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6/10
UN-Masked
24 May 2005
A baby literally bouncing off the walls, a game of "Super Twister," and watching Ben Stein's face separate from his head all mixed into one movie will only bring one thing... the Son of the Mask.

Avid cartoonist Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy, Malibu's Most Wanted, Scream Trilogy) suddenly is burdened to act as a single parent to his newborn son Alvey (Ryan and Liam Falconer) as his wife goes to New York for a week on business. It soon becomes known that Alvey has "powers" of the mask of Loki (Alan Cumming, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, X2). Now, Loki wants his powers and mask back...

Based on the fact that little-known director Lawrence Guterman (Cats & Dogs, Headless!) had directed this film, I definitely did not expect such work. This film was well put together and could attract many audiences.

The acting of this motion picture was fulfilling. Kennedy and Cumming portrayed their characters well, which was highly expected from the experience they have. Appearances from Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle) and Ben Stein (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) really accentuated the film. Transitions throughout the entire hour and 45 minutes were par excellence. Noticing this from a genre of the sort is highly unlikely, considering the director's lack of high profile experience, but it did astonish me.

As always, with the good comes the bad. The film contained minor "hokey" elements that I wasn't lured toward. Although I felt this way, the preteens of the theatre obtained kicks and giggles from it. I'll denounce this upon age difference.

Son of the Mask is rated PG for action, crude and suggestive humor and language. I must admit it was a little harshly rated. This PG kisses the borderline of PG-13 at times. The raw and risqué humor and language was periodically unnecessary.

A nice additive of the movie was the special effects, which were essential. Kennedy spent three and a half hours a day in makeup consisting of foam rubber for the mask. At times, he had to breathe only through a straw. The effects were paid off well as the intrigue struck many viewers.

If you are searching for a collective laugh, Son of the Mask may be a film to invest in seeing. Watching the original Mask (Jim Carrey) would not be a prerequisite to see this movie. However, this movie is aimed towards the younger audiences, so mind that. Otherwise, for some good, clean fun, Son of the Mask may be right up your alley.
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Robots (2005)
9/10
Repair for an adventure with Robots!
24 May 2005
What movie can you see that has monsoons of dominos, break dancing inventions, robots actually doing the robot and a guest appearance from the Tinman? Robots, of course! The story of a young genius, Rodney Copperbottom (voice of Ewan McGreggor; Big Fish, Moulin Rouge!), who wants to suggest his invention ideas to the ever-popular Big Weld (voice of Mel Brooks; Life Stinks, High Anxiety). When he makes a trip to Robot City, he encounters many odd things from an executive of Big Weld named Cappy (voice of Halle Berry; Catwoman, Gothika), a corporate tyrant who only makes his journey worse called Phineas T. Ratchet (voice of Greg Kinnear; Godsend, Stuck on You) and a group of "Rusties" including Piper Pinwheeler (voice of Amanda Bynes; What A Girl Wants, Big Fat Liar) and Fender (voice of Robin Williams; Dead Poets Society, One Hour Photo).

The most noticeable and incredible factor of this film is the acting. The acting is extremely strong and helps keep the movie "alive." As you can see, there are many big names also including vocal appearances from Terry Bradshaw, Drew Carey and Jennifer Coolidge.

What you wouldn't expect from a film of this nature is inexperienced directing. Chris Wedge and Carlos Saldanha co-directed this movie together. Ice Age was their other creation, and they are currently working on its sequel.

Musically, the film was very well put together. The music was just right and appropriate for each scene that it would loom. The soundtrack has not yet been announced, but the music was excellent.

This motion picture is rated PG. There is some brief language and suggestive humor, but otherwise clean. This rating is spot on.

Altogether, this movie was a great sight. The animation was advanced and made the movie entirely more enjoyable. If you are in the mood for a down-right good laugh, Robots may be right for you. It has some hysterical parts in which teenagers will love.

The comedy in this movie isn't only for children under the age of ten accompanied by their parents. Teens will love it, too. Take your friends and have a great time!
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8/10
Fall In Love With A Lot Like Love
24 May 2005
Strike three was that he was born under the astrological sign of cancer. Strike two was that he didn't play the guitar. But what was strike one? In baseball, you have three strikes and you're out. They wanted to play the game that way, but could never seem to never figure it out.

Over the course of seven years, you fall in love watching Oliver "Ollie" Martin (Ashton Kutcher) and Emily Friehl (Amanda Peet)'s acquaintanceship turn into a friendship then turn into a relationship. But whenever something remotely beings to happens, a disturbance occurs and we are left at step one. Will their feelings overcome it all or will it all fall apart like each time they tried through the past seven years?

Direction under Nigel Cole won't tell you much. He has directed very few films including Calendar Girls in 2003 and Saving Grace in 2000. Periodically, he has directed television series between 1982 and 1998.

Cinematographically, this was well done and interesting. Camera movement was consistent and advanced. I came across great angles with nice transitions, making the movie more enjoyable.

The acting in this movie was stunningly one of the strongest features of it all. The interaction between Kutcher (The Butterfly Effect, Guess Who) and Peet(Identity, The Whole Nine Yards) was unexpected and almost mind-blowing. As for all of you chemistry students out there, for the record, Kutcher and Peet had excellent chemistry between the two. It would be very difficult to co-star with Kutcher (and pull it off) as well as Peet did. The appearances of other big names really supported the acting foundation. The best friends, Kathryn Hahn (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) and Kal Penn(Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, Malibu's Most Wanted) were great supporting actors. Also, Ali Larter (Final Destination), Taryn Manning (Crossroads), Gabriel Mann (The Life of David Gale) and Jeremy Sisto (Clueless) added their unique spice to the movie.

On a more negative note, there were times when I found myself thinking "What are the odds?" It's not everyday that events like this happen to average Joe.I know, I know it's a movie, but some things in this motion picture were a little unrealistic and immature–for a movie. In addition, some of the writing, though in a "normal" sense for everyday life, seemed wrong for the occasion or event at the time. For what it was worth, all together, it was shaping.

I feel as though the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) stretched the rope on this rating. This PG-13 seemed dangerously close to a higher rating. There was sexual content, nudity and language with a significant amount of drinking and drug content. Although the rating was suitable, it was a higher level of PG-13.

Like many other teeny bopper chick flicks, this movie can be compared to a group of other movies. If you liked Whatever It Takes, Can't Hardly Wait, Spanglish or Brown Sugar, you may become attached to this motion picture.

If you are looking for a "great date movie," I would recommend this film. It has proportioned humor, romance and drama for any teenage audience. The guys will like it, too! If you've ever experienced love–or some form of love–this movie will particularly strike you.
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8/10
Worth the money
16 May 2005
Are you in the mood for flying soccer balls, a little competition and Will Ferrell? If so, don't hesitate to run to the theatre to catch Kicking & Screaming!

Kicking & Screaming tells the story of a loving father and husband Phil Weston (Will Ferrell) and his obstacles with the local children's soccer league. His son, Sam (Dylan McLaughlin) played on the team coached by Phil's father, Buck (Robert Duvall) until he was suddenly traded to the athletically-challenged Tigers. Almost instantly after news was heard about the trade, the Weston's hear that the Tigers coach is moving out of town. This leaves nothing but a need for a coach and a bunch of laughs along the way.

Direction under Jesse Dylan would only say so much to a teenager. He has directed films such as American Wedding in 2003 and How High in 2001, so a semi-family oriented movie might sound a little absurd. Dylan really showed some talent by directing this well formulated picture.

Not only was the directing decent, but the acting was respectable. Will Ferrell (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Old School), as always, hands us another spectacular performance. He is seemingly comfortable with films for all audiences such as Elf and the soon-to-come Bewitched. Robert Duvall (Godfather Trilogy, Secondhand Lions) plays an excellent role as an overbearing and competitive father. Also, the appearance from Mike Ditka, tight end in the NFL from 1961 to 1972 and coach of the Chicago Bears from 1982 to 1992, is a great accentuating ingredient to this film.

The rating of PG is tolerable. It has thematic elements, language and some crude humor. Although a lot of the humor can be understood by younger pre-teens, there is a lot of wittiness that pertains specifically towards adolescents and older.

If you liked The Incredibles, Ice Age, Shrek or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, this movie will more than likely interest you. Or, for that matter, if you love anything that has Will Ferrell on the cover, this movie is waiting for you.

If you prefer this movie to act as entertainment on a date, I would suggest, if possible, the later showings where children may not be in attendance. Otherwise, I give this movie 4 our of 5 soccer balls.
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4/10
Are we DONE yet?
22 January 2005
Long distance driving, constant headaches, groaning and claustrophobia. Then, that tedious question arises...Are we there yet? But in the new flick, Are we there yet?, that question takes a new meaning.

Through a series of worst-case scenarios from deer attacks to a train race on horseback, Nick Persons (Ice Cube, Barbershop) experiences it all.

Beginning a timid romance between Persons and Suzanne Kingston (Nia Long, Boiler Room), possible babysitters for her children while she's away becomes few and far between, leaving Persons, a child-hater as the only viable option. He must transport Kingston's two "angelic" children 350 miles from Oregon to Vancouver. They attempt to make it in 24 hours by plane, train and automobile.

Directed by Brian Levant, director of Snow Dogs (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and Jingle All The Way (Arnold Schwarzenegger), he defines his love for making family-fun movies.

For what it was worth, the acting was decent. Ice Cube played a better role than I expected. Aleisha Allen (School of Rock) and Philip Bolden (Johnson Family Vacation) were well-cast. And the cherry on top of the acting was Jay Mohr (Pay It Forward, Jerry Maguire). The way the actors worked together accented the movie.

Cinematography in this movie was exactly what I expected. There were a few intriguing camera angles, better than I've seen from directors of Levant's credibility.

The rating was well chosen as PG. There was minor language and rude humor.

Noticing half of the theater filled with children ranging from five to twelve, and tons of parents, I'd definitely suggest staying away from this movie on a date. There were periodic jokes and entertaining scenes, but if you don't like "kiddy" movies, I would not encourage this.
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8/10
Twelve is the new Eleven
17 January 2005
Who needs twelve drummers drumming when you've got twelve con artists and thieves vying for ways to steal $190 million in two weeks? Why $190 million? That's the amount stolen from Las Vegas casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) in Ocean's Eleven…and he wants his money back…with interest! Set three years after the end of the Eleven escapades, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) reassembles his eleven con artists and thieves, adding one new team member, to appease an angry Benedict who only gives the team two weeks to return all of the cash. Meanwhile, Ocean's Twelve tries to avoid confrontations with an inexplicable French rival called the "Night Fox" and dodge Europol agent Isabel Lehiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones). All bets are off. Directed by Steven Soderbergh proves something. With eleven announced production jobs currently, Soderbergh has it in for himself. Not only did he direct Ocean's Eleven, but he has also directed other magnificent films such as Traffic, Erin Brockovich, and The Limey. One large incentive to seeing Ocean's Twelve is the acting. This movie definitely screams big names. Co-stars George Clooney (Intolerable Cruelty, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Brad Pitt (Troy, Meet Joe Black) really complement each other. Other stars of Ocean's Twelve include Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity), Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Terminal), Andy Garcia (Night Falls On Manhattan), and Julia Roberts (Closer). The difference between this original and its sequel is the dialogue. When watching Ocean's Eleven, one is on the edge of the seat, but in Ocean's Twelve one finds himself laughing more. The excess humor in the sequel gives it a different taste than the original. The cinematography in this film is definitely accentuated by the variety. The many different camera angles and transitions in this motion picture truly amazed me. The storyline adds its spice, allowing this movie to shine. Musically, the mood was well conveyed through the music. There were times when I could notice the disposition being expressed by simple music. As an apparent success, Ocean's Twelve was number one at the Box-Office its first weekend. Competing with Blade: Trinity, which came out Wednesday December 8, wasn't a hard task. Ocean's Twelve took in $39.2 million right away, leaving Blade: Trinity to $24.5 million gross and National Treasure to third place in the dust. With a mild PG-13 rating for brief language, the film is peppered with language but doesn't take over the movie. Overall, Ocean's Twelve was to my liking. Without a seat available in the theater, the success of this movie was outstanding. I'm glad that Clooney was more appealing than Wesley Snipes, otherwise, I'd be frightened with the world I'm living in.
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8/10
National Treasure Seeks National Success
22 November 2004
Nicolas Cage brings puts the silver in the silver screen in the edge-of-your-seat action adventure National Treasure.

Descendant from a family of treasure-seekers, Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage, Gone In 60 Seconds, Matchstick Men) strives to find the treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers after the Revolutionary War. One mere hint, 'The Secret Lies With Charlotte' would lead to a series of clues and long sought after treasure.

Directed by John Turtletaub (The Kid, Phenomenon), National Treasure definitely proves the talent of this magnificent director.

Not only was there brilliance from the director and the plot line, but also the acting was tremendous. Nicolas Cage definitely reached his all-time high alongside newcomer Justin Bartha (Gigli). Other stars include Jon Voight (Varsity Blues, Holes), Sean Bean (Lord Of The Rings, Don't Say A Word) and Diane Kruger (Wicker Park, Troy).

One definite eye-catcher of this film is the matchless cinematography. The camera work during multiple scenes keeps you engaged by every passing second. It powerfully adds to the thrill of the movie.

If nothing else proves it wonderful, the box office just might. With its first weekend out, National Treasure takes in $35.3 million. Coming up close, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie gains $33.5 million in its initial weekend; leaving The Incredibles to spot number three after two weekends out.

If you enjoyed Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Johnny Depp) or Paycheck (Ben Affleck), this movie would please you.

I personally enjoyed this movie the way Turtletaub intended. I know others did as well, catching the looks on the audience's faces as they immediately turned to their guests with satisfied smiles and content faces.

Judging that it would have been an afternoon with a talking sponge or a date with Mr. Cage for seven bucks, I am fulfilled with the use of my money.
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8/10
Excellent Cinematography Seizes Points On My Score Sheet!
21 October 2004
When you meet someone for the very first time, how do you know that you've never had an encounter with him or her before? Your memories can do so much for you, unless they are taken away. The motion picture Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind devours this theory and amplifies it to a new level.

An on your toes 'thinker,' Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet light up the screen, with a little help from Winslet's character's hair color.

Joel (Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet) have a breathtaking relationship. From Barnes and Noble bookstores to icy ponds in the dead of winter, they have been through it all-together. Until one day, Joel stops by Clementine's workplace and finds her unaware of him being more than a customer passing by. The plot thickens when Joel finds out that Clementine has her memory of Joel erased forever in a secret process.

Seeing that the title of the movie came from a poem written by Alexander Pope (1688-1744) and the opening credits don't even make an appearance until twenty minutes into the film, this motion picture sure has its eccentricity from any other of the sort.

This picture has space for many large names. Jim Carrey (How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Bruce Almighty) uses his personality to portray his character extremely well. Alongside Carrey, Kate Winslet (Titanic, The Life of David Gale) shocked me, to be honest. After Titanic appeared on the silver screen in 1997, she seemed to settle down until The Life of David Gale took the screen. As a major incentive to seeing this movie, the cinematography is spectacular. Transitioning from one scene to the next or from the past to the present may boggle your mind. The camera work adds extra enjoyment to the movie and really adds to difficulty and effect.

Concerning the film rating of R, there is mild language, drug use and sexual content. This is a mild R compared to others out there. You will be pleased with the decency of this film in a rating department. There is not a lot of foul or uncouth language with diminutive drug use and sexual content.

Taken as a whole, this movie was put together and conveyed really well. A rental in my book and an 8 out of 10 stars, I'd suggest grabbing a bag of popcorn and a friend for an evening of satisfaction towards this movie. Props to Michel Gondry for a first-rate film and a good quality use of my two dollars.
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