Archive for January, 2012

27th January
2012
written by Adam

Recently escaped from prison, order
former cop, health and wrongly accused jewel thief, sales
Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), is on a mission to prove his innocence and bring down the man that put him behind bars, (Ed Harris). But, to pull off this impossible task will take the assistance from not only his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s fiancé, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), but also an unknowing foil, NYPD negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks). Now in action the big question looms, will justice be served before Nick is forced to jump from the ledge he’s perched on? Well, you see, what we’ve got here is your basic mindless bank heist type film. Again, as stated before, January isn’t exactly known for bringing us the shiniest gems in the cinema world, and this is a pretty opaque stone. But, that’s not to say the film is total garbage. I’m not entirely sold on Elizabeth Banks, as much as I want to like her here, I just can’t. Sam Worthington isn’t awful, and the antics between Bell and Rodriguez provide some low level comedic entertainment value. Ed Harris does over the top slime ball as good as anyone. And, the rest of the cast, well, they’re not offensive. I guess you could say the plot is mildly engaging, even though it’s about as predictable as they come. And oh, you know how much I love it when the title of a film gets worked into the characters’ dialogue, spoiler alert, yep it happens here, yawn. Maybe a matinee, but really fits into the rental category better. Man on a Ledge is rated PG-13.
Hired to protect workers from the elements, no rx
outdoorsman, security guard, and survivalist, Ottway (Liam Neenson), is a broken man contemplating suicide while working for an oil drilling company in Alaska. On a return flight back to civilization, somewhere over the tundra, his plane crash lands. Surrounded by wolves and wicked terrain it’s up to Ottway to lead the group of survivors (Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts, Nonso Anozie, Joe Anderson, and Ben Bray) to fight their finest battle yet and hopefully live to die another day. Directed by Joe Carnahan, the same guy who brought you the A-Team, and Smokin’ Aces, it seems as though The Grey is a departure and much smaller scale film from what might be expected from Carnahan. Although, I’m not entirely convinced this is a good thing. First off the character development is half baked and stereotypical, there isn’t a fresh character in this film. The dialogue isn’t terribly impressive or artful prose. And then, repeated attempts at sentimentality through flashbacks eventually just run out of steam– even with what’s supposed to be a big reveal at the end. I get it, it’s supposed to be an artsy-ish film dealing with all kinds of conflict, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, I just can’t get myself to care enough or invest anything with most of the characters on the page. And, for what it’s worth, I’ve been told I should have sat though the credits for a bonus scene at the end of the film that might add even more obscurity to the whole plot, meh…Really more of a rental, The Grey is rated R.

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27th January
2012
written by Adam

So I’m getting really good at scheduling time off when zillions of films are due out in the theaters. This of course would normally mean that I either write everything waaaaay in advance, pilule not at all, pharmacy or give you a much shorter synopsis of everything. Considering that I’ve got enough on my plate as it sits, writing early isn’t really in the cards, but brief reviews…heck I can do that. So here goes….In theaters this weekend there’s lots going on, from family friendly to the polar opposite.

We Bought A Zoo
Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson grace Cameron Crowe’s latest film about a recently widowed man and his young family in search of a new start after the loss of his wife. That fresh start comes in the shape of a rundown zoo in desperate need of financing and good old fashioned elbow grease. With a fierce USDA inspector on their tails it appears that all will be lost, or will it. Not exactly the deepest or richest of screenplays, and it’s not as though we’re getting huge performances from our actors, and it’s unfortunate that it isn’t until the final third when we see Crowe hit his stride and strike the emotional chords in a way that only he can do. But there is a charm to the film that makes it worthy of a matinee. We Bought a Zoo is rated PG.

War Horse
Steven Spielberg returns to his directors chair in this WWI story about a horse named Joey raised by a young boy but sold to the British Army. Surviving by instincts, smarts, courage, and just plain luck Joey experiences both sides of the war. But will he live to see the war’s end, and will he ever return to fields where he was raised as a colt? Comprised of multiple vignettes detailing the horse’s journey, Spielberg takes on an interesting angle of story telling– from the horse’s perspective. Meanwhile we get peeks into the many lives this one single horse can touch, as seen from the human perspective. I can’t bag on the acting, and I can’t really be overly critical of the overall script, but, I can say this felt like a beast of a film in so much that it’s practically two and a half hours long. I distinctly remember thinking about two thirds of the way through the film “Okay, when is this going to end? Let’s wrap this up.” I’m also not so sure that I really emotionally connected with the horse either, so despite being told/shown I should feel sentimental or inspired or whatever towards this creature, I really just didn’t care. Still, as an example of a classic Spielberg grandiose concept film I suppose we can say it’s worth about a matinee. War Horse is rated PG-13.

The Artist
A love letter to Hollywood of the 1920’s and 30’s. This silent film, and yes it really is silent….mostly, except for the score, depicts silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) at the crisis point in his life where the talkies start to make their way into theaters. Feeling washed up George begins to spiral into depression; but, with the help of newcomer Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) and his trusty canine sidekick there may be hope yet. Truly a fun experience The Artist works to show why and how the cinema began to capture the public’s attention. Dash in a few modern touches and you’ve got a concept film that makes for a fun hybrid of old and new. From an acting standpoint I can’t say you’ll be moved to tears or anything of that nature, but the ensemble does do a faithful re-enactment of the period. And, for the classic dance routines, Dujardin and Bejo clearly spent a good amount of time rehearsing and it shows. Fun. Although, quick side note, if you’re at all groggy this isn’t the film for you (a few of the folks near me dozed off, I guess without dialogue that can happen). Still, worthy of a matinee. The Artist is rated PG-13.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Based on the wildly successful book series and a remake of the Swedish film of the same name, David Fincher takes a crack at this screenplay with a few modifications. In this anglicized version Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, and Christopher Plummer make up the leads. Trent Reznor takes up composition duties for the score here as well. In short, to my eyes Fincher has made a film that feels just as graphic and maybe more. It’s clearly grittier, sexier, and just as strong as the original if not even a little better, and I liked the original. And for the James Bond fans out there, heed close attention to the opening credits which could fit in any 007 saga, all we need is Daniel Craig strutting on camera in a tuxedo and shooting a handgun to complete the picture. This is a winner. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is rated R.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Gary Oldman takes on the role as spy master George Smiley in this latest re-creation of John le Caree’s book and the popular BBC miniseries of the same name. In the midst of the Cold War a Soviet mole has infiltrated the top of Britan’s MI6. Secretly re-activated from retirement Smiley is tasked with uncovering the mole in the organization. Powerhouse acting from John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Toby Jones rounds out the ensemble. This is a thinker that almost begs to be watched more than once to really get a good handle on the story. Plodding along at what can only be described as “European pacing” Director Tomas Alfredson artfully reveals each plot point in a calculated and refreshing manner. Where American audiences have almost come to expect shaky cameras, wild chases, big explosions, and fast cars, Alfredson shows us that true spy films can be just as the spies are themselves, unassuming and effective. Worth your time. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is rated R.


Recently escaped from prison, about it
former cop, click and wrongly accused jewel thief, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), is on a mission to prove his innocence and bring down the man that put him behind bars, (Ed Harris). But, to pull off this impossible task will take the assistance from not only his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s fiancé, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), but also an unknowing foil, NYPD negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks). Now in action the big question looms, will justice be served before Nick is forced to jump from the ledge he’s perched on? Well, you see, what we’ve got here is your basic mindless bank heist type film. Again, as stated before, January isn’t exactly known for bringing us the shiniest gems in the cinema world, and this is a pretty opaque stone. But, that’s not to say the film is total garbage. I’m not entirely sold on Elizabeth Banks, as much as I want to like her here, I just can’t. Sam Worthington isn’t awful, and the antics between Bell and Rodriguez provide some low level comedic entertainment value. Ed Harris does over the top slime ball as good as anyone. And, the rest of the cast, well, they’re not offensive. I guess you could say the plot is mildly engaging, even though it’s about as predictable as they come. And oh, you know how much I love it when the title of a film gets worked into the characters’ dialogue, spoiler alert, yep it happens here, yawn. Maybe a matinee, but really fits into the rental category better. Man on a Ledge is rated PG-13.

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13th January
2012
written by Adam

So I’m getting really good at scheduling time off when zillions of films are due out in the theaters. This of course would normally mean that I either write everything waaaaay in advance, pilule not at all, pharmacy or give you a much shorter synopsis of everything. Considering that I’ve got enough on my plate as it sits, writing early isn’t really in the cards, but brief reviews…heck I can do that. So here goes….In theaters this weekend there’s lots going on, from family friendly to the polar opposite.

We Bought A Zoo
Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson grace Cameron Crowe’s latest film about a recently widowed man and his young family in search of a new start after the loss of his wife. That fresh start comes in the shape of a rundown zoo in desperate need of financing and good old fashioned elbow grease. With a fierce USDA inspector on their tails it appears that all will be lost, or will it. Not exactly the deepest or richest of screenplays, and it’s not as though we’re getting huge performances from our actors, and it’s unfortunate that it isn’t until the final third when we see Crowe hit his stride and strike the emotional chords in a way that only he can do. But there is a charm to the film that makes it worthy of a matinee. We Bought a Zoo is rated PG.

War Horse
Steven Spielberg returns to his directors chair in this WWI story about a horse named Joey raised by a young boy but sold to the British Army. Surviving by instincts, smarts, courage, and just plain luck Joey experiences both sides of the war. But will he live to see the war’s end, and will he ever return to fields where he was raised as a colt? Comprised of multiple vignettes detailing the horse’s journey, Spielberg takes on an interesting angle of story telling– from the horse’s perspective. Meanwhile we get peeks into the many lives this one single horse can touch, as seen from the human perspective. I can’t bag on the acting, and I can’t really be overly critical of the overall script, but, I can say this felt like a beast of a film in so much that it’s practically two and a half hours long. I distinctly remember thinking about two thirds of the way through the film “Okay, when is this going to end? Let’s wrap this up.” I’m also not so sure that I really emotionally connected with the horse either, so despite being told/shown I should feel sentimental or inspired or whatever towards this creature, I really just didn’t care. Still, as an example of a classic Spielberg grandiose concept film I suppose we can say it’s worth about a matinee. War Horse is rated PG-13.

The Artist
A love letter to Hollywood of the 1920’s and 30’s. This silent film, and yes it really is silent….mostly, except for the score, depicts silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) at the crisis point in his life where the talkies start to make their way into theaters. Feeling washed up George begins to spiral into depression; but, with the help of newcomer Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) and his trusty canine sidekick there may be hope yet. Truly a fun experience The Artist works to show why and how the cinema began to capture the public’s attention. Dash in a few modern touches and you’ve got a concept film that makes for a fun hybrid of old and new. From an acting standpoint I can’t say you’ll be moved to tears or anything of that nature, but the ensemble does do a faithful re-enactment of the period. And, for the classic dance routines, Dujardin and Bejo clearly spent a good amount of time rehearsing and it shows. Fun. Although, quick side note, if you’re at all groggy this isn’t the film for you (a few of the folks near me dozed off, I guess without dialogue that can happen). Still, worthy of a matinee. The Artist is rated PG-13.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Based on the wildly successful book series and a remake of the Swedish film of the same name, David Fincher takes a crack at this screenplay with a few modifications. In this anglicized version Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, and Christopher Plummer make up the leads. Trent Reznor takes up composition duties for the score here as well. In short, to my eyes Fincher has made a film that feels just as graphic and maybe more. It’s clearly grittier, sexier, and just as strong as the original if not even a little better, and I liked the original. And for the James Bond fans out there, heed close attention to the opening credits which could fit in any 007 saga, all we need is Daniel Craig strutting on camera in a tuxedo and shooting a handgun to complete the picture. This is a winner. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is rated R.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Gary Oldman takes on the role as spy master George Smiley in this latest re-creation of John le Caree’s book and the popular BBC miniseries of the same name. In the midst of the Cold War a Soviet mole has infiltrated the top of Britan’s MI6. Secretly re-activated from retirement Smiley is tasked with uncovering the mole in the organization. Powerhouse acting from John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Toby Jones rounds out the ensemble. This is a thinker that almost begs to be watched more than once to really get a good handle on the story. Plodding along at what can only be described as “European pacing” Director Tomas Alfredson artfully reveals each plot point in a calculated and refreshing manner. Where American audiences have almost come to expect shaky cameras, wild chases, big explosions, and fast cars, Alfredson shows us that true spy films can be just as the spies are themselves, unassuming and effective. Worth your time. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is rated R.


Recently escaped from prison, about it
former cop, click and wrongly accused jewel thief, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), is on a mission to prove his innocence and bring down the man that put him behind bars, (Ed Harris). But, to pull off this impossible task will take the assistance from not only his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s fiancé, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), but also an unknowing foil, NYPD negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks). Now in action the big question looms, will justice be served before Nick is forced to jump from the ledge he’s perched on? Well, you see, what we’ve got here is your basic mindless bank heist type film. Again, as stated before, January isn’t exactly known for bringing us the shiniest gems in the cinema world, and this is a pretty opaque stone. But, that’s not to say the film is total garbage. I’m not entirely sold on Elizabeth Banks, as much as I want to like her here, I just can’t. Sam Worthington isn’t awful, and the antics between Bell and Rodriguez provide some low level comedic entertainment value. Ed Harris does over the top slime ball as good as anyone. And, the rest of the cast, well, they’re not offensive. I guess you could say the plot is mildly engaging, even though it’s about as predictable as they come. And oh, you know how much I love it when the title of a film gets worked into the characters’ dialogue, spoiler alert, yep it happens here, yawn. Maybe a matinee, but really fits into the rental category better. Man on a Ledge is rated PG-13.

World class smuggler gone straight Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is faced with the task of pulling off one more job to clear his family’s name of debt to a group of Irish mafia thugs. While working the job, food
Chris’s wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and their two boys wind up as collateral for the job’s completion. Now it’s up to Chris to deliver the goods to mobster thug Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) and save his family. A challenge that required the help of his close friend Sebastian (Ben Foster), sale
but who’s really pulling the strings? Ah, store
January, how I love to loathe thee, you bring us such cinematic gems as this. Yet, in all fairness I can’t totally pick this film to pieces. Of course the plot is ridiculous, of course the death defying escapes are too close, and of course every punch is telegraphed up to a semi-predictable end. Yet still, there’s just enough barely enough charisma and character to carry us through the finish line. Wahlberg as the action hero works, plain and simple; Ribisi is great at detestable characters, between the two there’s just enough to be interesting. It’s the kind of pulpy action that made shows like the A-team palatable, and not that you could live on a diet of this for very long, but to take on a few empty calories, you could do a lot worse. Mindless action for a matinee but really more of a rental. Contraband is rated R.

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