Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Smashed (2012)

I get knocked down, but I get up again

Kate and Charlie are a young married couple who party every night and stumble through every day.  They are both functioning alcoholics who enable the other person's behavior.  When circumstances lead Kate to stop drinking, Charlie is left to sort things out on his own.  The acting is cheesy at a couple of points, but the strong script and beautiful story more than make up for it.  A nicely made movie from an up and coming filmmaker from Athens, GA, James Ponsoldt the man who is also behind The Spectacular Now.

Smashed gets 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Writer: ,
Starring: , , , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Metacritic: 71%

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Spotlight on MovieShrink and Film Guinea Pig

I love to talk about films, discuss them, and write movie reviews about them.  I also enjoy reading other people's thought on films.  I came across two really interesting film blogs recently: 

MovieShrink (twitter @movieshrink) - This site looks at the psychological impact of films, whether intentional on the filmmakers' part or not.  It also has quizzes, movie face-offs, and more. 

Film Guinea Pig (twitter @FilmGuineaPig) - I like this site because it focuses on smaller films, ones that are not as widely known. 

According to the site "The Film Guinea Pig has agreed to test lesser known, non-blockbuster movies to see if they are worth viewing...works that have flown "under the radar". The idea is to uncover movies of different genres and eras that would be of interest to open-minded lovers of cinema."

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Purge (2013)

Oh say can you see...

In the year 2022, and the New Founders of America control the nation.  Each year the Purge is held.  On this one night of violence and mayhem, the NFA allows almost every crime to go unpunished, even murder.  The powers that be consider the Purge a way for people to cleanse themselves of their anger and hatred so that they can get on with their lives.  For 12 full hours, anything goes.  The idea behind the plot has mouthwatering potential, kind of a Battle Royale or Hunger Games for the whole nation.  Sadly this very flat thriller is a predictable and mildly entertaining execution of an intriguing concept.  It tries to be creepy and suspenseful, but ends up being neither.

The Purge falls too easily into cliche and only comes away with 2.5 out of 5 stars!

Metacritic: 41%


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Spike Lee's Oldboy

Just so everybody knows, I won't be watching Spike Lee's Oldboy. The main reason is because I hate Hollywood remakes of brilliant foreign films.  Other recent films that I refuse to watch include remakes of Let the Right One In and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Is there really so little originality in Hollywood?  Apparently.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The World's End (2013)

One more round?

When a group of friends reunites in their home town to recreate a 'legendary' pub crawl (12 pubs, one night, The Golden Mile!!), things just aren't the same.  Suspecting something to be amiss, the group makes some strange discoveries.  And the rest is pure hilarity.  This is another great comedy from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost.  Referencing their previous collaborations (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) and bringing new humor to the table, The World's End is truly funny.  Funnier than H.F., but not quite as funny as S.o.t.D, But still, a laugh out loud romp through a small English town with surprising results.  It also has a couple of the best action sequences that I've seen in a while. 

The World's End smashes its way to 4 out of 5 stars

Writer: ,
Starring: , ,  ,  
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Metacritic: 81%

Friday, December 20, 2013

Amer (2009)

The strange life of Ana

Weird things happen to a Ana when she's young, when she's a teen, and when she's a young woman.  What actually happens is open to discussion and interpretation.  I had never even heard of this film until recently when I saw a trailer for L'étrange couleur des larmes de ton corps (The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears) which looked intriguing and is made by the same people that made this film.  This film, which is broken down into three acts is a frantic, frenetic portrait of a three periods of a woman's life.  The narrative is strong, told almost completely without dialogue. The film is sensual erotic without being overtly sexual.  It is creepy, funny, and moody.  The visual style and the way that it is shot is gorgeous.  Pretty much everything about this film is fantastic. 

Amer is a freakish delight which gets 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Director: ,
Writer: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Metacritic: 72%

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holy Motors (2012)

Weird, wonderful and, well, just weird

Holy Motors is actually hard to describe, so watching it is a must.  This surrealistic romp through the city of Paris is a beautiful piece of storytelling.  Essentially it is several short stories pieced together in a very creative fashion.  Holy Motors is bizarre, to say the least, but still accessible to the average film watcher.  The director (Leos Carax) manages to avoid the traps that other directors have fallen into thus keeping it from feeling like a bad student film.  At the end of it all, I was left asking questions like, what was real.

Holy Motors gets 5 out of 5 stars!

Metacritic: 84%

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New title, same blog

FYI - I'm informing the world of a change to the title of this blog.  The new title is now the dark rooms of our souls.  The title comes from a quote I came across recently and already had on the blog: 

“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” ― Ingmar Bergman 

But as I've been working more on this blog over the past couple of months, I've been trying to make it better and trying to think of ways to get recognized (It would be nice to make some money on it too).  Also, since the name is changing, I'm changing my ratings system too.  I used to use 'Poblanos' only because when I first started this blog about 2 years ago, I named it 'Tasty Poblanos' for some retarded reason.  I'll have to start using stars or something like that. 

Anyways, not that this title change will help, but who knows, maybe it will help me get recognized.  At least no one will mistake it for a blog filled with recipes for Mexican food!

Somewhere (2010)

A little bit of sunshine

A jaded Hollywood actor gets a surprise visit from his 11 year-old daughter.  His life begins to feel a bit more lively with her in it.  A very sweet story and an enjoyable film.  Stephen Dorff is a versatile actor and does a great job in his role.  And Elle Fanning continues to impress.

Somewhere gets 3.5 out of 5 Poblanos!

Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Stephen Dorff (Blade), Elle Fanning (Super 8) and Chris Pontius (Jackass) 
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Metacritic: 67 out of 100

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trailer: Earth to Echo

From what I've read about this film, it is a throwback to kids sci-fi films like E.T.  I love it already!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Frances Ha (2012)

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere

Frances is trying to make it as a dancer in New York.  When her best friend gets involved in a serious relationship, begins to unravel.  The awkwardness of the characters, especially Frances, and the things they do is painful to watch.  But it is in these poignant moments that Noah Baumbach's ability to give his characters life.  He reveals the humanness of the characters replete with flaws and gaffes and missteps.  Visually, this film is beautiful.  It is obviously an homage to the black and white era, but beyond the mere novelty of this, the film itself is wonderful.

Frances Ha dances its way to 4 out of 5 Poblanos!

Writer: Noah Baumbach,
Starring: Greta Gerwig, ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Do-Deca-Pentathlon (2012)

I'm the undisputed champion of the world!

When two adult estranged brothers get together at their mother's home for a weekend birthday celebration, old controversies arise.  The brothers, who held a do-deca-pentathlon when they were in high school to decide who would be the champion of the world still dispute the results.  I love these kinds of films.  DDP's fly-on-the-wall style of filming makes you feel like you're there with the family.  This sneak peek into brotherhood and family life is both humorous and poignant. 

A real champion in its own right, Do-Deca-Pentathlon gets 3.5 out of 5 Poblanos!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

This can't be happening to me

Ron Woodroof is a hard living heterosexual Texan who unwittingly contracts AIDS.  Upon finding out that he has the virus, he is told that he has 30 days to live.  Among his friends and neighbors, becomes an outcast.  Set in the mid 1980s during when AIDS was considered a homosexual disease, the story shows how far a man will go to keep living as well as how much a person can change.  The strengths of this film are many, but the story (based on the real life Ron Woodroof) and the acting (stellar perfromances by McConaughey and Leto) are what make this film great.  Can anyone say Oscar?

Dallas Buyers Club gets 4 out of 5 Poblanos! 

Writer: ,
Starring: , , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Metacritic: 84%

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oblivion (2013)


Jack and Victoria live on a post-apocalyptic earth which had been devastated by alien invaders.  Everyday Jack does his job as a patrolman and mechanic. When a mysterious ship lands on earth, Jack learns secrets that he was never supposed to learn.  Tom Cruise does a good job in his role, although his performances rarely vary from role to role.  Speaking of playing the same role, Morgan Freeman is a great actor, but I honestly get tired of seeing him in pretty much every other film playing almost the same type of character.  There had to be someone less cliche and more suited for this role than him.  However, for a big budget Hollywood sci-fi film, Oblivion is a respectable crossover of the 'alien invasion' and 'post-apocalyptic' genres.

With more than enough mystery, action, and suspense to be interesting, Oblivion gets 3.5 out of 5 Poblanos!

Writer: , , Joseph Kosinski
Starring: , , , , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Metacritic: 54%

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Doesn't quite make the cut

A dog-napper dognaps a gangster's dog.  Mayhem ensues.  Actually the rest is slightly more interesting.than that, but not by much.  It felt a lot like a Tarantino or Guy Ritchie rip off.  It wasn't clever enough, didn't have enough plot twists, and no real element of surprise.  Overall, not a bad movie, but neither is it a great one.

Seven Psychopaths gets a very sane 3 out 5 Poblanos!

Starting: , , , , (Skyfall, Oblivion)
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Metacritic: 66%

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

To the Wonder (2012)

You spin me right round baby, right round

Neil and Marina are in love.  Then they're not.  And there's a priest.  And some twirling around.  Like every other Terrance Malick film, this one is gorgeously shot.  It is atmospheric and fluid.  Sadly, it is also tedious and boring.  About halfway into it, I was already wishing it was over.  Don't get me wrong, I am big fan of Terrance Malick and think he is brilliant.  Lots of pointless twirling, an overdose of voice overs, and not much story cause this one to fall way short of Malick's past masterpieces.

I usually don't quote other critics' reviews, but I came across two reviews that sum up the film really well, so I couldn't resist.  Michael Posner called it "a project that veers perilously close to self-parody."  Another review from John Anderson, likened the film it to a perfume commercial. 

Disappointingly, To the Wonder only gets 2 out of 5 Poblanos!

Writer: Terrance Malick