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All reviews - Movies (60) - TV Shows (2) - Games (7)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 8 September 2011 05:15 (A review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes)

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical before watching this movie. I saw the trailer before and I thought "Wow, another crap movie about apes". (Mind you it wasn't just me who thought so, the editor of the trailer should be taken blame for that) But then I saw the rating and reviews and I was surprised (lots of the reviews say the same thing too). Thus, I became excited to watch it.

It was kind of a prequel to the original "Planet of the Apes", which I did not watch. Well "Planet of the Apes" was about a planet conquered by Apes where humans were enslaved. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" I suppose, is how it started. A few scientists tested a medicine which was supposed to help human enhance the brain action, on Chimpanzees. so eventually before the humans get smart, the Chimpanzees gotten smart first.

OK I think I made it sound a little stupid, but I have to admit it was quite well done. and it was no doubt for the effects and everything to be good after realizing it was done by Weta, which previous works were "Lord of the Rings", "King Kong" and even "Avatar".

Andy Serkis was Caesar the Ape. I think he was brilliant, again being cast as a character as so after Gollum in "Lord of the Rings" and the King Kong in "King Kong". The emotions and details looked really good. James Franco did fairly for his part, nothing spectacular but did what his character needed to be. It was interesting to see Freida Pinto here, interesting choice, though her part was not a lot in the movie. The other actors like John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and etc. did fairly well too.

The length of the movie was just nice, and enough to keep going for the whole movie. Even some really tense scenes too. Overall it was above expectation, I give it a thumbs-up for a movie as such to be made successful.

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Apollo 18 review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 8 September 2011 04:49 (A review of Apollo 18)

A found-footage horror movie that purports to have been recovered from NASA's secret final moon mission in the early 1970s. If you're a fan of found-footage horror movies, this one is definitely worth seeing. It follows the formula a little too closely, and in the end it's a tad disappointing. But, I must say, this is the only genre of horror movies that pretty much always scares me. It's all about keeping the threat off screen for as long as possible, giving only hints of it until the film nears the end. They rely mostly on boo! moments and loud noises, but it generally works, at least for me. There's a nice sense of dread for quite a while in the film, and, like The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity, I was watching it with my eyes slightly averted from the screen. The ending of this one is pretty silly, and it denies us a final twist that it hints at frequently. Like those previous two movies I mentioned, I'll never watch this again, but I was quite entertained while watching it.

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Win Win review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 4 September 2011 04:48 (A review of Win Win)

Actor-turned-director Tom McCarthy has put together a fine third feature in Win Win. All of his films tend to have compact stories that are small in scope but feature a very focused lens on the lives of their characters.

One might say that Win Win is perhaps his most conventional dramedy, as it features a normal suburban family with normal suburban problems. Paul Giamatti is "Mike Flaherty" an attorney with a small practice who's also a high school wrestling coach. He's not perfect, but he's doing the best he can. He and his wife "Jackie" (the always wonderful Amy Ryan) are busy raising two kids and leading their quiet life. But when Mike gives into temptation to become the guardian of one his elderly clients (for the $1,500 a month commission) things get to be a little more complicated. The client's grandson, a troubled 16-year-old kid named "Kyle" (Alex Shaffer) comes to stay with his grandfather while his mother goes through her drug treatment. Since his grandfather is living in a retirement home, Kyle ends up staying with Mike and Jackie, who feel compelled to help the kid out.

The film is funny and sweet and paints a really true-to-life portrait of its characters. No one is purely good or purely bad, they're all just human. They make mistakes, whether large or small, and they try to make up for them. In that way, the film will strike a nice honest chord with most of its audience.

Paul Giamatti is great in this, giving a much lower key performance than some of his previous works like American Splendor, Sideways, and even "John Adams." He falls into the suburban dad character very well and wears the character's skin rather nicely. Amy Ryan is always a joy to see on-screen, but I was a bit disappointed that her character was a little one-dimensional, depicting her primarily as a stay at home housewife and mother. Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambor are fun to watch as well, but serve generally to provide comedic relief (which they do in abundance) and their characters aren't nearly as well painted as Mike or Kyle.

Alex Shaffer, in his very first role, holds his own among some heavyweight actors. I thought some of the emotional scenes were a bit rough for him, but if he decides to continue his acting, more experience will only help to mature his instincts and abilities. Now, outside those heavily emotional scenes, Shaffer is great. His sort of deadpan, monotone delivery works very well for the character.

Kudos go out to Thomas McCarthy's directorial style and talent. He's put together three solid films, all of them equally enjoyable and smart. With Win Win, he's proved he can move past the "loner" archetype of his previous films and move into something more family oriented and encompassing of more characters (although when I think about it The Station Agent had that type of familial quality to it in the friends that Finbar meets).

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Van Wilder: Freshman Year review

Posted : 6 years, 11 months ago on 12 August 2011 02:52 (A review of Van Wilder: Freshman Year)

It's no Ryan Reynolds but it's still pulled off pretty well. What you have to remember is that this movie wasn't created with hopes that it would win an Oscar.

Sure, it doesn't have what the original title had, but i'm sure fans of Van Wilder will find Freshman Year a movie worthy of a few laughs.

Jonathan Bennett, who plays Van, plays the character brilliantly and as close to Ryan Reynolds as you can possibly get.

The ending leaves room for a forth, so I, along with many other fans i'm sure, are hoping for another.

I can almost certainly say that the majority if not all critics will say only bad things about this movie. But i can certainly say they don't and probably wont ever get the point of movies like this. It's not just another "stoner movie" it's a movie for people who appreciate a laugh.

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Wild Target (2010) review

Posted : 6 years, 11 months ago on 3 August 2011 02:19 (A review of Wild Target (2010))

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and thought it was very entertaining. True, there were only a few laugh-out-loud moments, but it kept me chuckling away for most of the 90-odd minutes. I thought Bill Nighy's performance was spot-on and Eileen Atkins' role gave her plenty of scope for comedy moments. Rupert Everett and Gregor Fisher worked well together, and Martin Freeman was very good as Dixon. Although the plot was simple, the film was reminiscent of a lot of British comedies from the Sixties and Seventies, which was probably why I enjoyed it so much. It was also good to see something that wasn't shot in America and didn't follow the stereotypical plot lines that most American films seem to have as a matter of course.


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Blitz (2011) review

Posted : 6 years, 11 months ago on 2 August 2011 03:40 (A review of Blitz (2011))

A cop killing crim is giving the police the run around in old London town. Blitz is a good movie that finally comes to life about 20 to 30 minutes in when we finally get to the main story. Once the chase is on with the odd couple partnership of tough rule breaking Tom Brant (Jason Statham) and gay straight laced Porter Nash (Paddy Considine) pursuing the cop killing criminal who's hungry for notoriety the Blitz (Aiden Gillen) the movie comes into it's stride. Before that we're inundated with so many characters it's a little confusing. What makes matters worse is that none of these side characters stories are ever really finished and the time wasted on them could have been spent giving a little more screen time to Porter Nash who is sadly underused.

Don't get me wrong though I enjoyed the film. Aiden Gillen is a brilliant bad guy, giving his character a Johnny Rotten swagger. I felt myself enjoying hating the Blitz and couldn't wait to see him get his just deserts but we could have done with getting a little more insight into his behaviour. Statham does a good job showing a little weakness now and then in his usually gruff demeanour. As I have already said Paddy Considine is great but not in it enough for my liking. London looks great and there is an exciting chase through the streets which is one of the high points of the movie.

I enjoyed the movie and would happily watch it again. It's biggest fault was trying to juggle too many story lines at once and unfortunately it dropped a couple of balls.

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As Good as It Gets (1997) review

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 27 February 2011 02:15 (A review of As Good as It Gets (1997))

Really, how to make something original, fresh and odd out of absolutely nothing except a few characters? Using characters, only characters and nothing except characters. That's the simple formula Brooks uses in all of his work, but, for me, he has never created so much charm, warmth and sensibility as he did in `As good as it gets'.

Characters write the screenplay in this movie, and everything that happens - happens because of what they are. They are nothing special – they are ordinary people we meet in the street every day and that have the same problems a lot of other people have. This movie presents the example of how much you can pull out of that. And if that is written as well as it is in this case, not even a happy ending can bother you. Because, in real life, shown here, what is the end?

Everything is good and warm in this movie, everything is fresh and vivacious, understandable and well performed. Jack Nicholson brings one of the best performances of his career, that terrific Helen Hunt finally got a chance to show how skilfully an actor can connect naturalism with the laws of the camera performance, and Greg Kinnear shows the most convincing emotions coming from a gay character I've ever seen.

The relationships between the characters are created in the way that you can't predict anything that's going to happen, eventhough you know in advance what could come out of their mouth and what kind of attitude they'll have in a certain situation.

You can simply feel the progressive collaboration that occurred between Brooks and the actors and the mutual understanding they developed, and it's not often that you see that kind of artistic superstructure shining on the screen so much as it does here.

I find `As good as it gets' complexed, vital, intelligent, emotionally deep and studied, fresh, original, amusing, cheerful, funny, and one of the best films of 1997.

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L.A. Confidential (1997) review

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 25 February 2011 05:21 (A review of L.A. Confidential (1997))

L.A. Confidential most likely falls into the category of one of the best movies of the past twenty years. The complex story line seemed to burst at the seams with intelligence. I found the complexity of several different sub-plots working together challenged the intellectual part of my brain while the intense action through out the entire movie satisfied the craving of the not-so-intellectual part of my brain that enjoys seeing a good brawl followed by a good shoot-out. Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson did and excellent job of combining many elements of several different kinds of films into one. They seem to have made this movie with several different audiences in mind. I for one, as I have mentioned, enjoyed the intellectual aspect as well as the action, while my wife enjoyed the combination of a love story with drama. It really has something for everyone. Bringing together all of these elements into one film sets it apart from many others. Of course the best aspect of L.A. Confidential is the way that not everything is as it seems, and then, in an instant, all of the plots are sprung like a trap and come together for a grand finale. Overall L.A. Confidential is an exceptional film that contains something for everyone.

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127 Hours review

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 22 February 2011 05:35 (A review of 127 Hours)

Danny Boyle has always been an indie favourite, consistently producing excellent films in many different genres. However, his films never enjoyed the box-office reach they deserved. That is, until his 2008 surprise blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire broke all expectations. It was a film that would then allow Danny Boyle to create whatever film project he wanted, with presumably whatever budget he needed. This is a dream situation for any director, but instead of taking the opportunity to direct a massive budget film, he writes and directs, 127 Hours. The film, which tells the incredible true story of Aron Ralston, could be handled in incredibly different ways. Luckily, Boyle's film about a man having to cut off his own arm doesn't leave you feeling depressed, but rather it is energetic and life-affirming. The film doesn't tone down any of the difficult aspects, in fact it throws them right in your face. However, what makes this film so fantastic, is that Boyle's style matches Ralston's view on life and explanation for surviving the awful ordeal. The film begins at a furiously kinetic pace, one you would be hard pressed to find in an action film. It is a jolt to the senses and it sets the perfect mood for the film. It is not making light of a terrible situation but rather putting you in the mind set that Aron Ralston was in before the accident occurred. What makes this directorial decision so important is the fact that without understanding the kind of person he was, we couldn't understand how he survived the awful ordeal he was in. This is what makes Boyle perfect for the material, where another director would most likely go very minimalist, Boyle goes all out in terms of style, without ever losing the emotional connection. Boyle's stylistic choices heighten emotional integrity where as other directors' use of style is often just visual stimulation. As important Boyle's direction was to making the film great, if it were not for James Franco's performance as Aron, the film would have failed. Franco gives one of the strongest performances of his career, if not his best. His performance could very easily have become showy and overly dramatic, yet Franco was smart enough to restrain himself until the moment called for dramatics. It would be a real shame to forget the unsung heroes of this film, the two directors of photography; Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle. As the film features, for the most part, one man on screen for the duration, Boyle decided to make the visuals into their own characters. To do this, he employed two fantastic directors of photography to make the visuals competing characters. As the film progressed, remembering the incredibly impressive shots became harder and harder, to a point where I lost count. The film features some of the most memorable shots of Boyle's career, many of which leave you wondering how they possibly accomplished them. Danny Boyle has made a career of films about men who are pushed to their absolute limits, yet the films always leave you feeling better than when you arrived. He does not muddy his films with sentimentality or out of place scenes to make the audience feel better, but his films still leave you feeling an energy for life. It is his talent of finding the strength within people and his natural ability to present it to us that makes his films so powerful. 127 Hours is one of the rare films that leaves an audience in their seats during the credits, and for many, even after the credits are done their scroll.

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The Fighter review

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 18 February 2011 06:31 (A review of The Fighter)

In many ways, "The Fighter" is the film of 2011. A family drama with a pugilistic background. The punches, physical and emotional in and out of the ring took me completely by surprise. What didn't surprise me was Mark Whalberg's signature all over the place. Let me explain: Many years ago I was at a lecture by director Martin Donovan when during the Q&A somebody made fun of the fact that Calvin Klein underwear model Marky Mark had played a part (his first acting role) in Donovan's made for TV "The Substitute" Donovan with elegance and firmness destroyed the guy asking the question, describing Whalberg's strengths and ended up saying "Mark Whalberg will be one of the top actors around and he will probably be running Hollywood within a decade" I had Donovan's words buzzing in my ears when I sat speechless watching "Boogie Nights". Whalberg also produced "Entourage" and the startling "In Treatment". He now produced "The Fighter" and his performance, interior and powerful, dominates the film allowing other members of the cast, shine in truly showy roles, Christian Bale for instance - really good. Melissa Leo is a stand out as the mother/manager. Superb. So I won't be surprised to see Mark Whalberg receiving the top honors at the next Academy Awards, as an actor and producer. He certainly deserves it. Bravo!

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