Reviews written by registered user

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25 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Wonderous Cinematic Achievement Unfairly Maligned by the Reputation of it's Creators, 10 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Unfairly maligned because of its stars, director and genre, Pearl Harbor is still a decent attempt at paying tribute to a significant, tragic event in American history, and does a pretty fine job of it. If only Bay had removed the clichéd love triangle aspects from the script, this might have been an overwhelming critical success. It's no "Saving Private Ryan", but it's a damn fine effort. You can hate me for saying this but I don't care; the cinematography is absolutely stunning and beautiful - I challenge you to not freeze any frame an not call it finely staged photography. As well, it's 3 hour run time flies by like a breeze. In addition, the 'cheesy' elements of the script were completely enjoyable; Bay makes it clear he's paying homage, (a la the scene at the start of the film where Affleck's character talks about paying respects to past achievements - "they call it an homage"), to the love stories on screen in the 1940's and 50's, the films which the characters in the film would watch and love, (the newsreels watched throughout the film are reminiscent/copies of Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" films from the same time period). This is a great film that will likely stand the test of time.

Seriously. This is a damn good film. Matt Stone and Trey Parker don't own the public opinion.

Transcendence (2014/I)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A Brilliant, Poetic First Feature Seeped in Beautiful Cinematography, 10 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just because a film doesn't have explosions, car chases or violence every ten seconds, (like the ridiculously dumb Captain American sequel), doesn't mean it's a bad movie. Transcendence was superb with a whip-smart script seeped in scientific discovery, knowledge and imagination that probably alienated a North American audience because they're spoon fed syrupy sweet, brainless superhero films once every month. The few moments we see Depp before his "transcendence" his characterization of a socially awkward, yet humble and loving scientist are enough to anchor a purposefully disconnected performance that spans the rest of the film. Couple the scientific elements of the script with plot that progresses until the tension reaches a fever pitch and a surprising, fulfilling and unexpected ending and you have a great film. Pfister, along with an immensely talented cast have created a beautiful looking, philosophically, morally, and ethically challenging film that demands engagement from the viewer. I can't wait to see what Pfister does next.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Does Anybody Read Scripts Before They Film Them?, 10 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

An absolutely fantastic cast, (Costner, Stienfeld, and the absolutely stunning Heard), as well as some playful cinematography in well choreographed action scenes are completely useless in a meandering script void of logic, awful, awful editing, (what the F*** was that "learning how to bike" scene doing in this movie?!), and atrocious sound editing/dubbing. The film is so tonally inconsistent it's as if the scriptwriter had bipolar schizophrenia. Seriously one of the most insultingly moronic films I have ever seen. Well, what can you expect from a director with a name like "McG"? Still, this film is pretty great in a hilarious, 'so bad it's good,' camp-value, kind of way... It's fun to watch for completely illogical inconsistencies, and ridiculous scenes, (Amber Heard somehow gets her Jaguar on the top of a cliff surrounded by rocks, for no reason), and the way Costner plays it seems to suggest he might have been aware of that.

Her (2013)
0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Disappointing Feature that Still Holds Beauty, 10 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's existential rumination, the beautiful cinematography, the believable, futuristic world and a powerful charismatic performance from both Johansson and especially Phoenix, make "Her" an ambitious effort. Scarlett Johansson's vocal performance is transcendent, and she not only makes it believable, but engages the viewer as if she were standing there talking to the audience; truly making the audience feel like they're in Phoenix's shoes. Phoenix, quickly becoming one of the best actors of his generation, makes the relationship of "Her" completely believable, and the whole film rests on his shoulders. However, Jonze, one of the most talented and imaginative directors working today, (Adaptation and Being John Malkovich are two of the best films of their respective decades), produces a film that's a bit too much like its character: meandering, narcissistic, ignorant... There's a good film at the core of 'Her' but an unwarranted running time, a direction-less, (albeit poetic and intelligent), script and a cop-out ending leave the viewer asking, "so what?" This is a well made film by a director I love, but honestly, it's a mediocre disappointment with a hollow centre. Like the AI in the film, it may look and sound beautiful, but at the end of the day, it's artificial.

A Shocking and Brilliant Piece of Work, 10 June 2014

Unnervingly surreal, awfully violent and cruelly misogynistic, this is a film that leaves a bad taste in your mouth and a lingering air of disturbance. Still, it's thesis of unmasking the suburban facade to reveal a sadistic underworld is brilliant, and it's a cerebral experience. Not for the faint of heart or those with a short attention span, but it's worth it for the bizarro direction, great performances, (largely Hoffman), and sheer originality. A unique, utterly scarring film that, for all it's cruel showcases, still deserves a watch and a critical dissection.

This is a film that overall, is more of a mathematic execution of a certain perspective than a piece of entertainment, (Lynch's directorial eye here purposefully executes each shot with ultimate precision, leaving a feeling of disconnect). The opaque nature of the script does make it occasionally hard to believe, and the running time feels a bit long, but all in all, this is a wholly original work that is among Lynch's best and a must for all fans of cinema.

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Television as Cinema: Why Some Things Should Stay on the Small Screen, 18 March 2014

"Veronica Mars," the movie, was my first introduction to the character and the series. I have never been interested in watching the series and continue with my disinterest following a viewing of the film. That being said, I was completely interested in watching something unprecedented: a film created through the funding of it's own fans. With a charismatic lead in Bell, and a decent supporting cast (Enrico Colantoni, Krysten Ritter, and some great cameos), it looked like at least an entertaining time at the movies. Not so.

This is one of the worst films I've seen this year. There's an old adage in film and writing: "show, don't tell." "Veronica Mars" is the antithesis to that. Incessant narration throughout the entire film ruins any and all subtlety, and comes off as nothing but pretentious; "should I really get back into this? Do I really want to be a PI again?" Do I really give a ****? A few simple shots of Veronica looking at her old case files and PI gear would have been more than enough to show the audience of her internal struggle, and Bell is a capable enough actress to convey such emotions without constant narration. Additionally, for non-fans, there's no need for Thomas to go over every single plot point of the entire series. Rob Thomas' script epitomizes beating a dead horse. The writing is over-explanatory, long, redundant, insultingly stupid, extremely predictable and wholly unoriginal. That's the least of the problems.

Director Rob Thomas comes from the world of television, and it shows. Unending techno music fills the background, sometimes interrupting dialogue, and it sounds like he copy and pasted it onto his film from Garageband demos. On top of that, the sound editing jumps all over the place, one moment the dialogue is at a whisper, then the next a quiet conversation sounds like a shouting match. The cinematography is stale, shoulder length standard shots, nothing creative and it's noticeably boring, Thomas comes off as an inexperienced man doing his job, not a filmmaker creating art. If that's your style of filmmaking, stick to television.

In television programs, some of the cast are just starting out, they prove themselves to be fantastic actors and soon move onto bigger and better things. Woody Harrelson got his start on Cheers. George Clooney started out on a variety of programs, his most memorable of which was ER. Some would say Kristen Bell is in the same boat. "Mars" is where people first noticed her talent. For every Clooney, Harrelson or Bell, there's a multitude of supporting cast members who never really went anywhere. The same is the case for "Veronica Mars" and director Rob Thomas puts one of those banal failures in the second biggest role of the movie. Jason Dohring, the human/cardboard cutout hybrid is absolutely atrocious in this movie, never once showcasing any kind of charisma, or chemistry with Bell, and delivering his lines like he's a walking, talking version of HAL-9000 from "2001: A Space Odyssey." His performance in this film is on par with staring at a blank piece of drywall. If a better actor, (even Martin Starr has proved he's got some talent in other projects), had taken the role, it might have been a far more entertaining film.

All in all, I respect the fact that the group behind this film made it as a labor of love, and find it exciting, fascinating and inspiring that a 5 million dollar film can get it's funding solely through crowd-funding. It's a game changing idea. It's a shame, however, that those behind the camera couldn't have made a film better than what amounts to a cheap, 100 minute long television episode. Whether you're a fan of "Veronica Mars" or not, we all deserved better.

Paying Homage to the Ancients, 28 February 2014

This is one of the most daring and beautiful films ever made bolstered by a genuine, poignant performance from the massively talented Williams. The cinematography is spellbinding, fluid, and most importantly, believable. The ability of the filmmakers to meld effects with real places and performances is exceptional. It's curious why so many have leveled hate against this film, but I question their knowledge of literature. This film takes a huge amount of inspiration from ancient, semi-obscure texts; the 13th century "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri, Milton's "Paradise Lost" and various Greek and Roman texts - and then tries to market itself to a mass audience - that's bound to confuse people. This film doesn't seem to have any other agenda than the power of everlasting love. As an atheist I think this is a beautiful, human film about so much more than what's on screen and that it transcends any religious divisions. It's easy to make fun of something that's completely earnest, so romantic, (in all senses of the word), and ambitious. But films like this don't come along often, and William's performance is powerful. I'm taking this film at face value, and it's beautiful.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An Absolutely Surprising Whip-Smart Thrill Ride, 28 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Billed as a cheesy throwback to Stallone and Schwarzenegger's action pasts this is a surprisingly serious action thriller with a whip smart script built like a Le Carre novel featuring an immensely talented supporting cast; Jim Caviezel is menacing in a subdued performance, Vincent D'Onofrio is completely immersed as usual, and Sam Neil, Amy Ryan, Faran Tahir and surprisingly Curtis Jackson round out some well crafted support. The allusions to Guantanamo, freedom of information, psychology and previous prison break films make for compelling viewing. Who would have thought a Stallone/Schwarzenegger film would propose such philosophical and timely questions? The performances are above average too, seeing Schwarzenegger cry out in agony in his native tongue is spellbinding. Please, don't take this review ironically, I'm genuinely recommending this absolutely surprising thriller that doesn't let up for a minute. Stallone and Schwarzenegger have still got it and this is some of their best work in years.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Disturbing, Fascist and Immoral filmmaking., 28 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's like "Starship Troopers" for kids but without the self awareness or satire. Genocidal, fascist in tone and utterly disturbing, this shouldn't be viewed by anyone who doesn't know WWII history or ethics. Completely misses the mark and disgusting in its actions. While the talents of Ford and the wondrously intricate performance of the transcendent Kingsley, (his Maori makeup is fantastic and his accent here are impeccable), it can't overcome the unsettling themes of the script. It reminds me of Hannah Arendt's "Eichmann In Jerusalem: The Banality of Evil." Where Ender is a sci-fi stand in for Eichmann, not quite aware of his actions, yet somehow still conscious of the end game. Without historical context, commentary or any type of solution this just comes off as a demented teaser to get kids to join the marines. Like a nightmarish antithesis to Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket." For the subject matter alone and the issues (not) dealt with, this should be rated R, and should not be viewed by children, which are disturbingly it's target market.

Gravity (2013)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
An undercooked waste of talent, 28 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Clooney and Bullock are fantastic, and the cinematography as well as sound editing are spellbinding. That's it. The script is rife with clichés ("half the world is about to lose their Facebook" "sunny with a chance of space debris" as well as random dumb attempts at humour - a Ping Pong paddle floating in the Chinese space station - just come off as subtle racism and idiotic). If Apollo 13 could be completely accurate then Gravity has no excuse... Explaining that nothing survives in space, there's no air, etc is insulting, random bouts of gravity (Clooney is pulled into the void of space by absolutely nothing) and use of the Canada arm without referencing it's makers. This is Apollo Thirteen if it was written by M. Night Shymalan and directed by Michael Bay. Completely illogical, inaccurate, slow and unrealistic. Cuaron is so much better than this. Considering how beautiful this looks, it's a damn shame they didn't put more effort into the script and the more intricate details.

Go rent "2001: A Space Odyssey" it's still wondrous and still holds up, and it's worlds better than this waste of talent.

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