Posted on 5/09/13 10:59 AM
The summer blockbuster is finally upon us and the first movie that starts up this holiday tradition (to us film fans) is IRON MAN 3. It's safe to say that I was seriously let down by this movie, big time. Sure it has huge explosions and cool visual effects and some cool action sequences (most notably the last action sequence) but I wasn't impressed, I was expecting more. The plot is good with Stark getting post Avengers shocks and nightmares about what happened and the film makes some funny comments about Stark having those but it ultimately falls flat with one of the biggest characters in the movie: The Mandarin. Every hero needs a great villain right? The Mandarin, according to comic books, is Iron Man's arch nemesis and he is what Joker is to Batman. Oscar winner Ben Kinglsey does a good job in bringing Mandarin to life but I won't say what else happens where I was let down just in case some of you haven't seen it.
As the plot unravels and characters are being introduced, we discover that not only does Iron Man have one villain in this movie but he has 2 and the other one is Aldrich Killian played actively by Guy Pearce. He has this idea of a project that can display your brain via a 3D holographic image to read your mind and ultimately make you do things. The film has some cool action scenes I thought AVENGERS had better action scenes through out and was overall much more entertaining than this one and IRON MAN 2; with IRON MAN being the best one in the IRON MAN franchise.
Here's another issue I had with the film: it tried TOO hard to be funny, even in heroic and inspiring moments. Just don't. Those moments are meant to cause an inspiring reaction from the crowd not to make them laugh DURING that moment. Shane Black is a good director who know how to mix in comedy with action as he did when he directed LETHAL WEAPON and also has written many action/comedy films like LETHAL WEAPON 4 and THE LAST BOY SCOUT (a much superior movie than this one) but it feels forced in this one and it doesn't work in my opinion. We all know Tony is a cocky asshole at times but in this one he pushes his unlikability as displayed when he meets this kid and Tony is incredibly rude towards him. Tony isn't likable in this one. IRON MAN is in a whole other world and is the far better movie in the franchise, then IRON MAN 2 and then this one. Even though IRON MAN 3 opened up as the 2nd opening weekend gross of all time behind last year's AVENGERS, its been a stale start to the summer blockbuster season so far.
Posted on 5/03/13 02:42 PM
Every once in a while there comes a movie that captures your attention. Captures your imagination and most importantly captures the inner film fan in you. That happened to me while watching THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. I knew its a film based on a popular book, so popular that I hadn't even heard of it until I saw the film. When I sat down I said "here's another one of these movies based on a teen book" I wasn't really thrilled, I thought it was a chick flick to tell you the truth but once I started watching and paying attention to the plot and the characters that's when I began noticing that this isn't JUST another one of those "movies from a book" It's actually a well made, very well acted film about a loner freshman with a secret named Charlie (played by the gifted Logan Lerman who played Christian Bale's son in the 3:10 TO YUMA remake) trying to fit in, trying to find meaning to his life and along the way trying to make some new friends. He does discover some new friends alright, some cool and hip friends named Sam (Emma Watson post HARRY POTTER role) and Patrick (the quirky Ezra Miller)
Both of these friends bring some happiness and meaning to Charlie's loner life and he loves every single minute of it. There are some rough little steps to their friendship, but it is quickly forgotten when Charlie helps Patrick in a tense situation at school. The movie brisks by at 1 hr and 45 minutes but it never bores and there's never a dull moment, you want to watch what happens to Charlie because he is brought to life with such passion and sadness by Logan Lerman that you forget he's an actor playing a character, he is just Charlie. He has these weird nervous looks to him sometimes, especially when he's talking to Sam it makes you feel sorry for the guy. This being a teen film (well, teen but the actors are in their 20s) it feels much more real than that and DOESN'T feel like a teen film at all. It's very well made and I really enjoyed the plot and the minor sub plots and the performances by all three main actors. When the secret that Charlie hides comes out, it's a "damn" moment for sure that you didn't see coming.
I was into the movie so much that everything good that happened to Charlie, i rooted for, I was like YEAH, that's good! Good that he found friends! There's a very cool scene where Charlie, Sam and Patrick just finished having a good night partying and they're riding in their car and they stumbled upon a cool rock song that they all like BUT don't know the name of. I knew the name of the song and who sang it but that doesn't matter. What matters is that Sam does something magical that makes Charlie realize that he belongs in the group and that they are infinite.
Posted on 1/06/13 09:50 AM
THE MATRIX RELOADED falls in the category of "sequels being better than the originals" it joins ALIENS, TERMINATOR 2 and GODFATHER 2 as being better than the originals. This one has more action, more awesome special effects (even if they do look cartoony at times) I really enjoyed and was entertained by this one even more than the original; don't get me wrong I liked the first film too but this one's superior.
RELOADED has Neo still trying to discover what he's meant to do and goes looking to The Oracle (the late Gloria Foster, who was able to finish the film before she passed) for answers, she gives him some bad news which give him a better grasp of it since the first film and he starts seeing the big picture. He is perceived more as a God in this film, a savior amongst the last remaining human survivors of the human city Zion. Zion is a human city being operated by machines that provide them recycled water, lights, and heat, but there are other machines who want them dead; like the squid like sentinels. They are beginning to dig to reach Zion (Zion is located deep in the Earth's core where there's more heat) and the inhabitants are getting ready to battle these machines unless Neo saves them. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) still believes that Neo is the One even though his superiors like Commander Lock (Harry J. Lennix) don't believe him.
Morpheus believes even more that Neo can save them because this time around Neo can fight up to 3 or more Agents at a time, whereas in the first film they advised him that the only thing to do if he saw an agent was to...run; AND he flies now while CONNECTED to the Matrix. While he's busy in trying to save Zion he has to deal with Agent Smith who know can travel anywhere he wants in the Matrix AND out of the Matrix (the first big fighting scene involves Neo and Agent Smith)
RELOADED is a big, loud, action packed film filled with 3 HUGE and epically directed action scenes that will leave you breathless. It left me wanting more and the Wachowski brothers know how to pull off these awesome martial arts fighting sequences along with monumental action set pieces.
Posted on 1/05/13 09:40 AM
THE MATRIX is a fun, action packed, dazzling and innovative film. I recently bought the ULTIMATE MATRIX COLLECTION on Blu Ray and the films look better than ever. It begins with a cool opening involving Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) running from some bad ass dudes with black suits and dark sunglasses (in night time) we later find that these guys are called Agents and they are a force to be reckoned with once your inside THE MATRIX program.
The Matrix is a computer dream world program that people can 'connect' to via a neck connection, and once you're in there you can do anything from kung fu training, running combat simulations, choosing any weapons you want, pretty much anything. We are as confused about The Matrix as Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) who works behind an office cubicle for a respected software company by day and by night is a known hacker who goes by the name of Neo. Through this hacking medium he is found by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) who is like a prophet, a God amongst the other Matrix followers. He guides Neo and explains to him what The Matrix truly is and teaches him the difference between reality and the real world while also telling him that there is a war between humans and machines, Morpheus and his crew live in a hovering craft known as the Nebuchadnezzer and they fear the Sentinels, these robotic squid like flying machines that shoot out laser from their tiny mouths.
Once you get to see the film for a second time, you understand more about what The Matrix is really about. Morpheus believes that Neo is THE ONE, the person who can end the war between humans and machine. It's an interesting story that's filled with original ideas and an awesome action packed climax involving Neo, Morpheus and Trinity.
Posted on 1/03/13 09:41 PM
MYSTIC RIVER is a masterpiece of a film directed by Clint Eastwood and it features an ensemble cast of talented actors led by Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, who both won the Best Actor Oscar and Best Supporting Oscar respectively. I absolutely LOVE this film and everything about it, the acting especially, the directing, the lighting effects (notice the great lighting in Dave's son's room when he's reading him a bed time story) the flow of the film, the story; EVERYTHING. Penn plays Jimmy Markum a tough, old school dude who's had a rough past life but now has a wife (Laura Linney) and three daughters, the oldest one being Katie (Emmy Rossum) Jimmy has two childhood friends: Sean who now is a cop (played by Kevin Bacon who never ceases to impress me with his acting) and the disturbed and troubled Dave (Tim Robbins) who now only just say 'hello' every time they see each other. They end up being drawn back to each other after Jimmy's oldest daughter, Katie, is killed and then that's when the story really begins to unravel as to who killed Katie.
Everything that unfolds towards the discovery of Katie's killer from getting clues, interviewing suspects and witnesses alike, and putting everything together is masterfully directed by Eastwood and expertly written by Brian Helgeland. These clues and interviews are being conducted by Sean and Whitey (Laurence Fishburne in a very interesting role) you would think that the film drags while the plot unravels but not at all, it keeps you sucked in all the way to the surprising ending.
But the thing that keeps me coming to the film is not only the plot and directing, but the acting. Laura Linney plays Annabeth, Jimmy's wife, she brings calm to Jimmy's life and Marcia Gay Harden plays Celeste, Dave's wife who at times is confused about her husband's demeanor. Both Penn and Robbins deserved their Oscars that year because that scene where Penn runs towards the crime scene to see if its his daughter is powerful "Is that my daughter in there?" And the scene where Jimmy admits to Dave that its pissing him off because he can't cry for his daughter AND THEN finally does cry is emotional; its acting at its finest. The film is set in Boston and it seems like filmmakers like filming there because we're seeing more and more films set there like GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN most notably, its a great setting for a film. Overall if you want to see a powerfully acted, masterfully directed and well written film (which there are a few nowadays) you can't go wrong with this one.
Posted on 1/02/13 10:28 PM
These Nolan Batman movies have been some of the best comic book films ever made, if not THE best because of what Nolan was able to do, its been truly impressive and remarkable. Turning the world of Batman and making it real, raw and gritty. You wouldn't want to be a citizen of Gotham City with all these super villains and thugs running around.
THE DARK KNIGHT rises, alas, is the last chapter in the Nolan Batman trilogy; and it goes out with a thunderous boom. After seeing it for the 2nd time, I got a better view and a better understanding on the film than the first time I saw it. Ever since THE DARK KNIGHT was released the plots on that film and this one became a little more complicated to follow, filled with little sub plots and waning from one direction to the other; but overall they were made with masterful expertise and vision by Christopher Nolan.
This time around Batman has to face the immensely strong and bald villain Bane (Tom Hardy in a bad ass role) who intensely pushes Batman physically. Even though he pushes Batman, I still think Joker planned a more elaborate and chaotic scheme to push Batman to his limits, more mentally whereas Bane managed to push him more physically. Tom Hardy's depth as an actor is awesome (if you haven't seen BRONSON or WARRIOR you must see them) Bane has a whole terror plot of blowing up Gotham City using an atomic bomb and he blows up a football stadium and the stock exchange to name a few. Batman has a little help in Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) an inspiring and courageous officer named Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and the funny and inquisitive Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) Alfred (Michael Caine) assumes the more fatherly role this time around in wanting Bruce to leave the Batman and move on. All the actors in every film have been superb and this last film is no exception.
This isn't your typical Batmanesque film with Batman taking up all the screen time and the film kind of dragged in the beginning with dialogue, but it does have enough comic book/action moments to make up for it, plus it leads up to an epic climax which will have Batman and film fans alike cheering this last chapter of the Dark Knight legend. I know I was cheering.
Posted on 12/29/12 08:20 PM
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK struck me as a movie that was headed toward the same movie clichÃ (C) that other movies do, "guy with a disorder of some sort finds relevance and hope in a new person and everything is great" Sure, the guy is partially mentally sick and sure he finds hope and relevance in a new person; but its very well directed and told by director David O. Russell (THE FIGHTER)
Along with how good Mr. Russell made the film it is HEAVILY backed up strong performances from its main and supporting stars that include Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert Deniro. Cooper and Lawrence are nominated for both Golden Globes and SAG awards in Best Actor in a comedy or musical and best actress in a musical or comedy, respectively while DeNiro is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor SAG award. Bradley plays Pat a bipolar diordered guy who is in shambles after losing his wife, he isnt very passive aggressive when his wife is mentioned, he gets angry and still thinks there may be a chance to get back with his wife.
Amidst this emotional and aggressive turmoil lies Pat's dad (DeNiro) who is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan and is always saying how DeSean Jackson is a dumb ass for not finishing his touchdowns. Pat Sr. has always been there for the oldest son (Shea Whigham) but is trying to reconnect with the troubled Pat Jr.
Along the way in reconnecting with his wife he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who will try to be the glue to Pat's emotional and aggressive issues. Tiffany is an interesting character theres something about her that conveys tragedy, hope, beauty, sadness and happiness all in one and Lawrence's performance should be recognized as a fine piece of acting. Ever since she debuted in THE WINTERS BONE and then followed it with X MEN FIRST CLASS and then HUNGER GAMES, she has a vast portrayal of characters.
As for Bradley Cooper, this is his best acting from any of his films, and the great DeNiro shows us that he still has enough great acting left in the tank, theres this memorable short scene that takes place in the attic with him and Cooper, and it just got to me. It's a small but heartfelt scene. Hell, there's even a Chris Tucker sighting, he plays Pat's friend Danny and Pat's psychologist Dr. Cliff Patel (Anupam Kher) was hilarious in that Eagles parking lot scene.
Overall this is a very good film worth watching. I enjoyed it very much, will Pat reconnect with his wife? Answers will be revealed, albeit predictable results but nonetheless great.
Posted on 12/29/12 08:16 PM
I love love seeing Tarantino films because as soon as you start watching them, you're instantly hooked, you can't keep your eyes off of the screen. You're sucked in and intrigued at the awesome dialogue that's being spoken. Tarantino truly has a gift for writing intriguing, witty, cool, and SMART dialogue. He makes his actors talk like they're in a different world: Tarantino's world.
DJANGO UNCHAINED is a film starring Jamie Foxx who plays a slave turned bounty hunter who is looking for his wife Broomhilda (the beautiful Kerry Washington in another good performance) in the 1860s two years before the Civil War. He is trained by Dr. King Schultz (another calm and great performance by Christoph Waltz) he has lots of great screen time and his performance as Django's trainer is impeccable. I really admire Waltz' acting.
They find that Django's wife is being held by Calvin Candie (great performance by Leo Dicaprio as well) Tarantino also has a knack for bringing out the best in his actors ala Steven Spielberg. I won't spoil the rest of the film, but what happens later is to die for. Tarantino mixes in action, drama, comedy and old time spaghetti western sound effects and camera shots. There are a lot of Tarantino regulars in the film too like Don Johnson, Michael Parks and Tom Savini who all contribute. Let's not forget about Samuel L. Jackson who plays Stephen Candie's right hand man is superb as well. The film has been nominated for 5 Golden Globes: Best movie Drama category, 2 Best Supporting actor nods for Christoph Waltz and Leo Dicaprio, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Tarantino's script flows smoothly and even the plot flows well for a 2 hr and 46 min film. Overall, this is classic Tarantino at his best mixing in all sorts of film genres to create his own; I LOVED and thoroughly enjoyed myself seeing this movie. It's a wild ride and I'll never forget what Tarantino said in an interview, he said "when people go see one of my movies I want them to say NOW THATS A FUCKING MOVIE"
That's what I say every time I see a a Tarantino film.
Posted on 2/29/12 11:32 PM
DRIVE is a mesmerizing, artsy, bold, creative, epic, stylish, crafty and HIGHLY entertaining film, it reminded me why I LOVE cinema. The film gripped me from the incredibly tense and VERY well shot opening scene till the end credits and it NEVER lets down. Ryan Gosling gives a calm but powerful performance as Driver, a guy who does stunt work for the movies and at night drives getaway cars for small heists for extra money. His movie manager is Shannon (Bryan Cranston) who tells him when the next gig will be. It was pretty cool to see a glimpse of the inside work of a stuntman. Gosling is so good in delivering this role because the script called for a character who is a private and loner type of guy in general until he meets and falls in love with his neighbor Irene (the beautiful Carey Mulligan) Sure he might be calm and might utter just one liners when Irene asks him something but when the plot requires him to deal out moments with force and intensity, he delivers. There is a cool scene where he threatens this girl in bed and Gosling delivers it with such a calm intensity that you say to yourself "I didn't know this skinny kid from REMEMBER THE TITANS had this in him" Trust me. He does.
I just got so caught up with the film that the 1 hour and 40 minutes of running time went by so fast, that's when you know a movie is great. You don't even remember to check what time it is because of how good the film is. Albert Brooks plays Bernie Rose the bad guy of the film along with Ron Pearlman who plays Nino, Brooks got nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the sinister Bernie but not an Oscar nomination. Driver gets in trouble involving Bernie through wanting to help Irene and her cute son Benicio (Kaden Lios)from Benicio's father Standard (Oscar Isaac)and that's where it gets even MORE interesting. I've always been a fan of Brooks ever since I saw him in THE SCOUT (1994) he's one of those actors that can play any role his agent finds him.
Another aspect of the film that makes it work so well is the fact that it is very well directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The chase scenes are shot differently and they include lots of intense closeups of Gosling to keep the tension in the scene alive and they work very well also because the chase scenes don't include background music so it keeps the focus on the action in the scene as well as what's happening inside the car with the characters. There is one incredible stunt move in the second big chase scene that I'm still thinking about this very moment and in fact would make me go and pop in the Blu Ray disc again just to see it. It's that good.
Many things have to come together for a film to work obviously like the editing the cinematography the music and the acting. The acting and directing in this movie are superb but what I also love about the film was the movie's soundtrack. Wow, every song fit perfectly with what was happening on screen, it's kinda like a technoish popish sound that sounded like something that came out of the 70s but it fit in so good, just like every song that Quentin Tarantino adds to his films because they fit in to what's happening on screen and even when its not a song that's being sung; the score is great as well. I just can't stop taking about this film, I REALLY enjoyed it and the only thing that stopped me from giving it 4 stars was the ending, it is not the worst ending of all time, mind you but I felt it could've been better, its one of those endings that leaves it to the audience's imagination as to what happened next. The movie kind of reminded of THE TRANSPORTER but better directed with more finesse.
Like I mentioned before I enjoyed the film very much from beginning to end but there was this one beautiful scene that felt retro in a way based on how it was shot. It was the elevator scene with Driver, Irene and this bad guy. Driver goes in for a kiss to Irene knowing the danger that's about to happen and as he swoops in for the kiss the lighting in the elevator dims beautifully to only reveal Driver and Irene kiss before delving into a brutally bloody moment. Awesome. Beautiful. Thought provoking. And most important of all...different.
3 and a half out of 4 stars.
Posted on 2/25/12 06:31 PM
THE DESCENDANTS is one of this year's best picture nominees and it deservedly so belongs in that list. I knew little about the film going in, I now try not to watch the trailers for a movie I'm going to see so I can just be captivated for 2 hours or more. It's a better movie experience if you do this. I knew it starred George Clooney and the beautiful Shailene Woodley (who is amazing as Clooney's daughter Alexandra) but I didn't know that Mathew Lillard also had a small role in the film. I also knew that it was directed by Alexander Payne whose SIDEWAYS is still my favorite film of his.
THE DESCENDANTS is about a father (George Clooney) trying to cope with his dying wife and the unnerving relationship that he has with his daughters (Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller) and having to weave both of those complicated yet and emotional things together therein lies the plot of the film. He tries to get his daughters together and re examine his future as well as deciding on selling or not selling the family land that was handed down to them from Hawaiian royalty. Films like these sometimes don't even get to see much success at the box office because of their limited releases even with big movie stars but this one did quite well at the box office when it was released. And I'm sure more people will get to see it because of Oscar weekend.
In closing the film is a well directed piece by Alexander Payne who manages to move along the plot while adding a subplot about his wife's loyalty. It is well acted although I thought Clooney could've done a much better job in the emotional scenes, I'm not saying he did poorly and he didn't deserve his Oscar nomination but it was a good performance. I really liked Woodley's performance and even the annoying but funny Sid (Nick Krause) who was there to bring peace and calmness to Alexandra at the beginning and throughout the film and hell, we even got a Beau Bridges sighting. Sometimes people tend to forget about their loved ones because of their busy and chaotic lives that they don't stop to realize that their loved ones need to be reminded that they love having them in their lives, and at the end of the movie we know how important the love of a family is; no matter how hard, sad and tragic circumstances may be.
3 and a half out of 4.