30 September 2013
09 September 2013
|Rated: PG for some thematic elements and crude humor|
Starring: Dante Basco, Ryan Browning, and Cassidy Rae
Released: September 28, 2001 (theatrical) / January 29, 2002 (DVD)
The story starts out interestingly enough, but it isn't long until it veers into inanity. Granted, guys will be...well, guys, but some scenes are stupid enough that they're only enjoyable in the train-wreck kind of way. Even the ending leaves some plot threads unresolved.
Do I like Christian music? Yes. Did I like this movie's soundtrack? No. Why, you ask? Most of the songs featured are noisy and/or annoyingly repetitive, with lyrics apparently taken out of context to make them sound like what you'd hear on your local hard rock station instead of what you can find at your local Christian bookstore. The song mentioned in the title, "Extreme Days" by TobyMac, doesn't appear until the final credits, and gets cut off before the best part so that a dumb song can be played instead.
Production Values: 2.5/5
I didn't notice any problems with the acting, but the filmography leaves something to be desired. The extreme sports sequences look like they were taped from ESPN and stuck into the movie. Also, the video quality varies, with some scenes looking okay, others looking a bit grainy.
Positive Elements: 3/5
Jessie's Christian faith is portrayed in a positive light. She also refuses to engage in sex outside of marriage, even though she admits past sins in that area. One of the guys shows some generosity to a few homeless people.
Sexual Content: 3.5/5
See the second sentence under "Positive Elements".
One of the guys is shown shirtless, and part of Jessie's midriff and back are shown once each.
The violence in this film ranges from rough-and-tumble extreme sports action to comedic pratfalls. It's all done without blood and gore, though.
Frightening/Intense Scenes: 5/5
None that I remember.
The "crude humor" that the MPAA warned about is quite present here. One of the guys gets into the bed, unclothes, and "dirties it up" so that no one else can use the bed. All four of them try to light their flatulence on fire, which is both dangerous and dumb. A poem alludes to "crushed privates." Not only that, but two of the guys have a bet going on, and it is only canceled due to lack of funds and emotional stress.
Conclusion: When this movie came out, I was a die-hard fan of Christian music, especially TobyMac, whose song "Extreme Days" was likely the genesis of this film. Somehow, though, I missed it, and even checked it out from the library at least once, but never got around to watching it before the due date. Thanks to the clearance rack of my local MovieStop, I was able to find this for a mere three bucks, and thought I was getting a great deal. Now that I've watched it, I feel that I wasted my money; despite its Christian moments, CCM soundtrack, and PG rating, it still didn't amount to a very good movie. Fans of extreme sports may disagree; however, I've found that a movie can be enjoyable, even when the subject matter is of no interest to me. The Climb (a mountain-trekking film) and Believe in Me (which was about girls' high-school basketball) are perfect examples of that. Still, Extreme Days failed in that regard; even if you like extreme sports movies, I would suggest the Disney Channel Original Movies Brink! or Motocrossed instead of this mess. It had such potential; what a shame it didn't live up to it.
05 September 2013
|Rated: PG for sequences of stylized sci-fi violence and brief mild language (US) / PG: "Frightening Scenes, Violence" (Canada)|
Starring: Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie
Released: September 17, 2004 (theaters) / January 25, 2005 (DVD)
Warning! The review below may contain spoilers!
It's a little slow-going at the start, but the plot of this movie actually works well. It definitely kept me interested enough to see it through, even though this was my third attempt at watching it. The last part is particularly intense.
Special Effects: 4.5/5
The whole feel of this movie is different than usual Hollywood fare; its whole point is to evoke a setting of days gone by, and it does that well. Though almost all of the special effects are done amazingly well, some of computer animation would look better in a Pixar film than alongside real actors. Still, this is definitely one of those movies that is made for the big screen.
I generally don't watch movies with modern-day screen legends such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, or Angelina Jolie, only because the content keeps me away. To actually see these people onscreen is a big treat, and their acting ability shines, even alongside tons of special effects. Ms. Paltrow gets special kudos, as she did some hilariously amazing facial expressions.
Positive Elements: 4/5
Themes of self-sacrifice for the greater good abound. Playing God is vilified. All of the heroes constantly look out for each other.
Sexual Content: 4/5
It is mentioned that the Sky Captain was "running around" on Polly. The two appear in bed together with another guy, but it is revealed that they were rescued, and didn't do anything inappropriate.
The bed scene mentioned above shows Polly's bare shoulders and part of the two guys' bare chests. Polly does pull up her blanket to see if she is clothed, and she mentions that she is not, though nothing explicit is shown.
Though not bloody or gory at all, the violence and intensity might be a bit much for little kids. Weapons are fired; robots are killed; people punch and kick each other. Probably the most serious bit of violence is when a guy gets electrocuted and reduced to a skeleton.
The d-word and the h-word are heard about two or three times each, and God's name is misused about as many times. "Shut up" is heard. Private anatomy gets mentioned once, albeit in a subtitle.
Frightening/Intense Scenes: 2/5
The whole movie has a dark tone. Also, a dead body is seen, and we are shown a guy who was turned into a monster because of failed experiments.
Polly admits to lying at times.
Conclusion: Every so often, one of the major studios will release a movie that is aimed at adults, but doesn't contain the kind of explicit content that is usually seen in such films. The Lake House, which starred Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, is such a flick; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is another. Unfortunately, given the poor performance this movie had in theaters, it's not likely that we will see a flick of this nature for quite a while. It's a shame; if "mature" viewers hadn't let the "PG" rating keep them away, they might have found an enjoyable, original flick.