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All reviews - Movies (22) - TV Shows (1) - Books (5)

Inception review

Posted : 6 years, 3 months ago on 21 August 2011 10:52 (A review of Inception)

A fascinating, engaging, overly explanatory- and yet somehow not enough explanitory- epic film. I watched this a second time recently around the time i re-watched 2001: a space odessey. Both are different kinds of science fiction, but both play with ambiguity and metaphysical reality in a powerful way. While Kubrick's masterpiece is almost plodding, Nolan whizzess us into a world where dreams can be inhabited by other minds. The complexity of this idea requires a lot of exposition, which starts almost from the first line of the film and never really ends - as I am still discussing the ending and what really happened. While Nolan's premise is somewhat complicated (why would people do this, what types of things could we do with it, etc.) Kubricks is more primal: there are alien beings. Inception may go down as one of the great science fiction films along with Kubrick's. That is assuming the past is real.


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Scream 3 review

Posted : 6 years, 3 months ago on 21 August 2011 10:44 (A review of Scream 3)

I am not a horror fan, and so this type of meta-horror film is about the only kind i can really get into. It's got just enough suspense, and more sophisticated humor (in my opinion) than traditional horror films, that it is an enjoyable couple hours. But then again, this is directed by the king of horror films, so perhaps i need to give the genre another chance. The film doesn't hesitate to make fun of itself, but not so much that it's pedantic. A good scary time, and makes me want to check out scream 4.


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2001: A Space Odyssey review

Posted : 6 years, 3 months ago on 21 August 2011 10:39 (A review of 2001: A Space Odyssey)

I am certain that I watched this film as a child or growing up, but watching it at 35 was a different experience. The technical achievement Kubrick made is undeniable, especially considering this was made in 1968. But what is really stunning is the intrepid artistic risks Kubrick makes. The metaphysical allegories that are not explained help ensure the piece will be timeless. That said, it's not the easiest film to watch these days. Two-and a half hours of unapologetic slowness - while artistically make sense, as he ensures the audience is part of this real world. Kubrick is not going for Monet, he's going to the realism of a portrait artist. He's not interested in flashing stuff by your retinas quickly so that you get the 'sense' of what has happened. Because of this, we buy into the fantastical happenings later in the film. But let's be honest, much like a symphony (perhaps something Kubrick is echoing with the films four parts) it takes patience, and maturity to appreciate.


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Step Up 3-D review

Posted : 6 years, 4 months ago on 7 August 2011 01:56 (A review of Step Up 3-D)

I saw this film on Netflix download, so I suspect it lost something in terms of the 3D effect quality. It's my first foray into the Step UP franchise. The characters and acting are vapid, stereotypical and pretty much the same plot line every other teen competition movie. Still, the dancing is impressive and fun, and it does't go too far into melodrama- just enough to have some semblance of stories. If you like dancing, it's an entertaining movie. Good enough that I will probably work my way backwards and watch Step Up 2 next.


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Downton Abbey review

Posted : 6 years, 4 months ago on 5 August 2011 03:30 (A review of Downton Abbey)

This amazingly compelling series, full of rich (and poor - ha!), realistic characters in a stunning setting, has it all. An exploration of a time before it all went wrong - and yet on the precipice of everything wrong - pre World War I - Downton Abby shows us the affect of a declining empire on the Lord of a manner, one foot in the old days and another in a burgeoning modern society. Simultaneously we see how the staff continue to serve this newly anachronistic situation. It has a believable range of characters that we celebrate - even the bad eggs - and a roller coaster plot that will keep you watching.


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Lars and the Real Girl review

Posted : 6 years, 4 months ago on 3 August 2011 08:02 (A review of Lars and the Real Girl)

Despite superb acting by Ryan Gosling, and a unique, somewhat compelling premise, I had trouble fully enjoying this film. The audience is immersed in a believable, non-descript small town of the north, of some recent, non-specific time. Computer monitors are still huge in this town, and everyone knows everyone else. The characters, though, prevented my full immerssion in this film. A tug-at-your-heartstring, yet unbelievable, crush, and unlikely support of Lars throughout the community is fun, but unrealistic. Mostly though, I struggled with reconciling attempts at humor surrounding mental illness with the attempts at genuine support by the characters of a mentally ill man.


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Kick-Ass review

Posted : 6 years, 4 months ago on 23 July 2011 04:22 (A review of Kick-Ass)

Excellent superhero/non-hero movie, with the protagonist falling into the role accidentally. The film does some excellent playing with the genre's typical elements of hero formation story (one typical and the other wanabe typcial), arch enemy (one has one the other doesn't and does't want one), family ties, romance. The real hero is the unlikely one (also typical, but it is taken here to the extreme in the form of Hit-Girl." Other differences with standard superhero films are some really genuine, strong humor - not as forced as it feels in others, and a roster of characters all of whom are likable, even the bad guys. Well, maybe the really bad guy isn't likable, but he is at least engaging, and not replusive like some of the monster bad guys in other flicks. Great acting all around, particularly for Hit-Girl - really tough, seriously violent role that she pulls of swimmingly for her age.


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Croupier review

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 22 July 2011 02:41 (A review of Croupier)

Interesting, stylized, look at the world of a dealer in Britain. Our protagonist is stuck between being an honest, evil Croupier (who loves seeing people lose and knows the odds of everything) and a Writer, and his girlfriend has a similar conflicted feelings about him. A plot that is somewhat confusing and far-fetched at times (maybe i'm just tired.) But the confusion is compensated for by compelling, strange, extreme characters and people in this casino world - women that think nothing of changing in front of their co-workers, girlfriends that barely blink at other girlfriends on the side, police inspectors that aren't phased by a casino scam, dealers that supplement their pay the wrong way, casino managers that can't count and publishers that love a terrorist as a writer. A fun look at this crazy world.


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The Lincoln Lawyer review

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 14 July 2011 04:47 (A review of The Lincoln Lawyer)

I guess i'm a sucker for rogue lawyer films - the FIrm, Michael Clayton, and now, while not quite rising to the level of the first two, the Lincoln Lawyer is a solid addition to the panopoly. Interest concept - a defense lawyer with a conscience of sort, a complex family life (x wife was a prosecutor) and a fateful decision to take on a rich client instead of his usual hard-working riff raff criminals. Some good acting with a mustacioed William H Macy, and even Matthew Mcconaughey seems to fit into this role like an easy chair. Marisa Tomei was not quite as believable, and the ending maybe wraps up a little too neatly. But solid plot line, and McConaughey doesn't take off his shirt. So that adds a half star.


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Killers review

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 14 July 2011 03:43 (A review of Killers)

Really fun flick with all the right elements for a good time: humor and wit, suspense, solid acting - with personalities. A good script is brought to life with the film choices. Even though you know where this is going pretty much for the whole filme, you enjoy the execution. Perhaps it's because they don't try too hard to surprise you that the film works; i want to watch the story unfold not feel like the director one-uped me. Heigel and Kutcher have great chemistry, you are invested in this relationship. Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara are so much fun as the quirky parents. Throw in a some exciting chase and gun scenes and it's worth your time. I actually wouldn't mind watching again.


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