Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Complicated

Title: It's Complicaded
Directed by: Nancy Meyers
Starring: Merryl Streep, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski, Lake Bell
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Running Time: 1 hour. 58 minutes
Release Date: December 25th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Review: Don't ask me why I would choose to see a film like this one. I didn't. I hate Rom-Coms, and this is certainly one, although just a little bit different than the usual girl-meets-boy-suffer-set-back-over-comes-gets-married-lives-happily-ever-after fare that makes up the bulk of this genre. 'It's Complicated' is kind of funny, and I bet it would delight with the usual audience. It would be a prefect film to take my mother to, she would love it. I, however, spend most of the film admiring Ms. Streep's lovely Santa Barbara home, and wondering what she puts in her muffins in order to sell enough of them to support her enviable lifestyle. And, SPOILER ALERT, I was kind of miffed over the ending.

Grade: 5

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Title: Sherlock Holmes
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan
Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Adaptation, Mystery
Running Time: 2 hour. 9 minutes
Release Date: December 25th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: With a cast like this, how can you not make a great film? Well, ask Guy Ritchie, he knows. Not that 'Sherlock Holmes' is a bad film. It is not. But it is not great either. The individual parts of the film, such as look, feel, and execution is well constructed, but a few weaknesses, such as a flimsy bad guy and too predictable "mysteries" leaves 'Holmes' with a mere 7.5 rating. Of course, Rober Downey Jr. is fantastic as Holmes, and his charm alone makes the film worth seeing. Prepare for typical action hero Hollywood flick and you will not be disappointed.

Grade: 7.5

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Young Victoria

Title: The Young Victoria
Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallee
Starring: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Jim Broadbent, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong
Genres: Drama, Romance, Biopic
Running Time: 1 hour. 44 minutes
Release Date: December 18th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Review: 'Young Victoria' is well acted, well filmed, the costumes are gorgeous, and the story it is based on really is lovely. Emily Blunt is perfect (I've been keeping my eye on this girl for a awhile, and she really is great!), and this love story left me intrigued enough to go straight to pick up some historical books on Victoria & Albert as soon as I left the theater. With some additional and rather heavy-handed editing 'Young Victoria' has the potential to be a great film. Unfortunately, a long long list of drawn-out and unnecessary scenes that should have ended up on the floor of the edit-room were left untouched, and the end results leaves us with a great beginning, and a fantastic end, but too much slow stuff in the middle. A damn shame.

Grade: 7

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Informant!

Title: The Informant!
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Matt Damon, Scott Bakula, Joel McHale, Melanie Lynskey, Thomas F. Wilson
Genres: Comedy, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. 48 minutes
Release Date: September 18th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: 'The Informant!' is one of those movies where the curve balls of the plot sneaks up on you at the end, and it proves a lot more entertaining that you thought midway though. What initially seems plain and one-sided reveals several levels of events previously obscured, and suddenly you realize that what you though was the whole picture is not even half of it (and all of that is really a convoluted way of saying that "there is more going on here than first meets the eye". At the end I found myself really liking this movie, that seemed pretty bland and kooky at the start, a lot more than I anticipated. Matt Damon's performance is highly entertaining, and it is a film worth seeing, even if some patience is required.

Grade: 7.5

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Lovely Bones

Title: The Lovely Bones
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli
Genres: Drama, Adaptation, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Thriller
Running Time: 2 hour. 19 minutes
Release Date: December 11th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: If you have ever seen the type of cockup where a fantastic story is made into a piece of shit movie, I bet this can beat whatever predecessor of royal cockups that came before. You can still see the sliver of greatness here an there in this film, mostly in the performances of the actors involved. Most of them a great. Unfortunately, under the direction of Peter Jackson, this unique and memorable novel becomes an annoyingly ugly, typically predictable crime drama with a hind of LSD. The end result: I wouldn't even recommend picking it up in the $1.99 bin at Costco (where it will inevidably end up).

Grade: 4

Friday, December 11, 2009

Invictus

Title: Invictus
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge, Patrick Mofokeng, Matt Stern, Julilian Lewis Jones, Bonne Henna
Genres: Drama, Adaptation, Biopic, Sports
Running Time: 2 hour. 14 minutes
Release Date: December 11th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Review: Seeing as Cling Eastwood is one of my favorite directors, I did have some expectations for this film. Couple that with the fact that South African politics has a special place in my heart, after spending a lot of time in that beautiful country, and we've got ourselves whipped into a expectation-frenzy. And it is a great film, full of great performances, restrained and skillful directorial work, and a powerful true story to stir the heart.

However, it is also a bit heavy on the sweaty-men-in-a-game-huddle slo-mo's, and being as rugby is the sport at hand (basically making it incomprehensible for anyone not already familiar with the game) it does get a bit tedious. Is it worth the 2 hours & then some? Yeah, I would say it is. But at the same time, there is no need to hold off on the soda - you'll have plenty of time for a visit to the restroom without running the risk of missing anything crucial. In other words, 'Invictus' is a great film definitely worth seeing, but it won't be joining the multitude of previous Eastwood's films on my All-Time-Favorites lists.

Grade: 8

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brothers

Title: Brothers
Directed by: Jim Sheridan
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Sam SHepard, Mare Winningham
Genres: Drama, War, Remake
Running Time: 1 hour. 50 minutes
Release Date: December 4th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Review: While many females favor chick-flicks, I would prefer a home front war movie any day of the week, and 'Brothers' is right up my alley. This is Maguire's film, his best, hands down. It also happens to be one of my favorite film of 2009, easily standing out in a pretty measly year for movies. But even in a better movie year, this one would still be memorable, not the least due to Maguire's shaved head, starved frame, heartbreaking guilt and harrowing look of pure paranoia. But both Gyllenhalla and Portman manage to keep up, and the end result: 'Brothers' is a beautiful film.

Grade: 8.5

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Title: The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Directed by: Chris Weitz
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, Nikki Reed
Genres: Adaptation, Romance, Sequel
Running Time: 2 hours. 10 minutes
Release Date: November 20th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I've been holding off a few days to write this review (not somehting I normally do), in order to let the film sink in a little bit. And to recover from my up-all-night New Moon hang-over. Because I am definitely hung over. Holy crap! Apparently, I am getting a bit old for waiting in line for hours on end, just to see a midnight showing of a new movie. Not that I needed this morning's hang-over to tell me that. It was pretty clear last night, as I sat there in line, like an idiot, among the gazillion tweens & teens, all of us dressed for the event (I know, I am so ashamed!), our squeals of delightful anticipation growing louder and louder as the clock ticked closer to 12.01 am.

But yes, since I've already confessed, there I was, and it was fantastic! There is nothing quite like seeing a brand new installment of a popular series with a bunch of screaming fans, all decked out in fan boy paraphernalia. There were squeals of delight, running commentary, ooohs & aaaahs, applauds, and laughter. Some people even cried. Of course, if you are not fanboy material, I would advice staying away from the midnight showings, since I can imagine it gets incredibly tedious otherwise. It is definitely one of those "If You Can't Join Them, Avoid Them" cases, hence the absence of the husband. He got enough of screaming fans at the HP midnight extravaganza a few months ago.

So, now to the film. We all know that the Twilight book series is one of my guilty pleasures, but I HATED the first film adaptation. Hated it. Of course I had high hopes that take 2 would produce a much better film, as well as a faithful story adaptation. And 'New Moon' delivered. It is no action film, and I've heard of plenty of non-fanboys who have been less than impressed by the film, but for fans, I do think it is a win. If you are a Twi-hater, obviously avoid this movie. But if you are a Twi-lover, or even a Twi-read-it-and-kinda-like-it, I would definitely see this one in the theater (and then a gazillion times on DVD. Just kidding... kind of....).

Grade: 8

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Blind Side

Title: The Blind Side
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Adaptation, Biopic, Sports
Running Time: 2 hours
Release Date: November 20th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Review: The Hollywoodized version of a pretty remarkable true story, complete will feel-good sensations that stays around for quite a while after the credits roll. I will admit, I am kind of a sucker for the occasional feel-good sports movie, but it is nothing I go completely ga-ga for. I did, however, see several movies back-to-back today, and this one still managed to stay in my mind afterward. Definitely one I will recommend.

Grade: 8.5

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Law Abiding Citizen

Title: Law Abiding Citizen
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb
Genres: Thriller
Running Time: 2 hour. 2 minutes
Release Date: October 16th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I have some quick advice for you, in case you were planning on seeing 'Law Abiding Citizen', not just in the theaters, but ever in your life:
Do not do it. Seriously.

I spent the 2 hours scoffing at the surprisingly appallingly poor acting, the cheap one-liner writing, the numerous and blatantly obvious inconsistencies, the insultingly predictable story line, the "super smart" characters acting like they have an collective IQ of 65, and the all-encompassing FAIL that was the execution of this, although not very original, but somewhat decent idea. Because on paper, this should not be this bad of a film: Jamie Foxx & Gerard Butler, together in a "smart aciton/revenge flick" - sound entertaining, huh? Well, it was not. It reminded me somewhat of last years expectation blow-out 'Righteous Kill', and 'Law Abiding Citizen' will surely follow in the same footsteps come award season. And seriously, both Mr. Foxx's dumb-looking "serious stare", as well as Mr. Butler's ridiculously overused "scowl into the distance" (both of which have kindly been included on the poster...) have both seen better days. Pitiful.

Then again, if you are like a lot of the people out there, who clearly are into really dumbed-down, crappy action flicks (there were plenty of people in the theater clapping in appreciation as the credits rolled), (just check out the yahoo users reviews- over 4000 people collectively gave this film an A-!!!!!!) then this movie is for you.

Grade: 3

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pirate Radio

Title: Pirate Radio
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Keneth Branagh
Genres: Foreign, Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 55 minutes
Release Date: November 13th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: Initially released in the UK as 'The Boat That Rocked', this version, slimmed down for the US short attention span palate leaves the story slightly choppy, but not annoyingly so. I am glad for the 20 minutes shave though, since it does lose it's tempo in a few spots. Being a big Philip Seymour Hoffman fan, and a huge Richard Curtis fan (4 Weddings and A Funeral! Bridget Jones!! Notting Hill!!! Love Actually!!!! - I did say huge fan... I meant HUGE FAN), I did walk into this one with some expectations, which is always unfortunate since it most often leads to disappointment. As it did here. I was thinking PSH + Curtis = AWESOME, and I had the expectations to go along with that equation, but it did fall a bit short.

But the disappointment was not overwhelming, and the film is still pretty good. Solid. It just failed to be a another Richard Curtis film to add to the Favorites-list. But, if you like British humor, charming characters, a big dose of cockups, and a typical Curtis-esque Happy Ending, it is definitely one to add to the Netflix Q.

Grade: 7

Friday, November 6, 2009

Saturday Movie Review - Precious

Title: Precious
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Starring: Mo'Nique, Paul Patton, Mariah Carey, Gabourey Sidibe, Sherri Shepherd
Genres: Drama, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. 49 minutes
Release Date: November 6th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Review: The story of 'Precious' is a story of heartbreak, and if watching it does not break your heart, I do not know what will. 'Precious' is a powerful, to the point where I sometimes wanted to close my eyes just to take a break, but couldn't. The story of endurance, abuse, breathtaking injustice and sadness will draw you in and not let go. The performances in this film are so good that you forget that you are not a fly on the wall watching the life of a girl called Precious in all its heart wrenching truth, but just a movie goer watching actors at their craft. And that, my friends, are just what movies are about. Definitely one of the year's Must-See films, and one we will see more of come awards season.

Grade: 8

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paranormal Activity

Title: Paranormal Activity
Directed by: Oren Peli
Starring: Kati Featherston, Micah Sloat, Michael Bayouth
Genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour. 39 minutes
Release Date: September 25th, 2009 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R

Review: 'Paranormal Activity' is deliciously scary (if you, like me, are into that sort of thing), mainly due to its [well executed] home-made-real-deal-vibe. I saw it in the middle of the night, in an next to empty theater, and yes, it was creepy. Friends of mine saw it in the middle of the hype, in a crowded, noisy, theater and it apparently killed the film. So, if you do want to see this overly hyped "Blair Witch Project- ish, budget horror flick, make sure you skip the crowded times at the theater, or wait until you can watch it at home.

Grade: 7

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Whip It

Title: Whip It
Directed by: Drew Barrymore
Starring: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristin Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis
Genres: Comedy, Sports
Running Time: 1 hour. 51 minutes
Release Date: October 2nd, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I knew this movie would be great! Unfortunately, nobody I knew agreed with me, and every time I would try to go and see it, I would get talked into seeing something else. Therefore it took me a few extra days to go see this highly entertaining flick, which also happens to be Drew Barrymore's directorial debut.

The only one who would love this movie more than I do now, is my teenaged self, who would have been absolutely obsessed, had this movie come out about 10 years ago. This is a homage to teenage girls everywhere seeking for their life's purpose, coolness, and independence. Now please excuse me while I go and look for a Roller Derby Club in my neck of the woods. I'm ready to be my own hero. Luckily I already have a suitable Derby name...

Grade: 8

Friday, October 16, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Title: Where The Wild Things Are
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Starring: Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper
Genres: Comedy, Kids/Family, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Animation, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. 34 minutes
Release Date: October 16th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
Review: This film feels like childhood is remembered, and it is wonderful. The way Mr. Jonze has captured the scary, funny, quirky, odd, beautiful, sad and amazing flavor of this story truly left me with a sense of childlike wonder. This is what childhood imagination could do, without the limitations of rational adult thinking, and it is glorious.

Someone asked me "will my children like it?", and the answer to that question I do not know. But I do know this; I liked it, and the little kid still left in my heart LOVED it!

My hat goes off to you, Mr. Jonze. Well done.

Grade: 7.5

Thursday, September 3, 2009

District 9

Title: District 9
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt, Sylvaine Strike, John Summer
Genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Running Time: 1 hour. 53 minutes
Release Date: August 14th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: If there is one movie I would recommend seeing in the theaters this summer, it is definitely 'District 9'. So far, it is one of my favorite movies of the year, and it currently resides firmly at the top of my "Must See" list.

So what is so great about 'District 9'? The story is unique, the acting (by, to me, mostly unknown actors) is great, the camera work is brilliantly realistic (for a film about freaking aliens on earth!) and the story line's parallels to both past & current civil rights issues is interesting. I found myself completely engrossed in this film, deeply disturbed by the unjust violence, and by the end, very much cheering for a happy alien ending.

Do not miss 'District 9'!

Grade: 9.5

Inglorious Basterds

Title: Inglorious Basterds
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Mike Myers, Michael Fassbenderr, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, Melanie Laurent, B.J. Novak, Samm Levine
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Adaptation, Politics/Religion, War
Running Time: 2 hour. 32 minutes
Release Date: August 21st, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I've been looking forward to Tarantino's new film for quite some time, and with that comes some expectations. Then, as it came out, I read reviews saying things like "Tarantino's best since Pulp Fiction" and of course, my expectations grew a little bit higher.

And 'Beasterds' is a good film; both the Husband & I really enjoyed it. It is definitely a Tarantino film, there is no doubt about that. It has all the classic Tarantino ingredients; the humor, the gore, the interlaced story lines, the time line, and the look. But to say that it is groundbraking a la vintage Tarantino is definitely to say too much. The main reason? It has been done before. But it is definitely still entertaining. Just not shocking.

If you enjoy Tarantino's work, I would say see it on the big screen. Otherwise, catch it on DVD.

Grade: 8

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Julie & Julia

Title: Julie & Julie
Directed by: Nore Ephron
Starring: Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Jane Lynch
Genres: Comedy, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. X minutes
Release Date: August 7th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: It is the story of Julia Child that dazzles in this film. Amy Adams, and the food-blogging Julie she portrays, which is the entry to the whole film, still gets completely swallowed up in the shadow of Ms. Streep without as much as a tiny ripple on the surface to tell the tale of her disappearance. Something not that surprising when Meryl Streep is involved, I will admit. The smart thing to do would have been to just make a wonderful movie about Julia Child, and skip the whole future-despairing nobody act of Ms. Adams, but alas, we're in no such luck. Still, a film worth seeing, if for no other reason that a nice dose of Streep.

Grade: 6.5

Friday, July 31, 2009

Funny People

Title: Funny People
Directed by: Judd Apatow
Starring: Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Running Time: 2 hours. 20 minutes
Release Date: July 31st, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I absolutely adore [most of the... err... who am I kidding, everyone except Adam Sandler] people involved in making this film. However, with the huge cancer theme in this film, I was not sure I would want to see it. Cancer is not something I enjoy recreationally, mostly since it plays a very dominant role in my every day life. However, I am a huge Seth Rogen fan, but the last time I saw Seth Rogen on the big screen was in the absolute turd of a movie, 'Observe & Report', which I absolutely depised. I just wanted to give him a chance to remedy that rediculous mistake. And remedy he did.
'Funny People' is just that; a collection of genuinely funny people, and the result is quite funny. The story line somewhat derails, and becomes a lot less likable, around the end, which really is too bad, but all in all, not a bad Friday morning in the movie theater.

Grade: 7

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Helena Bonham Carter
Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation, Sequel
Running Time: 2 hour. 33 minutes
Release Date: July 15th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG

Review: I have waited so long for this film, and I am so excited it is finally here! Of course, I managed to successfully convince Hubby that the Tuesday night midnight showing was the way to go. Seeing the very first screening of each new HP film is kind of a tradition of mine, usually involving braving incredible crowds and a loudly chattering/cheering crowd during the film, but its usually really fun. As we arrived at the theater one hour before they would start letting people into the theater, and took our disgruntled places at the far back of a line that looked a mile long - and that was only the for theaters 9 & 10! - and settled in for a long wait among throngs of drunk teenagers, fanboys in full Griffindor gear, and parents with small & very excited/exhausted/wired on sugar kidlets usually way too young for this time of night.

By the time they started to let our line into the theater, more people had filled in behind us, and our back-of-the-line position had been made into middle-of-the-pack. Still, as we filed into the theater all remaining empty seats were either "saved" for someone using sweaters, shoes, and what have you, or spaced out one by one in between scores of filled seats. We managed to find two seats next to each other in the front row, aka The Worst Seats On Earth, and settled in for the previews, fully knowing that we would feel thoroughly crippled by the end of the night from sitting completely deformed, necks tilted at a full 90 degrees, in order to see anything at all.

As soon as the movie started, however, I forgot all about the awful seating arrangement, and got completely absorbed in the sixth installment of one of my favorite book series. I do love these characters, and how well they have been made to come alive by these perfect-for-the-part actors, and how true they are to the original material. I love how the films capture their charm, humor, and love for each other. The casting has been brilliant throughout all the films, and veterans and newcomers alike did a fantastic job once again! Visually, as well, HP6 is just as stunning as the previous installments. Stunning!!! For me, these films truly captures the essence of the books, completely bringing them alive, and 'The Half-Blood Prince' is not exception.

However, the deviations from the original material was not appreciated, nor necessary, but really quite disappointing. I would have hoped that Mr. Yates would have known better than that, especially since this is not his first go at the franchise. The deviations really bothered me during the film, even though I have not read the book in a very long time, certain omissions were blatantly obviously absent, particular regarding the end of the film. And, actually, as I drove home and the razzle dazzle of seeing this film for the first time wore off, I realized more and more hugely important details were missing. Today, I'm feeling quite annoyed about those missing pieces that really should have been included.

I am quite puzzled why Mr. Yates decided on these changes. They seem to serve no other purpose than to mark his territory. They only subtracted from the story, in some cases very much so, and I'm sure many fans will be irritated by it. Keeping the integrity of the material intact, especially in a multi-directorial, epic and very loved series like this one, and thus preventing yourself from indulging the need to be different just to be different from your predecessors (Alfonso Cuaron - I'm looking at you), is hugely important! Any & all dick-measuring contests and urine-marking territory battles should be avoided at all costs, and I really wish a contract stating so would have been enforced as Mr. Yates was hired in the first place. I am a bit boggled by his decisions, especially since the majority of the film is superb, as was his previous work with the series.

However, after all that praise & complaining, I will say that I really did enjoy the film. For the most part it is great, and definitely worth both the ticket price, and the wait.

Grade: 8.5

Monday, July 13, 2009

Away We Go

Title: Away We Go
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Carmen Ejogo, Catherine O'Hara, Jeff Daniels, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Running Time: 1 hour. 37 minutes
Release Date: June 5th, 2009 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R

Review: This quirky, charming, sometimes funny (sometimes so NOT funny), sometimes sad film was definitely worth the trip to the out-of-the-way, artsy fartsy, independent theater - the only place left in the area still offering this film. The film is well acted both by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, who have a very lovable chemistry together, as well as by the often ridiculously hilarious supporting cast.
I have a lot of love for Sam Mendes work, and even though this is no American Beauty, it is definitely worth a look.

Grade: 7

Friday, July 3, 2009

Public Enemies

Title: Public Enemies
Directed by: Michael Mann
Starring: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Channing Tatum,David Wenham
Genres: Drama, Crime, Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hour. 23 minutes
Release Date: Juli 1st, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: 'Public Enemies' has been one of the highly anticipated movies of this summer, and I've been looking forward to seeing this one for a while. And, for the most part, it did not disappoint. At least not very much. The directing was great, the casting is brilliant, the acting superb, and as a whole it is beautifully authentic. It is a good film. I am however, quite puzzled why it is not a great film. The parts are great, some even brilliant, but the sum is less than great. Still, I did really enjoy 'Public Enemies', in particular Mr. Depp and Ms. Cotillard, who are both brilliant, and I would recommend seeing it. And if you figure out the missing piece, let me know.

Grade: 7.5

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Year One

Title: Year One
Directed by: Harold Ramis
Starring: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Oliver Platt, David Cross, Hank Azaria
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 40 minutes
Release Date: June 19th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG - 13

Review: Welcome to the review of The Worst Movie Ever Made By Mankind, also known in awards season as The Worse Movie of 2009 nominee and slam-dunk category winner. I had my suspicions going in that I would hate it, since my severe Jack Black allergy usually prevents me from enjoying any film that he has ever even touched. However, I was [desperate for some AC] hoping that maybe Michael Cera would be able to somewhat negate some of the Jack Black suck effect. And he did, to a almost insignificantly small amount, but at least there was something. I even smirked one or two times from some Michael Cera-related humor, and I was happy for those smirks, since I was afraid that 1 hour.40 minutes would be long enough to freeze the look of disgust on my face permanently. I have heard that can happen.
I would not recommend this film to anyone, in fact, it would have been a walk-out if it weren't for the AC in there, and the swealtering heat outside. Seriously.

Grade: 1 - Only because my scale does not have a negative score.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Proposal

Title: The Proposal
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Denis O'Hare, Malin Akerman, Mary Steenburgen, Betty White
Genres: Romance, Comedy, Family
Running Time: 1 hour. 48 minutes
Release Date: June 19th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG - 13

Review: I usually avoid most Rom-Coms like the plague, but under the influence of several torturous phenomenons (the sweltering summer heat, our home's lack of AC and sauna-esque construction, my brain boiling in my skull from heat stroke) I found myself in the very same cool, dark and wonderful movie theater, where this flick was showing. Surprising, I know.

Starting off, I was honestly positively surprised by 'The Proposal' - it was funny, likable, Sandra was charming, and Ryan Reynolds sported his signature "sad puppy dog face" in every scene he was in. Furthermore, the home where the majority of the movie takes place was absolutely mesmerizingly gorgeous (hey, what can I say, I'm a traditional girl with classic taste at heart). And kudos to Sandra's wardrobe people on a job well done.

However, it was not long until the movie started to derail with over the top, trying-to-hard-to-be-funny dumb shit, starting with Ganny's Native American camp fire dance, and it is down hill from there. Ms. White's raunchy-old-lady act, which I had heard was so hilarious in this film, felt tired, and more often than not, not at all funny. I started out kind of liking the film, but by the time it was over, I walked away hating it, which is kind of funny given the story line.

The movie is just as predictable as these things tend to be, but if the director would not have felt the need to add the lame shtick, it might have been a somewhat charming cookie cutter film of the genre. I would say skip this one, but then again, if you are normally in to this sort of thing, then it might not disappoint.

Grade: 4.5

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Title: The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3
Directed by: Tony Scott
Starring: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Brian Haley
Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller, Crime/Gangster and Remake
Running Time:
1 hour.35 minutes
Release Date:
June 12th, 2009
MPAA Rating:
R


Review: I first heard of this movie back in January, and the cast definitely had me excited; John Travolta, Denzel Washington and James Gandolifini in the same movie? Damn. It better be good. And the film is ok. The acting is superb, but that was expected. The story line is not as smart as it thinks it is, and it leaves the film predictable. 'Pelham' has enough substance to keep you focused on the screen, but the endge-of-the-seat tension that should be there, falls short. All in all, 'Pelham' turns out to be another popcorn action/remake that made for an entertaining Saturday morning at the movies, but memorable, it is not.

Grade: 6.5

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Hangover

Title: The Hangover
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha
Genres: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation and Sequel
Running Time: 1 hour.39 minutes
Release Date: June 5th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R


Review: 'The Hangover' has some really funny moments, it was even straight up hilarious at a few places, but that still does not make a great comedy. It was not as funny as its trailer lets on, and it was nowhere near as funny as the people who made this film though it was. But yeah, it had quite a few laughs, and it made for a very relaxing and decently entertaining Summer morning in the movie theater.

Grade: 7

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Star Trek

Title: Star Strek
Directed by: J.J. Adams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Ben Cross, Bruce Greenwood
Genres: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation and Sequel
Running Time: 2 hour. 7 minutes
Release Date: May 7th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13



Review: In retrospect, I don't know why I went to see this movie. I have never seen a Star Trek episode in my life, and what I know about Star Trek lore & history, I have learned from "Trekkie" ridicule in Star Wars-loving films, such as 'Fanboys'. To demonstrate how well my sources have educated me in the ways of the Trek, let me tell you this: I were honestly surprised when the characters did the "Spock-finger-splitting-greeting" and they did not say "Nano nano", like I, for some reason, expected them to. Clearly, I did not belong in that theater. So why go? What can I say? I was desperate. There has not been a good movie out in the theaters for what feels like ages, and it had a B+ rating. Yes, that is my defense.

But for all you Trekkies out there, looking for a review from someone who actually has a clue, this is not it. Please look elsewhere. This one is for all the clueless movie lovers.

So, how was it? Well, besides the [plentiful] inconsistencies in story line, crimes against science/logic (I know, I know... clearly, I mean, for being Sci-Fi), and some just plain silly/dumb details, is was exactly the summer blockbuster, razzle dazzle, shiny action flick I expected. If a popcorn action is what you are looking for, then this one is just as much explosive, mindless fun as any. Does it bring anything spectacular to the table for the uninitiated movie-watcher. Not really.

Grade: 5

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Angels & Demons

Title: Angels & Demons
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard, Kristof Konrad
Genres: Politics/Religion, Adaptation and Thriller
Running Time: 2 hour. 18 minutes
Release Date: May 15th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13


Review: I hated the movie adaptation of 'The DaVinci Code', but for some reason I had high hopes for the sequel. I honestly cannot tell you why. Again, I was struck by what a miscast Tom Hanks is for the lead. This was something that bothered the crap out of me in the first film, and apparently it still does (but thankfully they changed his hair).
I saw this movie days ago, and usually I write the review that same day, but this one has taken a while. I haven't been able to pinpoint why the sum of this film is not better, or even as good, as its parts. It puzzles me. Visually, it is stunning, especially knowing all the special effects that went into making it. The acting is good, for the most part. The casting is alright. The story is fairly accurate to the book, however, where it is not, the changes are huge! They have tried hard to make it suspenseful, and but for some reason they fall short, and the end result is rather dull. The trail of mysteries and clues followed in the film, although they tried to make it so the audience figures it out with the characters as they go along, the feeling is more one of going on a treasure hunt made for a 6 year old kid. For all the pre-hysteria of religion vs. science, the film sticks to a PC "let's all get along".

Grade: 5

Friday, April 17, 2009

State of Play

Title: State of Play
Directed by: Kevin MacDonald
Starring: Russel Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Ben Affleck
Genres: Drama, Adaptation and Politics/Religion
Running Time: 1 hour.58 minutes
Release Date: April 17th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG - 13


Review: I love a good, old fashioned political thriller, and that is very much what 'State of Play' is, but with a more current reality. This one has a smart story, full of fairly somewhat unpredictable twists and turns, and quite a bit of edge-of-your-seat-tension. Of course, I love Rachel McAdams, and Russell Crowe and Helen Mirren are always brilliant in their work. Ben Affleck even managed to keep his usually atrocious acting (I like him much more as a director) in check, and did not ruin the film, which I totally appreciate, thank you Ben. All in all, a entertaining thriller, perfect for a couple of hours in the movie theater.

Grade: 8

Sunshine Cleaning

Title: Sunshine Cleaning
Directed by: Christine Jeffs
Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn, Clifton Collins Jr,
Genres: Drama, and Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour.32 minutes
Release Date: March 13th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R


Review: I saw this movie yesterday, by myself. If there is one thing people find weird it is loners at the movies. Since I go to solo movies all the time ( I see A LOT of movies) so obviously it is not weird to me. However, during the previews, my lonesomeness was deeply disturbing to the two chicks sitting right behind me. Since the theater was basically empty I could clearly hear their every theory of why I was there alone. It was quite hilarious, and I had a hard time keeping my laughter properly muffled.What is weirder than someone sitting solo in the theater watching a movie, while everyone else is in 2's and 3's? The solo someone laughing by his/her lonesome (crying is even worse).

'Sunshine Cleaning' is funny, touching and sweet movie. I totally liked it. The characters are flawed, their life after high school did not turn out exactly as they had planned, they have scars they did not expect, but they also have hope. I would definitely recommend this feel-good film, that totally put a smile on my face.

Grade: 7.5

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Observe and Report

Title: Observe and Report
Directed by: Jody Hill
Starring: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Pena, Ray Liotta, Jesse Plemons
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour.26 minutes
Release Date: April 10th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R


Review: I absolutely adore Seth Rogen, and I'm a huge fan of his work. Clearly, after this, not all of his work though. I am so bummed, but this movie seriously suck. The first half was tolerable, just not that funny, and then it quickly spiraled out of control, but still not funny. It had a few laughs here and there, but nothing like what I've come to expect from a Seth Rogen film. Bummer. I would say skip this one.

Grade: 3

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Twilight

Title: Twilight
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Gigandet, and Nikki Reed
Genres: Drama, Romance, Thriller, Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hour.0 minutes
Release Date: November 21st, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13


Review: I really wanted this movie to be great, especially after loving the books so much as I read them for the first time just a few days ago. Unfortunately, I was incredibly disappointed with the film adaptation. It is always tough, adapting a fantastic much-loved book into a film, for several [fairly obvious] reasons: One is the individual vision of the story created by the reader, which is not always compatible with the vision of the movie maker. Then there is the limitations of reality, as well as budget. Another challenge is to keep faithful to the source material, which seem to be a challenged for some movie-makers, since it would require said person to resist their urge to "mark their territory" and make the story ever so slightly their own creation. And then there is casting; properly catching the characters are one of the most essential ingredients of any book-to-film-adaptation. And of course, the movie making craft itself, including directing, acting and cinematography, all of which drastically alters the end result.

The film was not all bad, certain scenes and aspects were well created, such as the ballet studio scene, the green environment of Forks, as well as a some of the casting, especially when considering the characters strictly visually. Both Edward & Bella, as well as several of the other characters, are [visually] fantastic, with a few exceptions. The vast majority of the divergences from the source seemed to have been made mostly for the purpose of film adaptation, straight up lack of skill (directorial, as well as acting-wise), or in an effort to hide budgetary constraints leading to lack of other, truer-to-the-story options.

Before I watched the film, I not only read all of the books, but I also read the Director's Notebook, which was interesting. Being able to see the film-making process, and the thoughts and inspirations behind the movie made the film a bit more enjoyable. It was evident (from the Director's Notebook) that the director wanted to capture the essence of the story, but unfortunately, those intentions often fell short, making for a very unsatisfying book-film-adaptation.

I had more than a few complaints with this film. Some issues, such as the laughable special effects, more suitable for a home made movie, as well as the inability to properly re-create every part of a fictional world in reality, are at least comprehensible for a low(ish) budget film. Those issues are [somewhat] forgivable. Other failure are harder to reconcile, such as the frequently atrocious acting (and over-acting), which never should have been allowed by the director, nor should the frequent alterations and additions to the storyline, or the choppy, border-line incoherent, resulting film.

I'm glad I saw it, but I really, really wish it would have been better. I regret that I cannot give this film a better grade. All I thought as the credits rolled was "It's a damn shame", and I still think that sums it up. I'm hoping the next installments, with a new director and a bigger budget, will be much better.

Grade: 4

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I Love You, Man

Title: I love you, man
Directed by: John Hamburg
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Sarah Burns, Jaime Pressly
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour.50 minutes
Release Date: March 20th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R


Review: This movie is awkward, awkward, awkward, mostly really funny, and sometimes straight up hilarious. I'm always cautious to listen to comedy recommendations, because comedy is so subjective, but almost instantly both Hubby & I were laughing out loud in the theater, like we couldn't help ourselves. Not something that has to be seen in the theater, but definitely entertaining enough to be worth the time.

Grade: 7

Friday, March 20, 2009

Duplicity

Title: Duplicity
Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti, Rick Worthy (II)
Genres: Drama
Running Time: 2 hour.5 minutes
Release Date: March 20th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13


Review: I've been looking forward to this film for a while, I had a feeling it would be great, and it did not disappoint. In fact, it is one of the best films of its kind to come around in a long time. The acting is superb through out, Julia and Clive Owen has phenomenal chemistry, the story is smart, the alternating time line is impeccably executed, it is funny and it has a bit of suspense here and there. All around; a great execution of a fantastic idea. Well done! I loved this movie from the opening sequence to the end of the credits! Ridiculously entertaining! If you are going to see one movie in the theater this spring, this is it!

Grade: 8.5

Friday, March 6, 2009

Watchmen

Title: Watchmen
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson
Genres: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Crime, Adaptation, Thriller
Running Time: 2 hour.43 minutes
Release Date: March 6th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R


Review: I've been looking forward to 'Watchmen' for months. It has been weeks since I've seen a movie in the theater, which for me, is a ridiculously long time. So, this movie waste land that has been the last month really added to my anticipation of this film.
I was expecting a balls to the wall, action packed, 20 years in the making, epic movie adaptation of the graphic novel; a film to rival 'Iron Man' & 'The Dark Knight' in this genre. However, Zack Snyder directs (the guy who gave us the war porn '300') and I was hoping he wouldn't go too apeshit. Mr. Snyder has a very unique cinematographic eye, and when he does not completely go over the edge it looks fantastic. I was happy to see that Mr. Snyder showed some restraint and subsequently ended up with [mostly] a pretty great looking film.
However, the film itself is not great. It is too slow to be an action, and too brutal to be funny. Instead of truly adapting the story to film, creating a proper storyline, character build and the other necessary part to make a good movie, they basically shoved almost the entire comic into the film, ending up with just too much of everything and not enough of anything. Except sudden, gory, assault on the eyes, bone-cracking, blood splattering surprise snaps of extreme brutality. There was definitely enough of that.
Very Tarantino-wannabe. Just not as good (but then again, nobody does it like Tarantino).
All in all, a good looking film, with a kick ass wardrobe, and some decent acting performances (Jackie Earle Haley, I'm talking to you) but unfortunately, quite the epic disappointment.

My favorite part: Malin Akerman's fantastic rack. Seriously. She singlehandedly (& toplessly) added another point to my rating. At least. Maybe even 2.

Grade: 3

For the record, Hubby gave this one a 1, something that is incredibly rare. I can't even remember the last flick he gave a 1, where we didn't walk out or shut it off.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Fanboys

Title: Fanboys
Directed by: Kyle Newman
Starring: Sam Huntington, Christopher Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell
Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama
Running Time: 1 hour.30 minutes
Release Date: February 6th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13


Review: Two points that needs to be made up front:
  1. If you have no love for Star Wars, I doubt you will find this movie very entertaining, and you should probably skip it.
  2. Furthermore, if you did not enjoy any of the following films, then the humor in this one might not be your thing: Super Bad, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up.
I'm just letting you know, because I personally HATE bad comedies, and I realize that comedy is one of the most subjective thing in films, so, some information of the flavor of funnies in [comedy you might see] is really helpful.
Now, to the actual review:
I, who have a moderate love for Star Wars, absolutely loved this film! It is hilarious! And I loved it even more because it had my wonderful Hubby laughing out loud in the half-full theater. Jay Baruchel, a favorite from Knocked Up & Tropic Thunder, is fabulous, but so is the rest of the cast. If you saw some of the other films mentioned above, you will definitely recognize several familiar faces. And don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for the cameo by Carrie Fisher.
I would definitely say see this one, but look above for points 1, and 2, to evaluate humor-compatibility first.

Grade: 8.5

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The International

Title: The International
Directed by: Tom Tykwer
Starring: Clive Own, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ulrich Thomsen, Brian O Byrne
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama and Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour.58 minutes
Release Date: February 13th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R


Review: 'The International' is a popcorn action/thriller which is predictable but fairly entertaining. In other words; typical blockbuster fair with a financial-flavored conspiracy twist. It does create some excitement and tension, but fails to hold on to it throughout the movie. Would have been much improved by some tighter editing shaving off 15-20 minutes. Suitable for DVD consumption.

Grade: 6

Friday, February 13, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Title: Revolutionary Road
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, David Harbour, Michael Shannon
Genres: Drama, and Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour.59 minutes
Release Date: December 26th, 2008
MPAA Rating: R

Review:
I've wanted to see this film since I first heard of it; Sam Mendes with a fantastic cast and a great story, it just had to be a great film! But when December rolled around, and 'Revolutionary Road' was finally released, I held off. I've been holding off for quite some time now. The main reason: I heard it was dark, some even say too dark. And quite frankly, I have not felt up for a depressing film with everything going on with Hubby's illness in the last 5 months. We've been keeping the entertainment light and laugh-y lately, with no need to add any fictional devastation to the mix. However, after reading rave review after rave review, praising the performance of the cast, I felt like I was missing out.
And 'Revolutionary Road' really is a great movie. Yes, it is dark, devastating, and saturated with desperation, but it truly is a great film, and definitely worth seeing. I would not have wanted to miss it. I would highly recommend this film as one of the "Must See" films of 2008. But do take heed; it is not light and laugh-y popcorn entertainment, even though it is sometimes funny.

Grade: 7.5

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rachel Getting Married

Title: Rachel Getting Married
Directed by: Johathan Demme
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Bill Irwin, Tunde Adebimpe, Anna Deavere Smith
Genres: Drama
Running Time: 1 hour.51 minutes
Release Date: October 3rd, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R


Review: 'Rachel Getting Married' has been out for quite a while, but I missed it when it was new. I recently heard a lot of good things about Anne Hathaway's performance in this movie, which spurred me to see it. It is quite different from everything else I've seen her in, and yeah, she did a good job.
The whole film is shot in a way that made me feel I was watching a poorly edited, much too long, awkward home video from the absurd wedding of some random (and severely dysfunctional) strangers. It felt very real, uncomfortably so. It is a close-up, too real to not be real, film of about a wide range of family-related issues. It is so close-up you can see every pore. And that fact alone made me cringe and squirm in my seat. Easily, not a film for everyone, and not something you would see to be entertained.

Grade: 5

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Reader

Title: The Reader
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, Karoline Herfurth, Hannah Herzsprung, David Kross
Genres: Drama, Romance, and Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hour.2 minutes
Release Date: December 12th, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R


Review: 'The Reader' is long, a bit slow, but that does not take away from a film that is also original, sad, heartbreaking and telling a captivating story that is not black or white, but all shades of gray. Kate Winslet is fantastic in her role as Hannah Schmitz, and the film is definitely worth seeing, but wait for the DVD, and see it at home. That is about all I will say, I wouldn't want to spoil anything. That, and heads up for the nudity.

Grade: 7.5

Sunday, February 8, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

Title: He's Just Not That Into You
Directed by: Ken Kvapis
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, Ginnifer Goodwin, Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck
Genres: Comedy, Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hour.9 minutes
Release Date: February 6th, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13


Review: Oh my! I don't even know where to begin with this one...
Originally, there were two reasons that I wanted to see the year's first, big chick-flick;
  1. The cast - It seems everyone is in this movie, and I was really curious to see what this group of people could come up with. Judging by their past work, it should be funny, cute, and maybe even great. And, since I don't watch a lot of chick-flicks I figured this one might be a good one for me, that I might actually enjoy.
  2. The book - I've read it, and I honestly thought it would make a great adaptation to film.
Sounds like the recipe for the perfect chick-flick, right? Wrong. This film disguises itself as a chick-flick, but really, all it manages to do is portray women as completely ridiculous, clingy, delusional creatures. I sat through this [long] movie, in a theater packed with people, and every time I cringed with embarrassment for the behavior of these characters, [what seemed like] every other female in the room squealed with delight from completely recognizing themselves in those very same characters. I lost count of how many "OH MY GOD! That is SO me!"-s I heard exclaimed in there. I seriously do not know who the fuck these women are? But I guess that is a whole other post.
Secondly, with all the talk about "staying true to the book", they sure failed on that front. To appease the masses, they have attached a generic Hollywood "happy ending" to this film, that is just ridiculous in context. But I guess they did need to lie a bit to bend it to the target audiences' expectations. So, really, it ends up being just another RomCom, with a few funny lines about dating in the era of online profiles, instant message, and smart phones.
However, even though I would not straight-up recommend this film, I'm not saying don't see it. It all depends on what kind of chick you are; If you are on of those girly-girls that planned their wedding since the age of 3, who's been dissecting boy-relations with your girlfriends since kindergarten, and who after each new date spends hours waiting by the phone for him to call, you might like 'He's Just Not That In To You'. If you are not; prepare to spend 2 hours completely horrified and/or embarrassed.

Grade: 4.5

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees

Title: The Secret Lives of Bees
Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Sophi Okonedo, Alicia Keys
Genres: Drama, and Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour.50 minutes
Release Date: October 17th, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: PG-13


Review: 'The Secret Life of Bees' came out quite a while ago, all the way back in mid-October. I meant to see it back then, but i did not get around to until yesterday. For those of you who've already seen it months ago, this review will be completely useless. But kudos to you for not missing out on a great film, and beating me to seeing it! And, in case you forgot all about this one, the DVD (released yesterday) would make a nice gift for a female in your life . And that is something, right(so maybe not completely useless...) ?
But if there is anyone still out there, who missed this film when it was new, then this review is for you.

Since October, I had sort of forgotten what 'The Secret Life of Bees' was all about, but as soon as it began I realized why I wanted to see it in the first place; its mainly female, absolutely brilliant cast! And they did not disappoint. Great performances throughout, and a great film.
It is one of those movies that tugs hard at your heartstrings, and might even trigger some tears [read: a lot of tears], but it leaves you uplifted at the end. Since I had forgot all about the premise of the film, it sort of caught me off guard when I was already tired, sick, and "soft", so before I knew it I was bawling my eyes out in front of the TV, but at the end it left me smiling, so I would not call it a depressing. I do recommend this film, but be aware that it is a total [old school style] chick-flick, and as such, should come with a bottle of wine, a box of tissues, and a gallon of Ben & Jerry's, and be watched with girl friend(s); not alone and mopey sans wine/ice cream.

Grade: 7.5

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Title: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Jason Flemyng, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond
Genres: Drama, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hour.47 minutes
Release Date: December 25th, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: It seems everybody loves this film, and when you watch it, it is not hard to understand why. I totally get why people love this film; the story is great, intriguing, and unique; it totally tugs at the heartstrings; the acting is good; and it comes with a great message. I am sure that most people who see it will enjoy it.
However, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' has a couple of flaws that brings it down, just a tad:
  1. 'Benjamin' is a bit too slow, but not the the point of molasses. It is totally bearable.
  2. It is the 2 hrs. 47 minutes that 'Benjamin' runs that is completely unreasonable. A film this long really needs to have you on the edge of your seat, so you do not notice the film's greedy time grubbing. Sadly, that is not the case with this film; and both Hubby & I clearly noted, and were [independently] annoyed by 'Benjamin's' excessive minute-hogging.
Even though the film totally was enjoyable, the excessive length still had us squirming in our seats by the end of it, and that is just wrong. With some more editing this film could have been even better, it totally has the potential to be brilliant, but does not quite reach it. And given the director's message about time, I am somewhat surprised to see him waste it like this. 'Benjamin' still receives a great rating, and I totally recommend this film, but [for once] I would have much preferred to have seen it on my own comfy couch instead of in the theater.

Grade: 7.5