Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love.


“I don’t know if I should help you or euthanize you.”

I write film reviews for Here is an excerpt from my review for Crazy, Stupid, Love:

The Berggren Bottom Line: Crazy, Stupid, Love is sweet, smart, and moving. It is not carefree and lighthearted. Instead, it humorously brings the viewer through the monotony and difficulties of relationships. The story weaves through this maze of the grey areas of life with intelligence and depth. It made me laugh, reflect, and want to be a better person. Truth be told, it even threw dust in my eyes a couple times. This is a great film and you should see it.

Crazy. That’s what life is.

Stupid. That’s what we can become if we aren’t vigilant in the most important areas of our lives.

Love. It all seems to converge here. If we say we love, but our actions and words do not perpetually represent this, it dies.

Crazy, Stupid, Love is not just a movie. It is a very entertaining and worthwhile message about marriage and family. Yes, this is a great date movie. But you will carry it with you home as you process your own life in light of the circumstances and outcomes it presented…



Movie Review: Green Lantern


“I, Hal Jordan, do pledge allegiance to a lantern that I got from a dying purple alien in a swamp.” -Hal Jordan

I write film reviews for Here is an excerpt from my review for Green Lantern:

The Berggren Bottom Line: This movie is the kind of ‘green’ movement I’m in to. No touchy-feely tree-hugging-hybrid-Subaru-driving here. Just muscle car and jet fighter energy vanquishing an easy-to-hate mega villain.

When I was growing up, Green Lantern was my second favorite superhero. I’m not sure what the Lantern had that I liked that made him second only to Superman, but I even learned how to fold a dollar bill into a ring that resembled his own. Now, I’m not totally versed in GL mythology. I only had about eight comic books that I amassed between 11 and 12, but then it happened. I started to like girls, so my Green Lantern interest faded. But I’ve always liked the Green Lantern.

Ironically, the Green Lantern movie had many reminders of the original Superman movie circa 1978 starring Christopher Reeve. I’m not sure if that was purposeful, but it worked. In the opening scenes, like Superman, Green Lantern opens up with visuals of outer space accompanied by narration. This was tactful and smart. It teed up the whole story for the novice and Dragon Con nerd fan alike. In addition, much of the background music had echoes of the Superman soundtrack. It was eerie—but fine by me.

Green Lantern was intense. The superhero genre lives somewhere between sci-fi and fantasy, and Lantern leaned toward the sci-fi. It even had slight hints of horror in how it depicted evil. It maintained vivid images of a dark and demonic-feeling throughout. In fact, I’d compare the darkness in it to that of the first Hellboy movie. The villain literally sucked the souls out of its victims feeding on their fear. And that’s what the story centered around…


Movie Review: Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer


“No one in this family has any imagination!” -Judy Moody

I write film reviews for Here is an excerpt from my review for Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer:

The Berggren Bottom Line: Judy Moody seemed like a wannabe combination of Dr. Seuss, Superfudge, and Pippi Longstocking for modern audiences, but it lacked any of the originality of those tales. This movie was not worth its weight in a box office ticket and treat prices for the family. Save yourself and go for a bike ride.

First, let me make it clear that my dislike for this film is not because it is for kids. In my bio you will see several kids films listed as my favorites. Second, let me say I am not familiar with the Judy Moody book(s) that this movie is based upon. I know nothing of them. They seem to be very popular and are probably very good, but this movie wasn’t.

The movie begins very promising. It starts on the last day of school before the summer starts. Everyone knows that’s the best day of school. Unfortunately, Judy gets ‘bummed’ because she finds out her best friends aren’t going be home for the summer. So they won’t be there to adventure with her. She’s destined for a bummer summer and audiences are destined for a bummer movie–literally…



Movie Review: Hangover 2


“It happened again.” -Stu from Hangover 2.

I write film reviews for Here is an excerpt from my review for Hangover 2:

The Berggren Bottom Line: The Wolfpack is back and things are more chaotic than ever. This post-fraternity crew of dudes is still trying to fight off adulthood and they’re not doing a very good job of it. Once again, they frantically try to clean up the after effects of their latest binge turned nightmare. Crass but hilarious. Gross but endearing. The meltdowns, shockers, and potty jokes come together to create a hearty and well-done sequel to the original. Hangover 2 adds to the overall saga, while standing on its own.

Let’s be honest, like the first Hangover, Hangover 2 isn’t a high concept movie. It isn’t a move for other movie-makers and artists. It isn’t a movie for critics. This is a movie made for people who like to go to movies–and it succeeds. In fact, the first Hangover is the most rented movie in history. Can you believe that? No, Hangover 2 isn’t quite as good, but this sequel is a solid tribute to the first.

We begin the opening scene accompanied with a Danzig song. Does it get any better? The build-up is a bit longer this time around, but soon enough the realization of the fall-out begins. Johnny Cash’s “The Beast In Me” plays perfectly in the background, as the camera pans around the sweaty, dirty shock-and-awe. “I’ll be back in 20 minutes” were Stu’s famous last words to his bride (he’s getting married this time) the night before. Yah, not so much, especially considering the humongous Stu shocker. Whoops! That’s all you get on plot and story from me. (And does it really matter anyway? This isn’t exactly a sequel to Dune.)


Sucker Punch Review & Quote Of The Week


“For those who fight for it, life has a flavor that those who don’t will never know.”

-from the movie Sucker Punch. I have started writing reviews for My first review is for the movie Sucker Punch releasing today. So here is my review:

Pretty girls scantily outfitted in leather with lots of big weapons fighting samurai, Nazi’s, zombies, ghouls, dragons, and robots. For some that is enough. But I’m no longer 15. I need a bit more.

In Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300, Dawn of the Dead) has created a film that vacillates between reality and fantasy, fantasy and reality, and fantasy and fantasy. But it isn’t as confusing as it sounds. It’s all about “girl power” sticking it to the man (literally) in the thick of fantastical battlegrounds.

Textured with impressive special effects and 80’s songs remade (which I really liked), it clearly strives to be trendy. My favorite background song was the remake of “Asleep” by The Smiths. There is hardly a more ethereal and moody song. It was the perfect selection for the main character, Babydoll, lamenting her new demise in an insane asylum waiting for an unnecessary lobotomy. It was also the perfect fit and set-up for the film overall—perhaps even the most powerful moment in the film. It was also great to hear Björk make an appearance on the soundtrack as well…



Movie Review: Transformers


I know I’m late to the game, but I’ve been traveling for 2 weeks. I saw Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen this weekend.

I found it entertaining and worth the big bucks to see it on the bog screen. But I did have to suspend some of my feeling in order to stay involved.

First, the story was a little sketchy. I am very patient with story lines when it comes to sci-fi, so that is a big deal. The whole ‘fallen’ back story got a little tiring.

Second, the sexual innuendo in this film was off the charts. It’s not that I am a prude. For example, I am embarrassed to admit that Borat is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. But it was as if the writers and director said to themselves, “Okay, now how can we fit a dirty joke in this scene?” And proceeded to.

I can’t say that I would recommend this film. If they do another one, I will likely go see it.

Transformers 2 just barely moved me.

Movie Review: Terminator Salvation


I saw the gospel according to Terminator Salvation with Christian Bale this weekend. I really liked it. It was well worth the $8 I spent on the ticket. Some movies you just have to see on the big screen.

Once again, we enter a sci-fi story this summer based on the old time-vortex (like Star Trek). It will Swiss Cheese your mind if you try to figure out how this all started. In fact, I was driving home after the movie with my friends laughing as I said (and we tried to figure out), “Which came first: the Terminator or embrio?” It was a play on the age-old philosophical question on origins about the chicken and the egg. Where exactly did John Connor come from? That will bake your mind a little. Is the nerd alert going off?

Anyway, the story worked well-enough and carried the film just fine. As I always say, you have to accept a little ping-pong with the timeline if you are going to watch and enjoy sci-fi. However, there were dull moments. There seemed to be very little emotional buy-in created, as if it was all a little routine. Overall I enjoyed it.

Christian Bale is a great actor. I have always liked him ever since he carried Empire of the Sun for 3 hours at such a young age so many years ago.

The only bad thing, was the new Terminator and supporting actor role played by Sam Worthington. It’s not that he did a bad job. In fact, he was very good. But his accent kept creeping through, and it was a distraction. Not because it was bad or hard to understand. But because it didn’t seem to fit his character.

The good news is, this gives a new birth to create many more movies. I’ve been watching Terminator now for 25 years. Maybe I’ll be watching it for 25 more!

Terminator Salvation was a good revival of an old sci-fi story.

Movie Review: Angels & Demons


I saw Angels & Demons movie with Tom Hanks this weekend. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, it was amazing. It was WAY better than the Da Vinci Code movie. Although it is totally unrelated, I also thought it was an overall better movie than Wolverine from a couple weeks ago. That’s a hard one to admit too, because I just love the character of Wolverine. But this was a better movie.

I love Tom Hanks. He’s great in everything he does. On a side note, I’d love to see him do a comedy again. Ewan McGregor was spectacular in it as well. He’s become quite a good actor. Of course, I loved when he played a young Obi Wan Kenobi. But this role in Angels & Demons really showed his talent.

I know a lot of Christians (and Catholics) get upset over the storyline and find it highly offensive. I understand, but I didn’t. In fact, I felt the overall message in the end was very positive. I also understand that this is fiction, so I try not to take it too seriously. I highly recommend this movie.

Angels & Demons was a spirited and entertaining earthly escape.

Movie Review: Star Trek


I saw the new Star Trek this weekend. What can I say? This movie was incredible. As soon as it began, the actions started. It was, by far, the best movie I’ve seen this year. JJ Abrams did a wonderful job retelling this story for a new generation of viewers while respecting the fans of old (yes, that’s me!).

The casting was great. They were young and relatively unknown. But they were all good actors. That was good for two reasons: 1) It made you focus on the character and 2) It makes it cheaper to keep the franchise going in the future. And I’m sure they will do sequels.

The weakest part of the movie was the story. It was still very good, but it’s always a little tricky doing the whole time-vortex thing–not to mention a major sci-fi cliché. But, as a die hard sci-fi fan, I have learned to accept the time-vortex as an unavoidable element of the genre. What can you do? Even better, the story did a good job of laying the groundwork for many sequels to come.

Anyway, go see it. You won’t regret it.

Star Trek boldly went to new places.

Movie Review: Wolverine


I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine this weekend with my wife. This movie is getting mixed reviews and I understand why. But I really liked it.

First off, Hugh Jackman is amazing as Wolverine. Admittedly, he is not as mean, gritty, and burly as I picture Wolverine from the comics. Nonetheless, he plays the role so well. He is, without doubt, the highlight and strength of the movie.

Like I said, I liked the movie. Now maybe that’s because I was just happy to get out of the house. I think my problems with it came out of the fact that I tended to look it as an X-Men movie–and judged it as such. But if I looked as it as a movie about Wolverine, it was much better.

I do have to be honest, this was my least favorite in the X-Men series. Still, it was WELL-WORTH the price of admission to see Jackman’s rendition of the character on the big screen.

Wolverine mutated my boring life for 2 hours and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Movie Review: I Love You, Man


So last weekend was my wedding anniversary. Of the many things we did, we managed to get out and see I Love You, Man with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel.

The basic premise is that the main character, played by Paul Rudd, is getting married. The problem is, he doesn’t have any guy friends to be his best men. So he sets on on a quest for a best friend–a strange tension for a guy.

It was quite funny. I have to admit, there was a lot of cussing and sexual
innuendo. So be aware if you go see it. But I also have to admit, I laughed a lot. And it was a good date movie because it had some yuks for guys too. It wasn’t a straight up chick flick, which I always have to pretend to like more than I really do so the date does well…

I Love You, Man was a good time, man.

Movie Review & a Thought: The International


Last week when my first scheduled interview for my book fell through while sitting waiting for them to call, I did what I often do when I am a little down. I went to the movies and munched on popcorn and soda (Coke, of course).

So I saw The International with Clive Owen. It was a good thriller. I always liked Clive. He has a regular guy look, but with a really cool British accent.

There was one amazing line in the movie that I can’t get out of my kid. One of the other characters was being interrogated by Clive (an Interpol investigator). Owen wanted answers on the plot he was investigating when the other person said:

There is a difference between truth and fiction. Fiction has to make sense.

Wow! I loved that. I thought that was so true when it comes to life. It immediately resounded with me because it was also a great summary of my book.

Real life isn’t squeaky clean and fun, like stories in movies. It’s much messier and more confusing.

Movie Review: Taken


Friday is for fun, so let’s have some.

This weekend I stole away and saw Taken with Liam Neeson. I really like it. It was very good and full of action, which is always good.

I have to warn you. It deals with the very heavy subject matter of trafficking woman. In the movie, the main character’s daughter get’s kidnapped while on vacation in Europe. Let’s just say, he takes matters into his own hands.

I like Neeson. I always have. In this movie he is extraordinarily skinny. I know it fits the character, but it looks painful. He is a very tall guy (6’3″ I think). But he was so skinny in this film, he didn’t look tall at all.

Taken took me for a ride for 90 minutes.

24: Redemption


This post happens in real-time.

Jack is almost back. I watched 24: Redemption last night. It set up the new season which starts in January.

It was good to get my 24 fix. In the 24 world there is no red-tape. Stuff gets done, feelings get hurt, and bad guys die (instead of living off of tax-payer dollars watching cable, sleeping in a soft bed, and eating 3 square-meals a day for the rest of their lives)

It wasn’t the most amazing episode I’ve ever seen. It was better than last season, which I thought was really weak. But it was very good. It set up the new season very well. It seems to be a better storyline than last season.

They humanized Jack again, but it really worked this time. Not like last time, when they tried to develop the back-story with his brother and father. That didn’t work for me. So Jack is just a kid trying to impress his dad and could be manipulated by him very easily? That was weak.

But this time he was protecting kids. And it worked.

So Redemption may have redeemed 24. I can’t wait to hear the beeps…

Movie Review: 007-Quantum of Solace


I saw the new Bond film Quantum of Solace yesterday. It was very good.

Action, action, action. That’s what Daniel Craig brings to the character of James Bond. I see it take form in two ways in the way he plays the role.

He makes Bond somewhat emo. That is to say, there is some pain and unresolved internal pain that helps form his approach to finding truth. Craig’s face even seems to communicate pain very well. It is love lost, in this case (and possibly an isolated upbringing contributes too). It helps to explain why he is so devoted to his craft. In many ways, he is very much a Bond that grew up in Generation X. So bond has feelings. It helps form the basis of his sense of honor and loyalty and explains why he can kill and pursue a goal so singularly and without conscience (if it is a threat to the object of his love).

He is brutal. This probably build on his whole emo thing. Craig plays such physical and savage rendition of Bond. I really like this take on the character (kind of like the recent take on Batman too). He is a licensed killer, after all. Someone who can kill so efficiently has to be off-center a little.

Quantum of Solace is a huge success.

Movie Review: Tropic Thunder


Apparently this is NOT the most protestable thing about Tropic Thunder

Somehow on our date Saturday I tricked my wife into seeing Tropic Thunder. Usually I have to go see some romantic comedy, but this time I won. And boy did I win.

The only thing I can really say is that I laughed until my stomach was killing me. This movie may have been one of the funniest films I have ever seen.

It totally pokes fun at all the pretense and shallowness of Hollywood and all its players. It was a relief to see some popular actors make fun of their own profession.

Robert Downey, Jr. was absolutely brilliant.

Tom Cruise (yes, he was in it) was amazing.

BE WARNED: don’t see it if you are easily offended. The language was a little much and it was very politically incorrect (which is also why I can’t put a favorite quote here/I like to keep this site PG13).

Tropic Thunder caught me by storm and rumbled my funny bone for two hours.

Movie Review: The Clone Wars


This weekend I took my kids to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Of course you know I love all things Star Wars. And I loved this movie. More importantly, my kids loved it. I have had Jedis and Sith Lords running around all week chopping off my hands and stabbing me in the gut with their light sabers. And that’s what it’s all about.

The story is set somewhere between episode 2 & 3. Annakin hasn’t become Vader yet. He’s still good. And it was great to hear that some of the actors that were in the other movies did the voice-overs for their characters in this one. It was fun and action-packed. And they did a great job of telling another part of the mythology in a way that was new and original even though we all know what is eventually going to happen.

I want Star Wars to be part of my kids like it became part of me at a very young age. It’s a magical story. One about the power of the individual and also the strength of teamwork. It tells us that the odds might be totally stacked against us and there might be no hope at all, but there is always a way-if you believe.

The funny things is, I haven’t pushed Star Wars on my kids at all. But they have just naturally gravitated to the characters and story without ever even seeing any of the movies before this past Sunday. I think that’s because there is something very special about it. In a way, it combines all the best elements of Greek mythology, tales of knights and wizards, and cowboy westerns, with a dash of romance to keep the attention of the ladies.

Can you tell I am thrilled to be able to share this experience with my kids?

The Clone Wars was an amazing new side of a told story that never gets old!

Movie Review: The Dark Knight


The Dark Knight Wallpaper

I saw Batman: The Dark Knight last night.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it was amazing. I
was nervous going in because the media was hyping it up. That always
makes me cautious. If the media hails something, whatever the case or
arena, I usually don’t connect with it.

I love the really
ethereal and dark (not to be funny) take on the mythology. It makes a
lot of sense for the character that is Batman.

Christian Bale does a spectacular job playing Batman. I have always liked him ever since I saw him in Empire of the Sun.

Ledger was also unbelievable as the Joker.  The media was also hyping
his performance, which made me cautious again. He was so meniacle and
evil that all I could do at certain points in the movie was to let out
a little nervous laugh.

So brighten up your day and go see The Dark Knight.

Movie Review: Hellboy II


Hellboy 2I remember when I saw the first Hellboy. It looked kind of ‘B’-rate and I didn’t expect much. I was pleasantly surprised.

I saw Hellboy II this weekend. It was so good. I loved it.

The effects were great. The guy who did Pan’s Labyrinth (which I hated but the effects were amazing) directed it. The story was good. And it was filled with that hilarious Hellboy humor.

Ron Perlman plays the role well. Even though he is technically a B-actor, I always liked him.

So go to Hell[boy] and see it!

2 Movie Reviews: Get Smart+HULK


I saw two movies this weekend. First, my wife and I went on a date and saw Get Smart. It was hilarious! We laughed the whole time.

I just love Steve Carell. He is a great comedic actor. Anne Hathaway did well too. Somewhere along the way after doing The Princess Diaries she seems to have tuned into a woman.

I grew up watching reruns of the show and they did it justice. I highly recommend this movie.

Get Smart is a wise choice for a date night.

HulkI also saw The Incredible Hulk. They did not really market this one as a sequel to the last one they made a few years back. So I was a little confused as to the timeline.

But it was good. The effects were intense as were the action sequences. I would say for a movie about superheroes, the story and emotion were pretty high-concept.

I think Edward Norton is a great actor (loved him in American History X and Fight Club). He did a great job of playing Bruce Banner as a man who is caught in a dilemma and wants to go back to the way things were. Liv Tyler did well too. She looked different in this movie. She looked good, but maybe just more mature than I am used to seeing her.

Hulk was a smash!

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