Monday, February 25, 2008


I work in the health care industry. I won't say what I do exactly. Lets just say I don't get to watch a whole lot of movies for my day job, but I must say, I do have an excellent, kick ass health insurance policy. Not to mention I have an in on what facilities have the most cutting edge medical equipment. I have it pretty good. And then I watched Sicko, a documentary that paranoid, hypochondriacs should not watch.

From the liberal mind of trendy documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore, Sicko points out the major flaws and unfair consequences of the American health insurance industry. Featuring former health insurance representatives, doctors caught in the insurance game, international healthcare users, and victims of denied health coverage, Sicko presents a harsh attack on American health insurance and the U.S. government.

Michael Moore is a manipulator, and by God, is he good at it. For the first hour of this documentary, he controlled my mind, my thoughts, and my opinions. "Why aren't we like France?" "How come we're not helping our fellow Americans by paying more taxes and having government controlled health care?" "Gosh darnit, that man deserves to have his middle finger reattched for nothing!" "Why can't we be Socialists?" (If I don't post in the next few days, it means I've been McCarthy-ed and have been kidnapped by the government.) But I took hold of my paranoid, worry wart self, shook her, said, "Get a grip Woman!", and put my film critic hat back on, and I realized, "Damn, Michael Moore is good."

As Moore ventures through his narration, each segment further strengthens his argument against American Health Insurance companies. The viewer comes up with a counter-argument to Moore's current point, and in the next segment Moore counters the counter-arguments. You're left with nothing to say except state a enthusiastically duped, "American Healthcare sucks!" Sicko's tone is at times, tongue-and-check and completely sarcastic. It presents in an understandable and interesting fashion, and the manipulation is seamless.

Health issues are tough, and Michael Moore's world makes it seem exponentially harder. Sicko shows a seedy side of health care, skewed as the opinion in this film is. Watch it with a grain of salt, and see how a documentary filmmaker pulls the strings.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:18 PM 0 comments  

The Game Plan

Saturday, February 23, 2008


In high school, I had two girlfriends who were just as obsessed over The Rock as everyone else was over Justin Timberlake. To this day, I still don't understand what was so hot about WWF Smackdown! (That's right, I said it. I refuse to recognize this WWE business.). "Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?" What the heck kind of corny motto is that? But Americans ate it all up, Thursday night after Thursday night, and low and behold, The Rock, AKA Dwayne Johnson, became a household name and was propelled into the Hollywood film industry. If it weren't for his cheesy beginnings as an overacting, theatrical stud, I might not have judged Dwayne Johnson so harshly, but sadly, I know what made him. He's got to be freaking amazing to change my mind about his acting skills. Yes, he may be easy on the eyes, but he goes and stars in The Game Plan and my respect for him delves deeper into the bottom of the B list barrel.

Joe Kingman has it all; fans, cool digs, good looks, and a successful career as the NFL quarterback for the fictitious Boston Rebels. He's also a selfish jerk. One day, a little girl named Peyton Kelly shows up at his doorstep claiming to be his daughter. She needs a place to stay for month, and Joe doesn't want anything to do with her. But what can he do? Turn this 9 year old away? Instead he takes her in and learns what it means to love someone more than himself.

Some positive things about this hyper-Disney-fied film, The Rock can sign! I know right? Weird. Madison Pettis is a super cutie, and the Bedazzler makes a cameo.

Some bad things that are already a given; the cheese, the gushy I-love-you, you've changed my life crap, and the so over-done tough football player in a tutu bit.

Don't see what The Rock is cookin' tonight. Skip this family popcorn flop for Enchanted. In lieu of Dwayne Johnson, Patrick Dempsey will satisfy the handsome quota.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 8:17 PM 0 comments  

UPDATED: 2008 Academy Awards

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Oscar Picks:

The movieGOOMBA guessed 11 right!

Best Motion Picture of the Year:

Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men***
There Will Be Blood

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood***
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones - In the Valley of Elah
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Cate Blanchette - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie - Away From Her
Marion Cotillard - La Vie en Rose***
Laura Linney - The Savages
Ellen Page - Juno

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James
Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men***
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook - Into the Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
Ruby Dee - American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton***

Best Achievement in Directing:
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen - No Country for Old Men***
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Jason Reitman - Juno
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Writing, Screenplay written Directly for the Screen:
Lars and the Real Girl
Michael Clayton
The Savages

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced:
Away from Her
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
No Country for Old Men***
There Will Be Blood

Best Achievement in Cinematography:
The Assassination of Jesse James
No Country for Old Men
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
There Will Be Blood***

Best Achievement in Editing:
The Bourne Ultimatum***
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Into the Wild
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Best Achievement in Art Direction:
American Gangster
The Golden Compass
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street***
There Will Be Blood

Best Achievement in Costume Design:
Across the Universe
Elizabeth: The Golden Age***
La Vie en Rose
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Achievement in Makeup:
La Vie en Rose***
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Best Achievement in Music Written for the Motion Pictures, Original Score:
The Kite Runner
Michael Clayton
3:10 to Yuma

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song:
"Raise It Up" - August Rush
"Happy Working Song" - Enchanted
"So Close" - Enchanted
"That's How You Know" - Enchanted
"Falling Slowly" - Once***

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:
The Bourne Ultimatum***
No Country for Old Men
3:10 to Yuma

Best Achievement in Sound Editing:
The Bourne Ultimatum***
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
The Golden Compass***
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:
Surf's Up

List of all Oscar Winners: 2008 Academy Award Winners

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 10:38 PM 1 comments  

Shoot 'Em Up

Thursday, February 21, 2008


If you ever want to see a movie with just a disgusting amount of guns, I’d recommend Shoot ‘Em Up, Clive Owen’s recent action packed (think industrial-sized trash compactor packed) flick. Oh, and if you like carrots, you should watch this too.

It’s a quiet evening in a shady part of town, and Smith, a one named kind of guy, finds himself in the middle of an intense situation as he sits at the bus stop eating his carrot. Unable to not get involved, Smith chases down a group of organized thugs who chasing a young pregnant woman who is about to give birth. The woman dies, leaving the baby in the improvised care of Smith. Unfortunately for Smith, those thugs want the baby dead too, thus leaving the ground littered with bullet casings and dead people. Paul Giamatti also stars.

Bizarre and outrageous as this movie is, it’s fast-paced, adrenaline inducing, and insane – in a good way. It sort of reminded me of Crank but better and more entertaining. Who knew Paul Giamatti could look so menacing? Apparently he plays a superb, and convincingly deranged villain, while Clive Owen manages his normal stoic charm. If this movie were an animal, it would be a hummingbird, spastic and hyper, but this bird would be on crack.

Serious action flicks, like war movies, don’t really do it for me, but I find that action films with comical undertones are highly enjoyable. Shoot ‘Em Up is funny, dark, and strange. When you watch, you have to be in it for the ride.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 8:56 PM 0 comments  


Saturday, February 16, 2008


Last summer, I took a trip down to Ensenada, Mexico with my friends, and trying to get back to the States was not an easy feat. One of the roads we took to get into Mexico was closed, so we had to find another way to get to the boarder. Attempting to do this on streets with non-existent lanes, and non-existent road signs proved to be muy dificìl. Eventually, we find a street that had formed a long line of cars, and the police were directing traffic. As we approached the officers, we decided to make sure we were in a line taking us to the United States, so my friend asked the policeman, "Qué el camino màs ràpido es a los Estados Unidos?" What is the fastest way to the United States?

The office laughs and answers in English, "For how much?"

My friend hesitated, as the rest of the caravan, myself included, perk up at this unexpected response. Zach replies, "Vente dolares?"

The group, shocked and apprehensive, remain quiet as the exchange occurs. The officers says that we should follow his friend. He assured us that he would show us the right way home. Zach follows the second officer, who is on his motorcycle, as the rest of scream things like "Holy crap! Is he taking us to jail?!" "Oh my God Zach, what the heck just happened?" It turns out that the second officer did lead us the right way home. For $20, he also let us cut in line; shaving 2 hours off of the 3 hour wait time to cross. We had successfully, and unintentionally bribed a Mexican police officer. Stuff like this happens in Mexico all the time. Sadly, the country is full of corrupt officials, black market trade, and shady undertakings, and knowing this while watching a film like Trade hits extra hard.

Kevin Kline stars in Trade, a film about the underground sex trade in Mexico. Adriana, a thirteen-year-old-girl, is viciously kidnapped off the street near her home. Adriana's kidnappers intend on selling her on the Internet as a sex slave. Her brother Jorge desperately searches for her, and during his seemingly hopeless quest to find his little sister, Jorge runs into an off duty Texas cop (Kline) who is on his own personal mission for justice.

The most startling aspect of this film is its truth. It's knowing that stuff like this happens around the world all the time. Some scenes in Trade were basically unwatchable. There were scenes of rape, child molestation, and other God-awful crimes against humanity. I don't understand how another human being can do that to another human being and still look others in the eye. But other than this movie's realism, and the light it sheds on this sociopolitcal issue, Trade flounders in all other ways.

Though the idea behind the film holds interest, Kline's portrayal of the tormented, flawed cop is unconvincing and the notion that he would help a strange teen from a third world country who claims his sister has been kidnapped is absurd. There was a Russian chick in plot who was sort of random; her story was thoughtful and symbolic, but it didn't fit. In general, the filmmakers intent for paradoxical characters failed. I'd actually call them hypocritical. Basically the film tried saying too much, inevitably rendering it uninspired.

I don't know of another film about the sex trade, so watch Trade for awareness on the topic. However, don't expect to find any hope for humanity in this film. It's message is pretty straight forward. People suck, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 9:05 PM 0 comments  

The Jane Austin Book Club

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I promise, I've watched better movies than this one this week, but this one was so terrible, it'll be easy for me to get out there quick.

The Jane Austin Book Club was awful. It was like reading a cheap "chick lit" book except it thankfully only took one and a half hours to get through. Haven't even heard of this movie, you say? Well that's probably a good thing. It went to theaters in October and was quickly removed to draw DVD attention for lonely housewives and pitiful romantics like myself just in time for Valentine's Day. What's that, you still want to hear about it? I know, I know. I did too.

This film stars partially recognizable ensemble cast (if you watch a lot of TV) in this pointless movie, The Jane Austin Book Club. A group of very different women (and one man; not gay) with varying relationship problems decide to form a Jane Austin book club. Over the course of six months, the women (and man) read all of Austin’s novels, reflect over her timeless romances, and change for what I think was suppose to be for the better . . . except I didn't really see that metamorphosis. I just saw some messed up women start making normal choices.

Whenever I got to the library, I see books like this all the time. Divine Sisters of the YaYa Sisterhood, The Knitting Club, The Red Hat Club. Movies too; The First Wives Club, The Joy Luck Club, Steel Magnolias (which is actually good). Do you notice a trend in the titles here? Gag me.

Women aren’t this emotionally retarded. I was insulted for my gender. Save yourself this Valentine’s; watch Becoming Jane or Once instead.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 12:39 AM 0 comments  

3:10 to Yuma

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I would never want to live in the wild wild west. Everyone is always dirty, people have wooden teeth, sugar is rationed, oranges are treats only at Christmas, and people get shot at almost every day. The only way you could get me to live in a place like that would be to promise that I would be a badass outlaw chick. Like Laura Croft of the old West. Unfortunately for me, I’m no Laura Croft, but on the good side, I only have to experience the rugged, savageness of outlawed cowboys as a voyeur.

The western, 3:10 to Yuma, stars former Gladiator, Russell Crowe, and current Batman Christian Bale as infamous outlaw, Ben Wade, and struggling rancher, Dan Evans. Evans is having a hard time making ends meet and when the opportunity to escort criminal to Yuma for a $200 reward arises, Evans jumps at the chance despite the very real threat of Wade’s erratically crazy and unforgiving posse.

So, did you notice the crazed, un-caring, highly skilled gunman who’s in man-love with Ben Wade? That’s Ben Foster, Tucker, from Disney’s short-lived TV series, Flash Forward. He’s been playing some insane roles lately, and the part of Charlie Prince has cinched his ability to act like a deranged man. I didn’t doubt you in Alpha Dog, Tuck; you can take normal human being roles now.

I thoroughly enjoyed the character of Ben Wade. He is gentlemanly, he keeps his word, and he’s cunningly smart - but he’s the bad guy. It is such an interesting duality. He steals a man’s horse, promising to return it, and he does. He kills anyone and everyone without remorse, without conscious, but he returns a man’s animal. He quotes the Bible through the film, but ignores the “Thou shall not kill” bit. Not to mention he maintains the loyalty of gang who could kick some serious ass. Ben Wade is kind of cool – and evil.

Though the movie revolves around the relationship (if you could even call it that) between Evans and Wade, its only interesting because Wade doesn’t have relationships. He’s a one-man show, and the mutual fascination between both characters is curiously appealing to watch.

3:10 to Yuma is a pretty good western. It’s no Tombstone, but luckily I didn’t really like Tombstone. In a time when westerns are sparse, 3:10 to Yuma is good enough to fill the void.

Movie Review by Jenn Bollish at 7:32 PM 0 comments