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Avatar (2009)
Visually stunning, but....
31 March 2012
With all the hype surrounding Avatar, I left the cinema feeling underwhelmed. Sure, its visually beautiful and the visual effect are stunning. Pandora looks great. The 3D was great. But other than that, it has quite a few flaws. And I feel like the more I watch it (I have it on blu-ray) the less I like it, since once the novelty of discovering Pandora wears off, the flaws start becoming more apparent, the length of the movie is felt, etc. So basically: Pros: - Visual effects and spectacle. 10/10, the creation of Pandora is great, the 3D effects were very good, the CG is extremely well done, etc.

Cons: -Plot: 4/10. This is not a movie to be seen for the intricate, nuanced, complex, or unexpected plot. It is predictable, unoriginal, and there are very few twists that you won't see coming. The few details that could have made the plot a little more interesting/memorable/creative are not included or expanded upon in the movie, and the vagueness of these details only emphasizes the general lack of though-out plot. (what unobtanium does, the situation on Earth, etc)

  • Characters: 4/10. Pretty much all of the characters are steroetypes, or caricatures, or your overused simplistic movie types. The reluctant- hero ex-marine who wants a new beginning. The marine vet who just wants to blow up the place and 'be home for dinner'. The snappy yet good-at- heart head of the science program. The dumb, money-obsessed head of the corporation. The nerdy friend in the program. The innocent, naive, yet powerful and spiritual tribe that is at one with nature. There is very little to no character development, and pretty much all characters can be summarized in a sentence like above, all stereotypes.

Its one of those movies where it is much too clear which side the filmmakers want you to be on. While this is OK in certain movies where this is much more specifically linked to characters in the movie (for example, Oceans 11, and even then, one does not really hate Terry Benedict), in movies like Avatar where its too generalized (humans vs Na'vi) it gets on my nerves. Its too much of the 'violent bad humans who want to destroy the place for money' vs the 'naive, beautiful, spiritual, tree-hugging native tribe that is forced from their homes' in my opinion. There is no nuance or finesse to the plot or premise.

Conclusion: Should you watch Avatar? Yes, you should. At least once, for the unique experience, the visual spectacle, etc. But its not a movie to watch over and over, and don't expect a nuanced plot, developed characters, etc.
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Inception (2010)
The best movie I've seen in a long while
31 March 2012
Inception is one of those movies that doesn't come around often. The whole movie fits together so well, and does every aspect from good to amazing. The plot is intricate but not overly complex, the characters original, the visual effects amazing, etc. the broken down review:

  • Plot: 10/10. The premise is completely original, the movie has you hooked for its entire duration. The pacing is excellent, the plot unfolds and develops beautifully. Nolan has shown he is very good at non-linear timelines and complex plots, and shows it once again with Inception.

  • Characters 9.5/10. the characters are likable, each in their unique way, and all different from each other. The movie generally avoids the overused typical types used in some other movies and there is good character development. Some details are left vague but I think this adds to the movie's plot and feel. - Visual effects and presentation: 10/10. The visual effects are incredibly slick and very well integrated in the movie,giving Inception a unique feel and scope. The cinematography is also very well put together, with some truly excellent scenes in the movie. The sound is also great. - Lasting appeal: 10/10. I have watched Inception many times and still am not tired of it. I know I will keep watching it many more times years from now, and so far every time I've watched it I was just as hooked, just as into it, and it was just as good.
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Memento (2000)
Very, very good
31 March 2012
Memento is about a man who can no longer build memories. Thus he has to write things down on post-its and photographs to remember them, and tattoo things on his body to make sure he doesn't forget them later. Memento is masterfully edited and directed, with a complex plot and unique, intricate time line that puts the viewer in a unique state of mind. Due to the way Memento is directed and put together, you end up not knowing who to trust, what anyone's motives are, or even what happened when and in what order events took place. In short, the movie puts you in the character's state of mind - a man who has short-term memory loss, and all he knows is either tattooed on his body or written on some photos. Memento is disorienting, its confusing, and its a unique experience. Nolan really succeeds in putting the viewer in the character's frame of mind, and in keeping us hooked until the very end. Nothing is clear until the very last scene of the movie, and even then the motives and 'sides' of certain characters will not be clear, and it may take a while to fully understand what happened, in what order.

plot: 10/10 characters: 10/10 although they lack development, this goes in line with the movie's feel since the lack of development emphasizes that we are in Leonard's state of mind and point of view and only know what we see of other characters editing: 10/10
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Good considering what it is
28 November 2011
I have to say I enjoyed watching Transformers 3. If you take it for what it is, a Michael Bay movie with awesome, epic visuals, an over-the- top weak plot, not very deep characters, and classic 'Bay' humor, then it's great. Not as good as the first, but easily better than the 2nd one.

First off, the visual effects are amazing. One of the best, if not the best, that I've seen, both in details on the transformers, in action/fighting sequences, and in more general landscape shots - the views of Chicago when it was being attacked by decepticons were great. I watched it in 3D in the theater, and it was arguably the best 3D effects I've seen, and best use of 3D cameras, and that is including Avatar which i also saw in 3D. This is what Michael Bay is really good at, and this movie shows he is arguably the expert in visual effects and composition.

visual effects and presentation - 10/10

The plot isn't great. When it starts out, it seems like it might develop nicely into a moderately complex story rooted in some historical events that happened very differently than how we thought (kind of like the hoover dam part in the first transformers), but in the end not much is made of that and the plot is relatively direct and over-the-top. However, it does have a few good moments that offer a bit more complexity or emotion, and anyways I didn't watch the movie hoping for a subtle, complex, and nuanced plot.

Plot - 6/10

The characters and acting aren't Oscar-worthy either, to say the least. Rosie Huntington-Whitely is not a great actress, in fact she isn't really an actress, and it shows, but, to be honest, I have seen worse performances. Shia Labeouf is decent in his role as usual. and again there are some new characters, including some for Michael Bay- esque comic relief (which in my opinion is actually funnier than much of the humor in revenge of the fallen, which felt a little too forced to me).

Characters/acting - 6/10

Fun - 8/10

If you're expecting a layered, nuanced movie with deep characterization and a complex and well-written plot, well, then, don't watch this. If, though, you want a fun blockbuster with truly amazing visual effects, a decent (but forgettable) storyline and characterization, and an easy to follow dynamic, well you'll probably like Transformers 3.
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