Showing posts from 2012

Review: Silver Linings Playbook

I just want us to be friends.  Pat (Bradley Cooper) has just gotten out of of the mental institution. He's been there for the last 8 months because he beat up his wife's lover, and at the time had an undiagonsed bi polar disorder. He's determined to reinvent himself. He sees the silver lining in everything, and he knows if he works hard, his wife Nikki will take him back. He lives with his parents (played by Robert Deniro and Jacki Weaver) don't agree, but are hoping for the best. Through his friends, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) a recently widowed young woman with plenty of issues herself. When Tiffany offers something to Pat that he cannot resist, he decides to enter a dance competition with her. Tiffany and Pat are both very unstable people, and I thought Cooper and Lawrence portrayed them perfectly. They never felt fake or over the top. Maybe it's because I work with young kids with mental illnesses that made me appreciate it so much more.

Indie Gems: Headhunters

Hodejegerne Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a headhunter that lives above his means. He's self conscious about his short stature and is constantly afraid his wife will leave him. So be buys her plenty of expensive things, and funds it by stealing expensive art work on the side. Then he meets Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who is perfect for a job that Roger is trying to recruit. He also happens to own a very expensive piece of art. However Roger will soon learn that stealing from Clas is not a good idea. Roger is an interesting protagonist because he's so flawed to begin with. At first, I was actually kind of rooting for Clas to kill the guy. I loved how intricate the film felt. Roger goes to some extreme measures to avoid Clas and cover up his tracks. Even though he's clearly the weaker of the two, Roger always managed to survive. I'm a fan of Coster-Waldau, and while his character is pretty one dimensional  he's still fun to watch, but Aksel H

DVD Review: Goon

A movie you may have missed. I honestly don't remember if Goon was in theaters near me. I can see why I would write something like this off without seeing it, but as I saw it on Instant Netflix, I figured I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did. Goon is about Doug Glatt. (Seann William Scott) He's a naive bouncer that's a hell of a fighter. One day he beats up a local hockey player so badly that they offer him a spot on the team just to fight. Then he catches the eye of a semi pro hockey coach that puts him on his team to fight, while trying to straighten up his fallen protigy LaFlamme. (Marc-Andre Grodin) Then there's Ross Rhea, (Leiv Schreiber, with the most badass goatee you've ever seen) he's the ultimate thug on the ice. And soon, he'll get to go face to face with Glatt. This movie was hilarious and actually pretty spot on when it comes to local to semi pro hockey games. I was laughing for nearly all of the first 15 minutes thanks t

Indie Gems: Bernie

Even the nicest people can do horrible things.   Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is a friendly funeral director who recently moved to Carthage, TX. He takes a lot of pride in his work and is very involved with the church. The residents fall in love with him easily, and how could you not? Bernie is just so nice and so good at what he does. When the towns crabbiest lady, Marjorie Nugent (Shirley McClaine) becomes a widow, he treats her with the same kindness he shows everyone else. Marjorie takes a liking to him and soon they are traveling on lush vacations and he is her constant companion. In fact, he basically becomes her servant, and under stress he ends up killing her and covering it up. The story is told through interviews of the locals and by the DA  Danny Buck. (Matthew McConaughey)   Jack Black gives the best performance of his career in Bernie. He perfectly embodies him. There were times when I was watching that his performance reminded me of another great one this year; Ph

DVD Review: There Be Dragons

Faith, Forgiveness, Redemption.   Warning - Boardwalk Empire season 3 spoilers are ahead***   When Boardwalk Empire decided to kill of one of the two only good looking guys left on the show Owen, played by Charlie Cox, I decided I needed to get my fix elsewhere. So I stumbled upon a recent film he did with Wes Bently called "There Be Dragons."   Now I know why this film was a barely a blip on anyone's radar - it was terribly boring. A journalist, Roberto (Dougray Scott) is investigating the story of Josemarie Escriva. (Charlie Cox, in flash backs) As it turns out, his own father (played by Wes Bently in flashbacks) has a very long history with this man.   I have to admit, I had no prior knowledge of Josemaria, or Opus Dei for that matter. (Apart from just recognizing the names) Even after watching this film, I don't know that I could tell you much about it. The pacing makes it almost excruciating to sit through and the performances are terrible. I h

DVD Review: Rango

I get his boots. When Rango, (voiced by Johnny Depp) a pet lizard who winds up on the side of the road due to a car accident stumbles upon the old western town of Dirt, he puts on an act. The town is out a sheriff, and they are out of water, Rango takes on the task while bragging about being the gunslinger he never was. His eventual reality check comes, but now he's going to stand up for this town. I was really surprised about how hilarious I found this. I never got around to seeing it last year. I watched it win plenty of awards and always vowed to check it out. I'm glad I did. It's nice to see a film like this come from Nickelodeon when most animated features are dominated by Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks. It had plenty of gags for the kids, and plenty for us parents that are watching that with them. I especially liked "The Spirit of the West." That was perfect. Recommended: Yes Grade: B Memorable Quote: "You've got a funny lookin

DVD Review: Friends With Kids

The "unconventional story" with a very conventional ending. Director/writer/star/frozen face Jennifer Westfedlt said that her film is an unconventional story, and on the outside, that's very true. Too bad it submits to over used cliches and the ending can be seen miles away. Julie (Westfedlt) and her best friend Jason (Adam Scott) decide that they want kids, but they want to skip all of the relationship problems that can come with the stress of being a parent. So they have drunken sex, get pregnant, and share the duties 50/50. Their group of friends; sometimes bitchy Leslie, (Maya Rudolph) laid back Alex, (Chris O'Dowd) broken woman Missy, (Kristen Wiig) and douchebag Ben (John Hamm) don't think it will work. Once Julie and Jason start other relationships, their friends slowly begin to be proved right. I can give credit where credit is due. This was a good idea for a story and it had a lot of nice touches here and there, but it is ruined by the

Indie Gems: Your Sister's Sister

Well this is about to get awkward.   Jack (Mark Duplass) has had a hard time after the death of his brother. His close friend Iris (Emily Blunt) tells him to go to her family's secluded cabin for some much needed alone time. When he arrives, Iris's half sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) is already there after a nasty break up with her girlfriend. There's a lot of tequila, lots of secrets, and when Iris shows up the next day, things just turn complicated.   If you haven't seen this film, I'm going to explain something that drove me nuts: Iris is British, Hannah is American. The story is their dad met Hannah's mom in the U.S, then 10 years later went to London and met Iris's mom, so she was raised there and came back to the US with them. The fact that they were sisters with different accents got on my nerves until they explained it about half way through the movie. I know, it's weird.   Anywho - Your Sister's Sister was a cute little film

2013 Golden Globe Nominations

Here's a list of the 2013 Golden Globe nominations. There's a lot of surprises, variety, and of course, a few major fails on the HFPA's part. As always, my thoughts follow in green . Best Motion Picture — Drama Argo Django Unchained Life of Pi Lincoln Zero Dark Thirty I'm surprised The Master didn't make the cut. I expect it will still get a Best Pic nom at the Oscars since they can vote up to 10. Personally, I would've stuck The Dark Knight Rises in there. *cough cough* Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln Richard Gere, Arbitrage John Hawkes, The Sessions Joaquin Phoenix, The Master Denzel Washington, Flight I wonder if Joaquin will show up?   Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone Helen Mirren, Hitchcock Naomi Watts, The Impossible Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea Since Jennifer Lawrence is moved to the comedy ca

2013 Screen Actors Guild Nominations

This year's SAG nominations are in. I have to say, there's a lot of surprises here. That's nice, though a lot of them threw my predictions off. Here's a list of the nominees. My thoughts will follow in green . I'll see you tomorrow with the Golden Globe nominations. Outstan ding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Bradley Cooper (“Pat”) - Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company) Daniel Day-Lewis (“Abraham Lincoln”) – Lincoln (Touchstone Pictures) John Hawkes (“Mark”) - The Sessions (Fox Searchlight) Hugh Jackman (“Jean Valjean”) - Les Misérables (Universal Pictures) Denzel Washington (“Whip Whitaker”) – Flight (Paramount Pictures) The biggest surprise here for me was Denzel, but really, after Joaquin Phoenix shit all over anyone giving him recognition I shouldn't be that surprised. Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Jessica Chastain (“Maya”) – Zero Dark Thirty (Columbia Pictures) Marion Cotillard (“Stepha

Random Ramblings: Quick Film/TV Thoughts

I've managed to watch an insane amount of TV this past week. I was sick, it was snowing outside, basically it was a good excuse to not move from my couch all day. So here's a bunch of mini reviews of the things I've been watching on TV Lately. Klown - I actually enjoyed Klown, but the reason I feel like I can't do a full review justice is because I fell asleep watching it and had to start over. (Not because it was boring, mind you. Because I was very sick) That being said, holy crap this movie is dirty. Raunchy comedy is usually my thing, but man this one has it's filthy moments. I'd really suggest watching this on Netflix Instant while it's still out there. Magic Mike - I couldn't finish this. The minute one of the lead characters (played by the horrible Alex Pettifer) gets into drugs, and inevibidly starts his downward spiral, I had to turn it off. It was stupid to begin with, but at that point it just got worse. I enjoy hot guys, wearing

Making a Case For Pierce Gagnon

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Pierce Gagnon - Looper Look at that face!  Stevee over at Cinematic Paradox  is hosting her first ever blogathon and she's asking for everyone to make a case movies that probably won't get awards recognition.  I could've made a case for The Dark Knight Rises being nominated for everything, but I'm still holding out on that. So I will be making my case for this young actor. One of my favorite things about Looper was the surprise in the plot. The trailers didn't show Pierce's Cid. They didn't even show his mother. (played by Emily Blunt) Everything about this story was a pleasant surprise. This kid was five when he made Looper. FIVE! He managed to turn in one of the best child performances I've seen in a long time. A lot of times when a child actor is told to act sad or angdry, it feels forced. Not with him, everything felt so natural. He went from having a terrifying fit one second, to being a sweet i

Indie Gems: My Summer Of Love

Summer will end eventually.   Mona (Natalie Press) is a high strung tomboy who lives with her born again Christian brother, Phil. (Paddy Considine) She's not thrilled with her life, she's gone through a lot. When she meets Tamsin (Emily Blunt) a rich teen living a pampered life, Mona becomes interested in her. They are both so different that they have a lot to teach each other, but like the title suggests, it's their summer of love. Meaning summer eventually has to come to an end.   I've been pretty impressed with Emily Blunt's career, and I have to say this is probably her best performance that I've seen. Both her and Press are astounding here. They're complicated girls, yet everything about them felt real and relatable at one point or another. I watched this on Netflix - the streaming quality was beyond horrible. The words didn't match up with the actor's mouths, there was a constant delay, and even through all that technical bull shit I

Review: Anna Karenina

Jewelry envy.   In 19th century Russia, Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) is suddenly attracted to Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) even though she's been married to Karenin (Jude Law) for years. How will acting on these feelings effect her and those around her?   Joe Wright makes some beautiful movies, and Anna Karenina is no exception. Everything is lavish and beautiful. The jewels that Anna wears stood out the most to me. They were lovely. The way the scenes change is interesting too. It almost felt like a play, with the characters walking from stage to stage and each scene blending in to each other. I thought that was a nice touch. I loved the dancing in the movie as well. The film is a visual masterpiece, but does it have substance story wise?   A little. I have to admit I never read the novel, nor have I seen any other adaptations. Anna is an interesting character, her emotions are all over the place. Sometimes I felt myself wishing she had been born in anoth

Review: Lincoln

Can the time you see the film effect the quality?   This is a question I have been asking myself. More on that later.   The Civil War rages on and President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is trying to pass an amendment that would abolish slavery in the United States. However, like all political decisions, not everyone agrees.   Director Steven Speilberg walks a fine line between obvious Oscar bait and a history lesson with his latest. Luckily, there are fine performances all around. Especially by Day-Lewis, who feels like a lock for Best Actor after watching this film. The supporting cast is beyond impressive and includes big names such as Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sally Feild, (although she looks old enough to be Lincoln's mother rather than his wife) David Strathain, John Hawkes, Joseph Cross, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris and Michael Stuhlbarg. Many other recognizable faces pop up here in there. There's so many g

Indie Gems: Reservoir Dogs

One of the greatest independent films of all time.   Oh Quentin Tarantino, how could I have gone all these years with my Indie Gems and not included this one. (Seriously, major wtf moment for me.)   A group of criminals are given a job to rob a jewelry store. They have fake names, they don't know each other personally, what could possibly go wrong? Well, the cops show up. Mr Brown (Tarantino) is killed. Mr Blue (Edward Bunker) is missing. Mr Orange (Tim Roth) is wounded and is brought back to their rendezvous point by Mr. White. (Harvey Keitel) Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) managed to get the jewels and meet up with Orange,White, and Mr. Blonde, (Michael Madsen) but he is sure that someone ratted them out.   This is film is brutal - but it also became signature Tarantino. The way he handles violence is astonishing. We know right off the bat that this is not any ordinary crime movie. It doesn't start out with a shoot out or a robbery. It starts in a diner with causal c

My Movie Alphabet

I'm a little late on this one, but after reading so many fabulous lists I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Mettel started this blogathon, click that link to see his blog and other blogs that have participated. I'm no good at graphics, but I figured I'd give it a shot. 50/50 It's hard to make a light hearted movie about cancer, but somehow, they pull it off. Others: (500) Days Of Summer, 4 Months, 3 weeks, and 2 days, 10 Things I Hate About You, 127 Hours  American Beauty My all time favorite movie. Of course it was going to be on this list. Others: American Psycho, Amy Adams, Aaron Paul.     Batman I've been a Batman fan since I was a child, but Christopher Nolan's version made me love it even more. Speaking of which.. Others: Bryan Cranston, Brad Pitt, BASEketball, Black Swan  Christopher Nolan    He is one of my favorite directors today. His films are never boring. Others: Christ