Friday, July 29, 2011

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life
Directed By: Terrence Malick
Written By: Terrence Malick

The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.

The Tree of Life, winner of the Cannes Film Festival, follows the story of a family struggling to accept and understand each other. While the eldest son Jack, tries to figure out whether the choices he is making are right or wrong. The movie begins very linearly when Mrs. O'Brien (Jessica Chastain) and Mr. O'Brien (Brad Pitt) find out that one of their three sons is dead. After this, the story becomes non-linear and you have to start thinking about what you are seeing and hearing. The movie focuses on this family before the tragic event in the 1950s and how it is growing just like a tree. They are both constantly growing but sometimes growing apart.

This was one of the best movies I have ever seen. Not because it is your normal Brad Pitt/Sean Penn summer blockbuster but because it is the exact opposite of that. I have read a lot of reviews saying that this movie had no beginning, middle, and end, but that is not true. I think this film does have those characteristics but this movie has no exact meaning to it. When I walked out of this movie with my roommate we both came out with completely different meanings to this film. He thought that this film was a take on what happens to your consciousness after death while I thought the movie was showing us that every single organism in this universe is so insignificant in contrast to the universe but every organism was placed in this universe at one point or another for a specific purpose. It is about the choices that we as individuals make, that make the universe what it is, better or for worse.

I don't want to say to much more about this film so i will end with saying that this was one of the most spectacular looking films I have ever seen. The shots were creatively filmed and beautifully created. After watching The Tree of Life the only movie I can compare it to is 2001: A Space Odyssey and in all likelihood the two films alike will be remembered and talked about forever.

Rating: 9.5/10

I don't give 10/10 because who the hell knows what a perfect movie looks like.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Written by: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely

After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals.

Opening the same weekend as Comic Con, Captain America is the fourth and last superhero movie to come out this summer. The trailer had everybody buzzing and it looked like a film to impress. Everybody was hoping that it wasn't going to turn out like The Green Lantern. Well, thankfully it didn't. Sorry for the scare. This movie was a far from perfect film but it was extremely entertaining and was on par with Thor.

Chris Evans was perfect for the role of Captain America. He played off the innocent, scrawny guy really well in the first portion of the film. I was not sure how Chris Evan's head being superimposed on top of this tiny body was going to go but it was not as bad as I expected. It also really helped with the continuity through his transformation and gave a chance for Chris Evans to show some real acting chops.

Hugo Weaving gave a great show as well. He played the devious Red Skull and looked like he had a blast in this film. The one thing I noticed was that he never seemed like a real threat. Yes, you will see that he processes a powerful weapon but all of his plans seemed to be foiled a little too easily. Without ruining anything, I believe we will see the Red Skull in a future movie, possibly The Avengers, and I am looking forward to this. 

The film did get a little too cheesy at times. I don't like it when my super hero movies do this but luckily they casted Tommy Lee Jones. He was the main source of comic relief in this film. If there was ever a cheesy moment and he is around, don't be surprised if he throws in a line that ruins the moment.

My biggest complaint about this movie is the editing. I am not sure if it was the actual editor himself or if it was the director that didn't give the editor enough shots, but it was extremely sloppy. The first cut of the movie broke the cardinal 180 degree rule. The montages seemed sloppily put together and sometimes had no continuity. This probably will not bother the majority of people but it was something I could not block out. The other thing that bothered me was the story structure towards the end of the film. It felt like the writer hit a roadblock. So he closed his eyes spun around and when he stopped he said lets go this way. It still made sense at the end of it all but there was no journey to get there. 

This is a worthwhile movie to go see. It comes on par with Thor and follows the same funny and entertaining theme that the Marvel Universe is portraying very well. Captain America gets you even more pumped for The Avengers movie coming out next year and if you want to learn more about it stay past the credits.

Rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II
Directed by: David Yates
Written by: Steve Kloves (Screenplay) J.K. Rowling (Novel)

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are back for this final installment of the HARRY POTTER franchise, in which Harry finally has one last showdown with his long-time nemesis, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes).

I can't believe that Harry Potter is finally over. I am not afraid to say this either, but I am extremely happy that it is over. I was a huge fan of the books growing up but never thought the movies did the books justice. But in this case not only did The Deathly Hallows: Part II do the book justice but it is probably one of the best movies that have been out so far this year

The film picked up exactly where Part I ended with Harry mourning the death of Dobby the Elf. Unlike Part I, which I was not a fan of, since it was so horribly paced, Part II was the extreme opposite of Part I in pacing. When Harry was done mourning Dobby, we were right in the hunt for all of Horcruxes and within the first 30 minutes we were at Hogwarts getting ready for battle.

For a Harry Potter film, this was a very gritty film, especially the battle scenes. David Yates did a great job at expressing that this was the final battle and that everything was riding on its outcome. I think the tone of this film was why I enjoyed the movie so much. This direction makes sense as the generation that started with Harry Potter has grown up with Harry Potter. The die-hard fans are not little kids, we are 18-25. We are looking for this intense, dark movie now, not a kids movie.

All of the actors have really grown up as well. Obviously it has been noted that Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint can all act. But one side character that really rose to the occasion in this film was Matthew Lewis. Who? Matthew Lewis played Neville Longbottom for all 8 Harry Potter movies. The crowd erupted into cheers the most times for Neville in this film.

Whether of not you did or did not like the past Harry Potter films, Deathly Hallows: Part II was a worthy ending to the Harry Potter franchise. It will now be interesting to see what these actors do now that they are forever type casted into their Harry Potter roles.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Extra Tidbit: I read an article that said J.K. Rowling wanted to write more about Harry Potter or the Harry Potter world. Let's all hope that she doesn't bring back Voldemort or add another threat for Harry to fight now that he is 35 Years Old. (Which was hilarious to see at the end of the movie) If she plans on doing this, I hope that she stays in this fantasy world but with a completely new set of characters during a different time period.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Horrible Bosses

Horrible Boses
Directed by: Seth Gordon
Written by: Michael Markowitz, John Francis Daley, and Jonathan Goldstein

For Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day), the only thing that would make the daily grind more tolerable would be to grind their intolerable bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston) into dust. Quitting is not an option, so, with the benefit of a few-too-many drinks and some dubious advice from a hustling ex-con (Jamie Foxx), the three friends devise a convoluted and seemingly foolproof plan to rid themselves of their respective employers... permanently. There's only one problem: even the best laid plans are only as foolproof as the brains behind them. -- (C) Warner Bros

Horrible Bosses had an epic trailer which is why this movie is one of the most anticipated R-rated comedies of the year. The only other R-rated comedy I might be looking forward to more than this one is 30 Minutes or Less. Check out the trailer, it is hilarious. Anyway, was Horrible Bosses just as good as the trailers? Yes, indeed it was! Was Horrible Bosses way better than the trailer? No, not really.  But that is okay. This film really hit home and you will be laughing all the way through the film. The director Seth Gordon is used to directing half hour TV sitcoms and it comes across in the film. There are some parts of this movie where I am laughing for 20 minutes straight but then it lagged a little bit. Where Seth Gordon succeeded was getting the best out of his actors, which is why this movie is a definite must see.

Jason Bateman plays the everyday working man who is getting shit on by his boss. He plays the most timid role out of the three but brings the comedy chops that he shined with in Arrested Development Kevin Spacey plays the psychotic, overbearing, dickhead boss. He steals a lot of scenes and ends up being the most prominent boss in the film.

The boss I wished got a little more screen time was played by Colin Farrell. He brought his A-game and gave a performance similar to Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder. Colin Farrell's character is the douche bag, comb-over wearing, coke-head boss. He played the boss of Jason Sudeikis who plays the cool, laid back, ladies man which he played off great. I would say that he had some of the funniest lines but you forget that there is one more friend that I have not mentioned yet.

Both Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis are on the verge of becoming huge comedy stars but the one that really broke out of his shell was Charlie Day. He plays the most well rounded role int he film. He has a fiancee and seems to have his act together. Of course when shit this the fan the crazy side of him comes out. Watching him get coked out with Jason Bateman might have been one of the most memorable scenes from a comedy since the FIRST Hangover. (2nd Hangover SUCKED!!) Charlie Day brings his LAways Sunny side into this film but plays so much more than that character in this film. I am glad to see him in films like these. Now his boss was played by Jennifer Anniston, who seems to be like wine and gets finer with age. She plays the sexually harassing boss with the dirty mouth. I mean this bitch is crazy. Jennifer Anniston's character makes sexually offenders look like priests. Bad metaphor but you get the point. 

There are also some great cameos from Julie Bowen (Modern Family) who played Kevin Spacey's hot cheating whore of a wife and Jamie Foxx who played a character named 'Motherfucker' Jones. This film really brought the best out of this top notch cast. Every one of them brought something to the table which made for an all around rememberable comedy to laugh at for years to come. 

Rating: 8/10

Friday, July 1, 2011

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon
Directed by: Michael Bay
Written by: Ehren Kruger

When the Autobots learn that a long-lost Cybertronian spacecraft is being hidden on the moon, they must fight to keep it's secrets from falling into the hands of the Decepticons, who want to use it's power to enslave mankind.

Dear Michael Bay,

That movie needed more explosions and product placement and less story structure and character development!


I have not been an avid Transformers fan since the franchise began. I just try an go into these movies knowing that Michael Bay likes to make things go BOOM! After the horrific script of Transformers 2, there was nowhere to go but up. Transformers 3 script was better but that's like saying a second degree burn is better than a third degree burn, they both still suck. But if you are a Transformers fan than this movie is for you. Michael Bay demolished a city like it never has been done before and worth checking out.

The action was awesome, I mean really awesome, especially with my $17 3-D glasses. Once the Decepticons started destroying Chicago, things got highly entertaining. Things blow up here and then there and then Witwicky is thrown down the side of a building and I'll leave you on the edge of your seat for that part on. He survives, sorry for spoiling it. Either way there could have been less explosions and product placement and more character development and story structure. I need to re-write that letter above, huh. 

So now let's talk about the chick who replaced Megan Fox, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She was no worse than Megan Fox but she was no better either. Michael Bay knows how to pick his eye candy and picking was ripe. Nothing better than a hot chick looking out in space with explosions going on all around her. I still don't know why Bay would pick a non actor to replace Fox but Rosie did fine. For somebody who has never acted before to do the same as somebody who is a trained actor is impressive, I guess. Other notable performances come from Ken Jeong and Alan Tudyk. Both played hilarious roles in what felt like a semi comedy. 

I will now give you steps to enjoy this movie.
Step 1: Sit Down
Step 2: Dumb your brain down
Step 3: Laugh for the first half of the film
Step 4: Let your mind fry from the explosions int he second half
Step 5: When you leave the theater don't be a film major because you will than analyze every little last fucking thing and end up hating the movie.

Good luck fellow movie goers. Until next time!

Normal Person Rating:  7/10
Film Major Rating: 5/10