Friday, February 28, 2014

Movie Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012)

It had to be you

Celeste and Jesse have been married for several years, but are in the process of getting divorced.  The problem is that they still spend loads of time together.  Jesse actually lives in the studio space behind the home that they used to share.  When Jesse finds someone else, Celeste has to come to grips with losing him for good.  Some parts of the film are cheesy and made me groan.  Some are too far fetched and made me say, 'that could never happen to a real person.'  At the same time, I loved this film.  The thing which makes me like this film as much I do is the fact that I cared about the characters.  I cared how Jesse' new relationship worked out.  And I cared about how Celeste's life might turn out.  Very strong performances by both Samberg and Jones makes this a very enjoyable viewing.

Celeste and Jesse Forever gets 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Writer: ,
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Metacritic: 59%

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Movie Review: The Iceman (2012)

Stone cold crazy

Based on the true story of a New Jersey hitman, The Iceman tells how Richard Kuklinski became a notorious contract killer.  For me, Michael Shannon makes the movie what it is.  His physical stature alone is amazing.  He has such a talent for playing severely messed up people (Take Shelter, The Missing Person, Boardwalk Empire).  In general it is a very solid film and I liked it a lot

The Iceman gets 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Writer: (screenplay), (screenplay)
Starring: , , , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Metacritic: 60%

Monday, February 24, 2014

Movie Review: Amour (2012)

These are the days

Georges and Anne are an elderly couple living in Paris seem to be enjoying their golden years when Anne begins having health issues.   A stroke leads to an operation which leads to further issues.  Georges finds himself caring for Anne, something which he finds exasperating at times.  This very realistic, un-Hollywood look at love, relationships, and what it means to be committed to someone is beautiful at times, painful at others.  It is gorgeously shot and the acting is incredible.  This film won multiple awards including the Palme D'or at Cannes in 2012 and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2013.

Amour gets 5 out of 5 stars!

Writer: Michael Haneke
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Metacritic: 94%

Friday, February 21, 2014

Movie Review: Once (2006)

When Irish eyes are smiling

An Irish musician makes a living by busking in his free time and working in a vacuum repair shop.  One day he meets a girl who is also a musician.  When they begin to make music together, it is truly magical.  Everything about this film is great - the music (one of the songs, Falling Slowly won an Oscar in 2008), the characters, the narrative, the way it is shot - everything.  It is the definition of a good film.  This is the type of film against which others should be judged.  I can't say enough good things about this film.

Once gets 5 out of 5 stars!

Writer: John Carney
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Metacritic: 88%

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Trailer: These Final Hours

If the world was ending, what would you do?  This film explores that idea.  Looks like a quality film.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Movie Review: Kill List (2011)

When things go from bad to worse to weird

Jay, combat veteran hooks up with his friend, Gal, to do a job.  As contract killers, the two have a list of people who need to get gotten.  The jobs start out fairly run of the mill but become more bizarre as they work their way through them.  This film is tense, funny, gruesome, and surprising.  Mr. Wheatley, who also directed Down Terrace as well as he upcoming A Field in England, is definitely one of my new favorite directors.

Kill List gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Writer: , Ben Wheatley
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Metacritic: 67%

Monday, February 17, 2014

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses (2011)

This is why I don't watch many comedies

The title of the film pretty much sums it up - three friends have horrible bosses.  Because they hate them so much, they make a plan to kill them all.  I am not a big fan of films like this basically because I don't find them very funny or entertaining.  I only watched this because John Frances Daley who played Sam Weir on Freaks & Geeks is one of the writers (and makes a small cameo).  On the whole, it's mildly amusing and ridiculous, but not in a good way.  To be honest though it was funnier than I thought it would be, especially the last third of the movie.  Apparently lots of money was spent making this one star studded comedy. 

Horrible Bosses gets out 3 of 5 stars.

Writer: , , Jonathan M. Goldstein
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Metacritic: 57%

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Movie Review: Museum Hours (2012)

A day at the museum

Johann works at the Kunsthistorisches Art Museum in Vienna, Austria.  He encounters Anne, an American woman whose sister that lives in Vienna becomes gravely ill.  The unlikely pair build a very amiable relationship.  This free flowing narrative lends itself easily to beautiful shots of the museum as we'll as the streets of Vienna.  Although it wasn't quite amazing as some reviewers made it out to be, this film is a treat for the eyes and is a worthwhile viewing experience.

Museum Hours gets 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Writer: Jem Cohen
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Metacritic: 83%

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Movie Review: +1 (2013)

Seeing double again

A teenage party is turned upside down when doubles of every person start appearing.  This film is not very suspenseful or scary.  It is entertaining and amusing and turns the whole 'teenage party out of control' on its head.  For a smaller film trying to do something different, it is good, not amazingly good, but good. 

+1 gets 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Writer: (screenplay), (story)
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Metacritic: 60%

Monday, February 10, 2014

Poulet aux Prunes (Chicken with Plums) 2011))

Ready to die

Nassar Ali Khan is a well known violinist who has decided to die.  His career is stalled, his marriage is suffering, and he pines for a long lost love.  This whimsical, humorous, and sad story tells of lost loves and relationships gone bad.  I love the visuals in this films and am reminded of films such as Bunny and the Bull and The Science of Sleep. 

Poulet aux Prunes gets 3/5 out of 5 stars!

Director: ,
Writer: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Metacritic: 70%

Somos lo que hay (We Are What We Are) 2010))

Keeping the ritual

When the patriarch of a Mexican family dies unexpectedly, his family is left to carry on in his wake.  And the way that they carry on is quite brutal.  The family are actually cannibals who are obligated to reenact some sort of ritual.  I watched this because I'd heard there was an solidly made American remake of it.  Since I personally prefer originals over remakes, I went right to the source and was not disappointed.

There are so many things to love about this film.  The story is crazy good.  One of the biggest things I love about the narrative is the sheer mystery of the family's actions.  The story is also very compact and tightly told.  The creepy, off-kilter feel of the film is constant. 

Somos lo que hay gets 4 out of 5 stars!

Starring: , , (Sin Nombre)
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Metacritic: 65%

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Movie Review: Robot & Frank (2012)

 Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

Frank is a retired cat burglar.  His family is concerned about him because he has developed memory problems.  Like the library that he loves so much, he is a relic of a bygone era.  This film is a sci-fi flick that is light on sci-fi.  I like these type of films which use sci-fi elements as a backdrop against which to tell a good story.  Thumbs up for humor, an interesting story, a great starring actor (Frank Langella) and an interesting concept.  Thumbs down for the all-too-close-to-a-typical Hollywood ending.

Robot & Frank gets 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Starring: , , , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Metacritic: 67%

Friday, February 7, 2014

Movie Review: The Act of Killing (2012)

Legacy of Brutality

Indonesia is a an island nation with a troubled past.  In this documentary, Joshua Oppenheimer gets a rare insight into the men who were considered heroes by some yet who struck terror in the hearts of their enemies.  A group of these men decide to reenact some of the methods that they used to torture and kill their political opponents.  This crazy and bizarre true story is a one of the most powerful things that I've ever seen. 

The Act of Killing gets 5 out of 5 stars!

Director: ,
Writer: N/A
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Metacritic: 89%

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Movie Review: Savages (2012)

The best weed in the world

A young war veteran, his best friend, and their shared girlfriend have a thriving pot business.  when approached by a Mexican drug cartel about joining them, the there end up in trouble.  I watched it because I respect Oliver Stone's body of work.  However, this outlaw/ drug dealer/ revenge story is a tad bit overdone and feels like a repetition of so many other similar films.  Overall a respectable film and a good watch, but nothing super amazing in this one.  Lastly, I found John Travolta's presence in the film distracting.  Kind of in the same way that Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Tom Cruise seem to be in every other movie these days. 

Savages lacks a lot and only gets 3 out of 5 stars!

Writer: ,
Starring: , , ,
Rotten Tomatoes:51%
Metacritic: 59%

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Movie Review: Resolution (2012)

Time for an intervention

Michael leaves the city to help his friend Chris, a drug addict, to get clean.  As expected, Chris is very reluctant to comply.  But Michael does his best to help.  Meanwhile, some really bizarre things start happening and Michael believes that someone is watching them and leaving clues for him to follow.  I've read comparisons between this film and Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods.  Some traits might be shared such as both of the films deconstructing the horror genre.  For a very small indie horror film which has very little in the way of in your face horror, this is a very good film. 

Resolution gets 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Director: ,
Writer: Justin Benson
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Metacritic: 78%

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Movie Review: Fruitvale Station (2013)

Can't we all just get along

This film tells the the true life story of Oscar Grant, a young man who was shot by a transit cop in San Francisco.  The film chronicles the last day of his life while also giving a look into his past.  Apart just being a really great story, the film is very well made.  It has already won numerous awards including the Sundance Grand Jury and Audience Awards for best dramatic film.  The fact that this is Ryan Coogler's first feature film makes it all that better. 

Fruitvale Station gets 4 out of 5 stars!

Writer: Ryan Coogler
Starring: , ,
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Metacritic: 85%