Reviews written by registered user
|9 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With the release of 2009's moderate hit "He's Just Not That Into You",
audiences proved that with enough star power, even the most mediocre of
films could make a smash at the box office. Following the trend, 2010's
first romantic comedy 'When In Rome' hopes to achieve the same success
with similar tactics. Sadly, if it's level of quality were indicative
of how far it's legs will take it, the film may have been better off as
a straight to DVD release.
The star powered film stars such front-line actors as Josh Duhamel, Kristen Bell and Danny DeVito, with an ensemble of B-listers that seems to never end. Focusing on Beth Harper, played monotonously by Bell, the movie is a meld of fantasy, comedy, and a lack of fresh ideas in Hollywood. The film begins the moment that Bell's lead character drunkenly delves for coins in the bottom of Italy's 'Fontana De Amoure', a poor choice which leads to five would-be-stalkers falling in love with her. The rest of the film is devoted to her trying to discover whether the one man she does love, Nick Beaman (Josh Duhamel), is truly her match, or merely the same as the rest of the crazed lunatics she's trying to avoid.
While the film maintains it's good intentions of romantic comedy lore, there are simply too many wincing moments that seem so terribly dated, quite often put on display with use of Duhamel's character and the poles that he repeatedly walks into, as example. In terms of overall acting, audiences may prove genuinely surprised by the lead male's performance, as the ex-Transformer star manages to successfully portray himself as the flawed charmer he is - all despite the massive chasm of chemistry that he shares (or doesn't) with Bell. In terms of the acting from the 'Veronica Mars' star, Bell's fifteen minutes of fame seem to be quickly drawing to a close, as she continues her simplistic, emotionless portrayal of a girl that is just ever so unique, or at least wishes she was.
In regards to the nearly non-existent script, there are a few genuine moments that play out as the Director most-probably intended them too - that is to say that they managed to get a laugh from the audience, a sad rarity throughout the flicks 91 minutes - a run-time that seems to drag on for at least half an hour too long. Without a doubt, slapstick is the ruling theory of comedy in this film, but if one manages to pay close enough attention, they may find themselves appreciating some of the more subtle jabs. Likewise, the observant viewer will undoubtedly take notice of the plethora of cameos speckled across the film - keep an eye out for the 'Napoleon Dynamite' nod, Pedro included.
With all this said, the film is by no means the worst thing to hit screens in recent memory - said trophy belongs to the more deserved 'Toothfairy' - but it definitely has it's niche audience. A definite date movie, movie buffs may want to take a pass on this for the time being, particularly with the multitude of Oscar-Bait movies making their way to to screen. For those truly unsure about the flick, take a safety - wait until it's release on DVD to give it a go; if you play by the rule of 'Kirsten Bell Looks Confused Again," it could even make a half-decent drinking game.
When movies are created, they are done so with intent. Different genres
of film target specific audiences, a formula which has sustained
Hollywood and it's industries since the beginning of the blockbuster
movies. When a movie is created in a manner that sets in motion any
given goal, said films success is pendant on whether or not that goal
is reached. If a comedy creates laughter, or if a romance produces
tears, then they are successes in their own right. So when a massively
ambitious, seemingly impossible to create film aiming to usher in a new
era manages to grab hold of it's audience and take them on an
unprecedented cinematic roller coaster ride that delivers the goods
every turn of the way, it can be considered successful. Avatar is that
A work in progress that spanned a decade and a half, Avatar is more than just a film - it's an experience, an event. When James Cameron set out to make this movie back in the mid 90's, he realized that his ambitions were simply too far ahead of their time. His ideas could not be reached in a feasible manner, and due to this, he had to wait. Or create. Once informed that the image he held for this film was one that was out of grasp, he began working on the technology that would bring his masterpiece within reach. Fifteen years and nearly half a billion dollars later, James Cameron has brought that vision to the screen, and has done so in an extravagant and showstopping way.
Avatar tells the tale of a war between species, each fighting for the ultimate survival of their race. Desperate to find the fuel for their dying planet, human soldiers and scientists set out from earth and set course for Pandora. A planet connected by all living things, Pandora is home to an indigenous species known as the Na'vi, as well as the precious element Unobtanium needed to save earth. Using transference technology, paralyzed marine Jake Sully is volunteered for the "Avatar Program", which enables the thoughts and mind of a human to be placed within the shell of a tube-born Na'vi body. Using this as technique to their advantage, Jake is sent into the harsh Jungles of Pandora in order to bond with the natives, thus gaining knowledge and insight on their ways. Having originally planned to use this knowledge as a means of negotiating the natives relocation, so that the humans can access the deposit of Unobtainium - which just happens to sit below their most worshiped and valued pseudo-deity of their planet.
While the plot on paper may read as a standard shoot'em-up action sci-fi flick, it is a near inconceivable task to truly explain how incorrect this appearance truly is. This takes a stroke from every movie, and a dab from every genre, and manages to create a portrait of beauty, in which all pre-existing notion of what cinema can and cannot do is destroyed. Within the lengthy hundred and sixty some odd minutes of film, moviegoers will find that there is always something to keep them enthralled, a merciful gift when considering how tedious many of the longer film of recent memory can become.
No matter what can be said about the overtly cheesy script,a criticism that, while holding true, manages to fit charmingly into the over-the-top nature of the film, Avatar does as it set out to do, bringing moviegoers a cinematic experience rather than a film. Relying on the technology that he created, Cameron pours his heart into this movie, and it shows in every scene. Ranging from the absurdly detailed creatures to all-too-realistic planet, this flick manages to tell a fulfilling story while all the while throwing jaw-dropping scenery at the audience, giving them only enough time to recover before bombarding them with yet another breathtaking shot.
Be it the fantastical and charming love story told between the native and the outsider, or the too-real-to-be-true action scenes between gunships and foreign ferals, Avatar is what Star Wars was too the 70's, the Wizard Of Oz of the 40's - a masterpiece that will go down in movie history as a game changer of it's time.
4 Stars out of 4 Stars
Girl moves to new town. Girl meets boy. Girl loves boy. Boy says "I'm
not good for you". Girl lovboy. Boy says "I'm not good for you". Girl
loves boy. Boy loves girl. Beneath all the paper-white makeup and
"brooding yet sensitive boy", that is all there is to Twilight, the
first in a series of novels-turned-movies currently sweeping North
America, the rest of which are soon to get their chance on the silver
Twilight is the movie version of Stephanie Meyer's claim to fame novel, which has wrestled with success in the same manner as a younger generation's Harry Potter. Unfortunately, the vampire-centric series is unable to hold a Nosferatu-killing flame to the wizard's legacy, in neither film nor print.
Within the first five minutes, viewers are introduced to Bella, an overly pale girl who has just moved to a small town known as Forks. The film spends as little time as possible with her as the new girl before introducing her immediate best-friends, who we see pop up once or twice throughout the next two hours. The main plot line lies between Bella and the Cullen Clan, as the lead protagonist begins falling for the Clan's heartthrob, Edward.
Films such as Twilight have both upsides and downsides to their built in fan-base, acquired over the course of four novels and countless hand-offs from friend to friend. As the film was a near-guaranteed success, studios realized they need not spend tens of millions extra on such trivial thing as special effects and stunt doubles. The only problem is that in a film that focuses on vampires and their abilities Their abilities looked horrendous. In many of the "action" scenes, the entire choreographed fight seemed reminiscent of 1970's wire-work in low budget Korean films. This goes part-in-parcel with the makeup effects on the vampires, whose resemblance was closer to The Joker than it was to any descendant of Dracula.
Previously seen in the Harry Potter series, Robert Pattinson portrays Edward in a way that fans were destined to love, filling his performance with dark, meaningful stares and looks of deep concentration. Sadly, his character was two-dimensional enough that a Calvin Klein model could fit the vampiric role with room to spare. On the other side of the spectrum, Kristen Stewart plays an equally bland role, bringing the lead femme to life as Bella. Mirroring Edward's character in every way, Bella leaves Stewart with next to no room to act, as they're "love" is expressed through confused stares and questionable tilts of the head. A supporting cast of rebel vampires brings a darker side to the story, although the actors behind the foes leave no lasting impression, becoming as dispensable as the Soft Sponges with which they apply their makeup.
When all is said and done, Twilight is what it was meant to be pointless amusement for teenage girls who truly want to believe that dark, brooding men with soft sides truly do exist. To those of you who have not read the books, I would advise you to stay as far away from the film as possible. And to those of you who have read the book Search up Anne Rice.
2 ½ out of 5
When a franchise is built from the ground up by producers who know that
it will cater to a rather specific audience, most would be under the
impression that the creators of said franchise would try their best to
continue to please their fans. Unfortunately, Saw is an example of a
franchise that has not been able to maintain the gritty, twist-driven
premise of its first outings. It has instead fallen drastically in
quality, now mirroring the likes of Friday The 13th and Halloween, with
each sequel bearing less and less resemblance to the hidden gem from
which it came.
Saw is considered by many to fall under the classification of Gore-Porn, a term originally coined for Hostel, directed by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever), referring to the pointless exploitation of blood and unsettling imagery. Although this point is commonly disputed by fans who insist that the franchise is built off of "psychological suspense", the term has slowly grown more and more appropriate as each continuing piece is released, and Saw V is unfortunately no exception.
Revolving around Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and his apprentices, Saw V follows Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and his quest in tying up all loose ends that could possibly trace back to him, and consequently to his involvement with the franchises key villain. While the plot is rather thin, viewers are given their fair share of blood and head-turning gore, as well as many flashbacks that fill in holes from the past films.
Where its predecessors have all relied on one massive, final twist at the end of the films, Saw V is the first movie in the series to leave a majority of the audience underwhelmed. A franchise that reels in half its audiences based only off of its final 10 minutes, it is almost guaranteed that Saw VI, to be released in 2009, will be victim to a sharp drop in box office intake, as this film has most certainly lost a good number of its fans.
With a budget of $11 million, Saw V contains the highest budget in the series. This is largely to blame for it's effect and gore driven appearance, as it no longer has to rely on intelligent plot point or script. Operating on such low costs, Saw is Lionsgate Productions cash-cow, a definite source of income that is destined to send them money by the truck-full. This is also the reason for the increasing lack of quality in each of Saw's successors, as film-makers have realized they need not waste effort on what is a definite money winner.
When all is said and done, the creators of the Saw franchise are 100% correct. Fans of the franchise will return to theatres each and every year in order to shell out their 10 dollars on the film, no matter the quality. This being said, hopes are still high that the writers of the franchise manage to please fans with a satisfying end to the series come October 30th 2009, which can unfortunately not be said for this years outing.
Throughout his career, director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock Stock and two
Smokin' Barrels) has slowly gathered a cult-like following, ensuring
that his movies, be they good or bad, will always earn a few dollars
from loyal fans. With his 2006 release of Revolver, many of his avid
followers found new 'stylistic' directors to drool over, the movie
itself receiving mostly negative reviews as a majority of moviegoers
claimed it to be 'all style and no substance'. His latest release,
RocknRolla, shows Ritchie returning to his roots of gangster oriented,
moronic villain centered, hit-man featuring fun. It's a welcome return.
RocknRolla is an ensemble piece, centering on many, many characters while remaining surprisingly capable of not focusing on any one member of the never-ending cast. Gerard Butler (300) plays a good-hearted crook for hire by the name of One-Two, a member in a group of 5 blood-to-bones friends, each of which doubles as a partner in crime. The main focus in the gangster-related circle of characters is Lenny Cole, a ruthless, old fashioned thug brought to life by Oscar-nominated Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton).
The movie truly begins 15 minutes or so after the rather unique opening credits, which in itself foreshadows Ritchie's stylistic thematic which circulates throughout the movie. The eclectically charged plot follows Lenny Cole and his cohorts as they meet and greet Uri, a seemingly reasonable Russian mobster, as the two speak real-estate business. Cole, a self-proclaimed "King of London", runs each and every aspect of London, and agrees to allow the Russians their building for a small sum of 7 million Euros. Agreeing, Uri offers Lenny his favourite painting as a token of appreciation, a hopeful symbol that all will go well.
From this point on, viewers are treated to a mishmash of confusing twists, an infinite pallet of characters, and some of the most intelligent writing to hit Hollywood in years. The afore-mentioned painting is stolen from Cole, and a search ensues throughout the entire movie, eventually leading to Johnny Quid (Jamie Campbell), the lead singer of The Quidlickers, and step-son to none other than Lenny himself. Quid, also known as "The Rocknrolla", represents a solid contrast to his devilish step-father. Providing monologue after brilliant monologue, Quid becomes a character of classic cool, embodying olden day suave with modern day style, a true to time Rocknrolla.
As with every one of Ritchie's gifts to the silver screen, the subtle yet slick script throws the few negative aspects of the movie to the backburner, leaving only pure gold to shimmer and shine. With a never ending stream of British mannerisms combined with over-seas terminology, North American viewers are faced with a rather tricky dilemma: Sit through a movie that may require a small amount of effort to comprehend due to it's foreign tendencies, or instead rely on Dicaprio and Mr. Crowe to deliver yet another bland, meaningless CIA centered action movie in the form of now premiering Body Of Lies. Unfortunately for the masses that truly enjoy a movie with an intelligent script, box office numbers generally speak poorly for Guy Ritchie's films on our side of the pond, his movies usually making no more than a few hundred thousand dollars, only to become cult hits once released on DVD.
Viewers may be shocked to see Gerard Butler (best known for his overly masculine performance as King Leonidas in 300) hidden amongst an amazing yet unknown cast, with each actor holding their own and providing more than authentic performances. It is a rare yet beautiful sight to behold, a cast full of actors that have not yet been granted the "fame" or spotlight, yet manage to upstage a majority of the actors that we are presented on a day to day basis. It is beyond sad, the least can be said, to see Chris Bridges A.K.A. Ludicrous (2 Fast 2 Furious) and Jeremey Pivens (Smokin' Aces) failing miserably in their attempt to act in brief yet important cameo performances, also singled out as the only two American actors in the film, their "talent" shadowed and overcast by the nobodies surrounding them.
To those readers out there who are contemplating seeing this not-quite-so-common piece of theatre in the form of British Cinema, it is best for you to know there are many worse things you can do. Director Guy Ritchie weaves an intricate quilt the likes of which hasn't been since his debut to theatres, managing to create a truly witty film from nothing more than a missing painting. Definitely a must see.
5 out of 5 stars
Infinite Playlist keeps a fresh tune By: Morgan Grodecki
Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist Movie Review
Staring Michael Cera (Juno) and Kat Dennings (Charlie Bartlett), Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist which will be referred to as Infinite Playlist from here on is a light-on-it's feet comedy that provides a nice break from the Judd Appatow driven comedies of the summer. Not that the two types of comedies aren't equal in their own right, it is merely refreshing to be witness to an Aww-inspiring moment, as opposed to being forced to shield your eyes from view while the rest of your audience groans in disgust.
Following our two protagonists, Infinite Playlist revolves around Nick and Nora, two awkwardly-realistic (or realistically-awkward) teens in Manhattan. Nick, a guitarist for a Queer-Core band The Jerk-Offs, and Norah, the average-Jane who knows nothing of fashion, meet throughout a night on the town, bumping into one another more than once. Both having their own inner demons, they slowly begin to realize just how alike they are as dusk turns to night, and night to dawn.
Throughout the film, we are shown Nick's laundry-list of insecurities, perfected in a way only Michael Cera can manage. Channelling his similar characters from previous films, Cera stumbles over words, shies away from confrontation, and wallows in agonizing pain from the break-up with his ex-girlfriend (whom he would never manage to get in real life). Mirrored and embodied in a self-conscious, indie-music listening teen is Norah, played perfectly by budding actress Kat Dennings. Although she is playing a role much younger then her 27 year old self, Dennings is able to reach back and pull her childhood forth, and focus on just what it felt like to be alone and scared. The supporting cast consists of cheerleaders, wash-outs, and flaming gays, who are sure to put a light although feminine smile on any viewers faces.
A Juno-reminiscent movie, viewers are almost forcefully fed an array of Indie music from various bands that are sure to be on every 15 year old girl's iPod within a month of its release, each of them claiming that they knew the band "before they were cool!". While the movie tries it's hardest to stay within the realm of a teenage reality, the viewers can't help but be yanked away from the movie by certain "Wait what?" moments as the plot falls to pieces time and time again. Luckily for the well-meant movie, the overall charm and atmosphere manage to keep viewers enthralled and entertained enough for these trivial errors to be over-looked almost entirely.
Director Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas) is by no means an artistically talented director, but one does not go into Infinite Playlist expecting to be enthralled by beautiful horizons and jaw-dropping scenes of a beach at dawn. You go to this movie to enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling that you experience as Nick and Norah slowly bicker back and forth as to whether The Cure is a good band or not. An all-around enjoyable movie, this is sure to be a success with viewers and critics alike. Here's hoping it doesn't get overblown like a certain Ellen Page movie we all know.
3 ½ out f 5 Stars
I highly doubt many of those who are reading this are old enough to
remember the year 1986, or the theatrical release Ferris Bueller's Day
Off (John Hughes). Still, I trust that there are those of you have seen
the movie on TV, or DVD, or even on the prehistoric VHS. Well, the
small-budget, diamond in the dust movie of the year borrows heavily
from it, taking both old and new material and making it into something
fresh. This hidden gem is Charlie Bartlett.
Charlie Bartlett is the story of a young high school student with roots in royalty. Seemingly destined for a posh life, he constantly finds himself in situations involving expulsions due to fraud (hundreds of fake I.D.s given to schoolmates, for example). Soon, Charlie has been kicked out of nearly every private school within 100 miles of his house-mansion. With no alternatives left, Charlie quickly finds himself attending a public school with regular, everyday students. From here, he decides the only way to fit in is to become a lord of sorts, and begins handing out prescription drugs to those students truly in need with no way of getting them, while playing the role of psychiatrist. Of course, this bears consequences in the form of the principle And said principle's daughter.
An intelligent and witty movie, Charlie Bartlett is this generations Ferris Bueller. From the smooth, careless main character, to the parents being completely exaggerated in every manner, it all fits. The dialogue flows well and is witty throughout. Many teens will walk out thinking "That's not how teens talk!" Well, take it from a teen. There are those out there who would rather die than be seen writing out "Lyke Omg I luv ur new shoez!".
Now, the acting. Easily the best part of the movie, and also the weakest link. Up and coming actor Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog) plays the role perfectly, never missing a beat. He plays happy and carefree when he needs to, but the next second he's so smug you want to smack him. It's perfection in the form of a teen. And of course, we have Robert Downey Jr. (Zodiac, Iron Man) gracing the screen in the form of Principle Gardner. The chemistry between the two hits every note, and doesn't waver for a minute. But, where perfection is seen, flaws are even more defined. Next to the two leads, many of the actors filling in the smaller roles seem to almost be trying to match them. And it doesn't come off well, with over-acting filling many scenes. Still, do not let it perturb you, as the powerful presentations easily overshadow the lesser ones.
My only nitpick in the movie that really took anything out of the movie It was very obviously written by middle aged men trying to put themselves in the shoes of teens. In places it worked, but in others it came across as very forced and unrealistic. The school is very paint by the numbers. Let blue represent jocks, play out red as the airheaded cheerleaders and throw yellow in for the geeks, and you can paint a portrait of cliché.
All this being said, the movie has its up and downs. Depending on your mood, this movie could be for you. If you're looking for a smart movie with witty dialogue and good acting, and are willing to temporarily suspend everything you know of high school, this movies for you. Otherwise, for those more plot less, action oriented movie fans Well, there's always Jumper.
4 out of 5 stars
I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week, regarding the
lack of effort being put into films these days. In the 21st century,
there are very few films worth seeing, in comparison to the earlier
80's, and 90's. Back then, there weren't 100's of movies being churned
out a week, with only 1 or 2 being even half decent. This is the reason
that this movie took me entirely by surprise.
The movie is centered around Chris Pratt ( Josepth Gordon-Levitt), a partially handicapped man, in his earlier 20's. Chris used to live a great life, have great friends, and amazing talent on the ice. Now, after a car accident that changed his life, he suffers from slight mental handicaps, although they are prominently random, and don't have a major effect on the movie. Chris is still recovering from his car crash, and trying to move up in his job. He works at "Noah's Central Bank" as a Janitor, but has been pushing to be a teller for ages. Desperate for companions, Chris jumps at the first person to befriend him, and slowly falls into the wrong crowd. As Chris gets deeper and deeper in with his group of friends, he's pressured to help them with a robbery. Only catch: The heist is taking place at his bank.
Although the movie seems pretty straightforward, the plot can be deceiving. First of all, if you are going to this movie expecting a movie based solely around a bank heist ( a la Inside Man), go to blockbusters and rent "Dog Day Afternoon". This movie focuses, for the most part, around Chris, and his decent from an innocent, hard working Janitor, to a confused, misled, and frustrated individual. Although not of the same Hollywood callibur as movies such as Inside Man, it is still easily worth the ticket. Which brings me to my next point.
After seeing this movie, I felt refreshed. I went into a movie, expecting explosions, poor dialogue, and close ups of bodies being blown away. I couldn't of been farther off. This movie veers away from Hollywood, and it pulls it off miraculously. The dialogue is crisp, the violence existing, but not overused, and the characters deep. I may only be so impressed by this movie because of what I was expecting, but I none the less recommend it to anyone willing to actually think during a movie, rather than watch a bunch of cars blow up.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the last 3 years, there have been thousands of movies to grace the
big screen, several of which, revolved around small, cute, furry
animate animals. It makes sense, seeing as how little children have an
almost instinctive love for small critters.This movie is really no
different, and shows off just how much we can take before we realize:
"I've seen this before...". But, before the review, some history: Shrek
and Ice Age were basically the two first movies in the line of
animated, child friendly movies. After their releases, other companies
clued in to the new fad. Soon after that, computer animated movies had
reached their peak, with Shrek 2 raking in over 900,000,000
dollars,setting records. Since summer 2004, the child-oriented animated
movies have started to decline, some prime examples being: The Wild,
Doogal, The Ant Bully, and several others. I as well have gotten a
little tired of these movies, and, unfortunately, Happy Feet just
didn't improve my opinions.
Happy feet revolves around the main penguin in the movie, Mumble (Elijah Woods) and his inability to sing. This of course causes problem, because, as everyone knows, if you can't sing, you can never get a mate (this explains a lot in my life). Mumbles colony considers him an outcast, and his father (Hugh Jackman) and his mother are forced to say goodbye to him as he goes to find the solution to the problem plaguing the colony, which he deems as aliens. Along the way, he finds several other penguins, but these ones, unlike his colony, are much shorter...and Spanish. Traveling with his new friends, he discovers what seems to be the answer to his problems. Now the only problem is getting anyone to believe him.
So, as I said, the movie could be better, but it could also be a lot worse. The upside of the movie consists of it's all-star cast, utilizing voice talents like Hugh Jackman (X-Men) Brittany Snow (John Tucker Must Die), Elijah Woods (Lord of the rings) and Robbin Williams (Aladdin). Another very noticeable improvement are the amazing graphics. Whilst watching this movie, I was dazzled by the level of realism they had attained, and I even felt a chill go down my spine during the scenes with the big open sea. One final positive comment I would like to make is in reference to the toe-tapping, rhythmic songs used through-out the movie. I found myself loving every song I heard, and laughing when the Spanish Penguins were singing. It is thanks to this movie, that I have decided my future career will be as a Spanish, Singing Penguin.
One more problem I have with the movie, is it's lack of responsibility. A movie that appeals to ridiculous amounts of children, bases itself on a child outcast....and pretty much fails to come up with a reasonable, logical solution. That really isn't the proper thing to be telling kids, is it? I do understand the difference between reality and fiction, but when a movie is marketed directly at children, I feel that there is a need to give them the proper impression, and saying that everything works itself out is not what I could place in that category.