Monday, January 31, 2011

Brazil (4)

The 1985 Sci-Fi/Fantasy film that just so happens to be an important member of the Criterion Collection. For anyone who doesn't know what that is, basically it means that any movie that is groundbreaking, cinema altering, one of a kind and basically a must see before you die film it is accepted into this collection. It basically means that you must see it for one reason or another.

A government worker in the future begins having dreams about the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Through a series of events, he ends up finding this woman in real life and his life is forever altered as he himself becomes an enemy of the state and must fight to survive.

Everyone is in this movie. Every scene I keep saying "Oh man it's that guy!" Or, "Hey, it's that chick!". So insane how many people: Ian Holm, Robert De Niro, Jonathan Pryce, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, and the list goes on and on.

Robert De Niro totally solidified this film was awesome. His character was so strange and so amazing that as soon as I saw him I was loving life. He isn't even in this movie was much as I wished he could be, but the small parts are amazing.

This is definitely a sci-fi film. I feel like if you don't like the genre then you are most likely not going to find very much to like about Brazil. Especially the dream sequences, that was the only part of the movie that was so out there that I was a little but bored when watching them. Strange angel fighting some cement guy...weird. I'm sure there's some deeper meaning going on their that I would have caught if I were educated in film but I obviously missed it.

Other than that this movie was suspenseful, entertaining, creative, a little bit dark and a little but hilarious.

For me, it was a little but of everything I love about movies slammed together into one awesome script with some amazing performances and enough imagination to suck me right in.

I completely understand and agree with it being in the Criterion Collection.


The Answer Man (3)

So, when I watched this on Netflix it was called The Answer Man but when I went to IMDB it to check facts it said it was called Arlen Faber which is the name of the main character. Strange.

About an international best selling author who writes a spiritual book that changes peoples lives. He is a recluse and a loner until back problems puts him on the path to two very important people. He doesn't know it at the time, but they will change him like his book changed the lives of so many others.

It was so good to watch Jeff Daniels again. I haven't seen a movie with him in it for awhile but I remember always liking him back in the day and I really liked him as this character. He has an amazing expressionistic face that had me giggling almost every time I saw him. Him being angry was brilliant, and he did quite well as an awkward man of pure solitude. There was something missing though...I guess I just wasn't fully convinced. Still enjoyable.

Lauren Graham who played the love interest...well, I didn't really get it. I just wasn't feeling her at all. Some of it was because of how the character was written but some was definitely how it was played. I don't have an exact example but I felt no connection to her at all.

Lou Taylor Pucci who played the recovering alcoholic bookstore owner was very interesting...good character, wish he was in it a little bit more.

As a 'romantic comedy' it wasn't that romantic. It was more along the lines of a drama/comedy. Not so much black comedy but it didn't have that romcom feel to it. It sadly had a poor executed and random/awful ending that most romcom have but that was about it. There wasn't even any intense kiss scene or anything that really made me go "Awwe". Meh.

Over all it was entertaining. I liked watching it just for Jeff Daniels and some of the writing was awesome. There were some lines that had be almost stunned by how honest and to the point they were. We (the friends I was watching it with) even rewound one part to listen to it again; when he explains about why kids are great. Fantastic.

Decent. Some good laughs but nothing to rush out and watch.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shutter Island (4)

Following an investigation of a disappearance of a patient from a mental hospital on an island. Nothing is as it seems...

Martin Scorsese is a mastermind. I have yet to met anyone who hasn't liked at least one of his movies. Historically, it's almost impossible to take a film course or discuss pop culture without his name popping up. Recently, he has made amazing films like The Departed and Gangs of New York and has recently been involved in the fantastic new television series The Boardwalk Empire (which you should definitely watch if you haven't yet). This movie definitely holds true to the Scorsese feel. There is a certain feel with all of his movies, and this one is no exception. It's a good feeling, sort of a personal vibration...I hope you know what I mean. It's cool though, he has that trademark about him. You know when it's his film.

Leonardo DiCaprio is fantastic in this role. To be honest, it wasn't anything ground breaking in my opinion, but it was still a solid performance. I can't help but be a fan, I really can't. Especially since Inception. Every so often he has amazing performances and then does a few fun films that break even and then he breaks through again. Quite an amazing career and amazing talent when you go and look through his resume. This as not my favourite of his performances but once again, it was fantastic. I just know he can do better that's all...

Another fantastic thing about this film is Mark Ruffalo. I have been a fan of his for years now, he always pops up here and there and I love watching him every single time. This film was no exception. He was great as a supporting actor next to Leo. He was beyond fantastic in both The Brothers Bloom and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

This story is really intense and I was easily sucked into the plot. I myself was not so shocked by the surprise twist in the story, but that's just me. It was still amazing though when it happened. I liked the whole idea of this film, about mental illness and how intensely someones world can be shaped by it. Also how grief can play tricks on you.

Definitely loved how no matter what side you took, by the end of this film you couldn't help but want to talk about it. Was it this, or was it that? A good movie always leaves you no choice but to discuss and debate after the credits roll. I remember talking about this movie for weeks and weeks. It was being discussed everywhere I went. That's pretty epic.

Great story. It's not an easy view though, you have to pay attention. It's not super confusing unless you stop paying attention, but in order to get the most out it it's great to dim the lights and allow yourself to get sucked in. The look and feel of this movie shouldn't make that too difficult. Also, it jumps right into it. I love when movies do that. Prologues are over rated sometimes.

Over all great film. It's definitely in my must see movies of 2010 list.


Blog Update

Hello to all,

I want to thank each and everyone of you, even if this is your first time to my blog, for sticking with me and enjoying my reviews. It means more to me than you think.

If you haven't noticed, I have been making slow and steady changes to the blog as I try to improve the look and feel of it. If at any time you check out my page and things don't make sense, or something that was there before that you loved was suddenly gone, please comment and let me know.

I asked people on twitter recently what they suggested I change. Someone mentioned to me that rating movies out of 5 makes it harder to know which ones I rate, say a 4 (which I do a lot) are better than the other 4 rating films. Therefore, I will attempt to try to rating out of 10 system. I first decided on the 5 but I hate when people get into the .3 or .7 ratings, it starts to get more complicated. So, I will do the 10 for awhile and see how people like it and I like it, but I will most likely keep to my .5 for ones that are a litle more and a little less special than a good ol' rounded number.


So, I've added in movie covers to help with remembering the film. I've started refering to my other reviews if it relates to the current one I'm writing (that way you start getting further ideas of what movies to watch if you like something specific about another).

Any other comments are more than welcome. I'll only notice my mistakes if you tell me about them.

Thanks again courageous and beatiful readers.

<3 Me

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Green Hornet (4)

Following the death of his father Britt Reid inherits his dads news paper The Sentinel. Crime is on the rise and Britt is about to find out the real reason why...and then will try to stop it.

First off, I have been hearing mainly bad things about this film. I had been looking forward to it since I saw the trailer back in the day and I was bummed when I started to read negative reviews. So, here's the thing, this movie is awesome. I loved it. The people who said/say this film sucks probably just don't like this genre of movie. The comedy/comic book style that should be left to the nerdy, geeky and fun loving critics. This is not a "serious" movie, and the moment you want it to be is the moment you start hating it.

I can't say I've always been a Seth Rogen fan. I can say that lately I've begun liking him more and more. This was one of my favourite roles of his so far (next to Pineapple Express and Super Bad). I thought he was perfect as and for this character. I honestly can't think of anyone else who would have played it as well as he did. It just worked. There was enough hilariousness with a side of serious that just worked really well. High five Seth.

The best part about this movie next to the awesome fighting that I'll get to in a second was the "side kick" played by Jay Chou. At first I thought I knew who he was, but then I didn't, but now I know why. I had seen him in True Legend. This guy kicks some serious ass! He was hilarious but also just good. Solid. Really solid. Perfect match for Seth.

Okay, the action. The car chases will not knock your hat off or raise any eyebrows, but what will are the slow down fight scenes. I love slow-mo fight scenes to start with, but this was different. This film had just a little bit of extra spice added in there. The focus and use of colour for the weapons and what not was brilliant. The first time it slowed, in the graveyard, I think I stopped breathing for the entire scene. I had my hand over my mouth and just couldn't get enough. It was beautiful. I wanted to rewind that scene and watch it again and again and again. Totally awesome. I was hooked from that scene on. Fantastic.

This is a fun film. It has some seriously awesome fights/action with some great laughs. There were some really hilarious scenes actually, almost equal comedy to action. I liked that. It was a great sit back and enjoy type movie. It's not life changing but I really enjoyed it. The story isn't lame and the characters are great. Well, except for Cameron Diaz. Sorry girl, but I have never liked you and you didn't show me anything different in this movie either. Kinda lame.

If you like comic book to movie movies or action films or comedies (that about sums up 80% of you I should think) you will find something you'll love in this movie. If not, there will be laughs.


Blue Valentine (4.5)

The all too real life story about one couple, following them from the highest of highs and the very lowest of lows.

Real. This movie is real. That's the one word that about sums it up. It's raw, it's truthful, it's fearless, it's shocking, it's emotional and traumatic and funny and cute and heart breaking...

Ryan Gosling...yes. Yes and then some. I hate to do this to you buddy, but I have to bring up The Notebook. I mean, yes it's a romantic movie, which isn't really what Blue Valentine is about, but performance wise it reminded me of that. It reminded me of when I first really saw you acting and feel in love with you because if it. You were so much more stronger and amazing in this film. I have no idea how you do it, physically and emotionally, to absorb another person like you do. But I'm glad you do. My eyes are even more open to you basically could make only shitty movies from now on and I would still be your biggest fan.

Michelle Williams, I saw you in Shutter Island and Brokeback Mountain but I never really saw you until now. What an amazing performance. There were some scenes that made me so emotional due to my complete and utter connection with you that I wanted to just scream. You are now on my top awesome of awesome list. Fantastic performance. You even out shone Ryan in my eyes...and that's a big deal.

This movie will shift your perspective and quite possibly your life. I myself didn't find it so shocking on a personal level, but I think I was one of the few people in the theatre without a fresh sheet of tears down their cheeks (yes, even the men) but I just don't normally cry during movies for some reason. I did almost cry, that's huge. Especially the one scene at the hospital with Michelle...I didn't think I was going to make it. So intense. Ugh. This is not a "feel good" film folks. So don't take anyone to see if for a first date or anything...really, don't. Unless you don't like them.

Performances were outstanding. It was such a great story, I mean, not great as in happy but great as in so real that you can't help but believe it. At one point I was so completely sucked into it that I didn't notice my arm was asleep or that I was in a room full of people. I was that into it. Someone could have screamed at me and I wouldn't have heard them. That's some strong cinema. Fantastic.

I could keep going on and on but I will end this review by just saying whole heartily that this is definitely one movie you do not want to miss.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Lady Vengeance (4)

Original Korean title: Chinjeolhan Geumjassi, alternate title: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005).

A women is sentenced to 13 years in prison after she is accused of kidnapping and murdering a 5 year old boy. When she finally get outs she begins speaking of a master plan. It seems everyone is in on her plan except the one person it is all about. How long could you wait for vengeance?

I read that this film was a must see foreign film of the decade (well, last decade I guess now). I had put it on my to watch list but could never find it. Thank you Netflix, you're really shaping up these days!

I was super confused at first. In fact, there was never a moment when I fully 100% grasped everything that was going on. I got the full story, I understood what the main plot and outcome were but some of the characters and parts of flash backs had me confused. The ending too, I get it...but I don't at the same time. I feel that way about this entire film. It's in a good way though. In the way that, now that I have the story down, that I want to go back and watch it for all the characters. There are a lot of characters.

The movie meant almost nothing to me for the first half. I had no idea where it was really going or what and who everything was. Really mixed up. I was almost fighting it in order to figure out what was going on. I wish now that I had just sat back and let the story work its way out, because it will, you just have to be patient.

The last half of this film is golden. So fantastic (want to swear here in order to make my point stronger, but I'll hold back). When this movie comes together it really comes together. I don't want to say anything more because it really depends on you not knowing it is going to happen.

Acting was great on all parts. Some things are violent and quite gross, they don't hold back that's for sure. It's not a horror, it's not really a thriller even, but it has elements of both those genres. In the end I feel this was a cold, hard drama. With blood.

The script is crazy, I wonder how long it took to write because every little line, character, prop and the scenes they are in had to happen at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way. Craziness to think how perfect it all is. The more I think about it the more my brain sizzles. I love it. I love that I still am asking questions even after the credits rolled.

A little hard to follow, sort of confusing but trust me when I say that it's worth the ride. Just sit back and try not to think too much about it. The ending is flawless. I understand now why it was on the top 10 foreign films of the decade.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

In Bruges (4.5)

Two hitmen are forced to leave London after one of them accidentally murders a little boy. They are in hiding in Bruges, Belgium waiting until their boss calls to tell them their next steps. When the call finally comes, sightseeing is over and the next hit is for one of them. After a series of events the boss has to come down to finish business himself, except it wont be that easy. Not in a shit hole like Bruges.

This movie has been on my "movies to watch" list for almost a year now. I have been looking for it and then forgetting it and then looking for it when to my delight it popped up on Netflix and I squeeled like an idiot and watched it right away. It did not disappoint!

This movie is the same sort of dark comedy like Lock, Stock and Two Smokin' Barrels or even Boondock Saints, along those lines. I didn't think it was going to be as hilarious as it was, I mean, there wasn't barrels of laughs but when something was funny, it was funny. So good.

This is one of the only movies that I 100% loved Colin Farrell in. He was fantastic! His character cracked me up but then was an emotional wreck and then would flip to being this badass hitman. So awesome. Definitely crazy. Entertaining as hell.

Brendan Gleeson was fantastic as always, but that's never a surprise. He is good in everything he does (Harry Potter, Gangs of New York, Green Zone). This time he was the perfect match for Colin Farrell, they worked really well together. Sometimes all it would take was a look from one to the other and I was giggling.

Ralph Fiennes, you can never ever do any wrong. Even when you're only in a movie for about 15 minutes you rock it. He could walk by in the background and you would remember him. I've always liked him but no one can say he isn't good in anything he ever does since Voldermort . Brilliant actor, so smart and so raw. Awesome. The phone smashing scene is the best.

Great story. Good enough ending. Solid comedy, when the lines dropped they hit you hard. I was laughing up a storm. Just all around great film. Double high fives for all.


Following (4)

An aspiring writer starts following strangers to get material but quickly becomes obsessed. One day he is following a man who confronts him. This man says he is a thief and begins teaching the writer the tricks of his trade. Turns out that one man isn't quite who he says he is.

Another amazing film from Christopher Nolan (Inception, Memento, The Dark Knight). I think it's insane that every single film of his that I have seen has been like nothing I have ever seen before. This was an interesting neo-noir type film from 1998. I had no idea he had ever made a film like this one but compared to all his most popular movies I would say Memento has the same sort of feel/tone to it.

The acting isn't anything eyebrow worthy. In fact, the characters are so amazing that there really wasn't any need for ultra-awesome acting skills. There is really no way that anyone could have fcked it up. The story is about the characters and the story is so interesting and well laid out that the acting is the last thing, or should be, on your mind.

I have seen films that are based around this same idea but in the end this one was different. I can't say exactly why it was so good, the story is super interesting and strange enough to hold your full attention. The characters and the dialogue that takes place is strangely appealing and really engaging.

I guess interesting is the best word to describe this film.

Regardless of my lack of words at the moment I honestly loved watching this movie. It's only 70 minutes but so much takes place. The story and characters are really interesting and the plot twist definitely caught me off guard. What the film sounds like and begins to feel like isn't what it actually is about at all, and I always love when that happens.

A great little flick.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

True Grit (4)

A 14 year old girl finds out her father was killed and heads to the town to try and track the killer down. When the law wouldn't help her she decides to hire the toughest bounty-hunter there is, someone with true grit. She may get more than she paid for.

If you haven't seen the original film with the one and only John Wayne in it then you best go and do that, either before or after. The two movies are different enough that nothing will be spoiled for you. That being said, the story was still there and intact but it moved a little easier than the old time Westerns and Jeff Bridges was more entertaining than John Wayne (for obvious reasons like me not being 80 years old).

Jeff Bridges (see also, TRON: Legacy) did a fantastically flawless job of playing Rooster, the bounty hunter. He was perfect in every way. His physicality and ton and even his little, bearded smirk was exactly what I was wanting. Him acting drunk at any moment was hilarious. He really added some much appreciated comedy. It was almost too easy to giggle at him, either cracking jokes at the other characters or trying to dismount and falling all over the place, he was constantly hilarious. Funny, yet it didn't take anything away from this badass character. You have to see it to understand. Even him just looking a certain way made you know he was the character 100%. I love when that happens.

I actually loved Matt Damon as LaBoeuf. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about him when I first heard he was going to play the part. He really impressed me. I thought this role was perfect for him and it was nice to see him in a non-Jason-Bourne/Green Zone type roles for a change. He impressed me even more than he did in Invictus. That guy can act when he wants to.

Josh Brolin wasn't even really in this movie so...he was good though, he was only in it for about 10 minutes so I don't have much to say.

Biggest of big surprises was Haille Stienfeld who played the girl, Mattie Ross. She stole the show. Stealing the show from Jeff Bridges is not an easy thing to do, but somehow she did it. I mean it, you cannot take your eyes off of her when she is in frame. When she speaks, you listen. Such an amazing and shocking performance. She nailed it. So perfect. Where did this girl come from?! Who knows, but I'm glad she did. Best part of this film for sure!

There were some times that I found the scene fades/overlaps and weird "horse back riding with obvious greenscreen action" parts (even though there are very few) distracting and unnecessary sometimes. I know that this is keeping with the Western style, but I felt that with everything else being new and shiny that they could've spared the old tricks. It was nothing major, I just noticed it which means I was distracted which means it took away from some of a scenes.

The story is great. The horses and guns and all that good stuff was awesome. It was nice to see a film like this, it's been a loooong time since a good Western came out. Yes, the story isn't new but it is anything but a remake. This movie holds its own. You can believe everything you've heard, it is that good. Solid.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Legion (2)

A middle of nowhere, run down diner turns into the battleground for the survival of the human race. A group of unfortunate strangers have to fight for mankind with the help of a strange man who turns out to be Michael the Archangel (Paul Bettany).

This movie is just what you'd think it would be: awful. It was hilariously awful though so that made it slightly more barable and gave me the courage to finish watching the entire film.

Paul Bettany is really the only good part of this entire movie (see also Inkheart and The Young Victoria ). Even with the awful writing, the sad acting and less than impressive 'action' he still happens to stand out. Amazing. He obviously was looking for a fun role to play and this gave him that but it sucks that the movie sucked and he ended up carrying the weight of suckage on his own. Still great to see him.

There was some average suspense but it was usually masked by stupid one liners, stupid characters or just overly weird weirdness.

It was fun to watch though. It definitely was no Constantine, which looked bad but ended up being a fantaastic movie, it was just bad. It looks how it is. So, if you like silly movies like I sometimes do you should watch this one. It's good for it. Also, Paul Bettany is always worth it in my not-so-humble opinion. He can never do any wrong, not even in a movie like this.



Monday, January 3, 2011

500 Days of Summer (4.5)

Summer never believed in love, not even when Tom enters her life and falls for her. Everyday Tom loves her more while everyday Summer feels less sure. This is a story about love, but it's not a love story.

I have been a Joseph Gorden-Levitt fan ever since 3rd Rock From the Sun (one of the greatest shows of life). He kept things pretty low key have 10 Things I Hate About You, another favourite of mine, but now he's on the up and up. Especially after movies like Inception, I think he should start getting more notice. I loved him as Tom. He did a fantastic job of reflecting all kinds of emotion. Watching him throughout the relationship was like watching myself at times. Especially when things start falling apart. I was literally laughing out loud, more at myself than at him. Yet, the fact that he summed up what I'm sure everyone has experienced at least once in their lives - heartbreak - and physically embodied it. Awesome. Also, the dance scene. Just saying. Best part. Oh, and the plate smashing thing. I totally connected 100% to that scene. Ha.

While I think that Zooey Deschanel is beautiful and a talented musician (see also She&Him) I can't say I really feel connected to her in movies. I think she worked well with Joseph but she was missing something for me. Still, nothing distracting or anything.

The story is the best. Like I said before, it's a story about love but not a love story (they even say that at the beginning). I like how it took a different look at relationships and what it does to certain people. How destroyed your life can because because of it but also how great it all is. I liked how they set the whole thing up, jumping back and forth between day 1 and 458, then 45 and 130, and so forth. I think everyone can identify with the characters and the story in some way and because of that the writing is the best part about this movie. I haven't seen anything quite like it.

Not a romance. Definitely humourous. Mostly, it's just true. You can't say that about the majority of films out there so I believe it make this movie a must see.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Fighter (4)

Based on the true story of the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and life, mainly with his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.

I had heard nothing but amazing things about this film. I generally enjoy the classic boxer story, rags to riches type of thing. Mostly they are all the same though and follow roughly the same plot but this one looked a bit different. It definitely was different. It was more of a drama than any sort of fighting/sports film. Sort of a nice surprise.

The star of this film is not Mark Wahlberg who plays Micky, but it was all about his brother played by Christian Bale. Mark was good, he was his usual self. Not overly amazing but not awful to watch. Bale though was amazing. His performance reminded me of him in the film The Machinist (really messed up movie but definitely different from anything you have ever seen). It was great to see because I'm not normally a huge Bale fan. Don't get me wrong, I love him in the Batman flicks, but he hasn't really impressed me. This was close. He was the spotlight for sure.

The movie just seemed to be missing something. It wasn't as mind blowing or inspirational as everyone was talking it up to me. It was good, it really was, but it wasn't anything I would tell people to rush to the theatre to see.

I think it was because they were really focusing on his family and the people he had relationships with rather than really getting into Mickey himself. I liked that, it was a nice change but because of that I felt a little unconnected from everything that was going on. Was nice to get to know the supporting characters and what not but they kept too great of a distance from the main character for me to get totally sucked into his story.

Still a great story. His family is ridiculous, especially his sisters. Crazy people. It was pretty funny to at parts. The fights were nothing amazing but some shots were really well done.

Amy Adams was a bonus too.

Check it out but there's no reason to rush. Bale was amazing, Mark definitely carried his own and the story is something worth seeing.


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