Sunday, December 14, 2008

Movie review - Quantum of Solace

For my 100th blog entry, using Blogger, I will be reviewing a movie I saw exactly a month ago. Why do I procrastinate so much? At least I'm much more up to date on my Twitter updates, as they are short burst of on the moment happenings...

Quantum of Solace is a worthy sequel, or rather continuation, of Casino Royale. The action starts minutes after the end of the last Bond movie. We get to see some of the same characters, as well as new ones, both good and bad guys/gals. Part of Bond's motivation is based on revenge, even though he denies it. Bond, M, Felix and Mathis are back (Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright and Giancarlo Giannini) and some of the new ones are Camille, Dominic Greene and Strawberry Fields (Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric and Gemma Arterton).

Once again, we are treated to fast action, chases, Bond girls, shootouts, torture and other spy stuff. There's another foot chase similar to the one at the beginning of CR, but not quite as intense. I liked QoS very much, but not quite as much as CR, I think, possibly because is wasn't as "new" this time around. But if you also liked CR, I'm sure you would like QoS as well.

Craig is again doing a great job as Bond and I hope he will be returning for many more. One thing that is missing is Q and his gadgets. I know I'm not the only one who thinks that and I hear they should be returning on the next movie. Lets hope so. I also hope they will get John Cleese to play the character again, who took over for Desmond Llewelyn on his last appereance as Q in The World is not Enough. Even though Cleese played R, Q's assistant, he became Q for one movie, Die Another Day.

I'm a Bond fan, so I'm always looking forward for more movies and I hope to see many more in my lifetime. James Bond FTW!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Movie review - Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

I like to move it! You know you're watching a Madagascar movie when it opens with this song... It was in the first one, it's in this sequel and I bet it will be in the third one (already in the work, for a 2011 release). Actually, make sure you pay attention to the very beginning when you see the boy sitting on the crescent Moon for the first laugh...

I saw Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa in it's Imax version. No 3D, but still gorgeous to watch. It still has the same look as the first one and stars the same voices for the main characters; Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer and Andy Richter, as well as new characters from Bernie Mac and Alec Baldwin.

The plot revolves around the fact that our heroes, if they can be called that, wants to go back home, in New York (if you don't understand this, see the first movie, then come back). But due to an airplane's "premature landing", they end up in a totally foreign land called Africa. They soon figure out that this place just might be their real home, from all the animals they meet that just happens to be the same species as they are.

I really liked this movie, which was very funny and a worthy sequel. Being in a different environment helped the story to have lots of new elements, while still bringing back a few familiar ones. The psycho penguins are back for more mischief, of course, as are a couple of lemurs... All the returning main characters can be seen in the trailer, if I remember well.

Unlike the last few movies I reviewed, this one is for the whole family, although it is rated PG for "some mild crude humour", so parents should keep that in mind.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Power Within

Even though I did not have the day off, I didn't go to work today. But I won't get in trouble with my employer, I was part of a group of employees invited to attend a The Power Within seminar at the Palais des congrès, in Montreal. They tour North America with different groups of motivators and other speakers.

The group that was in Montreal today consisted of Mike Lipkin, Loretta LaRoche, Phil Town, Dr. Antonia Coello Novello (former US Surgeon General), Richard Dolan, Martin Sheen and William Jefferson Clinton (AKA Bill Clinton, who had a gig as the 42nd US President). One deception for me, Garry Kasparov was originally scheduled to appear at this seminar, but that did not happen...

I've had corporate one or two days seminars at the office before, but this was quite different. First, we share a huge room with about 4000 people. Impressive. Second, it was a series of speakers, each with their own style. I did like this experience overall. Not everything applied to my life, but the beauty of the concept is that with this many speakers, at least some of them will be interesting to most attendees.

We learned things, laughed, reflected on issues and had a good time. During the day, people would come and go, some were talking during presentations but fortunately there wasn't a big problem in my area and I was able to follow all the speeches. Beside microphones, there were also two big screens on either side of the stage, so we could see the presenters better. We had pretty good seats, only six rows behind the VIP section.

Of course, the big event was Bill Clinton's speech, which was kept for the end. Interestingly enough, when it was his turn, there was very little circulation from the attendees and it was very quiet. It's not often that "regular people" get to see a former US President give a speech like this and Clinton is certainly respected by many people, including us Canadians. While not pointing fingers at anyone, he talked about political issues, the current economy and what can be done by leaders and citizens to help the situation.

If you are given the opportunity to assist to such a seminar, I would suggest you go. It's very interesting and at the very least, a change to your usual routine, I'm sure!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Movie review - Max Payne

I saw Max Payne a month ago, but I'm a little behind, again, in my blog reviews... In a race to catch up once more!

I never played the game this movie is based on, so I can't compare the two. I can only comment on the movie itself for what it is. That would be an action movie, with revenge in mind and a lot of violence along the way. Hm, that does sounds like a game! The main character is played by Mark Wahlberg and was key in getting me to go see this movie. I've liked Wahlberg since I saw him in The Big Hit and he made me buy a few more movie tickets since. This movie is perfect for his style of acting (sorry for the type-casting, Mark!).

The plot is not very original, but it works. A cop who's family was killed seeks revenge and hunts down the people responsible for their death. He has to find them first and in his quest will make allies and enemies. Many bullets will be used during this story, as well as other weapons. Did I mention this was a violent movie? OK, just checking.

The movie also stars Beau Bridges, Chris O'Donnell, Ludacris, Mila Kunis and Olga Kurylenko (one of the newest Bond Girl in Quantum Of Solace), to name a few. It's not a great movie, but it's fun if you like action, which this movie does have quite a bit of.

Oh, if your the type that leaves the theatre when the credit starts rolling, you don't get to see the whole movie. There is a short scene at the very end. No, it doesn't star Nick Fury, but I bet they're hinting at a sequel...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Upcoming movie - Star Trek

Like most geeks, I'm very excited about the new Star Trek movie, coming out in May 2009. A new trailer came out just a few days ago and we now have a better idea what it's going to be like, most likely. We do have to keep in mind that trailers can lie. But I hope this one is more honest, because I liked it a lot. Lots of action in this one, but hopefully there is plenty left for the movie itself. It is being directed by the talented J.J. Abrams. I believe this is the first time he is involved in a project which is already a huge franchise, so let's hope he doesn't mess this up!

One thing that may take a while to adjust to is seeing Sylar playing Spock. By this I mean that Zachary Quinto, who plays Sylar on TV's Heroes will be taking on the role of Spock in this younger version of the original character. In case you didn't already know, the story is with the original characters, when they were just starting their new Star Fleet careers at the Academy. Other well known actors are Simon Pegg as Scotty, Eric Bana as Nero, Winona Ryder as Amanda Grayson and Leonard Nimoy as "Old Spock". I'm not familiar with the other actors, but that shouldn't be a problem...

I don't know about you, but I know where I'm going to be on May 8, 2009!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Movie review - How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is the latest comedy starring Simon Pegg, as well as Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, Gillian Anderson, Jeff Bridges and Thandie Newton (as herself!). Pegg is back with his usual British humour, which I happen to like. He plays a British magazine writer who gets a shot at writing for a big New-York magazine and a chance at the big live and a prestigious career, rubbing elbows with movie stars and other celebrities. Problem is, he's a bit rude and doesn't quite follow the rules, which puts a break to his aspirations. Until he decides to give the rules a chance.

Along the way he will meet two women who will change his life. One is a co-worker (Dunst) who helps him out with his new career and whom he doesn't fancy much, the other his a movie star (Fox) he very much desire. He will get to be with the star, but do you suppose he may end up with someone else?

I found the story interesting and very funny. Pegg is as charming as usual, in his own kind of way and the other actors & actresses do a very good job as well. It last almost two hours and is rated R in the U.S., 13+ in Quebec, for many good reasons...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Movie review; Eagle Eye

I saw Eagle Eye in glorious Imax, which is usually an added interest to movies, particularly when it has nice special effects and action scenes. Eagle Eye certainly have those two elements. And the story is not bad either. The main theme of this movie deals with the ultimate Big Brother figure. The two main characters, played by Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan, are chosen for a mission assigned to them by a mysterious group that can follow them everywhere and always can figure out a way to talk to them, using diverse technologies that surrounds them, such as surveillance cameras, cell phones, electronic billboards and much more. The reason why they are chosen and also why they have to do what they are asked to do is revealed slowly during the first part of the movie.

Once we learn the identity of the Big Brother group and even why they are giving specific orders to our two protagonists, the story still continues, with more details and reasons being revealed still. Other important characters are played by Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Mackie and Michael Chiklis.

The end is somewhat predictable and a little ordinary, but I found the story interesting enough to find myself wanting to know more and got a few surprises along the way. I guess it makes you think about where technology is possibly taking us and makes you ask yourself "what if they could do these things?" or perhaps "how much of this can they already do?".

The movie has good visuals, nice action scenes and plenty of stunts. A nice pop-corn movie, I would say! PG 13 for violence and language. Shia LaBeouf is climbing his way to the top of the action stars domain and this movie is another good step for him.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Movie review; Step Brothers

It took me a while before I decided to go see Step Brothers. I'm not sure why, because it looked like something I would like. I like Will Ferrell and the trailer was funny, so it looked like a safe bet. But it seemed there was always something that I wanted to see first. But I finally did and it was worth the wait! I had a lot of fun watching this movie and I laughed a lot. You do have to take into consideration that this is a movie that is anything but politically correct, just in case you are are easily offended and don't like that feeling. Because this is a comedy, I didn't have issues with that aspect of the movie.

As the title indicates, this is the story of two step brothers, who get in this situation when they are fully grown adults. Like, 39-40 years old. But they both still are living at home with a parent and not even considering the maturity aspect of their live. The other step brother is played by John C. Reilly and is a perfect match to Ferrell's type of comedy. Living together is very hard at first, but eventually turns into a good friendship, before turning bad when their parent gets a divorce, but then by the end, things starts getting better once again. The parents are played by Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins.

Most of the movie is around the immaturity of both main characters, separately as well as together. You can easily deduct this from the trailer, but it gets worst. You generally want the trailer to be "G", so that you can air it anytime during the day. Not the "R" it got in the U.S. or even the 13+ it got here in the Quebec province (I guess we get our maturity faster!).

If you like Ferrell and/or Reilly type of comedy, you will enjoy this movie like I did. If you can't stand immature comedy, then obviously, go see something else... ;-) Fortunately for me, my taste in comedy is quite diversified.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Movie review; Burn After Reading

When I saw the trailer for Burn After Reading, it seemed like this would be a fun movie to watch. And it was! Very funny, from beginning to end. It is written & directed by the Coen brothers, Ethan & Joel, has a very good story and a great cast. The main characters are played by Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Richard Jenkins, as well as J.K. Simmons and David Rasche in smaller but very funny roles.

The humour is often a little dark, mixed with violence, but I found it very funny and laughed out loud several times and particularly in the last scene. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie that ended with everyone in the theatre laughing so much during the last few minutes.

The basis of the story is that a gym employee (Pitt) gets his hands on a CD that contains documents from a CIA agent and decides to blackmail him, although he only sees it as a normal reward that is due to him and his partner (McDormand) in the transaction that will possibly follow. The CIA agent (Malkovich) sees it as pure blackmail and doesn't like it at all. What follows are misunderstandings, drama, back-stabbing, fights, conversations and of course, comedy.

The trailer is a good indication of what this movie is about, but unlike some other movies, there is still a lot of situations & jokes that are not revealed, so there is a lot of surprises to be seen. Once again, leave the kids at home and rent them a Disney movie while you watch this one.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Movie review; Bangkok Danderous

Basically, Bangkok Dangerous is an Asian movie starring an American, Joe, played by Nicolas Cage. It is actually a remake of an all-Asian movie from 1999, which I didn't see. Joe is an hired assassin and about to retire, after "one last job". We know how this usually end, don't we? I expected more from this movie, although I don't think it's as bad as many seems to think it is.

Things starts right for Joe, but unexpected events starts messing up his plans after he starts getting "soft", relatively speaking. He finds a girl he likes and takes a local guy he hired under his wing. The problem is, he's breaking his own rules. Maybe it was caused by his dreams of retiring?

There's a few good action scenes and the story is not bad. A bit of humour and a bit more violence. I can't really recommend this movie for most people, so you may want to wait and rent it when it comes out on DVD...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Movie review; Babylon A.D.

Babylon A.D. takes place in a not too distant future, where a mercenary gets a special job, which consist in delivering a package in the U.S. What is special about this is that the package is a young and mysterious girl. The story is somewhat average and the ending is kinda missing. I'm just not sure if I don't get it or if there is nothing to get.

On the positive side, there is a lot of action in this movie, along with decent special effects. It stars Vin Diesel in his usual tough guy type of character, along with Mélanie Thierry as the girl he needs to bring in the U.S. and Michelle Yeoh as her protector and mentor. So you can expect fights, chases, guns and many explosions along the way.

It definitely has a style of it's own and lots of potential. Too bad it doesn't quite reach it's full potential... It may not be a revolutionary sci-fi movie, but it's an entertaining action flick. As you probably guessed by now, there is a lot of violence, so leave the kids with the babysitter.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Movie review; The House Bunny

Once upon an evening, I was in the mood for a sexy light comedy. Oddly enough The House Bunny had just been released! It's the story of a House Bunny (a girl that lives in the Playboy Mansion) who gets kicked out and realize she doesn't know much about the "real life". Many scenes are at the real Playboy Mansion, I believe. The real Hugh Hefner is in the movie, with some of his real life "girlfriends", that part I'm pretty sure. What attracted me the most to this movie is the star, cute and funny girl Anna Faris, who was in all the Scary Movie movies, amongst other things.

It's not the funniest movie ever, or even of the summer, but it has many funny scenes. It also has a morale, I guess, but that's not the most important point of this type of movie, I would say.

Despite it's subject, it's more a PG movie then an adult one. You'll see sexy girls, but that's as far as it goes, in case you were looking for something else... So, a cute movie, with it's moments, but not much more. Not the type of movie that needs to be seen on the big screen, although I didn't regret doing so.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Movie review; Death Race

This movie is loosely inspired from the 1975 version of Death Race 2000, starring Sylvester Stallone. Instead of getting points by killing civilians with your car, this one takes place in a prison and is a very popular TV show that pits prisoners against each others. Most will die, but if you can manage to win three races, your prize is a get-out-of-prison card. The races are organized by the prison warden, who seems more interested in keeping the ratings high then seeing her star drivers winning their freedom.

The main reason I went to see this movie is it's star, Jason Statham. I always enjoy seeing him playing the tough guy type of character. Also starring is Tyrese Gibson, Joan Allen, Ian McShane and Natalie Martinez, to name a few. I was expecting action, fast cars, crashes, mayhem and an OK story. I got all of that. The story is not bad and has a few twists and surprises, although some were predictable.

Statham delivers his usual macho "don't mess with me" character, which I like seeing him doing. Let's face it, the title announces what we're in for when going to see this movie. Plenty of violence, car races and an increasing body count. I liked it! Find a baby sitter for the kids, because this is absolutely not meant for them.

Death Race was shot in Montreal, but you really can't tell by looking at it. It's not suppose to either. For action movie lovers.

Movie review; Tropic Thunder

I usually never go see war movies, unless it's Sci-Fi or a comedy. Tropic Thunder definitely falls in the later category. Very funny movie, starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black & Robert Downey Jr. Three different actors, but they work great together. Nick Nolte, Brandon T. Jackson and Jay Baruchel also have a strong presence and Tom Cruise has a fairly short role, but it's much more then a cameo. Talking of cameos, there are many short ones in this movie, so don't blink!

I laughed a lot during this movie. It's about actors that are sent in a jungle to experience more realistic conditions of war, so they can better understand their roles. Of course, they get stuck in a much more real war then they intended. It's a movie within a movie type of scenario at the begining, but 'their' movie is no longer going on, until the end of 'our' movie, but they think they are, at least most of them... Did I lose you? Many very funny situations, some of them a bit controversial in real life, but let's face it: Who would expect a politically correct story from this?

Regarding Tom Cruise, you have never seen him like this, I guarantee you that! Actually, with the heavy makeup, he's hardly recognizable. If I didn't knew he was playing that character, I just might have not noticed he was in the movie until I would have seen his name in the credits.

There is some violence, but mostly in a humourous way, of course, strong language and mature subjects. Not a family movie, you have been warned. But if you are mature (at least legally), like to laugh and haven't seen it yet, I think you will enjoy Tropic Thunder.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Movie review; Star Wars: The Clone Wars

There wasn't supposed to be anymore big screen Star Wars movies, but I guess that didn't include animation films... But don't be mistaken, this is a Star Wars films, including major characters, story continuity and look. Most voices are from different actors then from the movies, except for Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Daniels and Christopher Lee.

If you saw the first Clone Wars cartoon from a few years ago, you will be in familiar territory. There's a unique style to the characters' look, which is quite interesting, but I found that the animation was a little rough sometimes, not as smooth as it could have been. But that wasn't enough to spoil it for me. I liked this movie, with it's story and style. It's funny, fits perfectly in the Star Wars theme and we get to discover new characters. Possibly because it's a cartoon, the tone is much lighter then the movies in this time period, despite the fact that they're in a war.

If you didn't know, there is two TV series coming based on Star Wars. One will be live action and one will be a cartoon. The Clone Wars is basically the pilot for the cartoon one, but they will probably be able to finance the series with this big screen version. I don't think Marketing ever sleep at Lucasfilm...!

I don't know why people don't seem to like this movie. Maybe they were expecting too much from a cartoon. Maybe I'm not normal. Maybe a little bit of both. I don't care. Your loss. :-P

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Movie review: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is the third "The Mummy" movie starring Brendan Fraser. While the first two took place where you would expect to find mummy's, this one takes place in China. Some will take issues with this, but I don't. Living-dead creatures don't actually exist, after all. Right??? ;-)

Has it was said before by Rick O'Connell, our hero and again this time, "Here we go again!". Bringing the story to China was one way of making something old new again. Somewhat. I wouldn't call it entirely new, but it does bring new elements to the story, between battles with decayed walking corps. It also brings Jet Li as the Dragon Emperor and Michelle Yeoh as Zi Juan, a witch who once magically imprisoned the Emperor and, due to a certain digging expedition, will need to do deal with him again. But this time, he must be killed, so he can't come back again. I won't tell you if this succeed, as I do not want to insult your intelligence...

Evelyn O’Connell is back as Rick's wife, but is played by Maria Bello this time around. I guess Rachel Weisz was not interested in another easy blockbuster movie. On the other hand, John Hannah is back as Jonathan Carnahan, who happens to have moved to China to get away from those darn mummy's... New to the main cast is Luke Ford, as Alex O'Connell (Rick's son) and Isabella Leong, as Lin (Zi Juan's daughter). Both kids are following their parent's path in live, respectively.

I liked the movie for what it is, a fun summer ride with great special effects (while not always perfect) and a comical undertone. As can be seen in the trailer, there is a lot of mummy's to be seen, as well as a few Yetis. If this movies makes enough money, then there could be a fourth one coming, but I think it may be a good idea to keep it as a trilogy, before they start to spread this franchise too thin... We'll see.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Movie review: The X-Files: I Want to Believe

I have been waiting a long time for this sequel and like many other, I was really looking forward to see The X-Files: I Want to Believe. There are two main subjects I can remember from the TV series and the first movie; Aliens & other strange creatures and religious & psychic themes. Unfortunately for me, this movie is about the second category. That's not what I want to believe in. Of course, this is fiction, so I don't have to believe it! So, I was a little disappointed by this movie, but I was still able to enjoy parts of it. Seeing Mulder & Scully together again is of course a major point of interest.

It is directed by Chris Carter and stars David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson in the main roles, as well as Amanda Peet as ASAC Dakota Whitney, Billy Connolly as Father Joseph Crissman (who happens to be psychic) and Xzibit as Agent Mosley Drummy in the main supporting roles. On IMDB, it is mentionned that the running time in Canada is 105 minutes and 100 minutes in the U.S.A. I wonder what we got to see that the Americans don't get to...

In the story, neither Mulder nor Scully are working for the FBI anymore. Mulder is somewhat of a hermit and Scully is a full-time doctor. But a special case, involving a psychic, pulls them back into action for the duration of this investigation. The characters have not changed too much, one a believer of paranormal events, the other not quite as much. It would seem they did get closer together, though... Of course, there are a few surprises here and there.

The story is OK and has it's moments. It felt more like a long episode, rather than a movie, but it is well produced. I hope they do another one, but I want aliens this time! During the end credits, the camera moves through what looks like water and ends with one last cute scene. It is rated PG-13 and is more for the hardcore fans, I believe...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Movie review: The Dark Knight

Wow. Just, wow. When I wrote my review for Iron Man, I said that it would become a standard against which other superheroes movies would be compared to. Well, The Dark Knight certainly compares favourably. I found it to be excellent! Despite being two hours and a half, I didn't want it to finish. I didn't know it was that long when I went to see it, but as I was watching it, I knew it was longer then usual, not because I was getting bored, but because I was getting so much! And I'm certainly not alone thinking so. It broke records, it's getting great reviews from both professional critics and regular movie goers and it currently holds IMDB #1 spot of their Top 250, with over 91K votes. It is that good.

I did go see it on it's official opening day, after work. I wanted to see the Imax version, so I went "early" to buy my ticket during my lunch time. When I got to the theatre, all Imax showings for the day were already sold-out. Darn. But I had to see it that evening, so I bought a regular ticket. The Montreal's Scotiabank movie theatre (formerly the Paramount) still has excellent and big screens as regular ones. I will go back to see this movie and this time, it will be Imax.

Great performance from all the main actors, including Heath Ledger as the Joker. Once again, the Joker steals the show, but this time it's even better. The Jack Nicholson version was good, but it was Nicholson in Joker makeup. This new version is just the Joker. The actor disappear and we are left with a pure evil Joker. That's a compliment, in case I'm not clear. It's really too bad Ledger can never take this, or any other role in the future. He even performs a magic trick like you have never seen before!

The other actors include Christian Bale as Batman, Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as Lt. James Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, plus many more.

The story keeps you guessing and is very well written. This is more then your typical three acts script. It's very human and you care about the characters, who are faced with difficult problems and dilemmas. There's a bit of humour, some of it pretty dark, but it's pretty serious most of the time. Oh, also, there's action! Fights, chases and a whole lot of violence, although not as graphic as they could have make it (probably to keep it PG-13).

Don't bring young kids to see this movie, but do go see it yourself (unless you're a young kid...). Even if you're not a typical superheroes fan, this one might be able to get you to start liking this genre. If you are a fan, you probably saw it already, but if not, what are you waiting for? You have to see this on the big screen.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Movie review: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II is a worthy sequence and I had a good time watching it. We get to see Hellboy as a kid for a short time at the beginning of the movie, as a background story setup. Then, it's back to present day with the same main characters we saw in the first movie, with the same actors playing them, so we're in familiar territory. But also, there are new characters that meet our heroes, some nice, some not so nice. The story is good and contains action, humour and some tender moments.

It is once again directed by Guillermo del Toro and stars Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Selma Blair (Liz Sherman), Doug Jones (Abe Sapien) and the main new characters are played by Luke Goss (Prince Nuada) & Anna Walton (Princess Nuala). There are a few other familiar faces and new ones too, of course.

We discover a world hidden from us, but very much thriving and very close by. Also, the Prince & Princess Nuada are from an ancient world that once made a pact with humans, but which the Prince wants to break. Much of the story revolves around this and makes for a very interesting plot.

Unfortunately, I had figured out a key element of the end early on, but I was still able to enjoy the movie. The visuals are beautiful and support the story well. Great movie, great fun and what are you waiting for to go see it, if you have not already done so?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Movie review: Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

I wasn't expecting too much from Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, beyond a fun ride and nice visuals. The movie was fun in that way, except that it was partly ruined by the 3D technology part. I don't know if I was sitting too close to the screen or if my eyes did not adapt properly to their technology, but it looked really bad. I barely got the 3D effect in a few shots, most of them being out of sync. The close up in particular did not work at all, as I saw two separated images and the colours did not match properly because of this as well. Just one or two images out of sync from the two projections would probably cause the same issue. I went to see it alone, so I couldn't compare my experience and I didn't check with the other people in the room either, as I am a bit shy. I hope this was an exceptional problem, because I can't imagine why they would use this technology if it's not working properly. I saw an Imax 3D movie not too long ago and it looked great, so I doubt it's me.

What's more, the movie theatre I saw it at, the Guzzo at Marché Central, in Montreal, charged $3 extra for the glasses rental, on top of asking for an ID card they kept as hostage to insure they get them back! And we had to sign a piece of paper too. There were 3D previews before the movie, and they looked better than the movie itself, while not perfect, so I'll take a chance and try again with another movie, most likely, but I can't say I'm that anxious to try again. Note to the studios: Use Imax 3D or make sure the theatres you let use this new technology are properly tested and trained.

Had it not been for the disappointment noted above, I would surely have enjoyed this movie much more. The story is interesting, the visuals are probably very nice without the bad 3D and the actors do a good job. As can be seen in the trailer and implied in the title, our "heroes" go to the centre of the Earth to discover an old lost world. Of course, one must completely let go of reality to accept how they enter and exit that world, let alone accept the complexity of a world such as this one, so deep under the surface. But it's fantasy and it's fun to relax your brain from time to time.

The movie stars Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson and Anita Briem, as well as shorter roles with Seth Meyers and a few others. There are many funny scenes, lots of action and a bit of romance. So, a nice summer pop-corn movie if you like adventure and nice endings. It is not only inspired by the Jules Verne's work of the same name, it is referred to in the movie.

If you do see the 3D version, I'd like to know how it went for you and where you saw it. I just can't accept it can be this bad everywhere...

Movie review: Astérix aux jeux olympiques

This is the third "live action" Astérix movie and so far, none of them have received good reviews on average. It seems this is a hard comic book to bring to the big screen with actors. While they were no blockbusters, the animated versions did fare better. Personally, I don't think they're that bad, including this latest one. There are very funny moments, but Astérix aux jeux olympiques could use more, I'll agree with that.

Gérard Depardieu is reprising his role as Obélix, but Clovis Cornillac is taking over the Astérix role from Christian Clavier. Actually, besides Depardieu, I think the only actor that came back for this third movie is Jamel Debbouze, with a shorter screen time as Numérobis... Two notable newcomers are a pair of stand up comics which are very popular at the Montreal's Just For Laugh festival. French Franck Dubosc and French Canadian Stéphane Rousseau, as Assurancetourix and Alafolix respectively. Oh yeah, Jules Cesar (Julius Caesar) is played by Alain Delon, which is somewhat of a big deal and we are reminded of this when his name come up on the screen at the beginning and at the end of the movie. Another character that left a good impression, in good part for her beauty, is Princess Irina, played by Vanessa Hessler.

It's pretty much at the same level as the previous ones, so you should like them about the same as well, whether it's a lot or not at all. Or somewhere in the middle, like myself. It has many cameos from the sport's world (actual athletes playing similar roles from their real lives) and the mandatory and intentional anachronisms we are used to with every versions of Astérix adventures, including a not so subtle reference to Star Wars. So, should you go see it? Only if you're a big fan and are easily entertained, just like me! ;-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Movie review: Hancock

Hancock is a very cool movie. I got more then I expected. From the trailer, we get that Hancock, played by Will Smith, has superhero powers, such as flight and great strength & speed, but he doesn't care much about it. He does help by stopping bad guys, but causes a lot of damage along the way, not caring about how much it will cost the city to repair it all, when he could easily perform the same tasks with minimal damage.

After a chance encounter with Ray Embrey, a PR person played by Jason Bateman, he is offered a new way of living with his powers. He talks to him, invites him home for dinner, introduce him to his young son Aaron, played by Jae Head and his wife Mary, played by the beautiful Charlize Theron. Embrey convince him, after much encouragements, that he would feel much better about himself if he was considerate to other people's properties and in return, they wouldn't consider him like such a jerk. He even convince him to surrender to the police as a sign of good faith, after he received yet another warrant for arrest. Of course, the police can't force him to do anything if he doesn't want to. The hope is also that once Hancock is in prison, the crime rate will rise and the authorities will realize that they need him back on their side. That's what happens, of course.

I pretty much much expected the above, but not much more. I was wrong. There is more to this story and I just didn't see it coming. I won't say any more on that subject, but it's makes the movie much more interesting. Hints of it can be seen in the trailer, however...

There is some violence and strong language, but apparently it was toned down because they were facing an R rating in the U.S., which would greatly diminish the audience, so they edited it to get a PG-13 instead. I wonder if they will make the original version available on DVD... Also, this being a superhero movie, physics takes a backseat to reality. Even if we accept that someone could fly and be super strong and fast, there are obvious impossibilities in this movie. For example, like we have seen in other similar movies, when he trows a kid in the air, the kid stays in the air for a very long time, which means he goes really high and fast. If that didn't kill him, then he certainly would when Hancock catches him just before he hits the ground. At the speed the kid was going at that point, it wouldn't make a difference if he lands on Hancock's arm or on solid ground. The sudden deceleration is what kills someone, not the fall itself. Anyway, if you can look past these details, it's a really well made movie and fun to watch.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Movie review: WALL-E

So far, I have not been disappointed by any Pixar movie, so I was not worried when I decided to go see WALL-E. The different trailers and teases I had seen seemed to support this view as well. I can now affirm that this is one of their best movie ever! Animation, Sci-Fi, comedy, social criticism, positive message, it has it all. It deals with the fact that we are transforming our planet in a giant garbage can and what leads to it.

As we can see in the trailer, WALL-E, which stands for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class, is a mobile trash compactor. He goes around picking up all the garbage and piles it up in giant mountains, some of them taller then the tallest sky scrapers around. He is the last working unit and has been at it for about 700 years and still has a lot of work to do. All humans have evacuated Earth to live on a mostly automated ship, full of robot servants, the Axiom. The two elements that are mainly criticized are over-consumption and laziness. The first made our planet inhabitable and the second made everyone fat. But it's still a very funny movie, with hope in the end.

We are treated to high quality animation, as usual, with a bit of live-action sequences in the form of prerecorded messages by the BnL CEO, played by Fred Willard. It's a very funny comedy for the whole family and you really should go see it if you haven't done so already. I'll probably go see it a second time myself...

Movie review: Wanted

I knew two things when I went to see Wanted: It was an action movie, starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. First, the real star is James McAvoy, unknown to me until then, who plays Wesley Gibson, a man with talents he doesn't know he has, until he his contacted by a member of The Fraternity, an assassins group. That member is Fox, played by Jolie. The leader of the group is Sloan, played by Freeman. Second, while it is an action movie, I found it to be more then what the trailer let us know. That's a good thing. And I'm not just talking about a single surprise twist to the story at the end of the movie, but several plot development to the story. Of course, it does have it's lot of improbable or even impossible scenes, has can be witnessed in the trailer.

I do not want to spoil the story, so I'll keep it brief. Gibson works in a cubicle, in an office, as an accountant. He's been at it for a while and he'd love nothing more than leaving that job, but doesn't have the nerves to do it. He keeps taking the abuse from the boss and takes pills to deal with the stress. After his encounter with Fox and a wild ride running from another assassin who rebelled against The Fraternity, he gets to meet Sloan and the rest of the gang. He learns about his father's history with the group and about his own abilities. At first, he doesn't want to join, but after a few more work related events and other events in his personal life, he will of course join the guild.

What follows is training, missions and revenge. One of the thing that pushed him was the fact that his father was killed by a rogue member of The Fraternity. Everything leads to this final vengeance, or so he believes. Other things gets in the way. In particular, the obligatory assassination orders, which are summoned in a very unique way. I can't really say more, except that the visuals are very good, there are many great action scenes, as well as over the top sequences and a bit of humour here and there, for good measure. Good casting too, I didn't know many of the actors, but they did a good job.

Of course, there's a lot of violence, so don't bring young kids along. And one word of advice: Don't stand on that X on the floor... ;-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Movie review: The Love Guru

I'm sure not everyone will agree with me, but I really liked The Love Guru. It's very funny, has a great cast, many cameos and the biggest joke of all: The Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup! Although it's more realistic then the Los Angeles Kings winning it... I'm not a hockey guy, but when it's in a comedy, I can appreciate it a little bit more. I understand the star of this movie, Mike Myers is a fan. And I'm pretty sure I understand is choice of teams. He works in LA, but is from Toronto...

But hockey is only one aspect of the movie and is mainly about this Love Guru, who is hired to re-unite the Maple Leafs' star player with his wife, because his game performance is suffering from this separation. Also, by accomplishing this task, he may get more notoriety and an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's TV show, which are his initial true goals. But could it be that more important things comes in the way? Of course, it's a comedy!

The beautiful and sweet owner of the Leafs, Jane Bullard, is played by Jessica Alba and is the one who hires Guru Pitka. She will have the same effect on him then she has on me... Other characters are Darren & Prudence Roanoke, the troubled couple, played by Romany Malco and Meagan Good, Coach Punch Cherkov, played by Verne Troyer and Jacques Grande, played by Justin Timberlake. Grande is the cause of Darren's troubles, being the one who stole Prudence from him. He his the Kings' goaler. He also happens to be a Québécois and one of the funniest character in the movie! It's probably even funnier to us real Québécois, because of the way Timberlake plays him. By the way, his recipe for a Québécois' Pizza, I had never heard of. Don't believe a word of it!

A must see for Mike Myers' fans, but it should be fun for other peoples as well. Be warned that the language is crude at times and the story has some violence, sexual references and other things not appropriate for young kids. Parents beware.

Movie review: Get Smart

While I can't remember seeing the original series on TV, I had heard of it and it seems interesting. Maybe I can catch reruns of it some day. But for now, I can say that I saw the brand new big screen version of Get Smart, starring the very funny Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart, a somewhat clumsy but also lucky and dedicated agent of CONTROL, a secret U.S. spy agency. The result is a very funny movie that I liked a lot. Many very funny scenes and situations.

It also stars Anne Hathaway as Agent 99, Dwayne Johnson as Agent 23, Alan Arkin as The Chief (of CONTROL), Terence Stamp as Siegfried, the head of CHAOS (the bad guys) and James Caan as the U.S. President. Two other very funny actors that only have one scene each are Bill Murray as agent 13 and Patrick Warburton as Hymie. If they make a sequel (I think it's likely), I hope these two get more time on screen, particularly Warburton who I think is hilarious in everything he does (he is currently on the TV series Rules of Engagement and Family Guy).

Max (aka Maxwell Smart) kind of reminds me of Inspector Jacques Clouseau, from the Pink Panther movies fame, because part of his success relies on dumb luck, basically. After failing the Agent test a few times, Max eventually is promoted from Analyst to full Agent status and is paired with Agent 99 for a very important mission, to battle CHAOS and their evil plan. The story is not the most original one, but works fine for this comedy. Recommended if you like to "LOL"... :-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Movie review: You Don't Mess With The Zohan

If you have seen the trailer for You Don't Mess With The Zohan, then you probably saw many of the best jokes from the movie, but there are still more to be seen and heard. It's not the best comedy of the summer, but I liked it. There are a few very funny scenes.

It stars Adam Sandler, John Turturro, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Rob Schneider and many others. I guess it's a little "risqué", dealing with Middle East and American people, with many stereotypes throughout the movie, but the conclusion is actually quite positive. You don't really see this kind of comedy for the message, but I like how they did made one of tolerance. You know, humour is probably a good way to do it, after all.

The plot is well explained in the trailer, but if you have not seen it, it's about a very skilled anti-terrorist army guy who grows tired of the fighting and move to America (aka the United States) to live his dream of becoming a hair stylist. His idol is Paul Mitchell and after being turned down from his salon, he finds a more modest one to start his new career. Of course, his past will come back to haunt him and he will need to rely on his fighting skills from time to time.

This is obviously an Adam Sandler movie, so keep that in mind when deciding to see it or not... I like him, so I had fun. :-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Flash mob in Montreal

I witnessed my first "Flash mob" yesterday, during the Photo Safari Montreal outing we had on "The Main" (St-Laurent street), thanks to a tip sent to the group's fearless leader. We had a place, an approximate time and...nothing else! We had our cameras ready watching everyone for something unusual. We got it! I decided to go for a video instead of photos and I'm glad I did.

Have you witness one?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Movie review: The Incredible Hulk

I saw The Incredible Hulk and I really liked it. Much better then the first one. It's what Hulk should be, with lots of action and smashing. Good casting too, starring Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, the beautiful Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky and William Hurt, barely recognizable as General Thaddeus Ross, amongst others.

As expected, Banner is on the run from the government and is looking for a "cure" to his condition. The intro is a brief explanation of what happened to him and the ones around him when he got his overdose of Gamma rays. The story is interesting and well told, special effects are great a sequel is just about guaranteed, at this point. There are a few nods to the TV series and also a few cool cameos. There was also humour throughout the movie, of course...

At the end, there is a little scene that connect the movie to other ones, like another recent superhero movie... But it's before the credits, not after. We were a lot of people who stayed until the very end, hoping for one last shot which never came and there was some disappointment about that. But the movie itself being what it is, I don't think anyone regretted having been there on opening day.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Movie review: Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda is a DreamWorks Animation production and it is very funny! Good animation, good story and a lot of humour. It has an all-star cast of voice talent such as Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Michael Clarke Duncan, Seth Rogen and Jackie Chan. It's about a panda who dreams of being a Kung Fu master, but doesn't have what it takes. Or does he? I don't think it would be much of a spoiler if I said that, of course, he does achieve his dream in a big way...

I know I wasn't the only one enjoying this movie, from the laughs I heard all around me throughout the movie. It is PG, because of the animated violence, but I don't think it should be a problem for most kids, so bring the whole family! I saw the Imax version and it looks beautiful.

I didn't hear about a sequel being planned for this movie, but I can easily imagine they are already in "secret pre-production"... Talking about sequels, one of the previews was Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, another DreamWorks production. It looks like it's going to be another funny one!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Movie review: What Happens in Vegas...

I wasn't in a big hurry to go see What Happens in Vegas, but I did want to see it, particularly after seeing that it was getting good reviews on the Cinema Montreal site (even though that is not the case on IMDB, once again). It stars Cameron Diaz (All the Shrek movies, both Charlie's Angels, Minority Report, There's Something About Mary...) and Ashton Kutcher (TV's Punk'd and That 70's Show, The Butterfly Effect, Open Season...), who work well together on the big screen.

It's a romantic comedy of two people who meet by chance in Vegas, don't like each other much but get married after too many drinks and as they agree to annul the marriage, the win a $3M jackpot on a slot machine. They each claim it's theirs only and ends up in court. The judge condemns them to live together and prove that they will work on their couple and freezes the money until they come back in court. Of course, they pretend they are happy when they really hate each other's guts and try to trick the other in doing something that would make them lose their half of the money. As the story progress, the hate diminishes and something else seems to take it's place. Will they end up loving each other by the end? Well, here's one clue: It's a Hollywood movie!

It's a cute movie, with a lot of humour and some serious moments. I've liked Diaz since I first saw her in The Mask and started appreciating Kutcher's work after seeing him in The Butterfly Effect, where he showed he could actually act. Good movie to see if you like silly fun and don't want to have to think too much. The story is pretty easy to follow! :-)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Movie review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a long title, but the first two words pretty much was enough to sell me, as well as many others, a ticket to this movie. And they sure can't be accused of rushing this one! It has been a while since we had the pleasure of seeing Indiana Jones on the big screen, but it was worth the wait.

Harrison Ford is getting older, but he still can hold is own in this action movie. Coming out of the movie, I was thinking it could have used a bit more action, but I think I was just being picky. It has plenty of it. We get to see familiar faces in this story, as well as new ones. Shia LaBeouf is one of these new characters and I have a feeling we'll get to see more of him in other Indiana Jones movies, should they decide to keep the franchise alive... If not, well, he still has Transformers 2 in the work (which I am looking forward to as well).

Crystal Skull follows the usual type of story that previous I.J. movies offered us, with a twist that reminds us who the director is. It's Steven Spielberg, in case you didn't know. We have action, stunts, chases, humour and mystery. It all adds up very well and makes this a very enjoyable movie. I do hope they make more of them...

Movie review: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

A worthy sequel to the first Narnia movie (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), Prince Caspian is also a very good family movie from Disney, even though it does have some violence, so parental guidance is important for the younger audience.

The visuals are again amazing, with giant battles and many creatures such as Centaurs, Minotaurs, Satyrs and talking animals (mice, badgers, lions, etc.). Dwarfs and Humans also have a big role here, of course.

The same four young heroes from the first movie are summoned by Prince Caspian to help him regain control of his future throne and restore order in a world that is much different this time around. Also, he doesn't quite believe the legends of the Four Kings & Queens is true. This is mainly because around 1300 years has past in Narnia while only one year has in our world.

The movie offers us many action scenes, touching moments, some morales and a fair dose of humour. I really enjoyed this movie and I think you will too, if you enjoy the genre of fantasies movies that this one is part of. I'm looking forward to the next "Chronicles of Narnia" chapter, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which should be out in 2010 with some of the same characters as Caspian...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Movie review: Speed Racer

I may never have seen the cartoon it is based on, but I have seen the Speed Racer movie and it's a thrill ride! As a matter of fact, it does look like a cartoon for the most part, which is OK for a movie like this one. It is live action, but with a lot of CG. It holds very well on the Imax screen I saw it on. The type of races we see are way over the top and are fun to watch, with lots of action. The music is fun too, the story is interesting and the actors are good.

The movie is directed by the Wachowski brothers (Andy & Larry), of The Matrix fame. It stars Emile Hirsch as Speed, Matthew Fox as Racer X, John Goodman as Pops (Speed's father), Susan Sarandon as Mom and Christina Ricci as Trixie, Speed's girlfriend (we don't get to see her a lot, unfortunately, but it suits the story). There are actually a lot more interesting characters, but you can go to IMDB for those details...

If you are looking for a realistic car racing movie, go somewhere else. On the other hand, if you are looking for family friendly, special f/x heavy action, impossible racing moves and just plain silly fun, this is a good choice. It's over two hours (2:15), but it sure didn't feel like it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Movie review: Iron Man

While it's not quite summer yet, the "summer movies blockbusters" season as started! Iron Man is sure to be a big hit and will be followed by not only sequels, but "spinoffs", in a way. It looks great (ILM being one of the special effects studio involved surely helped), has a great story, lots of action & humour, good acting and is fairly realistic. On that last point, I don't expect to see a real life Iron Man flying around anytime soon, but it could be possible with technology from the near future to create a suit with most of the features that Tony Stark engineered.

Of course, I expected action and I got that in this movie. There is also a good amount of humour, but it doesn't interfere with the story. No slapstick or one-liners with nothing to do with the scene. This movie will be used as a reference when judging other superheroes movies for sure.

Other movies are betting on Iron Man's success, as I saw many previews before the movie, some new, some newer versions.

If you usually don't stay until the very end of movies, I would suggest you do this time, as there is a scene after the end of the credits. I'm not going to spoil it here, so if you want to know what it's about, you will have to see it for yourself or get it from somewhere else on the net.

The movie star Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark / Iron Man), Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger), Gwyneth Paltrow (Virginia "Pepper" Potts), Terrence Howard (Jim Rhodes), among others. It is directed by Jon Favreau, who gave himself a short role in the movie. Of course, there is a short cameo from Stan Lee...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Movies I'm looking forward to see this summer.

Summer is coming, so it's time for the movie blockbusters. 2008 should be a good year, if I trust the previews I have seen so far. Hopefully, I will not be disappointed... Among the ones I'm looking most forward to are:

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Iron Man
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
The Dark Knight
Speed Racer
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Get Smart
Step Brothers
Kung Fu Panda
The Incredible Hulk
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
The Love Guru
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D
You Don't Mess with the Zohan
What Happens in Vegas...
Tropic Thunder
Bangkok Dangerous

Wow, I'm going to eat a lot of pop-corn this summer! And I'm sure there are other movies I have not listed above that I'm going to see as well. Some I'm already thinking about, others, I may have missed altogether.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Movie review: The Forbidden Kingdom

A movie starring both Jackie Chan and Jet Li? You bet I'm there! The Forbidden Kingdom is the tale of a young man, Jason (played by Michael Angarano), who is a big fan of Kung Fu movies. He gets most of his authentic movies from an old Chinese man, who also have an old fighting staff in his back room, which turns out to be an important part of ancient Chinese history.

At some point, Jason find himself thrown back in ancient China, with the staff, where he will live a magical journey, filled with magic (of course!), mystery and of course, Kung Fu, which he will learn from two masters, who have very different lifestyles. He turns out to be part of a prophecy, as the one who must return the staff to his rightful owner.

The movie looks great, is well acted and has great fighting choreography. I really liked it. It is not in Chinese with sub-titles, but is filmed in English, for those who worry about such things. There are a few sub-titles here and there when some characters speaks in Chinese, but that's it. I don't know if it's in the work or even being considered, but I can see a sequel being made, although there's not really any absolute signs pointing to it. But the door is definitely open, shall we say.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Movie review: Dans Une Galaxie Près De Chez Vous 2

This does not happens often; A French-Canadian Sci-Fi Comedy on the big screen. Fortunately, this is a good one. I'm not sure if it will ever be available in another language than French-Canadian (or more precisely, Québécois, as it is a more local slang used in the Québec province...), so it probably won't be too popular outside it's target region. But inside the Québec province, it is pretty popular!

It's the story of a group of people in search of a new planet to move all humans to, as Earth is made more and more inhabitable in the 2030's because of how badly we take care of our planet. So there is a bit of a message in there, but this is mainly about the comedy. It's relatively low-budget as Sci-Fi movies goes, but $3.5M is not bad considering the restrictive market it will play in. Dans Une Galaxie Près De Chez Vous 2 should be a hit and the buzz is very good. I saw it on Day 1 and I'm sure many others will go see it soon as well.

This sequel will please the existing fans and will hopefully grab new ones as well. I hope they make more of them, as this can be a long-lived franchise, if they do it right. Good cast, good laughs, good times!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Federal government blocks sale of MDA space division

Another space news item, but much closer to home this time. MDA is one of Canada's big player in the space industry, best known for it's robotic achievements (think Canadarm & Dextre). While it is thought that there is still a one in three chance that the sale will go through, I'm happy to see that our government is trying to keep it from being bought by a US company. I have nothing against the American space program and companies, far from it, but this would mean a diminution in Canada's part in Space exploration and research and possibly a reduction in our contribution in general as a partner with other countries' important space programs.

The general public usually see the big expenses generated by space programs as wasteful and that the money should go to other projects, such as Education, Health and other public programs. While these are very important, space exploration did contribute to these programs and to many of today's everyday technology, objects and services. Also, in the longer terms, human space travel will be very important to our specie's survival. Right now, all humans are on Earth (or in very close orbit around it). If some big disaster were to happen, we could go the way of the dinosaurs and simply cease to exist... Of course, there would be no one left to claim "See? What did we tell you?" and no one to be proven wrong.

Slashdot | Russia To Build an Orbital Construction Plant

So, the Russians are planning to build a space dock in the foreseeable future? Cool. Will the next version of the Enterprise going to be build there? Who knows? If so, I guess it won't be the USS Enterprise...

Let's follow up in about 12 years, shall we?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Movie review: Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run is very funny, but not quite as much as I was hoping for. It does have a serious side to it, dealing with commitment, family and responsibilities, which actually was nice. Still, many "lol" moments.

It is directed by David Schwimmer (from Friends fame) and stars Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scotty in the upcoming Star Trek movie), Thandie Newton (Mission:Impossible II, The Chronicles of Riddick), Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Mad About You), Dylan Moran (Shaun of the Dead) and Harish Patel (a whole bunch of Indian movies...).

The title refers to the way Dennis (Pegg) keeps running from his responsibilities but he ends up wanting more in life and running a marathon to prove it, despite the fact that he is not in shape for such a demanding physical activity. Newton plays Libby, his ex-lover, who he left at the alter while she was pregnant with his child. Azaria plays Whit, Libby's new love interest. Dylan plays Gordon, Dennis' best buddy. And Patel is Dennis' landlord and eventually will help Dennis prepare for the marathon, along with Gordon.

Don't go see this movie expecting a Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, although there is absurdity to be seen, but as I wrote above, there's more to it. Good cast, good story and good laughs. I really enjoyed it. It's rated PG and I would not recommend it for younger kids...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Movie review: 21

I went to see another movie based on a true story, but this time I knew it before seeing it, unlike The Bank Job. When I heard the synopsis for 21, I remembered hearing about a group from MIT going to Vegas to win big money by using math to get the odds on their side. And this is exactly that story, with a Hollywood spin to it, I'm sure.

In this case yet again, the IMDB rating is not too hot, but the Cinema Montreal one is. And I agree with my fellow Montreal citizens. I really liked this movie. I'm not sure how much of it was fiction ans how much is from the real events, but it does have a good story overall. A group of students, lead by a teacher with a similar past, get together and through precise planning, go to Las Vegas to play Blackjack and win a lot of money by secretly playing as a group, each with their own tasks, to avoid detection. As they say in the movie, counting cards is not illegal, but it is very much frowned upon by the casino's owners and security staff. In this case, it even gets violent.

The story deals with greed, friendship, trust, love, betrayal, money (really!), gambling, smart people, good looking people, intimidation and a few other things. Most of the actors are young and unknown to me, except for Josh Gad, who has a role on the TV show Back To You. On the other hand, I did know Kevin Spacey (the teacher) and Laurence Fishburne (in charge of security at the casino).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Movie review: Dr Seuss' Horton Hears a Who

In my never ending pursuit of becoming a kid again (as Goku did in Dragonball GT), I saw the movie Dr Seuss' Horton Hears a Who. I don't think I got any younger, but it was a fun experience just the same. While this is a movie made mainly for kids, I still found a few funny scenes and otherwise interesting parts to the story.

The animation is very good, as it is to be expected. It stars the voices of Jim Carrey (Horton) and Steve Carell (the Mayor of Whoville). Based on the book of the same name, the story is that of Horton, an elephant, who one days hears a voice coming from a speck of dust, thanks to his big hears. On that speck is a whole city called Whoville, where tiny little creatures live peacefully. Horton is the only one that can hear anything and is being mocked by many of the others living around him, none of them an elephant. His best friend is a mouse with a heavy voice tone, called Morton and voiced by Seth Rogen. Most hostile to Horton's believes is a kangaroo, voiced by Carol Burnett. She thinks it is nonsense and wants the speck destroyed.

Of course, there is a moral or two in that story. Working together is very important to achieve big goals (in this case, the survival of Whoville) and the one that is repeated many times is so many word; "A person's a person, no matter how small."

I found the movie "cute" and entertaining. Unlike my last few movies, you can absolutely bring your kids to this one. Or maybe they should bring you...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

'Battlestar Galactica' Prequel Pilot Finally Greenlit - 'Caprica' will begin production this spring - Zap2it

'Battlestar Galactica' Prequel Pilot Finally Greenlit - 'Caprica' will begin production this spring - Zap2it

We've been hearing about a BSG prequel for a while, now, but it's finally official! Caprica will take place 50 years before the current series and will be mostly character-driven. Not to be missed by BSG's fans, I am sure.

No date yet for Caprica, but make sure you catch the new and final season of BSG starting on April 4! Who will be the final Cylon to be revealed?

'A-Team' Will Explode Into Theaters in 2009 - John Singleton is directing the June 12, 2009 release - Zap2it

'A-Team' Will Explode Into Theaters in 2009 - John Singleton is directing the June 12, 2009 release - Zap2it

If your a man of my generation, then you probably were watching the A-Team in the '80s on television and liked it for what it was: A fun ride with action, humour and, well, lots a craziness. Ex-militaries that provided their services, for a price, to anyone willing to pay the fee and were the victims of various tyrants, criminals and all sorts of bad guys. In some cases, they would do the job for free.

They always followed the same format: The leader would be in disguise and meet with the potential client (the authorities did not approve of their activities), they would have one of the other four team member escape from the asylum (certified crazy, but being a pilot he was handy to have around), they would meet the client(s), kick the bad guys' butts and go back into hiding. Not a very likely scenario, but who cares? While anyone could reach them, the army could not catch them, although they always showed up just a little too late...

Well, it has been announced that they are making a movie based on that series, which is not too surprising considering other TV-to-movie productions. For now, I'm interested to go see it, but I will have to wait and see how it turns out. Let's say these projects are not always a good thing. I have yet to see The Dukes Of Hazzard movie that came out in 2005, even though I loved the TV series, after seeing what they had done to it.

Well, here's the first clue that this could be another big disappointment: They have no script and no casting has been done, as far as we know, and yet, they have a release date of June 12, 2009. Oh boy...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

BattleBots headed to an ESPN near you -- now with less suck - Engadget

Another TV show I liked to watch, when it used to air on Discovery Canada, is Battlebots (and other shows like it, such as Robots Wars). It's got humour, action and destruction, yet, no one gets hurts! People build robots, following some set rules, then enter a competition for the chance to win a championship and gain fame. Oh, and have fun too!

If you have not seen this show or others like it, these remote-controlled robots are put in an arena to battle each others, attempting to disable the opponent, using approved weapons, until it is incapable of moving (from being flipped over to being completely destroyed) or time runs out, at which point judges decides the winner.

I hope this new run will find it's way on my cable provider's offering. Maybe it will spark other shows revivals as well...


I really like the show Monk, but I have not been able to see it for a while, now. I saw the first two or three seasons and then it was not available anymore from my cable provider, Vidéotron, here in Montreal. The recently announced syndication of the show (click title above for details) could be good news for me and other Canadian fans in the same situation.

The show stars Tony Shalhoub, who plays Adrian Monk, a detective with a serious case of OCD. As a result, we get a funny show with a police mystery aspect to it. You can try to solved said mystery between laughs. How cool is that?

Hope to see you back in my home soon, Monk!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Movie review: The Bank Job

The Bank Job stars Jason Statham and is based on a true story, something I did not know when I decided to go see it. Before getting in the movie theatre, I even made the mistake of saying it starred Clive Owen, in my Twitter feed. I had seen the trailer and I can tell the two actors apart, but something did not work correctly in my brain. I'm blaming it on the fact that it was a Friday evening. Weak excuse, but who cares? Anyway, I would have gone to see either of them, as I like them both as actors.

The beginning and ending tells us details of the real events that happened in London in the 1970's on which the story is largely based. Police corruption, a bank heist and a possible royal scandal are at the heart of the events in this movie. Not a lot of action (Statham barely fights anyone...), but since the story is very interesting, it was not an issue for me, even though I was expecting it from the title and before I learned it was based on real events.

Good acting and editing makes for a very enjoyable movie. This is definitely not for the whole family, due to nudity, subject matter and language. Nice change of pace from the usual action flick, I suggest you go see it.

Fans await return of Star Wars -

We knew the George Lucas was working on two TV shows based on Star Wars, one live action and one animated, but there was no plan for any more big screen movies. That is until Lucas thought "why not?". The upcoming movie will be based on the animated TV series, itself based on the Clone Wars, which already had a run on TV, between Episode 2 and 3, which happens to be when the story takes place on both animated TV series.

Click the title above for more details from CNN.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Movie review: Vantage Point

I liked Vantage Point even more than I thought I would. I don't understand why it didn't get better reviews in general...

The story is told many times, from different point of views. Each time more information is revealed, sometimes correcting what we thought we knew about the events we have already seen. So there's several surprises during the course of the movie, which I liked. It's hard to talk about a scene without giving out a spoiler, but I remember one instance where we are shown an event and I was sure I had figured out the twist, which a following scene proved me right, but then another one later revealed another aspect I had not even considered for that same event.

The short version of the story is that a world conference where world leaders gathers, in front of a crowd, turns to chaos when the US president is shot. We see the events prior, during and after this shooting from the point of view of the president, a Secret Service agent, played by Dennis Quaid, some spectators, including one played by Forest Whitaker, the people behind the shooting, a news crew and a few others.

If you can figure out what is going to happen before it happens, you are a much better detective then I am, because they surprised me, even fooled me, several times. There's also many good action scenes, including car chases.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Movie review: Semi-Pro

Semi-Pro is a comedy with Will Ferrell and I found it very funny! It's about a basketball league which is about to merge with the NBA, but not all teams will make it, so Jackie Moon (Ferrell), the owner, promoter, coach, player and heart of the Tropics will attempt all he can to be one of the team to be in the merger. Of course, it won't be easy. Moon got his money from a one-hit wonder from his singing career, in the Disco era, in which the story takes place.

The trailer for the movie is a very good indication for what to expect, even though not everything in that trailer ends up in the movie (I bet it will be on the DVD!). Also, this is not for the whole family, because of some of the content and strong language. I laughed a lot during the movie and I was not the only one in the room. I don't understand why the user's rating is only 6.4 on IMDB. Again Cinema-Montreal's 8.4 is much more in agreement of my appreciation for this movie. Those ratings will likely change in the coming days and weeks, but I imagine not by much.

I really liked the story, the acting and the crazy ideas and jokes of Semi-Pro. It really takes a comedy like this to make me go see and enjoy a sport-theme movie. Even if you are not a sport fan and don't know much about basketball, such as myself, there is a lot to make you have fun watching this movie and get most of the jokes. So unless you really hate Will Ferrell, I recommend that you go see Semi-Pro for a good LOL-fest!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Upcoming Movie: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

When I went to see Jumper this week-end, I was treated to a movie preview I was looking forward to see on the big screen: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! Long title, but I would go see it even if it was called Indiana Jones reads the phone book. Probably... But such is not the case.

I know I'm not the only one who just can't wait to see this movie. Harrison Ford is older, sure, but he's still "The Man"! The trailer, more of a teaser, is very promising. You can check it out at the official site by clicking the title of this blog entry above. Other links goes to IMDB. Other nice things to see on the site too, including a countdown to opening day. 85 days to go as of this writing, which makes it May 22, 2008. Hmm, that looks like a Star Wars date... George Lucas must have something to do with that. Is it too early to go wait in line? I'm sure my boss would think so! ;-)

Are you excited to go see this movie? By now, you know I am! Let's all go see it on day 1, OK? See you there!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Movie review: Jumper

The version I saw, at the AMC in Montreal, was actually called Jumper DLP. I guessed it meant it was a digital projection and I was right. It looks beautiful! No scratches, pops or other shows of deterioration. Digital is the future.

Now, for the movie itself. I had low expectations for Jumper, after seeing how others reacted to it, on different Internet sites. But the previews showed me action and adventure and I thought it would be enough entertainment for me to enjoy. And it was! The storyline is different enough from other movies with similar ideas and it looks good, including the special effects.

The concept is that the main character David Rice, played by Hayden Christensen, discovers that he can teleport - or jump - one day, as he almost dies drowning (this is in the trailer...). So of course, he eventually starts to use his gift to enter bank's vault and "borrow" some money. Turns out he is not the only jumper around and there is a group of Paladins hunting them down, led by Roland, played by Samuel L. Jackson, re-uniting the two Star Wars actors together.

So lots of action, a few twists and decent acting makes this a fun movie to watch.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Movie review: The Spiderwick Chronicles

I saw The Spiderwick Chronicles earlier this evening and I really liked it. It's another movie aimed at a young crowd, but that did not stop me from going, obviously. It's got a good story, great visuals and a very good cast. One thing I did not realize until I saw the credits is that the two brothers are played by the same actor, Freddie Highmore! This is a great feat for both the young actor and for the special effects. The later are handled by ILM and Tippet Studios, amongst others.

This movie was filmed in the city I live in, Montreal, but I did not recognized any landscape and is not meant to be happening in Montreal. Actually, most of the story is taking place in a "middle of nowhere" type of place, in the woods. The fact that it has "Chronicles" in it's name makes me think there could be sequels, but the end does not set it up for such a possibility. Unlike Golden Compass, it actually has an end, but this doesn't mean they can't start a new one.

I saw the Imax version and there was not a single trailer before the movie, just the standard Imax introduction, which I have seen several times. This means no Indiana Jones trailer, which is attached to this movie and which I was looking forward to see on a big screen, but I guess this screen was just too big... :-( But I don't regret seeing this version, as it looked spectacular!

If you like fantasy movies, you should treat yourself to this one. While it is aimed at the young ones, the youngest ones could be scared by some scenes, since we are dealing with an ogre and nasty goblins, who inflicts a few wounds to other characters and get some of their owns.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Knight Rider is coming back!

For those who care and are not yet aware of this, Knight Rider is back with a two hours TV movie on NBC this Sunday, February 17. This follows the original TV series that aired from 1982 to 1986, starring David Hasselhoff, as Michael Knight.

It also stars a car, KITT, who is equipped with weapons, is nearly indestructible and which as an advanced AI (Artificial Intelligence) computer capable of controlling the car itself and can hold a conversation, analyze dangerous situation and take decisions on it's own. Other copy-cat shows followed, including one with a motorcycle and another with an helicopter. Viper was probably the more popular and interesting copy and starred a Dodge Viper. I don't remember these shows to have an AI brain vehicle, though.

The original KITT, which stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand, was a black Pontiac Trans Am and had a few improvements over the one available at standard car dealerships. Besides the AI, it has a Turbo Boost, which can make it jump over obstacles, a paint cover as though as a tank's armor, ejectable seats and an attitude. The new KITT, which now stands for Knight Industries Three Thousand is a black Ford Mustang and I'm sure is at least as well equipped as the original one.

I hope this new version will be fun to watch. It can be hard to compete with one's youth memories. Of course, younger viewers who have not seen the original will not be comparing the two versions, but my generation sure will. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on the way they produce this "remake". Actually, it's more a continuation, since the story should follow up on the existing one. Michael Knight is even supposed to show up, with a cameo appearance from David Hasselhoff himself.

The official site has a few clips from the new show, including TV spots, so you can check them out while waiting for the full length feature on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Movie review: The Golden Compass

Late to the game, but I recently went to see The Golden Compass on the big screen. It's a fantasy movie, where the story happens on an alternate Earth. I have not read the book(s) this is based on, but I'm sure there must be a few and that there will be a sequel, based on at least one unachieved goal in the story and the way it ends. Actually, I just checked IMDB and there is a sequel in the work, The Subtle Knife...

I liked this movie and will likely go see the sequel, but I wouldn't call it a great movie. It's directed at a younger crowd, but is still interesting for adults, I would say, like Harry Potter is. Another similarity to HP, is the hero, who is a teen, but in this case, it's a girl. The special/visual effects are well done and the actors do a good job. If your young, or at least young at heart, you should find it entertaining.

The main difference on their earth, compared to ours, is that their "souls" are not within them, but in the form of an animal that follows them everywhere and whose live is linked to their own. One cannot survive without the other. Interesting concept...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Movie review: I Am Legend

I finally saw I Am Legend, in Imax. I liked it and Will Smith is really good in it. Good thing too, as he is often the only one on screen. The story takes place in the near future, after a deadly virus kills most of the human population. Neville (Smith) is trying to find an antidote to this virus, while living alone in New-York, with his dog. He is immune to the virus, like a very few others are, which is why he is still around.

One scene in particular was really touching and had me almost crying, because it reminded me of a sad event from my own past, which probably happened to most people as well, I imagine. I can't say more without giving it away, but what is so good about it is how Smith express what is happening, even though the actual event is off camera. All you see is his face. I just now had to stop typing for a few seconds, thinking about it again.

The story is intelligent and fairly realistic, if we accept the possibility that the virus also has a third effect on humans, besides killing and being non-effective: It can also turn them into zombie-like creatures. I heard that in the original book, they were more like vampires then zombies, which would explain why they can't stand bright lights, particularly UV and why the sun can kill them very quickly, as it burns their skin.

There is some violence, as it can be expected, but it's certainly not a gory movie. It is rated PG-13 in North America.

Besides a few standard trailers, we get to see a scene from the upcoming Batman movie. But Batman is barely seen in the main scene we are shown. This is much more about the main vilain, the Joker. Just a few days ago, I would not have been in the same state of mind while watching it, as I was this time. Of course, this is because the Joker is being played by Heath Ledger, who passed away on the 22nd, only 3 days ago. It's kinda hard not to think about that fact, when seeing him on screen, even though the heavy makeup really gives him a different look, to say the least.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Movie review: Cloverfield

My first movie for 2008 (what's wrong with me?) was Cloverfield. I didn't know much about it before seeing it, beside possibly being a Godzilla ripoff. It wasn't quite that, but there is a big monster. Unlike Godzilla, we don't see it that much and it's not a man in a suit. Another thing I knew was that some people who had seen it complained of being "sea sick" due to the camera movements of some scenes, being shot à la Blair Witch Project. What I did not know was that the whole movie is shot this way. The concept is that the military found this tape shot by someone who started recording at a party and got in the middle of the action that greatly changed Manhattan.

I found this movie fairly interesting and not too conventional, which works for this story. I don't want to give away too much, but it's not the typical fight the monster and live to tell about it, let's say. The main characters are not fighting the monster, the army is, as best as they can. For most everyone, it's a matter of survival and running away, at best. It's also about helping each other.

One thing I thought was not realistic at first was that the camera battery was lasting a pretty long time, but after further consideration, I realized that it was an uncut tape (simulated, of course!) and camera can last the length of a movie. How could bootleggers stay in business if they couldn't? ;-) It's not a one take story, but the cameraman would stop shooting when there wasn't something worth recording going on.

So, I found it to be a good movie, after thinking more about it. I wasn't too sure as the movie ended, which is not something that happens often to me. I like that, for a change!

Before the movie, I remember two previews, above the others. Hellboy 2, which was a standard trailer and a teaser for another movie that I'm really looking forward to and that I didn't figure out until the few last seconds of it: Star Trek! Really cool teaser.