Friday, January 30, 2009

The Uninvited

The Uninvited: Trailer 1 @ AppleTrailers

The Uninvited is the second installment of the "Horror Movie Titles that Begin with Un-" trilogy due out in 2009. I'm not sure what the third one will be, perhaps a slasher flick where hordes of unemployed, zombified Americans must quench their insatiable hunger for affordable health premiums and Republican brains? Due out in October 2009, "The Uninsured"!

Anyway, back to the movie...The theatrical trailer for The Uninvited is much, much better than all the 30 second TV spots i've been seeing. It hints at many more interesting angles than just the straight "creepy new mom is going to kill us" story suggested by the commercials. Elizabeth Banks certainly looks creepy enough in her role and its nice to see her outside of the Judd Apatow-crowd. I am also a big fan of David Strathairn and think he a very underappreciated actor that always brings quality to a film.

Other than that it looks like there are some creepy visuals going on, the two girls aren't too irritating and there are hints of a good twist. I'm going to put it solidly in the middle.

The Uninvited is releasing tonight Jan 30th.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Taken: Wherein we see...

Taken: Trailer 1 @ Fox Movies

....the debut of scary, sadistic Liam Neeson (often known as the "Irish Jason Bourne" or the "Emerald Eviscerator") as an ex-spy whose daughter is kidnapped by slave traders in this action-thriller flick. So freed from the restraints of common social norms like not breaking people's kneecaps and electrocuting them Neeson no doubt goes about racking up a body count in the search for his daughter. Oskar Schindler this ain't.

Apparently heavyweight Luc Besson did the script which could be a big plus since he has a knack for finding the humanity in brutal situations and within his, almost always, sociopathic protagonists (Leon is one of my all time favorite movies btw). Unfortunately no genius moments are shining through in the trailer, and that does not bode well that Taken is not another cookie cutter, justified-killfest (See: Man on Fire).

As for the trailer itself; Liam Neeson sounds like he is awkwardly suppressing his accent which gets me off balance some, but that does not need to be a fatal blow of Jenga proportions, i'll let it slide. The daughter sounds VERY annoying, but she looks set to have a role reduced to crying and being generally afraid for her life, so safe on that count as well. Action is pretty good, the ol' Emerald Eviscerator looks like he has some moves left. Really my only concern is that Neeson is not going to be able to take on a Besson style character; not out of lack of talent but simply because of the normal range he is expected to exist in by audiences. And if his performance doesn't work the movie will probably get panned critically.

Also Luc Besson could have just simply crapped it up on the script. That's a possibility too. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt though and go higher than my instinct. Dude, watch out for his set of skillz.

Taken opens Jan 30th.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New in Town: Nothing Actually New

Renee Zellweger continues her bid to be America's new darling girl with the rom-com New In Town. Zells looks like a high-powered L.A. woman type who gets sent out to down home Minnesota for a down home dressing down. Her high falutin' coast mentality gets a solid, frosty kick in the pants and she comes down a peg or two.

It looks quite predictable and, as a result, quite boring. There's a hint of chemistry between Zells and co-star Harry Connick Jr. so that maybe a saving grace. Otherwise I wouldn't bet too heavily on it critic-wise.

New in Town is due out January 30th.

Underworld-Rise of the Lycans: EPIC WTF

This trailer will be the debut of my incomplete sentence review style.

What? Another one?!? Why! WHY? %@^&*^! Looks like crap. Beckinsale not involved. Not stupid enough to be involved. Cheers to her. WTF British werewolves? Lots of vampire cleavage. Rock music reverberates in the skull. Ooh fire. Matrix moves, that's not 1999 or anything. Werewolves look kind of Thriller-ish.

Yes, crap. Surely. British accents only saving grace. Done.

Crap due out Jan 23rd.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Results - Batch 5 - Week of 1/16/09

Faithful reader, this week was a complete FAIL in terms of previctions. Zero for four, that's almost as bad as the Detroit Lions (ooh burn.) although some were close. Let's do the rundown:

1. My Blood Valentine 3D (MBV3D) - My guess 0-19%, actually retail price 57%. I was completely dumbfounded by this result, it actually was pushing 60% on RottenTomatoes! From reading the full reviews it looks like this equation holds true: Crap + ExtraDimension = EnjoyableFun. Since this relationship is firmly established now perhaps some of the other directors should consider investing in 3D technology to add appeal to their movies. M.Knight Shyamalan's Happening Lady in the Village 3D coming soon!

2. Notorious - My guess 60-79%, actually retail price....57%! I was sooooo very close with this one that I have to say it's my big disappointment for the week since I thought it would surprise the naysayers. Everyone loved Woolard's performance, but the main gripe seems to be some sentiment that it's too commercial.

3. Paul Blart: Mall Cop - My guess 40-59%, comes out at 35%. Less of a surprise. I just need to be more pessimistic when it comes to predicting Happy Madison productions...

4. Hotel for Dogs - My guess 60-79%, actual result 47%. I'm having a difficult time reading children's movies reviews, when I make these previctions for them I try and do it from the perspective of someone going in expecting to see a kids movie. You would think that would be a common sense enough attitude for a critic. I mean you're not going to be holding up Hotel for Dogs and Citizen Kane side by side and going "hmmmm...I liked the sled in this one, but I also liked the dogs in this one".

Half the reviews, however, seem to be written by those who go in expecting Oscar worthy material and being disappointed when it's absent. Basically i'm saying in the future i'm going to give a large discount to children's movies which don't appeal to every fricking critic out there.

Full results below:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Mighty Heart

A Mighty Heart: Trailer @ Apple Trailers

I know this one isn't an upcoming movie but I ran across the trailer recently and wanted to review it for you anyway even though it came out in 2007.

In 2002 Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped, imprisoned, and brutally murdered by Islamic fundamentalists. The footage of Pearl's tragic death was broadcast internationally and shocked the civilized world. The even set off an string of similar assassinations in Iraq and would come to mark the brutality of the changes going on in the region.

The movie itself has a headliner in Angelina Jolie and the excellent Irrfan Khan (recently in Slumdog Millionaire, but actually able to use his acting skills in "The Namesake"). The cinematography looks solid if a bit boring at parts, but that's not really the focus since the story is bound to be an intense one. Overall it looks good, i'm going to Netflix it.

Killshot: Next on the 11 o'clock movie

Killshot: Trailer 1 @

A movie not on Apple Trailers! Yes, incredibly there is something not going through Apple's tentacles. But in the case of Killshot, maybe there's a reason. Something does not look right about the movie. Rourke looks chilling as the hitman, Gordon-Levitt looks ok as the hitman-in-training, and Diane Lane is...well Diane Lane. The story sounds like it has the potential for good suspense and it has a decent crop of actors to pull it off. So what's wrong???

Something about the way it's shot has all the feel of a A&E crime reenactment movie. I can't really think of a better way to put it right now. Watch the trailer and you'll see what i'm talking about. Am I wrong?

...Even the poster looks weird. Well at least it's not this one.

Killshot is supposedly due out January 23rd.

Inkheart: There Be Danger On Those Pages

Inkheart: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Inkheart: Trailer 2 @ Apple Trailers

Brendan Fraser somehow seems to have positioned himself as the family action movie star of our time. How he managed to wrangle that given his acting acumen and all around doofiness amazes me. Maybe it's just his natural Canadian charm, I mean when did you ever not like a Canadian?

Inkheart (iHeart) strikes me as the BBC version of Bedtime Stories(BS). BS is not the American version of iHeart just by virtue of it getting an earlier release date, it's just that easy. The parallels are uncanny, read along with me now. iHeart: Stories come to life after reading, BS: Stories come to life after narrating. iHeart: Fuzzy little ferret/marmot creature for the kids, BS: Googly eyed hamster for the kids. iHeart: Brendan Fraser (Canadian (British)) BS: Adam Sandler.

The movie looks solid enough for a kid/family flick with a solidly British cast on the acting end and actually decent looking material on the visual side too. It gets a solid score in the middle of the range.

Inkheart is in theaters January 23rd.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Results Batch 4! - Week of 1/5/09

A good week of previctions. 2 out of 3 guessed correctly. I missed Bride Wars but scored on Not Easily Broken and The Unborn. Apparently Kate Hudson's full scare-itude was not even fully conveyed by the trailer. More previctions coming at you soon, results below:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hotel for Dogs:

Hotel for Dogs: Trailer1 @ Apple Trailers

Hotel for Dogs: Trailer2 @ Apple Trailers

Standard Disney-esque animal movie fare. Kids get a dog, find other dogs, build a hotel for them, someone wants to take the hotel away, all inventions used in hotel turn into things to repel the invaders, all are happy. Nothing looks glaringly wrong with it and it has dogs in it. Heck I am even a bit curious to know how the robbers/evil bankers/landlords are going to get beaten up.

I can't even imagine what the set must be like on the shoot for one of these things. Did I mention it has dogs in it? What a curve ball it would be if the movie was actually about some kind of timeshare condo for cats. Hotel for Dogs will handily win the Oscar for Best Use of 40 or More Dogs.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop: HappyMadison Strikes Again

Paul Blart: Mall Cop: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Remember Die Hard? I do too. Remember how awesome it was with Bruce Willis running around inside Nakatomi Towers blasting the crap out of evil German terrorists? Remember the evil blonde guy who wouldn't die? Blondie? And Alan Rickman? Yeah. Sweeeeet. And the quarterback is toast!!!!

Ok, so imagine Die Hard without guns, without cursing (most likely), without killing, and with Kevin James. That would be the premise of Paul Blart: Mall Cop (PB:MC) Ok Kevin James is a funny guy, his stand-up is great and even King of Queens is not bad. I don't think he can save this tongue-in-cheek style comedy on his own though. He's going to need some serious backup...and Reginald VelJohnson definitely ain't coming this time. It's doubtful that PB:MC is going to win any major critical accolades but it looks like clean humor centered around a sympathetic character which could win it some points.

I think i'm going to go watch Die Hard.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Notorious: Large and In Charge

Notorious: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Notorious: Trailer 2 @ Apple Trailers

Da-yam, what to say. First off i'm surprised it took this long for a Biggie Smalls movie to get made (ditto on the surprise for a Tupac movie as well, anyone know if one is in development?). The larger-than-life (har har) rap icon was practically made for the big screen and his tragic death only adds to that.

The movie is set squarely in biopic land, with some good looking close up shots and decent acting. Whoever plays Notorious has the look and the voice down so no (big, har har) worries there. The story looks pretty predictable structure wise, so unless the director surprises us with a more intricate plot sequence it will depend heavily (har har) on the performance of [insert actor name here]. I give it a 50/50 that he is able to pull it off. It fizzle out very quickly.

But frankly the movie has some of the best rap music of the 90s as the soundtrack and watching the trailer set to it is kind of spine tingling. It's hard to discount that feeling. Notorious gets a positive despite having a high potential to be critic chow.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Bloody Valentine 3D: Point away from face

My Bloody Valentine 3D: Trailer1 @ Apple Trailers

Ok so the tagline of My Blood Valentine 3D, hereafter, MBV3D, is "Nothing says date movie, like a 3D ride to hell." Do you think they mean, like, first date-wanna-makeout? Or more like fifth date-this is going nowhere-let's stop? I really can't tell from the trailer. Oh well I guess we'll just have to go with the sure bet and watch Punisher: War Zone.

Apparently there's a very pissed off miner running around pick-axing people to death in the local small town that happens to be populated by lots of scantily clad women running around and all on Valentine's Day too! Might the killer be one of the old miners exacting revenge on the townspeople for a horrific accident of yore? The hell you say! But wait it's in 3D! Sadly, while it may enhance the effect of blood flying at the screen or the odd shot of cleavage, the addition of a dimension does not look set to improve the acting or production quality of MBV3D.

I think it's safe to say that removing your 3D glasses during a showing of MBV3D may cause brain damage as the 3D effects of the movie will no longer be able to shield you from its true stupidity.

Results Batch 3!

The Holiday movies bombed (critically) worse than I could imagine. It seems I just need to be more pessimistic when I see an idea like putting Adam Sandler in a movie with a googly-eyed hamster. Lesson learned, here are the results for the Christmas season, unfortunately I didn't get to review as many as I would have liked to because of all holiday hubbub:

I missed on the upside with "Bedtime Stories", critics didn't find anything redeeming about it apparently. It was the opposite story with "Marley & Me" with the movie goers enamored of such a cute fuzzy puppy. "The Spirit" was on the nose and Valkyrie missed by only the slightest of margins. Overall not too bad.

More previctions coming at you soon.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Unborn: Children are creepy. We get it.

The Unborn: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Ah my first horror previction. Nothing like a bunch of blood, guts, and paranormal activity to pack the masses into the old cineplex. It always amazes me that people will go and see practically any horror movie regardless of the plot, actors, or budget. Recently though (specifically after big studios realized the goldmine created by the horror-movie-lemming-mentality) we have seen big name directors, writers, and producers attach themselves to a raft of horror flicks. The Unborn follows in that grand tradition.

Unborn looks like a pretty standard evil twin coming back to haunt the world story with few surprises. A couple of moments have some tension but overall it looks quite predictable, which is a very bad thing for a horror movie. Scary ghost children and exorcisms are so twentieth century. Predictable means bored critics, critics with time to write more words about how they hate the movie. Production is pretty slick with a dark, unwashed look, but I don't think that's what people will pick at.

Nice looking but with the potential to be boring, predictable and only mildly scary.

Not Easily Broken: Not Easily Viewed

Not Easily Broken: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Morris Chestnut!!! Well the trailer looks odd (visually), there is some weird editing that doesn't fit with some of the more serious subject matter peeking through. There are also some weird lines that again suggest more of a comedy than a serious 'By the Bootstraps to the Upper East Side' flick. I'm just confused. Hopefully the success of the movie does not hinge on Morris Chestnut's acting ability. Oh noes it does! Run away!

Not Easily Broken is due out in theaters January 9th.

Bride Wars: Many Fewer Wars than Advertised

Bride Wars: Trailer 1 @ Apple Trailers

Apologies for the lack of posts, but I was busy with important things like stuffing myself with Christmas cookies, alcohol, and just generally being unhealthy. But i'm back now and ready to previct some more movies!

First one of the New Year: Bride Wars. Sadly this trailer did not turn out as I hoped, since what I hoped for was a Star Wars populated by scantily dressed lesbian brides (or vampires...Lesbian Vampire Killers review is yet to come). Instead we have some romantic comedy style cinematography which, curiously enough, then seems to throw out the romantic part and focus on the rivalry the comes about when two best friends clash over a wedding venue.

It certainly doesn't look like a bad movie (from a non-guy) perspective, but I think conceding the romantic fight to focus on the comedic slapstick between the two girls is probably a bad move. Neither the scary looking Hudson nor the fresh faced Hathaway really looks to have the charisma or wit to sustain anything substantial in the interaction. Boring, but not bad, 40%-59%.

Starring a frighteningly made up Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, Bride Wars is due out January 9th.