Sunday, December 28, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Title: Slumdog Millionaire
Directed by: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Starring: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Madhur Mittal, Freida Pinto
Genres: Crime, Drama, Foreign
Running Time: 2 hour.0 minutes
Release Date: November 12th, 2008
MPAA Rating: R

Review: This is one of the films receiving a lot of buzz for this year's award season, and when you watch it is not hard to see why. It is an amazing film. The look and feel is fresh, very real, and it has a great energy throughout. The music is great, and the child actors are absolutely stunning. This is a picture of the real India, a picture that is easily recognized if you have ever traveled this amazing country the cheap, down & dirty way. A must see film that stands out as one of the best of this year.

Grade: 9

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Title: Religulous
Directed by: Larry Charles
Starring: Bill Maher, Tal Backman, Larry Charles
Genres: Documentary, Religion
Running Time: 1 hour.41 minutes
Release Date: October 1st, 2008
MPAA Rating: R

Review: Bill Maher is snarky, funny and on his own doubt-spreading soap box in this documentary about religion. Having some serious doubts myself I found the movie interesting, and it brough up quite a few points I have been soap-boxing about myself. but less neutral and with more of a slant than is documentary-appropriate. Definitely a discussion-inducing film worth a watching with an open mind, no matter what prechings you prescribe to.

Grade: 7

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pineapple Express

Title: Pineapple Express
Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Craig Robinson, James Remar, Joe Lo Truglio
Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Crime
Running Time: 1 hour.45 minutes
Release Date: August 6th, 2008
MPAA Rating: R

Review: Another James Franco film, that i absolutely adore! Before Pineapple's release I had several severe laugh-attacks after catching the trailer in the theater, while waiting to see another film. Those laugh attacks came with some pretty high expectations for the funniness of this film. And, when i finally saw this film back in August, I was not disappointed. In fact, it had me laughing so hard, I almost peed my pant! Everything from James France's charming pot dealer, Seth Rogen's hilarious state of panic, the entire casts collective potty mouth, and the I-learned-how-to-fight-through-playing-video-games-fight scenes, to the ridiculously over-the-top violent action had me in constant state of laughing delirium throughout the whole film. I just saw this movie again last night, and I loved it just as much as I did the first time I saw it. It is, hands down, the funnies movie I have seen since Knocked Up. And it is a very strong contender for this year's Funniest Movie. However, I have yet to see a few of the other, rumored to be funny, movies out this year, so don't count your chickens or whatever... No matter how you slice it, this is a fantastic film, that i highly recommend.

Grade: 9.5

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Title: Milk
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Sean Penn, James Franco, Josh Brolin, Allison Pill, Emile Hirsch
Genres: Drama, Biopic, Politics
Running Time: 2 hour.8 minutes
Release Date: November 26th, 2008 (limited), December 5th, 2008 (expands)
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I love this film! Sean Penn is charming, and perfect in the role as courageous human rights activist Harvey Milk, who fought so hard (& never gave up) to [finally] become the first openly gay man to be voted into public office in America. And, James Franco (love him!) is gorgeous throughout the whole film. Their love story is smile-inducing, and absolutely beautiful, and to see it portrayed like any other love is amazing. This film will make your heart swell in your chest as you watch it, leaving a sweet taste of hope after it is done. The film is a tad long, but not enough to bring the grade down. This is a fantastic film, that i would highly recommend.

Grade: 8.5

Cadillac Records

Title: Cadillac Records
Directed by: Darnell Martin
Starring: Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Beyonce Knowles, Gabrielle Union, Columbus Short
Genres: Drama, Biopic, Musical
Running Time: 1 hour.48 minutes
Release Date: December 5th, 2008
MPAA Rating: R

Review: Since having studied American music history, and having been really intrigued by the music legends from that time, I was looking forward to seeing this movie. The music really carries the film, which would be expected, but perhaps not to this extreme extent. It is a hell of a story, but here it is told with murky historic details (where the hell is Phil?). The cast pour their hearts out in the music with electrifying results, and Beyonce kills "At last". All in all, the movie lands on a middle-of-the-road 5, but without the music (a 7) the film itself would end up with a failing 3.

Grade: 5 (just FYI, hubby gave it a 4)

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Title: Frost/Nixon
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Toby Jones, Matthew MacFayden
Genres: Drama, Adaptation, Politics
Running Time: 2 hour.2 minutes
Release Date: December 5th, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I've been looking forward to seeing Frost/Nixton for months and it did not disappoint. If you are, like me, interested in American politics, and American history it is a really interesting, fact-based movie from a fascinating time in this country. The movie is a duel between the recently ousted President Nixon, and David Frost, and it is beautifully executed. The movie belongs to Frank Langella, as Nixon, who is a perfect Tricky Dick. It is not hard to see where all the buzz is coming from, and i am definately recomending this one.

Rating: 8

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Title: Quantum of Solace
Directed by: Marc Forster
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen, Mathieu Amalric
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sequel
Running Time: 1 hour.45minutes
Release Date: November 14th, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I haven't seen a movie in an unusually long time, but here is a delayed review of the "new" Bond.
I don't really like Daniel Craig as 007; he's hardcore (doing all his own stunts & getting pretty banged up in the process) enough, but he lacks the classy element that comes with the role - he is too much "wrong side of the tracks" - and he also lacks (or does not have enough of) that dry, British humor that has been a huge part of the character for such a long time. Obviously times change, and i get that, but even if he makes a great action movie start, he is no Bond. Period.
The movie it self is OK, but certainly not great. The action is spread on thick, but there is not much else in this flick, unfortunately. The story is thin and feels choppy - like some over zealous editor cut too much of the good bits out too fit the break-neck-speed action. I was not bored during the film, mainly because something was always getting blown up or killed, but i walked away feeling like i could have been watching a stunt documentary.

Rating: 6.5

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Zack & Miri Make a Porno

Title: Zack & Miri Make a Porno
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Starring: Seth Rogan, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Katie Morgan, Craig Robinson, Justin Long
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour.41minutes
Release Date: October 31st, 2008
MPAA Rating:R

Review: Zack and Miri make a porno is absolutely fucking hilarious! I've been wanting to see it since it came out last weekend, but i haven't had a chance until today. From start to finish i, and everyone else in the theater too for that matter, were cracking up. Save a couple of moments where my "oh-my-fucking-god-that-is-disgusting!" threshold was overstepped, the entire movie was deliciously, ridiculously laughable. Both Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks are their usual super charming selves, and they have great chemistry together, Craig Robinson is hilarious throughout, and Justin Long scores his perfect role. So, i would highly recommend seeing Zack and Miri, but do mind the R rating; it really is an R rating. I wouldn't take grandma to see this one. And, don't miss the post-credits after scenes.

Rating: 8

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Title: W.
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Thandie Newton, Ellen Burstyn
Genres: Biopic, Politics, Religion
Running Time: 1 hour.50minutes
Release Date: October 17th, 2008
MPAA Rating:PG-13
W. is long. It felt a lot longer than its 1 hour.50 minutes. It would have received a much higher grade if it would not have made me look at my watch every 2 minutes for the entire last 30 minutes. Besides that, it was not a bad movie. It might not be the most exciting movie you'll see in the theater this Fall, but it is an interesting film, and i would recommend seeing it, but you might want to wait for the DVD. The acting is good throughout; Josh Brolin makes a good W, without making the character a complete joke. The President's cabinet were all brilliantly portrayed, and i really liked Ms. Newton's spot-on, brown-nosed Condoleezza. One of the greatest surprises for me was Laura Bush, portrayed by Elizabeth Banks, defying my personal impression of the 1st Lady as a dumb, silent, token housewife. Ms. Banks portrayed Mrs. Bush as a life partner and ally to W. I liked that. There are few jokes in the film, but probably a lot less than what people expect. I have read that Mr.Stone wanted to keep it real, and i do think that he did.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Body of Lies

Title: Body of Lies
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russel Crowe
Genres: Thriller
Running Time: 2 hour.8minutes
Release Date: October 10th, 2008
MPAA Rating:RReview: This is a really good movie, it has a great story, and great acting, both from a beat-up and bearded DiCaprio, and from an unusually fat Crowe, as well as from the supporting actors and actress. The filming style is very real, and i really enjoyed that. However, it is really long, clocking in at 2 hours and 8 minutes. It probably would have scored better if it would have been a bit shorter, but all things considered, a really good film, that is totally worth the ticket price.

Rating: 8

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Title: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
Directed by: Pete Sollett
Starring: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Ari Graynor, Rafi Gavron, Alexis Dziena
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Running Time: 1 hour.30minutes
Release Date: October 3rd, 2008
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Review: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist is a good, funny, and pretty random movie. It is not a laugh out loud movie, but more of a chuckle movie. As always Michael Cera is adorable, and Kat Dennings was, to me at least, a nice surprise.

Rating: 6

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eagle Eye

Title: Eagle Eye
Directed by: D.J Caruso
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson, Billy Bob Thornton
Genres: Drama, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour.58minutes
Release Date: September 26th, 2008
MPAA Rating:PG-13

This is a summer action movie, and it is good. It comes heavy on the usual ingredients in this genre: car chases, explosions, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. However, it was not predictable or boring. This movie just worked; the director did a really good job, the acting was great, no, actually the acting was fantastic, the movie had great suspense, and was totally unpredictable throughout, all in all: one of the best, thoroughly entertaining action movies so far this summer.

I've seen some reviews out there complaining that the plot is unrealistic at times, and to that i laugh. Out loud. This is not your evening news; it is a Hollywood Blockbuster. It does not have to pass a post-film-fact-check. If that is what you are looking for, i would suggest giving up on Hollywood all together.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Righteous Kill

Title: Righteous Kill
Directed by: Jon Avnet
Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, 50 Cent
Genres: Action/Adventure, Crime/Gangster, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour.40minutes
Release Date: September 12th, 2008
MPAA Rating: R

This really is one of those movies that look great on paper; De Niro & Pacino, what more do you have to say? And I saw the cinematic trailer a few weeks ago, and it looked awesome, but unfortunately that does not mean much since the trailer editors can make a turd on a stick look like the next big blockbuster hit. I've been snooked by that trick before.
As expected by this crew, the acting was great, but that was basically the only thing on the "Good" list. The "Bad" list is unfortunately about a mile long: the movie was slow, predictable, and all out ridiculous in places. Even the most dim-witted of movie-goers will have the plot pegged straight off the bat. I found myself squirming in my seat, checking the time every couple of minutes, absolutely bored to tears.

Rating: 3

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Burn After Reading

Title: Burn After Reading
Directed by: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton
Genres: Comedy, Crime
Running Time: 1 hour.35minutes
Release Date: September 12th, 2008
MPAA Rating: R

I've been looking forward to this one for a while, and for the most part, I was not disappointed. Which was nice, since more often than not, when I have high expectations for a flick it falls short. I actually even liked this one. It is funny. Sometimes very. I laughed. A lot a few times. But it is not a great movie. It is good. But not great. The main reason it falls short: the short bits of guts & gore that is intertwined with the funniness. Completely out of place. Bad decision by the Coen's. Really.
Overall: A funny, bitter, quirky collection of bafoons, which equals a pretty entertaining, random storyline.
Clooney is really blah overall, while Pitt is hilarious.

Rating: 7.5

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight

Title: The Dark Knight
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart
Genres: Action/Adventure, Crime, Superhero, Sequel
Running Time: 2 hours. 32 minutes
Release Date: July 18th, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: The second installment in Christopher Nolan's trilogy, following 'Batman Begins' in 2005, and it is excellent. It's dark, violent, terrifying, explosive, and clever. It is well acted, and well directed. 'The Dark Knight' is epic, through and through.

Even if this was not Ledger's last role before his sad, and untimely death in January, his portrayal of the Joker would still go down in the annals of film as one of the most un-hinged, dark and creepy bad guys ever seen on the big screen. Heath Ledger IS the Joker, and for the first time, this character has been portrayed with debt and complexity beyond the one-dimensional comic-book villain seen in the past.

Just as in 'Batman Begins', Bale is great as the Batman, and while Bale's love interest has been upgraded from Katie Holmes to Maggie Gyllenhaal, the difference is surprisingly negligible. All in all, 'The Dark Knight' is a comic-book film that has greatly surpassed it's genre.

Bring on part three. I, for one, cannot wait!
Grade: 8.5

Friday, June 6, 2008

You Don't Mess With the Zohan

Title: You Don't Mess With the Zohan
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Lainie Kazan, John Turturro, Nick Swardson, Ido Mosseri
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 53 minutes
Release Date: June 6th 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: After having been dragged, against my better judgement, by a group of friends who all voted for us to see this one, I will say this:

1. I told you so - a very important point that needs to be dealt with upfront.
2. I want a full refund & my 2 hours back! - Seriously.
3. Please punch me in the ear, so I may develop selective amnesia, and forget I ever saw this one.

'You Don't Mess With the Zohan' is dumb, literary, as in "subpar IQ". Scary dumb. Not-even-funny dumb. I didn't crack the faintest shadow of a smile the entire movie, so cheap were the "humor". Don't get me wrong, the theater was full with thigh-slapping laughers, so I know for a fact that it is possible to enjoy this film. If you belong to the empty-headed, donkey-braying, sweater-sleeve-snot-wipers who find 'Beavis & Butthead' too high brow, you might find this humorous. If you're a normal person, do something better than this with your time.

I cannot believe that Judd Apatow, a favorite writer/director of mine, wrote this turd of a film. Awful. Awful. Awful. Save yourselves & skip this one!
Grade: 2

Friday, May 2, 2008

Iron Man

Title: Iron Man
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Leslie Bibb, Jeff Bridges, Robert Downey Jr.,
Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantay, Superhero
Running Time: 2 hour. 6 minutes
Release Date: May 2nd, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: Robert Downey Jr. is great as Tony Star, and his charm and humor really adds massive likability to the billionaire industrialist/genius inventor. As the movie begins, Stark is kidnapped by terrorists, and forced to build them a weapon. Instead, he builds a high-tech suit of armor, and manages to escape. And so Iron Man is born.

The film is highly entertaining action flick, with a great cast, and a good villain and story line. All in all, not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, and a well-above -average Superhero/comic film. I bet 'Iron Man' will return with at least one sequel.
Grade: 8