I am an avid movie fan who likes watching movies whenever I'm not working. I attended Columbia College Chicago and majored in Film Directing, although I'm not done, I'm looking to finish in the future. My love for movies grew even more when I saw JAWS for the first time. It grabbed my attention and turned my world upside down as to how creative and great that movie was. It was also the film that made me appreciate my favorite director's work. And ever since then I was hooked, although I've been watching movies for as long as I can remember, I think i started fully understanding a movie's plot and whatnot at the age of 6. I am one of the millions of movie fans around the world who love and appreciate the art of cinema and who takes it seriously.
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.
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.
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. ***1/2
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. ***1/2
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. ****