Courtesy of Lions Gate.

Are you truly happy? are you striving for a goal that will make you happy? What is happiness? and would you know it when it happens?  Perplexing question that man has been asking themselves since man could think.

A few years ago, a friend of mine and I were hanging out after he had just came back from seeing one of his crush and her new boyfriend.  During his time at her place, his crush’s mother had asked the new boyfriend what he would like most to have in life and in the future.  My friend tells me the boyfriend answer was “to be happy” and began to laugh hysterically and began to mock him.  I started to laugh almost immediately out of a reflex, but quickly started thinking to myself as I slowly stopped laughing.  I didn’t say anything, but inside all I could think of was “what was wrong with wanting to be happy? as far as I know, everyone wants to be happy and neither my friend nor myself were really that happy.”  Cut to now, and I’m happy most of the time and my friend is a complete hater.  I still wish I could me happy all the time and still strive for that day.

Peaceful Warrior is based on a true story of how one man finds happiness.  It follows the life of Dan Millman (Scott Mechlowicz), a gymnast at Cal-Berkeley, who finds that despite having everything he could ask for, he’s still confused, misguided and unhappy.  In his attempt to seek answers, he be-friends a man he calls Socrates (Nick Nolte) who begins to mentor him toward true happiness.  But there are a lot of obstacles that Dan and Socrates must conquer, one of which includes Dan shattering his leg in a motorcycles accident.

This movie has an absolutely great message.  The way it goes about showing it is a bit repetitive, but it should be.  Just like gymnastic or sports or anything else in life, you need to practice, and believe it or not, being happy takes practice, just because you are happy once, doesn’t mean you will be happy when you want to be.  So in that aspect, I like that it’s repetitive, it really does show that to be happy you need to work at it.

The movie is also a bit mystical in its approach, which I find kind of appealing.  Happiness seems to be something that is impossible to get for our character, by making it mystical, it confirms our character thought that happiness can not be achieved by him.  I find that most critics have completely dismissed this film because of this.  I thought that film critics were suppose to have an open mind, but their review of this movie proves me completely wrong.  I have also find that critics gave this movie a lower rating because they didn’t believe that gymnast could be so popular in college.  They obviously weren’t hanging out with athletes when they went to school, because it doesn’t matter what sport you played in college.  If you were a varsity player, you got a lot of attention from the opposite sex, no matter what sport you played.

The acting was wonderful.  Nick Nolte gave us an absolute great performance, you can see why this man has won a Golden Globe and garnered 2 Oscar nomination for best actor.  This is the Nick Nolte I want to see more of and not the crazy hair dude I see in the paparazzi pages.  Scott Mechlowicz also did a great job.  Scott is more known for playing Scott Thomas in Eurotrip, but I am a fan of his and hope to see more project with him in it.  “Scotty doesn’t know…”  Cap it off with Amy Smart and Tim DeKay and this film had a great cast of actors.

I absolutely love the message.  It is something I truly believe in, even before I had even seen the movie.  So I could really relate to it.  I’ve seen this movie at least 5 times, and I plan on watching it some more.  I think this is one of the most inspirational movie I’ve seen.  Also, I’m not sure how much of the movie was actually shot at Cal-Berkeley, because I think primary shooting took place in Germany, but that campus looked beautiful and if I had lived in the west coast.  Cal-Berkeley would probably have been my number school after high school.

Dan Millman is the author of the book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior that inspire director Victor Salva.  He is now a motivational speaker.

Peaceful Warrior won’t win any awards, but I find that it has a great message that everyone should at least consider.  It has some great actor and some great scenery.  Most find the repetitiveness and mysticalness of the movie a turn off, but I find that it makes this movie that much better.  It really is one of the most inspirational movie I’ve seen in a long time.  I also plan on reading the book one of these days.

Peaceful Warrior gets a 4 out of 5.

This is one of my most favorite trailer of all time.

Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

I really am a sucker for a good romantic comedy, it actually don’t even have to be that good, just enjoyable.

The Proposal is a really good formulaic romantic comedy.  It follows Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), a Canadian book editor, who works at a publishing firm in New York City.  She has just found out that her visa hasn’t been updated and that she will have to leave the country immediately which will cause her to lose the job that she loves, because to renew her visa, she will have to be out of the country for at least a year.  So she does the only thing that she can think of.  She blackmail her devoted assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), of three years to marry her or she will ruin his career.  Andrew agrees to this, but he must now take her to Alaska to meet and tell his family the good news.  This is where the fun begins.

There is no question about it.  This movie is formulaic.  It follow the romantic comedy formula almost to a tee.  This really doesn’t bug me that much though, as I’m a really big fan of this formula.  The one problem is that you pretty much know the ending, but I like to see the process more than the ending, and that’s not always the same.  When it is, as this movie is, you still get to see a nice story of how they’ve become to love each other.

As the movie genre suggest, it is a romantic comedy.  But I was really surprise as to how funny this movie was.  There was some really good one liners and Bullock and Reynolds have some great comedic timing.  They also had some great chemistry.

Bullock is pretty much a pro at this genre so it comes to no surprise, she pretty much made her name making romantic comedies.  It is good to see her go back to what she does best as she had foray into making more dramas.  It had been a long time since I had seen her in a good romantic comedy or a good movie in general.  With the exception of Crash, I don’t think she had done anything good since Two Weeks Notice.  I still haven’t seen The Blind Side though, and I hear very good thing from that movie.

Ryan Reynolds is still kind of unknown in this genre, which is amazing, since I’ve been watching him for over a decade.  I loved him in Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, it was such a underated show which didn’t get a chance to flourish.  My guest is to why Reynolds is not well-known for this genre, is because he’s got a broader acting criteria.  He also does a lot of action movies, and a few dramas and horrors.  It’s really hard to see someone go from an action or horror movie to romantic comedies.  But he’s got a couple good ones under his belts already.  Just Friends and Definitely, Maybe are really good romantic comedies.  I love Van Wilder and Waiting, but they are not romantic comedies, they’re just comedies.

The supporting cast was also really great.  Betty White was awesome as the quirky grand mother.  Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson are just seasoned professional who really knows how to act no matter what the genre the movie is.

The Proposal was very enjoyable and funnier than I had expected.  It does follow the formula, but I still love to see how they get to that ultimate end.  I love all the actors in this movie, they were just great and knew exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

The Proposal gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Courtesy of Warner Brothers

I was really excited to see this movie.  So much so that I even wrote something about it on this blog when the trailer first came out.  Then came all the bad reviews.

I was eventually going to see it, but with such negativity surrounding the film, there’s no way I was going to see it in theatre and spend money on a movie that might be terrible.  Now that the movie has come out on DVD, I finally gotten around to seeing it.

Terminator Salvation takes place a few years after Terminator 3:Rise of the Machine, 2018 to be exact.  John Connor is deeply entrance in the resistance against the machine as they are currently in the middle of the war.  In an attempt to defeat them, the resistance intelligence comes up with a way to destroy the machine once and for all, but before they can do that, they must find Kyle Reese, John’s father, who is actually trying to find John with the help of Marcus, a convict from the year 2003 who was put to death by lethal injection, but not before he donated his body to science.  The problem, Kyle Reese and John Connor are the machines number one and number two on their hit list.

Yeah, that sounds a little bit like this could suck, it could just be my writing, or it could be that it actually did suck.  This movie had so many plot holes, for example, how the heck did the machine know about Kyle Reese?  Did a Mac G5 go into the future to tell the machines that Kyle is sent to the past?  No, there’s no way the machines should know anything about Kyle Reese, so why put him on their hit list.  In Salvation, he’s a nobody.  That’s just one of the many plot holes in this movie.  I wonder if they decided to throw out any of the story arc that the previous three movie had.  This is what happens when James Cameron doesn’t have anything to do with the production, at least in Terminator 3, he helped write it.  After watching this movie, you are left at exactly the same place you were before you watched it.  This movie doesn’t progress the Terminator story arc at all.

Yes, the action was pretty cool, but that was pretty much all the movie had.  I don’t know what it is about all these movies I’ve been watching, but this one was the same as the last couple movies I’ve watched and that this movie was very impersonable.  Once again, you really don’t care what happens to any of the characters in this movie, well maybe Marcus, but he’s not the lead.

As I watched this 2 hour time killer, I wondered how many movies of Christian Bale have I liked him in.  The Batmans, were the only movies which I liked him in, which is not entirely correct, I like him as Batman, but didn’t like him as Bruce Wayne.  I like Equilibrium, but not really him in it.  Just saw Public Enemies and hated him in that.  And I hated Empire of the Sun, because of him.  I am realizing that I’m not a fan of Christian Bale.  And after that tirade he had on set of this movie, I’ve also lost all respect for him, and McG for that matter.

Terminator Salvation looked like it had potential of being a good addition to the Terminator franchise, but that was before I knew what the story of the movie was.  The action was cool to watched, but the story had too many plot hole to care what was going on in the movie, and the directing made the characters impersonable to the audience.  I can see why this had so many bad reviews and I’m glad I waited to see this movie, instead of spend money at the theater.  This was a big fail and probably the down fall of the Terminator franchise, even though a fifth movie seems to be in the talk.

Terminator Salvation gets a 2 out of 5.

I’m not going to lie, this is the first time I see this trailer version.  Had I seen it beforehand, I would have never been excited to see this movie.

and a bonus for anyone who don’t know what I was talking about earlier.

I’m sorry, you’re a fucking actor, you have no right, you have the easiest job in the world and you get paid a ton.  I understand acting is an art, but you could have nicely said something, instead of completely flip out.  I work on set of big features and the unprofessional was you, Mr. Bale.  Just because you are doing a scenes doesn’t mean the crew stops working, if that was the case, a movie would take twice maybe three times as long to make.  McG didn’t help the matters by pussing out.  I just checked Shane’s imdb and it looks like he hasn’t had a job since Salvation, I hope that it’s not true, he isn’t the best DP, but that wasn’t his fault.

PS — I would have totally been blacklisted, because I would have defended myself.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The 1930s was one of the harshest time in the United States due to the Great Depression.  It is also one of the greatest times to be a crook.  There is no other time in the history where crooks were idolized and crimes sensationalize like the 30s.  Guys like Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, Barker Gang, and Baby Face Nelson dominated the Newspaper with their crimes and no other person made the paper more than John Dillinger, a bank robber.  There were so many criminals on the front pages of newspapers that the time period is also known as the public enemies era.

Public Enemies follows the life of John Dillinger, from his bank robberies and prison escapes to his life on the run from the Bureau of Investigation, now the FBI.  We pick up John’s life as he escape from the Indiana State Prison, one of his most widely known crime.  This is by far the best part of the movie as it goes all down hill from there on and the movie is over two hours long.

This was a highly disappointing movie to watch.  The 1930s is one of my favorite era to watch.  You have awesome car and tons of gun at play here, but despite that, it was very hard to seem interested at what Dillinger did or what special agent Melvin Purvis or even J. Edgar Hoover were up to.  Every time someone went somewhere or did something, you just go “okay”

I also found that a lot of the technicality in this film were very distracting.  First was the handheld camera work.  It wasn’t nauseating, it was just distracting.  A lot of the movie was handheld and I really couldn’t tell why it needed to be.  It was really bad handheld at that, almost like an amateur was holding the camera.  And second, it was shot both on film and digitally and I could tell the difference between the two.  It was really obvious because the lighting on the digital scenes were, in my opinion, really badly design.  There were time when the light would be bright white, and then other times where it would be dimly orange, and then other times where they would just be one light, but it was completely too hot.  I don’t get it.  Dante Spinotti is not a bad Director of photography, so why was the handheld camera work and lighting design so distracting.  Personally if you are going to shoot a movie, you should shoot the entire movie in one format and stick with it.

Public Enemies was a complete disappointment.  The story and time period was a lure, even the director and actors, but it just wasn’t interesting and the technicality of the film were a huge distraction.  Even the poor midwestern accent from Christian Bale was distracting.

Public Enemies get a 2 out of 5.

Courtesy of Universal Studio

Probably the most successful sci-fi TV show after Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica released their second movie since the end of the series this month. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan is about what the Cylons original plan to wipe out the human race was and their evolving plan as the original plan fail and they have to adjust to acquire their desired goal.

At least that was the premise of the movie.  What it turns out to be is even more brilliant than I’m sure the producers expected.

The movie starts us 2 days before the invasion of the colonies and follows all the cylons living amongst the humans as they struggle with their lives as human and their obligation to the cylon race.  More specifically it follows two number 1 models as they live amongst the humans, one on Galactica and the other on Cylon-occupied Caprica.  As these number 1 spy on the humans and order the other Cylons to sabotage the humans so they could succeed in their endeavor to eliminate the human race, we learn that the Cylons have to go through rough choices as they are torn between their lives amongst the humans.  After living amongst them, they have grown accustom to their new life and really don’t want to give it up.

That is a huge dilemma.  Cylons are supposed to be machines.  But you get a more in-depth look as how they really are just like human, as they live with emotion and more importantly care and love.  Even the number 1 begin to understand the humans and why it has become such a struggle for the cylons living amongst the human to plan to wipe them out.

In terms of technical, it looks and feels very much like the series.  It doesn’t deviate at all from what has made the series such a success.  It even recycles a lot of footage from the series, which I think is brilliant.  It really shows us what the movies timeline  is compared to the timeline to the series.

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan is a brilliant addition to the franchise.  It answers a lot of question that we weren’t even thinking of during the series, which is a true indication of a good franchise and mythology.  The depth of the series is so great that you could take any direction you want and still make a good story out of it.  It shows a side of the cylons that we hadn’t seen before and it doesn’t mess with the stories from the series, if anything it build on it.

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

I only watch sequel.  Nah, but it sure does feel that way.  Stupid studio companies and not wanting to spend money on new scripts.  With L.A. being so close to Las Vegas, you would think that they would take more gamble.

Anyway.  Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian or Night at the Museum 2, leads off with Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) a few years after the first movie left off.  Larry no longer works at the Museum as a night guard, he is instead following what he originally wanted to do in the first movie, and that is to be an inventor.  He is a pretty successful one at that, he’s got his own company and has numerous product out in the market for the public to purchase.

He has been so busy with his new life that he hadn’t notice that policy at the museum had changed and that all the exhibits will change to accustom the new digital age of learning.  This means that all the artifacts and statues will be taken off the floor and moved to a different place.  This place just happen to be the largest museum and research complex in the World, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

This becomes a big problem for Larry, who is still friends with the characters of the museum, but hasn’t had the chance in his busy work schedule to visit and say hi.  Not only are his friends being moved four hours away.  But trouble ensues, and he now must save them from a new threat while dealing with new historical characters and creatures from the Smithsonian 19 building and 5 underground floor archive.

The beginning of the movie was pretty bad.  It’s a set up just to have set up, but it really didn’t advance or answer any question we had following the first movie.  Really, if the director could just pick up from where Larry is already at the Smithsonian, then he probably would.  Once that was over, it became bearable to watch and at time entertaining.  The story wasn’t anything to talk about and their was little suspense involve in the film.  And what is with the romance, it was completely forced, at time I really felt like someone was getting violated.  Every once in a while you would see flashes of adventurism only to be taken back by the lack of acting.

Stiller like his usual self, is bad, and not the reason to see this movie.  Amy Adams, who I am in love with, was also sub par.  Acting was carried by the little guys, literally.  Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan, who plays the miniature characters in this movie, were the best actors and that’s a big deal.  Owen has never been known for his acting chops.  Hank Azaria, who at times can be good and other time horrible, was horrible as Kahmunrah in this film, I found his accent annoying as heck.  I would never let someone use that accent in a film, that was a poor decision on Shawn Levy to let that stick.  Azaria as The Thinker and Abe Lincoln was great.

The historic characters is why you want to see this movie.  I love that they made General Custer dumb as heck, I like that Ivan the Terrible wasn’t so terrible, making Amelia Earhart a thrill seeker was brilliant, and don’t get me started on the Einsteins.  This is why this movie was fun for me.

Night at the Museum 2 wasn’t better than the first movie, but it did have some nice addition with Custer, Napoleon, Earhart, Ivan, and Capone just to name a few.  The script and story was really weak and the acting was carried by actors who are on-screen for only a fraction of the time.  With some slight entertainment and adventurism, and Amy Adams, who looked hot in her Amelia Earhart outfit, it become an enjoyable movie for a short time.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian gets a 2.5 out of 5.

I missed working on this movie by a month.  I know all the guys that worked on it in DC, they tell me that it was a lot of fun to shoot in at the Smithsonian.  Having shot at the Baltimore Aquarium, I can only imagine.  I have also been told some pretty disheartening things about Ben Stiller and his Diva like antics.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

With the success of the X-men movies, the studio felt that it was a good idea and a lucrative one to spinoff and work on X-men movies focusing on specific characters.  It was only natural then for them to start with Wolverine, by far the most popular of the X-men.  I know what you are thinking, the X-men movies already focused on Wolverine.  Yeah, that’s true, but now you get to see the origin of Wolverine.

With Wolverine the movie, you will now to get to see how Wolverine the character became the mutant that he is today.  X2: X-men United kind of went into it a little bit, you know how he got his adamantium skeleton, but you still don’t know why he got them and what he was doing before that, as well as how did he lose his memory.

X-men Origins: Wolverine finally answers a lot of the question that we were thinking.  Such as how old Wolverine really is or a close assumption to it.  What his life growing up was.  What type of military experience has he had.  Does he have any relative.  and it goes on and on, and despite the limited time of a wide release movie, it does manage to answer almost all of them.  It really does show how he has become the mutant and men that he is today.  The problem….is that you don’t care.

The movie does a really poor job at giving the character a soul, you find yourself watching the movie without a care in the world for the character.  You have all this information of Wolverine, but it feel completely blend.  Part of that is the acting, but most has to be blamed on the directing.  The movie has all the action you can ask for, but it’s really just going through the motion.

It also introduces new mutants, but it’s only for a short period of time.  You would think that if you spend so much time to introduce new characters, you would care enough to follow through with them, but they don’t.  The characters are either killed of or just never seen again.  The biggest surprise was the introduction of Gambit.  The reason Gambit, probably the second most popular of the X-men, wasn’t in the original X-men movies, was that studio exec felt that Gambit’s character was too much like Wolverine.  Which is kind of true, but then why introduce him in a movie completely focused on Wolverine.  That really didn’t make sense to me.

The one thing that really bugged me during this movie was just how predictable it was, it had so many twist, bad ones at that, but they were so predictable.  The story was just stupid.  You could have shown the origin of Wolverine in a much better way than what the writers had.

X-men Origins: Wolverine answers a lot of the questions that we had about Wolverine, but it goes about it by letting us follow a stupid storyline and it just follows the motion instead of giving the character a soul for the viewer to care about, but the action is kinda of cool, except for the obvious CGI ones.

X-men Origins: Wolverines get a 2 out of 5.

The next spinoff will be on Magneto.