Archive for February, 2009

Review: Doubt

Friday, February 27th, 2009

As an adapted screenplay from a play, I had my doubts. But two strong actors made me want to see it anyway (Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman), as it’s a personal power play, headbutting their way in a school. Not much for scenery, this movie focuses on just one accusation and it plays out in just one location. The dialogue is somewhat vague, never wording the real intent, and it stumps the mind, as it’s focused on that just one subject. Add a weird ending to it, and it’s not a recommended movie.6+.

Review: Valkyrie

Friday, February 27th, 2009

For me, it was a highly anticipated movie, curious to see how a big budget director (Bryan Singer) would handle a war movie based on true facts. The difference clearly shows, obviously having to let go of his many creative styles. Keeping to facts also means, it’s less of a drama and more of a strategic recording of events. Thriller-y parts are still there, but no real characters driving the story. As a results, it’s still a nice movie to see, while being educated on history at the same time.7+.

Review: Revolutionary Road

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Period drama that brings Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet back together, with this time their relationship heading for a figuratively ice berg.
Shown is only a small fraction of life, focusing on work and every day life, and how to escape it. Besides this, there’s not much to experience. The story feels limited and small-ish, and doesn’t really take you anywhere. Can’t say it’s really easy to identify with the main characters at all.6.

Review: Incendiary

Friday, February 27th, 2009

A small indie movie with a strange title that might be considered deceiving. The trailer has the same problem (focusing on an terrorist attack), as the itself is more of a weird mix of love, grief and anything inbetween.
It’s an unbalanced heap of strange human behaviour (mostly the main female lead), so it’s hard to really recommend this, even with names like Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams attached. The story doesn’t follow the way you want it either, with strings left dangling, and focusing on nonsensical inner narrative and dialogue.5-.

Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Friday, February 20th, 2009

A contender for the upcoming kudo season, but I’m not so impressed. Sure, the make-up is great, showing Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in their better and worse years (though the sharp-eyed will see some CGI remnants floating on top of the bodies). Sure the outline sounds interesting.
But in the end, it runs too long, and still has the feeling of a normal Hollywood flick. Acting is good, but not phenomenal. Also the story is a bit slim and linear.
So, curiosity solved.7-.

Review: Yes Man

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Yes, it’s funny. No, it’s not hilarious. This is just your run of the mill comedy. The outline is funny, and the rest of the story builds on it, though in a somewhat predictable way. Overall, it’s a nice life message mashed inbetween work, plus a cute love story is intertwined. Easily identifyable, so it works great, but doesn’t leave a deep impression.7+.

Review: Seven Pounds

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

While Will Smith has proven to be the most bankable actor in recent years, the specialty drama flicks he produces aren’t exactly the box office hits. At $58 million domestic, Ali could be considered a bomb, and Seven Pounds only performs slightly better (with his actioners easily averaging around $150 million).
So people don’t want to see Will perform well in dramas, but this movie adds a layer of mystery to it, with posters and trailers keeping a tight lid on the story. The story though, proves to be quite easily guessable, and it’s executed in a slow and predictable way. Performance are okay, so as a whole, it’s good, but not overly special.7½.

Review: Frost/Nixon

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Ron Howard is an acclaimed drama director, and he knows how to give every movie a special twist. Still, somehow most of his movies are just above average, with the truly memorable dating back from the eighties and nineties.
This one is no different, a movie leading up to just one interview, filmed analogous to a Rocky boxing movie. The strategy, the training, the sparring and ultimately the final confrontation. It’s quite interesting, but honestly, the trailer seemed more explosive. The interview might be a bright spot in real history, but in movie history, while good, it’s still missing the wow-factor.7½.

Review: Righteous Kill

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Pair up Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, and you’re in for something special. These two dinosaurs are guaranteed some explosive scenes together (for instance, the meetings in Heat).
Jon Avnet however, just takes advantage of their names. Both actors do their parts, but the characters are just so plain. The story isn’t that much either, depending on just one twist.
Nice try, but total waste of talent. This is definitely one to miss (or just one to download).5.

Review: Vicky Christina Barcelona

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

A Woody Allen movie, starring Scarlett Johansson, Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz, in a quick relationship-exploring light play. Movie is dialogue heavy, but only in a frivolous way. If you’re into Woody Allen movies, this one might be for you, mostly focusing on the sex and passion part of the relationship, but never having a real message or bright insight into the matter.6½.

Review: Australia

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Baz Luhrmann takes a 7 year break (after the award winning Moulin Rouge!), to get things going big, in the form of a eye catching 2 and a half hour long attempt to sell us Australia. Heck, if this long running ad wasn’t enough, he was offered a job to do some more TV spots after finishing the movie.
Yes, you could get sold watching this movie, with lots of wide angle scenery shots of desert, mountains and oceans. The characters however, didn’t pay off that easy.
It’s actually your basic different society love story with its usual relationship hurdles. To my feeling, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman don’t match up too well, but the story takes all kind of other turns, trying to insert some real life Aboriginal history (the Stolen Generation), but for supposed cinematic reasons, also inserts some mysticism. It literally takes a page out of a random X-Men or Wolverine comic (fans will know what I mean, with the extra irony of Hugh Jackman starring), and that’s just too laughable.
So, big budget, basic entertainment. Nothing more.6½.