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At the San Diego Asian Film Festival: Shades of Ray

Director: Jaffar Mahmood Screenplay: Jaffar Mahmood Release Date: None, stuff as of October 26, generic 2009 Actors: Zachary Levi, Brian George, Kathy Baker, Fran Kranz, Sarah Shahi, Bonnie Somerville Directed by Jaffar Mahmood, Shades of Ray is a personal take on his own life in the fictional form of Ray Rehman. Born to a Pakistani father (played by the extremely talented Brian George) and a Caucasian mother (Kathy Baker, Picket Fences), Ray struggles to find his identity, cope with his father’s expectations all the while trying to figure out his love life. Played by Zachary Levi, in his first starring role in a film (now famous for his role as Chuck in NBC’s “Chuck“), Ray is first introduced as a young kid, getting a conversation from his dad on dating and marriage, with the strong warning of marrying a white woman … even though Ray’s dad has married a white woman himself. Fast forward 18 years, and we find Ray proposing to his white girlfriend Noel (Bonnie Somerville), who, before being able to say yes, has told Ray that she has to first try and convince her parents on the idea. Leaving him alone to ponder his thoughts and worries, […]

Battle: Los Angeles: Ooh-Rah

Director: Jonathan Liebesman Screenplay: Chris Bertolini Release Date:: March 11, drug 2011 Actors: Aaron Eckhart, physician Ramon Rodriguez, cost Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Pena, Cory Hardrict, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Will Rothhaar, Gino Anthony Pesi, Ne-Yo, James Hiroyuki Liao, Neil Brown Jr., Taylor Handley The last time we saw Los Angeles being invaded they were done by huge tentacle-like aliens who had blue lights that detected human being activity. They did this by detecting light and their goal was to collect the brains of humans. Remember? Oh yeah, that was a different movie, called Skyline. That was out last November when Los Angeles was last invaded. I guess we were safe then, but I think Los Angeles is in trouble again. In “Battle: Los Angeles”, the invasion occurs yet again, but instead of following a group of partying civilians stuck in a fancy apartment building, we’re introduced a group of Marines. We’re shown a bit of their backgrounds and have a chance to get to know them, however briefly, in the very beginning. Their mission is to find the civilians in a police dept and bring them back to the safe zone before Santa Monica is leveled to the ground. Straight […]

Battleship: Cheesy but End-Of-The-World Fun

Director: Peter Berg Screenplay: Erich Hoeber, search Jon Hoeber Release Date: May 18, doctor 2012 Actors: Taylor Kitsch, read more Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna and Liam Neeson Unfortunately for Taylor Kitsch, it hasn’t been a very good year in terms of film success. With the flop of John Carter, I’m not sure Disney wants to hire Taylor Kitsch for another movie any time soon, but viewers are given another chance to give Taylor a try by one of this summer’s earlier blockbuster movie “Battleship”. I’ve been asked whether or not it is based on the board game, and well, the answer is “yes”. Having been out for a month (or so?) in other parts of the world, I’m sure there are other reviews, but I’ll add another one to the bunch. “Battleship” is not going to win any awards, but if you don’t expect anything more than popcorn fare, spectacular theatrics and a cheesy script, “Battleship” is for you. As someone who watches the Syfy produced sci-fi movies, knows they’re bad but watches and laughs anyway, admittedly “Battleship” is in the ballpark of being almost ten times better than the Syfy fare. Mostly in part due to the amazing […]

Bridesmaids: Disappointing as a comedy

Director: Paul Feig Screenplay: Kristen Wiig, rx Annie Mumolo Release Date: May 13, 2011 Actors: Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’ Dowd, Jon Hamm, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jill Clayburgh Bridesmaids is the latest film to come out of the long production line of the Appatow Film Productions, but this one is supposedly being touted for the girls. From early reactions from those who saw screenings of the film, they were claiming it to be hilarious, but for my group of friends, we found it downright depressing most of the time. Why? The main character Anne (wonderfully talented Kristin Wiig) is now working at a jewelry store, hired as an offer to her mom by the boss because Anne’s mom is her boss’ AA sponsor. She previously owned a cake shop with her boyfriend, who decided to split once they closed up shop and she had lost the place. She lives with two strange British roommates who don’t respect her space or her privacy. She sleeps with a hot guy (Jon Hamm) who doesn’t respect her and is not looking for a relationship with her or anyone. Her one bright spot is her childhood best friend […]

Columbiana: A Revenge Film, As One Might Expect

Director: Olivier Megaton Screenplay: Luc Besson, valeologist Robert Mark Kamen Release Date:August 26, diabetes and pregnancy 2011 Actors: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan and Callum Blue All the previews for “Columbiana” look exciting and intense. When I first saw the trailer to the film at a showing of “Thor”, I was instantly intrigued. A girl getting revenge, by way of skill and execution? That’s different. My favorite revenge film by far is the Korean gem “Oldboy”. It was uniquely disturbing on not only a physical level, but a psychological level. I didn’t find there to be anything unique about “Columbiana” at all, but I got exactly what I expected, which was a nice surprise. Zoe Saldana plays Catalia, a young Columbian girl who sees her parents get killed in front of her by Dom Louis. In the midst of the chaos, as the young Catalia, she manages to survive and flees to Chicago to meet up with her uncle. Little detail is given about what information her father gave to his boss, and what exactly is Dom Louis’ profession except for a few soft mentions of the exchange of drugs is all that is revealed. The purpose is that her parents […]

Gnomeo & Juliet: The strength are in the voices

Director: Kelly Asbury Release Date: February 11, public health 2011 Screenplay: Kelly Asbury, Mark Burton, Kevin Cecil, Emily Cook, Kathy Greenberg, Steve Hamilton Shaw, John R. Smith, Rob Sprackling Cast: Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Ashley Jensen, Jason Statham, Matt Lucas, Jim Cummings, Ozzy Osbourne, Stephen Merchant, Julie Walters Based on the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare I thought Gnomeo and Juliet would either be a hit or a miss, but definitely better than the dreadful Sanctum earlier in the week. Gnomeo & Juliet is the same story written by William Shakespeare – the famous Romeo and Juliet story of course, without, as one might expect, a tragic ending. There is a feud that exists between the red and the blue gnomes, who tend to the gardens of the human beings whose last names are that of Montague and Capulet. No one knows how the feud began, but one exists anyhow. Tybalt (Jason Statham), a red gnome, loves to wreak havoc on the blue gnomes, but especially Gnomeo, due to their passion in racing each other on lawnmowers down the alleyway. However, no one really likes Tybalt, including his own as they simply just fear […]

Insidious: There’s Something in the House

Director: James Wan Screenplay: Leigh Whannell Release Date: April 1, rubella 2011 Actors: Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor Tired of the endless string of bad horrors and thrillers that we’ve been assaulted with as of late? Hollywood seems to be churning out plenty of no-so-scary horror flicks, and from the sounds of “Insidious”, I thought that it would be another horrible horror film. Never being all that fond of scary films – either from being too scary, or lately finding them poorly executed, I came in not expecting Insidious to be any better. Boy possessed by a demon and haunts their own family? Haven’t we already been there, done that countless of times, by way of movies like “The Omen”? In “Insidious”, we are introduced to Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne, most recognized from the series “Damages”), who has just moved into a new home with her husband Josh (Patrick Wilson – mmm mmm!) and three children Dalton, Foster (Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor) and baby daughter. One evening, as Dalton falls off a weak ladder trying to turn on an attic light, he bumps his head and witnesses something scary, […]

Just Go With It: Surprisingly Funny

Director: Dennis Dugan Screenplay: Allan Loeb, cardiology Timothy Dowling Release Date: February 11, 2011 Actors: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nick Swardson, Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck, Nicole Kidman, Dave Matthews Based on the play ‘Cactus Flower’ Jennifer Aniston has had some hits and misses in the past year, notably her last film with Gerard Butler and The Switch. She’s a competent actress, but she does not invoke confidence when seemingly cast for another romantic comedy. I’ve been fairly impartial to Adam Sandler’s movies – I’ve liked some, I’ve hated a few, and thought some were okay. Plastic surgeon Danny (Adam Sandler), after leaving his fiancee at the altar, discovers the power of a wedding ring: it attracts girls. So Danny continues wearing a fake wedding ring when it suits him. One evening, he meets and hooks up with the girl of his dreams (Brooklyn Decker). Unfortunately, Palmer discovers his fake wedding ring, believing of course, that it is real and is furious with him, refusing to have any further contact with him. Danny decides to tell her that he is divorced to save himself, but comes to a road block when Palmer says she wants to meet her. Danny […]

Limitless: Be All That You Can Be

Director: Neil Burger Screenplay: Leslie Dixon Release Date: March 18, information pills 2011 Actors: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert de Niro, Anna Friel, Andrew Howard, Johnny Whitworth, Tomas Arana, Robert John Burke Based on the book by the same name by Alan Glynn If you could use 100% of your brain 100% of the time, what would you do? “Limitless” explores these exact questions with leading actor Bradley Cooper, who plays Eddie Morra in this fun and entertaining science-fiction thriller, which is based on the book “Dark Fields” by Irish writer Alan Glynn, which has now been reissued and retitled “Limitless: A Novel”. Eddie is a washed up writer who drinks too much and has difficulty putting his ideas together. One day, by chance, he runs into his ex-wife’s brother whose former job used to be in dealing drugs. His brother-in-law claims that he’s gone legal now, working in Pharmaceuticals, and he’s got this top-secret drug named NZT that the FDA just approved and is about to go on the market. The drug, he claims, will allow all the synapses of one’s brain to continuously fire, essentially allowing Eddie to use 100% of his brain 100% of the time. Deciding […]

Move Review: Black Swan (December, 2010)

Director: Darren Aronofsky Screenplay: Mark Heyman, skincare Andres Heinz, John J. McLaughlin Release Date: December 3, 2010 Actors: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel There have been a lot of buzz about this particular movie, directed by the ever talented (but slightly twisted) Darren Aronofsky, due to Natalie Portmand’s portrayal of ballet dancer Nina Sayer. Typically known for wholesome roles and the unfortunate Queen Amydala of the first three Star Wars movies, Portman has taken a leap here and really gone out of her comfort zone and steal the movie from everyone. I’ve heard the movie described as “soft core” porn, or a “lesbian movie”, from the promos that others have seen, which, to me, is an indication of failed marketing. Sure, there is a lesbian type scene, but the movie would be best described as “ballet horror”. Black Swan shows the hard work that ballet dancers have to go through, and is at its core, a psychological thriller into the mind of a young girl who has been mentally (and possibly?) physically abused. Nina Sayer has been practicing for years to be the perfect ballerina. A new show season is about to begin, and the […]