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