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Rogues Gallery (2010)
Disappointing action movie
Operation Endgame is a very strange movie. I didn't know a lot about it and when you start watching it, it seems to be a thriller about espionage, but it quickly becomes clear that it's a very violent movie in which the members of the two opposing teams attack each other with any "weapon" they can find around the office (there are no guns as they are not allowed). So think about staple removers or paper cutters. This results in some very bloody scenes.
Rob Corddry is very funny in the movie and reminded me of his role in Hot Tub Time Machine. He is very rude, but that's the reason it will make you laugh. I thought he was the best thing in this movie. There are a lot of well-known actor in this movie. Zach Galifianakis, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q (who I remember from her role in Mission Impossible III), Emilie de Ravin (Lost) and Ellen Barkin (I can't remember any movies with her in it, the last one is 1991's Switch). Don't expect to see a lot of them though as most of them get very little screen time and meet their demise very quickly. I liked the two security men who see all the action on their security system and comment on it like they are watching a sports game, they had me laughing.
The movie tries to surprise you with an unexpected twist, but by the time this happens you will not really care anymore. This movie gave me the same feeling I had with Smokin Aces 2. The different characters have so little screen time and no character development at all that you actually will not care what happens to them. Despite the humor I didn't like this movie. I thought the violence was a bit too much (and I usually don't mind watching something like this) and the story itself was almost non-existent. My advice: Avoid it!
The Pixar Story (2007)
Nice look into the history of a master in animation
At the moment Pixar is the leading company when it comes to successful computer animated movies. With the combination of stunning graphics en extremely well written stories they have managed to build an impressive movie portfolio. This documentary shows how the company was founded and evolved. Steve Jobs, John Lasseter, Brad Bird and George Lucas are all interviewed and tell about its history and growth. Before Toy Story was made the company didn't make any money and lost millions each year.
The movie show that Toy Story's story would have been very different if the Disney company would have had it its way. Also Pixar's other movies like A Bug's Life, Cars, Monster Inc and Finding Nemo are briefly talked about. It's clear that the company feels the constant pressure to outdo itself with each new movie. I think this is something they usually succeed in, although Cars really wasn't that good (although it is understandably very popular with the kids) I'm always looking forward to seeing new Pixar movies, something I don't have with Disney movies. With Toy Story 3 Pixar has managed to already earn $895 million and the future of Pixar looks bright. It's a company that will not disappear anytime soon. When I think about the Pixar name I think about quality movies and my expectation is that they will manage to keep that image.
The Pixar Story is a very interesting documentary in which there were many new details I didn't know. If you have seen every Pixar movie and if you want to know more about the company itself, then this documentary is something you will want to see.
Mo' Money (1992)
Not great, but has a lot of funny moments
Johnny Stewart (Damon Wayans) and Seymour Stewart (Marlon Wayans) are two brothers who make their living as con men. They make up a new hustle and find a new victim to get their money. Unfortunately they are not always able to stay out of jail. When Johny meets Amber Evans (Stacey Dash) he is immediately in love with her. In order to find the way to her heart he decides to get a normal job at the office where Ambers works.
Mo'Money is a nice comedy. An attempt has been made to add some suspense to the movie by adding a story line about credit card fraud. The execution of this disappoints, which makes it feel tacked on and rushed.
I like the humor in this movie and it's the main reason I watched it again. One scene in which the brothers walk into a dining and tear it up in order to get a free sandwich is hilarious. There are some other scenes which I also like (like the one where Seymour wakes up in the morning next to the girl he picked up the night before).
Mo'Money is not a movie everyone will like or laugh about, but it's one which I like enough to have watched it again after not having seen it for many years.
Funny cartoons and short interesting view into part of Walt Disney's life
This episode from a TV series, in which Walt Disney answered questions that were asked by viewers, shows some "behind the scenes" footage of how specific cartoons came to be. One shows how the music was created and another how research was done for animating raccoons.
This episode has 4 cartoons: - Donald is on his way to Daisy and gets into a fight with Chip'N'Dale - Pluto hunts for a raccoon together with Mickey - Donald in the army - Donald and model trains, again involving Chip'N'Dale
Something I did not know was the Walt Disney was a big fan of model trains (the ones you can sit on and ride yourself). He actually had about 800 meter of tracks installed in his backyard . The footage also shows Kirk Douglas visiting him and riding on such a train.
The cartoons were quite funny, especially the ones with Chip'N'Dale. The weakest one was the one with Pluto.
The Ghost Writer (2010)
Very well made thriller
The life of a ghost writer (someone who writes books, speeches or lyrics for others) isn't easy. No one is allowed to know that you are responsible for something and you'll never get any respect from the readers, someone else will however. The only thing you'll get is a bag of money and you will have to start looking for your next job. Ewan McGregor (whose character doesn't have a name and is called The Ghost in the credits) is such a writer and has been asked to write the memoirs of English prime minster Robert Lang (Pierce Brosnan). He has a very short time to finish it. Lang already had a ghost writer, but he was found dead and it's up to The Ghost to finish the book. He is caught up in a political web when Lang is mentioned in an international case about the treatment of some prisoners. The Ghost starts searching for some answers.
The Ghost Writer is a very exciting thriller. Although The Ghost sometimes is not very careful in the things he does it did not distract from the story, which was good from start to finish, including some unexpected twists. When you watch the movie you'll swear it was shot in America. With Polanskis legal troubles they were not able to do this and most of it has been shot in Germany. They did this by changing signs, electricity wires, using American cars etc. It's all very convincing. The beach house was created in the studio and green screens were used to show the ocean. I didn't notice it at all. The book on which this movie has been based was written by Robert Harris, a political writer and journalist who opposed the decision by Tony Blair to go to war in Iraq. Any similarities between Lang and Blair are no coincidence.
What I really liked was that the movie manages to keep the suspense high all the way till the ending, without an actual constant threat. Ewan McGregor is very convincing and really carries the movie, helped by a very well written story. If you are looking for an exciting thriller which will have you watching on the edge of your set, look no further as this one is highly recommended.
Inception - Very good, although not my movie of the year
The essence of a movie can usually be described in one sentence, which gives you enough information to get a feeling what the movie is about. This sentence has been formed based on an idea. When that idea has been thought up the script writer start expanding on it. Together with set builders and many other people involved in preparation they are the architects who create the world in which the movie will be set. This can be a single room or many locations, anything is possible.
When preparation is done the director and actors step into the world and take care in filling in all the small details. They do this by improvising, making changes to scenes or shooting it a specific way. All this takes places within the confines of the concept for the movie.
When the movie finally has been edited, it's up to the person that goes to the cinema to step into this temporary reality. If the movie is a good one you'll disappear in it, the world around you no longer exists and you forget that you are sitting in a chair at the cinema. You are actually in the place that is shown on the screen. The ending of the movie is the shock that takes you back to reality. If the movie was powerful and had some messages that resonate with your own ideas they might even become part of your own values. If that's the case, the whole team behind making the movie has made a masterpiece.
Inception uses this concept, but instead of movies they use this on dreams. Christopher Nolan ( Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige and The Dark Knight) shows his vision on what's possible in your dreams, but has he managed to create a masterpiece? When you take a look at Nolan's previous movies, you'll come to the conclusion that he has managed to deliver quality movies. After the success of the new Batman movies he has managed to make his mark as one of the top directors in Hollywood and has been given the opportunity and money to make Inception.
Inception is about a team of thieves that do their work in the dreams of their victims. So their goal is not to steal money or other physical things, but to get their "hands" on thoughts or ideas the person has, which they can then deliver to whoever hired them. Of course this is the ultimate way to do industrial espionage and the team is asked by a company's top executive if they are able to plant an idea in the mind of one of his competitors. The team is not sure that this is even possible, but still decide to take the assignment.
The setup is comparable to other heist movies like Ocean's Eleven and The Italian Job, in which the first step is to find the right people for the team after which they can put together their "plan of attack".
The result is an exciting action movie, which looks amazing. Some sets are very impressive, especially when you know that they are set up in such a way that they can move and tilt. I will not go into further detail, but the result is stunning. It will definitely provide you with some "WOW!" moments, just like the first Matrix movie did a couple of years ago.
Before seeing this film I heard that it was a movie which was hard to understand, so I was preparing for something like Donnie Darko, which will make you think even more after you have finished watching it. I'll admit that you will have to keep focused, but I was impressed that such a complex story has been told in such an understandable way. Reason for this are the characters who explain a lot of things to each other and secondly the great editing, which will make sure you do not get lost in this complex maze.
There are a couple of reasons I decided to score it a 9.
After finishing the movie I did not get the feeling that I wanted to immediately see it again. I saw it last week and I still do not have that feeling. I do want to see it, but maybe in a couple of years. The reason I have this feeling is because the concept needs so much explanation that the first part spends a lot of time on it. When you watch the movie a second time, you will already know the rules. It's something I'm not looking forward to seeing again so soon.
The second reason is that I think not enough time was spent on the backgrounds of the main characters. The only person that you'll get to know more about is Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio). His personal story is told in a lot of detail, but because the other characters only seem to be there to help him they felt as empty as the agents in the Matrix movies. They are used to tell the story without you knowing much about them. This made the movie feel very sterile to me, I missed a more personal touch which could have given the movie more "soul". So I didn't connect to the movie in the way I would have liked.
Despite these criticisms, Inception is an excellent movie. It offers amazing action scenes which you'll want to see again. The idea for the movie is unique and has been executed very well.
Christopher Nolan has managed to make another movie which you just can't afford to miss. It's not my personal movie of the year, this is still Mr.Nobody (which I've already seen twice) as I liked the more personal aspect of it. I can imagine that for a lot of people it will be though, as it's an impressive piece of film making.
Les fils du vent (2004)
Good idea, bad implementation
Some minor spoilers included. This movie looked very good when i first saw the trailer of it, but unfortunately after watching it i was very disappointed. Although the movie has been shot beautifully, the way it's been put together spoils the experience. I don't know if it was because of the subtitles, but it was next to impossible to discover a storyline in this movie. I found out what the story was by reading the DVD cover, but this shouldn't be necessary. It felt like the back story was all very well known to the producers of the movie, but they didn't put enough into bringing this forward in the movie itself. Because of this near lack of story you don't really connect to the characters and feel like watching some scenes instead of a coherent movie. The stunts and acting performed by the actors is good, but you'd be better off watching Yamakasi instead, in which there's more of a story and the stunts are similar. A missed opportunity.