Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stargate: SG-1 Season One (TV Show)

Ever seen the movie Stargate? If you have, I'm sure you'll agree it's a great movie. Even my wife liked it and she isn't much of a sci-fi fan.

If you didn't know (I'm always surprised how many people don't), Stargate became a TV series in 1997. It was amazing. I just rewatched the whole first season (2nd time seeing it) and I'm getting ready to start season 2. The show has 10 seasons.

Stargate SG-1 is action packed sci-fi bliss. The story lines are original and entertaining, and, while episodic, they tend to maintain some sort of running storyline.

I remember watching seasons 4 and 5 with my parents after my mission. Friday night was Round Table and Stargate Night. This show was so good that I'd have friends call me to hang out and I opted to stay because I didn't want to miss the show (that was in the days before DVR).

Even though I've seen the first 5 seasons, rewatching season 1 was still VERY entertaining (I had forgotten a lot). I'm excited to move on to season two and eventually catch up to where I had left off. I left for college after season 5 and never watched the rest of it.

My Rating: 5/5 (amazing show)

My Recommendation: SEE IT. Go netflix season 1. You won't be disapointed.

Men in Black (movie)

I pretty much like every Will Smith movie. He's good in anything he does. It came to my attention that Megan had never seen Men in Black, so we had to watch it.

It's amazing to me that this film is 12 years old. I still think of it as a reletively new-ish movie, but wow... twelve years.

You've all seen it, you don't need my review. But here's my 2 cents: It's entertaining, funny, clever and original.

Any drawbacks? A bit of cheese every here and there.

My Rating: 3.8/5 (I did not rate this as a 4 because, while entertaining and a great movie, I couldn't justify putting it up there with other great movies that I had given 4's to)

My Recommendation: See it

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Get Smart (movie)

General Zod, Hiro Nakamura, Steve Carrell and the Rock... Best Cast Ever.

I LOVED Get Smart as a kid. Even though it was before my time I loved watching the old series. This movie adaption did not disappoint. It was clever, funny, creative and paid the right ammount of homage while keeping real with the times.

The types of jokes in Get Smart could have easily been over the top and silly/stupid rather than funny, but (thankfully) the director had a good eye for when too much was too much. The end result was an amazingly funny movie.

Steve Carrell is brilliant as he is in every movie. General Zod (known on some planets as Terrance Stamp) is just awesome because he is Zod. Hiro Nakamura is awesome because, well, DUH! And the Rock, Dwayne Johnson.... I've got to say this was my favorite performance of his. It was very real and believable.

I can't say that I saw the "twist" at the end coming, but then again I wasn't really looking for one.

If I had one complaint it'd be a couple of "yeah right" moments throughout the film. Like when Zod pulls out a key chain that has a little laser that cuts through concrete or titnaium or something like that: YEAH RIGHT.

All in all, I am still in shock a day later that this movie wasn't cheesier than it was. Given what they had to base a film off of, and given today's ideas about what is "funny" in a family film, it could have been a disaster. Thankfully it was far from disaster; it was a success.

My Rating: 4.5/5

My Recommendation: See it. Rent it at least. If you're the kind of person that likes to pop in a random comedy every now and then, buy it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Good Guy (book)

I have now read 38 Dean Koontz novels. Needless to say he's my favorite author. That either means that I'm a bit biased when it comes to reviewing his work or it means that I can afford to be a little more nit-picky and critical since I've read so much of what he's written... or a little of both.

The Good Guy caught me from the beginning. I'd say only about 70% of his books have done that. This book was fast paced, energetic, and fun the entire way through.

I can't say it was the deepest story he's ever written. Some guy is mistaken for a hitman. They pay him to kill someone, but he's not the killer. So he devotes himself to finding the target and then protecting her. The real killer gets wind of this, and hunts them down. It's gripping.

I did find the ending a bit anti-climactic and quick. And then the final explanation of what was actually going on was a bit over the top and, in my opinion, completely unnecessary in comparison to the rest of the book.

If you've never read Koontz, then this might be a good one to start with, though I could give you a list of other favorites as well.

When this book first came out, the publishers did a YouTube contest in which they released the first chapter of the book and had Koontz fans create a video trailer for the book. They gave $5000 to the winner. Here is the winning video:

My Rating: 3.9/5 (honestly, 3 chapters before the end I would have given this book a 4.5/5, but the ending just really left a sour taste in my mouth, so even 4/5 sounds generous at this point. But don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this book)
My Recommendation: Buy it. Read it.

The Goonies (movie)

Okay, I'm sure everyone that ever reads this post will say something like "yeah, I used to love that movie when I was a kid." Well look again, you just might still love it.

During finals at school this last week we had extra long testing periods and a lot of time to do nothing when the tests were over. So I got a pile of movies from another teacher and I let my kids choose what they'd want to watch. They almost unanimously chose the Goonies. I put it on thinking I'd head into my office to get some work done. Nope. I was rivited from the first scene.

Though I had seen this movie hundreds of times as a kid, re-watching it for the first time in probably 10 years was a fantastic experience. The movie is STILL as good as it ever was, if not BETTER. It's filled with adventure, suspense, reality and fun. Who doesn't love a treasure hunt? Chases? Booby-traps?

One thing that really stood out to me is the fantastic character development. Each kid had a very distinct character and personality. I loved chunk as a kid, but WOW, that kid is SO FUNNY!

I was thinking as I watched, this movie is 24 years old. You'd think they'd do a remake of such a successful and beloved movie by now in this age of remakes. But then as I watched more and more, I realized that no remake could EVER top this movie. The filming, the acting, the script, it's all perfect in every way. Even today's generation loves this movie. I've shown a lot of movies to my kids in the past but NO movie has EVER come close to holding their attention like this one did.

In spite of how many times you may have seen this movie in the past, go watch it again. I think you'll thank me.
My Rating: 5/5
My Recommendation: DUH! Buy this movie!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wall-E (movie)

I finally got around to seeing this. I've been wanting to ever since it came out in the theaters. It was well worth the wait. Wall-E is a fantastic movie.

I don't know how they did it, but they managed to make robots cute. And I just loved every time Eva would say "Wall-E." So cute!

The movie was extremely entertaining. The plot was thin (humans dirty and fat, they destroy planet, they feel bad and try again), and the acting... well... not only was it CGI but there were hardly any words in the movie at all so I can't really comment on acting.

If there was one downfall, it'd be the blatant Dan Quail-ism. It was like the movie was screaming at me to stop being so fat and lazy. Oh, and if you litter or don't recycle, you're the scum of the Earth.

Sounds like I'm saying only "bad" stuff, but... it's really not. Good CGI, very entertaining, continuous movement of story....

I don't know what else to say about this movie. It's good. Watch it.

My Rating: 4/5 (I give a lot of 4 out of 5's don't I? I think I want to reserve the 5's for stellar, nearly-perfect, favorite movies. A 4 is any other really great movie that I wouldn't classify as a top 10) p.s. I reserve the right to have more than 10 on my top 10 list. :P

My Recommendation: Get it, rent it, buy it, watch it, see it

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Day The Earth Stood Still (movie - 2008)

I was very excited to see this movie when I saw the preview and, while it wasn't the most epic and fantastic movie of our day, it did not dissapoint.

Keanu Reeves, interestingly enough, is probably one of the worst actors ever, but he makes great movies. I must admit that I've pretty much liked every movie I've seen him in even though he himself pretty much sucks (Bill & Teds, Speed, Matrix Trillogy, and this movie).

This modern day adaption of the 1951 movie kept to the original story line fairly well but deviated enough to keep modern day audiences interested. As a matter of fact, while interesting, I found the original movie mostly dull and boring. This one, however, I would buy and add to my collection.

All that said, I would also agree that this movie is perhaps for a more sci-fi discriminating fan. Those who are not avid (or at least moderate) sci-fi lovers might find this movie a bit odd or strange, and perhaps even slow at parts.

I found it to be a great mixture of story, special FX, acting, emotion, and culture.

There is one major flaw, however, and it involves a spoiler. So if you plan on seeing it (and you should) then stop reading here.

The Flaw (spoiler alert): At the end of the movie, Klaatu agrees with the woman and the scientist that Earth deserves a second chance because it is only in the face of annilation that a culture can change. They assure him that they can change. So Klaatu stops Earth from being destroyed. But this informtion NEVER gets out to anyone! So far as the rest of the BILLIONS of people on the plannet, some weird things happened inexplicably and then they suddenly stopped and now everything is back to normal. What's to make them change??? No one ever told them that they SHOULD change! In this respect, the original movie was much better.

Also, the Earth "standing still" played little to no part in this movie. That was dumb.

My Rating: 4/5
My Recommendation: Buy it, See it. If you're not into sci-fi, rent it, you still may enjoy it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Spirit (Movie)

The previews looked amazing. The cast is unbeatable. It's based on a comic book from the 1940s. Doesn't this sound like the best film ever created? Okay, well maybe I'm stretching it out a little, but the point is, this movie looked like a no-fail awesome movie.

I was sorely dissapointed. Don't get me wrong, the cast did a great job, and it was in fact very... comic-booky. But that was it. The story was shallow at best. The script was beyond HORRIBLE. It was cheesy and silly throughout. I understand that it is based on a comic book and the director was trying to keep that image. But it was a bad idea. Adults don't want to go to a movie and watch something cheesy. They don't want to see something that views like a comic book.

I don't know much what else to say. The silly b-movie style jokes made my eyes roll every 5 minutes. That said, this film could have easily been saved. If they had gotten rid of the enormously silly side kicks and ALL of the jokes, I think this film might have been okay. But for my money.... I want it back.

My Rating: 1.8/5 (for some great visual work)
My Recommendaiton: SKIP it!