Archive for April, 2012

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Daredevil has always been of my favorite super Herod and I found myself disappointed with how the story got “Affleck-ed.” So the idea of a remake is sweet! Thoughts?

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Random Movie of the Week: Look

(I do not own this photo)

I am going to start out by saying Look will either enthrall you or disgust you.  The idea of a film being shot entire by use of surveillance camera is creepy to say the least.  Now I am sure many of us have been to the mall, convenience store, gas station, or some other business that has surveillance cameras watching over you so that is what makes this movie feel so real.  Now this is not like some found footage film like Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield with the shaky camera work and the lack of coherency as to where the hell they are filming.

Look follows a wide range of characters (high school students, teachers, cubicle workers, lawyers, criminals, and more) that otherwise would have nothing to do with each other had it not been for the surveillance cameras at these everyday places.  Together the cameras tell a quite unusual series of events only possible in a movie.  I do not want to give away too much because you just have to see some of the content of the film unfold.  Here is the trailer:

As I said you will either be captivated by this movie or appalled by it.  It starts out very humorous but soon turns dark as the characters’ world quickly spirals out of control.  None of the characters are really likeable except the guys that work at the gas station, which is only two of the many people in this film.  None of the actors are well known, nor is the director/writer Adam Rifkin.  But they thing most interesting aspect of Look is that this sort of stuff happens.  It may not be common but the fact that the film puts all of this into one film makes it very difficult to turn away from.

I strongly recommend give Look a watch especially with friends.  Even if you do not like the movie, it is sure to be something you and your friends will discuss for a long time.  I score it a 8/10 because it did not completely disgust me and I wanted a little more from the ending.

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The Pirates! Band of Misfits: Great Family Fun

(I do not own this photo)

Peter Lord does it again with his latest full-length clay animation film, The Pirates!  Band of Misfits.  It provides the same level of laughs as Lord’s previous film such as Flushed Away, Wallace & Gromit collection, and Chicken Run.  It nice to see the clay animation still having a presence in film with all the advances in technology today that make films such as Shrek, Tangled, and The Lorax have that glazed computer look.

The film follows a goofy batch of pirates lead by The Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) that are viewed as a laughing stock by all of their pirating peers.  To prove themselves worthy, they venture out by boarding various vessels with no luck until they come across Charles Darwin’s boat who informs the crew that Pirate Captain’s parrot, Polly, is not a parrot at all but the last surviving Dodo.  Darwin and the Pirate crew then travel the London to showcase the rare pet and this is where Darwin’s devilish intentions are revealed.   Here is the trailer:

I had a sister that went to college for computer graphic design and one of the classes she had to take was clay animation.  Her final product was very brief and primitive by comparison to The Pirates!  Band of Misfits.  And this was after a whole semester of working on it so I could not even begin to imagine the level of focus and concentration necessary to create this film.  The details are incredible!  The sets were crafted to perfection and characters’ features were very defined.  The scenes were they’re walking along the pier, in the bar, on the boats were so detailed they might have spent days per inch and they looked so authentic.  One of the things the film glorified was the Pirate Captain’s beard and they should have!  Enough can’t be said about it.

The story was a fun and filled with silly laughs.  This is a family movie so the jokes are all very kid friendly but that does not make them any less humorous.  The banter between characters and play on words to the awkward situations they would find themselves in were great.  It is has a great flow that moves the story along nicely.  The voice acting was good, nothing sounded over acted which is good.  Interesting fact, the voice actor for one of the characters was changed to an American actor.  Not sure why, just was.

Overall, Peter Lord’s The Pirates!  Band of Misfits was a fun family adventure animation film.  I give it an 8/10.  It was a tad too silly at times for my liking.

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Safe: The Enemy of My Enemy Better Be Jason Statham

(I do not own this photo)

Jason Statham goes all out in his latest action packed movie, Safe.  If you like Statham’s other adrenaline pumping movie you will love this one.  As for those who criticize him for his lack of “acting” may be surprised by this one.

Last time I saw Statham on the big screen was for Killer Elite and I remember walking out incredibly disappointed.  At this point I had come to terms not to expect anything but action fun from Statham’s movies and I love them for that reason.  But Killer Elite even bothered me as being nothing special.  So I walked into Safe with moderate expectations and it blew me away.  If you have read my previous reviews you know I like comparing films that are similar, so I would have to say this combine elements of James Foley’s The Corruptor (rivaling gangs and corruption) and Harold Becker’s Mercury Rising (lone cop protecting adolescent with secret information).

Safe follows a former gun for hire, Luke Wright (Statham), living as a lone, homeless man following a run-in with the Russian mafia and is on the verge of suicide until he rescues a 12 year old Chinese girl, Mei (Catherine Chan), on the run from two feuding gangs because she holds the code they desperately need.  However, the code goes much deeper than just the rivaling Russian and Chinese gangs and into the corruption of New York City’s finest.  If what I have here does not make sense here is the trailer:

After the last couple Statham flicks I knew he was due for a good one.  Not only does he kick some serious bad-guy butt in Safe but he actually acts a little bit!  There is one scene of a flashback explaining Wright’s past with the Russian mafia that showcased some very impressive acting on the behalf of Statham, really cool to finally see it.  Catherine Chan was excellent as Mei, she played the perfect damsel in distress without being annoying or plain.  I don’t know where to begin with the villains.  There were so many!  James Hong as the Chinese gang leader was effective creepy and intimidating, Reggie Lee added unpredictability to his desperate character as Mei’s “father,” and Robert John Burke was just awesome as the corrupt Captain Wolf.

Safe definitely revived my faith that Jason Statham could still pick great action movies.  The complex story line and series of events made this a very fun ride for action audiences.  I give it a 8/10.

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The Raven: An Admiral Attempt of Bringing Poe to Life

The Raven staring John Cusack

(I do not own this picture)

Do you remember in high school reading those short stories or plays that were written in the code of old English and if you did not have the teacher there to help interpret you had no clue as to what was going on?  For me, that is how a lot of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories were.  They were so well written that each word summed up what other authors would spend pages trying to explain.  Now that I am a few years older since I first read some of those stories I have a new found appreciation for them especially after seeing The Raven today.

This mystery/thriller does the famous Poe stories justice.  The Raven takes place during the final days of Edgar Allan Poe’s life as he is losing credibility as a writer just in time for a serial killer to bring him back into the public eye by using Poe’s tales as a template for his murders.  Intertwine a love interest whose father cannot stand Poe and you got a Hollywood story.  Here is the trailer:

As my title states, it is an admirable attempt.  If I had to make a comparison it is a mesh of David Fincher’s Seven meets Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes.  The way the mystery killer rationalizes who he kills and how based on Poe’s stories is like how Seven’s mystery man killed people based on the seven deadly sins.  Then the costume and dialogue is similar to the old fashion banter of Sherlock Holmes.  The best scene of the whole movie was the costume ball held at the Hamilton’s mansion.  The costumes were so well done and it is a pivotal moment of the story.

The acting was pretty well done.  I was honestly impressed with John Cusack’s performance.  Of course in the beginning he has his usual character cracking smart-ass, snide remarks to demean those he dislikes but once the plot starts developing you can see a shift in his character and that is where his real acting kicks in.  Other acting highlights include Luke Evans who was effective as Detective Fields, Alice Eve who played a great love interest, and as always Brendan Gleeson played his role as the stubborn and pompous Captain Hamilton to perfection.

Overall, The Raven is an intriguing mystery and thriller that ties some of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic together inventively.  I score it at 7/10.  I just found the ending a little unsatisfying.

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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen: Theory vs. Faith

(Picture from Collider.com)

This romantic/comedy starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt revolves around the debate about theory versus faith when it comes to bringing fishing to an unfit area and love.  All be it predictable (because what romantic comedies aren’t?) Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a worthy addition to the genre.  It has great wit from several characters and well as some legitimate drama that really makes you feel what the characters are going through.

They story follows Dr Alfred Jones (McGregor) is a fishery expert who is in a fun/love starved marriage that has to take an assignment (or lose his job) when called upon by financial consultant Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Blunt) under hire of the Sheikh (Amr Waked) to bring salmon fishing to Yemen.  Yemen natives view this as an attempt at westernizing their country and are upset with the Sheikh.  Also, Harriet’s boyfriend goes MIA in Afghanistan believed to be dead, so the film’s stars are away from their loved ones both figuratively and literally.  While Jones comes to terms with the fact that his wife cares more about her job and his job rather than his needs as a person, he begins falling for Harriet and there lies the drama.  In case my synopsis was confusing here’s the trailer:

This movie has its share of laughs, romance, and drama thanks to some superb acting.  McGregor does puts on a good performance showing this narrow minded, strict man that wants to improve his boring life who has to abandon his trust in theories and develop faith in what they are trying to accomplish.  As Harriet, Blunt is great at showing the professional side of her character as well as the fun girl hidden underneath, who also needs there to be a change in her life.  Someone that other reviews have been failing to mention was Kristin Scott Thomas’ performance as the public relations manager for the Prime Minister of England, an uptight woman that knows what has to be done to improve the image of her boss.

Overall, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen has well timed comedic moments and banter between all the drama surrounding the situation.  But I felt there were more opportunities for comedy that may have made this a little more light-hearted instead of flat out depressing at times.  I give it a 7/10.  I am not much of a romantic comedy fan so that is pretty good in my book.

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Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, and Edward Norton in the same movie? Count me in

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