Cowboys & Aliens is the latest offering from Iron-man director John Favreu and Dreamworks 3rd try at a comic-book inspired movie. This was one of the summer movies that I wasn’t really anticipating even though I liked the source material (Cowboys & Aliens comic from 2006) but the casting for this film was top notch so I decided to give it a go.
Archive for the ‘movies’ Category
Tags: Aliens, Cowboys, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Movie, Olivia Wilde, Review
After the disaster that was Tim Burton & Mark Wahlberg’s reboot of Planet of the Apes, I told myself to just abandon all hope that the franchise could ever do better than the original film. And so when I heard about Rise of the Planet of the Apes I had no intention of learning more about it but I knew I was gonna watch it anyway but with the same level of interest as when I watch B-rated horror movies (not a lot). But for clarification, this movie is actually not a reboot, nor is it a prequel rather it’s something of a unique take on the series; it’s actually a pre-boot. See, they’re starting over but with an alternate reality different from the timeline of the original film. This is kind of the same technique that they did with Star Trek and that turned out to be a really good choice so hopefully it works for Apes as well.
I’ve had mixed feelings about this film for a few months now. On one hand I’m so happy that there’s gonna be a capt america movie and that it actually ties in to the avengers movie for next year and on the other hand I’m scared because I didn’t think Cap would translate well to the big screen plus I hated the fact that they had to kill of Bucky again just so the comics would tie-in well with the release of the film. But Thor has proven me wrong in that even the hardest superheroes to write for can still be brought to the big screen in an awesome manner.
Tags: Harry Potter, movies, reviews
First of all, let’s just take a moment to soak in the bad-assery of Harry Potter series. This is like our generation’s Star Wars (esp since I refuse to recognize the existense of Star Wars I-III) and it’s really an awesome kid’s book series, so awesome in fact that even us adults have become fans of it as well.
Having said that I think there’s one big circlejerk going on when it comes to reacting to or reviewing the last installment of the Harry Potter series. Everyone seems to be saying it’s a very good film but how much of our feelings/reviews are being swayed to the positive side of things because of nostalgia or because of the fact that this will be the last Harry Potter movie ever?
If you stop and analyze or try to understand what’s going on in transformers 3 while you’re watching it then you won’t like this film. The pacing is as bad as Green Lantern and what’s worse is that the film tries so hard to be funny during the 1st and 2nd act but it keeps failing miserably. This movie is nearly 3 hours long even though it could easily trim 20-30 minutes of useless scenes (i.e. the interview with Fox news). One of the things I hated in Transformers 2 was the scene where all the autobots were all racing to meet with the decepticons and the next scene optimus prime ended up all alone vs the bad guys. It didn’t make sense and it was a lousy shortcut to create suspense and make the odds stack against the good guys. Transformers 3 did it twice this time.. there was a horrible jumpcut wherein they never showed the alien ships reaching earth, after 2 seconds of screentime they just appeared out of nowhere! And also during the 3rd act the autobots were valiantly fighting off the bad guys and then the next scene they were all suddenly captured, WTF?!
There’s been quite a few movies based on Nicholas Sparks novels, Message in a bottle (1999), A Walk to Remember (2002), The Notebook (2004) and Nights in Rodanthe (2008). I’ve watched all these movies except Message in a bottle; The Notebook is still one of my favorite ‘chick-flicks’ and even Nights in Rodanthe wasn’t that bad. The latest film to draw inspiration from Nicholas Sparks’ books is Dear John, this time the lead role goes to Channing Tatum who plays an army fellow and the leading lady is Amanda Seyfried who plays a girl named Savannah.
I usually try to be light on the spoilers during my reviews but this time I’m going to spoil as many details as possible. The thing is, if you’re in a relationship you’re probably going to be forced to watch this film anyway so I’m just making sure you know what you’re getting your self into.
John Tyree (Channing Tatum) is an Army soldier who’s on leave when he meets Savannah Lynn Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) who’s enjoying spring break with a couple of friends. Savannah accidentally drops her purse on the beach and John jumps off the dock to get it for her because her whole life is in that purse. We never saw what was in that purse so I’m just going to assume that they made up everything to justify Savannah’s attraction to John when they first met, that and his chiseled abs probably. The thing is, the chemistry just wasn’t there, I never once believed that these two were in love with each other even if you add in that cheesy montage of the 2 weeks they spent together.
Their first fight was ok; I mean I’d be angry too if you called my dad retarded even if you meant to help and even if you knew what you were talking about. But the way they made up was just rubbish, I mean John beat up two of Savannah’s best friends and he was forgiven because he wrote one letter?!
So now John and Savannah are supposed to be madly in love with each other (which I don’t buy) but their farewells are moving nonetheless. They then begin a long distance relationship and exchange handwritten letters (which are more personal and sweet) for a very long time. After John’s service, 9/11 happens and he’s torn between his sense of duty to his country and his love for Savannah. They argue again, and this time during the first part of the argument Savannah just walks away and didn’t want to talk it over at all which made no sense, maybe the director needed a better scene other than the backyard porch.
So eventually John goes back to the army, and for 2 years they go back to writing letters to each other. After several months John, gets a Dear John letter from Savannah saying that she’s already been engaged to someone else. Shortly after John gets shot in the line of duty and after a few weeks of recovery he wanted to reenlist. After a while John had to go home because he was informed that his father had suffered a stroke. John stays with his father while he’s hospitalized and it’s during this time where we see the only good scene in the film. John wrote a letter to his father, (because that’s what he does) but then ends up reading it to him because his father is too weak to even open it up. This is definitely my favorite scene of the whole movie because Channing Tatum acted pretty well and of course Richard Jenkins was just awesome.
After the death of his father John decides to see Savannah only to find out that she got married to Tim and not Randy (Scott Porter). And they of course get into a fight, with John asking why she never bothered to call then Savannah saying that if she heard his voice it would just make her come back to him. She then pretty much says that she married Tim (Henry Thomas) out of pity and because she likes his kids too. It turns out Tim has cancer and an experimental drug that Savannah’s rich family can’t afford is his only chance to extend his life. In an act of kindness John sells his father’s coin collection and anonymously donates the money to Tim’s operation. John goes back to the army, Tim eventually dies and in the last scene of the film John and Savannah met each other again and they ended up hugging each other.
Overall you this is a pretty lousy movie, its cheesy town population John and Savannah, it’s like eating a meal where all the side dishes were above average while the main course had maggots in it. The real hook in films like this is the relationship between the two leads and ultimately the chemistry was never there. There are scenes where Channing does a good job (but he never pulls of being awkward or shy, I mean this guy seems like he’s the new Joss Hartnett only with a narrower acting range) and there are some scenes where Amanda acts well too but they never act well in the same scene! Not once did I believe that they were playing two people in love that’s why the story fails. It tries to add interesting things like the effects of 9/11, autism and even a surprise twist but these things are supposed to add to main point of the story but instead they ended up stealing the spotlight. Same thing with the actors, Henry Thomas who plays John’s dad just shows you how to pull off subtle acting that evokes more emotions than anything that John and Savannah could come up with.
There you have it, watch this film knowing that it’s not even half the film that The Notebook was, or just watch the trailer since it pretty much tells you the whole story already. But if you do end up watching it, hats off to you, since you obviously love your partner enough that you would suffer through this film, oh and I bet you watched Twilight too!
Up in the Air is the 3rd feature film from writer/director Jason Reitman, the two films before this one are thank you for smoking and Juno. I loved both the later films and this third one is a film adaptation of the 2001 novel by Walter Kirn, also entitled Up in the Air.
The movie starts off with a nice montage of aerial views from different states in the US accompanied by nice music and for someone who never gets to travel it was nice to see things that frequent flyers often come across. The film’s main character is Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a career transition counselor or in simpler terms a guy who fires people for a living and right after the beginning credits you see real people expressing how they felt when they got fired. That’s an excellent way to introduce Ryan Bingham because it shows the audience exactly what he encounters when he does what he does best. He’s also made travelling an art form as everything he does from packing his luggage to checking in at the airport is done with amazing accuracy and efficiency.
George Clooney did a lot for this character but did it with such ease because Ryan Bingham seems a lot like him in real life, or maybe that’s just how great actors work, they make you believe that their like the characters they portray in real life. The script was clearly written with him in mind and although I think Robert Downey Jr. could do most of the acting he wouldn’t be able to make the character as likable as Clooney did. You see Ryan Bingham was never presented as a bad guy or a good guy in then film, he was a guy with a job that would make anyone seem bad in nature but still you didn’t hate him for that, he’s just a guy with different views and happens to be really good at doing a ‘dirty’ job and he manages to pull you in so much so that you root for him to succeed in everything and for me that includes hoping that even though people he fires might not deserve it, i hoped that they finished their conversation believing all of Ryan Bingham’s rubbish.
In a chance encounter in Dallas he comes across someone who is essentially his female counterpart, Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). Vera acts very well and as good as George Clooney was in this film she was still able to hold her own and make it feel like we are seeing two people that are attracted to each other as equals, granted Ryan has a lot more miles under his belt but that’s not really the point. I really loved their interactions throughout the film and this first encounter was so well edited because the camera lingers enough to show subtle facial expressions during the scene.
Anna Kendrick of Twilight fame plays Natalie Keener a smart and young professional who threatens Ryan Bingham’s lifestyle by introducing technology into the mix, instead of traveling across the United States to fire people she proposes that their company should just lay people off via web conference. This movie was Anna Kendrick’s chance to shine and like Vera Farmiga performs really well alongside the Hollywood elite. I couldn’t look at her when she starts shouting and lecturing Bingham because her eyebrows just looked weird when she was angry but other than that she did really well in this film. She provides an alternate view and sometimes even a wake up call for Ryan and she adds humorous scenes to the film as well.
The rest of the cast also did a fine job and that includes Jason Bateman who plays Ryan’s boss Craig Gregory, J.K. Simmons and Zach Galifianakis who were both fired by Ryan were also even though they basically had one scene in the film.
The thing that’s so great about this movie is that you’re getting more than what you pay for. It shines the light on the current economic situation and if you’re in a country that has a double digit unemployment rate or maybe you or someone you know have been laid off as well this film will definitely strike a chord especially during the scenes where Ryan Bingham does his work and when the film cuts to clips of real people getting fired. It’s also a nice romantic comedy that couples watching the show will appreciate, its not overly sappy but there’s enough romance in the film for lovers, plus it offers a unique twist at the end. It’s a kinda feel good movie, for anyone looking to be inspired you can take Ryan Bingham’s motivational speeches and see what your backpack contains and its up to you how you want to fill its contents and show how much you appreciate them.
This film just does everything, its a compelling drama and yet it’s also candid in tackling a lot of things in life from the normal to the grand but in a very personal way. At this point I’m just rambling praises about the movie, but that’s how good it is, it manages to do all these things and combines them seamlessly into one film thanks to great editing by Dana Glauberman and direction by Jason Reitman.
And I’m not entirely pissed about the fact that my review is 3 months late because I live in Singapore because I can’t wait to see this film again and I only have to wait a week or 2 before the DVD is released!
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a movie adaptation based on the book of the same name. It’s being compared to Harry Potter because its a popular children’s book that also has mass appeal and with the HP series coming to an end would this new series be able to capture the hearts of movie-goers as well?
The story begins with Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) living a slightly unsatisfying high school life. He’s suffering from what is first thought of as ADHD and dyslexia plus his mom is in a relationship with a loser. So I guess this story automatically makes him relatable, but alas the twist.. he’s a son of a God, a major one at that.. Poseidon! He is accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt so he has to go undertake a quest to find whoever stole the bolt in 14 days else there will be a war between Gods. Why he was the first person Zeus thought of I have know idea, I guess Hades’ off-springs are a bunch of goody little two shoes demigods that love their parents and uncles so much that they wouldn’t even think of overthrowing them. So now his quest begins to retrieve Zeus’ bolt before all hell breaks loose.
Percy Jackson is charming enough to pull-off a lead role but for me his acting still falls a bit short, a good example is when something bad happened to his mom he reacted with such flat emotion that I already knew that she was gonna be okay. I felt that the relationship between Percy and his mom, Sally (Catherine Keener) could’ve worked better if they were played by better actors. Grover (Brandon Jackson) who plays Percy’s junior guardian, was the only one that seems to make the scenes enjoyable, especially when there’s no CGI monsters involved. And although the idea of having a token black guy, or in this case half-goat , just for laughs kinda turns me off I can’t deny the effectiveness of his jokes. The daughter of Athena Annabeth (Alexandra Dadario) was such a bore to watch, sure she’s strong, she’s supposed to be strong, beautiful and smart but even with those traits her character or maybe the portrayal felt empty. All I can remember is that she has pretty eyes, her first seen was a sword training that looked to choreographed especially because they decided to show it in slow mo and she said something about having strong emotions, maybe because she really didn’t have a lot of material to work with or maybe she was just plain boring.
Supporting casts are even bigger names than the main actors, you have Pierce Brosnan as a centaur drill sergeant (Chiron), Uma Thurman as Medusa Sean Bean plays Zeus. Their acting was great but the script they had to work with was horrible.The script was probably the lousiest thing in the movie, I think I heard “hey guys, check this out” three times too many. “This is your problem not mine, this is your war not mine,” was another line I hated oh, and Zeus’ “Let there be peace” decree.
The music was also pretty bad, and the jokes they were trying to pull-off were on the nose, oh we’re going to visit Hades, queue in “Highway to Hell!” And going back to the CGI, they were pretty ‘meh’ Hades looked awesome but he didn’t present a threat to the protagonists, things that were trying to kill them like the minotaur and hydra just didn’t help in making the audience feel that Percy and his friends were in any real danger. Kudos to Uma Thurman for providing a bit of tension during her encounter with Percy’s crew. Even the final battle was so boring, do you expect me to feel that Hermes’ son would present any real threat to Poseidon’s boy?
It’s good that this film’s running time is pretty short its less than two hours which is suitable for a film that has an epic storyline but doesn’t feel epic at all.This film had a lot of good things to work with, the idea of having ancient Greek mythology applied to modern times is very interesting and thanks to this movie I’m more curious to check out the book because I’m sure it succeeds on areas where this movie fails. And as always with movies like these, its better to bring along kids ‘coz they’re the ones that aren’t jaded with these stories and effects.
I didn’t understand Sony’s decision to forego this film’s theatrical release in the US after it was shown at the
Seattle Film Festival last year. That was until I watched it on the big screen a week ago and I saw that the film just doesn’t have a lot to offer.
This film has all the ingredients to become a box office, great actors like Richard Gere and Sarah Roemer, a good director Lasse Hallström and it features lovable/cute dogs.This film is actually a remake of a Japanese film Hachikô monogatari from 1987 which is based on the true story of Hachikō, the most loyal dog in history.
I watched this film expecting to be moved a lot because I already knew about the Japanese dog and I felt that a movie about him would have a really high TPM (tears per minute) stat. But at the end of the day I was just kinda bored, its roughly 90 minutes long but it already felt like too much time to tell such an incredible yet simple story. Incredible in terms of the bond between the dog and his master but simple in the sense that theres not much else that the movie offers.
The Wilson family wasn’t interesting, even though Sarah Roemer and Richard Gere had pretty good chemistry. But the real chemistry was between Hachi and Gere’s character, their relationship was properly showcased throughout the film. But sometimes I felt uncomfortable like when the scene implied that the dog got jealous when Richard Gere and his wife actually spent some quality time together. So the main relationship was established pretty well but there wasn’t enough character development for the supporting cast thats why I was never really cared for the other characters other than the dog and his master, it just felt that they had no purpose other than to populate the town. For instance, we never understood why the wife hated having pets so much, it was hinted that they had a pet before but that was it. The town setting fit well with the story and the people near the train station were numerous enough to make the location more interesting but really only two people had a purpose. The train station guy and the hotdog guy whose interaction with Hachi was more than just saying “oh hi Hachi” or “how did you get here?!”.
The film is cute and funny at times as expected when you have such a lovable animal as a main character in a film. It was also a nice touch to switch to dog vision from time to time so that we can see how the world looks like from Hachi’s eyes.
The music for this film by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek has such a great feel to it and its always timed perfectly. It’s probably the only notable thing in this film other than the core story and the performances of the dogs. Everything else falls pretty flat and that includes most of the emotional scenes.
The most powerful scenes of the movie involves Hachi going back to the train station patiently awaiting his master to return. And it was handled well especially after Wilson’s untimely demised, where they showed the seasons changing in the background. I was pleased that they didn’t put text showing months or years passing by, they actually assumed that the audience would be smart enough to figure it out.
But thats also my main complaint for this film, after the first train wait which happens 30 minutes into the film, theres really just more of the same after that. Theres a little dog-fetching on the side and a funny scene with a skunk but mostly its just him going back to the train station day after day. Which is amazing in real life but quite boring to watch over and over in a film. But the most moving scene in my opinion came near the end of the film when they showed gritty Hachi walking slowly 10 years after the death of his master and still waiting for him daily at the train station.
I’m not complaining that the film feels too grounded, I can actually appreciate the fact that it doesn’t sensationalize the story but they could’ve added a few more interesting things to the story that would still make it feel real.
I can’t recommend people to seek this film out in theathres unless your a dog-lover but I will say that its a good DVD rental and a really nice film for your whole family to watch together in the living room.
Mel Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a Boston detective whose daughter has been brutally murdered shortly after coming home to visit him. The story follows his quest to find out who killed his daughter and why.
It’s tempting to say that Edge of Darkness is a rip-off of Taken because the plot is almost similar, but as the trailer for the movie shows instead of being kidnapped her beloved daughter is murdered early on in the film. Edge of Darkness has a lot less action compared to Taken but it manages to create more thrill and tension compared to the later. This movie is actually a film adaptation of a popular Brit mini TV series of the same name.
It’s been years since Mel Gibson starred in a lead role of a film and because of that prolonged absence from the limelight and a lot of controversies in his personal life people might have forgotten how good of an actor he is. This is the perfect role for Mel Gibson to stage a comeback because Thomas Craven feels much like Mel Gibson in real life, a tough guy that has endured a lot of suffering and now he finally looks defeated and exhausted.
We all know Martin Campbell also directed Casino Royale which was a great action flick but like I said this film is more of a drama/thriller rather than an action film. I actually believe that the first draft of the film only had one or two action sequences and when the producers saw it they asked for a more action-driven story. That being said it didn’t ruin the film, if anything it just made the film more believable. In real life, if one man was trying to uncover the real reasons his daughter got murdered he wouldn’t be kicking ass every day, he’d only be killing bad guys in between drowning in sorrow and finding clues.
And that’s where this film excels, it feels real, the plot twists, the characters and most of the circumstances feels like they’re happening in real life. The small details like Mel Gibson falling asleep while waiting to meet for an informant and sweating bullets after a scuffle added a lot the film. Certain scenes were also shot so well that you get the feeling that Thomas Craven and people he talks to were never safe and always under surveillance.
Other than Mel Gibson, there are two more actors that I really liked. Ray Winstone plays one of the more interesting characters in the film, Darius Jedburgh a chaotic neutral type of guy who never really makes his intentions known. I think his character could overshadow Thomas Craven if he was in one or two more scenes. It was fun to see who he would align himself with because you never know whose side he’s on throughout the film. He was charismatic on screen even though he talks to softly to be understood sometimes. Danny Huston plays Jack Bennett a typical CEO, evil and cowardice to the core. He also played his part well, even better than his portrayal of an antagonist in Wolverine Origins. As for the rest of the cast their performances range from okay (e.g. Bojana Novakovic who plays the daughter, Emma Craven) to downright horrible (e.g. Shawn Roberts as the boyfriend and Dennie O’Hare as some shady guy from the government).
Not every scene was believable though, there were certainly times where I found the dialogue corny, usually when its between the bad guys and also some events showing informants getting into harms way thanks to the villain’s impeccable timing are also hard to believe. Admittedly the film’s 3rd act probably wasn’t an interesting as the first two because it felt like Thomas Craven’s journey of vengeance was cut-short in order to keep the film under two hours.
Overall its still a nice movie, I wanted to look away every time Mel Gibson was talking to someone and the music stops because I know something bad is gonna happen but I never knew what and when; that coupled with a few strong character performances, great direction and an interesting plot with a lot of ok twists makes this film a good suspense/thriller in my book.