Blades of Glory

Blades of Glory is a movie I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. Will Ferrell doing for figure skating what he’s already done for NASCAR.

First, a little background about me… People are probably going to give me crap for this, but I’m a fan of Olympic quality figure skating. Granted I only watch it about every four years, but I still like to watch. I just think back to the day when in a youth hockey practice our couch had us try some of the stuff. It isn’t nearly as easy as they make it look. I fell on my ass… a lot. So I appreciate the sport. Not a big fan of “judged” sport, but done well, figure skating can be really good.

Simply put, I loved this movie. I laughed my ass of and so did the rest of the theatre. I occasionally felt bad for what I was laughing at, but knowing they were doing just for that effect made it a little easier. They rip on every aspect of figure skating there is (kids enslaved as youths, living weird lives, the guys aren’t that interested in girls, the costumes, the coaches, the announcers, everything). You name something that people make fun of related to figure skating, the do it. And they do it well.

Ferrell nails it. Heder hangs right with him. We get Craig T. Nelson reprising his role as coach, albeit it is coach of a different sport. And we get the creepy FBI agent from Prison Break playing the creepy figure skating parent. (Note, not all figure skating parents are creepy, for lack of a better word, but like any other type of parents, there are some.)

I won’t go into details of the plot because I don’t want to give away what little there is (think Tanya Harding) but there is enough where they can seamlessly work lines like “I put the bone in Zamboni” without it sounding contrived, and that takes some work.

The most amazing part of the movie is the number of real life really famous figure skating people that are in the movie that is ripping on their sport. They know what people say and they know the movie is being done in jest and they eat it up. Much props to Scott Hamilton, the voice of modern figure skating, for even poking fun with his announcing in the movie at how he announces in real life.

Finally, with the name of the movie, the first thing that comes to mind is the Bon Jovi song Blaze of Glory from Young Guns II. I so wanted to here this song in the movie somehow. But sadly, no dice. However, they do have Bo Bice, of Idol fame, singing a song that sounds somewhat similar to Blaze of Glory (video) called Blades of Glory (video). The song was different enough where it isn’t the same, but has that same sound to it (mainly the refrain). Oh, how low Mr. Bice has already sunk.

Horrible movie, incredibly funny and I loved it. If you want to laugh your ass off, go watch it.

Here’s the trailer…


Trailer

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300

300, besides being the minimum number of barefoot runs to do this year (I did 299 last year and need to beat that), it is also the name of a movie that just came out a week ago and I finally saw tonight.

The movie 300 is loosely based on the Battle of Thermopylae, and from what I’ve read on line, is somewhat truthful to the original story. That battle is actually fairly well studied and it often used as an example of the benefits of military training, use of terrain and equipment to maximize the effectiveness of an army[wiki].

I’ve seen the movie has been getting mixed reviews and wasn’t really sure how good it would be. I did know it was going to look good. The story is of the battle of 300 men defending their country from invaders. It has just enough story to give the reasons for the battles and little bit of the politicking going on back in Sparta while the battles are being waged. And I thought it did a good job. Kept me interested, the two hours flew by and I thought it was a pretty decent movie. Nothing Oscar worthy like Gladiator, but definately entertaining. If you like action movies, go watch this one on a big screen.

I saw it on the IMAX screen and it looked phenomenal. Visually, it doesn’t get much better than that. It was filmed with real people against blue-screens and then the backgrounds and effects were added latter and they did a really good job of this (they might get some Oscars for technical/special effects). The people fit in with the background nearly flawlessly. The soundtrack, taking a different approach from other recent movies featuring big historic battles backed by classical type music, has more of a rock/metal edge. One thing I did notice was that unlike Braveheart where it had blood hit the lens of the camera (very unusual for a mainstream movie), this one didn’t. Kinda unbelievable given the amount of blood shown, but even though it was all digitally superimposed, it would have been nice to have some superimposed on the camera lens.

Finally, this movie is not without controversy. Some people cite its lack of complete historical accuracy while others complain about the portrayals of the Persians. I personally prefer Warner Brothers statement about the controversy… “The film ‘300’ is a work of fiction inspired by the Frank Miller graphic novel and loosely based on an historical event. The studio developed this film purely as a fictional work with the sole purpose of entertaining audiences; it is not meant to disparage an ethnicity or culture or make any sort of political statement.” [Variety.com]

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Zodiac

Saw this movie back in the beginning of March when it came, just been a bit busy. But back to the mini review…

This movie tells the story of the case work that was done to investigate the real Zodiac killer. It was made by the same directory that did Se7en, David Fincher, so I had some high hopes for a good movie. The movie is pretty different from his last serial killer movie though. No really big twist, no gripping story that draws you in. Se7en was one of the best movies of the 90s. Period.

But back to the movie at hand. This was actually one of the better movies from this spring, but that really isn’t saying a whole lot based on the other movies that came out. Tells a good a story (not that what happened was good, but that the story was interesting). But it was a good movie. it was interesting to see the guy that played Drew Carey’s brother in the show, John Carroll Lynch, in a movie and Anthony Edwards in something that was good since he left ER.

Overall, good movie, well worth watching at some point.

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The Number 23

I also caught the movie The Number 23 recently, another movie where Jim Carey tries to play it straight instead of being a funny man. Does it well too.

The movie itself moves a long a little slowly but has an interesting story. I won’t go into details, but it was a decent story, I kinda figured it out a little bit before the end, but it kept my attention to the end.

The movie isn’t anything to run out and see in you’re local megaplex, but watch for it on DVD. It’ll be worth watching.

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Pans Labyrinth

Suppose I’ll write up a quick review of the movie Pans Labyrinth. Caught this at the theater the day after the Oscars. I’d heard good things about it and decided it was time to see it.

The movie itself is very good. However, it is a very depressing movie. Well acted, good story, well done special effects with easy to read subtitles. Yes, it is subtitled, so be prepared to read.

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Night at the Museum on the IMAX

Finally managed to see this one on the IMAX. The show times never cooperated very well and the fact that I knew it was going to be on the IMAX for a while made me a little lax. With 300 coming out soon on the IMAX, time was running out.

I’d have to say that this movie was better than I expected, but I expected little. It had enough of a story to keep me interested, much more of a story than I thought it would have. Effects were good, characters were well cast, and the fact that it was on the IMAX probably helped it out a bit. This is definately what I call a popcorn flick meant for the whole family and worth watching. This isn’t a ground breaking movie or anything, but it is entertaining.

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Breach

I’ve actually been anticipating the movie Breach just a little bit. More than any other recent movie. Looked like a good spy type movie, although it is difficult for me to be excited about any movie staring Ryan Phillippe.

The movie is pretty good. Nothing special, not award winning, but it tells a good story. And that is all I expected from it. A good story.

The movie tells the story of a breach in US security, the biggest breach in US security and this tells of the last few months of the ongoing breach. It would have been a bit more interesting to see more about the back story, see how he was brought in, how he worked, what damage he did. The story the movie did tell, was well told. Although you should know the outcome, I’ll leave the details of the story to the movie.

Finally, it was just a little creepy that the dates in the movie corresponding so well to the current dates, just off a few years. Hanssen was arrested Feb 18, 2001, 6 years and 1 day ago.

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Ghost Rider

I caught Ghost Rider on the opening day. Not because I was that excited for it, but because the movie time fit my schedule. Seems Marvel has gotten into the habit of releasing new comic book based movies right around Valentine’s Day. It didn’t work very well with Daredevil (2/14/03) or Electra (1/14/05). Both were mediocre movies. Ghost Rider was just a bit better, and surprisingly, actually did pretty good at the box office.

Based on what I know of the comic book character, they stayed pretty true to the original story with just a little simplification, but nothing materially different.

The move was alright. Nothing special, but not really bad either. If you like comic book type movies or action movies, you’ll probably enjoy this one, once. Action sequences were decent, effects OK, but the rider did look a little fake at times. A little too CGI.

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Hannibal Rising

I’ll warn you now… this review of Hannibal Rising contains spoilers… they’re after the poster… you’ve been warned…

So this is the movie that is suppose to tell the beginning of Hannibal Lecter (don’t read too much here if you don’t know anything, you’ll ruin the movies.) If you don’t know who he is, go watch Silence of the Lambs… trust me, it is worth it. Then go crawl back under the rock you came out from under because that is one of the best movies out there and Lecter has been voted the #1 villian in movies of all time.

For me, I’d almost rather not know why he became a psycho, but when there is money to made, lets come up with a reason. Obviously that is what the author did since this book came out so long after the others. I’m curious to see what Lecter’s Wiki page looked like before the most recent book/movie.

***** If you don’t want spoilers… stop NOW!!! *****

Anyway, the movie is entertaining, but forgettable, nothing you’re going to want to see again and again like Lambs. To me, it looked like they needed to come up with a really good reason for Hannibal to be so sick and twisted… let’s have him witness war crimes from WWII as a kid. Now why is he a cannibal? Let’s have the war crime be some “people” ate his little sister. Yes, that is what they did. I guess that is what it takes to make someone go crazy. This all takes place in the first 10 minutes or so of the movie, so I didn’t ruin much. He witnessed this as a kid and like the poster says… he wants revenge. And the movie documents the revenge.

I think the director or author was a fan of the Kill Bill movies because they figured out a way to write him in a sword in the movie and it all goes down hill from here and turns into a rather predictable catch a killer movie.

No memorable lines and the fact that they couldn’t turn back the clock on Sir Anthony Hopkins to make him look 20 means you get a very run of the mill movie. Manage to make Hopkins look 20 something and have him in the role and maybe they would have had something. Random guy playing Lecter just isn’t the same. Average movie, nothing special to make it Hannibal worthy, but it is watchable.

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Pursuit of Happyness

Saw the Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness. Not much to say about it other than it is feel good movie that will inspire you to work hard in to succeed at both work and family life. As part of the inspiration, you’ll see Will Smith starring in a movie with his son Jaden Smith playing the roles of father and sun. Will plays a father named Chris Gardener who is working hard to make ends meet but just can’t seem to get caught up. Then he catches a cab ride with a HR person for an investment firm and solves the Rubic’s Cube right in from. At the time (1980), many believed the puzzle to unsolvable. Needless to say, the HR guy was intrigued by the genius of Chris and thought he had a lot of potential. And that is where the movie takes off.

The pacing at time is a little slow, but the movie is good. Check out this real life inspirational movie when you get a chance.

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