VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Amber: 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars Netflix, 6.1/10 IMDB.

This was a fun movie…  National Treasure meets magic.  The homage to the original Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Mickey Mouse was pretty awesome.  Jay Baruchel and Nicolas Cage were great.  Teresa Palmer still reminds Claire of a blonde Kristen Stewart, and Carolyn agrees and says “add a splash of Scarlett Johannson also”.

Totally family and kinda hammy, but it’s a frickin’ Disney movie…What were you expecting? It’s appropriate and consistent with the Disney aesthetic. Didn’t mind it at all. Some of the magical action was really cool!

We watched this in some bullshit rendered-into-3-D mode.  Not my Samsung 3D HDTV’s built-in 2D-to-3D “upscaling”, but a video where someone had ripped a blu-ray, and then encoded it into 3D using some software that analyzed the video. You’d think that sophisticated computer software rendering for as long as necessary would turn out a better product than what my TV can create on the fly–And you’d be wrong. Samsung’s 2D-to-3D “upscaling” is so much better that I now know to avoid watching a movie someone else “converted” into 3D. Funk dat.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure movies).
Written by Lawrence Konner (Star Trek 6, Superman 4, 3 eps of The Sopranos), Mark Rosenthal (Star Trek 6, Superman 4), Matt Lopez, Doug Miro (Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time) & Carlo Bernard (Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time).
Nicolas Cage as Balthazar.
Jay Baruchel (Undeclared, How To Train Your Dragon, This Is The End, She’s Out Of My League, Fanboys, Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Knocked Up) as Dave.
Alfred Molina (Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, The Da Vinci Code, Spider-Man 2, Magnolia, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, 2 eps of Gravity Falls, 2 eps of The Life & Times Of Tim, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Horvath.
Teresa Palmer (Take Me Home Tonight, Warm Bodies, The Grudge 2) as Becky, the love-interest. She still reminds Claire of a blonde Kristen Stewart.
Toby Kebbell (Wrath Of The Titans, Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time) as Drake Stone, the evil sorcerer’s apprentice.
Omar Benson Miller (8 Mile, uncredited in Transformers, uncredited in American Pie Presents Band Camp, 63 eps of CSI: Miami) as Bennet, Dave’s friend.
Monica Bellucci (Persephone in The Matrix movies, The Brothers Grimm, The Passion Of The Christ) as Veronica.
Alice Krige (The Borg Queen in Star Trek 8, 1 ep of Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek: The Experience – Borg Invasion 4D, 2 eps of Six Feet Under) as Morgana.
James A. Stephens (Sherlock Holmes) as Merlin.
Ethan Peck (In Time, 2 eps of That 70’s Show) as Andre.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0963966/combined

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Next (2007)

Clint: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Native rating: 3.5/5 stars, 6.1/10.

Seeing as we love movies based on Philip K. Dick stories, love time-related gimmicks (like time travel, precognition, etc), and love Nic Cage, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Biel…This was a no-brainer movie to watch.

In fact… I’m surprised we hadn’t really noticed this movie until a recent Slashdot article talking about Hollywood’s love of movies based on Philip K. Dick stories (such as Blade Runner, Total Recall, Paycheck, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, The Adjustment Bureau, Impostor).

Suffice to say, it was actually somewhat better than we thought it would be. It starts out with a bit of mystery and intrigue, but then quickly changes gears to major action, all the while having a romantic angle as well, and then a great ending that really threw us for a loop. This was a great action-scifi-thriller…. Even if the idea of evil Russians seems a bit outdated.

Nic Cage as a man who can see 2 minutes into the future. It’s more interesting than you’d think.

Also, the screenplay was by 2 people who (between the two of them) wrote Total Recall (1990), Big Trouble In Little China, Armageddon, and Jumanji.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435705/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Adaptation (2002)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 10/10.
(She tried to say 8/10, then saw that she previously rated it 10/10, but felt that she liked it better this time, so she embarassedly changed her 8/10 back to 10/10. Not sure how I feel about that rating process.).

Re-watched because Clint got too drunk when we watched it back in ~2003, remembering nothing but “green lines”.

Plus it’s Charlie Kauffman (Being John Malkovitch, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind), who is possibly the most amazing writer in Hollywood.

And NIC CAGE!! Playing… Charlie Kauffman, who is writing the movie that we are watching, which is about adapting a book-within-the-movie into a movie-within-the-movie.

Yes: 4 levels here.

Our reality, our reality’s characters in the movie, the movie-within-the-movie, and the book that is based on.

And all 4 levels are tied to each other by causality.

They said a movie about flowers (rare orchids) couldn’t be interesting. They were wrong.

WITNESS THE SNORTING OF GREEN LINES.
See Nic Cage as IDENTICAL TWINS.

Good, good stuff. Very cerebral.  This movie is a brain-buzz.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0268126/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

3.6/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
5/5 stars,   8.4/10 was what we gave the first movie:
So this one’s worse.
Native rating: 3.7/5 stars, 4.6/10 (ouch) on IMDB:
So the public agrees.
Netflix’s guess for us was 3.8 which is pretty damn close.

It wasn’t as good as the first one, but it was still entertaining.

It was a very over-the-top with the comedy/Nic Cage acting. I wonder if he was still using Brian Bates’ Way Of The Wyrd (basis for Sabbat’s Dreamweaver concept album, which I wrote a 5900 word post about) as the basis of his acting. Maybe not. These are the Crank / Gamer directors now, and maybe they directed him to be more Nic-Cage-over-the-top.

Outlaw Vern, who I usually agree with, liked this better than the original:
http://outlawvern.com/2012/02/21/ghost-rider-presents-spirit-of-vengeance/
His review includes a big quote from Nic Cage about Brian Bates’s book, as well as some mentions of Vampire’s Kiss. Outlaw Vern is right about the CGI being worse. What used to be a cool transformation is now kind of comical at times.

So yeah… This was worth seeing because we love the superhero genre, but it wasn’t good as the original.
Though apparently, some liked it better!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1071875/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Wicker Man (2006)

3/5 stars, 7/10 from Clint & Carolyn.
3/5 stars, 6/10 from Parthena.
2/5 stars, 5/10 from Eli.
Native rating: 3.6/10.

Wow. What a low IMDB rating. Talk about a movie that has major remake-hate! By rating it 7/10, Carolyn & I are in the top 12% of opinion in this movie!

When I watched selected scenes from the 1970’s version, it just looked incredibly cheesy and dated. Nude songs being sung?  Shitty film stock? Men instead of women? Cheap-looking sets? Meh. Pretty sure if I watched the original I’d like it less than this.

Plus, we really like Nic Cage and Frances Controy from Six Feet Under. And Ellen Burstyn is good too.

I was the only one who recognized Leelee Sobieski from Armageddon.

NOT THE BEES should have gone on longer!

It was better than Carolyn & Eli expected.

It was actually pretty creepy. Nothing great, but I’ve seen worse. Not the “worst movie ever” that so many people claim it to be.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450345/