The Official Review Thread of 2010

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taki15
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Postby taki15 » Sun May 23, 2010 12:21 pm

I saw "Kick-Ass" a couple of days ago. What a wasted opportunity of a movie!

Unlike others, I had no problem with Chloe Moretz shooting and stabbing bad guys or being beaten to a pulp. It was fun and it twisted the comic book norms nicely.

OTOH, I thought there were instances where the copious gore and the sadistic violence seemed completely out of place, considering the fact that the movie was clearly intended to be a comedy/satire. It was a jarring change of tone which I found confusing and unnecessary.

Overall, a good movie but with some cringe-worthy spots.

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Postby Sabin » Tue May 18, 2010 11:48 pm

Greenberg (Noah Baumbach)

I like that Baumbach is maturing as a filmmaker (this film features his strongest rhythms), but it's a mere kernel of wisdom (vis-a-vis TYPE-A vs. TYPE-B) in a field of social malaprop fetishism. I'm not convinced it's a critique rather than a work of indulging inappropriate behavior, as Baumbach focuses far more on Greenberg (whom he knows well) and very little on Florence (whom he knows not a lick). Unlike As Good As It Gets, Greenberg acknowledges that its titular asshole is only going to hurt his respective doormat and vice-versa, but it pulls its punches with a pithy knee-jerk bid for growth on Roger's part. His decision not to bail on responsibility in the end reads not as growth but agoraphobia. Just as Please Give feels like empty humanism, Greenberg plays like empty critique.
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Postby Sabin » Sat May 08, 2010 11:03 pm

Please Give (Nicole Holofcener)

It's a Nicole Holofcener film.

Which means it cobbles Woodyisms around a sympathetic-mode Catherine Keener-centered plot. It's most entertaining in its tangential first half, after which it plays it far too safe. This is a film that wants to be accepting of human behavior but it's nowhere near as delightful as Hannah and Her Sisters. It's trying to be an intertwining character piece with something to say about why we take and why we give, but it's totally empty. There are some pleasant moments but utterly disposable.

But it's was a good movie to see with my parents.
"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 Sabin » Sat May 01, 2010 5:07 pm

Olivia Williams is outstanding. I'm quite the fan of hers and I haven't seen this side of her yet. I've been very lukewarm on Tom Wilkinson since In the Bedroom. I don't think he's a bad actor but I don't buy him and George Clooney as college colleagues for a moment in Michael Clayton. But his few scenes in The Ghost Writer are outstanding. There's a sense of batty mischief and outright weirdness that livens the film up. It's very much in the same line as William Hurt in A History of Violence but in such a way that doesn't detract or derail.
"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 ITALIANO » Sat May 01, 2010 2:25 pm

Mister Tee wrote:and I'd especially single out Olivia Williams, in a role quite different from what I've seen her do previously.

Definitely the best element of the movie, and a very good performance.

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Postby Mister Tee » Sat May 01, 2010 2:09 pm

The Ghost Writer is very much in the same ballpark as Shutter Island: aging director of renown coasting with pulp, but, thanks to good actors and a playful spirit, having enough fun with it to make an enjoyable two hours.

For the first 40 minutes or so, it seemed like it might go a bit higher than that, with its practically-real-life political subject, and an economical, witty script/execution. But once MacGregor starts poking his nose, Nancy Drew-style, where it doesn't belong, the film moves firmly into can't-be-taken-seriously territory, and, despite a few fun mystery-book developments like a guided GPS trip, becomes less interesting. The outcome, while of a different sort from Shutter Island, still manages to feel familiar and disappointing, and there's not even the satisfaction of feeling all the elements coming together -- it seemed to me a couple of loose ends/red herrings were left unaddressed.

But, as I say, it's stylishly enough done, and the actors are good. It's the best I've seen from MacGregor in some time, solid performers pop up everywhere (is it now legally required that Tom Wilkinson be in every other movie?), and I'd especially single out Olivia Williams, in a role quite different from what I've seen her do previously.

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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat May 01, 2010 6:48 am

IRON MAN 2
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Jon Favreau, Garry Shandling.
Dir: Jon Favreau.

I enjoyed this just about as much as the first one. Which, I think, is probably why it's getting less enthusiastic early reviews from the critics. Though it ups the action scenes and Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson (who's super-sexy in this one, I gotta say!)make for a nice addition to the cast, it doesn't really do anything that much different from the original. The climax of the film is a tad disappointing.

Oscar Prospects: Sound, Sound Editing, Visual Effects and Film Editing.

Grade: B-

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Postby Damien » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:48 pm

You're right, Marco. I thought I had read somewhere that Vincere had been submitted but Italy's pick was actually Giuseppe Tornatore's Baaria, which hasn't been released in the States yet.
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Postby ITALIANO » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:07 pm

Damien wrote:it's not nearly as good as Italy's non-nominated submission, Vincere.

I also found Un Prophete, while good, not as great as some reviews had let me to expect. It's also not as good as Vincere. But I must say that Vincere wasn't Italy's submission for Foreign Film - another, less interesting but probably easier movie was chosen.

In the meantime. last year's Best Foreign Film winner from Japan, Departures, has finally opened here and it's become a kind of sleeper hit - a "long seller" rather than a best seller. It's a surprisingly good and affecting movie.

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Postby Damien » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:58 am

Un Prophète (Jacques Audiard)

Relentless and grueling and one of the most disturbingly (because it's so matter of fact) violent films I've ever seen. This account of an inmate's progress, going from naive New Kid to King of the Hill is certainly expertly made, and superbly acted. But its narrative is rather unstructured and the 2 1/2 hour picture seems endless, with its points having been made long before The End. (Though, admittedly, I saw it in the afternoon and had a lot of things I needed to get done that day, so I was particularly impatient.) It could have also benefitted from at least a dollop of humor. Given how brutal the film is, it is rather surprising it curried enough favor with those humanists on the Foreign Film Committee to score an Oscar nomination -- it's not nearly as good as Italy's non-nominated submission, Vincere.

6/10




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Postby kaytodd » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:34 am

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Niels Arden Oplev)

I am not sure if this is technically a 2009 or 2010 release. I am familiar with the late novelist Steig Larsson's Millenium Trilogy (I highly recommend the first two novels Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire and have pre-ordered the final novel The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, due out next month.). I understand the film was released in Scandanavia countries in 2009. I believe it is a 2010 release in the U.S. for I was not even aware the books were being filmed until I read the rave review (4 out of 4 stars) in the Times-Picayune on Friday.

I was not disappointed. Like the novels, this is an old fashioned Hollywood style potboiler but it is well written, the stories and backstories of the characters are compelling and the acting is first rate. So much so that the many obvious cliches will not bother you. Some may be disappointed that the film is so obviously a piece of pure entertainment, expecting that a European director will do something different with the material. But the film was edge of your seat suspense and excitement, even for someone familiar with the story. Even the music was a little over the top, but effective. I, and the rest of the packed house, were thoroughly entertained.

I think the main reason the film works so well was the inspired casting of Noomi Rapace as the "Girl", Lisbeth. She does not physically resemble Lisbeth in the novel but she has the necessary intensity to play the anti-social brilliant computer hacker who has yet to recover from severe emotional and physical abuse during childhood. Noomi Rapace deserves to become a major star all over the world.

I highly recommend this film even if you are not familiar with the Millenium novels. You may be puzzled by the time spent on some story lines. But it appears that, like the novels, this is one long story and everything will be tied together in a very satisying way.

A-
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Postby Sabin » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:20 pm

Hot Tub Time Machine (Steve Pink)

I remember watching Monkeybone and thinking "Never is this movie not Monkeybone. And that's kind of a good thing." When I was watching Hot Tub Time Machine, I was astonished at how consistently it was aware of its Hot Tub Time Machine-ness. This is not a very good movie, but it did a couple of things (something involving a squirrel) that legitimately caught me off guard. I found myself smiling. I liked the running gag about Crispin Glover's arm and just what the hell Chevy Chase's deal was. This is not a good movie, but I laughed enough to say it's somewhat worthwhile.
"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 Apr 24, 2010 7:22 am

THE CRAZIES
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker.
Dir: Breck Eisner.

I have yet to see the original George A. Romero film this movie is based on but on its own, it's a pretty damn solid horror flick. Creepy and disturbing yet also entertaining. Depicting the military and government presence as just as scary if not moreso than the "crazies" is quite effective and makes it more substantive than your average horror remake. I personally like this a lot better than Zack Snyder's Romero remake.

Oscar Prospects: None. But probably deserves a Sound Editing nomination.

Grade: B

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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:56 am

SHUTTER ISLAND
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Max Von Sydow, John Carroll Lynch, Jackie Earle Haley, Ted Levine, Elias Koteas.
Dir: Martin Scorsese.

This is not Scorsese's best but still it's a Scorsese movie so it's at very least interesting. This is that and more. Leonardo DiCaprio once again gives a top-tier performance as a U.S. marshall investigating a disappearance in a mental institution. I can see how the third act twist may be a turn off for some people but I didn't see a problem with it at all. This is way better than the other Scorsese thriller, Cape Fear.

Oscar Prospects: Even now, it's a longshot for Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and Actor but you never know. I think it has a shot for Cinematography and Art Direction.

Grade: B+

KICK-ASS
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lyndsy Fonseca, Mark Strong, Nicolas Cage, Clark Duke, Evan Peters.
Dir: Matthew Vaughn.

This is a stylish, slick, rather funny although ultimately uneven and just very good-but-not-great movie. Some parts are kind of generic superhero/teen comedy stuff. Some parts try to hard but other parts, I have to admit, when it's good, it's REALLY, REALLY good. The character of Hit Girl especially (Chloe Moretz is going to be a star). The brutal violence is within the context of a stylized fantasy so I didn't think it was THAT bad. This is very entertaining and well-worth seeing.

Oscar Prospects: Some fan boys wanna see Moretz nominated. I don't mind.

Grade: B

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Postby Sabin » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:33 pm

(kaytodd)
Is there any way that can result in a quality 3-D experience?

Yes. They just have to be shot in 3D to begin with. I think this is going to happen alongside shitty post-jobs like Clash of the Titans, which was hastily converted in post through a rotoscoping technique. Tron: Legacy was shot in 3D. That will be a "quality"3D experience. It's the equivalent of early talkies. They'll do anything to get a part of this bubble. Unlike talkies, the 3D craze will burst. But not before budgets (which are already taking an exponential hike upwards, such that we will never again know how much movies actually cost) peak upwards along with ticket prices, and when these bloated productions start to fail like in the late 60's, Hollywood will find it very difficult to backpedal from where they're at right now. I'm hoping it leads to an indie boom.
"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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