Friday, March 23, 2007

Reign on Me

This movie stars Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle.

Don Cheadle's character runs into his old college roommate, played by Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler's character had lost his wife and daughters in the 9/11 tragedy and has suffered mental illness ever since. He has no family left, and has cut himself off from everyone. But, he welcomes Don's character back into his life because he had known him before the tragedy, not after.

We find in this movie that everyone has issues, not just the "mentally ill". It is a beautiful movie, one of Adam Sandler's best roles to date, and another great job by Don Cheadle. Don Cheadle plays one of the nicest characters in movie history in this story, I think.

Even though this is a beautiful and good movie, I doubt I would want to see it again, because some movies are too "real" for me, even if they're not exactly real.

As a whole, the movie did not dwell on the terrorism of 9/11. However, there was one tiny scene that bugged me. When Adam's character is finally starting to talk about his family again for the first time in years, he turns on the news and they elevating the terror alert for something, and then he turns the channel and they are showing young girls in hijab cheering while people burn the American flag. I know that stuff can really happen but I found it so cliche and giving the same stereotype of Islam and Muslims all over again. I forgave it however because the rest of the movie did not disparage Muslims or bring them up in anyway.

This is not a comedy and not for kids due to the serious nature of the content and some foul language.


I liked this movie simply because it showed the dynamics of humanity, regardless of how far apart we are, we are all fundamentally the same. The movie covers a Moroccan family, focusing on the actions of the two sons who have just learnt to use a rifle for the purposes of shooting jackal which attack their sheep; An American husband and wife touring Morocco trying to overcome a family tragedy; A South American nanny who needs to get to her sons wedding; and a Japanese father and he's deaf daughter who's finding it hard living life deaf.

All these different families, having their own problems unfurl, and all of them inextricably linked together by a single action. The dynamics of humanity are covered both intimately and explored from a larger social perspective as well.

It does contain some bad language and nudity, not for kids, but very interesting in subject matter for adults.


Notes on a Scandal

This movie stars Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. The acting is the best I have ever seen with both of these stars giving really really good performances. In terms of the story line, it's about an average woman who decides to become a school teacher and becomes sexually involved with one of her students. Another teacher, whom she has befriended finds out about this and uses it to her advantage.

Judi Dench plays a great part here as the social parasite posing as a friend. The subject matter is definitely not for kids though, but explores adult themes of friendship and boundaries in our lives.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Wild Hogs

This movie stars a set of popular actors including John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy as men who are life-long friends having simultaneous mid-life crises. They've always rode motorcycles together as a hobby and decide to go on a road trip to the Pacific coast and back.

Along the way, they run into troubles with a hoodlum motorcycle gang, become heroes of a small town, and work out some of their mid-life issues.

There are several hijinx jokes throughout the story.

This movie is pretty funny, but it would've been a lot funnier if I hadn't already seen at least half of the good jokes in previews. It is not very memorable or important and I would recommend it as a DVD more so than a night at the theater.

Content - there are some foul language scenes, fighting scenes, and some sexual situations in the movie.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ghost Rider

This is a Marvel Comics movie on the character The Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage.

It has a very Catholic view of good vs. evil in the same vein as movies like The Order: The Sin Eater (with Heath Ledger).

It is also very much a comic book movie - totally implausible, silly-but-taking-itself-seriously and over the top in animation of the evil faces, etc.

Aside from the fact that he never really willingly sold his soul to the Devil and that the Devil does not seem to be as evil as his son, Mephestopheles (a bit blasphemous there!), the story is about a boy who makes a deal to try to save his father's life and ends up being the Devil's Bounty Hunter. He behaves very recklessly as a stunt motorcycle rider, trying to find out if he has any control over his own fate or if the Devil keeps him alive. Then, the Devil calls on him to get rid of his son and his son's buddies, apparently a challenge to his power - or something like that - it didn't make complete sense.

From a religious stand point, I think there is some objection to the personification of Satan and these ridiculous notions of how evil works, etc. But it is after all, a ridiculous comic book fantasy. 10-year-old boys like my nephew will like it, but is it good for them? Harmless? I don't know.

At least Nicolas Cage showed that his character was wanting to find the right path and regretted any past 'mistakes'.

The Astronaut Farmer

Last weekend we saw The Astronaut Farmer. The basic premise is an ex-astronaut-contender rancher builds a rocket in his shed and decides to launch himself into space with the help of his loyal and charming family but against the wishes of the government.

The story runs a bit slow at time but is overall a very nice tale and the movie contains nothing particularly objectionable in content aside from seeing people drink beer. Billy Bob Thornton does a very good job deadpanning this role. And the two little girls playing his very young daughters are cute as buttons.

A few thoughts that ran through my mind while watching this movie, aside from the implausibility of this fantasy (but that's okay), were thoughts about how his family worked together. Here was a man who was quite possibly insane and on the verge of destroying his family over an obsession to go into space. Yet his family loved him very much and supported him in his obsession/dream because they believed in him when no one else did.