Archive for the 'Entertainment' Category

Movie review: RocknRolla

Posted by seoulfully on April 20th, 2009

[Blu-ray | DVD]

A return to form for Ritchie? I suppose. I was in the minority by thinking Revolver [Blu-ray | DVD] wasn’t THAT bad. Clearly not up to par with Ritchie’s early stuff, but not entirely unwatchable. This movie was more in line with Snatch [Blu-ray | DVD] and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels [DVD]. I did kind of miss Statham in this movie, though Gerard Butler did well.

The typical Ritchie convoluted plot filled with a circle of crime and mishaps was in full effect. Almost too much. But I didn’t mind it too much. Though you almost know what’s going to happen, even if you don’t know the details, just by knowing Ritchie’s MO. Sort of like you always know to expect a “twist” in an M. Night movie.

I thought the acting was great. I know he’s British, but weird to hear Idris Elba speaking with a British accent. I guess he’ll always be Stringer Bell to me. Tom Wilkinson proved he can play all roles. To go all James Lipton, he’s an absolute treasure. Across the board I didn’t think there was really a bad performance.

Hopefully this return to form means good things for Ritchie’s upcoming Sherlock Holmes film. Anyways, should definitely check this movie out. I hope the end note about the “sequel” James Bond style really happens, as I could watch a movie about this world with these characters some more.

Movie review: Bolt

Posted by seoulfully on April 20th, 2009

[Blu-ray | DVD]

So a lot of people raved about this movie. And it was supposed to be Disney’s first Pixar movie, but not Pixar movie. I can definitely see the second part of those two sentiments, but not so much the first. Maybe it’d be different if I saw it in theatres on the big screen or 3-D.

The animation was amazing. The base of the story was interesting. But it had to be like 2-3 movies in one. The “Truman Show” [Blu-ray | DVD] part, the [insert name of animal buddy road trip movie here] part, and then the action movie reunion part. I thought they kind of short changed the middle part with the little kiddie animation dotted line on the map bit.

On the whole it was enjoyable, but it definitely was a step below Pixar movies.

Movie review: Body of Lies

Posted by seoulfully on April 16th, 2009

[Blu-ray | DVD]

So I read/listened to a ton of reviews and expected a big heaping pile of shit. But it certainly wasn’t as bad as everyone said. Though it certainly was a wasted opportunity. So much talent attached to this movie and it just didn’t pan out.

The movie chugged along well enough until a fairly ridiculous ending. I couldn’t 100% explain it, as the movie which had held me interested for the most part, had pretty much lost me by this point. All I know it was a lot of ridiculousness following some other ridiculousness.

I thought this was a middling effort from Ridley Scott, poor effort from Russell Crowe, and a decent effort from DiCaprio.

Two bits really stuck out to me in this movie though. One was when Leo was captured by the terrorists and they told him no one was coming for him, etc. And made it very pointed saying something like “Welcome to Guantanamo” or something like that. The second bit was at the very end when Crowe’s CIA lead guy says to his agent DiCaprio something like “You know what it means to turn your back on me… You’re turning your back on America.” To which DiCaprio responds “Watch yourself calling yourself America” or something like that. The first was I think everyone’s nightmare scenario of America’s policies of the past coming back to bite. The second stood out because so much has been cloaked in the shroud of “AMERICA” that anyone with the logic to question the underlying thing is accused of betraying the country. Given the global climate that created the force to have those two ideas articulated in a movie, I guess it’s no wonder (among other real, rational, worthy reasons) that Obama won the election.

Movie review: Confessions of a Superhero

Posted by seoulfully on April 13th, 2009

[DVD]

This documentary follows four of the performers in superhero costumes on Hollywood Blvd. Superman (Christopher Dennis), Batman (Maxwell Allen), Wonder Woman (Jennifer Wenger), and the Hulk (Joseph McQueen). This documentary ostensibly follows these characters and interviews them to get some depth and insight into their psyches, but it didn’t really accomplish that mission. There were a few detours into the reasoning of the individuals, but for the most part it kind of followed them around being themselves without much in the way of change, story, or anything. Though I suppose that could be the story. These individuals trying to scratch out the dreams of Hollywood and failing miserably, but hoping beyond hope that being these costumed heros on Hollywood Blvd. for the tourists will lead to the big break they so desperately seek.

It’s kind of a sad look into these peoples’ lives, but then again, I’d imagine many/most documentaries kind of are.

Movie review: The Passion of the Christ

Posted by seoulfully on March 31st, 2009

[Blu-ray | DVD]

So I’ve had a lot of Jesus in my life lately. Not so much that my life is all good and miracle filled, but I recently saw Jesus Christ Superstar and then Netflix decided any movie released in the past six months on blu-ray was just not available enough for me, so I got The Passion of the Christ over so, so many movies.

Let’s just start it all off by saying, regardless of his life views on whatever, Mel Gibson knows how to visually tell a story. Between this movie and Apocalypto [Blu-ray | DVD] he has put together a lot of amazing visuals. While the violence in this movie was graphic, I don’t think it was gratuitous. Well at least 99% of it.

I think this movies stands as a pretty compelling movie, even apart from the religious basis. I mean whatever you think of religion, the Bible is a book of stories and a lot of good stories at that. So the source material obviously is good stuff.

I had some problems with this movie though (to those who know me, surprise, surprise). I don’t think Jesus survives to the cross. Given how much physical torture the man is put through, I just don’t see him making it to the cross alive. I mean, sheesh, you could see the dude’s ribs. Not like he’s so skinny you can see his ribs, like YOU CAN SEE THE FUCKING BONES!!! THE ACTUAL BONES!!! Second big problem, huge problem is the resurrection scene. Let’s just say it everything happened like it happened in the flick (seeing as how this is supposed to be the most literal telling of the crucifixion story, more on this later). When Jesus is resurrected, he’s all better, but the holes in in hands remain! Why?! Every other wound (and there were some horrible wounds) are healed and gone. Like it never happened. But the holes, why? I just don’t understand it. Maybe there’s something that my Sunday school theological training hasn’t taught me, but seriously, if all can be healed, why not the hands?

Okay, other problems, based on this being the most literal telling of this story. For a literal telling, down to using the original languages and all of that, there was certainly a lot of the devil and spirits and all of that kind of stuff. My other problem with the movie isn’t so much with the movie, but the source story. So basically the “white” people (the Romans) recognized Jesus as holy and the “minorities” (the Jews) don’t? I realize it’s the story. And even in the movie, tons of Romans being terrible while there are Jews pleading for Jesus, but the basic opposing forces in the argument is the “white” people recognized special and wanted to follow the laws and the “minorities” were lawless, rioting people who wanted to kill the son of God. I’m sure a detailed history/examination of Christianity would probably explain a lot of it.

Moving on, so was the earthquake and storm the last act of an active God? I’m just asking. Because from Jesus forward we’re supposed to get to God via Jesus. And from between the Old Testament and the New Testament God went underground and wasn’t all showing off and whatnot.

And I guess as a last incendiary matter or two really. This movie just shows even more how much the institution of the church just distorts things and is self-serving. The pharisees and the church were threatened by Jesus so they did what they had to do to twist things and have the Romans kill him, even when apparently he did NOTHING that was against the law or anything that was worthy of a death sentence. I think this sort of thing went on then, goes on now, and went on in between. The church is a power position. And if nothing else, institutions in power want to REMAIN in power. Last point, I felt this watching Jesus Christ Superstar and again watching this movie, and I’m not saying Christianity is a cult, but you can see elements of it. Watching this story, it’s a charismatic leader saying he knows the answers, he tells the truth, that he is the path to enlightenment or heaven or whatever. And people following. Following to death (so they claim) and where ever else the leader leads. Even in the face of common sense and public opinion (not that either of these two things dictates truth). Just saying…

Anyways, back to the movie. Great acting. Great. Across the board, save maybe Herod. Hard movie to watch because of the graphic nature of the violence, but worthwhile to watch I think.

[Blu-ray | DVD]

This movie is just bad. Cheesy, bad effects. I don’t remember Indy movies being this bad. Just bad. I’ve been told some of my short reviews are bad, but this movie is just bad.

Movie review: Elegy

Posted by seoulfully on March 27th, 2009

[DVD]

I think Netflix must have an exclusive on the blu-ray of this movie because I can’t find the blu-ray anywhere save Netflix. Not that I’d know since Netflix deems it necessary to Long Wait or Very Long wait any blu-ray in my queue that is relatively new. So HD on Netflix Watch Instantly it is.

How does Sir Ben Kingsley get to be in movies where he beds such younger women. I mean here it’s Penelope Cruz (though he also was with the great Patricia Clarkson). In The Wackness [Blu-ray | DVD] he got with whichever of the Olsen twins was in that movie.

I thought this movie was pretty good. I can’t speak to how true it is, but the situation feels true enough. An older man involved with various women, dealing with falling in love. The situation, the age difference, his life making him doubt the very life he’s created. You could buy that Penelope Cruz could actually love him and then be broken hearted by him. Not experiencing or dealing with the same issues he dealt with. Though another dead end love for her named David (see Vanilla Sky [DVD]).

I think Dennis Hopper and Peter Sarsgaard played pitch perfect roles of the lothario friend and the troubled son respectively.

Kingsley was great in this. The drudgery of his time post love, post friendship, kind of post life. They were all so subtle, all very deep, but all played out on the surface. The reappearance of Penelope’s character is a surprise and sad.

The pace of the movie really slows down in the third act. But I don’t think it’s a problem. It kind of fits the mood of the film at that point.

Movie review: Let the Right One In

Posted by seoulfully on March 27th, 2009

[Blu-ray | DVD]

I heard great things about this movie. Just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was that I was preoccupied watching and not giving it my full attention. Maybe it was the subtitle problem. Or just didn’t fit my sensibilities. I just wasn’t entertained by this movie. It didn’t hold my attention at all. I think it’s a worthwhile movie to watch. And if the premise interests you, I think you should watch the movie. I won’t say not to watch it, but I won’t say TO watch it either.

Movie review: Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden

Posted by seoulfully on March 26th, 2009

[DVD]

This certainly wasn’t Super Size Me [DVD]. It was definitely Spurlock’s kind of humorous, straightforward style. I find his style of filmmaking isn’t as baiting and edit based as Michael Moore. The movie was interesting. And I think Spurlock really covered a lot of ground and viewpoints.

However, the movie seemed sort of inert. It’s not like I expected Spurlock to FIND Bin Laden. And he did a lot of traveling and interviews with all kinds of people. But it just went nowhere. Did it reveal something about the Muslim world that wasn’t known? I don’t think so. And if it did, it was directed to a less educated audience. Though I think a less educated audience wouldn’t even watch this movie and thus would miss out on the lessons in it.

The movie was entertaining though. Not quite up to Super Size Me, but that’s a high bar.

Movie review: I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With

Posted by seoulfully on March 25th, 2009

[DVD]

The trailer made this seem like a cute little romantic comedy. With a few nice quips and zingers and whatnot. Umm, not really. Well it was supposed to be a romantic comedy, but it was boring. Any any clever lines were already shown in the trailer. This was written and directed by Jeff Garland. It shows a little promise on the writing front, but I just don’t know if Garland is feature material. He was believable in a sad sack, Paul Giamatti sort of way, but I was honestly just bored throughout this movie. Sarah Silverman played the same role she always plays. And nice to see Bonnie Hunt. But totally forgettable movie.