Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review: Cop Out

Grade: A-

NYPD detectives Jimmy Monroe and Paul Hodges have been partners for nine years. One day, while trying to get a lead on a drug dealer, everything goes wrong and their contact is killed and the murderer gets away from them and the two are suspended for a month. Monroe, now concerned that he won't be able to pay for his daughters dream wedding, decides to sell a rare baseball card. While trying to sell the card, the shop is robbed and his card his stolen. Monroe then recruits the help of his partner to help find the people who stole his card. In the process, they stumble back into the case that got them suspended and they don't even realize it.

This is director Kevin Smith's first time directing someone else's writing, and he did a pretty good job of it. The movie was absolutely hilarious and we really have Kevin Smith and his integrity to make good movies to thank for that. WB wanted to dumb this movie down to a PG-13 rating but Smith took an 80% pay cut to keep it rated R, and thank all that is holy that he did. After seeing the movie, if they had tried to make it PG-13 it would have been a horrendous pile of a movie. But thanks to Smith this movie was absolutely hilarious. The writing was great and the first scene in particular had me laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair. The movie is fun, funny and exciting. The action in the movie is pretty good too and this movie is a great blending of the two genres. Probably one of the best buddy cop movies I've seen.

Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Surrogates) plays detective Jimmy Monroe. Willis was absolutely hilarious in this movie. Harkening back to his roles in the Die Hard movies, Willis can handle the action all the while throwing out hilarious one liners. Tracy Morgan (TV's 30 Rock, SNL) plays detective Paul Hodges. I have only ever really like Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock but he was actually pretty good and really funny in this movie. Willis and Morgan work surprisingly well as partners and their two clashing personalities was fantastic, easily one of the better bromances of the past couple years, and only helped add to the humor of it all. Sean William Scott (Role Models, The Dukes of Hazard) plays Dave, the thief who stole the card. His role, while not all that big, was really funny and his interactions with Willis and Morgan are great. The movie also features Kevin Pollak, Adam Brody, Rashida Jones, Jason Lee, Guillermo Diaz and Michelle Trachtenberg. Sadly though, no appearances by Smith himself or his hetro lifemate Jason Mewes.

If you are looking for a good cop/action movie with tons of humor, Cop Out is the movie to see. Also, if you like Bruce Willis, this is the movie for you. This movie more than exceeded my expectations. I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith, but I like his movies for his writing, not so much the direction. But if ever there was a script that would get Smith to direct something he didn't write, it is this. I'm going to call it right now, one of the best comedies of the year. One last note, the title of the movie, Cop Out, is alright, and once you hear the story of how that name came to be it's actually pretty funny, but I much prefer the original title as it makes more sense and is hilarious its self: A Couple of Dicks. In fact I still tend to call it that. I understand why they changed it, too a point, but I still find it to be a genius title.

Great quote: "Hey, you want to be my jail cell BFF, without the forced rape?"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review: Valentine's Day

Grade: C

Valentine's Day is a big day to some people, even though it's not a national holiday. It means different things to different people. Some love the holiday and chose to cherish the ones they love on this day, others despise it and only feel alone and unloved. This movie follows several different couples as their lives, and stories, intertwine in Los Angeles on February 14th. From a couple that's been together for over 50 years to couples that have only been together for two weeks. From couples that are sure they are in love to couples that are still trying to figure things out. It's simply a story of people trying to discover true love.

This movie is kind of a mess. There are far too many characters in it. Some of those characters, you barely know their names by the end of the movie. I understand why they had so many characters, they were trying to show every aspect of love/valentine's day that they could think of. Problem is, to be able to do that well, the movie should have been 4 hours long. Instead they try to cram like thirty characters stories, and try to develop those characters, in just two hours. I will admit, some of the characters were great, like George Lopez's character and Jessica Biel's character. Some were just downright awful, and I mean just terrible writing, like the 10 year old kid who acts and talks like he's 40 and Anne Hathaway's phone sex operator, just awkward. There is also a pretty big plot hole/goof the movie made, see if you can catch it.

Now, I would like to say that I did find the movie pretty funny. Some of the conversations that people have in the movie are hilarious. My favorite scene involved Jennifer Garner and Patrick Dempsy after Garner's character discovers her boyfriend, Dempsy, is married. She finds him and his wife at a restaurant and pretends to be a waitress and tells them the special is "Filthy Lying Pig" and the details of said special had me laughing hysterically.

The cast is, as I mentioned before, massive. The only person I would consider the "lead" of this movie is Ashton Kutcher and that's simply because he has the most screen time and his character kind of ties it all together as he is a florist delivering flowers to most of the characters. The rest of the cast includes Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, George Lopez, Topher Grace, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Garner, Hector Elizondo, Shirley MacLaine, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Julia Roberts, Emma Roberts, Larry Miller, Taylor Lautner, Taylor Swift and Carter Jenkins.

This movie is at least pretty decent. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be but it did still feel like a mediocre script that they tried to cover up by casting everyone they could think of. It is a great date movie, even though sometimes it's views on love and relationships is a little messed up. I will admit, overall, it is a great satire on the ridiculousness that is Valentine's Day.

Great quote: "Some people don't believe love exists unless it's expressed in front of many other people."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: Shutter Island

Grade: D-

In 1954, U.S. Marshalls Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are investigating the disappearance of a dangerous murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane on the remote Shutter Island. When the U.S. Marshalls get to the island they can sense that something isn't right. The doctors at the hospital won't let him view records of patients he feels will help solve the mystery. Then a hurricane hits the island and cuts off communication with the main land and more criminals escape in the confusion. Teddy then begins to doubt everything and becomes convinced that there are much deeper and darker things happening on the island.

There are many problems with this movie. To start, the trailer, basically if you have watched the trailer, you have seen the movie. The trailer shows far too much for the movie and as a result I was able to predict how the movie was going to end simply by watching the trailer. I was dead on in my prediction. Even without the trailer though, the movie is extremely predictable. I felt it was easy to tell what was going on from the very beginning, Scorsese wasn't very subtle. On top of that, the movie drags everything out far too much, it easily could have removed 45 minutes from its runtime. I don't know why Scorsese is trying to make an M. Night Shyamalan movie, but he failed at doing so. Please Mr. Scorsese, stick to what you know, gangster movies.

Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond, The Departed) plays the central role of Teddy Daniels. DiCaprio doesn't even give that good of a performance in this movie. At times he seems a bit over exaggerated and it becomes distracting. Mark Ruffalo (The Brothers Bloom, Zodiac) plays Teddy's partner, Chuck. Ruffalo actually did a pretty decent job with his role, the problems I had with his part weren't his fault but rather the writing of the movie. Ben Kingsley (Lucky Number Slevin, You Kill Me) plays Dr. Cawley, the head of the institution. Kingsley was great in the movie and was really the only good part of it, you can thank him for me not giving this movie an F. The rest of the cast includes, Michelle Williams, Max Von Sydow, Emily Mortimer, Jackie Earl Haley and Ted Levine.

I really have to say, don't waste your time and especially your money on this movie. If you really want to see it, wait for DVD. Me, I'm upset that I lost 2 and a half hours of my life to this movie that I won’t get back.

Great quote: "I know you are a man of violence because I am a man of violence."

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Top 20 Favorite Movies of All Time

Celebrating my 100th blog posting, I have decided to share a little bit more about myself by coming up with a list of my personal 20 favorite movies of all time. So let's get right into it:

20. Cool Runnings

Seriously, who doesn't love to watch this movie? It is fun, exciting, funny and inspirational. This is one of the most quotable movies ever in my opinion. Not to mention the great John Candy in one of his best roles.

19. Blues Brothers

A classic movie with Tom Arnold and John Belushi. This movie has tons of great music and great musicians. Not to mention that it's funny as hell.

18. Fight Club

Based on a book by Chuck Palahniuk, this movie is a social satire. Mocking corporations and, let's be honest, the stupidity of men and mob mentality. An intense movie with some great performances by Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

17. Back to the Future

This really encompasses the entire trilogy. All three movies are hilarious and, in my opinion, the best roles Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. These movies are classics that I could watch over and over again.

16. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

This is by far my favorite Steven Spielberg movie. It is also probably my favorite performance by Richard Dreyfuss. This movie has an amazing story and great performances all around. It is just fun to watch sometimes.

15. Three Amigos

This movie combined the comedic genius minds of Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short. I could quote this movie all day, it is hilarious from start to finish with just the right amount of camp.

14. Watchmen

The best graphic novel of all time was turned into a gorgeous and accurately represented movie by Zack Snyder. This movie is amazing to watch, especially if you are a fan of the graphic novel, as most of the scenes look like they came right out of the book. Great performances all around and an extremely compelling story line. If you haven't seen the Ultimate Cut with the Tales of the Dark Freighter woven back into the story line, do so.

13. Wayne's World

Really the only good SNL skit turned movie ever… Well, Coneheads was pretty good too. But Mike Myers and Dana Carvey were perfect in this movie. This movie is hilarious, easily quotable and set to an amazing soundtrack. Not to mention Rob Lowe, Tia Carrere, Brian Doyle Murphy and Lara Flynn Boyle are great in it as well.

12. Stargate

Roland Emmerich's opus, and by that I mean that it is the only Emmerich movie that lives up to what it's supposed to be. There isn't much action in it, but there doesn't need to be. The story and plot are fantastic and can be enjoyed by sci-fi fanatics and others alike. James Spader and Kurt Russell are fantastic in it as well. Easily one of the best sci-fi movies ever.

11. North by Northwest

I love a good portion of Alfred Hitchcock's movies and while he mostly is known for his horror I feel this suspense movie about mistaken identity is his best. Carey Grant, who is one of my favorite actors of all time, gives an amazing performance in this movie and Eva Marie Saint is wonderful. This is an exciting movie to watch, the story is great and the dialogue is great and witty at times. If you have never seen this movie, go watch it, it's fantastic.

10. The Abyss (Director's Cut)

This is James Cameron at his best, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I love The Terminator, True Lies, Avatar and Aliens, but this movie is just so original. Not to mention that, once again, the special effects were ground breaking for its time. I specify the extended Director's Cut because the theatrical cut leaves out so much, including the message the alien entities are trying to make. It is a wonderful movie with a great story and great acting. If you haven't seen it, do so now.

9. O' Brother, Where Art Thou? / The Big Lebowski

I'll start off by saying that I am a huge fan of the Odyssey, it is my favorite story of all time. O' Brother is the most creative and ingenious telling of that story I have ever seen. The Coen brothers really did an amazing job with this movie. Every shot is just beautiful and the movie is loaded with fantastic music. And of course, George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson are amazing in the lead roles and John Goodman has a great part in it too.

The Big Lebowski is a classic. Again, the Coen brothers did an amazing job with this movie. It is absolutely hilarious from start to finish as it is filled with so many great lines. Jeff Bridges gives the best performance of his career in this movie. The rest of the cast is great too and includes John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This movie has become a cult classic and it is just fun to watch in your bath robe while sipping on a white russian.

8. Iron Man

I love superhero/comic book movies, and this is as good as it gets. Jon Favreau did an amazing job with this movie. Robert Downey Jr. is perfect as Tony Stark. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrance Howard are great in it as well. It is just a fun movie to watch. It's exciting and full of action and just the right amount of humor. The best super hero origin movie ever. I can watch this movie over and over.

7. Harvey

A classic movie about a man, Elwood P. Dowd, who is a mild-mannered, pleasant man who just so happens to claim that he is friends with an 6 foot tall invisible rabbit. A classic comedy starring one of my favorite actors, James Stewart, in one of the best performances of his career. Very funny and enjoyable to watch. Speilberg is currently talking about remaking this movie, not sure if it will live up to the original.

6. The Incredibles

I love Pixar's movies, they are all just so amazing. But my personal favorite Pixar movie, and personal favorite animated movie, is the Incredibles. It is a joyous movie that shows a topic I have debated myself, what happens to superheroes when they retire. This movie is a hilarious and heartfelt movie that everybody can enjoy.

5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

This movie blew me away when I saw it for the first time. The story is absolutely amazing and every time I watch this movie I am hooked from start to finish. David Fincher did such an amazing job directing this movie. It is absolutely gorgeous. The technical aspects of the movie are amazing as well. Brad Pitt gives the performance of a lifetime as the title character. Cate Blanchett and Taraji P. Henson gave amazing performances as well. This movie is simply one of the best movies ever made, in my opinion.

4. Clerks

I have to admit, this really encompasses all of Kevin Smith's movies; Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks II and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. But it all started with Clerks, Smith's debut into writing and directing. Made for a measly $27 thousand, it is a work of genius. It has some of the best dialogue of any movie out there and it is absolutely hilarious while still maintaining a good story. All of Kevin Smith's movies are loaded with raunchy humor but they also tend to have a ton of heart to them.

3. Star Wars

The classic go to sci-fi movie. This was the movie that started it all, introduced us to so many classic characters. The story is fun and exciting to watch. It has spawned many sequels, some great some bad, but I love them all. This movie is simply fantastic and so much fun to watch, no matter who you are.

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

The best John Highes movie ever, in my opinion. It tells a great story about a boy in high school who decides to play hooky with his best friend and his girlfriend. They go on a wild adventure in downtown Chicago, eating at a fancy restaurant, going to an art museum, going to a baseball game, crashing a parade and more. Along the way, the characters learn more about themselves and each other. It is a beautiful story and to top it off, it is extremely funny. Sad thing is, I would ditch school or work and watch this movie, how ironic.

1. Top Gun

I could, and have, watch this movie over and over and over. There is just something so great about. It is loaded with action, drama, romance and humor, everything you could every want from a movie. It is extremely quotable and I could probably recite this movie by heart. It has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are awesome in it. Anthony Edwards, Meg Ryan, Kelly McGillis, Tom Skerritt and Michael Ironside are great in it as well. Fun fact, Tim Robbins is in it too, for a brief period. I absolutely love this movie, cannot get enough of it. If I could only keep one movie from my vast collection, this would be it, no questions. It is so much fun to watch with a large group too, like last summer at Film on the Rocks, listening to everybody cheer along with the movie, so much fun.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

82nd Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are upon us and I thought I would take some time to discuss the nominees this year. I'm also going to discuss what/who I felt should have been nominated. I'm going to use the word snub, but I don't really like that word as it sounds like I'm implying it was intentional, which who knows, in some cases it just might be. So let's get started:

Best Picture:

Avatar (my review)
The Blind Side (my review)
District 9 (my review)
An Education
(my review)
The Hurt Locker
(my review)
Inglorious Basterds
(my review)
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
(great article)
A Serious Man
(my review)
(my review)
Up in the Air
(my review)

This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to up the best picture nominees to 10 instead of the usual 5 for the first time since 1943. It has been the subject of discussion this year at the Oscars. I personally am a little torn on the issue. I like it because it makes it a little more interesting. It also allows the academy to reach outside of their norm and nominate movies that otherwise wouldn't be. I don't like it because the only reason they are doing it is because of the controversy last year over The Dark Knight not being nominated. I feel that the Academy upped the nominations this year to please some fans, but if you look at the list of nominees it is clear what the 5 would have been and the other 5 were nominated but will not be taken seriously for the award. It is nice to see the Academy finally get over its hatred of Sci-fi by nominating not only Avatar but District 9 which is an amazing movie and one of my favorites of 2009. My hopes and wishes came true and Up was nominated as well. Up is only the second animated picture to be nominated and it is so well worth it. Unfortunately, the Academy, once again, completely disregarded all comedies, and this year there were some amazing comedies, such as (500) Days of Summer, Away We Go, The Hangover, In the Loop and even Zombieland.

Snubs: Star Trek, Invictus, Moon (500) Days of Summer, Away We Go, The Hangover, Whatever Works, Zombieland, Sunshine Cleaning.

My prediction: Avatar
It's been such a success with the critics and audiences plus all the work that went into it, Avatar stands the best chance of winning.

Who should win: Up In The Air

Don't get me wrong, I loved Avatar, but I loved Avatar for the same reason I love the Transformers movies. It's just big dumb fun. It is a gorgeous movie but the dialogue is pretty bad at times and the story is nothing new, it is a blending of Dances With Wolves, Ferngully and Pocahontas. Up in the Air was a beautiful story and the movie is so timely. Not to mention that all of the acting is top notch and it is just an amazing movie.

Actor in a Leading Role

Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney in "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth in "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman in "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker"

My prediction: Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart"

Jeff Bridges gave an amazing performance in Crazy Heart and if he wins it will be well deserved.

Who should win: George Clooney in "Up in the Air"

It is a hard decision to make as I enjoyed all of these actors performances and their performances really carried the movies they were in. But of all of them I felt that George Clooney's performance in Up in the Air was absolutely amazing and if it weren't for Clooney in that role, I don't feel the movie would have been quite as enjoyable.

Snubs: Sam Rockwell in Moon, his performance in that movie was absolutely amazing and the best performance of the year and of his career, in my opinion. Also, Matt Damon in The Informant.

Actress in a Leading Role

Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren in "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan in "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe in "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire"
Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia"

My prediction: Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side"

Bullock's performance in The Blind Side was very good and probably the best of her career. If she wins it will be well deserved.

Who should win: Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia"

It is so easy to portray someone like Julia Child and have it come off as exaggerated and jokey. Streep, however, nailed the performance, just did it so perfectly that you thought you were watching Julia herself.

Snubs: Zoe Saldana in "Avatar". I know the controversy around this is that "it's not really her", but that's not true. The technology that they used, she had to act out that entire movie and they basically just CGed her character over her own performance and it was an absolutely amazing performance.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Damon in "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson in "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer in "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci in "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz in "Inglorious Basterds"

My prediction: Christoph Waltz in "Inglorious Basterds"

While I can admit that Christoph Waltz's performance in Inglorious Basterds was pretty good, it was soiled greatly by all of Tarantino's horrible dialogue.

Who should win: Matt Damon in Invictus.

Matt Damon did a wonderful job with his role in Invictus and really helped hold the movie together.

Snubs: Even though he was nominate in this category, I feel that Stanley Tucci should have been nominated for his role in Julie & Julia instead of The Lovely Bones.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Penelope Cruz in "Nine"
Vera Farmiga in "Up in the Air"
Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Crazy Heart"
Anna Kendrick in "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique in "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire"

My prediction: Mo'Nique in "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire"

This is based solely on early predictions from critics and what not, I have not seen the movie and don't really care to, to be honest.

Who should win: Anna Kendrick in "Up in the Air"

I had a hard time deciding between Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga for this one. Both gave amazing performances but Anna Kendrick's showed just a little more range in my opinion.

Snubs: None that I can think of.

Animated Feature Film

Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells

My prediction: Up

Up is an amazing movie, so much so that it was nominated for Best Picture as well.

Who should win: Up

Up is easily one of the best movies of 2009. Everything about it is just amazing and beautiful. It was the only movie to get me to tear up, and that was in the first five minutes when there was no dialogue.

Snubs: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, this movie was so much fun and was so well done.

Art Direction

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

My prediction: Avatar

Who should win: Avatar

Have you seen the movie? It is hands down the most beautiful and artistically creative movie of the year.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
The White Ribbon

My prediction: Avatar

Who should win: Avatar

Again, see the movie.

Costume Design

Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Young Victoria

My prediction: The Young Victoria

They always give period pieces like this the award.

Who should win: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

I only say this because it is the only movie in this category I have seen and the costumes were great.


James Cameron for "Avatar"
Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker"
Quentin Tarantino for "Inglorious Basterds"
Lee Daniels for "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire"
Jason Reitman for "Up in the Air"

My prediction: Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker"

Who should win: Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker"

Another tough decision but Kathryn Bigelow did an absolutely amazing job with The Hurth Locker and turned it into a beautiful movie.

Documentary (feature)

Burma VJ
The Cove
Food Inc
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Which Way Home

My prediction: Food Inc

This documentary has gotten more press than any other documentary this year.

Who should win: The Cove

I only saw Food Inc and The Cove this year, but The Cove was an amazing documentary.

Documentary (short subject)

China's Natural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
Music by Prudence
Rabbit à la Berlin

My prediction: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant

Film Editing

District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

My Prediction: Avatar

Who should win: Avatar

Again, this movie was the technical movie of the year.

Foreign Language Film

Ajami (Israel)
The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
A Prophet (France)
The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina)
The White Ribbon (Germany)

My prediction: The White Ribbon


Il Divo
Star Trek
The Young Victoria

My prediction: Star Trek

Who should win: Star Trek

The makeup and makeup effects in this movie were amazing.

Music (Original Score)

Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes

My prediction: Sherlock Holmes

Who should win: Sherlock Holmes

Hanz Zimmer did a wonderful job with the score of this movie, it is fun to listen to and is a great compliment to the movie.

Music (Original Song)

"Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog
"Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog
"Loin de Paname" from Paris 36
"Take It All" from Nine
"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart

My prediction: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart

Who should win: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart

Snubs: I'm half joking with this but "Stu's Song" from the hangover is just genius.

Short Film (Animated)

French Roast
Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
The Lady and the Reaper
A Matter of Loaf and Death

My prediction: The Lady and the Reaper

Who should win: The Lady and the Reaper

I say this because it is the only one I've seen.

Snubs: Partly Cloudy, an amazing short by the great people at Pixar.

Short Film (Live Action)

The Door
Instead of Abracadabra
Miracle Fish
The New Tenants

My prediction: Kavi

Again, it's the only one I've seen.

Who should win: Kavi

It is an amazing and intense short movie about a serious subject.

Sound Editing

The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Star Trek

My prediction: Avatar

Who should win: Avatar

The sound editing will blow your mind.

Sound Mixing

The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

My prediction: Avatar

Who should win: Avatar

The sound in this movie is amazing.

Visual Effects

District 9
Star Trek

My prediction: Avatar

Who should win: Avatar

Seriously, James Cameron invented a new technology for the visual effects of this movie.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

District 9
An Education
In the Loop
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Up in the Air

My prediction: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Who should win: Up in the Air

The writing on this movie was absolutely amazing, the best part of the movie.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man

My prediction: Inglorious Basterds


Who should win: The Hurt Locker

Again, an amazing movie that was extremely well written.

Well, that's it. Oscars air March 7th. I'll have a follow up shortly after.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: The Hurt Locker

Grade: A

US Army Sergeant First Class William James joins Bravo Company in Iraq. He is replacing Sgt Matt Thompson in the elite bomb squad after he is killed in the process of disposing an improvised explosive device. William is, in a matter of speaking, rather passionate about his job. William does things the way he wants, regardless of what his teammates think who just want to survive their last month in Iraq. However, all of Will's risk taking is driving all of his teammates to the edge and is causing some disturbances amongst them. Mostly, he is clashing with Bravo Company's leader, Sgt JT Sanborn, who is very by the book and is just counting down the days till he gets to go home. As tensions mount amongst all of the team members, the city explodes into chaos and Will's true character comes out and it changes everyone.

This movie was just absolutely amazing and it is no wonder that it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, amongst others. Kathryn Bigelow, who recently became the first female director to win the Director's Guild Award for best Director of a motion picture, did an absolutely amazing job with this movie. It is a beautifully shot movie that will take your breath away at times. The story and plot are very gripping and you really grow to know each of the characters personally. This movie does such an amazing job of showing the tension of disarming bombs in Iraq when they have to be aware of all of the people nearby as at least one of them maybe bombers themselves. And the portrayal of Sgt First Class William James is intense as you get to see all the different sides of who he is and why he does what he does. Just an amazing movie.

Jeremy Renner (28 Weeks Later, North Country) plays the lead role of Sgt First Class William James. Renner did a fantastic job with this role, very beautifully playing all the different aspects of the character. It really is no wonder to me that he was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars this year. Anthony Mackie (Eagle Eye, We Are Marshall) plays Sgt JT Sanborn. Mackie did a great job as the leader of Bravo Company and portraying how his by-the-book character clashes with James risk taking. The movie also features great performances by Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Evangeline Lily.

This movie is simply amazing and is a must see in my opinion. The direction and acting are all top notch and I believe Kathryn Bigelow has a great chance to win Best Director at the Oscars and be the first woman to do so. This movie is one of the best of 2009 and I strongly encourage everybody to watch it.

Great quote: "There's enough bang in there to blow us all to Jesus. If I'm going to die, I want to die comfortable."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review: A Serious Man

Grade: A-

Larry Gopnik is a physics professor at a small mid-western university in 1967. Everything seems to be going as normal for Larry and his family, who live in the suburbs of a small mid-west town, until one day Larry's wife comes to him and informs him that they have been having problems and that she wants a divorce and a "get" (a Jewish ritual/document that finalizes a divorce allowing the wife to marry again in the faith). From there his life just seems to fall apart more and more. He is forced to move into a motel room with his brother because his wife does not feel it appropriate that they live in the house. Everyone around him seems to be dying, his kids don't appreciate or respect him at all and he is essentially being blackmailed at work. In order to find some answers he turns to his faith, which only seems to be giving him more questions.

This movie was great and I can understand how it was recently nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. I will admit that I didn't get as much out of it as I could as I am not Jewish and do not fully understand their culture. For instance the intro to the movie seems to have nothing really to do with the rest of the movie and they were constantly using Hebrew/Yiddish words that I didn't understand, thankfully though the Blu-ray of this movie has a special feature that tells you what those words mean. The rest of the movie however was great. The humor, while dark, was rather funny. The Coen brothers did a wonderful job with this movie, as they always do. It looked spectacular and really looked like some suburbs would have in 1967. Even though they cast mostly unknowns, the acting was great and really kept the movie going. I really enjoyed the main story/plot line of uncertainty and questioning of faith. It is stuff that I feel most people can relate to, even if you're not religious, like myself. They following may contain spoilers but I'm not sure: I fully enjoyed the ending of the movie as I feel that it was perfect considering the subject matter of the movie, I can understand, however, how some people might be displeased with it.

Michael Stuhlbarg, who played the main role of Larry Gopnik, I have never seen act in anything but I understand that he has won a Tony award. He was amazing and really made this role. This is one of those times where I believe it actually helped the movie by casting an unknown, he did such a great job. Richard Kind, who played Larry's brother, Arthur, did an amazing job with this role. I have always kind of liked Richard Kind and found him funny but his performance in this movie was magnificent, I've never seen him do anything like it. The movie also features performances by Fred Melamed, Sari Lennick, Aaron Wolf, Jessica McManus, Adam Arkin, and Simon Helberg.

This movie is definitely worth watching and is available to rent or buy on DVD and Blu-ray. I strongly recommend watching it, especially if you are a fan of the Coen brothers movies, which I am. It is a very intriguing and insightful dark comedy.

Great quote: "That's right, things aren't so bad. Look at the parking lot, Larry. Just look at that parking lot."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Grade: B+

Percy Jackson is a seemingly normal high school teenager, until one day, on a high school field trip his substitute teacher turns into a Fury and attacks him, accusing him of stealing Zeus' lightning bolt. Percy then discovers that his best friend, Grover, is a Satyr. Grover then insists on getting Percy's mom and getting to a secret camp as soon as possible. Along the way, Percy's mom is taken by a Minotaur. At the camp, Percy discovers that he is the son of Poseidon and that his teacher is a Centaur. He is informed that someone has stolen Zeus' lightning bolt and framed Percy and if the bolt is not returned to Zeus within two weeks, a war will break out among the gods that will destroy the world. Percy discovers that Hades has his mother so Percy, Grover and their new friend, Annabeth, go on a quest to find three pearls so they can get to the underworld and rescue Percy's mom, and they hope to discover who the real lightning thief is along the way.

I was very skeptical of this movie at first. I had never heard of the books before and I was extremely nervous about a movie that was so engrossed in Greek mythology being PG. I am a huge fan of Greek mythology and I know that it tends to be extremely violent and sexual. Well, the writer's and filmmakers really managed to pull it off. I really ended up enjoying this movie greatly. They were actually pretty accurate in their representation of the Greek myths they included in the story and managed to skate around the violence and sexuality of those myths, such as the gods having sex with mortals and bearing children, rather well without being ridiculous. The mythical beings that they included were actually really cool and represented really well. From Medusa in New Jersey to their encounter with the Hydra in the Parthenon in Nashville, although I did have one small issue with this part, in the movie the Hydra is held back, at one point, by water. That seems odd as the Hydra lived in water, hence the name.

The next couple bits were actually rather genius. The third pearl is in a casino in Las Vegas called Lotus. This part was just genius in my opinion. It is a reference to the land of the lotus eaters from The Odyssey, where there are people who eat these lotus flowers that make a person euphoric and make them forget what they need or are supposed to be doing and they never want to leave. This is great because if this lotus flower existed, Vegas casinos would totally use them to keep their patrons in the casino forever. The other great part was that the entrance to Hell is in Hollywood, that made me laugh a little. Not to mention the play on the classic "the pen is mightier than the sword." Well, in this movie the pen turns into a sword.

Logan Lerman (Gamer, The Number 23) plays the lead role of Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon (reference to Perseus, who was the son of Poseidon in Greek mythology). He did a pretty good job with the role and helped make it all believable. Brandon T. Jackson (Tropic Thunder, Tooth Fairy) plays Percy's best friend, Grover, a Satyr. He did a good job and was really funny at times and helped the movie move along. Relative new comer, Alexandra Daddario plays Annabeth, daughter of Athena. Daddario did a pretty good job with her role, which was rather physical as Athena was the goddess of wisdom and battle strategy. Pierce Brosnan (The Matador, Die Another Day) plays Mr. Brunner, Percy's teacher who is also a Centaur. Brosnan was enjoyable in this movie, even though his role was kind of small. Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder, Hamlet 2) plays Hades, god of the Underworld. Coogan was great in this role and was really funny too. Rosario Dawson (Clerks 2, Seven Pounds) plays the role of the seductress and wife of Hades, Persephone. Dawson was great and very enjoyable in this role. Uma Therman (Be Cool, My Super Ex-Girlfriend) played the role of Medusa. She did a really good job with role and portrayed the character as best the movie would let her. The movie also features Catherine Keener, Sean Bean, Jake Abel, Joe Pantoliano and Kevin McKidd.

This movie is actually really enjoyable and fun to watch if you love Greek mythology, like myself. Even if you don't know much about Greek mythology, I think you can have fun watching this movie. It is actually pretty good, if not kind of corny and predictable and rather similar to Harry Potter at times. It was a big surprise to me and I think I am now going to seek out the books and start reading them.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Review: An Education

Grade: B+

Jenny is a very smart young girl, about to turn 17, living in the suburbs of London in the early 1960s. Her parents have always had her life planned out. All her life they have pushed her to have the best education and have the proper extracurricular activities so that when she graduates from high school she can go to Oxford. She has found life to be tedious and boring until one day, she meets an older man, David, on her way home from school. David is a smooth talking, sophisticated and exciting man who begins to take Jenny to art auctions, night clubs, concerts and even to Paris at one point. Jenny becomes enamored with the kind of life David seems to be able to provide and her thoughts of Oxford begin to fade away. Then when the truth about David and that life style hit her, it makes her think about who she truly is and what she wants out of her own life.

This movie was recently nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards. I can see why it might be considered for that but in my opinion, I would not have nominated. I will say that An Education is a great movie and is worth watching. The writing was great and the movie looked beautiful. I really liked the story line and all of the characters were very well written and their portrayals were great. The first third of the movie is actually kind of funny at times and the drama throughout the rest of the movie is not over done. It is a beautiful movie and I can understand how it won the award for cinematography at Sundance. The movie also is essentially a great commentary on what it was like to be a woman in the early 1960s.

Carey Mulligan (Public Enemies, Pride and Prejudice) plays the lead role of Jenny, a very intelligent young girl living in the London suburbs. Mulligan did an amazing job in this movie and played her part to perfection, her nomination for Best Actress is well deserved. Peter Sarsgaard (Orphan, Jarhead) played David, a charming man who has the ability to talk a little too smoothly. Sarsgaard did a wonderful job with this role, his character and portrayal allowed you to believe him but yet not be entirely sure. Alfred Molina (The Da Vinci Code, Spider-Man 2) played Jenny's father, Jack. Molina gave such an amazing performance in this movie, I'm pretty surprised that he didn't get a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His performance was very gripping and he brings out emotion in the audience. The movie also features great performances by Olivia Williams, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike and Emma Thompson.

This movie is absolutely worth watching for a number of reasons: the acting, the story, the writing, the cinematography and the satire throughout. It is a great movie but I just don't think it's Best Picture good.

Great quote: "If you never do anything, you never become anyone."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: The Wolfman

Grade: B

In the late 1880's, Lawrence Talbot, a nobleman with a haunted past, is lured back to his family estate, after being gone for most of his life, by his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe. She tracked him down because his brother has gone missing and she is worried and wants his help to find him. When he arrives, he discovers that he is too late, his brothers body has been discovered and it looks as though it had been brutally attacked by a vicious creature of some sort. When he goes out one night to try to get some answers as to what the creature was, a group of villagers are attacked by the beast and Talbot himself is bitten. He survives, but at what cost. His injuries heal at a supernatural pace and when the next full moon comes around, he discovers a grave mystery about his father and Talbot begins to transform into the beast himself.

Universal resurrects another classic monster movie. The writers and filmmakers decided to stick closer to the source material than 1999's The Mummy. The Wolfman looks eerily like the original 1941 Universal classic. The imagery throughout the movie is beautiful. The effects are fantastic, especially the transformation scenes, they are an absolute joy to watch. The story is pretty solid and the back story with Talbot's father is pretty interesting. However, the story is a bit slow at times and I really wish we could have seen a bit more of the Wolfman himself. I have a feeling that if this movie does well enough we could possibly see more Wolfman movies.

Benicio Del Toro (Sin City, Snatch) plays the main role of Lawrence Talbot, a nobleman who turns into the Wolfman. Del Toro is a great actor and he did a pretty good job with this role and it was a lot of fun watching him transform into the Wolfman. Anthony Hopkins (World's Fastest Indian, Silence of the Lambs) plays Sir John Talbot, Lawrence's father and the original Wolfman as well. Hopkins was amazing as always. His character was fascinating, you could always tell something wasn't right about him then suddenly you discover that he is a Wolfman. Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria, Sunshine Cleaning) plays Gwen Conlife, Talbot's brother's fiancée. Blunt did a pretty good job with her role, although I feel that she didn't do much. Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, V for Vendetta) plays the role of Abberline, an investigator from Scotland Yard looking into the mysterious deaths around the village. It was great to see Weaving in something again, I always liked him, but he doesn't seem to do much anymore. His character was great, if not a little heartless.

It was so much fun to see another classic Universal monster be redone and it now has me really excited to see the proposed remakes of Frankenstein, Dracula and The Creature From The Black Lagoon. If you love the classics, then you should definitely see this movie. If you are just a fan of action/horror/suspense movies, this is for you.

Great quote: "Look into my eyes Lawrence, you can see that I am quite dead."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: A Single Man

Grade: B-

A Single Man is centered around a homosexual college professor, George Falconer, living in California in 1962. George's lover, Jim, of over 16 years died in a car accident and eight months later, George is still trying to cope with the loss. It is almost physically painful for George to wake up in the morning anymore. As George considers killing himself, he has flashbacks to fond memories of him and Jim, he rekindles a great friendship with an old friend from England and he befriends a young man who feels that George is the only man who understands him.

This movie was just a little too artsy for me. The direction was extremely artsy and the cinematography was all over the place, it's like they couldn't decide how they wanted the movie to look so they went with all of their ideas sporadically throughout the movie. The story, on the other hand, was very good and was told quite well, in my opinion. Some of the dialogue was very emotional. The voice over at the beginning and at the end were pretty good. Some of the flashbacks were interesting and really helped show just how much George and Jim loved each other. I will say though, that the ending really upset me and I am rather upset about it.

Colin Firth (Mamma Mia, Love Actually) plays the central character, George. I can completely understand how Colin Firth was nominated for an Oscar for this performance. Firth's performance is the best part of the movie, it was truly great. Julianne Moore (I'm Not There, Children of Men) played George's old friend from England, Charley. Moore gave an amazing performance and I'm sure that if she was in the movie a little more that she would have earned an Oscar nomination as well. Nicholas Hoult (The Weather Man, About a Boy) plays Kenny, a student of Mr. Falconer's who becomes infatuated with him. Hoult did a great job with this role and shows promise to do bigger and better things. Mathew Goode (Watchmen, Leap Year) plays Jim, George's lover. We don't see Goode much in the movie as he only appears in flashbacks, but his scenes are fantastic.

This movie was pretty good even though it looks weird. It was a bit too artsy for me but the story and acting made up for it. I am glad that I saw it and would recommend people see it for Colin Firth's performance, but it can easily wait until it comes out on DVD.

Great quote: "I looked in the mirror, not a good thing to do on mescaline, and became convinced that my eyebrows were taking over my face, so I took a razor to one of them."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Review: The Blind Side

Grade: B+

The Blind Side is inspired by the true story of football player, Michael Oher. It shows how Michael Oher was a young, homeless, over-sized, under-educated African-American boy who is essentially living on the streets until one day the Touhy's, a rich, white, christian family, decide to take him in. As the Touhy's decide to help Michael reach his potential in the classroom and, eventually, on the field. During which, his presence leads the Touhy's to some insightful self discovery. Living in his new environment, Oher has to overcome all new challenges and the Touhy's become so attached to the boy that they consider him apart of their family.

This movie was actually better than I thought it was going to be, but it still wasn't great. I liked the direction that the movie took. Whereas most movies that take on similar subjects, focus mainly on the kids troubled past and keep having the kid do wrong things, this movie would only briefly touch on his past once or twice and mostly focus on his present and possible future. It was a really nice change of pace. I also liked that the football aspect wasn't the front and center story line, much like the title and trailer's would have you believe, that his story and relationship with the Touhy family took center stage. I can admit that the story was very nice and enjoyable and even touching at times. My few problems with this movie were that it hit some usual cliché moments and some parts just seemed unnecessary.

Sandra Bullock (The Proposal, Speed) portrayed Leigh Ann Touhy, a loving and caring family mother who decides to take in Oher and help him. Sandra Bullock was recently nominated for her performance in this movie, I would have to admit that is rightfully so. She gave a very good performance that really helped hold the movie together and she, thankfully, didn't go overboard with the accent, it was very subtle and non-distracting. Relative new comer Quinton Aaron plays the role of Michael Oher. Even though the character doesn't say much of anything during the first half of the movie, Aaron gave an amazing performance in this movie. The movie also featured performances by Tim McGraw, Jay Head, Lilly Collins, Ray McKinnon and Kathy Bates.

The movie was rather enjoyable and it did surprise me as it was better than I thought it would be, but I honestly don't think I would have nominated it for best picture when compared to some other movies that came out last year. I will say that I highly encourage people to see it as it is inspirational and satisfying.

Great quote: "Who knew we would have a black son before we met a democrat."

Review: From Paris With Love

Grade: B

In Paris, a young employee in the office of the US Ambassador, James Reece, wishes for more excitement than his current side job as a low-level CIA operative, doing things like switching license plates for other CIA agents and other small tasks. One day he gets a call from his boss offering him a shot at his dream job of being a bona fide CIA operative, all he has to do is pick up his partner, Charlie Wax, from the airport and drive him around. He is excited until he meets Charlie, who is a loud, wisecracking, trigger-happy, loose cannon who has been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist attack. Charlie then sends James on the ride of a lifetime that has James wishing for his desk job back. But when James discovers that he is a potential target somehow, he realizes Wax is his best chance at staying alive and solving the mystery.

The movie starts out a little slow but as soon as Charlie Wax shows up, it picks up right away and becomes a really fun movie. From Paris is loaded with laughs and excitement as we watch Wax take some very unorthodox ways at tracking down the terrorist cell. Often he doesn't even let James know what is going on. The action in this movie is rather intense at times and is pretty fun to watch. The jokes throughout are pretty funny for the most part, really everything that Travolta says is pretty entertaining, they did, unfortunately, decide to make a Pulp Fiction joke/reference with Travolta's character about a royale with cheese, made me cringe a little. The movie wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be but it was pretty fun nonetheless.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Mission Impossible 3, TV's The Tudors) plays the role of James Reece, an American seemingly living the good life in Paris. I can't tell if it was the character/writing or if it really was his acting but he seemed stiff at times. I do feel that he was entertaining through most of the movie though and I do like him as an actor. John Travolta (Hairspray, Be Cool) plays the role of Charlie Wax, a high energy, slightly insane, it seems, CIA operative. Travolta completely stole the movie. His character had all the best lines and did most of the action. Travolta was highly entertaining in this movie and really is what made it worth seeing.

The movie is a fun, vulgar and bloody ride that is rather enjoyable to watch. If you like action movies and/or if you like John Travolta, see this movie, highly entertaining. Just keep in mind that the first 10-15 minutes is pretty slow and uninteresting, but is of course setting up the story.

Great quote: "Next time I tell you to shoot the f***er, shoot the f***er."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: Invictus

Grade: A

In 1995, shortly after apartheid was abolished, Nelson Mandela is elected to be president in South Africa. As he watches his nation begin to tear itself apart due to racial and economic tension, Mandela joins forces with the captain of South Africa's rugby team to try to unify the country with the universal language of sport. Mandela and the 43 million people of South Africa begin to come together and rally for the team as they make an historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship.

This movie was amazing, simply put. The beautiful true story is very powerful and gripping. Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby) did an amazing job of directing, as usual. The movie is simply beautiful and does a great job showing the turmoil in South Africa in the wake of apartheid. On top of that, the rugby sequences were fantastic and entertaining. I've always liked rugby as it is a real sport that's more aggressive and hard hitting than American football yet the players don't wear pads and yet manage to not cry, unlike football players. They did a great job showing Mandela's love for his country, even after being jailed by it for 30 years. The racial tension in the country after electing the first black president shortly after the end of apartheid seemed eerily familiar at times. I will admit, though, that Eastwood seemed to use a bit too much slow motion footage towards the end of the movie, got a little tiresome, other than that it is almost a perfect movie.

Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight, The Bucket List) played the role of Nelson Mandela. Freeman did an absolutely amazing job portraying Mandela. He did a great job showing Mandela's passion for his country and all the people in it as well as Mandela's compassion towards all. I would say this is one of Freeman's best performances of his career. Matt Damon (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Informant) played the role of Francois Pienaar, the captain of the Springboks, South Africa's rugby team. Damon gave an incredible performance. On top of being pleased with how well Damon spoke with a South African accent, his performance as the rugby team captain was wonderful as he rallied his team to help unify the country. The rest of the supporting cast in the movie all did a wonderful job, it includes Tony Kgoroge, Patrick Mofokeng, Julian Lewis Jones and Marguerite Wheatley to name a few.

This movie is simply one of the best movies of 2009. I feel it is a movie that simply must be seen by all. It is a very powerful movie to watch and the subject matter is extremely important. This is not a sports movie but it does show that sports can sometimes serve an important purpose. The subject of the end of apartheid in South Africa is overwhelming at times. I am serious, see this movie as soon as possible.

Great quotes: "It says 'He can win an election but can he run a country'… it is a legitimate question."

"I was just wondering how a man lives in a tiny cell for 30 years, then comes out ready to forgive those who put him there."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Review: Crazy Heart

Grade: A

Bad Blake is a down on his luck, hard living country music singer who has one too many drinks far too often and is having a hard time catching a break and is now playing dive bars and bowling alleys for money. While on the road, as usual, he meets a young reporter, Jean, who he begins to have feelings for during the course of their interviews as she begins to see the real man behind the songs. Along the way, Bad runs into an old friend of sorts, Tommy Sweet, a country music star whom Bad resents a little because he taught him everything he knows about country music. Things finally start looking up for Bad when he starts writing songs again and making a little more money as he tries to improve himself.

This movie was crazy good. I enjoyed it from start to finish and it is absolutely worth seeing. Filled with amazing performances and fantastic music, it is a joy to watch. The music is great because it's the kind of country music that doesn't exist anymore, it's the kind of country I like, which is music that is heavily influenced by blues. I honestly think that even if you don't like country music, much like myself, you will enjoy this movie. The direction of the movie was amazing as well, it is a beautiful movie.

Jeff Bridges (Iron Man, The Men Who Stare At Goats) plays the lead role of Bad Blake. Bridges gives his best performance since The Big Lebowski. His performance as bad was just amazing and it is very easy to see why he is nominated for best actor at the Oscars this year, if he wins it will be well deserved. Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight, Stranger Than Fiction) plays Jean, Bad's love interest. Gyllenhaal gives a pretty good performance in this movie, she is full of emotion and heart. Colin Farrell (In Bruges, Pride and Glory) plays Tommy Sweet, a country music star. While Farrell's role is relatively small, he pulls it off very well, especially when you consider that he's an Irish actor playing a southern country star. Robert Duvall (The Road, Thank You For Smoking) plays Wayne, an old friend of Bad's. As with Colin Farrell, Duvall only shows up for a small period of time during the movie but his role and performance is so good that I feel that I need to mention it.

This movie is a top notch film that I feel should have been nominated for best picture this year. I feel that it can easily be enjoyed by all, but do keep in mind it is rated R for language, if you worry about that. Definitely see this movie as soon as you can.

Great quote: "I tried baseball once, but I couldn't hit the curve ball. So I figured I'd stick with the guitar, damn thing stays where it's supposed to be."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review: Edge of Darkness

Grade: B-

Thomas Craven is a homicide detective in Massachusetts. One day his daughter, Emma, comes home to visit him. While there she is shot dead on the front steps of his house by a masked killer. At first it appears that Thomas was the intended victim but as he begins to look into it he starts to think otherwise. The more he looks into the incident and her career he begins to discover that she was living a secret life that led to her murder. Along the way he runs into a world of corporate corruption and government cover up as he begins to fear for his own life while trying to avenge his daughters.

This movie was alright. The action scenes were good but they were short and distanced from each other. The story was pretty good but it was kind of predictable at times. The movie had a tendency to move pretty slow and drag on a bit. I definitely feel they had far too many flashback sequences of Thomas' memories of Emma as a little girl. We get it, he loved his daughter, you don't need to beat us over the head with these sequences that have nothing to do with the story.

Mel Gibson (Payback, We Were Soldiers) plays the lead role of Thomas Craven. It was nice to see Mel back in front of the camera for the first time in 7 years. He did a good job with the role but as we have seen with other actors recently, he's a bit old to do action, which might be part of the reason this movie doesn't have much. Ray Winstone (The Departed, King Arthur) plays the role of the mysterious Captain Jedberg, a secret government agent whose job it is to dispose of evidence of cover ups. Winstone was one of the better parts of the movie and his character was very intriguing. Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Children of Men) plays Jack Bennett, the CEO of the mysterious company Emma Craven worked for.

The movie was good and it was worth watching but as far as revenge movies go it has been done much better elsewhere. I just really wish that this movie wasn't so slow because it seemed to have a lot of potential. As I said, it's great to see Mel Gibson acting again but all at the same time it seems like he should stick to directing at this point.

Great Quote: "You had better decide If you're hanging on the cross, or banging in the nails."