Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
It seems the past decade of comedy has been defined by the search for the perfect raunchy, bachelor flick. Hall Pass starring Owen Wilson and SNL alum Jason Sudeikis follows this trend with a somewhat different approach. The film begins with the depiction of two couples and their increasingly mundane love lives after several years of marriage. To combat this the wives, Christina Applegate (Anchorman) and Jenna Fischer (The Office), grant their significant others a hall pass, or in other words a one week window in which it is okay to have sex with other women. This is when the raunchiness and tasteless humor comes in to play. While this style of comedy can be quite funny as in Superbad and The 40 Year Old Virgin, it is poorly executed by directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly. There are occasional one liners that will make you chuckle, but nothing uproariously hilarious. The acting is just average as this is a somewhat typical film for both Wilson and Sudeikis, but Jenna Fischer plays a surprisingly unconvincing wife to Wilson. The low point for the film is easily the unnecessary full frontal male nudity. The story ends with a predictable and somewhat boring resolution as all is well at the conclusion of the film. Bottomline: Hall Pass is a typical, bachelor-like comedy except it's just not that funny.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
A terrifying thriller that holds your attention incessantly for more than two hours, Shutter Island is one of Martin Scorsese’s best works. The movie has a mysterious, frightening atmosphere that makes you feel both suspicious and scared about each step DiCaprio gives in his enigmatic exploration. The plot consists in US Marshal Teddy Daniels’ (Leonardo DiCaprio) investigation about the disappearance of one of the criminally insane patients of Boston’s Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. Though, as his search for answers goes on, he realizes that he may be involved in a much bigger conspiracy that even challenges his mental sanity. The natural and human hostility of the place, the creepiness of people there and the unpredictability of the story build a sick environment full of tension. In a performance worthy of Oscar, DiCaprio’s reactions and feelings transcend the silver screen and infect the audience. The striking soundtrack also accounts for enhancing the terror. You feel like pressing your fingers against the arms of the seat all the time. The phrase that better characterizes the film is dreadfully intense. Once you are sitting there, you barely blink. The discoveries and surprises along the movie magically develop to a majestic end that nobody expected. And, what is even better, the story promotes divergent interpretations regarding its outcome. There is a lot left for discussion.
Similar to The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity,The Fourth Kind, being also very strange, scary, and shocking, chronicles what it claims is a real-life case of alien abduction. This movie is directed and written by Olatunde Osunsanmi and stars Milla Jovovich (Abbey Tyler), Elias Koteas (Abel Campos), and Will Patton (Sheriff August).
The Fourth Kind takes place in modern-day Alaska, where mysteriously a disproportionate number of the population has been reported missing every year since the 1960’s. Having numerous FBI investigations of the region, the truth has never been discovered. This movie is basically a disturbing documentary that follows both real and reenacted footage. Abbey, a psychologist, is traumatized by her husband’s violent, mysterious death. After all her patients one week recount the same terrifying scenario/ dream of alien abduction, Abbey uses hypnosis to help and find out whose harming them. However soon after she finds herself as a target of her patient’s attackers, aliens. While her friends try to help her, the authorities do not believe a word. Abby then must set out to contact the aliens herself in order to save herself and her daughter. While this movie claims it is based on true events, many people claim The Fourth Kind is not a true story. Whatever the case may be, this thriller will have you clenching your armrest at the many horrific images. I thought the movie was considerably believable when I saw it the first time and it definitely had me scared and confused walking out the theatre. While this movie may not be for everyone, people need to realize that this is a science fiction thriller and it is merely for entertainment.
Nominated for 4 Oscars, on top of 42 other nominations and 11 wins, District 9 does a lot of things right. District 9 is directed by newcomer Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson, producer of The Lord of the Rings. This movie also stars new actors Sharito Copley (Wikus) and Jason Cope (Christopher Johnson).
When an alien spacecraft drifts into the skies above Johannesburg, South Africa, the world is shocked to find the remains of a dying alien population aboard. The aliens, what the humans call Prawns, are brought down to a facility called District 9. The Prawns, after trying to live among the humans, face great racism, prejudice, and violence from the people of Johannesburg. This is why the Prawns are housed and contained in District 9, basically a refugee camp. During an attempt to relocate the more than one million aliens, Wikus, an government office worker, comes in contact with an alien chemical. Shortly after they find out Wikus is the key to the human’s ability to use the alien’s DNA-encoded weaponry. From there on, Wikus is on the run and works with an alien named Christopher Johnson to find a way to make things right for himself and the Prawns. Never having heard of or seen actor Sharito Copley, I must say his performance in this movie was outstanding. Having a lot of gun fights, explosions, and action scenes, the computer generated graphics in this movie are some of the best in the industry. However, Sharito Copley also makes this movie more than a thriller, but a wonderful drama too. Overall, this is a great film on all levels.
Set in New York City, Inside Man is centered on “the perfect bank robbery”. And after seeing this mind-boggling movie, it very well seems to be. Directed by Spike Lee, this thriller stars several great actors such as Denzel Washington (Keith Frazier), Clive Owen (Dalton Russell), and Jodie Foster (Madeline White) who all deliver first rate-performances. This is movie is full of intense, exciting moments and does not disappoint.
The action in this film begins almost immediately with almost no build up as the bad guys, disguised as painters, enter the lobby of the Manhattan Trust Bank in New York’s financial district. With Russell leading the group of robbers, they take down the bank’s surveillance and then proceed to take the bank customers and employees hostage. Russell’s true motives for robbing the specific bank are never entirely clear, which leaves us guessing throughout. However, it becomes more obvious as the story unfolds that the object of interest targeted by the robbers is not the money in the vault. New York City’s finest springs into action, blocking off streets, placing snipers on roofs, and calling into play the hostage negotiators. From there on, Detective and negotiator Frazier and Russell fight and play mind games with each other while the whole city is watching and the story unfolds. However, Frazier soon realizes there is nothing normal about this bank robbery.
Director Spike Lee takes a very new and different approach to the standard crime thriller. Inside Man differs from other robbery movies because it does not stick with the normal robbery movie formula. It depends on intense moments of dialogue between its characters rather than its action sequences. This movie is full of action and twists, but also has mind boggling plot that keeps the audience thinking till the end.
Most people feel safer when someone gets locked up for committing a non-victimless crime; but what if a murderer was still keeping people while he is locked up? In Law Abiding Citizen, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), a prosecutor, faces the problem of stopping Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler), whose only goal is to show the legal system how ineffective it is. 10 years after one of his wife and child’s murderers gets off too easy by making a deal to point his finger at his partner; the other partner is being put to death. After being injected, the man appears to be going through extreme torturous pain; normally who has been lethally injected shows no physical sign of pain. A little bit later, the other partner, whom got off easy, is found dead, and has been literally cut apart piece by piece. Naturally, Clyde Shelton is a suspect. When he is brought in for interrogation, Shelton vaguely admits to Rice that he murdered the two. The prosecutor, feeling confident, they go to court with Shelton representing himself; however, Shelton comes out of nowhere with amazing legal knowledge. With a bunch of legal jargon being thrown, Shelton is able to get himself released. Rice gets pissed, Shelton then yells at the judge, for her being so stupid as to let a person just charged with murder back out on the streets. Shelton gets thrown back in jail. While in jail, Shelton warns that people will start dying who were involved in his family’s murder trial. Rice is on a race against time to stop Shelton before his own family becomes victims in Shelton’s lesson he is trying to teach. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes action, suspense, and a little drama. It will also open your eyes to what goes on in our system, and how they deal with people who commit crimes, and get away too “easy”.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
One of the most messed up movies I have ever seen is A Clockwork Orange. It is also one of the best movies I have ever seen; to enjoy this movie, one must appreciate it for what it is, dark satirical plots. To look at it from any other perspective and not have an open mind, will only waste your time. It was originally a book written by Anthony Burgess, in 1962; the movie was then made in 1971. The movie takes place in the future, in Britain. Unlike other movies that show the future as something spectacular, this is a dark time. The government is weak, there is barely any law; leaving the teen gangs to go out and have the time of their lives. The movie’s main character is Alex (Malcolm McDowell), who is the leader of a gang. He and his friends (Pete, Georgie, and Dim) always go out at night doing various activities: fighting with other gangs, stealing, mugging, breaking and entering, and raping. On one particular adventure, the gang tricks their way into a couple’s house; they hit and knock the husband down while they rape his wife right in front of him, and to add insult to injury, Alex sings “Singing in the Rain” the whole time. One of the gang members angers Alex, who ends up beating him up. The gang retaliates by setting Alex up after an attempted rape goes wrong; they knock him out and leave him for the police. While in jail, Alex learns of a program that gets people out of jail a lot sooner than how long their sentence is. The program, brainwashes the subject into detesting evil acts. Once he completes the course, Alex returns to the outside world which detests him. He soon finds out that he is unable to stand up for himself, and is unable to listen to his favorite music (classical). To all open-minded thinkers out there, I recommend to you this movie.
Everybody knows of the stereotypical bachelor party. I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, was originally written by Tucker Max, about his true adventures before it was made into a movie. First I must point out that this movie can be compared to The Hangover; if you enjoyed that type of story and humor, then you’re in for an awesome story. In I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, three friends (Drew, Tucker, and Dan) head out to give Dan the bachelor party of a lifetime. The beginning of the movie introduces what kind of person each guy is. Dan is getting married to the girl of his dreams, and is the “body guard” of the trio, enough said. Tucker goes through women constantly, and has a fascination for girls with defects. Drew caught his girlfriend cheating on him, and now is bitter and hates all women. Put the three together and prepare to laugh your a** off. After lying to Dan’s fiancé about where they are going for the bachelor party, they head on to this strip club that Tucker claims he is familiar with and it’s the best. Turns out, Tucker has had an ulterior motive; he just wanted to go for personal reasons, and has never been there in his life. They make it to the strip club eventually, after getting lost. Tucker is having the time of his life while Dan just sits back drinking and enjoys the view, and Drew sits there being bitter and starts to chase off all of the dancers. The three end up getting separated, one in jail. Afterwards, each learns their lessons, and tries to make everything right. I would also compare this story to Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; and would highly recommend it.