Sunday, June 28, 2009

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)

This is an okay movie. Two years after working as security guard, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is now head of a company he founded to manufacture his inventions. He appears in infomercials promoting the products. He decides to visit the Natural History Museum and discovers that it is closed to the public for renovations and new displays. The old figures are being moved into storage at the Smithsonian. The evil Pharaoh Kahmunrah intends to use the tablet to raise an army from the underworld and Larry must stop him.

Both pharaohs in the film are fictional. The American Museum of Natural History, located in Manhattan, New York is one of the largest museums in the world. The collections contain over 32 million specimens of biology, fossils, meteorites, and minerals. The Smithsonian Institution, located in Washington, D.C., is a research institute and museum complex, partially funded with taxes. It operates 19 museums, nine research centers, and a zoo.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Proposal (2009)

This is an imperfect-but-creditable movie. When high-powered book editor Margaret (Sandra Bullock) faces deportation to Canada, the quick-thinking executive declares that she's actually engaged to her unsuspecting put-upon assistant Andrew (Ryan Reynolds), who she's tormented for years. He agrees to participate in the charade, but with a few conditions of his own. The unlikely couple heads to Alaska to meet his quirky, well-heeled family.

It became Bullock's first No. 1 movie in 10 years, and also marked her biggest opening weekend. It is a very bad idea to marry just to become a citizen. Interestingly, he is Canadian and she is American, but they play the opposite nationalities in the film. An immigrant who marries a US citizen can be given conditional residence for two years to make sure they are not committing marriage fraud and then they can apply for permanent residence.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

This is a solid movie. Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a loan officer with a charming boyfriend, Professor Clay Dalton (Justin Long). Her life is running smoothly until the mysterious Mrs. Ganush arrives at the bank and begs for an extension on her home loan. Christine decides the woman has been given enough leeway and tries to stand firm against the old woman’s protests. In retaliation, the hag places a powerful curse on her, disrupting her life. She seeks the aid of a seer to end the torment.

There are a few disturbing scenes and the ending is different than most movies. Lohman is cute and I liked her character in this film. It is a good portrayal of an introverted young woman from a small town. She is trying to land a promotion and she struggles with doing and saying the right things to get the job. I can relate to this because it has been frustrating trying to acquire a finance job. Some annoying kids that looked to be about 12-years-old were sitting behind me. They were noisy and seemed to think they sounded cool by swearing.

Amélie (2001)

This is an okay French movie. Amélie (Audrey Tautou) is a painfully shy waitress working at a tiny Paris café. One day while at home she makes a surprising discovery of a small box from the 1950s hidden inside of her wall. She sets out to find the man who left it there. Because of his enthusiastic response, she decides to bring happiness to others. However, she struggles to be fulfilled in her own life, but when she chances upon an attractive stranger she must decide whether to pursue a relationship with him.

The original French title is translated as "The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain." The story is set in the hill district of Montmartre in Paris. The Café des 2 Moulins ("Two Windmills") is located at the junction of Rue Lepic and Rue Cauchois. It takes its name from the two nearby historical windmills, Moulin Rouge and Moulin de la Galette. The ABC television show Pushing Daisies was inspired by this film. The first known case of the traveling gnome prank was mentioned in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1986.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Cooler (2003)

This is a solid movie. Bernie Lootz (William Macy) is the unluckiest man in Vegas. He is hired by Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin), an old-time mobster, to cool the hand of anyone who is too successful. Bernie starts dating a beautiful waitress (Maria Bello) from the casino and as he falls in love with her, his luck starts to change. Shelly tries to sabotage the relationship when it begins to hinder his scheme.

Early in the film, Bernie is wearing oversized clothing, but by the end is wearing the right sized suit, to show he is more confident in his actions. The Golden Phoenix Reno was used for the interior shots of the casino. This film is mentioned in the the 2006 documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, about the MPAA rating system. Macy is 17 years older than Bello.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Rushmore (1998)

This is an imperfect-but-creditable movie. 15-year-old Max Fischer is a gifted and rebellious student at Rushmore Academy, a private school for wealthy children of all ages. He is the editor of the school newspaper, founder of several clubs, and the director of elaborate plays, but academically he is a failure. His world changes when he falls for a widowed 1st grade teacher named Miss Cross, but he has to compete against married steel tycoon Mr. Blume (Bill Murray) who is also attracted to her.

It was directed by Wes Anderson. The film was co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson. The film was shot in Houston. Grover Cleveland was elected President to two non-consecutive terms in the late 19th century. Wilson was expelled from his prep school in the tenth grade. Jason Schwartzman is the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola and cousin of Nicolas Cage.