Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
To say that this mess of a movie is a disappointment is an understatement of epic proportion. Let's just say that in my "Personal Pirates of the Caribbean Canon," this movie does not exist. Oh, it has its positive moments, but not enough to save it from my grade of D.
With the Summer Movie Season off to a poor start and the stench of Ocean's Twelve still in the air after three years my expectations weren't very high for this movie. Thankfully a smart plot, some entertaining sub-plots, and a complicated plan of revenge where everybody but the Bad Guy are in on the caper makes for a far better movie. B+.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
While I liked the first Fantastic Four movie, I was surprised that they made a second. I was also surprised to discover that I enjoyed this movie just as much, maybe more, than the first. This was, for lack of a better term, a fun family film, free of the angst that plagues Super-Hero movies these days. While Jessica Alba as Sue Storm is always very watchable, I think I'm developing a man-crush on Mr. Fantastic, Ioan Gruffudd. Featuring an unexpected, yet smart twist toward the end, FF:RotSS gets the first A- of the season.
Live Free or Die Hard
Is there a better action-movie hero than Bruce Willis' John McClane? No.
Is there a better action-movie villain than Timothy Olyphant's Thomas Gabriel? What kind of stupid question is that? While he has his own brand of smarminess, Olyphant is a light-weight of a villain, his right-hand hench-woman (played by Maggie Q., the toughest chick this side of a James Cameron heroine) puts up a better fight --- literally!
But it is Justin Long who steals the show as McClane's sidekick and the only person who can stop Gabriel's virtual "Fire Sale" that's crippling the country. With some incredible (and occassionally unbelieveable) action, I give this movie a B+.
Has Pixar ever made a bad movie? Well they don't start making bad movies with their latest, even if it is about a rat who has an enhanced sense of smell and cooking knowledge. Pixar once again makes a visually stunning, mouth-watering movie. B+.
This may be one of the most talked about movies among men between the ages of 25-40 who remember the after-school television series (which was always on after G.I. Joe) in the 80s. Some may take every moment of it seriously, comparing and critizing the differences and the plain-old fact that it is a Michael Bay movie, and some (like myself) may just go for the ride and hope they have something entertaining, familiar, and enjoyable to watch, hoping to connect with the same idol-worship they had with an 18-wheeler that transformed into a noble robot with a voice like God at war! When Optimus Prime speaks, I get goose-bumps.
Transformers is the flip-side of At World's End: it has its negative moments, but not enough to take away my grade of A.