Monday, December 21, 2009

They're blue, but they're not Smurfs...*UPDATE*


hile watching Avatar for the first time, all I could think was, "Wow." Ever since I left, all I could think was, "I want to see it again." I actually did see it again. Yeah, I loved Avatar.

To start, James Cameron's epic was visually amazing. The Na'vi looked real. Pandora looked stunning. The creatures were convincing. The human weapons, ships, robots were also realistic and believable. But enough about the CG and special effects, what about the story?

Many action movies and sci-fi movies don't have much of a plot. Avatar does not fall in this category. Cameron layers this story, intertwining numerous different themes.

The first evident theme is shown by Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang). Quaritch is hardcore, hardened military man. He shows no mercy to his enemies and is quick to decide you are his enemy. He had an unwavering prejudice of the Na'vi and those who side with them. He is eager to fight them. The underlining theme here is that some like Quaritch fight first, ask questions later. Military is shown in a negative light in this film, but it really isn't military, they are hired "security". This brings me to the next theme woven into this film.

The next theme is that of corporate greed. Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) is trying to please shareholders by destroying the home of the Na'vi to get the conveniently named unobtainium. He needs to make money at all costs. We see this around us every day. Greed. Love of money above the lives of others. It is sad, but true.

Another theme I've noticed is that of love. Jake falls in love with Neytiri. Cameron is good at telling stories like these (Titanic). Just to be clear, though, this is NOT the main theme. Sure it is there, but it does not consume the story.

I've only touched on those themes that are evident to me and more obvious. I'm sure there are many more--I just thought of one: redemption--but I just wanted to convey that this film is much more than pretty visuals and action. There is a heart and soul to this movie.

There was solid acting all around. They aren't the biggest names in the film industry, but the actors in this film do their job. The musical score in this film is good, not great. James Horner's score in some places is spectacular and in others somewhat generic. I've listened to it separate outside the movie (and obviously during the film) and I like it. It doesn't match his work in Titanic, but it does the job well. On a side note, this movie doesn't feature unnecessary sex scenes, swearing, or any other garbage featured in a lot of today's movies; I was pleasantly surprised.

Finally, the 3D is cool, but not needed. I think in someways it really adds, but really, the film doesn't need 3D to be a great film.

P.S. Cameron said if Avatar is successful, he might make up to 2 sequels to it.

I expected to enjoy this movie, but not this much. I'm not going to give any more away. I was truly drawn into the Avatar experience. I think you can be too.

Avatar runs 162 minutes and is rated PG-13. I give it 10 ramheads out of 10.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jimmy's 2009 Christmas List

I figured this year I would start early on my Christmas List. So here it goes....
  1. UP - Single Disc Widescreen DVD
  2. The Lost Symbol - A novel by Dan Brown
  3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack
  4. Money for guitar
  5. Small CD tower

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NEW Relient K Album

Well, it is finally here. Kinda. Forget and Not Slow Down is streaming the FULL album on Absolute Punk. Currently, I'm on my 7th time through listening to it. Yeah, I'm a little obsessed. You know what? You should be too. It is an AWESOME album. It is musically awesome, it is written from a thoughtful, Christian point of view, and IT ROCKS. Yeah, it is more rock than pop, which is good.

(Good lyrics + Good music + Jesus)Relient K = Forget and Not Slow Down.

It makes me happy and it will make you happy too. Listen.

I am going to give it 9 ramheads out of 10. The only thing that is missing is their signature fun song.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I just finished The Bourne Ultimatum last night and I decided that I should review the Bourne Series. The three movies are based on the Robert Ludlum novels from the 1980s (which I intend to read sometime in my lifetime.)

The Bourne Identity (2002) starts this CIA conspiracy story off and really gets the heart pounding. An action packed, well-written story like this is a rare find. The things that Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) does are not unrealistic, they're just awesome. The story gets you rooting for Bourne and against the US government. It is impressive.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) picks up where Identity left off. Jason and his girlfriend are hiding in India where a hit-man comes and tries to take Bourne out, and ends up killing his girlfriend. This pisses him off and he searches for the people who tried to kill him and gets tangled with the CIA again. He ultimately remembers some stuff from his past and deals with that while once again escaping CIA capture.

The third one, The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) is the most recent Bourne film and the best one yet. I liked the story, how things are resolved, and the action was phenomenal. It continues where Supremacy ended (and actually overlaps some times) and he's trying to find out about how he became a brainwashed CIA agent/assassin. He does find out (but I'm not going to tell you how). There was some resolution in this one, including Bourne learning his real name, David Webb.

As far as the future goes, Matt Damon stated that he is working on a fourth Bourne film, which is good because those movies are really enjoyable and Damon does an excellent job.

All three movies are rated PG-13 and they run 119, 108, and 115 minutes respectively. This film isn't as violent as Gladiator so I think most kids are ok watching it. I give the first 3 movies in the Bourne Series 8 ramheads out of 10 for solid action in a good plot.

He throws phones and kicks butt....

Most people remember when Russell Crowe threw a phone at a housekeeping worker at a hotel. That was really funny, but kind of a letdown. Russell Crowe is a tremendous actor and I hope he lives a good life off screen. Gladiator, however, was no letdown.

This film also co-stars Jacquin Phoenix, who went AWOL with acting and had an awkward experience on Letterman in February. Phoenix is a great actor and does an awesome job as the villain in this film, and you really hate him.

The story was severely entertaining and superbly written. There was action a-plenty. The acting was near perfect. Hans Zimmer's music is tremendous (but weirdly Pirate-esque). The special effects were seamless, especially when you realize that this film was released almost 10 years ago.

I had only one problem with this film. There are a few lines here and there that are mumbled and quiet that I had to rewind and listen to again (sometimes 3 times). That got to be a little annoying.

This film is an epic. It is rated R (i'm sure for violence) so any desensitized kid is ok watching it. I wouldn't recommend it, but if they are already messed up with video game violence, this film won't hurt any. It runs 155 minutes (unless you get the extended version on DVD). I give this really cool film 9 ramheads out of 10.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It looks better with completed CG...

Yeah, you caught me. I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine online, in an uncompleted format. Sure, the quality was low, but it still was a cool movie. And besides, I'm in college and I don't have any money. That was last spring. This time I watched the completed, DVD quality version. The movie was pretty much the same, but the action was way better.

Origins has a somewhat complex plot for a comic book movie. It really took me two times (the second of which I was NOT tired) to really grasp the full effect and feel of this film. It is a highly interesting story, especially for someone like myself who has not read the comics. Ever since the first X-Men movie came out, I've always wondered what made Wolverine what he is. This story does that and more. It shows how other popular X-Men characters intertwined their origins with Wolverine's.

Technically speaking, this movie is phenomenal. The special effects and action are heart-pounding. The music isn't "go-out-and-buy-this-soundtrack" good, but it does a decent job. The acting is solid, Hugh Jackman is good as ever, and ripped as ever. Although I was really impressed with this movie it is far from perfect. It has a big plot, but doesn't have a ton of substance: not really good verses evil, but good is seeking revenge, gets confused, gets screwed, then gets screwed again, then gets shot in the head and forgets everything. I give it 7 ramheads out of 10, I liked it, but it wasn't standout. It is rated PG-13 and runs 107 minutes. You really can show this to your kids if you want, it isn't that bad. Honestly, they'll like the action (if they are boys) or just get confused with the plot (if they are girls).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

MUSIC PREVIEW: Relient K's new album "Forget and Not Slow Down"

If you've read my blog before, you probably know that my favorite band is Relient K. I like them because never once was I ashamed to listen to them. They play good, clean, heartfelt music from a Christian perspective. Sure they're sinful humans, but they have God and don't care who knows about it. They are real. They aren't putting on a show when they give a concert. They are themselves, not someone they just act out on stage. Finally, they are extremely talented musicians who write their own music. That is why they are my favorite band.

My favorite band is making a new album. Here's what they have to say (from their bio on Myspace):

Sometimes the best way to deal with a break-up is to write a batch of great songs about it, turn up the amplifiers and just rock out.......

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So what do you think?

If you didn't notice, I changed the banner. What do you think? If there are indeed readers of this blog, speak now or forever hold your peace. If anyone reads and is not subscribed to this blog, go ahead and subscribe. Comments are welcome! I will try to post more often than I did in summer.

With love,


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Titanic UPDATE: 3D?

So guess what I recently heard and never told you? Yeah, that's right, Titanic is going to be back in theatres in 2011 in 3D. This is two things: cool and selling out. I will go and see it (with my fiance) but I know they are doing it to make some more money. Oh's kind of a win-win for those who like the movie and a nuisance for those who don't. I'm ok with that.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Heil von Stauffenberg!

This is going to be short and sweet. Valkyrie was a quality historical thriller that delves into the meat of WWII Nazi Germany. It taught me a lot of what I didn't know and thoroughly entertained me as well. Tom Cruise is still a solid actor and his performance here proves it. Even though he's a little crazy, he does a great English speaking rebel Nazi. The intensity of this movie kept me awake even though I was pretty tired. The technical aspects of this movie were also well done. Overall, I was entertained by this film.

The film is rated PG-13 for violence and language...I wouldn't show this to anyone under 13. There is a good deal of violence and language. It runs 120 minutes. I give it an above-average-but-not-the-best-film-I've-seen 7 ramheads out of 10.

One quick Relient K note....

So they FINALLY posted a song from their new it is :

P.S. This is "Forget and Not Slow Down"....A.K.A. The title track for their new album.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New review coming soon....

I've been busy with my first week of school....homework a little more important than this blog. I'll have a review of Valkyrie up probably Monday night, stay tuned!

P.S. Share this blog with your friends!

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm still not sure what Prada is....

So I was watching The Devil Wears Prada with some friends a few days was decent. Personally, I don't think it was much more than decent. Sure the acting was good all around, no huge standout performances, but good, sound acting. The music was fine, I didn't really notice it. It was pretty funny at times, but I wouldn't consider it a comedy. I just thought this story was average. The film was based on a book, so if I were to go by the film, the book was average. I wouldn't buy this film, I really have no interest in seeing it again. There are some good points made, but they don't make this film stand out. Really, all this film has going for it is the humor.

I didn't hate this film, it just didn't stand out or make me want to see it again. It don't think it deserved the 2 Oscar nominations it received. The Devil Wears Prada runs 109 minutes and is rated PG-13. I don't think kids would really enjoy it, so don't bother showing it to them. I give it 6 ramheads out of 10.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Every woman needs a blowtorch....

Julia Child was one of the most influential Americans to the "servantless" housewife. She taught America to cook and, more importantly, to eat. Julie and Julia is the story of two similar woman, in two different periods of time. It follows Julia Child learning to cook in France and Julie Powell, cooking through Child's cookbook and blogging about it in Queens.

Meryl Streep does a brilliant job as Child and Amy Adams really gets you to root for her. Stanley Tucci does an awesome job as Paul Child (Julia's husband). I thought the film-makers did a good job recreating the 50s Paris...and the 2002 New York. I was pleasantly surprised when this film featured married couples, and not just people living together. Dang society, making immorality the norm....

It is a cute little movie that will appeal mostly to those who can appreciate Julia Child and her impact on cooking in America. I took my fiance to see it last night, she grew up on Baking with Julia on PBS and she loved the movie. I can appreciate it, but it isn't my favorite movie by any means. It is a cute, funny, heartwarming movie for any American who loves food, with a side of humor. If you have ever watched Julia Child, you will probably enjoy this movie.

The film is still in theatres, runs 123 minutes and is rated PG-13 for some language. Younger kids wouldn't really get it. Older kids probably wouldn't either. I wouldn't bother taking them to see it unless they've seen Julia Child cooking shows.

I'll give it 8 ramheads out of 10 for being a pleasantly nice movie.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I promised this one a long time ago....

I was there at the midnight showing, second in line with my fiance. We waited 4 1/2 hours in line to see this. It was worth every second.

That's right, I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). It showcased the best acting I've seen in a Harry Potter movie, the best production value, and created the mood and setting extremely well.

This movie had a mixed setting: young love and terror of death. I truly believe that even though they left some things out from the book, and changed a few things to make them work on the big screen, this movie was a solid Harry Potter movie. It embodied everything a Harry Potter movie should, and did so--in my opinion--better than any of its predecessors. It created the setting, the magic, the story, and it did so believably. It didn't lose any completely necessary part of the plot, and added only one unnecessary scene: the Burrow getting blown up. It was a good scene, don't get me wrong, but I don't feel it was needed for the story.

The acting in this film was significantly better than in previous Harry Potter films. Emma Watson, the actress who plays Hermione Granger, finally figured out that she doesn't have to move her eyebrows when she speaks. Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) gives a spectacular performance. Jim Broadbent (Slughorn) is new to the Harry Potter films, but he does an awesome job as well.

The music did an excellent job of creating a dark and depressing mood when it needed to and a flirty funny mood during times of teen drama. The soundtrack is a good one.

The film is a well made film and could be enjoyed by those who are not Harry Potter fans.

This film is rated PG-13 and runs 153 minutes.

I give this one 9 out of 10 ramheads.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Titanic is a Great Movie, So What?

Yeah, that's right. I really enjoyed Titanic (1997) and declare it my favorite "Chick-Flick" of all time. This movie really gets to your heart. James Cameron, the director did an excellent job of movie-making. I read that he was a super perfectionist and I'm glad, he made this movie what it is. I also read this movie was extremely expensive, I'm also glad about this, money helps. On to acting....

Kate Winslet does a sensational job convincing me of her character, her struggle against the upper-class expectations, her situation. Leonardo DiCaprio is just a good all-around actor. He's convincing and easy to like. This movie features a lot of good acting from, not only the main character, but the supporting roles and extras as well.

The thing that really gets me about this movie is the historical accuracy. I don't claim to be a historian, but nothing in this movie is completely absurd and I can comfortably believe it as history or close to it. I read that the center propeller is done wrong, but who cares? I like how they work in some historical characters: John Jacob Aster, Molly Brown, and Thomas Andrews (the ship builder). They even work in some historical people who were crew members and some in smaller roles. Details go a long way. It made me happy to read that some of the smaller roles represent actual people, not just movie fakes. This film really does a good, believable job of representing the time period. The costumes, the attitudes, and the actions of all the characters convinced me that they were in the early 1900s.

I like the history a lot, but the plot combined with history is what made this film the highest grossing film of all time and won it 11 Oscars. The love story. Classic, but not copycatting anyone. It gets you right in the heart. They really excelled in the area of romance and did an excellent job transitioning to the quick survival mode during the hour and a half of sinking. This movie kept me on my toes and didn't lose my interest for one second, even though it was three hours long.

The technical aspects of this movie are excellent as well. The special effects are very good, the sinking of the ship was almost entirely done by computer. For 1997, these are top notch effects. The music was also sensational. I am currently listening to the soundtrack, which happens to have won an Oscar, a Grammy, and became the best selling orchestral soundtrack of all time. It really brings the already amazing movie to the top tier of movies.

Like I said before, I really love this movie. It is rated PG-13 and runs 194 minutes. I wouldn't let anyone too young see it.

Even though this movie wasn't perfect, I'm still going to go ahead and give it 10 ramheads out of 10.

Will Ferrell....acting?

Sure we've seen him in comedies, but he's not really acting, he's just being himself. Yeah he's funny, but that's just what he does. So when I heard that Stranger than Fiction (2006) isn't really a comedy, I was intrigued. Will Ferrell plays an IRS agent who lives a very routine and boring life. Then one day he's hears a voice. A voice that no one else can hear. This voice narrates his life. It wasn't until the voice said he would die when he really needed to figure this out. He tries to track down his "author" and stop her from killing him.

Will Ferrell does a surprisingly good job in a serious role. The story is really interesting and unexpected and the plot moves at a good pace. Co-stars Maggie Gyllenhaal (Dark Knight), Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, and Queen Latifah make this a solid cast and the movie just makes you happy and sad at the same time. Don't expect a comedy.

It runs 113 minutes and is rated PG-13. Pretty much anyone can watch it, anyone under 13 wouldn't really enjoy it. I give it 8 ramheads out of 10 and recommend it.

Part II of my Summer Mini-Reviews

Yeah, I know, I haven't posted in a long time...I've been working and traveling and watching movies. SO, without further ado, REVIEWS:

The first movie I'm going to review is one I watched this morning.

Lord of War -2005-
Lord of War stars Nicolas Cage as an arms dealer who sells to anyone and everyone who will pay him. He marries a model, lives like a rich man and single-handedly supplies guns to thousands of RUF and other "revolutionary" and "patriotic" forces in Africa with child soldiers. This movie is loosely based on actual events (meaning it happens, just not with Nic Cage). It is sad to face the fact that this happens. It is rated R and runs for 123 minutes. Don't show this to anyone under 18. It is very well done and I give it 7 ramheads out of 10.
Lord of War's depiction of wars in Africa reminded me of another movie that deals with similar conflict.

Blood Diamond -2006- Blood Diamond stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of a South Afrikaner who smuggles "blood diamonds", those diamonds that are sold to fund conflicts. He gets word of a large red diamond and wants it for himself. DiCaprio does a tremendous job with the accent and the character. He's a very good actor and he's very believable. The story is extremely moving and does a good job of getting its point across. Here's another essay I wrote about the movie: The movie is rated R and runs 143 minutes. I wouldn't show this to anyone under 15ish. I really suggest watching this movie. It will change your perspective of the world. I give it 9 ramheads out of 10.
This brings me to another movie I watched starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I watched it last night.

Catch Me If You Can -2002-I've always enjoyed this movie. It is a little long, but so what. Leonard DiCaprio and Tom Hanks both do an awesome job. They are convincing, they are easy to like, and they are funny. This movie is based on the true story of Frank Abignale Jr. and his amazing feats of impersination, check fraud, and stealing of millions of dollars, all before his 19th birthday. If you haven't seen it, watch it. If you've seen it, watch it again. This movie is rated PG-13 for some language and runs 141 minutes. I give it 8 ramheads out of 10.Finally, I'm going to give a quick review of the Ocean's 11-13 movies. -2001, 2004, 2007-

These movies are funny, clever, and packed to the brim with big name actors. The endings are always awesome. I recommend these movies to pretty much everyone. They are rated PG-13 and run between 113 and 126 minutes. I rate them 7 ramheads out of 10.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's been a while...

So I haven't posted in a while. So what. I've been tired, lazy, and frankly enjoying summer. But part of enjoying summer is watching some movies. Some older ones, some newer ones, and some in 3D! So here's a quick review of a bunch of movies I've seen somewhat recently:

Monsters Vs. Aliens (In 3D) -2009-
This movie was quite funny, suitable for all ages, features a good story, and the 3D was sweet. AND there was only gimicky moment of 3D, right at the beginning. I give it 8 ramheads out of 10. It runs 95 minutes.Up (In 3D) -2009-
This movie was funny, heartwarming, will entertain kids from ages 5 to 85, and the 3D was like second nature. It felt so right. The only thing telling me that I was watching in 3D was the glasses (which I kept). I really enjoyed this movie and it really hit me in my heart. 9 ramheads out of 10. It runs 96 minutes.The Princess Bride (not in 3D) -1987-
INCONCEIVABLE! This movie is a classic. I've never heard anyone say they disliked this movie. It features a solid cast, funny moments, action, cheesiness, and it's a love story(but not a chick flick). What more can anyone ask for a movie? It is definitely a family film. Everyone should watch it. I give this movie 10 ramheads out of 10. It runs 98 minutes.

Jurassic Park -1993-This movie is directed by Steven Spielberg, was the true start and key to development of CG special effects, features an amazing story and great cast. It also co-stars Jeff Goldblum. I wouldn't recommend it to younger children due to some scary/violent moments. This is a wonderful film. 9 ramheads out of 10.
This is part 1 of my summer short movie reviews. (Hopefully I'll see Transformers 2 and some other good ones. Harry Potter 6 will get it's own review. No worries.)