What to stream today?

We did away with cable when we moved to Chicago, and we really have not missed it all that much. Except for a sport event that might be missed here and there (we always have the option to go to see Football games at my Mom’s place) we get pretty much everything via streaming. I figured it would be a good new feature to balance things out to also post about what we are watching or find interesting.

This weekend we streamed 2 movies, and I guess now I know why I did not pay full ticket price to see them at the theaters.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (**)

While this movie was entertaining, it really seemed to be missing something. It was like eating a pie that had flavor, but with mushy crust.

The acting was great. There was really nobody that was too annoying and what was supposed to be dramatic was, what was supposed to be funny also was. The CGI monkeys were mostly believable and did not interrupt the flow of the move for me. Neither did the action. Every character was compelling in some way.

It is a lot to ask for a CGI monkey to be the centerpiece of the movie, but Cesar delivered. He did not seem to want to be a bad monkey, but he was… oh wait, he is not a monkey, he is a chimp! I can already hear the cries all over the ape loving blog-sphere.

It is a little on the violent side to watch with small children, so I would not call it a family movie. It does have potential though, it does make you wonder if there are more ape movies that can be made. I would probably watch another one, but not holding my breath.

I would rent it, but I don’t think I would ever watch it again.


Moneyball (***)

Ah, Brad Pitt. While the dude is still married to a girl I had a crush on when I watched hackers, everything past Billy Bob is damaged goods, I cannot hold that against him. He is a good actor and I seriously did not see him, I saw a very crazy GM trying to run a baseball team with no money to spend. I could relate with a dude trying to accomplish the impossible with no resources… I do work in IT.

The acting was not bad, the baseball seemed like the average movie representation. The movie was more about the man than the game.

While it is kind of a “feel good” movie, it does not make you feel very good. It has flashes of awesome when it tries to make you look at the love for the game, but it reminded me that football seems to be more America’s sport now than baseball.

This one is a kid friendly movie, but maybe nostalgia makes me want to share the older movies from the 80s rather than this one.

I rank it a little better than apes because I think I like baseball better than CGI apes. Overall they are both cheap rentals that should waste a couple of hours of your day.

So what have you been streaming lately?

Green Lantern (****)

buy at Amazon.com

I guess I will start with the disclaimer that GL happens to be one of my favorite superheroes and I went into the movie like a total fanboy. I did not wear my GL T-shirt but I did have in the back of my head all of the comics I have read and how they could just screw the movie up. I did not go in wanting to hate it, just have a good time but without a lot of expectations.

I stayed away from reviews. I know how harsh some critics can be of a superhero movie that is going to be CGI heavy. Maybe it is the fan in me, but the CGI was never forced and even when I wanted to kind of be a little dissapointed about how Parallax looked, I continued to be engaged. There is a lot of CGI but it helps the story along. Sure I can go back and take it apart now, but the reality is that while watching the movie I was just simply entertained.

The movie went by way too quickly and well, there is a lot of information to digest. It is a new universe to many and I think this is a great way to introduce people and leave the door open for a franchise. I think the casting was great for this one and hope that there is some continuity when they do the sequels. The movie did deviate a little from the story that I thought they were going to use, but it made the story flow and a non comic geek would probably never really care.

We opted for the non 3D version since the last couple of movies we watched with that technology seemed to take more way from the movie than enhance it. I will be curious to hear what the people that saw it on 3D think of the CGI work.

Even though I think going to the movies it is starting to be impractical when it comes to money (10 bucks is just ridiculous for 1 ticket.) I was glad I saw this movie on a big screen. My only regret is that I did not get to enjoy it with XO; but I think it was a blessing since I could not handle someone else besides my wife drooling over Ryan Reynolds.

Sinestro will be an excellent foe in the next movie, I cannot wait to go see it.

Kick Ass (***)

Since hating the movie Watchmen I have read the graphic novel thanks to Nuke. I am also patiently awaiting the arrival of Iron Man 2 and looking forward to a Thor movie. With good movies about superheroes come horrible ones, and thankfully Kick Ass is not one of them. I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible because I think you should enjoy go and enjoy this movie. It might not be a full spend 10 bucks to go see it, but I felt like watching it and only paying matinee prices was a complete WIN.

Since I did love the movie, the first thing is to let you know what I did not like. Marketing for this movie was great but can be confusing for parents. Do NOT be fooled into thinking that this is something that kids can watch. The themes and action is very adult in nature. I saw way too many kids in the movie and it made me question parents sanity when they expose their kids to that much blood.

There is a back story to the movie that could have made an excellent movie all on its own and it was beautifully presented. I like the art, style and tone of this movie. I am not into dark comedies, or at least I was not… this movie executes that in a very crafty way. You don’t love the characters or hate them, you just watch them interact and tell a story full of laughs and emotions. Escapism at its best.

There are plenty of surprising moment in the movie and that is what makes it great. I love watching movies where I cannot predict the plot from scene to scene but just simply sit back and wait for the next surprise. This movie was full of that.

The acting was superb and I wish I would not spoil half of the movie by telling you who my favorite character was, I am sure you will figure it out once you see it. The movie is left open for a sequel but I am sure this was just a one movie type of deal. Go watch it before it goes off the theaters… or catch it as soon as it gets to the dollar show! That would probably make it even better.

Gamer (**)

If boobs, butts and blood are not some of your favorite B words, then go back to the Bible and stay far, far away from this movie. Despite the title of the movie, this one is not family friendly and if I ever got around to doing my little icon based movie rating, this one would have a little devil right next to it. There are enough bare bodies on this movie to make it a 5 star on the XBox Netflix rating system.

The story is not a bad one, just poorly executed. The pace of the movie seems to move a different speeds making it almost feel like several different films spliced into one. While I do get that the different “worlds” are supposed to feel different, the movie pace just does not seem to make them all feel part of the same universe even if they are different realities within the same.

I did not hate the movie, it was entertaining and I went into it with lowered expectations. Just like GIJoe, the movie has pretty effects that would make a kid say, cool and awesome; with the big difference that this movie is not for a kid.

The character build lacks flavor making everything almost feel too formulaic. That would not be a problem if the movie was not addressing some issues that are relevant to our times, such as social disconnect due to technology and violence in video games. I don’t think the movie deserve the name gamer, since it was really not about the gamer at all.

Acting was probably what made this movie not a single star, or even a no star. While the dialogue was not the best, all the actor did their best to play roles. Even Luda did a good job with his role. Dexter was good as the villain, even funny at times. The stars earned their paycheck, however there seemed to be no budget for the rest of the actors because everyone bellow the main roles felt like an extra that got to say a line or two.

If you want to get to see some free boobies without actually filling your computer with viruses, this is an ok rental. Just don’t rent it for a family movie night thinking that the dude from 300 is going to be in a cool action movie.

Avatar (****)

I’m not a James Cameron fan boy. What man can be cool with the man that married one of the most bad ass chicks in movie history, remember Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. She should have continued making movies and kicking ass after that. He almost redeemed himself with the series Dark Angel that really catapulted Jessica Alba to stardom, but again she had not done much action since. So while Cameron does have a history of making the women he portrays in films kick ass, they seem to not do much of it in other movies after. I cannot be too mad at him since he also gave us First Blood and Aliens, and it is in the process of bringing the manga Battle Angel Alita to live.

This piece of work is truly movie magic. Sure, the story might be over simplistic, the theme and many movie elements borrowed but as far as direction Avatar will become a masterpiece.

The colors and textures in the movie don’t feel like CGI even if the colors are extremely unnatural. He managed to create a tropical paradise that looks even more spectacular at night.

I had never seen a 3D movie before and since we had the option we decided to pay a little more. It was absolutely worth it. The action sequences are as excellent as the ones in Terminator.

It is not a short movie, but the time went by extremely fast. The movie might have been a little slow at times but you cannot notice since you are drooling at the amazing imagery in front of you.

There is not much I can say about the movie or the story without pretty much giving it away. So I will just tell you to go watch it, enjoy it, and be truly entertained.

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