Matt S.'s Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Pixar Story

Well, I am not one to really review documentaries, mainly because they aren't like real films so there is not very much to say about them. But I have been such a big fan of Pixar I felt the need to review, and recommend The Pixar Story to pretty much any movie fan. Obviously it is just about how the makers of Pixar became such great film makers after releasing the first computer animated film "Toy Story". So I found it really interesting, since I believe Pixar animations is one of the most consistent movie making businesses in history. I do not feel that this is for everyone though, if you don't really care about Pixar then I would suggest giving this a pass, because all it does is show us all about Pixar films and some interviews with some of the people involving Pixar.


However, for me personally the interviews were the most interesting part of the documentary. Especially John Lasseter's. Since he wrote and directed Toy Story, one of my favorite films all time, he has basically been my hero. I feel that often times with animated films, whether it be Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, or anything for that matter, the actual people making the films get overlooked. We just tend to say "Pixar" made this great film. So for me it was really interesting hearing from the actual people that are there making these brilliant films, and seeing how they did it and learning about their lives. It was also fun to hear Tom Hanks and Tim Allen talk about the Toy Story series. The interviews were just extremely interesting, and that's about all there is to say about it.


Overall, The Pixar Story is an excellent documentary for big movie fans and big Pixar fans. It was very fun to see how they made their brilliant films, especially Toy Story. The interviews were the best part, so if you want to know what the people making these fantastic films actually think about what they have done, watch this. I would recommend The Pixar Story to about anyone who cares anything about films, or animation.

The Strangers

Returning home from a wedding reception, Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) are staying in an isolated vacation house. They soon receive a quite mysterious knock on the door, in the middle of the night by a woman asking for someone they do not know. After this some very odd things begin to happen, Which frighten Kristen, and soon becomes an invasion by three strangers. This couple finds themselves in a brutal struggle for a chance to keep there lives in this night of horror at the vacation house.


The Strangers was by no means in my opinion a very good movie. The acting was not bad, but there is not really anything special to say about it, and I found the story lacking in several ways. To start with, when a movie says that it is "inspired by true events" I have an extremely hard time believing most of the stuff that is happening in the film. So, in that case I have to say that a lot of the things that went on in this movie did not actually happen, in which case I do not see very many reasons why someone should watch this movie. With that said, there actually are a few reasons, especially if you are a horror movie fan. The Strangers has got to be one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. The suspense in this film was built up in such a way that by mid point in this movie you will be absolutely terrified. So if you are looking for a good scare then this is no doubt a movie for you, but if not, Then you probably will not think much of it.

Buried
Buried(2010)

Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is an American truck driver that is working as a contractor in Irag in 2006, and one day he wakes up to nothing but pitch darkness. He feels around trying to figure out where he is, and with a lighter lights up to what he finds is a wooden coffin. As anyone would Paul begins to panic, and has starts screaming and banging on the sides of the coffin. Then he hears this buzzing noise and the coffin lights up, and Paul realizes it is a phone that someone has planted there with him. He starts to frantically call different numbers, some of which being the police and his family, but he is having very little luck getting anyone to really buy into his story. Paul begins to remember that he was ambushed while driving, and he knows his best bet at survival is himself.


Honestly, this was a very odd film. Seemingly the story isn't too fresh of material, as we have all heard of a man being buried alive in plenty of movies right? But Buried was actually an extremely creative film, as the entire movie was shot in a coffin. I have really never seen anything like this, which did turn out to be a little annoying. I found some of the film to be horribly boring, and even my mom asked if we could turn it off about 30 minutes of the way through. Also, the story and characters get a little lost in the film towards the middle, as Rodrigo Cortes loses all focus and turns to proving his strong point, which is one I somewhat disagree with. I mean, I get what Rodrigo Cortes is trying to say, but I find it hard to believe that there would be such little effort to find a missing person, and that is where I thought the movie took a very unrelastic turn. Which is in the end my biggest complaint.


With that said, Buried is by no means at all a terrible movie. This being Rodrigo Cortes' debut, he really did an excellent job. The faults in this film were no doubt because of him, but some of the best parts of the film were also his good direction. Like I mentioned earlier, the film did get a little boring, but it all took place in a coffin, so what can you expect? Rodrigo Cortes really did a good job with the direction and keeping the crowd interested. Aside from the parts I mentioned, the film was really a nail biter. as the movie came to a close I found myself literally about to fall out of my chair I was so far on the edge. The ending was expected, but at the same time Cortes did a superb job keeping it unpredictable at times. I had pretty much decided before the movie started what I thought the ending was going to be, but there was always the last 10 minutes the really had me question myself, and it was a great ending.


However, the most impressive part had to be the acting by Ryan Reynolds. He really put everything he has into his performance, and I must say, I am definitely in no way a fan of his. I mean X-Men, Smokin' Aces, Paper man, and The proposal? Will someone shoot me please? He has played in good films, but seriously some of the bad ones are just a complete waste of money. Even if they only cost 1$. So as of recently I have really not liked him, but this movie started to change my mind a bit. The opening scene where Conroy relizes he is trapped starts of a little shaky. Actually a little laughable there for a second. But once the movie gets into the main parts, Reynolds performance becomes very, very good. Was it Oscar worthy? No. The guy was in a box the whole time, I can't give him too much praise. But yes, Ryan Reynolds did an excellent job acting here.


Overall, Buried does not fall under my category for one of the best of 2010. I would not really even give it an honorable mention either. This movie was just your basic entertainment, with a little bit of surprising direction, and above average acting making it better than it should have been. The creativity was definitely there, but it made the film a bit odd, and not necessarily in a good way. Also give credit to the music in this film, maybe nothing super special, but it really made some of the scenes in the film pretty intense. Buried was a good film that was an excellent debut for Rodrigo Cortes. No doubt worth a watch here.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an american soldier who wakes up in the body of a man he does not know. On a train to who knows where, his last memory is of him flying a helicopter in Afghanistan. He looks in the mirror and sees a different man, and after only 8 minutes in the train it explodes. Stevens then wakes up in some form of a pod, and is informed by a woman named Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) that he is the main part of a mission to find the bomb, and bomber that is in the Chicago commuter train. Stevens is now sent back into the world to continue gathering clues with only 8 minutes each time, but now the bomber is threatening to blow up millions of people in downtown Chicago. And along with his friend Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan) he will learn more and more each time he visits this world, and must hurry before it is all too late.


Well, Duncan Jones has done it again! I just recently saw his debut "Moon" for the first time, and loved it. My expectations were not all that high for this film, but I was really hoping that it would be good. It is always exciting for me when a new director comes out with a great film, and this being his second it could be showing us a sign as to how consistent he will be for the rest of his career. Source Code was in no way as good, or even close really, as Moon was. However, it was going to be hard for him to top the near perfect Moon, and Source Code still showed the viewers that Duncan Jones has a serious directing ability. With having both great creativity and a pace that whether slow or quick, he keeps the viewer interested till the end.


Source Code in some ways rivals Nolan's newest film, "Inception". There is no reason to knock Source Code because its lack of creativity, because that is not the case here. Source Code resembles Inception in the way that Inception resembled The Matrix. The stories and plots are not similar, but the whole concept of going in and out of a different worlds throughout the film is the same. All three films share this, though it does not make any of them less creative. They are all different in their own way. But if we are comparing both Source Code and Inception, there honestly is no comparison. My ratings may be close, but Source Code is a borderline 3.5/5. The biggest difference is the lengths of the two films, and since Inception is much longer the story is developed better than it is in Source Code. And that was probably my biggest problem with this film, which is a problem it shares with Jones' other work. From start to finish Source Code is a quickly paced film that keeps the audience drawn in close to the screen. But it is so short and having a bit lacked character developement that by the end we may not care about the characters, and what happens with the story, as we should. But everything was developed enough for the film to work out, which it did, it is just that in films that I love I usually need more developement and length for me to consider it a wonderful peice of art work. But even still, Duncan Jones has crafted an above average film that is smart, and with quick direction it hits home by the climax.


The script would probably be my only other complaint, as it was both good and bad. At times I thought the dialogue was going very well. But at others, especially nearing the end, it felt a little cheese filled. It is not something really worth losing sleep over but, I definitely think screenwriter Ben Ripley could have done a better job on that area of the film. Just in general though Ripley did an excellent job of writing this film. Along with Jones' work all of the scenes were very well written, and very well done. Maybe a few flaws there, but still a great job by the both of them.


Now for the acting. This was a surprise for me, and I mean a big surprise. He may have acting talent, but Jake Gyllenhaal is an actor I just do not like at all. None of his films really interest me, and his acting style just does not seem to fit my taste. But here, what a surprise he was. The emotion he put into this performance was very good. Even some well known, and acclaimed actors can feel dull when there are certain scenes. But Gyllenhaal hits the mark perfectly here. Now I am not saying he will get any kind of Oscar nomination, because I would be absolutely shocked if he did, but still a great performance. Michelle Monaghan was good as well, not worth much praise, but she fit the part well. The other supporting actors did good. Just good acting all around really, and it made the film so much better.


Overall, Source Code is an extremely impressive second film by Duncan Jones. After leaving the theater I was very happy and excited to see what he will come out with next. Let's get this straight though, Source Code is a highly entertaining, quickly paced film that is no where near perfection. But movies are made to entertain, and that is just what this does. Quick direction by Duncan Jones and mostly good writing by Ben Ripley, along with good performances made Source Code the best film I have seen released this year. It may not be amazing, or as good as Moon, but Source Code kept me interested all the way through, and worked out well in the end. Duncan Jones is on my list for new and brilliant directors. Look out for his name in the future, you will see it a lot.

4/5

WALL-E
WALL-E(2008)

In a very distant future, humans have left the Earth because of trash covering most of the Earth. WALL-E has been left on this Earth by himself other than his very good friend that is a cockroach. But one day a new robot named Eve, who has been sent by the humans so that it can find out if there is any life left on earth, comes to visit WALL-E, who almost instantly falls in love with her. WALL-E shows Eve a plant that he had found, and Eve automatically returns it to her ship. This giant ship turns out to be carrying all of the humans that evacuated Earth 700 years before, and when an auto-pilot computer steals the plant so that humans cannot return to Earth, it is up to WALL-E to make sure that humans will once again live on Earth.


WALL-E is just another example of the brilliance that comes from Pixar Animation Studios.
Obviously, this is not necessarily Pixar's most creative film, but once you start watching it you will see that it is very creative in its own way. And I have to say this is some of the best animation Pixar has done to this date. It was beautiful. This films actually reminded me a lot of the short story "If I Forget thee oh Earth..." which had a very similar story line. But there is something about this movie that makes it so great. The animation is fantastic, and the acting is always good with a Pixar film, but the way Pixar tells their stories is completely different than any other film makers out there. It is incredible. I have yet to see a Pixar film that I do not like, or really even love. Maybe one day, but so far Pixar has yet to disappoint me.


Overall, WALL-E is a visually stunning film with good direction, a great story and great acting. It is one of my favorite animated films.

Final rating: Fresh-91%

The Karate Kid

I first viewed this movie around the age of six or seven, it instantly became one of my all time favorite films, and held that title for quite some time. However, I recently got into a bit of Chinese cinema, and realized that Americans just don't hold onto the concept of how to properly make a martial arts film. I then decided that The Karate Kid was a decent film at best, as said in my review of "Ip Man". But what do you know? I was scanning through the television channels and saw that the 1984 version of the Karate Kid was on, and gave it go, and liked it.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/07/karate-kid-1984.html

Meet the Robinsons

Meet the Robinsons has always been a special film for me. It only received fairly positive criticism, and four years ago when I was a bit younger no one in my family liked the movie except for me. But something about the story I have found over the years to be so sweet, despite how predictable it is. So here is my review of the film, you may agree or disagree, but in my opinion this is one of Disney's best films, aside from Pixar, of the decade.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/07/meet-robinsons-2007.html

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Well, this afternoon I took a short notice trip to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon, despite me being very against the idea of the film in the first place. And yes, I completely understand that plenty of criticism will be coming in for my review and rating of this film, but I am not going to lie about it, I thoroughly enjoyed Dark of the Moon and technically it was by no means a terrible film. And I think, personally, that if there was no Michael Bay reputation, Transformers' bad reputation in general as a franchise, and this being the first film made about giant robots fighting each other, that not only would Dark of the Moon receive better reviews than it did, but would get fairly positive reviews.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/transformers-dark-of-moon-2011.html

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second installment for the adaptation of J.K. Rowling's popular book series, and quite a succesful one at that, by critics' opinions and box office alike. I will admit I liked it more than the first, but there were still plenty of clear flaws in this film. It was basically the exact same film as the first, but every aspect of the Chamber of Secrets was either slightly improved upon from the Sorcerer's Stone, or the same. But the number one thing that stuck out to me most was that the moment the credits began to roll, whether the film was great or not, I was ready to see the third one.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/harry-potter-and-chamber-of-secrets.html

Cars
Cars(2006)
½

Well, if I am being completely honest here this is probably the third or fourth time I have started watching Cars, but turned the television off I found it so boring. But since the new arrival of Pixar's most recent creation, "Cars 2" I figured I must see the only Pixar film that has not been viewed by me to this date. Yes, I liked Cars, but my biggest problem with the film was the original idea of it, in all seriousness, it's stupid. An entire world run buy nothing but Auto Mobiles that have eyes instead of windshields, struggle to maintain facial expressions (especially life-like ones), and to make it all better, there are no humans whatsoever. However, Cars has something special going for it, and that is John Lasseter sitting in the directing chair for the first time in seven years. He sure may be rusty, but in the end, in ways I cannot possibly comprehend, the big man that started it all makes Cars a film worth watching, for adults and kids.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/cars-2006.html

X-Men: First Class
½

X-Men: First Class is the simple tale of how Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X (James McAvoy) became arch rivals, and is the old story of once the best of friends, but a series of unfortunate events tear them apart. As young children they came up, along with a few other mutants, and were just learning about their incredible inhuman abilities. Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) is a man trying to use the younger mutants for his own reasons, and murders young Magneto's, formerly known as Erik Lehnsherr, mom. This sends Erik on an outrage unleashing all of his true powers, needless to say he gave Shaw what he was looking for. Now that they are older the mutants have two things to look out for, the cold war and the threat of a nuclear war, and Sebastian Shaw's attempt to drag all the mutants onto his side against the humans. As the story goes, differences in opinion of how the mutants should treat the outside world separates the two best friends, and strongest of the mutants, Professor X and Magneto.

Read full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/x-men-first-class-2011.html

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
½

I recently saw a trailer before watching "Super 8" for the newest, and final Harry Potter film. It looked interesting, and since at least all of the films so far have gotten some acclaim, I decided it was time for me to finally watch the Harry Potter series. Shocking enough as it is, I started with The Sorcerer's Stone, the first film and book of the series, and much surprising to me, I genuinely enjoyed this film, through all of its many flaws and cheesiness, I liked it. I can't say it compares to other fantasy book/film adaptations such as The Lord of the Rings, but yes, The Sorcerer's Stone was a very fun, magical, and enjoyable film for all ages.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/harry-potter-and-sorcerers-stone-2001.html

Super 8
Super 8(2011)

Super 8 is a film that takes us back to the summer of 1979, but first showing us the death of a young boy's mother, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney). Four months little Joe and his friends are filming their own movie, and decide to sneak out at midnight and film at a train station while a train is passing by. But something unexpected happens, as they are filming, one of the kids notices that a pickup truck slides onto the train tracks, and then heads straight into the train causing a very large explosion. All of the kids escape alive and unharmed, but they soon begin to believe through silent discussions that what happened that night was no accident, and as disappearances are coming up everywhere, these kids have a big, and important adventure coming their way.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/06/super-8-2011.html

Thor
Thor(2011)

Two of my most anticipated films, and some of the more acclaimed, of 2011 were opening last weekend and this one, Midnight in Paris and The Tree of Life. Naturally, I was heading to the theater to see Midnight in Paris, another popular Woody Allen film. However, once I arrived it dawned on me that I am currently living in the state of Alabama, where we all have gloriously terrible taste in films. With that being said, it was quite clear that half of the theater was reserved for Pirates of the Caribbean, and I obviously had no chance of catching a showing of Midnight in Paris for some months from now. Fast Five and Thor took up the bulk of space in the rest of the theater, and since I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to see Fast Five, my girlfriend suggested to see Thor (mainly for the lead Chris Hemsworth) and so we went. Originally I did not think it was going to be a half decent film, despite all of the positive reviews, none seemed to convince me that me early judgment of the film was incorrect. But after seeing Thor, even with all of the flaws jumping out at me like it was in 3D (which the film most certainly was not) I enjoyed nearly every minute of it, and I will crown it the so far most entertaining film of 2011. That may not be enough for it to score a high rating, but let's be honest, not every film is made to win Oscars, right?


Read my full review here:http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/thor-2011.html

Castle in the Sky

From the first time I read short summary on the film, everything about Castle in the Sky seemed fantastic to me. It has probably been my most anticipated Hayao Miyazaki film, and although I very much enjoyed it, I was sadly disappointed in the film overall. However, with that being said, even though I may have been expecting more, Castle in the Sky was still an entirely entertaining animated film that may not rank among Miyazaki's best, but still works as a very good film. And unlike most films of his, instead of the animation being the most impressive part of the film, the story was.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/castle-in-sky-1986.html

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Even though I was about to fall asleep throughout the whole film, I could not help but think about critic Pete Hammond and laugh, "perhaps the best Pirates of the all". You have to love any critic who will compliment a film just to get his name on posters! But yeah, On Stranger Tides was not complete and total trash, and it did have its moments of pure entertainment, and it was funny at times, but Rob Marshall is the director and no, the film was not good, marking its place as the worst pirates of them all.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/pirates-of-caribbean-on-stranger-tides.html

Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle is in my opinion Hayao Miyazaki's most underrated film. Famous, and probably most popular, critic Roger Ebert said about the film, "While the movie contains delights and inventions without pause and has undeniable charm, while it is always wonderful to watch, while it has the Miyazaki visual wonderment, it's a disappointment." This of course is probably one of the main reasons the film gets so much criticism from so many young movie lovers, because obviously everything Ebert says is correct and he knows all things about cinema, right? Well, that is one of the very frustrating things about the unnecessary criticism Howl's Moving Castle receives, but the point is what I saw in the film was a masterpiece. Rich in characters, with beautiful animation and hands down the most impressive storytelling from any Hayao Miyazaki film. Yes, even over Spirited Away.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/howls-moving-castle-2004.html

My Neighbor Totoro
½

My Neighbor Totoro is another Hayao Miyazaki film that I think is both underrated and overlooked. Nowadays it seems the Miyazaki favorites are Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle. Though I love all of these mentioned, My Neighbor Totoro is at least in the same ball park as the three above. And I think it is more emotionally powerful than any other Miyazaki film I have seen before. Maybe it is just me, as it seems most animation fans disagree with my previous statements, but I absolutely loved My Neighbor Totoro.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/my-neighbor-totoro-1988.html

Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro (The Castle of Cagliostro) (Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro)

For the third part of my marathon I will be reviewing Hayao Miyazaki's first film, Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro. I personally think out of Miyazaki's films, and the animation world in general, that this is a terribly underrated and overlooked film. Unlike most animated films that tend to be geared toward children, The Castle of Cagliostro packs humor, action, and brilliant writing into one entire film, that makes it completely unique from any other animated film I have seen. Don't get me wrong, it is far from perfect, but the Castle of Cagliostro is a fun movie, that lets you relax and enjoy the show.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/lupin-third-castle-of-cagliostro-1979.html

Road to Perdition

Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is an orphan who was taken in by John Rooney (Paul Newman) an Irish-American crime boss. Sullivan and Rooney were very close, and Sullivan views him as a father, where he grew to work for him. Rooney sends his own son Connor (Daniel Craig) and Sullivan to talk to an employee about business issues. However, Sullivan's oldest son, Michael Sullivan Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) is curious about his father's work, so he hides away in the back seat of his car as he goes to do his next job. This goes unexpectedly and Sullivan Jr. witnesses Connor murder and employee. Sullivan believes that his son can keep a secret, but Connor takes matters into his own hands and murders Sullivan's wife and youngest son, while having someone hired to kill Sullivan himself. But Sullivan and his son escape with their lives, and run to Chicago. They will do everything they can to save their lives, even if it requires robbing banks, and Sullivan will try his best to keep his son away from the horrors of the life he has lived, as they grow closer in this adventure.


Road to Perdition is such a wonderfully crafted film. This is the first film I have seen directed by Sam Mendes. American Beauty is certainly on my list, but I have yet to get to it. He is really a director who I would like to see a bit more of, because if his other films are as good as this he has towering potential, and I think he could make his mark as one of the better directors of our time. Road to Perdition was nominated for six Oscars, and as far as I have seen from the year 2002, it should have been nominated for more. This film starts slow, but that is needed. It slowly developes the characters while working on the father and son relationship. This is definitely not your regular action packed crime film, so if you are expecting that you may be a bit disappointed. It mainly focuses on the relationship between the father and son, which really opens up towards the end, and is actually quite touching. I found the script to be very good, and Mendes' direction was excellent. It may take quite awhile to unfold, but when it does Road to Perdition is an unforgettable film.


One of the Oscar nominations it received was best original score, Thomas Newman. This was a huge Oscar miss, and believe it or not he has never won an Oscar. Which is ridiculous, considering he wrote the music for WALL-E, Finding Nemo, Little Women, and The Shawshank Redemption. Just those four films are pretty impressive in itself. I think music is an often times overlooked quality in films. It can used to create the feeling and emotion in a film, which is exactly what was done in Road to Perdition. Not only is it an absolutely beautiful score, but it is used at the right times, and really will make you want to cry at certain points of the film. Thomas Newman's musical score here was brilliant, and from what I have heard of him, this is my favorite so far, and that is saying something.


Though as I mentioned earlier, Road to Perdition did bring home one Oscar. Best Cinematography. And for good reason too, from the opening seen I was hooked by the filming alone. Everything was shot so well, and it was all beautiful. That does not come as a surprise to me though, because Conrad L. Hall has a great history. He even won for best cinematography back in 1970 for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Even if you do not enjoy this film, it can still be enjoyed only by its incredible cinematography. Another quality of film that people seem to often not mention when reviewing a movie, inlcuding myself sometimes.


However, for me the most impressive part of this film was the acting, and what a cast it had. Tom Hanks played his part so well, the movie was slow moving, and even his character was a bit slow moving at times. But his heart was in this performance no doubt, and it opens up so perfectly but the final scene. Paul Newman was nominated for an Oscar, and for good reason. Even as an older man he could still act as well, or even better, than he could when he was younger. Do not miss his performance in this. Daniel Craig was another stand out, he may not have been near as famous as he is now, but he acted great in this film, plenty of emotion. Jude Law, who has become a really respected actor in my eyes, was fantastic. His performance was believable, and very well done. The child actor, Tyler Hoechlin, especially for a kid, was also brilliant. Not many kids can stand and act the way he did on the screen. There honestly is not a lot, if anything, to criticise about the performances, they may not have all been Oscar worthy, but they were all good.


Overall, Sam Mendes' work in Road to Perdition is pure genius. It may not be a masterpiece, or an all time favorite of mine, but I cannot deny how great this film actually was. The acting by the leads was brilliant, something every movie lover has to want. The musical score is so beautful it will bring you to tears. Everything is supported by good direction, and a very good screenplay by David Self. Road to Perdition is not one of the best movies I have ever seen, but it sure is a good one

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime)
½

For my second review in the marathon, I will be reviewing the film I just recently saw, and what is one that many consider to be Miyazaki's masterpiece. From the five films I have seen of his, I would still pick Spirited Away over Princess Mononoke, but it was still a brilliant film. Definitely one of the better ones I have seen so far, and I am excited to see more!

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/princess-mononoke-1997.html

Ponyo
Ponyo(2009)
½

To begin my first ever film marathon, I will review Ponyo, Hayoa Miyazaki's latest, and arguably weakest film, Ponyo. But first I must set straight a few things I failed to mention in my post about the marathon. Basically all of these reviews will be for the English versions of the films, though I personally prefer to watch them in their original language. Since probably the majority of the people reading this speak English, I feel that it is probably best to review that version of the film. However, if I only get the chance to watch the Japanese version, I will of course just review that one, and not bother with the English. Well, that's about it, and here you go, my first review of the Hayao Miyazaki Marathon!

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/ponyo-2007.html

The Other Guys
½

Police Detectives P.K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Christopher Danson (Dwayne Johnson) are the heroes of the NYPD, and are loved by the entire city. Detective Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) are the "Other Guys" of the the Police Department. However, when these two men happen to come across a case that no one else wants, their lives may be changed forever, and they may become the new heroes of New York City.


Let us take a quick look at some of the comedies that have tortured us this past summer. Grown Ups, Shrek Forever After, Knight and Day (brought a few laughs, but nothing special), and Date Night, which was actually a pretty good film, but not enough to save a summer as bad as this past one. There are a lot more comedies that really just were not very good, but I don't think there is any reason to go into detail about what everyone already knows. Needless to say, The Other Guys saved the summer as far as comedies go! It may not have been the best comedy ever, but what it did that other comedies this summer failed to do, is consistently make me laugh throughout the entire film, which for the most part is all anyone could ask for.


The key to the comedy in this film was both Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Their acting was nearly perfect, and along with a fantastic screenplay they really made The Other Guys a movie that is worth seeing, and actually buying as well as that. I don't usually picture Mark Wahlberg as a person for comedy, so if you are thinking that, do not let it stop you from seeing this movie, he was excellent. Also, I think Michael Keaton deserves a little bit of recognition for his role. He was absolutley hilarious at certain times of the film. There really is not too much to say about Ferrell. He is a good actor and he is funny, I think we all know that by now. I liked the appearence by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson as well. All in all, the acting was very well done by all actors.


Here I will have to disagree with Rotten Tomatoes, this was in my opinion the best collaboration between Will Ferrell and Adam Mckay. This was Adam Mckay's best film for me. He did a good job with the direction, and his screenplay was brilliant. So you take an actor like Will Ferrell and a screenplay like this and you come out with an excellent comedy, especially for a summer such as this past one.


Overall, The Other Guys was a very good film, and was funny all through the movie, which nowadays just doesn't seem to happen too often. Adam Mckay did a good job with the screenplay and direction, I really enjoyed this film.


Final rating: Fresh-83%

Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Directed by the always incredible Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove is one of the funniest, most unique movies ever filmed. It is a real shame, and embarrassment, that it has taken me so long to finally get the chance to view this film, and it is my pleasure to bring to anyone who is reading this my opinion of Kubrick's brilliant film, that easily compares to any of his best works.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/dr-strangelove-or-how-i-learned-to-stop.html

The Gold Rush
½

If you have ever read any of my reviews, it is quite obvious that I am a very big fan of the art of filmmaking. But it has recently been shown to me that my film education has many large holes, especially in the silent film era and foreign films both old and new. So I have been reviewing several of the latter most recently, and I just got the chance to see Chaplin's "The Gold Rush". After over 100 movie reviews, I am excited to say that this is my first ever review on any silent film.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/gold-rush-1925.html

M
M(1931)

M is a brilliant film for so many reasons. Fritz Lang's masterpiece is usually considered Metropolis, and I cannot speak for it as I have yet to watch it, though from what I have seen M is hands down Lang's finest film. I absolutely loved everything about this movie, from beginning to end, and from what I have read it is the first movie ever made about a serial killer. Because it is German I think many people from America will overlook it as one of the greatest films ever made. I mean nowadays people just don't seem to want to sit down and watch a movie in a different language than their own, and that is a real shame, M is far better than most films ever made in America.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/m-1931.html

Raging Bull
Raging Bull(1980)

Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) is an amazing boxer, that win or lose, dominates every person he faces. But he has one problem, the way he is in the ring, is similar to the way he treats his family at home, abusive and terrible. LaMotta no doubt wants to be loved by his family, but his unnecessary jealousy and bad habits always seem to come between them. He is a star in the ring, but in real life with his family, things are not going to wind up going his way.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/raging-bull-1980.html

Good Will Hunting
½

Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a janitor at M.I.T. and he has a brain that is unusually brilliant in such things as math and chemistry, though he has no clue just how smart he is. A math professor finds out about Will's gift, and tries desperately to get him to leave his small town neighborhood, and make a name for himself in the world. But the professor needs help, so he asks an old friend named Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), who is also currently a teacher, to assist in getting Will's life on track. Meanwhile, for the first time ever, Will is falling in love and is trying to live his own life, rejecting any help offered.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/good-will-hunting-1997.html

Ip Man
Ip Man(2010)

This is a film loosely based on the life of Ip Man (Donnie Yen), who is a grandmaster in the martial art of Wing Chun living in Foshan. Ip Man is by far the most gifted in the town that is so highly recognized as the greatest martial arts in China. There are many martial arts schools in Foshan, but Ip Man tries to keep to himself and not teach classes, though he is still respected in town because of private matches he has with friends and other masters. However, when the Japanese invade Foshan Ip and his family lose all of their money, and home, forcing them to live with little food for a long time. But Ip sees a way out of the madness when the Japanese offer a bag of rice to anyone who will come and fight their martial arts students, though everything does not work out as he expected.


Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/ip-man-2008.html

Blade Runner
Blade Runner(1982)

As a film, Blade Runner actually had quite a bit to live up to, and to no surprise was misunderstood by many critics and people alike. Though the more I read reviews in today's time, it seems that a lot of film watchers, whether they liked it or not, still do not fully understand the film. Which is no insult because its themes were hard to grasp at times if you do not know what you are getting into. But right before the release of Blade Runner, or a few years before, the famous original Star Wars came out, along with arguably the greatest action film of all time Raiders of the Lost Arc. But if you ask me, Blade Runner was far better than either of them.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/blade-runner-1982.html

Bowfinger
Bowfinger(1999)
½

Bowfinger is a film that I just happen to come across one day flipping through the channels on TV. I read the info, and seeing that its leads were Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, plus a film about today's film making, I actually thought it sounded like a pretty good film. After watching it I was unfortunately very disappointed in the film, and was absolutely shocked to find that Bowfinger received mostly positive reviews. Maybe it was just me, but I had a hard time getting past the overly ridiculous story, even for a comedy.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/bowfinger-1999.html

A Time to Kill
½

When Tonya Hailey, a young African-American girl, is raped by two white men, the town of Clanton Mississippi is changed forever. After hearing that there is a strong chance that the men who raped Tonya will get off because they are white, Tonya's father, Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) decides to take the law into his own hands and kill the two men who raped his daughter. Killing them in the courthouse, Carl Lee does not try and hide his murder, and immediately goes to jail. Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) is set to defend Carl Lee, but with the return of the K.K.K. it will be a much harder, and more dangerous case then Jake had originally anticipated. Jake will have to risk everything he owns, including his family, to free Carl Lee, and beat the District Attorney (Kevin Spacey) in what will be the hardest case he has ever had.


Along with The Rainmaker A Time To Kill is without a doubt my favorite film based off of a Grisham novel. The script was not just fantastic, but I really, really liked the story in this film, and I even thought some parts of it were quite touching. The courtroom action was very interesting, much better than most movies I have seen, and it really kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen.


The cast was fantastic, not all of the acting was perfect, but it certainly was good. Several of the actors in the film have been at least nominated for an Oscar. However, there some flaws in the performances, they definitely were not perfect. Matthew MaConaughey as the lead was much better then I had expected, it was not Oscar worthy or anything, but still good. I can easily tell you that He is much better playing a lawyer in a courtroom drama, then some loser in a terrible comedy. Now, Ashley Judd playing his wife was not very good. I am not really sure why, because in a lot of her movies she is a pretty good actress, but in this one she is not really at all. Sandra Bullock and Oliver Platt are good along side MaConaughey, but my favorite performance was by far Kevin Spacey. He was brilliant playing the District Attorney.


Overall, A Time To Kill, is a flawed but very good film with great performances, and to some will be a touching, and maybe even at times moving story. Along with a lot of interesting court scenes, and a nice ending, it was a good film.

Final rating: Fresh-82%

The Crazies
The Crazies(2010)

It is the beginning of baseball season in Ogden Marsh, Iowa, a small town where everyone seems to know one another. The local sheriff is having a regular boring day, but when a friend of his randomly walks onto the field with a loaded shotgun, the sheriff, David (Timothy Olyphant) is forced to take action and shoot the man, killing him. There was something odd in the look of the man that caught David's eye, which was the same look another friend, Bill Farnum had when David's wife examines him. the very same night he was examined, bill traps his wife and child inside their house and burns it completely to the ground, then going to mow the lawn. David begins to see a pattern that people are starting to act very weird in this small town, and only later will he find out why.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/crazies-2010.html

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Tuco aka The Ugly (Eli Wallach) is a bandit that is trying to escape the hands of the law, or he will be hanged. Angel Eyes aka The Bad (Lee Van Cleef) is a bounty hunter that will always finish a task he is given as long as money is involved. And Blondie aka The Good (Clint Eastwood) is just a professional gunslinger that is in need of money. Blondie and Tuco are working together to earn money off Tuco's bounty, but after it is done Blondie leaves him out in the scorching desert alone. So, Tuco comes after Blondie for revenge, and tries to do the same to Blondie that was done to him in the desert. Blondie is suffering as a horse carriage comes up on the both of them filled with nothing but dead bodies, except for one man named Bill Carson. Bill Carson gives Tuco the name of a cemetery that has gold buried in one of the graves. But when Tuco goes to get Bill water he dies, and now Blondie is the only man who knows the name of the grave where the gold is buried. Tuco's plan of killing Blondie changes, as the two of them must have each other alive in order to find the gold. At the same time Angel Eyes knew about the gold, and has been looking for Bill Carson in order to find it. Now he must also join in to keep the both of them alive, and they will all fight to the end to see who gets the $200,000 in gold.


I have always expressed my displeasure with most western films, but here I must be honest, not only is this easily my favorite western of all time, but this is one of my favorite films of all time. I had obviously heard good things about it, but I never actually believed it would be as good as everyone says it is. It is a very long movie, so some may feel it is a bit boring, but I found nearly every aspect of this film to be brilliant. From what I had heard, the story was just a simple one about three men fighting over gold. Which was an immediate negative for me because that just sounds way too similar to a lot of other westerns. But the story is actually much more complicated than that. The Good, The Band and The Ugly is definitely a film for someone who needs character development in their films, because that is all this film was. Basically the first hour and thirty minutes is just spent developing the characters, it doesn't actually have anything at all to do with the gold. The story and character development may seem meaningless and boring to the average viewer, but it actually sets the tone perfectly for the last part of the film, and is the reason why the climax is so great, and everyone is sitting and literally gripping the sides of their chairs.


I am somewhat shamed to admit, but this is the first Sergio Leone film I have ever seen. Of course I have known of his films as they have all received quite a bit of critical acclaim, but tiles such as "A Fistful of Dynamite" just don't appeal to me in anyway. But after seeing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly I am starting to rethink Sergio Leone as a director. I cannot possibly imagine any of his films being better than this, as I have not really seen a western that I find even close. However, if his direction in his other films is as strong as it is in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, I have no doubt that I will at least enjoy his films to some degree. He takes this unusually long film, that could very easily turn out to be horribly boring, and he makes it very interesting. It is a captivating story that despite its long length remains interesting throughout the entire film.


The acting was surprisingly great. Clint Eastwood can at times be a slightly annoying actor for me. I am an absolutely huge fan of his, but his rough voice can get on my nerves a bit. He has had some excellent performances, my personal favorite being his role in Million Dollar Baby, but I do not always feel as if he deserves much praise in some of his roles. I think of his achievements being much better in the directing chair than on screen. However, I honestly enjoyed his performance in this film. I wouldn't say it was Oscar worthy or anything, but I could just sit through this film and enjoy his performance, which is not always the case in with him. Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef were good as well. As I said, no one is worthy of an Oscar here, but considering the type of film it is there isn't a lot of need for jaw dropping performances. All three of the actors were good and enjoyable, nothing more but plenty good to support the film's brilliance.


Overall, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a film that will not always attract your regular movie goer, but it is a must see for film buffs and western fans. The film's musical score is unbelievable really, it will no doubt find its place on my top 10 soundtracks of all time. The music fit the film perfectly, and was played at the right times. The acting was good, and the direction was near perfection. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a masterpiece.

TRON
TRON(1982)

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is an arcade owner, a hacker, and a former employee of the software corporation ENCOM. He is digitally broken down into pieces, and then trapped into a 3D world of computers, ran by a program known as the Master Control. Along with the help of a few other programs, Flynn will work to replace the Master Control with TRON, a much better and safer program, which will hopefully help him return home to the real world.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/04/tron-1982.html

Letters from Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima is a treasured island by the Japanese, and it is now the only thing that stands in America's way from invading Japan. General Tadamichi Kuribayahi (Ken Watanabe) is given the task of handling the troops on the island, but many disagree with his soft ways of dealing with the men. Saigo, a young soldier who was a baker, also is a bit different. Instead of taking the death mission that most do, he does his absolute best to stay alive and get home to his wife and child, which he has not met yet. But the battle begins, and the Japanese soon find they are no match for America.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/04/letters-from-iwo-jima-2006.html

The Cider House Rules
½

Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) is an orphan in St. Cloud, Maine. After being adopted more than once, and returned by the owner for different reasons, he soon becomes popular with Dr. Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine) Who imparts all of his medical knowledge on Homer. However, Homer wants to choose a life for himself, and he wants not to be a doctor. When Candy Kendall (Charlize Theron) and Wally Worthington (Paul Rudd) show up to the orphanage looking for an abortion, Homer sees a way out of the already chosen destiny Dr. Larch has planned for him. Homer follows Candy and Wally to Wally's apple farm, and finds a job there. But when Wally goes off to war, leaving both Candy and Homer alone, Homer will be in for a ride he is not ready for.


I have no idea why The Cider House Rules has a rating of only 71%, because I found it to be far better than that. The story to this movie is amazing, and it really keeps your attention throughout the entire film. Not to mention just brilliant performances by the cast, especially Michael Caine, whose performance is deserving of more praise then the Oscar he was awarded. And do not get me wrong here, I am not at all a Tobey Maguire fan, but something about his performance in this movie I found to be incredible, along with Charlize Theron who was fantastic. The Cider House Rules has an absolutely beautiful musical score, and I know many people disagree with this film's best picture nomination, but I most definitely do not. The Cider House Rules truly was a very good movie.

Invictus
Invictus(2009)
½

Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) is a man who spent thirty years in prison, and later becomes the President of South Africa, which in the year 1994 is still divided by apartheid. The Springboks are a loved rugby team in South Africa, and right around the time Mandela is elected the World Cup is about to begin, though their team is lacking in talent and is said to have no chance. However, Mandela sees a chance to bring a divided country together through this game, so he invites a visit from the team captain discussing the Springboks' chances at winning the title. The whole country laughs at the idea, but Mandela's entire goal is to turn South Africa around, and with a little courage, his plan might just work.


Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/

Following
Following(1999)
½

Being Christopher Nolan's first ever big screen film, I was surprisingly kind of disappointed in Following. I had seen five other Nolan films before this, and even though I believe Nolan is slightly overrated, Following really fell short for me. Considering the very short length of the film, this will be a fairly short review. And that was my biggest problem in the end. I think the plot and story to Following may possibly be the best Nolan has done yet, but he seemed to have such a childish vision of the film himself. I mean, it was hardly over an hour long, and it has a story that could have been over two hours. Needless to say, both the story and characters were underdeveloped, which is not the first time I have noticed this in a Nolan film. It looks to me as if Nolan works unusually hard on his films, and I even read that he began working on Inception ten years before it was made, and still there was no character developement in that film either. The more I watch Christopher Nolan, the more I believe that his career is fixing to drop, starting with The Dark Knight Rises. He already messed up the title. I truly hope that I am wrong about that, as I want Nolan to do well, but I do not feel that I am.

Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/04/following-1998.html

The Killing
The Killing(1956)
½

Just after getting out of prison from spending 5 years in Alcatraz, Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) comes up with a scheme to steal 2 million dollars from the money counting room of a race track during one of the races. He brings together a team with a track bartender, a good shooter, a wrestler, a corrupt cop and a betting window teller. George Peatty (Elisha Cook Jr.), the window teller, tells his wife about the plan, and how it is going to make them rich. His wife is certainly not one that can keep a secret, and the addition of George to the job turns out to be a big mistake, greatly affecting all the team members.


Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/04/killing-1956.html

The International
½

An Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen), and his partner Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), who is the Manhattan District Attorney, are both investigating the International Bank of Business and Credit, aka IBBC, with the belief that the bank is involved in an illegal business of weapon trading. Their investigation leads them to Milan, where they meet someone named Umberto Calvini, and he explains that the IBBC is interested in buying a missile guiding system that is made in his factory. But then when Calvini is assassinated, Salinger and Whitman must go back to New York tracking down the killer. The two will soon find that the bank is very protected by legal systems, and the only way to bring any sort of justice to this corrupt world will be if Salinger takes matters into his own hands.


Read my full review here: http://mattsfilmreviews.blogspot.com/2011/04/international-2009.html

The Departed
The Departed(2006)

Considering that The Departed was given three and a half stars, and the fantastic cast along with an incredible director like Martin Scorsese, I had the highest of expectations of this movie. And it completely delivered in almost every way. In my opinion, this film is by far the best movie Martin Scorsese has directed since Goodfellas, and it was great to have a recent mobster-theme movie. This is probably one of the better films of the last decade. Jack Nicholson delievers his always perfect performance, and Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt damon were right there with him. Even all of the other supporting actors were good. It was just an all in all good movie that many people will enjoy.

Inception
Inception(2010)

Let me start off by saying that if you don't pay attention to every thing that goes on in this movie, by the time it is over you will most likely be completely lost. And you really do not want that to happen, because if it does you will miss out on what is in my opinion the best movie yet of 2010. Despite Inception being similar to The Matrix, it is still very creative in its own way. This is what I think to be Christopher Nolan's absolute masterpiece of his career so far. Inception was casted perfectly, even if you do not like the actors, you will like them in this movie. They are superb. Especially Leonardo Dicaprio and Ellen Page, and to make it all better Inception has fantastic special effects. For a little while I thought the Toy Story 3 was going to be the only good movie of the summer, and if you are thinking the same thing you should know that it is not. Inception is right there with it.

Training Day
Training Day(2001)

In Los Angeles the streets are swarming with drug dealers. L.A.P.D. detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) has the job of cleaning up those streets, but he does this with questionable methods. Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) has wanted to be a Narcotics officer, but in order to be accpeted he must go through 24 hours of training with a veteran officer, this being Harris. Jake soon finds that this job might not be for him as Harris' methods continue to get worse as the day goes on, and now Jake must struggle to find a way through this one training day.


Well, before I saw training Day I honestly can say I wasn't expecting too much, but after it was over there was no doubt that this film did not live up to its potential. It actually had a somewhat creative plot, it at least wasn't your basic police drama. My biggest initial issue with the film was the fact that it is directed by Antoine Fuqua. I have only two of his films, Shooter and King Arthur. Shooter was okay and King Arthur made me never want to watch another one of his films again. But surprisingly enough his direction in Training Day is not terrible. There definitely were some useless scenes thrown in there, and there was not very much character development, which is something I really hate not to see in films. After all, if the characters are not developed then the audience does not actually feel for them, and if the audience does not feel for them it hardly matters what happens in the end. This was the case here, and to make it worse the ending was a huge disappointment. If Antoine Fuqua did something right it was that he did at least make a somewhat thrilling film that keeps the audience interested. It looked as if Training Day was going to be a very good police drama that overcame its flaws, and even though it does, the ending really hurt the film. Like I said, Antoine Fuqua can, and has done a lot worse with his direction, but he had serious potential to bring home a great film here, and he didn't.


David Ayer was the screenwriter, another one I like to stay away from. All he seems to ever write are your basic mindless action films, and since the average movie goer often finds such great entertainment in those films, while I do not, they really just get on me nerves. Nowadays I will do my absolute best to stay away from action films, unless they come highly recommended. And even though this film is a large improvement from your average action flick, Ayer still did not have a very good screenplay. The dialogue was pretty bad, Denzel Washington's character had many cheesy lines, and Ethan Hawke's the same. Just your average annoying action flick.


But what set Training Day apart from most action movies? The acting, which is obvious. Before recently seeing this film I thought Russell Crowe was robbed from his deserving Oscar for his performance in A Beautiful Mind. However, after I saw this I can admit that I was very wrong. The Academy has had its goofs over the years, but this certainly was not one of them. Denzel Washington has always been a good actor, not one of my favorites because he always acts the exact same in every film, but there is no denying he has a gift in acting. However, from what I have seen I think this is his best performance. He played the part of the questionable and corrupt detective perfectly. And even as I have already expressed my displeasure with the ending, his acting in the climax was unbelievable. I really cannot say enough about his acting, except that even with the films many, many flaws, the acting saved it. I am by no means an Ethan Hawke. He has played in some excellent films, but for the most part him as an actor I don't really care for. That is, except for this film. His innocence was completely believable, and his character was perhaps the most believable out of the group. He was in every way deserving of his supporting actor nomination at the Oscars.


Overall, Training Day is not like your average police drama, which should at least count for something. But its sloppy direction and not so great screenplay really hurt it by the end. I will admit despite the flaws it is certainly an at times thrilling, yet brutal film. Everything is shot very well, and it has a nice musical score to help it out. The acting was absolutely incredible. Denzel Washington gives a career performance (from what I have seen) and her definitely comes through playing the bad cop. Ethan Hawke is a fine surprise in this film, as he gives his best performance that I have seen. The largest downfall is as I have mentioned the ending, but if you can get past it the film is good. I would recommend it to action films fans, and everyone else watch it for the acting.

On the Waterfront

Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) spends his days only hoping that he will one day be a prize fighter, while working for the union boss, Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb). Terry unknowingly participates in the murder of Joey Doyle, which was planned by Friendly. Terry later meets and falls in love with Joey's sister, who introduces him to Father Barry (Karl Malden), and Terry begins to feel guilty for his past deeds. But with the help of Father Barry, Terry will take responsibility for his past, and stand up to Friendly and his corrupt ways as union boss.


On the Waterfront has got to be one of the most underrated, and overlooked films today. I mean, sure the old critics loved it and still do, but nowadays you just do not hear people discussing On the Waterfront when it comes to the greatest films ever made. Which is a shame, because from what I have seen On the Waterfront is easily one of the best, no doubt top 20 material. I certainly was not alive in 1954, but I highly doubt cinema at that time had ever seen a film quite like this one.


I am sure if you have ever read any of my other reviews you know my love for Elia Kazan as a director. But On the Waterfront especially out of all of his films shows his ability to craft a fantastic film. The film combines Kazan and Budd Schulberg as the writer, who has also written for another film I love, A Face in the Crowd. Normally in older films the story tends to lag a bit, but here Schulberg and Kazan team up and make a very interesting story, that draws in the audience from the first scene. Now a movie about a corrupt union boss is not for everyone, but I think that On the Waterfront will please almost all big movie buffs, and is a film that should be seen by most. Kazan's direction is definitely at the height of his career in this film, as he makes every single scene in this film count, with not a wasted or boring moment from start to finish. Budd Schulberg's writing was Oscar worthy as well. His screenplay is very well written, and the script is about as good as it will ever get in a film.


Now the acting was by far the most impressive part of On the Waterfront. After finishing it, I had to ask myself if all the people in the world that say Marlon Brando's best performance is in The Godfather have even seen this film. I loved Brando in The Godfather, but in my opinion this is by far his career performance. He plays the character of a rough fighter to absolute perfection, and he puts a lot of feeling into his performance as well. As his character unfolds during the middle of the film, Brando's performance unfolds as well and he hits a home run here. This is definitely one of the more deserved Oscar wins in cinema history, and if I had a top 10 performance list, Brando would be on it for his performance in this film. But all the credit cannot go to him, he had an absolutely incredible supporting cast. Karl Malden as Father Barry was brilliant, and Eva Marie Saint was great as well. Plus, it's always a pleasure to watch a film where Lee J. Cobb has a big part, and he did not let down. The acting was Oscar worthy all around.


I would also like to make a little notw about the cinematography. Sometimes compared to films nowadays it can be hard to enjoy the look of an older film, as they just do not seem to have aged well anymore. Technology is improving everday! But the cinematography in On the Waterfront is very good, and I mean some of the best I have ever seen in a black and white film. It is not a strain at all to sit and watch it, and that is just another thing that impressed me in the film.


Overall, On the Waterfront is truly a film masterpiece. Great writing and perfect direction combine here to make a near perfect film. Marlon Brando gives a brilliant performance, and is what I think to be hands down his best, which is saying something considering his career. The story is amazing, and has an unforgettable ending. On the Waterfront is a film for all movie buffs around the world.

Shutter Island

US Marshall, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is headed to Shutter Island to investigate because of a missing patient on the island, Rachel Solando. Teddy is a veteran World War II soldier, and is messed up from some of the experiences he had there. The hospital refuses to let Teddy have access to the patient's records, making things harder for him and his partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo). Soon after arriving on the island a storm hits, so Teddy finds himself stuck on the island for the time being. While Teddy is having serious migraines, he begins to believe something very wrong is going on at the island, and soon starts to fear for everyone's lives on Shutter Island.


I have to be honest here, Shutter Island was pretty disappointing for me. I had read mixed reviews on the film, but heard it was really good, so naturally with a director like Martin Scorsese I had fairly high hopes for the film. But in many ways it did not deliver. The story was interesting, but throughout the first half of the movie the whole thing seemed very random to me, as well as predictable. The second half absolutely saved the movie for me. It started to get much more interesting, and became more of the thriller/horror movie it was supposed to be. However, even with the good direction by one of the greatest directors in history, there was still something missing. I honestly thought one of the biggest problems was the screenplay. It was not but about 15-20 minutes into the movie that I had already figured out the ending.


With that said, there were some very good points to Shutter Island. For example, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo's acting was brilliant. Everyone seems to be talking about hoe DiCaprio deserves to get an Oscar for his Role in Inception, and While I agree I think he at least deserves a nomination for this movie. I am not a huge Mark Ruffalo fan, but he did a very good job playing the sidekick of Teddy Daniels, the hero to our story.


Overall, Shutter Island packs a few scares in for some people, and has good acting by pretty much everyone, but with a not great screenplay a few things were messed up in the beginning. This was not Martin Scorsese's best film, but for the acting in this film I thought it was good.

Final rating: Fresh-70%

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3(2010)

Andy is 17, and is now heading off to college leaving most all of his toys at home. But when the toys are accidentally donated to the Sunnyside Daycare they are all very happy to be played with again, except of course Woody who believes that the donation was a mistake. Soon after the toys are comfortable at their new home, they begin to uncover the true nature of the toys that live in the Sunnyside Daycare. Now, all the toys must team up together again to escape the daycare, and return home.


Walking out of the theater for Toy Story 3 I was shocked. I had heard that the movie was very good, but in no way did I believe that a second sequel like this one could be that good, and oh how I was wrong. In my opinion, Toy Story 3 is proof that Pixar is proably the best maker of animation today. This movie was terribly sad at the end, and it had such a fantastic ending that I believe many people will cry in, which is not easy to do with an animated movie. The animation was beautiful, and Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have done it again. They were superb. Even though I believe that Toy Story 3 was not quite as good as the originals, everyone who loves movies should watch this. It is one of Pixar's best yet.

The Deer Hunter

Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage), and Nick (Christopher Walken) are lifelong friends that all work in a factory together during America's war with Vietnam. They are all three very close to one another, and decide to go and fight in the war. But just before they leave Steven marries and a big farwell party is held for them, and the friends go on one final deer hunting trip together. But once at war Michael and the gang are captured and forced to play Russian Roulette. Michael and Nick come up with a plan so that they can escape, and it works. But afterwards the three get separated again, and find that their lives are going to take a very quick turn downhill.


Before recently seeing this film for the first time, I had heard that the actual length hurt it a bit, and many did not find it to be quite the masterpiece that some do. So I prepared myself for what I was about to see, and watched the film. The Deer Hunter is in every possible way one of the greatest films I have ever seen. Yes, it is unusually long, and some will probably find it very boring, but the way the characters are developed is so brilliant that the film is entirely unforgettable. The Deer Hunter is no doubt a tear jerker, and is very hard to stomach at times, but I am recommending this film to anyone and everyone, whether you love movies or not. Every American alive needs to have seen this, maybe that is just me, but in my opinion it is that important.


The story is so unbelievably horrible in the sense of the true horrors that it captures, but is stunningly perfect in the same way. Across the world America is quite well known for its power as far as war goes, and I think every American can speak for the terror the country went through during the war with Vietnam. Obviously some will not be able to appreciate The Deer Hunter as others will, and that is partly because most younger people that didn't live during the war will not be able to fully understand the film as well as the people who actually fought in it, or knew people who did. I am definitely not old enough to have lived during that time, but Vietnam affected my family way more than any other war, and I hear plenty of stories on any regular day. Not to mention that I am particularly interested in American history. I would not say that The Deer Hunter is a war film, but more of a film about the lives of the people in war, and how they affected the lives around them. The beginning character developement is about as impressive as it gets. It may take awhile, but the audience learns about the three main characters, their friends, and even their hunting trips. The characters are young and easy to relate to, and many viewers will find them all very likeable. Depending on how you look at the film this could be both a good, or bad thing. Just any regular movie watcher will probably find this film depressing and too sad to watch a second time, which is exactly why every American should see it. Yes, it is very sad, but Vietnam was a sad war and one of the lower points in American history. Younger people nowadays need to understand about this war, and I know they want a happy movie but I hate it, Vietnam just was not a happy time for anyone. The Deer Hunter is a tragic film, but in the way that it shows that it is a tragedy is how the film succeeds.


The Deer Hunter has one of the finer casts of any film I have ever seen. Robert De Niro is my personal favorite actor, and I can honestly say his performance here challenged what I thought was easily his best in The Godfather Part II. If not his career performance, I would take his work here over any of his other films, even one of his most acclaimed in Taxi Driver. De Niro's performance was about as tragic and hard to handle as the actual film was. His acting ability continues to amaze me everytime I watch him on screen, and tears may come to your eyes watching him here. His performance is brilliant in every sense of the word, do not miss it. Meryl Streep, my favorite actress of all time, was fantastic as well. I honestly do not think she could act badly if she tried. This is one of her finest performances. Christopher Walken, now he was the biggest surprise. I always knew he was a great actor, but in The Deer Hunter he gives what I think is his career performance. His job during the games of Russian Roulette were the most impressive parts I think. John Savage was great as well, along with all the other supporting actors.


Michael Cimino is not too impressive of a director in my opinion, but in filming The Deer Hunter he has struck gold. His direction is so perfect. This film could have easily been boring, and probably should have been. Every scene in this film is needed, and every scene is pure perfection, all thanks to Cimino's job in the directing chair. Deric Washburn's screenplay is incredible as well. Everything about it really. All of the scenes were very well thought out and well written, plus a brilliant script. Cimino and Washburn knew what they had going here, and that was a masterpiece.


Overall, The Deer Hunter is about as close to perfection as a film can get. People may not like its length, or its message. But the fact of the matter is The Deer Hunter had a story to tell, and told it brillianly. The acting is some of the best you will ever see, along with Cimino's spotless direction, and Washburn's fantastic writing. This is easily a top 10 film for me, and could even be higher. The Deer Hunter truly is a magnificent film.

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard is set in Hollywood during the 50s. Joe Gillis (William Holden) is a screenwriter, not one that is very well known, and is loaded with debts. He plans to return to his hometown and get away from his life, but while driving one day he meets up with people he did not want to see. Joe tries to escape and gets a flat tire, then parking in a seemingly empty garage. Little did he know that it belonged to the once acclaimed actress of silent films, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). Norma's career has basically been finished, and she lives alone in her mansion with only her butler, Max Von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim) to keep her company. But once she meets up with Joe, and finds out that he is a screenwriter, she gets an idea. Norma asks Joe to read the screenplay she has been writing, and then to edit it. Since Joe is out of money and luck, he takes the offer and lives with her, but this turns out to be a not so good decision.


Wow, what an unbelievable film! Being such a big fan of movies, I am quite ashamed and embarrassed to say that I had not seen this film until now. Sunset Boulevard is fairly predictable, but it is made in such a way that it works today just as it did many years ago in 1950. The two main characters, Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis, are about as unforgettable as a character can be. As frightening as Norma Desmond was, I honestly cannot imagine what people were thinking when this came out. I mean, seriously? If "The Blob" was considered a horror film in 1958, then this must have been quite the ride for an audience of that time.


I often hear people say that Christopher Nolan's consistency as a director is equaled by none. And a name usually follows like Martin Scorsese, or Steven Spielberg. Even though that is an obviously ridiculous statement, any one who says it is no doubt not familiar with the works of Billy Wilder, or Fritz Lang for that matter. But that is another topic and another discussion. Billy Wilder is really a name people do not mention enough when talking about the best directors of all time. He truly had that vision of how to actually make a brilliant film. I know it is hard to compare older directors to newer ones, but Billy Wilder deserves to be on any best director list. His writing and direction are so perfect here, it really makes me mad to know that he did not win best director back when this came out. I was clearly not born in 1950, but if I had of been it would be a frustrating year between me and my relationship with The Academy.


The cast is absolutely incredible. Gloria Swanson takes the lead playing the crazy Norma Desmond, and how did she not win best actress? Another thing that I cannot understand. If I am even somewhat frightened by her portrayal of the character, after over 60 years, you know that it is excellent acting. She is scary, and all around amazing in playing such a disturbed character, because of her lack of fame. William Holden is not an actor that I know a whole lot about, but everytime I watch him in a film I really like his performance. Sunset Boulevard was no exception. This is actually most likely my favorite of his performances, though he was brilliant in Network. And the supporting actors were great as well. Erich von Stroheim was fantastic as the butler, and Nancy Olson was also very good. All around the acting was very good.


Overall, Sunset Boulevard is a film that will always be loved by me. It is brilliant in its approach to the real world of Hollywood. Billy Wilder has constructed an unforgettable film here, with both his writing and direction, backed up by great performances. Sunset Boulevard is the true definiton of a film masterpiece, that should be seen by any movie lover.

Splendor in the Grass

Bud Stamper (Warren Beatty) is the rich, popular captain of his highschool football team. Deanie Loomis (Natalie Wood) is the poor, nice girl in the school, who would never go any further than kissing a boy. They are both struggling with the problems of teenagers, and the many pressures of their school, but unspoken to one another they both expect to get married one day. However, Bud's very controlling father expects him to go to Yale and live a life that is important. But Bud only wants to stay home so he can marry Deanie. The two are no doubt in love, but they have everything they possibly can going against them.


Well, I gave this a 4/5, but I am actually somewhat disappointed in the film overall. I am a huge Elia Kazan fan, he is in fact one of my favorite directors of all time. Though not reviewed very much, or heard mentioned often in today's time, Splendor in the Grass has always been a big film in my family. I watched it once when I was young, and remembered it being a masterpiece, but after watching it recently a second time it seems that I was very wrong. Splendor in the Grass is a very solid film, but nothing more than that, unfortunately.


Let's begin with the acting, which coming from the 60s it was a little hard for me to judge properly. Natalie Wood's performance is excellent here, but there is a very big problem with it. I know older movies tend to be most known for their terrible music and the over-acting by the cast, but this is a bit extreme here to be honest. Just for a regular viewer, people will have a very hard time getting into this just because Natalie Wood acts so over the top for today's time in film. It is very unrealistic and most audiences today will probably find her acting in some scenes quite laughable actually. But, I am not saying it was bad, it was very good, and especially for its time worthy of the best actress nomination. No real criticism coming from me, but just a fair warning. Warren Beatty debuts in this film, and I know he is not the most popular actor in the world, but he truly does a very good job. Bud is probably the most troubled of the characters in the film, and he takes the role and plays it perfectly on the screen. A most impressive performance coming from an underrated actor.


But the most important part of this review is the comparison between the film's rival "Rebel Without a Cause". Splendor in the Grass is not near as well known as Rebel Without a Cause is, but I hear people say that it is in fact the better film. Unlike most, I do not find either of the films to be a masterpiece, both fall just a bit short at times. But this film really is still socially important today, and made a very big impact at one point. The lives of these teenagers are hard, and often go unrecognized, which is what sparks the problems they go through, and I think that is something a lot of people in the world today can relate to. Everything may be a tad different now from what it was back then, but the story and message still work. I would personally take Rebel Without a Cause first though, as I think it is the more important film, but the concept of Splendor in the Grass is very well done.


Elia Kazan's direction is top notch as always. This was a very hard film to tackle, mainly because of the message it is trying to show, but as always the brilliant Kazan comes through for us. I honestly do not think he has made a film that I do not like. Not one that I have seen anyways. But the writing was not perfect in my opinion, the second half of the film it began to sort of change tones, and that I did not like. Everything came together nicely by the final scene, but that was one thing that got on my nerves a bit.


Overall, Splendor in the Grass is not the masterpiece that it could have been, or that I remembered it to be, but it still brought a well acted, meaningful film to the table. It is far from perfect, but Kazan's direction makes it another solid film that goes under his name.

Crazy Heart
Crazy Heart(2009)
½

Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a fifty-seven year old, beaten down, alcoholic, chain-smoking country singer. Though he used to sign autographs and was everyone's favorite singer, he now means nothing more to the world then singing at a few bars, or bowling alleys every now and then. Though his next trip to the doctor he discovers that his nasty habits are killing him, and quickly. To the public, Bad Blake may have once been a hero, but in real life his actions have led to failed marriages and a grown son that he does not have any contact with. But when a newspaper journalist, Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal), wants to do an article on him, his life drastically changes forever. With the help of Jean and her young son, Bad Blake finds a new reason to live his life, and a reason to change.


I put off seeing Crazy Heart until just a few weeks ago, because I am not usually one for country music, and this seemed a little too boring for my taste. But I saw that it was on television, and this is Jeff Bridges' one Oscar, so since he is one of my more favorite actors I decided to give it a go. Well let me start by saying I was very close to giving this a perfect score, but I had to drop it to 4.5/5, due to the fact that there just was not enough to the story. Just as Rotten Tomatoes suggests, it is a bit familiar, and that is something I do not at all like in a film. But the funny thing is we have another debut here, it seems I have been reviewing a lot of directorial debuts recently. Scott Cooper had before this appeared in a couple of films, but starts of his career in the director's chair being the screenwriter, producer, and director for Crazy Heart. Unfortunately for him though, his job was not at all the most impressive, and the film probably would not have suffered very much without him. But still, Cooper deserves at least some recognition for this film. Some will probably find the film a bit boring, but Cooper does a fantastic job with the character developement for Bad Blake. Crazy Heart is definitely a tale with plenty of sadness, but the audience slowly begins to actually care for the character of Bad Blake as the film moves on. It may not be a feel good movie, but Crazy Heart finds its meaning in the character of Bad Blake that is sure to bring at least a few of the viewers to tears. Again, it may be a story we have all heard, but through its storytelling and main character, Crazy Heart moves its audience in such a way that most films can't.


Now, the film I am going to compare this to is The King's Speech, in the way that it is completely driven by the lead performance, the same that Colin Firth made The King's Speech. Where a movie like The Social Network is more great because of its writing and direction. I still will take great acting over great directing any day, so no matter what anyone tells me The King's Speech was better than The Social Network in my opinion. Which is just why I loved Crazy Heart so much. I couldn't say it any better myself, so I decided to quote Roger Ebert. The opening statement is his review of Crazy Heart says "Some actors are blessed. Jeff Bridges is one of them." And it is true, when someone works very hard at something they can become great at whatever it is. But sometimes someone like Jeff Bridges is blessed at his birth to be able to do what others can't, and that is what makes him so amazing. I'm sure Jeff Bridges has worked his entire life to be as good as he is, but some things are nothing but God given talent. It doesn't happen often, but I am giving most of the credit for this film to Jeff Bridges. I have not known many country singers in my lifetime, but this is about as good of a portrayal as it gets. Bridges truly puts emotion, passion, and most of all heart into this performance. What comes out of it? A well deserved Oscar. Maggie Gyllenhaal is an actress I have never cared for, especially in The Dark Knight. I have not seen all of the best supporting actress performances, but this should have won from the ones I know. Robert Duvall was good as always, even though he had a small part, and Tom Bower did fine as well. Also, it was nice to see Colin Farrell acting well in a film again.


Overall, Crazy Heart is a film not to be missed by movie lovers around the world. The cinematography is great, and very pleasant to just sit and watch. Brilliant performances by Maggie Gyllanhaal and Bridges, plus good writing, good direction, and a great final song make up to a wonderful film.

The Blind Side

Michael Oher, also known as "Big Mike" (Quinton Aaron) is a teenage, homeless African-American who does not know who his father is, and has a drug addict for a mother. But one night driving home Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) sees Michael walking outside in the cold by himself. Going against her husband, Sean Tuohy (Tim McGraw), Leigh Anne picks Big Mike up and takes him to their home so that he can stay at least one night. Big Mike's body size is unusually large, especially for the all white christian school he goes to. With the Tuohy family being the biggest of football fans, they try their hardest to get him involved in sports, and he is certainly fitting for the line. This turns out to be a long and meaningful relationship between Big Mike and the Tuohy family.


Oh wow, this is about as big of a disappointment as it comes. I personally have seen quite a few football films that I love, and I am quite the big football fan myself. "Rudy" and "Friday Night Lights" are some of my favorites, the latter being the best football movie I have ever seen. But to start with, The Blind Side received generally positive reviews from the critical mass, some negative, but for the most part good reviews. And from family members, who I now know never to trust, some of them actually said this was the greatest movie ever made. Since I was obviously not very smart at this time, about a year ago, I was expecting a brilliant, touching story that is one of the best football movies ever. And honestly, after seeing it for the first time, I cannot explain how frustrated I was.


Let's begin with the problems involving the story. The Blind Side is drowned out with the non-stop praise of the great deed the Tuohy family has done where they take this young boy in and adopt him. I am assuming everyone who is reading this, whether they have seen the film or not, is familiar with the story and ending. But if you haven't seen this, what I say next could be considered a spoiler. I know, I know. Michael Oher becomes the amazing first round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens, just after being homeless and seeming as if his life was going nowhere. I do not want anyone to mistake what I am saying here, and I am not trying to say that what the family did was not a good thing. But let's look at it for a second. This family owns several Taco Bells, they obviously are in no way short of money, and the kids go to a private school. I just don't think it was that big of a deal that they picked this guy up off of the streets with the worry that he might "steal something". What they did was great, but i've personally known just as good stories, maybe I should write a screenplay and then people will say that is the best movie of all time. I guess that is where the world's taste in film has gone.


Next, and this is something I do not often criticise in a review, or even mention at all. It is possible that this was just my personal taste, but I absolutely hated the cinematography in this film. Everything about the movie was shot very bad, in my opinion. I somewhat felt like I was watching my family's old home videos, which is a tad overstatement, but you get the point. I haven't done much research on the cinematographer or anything, so maybe that is what the goal was, but either way I did not like it and it got on my nerves.


Now on to the acting, another frustrating part of the film. Sandra Bullock winning best actress? I don't think so. Bullock has had better performances in her romantic comedies that my mother is always watching. Her acting here was good, and that's about all the praise I can give it. She seemed very much like a rich southern lady, and for that I give her a thumbs up. But I was born and raised in the south, and if that is the best southern accent she can do, then she should watch Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the Line". Sandra Bullock is an actress that does deserve to have an Oscar, so maybe the Academy saw the chance to give her one and did. But see, that is the biggest problem. Though Sandra Bullock gave a good performance, but in no way even deserving of a nomination, she was by far the best actor in the film. The two kids were pretty bad. The little boy was not funny, as he was supposed to be, and I felt like I was watching two young actors who had memorized the script with a mechanical feel. It just wasn't very good. Tim McGraw was not too great either, but really, this is what you get when you put a country music star in a movie, it just isn't a good idea at all. But the man playing Big Mike, Quinton Aaron, was along with the others, not very good. He did have a pretty rough life, but I had a hard time feeling sorry for him. He did not seem like someone who had been through a lot, he seemed like someone trying to put the "poor pitiful me" face on. It was annoying, and I honestly wish they had found someone better to play the part. It doesn't help either that all the actors had the task of rising above a terrible script, which they failed to do.


Overall, The Blind Side has got to be one of the worst best picture nominees I have ever seen. For once, this past year, I feel like the Academy got the basic and important stuff right. But in 2009 they obviously did not. I mean, how on this earth was The Blind Side nominated over Crazy Heart? It was just ridiculous, and "Up" should have won best picture anyways. The script was bad, hurting the bad cast already. Sandra Bullock has a good, or decent performance here, but not even close to her best. I don't think I really need to say anything else about Tim McGraw, we all know he can't act. The rest of the actors just weren't that good either. I wish had of liked this more, I really wanted to, but I feel like a 2/5 is being generous here. "I just thank God and Lawrence Taylor." That's about as dumb as it can get.

2/5

Moon
Moon(2009)
½

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is a man working for the Lunar Industries on a trip by himself to the moon. He has a three year contract to live there alongside the most helpful computer GERTY (Kevin Spacey). Unfortunately for Sam, there is no direct communication from where he is and Earth, making Sam all too lonely over the years doing nothing but talking to himself and his intelligent computer that attends to his needs everyday. Sam desperately wants to go home to Earth where his wife and child are waiting for him, and as the contract draws to a close he begins to hallucinate. And with only two weeks to go Sam has an accident while working outside the lunar station that knocks him out. When he wakes up GERTY is by him, and explains what has happened, but after this strange and unusual things begin to happen in the station.


What a nice little surprise Moon turned out to be. With a fairly young man like Duncan Jones making his directorial debut here, I can honestly say I had no expectations at all for this film. But it turned out to be one of my favorite science fiction films that I have ever seen. Duncan Jones has made a film debut that is one of the more impressive ones I have ever seen, and according to the critical mass "Source Code" his second film is quite wonderful as well, which I will be seeing soon. Moon reminded me a bit of the science fiction great "2001: A Space Odyssey", and I know being as brilliant as it was, that could worry some people. But even though Moon might not be the equal, it still brings creativity and a generally satisfying science fiction film to the table.


Sam Rockwell gives a absolutley fantastic performance here. For any fans of his, or movie fans at all, don't miss his performance. Even if you do not like the film it is worth watching just for him. Being the only character that actually has any real lines, other than GERTY, the stage is completely set for Rockwell to make it a show, and he does. He packs plenty of emotion, passion, and just an intensity to his performance that is really quite amazing at times. It is so entertaining to watch the battle, and friendship, between him and the other Sam Bell, also played by him of course. It is a very hard thing for an actor to keep a film interesting by himself throughout the entire film. Ryan Reynolds struggled with it in his recent film, Buried. But Sam Rockwell did it beautifully. I cannot give enough to Rockwell for his performance here, and I am looking forward to seeing more of his works. Plus, Kevin Spacey makes a pretty interesting computer, that reminded me a bit of HAL 9000 sometimes.


Moon in general was just shot very well. Some of the space scenes were so beautiful, that it just lifted the film up higher. The cinematography is so great, and it is a real shame this film did not turn up in more theaters, like on that is near me. The writing was incredible, the script was good, and the screenplay all around was good. Duncan Jones' direction was as close to perfection as you can get, especially for his first time. He and Nathan Parker really knew what they had going here, Moon could have easily been another boring science fiction film, but with brilliant writing and direction they make it worth a second watch, maybe even a buy.


Overall, Moon will find its place on any of my best science fiction lists. The only problem I had with it was the length. It really did hurt the film, and I just wish it had been longer. Moon keeps the audience interested with plenty of mystery, and has an ending that is sure to please the masses. Jones and parker's writing is as good as it gets, and Rockwell's performance hits the mark perfectly. In his debut, Duncan Jones has crafted a near masterpiece, and a great science fiction film.

4.5/5

District 9
District 9(2009)

District 9 begins when a very large star ship lands in South Africa during 1982. These are aliens called "the prawns" and are initially welcomed by the human race. Now, twenty-eight years after this, the aliens are stuck and mistreated in a beat up, worthless camp called District 9. The Multi-National United, otherwise known as MNU, cares very little for the alien race, but has strong interest in their advanced weapons. An MNU field operative, Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) has the job of moving of one million of the aliens to a new camp that will be named District 10. Wikus meets an alien named Christopher, where a black fluid is accidentaly squirted into Wikus' face. His DNA begins to change to that of a prawn's, and Wikus can use the advanced weapons that before only aliens could use. This makes the MNU want to do testing on Wikus, to help more humans be able to use the weapons, but Wikus flees and heads to District 9 where a war between humans and the prawns is about to begin.


Neill Blomkamp makes his directorial debut here, and what a mighty impressive one it was. Nowadays it seems that the genre of science fiction has, or at least was dying down to nothing but old memories. But recently, in the past few years, it looks as if it might be making a come back. With Nolan making the excellent Inception, and Duncan Jones with Moon, and the most recent of them all Source Code. It is quite a relief to see new directors like Jones and Blomkamp working on these projects, because the film indstry needs these types of directors to keep the genre going as it used to be. All of the most recent science fiction films I have seen get a thumbs up from me, and hopefully I will enjoy Source Code as well.


I honestly wish I could have given this film a higher rating, as brilliant as it was in some aspects. The story was more creative than most involving aliens, but that was a problem for me. I have a very hard time getting into a film that has aliens, mainly speaking for only today's time in film. District 9 did pull of its story quite nicely, but I would rate that part of the film no higher than a B-. However, I cannot deny how well this was written. I may not be in love with the actual plot, which was surprisingly complicated, but Blomkamp Terri Tatchell sure know how to make a purely entertaining film worth watching more than once. Blomkamp's direction was great, especially for his first time. Not to mention the guy is only 31 years old. And he did a good job of answering the questions that needed to be answered, and leaving the rest up to the imagination. A job well done but Tatchell and Blomkamp.


We also have another big screen debut, but this time with an actor. Sharlto Copley, a name most everyone who loves films is probably already familiar with. Just after this, he played in The A-Team, which i'm sure everyone knows. But he actually gave a pretty special performance here. I very intense one actually. He plays the part with passion, and it truly turned out to be a great piece of work. Obviously, the fame of acting for this particular year all goes to Jeff Bridges for his work in Crazy Heart, and that could make Copley's performance overlooked maybe. But that does not change that he was brilliant, and most anyone should be able to see that. The script was unusally well written here as well. The film was close to perfect, minus the story, that is about all there is to it.


The visual effects, were no doubt technically incredible. Even though what I have seen of Avatar was quite amazing, it would be hard for me to give the Oscar to any film but this. The sound was great, the editing was perfect, the action sequences were so well done my jaw dropped, and just everything visually about District 9 was perfection. For today's time, District 9 has about as fine special effects as you will ever see.


Overall, District 9 is a pleasant surprise of a film. Even with the critical acclaim I did not believe I would like this film so much. As much as I hate to admit it, Blomkamp and Tatchell prove that aliens can be a major part of the plot, and the film still be good. It has been a long time since a movie involving aliens was this good. Maybe even since Close Encounters of the Third Kind. District 9 is well acted, brilliantly directed, and all in all a great film.

4/5

Halloween
Halloween(1978)

It is Halloween night in Illinois in 1963. Young six year old Michael Myers brutally stabbed his sister to death for a reason unknown to most. His parents come home only to find him standing completely zoned out with a large, bloody knife in his hands. Michael is then put in a mental hospital where he will spend the next fifteen years of his life, until on October 30th 1978 Michael breaks free and steals his Doctor's car. Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) knows that Michael is looking for blood, so he heads to Haddonfield, Michael's home town, to try and prevent too much destruction. Loomis immediately heads to the local Sheriff where they will both try and hunt down Michael as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) feels like she is being stalked by someone, but she does not know who. This turns out to be Michael as he targets this group of teenagers on his killing spree.


First off, Halloween is definitely one of the best horror films I have ever seen. Nowadays I cannot help but feel that the writers and directors of the world seem to think blood and gore equals a scary film. Which is not at all true. If you look at the recent horror/slasher films that come out, all that happens is someone taking a chainsaw or a knife and cutting people open. That isn't scary, it's more laughable than anything to be honest. The key to making a film actually somewhat scary, it is a very difficult thing to do, is not blood, it is suspense. If a movie has enough suspense it does not matter whether there is any death or blood at all, with suspense a film will be scary. Which is what Halloween does so well.


The story, for the most part, is just your basic horror film. A group of teenagers are being hunted by some psycho that decides to kill people. The audience doesn't really know why, but that is just what happens. I personally prefer to have the killings explained a bit more than they are in most films, such as Psycho, but I suppose as far as horror goes that just isn't the way the films are made. I have read and heard many people compare this to Psycho, and as much as I loved this film, I cannot say I agree with that. As far as I have ever seen Psycho is the best of all in the horror genre, though I must admit Halloween is no doubt on of the best horror films I have ever seen. It is actually a bit slow moving at times, which is what makes it so great. A lot may not happen for awhile in the film, but John Carpenter slowly builds the suspense with Michael following Jamie Lee Curtis' characters. It made for a great, unforgettable climax.


I have to say I am not at all a John Carpenter fan. Any director that only directs horror films is not a director for me. He may have made many films that received plenty of critical acclaim, but most of his films just aren't my style. However, he really did do a good job here. He knew what he was doing, and this was one of his first films. The performances were not that bad, which is another thing you really have to watch out for in horror films. I have always found Jamie Lee Curtis an annoying actress, but I guess she did fine in this film. I mean, it shouldn't be that hard to find actors who can run around and scream and make it sound real, but movie makers today sure seem to have a world of trouble doing it. Donald Pleasence was okay as well. Nothing worth praising by any of the actors really, but if you compare the acting in this film to the acting in other horror films, it is certainly much improved.


Overall, Halloween is an excellent film. It may be a bit overrated, I can't see how so many people give it a perfect score, but that does not change how great it really is. It is actually a film that I think gets better, and more scary the older it gets. As I mentioned all people are used to today is bllod and gore, and this truly shows how to make a film scary, that honestly is not that violent. It is nothing but chills and inforgettable scenes. Halloween is a well made, well directed, and just a really great film. Maybe I didn't find it to be quite the masterpiece that some do, but nothing short of excellence.

A River Runs Through It

A River Runs Through It tells the quite extraordinary story of two boys, Norman Maclean (Craig Sheffer) and Paul Maclean (Brad Pritt). They are growing up in the 1920s with a very strict father who is a pastor, Rev. Maclean (Tom Skerritt). Their father only teaches them about three things in life, the Bible, school and fly fishing. Paul is more of the rebellious son that has to be watched very closely, while Norman is responsible, and has the look of someone that will one day be a good man. So Norman departs from his lifetime home to go to college and start his own life, without returning home for six years. Paul does not want to leave his home because of fly fishing, which he is unusually good at, and he finds a job as a local journalist. That summer Norman finds a girlfriend, and begins to get serious and keep a clean life. But Paul turns to nothing but gambling and liquor, getting in debt and making his share of enemies. Through the exact same teachings of the Bible and fly fishing from their father, Norman and Paul become two completely different men.


Directed by the famous Robert Redford, A River Runs Through It is a surprisingly very good film. This is the type that fits my taste perfectly, and while seeing it I was somewhat reminded of another film I truly love, The Cider House Rules. There is no doubt that many will find this film slow and very boring, but that is what I love most about it. Redford and Friedenberg do nothing special here but take the audience through the interesting, meaningful, and sad lives of the Maclean brothers, and the people concerning them. I have always been a big Robert Redford fan, as he stars in one of my favorite films ever, The Sting. It was great to see him in the directing chair here, and even though this is not the first film Redford ever directed, it is the only one I have seen so it has the same affect for me. I have heard some say Redford has made a masterpiece here, and others say just another boring, no point film. I disagree on both ends. A River Runs Through It is no masterpiece, but that does not change the fact that it is a very well made film, that most movie buffs will like, or maybe even love. Redford's direction is quite excellent really, he takes us through the lives of these two men that are developed so brillinatly that the audience is likely to have tears nearing the end. Though the end was my biggest problem with the film. It felt forced to me, without about ten minutes left it did not feel like the movie was about to be over, and I think the writers might have forced it. Not enough to ruin the movie or anything, but I would have liked it to be better than it was.


A River Runs Through It is also a very well cast film, with no miscasts, which is always a plus. I was worried that Craid Sheffer would not do a good job, but I was in for quite a surprise here. He did wonderfully. He was a great lead, and good enough to lift the film up even more, portraying the character of Norman very well. Brad Pitt was a standout here. I know many people like to give him hate, and I can see why. But it is hard to deny that he actually does have acting ability, and it is shown off in this film. No doubt one of my favorite performances coming from him. Tom Skerritt was so great as well. If you have ever known an old country pastor then you will know just exactly how well he did here. A great cast just brought this film up to what it needed to be.


Overall, A River Runs Through It is a film that with a stronger ending, could have been a near masterpiece, if not one. Though that does not change for the fact that it is a very solid, good film that can be enjoyed by adults as well as families. It is not complicated, it is just a simple tale of life that is really worth watching. The screenplay is great, and Redford's direction is very impressive. He should probably work in the directing chair more often than he does. The acting was brilliant, which helps the characters that are developed to perfection. The cinematography and musical score were both Oscar worthy as well, one of which taking home the big award. When watching this film, take it for what it is and the whole film is worth your money in the end.

4/5

Hop
Hop(2011)

Hop is the story of a man named Fred O'Hare (James Marsden). He is young, but obviously has much more growing up to do than even his much younger sister does. During family dinner one night, Fred's mom, dad and two sisters prepared a speech for him, hoping that he would become a little more responsible and get a job, but Fred only ignores what they say. But when his sister, Sam (Kaley Cuoco), secretly finds him a job interview Fred's life drastically changes, but not because of the job. Far away on Easter Island the Easter Bunny aka E.B. (Russell Brand) runs away from home with the intentions of becoming a famous drummer. But E.B. and Fred meet up in quite a strange way, when Fred hits E.B. with his car. E.B. then fakes being seriously injured, so that he can have a place to stay. This turns out to be a disaster for Fred as E.B. completely messes up his sisters house, and makes Fred look even worse. But as the two get to know each other more, they realize that both of them need to grow up, and become more responsible.


Well, let me try and put it like this. Hop could have been much worse, and a total disaster, but it also should have been better. I am probably the only person that felt this way, but I actually had fairly high expectations for this film. There is actually a surprising amount of talent that they have going here, especially in the cast I think. But no, talent was not near enough to bring this film to life. Tim Hill is the director of the film, which should be an immediate red flag for any movie lover. I did not realize he was the director when I went in to watch it, which could explain my somewhat high expectations. Tim Hill's direction here is not as bad as he sometimes is, but it was bad enough for him to finally know that maybe he should just find a different job. He did do an alright job with the screenwriting in the Spongebob movie, so maybe that would work for him, but this whole animation mix with live action is not working. Though it does seem to make box office money, which is the only thing some directors care about.


The screenwriting was honestly so bad I laughed. But see, this being a comedy, I laughed in the wrong kind of way. James Marsden is in my opinion a very underrated actor, I have seen him in a few films, and whether they were good or not I think he is a fairly talented actor. But here, even though his acting was not the worst, it just did not work out in the end. For mainly him, Marsden's script was just a literal joke. Nothing that came out of his mouth was funny, and I decided maybe 10 minutes into the film that he was a miscast if there ever was one. I am not sure of his age, or the exact age of the character he played, but it sure looked to me like he was playing a character that is a lot younger than him in real life. Now I know this type of thing has been pulled of many times in movies before, but in this situation, it was ridiculous. James Marsden's actual acting was not horrible, but combined with his unbelievably awful script, and him just running around like a 12 year old kid, it made up for an overall bad job on his part, and the person casting. The supporting actors just really were not that great either. Kaley Cuoco may not have had a big enough part to make a significant difference, but her performance was bad, and very annoying, also made worse by a script that can nearly destroy a movie. However, there is one man, or rabbit, who was there to at least attempt and save the day. I am not a Russell Brand fan, but he lifts this film up entirely with the delightful character of E.B. The only parts I laughed at were him, and a rabbit with such an accent really is quite entertaining. But it is a shame because one good character, and one good actor was not enough to bring this film to a good rating. Though it was enough to make the film enjoyable at times. Hugh Laurie as E.B.'s father was an excellent choice as well.


Also, as you can see, Hop did have some very good parts to it. The animation was absolutely fantastic. The rabbits and chicks were done so well, and that really made me enjoy the film more. In fact, all of the Easter Island was done incredibly. Especially the factory where everything was made, it made me feel like a kid again, and made me a little hungry for candy. Hop's beautiful animation was top notch, but the problem is that most of the film took place in the real world, which is much less fun for the viewer to watch. I have never been a fan of the animation, and live action mix, and Hop is certainly no exception.


Overall, Hop did not nearly live up to my expectations, and that made for quite the average Easter film. Honestly, Christmas movies, Easter movies, none of these seem to work anymore. Hop mixes a laughably bad script with a very uninspiring performance coming from James Marsden. Russell Brand and Hugh Laurie try and help the acting problems, but the flaws are still way too obvious here. The animation is excellent, and that makes up for an entertaining film, but in the end Hop is not a film very many people will like.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
½

Fantastic Mr. Fox is the crazy story of Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and his many wild adventures. Back in the old days he and his wife, Mrs. Fox (Meryl Streep) would steal birds for a living, and were good at it too. Needless to say though, the fox world was a very targeted species by humans. But on his last job Mr. Fox discovers that he is going to be a father, and this convinces him that his days are over being a wild animal, and he settles down to focus on the family. However, one day when his son, Ash (Jason Schwartzman) is much older, Mr. Fox decides it is time to get a real house and quit living in a hole. So he buys a house next to the meanest, and most scary farmers in the world. Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Mr. Fox brings in a good friend, Badger (Bill Murray) who will help him complete this one final job. The mission is a success, but the farmers are not happy with what has happened, and decide to fight back. This puts the entire world of animals in a load of trouble, and Mr. Fox, with his inspiring speeches, must lead animals of all different kinds against these three farmers and hopefully save everyone's lives.


This is nothing short of fine stop-motion animation. Fantastic Mr. Fox is a clear comedy that will make both kids and adults alike laugh, but it also has its moments of meaning, and plenty of life lessons. I am a huge Pixar fan, but it is movies like these that come around every once in awhile that remind me of the fact that Pixar is not the only animation studios that can make a great movie. These days, with DreamWorks having good films and bad, it just seems that Pixar controls all things animated. But Wes Anderson is here to say that he himself also has a talent for making animated films. Well, I must admit that this is the only Wes Anderson film I have ever seen, none of his films are really my type, so I tend to blow them off unless they are on TV. But what he does here impressed me. It is quite unique for a director to make several films, then just switch to animation, and make something so brilliant as this. Along with Noah Baumbach, Anderson wrote a screenplay funny, crazy, and yet so amazing. The use of the word "cuss" honestly never got old, and I can tell you I laughed out loud in this way more than I do in most comedies. The script is so funny and so well written, kids will find it hilarious, but there are sure to be plenty of jokes that slip by them and make the parents laugh as well. Fantastic Mr. Fox may go all over the place throughout the film, but Wes Anderson knows what he has going here, and that's what made this film come together so well in the end.


This also just further reminded me of why I have come to love stop-motion animation so much. Though I will go as far as saying some people will not like this type of animation, especially the way it is done here. Most will enjoy it, but I would not be surprised at all if someone made a negative comment about it. I recently went on a small animation kick, and watched some interesting films that I had not seen before. Some of which being 9, Tale of Despereaux, Coraline, and Mary and Max. Next to the last I mentioned, Fantastic Mr. Fox was definitely my favorite of these. I may not have found it to be quite the masterpiece some might have, but this certainly came through in every way for me.


Now on to the vocal cast. This is in fact some of the best vocal talent I have ever heard. I am not the biggest of George Clooney fans, even in some of his stand out roles like Michael Clayton he just gets on my nerves a bit. But here he is brilliant in every way possible. His lines are great and he is just plain funny. Meryl Streep is one of my all time favorites, maybe my favorite actress ever. She handles the role of Mrs. Fox just as she handles all of her roles, perfectly. Wallace Wolodarsky was actually my favorite of everyone. If you have seen the film then you know exactly what I am talking about here. He plays the part of the opossum, which was hands down the most funny of all the characters, mainly because of the acting. Eric Chase Anderson and Jason Schwartzman were both great as well, playing the two younger characters. And I can't forget Owen Wilson and Bill Murray, though playing small parts they make plenty of difference for their time in the film. One more thing to look out for is Wes Anderson playing the weasel. He sure does a bit of everything here.


Overall, Fantastic Mr. Fox is an absolute delight for all ages. It is easy to look at, and very well written. Packing plenty of heart and humor, Wes Anderson proves that he can make animated films as well, and I certainly hope this will not be the last that he ever does. And with plenty of unforgettable characters done incredibly by the vocal cast, Fantastic Mr. Fox shows that Pixar might just have a bit to worry about.

How to Train Your Dragon
½

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a young boy living on an island with the great vikings. He explains in the beginning that it is a very old land, but with new houses. This is because their houses are constantly being burned down by the firery breath of dragons, who they are always in battle with. Hiccup is the son of a high in rank viking Stoick (Gerard Butler) who is ashamed of his son because he fails to be the dragon fighter he is supposed to. So to prove himself Hiccup shoots down a never before seen dragon called a Night Fury. He then heads to kill it, but sees fear in the dragons eye, so he goes against the viking way and begins to train this dragon. Hiccup starts to learn more about the dragon species, and maybe that they are not as bad as everyone has always believed, and Hiccup must do everything he can to save the dragons.


Even with all of the critical acclaim How to Train Your Dragon received, I still did not think it would be this good. I thought this was an okay year (2010) for animated films. Despicable Me was not great, but it was decent. Toy Story 3 and Tangled came through nicely though. I always wanted to see this one, but I just never could seem to find the chance, and now that I have I can honestly say that it was well worth my money. The film opens overlooking the town that the vikings live in, and I was instantly drawn in by the absolutely stunning animation. That is one of the keys to an animated film, you have to get the audience's immediate attention by the animation, which is exactly what this film does so perfectly. With some of the action scenes I found my jaw dropped nearly to the floor, the animation was done so brilliantly it is almost hard to describe. The fire breathing out of the dragon's mouth, the completely lifelike movements of the humans, everything was done so great.


The story is also something that can go very wrong in a lot of animated films. Most are for children and in the process of making a child's movie the creators can lose the film's maturity making it not enjoyable for adults. But something Pixar tends to do so well is just the exact opposite, which is create plenty of laughs and put in humour and meaning that is sure to attract adults to the film as well. DreamWorks has obviously been in a struggle recently, but all they seem to do here is send a big message to Pixar saying "we can make great films too". And to be honest, even though the Academy disagrees and most young and old critics alike will disagree, I thought this was definitely better than Toy Story 3. The animation was better, the characters better, and all around the story was better. I do not want to take anything away from Toy Story 3, as Pixar did such a wonderful job making the final installment in that series, but I personally must admit How to Train Your Dragon gets the win coming from me.


The story was so creative in this film, though it seems to have all the ingredients for another childish, no good animated film, it really does work in the end. It is quite the heartfelt tale as well. I could understand if someone complained over the characters being a bit undeveloped, but I think that worked out okay. There isn't much to say great about the character developement, but the amount used here was plenty that was needed for the film in my opinion. Jay Baruchel as hiccup was fantastic. I did not particularly like him in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, I found him a bit annoying, but here I think he fit the part perfectly. And as for Gerard Butler, I can quite safely say this is by far the best film he has ever played in. And to be honest I thought he played the part of Stoick wonderfully. This may not have been the greatest vocal cast in animated film history, but it certainly was a good one, and a funny one too.


Overall, How to Train Your Dragon comes highly recommended. It has a beautiful musical score, that might be worth a buy. The animation is so incredible you may very well fall out of your seat, and the vocal talent is fantastic. It may not be the best animated movie ever, but I can actually say it is one of the best I have ever seen, and most definitely a favorite. Don't miss this film, How to Train Your Dragon is an animation masterpiece.

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is a film concerning the developement of the human race, and is broken down into four parts. The Dawn of Man, TMA-1 or Monolith on the Moon (no title card), Jupiter Mission, and Jupiter and Beyong the Infinite. It begins with The Dawn of Man, where for quite awhile nothing goes on but many apes running around. And what happens when a mysterious monolith appears? The apes begin to all crowd around it, touching it, then the next thing is one of the apes gains the knowledge of tool use. But along with another ape this is immediately used for violence. TMA-1 is the next sequence in the film, in which astronauts discover the same, or very similar monolith that was found many years ago. Like the apes, they begin to touch it and a loud screeching sound occurs. This is supposedly sent to Jupiter, and soon a few other astronauts will go on a space mission to find out just what this strange monolith is really all about.


2001: A Space Odyssey has got to be one of the most unique films I have ever seen, especially for its time. This is the film that may be overlooked by regular movie goers today, but is no doubt what has set the standard for great science fiction even today. But I do understand why most people you will talk to in today's time either have not seen this, or did not like it. 2001: A Space Odyssey is definitely a taste specific film, and it isn't the type of movie that many people will enjoy. It is more for those who have a passion for the art of film making. Even though these are all very different films as far as story goes, I would compare it to Star Wars and Star Trek. They are not actually that similar, but taking into consideration all are focused on space, at times they can have a similar feel to them. So as far as personal taste goes, I would say if you like Star Wars and Star Trek then this will probably fit your taste as well.


The story is quite complicated really, and I am sure it will take many people reading interpretations before they fully understand the film. But that is one of the points Kubrick is trying to make here. 2001: A Space Odyssey is not a film that has an exact answer to every question is asks. As Kubrick himself said, it is more of just a film that is supposed to be experienced by the viewer. It isn't what the majority of people think, not what the critics think, it is what you make out of the film. That is not usually my style of movie, as far as when a message is trying to be pushed into a film, but here that is what Kubrick wanted and it worked very well, brilliantly to be honest. However, this film can be a confusion to many audiences, and even though I have not read it, I have heard the book provides many more explanation to the things that occur than the film does. From what I have read, there are more answers concering the monolith and a more specific ending. I know that the film and novel were originally intended to compliment each other, and they have their differences, but if you want more answers that is probably the best way to go.


I have heard many people say this film is much too long, and that I don't get. I am sure some, or a lot, find it to be very boring. I strongly disagree because I thought every minute of this film was very well made, but there certainly are parts that drag out a bit. That isn't meant as criticism, but more as a fact. The film begins with about a 2 minute black screen, which I have read that Kubrick said was intended to be the side of the monolith. But I knew this was a film for me when it opened with the alignment of the moon, earth and sun, while playing the much too famous "Also Sprach Zarathustra". It may be slow moving, but everything in 2001: A Space Odyssey is needed, beginning with The Dawn of Man. This is probably where most viewers who do not make it all the way through this film will just cut the TV off. I am not sure the exact time, but it goes on for a very long while, nothing but the audience just sitting and watching the habits of the peaceful apes. But the mystery begins when the monolith comes, and the nature of the apes changed. This eventually leads into the second part, TMA-1, where the humans come across the monolith. The story is so perfect here, because even without very much dialogue and a lot of long scenes, the audience is drawn into the film with the wonders of where the monolith came from. And I think this is the part of the film that gets to people the most. There has been a time where everyone in the world is curious about where exactly we came from, and are we the only intelligent life in the universe, and this is why 2001: A Space Odyssey does not have an actual answer to all of its questions. It is more of what do you personally believe, which is one of the biggest reasons it speaks to so many people. But, as I have said, the book does have more of an answer to such questions mainly concerning the monolith. Obviously I cannot spoil them, but it does give good answers to its questions.
While it is mostly famous for the technical brilliance it displays on the screen, 2001: A Space Odyssey does have characters, and yes they do speak. These mainly only come in during the last two parts of the film, but it surprisingly enough has quite an unforgettable character in HAL 9000, voiced by Douglas Rain. This is the "perfect" computer that never makes a mistake, which leads the film's main characters into their trip to Jupiter. Obviously, if I wanted I could go into more detail about the characters, but that is not what this film is about, so I am just wasting my breath discussing such things. And this definitely took getting used to. Normally in just the average film that I watch the thing that I pay closest attention to would be the performances. Just in general that is the thing that I care most about in films. But here it does not matter whether we have talented actors or not, the script is short for most characters and very supporting to everyone. This is no doubt something that everyone might not like, and I cannot believe I am saying this. The performances were good, but honestly it doesn't even matter one bit.


The screenplay and direction combined were two quite amazing accomplishments. Most of the credit for how great this film turned out to be must go to Stanley Kubrick, considering he handled the visual effects, was the co-writer, and most of all the director of the film. But the most interesting thing was that the writer along with Kubrick was Arthur C. Clark, who was the actual author of the book. With that being the clear guide to making the film, Kubrick and Clarke really hit a home run with the screenplay. As I mentioned, and as probably everyone already knows from hearing about it, there is very little dialogue, which only increased the difficulty of Kubrick and Clarke's job. And often times they have us just sitting and watching spacecrafts float through space and listening to "The Blue Danube". But in the end, Kubrick's direction was so good it is honestly hard to believe at times. This was such a hard film to pull together with so much power in such a short time, and Kubrick does it beautifully. 2001: A Space Odyssey is undoubtedly one of the main reasons Kubrick is considered by me, and many others to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest director of all time.


One thing that still continues to amaze me about 2001: A Space Odyssey is that it is so scientifically accurate. I am no scientist, and never will be, but I have read from several different sources that this is one of the most scientifically accurate films ever made. All of the ships were designed based on how ships were supposed to be made, and there is no sound in space which is something you often will not see in movies, but is in fact the more accurate way to do the film. Normally in films I do not mind how accurate they are, as far as this goes or historical accuracy, but I do find it incredible that Kubrick has done so much in this film. It is one thing to make a brilliant film such as this one, and it is another to make one and keep it accurate. That is something that really makes the film all the more impressive in my eyes. I am not going to continue and ramble over this one specific part of the film, but if you are watching it for the first time it is something to look for, and read up on how 2001: A Space Odyssey was made.


Now for perhaps what is the most important, and no question the most impressive part of the film, and that is the technical brilliance displayed here. We all know whether we have seen the film or not, that as far as special effects go 2001: A Space Odyssey is quite groundbreaking for its time. In fact, it is not until 1977 when the original Star Wars was released that Roger Ebert compared the effects to that of this film. I personally feel that is a very big compliment to both of these films. But what I loved most was the sequence when Bowman is pulled into the colored lights, and the audience sits and watches the screen go through this for quite awhile. The cinematography was so great here as slit-scan photography is used. Which cool enough, is something I did not learn about until seeing this film. But just in general the spacecrafts floating around the universe was absolutely beautiful, and especially for its time the actual stars and space were done perfectly. Even if you are someone who finds this film boring, it is undeniably beautiful to just sit and watch. With no surprise here, 2001: A Space Odyssey won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.


Overall, this is a film that is not matched by an other science fiction film I have ever seen. Instantly after finishing it I wanted to watch it again, and after the second, I soon wanted to go back for a third. It is a film that has to fit your personal taste, but I loved every minute of it. Everything is so beautiful, and the moments without the dialogue when it is playing the outstanding music, those parts were actually some of my favorite throughout the entire film. The special effects cannot be matched for its time, and the cinematography was unbelievable. Kubrick and Clarke have combined writing this creenplay, and I have to wonder if they even knew what they were creating here. Even if I hated all of his other films (which I don't), Stanley Kubrick will always be remembered by me for this film alone. I love a lot of movies, but 2001: A Space Odyssey just might be my favorite of all time.

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is taking his normal night shift at work when he mysteriously disappears with no evidence of where he was going, or for how long. Many years later when one of his old friends gets a page from Flynn's office, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) Kevin Flynn's son, decides to look into his father's disappearence more, despite giving up hope long ago of ever seeing him again. Sam Flynn then finds himself trapped in the cyber space world that his father has also been trapped in for 20 years. Now they must put their heads together to possibly find some way to return home from this beautiful, but dangerous new world.


Well, I have to say that I am very disappointed in this film. I was hoping this would end up being one of the best movies of the year, however, it ended up being pretty average for me. The plot was very weak, stupid, and predictable. I could basically tell you exactly what was going to happen after about the first half hour of the film. The acting was good, though it was not great. I did not originally think Olivia Wilde would be a good hoice, seeing as though I have not really liked her in the past. But she turned out to play the part pretty well for the most part. Jeff Bridges is good, but nothing special. Just same old stuff for him. Now Garrett Hedlund I did not love. At times his acting was good, but at other times it was nothing but cheesy, though in the end I think a lot of people will be pleased with his performance.


But, there were definitely good parts to Tron. The soundtrack was good, and the visuals were unbelievable. I saw it in 2D, and thought it was some of the best effects I have seen in a very long time. 3D would no doubt be worth it. Even if everything else in the movie was terrible, I could just sit and enjoy the film just because of how it looked, and it will definitely be getting some nominations in these categories. The viewer is completely taken to a new world here, and despite the many struggles our characters face along the way, it is still a very beautiful, well made world. But the biggest question here is was Joseph Kosinski's direction good for his debut? And I think it was. Throughout the weak plot and bad screenplay, the story's characters almost entirely get lost. But that doesn't change from Kosinski creating a very interesting film, that could have been a lot worse than it was. For me, I will give him a B for his debut, and I am looking forward to see how he does from here on.


Overall, the terrible plot to Tron was hard to recover from, and the acting just was not great. But if you are looking for an action packed, quick paced, fun movie for the whole family, this is it. Though in the end with all the flaws, there is really only one thing that should describe Tron Legacy. Visually beautiful.

Final rating: Fresh 68%

The Silence of the Lambs
½

A psychopathic serial killer known as Buffalo Bill, is kidnapping and brutally murdering young women. After several victims have come up, but no luck in catching Buffalo Bill, the FBI sends Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) to interview a demented, yet brilliant prisoner named Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Hannibal used to be a very respected psychiatrist, and FBI agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) believes that this genius prisoner can help them into locating Buffalo Bill. But before Starling can get any information out of Hannibal, she must gain his trust, and then the hunt will begin.


The story to The Silence of the Lambs was brilliant in every way possible. When I first started watching this it seemed as if it was just going to be your typical mystery film, But in no way was this movie typical. It is packed with surprises, plenty of suspense, and some of the most unforgettable characters that you will rarely see in movies such as these.


Anthony Hopkins gives one of the best performances I have seen, and it is easily his career performance. As soon as this movie was over I instantly became a huge fan of him, and since then I have always enjoyed his movies, whether I thought it was a good film or not. However, I think because of the unbelievable acting on the part of Anthony Hopkins, people often overlook Jodie Foster in this film. Even though her performance might not have been quite as jaw dropping as Anthony Hopkins, it was still in my opinion the best of her career, and for an actress like her that is saying quite a lot.


Overall, The Silence of the Lambs is probably in my top 20 best films of all time. It absolutely blew my mind. If you have not seen this movie, then I recommend watching it as soon as possible, because I can assure you that if you are a movie fan you will like it.

Friday Night Lights
½

Surprisingly I really enjoyed this movie. I was not interested at all in watching it when it came out in theaters, but after seeing it for the first time a few days ago I was surprised to find that I thought friday Night Lights was really a great movie. It was fantastic acting on the part of Billy Bob Thornton as the head coach, and I am definitely not a Tim McGraw fan, but he did okay in this film. Friday Night Lights is what I thought to be the best film Peter Berg has ever directed, and I even really enjoyed the music by Brian Reitzell. So if you are not a sports film fan, or even a sports fan at all you probably will not like this movie, but if you are you will probably really enjoy it.

Mary and Max
Mary and Max(2009)

Mary and Max begins during the 70s with a young girl named Mary Daisy Dinkle (Toni Collette). She is a different little girl, much unlike any of her classmates at school, or any young child her age for that matter. She has no friends, and is 8 years old while living in Australia with her alcoholic mother who does not have time for things such as taking care of a child. Mary's father is also distracted with his work and life, so it is needless to say that Mary is a lonely child that has nothing but chocolate and her favorite TV show. But one day Mary picks a name out of a Manhattan phone book and decides to write this man with the hope that he will be her friend. This man is Max Jerry Horovitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who has many life struggles of his own. Under stress Max commonly has mental breakdowns, which is what he gets when he receives this letter from Mary asking him to befriend her. While Max is constantly working on controlling his weight, watching the lottery using the same numbers every time, he also shares love for chocolate with Mary, and the same TV show. So he writes back to Mary with some chocolate saying that he will be her friend, starting a 20 year friendship with letters, but never meeting one another in person. But Mary and Max soon realize that even though they do not see each other, their friendship means a lot more than it may seem.


Wow, I honestly have no idea where to start with reviewing this film. Well, it seems that critics and viewers alike have all been arguing over whether or not Mary and Max is a better film than Up. It is an understandable comparison considering Up follows the relationship between an older man and a young boy, while this follows an older man and a younger girl, at the beginning at least. So I suppose I am here to answer the big question, and seeing as I gave both the films perfect scores, I had to sit awhile and think about it after finishing Mary and Max. But my conclusion is that neither are the better film. Even though they are both animated, I think they are just way too different to compare. Both films are trying to attract an entirely different audience, and that has to be taken into consideration when comparing two films. Up is obviously a film for children, but it also packs the emotion that can speak to adults as well. Mary and Max on the other hand is not at all for children. While animated films tend to have the reputation of all being for children, in my opinion there is way too much siggestive material in Mary and Max for most young children. And this is what makes the two films so hard to compare. I suppose that if I could only keep one of the two films, I would most likely choose Up. But in the end both films are so brilliant there is no need to waste breath debating on which is better, because they are truly great films and that is all that should matter.


Now on to what I actually thought of Mary and Max. As I mentioned earlier, don't watch this film with your young children assuming that it is perfectly clean being animated, because it most certainly is not. It as actually really a depressing film, far too much for children, and it was even sad for me at times, and that is okay. Being the writer and the director, it is clear that Adam Elliot is going for a very meaningful film, which sometimes requires the story to either end in sadness, or have a lot of sadness along the way. To be honest, that is one of the most amazing parts of the films. It is so well written, and the character developement is so incredible to the point that the audience does not care that they are watching little clay figures. If you sit and think about it that is quite amazing thought. I mean we are sitting here completely moved, and drawn in by the lives of these two characters, and I am sure even some people were brought to tears by this film. But for what? For little clay figures, that's what. And to me that is an absolutely phenomenal job done by Adam Elliot. Enough cannot be said about what he has done here. His message was displayed so perfectly here, and I found it so moving the way over the years, through some happiness and much sadness, the two characters really only had each other. This is the only major work Adam Elliot has ever done over his career, well besides the Academy Award winning short film Harvie Krumpet, and I am certainly hoping that this will not be the last film Elliot ever does. He is clearly good at what he does, and I would hate to see this kind of talent go to waste.


Just before seeing Mary and Max I watched Coraline, which is what made me completely fall in love with this stop-motion animation. I love the concept of the whole thing, and the way the characters are made, and how they move is beautiful to me. Just strictly by the look, I think this is probably my favorite type of animation. It really draws me into the film, I could watch these just for the animation, and this was one of the best, if not the best that I have seen so far. Not to mention a fantastic selection for the voices in this film. I have always been a big Philip Seymour Hoffman fan, but I had a hard time recognizing his voice in this, not at all changing the fact that he did a wonderful job with the part of Max. Even if I try hard I cannot think of another actor that I would rather play the part, and that is saying something. Toni Collette was great as well. Again, even though these are just tiny clay figures, I can hear the pain in her voice throughout the entire film, and I can see the emotion on her face. It just never stopped making my jaw drop. Morgan Freeman is always credited with being the best narrator for any film, but I am here to say that Barry humphries is a great one as well. And it made me laugh when I read that he plays Bruce the shark in Finding Nemo. Eric Bana played a small part in Damien, but he did well overall. And Bethany Whitmore playing Mary as a child was just as wonderful as Toni Collette.


Overall, Mary and Max is Up for adults. Being animated, some adults may even find this film too sad and depressing for their taste. But that is why this film is so brilliant, Elliot takes us to a whole new world here, and as long as you know what you are getting you will love this film. It is no doubt easy on the eyes, and it is perfectly written, with great work in the director's chair by Adam Elliot. Mary and Max may not be the best animated film I have ever seen, but it is easily one of the best. It is hands down an animation masterpiece, and the best one I have seen in a very long time.

9
9(2009)
½

9 is a post-apocalyptic film where the human race was entirely destroyed by stronger, and more intelligent machines that completely blew to pieces any army the world could come up with. But just before his death a scientist tries to keep the world going, so he creates nine rag dolls that come alive, and can talk. #1 (Christopher Plummer) is the obvious leader of the group, and knowing that they have no chance at defeating the great machine monters he insists on hiding until the one day that the final machine dies. Whether the group disagrees or agrees with #1's plan, they must have a leader so most of them go along with the plan. However, the last rag doll created is #9 (Elijah Wood) and he is not used to the group's ways. Then before he is discovered he is met by #2 (Martin Landua) who is almost instantly taken off by the machine beast. When #9 reports this to the group #1 says that there is no hope for #2 and that he must be left alone so the rest can be safe. But this does not satisfy #9 as he believes they should fight for their friends, and over time he convinces the clan that their only hope in surviving is to stand up and fight the machines. Only later will they learn why these machines are after them, and that the future of the world rests in their hands.


9 is a film that I have been wanting to see for awhile, and I suppose I can say it lived up to my expectations. It was produced by Tim Burton obviously, which even though he has had some excellent films seeing his name worried me a bit. Whether he is the director, producer, or just associated with the film in some way it always seems to have some sick twist to it. And even though I enjoy plenty of strange films, when I sit down to watch a little animated film, Tim Burton just isn't the name I am looking for. But I am here to say that 9 is actually a quite enjoyable film, though I would not go as far as seeing this with young children, because I can assure you there are scenes that will be very frightening to children, mainly the younger ones. I have to say this turns out to be a problem I think; if 9 is a pg-13 film more for adults than children then the story nearly fails, which is why I did not rate this higher. The story here is just all too familiar to the audience. I mean here we go, man makes machine to help increase technology and make the world a better place, but the very intelligent machines get too smart and take over destroying man kind. That just seems like a story I have heard more than once. The funny thing though, is that the director Shane Acker actually made an eleven minute short version before this, and from what I have read Tim Burton came along and wanted to make a longer version of it, so they did. And I am glad that they did, but the problem is the longer version just was not long enough. The film is only 80 minutes, which just hurts it more because the familiar story is underdeveloped. By the time the film ended I didn't even feel like I had watched a full length movie, and that was 9's biggest and most obvious flaw to me.


However, other than that 9 is a very good animated movie. It was back in 2005 that I first saw or heard about this film, and I immediately wanted to see it. I absolutely love the style of animation, and it really seemed like a good movie to me. But for whatever reason I forgot about it entirely, and it wasn't until just the other day when I saw it coming on HBO that I watched it. But despite the mixed reviews this film received, my exectations were still pretty high for the movie. And I can gladly say I really did enjoy this film. It has honestly one of my favorite animation styles, the characters are made so brilliantly, and it is amazing every move they make in the film. All of their facial expressions are very life-like, and that is saying something considering they were rag dolls. It isn't just your basic computer animation, and it was really quite worth the watch only to see how well animated this film was.


The film also had a surprisingly good script, and the vocal cast was very good. I cannot say I am much of an Elijah Wood fan other than The Lord of the Rings, but I thought he did a wonderful job here. It is always a pleasure to watch a movie with Christopher Plummer, whether he is actually in it, or just voicing a character, and he was perfect for the part of #1. Jennifer Connelly is another actress that always seems to do a fine job with her roles, and the acting here by everyone may not have been the best I have ever seen in an animated film, but it really was good acting. I enjoyed the musical score as well, which is another thing I have come to expect from any movie wth Tim Burton's name.


Overall, 9 suffers its way down to a 70% rating with one big, and very obvious flaw. The story is underdeveloped, too short and way too familiar to the audience. Even with the story being as it is, it would have been nice to at least have a longer film. But other than that 9 is top notch as far as animated films go. The soundtrack is very good, and the script worked well too. It has an excellent vocal cast, and the animation was just plain brilliance. If you can get past the failing story, 9 is actually a very fun, and good animated movie.

Ratatouille
Ratatouille(2007)
½

Ratatouille is just another example of how Pixar is one of the best movie makers out today. This movie is pure genius. Patton Oswalt did a fantastic job with the part of Remy, Lou Romano as Linguini was very good as well. this is a movie that the whole family can enjoy. it is creative, beautifully written, and quite funny. This is the type of movie almost everyone will love.

Gnomeo and Juliet

Gnomeo and Juliet, as expected, is basically just a remake of the old famous shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet". Though as seen by the title, this film stars Garden Gnomes, instead of people. Most everyone in the world probably knows this story, but I have to explain it anyway. The Capulets and Montagues are neighbors that hate each other, but live side by side. Their many garden gnomes in the backyard come alive when the humans are not around, and well they hate each other too. But when the long time rivals have two traitors, everything changes. Gnomeo and Juliet are from different sides of the garden, but they fall in love just like they aren't, and it will be a long, but fun ride to see if these gnomes can live happily ever after.


Well, for some strange reason I felt this film would be surprise to people, and actually turn out to be pretty good. The tomatoemeter says 55%, so it is not too high, but I think many have been surprised at the positive reviews this film has gotten. In watching the trailers I thought the animation looked really cool the way they made the gnomes look, which was one of my initial attractions to this film. I think that the story was a little odd, the most famous love story ever written, which the average person hates, and turn it into garden gnomes? That seemed a bit too much, but director Kelly Asbury knew what he was doing in making this film. He has only directed two films before (Spirit, Shrek 2). I enjoyed Shrek 2, and did not see Spirit, but it did get many positive reviews from the critics. My biggest worry for Gnomeo and Juliet though, was how Asbury would come up with an ending. He did a very good job with that actually, and for me it made the film better. I can't ruin the ending for the few who will actually go see this in theaters, but I can see it was a delightful surprise.


As I said earlier, I thought from the trailers that the animation looked cool. It was an odd style no doubt, but an excellent job was done on it. It was really interesting to see how they made the Garden Gnomes seem real, and breakable, which was really my favorite part. The animation was really good, that's about all there is to it. It was obviously similar to Toy Story in the way that the gnomes come alive when people aren't around. Gnomeo and Juliet was in no way as good, or even close to Toy Story, so I wouldn't even think about comparing them. And if you are a major Toy Story fan, don't even bother with this, because you won't like it. The music by Elton John was of course enjoyable, and being a huge Elton John fan I found myself singing all of the songs and annoying the family in front of me.


Overall, there isn't too much to say about Gnomeo and Juliet. The animation was fantastic, and probably the best part. If you are an animated movie fan, you will probably at least find some enjoyment in this film, especially in that area. I don't really have a lot to say against this film, the acting voices were brilliant, a job well done by all of the voices (especially Emily Blunt) and the music was fun also. Gnomeo and Juliet was just a really enjoyable film, for kids and adults.

Bolt
Bolt(2008)

This is the story of a dog named Bolt (John Travolta) who stars on a TV show. Though the twist is that the producers don't want Bolt to know that his heroic actions on the TV screen are actually fake, so that his acting ability will be as good as possible. One day in the real world Bolt is trying to save his "person" Penny (Miley Cryus), but Bolt doesn't understand that nothing is really going wrong, and he accidentaly gets shipped far from his home. Bolt now is on a mission to save Penny and he will be assisted by an old, grumpy cat with personal issues of her own, and a fat hamster that is a superfan of Bolt.


Well I must admit, I found this film terribly disappointing. Maybe I was expecting too much, but I read a lot of reviews that said this was great, and I just can't see it. I had a very hard time getting past the story. It just honestly just kind of silly and stupid to me. It was way over the top and really not that creative. I expect much more when I see Disney's label on a film.


With that said, I did enjoy this. I actually thought this was a good movie after I got into it. The animation was fantastic, which was a big plus for me. Especially on the animals, which were very well done, though I didn't love the human animation as much, but overall it was all great. The music along with it was also really enjoyable in my opinion, which is something I have come to expect from all Disney films.


The characters were excellent. They were what made the film really, they were likeable and funny for the most part, that is except for the cat. I found the cat, Mittens, very annoying, and did not feel any sympathy for her. Susie Essman's voice only made it worse. Though the rest of the characters I loved. Bolt was voiced by John Travolta, who I am a pretty big fan of, and he did a wonderful job with that part. The hamster, however, was obviously the best of them all. Mark Walton had me laughing out loud all through this film, and I absolutely loved the character of Rhino. The birds were a very nice touch as well. Miley Cyrus was not too good, but she didn't play a huge role so that worked out fine in the end.


Overall, the main problem with Bolt is that it suffers from a serious problem in the story, which is that it's terrible. This film didn't seem anywhere near as mature as other Disney greats in the past. However, Bolt has many good qualitites that ultimately make it a good film. The animation and music were both great, along with the fantastic characters. And I loved the voices other than that of Miley Cyrus and Susie Essman. If you have nothing else to watch and haven't seen this yet, I would give it a go. But if you are looking for great Disney animation movies you can do much better with recent and old films, rather than Bolt.

Raising Arizona

H.I. McDunnough (Nicolas Cage) has a bad habit of robbing stores and going to jail, and everytime he does his time it seems he just goes back to his old way of life, ending up right back where he belongs. But while in jail he falls in love with a police woman, Edwina 'Ed' (Holly Hunter) and once he is off this time they get married. H.I. plans to stay out of trouble, but when the two realize they cannot have children everything begins to go way down hill. Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson) is the owner of a furniture store and has just found out that he now has quintuplets. Ed is pressuring H.I. to kidnap one of the babies so that they can have a kid of their own, with the belief that the Arizona family has enough kids already. So he kidnaps the kid, and nearly around the same time H.I.'s friends from jail, Gale Snoats (John Goodman) and Evelle Snoats (William Forsythe) break out of jail. When they hear of the 25,000 dollar reward they attempt to steal the baby. Meanwhile a bounty hunter looking for money is trying to do the same thing, and H.I. and Ed soon think that parenting might not be for them.


Let me begin by saying Raising Arizona is one crazy, yet hilarious film. I am not usually one for comedies, I mean everyone loves a good laugh but, nowadays it just seems that they are so consistently terrible. And even though I had heard many bad things about this film, it was Joel and Ethan Coen so I gave it a go, despite my worries of the comedy genre. I am really, and surprisingly glad that I did. This film even strengthened my faith in the Coen brothers, as it looks terrible before seeing it, but absolutely pours on the laughs throughout the entire film. Which is a rather short one actually. I honestly have never seen another film like this, and it may be crazy, but in this case it is so crazy that it works. Raising Arizona is the second film that Joel Coen ever directed, and it certainly is not the best work between the two of them, but it is easily the most entertaining that I have ever seen. It is clearly a film that requires no thinking, and the story is quite simple, but it actually has a little bit of heart in it as well, and that made the movie all the better.


In watching this film it is very important that you know what you are getting yourself into, otherwise you may be in for something that you might find terrible. As high as I rated this film, I would completely understand if someone gave it as low as a 30%. It really has to be your type of film, or you won't get why so many people love it. It is filled with non stop comedy, in ways I would even compare the comedy to that in "The Princess Bride". While they are both great films, if it isn't your type then it just isn't your type. Raising Arizona was obviously my type, and I have found myself watching it more than once, and it is now on my list of films to buy. I laughed out loud all through the film. Joel and Ethan Coen's script is incredible. As much as I like to stay away from comedies I can gladly say this is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen in my entire life. And in the end, that has to be the main thing you ask for in a comedy. The Coen brothers usually mix a little drama with a little humor, which I can enjoy, but be prepared because this is full force comedy all the way.


Joel and Ethan Coen's direction in this film is good, but different than their other works. The film goes all over the place, and it really works for this situation. It really has some unforgettable characters, that are portrayed by a fantastic cast. As of recent it seems that Nicolas Cage has very nearly destroyed his career, and everyone tends to think that he is a terrible actor. I can understand this, but I am hear to say that he isn't all that bad of an actor, but actually a good one. Yes, it is very clear to the world that he has played in some seriously bad movies recently, but if you go back to his career in his younger days, he really is a good actor. He won an Oscar for a reason, and his performance here is one of his best no doubt that I have seen. He is one of the best parts of the film to be honest, and he never stopped making me laugh in this. Actually, just looking at his hair made me laugh a little bit. He really knows how to play the part of a loser with very little, if any education. I don't know if that is a good thing or not though. Holly Hunter was just plain hilarious. And she was in ways believable for the character, and it was very entertaining watching her inconsistent emotions and her determination, despite working for the law, to steal a baby for herself. John Goodman and William Forsythe were brilliant, as a lot of their script was just them screaming, but they never failed to make me laugh. Trey Wilson even packed a few chuckles in there, and Randall 'Tex' Cobb as the bounty hunter was very entertaining. The cast just could not have been better, even the supporting actors that were only in the film a few scenes were funny. Everyone does their job here.


Overall, Raising Arizona is by no means Joel and Ethan Coen's best film, but it brings plenty of laughs all through the film. Mixing a brilliant cast with many excellent performances, and a hilarious script to help support the actors. After all, most of the time actors do need a script to make a movie funny. The story was creative, as the Coen brothers' films always are, and their direction is there to pull the film all together. The film even had an interesting musical score. Know what you are getting into before you watch this, and if you do I can assure you it is a fun and entertaining ride.

Sherlock Holmes
½

Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his assistant Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) have just closed another case by capturing Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) who has dealt with murder, and been very involved with black magic. Lord Blackwood is hanged for his crimes; however, after several months rumors begin to spread that he is in fact still alive, by apparently using more magic to keep himself from dying. When Blackwood's coffin is opened, it is found that another man is there, and Blackwood's body is nowhere to be found, only confirming the rumors. Now Blackwood's killing spree continues and it seems that he cannot be killed. So Holmes and Watson must get on the case and figure out the truth as to what has really taken place, all while Watson intends to get married, and Holmes is visited by his former lover Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams).


Let me begin by saying I have only read but a few of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, so for everyone who was a big fan and said this didn't stick with the source material, I really cannot say much about that. But from what I have read it is true, Sherlock Holmes the film does not follow too closely to the stories. But for me that is no big deal. I personally believe that even if a film does not stay with its source material, whether it be a book, play or short story, it still should not really be judged by that. One of the best movies I have ever seen in "To Kill a Mockingbird" leaves pretty big stuff out that was in the book, but that doesn't change the fact that it is an unbelievable film. Obviously, Sherlock Holmes is in no way near as good as To Kill a Mockingbird, but it is basically the same concept. Sherlock Holmes in itself may not be a brilliant film but, I don't think it should be criticised for not keeping to its original source material, that may just be me though.


With that said, I have heard and read many people saying they were "disappointed" with this film, which I suppose I can understand. If you are expecting classic Sherlock Holmes don't even bother with this film, because you will not like it. I was actually not expecting this to be much, and that may be one of the reasons that made me enjoy it as I did. From the trailers it seemed that Sherlock Holmes was going to be terrible. Originally I thought Robert Downey Jr. was a total miscast, and it seemed they were showing Holmes to be more of an action hero than a detective. This did not turn out to be entirely true, though I did have a few problems with Holmes' character. I would have preferred him to be more of just a detective, than a martial arts expert, but the film did do a good job of mixing action and mystery, and for that I think it deserves credit. So the characters (mainly Holmes) may not be as they were in the stories, which I would have liked more, but they did turn out to be okay in the end.


A big reason for that would be the acting on the part of Robert Downey Jr. I have heard many people say he was a miscast, but I honestly could not disagree more with that. Sherlock Holmes may have under developed characters, but Downey Jr. completely makes up for that with a very strong performance in this film. I thought he had the accent down well, and his quick humor was very funny at times. His performance in this was as good, or maybe even better than it was in the first Iron Man. He made up for any flaws with the script or character development. Right from the trailers, one of the only things I thought looked good about the film actually, was that Jude Law would be perfect playing Watson. I have come to have a high respect for him as an actor, though he may play in some bad films his acting always seems to be good. And as soon as the right role comes along he should receiving an Oscar. He was great playing Watson, and he would be the highlight of the film if it weren't for Downey Jr. Rachel McAdams is also an actress I like in particular. She does not have a huge role in this, but for the time she was in it she was good as she always is. Though Mark Strong was a downfall in the cast, I have seen him in several films now and I just cannot seem to care for him at all, and this performance did not change that. He might have had the creepy look at times, but he just didn't really fit the part in the end.


The film in general was really easy on the eyes as well. It was shot nicely, and the cinematography was good. It may not have been anything amazing, but it was a nice addition to an already flawed film. Guy Ritchie probably wasn't the best choice for director, but I actually think he did an alright job here. His direction could have used improvement, and hopefully it will be better by the next film, but for the most part he kept the film interesting and fairly mysterious at times. I am honestly very much looking forward to the sequel, and I am glad to see that it is taking two years to finish the film. Too often times do I see a sequel come out a year after the original, and that can usually mean bad things. Not always, but it happens a lot. If Guy Ritchie works out his direction a bit more, and fixes some of the other flaws the second film has the potential to be better than this one, and my expectations are high for it.


Overall, Sherlock Holmes will not fit the biggest fans of the stories, as it dumps a lot of the source material. But if you aren't expecting much and take it for what it is, the film actually turns out to be very enjoyable. The screenplay is not great, and the script isn't very impressive, which hurts the film quite a lot. But Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law completely make it worth the watching as they both do excellent jobs with their characters, and the supporting cast worked except for Mark Strong. Hans Zimmer's musical score is fantastic as always, and if you really give this film a chance it works out. Guy Ritchie has plenty of work to do before the sequel is released, but I think it will end up being very good, and I honestly cannot wait.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2(2010)
½

The United States government is now demanding of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) that he hand over his advanced armor technology to the military. Stark publically refuses in a fashion that gets him a lot of negative attention. Though one day Stark is attacked by a man named Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) who has technology of his own that might be on its way to being able to defeat Stark. Vanko now possibly has the technology to make a suit even stronger, and more advanced than Stark's. Meanwhile, Stark's body is being poisoned, and he is slowly dying. So Nicky Fury, (Samuel L. Jackson) member of SHIELD, tries to offer help to Stark, revealing new technology that can save Stark's life. And Stark must team up with Lt. Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes (Don Cheadle) to defeat their new, and powerful enemies.


To be honest, Iron Man 2 just did not work for me. I know right off I will receive a lot of negative comments and votes for this review, but I really did not care for this film that much. To start with, I did not like the first film near as much as everyone else did, I thought it was a really good film, but all of the 100 and 90 ratings were too high for me. But what Iron Man had that Iron Man 2 didn't was a decent story. The story in Iron Man 2 fails to keep a consistent tone. At one point Stark is battling Ivan Vanko and trying to keep his technology, and another involves a whole different story about the "Avengers Initiative". I admit this was not a very big part of the story, but I thought Iron Man 2 really lost itself in that time, which really hurt the film in my book.


Also, I honestly felt as if I was watching a comedy. Iron Man perfectly mixed humor and action, all while still keeping the film dramatic when it needed to be. Iron man 2 does not at all do this. The character of Tony Stark in this one was really annoying at times, and it just didn't work for me. The party scene where Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle face off was just plain stupid in my opinion. I did find the film funny at times but, by the climax when the audience is supposed to be at the edge of their seat wondering what will happen, I honestly just didn't care. It was way too predictable, the ending was obvious the whole time, and there was absolutely nothing at all for the audience to worry about. Which realy just did not sit well with me, this film may have worked for some, but it just did not live up to the first for me.


However, I did give the film as high as a 50 for a reason. There were definitely good parts to it. For one, the acting was almost as good as it was in the first. Robert Downey Jr. is as funny as ever, and still, even though I had problems with a character, did a very good job with his performance. He really plays the part of a funny, not very serious action hero very well. But my biggest issue with the cast was Don Cheadle taking the place of Terrence Howard. Don Cheadle may be a talented actor, but I don't really care for him. On other hand I do enjoy Terrence Howard, and thought he did a much better job playing Lt. Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes. Even though Cheadle's performance was good, I really preferred Howard in this one. I respect Mickey Rourke as an actor, and he was funny at times, but I cannot say too much about his acting here, especially after Jeff Bridges played the bad guy in the first film. And of course I never have any complaints for Samuel L. Jackson, even if he wasn't in the film very much.


Iron Man 2 also had fantastic visual effects going for it. I am not usually one for explosions and mindless action in films, but at least I can say they made it look good. It was nominated for an Oscar here, and it really was well deserving. All of the action sequences involving the suit are very well done, so that really made the film more enjoyable for me.


Overall, Iron Man 2 has its good points, and has its bad points. Unfortunately, the bad points were extremely hard for me to get over them, and it really hurt the film in my eyes. The series may be known for its over the top characters, mainly in that of Tony Stark, but in Iron Man 2 I think it was just too much for me. There is obviously good points, in the acting and the effects. I don't have a lot to criticise for the actors, most everyone did a good job here, and the visual effects were top notch. But in the end this film may work for a lot of people, but for me it just didn't.

Braveheart
Braveheart(1995)

Edward the Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan) is an English ruler who plans to inherit the crown of Scotland just after Scotland's previous king had died without and heir. William Wallace (Mel Gibson), lost both his brother and father when they fought for Scotland's freedom, and he believes that Scotland should be free from the English invaders that have killed many people from their land. Wallace leads his courageous army to defeat the English, and after some success Wallace attacks the city of York. Longshanks begins to realize that even though Scotland is small they might be able to defeat England, and he sends his daughter-in-law to make a deal, but Wallace only continues his quest to free Scotland.


The first time I saw this I was actually not aware of its success at the Oscars, and I had only heard from a few sources that it was good. Needless to say I was not expecting a great film to come out of this, and that is one of the things that made this film so brilliant for me. The worst thing that can happen to a movie buff is to be expecting something great, and then it turn out to be bad. But my favorite is when I am expecting a decent film, and a masterpiece comes out of it, which is exactly what Braveheart is. Though I was actually surprised to find it number 90 on IMDb's top 250 list. It seems that it is another one of those films that I would compare to Gladiator and The Shawshank Redemption. Both films received critical acclaim, but they also attract a wide variety of audiences, which is not always the case with the Oscar nominees. That is why even though some may feel they aren't some of the greatest all time, the films are still so popular. Braveheart is another one of those films.


Braveheart is inspired by true events, so if you are expecting an accurate tale of the story of William Wallace then you might as well not watch this film at all. While some things about the film were true, in the credits it will actually say that even some of the charcters' names are not their real ones. So even though many people run around talking about how it is a true story, most of it was fiction. Which is what Mel Gibson was going for, so that worked out fine. The story was very intriguing to me, I had always heard of the man named William Wallace, but it wasn't until about one or two years ago that I figured out he was connected to this film. He truly was an incredible character in this movie. One of the better movie characters I have ever seen to be honest. I do not know how accurate the portrayal of Wallace was but, his strong beliefs and how he was willing to do whatever was necessary in order to defend them was a very moving part of the film. Not to mention his inspirational speech was one of my all time favorites in any movie.


For whatever reason this is another ones of those best picture winners that gets a lot of unnecessary hate from the critics. Similar to Crash and Titanic, though I did not love Crash. And The King's Speech very well may have just joined the list, but in my opinion it deserved to win. But the hate on Braveheart I especially don't get. I personally think it deservedly won every Oscar it was given, and I honestly think it should have won more. It did not deserve best writing, that title definitely should have gone to Emma Thompson, but James Horner was absolutely deserving to win best musical score. This is one of my favorite soundtracks in any film ever. It sets the tone for the film perfectly, and most of all it was beautiful.


Mel Gibson received the Oscar for best director, and for good reason too. He may not be the best actor to ever walk this earth, but he did an unbelievable job with the direction. This is nearly a three hour long film, and I can honestly say I was not bored through any of it. It starts with William Wallace as a child, and the audience learns about some of the things that happened to him, and from there we move into the brutal war with Wallace trying to free Scotland. Every scene was important, and every scene was needed. The action scenes were fantastic, maybe filled with violence and blood, but I think it was necessary for Gibson to make this film so violent. It may make some people turn away from the film, but in the end that is the what it was. It was not like it was some Rambo or something, the violence was actually on a more realistic level in this film, which I was okay with.


The performances were actually the weakest part of the film, and that is saying something because they were very good. I am not a huge Mel Gibson fan, he isn't the best actor, but a good one. I just don't really like a lot of his movies, he is a likeable guy, well if you don't know much about his personal life, but many of his movies are stupid in my opinion. However, Braveheart is one of my favorites. I thought he did a good job overall, the accent sounded good and he was a good pick for William Wallace. He really put his heart into the performance, which made it better than many of his others. And for the character he was playing that was needed. I am not saying he deserved an Oscar or anything, but he did a really good job. Patrick McGoohan was also good as Edward the Longshanks. He is not an actor I am particularly familiar with, but usually when I watch one of his films he does a good job. This was no exception.


Overall, Braveheart is a brilliant film. I know right off many people will disagree with my rating, but that is how I saw the film. Braveheart is a modern epic that is not to be missed. The cinematography was amazing, also deserving of the Oscar. This is just a well acted and well written film, and it may pack many bloody action scenes, but everything is very well done. James Horner's musical score is absolutely beautiful, and is one that is very difficult to beat. Some say this never deserved best picture, but for me Braveheart is a masterpiece.

Gladiator
Gladiator(2000)

Maximus (Russell Crowe) is a Roman general, who is loved by the people, and the Emperor. Right before his death the Emperor chooses Maximus to take his place, over his own son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). Because of this Commodus kills his father, and orders the death of Maximus, and his wife and son. Maximus is not able to save his wife and son, and allows himself to be captured and put into the Gladiator games. The only thing that now keeps Maximus alive is the possibility to win over the crowd, and have a chance to get his revenge on the new Emperor.


Gladiator is in my opinion Ridley Scott's masterpiece. With very excellent action scenes, and an absolutely fantastic musical score by Hans Zimmer, it quickly after watching it became one of my favorite movies of all time. Russell Crowe was in every way deserving of the Oscar he won. His performance was beyond fantastic, along with Joaquin Phoenix who was just unbelievable. The characters that these two men played were unforgettable, just like the incredible story. Overall, Gladiator is an outstanding movie, that you will not forget long after the movie is over.

The Untouchables

Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) is an FBI agent who is determined to bring down the great mobster Al Capone (Robert De Niro). One day Ness meets a cop, Jim Malone (Sean Connery), who is willing to fight Capone with him. So they gather a personal team together and begin on their hunt to take down Capone. It proves to be a very difficult task and as things begin to get ugly, it seems that "The Untouchables" will have a lot more trouble taking in Capone than they had originally thought.


This is really a surprisingly great film in my opinion. I have never considered Brian DePalma to be a fantastic director. I must admit I am not entirely educated on all of his films, and I have not seen but a few, but his career really seemed to go down hill for me in his later years. He started off really well, and ended up filming the great "Scarface". But if you look at his career in the past 15 years or so, it is more sloppy than good. So for a little while now I had been reading up on The Untouchables, and it received a lot of critical acclaim, but I was still a little worried about it, mainly because of Kevin Costner being in the leading role. After he played in Dragonfly, which is probably in my top 10 least favorite movies of all time, I really lost my respect for Kevin Costner, so I was not sure whether or not to see this film or not. Well, it came on TV so I watched it, and I am really glad I did.


First off, the performances were great. Despite my fear of some of Costner's films, he really did a good job in this. He plays the part of Eliot Ness, the agent trying to catch Capone, and I was very surprised to find that he did a great job with it. This is easily one of my favorite of his films. Sean Connery was the best though, he has always been a funny actor to me, with that crazy voice and some of the strange and different roles he has played over his career. Especially with Darby O'Gill and the Little People, which always gives me a good laugh. However, I think it is quite safe to say that Sean Connery's performance in The Untouchables is easily his career's best. In fact, I really enjoyed everyone in this film. The Acting gets a grade A from me. Andy Garcia was even good in this film, and from what I have seen of him, that is not always a sure thing. And obviously Robert De Niro, my all time favorite actor, was brilliant as always. I don't think De Niro could give a bad performance if he tried. There honestly could not have been a better actor to play Al Capone, in my opinion that is.


The direction by Brian DePalma was brilliant. The actual story of Al Capone is honestly not that interesting (and I am sure anyone already knows how this film ends) but DePalma takes it and makes it an action pack film that will keep most viewers entertained. While the great screenplay will leave most movie buffs quite happy. I also enjoyed the musical score. At times it seemed a bit out of date for today's time, but there were some excellent songs in my opinion, and I really like good music in films. It just makes it all the better.


Overall, The Untouchables is not to be missed by any movie buff around. An ordinary film watcher will be plenty entertained by this movie, and the people who really care about films will enjoy this as well. Though I think some might not enjoy it as much as others, because it is certainly no Godfather. So I would suggest not comparing it to that. Because in the end when it comes to mob movies it doesn't get any better than The Godfather. But The Untouchables is still a well made mobster that many will love.

Hercules
Hercules(1997)
½

This film begins when Zeus, the Greek god, has a son named Hercules (Tate Donovan). Mount Olympus is overjoyed with the new arrival, but Hades (James Woods), Lord of the Underworld, is not. Hades has a long thought out plan of overthrowing Zeus and ruling the world, and in 18 years his plan will have been fulfilled, unless the new Hercules tries to stop him, then he will be defeated. So Hades prepares a drink for Hercules that will turn him human, for Hades to then kill him. Everything works as planned, except that Hercules did not drink every last drop, so he kept his strength. But because a mortal cannot live on Mount Olympus, Hercules must be raised on earth. The only way for Hercules to return to his real home is for him to become a "true hero". So with the help of his personal trainer Philoctetes (Danny DeVito) Hercules will do his best to defeat Hades and return home.


Hercules is probably the most childish of all Disney films, not one of the better ones either, but that does not keep it from being a fun, and even sometimes funny animated flick. The maturity is a little low for my taste, I usually prefer one that children can relate to, but also packs in a nice meaning for the adults as well. That is not really the case with Hercules. Which was a bit of a disappointment coming from Disney. I have learned to expect different and better things when their name is involved with an animated film. However, that does not keep Hercules from working out in the end. In fact, it turned out quite nicely in my opinion.


Some may find Disney's take on these classic tales historically innacurate, that is if you can call any of this actual history. But yes, it was innacurate, but I honestly did not see anything wrong with it. It may not follow any of its source material very closely, but it still is fun the way Disney re-made these tales into one film. Despite some of the flaws I mentioned above, the story was actually very enjoyable. I found it funny how they just threw in random names like "Achilles" and "Odysseus" which a lot of people could have a problem with, but in the end too much criticism cannot be given because it is a film for children. Hercules may actually be one of Disney's better efforts after the great Walt himself died.


The animation was very enjoyable in my opinion. I am not usually one to like a film that mixes the hand drawn characters with the computer animation, but it fit okay here. The characters were done nicely as well. All of them were likeable, especially that of Phil's character. The kids are sure to laugh at him. Everyone will love Hercules, even though he is quite the goofy hero. That may actually be what makes the audience attracted to him in the first place. The voices were good, but nothing to really put a lot of praise into. Danny DeVito was a great choice for Phil, and Tate Donovan did fine as Hercules. Again, nothing to really say much about, but they all did nicely in the end.


Overall, die hard Disney fans will problem be a bit disappointed after this film is over. Disney moves away from their usual style of a story here, and some big fans might not like it. But Hercules mixes great animation with a really good song "Go the Distance" as well. The way these stories are told may be a bit different then the original Greek god stories, but it worked out fine in the end. Hercules is nothing to be mentioned with the Disney greats, but it sure was a fun film.

Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo(2003)

After losing his wife and almost all of his kids to a hungry ocean predator, a clown fish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) is constantly worrying his only son Nemo (Alexander Gould) about the many dangers of the ocean. However, on Nemo's first day of school his strict father requires one too many rules, and Nemo ventures out into the open only to be caught by a diver. Marlin will stop at nothing to find his only child, even if it means teaming up with a fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) who suffers from short-term memory loss. Meanwhile, Nemo finds himself in the fish tank of a dentist, waiting to be taken home. And Nemo and his new friends must find a way to escape before it is too late.


For me, Finding Nemo did not quite live up to what everyone else seemed to think about it. The plot was predictable, and isn't really anything new. Now I know Disney and Pixar are really known for having plots that are predictable, but this was a bit much for me. And when I watch "Toy Story" and "Up" this one just does not compare. I also found this movie to pretty boring, and much more enjoyable for children then adults, which is something Pixar is really good at not doing.


However, the good definitely out weighed the bad in this film. The animation was absolutely beautiful. Pixar's take on the ocean was perfect, and nothing short of phenomenal. Every little part of the movie, whether it was the Great Barrier Reef, or a million jeelyfish, it was all stunning. On the other hand I cannot say enough about the character development. As we go through the lives of Nemo and Marlin separately, even I personally learned something about just the way of life. Also, the voices in Finding Nemo might have been the best of any Disney movie I have ever seen. The feeling and emotion put in by Albert Brooks was truly unbelievable, and considering he plays a fish, that's saying something. Alexander Gould was perfect for Nemo, and Ellen DeGeneres was just plain hilarious. Playing the part of a fish that can read, and has short term memory loss, it doesn't get much better than that right? DeGeneres was easily my favorite part of the film.


Overall, Finding Nemo is not one of my favorite Pixar films, the predictable plot was hard to get over for me. I'm not saying I didn't like the film, because I really did, it just was not quite as good as I was expecting. But words cannot describe how good the animation and acting was in this film. Some of the best you will ever see. Pixar is no doubt the most consistent movie makers today.

Final rating: Fresh-78%

GoodFellas
GoodFellas(1990)

Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) is a young boy growing up in a rough neighborhood full of trouble. Instead of doing normal things like the rest of the kids his age, he decides he will quit going to school and be a gangster. Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) immediately befriend Henry, and the three of them start to become good friends. They quickly begin to climb the ladder in the mob world, but they could be going too far with their work. Having to go behind the back of their mob boss Paul Cicero, the three must do everything they can to keep the life they have always dreamed of, but without getting caught. And now they must all just hope to stay alive.


If you are looking for a list of Oscar snubs, look no further than Goodfellas, because this is probably the biggest snub I have ever seen. Now I obviously have not seen every film from the year 1990, but looking at the nominations Goodfellas received, I think it should have at least won best director and best picture. This is in my opinion one of the greatest films ever made. When I hear "Martin Scoresese's masterpiece" it tends to go with either Raging Bull or Taxi Driver, and I haven't seen Raging Bull (terrible, I know) but I found Goodfellas to definitely be Scorsese's best film. Many people will disagree, but I really stand alongside Ebert with this one, for the most part. I don't know that I would put this above The Godfather for greatest crime film of all time, but it really was close. I will even go as far to say that I personally thought this was better than The Godfather Part 2. That may just be me, but that is how I feel about these films.


Goodfellas is actually a very distrubing film in many ways. While movie lovers will go crazy over this film, a regular viewer is either going to throw up or quit watching before the film is over. The violence is going to make a lot of regular movie goers turn away from the film but, who cares about them. Martin Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi do an unbelievable job writing this film. Every scene in the film was needed, and everything was very well written. The dialogue was great, and Martin Scorsese's direction was absolutely fantastic. This is the snub I have the biggest problem with. Every scene in the film was shot so well, and never for a minute was I bored. Martin Scorsese brilliantly takes the audience right into the heart of the mob, as awful as it may be, and we all feel for the characters as they go from just little roberies to completely unnecessary murders, even for the mob. If there is something to say about this film over any other crime drama, it really focuses on the actual mob more than any of the others that I have seen do, and that is what Scorsese was going for. I cannot say enough about the brilliance of his job here, so if you have not seen this film you will have to just watch it yourself.


The casting of this film was perfect. Ray Liotta as the young mobster was fantastic, by far in my opinion to be his career performance. Maybe some will disagree, but I thought he deserved a best actor nomination. Even if he doesn't win, he should at least get the honor of being nominated. I am not always a fan of his, but in this film I was. Robert De Niro, well I don't think I need to say much about him, but he was great as always. He seems to enjoy playing gangsters, and he does it very well. Though his best will always come from The Godfather Part 2. Joe Pesci was in every way deserving to win his Oscar. He played the mobster that gets out of hand quickly like no other person on this earth could have. Even though De Niro is my all time favorite actor, Pesci's performance here was probably my favorite. All the supporting actors were great as well, especially that of Lorraine Bracco's performance.


Overall, Goodfellas is one of the greatest films ever made. It perfectly shows the audience the horrors of the mob, with great writing and spotless direction. The acting is superb, and I found basically everything about the film to be fantastic. If I try I can probably find a flaw, but it wouldn't even matter. Goodfellas is Martin Scorsese's finest film.

Pinocchio
Pinocchio(1940)

Geppetto (Christopher Rub) is a clock maker who one day decides to create a wooden boy, Pinocchio (Dick Jones). Geppetto wishes on the evening star that his new creation would become a real boy, and by miracle his wish is granted by a fairy, well partially it is. In order to truly become a real boy Pincchio must prove himself, but he is young and very naive, so the fairy tells Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) to act as Pinocchio's conscience and try ro keep him in line while he is trying to prove himself worthy of being a real boy. Jiminy does his best no doubt, but the job of keeping this puppet (whose nose will grow everytime he lies) out of trouble is surprisingly difficult. Along with their cat and fish, Pinocchio, Geppetto and Jiminy Cricket will together go on a wild ride as the young boy learns about the truths of life here on earth.


Well, at the time I happen to be writing a paper on the great Walt Disney himself, so I thought it fit to write a review on my favorite films ever made by him. We all know about Disney's wonderful career, I mean the guy started out as a poor cartoonist, went on to make the first full length animated feature film, and now has two amusement parks under his name in the U.S. alone. I think it is safe to say the man was quite succesful, though he never did really have very much money to his name. Every child growing up knows about Disney films, and for very good reason. He set the moral standards very high, and not only are pretty much all of his films enjoyable, but they can be very educational for kids. Walt Disney mixes beautiful animation, funny scripts, and a nice good life lesson in his movies. It is for this reason that he succeeded to the level that he did, and in my opinion Pinocchio is his best work, being one of the greatest animation achievements in film history to this day.


Okay, I mentioned three actor's names in my short plot summary, if you haven't already you should take a good look at these three names, because Pinocchio has some of the finest vocal talent in any animated film ever. I think it is easy to say Disney's films are no strangers to good voices, but this was exceptionally good in my opinion. Especially Dick Jones and Cliff Edwards playing Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. The two characters' friendship is a funny one, and quite touching towards the end. Jiminy being Pinocchio's conscience, it is obviously not always the happiest of times beteen the two, as Jiminy advises Pinocchio and he happily goes the other way. Seeing as that is almost the entire film, you would think it gets a little repetitive and boring, right? Well it actually doesn't. If you have not already seen this film you will more understand what I mean after you do. But even though Pinocchio and Jiminy travel way beyond just the little workshop, and actually go all over the place, the story unfolds perfectly in the end. Pinocchio is very well written, and certainly has a unique storyline that is like no other fairytale anyone had seen before this. Pinocchio is not just your sweet little tale of a young boy, it is quite frightening at times truthfully. As Pinocchio is on his quest to prove himself worthy of being a real boy, the audiences learns a lot about the issues of the young people in the world, which is still very true today's time.


Pinocchio also has an absolutely beautiful soundtrack, featuring its most famous song, and perhaps Disney's most famous as well, "When You Wish Upon a Star". Music in films simply does not get any better than this. In fact, you will find most of Pinocchio's soundtrack on my ipod. The animation for this film was outstanding, truly hard to believe. Some of my most favorite all time, and definitely worth all of the praise it has received over the years.


Overall, Pinoccio is a film that will stick with you forever. There is a reason that this is 100% on the tomatoe meter. There is always someone who does not like a classic film, but I honestly feel that the person who would say this is rotten misunderstood the film, or just wanted to be different. Of course everyone has their own opinion, and that is to be respected, but I just cannot understand a low rating for this film. Beautiful animation, beautiful soundtrack, and a beautifully made film. Pinocchio is as fine of an animation film as you will ever see. Don't miss it.

My Favorite Year

During the 50's Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker) is a writer for the top rated variety/comedy show. Alan Swann (Peter O'Toole), a famous but often drunk actor is going to be the week's guest star. King Kaiser (Joseph Bologna) the headliner, wants Swann off of the show, but Benjy tries to keep Swann on. This makes Benjy have the wonderful, and harder than expected, job of keeping Swann in line and away from the alcohol. With this difficult task, and a union boss that wants to stop the show, Benjy will have his hands full for the week's show and will have to try his hardest to make everything work out as it is supposed to.


Well what can you say? It's Peter O'Toole. As I mentioned earlier I have not seen many of his works, but it only takes seeing one of hils films to understand what a fine actor he really is. He reminds me a bit of Jeremy Irons actually, which is a very good thing to me. As expected, O'Toole's performance here was exceptional, good enough for the Oscar nod he was deservedly given. It is funny though, you would think after an actor like Peter O'Toole has been nominated for so many Oscars, the Academy would eventually just give him one. However, they decided to give him the Honorary Award, which there is certainly no shame there. I really enjoyed Mark Linn-Baker's performance as well, I thought he was the funniest part of the movie, though I do think many people may find his performance a bit too silly for their taste. The supporting cast was good, but nothing to really praise.


I tend to feel that Richard Benjamin has been much more succesful when he is playing a character, rather than in the directing chair. That is, I think the films he played in were better, not necessarily that his acting is special or anything. Just a good actor, and not always such a good director. So I was a little worried going into this film in the first place, but it was showing on TCM and I have not seen many films with Peter O'Toole, so I thought I should give this a go, considering O'Toole's acting nomination. I am actually really glad I did. The direction by Richard Benjamin was very good in my opinion, in fact it is probably the best film he has ever directed. My Favorite Year had a fun story, with likeable characters and a likeable cast. Alan Swann was an excellent overall character. He is a famous actor that is Benjy's childhood hero, but once Benjy gets to know him he actually turns out to be just your regular drunk. We learn a lot about the character of Alan Swann throughout the film, and it really turns out to be quite the touching little story. The writing was brilliant, which is a big reason why this film ended up working out. The characters were so well done that the audience actually begins to care for the seemingly good for nothing, drunk actor that cannot get his life together. Or at least I certainly did. Not to mention My Favorite Year was absolutely hilarious, another credit going to the wonderful screenplay by Dennis Palumbo. A shame though because this was the first and last film Palumbo ever wrote a screenplay for.


Overall, My Favorite Year is a funny, well acted, incredibly written, and surprisingly touching film. Peter O'Toole and Mark Linn-Baker bring plenty of laughs for everyone. This may not be film everyone enjoys. I wouldn't recommend it to the average movie goer as it will probably just come across as boring and pointless. But if you are a fan of classics this is probably the film you have been looking for. It was by no means a perfect films or a masterpiece, but I personally loved it.

School of Rock
½

Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is a fairly good guitar player in a rock band, but his "all about me" personality gets him fired from his job, destroying his one dream of winning the "Battle of the Bands". He never pays his rent because his pushover friend will always pay it for him, but when Dewey's friend refuses to pay the rent because of his controlling girlfriend, Dewey is in desperate need of money. So he takes a job as a substitute teacher under the name of his friend. While Dewey is there getting to know the children, he sees that all of them have an extraordinary talent having to do with music, so Dewey tries to get the strict school to loosen up on their rules, all while working to put the kids in the Battle of the Bands.


Let me make this quick and simple. School of Rock was brilliant. This films first hit the theaters in 2003, and by some strange reason I missed it until about a week ago. The story was fantastic, and so much fun to watch. I personally am I huge classic rock fan, and the fact that this film is centered around showing how unreasonably strict some parents are, and plays classic rock the whole time, that in itself makes it a film for me. Not to mention it is actually a hilarious, without being unbelievably crude, which isn't my style so it can get a little old when every comedy that comes out today is that way. As far as comedies go, in my opinion, stories do not get much better than this. Simply brilliant in every way. This is a film that pretty much any adult will enjoy, as it is funny and most of the music goes from the '70's to the '80's. And it is also a comedy the younger people can enjoy as well.


I have struggled over my lifetime to be a Jack Black fan. If you ever watch an interview or anything with him in it, he is actually a very likeable guy, and is very similar to the characters he plays on screen. But I have trouble getting into a lot of his films, I didn't even consider going to the theaters to see his most recent role in Gulliver's Travels. It just seems he is a really funny guy, but often times gets stuck with the wrong script. He obviously has played in good films, but his bad ones are really bad, and just make me really scared to go pay money to see one of his films. However, with that said, as you can see from the rating above, I absolutely loved School of Rock. His performance was perfect. He was funny, and can play the part of a wasted rockstar to perfection. This is (from what I have seen) his career performance. Joan Cusack as the principal was great as well. I have known many different principals in my lifetime, and she acts in this film exactly as they do in real life. Boring, mean, and a life ruiner. It was a delight watching her on this screen. All of the children were excellent as well, even Miranda Cosgrove, who can easily get on my last nerve.


Overall, School of Rock is an unexpectedly amazing comedy. Bring the adults and teens to this film as they will all laugh at this funny film. Nowadays it is hard to come by a good comedy with a decent story, and funny script, but if you want it you will find it in School of Rock. Some may feel that I rated this film a bit too high, but honestly it was really close to making it to my favorites list. The performances were so great, along with a good story and good music, I just loved this film. School of Rock is a major surprise in a very good way.

Die Hard
Die Hard(1988)

A New York City detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) has just arrived in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve with his wife. A Christmas party is being held on the 30th floor of the Nakatomi Plaza Hotel, but what everyone there doesn't know is that a band of terrorists are planning their attack just downstairs. The Terrorists seize control of the building and take everyone hostage, but John McClane of course, because he slips away. John must now find a way to save all of the hostages, including his wife, before all the terroists get their way and it is not such a Merry Christmas after all.


Well, I am sure a lot of people will be quite unhappy with my low rating here, but honestly I felt that Die Hard was unbelievably disappointing. Everyone goes around talking about how it is the greatest action film, and I don't see it. It may be that I saw it after everyone else did, so the hype messed me up, but I did not enjoy this film near to the level some did. The plot was pretty much terrible in my opinion. It may have to do with the fact that many action films have this same storyline, but I could not get into it. It was predictable, I mean the great John McClane never fails, how could this film end anything less than perfect for everyone? I just don't see what is so special about a so called tough guy running around blowing things up in an unrealistic attempt to save lives, Die Hard is not my type of film. I am not usually one for action movies anyways. They tend to be completely brainless, badly acted, unrealistic and overall pointless. This is not necessarily the case in Die Hard, as I did enjoy this more than most action flicks, but that is my biggest issue with the popular action films in this world.


Now on to the acting, it probably was better than your average action film, but it really wasn't special. Look up Richard Schickel's review of Die Hard, he is one of like 3 people that gave this a rotten rating, so he has a whole lot criticism on there, but he actually says what's wrong with Willis' performance perfectly. Bruce Willis wears an undershirt for the first half of the film, and then takes it off. His acting is not anything special at all. You may say that the intention of the film was not to be great performances, but more to blow things up, and that is okay if that's what John McTiernan was going for, but because of this I cannt give the film as high of a rating as I would a brilliantly acted and smart film, it doesn't work that way for me. The Supporting cast was fine for the most part, and even Willis was not bad at all, I just can't give this film a 90% or 100% because of these problems that I have mentioned.


However, as you can see I did give the film a 60%, which means I did like it. In fact, as far as action films go I enjoyed Die Hard much more than most. Mainly because of the effects in this film. As I mentioned earlier I am not one to necessarily care for a film full of gunshots and explosions, but I cannot deny the fantastic special effects this film had. Die Hard was nominated for 4 Oscars, obviously not the biggest ones, but it was definitely deserving of its sound and effects related nominations. In my opinion it probably should have won one of them at least, though I can't think off the top of my head what it was up against.


Overall, Die Hard is a very enjoyable action flick for most everyone, especially guys. I don't want this review to sound to harsh, because I did enjoy it, just 90% and 100% is way too high for me. In fact, if you actually read the reviews, and look at the real critic's actual ratings, they don't even usually rate it that high. The acting was not really worth anything mentioning, and neither was the plot. But the special effects are not to be missed. And hey, if you want to watch a film with a bunch of explosions, then Die Hard is one for you. But for me it falls into the category of a good action film, not a masterpiece, not one of the greatest all time, just good. If you want a truly great action film, look for the Bourne Trilogy, that is as good as they come.

Up
Up(2009)

Carl Fredrickson (Edward Asner) is an adventurous, young boy, who meets a girl named Ellie who shares his same passion. Once they are older they fall in love, and get married. They had once planned to travel to a lost land in South America; however, when Ellie dies Carl becomes a grouchy old man with a hard heart. He is being forced to stay in a retirement home for hitting a construction worker, so he comes up with the plan of tying hundreds of balloons to his house and flying away to the lost land he had always dreamed of going to. But soon after Carl departs on his journey he realizes that he has accidentaly picked up a partner. An eight year old boy named Russell (Jordan Nagai) who is innocently trying to earn his assisting the elderly badge. Together they will embark on a great adventure, as they learn more and more about each others lives, and they discover how much they really need each other.


Pixar is hands down one of the most brilliant movie making businesses in film history. If you look up some of the great animation makers, and great film makers in general. Pixar is possibly one of the most consistent, if not the most consistent, to be good at what they do than any other film makers in history. As far as animation goes Walt Disney was as fine of a producer as there ever has been. Him and his crew have accomplished what almost no film makers can do, and that is almost always make a good movie, without ever really making a bad one. And I am not at all trying to take anything away from the great Walt Disney, but as of now I believe that Pixar has passed him as far as how consistent they are in making every single film great. For the most part everyone has at least one or two Pixar films they feel are a let down, but after eleven critically acclaimed films, I would say Pixar has still done an unbelievable job. I recently watched the documentary "The Pixar Story", which inspired me to write this review of my favorite Pixar film, Up.


Many people love films for many different reasons, and because of this is why we have critics, so that they can tell us if a movie is good or bad, and we can get different opinions from different critics. But Up is one of those special films where almost everyone who sees it loves it, and I am one of those people. Pixar is more known for doing films not involving that much to humans, such as toys, cars, fish, rats, bugs and so on. But here they just take a basic story about an old man and a young boy. Which is one of the reasons I like the film so much. Pixar does a great job of keeping everything unique and not at all like any of the other films made. The story is slightly predictable I suppose, but it does not really matter because it was fantastic at the same time. The character developement was perfect beyond belief. I do not know if I have ever in my life cared so much for animated characters. We start the film off learning about one of our main characters Carl, and as the film goes on and the relationship between Carl and Russell progresses, we learn more about the life of Russell. No one in this world could have done a better job at the developement of those two characters lives.


The vocal talent was amazing, as Pixar films always are. Ed Asner was a surprise to play Carl Fredrickson, but it worked out great. I had never heard of Jordan Nagai before this film, but his job with Russell was as good as they come. I can pretty much promise anyone he will make you laugh at least once in this film. And my favorite was of course Christopher Plummer to play the idolized Charles Muntz in the film. Also Bob Peterson was hilarious as Dug, the dog our characters pick up along their journey. It isn't everyday I laugh out loud at a dog, but in Up I sure did. The writing in this film was brilliant as well, which did help bring out the laughs in the film, along with the cast. But the best thing about this film was not the fantastic characters, or the vocal talent, it was how the writers here not only made everything in the film come together perfectly, but they actually wrote a story that truly means something in today's world. And a story with a strong meaning is about as much as I can ask for in a film.


Overall, Up is not your everday animated film. This is one that kids will laugh at, and adults will laugh and cry at. The character developement was so brilliant along with the story, I cannot help but tear up at times in this film. The voices were superb, some of my all time favorite from Pixar, and the animation was jaw dropping. The musical score will bring tears to your eyes as this amazing story unfolds. Up is not just an animation mastpiece, it is a masterpiece of the art of film making.

August Rush
August Rush(2007)

Lyla Novacek (Keri Russell) is a beautiful cellist, who falls in love with Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers),a bass playing singer in a club. though their diffrent lives separate them, without the possibility of ever seeing each other again. Lyla has their baby Evan (Freddie Highmore), or 'August Rush', but because of career reasons her father hides the baby from her and sends it to an orphanage. Eleven years later Evan is a bit older, and of course fascinated with music, so he heads to New York with the false hope of finding his real parents. But Maxwell 'Wizard' Wallace hears Evan's beautiful playing on the streets, and he tries to take him in and make money off of him. However, when a church first hears Evan's playing, they send him to the best music school around, and this brings Evan one step closer to finally meeting his parents.


Okay, well I understand the most of the critics did not like this film, and that i'm probably going to get some criticism for even writing this review, but I decided to go for it anyways. I feel that August Rush, though as flawed as it is, has enough redeeming qualities to make it a fresh film. But, the flaws are pretty big, and obvious. The main one being in the story. I am not sure exactly how to describe the story to this film, and what is wrong with it, but maybe it is a little...off? The story just didn't seem right to me, which if you are familiar with the writers, that shouldn't come as too big of a surprise. The story was just too far fetched I guess you could say. We take two musically gifted people, and they make an unbelievably gifted son, that is one of the most musically talented people this world has ever seen, even compared to Mozart. Then he uses this wonderful talent to find his lost parents? I'm sorry, but I just can't believe something like that, even if it is fiction.


However, the story was not all bad, in my opinion. Yes, it was mostly bad, as I mentioned, but there were good parts to it. I think a lot of people could actually relate to some of the characters in this story, they are likeable, and their problems in the film are some problems people have in real life. Just not quite to the extreme this film takes everything. Many people could also find it very heartwarming at times. I mean who doesn't want to watch a film where a young, abused child is trying to desperately find his family? That part of the film I did personally enjoy, and I think I am most likely not the only person that feels that way.


Also, the films music is not to be missed. If you know me at all I really love good music in films. I think it helps create a lot of the feeling and emotion, which even though a musical score is an underrated quality in films these days, it is very, very important in my opinion. And I think that is one of the best things about this film, though we have a flawed plot, we do get to listen to beautiful music the entire time. Though many will not find that a very big deal, it was a very important part of the film. Especially considering the entire movie is based around music, so the music needed to be good. And I think because the movie was so much about music, it deserves extra credit because the music was so good.


Now another really bad part to the film was the direction. We have a terrible plot and a terrible screenplay, and now they also have to throw in terrible direction. Kirsten Sheridan was the director of this film, she has only directed one another movie in her career, Disco Pigs. But judging by what I have read it looks like an absolutely terrible film. Obviously, directing films is not Sheridan's strong point here. She takes what could be a very good story, and makes it almost ruin the film. Or at least make it rotten. I have heard good things about In America, so she should probably just go back to writing.


However, I really enjoyed some of the performances in this film. Freddie Highmore plays Evan Taylor, and even though some people might find him too 'cutsie' all the young girls in the world will certainly love him. And considering his age he did a very good job with his part. Still, it was hard to believe anything in this film, but he did a good job either way. August Rush actually had a very talented cast, with a little director and writing change this could have been a much better film. Keri Russell is not someone I have been a big fan of, but I cannot complain here. Jonathan Rhys Meyers wasn't anything special really, but he had a good singing voice. And Robin Williams and Terrance Howard are always a pleasure to watch on screen, Williams being one of my all time favorite actors.


Overall, August Rush was given a lot of bad criticism, and for good reason, as I mentioned above. The story lacked believability, and the direction and writing was pretty bad in my opinion. But I feel that with some great actors, and a bit of a heartwarming tale August Rush overcomes some of the bigger flaws. The music is absolutely beautiful, if you are a big music fan I would suggest this film to you. Though the film was slow, and it may not have been anything special, it was still worth watching, so for me it gets 60%.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath is set in Oklahoma around the thirties, during the dust bowl and the great depression. The film begins with our tale's hero, Tom Joad (Henry Fonda), just being released from jail, and heading home to find his family. Once he gets there he only finds an old beat up house, and he is informed that his family is fixing to leave for California. They all have a happy reunion right before Tom and the rest of the family depart for California; However, once the Joad family reaches California they realize that it may not be near as pleasant as they had imagined, and now they must try and make a living off of very little work. And with things looking bad for the Joad family, having almost no food on the dinner table every night, they will have to do everything they can to just remain alive in these dark times.


The Grapes of Wrath is one of the greatest, if not greatest, american films ever made. And it is one of my personal favorite films of all time. I have put off reviewing for awhile for whatever reasons, and now I am going to finally write it. The story to this film was for the most part amazing. For those of us that live in today's time, the great depression is only something that we learn about in history books, so for some this film may not be quite as pwerful as it is for others. But for anyone that actually lived in the depression, or has known people that have, it is is easier to understand the importance of this film, and the book by John Steinbeck. It is really sad, but true, that life was once this way, and this is both an educational and meaningful film about how life used to be in America. The Grapes of Wrath, both film and book, truly capture the real horrors of the great depression, and that is one of the reasons I love this film so much. It is as important of a film to this country as To Kill a Mockingbird is, and in my opinion that is saying something. The Grapes of Wrath is hands down for me one of the best film adaptions of a book. I know a lot of these types of fims get critcism for not being like the book, but I feel that even people who enjoyed the book, will also enjoy this film.


Seeing as The Grapes of Wrath was directing by the great John Ford, I do not think the film's success will come as a surprise to many people. John Ford was one of the finest directors to ever walk this earth, though I don't think you will see him at the top of many people's favorite list, no one can deny some of the great film making he did over his career. He was a brilliant man who had an absolutely brilliant career. And when he filmed The Grapes of Wrath he did one of the most difficult things a director can do, and that is take a book and make a movie out of it. Not only that, but he made it just as good, or better than the book, and that takes talent. John Ford's direction in this film is absolute perfection. He takes what could be a very boring story, about a large counrty family moving to California, and he turns it into what is what I believe to be one of the greatest stories ever told. Filled with some of the best characters in film history. Especially Tom Joad and Ma Joad.


The acting was superb. Henry Fonda gives what may be his career performance in this film. He plays the main character in the film, Tom Joad, and he does it perfectly. He may not have won best actor for the performance, but he was still nothing short of excellent. Henry Fonda is one of my all time favorite actors, and he deservedly was given the Honorary Award. Though not to take anything away from his performance, as brilliant as it was Henry Fonda's acting was not my favorite in this film. Jane Darwell stole the show here. She did not have all too great of a career, but I do not think there is another actress in this world that could have played the part of Ma Joad better then Jane Darwell did in this film. It would have been wrong to give anyone else the Oscar. Words cannot describe how meaningful, and incredible her performance was in this film. And really all around everyone did a good job acting in this film.


Overall, The Grapes of Wrath is a true masterpiece. Not many films have been made that I can say I felt were better than this one. This is the true meaning of film making right here. Absolutely perfect acting, it does not get much better than this, and the cast was great as well. I enjoyed everyone's performances in this film, and I can't say that for too many movies, especially nowadays. The direction by John Ford is not to be missed, and as magnificant of a career as he had, The Grapes of Wrath is probably the greatest film he ever released. And even for an old classic the music was actually enjoyable in this film. Movies just do not get much better than this, if you are a movie fan at all, The Grapes of Wrath is for you.

Seraphim Falls
½

Carver (Liam Neeson) and four other men that he has hired are tracking one man named Gideon (Pierce Brosnan) across Nevada. Carver shoots and injures Gideon, making the tracking a bit easier. But Gideon is a skilled fighter, and he is with a knife, so it might be much harder than Carver expected to bring him in.


Well, Seraphim Falls is the second western I have watched in a row, and after seeing True Grit (1969) I was given a bit of hope for the genre. But nope, this film just did not come through for me. I actually found the story to be very interesting, despite being a western hater. It follows mainly one man being chased by others for pretty much the entire film, but the audience does not know why the main character is being chased. We just know that something happened at Seraphim Falls, which is intriguing for anyone watching. And I admit I did like the "surprise", though it was predictable. It wasn't the surprise part that made me dislike the film so much, it was what happened after. The ending was absolutely horrible. I mean, all this film needed was a half decent last 5 minutes and it would have been good, but no, when it came to the ending Seraphim Falls failed miserably.


The direction in this film was also very sloppy for my taste. I mean, we are talking about a film where the entire time our main character is being chased, shouldn't it be a little more interesting? The story was good, but this film was way too slow moving for me. The whole movie is the same exact thing, Gideon finds someway to get away from the villians, I guess you could call them that, and then he just keeps running. That is pretty much our entire movie, and to be honest I was literally about to fall asleep. The worst possible combination in a film is for it to be slow moving, then have a terrible ending, it just doesn't work when this happens. And that is exactly what Seraphim Falls gives us.


However, as you can see the 50% rating, this film was not all bad, it actually had very good points. The acting being one of them. I have never been a fan of Pierce Brosnan, James Bond just was not for me. Then he came out with Mamma Mia, which I did not like. With that said, he actually did a very good job acting in this film. But, even his good effort here could not keep the film moving. Liam Neeson was how he always is. Not much special about his performance, but it was good. He was the right man for the job, but in a film like this you need a lot more than two strong performances to make it good. Also, on a positive note, the scenery in this film was absolutely beautiful. The audience may be bored out of their minds, but they can at least say that Seraphim Falls looked nice.


Overall, with the cast and the very interesting storyline, I was at least expecting to give Seraphim Falls a fresh rating. But after I was bored and terribly disappointed with the ending, because of sloppy direction and a bad screenplay, I did not feel right giving this a fresh rating. But if you want a film with great acting and great visuals then you will love Seraphim Falls. I would also recommend it to western fans, this was still better then most I see. However, in the end, Seraphim Falls just does not live up to its talent.

True Grit
True Grit(1969)

After her father was murdered, Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) is determined to get revenge on her father's murderer no matter what. She hires an old, but tough U.S. Marshal "Rooster" Cogburn (John Wayne) to help her on her journey. Also joining them on the trip is Texas Ranger, La Boeuf (Glen Campbell) who has reasons of his own for wanting the murderer. Together they will all travel very far in difficult conditions to find their man


In writing this review I will be mostly comparing it to the new version just released last year, as they were very similar films, even for a remake. So, I want to start off by saying I really enjoyed this John Wayne version of True Grit; however, not as much as Joel and Ethan Coen's. That statement in itself is probably going to make a lot of people mad, but like anyone who loves a movie, I have my reasons, and I will happily share them.


Well, I am really not at all a western fan. Western films are in fact probably my least favorite type of movie. It isn't that I have an issue with the time period or anything, but after seeing my tenth western film at a young age, I quickly realized they are all pretty much the same. Which is why drama is always my preferred genre, there is a much more large variety. But to be honest I really enjoyed this film, mainly due to John Wayne. Now I have personally never really liked John Wayne that much, probably because he usually plays in a western, or that to me he seems more of a public icon than a very talented actor. Not trying to take anything away from his career, but acting just isn't what he was that great at. Yes, he did win an Oscar, but to me it seemed that was more just because he had a very succesful career, was getting old, and had yet to win one. So he was given the win. With all that said, John Wayne can act. Maybe not but a few parts, but he can play an excellent tough, old U.S. Marshal. And thank goodness he can, because everyone else seemed to really struggle with the acting in this film. But in the end I feel that Bridges has Wayne beat. Though that is not an insult to Wayne considering Bridges is one of the more talented actors of our time.


However, the battle between John Wayne and Jeff Bridges was no doubt the closest of the actors, because Glen Campbell and Kim Darby absolutely butchered their jobs of acting in this film. That was in the end my favorite part of the new True Grit, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld were excellent in their supporting roles. But if I am being honest at times Glen Campbell and Kim Darby made True Grit hard to watch with their horrid acting. I mean I am trying to be a little understanding here, but I cannot saying anything but that it was terrible. I felt the need to shut my ears when Kim Darby would run her mouth throughout pretty much the entire film, and it really seemed to me that everytime she would get angry in the film, it looked as if she was smiling, which really annoyed me. It is a good thing John Wayne was in almost everyone scene of this movie, because he was the only person that could carry this film.


I thought Henry Hathaway's direction was good in this film, not much to say about it, but I did enjoy it. He created what is one of my favorite westerns, though as I mentioned earlier that is not saying much. I have heard many people, almost everyone in fact, say that Joel and Ethan Coen's version of True Grit is basically word for word from the originally. Which I can agree that these films are very, very similar, there are some key differences though. Some of which being that the beginning and ending of both the versions are entirely different. And last time I checked the begnning and endings of films are pretty important. I cannot give away the ending, so I can't say much but I did prefer that of the new versions, which was a big part of why I liked it more.


Overall, True Grit is an excellent western, especially for big western fans. If you love John Wayne, and have yet to see this film, I would suggest going and buying it right now. Also, skip the new True Grit because you will only complain after seeing it. However, for me Henry Hathaway did not quite do the job that the Coen brothers did. I have not read the book, but considering the differences and what I have heard I would assume the Coen brothers followed the book more than the original. So if you like the book I would go with their version. But, I really hope it does not seem that I am being too critical. I enjoyed True Grit very much, and it was definitely a film worth seeing in my opinion.

Remember the Titans

Personally I am a huge sports movie fan, for the most part I will go see it no matter what sport it is. There are good sports movies such as, Hoosiers, Miracle and Rudy. And there are bad ones like Facing the Giants, and We Are Marshall. Remember the Titans is no doubt one of the best sports films in history. It has absolutely fantastic characters that are done so well by the cast. Denzel Wahington and Will Patton are perfect for the part of Herman Boone, and Bill Yoast, and they play it perfectly. This is a movie that will stick with you long after you are done watching it. I strongly recommend it to everyone.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
½

The evil Trade Federation is plotting to take over the planet of Naboo, and the Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) set off on an adventure to save the planet. They go to warn Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), but they come to find they Naboo is already being invaded, and they must evacuate the planet, including the Queen. They head to the planet Tatooine, and happen to come across a boy named Anakin Skywalker, who is supposed to be very strong with the force. So they must take him on their journey, all while battling against Darth Sidious, the leader of the Trade Federation, and his apprentice Darth Maul.


Well, I must admit, I am terribly disappointed in this film. The original three, or at least first two, are some of the greatest movies in history, and I really thought George Lucas could have done a much better job with this film. The first three had fantastic special effects, along with fantastic characters, and an obviously incredibly creative story. The only space adventure near this is Star Trek, and if you are educated on both of the series then you will know that the biggest similarity between the two is the name starts with "star" and they take place in space. Clearly, Lucas already has the creative story made out for him, and with yet again Oscar Worthy special effects he had to go wrong somewhere right? Yes, unfortunately he went seriously wrong with the character development. Where were the outstanding characters from the first three films? Definitely not in this movie. It really was pretty bad. The only memorable character was Darth Maul, and he barely said a word. The plot was not great either, but the story was original, so that worked out fine. But yet again, not nearly as good as the first three movies, and since this is the first movie of three that are telling us the story of how everything came to be, I think that The Phantom Menace really needed to be better than it was.


Now I do not want to be too hard on the film, or George Lucas, because he brought us one of the greatest movies of all time, and he is an overall excellent director. The acting in the film was actually pretty good. Liam Neeson was of course good, as always. And Ewan McGregor was good as well. No one was Oscar Worthy, but good enough. I didn't really care for Natalie Portman's performance, not that it was bad, I just did not think it was great. She was probably the right person for the role though. Jake Lloyd was great for the part of Anakin. Everyone thinks he is cute, and even at a young age he was an excellent actor, though it is a shame we had to switch to Hayden Christensen after this first film.


The special effects saved this film! With decent acting the film was alright, but without these effects I would not have cared one bit for this movie, and would have second guessed seeing the next. Especially for 1999, these special effects truly were unbelievable, which is one thing Lucas brought back from the old movies. The Phantom Menace was visually stunning, and deserved to win the Oscar for speical effects.


Overall, The Phantom Menace lacks severely in character development, but has a few good performances, and incredible special effects. Along with an amazing character such as Darth Maul. The movie was not terrible, but this is a legendary series, and it needs to stay that way.

Final rating: Fresh-60%

The A-Team
The A-Team(2010)

Four American soldiers who go by the name of "Rangers" are on a mission to find plates that were used for printing 100 dollar bills. The mission was success, but when the commanding officer is killed and the plates are stolen everything changes. 6 months later, when the soldiers were all sent to different prisons, their leader Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) is visted by someone from the CIA who tells him he knows where the thief who stole the plates is, and wants him to recover them. Smith then escapes the jail and breaks out the three other men from the team, however, they soon find out that there may be a bit more to the man from the CIA then they thought, and that is when things get interesting for The A-Team.


Now I had heard many bad things about this film so I didn't go see it in theaters, but now I am wondering why the critics made such a fuss over this film. I mean, for the most part The A-Team was about as sloppy as a movie can get, and the character developement was basically non-existant, so if you have never seen or heard of the show the entire movie might not even make sense. However, that was the goal when this film was made. Carnahan wasn't trying to make some best picture winning, unbelievable movie. It was basically just for the people that were fans of the show. And not to mention the film was definitely laugh out loud funny at times, and there were some nice action scenes.


Now the cast was perfect for this type of film. Liam Neeson was hilarious, and played the part of Hannibal Smith just as good as the origianl. I can't say "Rampage" Jackson was too hot on the acting talent, but he was funny, and I think a lot of Mr. T fans will be happy with his performance. Sharlto Copley was brilliant. He had me out of my chair and in the floor laughing at times in this film, and after seeing him in District 9 I think he has a bright future in Hollywood. Though I will say Jessica Biel and Bradley Cooper were average at best. Neither of which did I think did their parts justice.


Overall, The A-Team was nothing special, so if you are looking for a good movie and aren't a fan of the TV show pass on this movie. However, I think Joe Carnahan did a wonderful job of bringing back the old ways of the TV show, and I think most fans will be very pleased with this film. So it was not great, or even really that good, but The A-Team was a highly entertaining action film.

Memento
Memento(2000)

Leornard Shelby (Guy Pearce) is determined to avenge his wife's rape and murder; however, since the the rape Leornard has had short term memory loss, making the investigation of who killed his wife very difficult. So, in order for him to find the killer, he has to constantly take pictures of people and leave a note about the person. As the movie progresses, you are taken back in time and being revealed more and more about the truth of Leornard's wife's murder, all while flashing back and forth from a phone call Leornard is having with an unknown stranger about a man who shares the same condition as him.


I believe that it is fair to say that Christopher Nolan truly is a movie making genius, and is one of the best Directors today. He has made five films that I have seen: Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Prestige, and Memento. If you have not seen one of these films I suggest you go to a movie rental store and rent one. I constantly hear people arguing about what Christopher Nolan's masterpiece is, but personally I think we should more focus on his career, because he has yet to make a bad film. Or really he has not made a film that is not critically acclaimed. So far he has had an absolutely brilliant career, as both a writer, and director.


Now, to focus on the film. Memento has one of the most unique approaches I have ever seen. It is not everyday that you watch a movie that starts at the end, and then goes backwards from there. And I definitely did not think that starting at the end of a movie, I would be surprised. But like The Prestige, I was somewhat confused at times in the film, especially about how it was going to end, and yet again Christopher Nolan blows my mind with an unbelievably creative ending. His direction was very possibly worthy of an Oscar nomination, and if not that at least some recognition.


I think it is fair to say that Guy Pearce is not one of the better actors of our time. Especially since the most recent movie I have seen him in was 'Bedtime Stories'. With that said I thought that he did a superb job with this role. The acting by everyone else was not necessarily anything special, but it was done well enough for the movie to still be far above excellent. The film's script was also very good, like all of Nolan's films.


Overall, Memento is another one of Christopher Nolan's surprise ending thrillers. While I did not think the ending was quite as strong as the ending for The Prestige, it still blew my mind, and I certainly did not guess it, which is really all I can ask for. As this film came to a close I really could say that I was "surprised" by the ending, or actually more so by the beginning.

Final rating: Fresh-93%

The Town
The Town(2010)
½

A neighborhood in Boston called Charlestown is well known because it has the most number of armed robbers in the U.S. Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), Albert 'Gloansy' Magloan (Slaine), and Desmond Elden (Owen Burke) are all robbers living in this neighborhood. Doug and James are like brothers to each other, as the Coughlin family basically took Doug in since his mother died when he was young. The four together are very succesful bank robbers; however, one bank robbery they have to take Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) hostage. After letting her go freely and unharmed, one day Doug and Claire meet, and a relationship begins to develope with Claire not really knowing Doug's past. Doug begins to want to leave Charlestown and go off with Claire, but in this neighborhood it isn't that simple. Doug now must do everything he can to escape the Charlestown fate of life in prison, or death.


To start it off The Town was one of my favorite movies of 2010, and even as acclaimed as it was, I think it is underrated. If it were me making the decisions, I would give it a best picture nod, but maybe that's just me. We first saw Ben Aflleck's directing ability in Gone Baby Gone, which I absolutely loved, 80%. And for this reason I was a bit worried about The Town, very excited still, but I wasn't sure if he could pull off two excellent movies in a row. But oh how he did. In fact, I liked The Town even more than I liked Gone Baby Gone. I have always felt that Ben Affleck was a little weak on the acting talent, especially after he teamed up with Matt Damon to write Good Will Hunting, which made me think his strongest point was screenwriting. But after two excellent films in a row from the directing chair, Ben Affleck is the new really good director we have today, and I am very excited to see what films will come from him.


The Town was a very well-written film with a fantastic script. It really takes the audience into the lifestyle of the famous bank robberies of Charlestown, which is actually a very sad one. The opening scene is a bank robbery involving our main characters, and from there we begin to learn more and more about these people's lives. I found the character developement to be very good, though I thought the relationship between Doug and Claire was a little undeveloped, making it where we didn't care all too much about what happened to them. But other than that it was good. The direction by Ben Affleck was also very good, actually one of my favorite parts of the film. It was very similar to Gone Baby Gone. The action scenes were fairly limited, but I thought they were shot very well, and the whole film was just extremely realistic.


As I have already mentioned, I personally feel that Ben Affleck is not the most talented of actors. He is not all bad, but he has seriously struggled in the past, especially with Pearl Harbor. However, in this film I thought he was very good. Some may disagree, but the accent was good, and in my opinion one of his best performances. I could really feel for his character, and that was partly due to his performance. Of course it was not Oscar worthy, but he did plenty good for the part he was playing. The whole film was actually very well cast. Jeremy Renner achieved nothing short of excellence in his role as Doug's best friend in the film. He definitely deserved the honor he was just given of being nominated best supporting actor. Jon Hamm was great as well, I really enjoyed his performance. And surprisingly enough Rebecca Hall was very good. I first saw her in The Prestige, and although I absolutely loved that film, I personally didn't care much for her in it. But in The Town she was good, and she played her part well.


Overall, The Town was one of my favorite films of 2010. Having Ben Affleck being in the directing chair again, it was actually a film I was very, very excited about. After Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone, and now The Town, Ben Affleck has not only proved to me how great of a screenwriter he is, but how great he is at directing films. I could not be more excited to see what comes from him in the future. The casting was brilliant, everyone acted well, maybe not all Oscar Worthy, but all very good. The musical score was absolutely beautiful as well. The Town is a film with a great story, and is one of the best of 2010 in my opinion. A job well done by Ben Affleck.

The Social Network

In 2003 Mark Zuckerberg, (Jesse Eisenberg) a computer genius that is going to Harvard, comes up with what would eventually become a billion dollar idea of a social network, called "The Facebook". Before this idea was launched all over Harvard university, and several other large schools, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) came to Mark asking for help on a social network they are working on. Mark accepts the offer, but continually blows them off for over a month all while creating The Facebook. After finishing it and seeing what a huge success it is, Cameron and Tyler read about this huge hit Mark has created, and they attempt to sue Mark for 65 million dollars for stealing their idea. On the other end Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) is also trying to sue the now world famous Mark Zuckerberg. Eduardo and Mark were good friends throughout college, and Eduardo was on the business end of making Facebook. However, when Sean Parker, (Justin Timberlake) maker of Nabster, comes into the story, everything changes for Eduardo. The original agreement was for Eduardo to get 30% of the profit, but he eventually gets cut out completely, making him sue for all of it.


Well, we have now come to a close on the year of 2010 in movies, which means it is time for the Oscars. For the year there were three movies that stood out above the rest for me. Inception, True Grit and The King's Speech. Inception was left out in the cold for pretty much everyone, mainly because I think it peaked too early. The King's Speech was unbelievable and had my best picture pick, until I saw The Social Network. This year for me is probably going to be the toughest best picture pick I have had to make in a long time. Usually it seems that there are several really good films in a year, then one comes along that stands out above the rest. But not this year, The King's Speech and The Social Network were about as close as they come for me, and I still have not decided which is best.


Now on to reviewing The Social Network. At first glance this movie looked terrible in my opinion. I am not a big Facebook guy anyways, so how good could a movie be about the creator of Facebook who is just a kid in college? Well, it appears to me that it can be a truly amazing film. Surprisingly enough as it is, The Social Network was actually a pretty complicated movie. I knew a lot of people that were lost throughout the first half of the film, which is most likely because they are not but hardly paying attention in the first place, but still. The film in a way is following two different stories that are in the end connected to one big one. During the most part of the film it flashes back and forth from three different settings. Two of which are lawsuits against Mark Zuckerberg, and the other is obviously telling the story of how everything came to be. This being all the makings from a very interesting screenplay, and very interesting direction by David Fincher, both I mean in a compliment. David Fincher takes a story that is seemingly very boring, and to me meaningless, and makes it an interesting, not at all boring story that actually packs a lot of meaning into it. I still have yet to decide whether this will be my best picture pick for the year, but David Fincher easily wins me for best director, this film was brilliant in every way possible. Even some of the best directors in film history could have done very little to improve on this film.


All while watching this though, I could not help but think about Michael Cera and laugh. Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera always seem to get compared to each other, and for good reason considering the many similar films they have played in. However, the day Michael Cera plays in a film like this, and has a performance as great as Jesse Eisenberg's in The Social Network, is the day pigs fly. I am not trying to take anything away from Michael Cera though, as he has had a good career playing the same role in every little teenage film that comes out. But he cannot compare to Eisenberg's performance in The Social Network. His acting really was brilliant in this movie. I can't give him my pick for best actor over Colin Firth, but if you watch The King's Speech it is a huge compliment to even be nominated alongside Colin Firth this year. Jesse Eisenberg does deserve an Oscar in this situation though. It is a shame when two great performances come up like this, and one has to be left behind while the other is chosen to win, because I would pick Eisenberg for best actor over a lot of other previous winners. But, that is the way the Oscars work. Jesse Eisenberg played the part of the nerd of all nerds Mark Zuckerberg, who quickly goes from just your basic college genius going to Harvard, to the youngest billionaire in the world. This part must have taken some serious work for Eisenberg, because he played it to absolute perfection.


However, Jesse Eisenberg was not the only great performance in this movie. Andrew Garfield (the new Spider Man) comes in as a young actor with very little experience, and he plays the part of Zuckerberg's best friend throughout their years of college. Andrew Garfield put a ton, and I mean a ton of feeling and passion into his performance, being the character that went through the most hard times in the story. Yet again, I cannot give Garfield my pick for best supporting actor, but he no doubt should get the recognition of a nomination. Justin Timberlake (yes when being associated with a film that name worries me too) did a really good job in this film, and I honestly cannot believe I just said that. I really do not want to blow anything out of proportion here, but he very well may deserve a nomination for best supporting actor too. Playing the part of the creator of Nabster who is going broke, and trying desperately to get Zuckerberg to buy into his plans for Facebook, I truly believed every bit of it. Great acting.


Overall, The Social Network is a film to remember. As I mentioned earlier I have not made all my final picks for this year's Oscars, but I am very excited as it is going to come down between The King's Speech and The Social Network. Though the only thing that I might have a complaint about is the soundtrack. It was a very odd mixture of beautiful piano playing, then switching to some strange computer type jingle. Still, very enjoyable. Imagine perfect acting mixed with great filming, and spotless direction, and you will get The Social Network.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)
½

14 year old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) is setting out to capture her father's killer, Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). But knowing she cannot do this job alone, she must get help from a U.S. Marshal, Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) who has reasons of his own for wanting Chaney. It may be an unlikely trio, but together they will experience many adventures as they try to track the much wanted murderer.


The Coen brothers have no doubt had their success over the years, and it is safe to say that True Grit is one of their finest films to date. Joel and Ethan Coen have really established themselves as some of the best directors we have today. Needless to say, the direction in True Grit was nearly perfect.


The acting was nothing short of Oscar Worthy. Jeff Bridges played his part perfectly, and was very funny and enjoyable throughout the whole film. Matt Damon was good as he always is, and even in such a short role Josh Brolin made plenty of difference in the movie. But the biggest surprise was easily Hailee Steinfeld. Nowadays it seems it is hard to find a talented young actor in movies, however, that is just what she was. Even though it was not one of the easiest roles in the world, Steinfeld played it about as well as anyone her age could have.


True Grit also had an absolutely beautiful musical score, to the point where I felt the need to run home and buy the soundtrack after I left the theater. And to make everything better the screenplay was brilliant, and the character developement was magnificent.


Overall, True Grit really was a fantastic film. Not only do I believe it deserves a best picture nomination, I also think it may have passed Inception for my movie of the year pick. True Grit will be a loved movie for a long time to come.

Final rating: Fresh-100%

The Pursuit of Happyness
½

Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a man with a wife (Thandie Newton) and son (Jaden Smith). Struggling to sell devices called "Bone density scanners", Chris and his family have very little money to their name. Because his wife, Linda, is discontent with the life they are living she leaves Chris and their son alone. After a series of unfortunate events Chris loses his home, and bank account, while him and his son must live out on the streets trying desperately to find a place to sleep every night. Chris finds a payless job as a stockbroker, and he must go through a competition with many other people if he hopes to gain a permanent job with a salary, and make a life for his son.


Most everyone will probably disagree with this, but I absolutely loved this film! It was very touching in many ways, as it leads us through the lives of a father and his son who are in desperate need of happiness. For the most part this was a very sad film. The entire goal of the characters is through hard work, and maybe a little luck, to gain happiness, which from berth young Christopher Gardner has known nothing of. The film does start a little slow, it isn't until about 30-45 minutes into it that things actually get interesting. The first parts of a film are usually spent setting the tone for the rest of the movie, but in this case it was more spent learning the issues in the life of Linda Gardner, which proves to be a meaningless one to the audience anyways. That is my biggest complaint about the film. Half of the people will start this movie, and turn it off because of how slow moving it is, and they will ultimately miss what is a great movie because of that.


However, if you can get past the first of this film it is excellent. The character development is nearly perfect in this inspiring true story. The film basically just takes us through every step of the lives a father and son, which as I mentioned earlier can be very boring. But as this film progresses and we begin to see more of the hard times that many people must go through, while others are living the good life, we begin to care more and more about the two main characters Chris and Christopher Gardner. And I think that is what makes this movie so brilliant. How much the audience can learn from this film, and how much we care about the characters on screen. Not to mention a beautiful musical score that really creates the feeling and emotion in the film.


Now, the best part of this film was hands down the acting. You would have to be crazy to deny the greatness, and heart that Will Smith puts into this performance. I have to say casting Will Smith and Jaden Smith to play father and son together in this movie was brilliant. The bond of the father and son was like no other, and will bring tears to a lot of people's eyes. It would seem to me that the struggles that Christopher goes through as a young child in the film, would be very difficult for a young child to play in real life. But that is just why the acting is so great. Jaden Smith playing the part of a little boy that has no home, hardly any food, and no friends but his father, was played to perfection. I cannot say enough about the acting job done here. I don't know how Jaden Smith's career will turn out, whether it is nearly as succesful as his father's or not, but eithe way his performance here is one to remember. Will Smith though, is the hero in this film. His acting is so moving in this film, it simply cannot get much better. He poured his heart and soul into this performance, and it truned out beautifully. I have never been the biggest Will Smith fan. He tends to play in some basic shoot 'em up, that for whatever reason the whole world seems to love. But this performance was one for a lifetime, and no doubt the best of his career.


Overall, if you can get past the slow moving start, this is a film to remember. Gabriele Muccino has not had much of a career in the movie making business, but what he has done for the most part has been pretty sloppy, including directing the terrible "Seven Pounds". The Pursuit of Happyness however, in my opinion is something to be proud about. His direction was not perfect, but it got the job done. The screenplay was good, but could have been better. The only thing that really keeps me attached to this film is the moving performances by Will Smith and Jaden Smith. It is what makes this film so memorable. This may not be one of the greatest films ever made, but in the end it certainly was a very good one.

Final rating: Fresh-90%

The King's Speech

This is the story of a man named Albert or "Bertie" (Colin Firth) who was eventually to become King George VI. His brother King Edward VIII was next in line to take the throne, but due to personal matters he steps down, and Bertie must become King. England is on the brink of war, so Bertie's wife Elizabeth (Helen Bonham Carter) goes to find a speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). The sessions do not start very well, however, after time and much improvement on Bertie's speech, Lionel and Bertie become very good friends helping the King in his speech that will take them into war.


In making this film, Tom Hooper has created an absolute masterpiece. He has not done very much in his career, seeing as he has only made a few movies. But in making The King's Speech he has moved many people across the world. Considering that this film is nothing but dialogue, a lot of people will probably walk out of the theater either just waking up from a long nap, or talking about how much they wanted to nap through the film. But, that is for people who do not enjoy films as much as some do. The writing was superb. Some of the most well written dialogue I have heard in a long time, at least in theaters that is. I have heard some people complain that the film was too "predictable" but, I am not really sure how you can complain over such a thing since the movie is a true story. David Seidler did a really good job writing this movie. The character development was perfect. We start the film off knowing Bertie as the Duke of York, and slowly through many sessions with the speech therapist we begin to learn more and more about the lives of both Bertie and Lionel. And considering that I am a firm believer that a film requires great character development in order to be great, The King's Speech really nailed that spot.


However, it takes much more than just a director and a good screenwriter to make a movie as good as this one. At the beginning of the year I thought Leonardo DiCaprio should be getting best actor for his performance in Inception, then later Jeff Bridges came into the picture after True Grit. But neither performance compared to Colin Firth in my opinion. Now Colin Firth has had a very succesful career as an actor. He may have played in his share of terrible films, but so has every actor. He has also played in many good films, and has given many good performances. But in my opinion his performance in The King's Speech is no doubt the best of his career. I fully believed wile I was watching this film that I was watching King George VI stammer as he tries to give a speech. It is rare that I find a film that I care so much about the characters in the story that i'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see if anything is going to happen when nothing at all is going on in the film. That takes character development and how believable the actors can be. Colin Firth was in every way possible believable. But, he was not the only good acting performance in the film. Helen Bonham Carter was as convincing as anyone can be. Now she is also someone who has played in some great films, Sweeney Todd being one of them, but her performance in this film is about as good as they will come, and it was not as easy one at that. And then comes the great Geoffrey Rush playing the part of the speech therapist, Lionel. He was actually very funny in this film, nearly the entire theater roared in laughter at certain times of the film. And even if I had my pick, I would not want a different actor playing in this movie, because he was absolutely brilliant. These three actors all deserve to be nominated for an acting award at the Oscars, and I have no doubt in my mind that they will be.


Also, the musical score in this film was beautiful. There were times that not only me, but many people in the theater were nearly brought to tears, and the music as partly to thank for that. It at least deserves a best music nomination, because I thought it was fantastic. Just the overall feeling to this film was great. There are certain films that everyone seems to love that are just your basic shoot 'em up, and that is the entire movie. But for me this is my favorite kind of film. It may not have the most interesting topic, and the most interesting things may not happen, but with some great acting and directing we actually learn a little bit about our lives, and other people's lives while watching this film.


Overall, The King's Speech was a moving film that nearly made me cry in several parts. Colin Firth, Helen Bonham Crter, and Geoffrey Rush together in this period drama is about as fine of acting as you will ever seen in any movie, and that is coming from a true fan of movies. As I already mentioned, the screenplay was perfect and the direction was great, along with a moving musical score. This is one of the best movies I have seen in a very long time in theaters. The King's Speech has my pick for best picture.

12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men)

A young Spanish-American boy has been accused of murdering his father. All the evidence lines up seemingly pointing toward the boy being guilty. However, when one man holds up the jury for what everyone believes to be crazy reasons, everything and everyone begin to change the way they look at life.


Though not very many different things occur in Twelve Angry Men, it is one of the most creative films I have ever seen in my life. The whole movie is nothing but dialogue, and for the most part it all takes places in one jury room. Sounds boring, right? No. Reginald Rose did an absolutely phenomenal job writing the screenplay. I mean, not many movies can hold someone's attention when they are sitting around a table, discussing the exact same topic for about two hours. But that is just what Sidney Lumet and Reginald Rose did in making this film, and it is one of my all time favorites for this very reason. I don't know if you can actually consider Twelve Angry Men a "courtroom drama" considering there is only one scene that takes place in a courtroom, but if it was this would easily be my favorite from what I have seen.


However, as good of a job as Lumet and Rose did in the making of this film, all the credit cannot go to them. Henry Fonda and the cast did an unbelieveable job acting in this movie. But what most escapes me about this is how Henry Fonda was not nominated for best actor! Some may believe that his performance was not a difficult one, but still it at least deserved to get nominated. John Fielder was good as well. I grew up watching Walt Disney classics, needless to say Winnie the Pooh was one of my favorites, so it is always fun for me to go back and watch John Fielder (the voice of Piglet) in movies. For the most part the acting was just brilliant in this film.


Overall, Twelve Angry Men teaches us about our personal prejudices, and how it is so easy to form an opinion of someone for various reasons, without even knowing them. The acting was nothing short of superb in this touching film, and as I mentioned earlier the writing by Reginald Rose, and the direction by Sidney Lumet was perfect. And to think with such a career that Sidney Lumet went on to have, Twelve Angry Men was his big screen debut. It is a favorite of mine, no doubt.

Final rating: Fresh-100%

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby reminded me of the fact that even though I don't think that Clint Eastwood is the most talented actor, he is no doubt in my opinion one of the most talented directors. It just seems that I like almost every movie I see that that he directs, along with all these films is definitely Million Dollar Baby. It is one of the saddest, yet most pwerful movies I have ever seen. The characters are about as good as it gets, and even though I do not really like Hilary Swank, she is magnificent as the part of the poor girl that only wants to fight, Maggie fitzgerald. Enough cannot be said about the acting in this movie. Morgan Freeman does an incredible job in the film, and I even thought that Clint Eastwood did pretty good in his part as well. And to think he even wrote the music to this film. Overall I give Million Dollar Baby 90%, in other words an absolutely fantastic film.

Mystic River
Mystic River(2003)

All while I was watching this movie I found myself wondering why in the world I have not seen it till now. Clint Eastwood is hands down one of the greatest directors in history. Right before I watched Mystic River I saw Million Dollar Baby, which just reminded me of how amazing a director Clint Eastwood is. I have now seen this movie, which I probably liked even more than I did Million Dollar Baby, and Clint Eastwood is now no doubt in my top 5 favorite directors of all time. When I see a film I don't like that he directs I will be absolutely shocked, because I have yet to see one that I can remember. Now, about the acting. I cannot say enough about it. Tim Robbins is one of my favorite actors of all time, and he came through in this movie, and in my opinion was very deserving of the Oscar that he was awarded. Sean Penn also did a great job, and I thought he deserved the Oscar as well as Tim Robbins. I am really not a big Kevin Bacon fan, but he definitely played his part well in this movie. Everyone in this movie acted well. Overall, Mystic River was not a disappointment at all, and I thought it was a fantastic film. One of the best I have seen in a long time.

Public Enemies
½

Public Enemies takes us through the last few years of the well known life of a bank robber named John Dillinger (Johnny Depp). He was content with his life of robbing banks and easily getting away with it, until one day when he met Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), who he instantly feel in love with. However, while being tracked by an FBI agent named Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale), Dillinger has a hard time seeing Billie, and coming closer and closer every minute to being captured, Dillinger's life begins to fall apart.


Most likely pretty much everyone will know how this story ends before seeing the film, but it was still a very enjoyable movie. I don't really agree with a lot of the negative criticism this film received, because I found it to be one of the best films of 2009. Though I did think considering the cast, and famous story Public Enemies could have been even better then it was. But still I thought the screenplay and direction was very good, the music was nothing short of fantastic. Otis Taylor in a gangster movie really fit.


Now I thought the acting was excellent in this film. I also felt that Johnny Depp deserved at least a best actor nomination. He played the part of the bank robber John Dillinger to absolute perfection. Christian Bale playing the part of Melvin Purvis, the man tracking Dillnger throughout the film, was a very good choice as well. He had the accent down great, and the believability was definitely there. Marion Cotillard was also great. She was the right pick for the part of Billie, Dillinger's love, and she really made me an all time fan after this film. I had not seen her in many other things before this, but after I was no doubt a fan of hers.


Overall, Public Enemies is another great gangster movie. The performances were gold, and the screenplay was brilliant. There were also some very well shot action scenes, and the filming was incredible. It was realistic to its time period, and just a really good and enjoyable film. Underrated for sure.

Final rating: Fresh-92%

The Godfather

The Godfather begins as Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the head of a Mafia family, prepares to go to his daughter's wedding. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), his son, has just arrived home from the war, but in no way does he plan on getting involved in his father's business. But when the Don rejects an offer from another family to start a drug selling business in New York, things start to get violent for the Corleone family. The Don's old world values will soon conflict with the ways of the new world, and many struggles begin to come for the Corleone family.


The Godfather is a near perfect movie, most everyone knows that, and it all starts with the cast. It is without a doubt one of the greatest casts in movie history, and that is a big reason to why this movie is so acclaimed. To start with is Marlon Brando who plays the part of The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone. From the very first scene in the film I could tell this was going to be fantastic performance, as the critics and Oscars said it was. It was a very believable performance, and I don't think anyone else could have played the part better. In my opinion it is his career performance. Next we have Al Pacino who gave a career defining performance. Playing the part of the young son Michael was a difficult role to play, but he acted to perfection in this film. Easily one of my favorite performances of his. Now I have never been a big fan of James Caan. It seems that after this movie he has played in a lot of silly, terrible movies. But seeing him deliver what is definitely his best performance in The Godfather, it was almost enough to make me a fan for life. Robert Duvall who has always been one of my favorite actors, was excellent as well. It may not have been his best performance, but it was still a great one. And along with that all the other supporting actors were great.


However, being a movie as good as this one, there were still many other great things about The Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola did an absolute masterful job with the writing and the direction of this film, and I don't think that many people would argue that The Godfather is his masterpiece. Francis Ford Coppola changed the expectations, and the way people view movies when he mad this film. Not to mention the music was very good, along with the visuals.


Overall, The Godfather is probably the greatest movie ever made. With perfect acting, and perfect direction this movie will be hard to beat, ever. There are many good movies that have been made before, but The Godfather truly is a great film.

Tangled
Tangled(2010)

Tangled is the story of Princess Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), who is kidnapped when she is a baby by Mother Gothel because of the healing powers the baby receives from a magical flower. Mother Gothel's goal is to stay young forever, and knowing that the magical power is now growing in Rapunzel's golden hair she must lock Rapunzel in a hidden tower. Rapunzel is now coming up on her 18th birthday, and still locked in the tower all her life she is beginning to get curious as to what goes on in the outside world, but her "mother" refuses to let her leave the tower. Until one day when Mother Gothel is gone, a bandit named Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi) happens to stumble upon the hidden tower. Rapunzel makes a deal with Flynn that he will take her to the place wher the floating lights come from every year on her birthday, in exchange for his bag which she has hidden. So they leave the tower to see the lights, but what Rapunzel does not know is that she's about to have the most exciting journey she will ever have.


Honestly, when I first heard this was coming out I did not even want to go see it. I really expected it to be one of Disney's failures of a movie, which does not happen often. However, a few good reviews sparked my interest and I decided to go see it, and I was in every way wrong about this film. Not only was it good, but actually one of the best movies I have seen all year. It had a nice blend of comedy and music, which Disney has not done much of lately, and the animation was stunning.


Now I was unsure of the cast coming into the film. Mandy Moore on the part of Rapunzel just didn't seem right to me, but she played the part very well, and brought laughs for the enjoyment of children and even the parents at many times in the film. On the other hand given his past movies and TV shows Zachary Levi could have, and should have been a complete disaster. But after the film was over Levi was actually my favorite performance in the movie. His acting was very good, and very funny.


Overall, Tangled is by no means one of Disney's best, but it really was an enjoyable movie, and not only for the kids. It may be no Toy Story or Up, but Tangled is a nice addition to Disney's famed animation collection, and it is definitely worth buying.

Final rating: Fresh-85%

Salt
Salt(2010)

Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is a very respected CIA agent, until one day a Russian spy comes in and accuses Salt of being a Russian spy, which passes the lie detector test as truthful. Knowing that she will soon be captured by the CIA, and that her husband may be in danger, Salt goes on the run to find her husband, who is not answering any calls. Ted Winter (Liev Schrieber) does not believe the test that she is lying, but some of the things Salt is doing begin to make him suspect her. And everyone begins to ask "Who is Salt?"


The acting in this film was good, not Oscar worthy or anything, but overall the acting by everyone was good. Angelina Jolie did good as usual, it was not a perfect performance and she has done much better before, but it was still good. I really liked Liev Schrieber in the film, I saw him first in Defiance, which I really enjoyed his performance in that one as well. Though it seems to me that Angeline Jolie has played characters like this many times before, and to me it is getting pretty old, and the movies are getting pretty bad. The last movie I really enjoyed from her was Changeling.


Now, pretty much everything else about the movie I thought was pretty terrible. The character development just was not good at all, by the end of the movie I honestly didn't care what happened, and I was not even sure who I wanted to win. The action scenes were unbelievably unrealistic, and that was not at an understatement. Instead of saying "Wow!" during the action sequences like you should during an action film, I found myself saying "What?" during the action scenes. And now we come to the plot. The acting really almost saved this film, because the plot was really, really bad. Unrealistic can be good sometimes, but in this case it is not. I also think some people might find this film boring, I know a lot of the people I was with seeing it did, and I really didn't find it too interesting. But that was good because it kept us from the action scenes.


Overall, Salt is an action movie that many people will like due to the cast, and pretty much everyone loves a good action film every once in awhile. But I think many will find Salt boring, and way too unrealistic to spend money on, so I am going to have to against Roger Ebert here, which I hate to do, and say that to be honest I just didn't really like this movie.

The Rainmaker
½

I have seen many movies that were made from a John Grisham book, it almost seems that every book he writes ends up becoming a movie. But, every one of the movies that come out, in my opinion, fall short of any expectations that I have before I see the movie. They all seem to be the same movie. I am not saying that I hate the movies, because most of them have good casts, and for the most part are good movies. But because they are all so similar, and even located in the same town sometimes, they can become a little boring at times. However, The Rainmaker was in my opinion somewhat different than the others. It is still the same old courtroom drama type deal, but I just thought it was a better movie than most of the others coming from a John Grisham novel. The Rainmaker had a great cast, and great performances, especially coming from Matt Damon as Rudy Baylor, and Jon Voight was very good, as he always is. It also just had a really great story in general. I would say most people will at least enjoy this movie, and if you are a fan of any other movie of a John Grisham book, you will absolutely love this movie. Now do not get me wrong it was a far from perfect film, but still a good one

Titanic
Titanic(1997)
½

A poor young man named Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a rich girl named Rose DeWitt Bukator (Kate Winslet) fall in love on the Titanic, the unsinkable ship. But Rose has a decision to make, because she is actually on her way to marrying another man, Cal Hockley, who was Jack locked up in a room when the so called unsinkable ship hits an iceberg, and begins to sink. Rose now must find Jack before the ship sinks and they drown, and they must fight to stay alive on the sinking Titanic.


One of the most impressive parts of this film was the fantastic visuals. They were absolutely stunning, and they really needed to be for the film to work. The story was obviously very sad, and probably most people before they even see the film can guess how it will end. The story to the Titanic in general is just one of the most tragic events in history, and James Cameron did a very good job making it into a movie. The direction was actually what I thought to maybe be the best part of the film. It took a lot of skill on the part of James Cameron to make such a realistic, yet good movie.


To make a tragic true story such as this, the cast is really a very important part of the film. It could possibly either ruin, or make a movie. Obviously, in the case of Pearl Harbor many believe the cast could have very nearly destroyed the movie. Thank you Michael Bay. However, the Titanic I found the cast to be perfect. Leonardo DiCaprio may not have been even so much as nominated for an Oscar, which if you look at who was nominated he probably did not deserve to be, but his performance was still nothing short of excellent. Kate Winslet though, was easily deserving of her nomination. Her performance was brilliant. The musical score by James Horner was incredible. He will always be remembered by me for the music to this film, and A Beautiful Mind.


Overall, the Titanic really was a great film With outstanding visuals, beautiful acting, and unbelievable direction. I think a lot of people think this film is overrated, and I do understand where they are coming from because 11/14 Oscars might be taking it a bit too far. But the film really was good, and it deserved many of the Oscars that it won. Titanic is one of the better movies that I have seen, and will always be considered so by me.

Final rating: Fresh-95%

Anatomy of a Murder

When Laura Manion (Lee Remick) comes home and tells her husband that she has been raped, he instantly goes and kills the man who raped his wife. Paul Biegler (James Stewart) a humble small-town lawyer, is asked to defend him. Biegler originally wants to plead guilty, but soon discovers the idea that they might have a shot for insanity. But this case will not be an easy one. Biegler finds himself up against the State's Deputy Attorney General (George C. Scott), and Biegler must search everywhere for evidence to prove that Laura was raped, and possibly win the case.


Anatomy of a Murder was one of the most brilliant courtroom dramas I have ever seen. The story was pretty similar to a lot of movies such as these, but the direction by Otto Preminger was fantastic. Despite the long length of this film, unlike many courtroom dramas Anatomy of a Murder really keeps you interested throughout the entire film. The screenplay was also very good. I laughed out loud several times in the film, and I can tell you there is no better battle then James Stewart and George C. Scott for a courtroom drama.


The acting was superb by everyone. I found no one in the film to be a bad actor, and I really loved some of the performances. James Stewart delivered one of the best I have ever seen him. I still believe that It's a Wonderful Life was his career performance, but this was definitely up there in his best. This is one of the only films I have seen with George C. Scott, but he was amazing in this film. The most interesting parts of the film was hearing James Stewart and George C. Scott yell "objection!" every single time one of them would say something.


Overall, Anatomy of a Murder is probably the greatest, or at least one of the greatest, courtroom dramas I have ever seen. With perfect direction, and great acting by some of the greatest actors ever, this movie quickly became one of my favorites in film history.

Final rating: Fresh-100%

The Philadelphia Story
½

After she gets a divorce from C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) prepares to marry again to a man named George Kittredge. But when her ex-husband shows up at her mansion door, along with the reporter, Macaulay Connor (James Stewart) things begin to change for Tracy, and she cannot decide which of the three men are right for her.


I loved nearly everything about The Philadelphia Story. A while back when I read that this was the only movie James Stewart ever won an Oscar for, I knew I needed to see this film. I was not quite expecting a romantic comedy, and I am not usually a fan of them, but this one I absolutely loved. Especially the script, and the direction from George Cukor, which were both perfect. This is one of his best films, and with a director like him that means a lot.


The acting was brilliant. I now see why James Stewart won an Oscar, though I do think his performance in It's a Wonderful Life is his best, but either way he did fantastic in this film. Katharine Hepburn did very good as well, this was the first film I saw with her in it, and I certainly was not disappointed. Cary Grant delivered his usual good performance, it was not his best, but it was still very good.


Overall, The Philadelphia Story is a fantastic classic with great performances, a terrific screenplay, and great direction. Which makes this film still enjoyable long after it was made.

Final rating: Fresh-97%

Spirited Away

The story begins with Chihiro and her family moving to a new home, when her father decides that it would be best to take a short cut, and he goes down a odd looking road, and comes along to a tunnel. They get out and walk through the tunnel and stumble upon a seemingly deserted town, and come across a few restaurants, not hesitating to eat the food with no workers present. Chihiro leaves her parents, and happens to find a boy named Haku. He immediately tells her that she needs to leave the place before night comes, so she runs back to find her parents have turned into pigs. Haku tells Chihiro that he will help her get home and save her parents, but she must face many difficult tasks in this new world before she can leave.


Spirited Away is the first film I have seen by Miyazaki, and let me tell you it blew my mind from how good it was. This film was absolutely beautiful. The art work is stunning, it was just plain mind boggling. I loved it. This movie was filled with so much imagination, I do not see how anyone could not like it. Both adults and children will love this movie. The performances were fantastic, it was hard to believe at times, and I must say that this film has to be one of the best animated films I have ever seen. The story was terrific, and I loved every bit of this film.


Overall, Spirited Away is not just filled with imagination, but is also some of the best storytelling you will ever see. I recommend this film to anyone who loves movies, and especially anyone who loves animated films. You will love this movie.

Final rating: Fresh-100%

The Expendables

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) leads his team of mercenaries to a small South American island to assassinate its ruthless dictator. When Barney and Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) get there they meet a local girl Sandra and soon discover the way things really work on the island. When they escape and try to take Sandra with them, she stays behind, leaving Ross up with the choice of keeping his life and leaving, or going back on a suicidal mission to save the girl.


The Expendables had so much potential. It has a brilliant cast with Stallone, Statham, Rourke, Li and many other famous action stars, which I thought would have made this film much better than it turned out to actually be. It certainly had good points at times, like some nice action scenes. Over the top and unrealistic, like the way most people will enjoy. It was quite violent at times as well, and it had good acting from its legendary cast. However, I found most of the blood and guts to be kind of stupid. It reminded me a lot of the newest Rambo, which I did not like, just not as much blood flying everywhere. But considering the cast and explosions I think i'll let this film slip by with a fresh rating.


Overall, The Expendables will most likely please all of Stallone's followers, but in the end Rotten Tomatoes has it right when they said it should have 'hit harder'.

Final rating: Fresh-61%

Doubt
Doubt(2008)
½

Doubt begins at a Catholic school in the Bronx, where a priest, Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is trying to loosen up the school's strict rules. Recently the school had just accepted its first black student, and Father Flynn, and the principal, Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep) quickly become concerned with the welfare of their new student. Sister Aloysius shares with Sister James (Amy Adams) and a few others that she has seen a few things lately that have made her suspicious. Soon after Sister Aloysius and Sister James begin to believe that Father Flynn is getting a little too close with the school's newest student, and Sister Aloysius will stop at nothing to find the truth.


I have heard some people say that this film is too slow and boring for their taste, and that may be true for many people, because the climax of the story hardly gets above a heated debate between two people. But I actually enjoyed that about the movie. I thought the story was very interesting, and found myself really wanting to know how it was going to end. The script in my opinion was brilliant, which helped the story out, so I thought that part of the film worked out fine.


However, the story was definitely not the strongest point of the movie. The acting was. These three actors, Mery Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams were absolutely unbelieveable. I honestly thought that Meryl Streep deserved to win best actress. This movie being her 15th nomination, she really deserves to have won more than just twice. But Oscar or no Oscar she acted perfectly in this film. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy adams easily deserved their nominations as well.


Overall, Doubt is slow at times, but it really makes you think, which not many movies do these days. It was brilliantly acted, and I thought was worthy of a best picture nomination.

Final rating: Fresh-94%

High Crimes
High Crimes(2002)
½

Lawyer Claire Kubik (Ashley Judd) finds herself in an interesting situation when her husband, Tom Kubik (Jim Caviezel) is arrested, and she has to defend him in court. Tom is revealed to actually be Ron Chapman, and is on trial for murdering Latin American villagers while he was in the marines. Claire finds that she will need help with the case, and is assisted by Charlie Grimes (Morgan Freeman). Most of the witnesses it seems have happened to die, and Claire will have a hard time proving the innocence of her husband.


This film really fell short for me. It had a somewhat interesting plot, but the entire thing I thought to be entirely predictable, and I found myself having figured out the ending not too long through the movie. Which in the end was one of my bigger problems with the film. I read and heard many people saying "unpredictable" and "great twist", but I honestly just did not get it. Nowadays it seems that I just cannot hardly ever find a film that has a great ending, a few, but not many. All I can find myself thinking is where is Alfred Hitchcock? And to make it worse I thought the script was terrible. However, the film was not all bad. Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman's performances were good, and it made most of the movie enjoyable. Jim Caviezel was good as well, but everyone else was mediocre, so in the end it did not really work out for me.


Overall, High Crimes was not a great film, but interesting court scenes, and a few good performances by popular actors made this movie enjoyable for most crowds.

Final rating: Rotten-53%

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

An ancient ring that was once believed to be lost, has now been found by a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. On his "eleventy-first" birthday, Bilbo leaves to go live with the elves, and gives the ring to another hobbit, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). However, Gandalf (Ian McKellen) is concerned about the ring, and he sends Frodo and Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin) on a trip, and tells them to meet him at the "Prancing Pony". But when Gandalf does not show, a wounded Frodo, Sam, a few friends they picked up along the way, and a ranger, Aragon (Viggo Mortensen) end up in the city of the elves, where they are called to a meeting concerning the ring. Soon after, Frodo and his companions are sent off on a journey to Mount Doom, to destroy once and for all the one ring.


The story to The Fellowship of the Ring was absolutely creative like none other that I have ever seen. This movie, and series, is definitely my favorite of any type of fantasy film. Even though I often hear the Harry Potter series being compared to this, and even sometimes thought more highly of, I honestly think this series was by far in every way superior to Harry Potter. The special effects in this film were incredible, some of the best I have ever seen, and Peter Jackson did just a phenomenal job with this film. I hardly ever see both a book, and a movie this good nowadays. Also, This film series probably has the title for my favorite musical score in film history.


This film has one of the best casts I have ever seen in my life. The casting was done perfectly in my opinion, not one mistake. Elijah Wood for Frodo was fantastic, Sean Astin on the part of Sam left me speechless. Sam Gamgee is to me one of the greatest characters in film history, and Sean Astin was unbelievable playing him in this film. Ian McKellen was no doubt deserving of the Oscar he was nominated for, and Viggo Mortensen was superb. All in all this was some of the best acting I have ever seen.


Overall, I found the Fellowship of the Ring to be a moving movie, and it is in my opinion one of the best films of the entire decade.

I, Robot
I, Robot(2004)
½

This movie begins in the year of 2035, where robots are just something that walk around everyday and are programmed to work along with humans. Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) is called to investigate the suicide of Dr. Alfred Lanning, who is the maker of the robots. But Del does not believe that it was a suicide, he suspects that a robot murdered the doctor, which according to the three laws cannot be true. One of the laws being that a robot cannot harm a human, or allow a human to come to harm. A robot named Sonny soon becomes the main suspect, according to Del, but because of the laws Del will have a hard time convincing people of this, and he must find out the truth before it is too late.


Before I saw this film I had been told that it was a really good movie by everyone I knew, but I just really did not like this film. Especially when it came to the story. I found that nearly everything that happened in this film I could see coming from a mile off. It was way too predictable in my opinion. I am not a very big sci-fi fan, so that may have been one of my bigger problems with this film, but to be honest I found the entire story to just be kind of cheesy, and as I was watching it I felt as if I had seen movies with a similar storyline several times before.


However, this movie was not all bad, there were a few parts that I thought were good. Will Smith I thought gave a very convincing performance, and I really enjoyed it. But for me he needs to play in a few more roles that are not just your average shoot-'em-up, because for me it is getting extremely old. With that said I really did not like Bridget Moynahan in this movie. I found her performance poorly acted, and very over the top at times, which was one of the bigger downfalls of the movie in my opinion.


Overall, I, Robot is an action packed film with and ending explanation that will be very pleasing for most audiences, and even most sci-fi fans as well as that. But for other people you will probably just find this movie mediocre with good acting at times.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption begins with the hero of this story, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) being convicted of murder, and sent to Shawshank prison. While there Andy meets a man who is a very longtime convict, named Red (Morgan Freeman). With the help of his new friend, Andy will change Shawshank prison in a way that no one will see coming.


I was absolutely shocked when I first saw this movie. At first I had no idea what to even say about it I thought it was so good. The Shawshank Redemption is in my opinion not only one of my favorite films of all time, but one of the greatest of all time. Tim Robbins delivers one of the best performances of his career, and was probably deserving of an Oscar nomination, along with Morgan Freeman who had an amazingly powerful performance as well. Overall The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, movies of all time. It is what I believe to be Frank Darabont's masterpiece.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

This review may come over as slightly harsh, but I am just going to say how I feel about the film. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is very possibly the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life. The acting was absolutely horrible. It reminded me of Twilight, but much, much worse than that. It truly was pitiful, and it is a shame that someone like Michael Douglas was in this movie. Not to mention a plot twist that is not only stupid, but you will see coming a mile off. If you feel like completely wasting one hour and forty five minutes of your life then watch this movie.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Although Eclipse was a good bit better than Twilight, the good in Eclipse was not near enough to make it a good movie. Despite a few decent performances by some of the supporting actors, the bad acting by everyone else and the horrible special effects made the good in the movie almost non existent. All the die hard fans will still love this movie, but if you are not a fan of the books or the previous two movies you will most likely not like this movie.

Shrek
Shrek(2001)

DreamWorks is definitely not your most reliable source if you are looking to watch a good movie, they have had good movies and bad movies. Shrek is one of their best. Mainly because of fantastic performances on the part of Mike Myers with Shrek, and Eddie Murphy with Donkey. It may be gross at times, especially for an animated film, but in the end it sure is a good movie.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

If you are one of those people who have not seen this movie, and sat on your couch complaining while it won all eleven of the Oscars it was nominated for, you really should watch this movie. There is a reason it won those awards. In my opinion the Return of the King has probably the most memorable characters out of any movie ever made. Not to mention fantastic special effects, and absolutely superb acting. It is just an incredible movie, and you have not seen it go buy the series now and watch all of them. You will not be disappointed.

Knight & Day
Knight & Day(2010)
½

I really could not quite decide whether or not to give Knight and Day a fresh tomatoe or a rotten tomatoe. It really was a very enjoyable movie, and I found myself laughing out loud several times during it. Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz did a good job with their parts as well. However, the movie was just way too unrealistic for me. Even though it was funny, by the time it was over it was just kind of stupid. So if you are looking for a good laugh and like the cast then you will probably really like this movie, but if not then you will probably find it stupid, which is why I went with rotten.