Archive for February, 2008

Review: August Rush

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

One of the most contrived and cliche story outline you’ll come across, but if you can live past the first half hour, it will get better. First you have to get past the millions of coincidences that set up the story, but more happenstance awaits to knit the ending.
Still, it’s all in good nature, the whole music binds us all/universal harmony mambo jambo is highly inspirational, and the movie shines radiantly with hope, making it a perfect tearjerker.
Topping it all you have a steller cast (it’s clear the utterly cute Freddie Highmore can carry a movie, stealing the show a few years back in Finding Neverland, and you have the ultra-drama queen Keri Russell to boot), and of course an interesting sound track.7+.

Review: No Country for Old Men

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t. For this year’s most viable Oscar contender (8 noms, tieing Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood), I don’t see it at all. Then again, I don’t like the Coen Brothers that much.
This movie is pretty ordinary, a nice mix of drama, crime and thriller elements. I have to admit that the acting was good, but the story and directing, I see nothing that special. There’s no deeper moral underground, nor do we really get to know the characters. It’s mostly just see and forget. For more action and gore, I still suggest the non-Oscar nominated Rambo instead.7-.

Review: John Rambo

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Sylvester Stallone crawls behind the camera again (earlier in the year for Rocky Balboa), and he delivers another typically good movie. As with previous Rambo movies, he brings the reality of war to light (previously Vietnam and Afganistan, in this case Burma) and goes a few steps further showing the raw brutality of it all through a single man who’s low on speech, but able with weapons.
You’ll get served maybe the most violent movie of all times, with limbs and intestines flying all over in high gory detail. This leaves your adrenaline level in the higher regions throughout the movie while you keep rooting for one of the most ruthless war hero in the history of film. The story itself is less personal though, with torture scenes or personal ties getting Rambo pissed off, this time it’s more general justice he’s serving. Also, there used to be more inventive ways to kill people the previous movies, here’s it’s far more straight-forward.
Then there are a few bits of pretentious dialogue, but buried with all the gore and violence, it’s not that noticable. What’s more noticable is the short running time. Then again, with the not-so-complicated script, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. For Rambo lovers, this is definitely not one to miss.7½.

Post-WGA strike

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Lately, I’ve been a normal potato. But the end is near, I can be a couch potato again, somehwere in April.
Now that the Writer’s Strike is over, TV shows will slowly return back in April (though bringing their season total around 16-20 eps, instead of the normal 22-24 eps). Mostly the old shows, new shows will skip this mid-season return and come back in September (yay for a next season pickup for Pushing Daisies). Some serialised shows will also hold off for a restart, and go for a Sept. premiere as well, like Prison Break or Heroes.
One of the biggest victim though, 24 is now slated for a Jan. 2009 premiere.

Review: Jumper

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Director Doug Liman delivers a high paced sci-fi/action flick that doesn’t disappoint. Since his movie Go (1999), he’s made a great track record for himself, making movies with a moderate budget, but while retaining high production value also earning high returns (usually double the budget, see The Bourne Identity and Mr. & Mrs Smith). This movie will continue that trend.
Starring Hayden Christensen as a teleporter, makes for a dynamic atmosphere, where the viewer gets to join the visits to various big cities. The screenplay is half character driven and half story driven (though it’s still a not too complicated cat-mouse chasing game), and combines a good mix of special effects. Save for the sudden easy ending, there’s not a moment of boredom, and it’s one of the best pop-corn flick in recent months.8-.

Review: Charlie Wilson’s War

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Nice light drama based on true events. The aspect of one Congressman influencing a full blown war, and even succeeding is interesting on its own, and this movie add some non-typical characters to boot (with Philip Seymour Hoffman being absolutely hilarious). Still somehow, as a drama it’s not dramatic enough, and as a comedy, it’s not funny enough. Besides a whole lot of lobbying, this movie doesn’t provide enough fun, excitement or suspense. Still, combined with the facts you’ve now learned it’s a nice movie to have seen once.7-.

Review: Juno

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Well written comedy, titled after the main character. But besides the well acting of Ellen Page (already showing her strength in Hard Candy, while most people recognise her as Kitty Pride from the last X-Men movie), other characters are pretty well written as well. While having weird quirks, it’s the overall down-to-earthness that makes this movie sweet and special.
Kudos for director Jason Reitman for an excellent follow-up to his slightly weird (but nonetheless funny) Thank You for Smoking.8.

Cute eh ?

Friday, February 15th, 2008

People who know me already call me a geek or nerd. Now you can add softie too. Because this was my Valentine’s gift to my special one yesterday:

Isn’t that just the cutest fluffy animal you’ve ever seen ?

Review: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Hyped through the roof by both critics (Golden Globe win + Oscar nom + metascore 83) and viewers (imdb 8.2), somehow I thought maybe this being a musical wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe there will be a sweeping story, and Oscar wielding acting performances to boot. Just maybe.
Truth is, there’s just too much singing. While the two first songs gets us up to speed with background story, further singing is devoid of character and story development. The singing seems to elevate normal emotions to dramatic heights, but again, only for the first two songs. Later on, it’s just plain ridiculous, and honestly a bit gay (Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman duo up not once, but twice).
Anyone who doesn’t have a single gene for liking musicals in their system should steer clear of this one. In my mind though, replacing the songs with meaningful dialogue, still wouldn’t help this movie. In all it’s basic form, it’s a limited revenge story that’s horrendous in any way. Don’t expect any surprising redeeming quality of previous Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaborations (like Corpse Bride).3.

Review: In the Valley of Elah

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Paul Haggis has been hammering on the road the past few year, both as writer, producer and director. For this movie, he’s doing all three again (last time was 2004’s Crash). His main field is drama, and evoking emotion is his specialty. This movie though, is a bit low key, and not really grand in both story and on screen execution. It plays out in a small town with few characters. Investigation doesn’t seem that exciting either. The acting is good though, and that’s where the drama counts (Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Surandon, and a lil’ bit Charlize Theron). Usually when I hear the name Paul Haggis, I expect just a little bit more, but still, it’s a nice entry.7+.