Trivial Opinions

My weekly trivial opinions on life, sports, movies and more!

Archive for July, 2007

Movie Review-Chuck and Larry

Posted by Jack Deus on July 31, 2007

Warning, this review of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry will probably include plot spoilers, so don’t blame me if I spoil the movie for you. You have been warned.

Larry Valentine (Kevin James) saves the life of best friend and fellow firefighter Chuck Levine (Adam Sandler) and they both almost die. Chuck tells Larry he owes him his life so anything Larry needs Chuck will help him with. Larry learns that the statute of limitations for who will inherit his pension has run up and the only way to change it to his kids is by remarriage. Larry can’t even think about other women so soon after his wife’s death so he asks Chuck to become his domestic partner on paper so his kids will be taken care of. Reluctantly, ladies man Chuck agrees and lots of gay jokes ensue. The state decides to challenge Chuck and Larry’s claim of domestic partnership so they hire smokin’ hot lawyer Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel) to represent them. To further complicate matters Chuck finally meets a woman he actually wants to settle down with in Alex, but because he is supposed to be gay and married he can’t pursue the relationship. The state eventually catches Chuck and Larry in their lie, but in true Hollywood fashion they get off with just a slap on the wrist.

This movie is a very typical Adam Sandler movie, so if you like that type of movie you should like this. I like the trend that his movies are following of taking a serious issue and making fun of it from every angle possible, but still getting the serious message across. This movie definitely follows that trend by making every gay joke ever made in one not-quite 2 hour movie, but in doing so they bring to the forefront of the audiences mind the issue of gay rights.

I’m not going to share my stance on gay rights, nor do I care what yours are. However, no matter what your stance is on gay rights… whether you are gay, are related to someone gay, support gay rights, hate everything about gays, or have another stance… people who are gay are still human beings and no human being deserves to be made to feel inferior to anyone else. That is a conversation for another day, though.

This movie is a great Adam Sandler movie, but it is not one of his best. The acting by the main characters was superb and non of the minor characters pulled the movie down, in fact some of them actually contributed more to the movie than the character was supposed to. I laughed out loud quite a bit, unfortunately some of the jokes and situations seemed a little forced and weren’t very funny. Also the ending was a little lame and seemed to be thrown in haphazardly to tie everything up, rather than actually being thought out to provide a clean ending. Even with the lame ending and forced jokes this movie gets an 8 because of the excellent acting and the humor of the jokes that were funny.

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Movie Review-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Posted by Jack Deus on July 29, 2007

Fans of the movies based off of J.K Rowling‘s Harry Potter books rejoice, for the next installment is finally here and it is more visually stunning than any of the previous Harry Potter movies. Fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, don’t go see this movie (or any of the movies for that matter) expecting to see the book on the big screen because it cuts out a lot of the book and the parts it does include it changes and rearranges. As soon as I heard Hollywood was making this 870 page book into one 2 hour and 18 minute movie I knew they screwed up. I personally think they should have filmed 2 different 2-2 1/2 hour movies at the same time and bookended the summer with their releases that way they could capture most if not all of the book (and make a lot more money), but I suppose that is why the Hollywood types make the big bucks and I have to pay to watch their movies. Anyway, I have read this book 3 or 4 times so I have a pretty intimate knowledge of what goes on and when it happens, and I found myself leaning over to my wife saying “That’s not how that happens.” and “That was supposed to happen later on.” quite a bit throughout the movie.

I could write this entire post about how bad the movie was compared to the book, but I won’t. I realize they are two completely different mediums and what works in the book can’t work for the movie and vice versa. Also, this series, while enjoyed my adults as well as children, was geared towards children so the movie really couldn’t have been much longer than it was. With that in mind here comes the review on the movie, spoilers will probably be included so stop reading if you don’t like spoilers.

The Harry Potter movies have been getting progressively darker as the series continues, and Order of the Phoenix continues that trend. Up to this point no one of any great significance has died, but that all changes in this movie. I won’t say who dies in case you have been living under a rock for the past few years, but someone close to Harry dies towards the end of this movie. The execution of the death and the subsequent reactions of the characters was done pretty well. I think they needed to expand upon Harry’s anger about the death a little bit more, but that might be my book bias coming into play again.

The great thing about making a movie about characters that can do magic is the awesome cinematography that can come about. One of the characters, Tonks, has the ability to change her appearance just by thinking about it, so in one scene when everyone is sitting around eating dinner she is entertaining those around her by changing her nose. It was a very minor part of the movie, but very visually appealing. Another part of the movie I thought was done very well visually was the fight between Dumbledore’s Army and the Death Eaters at the Ministry of Magic. Unfortunately I don’t think David Yates (the director) thought it all the way through in making it possible for the characters to do what the Death Eaters did, because the fight wouldn’t have even lasted 10 seconds if they really had the ability to turn into smoke and fly. The most visually stunning scene in the movie, though, was the duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort (as well it should have been). Two of the greatest wizards in the history of wizard-kind dueling with each other for a solid two minutes on screen. If you have seen the other movies you can imagine what sorts of things they can do, and if you did you probably didn’t get anywhere close to imagining what it actually looked like. Words won’t do it justice, so suffice it to say that you have to watch this movie just to see this duel.

Wow. I didn’t think I could get though a review of a Harry Potter movie without completely bashing it to smithereens  for not living up to the book, but I think I did a pretty good job. Overall the movie captured most of the themes of the book, even if some of them were glossed over or done completely different than the book, you still should walk away from it with the same overall feelings. I did find myself wondering if you would completely understand the movies if you had never read the books, so if this applies to anyone out there I would love to hear your feedback in the comments. I give the movie an 8 because it did differ so much from the book so I can’t give it any higher of a score, but the stunning visual appeal of the movie definitely forces me not to rate it lower.

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Massages

Posted by Jack Deus on July 11, 2007

My wife and I just celebrated our third anniversary by getting a couples massage at a local massage… place. I don’t know what the technical name for them is. Parlor? Doesn’t matter. We got a coupon in the mail for an hour massage for $39 each, which is a pretty good price and a pretty good place to celebrate an anniversary (thanks for the surprise sweetie). 

For the most part I found myself drifting in that happy place everyone goes right before they fall asleep. You know the place, where you aren’t quite asleep but you seem to be dreaming in 10 second bursts. In between these trips down the road to dreamland I had a few thoughts and questions that I thought I’d share with you.

1. What type of person do you have to be to be a masseuse? While I would like to beleive my wife and I are pretty clean people (we do take a shower every morning), I would imagine some not very clean people would come in to get massages. Why would you subject yourself to that type of intimate proximity with people knowing some of them could be really gross? I think it would be one of those jobs that as a high school or college male would seems like a really cool job, kind of like a gynecologist would be a really cool job, because you get to legally be in close proximity to hot naked chicks. But once you actually think about it for a few nanoseconds, you would conclude that while you would get to see hot chicks they would be so few and far between that it wouldn’t even come close to being worth it.

2. What do the masseuses think about? After about the tenth or twentieth massage I would think you’d be pretty well versed in how to give a massage. So much so, that your hands could do it without your brain really providing the direction. As the person being massaged I just want to relax so I didn’t talk to her at all, nor did I talk to my wife so it’s not like they could just listen to us to pass the time. The music playing in the room was very soothing (read: boring) so that wouldn’t help pass the time either. That would be one of the most boring jobs I could think of, along with paint watcher and Maytag repairman.

3. I’m glad I’m not too hairy. As much as I wish I could actually grow a full beard I’m glad my hormones don’t allow me to grow more hair than I already have on the rest of my body. When my legs were being massaged it wasn’t nearly as pleasant as when my arms were, and I think that can be directly attributed to the hair difference because the masseuse didn’t want to cause any pain by grabbing the hairs so she didn’t rub as hard.

4. Throughout the entire massage I had the urge to pass gas, but for obvious reasons held it in until I was well away from anyone. This got me thinking about what her reaction would have been if I hadn’t had the ability to hold it in. Which would have been worse, to rip a really loud one but one that didn’t stink, or to silently let it pass between my cheeks but have it reak? Obviously for me it would have better for the latter because I can’t smell, but for her I don’t know which would be worse. Either way it would be a very uncomfortable hour.

5. I can think of at least one thing that would have been even worse than either one of the fart scenarios, though. When I was laying on my back and she was massaging my legs, what if I would have been uncontrollably aroused. Does that ever happen? I can’t even imagine the masseuse being able to keep her professional integrity with a pitched tent right next to her hand. Would she be flattered, aroused herself, disgusted? Would she ignore it completely or see if she could get it bigger? I’m just glad I didn’t have to answer any of those questions myself.

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Movie Review-Transformers

Posted by Jack Deus on July 9, 2007

Everyone has a memory of their childhood that they put on a pedestal. It is what nostalgia is all about. For people in the 70’s and early 80’s the big thing seemed to be Star Wars. For me it is a combination of things. When I was really little I watched Alvin and the Chipmunks religiously. Over the course of my childhood I moved on from that to Masters of the Universe (He-man), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers. The constant in my childhood was eating Lucky Charms while watching whatever TV show I was into at the time. So far this summer I have seen the release of TMNT and Transformers on the big screen and have heard they are releasing the movie version of the Chipmunks and He-Man.

Most people would kill to have the opportunity I have had and will have to relive the golden years of my childhood, but unfortunately for me Hollywood seems hell-bent on screwing it up. In my review of TMNT I said that the movie was exactly what I expected, which wasn’t saying much because I only gave it a 6 out of 10. Now I have seen Transformers and there were so many things I found wrong with it that I can only give it a 6 out of 10. All that needs to happen now is the other three TV shows I idolized as a child to suck when they get made into movies and for scientists to discover Lucky Charms gives you cancer or something for all of my innocence to be lost forever.

I had huge expectations for this movie, so from the beginning it was behind the 8-ball, but I never in a million years thought Michael Bay and the writers would do what they did to the movie. One minor complaint I had with this movie that seems to be happening a lot in Hollywood these days, is obvious product placement. One sequence had a Hummer, an X-Box 360, and a Mountain Dew vending machine all get turned into transformers. I realize a movie of this magnitude generates large bills, but pay for them some other way. I like all three of those products, but between that and the 18 dozen times I had the GMC or some other GM logo thrust in my face I felt like I was watching TV commercials, not a blockbuster movie.

I was originally going to write a review and completely tear this movie apart, slowly and painfully, like it did to my childhood memories of Transformers. Then I started reading some people’s reviews and thinking about why the writers would want to screw up the movie so badly. Conclusion number 1, even though I probably can’t name 10 Transformers, I know more about them than 98% of the population and probably 3/4 of the population knows next to nothing about them. With this conclusion in hand I can further deduce that Michael Bay and the writers wanted to put their own stamp on things so they recreated just about everything to do with the Transformers (read my buddy Skid‘s review for a quick lesson on things they changed). They did this knowing only fan-boys such as myself would even know the difference. Conclusion number 2, Transformers is a concept designed for children and young adults, not some 25 year old trying to relive his childhood. I took my 13 year old brother-in-law to see this with me and he thought it was a great movie. The script was written to have some humorous parts and to not necessarily make logical sense, but if you let the movie take you were it wants to go, rather than nitpicking the logic, you will probably like the movie.

Keeping these things in mind I thought this movie was great. As Skid outlined in his review the action scenes were awesome, the acting was good, and the CGI and transforming scenes were very well done. I think anyone who likes action movies will really like this movie and it probably deserves to be and will become the summer blockbuster it was designed to be. That being said, I can only give the movie a 6 out of 10 because of the logic flaws and the lack of lack of sticking with the original story.

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Movie Reviews-Pirates 3, Mr. Brooks, and Die Hard 4

Posted by Jack Deus on July 6, 2007

Warning. I try not to include spoilers in my reviews, but sometimes they creep in. Nasty little buggers.

I went on an all day movie marathon the other day. Timed it perfectly so I had no more than 15 minutes between these movies. Paid $5 for the first one and $10 for a large fruit punch and large popcorn (both of which got free refills). Not too bad of a day I’d say, paid $15 for almost 8 hours of good movies with popcorn and a drink always at my side. The only bad thing was my tongue got pretty raw halfway through the second bag of popcorn.

Pirates of the Caribbean:At World’s End

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), William Turner (Orlando Bloom), and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) return for the final installment in the trilogy. Just like in the first two movies, a hard to follow plot with lots of twists and turns, backstabbings, and two-timings is injected with a lot of pirate action. Swords fights abound in this movie, including one between Jack, Will, and Norrington (Jack Davenport) on a giant wheel rolling downhill thru a jungle. A meeting of all the world’s pirate lords ends up pitting the pirates against the East India Trading company and what seems like all of the British navy. A huge sea battle wages with the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman (now working for the East India Company) waging most of the battle at the lip of a giant whirlpool. Once again Depp does a great job playing Captain Jack and turning him into a very deep, multilayered, and entertaining character who you can’t help but to be fascinated with. A fairly well written, if at sometimes hard to follow script has good dialogue and tells a great pirate story. Overall this is a very good movie and if you liked the first 2 you will enjoy this one. I give it an 8 because the plot was a little too hard to follow for most people, but if you are able to let the movie take you where it wants to go, you will be in for a very entertaining, if slightly long, ride.

Mr. Brooks

Kevin Costner does a great job portraying Mr. Earl Brooks, a successful business man who has a dark side. He is a serial killer known as the thumbprint killer. William Hurt plays the physical manifestation of Brooks’ alter-ego, Marshall. The audience is able to see and hear Marshall just as Brooks is, but no one else around is able to tell that the two are having a conversation. Dane Cook does a surprisingly good job playing Mr. Smith, an amateur photographer who blackmails Brooks into letting him accompany Brooks on his next killing. Demi Moore plays Detective Tracy Atwood, who is chasing the thumbprint killer. This movie is a very well written psychological thriller, except for the end (more on that in a minute), that shows you what it is like to be a serial killer as he tries to balance his “addiction” with his family and successful business. A twist is thrown in when his daughter comes home from college pregnant and hiding a secret. A secret Brooks has been fearing ever since she was born, that now seems to be coming true. The only part I didn’t think was necesary was the ending sequence. So as not to spoil it I won’t go into details, but I think the only reason the writers included it was to have a cool looking scene with  lot of blood. What the scene showed was already eluded to earlier in the film, so actually showing it wasn’t necesary. Also, some people, like me, might think the way they end the scene is a cop out for the entire movie, not just a way to end that particular scene. Overall this was a well written psychological thriller that kept me entertained throughout the whole movie, but I only give it an 8 because I think the whole side story with Demi Moore should have either been left out, or built up a little bit better and the ending should definitely be changed.

Live Free or Die Hard

Any fan of the first three Die Hard movies (or even any one of the first three) will be pleasantly surprised to know that Bruce Willis still has it and knows how to bring it to the table. In this installment of the Die Hard series, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), an ex NSA computer geek, starts a “fire sale” of the US by bringing down and controlling the communications, travel, economy, and power grids of our nation (my buddy Skid came up with a good analogy-think of New Orleans after Katrina, but all over the US). It is up to Dectective John McClane and Matt Farrell (the Mac in “Hi, I’m a Mac…and I’m a PC” commercials), the computer hacker he is supposed to escort to D.C. to figure out a way to stop Gabriel before he steals billions of dollars from the US government and its people. There are two things that are needed to make a really awesome action movie, kickass fight scenes of a varying nature (human vs human, vehicle vs vehicle, etc) and witty one-liners peppered liberally throughout the movie. This movie had both. John fought many bad guys, carrying many different types of weapons. He also takes out a helicopter with a car and ran away from a harrier jet while driving a semi. In a typical action movie the star of the show gets all the good lines. The writers were feeling extra witty when they wrote this script because John has as many one-liners as you would expect, but Matt throws in his own sarcastic remarks and so does John’s daughter (played by the lovely Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Matt’s friend Warlock (played brilliantly by Kevin Smith of Jay and Silent Bob fame), and even Thomas Gabriel got in more than a few snappy remarks. All-in-all this was a very well written action movie with lots of gunshots, hand to hand combat, things blowing up, and car crashes, as well as dialogue that could have carried the movie on it’s own. There were a few small flaws in the technology, but no one but a tech geek would spot them, so I give this movie a solid 9.

Overall I’d say it was a very good day. I saw three movies that were at least an 8 and had all the popcorn and fruit punch I could drink for only $15.

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