Tell Me What You Think...
Edge of Darkness is Mel Gibson doing what Mel Gibson does well, but there really isn't anyone else him doing what they do well.
The biggest problem is that they tried to cram too much into the movie... so much so that it eventually becomes less plausible than the plot description makes it out to be... and the plot is already pretty implausible. Another problem? Mel Gibson's Boston accent.
On a lighter note, between Edge of Darkness and the season premiere of Lost, I've witnessed twice, in as many weeks, someone expressing that they have something ridiculously important to say, mere seconds before they die. I feel bad for anyone who is around during the moments before my demise... I will be pulling the ultimate prank.
Wow. Before I saw Leap Year, I had honestly forgotten just how bad these movies can be. Leap Year quickly reminded me, and I thought it really couldn't get any worse than that... When in Rome is worse than that.
There's absolutely no back story or connective tissue. At one point Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel are in Rome and then they are both back in NY. They never get into how Duhamel knows Bell's sister's fiancee. He writes a sports column for a newspaper, so he's not in any sort of international industry the might give him connections in other countries.
The taxi driver who's sole purpose in the movie is to smack us over the head with the film's premise, mentions that people travel from all over the world to throw a coin into the (fictional) Fontana di Amore to wish for true love. In a drunken, embarrassed fit, Bell's character takes coins from the fountain putting a spell on the men who threw them in. She just so happens to take the coins of 5 white American men... no women and no Italian, Chinese, Russian, British, or even African-Americans. Danny Devito was the oldest of the bunch and there were no teenagers on a school trip who's coins she took. The filmmakers had so many options as to who's coins she could have plucked from the fountain that could have made the situations naturally uncomfortable for her. Instead, they fabricate these strange, one-dimensional characters to chase her through Manhattan who in no way help her grow emotionally because of her interactions with them.
Do not waste your time and money on this absolute garbage.
Way too much talking. The story wasn't really that good (it really is just a combination of The Terminator and Dawn of the Dead) and the characters aren't all that interesting, so why all the dialogue? ... and crappy dialogue to boot. At one point I said, out loud, "I wish they would just shut the fuck up and fight some angels." This movie had so many missed opportunities that it's almost difficult to believe that no one suggested alternate options. For example:
Gabriel: "Why do you continue to fight when you know that all hope is lost?"
Jeep: "Fuck you!" ...could have been... "As long as I keep fighting, there will always be hope" or something like that. "Fuck you" doesn't mean anything and it certainly isn't an acceptable answer to the question.
Also, the filmmakers spent the whole movie setting up for Kate Walsh's character to become so weak that she is able to be possessed by the angels outside the diner... I don't like posting spoilers, but you should know ahead of time that they don't do that, so that you don't get disappointed.
On top of all that, this movie acts under the assumption that God is fallible, sends mixed messages about abortion, and is really wishy washy. If you think about all of the ways that people die on a daily basis, you would think God would be able to set in motion any sequence of events to kill one person. Didn't he see Final Destination? It seems like a half-hearted attempt for a Deity... and then he fails. What kind of a God can't take out one pregnant woman?
The action sequences were cool and I love a good apocalypse, but they tried to take the movie too seriously and it actually is worse for it... not to mention very, very boring.
I didn't think it would happen so quickly, but I'm here to tell you that it's (temporarily) safe to return to the cinema.
The Book of Eli is very slowly paced; they spend a lot of time walking. It is clearly a western in style but also has a touch of action, science-fiction and faith-based drama. Denzel Washington plays a man who has been traveling west across what was once America prior to a war that ended 30 years ago. To tell you anything else would give away more than I should and since the marketing plan for the movie didn't include any further details, I won't spoil it for you.
I really liked this movie. To say that it's the best movie of the year wouldn't be saying much since I've only seen three so far and one of them was Leap Year; suffice it to say that The Book of Eli will most likely remain in my top 10 movies of the year... at least until mid-summer.
Vampire movies and movies in January all tend to suck these days. Since I didn't absolutely HATE Daybreakers, I'm actually willing to give it the stamp of approval.
Daybreakers is over-the-top, overly gory, over acted and over directed. It's clear that the directors are really really trying to create a moody atmosphere, which they do... unfortunately we can tell that they were trying to create it instead of just wallowing in the gloom along with the characters. The special effects are good but the action sequences are boring and always needed to shock you at the end with something gross in order for you to remember it.
I like how they stuck, for the most part, to the original rules that governed the vampire population in their original tales. They can't go out in daylight, they need blood to survive, they have no reflection, etc. This is, however, the first time that I've seen a movie try to cure vampirism as if it were a disease. The way that they do it is... kind of clever.
There is no twist at the end of this movie, the whole thing pans out exactly as planned and so after the movie, there is little to talk about. If you're into vampire movies you can go see Daybreakers, but as I've said a million times... it's January, keep your expectations in check.
What a terrible, terrible movie. And what's worse is that people keep trying to defend it by saying its a girlie movie... well what is that supposed to mean?!?!?! Women, or girlies, don't deserve quality cinema? Isn't it possible to appeal to women's sensibilities without insulting their intelligence? Are all women as simpleminded as someone would have to be to enjoy this insipid, mindless twaddle?
The dialogue is the same throughout the first 30 minutes of the movie. All anyone talks about is the Irish tradition that makes up the premise of the movie and what a 'home stager' does. Then it turns into your typical 'fish out of water' gag for the majority of the movie. You can tell, based solely on the poster, how the movie will end, so there is little to no reason to spend two hours of your precious time waiting to see who gets the girl.
Well, here it is; welcome to January, folks. This is pretty much the best you're gonna get. I would recommend you take this time to catch up on the movies from last year that you missed in the theatre and are now out on DVD. I promise I'll let you know when it's safe to go back to the theatre.
Whether it be because of effects or story, good or bad, I've compiled a list of films from the past decade that will forever stand out as movie experiences that either exceeded expectations, or disappointed beyond belief.
Chicken Run (2000) - Chicken Run opened the door for a Best Animated movie award at the Oscars. It's saying a lot that I'm putting this on this list. I think one of the reasons it's so memorable for me is because of how much I HATE any kind of stop-motion animation, whether it be done with clay or puppets... it's not beautiful to me... it's annoying. Regardless of my general feelings toward the style, Chicken Run was very well animated with a fun story, witty dialogue and a great musical score.
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) - Having been released in the past decade I felt it was important to include Blair Witch 2 on the most memorable movies list because it will always stand out as, in my opinion, the worst movie ever. The movie is called Book of Shadows and maybe i just stopped paying attention, but I'm fairly positive that there was a single book in the whole movie... actually, that's not true, they did use the phone book at one point. Perhaps Book of Phone Numbers, or Phone Book of Shadows might have been a better title. The fact of the matter is that whether you like the first installment or not, you have to admit that it was an original idea. I happen to think it was enormously frightening. Unfortunately, the sequel left me frightfully disappointed.
Unbreakable (2000) - Unbreakable was the biggest 'about-face' I've ever made with regards to a movie. This movie opened on Thanksgiving weekend and virtually the entire crew at the theatre turned up to screen it the night before it's release to the public. I think everyone hated it, myself included. That weekend was miserable. Here's an inside tip: If a movie theatre employee tells you that they haven't seen a movie, there's a 75-90% chance that they saw it, hated it, and don't want to have to tell you about it. On the Wednesday before that Thanksgiving, there I was selling in the box office with two fellow associate "friends" who would refer every guest that asked if it was a good movie to me after denying having seen it. One of them reads this blog... and he knows who he is... After being put through the torture of having to tell people what it was about and why I didn't like it, I rewatched it on DVD and now it's one of my favorite movies... go figure!
Memento (2000) - Memento was the first "puzzle movie" I ever watched. I know it's not a real genre... I actually just made it up, and you might be thinking that Pulp Fiction should also fall into that category. It's my genre and I make the rules and I say Pulp Fiction doesn't count. The rules for "puzzle movie" are: The story must be told out of sequence and there must be a mystery involved. Your job during a puzzle movie is to try to put the pieces together in order to solve the mystery. What I think makes this movie stand out, is that he didn't just tell the story out of sequence to confuse the audience, it actually made sense to reveal the plot that way due to the handicap of the character that was trying to solve the mystery. This was also my introduction to Christopher Nolan who is represented on this list a whopping total of 3 times. Nolan has a knack for story telling that many filmmakers are lacking... I'll rave more about his film making skillz later on the list.
Moulin Rouge! (2001) Moulin Rouge brought back the movie musical... I can't say that i was ever a huge fan of movie musicals. I mean, yes, I like the "classic" animated Disney musicals (The Little Mermaid through The Lion King), but that's not what I'm talking about here. Back in the day, if you wanted to win Best Picture at the Oscars, you had to have produced a musical... The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Oliver, My Fair Lady, Gigi... the list goes on and on. After that it just kind of died away. Moulin Rouge was original, brilliant, told a beautiful story in a clever way... it was nominated for Best Picture and lost to an exceedingly inferior film. Then, people started making musicals again... Chicago, Hairspray, Rent, Nine, Sweeney Todd, and Dreamgirls were all hugely successful thanks, primarily, to Baz Lurhman and Moulin Rouge.
Shrek (2001) - I don't like the Shrek movies. I think the disproportionate animation is sloppy and I really hate when animated movies that take place in fictional lands in different time periods make currently relevant pop culture references. To be fair, the first film in the series was less guilty of the pop culture issue than the next two installments, but, as with many series', even if the first movie is great, if the second movie is garbage, it tends to bring the original down with it.
Donnie Darko (2001) - I watched Donnie Darko when it first came out on DVD and when it ended I stared at the television for the entire length of the end credits, the menu came back up, I said "What?" out loud, and then pressed play again and sat through the whole movie again... it didn't really help me to understand it at all, but I still love that movie. I think I understand it a lot better now that I've seen the director's cut, but still...
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) - The Royal Tenenbaums is another movie that I hated at first, and is now one of my favorite movies of all time. Although director Wes Anderson has left me disappointed ever since, his masterwork about a dysfunctional family makes you laugh at appropriate and at inappropriate times. It also has a dramatic side making you realize that while it is possible to laugh at some situations out of awkwardness or to make light of a serious problem, those situations can cause serious psychological damage. The cast and crew of The Royal Tenenbaums did an amazing job at balancing the humor with the drama, so much so that you probably don't even realize when something is funny.
Lord of the Rings (2001-03) - I don't really have much to say about Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy that you don't know or haven't heard. The special effects are un... well i guess they actually are believable. That what makes them so great. The actors put forth powerful performances and the set designs are absolutely stunning.
Chicago (2002) - Chicago succeeded where Moulin Rouge couldn't and I honestly believe it's the Academy's way of rewarding films when they realize they've made a mistake... Moulin Rouge should have won best picture and Nicole Kidman should have won best actress for her performance in it. Not that Chicago didn't deserve to win, but the year after Moulin Rouge was snubbed, a musical won best picture and Kidman won best actress for The Hours. This theory is further proven by the fact that they created a best animated film category once they realized that Pixar and Pathe were deserving of recognition and by the new rule for the 2009 Oscars that I'll mention later on the list. Chicago took the concept of a musical and made it make sense, kind of. Instead of having the characters sing and dance out in the open, the film examined the suppressed need for the characters to perform, showing the musical numbers in their heads.
X2: X-Men United (2003) - X2 really paved the way for superhero movie realism. Spider-man and even X-Men were both on the right path, but still had a kind of cartoonish quality about them. X2 wasn't perfect either, but it took the characters out of the comic book and put them on the big screen in a way that it's predecessor wasn't able to. The film was more of a drama about superheros than a dramatic superhero movie... does that make sense?
Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) - What can I say? I like pirate stories. Here is an example of how low expectations can really help you enjoy a movie. I thought this movie was going to be awful. Turns out to be great and the beginning of a great franchise. The next two installments didn't get the love from the critics that they deserved, but they really were entertaining movies with fun plots, great dialogue, and wacky characters portrayed by some talented actors.
Kill Bill (2003-04) - Kill Bill is a true Tarantino film. Told completely out of sequence and chock full of bloody violence and monologuing characters, this film is the true definition of entertainment.
Shaun of the Dead (2004) - Shaun of the Dead introduced the world to Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. While there second outing (Hot Fuzz) wasn't nearly as good, they have successfully mocked two genres while still respectfully paying homage to them, delicately balancing the humor with the horror.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - I really wish Jim Carrey would take on more dramatic roles like this one. I new there was something there when he starred in The Truman Show, but the fact that he wasn't nominated for his performance in this mind-bending sci-fi drama is stunningly incomprehensible. I'll never forget walking out of the theatre and saying to a friend, "... I think I liked that." The next day, a customer came to me after the movie was over and told me that they wanted their money back because the movie was so terrible. I have no problem refunding them when a movie actually is terrible, but if a movie is brilliant and they just don't understand it... that's a different story.
Crash (2004) - Everyone was surprised when Jack Nicholson didn't say Brokeback Mountain at the Oscar ceremony in 2005, but instead read out the name of this amazing movie. I was on board from the moment I saw it, alone, because no one would go with me. I told several people to go see it and they all loved it as well, however, the Internets movie forums were flooded with nay-sayers who stuck to their guns even after it clinched the Oscar for Best Picture. People call it one of the "worst" best pictures ever... but I can name several that are worse... The English Patient, The Deer Hunter, Gladiator, Titanic, No Country For Old Men, A Beautiful Mind to name a few. Crash should be required viewing at high schools across America.
Saw (2004) - The first film in the Saw franchise was bloody, suspenseful, and shocking and although it contained some of the worst acting ever and spawned some of the worst sequels ever it is still one of the most memorable movie going experiences of the last 10 years.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005) - For the rest of my life, I will remember when George Lucas single-handedly destroyed the Star Wars franchise. I know that he actually began the massacre in 1999 when he vomited The Phantom Menace onto the screen, but 2005 is when he won the war against Star Wars. He betrayed us all and he couldn't care less.
Batman Begins (2005) - Christopher Nolan entry number 2. Batman Begins brought us into a new world of Batman movies, where substance matters more than style. For years, Warner Bros was wringing all of the money it possibly could out of the Caped Crusader, but this reboot proved to them that if they took it seriously enough, this was one franchise that could really go the distance.
The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) - Was the beginning of the Judd Apatow empire (as far as I'm concerned). The 40 Year-Old Virgin is vulgar, crude, dirty, funny and sweet all at the same time. I love Catherine Keener in pretty much everything she does and Steve Carrell is always funny. This is also where I met Seth Rogen when the first sparks flew that eventually led to my man-crush on Paul Rudd. This group of film makers then brought us Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad, I Love You Man, Role Models, Pineapple Express and Funny People.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) - We waited 9 years for this??? The fourth installment has none of the witty banter or believable action sequences from the original trilogy. At no point did I feel like any of the characters were in danger; they are all such great duckers. I can actually say that I was bored from beginning to end. The special effects looked worse than they did in 1981 and back then, they had none of the capabilities that we have now.
The Dark Knight (2008) - I can't remember the last time I was this excited to see a movie. I started to try to convince myself that it was going to be terrible just so that I wouldn't be disappointed. Try as I might, I was still on the edge of my seat when the movie started and I didn't sit back once (metaphorically). The Dark Knight is not even really a "superhero" movie, but more of a crime thriller and is almost, if not perfect on every level of it's multitude of levels.
The Hangover (2009) - Consistently funny from beginning to end but never particularly heartwarming, The Hangover doesn't possess the "heart of gold" that The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and I Love You Man, had; though in this case it isn't a bad thing. It's a raucous, raunchy, adventure-mystery-comedy that, as wacky and wild as the plot gets, never goes too far.
Up (2009) - Pixar rounded out the decade with another brilliantly rendered, emotionally wrenching, colorful, funny, exciting, sad, perfect addition to it's already extensive catalogue.
Avatar (2009) - Everyone loved Avatar for the eye-candy, but I was so bored with the story that I just didn't care about the effects at all. Sure it was revolutionary, but if Avatar is going to "change the way we watch movies", you may see this blog fall by the way side. I just don't want to watch movies like that.
20. Wow. 2012 made the top 20. I told you it wasn't a great movie year. 2012 falls into the category of movies that are so bad they're good. While all of the movie's flaws prove how little the film makers cared about story, continuity and common sense, they really did deliver on the promise of epic eye-candy. If your looking for the disaster flick of all disaster flicks, 2012 is for you.
19. Precious was a horrible movie to watch, but in this case, that only proves how good a movie it is. 98% of the credit goes to the performances of Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique who deserve all of the acclaim and awards they are getting for their performances.
18. The Blind Side is a well constructed, mildly heartwarming biopic, but ultimately it's just another sports movie. The acting and production values are all top notch making The Blind Side an enjoyable and entertaining film.
17. Adam could very well have been a made for TV movie, but there's something about it that elevates it to quirky, indie film. Rose Byrne's performance was nothing to write home about, but Hugh Dancy's portrayal of a man with Assburgers (I know that's not how you spell it, I'm being funny) Syndrome on his own for the first time in his life, was heartwarming to say the least. Adam is, truly, a feel-good movie.
16. I have a man-crush on Paul Rudd. I like just about everything he's ever been in and he does a great job in every role he takes on. That aside, I Love You Man was a fine example of what a good comedy should be: charismatic actors playing realistic characters in silly situations.
15. The penultimate (sort of) installment of the Harry Potter saga is the darkest and most foreboding so far, which is good because things always get worse before they get better. With it's Empire Strikes Back ending, you can't help but be excited to see how the series ends... if you haven't read the books... if you have, you already know how it all ends...
14. Taken is just a very entertaining action movie. Rent it and make yourself some popcorn, sit back and enjoy.
13. Paranormal Activity has a significant amount of flaws and if you're looking for a quality film, this is not it. It scared the shit out of me, though. The acting was passable at times, and then at other times was absolutely atrocious. There were irrelevant plot points that could have been left out entirely, and the actual actions of the movie could have been consolidated into a shorter time period. Overall, it was highly effective, though. Like with The Blair Witch Project, there will probably be a bunch of people who won't admit to having been scared. They're lying... Paranormal Activity is a scary mother fucker.
12. This movie is wrong on so many levels and falls in with Very Bad Things as a member of the "So Dark it shouldn't really be called a Comedy Comedy" genre. So if that's your thing, rent World's Greatest Dad.
11. Drag Me to Hell was a little slow going at first but ended up being so funny it's scary. This is horror the way it should be done... tongue-in-cheek. It's laugh-out-loud scary. If you dig campy, funny, ridiculous, horror movies see Drag Me to Hell.
10. Zombieland is the Nascar of ZomComs. It's rednecky, obnoxious and in your face. Sounds terrible, right? Wrong. It's a tremendous amount of fun. It takes its place as the best so far in a recent series movies with running times less than 90 minutes long; short and sweet. It's bloody, gory, and funny, with a smattering of heartwarming moments that help to ground the movie in reality without being too heavy handed.
9. I think I might throw up if I ever watch In the Loop immediately followed by The Hurt Locker. This movie may be slightly over-hyped, but there's no question that The Hurt Locker is one of the best movies of the year. Great performances, directing, writing and effects with a story about the uniqueness of the kind of war we are fighting today from that of WWII all elevate this film from typical war movie and is more convincing than any documentary. The film makers are able to make you care without force feeding you their own opinions; you have to think for yourself.
8. Away We Go is a heartwarming road-trip movie about two thirty-somethings trying to find their place in the world before the birth of their daughter. The two main characters are so endearing and have such chemistry that you can't help but fall in love with them.
7. In the Loop is the funniest political satire that I've seen in a long time. You can't stop laughing, while all the while thinking, "Oh my god, is this how decisions get made?"
6. Consistently funny from beginning to end but never particularly heartwarming, The Hangover is a raucous, raunchy, adventure-mystery-comedy that, as wacky and wild as the plot gets, never goes too far. The action sequences are realistic and are funny because of the the story preceding them, not as a result of quirky dialogue or over-the-top, unrealistic stunts.
5. 500 Days of Summer is the anti-romantic comedy. A quirky indie flick that's as fun as it is sad, without all of the sappy bullshit that people in 90% of all relationships never experience. One of the few films that should consider it an insult that it wasn't nominated for Best Picture.
4. Classic Tarantino. Not exactly suitable for a history lesson, but if you're looking for bloody, vulgar fun at the expense of some very bad people.
3. If you skipped this just because it's Star Trek, you're missing out. They did an exceptional job making this entry accessible to the uninitiated. I have no intention of rewatching any of the original 6 movies in the franchise as a result of this success, but I am eager to see what will come of the series with it's new cast and Abrams in the captains chair.
2. Up in the Air is charming and depressing. Quirky and dramatic. It's artsy, but not too artsy. There's a message about the value of human connection, but I'm not sure what it is and when the credits begin to roll, the story has been satisfyingly unresolved. It will make you laugh, cry, and think. It's well written, directed and acted and in a time when there are more than 200 movies released each year, that's really all one can ask for.
1. Up is absolutely beautiful. Two poignant tales and a great intercontinental adventure are the ingredients for a heartwarming journey of friendship and self discovery that only Pixar could have brought to life so magnificently.
You've probably noticed one GLARING omission from my top 20 and a few other less obvious ones... I just don't think Avatar is worthy of the acclaim it's receiving and District 9 is one of the worst movies of the year despite it's Oscar nomination. I still haven't had the opportunity to see An Education, A Serious Man, A Single Man, and Crazy Heart.
19. Post Grad
18. Old Dogs
16. The Final Destination 3D
15. Bride Wars
12. Hotel For Dogs
10. The Uninvited
9. My Bloody Valentine 3D
8. The Unborn
7. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chin Li
6. Dragonball: Evolution
5. My Life in Ruins
3. Year One
2. A Perfect Getaway
1. Crank: High Voltage
Land of the Lost
Did You Hear About the Morgans?
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The Last House on the Left
The Girlfriend Experience