Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Kingdom of Heaven
A stirring epic set just before the Third Crusades, this film delivers a message about virtue, life, and religious freedom and tolerance. I thought Orlando Bloom did a great job as Balian of Ibelin, a French blacksmith with an English accent.
Plot: Balian's wife and child are dead, and he has lost all hope. A great knight named Godfrey, back from the Crusades to seek his son, finds Balian. He reveals that he is his father. Godfrey show him the true meaning of knighthood and takes him on a journey to Jerusalem. A fragile peace prevails in Jerusalem during the Second and Third Crusades through the efforts of its enlightened christian king, Baldwin IV. King Baldwin wears a silver mask to cover up the leprosy that he has. Greed and religious fanaticism fuel some of the Crusaders who attack the Muslims. Saladin, the Muslim leader, leads an attack on Jerusalem after being attacked first by the Crusaders. King Baldwin's vision of peace, a kingdom of heaven, is shared by a handful of knights, including Godfrey, who swear to uphold it with their lives and honor. Godfrey knights his son after being mortally wounded. He passes on the sacred oath to protect the weak and helpless and work towards building harmony so that a kingdom of heaven can flourish on earth. Balian chooses to accept this task and inspires others to do so.
This movie has great visual flare. The war scenes are brutal and stunning to watch. The characters, however, are a bit one-sided. The bad guys are bad and the good guys are good. There isn't much character development except for Balian. And he is too remarkable, which means it's unbelievable. From his origins as a poor blacksmith, he becomes a great knight. He knows battle tactics and agriculture and seems to know everything else. He probably was only trained just for a few weeks during his travel time to Jerusalem. The movie just shows a few seconds of his sword fighting training.
The movie paints a fascinating picture of what the Crusades were like. Although, it's not entirely historically accurate, it does provide a good idea of what must have happened during those times. Since I'm interested in church history, it was fascinating to watch for me. Jews, christians, and Muslims have fought for Jerusalem for at least 2,000 years, and they are still struggling over it today.
My rating: B, 86.
Kung Fu Hustle
Imagine a kung fu movie that is a mixture of old Bruce Lee movies, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Matrix, Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, and Looney Toones, and you have a pretty good idea of what this movie is like. The action in this movie is fast and furious. It also contains the most comical fighting sequences I have ever seen in my life. Everything in this movie is over-the-top crazy. You see old Chinese guys that don't look like much suddenly turn into superhero kung fu masters. An old cigarette smoking lady can run like the road runner and has a scream that can topple buildings.
If you like kung fu and comedy, you'll probably enjoy watching this because it's totally insane. Don't watch it for the story though. This movie is kinda hard to take seriously.
My rating: B, 84.
Monday, January 30, 2006
On Saturday, January 28, 2006, Sarah and her nephew, Sung Ho (Michael), and I went to Zuma Beach in Malibu, California to have a nice day at the beach. We had fun just kickin' it there and playing around. It was a nice day warm winter day to just walk around and enjoy the fresh air. You can check out more pictures by visiting:
Now, I know why this film went straight to video. It's really bad.
Anyone who has seen the first three American Pie movies know that Stifler was a totally ubnoxious arrogant jerk. Sure, he was annoying, but there were times when he got into a lot of trouble that actually made the movie funny, like when he had to eat dog crap in American Wedding.
Stifler's younger brother wants to follow in big brother's footsteps. He puts pepper spray into the school's band during graduation. The guidance counselor, who played the Sherminator, sends him to band camp as punishment so that he can learn to get along with people. At first, Stifler causes a lot of trouble and everyone hates him. He tries to make a video called Bandeez Gone Wild. Later on, he starts falling for the band leader. He erases all the video clips of the band camp geeks getting their freak on at the end when he develops a conscience.
This video just didn't have the first 3 films' hilariousness. This film just goes to prove that merely telling raunchy jokes does not a good comedy make. Younger brother just can't measure up to big brother.
This film has a cheesy sugary-sweet ending, but most of the characters were just not likable. The band leader's best friend was a scary looking goth chick. Yuck! Baby Stifler's geeky roommate had the hots for her and then performed the nasty with each other. I thought it was unrealistic until I remembered stories I've heard about kids doing stuff during church camp. I was a good kid. I just slept at church camp. Apparently some kids weren't sleeping since they were getting too busy at the coeds' cabin.
The Asian hip hop wannabe and the Fat Albert lookalike were just embarassing to watch since their acting was reprehensible.
The face off competition between Stifler and the rich blonde jerk was like a really bad version of "You Got Served" band camp style. The kid ran off after everyone cheered for Stifler when he played the bagpipe. Come on! This sux!
For some reason, gross pranks just weren't as hilarious as the first three films. When Stifler jizzed into the bottle of sunscreen and the other guys put it on their face, it was only somewhat funny. It was missing that elusive comic ingredient needed to make it laugh-out-loud funny.
Also, when Stifler put his tiny weinie into an oboe and got it stuck, I was not laughing when perhaps I would have in the other films. I guess I was too tired and bored from all the other non-funny scenes in the movie, that I forgot it was funny.
This movie might be okay for really immature teens who aren't able to see real "R" rated movies. Otherwise, it's a huge disappointment. It shouldn't carry the American Pie name. There's only one guy, Eugene Levy, who is from the movie. Everyone else didn't want to be part of it. Even the original Stifler wasn't in the movie. It's always lame when they show someone else who is supposed to be the original character. Why'd they even think it was necessary to show some random guy just so that they can make a scene where little brother talks with big brother over the phone?!
My rating: 59, F+.
Plot: A good kid who is the class president and over-achiever tries to raise enough funds to bring a smart Cambodian kid, "Sam Young", to study at his school because he believes that Sam Young is a genius who could one day find the cure for cancer. He gets accepted into Georgetown and his parents are proud of him. He wants to do something wild and crazy, but his straight upbringing prevents him from acting out on his desires to give in to senioritis. He prepares for a speech to win a scholarship for exceptional moral fiber.
One day, a beautiful girl moves in next door. He sees her changing in the window. She catches him watching her, but it turns out, she actually likes him. They go out and have a great time. He loves the way her wild and crazy nature pushes him to experience the euphoria of life. She loves him because of how he cares for her. His porn addicted friend shows him a tape that proves that she's a porn star. At first, he's distraught, but he realizes that he's profoundly in love with her. Later on, her sleazy producer comes to take her back to make more films. The kid and his buddies drive to the Las Vegas porn convention to bring her back. The producer guy gets revenge by stealing the $25G that was in trust to bring Sam Young to the States. The kid and his posse come up with a plan to make a sex ed video during their prom to raise the necessary cash.
Although there are some suspenseful and funny scenes, the style of the film in which the movie was made just did not win me over. It just wasn't light-hearted enough for a sex comedy. That sleazeball producer gave me the creeps, especially in the scene where he drives the kid to a remote and secluded area and forces him to commit fellatio. Fortunately, he was just kidding, but relieves some of his stress by smashing the kids' face.
The nerdy kids get a couple of porn stars, including Sung Hi Lee, to be their prom dates. They then make a porn tape about sex ed. They thought this was necessary because they had to watch all the bad sex ed videos in school that were made during the 70's. Amazingly, the videos sell like hotcakes and the kid becomes rich and buys a Z4 BMW. When he attends Georgetown, his girlfriend is there waiting for him every day after class.
My rating: C, 74.
I thought this was one of the funniest comedies out there. I haven't seen Meet the Parents yet, but I'm going to. This was a very light hearted comedy that could have been a family comedy if it wasn't for all the toilet humor.
Ben Stiller plays Gaylord "Greg" Myron Focker. He and his fiance, Pamela Byrnes (Teri Polo) are going with his future in-laws, Jack Byrnes, played by Robert De Niro and Dina Byrnes (Blythe Tanner) to meet his parents played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand.
Jack Byrnes is an ex-CIA agent and is very suspicious of Greg. Greg is contantly under the surveillance of his fiance's dad. Despite the constant intimidation, Greg and the Byrnes take their RV to meet his parents in South Beach, Miami, Florida. The Fockers are rich hippies. Mr. Focker is a retired lawyer and Mrs. Focker is a sex therapist for the elderly. It was very funny to watch the stuffy Byrnes family and the carefree Fockers family interact.
Mr. Byrnes is so strict that he's teaching his baby grandson to be a genius by using sign language. Greg screws things up when he has to babysit for a little bit and says a curse word. The baby's first word turns out to be "ash...hole". How'd they teach such a young baby to say that?
Mr. and Mrs. Focker were constantly getting frisky with each other. I thought it was hilarious when Greg walks in on his parents having fun in bed. Mr. Focker's face was covered with whipped cream from rubbing his face all over Mrs. Focker's bosoms.
After all of Mr. Byrnes' constant watching over Greg, he finally learns to accept Greg and his family. Greg and his fiance get married, and Mr. and Mrs. Byrnes finally get into the RV to have a little fun of their own.
This was a good-humored light-hearted comedy with occasionally hilarious scenes.
My rating: B, 88.
I'm embarassed to have even seen this dumb movie. I liked the old Bewitched tv show when I was a kid, but this odd tribute to the old show is simply a disgrace. Instead of doing a modern remake of the show, the geniuses at the studio thought that it would be interesting to make a clever twist. The movie is about a loser actor (played by Will Ferrell) who wants to make a comeback after a series of bad movies with a remake of the television show, Bewitched. He wants to use an unknown actress so that he could claim the spotlight. He finds Nicole Kidman and asks her to play Samantha on the show. Nicole turns out to be an actual witch who wants to foresake her powers as a witch and live a simple mortal life. Don't ask me why anyone would want to give up such a great lifestyle. I'd love to have those kinds of powers. I daydream that I have those types of powers like Samantha from Bewitched or that half-alien girl who could freeze time from the old show, "Out of This World".
So, Nicole Kidman turns out to be an actual witch who wants to live a normal life as a mortal, just like Samantha from the tv show. She is scouted by Ferrell to play as Samantha on a show called Bewitched, which is about a witch who wants to live a normal life. Wow! That is so clever. Not! I'm being sarcastic. That's not inventive. That's just a plain stupid idea. The studio thought that this would rake in big bucks with a turd of an idea like that?!
Will Ferrell is funny in other movies like Elf, but he wasn't funny in this one. He plays an immature actor who throws tantrums, but his character was not likable at all. Nicole Kidman plays a ditzy witch who is charming, but even her acting abilities couldn't save her from this awful plot.
There are very few funny scenes. Actually, I don't remember anything that was funny. Most of the scenes were too contrived. Nicole Kidmans' father appears time to time to give her unwanted advice. I think it would be freaky if you were shopping at the market, and your dad's face just popped up on all the food labels to talk to you. He also is an incorrigible playboy that wants to screw every woman he sees.
There were a lot of mistakes in this movie, that even I caught, like in one scene where Farrell rides a bike and parks it in front of his trailer, and then the bike disappears when the camera pans back to him as he's walking back.
This movie is just unbelievable. Nicole Kidman falling in love with Will Ferrell? Come on!
My rating: F, 53.
Friday, January 27, 2006
My mom is good at throwing away my stuff. She has always been throwing away my stuff since I was a kid. She gave away my kid clothes, toys, games, books, and other junk. She threw away my papers from time to time too, including important documents! I like to keep everything I have and she loves to throw them away. Moms!
The movie starts off with a loser from England named Arthur Dent. He wears a bathrobe and carries a towel with him the entire movie. He wakes up one day and finds out that his house is about to be bulldozed to make room for a road. His friend, Ford Prefect, turns out to be an alien saying that the world is about to be demolished in two minutes. Ugly stone bricks that are supposed to be spaceships hover over earth and blow the planet up. Seconds before the earth is blasted into oblivion, Prefect stuck out his thumb and they both hitched a ride onto a Vogon ship. Prefect is a Black alien writer for an electronic encyclopedia called the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Vogons are super ugly green greedy fatties that run the galactic beuracracy. After being dumped into outer space, Dent and Prefect hitch another ride on a ship called the Heart of Gold. This ship looks like a doorknob. It's run by an idiot, Zaphod Beeblebrox, who happens to be the President of the Galaxy. He's seen often eating cereal out of the box. He is really immature and annoying. He happens to have a second head just below his main head. His other head pops up under his main head like a Pez dispenser. This second head is absolutely intolerable. I was so glad it was cut off by his arch-enemy, but it didn't happy soon enough.
Arthur reunites with a girl he met in England, Trillian, who now is going out with the imbecile President of the Galaxy. On board is the most annoying robot in the world, Marvin, a maniacly depressed droid, that makes C3-PO look like a rockstar.
When Beeblebrox steals his own ship and kidnaps himself, the Vogons try to stop the kidnapper and save him. This motley crew go on a quest to find out the answer to the ultimate question: the life, the universe, and everything.
When the super-computer on a distant planet was first asked this question millions of years ago, it computed that the ultimate answer was 42. That's lame. The super-computer than said that it created another computer to answer the ultimate question. These brain-dead asses search for this other supercomputer.
This movie is full of odd dry British humor, but most of it is just plain idiotic ridiculousness. This movie is probably okay for single digit year-olds or super geeks. Other critics have said it is influenced by Monty Python, but the old Monty Python movies were much better than this crap.
There was an alien parody of church and religion. Some aliens were at their church worshipping the coming of a great handkerchief, because they believe they were created when a giant alien sneezed them out of its nose. This heresy against the church is nothing but a thinly-disguised parody hidden as space alien sci-fi.
Everything that occurs in this movie is very improbable, strange, and random. The comedy is really immature and annoying. All the characters are not likable, especially the President of the Galaxy.
I don't know why the book was so popular. When I read it as a kid, I didn't think it was great either.
This film is filled with annoying nerdy lengthy explanations of nonsense that happens in the movie. It was like watching a geeky kid giving detailed explanations of imaginary garbage in his head that he made up as he went along telling us a stupid story. It's nothing but childish silliness.
This movie can only be tolerated by nerdy little elementary kids. This film was made by idiots for idiots and based on a moronic book.
This was very irritating to watch. It was pure torture. I didn't think any of the humor was funny. Everything was random stupidity.
I can't get my 2 hours back. Okay, enough of my ranting about this god awful movie.
My rating: F, 40.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
The Getty Villa opens this Saturday, January 28, 2006. I want to take Sarah there, but it looks like its booked up until July 31, 2006. It's free to get in but you do need a ticket. And tickets seem to be sold out. I'm not sure if we can get in. Maybe we can sneek in somehow. I took Sarah to the Getty Center before we got married. It's pretty amazing. The new $275 million Getty Villa looks just as impressive. I think this is a must see museum if you're in L.A. It has a great collection of Roman, Greek, and Etruscan antiquities. The gardens also look pretty nice. Check out their website: www.getty.edu. I'll see you there!
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I thought this was going to be a funny movie in the lines of American Pie, but I was pretty disappointed. None of the jokes are really that funny. Everything in this ridiculous movie is non-sequitur.
I don't even think that this movie really dispels racial stereotypes either. Instead of relieving racial tensions, the jokes probably do nothing but propound them.
Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn), after smoking some weed, get a jonesing for White Castle hamburgers. This movie looks like it was made by potheads. Some of the jokes could have been funny, but just like a stoned guy telling a joke, the movie just laughs at itself without finishing the joke. This movie might be hilarious to guys who are high, but I think guys who are high on chronic laugh at anything including the movie, Sixteen Candles.
It could have been a lot funnier if it finished the potentially funny scenes instead of just trying to portray what a marijauna trip might be like. It was just weird and none of it made sense. It just played out like a bad humor dream. They just went from one place to the next bumping into the same guys over and over again all night. We see Neil Patrick Harris from Doogie Howser, M.D., play himself as a sexmaniac who is high on X. Then, we see Harold and Kumar smoke pot with a cheetah and they both get a ride on it across the freeway. Since I never tried smoking a reefer, I just can't relate to the comedy. This movie may be a stoner classic, but it just didn't get me high.
My rating: F, 55. Don't watch it unless you took a hit on a hookah before or want to.
The movie is just plain ridiculous in every aspect. The acting and even the action sequences are so unrealistic that it's groan inducing. Everyone's acting is really bad. The story is only filler and an excuse for the action sequences. The bad guys inject a lethal virus into the rich guy's kid via a needle with bright green fluid. The antidote is bright purple.
The driving sequences are like watching a street car racing videogame. One sequence reminds of Batman Begins when he drives from the top of a parking structure on to another building.
This movie is filled with cliches. The French and Russian bad guys are portrayed as typical stereotypes.
The airplane crash at the end is so ludicrous. They crash into the ocean and all that happens is that water enters the plane. They still keep fighting even though the jet is split in half.
Only watch this if you like adrenaline-inducing action sequences. That's all the movie is good for. Do not watch it if you are a drama or quality acting aficionado. It will insult your taste of class.
Why do action movies usually have such bad acting and why are they so unrealistic? Maybe they're made that way so that no one will attempt doing performing those stunts, because they know they're impossible. If action sequences were more realistic, people will try to duplicate those stunts in real life.
This is another mindless fun movie, but it's really targeted for immature videogame-playing teens.
My rating: D, 64.
Monday, January 23, 2006
I go through this type of silliness all the time, especially with Sugarboy. Another time, I asked the class what they're thankful for, and Sugarboy said, "I'm thankful for that pretty Chinese fan on the wall." Oh, geez.
This time, I had to wait in a long line. The woman in front of me was buying tons of food. She was of Hispanic descent and had four bratty kids with her that kept going in and out of line and bringing in more food. When she had to pay, she took out about 50 items, because they were too expensive. She also had a carton of water bottles on the bottom of her shopping cart. She never gave them to the cashier to pay for them. The cashier never saw them. I know she purposely didn't say anything, because you could clearly see them on the bottom when she pushed the cart forward. What kind of example was she setting for her children? I wanted to say something about the bottles of water, but refrained from doing so because I thought she was poor. For some reason, I didn't call her on it, because I didn't want to shame her in front of her children. Also, I guess I felt a little bit sorry for her, when she was telling the cashier to take away so many items. Although, the right thing to do was take away the bottles too or pay for them.
One time, I caught some nerdy Chinese guy at Ralphs stealing a videogame demo disk from one of those videogame magazines. I didn't say anything at first, but it really bothered me. When I saw him walk back into Ralphs, I told him, "If you don't put that videogame disk back, I'm going to notify security." Then, he looked really ashamed and guilty. I stood there and watched him put it back. Sometimes, I feel like I should be a cop. I really feel like pulling over idiot drivers, but unfortunately, I can't.
Oh yeah, speaking of markets, don't go to Costco on the weekends. Man, that place is packed! People hit you with shopping carts from behind. Other thoughtless idiots
leave their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle so that you can't get through. Put your dang carts to the side!
When I finally got home later to eat my Ben and Jerry's ice cream that I bought from Max Foods, it was nasty. It looked like it melted and then was frozen again. I thought it would be alright and gave some to Sarah. It tasted really bad. Sarah said her stomach hurt. I felt like a jerk for giving her bad ice cream. First of all, they had a bad selection of ice cream. They only had four different flavors for Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I got chocolate chip cookie dough. The packages all looked a little bit withered, but I thought it would be okay. Then, here's the kicker: I looked on the bottom of the package to see why the ice cream tasted so nasty and the expiration date was sometime in 2004!!!! What the heck is Max Foods trying to do to us?!!!!!! Poison us with old food?!! Dang them!!! They better give us a refund or exchange. I usually don't return stuff that I bought, but if they don't, I'll never shop there again!
Well, too bad. There is no island. They've been lying to us.
They have been told that they are survivors of a nuclear holocaust. They live in a seemingly utopian society. They all live for getting a chance to go the island. Unfortunately, they are really clones that are produced to provide organs for their sponsors.
When Ewan McGregor discovers the truth, he takes Scarlett Johansson and runs like in the movie, Logan's Run. There is also some similarity to A Clockwork Orange when the clones are being programmed with video screens.
It starts off as a sci-fi flick and then turns out to be an adrenaline-inducing special effects action chase thriller.
It turns out to be a dark themed movie though. Ewan McGregor's clone just wants to survive. When the clone meets the real person, he turns out to be a jerk that just wants to live as well and doesn't care a lick about what happens to his clone. There's a little bit of some Face/Off similarity when the main assassin has to figure out who the real person is. The clone puts the bracelet on the sponsor, and the real person gets shot.
It's interesting to see what downtown L.A. would look like in the future. I skateboarded down Grand Avenue where they filmed the flying motorcycle scene. The special effects are great. No doubt, this wasn't the actors' best work though.
The movie wasn't as bad as some critics have said about it. There are a lot of philosophical issues to look at in this movie. Is it okay to make clones to provide organs for their sponsors? Which life is worth more? Pretty interesting to consider. I think we can clone humans in the future. The problem is the ethical issues that would ensue after we do this. Will it provide hope for the sick or will it cause more horrors than we have ever experienced in our society?
My rating: B, 86.
Two lovers marry each other. After five or six years of marriage, their relationship starts falling apart due to lack of communication. They seek professional counseling.
One day, they both go to their jobs as assassins. They both have their own assassination agencies, but they both don't know that the other is one too. They've been lying to each other for years. But, this time, they've been assigned the same assignment. Now, they realize they're both assassins and not who they said they were.
The movie feels like True Lies mixed with War of the Roses. It's a good popcorn movie filled with lots of explosions. The movie is stylishly made, but you have to leave your reasoning behind.
At the end, they realize they have to work together to defeat the other bad guys from trying to kill them. They fall in love once again now that they're open and honest with each other. They work out their marital differences as they dispose of other assassins.
I liked when the kid was wearing the "Fight Club" t-shirt while the Smiths were beating him up to get answers as to who was trying to kill them.
It looks like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had fun making this film. Maybe they had a little too much fun. I still can't believe this is the movie that helped cause the split-up Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Too bad Pitt couldn't control his hormones while working with Angelina.
Sarah and I had fun play-fighting after we saw the movie. It provided good material for role-playing. Tee hee!
My rating: B, 85.
This is a very classy romantic story of Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy that takes place in 18th Century England. Lizzie and Mr. Darcy don't start off on the right foot, but some crises involving Lizzie's sisters, Jane and Lydia, help her to understand Mr. Darcy's true nature.
The cinematography and costuming were fabulous. It really looks like it took place during that time period. The acting was great too. The only thing was that it was hard to see how their romance developed when they seemed like they spent so little time getting to know each other. After little dialogue, but some bickering, Mr. Darcy suddenly announces that he loves her. Of course, Lizzie doesn't accept his love at first. She doesn't develop feelings for him until she discovers what Mr. Darcy really did to help her family.
This is a well made movie. It's just a little boring. I think it's a good chick flick though.
My rating: B, 84.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Wallace, a cheese-loving English clay dude runs a pest control company, called Anti-Pesto. His buddy, Gromit the dog, is the real brains behind the company. They remind me of the cartoon, Inspector Gadget. The town is having a vegetable competition and everyone is preparing for it. Unfortunately, there's a lot of rabbits eating their vegetables. They call the humane Anti-Pesto company to rid the town of these pesky bunnies. After, Wallace conducts an experiment to make these rabbits dislike vegetables, something goes terribly wrong. Wallace turns into a Were-Rabbit. He terrorizes the town, but he doesn't know that he turns into the Were-Rabbit during a full moon. There were some tie-ins with King Kong too.
The claymation is done very well. It's very smooth and cute too watch, but like I said, it's strictly for kiddies.
There were some scenes that were more adult-oriented humor. When the Lady stood behind two of her melons in the garden and asked Wallace how she liked them, Wallace became embarrassed. Also, the Priest was caught reading a provocative Nun Wrestling magazine. Towards the end, after Wallace turns back into a human, he is left without clothes. He tries to talk with the Lady and Gromit puts an empty box over him to cover up his shame. The box has a sign that says "May Contain Nuts".
For little tykes, I would highly recommend it, but not for adults.
My rating: C, 75.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
My rating: B, 82.