Japanese are afraid of short dead women crawling around on the floor, but they are. There are other actors that people will recognize, Clea Duvall (The Faculty,) KaDee (what kind of spelling is this?) Strickland (Anacondas 2,) and Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Lake Placid,) whose very first scene is a mirror of what has happened to his career in the last 5 years. I also want to mention the true star of the movie Ai-Ling Lee, who is the sound effects editor. Without him, the movie is a bust.

I like this movie and recommend you watch it. But don’t be surprised if you jump a few times, and have the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

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 hate movies that pretend to be realistic and are completely the opposite. Jodie Foster’s newest movie tries real hard to be a thriller in the sky but it takes what was a predictable plot and becomes the conspiracy theory of theories that only Oliver Stone can love, which I could not so I walked out of the movie before it was over.

Jodie Foster (A Very Long Engagement) stars as Kyle, an airplane engineer, who is flying her daughter Berlin to New York because her husband was killed in an accident. During the trip, the daughter disappears and Kyle tries to convince the crew that she has a daughter, that no crew member saw, and to help her look for her. The crew begrudgingly does so but to no avail. Then the captain of the plane, played by Sean Bean (The Island) is informed from the ground that Kyle’s daughter was also killed in the accident.

This isn’t the whole story but I need to tell you why I don’t like this part of the movie before I get to the plot twist, at which time I will warn you so you can stop reading if you want. I have a personal experience in my life that completely invalidates what happened in the first part of the movie. When I was five yours old, my mother past away and I was put on a plane from Dallas, Texas to Denver, Colorado and then eventually to Colorado Springs to stay with my grandmother. Before I was put on the plane, both of my grandmothers called the airline and explained the situation I was in. To make a long story short, I was treated like a king and was never left alone for longer than a couple of minutes and was talked to the entire time by the crew and even the co-pilot.

This story about me relates to this movie because, in the film, Kyle and her daughter were the first ones to board the plan, and the coffin that has her husband was in the cargo hold of the airplane. You add to the fact that Kyle was one of the original designers of the airplane and I would bet what little I have that there is NO way that the crew would be unaware that she came on board with daughter. End of story. So this notion that we are all unaware of our surroundings and a little girl can just disappear, in an airplane, is ridiculous.

However, to me, the director shot the film in a way so that it was possible that the little girl was dead and Kyle was going crazy. I would have believed that, a little predictable but believable. But this makes a better story, an engineer who designed the airplane goes insane because she lost her husband and daughter and she starts messing with the plane and the crew tries to stop her. That could be a thrilling movie. What they did instead was to create a conspiracy theory that is too stupid to imagine that it would ever happen.

WARNING: I AM ABOUT TO GIVE THE HOOK AWAY!!

So after its revealed that Kyle apparently lost her daughter and husband in the accident, she gets loose from the Air Marshall and gets down to the cargo hold of the plane where the casket for her husband is, thinking that her daughter is hiding in it? Maybe? So she opens it up and sees her husband only. By this time the Air Marshall, played by Peter Sarsgaard (The Skeleton Key) has caught up to her and puts her back in her seat. Now, even though Carson (the air marshal) has never given any indication that he believes Kyle, he decides to go and look for her. What we don’t know is that what he is actually doing is going to her husband’s casket, pulling out the small explosive devise that was hidden in the casket and take it to the nose where the daughter is hidden, sleeping mind you, and plant the bomb. Then the Marshall goes back to the Captain and tells him that she has brought a bomb on board the plan and will blow it up unless she gets $50 million put into the account. Our conspiracy theory is born, and I got up and left the movie theater.

So the story goes, I hear, that the air marshal, one of the stewardesses and the funeral home director, are all in the conspiracy and trying to get millions, kill the little girl, and implicate Kyle in the whole thing. Wow, what a bunch of crap! How could you dream of a story like this and actually make it work. The only reason why this movie is getting any attention is because we have a highly respected two time Academy Award ® winner in Jodie Foster giving this movie any kind of legitimacy. Don’t get me wrong, I think the entire cast did a good job, I just think the story is terrible, and if Angelina Jolie was the leading lady instead of Foster, this movie would not be a success at all.

I ask you why, does this plot work? Is it really possible that a funeral director can know a flight attendant and an air marshal and say, “Hey, let’s terrorize this woman into thinking her kid is gone, kill her kid, and make $50 million in the process.” I know its movies, and we are supposed to suspend our disbelief, but ask yourself if would have any interest in this movie if the star of the movie was Jennifer Tilly?

This movie is the worst on the year and easily makes my worst movies of all time list. It is not worth watching and should be erased from your mind. I would say something about Jodie Foster, but I don’t want to end up at the bottom of the ocean by daring to say something negative about her, so I will say just do better.

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Four years after doing the original movie, Chevy Chase and Michael Ritchie get together to do the sequel to the 1985 comedy “Fletch,” “Fletch Lives.” This movie is still quite entertaining, even though it is not quite as good as the original. The acting is not as good, even though there are arguably better actors in this film.

This movie takes place in Louisiana, after Fletch (Chase) inherits a large plantation and mansion from his dead aunt. He quits his job at the paper and moves out to enjoy the good life. Once there, he finds the mansion is very rundown and is best described in the movie by Fletch himself when he says, “A little spackling and some napalm, and this place would make a great mausoleum.”

He spends his first night with his late aunt’s female lawyer Amanda Ray Ross, played by Patricia Kalember (A Far Off Place). Kalember has done a lot of small movies, but most recently, she played the dead wife to Mel Gibson in the movie “Signs.” While spending the night, someone sneaks into the house and kills Mrs. Ross, leaving Fletch as the most likely suspect.

From here, Fletch lands himself in jail after being a smart ass to the sheriff and meets local attorney Ham Johnson, played by accomplished actor Hal Holbrook (The Firm). Johnson bails him out and helps him in the mystery sort of. Fletch is also helped by the butler–for lack of a better word–of his aunt, Calculus, played by Cleavon Little (Blazing Saddles).

This movie is not as good as the original, even though I feel Chase is just as funny. Maybe this is because there appears to be more memorable one liners in it. This movie and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” were both released in 1989 and are the last films Chase did which were any good, with the exception of “Memoirs of an Invisible Man.”

I hope Chase gets some new roles in the future, because I think he is just too talented to be stuck doing movies like “Cops and Robbersons” and “Man of the House.” “Fletch Lives” is pretty good, so go rent it if you haven’t seen it and if nothing else new interests you. It just was released as a DVD.

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