Monthly Archives: December 2011
What if there was another you somewhere in space? Would you want to meet them? I was fascinated with the concept as I viewed this DVD. On the day a new planet is discovered, Rhoda Williams played by Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice, Political Disasters) was the cause of a horrific car accident. You can say, there is this common theme that with death there comes birth through the movie. I loved this motion picture: the way it was filmed made it more believable for me, the parallel story of a romance, the cerebral mindset; added a fresh, some may say twisted, take on the story line. William Mapother (The Grudge, In the Bedroom) as John Burroughs did a believable job as a man in pain. This is not your typical science fiction movie, could easily be classified as a romance. Either way, I feel the viewer will either love this movie or hate it. If one is able to keep an open mind, I feel this movie will be a worthwhile watch for you.
3 stars — DVD
Alas, my adventures were ruined by a drunken captain. Within several minutes of the character Captain Haddock played by Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Lord of the Rings franchise) appearing on screen, I became tired of the role. For me, he was the Jar Jar Binks of this film. All I will say about the story is that it has to do with a treasure hunt, with the sinister Sakharine played by Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Defiance) trying to beat out Haddock and Tintin, played by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Jumper), to find a hidden treasure. The action was overpowering–fast paced with scenes flying by one after another. I had thought with the pairing of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson they would have produced exhilarating, motion picture magic. There were some well done and exciting scenes; but I have to tell you, the majority of the action scenes reminded me of the Indiana Jones movies, but without the fuel to make them pop out at the viewer. If the film studio has hopes of making this a long running franchise; I seriously hope, they consider a whole new team to bring on board, to make a worthwhile movie.
2 1/3 stars
I pushed the DVD into the player with some trepidation. This was not a movie I was looking forward to seeing, since I am not fond of bloody scenes. My reason for viewing this film was its director, Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Once Upon a Time in Mexico); so, I decided to view this DVD on an empty stomach. The story is about Machete Cortez, played by Danny Trejo (Griindhouse, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D) as an ex-federale, hired to assassinate a Texas senator. Just as he was about to complete his job, he discovers he has been set up to be killed. From that point on, Machete goes on a bloody killing spree of revenge against the man who hired him. In real life, Danny was a drug addict who had been in and out of jail for 11 years, spending time in San Quentin. So when I say he was a bad ass in this movie, he was a crazy bad ass. The scenes in Mr Rodriguez’ directing style are so over the top, that I actually did not have a problem watching this movie and got a kick out it. Maybe it has something to do with the revenge angle or the perfect co-stars of Jessica Alba (Sin City, Fantastic Four) and Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar, The Fast & the Furious). Who knew killing could be so much fun. If you can handle the violence and blood, this is a wild movie to watch from Robert Rodriguez.
3 stars — DVD
Are movie reviewers jumping on the bandwagon here, so they will be considered cool? There is such a buzz about this movie; that I feel it has surpassed the reality of watching it. Seriously, I had to wait in line at the doors to theater eleven, so that we all could walk in an orderly fashion to our seats. Let me say right at the start, this film is a novelty and for younger viewers, it may be the first time they have sat through a movie that has, for the most part, no dialog. This black and white picture portrayed the period of Hollywood 1927 easily enough, with wonderful sets and some beautiful scenes. The acting had to be all physical with an emphasis on facial expressions to convey emotions. The French actor Jean Dujardin as George Valentin along with the Argentine/French actress Berenice Bejo as Peppy Miller were quite good in their physicality. The story played out with no surprises; essentially about Valentin’s downward spiral at the onset of talking pictures, as Miller’s star begins to rise. Is it worth seeing this picture? Overall, I would say yes; for if nothing else, to get a flavor of what the movie experience could have been like, back in the early days of motion pictures. Is this the best picture (several Golden Globe nominations) of the year? I am afraid not. If that means I can not be with the cool crowd, so be it.
2 3/4 stars
As if squeezing the last drops of sweat out of one’s workout clothes, watching the life being drained out of the people around Lake Victoria in Tanzania was horrifying. Food has been scarce since the introduction of a predatory fish, the Nile Perch, into the former beautiful lake. The native species of the lake have been eradicated by this aggressive perch. The only legitimate industry available is to work in the fish factory, where the Nile Perch are packaged and flown to Europe, to be served up as a fine delicacy. Russian transport planes fly in to unload their cargo of weapons, then fill up their empty bellies with the fish, to fly out in a continuous cycle. This documentary has to be seen; for whatever words or images I place here will not show you the unbelievable hardships, the struggles of how the strong get stronger by feeding on the weak. This film is a perfect example of Darwin’s theory on the survival of the fittest. But then what does it say about our humanity?
3 1/4 stars — DVD
After seeing a scene from the Broadway show on the Tony awards, I had high expectations for this film. The director Steven Spielberg had what seems to be his requirements these days: lovable main character in Joey the horse, cute kid, pull your heart string scenes, funny interlude, obstacle course. Now I’ll be the 1st to admit, I had tears in my eyes, along with the majority of the audience; however, it was not enough to make this a great movie that moved me. I am afraid it was predictable and that is because Mr. Spielberg was directing. There were individual scenes that worked beautifully; though one important scene, I found odd, reminded me of Gone with the Wind. From what I read and heard, the Broadway stage production of War Horse was filled with drama; but in Steven’s hands, we evidently are required to have a wee bit of comic relief in our movie watching experience. With a stable of 20+ horses, filling in for Joey (stunt doubles?), the animal was wonderful to watch in this movie. And for those of you who want to take your children, please keep in mind; though we do not see horrific bloodshed, there are the 1st scenes depicted after a battle. I just wish this movie would have been better.
2 3/4 stars
When you think about the year being 1837 and a young British Victoria is about to ascend to the throne, how could you not be amazed at this woman’s determination and love of her country. Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada, Sunshine Cleaning) was outstanding as the young queen, totally believable. I felt she fully carried this picture; though the other actors, such as Rupert Friend (Pride & Prejudice, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) as Prince Albert and Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow, Harry Potter franchise) as the Duchess of Kent were excellent. My favorite quote in this movie was Victoria saying to her Mother, “Oh, and if you think I will ever forget that you stood by silent and watched him treat me thus, you are dreaming! C’mon, how can you not be impressed with the strength of this woman who would reign for 63 years. My wish would be to see a sequel with Emily continuing in the role of this magnificent monarch.
3 1/4 stars — DVD
First I have to say I have not read the book; so, I am not sure my experience would have been the same if I had read this best selling novel by Stieg Larsson. Secondly, I loved this movie. From the moment it started, with an engaging score done by Trent Reznor, scene after scene played out in multi layered tensions. Rooney Mara (The Social Network, Youth in Revolt) as Lisbeth Salander had the intensity of a troubled soul who could easily burst apart at any moment. There is a possibility she could get an Oscar nod from the academy for this role. Hired for her investigative and computer hacking skills by Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Munich), who portrays the journalist Mikael Blomkvist, the two try to solve the mystery of a woman who disappeared 40 years ago. I thought the 2 1/2+ hours would be a concern for me; but it was not an issue, as I was completely absorbed by the story. Even a couple of scenes that normally I would look away from, did not deter me from taking in each subtle twist of this thrilling mystery.
3 1/3 stars
This drama played more like a thriller, taking place within a 24 hour period, during the beginning of the financial crisis back in 2008. Among the all-star cast there was Kevin Spacey (Casino Jack, The Men Who Stare at Goats), Jeremy Irons (Eragon, Being Julia) and Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Heroes) all doing a strong acting job, as employees of a high profile investment bank. As I viewed this movie, I wondered how close to reality was the portrayal of upper management’s cold heartedness towards its workers. It certainly looked hellish to me. The other thought I had, was how one individual could make or break a firm during those perilous times. There have been several movies made already about the financial meltdown and some of them have been quite good. I would have to say this movie is among those well done ones. With a great cast and consistent directing, this story will keep your attention and I believe, draw a strong reaction from you.
3 1/4 stars — DVD
Why is it I can still sit down and watch an “old style” cartoon such as Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker and be amused by it? I find the humor to be fun with a touch of sophistication. And I think that is the issue I had with this movie. This trend of taking cartoon characters and building a movie around them is just a cheap way to milk more money out of them, in my opinion. The movie felt like a reality show to me–fluff with no substance. Thank heavens the chipmunks and chipettes are underage; I could not imagine if they were doing shots! I was bored for a majority of this cartoonish film, as Alvin and his furry friends went from one scene to another, filled with either chaos or humorless jokes. To tell you the truth, I would rather they had just ran a string of music videos of what the chipmunks were singing. Due to Alvin disobeying Dave (Jason Lee), the chipettes and chipmunks got stranded from their cruise ship. Until the last 30 minutes did we get any action and excitement out of this tired story. Would children like this movie? I suppose so, maybe just to hear the high pitched voiced chipmunks and see their antics. Unfortunately, the parents would have to put on their happy faces and endure this film.
1 1/2 stars