Friday, November 26, 2010

The Losers

Release Date: April 23rd, 2010

Genre: Action

Stars: Jeffery Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Jason Patric

Synopsis: A special ops military unit in Bolivia is framed for a frowned upon operation involving the death of children and assumed killed in action.  In fact they turn up very much alive and ready for revenge on the man who hung them out to dry.

AltAss Ratings (On a scale of 1 to 5 asses)

Plot & Writing:                        

No curveballs, just a steady dose of what scores best with sample audiences in the action genre.


They stuck with the B list and below for this film as far as names go which is just fine seeing as not much talent was required to depict these characters.


Good guys with revenge motive, check.  Bad guy without any morals whatsover who kills anybody who crosses him even slightly on a whim, check.  Love interest for main good guy, check.  Bad guys have good guys dead to rights when all of a sudden the tables turn and good triumphs over evil, check.  Main bad guy barely escapes with his life leaving the possiblility for a sequel, check.


This movie is watchable and if you want a quick mindless action ride, this one will do the trick.  The film actually seems to embrace and own it's cliches instead of running from or masking them which actually earns it a few brownie points.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Children of Invention

 Release Date: 2009

Genre: Drama

Stars: Cindy Cheung, Michael Chen, Crystal Chiu

Synopsis: A single parent Chinese American family faces economic difficulties and the mother turns to answering questionable "business opportunity" classified ads to help turn things around.  One day a twist in her dealings with these schemers find her two children waking to discover that she failed to return the night before.

AltAss Ratings (On a scale of 1 to 5 asses)

Plot & Writing:                               

Great choice of subject and brilliant material but it was missing the extra push it needed to fully captivate the audience absolutely.  It was also a little distracting that even though this movie was shot in 2008 in an apparently modern setting, the mother was still using a pager and payphones and there is a scene where the little boy is playing a video game in a store that appears to be an old Super Nintendo.


Three really beautiful performances from actors I've never seen before.  The kids were adorable but also very talented and the mother made the drama very real.


This is what is really going on in America and I applaud the filmmakers for opting to tell this story as opposed to the fantasy that is usually crammed down our throats.  I've never seen even a documentary that calls out pyramid schemes the way this film does so effectively.


See this movie especially if you need a break from the Hollywood status quo.  Highly reccomended.

The Ghost Writer

Release Date:  March 19th, 2010

Genre: Drama / Mystery/ Thriller

Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Olivia Williams

Synopsis: A young ghostwriter agrees to take over the political memoirs of the former British prime minister after his predecessor has turned up dead in a somewhat suspicious apparent suicide.  He soon begins to discover that everything is not as it seems on the surface and begins to question his own safety.

AltAss Ratings (On a scale of 1 to 5 asses)

Plot & Writing:                          

Really a wonderful premise for a movie of this genre but it sure did move at a snails pace.


Olivia Williams has always been excellent in just about every movie I've ever viewed her in.  Perhaps all this movie needed was more Pierce Brosnan and a much more interesting character in the lead role to become something much more special.  This is as much a critique of the writers as it is of Ewan McGregor because he is obviously a very professional and capable actor.


This aroused new notions of possible conspiracies in the war on terror in my mind that were very well imagined.


For all the good things that can be said about this film, it still doesn't change the fact that it will bore you to tears for the first hour.  At least we can be sure this film will probably be the subject of a much needed makeover, during my lifespan with any luck.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nelly 5.0

Release Date: November 16th, 2010Genre: Hip Hop

Singles: Just a Dream, Move That Body, Long Gone

AltAss Ratings (On a scale of 1 to 5 asses)


Mostly smooth grooves, this album felt more like an R&B record than rap.  Super professional tracks, nothing stuck out as being super special or heinous.

From what I ascertained from listening to this record a couple of times, Nelly thought it was most important to relay to his audience how much money and how many women he has at his disposal.  He would also would like you to know that if you aren't careful he will take your woman too which makes him seem like an asshole.  You can listen for yourself but that really is just about the entirety of this album's message.


I remember when I bought I the very first Nelly CD around ten years ago now and it was a very new sound unlike anything in hip hop at the time.  Unfortunately since that album he has failed to recapture the same magic and this most recent effort is not any better.


This record gets boring fast after the first few tracks.  The best song is "Just a Dream", and you can currently probably hear that every half hour on your local pop radio station.  "Move That Body" is probably a pretty hot dance club number but not ideal for your car or at home.  Nelly needs to reconnect to his old sound and expand his range of ideas for lyric content

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

Release Date: March 26th, 2010

Genre: Animated / Adventure / Comedy

Stars: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill

Synopsis: A young Viking must prove himself to his father and his friends by becoming a dragon slayer.  When he can't bring himself to kill one of the beasts in the moment of truth, he gains a friend and learns a secret that could change everything.

AltAss Ratings (On a scale of 1 to 5 asses)

Plot & Writing:                              

A nice premise for an adventure and it holds your attention and advances the story nicely.  I thought the comedy side of this work was lacking as it failed to utilize the talent of funny guys like Jonah Hill effectively or often enough.


All the voices worked very effectively with the animated characters and nobody stood out for being significantly superior or inferior to his or her fellow actor.


This is where Dreamworks seperates itself from all other animation studios.  There is undoubtedly an entire team of people who will never get the credit they deserve for making this movie the success that it was.  The dragons, which didn't speak at all, communicated very effectively though the expressions in the animation.


Dragon slaying Vikings are very new.  Feel good animated pictures where good always triumphs over evil are not.


Definitely worth a look especially with your kids.  We can learn alot from the moral of this story that we should try and identify with our enemies and understand their motives before waging all out war with them.  Don't let the Vikings with Scottish accents distract you from enjoying this film.

The Laugh Factor

Belly Laughs: 0

Chuckles: 3-5