Archive for January, 2010

Review: Avatar

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

James Cameron did it again. After 12 years on top of the all-time world wide box office, he is the only one getting close to knocking off Titanic from its $1.8 billion nr. 1 spot.
And he does it by amazing us with IMAX 3D technology, producing the most fluid, best textured and motion captured world ever shown on screen. Its the whole exploration experience that makes this movie, as the story is a bit on the simple side. It’s the colors and the environment that baffles you for 3 hours, not the story or the drama. The script isn’t in totally bad shape or anything. it’s just not that surprising. There are nice ideas here and there though.
Also, Zoe Saldana made many hearts beat faster in Star Trek, and as an Na’Vi alien, she still does. So all in all, it’s the visual journey that makes this movie, which means where it really counts (the emotional journey), movies like The Dark Knight still win.8½.

Review: Up in the Air

Monday, January 18th, 2010

George Clooney hits another dramedy, as a character flying 250+ days per year his job. It’s a journey into what makes him tick and he gets female counterweight in the form of relatively unknowns Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick (both doing a good job). Dialogue heavy, yet still easy to digest, it’s a charming little movie.7+.

Review: The Men Who Stare At Goats

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Wild assumptions are made, in this seemingly interesting fact based movie. Based on real secret research, the results is where the creative license starts kicking in, and that really dampens the whole feeling. Here and there it’s mildly amusing, but overall, you’re trying to figure out where the facts stop and the story begins (which is quite easy). If you like to watch caricatures (again, sipping away believability), this could be something for you. If you want to be astounded by real facts, it’s not.6½.

Review: Sherlock Holmes

Monday, January 18th, 2010

A nice modernizing reboot (while still taking place in the early 1900) of the Sherlock franchise. Guy Ritchie puts in a great story with good pace, awesome style (old London in all its grey/brownish glory). While this younger Sherlock isn’t really that Sherlocky anymore (uttering famous lines along the way at inappropiate timings), the story has all the ingredients. Mystery vs. logic works well as the main theme, and it has adversaries to match.
Even though Arthur Conan Doyle might be twisting and turning in his grave for this gay-ish Sherlock Holmes/dr. Watson duo (played resp. by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law), I wouldn’t care less, because this movie kicks major elementary ass. Introducing lesser known facts from the books (substance abuse and martial arts) makes it even more interesting.8+.

Review: Law Abiding Citizen

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Great unexpected thriller thingy, combined with great acting (Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler have great chemistry going head to head). The story turns and twists are great, yet slightly believable, though the character change in Gerard Butlers character is a few steps beyond going too far.8.

Review: Hachi

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

As charming as Richard Gere is, in this one the dog (based on a real dog) takes the screen. It’s still a really basic story, but somehow, however sad it is, it doesn’t feel that way, because we don’t get to know the characters that well. Also, there’s not that much happening. So, only slightly entertaining.6½.

Review: Brothers

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Drama pitching Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal (ironically, these two were going head to head for the Spider-man role) together as brothers, with Natalie Portman inbetween.
There’s only one dilemma though, so the movie feels a bit thin. Acting is all good though (good subtle character shifts), so feels a bit short and not as rewarding as you’d expect.7-.

Review: Precious

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Tragic drama, carrying the Oprah stamp. It marks a remarkable debut for lead actress Gabourey Sidibe, and the drama is intense. The script, the editing and directing however, doesn’t quite fit. Stylised flashbacks scenes tend to detract the core emotional journey, instead of enhancing it. The script also lacks detail, and the open-endedness didn’t really help the overall score either. Besided showing there are horrible people on this world, it doesn’t do much more than that.6+.

Review: Ninja Assassin

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

The “V for Vendetta” team (Joel Silver and Wachowski brothers producing, James McTeigue directing) is back together, but now a more plain actioner.
Korean star Rain headlines and does a good job on acting and martial arts. The rest is just high paced action, though it’s a bit thin on the story. Overall, still entertaining if you don’t mind slashed off limbs and (digitally rendered) buckets of blood.7½.