Surrogates

Dan Movie Reviews

There seems to be an emerging story idea in Hollywood – that of the “avatar”.  While not a new premise, it undoubtedly has been gaining speed since James Cameron’s new film, Avatar, was announced.  Jonathan Mostow’s Surrogates, based on the graphic novel of the same name, takes place in a world where humans use robotic avatars, known as “surrogates”, which are much better-looking versions of their operators.  These robots are unable to transmit pain to their operator if harmed, letting …

Toy Story / Toy Story 2 in 3D

Dan Movie Reviews

In 1995, a groundbreaking film hit theaters and changed the course of animation forever.  Pixar’s first feature-length computer-animated film, Toy Story, brought toys to life, with the story of a rivalry between cowboy doll Woody (Tom Hanks) and new space ranger toy Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), fighting for the affection of their owner, Andy.  Woody’s jealousy of Andy’s shifting attention leads him to knock Buzz out of the window, but after both toys are lost at Pizza Planet and captured …

The Informant!

Dan Movie Reviews

Journalist Kurt Eichenwald’s novel The Informant concerns the true – and bizarre – story about ADM executive Mark Whitacre’s role as an FBI informant in a price-fixing case.  Reportedly, when director Stephen Soderbergh read the script for the film, he thought it was so absurd that it was hard to imagine it was all true – so he envisioned it as a comedy.  In The Informant!, Whitacre (played amazingly by Matt Damon) approaches the FBI with information that the company where …

Inglourious Basterds

Dan Movie Reviews

World War II movies tend to be either one of two things: incredibly depressing, or incredibly inspiring.  It can be a sensitive subject to tackle, depending on the approach of the filmmaker, and with Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino takes us on a somewhat cathartic journey right down the middle.  Starting out in Sergio Leone fashion with a title card that says “Once Upon a Time…. in Nazi-occupied France”, Tarantino immediately sets the tone for the majority of the film – …

District 9

Dan Movie Reviews

I love seeing movies that I don’t know much about in advance of, since it makes it a fresher and more surprising experience.  Beyond the premise, I didn’t know much about District 9, but I found myself fascinated and engrossed in the concept and the film. 20 years ago, aliens arrived at Earth.  Their mothership settled over Johannesburg, South Africa, and just sat there.  Eventually humans got peeved and so they broke into the ship, and found the ship to …

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Dan Movie Reviews

After the relatively uninspiring outing that was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I was a little apprehensive about the next chapter in the Harry Potter series, since most of the same people who did the last film were coming back for the new one.  Fortunately, screenwriter Steve Kloves (who wrote the first four adaptations) returns for this one, and the improvement is palpable. After the events of the last film, it is now widely known that Lord …

Public Enemies

Dan Movie Reviews

Director Michael Mann takes on the period crime genre with Public Enemies, his film about the FBI’s pursuit of notorious criminals John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham) and Pretty Boy Floyd (Channing Tatum) by Special Agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). After Purvis chased down and killed Floyd, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Billy Crudup), in an effort to boost the agency’s reputation, assigning Purvis to the Chicago area where he is to focus on apprehending Dillinger, who …

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Dan Movie Reviews

I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this one.  When I saw Transformers back in 2007, I felt that it was one of the most kick-ass fun stupid movies of the summer.  The visual effects were awesome, the sound design was loud and punchy, and the story and acting were “whatever”.  So now comes the inevitable sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.  Everyone who worked on the first one is back for the sequel, and this time everything …

The Hangover

Dan Movie Reviews

The premise of The Hangover is pretty straightforward: a bachelor party in Vegas goes horribly wrong when the groom goes missing and the participants who can’t remember anything that took place retrace their steps to find out exactly what happened. Doug (Justin Bartha) is taken to Vegas with his friends Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms), and his future brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis).  When Alan accidentally puts roofies in the Jaegermeister, they wake up the next morning not knowing …

Drag Me To Hell

Dan Movie Reviews

After the critical trouncing that was Spider-Man 3 (it was a box office success admittedly), director Sam Raimi returns to his horror roots with Drag Me to Hell.  This film is over-the-top, campy, relies on cheap thrills, and is never dull.  Translation: I loved it. It’s a welcome return to the genre that made Raimi a cult director, and it has everything in it that I wanted to see. Loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) really wants the Assistant Manager position at …