Someone Like You

Something that I wasn’t really planning on seeing due to the fact it is one of those real life movies that doesn’t have a) aliens b) guns c) Arnie or Bruce d) explosisions e) any of the other stuff that usually attracts me to movies like vultures to a corpse was Someone Like You. Starring Ashley Judd and the increasingly cool Hugh Jackman, its about the story of a chick that is continually jilted in love, and her bizarre theories on how men can be likened to bulls, or something.

Poor Ashley meets some charming dude at work (played by Greg Kinnear), who, despite the fact he already has a woman of his own, finds Ashley more appealing and does the sneaky guy thing where he’s seeing two girls at once. As a result, all the girls that see this movie will instantly hate him (as is the intent) and then want Ashley to fall for Hugh (as is the intent). Hugh is portrayed at the start of the movie as a dawg who basically just picks up women all over the place, which to me seemed to be a fairly negative character aspect as well. Fortunately though, it turns out that he’s like that because he had his heart broken by a girl, which makes it ok, because it shows he can fall in love and stuff too.

While almost totally predictable, its a fairly decent watch with some pretty funny lines. If they’re anything like me, guys will probably feel constantly offended because of the harsh aspersions Ashley Judd keeps casting on the male species as a whole. Sure, they’re funny, but broad generalisations that have a focus of ‘all males are evil’ suck.

Overall, something that will keep you entertained for a couple hours. Safe to miss at the theatre but something to see on video, probably under the instruction of a girl when its her turn to select the movie.


Somewhat. Been a busy few months, and now I’m wrapping it up with an awesome cold/flu thing which has knocked me flat on my ass for the last couple days – too much exertion after a QGL and my sister’s 21st birthday party catching up to me, I guess.

There’s a few movie reviews coming this way: Bridget Jones’ Diary, Someone Like You, Evolution, Final Fantasy and probably a few others as soon as I find the time. Looking forward to seeing Planet of the Apes, even though word on the street is its pretty average. Jurassic Park 3 is coming up, which looks pretty good too (dinosaurs rock).


An action movie with the awesome Hugh Jackman and the hawt Halle Berry, this movie caught my attention with its impressive trailer and computer-orientated storyline. Oh, I think John Travolta is in there somewhere as well.

The storyline is mildly interesting; Travolta is basically a patriot mercenary trying to raise funds to bankroll his operation of anti-terrorism that he plans to embark on to protect America from its enemies. He hires the ex-hacker Jackman to write some stupid virus thing to steal $9 billion from the US Government.

The movie starts fairly well with an action scene at the start featuring a really awesome explosion (nice Matrix-esque effects), then jumps back in time a little bit so you can see how we got there. I was pretty interested in the story until it had anything to do with computers, at which point I just more or less gave up.

Unfortunately the computer nerd in me just fully rejected the rubbish that they were spouting every time anyone opened their mouth about anything to do with computers. Invalid IP addresses and buzz words liberally strung throughout the movie just grated on my ears to the point that I couldn’t handle it anymore. Normal people will easily be able to overlook this and probably will enjoy the movie, which works out to be a fairly decent action romp. All the actors do good jobs, the sets and effects are pretty good, the script isn’t too bad (with the exception of the woeful computer terminology).

There was this scene where Halle took her top off, which allegedly cost $1 million to get her to do. I suppose it was worth it, but it was totally out of place and basically just some gratuitous nudity. Appreciated, but stupid, nonetheless.

Anyway, I was disappointed and annoyed with it, although there were a few scenes which were pretty good. As mentioned, normal people will be able to sit through it quite easily and will probably even enjoy it as a nice action ride.

Cinema Rant

After seeing Shrek last night – the first children’s movie I have seen at the cinemas for years – I was reminded what a horrible, painful, shattering experience it is to have to be close to poorly behaved children for extended periods of time.

Whilst choosing my seat, I noticed that there were a group of infants directly across the aisle from me. I, showing particularly good faith in the child-rearing abilities of their parents, who I judged to be well within slapping range should the children decide to act up, decided that all should be fine in the seat that I had selected, and parked myself in it.

Almost instantly, it became apparent that this was not a wise choice. The parents were instantly deluged with questions in a tone obviously calculated by these hyper-intelligent child-demons to be the most irritating to my ears. They also though that moments in the movie where there was no loud sound effects or music were perfect opportunities to ask more questions; coincidentally these scenes collided with parts of the movie in which characters were discussing major plot points.

As you may be able to appreciate, this more or less changed the focus from an enjoyable visual spectacle with witty dialogue to a painful experience which left me with a significant lack of desire to ever see a movie that is rated below MA, ever again. It would be nice to think that the parents might have taken away something from the movie – that their children are not yet old enough to understand how to behave – but judging from the lack of effort that they made to silence them, I don’t think this was the case.

Let this be a warning to all – if you want to see children’s movies, see them after 9pm when they’ll all be asleep.

Tomb Raider

There haven’t been many movies based on computer games. The ones that spring to mind have generally been based on simple little games that never really had much of a plot to begin with – things like Mario Brothers, Street Fighter, and Mortal Kombat. There wasn’t really much of a chance for these things to really appeal and make computer games look exciting and cool. Wing Commander stood a chance – it had a well developed background and what is actually a pretty interesting universe to work with, but was woefully executed and was quite simply depressing to watch.

Enter Lara Croft. One of the most renowned of computer game icons of all time – object of male desire, and icon to females (surely!). One of the most successful series of games ever produced, generating cash flow beyond the wildest dreams of the genius minds behind it. The movie generated a lot of hype – who would play the delectable Lara Croft? Who would don the green singlet, tight shorts, strap on the pistols and pull their hair back in a pony tail. Obviously it would have to be someone who could pull off the ‘tude, and at the same time someone you could see coming around corners.

Angelina Jolie scored the role. Many were dubious at first, but after seeing the trailer, she looked like she fit the role fairly well. At least she fit the t-shirts fairly well, which is 99% of the definition of a good Lara. No-one else of any note was in the movie, except a bit role to Jon Voight as Lara’s father.

The trailer sets the scene – a rich, sassy English chick who spends her time raiding tombs. There’s a few good action sequences shown to whet your appetite. The story is barely touched upon, which in retrospect is probably a good idea, because if it was, you probably wouldn’t have bothered going.

The movie kicks off with most of the scenes from the trailer. This was pretty boring, as you have to sit through the same stuff you’ve had forced down your throat by the promotion of the movie for the last 6 months. Eventually, you get past all that, and the story (for want of a better word) starts to unfold. Basically, the planets are aligning, and there’s this mystical treasure that is lost in tombs that are waiting to be raided. The treasure can apparently control time. Lara is charged to find it by her dead father, and of course there’s the bad Illuminati who are out to get there first and use it to take over the world, or something like that.

Essentially, the rest of the plot is various action scenes as Lara romps around the world trying to track down the treasure and stomp the bad guys. Lara spends the whole time oozing with bad-ass vibes and appears to be more or less invulnerable to machine gun fire. Some of the action scenes are pretty good (even the ones you’ve already seen in the trailer), if a bit over the top.

There’s a bunch of scenes which are simply stupid. There’s a shower scene, the whole point of which is so obviously to show off some profile breast action that you’ll probably be too busy rolling your eyes in disgust to slide them down a few feet of screen to catch a glimpse. Understandably, they’re trying to cater to the teenage male/obsessed Lara fan demographic, but… c’mon.

Simply put, the movie drags on from boring plot device to boring plot device. The overall story isn’t really captivating at all, and its just very hard to get engrossed in. There was no witty dialogue, the comic relief was barely in the movie and was totally not amusing. Lara’s dry English wit was rarely exposed and was pretty stupid anyway. If you’re anything remotely like me, you won’t even be able to sit back and turn your brain off and just let it slide over you (which is what I normally do with movies like this), because you’ll be too busy being disappointed about another computer game-based movie that went awry.

Unfortunately, I feel compelled to recommend seeing it, for the sole reason that I don’t want it to flop horribly – I’d like to think we’re going to see some more movies based on other computer games and I don’t want potential investors to be scared off by the past history of the stupid movies that dirty directors and writers have put together.

Overall – very disappointing effort. It had the potential to be so much better, which I think is what the problem really is. It could have set the scene for an awesome trilogy (I’m sure we’ll be exposed to at least two more follow-up movies anyway). It could have have been up there with Indiana Jones in the old-school adventure genre. Instead, it was aimed at a young audience with very little in the way of plot and nothing else to really back it up except a few strung-together action scenes, most of which you were treated to in the trailer. Feel free to wait for video.

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 – A day that shall live in infamy. The tagline of the movie instantly gives you a synopsis – a recreation of the Japanese attack on the Pacific Fleet of the United States of America, and act which drew the US into World War II ultimately leading to the downfall of the Third Reich and the unleashing of the dreadful new weapon of nuclear fire, seen for the first time on the planet as man came up with New and Improved ways of killing.

I was really looking forward to this movie; the director Michael Bay has put together a stack of some of my favourite movies (most noteworthy of which are The Rock and Armageddon). However, a few hours before I was to set out to see it, I was told by reliable commercial radio that it was nothing but an “epic love story”! This, of course, shocked me and greatly reduced my enthusiasm – it basically had the same effect as when I found out James Cameron was making the Titanic.

Despite my newfound misgivings about the movie, I tromped on in hoping for some good action scenes. After enduring the obligatory introduction bits of Ben Affleck winning the affection of Kate Beckinsale and establishing the plot-within-the-plot (hell, we knew what was going to happen at Pearl Harbor anyway), I settled down a bit.

The build-up to the attack is fairly well done; I’m not exactly an expert on the Pacific War so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the way the events were dictated, but it was done in a nice dramatic style which built up to the inevitable bombing, strafing and all-round destroying of a significant segment of the US Naval Forces as they were caught quite literally sleeping in the face of the Japanese surprise attack. The Japanese are made out to look like quite the bandits (which I guess in reality they were) due to their naughty behaviour in pretending the peace talks were actually useful when in fact they were secretly planning their sudden strike on the US Forces. As an interesting historical aside, Hitler did this kind of thing all the time, so future world dominators might want to keep in mind that if you do this, history is quite definitely against you in the long run.

Acting and dialogue in the movie is all fairly stock-standard stuff; nothing that made me sit up and cheer or anything (though I had a strange compulsion by the end of the movie to buy an American flag and wave it around patriotically). The special effects are very good – the Pearl Harbor bombing scene is fantastic and must have accounted for a significant whack of the budget of the film.

Weighing in at around three hours, Pearl Harbor covers a lot of ground in that time. Obviously, it follows the Private Ryan-esque morals that War Sucks, and effectively carries across this message by showing many Amercians being mercilessly gunned down. The power of love is, as always, questioned and there are many trials and tribulations that are demonstrated through all the main characters in the other part of the plot which isn’t related at all to the whole bombing thing. Would the movie have been better without the love story attached to it? For me, I think it would have – for instance, it would have cut down the length of the movie and kept the focus on the event, rather than yet another love tragedy.

Something else that is worth mentioning is the fact that it was one of the few movies I can remember that really demonstrate the role that women played during World War II. The nurses involved in Pearl Harbor are given a significant focus and their efforts in helping the many wounded and dying are paid respect. It was good to see a somewhat more unisex perspective on war.

Overall: I enjoyed it. The fictional love story was actually pretty good and was fairly well integrated with the bombing (well, it demonstrated love in war, anyway) and wasn’t too unbearable. I left the movie feeling impressed by the whole thing, but pretty depressed – the result of a combination of the love story being miserable and the sheer fact that war is so stupid and so many people die needlessly. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen for some of the effects.

Moulin Rouge

I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing Moulin Rouge. Starring Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, and John Leguizamo, Moulin Rouge promises it is about truth, beauty, freedom, and above all things – love. Now, my usual taste in movies would generally preclude me from going anywhere near this movie with a 10 foot pole (a musical about love!?), but I’d heard many good things about it along the grapevine and boldy ventured forth to see it.

The story is set in the seedy (but romantic) bohemian underground of Paris on or around the year 1900. Ewan’s character Christian is a young, idealistic dude from England who has come to Pairs for a variety of reasons (most of which are to do with love, and stuff, but also it appears to piss his father off). Fate, as it tends to, throws him into directly into the heart of the throbbing mass of the bohemian scene.

The Moulin Rouge itself is a nightclub (and bordello, perhaps?); a bustling visually extravagant establishment which offers a variety of entertainments to its customers. The jewel of the Moulin Rouge is Satine (Nicole Kidman), the stunningly beautiful lead dancer and singer.

As the result of mistaken identity, Christian and Satine end up meeting and interacting, and as you’ve guessed unless you’re incredibly stupid, emotional sparks begin to fly like woodchips being thrown into their air by a beaver on benzedrine. The love story plot is fairly traditionally in a Romeo / Juliet tragic sort of way, and thus fairly easily predictable if you’ve ever seen a movie before in your life, but the presentation is so good that you almost don’t even notice.

The focus of the movie is, of course, the music and singing. Both Nicole and Ewan (allegedly) sing their own parts, and the result is extremely impressive. If, like me, you expected really boring, overly operatic and theatrical music, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that most of the music is in fact based on contemporary tunes. Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, for example, features in one of the scenes. The entire musical score is quite simply excellent and is enough of a feature to make the movie stand out all on its own.

The costumes, dancing, effects and scenery are all very well done as well; everything is very complementary to the story. The script is very well done and actually really funny – combined with several well placed singing scenes, you’ll get a very good chuckle out of several scenes in the movie. And, Nicole Kidman is incredibly good looking in the whole movie.

Overall: definitely worth checking out. Yes, I know it doesn’t have Bruce Willis in it, and there’s no explosions or any sort of serious gunplay, so its way out of my league, but despite this its a very entertaining romp both visually and musically. A very fun movie to watch, depsite the usual message that most tragedies have – no matter how well things seem to be working out, love sucks and will always end horribly.