A dark psychological drama disguised as a comedy about an offbeat,… MoreA dark psychological drama disguised as a comedy about an offbeat, mysterious family, specifically their five girls and how their parents (James Woods, Kathleen Turner) start to take their hands off their leashes after one of the girls (Hanna Hall) takes her life. This includes involving more males their own age into the picture as suggested by their psychologist (Danny DeVito) in hopes of getting them more socially acclimated. This movie, like its characters, is a puzzle. In one way, you feel like it leaves a lot to be desired in how it does not get you inside the heads of it characters. However, in another sense, you get the feeling that is exactly what director Sofia Coppola was aiming for, a true outsider's perspective of the whole situation. It is far from perfect, but the acting is definitely outstanding, especially Kirsten Dunst as one of the girls who does not know how to handle her newfound sense of freedom. Be warned, while it is darkly funny in spurts, this is a sad, depressing film about family and keeping ones kid's sheltered for too long. With that said, it is an effective movie that will not leave your mind quickly.
A nail-biting suspense story concerning a cargo ship that is hijacked… MoreA nail-biting suspense story concerning a cargo ship that is hijacked by Somali pirates, and how the crew cope with their new found circumstances, while their bosses attempt to negotiate with an increasingly aggressive group of villains whose asking price to leave the ship is high. While not as effective and character building as "Captain Phillips", a movie with a very similar plot, the film's pacing and interweaving of many character's points of view is simply outstanding. The acting is uniformly superb, and the ending is shocking, heartbreaking, and unpredictable, all the things you would want in a movie like this. With a little more character development, especially concerning the pirates themselves (something 'Phillips' did remarkably well), this would be a great movie worthy of Oscar buzz. Still outstanding, and well worth seeing, although be warned, it is fairly depressing.
A special-effects driven mixed bag of a movie about a group of special… MoreA special-effects driven mixed bag of a movie about a group of special people called "scanners" who have the ability to read peoples minds, or if they decide they do not like them or need to make a point, make their heads explode. However, when one ruthless, murdering man named Revok (Michael Ironside) threatens to use his powers to attempt to take over the world, another scanner, Vale (Stephen Lack) makes it his mission to stop him at any cost. The plot is fairly cliché and predictable to a point, with Ironside outshining Lack's performance by a mile thanks to the great intensity and ferocity he gives whenever he is on the screen. It is a largely entertaining movie but it could have used more fleshing out of the story line, one that attempted to throw out at least some surprises once in a while. Far from director David Cronenberg's best works, but ironically, this is the movie that put him on the map so to speak.
One of the most important, unsettling, gritty films ever put on screen… MoreOne of the most important, unsettling, gritty films ever put on screen about a free black man (Chiwetel Ejiofor) living in New York with his family, who is sold into slavery and spends twelve years trying to keep not only his sanity given his previous circumstances, but his dignity as well as he goes through hell to keep his hopes of finding freedom again someday. Ejiofor, a method actor who has excelled in films like "Redbelt", "Inside Man", and "Children of Men", is absolutely sensational here, in a performance that should definitely earn him not only his first Oscar nomination, but a win as well. Director Steve McQueen ("Hunger", "Shame") holds nothing back, and the result is one of the best films made, one that paints slavery in the most brutal but most fair way possible. It is not an entertaining or fun movie to sit through by any stretch, but it is extremely educational, and an important view of one of the most awful times in our nation's history.
An impressively shot but ultimately dissatisfying exercise in getting… MoreAn impressively shot but ultimately dissatisfying exercise in getting revenge on the Nazis for their crimes against humanity, with this story taking focus on a sadistic doctor (Jesper Christensen) who fled Germany after ruthlessly operating and experimenting on the many Jews that came through the concentration camps. After twenty years, his whereabouts are discovered, and three agents (Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington) are sent to capture him and bring him to justice. The movie constantly shifts between flashbacks of the agents, their mission, and the problems they face, to thirty years later when they are older (played by Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Ciaran Hinds, respectively) and wear a distinct look of regret on all of their faces for some unknown reason (until the film's middle-section explains why). These shifts in time create an uneasy balance despite the excitement the flashback scenes hold, including what may be the best Sam Worthington performance to date. It is not a terrible movie, but it could have been so much more with better direction and overall better construction of the story and how to tell it. The acting is expectedly top-notch, which gives the story life when in most cases it would start to lose its audience, but by the end of the film, you can not help but be a little disappointed that a fascinating story like this was not better executed.
A likeable enough coming of age story concerning an insecure, troubled… MoreA likeable enough coming of age story concerning an insecure, troubled teenager (Liam James) who is forced to go to his mother's boyfriend's (Steve Carell) beach house with them for the summer despite wanting to be with his real father. Once there, he stumbles into a summer job at a local water park, and makes friends with a 40's something staff member (Sam Rockwell) still attempting to live in his early days, and strikes up a potential romantic relationship with the cute girl next door (Annasophia Robb). While it is largely predictable and it has some moments of being absolutely corny, including the finale at the water park, it is still likable enough. It is an average movie with great performances, especially Rockwell, and it definitely has its heart in the right place. Not an outstanding movie by any stretch of the imagination, but far from bad. It just never exceeds being anything more than average.
A scary, effectively made horror film concerning a family terrorized… MoreA scary, effectively made horror film concerning a family terrorized by ghosts in their house, and how they hire a married couple of paranormal investigators (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), to help rid them of these demonic forces. Familiar feeling territory in terms of plot is accomplished with style and confidence by director James Wan, a master of the horror genre ("Saw", "Insidious") who gets the most bang for his buck, especially in his lead performances and his use of atmosphere and turning an old house into a place of temporary Hell. While it may not be the "scariest movie ever" like some people were claiming, it is definitely scary and Wan's slow-burn direction method is a brilliant decision before he decides to crank it to ten near the film's conclusion. A definite recommendation if you like horror films like this.
A big, loud, occasionally entertaining blockbuster concerning monsters… MoreA big, loud, occasionally entertaining blockbuster concerning monsters threatening to take over the world, and how the military has built huge machine Transformers like figures to combat them. After one of their best (Charlie Hunnam) gives it all up after his brother is killed alongside him during one of their missions, the government convinces him to come back and help in the fight for everyone's lives. Hunnam, who I really like in "Sons of Anarchy", struggles as the lead here, he is really pretty average when a lot of the movie rests on his shoulders. The action and special effects are downright insane, and director Guillermo del Toro (director of the incredible "Pan's Labyrinth") is obviously having tons of fun with this movie. Sadly though, it just becomes pretty predictable and some of the characters del Toro includes feel pretty contrived and there just because they are characters you see sometimes in action movies like this, but they do not fit here. If this movie was shorter (under 2 hours), I would probably give it an automatic recommendation, but instead I give it an average rating because you can really call just about everything coming.
An adrenaline charged rush of a movie concerning a drug manufacturer… MoreAn adrenaline charged rush of a movie concerning a drug manufacturer who is forced by the police to turn into an informant against the company he's producing the drugs for if he hopes to save himself from a sentence of lethal injection. While not heavy in action, the movie is so well shot, acted, and filled with characters that are interesting despite being absolutely slimy, it maintains your attention throughout its short running time. The ending picks up some steam before going full-force into a shocking conclusion. It may have a feel of familiarity about it in terms of plot, but the stakes are noticeably higher, as is the quality of filmmaking on display here.
A decent expedition concerning a futuristic society and their decision… MoreA decent expedition concerning a futuristic society and their decision to send men and women to a distant moon on Jupiter, called Europa, in an attempt to answer hopefully answer questions they have concerning whether we are alone in the universe. Sadly for this film, "Prometheus" more or less did this kind of plot in much more interesting and compelling fashion. With that said, this movie is not terrible, it takes an interesting perspective on how it tells its story from the character's perspective as well as cutting time through docudrama lenses as well. However, it just does not possess the same wonder and suspense that many other movies before it do, and the ending leaves a lot to be desired. Very missable, and as said, not very memorable despite its best attempts to draw its audience in with that same wonder that many movies concerning space travel have done much better before.