The Official Review Thread of 2008

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Postby Sabin » Sat May 10, 2008 1:31 pm

What did you find worthwhile about 'My Blueberry Nights'? To me it's the epitome of disposable.

Gus Van Sant's 'Paranoid Park' is a masterpiece.

Ironically, the last movie I saw ('Iron Man') has to be one of the five best summer blockbusters of the decade. Pleasingly low-key, thrilling in its emphasis on escapism by way of feat instead of arbitrary smack-downs and shockingly un-politically despicable. Downey is terrific as is everyone. Although pretty dumb at the end when it essentially becomes a 'Godzilla' movie, it still trumps 'Transformers' in the Giant Robot Brawl category.

Comic book movies are categorically bad for one reason or another. I've seen three that I can saw make good FILMS. Not movies, not good times, not good moments, but FILMS. 'Batman', 'Spider-Man 2', and now 'Iron Man'.
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Postby Damien » Sat May 10, 2008 10:19 am

So far I've seen 6 2008 releases and all of them are highly worthwhile: Olivier Assayas's Boarding Gate; Jacques Rivette's The Duchess Of Langaise; Christophe Honoré's Love Songs; Wong Kar Wai's My Blueberry Nights. And two of them are flat out masterpieces: Hsiao-hsien Hou's Flight Of The Red Balloon and Gus van Sant's Paranoid Park.

This already has the makings of a great film year.




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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 10, 2008 7:53 am

SPEED RACER
Cast: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Roger Allam, Matthew Fox, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rain, Paulie Litt, Benno Furmann, Scott Porter, Richard Roundtree, Kick Gurry.
Dirs: Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski

The nifty visuals are about the only thing that's even remotely interesting about this live-action adaptation of the anime series. The intentional camp and cheesiness is very off-putting due to it's lack of wit. The cast tries it's best with the inane script but mostly fails. Most of the eye-popping action sequences are oddly uninvolving and fail to impress as it's supposed to do. The Wachowski's visual flair is still pretty much evident but the script fails them immensely.

Oscar Prospects: Art Direction, Costume Design, Sound, Sound Editing and Visual Effects are possible.

Grade: C-

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Postby Hustler » Thu May 01, 2008 12:10 pm

--anonymous wrote:IRON MAN
Although far from outstanding, this comic book entry is a pretty decent piece of popcorn entertainment and pretty much works primarily because of Robert Downey Jr.'s performance: He infuses enough humor and humanity that you totally buy into it for the two hours you're in the theater.

What a good choice was casting Robert Downey Jr. for the lead.




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Postby anonymous1980 » Thu May 01, 2008 5:49 am

IRON MAN
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terrence Howard, Leslie Bibb, Shaun Taub, Clark Gregg, Jon Favreau.
Dir: Jon Favreau.

Although far from outstanding, this comic book entry is a pretty decent piece of popcorn entertainment and pretty much works primarily because of Robert Downey Jr.'s performance: He infuses enough humor and humanity that you totally buy into it for the two hours you're in the theater.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects, Sound, Sound Editing.

Grade: B

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Postby Zahveed » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:15 am

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL

It's probably the most accessible Apatow-produced flick thus far. The gross-out humor isn't as asinine as Knocked Up and the characters are certainly more welcoming. The writing is refreshing as it uses predictable plot points in unfamiliar ways. You know what will happen, it's the romantic comedy where a man is dumped and finds another love interest - it's getting there that's fun. An orgrasm battle, two men humping chess pieces on a beach, and a rock opera about Dracula utilizing puppets all fall into place in some fashion. One major problem I have with this movie is the constant boom mic hovering over the actors throughout. An enjoyable movie overall.

B+
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Postby Sabin » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:41 am

MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS

I don't think there's any living filmmaker who is so adept at capturing the most ecstatic base components of cinema as Wong Kar-wai has demonstrated. There really isn't much by way of competition. When limited to vignettes, his films tend to soar with the infinite possibilities of the mundane. By the same token, I don't think there's a filmmaker who creates a more sensually melancholic wallow. His characters are all deeply, seductively alienated. Although 'In the Mood for Love' is his masterpiece if only for managing to be ecstatically melancholic throughout, I don't think he has quite topped the glory of the second half of 'Chungking Express'. That is the Wong Kar-wai I love deeply and the one I had hoped returned with 'My Blueberry Nights'. A movie like '2046' is maddening, monotonous, intermittently brilliant but all-too frequently insufferable. It's something to grapple with, curse, and exalt at the same time. 'My Blueberry Nights' is something to watch melt and lose flavor.

The beginning to 'My Blueberry Nights' features Jude Law as a coffee shop worker in New York. I've been to New York a handful of times and I know that there is no place in New York like this store. I am fine with that; I want it to exist, and Lord knows I'd imagine so do New Yorkers. He collects keys left behind by those jilted in love, including Norah Jones who leaves it for her ex to pick up who will never lay claim to them. They begin a tentative platonic courtship in loneliness that is the high point of 'My Blueberry Nights'. Darius Khondji doesn't do much to add to Wong Kar-wai's immediately recognizable mise-en-scene but in circling the store he does his best work since 'Se7en'. And although we've seen this before, it's an entertaining return to over-the-counter love.

Then begins a road trip for Norah Jones on her way to the horseshittiest Memphis and Vegas you've ever seen. If American cinema has been defined by the immigrant experience, than Wong Kar-wai unintentionally pays homage to the American foreigner experience in really not bothering to learn a goddamn thing about the world he present. The actors go under-directed, the dialogue goes down like lumps, and the plot meanders forward from one encounter to another with little-to-no concern for theme or characterization beyond archetype. Normally, this isn't a problem for Wong Kar-wai whose indelibly etched creations seem born of the same ilk as these in Hong Kong. One looks at 'Happy Together', and it certainly doesn't feel incredibly Argentinean but he is dealing with characters he understands. A lot of stock clichés go used in 'My Blueberry Nights' and while he's employed them in the past, only now do they feel self-parodic. One can interpret 'My Blueberry Nights' as taking as quintessential a Wong Kar-wai story and transferring it into the American star system to see how linguistic distance can benefit a viewing, but I'd be inclined to say that this would prove a slight, disappointing viewing in any language.

A major disappointment.
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Postby barrybrooks8 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:22 am

STOP-LOSS


Kimberley Peirce's new film all-in-all was boring, overwrought and over-acted. None of the Texas accents were believable (except maybe for Channing Tatum) and it was an editing nightmare. There was no pace, and upon watching the trailer again, there were many scenes from it not featured in the actual movie. The road trip portion of the movie seemed both out of place and not plausible.

The message of the movie is important and it works for both sides, but I never really believed any of the characters (again, except maybe for Channing Tatum). A mess.

Grade: C-
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Postby Zahveed » Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:11 pm

I have to agree with Anonymous. It is better than the worst PIXAR and most other cg flicks.
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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:06 am

HORTON HEARS A WHO
Cast: Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, Isla Fisher, Seth Rogen, Amy Poehler, Jaime Pressly, Jonah Hill, Josh Flitter, Charles Osgood, Jesse McCartney (voices).
Dirs: Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino.

Although still a far cry from the best works of PIXAR, this feature length animated film is most definitely the best Dr. Seuss cinematic adaptation. It was able to stretch the narrative into 85 minutes while retaining the book's charm and whimsy.

Oscar Prospects: Best Animated Feature is a possibility.

Grade: B

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Postby Penelope » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:33 pm

It's been at least more than a month since I've been to a movie (illness, weather, finances, lack of interesting films to see), but I finally got out to see In Bruges, Martin McDonagh's foul-mouthed and violent action comedy with serious overtones. I'm not too familiar with McDonagh's work as a playwright, but if In Bruges is any indication, he certainly loves to use the word "fuck"--as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, you name it. Oh, and "cunt," "cock," "poof," and "gay" in all negative connotations, but the racist dialogue is cowardly tame by comparison--profane anti-female, anti-gay slang is ok, the racism is limited to "black," "white," and nationalities. So, I don't know if Irish mobsters really talk like this, but I inform you only as a warning.

Fortunately, the plotting remains interesting throughout--the twists and turns are appreciated if not always believable. And the acting is top-notch, especially Colin Farrell, who gives one of his loosest, most inspired, most genuinely moving and convincing performances in years. Ralph Fiennes and Brendan Gleeson are also quite good, Clémence Poésy is a likable romantic foil for Farrell, and my beloved Jérémie Renier makes for an amusingly inept criminal.
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Postby MovieWes » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:22 pm

Went to the world premiere of Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay on Saturday at the SXSW Film Festival (I was even interviewed by IFC while I was standing in line), with John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris, and the directors in attendence. Not a bad movie, but it was definitely low brow. It's not as funny or original as the first movie, and the political humor is hit-and-miss, but Cho and Penn have really great chemistry and make the movie fun to watch. As was the case with the first movie, Neil Patrick Harris steals the show. Honestly, I'll be amazed if this isn't a hit at the box-office. If Superbad, Knocked Up, and Wedding Crashers can gross between $120-200 million, I don't see why this one won't either (the first movie was a huge hit on DVD too, so there is a built-in audience now).

All in all, I give the movie three stars.




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Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Mar 09, 2008 5:32 am

THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES
Cast: Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Mary Louise Parker, David Strathairn, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, Martin Short, Seth Rogen, Andrew McCarthy.
Dir: Mark Waters

After the cinematic abomination that was 10,000 B.C., this film looks like a freakin' masterpiece. But it's just what the doctor ordered to cleanse one's cinematic palette. It's actually a pretty decent entertaining fantasy film that's charming thanks to good performances and special effects. It's no masterpiece but it delivers what it promises.

Oscar Prospects: Visual Effects, maybe.

Grade: B

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Postby Bog » Sat Mar 08, 2008 10:07 am

Credit (balls) for going and paying for that despite, what I feel is likely that most or all of us had that review written in our heads long ago.

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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:04 am

10,000 B.C.
Cast: Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis, Omar Sharif (narr.).
Dir: Roland Emmerich.

This is the single WORST film I have ever paid to see in the theater since Pearl Harbor. The fact that they're speaking in a language that wouldn't emerge thousands of years after the fact is the LEAST of this film's problems. Everything about it: the plot that's ripped straight out of Apocalypto, the hackneyed ending, the bland visual effects, the bad acting, the action scenes that are oddly uninvolving. It's not even campy enough to be enjoyable in that way. Ugh.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: F




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