Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TnA 2010 Movie Reviews

A-Team - We're talking about one of my favourite TV shows of all time here, made into a movie with 4 guys that I really like in Cooper, Rampage, District 9's Sharlto Copley and old man Neeson. It has to deliver, doesn't it? Well, all I can say is that they tried. It appears they really wanted this movie to be good and based on that I gotta give everyone involved a little credit. Reality however is that this movie isn't much. Sure there's plenty of ridiculous action, but it somehow seems empty, like it lacks purpose or something, despite the fact that there's is mediocre story that it follows. I don't know, I was underwhelmed and didn't even get to see Jessica Biel in a bikini or nuttin. It didn't help that I saw this in Calgary, for which the movie is a perfect metaphor. Blah.

Alice in Wonderland – I am not going to tell you that Alice in Wonderland is as good as Avatar, but there are some similarities in the incredible IMAX experience. Tim Burton has been very good at this his whole career, but much like Cameron, the freak has once again created a magical world for the viewer to get completely lost in. Johnny Depp’s eyes, like the ones of a blue Avatar, were computer enhanced to look bigger and googlier than they are in real life. CGI characters show emotions and play critical roles in developing the story... see what I mean? There are similarities, no!? While it is hard not to compare these movies, Alice totally deserves to stand alone, as there is no denying that Burton and Johnny have something special going when they work together. Here is to 7 more movies for them to collaborate in, and here is to hoping they are all as good as this one.

Black Swan -

The Book of Eli – This is one good whop-ass movie, so it is kind of too bad that it turned all preachy on me as it came to a close. I don't think I was a fan of the greyish hue that Denzel walked in, though do I understand its purpose. The costume he wore, as well as his on-screen persona on the other hand, are absolutely perfect for the story. I bought into the man protecting the Good Book and bringing it to where it belongs, and I enjoyed the fact that we don’t find out everything about him, which keeps his "bad-assness" mysterious. The Hughes brothers did a great job of showing us which of a man's possessions would gain importance after the apocalypse, such as a lighter or a KFC wet-nap, so I don’t understand how they could sell out so badly in the end. This movie is still worth seeing, and it makes me excited to keep an eye on the brothers as they polish their talent. PS... I bet Mila Kunis has a hairy bush, even in the back yard.

Brooklyn’s Finest – I was hooked the minute I saw the trailer for this movie. Maybe it was the Jay-Z song that ended a very effective promotional clip , or maybe it was the story of three police officers trying to live their separate and very different cop lives. I have a soft spot for Ethan Hawke, but it was Richard Gere and Don Cheadle that really 'powned' this film! All three come out intense in a very distinct way, and will stop your breath as they portray some heavy characters in some heavy situations. You will get more and more uncomfortable as this movie goes on, but the pay-off is worth every contorted cringe on your face.

Catfish -

Clash of the Titans - Fhaken embarrassment! I was LIVID when half way through this casually paced action movie, I took off my 3D glasses and realised that you didn't need them at all! The movie was hardly in 3D whatsoever, and only a few objects/characters were given the high-tech treatment - which by the way was also fhaken amateur! Instead of the depth, you basically had double images sitting on top of one another for a noticeably awful product. Why is this significant? Well you could kind of forgive the cash grab if the movie was any good, but without the three or four action sequences, you have nothing more in Clash than a used condom. Worthington was nowhere near what he was in Avatar or Terminator and this whole movie outing just pisses me off...

The Crazies – I’ve seen a lot of very good horror movies lately and The Crazies stands just as tall as any of them. In many ways I wouldn’t classify it as a classic “horror” movie; it is really a conspiracy thriller at its core, but the suspense and the crazy people running around town does give it Zombie-movie feeling. Olyphant takes off his cowboy hat and jumps out of Deadwood into a role of a sheriff in a small farming community, where a bunch of fhacked up folks start popping up and causing a helluva lot of trouble. Why are they acting so strange and why do they want to kill people? What’s causing this mess? The movie will pull you in, as you watch the heroes get out of uncomfortably tight spots in their hope to survive. Since the film is a remake, the wheel is not reinvented, but at least it is not filled with unnecessary gruesomeness you see in a lot of modern horror movies. The director instead lets the clever script do the talking and with that manages to wedge your heart in your throat. Don’t choke on your popcorn now....!

Date Night - This movie is not hilarious, and it is not filled with wild action. Fey and Carrell are not even at their best here, and yet I kinda enjoyed this film. Maybe it was the chemistry between the two leads, or maybe it was the portrayal of the boring over-the-hill suburban couple that hit too close to home, but I just connected with the movie and didn't really care where it was going to take me. I bought in, and even though nothing in here blew me away, I giggled a few times, and that's more than I can say about some of the other "comedies" I have seen lately.

Daybreakers – As far as I am concerned, this is one helluva way to kick off the new year. Vampires, a classic horror icon, are brought to the screen in a freshy way, and this movie makes me wanna suck on some distressed lady's neck..... Oh the horror! The movie is not without flaws, but the worst is - the one reveal in the movie is given away before the actual surprise, stupidly minimising the impact of what could have been a mind-blowing finish! Don’t take this the wrong way, this is still a great freakin' voyage, and it is certainly not predictable. Cross-bows, wooden stakes, stun darts, explosive bullets, fhak you name it, they'll shoot it.... Cool fhaken movie.

Death at a Funeral - I saw the original which so many "experts" proclaim to brilliant, but to me it was just a movie with a bunch of Brits. I barely made it through the first half, so it is strange that the trailer for this remake made me laugh as much as it did. I had to see it, and it didn't disappoint. After the story is set up, the jokes come at a steady pace, and you even get treated to a couple of big laughs. Tracy Morgan and Martin Lawrence are a couple of hilarious comedians and they are funny just standing there, but props to Chris Rock for seeing this film would work and getting it done.

Despicable Me – It’s fun and it’s touching. No, it’s not Pixar, but at least it has those yellow guys, which are pretty fhaken funny. A lot of folks will tell you about Steve Carell’s voice performance, but make no mistake about it, this movie is all about the beans (be it one or two eyed)! Or are they minions, or cousins.... whatever you want to call them, they steal this show. Graphically it is not as strong as Toy Story, and the 3D is not as good either, but the characters are rich and you will laugh with them... and maybe even cry with them. What more do you want than that!?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – I will only watch kids movies if they are a part of my movie pool collection, but needless to say this is always a bit of an awkward experience. A middle aged guy sitting alone in a theatre full of screaming children should be ready to explain why he is there to any parent that gives him the evil eye. Thank god I don’t have a moustache... So about the movie... Wimpy was a pleasant surprise, to say the very least. It had a lot of adult humour, and it didn’t shy away from the fact that kids are sometimes simply mean to each other. Life is tough son, better get used to it. I’ve always thought child actors are kind of creepy, but the shenanigans in this movie made me forget about that and only left me wondering how Wimpy is gonna pull out of the shit-hole he dug himself into. Go find out, you won’t regret it.

Due Date -

Easy A -

Edge of Darkness - This is yet another movie trying to do what Taken did last year, though you really cannot help but compare the two. For starters, both movies have a father as the central figure, fighting bad guys in the name of their daughters. That said, the comparisons pretty much end there. Darkness is more deliberate; it takes its time to set up the premise and slowly unravels out of the gate. As it progresses not everything will be explained perfectly, with inevitable plot holes throughout, but there is enough mean action involving radioactive milk that will make you forget about the miss-steps. Yeah Mel Gibson is and aging lunatic anti-Semite, and he's got a bit of a hair-loss thing going on.... but I must say that the bastard can still take the lead and give'r.

Expendables -

Fighter -

From Paris with Love – You definitely shouldn’t take your wife or girlfriend to see this movie, otherwise you'll have to pay her back by watching some some shit like Dear John. This is a guys’ movie; 90 minutes of pure action, European styles with a flavour of... well... Taken. No it’s not as good as last year’s adrenaline shootout by the same director, but the action doesn’t let up in this one either. Much like its predecessor, it takes about 10-15 minutes to set up the story, and then it is all about ignoring the plot holes and guessing who’s gonna get shot next. The action sequences are not mind-blowing, though they are original enough to keep you entertained. Travolta does a pretty good job with a great character, and it’s kind of fun to listen to the Irishman Rhys Meyers fumble with his American accent. Anyway, buckle up for this one - if you don’t expect too much, it will be a fun ride.

Get him to the Greek -

Green Zone – Just like Inglorious Basterds created a fictional story about a historic event, Green Zones tells a imaginary story about the war in Iraq after 9-11. The difference is that Green Zone reminds us of the bullshit reasons that George Bush actually used to try and justify the attack, and that’s no fantasy my friends. That fhaken idiot wasn’t fooling anybody, but still somehow got his country to commit the troops to Iraq for his personal gains. After he left America in economic shambles, he is going to be remembered as the biggest idiot of the 21st century, and that’s probably a lock despite the fact there are 90 years yet to go! Green Zone fortunately doesn’t concentrate on this part at all, but rather offers a plethora of good quality war scenes filled with intensity equal to ones in the Hurt Locker. Matt Damon is as captivating as he’s ever been, and he gets support from a few beauties as well. Greengrass is the real deal and he gives us a film that is a pleasure to watch, despite the heavy subject.

How to Train Your Dragon - The IMAX technology is about a half a century old, but sitting in those theatres still feels as fresh as ever. That said, HTTYD is much more than a visual experience; this movie is about the love of nature, family values, as well as awkward teenage crushes. It all blends together and flows flawlessly, in a movie that you cannot help but enjoy. On the other hand, like the secret KFC ingredient missing from the delicious deep fried chicken, this is still not Pixar magic. As good as it all tasted, after exiting the theatre I soon felt hungry for more. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with making movies that don't make mistakes, while pleasing broad audiences - no matter how short lived the satisfaction.

Kick-Ass - Underwhelming. After all the hype and the sizzling buzz, this thing turned out to be not a helluva lot. The Kick-Ass character, when he's not a superhero wannabe, is just a goofy kid that hangs out with his friends talking about comic books. Unfortunately those scenes made their way into the movie and put me to sleep right from the jump. There is hardly any chemistry between the guys and that makes for some boring cinema. They tried to correct it by adding a love interest, but the "awkward white boy with an afro gets the hot girl" which was so effective in Zombieland, felt tired here, and sprinkled with lame. Obviously the bright spot in the movie is Hit-Girl, especially in the bits with her dad, but I already saw those clips since they have been all over the Internet for months! There you have it, this is why I didn't call home after seeing this film. Nothing there.

Inception -

Jackass 3D -

Last Exorcism -

Legion - Oh man, this movie is like somebody's high-school project. The dialogue is so often painful, the editing is weak, acting is questionable; it's like the distributors found a copy of this film in someone’s locker. Except... There's some pretty fhaken cool shit in here too! The cinematography is done in comic book style, and the Angels and Daemons in this movie actually don't suck like Tom Hanks'. The relationship between the winged Michael and Gabriel topped with their fighting sequences, is some of the best such stuff I’ve seen in a long while. Also, if you like shoot-outs, you will find them here a plenty. So the question is... Does the good outweigh the bad? Yep, by a long shot.

Let me in -

Machete -

Megamind -

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – I have never really been a huge fan of the Harry Potter movies. They move way too slow, and the terrible child actors often make me want to vomit. Don’t even get me started with the Narnia series, which will make you consider jumping off a bridge. On the other hand Percy Jackson was fun. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are still laughable perfromances here, and the the production value is not as high as the forementioned movies, but the Greek Mythology really kicks ass. I grew up with all the minotaurs, centaurs, hydras and the ever powerful Gods, and they are all brought to life perfectly in this family adventure. The story is simplistic, but at least it has a purpose, and the action filled journey will wake up the kid inside of you. Speaking of kid, the one playing Percy is gonna be a star, he’s got something... but for the love God, bring someone in that can put him into a half-decent fight sequence. Why everyone has to look like they are wielding a plastic sword is beyond me; surely the master Woo Ping can take some of his busy time to help out!

Piranha 3D -

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – I felt fhaking horrible for going to watch this movie, but ever since the first Mummy, I have had something for all of these films set in the desert. I can’t help myself and it is the same reason I went to watch Clash of the Titans. On the other hand my feelings only got worse when Prince started... I couldn’t believe what I dragged myself into. Gyllenhaal with his pompous British accent and a bunch of other douches talking in the Queen’s English as they were trying to attack a holy Middle-eastern city. It didn’t take long for the contrived romance between Jake and the hot British chick to start, and I actually thought of standing up and screaming: “Make it fhaken stop, please!!” This is why I can’t really pick out at which point in the movie I kind of started to enjoy it. Did I just give up somewhere in the middle, dropped all expectations, and tuned out the awful accents everybody spoke in? Maybe I did, but let’s not get carried away here either. When I say that I “enjoy it”, I mean mildly, far from long strokes of pleasure.... far far from it.

Repo Men – I checked out some early reviews for this movie, and they basically shit all over it. Smothered by low hopes and covered in feces, I dragged myself to this film expecting to have even more crap poured all over me. Once again, I proved my theory that people don’t know fhak all about movies, have expectations of ridiculous grandeur, and never fail to join the "baaing" of the first critic they hear, like the dumb sheep that they are. I’m not going to try and tell you that this movie is awesome. It’s obviously not. However, there is nothing wrong with the premise, the action, humour, acting and the unexpected plot turns that happen in this little movie made for specifically for the guys in the audience. Of course if you don’t like any of that, then yes, this movie is not for you, and you should go cover the moon with your thumb like they teach you in Dear John. Now fhak off and leave me alone.

Salt -

Shutter Island – Martin Scorsese is an extraordinary filmmaker and he once again proves this with Shutter Island. Not only was this film shot beautifully, but he managed to tell a story which could have easily been very confusing, in such a masterful way, that I didn’t even notice sitting on the edge of my seat for the entire 140 minutes of the movie’s run time. As you are watching this film, you really don’t know what’s going on, but you stay engaged and can’t wait to see what will happen at the conclusion, which does not disappoint! It has been a long time since I walked out of a movie compelled to talk about the story with the people I saw it with, and then want to talk about it again with others that have seen it separately. Leonardo is now in his 4th movie with Scorsese and their collaborations are getting better as time goes on. The beauty here is that the other actors working in this film are just as phenomenal as their leaders. Shutter Island is a jewel of the early 2010.

Takers -

Tooth Fairy - Oh sweet Jezus, I was on a flight back to Toronto and every single movie available on the little screen in front of me was one that I've already seen. The only thing left was the Rock in a tootoo and umm... No. The guy obviously has a lot of charisma, but it was the lack of chemistry with everyone else in the movie that made him seem disconnected. You can just sense how awkward everyone felt reciting lines that lacked any humour to begin with, almost hearing their inner voice saying "hey, at least we're getting paid for this shit". And that's exactly what the movie is.

The Town -

Toy Story 3D -

Tron Legacy -

True Grit -

Wolfman – There is no question that you will have to go into this movie open minded and willing to accept that a hairy puppet can be scary and viable to kill people with its puppet claws. You will also have to get over the atrocious performance from Benicio, who is not fooling anybody into thinking his accent is American. That said, as bad as he is, Blunt, Weaving and of course Anthony Hopkins do their thing as masterfully as ever, and you almost get a sense that the trio believed they were making a good film. Their performances alone are the pillar that holds up this whole shinanigan, and turns it into something semi-watchable. The setting is foggy, the lights are dim, but they shoudda found a way to stop the Wolf from howling...... Ooooowwwooohh! Ooooooowwwhh!! Over and over.... Really?


  1. You know, T'n'A's movies from 2009 look a lot stronger than their movies in 2010.

  2. You need to update the current standings (5th) and power rankings (2nd). T'N'A aren't out of it yet!

  3. When are you reviewing "Dear John"?

    It's from the writer of "The Notebook"!

  4. Perhaps they should have cast Gyllenhall in the Prince of Herzegovina.

    But would he have been able to measure up?