Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Caterpillar Affect.

The Butterfly Effect.

Ashton Kutcher stars in this movie that he also produced – thus proving the man can pick a good script and can act! So why is he in all these other completely garbage movies? Who can tell.

This one I can tell you is really good. Ashton can travel back through time and right the wrongs of his life…of which there are enough to sustain a 2 hour film.

But every time he goes back, he effs up something else. That is the Butterfly Effect…if a butterfly flaps its wings I can change the course of time.

This is a really well written movie. Good from start to finish. There is suspense, and I was doing a lot of thinking during it too. Would I go back and change stuff knowing that I could alter what has come to pass? Who knows.

I don’t wanna get to into this review because I want everyone to see this movie and enjoy it the way I did.

I will be buying this one!



Night of the Living Angels.


God is pissed off at us, why, cause he got sick of all the bullshit. These are the opening and closing lines of this film. Cant say I like the “bullshit” part. The rest was…ok.

First off, this film is talky. Like really talky. The characters are the generic characters we have come to expect from horror movies, so why develop them in needless back-story. The action bits are few and far between, but we did get to see angels fighting each other and blocking bullets with their wings! I guess this movies budget was larger then X-Men’s since their angel character (a founding member of the team) was reduced to one shot where he should his wings, and the angel in this movie fights with them!

Anywho, one of the people in this Night of the Living Angels story is pregnant with …. Guess it….the saviour of mankind. How will this baby save mankind? Who knows. Maybe he will lead the resistance against Skynet. Whatever, that’s a typical apocalypse plot point.

All in all this wasn’t so bad. The ice-cream man and old lady were cool, but one question I did have was why are the angels possessing people for…why not just fly down and kill everyone, or why doesn’t God just start a bunch of earthquakes or something. And why does he change his tune after so many died….so that’s more than one question, but whatever, the angels are cool.

3/5 (a very very generous 3 I might add).


Forever and ever, Amin.

The Last King of Scotland.

You only need to see 10 mins of Forest Whitaker’s performance in this to understand why he won best actor.

This isn’t a bio pic or anything, its from the perspective of a fictional character that was Idi Amin’s personal physician.

Forest’s performance is scary. He looks nice and talks nice but it always feels like he is going to snap at any moment. I mean I was scared for the main character, and I know I wouldn’t be stupid enough to get into his situation!

Anyway, this movie is really well made, award winning acting, amazing scenery and good plotting. There isn’t much of a story, mostly slice of life stuff. My only negative is that I wanted to see more of Amin’s life, but then again we got what we needed I guess.

This is a must see, not sure if I would buy it on dvd, but I would definitely consider it.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Good Book.

Book Of Eli.

A bunch of wars happened everything got destroyed and now Denzel Washington has been heading West on foot for 30 years.

He carries a book with him – which book – watch the trailer and figure it out – but it’s not about what book (the movie gives it away early on) its about the journey. Why is he taking this journey? I wont tell you. I wont tell you what happens on this journey either.

I will tell you to see this awesome movie. A lot of great points about life, humanity, and religion (hint) are thrown into this little Mad Max style movie. Denzel is wicked as usual – I have never seen a bad performance from him, and he plays well as this lone drifter (see Clint Eastwood’s the Man with No Name series).

I don’t know what to say other than this movie was wicked. I love “private war” movies, or movies with guys on missions (like Escape from NY and Phantasm 2). I also love post-apocalyptic films too (see my earlier reviews for more on those).

The ending has a bit of twist, if you wanna call it that, but it actually makes you think a bit and I liked it. I loved everything in this film. Gary Oldman is wicked as usual, and there is a good cameo in the end. Milla Kunis was good too. They didn’t use her for her sex appeal – she was just a character and good one I thought.

See it and then buy it on bluray.



Anybody Holmes?

Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes is one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. I own all the Doyle stories, and every episode and TV movie of the Jeremy Brett British series. To me that is the series that best tells the stories of Holmes. That show was super accurate and the most accurate of any Holmes movies I have seen or heard of.

That being said, I am open to re-interpretations of the character, such as in Without a Clue – a comedy where Holmes (played by Michael Caine) is a fool and Watson (Ben Kingsley) is the smart one. So a bit of change is ok.

The change here isn’t really in Holmes or in character. All the Holmes universe characters are present or mentioned in this film, including Mycroft, Holmes’ much smarter (but lazy) brother, Inspector Lastrade and even Miss Hudson. And for the most part they are portrayed accurately. Holmes is a bit more rude then he normally is, and a bit more eccentric, but he was all that in the original stories. The setting is the same and the Watson-Holmes relationship is good too.

The only changes was making everything hyper-real – meaning that Holmes can now fight like Bruce Lee – in the books he could fight, but not to this degree, and as I mentioned above he is much ruder in this than the books, but he’s rude in the books too. Anyway I really enjoyed this movie.

The scenery characters, and music were great. I loved watching Holmes and Watson just walk around solving stuff. That was really great! This is the beginning of a great series. However, the one negative point is the lack of mystery.

You cannot ruin this movie by giving away the mystery, because there wasn’t one. Lord Blackwood is the villain. He comes back to life (we know its not magic) and then becomes a villain again which is what he always was. There was nothing solve. We (the audience) know its Blackwood, so does Holmes…so there wasn’t anything shocking in the end. We did get to see Holmes explain how he did all his magic, but that is not a mystery…we know its not real magic. Most of Doyle stories have a big plot at the end, Blackwood has a plot, but its one of those “ill take over the world plots” of a James Bond film (this was more like James Bond – but with Holmes).

Anyway, I recommend this for Holmes fans and new people who wanna get into it.

Fun movie.



Monday, January 18, 2010

I need somebody.


The Beatles, they sing, we all know that, they also make movies, we probably knew that, but I am not sure if anyone here knew how funny and enjoyable the movies are!

Ok, I have only seen Help, but based on this movie I can see the potential! Explaining the plot is about as useful as explaining a Marx Brothers plot, but ill try…This evil cult wants to sacrifice people, but the chosen one must be wearing a special ring, once the chosen one is picked, they are painted red and offered to their god Kali (from temple of doom) but just before they kill a chosen girl they see she is not wearing the special ring. Before she was chosen she sent the ring to Ringo of the Beatles and he is currently wearing it. So they must get the ring back within a quick period of time, otherwise the girl will be allowed to go free and they will have to chose another sacrifice – which will be Ringo, since he is wearing the ring. Odd I know.

Anyway, the jokes in this movie never end and there isn’t a moment which is not enjoyable. I cannot even get into the jokes here, but think of Top Secret mixed with British humour and the Monkees TV show.

You must get help, I know I will.



Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Book of Denzel

You know, you have to hand it to Denzel Washington. The man's going to be 56 years old this year, and he just keeps on headlining. He even takes on physical roles like this one in his latest movie, "The Book of Eli". Yep...and I keep on paying to see his movies, too. Mostly to marvel that the man can still do it, but Denzel is always solid. Always.

So, if you've caught the trailers for this one, you would see Denzel walking across the a destroyed landscape ala Mad Max, and it's obvious he has something that Gary Oldman wants. From the title, you would gather it is a book, and you would be correct. What Denzel's mission is, and what the book is, I'll leave to you to discover (though the book should be fairly obvious, considering the title of the movie).

What's important in this film though, is that Denzel is on a mission. A mission he believes in with his heart and soul, and he will not let anything (and I do mean ANYTHING) stop him from his mission. What his mission is, is his business, but let me tell you, woe betold anyone who tries to stop Denzel from achieving his goal. You think he was serious in "Crimson Tide"? You have no idea how serious this man is in this movie. He is dead serious, and you'd be nuts to take him on, or try and take his book, believe me.

So, how about the acting? Denzel is solid, as always. I mean seriously, when have you walked out of movie, and mumbled to the person next to you "Man, Denzel was really ass in this movie?" (P.S. you may want to make sure you know who the person next to you is, when you mumble might actually be Denzel...stranger things have happened...though Denzel has never been ass, so you won't mumble it, anyway). Gary Oldman is his usual charismatic scenery-chewing villain as the leader of the small town who really, REALLY wants Denzel's book. Mila Kunis...okay, I'm going to go off on a rant here...on a separate paragraph. Seriously, this needs to be addressed.

You know, a lot of young actors these days are crap. Seriously. I have now seen Mila Kunis play a bitch on "That 70's Show", I've seen her try and be the protagonist's sidekick in "Max Payne", and now once again, she's the sidekick, though a tad more feisty, in this film. You know what? It might be the writing, and it might be the editing, but she comes off as incredibly bland. She tries, I'll give her points for that, but mostly, she's just there. Oh, and she needs to gain weight. You read that right. Gain weight. She is painfully thin. She turns sideways, and looks like a toothpick. Now, I don't know the *ahem* tastes of the people reading this blog, but let me tell you, Stephenstein does not find a toothpick attractive.

So now, let's move on to the ending. J-Man informed me that Ebert said the ending was so implausible, it is to be seen to be believed. Okay, I saw the ending. Was it surprising? Yes. Was it Sixth Sense game-changing I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Butter crazy? No. The ending did not make me re-evaluate the entire film in a new light. It was a leap of faith, no doubt, and it did sort of put things, including the main character, in a slightly different light...but I wasn't destroyed. I mean, we're talking about a world where there was a nuclear war that ripped a hole in the ozone layer, and caused the sun's rays to come in and burn everything...I think plausibility has now officially left the building. So, ending good, not great, and certainly did not destroy me.

In the end though, this is a solid movie, that is worth seeing at least once. Will this be a purchase? At this juncture, I'm saying no. I appreciate Denzel's character, and his resolve, and his mission, and I'm always good to see Gary Oldman yelling and screaming, but in the end, one viewing is probably good enough for me.

Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I bid thee a fond goodnight.

- Stephenstein

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Not a loser.

Billy Jack.

The second in the Billy Jack series (The Born Losers was part one, The Trial of Billy Jack is next, and then Billy Jack goes to Washington).

This one was the most successful of the 4 and I can see why. It is just amazing from beginning to end. Billy Jack is the main character this time (hence the name of the film) he is fighting for a spiritual arts school located on the reservation. The towns people hate the hippie children and natives, so anytime any of them go town the local bullies take shots at them. Billy Jack witnesses such an event and literally beats the hell out of all them! There was like 15 guys!!!!!!!! Billy Jack is half native, former green beret and martial arts expert (sounds like my resume). He can certainly TCB and he does.

The set up of the school is really good too…the school is free to attend, but you must follow its rules, no drugs, alcohol etc. And you must do your part to help out. While at the school you are free to pursue your own art – music, theatre, painting, writing, and even film making!

In Billy’s final speech he is asked by the head of the school to just let it go and they will move the school to a new place. Billy says something to the effect of “what place on Earth is there when men don’t treat each other like crap. Tell me and ill go there.”

Good fun movie, with some great messages and a great character.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who you gonna call?

Paranormal Activity

Katie has been followed by a spirit since she was a young girl. Her husband (?) Mikah decides to capture some paranormal stuff on tape, so he keeps a video record of what they do during the month of October (no, Halloween doesn’t play a factor – that would be too obvious).

During the night stuff happens, small at first, doors open and close, loud noises, shadows etc. As the nights go on, and with the antagonistic Mikah, the spirit starts to do more. Much more.

The film makers here actually accomplished their task, which is to make a creepy realistic horror movie. And they pretty much succeeded. If you believe in spirits and ghosts you will love this movie. It will freak you out.

The film makers have also added a lot of little things too…small hints of a story and a psychic that is so completely useless (just like real psychics). The details are neat too – you see shadows move and footprints etc.

I suggest watching it alone at night in the dark. You will get freaked out. However, such tactics don’t work on me. I only care about the technical aspects, which were good…see NIGHT 20 for a great effect.

That being said, my horror movie love is enough to suspend my disbelief and still like this movie. I would recommend getting it on dvd – if you can watch in the conditions I mentioned.

3.5/5 (4/5 for people who believe in ghosts)


Monday, January 11, 2010

Not of the dead.


A vampire searches for his mate for a 100 years and finds her. That’s the premise behind Twilight. He’s kind of a vampire I guess, although the sunlight doesn’t kill him, it turns his skin to crystal. Yes you read that right, he’s not a monster. I guess vampirism isn’t what it used to be…that being a CURSE. Anyway, this is basically a teen movie with vampires in it (they aren’t really vampires, but they have powers, so I guess its an even trade).

Anyway, Bella starts at a new school (typical teen movie act 1) but this time in a strange turn of events Bella is not picked on, or made fun of, or becomes an outcast…nothing happens. She just starts at a new school and makes a couple of friends and that’s it. That was something I really enjoyed…the not typical stuff. Her father (parents are divorced) is a good man and the town sheriff. He is not death. He is just a good man, and he and Bella get along fine. No stupid teen rebelling against parents…which I also really liked. Edward is the hot guy at school (not sure why, he is pretty ugly) but he is not really a bad boy. He just wants to be left alone…again, I really liked that! He is not trying to be cool, he just doesn’t care – actually he was pretty much me during university (but not as good looking as me – duh). His father is a vampire and he’s pretty cool too. Just a normal family.

All this set up is really nice. I liked all the main characters and I liked how they set up the story. The story is typical from then on, with bad vampires vs good vampires and hints of werewolves – who appear in part 2, etc.

The fights are ok, nothing to die over, and the main villain comes in too late to really be considered a threat – plus he is beaten pretty easily. And other than the stupid crystal skin, this was an enjoyable movie. I will buy New Moon when it comes out to continue the series.

The big plus points are Edward, Bella, and the fathers of both. The big plus is when Edward and his family play baseball. It’s kind of like if the JLA played baseball. Really cool scene.

So all in all, not too bad. Lets see how the werewolves play a role.



Oh it must.

The Beast Must Die.

A super rich game hunter has killed everything that has ever walked, crawled or slithered. The one thing he hasn’t killed is a werewolf. So he decides to invite some people to his mansion for a party. How does this tie into the werewolf concept….well one of them is a werewolf, but he is not sure which one. When he finds out, he will hunt it down and kill it.

This concept is pretty darn cool. It’s very similar to THE HOWLING 5 – my fave of the series – where its basically Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, but with a werewolf as the killer.

This movie is a bit slow at times, but the concept is just so good that you cant help be get into it. The werewolf is not wolfman style. Its just a plain wolf (kinda like New Moon). It’s just an animal, so no cool American Werewolf in London transformation. The werewolf turns very quickly – a quick camera cut to a real wolf. Yes the effect is a bit cheesy, but still cool.

Plus this movie has the typical William Castle break. A wolf break where you get 30 seconds to guess who the werewolf is before the movie tells you.

I love William Castle gimmicks. They rock.



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Top 10 of 2009

2009 - the year in film. Well, we had the usual...

Remakes...sequels...adaptations...and hell, occasionally someone decided to do some original movies. You don't find too many of those these days, and the year 2010 looks like the year of the 3D movie (I love how everyone is going gaga over 3D, when it's a technology that's been around since Creature from the Black Lagoon...and no, not the remake!), so the tone next year might be a little grimmer, and far more profane. Anyhow, all things considering, this wasn't a horrible year for movies, we got some good the one's I'll give below.

Now, I'm not really going to go into why a movie made the top 10 list...I mean, to me, it's pretty self-explanatory. I really, really, really liked the movie. Most of the movies I've reviewed somewhere in some form or another, so there's not really a lot more to say. I saw over 40 movies this year (and I count DVD and downloaded movies on my list, starting this year), and like most years, a few that were awesome, a few that were really good, some that were passable/mediocre, a few that were bad, and one in particular (The Hangover) that was gawd-awful. Like I said, like every other year. I'm sure next year will be the same.

Top 10 of 2009
1. Watchmen
2. Terminator: Salvation
3. District 9
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
5. Inglorious Basterds
6. Knowing
7. The Box
8. Saw VI
9. Bruno
10. The Hurt Locker

Well, that's a wrap on 2009. See you again, next year!

I bid thee a fond 2010.

- Stephenstein

Sherlock Holmes

I have never read a single Sherlock Holmes story...let me rephrase that...I have never read a Sherlock Holmes story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I have "The Best of Sherlock Holmes" book in my bookcase, but with a thousand billion other things to read, it gets a little tough to fit everything in. Why the confessional? Just to let you know that I don't know jack about Sherlock Holmes, the actual literary character. I am reviewing this film for a position of ignorance, at least as far as the original subject matter is concerned. Does that matter? You be the judge.

So, on to the actual film, which I actually did like, quite a lot. It wasn't a perfect Sherlock Holmes story; I mean, they portray Holmes as an eccentric genius mostly, which is how I would think of him, but there are some scenes, and nothing really big immediately comes to mind, but I'm sure the other members of the Zone who see the movie would be able to point them out...there are some scenes that I think has less to do with "Haha, Sherlock is eccentric, but he's still brilliant", and more to do with "Sherlock Holmes is a bumbling idiot". I don't like that. Sherlock Holmes is supposed to be the most brilliant detective ever created, as far as I'm concerned, and even if he makes a mistake, he's not supposed to look like a moron when he does it.

Anyhow, I was quite surprised that there is a lot of deduction and investigation in this movie, and the really cool thing is, when Sherlock is going over things in his mind, or thinking back on things, you see the things he saw (or foresees, in some cases), which is really kind of neat. Yes, there is action (and I'm sorry to say, some of it is the same poorly edited, fast-cutting crap), and there is some humour (though not as much as I feared there would be), and no, he doesn't actually end up with Rachel Mcadams' character (which was also, something of a relief).

So, as for the actual mystery, well, you know who the villain is, from the trailer. The mystery surrounds what his final plan is going to be, and how he did the "supernatural" feats that he is credited with doing. For his plan, it's pretty much run-of-the-mill, which was a tad disappointing, but I think it's intimidating writing for Sherlock Holmes...I mean, if I had to come up with a brilliant plan for him to solve, I could do it, but it would be tough. Like I said, it's just breaking down how Lord Blackwood did things, and when he's going to strike next, that is the true mystery.

So, as for the players. Downey Jr. was pretty good as Sherlock (even if he kept losing his English accent), Jude Law was pretty good as Watson (he did a bit more than I expected.) McAdams was a pretty face and not much else as Irene Adler, and Mark Strong was imposing as Blackwood, though he appeared very little in the movie. Oh, and yes, Moriarty does appear in the movie, in case any Sherlock fans were wondering.

Anyhow, that's a wrap on the last 2009 movie I'm reviewing this year. My top ten will follow.

I bid thee a fond goodnight.

- Stephenstein

Friday, January 8, 2010

Nobody's Dirtier than Harry

As a child growing up, I was familiar, as everyone is I suppose, with the famous catchphrases attributed to Clint Eastwood's immortal Dirty Harry Callahan. Phrases like "Make my Day", and "Do You Feel Lucky, Punk" are part of the pop culture lexicon, and I'm sure more than one less-than-bright person has spouted these lines in certain situations, usually accompanied with the guffaws of his less-than-bright friends. Anyhow, let's not dwell on who left their socks where...I mean! I mean about my nonsensical ramblings. This is about me finally sitting down and watch the Dirty Harry series.

More importantly, this is about me discovering probably the best cop series ever committed to film. Clint Eastwood is Dirty Harry, and before these films, I did not really understand that these films were part of a growing discontent in the United States regarding the uselessness of their laws. Yes, that's the right word, useless. They are depicted this way in the film, and talked about in the special features: about how the public was growing dissatsfied with the law's preoccupation with the rights of the accused over the rights of the victim. Enter Harry. This man does not spades. He goes in, and gets the job done, and if he steps on toes, it's only because he was too busy to stomp on them. Here's the five:

Dirty Harry - the original, the classic. Not only do we get the "Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?" line, but also perhaps one of the top ten villains in film history: Scorpio. Played by Andy Robinson, this guy is just plain scary...he'll do anything, gun down a priest, kidnap a busload of kids, he doesn't care, and has less regard for the rules than Harry, which says a lot. This is the best of the lot, in my opinion, because it shows Harry at the end of his rope, and going after probably one of the most dangerous killers in history, while questioning while he still does his job.

Magnum Force - the next writers (John Milius and Michael Cimino) were smart, and turned the 2nd one on its head - now Harry is fighting on the side of the system against rogue cops. Some people don't like this one, but it's an interesting premise, the vigilante cops are formidable opponents, and it's got probably the best score of the Harry's

The Enforcer - Harry goes to Alcatraz to save the mayor and take out a splinter hippy band. Once again, the villains are pretty dangerous, the boss is more antagonistic, and this time, he's got a female partner (not something Harry's thrilled with). This was really the one that showed the bureaucracy of of the law was filtering into the police force, with less than promising results.

Sudden Impact - Harry's out of San Francisco, and investigating a series of murders by a vigilante with sympathetic motives. This is the one where he says "Make My Day", and showed a more mellow Harry, who doesn't seem too inclined to bust the perpetrator. It also continued the string of dangerous opponents of Harry's that you would just love to see taken out (some particularily vile rapists).

The Dead Pool - The weakest of the bunch, in my opinion (but what a bunch!), Harry's older, and they want him to be media-friendy (!!!), while he investigates who is killing people on the dead pool list, and trying to frame Liam Neeson's character for it. Clint's older, and while he still has that grimace, Harry seems more tired on this one...though the scene in the jail was pretty good, and he still gave the villain a really nasty death...though the end death in The Enforcer was probably the most brutal.

So there you have it, a classic series, and probably the best cop series ever. Do yourself a favour, and pick these up. You won't be disappointed.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I bid thee a fond goodnight...if you feel lucky, punk.

- Stephenstein

It's not really that complicated

You know what this blog needs? A review of a chick flick! Yes! It's all part of my master plan!...well...erm...not really. I was dragged to this movie, with the promise of a free dinner afterwards. So, off I went, because I don't know if you know this, but I am an absolute whore for a free dinner. I will subject myself to anything...for a free dinner. It doesn't even have to be chic...though I may rethink seeing a certain film if all I'm getting afterwards is Mickey D's.

Anyhow, enough about my gastronomic situation. We have a movie to review here, people! It's Complicated. Well, not that really. Meryl Streep was married to Alec Baldwin. Alec Baldwin cheated on her with Lake Bell (though if he was going to cheat on Meryl with someone, I would have hoped it would have been someone better looking...Meryl may be 60, but she's not a hideous 60...and Lake's skin resembles shoe leather). Anyhow, so now Alec is with Lake, but he's not happy, so years later he cheats on Lake...with Meryl. Then it becomes a classic "should I or shouldn't I" situation.

Now, this movie is supposed to be a comedy, but a lot of the humour seems to be of the "I'm older, but I'm still hip" variety. Such as older women talking about sex and giggling like children...or smoking pot and getting the giggles. Yes, yes, hilarious. Let me go out and inhale more wind from that brown paper bag I snuck in. There is one funny scene where Steve Martin accidently views Alec Baldwins genitals via web cam, unsuspectingly (Alec sneaks in au naturale while Meryl is in the john), but this has more to do with Martin's horrified reactions than the actual act.

I will say that this movie is watchable, that other than the somewhat sophmoric humour, it isn't a bad story, and the actors do their best with the material given to them. Alec Baldwin stood out for me, here's a guy who used to be a stud when he was younger, and even though he's older and far heavier, he still gives his all and strips down, and shows you his obese glory. It's nice to know that at least one Hollywood star can have faults, and not be ashamed of him (which is a contrast from a lot of his colleagues, who get surgery at the sign of a pimple...get your Hollywood star, now with 95 percent more plastic!)

Anyhow, this is a renter for sure, and only if your with someone who enjoys somewhat humourous situational comedy with older generation actors.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

I bid thee a fond affair.

- Stephenstein

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

TOP 10 OF 2009

2009 was a pretty good year for movies. Then again I was super selective of what I saw, so I didn’t catch too many duds. I did miss Anvil: The story of Anvil, Inglourious Basterds, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Anvil was a 2008 movie, so that wouldn’t be included in the top 10 of this year anyway, but it was a 5/5. Basterds would be my number 3 movie of this year if I saw it in the theatre. Transformers was ok, but wouldn’t make my top 10 anyway. So basically, here is a list of all 2009 movies I saw in the theatre that are up for debate:


Since I didn’t see very much this year, I will give you my top 5 of the year, in order.

1. Watchmen.

With all that could’ve gone wrong, with an epic story almost un-filmable, and against all odds Zack Snyder and his team pulled it off. A great film worthy of comparison to 2001: A Space Odyssey in terms of depth and storytelling. This is one of the finest films ever made and is my 3rd favourite film of all time, never mind this year. This is what movies are all about. This is what storytelling is all about. Characters, themes, music, dialogue and atmosphere come together to present a great message, several themes, and many in depth looks at the human mind, body and soul and finally admit that human life is a miracle itself. Great job to all who worked on this masterpiece of film making.

2. Avatar.

James Cameron creates another great film. Avatar is nothing short of amazing. Story and visuals come together in this masterpiece of film making that doesn’t overuse its technology just to show you it can. Instead, effects are utilized to create a new world. A world of well thought-out creatures and animals and of a culture not unlike our natives, who depend upon the forest and their environment. They are one with the land in ways that we can never understand. They interact with trees and with animals and have a sense of spirit. The film itself has this same sense of spirit. We are taken in by these people just as the characters in the film are. A great movie that is more than the sum of its parts. Yes the effects are great, yes the 3D is the best to-date, and yes the story is good, but it’s more than just that, there is a magic in this film you don’t find too often, if ever.

3. District 9.

This is a great science fiction film. Science fiction was made to tell this story of how humans treat those who are different. If this film had been shot with humans, instead of ugly aliens, it would be banned in all countries. The film makers here have a great understanding of storytelling, sci-fi and humanity. The lead character goes through a transformation of body and of mind. We know that this has to happen in a movie about a man who treats others like crap, then becomes one of them, but for some reason it never feels forced, and the documentary style of this film really adds to the story. Usually documentary style of shooting annoys me, but here it made the movie feel real. We are totally in the world of this movie and it’s pretty realistic in it’s portrayal of how we would treat visitors to our planet. Good stuff.

4. Fantastic Mr. Fox

Based on the children’s classic by Roald Dahl, Wes Anderson takes this story and does something special with it. Firstly, he uses stop motion animation, a personal favourite of mine, and one that we don’t see too often. Stop motion creates a world of tangible animals that act like people, but are still animals. I know that sounds like a bunch of Dreamworks crap, but it’s really not. The story is amazing (as are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach and Matilda – other works by the same author), and there is a lot of cute and dry humour in it as well. To me, this is the film of the year for children and a great movie for adults. Thank god they stayed away from pop-culture references and adult humour – which makes it timeless! A real fun movie with some good themes too.

5. Terminator: Salvation.

If you love the Terminator series, then you should like this movie. It continues from the others and still manages to come up with something new. I hate people who drop a franchise just because they feel like it, or when they claim that the latest instalment is not as good as the one that came before it. It’s still good on its own. Is it better than T2, no, is there many movies that are better than T2, NO. So what the hell do you want here? The action is heart-pounding and the story is pretty good. They introduce Marcus – whom I immediately hated, then 5 minutes later, I loved, and he is the new type of terminator – one who doesn’t know he is one! That’s an interesting concept. Skynet keeps sending out machines, but they fail because they think like machines, but Marcus thinks like a man, so it’s man versus man (to an extent, Marcus still has cybernetic parts). I just think it’s a great idea, and that coupled with the action and with so many different style of robots and with Arnold making a CGI guest appearance is enough to say that this movie is worthy of the Terminator franchise. If you truly like the Terminator series, then you should pick this up.

Well that about wraps it up. I could go on and do the next 5 movies in detail, but I wont. The remaining 5 of the top 10 are (in no particular order):

Saw 6, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, 12 Rounds, Knowing and Wolverine.

Other really good ones were 9 and Paul Blart. G.I. Joe would’ve almost made it, but just not good enough.

The big disappointment was Star Trek. If this film wasn’t called Star Trek I may have liked it more, but calling it something that it’s not just doesn’t fly with me and more often than not I was pissed off during the movie. It looks good and its not that bad, but under the name Star Trek you have to do better than that.

Anyway, see you next year.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Here we go.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

A lot of people have been waiting for my 2 cents on this one. Well lets recap TF1.

TF1 was a horrid movie which destroyed several childhood dreams of playing with transformers and watching the old movie (which I saw in the theatre and loved). The movie was just bad. Bad as a transformers movie and bad as a movie. You couldn’t see the action (2 heaps of scrap metal rolling down a hill with a zoomed in camera), there was no story (something about getting glasses and all sparks that turn mountain dew machines and nokia phones into robots), and the plot was made up of bad jokes (about masturbation), Megan Fox bending over (serves no purpose when you can download every picture of her ever taken), and Optimus Prime stepping on a fountain and saying “My bad.” 1/5 (it didn’t get zero cause Peter Cullen is the best!)

Well, for ROTF we got zoomed out fights (and more of them) A story! (the TF’s require energon to function and decide to absorb energy from suns – but not from systems that need the sun to sustain life – the fallen doesn’t care about humanity so he will destroy us for more energon anyway. – hey it’s not great but at least its story line). And we get better plot – one scene has just the ROBOTS talking! The cheap jokes are still present – worse than part one, but are mostly in the beginning hour. If you can survive the horrid jokes of the 1st hour you may enjoy this – its not so bad cause after every bad joke Optimus prime does something wicked! Megatron does WAY MORE, and the Fallen is a cool villain. Plus Prime gets an upgrade that has to be seen to be believed.

Some of the smaller robots were really bad, and the pretender was utterly pointless. Megan Fox was actually ok! Although I didn’t think making her orange and red with makeup was needed (her face was literally orange). But she wasn’t annoying – that’s the key here. Of course they inserted an annoying sidekick – why I don’t know. If he wasn’t in the film it would’ve been better. Then there are Skids and Mudflap – terrible. Really bad inventions, I wish they had died.

As a transformers movie, its still not that great. But this movie featured more of the TFs doing stuff….if we keep on this route, maybe by part 4 or 5 we will get a perfect TF MOVIE! If I take this existing movie – not me making one, I can take this 2.5 hours movie and re-edit it to a 100 min movie it would be pretty darn cool. It still wouldn’t bet transformers, but I think it would have been much better.

Anything involving the big robots was wicked. Anything involving the humans and small robots was bad. In some cases, REALLY BAD (I would edit those scenes out). But John Turturo was back and I like him as an actor and he didn’t get pissed on and was actually helpful!

The action scenes are a wonder I must say. Really awesome stuff, but the designs of the TFs are too complex so in some parts you still cant tell what is happening, but its WAY better than part one.


(If you don’t know about TF, then you may rate this higher, like 4/5, but I cannot see anyone giving more than that based on the horrid plotting of the first hour and the extended scenes that really needed to be trimmed.)

If you have a bluray – this may be one to buy. Good sound and music.


The Future is the 80's.


The picture above is by HR Giger – designer of the Aliens in the Alien franchise. He’s a great artist and a lot of movies take his works for movie posters etc. Future-Kill is an example.

The guy on the cover is in the movie and he is the best and only good thing in the movie. He is played by the guy who was the hitchhiker in the real Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Anyway the story is set in the future – a very 80’s future. Where a bunch of teens dress up in glam-rock style clothing and protest nuclear technology. The guy on the poster, Splatter (his birth name?), is second in charge and has suffered first hand experience with nuclear waste. His leader a “non-violent” protestor is always trying to keep Splatter under control. A bunch of frat boys infiltrate the glam-gang in order to play a prank on them…but they find themselves head to head with Splatter. He uses this opportunity to kill his wimpy leader and blames the frat boys. So now they are on the run from the glam-gang.

Basically, it’s a lower budget version of The Warriors. But less creative stuff. Lots of running around and pointless nudity (which is stand for 80s horror). It was a fun to watch with a bunch of guys.


People Will Talk.

Cary Grant is a great actor. He’s funny and sincere and can be heroic and nice. And he can do it all at the same time. This movie is a tribute to him.

The story is really hard to explain. It’s more a series of events in his characters life. A slice of life picture done in black and white with no “cool” dialogue (as most of these slice of life movies are today).

He’s a good natured doctor who helps people heal. Heals them in body, mind and spirit. I don’t know what else to tell you to convince you to see this movie. It’s all very basic stuff, but done in such a wonderful way that you cant help but get pumped up!

Great movie to see and a good buy for anyone collecting the classics.