Saturday, November 24, 2012

Movie Review New Dawn 2012

I saw the original Red Dawn several times and have enjoyed it every time, and interestingly the TV was running it, so I taped it and watched it again this morning, before writing my review of Red Dawn 2012 version. 
It is hard to watch a remake of a movie and not compare, especially as I have just watched the original again. But, I will endeavor to give this latest version its credit and then make a comment or two. There is no doubt the line up of actors for this movie is impressive. Chris Hemsworth as Jake the older brother who is the leader of the group is his stalwart self. Josh Peck as the younger brother, and then Josh Hutchinson (from Hunger Games), Adrianne Palicki as the older girl, who holds a torch for Jake and Isabel Lucas as the younger and Connor Cruise making his first (I believe) appearance in a movie in a pivotal role.
There is a lot of big bangs as things get blown up, loud music and empty buildings throughout this movie. There is more shots in the town, it seems, than up in the mountains (although where the mountains are outside of Spokane I'm not sure. I've visited there often years ago and I don't remember mountains being that close. But perhaps my memory does not serve me well.
The question I always ask myself. Did I enjoy the movie? Yes I enjoyed it for what it is, a blow things up, with young children being the rebels fighting the cause. Was it great? No, not great, but still entertainment if you like this genre of a movie. It held its own.
Was it better than the original? I don't think so. I did not feel the emotional connection, which I did with the original cast, in this movie. I laughed a few times, but I did not feel emotionally connected, except when Jake gets it at the end. I felt emotionally attached when they get shot at, or shot, in the original. I felt much more range of feeling in the original. Was this new version worth seeing? Yes, it was. Do I need to see it again? No.
I need to mention the story line was changed North Koreans instead of Russians and Cubans (the enemy has changed) Chris Hemsworth plays a marine, so not much emotion there. Whereas Patrick Swayse plays the older brother just out of school. John Peck's part was more irrational, than is counterpart played by Charlie Sheen. It was like they were wanting this to be a love story as well, as a action adventure story. The older gal, Adrianne Palicki, holds a torch for Helmsworth and I don't think that was necessary. In the original how the group bond was a lot of the story.
At the end of the movie I thought 3 out of 5. Its definitely not a 2 1/2, but a light 3.
If you go see, enjoy it, but watch the original one again. Its worth it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Movie Review Twilight - Breaking Dawn Part II

Let it be known I'm not a Twilight fan. I went with my friend Trish, because she is and I do love Taylor Lauter and the Wolves. I had thought I would wait to see it on TV.  Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this movie. So much in fact after one scene I clapped. I was totally caught up in the movie. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. So surprises to happen.
I'm not going to say too much, because so much is written and said about the Twilight series and this one being the end - the last.
I will say thought, I'm not sure if they had a different cinematographer, but his close ups and other scenes made the movie, for me, much more enjoyable than the others.  The fight scene takes the cake though, and worth seeing - so dramatic - so real. Great editing here.
If you are a Twilight fan - you will already be lining up. If not, like me, you will be pleasantly surprised. I loved the ending, when Alice shows a glimpse of them all in the future.
4 1/2 out of 5.
PS.  Stephanie Meyes book 'The Host', which I read and enjoyed (I did not read the Twilight series) is coming out in March next year. This was an 'adult' book, and I saw the trailer for it (before the Twilight movie) and I think it will be good. So keep your eye open next March for The Host.

Movie Review - Flight

On Friday night I went and saw Flight. You might say what attracted me to this movie as its about an aircraft disaster and as I often fly, it is not something you want to witness (especially this flight), but it was the actors. You know that when Densel Washington is in a movie it will be good. Then add Don Cheadle and Bruce Greenwood plus John Goodman and Melissa Leo in supporting roles then how can you not see it.
I had not read anything about the movie, I knew it involved a flight and a crash. So I was wonderfully surprised to see the movie was so much more. The crash yes, but its really about alcoholism and how a person will do anything to hide it.
Of course lying is second nature to a person who drinks heavily, does not want to admit they have an alcohol problem. In this movie it is beautifully displayed. After the pilot (Washington) makes an incredible save where only six people die, rather than all of them, it becomes evident that he was drunk and had cocaine in his system. His first initial desire not to drink, does not last very long. Plus, he has developed a relationship with a gal he met in hospital while having a cigarette, who was there for an overdose and wants to remain clean. This is apply played by Kelly Reilly. I recognized her face from somewhere, but not the name.
Eventually, he does himself in, but not being able to resist the booze, and is redeemed.
The question is - is this movie worth seeing. I believe it is. It is sad at times, hard emotionally, but so well acted and real. The stark honesty at the end of the movie makes it even more believable. For a different, more drama movie, go see Flight.  4 out of 5.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Movie Review - Seven Psychopaths

A wet, holiday Monday and what do I do, go and see Seven Psychopaths.  Within minutes I was wondering if I was out of my mind. First of all I don't like a lot of language which begins with F and I was fearful that would be too much for my tender ears. Luckily it subsided and I did not feel I had to leave the theatre, but I still wondered what on earth was I doing sitting there.  Did I laugh?  At times yes, it was so ridiculous I had to laugh, and at the same time, internally asking myself was I as crazy as the people on the screen seeing I was laughing.
The premise a struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster's beloved Shih Tzu.sounds harmless, if not funny. Right - Wrong. This movie is for those who like the bizarre story plots, the f language and find lots of blood spurting out of peoples clothing fun. Not really my cup of tea.
Regarding the acting, Colin Farrell as the struggling, alcoholic writer was his usually good self. Sam Rockwell, truly the main character in this movie, is funny in his crazy psychopathic way. Christopher Walken (who always unsettles me in his parts, even when he is great) walked easily through his role. Woody Harrelson, was great as the criminal boss whose love of his life - his Shitzu dog who gets taken. All the characters except Colin Farrell get killed or end up in jail by the end of the movie. There is a lot of killing in this movie.
The interesting part of me, interspersed in between the killing and f language was some great philosophy. These psychopaths do know a thing or two about the meaning of life, or the exploring of the meaning of life, or just plain life and death. That made it worth while.
1 1/2 stars.  (I read it was given an 8 - wow I'm certainly getting old and expect some well crafted meaning in the movies I watch).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Movie Review - Skyfall

Last night, my friend Trish and I went 'early' to the theatre to watch Skyfall knowing that there would be a line up. It was the first showing in our town. I was quite surprised that we could walk right up to the counter - where were all the people I was expecting. I had forgotten that in our brand new theatre you can order online, or come in and purchase ahead of time. There were four seats left in the theatre three rows from the front. So we took two of them. Once more we sat looking up at the big screen and once more mesmerised  by the action which was taking place above us.
Daniel Craig as the ever dashing 007 - James Bond -  did have a different look in this one. The usual wonderful opening action did not disappoint and you wondered for a wee while what actually happens to him, but Bond never dies so yes he reappears, a little worse for his adventure, but still Bond, who of course ends up saving the day. Judy Dench as "M" has a bigger role than usual, and at the end it becomes obvious why. She is always great in whatever she does. Javier Bardem as the villain was wonderful, although why they gave him that hair I don't know. Seems like that has become his villain trade mark - the hair. As the movie goes along and you hear why he has 'turned' you understand and can almost (I said almost) empathize with him. Ralph Fiennes shows up and it looks like we will be seeing more of him in the next two movies (which Daniel has agreed to do).
The lovely ladies, including Naomie Harris the new Eve Moneypenny, as usual are beautiful, although don't take up too much screen time. That is left for action. Things blowing up. Falling down. Interesting sets, and Sam Mendes does his usual great directing role.
The question always: "was this movie worth seeing".  For me, who likes the Bond series and has seen them all - yes. I like Daniel Craig as Bond, he brings such a different look and feel to him. A little older, a little tired and yet resolute.  Want to see a great action movie the go see Bond in Skyfall.
4 out of 5.
I made a special trip last Sunday to go and see Skyfall again. It was worth it. I enjoyed it even more this second time. I think I will have to get the DVD.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Movie Review - Cloud Atlas

Last night my friend Trish drove us one and half hours north so we could see Cloud Atlas.  We got there a little later than we would have liked and had to sit five rows from the front. The screen seemed enormous right in front of us. Even though this is a long movie, we did not notice how close we were, or feel the time. Cloud Atlas is mesmerizing. It is a movie I know I will see at least once more, in fact maybe more than that.
I need to say first of all, if you are a person who does not like watching movement back and forth through time, then this movie is not for you. The concept of many lives and the intersection of a group of people is fascinating.  I spent time, trying to pick out the actors in the different time sequences. At first it was a bit unsettling, or distracting as one goes from one time to another then other quite quickly and then you begin to piece together the different story lines. As the movie begins to go into the middle and the story lines spend longer in the time frames you get to become involved with the different characters.
Does this movie answer the question of reincarnation (of which I am a proponent) does it suggest, as I believe it does, that all time is one, and these events in these different time settings are taking place at the same time Hard to tell, which is why one needs to see this movie several times.
The main actors play six roles each, then others play less, but most are in each story line. Tom Hanks plays a wide range of roles as does Halle Berry (some were hard to figure who she is until the end. Oh yes, you must remain to the end when the credits roll, and then they show you all the characters they played. What a treat.
Trish and I, as we discussed the movie after, agreed some we picked out right away, others no. This happened particularly with Hugh Grant's six roles.  I only had him pegged in a couple of them.  But the acting, make up and sets are phenomenal. Other actors, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving,(who plays a wonderful Devil) Jim Sturgess, whom I fell in love with in several of his roles, Doone Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, (quite easy to pick out due to his size and look,) James D'Arcy, Xun SZhou, and Susan Saradan (also easy to pick out due to her look). And the list goes on. Most playing six roles, some less.
There is some comic relief, especially when four (including Jim Broadbent) go to 'escape'  the home they have been put into. I believed I ended up clapping when they succeeded. Just shows how much you get into the story lines being portrayed.
This is not your usual everyday movie, if you like to be entertained for several hours, have a guessing game as to who the character you are watching is being played by and see some great sets, magnificent make up, then see this movie. The concept of reincarnation is not really discussed, it is touched upon in some dialogue, but mostly visually shown how we inter react in many different lives playing different parts.
One criticism, and another reason to see this movie again. Sometimes, the language, especially in one story line, is very hard to understand. It easier the longer you watch that time line, but still, much of it is lost in translation.
If you can stand time jumps in movies, and follow story lines and enjoy how one person will say something in one story line and then have it shown in several following story lines go see this movie.  For me, I'll definitely being seeing it again.
4 1/2 out of 5.  (loss of 1/2 a point due t some of the dialogue is not understandable, even though it does fit in with the movie).
I went and watched this movie again yesterday. I enjoyed it more, if possible, than the first time.  Why? Because I knew what was coming and was able to spend time on catching things I had missed the first time. Its surprising how much you miss when you are trying to keep up with the plot lines, the different characters etc. I had fun this time. Also, making it more enjoyable I was able to catch the language which I complained about in my original review. I would say I understood 90% of it this time.  Next time, I'll be able to catch it all - hopefully. This is a great movie, the philosophy, the levels, the depths, the social comment, the everything is really worth seeing. Hope you go!