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Saturday, May 8, 2010

2012 - Review (2009)

A ludicrous, nearly-plotless, hokey & a complete joke - yet it is entertaining in a brainless way mainly due to the amazing and stupidly outrageous effects. Did I say it was stupid? It is not really a story, just jettisoning from location to location so we can watch how the greatest cities and most famous tourist attractions are destroyed. The actors are there to simply ramble off pointless dialogue so this can feel like a film, not a special effects reel. Probably serves better as background, visual noise at party, playing on the TV that no one is watch rather than a way to dedicate 2.5 hours. It can entertain, but it will never make you think. 4 out of 10

Friday, April 30, 2010

Downhill Racer - review (1969)

A late 60's skiing drama starring Robert Redford & some great horns (that make up most the score.)   More of a character study than a sports film.  Redford is the hot shot member of the USA Ski Team that When watching this you can't help but thing how sports films have changes over the last 40 years.  Gene Hackman plays a no-nonsense coach - he's a one of a kind.  If you can get into skiing, there are some fairly exciting and authentic feeling skiing scenes.  6 out of 10

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Brothers Review (2009)

A military wife grows closer to  her husband's troubled brother after he is goes missing during his latest tour of duty.  A great cast including Tobey MacGuire, Jake Gyllennhal and Natalie Portman delivers mixed results.  The film has some very effective scenes that are benefited from the amazing performances that make it worth watching  IF you can deal with predictable melodrama.  I find it easy to connect to Natalie Portman that often comes across as a real person rather than a character - except in the case of the Star Wars prequels, where she came across as a rock.  6.5 stars out of 10

Friday, April 23, 2010

Girl on the Bridge (La Fille sur le Pont) 1999

When a girl that has given up on love decided to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, her life is saved by a knife-thrower and both their luck changes. If you can work through the slow start you will find what sounds to be be a depressing film, playful, uplifting and charming. Beautifully shot in black and white. A French film that kind of fits the mold that you would expect a French film to fit - in a good way. 8 out of 10

Monday, April 19, 2010

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

Michael Moore focuses on capitalism and how it has destroyed the American dream.  Completely accurate or not one thing rings true, America needs saving.  Michael Moore has a lot of detractors, but you have to admit that his heart is in the right place.  This film is no exception.  It exposes some of the "flaws" with Captialism and how it has affected this country, especially over the last few decades.  It is entertaining and effective - even in its weakest/most manipulative moments this film "should" start discussions about the improving the future of this nation.  7.5 out of 10

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Julia (2009)

A one woman car wreck.  Julia, decides to get involved with a kidnapping.  Great idea, right?  From that poor decision things only get worse.  This film is not easy to watch at times because you can't believe the choices she makes.  You may want to, but you will not be able to turn away for a second.  I think it is one of the least known, most unappreciated films I have seen.  It is a tense ride down a dark road with no turning back.  Tilda Swinton is incredible.  9 out of 10

Couples Retreat (2009)

A couple whose relationship is on the rocks heads out on a couple retreat with several couple they know.  This movie is just as funny as the trailer promised... in other words near laughless.  Predictable situations and cliche characters - it becomes a bore quick.  With a cast like this it should be a crime that they hired a dud writer and director.  SPOILER:  Everyone in the film leaves happy except the viewer.   2 stars out of 10

Moon (2009)

An isolated moon miner nearing the end of his 3-year contract deals with some odd occurrences making him question everything he calls reality.  It is a mind-bending, thought-provoking film set entirely on the moon.  Intriguing at the same time it is eerie.  Sam Rockwell proves again to be one of Hollywood's forgotten heroes.  It owes a lot to "2001: A Space Odyssey" while at the same time is more accessible to general audiences.  8 stars out of 10

Precious (2009)

An illiterate, obese, HIV infected teenage girl that is abused by her mother and carrying her father's baby attempts to improve her life (not sure what other direction it can go.)  Although full of melodrama, Gabourey Sidibe's performance is hard to resist .  It was more effective than I had expected.  Although the theme is ultimately one of hope this may not be the not the type of feel good film to sit down and watch with the family - if it is for your family may need to seek therapy.  Loved the fired chicken theme - was not expecting that.  7.5 out of 10

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sorority Row (2009)

After a sorority prank leads to a death kept under wraps the girls of the sorority becomes victims themselves of a masked killer.  This film is exactly like "Scream" oh yeah, minus the scares, minus a plot, and with the addition of a lot of silicone.  Nothing about it makes much sense at all.  The lazy writing ruins what could easily have been a fun, bad film.  Instead, what we get is a movie that is so bad it's just bad.  2.5 out of 10

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

REC (2007)

After a series of unnatural events a camera crew is quarantined in an apartment building to fend for themselves.  It start a bit hokey with the sadly, tired found footage format, but as you get to the last quarter of the film it provides some real scares.  Not for the claustrophobic or those that get jumpy in the dark.  Oh yeah, it is in Spanish with subtitles.  6 out of 10

Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)

A marriage that has gone stale gets some life added to it when both spouses find out that the other is a competing assassin.  The comedy has more impact after you have been married for a few years and the metaphor about the ups and downs of a marriage rings true.  It is a sweet relationship film... with a lot of guns.  I watched this again and found myself enjoying the film much more than I remembered, the same goes for my response to Angelina Jolie.   7.5 out of 10

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Brothers Bloom (2008)

A pair of con men brothers work together to pull off one last swindle.  It comes across like a Wes Anderson wannabee and that is not a terrible thing.  Full of laughs and quite stylized so much so that it will not play well to some audiences.  It has its charms you can't deny - two of them being Rachel Weisz and beautiful footage shot in Prague.   7.5 out of 10

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Body of Lies (2008)

A CIA agent teams up with a others to help him infiltrate a terrorist network and track down a leader.  With all the marquee names associated with the film you anticipate a better film.  It will keep you interested throughout because of its layered storytelling, but in the end feels a bit empty and complex for the sake of complexity.  Russell Crowe does his best J.T. Walsh impersonation. DiCaprio squints a bunch.  6 out of 10

Terminator: Salvation (2009)

Another entry in the Terminator series, this time with the misfortune of being directed by the inept McG.  Good for you McG you found a way to make the Terminator uninteresting.  It lacks anything close to flow or wonder and even the effects, while good, didn't excite.  The Terminator films always had the ability to make you think (if even just a little) - not this one.   And as for Kyle Reese, who cares?  Kill him off and maybe the storyline will improve.   The best thing that resulted from this film production is this (warning explicit, but funny.)   4 stars out of 10

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)

The boy wizard comes closer to a face off with Voldemort while he and his friends begin to mature and discover the magic of the opposite sex.  The films are visually stunning but aren't all capturing the spirit of the books to the same degree.  This one comes across kind of flat for a fantasy flick.  Even with the 153 minute running time it runs short on the magic and wonder of previous entries - trying hard to fit too much into the film while skimming over others.  Some major events occur that change the landscape of the series, they could have been very powerful, but are somewhat lacking.  Not terrible, not a winner either.  6 out of 10

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

Small time gangsters playing like big shots.  Shows the grimy, unattractive side of the crime underworld rather than the glorified world so often portrayed.  It is subtle in its storytelling going for a more realistic feel than stylized.   A little known Robert Mitchum film that deserves more attention.   8 out of 10

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Canyon (2009)

Man and wife get stuck in the mountains during their honeymoon, boredom ensues.  2.5 stars out of 10

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Cove (2009)

Another angry-mentary (angry documentaries) with a message - this time about the slaughter of the dolphins in Japan.  Sad, effective and surprisingly suspenseful at time.  It is informative as well as entertaining - though, no in the let's watch this during a party or with the kids kind of way...this ain't Flipper.  Winner of Oscar for Best Documentary.  8 stars out of 10

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

A Wes Anderson animation with George Clooney playing a fox - need I say more to entice you?  A charming, smart film that will probably be enjoyed more by adults than children.  This stop-motion animated fox feels more real than most human characters do in live action films.  Unlike most animations the visuals and the characters are imperfect, rough and not always pretty - more like real life.  You get to see them, mole and all.  The Good stuff.  8 stars out of 10

The Damned United (2009)

For some reason I enjoy soccer movies.  This one was no exception.  Even if you are not a fan of the sport, Michael Sheen performance will keep you watching.  He takes an character that is tough to like and keeps makes you root for him.  It is more about a man than the sport - will satisfy both audience.  Sheen is one of the under appreciated actors of the last decade.   8 out of 10

Monday, March 29, 2010

Women In Trouble (2009)

A day in the life for an ensemble of very attractive, somewhat interesting, tough to believe exist women in a story that is so thin it lacks any feeling of cohesion.  The director is in love with the physical beauty of his cast - though not enough to choose a better script though.   4 out of 10

Friday, March 26, 2010

Public Enemies (2009)

Over-produced gangster film.  It is fine to try hard to be something you just can't let us know you are trying hard - it ruins it.  This film is trying too hard to be a classic gangster film and fails.   Comes across like playing pretend...with bad accents.  With this cast it is too bad it is a shame the screenplay don't come through.  6 out of 10

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beer Wars (2009)

An inside look at the American beer industry.   Depressing, as most documentaries on American business are.  The little guys have to fight to even get distribution (held back by archaic laws from the times of Prohibition) while the bug dogs are raking in the cash for selling swill,  Still, worth viewing.  8 stars out of 10.  If you are not a beer fanatic as I am take away a star or two.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The House of the Devil (2009)

A young college coed in need of cash gets more than she bargains for when her babysitting job leads to a run in with satanists.  As a horror film it works well, tension filled and creepy.  The real reason to watch is to see how they emulate the style of horror films from decades past.  By recreating that style they make a better horror film than the majority created in the last decade.  7.5 out of 10

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Julie and Julia (2010)

aka "meh and Julia" - half a good film, half a sugary sweet storyline that is hard to stomach.  Meryl Streep plays Julia Childs picture perfect; not just an imitation, real acting.  Amy Adams plays Julie, the woman who is making every recipe in Childs' book so she can write about the experience on her blog.  Yep, that half sounds as boring as it is written.  If you are a fan of Streep or Childs watch it, otherwise try cooking from "The Joy of Cooking" instead.    5.5 stars out of 10

Friday, March 5, 2010

Crazy Heart (2010)

A country singer with his fair share of problems in love, life and music tries one more shot at redemption.  The story doe not break any new territory, but Jeff Bridges breaths life into into a character that could have felt too familiar.  His performance just feels real - so much you root for this character you probably would not be willing to spend time with.  The resolve is a little too happy, but I'll take it - life is sad enough.  7.5

Inglourioius Basterds (2009)

Tarantino's take on World War II told through a small group of Nazi-hunting killers.  Every great movie has one great film, this film has several. Christoph Waltz's performance is chilling.  Bold and bloody - not going to go over well with all audiences.  BTW, don't grow attached to any characters.  9 out of 10 stars

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

An average Disney animated film that will please the young ones, but probably will not make many of their favorite film lists as they grow older.  The southern setting adds characters, but the characters themselves are not all that memorable - overall they played it too safe.  I do love the traditional animation...just not as potent of a spell as other Disney films.  6.5 out of 10

Monday, March 1, 2010

Legion (2010)

A ultra-cool premise about near apocalyptic world where God has sent angels to wipe out the no longer worthy mankind...with a terrible execution.  Weighed down by loads of hallow exposition.  My guess is most of these scenes were created when a producer enjoying a couple drinks said "that'd be cool."  It is true, the best scenes would be cool if they were part of a better film.  Next time write a story before coming up with the "cool" scenes.  3 stars out of 10

Saturday, February 27, 2010

In the Loop (2009)

A political satire centered around a potential war of convenience rings almost too true but still succeeds at being witty, intelligent, and as funny as can be.  It has a certain Mamet crossed with Christopher Guest feel to it.   So sharp I watched it twice in one day to catch more of the jokes - even better the second time.  One of the best of the year.  9.5 out of 10

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adventureland (2009)

This film reminded me what it was like to be young and dating again. Makes me wonder why does that excitement, that freshness end? What replaces it when it is gone? I'm am a big Eisenberg fan - he does his thing here. Not a Kristen Stewart fan - she does her usual thing here, but it kind of works. The setting of a small time amusement park adds nostalgia points. 8 out of 10

Friday, January 1, 2010



21 Jump Street  (2012)  8
2012  (2009)  4

Adventureland  (2009)  8
Alien  (1979)  8.5 
Amazing Spider-Man, The  (2012)  6 
American Reunion  (2012)   3.5
Amityville Horror, The  (1979)  6 
Amour  (2012)  8
Argo  (2012) 6
Artist, The  (2011)   9 
Audition  (1999)   7.5 
Avengers, The  (2012)  9

Batman Begins (2005)  8
Beasts of the Southern Wild  (2012)  6.5
Beer Wars  (2009)  8 
Blackfish (2013) 8.5
Blair Witch Project, The (1999)  8
Body of Lies  (2008)  6
Book of Eli   (2010)  6.5
Bride of Chucky  (1998)  7.5
Brothers  (2009)  6.5
Brothers Bloom, The  (2008)  7.5

Cabin in the Woods, The  (2012)  8 
Canyon, The  (2009)  2.5
Capitalism:  A Love Story  (2009)  7.5 
Change-Up, The  (2012)  4
Christmas With the Kranks  (2004)  4.5
Chronicle  (2012) 8
Conjuring, The  (2013)  8
Couples Retreat  (2009)  2
Cove, The (2009)  8
Crazy Heart  (2010)  7.5 

Damned United, The  (2009)  8 
Dark Knight, The  (2008)  9.5
Dark Knight Rises, The  (2012)  8.5
Dark Shadows  (2012)  4.5
Descent, The  (2005)  8  
Dictator, The  (2012)  5.5 
Django Unchained  (2012)  8.5
Downhill Racer  (1969) 
Drag Me to Hell  (2009)   9.0

Elf  (2003)  9.0
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn  (1987)  8
Exorcist 3: Legion  (1990)   6
Exporting Raymond  (2010)  6

Fantastic Mr. Fox  (2009)  8
Final Destination 5  (2011)  3.5 
Flight  (2012)  8  
Fly, The  (1986)  7.5
Footloose  (2011)  6
Friends of Eddie Coyle, The  (1973)  8  

Girl on the Bridge  (1999)  8  
Girl Who Played With Fire, The  (2009)  6
Goon  (2012)  6 
Gravity (2013)  9
Grown Ups  (2010)  1.5

Halloween  (2007)  3 
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince  (2009)  6 
House of the Dead   (2003)  1
House of the Devil, The  (2009)  7.5
House of Wax  (2005)  7
Hunger Games, The (2012)  7
Hugo  (2011)  8.5

I Know What You Did Last Summer  (1997)  5
Inglourious Basterds  (2009)  9
In the Loop (2009)  9.5 
Iron Man 3  (2013)  6

Jack Reacher  (2012)  7
Jaws   (1975)   9.5
Jeff, Who Lives at Home  (2012)  7.5
Jiro Dreams of Sushi  (2011)   7.5 
Joyeux Noel  (2005)  7.5 
Julia  (2009)  8.5
Julie and Julia  (2009)  5.5 

Killer Joe  (2012)  6
King of Kong:  A Fistful of Quarters  (2007)

Legion  (2010)  3
Lego Movie, The  (2014)  8
Les Miserables  (2012)  5.5
Let Me In  (2010)  9
Let the Right One In  (2008)  9
Life of Pi  (2012)  8
Lincoln  (2012)  7.5 
Little Ceaser  (1931)  7.5
Lockout  (2012)  3.5 
Looper  (2012)  8.5

Man of Steel  (2013)  6
Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)  7
Messenger, The  (2009)   8
Monsters University  (2013)  7
Moon  (2009)  8
Mr. and Mrs. Smith  (2005)  7.5 
Muppets, The  (2011)  9  

Nightmare on Elm Street, A  (2010)  6
Now You See Me  (2013)  4.5

Omen, The  (1976)  7.5

Paranormal Activity 4  (2012)  3.5
Piranha 3DD  (2012)   2
Poltergeist  (1982)  9 
Pontypool   (2009)  7.5
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire  (2009)   7.5 
Prisoners  (2013)   8.5
Princess and the Frog, The (2009)  6.5
Prometheus  (2012)  8 
Psycho  (1960)  8
Public Enemies  (2009)  6

Queen of Versailles, The  7.5

REC  (2007)  6.0  

Resident Evil: Afterlife  (2010)  3
Ring, The  (2002)   5.5
Rock of Ages  (2012)  4

Safety Not Guaranteed  (2012)  8
Scream  (1996)  8
Scream 4  (2011)  8 
Searching For Sugar Man  (2012)  7
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World  (2012)  6.5
Shaun of the Dead  (2004)  8
Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows  (2011)  5.5
Shining, The  (1980)   8 
Side By Side  (2012)  8
Silver Linings Playbook  (2012)  9
Sorority Row  (2009)  2.5 
Stake Land  (2010)  7 
Superman Returns  (2006) 7.5

Terminator: Salvation  (2009)  4 
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The  (2003)  6.5 
Thing, The  (1982)  8.5
Three Stooges, The  (2012)  4.5

Undefeated  (2012)  8.5
United 93  (2006)  9 

Wanted  (2009)  6
We Need to Talk About Kevin  (2012)  8
Witness for the Prosecution  (1957)  8
Women In Trouble  (2009)  4 

Zero Dark Thirty  (2012)  7.5