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Shutter Island (2010)
Time well spent???
I went to see this film with my Girlfriend, we tried twice, but it was sold out previously. I was really expecting great things from Martin Scorsese with this effort, as well as stellar performance from DiCaprio! At least DiCaprio "sold it" as best as anyone in Hollywood could have!
It was slightly suspenseful and a little creepy but by the time they got the note out from under the missing woman's bed... I had the plot figured out to within spitting distance! :( the first thing to start rolling through my head was," I see dead people"! well it's a bit of a new twist on a theme that worked out well in several movies in the 90's... but essentially it was no different.
I thought The fore shadowing to be extremely heavy handed as if the director was talking down to the audience, but in the directors defense as I sat outside the theater, after the movie, waiting as the hoards of patrons passed by me as they were leaving, I heard too many people saying things like," I didn't get the ending?" so perhaps Mr. Scorsese was attempting to allow a greater portion of the masses to "get it" by putting the hints etc. more in our collective faces for us see. For me it was a waiting game to see all the directors cards on the table... I should have waited for the DVD.
You must see this to believe it!
I brought 2 boxes of Goobers to see Avatar... unfortunately for me I needed to have brought 4 boxes! Think the storyline of "Furn Gully" all grown up and using the Tech of "The Matrix" with the heart and Soul of the story line right out of "Braveheart"! Enough said.
This is the extraneous stuff you do not need to read to know that you need to go see this film. Unfortunately I need Ten lines of text! The acting was superb, The graphics unparalleled, the sound was Tres' Magnifique! I can not await the arrival of a heartwarming "Mechwarrior" film that really needs to be made! the tech is here and in place lets get on with it people! :)
Well done James... Well Done! (Bows and tips hat)
Righteous Kill (2008)
Many cant wait to see, De Niro & Pacino acting.... but you'll get it quickly.... that the end is easy.....
The preview had a sold out house, the crowd was a mixture of every age group, minus small children. Pacino & De Niro, what could be sweeter? Well let me tell you a plot that wasn't so obvious... OK I enjoyed the pair as a guilty pleasure of always wanting to see the two acting together... There were some great 'one liners' but not necessarily enough to go spend an hours pay on. Neither stole the show so to speak. The filming technique was interesting and lively.
I admit that I had the plot guessed in the first 20 min, but to the writers credit, I thought I was wrong soon after. As the plot meandered along I realized that just as De Niro doth protest too much as too who couldn't be the killer, the writers too spent too much time trying to get the audience to believe in something more complicated than the obvious. They too doth protest too much.... which led me back to the beginning and my first theory....Like Robin Williams in One Hour Photo, it's the quiet well adjusted ones that you always need to watch out for.
Was it a thrill a minute? NO . Was it deep and thought provoking? No. Was it fun to see these amazing actors play off each other? Yes. go see it or don't. life will go on either way....
The Dark Knight (2008)
Not to be see by children under the age of 14, because Batman is now real!
There are good movies out there to watch and there are very good movies out there this year to watch... I have now seen two of the best movies made to date! This movie rocked in plain (slang) English! This is an ADULTS ONLY movie, make no mistake, and that is regrettable. This movie had so much realism that any child/teen under 14 should not be allowed to see it at all never mind with a parent! OK! With that out of the way.... on to the real deal...
There is so much right in this movie that I can only fine the smallest of things to complain about or fix. I found all the performance to be excellent and in character. A few of my issues started in "Begins" so they are perpetuated here. Sir Michael Cain, please loose the cockney accent! it never seems to fit into the aristocracy from which he has worked his whole life... Batman's guttural voice is a little forced sounding.... The length of the movie was excessive too. i found two parts towards the end where I noticed people taking the time to look at a watch or cell... that should not happen if the audience is fully engaged.
On a deeper level... I was amazed to see the biggest change to the whole Batman franchise since it began, there was always the Dark city.... and the white light of batman in the dark gloom of the night. Now conversely in this incarnation, we have the bright white city (just like real life cities) and the dark at heart Batman....
For this reason it is no longer made for children at all! it portrays all too real of life's events. that is the scary part, that is what keeps the adult minds on edge in this film. Batman can no longer be like a comic book hero... he is Real now! Go see this!
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Helloromances? Overly critical? perhaps....
Well here I am with another difficult film to review. I went to the preview 7/8/08 in Hartford CT. The crowd that was there was enthusiastic, even though it was not a packed house. I have been trying to classify this movie.... I started out assuming it was a comic book action adventure, I then cam to realize that Del Toro intended this to be a comedy. Wait, now I think its an attempt at at a love story slap stick comedy. OK I have to give up on labeling it!I'm not sure what the intentions were. But I know I left there with the impression that I had just seen a complicated conglomeration of several different movie genres. It wanted to be a comic book action thriller, but spent too much time and tried too hard at being schmaltzy and comedic.
Hellboy seemed to reach for every possible joke you could squeeze out of the, " ... Believe it or not - he's the good guy..." tag line. I think we understood that much out of the first movie. Being beaten over the head with it was a bit painful.. I had the same type of experience in the Disney movie "Enchanted", milking the jokes based upon the most unlikely juxtaposition possible for every possible guffaw! I thought Del Toro would have built on the solid action/comic style more in stead of building the love relationship as it were. The loss of Agent Myers was a detrement to the ensemble. Yes they set up the third movie with 2 main story lines that were laid down here, but the whole movie almost seemed like a primmer to the next installment. I am hoping the franchise gets back down to business in that one.
Sadly the plot spent very little time with the Golden Army itself... it seemed like they had very big plans then ran out of money and thought up a faster cheaper ending. There was a whole host of nit picky things in this movie that bothered me too. First, young Hellboy did not seem to be in character and the prosthetics he wore were clumsy and poorly done. To me it was not very believable. The love relationship of Hellboy and Liz was not quite right either. It was like only one day passed since the ending of the last movie... and here we find our plucky new lovebirds already having rough times. It was not a plausible plot to me. I kept finding myself almost verbalizing my disbelief in how they handled the interactions between the two. Abraham's infatuation with the princess was in fact a more believable plot line.
I also found much of the movie to be strangely ignorant of obvious answers. Remember when you know the killers in the closet of some B movie and you are trying to coach the star to help them avoid the obvious pitfall of opening the closet door where he will inevitably be attacked? Well there are quite a afew of these moment here. There were however some great one liners... but there just was not the same chemistry and pace that made the first installment a smashing success!
Go see it... but consider going to the bargain matinée!
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Finally a bit of meat and potato's to go with my green eggs and ham...
I went into this completely blind. I wanted a pure 'experience' I saw ONE trailer prior to this screening and closed my eyes while humming. I had no idea if this was a second in the series or a re-make.
I was pleasantly surprised at the (obvious)complete makeover of our big green friend, and this was a (P.R.)change for him no doubt... this delightful romp will bring him right into the "good guy fold" so to speak, within the umbrella of the, "Avengers" Franchise that is now an inevitability.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, Lots of time on character development, and the intricacies that make you really care for a plot and its characters. I thought the acting was very well done although I found Liv Tyler to be the 'Weak Link'. Not sure she 'sold' her part that well or maybe it was just typecasting for that "Armageddon" girl.
The CGI was top shelf. There were no seriously 'over done' moments of ,"awww Come on" uttered in the theater. In this packed theater there were many ovations for the cameo's and the ,"Bad guy gets it" scenes, and even for the thrilling last minute of the movie. So where was Samuel L. Jackson?
Please enjoy this more Comic like and more faithful version of THE HULK!
*** PARENTS*** Go see it! Please do not bring kids under 5 yrs old! it is very realistic and violent. Be a good parent.
Juxtapositions and subliminal message work!
I saw this in a preview on 11/08/07. I'm writing this review today because I really needed to digest what I saw that night. I will admit, I read more and a few reviews here today that are glowing with praise and in many of the cases it is justified. The overall good feeling and sweet taste that you are left with after watching this film is quite palatable, by design.
I fear that the overall public has taken another clever marketing ploy, hook, line, and sinker! If you read even a few of the other reviews then you have had more than enough of a good thing and I will refrain from adding to the drooling... Instead I will tell you I laughed when Disney wanted me to laugh, cried when they wanted me to and watched their practically subliminal messages roll across the screen like waves of cotton candy, eagerly gobbled up by all who witnessed....
OK, Movie starts in a fairy tail classic that Disney does so well, ( the CGI mapped and converted humans coupled with the classic animation was not very good) then we thrust a Juxtapostion of 2 of the most unlikely elements, with loads of potential for "what ifs'" New York and a Naive cartoon fairytale character. This hes been done so many times before in Hollywood but never on this scale. After a while I was sitting thinking to myself,"Hmmm what else can we make these lovable innocent characters do in NY city that would illicit a good laugh..."? well the studio found most of them! Moving on to Children and adult relationships... Do we really think Disney is the most qualified party to be giving our children suggestions on how to deal with divorced/ing parents? I was very disturbed to realize that any child who is old enough and sees this film will be asking for his divorced/ing parents to get back together for Christmas..( Poor Santa and all those wish lists!) it clearly made 2 suggestions with it's plot;
1). Parents don't really need to divorce, they can work it out with just a little help of some fairy tale smoke blown up their collective....(which kids will try to do..)
2). Money can solve many of your problems in life or love...
The above #2 statement killed me to write. I liked where the movie was going until Amy Adams ( who can sew up any dress she desires, fit for any Queen,from any fabric in the house overnight) Tells the little girl (Rachel Covey)that she needs a really great dress for the ball tonight, and this is where I suspect there was some board room drama at Disney, and the little girl advises Giselle that she has this Gold card for 'emergencies' and this is an 'emergency'! Well I suspect the writers had envisioned a moment of bonding where the two make a dress together by hand from some special fabric, but Disney saw an opportunity to whore this film out to pay for its budget but letting the naive princess to be go shopping for enough clothes to fill a wardrobe for a year! and in the end she shows up looking lovely as Amy Adams always does but paling in comparison to the dresses she had made herself! Product placement strikes again... and again... and again...
What are we teaching our kids... Yes I can see the point that on one level the film can pass along the message that we need to take time to get to know someone before getting into a serious relationship, but I don't think that is one of the messages that kids will come away with.
p.s. "Dear Santa all I want for Christmas is a shiny Gold Card"....
p.p.s. The acting was OK, Wormtail is typecast as wormtail here.. and I found James Marsden to be the most believable and likable of all the cast.
Go see it for your self... someone has to pay for all that product placement!
Feast of Love (2007)
Hold you feet to the fire... it's fun!
OK I need to say right off that since I'm actually in the movie, I might be a little biased. That being said I'll still tell you what I thought.
Hi!, I'm Bradley(apparently). At times I felt like I was watching my life unfold before my eyes as an unauthorized biography, I Kept flinching as the plot kept changing. OK the acting was very well done, I felt the director coaxed every little bit of just the right emotions out of pretty much all the actors in this dynamic and wide ranging ensemble. Kudo's to the screenwriter Allison Burnett! She gave us an excellent working translation of the book from which this film is based upon.
I laughed at many points, cried at even more times and loved as much as the characters loved. I was allowed the chance to "Join" the actors in their lives as we glimpsed short snippets of each of their lives in turn. I was blessed and cursed at the same time. Sometimes a movie... usually a very "smart" movie will seem to 'hit too close to home'. This leaves the watcher with a bitter sweet taste in their mouth. Well I think I will do as Bradley would and choose to taste the sweet and possibly close my eyes to the bitter, allowing me to remember this film for the obvious love that went into each performance and care in selecting every frame filmed!
I loved it.. You must go see it for yourself... as everyone will have this movie come at them in a different way and touch them, forever opening their eyes! ( I sincerely hope).
P.S. Cheating spouses beware! you may get well deserved rotten food thrown at you on the way out!
Eagle vs Shark (2007)
Charming.... and you can quote me on that!
I'm being generous with this one because it appeared to be such a labor of love for the Director/Writer/Actor Taika Cohen and his cast. The difficulties begin right away for the audience (I saw this at a screening where about 15 people showed up and you could see the pain on some of the peoples faces and a few walked out at the end of the beginning monologue by Lily.) i believe the problem lies not with the film or cast, but with the American audience. As this production was shot in New Zealand and used native actors, I wasn't sure it translated on the level that Cohen intended it to. We Americans tend to have a bit of attention Deficit Disorder. It harms otherwise perfect creations of cinematic emotion when Americans are always in a hurry with places to go and people to see. Sometimes I think we need a Zen workshop prior to sitting in the cinema seat.
The lead actress, portraying Lily, played by Loren Horsley, summed up the meaning or point of the movie when her character Lily says to Jarrod's father," yea there's the bad, but in between there are bits of good too." It's the "bits of good" that make this movie a worthy story. There is a charming message to be passed on to the audience. You need to go find it for yourself however.
The animation sequences are creative and attempt to symbolize the goings on of the characters in the film ( think cliff notes for those with A.D.D.) but they just end up ruining the continuity of the film and distract the viewer. They should be cut(Yes I'm being blunt). The movie is really a more of a movie short and would stand up tall amongst it's peers, but it lacks enough of the the necessary 'meat' to get itself recognized as a solid feature film.
In the end I will still beg you my fellow Americans, to not get annoyed with the accents. Get past the surface and see the story! Give it a chance and open your hearts and minds. The story is worth it, the delivery is the only true lacking element. May the director hear my plea!
Evan Almighty (2007)
Ludicrous of course but a great time all the same...( all age movie!)
Transfixed..... We all sat there at this sneak preview transfixed waiting for the next joke.... eating up all Steve Carrel and the rest of the supporting cast could dish out! The all gave sparkling performances. It was loads of fun for the whole family this time around for the "Almighty" team. I have to give it up to the writers on this one for keeping it very clean without sacrificing really good one liners and "adult" innuendos.
There were a few problems with the 'over the top' dramatizations involving every animal on the planet. You were trying to ""suspend your disbelief" while all the while all to 'real' laws and political actions were taking place. It would have been just fine to have the local wildlife show up. It wasn't in the same realm of realism to have exotic wildlife show up and not be hauled away immediately by animal control, while at the same time trying to pass all to real legislation.
The movie drove home two main points. I mention them now just in the hope that if you don't see this movie, you at least got a little education here.One; any Act of Random Kindness is a great thing. Two; Careful what you wish for, it may just come true and you need to be prepared for that possibility!
Everyone should at least like this film, many will love it (especially if your over 35 or so) but at least see it and let it pass it's message on to you in some way.
Peace.... to us all
4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
The kids will love it!.... adults, sorry enjoy the pretty colors!
Let's Start off with saying I'm giving this movie a 7 out of ten for children out there who love a good time. As for the adults I'd have to go with a 5 or 6.
On to the review... I sat in the center of my row listening to the crowd throughout this blockbuster movie and it was a crowd pleaser. perhaps forty percent of the crowd consisted of real 'fans', meaning people who either loved the comic books or the first movie and were hoping for more. At this advance screening there are always large quantities of opportunistic freebie lovers there that don't even know what they are seeing.
The writers gave the audience what they wanted in many ways with lots of laughable one-liners and schmaltzy goo to make the average crowd clap and 'ahhh' at the right moments. but it was screaming, "where is my plot" throughout the entire movie. It started with some suspense and raised eyebrows then meandered off into,"so what do we do next?" The acting was very average and as many of the other reviews will tell you, only Chris Evans as Johnny Storm acted and truly evolved during this film. The producers decided to leave the "meat" of a story at home thus avoiding the chance that they may include any moments that are even vaguely mentally challenging to the viewer.
So if your looking for your average "great CGI, big budget, thrill ride" for the sake of the ride itself... Have a great time but if your IQ is over 100 and you like to be challenged by a writer and director, well you will need to wait for the next opportunity to come along. The sadist part about this movie is it seems like someone wrote a program to tell them what the movie needed in it to make it better and better and in the end they created a master of mediocrity instead.
Maybe next time ...
Props to Stan Lee... the Cameo was hilarious!
Lucky You (2007)
slow and steady wins the race....
I admit I went into this "sneak Peek" preview with out any reservations or preconceived notions about what to expect. The father/son relationship was a fairly accurate and believable portrayal of a strained almost completely broken family connection. This is the meat and potato's of this movie. My friends and co viewers had led me to believe this was going to be a "Chick Flick" but it really wasn't. It was a father and son flick. It seems that it wanted to be but it never really got there. Sorry to say that Drew Barrymores part ended up playing only the catalyst to the relationship between father and son. It was fine by me that the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship didn't seem to really work and was "forced" too much. The good stuff was all centered around Eric Bana. He played and played the heck out of every thing he could get his hands on. Robert Duvall was fun to watch as always. There are no Oscars here but fine performances all around. Hats off to all the real poker players who played themselves, Good job! It was strange to see the "bit Parts" played by Robert Downey Jr., Jean Smart, and Debra Messing all given either too much time and dialog or too little. I would love to have seen Jean Smart play the love interest of Duvall instead of I believe Yetta Gottesman. It would have brought in a little more comedy to and otherwise dramatic movie. I could have done without Debra Messing's part, not that she wasn't fine I just felt it was unnecessary. There were some good "one liners" but it wasn't a lot of laughs. I have to say the technique employed throughout the movie allowed even novice poker players to enjoy the "high stakes" action. The audience collectively oohh'd and ahhhhh'd at some of the hands. It was well filmed and directed. This was a solid offering that teaches a few of life's little lessons worth learning. I liked it and recommend it.
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Great Ride for adults only!!
This was a very slow buildup. The attention to detail was lovingly done and it showed in the dialogue, editing, and so many other subtleties. The creative geniuouses of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg allow the movie to use time honored techniques of lulling the audience into a false sense of calm and great foreshadowing to bring it on in the second "act" and they don't stop until the ride is over. The momentum lasts and lasts... This movie is NOT for Children. I saw the sneak preview last week and to families had brought 5year olds up to young teens. There is a great deal of vulgar language and horrific blood and guts events that will scar a childs mind for a long time to come. So please if your reading this, excersize good judgement and leave the kiddies at home! You as and adult will enjoy the ride that much more knowing you didn't give your child a "headstart" into juvenile deliquency.
The Reaping (2007)
Interesting premise, a little hair raising, then... not much....
I'm really going to try to put in my 10 lines on this film. I went to the sneak preview with a colleague tonight. The best thing I can say is that it made for a lively "after conversation" on Religion, that and the whole free part. I sat riveted for the first 20 minuets or so, really wondering where this was going, then some of the effects, both sound and visual, got the hair up on my neck. this pace continues for a while, building you up to a possible great ending, than suddenly with spectacular explosions... it was over and everyone in the room groaned as a collective herd of bovines' looking for the next meal. I won't go as far as terrible but bad CGI was noticeable everywhere and it far outweighed the good effects in the movie. What they waiting on to release this film is beyond me... It was strange to see the talented AnnaSophia Robb looking younger in this film than in "Bridge to Terabithia". Why does she not get better billing in this film? I'm sure she will be grateful down the road that she wasn't headlining this one. as a final note on the CGi effects... The locusts really stunk! Not a film to be proud of... If you value your money and or your time, go see something else!
The Last Mimzy (2007)
Family movie hits home! (short &sweet)
This movie was a wonder to watch, the acting was solid and not over done. The character development was a bit slow but accelerated as the drama began to increase. the plot developed the same way, slowly speeding up. The ending rushed through and missed some wonderful details that could have been fleshed out. The effects were crisp and well thought out, quite dazzling at times. The screenplay was well written with enough "meat" for all ages to get involved in. Good to see a movie that didn't assume that the average IQ of the audience must be in the sub 100's. The weakness was the weaving of the "homeland Security" plot throughout the middle to the end of the story. It was somewhat aimless and meandering and probably could have gone in a different direction. The way the Homland security officers just dismissed the whole thing in the end was not the least realistic.... In a fantasy drama like this one you are "set up" to accept a certain "reality" and if you go along with it, the reality needs to be cohesive throughout. The was possibly just a "hollywood" cop-out ending.
Watching my 3 kids(5,7,9) watch the movie was wonderful. It opened up incredible creative discussions afterwords. This was so much fun, we laughed and cried most people gave a round of applause at the conclusion....... Heartwarming without being too Hollywood.
Go see it!