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


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


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