Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Money Never Sleeps – Wall St. 2 Review

Last week, I pedalled up town to go to watch an ‘big person’ movie.  These days, when I go to the cinema’s it’s usually with the Littlest Princess to see the latest kids show.  The week before, I sat through Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which was entertaining enough, but, like all American kid films they can’t seem to break away from the school setting.  I’m starting to wonder if American children have any other life/interests apart from school, and ‘trying to fit in and be cool’.  In this day and age, kids should be learning to be comfortable with who they are, and no matter what you’re tastes, there’s a club, group, or social set ready made for you.  Unlike my time in school when it was sporties and nerds, or sometimes a third group, the just don’t give a damn and float between the two groups, set (consisting of me and three mates!)   

Anyway…

A couple of weeks ago I caught the original Wall Street on tele, and was suitably impressed.  It was a genuinely interesting, enjoyable, and educational show.  It was also a bit of a history lesson as the original was made 23 years ago.  My interest was piqued, and the next day I noted that the 2nd instalment was screening at the cinemas.  So I waited a couple of weeks (to let the crowds die down) and trundled off to see it.

I was very impressed.  Now, it’s true that I impress fairly easily, but I actually did enjoy the yarn, the various subplots, and the view ‘from the top’ of the financial ladder.  Michael Douglas’ reprised role as Gordon Gecko was great to watch, and his opening speech after being released from jail was funny, true, and rang warning bells. 

I gave it 4 thumbs up, and recommended heartily to family and friends.  In fact, I’ll probably buy the DVD’s soon, which is always a good guide to how much I enjoyed the show. 

Go see it.

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Toy Story 3 in 3D! Now with MORE Popcorn!!

In my last movie review blog I had a bit of a whinge about how we here in the ‘boonies’ don’t get the latest and greatest, ‘Mickey Mouse’, whizz bang technology when it comes to new release 3D movies.  Well, it has been said before, but for those of you who missed it, I will repeat it again (possibly not for the last time):  I am – an Idiot 😦 

Apparently Avatar has been released here in 3D, and Toy Story 3 is the latest show to go ‘fuzzy’ before our very eyes in order to enhance the viewing experience of Gladstone’s movie going public.

So, the other day The Littlest Princess and I fought our way through the carpark for the morning matinee, and prised open the cinema doors to discover that of the 30 000 people living in Gladstone, some 600 000 of them, had the same idea as us that day, and were patiently waiting in a line longer than any of those found in theme parks around the world.

We battled our way back to the car and drove home.  Later that day we returned, and there was still a sizable crowd but not as bad as the morning matinee’s.  Sloughing through the piles of knee deep popcorn that had been spilled throughout the foyer and beyond, we purchased a couple of tickets to a movie I didn’t particularly want to see – Toy Story in 3D.

Well it was great.  It really was.  We laughed, we sat thrilled, and some folks even shed a tear at times (not me though, because I’m a big tough bugger and I don’t cry… I just had sore eyes from looking through the 3D glasses…)

Anyway, after the film we were the last to leave (again), and as we waddled down the corridor to where the family chariot awaited, TLP looked up and said, “I really, really, really want that movie for my birthday Dad!” 

Which gives Toy Story 3 a ‘5 thumbs up’ rating from her.  I’ll lift ‘4 thumbs up’, it was pretty good, but the daycare centre scenes and attitudes were a little too close to the bone for me; it reminded me of work and some of the people there 🙂 

I’ve no doubt it will be another movie playing on the continual loop at home in the near future… not a bad thing.

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Shrek 4 – In 3D, but not in Gladstone…

Just the usual chaos in a house full of children...

Last Sunday night I raced home from work, threw the pushie into the garage, tossed The Littlest Princess into the bath, dived into the shower, shovelled down a quick meal, galloped out to the car, rushed back into the house, grabbed The Littlest Princess, slung her into the car, then drove at legal speeds (while tapping on the steering wheel and muttering at the red lights) up to the cinema.  We got the trainee assistant, which meant a slightly longer wait in line, and my damned card didn’t work, so there was some stuffing about there, but with seconds to spare we slumped into our seats and prepared to watch the final instalment of the Jolly Green Giant films, Shrek 4.

"What do you mean the toilet's backed up again?! I just finished fixing it!"

Not far into the start of the film it dawned on me that Shreks’ family life was not dissimilar to mine…  marital / family duties had reduced his ‘me time’ to next to nothing, and he was pining for his old life.  Given the chance to return to his old life for a day by Rumplestiltskin, Shrek jumped at the chance… unfortunately there was one slight catch. 

Anyway, I won’t ruin it for you, but you’ll have guessed by now that the movie had a happy ending.  Was anyone surprised?! 🙂 

Not a bad yarn, and it probably would have been a novelty to have watched it in 3D, but this feature wasn’t an option.  We sort of live in the ‘boonies’ when it comes to the latest fads, fashions, and fiascos.  After the movie, TLP and I sat alone watching the credits, and I asked her, “Well, what did you think?”  She nodded, “It was alright.  Can we buy the DVD?”  So, that gets a 4 tiny Princess thumbs up from her.  I too, thought that I could sit through it again, so it gets a 3 thumbs and a little finger from me. 

Driving home, listening to TLP chatting away, I knew how Shrek felt.  Sometimes it would be nice to be on your own, but not all the time…

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Confessions of a Shopaholic, or, Getting Depression Watching a Shopaholic

Yesterday, the Eldest Princess was laid up getting over her wisdom teeth extraction, so she popped on a movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic. 

I tuned in for the first 20 minutes, but was struggling watching the heroine, Isla Fisher, use three or four different credit cards to pay for a $120 scarf.  That’s right, a scarf :O  I managed to stay seated through that encounter, but couldn’t get past the scene in her room of racks and racks of clothes, bags, gew gaws, trinkets, and other over priced, over hyped, ‘stuff’, or as I term it, ‘crap’.  At this point I decided to go for a walk, play my guitar, repaint the car, or just do anything rather than sit in my loungeroom watching a woman drowning in debt. 

Then later, as I passed through the room on my way ‘to somewhere else’, I overheard a character mention that she was $9000 in debt.  I smiled to myself, and thought, ‘Well, there are probably people who watched this movie and wished that they were ‘only’ in debt for that amount!’ 

Basically, I found it hard to laugh at someone who obviously has a problem with hoarding, shopping, and getting high on sales.  Materialism and conspicuous consumption are out of control in todays’ society, and it is plain we’ve learned nothing from the GFC. 

Maybe I missed out on a good movie, I kind of like Isla’s work, soI’ve decided to watch it again, but this time I’ll have a few beers under my belt, just to ease the pain… hopefully it does have a happy ending… unlike the current world situation? : )

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Robin Hood with Russell

Thanks to a rainy day bringing my running, and painting schedule to a halt, I decided on impulse to go to the movies and see the latest Robin Hood.

Not a bad yarn.  As one mate described it, it was like Braveheart meets Gladiator.  A rather apt despcription I thought. 

Younger viewers were disappointed by the lack of bloodshed and fighting, “There were only four fight scenes,” was one comment I overheard.  Perhaps this is more of a commentary on our youth, than the movie itself?! 

Kevin Durand, the 6 foot, 6 inch giant who played Little John was a favourite of mine from Wild Hogs.  He has a few genuinely funny lines which he pulled off well.  The rest of the Merry Men seemed to pale into the background by comparison, rarely seen or heard. 

I enjoyed a few laughs, whilst enduring another ‘Hollywood History Lesson’, relished the accuracy of the settings and costumes, and in general, enjoyed a rolicking couple of hours watching the goodies take a few hits before wiping out the baddies.  And best of all I didn’t have to listen to Bryan Adams singing ‘Everything I Do’ 🙂  

The ending left more than enough room for a sequel.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox & The Tooth Fairy

In a desperate attempt to stave off watching the Chipmunk ‘squeakuel’, I managed to divert the Littlest Princess into the following movies over the past couple of weeks. 

The first offering, Fantastic Mr. Fox was quite enjoyable.  We got a few laughs, and (for me anyway) a couple of ‘close to the bone moments, eg:  “…does anyone read my column?”  “Why can’t you be happy with the life you’ve got?”  etc. 

There was no Disney schmaltz either.  The baddies were bad, and the goodies actually killed chickens.  Ok, they didn’t show them actually ripping the heads off, but as close as you can get.  In fact I wouldn’t have been surprised to see one of them having a dump!  Maybe it was my eyes, but the colours used were reminiscent of an old movie, maybe this was a deliberate move by the director, tipping his hat to the author, Roald Dahl. 

Anyway, we left the theatre with smiles on our faces, and a desire to watch the show again.  Probably not a movie for the littlies, but one for kids over 8-ish? 

This week we waddled back to see The Tooth Fairy.  Now, I’m not a big fan of the Disney, ‘Paint by Numbers’, cliché ridden, oddball character gets girl and saves the day type films.  And I’ve haven’t actually seen Dwayne Johnson in a film yet, which goes to show you how out of touch I must be.  But… I actually enjoyed this film.  The Littlest Princess enjoyed this film.  We both laughed, enjoyed some whispered private jokes, and left the theatre feeling pretty damned good. 

The character, Tracy, played by a stringbean Englishman, cracked me up.  He is the spitting image of an old workmate of mine, and has the same characteristics, which was probably why I liked him so much.  He and Dwayne worked well together, and Billy Crystal’s small parts were equally enjoyable.  He’s good at what he does ol’ Bill. 

On the way home, the Littlest Princess asked if we could buy the movie, so I’ll give that 4 thumbs up on the enjoy-o-meter, and I decided that I could also sit through it again.    

I must admit I was sort of reminded of Hulk Hogans’ films back in the 80’s & 90’s (when he had hair) which seemed to strike a chord with kids, and another ‘certain audience’.  Which has left me wondering, “Am I really a redneck?”  Maybe it’s time I took in some adult offerings to redress the balance?!  Soon.   

Anything but that damned chipmunk movie.

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Holiday Movie Review – Planet 51 & Old Dogs

This week the Littlest Princess and I trundled off to see Planet 51, then later in the week we took Mrs. Gb to see Old Dogs. 

Now, these are probably two movies I wouldn’t have paid to see, instead I would have preferred to line up for, say, Sherlock Holmes, but the rest of ‘my mob’ would rather eat popcorn off the floor than watch Robert Downey Jr. puffing a long neck pipe.  Elementary, dear boy.  So, it’s off to watch some ‘family fare’. 

Planet 51

Let’s just say, I’m over the whole American dream of wanting to return to the 1950’s.  Sure, life was simpler, a lot friendlier, and there was a general feeling of optimism after the bloody horror of World War 2 that marred the 1940’s.  And add to the mix, that the 50’s was also the birth of The Teenager. 

But, the 1950’s were also marked by segregation riots, McCarthyism, and the start of the nuclear arms race.  The 1950’s were wonderful if you were white, a teenager, and a law abiding protestant, eg. someone who slotted in well with the mainstream society.  Funny, none of these things rated a mention in this film… possibly because it was written with five year olds in mind? 

Ok, it was a classic plot.  Alien boy lands dream job.  Meets girl.  His world is thrown into chaos by the arrival of a human astronaut (possibly the stupidest astronaut to ever graduate from the NASA academy).  They risk it all.  The day is saved.  Boy gets girl.  Boy lands dream job.  Audience leaves smiling.  Except for one 43 year old who was yawning.  Still, it kept the little kids seated a couple of rows away quiet for a while.  Something their tired mother looked grateful for.      

Old Dogs

Both Robin Williams and John Travolta have done some really good stuff in the past.  They worked well together in this show, and you can clearly see that they genuinely like each other.  I think they did well with the material they were given, but at the end of the show, even though I had several genuine laughs (hey, I’m a sucker for groin shot jokes), I thought they were a little flat. 

There were a couple of running gags throughout the movie, and several slapstick moments which Williams pulled off with his usual style.  Travolta at times looked like he was trying too hard, and, as a ‘ladies man’ he came across a bit sleazy.  As I said, there were moments when I did get a few belly laughs, but I still left the movies with a sense of ‘something missing’.  Maybe it was the paint by numbers plot. 

Mrs. Gb, wasn’t overly impressed either, but the Littlest Princess liked it.  I think she identified with John Travoltas’ daughter, particularly when she was in her Princess clobber.

So, let’s score these shows based on the following: 

  1. Would not watch it again, even if paid to do so.
  2. Would not bother to watch it if shown on TV.
  3. Would watch it again if shown on TV.
  4. Would hire the DVD at a later point.
  5. Would buy the DVD at a later point. 

Planet 51 = 2 

As we drove home, The Littlest Princess and I agreed that we definitely preferred the little robot flick, Wall-E.   

Old Dogs = 3 

It wasn’t a bad yarn, but it wasn’t worth spending nearly $60 to watch.  Wait for it to come out on DVD, and hire it on a rainy day.  On the plus side, you can watch it with your family without having to worry about any overly embarrassing sexual references or swearing.

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