Archive for the 'Movies' Category

Review: (500) Days of Summer

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Charming little movie, with a different take on the usual love story. Acting is just as charming, with great chemistry between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, even thought they’re opposite magnetic poles.
Direction not that bad either, with the jumping narrative causing both the feeling of lack of information, while still providing a fresh view on things.
In the end, being sad or happy, the message it carries will be remembered for quite some time. Definitely must see if you’re more into the smaller independent movies that doesn’t bore you.7½.

Review: Funny People

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Judd Apatow writes and directs another comedy, but this time without the usual outrageousness and with a lil’ dash of drama (since death is a prominent subject now).
It all works, with Adam Sandler finally back to a normal character, filled with other funny people (as the movie title suggests). Seth Rogen stands out though, not being that good in any role, the script luckily covers up a lot of those aspects through tons of dialogue, making the whole movie appear like it’s one smooth sail.
While some dark clouds loom above you, there are still a lot of funny moments (as most characters are stand-up comedians), while the movie goes through several subtle stages.
Hardcore Sandler fans will be disappointed though (as this is the movie I’ve experienced the most walk-outs yet, more than 15, beating any bad Jean-Claude van Damme flick I’ve seen in the past). So, those expecting weak jokes at rapid succession, stay at home.
For all others enjoying the more subtle comedies, definitely one to see.7½.

Review: Passengers

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

One of the most manipulative trailers released this year, and hence, the movie is a big disappointment. Not only does it absurdly rip off story items of a few great movies, it does so in a boring *zzz* (did I just doze off ?) kinda way. Great actors (Patrick Wilson, Anne Hathaway) can’t save this movie, headed by mostly TV people (director and writer). Avoid at all cost.4.

Review: Tenderness

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Movie with a reeeeeally slow thriller-ish build up, starring Russell Crowe as a practically retired cop on the lookout for a just released criminal. It’s really character driven though, but also in this department, it’s all slow and subtle. Overall though, emotions don’t run that high, but it all seems to work, especially a subtle surprising ending (if you really think about it). Still, despite all this, it doesn’t stick too well in my memory somehow. So, just a mediocre score.7-.

Review: 9

Friday, September 11th, 2009

A lowly promoted computer animation movie, set in a deserted world, starring only 9 ragdolls. Visually, it’s a fine movie, but story wise, it’s quite lacking. While there’s not a lot to explore anyway, in a barren world, it also means the story can go only one way, a predictable one. Motivation of the dolls and the culminating revelations just don’t warrant a must-see stamp on this movie.7-.

Review: My Sister’s Keeper

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Director Nick Cassavetes is no stranger helming dramas, and with this movie surrounding death, a making tear jerker is not really that hard. Finding the ultimate balance is, though. As all characters get their turn to take a narrative lead, it can mostly be seen as something positive. But in this case, it detracts from some more urgent matters, plus it still doesn’t dig deep in anyway. The broadening didn’t really deepen any character, and it gives a restless feeling, as a ballad-laden soundtrack fuels another family collage or flashback.
Sure, most tear ducts facing the screen will be fluid-tested, but in the end, it’s still a mediocre drama (though displaying Cameron Diaz as a mostly bitchy character is quite a feat).6½.

Review: The Final Destination 3D

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Of course I knew the movie wouldn’t blow my mind away (though the original was quite special), so I went purely to assess the current 3D technology. The movie is quite predictable, and follows the same mold and story points of the previous movies. Add some unknown actors, and you have a 3D movie well within a reasonable budget. Nothing to write home about.
So on to the 3D experience, quite a few scenes work really well, though sometimes it’s too chaotic, or not blended well (different object distances are too distinct), but mostly it works to give it that little bit extra. However, the darkening glasses do take away about 30-40% of the incoming light (either light filtering or polarisation, I’m not quite sure), and makes the movie darker than it should be, while also taking away contrast and lively colors. On top of that, the glasses do feel a bit heavy on the nose after while and you will see most people constantly fidgeting with it.
All in all, it has potential, but hopefully, the upcoming December tentpole (the long awaited James Cameron’ Avatar) won’t suffer the same detractions.6-.

Review: Inglourious Basterds

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

A fictitious WWII movie, which in its own might be a fresh change with all those currently released “based on true facts” movies.
A “typical” Quentin Tarantino flick, as this movie is setup in Chapters, lots of characters fueled by heavy dialogue, bombastic music/sound effects, and on screen weirdness (including visual cues). Story seems original enough, and the expected weird twists are there. It’s a unique movie experience, but still doesn’t move me all the way, and sometimes borders boring during those lengthy dialogue (as it did in his last outing Death Proof).
Even though I don’t think it’s a masterwork, I still recommend everyone to see it at least once.7½.

Review: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The fourth Tony Scott/Denzel Washington collaboration already (there will even be an upmcoming fifth), and most of them were better than good. This one, while the story is a bit more limited and has less character depth, is still gripping from the start. Tension is a thing Tony Scott is good in, and barring the anticlimax, it’s still a good movie.7½.

Review: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The expectations for another surprise hit movie franchise by toy company Hasbro (Transformer) seems totally crushed, after seeing this high budgeted, but poorly executed CGI fest.
The story is obviously absolutely crap. The fact that the producers tried to makes this movie ultra-serious is another mistake. If you can’t laugh at yourself, being spun-off from a toy product line, you have a serious flawed point of view. Now were stuck with no plot, and no fun to be had at all.
As expected, writer/director Stephen Sommers drops the ball here and there (remember the bad special effects on his Mummy series ?), some unintentionally bad sequences are jaw-droppingly bad.
The serious acting is laughable too, with Dennis Quaid as a stern General Hawk shouting commands around counted as carreer low point.
This movie is only interesting to max. 12 year old boys and even then, you’d probably have to cut 80% to keep them interested throughout.5½.

Review: Crossing Over

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

A Weinstein Company movie that seems to have a limited run only, despite carrying big names (Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd). Very topical, all strands of the story have something to do with immigration, and while heavily dramatised, it looks like it could be the gritty reality.
Spread throughout the film are valid tear-jerkers, while other parts are intended to spark controverisal discussions. And right in the middle of this is a stunning performance by (my guess, up and coming star) Summer Bishil.
All in all, drama-wise, it’s a well made movie.7+.

Review: Public Enemies

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Being a Michael Mann fan, I couldn’t let this one pass. However, it seems he’s either slipping, or it’s the “based on true facts” thingy, but this movie is borderline boring ! Something I wouldn’t expect, as you’d know most of his films are dark and gritty, and very much character driven. While not totally documentary style, it feels flat and fact based. Despite good acting (Johnny Depp, Christian Bale), it’s mostly devoid of in depth drama. All characters are totally uninteresting and dialogue doesn’t provide any depth of character.
If the last few months of the life oof one of the most beloved (???) bank robber in the US history doesn’t interest you, this is one to skip.5½.

Review: The Proposal

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Typical love story comedy, geared towards the ladies. Everyone is in that particular “comedy acting mode”, which might be disturbing sometimes. Still, it’s enjoyable, though somewhat predictable. Mostly a showcase for Ryan Reynolds ability to be funny (excellent timing) and charming at the same time. Pacing makes up a bit for the other flaws.7-.

Review: A Perfect Getaway

Friday, August 14th, 2009

A pretty ordinary thriller, starring Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) but one that hinges too much on the big twist. You could sense that during the movie, but people catching the trailer might already know the outcome too.
Personally, I think they’re just cheating their way through the story, and to cover the big twist, they build in an uncheat mode, but in the end, it’s just not believable anymore, whichever way you look at it. (While reading discussion forums later on, you might see it could all fit, but when you’re sitting there, it just doesn’t do the trick, like the Sixth Sense did).
Also, as a thriller, it’s rather light-hearted, with only a handful of tense scenes. That said, it’s still mildly entertaining (mostly due to Timothy Olyphant role).7-.

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Ouch. Who to blame ? First of all, the story can be basically told in mere 5 lines. Not only that, I could predict everything happening. The simplistic storytelling is kind of inexcusable for this 6th installment, where there’s no evolving whatsoever for the better. In the world of spells, everything should be possible, including the cliches. Except, in this case, those even don’t hold ground, as the relationships are there just to be there, and have no basis at all. Same goes for character interaction, and story line, totally uninteresting for a pre-finale chapter. And it bugs the hell out of me. Everything feels so fake, even the loss of a major character makes me feel indifferent and only strengthens my aversion.
With 2.5 hours of mostly nothing but the most obvious happening, I really wonder if I’m able to sit through the last book, which will be split in two (released in 2010 and 2011)! As a franchise, it gets the dollars in the massive enchanted chest, but I still wonder why, as nothing spectacular can be said about most of these chapters.5-.