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Movie review : Avatar

Avatar
Avatar
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[ No Spoilers ]

As soon as this movie was over I knew that it was in my top 10 all time favorites. After some careful consideration I’d put it in the top 3 – with Return of the King and The Matrix.

A word about 3D
I get motion sick fairly easy. So I was a bit apprehensive going in to see this in 3D. I usually avoid 3D screens, and on the occasions that I have experienced them it was bad. Usually 3D movies show a few scenes here and there in 3D, but the majority of the time you’re wearing those funky glasses for nothing.

Well that’s not the case here. Cameron waited 10 years to make this movie because he wanted to do it right – which means he wanted to do it his way. The movie is 3D from beginning to end. And not just that, but it’s good 3D. Cameron doesn’t go for cheap gimmicks by randomly throwing things at the audience. Oh, sure there are a few, very few, times that something might make you flinch, but for the most part the 3D experience just brings you deeper into the scene.

And I completely forgot that I was wearing the glasses and watching a 3D movie after about the first 30 minutes. The movie is that good. So see it in 3D or don’t even bother seeing it.

Stunningly beautiful
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there has never been a more beautiful movie ever made. Pandora is breathtaking. You get that from the previews but you see so much more in the movie.

Pacing and story
Cameron is a master at pacing. No, he is the master at pacing. You’ll get pulled into the story and forget that you’re sitting in a movie theater even though the movie is 2 hours and 40 minutes long. The movie seamlessly switches back and forth between the avatar and non-avatar world. You’re never in a scene too long that it begins to drag. The action scenes are just long enough. Cameron never interjects additional action just to show off. He’s here to tell a story that he has worked and re-worked for years. That makes it tight.

Acting
Nothing more to say than it was perfect.

Bottom line
Cameron has secured himself in the director pantheon. In my opinion, he and Spielberg sit alone at the pinnacle of Mt. Director. Cameron put everything on the line and risked a great deal of money and his reputation. Both are going to get a huge boost from Avatar.

Oh, and Mr. George Lucas: You need to attend any workshops on directing that Cameron might offer. You could learn a thing or two from this man.

What did you think about Avatar? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog
The Princess and the Frog

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Unfortunately, I had the flu this week and did not want to spread it to a theater rull of children (or anyone, f0r that matter). So we asked Dan’s mother to get the PeeTimes for this movie (which are up at RunPee.com).

So, right, I didn’t see the film. 🙁 Boo. I really do want to and will see if I can get to it this weekend, along with New Moon. I will compare Pee Times along with those created by others and add my reviews as well.

The only thing my mother in law reports on The Princess and the Frog is that the movie is “really pretty.”

I’d like to see if I can get anything better out of it, myself. 🙂

What did you think about The Princess and the Frog? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below..

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Movie review : Invictus

Invictus
Invictus

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You won’t find anything wrong with the story, or the acting nor the directing. That’s because Invictus is the product of the best in the business. And who else could possibly play Nelson Mandela besides Morgan Freeman? I’m not even sure this movie could have been made without Freeman. Matt Damon was also perfectly cast for the part of the rugby team captain.

Here’s the page at the Wikipedia about the poem Invictus for which the movie is name.

What did you think about Invictus? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below..

Movie review : Armored

Armored
Armored

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Armored is a nondemanding bit of amiable escapism. I appreciated the thriller’s lean pace, warehouse visuals and Columbus Short’s earnest, determined characterization.

In the latter half of the film, it felt like a non-humorous version of Die Hard. No dig intended: I mean this in a nice way. I always enjoy seeing one man creep around the bad guys, using only his wits to defy terrible odds.

This is a solid B outing. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking in the heist genre! Big guns Lawrence Fishburne and Jean Reno do little more than grunt and look serious, making me wonder why they are here at all. Matt Dillon does have nice chemistry with Short, and this keeps things rolling along.

What did you think about Armored? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Transylmania

Transylmania
Transylmania

What WAS this? Somewhere between a soft porn flick and a teen-humor gross-out gag film.

The movie seems to want to fall into the American Pie and Something About Mary genres. Don’t be fooled. The script lacks their cleverness but piles on the bodily humor. There are boobies, penises, farts, vomiting, midgets, pot parties, orgies, spurting blood and whatever else you might imagine is funny to immature adults.

There actually IS a plot here to follow, surprisingly. Once the story gets underway (about 45 minutes into the film), there are fun moments with mistaken identities and vampire jokes (“Vait minute – I don’t HAVE reflection!”). Watching Radu sneaking from tree to tree for shade, trying to scare a nonplussed child into giving up her bike was light fun. Pete, as a wanna-be Vampire Slayer, offers a few amiable moments.

The character of Wang eventually stands out as mildly interesting among the rest of the non-entities in this forgettable film.

Why this film didn’t go straight to DVD is a mystery. Perhaps the trendy vampire angle is meant to draw crowds? Well, it didn’t work. I was there on opening day – one of two people in the entire theater. I’ve never had so much room to myself.

Kudos to the producers for filming on location in Romania. The castle offered a rich setting, along with spooky forests, interesting townscapes, bridges, moats and dungeons.

The film gets a D+ for the gorgeous on-location filming and the surprisingly cohesive vampire plot, despite mostly listless acting and endless lame sex/pot/vomit jokes.

What did you think about Transylmania? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below..

Movie review : Everybody’s Fine

RunPee - PeeTimes link
Everybody’s Fine
Everybody's Fine

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Another ho-hum movie. Nothing much to say about it, either good or bad. This is a watered down performance from Robert De Niro.

Times used to be that De Niro in a movie meant something. But de Niro playing an old man/father is something I can do without. Leave that to other old men. De Niro needs to play a character that could be bound to a wheel chair and still strike fear in the heart. Sadly, those days are probably passed. I think I’m going to go watch Head just to wash this out of my mind.

What did you think about Everybody’s Fine? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Brothers

Brothers
Brothers

[ Spoilers ahead ]

This really pisses me off. The previews made the story up to be about an affair between a wife and her husband’s brother while the husband is off fighting in Afghanistan. But there wasn’t an affair. It was nothing but a kiss? Just a kiss?

The real drama came from what Sam – the husband – had to do while he was a POW. That’s some serious stuff and more than worthy of carrying a dramatic story.

But we only get a little bit of that, and then a little bit of the brother/wife indiscretion, which splits the story right down the middle. If the producters had just chosen one or the other they could have made a much better and more focused movie.

What did you think about Brothers? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Up In The Air

Up In The Air
Up In The Air

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A very enjoyable movie. Plenty of laughs and the story doesn’t trod down Predictability Lane. It’s a little difficult to associate with the characters since they lead rather unconventional lives. But the issues they face are similar to what many of us deal with, which brings it back to earth.

The most predictable aspect of this movie is George Clooney’s typically great acting. You would think that he would mix it up every now and then and turn in something rather flat and uninspired, but I suppose he just doesn’t have it in him.

The cast around him more than holds their own. Anna Kendrick is perfect as a competent and confident college graduate who gets slapped around by life. Vera Farmiga – George’s love interest – doesn’t have a lot to work with. Her role seems rather undemanding except for one scene which she plays very well. Personally I enjoy seeing actors play roles like this and do it well. In many instances the actor feels like they have to turn everything up a notch and overact just to be noticed. Vera didn’t do that. She just played her part and did it well.

And this is another well done job of writing/directing from Jason Reitman. He did Juno and Thank You For Smoking. I think this means we can expect to see a good many more enjoyable movies from this young talent.

What did you think about Up In The Air? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Old Dogs

Old Dogs
Old Dogs

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I didn’t expect much out of this movie. It seemed to me that I had probably seen everything worth seeing in the previews. Fortunately I was wrong. There were a few good and funny scenes that they saved for us.

The performances are what you would expect from great actors who aren’t asked to do much with their roles. Robin probably does a better job because he plays the dad-role fairly often. Travolta was good. Not the sort of role we’re used to seeing him in, outside of the Look Who’s Talking oeuvre. It’s sort of fun to see such a likable actor switch it up from time to time. Fortunately, he has a shaved head and carries a gun in his next movie: From Paris with Love. So it’s back to the good times. 🙂

What did you think about Old Dogs? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Ninja Assassin

Ninja Assassin
Ninja Assassin

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[ No Spoilers ]

The previews billed this as the greatest ninja movie ever. We’ll you guys just go on thinking that. But we all know it’s not true.

This is a great movie for people who like really bad acting and poor cinema photography and lame fighting choreography. Did I mention the bad acting? Lots of that. There probably would have been even more but they had to spend a lot of time showing us the bad fighting scenes.

At least they mix it up. Just when you think you can’t take any more bad acting they go into a long fight scene to release us from our misery. And then when you think you can’t take any more of the bad fight choreography they save us by switching back to the bad acting. In that since it’s pretty well paced.

[ Spoiler ahead ]

And it wasn’t just the acting and fighting that was lame. The story has as many holes as a ninja caught at the wrong end of a dozen throwing stars. My favorite is when our favorite ninja and Mika get separated. It ends with Mika running over a bad ninja just as he’s about to kill the good ninja. He then jumps in he car and Mika says to him, “I can’t believe I found you.” Like that’s supposed to fix it right up.

What did you think about Ninja Assassin? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.