Sunday, July 31, 2011

Of Gods and Men: Movie Review

Of Gods and men that you don't get to know or understand.

Of monks who live their life for God, and of terrorists who we don’t know for whom they live their life. The terrorists were likely supposed to be nameless, faceless antagonists. The monks were probably supposed to be the opposite. But for a film with so much set-up, there was so little characterization and plot. 2010

Directed by: Xavier Beauvois

Screenplay by: Xavier Beauvois and Etienne Comar

Starring: Lambert Wilson

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love. : Movie Review


Twisting your standard romantic comedy into something that's hilarious and refreshing.

Love is the be-all and end-all of life. It's crazy, it's stupid, but you have to put everything towards winning over your soul-mate. That is what all of the characters believe. Except Jacob (Ryan Gosling). He believes that people who are in love are pathetic. Thank God for Ryan Gosling. I've been saying that a lot recently, but it's true. He makes everything he's in better.2011

Directed by: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Screenplay by: Dan Fogelman

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens: Movie Review

Action heroes versus cowboys and aliens where thinking is not allowed.

"Cowboys & Aliens" is actually just Daniel Craig versus cowboys and aliens. It's very handy that he has an alien countdown timer bracelet on his wrist that doubles as a special alien killing machine. It works better than guns and knives which is all that real cowboys have. But Jake Lonergan (Craig) doesn't know how he got that bracelet, or what his name is, or who he is. He does know English.2011

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Screenplay by: Too many to name

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tell No One: Movie Review


A thriller where every detail is presented, explored and explained.

A slowly-paced thriller, “Tell No One” tells us everything we need to know. And I mean everything. No potential detour is left unexplored. Eight years after his wife’s death, Alex (François Cluzet) is still picking up the pieces of his life and the pieces of her murder. This film has a great mix of background information, action, plot twists, and enough thought to piece it all together. 2006

Directed by: Guillaume Canet

Screenplay by: Guillaume Canet and Philippe Lefebvre
Based on the novel by Harlan Coben

Starring: François Cluzet

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Film with Me in It: Movie Review


Sometimes dark comedies just don't work.

"A Film with Me in It" is dark, it’s Irish, it’s indie. It’s almost everything that it claims to be, it’s just not funny. I’m going to blame that on the characters. They’re not real people, they’re caricatures of the epitome of what it means to be a loser. Mark (Mark Doherty) and Pierce (Dylan Moran) are broke and jobless, and they’re too incompetent to even know that they’re broke and jobless, let alone how to not be. 2008 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Ian Fitzgibbon

Screenplay by: Mark Doherty

Starring: Dylan Moran and Mark Doherty

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little White Lies: Movie Review


You will laugh and cry as you are sure to find at least one character to care about.

“Little White Lies” is a multi-relationship drama; one about love, loss and life. It has witty situations, witty lines, and a near-fatal accident. Oh yes, this is an attempt at the hard-to-write comedy-tragedy genre. Thankfully, it doesn’t really fail, but instead of being overly comedic or tragic, it plays out mostly dramatically.2010

Directed by: Guillaume Canet

Screenplay by: Guillaume Canet

Starring: Marion Cotillard, François Cluzet and Benoît Magimel

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Submarine: Movie Review


Fresh, funny and twisted turns to this quirky coming-of-age tale. 

“Submarine” is Welsh. It opens, at least in North America it does, with a letter from its protagonist (Oliver) to Americans; educating us that Wales is a country located next to England. Although thankful that America has not yet invaded his country, Oliver informs us that this is an important film which we should treat with the utmost respect.

Directed by: Richard Ayoade

Screenplay by: Richard Ayoade

Starring: Craig Roberts and Sally Hawkins

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Good Neighbours: Movie Review


So much set-up, so little purpose.

Horror movies are generally not good. Good comedies, although hard to write well, are easier to find. I normally wouldn’t recommend anybody attempt a horror comedy, but “Good Neighbours” is Jacob Tierney and Jay Baruchel’s follow-up to “The Trotsky” (2009) and I couldn’t pass up that potential. The result though is something that’s not scary and not very funny.2010

Directed by: Jacob Tierney

Screenplay by: Jacob Tierney

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire and Scott Speedman

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meek's Cutoff: Movie Review

A journey not about the destination but which prejudices to fight to stay alive.

As bleak as the 1845 Oregon landscape they are traversing, “Meek’s Cutoff” is about the arduous journey three wayward families are taking. Their trip is at first to get to a better life, but later it becomes just about finding water. Although the film is less about their voyage and more about the characters and their decisions.2010

Directed by: Kelly Reichardt

Screenplay by: Jon Raymond

Starring: Michelle Williams and Will Patton

Friday, July 15, 2011

Faith, Fraud, & Minimum Wage: Movie Review

Dramatic entanglements of faith, fraud, & minimum wage in an interesting enough tale.

Nately, Nova Scotia is the type of small, quirky fictional town that small, quirky Canadian films are set in. All of the residents are religious, so much so that they don't like the new, young minster since his sermons are unorthodox. They especially don't like Casey since she's a very proud non-denominational atheist and she throws this in their faces.2010

Directed by: George Mihalka

Screenplay by: Josh MacDonald

Starring: Callum Keith Rennie and Martha MacIsaac

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives: Movie Review

There may be something to this appealing but disturbing and possibly offensive film.

With a mystifying title like "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives", it begs viewers to be open to transcendental ideas like the belief of past lives, forms of the spiritual world, and the transformation of the human world, the animal world and nature. I am usually open to those kinds of perceptions, at least in the world of film. When this film took those forms, I could at least appreciate it, if not understand it. 2010

Directed by: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Screenplay by: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Starring: Thanapat Saisaymar

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Company Men: Movie Review


An underlining honesty and sincerity that makes this drama work.

These company men have been down-sized due to the failing economy of 2008 and the CEO's desire to get rich and cut the slack. It certainly has the possibility to be some melodramatic sob story that life can suck for rich people too. Surprisingly, there's an air of honesty and sincerity to "The Company Men" that it really is just a good drama. 2010

Directed by: John Wells

Screenplay by: John Wells

Starring: Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 Idiots: Movie Review


A college comedy, and joking aside, they're not idiots.

A college comedy. You know the genre, movies where idiots get into college and then continue to behave as idiots, and usually by the end they get a girl. "3 Idiots" is not such a movie. Mostly because our three protagonists are not idiots. Rancho is a smart-alecky trouble-maker but he's not an idiot. Raju and Farhan might fail a lot of exams, but they try hard and they have good hearts. Same goes for the movie. 2009 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Rajkumar Hirani

Screenplay by: Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi

Starring: Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi and Madhavan

Monday, July 11, 2011

Feed the Fish: Movie Review

A quirky dark comedy turns into a predictable romantic comedy.

"Feed the Fish" is one of those quirky, dark comedies set in the dead of winter in the dead of Wisconsin. That's what I thought it was, and I was mostly right. "Dark" is the part that I was wrong about. But forgive me because it started in Venice, California with our hero Joe (Ross Partridge) talking about his successful children's book "Mr. Kitty Feeds the Fish" which was a hit because kids love violence! 2009 (with 2011 DVD release)

Directed by: Michael Matzdorff

Screenplay by: Michael Matzdorff

Starring: Ross Partridge, Tony Shalhoub and Katie Aselton

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Beginners: Movie Review

The relationships of life told with drama, humour, subtlety, and thoughtfulness.

“Beginners” is one of those life dramas where Oliver (Ewan McGregor) has to take care of his dying father, Hal (Christopher Plummer). Except Hal has just announced that he’s gay and has hooked up with a much younger man, Andy. Oliver hasn’t been able to carry on any relationship but meets the mysterious Anna (Mélanie Laurent) just as he’s grieving over the loss of his father. Oh, and there’s a talking dog.2010

Directed by: Mike Mills

Screenplay by: Mike Mills

Starring: Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer

Friday, July 8, 2011

Horrible Bosses: Movie Review

Adding coarse and sexual content to make a plot-rich story funny.

In the vein of "The Hangover" (2009), "Horrible Bosses" has three friends taking a wild trip to—well, jail, most likely. They mean well, but when you spend your free time drinking at a bar complaining about your bosses, reckless plans are bound to be hatched. But I'm glad they do. It's a premise with lots of possibilities, never quite knowing which turns they would take, and they were all hilarious.2011

Directed by: Seth Gordon

Screenplay by: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein

Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kaboom: Movie Review

College students that are over-sylized and over-sexed.

Described as trippy, entertaining, and very funny, "Kaboom" is actually just a very stylized version of the college-aged sexual exploration. It gets interesting when it mixes sex with a thriller plot, but colour-coating over-sexed college students doesn't make them anymore profound.2010

Directed by: Gregg Araki

Screenplay by: Gregg Araki

Starring: Thomas Dekker

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Tree of Life: Movie Review

Life in the grandest, and almost inexplicable, of scales.

"The Tree of Life" is not a film that can be understood, nor can it be explained. It also does not want to be described in any one way. We jump from decade to decade, from solar system to solar system, and from era to era in the history of the planet. As specific as can be allowed, it's about life, also the universe. In parts, it's about family or childhood, but certainly, not on the whole.2011

Directed by: Terrence Malick

Screenplay by: Terrence Malick

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastian and Sean Penn

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rory O'Shea Was Here: Movie Review

Through comedy or drama, the characters are always central.

"Rory O'Shea Was Here" is a film about living life the way you want to not the way you have to. Although that's not easy for Rory O'Shea (James McAvoy) who has Muscular Dystrophy, it's especially not easy for Michael (Steven Robertson) who has Cerebral Palsy. It's also not easy for a film to depict that with heartfelt meaning and no melodrama. That is accomplished here by making it a character-driven comedy. 2004

Directed by: Damien O'Donnell

Screenplay by: Jeffrey Caine
Story by: Christian O'Reilly

Starring: James McAvoy and Steven Robertson

Friday, July 1, 2011

Larry Crowne: Movie Review


Too little of anything other than juvenile and cheap laughs.
Tom Hanks is a nice guy. Larry Crowne is a nice guy. But as a movie, “Larry Crowne” is only somewhat likable. Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) is fired from his 9-time-employee-of-the-month job at U-Mart. Yes, we’re supposed to feel sorry for him, and we do, but it’s mostly played up for laughs. The most we get into the psychology or economics of the down-sizing is that “times change.”

Directed by: Tom Hanks

Screenplay by: Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos

Starring: Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts