Friday, June 29, 2012

Brave (5)


There. Is. Nothing. Bad. About this movie.

Seriously, I just think everyone should see it because everyone will find something to love about this movie.

It's emotional, it's REALLY funny, it's cute, it's historical (or at least based on myths/tales) and magical and has a strong female lead and solid morales. I just loved this movie. It made me cry twice and laugh myself into tears more times than I can count.

I honestly don't know what else to say. I thought that the cast choosen suited the characters perfectly. I thought that the pace, balance between sad and funny, the music and the look to the characters and their world was perfection.

I can't wait to see it again. I had really high hopes for this movie but they blew me out of the water. Good for kids and for adults. Just...awesome.


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (3.5)

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

The real story of Abraham Lincoln before and during his presidency. 

This movie was 60% awesome/bad-good and 40% just bad. 

I was really looking forward to this movie but I knew going in that it wasn't going to be a life changing movie. I just wanted to be entertained and to laugh and I did both of those things. 

What stopped me from liking this movie was the awful computer graphics. I mean...seriously. What professional is unable to make a believable horse with a computer these days? They should've taken more time and spent a little bit more money. It was so bad at times that I stopped watching the movie and could see only the bad graphics. Ugh. Ruined it. 

I am only giving this a 3.5 because, in the end, it was entertaining and the story wasn't actually that bad. I also thought that Benjamin Walker did a great job and the only times I cringed were due to the script that he was following. I laughed really hard, sometimes planned but mostly AT the movie and those were good laughs. 

I love all vampire movies so of course I liked it. 


Safe House (3.5)

2012 action/crime film by director Daniel Espinosa about a rookie CIA agent in charge of a safe house gets a high profile guest. When the safe house is compromised and every one else is dead it is up to him to protect the guest at all costs. 

While Denzel Washington (The Book of Eli) was just Denzel being Denzel, I thought that Ryan Reynolds ( The Proposal) stepped up to the action plate for this role. He has a lot of hand to hand combat and car chase scenes and I was surprised on more than one occasion by him during this movie. 

Other than that, this is a good story and character balanced action movie but with an extra taste of audience involvement in what is happening. By that I mean that generally action films put up a wall and they are there to watch and enjoy. Good movies need a character, plot line or humour that lets the viewer in on a new level and allows for the viewer to enter the story on some level. I had that experience a few times during this movie but not for the whole thing. 

Liked the story, I liked the cast but am indifferent about the characters besides Reynolds who was really entertaining. The acting was legit and I was really into this film. The ending is predictable but it didn't make it less enjoyable. 

I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. The plot seems basic but there is more to it than you think. Check it out!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Troll Hunter (4)


Troll Hunter, original title Trolljegeren, is a Norwegian adventure/fantasy film by Andre Ovredal about three people who try to document an illegal poacher near their town only to discover what this hunters real 'day' job is.

I had no idea what this movie was about but heard it mentioned not only by word of month but via a few best horror/movies of 2010 lists. While there isn't a lot of blood and guts in this movie I will admit that it surprised me with lots of suspense, tension and thrills. I was beyond happy with this film and was sad it was over once the credits rolled.

The trolls were cool. Someone did their research and really wanted to make them believable. I have no idea what the budget was on this movie but I suspect it wasn't very much and so I was expecting lame special effects and graphics. What they gave me was everything but that. I loved the design, movement and subgroups of trolls. Sooo awesome. I honestly have never seen a film like this before.

The movie started off and I will admit that I was bored and felt like it wasn't going to go any where. I thought that the 3 younger characters were annoying and nothing made sense. Then BOOM something happens in the woods and then the movie takes off from there.

Otto Jespersen was the best part of the movie. He played an interesting character who slowly reveals himself during the movie. He goes from the silent type to a hunter to a caring teacher and back to a hunter.

I am sure that a lot of people would laugh at this movie and think it is really lame but while I thought that this was going to be my reacting, it ended up being completely different. Yes, I laughed here and there but it was at jokes in the movie and from how certain characters reacted in some scenes. Not because the movie is bad or ridiculous. I actually think this was a great movie and urge people to give it a chance.

I want to watch it again.


Hobo with a Shotgun (3)


2011 Jason Eisener film starring Rutger Hauer who plays a hobo who decides to take back the streets of the new town he drops anchor in.

This movie is ridiculous.

There are some really intense and gruesome gore scenes in this movie. People being cut, shot, slammed,  scraped, beaten, dragged and just about anything else you can think of. There is a lot of unnecessary blood but the props and special effects in terms of blood/guns/heads etc is awesome in this movie.

I was really hopping for an amazing bad-good movie when I saw that this was actually being made. I had high hopes that sadly were not met. The person I watched it with loved every minute of it and was laughing 50% more than I was so I'm sure more people who enjoy these types of films will love it. I on the other hand was disappointed as the movie seemed to try to actually be serious rather than joke serious which ruined it a bit for me. You can't have Kill Bill blood and guts with a hobo as your main star who has only bad/amazing one liners as he tries to protect a hooker. Doesn't work...for me, anyways.

Still thought it was an entertaining movie. I really liked Rutger Hauer in this movie and think he can honestly act. Everyone else is questionable.

The story was basic and straightforward but hide behind some well thought out and executed gory scenes that kept me watching (or looking away if I couldn't handle it).

If I wasn't expecting something along the lines of Drive Angry, which is one of the best bad-good movies I have ever seen (so bad that they are good) then I think I would've liked it more.


Akira (4)


1988 anime film by Katsuhiro Ohtomo about a Neo-Tokyo biker gang who has to stop one of their own once he realizes the full extent of his newly tapped powers.

This is some of the coolest animation I have ever seen. Apparently it was one of the the first to use darker colours as they were more expensive (I heard this through a friend of friend so it may not be true but regardless it is true that they used darker colours) which made it look intensely original even though it's an 80s film.

The story is really interesting. It was a great sci-fi movie that smelled slightly of Chronicle, The Matrix, Tron  and a bit of Ghost in the Shell , but not enough that it felt familiar. There was a great balance of political, psychological and action based scenes that made this movie easy to watch. Though the plot is quite complex it was not beyond the viewers understanding which also added to it's watchability.

There were some weird looking characters in this movie. There were also just some weird characters in general but it's an anime film so you have to expect some colourful people. The humour, though not obvious all of the time, was lost on me most of the time. I watched an English dubbed version and it actually wasn't that bad. Some dubbed films are horrible as the actors that do the voices are...well, shitty. This time they did it right.

If you like anime or any futuristic/crime sci-fi movies you will definitely enjoy this. I did! Check it out.

Monday, June 18, 2012

African Cats (4)


2011 nature documentary captures the lives of two cat families raising their young in Africa.

Disney is really taking over movies these days. I mean, they have generally but now they are reaching out and trying their hands at all genres. They really nailed this nature documentary and I would even compare it to Planet Earth and Blue Planet but in a way this was better...because it was narrated by Samuel L Jackson!

Due to the Samuel L factor I found this movie not only slightly hilarious to watch but beyond interesting because some of the shots were too beautiful to be true.

But seriously, imagine Samuel L saying "Lesson number 4: don't mess with lions!" and you can imagine to giggles that would follow.

I would suggest that every family watch this movie as I feel like learning about nature is one of the most valuable things that you can teach  child. I myself grew up on Nation Geographic specials but they are few and far between these days so it looks like we will have to depend on documentaries to get our knowledge.

If you like Planet Earth watch this. If you're looking for a good family movie, watch this. They do a good job of not showing death but explaining it and of not showing the animals 'in action' but explaining new cubs. You get the picture.

Also, giant cats are AWESOME.


I'm Still Here (3.5)


The 2012 documentary by Casey Afflect about how Joaquin Phoenix gives up his acting career to pursue his dream to be a rapper.

I have no idea why it took me this long to finally get around to watching this movie but I am glad that I finally did.

This was one of the best comedies I have seen in a long time. for at least 60% of this movie I spent my time rolling on the couch saying WTF and kept almost spitting my water all over the place. Some of the scenes not...make sense. The whole thing doesn't make sense actually.

Then the movie gets boring because all he does it go on rampages, yells at his friends, does coke and cries. Then it's okay again and then the ending is boring again and weird and the movie just flops.

Is it a hoax? Everyone says that it its because he just goes so crazy that there is no way it could be real, right? I am not sold on that. They never made a documentary about him before this and we assume that he was sane because on interviews 5 years ago he seemed normal but normal how? Normal because he still combed his hair and  you could see his face? I just think that if it was a hoax that it was the most elaborate hoax I have ever seen and I still applaud him for it. I also hope that he loses some weight, combs his hair and stops doing drugs because he was a ruined man.

Regardless, it looks like he is back into acting and is filming a movie right now. It's definitely one of the more interesting films I have ever watched.


Snow White and the Huntsman (3)


A twist on the old classic, directed by Rupert Sanders. Snow White escapes the Evil Queen and teams up with the huntsman that is sent to kill her so together they can take back the kingdom.

The world that they created for this film was awesome. From the droves, to the troll and right down to the costumes and armour. Mind you, some of the costumes were questionable and by that I mean ugly as hell. Still, the general background and sets were amazing. I am glad I watched the movie just to see those.

The acting was less than impressive but that's because the story was lacking in any depth in order to create the amount of interest needed to invest in what any character cared about. It wasn't that there wasn't a story and the basic premises was interested and actually quite cool but it stayed at face value which wasn't enough for me. I did like how they went darker in this movie but the whole prophet thing with Snow White...I didn't buy into it.

Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga:Breaking Dawn - Part1) wasn't that bad in this movie and the scenes that I laughed at were not really her fault. Like her staring into the eyes of something evil until it backs away...without explanation and followed by amazed looks on peoples faces.

Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) was his normal glorious self. That guy can actually act but keeps picking roles that are similar so it's hard to fully see it. I want to see him in a Oscar worthy drama playing an alcoholic dad or something off the radar instead of him with sexy war hair running with an axe or hammer or other long handled weapon. Still....good face.

Charlize Theron (Prometheus) did the evil well. The makeup that was done on her was beyond perfect. Actually, the makeup in general was fantastic in this film. I think she was the best choice for the role.

Over all I was more impressed with this movie that I thought I would be. I heard it was beyond awful but when I looked the ratings were actually not that bad. Which means audiences love it and critiques hate it which means you can count on it being a decent watch but not something that you will want to buy when it hits the shelves.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Prometheus (4.5)


I know I would not stand alone when I say that I had been looking forward to seeing this movie for a very long time. I had high hopes and while the movie didn't quite meet my needs they replaced them with new images, thoughts and awesomeness.

First off: Noomi Rapace. IS AMAZING! She completely won me over for her beyond perfect performance in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movies (the original and better ones). I am so happy that the world caught on and she is sticking around/touching ground in North America. She rocked this movie. There were some scenes...mostly the one with the cutting... (no spoiler)...that just WOW. I think I said "Jesus!" about 15 times during that part. She was fantastic.

Michael Fassbender ( Haywire, Shame ) is another one who is WAY up in my radar and has YET to disappoint me in any film to date. This one continues that trend. He was the best robot I have seen in awhile. I know that sounds lame but it is hard for a human to act non-human. Just the way he walked and the way his facial expressions worked was perfectly non-human. I like you Mr. Fassbender. Yes, I do.

Everyone was bringing their A game in this movie and I think that that had a lot to do with Ridley Scott's amazing direction. Just...flawless. I don't have much more to say about that. He really does make once in a lifetime movies.

The story was not entirely what I was expecting but once my brain excepted that it was deeper and went further than I thought it would I was on board. It was awesome. There was action, suspense, love and then thrills along side thought provoking dialogue that made this movie solid.

I am not sure I completely agree with the ending but I am glad they left it open. Not because there might be a sequel but because it made everyone to come to their own conclusions as to what happened and what is about to happen next. Solid work.

It's a movie that I need to see again and with each time I watch it I will discover new things I missed. I love when movies are so good that you have to see them several times before you fully grasp them. Take that, modern day audiences!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Lucky One (2.5)

2012 romance/drama film by Scott Hicks about a marine who finds a photo of a woman and decides to find the girl in the photo once he returns home from tour in Iraq. 

While I liked the story, which I knew I would as it is based on a best selling novel, I thought that the script had some holes and didn't have enough depth. I did like the over all plot though and for a chick flick I thought they spent a decent amount of time on character development. Rare. 

I like Zac Efron ( Charlie St. Cloud ). I know, I can laugh all you'd like but I think he can actually act. Not only that but he is starting to take on more layered roles and doing good so far. He is a triple threat and I think he is doing a good job getting away from his High School Musical days. I look forward to what he does next. Mmm hmm. 

I can't say I was overly impressed with anyone else in this movie. A few scenes were a bit painful only because I could feel them acting through the screen. Not a lot but enough that I noticed. It didn't help that I was never fully invested in the story so I noticed more than I should have. 

If you're looking for a chick flick or a late night drama/romance movie this will do the trick. Some toasty gratuitous sex scenes followed by some cute moments make for a good heart warmer. 

Seriously though, the script or the editing or something just didn't work. Too many little scenes that led to more little scenes that end in a big but non tear jerker moments before the credits. Meh. 

Efron for the win. 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rio (3.5)


2011 animated comedy/adventure movie by Carlos Saldanha about a domesticated macaw from America who takes off on an adventure to Rio de Janeiro and discovers the bird of his dreams.

I didn't have high hopes for this movie and that may have caused me to like it more than I thought I would but I honestly think that this movie deserves more credit than it has.

I was smiling and giggling like a child within the first 3 minutes of this movie. I than continued to laugh and smile and enjoy myself for the rest of the movie. Sure, there were holes in the script and yes at times the story went way off to the side for ridiculous reasons but it was a kids movie and meant to just be enjoyed and that's exactly what it did.

The only thing that I cannot get over is how much I did not think that Jesse Eisenberg's voice was the voice for Blu. Anne Hathaway was awesome and matched her bird but I just didn't buy Jesse being that blue bird. I feel like it should've been more of a Zac Efron or Justin Timberlake. Meh

Liked it. Laughed. Was amused. Ultimately, glad that I watched it.


Battle Royale (4)


The 2000 Japanese action/thriller by Kinji Fukasaku about a class of students who wake up on a deserted island and are forced to kill each other in order to escape.

Realistic gore with a realistic yet disturbing look at mankind. This movie takes a group of people and wondrously divides it into the main personality traits and unflinching human nature. Oh...and did I mention gore? While the script is deep and well formed, this movie will not let you forget that its a horror movie for long. heh heh

I know that there was some hidden symbolism...or maybe not but I just hope that that was the reason for the weird and awkward flash back/dream scenes that knocked me completely out of the movie only to throw me right back in but more confused and disorientated. Like the weird sports thing they kept flashing back to referring to the 'fun' they had...but, it didn't seem like the most fun ever. I wasn't a sports person in high school so maybe it's just me. Probably not though.

Other than that this movie is awesome. The introduction of all the characters was flawless and smooth, even though there were 40 of them. The script worked wonders with great direction to keep a character filled story flow seamlessly with the action and chaos around them. Solid.

See also: the Asian version of The Hunger Games, but more rated R.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Moon (3.5)


A man on a space station on the moon is almost done his 3 year mission when things start to go wrong.

A random find on Netflix usually makes for an interesting watch but when I saw that this movie starred Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey I had to watch it.

The beginning is great, they had be right from the start. I thought that the set was amazing and they did such an amazing job with creating this moon station, 'other worldly' place down to the very small details.

Sam Rockwell is one of the most underrated actors. Some times he does...well, most of the time he picks strange rolls that people tend to glaze over but he really captured all the layers and sides of this character, especially throughout the different phases in this movie (no spoilers so I'll leave it at that).

Kevin Spacey ( Shrink ) as the voice of a robot = YES please! I loved it. I absolutely loved that they used an emoticon face to show the emotions of the computer and with Spacey's voice it was perfection. Easily my favourite thing about this movie.

I liked the script. I enjoy dark sci-fi and psychological thrillers and they don't normally mix together all too well but this time it totally worked. The only complaints I have is that 1) it was waaay too long, it draaaagged on for like 45 minutes 2) they mention what is actually going on early on in the film so while you try to figure out what is REALLY happening...and then they tell you that no, it really is this thing that's going on...not so exciting. I know this is a rough explanation but you'll see when you watch it. So when this happens I was disappointed and then this dragged on for 45 mins or so and I just lost all interest which is insane as I was really into this movie for the first half.

Liked it but then it falls off at the end and left me wanting more. Or just a better ending.


Poetry (4)


2010 Chang-dong Lee film about an older woman who finds out that her grandson committed a terrible crime and tries to find inspiration and beauty in the world around her through poetry.

This script is original. I honestly can't compare this movie to anything else I've ever seen. I see why it won best script awards.

Jeong-hie Yun was fantastic. Her performance as the grandmother was captivating and at times truly heartbreaking. She did such a good job of remaining inside her character even when the scene was her sitting quietly looking at a tree. Not an easy thing.

The story wasn't what made this movie so captivating to me. It was her. It was watching someone trying so hard to reconnect with themselves during a time when the beauty in life is being slashed down.

Still, in the end, I found that some of the metaphors and hidden emotion behind certain scenes was lost on me and I found they lost me from time to time. It may have just been the subtitles but I'm not sure.

Check it out if you want a very character driven story with an interesting look at poetry, language and life.


Of Gods and Men (3.5)


The 2010 French film by Xavier Beauvois film about a group of monks stationed in a small Algerian community who are under threat by terrorist.

While this was based on a true story and the characters were, in general, interesting, the movie took liberties in assuming that the viewer knew the background story of what was happening in Algeria. I also felt that they left out too much about the characters although their personalities slowly came out during the movie it felt too late to feel a good connection.

I liked the script though. The story was interesting and gave a cool perspective on mankind and how we react when our lives are in danger.

The concept of faith vs. right from wrong was really well done and made for exciting scenes where nothing really happens but is far from boring. Who would've thought that listening to a bunch of priests sit around would be exciting, but it was. At least intellectually.

Not my favourite but I can see why it won the Grand Prix at Sundance. A true look at human nature.

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