Reviews

196 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Submarine (2010)
8/10
A Little Film Called Submarine
14 August 2011
Anybody else seen it? I thought this was one of the best comedies of the year. Strong performances all around, particularly from the lead Craig Roberts. Also nice supporting work from Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor. The script is delightful and the direction is surprisingly stylish, both the work of Richard Ayoade, who you might remember as Moss in the IT Crowd. Possibly the best debut direction of the year, at least thus far. The soundtrack is also quite strong, and entirely original. It consists of strong melodic acoustic songs by Alex Turner, best known as the lead singer of the British band the Arctic Monkeys. If any film should be getting buzz for the Best Original Song Oscar this year it's Submarine.

8/10
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6/10
A Strong Performance, but a Flawed Narrative
9 June 2010
I was personally highly disappointed with the narrative. The screenplay seemed to betray the strong of of Affleck, forgetting to let the character in Ford's head. Ford is psychotic, and therefore a unreliable narrator. It isn't until the final scene that this is even remotely shown. As it is the script only comes off as shallow.

Still Affleck gives a fine performance, and we probably have Hudson's best work in almost a decade, or at least since The Skeleton Key. Alba brings very little to the role, but her performance isn't necessarily bad either. It just is.

The Killer Inside Me isn't necessarily a terrible film, and it not a film to avoid by means, but it certainly isn't anything to rush out to see. Part's of it are certainly worth while, most notably the scenes towards the middle of the film.
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6/10
Synecdoche, New York
26 March 2009
Just like all of Kaufman's previous film it had a strong underlying plot that was actually deceptively simple. It had all the things that have made Kaufman's previous films so brilliant, but unfortunately this time it fell apart. Maybe it was because Kaufman himself was the director this time, and was simply not up to the task, or because Synecdoche, New York simply has too much of what made his previous films so great. It has two much whimsy and metaphors and too simple of a basis. Synecdoche, New York is the worst kind of mess. One that just misses brilliance. One that actually has a lot of brilliant in it, but squanders it.
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7/10
Touching if Very Flawed
4 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a beautiful, touching, and very flawed film. The plot is touching, and the performances all affective, and the film is generally well done, but it is flawed, mostly I believe to the screenplay. Like many of Roths previous films there is an overabundance of sub-plots. The film is to long, but that isn't only it. Large chunks of the film seem disjointed from the rest of the picture, and as far as I'm concerned the most dramatic of these are the many scenes where Ormond reads the story to a dieing Blanchett. Still Benjamin Button is a very good film, mostly due to what the actors did, Pitt and Blanchett are great in their respective lead rolls, and Taraji P. Henson more then steals the film as Pitts mother. Also much of the film is very touching, I just wish Roth had written a better screenplay.
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The Fly (1986)
9/10
A Disturbing and Beautiful Sci-Fi Tragedy
19 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The Fly is the story about a nerdy, reclusive scientist who invents a teleportation machine, and his reporter girlfriend who is writing a book on the discovery. Everything is going well until the scientist, drunk and jealous attempts to use the machine to teleport himself prematurely, and ends up fusing himself with a fly. The film quickly turns from sci-fi romance, to sci-fi Shakespearian tragedy.

The film is a semi remake of an old Vincent Pryce campy horror film. It is semi in that it was the same title, and a similar premise, but very few of the same plot details, and a very different feel. While the original was a campy 3D style film, this one is truly disturbing. That is not surprising being from director David Lynch best known for such films as Videodrome, Naked Lunch, Crash, and A History of Violence. He is known for violent, disturbing, brilliant, and emotionally brutal films.

The Fly is probably one of his strongest. It features a great performance by Jeff Goldblum as the scientist. He is sensitive, sad, and generally just deeply poignant. The film also features some of the best makeup ever put on screen. The film was made in the mid eighties before most computer effects were available, and all the effects are thanks to the make up. Turning a man slowly into a fly must have been difficult, and it is actually perfectly pulled off.

So in the end The Fly is a strongly constructed, and entertaining sci-fi horror film of sorts, and will be enjoyed by even people who aren't sci-fi fans. It will have the effect of staying with you for a while after seeing it, and not only for the horrific effects created by the makeup.
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5/10
Feels Emotionally Distant
19 August 2008
I was expecting a lot more. House of Sand and Fog was brilliant, but Perelman loses it in his second film, but it really isn't him that hurts the film the most, although he does lose himself in the imagery a little but. Most of the flaws of the film can be attributed to the screenplay, It never fully meshes. Also the plot twist at the end completely ruins what we have seen, which isn't far above mediocre as is. There are, though a couple of good things about the film. Most notably the performances by Wood and Amurri. They are natural and wonderful. They almost make the film worth watching. The cinematography is also rather beautiful, in fact almost too much so for the film. It makes it seem even more artificial.
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6/10
A Pretentious Mess
13 May 2008
Youth Without Youth is a pretentious mess. Pretensiousness is underrated in films today, but that doesn't save it from not working. Coppolla seems to still remember the mechanics of film making, but he hasn't recovered the fervor yet. His new film is a beautiful, and sometimes interesting film with fine performances. The fact that it doesn't work is somewhat surprising, and mostly I think due to Coppolla's script and the mediocre editing. It is almost worth seeing just for the cinematography, and the performances by Roth and particularly Lara who are fantastic, but in the end it just isn't quite worth it. No matter how much I wanted to like it, I couldn't. It just didn't quite work.
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8/10
An Apt Film About The Great Character of Bob Dylan
6 May 2008
Quite an interesting film. I'm a huge fan of experimental cinema, and this was the first real big film like this I've seen in a while. Everything didn't work, but it mostly did. More worked well then failed. I found Blanchett's and Ledger's parts to the be the best, and the worst to probably be Franklin's or Bale's. Performance wise I was most impressed with Blanchett, just like everyone else. She was perfect. Ledger and Whishaw were both also great, and there wasn't a bad member of the cast. I was very impressed with Haynes control over the film. This was one of the best directed films of the year. He knew what was happened all the time, and made a sort of controlled chaos. It's the most you can ask for in a direction. The film is very well made, but not for everyone. It never quite reaches greatness, but that hardly ever happens in films. This was a fine film, and an apt story of the character of Bob Dylan.
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9/10
A Fun, Relatable, and Funny Comedy
5 March 2008
I enjoyed it. It's a interesting, and symbolic piece with fine performances all around. Bill Murray did wonders with his tiny amount of screen time, as did Natalie Portman. Angelica Huston also gave her best performance in years, although that says very little. Schwartzman gave the best performance of the three brothers. He was interesting, and brilliantly emotionally stunted. I also enjoyed Brody, and Wilson gave his finest performance ever, but I still figure he should stick to writing. The screenplay was the finest aspect of the entire film. It was very relatable, and interesting. All in all, a fine and well done film.
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9/10
A Masterful Thriller
19 February 2008
A masterpiece with many great performances. While it is the worst of the Best Picture nominees, that says very little. This is the first year in a long time that all the nominees are great. This is Clooney's finest performance. He is subtle and gives a full blooded performance. Wilkinson is also brilliant, and probably gives the best performance of the film. He is one of the best character actors around, and this is why. I also loved Swintons subtle performance. She made what could have been a paint by numbers character something real. The screenplay was also brilliant, and full of twists. This is a truly entertaining, and great film. One of the best of 2007.
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7/10
American Gangster
19 February 2008
It was a well crafted, interesting film, with some fine performances, but almost no one went the extra mile. Almost everything in the film works, but hardly anything is great. I thought Josh Brolin basically stole every scene he was in, and Washington also gave a fine performance. Ruby Dee gave a warm, fine performance. She is good, but nothing better than she had to be. I had real problems with Crowes performance, and particularly with the direction of the film. The first hour was amazing, as was the last fifteen minutes of so. The rest was just mediocre. The editing was probably the saving grace is much of the movie. It pieced together the many parts that didn't work, and made them better. Because of the editing, it worked. Because of the editing it was entertaining. It, and Brolins performance were the only great things about the movie. The rest of it is an oddly flawed epic, that works more than it should.
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3:10 to Yuma (2007)
9/10
One of the Few Remakes to Be as Good as the Original
8 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the few remakes that is just as good as the original. I only had one qualm. It was that Wade was less menacing this time, due to the fact that he kept trying to escape. In the original it's more chilling because he never once try's to run. He just waits. The ending is also not as good as the original, but it worked. Before this film I never thought much of Mangold as a director. Walk the Line was pretty good, but the direction was the worst part of the picture. Here it is the best. He carry's the film, makes it wonderful. It's him that makes it as good as it is, the other great things just help. He points the camera directly where it should be, and with the right angle. He creates a nerve wracking mood. He has no chance at Oscar attention, but he deserves it. The performances are fantastic as well. The two leads are Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Crowe is fine as a semi psychopath. He is chilling, and it's his best work since the beginning of the decade. Bale is better though in Van Heflins roll. He is the most likable character in the film, and the best drawn. This helps Bale, but the character wouldn't have worked if played as it should have. Bale changes the character that's on the page, into something else. By the end he is less likable, and more relatable than I would have guessed. The supporting performances are also fine. Ben Foster in particular was brilliant. He was truly scary, and completely believable. I also really liked Peter Fonda as the aging hit-man who was a sort of psychopath himself. The cinematography was also very impressive, as was the score. Both are Oscar worthy in my opinion. The script was great, and much more realistic and heartfelt than I expected. All in all this is a very underrated film, and one of the best of the year. A masterpiece in everyway. I really enjoyed it as entertainment, and it also managed to be a work of art.
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9/10
A Brilliant Satire
1 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Personally I loved it. It worked as hilarious satire, and as a narrative. By the end I actually cared about Cox, something I have never really done before in a pure satire not directed by Christopher Guest. Most of this can be attributed to the great performance by John C. Reilly. It's his best acting ever, or at least since Magnolia. He embody's Cox. The performance is similar to those in This is Spinal Tap. It's both over the top, and filled with subtle naunces. Jenna Fisher is also surprisingly impressive as the love of his life. Her performance is even better than that of Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line, for which she won an Oscar. The rolls are very similar, and Fisher's works better. This is one of the only satires I have seen that is actually better than the films it is spoofing, and I love musical biopics. It is far more entertaining, and in a way more touching. The cameo's are even more numerous than I expected. The best are of course in The Beatles scene. Paul Rudd in particular is perfect as John Lennon. All in all this is brilliant satire. It works in every way, and is one of the most entertaining and funny films of the year.
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Interview (I) (2007)
8/10
Interview Works Amazingly against all Odds
11 December 2007
Much more interesting and better done than I expected. I'm usually not an advocate for remakes, but when they are done to honor the original film instead of to simply make money I'm all for it. This one does that and more and is the best remake since The Departed. It works for a long list of reason's, most particularly because of the performances. Buscemi is fantastic as a slime ball and always has been. This is one of his better performances of the last couple of years. He relishes in this character, and it shows. He is funny, and disturbing at the same time. Sienna Miller has been becoming a better and better actress over the last year or so. She deserved an Oscar nomination for her performance in the underrated Factory Girl last year, and deserves another one for Interview. She plays a roll similar to herself, or at least her image. Many people say this is easier, but it actually isn't. It is extremely difficult and very emotionally draining. It is rare to find a performance like this that works so well. She is stunning, and deserves better work. The style of the film is interesting. This is thanks to Buscemi's odd, and very experimental direction. Against the odds it works, and elevates the film above just strong acting. Much of the style can also be attributed to the screenplay. The dialogue and characters are expertly drawn. They also are odd, and occasionally stilted, but that's part of why they work so well. It's been a long time since such a stilted and mediocre script worked so perfectly. Even when I say all this though I must say I did have some problems. While I was consistently entertained the "message", if you will, never quite came across. It is a strong one, and should have been paid more attention too. The director of the original film was a strong advocate for free speech, and stood for many wonderful things. He was murdered in 2004 tragically for offending someone with something he said and believed. This film is obviously channeling his beliefs and I just wish it had either forgotten them, or drawn them a little better. However it still works perfectly as an entertainment, which is after all the point of movies.
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Waitress (2007)
9/10
A Nearly Perfect Comedy/Drama
28 November 2007
Waitress is an wonderful feel good movie with an enchanting performance by Keri Russell. For a romantic comedy it is rather deep and emotionally distressing at times, but that's because we empathize with the characters so much. Russell's character is a southern bell of sorts, who get's pregnant by her jerk of a husband, and ends up having an affair with her genealogist. It may sound like a soap opera, but it isn't. It actually works brilliantly because of the pitch perfect script, acting, and direction. It is also a perfect finale to Adrienne Shelly, the writer, director, and co-star of the film who was murdered shortly before its release. This makes the already bittersweet film even more so. I should also mention Andy Griffith's brilliant performance as the owner of the restaurant where Russell's character works. If Russell is the heart of the film, and the script is the blood, he is the white blood cells.
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5/10
A Terribly Done Biopic with a Brilliant Central Performance
17 November 2007
This was a pretty terribly done film, it is somewhat saved by Marion Cotillards brilliant performance though. The editing and script were particularly bad. The weird time line was one of the worst ideas for a movie in a long time. The direction was okay. I liked the subtlety of it, but sometimes it was to much so, and it didn't click with the over the top screenplay, and editing. The technical values were fantastic, but not awards worthy. Cotillard was the only awards worthy thing in the film. She was pretty great in the central roll. Her nuances were wonderful. My number two in Best Actress so far this year, and she will most likely remain in the top five.

5/10 but only because of Cotillard.
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10/10
The Best Animated Film of All TIme
10 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
South Park Bigger Longer and Uncut is the feature length version of the TV show South Park. It is longer; more fully developed, and better animated then the brilliant show. It is also more vile and offensive; generally it's more in most ways, whether good or bad. The first three seasons of South Park were created purely with construction paper, after that they began to have more and more computer's involved and now they have images in a data base on the computer that they can move around with the mouse. The movie was the first thing they did with more computers than drawings and cutouts. This was a big step and now the episodes look much better, but have unfortunately lost some of the original look they had. The general plot of the movie is that four eight year old kids from South Park Colorado go to see an R-Rated Canadian movie and learn swear words from it. They begin using these words and are eventually sent to therapy, meanwhile their parents wage war on Canada for stealing the innocence of youth. It basically gets weirder from there on when characters such as Satan, Saddam Hussein, and the kids teacher Mr. Garrison show up. The plot is surprisingly tight and well written for being so difficult to explain; in fact the screenplay is the strongest aspect of the movie. It weaves through the odd world of South Park and makes it believable enough to be hilarious. It also has some of the most quotable lines in movies of late. The animation here was the beginning of using computer animation for the series and while not entirely computer animated most of it was. It works so well though because often it still looks like cardboard even when it isn't. It's 2D and looks incredibly simple, but of course isn't. South Park Bigger, Longer, and Uncut is one of the funniest movies out there and it's not just because of the crude jokes. It's because of the political commentary, most of which is spot as well as hilarious, and the fact that it's simply so well done. It's a perfect example of the power of animation because it's not just hilarious but for once you actually feel for the South Park characters.
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300 (2006)
9/10
Great
24 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
While I hate comic books as a whole, and particularly 300 I have to say the movie is absolutely brilliant. It has much more depth than I expected, and than the book had. David Wenham also gives a fantastic performance. But what is amazing is of course the technical aspect. The cinematography is brilliantly lit and shot, the editing is brilliant, the costume/art/ and makeup are all fantastic, and the visual effects and particularly sound very well may be the finest of all time. They are simply flawless. The decapitated heads are particularly well designed. The script great. It brings depth to an otherwise flat story. The direction is good, but could have been a lot better. Still a great movie and probably one of my favourites. Look forward to the DVD.
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The Departed (2006)
10/10
A Quick Review
11 October 2006
I was never one of those people who thought that Martin Scorsese had lost his touch. I just thought that as he had grown older his interests had changed, and that was completely fine. No because I believe this would not say that The Departed is Scorsese's comeback. The Departed is his best film since Goodfellas, and is a complete masterpiece. The performances are top notch. If Dicaprio isn't at least nominated I will be extremely mad. Wahlberg and Nicholson are also both stand outs, and I hope both get nominations. Damon and Farmiga are both also amazing. The rest of the cast are very good, but don't stand out in the amazing cast. The script is also great. The dialogue is brilliant and they manage to give each and every character enough development to work well. I also hope Shore is nominated for his brilliant score. Those Irish strings and bagpipes pipe at exactly the right time. The Departed is Scorsese's best in years, and truthfully one of his best ever.
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8/10
Powerful
16 August 2006
World Trade Center is not just the best film of the year so far, but its the best film to hit cinemas in about five years. It is pretty much cinematic perfection, but it is not how it is made that makes it so great. Sure that helps but its the shear power behind the film that makes it truly great. Oliver Stone is a fantastic filmmaker, one of the best in the business and this is one of his best works, if not his best. The performances are totally convincing and nothing less than extraordinary. Michael Pena and Maggie Gyllenhaal in particular. Cage, Bello, and many others are also amazing and deserving of Oscar attention. The music and cinematography as well as the technical aspects are all genius as is the rest of the movie.
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6/10
Much Better Than I Expected
14 July 2006
Well I'll start by saying that I really liked it, not quite the first one but still the best film I've seen so far this year. The special effects are brilliant, as is the entire technical aspect of the film. Many people people are complaining that it doesn't have enough plot, I plea the opposite, in fact it has too much plot and is occasionally confusing. And now to the performances. Johnny Depp is in my opinion several steps behind his performance in the original(Which I consider to be one of the best ever) He is still quite good though. Keira Knightley has proved that she is a very good actress with two Oscar worthy performances in Bend it Like Beckham and Pride and Prejudice. Here she seems lost, and gives one of the films worst performances. Orlando Bloom surprised me with his best performance since his underrated turn in Black Hawk Down(Something he has failed to get even close to living up to) He actually gives a performance that could be considered decent. Bill Nighy should get Oscar consideration(If eligible) for his brilliant portrayal of Davy Jones. He is rather perfect. Tom Hollinder is extremely disappointing in the other villain roll, he was so good in both Pride and Prejudice and Gosford Park, and here is simply embarrassing. In all a extremely good adventure film.
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3/10
A Horrible Film
17 June 2006
Because of Winn-Dixie is a horrible mess of a film, the story is extremely formulaic and cheesy, plus full of major plot holes. It just doesn't work at all. The performances are also horrible, particularly Annasophia Robb in the lead roll as the little girl the film circles around. Jeff Daniels and Eva Marie Saint are usually great actors but here they not only give their own worst performances, but some of the worst ever put on screen. The direction is sentimental and horrible, just awful. This guy should just stop making movies, I hope he never does does it again. The dog is just annoying, the effects horrible, the plot holes are many, it just stinks.
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3/10
Altmans Worst
9 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Robert Altman is in the to five directors of all time, he is absolutely brilliant, but well a guess every genius must fall at some point, even if it is only for a short time as in Altmans case because his next film is his best in Gosford Park. Dr. T and the Women is by far Altmans worst. I never thought he could get any worse than he did twenty years ago with Popeye, but of course he did. The plot sort of works as bad satire up until the final act in which point we run into a tornado and everything goes badly wrong for the plot and farther into implausibility than Altman or pretty much anybody has gone before. The performances arn't bad, particularly Laura Dern is good as the annoying depressed alcoholic sister in law, Richard Gere is also decent in the lead as are Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler as Geres daughter and her secret lesbian lover. The direction hardly seems like Altman, its horrible. Altman has never been horrible before. Not to mention the special effects in the end look horrible and fake. Altmans worst film by several miles, avoid.
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Parenthood (1989)
10/10
A Realistic Look at Family
9 June 2006
Parenthood is the most realistic look at family ever put on film, the film is absolutely brilliant in its portrayal of its characters and there lives. The screenplay is just brilliant. The performances are also fantastic, particularly by Steve Martin and Rick Moranis, what a surprise. Diane Weist, Joaquin Pheonix, Keanu Reaves and others are also very good in their respective roles. Ron Howards direction is very good, he has rarely done better, and has never made a better movie than Parenthood. It is truly flawless, and absolutely brilliant. You need to see this movie, it is perfect, hilarious, realistic, and one of the best comedies ever to be made.
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Howards End (1992)
10/10
A True Masterpiece
9 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Howards End is a truly brilliant film, it is absolutely perfect in its execution. The screenplay is perfect as is the story. The performances are flawless, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anthony Hopkins are just perfect in the leads. They are just great. James Ivory is one of cinema's best directors, and this is his best film and directorial job, he is just brilliant. Flawless direction by a perfect director. The art direction, cinematography, costume design, and musical score are all also very good, beautiful, and pretty much flawless. Howards End is just a great movie that everybody should see before they die. It is human, it ends how it should, not how we want it too which is one of movies biggest problems as of now.
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