Month: November 2012

Inception

Year: 2010
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Written By: Christopher Nolan

RYAN’S REVIEW

When this movie hit theaters back in 2010 Amber and I were front and center, eagerly waiting to see it.  I distinctly remember sitting there thinking about how I really had no idea what this movie was actually about.  The advertisement was specifically vague and didn’t offer much insight into the plot.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what it was about though.  It was the new Christopher Nolan movie and it was going to be awesome.  With Nolan, the fact that it is going to be awesome is practically guaranteed. Needless to say, the movie was awesome and I went on to see it in the theater three times overall. That’s a steep number by today’s standards but it says something about how incredible the film is.

This movie hits on all levels.  It’s made by one of the best in the business; it has an outstanding cast, and a story that is truly original in a time when original ideas aren’t hitting the big screen. This movie came out when 3D ruled more than any other time.  For this movie to be so visually dazzling without that effect says more than can be put into words about the director.  Christopher Nolan has been on the rise for some time and this was to date the best he has done. As for the 3D effect I will say this, it was badass when James Cameron did it but everything else has been only a waste of time.  Nolan is a director smart enough to know that and he specifically doesn’t use it in his film.  Clearly, he doesn’t have to. In this movie he made something that can’t be matched, and the scenes without gravity are truly incredible.  Nolan also has an interesting ability to convey violence without actually showing it.  This ability allows him to get the PG-13 rating coveted by studios because of the extra money it brings in.  If I remember correctly this movie was an idea Nolan created in his youth, and he waited for the technology to be available to film it.  I was ill when I first heard about this movie because I was impatiently anticipating the next Batman movie and the making of this would only delay it.  When I saw the movie I didn’t mind but it only made me anticipate Nolan’s next film more.  Too much in fact because I was really disappointed with The Dark Knight RisesMy disappointment over Nolan’s final Batman notwithstanding I still believe in him and I will be excited about any film he is involved with.

The cast of this film is jam-packed with talent. It begins with the lead role of Cobb.  In which Nolan chose to cast the best in the business.  Leonardo DiCaprio in my opinion is the cream of the crop, greatest actor of his era hands down.  His track record speaks for itself and how he has managed to not win numerous awards is beyond me.  The Academy doesn’t like him for some reason but that doesn’t change the fact that he is the best there is. He has worked with nearly every important director out there and he has been in some of the best movies I have ever seen.  I think he is a bit out shined in this movie by some of the others but if anything it’s only because being great comes so natural to this guy. DiCaprio performs his part so deftly it’s easy to take his talent for granted. DiCaprio may be the best in the business but in this film Joseph Gordon-Levitt outperformed him.  I have watched Gordon-Levitt since his days on Third Rock from the Sun and I am thoroughly impressed with how his career has blossomed.  He owns it in this movie and deserves to be remembered forever for the performance. This was the first movie I had seen Tom Hardy in but he left an impression as well.  I am a big fan of Ken Watanabe and obviously Christopher Nolan is too because he casts him often.  Nolan likes Cillian Murphy as well and I think that’s cool because the guy fits into all his movies perfectly. I always liked Tom Berenger and really liked seeing him in a significant role in a new movie. This was one of the last movies Pete Postlethwaite appeared in before his death, he was a significant loss as he has been part of many good movies.   Last but not least, although his role was small Michael Caine still managed to bring plenty to the film.  Nolan has cast him in every movie he has made over the last several years and for good reason.

The female leads were just as good as the male.  I had never heard of Marion Cotillard before seeing this movie but I am aware she has had a long career in foreign film.  I think she was terrific in this movie. She has a look that can turn you cold and her character is wildly unpredictable. I was also unfamiliar with Ellen Page but I think she brought a lot to the film too. She infuses the cast with youth and fits the part of the college student well. Most people know her from the film Juno, but that it still sitting on my “to-watch list” and has been for some time.

The biggest thing that makes this movie great is that it’s a movie unlike any you have ever seen before.  It has a wildly imaginative story that is truly original in an era where most of what is hitting theaters are remakes and continuations of outdated franchises.  I think this movie proves there is still a place in the industry for original ideas, whether they confuse half of the viewers or not. This movie did seem to confuse a lot of people but I don’t know why.  It may be a bit much for the close minded viewer but I didn’t have any problem at all following it.  In the end when the Cobb’s top keeps spinning I think that it suggests that he is in fact still in limbo.  The fact that he walks away before seeing it fall simply means that he no longer cares if he is or isn’t in reality anymore.  He would rather see his kids again regardless what it means.  Cobb may have never come back to reality but it was possibly still a happy ending for him despite that.

This movie was very successful when it came out two years ago and for a while became the thing everybody talked about.  If you managed to miss it then it is more than worth your time to try to see it now.  With an excellent cast, one of the best directors out there, and a story that thinks outside of the box it is definitely a must see.  I really enjoyed it and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this one. It reminds me a lot of my favorite movie of all time, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I like the intricacies of this film. It is so in depth and if you aren’t paying attention to every minute, it is easy to get lost. This movie was made for movie lovers. The ones that watch and take everything in. The ones that are judging every scene, every sentence, everything. This movie is unexplainable; all that is explainable is that it is worth watching. Period.

This is one of my favorite ones to write about. I really like this poster. The world is turned up on itself, which is pretty much what happens when you dream. The laws of physics do not apply. I like the allusion to this in this poster. The font choice is bold and red is a perfect color. Once you have seen it, or even if you have seen this trailer, you can almost hear the “BOOOOOONNNNNNGGGG” sound when you look at the title. The only thing I think is unfortunate about this one is that the cast is standing in the street like that. I understand that they were trying to give as much billing to the characters as possible, but they have them standing around in the street and it looks like a Christian Rock group’s cover photo. Just my opinion, of course…but I don’t like it. It’s campy. Otherwise, this is a beautifully done poster.

NEXT MOVIE: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Red Dawn

Year: 1984
Directed By: John Milius
Written By: Kevin Reynolds and John Milius

RYAN’S REVIEW

The remake of this movie is only days away from release and I felt compelled to watch the original before it is forever tainted by an undoubtedly awful rendition.  I have always thought this was a really cool movie and I have been incredibly angry at the idea of it being remade.  This movie was a good idea but still a far fetched plot even as the Cold War was still going on.  To make a new version now just seems asinine and I will not be wasting my time with it.  An idea like this was the kind of thing you could only get away with in the 80s.  Today it is just a lazy attempt to make money by the studio.  The remake has actually spent some time on the shelf and the studio wasn’t sure what to do with it.  Perhaps this is because it makes no sense; there is no global scale war going on currently and no dangerous enemy out there hellbent on taking over the world. I implore anybody that reads this post to not waste your time on the remake.  Watch this movie because it is in fact worth your time.

This movie may be a bit silly in its premise, but it is nevertheless about an actual real conflict.  That is more than can be said about whatever is hitting theater this Thanksgiving.  I think that this movie is historically significant despite its unrealistic nature.  It is a wild scenario that many people seriously feared throughout the Cold War. I don’t know what the hell the new Red Dawn is about but I know it is about nothing real or anything that actually matters.  This movie was a period piece that has no place in the twenty first century. In this movie we see young men having to face the realities of the world through violence, in an honest fashion.  This movie is powerful and important.  It was a travesty to even consider remaking it and I cannot believe that any studio out there is so desperate for ideas that they actually did it. Not only did they do it but they are banking on it as a holiday release and pushing it really hard with advertising.

This movie had a really superstar cast of up and comers from the 80s class.  Patrick Swayze in one of his finer roles plays the leader of the rebel Wolverines.  Charlie Sheen, in one of his tamest roles plays the dependable and loyal brother to Swayze. C. Thomas Howell probably plays his best part of any that he ever played. I love how ruthless and reckless his character becomes as the movie progresses.  Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson were both very hot chicks that got gritty and grimy to play the badass girls of the Wolverines. I am a fan of Powers Boothe and liked what he brought to the film as the actual soldier who mentors the fledgling rebels. I also really liked the guy that played the Cuban Commander and how he began to struggle with his position in the conflict.  He becomes disheartened with himself as he realizes he has become the foe he used to face in the field himself. I like that they all fight to the last man and martyr themselves in battle.  I like that they win the battle but the war clearly goes on without them as the movie closes. I think these things add to the realistic nature of the unrealistic circumstances the characters find themselves in.

What I think made this movie really memorable is that it had balls, it was a ballsy story and it wasn’t afraid to kill off all of its stars one by one.  I can’t see this rehashed Hemsworth crap being anything more than a campy wanna-be movie. I like Chris Hemsworth, he was awesome as Thor, but I don’t like him enough to give this new movie a shot.  It’s just such a stupid idea that I can’t stand it.  I keep seeing this preview where Hemsworth says something like “This is just a place to them, but this is our home.” Well there are serveral reasons that is a stupid thing to say. First of all this the United States of F—ing America, it’s not just a place to anyone.  Secondly, there is no army currently threatening the world with war, no powerful nation anywhere capable of invading the United States.  Third reason is the the tacky tone added to the line that’s meant to inspire patriotism but just comes off as lame.  I implore you people to not waste your time this holiday with this madness.  It’s asinine, and this studio thinks you are stupid, they are practically stealing your money from you if you pay to see it.  I’m not sure which studio is responsible for this remake but they are literally banking on the idea that the audience is stupid, that we don’t crave something new and creative.  They looked at each other in some room and said “this movie may not be relevant anymore and the plot might no longer apply to the times but let’s make it again anyway and see if these idiots will pay for it again.” Don’t be that idiot and don’t waste your time with it.

Of course I will not be seeing the movie and if I am utterly and hopelessly wrong then feel free to comment and give me a piece of your mind.  If you have an itch to watch Red Dawn this holiday though I suggest you find a copy of the original and forget about what is hitting theaters. The 1984 version of this movie was awesome and I would recommend it to anyone.  This movie is definitely worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

 I actually don’t mind this poster at all. It is intriguing, and that is ultimately the main goal of a poster. I like the color of the sky and the movement of the ovals in the background. Although I am not in love with the typography of the title, I think they were trying really hard so I will at least give them that.

Overall, not a bad poster. It could totally be worse.

In Bruges

Year: 2008
Directed By: Martin McDonagh
Written By: Martin McDonagh

RYAN’S REVIEW

I can’t even remember what prompted us to watch this movie at first. When we did watch it for the first time we had to have the subtitles on just to know what the characters were talking about.  This movie sports heavy English accents that confuse our Southern ears.  When we finally figured out what these guys were saying we couldn’t stop laughing at the irony of it all. This isn’t a movie I find myself recommending or passing along to others but it is one I have always loved.  I distinctly remember seeing some random guy in a Best Buy buying this movie once and giving the guy a high five.  I pointed to the DVD and asked if he had seen it, he said yes and that it was awesome, I concurred with the regular masculine action of congratulations, the high five. I am part of the small group of people that loves black comedy it seems, but obviously there are more of us out there.

I don’t like Colin Farrell or Brendan Gleeson but in this movie they fit just right.  That’s not true actually because they both fit into many movies nicely. Farrell is great in Minority Report and Gleeson is great in many movies such as Braveheart and Gangs of New YorkThey are both great actors I have just never been a fan of. Farrell at least has arguably been a good actor but I would argue against on that one. Since seeing his portrayal of Alexander the Great in Oliver Stone‘s miserable biopic I have despised Farrell, who was an awful choice for the role to begin with. I can’t say what it is about Gleeson I have never liked but I can’t take anything away from him as far as talent goes.  He is a great actor who fits into many roles really well.  Ralph Fiennes is really funny as the top mob boss who is dangerous yet dramatic at the same time.

This movie isn’t for everyone, but I think it is worth your time to see whether it’s one you will like or not. I encourage you to watch it with subtitles because it can be difficult to understand the heavy accents but once the language barrier is taken care of anybody can see how good it is.  This is a dark comedy and I have a special place in my heart for those but they do not appeal to everyone.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Thank goodness for subtitles and closed captioning, otherwise I wouldn’t even know what this movie was about. But, we did watch it in subtitles, and this was a really twistedly funny movie. It’s a strange kind of funny. It’s definitely worth the watch.

 Now that I see the poster, I think it perfectly depicts my explanation above. “Twistedly Funny.” It looks random, and makes you question the movie. That’s what all movie posters should do. Marketing 101: “What the hell is this movie about?” Everyone who sees it should ask that, and the poster should only ask the question, never give it away. I think this poster does that. I even like the color choice. It’s a little blue overall (twisted part) and then there is a random ice cream color of pink and they pick this back up in the typography of the title (funny part). I do love a nice grid structure when it comes to typography and they do a great job of it. The tagline lines up with the “U” in Bruges. I love it.

NEXT MOVIE: Inception (2011)

The Walking Dead Season 3

This season really has been nothing short of incredible and last night’s episode was specifically riveting.  The action has been none stop in this season and I am loving that.  It’s exactly how the show should be and it keeps the viewer preoccupied during the show so the shockers hit even harder at the end.  Last night offered a big shocker at the end and it was some of the best acting I have seen from the cast. It was a very emotional shocker and I was thoroughly impressed with the performances of Andrew Lincoln and Chandler Riggs. Personally I will not miss Lori and her drama but her death was not at all what I expected.  The show is beginning to branch away from the comic even more now and that is necessary to keep fans of the comic interested and surprised.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS

In the comic Lori and her child are murdered by the Governor during the assault on the prison.  Obviously that is not what will happen now but I will be surprised if the baby survives the season.  The comic mostly centers around Rick whereas the show has centered around the group as a whole.  I think we will begin to see that change now as the group is progressively shrinking.  In the comic Rick and some of his friends are held prisoner by the Governor at Woodbury and during that time he loses a hand.  I think that is definitely coming in the show too as it seems obvious to me that Merle will take Rick’s hand in retribution for his own.  As for everything else your guess is as good as mine.  If the comic is followed we may see nearly all members of the group perish but that is not for sure.  The show has already deviated greatly from the comic and there is just no telling what they have up their sleeves.

LORI’S BABY

According to the comic it is strongly implied that the baby is Shane’s. The show does this as well with Lori falling to pieces over Shane’s death and the distance we see between Rick and Lori in the beginning of this season.  This is probably the most we will get out of it and don’t expect the true father of the baby to ever be officially revealed.  There is no way for the group to actually find out and I doubt they would even try if they could.  The most we might get is someone making a comment that the baby has Shane’s eyes or something like that, but I think that would be a stupid thing to do.  Now that Lori has died and the baby has lived there is no telling what will happen but they baby does die in the comic, and chances are it won’t make it long on the show either.  It’s a dangerous world out there and there isn’t much place for a baby that cries and needs constant care.  It will be fine while they are safely secured in the prison but that won’t last long.

Old Boy

I have a friend that made me watch this movie about five years ago and it left an impression. I have been keeping an eye on the development of an American version for years now with casual interest.  Now that the new version is in production and being filmed I thought I would revisit the original film.  I could remember little after all the time that had passed but I remembered enough to know that it was a crazy movie.  Watching it with a more attentive eye this time I found the movie to be riveting, shocking, and incredible.

This movie has a story that immediately draws the viewer in and keeps them interested all throughout.  It delivers such a shocking and unexpected ending that you can’t help but spend days thinking about it.  In between there is plenty of mystery and action.  There is one fight scene specifically that might be one of the best I have ever seen.  Dae-su is such a fascinating character because he is hardly even human after fifteen years of isolation.  He is dangerous because he has nothing to lose and he is deadly when someone stands in his way.  All throughout the film there is not even a hint of who is actually behind everything so there is no way to see the ending coming.  I can’t stress enough how insane the ending is either.  With no notion of what is to come it leaves much more impact than the typical mystery that a clever viewer can see coming.  The movie is good enough before the ending to make it worth watching, but the ending makes it a must see.  A must see movie that you will always remember.

As for the American version being made of this film I really have no idea what to expect.  I seriously cannot imagine an American version that matches the ferocity and insanity of the original.  When I saw the original for the first time I remember thinking that on the other side of the world they were much more graphic with their film making. I expect the new version to be tamer than the original but I hope to be wrong about that.  The new version is being made by Spike Lee and will star Josh Brolin in the leading role.  I don’t know that Brolin was the best choice but I will give him a chance.  Samuel L. Jackson is also playing a part and he manages to make every movie he is part of better.  I can’t remember the exact release date for the remake but I know it will be hitting theaters sometime in 2013.  Keep an eye out for it, but before you do see this one.  This is a movie you will never forget.

Community Season 4

Good news for all Community fans out there, the show now has an air date.  It’s a bit of a bummer that it won’t be coming on for a while but the good news is that it will be back in its old Thursday night time slot.  Airing the show on Thursday is a good thing given the studio was planning to air it on Fridays.  Friday night shows are the shows the studio has given up on though and it seemed to be a strong signal the show would soon be no more.  This is really good news for fans and I look forward to its return.  The studio announced earlier this week that the show will be returning to the air on February 7th so set your DVRs, countdown the days, and just exercise a little more patience.  I don’t know what the show will be like in the absence of fired showrunner Dan Harmon but I am confident that the cast will be enough to keep the show going.  Community is without doubt my favorite comedy on television and I want it to stick around for a long time.  Its out of the box style might be too much for some but it is perfect and like nothing else as far as I’m concerned.  If you have never seen the show it is worth checking out, especially for big time movie fans like myself.