Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

dark, unsettling, and enjoyable

sunshine cleaning is certainly an enjoyable film. even though it focuses on 2 sisters who clean up crime scenes (mostly suicide victims) for a living. its quirky and funny, as well as tragic and dramatic. it all works pretty well. it was produced by the same people who made little miss sunshine, and it shows. alan arkin is good as usual, and the kid who plays oscar is a stand out.

Waltz With Bashir (Vals Im Bashir)

unique take on a war docu-drama

waltz with bashir is an animated film about director ari folman's experience during the israeli invasion of lebanon in the mid 80's. he doesn't remember much about the events and subsequent massacre of innocent palistinians, so he embarks on a quest to find out information from his fellow soldiers from the time. he is still haunted by dreams and memories of the bloodshed, as well as his former comrades. the animation is similar to cel-shading or the techniques used for waking life. it can get kinda annoying after a while in my opinion. i understand why they used animation... it makes the reenactments more believable and the overall film work. the interviewees are real as far as i know, and the story is all true, which makes it important. i felt myself becoming somewhat annoyed and disinterested as the film went along.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lupin III: Dead or Alive (Rupan sansei: Dead or Alive)

decent, not amazing

lupin is on the hunt to discover treasure hiddin within an amazingly well guarded island. in order to uncover its secrets he must impersonate a dead prince of sorts and he almost gets killed a few times. its all fun and games, but nothing too original to be added to the series. but hey, its Lupin the 3rd! Awesome.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Love You, Man

buddy comedy extraordinaire

paul rudd stars as peter, a man getting married who has no male friends. he feels he needs to have a best man, and therefore must make guy friends before the wedding. he ends up becoming good friends with jason segal, and it eventually causes some pre-marital problems. there are lots of laughs, and plenty of good gags. there are many cameos, and recognizable faces in here. a few guys from 'the state' appear, as well as two thirds of human giant! overall irs another crude comedy with a heart, much like 40 year old virgin, role models, etc.

Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy (Rupan sansei: Fûma ichizoku no inbô)

another great lupin film

lupin and the gang are at it again. this time goemon is getting married, and his fiance's family vase has a secret to uncovering a fortune. the animation is very good, almost as good as a miyazaki film. for some reason zenigata has gray hair however. no worries, its fucking lupin III!

Smiley Face

gregg araki attempts a stoner comedy

unfortunately it isn't that great. anna farris seems to be trying way too hard in this silly little pothead movie. she plays jane f. a pothead who is trying to get from point a to point z, as the narrator tells us. she accidentally eats all of her roommates' pot cupcakes and is therefore really high throughout the day. her adventures include paying the utilities bill, going to an acting audition (with the woefully underused jane lynch), hitting the cash machine, giving money to her pot dealer, and of course baking more pot cupcakes. sounds hilarious, and i love these kinds of movies... but anna farris isn't that great (she usually is!), and a lot of the jokes seem to miss the mark. i love gregg araki, but this was a misfire.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wendy and Lucy

slow, and slight, but pretty enjoyable

michelle williams does a great job as wendy in wendy and lucy. she plays a poor struggling woman trying to make her way to alaska for work with her dog lucy. during a series of events things go downhill fast for the two and the film is mostly about wendy trying to locate her best and only friend, her dog. the film could have ben a 10 minute short feature, but it works fine as an 80 minute film, mostly because of michelle williams' performance. i must warn you, nothing substantial happens in this film.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Two Lovers


jaoquin phoenix gives his best performance ever in two lovers. he plays leonard, a bipolar, depressed, anxious man who is living with his parents while trying to move on with his life after his fiance left him. he is powerful as hell. he has two women show up in his life and he ultimately falls for gweneth paltrow, who has the most problems and baggage. leonard is self destructive, and his choices seem irrational, but his character is so believable and true that it makes sense. there is one glaring problem with the film that bothered me a bit, but did not ruin the film at all: gweneth paltrow ends up in the hospital after miscarrying, but the nurse tells leonard all about it even though he's just a friend! that just doesn't happen, and kinda broke the sense of realism that the film had otherwise portrayed. overall the film is great.

Dark City

good, not great sci-fi thriller

alex proyas' thriller dark city is pretty good. the story involves aliens who have taken control of humans and their city is nothing but fabricated reality. they do this in order to understand humans, and see what their soul is, because they are dying. this is all pretty good and original (even before the matrix), just the execution wasn't as good as i had hoped. there is style, and good actors, william hurt, jennifer connoly, and keifer sutherland... but the story drags a bit and the main character is too creepy to care that much about. he's a good actor, just not that great at being the hero, or even antihero. not to mention that the film is entirely in darkness. it is "dark city" after all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Casino Royale

pretty good new bond

daniel craig is james bond in this prequel to the james bond franchise. he's still wet behind the ears, but has plenty of skill. he's after a big time banker/poker player who invests money for terrorists. the story unfolds rather well, and craig does a good job as the leading man. i didn't really believe the romance between him and vesper however, which made the final act hard to swallow. otherwise it was a good action movie, and i'm looking forward to seeing quantum of solace soon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Class (Entre les murs)

dangerous minds... in french?

the class is basically a dramatized year in the life of one high school french class. the students often provide challenges and problems for their teacher mr. marin. the way this film was shot worked very well. i was reminded of real high school, and it didn't seem faked at all. i can only assume many of the students weren't real actors, and they were all great. the film didn't take sides at all, and showed the teachers' problems as well as the students point of view. mr. marin is tried and tested many times. he also makes many disciplinary mistakes and leaves himself vulnerable to his students throughout. the class was very well done, but overall i didn't feel satisfied with the film. maybe that was the point.

The Other Boleyn Girl

decent period piece with good performances

the story of anne boleyn and her bewitching of king henry is pretty interesting. this portrayal almost pulls it off, but not quite. the chemistry, or lack thereof is an issue. its hard to understand anne's motives, as well as king henry's. i really like eric bana and natalie portman... that's the main reason i was drawn to this film in the first place. there are lots of hollywood type cliches, such as: the wise mother who sees through all the material bullshit. the jealous sister, evil uncle, and so on. the film is decent, nothing more though. i woulda loved to see some blood and guts when anne and her brother were beheaded though. but it was not to be.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


unadaptable? most likely.

zack snyder seemed to try his best to adapt the amazing graphic novel 'watchmen' into a feature film... but in my opinion all he did was add tons of style, gore, the word "fuck", and long detailed dr. manhattan dong. seriously, the film started off cool enough, we finally get to see these epic characters come to life on the big screen! but the director of 300 simply can't help himself. the material is good enough, and that's why it belongs strictly to the pages of the comics. the intricacies of the novel seem silly in film context, and often the characters seemed dull and lifeless. its almost impossible to convert a comic to film without this stuff happening. also i was very unhappy with the changes to the ending. the main omission: rorschach's final journal entry. this is critical, as the news boy will eventually realize the truth! damn.

the opening credits scene is awesome. with 'the times they are a changing' playing. awesome...

Into the Wild

pretty impressive

emile hirsch has impressed me quite a bit lately. he's great in milk and this as well. sean penn's film is based on the life of Christopher McCandless, a young man who decided to leave behind his material possessions and his family to be free. whether you agree or disagree with his choice doesn't matter at all. this is a good film. chris travels far and wide, meeting great people and seeks meaning in his existence. his travels lead him to alaska, in somewhat unchartered territory, where he finds a bus in which he stays the winter. there are many interesting philosophical ideas and questions raised by the character, as well as many faults and mistakes with his ideas. all in all this film definitely makes us think and wonder about our lives. the score by eddie vedder is great, and the photography is amazing. i was somewhat dissappointed with the casting choices for catherine keener and marcia gay harden. i usually don't like them, and this was no exception. otherwise, very impressive film.

Harsh Times

bale explodes!

so its nothing new that christian bale is intense, and a good actor. i got this dvd just after i heard his blow up on the set of terminator: salvation, because i saw a clip from it on youtube. i love bale, expecially in the machinist and american psycho. in harsh times he is pretty good, but not spectacular. he's a young veteran who is in search of work in Las Angeles in order to marry his mexican girlfriend. this story kinda hits home with me because my ex-girlfriend was a mexican illegal immigrant. i could sympathize with that portion of the movie. unfortunately through many mistakes and blow-ups, bale fucks everything up many times. his best friend freddy rodriguez (whom i can't stand) is a total loser who'd rather get wasted than look for work. bale isn't any better, and he's a nutjob to boot. the film has some good parts, and some dumb parts as well. the 2 main leads don't really pull off the lingo and acting like they are from the streets, and the ending sucked for the most part.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

one of the best in the series

kirk, spock, mccoy, et al embark once again this time on a peace mission to meet with some klingons and save their race from extinction. someone ends up framing the enterprise crew for murder of the head klingon and kirk and mccoy end up in prison on star trek's version of hoth. sulu is now a captain of the excelsior and kim cattrall shows up as a vulcan. oh and christian slater has a miniscule part as well. good stuff for a star trek film, but not quite as enjoyable as khan.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The International

cliché after cliché after cliché...

the international is obviously a perposterous thriller involving a powerful international bank who keeps making people 'dissappear'. clive owen and naomi watts are on the case trying to bring people to justice... the dialogue and acting is soooo fucking bad and cliche'd that i ended up laughing through it all. of course there was a second gunman, of course there was a shootout in the guggenheim museum which no cops seemed to notice, of course clive was the only one who noticed anything significant, of course! naomi watts character was pointless, many of the plot points in the film weren't necessary, and not even red-herrings either! god this was shameful. i really like clive owen as an action star and actor in general, but for fucks sakes man. his next romp with julia roberts looks like a real fucking treat too.