Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Inglourious Basterds (2009)

I've stated previously in this blog that I hate writing reviews. It's still true. And I feel that any attempt to sound smart here would only result in bringing zero justice to the film. So I'll just say this: Quentin Tarantino has constructed a masterpiece. His script is dynamic and camera work immaculate. Go see this glorious film and you shan't be disappointed.

Also I couldn't decide on whom I was crushing harder; Daniel Brühl or Michael Fassbender.

Recommended? Hell. Yeah.

Grade: A

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review: In The Loop (2009)

DEATH by British Comedy.

Recommended? Absolutely.

Grade: A

Review: Julie & Julia (2009)

Meryl Streep is the greatest living actress. Period. It's not an overused cliché, it's just simply true. She disappears into every role, transforms with each new challenge. I love Meryl Streep.

Here is no exception. I seriously forgot a few times I was watching her, and not Julia Child. She plays the legendary chef flawlessly.

Apart from that, this film is so-so. It's a glorified cooking show with at least one Talking Heads song in the soundtrack. Amy Adams is a tad bland as Julie Powell, a girl stuck in a depressing job and a creaky apartment but saved by her lovely husband (Chris Messina) and cooking. She loves cooking. And she's good at it, so she decides to start a blog (because that's what people do nowadays. They start blogs) cooking her way through Julia Child's cookbook.

On the other side, we see Julia struggle to write the first ever french cookbook in english. Both women go through similar plights but it ends up fine, predictably. It's a film with some sweet moments but not much weight. I'd say if for nothing else, see this for Meryl Streep and delicious looking foods.

Recommended? Are you a woman?

Grade: B-

Review: Funny People (2009)

Being a product of the late-eighties, I grew up on Adam Sandler. He was my absolutely favorite actor as a kid. I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for him.

So I guess it was kind of fun to see a film where he plays a distorted version of himself, complete with archive footage of his younger years as a comedian. Instead of playing a man-child jackass, as he is prone to do, he's a fully grown asshole. Okay, backup. In the beginning George Simmons (Sandler) finds out he's dying. So, he decides to shake things up in his life and meets Ira (Seth Rogen), an aspiring stand-up comic, and hires him to be his assistant and help him write jokes.

People are calling this Judd Apatow's "serious movie." It's sort of true. It's got more serious issues, but it's still funny. ALTHOUGH. The humor seems more forced than usual. It's a movie... About stand-up comedians. I have to say most of the footage at comedy clubs is dull. I was... disappointed.

Seth Rogen is at his most endearing, though. Instead of playing a lovable slacker who's always screwing up, he's an earnest, sweet-minded guy who's trying to get himself out there, but finds himself frustrated constantly by his roommate (Jason Schwartzmann, in a role not far off from Max Fischer) who has a well-paying job on a pitiful network TV sitcom.

After about what feels like 2 hours of becoming closer with his friends and family (and beating cancer), George finally gets back in touch with his ex-girlfriend (Leslie Mann) who is now married (To Eric Bana) and has two kids (The Apatow children). Some shit goes down and it all gets rather uncomfortable to the point where I lean over to my sister and say: "I'm trying to imagine how this is going to end well..."

I'm not sure I like the serious side of Judd Apatow.

Okay, and one last thing. It's over 2 hours. No comedy should ever be longer than 2 hours, and Apatow has always had a problem with editing. It really feels like a lot of stuff packed in. Like they couldn't bear to cut some stuff because they liked it, but it really had no place in the film. Eh, what am I saying?

The movie is too long and not funny enough. There I said it.

Still, Apatow is Apatow and he's always present.

Recommended? May as well

Grade: B-

Review: The Ugly Truth (2009)

Poor Katherine Heigl. She CAN act. We've all seen her. But for some bizarre reason, she chooses to be in utter shite.

And I'm not, you know, proud to say I saw this film. I naïvely thought that since it was rated R it would be fairly decent (as in, no restrictions on certain topics). I was right, in a way. It is completely jam-packed with sexist generalizations, (really) crass humor, and vulgar language with seemingly no merit. And Gerard Butler, who can be a charming guy, was uncomfortable and had a weird Jersey-ish(?) accent. Ugh. Bad characters, worse writing. Altogether a terrible movie.

Recommended? No.

Grade: F

Friday, August 07, 2009

R.I.P. John Hughes 1950-2009

See Edgar Wright's lovely obituary HERE.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Review: (500) Days of Summer (2009)

Two of the cutest indie actors today; Joseph Gordon Levit and Zooey Deschanel. JGL in his earth-toned woven shirts and sweater vests, and ZD in her precious one-of-a-kind vintage dresses. Romance, quirk, The Smiths.. Totally set up to be as pretentious as they come, and even worse they bill themselves as "the anti-romcom."

Too bad that's exactly what it is. It's romantic comedy with a few dark corners. Still, I adored this film. I wanted to hate it because it looked, like, too indie to be good. But it was just delightful.

Both actors delivered insanely sincere and earnest performances. Even though I didn't like the eponymous character, Summer, I thought Deschanel played her perfectly. It wasn't the character that was bad, it was what the character represented, which is a completely different beast. I didn't like her in a good way. Joseph Gordon-Levit was a tiny bit heartbreaking and he sold me on the deliverance of one word; "Yeah."

I felt the story structure was really interesting without going over the top (as in, trying too hard to be interesting). The film didn't take itself too seriously and kept me totally engaged the entire time. I really felt for these characters, no matter how quirky or free-spirited they may have been. They were real kids, maybe in love, maybe not. It doesn't glorify relationships or even give the audience what it wants. It's kind of a reminder to us all "hey man, sometimes love sucks, and sometimes it stays that way." but with always the promise that life goes on after a broken heart, no matter how we hate to think about it.

I was definitely one of the cynics, and if I could be warmed by this film, I think anybody could.

And The Smiths rock.

Recommended? Yep.

Grade: A-

Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

Basically, I hated everything about this movie, and I'm too exhausted to rant about it anymore.

Recommended? Not personally, but every single person on the planet seems to love it. Your call (though you've probably already seen it).

Grade: F (yeah that's right. Ever seen that on here?)

Review: Whatever Works (2009)

Woody Allen's latest venture brings us back to his roots; New York (duh). Essentially he wrote the main part for himself, but instead chose a different neurotic, misanthropic Jew (Larry David). You can see how that kind of character can get a little tedious after a while. Still, the film was about as decent as I think anyone could've expected. It's hard to follow up Vicky Christina Barcelona (because that was awesome), but he did alright. It's got to be hard to keep writing screenplays and not recycle (there was essence of Manhattan here and there). But Woody Allen, he continues to show he's still relevant.

Recommended? It's worth checking out.

Grade: C

Review: Moon (2009)

*I am like a month behind but thank the lord I only have four movies to review. Go me.*
Moon is a really interestingly psychologically and physically plot-driven. Does that make sense? I totally expected this odd mind-bend of a journey about a guy who is stationed at the Moon for 3 years and starts losing his mind a lá The Shining. But it's more 2001: A Space Odyssey than the former. Still there is a (nicely done) heavy influence of Kubrick, complete with serene A.I. companion (sadly not named HAL). Great work for first-timer Duncan Jones, and I tells ya, this was really hurting for some "Space Oddity" or "Star Man." Would that have been just too obvious?

I will say: It would've done great with a Brian Eno score. I defy anyone who says differently!

Recommended? Well it's probably too late to see it anywhere now, but definitely.

Grade: B+