Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Warrior's Way

Probably the best way to describe this is as a samurai western. A member of an elite assassin group (the Sad Flutes) decides that he has had enough killing and escapes to the new world. He lands in a dust bowl ghost town where he is suddenly playing the role of asian Shane. The feel of this movie hits all the right tones as we get an alternately spaghetti western and asian score backdropping gun/sword battles that elicit impressions of watching good anime. Somehow it all worked for me.
3 stars (out of 5)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Iron Sky

Sometimes a B-movie is exactly what is needed. This was not the time. I will admit that it is a new take to have a B-movie with modern references. Here we are set in 2018 and Sarah Palin is campaigning for her second presidential term. Part of the campaign is to send someone back to the moon. The astronauts land and are surprised to find a secret Nazi outpost, building strength to re-invade earth. That is about as far as I got...
1 star (out of 5)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Larry Crowne

Tom Hanks plays Larry Crowne, 20 year Navy veteran turned dedicated big box store worker. When he is downsized because of his lack of formal education, he decides to go back to school. He enrolls in Speech, Econ and Writing (although we never see the writing class) and begins to change his life. Julia Roberts plays the speech prof and love interest and George Takei the Econ prof. Hanks meets a young and hip scooter crowd who take liberties with changing his entire persona. This is a feel good romantic comedy of the purest form. Even the things that are difficult in characters lives are so quickly followed by a dramatic, fabulous event that you have no time to wallow in reality. Cruise through this without much emotion, a few laughs and throw it out of your mind when you are done. Rather forgettable.

2 stars (out of 5

Saturday, March 9, 2013

21 Jump Street

Repurposed from the 80's TV drama as a buddy comedy. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are high school enemies based on their social status (jock v. nerd). In the police academy they become fast friends as they discover that they can help each other out and eventually become partners. When they screw up most things on their beat, they are assigned to Jump Street. Here they infiltrate a high school drug ring and bring it down, all the while participating in crazy hi-jinks. [sarcasm on] hilarious [sarcasm off]. Not worth your time since there are better buddy comedy efforts out there.
2 stars (out of 5)


This sci-fi action piece is a feature follow-up to the TV series Firefly. The series played only one season, but has a cult following. It is a space-western with a bit of original series Star Trek cheese.  Most planets that the crew lands on have horses, sheriffs and saloons. The Firefly is a Millenium Falcon like cargo ship run by a small crew of smugglers and opportunists. One of the passengers is River, who happens to be a brillant savant hunted by the government because of her training (that seems to be kept secret). Serenity is a great finale to the 14 episode season, with very little background given. In fact, I would guess that someone watching the film only, and not the season, would be confused about the motivation for much of what occurs. But with the season as background, Serenity definitely delivers.
3 stars (out of 5)

Our Idiot Brother

It is not very often that I see a film that I can't finish. This was one of them. Which surprised me since I generally like Paul Rudd. But here he plays a modern day hippie who is sent to jail for selling marijuana to a police officer. He is all "dude" and no brains. Way too much stereotype, no interesting characterization. When Rudd moves in with his sisters, he is a simpleton who inadvertently changes each of their lives. And then I finally gave in to the boredom and turned the thing off. Sorry Paul.
1 star (out of 5