Sunday, May 23, 2010

Starter for 10: Movie Review

(2006, directed by: Tom Vaughan, written by: David Nicholls, starring: James McAvoy, Alice Eve and Rebecca Hall)
(Based on the novel "Starter for 10" by David Nicholls)
(Available now on DVD)

Independent comedy that succeeds.

"Starter for 10" is an independent comedy that succeeds in its own funny, charming and quirky way. James McAvoy plays Brian, our central character that goes off to university to first achieve his dreams and prove his intelligence and then secondly he might meet some girls. Of course girls get in the way of everything.

Brian is one of the best characters that this genre has seen. He's very funny in a subtle self-effacing kind of way, and completely relatable. You fall in love with him as he falls for the charms of Alice and tries to appear cool to Rebecca. He's also desperate to succeed on the University Challenge team and know he's clever. Isn't it frustrating when girls always get in the way?

This film is set in the 1980s, so beware of bad hair and poor fashion, but enjoy the trip.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shutter Island: Movie Review

A genre-defining film.

Martin Scorsese has done it again. He pays attention to every detail in this film, making "Shutter Island" one of the best suspense thrillers of all time.

Visually intriguing, simplistic and absolutely phenomenal. The story is kept simplistic enough so it doesn't get absurd, but allows for an ending which you probably won't see coming.

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Screenplay by: Laeta Kalogridis

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo

The film doesn't go for cheap thrills, so although you will be on the edge of your seat you won't get needlessly scared.

The film uses everything at its disposal from breathtaking scenery, to detailed laid-out shots, and to actors at their finest to completely engross you in the film. I loved every minute of it and highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you're not a usual fan of the genre, this film has so much more to it.
Best of 2010

Current Status:

"Shutter Island" is available on DVD and Blu-ray.


The Town (2010) - Thriller with suspense built from the characters.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Please Give: Movie Review

Hilariously compelling characters with bleeding hearts.

"Please Give" is an independent, character drama. What I loved about this film was the interesting array of characters that it presented. The characters that were on display for us to watch were all well written, fully-developed, interesting and funny as they each struggled with their moral dilemmas. I found myself being able to relate to all of them in one way or another.   2010

Directed by: Nicole Holofcener

Screenplay by: Nicole Holofcener

Starring: Catherine Keener and Rebecca Hall

The writer also leaves enough to your imagination so you can decide how much these characters evolved or learned over the course of the film. As you think about them, you find yourself applying these lessons to your own life.

The lack of plot leaves you wanting more because the best movies are usually able to deliver both plot and great characters. Although this is not one of the top echelon of movies, the compelling characters makes this better than most films you'll be able to find today.
Best of 2010


The Kids Are All Right (2010) - Liberal kids and hippie parents in funny, modern relationships.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Date Night: Movie Review

(2010, directed by: Shawn Levy, written by: Josh Klausner, starring: Steve Carell and Tina Fey)
(Available now on DVD and Blu-ray)

Cliché stories with type-casting, and it's hilarious.

I thought Date Night was pretty good. They started out with two way over-used stories: the conspiracy with shady cops, a mob boss, and sleazy politician, and then the suburban married couple stuck in a rut. It was a good idea to pair them together and make it a comedy.

The writers definitely knew that these two stories have been way over-used, so they decided to stick with pure comedy and go over the top. They added a number of recognizable actors and purposely type-cast them. When it's done on purpose like this it's funny. Everything they did in this movie was poking fun at the two genres they're using, but did it with heart, and many funny lines.

I really liked the fact that they basically said "We know you've seen these stories before, so we won't bore you with all the contrived details, we'll wrap everything up in a nice bow before you get bored, that way you can see the comedy in the situation." I found it hilarious and laughed the whole way through.

Those who can't recognize subtle parody, will find the plot lame with a contrived ending. But this is a fairly high-level comedy and is very funny. I recommend it.

Pirate Radio: Movie Review

(2009, UK, written and directed by: Richard Curtis, starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman and Bill Nighy)
(Available now on DVD and Blu-ray)

Disappointing since it's not about what it should have been about.

"Pirate Radio" is set during one of the most interesting times in music history. Rock music was banned yet grew into immense popularity. The political implications to music during this time period is just amazing, resulting in pirate radios off-shore, and the crossing of the pond for some of the most important bands in music history.

My problem with this movie is that they didn't really cover any of that. They started to, we did see some of the politics, but mostly this was just a fictional, coming-of-age story set to rock music.

A soundtrack of the popular music of the period is not enough to make this a good movie. Especially when they got the rights to the most interesting period of music politics, and they chose to focus on fictional characters. I was very disappointed because this movie had great potential.

If you are like me and are looking for a movie that delves deep into the political and historical implications of the popularity of rock music, then I recommend you don't see this movie. But if you're just looking for a fun, 60s rock movie with sex, drugs and rock n' roll and everything that implies, then this would probably be a pretty good movie for you.

Leap Year: Movie Review

(2010, directed by: Anand Tucker, written by: Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, starring: Amy Adams and Matthew Goode)

So many mistakes, it's not even a romantic comedy anymore—it's worse.

I tend to like most romantic comedies. I really disliked Leap Year.

Anna is our main character, successful but not yet engaged. She's desperate to get married (one of the many aspects of her character that bothered me), so we are off to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend Jeremy. Cue all the problems. I was prepared for all the ridiculous obstacles in getting to Dublin, but I wasn't prepared for Anna's extreme selfishness in forcing everybody she meets to get her there. Because I found Anna so unlikeable, I couldn't find the humour in any of the contrived (not actually existent) travel problems in Ireland.

Ireland is a great setting, but they didn't really show us any part of it. Every time they had an opportunity for a beautiful wide shot of the countryside, they instead filled the screen with Amy Adams' and Matthew Goode's faces. Sure they are pretty, but Ireland is prettier.

This movie also had a lot of mistakes. All the geography of Ireland that they tried to show us was wrong. The bit of back-story that they gave for Anna was contrary to the selfish, superficial girl she is.

I am the target audience for this movie, and yet I hated it. I can't find a single redeeming quality. They missed the mark big time.