182: Chicago

Chicago (PG-13) - 2003 - Runtime: 113 minutes
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere
I'm not a big fan of musicals. I think the only really good musicals I have enjoyed are The Blues Brothers and ...well, that's it, really (Okay, okay, Moulin Rouge was pretty fantastic). I just don't like it when characters start breaking out into song and dance in the middle of a scene. It completely removes me from the story. And sometimes those musical numbers are long. For instance, I watched the musical movie version of Hairspray and that last dance and song was almost fifteen minutes. It was awful, it made me hate the movie so much more. And to boot, I probably won't ever be bothered to watch the original movie it's based on because of that experience. Also, Maggie and I bonded on our first date because we both absolutely loathe the musical Grease and even more so the people who love Grease. I really think it's a piece of garbage with zero entertainment value, but what do I know? I just don't like the genre.

But part of the commitment I made was to indulge in genres I don't normally partake upon. Such is the case with Chicago - Maggie had already seen it and was willing to sit down with me to watch because she enjoyed it when she saw it several years ago. And you know what? I pretty much enjoyed it. Sure, some of the songs weren't up my alley - but the story was solid and the characters had a level of depth to them that certainly Grease or West Side Story could not live up to. Plus the level of talent on display is staggering. Not only do Zellweger and Zeta-Jones deliver, but who knew Richard Gere could belt one out? Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly (it's hard for me to think of him as a serious, legit dramatic actor after I first seen him in Talladega Nights) were both fantastic, too. So props to this movie - you exceeded my expectations!

I will say - part of the reason why the music numbers didn't bother me was because they were integral to the plot and characters. The characters themselves were performers themselves. I guess that's why I liked Moulin Rouge, too. But I don't want to downplay the story - it's a tale about fame and fortune and the sheer depth that people will sink to in order to be in the limelight.

So, to 2003's Best Picture winner - I say it's at least worth checking out! If you're a fan of musicals, I don't need to tell you that it should be on your shelf, it probably already is!

Rating: Rent It!


182: The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai (PG) - 1957 - Runtime: 161 minutes
Starring: Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins
Director: David Lean

Another classic down! This one was actually pretty good, too! I enjoyed most of the movie, even though it clocked in at almost three hours! And I really wouldn't consider this a war movie. Sure the setting is WWII, but in reality, this is more of a straight up action and suspense film.

Alec Guinness plays Nicholson, a by-the-book, no-nonsense Colonel who's company gets captured by the Japanese. They are sent to a POW camp where they are forced to build a bridge over the river Kwai (betcha never saw that comin'!). And everyone is forced to work, including all the officers, but Nicholson maintains that, according to the Geneva Convention, officers that are POWs will not work. He stands his ground and is abruptly punished for this. There are a lot more plot details but suffice it to say - there's a lot going on in this movie. Which isn't a bad thing - it's a huge epic picture - so there's never a dull moment. Nicholson clashes with an Australian officer, Shears (William Holden) about what's right and what's wrong. Shears plans his escape and succeeds, despite Nicholson's warnings. They are brought back together in the climax of the movie - where shit hits the fan and nothing goes according to plan!

There's a lot going on in this movie and not just plot details. Colonel Nicholson is a bit of an enigma in my mind. Once he gets involved in overseeing the building of the bridge - he takes it upon himself and his crew of prisoners to build the damn finest bridge ever. His main argument for helping the enemy is that in the long run, the bridge they're building will last longer than the war and help future generations, not just the Japanese soldiers. It's actually quite comical, because once the general in charge of the prison camp gives in to Nicholson's steely resolve - he quickly becomes emasculated and seems to lose all of his power and menace. It's a great tables-have-turned moment, even though their official roles as prisoner and warden are still intact.

I mentioned briefly about Shears - he's reckless and the complete opposite of Nicholson. When he escapes, he thinks he's done with the war. But he's pulled back in and has to go back to the camp to destroy the bridge that Nicholson is working on. There's a great, climactic ending that is pretty fitting to all that has happened. This movie still holds up after time - there's still a lot of great discussions and arguments to be had over who's right and who's wrong in the movie. It not only fulfills the demands of a big action wartime epic movie, but also it delivers on raising questions about pride, prisoners of war, cowardice and much more. This movie is not to be missed!

Rating: Rent It!


182: Youth in Revolt

Youth in Revolt (R) - 2010 - Runtime: 90 minutes
Starring: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday
Director: Miguel Arteta

So we decided to see this movie on a whim last Friday and it was worth every gift card penny we spent. No seriously, it was really good! I really didn't come into this movie with any expectations - only knowing that the book it's based on has a rabid (and somewhat unreasonable from what I've heard) fanbase and the trailer looked promising. But I didn't expect this movie to be almost flawless! It's a great R-rated comedy that is a bit odd and quirky, but has a lot of heart and great belly laughs.

Michael Cera plays Nick Twisp (great name, even if it is weird), who's longing to just grow up and be an adult. And part of that involves getting laid - something that seems so far out of reach to him. Until he meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) and decides that she is his dream girl. And the only way to get with her is to stop being such a twat and grow a pair. But instead of just dealing with it, Twisp goes balls out and creates a very badass persona, Francois Dillinger to help him win Sheeni's heart. It's a great concept and I thought it was executed brilliantly in the movie. Cera is known for his awkward demeanor and teenage boy characters, but his mustachioed anti-hero Dillinger is something of a revelation for Cera. I feel like Cera felt a lot more freedom with this part of his character - someone who could do whatever the hell he wanted. It's the best part of the movie and certainly he creates enough laughs to entertain, but there's so much more than just Dillinger. There's a host of great side characters, including Zach Galifianakis as Twisp's mother's loser boyfriend, Ray Liotta reprising his role from Observe and Report, Justin Long as the stoned out older brother of Sheeni and the list goes on.

There's a lot of great physical comedy, but I was surprised at how graphic the language was. I knew it was an R-rated movie, but I didn't expect so much vulgarity. And I'm impressed! I loved every minute of it - so suffice it to say, this is a great way to start 2010! Go and seek out this movie - you won't be disappointed!

Rating: See It!

182: When Harry Met Sally

When Harry Met Sally (R) - 1989 - Runtime: 96 minutes
Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan
Director: Rob Reiner

I sometimes forget how much I like an actor or actress and then I'm reminded by watching something they did that I've never seen before. Case in point: Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. Yes! I have never seen this one before! But no doubt Crystal is at the top of his comedic game in this movie. He's perfect as the no-nonsense, open and somewhat honest Harry. Who happens to befriend Sally and thus a beautiful friendship begins and possibly more.

Okay, so I was expecting greatness and this movie pretty much delivered. I mean, it is a cult classic for a reason and it's ultimately a really funny movie about love and friends. I don't think the movie has lost any edge or relevance over the past twenty years, so kudos to Nora Ephron, the writer behind the witty dialogue and wonderful characters. I mean, there's not much to say about this movie except if you haven't seen it - it's definitely one of the pinnacle romantic comedies of all time - a must-see. The diner fake orgasm scene is still hilarious even after I've seen it about a dozen times.

So to those who were like me and have not seen this movie - seek it out! It's worth your time and definitely worthy of repeat viewing!

Rating: Own It!

182: Post Grad

Post Grad (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 88 minutes
Starring: Alexis Bledel, Michael Keaton
Director: Vicky Jenson

Well, at least this movie was under and hour and a half. Boy, whoever thought this concept would make for a great movie really should not have a job. I mean, first of all, finding a job is hard enough, you don't need to make a comedy about it. It's a bit insulting if you ask me to try and build comedy out of one of the most trying and frustrating parts of growing up (I really did have a hard time after college finding a career job - in fact I didn't find one at all, so this kind of hits home a little more for me than most movies). But I gave this movie a shot, namely because I like Bledel and Matt Saracen is in it! I was hoping that it would end up being a light hearted comedy that doesn't focus too much on career, but more the person.

Well, it does focus more on Bledel's relationships more than her quest for perfection via career and at least the ending isn't too formulaic - she doesn't end up with a great job at the end, I hope I'm not spoiling that for you! But the route to get to that ending is filled with so many annoyances and WTF? moments it really makes you want to pull your hair out! First of all, Bledel's character, Ryden (What's up with that name? Why do movies choose such unusual names? Too be cool or to stand out? Well, it doesn't work!), is completely self-centered and annoying. This normally wouldn't be a bad thing if there were some redemptive qualities, or that we see some willingness to change. But this doesn't happen until the last fifteen minutes of the movie! It's completely obvious what needs to happen and when it doesn't, it doesn't make you yearn for the ending, it just gets annoying! Plus there's this really weird side story where Ryden's dad (Michael Keaton) gets into lots of trouble buying stolen belt buckles on the black market! Strange? Yes! And completely out of nowhere and it certainly doesn't add anything to the story! The only thing I think we're supposed to take away is that her family is strange and that we're all supposed to embrace our families, no matter how strange. Lame. Seriously, it's a bad side plot and only helps drag the movie out when already it's slowly paced and awkward.

Stay away from this one - it's not worth your time. There are better coming of age stories (Adventureland comes to mind) that are filled with genuine moments and actual comedy! This one is a dud - leave it alone!

Rating: Avoid Like the Plague!

182: Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 128 minutes
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
Director: Guy Ritchie

Ahh, Guy Ritchie. I think I like him from a distance. I really enjoyed RocknRolla, but haven't seen Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, for which he's best known. Those are on my eventually will watch list, but for now, I've seen two of his movies. And this one was pretty fantastic - it's everything you want in a fun, action-adventure movie! This was Maggie and I's New Year's Eve movie (a new tradition that started last year with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

There's really no need to tell you about the story - Holmes is on the case to find out what the hell Lord Blackwood, the evil villain, is doing and why. He's played to wit and charm by Downey, who seems to have perfected to role of sly, quick witted and charming masterminds. He's accompanied by Jude Law's Watson - a man who sort of bumbles around and complains a lot. But that's the dynamic they were going for and it works. They're the odd couple and there's a bit of a bromance, but it never enters the realm of too awkward or too intimate. The movie is long, but it didn't feel drawn out or slow. It moved briskly and you were with Holmes every step of the way as he tried to figure out what the hell was going on.

The only big complaint I have about this movie - the goddamn mumbling! Seriously, I couldn't understand some of the dialogue because Downey was talking too low or their British accents got in the way. So it was hard to decipher some of the funnier or wittier moments of dialogue - but also some major plot points! As for the action and adventure - I love this version of Holmes! He's a brawler and as much as he's educated - he's from the streets, y'all.

Guy Ritchie manages to tie together a lot of different genres together and it all blends into one big mess of a movie (in a good way!). So if you haven't ventured out in a while - it's best you see this before it leaves the theaters!

Rating: See It!

182: It's Complicated

It's Complicated (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 120 minutes
Starring: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin
Director: Nancy Meyers

This was Maggie and I's Christmas movie. Every year we try to watch a movie at the theaters on Christmas Day. This was a good pick. I really have enjoyed Nancy Meyer's movies. The Holiday and Something's Gotta Give were pretty terrific. And this one is no different. A lot of critics trashed this movie because it seemed like a step down for such high profile actors like Streep, Baldwin and Martin - but to me, this was just hilarious and it didn't come off pretentious or completely unbelievable or ridiculous. It's pretty amazing that a movie about middle aged singles can connect with a twenty-something married man like myself, but hey! Movie magic, am I right?

Meryl Streep plays Jane, a single woman who's long been divorced to Jake (Baldwin) when suddenly Jake's married life turns sour and they decide to have another go at it. It's an affair that they hide from everyone and eventually it complicates (see, that's where they got the title!) their whole family life and possible love interests (this is where Steve Martin fits in). It's a funny movie (the whole theater was laughing so hard at times that I couldn't make out dialogue in certain parts) and the pot smoking scene was pretty hysterical (even if it was cliched). John Krasinski plays the son-in-law to be for Jane and Jake - and one who finds out about their romantic rendezvous - and he has some great moments and gags, too. Some would say this movie sinks to the lowest common denominator to get it's laughs and sometimes it does (the pot sequence comes to mind) - but the characters have depth to them and the plot is not as straightforward as it would seem. The acting is great and it's just a funny movie that is worth checking out!

Rating: See It!

182: North by Northwest

North by Northwest (PG) - 1959 - Runtime: 131 minutes
Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

I have been wanting to see this movie for some time. The plane chase sequence in the cornfields of Indiana is one of the most iconic scenes in cinema. So I had to check it out - I've enjoyed for the most part, Hitchcock's movies and this one is a good one, although it's not nearly as perfect as some make it out to be.

Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a man who gets caught up in a case of mistaken identity. He's subsequently kidnapped and almost killed by a gang of mysterious men. He travels across the U.S. in search of answers and is helped along the way by a beautiful blonde bombshell (Eva Marie Saint). You won't know exactly what's going on half the time - but it's a fun ride.

And although I enjoyed most of the picture, I do think there's quite a few absurd and ridiculous moments in the film that don't quite make it a classic in my mind. First of all, the evil men don't seem so menacing, in fact, they seem very civilized - the only time I feared for Roger's life was him being chased by that plane. Every other moment of peril seemed not so life threatening as I think the moviemakers wanted it to be. So despite the adventure, there were few life hanging in the balance thrills to be had. Secondly, the climax of the movie takes place on top of Mount Rushmore. Really? The bad guy's "lair" is this huge sprawling ranch on top of the mountain with its own runway! I'm pretty sure most of that space is national park area - so this seemed straight out of a Bond movie (before Bond was ever made!). The final chase takes place on the faces of Lincoln, Jefferson and the rest of the gang. It's a bit too much. But I guess you have to suspend disbelief on a lot of the movie - after all, this is a huge, blockbuster adventure movie, so it makes sense - but some of it is a bit goofy.

But I thoroughly enjoyed the movie - it's fun and you're taken along for the ride - which is what these movies should do. I just wouldn't put it up there as one of the 100 best of all time.

Rating: Rent It!

182: A Perfect Getaway

A Perfect Getaway (R) - 2009 - 98 minutes
Starring: Steve Zahn, Milla Jovovich, Timothy Olyphant

Director: David Twohy

So this was at least a nice surprise. Even though I called the ending before the movie even started (I had seen the trailer at work enough times) it was still a fun little thriller. It moves along fairly quickly (for the most part) and there's enough suspense and intrigue in the plot for you to get into it.

Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich play a recently married couple (Nick and Cydney) who are on their honeymoon. They run into another couple out on the hiking trails in Hawaii and they both decide to hang out for the remainder of the trip. But things don't bode too well - there's some killers on the loose, a man and woman, whom Nick and Cydney are both suspicious of their new friends. It all leads to an anti-climactic ending that reveals a nice twist.

This one, like Jennifer's Body, is a mixed bag. On one hand, there's some good suspense, the twist is decent (even though you can see it coming) and the movie's over before you know it. On the other hand, the ending is horribly unsuspenseful that involves a really long flashback and some of the characters are a bit weird. But I think the good outweighs the bad in this one - it's worth a rental and not much more.

Rating: Rent It!

182: Jennifer's Body

Jennifer's Body (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 102 minutes
Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried
Director: Karyn Kusama

When I first heard about this movie, I had some high expectations. Not necessarily because of Megan Fox, but because of Diablo Cody. I really loved Juno and thought this was an interesting second project for her to write. And then the reviews came in. So I was not particularly jazzed to go out and see it. I was a bit delighted to see it come in on DVD, hoping that people just didn't "get it." Well, it's a mixed bag.

Megan Fox plays Jennifer (duh!) and Amanda Seyfried plays Needy (intentional pun? Probably.), her best friend. They have the typical hot/ugly friend relationship. It all turns bitter when Jennifer gets pretty much kidnapped (on her own free will for the most part) by some douchebag rockers (one played by a fairly unrecognizable Adam Brody. I guess he's trying to get that Seth Cohen dorky taste out of his mouth. She becomes a monster after that night and has an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Mainly boys, but she eventually ends up going after the ladies as well.

It's really a toss up. Some of the cheesy dialogue fits perfectly (and you can tell it's written by Diablo Cody. Whether that's a good or bad thing, I don't know yet) and the story is at least intriguing. But it is fairly slow paced. For a movie that clocks in at about one hundred minutes, it drags. Megan Fox isn't a bad actress, either. It's just that most of what she gets is hot girl roles and those can only go so far. So I was a bit disappointed by this movie but I don't regret watching it, either. It had some good laughs (and shocks), so overall it's worth checking out if you're into a cheesy horror flick.

Rating: Rent It!

182: Paper Heart

Paper Heart (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 88 minutes
Starring: Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera
Director: Nicholas Jasenovec

I really don't know what to think about this movie. At first, it was going to be a documentary about love - but I think it really didn't work out - so they decided to make a mockumentary about love. It's a very blurry line between what's real and what's not, Yi and Cera did date for like three years, up until when the movie was released, but their relationship in the movie is pure fiction.

I enjoyed some parts of the movie while at times I felt like it was too much. It was especially hard to watch when both of them did not want to be on camera. It was pretty boring at times, too. There are some funny moments, Cera is always awkwardly funny. And I enjoyed most of the time spent interviewing other couples or people about love. Those were the best moments in the film. And as far as the ending goes - it was completely weird and felt out of place. I thought I might enjoy this movie but I ended up being disappointed.

Rating: Not Worth Paying For

182: All About Steve

All About Steve (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 99 minutes
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church
Director: Phil Traill

Arrrggh! This movie couldn't have been done sooner! It was horrible! Here I thought - Hey! I like Bradley Cooper, he's a pretty good actor (and easy on the eyes, too) and Sandra Bullock! I loved her in The Proposal (and she's easy on the eyes, too! I mean, did you see that almost nude scene in The Proposal? - Wow! Smokin' for a forty-five year old! Okay a bit off track, here) - so I thought this would be a fun little romantic comedy that made me feel all gushy inside, like all good romantic comedies do. But no, instead it's a horrible, absurd comedy that doesn't really end on a happy, romantic note! And they even manage to fug up Sandra Bullock (that hair is god-awful!) in the process!

So the premise is Mary Horowitz, a crossword puzzle maker (I know, right? Already with the absurdness!) who can't find a man because she's a bit weird. But not too weird that she's not likable, just really annoying. Okay, maybe a bit unlikeable. And she's all alone until she meets Steve and instantly falls in love. After a brief first date in which she tries to initiate awkward sex, Steve leaves and Mary takes it upon herself to stalk him wherever his news reporter goes to get stories. They go to several different places - most of them ridiculous scenarios (a baby is born with a third leg, a whole band of orphans fall into an abandoned mine). And then SPOILER ALERT! she doesn't end up with Steve! Absurd! I guess we're supposed to get the message that it's okay to be yourself and weird is fine and you don't need a man to be happy? END SPOILER ALERT!

Dunno about you, but this one stunk big time. No wonder the release date kept getting pushed back!

Rating: Avoid Like the Plague

182: Avatar

Avatar (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 162 minutes
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver
Director: James Cameron

This is a movie that must be experienced in the theaters, in 3D. I don't think any other medium would do it justice. Sure the story is fairly simple (and definitely not the most original) and the characters are pretty flat, but the world that James Cameron has created is possibly the most gorgeous I've seen in any movie. The 3D technology is the best, too. There were times where I actually thought I could touch some plants in the movies - it's that good! I know, I sound like such a dork - but the movie is pretty fantastic. It's epic and you do get caught up in the story because it follows almost every epic storyline to the T.

So most everyone has seen this movie - right now, it's on the verge of overtaking Star Wars after this weekend for the third highest-grossing film of all time domestically. It's already second worldwide. Yeah the ticket prices are higher, but it's still pretty amazing. If you haven't seen it - go and see it before it leaves theaters, because I'm sure it won't be as exciting as it would while watching it in a darkened theater with a bunch of people.

Rating: See It!

182: Up in the Air

Up in the Air (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 109 minutes
Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
Director: Jason Reitman

This movie deserves all the accolades it's getting. It's an expertly crafted movie - one that tugs on your heartstrings, makes you laugh all at the same time while occasionally making you think about the big questions concerning life, love and work. That's a pretty bold statement - it's not that Up in the Air brings anything new to the table - it's just so well done and acted that you get caught up in Ryan Bingham's life as he travels all around the country.

I will also say, Jason Reitman is batting a thousand. He's three for three - Thank You For Smoking and Juno were amazingly wonderful and Up in the Air is no different. Somehow he knows how to make you laugh and connect with the characters (although he didn't write Juno, he still captured the writing in the best possible way). So kudos, Mr. Reitman! I'm sure this movie will get nominated for best picture and it's well deserved.

Ryan Bingham has a very loathsome job - he takes care of firing people when other companies don't feel like messing with it. It's very topical for 2009 - some of it may strike a few chords with movie goers. And although this is what the movie is about - traveling from one destination to another, firing people - the movie is more about Ryan's relationships that are formed during these trips. Two in particular - and they have a drastic effect on his life. I won't get into much detail because it's just fun to go and sit and watch something without too much expectations. I will say though, this movie is worth watching over and over again. Sometimes when I sit down and write a review, I start thinking about the movie and then I start wanting to watch it again. This is one of those movies.

Rating It: See It

182: Harold & Maude

Harold and Maude (PG) - 1971 - Runtime: 91 minutes
Starring: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort
Director: Hal Ashby

This is a cult classic that has found its way into many movie lovers' hearts. Maggie absolutely loves this movie (she watched it when she was only, like, 9!) and it's one of the many connections she shares with her two sisters. So I brought it home one day and she was super excited for me to finally see something that she grew up with.

This is a quirky movie. I feel like some people just won't get it and others it will just click. With me, it clicked. I enjoyed the humor and two main characters immensely. Harold is a rich kid who enjoys faking his own suicide because, well, he just doesn't like living. And Maude is a very free spirit, living life to the fullest despite her age. Somehow, they manage to meet and Harold is completely intrigued by her crazy antics and bubbly personality. He falls in love with her and their unusual relationship blossoms. It's a very unique tale about love and relationships. One in the twilight of her years and the other just beginning his best years. It's a fun little movie that only gets better I would think with repeat viewings.

And the soundtrack is spectacular! Cat Stevens does all the songs and, well, he's Cat Stevens, so it's all excellent. I really, really enjoyed this movie - funny and sad and just, well, fun!

Rating: Own It!


2009: A Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good Year.

2009 was fantastic!

I have to start this off - I'm not a critic and I don't see absolutely everything that comes out. I get to choose what I see and so I do have somewhat of a limited scope. But despite that, I do give movies a chance if it looks promising or I have heard good reviews or feedback from customers. So we can rule out the worst movies of the year that I didn't see. Because, let's face it, if you think these were good movies, you really shouldn't be reading my blog - we have vastly different tastes in movies!

Some of those movies are Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li, Dragonball: Evolution, Dance Flick, Aliens in the Attic, Fighting and that's a small list, I could go on.

There are, however some movies that seem to have polarized critics and viewers - these I won't bother putting on my list because I feel like they don't deserve a spot on any list, good or bad:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Ugly Truth, Terminator: Salvation, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (some of these I will admit I liked, but would I watch them again? Probably not).

What bothers me most about end of year lists is that most of them proclaim that somehow Hollywood isn't great anymore and originality is lost because the only money makers are franchise and sequels and the independent movies get no love, blah blah blah. But I think every year there's something to celebrate. So instead of counting down, here's a homage to movie making in 2009.

Check out the greatest of 2009 after the break!

182: Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 153 minutes
Starring: Brad Pitt, Eli Roth Christoph Waltz
Director: Quentin Tarantino

When Tarentino gets behind the camera, he always hits it out of the park. I haven't been disappointed with any of his movies. Granted, when he slaps his name over movies that he produces or has a hand in bringing over to America I roll my eyes. Mostly it's garbage to me because I have no interest in B-movies or martial arts. But back to this movie - it's no surprise that I would be salivating over this movie - WWII + Tarantino + Killin' Nazis = Win, Win, Win. I have no clue why I didn't go see this in theaters. It mainly had to do with Maggie not wanting to see this at all. But! She decided to "just check out the first fifteen minutes" and see if she'll watch the rest. And I think, by the end of the movie (and it was long!), she enjoyed it more than I did!

The plot's pretty simple - Brad Pitt plays Lieutenant Aldo Raine who leads a band of Dirty Dozen-esque soldiers around Nazi-occupied France to do one thing: kill Nazis and instill fear across the Third Reich. Well, they're pretty successful, but the movie doesn't follow them around too much - the story revolves around the revenge of one particular Jewish woman who witnessed the death of her family by Colonel Hans Landa, the "Jew Killer." Christop Waltz plays him so well - he's creepy and sadistic and someone you definitely do not want to cross. There's already Oscar buzz around Waltz's performance and it's well-deserved.

But the real gem is Tarantino's ability to really draw you into each scene. The first twenty to thirty minutes are excruciatingly tense - you know feces will be hitting the fan soon, but it's never too apparent as to how things will play out. And every scene is like this - there are moments of tension that you're holding your breath, awaiting the other shoe to drop. There's a lot of great dialog as per usual, too.

This movie will probably go down as one of the best of this decade - everything is intact for the perfect movie. It's a great thrill ride and riveting from start to finish - a must own if you're a fan of Tarantino or World War II pics.

Rating: Own It!

182: Someone Like You

Someone Like You (PG-13) - 2001 - Runtime: 97 minutes
Starring: Ashley Judd, Greg Kinnear, Hugh Jackman
Director: Tony Goldwyn

I'm not gonna lie, the DVD cover just screams 90s (I know, I know - it came out in 2001, but give me a break). Maybe it's simply because Ashley Judd certainly was more of a 90s movie star than she has been this past decade. So I was a little hesitant when Maggie wanted to rent this movie because she had just finished reading the book the movie is based on, Animal Husbandry. But my fears were soon squashed after spending time with a fun romantic comedy. Hugh Jackman was surprisingly the best thing about this movie. And I was surprised how good Greg Kinnear can play an asshole.

Ashley Judd plays Jane who, after getting dumped by what seems to be the perfect man, decides to figure out why men are such jerks. She moves in with the jerkiest of jerks, Eddie, played by Jackman. It's as straightforward as you can get with romantic comedies. But the movie plays to its strengths: Jackman's charm and by-the-books pacing with some great side characters (Marisa Tomei and Ellen Barkin play their roles well). So, despite the predictability, this one's worth a rental. I liked the comedy and Judd and Jackman play off each other well.

Rating: Rent It!