Monday, November 26, 2012

Legends of the Fall (4)


Director Edward Zwick brings us the tale of three brothers in this 1994 epic drama.

What a great cast: Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Anthony Hopkins (Thor), Aidan Quinn and Julia Ormond. All were great but Pitt was absolutely fantastic. He made me cry so many times during this movie. That jerk.

This film is beautiful. Watching it just for the scenery is worth it. I guess that's why it won the Oscar for best cinematography.

I thought they over did it with the soundtrack sometimes. I never agree that boosting the music when something drama happens makes the scene any more emotional or intense. On the contrary, I find it distracting and it takes me out of the movie. People are still doing it though - it has become a staple for dramas I suppose.

There were definitely some cheesy scenes. There were a handful of riding in the sunset type of shots but that was just a part of this movie. The background was amazing so I can't complain.

All in all, this is a great drama with a good script, an excellent cast and more epicness than I thought could fit inside a 2 hour window. The beginning was rough around the edges and there were some dips and dives along the way but ultimately it's a good movie. Anything that can make me cry even though I don't want to deserves a watch.

Another movie that is hard to rate. This movie was perfect at times but would be corny the next. I did laugh at some serious parts because of that...and the romance is very 90s romance (if you know what I mean). Pitt was great and so was Hopkins...


For the ultimate in epic and the unwanted tears.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Barney's Version (3.5)


2010 drama by Richard J. Lewis about a man who finally finds the love of his life but things don't work out the way he thought they would.

Wow, I did not see that ending coming. Bravo to everyone. I wasn't sure what to take from this movie or if I liked it or not but than the plot twist entered and I was an emotional wreck and I just couldn't believe that his life had become that...

The movie leading up to the plot twist was average in my books. There were a few funny moments which was a nice break in the drama. The performances were great. Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike (Made in Dagenham), Scott Speedman and Dustin Hoffman were all amazing. It's just that the script took a bit of time to build and things were slow. Things would happened that you thought would lead to the big climax but then they would fade until BAM the whole thing comes into light.

The ending makes me want to give this film a huge rating but I know I was only vaguely interested for the other half of the film and started to do dishes and what not while watching. The story is great but I couldn't relate to anything or feel a close connection to the characters until the end.

See. this is a classic example of why you should watch movies all the way through. Even if you're bored and swear it will not get better sometimes they surprise you and the entire movie turns around.

I would rate this movie a 4/5 for the ending but I'll just go in between my feelings with...


Saturday, November 24, 2012

In Darkness (3.5)


2011 drama by director Agnieszka Holland.

The story of how a German sewer worker in Poland hides a group of Jewish refugees in the sewers of Lvov.

I love films that are based on true stories. Especially when they are about war. This movie shows a side of WWII that I doubt very many have ever heard of and may still be unable to accept. I still cannot believe what these people went through. While the movie was a dramatization, it's still unbelievable.

That's the main reason why I watched this movie and liked it. It showed me a side WWII that I had never heard of which is rare as I have been actively watching, reading and listening to stories about the first world wars my entire life.

While the majority of the movie is focused around the one area in the sewers, I found this film interesting and suspenseful. While I enjoyed seeing the surface vs. the sewer, at times I found it hard to leave one or the other which ruined the flow.

I liked the main character and how he was the unlikely hero. By the end, you aren't sure if he deserves the credit he gives himself and you consistently doubt him throughout the movie. It adds an extra layer to the plot which kept things interesting.

I also liked how they took a deeper look into the German's who risked their own lives to help others. Even if, as is the case in this movie, they don't necessarily know the extent of their efforts.

For me, everyone should watch as many movies as they can regarding all of our past wars. War shows us humanity in its purest forms - good and bad - and allows us a deeper look into the world we live in.


Friday, November 23, 2012

The Illusionist (3.5)


2010 animation/drama by director Sylvain Chomet.

A French illusionist finds himself unemployed and heads to Scotland for work where he meets a young girl. Their adventure will change their lives forever.

Love the animation in this movie. I am generally prone to liking animation but this one was more like a painting than an attack of colours. It was also realistic - very beautiful.

I also enjoyed the fact there wasn't really any dialogue. I think it added to the magic of the story. You don't need words to portray emotion or move the plot forward or great a climax. This film proves that.

At first I loved this movie. Then part way through I lost interest and I'm not entirely sure why. I think it had to do with the fact that the story started strong and with a bang and the main character moves here and there frequently but once the girl is introduced things slow a bit. This was good as it allowed you to absorbed the characters but I think it also stop the flow that had already been created.

I know there was some deeper understanding to everything that I ultimately missed. I liked the story and the main character was really interesting. It was funny at times too which was a bonus. I guess I just didn't fall into this magical world and was a bit disappointed because of that... that I think of it, maybe that was the point.

Whoa. Mind bomb.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Incendies (4.5)


2010 drama/mystery film by Denis Villeneuve. This is based on one of my favourite award winning plays - Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad.

In order to fulfill their mothers last wishes, twins travel to the Middle East to find their unknown father and brother.

I feel as though everyone should watch this movie. Not only is the story incredible but it has never been said before (as far as I know). The's unbelievable and incredible but ultimately powerful.

It's almost impossible for me to review this because it is a really powerful story and is hard to put into words.

The performances were great (Lubna Azabal and Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin especially). The adaptation from play to film was bang on. The intensity and emotional connection was intacted. It's drama and stories of war at it's greatest and most disturbed.

The only down side of seeing the movie after watching the play is that I knew the ending which is important not to know - you need to figure it out at the same time as the characters. I also remember the on stage actors and felt more connected to everything while watching it on stage so I feel extremely bias.

If you want to be shaken and your boundaries of understanding tested then this is the drama for you. Regardless, everyone should watch this. I've never seen anything like it.


Foo Fighters: Back and Forth (5)


2011 James Moll documentary telling the story of the Foo Fighters, from Nirvana to present day.

I remember the time when I used to 'borrow' their first album from my oldest brother, who had it on tape (that's right folks, cassettes, remember those?) and love every minute of every song.

I thought that this movie was going to be about the band members sitting around telling stories but it was so much more than that.

This is easily one of my new all time favourite music documentaries. The interviews are personal. The pace, edits, direction and every little story is beautifully organize and laid out. The stories are almost unbelievable at times. The struggles, success and friendships are fantastic. I don't have anything bad to say about this movie at all - it is flawless.

If you like rock music, Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters or documentaries, check this out!

I dare you to watch even one minute of this movie and not find yourself watching the entire thing. I've already watched it twice and would not hesitate from watching it again.

Note: Once you finish watching it I highly suggest watching the Foo Fighters Skin and Bones live DVD.


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (3.5)


The final movie for this international sensation about a love that will live forever. Directed by Bill Condon.

Let me just state that the last movie, Part 1, is unforgivable horrible. At least for me. I still do not understand why it was two movies. Yes, in order to fit all the ramble from the first half of the book but more importantly to make money...but it should have been one film. It would have  been far better.

That aside, part 2 was surprisingly good. They changed the ending a bit but nothing to get in an uproar about it. The change made it more exciting and stimulating to watch. I liked that they didn't back down from more of the riskier facets of the book.

It is great to see how everyone's acting got better the older they got. Kristen Stewart (Snow White and the Huntsman), Robert Pattinson (Water for Elephants) and Taylor Lautner (Abduction) spent a lot of time on these movies. The characters are what they are and stay pretty consistent throughout. I felt that they did leave a lot out concerning the supporting cast which was a bit of a let down but I can see why they decided to stick to the main characters.

I liked it. They took all the dialogue and stuffed it into Part 1 and kept all the action and excitement for Part 2.

If you like Twilight you will like this - especially if you didn't walk out of the cinema during Part 1. This is like a breath of fresh air compared to that. If you don't like Twilight you will hate it so don't go see it and feel special for telling everyone that you don't like it and it is garbage. Give it up.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Skyfall (4.5)


The latest Bond film by director Sam Mendes.

This is action in its purest and most delicious form.

I do not have bad things to say about this movie. I will admit that at one point I was nudging my interest between the plot twist and the big climax but that's because I was being fed action consistently up until then and my brain didn't know what to do once it stopped.

Daniel Craig was great (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Cowboys and Aliens).

Javier Bardem (Biutiful, Eat Pray Love) was incredible. I am so happy that he got this role because, not only was he perfect for it, but now he can reach a larger audience and everyone can see how great he is.

Judi Dench was as good as ever. Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges) was a solid addition and it was nice to see him get in on the action. Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas) was an interesting character as well.

The action was amazing. I saw new things. I saw new ideas mixed with old tricks. There was humour. There was romance. There was drama. There was everything I wanted from this movie and more.

Still cannot get over the perfection of everything. Thank you to everyone involved in making this amazing movie.

See it. Just do it.


Cloud Atlas (3.5)


2012 drama/sci-fi by directors Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski.

Looking at the lives of several characters and how they interact with each other over the course of history.

I was really looking forward to this movie for a very long time. The very first time I saw the trailer I was hooked. It looked original. New. Exciting. Intense. Thought provoking. Everything that I want in a good drama.

What I got was disappointing.

I liked everyones performances. What an amazing cast: Tom Hanks (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess (The Way Back), Hugo Weaving (Captain America), Jim Broadbent (Another Year), Susan Saranden, James D'Arcy, Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), Doona Bae, etc...

It wasn't the actors faults at all, I liked their performances, but I didn't overly enjoy the script. I thought it was a bit messy and flopped around too much. I was hoping for an original and deep story about reincarnation and past lives but there wasn't much for me to figure out or be blown away by. I left the theatre feeling the same way as when I entered. I suppose that I have an interest in the topic so I went in hoping that it would test the boundaries and teach me new concepts but it didn't.

I guess my high expectations ruined this movie for me. I was really hoping for a life changing movie with in depth characters and a script that would take a few watches to unravel. Instead I got a one dimensional plot with the only point of mystery was what the hell the tribe people were saying because I couldn't understand 80% of it. How can you feel an emotional attachment to a scene when you have no idea what people are saying? The answer is, you don't.

Still a good movie and I suggest watching it but don't be surprised if it doesn't blown your mind and make you want to see it again.


Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (3)


2012 drama/romance by Lorene Scafaria.

Two very different people meet each other 3 weeks before the end of the world and begin to fall in love as they help each other get to where they need to go before they die.

I saw the trailer for this and thought it would be interesting. I'm not sure if I ever saw commercials or posters around for this movie though and I'm not sure why.

This was an unexpected romance movie with two strange characters and a look at humanity when facing certain death. There was even some comedy thrown in which was good.

I liked the romance aspect because it wasn't too much and seemed to happen naturally during the movie. I liked the characters because they were different and weird enough to evoke interest. I actually liked Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method) more than Steve Carell (Crazy Stupid Love) but I think it was more due to my response to their characters and not their performances.

I liked this movie but honestly didn't find it anything special. It was a nice take on the whole end of the world scenario. I just didn't find myself becoming too attached. I did like how they didn't cop out at the end and went through with the end of the world...I was worried they would wake up and find out the asteroid missed them.

An easy watch but didn't cause any deep thoughts once the credits rolled.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Savages (3.5)


2012 action/crime/drama by Oliver Stone brings us the story of independent pot growers in California who turn down an offer from the Mexican cartel only to have their girlfriend kidnapped and are forced to take violent action to get her back.

This movie has a great cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass), Taylor Kitsch (John Carter), John Travolta (Hairspray), Salma Hayek (Puss in Boots), Benicio Del Toro (The Wolfman), Emile Hirsch (The Darkest Hour) and Blake Lively (The Green Lantern).

I liked the script and enjoyed the many layers and different characters. I generally liked everyone's performance. I still don't know if I liked the ending but I did like how it surprised me when they switched it up.

This movie is good by all standards but for some reason it didn't rock my socks. I watched the whole thing with interest but not with intensity or heightened excitement. While it was nice to see both Aaron and Taylor's well formed butts, I wasn't able to break through the proverbial fourth wall. By all means I should have, and this movie is right up my alley, but it didn't take me as far as I wanted it to.

Still a good watch and I liked it a lot. Just not enough to need to watch it again any time soon.


Pina (3)


2011 documentary by Wim Wenders about the late Pina Bausch with performances of her famous creations by her dancers.

If you are interested in dance, visual arts or enjoy theatre you will most likely enjoy this. If not, you may find it hard to grasp or that there isn't much to grasp on to.

My background in theatre made me appreciate this documentary. I thought the dances and dancers were powerful, beautiful, frightening and strange all at the same time. My favourite part of this whole movie, besides the individual dancers personal dances off stage, was the individual dancers explanation of Pina and what she meant to them.

Very inspirational. I did think that the start was a bit slow and I would love to see these dances in full, on stage and in person...but you can't have it all. Also, then the movie would have been 5 hours long (give or take).

Enjoyed it. Wouldn't say it's an easy watch for those not prepared or interested in modern dance, but I liked it.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Campaign (3)


2012 comedy by director Jay Roach.

Two very different candidates run for congress in North Carolina but only one will win.

Zach Galifianakis (Due Date, The Hangover Part II)  is quickly becoming my favourite comedian. I have liked him in everything he has done and the trend continues. This guy cracks me up! Keep it up!

I will also admit that I liked Will Ferrell (The Other Guys) more in this movie than I have in years. That being said, he still doesn't do it for me. I understand why people like him but I have been over it for a long time. He needs a fresh take on his act or will fade away.

The script was surprisingly decent and consistent. It wasn't over flowing with comedy so that you didn't have time to work out the characters and it kept things at face value. The ending was too drawn out though and a bit sloppy. They tried to fit too much heart and emotion after all of the comedy and it didn't work. They tried to force the entire thing with music but that just made it worse.

I liked it way more than I thought I would but I only burst out laughing a few times and was generally entertained for the rest.

Bonus: John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).


Safety Not Guaranteed (3.8)


2012 romance/scf-fi/comedy by director Colin Trevorrow about three magazine writers from Seattle who look into a story about a man who is seeking a partner to time travel with.

This movie isn't really about time travel, it's about people. It's about regrets, secrets and desires. It's about the past and the present and how each person is responsible for where they are and where they are going. It's also about love.

I wasn't sure if I liked this movie but by the end of it I was on board. I think it was because I thought that it was going to be a completely different movie. It was far more quirky and strange than I thought it would be but in the end it was a refreshing, original movie. It wasn't laugh out loud funny but it was a bit of dark comedy.

I liked it. Very different. Strange but heart warming at the same time. You just have to stick it out for a bit while the beginning warms up and by the end you might be grinning like an idiot like I was.

It's actually really hard to give this a rating because I had no idea where this movie was going for the first half and it wasn't until the second half that I began to invest in the characters...


Cellular (3)


2004 action/crime/drama movie by director David R. Ellis. A woman is kidnapped but wires a broken phone to call a young man's cellhpone. He is her only hope to save her family and catch the people who did this to them.

I am on a Chris Evans (Puncture, What's Your Number) kick so I thought I would go back and watch one of his earlier movies. I liked watching him in this movie because it really shows how much he has been improving and expanding his skill. He handled the action quite well and I thought he was great in this role. He wasn't as well rounded as in his current films but he has had 8 years since.

Kim Basinger was okay. A bit one dimensional but when you spend 80% of a movie in the same room it can be hard to be anything else.

Jason Statham is Jason Statham as Jason Statham (Killer Elite). But he always is and he really works as a bad guy with a gun so who am I to complain?

This was a decent action movie. I would really suggest it to someone but if it was on and I wanted to watch an action movie I would watch it without regrets.

After thought: I really do not like the title of this movie. No idea why...

Bonus: William H. Macy.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph (4)


2012 animation/family/comedy by director Rich Moore.

Wreck it Ralph grows tired of being the bad guy and leaves his game after 30 years to try and be the good guy for once.

This is a great little movie. It's not...actually little, but it's a kids movie and I thought it was cute so I say little in terms of cute and cuddly like.


Pure imagination. I loved the game world! I liked Ralph. I liked the mix of retro 8-bit with new HD graphics. I thought the humour was all ages and perfect for the family. I cannot begin to imagine all of the people involved in making this movie happen as every, tiny detail was flawless. Even the music and sound effects. The script, the voices (John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch)...everything.

The only complaint is that it was exactly how I thought it would be. I was hoping for a few surprises or twists but when you watch the trailer you pretty much get the gist of everything. I know it's a kids movie, and I definitely wasn't hoping for Inception type material, but I was looking for something a little extra and I didn't get it.

Great movie. Funny, cute, heart warming and something for the whole family.

Check it out.


What's Your Number (3.5)


Director Mark Mylod brings us this 2011 romcom about a woman who becomes obsessed with tracking down her ex's after realizing that she is 1 number away from never being a bride.

This movie was exactly what I wanted. A solid romcom with the perfect amount of sexy man, cuteness and humour. What this one had that most do not was an almost perfect balance between the 3. It wasn't so much a chick flick that I wanted to throw up. It wasn't too much humour to ruin the romance. And it was all the right amount of [sexy as hell] Chris Evans to keep the girls swooning until kingdom come.

Besides being suddenly the most attractive man on earth, Chris Evans (Puncture, Captain America) handled the comedy aspect of his role really well. I was also happy to re-notice that he is a multi-talented actor. I liked him. He's a triple treat - in terms of acting. I mean, I think it was him singing and playing guitar, but I am not sure how his dance moves are...

Anna Faris (House Bunny) is funny and cute but other than that I thought she was pretty one dimensional. I know I shouldn't expect the best from a romcom but I do hope to see the ability to switch from happy to sad without it seeming forced and I saw some forceful emotions my friends.

I wasn't sure how to think of the plot but it actually ends up being pretty hilarious and entertaining.

Great romcom. Perfect for a before bed movie. Just enough emotion to make it interesting and humour to keep you entertained with a healthy dose of laughter to bring it all home. Made my girl heart happy.

Bonus: The cameo's from all of the ex's. Jokes.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Enter the Void (2)


2009 drama/fantasy by renown French director Gaspar Noé (Irreversible) about a druggie who is attempting to rekindle his strained relationship with his sister but gets shot and his spirit follows his sister and former friends.

This movie was too much. I found it really slow, repetitive, a bit disturbing and ultimately strange.

Strange in the sense that it was out there and felt over done. To be honest, explaining this movie at all is impossible for me because I spent most of the time laying on the couch wishing it would hurry up and get to the point so I could stop watching it.

I feel like this movie was made about drugs and the afterlife for people to do drugs and fantasize about the afterlife. I did not have any drugs on hand...although, maybe it wouldn't have felt like a waste if I had.

I like this director. I like how he pushes the boundaries of film like in Irreversible (which is the most disturbing movie I have ever seen but feel that everyone should see it). He lost me this time around. The whole outer body movement and sex and colours and strange visions took up far more time than the characters and scene progression. I respect this movie but I will not ever feel the need to watch it again.

Check it out if the trailer interests you but be prepared for 3 hours of not a lot. Also, the brother and sister love thing was a bit much for me but I like that the director did not back down his that.

Cool concept. For sure nothing like this has been done before. I really wanted to like this movie and heard good things but it didn't do it for me.


Femme Fatale (2.5)


2002 crime/mystery by director Brian De Palma.

A con-woman begins to slowly unravel as he life takes many turns in the wrong direction.

This just wasn't my style of movie. I respect the style and the story but I didn't like the characters or overly care about anything that was happening. A large part of this film had me rolling my eyes and/or wondering why they felt the need to go as far as they did with certain aspects of certain characters.

I will admit that, while I wasn't completely surprised that what was happening wasn't what was really happening, I still thought that the subtle hints and switch back was well done. I also liked how everything came together at the end and the characters worked themselves out.

Rebecca Romijn was amazing though even if her character didn't necessarily appeal to me. Antonio Banderas (Haywire, Puss in Boots) was good in this role as well.

A good watch with an original script. If you like strange or off beat movies you may like this. Just be prepared to be a bit perplexed by the sexual atmosphere and the insane main character.

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