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AustinLayne

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15 reviews in total 
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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Austin Layne likes this, 2 October 2010
10/10

"A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars." Sean Parker's statement sets a mood for the battleground that is the Social Network. A film that depicts the bitter battle between the simultaneously brilliant and conceded Mark Zuckerberg, and practically everyone else who was involved with the invention of Facebook. But not only does the statement give a summation of the movie's core, it gives a summation of capitalist U.S. culture, as does the rest of the movie. Think about it as you watch; the alcohol swilling Harvard rich kids are eerily familiar to the Wall Street royalty who really rule this country. Is the destruction of Mark Zuckeberg's relationship with his best friend do to a business venture and greediness meant to parallel the collapse of the economy due to the continuous push of businessman for more money? I think so.

But that is another essay. Let us now speak of the other fantastic aspects of this film: Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake without a doubt give the best performances of the movie. I would like to shed special light on Jesse Eisenberg who plays a character that is much more than the nice guy geek he usually portrays. Here he plays a man who is drenched in his own configuration of loneliness, alienation, despair, and pessimism, a man who suffers from an over-inflated ego, who despite being brilliant cannot advance past the point of a computer screen. The character of Mark Zuckerberg is much darker than the role Jesse Eisenberg took on in The Squid and the Whale, who was almost as irredeemable, but eventually proves to be likable. The Mark Zuckerberg within The Social Network is entirely irredeemable, unlikable, but Jesse Eisenberg's amazing talent saves him from being unwatchable, and he can at times even be charming.

Justin Timberlake gives perhaps the best performance of his acting career, playing Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster who sleazily snuck onto the Facebook bandwagon, in every scene whispering things into the ear of Mark Zuckerberg, almost in an allusion to the Serpent of Genesis, causing the change in Adam and Eve that caused their fall from grace. This all could've been overly obvious, but the charm Justin Timberlake infuses the character with makes it very subtle, and much more ambiguous as to whether it's even there or not.

All in all, I believe The Social Network to be the satire of the decade, a title I previously rewarded to There Will Be Blood. The only difference for me is that at time There Will Be Blood can be unwatchable or hard to watch for some people, and seem like five hours instead of two and a half. The Social Network is infinitely watchable and entertaining, something that There Will Be Blood just isn't.

Mallrats (1995)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Honestly liked it better than Clerks, 30 July 2010
9/10

People may kill me for saying this, but I honestly liked Kevin Smith's second film better than Clerks. I liked Clerks, but I thought the jokes in Mallrats, even the sex jokes, were more clever than the ones in Clerks. One example is the opening narration that serves as a prologue to the film in which Jason Lee's character asks why his cousin keeps buying kittens which keep getting "stuck up his ass", to which the cousin replies "how else am I supposed to get the gerbil out?" I also liked the style of the film more than Clerks. Yes, much of the film is static like Clerks, and even the Steadicam shots are very steady, but there's still a lot of cool things going on here with Kevin Smith's directing.

Of course the review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the great, hilarious performances by Jeremy London, Jason Lee, a young Ben Affleck, Ethan Suplee, and of course Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith as Jay and Silent Bob, who I actually found to be at their most likable in Mallrats (I especially liked the bits detailing their plans to thwart the evil mall cop La Fours and how they execute them).

The only criticism of the film I have is that the romantic element of the film gets a bit too cheesy for me at times, but the movie isn't supposed to be like Chasing Amy where romantic realism is put face first, it's supposed to be a fast paced comedy, so of course not as much effort went into the romance as the rest of the film. But this doesn't really depreciate the value of the movie, just sort of weighs it down.

Regardless, I believe that if people can loosen their hold and focus on realism for an hour and a half that Mallrats is a very enjoyable film and definitely worth a watch.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Probably Kevin Smith's Masterpiece, 25 July 2010
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Smith. Before seeing Chasing Amy I had only seen Clerks, Clerks II, most of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and some of Dogma. I liked Clerks and actually thought Clerks II was better, but wasn't a particular fan of the humor presented in the Clerks films and the bits and pieces of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Dogma that I had witnessed. I'm not saying that Kevin Smith's a bad writer or anything like that, just that I don't share his sense of humor most of the time.

That being said, I heavily enjoyed Chasing Amy, even finding Jay and Silent Bob's cameo to be particularly funny coming from the stoner duo who I don't necessarily dislike, but definitely don't love. But aside from the many pop culture references and jokes there's actually much else to enjoy here. The entire cast turns in great performances, with Ben Affleck giving a stand out in the lead role and Jason Lee handing in a great take on the "sarcastic best friend" character.

But what I really loved was the style of the film. I really enjoyed the camera work in the film, with Kevin Smith using hand-held camera work in quite a departure from the often times stable and static world of Kevin Smith's films. I believe it enhances the feeling of unstableness in Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams's character's relationship.

There's not really anything bad I can think to say about this movie. Being not particularly into the world of View Askew I was pleasantly surprised by this film and award it ten stars without a second thought.

Inception (2010)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Ocean's Eleven+The Matrix=Inception, 17 July 2010
10/10

Inception is excellent. The direction, the script, the acting, everything adds up to make it one of the most challenging major studio films to come out in quite some time. It's tough to say if it is Christopher Nolan's best film but it definitely is up there with The Dark Knight and Memento.

I love the whole idea of being able to enter someone's dream in order to steal an idea of their's. It's such an interesting concept. I have of course heard by now that Christopher Nolan worked on the Inception script for a very long period of time, ten years or so. I can definitely say that it is worth it.

Ellen Page and Cillian Murphy are the standout performances in Inception, Ellen Page for successfully acting very well in a role far from many of the others she's played, and Cillian Murphy for taking a role that has so much emotional depth and executing it perfectly. The entire cast does well here and this is one of the best things about Inception. The fact that it can have such an outlandish plot line and still draw you in and make it believable is probably Inception's best trait.

I love how Christopher Nolan makes big budget action movies but isn't afraid to not only infuse his idiosyncratic style into them, but also to infuse an emotional depth in them. Inception is no exception.

4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
I laughed so hard I almost puked, 30 June 2010
10/10

Get Him to the Greek is an excellent comedy, largely due to the hilarious performances by Jonah Hill and Russel Brand, and P. Diddy in a standout performance, but mostly because of the fact that it just doesn't give a damn.

What I mean is that it shows scenes of excess that are so wacky, outlandish, and sometimes impossible that writer/director Nicholas Stoller has to know that they're wacky, outlandish, and sometimes impossible. But he also knows that they're very funny.

I also found it nice to see Jonah Hill in a role that is a bit different from the sarcastic nerd that he usually plays, and he does a good job of playing the role of the uptight, nervous, well-meaning nerd. I was also very surprised at how funny P. Diddy was. I was expecting his role to be just a cameo, but it was actually a great comedic performance that nearly steals the show. But Russel Brand is the real star of this movie. Every scene he's in is funny.

If you're a big fan of "sophisticated comedy" or you aren't a big fan of producer Judd Apatow's other comedies, you will probably dislike Get Him to the Greek. But if you want to have a fun time at the movies and don't have problem with suspension of disbelief and being politically incorrect, I believe you'll love Get Him to the Greek.

I can't wait to see it again, 9 June 2010
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I loved this movie. I loved it on many levels because of many things. First of all, it's a comedy as much as it's a documentary. Secondly, it's one of the first documentaries that I've seen from the 2000s that actually DOCUMENTS something. I mean, I enjoy works from Michael Moore and other muckrakers, but this is totally different, just because of the fact that it tells a story by following what people DO, rather than presenting information and opinions. It's like a Barbra Kopple or D.A. Pannebaker movie.

I also loved the way that the movie morphs halfway through from a movie Thiery Guetta, the eccentric Frenchman videographer, makes about Banksy to a movie Banksy makes about Thierry Guetta. Banksy criticizes Thiery Guetta for not making a movie that appropriately shows the history of street art, so he tells Thiery Guetta to make some art of his own while Banksy creates his own movie from Guetta's hours and hours of tape. Thiery Guetta hits the big time overnight and every street artist friend of his hates him for it, including Banksy.

This shows the nature of many artists. They claim they do not care about the money, but when a friend of their's begins making more money than they do, they immediately criticize them. But I believe Banksy is aware of this even as he does it to Guetta, and I think that is why so many people may believe this film to be a hoax. I believe it to be true just because of so many events in the movie that actually occurred in recent history, and if it is true, well, it's absolutely my favorite documentary now(sorry Harlan County U.S.A.).

And as a side note, if you happen to be in the Austin area I would recommend seeing Exit Through the Gift shop at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, because the supplementary material they show before the film is also excellent.

35 out of 62 people found the following review useful:
A perfect ending, in a Lost sort of way, 31 May 2010
10/10

I'm not going to give an overly-long analysis of the series.

I'm only going to say that The End is probably the best end to the best T.V. series I've ever seen.

For six years Lost was the only thing I watched. For six years I have been blown away, frustrated, entertained, satisfied, and emotionally exasperated by Lost.

The End is the best episode of the series. It satisfies emotionally, and for the most part, answers questions. It takes a good deal of swallowing The End whole and reflecting upon the series to understand exactly what happened, but I believe I understand most of the series now. In my opinion it wasn't cheesy, it was the only way Lost could possibly end, and,in a very Lost sort of way, it made perfect sense.

Good, but not Richard Linklater's masterpiece, 30 May 2010
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is good on certain levels, but, well, not necessarily bad, but just iffy on others.

For instance, I love the scenes that illustrate Greg Kinnear's character's position. It shows how people in fast food corporations are less worried about your health and more worried about making money. But this poses the question: Is it entirely the fast food corporation's fault? I mean, most people know that MacDonald's and Burger King and many other burger joints are generally bad for them. But they choose them because they like the food.

The mistreatment of illegals is another issue that should be talked about and the film treats generally well. I love Wilmer Valderama's performance in the film.

Probably the best part of this movie is where the group of young revolutionaries try to free the cows but the cows will not go. It shows how people's ideology often times clouds the facts, which in this case is that cows are not smart and do not know the difference between a slaughterhouse and a free environment. But Fast Food Nation contradicts itself in this scene. The entire movie is advocating a vegetarian/animal rights message, at least to me it is. Yet, it shows that animals don't know the difference between death and just another day, and they don't care.

I absolutely hated the scene at the end where Richard Linklater shows the cows being skinned and chopped up. I promise it isn't because of the graphic nature of the scene, I honestly don't hate the scene for that. I hate it because Richard Linklater is doing what so many preachers of all religions do: He's trying to make you feel bad for eating meat by showing the "mistreatment" of the cows. He doesn't just use the movie to give his opinion, he tries to force his opinion on you, and I take issue with that.

But other than the end scene and some of the film's contradictions I would say it's worth a watch, especially if you would like to see strong performances from Wilmer Valderama, Greg Kinnear, and most of the other members of the cast.

Yay! Vampires are blood-crazy killing machines again!, 28 May 2010
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I would just like to state that I was so pleased to see these two directors go after the vampire movie not only with originality, but to give vampires their balls back! Ever since Twilight I've witnessed the vampire turned into something to love, and hopefully Daybreakers will once again make vampires something to fear! Okay, now to the actual review.

Daybreakers is good in that it's a reversal of a movie like Blade. Instead of vampires being hunted by humans, humans are being hunted by vampires. But it doesn't just stop there. I love how the The Spierig Brothers actually thought about what a world of vampires would be like, what it would feel like, how they'd get around, what they'd drink, eat, etc. For instance the Subwalk, which is a conversion of the subways into an underground sidewalk, complete with blood-coffee. I mean, stuff like that shows that the Spierig Brothers actually put some THOUGHT into their vampire movie instead of just writing something that they knew would pander to all of the Twihards out there.

Willem Dafoe gives the standout performance of a movie. I mean, Ethan Hawke and the others do a good job, but Willem Dafoe is charming and entertaining as 'Elvis' the former vampire.

The movie is just a tad bit cheesy at times, even for the hardcore bloodsucking freaks movie that it is, but really that doesn't hurt it much, at least in my opinion.

I'm not sure how many people caught the allegory for the depletion of oil and the failure to fund research for alternatives, but it's definitely there. It doesn't weigh the movie down any though, and it isn't shoved down your throat by the filmmakers.

Based on the originality of the movie along with Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke's performances, I'd recommend it. Also, the violence. Oh yes, the gore factor is cranked up to ten on this one. If the scene where Sam Neill gets torn apart by the vampires doesn't at least get nominated for Most Memorable Mutilation at the Spike Scream Awards this year, I'm going to be very angry.

Hot Fuzz (2007)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, 14 May 2010
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To preface the following review I'm going to say that Edgar Wright is one of the best directors of our time. I'm not saying one of the best COMEDY directors. I'm saying one of the best directors PERIOD.

Hot Fuzz is amazing, the style is kinetic and wild, the dialogue outright hilarious, and the cartoonish violence (which, despite being cartoonish is gratuitous) is very, very entertaining. Honestly, I never think I've laughed at a guy's head being crushed by a huge piece of pointed marble from the top of a giant church, which I say not to condone violence, only to state that, like Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright has a way of making things that aren't funny in real life funny in the movies.

Seriously people, drop your pseudo-intellectual, film buff, well-read guard for an hour and forty minutes or so and just laugh at the violent acts committed in this film, because if you laugh at violent acts in a movie such as Hot Fuzz it is not because you want to commit them, it's because the director has made them FUNNY, and that's all there is to it. To sum it up: You laugh because the acts of violence are either so implausible or so stupidly committed and covered up that to see them treated in such a serious manner is funny.

But aside from all that about the violence, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost give excellent performances, and to see the relationship that develops between their characters is one of the finest qualities of this movie. The way it takes the conventions of the Buddy-Cop sub genre and subverts them is hilarious. It even gets to the point of them sitting down and watching action and buddy-cop movies like Point Blank and Bad Boyz II.

I also enjoyed how Simon Pegg didn't allow himself to be typecast and how Edgar Wright didn't want to typecast him anyway. Nicholas Angel is completely different from Shaun (of the Dead) in every way. He takes initiative, doesn't slack off, and is serious about nearly everything. And the amazing part is that Simon Pegg pulls this off astonishingly.

Finally, the standout scene of the movie, in which practically everybody in the village has a gun and engages into a gunfight with Simon Pegg's character Nicholas Angel, is one of the best gunfights I've ever seen in a movie, and to make a gunfight entertaining, engaging, and hilarious at the same time is quite a feat.

I would love to see Edgar Wright direct a serious movie one day, to take his style and put it in a different context, but if he commits himself to only making comedies, well, I'm perfectly happy and excited about that too.

Go see Hot Fuzz, if not for anything else, to see Simon Pegg jump through the air shooting guns.


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