Category Archives: owen wilson

Cars 2

Cars 2 ~ I really liked this sequel to Cars a lot, and it has a lot going for it but one thing bothered me a lot as well – and I just couldn’t get it out of my head once it reared its ugly head. Remember the short story by Stephen King called “Trucks”? It was made into a movie twice, once for television under its own name and once theatrically as Maximum Overdrive. The story goes that something happens, some event, and machines, mostly cars and trucks, gain sentience, and proceed to wipe out the human race, and those that remain alive are turned into slaves, slaves that maintain them and fuel them.

The thought occurred to me while watching Cars 2 that this was that world! In this flick, the characters participate in several international races and pass a lot of architecture, much of which featured doors and windows that were built and designed for humans, not cars as evidence would indicate. And we never see any people, only vehicles. It gave me shivers and I couldn’t shake them throughout the flick. Watch and see. If you’ve seen either of the movies, or read the short story, you’ll be freaked out.

Stephen King comparisons aside, this is a great kids movie, and terrific for adults as well. Like most Pixar flicks, it works on many levels providing entertainment for old and young. I especially liked that Cars 2 was a perfect sequel for Cars in that kids who saw the first movie when it was right for their age, will see Cars 2 a few years older and still find it age appropriate for them. The story, the development, the action, language and even the small amount of perceived violence actually grew up with the kids.

I was kinda bugged by the subpar Toy Story shirt before the movie. I would have really had a Pixar original, which are always wonderful and innovative. I guess they had to bow to the powers that be, go for the sure buck and cash in. Shame. I also noted that a whole new cast of characters, and new versions of old characters were introduced to ensure a good toy merchandizing blitz for the sequel. Nothing wrong with that but its obviousness bothered me.

On the good side, there was a lot there for me and other adults. I loved the whole spy parody plot with Michael Caine doing the voice. Not many folks realize how big Caine was in the Brit spy cinema game in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This is a fitting homage. Folks of my age will also smile at the “Speed Racer” references and homages in the race sequences. Cars 2 is very reminiscent of both the original cartoons and even the amazing live action of a few years back. Loved it.

So other than the creepy Stephen King “Trucks” thing, and the short before the movie, Cars 2 is an excellent sequel and a great movie for kids and adults. Just be wary, parents, the language and violence is a bit more intense than the first one, okay? But definitely check it out.

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Night at the Museum 2

While an entertaining sequel, and a better movie than any film starring both Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson has any right to be, I’m still not sure what to make of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

The one thing that makes this sequel different from others of its kind is that it infers, nay, it requires the viewer to have seen the original. Night at the Museum 2 makes no synopsis, or even excuses, regarding the first film. If you haven’t seen the first one, you’re not only out of luck, you’ll never even understand the concept of the sequel. Many of the plot twists and even the running jokes are based on information not provided here. I seriously wonder how this little matter will affect the box office. Word of mouth regarding a hard-to-understand movie could be lethal.

For those not in the know, the original film revolved around a museum where all the exhibits come to life at night. In the sequel, all of the exhibits, including the MacGuffin that causes the phenomenon, have been shipped to the National Archives beneath the Smithsonian in Washington DC. When night hits, everything in the vicinity of a museum-like nature comes to life. Hilarity ensues.

Among the things that come to life are Amelia Earhart wonderfully played by Amy Adams – one of the highlights of the film, and Hank Azaria doing his scarily accurate Boris Karloff impression as spoiled brat pharaoh out to rule the world with an army of the dead. Yeah, a whole lot to swallow for a family comedy, isn’t it?

One interesting bit that is certainly worth seeing, and maybe seeing this flick a second time, is the art that ‘comes to life.’ Once the Smithsonian is affected, all of the beautiful paintings, scultures and works of art becomes ‘real’ and animated. The folks doing the special effects certainly had a love of the work and it shows. Fun stuff and a delight for art fans.


Welcome to AMC Loews in Cherry Hill, Now Go Home

Marley & Me ~ This would not have been my choice to see on a movie night but it was The Bride’s choice, so we saw it. I was pleasantly surprised. Based on John Grogan’s book of his newspaper columns that follows his life, with his wife, his family, his career and his dog. I’m a sucker for writer movies so I was sucked right in. For a change Owen Wilson and Jennifer Anniston, notoriously not my favorite actors turn in believable and entertaining performances, as do the twenty-odd stunt dogs that portray Marley. Very sweet, lots of fun and well worth seeing.

Yep, great movie, if only we didn’t have to see it at the AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24. This was one of the worst theatre experiences I have ever had. Yes, even worse than when I saw Spider-Man 3 in London – of course in that case there was inexcusable behavior both in the seats and on the screen.

We saw Marley & Me this past Friday night, and the movie has been out for several weeks, and the theatre was hardly packed – possibly thirty or so people in a room that could easily hold a hundred or so. We arrived during the previews, and although we did not see the announcements about talking, smoking, cellphones, etc., I’m quite sure they were still shown. They are always shown.

First off, people, mostly unchaperoned kids between ten and twenty, talking non-stop throughout the film. The audience, in front of us at least, was a sea of cellphone lights, as if we were at a Styx concert and Dennis DeYoung was belting out “Babe.” And yes, I know I’m dating myself there, and that in my day we would have used lighters, but I’m sure you get the point. There was more texting and talking going on in this theatre than at the mall food court.

Then there was the matter of the constantly shifting audience. I really think The Bride and I were the only ones in that theatre who paid to see Marley & Me. People, I say people, but again they were unsupervised kids, kept coming and going, sitting and watching a little bit of the film –usually talking or texting the whole time- and then leaving again. Where are the parents? Or is AMC the new babysitter?

After the movie we complained and were given a full refund plus free passes by a rather flustered and timid young manager. We were not alone in our refunds, but the other angry couple was surprisingly from yet another movie. We were told that employees do actually patrol the theatres, but only first runs where the crowds and the problems were more plentiful. Wow. Remind me not to see a first run flick at AMC Loews in Cherry Hill – apparently it could be worse…