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No Country for Old Men may quite possibly be the best Coen brothers
film to date. From the two men who brought you The Big Lebowski (one of
the best comedies of the 90's) Fargo (one of the best drama's of the
90's) and O Brother Where Art Thou? (one of the most beautifully
crafted films of 2000) comes this film. If you thought nothing could
ever top those three films you are in for a big surprise, No Country
for Old Men is not only the best film of 2007 but also one of the best
films of the new millennium. It is the nearest to perfection one can
get. It is, simply, a modern masterpiece.
The story revolves around Llewelyn Moss, a retired worker who hunts antelope in the deserts of Texas. One day Moss stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and also $2 million in cash. Moss takes it and flees only to have a Mexican gang and a sinister assassin by the name of Anton Chigurh. Along the way several men become part of the fray including a sheriff about to retire and a rival assassin of Chigurh's. The story follows that of Llewelyn mostly but Tommy Lee Jones as Sheriff Bell also plays a significant role. In the end it is more then a battle of wits between Moss and Chigurh, it is a battle of good and evil.
First off the acting in the film is among the best I've seen since American Beauty. Brolin, Jones, and Bardem are all Oscar worthy in my opinion. Brolin delivers the perfect portrayal of a man on the run who knows how to use his brain. We don't see Brolin running around shooting at everything that moves, instead the Coens' let us view Moss using his brain which makes the film way more interesting. Brolin's mild manner mix perfectly for the mold of Llewelyn Moss. Overall a great protagonist created by the Coens' and a great portrayal by Josh Brolin, a man we don't see too much of these days.
By far the best acting I've seen by a person this decade comes from that of Spanish actor Javier Bardem as the cold hearted Anton Chigurh. Chigurh sent shivers down my spine every time he spoke and every time he moved. His calm demeanor, mixed with his sociopathic mind makes him simply haunting. What made him the most frightening is that he is so believable. He is smart and deadly but also very much believable and very unique. Instead of the cast mold for villains in cinema (kill, kill, kill), McCarthy makes Chigurh more of like the Angel of Death, deciding who dies by the flip of a coin. His weapon of choice is unique, even how he talks is quite different from most villains of the day. I could easily see a story about a murder like this guy appearing in a paper. While Chigurh is silent and many would portray him as a one-dimensional antagonist, Bardem brings life and soul to the character. This is not the Coen's or McCarthy's work but Bardem's work that makes Javier Chigurh the greatest villain since Hannibal Lecter and one of the greatest in cinema history. Javier Bardem, to say the least, is simply brilliant.
I have few complaints about the film. Many people found a problem with the ending. I had no problems with it. I was thoroughly satisfied as I walked out of the late show. The Coens' make you think. They don't make everything obvious which most directors do. They make an audience think and that is what they do in No Country for Old Men. The movie takes us into the relationship of good and evil and some beautiful scenes are shown to explain how these two interact everyday. The film will shake you up, make you think, and always have you looking over your shoulder expecting to see the red eyes of Chigurh with his coin ready to decide your fate.
No Country for Old Men had me thinking about it for days after. The symbolic meanings of the characters and the speech at the end, the amazing, three-dimensional characters, the beautiful story that is crafted perfectly by McCarthy and adapted beautifully by the Coen's. I honestly wanted to see this movie again and again. Give the film time and don't cast your thumbs up or thumbs down on it until you have let it sit for a day and you have thought about it. I find it to be the best film since American Beauty and a beautiful film with a haunting villain.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For the past 10 years Will Ferrell has been strictly known for his off
the wall humor and crazy gags. His famous films include: Anchorman, A
Night at the Roxbury and Talladega Nights. All of these films show
Ferrell is very gifted at comedy but none show him as a man capable of
truly acting in a drama. Up until this point there was little hope
Ferrell would ever be more than a comedian who appealed to teenage
audiences. Stranger Than Fiction changes all of that and brings out on
of the finest performances of 2006.
Stranger Than Fiction revolves around Harold Crick, a dull IRS Auditor who is obsessed with counting and has virtually no life beside his job. One day he begins to hear a voice narrating his own life, a voice only Harold can hear. As he struggles to figure out whether he is crazy or not with the help of a literature professor, he begins to audit the attractive baker Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who he begins to fall in love with. The story is different but it works and heres why.
The story is very different but not so different everyone who watches is saying "wtf?" The story is fresh. It strains away from the typical romantic comedies/comedy-dramas and makes its own little story afresh. The story also gives very in depth presentations of the characters. We begin to feel as if we actually no the characters, not just watching them. It is also a well executed story, there isn't too much to understand or any double meanings to everything, the film is straight forward with just a few questions arising every now and again which are suppose to be there to keep us guessing until the end.
Will Ferrell, in my opinion, gives his best performance to date. Not because it is a drama and usually drama actors have to work harder then comedy actors, no, thats not the case here. Ferrell actually does give his best performance mainly because he isn't constantly screaming and saying obnoxious things. It is the first look into a more sophisticated Will Ferrell, though I don't mind having him in comedy films at all. Ferrell is able to portray the dull Harold Crick perfectly. He feels as if he has been doing the same thing all of his life. He never strays away from the personality he presents and that was the reason the film works so well, Ferrell is constantly in character, on screen.
Gyllenhaal is not one of my personal favorites for films. I usually find her dull and trying to hard in her roles when I see her in a movie but maybe thats just me. I did liked her in this though. She seemed to be what was needed to make the film move along. I do feel that the relationship that develops between Harold and Ana is a bit far-fetched but nevertheless it still feels sweet as we watch the two interact. Overall Gyllenhaal's job is a job well done in Stranger Than Fiction.
The film will make you laugh, it will make you feel good inside but it will also make you sad. Ferrell is able to put just the right amount of emotion into each scene to make them work and is the glue that holds the movie together. I don't think the movie would have been as good if Farrell had not been in it. I don't think teens will find this as enjoyable as I did. It doesn't have the sick humor and loads of nudity that seems to draw teens to most comedies these days. I think couples and anyone looking for a well acted, well written film would find this film to be a great piece to spend two hours watching.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Children of Men is set in the year 2027. The world has become sterile
and the youngest humans are in their 20's. Chaos reigns across the
Earth. The United States is in a civil war, France is on fire, and
Britain is deteriorating. Theo (Clive Owen) is a man who simply doesn't
care about most of it until he is asked by his ex-wife to escort a
woman to the coast for safety. A woman who may be the first mother in
20 years. It won't be an easy task for Theo though as the military
begins to round up illegal immigrants and force them into camps and the
Fishes (the illegal immigrants resistance movement) who are attempting
to use the new born child as a political tool.
Clive Owen stars in the lead as Theo. Owen put a lot of work into this film as he personally looked over every scene he was in to make sure his character never became too much of a hero. Theo is the classic un-wanting hero. He gets forced into the situation and must deal with it and Owen never strays from this presentation. He gives his best performance since Sin City and really shows that no matter who you are you can always be a hero to someone, in the movie it is Kee, the pregnant girl.
Julianne Moore is only in the movie for about 10 minutes so she really doesn't have time to show off her character in too much detail. The legend Sir Michael Caine gives an off-the-wall performance as a former political cartoonist/ex-hippie who helps Theo and his company get Kee to safety. Caine is only in the film for about 20 minutes but gives a great performance. And to round off the supporting cast there is Claire-Hope Ashitey as Kee. This is only her second or third film but she is wonderful. The connection she makes with Owen in many scenes are great and her acting is top notch for such a new star.
The film will be known for its cinematography more than anything. Several single shots exceeding five minutes in length are present within the film. If you are unfamiliar with this then it means the same shot is being taken the whole time without a switch to another shot or perspective. This is really cool cause the whole time your watching one long cut thinking "Holy sh*t, how did they do this?" The cinematography sets the mood and makes the film even better then it already is because it gives a sense of artsy look to the film.
Cauron sets the mood early and never strays from the feeling of destruction one feels the entire movie. This isn't a post-apocalyptic setting, it is set during it in a way. The film is not without scenes that brings hope to the audience. The last 20 minutes are truly moving as it shows Theo's sacrifices to save Kee and her baby from harm. Cauron holds nothing back in the film. It has its violent moments, its course language and its nudity but it is all needed to set the mood of the film.
The film is set in the future and therefore would be considered sci-fi. Instead of showing a world with hovercrafts and aliens we are presented to a world destroying itself. The films cinematography and setting makes us feel as if we are right in the middle of this hopeless world. The film also shows that lasers, aliens, and outer space are needed to create a great sci-fi film. On the contrary I think the film as better for not having any of these present. Truly a modern day classic that won't be forgotten, make sure to see this amazing picture.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I rarely get the treat of viewing British cinema so I was quite pleased
when I was able to stumble upon the British horror film The Descent.
The story follows that of six woman from the United Kingdom who love to
do wild things. Not wild things in the terms of erotic films but in the
terms of being daredevils so to say. After a freak accident claims the
life of a woman named Sarah's young daughter and husband, the six
friends travel to the United State to bond while they go spelunking
(cave diving). What happens in the caves becomes a living nightmare as
they become trapped inside with strange creatures out to kill them.
At first when I read that the film was nearly an all female cast I had my doubts. The only time you ever see all female casts in the States is when a romantic comedy is the basis for the plot. However, one must remember, this is British made and are more adapt at acting then most anorexic, beauty queen wannabe's that act in the US. I liked the all female cast, they all did a great job and looked like they actually knew what they were doing while spelunking which added to the realism. All the girls are relatively unknowns outside of the UK but it doesn't matter, films don't have to have big stars in order to be great films.
The horror is top-notch even before the Crawlers (monsters) show up. You feel a strong sense of claustrophobia and foreboding while the woman crawl through narrow tunnels in the pitch. Honestly, I was freaked out even before the monsters began wrecking havoc. Once the monsters do arrive you are really in for a treat. They are easily the most believable, scariest looking things I have seen in a horror film since the original Alien. Needless to say you will be scared out of your mind by the end of this and will be thinking about it even more when you turn off the lights to go to be that night. (recommendation: watch at night in the pitch black, it's even scarier)
What makes all horror films is atmosphere. A strong sense of innocence and amusement must be present early on then that innocence must be smashed in bloody fashion. The film throws you right inside the caves with the six women and makes you feel just as claustrophobic and scared as they are. That is why The Descent works so well, it makes you feel as if you are there and as if you are going to be the next attacked. This is what so many horror films fail to do, there is a bunch of flash but no show, for the Descent there is not a lot of flash but a ton of show. This is why it is one of the best horror films since Alien.
I must admit I wasn't expecting what I got out of Superbad. Seth Rogen
is one of my current favorite actors in the comedy genre and I knew he
would perform well and bring some laughs but as for the rest of the
cast I was hesitant. Jonah Hill was completely unknown to me and I only
knew Michael Cera as the cute, innocent kid from Arrested Development.
I was very skeptical if they could bring the laughs that I desired. To
top off my hesitation to watch this was the fact I am not a big fan of
teen oriented comedies. But I gave it a shot and was on the floor
The story follows two seniors who are about to graduate from high school and who wish to do something 'superbad' before they graduate. Both seek to loose their virginity at a party a fellow student is having with the girls of their dreams. They are told to bring the large amount of beer required and both seek off to obtain. What follows is their zany adventure to obtain alcohol and make it to the party all with the help of their friend Fogell a.k.a. McLovin who has an interesting connection with two local police officers.
I must admit I was dead wrong about every question that arose in my head when I saw the previews. Michael Cera and Jonah Hill are both more than capable of bringing tons of laughs to the screen. Even when opposite of more experienced stars like Seth Rogen and Bill Hader. Cera turned out to be more funny of the two though he is actually the quieter one. Hill got annoying a few times in which I had to turn away in disgust but was fine 90% of the time. I guess it was his whinny voice, it just got on my nerves.
The movie really did bring back my high school days and some of the crazy stuff that went on during it. Everything was quiet believable, maybe a little hard to come by but nothing seemed impossible that was portrayed in the movie. I guess that made the film even funnier. Everything made sense (unless you count the crazy cops). It really brings back great memories of times of innocence back when we were seniors in high school. Anyone wanting to get back to those times and remember high school memories way want to check this out.
Now the film is really dirty. They say f*** around 190 times and most of the time it's uncalled for or at least most parents would say so. There are sexual innuendos at every turn and sex is usually the reason behind most jokes. Heck the plot is based on getting laid. Therefore I would definitely say if you are a parent don't take your kid to this if they are under 16. They won't get it and they'll just learn a lot of words they shouldn't be saying yet. For everyone between 16-30 I think they'll find it hilarious. I don't know about older age groups though.
Superbad is funny though it is extremely dirty. It is one of the funniest films I've seen in years. It is a new teen comedy classic that outdoes almost every other comedy coming out nowadays. The film does drag a little in the middle. For about 15 minutes I didn't laugh but other than that the jokes are none stop. Everyone contributes to the comedy and makes you laugh at least once. Just a great comedy in my opinion and hope you feel the same way. Just go see it, give it a chance and you may very well just like it. Look at me. I was very hesitant and found that I loved it.
I had seen the previous two Rush Hour films and had loved both of them.
The goofy antics of Chris Tucker mixed with the amazing martial arts
moves of Jackie Chan made both of the previous Rush Hour films funny
and entertaining. Rush Hour 3 is missing both the heart and the feel of
the previous Rush Hour films. It is neither enjoyable or believable. It
is simply a mess with little humor and is the proof that is needed to
show the when a comedy film has a good sequel, another attempt
shouldn't be made.
The plot is rather complicated. Chief Inspector Lee is now the bodyguard of Ambassador Han (who is from the first film) who is on the way to give a report at the World Criminal Council concerning the Triad crime organization. After and attempt on the Ambassador's life, Lee and Carter seek to find out who is responsible. After a cheesy scene where the promise the Ambassador's daughter they will find the men responsible, they are off to Paris to investigate. Along the way they meet a strange cab driver, a sexy dancer who may have connections with the Triads, and a man who may be linked with Lee besides being an enemy.
The main problem with Rush Hour 3 is too many things don't make any sense at all. To start it out the plot is a bit hard to understand. Tho whole movie I was waiting for a plot to be revealed to discover by the end nothing had really happened. There are villains that are just added on and mirror images of previous villains, particularly the knife throwing girl who reminded me a lot of the girl from Rush Hour 2. Also the main villain is never properly addressed and at the end when Lee and Carter 'save' the day, you feel kind of empty inside.
Most of the movie did not flow well. There are a few funny scenes but I found the camera turning a bit too many times to Chris Tucker for him to go on one of his now famous rants. There is no character development. Lee and Carter both feel like statues on the screen. Mix that with very poor writing (I almost threw up when Jackie Chan was on a swing singing to Chris Tucker, I am not lying) and you get a poor film. Even the action scenes, which the Rush Hour films are known to be good for, aren't any good. They are boring and unbelievable to say the least.
I found Rush Hour 3 to be a big let down. I rarely laughed. The jokes were too far-fetched and unbelievable for my taste. I did like the fight scene on top of the Eiffel Tower but even that got out of hand. Tucker has a few good moments but I am really beginning to wonder what exactly Jackie Chan is considering doing with himself. His parts were some of the cheesiest and most unbelievable parts of the film (and I am not talking about his martial arts, which there is little of). All in all avoid Rush Hour 3 and pray there is no Rush Hour 4 in the works.
I was blown away by The Prestige. I don't know what exactly it was
about it. Perhaps it was the incredible performances from Bale,
Jackman, Caine, and Johansson. Perhaps it was the well thought out,
near perfect script. Or perhaps it was the freshness this film brings
to the eyes when first viewed, the same eyes that have seen crap after
crap released in theaters. I don't know what it was for me but I must
admit I was blown away by The Prestige and I have watched it several
more times since first seeing it in theaters that October evening.
The story follows aspiring magicians Angier and Borden as they struggle to both make names for themselves and to have the greatest 'prestige' in London. After a tragic accident, Borden and Angier become enemies. Soon a potentially dangerous rivalry develops between the two as both try to discover the ultimate illusion. What follows is a duel story line set in the past, following the reasons for the rivalry, and a present which follows the adventure of Angier as he tries to match Borden. Both stories are intriguing and will suck the audience in as they rotate screen time.
As stated above four actors give great performances. Christian Bale (Batman Begins) gives one of the best performances of his career and that is certainly saying something. Bale plays the troubled and laid back Borden who is the cause of a terrible accident that causes the rift between him and Angier. Bale gives a very strong performance. He brings depth and sympathy to the character of Borden which I felt was strongly needed. Bale made out Borden to be exactly what he needed to be, a troubled individual who regrets most things in his life.
Hugh Jackman (X-Men) also gives a tremendous performance as Borden's rival Angier. I never thought Jackman much of an actor, especially after seeing Van Helsing, however, he proved me wrong in this. Angier at first is made out to be a good hearted individual with a few flaws but none to serious. Angier goes through a major transformation that I feel few actors could have pulled off. Jackman was able to pull it off and give one of the best performances of his career.
In support are the legendary Michael Caine and the beautiful Scarlet Johansson. Both give very strong performances and help the movie be even better. Caine plays the stage director and sort of mentor to Angier. Johansson plays Angier's stage hand and Borden's lover. Both are exceptional actors who gives exceptional performances in their respected roles. Not too much screen time is given to either which is good. I had a bad feeling these two would some how end up in every scene but thankfully that was not the case.
The story is easy enough to follow... at first. A major twist is around every corner and will keep the audience guessing until the last lines are spoken. The twist isn't so out of nowhere that everyone will be wondering what the hell just happened. Most people will see things they missed earlier when the twists in the film do occur. The plot is well thought out and flows nicely. There are no dry moments of pointless dialog. Everything is important and needed to make the film work. Overall the film is one of the best written I have seen in a long time. A long time.
In my opinion it is one of the best films of 2006 if not the new millennium. The plot is great. The cast is among the best compiled group of actors one could find in one film. The acting those people do is marvelous. Everything looks and feels real and will never have an audience member questioning what is happening on screen. This is key as when a person starts to question things on the screen, the film begins to lose its magical touch. This does not happen once throughout the course of The Prestige.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thoroughly enjoyed the third installment of the Bourne films. Most
people I know who have seen it are praising it as one of the best
action flicks of the summer and they are correct. This puts most other
action films in the past few years to shame. It's a great action film
that is very well thought out. It's enjoyable to watch, very
entertaining, and completes a story most of us have been following the
past 5 years. Beside that I didn't find anything that special about the
Bourne Ultimatum beside that is was a way better action flick then what
usually comes out nowadays and it was a bit smarter then most.
The film completes the Jason Bourne saga. Yet again Jason Bourne, who continues to suffer from a case of amnesia, travels across Europe and the United States, trying to evade CIA agents who want him dead, in a quest to discover who he is and what his past is. Along the way he is helped by a former colleague, Nicky Parsons, and gains a very unexpected ally. The Bourne Ultimatum jumps around like both other films taking us to various locations throughout the course of the film.
Yet again the Bourne films do not disappoint. Ultimatum has the same great action sequences that its two predecessors had. No one will be disappointed by the flash it brings to the screen. The story is again very good though I won't say it is as good as The Bourne Identity in terms of script. A few things didn't work for me plot wise but most weren't too major of problems. The cinematography is done wonderfully, the dialog is well written, and the interaction between actors is very good.
Matt Damon, yet again, gives a great performance as the amnesiac Jason Bourne. He brings out all of Bourne's traits: very very smart, strong, good fighter, and above all, without a clue on his past. What I was glad didn't happen is at the end when Bourne learns about his past Damon didn't have his character break down crying or anything. I don't know if this was Greengrass's choice or Damon's but thank God that he didn't start crying. One thing about Bourne that makes him so interesting is his lack of emotion toward almost everything.
A few problems I had with the film. First off, someone has got to show Greengrass how to work a tripod. The film is WAY to shaky at unnecessary points. I can understand during a chase or fight sequence but when a character is meeting another in a café and the camera is swinging wildly it was too much. I know the director is trying to make us feel as if we are there but it was totally unnecessary to have the camera moving so much. Second, lack of buildup. There is practically no build up to the end. Something happens then it is over. The movie is well paced then at the end everything seems to get rushed as all lose ends are tied up. I was a bit disappointed with that.
Everyone should go see The Bourne Ultimatum if they want to see it. One may use the excuse that not seeing the previous two films may make things almost impossible to understand in the third installment. My brother had not seen the middle film and still understood everything that was going on. It is very easy to follow though I do suggest you watch the first. Pretty much an amnesiac being chased by the CIA for reasons unknown as he tries to discover his identity. It has some great action scenes, a great story, and some great characters (with great acting behind them). Highly recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I never really watch Robot Chicken that much before seeing this and it
continues to be absent from the shows I do watch during the week.
However, I am a huge Star Wars fan and when I heard that there would be
a parody of it on Robot Chicken, I made sure I would have Cartoon
Network on the night it aired. I had seen Robot Chicken before and
hadn't been too impressed but I must admit I was not disappointed with
the half hour special of Robot Chicken: Star Wars.
So many classic Star Wars scenes are twisted and turned into comedy with strange happenings at every bend. The Emperor on the collect call with Darth Vader asking "what the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?", Darth Vader being confronted by Jar Jar Binks aboard a Star Destroyer , and Luke and Palpatine having a 'yo mama' fight during the climax of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. There were so many classic scenes I couldn't stop laughing through most of it. Seth Green really did a great job.
Some parts weren't so great though. During the end things didn't seem to be that great. The last sequence on ice is really really bad. A few other scenes I barely smiled. I believe that Green and the people working with him just failed to come up with stuff so they went with whatever came to them at the end. There are 3 or 4 scenes which I would fast forward through if you are watching it somewhere, trust me they aren't funny. The rest, however, is golden and will be hilarious to anyone watching it. Pretty much if you love Star Wars, you'll like this. Listen for George Lucas in his cameo and be prepared to laugh.
Clerks seems to stand in everyones minds as one of the best comedies of
the 90's. A debut for not only Kevin Smith at director but also the
View Askewniverse in films. Clerks is what got everything started for
Smith and in my opinion remains as his best work of comedy to date
(with Mallrats in a very close second). Just that freshness the first I
saw it enters my mind every time I manage to catch Clerks on
television. Clerks remains as a great comedy.
Filmed in all black and white, Clerks follows the day of Dante Hicks, a clerk at a New Jersey convenience store, and his pal Randal Graves, who is the laid back clerk at the neighboring movie store. It follows mostly Dante as he worries about his relationships, confronts strange customers, and takes his job too seriously. Randal stands by as the other main character who often times convinces Dante to take chances. Randal proves to be the funnier of the two with his sick humor, laid back personality, and little care for anyone beside his close friend Dante.
Brian O'Halloran makes his film debut as Dante. Brian makes Dante out to be exactly what he is suppose to be. Too uptight, always a push over, and always unsure on what to do in life with himself and his relationship. O'Halloran isn't exactly funny, he is more of the set up guy for Randal whenever he is in the scene or the bearer of the comedy from most of the characters. Needless to say he causes few laughs but his serious face is needed for the other characters to bring the comedy in scenes.
Also making their film debut is Jeff Anderson as the ever hilarious and now famous, Randal Graves. Anderson portrays perfectly the typical slacker. Randal rarely cares what is going on, even when he is at his job. He watches out for Dante but rarely cares about anyone else. Anderson is hilarious as Dante just based on how relaxed he is when he says things, even the most disturbing parts he is laid back and says it as if he is constantly thinking it. Anderson is the man of many laughs in Clerks and without him as Randal, no doubt the film would have failed.
Being as the film is the first for practically everyone in the cast and crew it is amazing the amateurism did not show. The camera work is steady and solid, the writing is superb, and the setting (a convenience store for 99% of the movie) is perfect. The film introduces the now famous Jay and Silent Bob who harass passer-byers and deal drugs. Most of the cast will not be recognized but they are amazing. For a film that only cost $27,000 USD to film, it goes down as an amazing comedy.
The major turn off for most who do not like the film is its obscene humor and various explicit sexual references. People remember this is not a kids film, keep kids away and you'll have no problem. The comedy is not slapstick humor, it is mostly laid back humor written in such a way that a person will never see the joke coming. What long stands out in my mind as the genius of this film is Caitlin Bree and the bathroom though I won't reveal anymore. Just watch this film. You will not regret it.
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