Monday, October 29, 2012

The Devil's Backbone (3.5)


This 2001 Spanish horror/drama by director Guillermo del Toro brings us the story of an orphan who is brought to a strange orphanage and discovers that it is haunted by many secrets.

This movie was on a lot of favourite horror movie lists and I've been waiting awhile to see it. I wasn't prepared for it to be more drama than horror but as the movie continued it began to become more and more interesting and I didn't mind so much.

I wouldn't say that this is scary. The first few encounters with the ghost was suspenseful but once the story builds and the characters open up more you become so involved with the story that everything hits you on a more emotional scale.

The kids were all great. Actually, all of the performances were good (Maria Paredes, Eduardo Noriega, Federico Luppi, Fernando Tielve).

Slow at the start but the creepiness and secrets keep building throughout the film. The ending is the best. I honestly did not see the last 15-20 minutes of this movie coming and that was the best part. Without it I would have been unimpressed but because of the way it ends and everything comes together I really enjoyed it.

Check it out. Also, I highly suggest subtitles over a dubbed version. Don't cop out.


The Raid (4)


2011 action/crime/thriller movie by director Gareth Evans about a SWAT team that becomes trapped after a failed raid attempt on a corrupt building complex and have to fight their way out.

This is definitely one of the best fight/action movies ever. I now understand why people went crazy for this movie at all of the film festivals. The best thing about all of the action is that it never stops. I think there is a total of 20 minutes of this movie where there isn't any fighting. Maybe even less. But each fight is a little different. The people have different styles, weapons and rooms with props...awesome.

I found the soundtrack and effects to be an awesome surprise. Great use of sounds to enhance the scenes but not enough to mask the natural sounds of breathing and vocal grunts, etc.

Unfortunately, the only copy of this I could find was an English dubbed version. I hate dubbed movies because I find that the original actors emotions come out in their voices and when you have a group of people standing in a room reading off a script it just isn't the same. This is especially true for action movies.

The story isn't actually that bad. The ending wasn't lame and while the script was purposefully creating action it didn't seem unnecessary or over done. To be honest, this was some of the best hand to hand and over all fighting I have ever seen. Choreography was amazing. Blew my mind.

If you like action and/or fight movies you will love this.

Bonus: Hats off to Iko Uwais.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Argo (4)


Directed by Ben Affleck.

A CIA agent comes up with a plan to get 6 American diplomats out of 1980s revolutionary Iran.

Loved the story. The script was fantastic.

This movie was really tense at times. Just when you think that things couldn't get more intense, they do. I really loved this script. Especially once things get rolling. A lot of the time movies lose sight of the story and let the action and suspense get in the way of the plot. This time they did a lovely dance and finished with style. Suspense built on tension around high emotions...very well done.

Everyone brought their A game for this movie. All performances, big or small, were bang on.

Hats off to you Ben Affleck. You keep coming back and surprising us all with well crafted and well executed films. After this movie, I think that you were born to be a director rather than an actor. But for now, I'll take both.

There were times when I found the pace to be a little off. There were a few choppy cuts and scene progressions but nothing crucial. There was one edit that I honestly don't know why it was kept...but that's just me.

Great story. Great cast. Great movie.

Bonus: John Goodman (The Artist).


The Covenant (2)


2006 Renny Harlin fantasy/horror flick.

A group of teenagers with the ability to do magic discover that their covenant is under threat.

This movie is pretty teen-bopper heavy but without the much desired humour that usual goes along with the teen-horror genre. I laughed a few times, but it was only because I couldn't take the whole teen aspect/overall acting seriously.

As a paranormal movie lover I will give anything a chance. I actually liked the basis of the whole covenant story and the movie had a little more depth to it than I thought it would. Just a little.

What I didn't like was how they decided to 'show' their powers. I didn't like the effect. I also didn't like that they made them seem more like vampires than anything else. I enjoyed the curse aspect of it and the general idea but the fighting was pretty lame and what they used their powers to do was also equally unimpressive.

Decent enough for a late night watch, especially if you're looking for a PG rated horror/fantasy movie.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Magic Mike (.5)


2012 movie by director Steven Soderbergh (Haywire).

Magic Mike is 20% dancing and 80% bullshit.

This movie is about men taking off their clothes some of the time and the rest of the time they are just...around doing stuff.

I gave it a chance. It was even worse than I ever thought. The acting was horrible. The whole movie was so bad that after awhile I couldn't even make fun of it any more. No idea what any of the story was really about and they failed at just about everything to do with "romance". There wasn't even that much stripping going on in the movie so what was the point?

Watch it if you want. I cannot believe this made as much money as it did...

I want my 110 minutes back.


(.5 was for the one scene that Channing Tatum actually danced)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Man on a Ledge (3)


2012 action/crime/thriller by director Asger Leth brings us the story of a man who threatens to jump from a ledge until he proves he did not commit a crime he was convicted of.

I saw trailers for this and thought "Well, there is a script that has already been done a million times." and I was pretty much right about that.

You know what will happen as soon as the movie starts. It was easy to guess how everything would turn out.

What this movie did surprise me with was everything else going on outside of this man on a ledge. There was a whole inside job thing that was really interesting and smart and that is what kept me watching. I thought I could watch a few minutes while cooking lunch but ended up watching the entire thing because they were sneaky with giving interesting info (I am being vague because I don't want to give spoilers). This is where the thriller part of this movie comes into play and it's great.

Elizabeth Banks (What to Expect When You're Expecting), Sam Worthington (Wrath of the Titans), Jamie Bell (The Eagle) and Ed Harris (The Way Backwere all good in this movie. There wasn't a lot of room for the actors to prove their skills as the movie focused on keeping a fast pace and moving the story forward but I thought they were good.
That's about it. If you're looking for a straight forward crime/thriller that won't keep you up at nights this may be the movie for you.

Bonus: Edward Burns (She's the One).


What to Expect When You're Expecting (2)


This 2012 romcom by director Kirk Jones looks at the lives of different women and couples at different times of pregnancy.

Intense cast: Cameron Diaz (My Sister's Keeper), Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks (Our Idiot Brother), Anna Kendrick (50/50), Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock (Grown Ups), Matthew Morrison...and so many more.

I just...I can't like these types of chick flick movies. I tried. I honestly gave it a chance. There were a lot of good actors and they did a decent job but I just don't like these types of romcoms. I can't relate and when I can I don't find it very realistic.

Script was what it was. Chris Rock was hilarious. So was Dennis Quaid. Actually, there were a lot of funny moments in this movie but I found that all of them happened due to the men in the movie and not the ladies.

Watch the trailer. If you think you will like it you probably will. If you watch the trailer and think it's stupid then you won't like it.

I would give it a 1 but there was some good comedy tucked in there but not enough to make the movie  recommendable.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Taken 2 (4)


The anticipated sequel by director Olivier Megaton (Colombiana</em>).

I love these movies. They are smart. They are suspenseful. They have just the right amount of story and the right amount of action. They go from car chases to gun fights to hand-to-hand combat in the blink of an eye but never set off unnecessary explosions or have too much blood. It's realistic (well, as much as you can get) and most importantly: Liam Neeson (Unknown, The Grey) is the bomb.

The chicks were pretty awesome in this too. I was surprised by Maggie Grace (Lockout) and always like Famke Janssen.

I liked this one just as much as the first. The only thing I didn't like was that it seemed too short and the first one seemed to have a few more layers but meh. They also left the ending so there was lots of room for a third film, but I'm okay with that. The beginning could have started out with more of a bang but once things start happening they do not let up for a minute. That's what I love. You get some back story, see a happy family and then BAM, action until the credits roll.

Liked it. Liked the father/daughter team and the reasons why they were "taken".

If you liked the first you'll like the second. Such solid action.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Men in Black 3 (3.5)


2012 end to the trilogy by director Barry Sonnenfeld.

I think a plot summary would run it so I wont.

I really liked the whole time travel part of this movie. I think the core of this script was really good. The only thing that didn't quite make it from page to screen was the humour that I was looking forward to from the last movies. Maybe it's because the first one came out way back now or that the characters just weren't clicking as much as in the just wasn't there. There was humour but it was pretty thin. What was there kept things entertaining though.

The first half made me worry that I was about to waste 2 hours of my life but once things really get going and the pace picks up (and Will Smith brings it) everything is good.

Boris. I have an issue with Boris. He wasn't really scary. He was an obvious villain. But most importantly: I could not take him seriously because he is Jemaine Clement, who is one of the most hilarious people on earth at this very moment. They tried to make him all scary and evil but once I hear that voice I just think of one thing - Flight of the Conchords.

Decent story. Not as good as the first, but you already knew that. Not as much Tommy Lee Jones (>The Sunset Limited
) as I wanted but Josh Brolin did a good job covering that. Just enough Will Smith to keep me entertained and some action added in there.
The very end was lame but the part before that last minute was actually well done. Then they went and ruined it. Lame.

Let's hope they stay at 3 and don't decide on a 4th.

Bonus: Emma Thompson.



(.5 for the time travel coolness)

The Land Before Time (3.5)


1988 Don Bluth film about a group of young dinosaurs who are separated from their families and have to work together to find them.

This will be forever one of my favourite kids movies. I grew up watching this and even though the other 18 or so are horrible (no idea how many there are now, but they seem to keep making more) the first movie is fantastic.

Keep in mind that for a kid, this is a pretty scary film. There is a definite 80s kids movie creepy feeling to the look and feel of it all. The dinos aren't all lovable and at times you wonder if this was really meant for children. It's still highly educational, mostly accurate and touches on a lot of morals. The animation is pretty cool too.

A touching splash of drama with an adventure that ends in survival and reuniting with ones family...brings a tear to your eye.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Albert Nobbs (3.5)


2011 Oscar nominated drama by directer Rodrigo Garcia tells the story of a waiter disguised as a man who dreams of owning her own shop and marrying but no one is as they seem.

This is pure drama. If you want a great drama then this is for you.

The best thing about this movie is Glenn Close's performance. She's ridiculous. Completely transformed, body and soul.

The worst thing about this movie is Glenn Close's performance. No one else can match her so all the other characters (and this is a very character driven story) don't come close to being as amazing. This is noticeable right away and continues throughout the film. It's not their faults. Aaron Taylor and Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre) tried their hardest. She cannot be touched in this role.

This led to a lot of the movie, especially anything not doing with Mr. Nobbs, to seem pretty boring. The story is interesting and all but a drama without an over-all impressive cast doesn't work.

Liked it and I'm glad I finally got around to watching it but I only felt attached to Mr. Nobbs and nothing else.

Bonus: Brendan Gleeson (The Guard). He rocks.


(.5 just for Glenn)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom (4.5)


...I don't want to say what the movie is about because not knowing makes it a million times better.

Holy crap I loved this movie! Thank you, Wes Anderson (director).

I can see why so many people are talking about it especially regarding possible [Oscar] awards!

The cast alone makes my eyes bulge: Bruce Willis (Looper), Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman (Funny People), Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand...

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman were beyond fantastic. They were quirky, hilarious, smart and all around amazing.

The story seems thin at first but it's the characters that really make this movie so brilliant. It was funny in a unique and fresh way. Originality at its purest. The love when I see a movie and cannot for the life of me compare it to any other film I've ever seen. That doesn't happen  as often as I would like it to and this was one of this movies.

I honestly don't know what else to say. The most I think about this movie the more I fall in love with it. The first half seems unconnected and maybe a bit fuzzy but once everything rolls around full circle you really grasp at how great it is.

Love it.


Dredd (3.5)


The Judge is back and negotiations are over in this remake by Pete Travis of the 1995 classic action/sci-fi flick.

I was not going to see this movie in theatres...and maybe not at all. I like the original because I grew up watching it and just thought that without Stallone that it wouldn't be good at all.

I was wrong (I am saying that a lot lately).

Hats off to Karl Urban (Priest, Red). That motha can grimace like it's his job! I couldn't blame him for the horrible one liners that were written for him but I did blame him for making me enjoy a movie that I thought I would hate.

Things I really didn't like: the way they portrayed the psychic. Olivia Thirlby (The Darkest Hour</em>) was good regardless. 

Things that were amazing: the way they portrayed the drug. It was SO cool. I loved the weaponry, the costumes and the sets. I thought they had a good balance of real life and computer generated backgrounds. I also liked the 3D aspect of it but it didn't make or break the movie at all.

Dialogue aside, this movie was way way better than I imaged it could be. Yes, I laughed a few times because of the ridiculousness of some scenes but everything else made up for it.

Bonus: Lena Headey. She was a bad-ass, um, bad-ass.

I almost want to give this a 4/5 but the script left something to be desired.


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