Movie Review: The Expendables 2

My daughter and I really enjoyed the The Expendables two summers ago. It turned out to be my daughter's (17 years old) favorite movie. Shocking to me considering the stars of the movie were action stars when I was her age. What wasn't to love though if you enjoy a good action flick that puts the plot where it needs to be... the back seat. The Expendables wasn't a great movie, but it was a seriously fun ride. Seeing Stallone, Willis and Swartzenager all on screen at the exact same time was just BONUS!

When news that the inevitable sequel was is production and that not only would we see MORE of Willis and Swartzenager, but also Chuck Norris and Van Damn; quite simply we were excited - SIGN US UP! We knew the movie would again be short on plot while heavy on action. We didn't care, that's what we wanted!

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iBookstore Walkthru - For iPad

iBooks Shelf Check out the linked linked walkthru to The Apple Blog's walkthru of Apple iBookstore and the iBook application. This is a pretty detailed walkthru and basic review of the application, store and experience on the iPad. Later this summer the iBook application will also be released for the iPhone and one would think the Mac can't be far behind.

I've actually had a chance to test drive the iPad and the iBookstore. I was very impressed. While I've not used a Kindle or a Nook, the experience of reading on the iPad (for a few short moments anyway) was very enjoyable. As stated in this article eBooks have some definite advantage over printed books, two of the coolest are searching and bookmarking. Both work very well on the iPad. You can read the book in either portrait or landscape mode, each giving you a difference experience.

Don't take my word for it, read the article. Better yet, hand down to your local Apple Store or BestBuy and take one for a test drive yourself. As an e-reader, I think the experience is exceptional. Don't forget, the iPad does far more too. So if you are thinking of getting either the Sony E-Reader, the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes & Noble Nook - do yourself a favor and check out Apple's iPad.

MacBook Pro 15" 2009 Review

No, I didn't get a new MacBook Pro; mine is still quite good thank you. I did though run across this review on YouTube. It's for the latest and greatest MacBook Pro 15" that was released a few months ago. If you are curiuos, the main difference between the mid-2009 and late 2008 MacBrook Pros, the mid-2009 is: a little faster, has a slightly better screen, no removable battery, 7 hrs of batter life, slightly bigger harddrive, SD card slot. Cool features, but no reason to upgrade from a 2008 to a 2009. When my wife reads this, she won't believe me. I have to admit that this guy loves Mac already; but that being said, it's a good review of the MacBook Pro and good quality video. The review was done by Chris Frilla.

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Torchwood - Children of Earth

Torchwood is a spinoff of the BBC's worldwide sensation Dr. Who; and is equally as popular as it's much older brother. Like many younger brothers, Torchwood is edgier, more irreverent and much more willing to takes risks. This week the 3rd "series," as the Brits refer to a season, starts in the United States (it aired a few weeks ago in the UK). The last season ended with boom and tear in the eye, this season starts with scream and one cliffhanger after another. For five nights in a row the season will unfold. Last night was episode one, and it was excellent; as good as anything done for Dr. Who so far. Lots of promise for the week. If you like SCI-FI at all, then you owe it to yourself to check it out. You can start watching "series" 3 without seeing Dr. Who or the previous two "series," but you will miss out on all the character exposition that has occurred over the past two years; that's true of any series though. Watch it and if you like it the first season is available on DVD and BlueRay and I think the second season is about to be released too.

I've embedded the trailer which gives a good, but quick, look into the weeks episodes. The BBC is betting the farm on this show, it's the show that the BBC used to launch BBC America HD (which so far FIOS doesn't have yet). They are also using it to prepare fans for the upcoming Dr. Who special that airs on Sunday (trailer to follow).


Transformers 2 - Mini Review

Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen Today I saw Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen with my youngest daughter. She's been begging me to take her for several weeks now. Apparently she's more of an action flick girl than I gave her credit for being. I don't think it's really action or non-action, I just think it's what movies she thinks she will like; but she's 13... well almost 14. But I digress...

The first Transformers was a wild ride that starts at the beginning of the movie and keeps on going all the way to the end. I expect nothing less from a Michael Mann film. He is unapologetic about his style of film making and why should he since he keeps banging out the hits. Transformers 2 doesn't disappoint either. It starts with a bang and doesn't end till it ends.

Interestingly, the starts of the first film were by every account the robots and the CGI effects (yes, one in the same I know). The stars though of the second film were much more "human." Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky and Megan Fox as his unlikely love interest are it; and everyone else seems to be either fodder for the plot or comic relief. The robots are in the sequel and central to the plot; just not seemingly central to the script. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the decision. I actually think it made for a more exciting and more interesting movie. What hurts this movie most is that while they seemingly changed one element of the formula, the rest remained nearly identical to the first film.

Strange but unknown happenings far in the past - check. Apparently ineffectual military - check. Comic relief sidekicks both human and robot - check. Strange and embarrassing parents - check. Hot women waring as little as possible - check (mostly Megan Fox). Formulas do work though, look at James Bond. I think they took the criticism I remember hearing of the first film and decided to focus more on their two human stars. Besides, both of them have become immensely popular since 2007; so why not show off your best assets.

So, we've established that they stuck to the formula short of giving more screen time to the two central human characters. We've also established that all of the elements of the first film were there as well. What's missing? Not much. There is a lot of destruction, a lot of guns blazing, a lot of running and yes lots of destruction. This time around robot created destruction is visited upon both Paris and Gaza, along with the US and the Pacific Ocean. What's definitely not missing is one liners and comic relief. The idiot from the Whitehouse is a winner, the college roommate is a winer and the robot twins are just well, unnecessary roughness. Read more on the web about them, I'm not going into it here.

You will also get to see just about every major character from the first film back again. This time they play less central roles but still get a fair amount of screen time. They definitely weren't doing cameos. So, you are probably thinking I didn't like the movie very much. That's not true. My daughter and I actually thought it was a lot of fun. It's a movie I will return to on DVD for sure. The original and the sequel will make for a nice double feature some time a year or two from now. The films failings are only in the same arena as other summer films. Transformers 2 is like a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner. A delicious meal that hits the spot, but in the end is lacking in any nutritional value. That doesn't mean you don't eat the meal, you do eat it and enjoy it. That's why you chose to eat the meal to begin with wasn't it?

Public Enemies - Mini Review

Public Enemies Today I went and saw Public Enemies starring Johnny Depp. Let me first say that it was a little on the long side; more than 2 hours. Let me also say that while long, it was entertaining. Was it worth seeing in the theater, probably not. Watching it in 4 or 5 months on my big screen tv for the cost of a DVD or BlueRay rental would have sufficed. That aside, if you like historical drams with a little action and some excellent acting, then Public Enemies is well worth seeing; whatever your locational preference.

Before watching the movie I did read up on Dillinger, played by Depp, and it seems the director took some liberties with the historical facts - artistic license. When events happened and who was there when they happened were mucked around with; but the general story remained the same.

Depp plays Dillinger as a hard nosed criminal who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty or spill blood; but he isn't going to go out of his way to spill blood either. Sort of a gentleman's crook; except for the fact that he was far from a gentleman. You leave the theater feeling for the guy, even though he probably got what was coming to him. The FBI agents, most of them anyway, come off as heavy handed thugs; especially Hoover. I don't know much about FBI history, but I do know Hoover was no man to mess around with; but I can't speak to how his agents acted. I have no doubt that the FBI of 2009 is nothing like the FBI of circa 1930.

All-in-all, it was a good movie. I don't think it will win any awards, accept maybe for costumes and sets; those were incredible and did give you the feeling it really was the height of the great depression. Beyond that the acting was solid as was the writing; just could have been about 30 minutes shorter I think and maybe not played around so much with artistic license.

My suggestion, check it out; but wait until it hits your local video store or on-line rental choice.

Public Enemies Trailer Official Website