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Goon (2011)
If this is your type of movie, you won't be disappointed.
25 February 2012
I think that if you go to see this movie, you know what you're getting into. It's essentially a love letter to the violent side of hockey written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, both of whom are known for a particular kind of comedy, and it stars Seann William Scott, who is known for playing a particular kind of character. Check out the 'People who liked this also liked...' section on the page for this movie. You'll see flicks like The Hangover, Crazy, Stupid Love, and Role Models. If those are your type of movies, chances are you'll enjoy Goon.

The premise of the movie is that a likable, polite, not-exactly-bright bouncer, Doug Glatt, is invited to join a semi-professional hockey team as an enforcer. I think what I chiefly liked about the film was that yes, there's lewd and crude humour and a somewhat predictable plot line, but you'll like the characters and at no point does the movie start to drag or fail to entertain.

I was also pleased to see that, as a Canadian hockey fan myself, I wasn't spoon-fed easy stereotype jokes. The things that were funny hadn't been recycled a hundred times in every other movie that pointedly features Canada as a setting. The characters do drag out the old 'eh' every now and again, but you feel more like it's a wink to Baruchel's home audience rather than something intended to hit you over the head with a 'SEE, we're in CANADA!'

Bottom line: This flick isn't going to win any Oscars. But if you want to see something thoroughly entertaining, it's a good bet. If you don't laugh at least once, you're - probably my grandmother.
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It's a decent film, but it could use some work.
11 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix went by so fast. You can imagine how little filler there has to be in a movie that crams 700+ pages into 2.5 hours. I mean, Lord of the Rings got three hours per 350 pages, and the plot moved fast enough in those films.

It was major event after major event after major event. They skimmed over every detail that wasn't critical to understanding what was going on, such as Kreacher's betrayal of Sirius, Firenze coming to teach at Hogwarts, Harry/Fred/George's lifelong ban on quidditch which resulted in Fred and George's subsequent departure (I'll talk more about this one later), Harry's interview with the Quibbler, and switching Harry's betrayer to Cho Chang instead of Cho's friend, Marietta. I felt that a lot was lost because they tried to fabricate easier-to-understand reasons for events instead of using the reasons given in the books.

The one thing that disappointed me a little was how very little time was given to the Weasley twins' departure from the school. They set off a few fireworks and flew away. Whoo. And for what reason? They don't give a solid one in the movie. So Umbridge tosses a few stern words at them for testing their products on a first year (I think - that part was unclear). In the books, Umbridge's tyranny has grown intolerable. The twins are banned from quidditch, which was (I'm paraphrasing) 'about the only thing worth staying for' at Hogwarts. They have a very strong ambition to open a joke shop. In the movie? No motive. You don't get the same sense of oppression at all, and the whole joke shop thing hasn't been mentioned since the end of the fourth movie.

Speaking of oppression, I also didn't get a sense that the shadow of Voldemort was kind of looming over everything. Aren't people's family members supposed to start disappearing? Shouldn't there be talk of the werewolves/dementors/etc. joining Voldemort? Why aren't we hearing about strange occurrences and other things that might give us some indication of the disturbance in the wizarding world? This is supposed to be a scary, uncertain time. That didn't translate at all into the movie.

The movie also didn't spend enough time on character development because of how fast the plot moved. Harry's relationship with Sirius seemed forced and it was hard to put a lot of stock into Sirius' death affecting Harry as much as it did. We hardly got any glimpse of the Angsty!Harry introduced in book five, and the cameo by the Marauders barely lasted fifteen seconds. We also didn't get enough Tonks or Ginny - or Draco, but that's a personal thing. ;)

Another complaint - COULD they have made Sirius' death more cheesy? Okay, the death itself was alright, but by blanking out the sound and playing some ridiculous violin-filled tune over top of everything, they made it about as cliché as the shaky-fist, I'd-have-gotten-away-with-it-too-if-it-weren't-for-you-meddling-kids guy on Scooby Doo. You know the guy. Yeah. You know.

The acting by those actors playing the three main characters has improved a little, although Emma Watson's was shaky early on, and I thought that Daniel Radcliffe should probably have paid more attention to the notes in the script, such as YELL HERE. Honestly. Why would Fred and George comment on his shouting when he was talking at a completely normal volume and hardly sounded ticked off at all? I also couldn't help but laugh at how brutal the lines he shouts at Voldemort are; something along the lines of, "You'll never know love, or friendship. I feel sorry for you." Okay, there, man. Sounds great. Too bad Voldemort doesn't give a crap on a radish because he's too busy being ridiculously evil. Rupert Grint was, as always, spot-on as Ron. His teenage boy realness is a beautiful thing to see.

Other notable performances: Helena Bonham Carter was picture-perfect as Bellatrix Lestrange. In my opinion, she didn't get enough screen time. Jason Isaacs makes me grin as Lucius Malfoy because he has the ridiculous hair and the pimp stick, but he still manages to be deliciously despicable. You can tell he's having the time of his life. Evanna Lynch was a pleasant surprise. I was worried, because Luna Lovegood is not the Stereotypical Teenage Role in which you can role your eyes and rant at your parents about not lending you the car. I thought that Evanna came off as slightly loopy but somehow still kind of wise, which is great. As for Ralph Fiennes, he is always excellent, as Voldemort or as anyone else. I hardly even need to say it. Imelda Staunton was a decent Umbridge, but she didn't give me the heebie-jeebies, and I think that a character like Umbridge should. For example, in the scene where Harry makes the horrid discovery that she's making him write lines using his own blood, she looks sympathetic, not threatening.

Little things: -I absolutely loved it when Sirius punched Lucius Malfoy in the face. Cliché, yes, but AWESOME. I almost applauded.

-They should not have left out how the prophecy could originally have been about Harry OR Neville. I don't think that Neville's given enough attention in the films.

-Ron and Hermione conversing on the stairs about Ron's sweater was hilarious. Something like, "I don't understand why you don't want to wear it." "Because I look like a bloody idiot, that's why."

-I was disappointed that they skipped the room with many doors inside the Dept. of Mysteries, as well as the rooms with the time turners, the brains, etc. I suppose it was too time-consuming to show them all, which is a running theme with this movie.

Overall, three stars out of five. It wasn't lacking in action or excitement, and the acting is so solid that it's definitely worth a watch or two. Just don't expect - well, magic. :)
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The Only Film I've Ever Walked Out Of
28 May 2007
Maybe this movie has deep symbolic meaning, but if you're going to deliver deep symbolic meaning, try doing it in a way that doesn't gradually empty the theatre before the movie's even half over. My friend chose this movie for us to go and see because generally, we're interested in foreign films and she's very much into the visual arts. When we went into the theatre, there were maybe fifteen people there. By the time we agreed to leave, well before the ending of the movie, we were the last people in the theatre. This movie was not funny, not clever, and had the most meandering plot line (if indeed one existed at all) I've ever come across. Even my friend, who commented that she liked the style of the art, was bored to tears and couldn't understand what was going on. I'm pretty sure that this flick is, hands down, the worst movie I've ever seen.
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The Village (2004)
The Village left much to be desired
13 February 2005
With all of the hype that came with this film, I was very disappointed when I saw the finished product. Having seen Signs and The Sixth Sense, I was expecting a horror/thriller genre movie, with the kind of twist at the ending that left audiences speechless as in Night's past films.

The storyline in The Village was weak; the script was not well-written at all. It was as though all of the actors (with the exception of Joaquin Phoenix, who never spoke above a whisper for the entire film) were trying too hard to be old-fashioned - it was all very artificial. All in all, I felt that if this film had left more to the imagination and had flowed better (script-wise), I would have liked it a good deal more. As it was, I was left wanting more after the ending. A good premise was not done justice in the making of this film. I'm going to give it five stars, simply because I believe that this director and cast could have done better.
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Your modern rock musical - everything a kid, teen, or adult could ask for.
16 March 2004
When Dewey Finn (Jack Black) steps in as a substitute teacher at a prissy prep school, he discovers that the kids there are talented musicians, and his eternal quest for money to pay his half of the rent sparks an ingenious plan in his mind - train the kids up a bit, then enter them in Battle of the Bands! A brilliant plot-line with a lot of feeling; you're hoping they win almost as much as they are! When I watched School of Rock for the first time in theaters, I was blown away by the acting and quality of the music in this movie. Not only can the kids act, but they know how to rock, too! Also, Jack Black was truly the only one who could have played this character as well as he did. His energy comes across on-screen, and the pure talent of the young people in this movie makes it a ten-out-of-ten in my book. It was well-written, well-directed, well-acted, well-sung, and well-played! This movie is, and will remain, a special favorite of mine.
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