Monday, August 10, 2009

My First Movie Reviews...

For a very long time I have wanted to do something like this. I have always loved cinema, and have been going to the movies on a nearly weekly basis. It is a staple in my life, and I love to be swept up into a story on the screen as I sit in a theater… seemingly entirely to myself (despite being shoulder to shoulder with someone possibly). I love to loose myself in imagination and for those brief minutes a movie unfolds before me, enter an alternate universe of surrealism and joy at the magic light flickering before me on a massive silver screen.

As you can tell… I love the movies!

However, with the birth of cinema came the inevitable afterbirth of the film critic. Most are paid shills by the film industry to spew forth nonsense as to why you should or should not see a particular film, all the while collecting a check for idle BS. I cannot mention how many times I have seen a film “the critics” hated, yet found myself enjoying one of the best films I had seen in some time. True, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure… but I hardly think this is the situation. Especially since one man’s opinion is based on a paycheck, while the other is based entirely on personal opinion.

Needless to say, I got tired of the tripe I was constantly being fed by “the critics”. I have felt for some time that there needed to be a place where one could come and read an average person’s opinion of what they thought about a particular film. In this case, that average person is me. Have I mentioned that I even have some amateur film experience and have a technical eye as well as opinion? No? Well…. I do. So don’t be surprised to see a little bit of technical talk from time to time in my posts…

All this being said, there are two reviews below… And on with the Show!!!

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Official Movie Site:

For those of you that were in that growing stage from child to adolescent during the 80’s, you may remember a cartoon series by the name of G.I. Joe. I know I sure do. And now, thanks to Paramount Pictures, what was once a children’s cartoon is now a full on PG-13 action film.

“The Joes” are a collection of uber-elite military men and women fighting the powers of evil in the world. They train for the unthinkable and have the latest in technology. To the point the creators of this film may have gone a bit to far. What worked as a cartoon is now leaping to a modern day in real life settings, sometimes to the point of being beyond believable.

Don’t get me wrong… I liked the film. I think my admission was well worth every minute, but also think that the movie might have crossed the bounds into fantasy a tad too much for it’s real life setting. That being said, I felt all the characters remained very true to their animated counterparts. Plus, the film did do something the cartoon failed to… which is to provide back story fro all the characters. Granted, I don’t think, as a child, I would have cared about back-story… but now, as an adult, I think it was a great way to bring old fans new information. And let’s face it… “Knowing is half the battle…” (have been waiting this entire post to use that!).

Overall, I would give this film a B+ . It is a great action film, provided you can suspend some of your disbelief. If you like cool sci-fi weapons and fantastical scenarios… I think you might enjoy this more than the rest of us. And yes… this is PG-13, so even the little ones could watch this… other than some loud noises and some violence. The two main female roles, while seductive and attractive, rarely bared much skin. The closest thing was a jogging bra and low cut sweat pants while running on a treadmill.

All in all, it was a good flick. It wasn’t the saga that Lucas might create or the mechanical money machine that Michael Bay created, but I guarantee there will be many sequels to come. And for you hardcore 80’s youths out there… you will love to see your animated favorites come to life like you never imagined.


Julie & Julia:
Official Move Site:

When I was growing up, I discovered a true love of food. However, I also loved to cook what I would then eat. I liked to understand how it became so tasty. I liked the adventure of mixing ingredients and getting a completely different result than expected.

I learned a great deal from 2 primary sources. The first was Jeff Smith, better known as “The Frugal Gourmet”. He entertained me and taught me to laugh and have fun with the food I would prepare, and to appreciate the subtleties that foods had to offer.

The second source of tutelage came from none other than Julia Child. While her intent was that of the modern housewife in the late 60’s and 70’s, I found her methods and precision to be that of any great chef I would later come to appreciate. Not to mention she was incredibly entertaining when she had kicked back a few while taping a show… the progression into a stupor was always an exercise in humor to say the least.

That being said, Meryl Streep has pulled off yet another mesmerizing performance as the late Julia Child. The mannerisms and character were well preserved and portrayed like no other actress could have done. The essence of Julia was truly captured by Streep and greatly appreciated.

Amy Adams was wonderful too, as the seemingly looser girl Julie Powell with no real direction and a group of friends all being far more successful than she. Wanting to be something special, she collaborates on a project to cook her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” over the course of a single year… and blog about it. In the process she has many successes and many more failures… all the while discovering that she always was special. In the end, she finds her self worth and discovers she can be somebody…all thanks to Julia.

The story toggles between the life of Julia and Paul (Stanley Tucci) Child during their time spent in France, and Julie and Eric Powell (Chris Messina) in their struggles with Julie’s new blogging project.

For Julia Child, she is struggling with being the lonely housewife in France as her husband goes to his US Government job every day. Julia decides she loves the food so much in France, she wants to be able to cook it for herself. She joins the Cordon Bleu Cooking Academy and finds herself in a world few women have ever dared to tread, but her will and determination guide her to the top of her class and an understanding of French cuisine that few have achieved. The film continues to follow her through her struggles to co-author the first French Cookbook written in English up to her inevitable success when “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is finally published.

For Amy Powell, she struggles with her place in life. She meets her challenge head on to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook, and discovers herself along the way… much as Julia had done in France. While Julie’s experiences and trials are meant to reflect those that Julia experienced, I would say that Julia’s life was far more interesting. And that the portion of the film dedicated to Julie was more of a grounding to the modern everyday person than anything else. After all, who wants to see a film about Julia Child’s life… other than myself of course, but then I am sick in the head (as you will come to learn).

Overall, I felt the film was well done and excellent in its casting, a very strong A- . If you have fond memories of Julia Child, this is a must see! For those that don’t know who Julia Child was… first learn who she was and then see the film. You could enjoy the film quite well without ever knowing who Julia Child was, but the film will be far more appreciated if you do know who she was. A quietly romantic and loving film with moments of emotion and excitement, you will be captured by Julia and all those that surround her on the silver screen before you.

In the immortal words of Julia Child: Bon App├ętit!!!

1 comment:

  1. I guess this world needs hero so badly, thus why G.I. Joe has current size of market share.