Soccer Mom

Name: Soccer Mom
Year: 2008
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 92
Description: A warm-hearted comedy about a compulsive soccer mom who masquerades as a famous Italian soccer star hired to coach her daughter’s floundering soccer team, then struggles frantically to keep her wacky charade going long enough to see the girls win their big tournament.
Stars: Missi Pyle, Emily Osment and Dan Cortese
Genres: Family

So a woman disguises herself as a man, still sounds like a woman and gets away with it?

Rather nice score.

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Yes Man

Name: Yes Man
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 104
Description: Carl Allen is at a standstill. No future… Until the day he enrolls into a personal development program based on a very simple idea: say yes to everything! Carl discovers with amazement the magical power of ‘Yes’ and sees his professional and romantic life turned upside down overnight: an unexpected promotion and a new girlfriend. But he’ll soon discover that better can be good’s enemy and that all opportunities shouldn’t be taken.
Stars: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel and Bradley Cooper
Genres: Comedy, Romance

Not… bad. I liked how they used the Harry Potter 1 soundtrack during the Potter party. That’s about it.

Vantage Point

Name: Vantage Point
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 90
Description: The President of the United States is in Salamanca, Spain, about to address the city in a public square. We see a plain-clothes cop, his girlfriend with another man, a mother and child, an American tourist with a video camera and a Secret Service agent newly returned from medical leave. Shots ring out and the President falls; a few minutes later, we hear a distant explosion, then a bomb goes off in the square. Those minutes are retold, several times, emphasizing different characters’ actions. Gradually, we discover who’s behind the plot. Is the Secret Service one step ahead, or have the President’s adversaries thought of everything?
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker and Matthew Fox
Genres: Action, Crime, Drama

This film offered yet more proof that I shouldn’t trust Rotten Tomatoes. I liked it, only Forest Whitaker wasn’t always convincing and the line ‘I won’t ask you again, where’s my brother?’ is rather stupid.

The score was okay too.

James O’Hara didn’t sound as passionate as he usually does, but I really appreciated the fact that they hired two extra people to voice the Spanish dialogues.

 

Valkyrie

Name: Valkyrie
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 121
Description: In Nazi Germany during World War II, as the tide turned in favour of The Allies, a cadre of senior German officers and politicians desperately plot to topple the Nazi regime before the nation is crushed in a near-inevitable defeat. To this end, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, an Army officer convinced he must save Germany from Hitler, is recruited to mastermind a real plan. To do so, he arranges for the internal emergency measure, Operation Valkyrie, to be changed to enable his fellows to seize control of Berlin after the assassination of the F├╝hrer. However, even as the plan is put into action, a combination of bad luck and human failings conspire on their own to create a tragedy that would prolong the greater one gripping Europe.
Stars: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy and Carice van Houten
Genres: Drama, History, Thriller

Good film, but did Hitler really sign everything just like that?

The score was bad until the last ten minutes.

The Incredible Hulk

Name: The Incredible Hulk
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 112
Description: Dr Bruce Banner, thanks to a gamma ray experiment gone wrong, transforms into a giant green-skinned hulk whenever his pulse rate gets too high. Meanwhile, a soldier uses the same technology to become an evil version of the original.
Stars: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

At long last, I have begun to catch up on my Marvel movies. At least they’re consistently good, unlike the DC ones. What mostly surprises me now is how little happened in the first half, but after that, I really began to feel for the Hulk’s character and predicament. Liv Tyler was too bland and Tim Roth’s character was rather stupid, but I loved Tim Blake Nelson.

The score was not special or memorable, but the overall package was really nice, especially the non-action material. Scores like these are proof that superhero music can still be decent in this day and age.

Miles Neff did the audio description. I always find it t rather amusing and cute how passionate he becomes when narrating action scenes, but even though it sometimes makes me laugh, his intonation works brilliantly most of the time. I also liked how he seemed ‘surprised’ by all the cameos. And of course, his descriptions of the camera viewpoints were most welcome, as always.

Revolutionary Road

Name: Revolutionary Road
Year: 2008
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 119
Description: It’s 1955. Frank and April Wheeler, in the seventh year of their marriage, have fallen into a life that appears to most as being perfect. They live in the Connecticut suburbs with two young children. Frank commutes to New York City where he works in an office job while April stays at home as a housewife. But they’re not happy. April has forgone her dream of becoming an actress, and Frank hates his job – one where he places little effort – although he has never figured out what his passion in life is. One day, April suggests that they move to Paris – a city where Frank visited during the war and loved, but where April has never been – as a means to rejuvenate their life. April’s plan: she would be the breadwinner, getting a lucrative secretarial job for one of the major international organizations, while Frank would have free time to find himself and whatever his passion.
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Christopher Fitzgerald
Genres: Drama, Romance

Okay, that was just weird. I certainly liked the premise, but then it started going downhill. It would have been so much better if they’d actually GONE to Paris. This was my first DiCaprio movie that I really didn’t like that much. I did find seeing him reunited with Kate Winslet rather amusing because of Titanic. Kathy Bates was terrible and Michael Shannon was good, but the marital troubles and strife became boring after a while. Yes, the ending is tragic, but by that time I was so disinterested that I could only listen with mild interest.

The score is simplistic, but perfectly appropriate. Thomas Newman’s ability to say as much as possible by writing at little as possible works every single time. The music is stupid.

Quarantaine

Name: Quarantine
Year: 2008
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 89
Description: Television reporter Angela Vidal and her cameraman are assigned to spend the night shift with a Los Angeles Fire Station. After a routine 911 call takes them to a small apartment building, they find police officers already on the scene in response to blood curdling screams coming from one of the apartment units. They soon learn that a woman living in the building has been infected by something unknown. After a few of the residents are viciously attacked, they try to escape with the news crew in tow, only to find that the CDC has quarantined the building. Phones, internet, televisions and cell phone access have been cut-off, and officials are not relaying information to those locked inside. When the quarantine is finally lifted, the only evidence of what took place is the news crew’s videotape.
Stars: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris and Columbus Short
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Turned it off.

Nights In Rodanthe

Name: Nights In Rodanthe
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 97
Description: Adrienne Willis, a woman with her life in chaos, retreats to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. Here she hopes to find the tranquility she so desperately needs to rethink the conflicts surrounding her – a wayward husband who has asked to come home, and a teenaged daughter who resents her every decision. Almost as soon as Adrienne gets to Rodanthe, a major storm is forecast and a guest named Dr Paul Flanner arrive. The only guest at the inn, Flanner is not on a weekend escape but rather is there to face his own crisis of conscience. Now, with the storm closing in, the two turn to each other for comfort and, in one magical weekend, set in motion a life-changing romance that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.
Stars: Diane Lane, Richard Gere and Christopher Meloni
Genres: Drama, Romance

I was first going to write that I really liked it except for the teenage daughter and the letter-writing, but then the ending came, which sort of ruined it. It was touching, but I’d have preferred another conclusion. Diane Lane does have an attractive voice.

The score was rather interesting. One romantic dialogue was scored with a cello solo, which really worked, so I then hoped that their first kiss would receive some grand orchestral music, but that didn’t happen at all. It got percussion. There were some nice romantic moments, but they could have been more.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Name: Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Year: 2008
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 122
Description: During the Cold War, Soviet agents watch Professor Henry Jones when a young man brings him a coded message from an aged, demented colleague, Henry Oxley. Led by the brilliant Irina Spalko, the Soviets tail Jones and the young man, Mutt, to Peru. With Oxley’s code, they find a legendary skull made of a single piece of quartz. If Jones can deliver the skull to its rightful place, all may be well; but if Irina takes it to its origin, she’ll gain powers that could endanger the West. Aging professor and young buck join forces with a woman from Jones’s past to face the dangers of the jungle, Russia, and the supernatural.
Stars: Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett and Shia LaBeouf
Genres: Action, Adventure

Uh, well… It was all right, I guess. Not as bad as Temple of Doom, but certainly not better than any of the others either. I really did not like Mutt though, got a problem with that? Always says obvious things. It was nice to see Marion again, Harrison Ford was great, but Mac was just a bit stupid and thank God Cate Capshaw didn’t return. The plot as a whole became too supernatural for me to be believable as well. Oh, and if Irina is Russian, why exactly does she talk to the skull in English at the end? Aren’t we supposed to revert to our native languages when we’re under pressure?

The score had good moments. Mutt’s theme is really nice and hearing the old themes again, especially the father-son theme, was great. Also liked the new variations on the Raiders March at the very end of the credits. I did think that the recording lacked some reverb, but overall the performance was great.

Overall, I think I shouldn’t have watched all the films in a month, it all became a little too repetitive in the end. Nevertheless, my order of preference is: 3, 1, 4, 2.

Bolt

Name: Bolt
Year: 2008
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 96
Description: Bolt, an American White Shepherd, has lived his whole life on the set of his action TV show, where he believes he has superpowers. When separated from the studio by accident, he meets a female alley cat named Mittens and a hamster named Rhino. Along the way, he learns that he doesn’t have superpowers and that the show is not real.
Stars: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus and Susie Essman
Genres: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Fun little movie.

And I just love John Powell’s music for these kinds of animation films. Orchestral, unpredictable, heroic, funny… Great composer.