K-L Movies

Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

Lucky Number SlevinFour and a Half Stars

Who’s in it

Bruce Willis, Ben Kingsley, Josh Hartnett, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Stanley Tucci

Should you see this movie?

All star cast, surprisingly good movie. Hartnett seems like a hapless, stupid idiot, without a clue in the world when two of the biggest crime bosses in town want to see him, but by the end of the movie you know that he is anything but clueless. Good twists, good turns, some violence, it is about high stake gang / mafia type cartel city rule, but this is a very good role for Hartnett. Edgy that he manages to pull off even with his stupid good boy looks, they make him look relatively unkempt, so he is a bit more believable. See this if you like these actors, nothing outstanding, but just a fun movie and it may surprise you too.

Liar Liar (1997)

Liar LiarFour and a Half Stars

Starring Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, and Cary Elwes, whether you like Jim Carrey or not, this movie is a classic comedy that is almost ten years old now.

The idea is simple. Jim Carrey is an obnoxious, compulsive liar who is, here’s a stretch, a lawyer. His job is his life, and even though he loves his son, he can never seperate his life from his career. Then one day is called into his bosses office to pitch a client on an idea. The boss is so turned on, she jumps Carrey, and this leads him to lie why he can’t make it to his son’s birthday party. At that party his son wishes that for just one day, Carrey can’t lie. The hilarity of the movie ensues, and everything and everyone he had avoided telling the truth now get and earful.

A role probably written specifically for Carrey, it is over the top, exaggerated, and a perfect fit. I always laugh myself silly when I watch this movie, and we watched it with my wife’s parents. Sarah only started laughing out loud at sitcoms two years after we were married. Her parents rarely laugh outloud at movies from what I have experienced, and even they enjoyed this.

If you don’t prefer Carrey or his humor, this is him in context, his crazy antics are fitting for the role, and it is highly enjoyable. I think everyone should see this movie, there is some language and sexual innuendo, but it is good for most audiences and maybe even to watch with you children. The short out takes at the end expand on the movie, and what a dimension Carrey added to this role. Rent it now if you haven’t ever seen it.

Love Actually (2004)

Love ActuallyThree and a Half Stars

This movie was just swarming with stars, from Hugh Grant, to Liam Neelson to Kiera Knightly and Laura Linney. The whole movie is about 5-10 different types of “love” stories that are all happening simultaneously.

There is a good deal of humor to this movie, in different forms, but I don’t think the format would be really appealing to most people. Jumping back and forth, I must admit that it took a little while for me, for the movie to really pick up. Maybe about an hour, hour and a quarter in the stories all started getting good.

It would take me a really long time to write out what each story was about, and I think it unecessary. Most people have seen a movie like this before, fragmented, and this one all works out for the best in the end. You really feel good about love, the stories all work together in that they all kind of hit their low and high points together. The end being the highest, all of the romances are resolved in some form, and you really leave wanting to be close to your own certain someone.

One of the love stories, as bizarre as it is, involves these normal people as body doubles in adult movies, so there is some “not needed” nudity, and that is what makes this rated R. Beyond that, I think it may be worth seeing once, for those of you who like differently told stories of love. There isn’t a role in here that is really a draw, most of the larger talent all have smaller roles. Hugh Grant’s is the biggest so if you like him, this is very much in character with the types of roles he plays. Otherwise, this could be the “feel good movie of the year” so if that statement peaks your interest, then try it out.

Legend of Zorro (2005)

Legend of ZorroTwo and a Half Stars

Starring Antoine Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones, this follow up to the highly successful “Mask of Zorro” from 1998 was way too much entirely too late.

The story revolves loosely around Zorro not being able to give up being Zorro, being needed by the people. There is tension between Zorro and Elena, but it all becomes convoluted with a blackmail, lust, and jealosy. Elena gets a divorce from Zorro and ends up with an social elite man by the name of Armand. Not very subtle, the whole thing is a ruse, Elena blackmailed by the US government to spy on Armand who is a member of Orbis Unum, whose members are all descendants of European royalty and determined to keep their nations among the world’s strongest.

That little tie to history was the coolest thing about this movie, aside from the glycerin that Orbis Unum is gleaning from bars of soap to give to the Confederate army, sending the worlds super power into a self destructive civil war.

Somewhere in here, Zorro gives some help, so does his cute smart ass little kid. There are subplots of how Zorro is bad parent to his child, but wants the best, but they all work against each other, taking away from the main plot with these highly cliche stories.

I can’t place my finger on it, maybe it was too light in lighting, I remembered the first one being darker light, and the characters seemed more hungry. It was all too campy, and Zorro was not nearly as entertaining to watch.

Unless you really feel the need to see this, I would pass. There is not any interesting characters aside from Armand, and if you are like me, you will be watching the clock, waiting for it to end.

King Kong (2005)

King KongFour and a Half Stars

Starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, and Andy Serkis, I won’t spend too much time reviewing the story of King Kong, by now you should know it, and if you don’t, just keep hanging out underneath that rock.

People go to deserted island, find King Kong, capture him, bring him back, show him off in New York City, he escapes his chains in rage for the woman he loves, and climbs the Empire State Building trying to swat down hostile fighter planes, and then plummets to his death.

The story isn’t too different, updated but still set in the early 20th century. Watts does an awesome job of acting on a green screen, never actually seeing a CG Kong. Brody is average, not relatable, and Jack Black, is Jack, you never believe he is anything else, and is probably the only reason I didn’t give this a full five stars. But, he does play a great seedy character, so maybe he was a good cast. Maybe it was Watts (Ann) and her love of a huge monkey.

I have heard that this movie was self indulgent, ran too long, had way too much exteraneous crap, was too much visually, and the story takes way too long to get going. This is what I say to all of these claims.

1) Self Indulgent. Yes, it was. Damn, Peter Jackson just spent possibly a decade of his life on Lord of the Rings. He brought those epic and detailed books to life on screen in a respectful fashion. This man gets to call his next shot, whether it was Garfield 2 or King Kong.

2) Ran too long, too much junk, too visually stimulating, the story spends too much time in New York City. I can’t argue that there was a lot of CG stuff in this movie. If you don’t like that, what the Hell are you doing at this movie? Really? The story is fun, but not a great character story, you should be going to this to see a huge monkey kick dinosaur and military butt and to love a damsel. If you like CG, this won’t run too long for you at all, every moment is a thrill ride. As for too much time in the beginning, well, I would just say I don’t know how I would have cut it down, you have to establish some of Ann’s character and what would make her almost love a huge ape.

The other thing I would say, specifically, is that some people I know didn’t like the Brontosaurus scene. I would say, that if you hold this up to the Jurassic Park movies, Kong takes those to the next level visually. Maybe the dinos toppling was a little silly, but believable and sadistically enjoyable to watch destruction of dino life. These scenes are so much more rich, with more on screen time with the T-Rex and a slew of other dinos that are more atmospheric in the Jurassic Park films. Give me a fight scene between a T-Rex and King Kong, or four of them. Do I think he could actually win that, probably not, he sure could survive a Rex bite without much more than a gash. But I do think that an ape with arms could waste a T-Rex that is practically helpless once on it’s side.

If you can’t tell, I loved this movie. Like I said, don’t go for the best story ever, you know the bill, it is kind of like Titanic, you know what will happen, you want to see how this director gets us there visually with today’s technology. I could watch this a ton of times, I would buy it, and I recommend it to everyone to see at least one, even if you form your own picky negative opinions.

The Longest Yard (2005)

Rothe Blog The Longest YardFour and a Half Stars

I won’t pretend to be ignorant to the fact that this movie is a remake, and I won’t claim it was better, but it was really darn funny and entertaining.

Starring Adam Sandler and some of his Happy Madison crew, this movie is about a football star who is sent to prison, and there he leads a misfit bunch of enormous criminals to victory over the very good guard football team of the Texas state prison.

I am not a freak about football, but I have come to love football movies. Something about over dramatized motion and large men works really well for the big screen. This movie is extremely funny without being really goofy or raunchy, it’s got some faily convincing acting except for the couple of forced and mushy parts mid way through the movie. ( although there is a part where one of Sandler’s reoccuring buddies gets to high powered footballs to the twig and berries). Even though I wouldn’t normally recommend this to my parents, I think my dad may find this amusing. Everyone else should see this. And if you are of the belief that “Burt Reynolds was the Brad Pitt of the 70’s”, then you will be glad to know that he is in this remake of the original he starred in over 20 years ago.

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Rothe Blog Kingdom of HeavenThree Stars

Starring Orlando Bloom, Liam Neelson, and Eva Green, I was kind of lost through most of this movie.

Set around 1100-1200 A.C. during the Crusades, Bloom is the bastard son of Neelson with the right to his wealth and noblesman lifestyle, which also involves protecting the king to his death. Looking for answers to faith, which is the underlying base in every aspect of this movie. The king, and the Christians, own and live in Jerusalem, but there are two warring parties amongst themselves. One wants a war with the Muslims, and one does not. The king does not and does his best to keep peace. But he is a leper, and eventually passes away.

The Christians then go to the Muslim’s, to war, and are slaghtered in the desert. This leaves Bloom, who is impartial to religion and faith, to defend the city. A born leader, he holds the city against the muslim’s for a number of days before finally negotiating terms of surrender, that allow the people to leave without harm.

Directly by Ridley Scott, this is a bloody movie. The scenery and battle scenes were very dramatic, with some news ideas, and the colors in this movie were vibrant. They sometimes made me thing of LOTR, similar in armor and machinery, different types of fighting. I didn’t really understand why Bloom didn’t care about anything but the people in the movie, it was a little anticlimatic, and you couldn’t relate to why he was so lauded. But I will say, that Bloom shines here as a strong lead male character, and looking old enough for the part, where he fell short in Troy.

Like I said, not too many modern movies that show The Crusades, but this is bloody. It was interesting to see Jerusalem, and see all of the faith related items in the movie. It just could have been a little clearer for me.