Posted on 2/24/11 04:10 PM
Here's the set up: A couple that is on the out's of their relationship gets into one big fight. The wife believes that the husband is cheating on her, after he has been gone on a working vacation. So she decides to hire a local prostitute to meet the husband and see how he reacts, to see if he would ever cheat on her. However after a few days of the young and beautiful girl flirting with her husband the wife remarkable falls in love with this prostitute and they begin to have sexual encounters. Now if your not already shaking your head in disbelief of this ludicrous plot, then I applaud you. But let me reassure you that this film is ridiculous and not in a good way. I mean I can honestly say that this is one of the weirdest films I have ever seen. Not only does the wife fall for the prostitute but then the wife's kid falls for her. So now you have three people all in the same family infauated with this young girl. I am really not sure what the writers were thinking here, I mean I understand infatuation hell even obsession... but three people in the same family all falling for a single prostitute seems pretty ridiculous to me. I am warning everyone that reads this review please don't see this film, it's one of the worst films of the year. It's a real shame that these great actors are stuck in this obscene movie. You can skip "Chloe"
Directed by: Atom Egoyan
Posted on 12/11/10 01:21 AM
A Review By: Sam Fragoso
Queen Latifah and rapper turned actor, Common star in the new romantic comedy called "Just Wright".
It's seems to me that Hollywood has suddenly stopped caring about the general public and the money they spend on their movies or maybe they have just simply ran out of ideas for a good, heartfelt romantic comedy. Anyways well save the rant for another time; let's get on to "Just Wright".
The film revolves around Leslie Wright; she's a hardworking physical therapist, that's a die-hard New Jersey Nets fan. So on the way home from a game she bumps into, who other then Scot McKnight... an NBA superstar (fiction) for the New Jersey Nets, that she ironically adores. He glances at her, she dazzles her eyes back it him and there it is... love at first site.
If I'm undermining the plot, I apologize. But I am just so tired of romantic-comedies being so predictable. It's like they write a chart out: Couple meets at an off beat location, affection shown here, complication/break up there, man or women realizes they have made a mistake, reconcile and get back together... film over, happy ending. Sometimes that predictability is fine in films, because the story is so enjoyable, but not here.
However not everything is bland in "Just Wright". I always enjoy Queen Latifah in films, she has a natural charisma on screen, and I really admire that. I enjoyed some of the basketball scenes, implausible as they are. And James Pickens Jr. delivers his lines of wisdom to his daughter with affection and sincerity.
But it's predictable, implausible and the last twenty minutes of the film are paced so fast, you'd think there's a time bomb on set awaiting their finish. Queen Latifah should know better, and looking at Common's resume suggests he doesn't.
Queen Latifah - Leslie Wright
Common - Scott McKnight
Paula Patton - Morgan Alexander
James Pickens Jr. - Lloyd Wright
All my review can be found at "Dukeandthemovies.com
Posted on 11/17/10 10:12 PM
Full review here --- www.dukeandthemovies.com
Posted on 10/29/10 04:59 PM
A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso
"The Karate Kid"
Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan star in the new remake of the 80's classic "The Karate Kid".
I have never seen a film that starts off so terrible as "The Karate Kid" does and then suddenly change direction mid way through it.
The film opens with Jaden Smith glancing at his wall for the last time. On the wall lies all of his meaningful dates from the start of his life. From his first soccer goal to his dad passing, Smith looks, then suddenly writes a new date on there. "Today is the start of a new adventure" the mom tells Dre (Smith). Dre and his mother are moving to China, because of a job she's receiving out there. Though there excited to go on this "adventure" they have no idea what is in store for them.
In terms of crucial plot points, there are no real differences from this new "Karate Kid" to the 1984 classic. Accept this new film revolves around a twelve-year old boy and it is not set in New Jersey, but actually China.
I must say that the first 45 minutes of this film is without a doubt, the worst experience I have had watching a movie this year, and I'm serious. I felt that the writers did not get one lick of dialogue correct. There was not one aspect of the film that seemed genuine. But then, something amazing happens. The film suddenly turns around and goes back to its original roots.
I'm not sure how the film turned around, but I know that the more time Chan was on screen, the better the film was. For the first time in his career Jackie Chan is not playing some foolish, but amazingly skilled fighter, as he does in the "Rush Hour" pictures. Yet he acts with sincerity and vulnerability. Not only that but he really does a good job on his crucial scene, in which he reveals to the kid his past problems. Jaden Smith in my opinion is not nearly as good as Ralph Macchio, but he does a fairly decent job here.
Harald Swart's spin on the 84 classic doesn't give us many surprises, but it certainly reengages us to the original story, in which the first film was based on; determination and hard work will eventually lead to triumphant events.
All in all this remake of the 1984 hit is not nearly as good as the original, but doesn't do any shame to the name. The cinematography is breath taking, from the streets to the towering trees in China. Though the film does run on a little to long, you certainly don't feel it as the climatic fight scene at the end is unfolding.
Jaden Smith - Dre
Jackie Chan - Mr. Han
Directed by: Harald Zwart
Posted on 10/29/10 04:58 PM
A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso
Matt Damon and Cecille de France star in the new Clint Eastwood film, "Hereafter"
There's no doubt in my mind that Clint Eastwood's new film "Hereafter", has one of the most powerful opening scenes in recent memory.
The film starts with Marie LeLay, a French journalist that has no idea what is about to come. As she goes out for her morning walk on her vacation, a terrifying tsunami comes and wipes out the whole city in Indonesia. As she battles to stay alive against the current of the tsunami, a random object in the water suddenly strikes her from behind and knocks her out cold. She then goes through a near death experience, where she can see people in her past that she cares about. But she doesn't die; luckily two men who survived the accident, revive her. As this extended scene is played out, Eastwood makes us feel like where they're with her, batting in the water, fending for her dear life.
"Hereafter" is one of those "Babelistic" films; separate stories that our set all over the world and in a coincidental sequence all meet at the end of the film, which is fine. Eastwood does this movie without making it to predictable or making us feels like that could never happen.
One of the characters in "Hereafter" is George, played by Matt Damon. He's a man that is confused and is at a crossroad in his life. He works at a minimum wage factory where he is trying to forget about his past profession, as a psychic. He believes that he can communicate with the dead, but doesn't want to use his talent anymore. He thinks it's not a gift, but a curse that was given to him at birth. You would think we the audience would be mad at him for not using his talent, but as the film continues Eastwood shows what happens when anyone gets close to George.
The second character(s) in "Hereafter" is a pair of twins that have an alcoholic and drug addicted mother. I don't want to reveal any crucial dramatic moments (there are many) that happen in the film, but I must say that Peter Morgan who wrote "Hereafter" does a superb job with the dialogue for these two kids in each and every scene.
The third and final crucial character is one I already mentioned Marie LeLay, played by the stunningly beautiful Belgium actress Cecile de France. Besides her terrible part in the tsunami, she's a French journalist, a very successful one. But after she experiences that near death sequence, she has a dramatic change on her outlook on life and what happens when we die. It even compels her to write a book about her accident and if there really is a "hereafter".
Let me start off by saying that Peter Morgan who wrote films like "Frost Nixon", "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland" does a seamless job here. Every character is so well written, that it makes it impossible not to care about the people on screen each and every second.
I also must compliment "Hereafter" on the effect that it left me and I'm sure others once the film concluded. It makes you think about death (for better or worse) and if they're really is something beyond it.
A lot of people are asking the question, if this a Clint Eastwood masterpiece? My answer is, it depends what your expecting from an Eastwood movie. No this is not like "Mystic River" or "Million Dollar Baby", but it is a good film. But there are times in "Hereafter" that you can tell Eastwood is genuinely out of his comfort zone.
I have to blame some of the film's flaws on the editor. There are too many times in "Hereafter" where the scene is either cut way too short or it either goes on far too long.
"Hereafter" isn't a perfect Clint Eastwood film, there are many times where the plot gets to convoluted with it's characters and the sub stories there trying to represent. But the acting is top notch, the film is visually stunning and Morgan writes an exhilarating script. This is a film that you don't want to miss.
Matt Damon - George Lonegan
Cecile De France - Marie LeLay
Jay Mohr - Billy
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Posted on 10/29/10 04:57 PM
A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso
Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale star in Federico Fellini's 1963 masterpiece, "8 1/2"
Mesmerizing is the best word I can think of to describe this film. From the opening scene where Guido is stuck in the ice storm inside of his car to the end where he encounters all of the people who have influenceded him in his life, "8 1/2" is pure genius.
The films premise is simple enough; a director is going through a tough time in his life, a "mid-life" crisis if you will. His wife constantly believes he's cheating on her (she's right) with the stars he directs in his films; but ultimately he's emotionally unstable and artistically empty. Like many people he has writer's block or maybe he was just empty from the start. That's for us to decide. What we do know is that Guido is not a bad man; he has problems like everyone else, but there constantly up scaled because of his position in life.
As the film continues, Guido's life is growing tenser and pressure filled every day. He has his producers who often ask him what his next job will be, he has his editor who call his script "soulless" and he even has his actors who continuously ask him what there role will be in the film. The truth is, he has no film, at least not one he should make. No one knows that until the final scene of the film where he confesses to a crowd of eager press members that the film will be called off.
Fellini's "8 1/2" is filled with memorable scenes, but one sticks out in my mind. It's one of the most imaginative and original scenes in movie history. Guido suddenly goes in a daydream, in that daydream he imagines and interacts with all the women in his life, past and present. From his worrying wife, Luisa to Saraghina, the exotic dancer his friends used to go to as kids instead of church. As the scene continues, it shows a dancer who loves Guido, but is getting sent "upstairs" because she's to old. In my mind that scene represents Guido's life in a nutshell; lust overrides his love for the one's who care about him the most. The scene is filled with outrageous and provactive acting and set pieces that just add on to the already polarizing film.
Written and directed by Federico Fellini's, "8 1/2" is not only a masterpiece, but also an inspiration to many directors today. Fellini simply makes a film about the highs and lows of mid-life crisis director and turns it into 138 minutes of masterful filmmaking. "8 1/2" is one of my favorite films of all time and certainly one checking out.
Trivia: For anyone who cares, Fellini film is called "8 1/2" because it was in fact his 8 1/2 film.
Posted on 10/16/10 04:24 PM
A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso
Josh Brolin, Megan Fox and John Malkovich star in the new adapted DC comic book film "Jonah Hex".
"Jonah Hex" is just one of those movies that I seriously start to question why it even exists? I'm not kidding, "Jonah Hex is an action film that just sits there; no plot, zero substance and very underwritten characters.
The film opens with Hex being hung on some type of wooden board by his "arch" nemesis, Quentin Turnbull. Turnbull is apparently getting revenge on Hex for "taking away everything he loves". Yes that's never explained, just like how the film starts in Stunt Crick, but ends up in the white house's front lawn. Anyways Turnbull kills Hex's wife and two kids. Then Turnbol gives him this self-righteous, darkening speech that's so fake I practically laughed at it.
The film then skips a few years; Hex is finally going back to his hometown. Right away he heads for a bar, then Lilah, a standard hooker in the town of Stunt Crick. Megan Fox plays Lilah; right away you know your getting a major down grade in acting. Yes she's attractive, but she is most certainly talent less.
As the film proceeds Hex is hired by the U.S. government to kill once general, Quentin Turnbull. This sets up about a half dozen action scenes, some entertaining, some not so much.
On top of this contrived plot, is the most ridiculous looking power a super hero can be given. Jonah Hex can go to cemeteries and revive dead people from their coffins.... for about 30 seconds. The only thing more ridiculous then that power, is how it looks on screen.
I have the same problem with "Jonah Hex" that I had with "Kick Ass!", which is too much action and not enough story. The only reason why this film is somewhat watchable, is because of Josh Brolin. I think this proves he is a bona fide movie star here, not because of how good the film is, but to think about what the film would be without him is unimaginable.
At a running time of about 80 minutes (take out the credits) "Jonah Hex" still feels to long. The plot never develops, characters are to familiar and the film is just one big action scene after another.
Josh Brolin - Jonah Hex
John Malkovich - Quentin Turnbull
Megan Fox - Lilah
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward
Posted on 10/10/10 09:36 PM
A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso
"I?m Still Here"
Two-time academy award nominee Joaquin Phoenix stars in the documentary or better know as a ?mockumentary?, ?I?m Still Here?.
In the summer of 2008 Joaquin Phoenix announced that he was going to retire from acting and pursue a career as a rapper. You may have remembered his interview with David Letterman on the late night show, that summer or Ben Stiller impersonating him at the Oscars.
But at the time he told us he was quitting, I?m not sure many of us believed him or even if we cared? Yes, I had admired his past works like ?Walk The Line? and ?Gladiator?, but he wasn?t one of my favorite actors or one that I couldn?t live without.
However, as of last month, Casey Affleck, who directed ?I?m Still Here? announced that the whole film was an elaborate hoax. I wish I saw the film before he made the press release. I felt that it took some of the meaning and suspense away, but you start to really appreciate what Joaquin and Affleck have done here.
Not only has he jeopardized his career, but also he?s let himself go. It?s sad, even if some of the material is scripted; some of it is genuinely real. Like when he gains close to 30 pounds, to having a beard like he was one of the unabomber's. But most of all, he?s making himself look like a complete idiot. He meets with ?P-Diddy? and asks him to record a song with him. He even goes farther then that, like when he performs in front of a large crowd in Vegas and one of the people in the crowd makes fun of him. So, he jumps off the stage and starts clocking the guy in the face, not as hoax but as an actual event.
I?m not sure how good ?I?m Still Here? is as a film, but I know I couldn?t keep my eyes off it. Phoenix is mesmerizing and I truly believe that he deserves some Oscar considerations for this. Even if this film is a hoax, he risks his whole career, his reputation and everything else around his life.
Sean "P-Diddy" Combes
Edward James Olmos
Directed by: Casey Affleck
Posted on 10/09/10 06:55 PM
A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso
"It's Kind Of A Funny Story"
Newcomer Keir Gilchrist and Zach Galifianakis star in the new film "It's Kind Of A Funny Story".
When a film can make us laugh and cry all in the same scene, you it's done something right. "It's Kind Of A Funny Story" is not so much of a comedy, as it is a touching story about people with depression and other illnesses.
The film revolves around Craig (Keir Gilchrist), a sixteen-year-old boy, who like many teenagers has been dealing with depression and anxiety. Until one night his depression is stronger then usual. He rides his bike to the Brooklyn Bridge, where he is ready to jump off. But he decides to preserve his life, get real help that could benefit him in the future. So he goes to a hospital, where be begs and pleads to be taken into the mental facility.
At first, Craig is reluctant to stay at the hospital, he is so unaware of the people in these facilities, that have much bigger problems then he could ever imagine having.
Eventually he adapts to it, however he has to stay there for five days in order to be cleared to go home. But on the way, he meets people that can really help him and can certainly relate to his problems.
The first character he meets is Bobby, played by Zach Galifianakis. I know what you all are thinking; there is no way that Galifianakis can play a serious role, in a film like this. But he does, he shows signs of genuine sincerity and sympathy to the people he?s trying to help, like in the way Robin Williams did in the 1997 film ?Good Will Hunting?.
But Bobby is no perfect person himself. He is also a patient at this mental institution, for reasons he shares with Craig later on in the film. He?s extremely depressed, but hides it for the benefit of this kid. He cares about him, he cares about his future and the choices he makes while being in the institution.
Another person Craig meets is a beautiful and idealistic girl named Noelle, played by Emma Roberts. Noelle like Craig, is also sixteen. Right away you can sense a bond between the two, as they soon go through the journey of depression and what it is to be a teenager together.
Craig soon learns that his problems are not all the ?life breaking? and that he should be thankful for being the person he is; Intelligent, kind and sincere. Yes, he?s depressed and angry, but he starts to understand that life is not always a puzzle that can be solved, yet an adventure full of highs and lows.
?It?s Kind Of A Funny Story? is sometimes comedic, often sad and angst ridden, but ultimately a heartfelt film about the up?s and downs of a teenager. I loved this movie.
Keir Gilchrist - Craig
Zach Galifianakis - Bobby
Emma Roberts - Noelle
Directed by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Posted on 10/02/10 08:25 PM
A Review By: Sam Fragoso
"The Social Network"
The quirky, intelligent and always talented Jesse Eisenberg plays "Mark Zuckerberg", the founder of Facebook in "The Social Network"
From the first scene of "The Social Network" you can tell this was going to be a great movie, and it certainly is. The opening scene is Mark and his girlfriend out on a date. He's going on and on about his ambition to get into these clubs. You can tell she is starting to get annoyed by him; she makes a comment about his obsession with these clubs and organizations. He replies by telling here that she's not to bright, considering what school she goes to and then also insults her family. They brake up. She walks out on him, he then sprints back to his dorm room, and starts working on a site that rates girls based on their looks. And that's how the idea of "Facebook" starts.
It's weird how much we genuinely care about Mark Zuckerberg throughout the film. He's mean, bitter and even envies his friend when he gets into a club, that he wanted to get into. Basically he's an asshole, a one with periodically good intentions, but ultimately an asshole.
But that doesn't matter, we care about his life and complications he goes through; from losing his one and only friend to getting sued for 600 million dollars. We care, and we do so because of the great writing from Sorkin and the great acting from Eisenberg.
Set at Harvard University, Sorkin creates a script that is original, imaginative and genuinely clever. I don't know how he does it. He tells a story that is both complicated and polluted with characters and ideas and makes it so clear, without removing any of the key plot points.
David Fincher who directed ?The Social Network?, has made films such as, "Fight Club, Se7en and Zodiac" all great movies. But "The Social Network" may just be his masterpiece.
"The Social Network" defines the past decade and the one to come, which is to communicate and connect with your friends instantly, anywhere in the world. This film represents the change in American society, like films such as "Easy Rider, The Graduate and Star Wars" did in their time.
Fincher's "The Social Network" is just like the website it represents: enjoyable, clever and ultimately addicting. ?The Social Network? is the year?s best film up to date.
Jesse Eisenberg - Mark Zuckenberg
Rooney Mara - Erica Albright
Andrew Garfield - Eduardo Saverin
Justin Timberlake - Sean Parker
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Aaron Sorkin
Executive Producer: Kevin Spacey