Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Choke (2008)

I will preface this by saying that I did not read this book before I watched the movie. The book I heard was fantastic. The movie was just good. It had it's funny moments, some hysterical, but in the end I just felt like it lacked something. The thing is, I can't figure out what.

Sam Rockwell plays Victor, a hopelessly sex-addicted loner who works at a old time recreation center and bilks people out of money by choking in public. He makes the money to keep his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's, in a top-notch care facility. There he meets a doctor who wants to try radical "procedures" to help Victor's mum. There were some really funny moments in the movie, a lot revolving around the sex-addicts annonymous meetings.

The movie seemed like a vehicle for the dialog in the movie, which was funny but didn't move the story along as well as it should have. Rockwell was funny and Anjelica Huston played the mother well, but this was disappointing in the fact that it could have been better.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oscar Picks 2009

These are my picks for the 81st Annual Academy Awards. Now, I have not seen every movie in some of the categories, so I will try to be as objective as possible in all of the categories.

Best Documentary:
The Betrayal - Nerakhoon
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire **WINNER**
Trouble the Water

Best Animated Feature:
Kung Fu Panda
Wall-E **WINNER**

Best Original Screenplay:
Frozen River

Best Adapted Screenplay:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire **WINNER**

Best Director:
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire **WINNER**
Stephen Daldry for The Reader
David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant for Milk

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams for Doubt
Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona **WHO WILL WIN**
Viola Davis for Doubt
Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button **WHO SHOULD WIN**
Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler

Best Supporting Actor:
Josh Brolin for Milk
Robert Downey, Jr for Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight **WINNER**
Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road

Best Actress:
Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie for Changeling
Melissa Leo for Frozen River
Meryl Streep for Doubt
Kate Winslet for The Reader **WINNER**

Best Actor:
Richard Jenkins for The Visitor
Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn for Milk
Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler **WINNER**

Best Picture:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire **WINNER**

There you go. Enjoy the show people

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Reader (2008)

This was a great movie. The details and the intricacies of every character in this movie really helped progress the story better than the actual plot did. The performances in the movie may have been better than the film itself, but it was still a great movie.

Kate Winslet was amazing as Hanna, the woman who Michael (David Kross/Ralph Fiennes) falls for over the course of one summer. Michael does not find out about Hanna past until later in the movie, which then brings up a moral dilemma for him. Without going into too much detail, she's a Nazi but he stills feels for her.

While Winslet gave an Oscar-worthy performance, the real breakthrough performance was the young Michael, David Kross. I thought he gave an underrated performance as a boy torn between his brain and his heart. It is kind of heavy, so if you're having a bad day, this may make you feel worse. Otherwise, I recommend this.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)

I had fun watching this movie. It may have gotten a little more credit than it deserved as a definition movie for this generation, but it was still a good movie. Not to mention, it has an awesome soundtrack.

Michael Cera plays Nick, an overemotional musician whose girlfriend just dumped him and he's having a hard time getting over her (12 mix-tapes hard time). Kat Dennings plays Norah, a rich girl who wants to find happiness without people realizing that she's rich. Done before? Yes. But this was the hipper, younger version of a story that you've seen before.

Both of the actors come out of their shell in this movie. Cera is used to playing the neurotic, pathetic type and he's found his nitch. This role was less neuortic and pathetic, but still had those elements. This is Dennings first real starring role, and she does a great job. The Apatow crew (Cera, Rogen, Hill, Segel, etc.) may have found an actress to keep up with them.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lakeview Terrace (2008)

Why I watched this movie, I'm still not too sure. I mean, I knew the entire plot of the movie from the trailer when it came out. There ended up being no surprises in the movie at all. No plot twists. No fun action scenes. I just made a bad choice.

I think the main reason was Samuel L. I know he can't really say no to a movie these days, but he is still fairly badass. And he played the bad guy. But this did not work. I knew how the movie was going to play out before it did and I was just bored.

I made a bad choice. I know that, and I live with this decision. It won't haunt me for a while, because I know I will see worse movies.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

W. (2008)

I give Oliver Stone a lot of credit. To his word, he said he was going to try and make an unbiased, objective movie about the life of the former president, and he definitely tried. Not too sure if he succeeded, but he did make a pretty good movie.

Josh Brolin and the rest of the cast were terrific at encapsulating the subtleties of the people they were portraying. In particular, Richard Dreyfus was outstanding as Dick Cheney. When he and Colin Powell had their arguments, I couldn't help but laugh at how real it seemed it could be. The one problem I had was Thandie Newton as Condeleeza Rice. The problem: it was too perfect an impression. She did such a great job imitating Rice that it seemed like it was a joke. My only performance complaint.

Whatever thoughts and feelings you had towards Bush, good or bad, you're going to have them when you leave this movie. This is not going to enlighten you to think some other way, this is only going to entertain you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ping Pong Playa (2008)

Just looking at the name of this movie makes me laugh. In the end, that's where most of the laughs came from in this movie.

I really wanted to like this movie, and the plot wasn't that bad. It had a lot of promise. But the one thing I couldn't get over was how awful the acting was in this. It overshadowed what could have been. Especially, the main character. Jimmy Tsai also wrote the movie, so I'm sure this came out of his own personal life. But they could have found a better actor to be in it.

I don't want to say much about this movie, because it was not good. So, that is all.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Appaloosa (2008)

Okay, here's what I liked about the movie. The western part. Ed Harris directed a really well crafted western, with a good amount of suspense. Him and Mortensen play well off each others as friendly and unfriendly partners in law enforcement. Jeremy Irons is his usual terrific self as the villain in this movie. The bad guy who causes Harris and Morternsen to come to town. That's the good part of the movie.

Here's what I didn't like: Renee Zellweger. Not so much her as an actress (though I'm not the biggest fan in that aspect either), but rather her character and her character's storyline in this film. Useless. I understand what Harris was trying to do, but he didn't have to. This was good enough as it was, and then this storyline turned it into just a "good" movie.

There was not a whole lot of violence in this, and I'm fine with that. There doesn't need to be. But if you want to see a great modern western, go see the remake of 3:10 to Yuma.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

RocknRolla (2008)

Oh, thank god Guy Ritchie is back to form. After his foray into mainstream (Swept Away) and a half-assed attempt to comeback (Revolver), he finally made a movie that gets back to his roots; dark humor with violence.

Too many overarching plotlines to get into, as per usual with Ritchie movies, so I'll just get into the main one. Rockstar Johnny Quid, who is a mob-boss's stepson, goes missing and all hell breaks loose in the process involving Russians, wannabe gangsters, junkies, music managers, and a beard. They all intertwine into a story of hilarity and mayhem.

Now, this movie definitely got some points knocked off for 1 major reason, and it happened twice in the movie. There were 2 blatent Pulp Fiction ripoffs in this movie. I'm not going to say what, but if you've seen Pulp, you'll know eactly when you see them. All that isn't to say this movie isn't fun.

My Best Friend's Girl (2008)

There are two reasons, and two reasons alone, why I decided to give this movie a go: Alec Baldwin. My reasoning did not disappoint, but the movie surprised me a bit by how funny it could be.

The plot is so overdone it ridiculous, but the humor is there throughout most of it. Basic plot: Dane Cook plays a guy who other guys hire to take their exes out for the worst date of their lives, causing them to go back into the arms of the original guy. Jason Biggs hires Cook to get Kate Hudson back. Alec Baldwin is Cook's daddio. Simple, stupid, unimaginative. But this movie is funny. It tries a little to hard to be offensive when it's really not, but it is funny.

I used to be a fan of Cook's stand up when he first came on the scene, now it's kinda old. But these are the types of roles that could make him funny, where they just let him riff off-book. The humor mainly came from Baldwin, and can you really blame him?