dimanche 30 juin 2013

Rain Man — A very touching journey — 9*/10

Rain Man is about breaking out of your prison and seeing who you can be.

The good. Interesting and very touching story. A scenario that takes you easily from one point to an other without rushing through any of the step. You get to really understand the journey. The main character has lots of depth and a solid background. Great ending, very logical, nothing rosy.

The actors. Excellent acting on the part of Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.

The bad. A single very slight continuity mistake.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. The tale might not interest everybody, but everybody should see this movie.


samedi 29 juin 2013

Alien: Resurrection — Don't bother watching it — 5*/10

Alien: Resurrection is the 4th and worst installment of the Alien series without a doubt. Unfortunately, from time to time, I feel the need to see it, because I'm a die hard fan. Anybody else should avoid it like the pest, except to have a good laugh.

Now You See Me — A great show for the masses — 8*/10

Now You See Me is about imagination and what you can make out of life if you're willing to take risks.

The good. Beautiful. Really makes you smile. Great tricks. Captivating intrigue with good distractions. Solid suspense. Very funny situations and dialogs. Nice slick finish to the production. Excellent special effects. Most entertaining. Love all the choices of actors, they were excellent and well cast.

The actors. Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, and Isla Fisher are the top actors. To a lesser degree, but still very much appreciable: Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine.

The bad. Too quick an intro. The end lacks some punch. The bridge accident was a bit much. If you pay attention you can predict a thing or two.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. See it, you won't regret it.


vendredi 28 juin 2013

Man of Steel — Astounding with weaker moments — 8*/10

Man of Steel is a great new beginning for this super hero.

The good. Incredible intro on Krypton with superb concepts on technology, society, and design. I love all the special effects related to Krypton. Solid score with very deep bass. Nice explosive action. Well done 3D, if not necessary for enjoyment. Interesting story. The making of superman is well handled. You can understand how came to be how he is. Lois Lane is finally a real character with nice depth and a good role in the tale, well incorporated within the story. Excellent choices of mothers and fathers. Zod is magnificent and really annoying. Nice acting.

The actors. Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, and Diane Lane are just perfect for their role. On the other hand, Henry Cavill was better at acting Kent before he became Superman, although I have to hand it to him for not making the stalwart figure dull and boring.

The bad. When the explanation is given to the child, it is done too quickly. It's just off by a bit, but with a little better timing, they would have pulled it off. Lousy take on the breathing and the atmospheric conditions. Dull way to handle super being versus super being.

The ugly. Just a few token shots are given to the nations outside the US. It would have been better just not to talk about them.

The result. Excellent entertainment. You should see it, if super heroes do not bore you. A must see on IMAX for the image, but the sound as well.


The Heat — Lots of rivalries, conflict and swearing for lots of fun — 7*/10

The Heat is an odd couple comedy, but with two women enforcing the law.

The good. Lots of funny scenes, dialogs, and action. The two main characters are very well built.

The actors. Sandra Bullock gives us a solid performance, she makes us laugh with a very straight face. Comedy is what she does best. Melissa McCarthy is stellar as this irreverent persona.

The bad. Some elements were funnier in the trailer because the editing was tighter. Weak story, because the criminal activities are almost an after thought, with no polish whatsoever.

The ugly. The dance floor club scene is terribly awkward.

The result. It mostly delivers what it promises, a solid slap-stick comedy. Any Bullock fans will be pleased.


Cocktail — A good tale of romance and conflicting ideas — 6*/10

Cocktail is about understanding that what everybody wants might not be what you want. If you try to make it, make it your own.

The good. Interesting story with a few novel ideas. Well paced-scenario. Great behind the bar juggling. Nice acting.

The actors. Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown offer us solid performances, if nothing brilliant.

The bad. Some easy clichés. Lots of 80s hairdos.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. It's not a stupendous movie, but it will make you think and it will make for a nice evening.


mercredi 26 juin 2013

The Beach — Very intense and gut wrenching at time — 9*/10

The Beach is about paradise, what we'll do for it and the consequences. Nothing is perfect, everything has a cost.

The good. Intensely dramatic scenes. A modern phantasmagoric mix. Superbly paced scenario with great cohesion and editing. Solid characters, very realistic actions and reactions. Nice score. Superb acting.

The actors. I'll just mention the two best ones: Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Carlyle.

The bad. That video game overlay. It's not necessarily a faux pas, because it's well tailored to the persona and his psychosis, but it just doesn't fit very nicely with the rest of the movie style.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A must see. Sensible souls should avoid for the drama, and a very gory scene.


mardi 25 juin 2013

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider — A disappointment for all — 5*/10

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is not what the fan of the video games where looking for the visual of the flesh.

The good. Lots of action. A sexy strong female lead.

The actors. Subpar performance at best for all the cast, including Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig.

The bad. Almost uncountable number of logical problems in the scenario. Simplistic story with lots of clichés. Bad fight scenes. Lousy dialogs. Very shallow characters.

The ugly. The end, in all its different parts is pathetic.

The result. The entertainment value is minimal, only recommended to those who want to see the ever sexy Jolie.


The Kings of Summer — A simple story, but a meaningful one — 8*/10

The Kings of Summer is a tale of friendship and exploration of youth.

The good. Very interesting story. Sound characters. Well paced scenario, with nice story telling ploys. Great, yet simple, score. Beautiful photography. Solid choice in editing. Realistic dialogs and interactions. A number of funny scenes.

The actors. The boys are excellently played, but I have to tip my hat to Moises Arias for pulling off his hilarious and peculiar portrayal. You'll see what I mean. The parents are great too.

The bad. It is highly unlikely that three boys would have been able to build that house, as simple as it is, or get the material for it, but I guess this is where suspension of disbelief comes in. The end is just a tiny bit quick, but it's still well made.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A great tale, should be seen by everyone.


lundi 24 juin 2013

Ocean's Twelve — The interest lies mainly in continuing the story — 6*/10

Ocean's Twelve is the sequel to Ocean's Eleven, but doesn't stand up to its predecessor in terms of quality.

The good. Interesting story and capers. Nice action and dialogs.

The actors. Pretty much the same performance as the first installment except that the script didn't give them parts that were as solid. Simply add Catherine Zeta-Jones to the party with a well played part, and a cameo by Bruce Willis.

The bad. Not telling the story doesn't make an intrigue. An intrigue is built by revealing the facts but not the connections. Plus, there's a number of logical flaws in the scenario.

The ugly. The whole Roberts and Willis encounter is totally ridiculous and occupies way too much time.

The result. Basic entertainment that would interest mainly those who liked the original and wanted to know what happens next.


Ocean's Eleven — Come for the stars, stay for the entertainment — 8*/10

Ocean's Eleven is a high stake crime caper.

The good. Tight and intelligent scheme with clock-work precision. Well paced, well built scenario. Very interesting story. Funny dialogs and situations. A bit of romance. Diverse characters. Extremely slick finish to the movie. Solid acting.

The actors. A slew of well known names. My favorite interactions are between George Clooney and Brad Pitt: professional, dry, relax and hilarious with no excess. To an only slightly lesser degree, their exchanges with Matt Damon. Loved Don Cheadle's work, very funny. So were the performance of Casey Affleck and Scott Caan as the two constantly arguing and slightly demented brothers.

The bad. It's not bringing anything new to the genre. A few logical flaws, but it took me several viewing to notice them.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Excellent entertainment, with a bit of everything for everyone.


Stargate — Nice science-fiction entertainment — 7*/10

Stargate is, as far as I'm concerned, better than the original TV series, which I've watched a couple of time without really getting interested, but then I'm not a fan.

The good. Very imaginative settings and alien technology. Beautiful photography. Nicely paced scenario. Interesting story with a solid background.

The actors. Kurt Russell is right in his element, and didn't need to show the limits of his short acting range. James Spader is the most interesting character, and plays it well. Mili Avital is pretty, innocent, and plays her sweet role really nicely. Erick Avari, though, is my favorite of the cast and offers us a very convincing performance as the primitive priest-leader faced with powerful strangers. And finally, you can see some of the antics of French Stewart.

The bad. Very low army credibility. The intro village miniature is of poor quality. The special effects are getting a bit old, but they were done in such a way as to minimize the aging and still be well received these days.

The ugly. That desert beast puppet is just terrible. The chevrons are flimsy.

The result. Good entertainment, recommended to sci-fi fans.


dimanche 23 juin 2013

Mr. & Mrs. Smith — Action, sexiness, and a few laughs — 6*/10

Mr. & Mrs. Smith is all about seeing two sexy actors in action... fighting, not sexing.

The good. Excellent action, well built. Very slick finish to the production. Interesting technologies. Funny quips and situations. Nice acting.

The actors. It wasn't any acting stretch for Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie and they both delivered what the movie promised. Vince Vaughn did a bit of his thing, nicely so, without going over the top.

The bad. Empty story.

The ugly. Ridiculous reason to set them one against the other, and executed, by each agency, in a stupid manner. No working business would do that like that, it wastes too much resources. The last big gunfight doesn't work.

The result. It's entertainment, but barely. Only for those who like Pitt and Jolie or are action addicts.


samedi 22 juin 2013

Grassroots — Watch and smile — 6*/10

Grassroots is about doing something that matters to you. It's about waking up and trying. It's about defining yourself.

The good. Nice simple story. Funny. Interesting characters.

The actors. Jason Biggs gives a solid performance. So does Joel David Moore, even if his character is really annoying, he plays it well.

The bad. Not much happening, but then, there's nothing really wrong with this picture.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A lightly entertaining film.


Blade Runner — Is one of those old movies everyone should watch at least once — 9*/10

Blade Runner is another masterpiece by Ridley Scott.

The good. This is an other production where you could list almost everything here. I'll just mention what really makes it special. The score is marvelous, and with the great sets, the very imaginative environment, and the multitude of details, you get immersed extremely quickly in the story. Again, Scott shows he's one of the best at setting the mood, presenting us with every piece of the puzzle, giving us a good background, and letting us float in his vision. Excellent acting on the part of all the cast. The ending really makes you think.

The actors. Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer are at the top of their game and it shows.

The bad. It's a getting a little bit old, but it's not showing much considering it's been over three decades. Also, the timeframe of the predictions is off, but that's always the case.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A must. See the director's cut, not the theatrical release.


The East — Stunning and unpretentious — 8*/10

The East is the kind of movie that makes you want to join the fight, raise your voice and be heard.

The good. Extremely immersive. A incredible story with lots of emotions, conflicts, opposing moralities, and a stupefying journey. It is gripping and you will not be left unmoved.

The actors. Brit Marling and Ellen Page both give us a great performance. I was disappointed by Alexander Skarsgård, I thought that he was the weak player of the cast. The rest of the cell was pretty solid: Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Aldis Hodge, and Danielle Macdonald. And I should mention the nice work done by Patricia Clarkson as the director of the private security firm.

The bad. The ending is rushed. It feels like there was missing material at the end of filming and they couldn't go back to get what they needed and had to edit it with what they had. The epilog during the final credits should have been trashed.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A must see for anyone.


The Internship — Same routine with many clichés but still funny — 6*/10

The Internship is your basic reject team movie. I'm a big fan of Wedding Crashers, but taking the same routine into a different environment doesn't make a new film.

The good. Uplifting. Funny. Nice characters. Some ideas have merits. The green and red paddle scene is hilarious, so is the club scene.

The actors. Vince Vaughn follows his usual style, but is just a bit much in this case. Owen Wilson delivers a better performance, but was certainly limited by the script. The rest of the cast is mostly subpar to the exception of Aasif Mandvi.

The bad. Unlikely scenario. The big finish is a bit too much, in tradition with Hollywood reject team flicks. The B and C stories are a bit empty.

The ugly. Lots of clichés. A good number of very embarrassing scenes in the first half, and if you're like me, they're going to make you squirm. Corporate propaganda.

The result. It's entertaining, but don't expect more.


mercredi 19 juin 2013

Blade — Vampire fights with techno music — 7*/10

Blade is an other take on the vampire scene based on a comic book.

The good. Lots of action. Great music. Nice gadgets. Tightly paced scenario.

The actors. This is not an acting movie, but Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, and Stephen Dorff give us acceptable performances. And you can also see Traci Lords.

The bad. Simple story. Some logical flaws in the scenario. Fight scenes look good, but have some slight continuity and timing problems, noticeable when viewed multiple times.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Solid entertainment for action or vampire lovers. Don't expect complexity.


The Matador — Enjoy the story, stay for the laughs — 7*/10

The Matador is a unusual mix of a buddy movie and an assassin movie that you shouldn't take seriously yet is totally dead serious, almost realistic.

The good. Interesting novel story with surprising turns. Where you think the story will go one way, it goes an other. Well built characters if very shallow. A few laughs. Nice ending.

The actors. Pierce Brosnan plays here a rare role that strays surprisingly far from his usual hunting grounds. He's very crass, not in control of the situation, with few social skills, and suffers from failure. Greg Kinnear plays his total counter part, respectable, affable, loving. And Hope Davis is charming as well as surprising.

The bad. Unsound assemblage of scenes, but maybe it's just a result of flawed transitions.

The ugly. Large colorful fonts for city names just plastered in. Two transition handled with awkward black screens.

The result. An offbeat almost serene kind assassin flick. Not for those looking for action, although there's a bit of it.


mardi 18 juin 2013

Love Is All You Need — The perfect realistic romance movie — 9*/10

Love Is All You Need is a wedding, romance, and family movie from Denmark mostly taking place in Italy. It is about solving the riddles within yourself, not necessarily succeeding, but at least acknowledging them.

The good. Superb Italian panoramas. Fascinating and touching story with a lot of depth. Very realistic. Solidly built scenario with interesting twists and turns. Excellent background. Perfect ending. Nicely romantic with a few laughs. Well grounded. No clichés.

The actors. Trine Dyrholm is absolutely fantastic, beautiful and compelling. Pierce Brosnan, while not playing too far from his usual roles, is just great. And I have to mention the work of Paprika Steen as the annoying, mean, and self-centered aunt/sister-in-law.

The bad. I can't thing of anything. That's how much I appreciated the flick.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Something much different from Hollywood's romantic films. A true breath of fresh air. A must for everyone, to the exception of those not interested in romance or family conflicts.


lundi 17 juin 2013

Jawbreaker — Entertainment in a murderous teen world — 7*/10

Jawbreaker is a teen movie about image, deceit, manipulation, and murder.

The good. Very interesting story and characters. Nice intrigue. Well done evil plan. A teen flick with it's own dark-glamour style.

The actors. Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz, and Judy Greer are great. I have to mention though, that Ethan Erickson is hilarious in a straight face kind of way as the dumb jock.

The bad. A bit over-glamorous, but it fits the flick. Serves us some clichés.

The ugly. Zack is too simple a character.

The result. A nice teen movie that can be watched by anybody considering the seriousness of the subject.


Slums of Beverly Hills — Something different that will make you chuckle — 7*/10

Slums of Beverly Hills is cooky and touching.

The good. Interesting story with a number of surprising twists. Well paced scenario. Nice acting. Funny with a touch of drama. On a totally different vibe from most other productions.

The actors. Natasha Lyonne uses her rebellious nature to great effect. Alan Arkin plays the dysfunctional father just right. Marisa Tomei is sweet and totally perfect as the problematic child.

The bad. The secondary characters, like the brothers, could have used a little bit more depth. The editing is a bit awkward when it comes to breasts shots, obviously done so they could use body doubles, no subtlety.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. An offbeat film that is great for those who like the genre, but would probably be disappointing to the masses.


dimanche 16 juin 2013

Predator 2 — Not worth the time to see it — 5*/10

Predator 2 is a the gold old fashion crappy sequel to a success. The only good thing about it is that you get to see an other Predator story. I won't take the time to enumerate all that's bad or ugly, it's a waste of time.

Those interested might want to know that Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Bill Paxton, and Adam Baldwin are playing in this production and all of them giving us subpar performance, either due to poor direction or poor script.

Only recommended to die hard fans of the series.


Predator — A truly unique creature for unique entertainment — 8*/10

Predator is a classic. It's a mix between the action hero style, the slasher flick, and the sci-fi.

The good. Excellent design of the Predator, its background, habits, tactics, and equipment. Beyond that, what makes this movie is the initial creep factor, the way he hunts them down one by one, how he takes them out, the various ambush tactics, and the final confrontation. Perfect choice of special effects which still holds pretty well today. Nice action. Well paced scenario.

The actors. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura are doing their thing, but the nice performances come from Elpidia Carrillo, Richard Chaves, Shane Black, and, especially, Bill Duke.

The bad. All army talk and fighting aren't realistic, they're stylized. Those action hero quip are lame and badly used, fortunately there are only two of them. Simple characters. Lousy intro story.

The ugly. The bow and arrows are just crap.

The result. Don't take it too seriously, enjoy the style, and then you can appreciate what makes this film good.


samedi 15 juin 2013

The Tourist — Boring and unimaginative at best — 5*/10

The Tourist is a flop despite using good actors.

The good. Nice views of Venice.

The actors. They all have done better work than this. Angelina Jolie is playing her role too cold. Johnny Depp is boring with only hints of interesting.

The bad. In the train, she's sitting on the edge of her seat all the time. Poor story. Shallow characters.

The ugly. How can you tail a small boat with a bigger boat barely a 50m back? Not to mention tailing that boat with an other bigger boat and in an empty canal... Disastrous.

The result. Not worth seeing unless you have really nothing else to do and are a huge fan of Depp or Jolie.


Dark City — A bewildering situation full of questions without answers — 9*/10

Dark City is one of those movies that is very difficult to categorized. It makes us experience something truly unique.

The good. Extremely imaginative setup. Very dark. Strong intrigue with multiple parts that keeps us guessing for most of the movie.

The actors. Rufus Sewell gives us a solid performance as the main confused protagonist, and we feel just like him. On the other hand, as a watcher, it is William Hurt playing the detective who leads our inquiries, trying to understand the mystery as we would. The ever beautiful Jennifer Connelly is adorable in her gentle role. Kiefer Sutherland gives strange ticks to the persona he is playing, making him seem slightly fake.

The bad. The green screen shot are poor, and fortunately somewhat rare. The rest of the special effect imperfections can be viewed as "stylish" and more easily absorbed. The final fight is a bit too simple.

The ugly. That dying critter near the end that looks almost pixelated.

The result. Quite a stupefying ride. Recommended to anyone, especially lovers of strange intrigues.


vendredi 14 juin 2013

After Earth — It could have been so much better — 6*/10

After Earth is an other movie where M. Night Shyamalan comes up with a great idea, yet cannot put any substance to it.

The good. Very imaginative vision. Excellent special effects. Nice action.

The actors. Jaden Smith and his father Will Smith gave credible performances, but both have done much better in other movies.

The bad. Extremely linear story, lots of predictability. Many logical flaws. Simplistic obstacles.

The ugly. Rotten introduction, could easily have been better.

The result. For sci-fi enthusiasts or fans of Will Smith only.


jeudi 13 juin 2013

The Purge — Turn off your brain and sharpen your machete — 6*/10

The Purge is an abstract idea given form, a kind of voice for a psychotic fantasy. Gratuitous violence served cold.

The good. Great idea for a movie. Well done suspense. A few nice twists in the story. Perfect ending.

The bad. Subpar acting for the most part. A few logical flaws, but not too many.

The ugly. Characters without any depth.

The result. For thrill seekers who like novel ideas. Others should probably abstain.

On a personal note, I was not able to suspend my disbelief concerning that future. To me, this is completely impossible. I even find the idea untenable. To me, what makes us human is our ability to go beyond our animal instincts.

I think this flick would have been much if they had explored more of this night instead of focusing on a single house. It might have given the opportunity to experiences unintended consequences or other interesting concepts.


Minority Report — Be transported to our near future for a action driven ride — 9*/10

Minority Report by Steven Spielberg is by now an iconic science-fiction movie for its vision of all the little things that could become part of our daily life.

The good. Excellent concepts and ideas included in the future we're presented. Nice special effects that still hold well today. Very interesting story. A scenario with a great pace. Captivating intrigue. Solid suspense. Lots of action. Some touching drama. Perfect ending.

The actors. Tom Cruise is the only actor who's performance is worth mentioning here. The rest of the cast is no more than adequate.

The bad. No interface would ever require so much body gesture to work. It's a completely ineffective method. Sean's videos do not have the feel of true family home videos, although the 3D effect is well imagined even going as far as including imperfections.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Excellent sci-fi entertainment for all.


mercredi 12 juin 2013

To Rome with Love — Interesting tales about dreams and desires — 7*/10

To Rome with Love is an eclectic mix by Woody Allen. You find reality shoved in side by side with memory and fantasy for a surprising picture of dreams and desires battling reason and facts. If there's a moral you can take out of it, it's probably: don't take yourself or life too seriously.

The good. Sincere and very interesting story that works to make us think. Nicely paced scenario. Solid dialogs.

The actors. A star studded cast with nice results. I'll just name a few here: Penélope Cruz, Ellen Page, Jesse Eisenberg, Alec Baldwin, and Roberto Benigni.

The bad. Nothing.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A nice change of pace from most films produced these days.


Lucky — A subject treated differently with a surprise at every turn — 7*/10

Lucky is a serial killer's tale through the eye of a cynic. It's a dark comedy that anyone can easily enjoy.

The good. Surprising scenario, nicely put together. When you think it's going to go left, it goes right. Imaginative ideas in the story. Excellent ending. This is not your Hollywood mush, it has realism mixed in the movie flair.

The bad. A few logical hitch, but easily ignored.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. If you like films that are different, offbeat, this is for you. Everyone else should at least give it a try.


Molière à bicyclette — Beaucoup de rires autour des mots avec une touche de burlesque — 7*/10

Molière à bicyclette est une comédie qui trace un lien entre deux acteurs préparant Le misanthrope de Molière et la vie de ceux-ci. Les parallèles sont subtiles, à quelques exceptions près, souvent hilarants. Beaucoup de rires, de situations cocasses, d'excellents dialogues, et de beaux panoramas.

Le seul hic, se trouve à la fin, lorsqu'il semble que l'on abandonne toute subtilité avec une phrase de trop. De plus, la production est un tantinet moralisatrice.

À voir pour un rire qui nous viens du cinéma Français.


Jarhead — A war where soldiers do not fight makes for an interesting war movie — 8*/10

Jarhead is a good view of what a foot soldier feels like in a modern war with almost no guerrilla, man to man warfare or street fighting, which was the case in the first Gulf War.

The good. Excellent photography. Solid characters. Realistic interactions and situations.

The actors. Jake Gyllenhaal is perfect as the bright recruit. Peter Sarsgaard is just as good as the guy for whom being a marine is everything. Jamie Foxx once again sets aside his "thing" to give us a brilliant performance as the career under-officer. Other good mentions include: Brian Geraghty, Lucas Black, and Scott MacDonald

The bad. The drill sergeant is not credible enough.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A straight face view from the ground of the first Gulf War as well as soldier camaraderie.


lundi 10 juin 2013

Casualties of War — A troubling movie on a terrible fact of war — 8*/10

Casualties of War shows that war can be ugly for more than the obvious reasons. A great dramatic piece by Brian De Palma.

The good. Excellent score. Once past the intro, powerful mood. Riveting story. Well built scenario, very logical and nicely paced. Emotionally disturbing.

The actors. Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn are just perfect as antagonist. Don Harvey fits his crazy role very well. John C. Reilly plays the simpleton with convincing clarity. And I'll just mention in passing a good performance by Ving Rhames.

The bad. The initial jungle scenes lack realism, as well as some over-acting by the black guy in the first part.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. An emotional and brutal movie. Not for the faint of heart.


Apocalypse Now — The war is not only fought on the field but also in the shadows — 10*/10

Apocalypse Now is a Vietnam War masterpiece by Francis Ford Coppola.

The good. This is an other one of those movie you could list everything here. Once again, I'll just mention what makes it special. The impeccable photography, the viscerally poignant visuals, and the incredible score perfectly emphasize the dark chilling gloom of the situation, the sense of impending doom. The story is a solid tale that exposes the twisted nature of the conflict. The long and slow scenario really lets you sink into the morass faced by the main character, like feeling a centipede crawl across your skin. Unexpected events popup all the time.

The actors. Martin Sheen shines and quietly shows his talent as the tortured special force soldier sent on a mission of a lifetime. Robert Duvall is the perfect blustery unshakable commander. Marlon Brando displays all his talent as he portrays a genius commander gone mad. An extremely young and unrecognizable Laurence Fishburne already shows us his potential. And finally, Harrison Ford, fresh from Star Wars, plays a small role as a colonel.

The bad. Nothing.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A difficult movie to watch, but a must for anyone with enough fortitude. The redux version should be seen to really understand the whole story. The shorter original version should only be watched by those who want to be exposed to this masterpiece, but are not certain to like it.

dimanche 9 juin 2013

Platoon — War is not just bullets flying, and horror is not just about blood — 10*/10

Platoon is about what it means to be a grunt in the Vietnam War. A masterpiece by Oliver Stone, and definitively the best Vietnam War movie ever made.

The good. This is one of those movie you could list everything here. I'll limit myself to what makes it truly special. An incredible score that leaves an indelible mark. Extremely strong psychology built into the scenario and the characters. You get right there with them, you feel the heat, the ants, the numbness... Perfect realism for the firefights, the ambushes, the battles, the camps, the duality, the interactions, and the dialogs. Superb acting.

The actors. At the time Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe were big names and you can see why by the quality of their work in this piece. However, the real star here is Charlie Sheen for his portrayal of a and ex college boy and disillusioned volunteer. An other great performance, often underrated, is the one by John C. McGinley as the stringy sergeant O'Neil. This production also feature people that would eventually become much bigger in the industry, namely Forest Whitaker, Keith David and a very young Johnny Depp.

The bad. Nothing.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Not for the faint of heart, highly recommended for everyone else. A must for those who want to understand the horrors of war.


samedi 8 juin 2013

The Source — Strong and very moving struggle — 9*/10

The Source is an excellent Arabic movie about the social modernization of the Maghreb back country, that westerners can easily associate with.

The good. Powerful subjects. Extremely compelling story, touching and full of emotions. Tightly built scenario. Nice B and C stories. Very realistic characters. Actual setting, nothing fake.

The bad. Nothing.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Many can enjoy this flick, but highly recommended to anyone who like social justice, grass root non-violent movements, or tales set in a simple village. Not recommended to those who like slick movies.


Full Metal Jacket — Get through the gruesome training and maybe you'll survive hell — 10*/10

Full Metal Jacket is Vietnam war movie by Stanley Kubrick and it is a masterpiece.

The good. The mood is set to perfection with the exemplary score and the smooth pacing of the scenario. The story is done in two part, you get to see the ongoing effect of the training as it happens and its result in the field. It is personal, it is gripping, and psychologically brutal. A clear picture of what it is to become a soldier and what it requires on the field. Great photography and editing. Solid dialogs.

The actors. Matthew Modine is in one of his best role, presenting a steadfast young man with the rare quality necessary to get through marine training with all his head. A young Vincent D'Onofrio, almost unrecognizable, gives us a performance of a lifetime with incredible realism. R. Lee Ermey is the quintessential army drill sergeant, a perfect performance. Adam Baldwin plays a shallow role, but gives it his best.

The bad. Nothing.

The ugly. Giving loud orders in an echoing building while sneaking on an enemy. It's the only error of the flick.

The result. An excellent war movie. Not for the faint of heart.


vendredi 7 juin 2013

The Last Castle — Get your daily dose of violence in a nice package — 6*/10

The Last Castle is an army feel good movie set in an prison.

The good. Well planned out tactics. Solid action. A bit of suspense and intrigue. Nice acting. Well paced scenario.

The actors. Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, and Delroy Lindo give us a credible performance. Their lack of brilliance is not a reflection of their capabilities, but rather what they were given to work with.

The bad. Too much army heroic mentality. Not every soldier is like that.

The ugly. Single minded characters, lack of normal complexity.

The result. A satisfying testosterone flick. Do not expect more.


jeudi 6 juin 2013

Epic — A wildly imaginative world to charm us all — 8*/10

Epic is a delight, a visual imagination feast. What it lacks in complexity, it makes up in intention.

The good. Gorgeous graphics and animation. Very imaginative setting. Interesting story. Well paced scenario. Funny dialogs and situations.

The bad. Over simplistic characters and concepts. Underdeveloped B stories. Swords that are not used. Human world not as well done as the forest world.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Highly recommended for any kids. Adults will like it, too, it's just that they might find it lacks a bit of depth.


Saving Private Ryan — Tough, real, touching, and superb — 10*/10

Saving Private Ryan is the best Second World War movie ever made.

The good. Almost everything could be listed here as exceptional, but I'll just mention what really makes this a master piece. First and foremost, the fighting and how it's depicted. You feel the same stress, terror, and confusion as the soldiers. There are some heroics, but it's normal man heroics. Men die by the score, there's no favorites. It's dirty, it's loud, it's dangerous, it's inhumane. Beyond that, you've got an incredibly compelling story, amazing photography, a rich scenario, very attaching and real characters, as well as interesting thoughtful dialogs.

The actors. There are so many excellent ones, and a number that were on the cusp of their stardom. Tom Hanks is of course in one of his best incarnation ever. Tom Sizemore is the perfect solid loyal sergent. Paul Giamatti has a small role, but without contest one of his best by playing his normal edgy style in a war context with a thin veneer of authority and calm. Edward Burns is just right as the loud mouth New Yorker. And you cheer Barry Pepper as the God blessed sniper. Now for a few surprises. Giovanni Ribisi, playing a bit far from his usual role, is excellent as the overwhelmed caring medic. Dennis Farina, which I normally do not like, is a stoic senior officer with an calm aura. You can also see a young Nathan Fillion in a quick cameo. Here, one might argue wether Matt Damon was given a large role or not, but he did carry it out well, if a bit subpar for him. However, the truly big surprise is the appearance of Vin Diesel playing something completely out of his usual affectations with credible results.

The bad. It's a near perfect film, but there's one thing that irked me. The family of the veteran was either badly chosen of badly directed. When he starts to cry they all act as if it was a big surprise. Really? What did you think he was going to do?

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Be ready for some tough bloody scenes, and you'll love this realistic representation of war.


mercredi 5 juin 2013

Mud — Trapped and still going strong — 8*/10

Mud is about not having much, and yet doing something with it.

The good. Unusual, dirty, but great settings and characters. Reactions are totally realistic, yet unexpected because we're so used to our standard fare from the major studios. Compelling story. Attaching personas. Solid photography. Well paced scenario with nicely intricate parts. Excellent ending.

The actors. Matthew McConaughey offers us an incredible performance showing the depth of his talent. However, the two kids, played by Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, are the true surprise. Unfortunately for Reese Witherspoon, she wasn't given much to play with, her appearance looking more like a cameo than a full role.

The bad. Juniper and the criminals are not well developed within the story and feel kind of empty. That is the only thing that's holding back this film from being done just right.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A very different flick. Approach it with an open mind, and you'll be amazed.


Still Mine — A man can only do what he thinks is right — 7*/10

Still Mine is an example of why sometimes laws and rules can mean a lost of freedom.

The good. Compelling and touching story. Well built scenario. Nice photography. All together, a solid film.

The actors. The whole cast gave a spot on performance, but James Cromwell shows himself as a true star here with a very attaching character.

The bad. Most of the plot elements have been seen many times in different forms over the years. Even though the mix is unique, you get an overall sense of déjà vu.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A simple tale that can resonate with anybody. Don't expect action or great drama, and you'll be pleasantly entertained.


mardi 4 juin 2013

Intolerable Cruelty — The gloves are off and every blow counts — 8*/10

Intolerable Cruelty is an offbeat comedy that shows in a very twisted way how to make best with what you have and that what you want might not be what you really desire.

The good. The strongly skewed acting creates an incredible cooky mood. Strong dialogs. Very interesting twists in a well paced scenario. The story plot and characters show a nice imagination and an off-center view of the world. Slick photography and finish.

The actors. George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones make an incredible team with their characters playing off each other. Richard Jenkins balances them well by playing an almost sensible persona by comparison. Billy Bob Thornton does his extravagant best in a singularly caricatural performance. Cedric the Entertainer plays his role well even if it means he's a bit of an oddball in the lot and somewhat annoying.

The bad. This off kilter production is not for everyone.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A cooky comedy that will please some immensely while boring others.


lundi 3 juin 2013

9th Company — Be there and live the trauma — 9*/10

9th Company a Russian film giving a taste of their recent military past.

The good. Smooth setup, you get to know the characters and the situation pretty well. Very realistic situations, actions, reactions and battles. Extremely compelling story. Solid scenario that makes the us transition from the unknown to the personal without ever dropping our attention.

The bad. Jarring first few moments, very confusing. The subtitle are sometime difficult to follow.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. A gripping reality-like war movie from the Russian Afghan War.


Burn After Reading — What if you believed you were in a spy movie? — 9*/10

Burn After Reading is a weird movie. It takes everything that makes a good spy flick and turns it on its head. You can't help but incredulously laugh at what happens. This is all about oddballs.

The good. Excellent acting. Totally off the wall characters, actions and situations, yet completely logical. Story with twists within twists. Well paced scenario. Solid dialogs. Nice action.

The actors. George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, and John Malkovich play disturbingly crazy roles stuffed with delusion and heavily dosed with stupidity. While Richard Jenkins, David Rasche, and J.K. Simmons seem almost out of place as the standard bearers of reason.

The bad. Since it's so bizarre, it won't please everyone.

The ugly. Nothing.

The result. Offbeat and cooky comedy. Don't think you'll see your run of the mill kind of film and you'll have fun.