Shrek The Third

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Did you ever wonder who ever came up with the name Shrek? Kind of like Stitch. Or Stimpy. Who the heck comes up with this stuff? Maybe there's something about those strange and random 'S' names . . . maybe they meant to name him Shreak, and someone made a typo. Maybe its a subliminal message. No, the name Shrek is derived from the Yiddish word Shreck, meaning fear or terror. I sound pretty smart, huh? Actually, I just looked it up on Wikipedia.

Unlike its predecessors, Shrek The Third isn't anything special. It basically begins where it left off in the second film. Shrek and Princess Fiona are happily married, but because of certain circumstances, Shrek ventures off to find Arthur, the next heir. It turns out that Arthur is just a kid that even that nerds and dorks pick on. Meanwhile, back in Far Far Away, Prince Charming sees Shrek's absence as a chance to blitz the city and the castle and assume the throne.

Although full of funny pop culture references, crass and sometimes raunchy humor (which you'll only understand if you have a dirty mind; it is still a family film), and creative execution, Shrek The Third still lacked that extra "umph" that Shrek and Shrek 2 had. Not to mention that Arthur's character was pretty cheesy.

Sidenote: Justin Timberlake is the voice of Arthur, and you wouldn't know it. You know how he has that kind of 'gangsta' way of speech? Well its completely omitted for Arthur. So is Justin posin'? Important things to think about along with Paris Hilton going to jail . . .

Anyway, there were some good bits, like the Princess's fight scene and the part where Pinocchio was trying not to lie. However, as a result of the previous two films, the same jokes were just getting stale. Yet people are hungry, so they still eat it. Same reason why I ate that movie theater hot dog. As for a kid viewer, this movie sounded like a 5 GOOMBA for them. They may not have understood all the jokes, but Man, did they sound like they were having a good time; especially during the gross out scenes. They sure like vomit.

Overall, the film was funny, but I could have waited for the DVD. Lucky for me, my Dad payed. :) And lucky for you, you now know what to expect. Thanks, Dad!

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 3:30 PM 1 comments  

Deja Vu

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The time-space paradox is a pretty complicated idea to wrap your head around, and when a movie gets it right, it usually makes it a good movie. But when it gets it wrong, even a decent plot usually can't save it. However, I guess Deja Vu is the exception because it actually got the time paradox right but the writing was way too over the top to grasp.

Deja Vu stars Denzel Washington, a criminal investigator who is recruited by a special unit of the FBI after witnessing Denzel's skills at the crime scene. However, we later find out that his special unit has the ability to watch, in real time, what is going on 4 days into the past. Its kind of a hokey machine/idea to grasp. A time machine would have been more feasible in my opinion, but alas, we continue this adventure with our hero Denzel to save a woman and the passengers of a ferry boat that died in the present but are still alive in the past. Denzel insists that they put him in some sort of chamber (<---I guess we do get our time machine after all) to send him back in time, and so he goes in an attempt to try and save the girl and prevent the crime that he was originally assigned to.

The ending was kind of like "What the heezies?!" But take a lesson from the Doc, and you'll realize that it actually makes sense. It's actually pretty cool when you understand it. I applaud the writers for actually taking the time to think it through . . . And yet there was something about this movie that makes it pretty mediocre. With movies, the viewer is suppose to believe that in that in the film's own world, certain things are possible. In Deja Vu, this voyeuristic means of seeing into the past wasn't believable at all. Come on, using a time warp camera thing? There wasn't even a transition into the SciFi genre, making it even harder to buy the idea.

Deja Vu lacks in quality and certain rudimentary cinema rules (i.e. having a decent story). This movie may not be a complete waste of your time, but there are so many good movies out that I'd recommend skipping this forgettable film.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 4:12 PM 0 comments  

Stomp The Yard

Friday, May 25, 2007


From a girl born and raised in Southern California who went to a university that didn't even have a football team, the art of stepping isn't something I get to see everyday, so it was really cool to experience it; even if it was through my television set.

Similar to other dance and sport movies, Stomp the Yard is about a young man who needs to prove himself by defeating the status quo step champions of Turth University. DJ moves from LA to Atlanta to go to college, and already having experience in hip hop battle dancing, he joins a fraternity that hasn't won the National Step Championship in years. It's your basic movie plot, and it isn't that great of a drama, but like Step It Up, it's an excellent dance movie.

Despite the predictability, it wasn't cheesy, which most movies of this caliber tend to be. Couple this refreshing quality with the ridiculously terrific dancing, and you've got yourself a pretty dang good movie. This is the perfect popcorn movie to watch when you just want to be entertained. It definitely isn't a waste of your time.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 3:06 PM 0 comments  

Pan's Labyrinth


Okay, in case you're thinking "Dang, this girl gives out 4 GOOMBAS like water," it's not true! I'm actually a pretty harsh rater, but all the Oscar movies are coming to DVD now, so it's only natural that those would be better. Plus it might just be because there were so many terrible movies that came out in 2004 and 2005 that all the good ones are coming out now. But don't worry! I'll be sure to rate some more crummy movies like Because I Said So and Snakes on A Plane soon!

On to more serious things. Set in fascist Spain during World War II, Pan's Labyrinth is about Ofelia, a young girl who loves to read. In the 'real world,' Ofelia's mother takes Ofelia and her unborn half brother to live with her new husband, the Captain. The Captain is an evil man who only cares about power and his legacy. He has no love for his new wife or his new stepdaughter, and it is because of him that Ofelia's seeks sanctuary in a different world. She meets a faun who tells her that she is the reincarnated princess of the underworld, but in order to live her life as the princess along with her father, the King, she must complete three tasks to prove that she has not become a mortal.

Enigmatic, ominous, and extraordinary, Pan's Labyrinth is a film that feels heavily influenced by German Expressionism. The dark, almost foreboding feel in many of the fantasy scenes creates a world that is not your average fairy tale land, and I must warn that this film is not for the squirely. Its pretty damn intense.

The film begins in a lighter yet very serious tone, but as Ofelia delves deeper into the world that she believes she is a part of, the atmosphere begins taking a turn. In both worlds, things get more dark and sinister, and the need for Ofelia to complete her tasks becomes more urgent. This perfectly auteur-ed piece mixes fantasy with reality, and by the end of the film, both are so intricately woven that you wonder if it was real or if it was all Ofelia's imagination.

If it was Ofelia's imagination, is the whole movie just a tall tale; a commentary on life's despair and the longing for escape? Or is it something more than that? Is it the idea of a better place? With a Father who will wait for your return? And maybe you will get there, especially if you believe.

"A long time ago, in the underground realm, where there are no lies or pain, there lived a Princess who dreamed of the human world. She dreamed of blue skies, soft breeze, and sunshine. One day, eluding her keepers, the Princess escaped. Once outside, the brightness blinded her and erased every trace of the past from her memory. She forgot who she was and where she came from. Her body suffered cold, sickness, and pain. Eventually, she died. However, her father, the King, always knew that the Princess' soul would return, perhaps in another body, in another place, at another time. And he would wait for her, until he drew his last breath, until the world stopped turning..."

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 1:58 AM 0 comments  

Because I Said So

Thursday, May 17, 2007


In five minutes, it was already terrible. In six minutes, I knew that there was no hope. I had heard that this movie was bad. A radio personality said it was like Diane Keaton went to her agent and said, "Look, I need to pay the bills. Star me in a movie with 3 other pretty young girls, and I'll play their mother." It was so bad I fast-forwarded through half of the movie, and the only reason why I fast-forwarded through it was because I wanted to see if Mandy Moore would end up with the cute guy (who I later found out did not look as cute when he took his hat off).

Because I Said So is about a nosy, nagging mother whose only goal in life is to meddle in her youngest daughter's love life. Her two eldest daughters, played by Lauren Graham and Piper Perabo, were already married and settled, so lucky Millie, played by Mandy Moore, got all her mother's attention when it came to her relationships. Mom decides to put a personal ad seeking a "mate for her daughter." Millie is unknowingly set up with tall, dark and handsome Architect, the name not important. Meanwhile, Millie finds herself a Musician, name also not important. Mom pushes for Architect. Millie finds out why. Horrible excuse for a movie. Doesn’t even deserve complete sentences.

Reasons why you don't need to see this film:
- Mandy Moore sings, as she does in every one of her stinking movies.
- Lauren Graham's character is exactly like Loreli Gilmore, just watch her show. It's 100 times better.
- Diane Keaton's signature bangs and "I'll-cover-up-every-inch-of-my-skin-up-except-for-my-cheeks-and-mouth-even-though-I-live-in-Venice-Beach" fashion statement.
- Diane Keaton getting it on
- The men aren't cute enough to be worth it

Please, please spare yourselves. DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE! Why? Because I said so. Hahahaha. Believe it for not, that line was better than the movie was.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 11:39 PM 1 comments  


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I don't normally enjoy musicals on the silver screen. To me, musicals are meant to be left on stage. I know Grease-Travolta fans may be ready to throw stones at me for saying anything as blasphemous as that, but hear me out. Its kind of like a book becoming a movie. Sometimes its a hit or miss. With a musical, all the lines are already written out. There's already a script, and since there's already a script, it usually means that a script that was originally meant for the Broadway stage is going to attempt to orchestrate itself on film. A lot of times, it doesn't work. Not to mention that I find it really hard to get use to the singing.

Sidenote: In college, I was in class and the professor insisted on showing us a film clip to relate it to her lecture on "a hero's journey." So the room goes dark, she cues up the tape, and we see a pretty boy knight with a 1970's haircut in the woods talking to himself, and all of a sudden he breaks into song. Meanwhile, the entire class breaks into unanimous laughter. Nothing was comical about his song or even the way he sang it. We just hadn't been properly warned.

Anyway, on to Dreamgirls. Dreamgirls is about a fictitious girl group in the 1960's named the Dreamettes who hope of becoming huge stars. Curtis Taylor, played by Jamie Foxx, is their manager who proves that snakes also walk on two legs. Curtis launches the girls into stardom by having the Dreams sing back up for James "Thunder" Early, played by Eddie Murphy. Slowly the girls become more and more popular, and when it is time for the girls to open their own show,
***************SPOILER WARNING****************
Effie White, Jennifer Hudson's character, is demoted while Deena Jones, Beyonce's character, sings lead.
******************SPOILER END******************
Obviously, this throws a schism in the group that changes everyone.

I thought that is movie was HIGHLY entertaining, but after letting the film marinate on me for a bit, I realized that it may not have been a 4 GOOMBA caliber movie. I've never seen this musical on stage, so my opinion is strictly based on what I saw on my TV. The songs were powerful and ridiculous in a fantastic way, but the story that they told just didn't inspire me. The relationship between Effie and Curtis was never really developed, and I was never quite sure what Effie saw in him. Especially after she sang that song, "And I'm Telling you I'm Not Going." Also, when the heck did Deena stop being a goody goody and start affair-ing behind Effie's back? The change in Deena's character was so abrupt that when Effie's accusation toward Deena was said out loud, I wasn't sure if there was truth behind it or if it was Effie being Effie. I very was surprised by the answered.

Aside from the criticsm I have for the film, what did put it at 4 GOOMBAS was the film production of this movie. They did seamless transitions from song to acting, from scene change to scene change. That's the only word I have for it. Seamless. It wasn't always just singing and dancing around like other musicals do. There were visual plot sequences that furthered the story along, which was almost a dance in itself. What comes to mind is the "Steppin' to the Bad Side" scene. The songs were the story, the stories were the songs.

I liked Dreamgirls. It was fun to watch and listen, and it also makes me wonder how Jennifer Hudson lost to Fantasia on American Idol. What was America thinking? People raved about Hudson's performance for months and months and for good reason. She was absolutely amazing in both singing and acting. She was intimidating and threatening, and she had this fire that you knew would never die. Crazy. Absolutely, astoundingly crazy. So watch Dreamgirls. The music is extraordinary.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 1:14 AM 0 comments  

Music And Lyrics

Saturday, May 12, 2007


In the theater, this movie came and went pretty fast. When I rented it I knew that it was probably for a good reason, but I was not nearly as abhorred as I was when I watched Catch And Release. During some parts of this typical chick flick, I actually found it quite entertaining. It must be because of my undying love for the Backstreet Boys . . . I'll explain what that has to do with anything in a second.

Music And Lyrics stars Hugh Grant as Alex Fletcher, an 80's has-been boy band star who desperately wants a second chance at stardom. He meets Sophie Fischer played Drew Barrymore, a former writer with some strange phobias. She becomes his lyricist following some unusual plant watering circumstance, and 'viola!', a romantic comedy is born!

What I really enjoyed about this movie was its satirical standpoint it took on pop music and its following. Alex Fletcher's signature move was some ridiculous hip and butt thrust, all for his screaming devoted fans who are now middle aged, crazy women; their poor husbands waiting in the back with their head resting on their propped up arm (I saw my future. I must make sure to rectify it). Alex's only chance to gain back mainstream popularity is to write a song for Cora, the movie's version of Britney. Cora is basically insane with a fetish for eastern religions, and incorporates them into her sexualized dance routines in a really bizarre way. A jab at the trendy Kabbalah loving celebrities? Probably.

This movie isn't all that good, but the scenarios where comedy is found only because it reflects real life in a slightly mocking way is pure genius. Not to mention that Drew and Hugh (ha, that rhymes) really make a cute connection in this film. I enjoyed it enough, and if you're a Backstreet Boy fan with a sense of humor, you'll appreciate the comedy too.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 11:58 PM 0 comments  

Charlotte's Web


Now I don't know if it was because it already had the classic story going for them or because I thought I was in for a terrible rendition of our favorite pig (low expectations always help a good movie look even better). Either way, I was pleasantly surprised.

A young girl named Fern walks in to find her father about to slay a piglet. As the runt of the litter, the father explains that the pig doesn't have a chance of survival, so he'll just speed up the process. Even as a child, she insists on the injustice of it all and refuses to let her father kill the animal. She becomes its surrogate mother and named the pig Wilbur. After he is too large to keep in the house, Wilbur, innocent and optimistic, moves into the barn where he makes friends with Charlotte, a spider. Their unlikely friendship and their loyalty to one another share a powerful message about seeing extraordinary things in seemingly ordinary places.

The innocence and true blue tone that this movie creates is so moving, and you can't help but wish the world really worked this way. While the other barn animals shuddered at the sight of Charlotte, Wilbur calls her beautiful. When Charlotte makes a promise to keep Wilbur alive, she does not break it, despite the hardships that she must face in order to accomplish her goal. Wilbur loves Charlotte as much as she loves him, and like any great friendship, they'd even give their life for them.

Charlotte's Web, the movie, was capable of capturing the idyllic childhood that some longed for and others were blessed to have. This is a great movie that teaches kids so many things about life, the ideals that adults may come to forget, and the difference a friendship can make. Watch it, and I know you'll fawn over Wilbur as much as I did.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 11:45 PM 0 comments  

Night At The Museum

Thursday, May 10, 2007


When was thinking of what to rate this movie, I started thinking of other movies to compare it to in order to figure out where this movie landed on the goomba scale, but I couldn't really think of any. Strange. My good friends who constantly have to sit with my sometimes crazy movie choices complained about how this movie was like every 'something comes to life' flick ever made; except it had Ben Stiller in it. So why couldn't I think of something to compare it to if its like every other 'something comes to life' flick ever made? "What is this movie like?" I thought. Its like Jumanji, but less scary and less clever. Even then, it feels wrong. I felt like it was one of those stupid comedies that Ben Stiller does (you know what I'm talking about) except without the sexual or gross overtones, which automatically changes the genre.

Anyway, Night At the Museum is about Larry Daley, a father who struggles to maintain some stability in his life for the sake of his son. A divorced man, he shares custody with his ex-wife who is married to a bond trader on Wall Street. Unable to compete with his son's stepfathers success, Larry takes a job as a night watchman at New York's Natural History Museum. Watching the trailer, you already know that things come to life at the museum, and the cast is remarkable. Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dike, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, and of course Ben, all in one movie. Pretty cool, but so not fresh. I really think Ben Stiller ruins the movie.

The way the artifacts come to life and the trouble that they get themselves in is quite creative; however, the creativity stops there. I think this movie had a lot of potential, but its follow through is pretty bad. Maybe they fell into the budget trap where they spent all their money on the special effects, which are pretty amazing, but left nothing for the actual writers. ::shrugs:: What is it that's so bad about this movie? I can't quite put my finger on it, but it might just be Ben Stiller. Ben Stiller's usual trademark on screen persona kind of gets in the way of the whole fantasy, family genre thing the movie tries to go for. Its like this movie was meant for kids, but as a last minute decision, they made it for adults.

I'm not really a kid critic, so I have no idea if children will think different. I'll interview a kid and get back to you. Maybe through the eyes of a 7 year old this movie is pretty awesome. Why else would The Goonies or The Neverending Story be classic goombas? For now, standby for the kid's reply, but as an adult critic, I think you should pass. Don't worry, you'll thank me.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 1:04 PM 0 comments  

The Queen


When I think of Princess Diana, I always picture her holding an African baby in her arms. It's the media's fault. I've been brainwashed. What I completely forgot about was the media's coverage of her partying. I mean, she was way out of the Lindsay-Britney-Paris League, but she was very much in the celebrity, A-List only scene. Elton, Nichole, and the Tom's (Hanks and Cruise) attended her funeral for gosh sake! So when I saw The Queen, I was definitely reminded of her dual lifestyle, and I think that's what the world was so intrigued with. She could live the rock star life and still be a humanitarian princess (real and metaphorical).

Depicted from Queen Elizabeth II's point of view, The Queen offers a different perspective of the week following Princess Diana's death. What was so interesting was that this story was really believable. What if the Royal Family didn't understand that Princess Di meant more to the public than just the princess partier they knew? What if the Queen Elizabeth truly believed that a private funeral was sufficient and more thoughtful? Of course the Royal Family would be more concerned with William and Harry than of their media image. People can be very quick to judge, especially if fueled by tabloid opinion, so it was striking to see a point of view that I had originally disregarded.

I felt bad for Elizabeth. Here she is, the Queen of England, trying to hold down the fort, her main concern is always about the boys. We don't even know if she likes being queen, and it sucks to be judged and hated by people, people who don't even know you, the people who you have given you free life for. If you look at it that way, it's really sad.

Helen Mirren did deserve the Oscar for The Queen. She brought a softness and strength to Elizabeth that was so compelling, but simultaneously there was a stern conduct about her. You could really see her, but she tried not to let you. The deer scene is a perfect display of this. At first I thought that deer scene was a little out of place (the director/writers trying to get a bit artsy), but in the end I think that it revealed a lot about Elizabeth; who she was, and what she respected.

This movie isn't hard to watch, and it's very thought-provoking. Its really easy to judge people, especially of those under the media's microscope, and we forget that these people are just that, people. However, the irony is although they are just people, at the end of the day, they still are who they are, and the Queen will always wake up and be Queen. She will never be just a person.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 1:01 PM 0 comments  

Spiderman 3

Friday, May 04, 2007

Currently, I can hear my friends talking in the kitchen, pretending that they have the ability to re-write the movie. But unfortunately, they cannot. I think they probably could have done a better job, but at the same time, everyone wants to be a director. ;) I can't tell you how excited I was to participate in the viewing of the first major blockbuster of 2007. I busted out my Spidey t-shirt, bought tickets way in advance, and braced myself for a wait in line. Does this sway my judgment on the final goomba rating? Maybe, but I'm going to try and stay objective.

Spiderman 3 is packed full of big badies. Three to be exact. All three were worthy of their own film but were unfortunately crammed in a 2 and a half hour movie that they were forced to share. It kind of worked out in the end (with an emphasis on kind of), where
****************SPOILER WARNING*********************
Gob Jr. and Spidey team up against Sandman and Venom to save MJ. Side note: If the writers had focused on this part of the plot a little bit more, I think this would have raised the goomba rating a lot.
***************SPOILER END*****************
In addition to that, our friendly Spider, struggles with his own vices (ie revenge, wrath, and conceit). He's basically got a full plate in front of him. Sucks to be him.

I understand that in most action flicks, the storyline and plot are secondary to the explosions, fight scenes, and special effects. Yet that's what made the Spiderman movies good. They took the time to write a decent script, follow through with the plot, give the character's depth, and all the while giving us fantastic, bad-ass webage. This movie was none of these. In number 3, Spiderman started the movie as a huge dork with a big head. Nothing like he was at the end of Spiderman 2, but more like he was at the beginning of the first Spiderman. Then he was Emo Spiderman and then was Partriot Spidey, literally with red, white and blue flag waving in the background. It was like he took a huge step back in character growth for the sake of arriving at the same place he was in the last movies. Why? I don't know. Maybe they didn't know how to make Spiderman's character grow anymore than it already had, so they decided to just make it look like he learned something new in the end of this movie.

In addition to multi-personality Spiderman, Venom was kind of a disappointment. He was totally just thrown in there. "Hi I'm Topher Grace, please give me pointy teeth, and I'm good to go." Not to mention MJ. She must have ESP or a really great gift for forgiveness because her character didn't know that Peter was Emo Spidey when he hit her, nor did she know that Harry decided to not be evil anymore, let alone know he was evil in the first place. Yet she treated both as if she knew what was going on with their characters as much as the audience did. How? Psychic I guess. Lastly, they could have done so much more with Sandman . . . he had such humanity to his character. What the writers did wrong was that they portrayed a good man who made a few bad choices, a good choice. Then made him Godzilla Sandman, killing and smashing people with no transition, a bad choice. Finally back to the good man scenario, also no transition, bad choice. Bi-polar Sandman needs to make up his mind.

All I know is that when I left the movie I was disappointed. But because this is Spiderman 3, it is automatically worth watching, so just kind of roll with it and maybe (and hopefully, for the sake of your $10) you'll disagree with me.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 11:11 PM 0 comments  

Freedom Writers

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Think Stand and Deliver meets Dangerous Minds. That's pretty much all you need to know . . .

If you're into that, cool. If not, then you already know how it begins and ends. The only semi-remarkable part is its based on a true story.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 1:50 PM 0 comments