Reviews written by registered user
|109 reviews in total|
Have you ever been to a film where at the end of the film everyone in the theater is feeling the same emotion? Well the emotion at the end of this film was "what the (insert curse word here)"? I was totally enthralled with the film during the 1st half. The cinematography was amazing including the plane crash, the rugged terrain and all that snow. Director/writer Joe Carnahan really did some great character building in this film. You really feel like you know them and you are totally rooting for their survival. The second half of the film became rather monotonous and predictable although I did not see the ending coming (if you want to call it that). Liam Neesom (Ottway) is one of my favorite actors and he did not disappoint in this film. You already know from the trailer that he becomes the leader of a group of plane wreck survivors that battle a pack of wolves in the Alaskan wilderness. I watched an interview that Liam gave and he said that at times the winds got up to 70 miles per hour. So, I give big props to the actors for enduring the elements of Mother Nature. The wolf scenes did tend to get a little gory at times, so prepare yourself. The wolves from a distance looked very real (and they probably were), but up close and personal, they tended to look a little more animated. Recently I have been complaining about all the flash forwards and flash backs that have been occurring in films lately, but in this film the flashbacks are actually pertinent and add value to the story line. During the flashbacks I found myself thinking, I wonder how much Anne Openshaw (Ottway's wife) got for remembering one line of the script and shooting 15 seconds of film. Now you know what kind of things I think about when the film becomes predictable. This film encompasses the will of the human spirit, humility, bravery, anger, fear, hopelessness and a whole lot of other emotions. You will be totally vested in the film and cheering the survivors on. I have to say that I am really wanting to give this film a red light, but because the filming, the story, the actors and most of the writing was pretty good I am going to strap on my snow shoes and hike my way to an amber light.
Director Asger Leth steps away from directing documentaries and tries his hand at shooting a full length thriller. I was not that thrilled. I am going to start off by saying that this was not a terrible film, but it wasn't a very good one either. By the middle of the film I was thinking, go ahead and jump already. The film was very predictable and there weren't even minor surprises in sight. There were elements of Mission Impossible, Boondock Saints and The Negotiator sprinkled throughout the film, which for me, were the most interesting parts. Maybe because I had seen them before and liked them the first time I say them too. If they would have shot this film in 3D, maybe, just maybe it might have been better ., but then again, maybe not. However the scenes shot from the ledge would have definitely been more interesting. I like Sam Worthington (Nick Cassidy) as an action hero. He caught my eye in films like Avatar and Clash of the Titans. So it was difficult to watch him just standing on a ledge for ninety percent of the film. I think that the saving grace in this film was the interaction between Joey (Jamie Bell) and Angie (Genesis Rodriguez). At times there were moments when I wanted to say "seriously?" However I didn't have to because Joey actually said it for me. The relationship between these two made this film palatable and mildly entertaining. The negotiator, Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) is a fine actress, however the lines written for her in this film wouldn't convince a starving person to eat, let alone talk a man off a ledge. You couldn't really tell if Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie) was a good guy or a bad guy and by the end of the film that was still a question lingering in my mind. I really took notice of Anthony as an actor when I saw him in The Adjustment Bureau and then later in Real Steel. Ed Harris (David Englander) was convincing as the bad guy, but he is convincing in anything that he does. I have to restate that this is not a terrible film, however it did not meet my expectation and I found myself looking at the time every now and then. The story was good enough that I wanted to know what happened, but it did not keep me on the edge of my seat. Don't put yourself out for this one unless you are desperate for something to do. I give this film an amber light.
I want to start by saying that I had a great big smile on my face before the film even started. For this to be the opening showing on Friday afternoon, there was a pretty decent crowd. And virtually every adult coming to see the film had young people in tow. I was also thrilled to see the diversity of the film-goers. We've come a long way since The Color Purple. I guess the first thing I want to do is to give props to the director of this film, Anthony Hemingway. You might remember him from such brilliant films as Changing Lanes, ALI and The Manchurian Candidate. He definitely kept on track with Red Tails. Although most (some) of us know the story behind the Tuskegee training program during World War II, Hemingway brought the story closer than ever. This does not detract from The Tuskegee Airmen film made back in 1995 starring Laurence Fishburne and Allen Payne, which was also brilliant. Now, on to the cast Howard and Cuba and Nate .. oh my!!!! I am not sure if the writing was brilliant or not, but I thought that the acting was exceptional. Terrence Howard (Colonel A.J. Bullard) took the reins by getting his troops the credibility they deserved. Cuba Gooding Junior (Major Emanuelle Stance) maneuvered his company through the never ending red tape that came with war back in 1944. Nate Parker (Marty "Easy" Julian) took the lead in this amazing cast of actors. I could go on naming cast members for another 2 or 3 hundred words, but I won't. The one thing that I will say is that it was nice to see Nate Parker and Tristan Wilds (Ray "Junior" George) reunite again after their appearance in The Secret Life of Bees. I know what you're thinking "Aren't you the same person who hates biopics?" The answer is "yes, I am". However, it is so difficult to get gripping stories about minorities (any minority) on to the big screen that I have to rejoice when it happens. Finally, I want to say that I had another smile on my face when at the end of the film, the audience applauded. I definitely think that this film is worth the price of a ticket, so I say fasten your seat belts and hop into the cockpit and go and see this film. All engines are "Go" with a green light.
I will start out this review with a gentle reminder about how I hate biopics. However, I must say that it was mildly refreshing to see a film about someone who is actually still alive. The only good thing about biopics is that you don't really have to worry about spoiler alerts since all you really have to do is pick up a history book or google it on the internet. I really didn't know that much about Margaret Thatcher or the whole slew of issues that were going on in England during her administration, so I guess to that point the film did enlighten me when it came to providing me with a mini history lesson. I am not sure what the heck is going on with directors these days, but jumping around from past to present seems to be extremely popular these days. I say cut it out, you're making me dizzy! As far as Meryl Streep (Margaret Thatcher) goes, I cannot say enough about her acting. From the opening scene I was just in awe of how she manages to transform herself into the characters that she plays. And oh by the way .., if you have never seen Sophie's Choice, I highly recommend that you pick it up. Meryl is the reason that I went to see this film in the first place and she did not disappoint. While in the role of Margaret as she is today, you almost forget that you are looking at Meryl and not the real thing. This made me wonder if the actual Margaret Thatcher has seen this film and what she thought about it. I did feel a swell of pride when the heads of states met in France and among them was one female. I thought to myself .. look at Maggie, representing .., you go girl. For those of you who may not know, Meryl made one million dollars on this film and she gave every cent to a foundation to build a women's museum on the mall in Washington DC. Now that is what I call a class act. I think that if you are a Meryl Streep fan, then I encourage you to see the film. However, because it gave me flashbacks of sitting in a high school history class, I would recommend that you wait until it hits video stores (if they still exist). With all that being said, I'm going to give this film an amber light.
This adaptation of John le Carre's book was interesting and somewhat dull at times. I do not generally like period films, but this one is somewhat of an exception. Let me just say to start out with that this was a long film and I was a little anxious to get it over with. If you are looking for the usual action scenes that normally come with these types of films, then you are going to be greatly disappointed. This was a more subtle film with a lot of whispering and back stabbing. The fact that they called their intelligence agency "the circus" was mildly amusing to me since that is the way I always think of any government agency. In my opinion the film was very slow to get started and there was a lot of jumping around and flash-backing, so there was no time to have your thoughts wonder or drift into a quick nap. It almost seemed like the director Tomas Alfredsen filmed a lot of little segments and then pasted them together like a collage. There was a sub-story in the film where Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) engages in a friendship with one of his young pupils. I remember thinking at the end of the film that they probably could have left that sub-story out. It did not play to the plot at all. I do have to tip my hat to Gary Oldman (George Smiley) who was very believable as the trench coat sudo-detective weaving in and out of the streets of London. This film definitely had that "independent film" feel to it. I found it interesting that John le Carre made a cameo appearance in the film. I guess he plans on being the next Alfred Hitchcock. The story of the film was very good, but I have to say that I miss the action. I am not sure if I was entertained by the film. It sort of made me feel like I was watching a docu-drama about the European Central Intelligence Agency of the early 70s. I think that if you are into slow-moving, however highly intelligent films then this is probably worth the price of a ticket. If you more of a "Bourne" action film person, then this might not be for you. As for me, I am the latter, so in saying that, I will not try to perpetrate a cover-up and I am going to give this film an amber light.
This recent collaboration between Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody had me scratching my head. That is not really a new situation for me, because I had the same feeling the first time that I saw Juno. Reitman did a good job with Juno and Up in the Air, but I am not sure if this film is of the same caliber. This downtrodden reality film had me both laughing and shaking my head. It takes the act of delusional thinking to a whole new level. It drove home the fact that people really do know what they look like although they do not always have a clear sense of reality. Charlize Theron (Mavis) is one of those actors that can transform into any character scripted. And I must say that Charlize gave a very believable performance in this film. The sheer cluelessness of her character almost made you feel sorry for her. Talk about having issues she had a bag full of them. And speaking of issues, Sandra (Collette Wolfe) was as far out of touch with reality as Mavis. When these two had dialog on screen, those were the parts that had me shaking my head. Incredible. Thank goodness for the men in the film. They managed to keep the film grounded. Patton Oswalt (Matt Freehauf) was the source of reason in this film (go figure). He did a great job opposite Charlize in the leading role; however there was one scene that he participated in that once again had me shaking my head. The only thing that I want to say about Buddy (Patrick Wilson) is that he did the right thing. I know plenty of men that would not have in his situation. Beth (Elizabeth Reaser) was the most endearing character in the film and was a good match to play opposite Patrick Wilson. This film is getting rave reviews right now, but I am not sure why. Although the storyline was good and the film moved at a steady pace, it was definitely not something to cheer about. I do not think that I am fond of films about women trying to steal another woman's man (which was depicted in the trailer). I guess if you are looking for something to do over the holiday break then Young Adult is just that something to do. That being said, I am giving this film an amber light.
There were so many stars in this film that it felt like a Hollywood casting office. This film was a jumble of story lines that somehow crashes together in the end. I really like all the actors in the film, but the film itself lacked substance. I think that director Garry Marshall took it a little too far when he got Matthew Broderick to make a cameo appearance as Mr. Buellerton. Really, Garry? This film reminds me of the other slapped together film that Garry directed (Valentine's Day). What happened to the brilliance that Garry displayed in films like Pretty Women and Beaches? There were a lot of Oscar-winning actors in this film such as Hillary Swank (Claire Morgan), Robert De Niro (Stan Harris), Halle Berry (Nurse Aimee) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Ingrid). I know that these people did not need a paycheck, so why would they want to add this film to their resume? Ashton Kutcher (Randy) is a man who hates New Year's Eve (as we can tell from the trailer). I think he hates New Year's Eve because he read the script. And another thing . Why was Ashton wondering around New York City in his pajamas? I've been to New York City in the winter and this is not even close to being believable. I do have to make a comment about Sarah Jessica Parker's character, Kim. I can understand her having a teenage daughter, but what I cannot understand is the inappropriate love interest she ends up with. He is much too young for her (but who am I to talk smile). I love SJP from way back from her Sex In The City days, but come on!!! The only character that was slightly believable was Hailey (Abigail Breslin), who acted pretty much like a typical teenager. The rest of the story lines were just pure nonsense. Emma's daughter-in-law brought her baby to the film and he slept through the whole thing. I felt like I could have done the same thing. I hate to say it (not really) but the best parts of this film were the outtakes at the end of the movie. If you feel like you need to see this film, I recommend that you wait until it comes out on DVD and rent it. I am not celebrating and I refuse to do a count-down for this film and am giving it a red light.
Director Martin Scorsese really hit it out of the park with this one. He has taken 3D movie-making to the next level. This film felt like a fairytale for both adults and children and has forever changed the viewing experience from average to spectacular. Although the film started out a little slow, I think that this is one of Marty's better works and is definitely Oscar-worthy, even if it is just for the cinematography. It kind of had that Oliver Twist feel happening but with a lot more adventure. When I saw the trailer for this film, it really did not give any indication about the content of the film and Emma was not looking forward to seeing it. I was excited just to see what was going on with the 3D. If a commercial boasts that "if you don't see any other film in 3D, you need to see this one"; that peaked my imagination and the film did not disappoint. Asa Butterfield (Hugo Cabret) was as endearing in this film as he was in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The relationships Hugo builds throughout the film definitely keeps you interested and wanting to know what happens next. The station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) added both some comic relief and dramatic moments. Sir Ben Kingsley's character, George Melies transforms throughout the film. You could not really decide if you liked him or if you hated him, but all things are revealed in the end. It is really hard to review this film without giving away its essence, but take my word for it; you will not regret going to see it. This film felt like it was very personal for Mr. Scorsese and although it definitely had a storybook feel, I think that anyone who loves movies (like Emma and I do) has to make sure that this one is on their list of films to see. Who would have thought that Marty would be the person that takes 3D films to another dimension? Even James Cameron stated that it was the best 3D effects that he had ever seen; including his own films. I gained a new found respect for the process of movie-making in general. This film does more than just entertains, but it also gives the audience a brief education. The conductor is shouting ALL ABOARD!!!!! This film leaves the train station with a green light.
I was really looking forward to seeing this film and it did not disappoint. Although Happy Feet Two was not as good as its Oscar-winning predecessor, there were still plenty of toe-tapping moments. I liked the fact that the songs were recognizable. I am sure that L. L. Cool J is just tickled pink that they included his "Mama Said Knock You Out". In this film Mumble (Elijah Wood) is all grown up and learning how to be a better father to his son Erik (Ava Acres). Erik was just the cutest little thing and he pulls at your heart-strings right from the beginning. The main story line was a good one, but I think that I found the story between Bill the Krill (Matt Damon) and Will the Krill (Brad Pitt) even more entertaining. Those two had their own thing happening. I liked the way that the writer (George Miller) had two stories going on at the same time and the fact that they blended together in the end was excellent. I think that you have to have a lot going on to keep the attention of kids these days. I did not see this film in 3D, but you could tell by some of the scenes that the price of a 3D ticket might have been worth it for this film. The animation in this film was simply stunning. Animation has come a long way since Casper the Friendly ghost (I'm dating myself, huh?) Anyway, it was great. It was also refreshing to see the development of numerous female characters in this film such as Gloria (Pink) and Carmen (Sofia Vergara). I have to give props to the ladies. Robin William's character, Ramon had me cracking up throughout the film. It is not surprising that Robin really knows how to make his characters stand out since he has done numerous voice projects in the past (Genie in the Aladdin films, Dr. Know in A.I. and Fender in Robots). This film contains numerous life-lessons that I think that the target audience will understand (one person can make a difference, keep your promises, don't run away from home, etc.). If you enjoyed the first Happy Feet, then you will also enjoy this one (just not as much). Anyway, I say put on your dancing shoes, shake a tail feather and go out and see this film. I am giving this film a green light.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me start by saying that I am really not into mythology. At the end of the film I was talking with Emma and told her that I did not appreciate them killing off Thor (Duh). Emma quickly explained that this was the Greek side of the house and who I thought was Thor was actually Aries (Daniel Sharman). I felt like a big dumb. This mythic film did meet all of my expectations, but did not really leave me with the "wow" factor. I think that the CGI in the film was well done (especially at the end of the film). Some of the scenes looked a little gray and repetitive but overall I think that the 3D price was worth it. I am not really familiar with Tarsem Singh's work, but if this is any indication, I think that he is on the right track. The only other one of his films that I have seen was The Cell. If you are expecting a film on the same level as Clash of the Titans then you are going to be disappointed. There were some scenes in this film that had me covering my eyes. The level of gore and blood almost made me want to hurl. I guess that Henry Cavill (Theseus) is on his way to being an action star. I remember that he played the hunter in Red Riding Hood. His character is very hardened in this film and there is very little by the way of emotion, but I guess that is how it was written. Mickey Rourke (King Hyperion) made for a great "bad" guy. He was ruthless and showed no mercy when it came to killing, slaughtering, butchering, maiming and so forth. Freida Pinto (Phaedra) was very beautiful in this film and she has come a long way since Slumdog Millionaire. And speaking of Ms. Pinto, there are just some things that no one wants to see in 3D. You'll see what I mean. I want to jump up and down about this film, but I am just not going to be able to do it. Even though I do not think that the film was great I do think that it is worth going to see. Just try and keep clear of the blood being splattered about. Anyway, I am going to go and brush up on my mythology and get my Gods in order. I am giving this film a green light.
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