Doubt (2008) — Drama (10/10)

February 8, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Movies) (, , )


I am so glad that I randomly decided to go see the film Doubt at 4:10pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

The night before, I saw Milk with Michael, and today I saw Doubt with my roommate Blake. It is really strange of me to say, but I felt tense during Doubt like I felt tense during The Descent, a British human-vampiresque horror film from 2006. Now what possibly could a drama about child molestation in a Catholic school have to do with a vampire horror film? I don’t really have an answer for you, but I felt tense and my fists were clenched for a better part of both films.

Bravo, Meryl Streep, you truly are an evil woman. I’ve met and seen women like the one she potrays in this film, but it still unnerved me. She tells Philip Seymour Hoffman that she will stop at nothing to see him removed from the school. She has no proof of her accusations, only “certainty”.

The movie tells a lot about the human condition, and the themes of manipulation, hate and degradation are rich and developed here. The ending pulls all of the different themes together quite nicely.

Some people said that they felt this film would go through “the occation narrative lull”, and I can see what they’re saying, but I must say that if you distrust and are aware the evil human condition as I have come to be, then this film will probably fascinate you.

Forgiveness, man. It doesn’t come for everybody. Oh! I watched this documentary about a year ago called Deliver Us From Evil, about a Catholic priest who molested hundreds of children over a period of a few decades. Watching that prior to seeing Doubt perhaps is an interesting setup for this film. Seeing the former will make you angry. I’m off subject, but I recommend this film highly. I love deception, evil and the human condition. I like to see how far people are willing to go to ruin everything around them. Tremendous acting, a terrific script and great directing all make this a top notch film.



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Milk (2008) — Drama (9/10)

February 7, 2009 at 12:10 am (Movies) (, , , )


Uh oh, I went and saw a movie about that gay pervert from California, right? As long as all the queers keep to themselves over there, right? Far from that. I really, really enjoyed this film! I saw it with my friend Michael on a Tuesday night, when only couples dared show their faces at a movie theater on a Tuesday night.

The movie is very poetic and moving. I am of the opinion that no people group should be discriminated, hated, barred from society, criticized openly simply for being different from you. If the Christians became persecuted and murdered in America, would you not want the same treatment as what has been desired by the Gay Rights and Civil Rights Movements? I myself do not condone, participate in or enjoy the idea and action of gay people, but nowhere in that sentence does that say I judge, hate, mistreat, slander or riot against this group of people. I love people, and that includes gays and everybody else.

My problem is that I’m not so accepting of ignorant, stupid, ghetto and cruel people.

Anyway, I’m way off topic now. The film has a great texture to it, and it behaves so gently toward the gay people. I don’t think the gay people were all that smart back in the 70s, because a lot of them thought that being 100% ridiculous and counter culture meant that they could surive, thrive and get everything they felt they deserved. Big issues like this don’t change overnight, so you’ve got to consider a little tact and moderation.

Still, the movie is poetic, sweet and (mostly) slow by my standards. I enjoyed the 70s grainy look of the film and the interweaving of stock footage from that time. There’s some “gay stuff” as you would expect, but I didn’t get all crazy over it. Michael covered his eyes, but mainly it was just kissing and a slap on the naked butt.

It is also a thought-provoking film about Gay Rights and the like. I recommend the film quite highly.


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Gran Torino (2008) — Drama (9/10)

January 14, 2009 at 4:11 am (Movies) (, , )


Gran Torino is an American film, *expletive*! Clint Eastwood plays Walt, a truly American son-of-a-gun. It’s interesting how the trailer doesn’t really provide a detailed look of the plot. Mainly there’s just a lot of Clint Eastwood pointing guns at Asians. Believe me, there is a ton of that.

There are some really powerful and effective scenes in this movie, and there’s a little Asian boy “Toad” that doesn’t act very well most of the time. Despite that flaw, it’s a really great performance by Cilnt Eastwood and all the other little Asians… the Hmong people.

This is a very unintentionally funny film, and that is a good thing. Clint Eastwood spouts off constantly about shooting Chinese in Korea (name that movie, anyone?) and can’t stand the Asian neighbors all in “his” neighborhood–he’s been there for decades. He illicits dozens of racial slurs (gooks, fish heads, dragon lady, swamp rats, etc) and calls all of them some other name than what they really have–“yum yum”, “toad”, etc.

I recommend this film for a hearty set of laughs, and the film is very easy to watch. Unlike The Wrestler, which certainly is a good film, Gran Torino establishes a certain set of characters that you really want to care about. I did care about Mickey Rourke as the wrestler, but the film was built on his performance, and I don’t feel like everything else amplified the good things that were already there. So, Gran Torino is the better film, and I recommend it to all (if you can stand a lot of swearing Asians).

Best line:

“You ever run into someone you wish you hand’t ****ed with? I’m that guy.”


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The Wrestler (2008) — Drama (8/10)

January 12, 2009 at 5:46 am (Movies) (, , )

This a solid film, but I wouldn’t say that it’s great. There’s a way that the independent wrestling circuit is portrayed that does make that whole “thing” much more interesting and humorous than it actually plays out on screen. I couldn’t get over how nice the guys were and how nonchalant they were about planning their moves for each upcoming match. Did they plan who would win?

I say that I liked The Wrestler because it’s solid, touching, sentimental and moderately realistic… but what makes the film worthwhile is the performance by Mickey Rourke. After seeing him in Sin City, I knew I would be a big fan of his. It’s funny to hear about how he was in the Hollywood eye in the 80’s, but his falling out left him with a broken life. Then, he is now making his comeback. This all parallels the experience of Randy “The Ram” in this film–they are multiple parallels that make this film hit close to home for Mickey, I’m sure.

Evan Rachel Wood only had a bit part, but I thought she was nice. She is SO pale, and I like that quality about her.

I think this movie unfairly portrays that you get second chances. Take it from me, because I have learned it the hard way, you don’t always get multiple chances. All because you pour your heart out doesn’t mean a past love returns to you, and it doesn’t mean you can easily find a new love. In this movie, Mickey Rourke has the opportunity to patch everything together, but he fudges it up and makes a mess of his life (again).

Word to the wise: don’t make mistakes. Or, atleast don’t make the kinds that you will regret forever. Life is entirely too long to regret so much, and this movie really broke me on that point. Whenever his daughter just returns to him after years of abandonment on his SECOND try to win her back… it made me cry because I could only wish that life was like that.

I heard Mickey Rourke won Best Actor at the Golden Globes. That makes me quite happy.


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Yes Man (2008) — Comedy (7/10)

January 8, 2009 at 7:39 am (Movies) (, , )

Jim Carrey
really is very good at what he does. I enjoy mostly his modern, more recent body of work, but I suppose I don’t have a problem with most anything he does. I suppose he works best on The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I give him mad props for those.

Don’t expect anything spectacular or mind-boggling about this film. This just throws in a few laughs, and you will feel good about yourself after viewing this movie. It does help you make sure to stay motivated and progressive with your life, and that is a good message, no doubt. SO. I enjoyed certain things about this movie a good deal. I think Jim Carrey really shows that he has great comedic instincts, but this film just isn’t meant to house any sort of “greatness”, if you know what I mean. This is a simple, short-lived film about finding what you love, embracing it and saying “Yes!” to your life. I do think many a recluse could stand to hear this message.

On to Zooey Deschanel. There is almost no one as beautiful as her. She has this gentile and human quality you can almost never feel from just seeing someone on the big screen. She is a musician and her voice is low-key and subtle. She had beautiful eyes and beautiful brown hair. I don’t think you know what it means for her to have brown hair. That is the biggest turn-on for me you’ll probably never understand.

I wish I could hang out with her. I think she’d like me and I know I’d like her, it’s just that simple… haha! 🙂

Anyway, this movie is average. It’ll generate a few good laughs, and certain things about the “comedic timing” ofmost jokes really made me chuckle (a mild laugh, no less). Something about the scene where Jim Carrey is drunk and rambling to the big tough guy about God knows what… well, that scene just made me laugh. I can’t quite explain it, but I can call it out when I feel it.


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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) — Drama (8/10)

January 7, 2009 at 7:19 am (Movies) (, , )


There is something very strange about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Something left me unnerved and rattled post-viewing.

The film is about a man-baby-thing whose mother died in childbirth. The father abandoned the child because he looked like a monster. The baby was raised by a woman who ran an old folks’ home. So, the baby looks like a dying old man, and as the “baby” grows older, his physical appearance begins to look younger and younger (leading to the obvious, inevitable conclusion).

So, the film is about quirky people, quirky situations, random lightning strikes, old age, death, fishing, romance and a very quiet performance by Brad Pitt. All in all, the film is very well done, and I give props to the design and cinematography of the film, but Brad Pitt doesn’t do anything at all. He just stares. He utters few words, and he purely reacts to things around him. He gets lucky with his life, basically.

The film is cold and unemotional. I don’t think that there’s any real reason to “enjoy” this film. There aren’t major revelations, and I can’t say I’m better for it. I wasn’t even very entertained on a shallow level. There were a few bits with lightning (7 to be exact) and those were definitely funny.

It’s just hard to like a film like that. I mean, what’s there to love? I hope it doesn’t win Best Picture at anything.


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Pineapple Express (2008) — Comedy (8/10)

January 7, 2009 at 7:00 am (Movies) (, , )


This is one of those “most ridiculous films you’ve ever seen” kind of films. Pineapple Express is about a drug deal (James Franco) and a druggie (Seth Rogen) on the run. The druggie witnesses a murder, and his life is turned upside down as he is hunted down.

Everything is ridiculous. The action, drugs, dialogue, everything. There is no reason to take any of this movie any bit seriously. The movie pretty much glorifies the usage of drugs, but it’s most prevalent theme is loyalty and friendship.

There is a lot of this “pity talking” where the characters break down all sensitive and talk to each other weepily. Sometimes it’s funny, but after a while it wears thin with its comedic timing.

The editing in this film is terrible. The director and editor have no sense of comedic timing, and if the individual scenes weren’t so funny, this film might have fallen flat on its face. The action scenes were full of discontinuity, and there was no attention to the detail. It’s too bad that they really, really slacked off in this department.

This is a vulgar, violent and absurd film. It has many, many funny moments, but it’s not the very best.


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Let the Right One In (2008) — Horror (10/10)

January 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm (Movies) (, , )


First of all, stop reading this review and go watch Let the Right One In right now. Oh wait, it’s not available on DVD yet, and it’s only playing at a select few theaters around the country. Well, you could find the movie online and watch it, like I did, but maybe you should just wait until you can watch this film alone and in the dark.

Seriously, this film took my breath away. This is a film about vampires. The story is about two 12-year-old children. Need I say more? I won’t say much more about the plot, but it is almost too good to be true.

Forget Twilight, a film for emo kids and little girls, but instead watch this mature film about the horrors of vampirism and love. This film really knows how to pull things together, and I’ll be thinking about this one for ages.

Basically, it’s about a 12-year-old boy named Oskar who meets 12-year-old vampire Eli. From there, everything happens. The film is chilling and atmospheric, and the music is terrific.

Don’t you dare think about forgetting or missing out on this film. I can’t recommend this movie enough.


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Slumdog Millionaire (2008) — Drama (9/10)

January 6, 2009 at 10:51 pm (Movies) (, , )


This film is a real treat. I don’t know if you know anything about the work of director Danny Boyle, but he has an exuberant and hyper-realistic directing style. He did films such as: Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Trainspotting and The Beach (the heck!?). Anyway, he has weird camera angles, lots of running, and I would describe his films as “visceral” and a “jolt of energy”.

It’s interesting combining the slums of Mumbai, India with elements of this fast-paced editing. The opening running scene of this film is very interesting and powerful, showing the sheer magnitude of the slums in the city.

The story is about Jamal, a boy from the slums is on the Indian equivalent of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” and who is just one question away from winning 20,000,000 rupees (Zelda, anyone?). The premise seems cheap at the get-go, but the story quickly matures and turns into an interesting account of growing up in a time of great difficulty.

Basically, everyone steals and you never get what you want… until maybe the end. I cannot imagine growing up in those circumstances, but millions of kids are forced into that lifestyle, God rest their souls.

In the movie, Jamal, just one question from winning, is accused of cheating because there is no way this uneducated boy would know all these answers. Jamal explains his story to the police chief, question by question, of how he knew the answers. For example, he knew that Benjamin Franklin was on the front of the $100 bill because a blind boy told him the name based on the physical description of a “balding man with hair like a girl.”

There are some very sickening and exciting moments in this film, and you will be touched if you have a heart. It’s compelling and fast-paced, and I dare say that most people would at least “like” this film.

And the female lead, when she is older, is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. My word…


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Quarantine (2008) — Horror (6/10)

January 6, 2009 at 10:31 pm (Movies) (, , )


The horror film Quarantine is a remake of a Spanish film called [Rec]. I have yet to see the original (which I hear is far superior), but one day I hope to.

This film is like unto Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead where the camera is like it’s being shot by a person in the film, and so there are usually long takes, but when the action hits, you’ll soon be epileptic and dizzy because you can’t tell what’s going on. Seriously, you lose half of… I don’t know… everything because you can’t tell what’s happening. It’s cool in a few ways, but it’s mostly just disorienting and frustrating for me.

The scares aren’t really that effective, and the heroine just screams, screams, screams, screams and screams like a pansy. It’s like Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds. Just SHUT UP AND DIE!

Anyway, this film does have the sense of dread that comes with being “quarantined”, I suppose, but there are so many mistakes. If the virus is killing everybody, why don’t you just lock out the infected and sit in one single room with no windows? Anyway, there are some freaky moments, and one scene in particular I thought was a bit shocking, but it’s mostly just empty because of the main girl’s performance. I liked the camera-bashing part, though.

I don’t know. I think horror films are so very difficult to pull off. I think a good horror film (along these lines, sort of) is The Descent. Check that one out, and please, please watch it with a group of easily-scared girls… just like I did.


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