Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin 3D (A)

(Extremely positive review coming soon, but having writer's block. Just wanted to quickly share my opinion on the film, because I've already tried writing this review four times unsuccessfully, and doubt I'll be able to put a review up for a while. Sorry about that.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (A-)

This year has been shaping up to be the least attended year in cinema since 1995. This can be, in part, due to a suffering economy, large increases in ticket prices, an irrational expectation that the casual moviegoer will go see sequels to every mediocre movie they've ever seen, and the lose-lose situation regarding 3D and IMAX that in one format you pay a ridiculous amount and in the other you receive a subpar product. On surface similar to many of the glut of sequels to be released this year, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the third sequel to a recently ignored franchise which is having itself be released in a premium standard, in this case IMAX. Though the film was directed by Pixar wonder-kid Brad Bird and had a relentlessly cool trailer, my unabashed optimism toward other sequels to be released this year was often met with varying levels of disappointment (Case in point: The Hangover: Part II). Now, though I have seen the third Mission Impossible movie, it wasn't until the film began that my slightly cynical feelings completely dissolved. Simply put: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol succeeds in the impossible task of taking mostly cynical and low expectations and giving the jaded audience (myself included) one of the best action films this side of Thunderball.

Arthur Christmas (C+)

(I will attempt not to make any holiday related puns over this review, but there are no guarantees. Sincerely, David)

Due to surprisingly high temperatures, a severe lack of snow, my neighborhood's weird inability to put up the smallest form of decoration, and my admitted tardiness in watching any once-a-year T.V specials, this year seems to lack holiday spirit unlike any other. Over the last weekend, seven new movies were released, and not one contained any connection to any holiday; whether it be Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, or Christmahanukwanza. To truly access my inner holiday spirit at the multiplex I had to look to a release from a couple weeks back, and the result is this sightly delayed review for (not New Years Eve) Aardman's futuristic CGI animated take on Christmas, Arthur Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Carnage (A-)

If shoving monkeys in a typewriter filled room will eventually give you Shakespeare, what will happen if you repeat the process with Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, and Christoph Waltz instead? Acclaimed director Roman Polanski asks this question with his latest film, Carnage. Adapted from the hit broadway play, the film stars the previously referenced cast as two sets of parents whose children were involved in a playground scuffle set out to make amends; The victims (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly) and the perpetrators (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz). However, as the meeting progresses through a series of loaded topics, accidental accusations, off putting marital references, and the deadly combination of warm coca-cola and nausea, what first begins as an awkward apology turns into the degradation of two Manhattanite couples, and the implied implosion of their respective marriages. Think of it as a much more comedic version of Lars von Trier's Melancholia, minus the looming apocalypse and the excessive runtime.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My 9-Year Old Sister's Review of "Puss In Boots 3D"

For a while now, my little sister has been wondering whether she could write a review for my site, and after a family trip to the movie theater to see the slightly new Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots, the chance has finally arisen. This is an almost completely unedited review written by my 9 year old sister, and whether or not I end up reviewing the film for myself, I really hope you enjoy her take on the film. Okay, that's enough of my mostly unnecessary introductory paragraph, and let's begin her review!

For those who have seen the four previous Shrek movies, Puss in Boots is a familiar character. This film shows his adventures before Shrek. This movie is not as awful as you'd think a Shrek spin-off would be. In this movie, Puss is "brothers" with Humpty Dumpty. The plot revolves around magic beans. Puss falls in love with a she-cat that helps along the way. At first, I didn't recognize Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty, but after a while you figure it out.

I saw a few places that I didn't understand. One of them was when you see the goose's eyes are red (there is a large goose in this movie). Then after a few minutes the eyes are yellow. Also, cats dance too much in Puss In Boots.

I am happy David let me give a review!

Grade: B

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Catch .44 (C)

Many people say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. From the mixed up files of Mr. Q.J. Tarantino comes the latest Reservoir Dogs inspired crime film, Catch .44. Although the film is not directed, produced, or written by Mr. Tarantino, his influence on the film is evident in the film's script, characters, and direction. Characters indulge themselves on seemingly pointless tangents while talking, the film follows a non-traditional timeline akin to the previously mentioned Reservoir Dogs, every other word coming out of the character's mouths is profane. The only example of the film not following in the suit of Mr. Tarantino would be the film's soundtrack, favoring more modern pop songs to the 60's and 70's style jams the director is so fond of. Going back to my opening sentence; Many people say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Director Aaron Harvey (who also wrote the film's script) clearly admires Mr. Tarantino's work, but does this appreciation translate into an effective and enjoyable film for his audience? The answer to this question is fairly simple in my opinion: Mr. Harvey entertains, but fails to do anything greater.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Melancholia (B+)

Enjoyment and appreciation are two very different aspects to how a film can be classified as "good". Though occasionally a movie can be judged solely on one of these aspects, perhaps a goofy children's movie, usually it takes a combination of the two to create a "good" film. However, if your name happens to be Lars von Trier, this newly created rule does not in any way, shape, or form apply to you. If your name is Lars von Trier, you have full permission if not the expectation to show the audience a film that is almost impossible to truly enjoy on any level, but still be able to honestly appreciate the masterwork of. Lars von Trier is a director unlike any other working today; a man who creates depressing and occasionally downright wretched works of cinema which contain an almost unbearable brutal honesty, whose masterful camerawork forces the viewer to engage themselves in the beauty of the horrors (both physical and emotional) that await. When you are Lars von Trier, enjoyment is only a minuscule detail in the grand scheme of cinema. (If this description of the famed director sounds a bit cruel, regrettably the only two films I've seen by him until now have been Dogville and Antichrist, two of the most troubling films to be released in the past few years. Or at least that I've seen).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

J. Edgar (B)

Because J. Edgar had already been in theaters for a few weeks before my viewing, I knew in advance to slightly lower my expectations toward the film. Originally touted as a surefire Oscar contender, this biopic on the still controversial original face of law enforcement John Edgar Hoover, despite its esteemed cast (most notably Leonardo DiCaprio as the man himself), talented director (Clint Eastwood), and ambitious goals, opened up to middling if not downright mediocre reviews. Critics such as Joe Morgenstern from The Wall Street Journal called the film: "...a partially animated wax work."However, for every four of these blasting attacks, there was one pure glowing review giving the highest imaginable praise. It was almost as if these different critics saw two completely separate films: One a bloated woodenly acted mess and the other a brilliant kaleidoscope portrait of a man few knew. My disappointment grew to curiosity, and now approximately one day after seeing J. Edgar I am officially ready to add my own opinion to the swirling film criticism cesspool. Perhaps it could simply be the slightly lowered expectations, but for the most part this was a compelling though fairly flawed film.