Sunday, September 30, 2012

Looper (4)


2012 action/sci-fi/thriller by director/writer Rian Johnson.

I am not going to give a plot summery because it will be a spoiler.

I am a huge fan of Brick. I think that it is one of the best movies made and so I was super excited to see that Rian Johnson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Hesher, 50/50) were going to make another movie together. Add Bruce Willis (Surrogates) and Emily Blunt (The Five-Year Engagement) and you know it's going to be good.

The movie was fanastic. Everyone brought their A game and really rocked the crap out of every scene and character. The kid (Pierce Gagnon) is AMAZING and really made this movie solid.

My only issue is that it wasn't as mind bending and problem solving/thought provoking as I was hoping for. I only say that because of how intense Brick was and that the trailer hinted at something a little deeper (mind you, the story is completely different than Brick). It was not bad at all, don't get me wrong. I know that when I see it again that I will love it 100% but I just didn't get entirely what I was hoping for.

That being said, it was still intense. I loved the idea behind loopers and the whole time travel scenario. I really liked the TK part (don't want to ruin anything but you will know when you see it) and how they focused on life and fate, etc...

I'm starting to hint at what could be a spoiler so I'll stop.

The guns were cool. The future was cool. I like how they didn't waste any time on anything outside of the main story. I loved the action/gun fights and the cast...yup. This is an awesome movie.

Bonus: Jeff Daniels (The Answer Man).


The Raven (3)


2012 mystery/thriller by James McTeigue.

Edward Allen Poe must solve the puzzles surrounding a string of murders left by a crazed admirer in order to save the woman he loves.

I didn't find Cusacks (Say Anything, Hot Tub Time Machine) performance as laughable as I thought it was going to be. Mind you, it took him the first half of the movie before he seemed to fully fall into his character and really start to harness Poe, but I wasn't expecting miracles. He was good for the part though in the end....even if there were a few eye rolling, over acting scenes involved.

I don't know much about Edgar Allen Poe besides parts of his collective works that I read in high school when I thought I was being dark, mysterious and cool. I feel like if I had known more about the man that I wouldn't have like the way he was portrayed but I thought the script was decent and the characters well cast.

John Cusack was nothing next to Luke Evans (>The Three Musketeers<
/em>) who played the detective. I thought his performance was great. Also, Brendan Gleeson (The Guard, The Secret of Kells) is always a huge bonus.
Costume's were okay. The blood and guts were pretty good and the suspense/thrill kept me watching with interest. It just didn't take me the whole way. The movie says what it has to say and then the credits roll.

The only thing I really didn't like about this movie was the ending. The climax - when you find out who it is and there is this character just didn't do it for me. I didn't really care; there was no shock, sympathy or anger.

This is not as bad as it looks and holds its own but don't be surprised if it doesn't rock your socks.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Big Year (3.5)


2011 comedy by director David Frankel.

Three men at different stages in their lives decide to do a big year - attempt to spot the most birds they can in North America during a one year period.

I cannot believe that I actually liked this movie but I really, really did. I laughed and felt joyous and thought it was a generally good, heart felt comedy. I honestly put it on because I 'knew' I wouldn't like it and could turn it off after 20 minutes to go eat dinner...but I ended up finding it hard to turn away.

Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda 2>), Owen Wilson (Midnight in Paris) and Steve Martin were great together. It was nice that they were all different physically and age wise and also written to be in different stages of their lives.

Who would've thought that a movie about birding in North America would be so interesting. It really wasn't about the birds in the end, it was about the people. I found it funny - not burst out laughing all the time, but genuinely humourous. I liked the amount of cheese they added...except for the ending. That was too much cheese for me.

Liked it. That's about all I have to say. I know why it didn't do well but if you can watch it without caring if it's good it will come up and slap you. It wasn't mind blowing, except for the fact that I liked it as much as I did.

Give it a chance.


Monday, September 24, 2012

A Tale of Two Sisters (3.5)


By writer/director Jee-woon Kim, this 2003 horror/mystery tells the story of two sisters return home only to fall victim to their stepmother all over again...or so it seems.

This was on my to watch list for a very long time. I heard about this movie years ago but could never find it any where in Canada so I forgot about it.

This is a great example of what is missing from a lot of horror movies - a good story. This movie was all about the story building. They held true to the mystery angle of the plot and left a lot of room for character development which led to an amazing climax. I really didn't see the twist coming until moments before it happened. Jee-woon Kim did a great job of leading you into a maze of possibilities and confusing you to the point of wanting to give up and then BOOM. Reveal.

That was the big thing for me though. While the reveal was amazing, the build was better than the final result. It was scary but not over the top. There was some weird stuff going on for sure though. The characters were well structured and they gave you just enough to hold onto each one as you try to figure out what is really going on. There was some confusion regarding a few extra characters that are never really explained and some parts of the movie that were a bit slow but nothing too major.

Those Korean film makers - they know horror like no other! Watch it if you like any other Korean movies or like a good story to your blood stained films.


Lawless (3)


2012 action/drama based on a true story by director John Hillcoat.

Three brothers living in Virginia run a successful bootlegging operation until a deputy from Chicago arrives to stop them.

This movie looked really promising to me, especially because of the all-star cast. Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce...

Don't be misled by the trailers. This is not an action movie. It's more of a drama with some guns and good fist fights...and a good ending.

The acting was good, don't get me wrong. The only issue was that Shia Labeouf (Transformers) was the only character they spent a decent amount of time showing. Well, that and Guy Pearce (Lockout), who's character was really strange and never really explained. Tom Hardy (This Means War, Warrior</em>)  says about 5 sentences and Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) has maybe 5 minutes of total screen time. Lame.

It was actually pretty boring to be honest. The script was well done but when you're prepared for a shoot 'em up action movie about bootlegging you don't picture people sitting on a porch or talking amongst themselves as to what to do blah blah. You also don't expect a random love interest that really has nothing to do with anything...actually, there were two of those.

I was disappointed. It's not a bad movie though and I understand why people liked it but I was just hoping for more. The ending was good but it was too little too late for me.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement (3.5)


2012 romantic/comedy by Nicholas Stoller about a couple who decide to get married but life keeps getting in the way of their plans.

I really liked this movie. It was more hilarious than I thought it was going to be but wasn't ridiculously laugh out loud to distract me from the relationship aspects of the movie.

The movie started strong and had me hooked. I was really digging this movie and was excited to see where they were going to take it but then of them doesn't except the change and they go to bed and a year passes but when they come back to the movies on of the characters is MESSED UP. And I mean, not in a funny way (for me) but in a "where the hell did they pull this crap from" type of messed. I thought it was going to be a nightmare/dream scenario and was waiting for one of them to wake up but they didn' was actually where they decide to take the movie. From that point on it was just them trying to make it better and correct it and get that character back to normal which started to get boring after awhile.

I liked the story and generally liked the script. I thought that Jason Segel (Gulliver's Travels, The Muppets)  and Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria, Gnomeo and Juliet) were great and their supporting cast was awesome. It was more hilarious than I thought it was going to be and also more heart-felt and cute (but not in a kissing way...okay, maybe a little bit in a kissing way).

I just wish that they hadn't of gone so far to the left and then swing back around to try and end off on a good note...really distracting and made me lose interest in the movie.

Other than that, a great romcom and some solid performances. The ending also didn't suck.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Anonymous (1)


2011 history/drama director by Roland Emmerich...Something about Shakespeare being a fraud...

This was a load of garbage. I didn't watch the whole thing. I just couldn't. I watched the first 10 minutes and then started making ice cream and watched a few minutes here and then 15 minutes there and then the ending and the whole time I was just so angry...

The story is bad. Maybe it's because I actually appreciate Shakespeare and have no idea why people cannot just accept that some one hundreds of years ago is better than everyone else in the present (get over it). Maybe it's because I studied theatre and have high respect for the man and playwrights in general. Maybe it's because they took something that could have been interesting and ruined it.

I don't understand what was really going on. By that I mean, I understand the base of the plot, but then it just blew up into this story that I couldn't get behind. When I started to grasp what was happening suddenly there were so many characters and I just didn't care. I tried but...I was generally frowning and shaking my head the whole time.

While the costumes and sets were good, I found that the make-up left something to be desired. Also, every time something happened it ended in an overly dramatic and drawn out, slow zoom in on some one looking shocked/angry/upset. BORING. Ugh. Not the actors faults though.

Good things this is called Anonymous because maybe in two years no one will remember who or what or why it ever was (even though no one is talking about it already).


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Total Recall (3)


2012 action/sci-fi by Len Wiseman about a factory worker who goes to Rekall to escape his daily life only to discover that he is the spy he was hoping to become.

I guess I liked this movie because I was expecting it to be completely horrible but instead I found it rather enjoyable. It is important to watch this movie knowing that it is IN NO WAY like the original (and far better) version. If you can accept that no one goes to Mars and their eyes don't hilariously bulge out of their heads and that a creepy baby thing lives in someones stomach than this movie may surprise you (but not in those weird type of ways).

I liked Colin Farrell (Horrible Bosses, Fright Night) in this movie. I felt that his character wavered here and there but nothing that caused me to lose interest in the film.

The script, though slow at the beginning, was good. I liked the story and generally liked the characters. That being said, they didn't really focus on any characters for too long except for Colin Farrell's and Kate Beckinsale (Underworld:Awakening). I thought this was okay seeing how I don't like Jessica Biel and STILL do not think she can act to save her life. Just sayin'.

Good action. The suspense in this was really well done. I liked the fight scenes and the cool weapons they had. I wasn't overly excited over the flying car chase but I got over it. I thought they over did it on the computer graphics, especially with the backgrounds. All green screen and all noticeably not real. Meh. Can't seem to find too many well done sci-fi's without CGI all over the place.

Not too shabby. Not the best thing ever but I think it deserve a chance.

Bonus: Bill Nighy...although, not for very long. :(


Monday, September 10, 2012

Abduction (2.5)


2011 action/mystery by director John Singleton.

While doing a school project, a teen finds out that he is on a missing children's page and goes on a search to find who his real parents are and why they left him.

I knew that Taylor Lautner (The Twilight Saga) could do back flips and what not in real life but I had no idea that he would rock the action scenes in this movie as well as he did! I was really impressed. He was doing a little Jackie Chan meets Jason Statham meets Matt Damon. Although his acting still needs a few years to shape up, I thought that he handles himself really well in this movie and I hope he does some more action movies in the near future.

The story was interesting enough although not deep enough for me to not know what was going to happen next. There was no shocking climax but it was still entertaining and had a  an some sniper take-out action so it was good in my books.

...yup. Thought it would be terrible and I would laugh but I only laughed a handful of times and usually because it was scripted humour (although not always). I liked it and am glad I got around to watching it.

Don't worry...there are no vampires and werewolves...or K-Stew.

Bonus: Sigourney Weaver (You Again>).  

Anger causing moments: Lily Collins' eyebrows. Like...seriously. They were their own character. They beat Emma Watson's Hermione eyebrows by a long shot.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Four Feathers (4)


2002 drama/adventure film by director Shekhar Kapur.

A respected British soldier leaves the army and his friends a few days before they are to be shipped to war. He receives four feathers to signify his cowardice and he must go after them to win back their trust and save them from a death that he feels he has caused them.

I wasn't going to post a review for this movie because I have already seen it loads of times and I just thought everyone had watched it before. Turns out that a lot of people I know have never seen it so

This is an good movie was an amazing story and a great performance by the one and only Heath Ledger. The movie starts out a bit slow and you sort of sit there wondering where they are going to lead you but once the story gets going it doesn't stop. That's what I love about this movie most of all (besides Heath Ledger) is that it is one of the best movies to show how to properly build suspense to an emotional climax and ends just at the right time - doesn't milk it, so they say.

Not only was Ledger amazing (as usually) but the supporting cast brings their A game. Wes Bentley and Djimon Hounsou (who is a long time favourite of mine) really held their own in this movie.

It's all about the story though. What one man will do to win back the trust and respect of his most beloved friends and see just how far one person can push themselves to prove, not only to others but to himself, just how brave they can be.

I always love watching this movie and think everyone should watch it. The end.


Love Bite (2)


2012 horror/comedy directed by Andy De Emmony.

Summer arrives in the small town of Rainmouth and a group of boys need to lose their virginity or fall victim to a merciless werewolf.

No...really. That's the plot.

I saw this movie the other day as part of TIFF and knew that it would be bad yet entertaining and I was fully right. I will admit that I was looking for a little but more in terms of script and humour but what can you do?

It was pretty ridiculous. The werewolf doesn't come into full view until about half way in but that helped build some suspense. It was funny but I found that the humour was obvious (although a lot of other people in the audience didn't think so judging by the laughs). I did laugh quite a lot though. There was no emotional connection to anything but it wasn't aiming for that anyways.

Ed Speleers did a decent job and was less of a moron than everyone else (character wise). Once again though, there wasn't any surprises when it came to was what it was.

That's the general  feeling towards this movie. I didn't want my 2 hours back but I will live a happy life if I didn't see it again. It was ridiculous and pretty entertaining but once it was over I just felt like...meh.

Bonus: Timothy Spall and the soundtrack is pretty great.


The Art of Getting By (3)


2011 drama/romance by director Gavin Wiesen brings us the story of a senior who is strange and never does his work until things change when he finds a friend in a popular girl who finds him interesting.

I saw this on Netflix and thought that the plot seemed a bit thin. I decided to watch it as a late night movie as I thought it wouldn't stir any emotion and be an enjoyable but forgettable watch.

What I actually watched was a character driven story that lost itself here and there but was ultimately overall well done.

I was especially drawn to the main character George who was played by a all-grown-up Freddie Highmore and a well matched Emma Roberts (It's Kind of a Funny Story). Highmore was the most impressive and really the reason to watch this movie. His character George embodies the dark/emotional side of being a teenager but does it was intelligence and brings his own quirk to the table. I thought physically that he was great because he was cute but shy and didn't have a 6 pack or bulging biceps like a few other actors his age. He just seemed...believable. The other cast were great supporting but lost their flow here and there.

I liked the script as it was all about George trying to stay afloat and find out who he really wants to be/what he is passionate about while not coming across as an annoying coming of age film (it is a coming of age film but doesn't follow the usual stereotypes). Above all you see a teenager turn around and become an adult which is a tough thing to fit into 83 minutes.

I liked it but mostly for Freddie Highmore's performance and a slight twist to the coming of age story. They lost me for the last little bit though...


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Guard (4.5)


2011 comedy/crime film by writer/director John Michael McDonagh about a unconventional Irish cop who teams up with an FBI agent to try and stop a serious case of drug smuggling.

This movie was fantastic. Not only was Brendan Gleeson (The Secret of Kells, In Bruges) ridiculously amazing but the script and every other performance was great, right down to the smallest characters.

I heard of this film a long time ago but for some reason it disappeared from all list and discussions (at least the ones I was reading). It kept popping up on movie channels but I kept thinking it was a different movie...some B rated something about coast guards or something weird. Then I saw that it starred not only Brendan Gleeson but Don Cheadle (Crash) and Mark Strong (The Secret World of Arriety).

The best thing about this script was how well the comedy was written into the dialogue. There were no one liners but rather well layered humour that played off of itself but not too much that the first joke was over done or too over played. It was just right. Very well written and well executed by everyone.

I have nothing but amazing things to say about it. It did slow a bit too much near the middle and they almost start to lose sight of the path to the climax but it's just for a few minutes and then they got right back on track.

And the climax...hasn't been a well balanced comedy/action scene like that in a long while.

Brilliant. See it.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Lockout (3)

2012 action/sci-fi movie by directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger is a man who is wrongly convicted of conspiracy and the only way he can get out of a full life sentence is to go to a prison in space and rescue her from escaped convicts. 

No seriously, that is the plot. 

When I think of this script I imagine 3-5 friends who love movies and just want to make one about the most ridiculous things they can think of and add Guy Pearce and just have a great time.

What ends up happening? 

An actually amazing performance by Guy Pearce (Seeking Justice), a really entertaining movie and it's honestly not even close to the worst thing I've ever seen. How did they not make this plot into a flaming movie of crap? Well, Guy Pearce is 80% of the answer. The rest is the fact that they didn't over due it in computer explosions and unneeded fancy action. They also didn't try to make the characters too serious. They actually had well planned dialogue and even some drama thrown in for good measure. Strangely, it all worked. 

You can't take this movie seriously. You also can't expect to be wowed out of your seat. Just sit down, get a cold beverage and enjoy two hours of entertainment and some hilarious comedy by Mr. Pearce. 


Yes Man (3.5)


2008 comedy by Peyton Reed about a man who makes a packed to say yes to everything.

I can understand why people would not enjoy this movie as much as I did. For one, I am a huge fan of Jim Carrey and have been since I as a kid so I have grown up laughing at everything he has ever done so I just look at him and laugh. Second, the script is about as straight forward as you can get and doesn't veer off course so there are very little surprises. Third, you just didn't give it a chance.

I totally and completely forgot this movie even existed. It came out five years ago already and it just disappeared. It didn't do well critically and people wanted more and didn't get it. So watching it now was great because it has had time to mellow out and come back around from the word of mouth epidemic.

Jim Carrey (I Love You Philip Morris), as always, was hilarious. Some of the characters were a bit out there but it totally worked. Bradley Cooper (Limitless) was a nice (sexy) touch. To be honest, even though I respect the hell out of her, the only disappointing thing was Zooey Deschanel (Our Idiot Brother). Before everyone riots against me honestly sit down and think about whether she can act or not. She can't really. She has been acting the same way and responding with the same facial expressions since her arrival to Hollywood. He music is great and she has a person is amazing and that is why we all like her. Zooey in a movie is just Zooey which is great and she is all cute and what not but honestly...can't act.

Story is was simple but I liked it because it left more room for some seemingly unscripted comedy to come out. The ending, as with most romcoms, was cheese but it was okay because the rest of the movie had me laughing like crazy.

Glad that I finally watched it.


Chinatown (4)


This 1974 classic film noire film by Roman Polanski (Carnage) is about a detective who gets an interesting adultery case that revolves around water and ends up biting off more than he can chew.

This is the movie that really started it all for Jack Nicholson. I don't care how you feel about that guys acting in present day but when he was younger he should've been casted in every movie that was ever made. I got hints of this while watching some of his other acclaimed works but it wasn't until this movie that I truly grasped that WOW that is Jack. So glad that he kept his career going and, in my books, going strong. He was beyond amazing in this movie and is really the main reason to watch it.

The script for this was intense and had more layers than an onion. Once you thought you knew that she did this and he did that it suddenly has nothing to do with either of those people and throws a new level in your face. I had no idea what was really going on until it was revealed to me. I have seen my fair share of movies and so for me to admit that means a lot. I can usually see a plot twist coming a mile away...not this time.

The other characters and actors pretty much just revolved around the planet of Nicholson and couldn't escape his gravitational force (meaning he was too awesome for me to make note of any other performances but they all worked together).

See this. It is on every must see movie list and there is a reason for that. Freakin' awesome (as kids say these days...or was that in my day?).



I have returned from the wild!

Thank you to Kavitha and whom ever was the anonymous person for the kind words regarding my vacation post. It feels good that I am not the only one reading my blog. I see that a lot of people went back to look at some older posts and I thank you for that - they get lost in the hundreds of other movie reviews and need the love.

Enough talk, back to reviews!

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