Who loves Christmas? Almost every single British star apparently does.
I would give this huge plot synopsis but there really is so much here. Basically, everything in a nutshell, a lot of British folks fall in love with one another and Christmas starts to approach, which as everybody knows, means they all have to basically let their hearts out and tell the truth.
When I say there is a lot of stories in this flick, I mean there are a lot but I think director Richard Curtis does a fine job of handling all of these stories at once. He knows how to structure all of these stories together so well that they don’t seem too overwhelming to take in or repetitive for that sake. He doesn’t drop the ball as much as I would have expected him to but when it comes to handling dozens and dozens of love stories in just one flick that runs at 129 minutes, let’s just say that he’s no Robert Altman folk.
Where I think this flick gets messed up on is the fact there are way too many stories in this film and rather than just singling out every tiny story that it had, I’ll just tell you that there are some good bits and other bad ones. Some stories were obviously better than others, however, there were some that seemed unneeded because even though they were all comedies at heart, they also had a lot of downer dramatic elements to them as well.
There were also many moments with this film that seemed so cheesy and schmaltzy that I wanted to punch somebody in the face as soon as I heard another British bloke say, “I love you” to a chick they’ve known for only 2 days. The whole story with Liam Neeson and his step-son is really creepy and the whole fact that he’s telling his son to go and get it like a man, seemed a tad strange to me and almost like the film was trying way too hard to be cute.
The last of my problems with this flick is that it is very uneven. The abundance of stories would have been a little bit more enjoyable if they actually had some evening out with all of the stories but the problem here is that some stories go on for awhile and then you never see the other ones again, until you’ve almost forgotten about them completely. The whole Keira Knightley love-angle seemed very minor in this flick and although that one flash-card scene was cool, the film only has about 3 scenes of this little “romance” brewing up. Too many times I would wonder just where a certain story would have gone, and then when it came up I practically almost forgot about it.
Still, even though I’m ragging on this flick a whole hell of a lot, it still won me over. Despite some of schmaltzy moments there is a lot of heart-warming stuff going on here and each little story in their own right, is original and interesting. Take it for granted, there are some lame ones and others that plain and simply don’t belong because they either take up space or aren’t as interesting when it comes to having you smile when the supposed “love” is supposed to be going on. But not only are there a whole bunch of moments that had me tummy feel are warm and cuddly, there were also plenty of laughs to come along with this flick and even though they start to decrease by the end, I still felt myself happy.
The reason this film also works is because of the huge ensemble cast that Curtis has brought together. Everybody here does a great job with the ones who stand-out such as Hugh Grant as the prime minister, Colin Firth as a writer, Bill Nighy as an aging rock star, and Emma Thompson as a wife that is getting played with. Everybody here was great to watch and it was just awesome how everybody got to play around with their roles for a little bit, even if they weren’t really doing anything ground-breaking. Let’s not to forget that Andrew Lincoln of The Walking Dead is up in herrre and the always lovely Mr. Bean. People should get the notion that you should put Atkinson in every single British film. The damn guy is always funny!
Consensus: Love Actually is very uneven, and has stories that are better than others, but Richard Curtis still handles every story well here with heart-warming and comedic moments that are heightened even more by the charming cast.
Damn, I’m scared to be a journalist now.
This fact-based film depicts the rise and fall of disgraced magazine journalist Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen), a staff writer at The New Republic and a contributor to Rolling Stone who ultimately fabricated many of his stories, which led to his downfall.
Writer-director Billy Ray takes a film that I had some little interest in at first, and totally takes it into places I was not expecting in the least bit. I mean because it does have Anakin Skywalker in it, and he just blows.
Ray does a tremendous job of telling the story: giving us the facts of what exactly happened, the tough world of journalism, and even a little character study of a sociopath. This all may seem a little too much for a story that’s about a dude lying, but it brings so much more depth to this story that as it developed more and more, I found myself more and more intrigued by this film.
I, myself, actually want to be a journalist and I found this to be a big warning for all journalists out there to not make up phony stories, even though sometimes they would be nice to hear. It’s not necessarily about making people happy with the stories, it’s more about telling the truth, and how we should all never try to make things up as they go along just for some kicks. This theme is amazing because the fact is that today reporters at every publication seem to be exposed for doing the same thing. You’d think the lesson would have been learned eventually, but it hasn’t.
The film doesn’t show Stephen Glass as this total dick-head of a dude who messed with his stories to be “fun”, he’s actually just a kid that messed up big-time and wanted nothing more to make people happy when they read his stories. I mean I actually did sort of feel for this kid, as did everybody in this film because this Glass kid, was so charming and nice that when the ish really started to hit the fan, everybody stuck up for him, except for the editor who was downright embarrassed when he let such fake stories go by him. This brings up some moral questions as to how you would feel if you were ever put in the same situation and how you would respond it.
However, the problem with this film is that even though they show us a nice-portrait of this kid Glass, we never really get inside of his mind except for a couple of dumb foreshadowing scenes. When this kid was on-screen, I was actually on the edge of my seat as he tried to cover up more and more of his lies and then saying it was just because he was in a state of panic. This all was interesting and the film could have actually went deeper into this character more to actually have us understand just why he did what he did, but the film never really does.
We get all of the who’s, the what’s, and the when’s of the story, but never exactly the why part. I think Glass wanted to just get his stories read and make people happy, but never understand as to why he lied about so many of his stories, and what lead him to continue the lies as it seemed like things were going from bad to worse for him. Was he a little crazy? Was he just trying to make it big? Or was he just an insane kid that never really got paid attention too that much because he was so charming? I never understood why Glass exactly did what he did, and that’s what kind of took me away from this tale to make it a little less interesting.
Judging by the poster to the upper-right, you probably already gave up all hope on this film because of that big head you see. Yes everybody, that is Hayden Christensen, but I have to say his performance as Stephen Glass is probably his best ever, and although that’s not saying much, it’s still great in and of itself. The melt-down for Stephen Glass is a slow one but the way Hayden handles it is very believably, especially the way he manipulates almost every one around him to the point of where of no one knows because its terribly subtle. Stephen Glass didn’t seem like a bad kid, just confused and way-over-his-head and Hayden’s performance is so terrific that it almost makes me forget about Anakin. OK, maybe I won’t go that far.
Peter Sarsgaard is also very good as Chuck Lane, the editor who finds Glass out for all of his lies. Lane is a great character because you can tell that he’s going to have some real impact on this story by the end of it, but you just don’t know how, and the way Sarsgaard handles every scene he has is just brilliant. Lane tolerates Glass the most even when the kid lies to him with every statement that comes out of his mouth, which is sad, because Lane really is the one who seems like the actual voice of reason here that knows what’s right and what’s wrong, and knows what has to be done. Great performance from Sarsgaard who is easily becoming one of those signature supporters you need in almost any film.
The rest of the cast is pretty good with the likes of Chloë Sevigny and Melanie Lynskey playing Glass’ two best girly friends; Hank Azaria as the nice and understanding former editor, Michael Kelly; and Steve Zahn and Rosario Dawson are also very good as the two people who find all of the information out that Glass is lying about.
Consensus: The film may have missed a major up-grade in showing us more about the person of Stephen Glass, but other than that, Shattered Glass is phenomenal with great writing and insight into the world of journalism, and great performances from the whole cast, especially Christensen and Sarsgaard, who provide so much context for their characters by the end, that we actually know more about them then the actual story.
Vegas: women, money, and Alec Baldwin.
Hey, hey, hey, hey everyone! Well, it’s been awhile since I have been around their parks lately but finally Boomtron has taken me back and put up a review of mine. So just go on over to the link and check it out.
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Run, jump, hit, shoot, kill, bleed, boom. That’s what S.W.A.T. is all about.
This modern-day “S.W.A.T.” stars Colin Farrell as Jim Street, a Los Angeles cop who joins the department’s elite special weapons and tactics unit commandeered by Hondo (Samuel Jackson). They’re up against a drug lord (Olivier Martinez) who’s offering a million dollars to the first person who springs him from jail. Only the S.W.A.T. team can stop his plan.
Having actually watched the TV show, I knew what to expect, but I mean there could have even been more of what I expected really.
This is one of those films that doesn’t really have any intelligence whatsoever in it’s script but instead it’s just here for the crazy, big-budget, and insane action that it actually provides. However, the problem with this film is that the script doesn’t do anything different we haven’t seen before. I like how it doesn’t take itself too seriously but there were just too many moments where I got exactly what I’ve seen in so many other action thrillers.
However, the real fun of this film lies within it’s awesome action sequences that actually provided a lot more fun and excitement then I actually expected. There’s a couple of huge shoot-outs that go down, cars that go booom booom, and many cheesy one-liners but overall it’s a fun time with some good attention to detail that I wasn’t really expecting.
The cast is OK here but their not really anything special. Samuel L. Jackson does his usual bad-ass, black man role we all know and love him for; Colin Farrell is also good as Jim Street with a lot more of a tougher side to him than most would expect at first; Michelle Rodriguez is here to be the bad-ass chick; and LL Cool J is just the man, nothing else. They all have good chemistry together and all play off one another well which adds more humor to the film, even as cheesy as the lines may be.
The villain here is played by Olivier Martinez but I thought was a pretty lame choice considering they could have had such a better villain already in the film right from the get-go played by Jeremy Renner. The film seems like it’s going to have him pop-up later on in the film, which he does, but the film doesn’t make him the main bad guy which kind of sucks considering Martinez isn’t that good as the villain here and just seems even more lame once Renner pops up.
Consensus: The cheesiness is here and the obvious cliches we have all seen in these types of films show up as well, but S.W.A.T. is a fun B-movie that doesn’t try too hard for anything else other than a bunch of crazy explosions and cool one-dimensional characters.
The most normal Tim Burton film if there ever was one.
William Bloom (Billy Crudup) tries to learn more about his dying father, Edward, by piecing together disparate facts from a lifetime of fantastical tales and legends of epic proportions. Ewan McGregor co-stars as the young Edward, a traveling salesman, with Albert Finney playing him as an older man.
Usually, Tim Burton is amazing when he’s on his game and gives us such treasures as Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, etc. But there are many countless other times where he is just lost and has nowhere to go but down with such trash like Planet of the Apes, Mars Attacks!, etc. This is one that falls in the category of him on his game a little bit.
This is a fairy tale mixed in with a lot of realism but still enough of that signature weirdness from Burton to make you remember that you are watching the same dude who did Batman. This film never seems to drag and that’s because Burton has such a vivid imagination that he can show such things as two Siamese Asian twins singing to Chinese Communists, a car underwater in a rain storm, a friendly giant, and plenty of other random and crazy things that happen but it all is done so well that you can’t help but smile.
At heart, this is actually a father-son drama that shows what happens when you tell too many fake stories, you actually end up becoming them. That right there I felt was a good message but how it all plays out in the end just didn’t do anything for me, much to my surprise. The ending is pretty obvious about 10 minutes in and to be brutally honest, it didn’t really have me choking up much in the end neither.
The casting in this film may be a bit flawed, but it still had it’s fair-share of good performances. Albert Finney is amazing as older Edward Bloom, but he’s playing him so much older and more sick than the character actually looks which kind of took me away from the film considering I liked the performance. Billy Crudup is OK here but could have done a lot more to add to the scenes with his daddy; Jessica Lange has some good scenes as Edward’s wife; Marion Cotillard is as amusing as ever as Crudup’s wife, Josephine; and Alison Lohman has some very good scenes as Edward’s wife, when she was younger.
I liked this cast even though they were a bit strange and to say the least I liked Ewan McGregor as Edward Bloom because even though his Scottish accent almost may seem to get a tad bit in the way of his deep Southern accent, I still really liked this performance from him. Edward Bloom is such a happy guy that loves telling stories because they make people happy. Everybody wants to hear the truth but everybody also wants to hear something that will make them happy and that is what Bloom is all about and Ewan totally throws himself into this great character’s mind. I don’t know if any of you have ever met somebody like Bloom, a person who just loves to tell stories and make the others around him laugh and smile, but I have and the power that the art of storytelling has is just a very beautiful thing and something that this film embraces so well.
Consensus: Though I didn’t feel as emotionally connected to this film as I would have liked to have hoped for, Big Fish is a good Tim Burton film that has some weirdness, a lot of happiness, and just a true message about the art of storytelling and how sometime hearing the fake story is better than hearing the truth at all.
He’s angry….and boring.
Researcher Dr. Bruce Banner’s (Eric Bana) failed experiments cause him to mutate into a powerful and savage green-skinned hulk when he loses control of his emotions. And the only person who seems to stand by him is his girlfriend, Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly), proving that love is indeed blind. Nick Nolte co-stars as Banner’s father.
Director Ang Lee is a very strange director for this type of material. I mean this is the same dude that made Sense & Sensibility, The Ice Storm, and Brokeback Mountain so adding this to his list is strange but also disappointing.
I have to say that that Lee does do something new with the superhero film here and that is bring a lot more emotional depth to a film that would just seem like constant smashing everywhere. The film focuses a lot more on the actual characters, story, and happenings which is something new and actually cool for a superhero film because we never see that really and Lee somehow makes it interesting.
The problem with Lee’s ambition is that at a staggering time-limit of 138 minutes, a lot of this does feel kind of boring. Not much really does happen except for a lot of these people just talking about what’s going on and a little bit about the mysteries of their lives. The action does come every once in a blue moon but not enough for a film that is all about a big green dude who goes around and smashes things.
The script is also kind of lame because instead of actually trying to create any sense of real tension with this story, it just focuses on Banner and his father’s relationship, or how he still can’t remember what happened to his parents when he was young. The humor is gone within the first 10 minutes so therefore were stuck with just a bunch of serious people, doing their very own serious face and overall just being dull.
However, despite the problems with the script and story the constant visual fest of this film is what had me liking it more. Lee makes this film look like a comic book on the screen with the use of light colors, split-screen to portray about 3 different things happening at once, and The Hulk itself. I loved how the green just stood out amongst the area around him and when the action actually does happen it looks really cool and is actually exciting because even though Lee may not be able to keep this film exciting through its over two hour time limit, the action still provides some fun here.
The acting itself was pretty good and brought me into the film more as well. Eric Bana as Bruce Banner is good and plays that torn, all messed up dude that doesn’t know exactly who are where he came from very well even when he starts to get angry. Jennifer Connelly is practically doing the same exact “stand by your crazy scientist lover” performance that she won an Oscar for in A Beautiful Mind but that’s not so bad; Sam Elliot is a total dick with his snarling and teeth grinning performance that looks like he came right out of the comic book itself; Josh Lucas is a dick as well here as Glenn Talbot, but isn’t in this film as much; and Nick Nolte plays Banner’s father, David (Get it, David Banner) and looks like he just came right out of that disastrous mug-shot but is still pretty good with that craziness he always uses so well.
Consensus: Director Ang Lee strives for ambition here with some dramatic depth to the story, good performances from the cast, and a beautiful, comic-book look to the film, but overall there’s too much talking and most of it just feels plain boring with not enough cool action sequences which makes me question how didn’t Lee know why Lee tried to aim for a Greek tragedy?
Little Southern love can be so beautiful sometimes. While, other times it just blows.
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I never thought pirates could actually be considered sexy.
A young swain (Orlando Bloom) recruits rascally, charismatic pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to help rescue a maiden (Keira Knightley) from rival buccaneers. But Sparrow and his motley crew soon find that they’re up against firightening supernatural forces and an ancient curse.
I have actually been on the Disney ride that this film is based on, and to say the least, the ride sucks. Somehow, they actually managed to make this nothing like that ride, except maybe being two hours longer.
Director Gore Verbinski knows exactly what kind of film he’s dealing with here; pirates, camp, action, and adventure. He doesn’t try to make this anything more than just straight-up Hollywood entertainment, and it totally works. There’s a lot of beautiful set pieces, as well as awesome action to spare, and the visuals are amazing. In many films you can tell what looks real and what doesn’t and just how they got that to look like what it does, but here you can’t really tell and it’s amazing to see how Verbinski designs this film.
I also liked the fact that the screenplay was actually very witty and had some good comedy here and there, but also a good story to follow along with. I think I could just feel Verbinski’s ambition and energy when it came to him making this film and that is what lead on to me having a great time with this film, even after the fact that I’ve seen this movie about 7 times already. So congrats to Verbinski on making pirates cool again.
The only problem with this film that I have is that it does feel awfully long. I didn’t mind all the action, humor, and pirates but when it came to a running time of about 2 hours and 23 minutes, then that’s the big problem. It meanders for a little bit longer than it really should have and some will be annoyed by how long this actually is, but as long as I’m having fun, I say it doesn’t matter.
Now everybody’s favorite element about this film is the man with a plan, Johnny Depp as the iconic pirate, Jack Sparrow. Depp does an impersonation of the one and only Keith Richards in the most perfect way because he bumbles and moves around like a total lunatic the whole film, but not once did I get annoyed of his shtick. Depp brings a lot humor to Sparrow and almost makes him a larger-than-life persona that does not once back down from any problem that runs in his face, and I have to say that Depp really did create one of the best film characters of the past decade.
Everybody else involved with this film is pretty good too. Geoffrey Rush is a lot of campy fun as the villainous but amusing, Captain Barbossa, Keira Knightley is gorgeous but also fits well in this sausage-fest of a film as Elizabeth Swann, and Orlando Bloom is that straight-forward kid that seems so out-of-place, but fits so well as William Turner. Everybody here seems to be having a lot of fun playing their own characters, and even though Johnny Depp blows them all out of the water, they still are equally as memorable.
Consensus: The running time may make this film seem over-long, but Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black pearl is a fun, and great-looking swashbuckler that features fun for the whole family, and great performances from the whole cast, especially the always amazing Depp.
The freaks are back, and surprisingly a lot better this time around.
Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his team of genetically gifted superheroes face a rising tide of anti-mutant sentiment led by Col. William Stryker (Brian Cox). Storm (Halle Berry), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) must join their usual nemeses Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) to unhinge Stryker’s scheme to exterminate all mutants.
After watching the first X-Men film, I was bummed to say that it wasn’t as awesome as I once thought it was. Then, when I watched this, I realized just how awesome this one actually was.
Director Bryan Singer knows what he’s doing with this material here and takes the events of the first film and builds on them in such a way that when you see the credits you know that big things have happened. There is a lot of action here but there is also a deep story about being accepted in a world that won’t even look at you without judging you as well.
Singer knows how to balance a good story with some great action, and as the story kept getting deeper and deeper, the action kept on getting better and better, something I thought could never happen in a superhero film.
In the first one, I thought they focused too much on way too many characters, but here the movie is more focused on these characters throughout this moving story, and it doesn’t start dragging at all. This one actually felt more epic as well with its story and I guess that’s how all superhero films should be, but when you have something like Mutants vs. Army, you know you’re going to be in some pretty big shit.
The special effects are just plain awful (as in “awe full” – funny how a word can have two diametrically opposed meanings). Seamless integration with the live action, astounding in their inventiveness, so enticing that you want to be a mutant yourself. Exactly what special effects should be. They are worth the price of admission all on their own.
My problem with this film was that I did feel that there were some plot holes that I didn’t fully understand. Such as all these mutants can use their powers against a normal human-being and kill them right away, but when this young dude named Pyro throws fire balls at these people, nothing happens except a little sun burnt. These mofos should be dead! There were also some problems I thought that the plot had as it went along but I don’t want to give away too much here.
The cast from the first one is back, and better than ever actually. Hugh Jackman continues to be excellent as the angry and awesome Wolverine. The guy is not just dedicated, he’s frustrated but he never lets that stop him from finding the right thing to do, whether it’s protecting the weak or punishing the bad. Jackman totally improves his performance from the first one, and does a great job here as always. Patrick Stewart is also very good as Professor Xavier; the evil and maniacal Magneto, is played just so so well by Ian McKellen; and Brian Cox plays William Stryker, to the point as to where every time he was on screen, I just wanted somebody to beat his ass. All your other favourite mutants are also more interesting and more advanced than they were in the first film. Halle Berry’s Storm is sexier and more dangerous, while Famke Janssen manages to overcome Jean Grey’s hairdo (the worst I’ve seen on an actor in a long time) and really kick ass. The new mutant in this film is Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler, who is a little strange but at the same time very innocent and there’s something about him that you just like. Everybody else does a great job here too, there’s just so many to talk about though and so little time.
Consensus: Despite some plot holes, X2 is a total improvement from the first showing a lot more action, special effects, and a more deeper and darker story-line that will take you by storm (pun intended) and won’t let you go until the credits are up.
Same as the first basically, but with a bald black dude instead of a bald white guy.
It’s a major double-cross when former police officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) teams up with his ex-con buddy Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) to transport a shipment of “dirty” money for shady Miami-based import-export dealer Carter Verone (Cole Hauser). But the guys are actually working with undercover agent Monica Clemente (Eva Mendes) to bring Verone down.
So after reviewing The Fast and the Furious, I thought to myself: “Why the hell not!”. Then, I realized that I have to stop watching these films before I become a crazy fanatic about street-racing.
I still don’t know how John Singleton, the director of Boyz N The Hood, got a hold of this, but I have to say that he does a good job here with this direction because it does what the first one did, and that’s make the action sequences very fun to watch. There’s a lot of slickness to these scenes as usual, and it will keep you excited when their going on.
However, the main problem with this film that the first one had, but not as bad, it’s that the script with this one is even worse. Granted there’s more danger with this premise, but the script tries way too hard to be cool and hip, which just ends up being dumb and corny. When these characters were talking, I couldn’t help but laugh at everything everybody was saying, because they all seemed like one-liners you would hear in a video-game, or a really bad B-Movie. Still, you don’t watch a movie like this one for its contribution to the advancement of the cinematic art, you watch it for the shiny cars, the fast cars and the crashing car, all three of which you get in spades.
Paul Walker is alright again as Brian O’Conner, and even though he isn’t doing anything different here, he didn’t do from the first, he still owns the determined leading action man. Tyrese Gibson is the next big bald guy in this film as Roman Pierce, who has the cheesiest lines to say, and I guess they wanted him to seem gangster so they gave him lines that had the word “man”, ending every sentence. Gibson is alright in some films, but here, he was just annoying. Cole Hauser is our main villain, who’s that usual cheesy bad guy, but he still does a good job at it. Eva Mendes is very hot and sexy, that always steals the show with her looks, and does an OK job here too. There’s also some nice spots from Ludacris, James Remar, and the always gorgeous, Devon Aoki.
Consensus: 2 Fast 2 Furious may be entertaining and have the same slick look the first one had, but the script brings this film and it’s cast way farther down.
College……damn it’s gonna be fun.
Three guys in their early 30s — Mitch (Luke Wilson), Frank (Will Ferrell) and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) — try to relive their glory days by moving into a house near their old college campus. There, they establish a “fraternity” that draws the ire of the dean (Jeremy Piven), who took their abuse as a kid. And while Frank and Beanie just want to party, Mitch concerns himself with impressing single mom Nicole (Ellen Pompeo).
In all honesty, who doesn’t love watching college films? Especially college films with guys that are about 15 years over the age to be hanging around college kids?
The writing for this film is what really gets you laughing. I have seen this about 10 times, and almost every time it gets me laughing. There are constant one-liners all over the place, that will have you and your buddies, repeating for days, trust me, I do it all the time.
The comedy goes right below the belt usually, because it’s an “R” rated comedy for a reason, with lots of swearing, nudity (both genders), and plenty of potty humor, that for some may seem appalling, but if your a dude, or a chick that likes talking about balls, and boobs, your going to laugh no matter how much you try not to.
However, not all the comedy works really. There are jokes that hit, and others, well that don’t, but I mean it is comedy, and it’s not supposed to be laugh-out-loud from beginning to end usually. I also thought that some of the supporting characters, could have been used a lot more just for shits and gigs, but hey that’s just me.
The casting of these three in one movie, is so crazy, but it somehow works perfectly. Luke Wilson is very very good here as Mitch, who firsts starts off, as just your average Joe, who soon starts to become known as “The Godfather”, and thus, the charm that is within Luke, comes out, and it really is a pleasure to watch him on screen. Vince Vaughn is perfect with his fast-talking speech, that always seems to bring out plenty of comedy, no matter what he’s saying. But Will Ferrell steals the show on this one, or should I say, Frank the Tank, steals the show on this one. He’s absouloutly hilarious with everything he does, especially since he has no shame, and will do everything to bring out a laugh, and without this film, I don’t think he would have really gotten his start right away. There’s also nice little side steps from Jeremy Piven (aka Cheese), Andy Dick, Snoop Dogg, Juliette Lewis, and Seann William Scott, among others.
Consensus: Though not consistently funny, Old School still has perfect humor for all the raunch lovers, and also the witty comedy lovers too, that has just enough humor to satisfy all dudes who watch on.
I’am never going to the woods again.
Five college friends head off to the woods for a weekend of drinking, partying and fooling around. But as they sit at their campfire the first night, a blood-soaked hermit with a flesh-eating virus approaches them. They shoo him away, but the hapless kids start to catch the bug, and paranoia and hostility run rampant. Meanwhile, the locals slowly learn that they’ve got the bug, too.
The film starts out at as any normal teen scream film: wild, horny, and crazy teenagers go to some secluded place, to go and party, and then all hell breaks loose…but not in a good way. The film reminded me so much of Friday the 13th or other horror classics of the 80′s.
On a scary factor, it’s not terrifying, it’s just incredibly gory. In ways I thought it was good, but for others I know it’s totally off-putting. I appreciate that Roth does have a love for his creations of blood and gore, and he does film it in such a way that we do cringe when we see it. But it’s not just the gore that gets us going, it’s the actual story that has us watching. Roth plans everything out where it’s all scattered and you don’t know what is exactly causing all this, but you don’t care cause your still involved with the film. By the end the violence really starts to pick up, and it gets better and better, providing plenty of bloody fun.
The problem with the story here is that the comedy takes away from the story. Roth tries too hard to bring out some laughs in this film, and its just random and dumb, considering that the material is just too serious to try and get goofy with it. The little side character’s are quite random, and although rarely funny, just have no place being in the film, other than to bring some meaningless comedy into it. Also, need I not forget to mention the fact that there is also some satire within the film, that to no, avail gets across to no one, mainly because were watching a horror movie that’s about teens going into the woods, and getting sick. No need for politics Mr. Roth sorry bro.
The budget was relatively small, and you can see they spent a lot of the money on the make-up, so the cast isn’t quite well-known, but their OK for what their given. You may know the main dude Rider Strong, from my favorite sitcom when I was a kid, Boy Meets World. He’s actually pretty strong here, and you can tell if he was given a good enough script now, could make the best out of it. Also, Jordan Ladd is here, and she’s always a beauty to have on-screen. And that’s basically about it for the cast, sorry guys.
Consensus: Cabin Fever isn’t as scary as it is gory, but it works with keeping your attention, even though you may turn away at times, and paying a great homage to the old school 80s horror films, but fails with trying to be more than a just horror film.
With any situation, you never really do know who’s telling the truth.
A family in crisis is “captured” through home video in this searing documentary about the Friedmans, an upper-middle-class family who found their world turned upside down when father and son were charged with child molestation in 1987. The media inundated the airwaves with coverage of the alleged crime, but some of the best footage — seen here publicly for the first time — was shot by the Friedman family members themselves.
I was never alive when this whole Friedmans molestation shit hit the fan, but with this film I got an idea of what was surrounding these people. The best thing about this film is that it doesn’t just show the Friedmans side, it also shows the police’s side as well. This gives us an idea, for us to make our own assumptions, as to who was right, and who was wrong, and if anyone was telling the truth.
The film does a great job of showing this family from the ins and outs. We get to hear and see all the emotions from the two boys, Jesse, and David Friedman, as well as the guilt-driven mother, Elaine. We never hear the story from the one boy, Seth, but I don’t think he had much to say, since his name only came up every once and awhile. But the one thing that bummed me out was that we never get to hear Arnold’s side of the story at all, probably because he was dead around the making of this movie, but I just wish we got to hear from him. And although we didn’t, i still liked the fact that the whole family told us every sigle point of their stories. We also get stories from the kids that Arnold “raped”, as well as, talks with his brother, who has a big surprise in the end, and other people that were acquainted with Arnold, as well as the Friedmans.
I just loved how director Andrew Jarecki got all these people together to talk about this one, messed-up family. The best parts of this film, are when they show the home videos, that for some dumb reason David took, of when the family started to really self-destruct, and you can see how family interaction’s really are, when something bad happens, and how they all go after one another. This fascinated me cause we always see this kind of stuff in films like, In the Bedroom, but never in real life, and I finally got to see that.
The whole film is just about real life. Imagine if everyday, you saw your dad, as this cool, down-to-earth dude, that you could talk to no matter what, and then you found out he had a secret, a secret that made you totally think different of him, how would you react. The film captures the realistic horror that goes into a family, knowing that their father, his whole life, has had these secrets. It may not sound as beautiful and great as it should, but really it something to see, if you want to see true family relations.
Consensus: Capturing the Friedmans works as a study of human, and family relations, and the horror that stands behind it all, as well as a study for the real meaning behind truth, and who did what.
Does this even argue anything about the death penalty?
When Texas professor David Gale (Kevin Spacey), an advocate for the elimination of the death penalty, is falsely accused and convicted of the rape and murder of another activist (Laura Linney), he ends up on the state’s notorious death row himself. In a series of flashbacks, Gale tells his story to a young reporter (Kate Winslet) who’s visiting him on death row, leaving her to sort out his guilt or innocence.
The whole film I was expecting it to be another argument on the death penalty, and how it is just soo wrong. However, it just turns out to be an interesting jig-saw puzzle that you can’t steer away from.
The first two thirds of this film are quite riveting, mostly because the plots twists and turns, all come at you right away, without you even knowing. By the end the films twists really do seem to be implausible, and actually kind of stupid, but it was first two thirds that really had me going in the first place.
The cinematography is very ho-hum and certain editing techniques used to link scenes in the present to scenes in the past, where the camera spirals over words like: innocence, love, guilt, hate, are pretentious as hell. These montages are also so grossly out of place that they seem as if they were clipped from an episode of NYPD Blue.
The performances given here by Spacey and Winslet, is what in the end really won me over here. Kevin Spacey gives one of his best performances here, cause the whole film is basically given to him, to act his ass off, and well, he does just that and even more. Kate Winslet, is good as this mean, kind of bitchy reporter, but does give some good emotional scenes, although it may seem she is trying too hard. I wish these two had more scenes together to show that they could build up a great chemistry on screen. But just way too many flashbacks prohibit this.
Consensus: Although it’s plot and message seems so out-of-place by the end, The Life of David Gale, has at least two strong performances from Spacey and Winslet, as well as an interesting first two thirds of a film.
On an island off the coast of Florida, a college rave party is in full swing. But the kids’ X-laced escapades are soon interrupted by zombies and monsters that attack them on the ground, from the air and in the sea. Seems the freaks are ruled by an ancient ghoul named Castillo, who once upon a time searched for a fountain of youth and eventually found it — but at a hideous price.
I freakin’ loved the House of the Dead video games. That shoot-em-up style, mixed with the creepy atmosphere, and even better story line, it was just my child hood wrapped in game. So when somebody comes around and tries to make a mockery of it, ohhhh, you know I’m gonna be pissed!
OK, Uwe Boll, is a bad director, I get it! But this right here, is just terrible! I mean it didn’t even look like this guy was trying to make a good movie, or even a movie for that matter. It starts off slow as crap making me already want to kill myself, by the incredibly cliched script, where the teens are off on some shady island for a rave, which is supposed to be a tropical island, when the water is like brown. Then the film moves to the zombies, or in this case, “dead”, and lets just say the laughter comes right in.
These are single-handedly the worst looking zombies, I have ever seen in a film. At least, Night of the Living Dead’s ones, were at least acting like zombies, these ones just moved around like normal people, and didn’t even like bite people, just moved around, and were totally conscious about what they were doing.
But I was just mainly pissed, cause in all honesty, this could have been a great film, if they just stuck with the original story-line, or something of that nature. I mean the way Boll makes the action in this movie is nothing like the video game. He does stupid slow-mo shots, that had nothing to do with the game, and what’s even worse is how he randomly shows shots of action from the game, like he wants us to know that this is House of the Dead were talking about.
Consensus: Terrible, cliched, horribly written, and directed. That’s all I have to say.
Still wondering what this had to do with Rodney King trials.
Director Ron Shelton’s thriller illustrates how deep corruption runs in the Los Angeles Police Department in April 1992, days before the acquittal of four white officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King. In this charged climate, brutal veteran Elden Perry (Kurt Russell) and others in Chief Holland’s (Ving Rhames) Special Investigations Squad are assigned a high-profile quadruple homicide — and their win-at-any-cost attitude must go.
I have seen so many cop dramas, that it’s really hard to say when one is fresh. They each have the same exact plot line mostly, and same out-come, but it all depends on how great those performances are that make the film fun and new, this is one of them with some new takes.
The best thing about this film worth mentioning is the randomly casted Kurt Russell. Out of all the actors working in the biz today, you would not expect Russell to be acting in such a role that demands so much, but even though its a surprise he’s cast as the lead, it’s an even bigger surprise that he’s totally believable with all of it. He plays this third generation cop, who has so much to live up to, and so much to give that it’s hard for him not to fold under pressure, so he does these terrible things to make him look better: kill innocents, plant evidence, etc. But he also goes from bad cop, to hate able cop, to completley evil cop that you want to see dead. He plays this character so well, that he’s not such a guy you hate so much, even though he does these evil things, but also, you feel sympathy for him, cause these things that he does do, are all because of the pressure he feels from supporting his line of work, that hiss family already succeeded with.
Scott Speedman is also pretty good, playing the rookie cop well, even though there’s only one real way you can play it. However, some other cast members were just bland. Ving Rhames is one-note the whole time, never barely showing emotion, and delivering his lines like he was just asking for the paycheck. Sadly, Brendan Gleeson, isn’t very exciting to watch, and his accent is still not believable, especially when he’s trying to sound like an American dude, when he just sounds like he got done from doing 28 Days Later, which he probably was.
The story by the end is interesting with its nice twists and turns, however, does have some problems it comes to being original. I have seen this story done many and many of times, and this shouldn’t have been any different. The last and final speech by Russell is well-acted, but comes off as too random and poetic for me. Mostly, cause it comes at a time when the Rodney King riots are happening, and its just such a coincidence.
Consensus: It’s a by-the-numbers, unsurprising film with a mediocre script, but Dark Blue still features a great performance from Russell that is still worth seeing.
If everyone from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, were teenagers.
Teenager Lyle Jensen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is committed to the juvenile ward of a mental institution after brutally beating another boy. There, he encounters a pack of equally lost souls, including a girl who hurts herself (Zooey Deschanel), a 12-year-old child molester (Cody Lightning) and a bipolar teen planning an escape (Michael Bacall). Don Cheadle stars as the resident psychiatrist who works tirelessly to break through to his charges and give them hope.
Where this film is no where near as close to the Milos Forman classic, it still does have a great look and insight into the world of depression, and the people that try to help it.
Going into the film you have to be ready for a whirlwind storm of total unhappiness, something I did not do. I still wish there was a bit more light touches added to the film rather than just, all these suicidal tendencies running all over the place. I also think that first-time director, Jordan Melamed, gets too caught on focus with the shaky cam feature, and I found this aspect for some of the scenes to be a distraction, cause it was just all over the place.
Other than those two problems, this film does give great insight into depression. You see how these characters tell their stories about heart break, and tragedy. Almost every story, as depressing as the other, ultimately touches you, cause in all honesty if you have ever known somebody that is facing depression, or any type of mental illness, you can understand the pain that these kids are feeling.
One of my friends saw this movie, and was like, “this isn’t how real people act”. When in reality, this is totally how people act when they are under depression. I mean, the truth of this story is that, all these characters from the cutter, to the molester, and to the kid with anger management issues, not all of them find solutions in life, it’s more about helping to climb that mountain and achieve greatness.
Don Cheadle basically devours the screen every time he gets it with his superb acting. Everytime this guy is on-screen, you can feel his frustration, but also a sense of relief whenever he is around, and you can trust him with your life. It was cool to see Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star together again as love interests, because of my love for (500) Days of Summer. They both have a great sense of rawness within their characters, and each give off great performances to support the film.
Consensus: Manic may have obvious flaws, especially with the camera that will probably make you puke, but features great performances, to back up a wonderful screenplay about the reality of depression, and the harsh things to come of it.
Sometimes sex is so crazy.
Frannie (Meg Ryan) is a New York writing professor entwined in an erotic affair with a police detective (Mark Ruffalo) who’s investigating the murder of a young woman in Frannie’s neighborhood. But soon Frannie begins to suspect her lover’s involvement in the crime.
Most of this film gets a lot of attention for its first unveiling of Meg Ryan being nude, when really that’s not all that’s in this film.
This is directed by Jane Campion who is most known for The Piano, and can direct highly charged stuff like this. The complaint is that when it comes to directing the mystery and the slasher killings the film doesn’t quite all add up. I think by the last act the film starts to collapse with the mystery showcases, and came out as obvious when the ending happened.
Other than the murder mystery almost everything else works so well. The whole style of this film is just extravagant and beautiful to look at. There are a couple of sex scenes, that actually look better just because of the way the film shows it to be. Its more than just a sexual experience its more of an provocative love obsession that this character actually goes through.
Meg Ryan is also the main reason to see the film cause she is not just playing against the lovable sweet heart, we always know her as, but instead she plays this woman who becomes obsessed with sex. And the thing about this performance too is that she actually is quite convincing as this good girl gone bad, and surprisingly turns out an Oscar-nominating performance in my opinion. Mark Ruffalo plays against type here and also shows that he is an actor playing a person were not so sure of is what we see, but is still all the same way compelling. The scenes with Ryan and Jennifer Jason Leigh seem so real and actually convincing that it made the film outside of the murder mystery even better to watch. Also with Ryan and Ruffalo, you can see there actually is a lot of love between these two.
Consensus: In the Cut fails at being a thriller, but has great style from the forceful direction of Jane Campion, and powerful performances that all play against type, mostly Ruffalo and Ryan.
Made me feel so hood watching this.
Narrated by Ving Rhames, Beef provides a definitive look into the trash-talkin’ world of high-profile “beefs,” told by the artists themselves — the MC battle, hip-hop’s war of words, who’s the “illest” on the mic, and more. Features 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Nas, DMX, Snoop Dog, Tupac, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Ja Rule, Mack 10, Common, Cypress Hill, Russell Simmons, NWA and legendary battlers KRS-One, MC Chan, Kool Moe Dee, Busy Bee and many others!
I was asked by one of my friends, who yes is black, and told me I should check this ish out, because he says it shows that all rappers are fighters, and I couldn’t agree more.
For me I love hip-hop, but I also love all the artists that inhabit it and their “beefs” they all encounter with one another. Just to see how different each beef is, was great to see how much the game has changed. But its not just so much about the beefs as much as its about the way a rapper and any musician should be. Be cautious of what you say, and do cause you never know when somebody might take it the wrong way and act foolish.
I enjoyed listening to what some of the artists had to say but I thought their was too much commentary and not enough footage of the beefing artists. As a long time fan I wanted to see more of the actual battling and concerts uncut and without interruption. If you are a fan of hip hop then you will know who they are talking about and the references that are made, if you are new to hip hop you might not appreciate it as much.
Not every beef in the game is in here, and some major ones are left out, but that’s why they made 3 sequels, and that’s why I’m watching them next. Peace!
Consensus: Beef is an informative, energetic, and entertaining documentary on the world of hip-hops biggest rivalries, but needed less talky more action.
Ruined all hopes for a Samurai Jack movie.
Tom Cruise stars as Nathan Algren — an American hired to instruct the Japanese army in the ways of modern warfare — in this lush epic set in the 1870s, which finds Algren learning to respect the samurai and the honorable principles that rule them. Pressed to destroy the samurai’s way of life in the name of modernization and open trade, Algren decides to become an ultimate warrior(with Ken Watanabe) himself and to fight for their right to exist.
The film is marketed as being the Tom Cruise epic vehicle that shares a lot of similarities to Dances With Wolves. The story may seem the same, but the game has sort of changed.
The most satisfying thing about this film is its high production values it used. This is a triumph in products and costume design as you feel like you actually are in Japan during this time period. I mean how everybody looks, they aren’t just people dressed up, you actually feel like these are real people and you are apart of their village as much as they are.
The one thing that kind of made the film was that it wasn’t a one-note action pick like a lof epics accidental hit. The scenes where Cruise is learning the ways and lifestyles that these people take with honor in all their choices was really interesting. Now, granted the epic action scenes, especially the last 20 minutes, are always exciting and very well choreographed.
I did have a couple of problems with this film though. I feel like the message the film was trying so hard to bring out failed, mostly due to all the blood shed it brought out along the way. Stories like this are always interesting to follow; a man haunted by his past and loathed by his comrades gets his chance at redemption by adapting another culture’s beliefs and lifestyle. You know the ending; an epic battle but the he somehow is the last man left standing. The problem with this one is that it seemed as though the writers were so afraid to cut out the jargon that bogged the story down, but that’s Hollywood for ya.
I think that Tom Cruise, for as much as shit as he gets, is till one of the best actors working today, but doesn’t quite convey any different emotions I first had about him here. He does a good job, but I still see Tom Cruise in a samurai outfit, and not any real emotional character. The real stand-out here is Ken Watanabe who takes this image that we have of this typical old, wise samurai and turns it on his head and makes him a lot more human with more emotions.
Consensus: The Last Samurai has high production values that show with its great look and awesome action scenes, but doesn’t use and original story and still has problems convincing me that Tom Cruise is this samurai.