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

The Matrix review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 15 January 2011 11:52 (A review of The Matrix)

The Matrix...when I first heard about it, I expected just another sci-fi action thriller. Good and filled with insane stunts, but not terribly intelligent.

Boy, was I wrong. Oh, the stunts are there in spades, all right, and yes, they are awesome. And the special effects are absolutely amazing (even if similar ones have been used in other movies as a result- and not explained as well).

But the movie has plot as well. It has characters that I cared about. From Keanu Reeves' excellent portrayal of Neo, the man trying to come to grips with his own identity, to Lawrence Fishburne's mysterious Morpheus, and even the creepy Agents, everyone does a stellar job of making their characters more than just the usual action "hero that kicks butt" and "cannon fodder" roles. I cared about each and every one of the heroes, and hated the villains with a passion. It has a plot, and it has a meaning...and lo and behold, a plot does help the fight scenes! Just try it, if you haven't seen the movie before. Watch one of the fight scenes. Then watch the whole movie. There's a big difference in the feeling and excitement of the scenes- sure, they're great as standalones, but the whole thing put together is an experience unlike just about everything else that's come to the theaters. Think about it next time you're watching one of the more brainless action flicks...think how much better it COULD be.

All I can say is WATCH THIS MOVIE. If you haven't, you're missing out on one of the best films of all time. It isn't just special effects, folks.


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Scent of a Woman review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 15 January 2011 11:47 (A review of Scent of a Woman)

Pacino FINALLY received the Oscar statue he so rightfully deserved in all the years he was in the acting business. It's nice to know the Academy finally came to their senses, and awarded him a Best Actor Oscar for this landmark role. This is one of his most memorable performances, and I'm sure when people think Pacino they think about his portrayal of the blind Colonel Slade. Hoo ha!

The movie itself is not, technically, great. Very good, but not great. The plot is quite predictable and driven via patented Hollywood devices. The courtroom climax contains one of Pacino's most powerful monologues. However, its outcome is melodramatic.

Personally, I thought the whole idea of Pacino being more perceptive of the world than any man or woman with perfect eyesight was far-fetched and sometimes more implausible than stunning. I'm sure there are blind men in the world who ARE in fact very perceptive to what goes on in the world, but few--if any--who can recall a whole history triggered simply by the sound of one's voice. How is he able to tell Chris O'Donnell has pimples? He's not handicapped by blindness; this guy has psychic powers! He doesn't need sight!

I do have to say that some of the most memorable lines come from this movie. Pacino says some original and wildly funny monologues involving subject matter I cannot discuss in this message. And of course there's the timeless quote: "Hoo ha!" Which later became a Pacino trademark.

"Scent of a Woman" is a somewhat flawed, but effective and entertaining film. It's a must-see for Pacino fans everywhere! It's not everyday you can catch a performance this powerful!


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The Big Bang Theory review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 15 January 2011 11:36 (A review of The Big Bang Theory)

This show is brilliantly written, has a fantastic cast, keeps you laughing from start to finish of every episode, and shows that even particle physics can be funny. For some of you who may not have seen The Big Bang Factor yet it is a lot like Scrubs if you crank up the geek factor and move the characters from a hospital to a laboratory.

I'm not sure what CBS is doing to promote this series but clearly it is not enough. I heard about this show through a friend and I have never seen a commercial for it ever. I don't know if CBS is trying to keep this show a secret or if their marketing guys just fell asleep at the wheel but this show is fantastic.

The characters, that seem exaggerated at first, are actually believable if you have ever been to a physics conference of any kind…or for that matter any comic-con. These "geeks" make up an ever growing segment of our population and I think it is wonderful that they finally have a show to call their own. Perhaps I am biased because of my own nerd tendencies but I have had arguments exactly like the ones in this show with my own clique of nerdy friends. To anyone who ever enjoyed math class watch this show and get your friends who didn't like math class to watch too because if they get you they will get this show.


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Glee review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 15 January 2011 11:32 (A review of Glee)

Glee presents a nascent high school glee club ready to blossom with the right talent and encouragement.

The lead characters from the adviser to the historically unpopular glee club members are genuinely engaging and attractive, albeit even as occasional subjects of hyperbole.

Our family found it hard to resist the show's charm. From teenagers to parents we were hooked and are anxious for more.

It will be challenging to keep up the level of production demonstrated in the pilot episode, but if Glee manages, Fox will have a truly great hit on its hands.

Lea Michele deserves special mention for her clear, powerful voice and high energy whether moving or standing still. As a sophomore desperate for fame she's credible and her dream doesn't seem impossible when you hear her sing.


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Stone review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 10 January 2011 12:00 (A review of Stone)

Filmmaking 101 has a rule; wait, Art 101 has a rule: Know your genre. A drama can have comic relief, but that works only in the framework of the genre that's been established. Comedies can have their dramatic, emotional moments, but if they then turn into dramas, audiences are confused and disappointed. If a screenwriter and director can't even tell their story competently within the confines of the genre they first set up, their movie will fail.

Yes, Stone is well acted. So what? Do you go to the movies to see good acting class exercises? If so, check this movie out. Norton and De Niro are entertaining, early on at least, and there's sharp dialog they have to work with (how else could they do their jobs? Don't you love people who praise the acting without acknowledging the script?)

But the story – the real reason most of us venture out to see a film – in Stoner is a mess. The movie starts off essentially as a thriller. The plot sets up a con working a con, with his sexy wife, on a prison case officer. But after putting the movie is thriller mode the movie then tries to be a drama about the meaning of life and presence of God. The movie tries to turn its main plot with the wife into a subplot, and then pretend that fun, salacious venture wasn't really what the movie wanted to deal with. No, let's talk about the meaning of life.

Stone, then, is a disappointment. Even as a drama it fails: the story dissipates into ambiguity with regard to the final action. POVs have jumped around all throughout the movie but in not showing us the final resolution between Stone and his wife, the whole fulcrum of the movie is left blank. As for the transformation of Stone – something Norton tries to act by occasionally calming his voice and widening his eyes – it's unbelievable, not fully formed or demonstrated and, like the rest of the movie, a pretentious attempt to take a fun dime-store novel's story and make it profound.

Don't waste your time or money with this one. If you have to see it, wait for video. The movie is shot in TV-like close-ups for the most part and it will play just as well there.


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Tangled review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 22 December 2010 12:21 (A review of Tangled)

I was apprehensive, to say the least, when I went to see Tangled, after the disappointment that was Princess and the Frog. First, Disney's back with CGI animation, which hasn't really worked that great except, maybe to some extent, Bolt. Second, the trailers made it look really slapstick -- I'm rather wary of today's animation features that try too hard to be hip and fast-paced and silly.

I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, there were slapstick and broad humor sure to make little kiddos laugh. But I was surprised by the sophistication as well. The screwball comedy between the hero and heroine is very well done; adults can appreciate that. The sidekicks, in particular the Max and Pascal, are hilarious. The hero and heroine are very likable and not flat. And there's a sense of sadness/wistfulness throughout the whole show that the adults will understand.

But what really is great is the animation. This is Pixar-worthy great. In fact, after a while I forgot it was CGI (which tends to be a bit stiff and crude when it comes to character animation). The human characters have that hand-drawn quality even though they're CG. In fact, they're more expressive than the hand-drawn characters in Princess and the Frog. The backgrounds are gorgeous (I can count every blade of grass). And there's an iconic scene where the kingdom rouses from darkness to light with thousands of floating lanterns -- it really is magical. It reminds me of classics such as Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty.

Best of all, the movie is not just all laughs and slapstick. It has heart too. Even the minor characters such as the King and Queen -- you can feel the emotions. And the romance is believable and not cheesy.

Like I said, I was very pleasantly surprised. It's something that is worthy of Pixar, and I'm glad to see Disney back on their game. While Princess and the Frog was a missed opportunity, Tangled is almost perfect.


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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 22 December 2010 12:15 (A review of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

First of all, I do not recommend anyone watching this in 3d. It is too dark and the action is just a motion blur. It's dreadful.

As for the film, there is much to enjoy with excellent visual effects, action set pieces (though ruined for me by the 3D) and a couple of stand out characters. But unfortunately there is also much to cringe at in some bouts of terrible dialogue.

The characters of Reepicheep (the kick-ass warrior mouse) and Eustace, (the obnoxious brat cousin) were the most fun with the actor playing Eustace demonstrating excellent comic timing. The relationship between them was funny and touching. And they even brought much needed zest to the action.

But alarmingly, Edmund and Lucy seem to have deteriorated as actors. Some of their emotions are too forced which is a pity. Not sure why, as I would expect them to improve with each film as did the young cast of the Harry Potter movies.

Overall, the story has surprisingly been well adapted considering not a great deal actually happens in the book. But the pacing is good, even though a little episodic. There are much more Christian analogies once again which would please many and irritate others. But I rather like all of the analogies.

I do feel however, that amongst adults, mostly those who enjoyed the Narnia books will enjoy this more than non readers of the books because the story is too bizarre even for a fantasy! But I think most children will enjoy this immensely, regardless if they read the books or not.

With better written dialogue and better handling of the child performances (namely Lucy and Edmund), this could have been a much better film but as its stands its an enjoyable enough entry in this series.

Oh and I will say it again, do not watch this in 3d.


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Shutter Island review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 20 December 2010 11:57 (A review of Shutter Island)

Really, Scorsese should just give it away for anyone. The man is one of the most brilliant directors of our time. Anyway, let me get to the actual movie; I just saw it at a early screening and have to write this while I'm thinking about how stunning it was. Shutter Island is certainly not a typical film, not even for Scorsese. It is a different take for the director, and he does it, as he does every film, perfectly, so much as to be in his own league of film-making. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say this: Shutter Island was completely unexpected, and a great start to 2010. It had all the components of a great film, and then some. The acting is spot on from every character; none of it seems forged or out of place. The script is fantastic; it has one of the most intriguing plots I have seen in a while (exception being Tarantino's Basterds). Everything, down to the set's lighting, was perfectly executed. I will say that not everyone will like this; Shutter Island, again, isn't your typical movie. To those, though, who do choose to see this film, be ready for a compelling, gripping, thought-provoking experience, so much so that you might think to see it again for further clarity (I know I will; it was so entertaining and my mind was blown!). Don't be surprised if you see this at the next Oscars...


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District 9 review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 20 December 2010 11:53 (A review of District 9)

Neill Blomkamp brings to screens a fantastic, gritty, realistic piece of science fiction with District 9. Not since Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner", John Carpenter's "The Thing", or James Cameron's "Aliens" have we seen a science fiction film with a vision of this caliber. After viewing District 9, it will be clear to one and all why Peter Jackson put so much faith in Blomkamp and took him under his wing as protégé.

Abandoning the usual settings of Hollywood sci-fi and placing us in the harsh slums of South Africa, we are given an original piece of work which takes risks in the way it tells its story. Not only does it go against the expectations of audiences who have been trained to expect mediocrity from their sci-fi, it goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide us with spectacle as well as something to ponder after we've downed our popcorn.

There is, thankfully, not an overused, overexposed celebrity in sight, and every unknown face in the film gives a solid performance. The aliens themselves, brilliantly realized with top notch CGI even manage to make us feel something, only rivaled by Gollum from "Lord of the Rings".

District 9 has so much to like. It's spectacular, darkly funny, entertaining and thoughtful all at the same time, and it's all done on a meager $30m budget. There is true talent on show here. If only there were more films like this, the world of cinema would be a more interesting place


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Finding Nemo review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 20 December 2010 11:50 (A review of Finding Nemo)

I'll be totally honest and confirm to you that everything what they say about this movie is true. It's a brilliantly animated masterpiece with lots of humor that actually works and a plot that really brings tears to your eyes from time to time. The modern artists of Pixar never cease to amaze the audience in expanding their horizons. Finding Nemo is visually stunning and you can have nothing but respect for the people who created it.

I was more or less skeptic about watching it, because it was so overhyped ! Two days before it got released in my country, the TV and press loudly announced that the DVD broke all records in the USA during its first release-day. That's usually a sign of being typically mainstream and fake...but Finding Nemo is not. I'm allergic to fake sentiment and pathetic feel-good movies but I was really touched by this one. The moral and valuable life lessons are always present, but they're not shoved down your throat or thrown in your face all the time. This movie really relativates itself and that's important for a good comedy. And it's hilarious !!! Every side character in Finding Nemo (and there are a LOT of them) is exceptional and worth a mention. And the voices are cast perfectly as well...like the voice of Willem Dafoe for Gill, for example...a perfect choice. The character of Dory ( speaks through the voice of Ellen DeGeneres ) steals the show. She's an adorable blue fish who suffers from amnesia. She forgets what she's doing or going to every five minutes and that really leads to hilarious situations.

Movies like this aren't just being made for children exclusive... They're good for everyone to realize you have to entertain yourself from time to time and just to enjoy the little things in life. I recommend this to everyone in the world. No matter if you're 9 or 99 years old, Finding Nemo will bring a smile on your face and leave behind a warm feeling in your heart.


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