Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2.5)

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The first year of middle school is hard, especially if you're a wimpy kid. Based on the popular illustrated novel by Jeff Kinney.

I haven't read the books but I have seen theme everywhere. Now that the sequel to this movie is number one in the box office charts I thought I would hop on board and try to understand why it is so popular.

I would stick this in there with Malcolm in the Middle and Even Stevens...except both those shows were way better than this movie. I'm sure it works better in book format, but the transfer to screen was lacking too much for me to fully grasp why people are eating it up.

The story works great as a family comedy. That's about it really, younger kids and families must love a comedy like this. I did laugh a few times but mostly because it was really awkward or because of the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

There isn't much else to this story than what they show you. I guess I'm not impressed because people seem to love it. Maybe they do work better as books and the movie does suck compared to the book. That being said, it's entertaining and fluffy with some good old fashioned morals thrown in there to inspire the bright minds of future generations.

Also, there's cheese.


On the Waterfront (4.5)

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1954 classic by Elia Kazan starring Marlon Brando. 8 Oscar wins and on every top 100 films list, including the one I'm slowly working through.

An ex boxer gets caught up in the battle between the working class and the corrupt union bosses who run the waterfront and will stop at nothing to gain power.

I haven't seen Marlon Brando in many things besides The Godfather so I was really looking forward to see him in this film. When he first comes into frame he looks like he could've been any other guy, even an extra. The first few minutes I was wondering to myself why was this guy so big, what did everyone see in him? Then the movie started to really get going and I understood. There really is just something about Brando. The way he holds himself and the way he talks. Even his eyes, when the camera was fixed on him it was magnetic. By the end of the movie I wanted nothing more but to applaud him. He made me care about what happened to Terry Malloy and by the end I was as hopeless against him as Edie was.

The love interest Edie, who was played by Eva Marie Saint, was surprisingly amazing in this movie. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate classic actresses, but they style of their time forced them to be...well, stupid. Their characters and the way women were written made them so. This is not the case here, Eva could and did hold her own when next to Brando and it was refreshing to not have to roll my eyes at her like I do most other female leads in the days before technicolour.

I liked this story. I liked the characters. I loved that the main character wasn't a hero and that he wasn't smart or really talented but he was tough and he was moral. I couldn't stop watching this movie once it started really going, I was hooked. The story consumes you and then you find yourself wanting justice just as much as the characters do. You want to see what Brando will do next. How the relationship between Eva and him could ever work. Who will die next. And then the final scene is amazing and wham, "the end".

The directing and cinematography was brilliant and sometimes stunning. There were certain shots that I've seen done over and over again in other movies since. How could you not be inspired by this film?

I can see why this won 8 Oscars. I understand now what the big deal is with Marlon Brando. It was refreshingly fast paced for the old black and white format and I found the story helped with that a lot. By the end I was emotionally attached to the story and the characters...this most definitely is an essential film.

Romance, action, drama, a little comedy and an ending you wont forget. What more could you ask for?


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Way Back (3.5)

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2010, Directed by Peter Weir.

A young man is reported as a spy and sent to a Russian soviet prison in Serbia during the second world war. There he meets many people who together form a plan and escape from the prison. They now must travel 4,000 miles to freedom in India through harsh weather and terrain while battling each other and their own pasts.

I hadn't heard of this movie until it popped up on a website I use for streaming sometimes. I generally like journey/adventure type films and am always a sucker for history flicks, especially based on a true story stories, so I thought I would check it out. While it's not the best thing I've ever seen there were a lot of things about it that I really liked.

The main cast is amazing: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Colin Farrell and Saoirse Ronan. They worked really well together.

I have had my eye on Jim Sturgees ever since Across the Universe came out and I've had an even bigger interest since I found out he was the voice of Soren in

Legend of the Guardians. I always love when actors span out into all types of films/genres, that's usually how you can tell if they are passionate enough to try new things and broaden their talents. I look forward to Jim's career.

Ed Harris, you really cannot go wrong with him. 'Nough said there.

Colin Farrell was quite good in this movie. I'm not sure what happened but he went from promising to crap and now back to awesome again. It's nice to see. If this movie and his role in In Brugesare foreshadowing his career to come then I'm really looking forward to what he has to offer.

Saoirse Ronan. Who, you may ask. In my opinion the world should be looking out for this girl, she's knocking these tough rolls dead and asking for more. First time I really noticed her was in Atonement as that annoying, life ruining little sister. Then I noticed her in The Lovely Bones and now I liked her in this role. That's quite the career so far with challenging roles but each time she really nails them. I cannot wait to see her in the upcoming film Hanna which looks absolutely amazing in every way!

The journey is what makes this movie so great. The fact that people actually walked that far and came out free on the other side is amazing to me. While there were large chunks of their journey that was completely left out, and had to be or else the film would've been 5 hours long, you can still get a good idea of what these people went through. Cannot believe it was a true story...can't imagine that.

I felt like the movie should've just ended when they reached India. I understand that they wanted to give us a little more on the main character but the ending seemed so removed from the other 90% of the film that I really didn't care about it when it came around. Also, they didn't give us enough on the main character, other than his skills as a woodsman, so when it came to him and his wife I really had no emotional context at all. Although I liked seeing the history and they showed it in an interesting way with his feet and what not...definitely made the movie end in a tone that was different to the rest of the movie.

I felt like at the end they rushed everything way too much. They may have lingered just a little too long at the beginning with them getting to that lake. After that I felt like them walking 4,000 was a breeze and seemed like a normal day rather than an escape. I kind of get that but also felt distracted more than anything.

Still. Seeing what they went through and knowing more about the Soviets during WWII was important to see. How the characters acted towards one another as their journey progressed and seeing how far people will go to survive was well done and interesting to watch. Over all, an enjoyable yet emotional and epic movie.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

GasLand (4)

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2010 documentary that was nominated for an Oscar and won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance.

Josh Fox gets a letter in the mail asking him if he would lease his land to the natural gas industry so they can drill for gas. Before he says yes he wanted to know what that would mean for him and his land. When he begins to research the process he also begins to talk to people who already know what will happen, and what he finds out he will never forget, and neither will you.

I've said this a million times but everyone should watch more documentaries. I myself need to add more to my list. Every time I watch one I feel like no matter how good it is as a film doesn't matter as much as the public knowing about what they are about. We need to know more. Documentaries are a great way to get a crash course on the world around us, especially the issues.

This film was a little rough around the edges and could have been edited differently to be more smooth but ultimately that doesn't matter. What you see and what you hear in this movie will amaze you. What the natural gas companies and government are doing in the United States right now may change the country and the world forever.

Water is contaminated and can literally be lit on fire, people are dying or sick, animals are dying or sick, crops are effected, streams are polluted, and no one is doing anything.

This documentary is really the beginning. I think Josh could easily turn this into another film and get even deeper into this issue and include more studies, interviews and facts. This felt like the tip of the iceberg and I wanted to know more. This needs to be seen immediately because any day now it could move east and then into Europe and then the world unless people force these companies and all governments to see how much of a sacrifice is needed in order to get gas and how it's just not worth it.

See it. Discuss. Share. Continue.

For more info click here:


Close Encounters of the Third Kind (3.8)

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1977 iconic sci-fi film by Steven Spielberg.

After numerous UFO sightings and one reported abduction, two people find themselves unknowingly drawn towards a remote area in the wilderness where they just know something important is going to happen.

I feel like I saw this movie when I was really, really young and therefore I don't remember it but there was something definitely familiar about it. It may be all the iconic scenes or maybe certain shots that I could've sworn I have seen/heard about. Regardless, I get why this movie was and is a huge deal.

Richard Dreyfuss was insane in this movie. No, really, he acted insane and with conviction. He goes so crazy after he sees the UFO's that I almost couldn't handle him. I have no idea how or why his family dealt with it but the whole time I was just yelling at him and throwing my hands in the air at the things he would do. I was so distracted by his craziness that I never really noticed if he was good or not...but by my anger at his craziness I suspect that he was. He definitely can do crazy that's for sure.

I thought the little boy in this movie was the cutest thing since the snuggie bear.

The aliens were pretty awesome. Their space crafts were pretty neat. The big ending is so epic that I almost couldn't handle it.

One thing I will note was that, it being made in the 70's, it was slow. I mean it. But not really boring, it was more of a constantly slow build to a big scene at the end that was longer than any big scene would dare to be now as they would dear boring the audience. This movie was anything but dull but there were times that I wanted them to just get on with it...I will blame by young 20's on that. Damn kids these days.

The effects in this were amazing for the 70's. Really, it was fantastic. The aliens too. All of it. I can't believe this was made that long ago. Also, so many things that Spielberg did gave birth to the next 20 years of the who UFO/aliens side of sci-fi film making. People still look to this and E.T.. Every sci-fi fan must see this movie, it's like the father of UFO films. Seriously, this film is on the 100 Essential Films list.


Exit Through the Gift Shop (4)

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A man obsessed with filming everything is introduced to the underground world of street art and becomes addicted to filming everything he can about it. He travels the world following these artists until the only person he hasn't captured on film yet is the one man no one knows; Banksy. Possible the most famous street artist, Banksy never shows his face but the filmer finally meets him. What happens after that seems almost too ridiculous to be true...

Banksy is amazing. If you don't know who that is I want you to go to Google and type his name in and click enter and enjoy. Definitely one of the most, if not the most, famous street artist in the world right now. No one knows what he looks like or how to get a hold of him but he is out there changing the face of art. I honestly don't know if this movie is true or not or if it's a joke Banksy wrote and then the film guy in it is just an actor or what not...who knows.

This was not at all what I thought it was going to be able. It's much less a documentary about Banksy and much more a documentary about art in general, especially street art and modern art in present day.

I had no idea street art had become what it is now. I loved watching this movie first and for most to see how these artists get their work up all over the world. Fantastic, so much passion and talent and adventure...really cool world to be able to glimpse.

When the film finally gets to its big turning point, when the filmer becomes the art...that's when it gets so ridiculous that I couldn't even believe it. I was laughing all over the place but then would quickly frown and not be able to laugh because it was sad what was really was sad. But this guy, Thierry, the film guy, is honestly one of the most interesting and messed up people ever. You wont even believe what happens...what he does in this movie...Crazy!

It's just sad what he does to art. It's upsetting. I was honestly mad by the end of this movie...but maybe that was the point.

Like I said, I loved being able to see the cusp of the street art world. Really cool stuff is happening right now in that movement. I liked the ridiculousness of Thierry, I enjoyed meeting the street artists, I liked the art...but then it turned so whack and messed up and just kind of upsetting.

I guess in the end it was an amazing movie but I honestly wanted to see more about street art and less about Thierry. That was the only thing; after awhile I was tired of that nutjob and wanted to see some art. Maybe that was the point though. If you like art you should really watch this though.

Banksy is the bomb. It's just a fact of life.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Limitless (4.2)

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A writer is having trouble writing and starts to lose everything in his life. Just when his life couldn't get any worse he runs into someone from his past who gives him a special and what he believes to be legal and tested drug to help his mind focus. Suddenly he can do anything. He can be anyone. As long as he has that little clear pill.

I saw the trailer for this months ago and for some reason it stuck in my mind. I liked the general idea of it; a drug allowing anyone the chance to use 100% of their brain. I loved that Bradley Cooper was the lead and I wanted to see where they would take it...

I was so happy to be right about this movie. It was fantastic. A little messy around the edges but nothing to make a fuss over. I also liked how they treated just like any other addictive drug. They didn't make it seem godlike or like anyone who took it was suddenly perfect because people cannot be perfect even when they're at 100%. They were addicted, craving, in withdrawal, wild and uncontrollable, dangerous and then some on this magic new pill.

Bradley Cooper was amazing. He fit this character so well that he gave me shivers during some of his scenes when he had his little rants/monologues. And the switch from before he takes the pill and after was not just in his eyes, it was all of him. Physically, mentally, even his voice changed just enough that you could notice when he was on it or off it. Fantastic. It was great to see him in a role like this, a more serious and demanding role than some of his previous characters (See also, The Hangover). I like what he does. I love watching him on screen. I look forward to more and I hope much more now that he has proven he can fill and form to any character in any genre. He can do comedy (All About Steve), he can do romance (Valentine's Day), he can do action (The A-Team), and now we know he can do drama/thriller. Also, he's easy on the eyes.

I liked Robert De Niro in this movie which is more than I can say about his last batch of films. I really liked him and I actually saw him act with conviction this time and it was great to see again because he is amazing and no one should doubt that, ever.

I really liked this story. I didn't know that it was based on a novel, which seems like every movie is now these days, but I liked the character and I liked the story. I really loved how they paid close attention to the eyes. When they took the drug their eyes would become clearer, brighter and wider. It was fantastic. Also the use of more vivid colours when it kicked in and how they portrayed the time lapses and what not. The beginning of this movie was awesome...that camera work was amazing. I'm not sure if I've ever seen something quite like that, very cool.

So if Bradley isn't enough of an incentive to see this movie the movie itself should be reason enough to see this movie. It's fast paced, smart, thrilling and when you leave the theatre you can't help but think about it more and more. Was it right? What is wrong? Why did he say this and how could she do sticks with you.

The ending, well, I honestly could've watched this movie for another solid hour without complaints but I knew it had to end with a bit of a cliffhanger. The last scene alone makes you think so many things that you thought were already solved. Still not sure if I liked it or not...

See it.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles (2.5)

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Meteors crash at different points off of coast lines around the world, but no one's prepared for what will happen once they land. Now it's up to one team to win back their city...and the world.

I actually liked this movie more than I thought I would. Take being said, I thought it would be the worst piece of crap movie out there so really it was a classic sci-fi action flick.

Aaron Eckhart plays the main character and even though I loved him in The Dark Knight I could not help but be overly annoyed with him the entire movies. I know you're sad and I know you're a marine but you could show more than one expression on your face over a 2 hour time slot. Come on. I'm sure that was mostly the directors decision, but I need more spice in your character to feel remotely interested in his survival...didn't get that.

Everyone else was decent enough. I will admit that I loved watching Michelle Rodriguez but I've always liked her, not entirely sure why, but compared to everyone else she seemed to actually be in the movie and not just acting for the movie.

I can't help but compare alien invasion movies to District 9 but it makes for an easy comparison because it doesn't compare at all. I wasn't invested in any singular character. Any emotional scenes were destroyed buy action-style camera work that threw any feelings out the window and then if that wasn't bad enough they had to ruin all hopes of seeing anything with a heavy dose of close-up shots of peoples faces. They didn't give the audience a second to sit and absorb what was happening, they thrust you in and jiggle you around and then toss you back out at the end leaving you with a confused expression.

Besides being over run with close-ups and shaky action camera shots, I will say that I liked the design of the aliens. Their machinery was pretty cool. And while the action was all over the place it was still entertaining and even though I spend a good amount of time rolling my eyes I'm still glad that I watched it. These types of films are written to reflect our current state in the world; it reflects our wars against ourselves. Instead of water, it's oil. This movie is so American in every way but at times I couldn't tell which side they were on - America or the other guys. Sometimes they were so stereotypical Americans that I was disgusted with all of them.

Who knows. All I know is that if you like these kind of movies, if you found humour in 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow or any apocalypse/sci-fi/action flick you will probably enjoy this movie.


Monday, March 21, 2011

The Tourist (3.2)

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A woman sits with a man on a train and she invites him back to her hotel. They kiss goodnight and she sleeps alone in her room. When he wakes up in the morning suddenly people are trying to kill him because they think his name is Alex. Who is Alex? Who is the woman from the train?

I am a huge Johnny Depp fan and a less than huge Angelina Jolie fan. I will say this though, I think this movie was the first hint of trying that I've seen on Angelina's face in terms of acting in awhile...too bad those hints lasted less than a second and secondly that Johnny Depp played a character I have never seen him play before: a less blindingly brilliant one. Together they almost equalled themselves during some scenes but ultimately no one can really out shine Depp on screen. It's like trying to fight a polar bear for a seal; not gonna happen. You will lose. No matter how skinny, pretty or skanky you are.

I can't say I overly enjoyed Depp's character but I will say that any time I did laugh, which was surprisingly a lot for a supposed action/drama movie, that it was because of him. I have no idea how he does it but he can change the meaning of one thing into another just with a twitch of his mouth. Amazing. Still love watching him even if his characters stinks. I am worried that after seeing Rango and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and now this movie that I hope he isn't get too relaxed with his career because I still think Depp has so much more to show us.

Angelina. Sorry gal but I still don't get it. I don't get how someone can be the exact same character for over a decade and still be considered an A-Lister. Same characters over and over again with the same look and that same little smirk. You can act, I know you can...or at least you could but I need you to act again because I do want to like you but I cannot. Seeing you in Salt was upsetting and now this saddens gave me a glimmer though in this one, don't let me down.

The action was less than impressive especially because you can't really have a high speed chase on narrow water ways in Venice with old, classic wood boats. Or at least you didn't go very fast in this movie. The gun scenes were not impressive. Also, worst and most obvious use of green screen that I have seen over the last few years. Kind of shameful at some parts...

But. Alas...the golden of golden, my favourite, Paul Bettany. Thank you my quickly-becoming-my-favourite-actor man! It was great to see you in a serious and realistic role again, although you were still good in bad movies that weren't your fault like Legion and Inkheart but you are so good in good movies like The Young Victoria. Please continue with the making of more movies. I like you.

Okay. So, slight acting hiccups aside with additional bad action scenes tossed about yet some comical aid and a not so surprising end means this movies is mediocre at best. I liked it because I like watching Depp and Bettany on screen. I liked it because I was shocked when Jolie gave me a glimmer of hope now and again. I liked it because I was tired and looking to be entertained and I was. Other than that, it really isn't anything astounding.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rango (3.5)

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A lonely chameleon finds himself in the small, wild west town of Dirt. The town is in need of a sheriff, and more importantly, a hero.

This movie was not all I was hoping it would be. I've heard nothing but good things about this film and about how funny it was...I guess I missed the memo or something. It was a decent flick and I'm sure kids will love it, what with all the silly characters and bouts of action, but it just didn't do it for me.

Rango is a pretty funny looking character and he finds himself in a lot of strange situations but other than that he's just some lizard.

I was happily surprised by how much action there was in this movie. There were chases and gun fighting and hilarious escape/hero scenarios that were really well thought out. I suppose that was my favourite part about it; the action.

There were a few laugh out loud moments but they were one liners and I thought they were pretty forgettable parts. To be honest, I feel like this entire movie is sort of forgettable. It didn't suck, not at all, but when you put it up against movies like How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 it pales in comparison. It's entertaining and the story is good but even Legend of the Guardians had that extra touch of fantasy and imagination that gave the movie that extra boost of enjoyment.

I will say that I liked how they ran the story back around to be about the environment and what not, give the story more of a conscience, but they didn't really dive into it enough to make it worth while.

I'm sure people will completely disagree with me and say this movie was fun and hilarious and they thought the story was perfect and that isn't wrong but for me it wasn't enough to really make me care by the time the credits rolled.

I still heart you Johnny Depp. You make a good lizard.


Penelope (4)

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A family curse is set upon an old blue blood family causing the first female heir to be born with a pig face. Enter Penelope. Her family hides her away from the world while trying to break the curse but the only way to do that is if one of her own kind (blue blood) excepts her for who she is until death do them part.

Who doesn't love Christina Ricci? I was so happy to see her in this role. She has been under the radar over the last while and it was great to see her in this not-s-blockbuster film. She was amazing as Penelope and I honestly don't know anyone else who could have done it like she did. Really awesome...she needs to do more movies again!

...I also want every single one of her outfits in this movie. Huge high five to the costume designer(s)! Beautiful, stunning costumes.

Hello James "Sexy" McAvoy. That infamous alias name is obvious what I call him but who else could play the slightly grimy yet all so dashing and charming love interest better than that foxy Scotsman? No one you say, well yes, I agree with you! Fantastic to see him in this supporting role. I like seeing James in supporting roles, like in The Last Station, because he doesn't steal the show but he is always memorable. He was great on screen with Ricci in this movie and I loved every scene they had together. Really cute.

This story isn't anything amazing but it has a more fairytale/fantasy feel to it that really adds another layer to the obvious romcom feel. That means that it's far more bearable yet still fluffy and heart clenching. It's also surprisingly hilarious. I mean, I really laugh while watching this movie.

Some obvious comical bonuses were Catherine O'Hara who is beyond amazing in this movie and Peter Dinklage who plays this reporter/spy guy and has some great scenes.

With the whole fairy tale story, comedy, characters and a great cast, I liked this movie way more than I thought I would. I mean, it's still corny at parts and the very ending is kind of lame but all-in-all I was entertained but also felt my heart ache a little. A great Sunday afternoon flick.


Vertigo (4)

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The classic 1958 Hitchcock thriller about a detective suffering from acrophobia (fear of heights) who gets caught up in a mysterious case concerning a long-time friend's stunning wife and her possible possession by a previous ancestor.

Another film on the 100 Essential Films list that I found. Recently I watched and reviewed Metropolis and was happily satisfied with what I found and this movie is another one that I am not surprised to find on this essential list. The cinematography especially...there were so many shots that I have seen re-used and re-invented in almost every film I have ever seen. I suppose Hitchcock in general paved the way for thrillers and the suspense genre but this one especially was some really stunning shots.

The first half of this movie I thought moved really slowly. I didn't really get where the story was going but then the plot twist happened and it was almost like an entirely new movie began to unfold before my eyes. The suspense really doesn't start building until that point but then it builds and builds and builds and by that the time the last big scene rolls around you are entirely sucked into this amazing story. You keep wondering what he will do next and what she will say and where are they going...amazing script and fantastic directing. Really incredible movie. Like I said, it's an obvious choice for the 100 essential films list.

Hitchcock is a master and I'm sure by now, or at least I hope by now, you have seen at least one of his films. Regardless, this one should be watched. I liked it even better than Psycho because when the story turns it really turns.

I was surprised at some of the performances as well. Generally the acting is great but it's great for its times but this movie is timeless and I think the acting in it had a lot to do with that. James Stewart especially but Kim Novak was amazing opposite James.

This movie is less scary and more suspense. There are some crazy scenes as the movie gets closer to the end but other than that I would say this sticks to its genre. The first half is basically there to build the story and characters but it really warms up to the plot twist and from then on in it's an amazing ride.

Watch it.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Metropolis (4.5)

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The 1927 golden classic silent film by Fritz Lang.

Set in a futuristic city where the working class and the proletariat's are strictly divided. The son of the city's master falls in love with a working class woman who is trying to bring peace and connect the two classes. The son sets out into the working world to find her but little does he know that he is the savior the city has been waiting for.

I have seen this movie before years ago but I wanted to go back and watch it again seeing how it's on the 100 Essential Films. I am glad I went back and watched it again.

I have always been a lover of black and white films with a special place in my heart for silent films. I'm not sure what it is about them, maybe it's the fact that you really have to pay attention to every little emotional change in the actors and look for imagery and physical metaphors that will help you grasp the story. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the music really forms and shifts the entire film and is just as important as dialogue is to us modern day movie watchers. Maybe it's both, maybe I miss the slower pace, slightly more simplistic, less "take it easy" on the audience type movies. I think everyone should go back and watch these historic films if only to better understand how sad Hollywood really has become...but enough of that.

I cannot say that the acting was anything solid but that's the style and although it seems silly and overly dramatic to me now I can full appreciate the amazing talent behind being able to convey your voice through the expression on your face. Incredible. I sure as hell can do it and you probably couldn't either so see if for what it is - beautiful. This movie especially, when the woman is the machine...those little twitches and eye thing are genius. Ahh, the little things. Magical.

The story itself is pretty intense and it has a lot of symbolism and is basically one giant metaphor for the times when it was made. Industrial peak, post WWI, greater division between the upper and lower classes...all of it is mashed into one fantastic tale with a little bit of forbidden love and a dash of evil. They just don't make movies like this fact, I highly doubt they could even if they tried.

Some of the scenes are really moving and powerful and I was shocked by how emotionally attached I became by the end. I was mumbling at my screen and shaking my head when people did something stupid...

If this movie wasn't on the 100 films list I mentioned before I still would say it was an essential film and that you need to watch it. It's worth it. Don't mistake the silent part for boring because this movie is anything but boring.


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Cake Eaters (2.5)

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Two families are brought together in more ways than one but ultimately crash together with the return of one of the family's son.

It is hard to sum up this movie; it really has 3 different stories. They try to make all these stories make sense but really the plot is totally on the surface and I still don't feel like there was any form of deeper purpose or meaning to any of it. It pretty much is what it is: one son loves one daughter who's grandma is with one's father who's son was with some girl who does someones hair who is the granddaughter...

That about sums it up. That is it...right there. I guess you can tell I was disappointed in the story. I had no idea what it was really about and to be honest the son never had to return. The mother's funeral never had to be mentioned. The whole hairdresser girl could've been cut completely...all of these things just made the other parts of the movie feel messy and unconnected.

Ultimately that was it: I felt unconnected.

Only good part of this was seeing Kristen Stewart act. I have nothing against her but I felt like she could do so much more when I would watch things like Eclipse and would get more hope when watching her in better roles like Joan Jett in The Runaways. This movie showed me another side of her and I suppose it rekindled my slight desire to see where her career is going. Time will tell. I was kinda pissed that they mentioned her disease and then it was like it didn't matter at all, but she definitely rocked this role.

I wasn't that impressed with any other part of this film. *shrugs* At first it just seemed like everyone was horny and/or annoying. Most of that didn't change...

It's not romantic - at least I didn't think so. It's not even that dramatic...kinda boring after awhile to be honest. I don't feel like I want more 2 hours back but I do wish I had watched another movie on my list first and added this one to it for a rainy day.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just Go With It (3)

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A man has been lying about being married most of his life in order to get laid. One night he meets the girl of his dreams but he gets caught up in the lie he's told so many times. When she demands to meet his "soon-to-be Ex Wife", Danny begs his long time co-worker to play the part. Suddenly they are on a plan to Hawaii and no one is ready for what is going to happen once they get there.

Let me be clear here in saying that yes, I am an Adam Sandler fan, so I am partial to his movies and basically anything he does makes me laugh. I think his laugh makes me laugh...ya, we're close like that.


That aside, I am very picky when it comes to comedy. I don't know what happened to comedy movies the last little while but it seems like it doesn't mind getting away with being stupid because stupid is funny. Therefore, the stories suck and the characters are usually loud/awkward/fat/ugly or a mixture of all with a stereotype of some race tossed in there. I get the one liner thing, I love to laugh and if you met me you'd probably think I laugh too often. What I don't like is stupid comedy for the sake of being stupid. Sometimes I can appreciate it but it's only good when it's placed here or there and doesn't depend on the one liners...

This was a one liner. Mind you, when the lines dropped I burst out laughing but then quickly stopped as it was usually followed by something lame to try and continue the laugh but it was already over.

Almost all of the funny parts were via Mr. Sandler, especially his beard guy impersonation, that was priceless. The kids were not funny. The cousin who pretended to be German was not funny. Surprisingly Jennifer Aniston held her own for the most part which was surprising to me. The most surprising thing of all was Nicole Kidman...where did that come from?! I have never really liked Nicole Kidman but I think I have a new appreciation for her after this.

I knew the ending of this movie after I saw the trailer a few months ago and knew it for sure within the first 15 minutes of the movie. It is the obvious answer. Yet, I will admit that I kind of enjoyed watching the two characters realize the truth. Strangely, the romance in this movie was better than the comedy. Strange. It was more believable anyways...I'll attach that compliment to the connection that was there between Sandler and Aniston.

Bonus: Dave Matthews. 'Nough said.

Oh, ya, right...the "hot" girl. Already forgot about her and for good reason.

So, if you like silly comedies you may like this. If you like Adam Sandler movies you should watch it because he has a few killer scenes in this movie but this one falls along the lines of Funny People and Grown Ups. If you like comedy sometimes and hate romance do not see this movie...well, you get the point.


(the 3 is mostly for Sandler and Aniston...and a little bit of Kidman)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau (3.5)

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A young man running for senate bumps into a slightly wild but incredibly beautiful dancer by chance one night. The more he tries to be with her the more it seems that fate doesn't want them to be together, what he finds out isn't fair from the truth. Now they must both decide if they can give it all up, if they have the courage to stray from their fates, in order to write their own; one where they can be together.

This was much more drama and romance than it was thriller and action. I'm glad that I read part of one review that had warned me about this because when you watch the trailer it seems like the whole movie is them running around and trying to hide (something more like the movie Uncertainty). That's not really the case.

I am generally a fan of Matt Damon, I really think he has done more good than bad. Especially after having seen him in True Grit and even in Invictus, you can sort of excuse movies like Hereafter and Green Zone. Still, I always feel like there's something missing from his performance. I can never know exactly what that is, maybe it's passion or maybe it's conviction, but regardless I feel it every time I see one of his movies.

I heart Emily Blunt. I really, really do. She is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. I didn't really recognize her until I saw The Young Victoria and from then on she has always impressed me. She most definitely out acted Matt in their scenes together but he has the action down so together they made a great on screen duo.

Story is a bit weak. I like the over all idea - the general basis of the plot - but other than that there were a few times I found myself rolling my eyes. I was looking forward to this film because it's based on a short story by the one and only Philip K. Dick who is one of my all time favourites, but it fell short. They tried, they really did, and it brought up some interesting points but it didn't have the bang that it could have. The ending was so lame that it almost ruined the rest of the film for me. It just seemed...sloppy. No, not sloppy. Like patch work. Yeah, patchy.

Anyways, it's a decent flick with some interesting parts and they did have some cool scenes tossed in there. Don't expect a thriller but don't expect a heart warmer either...think in between but with some eye rolls. You can wait to rent this one.


Crash (4.5)

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A movie about racism in LA, the story revolves around the lives of a group of interlocking people. You never really know who a person could be, especially when all you see is what makes them different than you.

Directed by Paul Haggis this movie won Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing at the 2005 Oscars.

This is a fast paced, intense film. There isn't a calm moment in the entire movie as it shifts from one heartbreaking story to another with very interesting connections between characters slowly being shown and building on one another. I can definitely see why this won the Oscar for Best Screenplay, it deserved it. The amount of thought, passion and foresight gone into this script astounds me.

The acting over all was pretty amazing. I mean, the cast is amazing: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, William Fichtner, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, etc. I can say that the over all story is what held my attention so it could have been that I just wasn't paying close enough attention as all the performances were only there to support this amazing script. Still, that being said, there wasn't once that I rolled my eyes at any one character, on the contrary I found myself tearing up over a few of their stories. Takes a lot for me to cry in a movie so I obviously felt connected to some of the people.

This movie is extreme though, it will make you angry, sad and depressed but also wake you up a little but out of that beautiful shell that most of us keep ourselves in. These things are still happening - racism is not going away, and the more we pretend that it isn't a problem in this "modern" day and age in North America makes it even stronger in our everyday lives.

I loved this movie because it looked at every type or person - all races, classes and sexes. I thought that the transitions from scene to scene were flawless and the stories and the characters that they were about raw and powerful.

Over all it left me with a message that I never really thought of with any amount of depth: that we are all victims and we also create victims without even knowing it. This movie will make me pay more attention to how I treat the people I may never see again...


(FYI: This movie is not to be confused with the 1996 film by the same title which is all kinds of messed up in terms of plot that I cannot say it was even particularly good)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yojimbo (4.5)

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A 1961 Japanese classic film directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai) and a must see for all film buffs. This film was remade in 1964 as A Fistful of Dollars, one of the more popular classic Clint Eastwood westerns.

A lone samurai comes across a town where two rival gangs fight for power over the gambling business. The samurai turns the two gangs against each other in an attempt to have them kill each other off so the town can start over but the gangs begin to suspect him of his plan.

While this movie is longer than your average film I neither found it boring or drawn out. It beautifully combines the western look with the Japanese cinema feel and makes for one amazing film.

The lone samurai character, played by Toshirō Mifune, is mysterious and powerful. He sits there quietly watching the towns people and musing over the situation and then it comes to sword play and he kills 6 guys in under a minute. I loved watching this character and I think he made the movie.

I liked the little character actors: the ridiculous mayor, the goofy eyebrowed bad guy, the old and wise restaurant owner, the wide eyed and intense boss - all so amazing.

Something I was surprised by and absolutely loved was how amazing the music was. Each scene seemed like it had its own hand crafted sound. I liked listening to this movie just as much as watching it. Although the cinematography was stunning too.

Like I said, this is a must see for any movie buff. It does have a western feel to it but it's not a western. It may be in black and white but it is anything but slow and drawn out. The story is deep and the movie is constantly building all the way until the credits roll. Glad I finally got around to watching it!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Strings Attached (3.2)

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A girl and a guy try to have a no strings attached "Sex friends" relationship without falling in love. It doesn't take long for them to realize that it sounds easier than it really is but will they both be able to admit to themselves that it was always something more?

I kind of hate how much I like Ashton Kutcher. I have no idea what it is, well, besides his super attractiveness, I guess I'm just drawn to him. He's like a magnet and him playing suave/kind love interests in movies are not helping things. I liked him in Valentine's Day and in Killers and now I can add this movie to my slightly-shameful enjoyments.

What might redeem myself slightly was the fact that the love interest was Natalie Portman who I absolutely have also adored and highly respected. She is amazing and it was really nice to see her in this fun, romantic role. Sure she gets nods from critics when she makes movies like Black Swan, but I think it's important for actors to play all kinds of roles, not just the ones that are guaranteed to change lives. I liked her character and liked what she did with it. I also liked seeing her with Ashton, they were a great on screen couple.

This is a little bit different from the normal romantic comedies because they really are just sex friends for the first half but it makes for some witty dialogue and some good natured snickering. The friends on both parts, one of which was played by Ludicrous (what?! I thought he had disappeared), were a nice comedic bonus. Sometimes just there as ultra ridiculous scene progressers but still fun for the most part.

There were things that really didn't have to be there. Most of those things I felt like they forced into the script in order to make it more hilarious but because it felt forced it was less than funny. Some lame parts for sure and a lot of characters that didn't have to exist at all.

I guess what made this movie better and different for me was that Ashton wasn't this perfect, heart stopping man and Natalie wasn't the big-mouthed, over emotional chick. The basic story of meet, love, problems, break, back together is still in order but the rest is enough of a change to not make it feel like a waste of time.

Worth a rent for sure, especially if you like romcoms.

3.2/5 (that little extra .2 for Natalie)

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