L.A. is just a really shitty place now that I look at it.
Max (Jamie Foxx) is a failed comedy writer living in Los Angeles who makes a living as a cab driver. One very tumultuous day, he figures out that the fare Vincent (Tom Cruise) he’s been driving around all day is a contract killer, committing a series of hits. Now, it’s up to him to somehow stop the killer from executing the last witness… as well as himself.
The one thing I like the most about Michael Mann is that his stories may not be the best on paper, but when their played out, they are simply riveting. Heat, a film where cop chases bad guy, seen it done a million times, however, it’s considered his best work. For me, this is his best.
The film starts off really nice and slow, with a couple of nice little talking pieces, but then as soon Vincent gets in the car, it’s zooooooooom…..fast-paced thriller here we goooooo!!! Let me just say that this film does keep you on the edge of your seat. Your watching as these two dudes go from one place to another, killing people, and get stuck in the stickiest situations, but somehow end up getting away.
The way Michael Mann films everything is just brilliant here. He shows L.A. at night, at makes it beautiful, then gritty, and the beautiful again. The cinematography is rich in design because Mann is constantly switching cameras. Some scenes he will use a HD camera to get that real look of these dudes running through the streets, then you got you digital camera for the real real look, and then he uses 35mm for one scene that will just totally knock your socks off. Mann shows L.A. in a way that makes it one of the most beautiful places to be, despite the violent under-belly.
Between all the gun shooting, running, stealing, etc. There are still many moments of talking, and these people aren’t just talking non-sense that you would hear in your typical action thriller, these people are giving some honest insight into life and death, and how will your legacy be viewed as, once you are dead. It was surprising how much was actually said, and meant something in this film.
I had a few problems with this film, and I can see others did too. There just so happened to be too many coincidences in this film. I can’t give away too much, but at the end, it kind of makes you think, OK, why in the hell is he looking for this one person, out of the 2.5 million people in L.A. Also, there is another scene that will have you basically going, OK, bullshit. Sorry about being discrete, but once you see these scenes, then you’ll notice what I’m talking about.
Tom Cruise, goes against type playing Vincent, the bad guy, and makes one of the best career choices of his life. He is just brilliant here. When you first get to meet him, you can tell he’s a big charmer, a nice smooth-talker, and then you get to see him in action. You are just totally mesmerized by this dude. He’s great at what he does, and that just adds on an extra level of creepiness for his character that the film strives so much for. Jamie Foxx is even better, playing a dude that just wants nothing but to get out of this sticky situation, but there is just one scene where you see him totally change. It’s a great scene cause the whole time we’re rooting for him, and then we see him actually turn the other cheek, we are more ready than ever. The supporting cast is also good in here too. Filled with stars such as Jada Pinkett Smith, Javier Bardem, Mark Ruffalo, and a touching scene with Barry Shabaka Henley.
Consensus: Collateral may have unrealistic things in its story by the end, however Mann directs this film with inspiration, giving off great performances from the cast, and a suspenseful story, that have could been done wrong so many other ways.
Putting the “F” back in WTF!?!?!?
“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone apply their acerbic wit to global crime-fighting in this musical satire about an all-marionette police force that takes on the challenging role of keeping peace on a troubled planet. Wherever there’s a dictator itching to rule the world, Team America flies in to dismantle the government. The team’s newest recruit is Gary Johnston, a Broadway star who just may have found his true calling.
Parker and Stone are literally considered two of the biggest a-holes ever. They basically offend anyone: blacks, whites, celebrities, politics, even Jews, considering that Matt Stone is Jewish.
This film totally makes a mockery of any famous person, and does a pretty damn good job with it too. I love tongue-in-cheek films and this one wasn’t any different. Mostly the jokes are satire pointed at the government and how we put ourselves in situations that we don’t even belong in. Also, the whole general concept is too make fun of the big-budget action pic, with its cheesy lines, predictable story turn-outs, and crappy actors. All of these provide laughs, as well the fact that there is obviously plenty of sex jokes, and the F-bomb being delivered.
I also found it to be quite annoying. I understood that the puppets aren’t to be taken seriously cause their funny-looking, but come on, you can only do so many jokes about how funny a puppet walks so much. It gets dull by the last act, and it seems like their trying a little bit too hard for the non-stop laughs, but in ways it works.
I will give the film one thing, and that it is smart. It doesn’t have a side (democratic or republican), and it doesn’t even mention the white-house, or the war on terrorism. Instead, it uses a smart-ass appeal to make fun of any popular figure, who takes any news story seriously. It mentions 9/11, but it doesn’t get too out-of-hand with offending too many Americans that will see this film.
There is also some funny ass moments with the music: such as songs like I’m So Ronery, or the constant action, and sexual things they show. However, it’s all puppets so it doesn’t make any difference. Unless, you are that revolted by two puppets doing it.
Consensus: The satire may get dull by the last act, but Team America: World Police is full of hilarious satire, witty writing, as well as a smart approach to the ideas approaching war, and its subjects.
I have gay friends, however, I have never really fallen in love with one of them, and neither have I with Robin Wright Penn (dammit!).
Boyhood pals Bobby (Colin Farrell) and Jonathan (Dallas Roberts) both love the same woman (Robin Wright Penn), but in different ways. (For one thing, Jonathan is gay). Yet, undaunted, they all try to make a life together — and even have a baby.
Now I have nothing against gay people. I have gay friends, and I do consider myself a pro-homosexual person. However, when it comes to films, they are kind of hit-or-miss with me, such as this one.
I’m not quite familiar with the original subject material, however I do know that is considered a great novel, and should be read by all. Gotta put that on the to-read list. But its just that this plot here could have been so much better, instead it just feels way too contrived. The writing in all honesty didn’t feel real, it seemed like these people were just acting by the way a film would have a character act out.
The film also has a huge problem with the fact that it doesn’t quite make its characters in any way, appealing to us. Farrell’s character, Bobby, throughout the whole film is basically the guy who’s just there at points, shows up, and is always just one-note, by always being depressed about god knows what. Also, Penn’s character, didn’t feel like a real person. This chick, in real life, is almost 15 years older than both of these guys, and she can’t choose one guy over the other. If that was happening to me, I would just say to hell with it, and then she can take the gay guy. Her character lacked the motivation, and we never know too much about her, other than her hair is pretty wild now and then.
I was almost actually won over by the performances in this movie. Farrell playing against type, or miscast, or whatever, came off as really stale and never really, if at all, changed during the movie. Robin Wright Penn is good as the wild, and crazy former stoner, and brings a lot to her character, even though not much is given. She’s came a long way since Jenny. The best in this film is Dallas Roberts who gives a great performance as this sad and lonely, gay man, who never really was understood by his parents at a young age so he is taking the pain now. Great performance, just wish this guy would get more material.
Consensus: Though the performances are good, there is way too many writing errors, when it comes to plot development, and characters.
People are going to kill me for this, but I actually liked this one.
A former U.S. president (Gene Hackman) who plans to retire in a small northeastern coastal town has his hands full when he tries to fill an empty mayoral seat. The unlikely opposition comes from an unassuming hardware store owner (Ray Romano) who quickly proves to be a bona fide man of the people — and wildly popular.
The one reason I liked this film was because although it wasn’t hilarious or totally laugh-out-loud material, it still wasn’t an offensive film, with some dirty jokes. It sweet and kind, and some of the jokes work some of them don’t but I didn’t mind it when they didn’t hit the mark.
The story is quite thin however and we get these little add-ins that don’t seem needed at all. The love story between Romano and Maura Tierney didn’t seem real since they are a bit too old to be playing boyfriend and girlfriend, that can’t commit to one another. Also, we get a lot of golf. Mostly consisting of a total of 10 minutes just of them two playing a game of golf, all for Tierney. This film includes major “butt” nudity in the opening scene which actually plays no part in the plot or any of the rest of the film. Just seemed to be added for shock value and to change the rating.
The one reason I’m mostly recommending this is because of the performances from the cast. Romano’s little awkward act doesn’t work so well here, but for the most part at many times during the movie, it does and he creates a likable character. But the best here is Gene Hackman. He honestly does look like he is having a lot fun here as this zany and quirky politician, that seems so nice on the outside, but if you look real closely can be a total dick. The scenes with him and Marcia Gay Harden playing off one another are some very funny and actually good scenes surprisingly.
I’m not recommending this film over any film like Godfather or anything like that, but if its comes on the TV or your bored one night and need a movie to watch with the family, I can assure you, your going to have a good time.
Consensus: Welcome To Mooseport does have a plot that meanders with jokes that don’t connect real well, but is an inoffensive and well-acted comedy about politicians and the edges they will go to, to be on top.
With Dear John coming out, this just had to be done.
Two young lovers (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) are torn apart by war and class differences in the 1940s in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s best-selling novel. Their story is told by a man (James Garner) who, years later, reads from a notebook while he visits a woman in a nursing home (Gena Rowlands).
This film since the time it came out has had chicks all over the world, just crying their eyes out saying “I love this movie, it’s so sad and romantic”. For me, I never wanted to buy into this crap, but I did, and I’m actually glad I did.
Now when it comes to melodramatic romances, this film is pretty high up there. I mean there are plenty of times where I was reminded of some of the other great Romance stories, and this film does it very well. The film is a tearjerker and at some scenes I did get a bit emotional, not totally, but a bit. Just the general romance between these two and how they still are able to love one another, actually makes this film worthwhile.
While most of the movie is set in the 1940′s and gives you a feel for that era, I felt some of the language and actions were a little bit anachronistic — nothing major, but just enough to occasionally break the illusion (such as a very Joan Rivers-like finger down the throat gesture. Perhaps they did this in the ’40′s but it seemed out of place whether it truly was or not.)
The problem with this film is that it is a very predictable and obvious story. I mean the constant flashbacks kind of pissed me off cause they gave away the ending to the story which would have kept me wondering till the end what was going to happen to these two. Also, though it doesn’t matter to me in some movies, the score in this film just didn’t feel right. There were little pieces that could have been a lot more emotional if given the right type of movement within the music, I don’t know it’s just me though.
Much of the praise goes to the chemistry between its two stars. Gosling as always is great, and shows that he can play those toned-down roles like the back of his hand. But the best here is Rachel McAdams who much to my surprise here is given such a difficult role that calls for a lot of changes and emotion, and mostly on every note she hits it very well. Their love feels real by the end of the film and not just because the film is trying to tell you that, is cause when they talk they talk like real people.
Consensus: Though it has an obvious predictable story with an over-done score, The Notebook features enough emotional depth, and wonderful chemistry to keep me entertained throughout this sappy tearjerker.
Jesus these people all need to get a room!
Director Mike Nichols exposes the ugly core hiding behind the slick veneer of four beautiful people and their tangled personal relationships in this drama based on the hit Broadway play. A photographer (Julia Roberts) seems content with her boyfriend (Clive Owen), and a romantic (Jude Law) adores his quirky beloved (Natalie Portman). But when two of them embark on an illicit affair, a cascade of betrayal ensues.
This film is a lot of vicious and sadistic romantic themes all rolled up into one movie. People are constantly cheating on each other left and right, and you have no idea who’s with who, who did what, and most of all how long has this been going on.
The one thing I liked about this film is that from the beginning you think you can point out who the bad guys are and who the good guys are right away, when really their all bad. They all each have these sexual desires that end up messing the other person’s life over. They always constantly talk about telling the truth and being honest with each other, when all they do is lie to each other.
However, the movie seems to suffer from a kind of narcolepsy. In certain cuts, you are fast forward in time and at first you’re unsure if you’ve gone forward of backwards. Luckily after the second such cut you realize the movie is progressive with no flash backs. Thus everything is within context with the previous scene.
Also, there are times when you do feel a bit like this film is staged, probably because it was based on a play. But, some times I felt like the scenes were honestly not genuine and since they were all about talking I didn’t feel like they did much other than that.
I will say one thing that the screenplay is very well-written. Wanting to know positions, acts, and thoughts during that act of sexual coupling – of which there are no visuals, it’s all in the dialogue. This is some brutally honest dialogue that’s all about deceit, sex, and most of all being true to one another.
The screenplay would be nothing without its great performances from its actors. I liked a lot of people in the cast but mostly Clive Owen, who does one of the best darker roles hes ever played. Honestly, he is so hell-bent on his love with Roberts that he will stop at nothing to get her back. There is a point where Natalie Portman seems to pick up some of Julia Robert’s acting quirks, but this might be similar styles or synergy of the two actresses – It’s just such a joy to see her act again after her impression of a robot in Star Wars movies.
But in the end you feel dismantled by the fact that these people never should be in a relationship if they can control their impulses. And then you realize that these impulses are not only theirs but yours “you just haven’t acted on them – yet”.
Consensus: Closer at times feels too staged and a bit confusing, but has some brutally honest dialogue all about love and deciet, that would be nothing without the superb performances from its cast.
Great way to spend some Christmas joy!
This collection of 11 comic stories set in Dublin stems from one single circumstance: how the breakup of one couple’s relationship can have unexpected repercussions on the lives of the people around them. One of those people is Lehiff (Colin Farrell), a thief trying to set his life straight by pulling off one last heist before retiring. Too bad dogged detective John Lynch (Colin Meaney) will stop at nothing to bring Lehiff to justice.
Now this film is a big slap in the face to conventional story telling. All these stories are weaved together and at times one acts like a whimsical romance, then the next scene is involving somebody getting punched in the face or shot.
Director Jon Crowley has a very good way of keeping this film on the level of pure entertainment. He develops a good way to follow some hard and gritty action, with some funny laughs. The film goes from one story to another in a very quick way so you are interested yourself in a lot of what’s going on. It reminded me a lot of a Pulp Fiction mixed in with some of Guy Ritchie’s films, if it was Irish.
I developed a lot of love for these characters even though they are all a bunch of low-life slime bags. We feel like we know all these people, and although they are really terrible people we start to actually like them for who they are and what they do.
The writing is very rich in this film. It is written as a amazingly dark comedy, but a lot of the times they didn’t even seem that dark. A lot of them were typical state of the art jokes, that if you understood you would laugh your ass off at. I almost felt bad for still laughing cause something terrible would happen, and I would still be laughing from before.
If there is one problem I had with this film, it was that in the middle of the story there is a kidnapping story which really wasn’t funny nor was it all that compelling. So this was the only bad thing although it did have some good consequences.
The whole cast is very good but if I had to choose one it would probably be Colin Farrell who does the best job in my opinion. He plays the bad guy that we all know him for, but he does it really well in this film, while still maintaining a sense of humor. Cillian Muprhy is also quite good here as the younger and confused guy.
Consensus: Intermission is a quick, funny, and exciting ensemble piece, with funny as hell moments, and great actors in the roles.
If I spent Christmas with these people, I think I’d go Jewish for the holidays.
A break from the frenetic activity that surrounds Christmas is what Luther and Nora Krank (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) have in mind when they decide that, for once, they’ll skip the holiday. They’ll nix the tree, all the ornaments and their rooftop Frosty, and forgo the chore of hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash. That’s the plan, anyway. Question is, can they deal with the fallout from crestfallen neighbors and even their own family?
Now, for this Holiday season I have been reviewing some movies that have to do with well, Christmas. And after watching this and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I think it’s time to stop soon.
Now the one thing that struck me as totally over the top, was that the whole neighborhood of this Chicago suburb celebrated Christmas in such a big way, and when The Kranks tell everyone that their not celebrating Christmas, literally everyone acts like they have just committed a child-kidnapping. They all acted as if they were Nazis, who say u must have Christmas or you can no longer live in the neighborhood any longer.
The jokes are just so terrible in this film. I mean honestly the slapstick just got way too forced by the middle of this film. Almost everything that The Kranks did had to end up in something bad happening to them or something around them. The screenplay was so dumb and stupid, that i actually wondered who the hell wrote this piece of crap!?!??! Honestly, you can’t have a Christmas film without even making one reference about Jesus or religion. I mean last time I checked its his birthday so why not even make a mention of it.
The one thing I will say about this film is that Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis do try hard with this crappy script. Nothing just came out as funny during this whole movie, no matter how much the whole cast tried.
Consensus: Christmas With The Kranks is not funny, terribly written, and should not ever be watched for the Christmas Holdiay.
Why so many people hated this really does go by me.
When John (Anthony Mackie) blows the whistle on his corrupt bosses at the biotech company where he works, he touches off a maelstrom of investigations headed by the Securities and Exchange Commission and winds up jobless. But when his ex-girlfriend (Kerry Washington) pays him to get her and her lesbian lover (Dania Ramirez) pregnant, he may have found his new calling.
This film is directed by one of my favorites, Spike Lee. It combines office politics, sexual politics, and well politics politics. The film has enough imagination and material for 3 movies the only problem is that it doesn’t know which film it wants to be.
I found this to be a problem throughout the whole film. Sometimes it would act like a sex farce, then suddenly change into a proactive drama about a scam within the banking system. I felt like if they had just stayed with the one mood throughout the whole film I think it would have made this film a lot much better.
Though the plot falls to pieces by the end I was always interested. The film never came off as boring and the intelligence of this film actually really did capture me. Spike Lee is the person I give credit to the most because he makes this film provocative, outrageous, and daring. In a world of timid and conditional movies, he swings for the fences and makes this film controversial in a way to get a point out there. Lee doesn’t lose faith in his characters and script and that is what really makes this film a daring but heartfelt story.
Anthony Mackie is what makes this film a great watch for me. He plays this person with such little pacing and when he snaps he just snaps. His acting really did make me feel as if I was watching a real person on screen and not once did I think he was a stereotype at all. Kerry Washington does the best job out of the whole supporting cast and what I was really astonished about is how she showed her love for her girlfriend and for her ex-husband both differently, and I felt like she was very believable as a lesbian.
One last problem I had with the film was that the whole thing about Mackie being able to go six times a night, and not having any side effects from it whatsoever. The chicks also some of the loudest and craziest orgasms that I have ever heard in a film and I felt that they were very unbelievable.
Consensus: She Hate Me has identity problems and gets out of hand at point, but I liked the courage and the entertainment that Lee brings to the table, and although the film never captures its message it still has some great acting and inventive ideas.
Next film for Halloween is Dawn Of The Dead remake.
Based on the George Romero 1979 gore classic, this remake takes place as the United States is overrun (after a plague) by millions of corpses who walk the earth as cannibalistic zombies. A small group of survivors, including a nurse (Sarah Polley) and a police officer (Ving Rhames), try to find shelter within a massive shopping mall. But the zombies have a kind of sense memory and start arriving — in droves — for a shopping spree.
This is not so much of a remake as it is an update of the 1979 classic. The whole premise remains faithful to the original but then after that makes its own elements, which really was a good thing after all.
Dawn Of The Dead really does succeed because its use of exciting action and most of all, the gore. The added on blood and violence really does make this film exciting and fun to watch. Also, in the original the zombies were really slow and if you just ran they would’ve never caught up to you. Now, they are fast as a bullet and you can’t run or hide barely, and I think that is what makes this film even better.
The film also has little unriddle social commentary, and zero exposition. For instance, when a government official is asked “what are these things? are they contagious?” he simply responds “We don’t know!”. Giving you this idea of nobody knowing what is going on.
Zack Snyder, in his directorial debut, really does show some really great direction in this film. Many of the scenes he films with the action are slick and feature a lot of good camera angles that really do fit the part of the action.
I only had little minor problems with this film that aren’t as bad as you would expect. In George A. Romero’s 1979 Dawn Of The Dead, there was a lot more comedy and a satirical take on these zombies and the incidents that are being caused. I felt like this film was toned one way throughout, and although it did have some comedy it was more blatant than wise, as the original one was.
I also found the origins of why these zombies came to be very unknown and I wish I knew more of what was actually going on.
Consensus: Dawn Of The Dead is a gruesome, violent, tasteless, and well-directed take on the 1979 classic.
The movie that started the love fest between Scorsese and Leo.
The film centers on Hughes’ life from the late 1920s to 1947, during which time he gained success as a film producer and an aviation magnate while simultaneously growing more unstable due to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Scorsese, one of the best of all directors, has made an enormously entertaining movie about one of the most fascinating American lives but also the saddest. The production here is incredibly ambitious, Scorsese creates early Hollywood movies, stars, and the real-life airplanes. Its also very interesting to see the different types of film stock and colors he uses to reflect various periods in which the movie takes place in. This is a traditional rise and fall story that could’ve gone too many wrong ways but simply stays in the right direction.
The best thing of this movie has to be the great performances from Blanchett and DiCaprio. When playing these real-life figures sometimes actors try to go overboard with trying to act too much like the person their portraying, but these two don’t. Leo does a strongly effective job at playing Howard Hughes and creates this sympathetic character that we feel the need to like, because of all his time put into his film making and planes. Blanchett does the best job because it looks like she is just having a lot of fun, and totally captures the energy that many knew Katherine Hepburn had. The full energy of the film comes from these two performances and what makes the film fully effective and real.
Though the film was boasted with some great direction I thought that the special effects were pretty brassy and could’ve been better, especially when it came to some of the flight scenes. The film itself is 169 minutes and for about 120 I was really entertained but then there were just some really dry spots that didn’t keep me glued to the screen like many others from Scorsese.
The film may not be Scorsese’s best work but it unquestionably a very creative piece of moviemaking.