The Official Review Thread of 2010

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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:33 am

DATE NIGHT
Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Jimmi Simpson, Common, William Fichtner, Leighton Meester, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, Mila Kunis.
Dir: Shawn Levy.

The respective talents of Steve Carell and Tina Fey, two of the ten funniest people on the planet in my opinion, keep this movie from being a complete waste of time. The concept has potential but the script needed a rewrite and the direction is largely pedestrian and strictly by-the-numbers. This confirms my suspicion that director Shawn Levy is really a fifth-rate Blake Edwards wannabe. But Carell and Fey both manage to rise above the material (with just a teeny help from Mark Wahlberg).

Oscar Prospects: Zero.

Grade: C+

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Postby kaytodd » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:54 pm

dws1982 wrote:Supposedly Warner plans for all of their big action releases to be released in 3D; even if they aren't shot that way, they'll be converted.

Is there any way that can result in a quality 3-D experience?
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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:26 pm

Damien wrote:Ticket prices in New York City are ridiculous. The multiplexes are charging $12.50 (and, unlike in LA, there are no matinee discounts). Art houses are slightly less expensive but we're still talking 10-11 bucks. (Fortunately, I never feel the impulse to buy food at the movies, which would tack on at least another 10 dollars -- eating at a theatre is to me akin to eating in church.)

Avatar here was $19.00.

These days the only way I can really afford to go to the movies regularly is by using Costco tickets, which are only 7.50. Imagine my surprise when my wife and I went to Avatar and they asked me for an extra $10. I said, no, not IMAX, and they said that was just plaijn 3-D. You can forget me seeing anything in 3-D unless it's the movie of the year.

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Postby OscarGuy » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:25 pm

No idea. TMK it's How to Train Your Dragon.
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Postby Damien » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:25 pm

Ticket prices in New York City are ridiculous. The multiplexes are charging $12.50 (and, unlike in LA, there are no matinee discounts). Art houses are slightly less expensive but we're still talking 10-11 bucks. (Fortunately, I never feel the impulse to buy food at the movies, which would tack on at least another 10 dollars -- eating at a theatre is to me akin to eating in church.)

Avatar here was $19.00.
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Postby FilmFan720 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:55 pm

OscarGuy wrote:I guess we're lucky here. Our 3D tickets are about $2 to $2.50 higher than normal prices. So, my ticket to How to Train Your Dragon in 3D (worth the extra, IMO), it was only $10.25.

Not to change the subject too much, but why is this movie sometimes called "How to Train Your Dragon" and other times "Dragon." There is one add that calls it "Dragons" while showing the title card "How to Train Your Dragon." It really annoys me!!
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Postby Okri » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:41 pm

BJ, I don't think so. Especially not for family films. Think of a family of four going to the movie theatres for a 3D film. Four tickets + popcorn etc (not that they need to go for the junk food, but you know what I mean).... you're rapidly approaching 100 dollars to go to the movies.

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Postby dws1982 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:00 pm

OscarGuy wrote:But, I have little desire to see most films in 3D, especially after seeing Clash of the Titans and wondering what exactly they could have done in 3D that wasn't there in 2D. But, from what I understand, both Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans were conceived and executed as 2D films with 3D, after its sudden surge in popularity (Avatar, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), being tacked onto the narrative.

I read an interview with the director Clash of the Titans where he said that he did not like the way it looked in 3D, and that the 2D presentation (which, as you said, was how it was shot) was his preferred version. Supposedly Warner plans for all of their big action releases to be released in 3D; even if they aren't shot that way, they'll be converted.

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Postby OscarGuy » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:01 pm

I guess we're lucky here. Our 3D tickets are about $2 to $2.50 higher than normal prices. So, my ticket to How to Train Your Dragon in 3D (worth the extra, IMO), it was only $10.25.

But, I have little desire to see most films in 3D, especially after seeing Clash of the Titans and wondering what exactly they could have done in 3D that wasn't there in 2D. But, from what I understand, both Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans were conceived and executed as 2D films with 3D, after its sudden surge in popularity (Avatar, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), being tacked onto the narrative.

Burton's film is too dark to use 3D effectively...the 3D glasses we've got here locally have a tendency to darken the image, thus making it more difficult to see, and with Burton, nearly impossible. And to harp on Alice more, the action moves so fast at times that you don't have the ability to process what's going on in a third dimension. For example, the initial trip down the rabbit hole was an utter blur. There was nothing distinguishable about it. She fell so fast that it was impossible to see anything, let alone take in a 3D effect. That's one of the aspects of the original Disney animated version that worked. They slowed Alice's decent so as to make it an experience, not a quick fuck and a dump on the sidewalk.
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Postby The Original BJ » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:14 pm

There's not really all that much to say about Alice in Wonderland. I'd been a big fan of the book as a child, and I didn't mind that the film was more of a sequel using many of the same characters than an adaptation. I DID mind, however, that this new story wasn't particularly compelling in any way. The film manages some vague connections between Alice's trip to Wonderland (or, Underland, as it seems to be called in this film) and her misgivings about her upcoming marriage, but these thematic links are tenuous at best. The visuals -- as one would naturally expect from a Burton film -- are eye-catching, but I'm consistently disappointed that this filmmaker with real visual talent and imagination routinely attaches himself to projects with such narrative limitations.

There are two points I think are worth making, though, and both involve the film's 3-D. First, this is the first of the recent batch of 3-D films that I truly wish HADN'T been in 3-D. Last year, I thought Coraline, Up, and Avatar all truly used this form to create visually immersive worlds -- the use of multiple planes seemed to enhance the experience of these films. But with Alice, I couldn't understand why the film needed to be in 3-D at all -- it didn't seem to explore the possibilities of 3-D in any interesting way. And because of this, I felt really annoyed I had to wear those glasses, which really seemed to limit my exposure to the screen. Conclusion: I'm open to watching films in 3-D when it makes the experience really special, but I certainly don't need to see EVERYTHING this way...

...especially because, point two: the cost of this 3-D ticket was, in Los Angeles...wait for it...eighteen dollars! Had I known the recently-hiked price would be THAT high before I'd made my plans, I probably would have opted for the 2-D version. I wonder how these ticket prices will affect 3-D business -- I can't imagine too many people finding that an acceptable price for a movie. But will it be enough to deter them from 3-D, or are people drawn to 3-D so much now that they're willing to fork over ungodly amounts of dough for first-run movies?

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Postby Sabin » Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:45 am

Mother (Bong Joon-ho)

I'll never entirely understand how anyone could fail to enjoy The Host. I'm not inviting a discussion necessarily, but rather drawing up a mindset. A dissenter will say that it hops from genre-riff to genre-riff a bit too merrily and I'll chime in with "I know!" As a whole, The Host is gloriously neither fish nor fowl. As a series of set-pieces, I'm in awe. I've yet to see Memories of a Murder, but on the basis of these two films, I'm convinced that Bong is some kind of popcorn-master. The main reason to see Mother is to get a fix in. This is not a great film. It toys with something interesting in how mother and son essentially behave in the same fashion, but Bong seems genuinely disinterested in the case itself. And that's a big problem. You have to be interested in the trail itself that Mother (Hye-ja Kim, and I will be astonished if she does not top my Leading Female Actress list for 2010) is following, and I wasn't. The Host is basically a series of awesome set-pieces, and this is the same but with less cohesiveness.

Ultimately, we're left with great moments, a sensibility that I find incredibly enjoyable, and two great performances. The second is by Bin Wong who plays her son, Yoon Do-joon. I think this performance is going to be some kind of make-or-break it for some viewers. Although it's implied that this character is a miasma of retarded, autistic, aspergers, and whatever Leonard Shelby had, his main affliction is just bein' an Old School Fucktard. Yoon is an Old School Fucktard and one of the best jokes in the film is his inability to register the danger he is more than casual annoyances, like Napoleon Dynamite. In fact, exactly like Napoleon Dynamite. If anybody ever wanted to see Napoleon Dynamite dropped into a police procedural, I strongly recommend Mother. As it is, I think Mother is a good film that makes me want to see Barking Dogs Never Bite and Memories of a Murder.
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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:52 am

CLASH OF THE TITANS
Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng, Gemma Arterton, Alexa Davalos, Tine Stapelfeldt, Mads Mikkelsen, Luke Evans, Izabella Miko, Liam Cunningham, Hans Matheson, Ashraf Barhom, Mouloud Achour, Ian Whyte, Nicholas Hoult, Vincent Regan, Polly Walker.
Dir: Louis Letterier.

I went into this movie with very low expectations. I saw it on 2-D. For what it is, it wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting but for something with all these wondrous creatures and action scenes, the film lacks wonder and thrills. The generic script and cheesy/cardboard acting doesn't help things either. But as such, it's harmless time-killing fluff.

Oscar Prospects: None.

Grade: C-

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Postby Damien » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:02 pm

Vincere (Marco Bellocchio)

Talk about an operatic movie! This is such a fascinating film about Mussolini's first lover, and the relationship between them serves as a metaphor for the dictator and the Italian people of his time, as well as being an outrageously inventive, gorgeous, heartbreaking and even unexpectedly funny contemplation of the machinations of political power, obsessive love, the creation of a public persona, self-identity (this latter theme beautifully expressed through the device of the characters watching movies and newsreels). There are some thrilling set pieces, both large-scale and more intimate, and the movie's stylized theatricality is as perfectly evocative as it is audacious. There are a few shortcomings -- while Mussolini's politics are well delineated in the early scenes when he was a Socialist, his transformation into a Fascist is a little more nebulous, and is essentially written off as simply a power grab, which gives these sections as little depth as All The King's Men (although seeing him only in actual old footage for the last third of the picture is a brilliant thematic device). And there is always a problem with Mussolini in that while he was a genuine monster he generally comes across as a buffoon, both in the news footage we see of him and via our memories of Jack Oakie's impersonation of him in The Great Dictator, so to some degree the actual footage of Il Duce in Vincere undercuts the frightening power of Flippo Timi's portrayal. Despite these minor flaws, the film is mostly exhilarating, with a stunning performance by Giovanna Mezzogiorno and a great score by Carlo Crivelli.

9/10
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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:51 am

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig (voices).
Dirs: Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois.

I think Dreamworks Animation may have drank just a little bit of what the folks at PIXAR have been drinking. This is actually a quiteenjoyable (albeit a tad formulaic) animated fantasy about a misfit in a Viking village who discover dragons aren't so evil after all. I saw this on 3-D and it looks pretty good. The flying scenes rival that of Avatar. PIXAR-level? No. But between this and Kung Fu Panda, I'll have to say Dreamworks is learning its lesson.

Oscar Prospects: Possible Animated Feature nom.

Grade: B+

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Postby anonymous1980 » Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:04 am

GREEN ZONE
Cast: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan, Khalid Abdallah, Jason Isaacs.
Dir: Paul Greengrass.

I'd put this squarely on the "good-but-far-from-great" column. Director Paul Greengrass crafts a very entertaining action thriller on the early days of the second Iraqi War and the existence of WMD's. The politics tend to be a tad heavy handed especially since I think a similar subject was handled with laughs instead of action (and better) in In the Loop.

Oscar Prospects: Editing, Sound, Sound Editing.

Grade: B-


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