Dan In Real Life

Posted July 21, 2008 by Andy Owen
Categories: 1

I only KIND OF wanted to see this movie.  I love Steve Carell, but mostly when he’s being goofy.  Not because he’s not a talented actor always, he is, but I just really enjoy his off-the-wall craziness ala Anchorman or Bruce Almighty.  So I wasn’t sure if I’d see this one anytime soon, but fortunately my in-laws had it in from Netflix this weekend, so I sat and watched most of it (missed some of the beginning).

The general idea is that this widower father of three girls is headed to a family gathering at their cabin outside of the city after meeting this penultimate woman at the bookstore.  He’s excited to share his news, but alas it turns out, this woman he met, is his younger brother’s (Dane Cook) girlfriend.

His family keeps haranging him about how he should move on and find a girl (unbeknownst to them that the perfect girl for him is sitting in the same room with them this entire time).  He quickly finds himself becoming consumed with the thoughts of his brother’s girlfriend Marie (Juliette Pinoche) and realizes that it’s affecting all aspects of his life and that he needs to reign it in or he’s going to lose everyone he cares about…or is he?

It’s an interesting movie, with an adoring supporting cast.  I think his parents were perfectly cast (Dianne Wiest & John Mahoney (Frasier’s dad)).  And I think this made for a fun family movie, but it’s still not one of my favorites.  Definitely worth watching though.



Posted July 21, 2008 by Andy Owen
Categories: 1

I remember hearing about this movie when it came out and thinking it was nice that the kid from Even Stevens (Shia Lebouf) was being given a shot at the movie business.  Then I heard rave reviews about it and thought maybe I should check it out.  But it never topped the list of movies I wanted to rent, so it wasn’t until yesterday when I caught it on ABC Family that I finall saw this movie, although, admittedly not in it’s original cut since there were commercials.

I liked it.  Not great, but not terrible.  I was expecting more of a fantasy twist on the holes.  I thought some horrible monster would be unearthed or something.  There was a BIT of fantasy to it being that there were some crazy lizards that looked like descendants of something out of Jurrassic Park (remember the spitters whose necks fanned out when they hissed?).

I think what I really liked about this movie was the parallel story that went with it.  It wasn’t just about kids at a juvenile detention camp digging holes, it was also about the history of the area they were digging, and had the ‘famous’ (fictional) Kissing Kate Barlow, and her love for the black onion salesman, Sam.  There was also a third story of an immigrant which sad to be said, I had a harder time following.  But in the end they all tied together QUITE nicely.

This movie had some surprising stars including, Jon Voight, Sigourney Weaver, Tim Blake Nelson, Henry Winkler, Patricia Arquette, Eartha Kitt & more.

I think the story was strong on it’s own too.  Originally written by Louis Sachar (the author of Sidways Stories of Wayside School) it was also adapted by him for the screen.

It’s basically about a family curse over 100 years time, from beginning to end.  It’s about buried treasure, and greed.  But it’s also about doing what’s right.  I think this is a great movie for kids, and if you get a change to watch it, I recommend you do so.

The Dark Knight

Posted July 19, 2008 by Andy Owen
Categories: 1

Well, I didn’t wait in line for hours, I didn’t even have to sit next to a stranger.  In fact, I was able to pick my seat when I walked into the theater, so I sat in right behind the wheelchair rail near the middle.  I love that spot.

Oh, and I owe a mental apology to the late Mr. Ledger.  When I first heard he’d been cast as The Joker, I was furious.  There was no way in my mind he could live up to the insanity that this character deserved (from the comics of the same name).

All hype aside, this is now one of my favorite movies of all time…and it’s completely because of Heath Ledger’s performance.  In a movie surrounded by superstars, Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, & Morgan Freeman…the young Heath Ledger stood heads above the rest.

The words to describe his performance?  Not crazy.  Not insane.  Not even tyrannical.  Brilliantly out of control.

A word to the queasy – this movie has a few gruesome moments.  Nothing bad for those of us who are used to it…but please, keep your kids away from this one.  While the Joker is obviously the bad guy…he’s insane…and yet slightly lovable in his insanity.  The same is true of the other villain in this movie, and for those who don’t know, I won’t spoil it.

Performances by everyone in this movie were amazing.  The plot(s) were fantastic.  The begining, middle and end were all just astounding.  This broad, sweeping statement includes everything from the camera work, to the writing, to the performances and the sound effects….everything was just as it should be.

If someone sees this movie and thinks Heath Ledger is “no Jack Nicholson”…it’s because he’s not even TRYING to be.  It’s a different take on a different style of a different plot of a different movie.

Go see it.  Stop waiting.  Go now.  Don’t take young children.  But enjoy.

The Watchmen Trailer

Posted July 18, 2008 by Andy Owen
Categories: 1

Ok, this isn’t a movie that’s been released yet, but today is a day I’ve waited on for a LONG time.

My favorite (as well as many people’s favorite) graphic novel of all time, The Watchmen, has been turned into a film.

Will it be as good as the book?  I hope.  Will it follow it directly?  Probably impossible due to time constraints.  Does Alan Moore (the graphic novel’s author) like it?  No, but he’s an jerk about property rights and frankly is trying to keep it in it’s original form.  I understand that he’s allowed an opinion since he created it…but geez, he doesn’t like ANYTHING that he’s created turned into a film (V for Vendetta’s another great example).

Anyway, The Watchmen is about a society that has grown tired of superhero vigilantism and so the Watchmen is a group of dysfunctional heroes that become outlaws and have to annoucne themselves.  Then, years later, they’re called back into service by the same people that outlawed them.  But after all the years of distaste toward them, they’d rather give a big “F U” instead.

You’ve GOT to check out this trailer.  I think they nailed some of the characters from the book.  Ozymandias, The Nite Owl, Silk Spectre (I & II), The Comedian, Rorshach, Dr. Manhattan and more come to life in this film, and I CAN’T wait to see it.

Check this trailer out at Apple’s trailer website, or just go directly here.


Posted July 13, 2008 by Andy Owen
Categories: 1

Well, since I’m currently ‘between jobs’ you won’t hear a lot from me in the realm of recent release…cuz I’m being frugal.  However, listening to 89fm the Impact (MSU student radio) I won myself some free tix to go see this one, and I was happy to do so.

I’ll start with my big negative.  Stop the damn camera movement already!  Seriously!  It’s like the DP (Director of Photography) just said, “all I want is for you guys to shake the cameras, zoom in and out repeatedly and without any idea of what we’re looking at…and and throw a really deep focal length in there…yeah, right past the actors and backgrounds into nothingness.”  It was seriously distracting for the first 20 minutes.  Just constant disregard for film-making in my opinion.

That being said, this movie had a great plot.  I can’t tell you about it though.  The previews show VERY LITTLE of the movie, and for good reason.  This is not just about a superhero who likes being disliked and his rise to the publics good graces.  Although that has a lot to do with the start of it.  It quickly moves much deeper…and it’s good.  I didn’t see it coming.

And for those of you who have read spoilers…I really don’t think you’ve heard the truth just yet.  There’s been some murmurs about relationship stuff…but nah…you’ve got nothin’.

Sorry for the short review, I’ll just say this until it’s been out for a long time: Go see it, but sit in the back so you don’t get dizzy and disoriented.  I feel like apologizing for the camera work, even though I had nothing to do with it…just because I’m recommending it.  Anyway…check this one out!  If you can’t afford the theater, that’s fine, because it’ll probably be better on a smaller, less disorienting screen.  🙂

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Posted July 11, 2008 by Andy Owen
Categories: 1

If you haven’t seen this one yet…something is wrong with you.  If you’re worried that the title is that of a boring movie, or one where they speak all old-timey…you’re dumb.

Ok, now that I’ve insulted those of you who haven’t seen it and you probably haven’t read past my judgmental intro, let me explain why I feel that way.

This movie is incredible.  First of all, great casting.  Not a huge George Clooney fan (read: Not an 35+ woman with a penchant for Hollywood archetypal bachelors)?  Doesn’t matter, he’s still great here.  But even without him, you’re looking at John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman and directed by the Coen Brothers (Fargo; The Big Lebowski; more).  The digital effects in this movie are almost unnoticeable, it was basically just some dirty color-correction (or falsifying).

And yes, you can’t write an opinion piece about this movie without making the comparison to The Odyssey since it’s based on the epic poem follow-up to the Iliad by Homer.  The epic poem is about Odysseus’ (or Ulysses’ in the Roman version) journey home from war with Troy, and how he becomes cursed by Poseidon (deservedly so) so that he will not be able to return home for 20 years.  It’s not an exact interpretation by any means, but Ulysses in this story is a southern boy tryin’ to get back with his family after being in jail for a while.  And his wife much like the Roman Penelope is being approached by a suitor who wants to take his place as head of the household.  I’m unsure why the mythic tale’s one son is replaced by about 9 little girls instead…but I’m not great at this stuff.  I do know that it includes a soothsayer (on a railroad), some Siryn’s (who seduce), and a Cyclops.

Let me pause there, as the Cyclops in this movie is one of my favorite characters.  John Goodman plays a bible-salseman with an eye patch.  A GREAT adaptation of character in my mind since he is a “child of the Lord” just like the Cyclops in the original tale is ACTUALLY a child of Poseidon (a god).

This movie is a fun journey from start to finish.  If you’ve read the Odyssey you’ll catch some nods, but if you haven’t then you’ll just enjoy it because of how much fun it is.

Minimal language, and minimal violence, makes this a fun story for most ages.  Although it does have some Ku Klux Klan imagery that may be a bit overwhelming…aside from that, they’re pretty good about making this family friendly…go rent it!

V For Vendetta

Posted July 7, 2008 by Andy Owen
Categories: 1

Ahh, the consiracy theory, meets the comic book, meets the anarchist, meets Guy Fawkes.

The Graphic Novel from the 80’s comes to life thanks to the Matrix creative team of the Wachowski Bros & James McTiegue.  Alan Moore (the original writer) was devastated to find he had no way of stopping this from getting made.  He’s a mad scientist of a writer, brilliant, yet mad.

Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith from the Matrix) and Natalie Portman (Queen Amidala from Star Wars: Episode 1) portray the ‘terrorist’ V and Evey Hammond, his willing captive whom he teaches his ways to over the course of a year.

This is a hard story to explain.  Set in a fictional futuristic and post-holocaust England this world is very “Big Brother” and very Nazi Germany, had the Nazis won.  It’s an interesting look into the mind of a terrorist who is trying to free his country from a grip that no one realizes it has on them.

If you haven’t seen this one, it isn’t particularly chipper, but it is wonderful.  The previews showed a lot of action, but that was a tad misleading as this is a plot-driven story.  Changed somewhat from the original graphic form, it still (in my mind at least) keeps it’s anarchist roots and positively negative story form.

Pick it up from Netflix, Blockbuster, or your local Video-To-Go.