Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Drive Angry

Grade: A-

Milton has just escaped from hell, literally, and he’s on a mission. The leader of a satanic cult has killed Milton’s daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter, whom he plans to sacrifice in a satanic ritual in order to raise Hell on Earth. While hunting down the people who have taken his granddaughter, he encounters a down-on-her-luck girl who decides to join him on his quest. A mysterious man who simply calls himself “The Accountant” is pursuing Milton for his own reasons as well. With the odds seemingly stacked against him, Milton chases after the cult and dodges the authorities in order to save his granddaughter.

Drive Angry is absolutely everything I was hoping for out of this movie and so much more. It was completely ridiculous, over the top, loaded with violence and absolutely hilarious. Every once in a while I enjoy watching movies like this, movies where you can just sit back and be entertained. The characters in the movie are all very enjoyable and have just the right amount of ridiculousness to them. I can absolutely admit that this movie has no substance to it, but sometimes that is ok. From the opening scene of Milton driving out of hell to the climactic scene with tons of gratuitous violence and action, Drive Angry completely delivers on what it is. For instance, there is a scene where “The Accountant” drives a hydrogen truck into a police roadblock, manages to lock the truck to a police car, puts the truck into a spin, then just steps out of the truck on to the hood of the police car as the truck starts to roll as if it were nothing, the coolest and most entertaining thing I have seen in a movie in a long time.

Nicolas Cage (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Kick-Ass) plays the lead role of Milton. I like Cage and Drive Angry totally makes up for the total crap-fest that was Season of the Witch. He is extremely entertaining in this movie and is absolutely perfect for the role. Amber Heard (The Stepfather, The Jonses) plays the role of Piper, a new friend that Milton makes along the way. She is pretty good and entertaining in her role and she kicks complete ass to. William Fichtner (Date Night, The Amateurs) plays the role of “The Accountant”. Every role I have seen this guy play has been very enjoyable and he really makes them his own, none more so than his role in Drive Angry. He is great in this movie and has some of the funniest parts of the movie. He really helped make this movie what it is. The movie also features Billy Burke, David Morse, Jack McGee, Katy Mixon and others.

If you are looking for substance and good writing, Drive Angry isn’t for you. However, if you are looking for a crazy and over-the-top action movie, then this movie is absolutely for you. If you have seen and liked the movie Shoot Em’ Up with Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti, this is a lot like that in many ways so you will probably enjoy Drive Angry as well. I really love crazy, insane movies like this every once in a while, I believe this movie might be bound for cult status once it hits DVD.

Great quote: “Why does everybody want to hurt me today?”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Hall Pass

Grade: F

Rick has been married to his wife, Maggie, since college. The two are happily married and have two kids. Unfortunately, things have been lacking in the sex department lately and Maggie, taking some advice a friend gave her, decides to give Rick a hall pass, a week off from marriage where he can do anything he wants, consequence free. His best friend, Fred, manages to get the same deal from his wife and joins him in the fun. The two spend the week attempting to pick up women and getting in a lot of trouble doing so. Things quickly get out of control. Meanwhile, their wives are taking advantage of the “hall pass” themselves.

Hall Pass is the latest movie from the Farrelly Brothers (Fever Pitch, Stuck on You) who, unfortunately, haven’t made a single funny movie since Dumb and Dumber or maybe Kingpin. The humor in this movie is so extremely low brow and bad that it is not funny to anyone who has hit puberty. This creates a bit of a problem because the movie is rated R, so it’s intended for people over the age of 17, but the humor is aimed at 7 year olds. Lots of really bad and unfunny poop and fart jokes. The main problem is that they have had the same brand of humor, the same outrageous jokes, in all of their movies but it works a lot better when the characters are essentially cartoon characters, like in Dumb and Dumber or Kingpin, rather, they have characters in this movie who are supposed to be real people doing insanely stupid things. All of the characters are pretty unlikeable people, as they all seem so desperate to cheat on their spouses. There are one or two mildly entertaining, borderline funny, moments that are more social satire rather than full on jokes, which I enjoyed. However, overall, I seriously can’t believe how unfunny and rather stupid this movie was, I’m really just trying to get that point across. In fact, the only time I really laughed was during a scene AFTER the credits.

Owen Wilson (How Do You Know, Marley and Me) plays the lead role of Rick. I really used to like Owen Wilson back in movies like The Big Bounce and Armageddon but lately I just haven’t been enjoying many of his movies. Either way, he did a decent job in the movie but it was just bad writing. Jason Sudeikis (Going the Distance, TVs SNL) played the role of Fred, Rick’s best friend. He can usually be very funny but in this movie his character only had a couple mildly funny moments scattered throughout. Jenna Fischer (Walk Hard, TVs The Office) plays Maggie, Rick’s wife. Fischer is always great and can be very funny but they didn’t give her the opportunity in this movie. Christina Applegate (Going the Distance, The Rocker) plays Grace, Fred’s wife. She had her moments in the movie but in the end turns out to be one of the more unlikeable characters. The movie also features Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenkins, Larry Joe Campbell, Alexandra Daddario, Joy Behar and more.

Hall Pass is an unfunny and often uncomfortable and disgusting movie. I really didn’t enjoy this movie and I honestly blame it on the writers/directors The Farrelly Brothers. I was hoping this movie would be decently funny and entertaining, but it turned out to be neither. I suggest you take your “hall pass” and avoid this movie.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Barney's Version

Grade: A+

Barney Panofsky has lived a full life as a successful TV producer. However, recently a detective has released a book about Barney that claims he is a murderer, amongst other things. This is Barney’s version of the story. He was married once but his wife cheated on him with one of his closest friends and that marriage met an unfortunate and tragic end. Then he met his second wife, and at their wedding he met the love of his life. Barney’s story begins to unravel more and more and is filled with love and intrigue as well as success and many blunders.

Barney’s Version is an amazing and picaresque tale about a hard drinking, cigar smoking, foul mouthed and politically correct man who also manages to be completely lovable and sympathetic. Even though some of the things that Barney does in this movie can be seen as horrible and deplorable, for some reason you still feel for the guy. It tells a great story about a very realistic character. The movie follows a very interesting path that I find to be fantastic. It starts out as an interesting and rather funny comedy of sorts, then it slowly turns into more of a romance before switching into a small mystery before finally turning into a great drama. The writing and direction of the movie is absolutely fantastic. Not to mention the makeup (which is nominated for an Oscar), which was outstanding. The movie takes place over the course of around 40 years and the subtle things they did to make the actors look older or younger are amazing and incredibly realistic.

Paul Giamatti (Cold Souls, Sideways) plays the titular role of Barney Panofsky. I am a huge fan of Paul Giamatti, the man is an extremely talented actor who makes just about every movie he makes extremely enjoyable. He really out does himself in this Barney’s Version. His portrayal of the character of Barney Panofsky is incredible. He manages to handle every aspect of this character just perfectly, I really feel he should have been nominated for an Oscar for this role but I think it’s great that he won a golden globe for this performance. Rosamund Pike (Surrogates, An Education) plays Miriam, Barney’s third (and final) wife. I have been a fan of hers since Die Another Day and she just keeps getting better, her performance in this movie is amazing. Dustin Hoffman (Last Chance Harvey, Stranger Than Fiction) plays the role of Izzy Panofsky, Barney’s father. Hoffman was very enjoyable in this movie and gave a great performance. Minnie Driver (Motherhood, TVs The Riches) plays Barney’s second wife, who I believe remains carefully nameless throughout. I really like Minnie Driver but this is the best performance she’s given since Good Will Hunting. The movie also features great performances by Scott Speedman, Mark Addy, Cle Bennett, Rachelle Lefevre, Bruce Greenwood, Jake Hoffman and more.

Barney’s Version is a fantastic and seemingly underrated movie. It has plenty of laughs and leaves you with plenty to think about. For a fictional movie, it is a very real story. It is a bit of an enigma, it is funny and tragic all at the same time. I really ended up loving this movie.

Great quote: “I’m a vegan” “I’m sorry. Is there a cure for that.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Unknown

Grade: B

Dr. Martin Harris and his wife, Elizabeth, are visiting Germany for an expo on bio-technology. Shortly after arriving, Richard Harris realizes he forgot something at the airport and takes a taxi back. However, while en route, the taxi is involved in an accident and ends up driving off a bridge. He wakes up out of a coma four days in a hospital with partial memory loss. He had no ID on him but he knows who he is. When he leaves the hospital to find his wife he finds a man has taken over his identity and nobody, not even his wife, believes him. With the help of the young woman who was driving the taxi, he sets out to prove who he is. He quickly discovers there is something much bigger going on when people are constantly trying to kill him.

Unknown is a somewhat slow moving but still fun and exciting thriller. The movie starts out a little slow but quickly picks up pace. It has some interesting twists in it and the climax of the movie is very exciting. The movie’s lead, Liam Neeson (Taken, The A-Team), is great as always, but unfortunately it is not quite the role I was hoping for. The trailer, of course, made it look like he was going to be kicking butt across the city to find the truth but instead for the majority of the movie it was the other way around. That’s not to say that he wasn’t still completely enjoyable in the movie, I was just hoping for a little more action from him. I would like to talk more about the movie but the twists and turns start so early that I don’t want to spoil anything. I will mention one thing that bothered me about this movie, I know it takes place in Germany, but I still find it a little ridiculous that just about every car in the movie is a Mercedes, except for one or two Volkswagens.

As mentioned before, Liam Neeson stars in Unknown as Dr. Martin Harris. I really like Neeson and it was a lot of fun watching him in this role. Diane Kruger (National Treasure, Troy) plays the role of Gina, the taxi driver during the accident. I really like Kruger and it was great watching her in this movie. I know she is from Germany, but I still couldn’t help feel that she was playing up her accent a bit much. January Jones (The Boat That Rocked, TVs Mad Men) plays the role of Elizabeth Harris, Martin’s wife. She was pretty decent in the movie but her character was interesting because she really legitimately seemed to not know Liam Neeson’s character. She played cold and deceitful very well. The movie also features Aiden Quinn and Frank Langella.

Unknown does start out slow but if your patient, I feel that the pay off is well worth it. The action is a lot of fun and the climax of the movie is an absolute blast to watch. It’s not the most exciting movie and it’s no Taken, but it is still worth checking out.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Answer James Lipton's 10 Questions

It is my 200th post here at Cucu for Movies so I decided to do something a little special. I love watching Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton. That show brought me a little inspiration so I figured I would share a little more about myself by answering the 10 questions that he asks all of his guests towards the end of the program.

As a warning: what follows is essentially me uncensored, it will contain language that some people might find offensive.

1. What is your favorite word?

The answer to this question is really easy. My favorite word is fuck. It is a great word that just roles off the tongue and can mean so many different things, inflect absolutely any emotion and even enhances some more, usually, boring words. We’ve all seen or heard the Monty Python skit about the many uses of the word fuck, that is basically exactly how I feel about the word.

2. What is your least favorite word?

Censorship. I can’t stand the word and everything that it stands for. I can’t stand censorship and I don’t like it when people try to censor me. One of the best quotes I’ve ever heard and has always stuck with me is from the show The West Wing, it goes “Censorship to me is like saying I can’t have steak because a baby can’t chew.”

3. What turns you on?

Simple things like confidence and laughter. I love it when I feel confident and it fells even better when it’s being boosted because I’m surrounded by people who are confident as well. Also, there is no greater thing then laughter, it means you have a sense of humor, which is a must in this world, otherwise you’ll never make it out alive.

4. What turns you off?

Pretty much the opposite of those things. I don’t like it when I don’t have any confidence in myself and I don’t like it when other people’s lack of confidence brings me down. I can’t stand people that don’t have a sense of humor and who take life too seriously.

5. What sound or noise do you love?

There are many sounds and noises that I love. I love the sound of rain, it is a really peaceful sound. I love the sound of good music. I love the sound of laughter. I love the sound of good dialogue in a movie. And as cheesy as this is going to be, I love the sound of my wife’s voice.

6. What sound or noise to you hate?

What I really hate isn’t a sound or noise at all, I hate silence. I don’t know what it is, but whenever it is completely silent I get really uncomfortable. It’s even to the point where when I’m sitting at home reading a book I’ll have some classical music playing quietly in the background. Whenever I’m at home I have a movie playing or some music on just so I have some background noise to break the silence.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

Avada Kedavra, the killing curse. Found in the Harry Potter series, I really enjoy the sound of this curse. To start, it sounds like the classic “Abracadabra” but with a slight twist, mostly the “Kedavra” part which I believe is a play on the word “cadaver” which is a dead body or corpse, and seeing as this is the killing curse, it fits appropriately.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Well, I am currently working towards another profession that I really want to try. I would love to make movies. I would absolutely love to be a filmmaker of any kind. Whether it be a director or a cinematographer, really almost anything to do with the camera.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

There are a number of professions that I would not like to do, mainly I would not like to be either a politician or work for an insurance company in any way shape or form and the reason is simple: I have a soul. I could never be in either of these professions because I have a soul and I would like to keep it and I have no interest in taking or crushing other people’s souls.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear god say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

WELCOME TO HEAVEN, MOTHERFUCKER! Did you murder anybody?... Good. Did you rape anybody?... Good, that’s pretty much all you have to do to get into heaven, don’t murder and don’t rape. What religion were you?... Ah, well I’m sorry, you are gonna have to go to hell, the religion I was looking for was Mormon ... Nah, I’m just fuckin’ with ya, there is no “right” religion, come on in.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: The Illusionist

Grade: C+

A French magician is one of the last of a dying breed of stage entertainer. With the emergence of pop music and rock stars, not many people are heading to the theater anymore to see him perform his tricks. Becoming almost desperate, he begins to accept increasingly odd assignments at fringe theaters, garden parties and even at bars. At one point, he meets a young girl who instantly becomes a big fan of his. When he leaves, she decides to tag along. The two form a bond with one another and he decides to take care of her. They move into a small apartment in Edinburgh, Scotland in a building full of interesting characters. There, the magician begins to help the girl out and he changes her life forever.

The Illusionist is not the movie from 2006 with Edward Norton, just gonna get that out of the way now. It is an animated movie from France and French is the best way to describe it, but I’ll get to that later. It is up for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year and I can sort of see why. The animation is absolutely spectacular, unlike anything I’ve seen in years. It is very obvious that this was animated the old fashioned way, and by that I mean that every frame is hand drawn. The movie is extremely artistic and beautiful and for these reasons, is well worth watching.

However, as I said before the best way I can think to describe this movie is very French. It is an odd little movie, to start there is virtually no dialogue. You will hear the characters murmuring (almost as though it’s a Sims game), but there is no distinguishable words to be heard. On top of that the character of the Illusionist is an almost tragic one. All he knows is magic and he is being pushed out of that world be new and more exciting forms of entertainment. As a warning, despite its PG rating, this movie isn’t the most kid friendly movie at times. There is lots of smoking and drinking and at one point you see a character ready to kill himself. The ending is rather depressing as well. But that’s not to say that it’s all bad, it has its shining moments and plenty of laughs, most of which come from a drunk Scotsman.

The Illusionist is a movie well worth checking out, if for nothing else the fantastic form of animation it uses. I do believe that the main reason that this movie was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars is because of the old fashioned and stylistic form animation not seen in movies anymore. It is funny at times, heartwarming at others and rather somber and depressing the rest. Again, while nothing bad necessarily happens, I don’t think many children will enjoy this movie.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

83rd Annual Academy Awards predictions

Actor in a Leading Role

-Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
-Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
-Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
-Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
-James Franco in “127 Hours”

Who is going to win: Colin Firth
Who should win: Colin Firth; Simply an amazing performance by an amazing actor. I don’t care if they feel that it was an exaggerated performance, everything in historical/biopic movies is exaggerated.
Snubs: Ben Affleck in “The Town”, Robert Duvall in “Get Low”, Paul Giamatti in "Barney's Version"

Actor in a Supporting Role

-Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
-John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”
-Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
-Mark Ruffalo in “The Kid’s Are All Right”
-Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”

Who is going to win: Christian Bale
Who Should Win: Christian Bale; He is an intense method actor and it pays off. You truly believe he is a crack addict in this movie.
Snubs: Pete Postlethwaite in “The Town”, Matt Damon in “True Grit”

Actress in a Leading Role

-Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
-Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
-Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
-Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Who is going to win: Natalie Portman
Who should win: Natalie Portman; One of the best performances I have seen in a long time. It is amazing watching her character’s personality change over the course of the movie, really intense.
Snubs: Julianne Moore in “The Kids Are All Right”

Actress in a Supporting Role

-Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
-Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”
-Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
-Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
-Jackie Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

Who is going to win: Melissa Leo
Who should win: Hailee Steinfeld; This 14 year old acted alongside three of the best actors out there today, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, and she manages to completely steal the movie away them.
Snubs: None

Animated Feature Film

-How to Train Your Dragon
-The Illusionist
-Toy Story 3

Who is going to win: Toy Story 3
Who should win: Toy Story 3; One of the most emotional movies I have ever seen.
Snubs: The Legend of the Guardians, Megamind, Despicable Me

Art Direction

-Alice in Wonderland
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
-The King’s Speech
-True Grit

Who is going to win: Inception
Who should win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1


-Black Swan
-The King’s Speech
-The Social Network
-True Grit

Who is going to win: The Social Network
Who should win: Black Swan; The camera work in this movie was amazing.

Costume Design

-Alice in Wonderland
-I Am Love
-The King’s Speech
-The Tempest
-True Grit

Who is going to win: I Am Love
Who should win: True Grit
Snubs: Tron: Legacy


-Darren Aronofsky for “Black Swan”
-David O. Russell for “The Fighter”
-Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech”
-David Fincher for “The Social Network”
-Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for “True Grit”

Who is going to win: Darren Aronofsky
Who should win: Darren Aronofsky
Snubs: Christopher Nolan for “Inception”, Ben Affleck for “The Town”

Documentary (Feature)

-Exit through the Gift Shop
-Inside Job
-Waste Land

Who is going to win: Restrepo
Who should win: Exit through the Gift Shop; An intriguing and somewhat mind blowing documentary about street art.
Snubs: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Waiting for “Superman”

Documentary (Short)

-Killing in the Name
-Poster Girl
-Strangers No More
-Sun Come Up
-The Warriors of Qiugang

Who is going to win: Killing in the Name
Who should win: Killing in the Name

Film Editing

-Black Swan
-The Fighter
-The King’s Speech
-127 Hours
-The Social Network

Who is going to win: The Social Network
Who should win: Black Swan

Foreign Language Film

-Biutiful (Mexico)
-Dogtooth (Greece)
-In a Better World (Denmark)
-Incendies (Canada)
-Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) (Algeria)

Who is going to win: Biutiful
Who should win: Biutiful


-Barney’s Version
-The Way Back
-The Wolfman

Who is going to win: Barney’s Version
Who should win: Barney’s Version

Music (Original Score)

-How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell)
-Inception (Hans Zimmer)
-The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat)
-127 Hours (A.R. Rahman)
-The Social Network (Trant Reznor and Atticus Ross)

Who is going to win: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “The Social Network”
Who should win: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “The Social Network”
Snubs: Daft Punk for “Tron: Legacy” They had one of the best scores of all time and somehow were completely ignored by the academy.

Music (Original Song)

-“Coming Home” from “Country Strong”
-“I See the Light” from “Tangled”
-“If I Rise” from “127 Hours”
-“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”

Who will win: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”
Who should win: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”

Sound Editing

-“Toy Story 3”
-“Tron: Legacy”
-“True Grit”

Who is going to win: Inception
Who should win: Inception

Sound Mixing

-“The King’s Speech”
-“The Social Network”
-“True Grit”

Who is going to win: The Social Network
Who should win: Inception

Visual Effects

-“Alice in Wonderland”
-“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
-“Iron Man 2”

Who is going to win: Alice in Wonderland
Who should win: Harry Potter
Snubs: Tron: Legacy, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World; These two movies were on the list of seven nominees before it had to be narrowed down to five. I can’t believe that the two most visually stunning and interesting movies of the year didn’t get nominated for their effects. This is one of the reasons my faith in the Oscars has really gone down over the years.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

-Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy for “127 Hours”
-Aaron Sorkin for “The Social Network”
-Michael Arndt for “Toy Story 3”
-Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for “True Grit”
-Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini for “Winter’s Bone”

Who is going to win: Aaron Sorkin for “The Social Network”
Who should win: Aaron Sorking for “The Social Network: This movie had some of the best writing in years. It makes the movie extremely watchable and rewatchable.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

-Mike Leigh for “Another Year”
-Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson for “The Fighter”
-Christopher Nolan for “Inception”
-Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg for “The Kids Are All Right”
-David Seidler for “The King’s Speech”

Who is going to win: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson for “The Fighter”
Who should win: David Seidler for “The King’s Speech”: Great writing and story telling.

Short Film (Animated)

-“Day & Night”
-“The Gruffalo”
-“Let’s Pollute”
-“The Lost Thing”
-“Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage”

Who is going to win: “Let’s Pollute”
Who should win: “Day & Night”

Short Film (Live Action)

-“The Confession”
-“The Crush”
-“God of Love”
-“Na Wewe”
-“Wish 143”

Best Picture

-“Black Swan” (My review)
-“The Fighter” (My review)
-“Inception” (My review)
-“The Kids Are All Right” (My review)
-“The King’s Speech” (My review)
-“127 hours” (My review)
-“The Social Network” (My review)
-“Toy Story 3” (My review)
-“True Grit” (My review)
-“Winter’s Bone” (My review)

Who is going to win: “The Social Network”
Who should win: “The King’s Speech”; One of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Great writing, great acting, really just everything about it is great.
Snubs: “The Town”, "I Love You, Phillip Morris", "Get Low"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Winter's Bone

Grade: B-

Deep in the backcountry of the Ozark Mountains, Ree lives with and takes care of her mother, who is depressed and distant, and her two younger siblings. Lately, dhe and her family have been living on hard times and have been short on cash. One day, an officer comes by and informs her that her father had posted bail by putting up the house and the land as collateral and if he doesn’t show up to court in a couple days Ree and her family will lose the house. So Ree decides to go find her father by navigating through the dangerous world of people her father worked with who make and sell crystal meth. Her uncle decides to help her uncover as much of the truth as possible.

Winter’s Bone is a slow moving but rather intense, at times, movie. This is actually one of the best “gangster” or “mob” movies that I’ve seen in a long time, even though the community this is involved in isn’t necessarily either of those. As soon as Ree starts to ask around about the whereabouts of her father she is met with rather hostile reactions. Most people just claimed to not know anything, even though they clearly did, others would become angry and use intimidation to get her out the door. It is definitely an interesting look into this world and it shows the lengths that some of these people would go through to protect one of their own.

Jennifer Lawrence plays the main role of Ree. It is clear why Lawrence is nominated for an Oscar for this performance. It is a great and fearless performance. She did an absolutely amazing job with this role and you really feel for her character. John Hawkes plays Teardrop, Ree’s uncle. Hawkes did a pretty good job with his role and was really great in the movie.

Winter’s Bone is an interesting look into a community that revolves around making crystal meth. It tells an interesting story and does a really effective job telling the story and building suspense. I can see why it was nominated for best picture.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: The Kids are All Right

Grade: B+

Nic and Jules are a happily married lesbian couple who had two children through artificial insemination. They all live as a very happy family in California. However, one day their children, Joni and Laser, become very curious and decide to find the man who donated the sperm. They find the man, Paul, who is an organic farmer in California. The two children begin to form a bond with the man which raises complications within the family. Nic is untrusting of Paul and feels uncomfortable with her children forming a bond with him and Jules begins to work with him and the two form an interesting relationship.

The Kids are All Right is a very interesting drama with some interesting insight into this type of family dynamic. The movie is very well written and the characters are great. It was an interesting look into this type of dynamic where you have two kids who are the product of artificial insemination who want to find the donor and then what happens after they do. It is very interesting and it has some rather amusing and sometimes funny moments. However, there are some aspects of the movie that really seem out of place. The biggest one is the relationship formed between Paul and Jules, it just didn’t make much sense to me. I still can’t believe that this movie was in the Best Comedy category at the Golden Globes, it has some funny moments but it is far from a comedy.

Annette Bening (Running with Scissors, American Beauty) plays Nic. Bening did a great job with this role and did a fantastic job portraying the different sides of the character. Julianne Moore (A Single Man, Children of Men) plays the role of Jules. Moore is fantastic in this movie and really does a great job. Again, I don’t understand her characters actions sometimes but her performance is great. Mark Ruffalo (The Brother’s Bloom, Zodiac) plays the role of Paul. He was definitely one of the better parts of the movie. His character is pretty interesting, and somewhat clueless at times, and Ruffalo does a really great job with this role and makes this movie what it is. The movie also features performances by Mia Wasikoska, Josh Hutcherson and more.

The Kids are All Right is a very well written movie and is definitely worth watching. It is obvious to me why it is nominated for the awards that it is. It has a lot of heart and some great performances in it and it tackles a very interesting subject line.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Another Year

Grade: B-

Tom and Gerri are a married couple who have managed to stay blissfully happy into the autumn of their lives. They both are very happy with their lives as well. They enjoy their jobs, they have traveled the world and they have a 30 year old son who works with Tom. Over the course of one year, the couple finds themselves surrounded by friends, family and colleagues who seem to be struggling with depression in one form or another. From their friend Mary who just wants to find a man to settle down with to Tom’s brother whose wife passes away. The couple try to help them out in any way they can.

Another Year is an interesting movie with some nice moments in it. It’s a good movie with some really good writing but at times I was unsure as to the message of the movie. I almost feel that the writers were trying to say that if you aren’t in a relationship then you can’t be happy. The couple’s friend Mary can’t find a man to settle down with, and so she is miserable and only seems to get more depressed. Their son, Joe, wasn’t necessarily down or anything, but when he meets a girl he suddenly becomes the happiest man in London. Aside from this weird message about couples and relationships, the movie is actually pretty enjoyable and all the characters are very interesting. Even though Tom and Gerri are the main characters in the movie, the movie isn’t really about them, it’s about the people around them and all the aspects of their relationships and what’s happening in their lives as compared to the almost perfect lives and relationship of Tom and Gerri.

Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Hot Fuzz) plays the role of Tom. I really like Broadbent, he’s a great actor and was the reason I decided to watch this. He delivers a great performance in the movie and is really great to watch. Ruth Sheen (Run Fatboy Run, Vanity Fair) plays the role of Gerri. She was fantastic in this movie delivering some really great and honest performances. Lesley Manville plays Mary, a friend of the couple and colleague of Gerri. She did a really good job with her role, which was an interesting one. The movie also features performances by Oliver Maltman, Peter Wight, David Bradley, Karina Fernandez, Imelda Staunton and more.

Another Year is a well acted and well written movie but it is not for everyone. It is rather slow moving and obvious with what it is trying to do. It really seems like a movie more for those around the ages of the characters.