Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Let's Go To The Movies
Since I broke my leg at the beginning of March, I have been lucky to have great friends who have great movies they can lend me! I have watched many movies over the past 6 weeks and so I thought I’d write my own review of each movie that I have seen.
Bounty Hunter (2010): This was a cute romantic comedy about a journalist played by Jennifer Anniston and her ex-husband, a bounty hunter played by Gerald Butler. The plot is simple: Bounty Hunter must bring in criminal into jail, but of course there are twists and turns in the plot but in the end, for me, it fell flat. There were a couple of funny parts but as usual, they are the ones that are also in the previews that you see on TV. It was light though which is what I needed! 2 out of 5 stars for being “cute”.
Brooklyn’s Finest (2010): This drama starring Richard Gere and Wesley Snipes displays the actions of “bad cops”. The movie had a promising start but in the end both my mother and I were disappointed with the plot. The movie actually was quite depressing. The movie does ask the question: Do good cops really rat out bad cops? 1 star out of 5 stars for initiating a great plot.
Date Night (2010): I’m a huge fan of Steve Carrell and I thought that his performance with Tina Fey was great! This movie is about a typical couple who are suffering from lack of romance and excitement. One night they decide to splurge and go “downtown” to a fancy restaurant. While they are there, trying to get reservations which is nearly impossible they decide to take someone else’s reservations and pretend to be the couple. They then find themselves mixed up with dirty cops, gangsters and a thrilling night! Definitely 5 out of 5 stars.
Green Zone (2010): A group of soldiers have been given orders to find the “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. When the group’s lead man, Matt Damon realizes that there are really no weapons, he goes on a pursuit for the truth.5 stars for creativity, originality and intrigue.
8 Mile (2002): I have wanted to watch this movie for a long time now and when a friend lent it to me I was thrilled. Eminem will never make money being an actor but his story is compelling and you do see him express emotion when appropriate. Once you get beyond the vulgar language, you might actually feel sorry for Eminem’s character. There are a couple of scenes and characters that make no sense to me and could totally be erased from the movie. He is trying to get out of the 8 mile of Detroit but becoming a famous rapper. We all know how this story ends! 1 star for Eminem’s first time effort at acting. He should continue to pursue his rapping career and NOT his acting career.
American Gangster (2007): This was a fantastic movie! The movie is inspired by a true story of the African American gangster, Frank Lucas. Lucas, played by Denzel Washington works up his way in the corrupt world of drug trafficking and is always running from a specialized police force to bring down all of the major drug dealers within New York City in the 1970s. The movie has wonderful extras including an interview with the real Frank Lucas. 5 out of 5 stars for having a wonderful cast, brilliant story line and the fact that it is based on a true story adds another star.
Flags of Our Fathers (2006): This movie, written and produced by Clint Eastwood tells the story of the 6 men who raised the flag on a mountain after the USA won The Battle of Iwa Jima. The story is actually quite sad because the boys who raised the flag, they weren’t acknowledged, they died or they were so upset because they were considered to be “heroes” when really they didn’t feel much like heroes. The acting is amazing and it does tell the true story of the infamous photograph. 4 out of 5 stars. I was looking forward to the Behind the Scenes footage after the movie, but sadly there wasn’t any! (I hate that!)
Hildago (2004): Any movie with Viggo Mortensen is a winner in my eyes (just because he is so cute!). Hildago is based on a true story of a Pony Express Courier who enters a horse race in Arabia. Horse racers from all over the world come to Arabia to compete for a large sum of money. 5 stars out of 5 for filming an original story and also for the fact that it stars Viggo! Enough said!
Hurt Locker (2010): My mother and I watched this movie one day before Hurt Locker won an Oscar for Best Movie. The movie deserved it! The movie is about the specialized trained soldiers who disarm bombs in Iraq. Jeremy Renner plays the main Sergeant who is responsible for the bomb squad is at times quite arrogant and gives the impression that he thinks he is invincible and that no bomb can touch him, but in the end, you learn to love his character. 5 stars out of 5 for drama, tension and arrogant characters!
Jarhead (2005): Jake Gyllenhaal is a new recruit in the US army and we watch him go from being verbally abused in boot camp to facing the boredom in the dessert of Kuwait during Desert Storm. For many of us, this will be as close as we come to serving in the army. At times the movie can be quite slow, after watching it; you begin to realize why so many soldiers come back after war with post-traumatic stress disorder. 4 out of 5 stars. The only flaw of the movie was at times there is inappropriate language and adult issues that really are not needed in order to tell the story. P.S. I am a huge fan of any actors from the TV show, The Office and I “Jim” (John Krasinski) from The Office has a bit part in the movie! Go Jim Go!
License to Wed (2007): Starring Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, and Robin Williams is about an engaged couple that is going for marriage counseling with Robin Williams. I really only found one funny scene in the movie and other than that, I was really disappointed. Robin Williams isn’t as funny as he is in other movies and his role is just awkward. 2 stars out of 5, really just because I’m a fan of John Krasinski.
Man on Fire (2004): Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning star in this sweet yet action packed movie about a drunk ex-marine who becomes the bodyguard of Dakota in Mexico. Dakota gets kidnapped and Denzel is in hot pursuit to find the culprits. 3 out of 5 stars for fun filled action and suspense. Also the relationship that occurs between Denzel and Dakota is sweet, although I didn’t like the ending. I like happy endings and this movie didn’t have one.
National Treasure 1 (2004): I love these kinds of movies-movies with hidden secrets and treasures waiting. I am sure the research that went into this movie was unbelievable and that it would take a lifetime to check and recheck everything they say in the movie with historical facts. I love the guy in the movie who is a bit sarcastic and is a smart guy but not as smart as the character played by Nicholas Cage. The extras for this DVD were amazing-you get to play a game and each problem that you solve, opens up more activities on the DVD. I think that this movie could become a fantastic board game. 5 out of 5 for amazing plot.
National Treasure 2 (2007): Again another winner in my eyes. Great action, great mystery and some really funny lines. The movie continues on from where National Treasure 1 left off. More mystery and more revelation as to the American government and American history. It is sad to say but I don’t remember a lot of the US history but I have learned a lot just by watching the 2 National Treasure movies. 5 out of 5 for intrigue and great serial continuation from National Treasure 1.
Princess Diaries (2001): A sweet movie about a lanky, awkward teenager (who isn’t in the popular crowd) who learns that she is a princess. I love Julie Andrews and she has returned to Hollywood to star in this movie as the Queen of Jenovia (A made up country). This movie is a fun-filled family movie with some very witty lines and amazing costumes. It is a feel good movie and the transformation that Anne Hathaway’s character endures from being an awkward, socially inept teenager into a gorgeous princess is amazing. 5 out of 5 for just being a fun movie.
Syriana (2005): This story is about the oil industry in the middle east. The story can become quite complicated so you have to pay attention to what is happening. If you want the full synopsis, check it out online: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365737/synopsis . It was intriguing and educational to learn just how the oil industry is organized and the potential “dirty” guys involved in the organization. I rated it a 4 out of 5 stars.
The Illusionist (2006): This movie was the first of two movies to be in theatres about the historical lives of magicians back in the early 20th century. Being a magician was an interesting line of work and people were amazed by what the magicians could do. In this movie starring Edward Norton and Jessica Biel portrays a magician who falls in love with a duchess when they are young children. He travels the world perfecting his craft and returns to Vienna to run into the Duchess and learn that she is to marry a ruthless Prince. The Duchess and Eisenhem (Edward Norton) secretly meet and plan to run away together. The Duchess is murdered and it is Eisenhem’s quest to discover and convince the police of who the murderer is. An amazing twist in the ending and a fascinating movie to watch. 5 out of 5 stars.
The Prestige (2006): This is another fascinating movie about magicians in the early 20th century. This movie is about 2 magicians who battle it out until the end. They are both competing to create the greatest magic show ever. Unlike The Illusionist (which was released around the same time as The Prestige), this movie goes into the mechanical engineering it took in the 20th century to fascinate audiences. This movie stars Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johanson, and Christian Bale. 5 out of 5 stars. I loved The Illusionist and The Prestige equally.
Troy (2004): I have always loved the story of the Trojan Horse and this movie brings the entire story to life. It was amazing to watch the creation of the Trojan Horse and in the behind the scenes clips with the extras of the DVD, they show you how they created the Trojan Horse. Even though the horse is not in a lot of the movie and is really only filmed near the end, it is a masterful piece of work. Bradd Pitt and other actors do a wonderful job of portraying the war that occurred between the Greeks and the Trojans. The costumes, the sets and the acting is superb. 5 out of 5 stars (man, I’m on a role!) for creativity, set design and amazing actors (also not bad to look at as well-Starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom). 5 out of 5 for the stars and the story line.
Walk The Line (2005): For a long time, I’ve wanted to see the movie but never did for some reason. I’m so glad that my friends lent me the song. I had no idea what a fascinating life legend country singer Johnny Cash led! This movie, starring Reese Witherspoon (who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) and Joaquin Phoenix. Joaquin Phoenix plays an excellent Johnny Cash and apparently after talking with some of Johnny Cash movies, he portrays Mr. Cash very well. Mr. Cash’s life was anything but fantastic: He was raised in an abusive home, lost his brother at a young age, and suffered from alcoholism and prescription drug dependency. Thankfully, probably because of falling in love with June Carter and her sticking by him, he survived his drug dependency and alcoholism and became what we know of Johnny Cash today. Sadly, Johnny Cash died in 2003, so he wasn’t able to see this fabulous movie. 5 out of 5 for acting and singing.
What Lies Beneath (2000): This movie is a psychological thriller with a great mysterious plot. Starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer is about Harrison Ford’s character who has a sordid past. It was a great mystery and one I would watch many times. The only problem that I found is that Harrison Ford is a bad guy! Harrison Ford is not supposed to be a bad guy, but a good guy who saves the damsel in distress. 5 out of 5 stars.
Update: (these movies are not in alphabetical order).
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is a very entertaining moving. The plot is comedic in of itself: A husband and a wife leading very different lives come to discover that they are both experienced and trained hitmen. They soon discover that a hit is on the two of them for failing to hit a target (since they were preoccupied with shooting each other) and they team up to put the bad guys to bed. The lines are humourous and this movie is infamous mainly because this is the movie that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt apparently fell in love. I had wanted to watch it for awhile and when a friend came over and she chose the movie, we were soon watching this great flick. 5 out of 5 stars for great lines, amazing adventure and a funny ending.
Vacancy 2: The First Cut (2008). I love horrors! I especially love psychological thrillers just like this movie. A hotel off a country lane where not many people drive by has some very strange managers! A few sets of couples check into this hotel to find their night nothing but boring! 3 out of 5 stars for mystery but it is lacking true "scream value"!
Dark Night (2008).This movie was supposed to be a fantastic addition to the Batman series. It was supposed to be Heath Ledger's final fabulous portrayal of the Joker but for me it fell flat. It is really sad that Heath Ledger died during the filming of this movie-apparently because he got too involved in the Joker's character (that and also his overdose of drugs). If anything I found it to be quite mundane and boring. I'm sure that Batman lovers are fuming at the thought of someone being critical of a Batman movie, but for me, it wasn't worth watching. 1 star only for being slightly creative. I'm glad I didn't waste money watching it in theatres.
Raising Helen (2004). My friend really kept on pestering me to watch this movie since she said it was "amazing". I'm always leary of romantic-comedies but this movie was quite different. Helen is a successful career woman who one day finds that her sister's three children have been given to her (Helen's sister and brother-in-law die in a car accident, leaving Helen to raise a 5 year old, 10 year old and 15 year old). Helen has to give up her career, her party life and her independence to raise a few not-so-perfect kids. I'm sure it was a huge culture shock for her. I do like Kate Hudson and together with a great romantic-comedy actor John Corbett, this movie is a hit. It will make you laugh and cry. 3 out of 5 stars for an interesting plot and thankfully not the traditional girl meets boy, they fall in love, one of them lies, then they realize they can't be a part!-the usual romantic comedy equation). (I can't give it perfect 5 out of 5 becuase it really is a romantic comedy).
Lord of War (2005). I usually enjoy Nicholas Cage movies but this movie wasn't all that I hoped it would be. The plot did sound intriguing though so I was quite disappointed in the end. Nicholas Cage plays a character named Yuri (Ukrainian-so one point for that!) who turns from his mundane life as a bus boy in his father's Jewish store (long story since the family is Ukrainain) to a life of illegal arms dealing. He sells guns to everyone and anyone and he never picks sides. He has a lavish life and can supply his family with everything they want, but in the end, he does loose. I felt that during the movie, I wanted to hit the fast-forward button since the movie did seem to drag on. I did like the idea of the movie, but for some reason the movie didn't cut it for me. 3 out of 5 stars for the original plot idea but it lacked in excitement and mystery.
Blood Diamond (2006). I love this movie in theatres, and I loved it again when I watched it at home. I enjoy all of Leonardo Dicaprio and I think he is an amazing actor. He had the South African accent down pat and his co-actor, Djimon Hounsou is a powerful actor. The story demonstrates the reality of "blood diamonds". These are diamonds that are found in Africa that often come with someone shedding their blood. The movie is powerful and it makes you think twice about purchasing diamonds from war-torn contries. If you are planning on buying a diamond, make sure it is diamond from a "conflict free industry". 5 out of 5 stars for amazing plot, amazing actors and amazing message to us.
Juno (2007). This is another amazing jem of a movie with actors Ellen Page and Michael Cera. The lines in this movie are amazing and the things that come out of Juno's mouth is truly unique and creative. This is another movie that I loved in theatres and also watching it at home. After I saw the movie in theatres, I downloaded the soundtrack from itunes and loved every song. This movie is a feel good movie but it does have a wonderful message: teenagers CAN do the right thing and adults sometimes DON'T do the right thing. I think that if I were a teenager who got pregnant, I would want this movie to be my story. 5 out of 5 stars for a wonderful, feel good plot and perhaps a realistic portrayal of teenagers' lives.
Million Dollar Baby (2004). This movie won Oscars for Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor and it deserved every one of those awards. The movie is about Maggie, a boxing wannabe and her coach Frankie Dunn. Maggie desperately wants to learn how to box but Frankie doesn't want to train a girl. In the end after watching her try to train herself hour after hour in his seedy gym, he decides to train her. Within one year, she is competing at "world level". It is a wonderful story about perseverance, patience and the strength of one girl. 5 out of 5 stars for portraying a fascinating story.
I hope I have intrigued you enough with these movie critiques so that you too will start a movie list of your own.