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Posts Tagged ‘movie review’

REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises

July 20, 2012 1 comment
Tom Hardy and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Returns

They both talk.
You can’t understand either of them.

I have crafted the perfect sentence to describe The Dark Knight Returns. Here, read this: The Dark Knight Returns is a worthy and satisfying end to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga, a reimagining of the beloved hero Batman as a dark, tortured avenger in a bleak, cynical world. That sentence is absolutely perfect. I’ve been saying it for 22 hours now, and everyone I’ve said it to has immediately said, “Oh. That makes sense. I guess I’ll go see it!” What I’m not mentioning when I say that The Dark Knight Returns is the worthy and satisfying end to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga is that I hated every second of it from the opening gambit to closing “twist”. I was bored out of my skull from beginning to end as I watched characters new and old alike run through the motions of closing this series out.

Every single scene in this movie feels like it’s specially crafted from beginning to end. Not in a good way. It feels like all the individuality, personality and anything that might be cool or fun or different has been sanded down like an edge on a sphere. It opens with Bane robbing a plane. He’s robbing the plane of the scientist that’s on it. That would be pretty cool if you didn’t see it coming from having watched The Dark Knight that one of the masked men in the criminal’s crew is Bane himself. This was the first time of many that I found myself muttering to myself, “I get it.” Read more…

REVIEW: The Hunger Games

March 24, 2012 1 comment
Jennifer Lawrence onset for The Hunger Games

May the camera be ever in your face.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I can review The Hunger Games. I mean, I saw it last night among friends and a packed theater on a pretty big screen with fairly astounding sound. I watched a movie I thoroughly enjoyed and would have no problem recommending to everyone I know. The Hunger Games is a really good dystopian science fiction action adventure for the whole family that, if incredibly profitable, will lead to at least two more movies adapted from the popular Panem Trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins. It’s a great movie and is well worth the ticket price to see if you can. But it has one problem that I hope somebody else is mentioning. Cos every reviewer on earth is going to talk about all the great things about this movie–and there are a lot of great things.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, a coal-miner’s daughter from District 12 of Panem. The world has ended in a nuclear holocaust and now all that is left is the nation of Panem, divided into 12 districts. They go from 1 to 12, richest to poorest, most populous to least. In order to maintain oppressive power, the Capitol forces each of the 12 districts to offer up two Tributes–a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, inclusive. These Tributes fight to the death on live TV throughout the entire nation in an annual contest called Survivor. … I’m kidding, it’s called the Hunger Games. When Katniss volunteers to save her 12 year old sister from being sent to her certain death, she’s sent to the 74th annual Hunger Games alongside Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), a boy she is loath to kill because he saved her life and she’s yet to thank him for it. Read more…

REVIEW: Silent House

March 23, 2012 Leave a comment
Elizabeth Olsen in Silent House

Spoiler alert: the only good actors all have only x-chromosomes.

I’m gonna be honest straight off the top here: I’ve never seen Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. Being even more honest, I expect the kind of people who obsessively cruise film blogs to understand what I mean there and why I’m saying it now, but I don’t expect that of people I actually want to write for–so I’ll explain myself. Rope is a film that takes place in real time over 80 minutes as actions unfold and suspense builds and everything gets worse. At least, I assume all that last stuff after the word “minutes”. The point is, it’s shot, cut and projected in such a way as to give the illusion of being a single 80 minute reel of film unfolding before your eyes. Silent House, from the couple who brought you Open Water, is also shot and cut to present the illusion of being one uninterrupted take. It’s also being marketed with the gimmick of being the 88-minute, one take horror movie. Don’t tell anyone else, okay? It’ll be our little secret.

Elizabeth “sister-to-the-twins” “Martha-May-Marcy-Marlene” Olsen is a young woman by the name of Sara, who is living with her father at her family’s old lake house, finishing up emptying the place out and packing everything into boxes before they sell it. She, her father and her uncle are all carrying around lanterns because the house has no power. After a visit from a girlhood friend, freaky things start happening in the house. Polaroids are left out, with both father and uncle quickly hiding them; she finds a red tin box she can’t open; there are lots of lingering shots on Things That Will Be Important Later. For a one-take movie, it sure has a lot of shots. And the house has a lot of doors that can’t or shouldn’t be opened (that will be). And while the film is getting warmed up, it’s nice to pretend it’s just a thriller, instead of a profoundly dark movie that still has me looking over my shoulders. Read more…

REVIEW: A Dangerous Method

January 24, 2012 1 comment
Keira Knightley in A Dangerous Method

She gets spanked by Magneto. Not as hot as it sounds.

In my review, kinda, of Beastly, I said there was a movie coming out this year that I couldn’t wait to see called Antiviral, as directed by a first-timer called Brandon Cronenberg. I also said that Brandon Cronenberg was the son of Canadian director David Cronenberg, who–when he was younger–had cinematic balls the size of boulders. All I have to tell you about the risks this man took is the image of James Woods pushing a betamax tape into his chest-vagina in Videodrome. This was a man who did not care less about being polite or conservative or conventional. And as Tarantino doesn’t want to happen to him, around middle age, Cronenberg the elder started reining all of that in. Either because he discovered maturity or had a family or just wanted to start being recognized for all of the courage he’d had earlier, his movies started being more about families dealing with true-to-life horrors than about Jeff Goldblum turning into a half-fly/half-human horror. He also started casting Viggo Mortensen in everything, but I think that was coincidental and a product of a good working relationship.

And so, in the Oscarbaiting twilight of his career, we have A Dangerous Method, the second movie this year wherein Michael Fassbender is compelled to have deviant sex. Only this time, instead of being a twenty-first century young man, he’s Carl Jung, the psychologist responsible for pretty much all of modern theory (statement not intended to be factual). One of his patients, later friend/mistress and fellow frontal lobe pioneer is Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley), a woman who–as a child–was sexually excited by her father’s beatings and the feelings of shame they aroused. To deal with this patient, Jung applies Freud’s theory of talk therapy. Of course, to make sure he’s doing it right, he writes to Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) personally, having him weigh in on all of his problems and discussing the issues in the field of psychology for hours on end. Read more…

REVIEW: Carnage

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment
Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet in Carnage (2011)

This seems to be the agreed-upon snapshot.

Carnage was the first of two movies I saw at the most unwelcoming theater I’ve ever encountered yesterday. (Today, for the date that this is assigned.) I’ve been dying to see Carnage ever since I found out the cast, concept and the fact that it opened on a grand total of five screens last December to qualify for Oscars. It’s a four-hand screenplay based on the play The God of Carnage, as performed by Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly; directed by controversial figure (to say the least) Roman Polanski. It’s also my first feature-length outing with Roman Polanski (aside from one ill-advised encounter with Macbeth in high school), and I can safely say that this is, without a doubt, a movie.

It’s there. It’s a movie. It’s a good movie, to be sure, but around this time of year, all the same movies start coming out. They’re the movies that all look and feel like they were made to win awards, and in most cases, they were. I’m not saying Carnage is a bad movie or a dishonest movie or any less worthy as a movie for being made as “an important movie that deserves awards”. The end result is actually quite good. It’s just that it rings a little hollow. Like a play being performed on screen for an audience of critics. But, I owe you the rest of my impressions with this movie, and that starts off with two boys, a park, and a stick. Read more…

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast 3D

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment
Belle and the Beast in Beauty and the Beast

That ballroom looked better in '91.

It was around the 3D re-release of The Lion King‘s stellar box office run that someone said it was a sad, sad day at the movies. If Disney didn’t even have to bother putting work into making a new property, but could instead just put an old one out with a new coat of three dimensionality on it and reap cash, actual new movies that are good won’t get numbers at the box office. Disney will stop making good features. Actual movies will get squeezed out of the box office in favour of some old four-star movies trotted out again for all to see. And for some reason that I can’t fathom in hindsight (maybe I’m judging by the wrong movie, who knows), people thought ticket sales for The Lion King were cutting into Drive‘s first week. And yeah, new movies like Drive or Contagion being bumped off the top spot by Lion King is almost certainly a pisser, but were those tickets really being sold to the same audience?

In any case, I just got home from the 3D re-release of Beauty and the Beast and that’s what I’ve been thinking about this entire time. Is it really a sad day at the movies when good family films are back in theaters with a new coat of paint? Sure, it’s a lot less work than making a new feature film of equal quality from the ground up. Sure, it’s pretty much every criticism you could throw at it. But in a modern world less and less concerned with preserving our history, more and more caught up in blindly imitating it to make money, shouldn’t it be a welcome vacation to get a Best Picture nominee back on the big screen, no matter how it’s being released there? These are the days when the true family film, entertaining for all members, is disappearing entirely. To get a movie this beautiful, timeless and magnificent re-released is wholly welcome in my books. And especially when the end product looks as luscious and gorgeous as it does. Read more…

REVIEW: Beastly

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens in Beastly

There was also this part where he nearly became a masked vigilante who hunted in the night, yet alas...

That title should really say REVIEW, SORTA: Beastly, but we’ll leave that be for the moment. It’s apparently Friday the 13th, and I don’t know if it’s the first Frirf the Thirith I’ve written on, but a new year is a great excuse for new traditions. New tradition: every Friday the 13th, I see a movie I wouldn’t watch otherwise. For instance, 2010’s live action Disneyfied update of the Beauty and the Beast tale, Beastly, starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer as the title roles, respectively. But reversed. She’s the beauty. He’s the–you get what I’m saying. So we all know the gist–superficial golden boy is cursed by a hag of a witch until he convinces someone else that there is value in him beside his looks. But how is Beastly, the determinedly inoffensive reimagining, any different? How is it unique? What does it do that’s special?

Well, very little. There is pretty much … very, very little to recommend this movie. It’s sappy, it’s overwrought and underperformed, the makeup effects are treated in dialogue like they’re from John Carpenter’s The Thing but look more like something from one of the tamer Die Antwoord videos. So not “Evil Boy”, is what I’m saying. Like, from–from “Wat Pomp”. It looks like the mask from “Wat Pomp”. It’s about as scary as a wood mask on a normal person, but everybody keeps treating it as a reason to be banished. In the final scene where Kyle (Pettyfer) has triumphantly re-entered the school to declare his love for Lindy (Hudgens), girls are shocked and near puking. And all I could think was “please–half of those girls are so turned on by the well-defined bone structure of a dude with neck tattoos and face-metal all over the place”. Read more…