This is the movie review arena of Dave Mitchell and Trevor Taylor. We are fed up with stupid critics who pick the movies that nobody goes to watch. (BEWARE: PLOT-DETAILS/SPOILERS INCLUDED!!!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


(rated very "R" for sexual content, nudity, and language)

Plot Synopsis: Alfie Elkins (Jude Law) is a limousine driver by day, and a Casanova by night. This young Brit moved to New York because "the most beautiful women in the world live in Manhattan." The story (a remake of the 1966 classic of the same name, starring Michael Caine) follows Alfie's philandering misadventures, as he lives out his "European" values of "wine, women, and...well, that's it, actually." But rather than being simply a glorification of this "swinging 60's"-era lifestyle, the film shows that a life of carefree hedonism can have serious and sometimes harmful consequences. Ultimately, Alfie confronts the question of meaning, with the famous signature line from the original, "What's it all about?"

(The cast of "Alfie" includes Law as the title character, along with Omar Epps, Nia Long, Marisa Tomei, Jane Krakowski, and Susan Sarandon. And the guy who played Long Duk Dong in "Sixteen Candles." I love that guy.)

(Reviewer's Note: I'm going to go quite a bit deeper into plot elements in my review below than I would normally, because I doubt any of you will ever watch the film, so I wanted to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about throughout the review. Consider this your preliminary "spoiler alert." I'll warn you about the real spoilers as they appear.)

Dave Says: I don't remember what made me want to rent this film. Maybe it was Jude Law. Unlike certain Oscar hosts, I enjoy Law's work quite a bit. And knowing that the character was made famous by Michael Caine, I was curious how the subject matter would be handled. The original movie was made before the now-infamous Women's Lib movement, so immediately the idea of a playboy bachelor was sure to make half the audience bristle. I guess, if the playboy bachelor looks like Law, it's easier to swallow.

On the surface, this film looked like a glorification of free love, emotionless sex, and unbridled hedonism. And it is...for the first half hour or so. There is plenty of all three things scattered throughout the film, but not too long into it, we start to see the cracks in the statue, as Alfie would put it. On the surface, Alfie has it all together. He's like an amoral, promiscuous Ferris Bueller, skating by, avoiding disaster, and being ever the charmer.

This lasts him only so long. Then his thoughtless actions begin to catch up to him. (SPOILER ALERT: TURN BACK NOW.) First, he has a stupid, drunken tryst with his best friend's (Epps) ex-girlfriend, whom the friend is trying desperately to win back. The pair agree never to tell the friend, but when the girl finds out she's pregnant, they are faced with difficult choices. Predictably, they choose to have an abortion, to spare the friend's feelings. Unpredictably (and a bit refreshingly), there is a pretty clear feeling of remorse for the deed, on both parts. Not long after, the friend and the girl move away. (/SPOILER)

Alfie later deals with a cancer scare, the break-up of a relationship that meant more to him than he realized, and another broken relationship that may have made him happy. Though it's clear that he is mostly to blame for most of his problems, it takes a long time for him to realize that his lifestyle may not all it's cracked up to be. (True to the Mick Jagger song in the soundtrack, Alfie's "old habits die hard.")

(BIGGER SPOILER ALERT): Alfie later learns that the girl kept the baby, hoping it would be Epps'. As you can expect, this was not the case, but much to Alfie's amazement, his friend's love for his fiancee was strong enough to overcome the betrayal. In light of this example of love, Alfie is shamed and bewildered. He tries to pursue a deeper than physical relationship with an older woman (Sarandon) and ultimately finds himself "out-Alfied." (/SPOILER)

By the end of the movie, Alfie is asking the big question. Sadly, it's never answered.

I didn't expect too much from this film. But, as I said, I like Jude Law. What amazed me was that he portrayed this character with a depth of emotion I didn't anticipate. The film, despite its major moral blanks, is essentially a kind of morality tale, though one without a resolution. Alfie's selfish lifestyle leaves him empty and alone, and while it's never shown how he resolves this, the audience is left with the feeling that he will keep looking for answers. Whether he finds the right ones is certainly up for debate.

I came away from this picture surprisingly pleased. Unlike the original film, this one involves Alfie's "breaking the fourth wall" and speaking to the audience directly (often in the middle of conversations, like a Shakespearean 'aside'), as if narrating his own story. As I've said before, I'm always a sucker for this kind of meta-narrative. So that may have been an initial draw also.

(By the way, the sountrack is also really good. All the music was original, and was recorded and sung by Mick Jagger and a few other musicians. Amazingly, I still enjoyed it quite a bit.)

There is plenty of objectionable content in this film, so I can't give a recommendation in its theatrical format. There are several sex scenes, with varying degrees of explicit-ness, as well as some nudity. There is also language.

But there is a lot of good food for thought in this film too. My best recommendation is that if this movie is ever shown on TV, with the explicit content removed, I would recommend viewing that version. I'm fairly confident the film would be the better for it.

Dave's "Rock On/Walk Out" Rating:
"Walk out for now. Alfie, don't rock on until you clean up your act, dude. See you on TBS."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"In Good Company"

(Just call me technical man - Trev)
(I'm not gonna give you all the technical crap that Trev did. I'm not that savvy. You want it--go get it yourself.)

Plot Synopsis: Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is the head of the marketing department at Sports America (*cough* Illustrated *cough*) magazine. When his parent company is bought out by a global conglomerate, this 51-year-old husband/father-of-two is demoted to "wing-man" for a rising star in the new parent company-- 26-year-old Carter Dureyea (Topher Grace). The relationship between Dan and Carter is strained at best. Further strain is introduced when Carter falls in love with (and begins secretly dating) Dan's college-student daughter Alex (the lovely Scarlett Johannson). Throughout the film, corporate upheaval and family turmoil threaten to overwhelm the two male leads, who struggle to find purpose and satisfaction in their careers and lives.

Dave Says: What a collosally great film this is. I completely expected to enjoy it, and it exceeded my expectations. This is a well-acted, well-written movie about purpose and priorities. All the leads deliver layered, nuanced performances. And the soundtrack is incredible--David Byrne, Iron and Wine, The Soundtrack of our Lives, Steely Dan, Diana Krall? Holy crap, dude. Someone buy that soundtrack producer a drink. Nice. (The only let down is that the soundtrack album doesn't have the songs by the Shins or "Cannonball" by Damien Rice--all of which are included in the film.)

What amazed me about this movie was that it was much cleaner than it could have been. I know, I know, it's only rated PG-13. But what I'm saying is, there were several ways where more tawdry things could have been added to add "character", but which would have contributed nothing to the story. Instead, we still have a great story that is as much about romance as it is about career ambition, and in the end, it's an affirmation of seeking fulfillment rather than simply material gain.

The ending of the movie was absolutely appropriate. Not a forced "Hollywood" sappy ending, but a fitting end that resolves each of these characters the way they should be. Because the movie isn't about the romantic couple, it's about Dan and Carter. It's about a middle-aged man trapped in a corporate culture that devalues personal interaction and trust, and elevates bottom-line thinkers and cutthroats; and it's about a twenty-something who finds himself on the fast-track in a job he can't quite handle, and may not even want.

I've read some reviews that call the third act of the film "unrealistic." Perhaps. But definitely possible. And preferable. Realism is a bit overvalued, I think.

My final word: go see this movie. Even in a banner year for movies, as this one may end up being, you'll probably still find this clever, heartwarming movie in my top five next December.

My other final word: I'm incredibly smitten with Scarlett. Always have been. Just thought I'd mention it again. Yowsa.

Dave's "Rock on/Walk out" Rating:
"I don't even have to ask if you're psyched!" Rock on!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Flight of the Phoenix

Release Date: December 17th, 2004 (wide).
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language, action and violence.
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox

1 hr. 53 min

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi, Miranda Otto, Hugh Laurie, Jared Padalecki
Directed by: John Moore
Produced by: William Aldrich, Alex Blum, Wyck Godfrey, John Davis

Production Budget: $45 Million
Domestic Box Office as of Jan. 12th: $19,753,842
(sources: Yahoo! Movies and

Rating: D+
Giovanni Ribisi: B+

Synopsis: Captain Frank Towns (Quaid) flies a plane to remote oil rigs when they are shut down to take the crew and equipment home. His trip to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia has an unfortunate collision with a sand storm on the return flight to Beijing, China. After the crash, the survivors have a choice to conserve their resources waiting for a rescue team or spend them building a plane out of the wreckage. Elliot (Ribisi), who claims to design airplanes for a living, says all the elements and tools are there to do the task. After a run in with some bandits, a couple people dying, much inner fighting, finding out that Elliot only designs miniature airplanes, and some more inner fighting they succeed in making the now named Phoenix fly.

Trev Says: I was actually kind of excited to see this one. While I was watching the movie, I was excited to know that it would eventually end. I knew the movie would be predictable, but it was overly predictable. It was a feel good movie of ultimate survival. The fighting among the group was not even interesting and did not reveal anything deep about the characters.

Now, some of you might be wondering why I gave Giovanni Ribisi his own rating. He is the only redeeming factor in the movie. His character is mysterious, weird, insecure, power hungry, disliked and the few times that I laughed during this movie he was involved. He is the guy everyone hates, but is the most important because of what he knows. Ribisi was amazing in his portrayal of this character. Of the movies that I have seen Ribisi in, this role is different from the others I seen. If you go see this movie, do not see it for the Flight of the Phoenix, see it for Ribisi.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

24 - Season 1

Come with me on this wild ride. Staring Kiefer Sutherland, 24 had me hooked so much that I watched it twice as fast as I originally intended. The program is set up to cover a 24 hour period of time for the characters in 24 episodes. Naturally each episode covers an hour. Over three nights I watched 24 in 8 episode segments. This turned out really well because the show can be naturally broken into these three segments. This is how I will divide my review.

Jack Bauer - Head of CTU, LA and main character
Teri Bauer - Jack's wife
Kimberly Bauer - Jack's daughter
Nina Myers - Number 2 at CTU
Tony Almeida - Number 3 at CTU
Senator David Palmer - Presidential Candidate
Sherry Palmer - David's wife
Keith Palmer - David's son
Nicole Palmer - David's daughter
Jaime Farrell - Computer specialist at CTU
Victor Drazen - The guy that is supposed to be dead
Andre Drazen - Victor's son and mastermind
Alexis Drazen - Victor's son and assassin
Ira Gaines - Hired by the Drazen's to kill David Palmer
George Mason - Jack's superior at CTU

Of all the characters, these are the ones to note.

A brief plot synopsis to the best that I can remember (skip if you do not want to know).
12:00AM - 8:00AM

Jack Bauer (Sutherland) is the head of CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) in Los Angeles. After discovering his daughter,Kim, has snuck out of the house, Jack is called into CTU. Jack's wife Teri then starts the process of attempting to find Kim. At CTU Jack and his crew are given the news that they have a high level threat that Senator David Palmer would have an attempt on his life. This is the day of the California presidential primary and Palmer is a candidate that has a good chance of being the next President of the United States of America.

Senator Palmer receives a phone call with disturbing news about his son. Seven years earlier, Senator Palmer's daughter had been raped. Shortly after the rapist turned up dead and it had been said to be a suicide. The phone call was from a reporter who had new evidence that his son, Keith, had killed the rapist. The Senator eventually finds out that his wife, Sherry, had been apart of the cover up when Keith killed the rapist on accident. Palmer wants to come clean with the public and settle the situation with his son once and for all. Sherry and Keith are opposed. Palmer decides to come out before the press about the situation at a morning campaign stop.

Jack along with his CTU companions Nina, Tony, and Jaime continue to investigate the Palmer situation. Jack is informed by one of his superiors that someone could be working inside CTU to aid the assassination. The same guy that gave the information that someone was working from the inside calls Jack asking for help. He was in trouble and needed Jack's help. Jack gets an important data disk, but his friend looses his life in the shoot out.

Teri continues the search for Kim with the apparent father of the girl Kim was with. Kim realizes that she is being kidnapped by the guys they went out with. As times goes on a connection is realized between the kidnapping of Kim and the Palmer assassination attempt. The apparent father searching with Teri is in on it too.

Jack is put in a tight spot with his family kidnapped by those wanting Palmer dead. They force Jack to aid in the assassination attempt on Palmer. They mean to frame Jack for it. Back at CTU, Nina and Tony discover that Jaime is aiding Ira Gaines in his plan to kill Palmer. At the morning campaign speech the assassins put everything in place, which includes Jack. A way is found to foil the assassination attempt, but puts Jack in Secret Service custody. Gaines does not kill Kim and Teri thinking they could still be used.

8:00AM - 4:00PM

The pace slows down in the next 8 hour part. It is replaced with layers of depth added to the plot. Jack escapes Secret Service custody and pursues his wife and daughter. Nina and Tony interrogate Jaime about her involvement with Gaines. After leaving Jaime alone to think for a while they return to find her wrist sliced. Jaime eventually dies from her wounds. Teri and Kim seek a way to escape and they get some aid from one of Kim's sympathetic kidnappers.

Jack finds the location where Teri and Kim are being held. He calls for backup and then makes their break for escape. They do escape after much running around and shooting at each other. Gaines chooses to die instead of talking. Jack turns himself in but retains provisional status at CTU for the day because the threat on Palmer is still critical and he has the most information about the whole situation.

After investigating Jack's background, Senator Palmer realizes this is the second anniversary for a special opt he authorized in Bosnia. Jack lead a special forces team to kill Victor Drazen, who was a monster that killed thousands in the ethnic cleansing civil war. Since Jack was the only survivor from the mission, Palmer thinks he is out for revenge for the death of his soldiers. Palmer also finds out that Keith's psychiatrist, who was a major source for the accusations about Keith, is dead by some freak accident. Palmer suspects more cover up. He finds out that some of his biggest financial supporters are behind it and his wife continues her divisive ways.

Senator Palmer decides to confront Jack by going to CTU. After some intense dialogue to begin with, the story is straightened out. Palmer is right about someone wanting revenge, but is wrong about who. The Drazen family wanted revenge on them both. Victor Drazen's wife and daughter were in the building when the bomb, meant for Victor only, went off. They begin to work together to bring resolution to the situation. In doing so, they find out that one of Palmer's campaign workers is having a relationship with Alexis Drazen and she is suppose to meet with him later. They plan to use the situation to their advantage.

4:00PM - 12:00AM

The plan to place a tracking devise on Alexis is put into place. Things turn sour when the woman meeting Alexis unexpectedly stabs him. Jack does learn that Alexis was suppose to meet someone and give them money. Of course our hero assumes the role of Alexis and meets him. The guy was being paid to cut the power at a certain location that evening. Jack and George Mason go to that location to investigate.

Senator Palmer with the blessing of his son Keith, but not his wife Sherry, comes out about his son's situation and the cover up ordeal. This has a good effect with the voters because of his honesty. Palmer closes the primary with a victory that makes him a candidate for President.

Jack and George are lead to an open field in the middle of nowhere. After finding nothing, George thinks it is nothing. Jack decides to stay so he can see if someone shows up for the appointed time that the power was to be turned off. After George leaves Jack finds a staircase going into the ground. Lights and sirens go off and he is apprehended by those behind the mysterious door. When he comes to, Jack is greeted by the warden of the secret Department of Defense prison they were in. Jack soon finds out that the classified prisoner that they get is Victor Drazen. Victor, who is played by Dennis Hopper, is not as dead as Jack thought he was. The bad guys are still successful in breaking Victor out of the prison.

Senator Palmer meets one of his campaign workers in a separate hotel room. This worker has shown affection toward the Senator and it would seem that Palmer is interested in her too. Palmer fires the worker sniffing out that he has been setup by his wife Sherry.

I have left out what has happened to Teri and Kim during this time on purpose because, though interesting, it is not essential until Kim is kidnapped again. With Kim in their custody, the Drazen's mean to have Jack do their dirty work again to kill Palmer. The Drazen's want a trade, Kim for Alexis. Alexis is turned over to the Drazen's, but dies soon after from his wounds. Before handing Kim over, Jack is to go to Palmer. Jack again saves Palmer when he realizes the cell phone the Drazen's gave him is also a bomb. Palmer allows the public to think he is dead in the interest of Kim's safety. It does not last long, Sherry leaks that he is still alive because she thinks it will hurt his election chances.

Jack is lead to the Drazen's after an agreement to trade his life for his daughter's. Kim actually does something smart and escapes before Jack arrives. Calling for backup, Jack is told by Nina that Kim is dead. He is told she was found by the coast guard in the water. Mad Jack then storms the Drazen's location and kills a bunch of people including putting about a dozen bullets into Victor. He is dead this time. Jack's survival blows Nina's cover as double agent.

Nina begins to make her getaway, first by trying to delete files from the CTU system. On his way back to CTU Jack finds out that Jaime did not commit suicide, but Nina did her in. While covering her trail, Nina is walked in on by Teri. Nina ties her up and continues her work until the CTU network is locked down. She then makes her getaway, but is stopped by Jack in the parking garage.

Senator Palmer has a meeting with his wife and tells her that he does not want to see her again. He also tells Sherry that she will never be First lady or see the White House.

Everything has settled down at CTU, but Jack does not know where his wife is. Jack goes on the search after seeing that Nina left a trail of dead people on her way out. He finds Teri dead. She had been shot by Nina.

Trev Says: I was hooked on this show from the beginning. The show held my attention during each episode. The show was well written and well cast. After the first 10 or so episodes, the show seemed to be coming to an end. Jack had saved his family and Palmer was still alive. This was quickly replaced by a deepening plot. This gave depth to the main characters and momentum for the rest of the show. We as an audience only see one day in the life of these characters, but the opportunity is given to get to know them. Get to know them enough to love or hate them.

Some things that stood out to me:
-The body count is large. It seemed at times if Jack was around them, they died. The most shocking death was Teri's. Victor's death made you want to jump up and down and shout "survive that you warlord prick."
-I only have one stupid thing to report. I did not mention it in my summary. Teri has a temporary amnesia spell. What was this all about? I think they could have taken the story somewhere else and gotten the same effect. Off course, she remembers everything after having a gun to her head and being saved in the nick-of-time by Tony "I have cool facial hair on my chin" Almeida.
-Speaking of "in the nick-of-time." It happens so much in this show. If the timing was off just a little at certain points, it would have been so much different.

Character Awards:
Hero Award: Jack Bauer- No surprise here.
Stupid Award: Kim Bauer- Dave you are right about how she is always making the wrong decision, until the end at least.
Surprise Award: Nina Myers- This was no surprise to me actually. I was happy when I was right about her being a double agent. I had the luxury of watching the show in three nights. All the episodes were fresh in my mind. For someone who watched the show over the course of the season, I guess would be surprised, not having all the episodes fresh in their minds.
One Finger Gesture Award: Sherry Palmer- This woman was deceptive and self-centered. It did not matter who was in her way, she was willing to do what she needed to get her way. This of course was all in the name of protecting her family when in fact she was protecting her opportunity to be First Lady. She got what was coming to her in the end.
I Am Rooting For You Award: Senator David Palmer- This guy was honest, open, and had integrity. The opposite of his wife. He was willing to risk his presidency to set things right with his family. Palmer stepped over every stumbling block placed before him. Senator Palmer is a Democratic nominee for President. I found it interesting that his personality best aligns with George W. Bush and not Bill Clinton or John Kerry. Hollywood has things backwards.

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Dave Says:

I couldn't agree more. "24" was a genius concept, Kiefer Sutherland is the perfect leading man. The first season set the bar for all action-drama shows to come. I would argue that if you didn't have shows like "24" and "Alias", you would never have had shows like "Lost." Jack Bauer's exploits (and the cult-like fanbase) showed that people want mini-movies, with wicked cool writing and intricate plots.

If you liked that one, Trev, I HIGHLY recommend Season 2. All of your "award winners" are back. Yes. All of them. And Kim is dumber than ever. And because of Teri's death, Jack becomes much darker and edgier. He's willing to do more to stop the bad guys, even if it means torture. It's like Jack starts turning into Mad Max. Awesome.

Things get CRAZY as each season progresses. Main characters with drug addictions, Middle Eastern terrorists, chips implanted in characters, characters killed and brought back to life. Insanity. And, though it seemed (from the outside) to stumble a little in Season 3, the storylines are awesome all the way through.

If you haven't started watching this newest season already, well... I don't know what to say. I held off from being sucked in last year (Season 3) until halfway through. This year, I gave in to the inevitable and now I'm hooked.

Dave's Rating: Rock On, Jack. You're one bad mofo.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Don't call it a comeback...

Trevor wants to resurrect this old beast, so I figured I'd contribute too. Expect some old reviews, and then a couple new ones eventually.

First up, though, is Trevor. Go for it, dude.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Movie List

Cider House Rules, The
Flight of the Phoenix
In Good Company
Lost in Translation
Love Liza
Ninth Gate, The
Road to Perdition

TV Programming

This can be anything that appears on TV programming: complete seasons, made for TV movies, sporting events, etc.

24 - Season 1

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