Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: Law Abiding Citizen

Grade: B+

Law Abiding Citizen is a thriller about a man, Clyde Shelton, who's wife and daughter are brutally murderer one night right in front of him. The two killer's are caught and put on trial but one of them cracks a deal with an up and coming DA, Nick Rice, who just wants to protect his high conviction rate. That killer only goes to jail for five years. Ten years later the man who murdered Clyde's family is kidnapped and taken to a warehouse where he is brutally murdered by Clyde himself. Clyde is caught by the same DA that made the deal with this murderer and thrown in jail. However, somehow from jail it appears that Clyde is quickly picking off anybody and everybody who had to do with the trial and conviction of his family's murderers. As Clyde tries to teach Nick a lesson about what Clyde sees as a corrupt justice system, Nick must try to find out how Clyde is doing it and stop him before he kills anybody else.

This movie was fun and exciting. Throughout the whole movie you really have no idea how Clyde is pulling off all these murders from his jail cell. The action is great and the suspense is very exciting. I really enjoyed this movie and part of that was because it was a very nice commentary on how our justice system is, maybe not broken, but very flawed. Clyde's frustration over seeing his family's murderer get off so lightly because a DA doesn't want to risk trying him at the slight possibility that it might affect his conviction rate seems very real and can be relatable to some people.

Gerard Butler (Gamer, 300) plays Clyde Shelton, a techie who's family is brutally murdered. Butler's performance was very realistic and great, I really hope he keeps this up, I really enjoy most of Butler's movies. Jamie Foxx (Ray, The Soloist) plays Nick Rice, a district attorney who is only out for self gain, even if that means letting a murderer go free if it won't affect his conviction rate. Foxx's performance was pretty good, showing that his character does truly believe that the justice system works, but can admit it has some flaws. The movie is mostly based around these two characters as they play an interesting game of cat and mouse.

I highly recommend this movie to anybody who is a fan of revenge type movies. It was very entertaining and as I mentioned, a great commentary on our flawed justice system. The movie had high energy throughout although the ending was a little soft it was still overall a great movie well worth seeing.

Great quote: " You're the one who makes deals with murders yea? Well I've come to make mine."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Review: The Invention Of Lying

Grade: B-

The Invention Of Lying is a comedy about a world where nobody can lie. It is a very interesting world where people say exactly what's on their mind no matter how harsh it can be. It is a world where the blockbuster movies are just a guy sitting in a chair reading a "script" about certain historical events. The movie follows a man, Mark, who is a screenwriter for just such films. Mark appears to be a sad pathetic little man. He is unlucky at love and it seems everybody at his work hates him. One day, as he's about to be evicted from his apartment, he discovers that he can lie. He then starts to use this ability for his own personal gain. One day, while his mother is dieing, he tells her that there is an afterlife and that she has nothing to fear. Word of this gets out and things quickly get out of hand as he makes bigger and bigger lies to calm the public.

This movie was pretty funny but I have to admit, I think it would work better as a skit on SNL rather than a full length movie. The brutal honesty of people was funny at first but got old after a while. It was entertaining and funny after Mark first realizes that he can lie and he's trying to tell his friends about it but every lie he tells they just believe. One of the funniest parts of the movie to me were the advertisements. For instance; Coke: We're very famous. And my personal favorite; Pepsi: for when they don't have Coke. The movie does get interesting when he starts making lies about "the invisible man in the sky" and basically invents religion. Some people will probably take offense to that part of the movie but I thought it was great.

Ricky Gervais (Ghost Town, Stardust) plays the lead role of Mark. I've always liked Gervais, I feel that he has perfect delivery and timing and this movie was no exception, his character was very funny. Jennifer Garner (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Catch and Release) plays Anna, a girl mark has had a crush on and is trying to get into a relationship with. I don't care much for Garner but she worked for this role and she had her moments where she was pretty funny. Rob Lowe (Wayne's World, TV's The West Wing) makes a bit of a comeback in this movie. Lowe has always been pretty funny and does great with these comedy bad guys, I really enjoyed his role. Louis C.K. plays Marks best friend and he is surprisingly unfunny in this movie. Tina Fey is in it for a little bit and she was pretty funny. This movie also featured some seemingly random, and rather small, appearances by Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton.

Overall, this movie was pretty funny and worth watching but I might have to recommend waiting to rent it on DVD because it really just wasn't all that great.

Great quote: "Our children will be fat and have stubby little noses."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Review: Whip It

Grade: A

Whip It is a movie about a girl, Bliss, who lives a somewhat typical ordinary life in Bodeen Texas. Her mother, Brooke, is constantly putting her in beauty pageants that she just doesn't quite seem to fit into. Bliss and her best friend, Pash, dream of leaving Bodeen as soon as they can after they graduate high school. One day while in Austin shopping with her mom, Bliss finds a flier about a roller derby. Bliss and Pash decide to go watch the derby one night. While there Bliss tells one of the derby girls that they are her new hero. The derby girl convinces her to try out later that week. Bliss, hesitant at first, tries out and it turns out she's a natural talent. She quickly bonds with her teammates and they become her second family. Bliss discovers that the roller derby and the other girls makes her very happy and helps her deal with small town life and her over bearing mother by sneaking away a couple nights a week to practice and compete.

Whip It is the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore and I have to admit, she did a great job. I found Whip It to be amazing, heart warming and funny. The movie looked great and the roller derby scenes were fantastic. It all was set to a fantastic soundtrack. Simply put, this movie was great and well worth watching, one of the best movies of the year.

Ellen Page (Juno, Hard Candy) plays the lead role, Bliss. Page is, in my opinion, well on her way to being one of the best actresses of my generation. She was superb in this role, I loved every second of her performance. Alia Shawkat (TV's Arrested Development) plays Bliss' best friend Pash. She did a pretty good job as well with this role. Marcia Gay Harden (Into The Wild, American Dreamz) plays Bliss' mother, Brooke. She did a wonderful job playing an ex-beauty pageant contestant who seems to desperatly miss her past sometimes, great performance. Kristen Wiig (TV's Saturday Night Live, Extract) plays Maggie Mayhem, the person whom Bliss seems to bond with the most on the team. Wiig was great and very funny as usual. Juliette Lewis (Catch and Release, Christmas Vacation) plays Iron Maven, the leader of the Hurl Scouts rival team, the Holly Rollers, and Bliss' own nemesis. Lewis does a great job with the role of the cruel Maven. The movie also features great performance by the rest of the amazing cast which includes, Drew Barrymore, Zoe Bell, Eve, Ari Graynor and Jimmy Fallon.

Whip It was a truly great movie and a very enjoyable watch. I highly recommend going gout to see this movie. It was original but predictable, still wonderful though.

Great quote: "Go ask him if he wants a Squealer."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Review: Zombieland

Grade: A

Zombieland is a new comedy/horror out that takes an old story line, zombies, and puts a new and interesting twist on it. The movie opens with the line "Welcome to the United States of Zombieland" and sets up the movie. For once we have a zombie movie that doesn't take place at the beginning of the outbreak but rather at a time after the outbreak has taken over all of humanity and there are extremely few people still alive who aren't zombies. The main character who narrates the story is known only as Columbus. He is very paranoid but it helps him to survive. He has a list that he follows very closely to help him survive. Stuff like rule #1: Cardio, because the first people to go were fatties apparently. Columbus eventually meets Tallahassee and they decide to team up at least for a little bit. The two eventually encounter Wichita and Little Rock, two youngish girls who manage to swindle and rob the guys not once but twice. After the second time they are convinced to actually stay with Columbus and Tallahassee to try to increase their chance of survival as they go west to LA to go to an amusement park, so Little Rock can actually be a kid for once.

This movie was brilliant, from start to finish. It kept me interested and laughing the whole way through. Columbus's list of survival tips are great and I love that they pop up in the background somewhere whenever they are utilizing one of them, Limber Up, Check the backseat, enjoy the little things. It was all just so perfect and genius. Tallahassee's quirks were fantastic. The man is on a quest to find a twinkie to start. On top of that he feels that you need to let loose every once in a while in Zombieland or you'll go insane. So randomly throughout the movie, Tallahassee will pick up a bat or a pipe or something and just destroy whatever is near him. The bond between Wichita and Little Rock is great, they are sisters and you can really tell that they care about each other. To top it all off, this movie has the best zombie killing scenes I have ever seen in my life. Simply an amazing movie.

The cast for this movie was perfect. Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland, The Education of Charlie Banks) Was perfect for the main role of the neurotic Columbus. Columbus used to be a shut in and never really had a girlfriend. The first close experience he really seemed to have with a girl, she turned into a zombie shortly after. I really like Eisenberg and he shines in this movie. Emma Stone (Superbad, Ghost of Girlfriends Past) played Wichita. Emma Stone is becoming a better and better actress every time I see her and she was great in this movie, her performance was very believable. Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Nim's Island) plays Little Rock. Abigail Breslin is a fantastic actress, especially for her age, and she did great in this movie, I hav high hopes for her. To top off this fantastic cast is Woody Harrelson (Semi-Pro, No Country For Old Men) playing the seemingly insane Tallahassee. I have always liked Harrelson and he just keeps getting funnier and funnier and he was excellent in this movie, really kept me laughing the whole way through. The movie also has brief appearances by Mike White and Amber Heard and the best cameo I have ever seen with Bill Murray. That is the entire cast of the movie aside from the tons of extras who played the zombies.

The movie did have one key flaw: The characters in the movie rely too heavily on guns as a means of survival. As we all know, guns would not be the most efficient weapon to have on hand during the zombie apocalypse, especially something like a double barrel shotgun. Guns require bullets, what happens when your being chased and you run out of bullets or you need to reload? You get eaten, that's what. That's why you should rely on things like crowbars, swords and other blunt and/or sharp objects. A lead pipe doesn't need bullets, a 4x4 doesn't need to be reloaded. At one point in the movie Tallahassee uses a banjo and a baseball bat once then throws them away, that is just wrong.

I really cannot recommend this movie enough. If you love comedies, you'll enjoy this movie. If you love zombies, you'll enjoy this movie. If you love both and love movies like Shaun of the Dead, you are going to absolutely love this movie. the writing and the acting were all amazing and this movie really more than surpassed my expectations. One of the best comedies of the year. I will give fair warning, there is a bit of gore in this movie. Go see this as soon as you can.

Great quote: "Some one's in danger of having their hair brushed over their ear."