Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Grit

Title: True Grit
Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, Dakin Matthews, Jarlath Conroy, Paul Rae, Domhnall Gleeson, Elizabeth Marvel, Roy Lee Jones
Genres: Action/Adventure, Western, Adaptation, Remake
Running Time: 1 hour. 50 minutes
Release Date: December 22nd, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: "People do not give it credence that a young girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood. But it did happen. I was just 14 years of age when a coward by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down and robbed him of his life and his horse and two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band. " -- Mattie Ross

'True Grit' is hands down one of the best movies of the year. It is well written, well casted, well acted, and well directed. Jeff Bridges is perfect as U.S. marshal, and drunk, Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn., Matt Damond is hilarious as "nincompoop"/Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, and Hailee Steinfeld portrayal of 14 year old Mattie Ross is nothing short of brilliant.

A very memorable, well told story that is excellent in all its parts.
Grade: 9.5

Friday, December 3, 2010

Black Swan

Title: Black Swan
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Toby Hemingway
Genres: Drama, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour. 43 minutes
Release Date: December 3rd, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: This is an epic, shocking, over the top, absolutely mad film, portraying the professional life of a dancer at the New York City Ballet, played by Natalie Portman. 'Black Swan' is brilliant, albeit quite rough in its deliver at times. The audible gasps were plentiful in the theater, and I would be amiss if I pretended one or two of those shocked intakes of breath didn't come from me.

It really is Portman who makes this film. The other parts are great, don't get me wrong, but Natalie Portman is epic. Her performance alone makes this film worths it's minutes. Do not miss 'Black Swan'. As Ms. Portman sprouts feathers through her skin, 'Black Swan' will get under yours.
Grade: 9

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Tom Felton, Bill Nighy, Bonnie Wright, Jason Isaacs, John Hurt
Genres: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Adaptation, Sequel
Running Time: 2 hours. 30 minutes
Release Date: November 19th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: "The End Begins", and I am so sad to be this close to the end of Harry Potter. In the first part of the final chapter we see Harry, Ron & Hermione searching for the Horcruxes. And this time, we don't get to go to Hogwarts, because Harry & co are in the wind, pursued by all sorts of dark forces, while desperately trying to accomplish their difficult task with no outside help. And it's a lonely, dreary search with no sure path. It's depressing, and difficult on our beloved heroes, and we can feel just how much it is costing them.

'Part 1' is part slow, dreary, darkness, and part exciting, breakneck speed, edge-of-your-seat tension, and not without sadness. The first part of the end of this epic story, does not disappoint, and I am left with warring desires to see the rest, while never wanting it to end. That this is one not to miss goes without saying.
Grade: 9

Friday, September 17, 2010

Easy A

Title: Easy A
Directed by: Will Gluck
Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Bradgley, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 32 minutes
Release Date: September 17th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I kind of adore Emma Stone, and her performance in 'Easy A' did not disappoint. She is as funny, charming, and awkward as ever, and clearly a star in the making. The premise of this film is quite funny, flipping the typical teen comedy on it's ear, with good results. 'Easy A' is a really entertaining flick, that goes beyond the target market of teen girls, and will please both boyfriends and parents dragged along.
Grade: 8

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Expendables

Title: The Expendables
Directed by: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts
Genres: Action/Adventure, Crime
Running Time: 1 hour. 43 minutes
Release Date: August 13th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: This flick has quite the action cast, to state the obvious. It also has violence galore, and every scene is a fight scene straight out of a little boy's wet dream. It is piled high with cheese, tattoos, rippling muscles, and things blowing up. It has somehow managed to include every cliche in the book. To top all of that off, it even has action dudes who cry!!! Sounds like quite the must see, huh?

Well, sure, if you are a 13 year old boy (or a grown man wishing he was still a 13 year old boy), then this would probably be a total mangasm. Or perhaps, if you're a mad fan of Stallone's directorial work, you might want to check this bad boy out. The reason I went to see 'The Expendables' was to get away from the 100 degree F summer heat & cool off in the theater AC. In retrospect, I am hard pressed to say that it was worth it.

Grade: 4.5

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

Title: Eat, Pray, Love
Directed by: Ryan Murphy
Starring: Julia Roberts, James Franco, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup, Javier Bardem
Genres: Romance, Drama, Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hours. 13 minutes
Release Date: August 13th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: After having read, and enjoyed, the book, I went and watched this film by myself (I know, shocking since it is a romantic film). I didn't enjoy the film half as much as the book, and literary sat there thinking "this is a terrible adaptation" throughout the film. However, as it ended, I was surprised to actually leave the theater with somewhat of a positive impression. Although most of what connected me to the story as a reader is missing, some parts of the "follow your heart, go your own way, make yourself happy" takeaway was still there, however hard you have to look for it through the Hollywood-ized popcorn film this story has been turned into. The idea of this journey of self-discovery is still accessible, and the scenery is lovely. Further more, some of the supporting performances are quite nice, and Julia is always Julia.
If you enjoy dime-a-dozen Julia romance flicks you should catch this one. If you would like a great story, stick to the book.
Grade: 6

Friday, July 23, 2010


Title: Salt
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andre Braugher
Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour. 39 minutes
Release Date: July 23rd, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: Jolie is gorgeous, of course, that goes without saying. She does just as well as a lead action hero as any other Hollywood star, and the same goes for her ass-kicking skills. Her foreign language abilities are better then most (Daniel Craig in 'Defiance', anyone?), and she has the "if looks could kill" stare down pat. In fact, I prefer her stare down to a lot of other Hollywood actors. In fact, I would have her stare me down all day long, if I never had to see Gerard Butler try "the look" ever again. So what is the problem?

Well, the problem lies not with Jolie, nor with the rest of the cast. They are all doing their jobs well. The problem is the plot itself, as it is very weak. To pick on anything else, such as the ridiculous twists or the play with the laws of physics would be unfair. After all, this is a Hollywood blockbuster action flick. The ridiculousness comes with the territory.

If you are looking for action, things getting blown to pieces, death defying stunt sequences, and lots of combat, you've come to the right place. If you are looking for a grounded, realistic plot with well developed characters, and even the smallest hint of common sense, you really should not be looking to Hollywood for that, should you?

Grade: 6

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Luftslottet som sprängdes)

Title: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Luftslottet som sprängdes)
Directed by: Daniel Alfredson
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Hans Alfredson, Lennart Hjulström
Genres: Foreign, Thriller, Crime, Drama, Adaptation, Sequel
Running Time: 2 hours. 28 minutes
Release Date: October TBA, 2010 (United States)
MPAA Rating: R

Review: While currently not yet released in the US (the exact release date is still a bit murky, but it should hit select theaters this fall), this film is available in Swedish, and since I do speak the language, I decided to watch it.

The last installment of the Millenium trilogy is like a continuation of the second film, starting from the moment the last one ended (which were quite the cliff hanger). And while the the middle child of the series was a step down from the first film, 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest' brings the series right back up to previous glory.

For the third time, Noomi Rapace is the perfect fit for the female lead, although in this film, it is the rest of the cast that really drives the story line this time. The gritty Scandinavian film style is there, as always. The gripping tension is back, and 'The Hornet's Nest' really is a great end to the trilogy.

Grade: 8

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden)

Title: The Girl Who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden)
Directed by: Daniel Alfredson
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson, Georgi Staykov, Paolo Roberto
Genres: Foreign, Thriller, Drama, Adaptation, Sequel
Running Time: 2 hours. 9 minutes
Release Date: July 9th, 2010 (United States) (Limited)
MPAA Rating: R

Review: Again, Noomi Rapace makes 'The Girl who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden) worth watching with her captivating performance. She is born to play this role. The second film in the trilogy gives us more of the same raw, explicit Scandinavian film style as the first installment did, but the change in director gives the audience a more streamlined and clear experience. Furthermore, getting a bigger window into who Lisbeth Salander is, and how her past shaped her, is great.

The suspence, which was gripping in the first film, is less so in 'The Girl who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden)', but not absent. I still found myself at the edge of my seat, waiting for the story to unfold, and that is after I have read the books! I'm hoping the third film cranks the suspense up to previous levels.

Grade: 7.5

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Title: Inception
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Lewitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine
Action/Adventure, Science Fiction, Drama, Thriller
Running Time: 2 hours. 28 minutes
Release Date: July 16th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: Visually 'Inception' is stunning, a marvel of imagination unlike anything that has come before it, and throughout the film I found myself staring, trying to take in every exceptionally created detail. The cast shines, their commitment to the story is evident in every scene. Marion Cotillard is as stunning as always, and both Page and DiCaprio are perfect fits, bringing easily believable characters to an unreal setting. Without their continuous and leading explanations, the audience could easily be lost.

Conceptually, in a time of tired remakes and dumb sequels, 'Inception' stands out as inventive and refreshingly intelligent. Nolan brings us to fantasy land, a fevered dream free of the normal laws of physics, where the restrictions of time and gravity no longer apply. If you let yourself go, you can come too, but this is no place to cling to reality by analyzing every detail.

With its 2 hours and 28, 'Inception' is long, and while it does cause some restlessness, the film is captivating enough to pull it off. One of the few Must See films of the year thus far, and one that will definitely make the Best of the Year list as well.

Grade: 9

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)

Title: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hater kvinnor)
Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Sven-Bertil Taube, Peter Haber, Marika Lagercrantz, Peter Andersson
Genres: Foreign, Thriller, Drama, Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hours. 32 minutes
Release Date: March 19th, 2010 (United States) (Limited)
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I read Stieg Larssons books in Swedish last time I was in Europe, and it is a great story, very well suited for film adaptation. My Swedish friends and family have been raving about this film since it was released in Sweden, and I have been meaning to see it for quite some time. Since its US release was quite a while ago at this point, I thought I had lost my chance to see it on the big screen, but luckily one of the local independent theaters is still showing 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)'.

'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)' (the Swedish title literary means "men who hate women") is well made, brilliantly acted, dark, ultra violent, and produced with a distinctly Scandinavian style that is instantaneously recognizable. If you have seen any other Swedish murder mystery-type film (Wallander or Beck, for example), the naked, raw, unromanticized style will be familiar. If you haven't, I am sure you will notice it.

The first film in the trilogy is exceptionally violent, not in the Hollywood-esque blow stuff up way, but in a gritty, zoomed-in close, impossible to ignore way, and I found myself slightly shocked during parts of the film. With its 2.5 hours, the film is extremely long winded, but it is Noomi Rapace's amazing portrayal of the female lead which manages to make the film worth its length. I found myself wondering who will be able to carry this role in the Hollywood remake? What will Hollywood do to this story?

I would definitely recommend seeing the original, vs. waiting to just see the Hollywoodized version. Now, to see the rest of the trilogy.

Grade: 8

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Title: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Directed by: David Slade
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Green, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed, Kellan Lutz, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Dakota Fanning,
Genres: Drama, Romance, Adaptation, Sequel,
Running Time: 2 hours. 4 minutes
Release Date: June 30th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: Once again I thought I would find myself in an unbearable crowd of screaming Twi-hards for the midnight premiere of 'Eclipse', but thankfully, for the 3rd installment of the Twilight Saga my local movie theater have started with "VIP" movie watching passes, which effectively removed the entire pain-in-the-ass aspect of catching that very first, frantic, middle-of-the-night screening (Thanks again, F!). To make the deal even sweeter, they also screened the previous two installments of the saga before the midnight premier. This whole "VIP" passes might be the best improvement to movies since popcorn!

So what about the movie?!? Anticipation has been high for this one, and both Twi-hards & Twi-haters has dubbed it with record-breaking labels. So, where did it fall? Was it "The Best Twilight So Far"? Or was it "The Worst Movie EVER"? For me, it was the best Twilight movie in the series so far, but that does not say much, since its predecessors were not exactly Oscar-worthy.

Some positives: 'Eclipse' is funnier than its prequels, thanks to the addition of witty, self depreciating quips to the dialogue. It is nice to see that these particular Twi-creators do not take themselves too seriously. Jacob and Charlie, in particular, were quite snarky. Also, the increased character development of some of the saga's supporting roles adds a lot of interest to the story. Another addition, that previously has been completely ignored, is the actual dialogues from the book. Both in 'Twilight' & 'New Moon' you see a lot of soundless lips moving while music plays, instead of hearing the actual conversations between the characters. This is something that has annoyed me throughout the film-series, since a lot of these conversations were very important for the story development, and outlined in great detail in the books. Finally the audience actually get to hear these conversations, instead of just seeing them play out silently.

Some of the negatives: One of the biggest negatives of 'Eclipse' is the lack of a decent soundtrack, which has been one of the notable strengths of the franchise in the past. 'Twilight' started things off decently, and the use of music in 'New Moon' defined the whole film. In 'Eclipse', however, the music is a non-participant, and that really subtracted significantly from the over all experience. Another pet-peeve were the wolves. While the face-colorings have improved in this installment, the general appearance and movement of the wolves has decreased, and their awkward lopes bugged me throughout the film. Then there is the [huge] issue of the creative eye of director David Slade; I can't say that I am a fan of the look that he choose for the film, and compared to 'New Moon' we're definitely moving backwards. The same goes for Slade's territory-marking efforts of altering previously set details, in his efforts to make the story his own.

Overall, though, I was generally pleased with the film. The alterations to the storyline were generally to improve the film-experience, and most of them worked well. All in all, 'Eclipse' doesn't disappoint, and it should do extremely well at the box office.

Grade: 8.5

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grown Ups

Title: Grown Ups
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 42 minutes
Release Date: June 25th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: Those who are comedically compatible with Adam Sandler may love this film. That is not me, however, and I certainly did not love 'Grown Ups'. It has some funny moments, some even hilarious, but mostly they are overshadowed by the tired Sandler-esque jokes, the mere presence of Rob Schneider, and the over-used gross-out factor. I walked into this one knowing it would not be my flavor of funny, and I was right. That doesn't mean people who are into this type of comedy won't like it.

On a side note; I was kind of delighted to recognize the lake house in this flick as the very same lake house that was used in 'Dan in Real Life'.

Grade: 4.5

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Knight and Day

Title: Knight and Day
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Tom Cruize, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla (II), Viola Davis
Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance
Running Time: 1 hour. 50 minutes
Release Date: June 23rd, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG - 13

Review: 'Knight and Day' is precisely what you would expect form a popcorn summer blockbuster starring Tom Cruise; funny, charming, dumb, and full of break-neck-speed action. Adding Cameron Diaz to the mix brings some verging-on-age-inappropriate flirty smiles and skimpy outfits (Cameron is really getting old, and starting to look it!). The end result is perfect for some light entertainment, if you are into that sort of mindless bubble-gum enjoyment. It is not normally my cup of tea, but since it came with AC in the scorching summer heat, it was definitely worth the ticket price.

This is the seconds release this summer with a similar concept, 'Killers' being the first. These movies are different enough that if they weren't released within weeks of each other, they probably would have been able to avoid being compared. As it is, however, I cannot help but to measure the two against each other. I would say 'Knight and Day' outdoes 'Killers' in every single way, and thus, it scores half a point higher than the previous.


Friday, June 11, 2010

The A-Team

Title: The A-Team
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Corey Burton, Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Jessica Biel
Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy,
Running Time: 1 hour. X minutes
Release Date: June 11th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I am glad the 'A-Team' TV show was before my time, because I saw how disappointed the husband was with film, which for him, was a remake of a beloved childhood series. For me it was just another dumb, sometimes entertaining, frequently boring, action flick. The story line is thin, predictable, and clearly just a means to fire off one-liners and blowing stuff up. A waste of time.

Grade: 3

Friday, June 4, 2010

Get Him To The Greek

Title: Get Him To The Greek
Directed by: Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Russel Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Rose Byrne
Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 49 minutes
Release Date: June 4th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: If you saw this in a theater in my local area on opening day, and you were unfortunate enough to have The Woman with the Loudest Laugh Known to Man (me) in your theater, I do apologize, but I could not help myself; 'Get Him To The Greek' is almost too funny to see in public! I spent the entire movie either tigh-slapping-laughing, wheezing from laughter-related-oxygen-deficiency or having a cramp in both my cheeks & abs from laughing too hard for too long - all of which were extremely loud and surely obnoxious.

'Greek' is a home-run reminiscent of 'Pineapple Express' and 'The Hangover', and if you enjoyed either of those (or their equals) you will enjoy this one. The entire cast is perfect and hilarious, and Sean 'Diddy' Combs can surprisingly keep up with the rest of them. The party scene with the adrenaline shot is particularly memorable. 'The Greek' is good enough for DVD purchase - one I predict will be used quite a bit. This one will definitely make the Best of the Year list. Highly recommended to those that are comedically compatible.

Grade: 8.5


Title: Killers
Directed by: Robert Liketic
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Tom Selleck, Catherine O'Hara, Katheryn Winnick
Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller
Running Time: 1 hour. 40 minutes
Release Date: June 4th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: 'Killers' is pretty entertaining for being a pretty typical Rom-Com (which is really what it should be categorized as). Both leads are suitable for this kind of work. The flick is action-packed, predictable, cutesy, and slightly funny on occasion - typical fare of the "American date movie" type. If that is what you are looking for, it shouldn't disappoint.

Grade: 6

Friday, May 28, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Title: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Directed by: Mike Newell
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Steve Toussaint
Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. 55 minutes
Release Date: May 28th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: While I did appreciate the video-game-esque filming technique as a concept very fitting of a movie adaptation from a video game, it eventually got quite tiring to watch. Although buff, Jake Gyllenhaal is an ill fit for Dastan, I prefer to see him in the more emotional roles which are his strength, and I seriously doubt it will propel him into action hero stardom. He should stick to his usual fare, which is where he really shines. The rest of the cast are quite awkward, too predictable and cliche. Perhaps the exception is Gemma Arterton, who stands out as a nice fit as the princess. The visual effects are stunning throughout.

As a whole, 'Prince of Persia' is fairly entertaining, but afterward I walked away with the impression that is was completely pointless. Not altogether a waste of time, but not worth while either.

Grade: 5

Friday, May 14, 2010

Robin Hood

Title: Robin Hood
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Russel Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Kevin Durand, Max von Sydow
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hours. 11 minutes
Release Date: May 14th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: "A new take on Robim Hood, with Cate Blanchett, Russel Crowe, and Ridley Scott". Does that sound like a great summer blockbuster, or what? Unfortunately, it does not quite reach the highs it is aiming for.

I've always loved the story of Robin Hood, and I was really looking forward to seeing this film. A lot of the parts are there; a fantastic story, the beautiful English backdrop, great actors, an amazing wardrobe and weaponry crew, beautiful cinematography, inspired details, and a great director. However, the end result is crude, choppy, way too long, and in parts, completely ridiculous. With some more heavy handed editing, 'Robin Hood' might have been a great film in the "Adventure Epic" genre, but unfortunately, the length alone leaves the audience squirming in their seats, peeking at their timepieces, wondering when it will all be over - the film is not captivating enough to pull off two hours plus. It is a shame, because the potential is obviously there.

Grade: 5.5

Friday, May 7, 2010

Iron Man 2

Title: Iron Man 2
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell
Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation, Sequel
Running Time: 2 hours. 5 minutes
Release Date: May 7th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: 'Iron Man' kicked asses, and as expected, its sequel is not as good. They almost never are. However, on a sequel standard it isn't too bad. As with its prequel, Robert Downey Jr. is charming, snarky, and likable, the action is plentiful, and the special effects a great. But it is not enough to measure up to expectations. Both Mickey Rourke and Scarlet Johansson, normally good at their craft, are boring and predictable. Overall, 'Iron Man 2' is somewhat entertaining, but comes off as mostly a set up for 'Iron Man 3'.

Grade: 7

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Title: Oceans
Directed by: Jacques Cluzaud, Jacques Perrin
Starring: Pierce Bronsan
Genres: Art/Foreign, Documentary
Running Time: 1 hour. 40 minutes
Release Date: April 22nd, 2010
MPAA Rating: G

Review: I really enjoyed 'Oceans', and it was perfect for Earth Day. However, it is not as good as 'Planet Earth'. Visually, 'Oceans' is stunning, but that is mostly all it offers - the deep scope of 'Planet Earth' is lacking, and 'Oceans' only scratches the surface. As a trade off, it does cover a wealth of different underwater wonders, and the end result is awe-inspiring.

Grade: 7.5

Monday, April 19, 2010


Title: Kick-Ass
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloe Grace Moretz
Genres: Action/Adventure, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour.57 minutes
Release Date: April 16th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: As a super hero, Kick-Ass - who doesn't have any superpowers - is a bit different from the other entries to this genre. The film is funny in parts, extremely violent throughout, and the end result is quite entertaining. I can't speak for the adaptability of the comic book to film, since I never read the comic, but as a free standing, comic-book fantasy film 'Kick-Ass' delivers. Pure entertainments, but certainly not for the squeamish.

Grade: 7

Friday, April 9, 2010

Date Night

Title: Date Night
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Jimmi Simpson
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Running Time: 1 hour. 28 minutes
Release Date: April 9th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: Both Steve Carell & Tina Fey are usually hilarious, and while 'Date Night' is occasionally funny, sometimes very, it fails to live up the expectations set by the quality of their previous work. The cliches are pouring down throughout, and that gives the movie a tired, and slightly boring feel. But then again, perhaps if these cliches apply to you, the movie will seem more enjoyable. Maybe then, 'Date Night' will be the perfect date night flick.

Grade: 6.5

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Runaways

Title: The Runaways
Directed by: Floria Sigismondi
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Michael Shannon, Scout Taylor-Compton, Brett Cullen
Genres: Drama, Musical, Biopic
Running Time: 1 hour. 45 minutes
Release Date: March 19th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I've been looking forward to 'The Runaways' for quite a while, so I was excited to see this film yesterday afternoon. As always, anticipation breeds expectations, and that sometimes leads to disappointment, but not this time. In fact, I kind of loved this film. 'The Runaways' feels like a window into a chain of inevitable events; like falling into a time tunnel, you are there, in it. Not a fly on the wall ('Precious', anyone?), but really IN IT. You're high, drunk on success, blinded by the light, careening out of control with the rest of them.

Kristen Stewart is Joan Jett, from the way she walks and plays the guitar, to the heart & the drive, and of course, the music. Dakota Fanning gives us a Cherie Curry that is brilliant, beautiful, fragile, lost, and desperately out of control. Together they have done the first all-girl rock band proud. Well done, ladies.

Grade: 7.5

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Bounty Hunter

Title: The Bounty Hunter
Directed by: Andrew Tennant
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Gerard Butler, Jeff Garlin, Jason Sudeikis, Christine Baranski, Ritchie Coster
Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 46 minutes
Release Date: March, 19th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: 2 minutes into 'The Bounty Hunter' you realize that what you suspected is in fact true: this movie has a collective IQ of about 5. The story line is dumb, the characters are dumb, the jokes are dumb. It is not even dumb on purpose, but it seems to have been an accidental slip. In fact, if I never have to lay my eyes on Gerard Butler's dumb smirk again, it will be too soon. A long way from the glory days of 'Friends', huh Jen? Skip this one, obviously! It is not worth the time, the ticket, or the film roll. But most likely you knew that already.
Grade: 4

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Green Zone

Title: Green Zone
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Matt Damon, Amy Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Antoni Corone, Nicoye Banks
Genres: Drama, Thriller, Adaptation, War
Running Time: 1 hour. 55 minutes
Release Date: March 12th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: 'Green Zone' does look at the war in Iraq in a way not seen too often in Hollywood. The political arguments are hardly new, more like beat to death, but still, it is not the usual war film angle. However, the visual stylings are spread on too thick and as a result the experience is grainy, shaky, bouncy, filled with sharp (& annoying) light flashes, and the sound is on steroids. The end result: an assault on the eyes as well as the ears, and not in a good way. Perhaps the intention was to make the viewer feel as if he/she is in the scene, but in actuality, the viewer ends up wishing he/she wasn't even in the room.

Grade: 5

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Brooklyn's Finest

Title: Brooklyn's Finest
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes,
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Thriller, Crime
Running Time: 2 hours. 5 minutes
Release Date: March 5th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: 'Brooklyn's Finest' is not really I film I've been looking forward to seeing; I ended up seeing it by the choice of a friend. It is not a bad film, but it certainly is not good either. It is OK. It is well casted, the acting is fairly solid, and it had a grittiness that is intriguing. And while all that sounds appealing, the cliches are spread too thick, and 'Brooklyn's Finest' end up lacking authenticity and credibility. When you watch it, you get the impression that the Director was shooting for a 'Crash'-esque "mixed storyline" effect, but 'Brooklyn's Finest' fall short, and we are left with a choppy, non-coherent film that never comes together.

In the very same way that TNT's 'Southland' seems more like a film than a TV series, but with the polar-opposite effect, 'Brooklyn's Finest' seems more like a [crappy] TV series than a film. Don't be sad if you miss this one.

Grade: 4.5

Friday, March 5, 2010


Title: Avatar
Directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez
Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Running Time: 2 hour. 40 minutes
Release Date: December 18th, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: I've had countless conversations about this particular film since I first saw it. A lot of people I know absolutely LOVE 'Avatar', and it is not hard to see why; the special effects and the beautiful world they created is absolutely mesmerizing; seeing the whole film in 3D is mindbogglingly spectacular; 'Avatar' truly is out of this world. However, if you strip away the razzle dazzle, if you examine the story, the characters, the acting, the directorial work, if you really look at the film 'Avatar' it is just another blockbuster action movie.

Don't get me wrong, it is a very good version of the old tried & true end-of-the-world blockbuster action movie. I enjoyed watching it. But is it good enough to wipe the floor with all the other awards contenders from 2009? Fuck no. In certain categories (like special effects), hell yes! And although it definitely is "The Movie of the Year", it is certainly not "The Best Movie of the Year". So, come Sunday, if 'Avatar' manages a clean sweep, I will let you know right now: I will be pissed. Just, you know, FYI.

The bottom line: See 'Avatar', if you have not already, preferrably in IMAX 3D.

Grade: 8

Alice in Wonderland

Title: Alice in Wonderland
Directed by: Tim Burton
Starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas, Johnny Depp, Stephen Fry
Genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. 49 minutes
Release Date: March 5th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG

Review: Nothing can save 'Alice'. Not even 3D, plenty of CG-enhancement, an amazing crew or the cast. The end result is boring, uninventive, and way too tame for what is supposed to be a trip. Very, very, disappointing!

Grade: 4

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shutter Island

Title: Shutter Island
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow
Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Adaptation
Running Time: 2 hour. 18 minutes
Release Date: February 19th, 2010
MPAA Rating:

Review: I have been looking forward to this Scorsese-directed thriller for quite some time. Now, after having suffered through it, I wonder why. While 'Shutter Island' is well crafted visually, it is much too predictable, and instead of a cliff-hanger we end up with a boring, heavy, film that is more a test in patience than entertainment. Pass on this one. Seriously.

Grade: 4

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Wolfman

Title: The Wolfman
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving
Suspense/Horror, Thriller, Remake
Running Time:
2 hour. 5 minutes
Release Date: February 12th, 2010
MPAA Rating:

Review: While being quite appealing visually, and having a dream cast as well as a dream crew, 'The Wolfman' still manages to be a dud. For me personally, the unnecessary gore set the tone right from the start. What is supposed to be suspenseful, quickly becomes ridiculous, and I found myself bored and halfheartedly amused for all the wrong reasons throughout the remainder of this very long flick. Several of the cast members are personal favorites of mine, which makes the disappointment even that much greater. Don't waste your time on this one.

Grade: 3.5

Friday, February 5, 2010

Crazy Heart

Title: Crazy Heart
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, James Keane (II), Anna Felix
Genres: Drama, Musical, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. 51 minutes
Release Date: December 16th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: I saw this movie a few weeks ago, and I've been meaning to post this review for a while, but didn't get to it until today. So, long over due, but 'Crazy Heart' is definitely worth the wait.

'Crazy Heart' is an amazing film, with beautiful performances from both Mr. Bridges & Ms. Gyllenhaal. It is well directed, superbly acted, it is visually gorgeous in all its worn out despair, and it has a heartfelt story. The end result: 'Crazy Heart' is one of the best of 2009, hands down. One of the very few Must See films of last year's crop.

Mr. Bridges is clearly born to play this role, in much the same way as Mickey Rourke was born to portray The Ram in last year's 'The Wrestler'. And, Ms. Gyllenhaal is absolutely wonderful as well (no surprise there, she is always amazing!). I was so excited to see the team behind this film receive a few nods for all their hard work. Any recognition for this film is well deserved, and I'll definitely be crossing my fingers for these guys, come the big awards. I could not recommend this film enough. See it.

Grade: 9.5

Thursday, February 4, 2010

When In Rome

Title: When In Rome
Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson
Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel, Anjelica Huston, Danny DeVito, Will Arnett
Genres: Romance, Comedy
Running Time: 1 hour. 31 minutes
Release Date: January 29th, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Review: You may wonder why the hell I would be watching movies like these when I am a declared Rom-Com hater? Well, a have a friend that loves going to the movies just as much as I do, the only difference being she has shit taste in movies. We have a every-other picking order worked out, and it just so happens that yesterday's film was her pick. And subsequently, I'm stuck with 'When In Rome'.

And, for what it is, it does not disappoint; 'When In Rome' is cute, cheesy, predictable, and a little bit funny. A good movie? Not in a million years. A cookie-cutter Rom-Com? You bet.

Grade: 4

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Youth In Revolt

Title: Youth In Revolt
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Starring: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Zach Galifinanakis, Erik Knudsen
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Adaptation, Family
Running Time: 1 hour. 30 minutes
Release Date: January 8th, 2010
MPAA Rating: R

Review: Micheal Cera as his alter ego is absolutely brilliant. Michael Cera as Nick has his moments of hilarity. The rest of the film; from lightly giggle-inducing to jawdroppingly awful. The first real disappointment of the new year. Please, please, pretty please, let it get better from here.

Grade: 6

Up In The Air

Title: Up In The Air
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hour. 49 minutes
Release Date: December 4th, 2009
MPAA Rating: R

Review: 'Up In The Air' is kind of like Mr. Clooney; funny, charming, and good looking. As would be expected coming from Jason Reitman, you say, and bring up 'Juno' as the example to prove your point. 'Jennifer's Body' is my quick retort, proving beyond any argument that you can never know with this guy. Luckily, this one is more like his first venture than the latter.

Anna Kendrick is quickly moving her way up on my list of favorite actresses, going from being a peripheral side-kick to Kristen Stewart in that horrible hack job 'Twilight', to being funny as all hell in 'New Moon', to holding her own against George Clooney in 'Up In The Air'. Not a bad ascent, I am impressed.

'Up In The Air' has been thrown around as one of the Must-See films of 2009, and I would agree. Would it, however, have been released in 2008, a movie year that picked up a fair bit of speed at the end, it would have been a tier down from the other 2008 award contenders. This year though, which has come and gone with a pretty short list of noteworthy films, it most certainly stands its ground against the competition, and even do very well.
Grade: 8.5