The Spielberg, AI and I

(Originally posted on back in ’03 or thereabouts)

Right or wrong, I haven’t paid or gone out of my way to see a Steven Spielberg movie since “Jurassic Park”. And that was a rather disappointing experience in itself (and this is without even getting into what he did to the sequel). I bring this up mainly because of “AI”. I am a bit conflicted on whether or not I want to go see it.

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Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) – Movie Review (*1/2)

(Originally posted on on 3-4-06)

Do you sometimes wonder if foreign films get critical praise simply for being foreign or for being sub-titled (which I guess wasn’t really the case with Caveman, but was with The Passion of the Christ – I never saw the latter, but I did see the former and let me tell you it was way under-appreciated)? Night Watch (or Nochnoi Dozor in its original release which I guess means Night Watch in Russian), directed by Timur Bekmambetov, has come to the US as a major theatrical release after being acclaimed as the highest grossing Russian film of all time. The online geek fan community (of which I deny any affiliation whatsoever…) has been fairly epileptic about it, and really the early trailers did look pretty cool, however, no surprise here, there is a huge difference between breezing through a cool two minute long trailer and suffering through a hundred and fourteen minute unholy mess of a movie.

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Jackie Chan, Jet Li and the Struggle with Hollywood

(Originally posted on in early ’02 or thereabouts)

Jackie Chan is a legend. He is probably the most successful Asian film star of all time.  His following is fanatical. There are droves of people that believe he does all of his own stunts without the benefit of a net. Now whether that is true or not (not), he is truly a talented man and an amazing physical specimen.

In short, he is well established.

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Avatar – Movie Review

(Originally posted on on 12-18-09)

Ok, so here goes – let’s just dive in and get the painful part of this review over with right up front and then spend some time on meaningless rambling and thoughts. Avatar, the movie, was much, much better than I expected – surprisingly so, but still not the masterpiece that you would expect or possibly hope based on the intense amount of effort and money that has been put into it. Why is that the painful part? Well… because I was hoping for a disaster of monumental proportions that I could make fun of endlessly and think back on in my old age fondly as the height of Hollywood overindulgence.

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Mr. & Mrs. Smith – Movie Review (***)

(Originally posted on on 6-14-05)

Have you ever had one of those moments when your most cherished values and beliefs are challenged almost to the point of breaking? Mr. & Mrs. Smith was just such a moment for me. Watching the new film by Doug Liman (Swingers, Bourne Identity and Go) called into question many of my dearly held personal conceits and opinions – most specifically that both stars, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, were just pretty faces with no remarkable talent behind their glazed eyes.

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Fantastic Four – Movie Review (*1/2)

(Originally posted on on 7-12-05)

Fantastic Four is, in essence, the most expensive Sci Fi Channel Original Movie ever made. It has everything – the stilted dialogue, the clichéd character arcs, the histrionic bad guy, the snail’s pace action sequences and the miss the point by a mile story premise. I am assuming you are all familiar with the basics of the story, Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), Johnny Storm (Chris Evans) and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis) are caught in a radioactive storm while in outer space that fundamentally changes their DNA giving them super powers. Also, on the trip with them is Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) who, in this version, gets zapped with super powers as well. The only thing it is missing to be the perfect big budget Sci Fi Channel Movie that it so desperately wants to be is to have Lorenzo Lamas as Dr. Doom and Chase Masterson as Sue Storm instead of McMahon and Alba… actually, Chase Masterson certainly couldn’t have acted any worse in this than Alba.

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Superman Returns – Movie Review (***1/2)

(Originally posted on on 06-30-06)

If I could, without having to rewrite the whole review, I would go back and change the rating I gave to Batman Begins from four stars to 3 and a half. Not because I think any less of it now, on the contrary, I still think it is a great reboot of a lost and struggling franchise/property (man, when did we start referring to fictional characters and stories as franchises and properties – how sad and cynical is that? …or is it just me?). Everything else I said in that review I still stand by, I just no longer think I should have given it the top most rating that I did and that is mainly because I firmly believe Superman Returns is a better movie – but as I write this review I just do not feel comfortable giving it the full four stars.

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Batman Begins – Movie Review (****)

(Originally posted on on 6-18-05)

Four stars… I gave Batman Begins four stars. I give four stars pretty rarely. It’s not like I am Rex Reed or, you know, what’s his name, the made up guy that used to show up in all the ad copy for every movie under the sun from a couple of years ago. I don’t have any fast and hard rules on what constitutes the earning of four stars, but the main points that I take into consideration are that the film actually accomplishes what it sets out to do, that it brings something special or extra to the mix that was not expected, that the characters are for the most part defined by more than just the simple necessities of the plot and that the performers conform to their roles and not the other way around. Based on those criteria alone Batman Begins delivers.

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Star Trek (2009) – Movie Review

(Originally posted on on 05-08-09)

To preface, let me be clear – I am not a big fan of JJ Abrams. I have maybe seen 15 minutes tops of Alias across three episodes, and for Lost you could safely add another 10 minutes to that total. I loathed Star Trek: The Next Generation and had no use for the movies. I cannot speak intelligently about any of the other Next Generation series other than crack Borg Jokes about self-important looking status climbers sporting their latest blue tooth ear pieces or an occasional completely out of context sexist Seven of Nine comment. I liked the original series (which is apparently now referred to as TOS) well enough as a child, but that was mainly because my brother loved it and anything he dug must have been worthwhile.

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The Flaming Lips at the Palms in Las Vegas – 9-16-07

(Originally posted on on 9-22-07)

It is funny how the Flaming Lips just kind of snuck up on me. I had never heard of them until the release of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots in 2001, and even then I only came across them on accident when the album was being streamed online by AOL in pre-release. The title completely caught me off guard and made me smile, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. And really, that in a nutshell has pretty much been my whole experiences with the band ever since – continually doing something that catches me off guard and makes me smile. I think I connect mostly with their music for their alternately goofy and wise lyrics and for their seemingly endlessly restless searching nature. And now I am a fan – as big a fan as I can be of anything, anyway…

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