Sunday, December 23, 2012

Movie reviews - 2010

    Capitalism: A Love Story

    Like previous Moore movies, hard to believe every detail, but even if half of his claims are accurate, it tells a scary story of the state of America with capitalism winning over democracy. Who knew FDR was such a socialist ?
    Unthinkable (2010)
    An uncomfortable film to watch if, like me, torture scares the hell out of you, but if you can get past the squirming, it tackles a very important question of today. Along with innocent lives, are our human morals also in danger from terrorism ? The only potential fault of this film (apart from some awkward dialog) is - could this happen ? Jackson and Sheen were superb.
    Valentine's Day
    Worst movie I've seen in a while (and I do like the occasional rom-com). Big ensemble, reasonably talented cast couldn't save this mess. What's happened Gary Marshall ?
    The Damned United
    I recall Brian Clough quite well, but a little after the years depicted in this movie. I never really liked the man, but somehow Sheen makes him human and a likable anti-hero. I couldn't believe how brutal the sport was back in the early 70's - almost criminal; and I don't recall Bremnar being such a *%!(#. A great portrayal showing the power of the English football manager.
    Leap Year
    Leap Year (2010)
    Highly predictable rom-com, but I liked the chemistry between Adams and Goode. Plus the scenery was beautiful.
    The Invention of Lying
    Gervais kept me laughing, but odd mix of seriousness and silliness was rather awkward. Must have been ok, because my wife watched it standing up.
    Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked)
    Loved the characters and music, but I thought the story needed a little more substance or it should have been cut a little shorter. Some good laughs, but it left me feeling a little lost. Is today's radio as influential and as important as it was back then in the 60's ? Part of me says no, but maybe I'm saying that because the large majority of radio stations playing new music today are focused on a much younger generation. What radio stations are there that continue to introduce new music to an older demographic (and I don't just mean the new U2 album).
    The Final Destination
    First one of the "Final Destination" series I've seen and I thought it was pretty entertaining. Kind of like a gruesome game of Mouse Trap - lots of "fun" - perfect ending for Halloween.
    Body of Lies
    Body of Lies (2008)
    DiCaprio and Crowe never disappoint and come together with a great middle Eastern cast to create a very intense tale of the modern fight against terrorism. The plot details were a little muddy in parts and why is it this super smart characters always make a mistake ! Oh yeah, it's because of the woman.
    The Soloist
    The Soloist (2008)
    Really enjoyed it. Spot on casting and acting, lovely music, interesting story and entertaining.
    Paranormal Activity
    I thought it was really well done. Simple yes, but scary as only a (big) bang on the night can be. I was happy I had a dog in the house afterward.
    Invictus (2009)
    I was a little disappointed. Freeman does a nice job playing Mandela, but maybe it's because of the accents, but I thought many of the performances were flat. Straight up inspirational sports underdog story secondary to Madela's politics and South African race and social challenges, but I felt it needed a heavier does of drama.
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    No, it doesn't have the deeper character and plot subtleties of the book, but I felt the movie visuals make it darker and more disturbing. Brilliant acting by unknowns (from English-speaking movieworld point-of-view) make characters very real. A few pieces left out from the book, but altogether a wonderful adaption. As a big fan of The Millenium Series, Salandar and Blomkvist, I'm looking forward to the next two Swedish produced installments, but a little anxious about the Hollywood version coming in 2011.
    My Sister's Keeper
    Interesting tale with some wonderful acting. Lots of tears, but worth it.
    Shutter Island
    Really quite scary (if you have a thing about being institutionalized like me). Well put together and good dark acting all around.
    Sherlock Holmes
    I liked the recreation of olde London and bringing to life the mysterious Holmes, but the whole package/plot didn't really work for me.
    The Men Who Stare at Goats
    Very odd, but off-beat comedy some how works. Clooney's approach to comedy fits with zany Bridges, naivety of McGregor and baddy Spacey. Entertaining but not for everyone. I had a smile on my face for most of the movie.
    Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
    A difficult, intense and emotional story superbly acted. Deserving of all the accolades.
    Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel
    I love time travel movies. This one's is a little silly (think Brit pub humour a la Shaun of the Dead meets Bill and Ted's), but the time travel concepts are still pretty thought provoking. Loved it.
    The Ghost Writer
    Unusual mood that on reflection is signature Polanski. In the extras, he talks about Hitchcock and he does justice with the master's genre. I was a little distracted by MeGregor's humour and some curious character traits and I was too glued to the plot to enjoy the lovely movie making. Probably need to watch it again when it comes around on TMN. Keeper.
    The Time Traveler's Wife
    Not as in depth or as well put together as the book, (but don't we always say that), but more linear. It started a little thin, but got better as the complexity of time travel unraveled around human relationships.

    Did You Hear About the Morgans?
    Call me a hopeless romantic, I liked it. But then I'm a fan of Parker and Grant feels kinda familiar.
    2012 (2009)
    If you're a fan of disaster movies, you'll probably like this one. I liked the grand fx and Harrelson's bit was pretty funny. Corny throughout, but I thought it was entertaining.
    It Might Get Loud
    Must see for any guitarist or a fan of it - amazing bits from Page; great chemistry between Page and White, The Edge not so much.
    Law Abiding Citizen
    Very surprising; very intense. Suspect plot details, but I thought it was pretty entertaining.
    Marley & Me
    Marley & Me (2008)
    Iffy start, but as Marley gets older and story gets a little more serious it gets better (but perhaps only for us dog owners). Tearjerker for any dog owner or dog lover.
    Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
    Silly and fun, I liked the geeky play dialog.
    Moon (2009)
    Kept me awake...just. Didn't do a lot for me.
    Zombieland (2009)
    Samo plot lines, but well cast, likable characters make it worth it. Lots of zombie killing fun with typical campy madman Harrelson tainted with quirky Eisenberg role with his zombie rules. Worth staying up late for.
    The Hangover
    The Hangover (2009)
    lived up to the hype - outrageous laugh out loud story telling; awkward bits; spot on casting - loved it
    Toronto Stories
    Maybe because it's set in Toronto, but I thought it was quite good, well acted, quirky - nice how they made Cabbagetown so creepy.
    Star Trek
    Star Trek (2009)
    Perfect for my Saturday night sci-fi geek appetite. I'm not much of a trekkie, but had enough of the basics stored away in deep RAM to enjoy the references. I liked the plot and tech fx were good.
    One Week
    One Week (2008)
    About as Canadian as it gets. Nice iconic trans-Canada shots, decent story, well acted and solid soundtrack.
    The Hurt Locker
    Intense and quite disturbing. Not exactly what I expected, but well worth the time. Quality acting, well made, but the plot was a little off for me.
    Evan Almighty
    Evan Almighty (2007)
    Very funny, thanks mostly to Carell, including some great physical comedy.
    Furry Vengeance
    Silly, not really funny at all. Brooke Shields was the only class act, the animals weren't even cute.
    Revolutionary Road
    Wow. Serious dose of heavy drama. Superb acting - Burton and Taylor couldn't have done it better, Michael Shannon was dynamite (or more ways than one). Brilliant writing provides so much content for an after show drink (or two) - just check out the the depth and angles of analysis in IMDB's comments (good and bad) !
    Four Christmases
    Only saw bits and pieces, but some classic Vaughn dialog and the scene with Favreau was superb- worth recording just to see that bit again.
    Orphan (2009)
    Chucky meets Damien with sweet female touch, predictable plot, but...good scare.
    Julie & Julia
    Julie & Julia (2009)
    I didn't know too much about Julia Child, except her ridiculous voice until this movie. Streep amazingly made Child adorable and funny and her story interestingly watchable. Adams' part in the parallel true story was likable, but the adaption rather cliche. Add in the fine food element and some wonderful classic French settings, makes for an entertaining night out.
    State of Play
    State of Play (2009)
    First grown-up movie I've seen in a while - 2 nighter though ! Good suspense with twisty political-newspaper story. A few loose bits, but solid acting make for solid entertainment.
    Alice in Wonderland
    Some fun casting, incl. Matt Lucas; Hathaway had some real funny bits and Bonham-Carter was brilliant. Creative Burtonesque sfx. Solid retelling of a classic.
    Monsters vs. Aliens
    Some really funny -in-joke bits, great voice casting and, spot-on animation.
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid
    Some good laughs, but perhaps a little too close to my younger years.
    The Proposal
    The Proposal (2009)
    I really liked the chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds; but I guess I like Bullock's physical comedy more than I thought. Really enjoyed it.
    Fun, fast talking, frolic with some very serious moments. Well written and fab performance from Sally Hawkins (Oscar nominated).
    Up in the Air
    Up in the Air (2009)
    Top notch acting - very personal performance by Clooney; very sexy from a lady named Vera and conversation starting storyline. Lovely juxtaposed elements and a feeling of soft other world nostalgia. Loved it.
    Coraline (2009)
    Wonderful creativity.
    Up (2009)
    Interesting story and wonderful animation.
    Avatar (2009)
    lived up to the hype - wonderful saturated colour, creative design, tech & cgi; topical themes; ok plot; but soundtrack too Titanic
    Surrogates (2009)
    Great concept, pretty well executed, time for consideration between action scenes.
    Tropic Thunder
    Funnier as it went on. Downey and Cruise were simply brilliant, they made the movie. Much better than I expected.
    Inglourious Basterds
    Classic Taratino, wonderful dialog, brilliant acting, twisted plot, beautiful cinematography and he even squeezed in some fantastic tracks. Dare I say, nouveau Shakespearean.
    District 9
    District 9 (2009)
    Superb filmmaking, creative plot, top notch acting from Sharlto Copley and all on a modest budget.
    The Spy Next Door
    Family fun times with martial arts, knives and horrible fake Russian accents, and some genuine nice moments and acting. I liked the line about family being more than blood relatives - it's those you love and those who love you - sappy I know, but I'm a softy at heart.
    Watchmen (2009)
    Definitely comic book feel, interesting plot (and I probably need to see it again to appreciate it all), but I think it was lacking perhaps a more super, superhero.
    Disney's A Christmas Carol
    Terrific animation and "acting" by Carrey - pretty scary stuff seemed to overpower the message.
    Quantum of Solace
    Great action, scenery and sets as usual, but plot was a little thick and I missed the Bond humour.
    The Visitor
    The Visitor (2008)
    Yes it's a little slow and depressing, but the acting is superb, the sub-stories inspiring and the music gives this gem its beat.
    The Tale of Despereaux
    Nice family friendly story (except the nasty rats), great voices and animation. And cute too.
    Hellraiser (1987)
    Pretty disappointed actually. I had seen this many years ago and thought it was pretty horrifying and shocking at the time. Really pretty tame today. Villains are still pretty cool and there is at least a story behind the horror.
    The Uninvited
    The Uninvited (2009)
    Well made classic horror-mystery worth seeing , nice cinematography and sets. Good scare.
    Quarantine (2008)
    Kind of lost the plot with non-disturbing-puppy-volume and the 4-night-viewing, but I don't think there was much of one. Handheld camera work adds to chaos and headache. Lots of screaming, but 3/5 for upgraded nasties that move faster than zombies.
    Nothing But the Truth
    An unsettling view of government power over free media, solid acting from all, but standout from Kate and Matt.
    Seven Pounds
    Seven Pounds (2008)
    very slow, but well done in a don't-need-to-spell-it-all-out kinda way, subtle dilemnas crate big questions, chick tears
    Transporter 3
    Transporter 3 (2008)
    All the man fun stuff you'd expect, fast cars, big fights, femme fatale, silly stunts plus cool locales - just perfect romp and roll.
    Valkyrie (2008)
    Fascinating true tale, but I thought the casting was a little odd - I had trouble taking Nighy and Izzard that serious ! Not really gripping, but interesting.
    The Reader
    The Reader (2008)
    If you can get over the teenage affair with an older woman thing, then this is a fantasic movie. Wonderful, rich, beautiful, dare I say, important film; thoughts on twists of human nature may need a blog.
    The Wrestler
    The Wrestler (2008)
    Can I call this movie beautiful ? that's what word comes to mind first in trying to describe it. Rourke was incredible and I thought the way the movie was shot gave it such a personal feel. A fascinating view of the world of professional wrestling - with the expected play acting, but also the true physical demands and dangers of the wrestler. A subtle, yet powerful story of a classic tragic hero. Brilliant.

    Pan's Labyrinth

    Just noticed a never wrote any was many years ago since I saw it but some of the scenes and characters still stick with me - great plot, acting and all the bits that make this fantasy wonderfully vivid.

    I Love You, Man
    The Rudd-Segel team are just brilliant when it comes to delivering some very funny material. Great casting and lots of Rush make it.

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