Movie Review: Cowboys and Aliens

OK! Time for a movie review of Cowboys and Aliens!

Well, it may as well be said up front. This movie is very much one that will either be liked or hated, based on the person. It all depends on what you are expecting out of the movie, really.

Me? I liked it. It is a simple enough premise that borrows form established genres and pays affectionate homages to both. The movie begins with Daniel Craig waking up bloodied in the desert, with his memory gone, a mysterious bracelet firmly attached to his wrist, and a picture of a mysterious woman on the ground next to him.

As Craig wander into a dusty Western town, it is not long before he gets into trouble, drawing the attention of Olivia Wilde as an ethereal woman who knows about his past, and eventually irking Harrison Ford, in the role of a gruff cattle baron with a dark past. As Western drama erupts, aliens suddenly swoop in and begin capturing townspeople; causing Craig, Ford, and Wilde to join forces, form a posse, and begin hunting the aliens to their base in the desert.

The rest of the movie focuses on the chase, with our heroes tracking the aliens through the dusty West and running into bandits and hardship and Native Americans and savage aliens. The movie culminates in a thrilling showdown that is fairly epic and memorable. One thing is for sure. This movie is unique.

This movie is actually strongest when it is focusing on the Western themes. The set pieces and setup fall into familiar genre favorites, but it is still exciting and has great production values. That being said, the sci-fi/ western crossover does not always hold up awesomely well, but it is something new and fun enough that it can be overlooked.

Daniel Craig is great as a gruff grizzled dangerous guy, and Harrison Ford is… well… Harrison Ford. Which was fine with me. Olivia Wilde was fairly good as the mysterious woman who is not as she seems, in that ethereal glising… Olivia Wilde… kinda way.

The movie has been critically blasted, and has sharply divided audience opinion. I’ll say this though: I went into Cowboys and Aliens fully expecting it to suck. And I was pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer. Yeah, its kind of dumb and silly. But at the same time, it is a self aware work, and is therefore something that is presented unashamedly.

Final comments: This is one of the more interesting attempts at genre fusion, and was not presented at all in 3-D. That alone should give you a reason to go see it. For the first time since Avatar, an action movie that was shot and presented in 2-D without any kind of gimmickry. Thank. Goodness.

All in all, your pespective of this movie will all boil down to whether or not your appreciate the silliness of the premise and the straight way that they decided to implement the tone of the film.

Movie Review: Winnie the Pooh

Well, it may be a bit outside of the usual realm, but I feel like doing a movie review of Winnie the Pooh today!

It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed a nice family film here, and its something that is well worth doing in order to keep things fresh and fun. And if it’s a nice family film that you want, look no further than Winnie the Pooh.

The movie follows the usual escapades of Pooh and friends, as they have adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. This time around, out furry friends are spend their time looking for Eeyore’s tail, which has mysteriously gone missing, as well as having contests to replace it while possibly gearing up to face down a monster. Everything is handled with the gentle good humor and silliness that is a part of the franchise, allowing the audience to be thoroughly amused by their hi-jinks.

Silly Pooh and the often hapless Piglet are joined by ferociously harmless Tigger, worrying Rabbit, downtrodden Eeyore, good natured Kanga and Roo, addle brained Owl, and wonder struck Christopher Robin in the search for a good days adventure and fun

Put simply, Winnie the Pooh is DELIGHTFUL. Children will of course take joy in the characters and the silly story, while adults will be able to revel in the stylized gentle simplicity of the artwork and animation. One thing that many people, including myself, were concerned about was the concept of reboots and Winnie the Pooh. However, this movie happily embraces its roots and retains its identity.

Of special note would have to be Craig Ferguson, in the role of Owl. Ferguson has long been a favorite of mine due to his wry wit and gentle smugness, and the effect is infectious in nature. The thing about Craig Ferguson is, once you realize that he is doing a voice in a move, you can’t help but project him onto everything viewed. I don’t know how it really is, but I have to imagine that his voice work sessions are hilarious in nature, and I would happily fork out for some good outtakes.

After being bombarded with a slew of movies celebrating moral relativism and callous indifference toward the world and everything in it, it’s nice to see a film that celebrates innocence and good hearted fun. Too often we get wrapped up in the gritty stuff before we realize what is important, and Winnie the Pooh nicely showcases the kind of heart that many of us forget with time.

Weekend Box Office Results July 22-24, 2011

Weekend Box Office ResultsCaptain America: The First Avenger came out swinging this weekend easily taking the top spot.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 continued to to rake in the cash world wide and should easily make its way into the one billion dollar club.

Movie Weekend Gross Total Gross Budget Week
(NR) Captain America: The First Avenger $65,058,524 $65,058,524 $140,000,000 1
(1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $47,422,212 $273,539,281 $250,000,000 2
(NR) Friends With Benefits $18,622,150 $18,622,150 $35,000,000 1
(2) Transformers: Dark of the Moon $12,051,735 $325,841,185 $195,000,000 4
(3) Horrible Bosses $11,884,319 $82,566,703 $35,000,000 3
(4) Zookeeper $8,702,055 $59,206,255 $80,000,000 3
(5) Cars 2 $5,655,857 $176,375,295 $200,000,000 5
(6) Winnie the Pooh $5,162,046 $17,594,297 $30,000,000 2
(7) Bad Teacher $2,610,925 $94,365,688 $20,000,000 5
(10) Midnight in Paris $1,804,662 $44,783,206 $30,000,000 10

( ) Last Weeks Ranking
Click here if you want to see past box office numbers.

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