Saturday, July 31, 2010
Matt Damon's performance in Greenzone is as straight forward as you can get. Not that he is just mailing it in to collect a paycheck, but rather just nothing special. Chief Miller seems very similar to Damon’s portrayal of Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity, merely as a soldier rather than spy. The same thing can be said about Greg Kinnear as the slime government official who orchestrated the whole war. Kinnear and Damon are better actors than this film allows them to be. The story just isn't that good.
My main issue with this film is its cinematography. I really do enjoy the work that Micheal Mann has done; however, the style of filmmaking he has developed in films like Man on Fire and Miami Vice is ruining action movies. The last 20 minutes of Greenzone looks like it was shot using night vision goggles. I have invested a great deal of time and money in my high definition home theater set up to see it deemed completely useless for action films shot like this.
Greenzone is based off of a true story, but it is a story that American’s already understand or will choose to never believe anyway. There just really isn't anything here to make it worth more than a rental.
My Rating: 2 out of 5
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Youth in Revolt is the story of Nick Twisp, played by Michael Cera, a somewhat geeky, but lovable kid looking for love in all the wrong places. When the man shacked up with his mother gets into trouble, the whole family "goes on vacation" to a trailer park. There, he meets the girl of his dreams, Sheeni Saunders. As he heads back home, the only way to win back the love of his life is to create an alter-ego that will do whatever it takes to win her back.
The plot to this film is not terrible, but it’s not great either. My main issue with this film is in its execution. Sure Nick Twisp has a terrible life with horrible parents, but once he creates his alter-ego he becomes a terrible person himself. I pretty much had disdain for every single character in this film. Each of their quirks is what made me despise the cast and, therefore, despise the movie.
The other thing I just can't shake from this movie is how bland it feels. There are moments were you will laugh out loud, but they are few and far between. Most of the time, watching this film will be spent simply disliking everyone. Youth in Revolt is totally uninspired and just an attempt to capitalize off of other films which have already done similar things much better.
My Rating 1.5 out of 5
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The performances in Inception are nothing short of absolute top notch. The actors in this film are ALL perfectly cast and showcase some of the best and brightest up and coming actors today. Ellen Page continues to prove more and more versatile with each role she takes on and is a fantastic female lead. Joseph Gordon-Levitt may not be a name you know right now, but in a year you will.
Inception is written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who previously directed some of the best films of the last 10 years. Aspects of each film he has directed were used to help enhance this picture. From the fractured story telling of Momento to the vivid madness-inducing feeling conjured in Insomnia. Inception is Nolan's master work, a radiant blend of a multitude of film genres.
Too often these days we go the movies and see a film driven by the special effects. It is a desperately needed breath of fresh air to have a film that requires you to use your mind. If you don't like this movie, it was simply just over your head. Seriously, you need to go see this movie in the theater. It is the best movie of the year so far. Internally, I am debating whether Inception is the best movie period.
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The film stars Denzel Washington as Eli and Gary Oldman as the villain, Carnegie. Due to the casting of these two very talented actors, the film gains legs. In the hands of lesser actors, The Book of Eli would be mediocre at best. The only casting that seemed out of place to me was Carnegie's step daughter, Solara, played by Mila Kunis. I am still not sold on her as a dramatic actress and her performance is easily overshadowed by either one of the more seasoned actors.
The Book of Eli is well shot with some very good and interesting action sequences. As long as you understand the underlying message, which is that faith can be used many ways, then it is a quality film and worth a viewing. I do have one gripe, though. I understand how product placement can provide extra financing for a film, but the first 15 minutes are ridiculous. This is 30 years after a nuclear war and in one scene you get plugs for Ipods, KFC, and Beats headphones. Product placement is fine, but do a better job at being a little more nonchalant with it, please.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 (would have been a 3.5, but i docked a half point for the in movie commercials)
The characters in the film are generic at best. There is nothing particularly special about them other than they have been ripped from a thousand other actions movies. For the most part the same is true about the plot. The only real stand out in the movie was Chris Evans who continues to show why he will make a good leading man. This writer however was not a big fan of Jason Patric as Max, the villain in the film. I have seen evil bad guys in movies before, but this was overdone. I half expected to see him kicking a puppy at some point; I didn't need the constant reminder of how evil he is.
In the end, The Losers is a well put together, all be it, generic action movie. I found it entertaining and will be able to watch it more than once. With that being said, there just isn't anything special about it either. One additional note, I hate it when movies go out of their way to set up a sequel.
My rating: 3 out of 5
Saturday, July 17, 2010
The acting in this film’s cast is terrific throughout the whole film. Mo'Nique’s performance as the abusive mother is amazing and well deserving of the Oscar she won for it. For being her first movie, Gabourey Sidibe showed tremendous range. In some scenes you can feel her vulnerability and in others she commands the screen with her strength. Most surprising to me was the performances of Mariah Carey as the social worker, Ms. Weiss, and Lenny Kravitz as Nurse John. I wish more musicians who wish to act, would do so in this manner then to be the center piece in a bad movie, i.e. Glitter.
This is the second film by Lee Daniels and should guarantee him the ability to direct more pictures. He will have a long career, if he can produce films of this depth. However, the camera work needs some improvement. It pulled me out of the moment at certain points when there would be a sharp focus change. It gives it a documentary feel, but is totally not needed. It is minor gripe in what is otherwise a very powerful film. This isn't an easy film to watch, but still deserves the effort. You will be better off because of it.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5
Friday, July 16, 2010
There are really no characters or performances to speak of, because everyone is playing themselves. Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera are both likable enough characters/actors and have an obvious chemistry, due to their real life relationship. The only real source of conflict in the film is the difficulties the new couple faced in trying to develop a relationship while being on camera.
This film is truly a case of art imitating life. It parallels the couple’s real life problems, which is trying to be a couple in the public. I get what they are trying to say about being young and famous. The issue to me is that it almost comes off as criticizing the audience for being enthralled with celebrity’s personal lives. To those who watch Paper Heart and don’t get this message, the movie will merely come off as boring and pointless. Either way you should just pass.
My rating 1.5 out of 5
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Whatever Works reminds me a lot of Annie Hall. From the nervous and somewhat neurotic examinations of life to the way that Boris breaks the 4th wall and talks directly to the audience. The difference is where Woody Allen's performance in Annie Hall as a neurotic and insecure ex-boyfriend is easy to identify with, Larry David's depressive know-it-all attitude just comes off as a jerk. Boris isn't a happy person, but in watching this you will be glad he's unhappy. The underlying message is that you shouldn't settle and always look for something that will make you truly happy.
Woody Allen is still a very intelligent director. There are some very sharply written lines that will make you laugh out loud throughout the film. In the end, however, it is just not enough to save this film. For the most part this movie is bland and feels much longer than its 92 minute run time. Whatever Works plain and simply just didn't work for me.
My rating: 1.5 out of 5
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Leonardo DiCaprio's performance in this film continues to show why he is one of the best actors of this generation. You feel for him greatly. You are pulling for him to uncover the truth. After a string of poor movie choices, it is nice to see Ben Kingsley remind us all what a great actor he is. As Dr. John Cawley, Kingsley proved just that. Mark Ruffalo and Michelle Williams also lend strong performances to this film as well.
Shutter Island was made with great care. The setting is spot on. It feels like a mental hospital with something to hide. Each room expertly crafted to show a place in 1950's America where anything may be possible. The films run time is 2 hours and 18 minutes and there lies my only real issue with the film. Some scenes either drag on too long while others don’t seem necessary to the plot. If this was even just under 2 hours it very well may have been a better film. Even so, Shutter Island is a very good film with a twist you won't see coming.
My Rating 4 out of 5
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
The Crazies is a remake of the 1973 George A. Romero film of the same name. The film revolves around a small town sheriff, David Dutton, played by Timothy Olyphant and his wife, Judy, who just so happens to be the town doctor, played by Radha Mitchell. Their small town begins to fall apart as the townspeople begin to go into a state of homicidal madness. Once the military arrive and quarantine the town we discover a biological weapon had been introduced into the town's water supply when a plane crashed near the town. Those who are infected will be killed. As the last of the survivors, Mr. and Mrs. Dutton are trying to escape the town before the military or The Crazies get to them first.
In the end, The Crazies felt as if some film studio executive stumbled upon the original film and figured that could make some money off of it. Sadly, it felt generic and cookie-cutter-esque much like a lot of other Hollywood remakes. This particular genre has always been plagued by too many sequels and remakes. The Crazies is a perfect example of a film that should have just sat tucked away in obscurity and never been heard from again. It is not a terrible film by any means, but it is not worth anything other than a single viewing.
I give it 2 out of 5.
It's funny when you go into watching a film with low expectations you can be pleasantly surprised. That's how I felt watching She's Out of My League. The studio described it as "this year's Hangover" which it most certainly is not. It is better described as a raunchy romantic comedy and makes for a good stay-at-home date movie. I enjoyed it thoroughly and found myself laughing more than I thought I would. However this film is not without its flaws, the main characters for one. Kirk played by Jay Baruchel is playing the same character as he did in both Knocked Up and Tropic Thunder, which doesn't carry a whole movie. Molly played by Alice Eve is the ironically "Flawless" girl in the film. She is beautiful, smart, rich, understanding and completely boring with absolutely no depth of any kind. My other big issue brings me back to my "flawless" comment. There are two main conflicts which drive the two main characters apart. The first conflict, although kind of gross, is creative and very entertaining. The second deals with her being too "flawless," which is so utterly foolish and unrealistic it made the rest of the film, which I rather enjoyed, almost unwatchable. It felt tacked on. It was almost as if the director felt obligated to follow the romantic comedy formula. Overall I enjoyed it, but it is nothing special. I give it a 2.5 out of 5.