DVD Review: The Adventures of Tintin

What the...

It's not very often that I find myself saying "what the hell?" during a cartoon. Tintin offered a lot of those moments for me and my husband while we watched this film, and it was actually one of the most enjoyable times I've had watching a movie in awhile.

Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) is a clever reporter buys a seemingly ordinary model ship at the market, soon after he's found himself robbed and kidnapped over the damn thing and it's up to him, his faithful dog snowy, and he new companion Captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis) to get to the bottom of this mystery.

The thing that stands out the most about Tintin is the precise animation. Its quite breathtaking. Everything from the way Tintin's hair falls on his face and his eyebrows, to the waves of the ocean, the small details like arm hair and eye color all look so real. It's the best animation I've seen since WALL-E, and it's pretty criminal that this missed out on a Best Animated Feature Oscar. Maybe the material was a bit too intense for kids? Either way, the plot was interesting and while it had some pretty "out there" moments I was laughing a long with it. My next question is: When is Speilberg doing the sequel?

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "Sooobbeerrrrr." - Capt Haddock (Andy Serkis)

Indie Gems: Middle of Nowhere

Life doesn't come with a road map.

Grace (Eva Amurri Martino) wants to go to college, but since her mother took out a bunch of credit cards in her name and never paid them off, she cannot qualify for a student loan.  Dorian (Anton Yelchin) is sick of his rich adopted parents and yearns for something more. They meet at a summer job life guarding, when Dorian suggests they go into business selling pot so that Grace can earn enough to go to college. Obviously this doesn't go as easily as they would've hoped. Especially when we as viewers learn more about their family secrets.

It's kind of cool to see Martino play daughter to he real life mother Susan Sarandon. You really feel for Grace being stuck in the absolute shittiest situation ever that is out of her control. Yelchin has a way of making any movie he is in interesting. There's just something about him. Dorian at first seems one dimensional, but as the film goes on we find that there are many layers to this kid who's life is far from perfect.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "No. There's no up or down, man. There's just free and trapped." - Dorian (Anton Yelchin)

DVD Review: A Dangerous Method

Sexual Frustration.

When a hysterical young woman, Sabina (Keira Knightley) shows up at Carl Jung's (Michael Fassbender) psychiatric hospital he begins using a new method to treat her. While Sabina may have had her fair share of problems, she's very smart and is interested to learn more. Eventually Jung takes her in as a mistress and she not only invades the relationship he has with his wife, but she also comes between the somewhat tense relationship he has with famed doctor Sigmund Freud. (Viggo Mortensen)

This film was very different from David Cronenberg's previous work, which I can appreciate. We love it when actors do something different, the same should be said about directors. I was a little disappointed that Vincent Cassel wasn't in it more, but Keira Knightley's brilliant performances made up for him. I'm actually surprised she was left off of the Oscar ballad last year. I know plenty of people are split with thinking she was terrible or thinking she was amazing. I'm with the latter. At first I found myself underwhelmed with Fassbender's Jung, but then I realized that Jung himself was just a very unlikeable character. And Fassbender was doing him justice. Another thing that stood out with this film was the beautiful score. I had high hopes for this since I had missed it in theaters and I had to wait forever for it to come on DVD, but it was definitely worth my high expectations.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Experiences like this, however painful, are necessary and inevitable; without them, how can we know life?" - Sigmund Frued (Viggo Mortensen)

Indie Gems: Choking Man

Anything can happen in NYC

Jorge (Octavios Gomez Berrios) is a painfully shy dishwasher from Ecuador working in a shabby diner in Queens, New York. When he's not going unnoticed by the other staff he's bullied by a co-worker. (Aaron Paul) Soon Amy, (Eugenia Yuan) a newly hired Chinese waitress tries to befriend Jorge and break the barrier of his shyness. We're told this story as is goes back and forth between real time and some very impressive animation/drawing sequences.

I'll be the first to admit that Choking Man starts off slow. But there's something more as the film goes on. The story is touching, and I loved how it was told. I liked how it went back and forth between what was really happening, then to the dreamy drawings. I also enjoy watching pre Breaking Bad Aaron Paul, even if he's not in this very much. You can see how easily he used to be typecast. Breaking Bad will surely open many doors for him.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "Fly me to the moon!" - Jorge (Octavios Gomez Berrios)

25 Moments of Cinematic Awesomeness

I had to steal this idea from Stevee over at Cinematic Paradox because I loved her list so damn much. Cinematic Awesomeness defines a moment in a film that moves you. Maybe you can explain it, maybe you can't. Either way, these are some of the moments that I loved in these movies. Narrowing it down to 25 was extremely difficult! I probably left some great ones out. Either way..spoilers ahead. My apologies that the images aren't all the same size. I thought Photobucket was going to make my computer explode.

1) Our first look at Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

2) Wladyslaw Szpilman after he loses his family in the Pianist.

3) Kevin Spacey lying in bed in American Beauty, showered with rose pedals and thinking "spectacular."

4) The final scene in Mysterious Skin, where Neil tells Brian everything that happened to them when they were children. It ends with Brian's voice over saying "We rise like two angels in the night, and magically disappear."

5) Samara crawling out of the TV in The Ring. Admit it, you almost shit yourself.

6) The News Team battle in Anchorman. So many great cameos.

7) Mark Zuckerberg trying to "friend" his ex girlfriend at the end of The Social Network

8) Ennis hugging Jack's shirt in Brokeback Mountain

9) Heath Ledger's entire performance as The Joker

10) There Will Be Blood: "I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!"

11) Aragorn's bad ass walk as he gets off of the ship and attacks in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

12) When Nettie and Celie are torn apart in The Color Purple. Celie yells for Nettie to write, and Nettie responds "Nothing but death can keep me from it."

13) Tracey's breakdown at the end of Thirteen

14) The elevator scene in The Departed.

15) Bruce Willis is dead the whole time! - The Sixth Sense.

16) WALL-E and EVE fly through Space. This is the first time I ever looked at an animated film and thought: "Damn, THAT is some good animation."

17) Jamal and Latika are finally together at the end of Slumdog Millionaire

18) Jules Winnfeild breaks our concentration in Pulp Fiction

19) The beginning of The Circle of Life in The Lion King

20) "Damien, it's all for you." - The Omen

21) Guess who's Kaiser Soze?

22) "Do you like Huey Lewis and the News? - American Psycho

23) Naked Nicholai kicks some serious ass in Eastern Promises.

24) The infamous ear scene in Reservoir Dogs

25) Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch? - Ok, so Chapelle's Show is TV,  but this has seriously got to be the hardest I've ever laughed at something on cable television.

Review: The Cabin In The Woods

No spoilers here.

The film makers made it very clear that they didn't want anyone sharing the secret behind The Cabin in the Woods when it first premiered. Therefore, I'm not going to reveal any of the plot details besides the basic premise here. It's so much more fun to see it for yourself.

Five college kids (including Thor's Chris Hemsworth and Grey's Anatomy's Jesse Williams) are going on a weekend getaway to a remote cabin in the woods. Obviously this entire idea spells trouble. But there's something much more sinister behind all of this.

When we got out of the theater the word that everyone seemed to agree on to best describe this was "clever." Clever it is. How this movie sat on the shelf for so long is beyond me. I read that the studio wanted to convert it to 3D, but Joss Whedon was against it. Also the studio ran into financial problems, etc. Either way, I'm happy this little horror flick got to see the light of day, because it is far to good to sit and wait.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable *spoiler free* quote: "He has a husband's buldge." - Marty (Fran Kranz)

DVD Review: Sleeping Beauty


I'm a huge fan of Emily Browning's work, and I went into this film knowing it was going to be completely uncomfortable to watch. I was hoping something in the script or her performance might redeem itself from it's creepy plot line. But alas, no such thing happened.

Lucy (Emily Browning) is a poor college student with a variety of different jobs. Waitress. Lab Rat. Copy Girl. Occasional prostitute. Why does Lucy need all this money? Is she behind on student loans? Does she squander it? What more does she need to pay for? None of this is answered. So you really have to question Lucy's motives when she takes a very upscale job of becoming a "sleeping beauty." Meaning she's given drugs to knock her out while old men do just about anything short of having sex with her. Not your every day after school job.

This movie should've been more than just scenes of naked Emily Browning and weird old men fondling her,  there should've been some character development, some explanations, but this film offers none. Lucy is a shell, and an unrelatabe one at that. Maybe that was the point of the film makers. Then again, maybe it was just a bad movie with a bad editing job that wastes the talents of a perfectly good actress.

Recommended: No

Grade: D

Memorable Quote: "It's not a temple.." - Lucy (Emily Browning)

Indie Gems: Dirty Girl

Good film. Horrible title.

The title of this film is so stupid it's almost off putting. It's a shame because it's so sweet and ridiculous at the same time.

When promiscuous Danielle (Juno Temple) inquires about the "pull out method" in class, she's banished to special ed until she can get her behaviors in check. Danielle doesn't have the ideal home life, her mom (Mila Jovovich) is about to marry a good hearted man (William H Macy) and wants Danielle to be a part of his family. She doesn't know her real father, and wants to drive to California to meet him. At first her friend Clarke (Jeremy Dozier) isn't thrilled with this plan. But the fact that his strict parents punish him for being homosexual, he flees to Danielle and off they go, learning lots of life lessons on the way.

I call this film ridiculous because the dialogue is completely over the top at times. The continuity is done on purpose, particularly with their "baby" bag of flour, Joan. For a film that starts out so harsh it had a beautifully sweet ending/wake up call for Danielle. I felt moved, which I wasn't expecting. I'm really a fan of Juno Temple. She subtly impressed me in her first films; Atonement and Notes on a Scandal, and I look forward to seeing her in other things.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "You really have to be more careful with her." - Danielle (Juno Temple)

DVD Review: The Skin I Live In

So that's what all the hype is about.

When this movie was playing at Cannes, the morons over at Fox News apparently spoiled the movie in their article. My co-worker (and unfortunate Fox News fan) didn't realize this and began to explain the movie to me, thus revealing the huge plot point at the end that is meant to be a surprise. Normally I don't care if I'm spoiled beforehand. Hell, I look for spoilers on purpose sometimes. But this really got on my nerves because it seemed so brilliant. I just have to wonder when I would've caught on.

Robert (Antonio Bandares) is a surgeon who's trying to engineer a new type of skin, resistant to insect bites and burns. He's marked by a past tragedy. He tests out his skin on the mysterious Vera (Elena Anaya) but who is Vera to him?

I have to admit that knowing the ending confused me a little at the beginning. This story is much more intricate, and I guess I was expecting something a littler simpler. That being said, it's an amazing story nonetheless. Bandaras is truly haunting. Honestly, my only gripe about this movie was I found one character, Zeca (not really a spoiler) to be absolutely pointless and only provided cheap T&A.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "You said that a year ago.." - Vera (Elena Anaya)

DVD Review: All Good Things


David Marks (Ryan Gosling) falls in love with Katie. (Kirsten Dunst) At first, they seem like a good fit for each other. Sure David's family sees Katie as something lesser, but as time goes on we being to see juts how unhealthy this relationship is. When Katie mysteriously disappears, David becomes a suspect.

I didn't know this movie was based on a true story before I watched it. In retrospect having the guy the movie is based on, and who you so blatantly accuse of being the killer on set and providing commentary is a little tacky in my opinion. Come to think of it, this entire movie was a disappointment. Kirsten Dunst turns in a hell of a performance, much like she did in the equally horrible Melanchalia. It's a shame that she's so good when the rest of the film does nothing to help her. The pacing is horrible. The first half spends all it's time on David and Kate's relationship before they had problems, then when it comes to the disappearance, it's rushed. I feel like that should've been the most important part of the film. The transition was horrible.

Recommended: Yes - if you're a big Dunst fan - No for everything else.

Grade: D

Memorable Quote: "I miss her so much." - David Marks (Ryan Gosling)

Indie Gems: Cherry

An Education.

Aaron (Kyle Gallner) is an Ivy League freshman who's majoring in engineering. He's a very talented artist as well, and in his art class he meets Linda (Larua Allen) a 30 something mother that was once an alcoholic and is trying to get her life back on track. She befriends Aaron and invites him over for dinner, where he meets her rebellious 14 year old daughter, Beth. (Britt Robertson) Aaron has a hard time trying to get with Linda, and it doesn't help that Beth has feelings for him too.

I'm really starting to enjoy Kyle Gallner's (Beautiful Boy, Red State) work. The three leads had great chemistry. Aaron definitely had his hands full with Linda, who doesn't see him that way, and the aggressive come on's from Beth. They make it a point to tell you Aaron is only 17, maybe to make the relationship less creepy. I have to admit it helped, my opinion on Aaron and Beth as a couple changed dramatically from the beginning of the film to the end. Cherry is a sweet little film about first love and the stress that comes with college life.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "You'll be in your 20's and an artist in New York City. You'll have groupies but that won't be enough. Then I'll come in, and you'll realize that hole in your life is filled." - Beth (Britt Robertson)

DVD Review: Perrier's Bounty


What better word to start off my review than the one they say about 200 times in this movie. Seriously, I almost wish I would've kept note. It's got to be 200 at least.

Michael (Cillian Murphy) owes local thug Perrier (Brenden Gleeson) a bit of money. Perrier sends out two croonies to kill Michael by nightfall if he doesn't pay. While trying to dodge these men his neighbor, Brenda (Jodi Whittaker) shoots one. Making all of this worse is Michael's father, Jim (Jim Broadbant) who is pretending to be terminally ill to reconcile with his son.

I've been on a Gleeson kick lately and this movie seemed a bit like In Bruges. It's nothing like it, by the way. Which isn't a bad thing. It's hard to compare to a film as brilliant as In Bruges. Perrier's Bounty was still enjoyable. It's very dark but has some really funny moments. Gleeson isn't in it as much as I thought he would be, but Cillian Murphy is so great that it's worth seeing it for him.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "I happen to know some shit you don't." - The Reaper (voiced by Gabriel Byrne