Friday, April 10, 2009

Cadillac Records (2008)

I liked this movie for one real reason, and that was the acting. Jeffrey Wright is fantastic, per usual, and the movie got great performances out of everyone involved, including Beyonce. But the movie seemed a little off to me, too.

Adrien Brody plays Leonard Chess, a young man, son of an immigrant worker, who wants to move to a big city and open a club. Eventually, this gives him the idea to start a record label and discover some talent. Among them Muddy Waters (Wright), Chuck Berry (Mos Def), and Etta James (Knowles). A few drinks, pills and Payolas later, Chess Records met the beginning of the end.

The reason it seemed off is for two reasons. One, I know someone who worked at Chess and said the movie is about 30% correct (20% of it being that these people actually existed). The other reason is that it moved way too fast for its own good. But the performances make up for it, at least a little.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

How do I describe this movie? It's really hard. It was a really good movie, especially Sally Hawkins' performance, but describing what this movie is about is a toughie.

Hawkins plays Poppy, a perpetually happy-go-lucky (get it) school teacher who doesn't have a care in the world and is content with how she lives her life. She decides to take driving lessons from Scott, a complete hard-ass, and she just gets under his skin. The movie is not all happiness, but it is Poppy trying to find the silver lining in all that happens.

This movie isn't so much about acting happy, but it's about how other people see you and perceive your happiness to mean other things. The scenes during the lessons are the best and Hawkins probably should have gotten an Oscar nod for this.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bolt (2008)

This completes the great year for animation that was 2008. Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda, and now Bolt. It had all the elements of a animated movie, with the heart of a live action flick.

Bolt is a dog who thinks the television show he works on with his owner/co-star Penny is completely real. Through one circumstance, Bolt thinks Penny's kidnapping is real and escapes to go rescue her. This leads him across the country, needing him to find his way back to LA. He takes in two new allies, the best being Rhino, the hamster who also thinks his show is true life. He faces some hard truths and lessons about life.

It was not better than the two animated movies mentioned earlier, but it was definitely worthy of the three spot it got at the Oscars. Whoever plays Rhino needs to get more voiceover work because he was fantastic.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Quantum of Solace (2008)

Here's the thing, this movie was great as an action flick. Lots of intense fight sequences and explosions that are great to look at. But as a James Bond movie, this fell kind of flat.

Bond is on a quasi-revenge jag since the girl he fell in love with in Casino Royale died. Also, he is trying to find Dominic Greene, an environmentalist (TERRIFYING) who is using the Bolivian military general to get what he wants. You know, that old yarn. But, can Bond put his anger on his side and go about the mission at hand? No, but then again, he never has been able to.

Craig is a great James Bond, but this movie just needed some more story work. It had the right amount of action, but there wasn't enough back story to compliment that. I do recommend this movie though, but savor it as more of an action movie.