The Official Review Thread of 2009

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kaytodd
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Postby kaytodd » Sun May 24, 2009 9:44 am

Sin Nombre
Written and directed by Cary Joji Fukumaga

I loved every moment of this film. The two main characters are teens trying to escape desperate and hopeless lives in Central America and sneak into the U.S. One is a girl named Sayra, a Hondouran girl who has been planning an escape with her father and uncle by sneaking onto trains headed north (along with hundreds of others). The other is Casper, who lives in a Mexican town on the border with Guatemala. He is deeply involved in a criminal gang and his decision to flee north was made very suddenly to save his life. Their paths cross dramatically early in the journey and the rest of the film is a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat suspense ride through scenery that alternates between natural beauty to hard to watch squalor as the characters try to evade the Mexican and U.S. authorities and the criminals pursuing Casper. I highly recommend this film.

*** 1/2 of ****




Edited By kaytodd on 1243176286
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Postby flipp525 » Fri May 22, 2009 4:19 pm

Sabin wrote:Sandra Bullock looks like such a Madame Tussauds bitch these days.

HAHAHA!!!
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Postby Penelope » Fri May 22, 2009 4:17 pm

Angels and Demons (Ron Howard) 3/10

Wildly improbable and overall pretty dull religious thriller; nice score by Hans Zimmer, though.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston

"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby Sabin » Wed May 20, 2009 9:09 pm

Really funny. Probably more of a documentary than they'd let on.

Sandra Bullock looks like such a Madame Tussauds bitch these days.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby Penelope » Wed May 20, 2009 10:36 am

I doubt that we need a separate thread for The Proposal, as I bet this behind the scenes footage with Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock and Betty White is a hundred times funnier than the film itself.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby Sabin » Mon May 18, 2009 10:38 pm

The Brothers Bloom (Rian Johnson)

I see nothing "just" about the clever that Rian Johnson is. Brick is a wonderful poker-faced noir that succeeds in drawing the viewer into the central conceit (high school = noir) with blessedly few winks. Johnson does it again with "Wes-tiche", a plague on most hipster filmmakers who haven't the discipline to control Anderson's embrace of the picturesque whimsy he's built a newly classic career upon. Johnson's tale of the brothers Stephen and Bloom (don't ask me why) is a very touching story about the dominion one brother has over the other. Stephen has been writing Bloom into development for the better part of two decades and now comes the final con, essentially writing Bloom into love. Johnson is making a movie about authorship, and only intermittently does the subtext lose its sub a bit much for my taste. But it's in my mind a major piece of work from a young director who has overcome the dread sophomore slump with flying colors. Can't wait to see what he does next. Preferably with a more singular style. Then again, this is more vital than anything Wes Anderson's done since The Royal Tenenbaums so it's hard to bemoan his pilfering.

This is a fantasy that never entirely finds any kind of strong footing in reality but doesn't really set out to. What he achieves and then some is a moment-to-moment sharpness. Every frame seems to burst with throwaway gags and superb timing. And lovely performances. Like Natalie Portman, I've always liked the idea of Rachel Weisz more than her on-the-screen-presence. Even The Constant Gardener left me a bit cold. She is glorious here.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby Penelope » Sun May 17, 2009 2:08 pm

Rudo y Cursi (2008; Carlos Cuarón; placed here due to current release in the U.S.) 7/10

Entertaining, but clichéd--and frustratingly photographed--tale of Mexican brothers who go from poverty to soccer stardom. Benefits from the engaging performances of Gael García Bernal and (especially) Diego Luna.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby Sabin » Fri May 15, 2009 2:11 am

Julia (Eric Zonka)

This is about as exasperating and nerve-wracking a movie as any I'm likely to see this year. Swinton is a disastrous alcoholic who makes miserable choices and clearly enjoys her on-the-fly barstool witticisms. She's like a warts-and-all Bogart thrown into the deep end. When faced with a clearly wrong-headed child abduction plot, she embarks on a small series of detours on the way to kidnapping that make it all the more apparent how woefully ill-fit she is for what she is about to embark on. I keep coming back in my head to how Swinton's character is never more than five seconds ahead of herself at any moment. This creates such a painful sense of spontaneity in the film. I never knew what was going to happen, nor was I prepared for how deep it went. Zonka's jump-cutting creates very strange and mostly successful tonal shifts as this Cassavetes noir moves forward commenting on the innate indulgence of noir posturing. Only in the end does it embrace convention, but this follows a third act that had be on the edge of my seat with my fingers in my ears for fear of turning the corner. Lots to poke at but something worth seeing. Swinton is astonishing.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 09, 2009 6:53 am

STAR TREK
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Zoe Saldana, Leonard Nimoy, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Ben Cross, Winona Ryder.
Dir: J.J. Abrams

First off, I'm not a Trekkie (I've only see a few episodes of the original series and a handful of the subsequent spin-offs) but I found this a very clever and endlessly entertaining big-screen "reboot" of the Star Trek universe. Director Abrams and the screenwriters somehow took the core elements of the original show and twisted it around to create something brand-new that can appeal to fans and newcomers alike. Best mainstream movie of the year (so far).

Oscar Prospects: Techs only.

Grade: B+




Edited By anonymous on 1241870011

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Postby Penelope » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:19 pm

State of Play (2009; Kevin MacDonald) 7/10

Solid, generally gripping, if unremarkable political thriller. Well done for what it is, but not much more.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby Penelope » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:05 pm

Obsessed (2009; Steve Shill) 3/10

Craptastically campy thriller that generically mixes Fatal Attraction with a bit of Disclosure thrown in. The alternately hilarious and genuinely suspenseful climactic smackdown between Beyoncé and Ali Larter is entertaining (both seem to realise this is crap and so go full-tilt with overacting, leaving ostensible leading man Idris Elba a non-entity), but it's stupid, stupid, stupid, and a stereotypical gay character (Elba's assistant) doesn't help.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby Sonic Youth » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:27 pm

'State of Play' is eminently forgettable, but I will say the reviews Ben Affleck recieved for 'Hollywoodland' should have been saved for this one. Not that he's good, but he was perfectly cast. Otherwise, it's shallow stuff.
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Postby Sabin » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:56 pm

Two Lovers (dir. James Gray)

Gray's narratives eschew traditional third act explosion for implosion and the result can end a little jarring, but nobody else in America is really doing what he does right now. All the characters are basically children. Joaquin Phoenix's bipolar disorder is used as groundwork for obsessive love and not the other way around, which to some degree I might have preferred a little more of. It's just hard to gripe when a film this moodily evocative is available. It's just a gorgeous piece of filmmaking and so far my favorite Gray to date.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby Penelope » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:07 pm

Paris 36 [aka Faubourg 36] (2008; Christophe Barratier) 6/10

(Placed here due to its recent release in the U.S.)

Choppy attempt to blend the "hey, let's put on a show" à la Busby Berkeley (literally, with one number complete with overhead shots of geometric dancing) alongside the conflict between the socialists and the fascists in pre-WWII France. Plot is sometimes incomprehensible and always sentimental, but the songs are memorable and the production values top-notch.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

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Postby Penelope » Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:47 am

Adventureland (Greg Matolla) 3/10

Every single indie cliché you can imagine, but dull, dull, dull. Only Kristen Stewart gives a performance resembling anything in reality. And for a movie set in a theme park, where are all the gay guys? Hello?
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston



"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster


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