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Peaceful Warrior (2006)
It combines the best elements of 'The Karate Kid' and 'Men of Honor'
In 'Peaceful Warrior' Scott Mechlowicz plays Dan Millman, a world-class gymnast. Dan is suffering from insomnia and does not know why. Everything is going his way; he is a straight-A student, he is good with the ladies, he is on his way to making the US Olympic team, what could be troubling him? He meets a strange service station attendant who he calls Socrates (Nick Nolte). Dan seems to think that Socrates has the answers he is looking for. When a crippling accident may ruin his future, Dan needs all the answers he can get.
Based on the book 'Way of the Peaceful Warrior' by the real Dan Millman, this film is truly an inspirational one. Millman has taken several of his true-life experiences and has molded them into an intriguing tale. It combines the best elements of 'The Karate Kid' and 'Men of Honor'.
I think people will be disappointed if they miss this movie.
The Break-Up (2006)
The second half of the film was kind of a let down
In 'The Break-Up' Gary Grobowski (Vince Vaughn) and Brooke Meyers (Jennifer Aniston) are a seemingly happy couple. Deep down, Brooke begins to realize that Gary does not appreciate her. She decides to break up with Gary. However, Gary does not quite get it. He does not want to reconcile, but he is not going to make it easy.
This movie is full of laughs for the first part of the film. Vince Vaughn plays the kind of guy we all want to be. He knows he is getting dumped, but he refuses to accept it and plays it off like he does not care. While making Brooke's life miserable in the process. She tries to get him to change, but that is not going to happen.
The second half of the film was kind of a let down. All the laughs fizzle out and it starts getting serious. Gary finally realizes what he has lost, but who cares, this is supposed to be a comedy.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
I thought this was a really good film, very much like 'National Treasure'
In 'The Da Vinci Code' Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon, a professor who is an expert in religious and cultural symbolism. He is approached by Captain Fache (Jean Reno) who asks his assistance in solving a murder case in France. But Langdon finds that this is much bigger than a murder case and that his own life is in danger. He could be instrumental in revealing the biggest cover-up in human history.
I thought this was a really good film, very much like 'National Treasure'. This is a much more serious movie based upon the best-selling book by Dan Brown. I am told that the movie is quite different than the book. About half the people I know who read the book did not like it.
I did not read the book, but watching the movie makes me want to read it. There is detail in the movie that is hard to absorb in one sitting. I particularly liked Paul Bettany as Silas the albino monk, everyone seems to agree that his portrayal was very good.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
This movie was good, but a little disappointing
In 'X-Men: The Last Stand' a 'cure' has been developed to inhibit the x-gene that causes mutations in Homo sapiens. This, in essence has the ability to turn Homo superiors (mutants) into Homo sapiens. The development in this inhibitor all hinges on extracting it from the mutant Leech (Cameron Bright). While some mutants are encouraged by the 'cure', most are not. Magneto (Ian McKellen) is dead set on destroying it by any means necessary. Right or wrong, the X-men have to stop him before he unleashes his army.
This movie was good, but a little disappointing. I like that we get a glimpse of the Sentinels. They take some artistic license with the comic plot line, which is to be expected, but they did a lot of things I did not like. There are casualties (I am not going to say who) that make no sense and some of the character portrayals were also disappointing.
Most did really well. I really liked Storm (Halle Berry), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), and Beast (Kelsey Grammar). I did not like Rouge (Anna Paquin), Pyro (Aaron Stanford), Callisto (Dania Ramirez), and Phoenix (Famke Janssen). This film has been promoting the emergence of the Phoenix, yet she really does not do anything.
An American Haunting (2005)
This film had an interesting premise, but fails as a movie
In 'An American Haunting' Rachel Hurd-Wood plays Betsy Bell, a very troubled girl from the 1800s. Her story is about an incident that happened between 1818 and 1820, where her family is cursed by a local woman who was rumored to be a witch. Her father, John Bell (Donald Sutherland) apparently cheated the woman and almost took her land until it was judged that Mr. Bell was guilty of usury for charging too high of interest. Even though the woman got her land back, she curses the family after the judgment. It is from that point on that the problems begin to occur. This haunting seems to have carried on up to the year 2006.
This film had an interesting premise, but fails as a movie. It is based upon an unsolved mystery from 1818, the only case in US History where a spirit caused the death of a man. New evidence discovered in 1996 leads to another conclusion.
In the movie, it is unclear as to whether Betsy is cursed or possessed; or what is causing a similar haunting in 2006. By the end, everything becomes clear, but they take the whole movie to get there. The explanation is almost 180 degrees different from what you are lead to believe. Not good and not recommended.
Over the Hedge (2006)
Kids will love it, adults will love, and I loved it.
In 'Over the Hedge' Bruce Willis plays RJ, a raccoon who is in trouble. He tried to take Vincent the bear's (Nick Nolte) food and has two weeks to replace it or else. RJ's plan, to con a group of foragers into collecting the food for him. Lead by Verne the turtle (Garry Shandling), who does not trust RJ, the group is impressed with RJ's knowledge of suburbia which has recently invaded their forest and has built a hedge around of what is left of their environment. The group decides to follow RJ, but will it be their undoing?
This is an awesome film with an all-star cast. With the likes of Steve Carell, William Shatner, and Thomas Haden Church; this movie is a true hit. Kids will love it, adults will love, and I loved it. Everyone is perfect in their roles; I have not seen a better animated film since 'Finding Nemo'.
United 93 (2006)
I think the more people that watch this will understand a little more about human nature
In 'United 93' we take a look at what might have happen to United flight 93 on September 11th. Of the aircraft that were hijacked on September 11th, only United flight 93 did not reach its intended target. This is the story about the events leading up to the hijacking and about the people who tried to save United flight 93.
At first I did not want to see this film. I had no desire to see someone's interpretation of what happened. However, I am glad I did see it. This is probably one of the most riveting and intense films I have ever seen. It is a little slow at first. But, as you follow the events as they unfold, you become captivating in this movie.
Several people have pointed fingers; wanting to blame someone for what happened. I think the more people that watch this will understand a little more about human nature. I do not think anything could have prevented these tragedies; we can only hope to prevent history from repeating itself.
Just My Luck (2006)
It is a combination of 'Freaky Friday' and 'Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen', but not nearly as funny
In 'Just My Luck' Lindsay Lohan plays Ashley Albright, probably the luckiest person alive (hence the name). All she has to do is scratch a lotto ticket and she wins. But when fate comes knocking, she accidentally loses her winning streak to Jake Hardin (Chris Pine). What is Ashley to do when she falls in love with the guy who stole her luck? This is a cute teenage movie without a lot of substance. I think Lindsay's fans will like it, but I think this has very limited appeal. It is a combination of 'Freaky Friday' and 'Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen', but not nearly as funny.
It had a good message in the end, but who cares. The best part of the film was when Ashley takes a beating after losing her luck. She has to learn what life is like for the less fortunate. But I still would not recommend it.
I would say this film is 'Bend it Like Beckham' meets 'Gattaca'
In 'Goal' Kuno Becker plays Santiago Munez, an illegal alien living in Los Angels. Despite his hardships, Santiago loves to play soccer. So much so, that he is really quite good. Good enough to get the notice of a former scout of Newcastle United. Santiago gets the opportunity to go to England and try out for this premier football team. But if he does not make it, he will not be able to return to Los Angels.
This is a heartwarming tale of one man's struggle to become something more. Despite the obstacles and the disapproval of his father (Tony Plana), he goes for the goal. Only to find that it is not going to be that easy after all.
I would say this film is 'Bend it Like Beckham' meets 'Gattaca'. Not that Santiago needs to meet any DNA tests, but he is in a world that is virtually unknown to him. He has to keep secrets about himself in order to fit in because most expect him to fail. Some will even try to make him fail.
It is like 'Titanic' meets 'The Towering Inferno'
In 'Poseidon' Josh Lucas plays Dylan Johns, a professional gambler. When a freak 'rogue wave' incident causes the Poseidon cruise ship to capsize, Dylan has gamble for his life. Deciding not to listen to the captain (Andre Braugher), Dylan tries leads a group of passengers (Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Emmy Rossum, etc.) to safety.
This is a modern remake of the 1972 'The Poseidon Adventure'. I do not remember the original, but I think this one live up to its name. It is like 'Titanic' meets 'The Towering Inferno'. There is a lot of intense action that keeps one on the edge of their seat.
There is not much drama and I do not think it will add too much to the original story. I also noticed that the movie is just over an hour and a half, it is not very long. However, I think audiences will enjoy the intensity of this film.
Wu ji (2005)
This movie is a combination of 'Hero' and 'Bulletproof Monk'
SPOILER: In 'The Promise' Cecilia Cheung plays Qingcheng, an orphan girl trying to survive. While on a battlefield, she tries to find scraps of food from the dead soldiers to bring back to her sick mother. While trying to escape the son of one of the generals, Qingcheng runs into the goddess Manshen (Hong Chen). Manshen informs Qingcheng that her mother is dead and strikes a deal with her. From this day forth Qingcheng will always live in luxury, but every man she falls in love with she will eventually lose. Qingcheng agrees to the bargain.
This movie is a combination of 'Hero' and 'Bulletproof Monk'. This is another Chinese legend epic that really fails as a movie. The moral of the story is hard to follow and takes forever to get its point across. On the plus side, it is a very visually stunning movie. It better be since it is the most expensive film in Chinese history with a budget of $35 million.
If you like 'Hero' and 'House of Flying Daggers', you might like this. Else, don't go see it.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
I think this movie should have been called 'Ethan Hunt: Superman'
In 'MI-III' Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt, an agent of the Impossible Mission Force (IMF). Ethan is an instructor, he is no longer in the field. But when his Protège student is captured by a ruthless arms dealer, he decides to break out of retirement and go to the rescue.
I think this movie should have been called 'Ethan Hunt: Superman'. I think since Tom is one of the producers, he wants to go out with a bang. It is loaded with all out action; so much action that it is really quite unbelievable in parts. I thought the plot was a little weak, however it is certainly better than 'MI-2'. I was very disappointed that Philip Seymour Hoffman had such a small role. He does have a couple of good scenes, but does not appear to be a main character. This movie is all about Tom.
This film pales by comparison to the original 'Mission: Impossible'.
For a first time producer, I thought Jimmy Buffett put together a quality piece of work
In 'Hoot' Logan Lerman plays Roy Eberhardt, the new kid in school who has just moved from Montana. But Florida is a lot different from Montana. Despite is troubles in blending in, Roy discovers a bigger problem. A new franchise restaurant is coming to town and families of burrowing owls are in trouble. Can the new kid, a tomboy (Brie Larson) and a runaway (Cody Linley) stop big business from destroying these owls' home?
This movie was pretty good. The kids (Logan Lerman, Brie Larson and Cody Linley) are the real stars of this film. Luke Wilson (Officer Delinko) is okay, but really does not have a very big part. Neither does Robert Wagner (Mayor) or Jimmy Buffett (Mr. Ryan).
Nevertheless this was a fun film that the whole family will enjoy. For a first time producer, I thought Jimmy Buffett put together a quality piece of work. Plus the owls were really cute.
It is like 'Family Vacation' meets 'Cheaper by the Dozen 2'
In 'RV' Robin Williams plays Bob Munro, a business executive who is trying to get in touch with his family. Problem is, he is not cool anymore and is out of touch. Suddenly, he has to the family vacation plans from Hawaii to Colorado; else he could lose his job. So the idea is rent an RV and go driving, and that is where the fun begins.
It is refreshing to see Robin Williams back in the comedy seat. He is truly the life of this film. Unfortunately, he is probably the only funny one in the movie. I can not say it was that good; it is like 'Family Vacation' meets 'Cheaper by the Dozen 2'. Not entirely original, but there are some fun moments with the RV.
I did like the Gornickes (Jeff Daniels and Kristin Chenoweth), they were a little too unbelievable, but they did have a good report with Robin Williams. I think both Robin Williams and Jeff Daniels should do more projects together.
Kinky Boots (2005)
Good story, but not enough comedy.
In 'Kinky Boots' Joel Edgerton plays Charlie Price, a young man with big dreams outside of Northampton. Suddenly, the death of his father forces him to leave London and return home. He has to resume his father's role and take over the family business, something he has dreaded most of his life. When he discovers that the business is in turmoil, he has to come up with a radical idea that will save everyone job. With the help of a popular drag queen (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Charlie decides to switch gears and start making women's shoes. Women's shoes that are strong enough for a man.
This movie was a little disappointing; I thought it would be funnier. It does have its moments. Joel Edgerton does an amusing job as the businessman without a clue. I liked Chiwetel Ejiofor as the brave Lola/Simon drag queen. However, when he sings, I feel someone else would have been more suited for the role. Good story, but not enough comedy.
Stick It (2006)
For what it was, this was an okay film.
In 'Stick It' Missy Peregrym plays Haley Graham, a troubled ex-gymnast. When her adolescent antics bring her before the judge, she is given the choice of either jail time or back to training. Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges) is reluctant to bring her back. After walking out on the national championship, she is hard to trust. She let a lot of people down that day, friends and foes alike, but not everything is what it seems.
For what it was, this was an okay film. Most of the cast did surprisingly well, the choreography was really good. I think most of the actresses did their own routines. There is something of a surprise ending with a good message in the end.
However, I think this movie was fairly slow and not very believable. Haley appears to be too old for such competition. But, I think anyone who likes gymnastics or appreciates the competition will like this film.
Silent Hill (2006)
It reminded me of 'The Ring' meets 'Hellbound: Hellraiser II'
In 'Silent Hill' Jodelle Ferland plays Sharon DaSilva, the troubled adopted daughter of Rose and Christopher Da Silva (Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean). Sharon sleepwalks and draws strange pictures of what seems to be tortured madness. In order to find a solution to her daughter's problems, Rose decides to take her to Silent Hill. A quarantined town due to uncontrollable coal fires that are underground. For some reason Sharon often refers to the town during her sleep walking episodes.
Based upon the computer game of the same name, I cannot say that I liked this movie. It reminded me of 'The Ring' meets 'Hellbound: Hellraiser II'. There is a lot in the film that is unexplained; several other things that do not make sense. I am a little disappointed to see Sean Bean in this movie; it seems to be beneath him.
However, I am told that the movie does follow the video game to the letter (right down to the same music). I do believe fans of the computer games will enjoy and be able to follow the movie better than most.
The Sentinel (2006)
It is too much like 'In the Line of Fire' only not as good.
In 'The Sentinel' Michael Douglas plays Pete Garrison, a veteran Secret Service agent. He is being investigated by David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland) when it comes to light that there may be a traitor in the Secret Service who might be involved in an assassination plot. But David takes his investigation rather personal because he also feels Pete had an affair with his ex-wife. Agent Garrison must now prove his innocence and protect a President that everyone else believes he is trying to kill.
This film was rather disappointing. It is too much like 'In the Line of Fire' only not as good. There are several plot lines that go unexplained and few circumstances that are too unbelievable. It was not a convincing film.
Neither Michael Douglas nor Kim Basinger did that good of a job. Kiefer Sutherland seemed to be reprising his role from '24'.
I just hope the novel was a little better.
American Dreamz (2006)
Rip-off of 'American Idol'
In 'American Dreamz' Hugh Grant plays Martin Tweed, the has-been host and judge for American Dreamz (a popular rip-off of 'American Idol'). He hates his life and his job, but carries on, his show is number one. His creative inputs this year, bring in a Jew and an Arab on as contestants, and have the President (Dennis Quaid) be a celebrity judge.
This film leaves a lot to be desired. I might be bias because I am not a fan of 'American Idol', but I did not think this film was that funny. Most of the good stuff is revealed in the trailer. Both Mandy Moore and Chris Klein are disappointing and I do not think Hugh Grant has one funny line in the whole movie. Probably the funniest moments are with Iqbal (Tony Yalda), Omer's (Sam Golzari) gay cousin, who attempts to help Omer win the competition. Beyond that, the movie is not that great.
This movie was a cross between 'Spaced Invaders' and 'The Puppet Masters'.
In 'Slither' Nathan Fillion (Serenity) plays Bill Pardy, a small-town sheriff. His home town is about to be overrun by aliens. He has to destroy the leader before they take over everything.
This movie was a cross between 'Spaced Invaders' and 'The Puppet Masters'. It started out with a lot of potential, but was far too campy to be taken seriously. At the same time, it is a little too gruesome to be considered a scary comedy. I think this might have a hard time finding an audience. This will probably appeal to the fans of really bad, low-budget, horror flicks. If you like that sort of thing, keep an eye out for cameos by Lloyd Kaufman and Rob Zombie.
There is a scene where they disclose some of the background on the aliens that I wished they would have expanded on. Overall, I was not a big fan.
Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006)
I did think the original 'Ice Age' was a better movie, but this one is pretty good.
In 'Ice Age: The Meltdown' the gang is back. Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Diego (Denis Leary) find themselves in a post-ice age catastrophe. The ice is melting and they have to move the herd out of the valley before it becomes a lake. Fortunately, they do not have to worry about any carnivorous dinosaurs. They are all extinct, or are they? This was a cute film worthy of the original. The kids will really enjoy it. I thought the best part was that Scrat, the acorn-loving rodent, has a larger role to play in this movie. Queen Latifah is also really good as Ellie, the mammoth that thinks she is a possum.
I did think the original 'Ice Age' was a better movie, but this one is pretty good.
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
It is a cross between, 'The Jackal' and 'The Usual Suspects'.
In 'Lucky Number Slevin' Josh Hartnett plays Slevin, a guy who has just run into some bad luck. He has lost his job, his apartment is being condemned, his girlfriend is cheating on him and he gets mugged. But that is nothing compared to what is about to happen. When he goes to visit a friend in New York, he is the victim of mistaken identity. Not one, but two powerful crime lords think he is Nick, the guy that owes each of them a lot of money. Slevin has to do what he is told or else. But things are not always what they seem.
This movie is awesome. It is a cross between, 'The Jackal' and 'The Usual Suspects'. Everyone is casted very well in their respectable roles. Ben Kingsley is particularly good as a Rabbi/crime boss. I was really impressed with Lucy Liu as the sweet, innocent 'Nancy Drew' role. It is refreshing to see her depart from her usual 'tough chic' roles and show her versatility.
Do not miss this one, it is fantastic.
Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
I would compare it to 'The Karate Kid' meets 'Finding Forrester'.
In 'Akeelah and the Bee' Keke Palmer plays Akeelah Anderson, a bright 11 year old who just wants to fit in. Despite her intelligence, she is not a good student. She is unmotivated and often misses class. Since the death of her father five years ago, she only seems content when she imagines playing Scrabble with him. Nevertheless, her talent for spelling gives her an opportunity to shine.
This is on of the better movies I have seen this year. This heart-warming and inspirational story is about a girl who, despite all the hardships at home, finds a way to utilize her skill at Scrabble. With a little help from her coach (Laurence Fishburne) she not only learns a lot about language, but she learns how to appreciate the environment around her. She finds out that she is rich in ways she did not realize.
It is very difficult to find fault with this movie, there is something in it for everyone (even a few surprises). Both Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne are awesome. I was particularly impressed with Keke Palmer. I would compare it to 'The Karate Kid' meets 'Finding Forrester'.
"Ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking ..."
In 'Ultraviolet' Milla Jovovich plays Violet, a hemophage (vampire) of the future. Her condition is from a disease that was biologically altered to be a weapon. Others of her kind are on the verge of extinction. She must retrieve a new weapon from the Archministry that could mean the end of her people as well as the human race.
This movie was a combination of 'Blade' meets 'The Matrix'. Armed with inter-dimensional weapons and an anti-gravity device, Jovovich becomes a vampire super-soldier. This is loaded with action and a lot of good CGI effects. In my opinion, too many effects, some of which make the movie look a little fake. They certainly sacrifice plot for style. It was hard to follow. It was fun, but not fun enough.
"Ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking ..."
16 Blocks (2006)
This was a surprising good film.
In '16 Blocks' Bruce Willis plays Jack Mosley. He is a washed-up detective with an alcohol problem that does not care about much of anything. When he gets the assignment to transport Eddie Bunker (Mos Def), Jack thinks is just a cake walk assignment. What he finds is that his fellow officers want Eddie dead and are willing to take Jack out to do it. Jack must make a choice.
This was a surprising good film. Willis does a great job portraying a burnt-out cop. However, I was really impressed with Mos Def. I did not know that guy could act. His character was annoying, but very well received.
The best part of this movie was that is was not predictable. It does have a few surprises. I think David Morse (Frank Nugent) was not particularly convincing, particularly in the end. But beyond that, it was really good.