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This Means War Movie Review

“This Means War” goes straight for the hearts of women, yet tries to reel in males with decent action.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foster AKA FDR (Chris Pine) is the closest thing to a “007” spy stereotype.  He’s all about flash, style & bachelorhood.  FDR  has a best friend who also works for the C.I.A,  Tuck (Tom Hardy).   Tuck is a more the gritty, rough and tumble type spy.   On their respective downtime, they begin online dating.  Of course, they fall for the profile of the same person, Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon.)

Things heat up when these two spies attempt to seize the heart of the same woman.  While the boys try to dazzle the girl, Lauren consults her sexually frustrated best friend, who’s married with three kids, Trish (Chelsea Handler.)   Obviously, director McG utilized Chelsea as the film’s comic relief.  McG went to war with the MPAA, the group that decides film ratings.  The result, a watered-down PG-13 comedy.  They should have just went for the “R”.   The same thing happened to “Couples Retreat.”  It was set up for adults, but a PG-13 rating prevailed & it was a yawner.

McG says there will be a director’s cut of the film.  He admitted, Handler’s wit was way much to quick & way too raunchy to garner a PG-13 rating.  I think women will love how these guys attempt to WOO the girl, the dating is nothing short of spectacular.  Trapeze jumps, racing cars & paint-balling.  These courting adventures were almost as thrilling as one dream-date on “The Bachelor.”

In regards to the “Paintball” date, Reese Witherspoon’s character accidentally shoots Tom Hardy square in the nuts. I mean, square in the nuts.  I asked Tom Hardy, ‘How was that?’ He answered dryly, “I got shot in the nuts, what do you think.”  I also asked Witherspoon, “Since you’re an Oscar Winner, did you want to get the scene right with multiple takes?  She said, she shot Tom five or six times, mostly because she was laughing so much.

Be on the lookout for the “This Means War” DVD.  There’s going to be an alternative ending.  In this unused ending, Tuck & FDR end up falling in love.  Again, that would have been refreshing to see two guys getting together, leaving the girl at the curb.  At the end of the day, you have to go with this movie as a straight action romance comedy fantasy.  The situations are quite unbelievable.  The misappropriation of C.I.A resources is out and out staggering. They have dedicated teams of agents executing 24-hour surveillance on  Lauren Scott.  Wait. Aren’t there bad guys out there?

I think women will be into “This Means War” for the eye candy dudes and the hot pursuit.  Are you kidding me?  My mom will flip out watching Chris Pine & Tom Hardy. In my opinion, they shoulda went for the “R” rating.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

If you’re looking to compare 1968’s “Planet of the Apes” with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” don’t even bother.  The former from 43 years ago is a crowning achievement of the Science Fiction genre.  Astronauts from Earth crash land on a planet ruled by apes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is set in present day San Francisco.  Will Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist who’s desperately scrambling to discover a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease through genetic therapy.   The experimental drugs are used on chimp apes & gorillas.

People will remember this movie for Ceasar (Andy Serkis).  The motion capture performance by Serkis adds a dimension of reality never before seen in a film.  This chimp shows every emotion from sorrow, happiness, fear & of course rage. Extremely well done special effects by WETA.

The tone of this film is dark & grows darker with each act.  There’s a spotlight on animal cruelty which automatically puts you on the sides of the apes.  The abuse is simply captivity.  These beasts should be in the wild & not locked up in rusty cages.  As the movie progresses, the friction between humans & apes escalates.

As you see in the movie’s trailer, the apes escape, revolt & run rampant through the streets of San Francisco.  The movie is thought-provoking & well made. It is worth seeing.  But for me personally, I prefer the Charlton Heston version.

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To heighten drama, medical advances are catapulted forward at lightning speed.  Crucial steps are missed & experimental drugs fall prey to corporate greed.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins Movie Review

Can Jim Carrey crack the world up flanked by a bunch of real & computer generated penguins?  I’d say the answer is not really, but it’s still worth checking out.  Jim Carrey at one time was the ‘Go To’ funnyman with yuck-it-up hits like ‘The Mask,’ ‘Dumb & Dumber’ & of course, “Ace Ventura.’   In “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,’ we get glimpses of Carrey’s signature humor.  I did laugh a few times, but it’s not hilarious by any means.  In this case, that’s OK with me.

From my seat, ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ isn’t supposed to be anything like those movies I just mentioned.  This one is a straight forward, warm – fuzzy family movie.  The book, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ was originally published back in 1938.  Since then, it has never waned in popularity.  It’s a staple at elementary schools to this day.

At the heart of it, this is a father/son story.  Carrey plays Tom Popper, a divorced overachiever who is all about becoming a partner at his law firm.  He actually reminds me of the lawyer he played in ‘Liar, Liar’ Fletcher Reid.  In his pursuit of success, Popper loses sight of what’s really important: his family.

Popper’s Pop leaves this world with a parting gift to his son.  A special delivery:  Six Gentoo Penguins.  They wreak havoc with his career while steering him back on the right track: Making amends with his family.  Behind the scenes, the penguins were so very well taken care of on set.  The temperature was kept at a chilly 36 degrees.  You think movie stars are spoiled with their huge trailers? These penguins were treated right. A special living habitat was created to ensure proper space, a swimming pool & even a training area.  This facility was monitored 24/7 during the 11-week New York City shoot.

It was very nice to see Angela Lansbury in a supporting role.  She did the movie for 2 reasons: (1) She’s a great admirer of Jim Carrey’s work.  (2) She loves working on projects that kids will enjoy.  One thing I will say, Jim Carrey is no dummy.  He let the penguins have the starring role.  It’s impossible to upstage Captain, Loudy, Stinky, Lovey, Bitey & Nimrod. Why would anybody even try?

‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’ is solid family fare.  That alone is a rare thing these days.

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