Saturday, January 30, 2010

Extract (2009)

Mike Judge's latest venture is no Office Space, but, come on, what is? I still liked this movie. It wasn't funny throughout but it was still very funny.

Jason Bateman plays Joel, the owner of Reynolds Extract company. The factory floor is full of idiocracy and laziness and people who just plain don't understand a workforce mentality. Joel is stuck in a sexless marriage with his wife Suzie (Kristen Wiig) and a friend who constantly pushes drugs upon him, Dean (Ben Affleck). The rest of his life consists of talkative neighbors (David Koechner), temps who aren't what they seem (Mila Kunis) and Gene Simmons. While trying to handle a buyout of their company, an accident takes out one of his best employees. That's where Joel's trainwreck next few days begin.

It may not be as humorous to other people as it was to me, but I still had a really fun time watching this. Like I said, it may not be Office Space, but anything can be better than Idiocracy. Jason Bateman really makes or breaks this movie. If you like the style and tempo in his humor, and I do, than I suggest this movie. If not, than this might not be up your alley.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

9 (2009)

This movie was visually stunning but, unfortunately, very light on substance. I know this movie was short, 79 minutes, but I kept waiting for the story to pick up.

This is a world where machines have already risen up and defeated the humans who created them. Before he died, the main scientist created 9 tiny robotic dolls that could not be corrupted by the government, as the other robots had before they destroyed humanity. The main robot is 9 (Elijah Wood). 9 soon meets up with the rest of the gang, specifically 5 (John C. Reilly), who was already battle scarred. The robots are running for their lives so they may be able to live in peace, since they may be the last living things on earth.

A very ambitious movie. An animated movie that doesn't set out to be funny. The bad part, it wasn't that great. The basis of my rating is in the animation itself. I was just amazed by it. The attention to detail was unbelievable. I definitely hope more movies are made like this, but hopefully, with a little more of a good story. It's very short, so if you have time, I'd watch this just for the graphics.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Top 10 Films of 2009

This video is a tribute to the year in movies that is 2009. It ends with my picks for the best films of the year. Hope you all enjoy.

Audio copyright information:
'James Brown' by Cage the Elephant remains courtesy of Jive/Red Ink Records ® 2009

This song and many others by this artist are available at iTunes by clicking here

List of movies in order of appearance is available by clicking here

Edited by Tony Z

This project was non-profit and not aimed at breaking copyright laws.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crazy Heart (2009)

I love all of the recent recognition for Jeff Bridges' role as has-been country star Bad Blake. He deserves it all because he's been a great actor for so long and rightly needs all the praise.

Bad Blake is not what he once was. At his peak, he was one of the most successful country music singers of all time. Loved by millions. But with the world of country music changing styles and his ever dependent alcohol addiction, Blake is now playing at bars and bowling alleys in towns you've never heard of before. In one of those towns, he meets local journalist Jean Craddock (Maggie Gyllenhaal). What starts as a series of interviews turns into a budding romance and eventually love. The question is, can Blake overcome his addictions enough to start a late-in-life romance with a single mother?

Bridges was great as Bad Blake, as I stated earlier. What really helped was the fantastic soundtrack, too. I've never been a country music fan, mainly because of the twangy garbage it's turned into, but this was great to listen to. I also liked Colin Farrell as the former protege/current superstar Tommy Sweet. Picture this movie as a lighter version of The Wrestler. I recommend this.

Top 20 Films of the 2000s

  1. The Wrestler (2008)
  2. The Hurt Locker (2009)
  3. Children of Men (2006)
  4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  5. No Country For Old Men (2007)
  6. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
  7. Brick (2005)
  8. Once (2007)
  9. Sin City (2005)
  10. The Dark Knight (2008)
  11. WALL-E (2008)
  12. Pan's Labyrinth (2007)
  13. Best in Show (2000)
  14. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
  15. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  16. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
  17. The Departed (2006)
  18. In America (2003)
  19. Serenity (2005)
  20. Gladiator (2000)
Honorable Mentions: (500) Days of Summer (2009), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Snatch (2000) and Collateral (2004).

Here's my list and my list alone. Feel free to think of your favorites and post them here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moon (2009)

Another example of a movie where the acting was better than the movie itself. But, man, was Sam Rockwell great in this. He had to do so many things in this movie that I can't imagine how hard it would have been to keep track.

Rockwell plays Sam Bell. Sam has been on the moon for almost 3 years, harvesting a new energy source for a private company that he shoots back to Earth so it can be used to generate power throughout the world. Three years can be a long time and the only companion he has is a HAL 9000 sound-alike named GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey). GERTY isn't has sadistic as HAL. Close to his scheduled return date, Sam finds a mysterious astronaut who looks alarming like himself in a wrecked moon rover. Sam isn't sure if this new person is real or if he is just going crazy after being up in space for 3 years...alone.

What other kind of story would you expect from David Bowie's son as the writer/director than one about the moon? As mentioned earlier, Rockwell's performance drove the movie a lot further than the plot did. It's a short movie, only 97 minutes, but Rockwell manages to give a great solo acting performance that's up there with Tom Hanks in Cast Away. I can see why people were mad when Sony decided not to push him for some awards.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Blind Side (2009)

This movie was a lot better than I thought it would be, and definitely better than it looked. It really was an inspirational story about someone who's come so far after being born with so little.

This is the true story of current Baltimore Raven Michael Oher. Quinton Aaron plays Oher as a teenager, growing up on the wrong side of Memphis. He's a big kid, who hates being called big, and has always had to overcome adversity to get anywhere. He's spent his life living on couches and in gymnasiums. One day, a friend helps him get into a very privileged Christian school to get Mike an education and possibly into a sports program. It's there where Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) finds him and takes a special interest in getting him the life he deserves. His grades start to come up, and so it's on to the football field. He begins to excel on the gridiron, but the demons of his past begin to come back into his life.

This was a touching story about getting past poverty lines and racial barriers and coming to know and love a person. While I did find a few parts a little too sappy or overplayed, this movie still made me feel good after watching it. Having never really been a fan of Bullock's acting, I was very surprised by how well she did in this movie. As did Tim McGraw and, especially, the kid who played SJ. I recommend this.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Up in the Air (2009)

Is there such a thing as a depressing comedy? Because that's basically what this movie is. Following the recent trend of company downsizings, this movie pulls no punches in its frank portrayal of the times.

George Clooney is great as Ryan Bingham. Ryan's job is one of the few that is flourishing in these tough times. He works for a company that fires people for other companies. While Ryan travels a lot to do his work, his company is trying to go the technological route and streamline the layoffs. Before that can happen, he needs to train Natalie (Anna Kendrick) on the ways of firing people as to not offer them false hope or any sort of legal blowback. All of this is brought about by Ryan's goal of becoming the 7th passenger to record over 10 million miles.

This has been characterized as a soon-to-be classic movie that will speak to generations. I'm not so sure if that's true. Don't get me wrong, I liked this a lot, but this movie clearly only speaks to this generation and this ongoing economic crisis. Clooney was great, as usual, and Kendrick was very funny and played uptight and neurotic to a T. While this may not put you in a good mood, it will make you laugh.