Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dead Snow (Død snø)

there are no winners when you fuck with nazi zombies.

dead snow is a norwegian zombie film. the film is nothing new or original, except for the fact that the zombies are former nazis. a group of 20 something year old kids go to a cabin in the mountains for a vacation, then the encounter a bunch of zombies and they kill eachother for a while. some fun stuff, plenty of good special effects, and some bad ones... but it's enjoyable enough. i'll probably forget about this one in a few days tbh.

The Lookout

good crime drama

joseph gordon-levitt stars in the lookout as chris pratt, a 20 something man who got in a car accident (completely his own fault) and has severe head trauma. this leaves him with some memory loss and an inability to lead a normal life that he wants. before the accident he was the big man on campus, with a very bright future ahead of him. he works for a bank as a janitor, and gets involved with some criminals looking to rob the bank. the film has a lot of implausible circumstances, and a few cliches... but overall it is entertaining and has just the right amount of tragedy/drama to make it deeper than your average bank heist movie. joseph levitt is good as usual, and jeff bridges (who plays his blind roomate) is good too. isla fisher is not convincing as a hooker pretending to be chris' boyfriend, but i generally don't like her anyways.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

will ferrell is losing teh funny

the goods should be a funny movie. it's jeremy piven and a bunch of funny people playing sleazy car salesmen. good premise to be sure. but the movie isn't funny at all! the least funny person in the whole fucking movie? will ferrell, who also produced this piece of shit. how does that happen? he figures, "i'll show up and wear some silly facial hair and do something completely unfunny, and it'll be a blast!" his character is the worst ever. but anyways...
this film is a typical cliche fest. there are 4 car salesmen who travel around helping struggling dealerships move cars. it's kinda like the group of 4 anchormen in 'anchorman', but not at all funny. jeremy piven is the main dude who can sell anything to anyone, but is looking for a family now that he's getting older. of course he gets the girl and the dealership they're trying to save in the end does well. nothing original to the story at all... and like i said several times, IT'S NOT FUCKING FUNNY. wtf is going on now? they figure we'll get a bunch of telented people in a movie and not even worry if the audience is laughing or not? this is awful.
4 stars cause craig robinson is kinda funny, and i like jeremy piven for some reason. also, what the fuck was with james brolin and alan thicke? they were in the movie for no reason, cause they didn't provide any lulz at all. horrible waste of cameo spots.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

blah love story featuring 2 annoying leads

i still really like michael cera, even after seeing him in year one. however, in nick and norah's infinite playlist (such a pretentious title btw) he is annoying as holy hell. he stars as nick, an indie hipster who is into music, but he just had his heart broken by tris... a heartless bitch who cheats on men often. he's uber sad and in search of closure. along comes norah (kat dennings) an equally annoying hipster who is in love with nick even before she ever met him. the whole film takes place one night when one of norah's friends needs a ride home cause she's hammered, and nick's friends want the 2 love birds to hang out together all night... really dumb stuff, and i swear i've seen this film many times under different titles. i certainly didn't hate this film, but it was very predictable, kinda silly and quirky, and like i said the leads were annoying. the only funny stuff involved michael cera's gay bandmates/friends.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Cove

intense and gripping, but manipulative

for a documentary, the makers of the cove sure do a lot of tampering with their subject matter. richard o'barry (the trainer/actor from the flipper tv series) is a dolphin activist. he's been saving, or trying to save dolphins for years and has a deep love and connection towards them. it's easy to understand, they are gorgeous creatures and very smart. in taijii japan they gather up dolphins for sale to museums and sea world type theme parks around the world. they are very valuable to the city. the ones who don't make the grade are suprisingly killed and sold for meat.
richard and his friend gather up some experts to attempt to expose the small village in japan for their anual brutal slaughter of dolphins in a secret cove. the group of activists go on a covert mission to place hidden cameras in spots where no one, other than the fishermen and government, has seen. the footage they get is shocking and brutal to be sure. the film documents the mission, the killings, and plenty of background on the issue, including detailing the very high mercury levels that dolphins contain. the japanese government hides this secret from the world and the cops/fishermen in the area are very testy when it comes to outsiders seeing what they do there.
now don't get me wrong, killing these creatures sure seems awful and horrific and wrong (which it surely is in my opinion)... but it isn't nearly as bad as factory farming, and the practice brings in shit tons of money for these people. how and why would they stop doing this? it would damage their economy tremendously. the cause is noble, but the only solution is to make them quit. that's not good enough. the only way to end atrocities like this would to end the demand, and that may never happen. the filmmakers manipulate the film in such a way that it becomes unreal and that is troublesome. how much of their footage is real? they created the action themselves. i admire the guerrilla filmmaking style, but i think they probably left out a lot which is sad.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Halloween (2007)

entertaining, over the top splatterfest

rob zombie adds some background and depth to michael myers in this reboot/remake of halloween. the opening scene is so entertaining and over the top that it got me hooked real fast. the rest of the movie however went a bit slower and after the first few slashings it wasn't too original. even with the added backstory, we still don't know much about michael myers. in some ways that's good, but it also left me feeling cheated a bit for caring about his childhood which revealed little.
still, this is a fun remake, much like the new friday the 13th and my bloody valentine. i hope zombie doesn't take this film too seriously, because it was more silly than disturbing. also, it's always fun seeing classic b-movie stars in rob zombie's films, and of course his wife has a big part too.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

District 9

the way sci fi action should be

district 9 leaves us with plenty of questions, but that's a good thing. aliens arrive on earth and they can't leave cause their ship is broken. us caring humans give them a home and supplies for 20 years, until they become too much of a burden so they must be moved. the alien affairs people must relocate them, but the aliens aren't having it. the film touches on a bunch of social issues, as well as issues of the past involving the aparthied and holocaust, not to mention the importance of human life and monetary gains.
the film makes us care about the nameless 'prawns' in a way that most films don't even attempt. in independence day we didn't care... they were just here to kill us. but in district 9 they have human elements and i think it is awesome. the special effects are incredible, and it didn't seem like a typical hollywood big budget cgi fest. the film was made by south africans, with local talent, which was a good thing too. this is a smart action film with awesome visuals that don't overpower the story. there is an equal amount of style and substance in my opinion.

Godzilla: Final Wars (Gojira: Fainaru uôzu)

godzilla vs. everyone

i quite enjoy the millenium series godzilla films. this one had a big budget, and some impressive special effects. don frye (mma fighter) even stars as an american captain guy. godzilla basically takes on a shit-ton of monsters in final wars. these bad aliens come down and destroy a bunch of monsters from destroying the world, but it turns out that they control them, and they are trying to take over the world... but earthlings have themselves a special weapon... GODZILLA. they unleash him from his south pole jail place and he destroys them all. pretty badass.
there are some dull parts, and lots of action involving humans (which isn't nearly as cool as the monster fights) so that prolongs the film a bit. i'd say it goes on 20 minutes too long... otherwise good godzilla fare.


odd film about growing up

o'horten is a norwegian film about a man named odd. odd horten is a retiring train conductor who has lived a risk free life and has gotten little of what he has wanted from it. he spent 40 years in a stable job, never having a wife or kids, or real adventure. now that he's going to be free of this all he is left wondering what to do, and goes on a series of adventures all of which are entertaining and odd. the film is both funny and slightly tragic at the same time. odd breaks into an apartment, gets detained by airline security, accompanies a man who prefers to drive blind, midnight ski jumps and much more in this interesting film. i hesitate to call this quirky, because it goes so well with the movie. odd's adventures help him come of age in a sense... even though he's in his mid 60's. i really enjoyed this movie.

Monday, August 10, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

realistic story about love

how often do we see a really realistic approach to relationships in film? not as often as we think. 500 days of summer is a film about the ups and downs of love. tom (played by joseph gordon levitt) is a normal guy, he believes in true love and is very lonely until he meets summer (played by the increasingly annoying zooey deschanel). she on the other hand doesn't believe in true love and isn't looking for a relationship. the two become a couple and she sends mixed signals about how things are going. tom wants to be a couple and be together forever, while summer isn't looking for anything serious. they break up, and tom tries to get her back and lots of other stuff happens. it's not a hollywood approach to romance at all. we see tom's struggle and frustration, as well as summer's perspective on the situation. the narrative is interesting as well. we see many events from the so called 500 days in question, and each is labeled by what day it is, so we jump back and forth between events. it's all done in a rather clever and entertaining way. there are plenty of funny and sad moments in 500 days of summer, as well as some quirky ones, but they work very, very well. the big dance number is both funny and very relevant to the story. i'd recommend this film to people who are trying to get over their ex, in a committed relationship, or just anyone who's ever been in love in their life.

the only thing i didn't really like about this film was zooey deschanel. she's not that amazing, and her antics get old fast in all her movies. see gigantic and elf. exact same character as in this. i love joseph gordon levitt, he's becoming one of my favorite actors now.

Godzilla vs. Megalon (Gojira tai Megaro)

substandard monster fare

godzilla vs. megalon is one of the crappier japanese monster movies i've seen. there's this weird underwater civilization that releases megalon to destroy earth, and it's up to godzilla and jet jaguar (a robot that can grow to godzilla size at will) to stop him and some other bad monster. there are a few lulz, and very cheesy action sequences to be sure. it's just not that enjoyable. 5 stars cause it's godzilla and he's always badass.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Land of the Lost

fun, but not funny.

i wanted to see this since i saw the poster at my local megaplex months ago. will ferrell and danny mcbride = win, right? not this time. i don't know what went wrong, but both the actors seemed to phone it in on this one. the special effects are fun and the action is nice, but as far as the comedic elements, they all fall flat! it's nuts. will ferrell has no funny lines, and danny mcbride only has one or two lulz in him. god i hope this isn't a sign of things to come from either of these comedic geniuses.

Herb and Dorothy

seemingly boring, it's actually interesting

herb & dorothy is a documentary about the vogels, a prominant couple in the art world. they have been collecting relatively obscure minimalist art for the past 30 + years, on a very limited budget. they both have a knack for spotting good art, and do it for the love of the art, not for profit. now in their late age this documentary profiles their life and gives us an insight into their unique passion. the film is quite informative, and it's refreshing to see people doing something for the passion and not for the money. they eventually donate all the art to an art museum even though the collection is worth millions! it's all very cool. the documentary from a technical standpoint isn't anything that amazing, and there are a few parts where we're bogged down in dumb details such as the couple's lack of technology in their apartment. also, we get to see plenty of unique and amazing pieces of artwork which is always good.

Willard (1971)

inferior to the remake.

willard is an odd little horror film about a troubled boy and his developing obsession with his rat friends. willard (bruce davidson) is working a shitty job for a boss who hates him, his mother is constantly nagging him and making his life miserable, he has no friends, etc. he befriends a bunch of rats he finds in his house and trains them to do things for him. he starts to treat the white rat, socrates, better than the rest, and ben, another important rat, becomes jealous and eventually turns on willard. the story is good, but the acting is pretty shitty overall. ernest borgnine plays willard's boss who treats him like shit. willard is convinced that he killed his father, and is forcing him to sell his mansion after his mother dies. the remake (which i saw years ago in theaters) is far superior to this one. crispin glover was amazing, and the horror elements were a lot creepier. i'm glad i saw this one though finally.