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A Fairy Tale for Adults
Stardust, which is adapted from Neil Gaiman's novel, despite my early skepticism translates very well onto film. After reading the book, I was slightly worried that the essence of the story wouldn't be captured on screen, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Matthew Vaughn's movie, like Gaiman's novel, does an excellent job of tackling serious themes like love and loss without ever taking itself too seriously. These comedic tones, which can be seen as subtle jabs to some fantasy epics, are what really led to my enjoyment of the book and the movie.
Matthew Vaughn's talents in the directors chair have given the movie viewing public another excellent film. He does a great job of keeping the viewer completely emerged in what is happening to the characters throughout the film. While slightly over two hours long the film never once drags or feels bloated with needless characters or subplots (aka Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest). Working with a $70 million budget, which is a somewhat small budget for a fantasy film, Vaughn brings to life the Village of Wall and the kingdom Stormhold in such great detail. He takes Gaiman's descriptions of places, characters, and events and displays them magnificently on screen. He also manages to get some great performances from his entire cast.
Newcomer Charlie Cox plays the main character of Tristran Thorn with great presence and charisma. He does a great job with the transformation from the lovable loser to the brave hero. Mark Strong also stole the show as the power hungry prince Septimus. Even though he was the "villian" of the film I hated to see anything happen to him because he brought so much to every scene that he was in. Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Claire Danes, and Sienna Miller also gave admirable performances in their supporting roles.
The marketing campaign is the only thing that I have to complain about for this film. They did a terrible job of showing the public what this movie was going to be about. In any of the adds that I saw do you ever really get a glimpse of what the plot is going to entail. There was just random clips of Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro. While they were both good in the film, they were not in any way the main characters of the movie. I just hope good word of mouth will help this movie get the recognition it deserves to have!
28 Weeks Later (2007)
An Admirable Sequel
Very good! This is a top notch zombie film, but it didn't quite live up to its predecessor. It was a little more predictable then "28 Days Later", but is still a very frightening and disturbing movie. One area in which this film exceeds "Days" is how claustrophobic it is. I don't quite know how to explain it, but certain parts in the movie just made me feel uncomfortably close to what was going on, and the first seemed to take place more out in the open.
I thought that most of the actors did an excellent job. Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Renner, and both of the children all gave great performances. Jeremy Renner in some respects reminds me of Nathan Fillion. He is a talented actor who is very underrated. He was definitely one of the better parts of the SWAT movie. It was good to see Michael from Lost in the movie also! Harold Perrineau was a great addition to the cast.
The atmosphere is tense, and it will have you sitting on the edge of your seat through its entire length. I loved all the neat camera views the director used, especially the night vision scope in the tunnel, that was great. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo does a good job with taking over the reigns from Danny Boyle. I'll be interested to see what the success of this movie does for his career as a filmmaker.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Imagine Monty Python Making a Zombie Film
Hilarious! Think Monty Python meets zombies. It just has such a dry, biting wit about it, that you have to love it. To me this movie, like most of the Monty Python flicks, has tons of replay value. You can have fun with it time and time again, and never get sick of the jokes.
I think the reason for this is because Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg aren't trying to hard to be funny. Their humor appears to be something that just flows naturally for them. Also Simon Pegg and Nick Frost make a great comedic duo.
Not only does it work as comedy, but it also works as a great homage to classic zombie flicks, which happens to be one of my favorite horror genres. It manages to take elements from zombie classic and make them funny without mocking the source material.
The acting is good, the zombies look cool, and its filled with slightly over the top gore. What more could you ask for? Definitely one of the funniest movies I've seen in awhile!
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Ultimatum is Easily the Best Bourne
Paul Greengrass definitely saved the best Bourne for last! I've heard a lot of people complain about they way he filmed this movie, and some have even compared the camera style to the Blair Witch Project. All I have to say to that is...are you kidding me? Come on it was not that bad at all. I think it helps the action scenes to feel more realistic, which I would prefer over highly stylized stunt choreography. As for the rest of the movie I really didn't even notice it.
You can tell that Damon has really gotten comfortable with the role of Jason Bourne. Sometimes that can be a bad thing, but in this case its a really good thing. He really becomes Jason Bourne in this installment. Damon also has a great supporting cast in Joan Allen, Ezra Kramer, and Julia Stiles. David Strathairn was a great addition to the cast, as he added more depth to the secret CIA organization.
Even though the movie is filled with great car chases and nonstop action, they managed to stick a fair amount of character development in their with all of that going on. This film stands far above the other two Bourne movies, and is definitely one of the best movies of the 2007 summer season!
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Beware of the Refrigerator
Wow! What a powerful movie! Aronofsky is once again amazing in the directors chair. The quick, cutting style in which this film is done, works really well. The sequences in which the characters would take their drug of choice, looked really cool on screen. You know a director has talent when he can get a good performance out of someone whose acting credits include, Scary Movie, White Chicks, and Little Man....aka Marlon Wayans.
All of the actors, especially Ellen Burstyn, do an outstanding job of portraying their characters as they slowly lose grip on the small pieces of sanity that they were holding on to. This movie really made me a fan of Jared Leto, he does an amazing job portraying his hopelessly lost character. Its like watching a wreck that you know is coming, but you just can't look away.
A lot of the scenes in this movie really creeped me out, and I had some pretty freaky dreams about Tabby Tibbons. This movie should be adopted by DARE for some of there anti-drug promotions. Once you've seen this you'll never want to touch any kind of drug! Oh and you'll forever be afraid of your refrigerator!
One of the Best Entries Into the Horror Genre in Recent Years
Finally a horror movie that messes with your head instead of your stomach. 1408 doesn't try to scare you by throwing gallons of blood onto the screen. It gets its scares by taking a trip into the depths of the human mind. Psychological horror has always been scarier to me, and this film definitely delivers on that.
Great acting all around. You literally feel like your losing your mind along with John Cusack's character. He conquers a hard task by spending most of the time on screen by himself, and he also interacts very well with his surroundings. Samuel L. Jackson was also good in his small role.
The director Mikael Hafstrom really took a step forward from his mediocre American film debut, Derailed. I'm sure its hard to make a full length film about one man in a single room, but he does so successfully. He manages to capture the essence of a Stephen King story like very few directors have been able to do. The only other director that comes to mind off of the top of my head is Frank Darabont, and thats pretty good company to be with.
Reign Over Me (2007)
From the very beginning of this movie, you really feel for all of the characters that are involved. Adam Sandler does an excellent job of making the viewer feel his pain. In the middle of the movie I almost felt myself slipping into a depressing state of mind as Sandler's character dealt with his many issues.
Great acting by both Sandler & Cheadle. Sandler should focus more on these dramatic roles, because I loved him in this and Spanglish. Hes very good at playing tragic characters. And Cheadle is always great. I've really begun to love just about anything that he is in. Even his small cameo in Rush Hour 2, which was one of my favorite parts of that movie.
Mike Binder also does an excellent job as the director, even though the runtime was a little long. He got as much out of Adam Sandler and the rest of the cast, as can be gotten out of them. He also manages to touch on the tragic events of 9/11 without stepping on the toes of those who really went through it. I'm interested to see what Binder does next.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Great Way to End This Story Arc!!
This was one of the most hyped movies in awhile, and it didn't disappoint me at all. I've seen it three times in theater so far! I think a lot of the users had their own version of Spiderman 3 made in their head, and when Sam Raimi's version didn't completely fulfill all their wildest fantasies, they whine and complain about a great entry into the Spiderman series. Now on to the movie.
The acting was great. I think everyone involved did an amazing job at delivering comic book dialogue. The new actors seemed to flowed very well with the ones that have already been in the Spiderman world for awhile. Everyone seemed to fit the role they were cast for perfectly, especially Topher Grace even though his character didn't receive the attention he deserved. That was really my only complaint with the whole movie. Hopefully we will see more of Venom in future installments.
The special effects were way above par as we've come to expect from these movies. If there is anyone who doesn't believe that you need to re watch the climatic battle royal, which happens to be one of the best action sequences I've seen in the last few years.
Dead Silence (2007)
Should Have Been an Episode of Supernatural
This movie could have been pretty good, but it just came up a little bit lacking. There really wasn't any suspense in the movie at all. I felt absolutely no connection to any of the characters in the movie, and so I found myself feeling nothing at all when someone died. I don't know if was just bad writing or if the actors didn't portray what was written for them very well, but I just couldn't feel for any of them. The puppets and the atmosphere were creepy albeit not very original, and it had a pretty good twist at the end that I didn't really see coming, but it just seemed like that they could have done a lot more with the ghost story that was set up. I just felt frustrated because I believe they could've made a decent entry into the horror genre with the concept that they had. Instead, it ends up feeling like a sub par episode of Supernatural, which isn't that bad of a thing unless your paying $8.00 to see it at the theater.
I Know Who Killed Me (2007)
Its Bad. Really Really Bad
Odd is really the only word that can completely describe this movie. It was like Showgirls, The Parent Trap, and Saw all rolled into one terrible movie. I sat in the theater throughout the films entire runtime trying to figure out what exactly this movie was or was attempting to be, is it a thriller? a horror flick? a subtle satire? or a comedy? And then it struck me... this is nothing more than a mediocre B movie with an A list actress attached to it. Once you realize that you can almost have fun watching and making fun of it. Everyone in theater that I saw it in, laughed throughout the whole thing! Even though her performance was halfway decent, this was a horrible career move for Lindsay Lohan, especially after another DUI and the cocaine possession. Speaking of cocaine, I really think she was on coke when she accepted this role. The only reason that I've given it two stars is because she looked amazing in the movie, even with her chargeable prosthetics.