Posted on 3/21/11 08:38 PM
My second favorite Woody Allen film. It is just behind Crimes & Misdemeanors. This film is amazing in its characterization. It is so amazing that the movie is even able to be self referential of the characters so that it is funny and not just plain dumb.
This is probably the most heartfelt film Allen has made. All characters in Hannah and Her Sisters can be loved and vouched for by the audience. Like most other films he has made, it has a lot to do with sexual desires. But, with this film, he gives all of the characters more heart than the previous film which lets people feel the true emotional nature of affairs.
Hannah is a person is a very giving person that for it everyone loves her and also hates her. Lee is bored with her life and feels that she is living in Hannah's shadow. But, not as much so as Holli, who has low confidence and is struggling to find her place in the world. Elliot, played amazingly by Michael Caine, doesn't is caught between Hannah and Lee in his love life. His thoughts are hilarious. Finally, Allen's character, Mickey, is Hannah's ex-husband and is terrified of death that brings him through a humorous sequence of events. They all come together in a poetic ending.
It is a little hard to get into at the beginning of the movie because of the giant web of of characters, but it nicely settles into a beautiful story.
Posted on 3/21/11 08:32 PM
The original political thriller. Like all good thrillers, it keeps you guessing. It's also shot in a very interesting style which is especially prevalent in the brainwashing scenes. It reminds me of a Terry Gilliam style that was unheard of in popular cinema in the time period.
The plot is very intrinsically executed with great wit with the twists and turns. Acting in the movie really drives this. Sinatra deserved an Oscar nomination for this movie ahead of any of his other movies. With his endless paranoia, he gives the intensity of the film a hug boost.
This movie is a marvel of 60s film and it should be seen by everyone at least once. Especially because it is still relevant to the cut throat politics of today.
Posted on 12/08/10 05:26 PM
This movie is based on the true story where democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson, the representative of the 2nd district of Texas in 1980, help finance the Afghan war against the invading Soviet Union which is codenamed Operation Cyclone. Charlie Wilson is played by Tom Hanks; Julia Roberts plays Joanne Herring, an ultra conservative, extremely wealthy advocate for help in Afghanistan; Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the CIA agent Gust Avrakotos who partners with Wilson in Operation Cyclone; and Wilson's aid is played by Amy Adams. The film is directed by Mike Nichols and Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network) adapted the screenplay from the book Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History by George Crile.
The film starts with a scene of Wilson being awarded the Medal of Honor and then it cuts to his playboy antics in Las Vegas where he is in a hot tub naked with a few other people who are snorting cocaine. He is interested in what is happening on TV about Afghanistan. Later, while is at home having some promiscuous relations with a lady, Joanne calls about a showing of a movie that tackles the issue of Afghanistan and they end up sleeping together for apparently not the first time and she says that she already scheduled him a meeting with president of Pakistan, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, on the Afghans in camps that were fleeing across the border. Here Wilson saw that he needed to do something to help the Afghanis fight back against the Russians, who were killing and raping children. He becomes partnered with Gust Avrakotos, who had nothing else better to do at the CIA than work on the Afghani invasion, and begin to convince members their own government and Israel to sink money into the newly termed classified project, Operation Cyclone. During this Wilson is being investigated for what happened earlier in the movie which eventually results in nothing. The amount of money eventually gets to $1 Billion as the Afghanis get Anti-Aircraft weapons and they win. Charlie tries to make plans to help Afghanistan more, but is shot down.
This was a good movie. Aaron Sorkin's screenplay was a great screenplay as usual, but it is definitely not his best. This observation goes for all the actors also. They were great but it wasn't the best performance by any of them. I was surprised that it didn't show Charlie Wilson in much of a bad light, since he was partly responsible for the power of Taliban by giving away weapons that are now being used against us. The film actually portrays Operation Cyclone as his saving grace from a life where he is doing nothing with his power. I actually liked this portrayal that showed Charlie Wilson as a real person who saw something evil happening and wanted to stop it. The end of the movie shows that he wanted give aid to Afghanistan, although this might not be true, to show the Americans as Afghan allies. Something that also struck me as interesting was a congressman actually doing something in congress, let alone one democratic congressman getting the federal government to enact the largest covert CIA operation ever. With how it is today on Capitol Hill, it is hard remember that stuff actually got done. This movie was more or less an accurate look into the life of Charlie Wilson and it is definitely something people need to see and be educated on to show Charlie Wilson as normal person.
Posted on 11/21/10 03:30 PM
Bob Roberts, played by Tim Robbins, is a conservative Bob Dylan type of character and he is on campaign for a Senate seat in the state of Pennsylvania, running against the incumbent Democrat, Brickley Paiste, played by Gore Vidal. He's like Bob Dylan because he presents political ideas as rebellious through folk music, but instead of being a liberal activist, he is a conservative activist. It is shot in a documentary style, but is all fiction giving the movie a moniker of Mockumentary. The "documentary" maker is a British filmmaker named Terry Manchester, played by Brian Murray, who is following his campaign.
The film begins with Roberts on the campaign playing his music to a large crowd chanting his name. He is singing song about how people complain to their leaders when they don't have a job and how people shouldn't be lazy. The campaign managers who discovered him at a coffeehouse, one of which has a tricky political history in the Iran-Contra Affair, are careful to make sure Bob is always being shown in a good light and tell the cameras to shut off when he is about to not look very good, even though they don't shut off and we get to see what happens. He gets angry about an investigative journalist who distrusts the government following him around and he says that the media is corrupt because they ask questions of the government and that the 60s were a "black stain on American history." He also claims that the proper job of a journalist is to be unbiased, but he doesn't care when a specific journalist is obviously in favor him. It is revealed that he was rebellious against his parents because they were peace-nicks and he thought he needed more discipline and he enrolled himself into military school. After many encounters with supporters and opponents he is "shot" by the nosey journalist and Bob Roberts wins the race. It is slowly shown that Bob was really okay and the gun was planted on the journalist and the truth is being hidden from the public. Terry Manchester tells one supporter that he doesn't think Roberts is right for the country when someone announces a person killed the reporter. The film ends at the Jefferson Memorial which says, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
I really enjoyed this movie. The film's style is very unique in following a political campaign which shows the corruption underneath a charismatic candidate. It has a style that is very much like the movie This is Spinal Tap, which is directly referenced when Bob is lost in a hallway in an auditorium trying to find the stage. That movie is a really great movie and so is this one. The film also references the Bob Dylan documentary, Don't Look Back in the style and the music.
It seems to me that Bob Roberts was the first Tea Party candidate because of the portrayal of a conservative as a rogue where his party allegiance is never clarified. The only thing that could set that comparison apart is that he also was a Wall Street yuppie, which is not something the Tea Partiers like. The songs in the movie that are humorous and in this political climate now, I can actually imagine candidates on stage singing songs like "The Times are Changing Back" or "Drugs Stink."
This has a lot to do American Government because it shows that people should be careful who they trust as political candidates in America because many politicians lie and use harsh campaigns to win over their opponent. Obviously it is over exaggerated in the movie to prove a point. People need to see through the charisma of politicians and make the informed decision, which Bob Roberts condemns throughout the movie.
This film is definitely liberal leaning, but the message rings true for most politicians.
Posted on 7/24/10 08:37 PM
A great war movie. Soderbergh shows an intense and dynamic vision of the "War on Drugs" as if it were a war epic. Except in this film, the war is portrayed as a never-ending and useless. There is no real enemy, they are everywhere.
Soderbergh's directorial skills are top-notch as the phenomenal story is split in 3: the front Lines in Mexico, the Dealers in San Diego, and the Home Front/US Officials. Each separate piece has its own soul and look through the use cinematography and editing. An example would be Mexico's barren wasteland, where the corruption is overwhelming, and the Home Front's cold and unforgiving atmosphere, where American youth struggle with the addiction.
The amazing cast also deserves for the great finished product this movie came to be. The characters each, in their own way, deal with the hopelessness of the "War on Drugs" and the superb acting really comes to express it.
Although this movie was not perfect, it holds high on my list of great movies and it is Soderbergh's masterpiece. It really deserved to win over Gladiator during the Academy Awards in 2000.
Posted on 6/20/10 09:26 PM
In the first scene, I was blown away by seeing these characters back to life on screen. A few minutes in, I was actually starting to be overwhelmed by it all. Then, I sat back into my chair and watched one of the most enjoyable films I've seen in a long, long time. I grew up with Toy Story and I had some pretty big expectations for this movie, but my expectations were still exceeded.
It starts off with dazzling and hilarious action sequence and then it shows Andy growing up until he ready to move off to college. The toys are wondering what will happen to them when Andy moves. A series of events lead them to Sunnyside Daycare, where it ends up turning into a prison escape flick which is joyful and even disturbing at times. But, always fun. The story of these toys might deal with the same major theme of abandonment, but this movie hits it so dead on that brings the Toy Stories to a whole other level, which I thought impossible. It shows that the Toys must finally move on and Woody is the most stubborn about it. There are so many other heart-wrenching themes, but I should probably see it again before I can expand on them.
The visuals are another amazing part of this movie. They were so beautiful and full of vibrant coloring and perfect shadowing effect. The best Pixar visuals yet! The 3-D probably helped with that. Although it wasn't very noticeable, I felt it added a lot of depth to the film's look. Lee Unkrich did a great job in combining comedy with a load of honest emotion. The cast also did this amazingly well. Tom Hanks, especially. He has been doing some of his best performances as Woody throughout the years and this one tops them all off.
I came out of this movie awestruck. It ended as the whole trilogy started. With a shot of the clouds. Beautiful. My friends and I planned to see The A-Team afterwards, so I did. It was horrible in comparison. Still a decent movie though. It's just that Toy Story 3 is that good. Not a lot of movies can compare.
These are my favorite Pixar films:
5. Monsters Inc.
3. The Incredibles
2. Finding Nemo
1. All of the Toy Stories!
...And this one was probably the best of all of them. So I'm declaring it. This perfectly innocent and joyful film is the best Pixar film EVER!!!
Posted on 6/19/10 11:51 PM
This is just good cinema, plain and simple. It does all a movie someone could ask for it to do. That is keeping the audience thoroughly entertained. The story just doesn't expand into something much greater than that. It plays out so many other thrillers. But, Martin Scorsese's amazing directorial skill save it from being a disaster.
This movie was absolutely beautiful. Scorsese made the look of this movie have an amazingly disturbing, yet fun feel. The cinematography has a colorful and grim look at the same time. It's obvious Scorsese used all of his stylistic tricks to make this movie. My favorite scene is the dream of the burning house that has so much symbolism packed within it and it is probably the scene that ties the film together with the minor details. This movie is probably as good than Avatar's look because of the sheer power it brings to the movie. It also has decent enough story, unlike Avatar.
The acting by Leo was really great, as usual. He is just a wonderful actor. The rest of the cast helped the movie in their own way, but they didn't really have anything special about their performances.
This film would have been if there was a more original and bulkier story here, but you can't do much with source material like this. In summary, anything this director touches is gold. It's just some of his movies have more karats than others.
Posted on 6/18/10 11:55 PM
This movie is extremely hard to watch. Especially in the start of the film where the tension builds, but there is no thrill. This, however, changes as soon as the vengeful girl drugs and ties up the suspected pedophile. From there on out, the movie is entertaining and intriguing. The castration scene was definitely cringe worthy, not unlike so many other aspects of this movie. In fact, it will keep you cringing until the psychologically thrilling end.
David Slade succeeded in his first film in making the audience feel as uncomfortable as possible. He uses a unique washed-out technique that adds to the factor of being hard to watch, but also the tension. The tension builds so masterfully, you'd think he has been making movies like this for a lifetime. His style interested me so much, I went on IMDB and checked his upcoming movies. It really surprised and disappointed me that he was the director of the next Twilight movie...
Any who, the acting was amazing by both Ellen Paige and Patrick Wilson. Most of my props has to go to Paige because she pulls off a performance that is as disturbing as Hannibal Lecter. She keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire movie and is the cause of all those involuntary cringe seizures that you you will experience while watching this film.
Summing it up, I would have to say this is an entertaining movie, but make sure you are ready for being uncomfortable. It WILL happen.
Posted on 6/12/10 12:07 AM
This movie is so much better than Paranormal Activity. It's definitely light years smarter than it. It also came out around the same time Paranormal did.
I'm comparing these two movies since they are both shot through the view point of a hand-held camcorder. Instead of the paranormal stuff, it follows these two evil children throughout a span of 6 months. They progressively get more evil as the movie goes on, leading up to an extremely disturbing ending. Maybe it is just me, but creepy kids like this is always the scariest parts of horror movies.
This movie is incredibly well acted. The children do an amazing job being creepy, but the best performances come from the parents. The countering positions and the uneasiness they exhibit throughout the film very well portrayed by the actors. I also applaud the wonderful editing. It added immensely to the building suspense with showing quick disturbing images of the kids' creepy deeds. It was also very well written. Many things at the start of the film that seem almost irrelevant show up in a big way latter on. Remember the wagon!
All-in-all, it is a great horror film. I don't know how it was overlooked by big studios while Paranormal Activity was seen instead. If you liked that movie in the slightest the you must see Home Movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted on 6/07/10 08:41 PM
I am kind of still in shock by this movie. There is so much going on in the movie, from the fun sci-fi thrills to the expertly executed allegory of parenting. But the element that sticks out in my mind most the disturbing sexual element. The monster doesn't make this movie a horror movie, it's the creepy people in the movie that do it.
The start of the film was great. It was true and fun sci-fi and also made for great character study. I'm talking about Dren (which is "Nerd" backwards if you didn't notice that already), who is more of a sensitive person than monster. I could also talk about Sarah Polley's performance as Elsa. She gives the portrayal of a woman that is struggling with caring for Dren as a child or as an experiment. Adrian Brody was also outstanding in his acting. He is a really great actor in anything he is in, why should this movie be any different. When the was finishing up though, it became very twisted and kind of cheesy. It could have been much more.
Natali brought a marvelous idea to the screen in a very interesting and original way. And, I am probably not getting some of those images out of my head for a while. He just didn't finish.