Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Melancholia (3)


2011 Sci-Fi/Drama about the lives of two sisters as a foreign planet begins its collision course with Earth.

This movie was beautiful and the cast worked really well together but this movie felt like it would never end.

It took me all of 2 minutes (literally, maybe less) before I thought to myself "Hmm, this reminds me of Antichrist..." and sure enough this was written and directed by Lars von Trier. That gave me a hint at what I was going to watch. I mean, I like his films but they seem to drag on to me and take forever to wrap up the simple story. Although, by simple, I mean the plot and then he covers that with strange metaphors and wild female characters and leads you on this brain chase and then boom, it's over. Yup.

I normally do not like Kirsten Dunst ( All Good Things ) but she was pretty good this time around. She played the emotional rollercoaster crazy female quite well. It seemed like a great role for her and she did well from start to finish.

Ever since Antichrist I cannot look at Charlotte Gainsbourg without being scared. That was great during that film but now I find that every other role of hers pales in comparison. Which sucks, because she is good. Merh.

The story wasn't what the trailer lead me to think it was, but Lars is known for that too so I tried to go with it. I just got really bored and was waiting around for things to happen. Really cool shots though, this guy nails cinematography...but, I just couldn't really care about what was going on. Cool idea though and it was beautiful but didn't do it for me.

Bonus: Kiefer Sutherland.


Shame (3.5)


2011 drama by director Steve McQueen about a New York City resident and sex addict Brandon finds his life begins to fall apart upon the arrival of his sister.

This movie is...weird (and SUPER rated R). Well, not weird, but definitely something strange. It was not what I was hoping for at all and instead I just got thrown into the very sad life of this brother and sister. 2 hours of sitting and watching two people fall apart and remain hopeless was not the way I wanted to spend my evening.

I did want to watch Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Inglorius Basterds ) who played Brandon as he is quickly becoming on of my favourite people to watch on screen. He was great in this movie. He nailed both sides of this character and also blew me away when the character starts to disintegrate. There was always something more going on behind his eyes. Like.

Carey Mulligan (Drive, An Education) is awesome and I was completely surprised with her as this crazy sister. The relationship that she and Fassbender had was intense, just like their characters. It's good to see Carey doing all these different roles, I like when actors spread their wings so to speak and try different things. Make for a hopeful career and you bet I will be following hers.

Now. The Story...

I was pretty bored. Not going to lie. I did think that some of the cinematography was interesting and the characters were interesting but there was a lot of standing around and pace changing and I just couldn't stay invested in the story. Not sure why, I just found my eyes wondering.

Wanted more. The performances were great but I didn't get much from the story.

Liked the ending though. And by the end I felt ashamed for no reason which means the story wasn't a complete failure, it just wasn't enough to stimulate my silly, little brain.


Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games (4)


Gary Ross did a really great job of making the novel into a movie. Usually they ruin it because you just can't fit as much information in a movie as is in a book. I do suggest reading these books though if you haven't yet, it's worth it!

I liked the direction they went with this movie. I thought the changes they did make to the story were necessary and/or is really going to help the flow of the story in the next two movies. As a big fan of the books though they are still hard for me to fully accept but I'll get over it - it isn't possible for a movie to be exactly like a book. Also, I was relieved that they stayed true to the whole Gale and Peeta thing. It's NOT a love triangle, get over it people.

Jennifer Lawrence is my new favourite person. She ROCKS as Katniss. She was perfect. Beyond perfect, she really made the character come alive for me. Of everyone in this film she blew me away and made the movie a special experience; just like the books.

I know people are gonna hate me for sawing this, but I still cannot grasp Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. Don't get me wrong, Josh was great and he works so well with Jennifer...but I just cannot let go of the image I have in my head from the books and he just doesn't fit the mold. I'm sure when I see the movie again that I will love him and think I'm crazy for writing this now but it's how I feel.

My only complaint for Liam Hemsworth aka Gale is that he is FAR TOO good looking, even for Gale. He was good though even if he doesn't get a lot of screen time.

The movie was intense and I liked how they didn't just jump into the games and have unnecessary action and fighting. It was important that the first half of the movie was what it was. You need to get to know the characters and see their lives so that when the second and third movie come out that it all makes sense.

The only thing is that the book is written from Katniss' perspective and without her thoughts you really have to depend on Jennifer Lawrence's facial expressions to sell the emotion of each scene. Some times that just isn't possible. The movie was fast paced and didn't waste time but in the end the movie felt far less intense and emotionally taxing as the books.

A part of me wishes now that I had waited to read the books until after the movie because I feel like I would have less things to say.

It's still a great movie and I loved it. I didn't know 2 and 1/2 hours could go so quickly.

I could say a lot more but I think this gives you enough. I cannot wait for the sequel.

Bonus: The soundtrack. Oh, and Donald Sutherland.


The Sunset Limited (3.5)


Based on the play by Cormac McCarthy, this 2011 film by Tommy Lee Jones follows a conversation between two men about their different believes on life.

This movie caught my eye last year but I never got around to watching it. It's not something light to put on before bed, the play is quite intense which makes for an equally intense script. I actually would love to see this on the stage having seen the movie.

This movie felt very much like a play. The staging and direction felt very theatre-esque. I am sure for some that it would therefore feel like it had a strange pace but I liked it. You can blame my BFA in theatre.

Samuel L Jackson ( Unthinkable ) was FANTASTIC in this movie. I was actually blown away. He likes doing roles for fun these days and sometimes you forget how good an actor can be when he stops taking himself so! So good. This guy is an incredible actor. He was very organic and pure.

Tommy Lee Jones was stationary in comparison. Almost like his movements were marked by tape marks on the floor so he stopped in the right spot...I'm not sure, there was any sort of extra level to him. Maybe that's how he decided to play this character but regardless I didn't like it. I enjoyed a few of his directorial choices though.

Good play to screen film but with the lack of liking Mr. Jones I found some parts boring but the rest was great. Really makes you think about some key outlooks on life. Pretty interesting.


We Bought a Zoo (4)


2011 drama/family film by Cameron Crowe ( Singles) based on the national bestselling novel about a father who buys a zoo for his family after losing his wife.

I love movies that are based on true stories. If they are done right, they give a script that extra bit of strength to make both characters and story amazing.

This movie did that. They did it well.

There is so much heart in this story and it really shines through in the film. I thought that all the performances and the script was great. Matt Damon (Green Zone, Hereafter) did really well and I thought he was quite charming as Benjamin. The little girl broke my heart she was so cute. I even liked Scarlett Johansson ( Vicky Christina Barcelona ) who I wasn't convinced could truly act until I watch this movie...although there were a few too many close ups of her pretty face grinning with the whole hair in the wind thing with the sunshine going on for me to be FULLY convinced. Ya. A little too much going on there.

This is a great family/drama movie and it really inspired me to read the book. I watch a lot of films and I admit that they rarely make me want to look into where the script came from to access more of the story than what the film gave me. But, now and again, a really good story shows up and I can't seem to let it go. I have a feeling this is one of those.

So watch this movie. It made me laugh, made me sad, made me frustrated but ultimately made me glued to the screen with anticipation to see what would happen with the zoo.

...the fact that it is true is crazy. Hats off to them.

Bonus: Thomas Haden Church ( Easy A , All About Steve).


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Young Adult (4)


2011 dark comedy by director Jason Reitman about a woman who heads back to her home town to try and win back her high school sweetheart who just happens to be married with a child.

I'm not sure why this got bad reviews. I think a lot of people assume it is a comedy and that it will be silly and filled with laughs. There were laughs, but there are also tears. Do not expect barrels of laughter. This is a great indie dark comedy and I loved it.

I liked the story and when coupled with a fantastic and ridiculous main character it's a win win. I laughed a lot at Charlize Theron and thought her performance was awesome. She really nailed it. The character is crazy and she handled the emotional flips and turns with ease. Well done.

The whole kids party scene was painful, but in an emotional way. The whole time you wonder what her real deal is and once you find out it's really emotional and you do feel sorry for her but you also forgive her for how she is. Really great script.

So, if you can't tell, I really enjoyed this movie. Not sure why people didn't like it but I'm sure it's only because they wanted a straight forward comedy and didn't get it. I thought it was original, funny and dramatic. I also thought the main character was ridiculous and well written.


Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (3)


A boy goes on a hunt to find a real tree so that the girl he likes will fall in love with him.

The animation was awesome, it was a really beautiful world. I liked the little creatures and the over all story. I know that they changed it a bit for the film but I think that the extra story line helped move the rest of the movie forward and kept it on track.

It just felt like something was missing. I will be honest and say that some of the movie was just boring. Also, there was a lot of unnecessary repetition that I'm sure was thrown in there for the little little ones, but for me, it slowed everything down.

I also didn't like the songs. I'm not a huge musical person anyways but for kids movies I generally love the songs...not this time. Meh. Could've done without them.

Danny DeVito as the voice for the Lorax was brilliant though. And Zac Efron and Taylor Swift were good choices too.

Still entertaining and a good story but it wasn't all I was hoping for.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (4.5)


2010 Brazillian action/crime film by José Padilha.

Former-Captain Nascimento and high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro is about to discover what is really going on in Brazil...but at what cost?

This movie was fantastic. It is easily one of the best action/crime films that I have seen over the last year, maybe even the best. It starts out a bit slow and there are a lot of characters that come at you but once things start rolling it just SLAMS into your gut and doesn't stop. Love the pace of this movie. The balance between drama and action was really well done. I loved the use of the narration and the good use of starting the movie with the ending and swinging back around at the end to finish the story. So well done.

Wagner Moura who played Nascimento was great. At first you kind of hate him, well, his character that is, but then you soon get on his side and legitimately care about what he is trying to do.

The script is fantastic. How the movie starts is an entirely different world than the one that it becomes. So gripping and straight to the point. I learned so much and everything I saw is still lodged in my memory and I doubt it will go away soon. It was a good reminder of what's going on in other countries and a great wake up call because while the movie was amazing, the real truth behind it all was powerful and hit home.

Check this out. It's so worth it. Completely impressed.


Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2.5)


The devil is trying to take human form and the rider is the only one who can stop him.

I liked this one better than the first. I honestly can't remember anything about the first movie other than the fact that I couldn't finish watching it because it was so bad. Trust me, I love all Nick Cage movies (Seeking Justice, Season of the Witch), but this one was beyond Nick Cage's help. If it was more like Drive Angry that was just all N Cage all the time instead of caring about someone else I would've liked it more. Instead, there wasn't enough N Cage for the bad to really be good.

The story was...lame. They kind of throw it at you and leave you to guess who this kid is and then when you find out it doesn't seem to matter at all and what you think will happen does and then it ends and that's that. Sort of worthless as a movie.

It had it's funny parts. Most of the time it was just Nick Cage acting like a crazy person and then turning into a crazy fire skeleton who was even more weird and seemed to enjoy just standing there while the camera shots flipped back and forth between close ups and wide shots of him...standing there...being on fire...ya.

Was hoping it was going to be better but I should've known. There were some cool parts though and some interesting ideas being tossed about but watch Drive Angry instead of this and then watch this if you're too tired to watch a movie that you have to remember.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Machine Gun Preacher (3.5)


I should've looked at what this movie was about before watching it because I looked at the title and saw it starred Gerard Butler (Gamer, The Bounty Hunter) and thought it was a joke action film. No, not at all. I also accidentally watched it when the whole Kony 2012 thing was all over the internet (well, it still is), which was perfect timing.

This is not an action film. This is a serious movie, based on a true story about a man who goes to Uganda and is so affected by what he sees that he spends half of his life there trying to save the children.

It was a very emotional story. I thought Gerard Butler was great in this film. I liked that Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)was in it and I also loved that the first 30 minutes of this movie seems like an entirely different (and less amazing) film. Do not judge this movie until you get an hour in and things REALLY start happening.

Story is important. The cast was good. Yes, there is fighting and shooting but it's while people are trying to save each others lives. This is a great balance of drama and action. It's a long movie but generally fast paced. The ending is questionable but I liked when they have the real footage during the credits.

Over all good watch. Check it out.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Quantum Activist (3.5)


2009 documentary about quantum physicist Amit Goswami and his revolutionary look into science and existence.

Okay, so I found that the documentary itself was sort of messy and went awkwardly back and forth between one on one interviews and presentations. I found that some of the edits were sloppy/amateur but it's the content that is important.

It is always important for ones self to step back and took a new look at every day life/themselves. I find that documentaries, and all films for that matter, are a quick way to enter a new thought pattern and then quickly leave it so as to take the new thoughts and immediately contemplate them in context with our own lives.

It's like reading a whole text book in an hour; you get all the important, juicy stuff and leave out the main meats for another time.

I liked the information and concepts in this movie. I knew about quantum physics before but never in this light. I enjoyed how they didn't dumb things down for me but rather threw the basic core ideas out there and left it up to me to figure it out for myself.

Interesting film. If you like to think outside the box then I highly suggest it.

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