Thursday, August 27, 2009
If you’re into 80’s nostalgia, then Adventureland is a film that hits the spot. It’s got an awesome soundtrack with some of the 80’s best songs playing throughout (including what seems like an endless repeat of Rock Me Amadeus). But that’s not what makes this a good film. It’s a true “coming of age” story that most of us can probably relate to. What’s interesting about this movie is that it’s promoted as being a hilarious film. Now don’t get me wrong, it has its moments. Seeing the main character James (Jesse Eisenberg) constantly getting punched in the nuts by his friend was funny, yet I felt bad for the guy. You want to jump through the screen and shake this guy up. Ironically, the guy who gets punched in the balls is the very same guy who needs to grab life by the balls (and slowly he learns). Overall, I found Adventureland to be more dramatic than funny and truly enjoyable. It’s a smart film that grew on me after watching, and is one that I know I’ll be watching some more to really let it sink in.
Monday, August 24, 2009
What does a guy do when he has no male friends and he’s in need of a best man for his wedding? Check out Paul Rudd in I LOVE YOU, MAN and see.
I always got a kick out of watching comedies that push the limit. Films like There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber actually let you escape reality for a while and just, well laugh and be stupid! I Love You, Man is out now on DVD and it is one that had me laughing every 2 minutes. This film isn’t your typical romantic comedy. It’s actually a “bro-mance”. Seeing Paul Rudd’s character trying to bond with other dudes was an awkward and funny at the same time. There’s lots of gross out humor that had me cracking up from the opening credits. It may not be for everyone, but if you like comedy on the raunchy side then I Love You, Man is a hit.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It's been a while, but Green Day is back with a new album. 21st Century Breakdown is their latest album since American Idiot came out about 5 years ago. The guys have been around for a while and 21st Century Breakdown shows that they haven’t lost their touch. Listening to it, it sounds like most other Green Day albums. But hey, we’re talking about Green Day here! On all of their albums you’re guaranteed to hear that trademark pop-punk sound of theirs. Overall, while it’s not the best Green Day album, 21st Century Breakdown has plenty of fresh material to make it a hit.
Friday, August 14, 2009
The great thing about family adventure movies is that they’re the kind you can sit back and unwind with. They’re not the kind that win Oscars or get critiqued by film snobs, but they provide a couple hours of pure fun. Race to Witch Mountain is a film that is loads of fun, and is perfect for those “family movie nights”. Starring Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock), this film is inspired by the classic Disney adventures Escape to Witch Mountain and Return from Witch Mountain. Race to Witch Mountain has all the right ingredients to make it a real hit. There’s lots of explosive action, tons of special effects, and let’s just say the acting isn’t that bad (yes, I know we’re talking about Dwayne Johnson here). I thought Johnson did a decent job playing the lead role in this sci-fi adventure. So, if you’re looking for a night of fun and adventure, Race to Witch Mountain has just what you need. The film comes in a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack, which is a very impressive set to own. It includes the film in Blu-ray and DVD formats and a DisneyFile digital copy as well. Along with the deleted scenes and bloopers included in the special features is an exclusive combo pack feature called BACKSTAGE DISNEY: Which Mountain? This includes the director providing some hidden references to the original Witch Mountain films that you probably didn’t catch while watching.
Check it out!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
There’s this reaction I have to inspirational movies. Although I do love how a good inspirational film can lift my spirits, part of me cringes on the inside. Maybe it’s because some are just so overloaded with a sugar-coated story. Well, I was looking forward to seeing Robert Downey Jr’s latest film The Soloist, but part of me also expected that mushy feeling to come along with it. Seeing the previews it’s obvious what kind of film this is. BUT! Watching the actual film was an experience that I won't forget. In short, I didn’t cringe at all watching The Soloist. The movie tells the story of Los Angeles Times writer Steve Lopez’s friendship with Nathaniel Ayers, a schizophrenic/homeless man living on the streets of LA. Ayers is also a former music prodigy that once trained at Julliard. While playing music on the streets one day, he is noticed by Lopez who soon wants to write about him. What starts as a project by Lopez turns into a deep friendship with Ayers. It really is an eye-opener to see it played out, with some really strong performances by Downey Jr and Foxx. Along with this gritty yet touching (but not sappy!) story, The Soloist is a solid film that I highly recommend.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Do religious people scare you? Do you like God, but cringe at the way he’s represented by so-called followers? Then you need to read Lord, Save Us from Your Followers: Why Is the Gospel of Love Dividing America? Written by Dan Merchant (aka Bumpersticker Man), this book chronicles his journey to understand exactly why is Christianity pushing people away? Rather than just interview similar people of faith (which he does), Merchant interviews random people on the street, Al Franken, a transvestite nun, and even sets up a “confessional booth” in the middle of a Gay Pride festival. What follows is an insightful and funny conversation between Merchant and each character that sheds light on what the deal is with religion these days.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I used to always think Green Lantern was a second-rate superhero. I admit that I was always into the more popular characters (Batman, Superman, etc). For me, Green Lantern always took a backseat to the other superheroes.
If you are like me, than the latest in the DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movies will change your mind. Green Lantern: First Flight is the fifth entry into this series, and it shows the story of how Hal Jordan got recruited to join the Green Lantern Corps. This is not really a kid movie, but it isn’t as bloody as the last Wonder Woman animated film. However, this new one has more than enough action from start to finish to "wow" anyone willing to watch. The story follows Hal as he adapts to his new job as a superhero. After becoming a part of the Green Lantern Corps, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy that threatens the order in the universe. The story and animation here are superb, and left me totally satisfied with this latest addition to DC Universe films. Overall, Green Lantern: First Flight is an awesome film and I definitely recommend checking it out.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
When one of the best graphic novels of all time gets made into a movie, you better believe expectations are going to be high.
I know I’m probably in the minority, but let me start off by saying this is my favorite movie adaptation of a graphic novel. I’ve heard a lot of the negative comments and I wholeheartedly disagree with them. For one, Watchmen is such a complex story that it’s damn near impossible to include everything. However, I was SHOCKED during the film at how accurate it is to the book! The story was fresh in my mind since I read it about a month before watching the film on DVD. As far as the film being accurate to the story, it is dead-on. Now, I know the ending was different than the book. But it really fit in with the way the film was done. This is not your typical “superhero” film, so don’t expect it to play by the same rules as most others do. Watchmen is dark, violent, and has some pretty steamy sex scenes just like the book. That’s why it earned itself a big fat R-rating. Overall, I thought the movie was awesome and a lot better than I expected it to be.
I’m usually skeptical of spiritual memoirs. A lot of times it’s the formulaic “My life hit rock bottom/ Now my life is great with God/ Let me show you how it’s done”. I wind up getting turned off by those kinds of memoirs. Susan Isaacs' self proclaimed “snarky but authentic spiritual memoir” titled Angry Conversations with God is nothing like what I mentioned above. I thoroughly enjoyed this very raw and honest story of Susan’s struggles in her life and faith. Not many books like this can grab my attention and hold it for the entire book. But this one did. It’s a book that can make you laugh on one page, then become very serious the next. Not since Traveling Mercies and Blue Like Jazz have I enjoyed a book like this. Reading this book is one of those rare instances where you feel like you can relate to exactly what the author’s describing. But don’t just take my word for it. Check it out for yourself and see!
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
To celebrate the 25th birthday of the "Turtles in a half-shell", Warner Home Video has released the ULTIMATE collector’s edition set for fans everywhere. The cool thing about this that it comes with all four feature films (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Turtles in Time, and TMNT), and it also includes a collectible tin DVD travel case, four turtle masks and temporary tattoos! I was fortunate enough to grow up watching the turtles, and I must say this is one of the best DVD collections to come out in a while. Warner Bros really celebrated the Turtles’ 25th anniversary with style by releasing this great set. Overall, it's a set that is sure to please old and new fans alike.
Back in the 90’s when teen angst was cool (thanks to the Grunge scene), there was a show that featured a MUCH younger Claire Danes and Jared Leto known as My So-Called Life. This coming-of-age show pulled no punches as it dealt with real some serious issues. This is a true 90’s show, and every time I watch it I remember that great decade. In case you haven’t heard, Shout! Factory (one of my favorite DVD companies) has put out an awesome box set of the entire series. From the box that the DVD’s come in, to the nineteen episodes, interviews and episode commentaries, this is one hell of a set. So if you’re in the mood to get transported back to the 90’s, look no further than this DVD collection.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Greed. Intrigue. Corruption. It’s all here in the high-tech thriller known as Echelon Conspiracy. This film recently made its DVD debut and it is led by a talented cast including Shane West, Edward Burns, Martin Sheen, and Ving Rhames. When a young American is promised wealth through mysterious cell phone messages, he gets more than he bargained for when he suddenly is thrown in a deadly international plot. If you like suspenseful conspiracy thrillers, then Echelon Conspiracy might do the trick.
Check it out!
Forget the new Hollywood blockbuster that’s coming out, THIS is what you need to see! Shout! Factory has done it again with their second big animated collection to come out this summer. The first was a Season 1 DVD collection of the original Transformers series. This latest release of G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero Season 1.1 is an absolute hit as far as DVD sets go. This is a 4-DVD box set containing the first 22 episodes in crisp and clear video and audio. It’s cool to check out Duke, Scarlett, Snake Eyes and the rest of the team battle COBRA in this awesome set. So if you’re planning on checking out the new film, don’t forget to see where it all began with this set!