Reviews written by registered user
|31 reviews in total|
'Argo' presents maybe the greatest, if not the most absurd, account of
American foreign policy espionage widely unbeknownst to the greater
majority. The story, which falls perfectly into the category of
you-can't-make-this-kind-of-thing-up, is based upon Tony Mendez's
rescue of six isolated US diplomats out of Iran, during the time of the
Iranian hostage crisis of 1980, through the means of creating a fake
film production as cover.
Director Ben Affleck proves here just how incredibly mature and restrained a filmmaker he's become, molding what is inherently a political story, yet wisely setting aside the politics. He masterfully handles the changes in tone very fluidly, from one moment being edge of your seat tension, to the next of inspired comic relief. It brings back memories of 70's thrillers, when craft and entertaining went together hand-in-hand.
The cast of veteran character-actors is worth the price of admission alone. Nearly every speaking role is occupied by a recognizable face, with the likes of Philip Baker Hall, Bob Gunton, Michael Parks, Kyle Chandler, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and more. This is easily the best cast of 2012 and, better yet, they all brought out there A game.
'Argo' is not a film to miss, its subject matter being more relevant than ever and will be a major contender come award season (and deservedly so.)
Before I get down-voted because I'm not giving 'The Dark Knight Rises'
a 10 (the trend most of the users on her seem to be following), I'll
list the numbers of things I really enjoyed about the film, and there
-The cast Nolan's able to put together to end his trilogy is really something to marvel at. From the veterans of the series (Bale, Freeman, Caine, Oldman) to the new faces (Gordon-Levitt, Cotillard, Hathway, Hardy) each bring their all to their characters, even if a few are somewhat undeveloped (more on that later).
-Action scenes. 'Batman Begins,' while I admire it for it's first look at the gritty take to the comic formula, had some incredible poor and incomprehensible fight scenes, where it was unclear how who punching what or what was happening. In 'The Dark Knight,' the scenes were much more clear, a big improvement. Here, the fighting scenes are at their best. When Baine and Batman throw down, it's some of the most intense fight scenes I've seen in a long time.
-Huge setpieces. I could say that about all of these movies, but in this film especially. Gotham City is beautifully recognized. It's always great to see a huge place like this down naturally, never been plagued by artificial CGI (Nolan uses as little as possible.) Not to mention the number of extras, which number in the thousands.
-The ending. Even if it jumps the shark, the ending to Nolan's epic trilogy is overall fulfilling. Fans of the series won't be disappointed, even if the casual might
Not that that's out of the way, the problems I had with the film. . .
-Bane's voice. When we first meet Bane, on a plane, his voice was nearly unbearable. It sounded like something a ten-year-old would do when playing with audio effects on his computer. The dialogue didn't help, as he spewed out clunky one-liners. Here was Bane, with his terrifying appearance,sounding like a cartoon. It did improve over the ocurse of the movie, but the first introduction to the character was something I almost couldn't shake off.
-Too many character introductions. Maybe this is a criticism of the whole trilogy, but I'll have to put the blame on this one. Too many characters are brought in, with their developments feeling rushed. It almost appears like Nolan adds these new additions to the script at the last minute.
For the most part, the good outweighs the bad. It's a very entertaining film and, as far as summer blockbusters, it's definitely worth the price of admission.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
VERY MINOR SPOILERS! NOTHING THAT WILL RUIN THE MOVIE!
'Pirates! Band of Misfits' is the most recent Aardman (Wallace and Gromit) production, showcasing beautiful stop motion animation, a few genuine chuckles, and a predictable story.
The story follows Pirate Captain (a running joke that wears itself out quickly), as he leads his inept crew over the Seven Seas. The first 10 minutes or so (before the story kicks in) is genuinely enjoyable.
But the story has to come in eventually, and when it does, we get the same set up we've seen a million times before. The hero starts out with his loyal crew, who treat him with nothing but the utmost admiration. The hero then makes a selfish move, involving greed, and the crew, disappointed, abandons him. This is when the 'sad' montage takes effect, which always involves sad music, the hero sulking as he backs through gutters. The hero then gets his chance to redeem himself and saves the day, and everyone lives happily ever after. This movie doesn't add anything to the formula, and that's how it comes off, formulaic.
But, as someone who's worked frequently with stop motion, I have s soft spot to see this type of animation still getting work in this day of computer-generated images. It's a fun film, easily forgettable, but should keep the kids satisfied and a smile on your face.
'Safe' is the latest vehicle to showcase Jason Statham's ability to
punch, kick, and shoot various henchmen. The plot here plays more of a
role than compared to past JS films, as this one involves a young
Chinese girl with a brilliant memory who's wanted by both the Russian
and Chinese mob, aided by corrupt cops, and it's just to a
down-on-his-luck Jason Statham to save the day.
When watching a film like this, suspending your disbelief is a must, which is just a given. Things happen in this movie that not only wouldn't be possible, but you wonder how some characters can escape out of situations not only alive, but untouched. But this was actually one of my favorite Stathom movies in a while. I despised his recents efforts in throwaway films like The Mechanic and Killer Elite. It hasn't been since Transporter 3, another mindless romp, that I've enjoyed one of films this much.
The film's worth seeing if you're an action movie fan with some time to kill, in sort of a Sunday afternoon stay at home type of way. You'll cringe at the acting and dialogue of the little Chinese girl, but you'll be entertained.
Thor was simple thrust out by the studio to make a quick buck and
establish the character before the release of The Avengers. And boy,
does it really show here! The first half of the movie, set on Planet
Asgard, was generally interesting, even if Anthony Hopkins was sleep
walking through his performance. The Frost Giants of Jotunheim
presented pretty scary villains and if the film had the courage to keep
the setting there, with the Frost Giants as the main antagonists, they
would of made the film all the better (I know the comic takes place on
Earth, but c'mon, we've seen the superhero comes to earth and saves the
day a million times! Try something new!)
Just like The Green Lantern (which is still much worse), my biggest criticism is that they don't spend enough time in the foreign landscape of Asgard (Oa in GL), and head to dull old planet Earth in no time. The first time this was done (on screen, of course) in 1978's Superman, it was a refreshing take on the fish-out-of-water story. Here it acts like a poorly done comedy, throwing the tone of the whole first act off. There is a few laughs to be had (as when he wanders into a pet shop), but really felt forced for the most part.
Then there's the love story. Look, I realize films like these aren't too concentrated on developing character bonds like a (much superior) film such as Before Sunrise would, but at least show us why the two are in love! I, of course, speak of Natalie Portman's character and Thor, and the inevitable attraction that grows between them. First off, and I know other reviewers have stated it before, but Natalie Portman is horribly miscast here. Either that, or she's giving one of the worst paycheck-performances I've seen in some time (there's one line reading in particular near the end that is so excruciating, it might as well of been nails on a chalkboard). But all the 'romance' consists of is Natale Portman giving Thor an awkward, teenage-crush like smile, for maybe a scene or two. In the climatic fight (no spoilers here), Thor takes a fall, and Portman's character rushes over to help him - in which I don't know how she doesn't get killed, but this movie's logic is not exactly present. They have a moment where we get those Natalie Portman tears and her eyebrows scrunch up (as they always do when she cries, in like EVERY single movie she's ever been in.) As the audience, we're suppose to feel an emotion connection to the two that just doesn't exist. They both could of been killed right then and there, the credits roll up, and I wouldn't of felt the least bit unsatisfied. Of course that doesn't happen, as you can surely guess what the outcome is, which only irritated me more.
Tom Hiddleston is an up-and-coming actor I have high hopes for. He was great as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris and one of the best parts in War Horse, but here is given nothing to do here in the role of Loki. It's no surprise he'll become the villain, as it's hinted at constantly in the film. But when he does become the main antagonist, his motivations are very askewed. Is he an outright villain? Is he a sympathetic villain? Is he even a villain at all? The film doesn't seem to know how to handle these questions. One scene he'll act one way, the next scene he'll be a completely new person. It'll be like if the Joker from the Dark Knight tries to kill Batman, then a minute later saves his life and buys him a beer. Is character continuity that difficult of a concept?
Stellan Skarsgard, one of the most unappreciated actors working today, also isn't given a chance to really make anything of his character. There's an assistant scientist, played by Kate Dennings, who doesn't really add anything to film and is only there for 'comedic' relief (I use the term very loosely.) Chris Hemsworth is a pretty good Thor, he comes off as very arrogant and strong-willed. But when he's asked to handle more dramatic scenes, well, I'll just says he's no Brando.
I'm sure this movie isn't directed at me (I usually prefer, you know, movies with a brain and pulse), so I'm sure this will make money and produce needless sequels. But, for my money, I think the material could of been handled a lot better.
'Trainspotting' is a bold and audacious film by British director Danny
Boyle which launched the career of then unknown actor Ewan McGregor.
The day-to-day struggle of a group pf heroin addicts in Edinburgh could
never be told so stylishly and clever, equipped with both big laughs
and horrific images. It doesn't judge it's characters and their
addictions, just portrays them as what they are: young people without a
clue as to what direction they're heading down in life. There's no good
guys and bag guys, it doesn't play out like a PSA, and each character
is well developed and multy-dimensional. I couldn't recommend this
title more - truly one of my favorites of all time.
Hal Ashby's 'Harold and Maude' fits into a genre of it's own. Too
serious to be a comedy, and too funny to be a drama. The story centers
around Harold (Bud Curt), a lonely and depressed teenager obsessed with
staging fake suicides. In his spare time, he gets his kicks out of
attending funerals, to people he has never seen or met. He befriends
another frequent funeral attendee, Maude (Ruth Gordon), nearly his
total opposite, an older woman who wants to get the most out of life.
The script here is great. Taking somewhat of a lubricious subject matter, and making it completely believable. Ashby, the film's director, should also be credited, as the film is very vibrant and full of life. But, mostly, the film is carried by Curt and Gordon, who play off one another to nearly perfection. Their relationship never comes off as simplistic, as these actors add another layer to make it an even deeper and more fulfilling experience.
The film's end, without giving it away, left me very disappointed. It's totally predictable, only to serve as melodrama and get an emotional reaction out of the audience. It really left a sour taste in my mouth when the film does wrap up, after the first hour and twenty-five minutes are very solid, then the last five minutes totally veers off the track.
That aside, 'Harold and Maude' is an extremely charming film that holds up to is cult following. Worth seeing.
Seeing this movie reverted me back to when I saw '(500) Days of
Summer,' and not just because Joesph Gordon-Leavitt headlines both.
When I went to see 'Days,' my expectations were inflated because of all
the buzz I had been hearing, which ultimately left mem a little
disappointed when it didn't meet them. Don't get me wrong, I really
liked the film, but I didn't fall in love with like everyone else. The
same thing happened with this film, I enjoyed it for the most part, but
still had my reservations.
I'll start with what I liked, mainly, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt. He really puts this film on his back and delivers a great performance. He's funny when he has to me, and believable when he's playing a dramatic role. The more I see him on screen, the more I'm convinced he's blossoming into one of the finest young actors of his generation. Anna Kendrick, who plays the naive therapist, really establishes great chemistry with JGL, and the two play off each other very well. Seth Rogen, while he really does just play Seth Rogen in every film, has his best role I've seen him in, meaning he is only he doses (one can only fathom so much Seth Rogen.) And the story, for the most part, is meaningful and realistic (the screenwriter based it on actual circumstances), never falling into Hollywood clichés and melodrama, which is refreshing.
As for my criticisms, I have a few. Too much of the film's humor relied on juvenile jokes. Maybe it has something to do with the film's serious material, but no one ever seems to have a problem with the constant sex-jokes, which grew old fast. Bryce Dallas Howard's character, the 'bad' girlfriend (what else?), didn't seem to move the story further and acted very one-dimensional. Her not being in the movie at all would of been a benefit, allowing more time for the growth between the otherwise interesting characters.
But the good outweighs the bad here, and it's an enjoyable, if not somewhat forgettable, little movie worth seeing if you have some free time.
'Clash of the Titans,' which graced silver screen in April of 2010, was
reviled by critics and fans of the 1981 original a-like. The script was
a mess and the converted 3-D looked, well, converted. It'd only make
sense that such a travesty was met with poor results at the box
office?Nope. 'Clash' was one of the highest grossing movies of 2010
and, inevitably, launched a sequel in the hopes of duping a few more
simple minded people into making a buck.
Now, to clear things up, I had not seen the 2010 version, and don't plan on it based on what I've heard. So I went into this sequel without much of a back story. This shouldn't ruin my movie-going experience, as I had seen movies like 'Terminator 2' and 'Aliens' without viewing the originals beforehand.
The story was a mess. Plot elements didn't add up or happened too conveniently. Characters traveled places that weren't well explained (sometimes barely at all) and I was often left scratching my head, wondering where they were or how they got there. Most of the plot points that I felt perplexed on, I figured it was because I hadn't seen the first film. But these moments kept repeating while I was watching it, until I finally gave up all thought of making sense of the story.
Nothing irritates me more than clichés piling up and, oh boy, did this movie have it's share. Perseus (a dull Sam Worthington, which is a nearly a cliché in its own right) has left his heroic days behind and become a fishermen in a local village. Of course, just like every other story ever written, the would-be pacifist is called back into arms for the greater good. And, what's that? There's a child as well! His son! How convenient! But I doubt they'll us him in the climatic fight, as a emotional weakness for the bad guy to exploit. That would never happen! Oh, and the over-the-top hostile, misunderstood criminal at the beginning story is magical transformed into a hero by the end. How creative!
The more I think about this movie, the more my anger swells inside me, like a hurricane of hatred being forged in the deep depths of the ocean, ready to explode into a fury of rage and destruction over all in it's path. So, I'll leave it as this, if you somehow (and I use that term very lightl) enjoyed the 2010 'Clash of the Titans,' you might want to check this turd out. Other than that, don't waste your time or money on this pile of junk.
Don't let the title scare you away, 'Jeff, Who lives At Home' is a deep
character study about three unhappy people and the meaningless
existences they each inhabit.
One such person is Pat (Ed Helms), a man stuck in a roller coaster of a relationship with his wife, Linda (Judy Greer). Pat has recently purchased any man's dream car, a brand new Porsche. Judy doesn't share in his delight for his new automobile, which only distances them even more. When Pat suspects Linda of having an affair, it leads him on a inept detective mysterious, where most of the films humor draws on.
Susan Sarandon plays Sharon, the mother of Pat. A widower, Sharon is very lonely and loans for someone to connect with. When a "secret admirer" begins sending her flirty messages, Sharon is delightfully surprised someone is still interested in her despite her age. It's up to Sharon to uncover this mystery person's identity.
The last chapter, the title character, is played by Jason Segal. By far the best part of the movie, Jeff is a slacker in his 30's with no real aim in life. After seeing the movie 'Signs' and having someone with the wrong number call him and ask for a Kevin, he believes it to be a sign. The rest of his arc delves into him following after all things tied to "Kevin," and the strange paths it takes him.
A common misconception I can see being falling into is that this will be a broad, raunchy comedy, like the ones Ed Helm and Jason Segal have headlined in their career. If you go into this film expecting that, you'll be disappointed. This is a thinking man's movie, with smart humor and likable characters sprinkled in. With your time.
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