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!