Reviews


WALL-E

A Movie ReelWALL-E: 9 out of 10.

WALL-E is now my favourite film from Pixar, and that's sayin' something. I once referred to Pixar as "every parent's saving grace". Every summer you're guaranteed at least one movie that's good for the kids and sweet viewing for you.

WALL-E is a dash of Short Circuit mixed with a sprinkle of E.T. and a tinge of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The first third contains no dialogue and just a couple of robots and a cockroach yet it's riveting, fascinating and terribly sad all at once. Really, you've got to see the best Pixar film since The Incredibles.

I should add that this is the first film I've seen at the new AMC Yonge & Dundas 24. I received a bunch of free passes, popcorns and drinks for writing this entry so we all saw WALL-E for free. It looked great on the big screen and it sounded brilliant. And no, I don't get more passes for giving the theatre a positive review.

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Flags of Our Fathers

A Movie ReelFlags of Our Fathers: 6 out of 10.

I thought Flags of Our Fathers would be better. Directed by Clint Eastwood, it tells the life stories of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima. That sounds like it's going to be pretty awesome.

It's not bad at all, it's just not nearly as good as I hoped it would be. The recreation of the battle scenes reminded me of the superior Saving Private Ryan and the survivor guilt, which is really the meat of the story, unfolded at a rather slow pace.

It's good, but it should have been better. I hear Letters from Iwo Jima is just that.

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Martian Child

A Movie ReelMartian Child: 5 out of 10.

I try to choose the movies I watch carefully. I read reviews and get feedback from people I trust before giving a film two hours of my life. The exception to this rule is kids movies I watch with my offspring, and, the odd time, I watch a movie because it stars an actor I like.

That last reason explains how I came to watch Martian Child. It stars John Cusack, an actor I usually like. In this film, he wasn't enough to keep me interested. It's all been done before, and in far more interesting fashion. Sure the kid is sweet and sure Cusack's belief in the boy pays dividends but Martian Child is so predictable by the time you get to the climax you feel as if you've been there a thousand times before.

Watch High Fidelity again instead.

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Hairspray

A Movie ReelHairspray: 6.5 out of 10.

I don't think Hairspray was made for dudes like me. They sing an awful lot, and I'm not really a musical kind of guy. By the time Travolta and Walken were singing to each other, I had had enough. Don't get me wrong, some of the songs are okay and it's a pretty likable flick, but my favourite thing about Hairspray had nothing to do with the story.

Hairspray has awesome shots of West Toronto. That opening sequence showing a Baltimore neighbourhood gave us a great glance at Roncesvalles. We played a great Baltimore.

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Shrek the Third

A Movie ReelShrek the Third: 6.5 out of 10.

Shrek has followed the lead of Spider-Man, producing third installments unworthy of the previous two.

As you might have guessed, I watched this one with the kids, and they loved it. I didn't mind it, I've seen many worse cartoon movies, but it's by far the weakest link in the Shrek chain. Throw this one to the shorties.

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Hamlet 2

A Movie ReelHamlet 2: 7 out of 10.

We were invited to a special advance screening of this new comedy film by the co-writer of South Park and Team America: World Police. I loved Team America: World Police, so I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate T's birthday.

I knew nothing about the film going in, except that it starred Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, David Arquette, Amy Poehler and Elisabeth Shue. All I knew Steve Coogan as was as Larry David's therapist in Curb Your Enthusiasm, but he was charming as all hell in this flick, and super funny. I can't tell if I was just in a good mood and enjoying a night out at a free flick, but I laughed my ass off.

The deal with these test screenings is that you have to complete a survey after the film. I suggested they tighten up the first third which tended to lag a little and pad the actual production which included some great musical numbers. It will be interesting to see how much editing happens between now and the film's release.

Oh yeah, I recommended one more change. The Shakespearian title is libel to scare away their target South Parkian demo. Trust me, this film is more Borat than Shakespeare.

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I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

A Movie ReelI Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry: 5 out of 10.

I now pronounce you mediocre. And get this... you were way better than I thought you'd be. That should give you an idea of what I've come to accept from Adam Sandler comedies.

To be fair, one line made me smile.

Well, then, by the power vested in me by the Commonwealth of Canada and the Province of Ontario, which has always been very pro-gay, unlike that uptight country to the south, it's my pleasure to now pronounce you husband and husband, partners for life.

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1408

A Movie Reel1408: 6 out of 10.

I'll start this little review by telling you that I've seen many ghost stories that were much, much worse than this one. In fact, 1408 isn't that bad, and it's kind of creepy, it's just not scary enough.

That's the problem with movies like this. They're one trick ponies with a single purpose. They're supposed to be really scary, and that's not easy. The scariest part of 1408 was probably the use of the Carpenters' hit "We've Only Just Begun".

Now that's scary.

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Transformers

A Movie ReelTransformers: 6.5 out of 10.

I was worried about Michael Bay's "Transformers", but it was actually better than I anticipated. I watched it with fellow 1986 Transformers movie fan James, and we both thought it was pretty good.

Good: Bay was smart enough to hire Peter Cullen to voice Optimus Prime. I didn't want to hear any other voice in that role. It's perfect.

Bad: Bumblebee is a a Volkswagen Beetle, not a Chevrolet Camaro. This switcheroo pissed me off throughout.

Good: Bumblebee communicating via his radio was fun. The tunes, the soundbites, it was a nice move.

Bad: Where was the theme song? They could have closed with it instead of Linkin Park. Sure, it's a little cheesy, but a modern spin on it would have been cool.

Good: Two words: Megan Fox.

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Hear and Now

A Movie ReelHear and Now: 8 out of 10.

Irene Taylor Brodsky's parents were born deaf. They lived full lives, raised three children and, at the age of 65, decided to receive a complex surgical implant, which allows them to experience sound for the first time.

This documentary from HBO is about a great deal more than hearing sounds. It's about communication, and as we learn, hearing and communication are two mutually exclusive abilities.

This film is excellent and I highly recommend it.

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