Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We're on Twitter!!!!

That's right, we've joined the cool kids and are now updating people on our daily lives no more than 140 words at a time under the name "reallyrlreviews". So check it out and become one of our followers and be sure to tune in to our podcast tonight at 9pm.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keepin' It Really Reel Award - July '09

Really Reel Reviews started as a simple idea that we hoped would pass the time for us and occasionally bring us some amusement. The venture has lasted a little over two months, but it has been exhausting. We have been tiring ourselves by watching movies, going through drafts for various blog entries, and arguing tons of topics and points for podcasts, many of which we never discuss on air. Mix that with family, work, and a recession and you’ve got a recipe for burnout – not to mention I’ve just started my PGA season on Tiger Woods golf! When can a guy get a break? So here we are. Let’s take a knee and grab some water and reflect on the summer of movies since its end is just over one month away…
Most of the blockbusters have already come and gone. When you listen to our podcasts there are only a few movies we strongly recommend, and only one of the much anticipated summer releases do we outright encourage seeing in theaters– STAR TREK. Admittedly, our reason for wanting to see Star Trek and wanting it to succeed was more for J.J. Abrams, not the Star Trek franchise, and that is why Abrams is July’s recipient of the Keepin’ it Really Reel Award.
I never saw Felicity, never saw much of Alias, but I did see the pilot of LOST and that was all she wrote. JJ Abrams directed the pilot of LOST (in addition to his writing and producing responsibilities), and if you haven’t seen it then you are missing something special. The way he handles chaos and presents it intricately, but clearly (which ends up being important to the theme of the show) is unlike anything I had ever seen…until I saw the bridge scene in Mission: Impossible III. But all the explosions, time traveling, and intricate action sequences aren’t what make Abrams amazing.What separates Abrams from McG and Michael Bay is the same thing that makes Star Trek better than Terminator Salvation and Transformers – it’s the story. Yes, the actual story.

Story is an ancient term some of you may not remember, but it is very important to Abrams and what he does. From Felicity to Sydney Bristow to the entire ensemble of LOST; characters are what drives Abrams’ work. Even in "MI3", Abrams’ directorial debut, characters that we had known for two previous movies seemed to have newfound depth to them. I mean, everyone looks better compared to John Woo’s doves and motorcycle ballets, but "MI3" made a legitimate stance as story based action movie. And that’s exactly why the franchise, for the first time in its brief history, will use a director for more than one movie.

I could go on and on about Abrams, but what really makes him deserving of this month’s award is his own words at the TED speaker series. There he talks about his passion for story and mystery. He also mentions why many sequels fail – because they “rip off” the wrong elements of the original movie. I highly recommend listening to that portion of the clip. Abrams Keeps it Really Reel by injecting our otherwise dull, lackluster, and cookie-cutter summer with some life, energy, and ingenuity.
Allow yourself to actually watch some of Abrams’ work and forget about the vehicle he uses to set up his plot; forget the plane crash, the time travel, the black hole, and allow yourself to get to know the doctor or the con man, the aspiring starship captain, or the secret agent and I guarantee you will be amazed. Thank you, J.J. Abrams for your many stories that go beyond the common ploys and tricks of cinema and TV. And we’re all looking forward to 2010 when Destiny is Found! (Lost fans, you can now go change your shorts.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ever seen "Event Horizon"? Yeah, you don't need to see "Event Horizon"

So let's be honest here, we do not have the funds to keep reviewing new movies for our loyal followers every week. Sometimes we may have to go to the vault and discuss a movie that isn't exactly the new craze at the cinemas, but hey we're trying our best here.

That being said, HBO has been playing the Sci-Fi thriller "Event Horizon" very frequently the past week and I figured since I'd never seen it then why not give it a chance? Then I thought so many people now have HBO so they can check out the new episode of "Hung" every Sunday I should inform anyone who was like me and thought about devoting 90 minutes to Larry Fishburne and Dr Grant from "Jurassic Park" in space. Not your best work fellas.

"Event Horizon" came out in 1997 and what happens in a nut shell is this spaceship called the Event Horizon (title in the movie!, always popular) gets sent out close to Venus (Oh I should mention this is one of those movies where they drastically overestimate how fast space travel would advance in terms of time and there are colonies on the moon in 2011) and it disappears. Seven years later, guess who's back? The ship appears out of nowhere and Larry Fishburne and his crew are sent to go check it out and rescue any survivors. Along with the crew is Dr. Weir, who built the Event Horizon and as we are introduced to him in the beginning we see he has a "past". Well they get to the ship, blood everywhere, no crew, and apparently the ship has somehow travelled through a black hole and brought hell back with it. Shenanigans ensue, people start seeing their worst nightmares, people start dying, and get this, Fishburne and his crew's ship gets destroyed, so they have to get home on the "Horizon". Oh how are they gonna get out of this pickle??

Some of the movie is pretty scary, as there is a video they find of what happened to the old crew that's really disturbing, but other than that I found it to be kind of lame. I mean this could just be me, but I am not a fan when the "monster" or "evil" in a movie is simply something that shows you bad things or takes over your mind. That doesn't do it for me, I need something with fangs or one big arm accompanied by a little one. One scene really made me mad when a woman thinks she sees her son on the ship and follows him. Was your son on your ship? Does he have the technology or the knowledge that could enable him to fly his own ship to yours? Of course not, it's not him, don't follow the hallucination, you deserved to fall down that shaft.

Two final thoughts, Joely Richardson from "Nip Tuck" was in this movie. She didn't do much and wasn't particularly good in it, but I came away realizing she's British in real life and she does an American accent on the show. Good for her and honestly I am really impressed by a lot of British actors who are able to handle American speak so well. Say what you will about Colin Farrell (I know he's Irish, still counts) but he can speak like he's from the States like nobody's business. Damian Lewis from "Band of Brothers" and NBC's "Life" is another British actor who sounds more like an American than I do and I am from the birthplace of this great nation.

Lastly, before the movie started they do what they always do and show why a movie is rated whatever it's rated. For PG-13 you'll usually get an Adult Content and an Adult Language. But for R, it's anybody's game and let's face it, we all hope for that beautiful uppercase N that stands for Nudity. "Event Horizon" has that N people, but it's for the dreaded Bad Nudity. BN can hit at anytime and in this picture it's when we see a flashback of Dr. Weir's wife slitting her wrists in a bathtub. When you wait a hour into a movie to see what this Nudity business is all about and it turns out it's a naked chick in a tub offing herself, well it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Some other BN moments in case you're wondering is the scene from "The Shining" with the chick in the tub (see a pattern?) and anytime it's a man's ass.

So in conclusion, yeah you don't need to see this movie, unless Jake Noseworthy is your nephew and if he is and you haven't seen it by now then I don't think you two have the most heartwarming talks at Easter anyways.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Greatest Trilogy of All-Time? / Reader Submission #01

The Infernal Affairs trilogy.
"Never heard of it" you are probably telling yourself. Well, this trilogy happens to be one of the most successful movie franchises to come out of Hong Kong. Many people say that Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winning The Departed was based on the notorious Southie Gangster James “Whitey” Bulger. In fact the movie came from the Hong Kong neo-classic film that was released in 2002. The film went ahead and won several big prizes at Hong Kong’s equivalent of the Oscars, including Best Picture, Screenplay, director, and supporting actor. Its sequels were also nominated for the major awards, but not picking up any. For the sake of avoiding confusion, I will refer to all characters in the Infernal Affairs trilogy to their The Departed counterparts.

You will find that The Departed is nearly a mirror image of its predecessor, minus the painfully over the top and unnecessary performance by Jack (however, the remake does redeem itself with Mark Wahlberg’s character that did not exist in Infernal Affairs). Without giving up too much plot and ruining it for you two, Infernal Affairs II is actually a prequel. The Departed took certain elements of this movie to give more of a back-story behind Leo and Damon’s characters. Infernal Affairs takes the stories of how Leo and Damon infiltrate the mob/police force and divulge into the lives of Jack and Martin Sheen’s characters and their rise through the ranks of both the police force and the triads. The third and final chapter of this fantastic trilogy is the only true “sequel” by the definition, deals with the aftermath of what happened in the first installment. While this takes a backseat to the action and suspense as the previous pieces, Infernal Affairs focuses on the characters in a deep more psychological thriller. While the third pales in comparison to the first two installments, it does give the fan a sense of closure.

And if you’re not going to put that on, you might as well put up the Mighty Ducks, or at least Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood’s Spaghetti Western trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly).
-------------------------end submission-------------------------

We certainly appreciate this submission. And before I begin with a response, I just want to remind all our readers and followers that emails debating anything we post, containing questions, or suggestions for topics are always welcome – just email us at You may even get your very own post, much like our first contributor, Oliver.

Oliver, to you I say your passion for movies is shared by both me and Terry. Your knowledge of the Infernal Affairs trilogy is impressive. However, for the purposes of our poll we decided to stick with mainstream films which almost always implies English language films – an unfortunate truth I am sure. I will certainly check out the Infernal Affairs trilogy as I loved The Departed, but I doubt there is any way this write-in suggestion of Infernal Affairs would ever win this poll hence its exclusion…which brings me to my next point.

Mighty Ducks, are you serious? I hope you’re kidding…and if you’re not then maybe you, Adam Banks and Russ Tyler can go practice triple dekes and knuckle pucks together because that would be time better spent than arguing for Mighty Ducks as one of the greatest trilogies. Moving on…

I agree with your suggestion of the Dollars trilogy. I debated including it on the list for some time believe it or not, but the main reason I left it off is because my list was getting long. Another reason is I felt like all the other titles were more in the consciousness of our average follower (probably the average American in general)as better films/trilogies. While many people have heard of at least one of these movies, I think most people are unaware that the three titles you mentioned are actually a trilogy of films. But maybe we should have served as the reminder of how good the trilogy was. After all, it is credited with giving life to, or at least setting the bar for the spaghetti western. On a personal level the Dollars trilogy played a huge part in my development growing up, and I have my older brother to thank for that. As a wide-eyed, impressionable youth my brother introduced me to two great forms of art. One was Wu-Tang’s “Enter the Wu-Tang”/“36 Chambers” which helped me learn at the tender age of ten that, yes in fact, cash does rule everything around me. The other was Clint Eastwood and his resume of characters including the Man with No Name. Later it was Fox’s weekend morning lineup of Kung-Fu theater, but that’s for another post.

If readers and voters are unfamiliar with the Man with No Name and the Dollars trilogy, I urge you to follow Oliver’s lead and check it out. I do not believe it would ever win this poll (it would smash Infernal Affairs and Mighty Ducks), but it is our position to post the poll and let you all decide.
Thanks for your submission, Oliver. And Tell Gordon Bombay ReallyReelReviews says, “What’s up?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Taken...for one hell of a ride!!

This has been a rough week of rentals for me; I decided to give Strange Wilderness a try because I watched Happy Gilmore on television and thought “maybe Sandler can produce a good one this time around” – he didn’t. The movie was absolutely terrible and I finished it only to see if the last 10minutes could be worse than the first … and they were. Amazing! – 0 reels out of 5. Then it was the ultra-heavy “if they made a sequel to 8mm this would be it” otherwise known as Trade starring Kevin Kline, which occasionally played out like a road trip/buddy comedy. That, along with some other issues of themes and character inconsistency, detracted from the overall impact of the film. – 2 reels out of 5. Man, after Trade all I wanted in my life was romantic comedies or spoofs. I couldn’t take another serious movie especially one dealing with selling young women into the sex trade.

But no, my buddy had to Gchat me two days later saying I needed to bump Taken to the top of my Netflix queue. I told him I absolutely did not want to watch the movie where a father threatens his daughter’s kidnappers and they respond with “good luck." That preview just made the movie seem corny and Hollywood-ish; it just put a bad taste in my mouth. Plus I thought it would be a fusion of Leon aka The Professional and the Bourne movies (which on paper is an awesome fusion, by the way) that would fall way short much like copies never retain the sharpness of their originals. Reluctantly I bumped Taken to the top of my queue. Taken arrived Wednesday. I put it in the DVD player at 8:15pm on Thursday. By 9:50pm I was calling my buddy apologizing for ripping his recommendation.

The movie is enjoyable. I was wrong about its plot, and for that I am ignorant for not doing more research. The movie centers on Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), an ex special forces or CIA operative, who must track down his seventeen year old daughter in France before she is sold into the sex trade. Ok, wicked heavy storyline right there because if it was a kidnapping/ransom deal you would think his past caught up with him and that’d be a different box of cracker jacks, but instead we’ve got to deal with this sex trade thing again and see all these creepy dudes forcing girls into heroin dependency etc. It’s real in that sense, and that makes it appalling but that much harder to turn away at the same time.

Taken definitely fell victim to some action pic clichés, but it also excelled in understanding its dark themes and allowing its hero to take advantage of them. There were the 50 bad guys' bullets to Neeson’s one fatal good guy bullet – that gets very annoying over the course of 90minutes. Why not just let him seek cover? Or make him fire 50 rounds as well? I don’t understand why villains have terrible vision and aim? Is there no sight test in the recruitment of assholes? And then the whole car chase thing where cars are side by side and bad guys fire fully automatic rounds at Neeson’s car and the bullets bounce off the window fringe and side mirrors – warning: painfully unrealistic sequences are closer than they appear.

But as I mentioned there is a flip side to the cliches and its a darkness of sorts. Because Neeson has entered the gruesome world of sex slave traders and the morally inferior, he is allowed the freedom to brutally hunt and torture/kill his victims, and we cheer him for it. He’s no vigilante and he’s not a bad guy with the good guy characteristics; he’s just getting his daughter back by any means necessary and we’ll support him for that. There is one awesome scene involving an innocent bystander that I won’t even spoil, but if/when you see this movie you’ll jump out of your chair and say, “Holly hell! That’s what he was talking about!” There is more to complain about in Taken, but by the end you just say “forget it” and you’re happy you rode the roller coaster even if some of the loops and twists looked better from afar. (I would love to discuss the negatives in greater detail free from spoilers, so email us and I'll explain my uncut, unedited feelings)

Rent Taken and enjoy it. It’s not a popcorn flick; you’ll definitely want your glass of Kentucky Gentlemen and Coke with you for this one (if you’re over 21, of course). Take the clichés and some of the scenes that make you want to roll your eyes with a grain of salt. And if you really like this after you watch it, go back and watch some of Luc Besson’s better movies – Leon aka The Professional and La Femme Nikita – so you understand why I was a little hard on this movie. -- 3 reels out of 5

clarity on my rating system:
0= don’t bother
1= I don’t recommend it, but good luck if you want to see it
2 = worth a shot if it sounds like your type of flick; not for everyone
3= rent; if movie is in theaters wait for rental and you should like it
4= see in theaters if you have the chance; rent and enjoy!
5=what are you still doing here? Go see it or rent today!