Posts Tagged ‘movie reviews’

2013 Movie A Day Review #1: Young Guns

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm

young guns

IMDB Description:

A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.

An expression you will see a lot in my reviews is “I don’t get it”….this normally will refer to how I can not understand a movie carrying the popularity it does. Young Guns is a fine example of this expression. Not that I thought the movie was bad, it was just I did not think it was THAT good to earn the cult like status is has garnered throughout the years.

Granted, it does have a stellar cast for the time it was made (think of putting Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in a movie together today and that is what the cast of Young Guns was back in it’s time). But to me, only one of the big stars of the movie is properly cast (Lou Diamond Phillips). The other big 3 of the film are totally out of their element. Charlie Sheen is obviously in it just for the payday, Keifer Sutherland looks like he needs to be woken up every time he is saying his lines, and worst of all is Emilio Estevez, who is just flat out annoying.

The best parts of the movie are Terrance Stamp and Jack Palance, but their roles are so minor it is not enough to make the overall viewing experience enjoyable. The secondary love story between Sutherland’s character and the Chinese slave is totally unnecessary, and actually drags the movie to a halt whenever it is onscreen. Plus, the five minute peyote using scene is just typical Hollywood trying to make drugs look funny and cool (a trend that continues to this day in films).

If you have not scene Young Guns, it is worth watching once, because the story of redeeming a father figure is good enough to get you through the movie. But you will most likely not want to go back for a second helping of the film.

2 out of 5 stars


Project 400 In 365 # 8: Paranormal Activity 3

In Movie Reviews on October 24, 2011 at 4:36 am

Attention all aspiring filmmakers: you can stop now.  No, I mean it, simply put down your cameras, roll up all the cords and go home.  It has been accomplished.  There is no need to shoot another frame of footage, not need to put in 18 hour days for your craft.  Seriously, take the headphones off, return your investors money and go back to crashing on your parents couch.  You can not attain what this movie has accomplished.  There is no way on the planet anyone out there can make a film as completely and utterly pointless and boring at this movie. Actually, I may be too kind when I say that.

This movie makes watching paint dry an exhilarating experience.  This is the movie they will show to people on death row to have them beg to be thrown into Old Sparky.  Don’t believe? Well, let me just say this: out of the 1:45 minutes (or so) running time of this film, be prepared to spend about an hour and 35 minutes of watching people sleep.  No, seriously.  NOTHING HAPPENS IN THE MOVIE!!

There are two scenes in the entire film where you might actually get a little bit excited and think to yourself  “good, now maybe they will stop showing that freaking fan camera!”, but don’t be fooled, those scenes are only in there to keep you from going and refilling your drink.

The poster says “Discover how the activity began”….um, WHAT ACTIVITY!!! Even the supposed “shocking ending” is a joke (remember when I said there were two scenes that were a little exciting? Hate to break it to you, the ending ain’t one of them).

Now, I guess I should try to be somewhat in depth as to the issues in this movie. The acting is simply mind numblingly plain and ordinary.  Even the “cute” little kids come off as plastic like.  There is never any sense of real danger coming out of the screen from anyone onscreen. The dialog is watered down and so stiff, it sounds like nuns wrote it.  Plus, there are wwwaayyyy to many open ended questions left unanswered.  Where does the “dad” get his money from if it is not just from shooting weddings? (this is hinted at a couple times).  Why doesn’t the idiot simply point a camera at the door which is OBVIOUSLY where the spirit is coming in and out of the house from.  Why does the grandmother allow him to set cameras up in her house if she is so against what he is doing? (oh, I could go on and on forever here, but you get the picture).

There is really nothing else I can say here.  This is a bad movie.  And not bad in the good way that some movies are bad.  You know what I mean, the kind of movies that are just so horrible, you can’t help watching them every now and then for a good laugh.  There are NO redeeming or enjoyable qualities to this movie of any kind. None. Zero. Zilch (get the message here).

This movie should be avoided at all costs.  Do not even recommend it to be people you don’t like.

0 out of 5 stars (and that is still being too generous)

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2010 at 9:43 am

Let me just start by saying I have not read any of the Harry Potter books, and do not intend to read any of them until all the movies are made. I made this choice all the way back when the first movie was released because I wanted to go into each movie fresh and without expecting anything. Because of this, I do not have to worry about sitting in the theater comparing the books to the movies.

The latest tale of the bespectled young man and his friends offers a first for me in reviewing movies: its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. By deciding to split the final saga up over two movies, Warner Brothers is counting on the casual fan of the series (like me) to overlook the fact that nothing really happens in this movie. Part 1 is a narrative tale, and nothing more. It is, however, one of the best narrative tales I have ever seen. By deciding to concentrate so much on the “how and why” of what is happening in the story, the director (David Yates) is able to take the view through a stunning visual journey.

The scenery and camera work in this movie are like nothing you have seen in the franchise. Even though the film is light on action (and I do mean LIGHT), you are still captivated by what you are watching onscreen. One reason for this is Daniel Radcliff. He is no longer the goofy twelve year old who started the franchise as the cute little kid on screen. He is now a true actor. Every movement and facial expression he makes is with purpose. While I used to believe he is one of the weak points of the previous films, he now carries this franchise. And once again, you have to believe that he can, because the normally strong supporting cast around him in the other films is not present here. Yes, you still have Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as his partners tasked with searching for the keys to destroying he who shall not be named, but outside of that, the supporting cast is pretty weak.

And thus is the greatness / problem with the movie. Every critism you can lay on it is always one of the reasons it is so good. It would have been nice to surround the three with a stronger supporting cast, but in doing so, Yates would have taken away from the personal interaction the audience feels for them on their journey. More action would been good to see, but it would have taken away from the background needed to understand why Harry and his friends are doing what they are doing. It is hard to tear down something with “what if they would have done this instead” when what Warner Brothers has been on the screen is so enjoyable.

Thus, my problem with rating this movie. As a stand alone piece, it ranks towards the bottom on my list of the films in this franchise, because it really is an unfiinshed movie. Imagine watching only half of any of the Lord Of The Rings movies. That is the feeling you have when walking out of the theater. However, when you look at the film as a piece of the whole story, it is one probably right behind Order of the Phoenix as one of my favorites in the series. Because we finally seen actors act, and finally have the franchise in the hands of a director that knows what to do with it.

This is a strong 3.5 out of 5 for me, and this rating could be raised based on how Part 2 turns out.

The Social Network

In Movie Reviews on October 5, 2010 at 9:24 am

This David Fincher directed film is best watched with the mindset that you are viewing not the telling of the rise of one of the most dominate forces in our lives today, but instead a spectacular business drama. Trying to gain any meaningful facts on the true creation of Facebook would be pointless at best, and futile at worst. But that is not to say this film is flawed or should not be seen. The exact opposite is actually true.

This movie is so engaging that I would recommend EVERYONE go see it as soon as they can. Jesse Eisenberg is completely brilliant in his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. From the very opening scene, you have are left wondering if he is just a complete social outcast or truly a conceded jerk, and this question continues throughout the entire movie (and it actually never really resolved). Yes, at times he treats people (using the term “friends” would be way to much of a stretch) like just means to an end, but then at other times (pay close attention to the deposition scenes) you can see the real pain he is feeling by having to go through what he is going through.

All of these emotion are slowly brought out through Aaron Sorkin’s spectacular script. There is no question there will be a screen writer Oscar nod for Sorkin. Just like he did throughout his years on SportsNight and The West Wing, Sorkin knows how to draw the viewer in with some of the most biting and jaring dialog you will ever hear. An example:

Facebook Lawyer: Mr. Zuckerberg, do I have your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: [stares out the window] No.
Facebook Lawyer: Do you think I deserve it?
Mark Zuckerberg: [looks at the lawyer] What?
Facebook Lawyer: Do you think I deserve your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: I had to swear an oath before we began this deposition, and I don’t want to purjure myself, so I have a legal obligation to say no.
Facebook Lawyer: Okay – no. You don’t think I deserve your attention.
Mark Zuckerberg: I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try – but there’s no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing. [pauses]
Mark Zuckerberg: Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

These type of acid tongue exchanges are a staple of any Sorkin script, and he is at his best in writing The Social Network. Every character seems to shine with the words they are given, from Zuckerberg’s long lost love Erica:

“Listen. You’re going to be succesful and rich. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because your a tech geek. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because your an asshole.”

To the surprisingly powerful portrayal of Sean Parker (Napster founder and mentor to Zuckerberg) by Justin Timberlake, in response to someone challenging that he didn’t change the music industry

“Oh really, would you like to buy Tower Records now?”

Fincher takes this masterful script and directs the audience into the story through the creative use of the two lawsuit depositions. The questions from the suing parties lawyers (and subsequent answers by Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg) help narrate the story along at a smooth even pace. You are not overwhelmed with information or plot twists.

If there is one criticism I had with the movie, it is that by the time the credits role, you are left with no one to really root for or care about. Zuckerberg, although not completely unlikable, is in the end shown as a loner with no heart. Even in the final scene, you are not sure if we what he is waiting on is because he is hoping for it to turn out right, or if it is because he just want to gloat a little more.

Sean Parker’s final scene (which to me was completely unnecessary to the overall story) is so open ended, the viewer is left going “what the hell happened to him?!”

And this brings me to Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin. This is the one character in the entire movie which are you supposed to feel compassion and sympathy for. But not even Sorkin’s script and Fincher’s directing to make this kid into a decent actor. Stiff and almost wooden throughout the entire film, there is never any bond formed between Saverin and Zuckerberg to make the audience care what happens to either in the final scene.

But it does not matter, because the movie is so good up to this point. Expect to hear Sorkin’s, Fincher’s and possibly Timberlake’s name on the Oscar ballots.

4.5 out of 5 stars.