Movie Review: Dinner for Schmucks (2010)

Tonight I got the chance to see Dinner for Schmucks, released July 30, 2010. The movie stars Steve Carell as Barry, and Paul Rudd as Tim. The general plot is that Tim is a wanna-be-moving-up-in-the-world executive at a venture capital firm. In his quest for success after he impresses the boss he is invited to a private dinner where each of the attendees invite someone with a talent so they can make fun of them. The idea being that they are all so much of an idiot that they will never know the difference. Of course, Tim meets up with Bary through an automotive accident, and for the life of him, just cannot get rid of him. Tim sees how obsessed Barry is with making stuffed mouse shadow boxes that he figures this is the perfect person to invite as his guest to this dinner.

There is also a romantic sub-plot between Tim and his wife Julie played by Stephanie Szostak. They have a rocky romance such that he has proposed numerous times and she continues to profess her undying love and happily ever afters.. just not today. She finds out about the dinner and is quite confused and upset that Tim would even think about attending a party that is designed to make fun of others. This is where he begins his downward spiral of lies and deceit trying to keep his relationship with his wire, but also to keep Barry in the dark about what is really going on.

Overall, my impressions was the movie was going all centered around a dinner party. That was definitely not the case, as the dinner did take place, but only in the last 20 minutes of the movie. The plot was wonderfully done, and intermixed with romance, comedy, and a few tidbits of wisdom. Unfortunately my anticipation of the dinner (which was by far the best part of the movie) detracted from my enjoyment. I kept wondering, “Ok is the dinner going to start now? How much longer till dinner?”

I did laugh out loud several times, so that is a bonus. The audience was quite energetic also, although they laughed a lot more than I did. Sometimes I am often reminded of a friends words of wisdom.. “Simple minds, simple pleasures”.

All in all, I give the movie 3 stars. Mainly for the ideas that the author wanted to get across, and the attempts at humor. This is one of those movies best seen at the movies, and not at home. Having the big theater experience and the laughter of the crowd makes the movie. If I were to watch this at home alone, it would drop at least a star maybe more. So go and see it while you still can at the theaters.


Movie Review: Salt (2010)

So, yesterday I went and saw the new move Salt with Angelina Jolie. This movie basically is your B-rated spy movie with a budget.

The story is about a CIA operative named Evelyn Salt who from the get go, is marked a traitor by a Russian defector and is on the run. She claims to be on the run to find her husband but as the the movie progresses, it makes you wonder if the claim is true or not. However, the movie doesn’t keep you guessing for long, and most attentive viewers will quickly determine who the real villain(s) are, and well before the climax. But I guess that was the authors intent for the flick to be about the chase and not any real mystery. But of course, then they really should have not stuck the “Who is Salt?” on very ad poster in existence.

She dons several disguises in an attempt to avoid capture, and there are quite a few car chases and chocked full of action. There is even one scene where with the help of a facial mask, almost appears to be a guy.

While the movie is definitely preposterous at every turn, the action and plot is very similar to recent James Bond movies, but without the debonair or dialog to go with it. However, almost all of the stunts appear to be realistic and not full of animated CGI to help sell the scenes.

There is overtures that the author wants to convey mainly that there exists the real possibility that sleeper spys from Mother Russia still exist in the united states, and they could be impersonating anybody.

The main negatives, are the shallow dialog. Definitely the character needed more background more flair to help sell the story. It almost seems that they filmed alot of background, but it was cut out at the last minute to keep the movie at a reasonable 1 hour 39 minutes.

That said, I absolutely loved Jolie’s performance, it was spot on for what I expect from the now retired Tomb Raider. The car chases kept me on the edge of my seat wondering if this time she would get caught.

All in all, it was an average B-Movie  spy flick with a budget.

I will have to give it **1/2 stars and say wait for the DVD.

Opened July 23, 2010 Runtime:1 hr. 39 min

Movie Review: Inception (2010)

So I went to the movies tonight and saw Inception starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caine,  Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cottilard, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger and Lukas Haas. Now, as this is my first movie review, you should be a little worried at this point. It was either really good or really bad. Well, worry no longer, the movie was AWESOME. I don’t give many movies 4 stars, but this one is top notch in my book. This is one of those movies where when it is over, and the lights come on at the theater, and you just sit there wondering what the hell just happened. I mean seriously it really blows your mind away.

The story is about a man named Dom Cobb (Leonardo) who is known as an Extractor. He goes into people’s dreams, and steals their corporate secrets.  Now, he is hunted by the law, and is constantly on the run. If you can steal something, why not be able to plant something as well? That is the basics for the plot, is he must go into somebody’s mind and try the reverse. If he succeeds, he will be granted immunity and all charges against him dropped so he can go and see his children again. Sounds easy enough, but from the moment they enter the dream, things start to go wrong, and they are fighting the clock. The suspense is non stop from that moment on until the very end of the movie.

The special effects are amazing. One of the best done so far that I have seen. Spectacular scenes of whole cities created and destroyed including shuffling staircases, and bending and twisting bridges.

My only disappointment of the entire film, is that it was cut short by about 10 minutes. It seems that the authors, were pressed for time and just abruptly cut out like 10 minutes of the final scenes. I don’t know if this was actually the case, it just seems that there is a few scenes missing. It doesn’t detract from the ending however, it could have been just extended a little bit. Even thought the run time is 2 hours 22 minutes (142 minutes) it doesn’t seem like the movie was that long. The action scenes are so fast paced that the time flies by.

So to sum up, 4 stars (****) from me.