Tuesday, January 27, 2009

U2 - No Line On The Horizon - March 3rd Release

U2 released the first single for the new CD "Get On Your Boots", which is a little different than everything else that they did, but that's typical of every new U2 CD. The song may take a little time getting used to, but still I'm starting to dig it.

Track List:

1. No Line On The Horizon
2. Magnificent
3. Moment of Surrender
4. Unknown Caller
5. I\x{2019}ll Go Crazy If I Don\x{2019}t Go Crazy Tonight
6. Get On Your Boots
7. Stand Up Comedy
8. Fez \x{2013} Being Born
9. White As Snow
10. Breathe
11. Cedars Of Lebanon

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taken - 2008 Movie Review

Taken was originally released in Germany and has finally come out in the US. Liam Neeson is a father who is very protective of his daughter. He is a former comapny man with a lot of knowledge in how to protect and defend. He is divorced and his wife has remarried to a wealthy man and now he has decided to retire in order to be closer to his daughter, played by Maggie Grace from Lost.

This one plays out as more of an action film with Neeson going over to France to bust some heads and find his daughter. I would call it a version of Spartan, but it's not nearly as good as Spartan was.

Sure they have some action and knife and gun fighting scenes, but overall this one lacks any depth and really is just a boring old story.

Rent it or watch it on cable.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Slumdog Millionaire - Movie Review

Slumdog Millionaire is a story about a young man who comes from the slums of Mumbai and gets on the Indian version of the show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and makes it to the final round. He then ends up in the jail being questioned as to how is he cheating in order to get as far as he has.

this film is directed by Danny Boyle, who has directed, 28 Days Later, Millions and Trainspotting. He has once again put together a brilliant film.

This movie stars Dev Patel as Jamal Malik, a kid from the slums who serves tea at an office for money. At first you see him being tortured as they try to figure out how he is cheating to get as far as has.

This is where things start to get interesting because they go question by question and Jamal has a story for how he knew the answer for each of the questions. He goes back to the days when he lived in the slums and his mother was killed and he ended up in some sort of strange group where they men where using the kids to beg and get money.

Jamal has an older brother Salim and they meet up with a girl, Latika, who is the one that Jamal has always had feeling for since his youth.

I really enjoyed this film and how they tied the stories into the questions and how he knew the answers. I have a feeling this one might win the Oscar. I thought it slowed at times, but overall really was a good story.

It's well worth checking this one out.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Burn After Reading - Movie Review

The Coen Brothers are back again in an interesting spy type drama. In typical fasion they live out the lives of several characters bring them all together at a point later on in the movie. This summary basically gives away the movie, so don't read further is you haven't seen it, but know it's worth watching.

John Malkovich plays Osbourne Cox, a CIA low level analyst, who is demoted for having a drinking problem, so he up and quits his job. He decides he is going to write his memoires. Osbournes wife Katie, is played by Tilda Swinton, and she is a dry, unhappy type woman whho is not happy and is having an affair with Harry Pfarrer, played by George Clooney.

Katie is planning to divorce Osbourne and burns a CD of his hard drive to give to her lawyers. Little does she know that there are a bunch of files with Osbourne's memoires on it. An assistant at the law office accidently leaves the CD at Hardbodies, a gym in which Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt), and Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand)work at. Linda is trying to have all sorts of cosmetic surgeries to help her look better, a face lift, tummy tuck, and other lippo. So she finds out that her insurance won't cover it and now she finds the CD and wants to Blackmail Osbourne Cox.

When Osbourne blows them off they take the CD to the Russians to try and sell it to them. Just no luck whatsoever in trying to get money.

Along the way, Katie kicks Osbourne out and Harry moves in while his wife is off on a book tour. While living with Katie, Harry is dating other women and meets Linda Litzke through a web search. They continue to have an affair on top of his other affair that his wife isn't supposed to know about, but does because of the PI that is hored by the lawyers she is filing divirce papers with. Crazy?

Well, Chad Feldheimer, Brad Pitt, goes to find more information at Osbourne Cox's house. Harry comes home and Chad is stuck in the closet. When Harry opens the closet Chad is smiling at him and he shoots him in the head, freaks out and dumps his body.

While all this is going on the spys are watching and monitoring the situation. Everyone freaks out and they all tie togehter the story and connections in the end.

This is a fun film and really does a good job twisting the stories and bringing them all together. In typical dry humour fashion of the Coen Brothers they make this into a brilliant film.

It's well worth seeing this one and now it's on DVD so reant it for sure.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Oliver Stone's W - The Movie Review

The new Oliver Stone film W is loosley based on the life of our 43rd President George W. Bush. This is a pretty interesting translation of the live of good old GW. Starting off from the time he was in college being hazed at Yale and jumping back and forth over 2001 at the time that GW and his team were preparing for war in Iraq.

George Cromwell plays GW's dad and at times looks right for the role and at other times really looks like he shouldn't be in the role. They really portray him out to treat GW as the loser brother and has big plans for Jeb and thinks GW underminded their plans to get Jeb in the White House.

Along with showing GW's past and the failures he had before finally running successfully for Governor of Texas, they also show the situation over making a decision to go to war with Iraq. It was an interesting movie and it really put togehter an interesting interpretation of GW's life.

It's interesting that GW went from an 80% popularity down to about 25% the lowest of any President in history.

Christian Bale was originally cast in the role and was replaces by Josh Brolin. Brolin did a fantastic job playing GW.

This was a fun film to watch and I would really recommend seeing it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oscar Predictions

So the Oscars will air on February 22 at 8pm EST on ABC. This year Hugh Jackman will be the host and there are a lot of interesting choices for movies and actors. So here are my predictions and we will see if I get anything right:

Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Best Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

So these are my predeictions for this year. I know the Academy seems to think differently than me, so I could be way off. If Heath Ledger didn't die and have such a good performance, I would probably pick Robert Downey Jr. for his role in Tropic Thunder.

Mickey Rourke to me was hands down the best actor listed of the five. Sure Brad Pitt did a good job in Benjamin Button, but really it was more about the effects and makeup that played a bigger role. Sean Penn was ok, but honestly Rourke played his role right on the money and should win the award.

As far as director and movies go, Slumdog Millionaire and Danny Boyle should win. Boyle did an amazing job with the story and really showed the predjudice of people in different income classes in India. The acting and the story were brilliant. It too me should walk away with the award.

So let's see how the predictions go. Biggest surprise was that Clint Eastwood didn't get a nod for his role as Walt in Gran Torino.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cass - Movie Review

Cass is based on the true story of Cass Pennant, a West Ham Football Club supporter/hooligan. Pennant has gone on to write many books about his days in the I.C.F. (Inter City Firm) as well as about other hooligans. He may have been the first one to speak out about the whole Firm mentality and what went on. Some say he's full of it and others say it's all true. So take it for what you like.

Cass grew up on the streets of East London. He was an adopted Jamaican baby, by an older white couple. He grew up in a white area and stuck with his same mates he grew up with.

His first experience of football violence was when he was 14 years old. He was off to a match and found himself in the middle of two firms fighting. He stuck around and eventually became the leader of the I.C.F. He wasn't very educated and he tried to turn what he was doing into something glorified.

Personally I think that these Firms need to be disbanded and they all need to be banned from going to matches. I have personally had a couple of run-ins with some of them as I was on my way to a match with Arsenal against Man United. A friend of mine stepped in and told them off and they went on their way. another time they started to taunt me on a train with my wife and when they found out I was an American, they laughed it off and told me I should be a Man United fan since they were owned by an American.

There's no place in this world for these types and they don't need to be glorified either.

The movie is interesting because it does tell the story based on Cass's view. He does show the people around who were against what he was doing along with the violence as well. Nonso Anozie plays Cass and does a good job at it. The one who plays Freeman, Leo Gregory was Bovver in the movie Green Street Hooligans. There was a bunch of film footage from the actual time added. Some Margaret Thatcher footage talking about Hooligans. Other footage of the violence added in to show the reality of it.

Overall I like the way they portayed the story even though I still don't think it should be glorified. Sometimes it's just interesting just to see a little of what went on so people know not to get involved. It shows the dark side of what goes on and what went on with Cass. He was shot after he went clean and walked away. He was working as a bouncer at a nightclub and was shot by some people he had a run-in during the years before.

I think it's worth checking this one out just to see went on in those days. Things have certainly change over the years and with CCTV there isn't as much of it happening now, but it still does exist. Not sure when it will be available in the US, but keep your eye out and rent it for sure.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2008 - The Next Doctor

The latest Christmas Special of Doctor Who brings us to wonder are we about to meet the new Doctor. David Tennant is back for this episode and four more to come before calling it quits as The Doctor.

Taking place on Christmas 1851 in London, The Doctor runs into a man who claims he is The Doctor, this doctor is played by David Morrissey and now the questions all start rolling in your mind. Could this be the man replacing David Tennant as the 11th Doctor. It's Starts with the two of them chasing a new kind of creature, a Cybershade, a new kind of creature that is working with the Cybermen. But neither of the Doctor's have ever seen anything like this and they also don't know that the Cybernen are in this time. So they chase the Cybershade pulls them up the side of the building and eventually escapes.

The new villian in this one is played by Dervla KirwanMiss Hartigan. She is plotting to collect all the children of the town up from the orphages, to use them as slaves in helping to build something to dominate the world.

When The Doctor is shown the new Doctors facilities, he realizes they are just living in a flat and then he sees the TARDIS, which is actually a Hot Air Balloon or "Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style". So as The Doctor digs in a little more he finds that This other Doctor is really a man named Jackson Lake who lost his mind because of something that might have been traumatic to him.

The Doctor discovers that Jackson Lake had found an infostamp, one that had all The Doctors information in it. He opened it up and took in all the information of The Doctor, while killing Cybermen. Now we know that Jackson Lake is just a man and he came across the Cybermen through the cellar of his house. He saw his wife die and there was something else he can't quite see.

Now that they have seen the Cybermen, they realize that they have escaped the void after the battle of Canary Warf. As they go to Lakes house they discover that in the cellar is a Dalek device called a Dimension Vault, that allowed them to get out.

As they put it all together they realize that the Cybermen are working on developing a CyberKing to take over the world. Hartigan thinks she is going to see the CyberKing, when she is actually going to be hooked into the mind of the King that turns out to be a very large Cyberman that comes out of the Thames and walks across London. It's Hundreds of feet tall and is destroting everything in it's path.

The Doctor decides to take Lake's hot air ballon TARDIS and along with a bunch of infostamps, fights to destroy the CyberKing. He opens them all and destroys the big King and all the Cybermen. Before the CyberKing can fall and destroy the city, the Dimension Vault is used to transfer the King into the Time Vortex.

Jackson discovers the missing thing from his mind is his son. He finds him at the building site and is reunited. So Jackson Lake asks The Doctor to join them for a Christmas Dinner and at first he says no, but then decides to.

A great episode and it starts with a good twist. Now if you haven't already heard, the 11th Time Lord to take over in 2011 will not be David Morrissey or John Simm or any other of the people we all wondered about, but it will be 26 year old Matt Smith, who has done a lot of TV and Theatre, but will be virtually unknown outside of The UK. Still after watching the Doctor Who Confidential featuring The 11th Doctor, you will see he will be a good one to play the part.

Fund episode, not sure when they will release it in the United States. I know that there are only going to be 4 specials this year and the dates are not yet know for those either. So tune in and get ready for more Doctor Who.

Righteous Kill - Movie Review

The new cop thriller starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro will be coming out on DVD this Tuesday, January 6th. So a review for those debating on renting or buying the DVD. My thought before I get into the review is rent it.

I won't give away the ending in my review, so read on if you like.

This film has Robert De Niro starring as Detective Tom "Turk" Cowen and his partner is David "Rooster" Fisk played by Al Pacino. The movie starts off showing a man getting off for murdering his girlfriends daughter. This is upsetting enough to the two Detectives that they plan to do something about it and plant a gun to get the guy nailed. He was guilty, but got off, now he's in jail.

From there you get a little of the background of the two showing them playing softball and coaching, drinking with the boys and so on. Gives you a little bit about the characters.

Then you cut to Detective "Turk" confessing to killing 14 people. So now you start to learn about who these 14 people are and why they are killed. They are all a bunch of scum that got off. they keep referring back to this video throughout the movie of Turk talking through each of the killings and why he did them.

So now enter two more detectives, Perez played by Leguizamo and Riley played by Wahlberg as well as another Detective Corelli who is played by Carla Gugino. It turns out as Perez and Riley are working on a related murder to one that Cowen and Fisk are on. Corelli is the murder scene processor of evidence and she's banging Cowen.

It has a whole thing going on with Turk having you believe he really has been doing it and you will find out the truth, but what that is - you just have to see it and find out.

It's a good thriller and certainly worth a rental. I say that as I just don't see it being something you will watch over once you know the end. All the actors do a good job. De Niro and Pacino are always fun to watch. Wahlberg and Leguizamo do a good job as the straightlaced detectives and Gugino is her sexy self and does a good role in this one.

Well worth a rental - pick it up at NetFlix, Blockbuster or Red Box!

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

The 11th Doctor Has Been Named

The eleventh Doctor has been named. Matt Smith will be taking over as The Doctor after David Tennant finishes up his contract at the end of 2009.

Nearly 7 millioin people watched a specoal Doctor Who Confidential: The Eleventh Doctor last night in the BBC.

Matt Smith is 26 years of age, the youngest to play The Doctor. He is relatively unknown and has done some work with The National Theater on Alan Bennetts's The History of Boys as well as staring with Christian Slater in Swimming With Sharks in London's West End.

Smith grew up in Northampton and was head boy at Northampton School for Boys. He played Football(soccer) with Nottingham Forrest Youth Program and then moved on to Leicester City and was forced to retire due to a back injury.

He was involved in the National Youth Theatre and has involved in a bunch of different BBC productions as well at the theatre work.

Here's a link to the BBC's press announcement: BBC 11th Doctor Press Announcement.

So he will be in the series starting in 2010, but it will be interesting to see if he is transitioned in the Christmas Special in 2009 or will just take over.

I guess it's a good choice to put a young unknown in the role. The expectation level will be different and it will be good to let someone other than a John Simm or James Nesbit have a go at it.

I wish you luck and Can't wait to see the next episode to air!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Babylon AD - Movie Review

Babylon AD is a futuristic film starring Vin Diesel, who plays Toorop a mercenary who is hired by the Russian mob to to deliver a young woman named Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) to New York City. There is no explaination at the start as to why, but Tootop is banned in the US, so the Russians are abor to give him a fake passport.

Now he arrives at the Noelite Convent to pick up Aurora and she is accompanied by her guardian nun Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh), who has raised Aurora since she was a little child. The adventure begins from there as they have to cross through the great north to Canada and into the US. Someone is trying to stop them from making the delivery.

This is a relatively action packed film that at times seems to have too much action and it makes it hard to watch because bullets are flying and things are blowing up and you just don't know what the hell is going on.

It's one of those futuristic films where every town is run by the bad guys and it's a struggle to trust anyone at all. Nothing new or original about the film and it's plot from what I see.

The story gets weird about the background of Aurora and that she is special learning 19 laguages by age 2 and has all these other special things about her. We also find that once in NY that she is pregnant with twins. It's an immaculate conception as she has never been with a man. Now things unfold and you find out she was created in a lab and genetically altered. Her mother or probably the one whose egg was used happens to be the head of the Noelite church. She wants to use the immaculate conception to grow the church into a large power.

Toorop tries to get her out of NY without turning her over. He gets blown up and is surgically altered with prosthetic limbs to go on and help find Aurora, who has now gone into hiding.

Basically in the end Aurora is found by Toorop, dies giving birth and he's left to raise the twins.

So there you go, I told you the story so you don't have to waste your time seeing this one. It cost $70 million to make and I bet it doidn't gross anywhere near that, my guess is a total flop.

Too much crap to deal with and a reused story as far as I'm concerned. Don't bother with this one.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Seven Pounds - Movie Review

I had this one figured out about 2 minutes into it. Will Smith stars in this film as Ben Smith or so he says. The opening scene is him calling 911 telling them of a suicide and then goes on to say it's his own. I wasn't really sure why he was doing what he was doing, but you do find that out eventually.

The film also stars Rosario Dawson, who plays Emily Posa a woman who needs a heart transplant and has a rare blood type so the chances are slim of this happening. There are seven individuals who Ben is setting out to change their lives in a major way.

So he forms a very strong releationship with Emily and takes good care of her. She falls for Ben as well and tries to get him to open up, but he doesn't want to talk about his past.

There is a woman who he gave part of his liver and then a lung for his brother, after that he tests the people to see if they are worthy of what he plans to give them, which is life. He plans to give a doctor bone marrow, but the doctor turns out to be a bad man and he finds a boy who he can help.

He tests a many Ezra Turner, played by Woody Harrelson, calling him names and pushing him to see if he is a good man. Ezra is blind and is waiting for an eye transplant.

So as you can see, Ben is doing all these things for others, but the one thing I couldn't figure out is why? Was he dying, did he do something? That was the mystery to me as I already knew from the opening scene what he was going to do.

So as you find out late in the story, his brother finds him and as it turns out his brother is an IRS Taxman named Ben and Ben is really Tim. Tim caused an accident that killed his wife and others because he was reaching down and reading his Blackberry while driving his car.

So he feels this is his way of giving back to save for the lives he lost.

It really is a sad movie and I think that as you see him develop the relationship with Emily, you wonder is he going to be able to give his life to save hers. In the end he does and it really makes it sad.

I really thought it was a good story. The movie was a little long at times and drew out some things, but in the end it was to put the whole story together. I enjoyed this movie, well worth seeing for sure.

Not sure it's Oscar worthy, maybe Rosario Dawson, but even Will Smith played a someone dry basic role. If he were to get a nomination I would give it for Hancock over this one.

The film is directed by the director of Pursuit of Happiness and it plays out a lot like that movie in the drama, etc..

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Body of Lies - Movie Review

Adapted from David Ignatious's book, ridley Scott directs this spy thriller starring Leo and Crowe. Leo plays, Roger Ferris, a CIA operative in the Middle East tracking down a terrorist Al Salim. Crowe plays Ed Hoffman Ferris's Handler. Who basically spends the better part of the movie on his cell phone orchestrating all sorts of deals oand other things going on.

Ferris gets stationed in Ahman, Jordon to meet with Hani Salaam, who is a contact that is working with the CIA or at least informs them of some things. While there, Ferris meets a yound woman, a nurse who has moved to Jordon from Iraq. They start to develop a relationship as Ferris is working all angles of how to get to Al Salim.

This is a pretty interesting story, but think it might be more interesting to read vs seeing the movie. I think the movie gets a little slow at times and can be a little unrealistic. Still it's not a bad story and Leo and Crowe both do a good job in their roles.

Certainly one to rent on DVD and decide for yourself.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Gran Torino - Movie Review

With the holiday season upon us, there are a bunch of new movies making their way out just in time for the Oscar nods. Gran Torino was directed by and stars Clint Eastwood as a Korean War Vet who lives in a changing suburb of Detriot. A former auto worker, he's a stubborn old man and a racist. His wife just passed away and he's on his own. The neighborhood he lives in has changed from a white working class area to a Hmong neighborhood. Walt Kowalski doesn't want anything to do with the neighbors and thinks they are destroying the community. They don't take care of their laws and they don't take care of their houses.

He just says whatever he feels like when the son from next door Thao Vang Lor (Bee Vang), comes over to borrow jumper cables, he calls him a gook and zipper head. Later the boy's cousin tries to get him involved in a Hmong gang and his initiation is to steal Kowalski's 1972 Grand Torino, a car he helped assemble.

Shortly after he chases Thao away, he stands up for the boy and his family when the cousin "Spider" comes by to try and take Thao out with him. Thao refuses and fights break out and old Walt shows up with a gun and chases off the gang.

So this is the beginning of a strange relationship that continues to grow with the family. The neighbors are so happy that he stood up to the gang boys they bring him food and flowers and all sorts of gifts.

Thao's sister Sue also has a run in with a black gang and Walt pulls out a gun and sets them straight. She then invites Walt to the house for one of the family gatherings for a beer and food. Walt replies fine, but just don't eat my dog. She says "We only eat Cats" joking around.

Now the family needs to pay a debt to Walt for Thao trying to steal the car. He makes the boy work off the debt by cleaning up the neighborhood, fixing fences and gardens. Eventually he teaches the boy about relationships and not letting the true love go. He ends up helping the boy get a job and when they boy gets picked on, he tries to settle it once and for all.

This causes a big confrontation with the family next door causing bullets to fly sue to get beat up. So now it's up to Walt to finish the score. That's all I will say in case you plan to see it.

I thought is was a pretty good movie. Eastwood does a fantastic job of playing the grumpy old racist man who doesn't have a relationship with his own boys and develops one with the neighbor boy. It's a good story with an interesting end.

I certainly would recommend seeing this one if you get a chance. I think Clint will get a couple Oscar nods for Director and Actor. Not sure that he will win, depends on who all gets nominated, but he did a great job.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars