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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