Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider is a really nice looking film. The effects are superb and visually appealing. The licking flames, the chain whip, and the evil guys with their chilling touch of death all make it a great special effects film.

Unfortunately, the story is okay if not a little flat. And the fight scenes were so boring, I found myself yawning!

Ghost Rider, the devils bounty hunter, has to find four evil bad guys and destroy them. Each one in turn harasses the guy with the flaming head, but in just a minute he has them figured out and defeats them easily. Come on! After the Matrix and Spiderman set the bar for stunning and Epic fight scenes, Ghost Rider is a big let down in that department.

Speaking of let downs, I'm a huge Nicholas Cage fan boy, but I was expecting more from him as well. He usually has very funny and quirky breakouts when he play characters like this. And in Ghost Rider he tries to deliver. For example he stands before his mirror and makes boogey man faces at himself after turning into a walking zippo lighter the night before. But it failed to even bring a smile to my face. Has Nick lost it or was I in a foul mood? Who knows!

So if you are a marvel fan, and grew up on comics and super heroes as I did, then take your marshmallows and stick to the theater and catch a ride with the Ghost Rider!! PS- His side kick, Sam Elliot does a good job giving his usual gruff, grisly old man spiel. Check it out!

Monday, February 19, 2007


This movie was a rather somber tale, and there were only a couple of scenes the director attempts to get your pulse pounding, but fails.

The movie is based on the true-life story about how the FBI nailed the most damaging turncoat in American history, Robert Hanssen. We see everything through the eyes of Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe), the young aspiring agent planted with Hanssen as his new assistant to gather information on the older man without knowing the true intent of the probe.

Chris Cooper plays a stern-faced and intimidating Robert Hanssen. He is an interesting character that sizes up and is suspicious of everyone he meets. What spy wouldn't be? We learn he is deeply religious, but also into porn as a hobby. I could never tell if one or the other was a facade.

As I stated, don't expect a thriller (only two Russian spies are killed), but it is a fascinating story and the film leaves us still wondering the "why" of it all.

Hanssen is currently serving his sentence at ADX Florence, a Supermax federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, where he spends 23 of 24 hours a day in solitary confinement.

This flick would be just as good on cable or a rental as it was on the big screen. I just had nothing better to do on President's Day. Check it out!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Decisions Decisions...I found myself on a business trip to Nashville this week and I always mix business with pleasure (who doesn't?). So there I stood at the door to the Regal theater trying to decide between Bable (oscar nominated for best picture) and some obscure Spanish film called Pan's Labyrinth about faun's and faeries.

Of course I chose the Labyrinth! (duh!) So I picked up my free popcorn (Tuesday's at Regal are free popcorn days if you're in the club and oh baby! I'm in!) and headed in excitedly to see what this mysterious film had to offer.
First you have to realize it is a Spanish film and therefore...that's right those crazy actors are all speaking Spanish. But like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the sub-titles didn't bother me as much as I would have thought and I was able to enjoy the movie.
The story quickly catches your attention with a scene and a haunting lullaby from the end of the movie, but soon jumps into the main story of a young child and her pregnant mother traveling on the road in a bouncing late model car. The girl clutches her fairy tale books while the mother clutches her stomach. They arrive at a mill/farmhouse where the mother's new husband and father of the soon to be born baby brother is waiting for them. He is a tyrant of the Spanish army, currently hunting down rebels in the nearby hills. It's his brutality that give the film its "R" rating.
As the movie progresses, it rhythmically sways between the world of fantasy and the cruel harsh realities of real life. It transitions so well that at times you can't tell where fantasy ends and reality begins. The movie drags just slightly in the middle (like my reviews) and the end grows more predictable, but the story is strong, the CGI (Computer Generated Images) affects are brilliant, and the film reflects our own lives like a mirror. Don't we all fantasize just a bit to escape our real life doldrums (who uses that word any more?). We all dream of winning the lottery, or being famous, or living in a world with out war or global warming.
If you dare to enter the labyrinth, then check out Pan's Labyrinth and never trust a fawn.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Blood And Chocolate

Tasty little treat of a movie. They re-envision the age old were-wolf legend, there is no bone cracking, snout extending transformations we have come to expect in our Loup Garou films. Instead werefolk are a race born unto their own rather than a disease and their shape shifting into wolf form is more angelic than a painful uncontrollable curse.

But even though the movie is touted as being brought to you by the creators of Underworld, this is far from it. In fact there's more wolves than blood in the film, so it should have been called Wolves and Chocolate.

It's a Romeo and Juliet type story, with a female werewolf (Agnes Bruckner) defying her kind and falling in love with a human. We are treated to the PG-13 love affair, (who makes a PG-13 werewolf film?) and then the fur flies when they are found out. The character's and story were interesting enough to hold my attention and the cinematography was nice as well. If you are looking for a good Valentine's Day movie to take your loved one to, then check out Blood and Chocolate!!