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BernardoPinto

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233 reviews in total 
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11:14 (2003)
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Well executed but a bit pointless, 26 June 2010
6/10

At 11:14 PM on one fatal evening, previously unconnected lives connect for the first time, with fatal consequences for some. The film slowly unveils five separate tales as the characters unwittingly careen towards each other... 11.14 is composed by interrelated sets of situations and characters like Crash (2004) or Babel (2006) and I have to say that the film was incredibly well executed. Technically speaking, it's almost flawless. But unlike Crash and Babel, 11:14 is more of a dark comedy/ thriller-noir then a drama per se.

Unfortunately, the plot isn't that interesting and in the end the film comes trough as a bit pointless. It all seems like a simple series of events that had consequences and not a straight narrative line. I just don't think it's a story worth telling, besides I felt that the story was in service of the narrative gimmick and not the other way around. On a more positive note, the film has a great pace and is somewhat engaging. The cast did a good job as well. All in all, it's a decent watch but I would skip it.

6/10

The Mist (2007)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Bland and boring, 24 June 2010
5/10

After a vicious storm wreaks havoc in their small town in Maine, artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) heads out to the town supermarket for some much-needed supplies with his young son, Billy (Nathan Gamble), and his neighbor, Norton (Andre Braugher), in tow. Their trip soon turns to terror when a menacing white mist settles in, leaving this group of locals and out-of-towners fighting for survival against an unknown, bloodthirsty enemy. When the local religious zealot (Marcia Gay Harden) begins to convince the group that the mist is punishment from God, Drayton and his cohorts realize that they may be trapped inside with an enemy just as dangerous as whatever is lurking outside. Tension runs high in this tale as the trapped group faces difficult moral decisions. Should they stay and wait out the terror, or make a break for it and risk suffering a terrible fate?

The Mist is an incredibly bland film. There's that mysterious atmosphere and a little bit of tension because of the unknown but nothing really that excites you. The film also has this claustrophobic sensation, not because the action takes place in the same spot during the entire film but because the plot is always the same. There's all kinds of nasty cgi monsters, some little, some big, some with wings, some with tentacles and then there's the group of civilians who have to defend themselves and this goes on for more then an hour. Plus, the film isn't scary at all, more disgusting and nasty then anything else. At one point the film turns into a morality play but by then I was completely exhausted and fed up.

The acting was solid and the film was well directed, but as I said, the script (which is inspired by a Stephen King novella) doesn't do anything for me. We've seen this kind of story hundreds of times, it's just not that effective anymore, at least for me.

5/10

1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Entertaining even if a bit tiring after a while, 23 June 2010
6/10

An FBI counter-terrorism team and a black-ops agent are assigned to interrogate an American Muslim man, Yusuf aka Younger (Sheen) who claims to have nuclear bombs planted in three U.S. cities. Using extreme torture as a method of interrogation, 'H' (Samuel L. Jackson) attempts to force Yusuf (Sheen) to reveal the locations of the nuclear bombs. Also involved is Special Agent Helen Brody of the FBI who initially strongly disapproves of the methods 'H' uses. At the same time, Brody's team tries to determine the locations of the bombs using other information. As the interrogation begins, 'H' displays the sorts of methods he uses when he straps Yusuf's arm onto a table and chops off one of his fingers with a small hatchet. Surprised by this, Special Agent Brody questions the military commander about the rights of American citizens but is told that anything that could be done, would be done to get the locations of the nuclear bombs. As the story progresses, 'H' warns everyone that he would do the unthinkable if necessary and escalates his methods as Yusuf continues to refuse to cooperate.

First of all, I'm won't get into the political stuff but yes, arguably this film could be seen as propaganda, as pro-torture but I don't think that was the director's intent and I prefer to analyze the film for what it is, a film, meant to entertain. And the film accomplishes just that. Right from the beginning you get sucked in by this story. Is it really happening or is it a hoax? Does Yusuf plan to kill millions or does he have ulterior motifs ? And then, obviously, there's the big moral debate. As "H" torture becomes more violent and vicious, we the spectators start to wonder, how far is too far? What is justifiable?

There's certainly a lot of room for debate and that's probably what the film was trying to accomplish, to get people thinking. I have to say that despite being very entertaining, the film does get a bit too tiring. Also, this film is not for everyone. Some of the torture scenes are pretty nasty, be advised. Samuel L Jackson and Carrie-Anne Moss were both good in the lead roles but they were completely outshined by Michael Sheen's performance. And what a performance it was; incredibly intense, agonizing and all around some of the best acting I've seen this year. Overall, Unthinkable is pretty entertaining and a solid thriller but it's also a bit simplistic and "one tone". Probably worth seeing if you're a big fan of the genre.

6.5/10

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Insightful and somewhat interesting, 21 June 2010
6/10

John Brzenk isn't a household name unless you follow the sport of arm wrestling -- but if you do, Brzenk is to his sport what Michael Jordan is to basketball or Muhammad Ali is to boxing. Born in 1964, Brzenk began competing seriously at age 16, and two years later he won his first world championship. Since then, Brzenk has been the man to beat in any serious international competition, and he has held the world arm wrestling championship for close to a quarter of a century. But at the age of 40, Brzenk finds himself facing the same questions that vex any great athlete.Should he retire while he's still at the top, or wait for time, age and stronger, younger competitors to strip him of his title?

This documentary also profiles two men regarded as likely candidates to take Brzenk's place as arm wrestling's king of the mountain -- Alexey Voevoda, a Russian from a long line of military heroes who wants to bring the championship home to his country, and Travis Bagent, a spirited young American who has followed Brzenk's career since he was a child and sees himself as the heir to his throne.

I thought Pulling John was an interesting documentary. I had no contact at all with arm wrestling; I didn't even know that there are official tournaments and it was nice to get a bit of insight into an overlooked sport that very few people talk about. At the same time, the subject is a bit limited. We are given some information about the beginnings of the sport and how it has evolved, the different techniques and so forth but let's not kid ourselves; in the end it's two guys trying to pull each other's arm. There's not a whole lot to talk about. That's why Pulling John focuses almost completely in this 3 individuals. Travis Bagent, the up-and-coming American who's extremely loud and obnoxious, Alexey Voevoda, the calm and collected Russian and Brzenk, the living legend. The human component is definitely what makes this documentary an interesting watch. Overall, it's quite entertaining and insightful, specially for someone who isn't familiarized with the sport of arm wrestling but it's not a great documentary by any means.

6.5/10

United 93 (2006)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Terrible first hour saved by extremely emotional and gut-wrenching final third, 18 June 2010
6/10

Four young Arabians prepared themselves physical and spiritually in order to hijack flight United 93, the night before the fatal 11-S-2001. Same day, other three planes were hijacked as well and reached their targets: The World Trade Center and The Pentagon. British director Paul Greengrass gives a close version about what could possible happened inside the plane, basing upon the last recordings from the pilot cabin and the telephone calls made by the passengers to their beloveds. The movie shows how the passengers tried to subdue the terrorists, one of them with a bomb tied to his waist, once they had killed both pilots and one of the passengers. Meanwhile, we see the prevailing crisis in the Air Traffic Control, trying to deal with a situation which leads to close all the country's aerial space. Despite the courage of the passengers, the United Airlines' plane, with an original route to San Francisco, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, without reaching its target, located in Washington D.C.

Watched The Green Zone yesterday, also by Paul Greengrass and decided to check some of his earlier work. United 93 seemed like a good choice even thought I knew it would be hard to watch. I have to say that the first half of the film, which shows the FAA and the military finding out slowly that several planes have been hijacked is extremely dull. I realize they're portraying what happened as best as possible but seeing these two groups (which were completely unprepared) dealing with the situation, looking at radars, using jargon and so forth, does not make for good cinema. It was absolutely excruciating and I nearly gave up on watching United 93.

Having said that, the final third of the film which shows a group of passengers rallying up and together conjuring a plan to take over the plane from the hijackers was incredibly well done and extremely emotional. I found myself thinking "Come on, kill that Mother*****!" as the passengers started to fight the hijackers, such was the emotion of what was being portrayed on the screen. It truly was gut-wrenching. Unfortunately, everyone knows the outcome of this story, the plane crashed, no one survived. Still, what these group of passengers tried to do is nothing short of amazing, and for that sole reason they deserve their story to be told. I wish that instead of what we saw in the first half, Greengrass had shown us perhaps the background of some of this characters, or the simple mundane events in their lives prior to the flight as it would have made for a much better film.

6.5/10

Green Zone (2010)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Solid piece of entertainment, 18 June 2010
7/10

During the U.S.-led occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Damon) and his team of Army inspectors were dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby-trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover-up that inverts the purpose of their mission. Spun by operatives with intersecting agendas, Miller must hunt through covert and faulty intelligence hidden on foreign soil for answers that will either clear a rogue regime or escalate a war in an unstable region. And at this blistering time and in this combustible place, he will find the most elusive weapon of all is the truth.

The Green Zone is the latest collaboration between director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon. The result? A very solid thriller (part political, part actioner) about the war in Iraq. The film is electrifying, chaotic and moves at an incredible pace. Plus, despite having been shot in Spain and Morocco, the film has a very, very authentic look. There was been a lot of complaining and criticizing about the "shaky camera". While I'll agree that sometimes it was a bit too much, for the most part, I thought it was very effective. The acting was alright, nothing outstanding (with the exception of Khalid Abdalla who played Freddy, the Iraqi informer,he was surprisingly very good) but not bad at all.

The fact of the matter is that this a film that completely focuses on the plot and on the story that's being told so, even if they wanted to, the actors couldn't showcase much. Brendan Gleeson, who played a CIA officer comes to mind, he wasn't bad but his role could have been played by any other actor. Unlike most political films, The Green Zone is very easy to follow and although the plot might be a little simplistic, Paul Greengrass did his research and the plot is not that far from what really happened. Plus the main characters were all based on real life individuals. There's no question that the film poses some interesting questions. Overall, a solid piece of entertainment.

7.5/10

Exam (2009)
109 out of 127 people found the following review useful:
Low-budget gem, 8 June 2010
7/10

Eight talented candidates have reached the final stage of selection to join the ranks of a mysterious and powerful corporation. Entering a windowless room, an Invigilator gives them eighty minutes to answer one simple question. He outlines three rules they must obey or be disqualified: don't talk to him or the armed guard by the door, don't spoil their papers and don't leave the room. He starts the clock and leaves. The candidates turn over their question papers, only to find they're completely blank. Soon enough, the candidates begin to uncover each other's background, prejudices and hidden agendas. Tensions rise as the clock steadily descends towards zero, and each candidate must decide how far they are willing to go to secure the ultimate job.

Exam is a gem of a film. This low budget psychological thriller is very clever, incredibly entertaining and the production values are all far better then you would expect from such an unknown film. It's tense, mysterious and has a great atmosphere, and more importantly it stimulates your brain. It's impossible to not get caught up in the story and try to figure out just what the hell is actually going on. It couldn't be more engaging.

There's not one well-known actor in this cast and yet, for the most part, the acting was great. One actor, Luke Mably, really stood out though. But what really made the film work was undeniably, the impeccable direction. In conclusion, Exam is a great low-budget thriller that puts many Hollywood blockbusters to shame. Definitely worth seeing and I'll be sure to check Stuart Hazeldine's next project after such a promising debut.

7.5/10

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Sweet and endearing but still, only average., 8 June 2010
6/10

Kirk (Jay Baruchel) was languishing in a dead-end job as an airport security agent when he somehow managed to earn the affections of the successful and drop-dead gorgeous Molly (Alice Eve). Even Kirk isn't exactly sure what Molly sees in him, though he's willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work. But as his friends point out, he's a 5 and Molly's a hard 10. With his friends, family, and ex-girlfriend all watching stunned from the sidelines, Kirk discovers that he'll have to work overtime in order to convince Molly that he's worth hanging on to.

She's Out of My League is a slightly above average little comedy. It's actually more sweet and endearing then funny. Maybe that's why it worked well. The worst moments of the film are probably when it is trying to hard to make the viewer laugh. Still, there's quite a few jokes and silly scenarios that will make anyone at least smile and giggle. In all honesty, the film doesn't bring anything new to the table, it's a mixture of previously done ideas and recycled plots. Still, it was quite entertaining and the story moves at a very fast pace.

Jay Baruchel was awkward and painfully weird during the entire film but that's exactly what this role required of him. The gorgeous Alice Eve was charming and vibrant and very convincing as leading actress. They had good chemistry. The supporting cast was not bad also. Overall, it's a nice entertaining little comedy that mocks (with reason) with today's society which is completely obsessed with looks and being perfect.

6.5/10

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Flawed but has some great elements to it..., 5 June 2010
7/10

In Remember me, Robert Pattinson plays Tyler, a rebellious young man in New York City who has a strained relationship with his father (Pierce Brosnan) ever since tragedy separated their family. Tyler didn't think anyone could possibly understand what he was going through until the day he met Ally (Emilie de Ravin) through an unusual twist of fate. Love was the last thing on his mind, but as her spirit unexpectedly heals and inspires him, he begins to fall for her. Through their love, he begins to find happiness and meaning in his life. But soon, hidden secrets are revealed, and the circumstances that brought them together slowly threaten to tear them apart.

I was looking forward to watch this film because I remember seeing the trailer a few months ago and thinking it looked quite promising. I've got to say that I find Remember Me (which was teared apart by the critics) a very interesting film with some great elements. Unfortunately, the film has quite a bit of flaws as well, major ones that really bring the film down. For instance, the plot line of how Tyler and Ally meet has been used a thousand times before. Starting with the actors, I was curious as to what Pattinson would be able to do with this character. I think the Twilight films are ridiculous but I don't hold it against him. He seems a promising actor. He just needs to find good projects and get rid of the "teen sensation" thing. Once again he's playing a brooding, introverted character (which granted, are probably the most fun to play) but if he doesn't deviate from that kind of role quickly he'll probably find himself typecast. Having said that, I did enjoy his performance. However his American accent was a bit weak.

Same thing goes for Emilie de Ravin. At times, I felt like was watching a dubbed version of the film. De Ravin aka Claire from Lost, he's a limited actress, and if you have seen her in her previous works you'll notice the same facial expressions, same body language, same mannerisms and so forth but again, in the context of this film, it worked. Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan and Lena Ollin had too little screen time and the film didn't focus that much on their characters and therefor I don't think their performances are worth judging. And then there was, Tate Ellington, who plays Tyler's roommate, Aidan. This guy might just be the worst actor I have ever seen and sadly, he had plenty of screen time in the first half of the film. His performance was absolutely cringe-worthy and the moments where he was on the screen were borderline unbearable. He also failed miserably as a comic relief.

On a more positive note, I think the Remember me has very good characterization, great cinematography and a beautiful (even if subtle) soundtrack. The film definitely has that sleek minimal look that seems to be so in vogue. I was completely shocked by the twist in the end. It's pretty obvious from the beginning that the film is gonna end in a sad note but what an emotional sucker punch! The extremely powerful ending serves as a delivery device for the message of the film which is beautiful and of maximum importance. In conclusion, the film has some flaws that hurt the film badly but in the end the good outweighs the bad and overall it was a very good watch.

7/10

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Pleasant surprise, 27 May 2010
7/10

Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is a 16-year-old who is an outcast of his generation. He meets Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday), an intellectual and beautiful girl. The only people really standing in his way are Sheeni's poetry-writing ex-boyfriend Trent (Jonathan B. Wright), Nick's temperamental divorced parents (Steve Buscemi and Jean Smart), and Nick's mom's boyfriends (Zach Galifianakis and Ray Liotta). When Nick realizes she is not interested, he comes up with an alter-ego, named François Dillinger, who resembles Nick, but has blue eyes, a mustache, a deeper voice, and a player/bad boy attitude to help him with his pursuit of Sheeni. But when François makes Nick a wanted criminal, everything spins out of control.

Youth in Revolt was actually a pleasant surprise. A nice little comedy that is at least one or two notches above the swarm of comedies released every year. The film is quite entertaining and funny. More quirky then funny but that doesn't mean you won't laugh out loud from that time to time. Just don't expect a riot. Most of the jokes are more on the clever/ironic side then just the usual cut and dry crude joke that seem to be so in vogue.

The entire cast did a great job but Michael Cera obviously stands out. He's a bit one note during the entire film but that actually works in his favor since he can then compensate and go a bit over the top with the François persona. Overall, nothing outstanding but a nice watch.

7/10


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