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30 Days of Night (2007)

From IMDB:

After an Alaskan town is plunged into darkness for a month, it is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires.

Review coming soon.

I’m still here

Yeah I haven’t posted anything in a few days. I needed a little break from doing as much as I was doing for a few and my wife has been off work for her vacation also, so when she is off I tend not to write as much because it’s not as favorable with her that I stay on the computer for lengths on end. I plan on in the next day or so to scour the net and look for a bunch of new additions to add to the forum so I can at least keep that place up and running. I was hoping by now that I would start to get a post here or there from people other than myself but that hasn’t happened yet. I’m not giving up hope of that happening I just need to find my motivation else where.

Until later you all have a great day and I’ll see you soon!

The Monkey Watcher

Good Luck Chuck (2007)

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From IMDB:

In order to keep the woman of his dreams from falling for another guy, Charlie Logan has to break the curse that has made him wildly popular with single women: Sleep with Charlie once, and the next man you meet will be your true love.

Good Luck Chuck has the story line that would lead to be most bachelors dream. How would you live if you could have any woman you wanted but could have her only once? The answer is very fit and very exhausted.

There are parts of this movie that there is more T&A than you can shake a stick at and it’s all good and well but it does nothing to add to the comedy of this movie though the sex scenes do their job of making a point though. When sex is overdone then what do you have to look forward to, especially when it’s with every woman in town? The response to this is good ole’ monogamy. The need to settle down and find a comfort zone.

Chuck (Dane Cook ) has a big problem though if you haven’t heard yet. Every woman that he has sex with, the next man that she meets becomes her soul mate. So for many women Chuck is nothing more than a good luck charm, hence ‘Good Luck Chuck’. Chuck has had this curse since he was a child because he wouldn’t make out with a girl (Sasha Pieterse) that liked him at a make out party that in the end put a hex on him. Basically this 10 year old girl was already developed enough that she was willing to damn near rape the poor boy and make him want to call for his mommy. All the while his best friend Stu (Dan Fogler) ,being the horn dog that he is, can’t help but egg his good buddy on.

Time passes and Chuck and Larry are all grown up. Chuck is a fun loving bachelor dentist able to have any woman that he wants and Larry is a well to do plastic surgeon that specializes, not surprisingly enough, in breast augmentation. Chuck is living the high life until he is told by several women that he is supposed to be a lucky charm and want him for nothing more than a quick hookup so they can move on to live there happy lives without him. This is all well and good until we are introduced to Cam (Jessica Alba ) who is a clumsy yet beautiful female (since when hasn’t she been able to make a many a man drool?) that captures poor Chucks heart and thus the dilemma unfolds. How does Chuck capture the woman of his dreams without ruining his hopes of a lasting love for his self?

This theme plays itself though out the movie until the very end leading the way for many humorous (though sometimes over the top) moments as Chuck begins to smother the perfect woman for him with over zealous affection that makes her want to have nothing to do with him.

The comedy is straight out of Dane Cooks deck of cards and it’s a perfect fit with what he did for ‘Employee of the Month’. Not much different in his delivery but refreshing because we haven’t seen much of that in a little while. This is not a family movie. It’s a bring together some good buddies, or understanding opposite sex partners, and sit down and try not to think about it too much, good for a few laughs, time.

Jessica Alba does what she does best by the story leading up with so much sex that it gets you hopes up that you might get to see her naked but it never happens. Thus I believe is a big part of what makes her one of the most desirable women on the planet. She doesn’t want to sell herself for the thrill of a cheap buck for every man to have a wet dream of what she really looks like, she wants to leave some mystery to the imagination. Something about that type of on screen purity is sorely missed with many of the actresses these days and I salute her for maintaining some of her virtues.

All in all this is a fun movie that won’t appeal to everyone out there, but to those that can handle the subject matter I think they will enjoy it. Some of those out there I think will be turned off by the gratuitous sex that has been thrown in. That’s ok, I understand that it’s not everyones cup of tea.

This movie gets 3/5 stars.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

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From IMDB:

#1 NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. (Reilly). But when a French Formula One driver (Cohen), makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby’s talent and devotion are put to the test.

“America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad ass speed.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936

 

This opening line to the movie gives us a glimpse at the meaningful irreverence of the films nature and it works well. I’m not a big Will Ferrell fan but this match up with the source material and the stereotyping of NASCAR is a great combination. I really had my reservations going into seeing this movie at first and I could never understand how a Will Ferrell movie could have been one of the first movies out to be the poster child of a new technology such as Blu-ray or HD-DVD. Not long after the movie begins you understand why this is so. It’s all about the racing and there’s nothing that makes for a more immersive experience than sitting in a room with a nice big plasma and a decent surround sound set up to be able to appreciate the whiz bang of of cars moving around the track at 200 MPH.

 

What is it that people really watch racing for? Is it just the excitement of watching their favorite driver to win or is it something more sadistic as in my case to watch some really good wrecks. This movie delivers on both parts and adds some mind numbing comedy to boot. Don’t get me wrong the comedy is not bad but is far out shined in what is delivered on the race track. It takes everything that ‘Days of Thunder’ did for the sport and throws all that out the window. Which is good that it isn’t a direct parody of the movie but rather a different take on the whole experience that has enough slapstick comedy and dimwitted humor that makes for an entertaining film.

 

Hell I’m thinking about buying it just for the soundtrack. They really put together a good heart thumping combination of former hits that immersed me into the film even more. I can only imagine what the royalties are for the artist that they put into this film. Lord knows that it had to be more than putting together an original score. Even with the good song selection it played well into the whole theme of the movie. The idea that I got from the film was to give me a feeling that I get when I am playing my XBOX with Forza and listening to my own soundtrack and I love how things like that work out.

 

So where did this film miss for me? I suppose I could have done without so much about the gay Frenchman being Ricky Bobbie’s enemy and even though there wasn’t much sexual innuendo, I don’t think it played into this movie well and Will Farrell is notorious for making that a theme of his films. Take Blades of Glory for example. It plays well in that film because of the nature of the sport that it is trying to portray. Figure skating isn’t seen by many in the general public as being a predominantly well received male sport. That’s just the nature of it and when you have to take 2 guys and make them a figure skating couple you know that someone is going to have to be the ‘Bitch’ between to two of them. There is no where that this is really established in ‘Talladega Nights’ though so in my opinion it wouldn’t have really missed it if these connotations weren’t even a part of this film.

 

Having the Indy racer from France was a good thing though because it brought enough pressure to the roll of Ricky Bobby that gave him a good reason to have him make a choice about the direction that his life was going and to take a honest look at himself as a person.

 

All the roles were delivered well from the cast and it’s easy to believe that they are as shortsighted about life as they truly seem to be. From the pissy, brat kids to the whoring, shallow, gold digging, NASCAR groupie wife. It was all played to bring a good comedy together. I know for me that I was glad that I finally able to give this movie a chance, it really brightened my day.

 

This movie gets 3.5/5 stars

 

 

Becoming Jane (2007)

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From IMDB:

A biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman.

First off I’m not really good at watching ‘chick flicks’. I usually fight them watching them pretty hard but when they are done as period pieces more times then not they turn out pretty good I have to admit.

For years now Jane Austen has been proclaimed for writing 6 of the best novels in English literature, drawing from her own imagination and experiences to capture her audiences. I have read none of them and I won’t feel any less of a person if I ever do but that’s just my personal take.

The movie takes place in the late 1700’s with Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) living in the country with her pastoral father (James Cromwell) and their poor, small family. Jane had always been raised to be independent even in a society that shunned such things for women. Women were seen as second class citizens during this time and their place wasn’t to show that they had any intelligence openly and this was seen as more of a burden on life than any kind of asset.

During this time Jane is being courted for marriage to a young man, Mr. Wisley (Laurence Fox) by both Jane’s mother, Mrs. Austen(Julie Walters) and his aunt Lady Gresham (Maggie Smith). Though the monetary value of such an arrangement is seen as a very good life by both parties for Jane, it is not one that she wishes to live if she can’t have the affection of the one that she is supposed to live her life with.

Thus enters a young Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy), a young aspiring lawyer that lives under his uncles money to make his way about the world. His life has been unrestrained and his uncle, the judge, decides to put his foot down and send him off to live with some relations of his in the country to teach him a lesson about the simpler things in life.

After a short period of time with him being in the country Tom becomes taken back by Jane and he idealism, though he doesn’t always agree with her ideas. This is just the young woman that is beautiful enough and challenging enough to his own ideas, that makes him want to pursue her further. After a period of adjustment and challenge of her own ideas Jane becomes smitten with Tom and they both fall in love with each other. How far can love take them when the prospects of having no money is shunned upon so highly in the society which they live, and will they be able to overcome these obstacles to make there affections for each other more than just a passing notion?

The movie portrayed very well by a seasoned cast, and though the director (Julian Jarrold) and the writing staff (Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams) don’t have the most stellar of backgrounds all the elements come together to bring a warmth to the screen that is very well felt. The source material, being so strong, is evident of the lengths that a movie can go, when given just the right cast, to put it all together. This movie has enough dips and crescendos in the plot that it’s hard not to be interested in how the story is going to develop. The period sets and costumes are very believable and only help to lend an air of authentication that brings the audience into the film.

This is really a decent look into the life of an author that I really have had no care about before now. This is more along the lines of what my wife has been really wanting to see and it was a good movie to take in with her it gave us a chance to both have something that we could both enjoy even if I was secretly telling myself “Yuck this is a chick flick”. I have to admit it is a good movie though.

It’s a shame that Jane Austen’s life wasn’t as interesting as Marie Antoinette’s or this could have been a much more powerful film, but when you are taking on a biographical you take what you can get.

This movie gets 3.75/5 stars (which is a first for me and I know that I should probably use a different rating scale because of this :oD)

Site update

I have finally made some progress with the format here at ‘Monkeys’. I have added more stuff at my forums (chat room, viral videos, and a streaming video). I am working to make things as tidy as possible so it’s not terribly difficult to navigate. Everything there is free and open and working well right now so I can hope that eventually good things will come of it if I can just keep posting and making the place as good as I possibly can hopefully sometime in the near future I will start to see a small community grow. It really needs user support if it will thrive though, if for nothing more than to show that this is a worth while effort.

Here’s to hoping everyone has a great day and I’m looking forward to hearing from you all soon.

‘The Monkey Watcher’

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The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (2007)

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From IMDB:

A boy’s life is turned upside down when he learns that he is the last of a group of immortal warriors who have dedicated their lives to fighting the forces of the dark.

Conversation with Will from Merryman Lyon (Ian McShane) and Miss Greythorne (Frances Conroy). I could be wrong about the male in this role so bear with me.

“A thousand years ago a great battle was fought here between the light and the dark. The light won, but only just. The Earth was safe. The darkness defeated but only just. The darkness defeated but not destroyed.”

“To protect the power of the light it was divided and hidden to form 6 signs.”

“And the seeker will find the signs.”

Based on a book by Susan Cooper. This movie has bashed for not living up to books standards. This doesn’t always make for a bad movie though so let’s have a look.

It’s was hard for me to find out who the characters actually are because there are so many brothers in this film. I don’t even know why I should care that he has such a large family except for the fact that I couldn’t help to feel that I would want to run from all the bustle that they give to the opening of the movie.

A young American boy Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) living in England with his large family is just out of school for Christmas break when his older brother Max (Gregory Smith) comes to live with the family for several weeks, who is home on his own school break, and is forced to take up quarters outside of his own room. Soon Will takes up residence in the attic.

Today should be a special day for Will because this is his 14th birthday but it is over shadowed by the bustle that is going around the house and a special call from yet another brother Steven (Jordan J. Dale) that is serving in the military over seas. Poor Will is 14 and even has a hard time talking to girls. Which isn’t that odd when you are at that age.

I don’t get stories that propagate themselves with so many immediate characters because there is never enough time for character development unless it is in a book format. This doesn’t translate to the screen well because there isn’t anything special about each sibling that made me try to pay specific attention rather than being confused by how much was going on. Maybe that is what the intention was but for me that’s just not any fun. It kind of hurts my head.

The story begins to unfold slightly as Will is introduced to 2 older men, Mr.Dawson (James Cosmo) and George (Jim Piddick), that seem to know a little about the boy and we don’t know exactly how that is possible but can only assume that there is some deeper meaning to this. Later while Will is waiting for public transport he notices a flock of blackbirds in a tree that see to be a sign of something. Everywhere that you look there is supposed to be these signs that we are supposed to notice but I don’t know how I am supposed to care about these but it’s the only direction that you are given to take in the movie. Shortly after purchasing a gift for his little sister, Gwen (Emma Lockhart), Will is held up by Mall security for being a shoplifter when he hasn’t done anything wrong. The guards are looking to make an example of him because they believe that kids are just bad apples that have wandering hands and they keep asking him for a sign that he wants his interrogation to go one way or the other…Yet another sign! Everywhere there are these nondescript signs that don’t mean anything and this is all in the first 20 minutes of the film. We do find out though that the guards are some sort of super natural baddies that try to attack Will and he puts out a hand and knocks one of them across the room into a wall. The first real sign that anything is supposed to be actually happening.This leaves our poor little hero really confused which is a place that the movie has been for me through most of the beginning so it seems quite fitting that Will of course wouldn’t know what is going on. This whole series of events feel very rushed.

Don’t get me wrong I understand the point that this movie is trying to make. It’s about a boys coming of age in more ways than one and finding out that he has a greater purpose than what can be had in the real world This is a formula that has worked for movies that have come out in recent years with the Harry Potter series and The Chronicles of Narnia. In the earlier movies this has worked very well because the writing staff took the care to develop the story properly and either deleted unnecessary parts that wouldn’t make sense in the allotted time for the film or gave the film the appropriate run time to make the ideas relevant. This apparently wasn’t on John Hodge’s mind as he tries to throw every little bit that he could muster into a movie that would have benefited if it could have been drawn out in a longer format or over a succession of films. Keeping the story short for sake of making a quick buck is never a good idea especially when you have rich source material to work with as is evident with what is trying to be portrayed in this film. With that being said let’s move on.

The camera work is nice and the special effects are well thought out. The sets are nice and the acting isn’t that bad either though it could have been a notch or so better. Director David L. Cunningham does his job with camera work and cast direction but seems to have left the rest of the film on the table not caring how his film will actually be portrayed to the audience.

The trailer does it’s job by trying to draw audiences to see this mediocre film by putting in front of the viewers the best parts that the film has to offer. It does it’s job. I was very curious and happy to be a part of the viewing of this film until I actually had a chance to see it. It doesn’t live up to the hype that it has generated at least not for me.

I don’t feel as though this is a bad movie per se. Obviously there was some care in it’s creation though it doesn’t feel as if that care was put in all the right places. I could do with just waiting for ‘The Seeker’ to come out on DVD and be just fine. Audiences shouldn’t be hurt or feel left out if they choose to miss this film as really doesn’t push any boundaries. Nothing is original with the exception of loosely trying to tie in physics to the supernatural battle between ‘The Light’ and ‘the Dark’. This is done without much caring or insight into how this is supposed to work and is actually a hindrance to the film by offering unrealistic explanations for the battle between these 2 forces in the grand scheme of things.

This movie gets 2.5/5 stars

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