jeudi 31 janvier 2013

Les Misérables — A movie about a French revolution that failed to match the stage version — 4*/10

Les Misérables failed to even come close to what a good stage version can be like. We spend the whole movie in close up of people singing. I mean, at that point, why not just distribute the soundtrack and not bother with any visuals.

The few wide shots are pitifully staged, rendered in shameful CG for our age, barely give a sense of where we are, and, in the case of the funeral procession, are accompanied by awful sounding crowd singing.

I'm not sure the big name actors can really sing or not, I'm not an expert, but what's sure is that it wouldn't have been too difficult to get better results, with lesser known people.

Don't see it, unless you have no way of seeing a professional stage version, and even then...


mardi 29 janvier 2013

About a Boy — What it means to be an island and what relationships are for — 9*/10

About a Boy is a charming movie about responsibilities or the lack thereof. It's a low key narrative where a boy has to deal with some realities of life he's not ready for, and where a man is confronted by reality and must connect with it.

Hugh Grant, as usual, has its way with words, but his volume is pretty moderate this time around. Opposite him is Nicholas Hoult as the boy. Their character are very disparate if not entirely opposite, and they play this duality pretty well, one strengthening and helping the other finding some basic truths of life.

All the acting is solid, to the point where you want to slap some sense into Toni Collette's depressive persona. The editing gives us a great pacing, and the story is engrossing and, even if it stays pretty simple, brings a couple of new things to the table, as well as some well worn out ideas. The "lie" makes an apparition, but is dealt with in an incredibly mature way. The environment is rich, the important characters deep, the soundtrack sensible, and you'll chuckle a good number of times.

I highly recommend, except if you're looking for action or if you want to avoid sentimentality.


The Impossible — A family caught in the 2004 tsunami — 4*/10

The Impossible is based on true events, and it has the merit of showing its public how catastrophic that 2004 south-east asian tsunami was, but there its merits end. I guess what most people liked was the fact that it really happened to a family and it tugged at their heartstring, because cinematographically speaking, it's not worth much. Most of its fault are certainly the consequence of sticking to facts. That better done in a documentary.

There's basically no rhythm to the movie, the scenes are just thrown one after the other, just like in real life, but with the polish of a movie, which is a bad dichotomy. I mean, the "homemade" video sequence is no such thing. We just get jangled around a little bit more. The editing is poor. In some places the reaction times are stretched to push more drama. A big mistake. There's also the failure to capitalize on real drama. At times, the script just falls on its face for logical reasons.

The special effects are excellent though.

I can't recommend this film unless you love real stories, family drama, and are interested in the 2004 tsunami.


Love Actually — Watch different kinds of love all inter weaved — 10*/10

Love Actually is a clever tapestry of different kinds of love, each somehow related to one another, yet independent. That kind of weaving is an art. Too disparate and the piece looses cohesion. Too tight and you can't differentiate the threads. In this particular case, it is done right.

Each story is interesting and present us with various facets of love. They are all sweet, but sometimes sad, and a few times funny. You get easily attached to all the characters who are all very well acted in this star studded cast and rendered with depth and subtle emotions.

It's difficult not to fall in love with these wonderful stories, and there are virtually no flaws in this film, especially when it comes to the scenario, editing, and photography.

The only things that might distract you from seeing it is if you need action to watch a movie, if you can only watch a movie set around Christmas time during December, or if such kind of life weaving doesn't interest you.

Otherwise, it's a must see.


lundi 28 janvier 2013

Juno — A teen gets pregnant and goes off the beaten path for her happy ending — 10*/10

Juno starts differently and ends the same way.

The director gets us in right at the critical moment. Then the decision comes, and we're off into the thick of the movie. So, it's not about the decision, it's about making your own path.

This is one of those movies that try to drown us in the "perfect" world of film making. We follow a small reconstituted family, that's not completely happy, but not at each other's throat. Everyone as flaws as well as qualities. All of the personas have depth, and layers, and you can feel it. The environment they live in is just as rich in details. The script is perfectly novel, the acting is great, without reproach, and the pacing just right.

Ellen Page fits her role to a T. The unconventional teen who has thought, almost, everything through, with strong ideas, and a will to enforce it couldn't have been played any better. Jennifer Garner was born the be the perfectionist mom wannabe. J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney are the perfect incarnation of the progressive yet simple blue collar parents.

There are very few things I would criticize. The first one is the the teen lingo. It's appropriate, but heavily used. The second one is that all of those characters are pretty darn mature. I, for one, am very happy of this change of pace. It's like a balm after the so many face palm I've given myself while listening to your average Hollywood flick. The third and final one would be the slightly sappy music track. Not my style at all. As you can see all of those things are very inconsequential, and I must admit contribute to the flavor of the piece.

It's a must see.


Never Been Kissed — High school drama and rejection observed from the outside — 6*/10

Never Been Kissed plays on the angst of the teenage reject, the need to be cool, how it translate to adulthood, and how one can escape from it. High school is isolated from the real world, yet it has impact on your life beyond it. That's what's presented in this piece.

The story has some interesting twists, and some nice take on some elements, but it doesn't bring anything new to the table. All the teens are played by mature adults, which kind of breaks the mold. That's the usual practice, however, in this case, it is pushed a bit too far. I guess it's to make Drew Barrymore's undercover character seems more believable.

The whole movie is over done with clichés, and none so bad as Drew's persona. They even start her as a really unattractive person, which she's not.

What makes the film any good is the fact that it's funny, and that you root for the main character who transform in a beautiful swan. Costume and makeup are responsible for the metamorphosis, all Barrymore had to do, was to tone down the awkwardness according to the scenario.

It's entertaining, but don't expect too much beyond you're usual romance. The "lie" even rear its monstrous head.


The Breakfast Club — High school detention and colliding personalities on a Saturday — 10*/10

The Breakfast Club presents to us the five archetype of high school students. Every kid can find himself in those, if not in true form, by the mix of two of them. Even today, it holds true, if the lingo doesn't. I'm not talking about cliques, I'm talking about personality and acceptability.

This is John Hughes' master piece in term of analyzing the teenage mind. You're faced with what makes somebody cool, why you get rejected, the walls that are built between the groups, and how they are built, maintained. You get the different angst they face every day: from parental abuse to parental absence, from peer pressure to bullying, from delinquency to suicide.

Those very opposite characters are put together and confronted with each other's reality. As they argue, squabble, and fight, they never forget to form common cause against their oppressors.

There's nothing negative about this movie, it's just starting to date a bit, but not too much. Hughes did a great job to keep the 80s out of his film as much as possible. The only thing that can irk, is some bits of youth lingo which is now outdated. Fortunately, very little is used, and the rest is still current.

You have to see this, but keep in mind the release date and that it's all happening in the library. A single set.


Breakin' All the Rules — For those who believe there are rules in dating — 6*/10

Breakin' All the Rules presents the worst part about dating (never mind that it's a stupid concept): that some people believe there are rules, or make up their own.

If you accept that, all in all, it's a funny movie. The story is inventive, even if there's no big surprise. Jamie Foxx plays a very attaching love broken man, the beautiful Gabrielle Union gives us a nice balancing act of sweet, smart, and upset, and both of them are really hot together. Morris Chestnut is great as a wingman, Jennifer Esposito looks born to play the gold digger, and Peter MacNicol seems to have found the sweet spot of the clueless desperate rich media owner.

Some of the acting is over done a bit, especially the psychotic character played by Bianca Lawson. Jamie seems to push his suave a bit too far at time, just as Morris does.

It's good entertainment if you accept the limitation and the subject.


samedi 26 janvier 2013

In Good Company — A soft movie about relationships, work, and change — 9*/10

In Good Company is about the new guard taking over the old guard. It's also a very muted confrontation of generations, and a light family movie. Part of it is a romantic comedy, part of it is a caricature of the corporate world, and how it's all based on relationships.

Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson and Marg Helgenberger are perfectly cast for their role. Their acting is right on the mark, and feel very real, natural, smooth. The rest of the cast does a pretty good performance for a great result.

The photography is soft, the scenario very interesting, and poignant. The editing and soundtrack are just what is needed. Nothing bad to say about anything, really.

If you're looking for even tempered, but still sentimental film without action, this is it.


Bolt — A animation buddy picture with action and fun — 8*/10

Bolt is a funny animation movie that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults that are kids at heart. The humor is not multilayered so that you can enjoy it on a number of different levels, but it's hilarious.

As far as I'm concerned, Rhino is the laugh star of this ensemble, close behind are the pigeons. Bolt, even though adorable, is the least funny one of the cast, probably because he's such a straight face hero. I won't rob him of his glory though, because we want him exactly like that, he's driving the whole film. Mitten fits right in as the unwilling sidekick.

The story is very engaging, if without any surprising ideas. The intro is a blast of super powered action. The dialogs are good. The animation is sweet with bright colors and very effective. Voice acting is nice and without any reproach.

I'd say it's a solid animation, just lacking a bit of depth.


jeudi 24 janvier 2013

Argo — A spy suspense set during the Iranian revolution — 9*/10

Argo is an extremely well built suspense.

The subject matter, the American embassy in Iran overrun in 1979, would have made me miss this great movie. It's not the type of thing that I'm interested in, but it won enough acclaim to make me see it.

Ben Affleck has my admiration for pulling this off. I'll give him more credit as a director than as an actor, since even though he was playing the main character, it was almost as if he was invisible. I think it's on purpose, though, and extremely well played. The real main character is the tension. He builds it like a maestro, makes you feel it, as if you were there. It is with you like a great weight, until the all clear. Thankfully, he doesn't leave us in such a state, and gently bring us back down with an ending that ties up all the loose ends, while even adding a charming little detail.

I'll give even more props to the writers for being able to insert some laughter in such a grim story. I'm not sure exactly how the managed it, but it fits, and it is direly welcomed.

If you don't mind a movie set during the Iranian revolution, or all the trappings of the late 70s, it's a great movie. I don't think I'll see it again though. It's just a bit too much for me. I like to evade reality when I watch a film, no relive historical tensions.


Cake — A wedding magazine run by and anti-wedding cynic Peter Pan woman — 6*/10

Cake is about finding out that however lofty your ideals maybe, you can always be wrong.

This comedy, as all good Hollywood productions, starts by over doing the traits of its main character. At some point, her zealousness runs her into a wall and then the movie starts to be a bit more realistic, a bit more sensible.

The story itself is simple, the plot elements unsurprising, and, even if the dialogs hold their own and are funny, they are uninventive.

The big attraction of the movie is that it is entertaining, and it doesn't screw up. You'll spend a good evening if you're interested in seeing an over idealistic, over energized young woman make a mess of things and then save the day in true Hollywood fashion.


mercredi 23 janvier 2013

Two Weeks Notice — A romantic comedy about opposites who work together without clashing — 7*/10

Two Weeks Notice is a conventional story done in an unconventional way. The two characters are total opposite and yet, no real clashes happens. The movie even refrained from doing an over exaggerated introduction of them. They both are presented in strong terms, yes, but not over done.

If you can't stand easy witty wordy humor like Hugh Grant so charmingly display in this piece, something he excels at, you better not watch it. It's those dialogs that propel this movie forward. He does it in an unpretentious earnest way, which is why Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) ends up working for him.

The story is simple, the photography very good, and nothing is out of place. This film doesn't reinvent the genre, but it's a very well built offspring.

See it for good entertainment.


mardi 22 janvier 2013

Hitchcock — It's about the making of Psycho and a little bit more — 7*/10

Hitchcock, the 2012 movie, is about the making of the Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. It is only about him in a round about way, and is actually more about his relationship with his wife at that time.

The length of the movie, 1h 38min, is just right. It's enough to tell the story, give us enough information about him, her, their couple, and the making of Psycho, without getting bored with lengthy everyday life details.

It is cut right, well made, but I have no clue about the veracity. Most likely, the content reflects more or less accurately how it was.

The big let down is Anthony Hopkins' performance. Trying to get his persona's every mannerism, he turned his role in a sort of caricature. Fortunately, we get used to it, and halfway through, we don't notice it anymore. That was relief. The rest of the elements are interesting enough to help us out of that mess.

What really reveal the quality of this film is the fact that now, I want to see Psycho, after holding out for such a long time. You probably will too.

It's a good mix, you don't get lost in the couple's relationship or the life of the prodigious director, you just have a nice time.

It's worth seeing.


Silver Linings Playbook — An emotional piece that makes it right for all of us to be a little crazy — 9*/10

Silver Linings Playbook makes it right to have problems, mental problems. This is a big taboo in our society. We all have those kind of problems to one degree or an other. Even if the main characters have heavier symptoms to deal with, this is a way to show that it is acceptable.

At first, you'll be uncomfortable with Pat's unusual behavior, but it will immediately feel much better once Tiffany enters the scene. Even though his behavior doesn't change, once there's someone else like him, you feel immediately better. Why? Because it normalizes him. When we meet somebody like us, we immediately feel better, more acceptable, less worried what others think of us. We feel the same about others.

In this film, all the scenes, dialogs, and emotions are real and solid. The acting is superb and the story surprising on many occasions. This is definitively the best performance Bradley Cooper has given, and Jennifer Lawrence is his match on every level, we just don't spend as much time with her as with him. Robert De Niro plays a great character, and Chris Tucker fits right in. Everything is perfect.

This script even plays the "lie" right, and the final moment got me yearning for a girl to cuddle and love. It has been a while since a movie made me feel that. I just can't find anything wrong with it. If you want to pick something negative, I'd say that the professional dancers are not good actors. That's it.

The only reason not to watch it might be because you don't like that kind of story. It's about average people, with average surrounding, salary, homes, and lives. There's nothing marvelous, scintillating, or stupendous, just normal.

See it.


lundi 21 janvier 2013

Pretty Persuasion — Amoral manipulation of an high school girl with dramatic consequences — 8*/10

Pretty Persuasion is an intrigue that will leave you breathless with shock. It is devious, manipulative, and well thought out.

Each character has enough depth to be solidly constructed and give us meaningful dialogs. Sometimes, as we follow the main girl, it feels like a monologue, a dry one, but all of it points to a genius after what she wants.

The tone is just, some elements are a bit caricatural, but never over the top, just enough to resonate with the audience, and make a point. The whole setup is simple, like the editing, the camera shots, and the story, but it all to underline the razor precision of the mind behind it all. It makes the dramatic reveal even stronger.

Do not underestimate this film, it packs a moral punch.


Gladiator — A violent and grandiose clash of titans in the ancient grimy world or Rome — 10*/10

Gladiator has it all. A great story that, even with the old revenge idea, will pick you up and plunge you right in. Gloriously grandiose shots that will fill your eyes and your imagination. Acting that will never take you for granted and just give you real emotions. Dialogs that are well thought, and will only be simple if it fits the scene or the character. Smooth editing and excellent score to be bettered only by the best. And, finally, action with grimy characters that gives this movie the heartbeat of a titan.

The opening scene is particularly exceptional. The intrigue gets going pretty quickly putting our unwilling hero in a real and fatal mess. Each piece of the drama is put in place carefully, until everything comes together and the clash happens. It's one of Ridley Scott's great movies.

Russel Crowe is the perfect hero, Joaquin Phoenix is truly mad, and both are irresistibly aimed at each other. Connie Nielsen play a very frightened sister that's at the same time courageous, yet worried about her son.

This time, I tried listening to it with a very critical eye and I found only the last moment of clarity of Maximus, when he gives his last order, to be a weak and somewhat artificial moment. Beyond that, unlike him, I would have bent my neck right away, and plotted after, but that's a personal decision. It would have killed the whole paradigm right away and made me less of righteous a hero than him.

Anyway you dice it or slice it, it's a must see, unless you have difficulty with violence.


dimanche 20 janvier 2013

Hard Candy — A tough raw drama about doing wrong to do right — 10*/10

Hard Candy is the kind of movie that makes you root for the main character. It's impossible to escape it.

At first, you don't know where it's going, it's minimalist and confusing. Then the story gets going and you start doubting. The intrigue is strong. The emotions that surface come from deep inside. The writers keep you guessing all the way through. It is raw, but the tension is not so strong as a second or third viewing cannot be done.

I love those films that are built around so few characters, and yet have such a complete finish. It is an excellent piece. The script, the camera shots, the editing, the set, and the acting are without reproach. It will captivate you, without fail.

Be warned, this is not a happy story. You might feel good about it, but not for good reasons. You should see it though, just be ready.


Clueless — A sweet rich girl in the midst of romance an love — 7*/10

Clueless is about a sweet rich girl who is totally clueless about most things in life except for shopping. It sounds terrible, but actually, it's presented in an adorable way.

You get attached to the main character very quickly and root her efforts to make the world a better place. It's all setup in the world of the very rich, yet you can't help yourself.

Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd have excellent chemistry and are giving us very good acting. The rest of the ensemble is of lesser value, but nothing to detract our attention.

The story is simple, elegant, and nice to embark upon. The only thing that I have to pick at? The phones are getting old. And that hat! (You'll see what I mean.)

See it, it's sweet.


samedi 19 janvier 2013

Practical Magic — A soft movie about witches and woman power — 8*/10

Practical Magic is very much a woman's movie which is very different from a chick flick that essentially tries to capture the attention of female viewers by playing on their desires. This picture is about women for women and mostly made by women.

Everything has a soft feminine touch to it, even the violence and the action. In this piece, witchcraft simply represent women power. The scenario is built around what it means to be a strong woman, how it can set you apart, and the danger associated with this strength.

It has sweet moments, some tearful moments, some funny moments, and a certain dose of intrigue to pique our interest. Now, you can't jump into this movie and expect a big bang, like what you usually get out of most Hollywood movies. No, you'll get entertained, but delicately.

It has a few flaws, but small ones, and the acting is not stellar, but very good, and sometimes just average. So, it's not perfect, but if you want something more gentle, it's excellent.

You don't want fireworks, and still want to spend a good evening, this is for you.


vendredi 18 janvier 2013

Monsters, inc. — A lovable animation where novel ideas keep you riveted — 10*/10

Monsters, inc. is one of the best animation film ever produced, only surpassed by The Incredibles.

The animation itself is incredible, especially if you take into consideration the work that was done on the hairs of Sulley. The world they created is without par, extremely imaginative and full of details, and that's without mentioning the mechanics it uses to get energy, as well as the energy crisis within.

Each monster is well thought, wild in design, and nicely rendered. The colors are great, vivid, and cheerful. The humor is plenty, side splitting, and almost non-stop. The jokes are great, and the dialogs complete, natural, and logical.

The only negative thing I could say is that the "evil" part of the scenario was a little unimaginative, but fortunately, it's not the main attraction. The main draw is the relationship between the two main characters and the little girl. It's adorable. That alone makes us fall in love with the movie.

A must see.


jeudi 17 janvier 2013

This Is 40 — About long relationship couples and their children — 8*/10

This Is 40 feels like the writer/director Judd Apatow made an analysis of what it meant to be a long standing couple with children, took a bunch of anecdotes about it, meshed them in a cohesive script, and made a movie out of it.

This piece rings of truth, like a mirror reflecting everything, the bad as well as the good. One doesn't seem more prevalent than the other, even though it ends positively. He takes the time to set each scene, see them through, and bring them to their logical conclusion. He has put everything on the table, the highs, the lows, the frustrations, the bad communications... I think every couple with children will see parts of themselves in it.

It's not he kind of movie you see to escape reality. It won't pull you down either, and it is funny, but it's very realistic.

Even though this is supposed to be be a sort of followup on the secondary couple of Knocked Up it has nothing of the goofball stuff of the first movie, except with one very little scene with an employee.

The acting is excellent, I love Paul Rudd, and this might be his best performance. Leslie Mann is excellent too. The only low performance was from Iris Apatow who plays the youngest daughter.

The script is excellent, everything is logical, no flaws, and well orchestrated.


mercredi 16 janvier 2013

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days — A romantic comedy about using dating as a work tool — 6*/10

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a romantic comedy about dating. He's doing his best to win her, she's doing her best to dump him after hooking him. That means, you'll see a ton of clichés throughout the story.

The acting is good. The scenes, editing, and soundtrack are slick, but the scenario is very light, and unimaginative. You even get the friendly down to hearth family that saves the day. All the characters are unidimensional.

It's all entertaining, and well done. You can spend a nice evening enjoying yourself, but you can't really look for depth or real quality in this movie.

It's a good rent or cheap buy.


27 Dresses — A romantic comedy about weddings with a cynic vs a believer — 7*/10

27 Dresses is you basic wedding romantic comedy with the eternal bridesmaid who while incredibly beautiful can't find her man because she's waiting and enthralled by her prince charming. That's the boring part that Hollywood loves to throw at us.

The interesting part is that not one but two third parties come to mess things up. Then it gets interesting. The middle part is hilarious, which give the movie most of its appeal. Near the end, it gets a bit dramatic, it gets more points there. However, it ends well, which is not such a bad thing, but I would have ripped the last scene out to make it much better. Hollywood likes to tie all the loose ends too much for its artistic good.

That being said, Katherine Heigl and James Marsden are excellent, very funny, and easy to relate to. She story, even if it doesn't bring anything new, is interesting, and the plot developments are not too bad, to the exception of the "unforgivable lie" which rears its ugly head again. How tiresome.

You want a nice romantic comedy with enjoyable characters, it's for you.


mardi 15 janvier 2013

Django Unchained — A violent bloody western by Quentin Tarantino — 10*/10

Django Unchained is what a western looks like if done by Quentin Tarantino. It's the type of movie that makes you want to scream for revenge.

Everything is to perfection, and I mean it. The acting is superb, without par. First, from looking at the preview, I thought that Leonardo Dicaprio's character would get on my nerve. Not the case, it fits in perfectly. Jamie Foxx, ever since Collateral, he's been able to play a greater range of personas, and it shows here. It's too bad Kerry Washington doesn't have more scenes, I love her. Finally, Christoph Waltz is the glue of that movie with his strong character.

The soundtrack, the camera shots, the editing, the dialogs, the story, the scenario, all without flaws. When it's slow, it's setting the events in motion, or building background. When it's fast, it's a roller coaster. And there are funny moments too. Those 165min are a breeze.

There's a single very small thing that was wrong. You'll see the lady go in the wrong direction when she gets shot. That was weird.

If you don't mind blood, and lots of it, true to Tarantino, it's a must.


Knocked Up — About a good guy/slob knocking up a career oriented beauty — 7*/10

Knocked Up is a silly yet serious comedy. You have a mix of the completely goofball and eternal teen played by Seth Rogen, and the very serious and proper career oriented young adult played by the beautiful Katherine Heigl. You couldn't have picked better opposite.

The whole movie is like that and makes you alternate between the two world. How they mesh is pretty simple, you'll see. It's very touching, and you'll be rooting for all parties, because they are all right and wrong.

There's something for everybody. Emotions, laughters, completely idiotic behaviors, responsible decisions, breakups, makeups, kisses, tenderness, and sex. That movie gives you everything and is the opposite of the dating movie, it goes backward.

One thing irked me though: at some point, it seemed to be anti-abortion. I'm pro-choice, and that ruffles my feather. Beyond that, it's a crazy setup.

The acting is good, mostly silly, the story is excellent, if nothing new, and the soundtrack very appropriate.


lundi 14 janvier 2013

Just Like Heaven — Romance done in a simple funny way — 8*/10

Just Like Heaven is a dream of a romantic comedy.

For one, it doesn't have the ever present "lie" which inevitably ruins everything in perpetuity throughout the universe, which is a ridiculous plot scam. You use that when you don't know how to write a script.

Next, you have some very funny situations and dialogs. Those might be a bit easy, but they are well used. You also have a few tearful moment that are very sweet. Finally, to make it complete, the acting is pretty good.

There are only two bad things I could say about it all. One, you get a perfect ending, but you can excuse it, because you're sort of praying for it, and the rest of the movie wasn't pushing it's luck. Second, the apartment is perfect, and that's always the case in every Hollywood movie.

It's great romance with an unusual setting. It even has a few guy-perspective jokes. See it.


The Incredibles — An animation movie about a family of super heroes and their trouble — 10*/10

The Incredibles is the kind of animation you can't stop watching.

For one, the number of details is incredible and the attention to them, phenomenal. Example: watch how they aged the parents, physiologically, both of them. That will show you what I mean.

The graphics are flawless, except for wet hair. Pixar hadn't yet found a solution to that problem. The dialogs and the scenes will capture the attention of everyone since you can have fun with the slap stick stuff and the action, or see the problems the couple has as well as each individuals. Many parents will recognize recurring household frictions and dynamics.

The scenario is rich in adventure, super heroes, and some villains. The architecture and designs will make you think of "modern" world imagined during the 60s. It's quite impressive. The drawing themselves have a particular style that is very attractive and different from what's out there.

By the end, you'd wish to see ten more movies in that same world, that's how interesting it is.

It's a must.


Paperman — A short animation that's sweet timeless and touching — 10*/10

Paperman is the 7min short animation that preceded the movie Wreck-It Raph. It's sweet timeless and extremely touching. You'll hear no dialogs at all, but the result will transport you without fail. It starts slowly, and quickly builds up. The end is just perfect.

I just thought I'd mention it.


The Chronicles of Riddick — An action sci-fi flick that's a feast for the eye and the imagination, no more — 7*/10

The Chronicles of Riddick is a good reason to watch Pitch Black because director David Twohy finally got the money to make a complete movie. You can see his ideas now well developed and supported by good special effects. He patches most of what was lacking in the first installment, except for one dimensional characters, but my guess is that's intentional. There's also a number of logical flaws still left in the scenario.

In this chapter, you get fully fledged and totally original ideas, that really transport you to a different world. and by the end, you simply want to know more about that universe. What other incredible things might be hiding there?

The acting is on par with the previous flick, average, but no more. The dialogs are maybe a bit better, but you could starve a mouse on the difference.

It is simply a feast for the eye and the imagination. An action film to give you adrenaline rushes. No more.

Give your brain a break, watch it, and have fun.


dimanche 13 janvier 2013

Pitch Black — Space monsters with original set ideas, but only for sci-fi fans — 5*/10

Pitch Black is science-fiction movie with space monsters, and as with every other such flick, it's a bad rip-off of Alien. That being said, it has some strong feature that makes it impossible to ignore. Its flaws make it barely watchable.

Let's start with the bad for a change. The creatures are poorly designed with bad CGI to boot. The lighting is wrong most of the time. The characters are at best unidimensional. The "natural outdoor" set pieces obviously fake when it comes to rock formations. The story is extremely simple, and finally, the scenario as well as its implementation have a number of logical flaws.

Then, what has it going for itself? Well, the mood for one is excellent, its strange and tight. The main ideas about the setup, how the characters go there, and the environment, are refreshingly interesting. The fact that the action takes place in the dark and mostly without sets is a stroke of pure. genius. Now, if only they could have made the lighting "real", to correspond with the light sources available, it would have been perfect, and the mood entrancing.

If you're a sci-fi lover, it would be worth a watch, it's different. If you're a real fan of Vin Diesel, then go for it.


Must Love Dogs — A dating romantic comedy about getting back into it — 6*/10

Must Love Dogs is for John Cusack fans, because honestly, the story line is kind of boring. Cusack plays his usual philosophical forlorn character with excessive dialogs that we all love. The problem is, that's the only interesting part of the movie. Diane Lane is good, but her characters is very bland, just as every other ones.

Everything about the film is kind of average, without spunk or spark. It's the type of chick flick that Hollywood loves to churn out because they know they'll make money. The recipe is tried and true. I've watched it a number of time, so I can say you'll be entertained, but that's about it.

You want something simple to pass the evening away without being disappointed, this could be it for you.


samedi 12 janvier 2013

What Happens in Vegas — An instant crowd pleaser about building a fake couple or not — 8*/10

What Happens in Vegas is designed as a crowd pleaser. Fortunately, it's done well enough that it can stand the passage of time. It was an instant hit, and I must say, it's easy to watch over and over again.

Cameron Diaz who plays a modern power woman and Ashton Kutcher who plays a lazy party guy are funny as hell, and perfect for each other. Their sidekicks carry the brunt of the crazy behaviors and make the main characters look more normal.

The scenario is a nice roller coaster with few pause that only serve as jumping board for more wacky entertainment. The romance itself and the sweetening of the story is even well done. The souring was also handled pretty well, they didn't go off the deep end, and did it simply. The soundtrack is upbeat and current, and the editing hide some nice surprises.

The only thing I could reproach is the plainness of the dialogs. Nothing spectacular there, but no clumsy attempts either and it's funny, so it's difficult to really complain.

Weirdly enough, no sex, which is good, it would have just ruined the vibe. It's a good chick flick, as well as a guy flick. There's stuff of everyone in their.

For good entertainment, see it.


In Her Shoes — A a gentle soulful comedy about two sisters about to hit self-discovery — 8*/10

In Her Shoes starts with, as many romantic comedy do, a quick love and a quick hurt to set the stage. However, this is not really about romance though it does contain some. It's about what it means to be connected, and what it entails. It's also about setting yourself free, and finding your path.

We all, at some point, hit rock bottom, it helps us understand who we are, and in this movie, the main characters do just that.

The story is well built, interesting, it doesn't follow too many of the usual path, and has enough novel ideas that it makes for a very solid scenario. The dialogs are real, interesting, and often enough funny. There's no downtime, there's always one more thing you want to know, and it ends on a very positive note that anybody can choose reflect upon.

Cameron Diaz introduce her hot manipulative character with a bang, and slowly pulls us in to force us to get to know her better as she does herself. Toni Colette plays her usual self-effacing persona, while Shirley Maclaine hits her role as the grand-mother spot on.

You'll easily be engrossed, see it.


vendredi 11 janvier 2013

The Blood of Heroes — A post apocalyptic movie about a brutal sport born of the desolation — 9*/10

The Blood of Heroes is set in a desolate post apocalyptic future, and you can taste the dirt and the misery. It also shows Rutger Hauer at his best.

This flick never rose to fame, probably because of its weird choice of topic, a brutal game that looks like a mix of chess, american football, and ancient Rome gladiatorial combat. There's blood and pain at every turn. So it's not for everyone, but the quality is there.

The imagery, costumes, makeup, and action are without reproach. The story might not bring anything new to the table, but the world sure does, and it's showed in full details. The dialogs are simple, yet very effective, and no quick easy slick remark, jut hard harsh statements fitting the whole scene.

The only reproach I would make is that the pellicle is getting old, and without clean images, it's getting tougher to appreciate. No widescreen, no HD. Bummer. Still, its age does show beyond that, the rest is impeccable.

If you don't mind violence, see it.


The Truman Show — Exposing reality TV, and giving a sweet tale to make you think — 8*/10

The Truman Show is a tale that will tug at your heart strings. It's the movie that showed the world that Jim Carrey could play drama. His wild gesticulating or face distortion barely make an appearance compared to his previous incarnations.

The film feels a little tacky, but it's dealing with a tacky subject: reality TV. It rode the wave of its inception as well as initial popularity and at the same time as it was making fun of it. Each character, but the main one, is a caricature of reality TV and its entourage, even its dissidents. It feels as fake as its subject, yet it brings important points. Is happy ignorance better than truth? Do you define yourself, or does your environment?

The sweetness of it all will capture you. Truman's predicament will rivet you. The last scene will move you.

See it, it's worth it.


The Hobbit — A true treasure, and now the new top fantasy movie — 10*/10

The Hobbit has always been the little brother book of The Lord of the Rings. However, in their movie version, it feels the other way around.

For one, technology for CGI is better due to a number of years of innovation. Then, each camera shot looks fuller, as if, maybe due to greater CGI, Peter Jackson had stuffed more details everywhere. That's probably not the case, because after reviewing all the work that went into TLOTR, it seems impossible to do better. Maybe he simply got bolder.

One thing is certain though, he, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens got really comfortable with Tolkien's work, enough to get creative, and deviate from the book on many occasions. With the help of a new addition to their team these forays completely respect the spirit the original work, as well as pick information out of The Silmarillion and TLOTR. I must warn fans though, that they do play with the original timeline of certain external event unrelated to The Hobbit.

That being said, it's a roller coaster of a movie, especially once in the goblin caves. The encounter with Gollum is priceless. The dialogs are fuller than TLOTR, there's no statements of the obvious like Legolas was wont to do, no over-sentimental lines, and no waste of time. I credit the writers and director's heighten confidence.

Even with all that, the council in Rivendell felt a bit weak, but it's the only scene that let me down. There's also the annoying detail about Thrain having a mental illness. I don't remember any such thing, he was no different than any other dwarf in that respect, and it adds nothing to the story. Those are the only negative things I have to say about the movie.

If you want magic, adventure and fantasy, it's now the ultimate movie. Go see it in IMAX. The 3D has too many panning in the beginning, giving us more blurs than I care for, but it gets better fast.

It's a must, for anyone, and everyone who doesn't mind 3h40min at the theater. The IMAX seats are a blessing in that sense.


mercredi 9 janvier 2013

Bewitched — A silly light romantic comedy that can be enjoyed by anyone — 8*/10

Bewitched is an amazingly light romantic comedy. Will Ferrell is playing with his least wonky funny game face on, and Nicole Kidman shines as a co-star. Who would have thought that she could be that silly? They make a great pair, each balancing the other on the screen, and I'm sure playing off each other on the set.

A meta movie about a TV show is nothing new, but having the TV show retooled within the movie while bringing the TV show's idea to reality within the movie, and making fun of it on the side, that's meta-meta and a great idea. Bring in the whole stint about the washed-up star, as well as an immortal trying to be a mortal, and you've got yourself a nice fully fledged story.

Everyone's acting is right on the spot, as is the soundtrack. The photography is rich and eye pleasing. Will is presented in a way in which he can be appreciated by anyone, and Nicole is at its cutest and sweetest.

It's a must see comedy.


Talladega Nights — Wacky testosterone charged car racing comedy — 6*/10

Talladega Nights is a typical Will Ferrell movie. It features him, and his usual antics, but with a more straight face attitude appropriate to Nascar. This time, it's all about driving, good old fashion American testosterone, and dealing with your past.

You can't take this flick seriously, if you do, you're missing the point. That being said, I'll have to contradict myself and talk about the French guy. The "pépé le pew" stereotype is over the top, even for this movie. The actor, maybe at the demand of the director, really went overboard with the accent, without even bringing in anything new. At least, when they mocked American bravado in the crepe scene, they didn't make Will more brave, they fed him counter points by having all the other characters defecting, even himself and his best friends who still told him not to concede the point.

Alright, that was too long.

The movie is an excellent laugh, and the twist really funny, especially the instant take over of the family, the cougar, and the taming of the young ones.

If you love Nascar or Will Ferrell or want to see a wacky movie, it's for you.


Rise of the Guardians — Quite an interesting take on children's beliefs — 7*/10

Rise of the Guardians is an interesting take on some of the major beliefs of children, some of which are geared toward capitalist consumerism. That being said, their spin caught me a bit off-guard. I guess I didn't pay enough attention to the preview. It was a very pleasant surprise, especially for Santa Claus. He rocks! The Easter Bunny... well, he's interesting, but his world, not so much. I guess they spent more time on the northman. The others are somewhere in the middle.

Now, there's a few weak moment in the movie, where the script gets too predictable and the dialogs a bit lame. If they could have applied themselves to the whole movie and each of the characters as they did on the North Pole and its denizen, we'd have had a masterpiece.

I must admit though, that they did a good work on the animation style. Even though it's not highly polished, it has flair, and a certain personality, so there's some good there. It's also touching at time.

Overall, it's a good movie to watch. Just don't expect a stellar story line.


mardi 8 janvier 2013

Wreck-It Ralph — Video games have a life of their own, you know — 9*/10

Wreck-It Ralph was a movie that I was anticipating because I loved the idea behind it. That's usually a bad sign. Too much anticipation can ruin an experience. To my great joy, it wasn't the case. The movie delivered what the preview promised, except for one thing, you spend a greater part of the movie in a single video game world.

The animation is excellent, the story interesting, the basic idea pretty novel, and the characters lovable. They were even able to insert a pretty dramatic and heart wrenching scene as well as a hero finish. You can't ask for much else.

It's an all around excellent animation film, and if you're even slightly interested in video games, especially those old 8-bits ones as well as how it all evolved and the different types of games, you'll be in heaven.

Go see it on the big screen.


Hitch — A solid modern slick romantic comedy — 9*/10

Hitch is a slick romantic movie with two slick main characters. They are hot, beautiful, perfect, and the best at what they do. The only problem? They both have baggage that keeps them from love. Nothing new there.

The whole movie is extremely slick. The music, the camera shots, the editing, the script... it's grandiose, and beautiful. It's most interesting feature, though, is the endearing nature of the secondary characters, and the business they're involved in.

It makes for a very interesting story, something you want to be part of.

The only real hiccup, is the way that she repeatedly snubs him at the end. Had I been in his shoes, she would have had a piece of my mind for being manipulated that way. However, it does fit in the movie, and I'll just lump it with all the Hollywood over exaggeration I'm always whining about.

You want to see a good romantic comedy that anyone, even a man, can enjoy? That's it.


lundi 7 janvier 2013

Bedazzled — Your basic comedy about the devil and wishes gone awry — 6*/10

Bedazzled has a very simple premise and deliver a very simple comedy full of chuckles. Mix a sexy devil, a clueless anti-hero, some wishes gone terribly wrong, and voilà!

It's funny, with each wish and consequences well devised. The dialogs are good and the script well thought out.

Unfortunately, the movie over all feels a little cheap when you see it for the second time. It's not enough to stop me, but... What create that impression is that they reuse the same 5 actors to do different secondary characters. Also, some special effects are not as good as they could have been, and most scenes feel a bit empty. Lastly, Brendan Fraser's character is a bit too geeky at the beginning, but over doing it is a common flaw in Hollywood movies (as I've said many times).

Still, it's worth seeing, especially if you like devil related comedies.


dimanche 6 janvier 2013

Wimbledon — A sweet romantic comedy with spunk and sport — 8*/10

Wimbledon is a sweet, unpretentious, high flying, romantic comedy. The humor is intellectual, with interesting British dialogs without slangs or complications, and full of funny expressions.

Paul Bettany has a number of subtle facial/body expression that are just the right spice for the tone of the movie. Although I always find it difficult to accept Kristen Dunst has playing a star, she's more suited as an athletic star and perfect as Paul Bettany's opposite, bringing spunk like she can easily do.

The setting of the movie is quite interesting, and the shots beautiful. More over, the story has a full figure, and is peppered with interesting details. You can feel the English fever for Wimbledon, and the soundtrack is quite appropriate.

Only a few things mar this beauty. First, most court commentators sound like their reading their script, especially McEnroe and Evert. Second, the tennis itself, while well edited, shows flaws from time to time.

That being said, it is my favorite romantic comedy because it has everything and does it all right just like I want it.

A must see.


The 'Burbs — Suburbia antics and over active imagination — 6*/10

The 'Burbs is silly to say the least. Imagine goofy suburbanite neighbors with a over active imaginations, add strange new comers, and you can get where it's going.

Most of the action takes place on the outside set, and it really gives this small neighborhood a lived-in feel. With the different point of views, and each persona well integrated, the whole place quickly becomes real in your mind.

It's definitely from a late 80s mold and it doesn't go out of its way to break it, but it has aged well. The story line is interesting, and the antics of our eager spies comical enough to make us easily forget that it is getting old.

There's only two scenes I don't like. 1) Art's over eating. Movies often over do it when it comes to food, and food noise, but that's ridiculous. At least, it's all located in a single spot and it doesn't spill over the rest of the film. 2) The husband and wife fight which is poorly placed to serve as a hinge.

Finally, I only realized last year that the wife of the main character is Carrie Fisher, miss Princess Leia herself. After Star Wars, it got difficult to pick her out of a lineup, and this movie is a good example of that. She's not a bad actress, she's just a plain one.

It's good entertainment, if you don't mind the 80s or if you're a fan of Tom Hanks.


Wedding Crashers — A fun, sexy, quirky, comedy for all — 8*/10

Wedding Crashers became an instant classic because of its mix of fun, sex, quirky characters, and light romance. Everybody from womanizers to romantics can find something they like in it.

Each persona on the set has its quirks and speak their own dialect. The settings are luscious, the music excellent, the editing impeccable, the women beautiful, the complex dialogs fast paced, and the story engrossing.

There are only 2 things I would say pushed the envelope too far. 1) The fact that Vince Vaughn's character has some serious issues concerning food. It just doesn't fit well with the rest. 2) Will Ferrell's character is a tad too odd, although it fits within the story, it doesn't mesh well with the others, especially with his last appearance.

Watch it, you'll have fun.


vendredi 4 janvier 2013

The Money Pit — A funny Tom Hanks classic — 6*/10

The Money Pit will make you laugh, even if it's dating a bit. By now, you could consider it a period piece of the 80s. The main idea is very interesting, and the characters mostly interesting.

The house is fabulous, and each event is a riot. The first time you view it, it's at its funniest, but you'll like to see it again, just to relive the whole catastrophe.

I'd say that the main downside is the construction crew which is exaggerated to a point where it pulls you out of the movie. An other sad point is the final scene, but then it goes with the values of the time.

If you're looking for a classic, especially if you like Tom Hanks, this is for you.


Elf — A goofy holiday comedy to bring you cheer — 7*/10

Elf has an interesting premise: a human baby raised by North Pole elves and Santa Claus. The goofy twist to the story fits perfectly with Will Ferrell's acting style. He is just silly enough in a straight and earnest way to make you believe the whole rigamarole.

Every new development in the scenario gives the opportunity for more laughters, and the presentation of new aspects of the elf society.

The acting, editing, and special effects are simple and well crafted, nothing to detract from enjoying the spectacle.

It's a great recommendation if you're looking for Christmas related entertainment.


The Terminal — Endearing romantic comedy set in an international airport — 8*/10

The Terminal is an endearing romantic comedy with a slavic foreigner, played by Tom Hanks, trapped in an international airport due to an uprising in his fictive home country. That is an unorthodox setup. Add to that an uptight by-the-book security officer unhappy with those complications, and a beautiful female flight attendant, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, trapped in her role of mistress, and you get an idea of what's going to happen.

It's an improbable, but possible, situation that gives rise to a number of comical scenes, very well played by Hanks. He's very believable in his role, showing a lot of work. Nice camera shot, transitions, soundtrack, and editing. Steven Spielberg knows his work. Zeta-Jones is perfect for her role, and is simply beautiful.

The end had a few change in direction, which was appreciable, and even if it got a bit rosy, it was still pretty solid.

On a side note, I thought I recognize our Montreal Mirabel airport, and after checking it out, it turned out to be so.

Good entertainment, see it.


jeudi 3 janvier 2013

Accepted — An unrealistic but very cool comedy about college — 7*/10

Accepted will let you dream about the ideal college for slackers. The situation is completely unrealistic, and would never happen, but it's cool to imagine such a thing.

As the movie progress, you get whisked away from one funny thing to an other without too much thought about the logic of it all. If you shut off that part of your brain, you'll have a pleasant ride. The only elements that really bring you back to an outdated teen flick are the "evil" guys. Too archetypical.

The actors are doing a fairly good job, if you take into account the tone of the movie. Lots of female eye-candy. Some feel-good philosophy. Lots of dialogs. The end has a realistic ring to it, which makes for a surprise.

All in all, easy listening, and good entertainment.


Galaxy Quest — A lot of sci-fi fun for the whole family — 7*/10

Galaxy Quest is science-fiction movie wrapped in a parody of the Star Trek TV series phenomenon. The comedic appeal of this film is without doubt, but if you know what a Star Trek convention can be like and all it entails, it's doubly hilarious. This piece makes fun of the fans, the actors, all the paraphernalia surrounding them, as well as those milking it for all its worth.

That being said, it's only half of what you're going to see, because you'll have a true sci-fi flick on your hands, with special effects, space ships, exotic planets, scary aliens and creatures.

It might not have a very complicated story, but really it's a character movie, and based on that, it's quite a success. Tim Allen was made for this role, it fits him like a glove, and you can see that Sigourney Weaver is having a blast playing a role that is so unusual for her.

See this movie, and entertainment and laughter will fill your evening.


Fun with Dick and Jane — Laugh your financial difficulties away — 8*/10

Fun with Dick and Jane will thoroughly entertain you. It's funny, easy to watch, and will turn to ridicule those callous financiers who have ruined the world economy.

You get attached to Jim Carrey's character almost immediately as well as his family. The crisis comes almost right during the opening dumps them into financial trouble on the spot. Their efforts are desperate, yet presented in a comedic fashion. You root for them, but they can't seem to get the better of the situation.

This very real situation is solved in a very unrealistic fashion that could have been daydreamed by an enthusiastic young mind. It makes for thigh-slapping laughs and lots of mirth. It's a great mix. Who wouldn't want to be the hero of their economic difficulties?

Recommended to everyone.


The Sixth Sense — A powerful suspense with an intriguing story — 9*/10

The Sixth Sense has a powerful suspense to its story, with eloquent visuals, and great acting.

You will be immerse in the drama right away, even if I consider the opening the weakest part of the movie. At first, the subject matter is pretty innocuous and Bruce Willis easily carries you into the thick of it with Haley Joel Osment along for the ride. The boy's role then turns quickly into the linchpin of the suspense, with a number of nerve jarring surprises.

Once you're over the horror hill, and you think the movie is over, there's the final piece of the puzzle waiting for you. The only real downside of the whole thing, is that once you know the ending, it looses a bit of its luster, but I still enjoy watching it on a regular basis.

A must see. Enjoy.