Movie Review – Underworld

Not a bad vampire movieThe Plot – While humans fester away in this mortal coil, a war has been raging for centuries between vampires and lycans. Beneath the streets, in the subway tunnels, hidden in the alleyways, an elite vampire “Death Dealer” named Selene leads the hunt for lycan rebels whose number has dwindled in the 600 years since their leader Lucian was put down.

On a routine hunt the lycan clan makes the blood feud public to humans – a measure always avoided by both species. Not only do the lycans change their battle tactics, but they are armed with better weaponry the likes of which seem too sophisticated for their kind. During this battle Selene discovers the lycans have a particular interest in a human named Michael. Somehow this human is unknowingly aligned with the lycan clan, but neither he nor Selene know why.

Selene will take this new information to Kraven the current leader of the vampire clan. He’s a lover not a fighter, but under the veneer lies an ambitious immortal. He dismisses Selene’s worries about the lycans mounting a new offensive and is less than concerned about some human. Suspicious of Kraven’s motives, Selene sets out on her own and soon everything she believes comes into question.

Who will Selene trust? Kraven the power-hungry vampire that replaced Selene’s sire Viktor? Should she awaken Viktor from his 200 year slumber? Can she trust the lycans? And what of Michael, the only human Selene has ever come in direct contact with?

When the time comes which side will she choose?

The Review – It seems every time someone gets a hold of a vampire/werewolf legend they tailor it to their liking. That’s fine, artistic license and all, but it leaves you the viewer with the decision to wipe everything you assumed to know about these immortals and start fresh. If you find yourself caught up in questions like “How come these vampires can use mirrors?” or “Why does the sun never seem to come out?” or “Why doesn’t Selene ever run out of bullets?” then you’ll be disappointed before you’re halfway through the movie.

Overall I thought the film was decent. The storyline was interesting enough and while the movie felt a little long it seemed to clip at a decent pace. Personally, any movie that takes place in the dark for 99% of the performance is a hard movie for me to watch. [if you’re curious why clicky clicky] Anyway, given the dark blue hue, the cinematography set the tone and I thought the action scenes although brief weren’t too bad. Despite the trailers this movie is more about gunplay than kung-fu fighting so anticipate lots of collateral damage without the bullet-time finesse.

My biggest complaint probably wasn’t addressed for brevity’s sake. I would have liked a little more detail on the distinctions between vampires and lycans. It seemed the lycans were more powerful as a group than the vampires, but then certain vampires were making lots of Puppy Chow towards the latter half of the film. While you can piece together the history as the film progresses I was curious about the practical purposes behind the “Awakening”.

Grade: B- (I got what I paid for)

Movie Review – Once Upon A Time In Mexico

Johnny Depp steals another performance!The Plot – Antonio Banderas returns as El Mariachi, the nameless guitar wielding folk hero who challenged the Mexican cartels. In this follow-up to Desperado, a corrupt CIA agent named Sands (played by Johnny Depp) brings El (as he is called by the people) out of hiding in a plot to infiltrate a drug cartel and assassinate the president of Mexico. El agrees, but only so he can exact his own brand of revenge.

The Review – This one is tough. Taking note from the Rambo movies, it follows that a hero cannot be violent without first having lost everything. The overall pace of the movie is slow in comparison to Desperado. There are no surprises in the plot so watching the film is really just a matter of being patient while the scenes play out. Much of El’s history is told in flashback throughout the film, but you get the gist of things immediately.

The cinematography is well done and the action scenes are as violent as they are explosive. The downside of this movie is the effort spent on making it a whodunit with a number of plot twists. While the flashbacks add to the overall drama of El’s personal demons the subplots involving Sands, a female Federali, a retired FBI agent and the cartel’s enforcer seem too ambitious for an action picture. I found the added pieces did little to add depth to the film, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Depp’s character were somehow spun off into a separate franchise. (I found it interesting that Sands used the word “Savvy” in the same context as Captain Jack Sparrow. I wonder if that was Depp’s idea?)

Fans of the El Mariachi series shouldn’t be too disappointed and the movie is definitely worth a rental to checkout Depp’s performance.

Grade: B-/C+ (I was feeling schizophrenic when I wrote this)

Interesting tidbit about Robert Rodriguez, the man who shot, chopped & scored the films.

recap: nip/tuck episode 6

I’m a bad bad manThe episode kicks off with a consult (a sense of routine is good after all the hoopla last week). Sean inadvertently gets the client’s name wrong and we get to see the flabbiest set of triceps in this hemisphere. Bad jokes about air conditioning aside, this girl needs some help and fast. We learn Ms. Burger is getting the surgery done for the love of her life – Isaac, a man she’s been dating for six(?) months… via the Internet. 143lbs lighter, she needs some quick cosmetic surgery to “make her an honest woman”. For those that need a refresher on what cybersex is like clicky clicky.

Cut to Christian & Sean in the parking garage having yet another conversation about the need to advertise. Christian lets Sean know they’re screwed if they don’t go looking for business to which Sean points out Christian’s car which has been vandalized again. “I assume your car illustrates your point?”

Cut to the next morning, Matt enters the living room where Sean is just waking up.

“What you and Mom are fighting again? Color me surprised.”

“No, we aren’t fighting. I just couldn’t sleep.”

“You can’t sleep because you’re depressed.”

Matt takes on the role of “wise parental figure” and consoles Sean who’s obviously distraught about losing the baby. A bonding moment ensues and we learn Sean would have named the baby “David” if it had been a boy. “My sons – Matt & David.”

Cut to Christian discussing possible vandalism suspects with the police in his office. It seems the top candidate Annette Babcock killed herself (back in Episode 3).

Cut to Christian confronting Grace in the break room.

“It’s was you, you did it.”

“That’s right Christian, I sunk your battleship AND I ate your yogurt.”

“No No No, my car YOUR the reason my car keeps getting vandalized.”

Grace then gives a long winded speech about how a narcissistic child such as Christian has little affect on her, but there are plenty of other ladies that probably have it in for him. Christian realizes she’s not the vandal, but also takes it upon himself to correct Grace about their little swaray. “No orgasm? Please baby those weren’t Kegel exercises you were doing. We both know YOU. WERE. MY. BITCH.

And Christian & Grace are sexin’ it up in the break room.

Cut to Vanessa (Matt’s ex-girlfriend) getting cozy with Ridley in front of her locker. Ridley freaks out at the PDA (public display of affection). “Aack! You’re such a LITTLE dyke.” Matt oversees the argument walks over to Vanessa to see if she’s okay. “I’ll be okay if you’ll be the meat in our sandwich baby.” It’s at this point I throw the remote at the screen because Matt hesitates too long giving an answer.

Cut to the bedroom with Julia & Sean. He’s depressed, this time it’s because of Annette Babcock. Yet another speech and grueling self-analysis followed by a vulnerable sex moment. Julia is offering the goods again and Sean still sees fit to turn her down. This time is with good reason. Unexpectedly, they have no protection and Sean just can’t handle the thought of losing another baby. His answer “I’ll get a vasectomy.”

Cut to next day Christian & Matt are going out on the boat. Matt wants to inquire about threesomes, but Christian says there are new rules – your mother said so. Matt reminds him they would have nothing to talk about then. Brief discussion about Matt’s maturity level then it’s on to “Orgies For Dummies”.

Rule #1 – It’s all about the ladies.
Rule #2 – It’s all about the ladies.

“And be sure to take plenty of B vitamins, that shit is exhausting.”

Cut to Christian & Sean preparing for surgery. Christian’s rambling on about his boat being vandalized, (oh yeah, I forgot that happened in the previous scene) how he got slipped the stinky finger by some chick in college and Sean’s ignoring him. Sean goes on about being depressed and that he’s planning on having a vasectomy. Christian tells him that’s a bullshit thing to do and how this idea is maybe just as asinine as wanting to keep the baby in the first place. (Of course, Christian said everything but the fact that their marriage is screwed anyhow)

[All the women are screaming at the TV now]

*cue music from Titan Auto Insurance commercial*

Next up a consultation with a breast cancer survivor. Megan O`Hara and her husband Jim are thinking about breast implants (actually Megan hasn’t thought about it, but hey what a pick me up). Jim’s doing all the talking until Megan tells Sean “Honey, it’s okay these are my tits we’re talking about.” Sean notices Jim is very stoic in the conversation.

“Haven’t you cried?”

“Who me?”, says Jim “I’m a pillar of emotional strength.” At this point he breaks down and curses the cancer that ruined HIS life. Uhm… Jim? Megan had the cancer okay?

Cut to Christian speed dialing all his previous conquests. It’s not going very good, apparently his short term memory fizzles the moment he looks up from his black book to DING… please leave a message. He tags Melanie, Penny… err… Jenny then gets a call in from Gina. You remember, everyone’s favorite study-buddy from sexaholics anonymous. Seems she’s still bitter and she left Christian a present in the form of herpes… just kidding, but she’s still bitter. They trade a few barbs, Christian thinks she might have caused the vandalism, Gina tells him to go to hell. HANG UP. Phone rings, it’s Kimbar. You remember from Episode 1, new breasts, new nose, about a 7 or an 8.

Cut to next day, Kimbar’s at a photo shoot. “I told you not to shoot her bad side!” The manager’s barking orders, in walks Christian. “Christian! You’re here!” Kimbar can’t contain her excitement. She just got booked on her first magazine cover. She thanks Christian for his marvelous work and he hesitantly replies “Look at you, you’re an 11 baby.” The reunion is interrupted by Nico her manager/fianc?. “Hey doc, you do great work, you think we need to lift this ass a little?” Christian feeds Kimbar the soul searching story, apologizes for treating her like shit, says she deserves better, a lot better from the looks of her sleazy manager.

And we’re having sex in the shower.

Cut to the next morning Christian’s walking to his car on the phone with Kimbar. He notices Gina by his car (still covered in graffiti). They have a brief exchange of words, he threatens to get a restraining order and Gina reminds Christian that you would need a LAST NAME for that to be effective. More trash talk thrown around followed by Christian slamming Gina up on the car… heh, sorry folks no sex scene here.

Cut to Matt & Vanessa going over the supplies for their lovefest. Vanessa hits Matt with the reality check, “You can never have me the way Ridley does.” No worries, Matt’s just in it for the extra booty or so he wants to believe.

Now we’re watching the prep room where Megan is sampling her breast implants. A brief exchange between her and Sean. I did not realize that breast reconstruction did not include nipples. The graphic nature of this scene might upset a few folks. Megan is touched by Sean’s bedside manner and he reveals that Julia miscarried. SIDE NOTE – Having no personal experience with breast cancer I thought this scene was handled with a respectable degree of sensitivity.

Cut to Nico storming into the practice looking for Christian’s office. Sean is following up with Ms. Burger who seems okay so long as she can fawn over her picture of her dream man Isaac. This interlude is interrupted with the sounds of destruction, cut to Sean witnessing Nico trashing Christian’s office.

Christian arrives just in time to see Nico and a police escort. Sean and Christian exchange words, “Don’t shit where you eat man! Grace doesn’t, I don’t.” Grace quickly excuses herself.

Cut to dinner with Christian & Kimbar.

“I can’t see you, I’m a narcissist and Sean says I shouldn’t shit where I eat.”

“Oh, so I’m shit?!!?!”

“No no, I’m the shit… I’m the shit Kimbar. You should just go. (Oh how I hate Sean right now)”

And we’re watching the orgy… okay, we’re watching three teenagers sip fruit punch nervously while sitting on a bed. Ridley’s not impressed so she decides to start the underwear pile. Reminiscent of The Graduate we see Vanessa’s face full of love & wonder looking up at Ridley while Matt looks dumbfounded. Ridley calls Vanessa over, then tells Matt to get with the undressing. He’s eager to join the nookie, but Vanessa shoots him down, “YOU have to be invited. This is about us.” Matt’s pouting, but Ridley tells him to strip faster and join the party.

Cut to Sean’s office, Megan has cancelled getting breast implants. She feels hopeful, having left her husband. Sean’s surprised, but Megan says that it was at the second consult that Sean made her feel like a woman for the first time in ages. She wants to go for a drink, he offers to walk her to her car. Company policy ya know.

Girls kissing, repeat GIRLS KISSING. Ridley is the meat in the sandwich and Matt’s feeling left out again. Matt gives her a quick tap and she leans over to kiss him. Matt kisses surprisingly well. Vanessa is jealous, Matt is kissing Ridley with his eyes open glaring at Vanessa, “Oh yeah, this is for you bitch, feel my pain.” Vanessa tries to interrupt, but Ridley’s not having it. Vanessa gets out of bed, heartbroken.

Back in the parking garage we see Sean walking with Megan. He wants to thank her and we want to thank him for exploiting his codependence so well. Cut to Christian entering the parking garage in time to see Sean kiss Megan.

Cut to Kimbar’s apartment, Christian knocks and has flowers. It seems that No Dating Patients policy wasn’t really going to be enforced. He wants to try and be a one woman guy and thinks Kimbar’s a good start.

The episode wraps up with romantic music playing while Ms. Burger strolls along a patio looking for her Internet love Isaac. Her arms as shapely as her figure, she’s absolutely glowing up until she sees her love bunny who’s actually the size of a elephant.

The Good: Girls kissing… I kid, I kid. Actually, the scenes with Matt & Vanessa were well played as you could feel the emotional turmoil amidst the “Guys wish they were there” orgy. Christian giving Matt advice on orgies. Intense dramatic moment goes to Sean & Megan during the second consultation.

The Bad: Can’t think of anything at the moment.

Episode Rating: A

recap: nip/tuck episode 5

I’m turning Japanese, yes I’m turning Japanese I really think soSorry for the late posting, but this was one of the entries lost during the break-in. I’ve done my best to rewrite from memory.

Last week on Nip/Tuck… Christian discovers the competition while test driving a Lamborghini, Sean feels icky about the new porn star clientele, Matt adds “fluffer” to his list of vocabulary words along with “NGU” & “chlamydia“ we learn that while Sean doesn’t have the moves to “back that ass up” he’s certainly gentle & caring when it comes to the transgender community. Christian channels guilt into a brand new car while Sean decides to pass on porn & free sex.

OK, so what’s left to do after attending a porn party? Apparently a visit to Sexaholics Anonymous. Last night’s episode kicked off a close-up of Sean consulting with a new patient. Patient exclaims “Turn me Japanese! Will you turn me Japanese? I’m really cra-zy…” Well, maybe he doesn’t think he’s nutso, but Sean & Christian give him the once over. Apparently, the patient has found true love and she’s asked him to alter his gaijin appearance to look more like her Japanese ancestors. This is the only option available to fool her parents who must approve of him before he can get suckie-suckie. Would anyone else volunteer for mutilating their face? Yeah, I didn’t think it sounded like true love either.

Jump to Julia discovering she’s pregnant. Shock & awe ensue…

Cut to Christian at the club with his boys scopin’ the nightlife (who knew Christian had any pals aside from Sean?). The usual debate over single vs. married ensues peppered with references to blowjobs and the variations of international head (apparently Germany gets high marks). His posse looks on in amazement as Christian picks another winner to play with his hobby horse.

Cut to next day, Julia’s getting an exam back. Watch her cringe as teacher mentions “Look who’s been studying.” Pissed off she storms out of class followed by her would be suitor doing his best Patrick Dempsey impression. “We should go to this great mid-east restaurant, they’ve got the Kama Sutra playing in the background.” to which Julia replies in vaguest possible way, but I won’t be here next term.

Cut to Sean & Christian preparing to do a tattoo laser removal. (Mind you while I have a full back tattoo, I do not have anybody’s name stamped on my butt) More philosophy about love and what is behaviorally acceptable. Grace requests help with a consult and Sean points out that Christian better be nicer to her to which he replies “She isn’t dead yet right?”

Cut to a consult with former 90210 star Gabrielle Carteris (you know Andrea) who finally decided to get her nose done. Well, maybe her head smashing into her steering wheel had something to do with it, but hey better late than never. Throw in some bickering between Christian & Grace and you get the gist of the scene.

Cut to the new patients walking out and Christian starts scolding Grace for not doing a proper consult before he stepped out of surgery. Conversation comes to a brief halt so Christian can checkout the fine booty that is attached to a young lady watering office plants, followed by Grace pointing out that hickeys are best left covered in the office, followed by Grace shaking her money maker for Christian as she struts off to her office.

Cut to dinner at the McNamara house. Sean gives Julia dead flowers (it’s a joke really) followed by vague dialogue about acorns & oak trees, A’s vs. A minuses and “Guess what I’m pregnant you jerk.” Sean once again looks baffled and confused.

Cut to morning surgery, ethics discussion about Japanese oppression, Sean gives Christian the “good” news about the pregnancy. Sean’s not sure what he thinks and as usual asks Christian to help him make the decision. Christian tells him “Seeing as how I really want Julia all for myself, I can’t answer that for you.” (No, he really doesn’t say that, out loud, but you can tell that’s what he’s thinking). Cue The Cardigans music and while the docs whittle away at the gaijin’s face “Love me, Love me… say that you love me.” is heard in the background.

*music still playing* “Fool me fool me… go no and fool me” Watch as Grace goes into Christian’s office to see him getting jiggy with the plant lady on the top of his desk. (Imagine legs in the air, Christian smiling at Grace… too funny)

Cut to Grace and Christian making quips back & forth in the breakroom:

“Surprised you don’t have a special coffee girl for that.”

“No, I like Jasmine she has the ability to make things grow.”

“I think you’re pissed because I busted up your boys club, better yet you have a sex problem and I think you should go to this meeting.”

“Gee Grace, that’s nice. Maybe if you had your own orgasm once in a while, you wouldn’t have to live through mine.”

*cue commercial break*

Cut to bedroom, Sean wants to have the baby, Julia doesn’t know if she can do it again. Sean is his delusional state says “But dear, a baby would fix all our problems, a baby equals marital bliss.” Julia thinks he’s full of shit, but then he agrees that he’ll take time away from work for the baby and she can still goto school. Shock & awe ensue…

Cut to the creepiest scene of the evening. Christian is out trolling again and is propositioned by an old (and I do mean OLD) client. Apparently, she was once a looker and bartered for surgery enhancements. Christian points out her currency isn’t any good anymore to which this whacko offers up her 17yr old daughter as payment. “Ever do a mother & daughter? You can have us both Christian, I know how you like it… I’ll show her for you.” Yuck.

Cut to Christian skipping out and moving on to the sexaholics meeting. Christian isn’t impressed. Gets the speech from the headmistress running the show. “I understand if you want to leave, I know I did my first time here, but I’m 8 months celibate and never felt better. Here’s my number call me if you want a sponsor.” In true Christian form, he calls her as he’s walking out “Yeah I need a sponsor (and a good lay).”

Cut to Christian’s bedroom, headmistress is freaking out on the bed. “I slept with a plastic surgeon, 8 months of work gone, I’m such a horrible person, O my low self-esteem.” To which Christian tells her to 12 step her way out of his apartment.

Cut to next morning surgery, Christian realizes that Gabrielle Carteris (remember Andrea 90210) has had previous plastic surgery and assumes her husband is beating the crap out of her. Sean & Julia discover there’s a problem with the pregnancy and Julia will have to drop out of school and be bedridden for seven months.

Cut to McNamara house. Julia gets some takeout. Sean looks confused as always, and why is it that Matt has to be the mature one? Matt drills his mom about the baby, it’s obvious she doesn’t want it so why have another excuse to missout on school. (At this point Julia should have said “Oh yeah? Well, at least I didn’t almost cut off my penis!” but she doesn’t, instead she just sits there a mixed look of pride & guilt)

Cut to Christian & Grace finding out just how crazy to people in love can be as Gabrielle begged her husband to break her nose with a hammer (loved the flashbacks on that one).

Cut to Julia taking her midterm exams, then feinting after class.

Cut to Grace & Christian at the bar. She’s just been stood up, Christian offers and O-so sincere apology for riding her so hard at the office. They wax poetic about the boundaries of love and what extremes people go to then we cut to Christian riding Grace hard at his place (shame on you if you didn’t see that coming).

Cut to Christian giving his final grunts, Grace rolling out of bed and leaving without so much as a return glance.

The episode ends with Julia & Sean arguing about the miscarriage (shame again if you didn’t guess that one). Sean blames her for not wanting the baby, Julia’s pissed because he won’t acknowledge it as having been a quick fix, just another distraction from their real problems.

The Good: Grace walking in on Christian screwing the plant lady, that was a classic. The dialogue exchanges between Christian and almost every female in this episode. His lines were priceless.

The Bad: OK, I generally understand “Viewer Discretion” to mean mature content, but for God’s sake if I’m going to see Christian’s butt three times per episode at least balance that out with some semi-nude females. It’s getting to the point where I know what religion Christian is and that is just a little TMI for this guy.

Episode Rating: B+

Movie Review – Open Range

This is about as good as it getsThe Plot – In Open Range, Kevin Costner costars with Robert Duvall as two cowboys Charlie Waite & Boss Spearman livin’ off the land along with their companions Mose & Button. Driving cattle along the open range, they try to avoid towns as bunking with Mother Nature is the only place where they feel truly free.

Trouble comes to pass when Boss sends Mose into town for necessary supplies. One incident stirs up a chain of events that ultimately tests the friendship between Charlie & Boss and forces them to deal with their past as well as the town’s future.

“I want you to know that if I never see you again, I meant every word I ever said to you and I appreciate everything you said to me.” – Charlie Waite

The Review – And I mean every word I’m about to write. Screw Ebert & Roeper this a crappy one-dimensional film. To rate it “two thumbs up” must mean the bar was set with Gigli and Uptown Girl. I don’t enjoy people who talk-talk-talk while I’m watching a film, but when nearly 80% of the audience is heckling the dialogue I can guarantee you there’s a problem.

The last western I enjoyed was Unforgiven which was as gritty as they come. Open Range could be compared to Unforgiven if you change the plot a little, throw in poor, mistimed dialogue and add a few cardboard cutouts. The movie plot isn’t a mystery if you’ve seen the trailers. The pace of the film isn’t too slow, but if you’re like me your mind will be wandering as you’ll always be two steps ahead of the actors waiting for the next event. What’s funny is the trailers give you the impression that this film has depth. Take the quote above. From the trailer you assume that Kevin Costner & Annette Bening have known each other for some time or that there was some intimate exchange between their characters. People they barely spoke to each other! Everybody laughed at hearing that line. It was like seeing Jennifer Aniston having sex with Mark Walberg in Rockstar – just some funny stuff. There are other instances where the dialogue seems completely misplaced.

The film is not without some good points. The cinematography was good, especially the long range shots with the lush green colors and mountainous background. The gun fights and other action sequences were done well. The cuts flowed better than some films I’ve seen, I just wish this was a DVD rental so I could have skipped to each 10 minute sequence.

Unless you are a huge western fan or you just want to see how this movie compares to Waterworld I wouldn’t waste the money.

I should have joined Ryan and gone to see Freddy vs. Jason.

Grade: D+