Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vacation Time

Dearest Readers,

I am heading off for the month of August on a road trip across my great nation of Canada and will not have access to a computer (by my own choice) nor watching very many movies (I will be climbing mountains instead).

I will have lots of movies to catch up on when I get back but do not fear while I am away! Some movies that you should keep your eyes open for and you bank card ready:

- Total Recall
- The Bourne Legacy
- ParaNormal
- Cosmopolis
- Premium Rush
- Lawless

There will be many many more but those are the ones I will be watching as soon as I get back.

Happy film going. :)

The Dark Knight Rises (4)



(Trailer) 

The conclusion to the epic new Batman trilogy by director and amazing brain Christopher Nolan (Following, Inception).

I was actually quite happy with Anne Hathaway (Rio, Love and Other Drugs) as Catwoman aka Selina. From the previews I saw I wasn't overly impressed with the costume or her general personality but once I saw it all in context and in action I was happy with both.

Christian Bale ( The Fighter) continued to be his regular old Batman. This movie didn't focus as much on him so I felt a little disconnected from Batman and even less interested in Bruce Wayne but I think I will like this idea more when I see it again. I just...was going to see Batman but it's not called Batman is it?

I liked the plot and I enjoyed the Bane character. I was actually way more invested in the bad guys this time around rather than the good guys. I love Tom Hardy (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, This Means War, Warrior) and while the voice they chose for him was a bit...well, high pitched for me once you got used to it and got to understand the character it did suit him.

The beginning of this movie was wonderful. They did a great job of bringing everyone up to date, introducing the new characters and tying it all together from the last two films. I did find that the climaxes were a little weird for me. Thing build and build and then there are sort of 3 different big plot changes and the climax gets bunched in between them all and then slows down again right before ending. I also found that the surprise bad guy came a little late and disappeared even quicker.

Great ending though. The last 15 minutes of the movie were great. I hate Nolan for leaving the ending though because I want 3 new movies based on it. GIVE ME MORE [Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Hesher, 50/50).

I liked it but wasn't as overly impressed as with the last two but the action was still awesome, the performances amazing and the plot appealing. It just didn't leave me with the same gut happy, chest tight feeling that the last two movies had, but it was pretty damn close.

I need to see it again though...

Bonus: Michael Caine (Cars 2): still the best Alfred. Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy): still the best Gary Oldman.

4/5

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An American Haunting (1)



(Trailer)

This was the worst piece of garbage I have ever seen.

Usually when I say that I follow it by it was "bad-good" or I could laugh at it because it was so bad. Sadly, Nick Cage was nowhere in sight and the only thing I could see was the ceiling as I rolled my eyes over and over and over and over again. At one point I vocalized my disgust, rolled over and honestly wanted to shut the damn thing off.

But I had invested too much hatred and wanted to see EVERY character DIE...but they couldn't even give me that. Nope. Not even the awesomeness that is Donald Sutherland could save this movie.

...I honestly...Unless every other movie gets destroyed don't watch this. I would give it a zero but a 1 is the lowest I can go sadly.

1/5

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Thing (3)





2011 remake of the classic film and directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (whoa, what a mouthful!)

 

The monsters were SO COOL. Seriously. They were original and scary and just plan cool/gross. 

I don't overly remember the original though so I may be giving the movie more credit than it deserves but I did enjoy the story and liked the feel and pace of the movie. What I didn't enjoy was the sub par acting. That being said, not everyone has a crappy actor: see Joel Edgerton (Warrior) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead). I liked the scene when when things start really heating up and there is a transfer of who's in charge and there was some good tension and suspense build up with those characters. 

I liked how they had a bit of subtle humour and some good action. I also enjoyed how they added in some pyschological thrills and gave us a bit of perspective on mankind and how we react in a group/when in danger. 

I didn't like how I knew exactly what was going to happen about 15 mins before it happened and the main plot was so obviousy that I knew who was going to live and die within the first 10 minutes of the movie. Lame. 

Not the best thing but also not the worst. It was what it was and the monsters are cool...but I said that already. 

3/5 

Jane Eyre (3.5)



(Trailer)

2011 adaptation on the classic novel, directed by Cary Fukunaga.

I think I am one of the few people in the world that wasn't forced to read this in high school and never got around to reading it. I usually like reading the books first but in this case, as Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Shame) was in it, I knew it would do the book justice (I will find out before the year is out).

I liked the story but it was Mia Wasikowska's performance as Jane that really stole the show. Teamed up with Michael Fassbender this duo was unstoppable. There connection in some scenes set off waves of tension, love, lust, anger and sadness at all the right times.

While the story was good I know that some of the characters and large chunks of the book were either left out or only glanced at when they should've meant so much more. The last chunk of this movie for me was a bit frustrating because relationships start to form and then are gone and then new faces come and go so quickly and you know it's emotional but are not 100% sure why. Damn. And the ending just comes up and is over before you really understand what has happened and boom. Done.

Good movie though. A solid drama with a slice of romance and a great book to movie film. Watch it for the performances and stay to find out if their love is really meant to be.

3.5/5 (but very close to a 4)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cafe de Flore (4.5)



(Trailer) 

2011 French-Canadian drama by Jean-Marc Vallee.

I had no idea where this movie was going to take me. It was suggested to me by someone last year but I  never got around to seeing it until yesterday. I thought that what this movie was was going to be at face value. They lead you to believe it's about one thing...then another...then another and each time it gets deeper and more intense until you are completely sucked into the film.

At least, that's what it was like for me.

The acting in this by EVERYONE was flawless (Vanessa Paradis, Kevin Parent, Helene Florent, etc). Even the kids. Heck, especially the kids. I forgot completely that I was watching actors or even watching a movie for most of this film.

The direction, music, pace, cinematography, script and how each flowed so flawlessly into each other was magic. I haven't seen such a well done drama in a long time. There was no unnecessary drama added in to create false climaxes. There was no fake acting, no yelling or throwing without reason. I just...well, it's one of those movies that you don't realize how much it's hit you until it's over and you sleep and forget it and then try to write a review about it.

At least, that's what it is like for me.

It struck a personal cord for me as well as I flip back and forth between my belief in life after death and past lives yadda yadda but this shaped it and framed it and broke it over my head in a way that I hadn't taken the time to think of before. Very powerful. Very well planned and so well executed. But, the less you know the better.

Regardless, as a Canadian I am 100% proud of this being made in Quebec and I think everyone should give this a chance. Warning: just when you think it's intense it gets more intense.

4.5/5

Charlie Wilson's War (3.5)



(Trailer) 

Directed by Mike Nichols, this 2007 film is based on the true story about Charlie Wilson, a Texas congressman who takes on covert missions to assist the rebels in defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 80s.

Tom Hanks (Larry Crowne, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) is one of my all time favourites. I have yet to see a Tom Hanks movie that I didn't like (and don't plan on it). I like his acting style. I think that he does a good job of fully embodying characters and bringing a certain personal touch to each movie. I dig it. Dig the Hanks.

Julia Roberts (Eat Pray Love) on the other hand is annoying me slowly and her face is also slowly scaring me with age. That being said, she really isn't in this movie very much and her character plays a not so crucial part which is great.

Speaking of great, Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March, Pirate Radio) . Another person that, although I may not enjoy all of his movies, I love all of his performances. The movies I didn't like had nothing to do with him. While Hanks embodies character Hoffman literally embodies them. He is a very physical actor and obtains certain characteristics with different characters that I love to watch. He is great on screen and I tip my hat to him.

Like the story. I liked learning about this true story because I really had no idea that it happened as I wasn't really born at the time BUT it doesn't mean I didn't fully grasp the intensity of what he took on. I liked Charlie Wilson as a person (or at least Tom Hanks being him) and I found it really interesting. The humour helped but the movie left off on a rather depression note. Although...can you blame them?

It may look boring and start out as a movie that you may not be sure where it is going but it quickly comes up from nowhere and rockets you into a story that is almost too crazy to be true.

3.5/5


The Way (4.5)



(Trailer)

I love a good journey/adventure movie. A friend of mine just did a part of the camino de Santiago pilgrimage only 2 weeks ago and though we haven't spoken face to face about it yet I know from a few messages and photos that it really affected her. I looked it up and started to get obsessed with the idea of doing it. Then, on Netflix, I saw this movie. I had to watch it. Mostly I wanted to just see what the journey looks like and how hard it is, but what I got was an amazing script with lots of emotions and some beautiful scenery.

Emilio Estevez wrote, produced and directed this movie...and even acted in it here and there. I cannot believe how well he did on this movie. I suppose I haven't really paid attention to his career past the Mighty Ducks but I was totally taken by surprise with the steady emotion carried by every well planned character.

While my interest in the camino de Santiago kept me interested, the rawness to the characters (especially Martin Sheen), the consistency pace and the script really made this movie great. I highly enjoyed it. I like how they didn't cloud the movie with dialogue as the emotions and scenery speak for most of it and sometimes words ruin an already perfect balance between the bond of characters and the look and feel of a movie.

I did think that one dramatic scene was a little forced but I liked that they didn't add extra action or tension for no reason. I found that some of the character intros were confusing but it all panned out and has confirmed my obsession with doing this adventure at some point over the next two years. It fuelled my inspiration to travel.

Bonus: great soundtrack.

4.5/5

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (4)



(Trailer) 

Too soon? Maybe. Better cast? Totally. Better? Not necessarily.

I am one of the few to admit these days that I really like the original Spider-Man movies. Yes, a part of me even enjoyed the third one even though most of it was just terrible. Besides Kirsten Dunst and my general not liking or her I liked them...but I like all comic book to movie films. at least, so far.

I found the new casting to be refreshing, even right down to uncle Ben. The new director, Marc Webb, helped shape the new feel. I liked that they were more true to the comic books and that they didn't add extra love scenes or make it about love. Yes, his relationship helps mold him but not compared to the lose he experiences throughout his life.

I liked how Andrew Garfield (Never Let Me Go, The Social Network) was awkward, clumsy and didn't seem supernatural. I liked how his strength was not just in his physical enhancement but by his mind via his inventions to suit his needs. I liked how he was young and believable as a teenager and that his quirkiness made him more personable to me.

I never have anything but amazing things to say about Emma Stone (The Help, Crazy Stupid Love) . I doubt I ever will. She is awesome and I want to be her best friend. Her outfits were pretty gross even for the nerdy/professional girl in school but her acting did not suffer the embarrassing clothes.

I didn't like this movie more or less than the original and it would take too long to explain why but the stories were quite different and while the first one suited my younger aged needs cinematically, this movie impressed me more with it's realistic quality, acting and general feel for the movie. So, I like them both but for completely different reasons.

Note: there is still cheese in this movie. The last ones had many and this one had it's fair share too but these are meant for kids too so cut it some slack.

Give this movie a chance. Don't shy away because it's too soon or you didn't like the third one from the last series or because you think the story is over done. This is new and should be treated as just that.

Check it out.

Bonus: The 3D was pretty awesome, not going to lie.

4/5

(1 whole point of the cast)


No Impact Man (3.5)



2009 documentary about a 5th avenue family choose to give up their comfortable lives to attempt to live a year without any net environmental impact. 

While the 'stars' of this documentary (aka the family that decided to try this experiment) were annoying at times, it was the fact that while watching this movie I had internal reflections on my own life that made it amazing. While watching this film I felt happy of what I had achieved so far in terms of helping the planet and lowering my foot print followed by knowing that it wouldn't take that much more effort to lower it even more. It made it seem obtainable and actually fun to try. 

The experiment itself had huge holes. I questioned the strange rules they made for themselves that they gave up when it came to their careers but were so strict about their personal lives. Sure, it is easy to be cautious in your own home but out in the public and at work it is harder. I would've liked to have seen more restrictions there...but, as they say many times, it's a start for them. I give them credit for that thought. 

Regardless if you agree or disagree with the idea behind this documentary it is the fact that it brings up an issue that is only effecting our lives more and more and will not stop growing unless we make ourselves aware of all sides of the issue. This movie helps grasp a side of that problem. 

I also am questioning everything I put in the garbage and THAT is a big deal. Inspiration and information are what documentaries are all about. 

3.5/5 

Wrath of the Titans (3.5)



(Trailer) 

2012 action/fantasy movie by Jonathan Liebesman: A new evil is arising and as the power of the Gods wains it is up to one demi-God to save the planet.

I know a lot of people would shake their heads at my 3.5 rating but I honestly liked this movie. It was exactly what I thought it would be but without the shock of  that Clash of the Titans had as I knew what to expect. It also didn't completely change one of my favourite childhood films ever...so...I liked it. I enjoy history/legends (even though I know they stretched a few myths) and I like unnecessary action now and again and that is exactly what I got.

Still...Sam Worthington's acting was not better. Some of the scenes were pretty bad and the dialogue was hilarious but he can handle the action scenes but not much more. I hate how they still feel it necessary to have an unneeded love interest in these kids of movies. Trust me, ruthless action will be enough for us. Blood wins hearts just as much as love (or at least I think).

If you didn't mind the first one give this one a chance. If you like Greek tales and creatures/myths check it out. You may be surprised by how entertaining it is; just like me.

Bonus: Liam Neeson (Unknown, The A-Team). Always. Even if his costumes are ridiculous.

3.5/5

Dark Days (3)



(Trailer) 

Directed by Marc Singer, this documentary profiles the lives of several homeless people in New York city who live in the undergound tunnels of the public transit system.

I am not entirely sure when this movie was filmed but it was released in 2000. It won a bunch on Sundance awards including audience pick and I can understand why.

The world that unfolds before you in this documentary is nothing like you could've imagined. Actually, most of it seems unreal. The people, the life style and the whole film seems like it couldn't have existed. But it did. And not too far from home either.

While this film was continuously surprising and interesting, the pace was slow and the scenes included didn't give much insight into the people that are introduced. I did like that they focused on several people but at the same time that meant that they were restricted in how much of each persons every day life they could show. That made it drag at times as I felt that they only showed the surface of what the movie could've been.

Still...crazy.

3/5

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Dictator (3.5)



(Trailer) 

This movie had more of a story to it than the trailer and clips led me to believe. I actually thought it was funny but not hilarious. I laughed out loud a few times and really meant it but it was more overall humourous and just ridiculous.

It's Sacha Baron Cohen at his best. I like that he is almost too much and crosses the line once or twice but in the end turns things around to poke fun at Americans and the culture. He is a really political and intelligent person but he masks that with humour in a way that throws most people off. I think he is a great actor though and you can see that in his use of several different characters in one scene. Comedy doesn't win Oscar's but I think he is something good.

The story is not deep but I was happy that the story that did exist had a bit of meat to it. The climax was obviously ridiculous in a non-funny way (to me anyways, a lot of people love it 100%). I still thought it was entertaining. I did go into this thinking it was going to be a piece of garbage but trusting in Cohen I watched it anyways.

Decent comedy although the humour was a little too out dated yet seemed too soon in a really uncomfortable way. Or, maybe it's just me?

3.5/5

Project X (2.5)



(Trailer)

Three high school students throw a party to become cool but things get out of hand.

Ya...I watched this movie. I had no idea why seeing how I was never much of a party person, especially in high school. In fact, I think a lot of people who acted the way the people did in this movie have little to no brains (especially after all the drugs and alcohol). Yet, I was interested to see it just because it was so ridiculous and so different from what I enjoy.

It was interesting in terms of seeing people destroy themselves. It was funny in the way that I cannot believe that real people do things like this. It scared me into never wanting to have children (or at least wishing they could skip ages 13-21). It did a lot of things but in the end it wasn't a half bad film. If I were in high school it would be a cool movie (well, actually, probably not to my crowd but you know...).

It's a movie where a big party takes place. There is actually a bit of a story to it as well which was surprising and they kept up with it the entire time. Things get REALLY crazy and insane things happen which kept me entertained.

It was a good late night movie that didn't cause me to feel any emotion and to go to bed more scared for the next generation than I ever had before.

2.5/5
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