Posted on 10/06/11 10:06 AM
The story of how Mark Zuckerberg(Jesse Eisenberg)together with his friends Eduardo Saverin(Andrew Garfield)and Dustin Moskovitz(Joseph Mazzello),built Facebook from a local Harvard thing, to todays worldwide phenomenon.More specifically the resulting cynicism,alienation of friends and lawsuits, that followed in the wake of its inception and development.
My opinion(contains spoilers!!)
There's no denying this is a good movie. It's a spot-on description of contemporary society. From the use of language,to how social media encroaches more and more on our social lives,and on our privacy.Not least because we let it, with our obsession for updated information about ourselves, our friends and family.
The emotional heart of this movie is clearly the relationship between Zuckerberg and Saverin. Best friends and allies, turned enemies,and opponents in a lawsuit.There's talk about the Winklevoss twins(Armie Hammer) being the most obnoxious in this movie. But in my opinion Sean Parker(Dustin Timberlake)takes the prize as he worms his way in between the two best friends,in order to ride the facebook train all the way to the bank.In fact despite some indications of Zuckerbergs humanity(his longing for his former girlfriend,and jealousy of Saverin being accepted into an exclusive fraternity), the only one that's remotely sympathetic here is Eduardo Saverin. I don't know if that was a conscious move on the part of Fincher and Sorkin,but it certainly seems that way.
As for the acting there's really nothing to complain about there.Eisenberg does well as a frenetic,yet sensitive genius.Timberlake plays Parker convincingly as a sleazy,moneygrabbing asshole. But first and foremost this movie belongs to Andrew Garfield,who infuses Saverin with a basic morale, and conveys his emotional turmoil,and the rollercoaster ride he experiences with great clarity.
So why didn't I grade this movie higher? It's hard to tell why,but one basic reason is a feeling afterwards that this movie wasn't necessary to see.It didn't change how I thought about facebook or social media.And although the story in itself is emblematic of our time,it didn't really make me feel anything other than maybe a bit sorry for Saverin's destiny.
Posted on 7/14/11 10:45 AM
We're in the mean streets of East London, where several innocents have been attacked and burned alive. Animalistic screams have been reported from the hooded perpetrators, and severed limbs flows ashore from the Thames, with markings indicating a predatory animal at work.
Jamie(Jim Sturgess)is the protagonist in "Heartless", a photographer that happens to have a large birthmark covering the left side of his face and arm.He does some work for his brother Raymond(Justin Salinger),who owns a studio.But while Raymond takes pictures of models, Jamie does nature and architecture. Jamie uses a hood to cover up his face, and roams the graffiti-covered landscape, with it's abandoned factory structures, and scrap-filled backyards. He sees beauty in these things, but not in himself, plagued as he is by his outward appearance.
Jamie is soon befriended however, by his new neighbor A.J.(Noel Clarke)a former gang member,now reformed. The fear in the streets has made its mark on them both,and A.J. seems to know more about who's behind the brutal acts, than he's telling:
A.J.: " ...There used to be dangerous areas, and there used to be safe areas, but now.."
Jamie: " Now nowhere's safe".
Meanwhile Jamies dreams of a future with one of the models in the studio, is shattered as soon as she lays eyes on him.Shocked at how he looks, she turns away in disgust. Jamie therefore returns to his pictures, a world he understands,that will never reject him.
One of the images show a strange and gruesome white face in a building he's photographed. Intrigued he starts to investigate,and soon finds that grafitti with this face is painted many places over posters and on street corners.Jamies search eventually leads him to a shadowy figure named Papa B(Joseph Mawle),who offers Jamie a deal he can't refuse...
This is Philip Ridleys fifth movie since 1987.Maintaining his artistic freedom hasn't been easy,but it's his dedication to the craft and his own ideas, that's kept him an independent and original filmmaker.
Like "The Reflecting Skin", " Heartless" is filled with religious motifs,the battle against ones inner demons, questions of identity, and conceptions of reality". On the other hand you have the fact that where TRF left us with unanswered questions,and an unease that lasted,"Heartless" wraps it up more neatly for the audience.The brilliance of TRF,is obviously something that's hard to top. But don't get me wrong,"Heartless" is still a good movie in style, atmosphere and content.Better than a lot of the horror/thrillers out today.
The best of horror movies and thrillers manages to capture trends in their contemporary society.These movies set their focus on social issues,and the fears of the society at large.Seems to me then after watching "Eden Lake", "Harry Brown" and now "Heartless", (even though these are british movies,and I'm a Norwegian), that in the West we're now in a position where adults live in fear of our nations youths.
Maybe this is how it's always been.Youngsters represent idealism,but also rebellion,and to a degree anarchy.The violence plaguing western societies has a good deal to do with the feeling of disenfranchisement among many young people.But rationale aside I know that approaching gangs in the street also puts the fear in me. So even if some of these movies partly may be based on prejudice,they also catch something real about society today.
Posted on 7/14/11 10:40 AM
Kevin Flynn(Jeff Bridges)creator of one of the leading software-companies in the world,disappears from the face of the earth, right when he's at his most successful.20 years later,a page from Flynn's arcade,leads his son Sam(Garett Hedlund)into The Grid.The virtual world created by Kevin Flynn so long ago.In the quest to find his father, Sam gets an ally in Quorra(Olivia Wilde),a digital being,on the run from the authorities.
Kevin Flynn's original idea and ideal of creating a perfect world,has had extreme consequences.For in the pursuit of perfection, all vibrant diversity has been rooted out.Once a flourishing society,the Grid is now ruled by fear.And death in the arena,like in the Roman Empire, has become a source of common entertainment...
MY OPINION OF THE MOVIE:
I must agree with the critics, who stated that the director and his crew has sought to distract us from the lack of a good plot, by focusing their efforts on making this movie a visual spectacle.Usually I concentrate on the plot-and actor-related failings of such effects-driven movies.But in this instance I was blown away by the exuberant look and vibe of the movie. So much so,that while I certainly noticed several flaws,my cynical and objective side lost out.
However, I would be amiss if I didn't mention that Tron Legacy introduces much more ideas and concepts,than it is able to explore satisfactorily(the origin of Quorra's people for one thing). This movie is also a bit like its digital inhabitants,lacking in emotional depth.Much due to some macho-man stone-faced acting from Garret Hedlund.To some degree this impression is changed by The Dude(Bridges),and a good turn by Olivia Wilde, who lends truth to the coexistence of the two extremes in Quorra's personality:The efficient killer on one hand,and her childlike innocence and curiosity on the other.
But back to the visuals. They are the best I've seen this side of Avatar(another cliched,but entertaining spectacle).From Light-bikes to Disc-wars,Spaceships to Digital Death's,this luminous world beneath an overcast sky dazzles, and leaves you breathless.The blinding pace and kinetic set-pieces that dominate this movie(except for the middle), is truly awe-inspiring.
Besides that there's no doubt that with Daft Punk's signature Electronica,and their strong computer-generated beats,the producers have made the perfect choice of artists,for the soundtrack of the artificial universe of The Grid.
In this case therefore,despite a flawed plot,and some below-par acting from Hedlund,I let my imagination soar,and had a great time at the Cinema.
Posted on 7/14/11 09:19 AM
This movie begins with young Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper)and his friends exploding a giant frog, in front of a strange woman passing by.It's a sign of what's to come.
We're in the American mid-west in the 1950's,and it's a small place where everybody knows their neighbor.That is except for the English woman named Dolphin Blue(Lindsay Duncan),who just moved in next door to Seth.The boy is curious, as any kid would be, about who she is.One day Seth sits down next to his father,who's reading a pulp novel about vampires.The father enlightens him about the nature of vampires,the shying of the light,the drinking of blood to stay young etc.
This forms the basis for Seth's reconfigured worldview. He begins to wonder if the lady next door might be one of these creatures, with her extreme whiteness of skin,and reclusive ways.Soon one of his friends disappear,only to turn up dead in Seth's water-tank.The sheriff suspects Seth's father,and goes to question him.All the while some smiling youths drive around the area in a black Buick,inviting people to take a ride with them...
The reflecting skin presents an adult world, where the grown'ups are too busy fighting their inner demons,to take care of their own children.Seth and his friends traverse the never-ending fields of wheat, playing and trying to understand what's going on,without any form of parental guidance.The whole community seems to be falling apart.All the while threats to the children's innocence are abound,and death is omnipresent here.
This movie is beatifully shot,with vast waving yellow golden fields of corn,under a bright blue sky.The buildings are worn down,and the people disillusioned.Big and dramatic orchestral music accompanies it all,begetting a sense of isolation and the feeling of destiny descending upon these people.
The reflecting skin is a dark movie filled with symbolism.Abuse,madness,and death assures that it won't be to everyone's taste.But David Lynch fans will probably appreciate it.
Posted on 5/08/11 04:51 AM
Campy,effects-laden,and strangely funny.Branagh achieved the nice blend of action and slapstick he was probably aiming for.
You are no match for the mighty Thorrrrr!!! (sedative in buttocks)cue surprised face sliding down looking glass in hospital door snrrrrrp.
Posted on 4/09/11 12:48 PM
An old inventor(Vincent Price)lives in a dark castle above a small town.He creates an artificial man named Edward(Johnny Depp),as a kind of surrogate son. Unfortunately Edward is left on his own,when the inventor dies.This also happened before the inventor could finish Edward's hands,leaving him with scissors in their place.One day Peg(Dianne Wiest),a beauty product peddler, decides to visit the castle,to try and find fresh customers. She discovers Edward and pities him,and decides to take him in, to give him a proper home with her family.This decision is to have unforeseen consequences for the neighborhood,for her family,and for Edward himself.
My opinion of the movie,Warning,Spoilers!!:
Something that is impossible to ignore with this movie, is the apparent use of contrasts put to work here. You have the dark brooding castle on the hill above,and the nauseatingly pastel colored neighborhood below. You have the dark clad, solitary, and quiet Edward(with scissorhands), as opposed to the drama-hungry and prejudiced inhabitants of the 50's style neighborhood below.This is fully intentional from Tim Burton,who shows us a supposed ideal(the pastel neighborhood and its people),vs the alien, and enigmatic(the castle and Edward).
As for the acting it is quite good. Johnny Depp is the heart and soul of this movie,effortlessly relaying Edwards sadness,amusement,curiosity and fear, largely through the use of his eyes and facial mimicry. Winona Ryder and Dianne Wiest does good work,and seem emotionally invested in their characters. Kathy Baker must also be commended for her excellent portrayal of the sleazy Joyce.
Edward Scissorhands is a movie that uses a fairy-tale like approach to the themes it explores,namely: alienation, pettiness,and pack-mentality.In my opinion Burton's choice of style for this movie,his use of color and contrast, creates an uneasy mood that suits this movie well.
Burton is able to explore the inner workings of this small anonymous town,thus demonstrating the difference between the exterior and what lies beneath.The town and it's driving forces is really just an image of what goes on in all small towns, to a greater or lesser degree.The Ostracizing of people that are different from the norm.
Edward Scissorhands might sound quite depressing,but it also contains elements of humor, self-sacrifice and love. I first saw it at an age(15)when action movies was my main fascination.Somehow this strange mix of fantasy and drama found a place in my heart and mind,and since then it never left.
Posted on 1/11/11 04:53 PM
Eli(Denzel Washington)is a wanderer in a post-apocalyptic USA, filled with dust and ash.After a catastrophic event 30 years prior,people apparently went to war with each other,and the bible was blamed for peoples misery.Every last copy of that book was subsequently sought out and burned.
As it turns out Eli is sort of a prophet,given a vision from God showing him the last remaining bible in existence,and a mission:To travel westward until he finds sanctuary for himself and the holy book he carries with him.This won't be an easy task however, as a local kingpin named Carnegie(Gary Oldman) wants to acquire the bible for himself, as a means of controlling people in order to expand his power base.
Solara(Mila Kunis),a young woman trapped as a slave to Carnegie in his desert town,sees Eli as a hope for a different future and joins his quest.
This servant of the lord is however not a meek one.In Eli's efforts to protect the bible,he follows the way of the sword and the gun.Clashes with cannibals and cutthroats,thieves and Carnegie's goons, ensures wast amounts of blood is spilled. And the action sequences of this movie is impressive.In the capable hands of the Hughes brothers(directors) it is a violent ballet,performed with fierce kinetic energy.The swordplay had a special elegance to it, perhaps inspired by eastern action-epics like "Hero".
The bleakness of the wasteland and the characteristics of the people populating it, is quite similar to what we find in other movies in the genre, such as "The Road" for example.You have a gallery of people consisting of three groups:The innocents,the cannibals,and the thieves/entrepeneurs. The landscape is made up of small towns and desolate houses,ground by a steady wind, carrying sand from an omnipresent desert. All conveying a sense of desperation,hopelessness,and lack of resources,clearly dehumanizing most of the human survivors. The filter used here almost had me convinced that the movie was devoid of color,such is the pervasiveness of the shades of gray.
One thing I didn't like about this movie was the concept of a book,even if it is the bible, as a savior for all mankind.In a society as the one portrayed here,there is certainly need for some kind of civilization.Some organizing principle to base human interaction on.By presenting religious beliefs as the only solution,and way out of barbaric behavior,"The Book of Eli" unfortunately goes beyond functioning as mere entertainment, and begins to preach to the viewer.
Another thing that took away from the movie was the clichéd parts:Lone hero faces evil tyrant,and saves damsel in distress.Even though I have to admit that Solara toughens up a bit later in the movie.With this kind of acting talent on display I expected something good,but while Gary Oldman does a good job portraying an uncompromising and power-hungry man, Denzel Washington seems to be on autopilot.And Mila Kunis doesn't contribute much to the proceedings either.
In conclusion the action parts of this movie are reasonably entertaining,but a clichèd and overly preachy script,and mostly unconvincing acting, detracts considerably from the experience.
Posted on 1/11/11 11:12 AM
Explores John Lennon's(Aaron Johnson) youth,and especially his relationship with his stern but caring aunt Mimi(Kristin Scott-Thomas)whom he lives with,and his fun-loving but egotistical mother, Julia(Anne-Marie Duff). Nowhere boy starts when John Lennon is about 14 years old,a time when he decides to visit his mother, to find out for himself why he's been abandoned by both of his parents. What begins as curiosity and hope of resolution, soon turns into a contest for his affections, between Julia and Mimi,that threatens to tear him apart.We are shown the harsh realities of his parents divorce,and the anger that fuels his rebellious youth,as well as his musical creativity.
The movie recounts the beginning of his musical career through his first band The Quarrymen,and his first encounter with Paul McCartney(Thomas Brodie-Sangster)and George Harrison (Sam Bell),without really entering into Beatles territory.
Aaron Johnson's anguished portrayal of a lost boy really anchors the movie, and he is ably supported by strong turns from both Kristin Scott-Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff.This movie isn't essential viewing(unless you're a Beatles fan),but it's an interesting look behind the scenes of the life of the young man, that would later become the Icon John Lennon.
Posted on 1/05/11 08:33 AM
This movie chronicles the story of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts.The first black regiment to fight for the North in the Civil War.Led by two idealistic young officers (Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes), and united by their sergeant(Morgan Freeman),the men of the 54th stand tall and proud,despite the military elite halting their move towards fighting. When they finally get to fight, they don't waiver in their commitment,but show a great loyalty to each other,and an unbreakable spirit under fire.
I thought this movie was very moving,and told a story that I was not aware of before now.The only thing I would complain about is that the soaring score is used almost all the time. I think it should have been used more sparingly,for greater effect in the most dramatic moments.
Posted on 1/05/11 08:12 AM
This movie is directed by Tarsem,the man behind The Cell,so you know going into this movie,that this will be a unique experience.
In 1920s Los Angeles, Roy Walker(Lee Pace), a wounded stuntman,lies in hospital despairing that his girlfriend has cast him aside for another man.Then one day Alexandria,a young girl (Catinka Untaru)hospitalized with a broken arm,tries to befriend him.She asks him to tell her a story,and in return she promises to supply him with bottles of drugs,that she believe will make him better. From there on we follow Roy's fantastical tale,as seen through Alexandrias mind.
Elements of reality,such as Roy and Alexandria,nurses,doctors,Roys girlfriend and his rival, is intertwined with the story,and so it is also a picture of how Roy feel about his situation.All in the form of an incredible fairy-tale.
Above all this is a visual feast,and a celebration of the imagination.With lavish colors,sumptuous landscapes,and intricate and astounding architecture.The movie acts almost like a painting in movement.Sometimes the human element takes a backseat to the landscapes,but all in all this is a touching piece of movie making with a soft heart,rooted in a child's fantasy and ability to wonder.