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93 reviews in total 
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Oldboy (2013)
7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Disturbing and diabolically fun, 26 November 2013

It's been years since I watched Chan-wook Park's film that pretty much took 2003 by storm, everybody was talking about Oldboy, I remember that much. I remember watching the movie and it felt like I needed a thicker skin. I don't know if Park would be flattered by this remake and I may be alone on this but I think Spike Lee did it justice in terms of maintaining how disturbing, how chilling and unforgiving this film is. Revenge that turns into redemption. At times, it even gets diabolically fun

Josh Brolin in this film carries that quiet Charles Bronson-esque persona, he's bent on one thing and one thing only, too bad they didn't give Brolin's character, Joe Douchett, that Dae- su Oh crazy big Asian fro, but that would probably be distracting and it would end up be the only thing of Josh Brolin that people would talk about. Scripted by Mark Protosevich whose body of work includes The Cell, and I Am Legend. Protosevich seems synonymous with a story about one lone character trying to get to the bottom of things, figuring out why he or she is the one getting screwed by the world. With OLDBOY, I feel that Protosevich and Spike Lee focus more on inviting the audience in on Douchett's investigation rather than trying to copy the Korean film or the manga comic frame by frame. I don't remember how much help the lead character received in the film, but in this OLDBOY, lone Douchett suddenly finds himself being assisted by Michael Imperioli and Elizabeth Olsen and also the magic of internet.

I find it quite difficult to like Elizabeth Olsen's character, Marie Sebastian, to me, she's not a strong female character, she's more or less a victim that has become a stray dog, and is incredibly clingy. But I'm highly impressed with Sharlto Copley who has played a villain in movies prior, but what he puts on the table here in OLDBOY is one for the books, there's something charismatic, something magnetic about his character Adrian, and yet you just know that he's the kind of person you should always keep your distance from. I even sense a bit of Hannibal Lecter in Copley's cold, articulate and manipulative performance. It's the side of Copley you'll enjoy and fear at the same time.

Without spoiling anything, OLDBOY has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing at every moment and get you shocked. Just like the original, this film deals with issues that may cause discomfort and I'm not talking about the violence, which is quite the watch for those of us fans of such films The Raid: Redemption. Spike Lee doesn't waste any precious time, he wants Douchett to get to his targets, one by one, and then you as the audience expect Douchett to do his worst. Lee and Brolin did a fantastic job with the years where Douchett was held captive, the state or condition or the physical transformation that Brolin put himself through in order to bring you this beaten down Brouchet is nothing short of remarkable. Excellent job by the production design, that little prison motel room was well staged, it's like it has a life of its own, it plays a significant role in Douchett's road down to madness and up to soberdom. Along the way, you'll be amused by bits and piece of humor at the expense of 20 years gone by, just like Captain America trying to adapt himself in the modern world, but for the most part, OLDBOY never loses sight on its agenda, it's investigation, it's violence, it's revelation, those three are the formulas for this one hardcore of a revenge film, that is OLDBOY.

The Family (2013)
85 out of 154 people found the following review useful:
Quick on its feet!, 12 September 2013

THE FAMILY is one of my favorite movies this year. It's funny, it's witty, it's quick on its feet and it's surprisingly heartwarming. It's got firepower, it's got action, though it has a hard time finding peanut butter. What a great blend of family drama and gangster comedy. Luc Besson, the great director who brought us such masterpieces as Leon The Professional and The Fifth Element, is back and he's bringing with him a family that's as tough as their patriarch is. Led by three great thesps Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones, and complimented by young talents like John D'Leo and Dianna Agron, THE FAMILY aims to entertain those of us who love a bit of Goodfellas added a hint of humor. Just like that old saying: Never go against the family.

In a nutshell, it's about a family who was part of the mob right up until the patriarch, Robert De Niro ratted out the bosses and since then, De Niro's family has been in witness protection program, and the bosses in prison are still bent on finding them and killing them. De Niro's family got moved by the program to a new place in Normandy, France. Obviously it's a big drastic change from Brooklyn NY to France, so that in and of itself is already enough to let you know that hilarity that comes out of the difficulties of adjusting to a new place will ensue, including the bullish*t story that they have to come up with to explain where they're from or who they are to the new neighbors. Now.. unlike other gangster comedies, kinda like the ones that Guy Ritchie made, THE FAMILY does not show dumb bumbling criminals, the comedy in THE FAMILY banks on the short fuse and the temper that this Brooklyn family has, the violence exists because the reasons behind it are petty and that makes it funny. They try so hard to fit in and but because the new culture that they're in is extremely different, to a certain point it even looks down on them, they can't help but to unleash their old tough selves

Robert De Niro is a legend, we all know that, he makes things look so easy. He's played gangster or mobster roles countless times before, he's even done it for comedy, anybody remember Analyze This?! So THE FAMILY is a walk in the park for him, he could probably do this blindfolded, but of course, he doesn't take it too lightly especially when sparring with other greats like Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, whenever those three interact on screen, it's like the camera just wants more and more of them even when their lines are done and over. De Niro's character is a good father, with a terrible past, but is a good father to his kids, and it's killing him that he can't tell his story to the world. Pretending to be someone he's not, suffocates him. He starts writing his own memoir, which is discouraged by his handler, played by Tommy Lee Jones, but it's clear to see that all De Niro's character wants is some kind of appreciation, that despite the terrible things he's done, he's still a good man. Note the many use of the word F*CK that De Niro uses to express all kinds of range of emotions, it's definitely one of this movie's highlights. De Niro and Tommy's friendship relationship in this movie is a complicated one, you can tell that Tommy cares for De Niro and his family but at the same time there's duty that he has to uphold and strict protocol that must be followed by all involved if De Niro's family wants to survive. The kids, played by D'Leo and Agaron, face ordinary things that teenagers face, sexual tension, trying to fit in and figuring out how to be resourceful, there's also the matter of good ol' heartbreak, so this movie has a nice dose of family drama that doesn't beat around the bush, the pacing is just right. You can tell that they're aching, they're not enjoying life in hiding, they wish they could run away, but deep down they're not blaming each other because in a strange way, that lifestyle has brought them closer together.

Another thing I love about THE FAMILY is that you get it or you understand why these characters stay together; why these people love each other, why Michelle's character and De Niro's character ever matched, and even their kids, played by D'Leo and Agron, display their parents traits; their take-no-bullish*t attitudes. They're physical, they're cunning, they won't hesitate to use a bat or a hammer to prove a point, they're easily offended, and all of that equals hilarious. Inflicting pain, gangster-style, is always hard to watch mainly because in gangster world, there are no limits as to what you can use to inflict pain, you improvise, the creativity is boundless, so the shock value is always there, director Luc Besson doesn't shy away but at the same time he never means for this movie to be straight up Scorsese, who by the way helped exec-produce THE FAMILY, this movie at its center wants to show you a dysfunctional family, a family who we would quickly judge, but they're a family nonetheless.


56 out of 77 people found the following review useful:
Scary Fun, 12 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

We horror fans have been spoiled this past year, we've had it good because director James Wan brought us The Conjuring and now Insidious: Chapter 2, if this film had been any scarier, the world may stop spinning, it is that scary. It's terrifying but it's also fun because of that Ghostbuster-esque duo with their mormon missionary type outfit on, who return to once again provide the humor for this franchise. But seriously, James Wan has mastered this genre and made it his own. To me, Wan is like this generation's Dario Argento. Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell prove to be a winning team and they've brought us a sequel that's just as good or even better than the first film. Now, I'm going to try to do this review without spoiling details, and it's going to be hard but I'm going to try to the best of my ability. INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 takes us back to The Lamberts who went through basically hell over their son's essence being trapped in this realm called The Further. Now, what's extremely cool about how Wan and Leigh crafted this sequel in that they play it in a way that this realm The Further becomes a connection, a bridge between the first and this second movie. There would be little instances like a door suddenly opens by itself in the first film, and this sequel shows you why the door did that. There are countless sequels out there that try hard to expand on something while begging audiences to check out the first film again, but the way that is done in INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 is clever. Folks who've seen the first movie would be amused, folks who haven't seen it would practically beg to watch the first movie after they're done viewing this sequel, and all of it much thanks to this realm that Wan and Leigh created, anything can happen in it, you can travel through time, you can travel through places, ghosts can get you there, and you can even get trapped in it, it's like a zone or a dimension that probably Rod Serling himself would wish he had thought of it. James Wan is a great horror director because he knows exactly what scares you. That idea that somebody may be there watching when you can't really see anybody there at all. It's that uneasy feeling that slowly but surely creeps up on you and then strikes you in a heartbeat without mercy, it's that old ghostly tale told by some kind of expert who has gone through the experience years prior, Wan knows exactly which elements that would not only scare you but would also leave you scared long after the movie's done. INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 offers all that and a bag of chips, one can even call this movie, INSIDIOUS: The Origin Of The Bride In Black. While they're dealing with what may or may not have happened to Patrick Wilson's character, they discover a certain backstory that explains the motivation for the Bride In Black. While a certain past or a certain childhood is a dealt with and as they try to close the chapter on The Lamberts, they open a new way to a possibility of the team of experts going to another family, because this is a world where The Further has taken the front seat, it has become the lead star and the face of this franchise. I think INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 won't disappoint the fans, and I guarantee you'll have a jolly good fright at the theaters.

108 out of 188 people found the following review useful:
Pumped Up and Hugely Entertaining, 25 April 2013

Finally! After that dreadful Transformers franchise, the Michael Bay who brought us those Bad Boys movies is back! PAIN & GAIN is pumped-up and hugely entertaining. Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie bring the old saying, in way over your head, to whole new level of hilarious. Their performances are like The Three Stooges with biceps. A crime comedy doesn't get better than this..

PAIN & GAIN is your textbook Michael Bay, there are beautiful girls, fast cars, that 360-degree spinning shot where the camera circles the actors, plus it's back in Miami too, the land of all kinds of colors and sunshine! Yup! PAIN & GAIN looks, feels, breaths, and benches like a Michael Bay movie, alright! Minus the giant robots, and that's a good thing in this case. I have to give props to the true story that became the basis for this movie, just the idea of three knucklehead bodybuilders chasing American dream and the mishaps that happen along the way because of their stupidity, it's practically a formula for a laugh riot, it practically begged to be made into a movie. Plus it's scripted by the screen writing team who brought us Captain America: The First Avenger, the humor that banks on the cluelessness of the three leads just keeps on coming and hitting the mark. What a great cast, including the great Tony Shalhoub and the rising star/funnywoman, Rebel Wilson who steals every scene she's in. That big girl is going to go places.

Mark Wahlberg leads the pack, but this ain't The Hangover, because all the three lead characters in PAIN & GAIN are idiots, that's the attraction, they think they have it all figured out, but they never think things through, so when things go haywire, they're forced to improvise and when they do improvise, people get hurt and even after that, they still mess up in trying to cover their tracks, it's the idea of stupid people trying to get a shortcut to fortune, some people can't handle such fortune, they mismanage it and they're left hungry again. The film probably would make the late great Tony Scott proud too, because it moves like an A-D-D person, one scene moves to the next very quickly, which also speaks about how rash the three leads are in making their moves. Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Anthony Mackie have impressive comedic timing, you should see them panicking or cornered, their performances get even more intense. I hit the gym but I don't even come close to what Wahlberg, Mackie, and Johnson do regularly, perhaps. Their biceps have biceps, that's how ridiculously massive they look on the big screen, their belief in fitness is going to make you feel quite insignificant. PAIN & GAIN may have some commentary about American Dream, on whether or not those who do achieve it actually earned it, but in the end, it's just a laugh out loud cautionary tale told through the style of Michael Bay.

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4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
The queen this wretched world deserves, 31 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN visually redefined fairy tales, it's nothing like I've ever seen before. The dark forest should get a best supporting nod for being ridiculously creepy. It plays Jedi mind tricks on your eyes. I'm sure those who've tried LSD once in their lifetime would want to get lost in that place. All joking aside, the film does have too much emphasis on the visual, which is not surprising, seeing that this is first time feature director Rupert Sanders' field of expertise, if you're familiar with his commercials especially the one for Sears' Arboretum, but the script is weak and Sanders' direction is rather uninspired. Sure the movie has all kinds of freaky fairies and gigantic troll and other mind-twisting imagery, but a film can't rely just on those. And how is it titled SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, when the strongest points are Queen Ravenna and the dwarfs?! They're practically the whole show, they steal every scene that both Snow White and the Huntsman are in…

Let me make this clear that it's going to take a while or it's going to take more than just this movie for Kristen Stewart to distance herself from her iconic role Bella. I give B for good effort but her accent comes on and off and her rage and expressions are still Bella's but I'm inclined to put the blame on first time director Sanders who may not seem to have a full understanding of characters, how they'd interact, how they'd develop, and for a guy who's good at visuals, there's no creativity in staging some of the scenes including the final battle. This movie has butterflies that could turn into some kind of giant white moose but there's nothing extraordinary or inventive about everything else. I think the concept is also flawed, the idea of making Snow White to be this kind of messy angel that everything and everyone would immediately be so in awe of, seems a bit silly. I think the huntsman and I are the only ones that don't understand why nature would just bow down without question. There's a scene where Snow White just escaped from the castle and found herself on the shores, and out of the blue just sat there a white horse as if it was waiting for her all that time, that kind of wonderment may work in Sanders' commercials but here it may cause audiences to chuckle.

Charlize Theron is a remarkable actress, let me repeat that.. Charlize Theron is a remarkable actress and her performance as Queen Ravenna is a reminder why Theron is one of all time's greatest. Evil, ruthless, and unpredictable don't even begin to describe. Theron as Ravenna would take her competition, Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror, and smash her into pieces and she'd still have some time to smile. I have to give mad credits to the costumes by Colleen Atwood, the ones worn by Ravenna faithfully follows the character, from glory to darkness to downfall. I think Chris Hemsworth does a decent job for what's given to him, considering this is the role that other actors like Hugh Jackman decided to turn down. I'm still not sure what type of accent that Hemworth acquired for the huntsman but at least you don't see THOR at all. If he can't do more, it's only because the weak script doesn't allow him to. You're gonna get a kick out of watching the dwarfized Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson and Toby Jones. These are all fantastic Brit thesps, each with a body of work that we all know about, so to see them in this format, if you will, is simply amusing and they seem to be having a blast. Sadly for actor Sam Claflin who plays prince William, he's barely visible. But then again, his role in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides wasn't that memorable either. Poor guy can't catch a break.

I think the dark forest plays a very significant supporting role in this movie and the brothers grimm would pee their pants. The dark forest and the fairies home become sort of a playground for director Rupert Sanders, he's in his element in those places, where anything goes, where imagination and terror go hand in hand. I think Sanders should not consider this first time venture, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, as failure but it's something that he could definitely take and learn from the next time he tackles something this ambitious

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1 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
May the odds be ever in your favor, Happy Hunger Games!, 20 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Unfortunately I'd have to stand in the middle on this one. I loved the book, I could read it a thousand times, the adaptation on the other hand, though not entirely terrible, does not excite me as much, but even if I hadn't read the book, I think THE HUNGER GAMES film could be so much more deeply affecting. Granted it's been months since I last read the book so I won't be making too many comparisons in this review, and I promise I won't compare it to Battle Royale. I enjoy director Gary Ross' style and the film's scope and how loud and outrageous the costumes look, the future is undeniably wacky and it doesn't mean a bad thing. The film, in my opinion, sadly tones down the violence and amps up the drama which doesn't always work, especially when the hint of romance is uncertain, it may be for show only or it may be genuine. I think PG-13 is the wrong move for this film, because to me, THE HUNGER GAMES' violence, kids killing kids, is the heart of the evidence of how cruel the government and the game truly are, it's the very essence that fuels and motivates Katniss and Peeta to survive and so taming it or leaving it to thoughts, just makes you feel like you're robbed of what should be an emotionally grounded, heart-wrenching film…

Let's start with Jennifer Lawrence, I was a huge fan of her work in Winter's Bone, she was absolutely phenomenal in that film, which obviously makes her qualify for THE HUNGER GAMES because much of the living condition of the people in District 12 is more or less similar but THE HUNGER GAMES moves quickly, I don't think it gives the audience enough time to get acquainted with how harsh life is in District 12 and what it is that Katniss would have to leave behind and how difficult it is to part from that life. Ross throws some of those in, by way of flashbacks, but it doesn't help trying to piece them together. So it comes across a bit underdeveloped but keep in mind that it's always tough when you deal with adaptations. I think Jennifer Lawrence does a fantastic job as Katniss, though there are times when it's hard to sense her emotions, there's a scene in which Katniss shoots an arrow at the direction of the gamemaker and his company because she's upset and angry but you can't really sense if that is exactly what Lawrence is expressing. But other than that, Lawrence is by no means the weakest link of the film, that said I still think Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit would'v been a more solid choice for the role.

I find it amusing that Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) who are natural blond, are now brunette and the brunette Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) has to go blond. Just an interesting note there. The costumes and the makeup are the show stealers here, I was waiting to see how they'd pull the flame/fire spectacle at the arena for the opening ceremony, well, it's not a spoiler if I tell you that nowadays you can just easily go digital, so I wasn't wowed. I think Hemsworth and Hutcherson are unable match Lawrence's talent, despite their best effort. You'd see Lawrence as Katniss giving her all and then the camera moves to either Hutcherson or Hemsworth and neither of them could meet her halfway. Donald Sutherland is a brilliant choice as President Snow, Sutherland is one of those actors that you could just hand him a role and he'll run with it, and he'll leave you with assurance that he's going to do a damn fine job with it. The other 3 interesting characters of course are Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, and Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket. Woody can play a drunk better than a drunk, so there's no problem there and when he speaks, even when he's drunk, you'd stay still and listen. I just wish they'd made Lenny look more eccentric, it's sad because they go all out for other characters and the extras but Lenny as Cinna looks too normal and ordinary. Banks knocks it out of the park as the pink-haired Effie, the way she carries herself, she's just sassy, I'd pay for another ticket just to watch her. Before I forget, Stanley Tucci as the MC Caesar Flickman is fantastic, with his big smile and ridiculously white teeth, and freakishly tall hairdo. Ryan Seacrest, eat Flickman's shorts!

For the most part, the film tries to stay faithful to the book but those of us who know better would notice how significant the changes are. I really like the design for the computer grid across the sky and also the way the gamemaker's control room is set, think if The Truman Show's director was in the future. I could go on and on and on observing and analyzing every single detail but overall, THE HUNGER GAMES has so much potential to draw you in, if it would just not hold back as much. If it would be much braver or bolder, I'm a big fan of cinematographer Tom Stern but even his work on this film seems more on the safe side, the film doesn't take enough risk. But I think the audience would follow the girl on fire anywhere she goes, at least to the sequels.

11 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Mi nombre es Armando Alvarez, 14 March 2012

What CASA DE MI PADRE couldn't fully deliver in comedy, it makes up for it in the concept, the style, and Will Ferrell's unbelievable dedication to his Spanish speaking role. Ferrell hasn't been funny in a long time in my opinion, since Anchorman, but seeing him in this different light gives some kind of new-found respect because even though his Spanish is very basic and very limited, it's more than obvious that the man gives his all. Comedy-wise, CASA DE MI PADRE works well as a satire or a parody, it's not necessarily laugh out loud but it's certainly unique I think screenwriter Andrew Steele's mistake is that he treats this movie like he did his old SNL sketches, CASA DE MI PADRE does feel like a very long SNL sketch and the humor often happens only at the end of every scene either by way of endless chuckling or a character that would smoke more than one cigar at once for no reason whatsoever, that kind of joke only goes so far, it doesn't do much to tickle your funny bone. The best comedy, to me, is when the character is desperate, when he's cornered and his reactions aren't met accordingly. CASA DE MI PADRE on the other hand, tries hard to spoof the drama of Mexican soap opera to the point where the dialogue even comes off serious. But it's a good thing that director Matt Piedmont plays it silly, thanks to the use of miniatures and puppets, fake animals, and life-size dolls. Hilarious? not exactly. Silly, you betcha! I give mad credit to Will Ferrell for taking on this gig, as I said earlier, his Spanish is basic and limited and I'm sure it must be challenging for him to stick to the script considering he's known for his habit of going improv. His character, Armando Alvarez, is goody two-shoes, hopeless romantic, passionate, considered coward by everybody else but he's actually got some cojones, he's the kind of man who fights for his woman. Y Tu Mama Tambien guys, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are strong supporting actors in this film, those two fellas aren't strangers to each others' rhythm, it's one of those cases where you just roll the cameras and let them do their magic. New hottie in town, Genesis Rodriguez who plays the female lead, is beautiful and captivating. I think the movie tries its best to balance the tone between the comedy and the whole drug-trafficking commentary, but sometimes it's done at the expense of the comedy. The entire opening credit sequence, with a song by Christina Aguilera, looks like a James Bond opening theme for a Mexican Godfather movie if there ever was one. CASA DE MI PADRE pokes fun at old Mexican movies, Spaghetti western and cheesy Telenovelas. And all I can say is.. finally, Will Ferrell is worth watching again.

3 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Are you ready for a lifetime of badasses?, 13 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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I had my doubts about this, because I grew up watching the original series and so the idea for the movie version to go raunchy comedy instead of serious drama, was a bit off-putting at first. But 21 JUMP STREET proves me wrong. Jonah Hill and screenwriter Michael Bacall's sense of humor targets those of us who loved Superbad. And Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller clearly were having a blast with the drug jokes, teen party, and the F-bombs and other juvenile mishaps, the movie is filled with one relevant pop culture reference after another. 21 JUMP STREET may not be consistently funny but it has all the elements of an exciting buddy cop comedy. And the surprise cameos by some of the notable faces from the original series, (SPOILER ALERT) Holly Robinson Pete, Peter DeLouise, and Johnny Depp make the movie all the more special…

The original series 21 JUMP STREET was basically about undercover cops handling youth crime, plain and simple, I remember it being a character driven story. The movie, though R-rated comedy, does a damn good job to respect that. It seems as if Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum's characters find themselves in the same division that Depp and the gang used to work in back in the '80s but times have changed now, leadership has changed, even the hierarchy and what's considered cool and not cool in high schools have changed.

2 people from different backgrounds, one's a jock, the other is a nerd, are forced to become friends in the Police Academy when they discover that they could progress if they'd just help each other out. They think being cops are being 24/7 badasses everyday, little do they know that most of the duties require patrolling and paperwork and routines, things that they don't care too much for. 21 JUMP STREET's comedy plays on stereotype but not in a mean, tasteless way, it's more playful and like a wink and a nudge. The jock, played by Tatum, is a handsome devil but an airhead. The nerd, played by Hill, is a bit heavy and insecure. The perfect odd couple. The comedy could get outrageous, it's got different steps or levels of drug effects and some of the scenes do drag a bit, the investigation is not too complex, but the script is surprisingly well-structured, I said surprisingly because I was just expecting the worst. Both the jock and the nerd finally get themselves to tap into a side of themselves they never knew they had all along.

If you don't think Hill deserved his Oscar nod for Moneyball, you'd think twice before making that argument the next time, because the dude is hella talented, he's a young actor who responds to his role positively no matter how dumb the role would require him to behave. Tatum's comedic timing comes with him being able to confidently stand in the middle of confusion and awkwardness, he probably channels some of that from being considered a hunk by ladies in real life on a daily basis. Ice Cube as the loud, hot-head Lieutenant is a treat to watch, the same goes for Brie Larson who I'm betting will surely but slowly become the next starlet, you just wait and see. The movie pays homage to the series, it doesn't disrespect it at all, in fact, the cameos by the original stars serve as a way for them to say goodbye to their old roles and pass the torch on to Hill and Tatum; to wish them well. This is one comedy that gets me hoping for a sequel

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Footnote (2011)
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Envy is a funny thing, 24 February 2012

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FOOTNOTE is an Israeli film that's Oscar-nominated this year for Foreign language category and I can see why it received the nod. It's quite possibly one of the funniest rivalry stories I've ever watched, and what makes the dilemma even more complicated is that it's between father and son. I think it's a well-made film, it's funny, it has its charms, you'll enjoy writer/director Joseph Cedar's way of telling you the backstories of each character, some of the scenes interestingly move like microform reel, those of us who didn't grow up knowing anything about Talmud or Jewish culture would get a slight education on one of some of the things they regard highly over there, but halfway through the film, it loses its attraction, it doesn't engage you enough, and ultimately it ends itself in somewhat of a tactless manner…

Eliezer is the father and Uriel is the son and they both share the same last name, and that's where the misunderstanding plays its card. Both individuals dabble in the same literature but the father is old-school and stubborn and even though the film doesn't come out and say it, he may also suffer from some kind of autism or something that keeps him from desiring any social contact unless it's meant to celebrate him, or perhaps he's just introverted to the extreme. The son is more progressive, people are fond of him, and he enjoys the success that his father has always wishes he had. So when a certain prestigious award mistakes one for the other, Uriel is faced with the dilemma of what is the right thing to do. After he makes his decision, his father goes off and discredits his son's work. It's a pretty sad and tough family dynamics, if you think about it, because on the father's case, it's envy that turns into bitterness that turns into gloat, on the son's side it's wanting to live up to his father that turns into generosity that turns into feelings betrayed. Writer/director Cedar designs it so that things would escalate to the point where there is no other option but to openly confront each other, although oddly enough, the film never gives us that luxury.

The comedy aspect of it is very enjoyable, Cedar takes us through awkward room sizes and you'll get the giggles from watching Elizer putting on his giant headset, shutting everything around him down just to get some silence, and for the old professors roles, Cedar casts actors who look just like the stereotype, they look unintentionally amusing. Embedded in the competition is also a the theme of whether or not you are your father's son or if you are your own person. Uriel seems distraught and offended when his own son doesn't make any effort to win his love, like he used to do with his own father. Both Eliezer and Uriel are obsessed with the idea that success can only be found in one's achievements and accomplishments and the recognition from your peers, and how one can be better at that than everybody else, so much so that they're missing out one what's truly important, each other. I think FOOTNOTE is a very unique family dynamics film that deserves attention at the very least.

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Bullhead (2011)
17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
Belgian Masterpiece.., 24 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one dark drama that blows my mind, it is that damn good! Wrapped in a blanket of revenge and crime tale is a heart-wrenching unrequited love story and Actor Matthias Schoenaerts gives a towering performance as a man who doesn't feel like he could fully function because of a certain childhood tragedy that left him traumatized for the rest of his life. Everything about this movie, from the direction to the design to the cinematography has Oscars written all over it. Hollywood could not come up with a story as powerful as this Gripping, from start to finish, writer/director Michael Roskam created this character Jacky (Schoenaerts) who's extremely complex, engulfed in anger and sadness and despair, all those emotions just screaming to get out of their protective wall that is Jacky's massive, intimidating physical appearance. The tragedy that Roskam presents is the kind that you wouldn't easily shake off or forget for days after. I as a male viewer, find that particular scene disturbing and painful to watch. So much so that you share Jacky's anger, you'd find it easy to justify his actions, and you'd want him to enact his revenge and throw whatever mercy he has left out the window and all because he was not given a chance of mercy as a kid. Roskam has created a tragedy so deeply affecting that it makes it difficult for the audience to accept the idea that the story might take a detour down redemption lane because revenge seems like a much more comforting option. BULLHEAD is also somewhat a gangster film, it's also got its own murder mystery, undercover cop, and it's set in a rural farming community and so the mob depicted in this film doesn't look as stylized as the mob that you grew up watching in Hollywood cinema. In BULLHEAD, the bad guys are just trying to get by, just like everybody else. At one point, Jacky looks at the cattle in the barn and compares their lives as humans to the cattle, which serves as this film's profundity His friend helps him do his final bidding, that which he hopes would turn out as planned, sadly his presence is met with fear by the woman he professes to, which brings him to the conclusion that he could never escape his damaged condition, which is why the end scene makes the entire film feels even more distressing, some stories and some characters are just not meant to end on a happy note. BULLHEAD is a one of a kind masterpiece.

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