Thursday, December 22, 2011

Faster (3.5)

(Watch the Trailer)

I love a good action movie. These days I really look for the hand-to-hand combat, any form of chase scene and gun handling. After watching more than my fair share of action flicks I need to see something unique, impressive and ultimately cool to be impressed.

This movie impressed me. More than I thought it would.

To start, Dwayne Johnson (Fast Five, The Other Guys) is a badass in action movies. I think he has a certain way about him that no one else has right now. I, unlike most, love that he can go from playing the Tooth Fairy in a kids movie to being this badass tattoo covered killing machine in movies like Faster. I thought he was great in this role and I saw some extra emotional depth that I haven't seen from Dwayne yet. Thus, hat tip good Sir. Keep it up.

The story has been done a million times and that was going against this movie. He wants to revenge his brother and goes around killing those involved. Been there, seen that.

That being said, the combat and action in this movie had a nice, new spin on it at times. There were some cool moves with hand-to-hand and the car chases were actually pretty interesting. As a plus, I could see everything that was going on. I HATE that about newer action movies, how they blur everything and speed it up so you can't make out what's actually going on (aka the cheap way out). Good action in this movie.

Ultimately, this film surprised me and I liked it a lot more than I thought. I've never liked Billy Bob Thornton though so I didn't like him in this movie. Not sure why, I have never ever liked him, even back in the day. meh.

If you like action, watch this. If not, you probably wont find much to love about it.


Antichrist (4)

(Watch the Trailer)

2009 horror/drama by Lars von Trier.

This movie is messed up. It was really interesting at the start and you think you know what's going on and then shit just explodes and the craziest (and most disturbing) things start happening. I don't want to say too much but you will be verbalizing your discontent and disbelief when things start going down.

Willem Dafoe has impressed me for some time. He is a weird looking dude but he can really act and this movie proves it more than any other. His character is not as complex as he seems at first but this isn't an easy role to play. You'll see what I mean when the last 30 minutes of the movie slaps you across the face.

I have only recently noticed Charlotte Gainsbourg but there is something about her that I like. This performance was beyond amazing. I don't want to give too much away but lets just say that she is the MAN (that's right) for doing this movie. Her character had some many layers and sides and yet still surprises you. She flips emotions more than a pancake and I just couldn't even look at her near the end without feeling sick. Bravo!

I guess I should mention here that this movie is basically a porn. Well, not really, but there is a super up close and personal shot of some serious action within the first 2 minutes of this movie. There are a LOT of sexual scenes and some of them are literally too much to bare. One in particular made me gag for real and made me think twice about ever having sex again (I imagine it is even worse for guys). You are warned.

There seemed to be a lot of background metaphors, symbolism, hidden analogies with deep and dark intellectual thinking throughout this movie. It looks at mankind in a way that I never thought of before. For that I can see why this film is in the Criterion Collection. That and some of the scenes are goddamn beautiful to watch. Some shots actually gave me goosebumps.

Only thing I frowned about was the ending...they lost me there and in a way ruined where they trapped my mind previous to the ending.

This is a whole new take on the thriller/horror scene with an intellectual and dark spin on life and people. This movie is so messed up. You will not forget this film.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Top 10 Traditional Christmas Movies

As you may know I occasionally write articles for Amotherworld, a parenting and lifestyle online magazine, and the latest is my personal Top 10 Traditional Christmas Movies List!

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!

See also, last years Top 15 Not so Christmas Movies List.

Morning Glory (3)

(Watch the Trailer)

Harrison Ford makes this movie. That being said his character was kind of boring and isn't even around as much as you would think. Still, he played the stubborn, stuck up old man well.

Rachel McAdams was kind of a let down in this movie. I guess I haven't been overly impressed with her anyways seeing how she really is being herself in every movie but with different lipstick. Meh.

Diane Keaton was actually perfect for this role but she too wasn't in the movie as much as you would think.

I suppose television isn't something I'm overly in to (hence all the movie watching) so this movie didn't have an emotional platform with me nor did it want to take the time to suck me into this unknown world and allow me to grasp any form of understanding. It didn't have to, it's a comedy, they need laughs not tears. I found it hard to laugh though as I didn't get the 'jokes' as I didn't understand. It's a vicious cycle.

I didn't like the first half or more of this movie. It was kind of boring, I wasn't getting anything from the story or most of the characters and it seemed like the movie was losing sight of its purpose. Then the climax kind of hits and it picks up the pace but then drops back down again. Then it picks it up and drops it again. And then, for a solid 15-20 minutes it's an amazing movie and I'm laughing and smiling and having a great time.

It was almost too good and I thought "Wow, is this one of the first movies I have seen in a long time that starts out bad but ends well instead of having a crap ending?" and then it was a crap ending. I mean, really?! Walking into the sunset. Come on. Were you all out of doves or hot air balloons or something? So lame.

The last bit of the movie is awesome. I liked that movie a lot. The rest is watchable and perfect for a rainy, "I'm too tired for a documentary" kind of day.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Ides of March (4)

(Watch the Trailer)

An honest staff member working on a presidential campaign gets a real look at just how dirty politics can be.

Ryan Gosling (Drive, Crazy Stupid Love ). Oh, Ryan. You are the man. I actually think you may be my favourite actor right now. That's no mere leap. I watch a lot of movies and have a lot of favourites but I have been watching Gosling since the days of having a school girl crush on him in the television show Breaker High and have never not liked him in anything he has done. That's huge. I heart him. I really, really do. 500 gold stars and dozens of high fives.

George Clooney (The Men Who Stare at Goats, The American) is really growing on me lately. I'm not sure why I didn't like him at first but now I seem to really enjoy his movies. He was great as Morris and I thought he, Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman worked really well together.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Pirate Radio, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead) is another favourite of mine. I think this man has a way of captivating people that is hard to find these days. There is just something about him that draws you in and makes you believe what he does. I'm not sure but I find him quite powerful and his performance this time around was right on cue.

One thing I noticed once the credits rolled was that they did suspense strangely well in this film. The music had a part in that but also the way Clooney directed some scenes, especially when everything starts going down near the end, really had my heart racing. The very ending of this film is awesome. I loved how they ended it. SO powerful and I feel like I will remember that more than any other part in this movie which makes this movie memorable to me.

I never thought I would be praising Clooney so much but I really liked what he did with this story. I liked the way he filmed it, I liked the editing and the performances. I thought each actor was perfectly suited to their roles and I was interested from start to finish which is no easy task seeing how I don't really care about American politics and usually don't care for overly political films. Well done Sir.

Great story, it really tests your mind and surprises you with strategies that you didn't see coming. Characters were powerful and the performances even stronger. Gosling is the man and while some may find this movie boring it is anything but if you sit and really allow yourself to be sucked into the story.


(1 full point is for you Gosling)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In Time (4)

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In the not so distant future people stop aging at the age of 25 and then have to make time in order to survive. The rich stay young forever and the poor die young.

I REALLY liked the concept for this movie. I loved the whole time is currency thing and how the class differences mean you can live longer and so most people work just to survive. It is a perfect example for how our lives seem these days. I love when sci-fi really nails it when it comes to these concepts and metaphors for how messed up our world has become. I liked the design of the timer and of the whole live free until you're a certain age and then your clock starts ticking down. Awesome.

I keep being so surprised by how much I like Justin Timberlake on the big screen. I really like him as an actor. I think he fit this role really well as he has this sort of energy and sass to him that his character really needed. He handled the action and suspense well too. I thought he was a great choice and I had no problems with his performance.

Amanda Seyfried was less than impressive but I guess the only thing she needed to do was look good while running in 6" heels and make sure her hair never looked messy and she did that well. She just didn't have any layers to her at all. It wasn't her character either, she had a chance to make it something different but maybe the director pointed her in this direction. Anyways, I've liked her a lot better in other movies. Meh.

Liked the story, thought the concept and design of everything was interesting. There were parts of this story that obviously didn't really line up in my mind but there always is, especially with sci-fi/action films. There just isn't enough time to sit down and fully explain everything. Still, the action part of this movie was decent enough.

I liked the concept better than the story and the idea more than the action but over all I liked this movie. I thought it was different than other sci-fi movies and I liked Justin Timberlake. It didn't get great reviews but I really liked it, so you can watch and see for yourself.


The Life of David Gale (3.8)

(Watch the Trailer)

2003 Crime/Thriller/Drama.

David Gale finds himself on death row after he is charged with the murder of a fellow anti-capital punishment activist.

Kevin Spacey is awesome. I think he is one of those actors that a lot of people forget about but who has had such an amazing and consistent career that you have to be impressed. He is the lead in many of my favourite movies and he was fantastic as David Gale. I thought he really nailed the character and I felt like he helped me feel connected to the character on some sort of personal level.

Kate Winslet has been one of my top 3 fav actresses for a very long time. I like her in real life and as an actor. She always impresses me and I always feel so connected to her in all of her roles. She really gives colour to her characters, mostly because her performances always feel so natural. Great combo with Spacey

I'm not usually one to generally go out of my way to watch activist type movies but I do enjoy one now and again. I was constantly being told by Netflix that I would like this movie and they were right. I didn't feel overly bombarded with opinions, angry rants, unrealistic characters or over bearing facts. It was almost like the activist part of this film was the undertone and the characters were what this movie was really about. I liked that. The facts were still interesting though.

Took a bit of time to get to the climax but I see why they felt the need to show us as much about the characters as they could before the big plot twist. The big surprise was a definitely surprise but it wasn't as big of a shock as I think they were going for. Maybe I knew all along that that was what was going to happen but ultimately I knew that it was something David Gale was capable of so I wasn't shocked. Still, great story.

Spacey and Winslet make this a great film and the puzzle is filled with suspense and the story is something that will make you sit up and pay attention.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sophie Scholl (3.5)

(Watch the Trailer)

This 2005 German Biography/crime/drama directed by Marc Rothemund is a true story about Sophie Scholl, a young girl in Germany during WWII who stood up for what she believed in and suffered the consequences.

Netflix had been telling me to watch this movie for a long time saying I would love it. I did like it and it was well paced and generally exciting for a Nazi interrogation/prisoner type film but it wasn't my favourite. The pace and action was good at first but it lost me here and there.

I love based on true story films and this movie was powerful for me because Sophie was in her young twenties and was so strong and I also love powerful female lead dramas so this was great. Julia Jentsch who played Sophie was fantastic and made this movie what it was. The acting in this film in generally was really good.

My only problem with it, and this may come out wrong but, I felt like at times they made all the Nazi characters to be yelling, angry, dramatic people. Yes, maybe they were in real life, but when being shown as such for 2 hours straight in a movie gets old very fast. Everyone is yelling and swearing and after an hour I started to not care as much and therefore my senses were not being affected at the most climatic moments as much as they should be. I just...felt they should've toned it down slightly so that the main court scene would've been even more powerful.

It was still powerful, I understand why it was up for an Oscar. The script is good but I got bored at parts and had to turn the volume down at other times due to yelling and what not but over all this is a great story of a brave girl who fought when everyone else was too scared to.

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