jeudi 28 février 2013

Two for the Money — High stake sport betting for an intense ride — 8*/10

Two for the Money presents us the improbable concoction of a movie about offering advice to sport betters as a high rolling career. It won its bet, this is fine entertainment. It has some sport, lots of competitive male hormones, a bit of touching romance, and drama.

Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey play the intense roles of a sport gambling businessman and his protégé. Rene Russo bring in a touch of the feminine flair and sensibility to try to balance things out, even though, this could never be presented as a chick flick. None of the cast lets us down, so it's an overall solid performance.

The score, the script, and the editing are all wound tight to give a ride that comes close to a suspense, especially near the end. The sets are lush, as is the wardrobe, and the story is very interesting, bordering on the complex.

Very good entertainment.


mercredi 27 février 2013

What Dreams May Come — Hopelessly utopic romance in a fantastical version of heaven and hell — 8*/10

What Dreams May Come is an incredible take on life after death mixed with the subject of soul mates.

Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Annabella Sciorra all give good performances. The same can be said of Max von Sydow and Rosalind Chao in their more minor roles. The designs and cinematography are powerful and beautiful. The story is captivating and the intrigue well integrated. Overall, it's excellent.

Now, beside some slightly aging CG, the main problem of this picture is that it's pushing two ideas that are detrimental to our life. One, is the concept of soul mates, that love conquers all, which can lead romantics to stay in relationship that are not good for them. Second, is the idea of the perfect life after death, which robs any purpose out of life. However, those are my opinions and do not diminish the quality of the movie.

It's very emotional entertainment. It's a must for romance lovers.


Live Free or Die Hard — Bad guys bringing down the US through hacking — 7*/10

Live Free or Die Hard is the fourth installment of the franchise and the first of the revival. It is easily the best one since the original Die Hard. This time, however, the threat is much more global.

You can see Bruce Willis come back as John McClane. He's still making jokes, playing the hero and recalling past episodes, but now, he's a little grumpier, and somewhat less enthusiastic about his life. With him, is Justin Long who plays a quite funny hacker, and Kevin Smith who cameos as an other hacker. Those three are definitively the best actors of the bunch. Opposite them is Timothy Oliphant who does a pretty good job in the role of the main bad guy, and the very sexy, especially in her FBI body armor, Maggie Q as the martial art babe. The rest of the cast delivers a acceptable performance, if little better.

The score has some nice rhythm, the camera shots are good, the editing tight, the action big, and the story very interesting.

However, there are some large logical flaws in the scenario as is always the case when it comes to computers. Usually, that's not much of a problem for most audience members. Also, there's that weird projection screen car ride that's badly done for our time, and the inconsistent reactions from the daughter. Finally, some of the stunts are way beyond human capacity, which wasn't so much a problem in the first episode.

Excellent entertainment.


mardi 26 février 2013

Die Hard — Action, laughs, and Christmas explosions at Nakatomi Plaza tower in Los Angeles — 8*/10

Die Hard, the original, is still to this day the best of the series. The action, the humor, the story line, the dialogs, and the setting make for great entertainment.

Bruce Willis created an incredibly adorable yet truly heroic character. You love everyone of his taunts, his language, the way he pushes himself to beat the odds, and his view on what's right.

There are only no real negative things I could find, only small stuff. One is that there are a few 80s elements clearly visible in the film that haven't aged well, like the way the coke snorter is played and some of the female hair styles are done. Two, from time to time, Alan Rickman pushes his acting a bit far on the caricature end.

Beyond that, even with age, it's a great action flick.


lundi 25 février 2013

The Weather Man — An inept man tries to do good for his family — 7*/10

The Weather Man is a low key movie about a boring person who is deluded about life in a clueless manner. He had a great award winning dad, he became a fairly inept dad, and he's trying to change that.

The film is pretty monotone in term of story and visual to underline exactly how bland the guy and his job are. Nicolas Cage doesn't have a great acting range, but this role fits him pretty well, and he did a great job. Michael Cain plays a good counter point, and makes Cage's character more bearable.

The piece is funny, in a chuckle kind of way, with lots of sad undertone. It's quietly entertaining, but won't really make you notice.

If you want to see something different, you might want to try this.


The Big White — Insurance fraud, traps, and double cross in Alaska — 8*/10

The Big White paints a picture of quiet desperation. The drama is not in large catastrophic events, but in the failure of everyday life. The laughters will come from what people do, to get out of those jams or get ahead of them.

Out of need, a man will commit insurance fraud and you will root for him to succeed. Then, in comes the insurance claim agent wanting to bag a big case to get out of cold Alaska. Mix in some incompetent first time killers, a mentally hill wife, an abusing older brother, and you get a complex situation to navigate brought in a surprisingly entertaining story, with a nice sprinkle of love.

The setting is unglamorous to say the least which set the mood. However, some of the outdoor shots are visible indoor sets, but they don't detract us much from the intrigue. The acting is very good. You get to hate Woody Harrelson the minute he makes his appearance. Incredulity will be your main emotion toward the two thugs. Mild annoyance will permeate your relation with the wife played Holly Hunter. You'll alternate between nodding and shaking your head when seeing the antics of the insurance agent played by Giovanni Ribisi. And finally, you'll support Robin Williams' character all the way through.

Let yourself be entertained by this really down to earth film.


dimanche 24 février 2013

Good Morning, Vietnam — How to view the Vietnam War from a different angle — 9*/10

Good Morning, Vietnam is one of the best movie that Robin Williams has made. It's funny, unpretentious, has some real drama without being too heavy, and it brings home some nice open values.

Williams' acting is excellent, displaying all of the above qualities, and it will transport you easily into his world. You'll laugh and you'll be touch, even though you might not be able to understand everything he says.

It's a very different view point of the Vietnam War, and just that makes the whole film very interesting. It's a must see, even if you don't like movies on that particular subject, because the split between the personal angle and the conflict angle is about even.


Liberal Arts — Life is full of mistakes, what can we do about it? — 6*/10

Liberal Arts is about messing up. You make mistakes, you learn from them, and you move on. A lot of things happen in that script that people don't want to. They try to fix their situation, but it doesn't work. They go after their desire, and grab the wrong end of the stick or it turns out it's not what they wanted.

The main character keeps on acting like a clueless chump, until the very end. It's only then that he sorts of start to get it. As you see him evolve throughout the flick, you can't help but cringe at his mistakes.

The movie itself has the incoherence of life, which makes sense. However, the bad part is that it's not done on purpose, including a few incoherence at the beginning. If you get over them, you can probably appreciate the rest of the script. Had I to guess, I'd say all the mistakes of this film lie at the feet of the fact that Josh Radnor, as well as starring is also the writer and the director. By playing that many important roles, each one gets slightly diluted and ends up not being up to par. It takes quite a veteran or a genius to pull that off.

Elizabeth Olsen is as sweet as can be, and plays her role with strong emotions. The other actors pretty much bag theirs just right. The weakest performer is probably Radnor. He gives a good performance, but nothing more.

The whole film is an interesting point of view. I just wish it was better made.


Winter Passing — The emotional wreck of dysfunctional relations — 9*/10

Winter Passing is a moody and glaucous movie. The emotional ambiance is the real meat, not the story, the dialogs, or even the life lessons you could get out of it, although they are all excellent. This unpassionate symphony is possible only because of the excellent acting, the great script, good soundtrack, solid editing, and probably a director with a vision.

Ed Harris is magnificent. His physical acting really is a just portrayal of the body of a chronic drinker. His emotion are raw beneath the cloak of alcohol, and he makes you feel them. Zooey Deschanel is the fundamental piece of this film, introducing us to this world with a depressive and emotional husk of a self-abusing persona. Finally, Will Ferrell surprisingly gives us a really calm performance with only a very sober shadow of silliness coming from the peculiar background of his character.

I have nothing negative to say.

It's not for everyone, but it's a must as a drama that you might say is family oriented.


vendredi 22 février 2013

Mean Girls — High school girls bitching and back stabbing — 7*/10

Mean Girls is a nicely put together teen movie about girl rivalries. The girl perspective is kept all the way through the flick and presented in a cohesive way. That's what happens when you have good female writers on board. More over, the film promotes excellent values and addresses directly a rampant adolescent girl problem, mainly bitching.

The dialogs are great, the story interesting with nice twists and turns Each scene is well constructed and fitted in a nice ensemble. The characters are well developed even if they're still single dimension. Finally, it has enough laughs to keep us smiling.

One particularity that is pretty interesting and would have benefited from being exploited a little bit more is the parallel drawn between girl-world, real-world, and animal-world.

There's very fews things negative to say about it. First, it has the teen movie vibe, however, it's the theme and it's not pushed to an extreme. Second, Rachel McAdams, the hottest girl, the queen bee, is not that hot as a blond, but she's believable. On the other hand Lindsay Lohan is very hot.

I say it's excellent light entertainment, with nice bits to make you think.


The Untouchables — The story of Eliot Ness taking down Al Capone — 7*/10

The Untouchables, by Brian De Palma, was quite a hit when it came out and for good causes. Action, violence, and blood done with a touch of class, a solid dose of heroism, and some drama.

The theme music is excellent. The rest of the soundtrack, though, is not always up to the same standard. Sean Connery is very good, as well as Robert De Niro. The same cannot be said for the others, like Kevin Costner who did give a good performance, but not one of his best.

The costumes are great, especially the suits, thanks to Giorgio Armani. The story is uninventive, yet interesting, even if the events seem to move along too quickly, giving us the impression that everything happened at the same time. The sets are great, and detailed. However, the dialogs of the good guys are rather simplistic, to the exception of Connery's.

The film is good entertainment, especially if you like old prohibition cops versus gangster flicks.


jeudi 21 février 2013

Gangster Squad — Action punched cop movie set in the 50s with a predictable scenario — 6*/10

Gangster Squad crams as much action as it can on the idea of having a police task force that doesn't answer to the law so it can take down the bad guys. It's set in the 50s in Los Angeles, but that's almost secondary.

Sean Penn play his top gangster role well, the only problem is that it's a stereotyped character, and quite boring. None of the cops are interesting except for Ryan Gosling's and that only marginally. If it wasn't for him and the beautiful Emma Stone, there wouldn't be anything interesting in this movie.

The action is well built, the soundtrack interesting, but that's it. The story is at best a support for shootouts and the fist fights. The dialogs are unimaginative.

You will be entertained, nothing more.


Cast Away — A lone survivor on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific — 9*/10

Cast Away shows you what life would be for a lucky shipwreck or plane crash survivor on a deserted island in the Pacific. It's tough, and very lonely.

The movie does an excellent job of showing us that, and also of setting up the character's life, and what would happen after he returns home. It is a drama, but it's not something designed to upset the viewer. Everything is done right: the editing, the soundtrack, the camera shots, the sets, the costumes, the accessories, the scenario, the dialogs, and the story.

Tom Hanks is perfect, a high note in his career, without a doubt. He brings excellent dramatic emotions to the screen, as well as incredible poise in the loneliness of his character and his defeated look, not to mention going to incredible dietary length to get really emaciated.

The only negative things I've found, are not that noticeable. First, the Christmas family dinner is a bit over done in true Hollywood fashion. Second, the "sea" during the crash is obviously set in a large artificial basin and the huge waves are CG. Third, the night time scenes on the island don't look real.

That being said, it's a must see.


mardi 19 février 2013

Lincoln — Idolization of an historic figure at an important time — 7*/10

Lincoln solidly portrays the time at the end of the United States' Civil War, specifically concerning the costumes, the decor, and probably the political proceedings. However, idealization of this important historical figure taints the result.

The visuals are just perfect, to the point of giving the pellicle a light grainy quality to get you in the mood. The closeness of the 19th century architecture as well as it lighting capabilities are well represented. You get an almost cozy feeling. The acting is excellent. I particularly liked Tommy Lee Jones' character, although it wasn't much of a stretch for him, it was funny.

If you're a US citizen, it's probably a must. For the rest of us, it's an interesting subject, done extremely well.


Life of Pi — Be transported on this adventure lost at sea — 9*/10

Life of Pi tells an incredible, or maybe unbelievable, story of a shipwrecked young Indian, by Ang Lee. Definitively a master piece of imagination and storytelling. You'll be captivated.

The 3D, considering the subject, is incredibly well done. No mistake at all there. It is mostly invisible, yet it will take you breath away on a number of occasion, and it helps you dive in to this marvelous adventure.

Nothing to criticize on this movie, everything is done extremely well. The "tell me your story" part is sort of weak and an over used plot strategy, but it works here. The subject matter might not be interesting to all, but it can be enjoyed by all. Open your heart, your mind, and your imagination to this tale, and  you won't regret it.

A must see. The preview doesn't do it credit.


Sin City — Good versus evil, blood, violence, action, in comic book style — 9*/10

Sin City comes straight out of its comic book pages with its incredible visuals. It presents you with gritty heroes who'll get their hands dirty to make sure good triumphs over evil, and you'll cheer them on with all your heart. They are confronted with the worst of the worst kind of human beings imaginable.

Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez team up, with extra director Quentin Tarantino to deliver a violent and very bloody movie that fortunately doesn't show it too much because of the visual style.

My favorite story is gladiator one, then the cop with a heart problem.

Mickey Rourke is perfect as the violent yet dame-friendly super killing machine. Bruce Willis is just as good with the cop who will give anything to protect a young innocent girl. Jessica Alba is the sweetest, hottest, most adorable stripper you'll ever meet. Rosario Dawson is spectacular as the valkyrie hooker.  Brittany Murphy is right on as the abuse victim waitress. Rutger Hauer has the small part of the cardinal but plays it well. Finally, it's probably Clive Owen's best career performance, since his acting range is rather limited.

The dialogs might be a bit weak at times, but it is keeping with the style of the film, so there's no faulting them. Some acting, mostly from the extras is rather unsatisfying, but it's not too distracting.

In conclusion, if you want action, violence, and good versus evil, all done in a very special visual style, this is it.


lundi 18 février 2013

The Family Stone — Hectic Christmas cheers with a very opinionated family — 8*/10

The Family Stone is a strangely entertaining Christmas movie. Funny dialogs and situations, some drama, a bit of romance, and you have a good evening.

Sarah Jessica Parker is just perfect as this neurotic obsessive control freak who meets the family of her boyfriend for the firs time. You'll love to hate her, you'll laugh at her antics, and pity her for what she's going through. It's not all about her though, we get to know the whole family and spend a very hectic holiday with them.

The story is extremely engrossing, and each scene is delight. Lots of discussions, many arguments, and a good number of diverging opinions are the main staples of the scenario. Add to that, heart felt sentiments, some awkwardness, opinionated statements and a touch of tragedy, and you get a pretty satisfying package.

The only thing I really have to say something negative about would be the chase scene around the house. A bit over done for adults.

I recommend seeing it to those who are looking for nice Christmas film.


Wall Street — How to make money by screwing with the financial system — 7*/10

Wall Street, by director Oliver Stone, was quite a movie in its heyday, and understandably so. It has some good acting, nice suspense, intrigue, drama, a strong theme, a well built script, and interesting visuals.

However, it has some flaws. First, Daryl Hannah is definitively the worst actress of the cast, and can't even pull off a believable beautiful blond social climber. The decoration style of her character is mediocre at best, ugly probably being closer to the mark, even by the mid-80s standards. I'd like to think that Stone deliberately made her bad at decorating, but I think he simply was off the mark in terms of what good result is. There's also the fact that when we meet Gecko for the first time, he's over done (a common thing in Hollywood when introducing some characters).  The Sheen family crying time seems unreal, probably due to bad editing, bad coverage, or bad script, because they do the rest to perfection. Finally, the undercover wire recording is unrealistic, the way Gecko just goes with it and the final sound quality.

Now, it's still an interesting movie, and it has aged relatively well considering. The story is still captivating and entertaining. The main male actors, Charlie Sheen, his father Martin Sheen, and Michael Douglas, all have solid performance, if not oscar worthy.

It's a classic, and warrant to be watched before seeing the second installment.


dimanche 17 février 2013

The Game — Tightly woven suspense with great attention to details — 9*/10

The Game is a great suspense by David Fincher that will keep you guessing until the very end. The quality is evident, because its age doesn't show at all.

The sound environment and music are extremely well thought out to completely immerse you in the game. Rich set and wardrobe, as well as smooth camera work and editing will completely cocoon you, keeping your attention well riveted on the screen. The scenario will captivate and won't release you before the movie ends, with a series of intriguing and tightly woven scenes.

This is one of my favorite role of Michael Douglas, even better than Wall Street (review upcoming) because he's less of an ass hole here. Sean Penn has a nice supporting role that I like a lot.

Watch it for the first time, and you'll see, you'll wish to be able to watch it for the first time again.


Toy Story 2 — An even better story about toys' secret life — 10*/10

Toy Story 2 follows up in the steps of a great vision, Toy Story, with the same attention to quality and even better animation rendering. This time, they brought in a bit more drama and adventure. They bring very close to home some very difficult things for a toy, namely when discarded by a beloved child or never being own by a child.

Even with this added drama, it is still just as fun and well done. Our characters go off the deep end and into the city to rescue their friend. The story is captivating, and you'll be reunited with all our favorite characters.

If you liked the first installment, you'll love this one.


Toy Story — An incomparable animation about toys' secret life — 9*/10

Toy Story, the first of the series, was a spectacular achievement. Not only was it completely rendered digitally, the quality was very high to equal or better most standard animation, but it was actually excellent fun. On top of that, you had the novel idea of a toy's secret life, a great story, awesome voice acting, lots of jokes, a bit of drama, some suspense, real life conflicts of personality, solid dialogs, and some heroics, all of which resulted in a complete package that anyone of any age can appreciate.

The cast distribution was done smartly, each actor corresponding perfectly to their characters. The soundtrack was discreet and avoided a big sing along, which is a blessing.

The only thing that could be thought of as negative was the technology limitation at the time. The colors are a bit stiff, lacking a bit of shadowing and lighting, but it's really minimal, certainly not enough to distract from this quality piece.

I highly recommend it unless you're not interested in animation at all.


samedi 16 février 2013

Duel — A little known old suspense gem by Steven Spielberg — 8*/10

Duel is the first full length movie Steven Spielberg did a very long time ago, and it proved his genius by making something out of nothing, mainly a car, a truck, and the open road.

It's a low budget flick, with little happening, yet the suspense is complete. The first time you'll watch it, if you don't mind the early 70s, you'll be surprised.

The main character's reactions and inner monologs have a few flaws, but the rest is excellent. The soundtrack, which consist of little music is very low key and it fits the movie just right who is the same overall. The local is a little used road in a semi-arid back country and perfect for the mood.

It's a movie to discover, but don't expect any bells or whistles.


The Shining — A classic suspense with incredible atmosphere — 9*/10

The Shining is by now a classic, and it has the well deserved title of master piece. Stanley Kubrick came up with the a jewel, no less.

The strong point of the movie, and one of Kubrick's best talent, is the atmosphere. You get sucked into it by the time the couple settle in as the guardians of the lodge.

The young boy really is the meat to the horror of it all, he's the one to give you the chills, helped with some very smart editing and a deeply persuasive soundtrack. The music is great. Jack Nicholson on the other hand is the one to make us afraid with his excellently well played psychotic behavior. Shelley Duvall is the born victim, excusing her husband, bending to his will, doing his job, mostly clumsy, rather clingy, a bit clueless... it's all in her acting, and it's spot on.

The film is obviously getting old, but you really rarely take stock of it, like the awkward generic, and a few lousy sound pickups in the beginning. I'll relegate the general stiffness of the introduction, until they are alone at the hotel, as building up the atmosphere.

Overall, if you haven't seen it yet, you should.


jeudi 14 février 2013

Sugar & Spice — High school cheerleaders in trouble with spunk, flair, and laughs — 7*/10

Sugar & Spice is almost a caricature of a teen movie. It is not, because it's not making fun of teens or teen movies, but has that slightly over the top smiley attitude that pushes you to that laughing place where you don't take things too seriously. Those who didn't like that movie didn't get that vibe. It is quite fun.

Now, it's not a perfect movie, the subject matter is treated very lightly, but the story, the dialogs, and the characters are all very entertaining. It doesn't bring anything new, per se, to the table, but it does it with flair, and laughs. The girls are beautiful, but not plastic perfect. The acting is simple, but sincere and adorable in certain cases.

One of the scene, when they announce they're getting married, is the perfect example of the quality and tone of the film. It and its followup scene in the car are hilarious.

If you want to see a good little known teen flick with an adult mask, that would to it.


mercredi 13 février 2013

Encino Man — Teenagers with a cave man — 5*/10

Encino Man is your basic uncool high school kids want to be cool story, but with an unthawed cave man in the mix. Beside that last detail, the scenario is unimaginative at best.

Most aspect are rather lame. The logic is weak, the scientific facts are ignored, characters incredibly shallow, the acting is below par, and its age is starting to show.

It's barely entertaining, but if you have time to waste, maybe it could do the trick.


mardi 12 février 2013

The Crow — Revenge from beyond the grave on a human level and emotional — 9*/10

The Crow is by now a cult movie. Although it's getting a bit old for some of its special effects, it's still excellent.

The soundtrack, especially the music, is exceptional. It's edgy, dark, and the emotions it stirs get you in the guts. It's a mirror image of the story. The revenge theme, certainly isn't new, not even one from beyond the grave, but the angle chosen here, is quite different. It's touching.

You get a great mix of action, emotional drama, ghostly romance, and human relations, often dark and twisted, other times simple or basic. The sets are very dark and strongly gothic. The acting is not perfect, but still strong and just.

There are a few mistakes, not big, but at times noticeable, like some bad sound pickups. However, they seem to make the film into some sort of archaic rendition, which really works to its advantage.

I recommend it if you don't mind its age.


lundi 11 février 2013

10 Things I Hate About You — Fun teen romance with interesting plot ideas — 7*/10

10 Things I Hate About You is a teen movie with some nice spunk. It is set in a language that most adolescents will associate with. The themes correspond to that group age and are not dealt with in an adult manner, tone, or perspective. Neither are they rendered in a puerile or slapstick way. Overall, it's an excellent balancing act.

The characters are interesting and well portrayed. The story captivating, the dialogs believable, the romances sweet and simple. The laughs are aplenty and well orchestrated. The music is well chosen, energetic, and youthful. Finally, the sets and wardrobe are realistic and colorful.

It is an easy watch.


The Matrix — The domination of the machine, the enslavement of the humans — 10*/10

The Matrix, the first installment of the trilogy, is a master piece, not so much in terms of movie mechanics, but in terms of story telling. The ideas it brings, not the concept of the domination of the machines, but how that domination is achieved, are stupendous. They are mind breaking.

The first time I saw that film, I didn't know what I was going to see, and it felt like a punch in the guts. I consider myself lucky, because that is a rare thing. Still, it is a piece to catch anyone's breath.

The soundtrack is one of the best ever, bar only The Crow. The costume are perfectly tailored and adapted to the tone of each environments. The mood is excellent, at all time. They even applied a greenish tinge when they are in the matrix, a blueish one in the cold real world, and you'll see only normal colors when they are in the training programs.

The action and suspense will keep you wanting more, the story will light up your mind, and the fight scenes will push you to the edge of your seat.

Some special effects, mainly the CGI, are not aging very well, but the work is still acceptable today.

This is probably one of Keanu Reeves' best performance. He's not a great actor, but the role fits him well. His performance as well as Carrie-Anne Moss' are not as good in the following installments. Hugo weaving is just perfect for the role. Personally, I can't see him playing in any other movie without seeing Agent Smith.

The other installments of the trilogy are barely good enough to tell the rest of the story, and are not even close to the quality of the first one. I will not be reviewing them.


dimanche 10 février 2013

Keeping the Faith — About a priest, a rabbi, and a girl for romance and comedy — 8*/10

Keeping the Faith is unforgettable and unusual twist on the love triangle story. You know that joke about the priest and the rabbi? Well, that's not it, this is something else, something new.

This movie is a sensible blend of comedy and romance. There's no exaggerations (well, maybe excepting that one weird date) and everything has a sense or realism, including the dialogs.

Ben Stiller plays it straight. Jenna Elfman is an adorable power business woman. Edward Norton complete the trio with a good performance in a slightly lesser role.

There's a nice soundtrack attached to this interesting script with a number of cute twists. You will not be bored, you will definitively be charmed, and have a number of chuckles.

See it, for some simply enjoyable entertainment.


samedi 9 février 2013

Lost in Translation — Nothing happens, yet you understand how it feels — 9*/10

Lost in Translation is one of those rare movie that doesn't need lots of word to make sense. It's all in the mood, the images, and, in this case, the misunderstandings, the confusion. Nothing happens in this film, and that's exactly the point. Nothing goes right, you get literally and metaphorically lost in translation.

Sophia Coppola does an incredible job of making us feel exactly how lost and confused the characters are. The script, the story and the few dialogs are just perfect. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson's delivery is impeccable, just as are the camera shots and the soundtrack.

Get lost, and think a bit about life, see this movie.


vendredi 8 février 2013

Zoolander — Making fun of the fashion industry and male models for a good laugh — 7*/10

Zoolander is not the type of movie you like instantly, it's the kind that grows on you. The more you see it, the funnier it gets. The piece is not kind on the fashion industry and least of all on male models, but it's fun as hell.

It's difficult to explain what is good about it when you can't name any single aspect as a commanding thread. The enjoyment itself derives from a number of little things. The whole walk-off scene is a good example. The editing isn't miraculous but it's right. The music isn't perfect, but it's good. The acting isn't superb, but it works well. It's the meshing of every little pieces that makes that scene and its sarcasm totally hilarious.

In the known actors, we have a long list: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Christine Taylor, Will Ferrell, Milla Jovovich, Jerry Stiller, David Duchovny, Jon Voight, Vince Vaughn, David Bowie, Donald Trump, Christian Slater, Tom Ford, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tommy Hilfiger, Natalie Portman, Fabio, Lenny Kravitz, Gwen Stefani, Heidi Klum, Paris Hilton, Lil' Kim, Winona Ryder, Claudia Schiffer, Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace, Victoria Beckham, Stephen Dorff, Jennifer Coolidge, James Marsden, Patton Oswalt and Billy Zane.

You want to see something offbeat, with odd humor, a silly story, and plenty of caricatures? This is probably a good movie for you.


jeudi 7 février 2013

American Beauty — A positive drama about life and making the most of it — 10*/10

American Beauty is the kind of movie that really makes you think about life, about your life, and those around you.

This movie is above any reproach. Those who don't like it, don't like thinking about life or themselves. The only reason not to see it is because you would like to see a movie to escape and this is just the opposite. Still, it has a positive message, so it's a positive kind of drama, and dramatic it is, even slightly dark at time.

I could just list every aspect of the movie one by one and say it's excellent: acting, characters, camera shots, editing, soundtrack, story, dialogs... but I'm not going to waste more words on perfection.

Just see it.


Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters — Action and magic in the medieval times — 7*/10

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is an action hero movie set in the dark ages. It's a roller coaster with almost non-stop fighting.

The premise of the movie is quite interesting, and well developed. The special effects are top-notch, the sets very immersive, the camera moves just right, and the soundtrack solid.

However, the story is weak, the suspense even more so, the dialogs are no more than minimalist, and the characters very shallow, but well acted.

All of that being said, it's still excellent entertainment, especially on a large screen. The 3D is very well done, no panning at all. I saw it in IMAX, and I wasn't disappointed.

Want your action fantasy fix? That's what it's for.


mercredi 6 février 2013

Empire Records — Mostly marginal kids working in a record shop as solace — 7*/10

Empire Records is funny and slightly offbeat teen movie. A well built one, which each quirky character having a well defined personality, a set of problems, and realistic interactions with each other. Their personas all ring solidly true, each with deep emotional affects. However, not everybody will see themselves represented here, it is but a thin slice of society.

The music is good, the dialogs are interesting just like the story, and it keeps an overall  positive tone, although it does talk about some serious issues. It touches each subjects lightly, and keep the focus on the what is happening, on the development of the situation.

You will be entertained, if you're looking for a good adolescent flick.


mardi 5 février 2013

Pump Up the Volume — Teenage angst and raising your voice to defy the status quo — 9*/10

Pump Up the Volume might have been the true opening salvo of the 90s, and the voice of Generation X, but it speaks to every teen of every generation.

It is about raising your voice, being heard, but only with the advent of the Internet was its dream fully realized.

This is the type of movie that will make you want to write your own blog, make a video journal, or do a podcast. It has that quality that grip people attention and make them do things worthwhile with their lives.

It's an excellent performance by a young Christian Slater, and the rest of the cast. The whole story, every scene, each dialog, they all ring of authenticity. And the soundtrack is amazing.

It might be getting old, but it doesn't feel like it.


Jack Reacher — The man you want investigating your case — 8*/10

Jack Reacher is to investigation what Jason Bourne is to spying, he kicks ass.

This movie is well built and has a captivating story. The women will be seduced by Tom Cruise and the men by Rosamund Pike. They both play their character very well, and even though these are very stereotypical, their interactions aren't. You'll be surprised.

The action is tight, explosive, and violent. No punches are pulled. The bad guys are bad, the good guys are good, but there are no caricatures. The editing is excellent, and at times, surprising.

My main gripe in all of this is that a mobster would have an army, not a handful. The minor things center around Jack Reacher. He pulls a couple supreme good guy stunts, but all in all, we love him for it.

See it on the big screen if you can. It's a must if you want action.


dimanche 3 février 2013

Fever Pitch — A funny romance with opposite attracts and sweet moments — 7*/10

Fever Pitch is an unusual romantic comedy. It does use the "opposite makes the perfect match" kind of routine, and the "hurt" shows up as a scenario plot, but it's all well used, and the choice of opposite is original.

You don't even have to like baseball or know anything about the Red Sox to like the movie and appreciate the story. The writers take you along for the ride. It is funny and sweet. It won't let you down.

Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore play their roles very well. Drew even shows up at her most sexy and most corporate. The rest of the cast also give a great performance. The soundtrack, editing, and camera work are all invisible, which means they are just right.

The only negative things, would be, first, when Lindsey is sleeping in her office. Nobody would be strung out like that. Ever. Second, that again, the lead female reverts to wanting to change her man, when had actually started as accepting.

If you're in the mood for a funny romance, you should see it.


A Lot Like Love — About two people connecting at the wrong time over and over — 8*/10

A Lot Like Love is a sweet sentimental happy movie anchored in reality.

Nothing is perfect in life and most of the time things don't happen the way you think or hope they will. This piece is a good representation of that when it comes to love and relationships. The scenario is cute and it will string you along from start to finish. There's not too many clichés, and when you see one, it's well done. There's no "lie" rearing its head, it's just real things happening, with real reactions.

Both Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher play their role very well. You can see their evolution over the years, and the depth of their character, switching position by the end. The soundtrack is smooth and pleasing, the editing and camera work are seamless.

If you're romantic, it's a must. If romance is not really your thing, try it anyway, it's a good story.


Just Married — A romantic comedy straight from a standard mold without any garnishing — 5*/10

Just Married does little to surprise its audience. It caters to all the clichés of people marrying impulsively, as well as many old regurgitated classics of Hollywood's idea about romantic comedy. Arguably, it's still entertaining, because it's based on a tried and true recipe, but don't expect anything else. However, don't be shocked, the scenario calls, many times, on the "lie" trick to push the story from one drama to an other.

Ashton Kutcher wears his over the top comedy style of That's 70s Show, but Brittany Murphy seems to want to stay away from her hysterical persona that are part of many of her romantic films. It makes the piece watchable.

You want brain dead entertainment, you've never seen it, and you have a free night, this might be for you.