Archive for May, 2005

The Pacifier (2005)

Rothe Blog Movies PacifierOne Star

I’ll never watch this movie again. This was so damn dumb I was embarrassed for Vin Diesel, and felt bad for Brittany Snow in her first movie role off of “American Dreams”.

I like Vin Diesel. Great actor, no. But a fun action star with attitude. I thought this movie would be cute, big tough guy in the suburban setting like it was pitched in the previews. Hardly. Even the funny parts in the previews weren’t funny.

Heavy shouted dialogue was the norm for most of the cast in this movie, and the idea was so far fetched, that made the wait for some savior of a payoff even worse.

The basic idea, is that Diesel is undercover, trying to find this missile disabling technology. Everyone is out to get him, even the “Asian Spy” neighbors. Right.

Don’t see this, anyone. I was pissed that I spent two hours of my life on it, and glad I only paid $1 to watch.

Firefly : TV Series (2002)

Rothe Blog FireflyThree Stars

I wouldn’t normally write about collected, debunk TV Series’, but everyone in my circle of friends is talking about this, so I took the time to gather some of my own thoughts.

A series written and created by Joss Whedon, who I knew through a comic he wrote called Fray, this is the story about 9 crew mates aboard the Serenity, a futuristic ship in a futuristic world set in space. Traders, thieves, and saviors, their pursuit of the almightily dollar to keep them alive puts them in all sorts of weird situations.

This series doesn’t star anyone you know. But is has been so popular in DVD sales, that there is going to be a movie released in September by the name of Serenity starring the exact same cast.

I enjoyed parts of this more than others, and overall I still feel a little lukewarm. I think that it was technically handled ok, but it does seem to focus on relationships and these relationships are always taking the back seat to the story. You never get close to any sort of climax with any of them, it is a cross between some WB drama and the backseat role characters take on a CSI show.

The movie, however, looks really cool. It focuses on two of the characters, refugees, a doctor and his sister. The doctor is a whitebread Harvard type who broke his sister out from government confinement where they were doing all sorts of weird experiments on her brain. I think the show can’t really get into how powerful she is, but we will see that in the movie as it focuses around them running away and trying to escape, and save her in the process.

If you are curious, I would say try them. I won’t guarantee anything. I probably wouldn’t watch but one or two episodes again, but like I said, I feel like I really know these characters now because of the great job Joss does of building them up, and I think that will add that much more to the movie.

The Notebook (2004)

Rothe Blog The NotebookFour Stars

A classic story of romance, this is a solid movie. Nothing outstandingly original, just a good American story steeped in classes and how we balance the wants of others when it comes to love.

The movie is revealed through a book, a book read by an older man to what seems like an irritable older lady. The man seems quite upbeat to be with what seems like this crazy lady, but quickly she is calmed down and interested in the story he has to tell. It is about a poor boy that brings all the excitement and dreams to a young socialite girl that she could ever want. It is a summer romance, but they fall in love. She goes back home, and he goes through a myriad of different things, including fighting in World War II.

Noah (Poor Boy) comes back from the war and rebuilds an old, dilapidated plantation house, one he had dreamed about with Allie (socialite girl). Meanwhile, Allie has moved on, her mother has interfered with her relationship with Noah, trying to protect her. Allie is engaged to James Marsden (Lon or Cyclops from X-Men) and seems to be happy. Then she sees and article about Noah and the house, and decides to go back to “settle” some things. All that results in is an amazingly passionate kiss on the dock in the rain and the two of them sleeping together. In the end she makes the right choice.

But, the focus of the movie draws back to the man and woman. It becomes apparent that this is Noah and Allie, but older. She has dementia, and everyday he reads this book to her, to help her remember. It is very touching.

In the mood for a romantic story, this is funny, and everything seems natural from the characters actions to what they say. Granted, there are some hokey parts with the older couple, especially the ending. But overall a great movie.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Rothe Blog Million Dollar BabyFour Stars

I was in for a shock with this one. I figured it was a happy story with some letdown, kind of like a girl Rocky. Boy was I wrong.

Starring Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, and Morgan Freeman, this is a really good movie. I have seen a number of movies Clint has directed in the last ten years and haven’t known it. But he has gotten quite the acclaim for the last two. I didn’t really understand the big hoopla over “Mystic River”, but this one…

Swank comes from a redneck trailer family, and is trying to scrap her way through life, eating other people’s food at the restaurant she works at, and living with the bare essentials. But she has one goal. She pays three month’s fee to work out at a ratty gym owned by Eastwood, who happens to be a great and personal trainer who cares about his fighters.

She works and works, and finally wins his attention, his promise to train her. And she is good. There is something satisfying about watching her win fight after fight against girls of all sizes, most of them K.O.’s. You believe Swank all the way. The shape she is in, her punches, her humility and simple way.

Swank then takes all of the money she has saved to try to do good in her family chain. All she gets in return is a slap in the face, and from that point on Eastwood is the only family she has, and we find out they only have each other really.

Hesitant about his fighters and disappointment, Eastwood lost a fighter in the beginning of the movie. So he lets Swank fight at the top level. To make a long story short, after three rounds of intense back and forth fighting, her opponent continues to fight dirty, hits Swank and she falls onto a stool and breaks her neck.

Painful and sad, she is paralyzed for the rest of her life. She loses a leg to bed sores and gangrene and loses hope. She doesn’t want to go out that way, after reaching such great heights for her hard work. She asks Eastwood to kill her, and although he says no at first, he does anyway as she finds ways to kill herself.

The movie kind of drags at the end, being so sad. But I would recommend anyone to see this at least once. You may feel depressed, but at least you will feel some satisfaction that this girl, this redneck girl, experienced life.

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Rothe Blog A New HopeTwo Stars

A gave this movie one last chance. But as I feared, it still sucks.

It’s been at least ten years since I have seen the original Star Wars. I have watched “Empire” and “Jedi” many times in that span, but I never did like the first one. Watching it again, I figured out more reasons why.

It is slow. This says it all. The epitome is when the droids are wandering in the desert. Could that be any more stupid and boring?

The dialogue. I had remembered this being better, like Lucas had slipped over the years. But like Chip Cullen says, “Show not tell” and the whole first movie is all about the “tell” and the forced dialogue between the characters, it’s hokey.

It’s dated. I know at the time this was huge, but the stupid aliens, and look of the film, and the lack of action because of the lack of technology really prevents this movie from ever living up the dream idea.

Other things that I noticed specifically where Darth Vader. He is a real tool in this movie. You can hardly believe that Anakin is in there after seeing the first three parts. He talks way too much, and gets pushed around way too much by the average soliders.

Obi Wan. He is just way too eager to get back into fighting. It just doesn’t seem like the same character. He meets Luke and he’s all “When are ya going to learn the force? Huh? You gonna You gonna?”

If anyone even reads this, I know those people are hating me. The design for this movie is great, but I think people have gotten caught up in the romantic idea of what this movie is more than actually the substance is there. It really can’t touch the newer versions, even in concept. If you haven’t seen this, I don’t think you are even alive, so I don’t need to give a recommendation. But just realize that if Lucas would have had his way, all of the movies would look as digitally amazing as they do today. He even admits the first movies aren’t very good, so maybe people should look at them through his eyes and a little less their own.

X-Men 2 United (2003)

Rothe Blog X-Men 2 UnitedFive Stars

I’ve seen this three times, and I can never get enough of this movie.

The famous Mutant Marvel Team, the X-Men, are back in this second movie that now has the advantages of an established backgound of characters and stories. We now get to see things really let loose, while at the same time, continue to develop these great relationships that seem to be at the core of Bryan Singer’s movies.

The base idea, there is one evil hellbent government official that is focused on wiping out mutant kind. His son was a freak mutant and his son caused him great pain that only pushed him further over the edge.

All of our favorite characters are back, Magneto, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm. But this time we added Nightcrawler who is introduced in a stunning and truly fitting opening sequence, showing off his teleporting powers in the White House. We have also added a more grown up Pyro, who is young and head strong, and shows off his powers way too much.

A great story and great action. I recommend this movie to all. I may be biased, but you still need to see this movie. The first one would help to see first, but that isn’t nearly as good as this one.

So many great parts, Wolverine protecting the children at the mansion when it is hit by military troops, his viciousness still gives me chills. The small rols of Cyclops and Yukio, who has a great battle scene with Wolverine and her adamantium finger blades. Magneto when he uses iron in a guard’s blood to escape a fully plastic prison. And of course, let’s not forget the end, when Jean Grey’s powers come to a boiling point as she sacrifices herself for the others and we see glimpses of “The Pheonix”.

A shame that Singer won’t be directing any more of these movies anytime soon, but you can’t pass up a chance to direct a new Superman movie, and he will be perfect at the relationships in that movie. I just hope Brett Ratner is not the Joel Schumacher of the X-Men franchise. With strong rumors of Kelsey Grammer as “The Beast” and possibly “The Sentinels” the new script promises some great things.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Revenge of the SithFive Stars

What a movie!

I had been waiting on this with wet dreams since last fall when we saw the first trailers. It does not disappoint.

I liked the first two new Star Wars movies. I like the technology, I like the battles, I like them for everything that Lucas wished he had back in the day, and is making up for now. Incidentally, the opposite is what people love the old movies for, and I believe that I am in the minority in liking the newer ones better.

But the second movie especially, had such forced dialogue, that it would have been better if it was solid action. This movie, that is not the case. The dialogue may not be the best, but it is believable and much less of a nails on a chalkboard effect then the last movie.

But the scenes in this one. The opening battle in space with all of the ships, the battle on the Wookie planet with the trees and the water, and all of the machines and characters, from General Grievous to the ships and Imperial attackers, everything was so amazing. The design, the texture, everything is so rich.

Then, you have this little thing called the story. You have empathetic characters that question what you would do in their situation.

Anakin becomes more powerful as the movie goes along, but he is seduced by the dark side only in hopes of saving Padme. Then we realize Senator Palpatine is Dark Sidious, and all of a sudden all of the Jedi are being killed, betrayed by their troops. The land is falling, and then Anakin is fighting Obi Wan on the lava planet of Mustafar.

It ties to the old movies so well, and you see the pain and suffering of Anakin as he falls and is badly burned, and then the ultimate transformation into Dark Vader. It is all so amazing.

This is the best movie of all six in so many senses. You have to see this. This is the best movie I have seen since Spiderman last summer.