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Without a Paddle (2004)
Took Me By Surprise - I Really Enjoyed It!
When I first saw the television ads for this movie, I thought it looked like another of the countless dumb comedies Hollywood seems to crank out these days. I certainly had no intention of paying to see it in the theater, and really had no inclination to even rent the DVD when it came out. So it wasn't until it showed up on HBO, and there was absolutely nothing else on, that I half-heartedly decided to give it a look. Imagine my surprise when I found out how genuinely funny it really is! Not only funny, but a comedy with a real heart, some incredible scenery, and a good storyline to boot. Just about everyone in it was perfectly cast, and you could really believe that the three main characters had been friends since childhood. I found the idea of three boyhood friends searching for the treasure of D.B. Cooper as adults quite intriguing, and well played out in the film. And Burt Reynolds was a hoot as the enigmatic "mountain man". I have since watched "Without A Paddle" several times, and even bought the DVD. The DVD cast commentary is quite funny, and you can tell they had a great time making the movie. All in all, a very funny movie - probably one of my favorite comedies of the past couple of years. Give it a look, if you haven't already. You might be pleasantly surprised.
4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
What All Comic Book SuperHero Movies Should Be...
I'm sure the critics and naysayers of this film will take exception to my review, but I loved this! As a longtime fan of the Fantastic Four comic, I went into the first movie with fairly low expectations, and was very pleasantly surprised to the contrary. Not a great superhero movie, but a really fun one, a trait that far too many films based on comic books seem to be lacking. Having enjoyed the FF the first time around, I went into this second one with much higher expectations - and it exceeded them on almost every level! The same feeling of fun was there, along with some real blow-you-out-of-your-seat action sequences, and what I thought was a pretty good storyline. Perhaps I'm too undemanding or simple-minded, but I had a Fantastic(!) time in the theater watching this movie. In many ways, it blew me away like no movie has in a good many years, and made me feel like a kid again! Of course it helped that along with the FF, the Silver Surfer has always been one of my favorite comic characters. If I have one complaint, it's that it ended too soon. I hated for it to be over after only 92 minutes. Hopefully when the DVD is released they'll include a longer extended version as well (or as in the case with the first movie, they'll wait two years until the third one comes out, and make us buy the second movie on DVD all over again). I really hate that sort of marketing ploy, but in the case of FF2, it will gladly shell out my money twice. Mostly because I can't wait for the DVD to come out. I think I'll start working on my new home theater system tomorrow!