Friday, August 1, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

I listed The Dark Knight #1 on my list of 10 Movies To See This Summer. I predicted it would be the “biggest baddest movie of the summer”. I was wrong! It’s possibly the biggest baddest movie of the year (and it’s only July). I was torn between The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia. I think I made the right choice. The Dark Knight delivers with some good action, plus great acting from the film’s stars.

The Dark Knight begins with a different Gotham than the one we last saw in Batman Begins. The Batman has Gotham’s underworld running scared. He’s also inspired a few copycat Batmans in the process.

The city is soon shaken by the rise of a new criminal named The Joker. With the Joker terrorizing the citizens of Gotham, Batman teams up with lieutenant Gordon and DA Harvey Dent to help bring this madman to justice. Batman has to reach into his dark side to catch the maniac before he tears Gotham apart.

Christian Bale returns as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Bale is captivating as Bruce Wayne. He breathed new life into the franchise a few years ago. Surprisingly he is very believable as he’s seen exiting the helicopter with three beautiful women. He’s also able to play a darker Batman than we are used to seeing. The great performance from the late Heath Ledger may overshadow the magnificent job Bale did in this film.

When something is new, we are sometimes quick to label it “the best ever” or “all-time greatest” forgetting the work that preceded it. I will say that this Joker may be the best we’ve ever seen. Like most people I was skeptical of this role simply because Jack Nicholson played an unforgettable Joker in Batman
Ledger turned in one of the great performances that I can remember. His role as The Joker may become a benchmark for all movie villains. It wasn’t just the smeared make-up that made him crazy. It was how he constantly licked his lips, that sinister laugh, how he touched his scars, plus the sadistic rational for why he did what he did. I read one review that described him as a “homicidal comedian”. I think that’s pretty accurate.

The other great performance was from Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two Face. Eckhart plays Gotham’s White Knight, the type of hero that a city really needs. He displayed an approach to fighting crime the straddle the fence between fearless and insanity. You start to see more of the insanity when Dent turns into Two-Face. I get the feeling that he may have a few mental illness. Just a thought. Eckhart’s roughed choir boy look was perfect for both roles.

This movie so likeable because it’s not just a good comic book movie but a good film. At no point did I feel like I was watching a superhero movie. It’s the same formula that made this summer’s other hit Iron Man big at the box office. The latest batch of comic book adaptations have been as much character driven as they have been action packed. You may start to see more A-List actors sign on for these movies in the future.

My suggestion: Movie of the Year! I loved it. You will be glad you waited in line forever to see this film. It doesn’t matter if you are fan of the comics or even a fan of Batman. The Dark Knight is a film that all movie buffs will like. Great story, great characters, and a few laughs sprinkled in as well. If there was one movie to go see this year it would be The Dark Knight. If you can get to the IMAX, I would highly recommend it. I’m already anticipating the next movie.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Why I Hate Superman

I grew up like most guys my age, loving comic book heroes. One hero I didn't like was Superman. Here are a few reasons why:

1. The Man of Steel is way too easy on these criminals. Some would say he has a strong moral compass; I would call him a punk. Why does Lex Luthor keep getting out of prison over and over again? He should be serving triple life sentences for the stunts he's pulled. I think he wants to feel needed because he doesn't have a home. Not being hard on the criminals may be a way for him to stick around. If it was Batman he would have iced Lex in a back alley somewhere in Metropolis. Way to be a softy Superman.

2. In Superman II he gives up his powers for Lois Lane. This is probably one of the most disturbing turn of events in superhero history. If I remember correctly Lois is in love with Superman. If you give up your powers you are just Clark Kent and no longer Superman. She thinks Clark is a buffoon. Superman may be faster than a speeding bullet, but he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. That scene when they fly to the Fortress of Solitude to give up his powers. How did they get back? What kind of hero are you if you are always willing to give up that responsibility? That's like giving up your millions to be with a woman who is only with you because you are a millionaire. You aren't a real hero Superman; you are just using your powers to pick up chicks. I'm done doing your dance. Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu suck!

3. He's an alien. I don't care if you grew up in Smallville. You're from Krypton and we don't want your kind here. Not to mention he mocks us by portraying Clark Kent as an idiot. There is a nice monologue on this in Kill Bill 2. So that's what you think of us Superman? A race of people who always seem to be messing something up. I'll take that as a slap in the face and kindly ask you to leave our planet now.

4. He has a split personality. Call it a secret identity if you want. He obviously struggles with his identity and sense of self (See #9). I could give you the whole "Superman never knew his dad speech" but that would be bailing him out. I think it's hard for him to go from bumbling idiot to hero in 4.5 seconds. We've seen the two personalities mix. He may crush a coffee cup or put a dent in a car as Clark Kent. I don't want to be on that plane that's crashing as Superman morphs back into Clark Kent, fumbling the plane at the last second. I don't trust people who don't know who they are. What if he gets homesick and decides to blow this planet up too? Pick an identity Superman, the world is waiting.

5. He's almost impossible to beat. Super speed, super breath, super strength, he can fly, faster than the speed of sound, the list just goes on. The only thing that can beat him is kryptonite. Cool! Where do I sign up to get one? Oh the planet it comes from no longer exists! What the hell! That's Super-lame. The only shot any of us have at beating him is a rare rock that is probably light years away. Why not just make him God and call it a day. If you ask me it seems like his real weakness is women. If they made a woman out of kryptonite it would be lights out for him.

6. No sense of style. Batman has style, Flash has style, and even Aquaman has some style. Superman is completely boring. He's boring as Clark and even more of a bore as Superman. Not to mention his costume sucks! He rocks tights, cape, and that stupid curl that looks like he spent too much time under the dryer at Gene Juarez. If I was Superman I would wear all kind of different color suits. I'd have the craziest color combinations. There is no reason why he shouldn't look good. I'd throw a Gucci suit in there just to be fashionable. I'd ditch the cape and wear an iced out 'S' on my chest. I think that would be a much better look for him.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Movie Review: Wanted

Have you ever watched a movie that was so over-the-top you couldn’t believe it. Not like the 1980’s Stallone flick where he arm wrestles for custody of his son. I mean more like insane action sequences, unforgiveable violence, plus language that would make a sailor blush. If you like all of those elements, Wanted may be right up your alley.

Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is a account manager who is unhappy working a dead end job, headed towards a dead end in his life. Wesley is approached by Fox (Angelina Jolie) who tells him his father was part of an elite team of Assassins known as The Fraternity.

Wesley is introduced to the leader of the Fraternity, Sloan (Morgan Freeman) who informs him that he’s been recruited to assassinate Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), the man who killed his father . Our hero also meets the other colorful members of The Fraternity played by Common, Marc Warren, and Dato Bakhtadze. Each member providing Wesley training in their own specific field to help prepare him for his showdown with Cross.

At first James McAvoy is hard to believe as a hero, but believable as the guy who hates his life.
As the movie progresses he grows into the hero role. Some of the incredible action sequences help enhance that image. By the end of the film I found him more likeable than I did annoying. It’s easy to cheer for the underdog.

I loved Angelina Jolie in this film. One of the things I like about her is that she has the unique ability to look very attractive yet still pull off that tough girl persona all in the same scene. I never thought I could be attracted to a woman and deathly afraid of her all within 30 seconds. I don’t know whether to be happy for Brad Pitt or scared for him. Who else would you cast in a role as a female assassin? I spent the last five minutes trying to think of someone and I’m drawing a blank.

I watched a commercial for Wanted and my parents decided they were going to see this movie because Morgan Freeman was in it. How could I tell them this wasn’t Driving Miss Daisy with guns? I advised them to let me see it first. They aren’t fond of violence in movies. They would have walked out around the 17 minute mark of this film. Wanted is not for the faint of heart. It is violent with some strong language as well.

My suggestion: If you like action, violence, language, some brief nudity from Angelina Jolie, it is a must see for the summer. It doesn’t have the greatest plot or the coolest storyline. The movie is not without it’s funny moments or great one-liners. The action, fight scenes, and dialogue should keep you entertained for the whole film. There are some original action sequences in the film that will definitely have you buzzing in the theater. I wouldn’t say it’s the best movie I’ve seen this year. Just a nice fun/entertaining movie to see for the summer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BET Awards 2008

It’s time for another installment of the BET Awards. I invited my friend C-Ra over and thought it would be a great idea to do a running diary of this year’s show. Here we go………

The always entertaining Usher opens the show with his hit Love in This Club. I’m not a gambling man but I bet he’s lip-synching. If not he’s the only guy I know who can do consecutive back flips without losing his breath. Decent performance. What you would expect from Usher

DL Hughely is hosting this year’s show. His monologue is not that funny. I have no idea why his jokes didn’t hit…..oh wait they weren’t funny.

Wow a new season of Hell Date. Didn’t know the first one ended.

Young Jeezy performs. I like this track. Looks like Kanye forgot his words. I’m sure he’ll blame BET for it after the show is over. BET is real heavy on the censors this year. Way too many bleeps for this performance. I feel like I’m listening to an Emergency Broadcast.

It’s the best athlete performance. Surprisingly there are no white athletes on the list. Kobe Bryant wins the award this year. C-Ra comments that “he basically won best black athlete.”

How did Keisha Cole’s family get on TV? After they went of screen our exchange went something like this:
C-Ra: HA! Have you seen this show?
Me: Nope
C-Ra: Her mom is a TRAIN WRECK!

Keisha Cole and her new teeth perform. Nice voice! She can really sing. WOW! You gotta love the tear-away dress that turns into an all white cat suit. The crowd seems to really love Lil Kim. Looks like prison has done her some good. I assume there was nothing to do but sit-ups. What happened to her face? I think I’m officially scared of her.

Is it me or is Cuba Gooding Jr. higher than these gas prices. I think he has morphed into Rod Tidwell. I’m waiting for him to say, “Show me the money.”

Ne-Yo is suited up for his performance. It reminds of an old MJ routine. Nice set from Ne-Yo. He’s one of the R&B cats that I really enjoy. He always puts on a show.

LL hasn’t aged a bit. The guy is in ridiculous shape to be 65. I keep waiting to look up and he’s going to be old and flabby. Not sure that’s going to happen. Would anyone be surprised if his name popped up in the BALCO investigation?

Alicia Keys performs with a live band. Good set so far. Kicks it up a notch with an SWV cameo. Whoa! Here comes En Vogue! I know my dad is at home saying, “They still got it!!” If she brings out Xscape, I’m going home. I spoke too soon; TLC comes out and performs Waterfalls. Looks like Chili is drinking from the same fountain of youth that LL is. Nice set from Alicia Keys. The best performance of the night by far.

Best Male Hip Hop goes to Kanye West. He had to win something or he was going to spaz out at the after party. Nice gesture for him to bring Wayne on stage. I loved Kanye’s speech. He’s such an underdog and everybody wants to hold him down. Maybe that’s why he wins all those Grammy’s. (I think they’ve showed Lil Wayne about 50 times tonight. I feel like I’m watching a Lil Wayne reality show)

The Hilarious outfit of the night award goes to T-Pain. His “iced out top hat” his taller than me. Why does he look like the black Mad Hatter? I’m not sure I want to take my kids to his circus. Here comes Flo-Rida in a black tank top and jeans. C-Ra says he thinks that’s the only outfit Flo-Rida owns. Maybe he got a bad record deal, who knows. Here comes Rick Ross with no shirt on! He’s the anti LL Cool J. Let me get this right: BET will censor whatever Kanye was saying but they won’t censor Rick Ross and his man boobs? They should have had one of those parental advisory warnings, “What you are about to see is graphic and may disturb viewers under the age of 14.” I starting to think I should have waited to eat. They perform I’m So Hood Remix. Nice appearance from Ludacris. I’m not a huge fan, but not a bad set from T-Pain. They all put on a nice show.

Video of the Year goes to UGK and Outkast for Playas Anthem. It’s actually a very good video. I’m surprised it won. Real emotional speech from Bun B……….. RIP Pimp C

Here comes the Gospel portion of the show. One performance is not even 10%. This Marvin Sapp performance is not going to save you from the lake of fire BET.

Chris Brown puts on a show. I feel like I’m too old to like him. Nice cameo from Ciara gets C-Ra to sit up in his seat. Am I too old to like her too? It’s been a good show. So far the performances have been on point.

I think everyone and there mom has given Lil Wayne a shout out. Are they filming a DVD about his life?

T-Pain’s slow motion walking is comedy. Me and C-Ra joke that he wouldn’t pass a drug test right now. I’d bet my life on it.

Very nice tribute to Al Green. Jill Scott comes on stage and rips it, followed by Anthony Hamilton. That guy sounds just like Al Green. It must be the Apocalypse because Maxwell just hit the stage. I’m going to church immediately after the show is over. I hope he’s somewhere secretly working on an album. Everyone seems to love Al Green’s set. He is still a showman.

Lil Wayne wins his first award of the night. Somehow he managed to bring his whole family on stage.

Another performance at an award show from Rhianna. She looks like she dressed for the future. No dancers and no frills. Nice set from Rhianna as well.

Where has Nelly been? My first guess would be the gym. Cornelius is actually a good performer. I had no idea there was a, “Stepped on my J’s” dance. Ciara shows up again. I think C-ra’s head is going to explode. Yet another good performance. I must be dreaming.

My mom may read this, so no comment on Lauren London. I just think she should have her own TV channel.

Good to see Alicia Keys win. She has a really good album. Nice acceptance speech for her. She dedicated the award to everyone except me.

There have been a ton of shout outs for Obama. I think everyone in attendance is voting for him in November. I wonder if McCain gets that kind of love at the CMA’s.

T-Pain in another hat. Now he’s a mad scientist. Wayne hits the stage to lackluster applause. Maybe people are tired of Lollipop. I’m shocked they let Wayne say “lick me like a lollipop” on TV. I think the censors missed that one. Once A-Milli hit the crowd seems into his performance or it could be the fact that T-Pain tossed his hat. Nice performance from Wayne to end the show.

Good show from the folks over at BET. The award show has come a long way. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. Some really good performances on this year show. I almost wish I was there. Looks like a lot people stepped their game up. Hopefully they can come with the same energy next year.

Movie Review: Get Smart

Recently we’ve seen a lot of old TV show’s remade for the big screen. Unfortunately not all of them have been a success. For every Star Trek there is a S.W.A.T. This summer we’ve already seen Speed Racer crash after one lap around the track. X-Files is slated to take a second crack at the big screen later this summer. Get Smart is a good movie, but not so true to the TV show.

Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) is Agent 86, one of CONTROLS best analyst. After CONTROL is attacked by KAOS most of the field agents have been compromised. With little man power to fight Agent 86 is forced out into the field and teams up with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) to take down KAOS.

Get Smart was surprisingly funny and full of action. I found myself laughing out loud a few times. Steve Carell was great as Agent 86. Clueless yet smart. His character just seems to be a tad bit socially awkward. Luckily 86 wasn’t a complete dork. He actually does some good fighting in the movie.

Anne Hathaway does a wonderful job as Agent 99. She’s definitely a lot younger looking than Barbra Feldon who was 99 on the TV show. Hathaway added a little more sex appeal to the role and still managed to pull off the fight scenes.

What I enjoyed most about the film was the supporting cast. Dwayne Johnson (looks like he officially dropped “The Rock” from his name) plays Agent 23. He is his usual charismatic self in the film. I’m surprised that he’s turned into a fairly decent actor. I’m going to start a campaign to have him play Bizzaro in the new Superman movie.

Terry Crews and David Koechner play the bullies of CONTROL. They two of them only have a few scenes in the movie, but those scenes have some laugh out loud moments. Crews is great at supporting roles in a comedy.

Masi Oka and Nate Torrence star as the geeks of CONTROL. Both of them seem excited to see Agent 86 out in the field.

My suggestion: Get Smart is a funny movie. Not the funniest movie I’ve seen all year, but worth going to see. The movie is a nice mix of both action and comedy. What I would like to call a nice, clean, family comedy. It’s hard to find comedies that my mom will sit through. This is definitely one of them. If you are going to see Get Smart the TV show, stay home because you aren’t going to get it.