vendredi 29 mars 2013

Sucker Punch — Be amazed, be struck by lightning, see this fantastical sci-fi — 10*/10

Sucker Punch is totally out there, and probably the only way to combine so many different things in a single story. The quite unique and unusual visual style is what will grab you. It is astounding.

The story telling is incomplete, in itself, but not the story. Most of it is told metaphorically. You get to imagine the rest. An easy thing to do is to dismiss the movie because of the beautiful women, or the intense and fantastical action. That is a grand mistake. The story is poignant and very sad, yet wrapped in a beautiful cinematographic cocoon. It's breathtaking. I kept wondering when the hammer blow of bad poorly constructed elements would descend upon me and disappointment, break my heart. It never did.

The dialogs might look simple, and the story line really quick, but their complementing information is in the magic of the metaphors. It's an incredible ride led by the excellent acting of those gorgeous creatures and genius directorial mind, as well as the superb editing and CGI.

Ride the wave, shed a tear, see it.


jeudi 28 mars 2013

Ratatouille — Be mesmerized and transported to a different world with novel ideas — 10*/10

Ratatouille is the kind of animated movie that mesmerizes you with its details, inventiveness, and story.

The subject matter is simply a genius idea. Rats have been used before as animated characters, but never like this. Their world is unreal, but somehow, anchored in reality. The sheer amount of details each scenes has is mind blowing. The dialogs are strong and well thought out. The scenario impeccable and won't let you go once its starts. The voice acting is superb. All of it, pure Pixar.

On an interesting note: apparently, they finally got the hang of animating wet fur, and seem pretty close on getting it for wet hair.

The only negative thing I can find is that Skinner and Anton Ego are both designed a bit too strongly on the "evil" side, which is not a habit for Pixar. However, that's very minor, and they both fit very well in the decor.

A must see.


Jack the Giant Slayer — A fairy tale for tweens — 6*/10

Jack the Giant Slayer is a kid's story, with grownup action and special effects. There's no blood mind you, just a bit of people eating, and some betrayal, so it's safe for children, but young ones don't need that much fighting. So, you might say it's a movie for tweens. The loving is limited to lip kissing, no tongue, there's a bit of gross humor, the good ones are all good, and the evil ones are all evil.

The special effects and the sets are great, you'll definitively be entertained, and the acting is not so bad, but that's it.

The scenario is simplistic. The characters are shallow, with one track mind. The armors and the defensive "medieval" architecture are not realistic. The dialogs are uninventive. And the end is a disaster. She should have gotten the crown, he has no business having it, and it should end after they kneel. After that, it's diarrhea inducing crap, that doesn't add a shred of substance to the film.

Still, the result is a little bit better than the trailer led to believe.


mercredi 27 mars 2013

Heat — High stake efficiently brutal holdups and two razor sharp minds — 10*/10

Heat is the quintessential dark and dramatic cops and robber movie. It puts the best holdup crew against the best lead investigator in high stake complex scores. It's brutal, it's raw, it's crime, pure and simple. There's violence, however, it's a very more of a dramatic piece. The real juice is the opposition of the two mind, it's psychological.

The score gives shiver. The photography transfixes. The acting plunges you deeply within the fabric of the movie. The story is ultra captivating. The action is breathtaking, yet simple and very real. The characters are well layered and with lots of emotional depth, yet easy to understand.

You spend a lot of time with the two protagonists. You see their daily life. You get to know them. Robert De Niro plays a stone hard persona, efficient and brutally direct when needed. He's the criminal, yet he's almost endearing. Al Pacino plays a fiery angry cop who will stop at nothing, just keeping in sight of the law, to get his man. He's easy to hate, the way he yells and shut out his family life.

The star studded cast who performed so well also includes: Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Justine Hanna, Ashley Judd, Hank Azaria, Danny Trejo, plus a very young Natalie Portman playing a small yet powerful role as the step daughter of the main detective. In her portrayal you can already see the great actress she became.

It's a must see.


Warm Bodies — Love with a Z as in teenage zombie romance — 7*/10

Warm Bodies wants to be a new take on the zombie genre. I'll give them partial credit for the result.

There's several unique elements about zombie life that really make this flick worth seeing. Its biggest novelty achievement is using a zombie apocalypse as a backdrop for a romance, and casting a zombie as one of the lover. That's definitively well done.

However, this movie is fortunate to have a fresh spin, because there are many logical flaws in its scenario. More over, beyond the suspension of disbelief that comes with the concept of a zombie, you have to make an additional large concession for the healing process and how it comes about which is borderline cheesy.

If you don't mind mixing teenage romance and zombies, it's nice entertainment.


lundi 25 mars 2013

Memoirs of a Geisha — A life made for others, longing for personal happiness — 10*/10

Memoirs of a Geisha is an incredible journey through a mysterious life. You get to know many details of a calling that is very secretive. Not only that, but you get to follow a girl as she fights every obstacle sent her way. It is a sad tale, with moments of triumphs, a bit of romance, and periods of contentment.

Everything is meticulously detailed. The photography is absolutely incredible. The sets and the costumes are perfect. The story is entrancing and well told, the scenario is comprised of many turns, and the dialogs are captivating. All the actors play incredibly well.

The only let down is that you go from sumptuous to devastated. That's a bit sad, but it's the story. You can really feel what the transition mean. A little thing that can be slightly annoying is the accent, but at least it's very consistent, and just.

It's a must, if you don't mind long movies, with little action.


dimanche 24 mars 2013

The Bourne Supremacy — Get back in the saddle for an other great ride — 9*/10

The Bourne Supremacy takes place two years after the its very successful predecessor The Bourne Identity. It's the same concept and it picks up where the other left. So, however you felt about the first installment, you'll feel the same about this one.

This time, the action is much more global, moving around the world. The stakes are a bit higher. The CIA team is much bigger. The action roller coaster ride is more intense. The romance is out of the picture. The story is less dark and a tiny fraction less serious.

Matt Damon is just as good as in the previous episode. I wish we'd seen more of Franka Potente, because I like her and her character. Joan Allen plays her bitchy role pretty well. Brian Cox's character is the one you want to slap around this time. And Julia Stiles is perfect in the reprise of her small role. I love her in that movie, and she has the best line of the whole ensemble.

What I didn't like. Those dream sequences, a bit lame and badly put together. There's also that FSB agent that is just too one-dimensional.

An other great action flick.


samedi 23 mars 2013

The Bourne Identity — Tremendous spy action but all in a very human scale — 9*/10

The Bourne Identity made a splash when it came out and quickly became a reference. The action tries to stay realistic while giving a powerful adrenaline ride to the audience. What makes this spy flick interesting is that the main character is hyper-precise, an unstoppable machine, the settings are unglamorous, and the protagonists and their motivation simple to understand.

That being said, the story itself is not simple, it's very captivating, and the main idea extremely interesting. The characters have a certain depth to them, and even though their psychological profile is not complex, it is well done. The camera work is incredible. The theme song is good. The action and editing are tight, and the details all work out logically.

Matt Damon definitely plays one of his best role and gets you right into Bourne's skin. Franka Potente is just right as his lead female, You want to slap Chris Cooper's character, almost from the very start. Julia Stiles has a small role but at the time, it was a mature one for her. And Brian Cox wraps it up quite nicely, while the rest of the crew doesn't disappoint a single time.

Now, the few little points I found that did work for me. The night sea shots look like a set. Terrible. Fortunately, you only see a few. The dictator is a bit over the top. And finally, the car would never have made it down those steps in driving condition, but that's a common movie mistake. The cars in chases continue to run whatever happens to them. Bottom line, those are all minor problems that you see only after watching the film many times.

This is one of the great action flicks. Don't miss it.


Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves — Action and adventure with the mythical figure — 8*/10

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is an excellent adventure, with a bit of silliness, some romance, a few laughs, and plenty action.

Kevin Costner is at his best. It might not be Morgan Freeman's greatest role, but he plays it admirably well, with a good accent, a nice straight-face funny attitude, intelligent, and full of vigor.  He represent a strong black male figure anyone can admire. Alan Rickman is excellent as the evil and silly sheriff. As his despicable sidekick, Michael Wincott is just perfect. Christian Slater was good, but disappointing in his dramatic scene. The rest of the cast was on target.

Great photography, nice score, good editing, interesting story. beautiful sets, nice costumes. It has everything to make for a great evening.

Now for the little negative bits. Beyond the fact that Robin Hood is a mythical figure, the movie is in no way historically accurate, and the same can be said of the hair styles.

Don't take it seriously, and you'll enjoy it.


jeudi 21 mars 2013

Die Another Day — Villains threatening the world, 007 to the rescue — 7*/10

Die Another Day is probably the best James Bond with Pierce Brosnan. It was an anniversary piece containing many cameos of past incarnations in the form of gadgets or scenes. Halle Berry plays a great and strong Bond girl. Rosamund Pike is not so bad either. Personally, I thought she was a good fit for her ice cold role. I think John Cleese as Q is totally hilarious, love it. Judi Dench is my favorite M.

The scope of the story was large enough to equal the best before it, so I gave it a slightly higher mark for that reason. Lots of one liners, including a one liner joke on one liners. Seduction, high stake, car chases, lots of fights and action. The scenario was interesting, if unimaginative. Of course, any Bond movie tries to fit the mold to rake in as many viewer as possible, and in that respect, it hit a bulls-eye.

If you want to see a good Bond movie, it's for you.


mercredi 20 mars 2013

The Visitor — Immerse yourself in a slice of a different life — 8*/10

The Visitor is a soft low key movie. Contrary to what one might expect after viewing the preview, it is much less confrontational and much more congenial. It is not contrived or forced. The tale really tells itself, flowing naturally from its source.

Nice scenario, good ideas, and good acting, with a story, emotions, and dialogs that are very realistic. The unconventional characters were a pleasure to discover, and the end is based on reality not on wishes.

I'm not rating it stronger, because it lacks a little bit of strength. It had a positive message, but nothing mind blowing.

A very nice movie to discover if you're not looking for action.


lundi 18 mars 2013

Red Riding Hood — Trying to make new with old and failing — 4*/10

Red Riding Hood takes the old story and tries to give it a new twist, and fails.

An interesting idea, good looking settings and surprising photography aren't enough to make a movie worth watching. When the scenario is weak, the dialogs brainless, and there's as many logical failure as I've seen, it's impossible do save. The only good actress in the production is Amanda Seyfried. The rest is not worth much, their performance being well below par.

Don't waste your time.


dimanche 17 mars 2013

Midnight in Paris — Do what you love, love what you do, and work on it now — 8*/10

Midnight in Paris is a charming, surprising, and light movie. It's about being lost, then finding your way by magic and complete serendipity.

I think this Woody Allen piece works because of the overt innocence of Owen Wilson's character. The fact that he is trampled by his controlling wife, played by Rachel McAdams, adds to his likability. His strange encounters are put together in a very simple manner with very little fanfare. The result is that we are transported without us breaking our suspension of disbelief. The fact that Paris is almost timeless also helps.

The sets, costumes, score, and editing are just right. The well chosen cast also gives us a solid performance.

Overall, there's very little negative to say, except maybe that the conclusion lacks a little bit of substance. It's simply that the transition when he finally understand is dropped on us very suddenly and he cuts off his ties quickly. It's very mature and realistic, in a way, but slightly unsatisfying. More over, the beginning of the film is a bit rough, but you get in to the beat quite rapidly.

It's good, see it if you like low-key productions.


Chocolat — The tale of a mother and her will to help using cocoa — 8*/10

Chocolat is about the oddball in the village, the outsider bringing new perspective. It's presented to us as a tale told from mother to daughter, almost like a legend.

The photography is beautiful. The sets are very immersive and realistic, with fitting wardrobe. The story is interesting and light hearted, with some hit of drama and laughters. The characters are well built and very well played.

The most annoying thing about this film is the mix of accent, real or false. I admit it's probably because French is my mother tongue, but still. You eventually get used to it though. Also, the ending is just too perfect, especially concerning the mayor. I know the whole story has a fairy-tale undertone, but he completely reverse not only his view on the stranger, but also his demeanor and his religious views on the sanctity of marriage. It's too much.

Still, I recommend to everyone, especially if you like a bit of romance and tall tales.


samedi 16 mars 2013

Friends with Kids — Thinking about doing things differently, but not too much — 6*/10

Friends with Kids is about choosing an alternative lifestyle while conforming with society. It doesn't work. The premise of the movie is a great idea, and the story has a funny drama-like feel to it which is entertaining.

However, the scenario takes a dive after the ski weekend, because we go right back to the pre-chewed romantic drivel that most Hollywood chick flick try to sell us. The very end particularly could have come from any brainwashed hack of a writer. Very disappointing.

If they could have come up with a good third act, it would have been an amazing movie because the cast is outrageous, the dialogs are good, and the film is well put together.


vendredi 15 mars 2013

Escape from Planet Earth — Colorful animation and aliens for kids or simple entertainment — 6*/10

Escape from Planet Earth is a good movie for kids. It's funny, and colorful. However, do not think that it's bringing anything new to the table. It's nice entertainment, without any real disappointment, but it's a light meal.

It's real and only strength lies in the slick and extremely colorful graphics. they have their own style and there's not denying the appeal or the design of the alien home world.

The rest is merely acceptable. The story is linear, the scenario unimaginative, and the dialogs simple.

I liked it because it was fun, but don't expect much out of it and you won't be disappointed.


jeudi 14 mars 2013

Quartet — Letting the past go, and living the present as it is — 9*/10

Quartet is an easy going and lovely movie about a beautiful and grandiose house for retired musician and its four most preeminent residents. Love and talent mingle with uncertainty.

The house itself is astounding, the music beautiful, the photography breathtaking, the story simple yet quite endearing and situations most funny at times. There's a small amount of intrigue and a rascal, but they're just there to spice things up. Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, and Pauline Collins are great as the main characters, accompanied by a solid performance of Sheridan Smith as the house doctor.

If all retiree could live this well, the world would be a better place.

Unless you'd be bored by the subject of retired musician, you should watch this.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel — See something different, exotic, and charming — 9*/10

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a charming and lovely movie about retired people choosing India as their country of choice. A bit of romance, a lot of adventure.

The setting is beautiful, enticing, and exotic. The characters are diverse, without being eclectic, and very interesting. The story is captivating, filled with nice details and relatively quick paced but with enough meat and sufficient time to digest.

Dev Patel dances a fine line as the owner-manager of the hotel. At first, he's kind of annoying, bumbling mistakes and inefficiency, but he quickly becomes charmingly adorable. Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, and Tom Wilkinson are assuredly the star performers, however, it would be unfair not to mention that the rest of cast also delivered great performances.

Unless you find the subject boring, I highly recommend it.


mercredi 13 mars 2013

The Usual Suspects — Criminals versus criminals, and everyone chasing their own tail — 7*/10

The Usual Suspects your typical let's twist the tale around to keep you from guessing who's doing what. You get criminals who catch criminals in a bind to get them to do a coup for them. Nothing new.

The story is interesting and keeps you attentive. The action is nice, but tame by today's standard. The plot is not too complicated, if confusing at first.

However, the lines the characters feed us are a little too slick, and some of the acting is a bit over done, especially on the part of Chazz Palminteri and Stephen Baldwin. Benicio Del Toro is unfortunately not at his best, while Kevin Spacey presents the top performance of the lot, and the rest of the cast gives only an acceptable one, but not much better.

Worst part is, there's a major flaw in the initial voice over. You'll only catch it if you think about it, and not before you've seen the whole flick.

If you like criminal intrigue, you probably will like it.


A Royal Affair — Intrigues, machinations, and a queenly love affair in the 18th century — 7*/10

A Royal Affair is what is says, a royal indiscretion. Wether or not it's matches real events is beside the point, the end is as predictable as history.

That being said, the rest of the story is quite interesting, especially the evolution of the king and his portrayal. The sets are superb, the costumes are rich, and the score well made.

However the intrigues and machinations should have played a bigger role, and the love affair felt almost like an afterthought. The result is a certain lack of focus.

If you like sad historically based movie about kings and queens, you'll like it.


lundi 11 mars 2013

It's Kind of a Funny Story — An angst teen finds refuge in a mental hospital — 7*/10

It's Kind of a Funny Story is about what you do when you are served that one extra drop of water that makes your glass overflow. We don't have an instructional book to help us go through life, yet once we're born, we're expected to live. That can prove too difficult for some. This is for them.

The story is simple. The acting is good. The subject matter has plenty of room to be explored and will make you think. This is the film where I think Zach Galifianakis has given his best performance.

Now, the main flaw of the movie are the therapy sessions and how the main character evolves throughout his stay on the psychiatry floor. Those are common mistakes and easily overlooked. I've rarely seen a realistic psychotherapy session in a film, and few people can make sense of them.

Beyond that, it's a quiet flick that aim at making you ponder life. It's not a depressing piece, or a high tension one, so it's an easy watch.

If you're not looking for action or laughs, but still want something relatively positive, this might be for you.


Finding Nemo — A great animation adventure to be enjoyed by all — 10*/10

Finding Nemo is the heroic tale of fishes, and it's excellent. It opens up with a tragedy and quickly leads us to a great adventure and multiple acts of courage. Who would have thought that such a simple idea could result in such a great production?

The animation is extremely colorful, brought to us in great details for a breathtaking look at the life under the sea. The dialogs are funny. The script is very inventive and doesn't call on evil or songs. The story is riveting, with each scene a novelty in itself. Voices are chosen to perfection, and the reactions realistic.

A great movie for both adults and kids.


Shaun of the Dead — A silly, yet realistic zombie epidemic — 9*/10

Shaun of the Dead is a silly zombie flick with strong undertone of seriousness. There's is no doubt that it is meant to make us laugh, but at the same time, it has a number of dramatic scenes. The couple story is the running thread, but it's not the meat on the bone.

Most scene are a comic setup never failing to have the audience roll back their eyes in incredulity. Toward the ends come the more dramatic ones, and those are the one who make you think.

The dialogs very real and flow at a good pace. The editing is done in a quick efficient manner. The story is very interesting. The zombie threat and its working are imaginative. The acting is good, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Kate Ashfield giving us the best performances.

Overall, it's a very solid entertainment in brain dead way.

It's a must, if you don't mind zombies and a bit of gore.


samedi 9 mars 2013

Unforgiven — A gritty, dirty, realistic western where abuse is repaired with money — 10*/10

Unforgiven is a gritty realistic western in which Clint Eastwood displays his incredible talent as a director and as an actor.

The photography is amazing. The story is captivating and touching. There are no excess, just what it takes to tell this sad tale to its fullest. The sets and costumes are dirty and plunge us into the far west in an instant. Each character is well developed, and rich. Each actor well assigned to his role. Any other choices would make for a totally different movie. Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman hit their mark just as perfectly as Eastwood.

It is a simple tale, but of epic meaning, where survival brings around conflicting morales. It is violent, but all the action is realistically portrayed without any excess of blood.

A must.


vendredi 8 mars 2013

Clerks II — An other day behind the counter 10 years later — 8*/10

Clerks II is all that Clerks. aimed to be but couldn't achieve because of lack of funds or experience. This time around writer-director Kevin Smith had what he needed, and it unfolded the way he wanted it to. It has the same feel as it predecessor, but smoother.

The acting is better, in some case because they gained experience —Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith — and in others, because they're seasoned actors, like Rosario Dawson, who plays the wisest and nicest character of the bunch. The sets, camera shots, editing, and images quality are much better.

The diatribes are different, but have the same vibe. They're excellent, and the points well made, as usual. You'll laugh at the various antics, and appreciate the underlying romance much more, since it has a more prevalent share of the story.

The only thing negative I have to say is that the ending is a bit Hollywoodish. but it's inline with the story, and is kind of the logical conclusion, so it's difficult to hold it against Smith.


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back — Stoners going to Hollywood on a silly mission — 5*/10

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is the silliest movie Kevin Smith has made to date. He took his secondary characters, wrapped up a number of loose ends, stirred it all together, stripped all the smart dialogs from the resulting mix, and made a script out of it. You can still find a number of social commentary aimed at Hollywood in it, but the just of the flick aims at turning off your brain.

The best joke of the bunch is making the fake film into a a sort of Star Wars parody and have Mark Hamill play the villain. I will also mention that Carrie Fisher has a small role in there somewhere, just to make the whole thing even more meta. Actually, Smith makes the whole thing so meta that he has to laugh at himself by making the actors look pointedly at the camera.

This production is star studded with the likes of Wes Craven, Shannen Doherty, Jason Biggs, James Van Der Beek, Gus Van Sant, and that's just naming a few.

If you like what Kevin Smith does, and know his universe, you will appreciate it.


Dogma — A surprising comic adventure about angels and demons — 9*/10

Dogma is a comic adventure movie with an incredible alternative mythology of the catholic church. Kevin Smith finally came into his own as a writer-director with this piece.

The strength of this movie is based on the very detailed and extremely imaginative ideas developed for this new set of hell, heaven and earth. The dialogs and situations are very funny. The story is highly entertaining, captivating, and full of interesting plot developments.

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon each delivered us great performances, especially when being wrathful or witty. That probably set into motion their future collaborations. Linda Fiorentino played her role as disillusioned christian given an unlikely task very well, even more so in her emotional explosion which was very powerful. Alan Rickman was hilarious as the complaining neat freak. This is the type of role I think he's best with, the funny sarcastic kind. Chris Rock is just as funny, doing his thing, blacking up christianity. Salma Hayek plays one of her funniest role with nice flair. Jason Lee is as his best in playing a mouthy plotting evil guy. Now, this star studded cast doesn't even end there. There's also Janeane Garofalo, George Carlin, and Alanis Morissette in a surprise supporting role of no little importance.

Now, the only thing negative I would have to say, is that the CG and some of the set are not up to part with the rest of the movie. They're more than acceptable, but the rest is so good, that you can see the difference.

For great entertainment, see it.


Chasing Amy — Very emotional and unusual romance with some jokes and a bit of tragedy — 8*/10

Chasing Amy is about the one that got away, and how stupid and hurtful we can be when we're confronted something that test the limit of our knowledge. Romance with a few gags, a tragedy, a movie where you can stop and think. What would you have done? Personally, I think the girl and the black guy are very wise. The two white dudes are pure vanilla stupid.

The emotional scenes are touching, and the dialogs are as solid as Kevin Smith can make them. The story is captivating with nice novel ideas, and the maturity of the treatment in the subject matter is beyond reproach.

Joey Lauren Adams is little known as actresses go, but she gives us a powerful and very emotional performance. Ben Affleck might not be at his best, but it is still a pretty good performance. While you just want to slap some sense into Jason Lee's character, he plays the uncouth badmouth with little respect like a pro.

The only little negative thing I would have to say, is that the "lie" rear up it's ugly head as a plot development.

Looking for a nice romance with an offbeat sentiment and you don't mind if it's not as slick as the high budget flicks Hollywood produces? This is yours. Try it.


Mallrats — Low budget comedy and romance for some good fun — 7*/10

Mallrats is an easy comedy with romance as its reason to live. Set almost entirely in a mall and populated by its denizens, we're rewarded by juvenile arguments, pranks and stunts.

Shannen Doherty is the big name of the production. She has a supporting role, playing, with a nice ring of truth, a girl who got sick and tired of her looser boyfriend, played by Jason Lee, and dumps him. Lee gives us the best performance of the cast, and with this verbose intensive role made his place on the big screen. Ben Affleck, at that time, was still relatively unknown, and even though this portrayal of an ass hole was right on target, the part was a very small one. The second main character was played by somebody that barely made the grade. His girlfriend was played by Claire Forlani who gave us a good solid performance.

The story is interesting, with nice details and interesting plot twists. Even though Kevin Smith got substantially more budget this time around, the film still has an obvious low budget shine to it. Smith is slowly polishing his skills, but has yet to reach full proficiency. The dialogs and original story are is best weapons, and this piece shows that well as each scene is delivered as a verbal dance. Excellent work.

Don't take it too seriously, and you'll have lots of fun.


jeudi 7 mars 2013

Zero Dark Thirty — A tracking tale told from the basic ground work point of view — 10*/10

Zero Dark Thirty is telling the story about a possible series of event that could have led to the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Unlike what the subject matter and the trailer could lead us to believe, this is not a military movie or even a high octane flick. No, this is the relentless pursuit of a single goal by the CIA, and all the ground work it required. The point of view adopted is somewhat unusual, but absolutely excellent.

At first, you are shocked by the initial introduction to what it really meant originally. After capturing your attention, the film pulls you deep within the folds of the operation, the paperwork, the interrogations, the videos, the calls, the meetings, the orders... It sounds boring, but somehow, it keeps you riveted.

The actual military action is but a small part of the whole scenario and it is treated in the same business like manner, it's not an adrenaline rush. Neither is it a detached affair. You really feel the intensity. The whole flick has very personal feel, you get into the shoes of those working on the whole operation, from every perspectives: administrative, management, investigation, interrogation... It's not just because we follow that one CIA agent, played so brilliantly by Jessica Chastain, but because we get to know everybody, even some individual in the enemy camp.

I can't find even one thing to say wrong about it. I've put off seeing it because of the subject matter, thinking of seeing an other American gung-ho blow up the bad guys spectacle, but it wasn't the case. I was incredibly surprised by the treatment.

My initial interest was because it was the same team of writer and director who did The Hurt Locker. I finally saw it because it had gotten so many acclaim, and stayed for such a long time in theaters.

Just see it.


Clerks. — Low budget debut movie of a cerebral director — 6*/10

Clerks. is a difficult movie to rate, because it's an acquired taste. Once you understand's Kevin Smith's sense of story telling and style of humor, then you'll appreciate his debut flick.

This piece presents to us seemingly unrelated life events in a day of two clerks. Their dialogs present facts of life in a basic yet articulate way with a slight ring of nerdy pot smokers.

It's black and white, with shaky camera shots, awkward angles, amateur acting, and seedy sets that scream low budget. Yet, the ideas and philosophy on display will make you think.

Overall, it entertaining, but to fully appreciate it, you better have a good Smith education, so start by watching Dogma, or Chasing Amy for the romantics, or even Mallrats for silly comedy lovers. If you like them, then you're ready for this film, and you will most likely enjoy it.


mardi 5 mars 2013

Starship Troopers — Glorious sci-fi action without being too serious about it — 7*/10

Starship Troopers is a science-fiction action flick that is also a little caricature of itself. You can't take it seriously, or you'll be missing the point, really. The bravado is exaggerated, the undertakings are epic, and the army isn't very bright.

That being said, the future it depicts is an interesting take, and it was well exploited and presented.

I love Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Neil Patrick Harris, and Michael Ironside in their respective roles. They really give this flick all its flair. You want to slap some sense in Denise Richards' character and kick her co-pilot's ass, but that's what the director had obviously in mind. All in all, it's a nice cast.

Now, this movie has a special dichotomy: most of the CGI are very well done, whereas some of sets especially when it comes to shuttles, interior or exterior, look a little bit on the cheap side. Maybe it's a question of bad design, but it's weird.

Anyway, it's good entertainment, especially if you like sci-fi and action.


A Good Day to Die Hard — The franchise goes international with a bang — 7*/10

A Good Day to Die Hard is the 5th installment of the Die Hard franchise, the 2nd of the revival, and it is quite good. This time, it has the feel of a James Bond movie, but done à la John McClane.

In this piece, they explored the relationship between John and his son, and I was surprised by the result. It's not as one-liner riddled as I thought, and it has some nice depth.

Bruce Willis is still true to his character and plays it with the same flair. Jai Courtney give a good performance even if it's a simplistic cookie cutter sample of a basic action hero easily fooled for his goodness.

What I don't understand is that in the version I saw, they cut out the biker chick stripping... Drat. Other than that, it's the blow up the bad guys kind of flick with a few nice twist. If the story had just been a little bit less linear, I would have given a better rating.

The biggest problem, is that even disregarding the impossibility of the action scenes, there's a few of scientific flaws you have to overlook to appreciate the film. It was annoying during the last third of the story, but I got over it.

Expect some good action entertainment, a bunch of quips, and you'll be satisfied.


dimanche 3 mars 2013

Under Suspicion — How twisted can a case get without calling it insanity — 9*/10

Under Suspicion is a total mind fuck of an investigation. The story and intrigue are powerful, and extremely well choreographed. It's so twisted and tight, with the right score, a good photography, and smooth editing, that by end you get to hate just about every character.

Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, Thomas Jane, and Monica Bellucci are just perfect for their role, playing their assigned persona just right and on the edge.

It's not for everybody, since its a harsh subject matter and no psychological punches are pulled as Hackman's character is harassed. Also beware, very little happen in this film, the game is all mental.

I highly recommend it for the maddening asinine trip you'll get on.


The Tailor of Panama — A bad element in international espionage — 8*/10

The Tailor of Panama is, in term of international spying, the antithesis of the James Bond movies. The only similarities are the high stakes and the involvement of MI-6. Ironically the main role is played by a former Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan.

In this flick, Brosnan is in a role quite different from his usual cast. Here, he's not likable, not even a little, and he plays it well. You might say he's still a scoundrel, but this time, bearing the full negative connotation. Geoffrey Rush is very good as the deluded tailor. Jamie Lee Curtis, in the minor role of his wife, is not shining at her best, but her performance is good.

The premise of the movie is excellent, the story that supports almost as good, as is the scenario. You'll be swept in by the intrigue and the machinations, wondering how it will all end. The final unraveling is quite surprising.

I recommend it, but do not expect a feel good film. It is not for everybody. It has no action, and you'll will face the unlikable and underhanded range of human endeavors. It is all deceit.


Demolition Man — In a not so distant future the world is a better place... or is it? — 8*/10

Demolition Man imagined a future based on the 1992 Los Angeles riots getting worse, and how society would have degenerated from there. This lead to a quite interesting setting, with very imaginative ideas. It also brings forward a subjects that is still current: freedom versus security.

The movie has a ton of action, opening big, lots of laugh, way too many easy quip from the protagonists, and an interesting story. The theme song is quite catchy. The costumes are well thought out, just like the architecture and the vehicle designs.

Sandra Bullock sparkles with innocence, is beautiful, and extremely funny, probably the funniest of the cast. That film really introduced her to the big screen before making her splash in Speed.

It's one of my favorite role for Sylvester Stallone. I like it when he doesn't play something too serious and yet kicks ass. Wesley Snipes has played better, but still, he's funny, and really gives us a nice run for our money.

This is an excellent light action flick, you won't be disappointed.


Hall Pass — A week off for easy humor — 5*/10

Hall Pass is a silly movie for all those guys who wished they could still fool around when married, all the while thinking it's their wife's fault.

It's funny, it has ridiculous ideas that it pulls off by sheer force, and it will go at some length of ridicule to extract a laugh from its audience. I must say that the safe room scene was freaking hilarious.

It's a lowball flick with Owen Wilson pulling an acceptable performance and Jason Sudeikis playing on par for his style. The little morals they try to pull in the story get swamped under all the rest, so it's just for fun, really.

Overall, you'll be entertained, but don't expect it do be anything else.


samedi 2 mars 2013

Unbreakable — A super hero on a more realistic human scale — 8*/10

Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan is about making super heroes into realistic human figures instead of modern gods. The idea is interesting, and well exploited. You have a good intrigue, if a slow story, a sprinkle of romance, a bit of action, and good dose of drama. A nice mix with good visuals.

Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson deliver each a pretty good performance. Robin Wright has a small but well played part. However, the rest of the cast is giving us only an acceptable performance.

The dialogs are correct, but they do not bear scrutiny. The score is nice, but repetitive. Finally, a couple of logical flaws can be spotted when attentive to the story. Overall, it makes the whole flick unsubstantial, diminishing our enjoyment on subsequent viewing.

It is a nice hero tale and is a recommendable film especially on first viewing.


Garden State — A young man's emotionless life being challenged in the face of change — 9*/10

Garden State is a low key movie about the importance of emotions and living your life.

Nice score with excellent editing and photography make for a great ambience. It's simple, yet effective. You get quickly plunged in the world of the main character and see with his eyes. Life is messed up, but you have to start making sense of yours at some point. The story is a short and important journey in his life, and the details are at times funny, but always interesting.

As a writer-director playing the main role of this flick, Zach Braff did an incredible job. I like him as an actor, but I didn't know he had the talent for the rest. Playing opposite him is the talented Natalie Portman, and Peter Sarsgaard, who both deliver a very good performance. I'm not sure about the quality of Ian Holm work's here, it's difficult to say, but at least on par with the rest of the cast who did a good job.

The only negative thing I could say is that the very final moment is off from the rest of the movie.

If you want to see something different that will make you think and have a few laughs with a touch of romance, this is it.


vendredi 1 mars 2013

Laws of Attraction — High priced divorce lawyers go after each other and are attracted to each other — 8*/10

Laws of Attraction is a movie about opposites attract. It's funny, putting the antagonist at odds in scenes after scenes and numerous high stakes divorces. It has romance fairly well sprinkled, and just a tiny bit of emotional drama. The settings are beautiful and the scenario engrossing.

Julianne Moore plays to perfection an adorably anxious control freak lawyer with a self-esteem problem and a perfect record. She preaches the benefits of divorce, doesn't believe in marriage, and is commitment phobic. Pierce Brosnan's lawyer character has just as much a pristine record, but is more relax and chaotic. He doesn't believe in divorce and is a romantic at heart. Surprisingly, this more bohemian persona fits him well, and he gives a good performance.

The piece might not be extremely inventive, as story goes, but it's interesting. The "lie" doesn't rear its ugly head, but the "irredeemable act" makes a brief appearance to change the course of the scenario, and is well handled without too much reproach.

It's good funny romance. It will melt your heart. See it.


The Thomas Crown Affair — Stealing high stake loot for fun, then seducing your opponent — 7*/10

The Thomas Crown Affair is an impossibly rich man stealing an extremely valuable painting with an elaborate scheme. It's your typical gentleman heist story, but with a sexy hard ass insurance investigator romance, and a sensible slightly overreacting cop. It's fun, exciting, surprising, and peppered with action.

Good acting. Pierce Brosnan is perfect as the ultra confident Wall Street success. Rene Russo plays an incredible hard ass and very sexy bounty hunter. Denis Leary is completely relatable as the twitchy cop. Rich settings, interesting dialogs, captivating story, and nice stimulating score.

There's a few small logical flaws in the scenario, but they are easily overlooked.

It's good entertainment, watch it.