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The Green Hornet (2011)
Good, Entertaining Hero Flick, but Never Does Surpass the Standard Boundaries
Let me just start off by saying I have never seen the original film serials, or TV show, or read the comic books. The only thing I know about The Green Hornet is everything I've seen in this movie, so I can only judge the Green Hornet in this movie and everything this movie is in itself.
In my opinion, the best way to describe this movie is to say it's what happens if you put Kick-Ass with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. (Both fantastic movies by the way, and to be completely honest, both superior to this one.) It's a good mix, but not one that takes full advantage of what made each movie a stand-out, either.
As a superhero movie this was only just above average. Somehow I envisioned this to be so much more, especially with Michael Gondry's direction. I recently read a newspaper review that stated Gondry's spectacular imagination is what sets this movie off. In my opinion that's only half correct. True, when his vision is put into full use, it's great, and makes good use of the 3D. However these moments are few and far between in the movie. Personally I found they could have benefited so much more if they made it more like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in terms of visual style. SPvtW was truly visionary in style and execution. It also had a great balance between humour and action, something I felt this movie lacked, and as a result, the pacing of the movie is off at times. I think it's safe to say that one would be better off going into this movie for laughs, and not for the action, as there is definitely less of the latter. Perhaps this was what they were aiming for, as The Green Hornet is not like other superheroes, but I constantly found myself expecting one thing and then getting another, and consequently found the story of the movie to be quite unbalanced and jumpy. The action scenes are good, but to me it's not what the movie is about, or what makes it. The humour is better employed in this way.
Christoph Waltz and Cameron Diaz, in my opinion, were ill-used. They could have done so much more with Waltz, who, fresh from an Oscar win, could have really brought a whole new level to the comedic villain role if given more to work with. Diaz's character I thought was an empty eggshell. She isn't the damsel in distress, but she isn't the kick-ass female character either. She was just the female character for Rogen's Britt Reid to keep going back to, a remedy for his problems, a point of reference in the movie for the male protagonists and never anything more. Sure, she didn't become his girlfriend in the end, but this declaration of independence is less a statement than a delay of the inevitable we know, in one sequel or another, she will end up with him, because in the context of the story, she doesn't seem to have any other purpose.
This movie will probably not make a dent in the world of superhero movies or movies in general, but still, it is a fun way to suspend realism and pass an afternoon. Definitely give it a try if you like Seth Rogen and/or superhero movies, but don't go in expecting The Dark Knight.
Easy A (2010)
Something Different - Something Better.
Easy A is so different to the usual teen comedies in a really good way, mainly because the story is so original. Highlights were definitely Emma Stone, Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. Emma Stone is truly the next it girl. It's mainly her nuanced, perfectly-timed and well-thought-out acting that makes Olive endearing, and not just one of those girls in a teen movie that goes all-out-klutzy and is forgettable because she's just like all the others. This is partly due to how her character was written, so kudos to Bert V. Royal for churning out someone different.
I also LOVED the John Hughes and 80s teen movies references. It really shows how different this film is because of how aware and respectful it is towards the truly great teen movies of the 80s. It doesn't forget where it comes from, or what inspired it, and go off on a tangent of clichés and inane characters. It has themes that can be universally applied to anyone and not just restricted to high school, which makes it mean more in real life, and proves it's not just another teen comedy advertising sex, nudity and getting drunk. It has what most movies of this genre don't even care to think about - true heart. And when you have that, everything else - good acting, writing and direction - can form naturally around it.
How do you make something perfect imperfect? You make something truly superior.
I have always been in the pro-Avatar team. I personally and truly believed it was one of the most perfect pieces of modern cinema. Say what you will about the writing and acting, but the directing, cinematography and CGI all trump the cons and elevate it to a superior cinematic standing practically unmatched. That is, until I saw Inception.
If you hated Avatar and the rating it got, well you haven't got anything on my reaction after seeing Inception. I'm actually ashamed at where they stand now in comparison to each other (though I previously believed Avatar should be one of the highest rated films on IMDb). If Avatar deserves an 8.4, then Inception should get at least a 9.7. If Inception gets a 9.3, then Avatar should be an 8.1. Either way something has to change, because Inception is so near perfect in every cinematic aspect it is truly astounding. The sequences in the film were some of, if not the best, I have ever seen. Genius does not even begin to describe Mr. Nolan. He is truly a cinematic God.
The perfection of Inception cannot be defined by a number. I cannot just say it is an eight, or a nine, or a ten. It is in fact infinite. Think of it this way. No matter how good anyone thinks Inception will be, it will ALWAYS turn out to be many times better. Even if you were prepared to think it as the pinnacle of cinema. Every expectation I had of this film was not simply exceeded they were completely blown out of the water.
I've watched a lot of movies in my life; most of them in cinemas, and most of them on opening day. And I have quite honestly never felt a reaction at the end of a film like that of Inception. There was quite literally a moment of awed silence followed by a unanimous wow. People actually stayed until the end of the credits not because they were waiting for a final scene but because they were deep in talk about the film already and literally did not want to leave the cinema at all. This is what filmmakers have always tried to achieve, and what Christopher Nolan not only succeeded in doing, but succeeded in doing in such a superior way. This film captures everything that is superb about Christopher Nolan, about his filmmaking, about his films. It is all his fantastic films wrapped into one, and that's what makes it his best, and why you should believe in the hype surrounding this man and this film.
I cannot of course speak for everybody, and this may not be the best film you will ever see. But I am willing to bet it will certainly be one of the best films anyone will ever see. If there's one movie that you're going to see twice this year (believe me, once is not enough), it will be Inception. I'm already pooling money to see it win Best Picture in 2011. And that DiCaprio, Page, Hardy, Cotillard and Gordon-Levitt will at least be nominated. It will be a cinematic shame if they weren't.
Forget wormholes and time-travel. The new era is dreams.
Glee: The Power of Madonna (2010)
One of the Best Glee Episodes Ever!
This episode was fantastic! All the Glee episodes are amazing, but this one was a standout. I loved how they took the best of Madonna and used it to incorporate the ideas of female empowerment, while still managing to put the signature Glee fun into it. Not only that, but they showed the guys seeing it from and accepting the girls' point of view too - the best of both worlds. It was one of the most fun 1 hour of television I have ever experienced. This episode's effect on audiences shows how Glee is a game-changer in the world of television. It is changing the way people view TV and deserves all the merit it gets. It's one of the best and most hard-working shows on TV, and this episode is proof of that.
This special episode is microcosmic of the show's values and for all that it stands for and presents. For Gleeks it is a must, and for everyone else still essential viewing!
When in Rome (2010)
Oh my God...
I honestly cannot decide which is worse, this or The Bounty Hunter. They have both been the worst releases this year. If this is what romantic comedies are now, then I'm giving up on the genre entirely. After watching The Bounty Hunter, I thought things could not possibly get worse. But here I am.
Most bad movies have some reasonably highish points. This movie has positively none. There is no character development (and no, the ending with the guys does NOT count). The acting is just sub-par. The writing, I don't even want to talk about. It started this whole chain of disaster. The only reason I'm giving this a five and not a two is because I believe effort alone, no matter how bad the outcome, deserves merit. Kudos to them for that. But really, I'd rather do a 5000 word essay than go through this again. I actually felt dumbed down.
The Lovely Bones (2009)
As Close To Living Up To The Book As It Can Get Give It a Chance!
I did, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I had waited a long time for this movie and had high expectations for it, especially since the novel is one of my favourite books. But then I had to lower them a bit after reading all the negative comments about Jackson's use of CGI. Am I the only one who enjoyed and loved it? I admit he could have made it less dramatic towards the end after the denouement, but I understand what he was trying to achieve. He took the novel's main themes and tied them together using the CGI ravelling and unravelling them in accordance with the characters' lives. What he was trying to represent is that sometimes there are higher forces governing our thoughts, our desires, our paths. Sometimes we are unable to control the things that happen to us and the people we love because these things are bigger than what we alone have to face. And sometimes, even in the face of something ugly and horrendous and destructive, there is something beautiful waiting underneath it all and though it is fragile and delicate beneath the destructive forces, it is something that can always be fixed if it's broken. It's human connection. Or, as Susie says, the Lovely Bones.
Susie's heaven is not meant to be of this world. It is meant to be her own world, at the same time nowhere and everywhere at once, made up of her own feelings, thoughts and desires. I loved Jackson's use of CGI to depict this, because its use in itself is symbolic Susie's world is something of the imagination but at the same time real, the place in-between, and Jackson's use of CGI is not to flamboyantly embellish the details of the story but to simply depict this, and to directly contrast the scenes of Susie's family, which are at once grounded and emotionally raw, real and cathartic. The difference between the natural and the preternatural also serves to emphasise Susie's lasting connection to the temporal that even though she was part of a world that was disconnected to the one in which her family remained, her connection to her father in particular drew the two worlds into alignment. So Jackson's, and ultimately Sebold's, message triumphs: that love even through death and separation survives, and that people, with it, can learn to move past the loss and grief, but not without further appreciating the things and people around them, and move on. Jackson's CGI played an important part in communicating this message and so it deserves its place in the movie and makes it worth watching.
The performances in this movie are very worth mentioning too. It doesn't happen often that one can view multiple award-worthy performances in a single film but it happens here, with the fantastic performances of Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and in particular Stanley Tucci and Sairose Ronan pulling the film along strongly and accomplishing more in this single movie as actors than most can in numerous ones. Where the CGI calls upon the audience's opthalmic sense, it is the performances that enable one to really feel the characters, the story and the tone of the film. I am very grateful towards, the casting director, because I could not have asked for better actors to fit or portray these characters.
So, my conclusion: go see it. At worst you will see a tragic but beautifully told tale of a family's fight for answers and understanding in the aftermath of devastation. But at best, you will come away with a significantly memorable experience that will break your heart and mend it beautifully.
Sorority Row (2009)
I had Expectations for This Movie - and it Exceeded Them!
This movie has enough frights & thrills to make you jump multiple times, but it's not just that that makes the movie for me. What makes this film different from all of the recent mediocre horror films is that it is very much character and dialogue driven. The characters become as compelling as the plot itself and you actually find yourself starting to care about these characters. The dialogue shoots back and forth between the characters and further builds up the suspense until the final revelation. The suspense is very well drawn-out - it doesn't reveal the killer too early and it doesn't make you impatient for the end. The resulting finale is a big bang and not disappointing at all.
The acting was also a cut above the rest - I didn't cringe at the lame screams or badly-acted terrified facial expressions because there weren't any. Kudos to all the girls because they gave performances beyond what I expected would be given.
This movie doesn't deserve any awards, because it doesn't want any. Thinking about this movie is useless; if you want a movie that makes you think then go catch Inglorious Basterds. This film is meant to entertain, and entertain it did. It's what most horror films today should be. This movie has set a standard which all subsequent horror films (especially teen horrors) should follow.
Just let yourself be drawn in instead of attempting to guess who the killer is and ruining the experience for yourself. If you just go in with a blank mind and just leave all you doubts at the door you will enjoy it as it is and not blame it for being what it's not afterwards.
I hadn't watched the 1983 version before going in, but I have no doubt in my mind that this remake is at least as good as, if not better, than the original film. As a film, I give it a 7. But as a horror film, it definitely deserves an 8. I loved every moment of this movie. Completely worth my money.