Saturday, May 27, 2006

Movie Review - X-Men III: The Last Stand

Last night I saw the second big blockbuster movie of the summer: X-Men III – The Last Stand. This was a great movie and certain to rake in a lot of money over the Memorial Day weekend. As I walked up to the theatre every conversation I heard had to do with those people going to see X-Men III.

X-Men III, of course, is the sequel to the immensely popular first two X-Men movies. All of the main characters are back as well as increased roles for other characters such as Colossus, Kitty Pride, Ice Man, and Pyro and new characters including Angel and Juggernaught. As a big surprise other characters have a much smaller role in the movie such as Mystique, Cyclops, and even Professor X. That’s actually one of the best things about this movie: the big surprises that happen to and with major characters.

The other best thing about this movie is the use of the mutant powers and the special effects that accompany them. Fans of this aspect of the X-Men movies will not be disappointed as the mutant powers and special effects are a major part of X-Men III. I thoroughly enjoyed the vast display of mutant powers and daresay that this movie had way more than the other two movies. I love visual effects in movies and I was treated to major amounts of eye-candy in X-Men III.

But what about the plot and story line, you say? Check and check! X-Men III has a great story that is engaging and thought provoking. I won’t reveal it here as I like to keep my reviews spoiler free but trust me that if you are an X-Men fan you will like the story that X-Men III offers.

So, what’s my rating? Well, to sum it up, with great characters, good story line, big surprises, intense action, and awesome special effects X-Men III – The Last Stand gets The Bicycle Rack’s highest rating of:

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Move Review - The Da Vinci Code

Let me start off this review by stating that I knew nothing about The Da Vinci Code before I went to see the movie. I have not read the book, I have not seen or heard any interviews with the author, and I have not done any research on my own. I wanted to go into the movie with a blank slate and no expectations. I simply wanted to watch this movie as I do any other movie: to be entertained for a couple of hours.

That being said, I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code. However, I did feel that the movie was too long and there were parts of the movie that were too slow and boring. The Da Vinci Code should not have been a 2 ½ hour movie. It would have been a much better movie at about 2 hours or even 105 minutes.

I liked how the movie kind of drops you into the middle of a story where some guy is running away from a psycho albino monk and starts throwing terms and phrases at you that you don’t know like the “Priory” and fancy names for word and number puzzles. At first I was frustrated by this and wished the movie would let me ease into this Da Vinci Code world, but as it went on I found that I ended up liking that technique. It made me really pay attention from the get go so that I could try and figure out the things that were not making sense at first.

The puzzle solving parts of the movie was what I really enjoyed. I liked how they found a clue which led them somewhere else to another thing to try and figure out what the next clue was and so on. I did not like the two leads, however. Tom Hanks and the leading lady had no chemistry whatsoever. Their scenes together lacked any kind of electricity or spark. And maybe it was just the theatre I was in but c’mon people “SPEAK UP”! I could hardly hear what they were saying a lot of the time as Hanks and the woman were so soft spoken.

One of my favorite characters in the movie was some dude who was the manager of a place that had these high tech lock boxes. He was great in the scenes where he helps Hanks & the girl get away from the cops but then turns on them.

And of course Gandalf himself, Ian McKellen, steals the show. Once he came on the scene he injected much needed life into the movie. A lot of his role had to do with exposition-type dialogue explaining the theories behind the Da Vinci Code, but he gave what could have been dull scenes a sense of excitement and intensity. A great job by a great actor in a limited but important role.

Some folks are put off by the subject matter of The Da Vinci Code as they consider it blasphemy to speak of Jesus Christ in a manner other than how the Holy Bible does. However, I took it as it was written-purely fictional based on some theories that have some factual basis but no proof. In my opinion if you go into The Da Vinci Code with this attitude then you will enjoy the movie a whole lot more.

The Da Vinci Code was a good movie, not a great movie. Since it was too long, draggy in places, and marred by sub-par performances in the lead roles The Da Vinci Code receives only

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Our whole family went to Mayfest for the first time ever Friday night. I took Meredith to Mayfest last year, but we just stayed at the children's area the whole time. This time we did the whole money spending, coupon buying, food eating, show watching, lots of walking full blown Mayfest experience. It was a lot of fun. Check out these pictures. Don't you wish you were there?

Kudos to Alan McDaniel for his design of the Mayfest logo and web site.

Which way is up?

Meredith on an Amazon Safari Obstacle Course

Finding Nemo?

Michele having a "small" snack

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Movie Review - Mission Impossible III

Well, I just finished watching the summer's first blockbuster. Yes, MI III lives up to the hype and delivers a solid entertainment experience. It should be a big hit and rake in lots of cash at the box office. I guess Tom and Katie won't have to worry about Suri's college fund.

MI III has lots of (forgive the pun) impossible action sequences, fancy gadgets, and plenty of plot twists and surprises. The movie also has a great story line which helps add to the experience. When I go to see an action movie story is always secondary to me if there are plenty of explosions and lots of gunfire. But MI III has the added bonus of a good script which is a big plus.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you ladies that the star of the show is Tom Cruise, who once again takes on the role of secret agent Ethan Hunt. This time we get to see some "normal life" scenes from Tom as Ethan has meet a woman he wants to marry and has retired from field work in order to train new agents. This could have been silly, over the top stuff ala Spy Kids, True Lies, and/or Mr. & Mrs. Smith but MI III keeps it real and very believable. I only wish that they had included a scenes of Ethan jumping on the couch.

Ethan goes back into action when one of his trainees gets captured by the bad guys. This leads to a great action sequence of the IMF team breaking into a warehouse, getting the agent out, and then the pursuit by the bad guys. Then there is some down time while plot points are ironed out before what is in my opinion the best action sequence of the movie-the team breaks into the Vatican to kidnap a bad guy. The Vatican sequence showcases what is great about the Mission Impossible movies: agents in disguises, clever infiltration tactics, rubber masks, voice imprints, and some humor thrown in for good measure.

Another good sequence involves an attack on a bridge, which most people have seen a glimpse of via the TV commercials of Tommy Boy being slammed into a car. While this sequence was very good, it can't quite top the Vatican sequence in my opinion. The ending of the movie was pretty good too, with the great use of what I call the "teaser tactic" where it seems as if it is about to end, only to go into another section and so on and so on.

The most disappointing thing about MI III was the lack of use of Philip Seymour Hoffman as the bad guy. He actually is not in very many scenes and has very minimal dialog in the scenes he is in. I loved his character in Twister and was looking forward to seeing him in this role.

But even with that small flaw, Mission Impossible III is still an awesome movie and a must see. It earns The Bicycle Rack's top rating of:

Pictures From My First Bike Rally

Click here to see some pictures from my first ever bike ride-Ride For Heroes in Aledo, TX

Friday, May 05, 2006

Movie Review - RV

If you have an RV, then this is a movie for you. In fact, if you've ever had one, thought about getting one, or have just seen one on the road, then RV is a movie for you. If you've ever been camping, then RV is a movie for you. Oh, let's face it, RV is a movie for everyone.

RV is a hilarious movie starring Robin Williams as Bob Munro, a father who decides to rent an RV and take his family on a cross-country trip to spend some quality time with his family as he feels himself drifting apart from his children. Many funny scenes revolve around Bob's inexperience with the various aspects of the RV such as driving it, hooking it up, dumping the sewage, etc. Other funny parts of the movie deal with Bob's relationships with his wife, son, and daughter who are very negative about the RV.

However, the show is stolen by the family that Bob and his family meet at their first stop in an RV park. The Gornicke family are full time RVers who travel the country in their converted bus. Once the Munro family meets the Gornicke family then they end up running into them throughout the rest of the movie-even when trying to avoid them on purpose. The quirky characters who make up the Gornicke family provide lots of laughs as well as the many situations where the Munro and Gornicke families interact.

Did I mention that this movie is funny? There are many, many laugh out loud moments and Robin Williams is at his comic best throughout the movie. Highlights include a rap scene in the forest, dinner with the Gornicke family, raccoon encounter, and diarrhea in the woods.

Go see RV soon and remember to stay through the end credits for a very funny musical number.

RV gets The Bicycle Rack's highest rating of:

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Wife's Blog

Michele Hollar has joined the blog craze. Check it out sometime.

Personal Best

I just got back from a bicycle ride along the Trinity Trails. On this ride I set a personal best distance record of 42.79 miles. I completed the ride in 3 hours and 45 seconds at an average speed of 14.2 mph.