Reviews


Juno

A Movie ReelJuno: 9 out of 10.

"Juno" is fantastic. It's funny, charming and sweet and is powered by a great cast. It's a great cast, with personal faves J.K. Simmons, Michael Cera and Jason Bateman complemented nicely by Allison Janney, Olivia Thirlby and Jennifer Garner, but this movie kills because of a stellar performance from young Canadian actress Ellen Page.

If you haven't seen "Juno" yet, Ellen Page will blow you away. She's a breath of fresh air, quirky, funny and smart, and she is the reason this film is nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. I'm highly recommending this one.

Later today, when I get a chance, I've going to comment further on both the Canadian aspect of this wonderful little film and the "Arrested Development" tie-in. Stay tuned!

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Chestnut: Hero of Central Park

A Movie ReelChestnut: Hero of Central Park: 4 out of 10.

How many movies made for kids feature dogs? There's the "Air Bud" series, "Karate Dog", "Under Dog" and this one, "Chestnut: Hero of Central Park".

As you might have guessed, I watched this with the kids. I know he hasn't discovered this blog yet, and even if he does he'll have trouble with the big words, so let me tell you about the effect this movie had on my six year old. He was balling, sobbing a bucket of tears when Chestnut, the lovable Great Dane, was lost in Central Park. When Chestnut got stabbed trying to be a hero, James lost it. I held his hand and watched him perk up when Chestnut came through.

I don't blame James for crying. I did the same thing after "Titanic", but that's a story for another day.

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The Painted Veil

A Movie ReelThe Painted Veil: 7 out of 10.

This one is pretty good. It's the Ed Norton and Naomi Watts show and they carry this sucker. I almost didn't join Taryn for this one because the thought of a love story set in 1925 China spooked me, but I caved because of Norton and I'm glad I did.

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The Ex

A Movie ReelThe Ex: 4 out of 10.

I watched a movie called "The Ex" last night, only IMDB doesn't call it "The Ex". They call it "Fast Track". I don't think I've ever experienced the ol' name switch like that before.

Call it what you want, but it stars Zach Braff, Amanda Peet and Jason Bateman and it's awful. It's not funny, it's not fun and it's not at all clever or witty or even entertaining. During this ongoing writer's strike Jason and Justine Bateman made a neat little video I'll throw down at the end of this entry. Jason Bateman, with the brilliant writers who worked on "Arrested Development", produced pure hilarity that entertains me regularly. Jason Bateman, with the writers who worked on "The Ex" or "Fast Track" or whatever this shite is called, made me wince.

Writers are important.

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Alvin and the Chipmunks

A Movie ReelAlvin and the Chipmunks: 5 out of 10.

First and foremost, all 7000 kids I saw this with loved it. I thought I'd open with the most important detail before reviewing it as a 33 year old adult.

This movie is carried by the complete cuteness of the animated rodents. Those who think Jason Lee sells out with this flick should see "Underdog" and those who think David Cross sold out with this film should read the entry I'm going to write in 25 minutes.

P1196781

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We Are Marshall

A Movie ReelWe Are Marshall: 7 out of 10.

I'm a total sucker for these kinds of movies. I can watch Rudy over and over again and dammit, I liked We Are Marshall.

It was manipulative, but I wanted to be manipulated. That's a fair trade.

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Superbad

A Movie ReelSuperbad: 8 out of 10.

If it hurts to laugh, skip this one. It's almost two hours long and full of hilarious shite.

Like the slightly better "Knocked Up", it's charming, sweet and very funny. Michael Cera plays a character not unlike George Michael if he was 17 and had a friend like Seth. I wonder if I caught of glimpse of James in 11 years. Things could be a great deal worse.

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Zodiac

A Movie ReelZodiac: 8 out of 10.

David Fincher directed "Seven" and "Fight Club", so we know he's got the chops. "Zodiac" is a completely different kind of film but equally compelling. I enjoyed it, and I rarely enjoy any film longer than two hours. "Zodiac" is closer to three hours than two.

It's a big cast of actors you already like and the subject matter is intriguing. This is the film I thought Spike Lee's "Son of Sam" was going to be. It's got a wonderful "All the President's Men" feel to it. Fincher should be proud.

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Night at the Museum

A Movie ReelNight at the Museum: 4 out of 10.

Ben Stiller has done some good stuff. There's Something About Mary and The Royal Tenenbaums are two of my favourite comedies of all-time. Night at the Museum, however, is the rarest of comedies. It's a comedy without laughs.

It earned a four because it's not bad for the kids. They get to see a dinosaur skeleton play fetch, which is pretty sweet for a five year old. For the rest of us, it's cruel and unusual punishment.

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Casino Royale

A Movie ReelCasino Royale: 7 out of 10.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my first James Bond film. It was my wife's first James Bond film as well, so last night two 30-something year olds sat down for their first taste of 007 action.

It was a little long, but pretty good overall. Daniel Craig played a pretty cool cat and Judi Dench was great as usual. I don't have a frame of reference, but I'd guess this was James Bond at his most sensitive. The dude fell hard.

Will I go back and visit previous instalments of the James Bond franchise? Probably not, but I'm glad I finally popped my 007 cherry.

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