Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (6)


I really enjoyed this newest edition to the Harry Potter saga. It has already been observed that the story is getting darker the further it goes. But movie six does a good job of balancing this darkness with light-hearted humor.

It is Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwart's and he is invited to have special classes with Professor Dumbeldore. In preparation for a final showdown with Voldemort, Dumbeldore and Harry work together to unravel the Dark Lord's mysterious past by reconstructing memories. They hope to learn the secret to Voldemort's destruction. Meanwhile teenage romance abounds and Professor Snape continues to make us ask the question: "Who's side is that guy on?"

The pacing of this one was slower than the other movies. There was less action and more dialogue and exposition. It has the atmosphere of the "calm before the storm." Even the epic climax had a serene feel to it. Overall I really liked it, I added the "minus" to the A that i gave mostly for it's removal of what I thought were some exciting action scenes from the book. Although it is rated PG, there is one scene near the end which will definitely scare small children.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Forever Strong


This was a great feel good movie about sports, character, and becoming a man. Forever Strong tells a story from the Highland High rugby team, the winningest high school rugby team in the country. The story, based on true events, is heartfelt, the action is thrilling, and the the moral lessons are needed.

The story centers around Rich Penning (Sean Faris), a troubled teen whose father coaches rugby in Arizona. AS a consequence of another DUI, Penning is sent to a juvenile detention center in Salt Lake City, UT. Eventually, he finds himself on the on the Highland High rugby team, rivals to his father's AZ team. Coach Gelwix (Gary Cole) teaches his players how to be champions in life, not just in rugby.

If you enjoyed Remember the Titans, Miracle, and Rudy, then you will also love Forever Strong. Maybe I am biased, because I am also a high school coach with a very similar coaching philosophy as Gelwix (although I think he executes it better than I do). It was great. The movie is PG-13 for some thematic elements including drug abuse and alcohol.

Thursday, June 11, 2009



Wow. I've said it before and I'll say it again, When is Pixar gong to throw up a stinker? It seems that all they know how to make are winners. Up is no different. The animation quality was astounding (as we've come to expect from Pixar) and the story was great. Although somewhat "grounded" in reality, Up is definitely a fantasy adventure story. It has it all, unforgettable characters, genuine laughs, action, suspense, and truly tender emotions that we can all relate to.

Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old balloon salesman, is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. He ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies it to South America. He is surprised to find that a little boy named Russell has accidentally stowed away on his trip. Hilarity and action ensue.

As you watch the film, notice the attention to detail. For example, as the movie progresses Carl's facial hair slowly grows from clean-shaven to stubble. I was a little concerned that maybe the villain's mean dogs might scare my 4 year old, but she handled it just fine. And by the end, the dogs had become quite endearing. It is another phenomenal film that I highly recommend to all viewers. It is rated PG for action, some peril, and some frightening chase scenes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine


I liked this movie. I was a little disappointed because I was expecting "great" and got "good." But it was good. It was packed with action, had a few laughs, and even had some tenderness. The violence felt a little excessive for PG-13, though. This film launches a new direction in the X-Men franchise: origin stories for their superheroes. In that sense all of these new movies are/will be prequels to the existing X-Men trilogy.

Seeking solace from his dark past, Logan (Hugh Jackman), better known as Wolverine, seems to have found love and contentment with Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins) . Logan's peaceful existence is shattered when Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), his vicious brother, brutally murders Kayla. Logan's thirst for revenge propels him into the Weapon X program, where he undergoes a painful procedure to bond his bones with adamantium, making him virtually indestructible and more than a match for Victor.

Overall, it was a good movie. It connected some of the dots in the later movies and answers many of the questions raised about Wolverine's past in the trilogy. It is rated PG-13 for sci-fi, superhero violence (some of which may be hard to watch for a sensitive viewer).

Star Trek


What a ride! This newest edition to the Star Trek franchise may be the best film yet. It was exciting and funny. And the opening scene was about the best I've ever seen.

Aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, the most sophisticated starship ever built, a young crew embarks on its maiden voyage. Their path takes them on a collision course with Nero (Eric Bana), a Romulan commander whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind. If humanity is to survive, a delinquent Iowa farm boy named James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and a coolly logical Vulcan named Spock (Zachary Quinto) must move beyond their bitter rivalry and find a way to defeat Nero before it is too late.

I really enjoyed this film. It didn't take itself too seriously and seemed to enjoy poking fun at itself. The characters were believable (given the sci-fi setting). There were plenty of little things that only Star Trek fans would get, yet even the uninitiated will find the the movie thrilling and fun. Well done! The movie is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and some brief sexuality.