Thursday, May 29, 2008

"He's Just Not That Into You" trailer

This movie will probably be racy and unfair to the male gender, but the trailer reveals an impressive cast (Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, etc.) and a few decent laughs.

What do you think?

Public Service Announcement

Lost concludes its fourth season tonight with a two-hour finale. It begins at 8:00 p.m. here in Utah, and is preceded by the episode we saw two weeks ago. Even when Lost has faltered (like the first half of Season Three), it has so far come up with consistently thrilling season finales. Let's hope tonight's is no different. has a list of Season 4's great moments. I agree with almost all of them, especially #1, which was the season's one big emotional payoff.

So get out your Dharma ranch and chips and buckle up; it's the last new Lost until January or February of next year.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Indiana Jones" review

I love Indiana Jones. The treasure hunt, the action, the bugs and snakes and gross-out effects...the movies are chock-filled with the kind of stuff that a little boy like me loves. I was four when Raiders of the Lost Ark was released, and though I don't remember when I first saw the movie, I do remember watching the creepy ark-opening scene with terrified delight as the ethereal floating angels transformed into horrific ghouls, right before the army of Nazis had rays of light shoved through their chests and fake-looking heads melted and exploded.

I remember buying the VHS of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from Penee Arnett at a summertime garage sale when I was probably eight or nine. It was only the second VHS our family owned at that point (the other was Cinderella), and we watched it over and over. Austin Arnett, Johnny Anderson and I envisioned filming our own version of the movie's climactic cliff-side escape on our local church pavilion's fireplace ledge (a dream which faded when we realized we wouldn't be able to find an effective rope bridge...).

In 1989, I pleaded with my dad relentlessly to take the family to the Pioneer Twin Drive-in to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. As our game father so often did, he caved and packed us all into the suburban to go watch Indy cross the globe with his own estranged father. The movie itself was a near-perfect mix of humor and adventure. Coupled with my very favorite people in the world (my family), it was probably the most fun I can remember having at the movies.

Obviously I brought a great deal of nostalgia with me today as I sat in a crowded theater to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I don't know if I really even cared whether or not the movie was particularly good; what I was looking for was the chance to reconnect with the spirit of summers past. The chance to escape to a world where good and evil are black and white, and where the good guys always win. The chance to see exotic places and impossible sights. The chance to forget about all the adventures I haven't taken by living vicariously through someone else's. In those regards, KOTCS doesn't disappoint.

The latest Indiana Jones adventure is far from a perfect movie. There is more CG than I was expecting from this "old-fashioned" adventure. There are a few too many "oh come on!" moments (Shia = Tarzan?). And the central plot is never really very clear, and concludes with a corny and somewhat unsatisfying climax.

Having said that, there is much to recommend. First and foremost, we haven't seen Harrison Ford on screen with this much charisma or charm for 10+ years. His performance here makes you remember why he's a movie-star in the first place. (Here's hoping he follows this movie with some more memorable roles.) And though his 60-something age is acknowledged (and mocked), he still kicks bad-guy butt like the best of them.

The rest of the cast is great as well. It's especially fun to see Karen Allen again, reprising her role as Marion from Raiders (and kudos to the actress for allowing herself to age gracefully). Shockingly, the one weak link to the cast is Cate Blanchett (an actress I really like), whose character is never given any personality beyond a hokey black wig and affected Russian accent.

There are two or three action sequences that rank with the franchise's best; the extended Amazonian action scenes are especially fun (minus Shia's aforementioned vine-swinging). John Williams triumphant score fits right in with the adventure, and the costumes and sets are all first-rate. And while I was really bummed not to see Sean Connery on-screen again, I loved the reverence that the film shows his character (as well as that of Marcus Brody).

As the lights in the theater went up, Wendy leaned over to me and said, "I just have the biggest crush on Indiana Jones!" (Sorry Edward the Vampire, you're out!) Like Wendy, there were a few times during the movie where I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear. I love Indiana Jones' attitude, his clumsy arrogance, and his impossible invincibility. The movie itself is decidedly silly, and far from perfect, but our affection for the character allows us to be forgiving of the film's defects.

So grab your loved ones, buy lots of popcorn, and check your adult-self at the theater entrance: it's been far too long since we've had Indiana Jones around to save the summer. (*** out of four)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"American Idol" recap, Indy 4, & new Shia trailer

Here are a few things that are on my mind today:
  • American Idol last night was satisfying and fun, and I really wouldn't mind seeing either David win the crown. It was a little strange to see Simon lean so heavily toward Little David, especially since I thought the two contestants had a pretty even night altogether. But, going back to what I said last week, I think Little David will take the cake, and will become this generation's David Cassidy. Bless his goofy, lyric-forgetting little heart.
  • I get to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull tomorrow, and can't tell you how excited I am. Like Lord of the Rings level excited. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and I even went out and bought the soundtrack yesterday (nice to see John Williams back on the shelves again). Wendy got me an early Father's Day gift of Indiana Jones Legos, so I think I'm good to go for the show tomorrow. Is there any chance my expectations are a little too high?
  • Finally, I saw a trailer online today for a new Shia Lebeouf thriller coming out this September. Normally I wouldn't post a trailer for a movie I know nothing about, but the trailer intrigued me. The premise reminds me a little of The Matrix's early scenes, along with some conspiracy thrillers from the 90s (Sneakers, The Net, etc.). Add a healthy dose of The Bourne Identity, and you get Eagle Eye. Check out the trailer and let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Congrats, Jennie & Pete!!!

My sister Jennie pulled a Mr. McPheely (speedy delivery) early on Saturday morning, welcoming a bouncing baby boy into the world. While I don't know if they've decided on a name for sure, I believe they are leaning toward Anchor James Christensen ("Anchor" after our great-grandfather and "James" after Pete's dad). All I know is that he's a cute little guy, and it's fun to have another nephew.

Congrats, little sis!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

David vs. David

Syesha was good last night. Not great, but good. Which, in a perfect world, should be enough to get you through the next round of American Idol when you're up against two guys who had 2/3 of a great night, 1/3 of a really bad night. If I were giving grades for the whole evening, I'd probably give Syesha a solid "B" vs. Little David's "B-" and David Cook's "C+" night. Unfortunately for Syesha, she really needed to have a fantastic night, and didn't. She'll be gone tonight.

For the record, I'm not really too biased one way or the other about who should win the big show next week. I have really loved a few of both of the Davids' performances, but there are characteristics about each singer that grate on me a bit. Little David, for one, can't seem to remember his lyrics with any degree of confidence, and Rocker David seems to have an overwhelming amount of confidence, even when it is unwarranted. Both of them sang very well on their first songs last night, sagged through their awkward second songs, and went back to pretty good for their third (although David Cook's mediocre finale was overblown and overrated).

In the end, it will probably be little David that takes the cake, barring some devastating lyrical malfunction next week. David Cook won't be sad; he'll sell a gajillion records either way. And poor Syesha will probably go straight to Broadway, where dancing around a chair is not only commonplace, but encouraged. So really, in the words of the immortal Michael Scott, it's a win-win-win.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wendy's Whimsies

For those of you who are sick of my blog (Jodi) because it doesn't include enough personal information, please stop stalking me. And then proceed to Wendy's new blog, which focuses specifically on our little family and anything else my sweet wife finds of interest.

In the meantime, he's a little sneak-peek of the joys her blog has to offer:

Any cuter and Paula Abdul might threaten to squeeze off her head and dangle it from her rear-view mirror...

"The X-Files" trailer

The trailers just keep on coming; here's the first official trailer for The X-Files: I Want to Believe, coming out on July 25. Watch a crappy version of it below, or click here for a nicer version.

The movie looks exciting, but also a little creepy. And I'm still a little bummed that it won't involve aliens. Oh well...what do you all think?

Friday, May 09, 2008

New trailer for "The Dark Knight"

I know this blog has been awfully trailer-heavy as of late, but there are just so many interesting movies on the horizon. My current favorite trailer is the latest for The Dark Knight (the sequel to Batman Begins) which comes to theaters on July 18. Watch the trailer here (I think you have to click on the Batman symbol to get it to start).

It's another excellent trailer to a movie that is quickly rising to the top of my most-anticipated movies. I thought that Batman Begins was a very good movie--dark and bleak, but much more layered and complex than you'd expect from your standard comic book movie. Christian Bale is always great, and almost always underrated. Director Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige) can do no wrong in my book, and I like BYU-grad Aaron Eckhart in the role of Harvey Dent (aka Two Face, foreshadowed in the trailer). And of course, it will be one of the final on-screen performances from the late Heath Ledger, who looks fantastic in the role of the Joker.

I really can't wait to see this, and hope it strengthens the great franchise re-started by its predecessor. What do you think of the new trailer?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"Twilight" trailer

Happy Tuesday, girls! I've got your first look at the film version of Twilight. Click above for the trailer.

I'll reserve my true thoughts about the trailer for those that want to remain uncynical. Let's just hope that this will be a girls-night-out movie, and not a date-night movie...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Final "Indy" trailer

This new Indiana Jones trailer appeared this weekend attached to Iron Man (which I'm dying to see). It's a good trailer--better than the first--and gets me even more excited for May 22 (yes, I've got my tickets).

Watch it here.