I always enjoyed your mini reviews
Ohai, UNforumz, remember me? I write
stupidawesome movie reviews when I get bored. Click the spoiler below to see what the letter grades mean. I hope you find 'em useful or at least mildly amusing.
In theaters now:
This is a sweet and enjoyable documentary on how modern day romance blooms and grows via facebook for the first two-thirds of the film, and then it becomes a haunting and engaging character study for the final third. I won't spoil the final act for you here, but this film will definitely have you talking afterward about the thin line that separates delusion from reality and insanity from desperation.
The Social Network
When writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher team up to make a film about the creation of the world's most popular social network (*derp*facebook*derp*), I'm pretty much sold on that alone. However, the performances and gut wrenching irony of the story behind how Mark Zuckerberg's Internet empire was created in the "mean streets" of Harvard (where pretension and douche-baggery are as common among the students as brilliance and creativity) only make this filmgoing experience that much more layered and enjoyable.
Ben Affleck is turning into a fairly damned good director. This is a solid caper/heist film set in an area of Boston that's legitimately known for breeding the most bank robbers per square mile in the US. The plot and characters are not anything new to any genre fan yet that still doesn't detract from the film as a whole being an entertaining experience and worthy addition to the genre itself.
Let Me In
Here's what I wrote last year about Let The Right One In, the Swedish film this American remake is based on:
If Terrance Mallick was Swedish and decided to make a vampire/suspense movie starring two tweens it might've come out like this film. It's quiet and slow paced yet never tedious. The cinematography & directing are both beautiful and unsettling, and the performances by the two child leads are compelling throughout.
Yeah, this American remake, not so much. The film is slow paced but often tedious and lacks any true suspense. And while the actors in the American remake are adequate, they're far from compelling. Do yourself a favor and rent the Swedish original.
Deep Sea 3-D [IMAX]
This documentary narrated by Johhny Depp & Kate Winslet clocks in at just under an hour, but it's one of the most intense hours I've ever experienced in a theater. The doc follows life on the ocean floor and is a non-stop assault of color and movement. The film is breathtaking and illuminating, a truly unique theater going experience.
On DVD or on it's way to DVD:
Scott Pilgrim vs The World
This is a movie custom-made for males (or incredibly hard to find yet epic in their awesomeness females) ages 18-40. It's got superhero action, witty dialogue, video game references galore, wicked rock tunes by Beck, snarky characters to hate, awesome characters to cheer, and kung-fu. Oh, and it's also got a heartfelt plot and romance for the ladies that don't like all that other stuff. How this film got buried in the summer shuffle I'll never know, but hopefully it'll get the respect and adulation it deserves on DVD.
This is a Bourne-lite spy thriller the whole way through. The action is passable but neither really suspenseful nor spectacular, and the plot is holier than a bullet-riddled block of Swiss cheese. Angelina Jolie is the hotness throughout though, so that picks up for a bit of the slack. Worth a look if there's nothing else to rent.
Even allowing for the fact this is supposed to be a throwback to the "good ole days" of 1980s 'splosion festooned action films, this film's plot comes off as horrid. Although the action scenes are fairly cool, but unfortunately not as cool as any of those 80s films it tried to model itself after.
By far one of the most enjoyable action films I've seen in a long time. Fans of the 1980s TV show will remember the short voice-over at the beginning of each episode explaining how these former soldiers became mercenaries known as The A-Team. Well, this movie is that story, and it's a hilarious one filled with one hyperbolic action scene after another. They also cram in some nice character arcs without coming off too corny. The bottom line is: if you like action films then you'll like this movie. If you liked the 80s TV show, you'll love this movie. And if you loved the 80s TV show then this film will likely be for you an experience so awesome that it may make your head explode--or pee yourself a little.
Last edited by Crispy; 10-11-2010 at 01:33 AM. Reason: formatting
I always enjoyed your mini reviews
Same, because they review without spoiling!
And the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we'll live a long life
Thanks Wout & MTC. I was on "hiatus" for a while, but I should be back at least semi-weekly w/ some new stuff. I've a bunch of DVDs I need to write up and post as well.
Loosely based on a DC comic by writer Warren Ellis, this comedy/action film about retired CIA agents still kicking ass is pretty damned entertaining despite the plot logic being a bit wonky there at the end. Bruce Willis stars, but Helen Mirren and John Malkovich steal the film.
Dreamworks is batting 1,000 when it comes to making outstanding 3D animated films. Aliens vs Monsters took on the sc-fi genre, How to Train Your Dragon tackled fantasy, and their latest film, Megamind, is a spin on the superhero genre where the bad guy is really the good guy. Will Ferrell offers his pompously goofy voice to what is likely the world's most likable supervillain. The film has practically everything you'd want in an animated family feature film—humor, heart, and action. Plus it has a pretty great lesson about acceptance and tolerance. I definitely recommend you catch this one in 3D theaters.
Super-Mini DVD reviews:
Here are a bunch of films on DVD or coming soon to DVD that I was really too lazy to write reviews for.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Get Him to the Greek
Knight & Day
The Last Airbender
The Other Guys
The September Issue
Toy Story 3
We all know someone who saw The Sixth Sense and immediately after the film ended said, “I knew all along he was dead!”—you know, “that guy.” Well, I hate to be “that guy,” but I saw the twist ending coming a mile away in this film. That confessional tidbit aside, this is still the best film about ballet that I’ve ever seen. It’s also the only film about ballet I’ve ever seen aside from Billy Elliot. Remember Billy Elliot? Yeah, me neither. However, it’ll be a long time before you forget Mila Kunis’ and Natalie Portman’s performances in this film.
Tron: Legacy [Imax 3D]
I only saw the original TRON a few days before this sequel, so I had none of the rose-tinted nostalgia of a TRON fan going in to this film. I went in purely as a sci-fi enthusiast expecting a solid two hours of geektasticness. And, for the most part, I was not disappointed. The CGI younger version of Jeff Bridges is OK, but flawed—much like the plot to the film. I won’t bother going into the numerous “WTF?” moments w/ the logic of “The Grid” universe where all the cool action takes place. However, I will say that cool costumes, vehicles, and fight sequences are abound in TRON: Legacy. Go in expecting no more that and you won’t be disappointed.
True Grit 
George Portis wrote a western novel called True Grit and John Wayne starred in the 1969 film version as morally questionable US Marshal Rueben “Rooster” Cogburn. Some people might say calling the 1969 version a “classic of the genre” is hyperbole—and those people would be asshats. So, it is no small compliment when I say the Coen Brothers have neither done the novel nor Wayne’s film a disservice with their 2010 re-make. The Coen’s version is slightly darker, and the violence more graphic, than Wayne’s version. The Coen’s take a more naturalistic approach to Portis’ tale, while Wayne’s version was more “Hollywood” in many ways—especially with the ending. And it is with the ending that I have my greatest complaint—it just kind of lays there with a thud. However, everything else from the dialogue to the performances is just about perfect. I could also nit-pick a bit about the pacing, but I won’t. I enjoyed the rest of the film too much to bother you with those trifles. I highly recommend seeing this one on the big screen.
Bleak, bloody, and based on the true story of Britain's "most violent prisoner." I'd never heard of this guy before the film. He has a fascinating psychosis. I'd have liked it if the film would've gone into a bit more about how exactly this guy can be pronounced "sane" by the British government, but I'm pretty sure the director was going for the ol'--"there are no answers here, only observations" take on the man.
I’ll take Mega-Mind over this any day. This had some funny bits, but it was overly saccharine and pandering—even for a children's movie.
If you like your westerns bleak and bloody then this is a film for you. I won’t spoil the titular proposition in question (as the plot device is one of the most original things about the film), but it involves a desperate lawman in Australia turning to criminals for help in bringing a mass murderer to justice. The film loses points with me for its overly languid pace and reliance on one too many clichés of the genre. I also found the film’s message that civilization is a smokescreen and its notion that we’re all killers one way or another (either through action or inaction) to have been played out a bit heavy-handedly and with less eloquence than No Country for Old Men, which shares similar themes.
If you've never seen this one before you don’t really need to watch it to enjoy the sequel, TRON: Legacy. However, you can earn geek cred by
sufferingsitting through this one.
This film is directed by David O. Russell in a gritty documentary style and is based on the true story of Micky Ward and his half-brother Dick Eklund. Both brothers were boxers, but their lives and careers were drastically different. This film is a wonderful drama about boxing, the dynamics of Ward’s family, and redemption. Both Ward and Eklund are fighters, but it is Eklund, who is played in an Oscar worthy performance by Christian Bale, that makes the greatest transformations in the film. I’ll admit this film has a story we’ve all seen before (the underdog triumphs despite the odds); however, thanks to the outstanding performances and direction, I was never once bothered by that fact because I was too busy riding along with the characters on their emotional highs and lows on the roller coaster that is their lives.
Inception - you gave it an A. I'm still trying to figure out why so many people liked this thing. I saw it and was disappointed. Don't even get me started on the ending.
And the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view
And we'll live a long life
Aw, MTC, the ending is partly what makes the movie so brilliant for a lot of people, IMHO.
The Green Hornet
Similar in tone to Jim Carrey’s underrated The Mask, this film delivered exactly what I expected of a superhero film from the crew that brought us Pineapple Express. And that isn’t a slam. The basic premise is what would happen if Batman and Robin where the same age and Robin was the one with all the talent. It’s a superhero comedy that tries to ground itself in reality while simultaneously winking at the franchises radio, comic book, and campy TV history.
Season of the Witch
This is a solid “B” movie effort that makes me think someone saw Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness and tried to make a “serious” film out of it. However, this film gets a big pass from me in spite of its unevenness. Even though the dialogue is sometimes painfully lame, it’s lame in the “so bad it’s good” kind of way. And even though Nicolas Cage is sleepwalking through his performance, genre-fan-fave Ron Perlman is there to lend an air of legitimate badassery and the supporting cast is actually quite good. And despite the nonsensical plot, the film is paced beautifully in its action sequences so you don’t really mind—you just tune out your mind and go along for the ride.
Exit Through The Gift Shop
This is an amazing story about the street art (graffiti) movement going mainstream and the Frenchman who was there to not only capture this art movement, but also destined to shape it (for better or worse). A classic case of truth being stranger than fiction.
^I still really need to watch that Banksy movie! I met him once. He was very nice, but his dog wanted to kill me. I have no clue why. He was like "wow, my dog has never acted like that before." I felt awful!
When they're callingFrom the edge
Director Danny Boyle manages to make the true story of a man trapped by a rock in an isolated area of Utah seem kinetic and visceral. But this isn’t a movie just about “the arm,” it’s about a man’s realization of his faults, being able to overcome those faults, and surviving the ordeal to become a better man for it.
Tales From the Script
Screenwriters at various levels of success (from legendary to straight to DVD) discuss the reality of writing and working as a screenwriter in Hollywood. A fascinating watch for anyone interested in writing or filmmaking in general.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
A year in the life of the hardest working woman in show-biz. It’s both disheartening and inspiring all at once. It’s also pretty fucking funny.
The Invention of Lying
A disappointingly disjointed comedy from comedian Ricky Gervais about a world in which no one lies. Except for Gervais. The premise and overall message is good, but the execution is handled rather poorly. The film extols virtues of personality over physique in an overt and sometimes monotonously unfunny way, and it also takes an odd detour into the pitfalls of religion. Gervais has a great supporting cast in Jonah Hill, Louis CK, Tina Fey, and Jeffery Tambor whom all are terribly wasted.
An alien invasion film that doesn’t get really interesting or remotely original until the last 10 minutes. The alien designs are rather forgettable and the characters that populate the film are unlikeable and barely watchable. However, if you like seeing people getting killed by aliens then this might be worth your time, otherwise it’s an easy pass.
The Adjustment Bureau
Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, this isn’t at all the Bourne-esque action-thriller the trailers led me to believe it would be. I don’t feel like I can say much w/out spoiling the plot and some interesting reveals; so, on that note, I’ll just say it’s a story about faith and faith in love and one’s own right to choose how to experience love. The performances were adequate, the concept intriguing, but I never really connected emotionally with the characters as people. The ending was gratifying yet fairly predictable, and I left the theater feeling like I saw an OK film that had missed opportunities to be a great film.
The King’s Speech
There’s nothing I can’t tell you about this film that its slew of Oscar(TM) nominations and wins cannot. It’s nearly flawless with its capable direction, outstanding performances, archetypal characters, and classic “hero overcomes obstacles” plot. Of course it’s all amplified because it’s based on real people and real events.
An warm and funny indie comedy with a great cast that makes up for some of the shortcomings in the script. John C. Reilly is vulnerable and charming as a divorcee struggling to get on with his love life, Jonah Hill is hilariously creepy as the titular Cyrus, and Marisa Tomei is heartfelt and yearning as his single mom. All three are connected by loneliness and fear yet each reacts to those feelings in different ways. Recommended rental.
Youth In Revolt
Based upon the novels by CD Payne, this film has a typical “young man out to lose his virginity” plot that so many teen comedies do. However, it’s not a comedy for teens; it’s for adults who like comedies, and it happens to be about teens. This film sets itself apart from typical teen-fare with its sharp dialogue and quirky characters. Michael Cera stars and brings his usual nerdy charm to the role yet this time his character has an underlying passionate, smooth talking badassness that shines through in a way that separates him from other similar roles. Some may be quick to pass this off as a “hipster” comedy, but they’d be missing the mark—there’s no irony in Cera’s protagonist. He’s all heart and, much like this film, hilarious to watch.
Last edited by Crispy; 03-14-2011 at 02:40 AM.
Battle Los Angeles
This film reminded me of the Transformers films in that the battle sequences were franticly cut, oddly busy, and the alien designs were highly detailed yet almost completely forgettable. The film tries to connect the audience to the group of US Marines that fight their way through an alien invasion of Los Angeles by making them “real people,” but that’s kind of hard to buy when they exhibit superhuman feats. Bottom line is as far as entertaining alien invasion flicks go—this one falls more on the side of genre misses like Skyline than hits like ID4 and District 9.
Limitless is a fascinating premise: what if there was a pill that would make you smarter. Of course it’s not that simple; the film does raise some good moral questions about such a pill and its consequences, and I would’ve like to have seen that avenue explored a bit more. The performances are mostly just okay (I’m not sure how well Bradley Cooper is as a leading man), but Robert DeNiro has a few great scenes though. The plot is paced fairly well and a few actions scenes are peppered in for good measure, but what you’ll likely enjoy most about this film are the conversations you’ll have with your friends afterward.
Simon Pegg & Nick Frost have made a career of simultaneously parodying and creating films of the genres they love. They did it masterfully with zombies in Shaun of the Dead, and not so masterfully with action films in Hot Fuzz. Paul is their take on the sci-fi genre and it falls somewhere between their previous two collaborations in terms of success. The film either goes for laughs in mostly slapsticky, crude ways, or relies on nods to previous genre films. The film’s goal to cram in as many ball jokes and geek references as they can kind of leaves me hoping for some wittier dialogue like Pegg & Frost had in their BBC series Spaced. For sci-fi geeks this film is a no-brainer (Braiiiiinnnnsss! Sorry, bad zombie pun.), but non genre fans will likely find themselves wanting for laughs.
The animation is great, but the character designs are not the most appealing, and that’s put some people—including myself at times during the movie—to this film. I found the possum particularly creepy. However, anyone who enjoys westerns as a genre should get a kick out of this slightly skewed film with the tried-and-true theme of a hero on a journey of self discovery.
This film is hot mess as far as plot, but if you go just to see some clips of hot chicks dressed like anime babes kicking ass through various amalgamations of geek genres (dragons & ogres, alien robots, samurai demons, & steampunk Nazi zombies) and tune out the ridiculous Showgirl-like brothel scenes that string the action scenes together then you should be pleased.