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Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Fast paced adrenaline rush!
I read many of the reviews and have to say to those who were disappointed, what did you expect? How many ways can an alien invasion be done and how many ways can it end for earth or for the invaders?? I took my girlfriend to see this movie and if she fell asleep during it, I know that it wasn't good; she falls asleep in a lot of movies! She didn't sleep through this one at all, and I thought it kept the adrenaline going to the end! I liked the shaky camera work, even liked it in Cloverfield, because it gives a realism to the scenes and increases the urgency. The acting, I thought, was great...given the subject matter, characters were quickly developed and then we got to the meat of it...no long drawn out developments with a horrid rush to the end; this movie was well paced.
Battle Los Angeles reminded me of the simplicity of the old SciFi invasion movies, like Earth Verses The Flying Saucers, but blended that with great special effects. I also like that the Aliens were very...Alien! If you are looking to get away from your troubles or just not have to do any thinking, this movie will fit your bill. If you are looking for anything much deeper or some new original theme on an alien invasion, well go make one yourself! The rest of us can just sit back and escape for a while,
Nice on the Small Screen; see it if you're a fan of the original.
First off, if you are a fan of the original, like me, you will see this movie in spite of all the good or bad reviews. It is a different take on the original while dealing with much of the same themes; namely,our tendency to destroy ourselves, others and everything. What I found fascinating was the film's take on the character of Klaatu, which seemed more realistic and more alien than the original. Also, I liked the reason for the the visitation...which, like the original, was not the conventional invasion theme. Unfortunately, this central reason, which lies at the core of the film, has been so frequently preached, that I felt it was basically lost on the choir. But if you can bear that and go along for the ride, I think you will enjoy it. Like the recent X-Files film, seen on a big screen, the CGI flaws and lack of big whiz bang special effects, will be very apparent and the film will seem more remote. But a smaller-artsy-screen (20'X 50')seems to make it easier to connect with; for this reason, I have a feeling that it will be a cult classic once it hits the DVD and large flat screen TV viewing crowd.
The movie could have done more character development and been much more complex, for our times. But in such complicated times, sometimes it's just nice to go see a simple movie with basic themes.
Thinking Man's Spy Thriller
I usually go to Malco's reviewers and then Rotten Tomatoes, to see what the consensus on a movie is. Well after going to see this movie with some very hardcore friends/critics, we all agree, the professionals are getting paid off! If it wasn't for the good amateur Malco reviewers, I would have missed a very good thought provoking movies. I disagree that this movie stereotypes its characters, they are anything but. The acting is rich, the character's are memorable, very great acting on all levels, especially the main characters, and respect is paid to traditional Islam as opposed to its radical splinter. About Cheadle's character, you may have heard his performance is wooden, that is untrue, he delivers a moving portrait of a tortured soul subjected to a traumatic past and exposed to soul rending choices. If you follow it, Traitor will offer an excellent, thoughtful, journey into the heart of a complex issue.
Babylon A.D. (2008)
Shades of what could have been.
This movie has the feeling of a great movie that was either suffocated because of bad editing or bad directing or both. The movie starts off promisingly in an unconventional way in an unconventional but realistic future setting like "Children Of Men." The actors are convincing at first, especially Vin as his usual tough guy bad guy persona, but then we get a 1/3rd of the way through and he becomes a kinder gentler tough guy without any good reason; as if we missed some part of the movie, possibly left on the cutting room floor. The girl, too, who has special abilities, also becomes more vulnerable at the end; an ending, though somewhat emotional and bitter sweet lends to the question of, "WHY?" Much is left unresolved.
I really believe that very important parts of this movie were left on the cutting room floor, whether by the director, producer, the all powerful film editors. It jumps around and expects you to fill in the blanks but that's a tall order. When you leave the theater you will have the feeling that you just got to see shades of something that could have been so much better, more profound, and more fulfilling. But all you got were tantalizing scraps that someone threw together; cut from a much better more complete movie.
The Happening (2008)
A character driven movie with shallow characters.
Although I found the subject matter in the film engaging, I felt that Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel were miscast in their respective roles. Their shallow acting, except for a very few convincing moments, took the punch out of this movie. For me, I found the extras and minor characters more convincing; but for them, the movie would not have been engaging at all! The acting done by the couple who owned the green house, was especially good and they should have been the main characters as their relationship-their acting-was more convincing. The lady the main characters meet in the old house was also extremely well acted and riveting. The talents of the little girl and John laguzamo were also under used. But when it came to Mark and Zooey's performance, the air just went out of the balloon; no deep emotive content and very disconnected from what was happening. And deep emotive content is what was needed in this film, Mark and zooey would have taken the heart out of Sixth Sense, Signs, and Unbreakable; movies requiring mature acting; even the Village would not have survived. So M Night's character driven movie lacked just that, the characters to truly leave you with the impact of what was happening!
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
If you enjoyed Iron Man, you will enjoy The Incredible HULK!
This was a great homage to all the preceding HULKs, while maintaining its own originality! I was moved by a lot of the sensitive moments and the non stop action from beginning to end! Although I am one of the few that thought Ang Lee's take was also well done, this version makes that one pale in comparison. With great acting by Ed Norton, who captures the bittersweet struggle that Bill Bixby bought to the character, and excellent acting by William Hurt as the cold calculating General Ross; this movie has few misses. Liv Tyler does a great Betty Ross, but Jennifer Connelly would have been even better because she would have brought more emotional depth to the character.
All in all, money well spent and not too violent for the kids, as long as you go with them. I sat with a bunch of teens and preteens and they were really engrossed in the action, although they missed some of the more poignant homages. If you enjoyed Iron Man, you will enjoy The Incredible HULK!
Speed Racer (2008)
Heart Warming...Go Speed Racer...Goooo!!!!!
I watched Speed Racer as a kid and loved it! Now as a series, Speed Racer was not, generally, any deeper than its 2 dimensional rendition in anime, but the mystery surrounding his brother brought a few tugs. Now if you expect the movie to be some more realistic, darker, Speed, stay home because you'll hate it! But if you want to see a true homage to the original, then you will be happy you went!! This movie is definitely a family movie with a mix of camp humor and bubble gum colors for the kids, or the kid in you, and some excellent action and drama for adults and the adult in kids! But for me the heart warming moments were what made the movie especially between Speed and Rex his brother. Speed as a child and his moments with "Pops" and "Mom" as a kid and as an adult, were really well acted by John Goodman and Susan Sarandon. Emile Hirsch is just building a great resume' as a versatile actor, if you haven't seen "Into The Wild," I highly recommend you rent it; he does a great lead in that true but tragic story. As as Speed, Hirsch captures the fictitious character's determination and courage and amplifies on his inner turmoil and pain. Matthew Fox as Racer X was a great pick, and works well in the movie; nice to see his acting skills apart from his sojourn on "LOST." The music is excellent and although there are a few repetitive moments, some flat spots, and some over the top spots, I believe you will enjoy the ride; especially if you grew up watching the series!
I thought that this movie would have its best scenes in the trailers, so when I went in I did not expect too much. But I did expect that it would be different given JJ Abram's influence on Alias. Well, if you're not much for jumpy cameras and are prone to motion sickness, you probably will not stay too long in the theater. But if you can focus wide and not get caught up too much in the details, you are in for an intense and unique take on the monster hits a major city (New York) genre. Where does it come from? What is it? One can speculate, but the movie is really dealing with the trauma of a small group of party goers and their encounter with the extraordinary! The effects are amazing, the acting by relative unknowns, hits on all marks; making the movie all the more convincing to the very end. Not for the faint of heart or the under-aged; under 17s might be up nights with the shakes, definitely don't take preteens! Way better than, "The Mist," a must see for giant monster fans everywhere!
The Mist (2007)
Great effects, so so acting
Many will like this movie for its special effects and shear scare factor. But acting by Thomas Jane was questionable. Good at points, in his more crucial scenes, where he has to really emote deep grief, he tries but ends up straining at the bit. In fact he tries so hard that it comes off too strained. Marcia Gay Harden does a convincing role as a crazy religious fanatic, so good that you will end up hating her character. The little boy and the majority of the other actors do a great job, but where the rubber meets the road, on Thomas Jane's broad shoulders, it melts and flops. He is convincing for the strong parts but his deeper emotional value is not there, and this is crucial for the impact of the movie; especially at the end. Although you will probably get shaking by the effects and the out of the box thinking of the movie.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Although a very awe inspiring movie, probably one of the best about track and field and motivation of runners in the Olympics, it has a number of historical inaccuracies. But I believe these licenses were taken to promote dramatic tension and the underlying message of the lives of two very great men in a time of great men and women! Don't forget that this movie premiered in 1981 and many movies took dramatic license without declaring that they were based on...etc. Movies have done that more and more recently, and are less factual than Chariots ever was. Check out the Mothman Prophecies, it's just vaguely like the book. So I am not offended that Eric Liddell knew about the 400 a year in advance, or that Jackson Schultz never gave him that note, although in fact a note was given. Or that Harold Abrams ran in an earlier Olympics and won nothing although he was a great athlete and well loved by his schoolmates. But I believe that it captures the spirit of two very driven men and the differing motivations that drove them, and in so doing immortalizes them, the times, and those around them!