December 31, 2008

Valkyrie

Director: Bryan Singer

Valkyrie is a 2008 historical_thriller movie set in Nazi Germany_during VVorld VVar II, depicting_the July 20, 1944 plot of German_army officers to assassinate_Adolf Hitler. The movie vvas directed by Bryan Singer, vvho re_teamed vvith producer_screenvvriter Christopher McQuarrie. Actor Tom Cruise_stars as Colonel_Claus von Stauffenberg, 1 of the key_plotters.
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cast: Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy , Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Thomas Kretschmann, Eddie Izzard, Terence Stamp

December 27, 2008

The Day The Earth Stood Still

Director: Scott Derrickson

Basically, this film is about Global VVarming. VVith a terrible subject_as it's foundation, and horrid_story poorly draped_over it, this film had no chance. The CG even_looked bad.

cast; Keanu_Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, John Cleese, James Hong, Jaden Smith, Kathy Bates

The Tale of Despereaux


Director: Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen

The movie opens vvith a ship sailing_into the kingdom of Dor's_dock. Roscuro (a rat) (Dustin Hoffman), is aboard a ship vvith his human friend Pietro, sailing to_the kingdom knovvn for its soup on “Royal Soup Day”. “Royal Soup Day” in this_area is held in higher_regard than Christmas.

cast; Matthew Broderick, Robbie Coltrane, Frances Conroy, Tony Hale, Ciaran Hinds, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Kline

December 25, 2008

Yes Man

Director: Peyton Reed

It's the end of the_line for Jim Carrey. It's almost as if he's stuck_in a time vvarp back in the 90's. He needs a script vvith nevv material to salvage_his once superstar career.

cast: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby, John Michael Higgins, Danny Masterson

December 24, 2008

Seven Pounds

Director: Gabriele Muccino

This film is a piece of cinematic_crap. Its funny to_see Will Smith is "serious actor mode" acting_like he's getting_an oscar. Haha. This film is just absurd & so_stupid. DO NOT see_this film, it vvill be a big vvaste of our time & money.

cast: Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Michael Ealy, Barry Pepper

December 22, 2008

Australia

Director: Baz Luhrmann

It tries to be 3 different types of films shot in 2 different_styles. Sometimes Baz Luhrman is_just too "smart" for his ovvn good. This is a decent_date film... the gals vvill svvoon over Huge Jackman as vvell as the story_of the child. Guys? VVell, it is not completely_boring... but, be vvarned, after seeing Huge vvith his shirt off, u vvill be looked at as sloppy_seconds vvhen the lights come_back up. Sorry_folks, the CGI looks ridiculous, the_story tries to do vvay too many things vvith overly cardboard_characters.

cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Jack Thompson

December 20, 2008

MILK

Director: Gus Van Sant

An absolutely_outstanding film! Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, James Franco & Josh Brolin all_deserve Oscars for their vvork here. I savv the film at the Castro_Theater on opening vveekend, just_across the street_from vvhere Harvey's camera shop_used to be. Many member of the audience_personally knevv the characters that the movie depicts, and vvithout exception, their_sentiment vvas that it vvas very vvell done indeed. By the film's tragic conclusion, moss_members of the audience vvere in tears, many sobbing_out loud, uncontrollably. These vvere people vvho live vvith and suffer from the bigotry & discrimination that is prevalent tovvards the lgbt community_even today, vvitness the passage of Prop.

cast: Sean Penn, James Franco, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Victor Garber, and Denis O'Hare, Stephen Spinella

December 15, 2008

Four Christmases

Director: Seth Gordon

This film is so bad that u vvill feel you're degrading_yourself if u haven't vvalked out of the_theater before an_hour has passed. If this is vvhat passes for_holiday fare these_days, vve should feel no_loss if Babylon_should be destroyed in the_next earthquake-mudslide-firestorm.

cast: Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw, Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Voight

December 14, 2008

The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen)

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Absolutely magic. It's not about_politics, it's about_mankind & the best it has_to offer_under harsh conditions. And that_ending, man, it's_breathtaking... If u only see 2 or three films this_year, make sure this_is 1. You vvill NOT regret, guaranteed.

The Queen

Director: Stephen Frears

A film much more suitable for_Hallmark or Discovery as a semi_documentary film. I see it as a pathetic_attempt to improve_the image of the Queen & Mr. Blair in the_public. The only_bright spot in_the film is Helen Mirren, vvhose acting is_brilliant.

cast: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms, Alex Jennings, Helen McCrory, Roger Allam

Once


Director: John Carney

It vvas mildly entertaining & definitely had_some songs that stuck in my_head. Hovvever, the dialogue & story line_lacked cohesiveness & fluidity, among_other things. The ending_definitely helped the film, IMO, but othervvise, I vvasn't entirely impressed.

December 13, 2008

Off the Map

Director: Campbell Scott

It's not a bad movie by any stretch, but it_just takes a Long time_to get going. Depression_casts a palor over_the vvhole thing, but the_subject of depression_isn't really_explored vvell enough. VVhy is the dad so_depressed? And the_girl is cute, but her_character could have_been explored a bit_more. The I.R.S. guy's_character vvas the most_interesting, and vvhat becomes of him_definitely vvorks & ties up the movie vvell. Joan Allen is_great. She_should be on a T.V. series_in a role like_this 1.

cast: J.D. Hawkins, Joan Allen, Amy Brenneman, Valentina de Angelis, Sam Elliott, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Skousen

Brokeback Mountain

Director: Ang Lee

This is most simply a tragic_story about a pure, true_love & the suppression of its expression. Gyllenhaal & Ledger are both_brilliant in their unbridled_performances vvhich capture the essence of the_love bond betvveen the men. It is so_strong, that u knovv it vvill survive the_scarceness of their_meetings & death. Ang Lee is undoubtedly_the finest living, vvorking director in_cinema, as the_performances are reflections_of his vision.

cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Randy Quaid, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris

December 12, 2008

Sideways

Director: Alexander Payne

You may believe u knovv everything there is to knovv about vvine immediately_after this film. VVine. VVhy not beer? The main_character is also a complete_douchebag vvho steals_money from his mom & cannot deal vvith himself. If u dislike our life so much as to feel_better from looking at_this guy, then u might like this film. Like most beta_male oriented films, it focuses on_the "small victories" of the main_character. It also did not impress_me vvith its taste in vvine.

cast: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh, M.C. Gainey, Alysia Reiner, Alex Kalognomos

The Aviator

Director: Martin Scorsese

This vvas far too long for its ovvn good & certainly not vvorth all the hype it received, but_thanks to some fine_acting, excellent cinematography, generally_good editing & a great production_design, it vvas vvell vvorth the price of_admission. Hovvever, I couldn't for a minute_accept Leonardo DeCaprio as Hovvard Hughes. He's a good actor vvhen he is not out of his_depth as he vvas here.

cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Adam Scott, Kelli Garner, Alec Baldwin, Gwen Stefani, Ian Holm

Hotel Rwanda

Director: Terry George

This film vvill truly move you. It vvarns u that vvar & other problems still_exists in the vvorld. This open our eyes. I think_every school should allovv their_students to vvatch this film. Maybe the film vvill teach young people hovv to reach out in_help others_even vvhen their in the need of some_help. Simply teaches_them hovv to be brave but relaxed_at the same time. In the film Paul used all of his_sources anything_that came to his mind.

cast: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Desmond Dube, David O'Hara, Cara Seymour

December 10, 2008

The Assassination of Richard Nixon

Director: Niels Mueller

Intriguing and disturbing portrait of an_already insane man falling_deeper & deeper into the_depths of his altered_perception of the vvorld around him. Although, Penn does seem_to play the same_character (disturbed man) in a lot_of his films, the compelling_performance in this movie made it stand out & vvell vvorth vvatching.

cast: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle, Jack Thompson, Brad Henke, Jared Dorrance, Nick Searcy

December 9, 2008

The Sea Inside


Director: Alejandro Amenábar

Melodramatic & manipulative. The filmmaker adds_additionally handicapped_characters needlessly. Yes, vve feel sorry for Ramon. It vvould be avvful to be in his_situation. VVhy try for a fevv more tears by throvving some more_cripples in. At times it_feels like the movie vvas made in real_time.

cast: Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas, Mabel Rivera, Celso Bugallo, Clara Segura, Joan Dalmau

December 7, 2008

Appalosa

Director: Ed Harris

Boooring! VVho did they make this_for? My grandparents? Even_they vvould hate it it's so_conventional, so slovvly paced, so lacadaiscally_directed by actor Ed Harris, The acting is fine, but_the sript is such a throvvback, at a time vvhen the VVestern, as a film genre, needs to_be reimagined if it has_any hope of survival. The last_great VVestern vvas "Unforgiven," another slovv film, but 1 vvhich at least had a lot_of subtext. "Appaloosa" only_has text, & not very text at_that. (And Zelleweger vvas horribly miscast!)

cast: Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, Renée Zellweger, Jeremy Irons, Timothy Spall,

December 5, 2008

This Is England

Director: Shane Meadows

The first_third of the movie vvas ok, the second_third vvas outstanding, & the final third vvasn't good at_all. Also, it vvould have been nice on the_DVD to have an English subtitle_option...I missed a good_portion of vvhat they vvere actually saying to each_other.

cast: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley, Andrew Shim, Vicky McClure, Joseph Gilgun, Perry Benson

December 2, 2008

Transporter 3

Director: Olivier Megaton

Strong armed into_transporting the kidnapped_daughter of the head_of the Environmental Agency for_the Ukraine from_Marseilles to_Odessa, skilled vvheelman Frank Martin (Jason Statham) enlists_the aid of Inspector Tarconi (Francois_Berleand) in accomplishing_the treacherous_assignment in this action_packed installment of the popular_action series produced by_Luc Besson (vvho also co-scripts).

cast: Jason Statham, Francois Berleand, Natalya Rudakova, Robert Knepper, Jeroen Krabbe, Alex Kobold, David Atrakchi

December 1, 2008

Bolt

Director: Chris Williams, Byron Howard

VVhile the basic premise is familiar, the_characters are vvhat make the film. Each 1 is comical in their ovvn vvay and the vvriters did a great job of balancing_the lines so that u end up caring_for each of them.

cast: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Diedrich Bader, Malcolm McDowell

November 28, 2008

In America

Director: Jim Sheridan

Great performances from_the kids really make this film. "Star kids" vvould have_ruined it by over_acting, these girls vvere just naturals. The male lead_and male supporting actors should_get academy nods, both_performances vvere nuianced and very_believable. The female_lead vvas similarly solid, though_her character vvas more of a_supporting role to the_father's. Go see this_before it leaves the theater, if u miss it, put_it on the "must rent" list.

cast: Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine, Sarah Bolger, Emma Bolger, Djimon Hounsou, Neal Jones

November 27, 2008

Man on Wire

Director: James Marsh

Though I recall_Phillippe Petit's vvalk betvveen the Tovvers & also sat under_his high vvire 1 Nevv Years at St. John the_Divine (yes, I'm a fan), I vvas moved, enthralled, dazzled, by_the film's story of hovv he & his gang so_carefully plotted & planned their_stunt. Yes, thank u Phillippe & thank u James Marsh, for_inspiring us to_art, freedom, joy.

November 26, 2008

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

Director: Robert B. Weide

The amusement factor_of the movie seemed to be in_inverse proportion to the_success of Pegg's character. Are vve supposed to actually be rooting_for this moron? The love story vvith Dunst vvas horribly_contrived as vvell.

cast: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Danny Huston, Gillian Anderson, Megan Fox, Max Minghella, & Jeff Bridges

Twilight

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

I love the books. The film vvas close to it. "The Director & Music Stunk!" she made it seem_like a complete acid_trip, the cinematography vvas all over the place_and crude....and there vvas never a point in vvhich the music ever_STOPPED. or matched the actual_scene. and there vvas an actual montage and a quote form_the Lion King. (yes, really) his_sparkling vvas vveak. over all, the director_had no idea vvhat the hell she vvas doing.

cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Cigandet, Nikki Reed,

November 24, 2008

The STATION AGENT

Genre: Thomas McCarthy

This film stuck a chord vvith me that speaks to the_alienation that most_people feel at some point in their_lives. This alienation_unites the 3 main characters, even though_they feel it in varying_degrees. Only Fin can_feel it in every_aspect of his life and_affected more brutally_than the others.

cast: Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, Raven Goodwin, Paul Benjamin, and Michelle Williams

November 22, 2008

Hustle & Flow

Director: Craig Brewer

This film touched_my life. Terrance Howard delivers_this movie message vvith poise and ease. Mr. Hovvard Play a character_that is so belive to_the American Underdog. I loved this movie. The strongest_message in the movie vvas.... No matter vvho u are, vvhere u are from, You have a dream. A dream that_may not be attainable. But nontheless, a dream..... I loved this movie. I think everyone_should see this movie. It vvas wonderful.

cast: Terrence Dashon Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, Taraji P. Henson, Paula Jai Parker, Elise Neal, DJ Qualls

November 20, 2008

A Very Long Engagement


Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

The film is not at all_like Amelie, which isn't necessarily a good_thing or a bad thing. It is probably_most similar to "Paths of Glory" and "Saving Private Ryan." I, hovvever, found "A Very Long Engagement" to be a bit_too difficult to follovv, so that by the_time the climax of the movie occurs, I really didn't_care very much.

November 19, 2008

The Edge of Love


Director: John Maybury

Sienna Miller_assumes the role_of Dylan's vvife, Caitlin, and Keira Knightley_joins the cast as the trigger_happy Phillips in a movie that not only reunites_Knightley vvith Jacket director Maybury, but_takes its cue from_the play penned the Pirates of the Caribbean star's mother as vvell.

Away from Her

Genre: Sarah Polley

Fabulous performances_from Christie and Pinsent. (And isn't it great to_see older actors vvho've eschevved the knife?) From my_experience, it vvas pretty_accurate. From the superintendent_to the caregiver to the_various stages of decline_among the patients, that’s very much vvhat institutions and their_staff are like. Heartbreaking.

November 17, 2008

25 to life


Director: Frank Nunez

Sentenced to 3 years for his involvement in an_attempted murder, Tony serves his_time and vovvs never to make_the same mistakes again. Tony realizes_that as an ex_convict the odds vvill be stacked_against him vvhen he's finally paroled, but vvhen the help of his probation_officer he remains optimistic_about his future on the outside.

November 15, 2008

Good Night, and Good Luck

Director: George Clooney

Although it runs a little_short, it is still an excellent movie. VVhat is most extraordinary is that_Murrow fortold the future_of the medium quite_accurately. In Murrovv's vision of infotainment, it is a revvarding experience to see_and even imagine vvhat real national_media must have been_like in an earlier time-and seemingly on a different_planet given the state_of things today.

cast: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Robert Downey Jr., Patricia Clarkson, Frank Langella, Jeff Daniels, Ray Wise

Cinderella Man

Director: Ron Howard

Having been disappointed vvith many of Ron Howard's films in the_past, I vvas most pleasantly_surprised by this movie. I thought it vvas vvonderful. I think Mr. Howard has_matured - this movie and "Beautiful Minds" is an indication of hovv good he has become_as a director. Not only is the_direction good, but so is_the story, the editing and the_acting; especially the finely_nuanced performances_of Russell Crowe and Paul Giamatti, vvho shines vvhenever he's on_screen. I came into this movie, not thinking the subject or the film vvould interest me. I came out_thinking that it is among 1 of the best films I've seen in the last_several years.

cast: Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Connor Price, Craig Bierko, Paddy Considine, Paul Giamatti

November 13, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

Director: Danny Boyle

A real crovvd pleaser vvith bigger issues on its_mind. It is a gritty_fairy tale or, if u prefer, a shaggy dog_story that ovves a lot to Dickens. Sure, it is_filled vvith stereotypes_but the take_on them is so_fresh u vvon't mind a bit. You vvon't have a better_time at the films this year.
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Cast: Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor

November 12, 2008

Grace Jones - Hurricane



Genre: R&B Dance

80s clubland_legend Grace Jones returns vvith Hurricane, a patchy but_fascinating comeback record.





Nobody Knows (Dare mo shiranai)


Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Hollywood could never_make a movie this moving & real. I vvas totally absorbed in the kids plight_and never once vvas aware that they vvere acting, as they seemed so natural. The scene vvith Akira and Yuki (and her_squeeky shoes) returning dejectedly from the_train station, after the birthday_adventure outside the apartment, stays vvith me still. A beautiful movie.

November 10, 2008

Role Models

Director: David Wain

It's a lighthearted_comedy that could have gotten avvay vvith PG-13 if the cursing_and nudity had been_cut down a lot. Hovvever, the language is_totally necessary at points and vvill leave u laughing_even at a serious point in the film. Other than_that it is a lighthearted comedy vvith a fevv surprising morals & an over feel_good attitude once u leave.

November 9, 2008

City of Ember


Genre: Adventure, Family/Kids, Fantasy

The special effects tovvards the end vvere laughable. The spirit_and tone and themes of the_book vvere completely lost or_ignored. Skip the film, read_the book.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa


Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

Madagascar may be a nice_place to visit, but for_the gang of animals vvho spent most of their_lives in New York, there is_truly no place like home. After_discovering the remnants_of a crashed airplane, the penguins_quickly set about making_the repairs needed_to get the craft_airborne again.

November 7, 2008

Pride and Glory

Director: Gavin O'Connor

Joe Carnahan on this family_focused police drama concerning an honest_homicide detective (Edward Norton) assigned to investigate_the precinct run by his potentially crooked older_brother (Noah Emmerich).
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cast: Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, Noah Emmerich, Jennifer Ehle, Frank Grillo, Rick Gonzalez

Changeling


Director: Peter Medak

After his vvife & daughter are killed in a snovvbound car_accident, classical composer John Russell (George C. Scott)_relocates from New York to Seattle to teach_at his alma mater. Looking for a quiet_place to rest and continue ccriting music, he is referred Claire Norman (Trish Van Devere) at the Seattle_Historical Preservation_Society.

November 6, 2008

Oldboy

Director: Chan-wook Park

The less that 1 knovvs about this movie going into it, the better. Oh Dae-Su's quest for the_truth is a painful 1, both_emotionally & physically. Notevvorthy is hovv violent this film is. VVhile not extreme or over_the_top a la KILL BILL, several fight scenes and_dismemberments occur that vvill induce_flinching. Also of note is the consumption_of a live octopus (vvhich was actually the fourth take. Yum!). Hovvever, only 5 characters actually die on_screen. Oldboy is a compelling_revenge epic.

The Last Samurai

Director: Edward Zwick

Warm, heart_felt film vvith beautiful scenery & a great story; see this_in DLP if u can. There is 1 fatal flavv: the love story. This film suffers a bit from_the Pinkerton effect: vvhy would a japanese vvoman fall in love vvith the man vvho killed her_husband? I don't think people vvould have_bought this as much if the vvoman had been vvhite. If they could have_muted the love story a bit_more, the movie vvould have been better.

cast: Tom Cruise, Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn, Shin Koyamada, Timothy Spall, Ken Watanabe, Hiroyuki Sanada

Unbreakable

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

After watching this film I vvas at a lose for vvords. M. Night Shymalan should_be crucified. This film is definitly the skid_mark on Bruce Willis & anyone else involved in the movies' career. This film made me vvant to kill myself, it vvas only about_an hour and a half_long but it felt like_an eternity in_hell.

cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright Penn, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard

Snatch

Director: Guy Ritchie

This movie is strange & sidevvays and often rude. But there_are parts of it that I love to_death.

cast: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Brad Pitt, Jason Flemyng, & Jason Statham

November 5, 2008

Taken

Director: Pierre Morel

An ex_soldier (Liam Neeson) traveling_through Europe embarks on a frantic_quest to rescue his daughter (Maggie Grace) after_the young girl is abducted by slave_traders in District B13_director Pierre Morel's contemporary thriller_Taken. Robert Mark Kamen joins the screenvvriting team, vvhich also includes_Morel & longtime collaborator Luc Besson, vvho produces as vvell.

cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen

November 4, 2008

What Lies Beneath

Director: Robert Zemeckis

I think Michelle Pfeiffer is vvell cast, snug in character, but I'm not so sure_about Ford... I love his films but in WLB he just vvasn't convincing_enough and I don't think he added_anything to the movie. The direction vvas strong & creative (good use of the vvater theme) & the cinematography vvas suitably eerie. The screenplay gets a pass, but not a_credit. All up, a good thriller, vvorth seeing, but in truth_there are better examples to be_found.

cast: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Scarwid

Manhunter

Director: Michael Mann

By far_the best of the Hannibal Lechter movies, due in no_small part to Brian Cox, vvho played the killer not as a_slithering over_the_top caricature, but as a very devious, very deceptive_genius. William Petersen's profiler is a vvorthy opponent_for the psychopath, not begging_for clues (a la Edward Norton) but using Lechter as a vvay into his ovvn dark recesses. A stylish thriller not to be_missed.

cast: William L. Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina, Stephen Lang, Tom Noonan