Friday, December 21, 2012

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Every few years in Hollywood, there is a film that defines a generation. In 2009, “The Hurt Locker” illustrated the intensity and paranoia of scouting for IEDs during the Iraq war. In 2010, “The Social Network” dramatized a new generation of youth that became consumed both positively and negatively by the rapid rise in online social networking. Now in 2012 we have “Zero Dark Thirty,” a film that recounts a ten-year period of time where America was on edge with various nations in the Middle East, and the determined confidence of a young female CIA agent that led to the conclusion of one of the greatest manhunts in world history.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Revolution (Pilot)

Since the conclusion of various shows including "Jericho" and "Lost", numerous projects that followed their conclusions have tried to cash in on the post-apocalyptic genre craze set upon an ensemble of characters that live in a society of little hope and surrounding dangers at every corner. Being that the aforementioned genre has been such a popular one to toy with over the past decade, cliches and stock characters have risen to their highest peaks where the possibilities of innovation have been downgraded to their scarcest levels. However NBC has decided to take on that high risk challenge with their latest series "Revolution", created by Eric Kripke, which is also his first series since leaving showrunner duties from his breakthrough CW hit "Supernatural". Along with big name figures like J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau who had key involvement in the pilot, does "Revolution" give off a glimmer of hope that the post-apocalyptic genre can be reignited with a fresh spark, or does it foretell its doom as yet another typical one-and-done show for NBC? Hit the jump button to find out!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking Ahead: Fall Movie Preview 2012

As we near the end of the August in a matter of days, the fall movie season is about to be bestowed upon us. After a summer season that was full of flops and disappointments, the upcoming fall lineup is very promising as it is composed of potential Oscar contenders and highly anticipated blockbusters. Nonetheless, this year's summer movie season looks strong with what it has to offer, so I'm going to break down my Top 10 Anticipated films for the forthcoming movie season.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Premium Rush (2012)

January and August. What do both of the those months have in common with each other? Well for starters, you can easily take similar climate out of the equation. However, something that these two months do share is releasing movies that are mostly either mediocre or just plain bad. "Premium Rush" fits that example since it was a film that was originally set to release in the second week of January way earlier this year, but then got pushed to the second-to-last week of August. Now that right there folks, is definitely not the wisest of moves to glimmer any hope that a film would be good. So does "Premium Rush" prove that decision wrong, or does it highlight why the two aforementioned months are known to release relished within mediocrity and sometimes more? Hit the jump button to find out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Side by Side (2012)

One of the most hotly debated topics in Hollywood over the past decade is the debate on which film celluloid is becoming more of an endangered means of shooting movies on, and is now giving way to a digital technological takeover. As a fellow enthusiast of cinema, this is a topic that I have cared about to a passionate degree. Even the topic of my final essay as a college freshman dealt mostly with the controversial debate circling both the future and overall consensus of the two. To sum up this popular debate, actor Keanu Reeves and director Christopher Kenneally set out on a journey to provide an insightful and historical account on the transition of film to digital by interviewing various Hollywood directors, cinematographers, editors, film students, and many more to gain their opinions on the digital evolution and how it has affected both them and the film industry as a whole.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Commando (1985)

In the wake of the recent release for "The Expendables 2," I decided to have all of you vote on several choices of cult classic action movies for me to review. And in the end, the winner was the infamously over-the-top Arnold Schwarzenegger 80s action flick "Commando." After making his American acting debut in "Conan the Barbarian" and "The Terminator," Schwarzenegger established himself as a very promising star in the action department. His acting skills were nothing amazing, but his strong physical build and exquisite line delivery for puns set him apart from most action stars of the 80s decade. However out of all the action movies he starred in during the 1980s, none of them stand alongside the ridiculously over-the-top, yet awesomely bad "Commando." If you're a Schwarzenegger fan that hasn't seen this film yet, you're essentially not a true fan until you sit down and view it for the first time.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Expendables 2 (2012)

When it was first announced, who really thought that a sequel to "The Expendables" was needed in the first place? The insanely hyped 2010 first installment was of the most disappointing action movies ever made, and it was a true shame because it had all the necessary stars, but the film itself was executed so poorly. Suffering from choppily shot and edited action scenes, dodgy CGI, in addition to taking itself too seriously, it was one of those few movies that I was so disappointed with I initially didn't want to admit it. Fortunately though, I got some hope for the sequel when Sylvester Stallone vacated the director's chair to Simon West, in addition to more acclaimed action legends being added to the star-studded cast of manliness and testosterone. In the end, does "The Expendables 2" live up to what the first film should've been, or did Sy and the crew still not learn from the many mistakes made in the first one? Hit the jump button to find out!

Friday, August 17, 2012

ParaNorman (2012)

2009 was the last year that experienced a huge mainstream resurgence in the stop-motion animation field. Now it feels like it has ignited this spawn to occur where three films of the aforementioned craft release every third year after it happened. "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" was the first of the three stop-motion animated films to release this year, which was a pleasant adventure but still a tad disappointing when comparing it to Aardman Animations' past credits. Second in the lineup is "ParaNorman," the LAIKA sophomore follow-up to their 2009 sleeper hit "Coraline." Proclaimed by its co-director Sam Fell as "John Carpenter-meets-John Hughes," does "ParaNorman" live up to that bold summary, or does it tarnish the potential good streak that stop-motion animated films have had this year so far? Hit the jump button to find out!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Magic Mike (2012)

The job of both male and female stripping has been an occupation that hasn't had sufficient exploration or showcasing on the big screen. And yes, I'm even saying that in the context with correlation to the fact that the infamous film "Showgirls" happened nearly twenty years ago. However now, both the nature and lifestyle of male stripping has finally been brought to the mainstream big screen with Steven Soderbergh's latest film "Magic Mike," which itself is partly based off of lead star Channing Tatum's experiences as a stripper in Tampa, Florida during his late teenage years. Tatum's acting has gradually impressed me as the year has progressed, so he along with the rest of the cast and crew had a considerable amount of hype built up to see if a movie about male strippers can appeal to the various cinema-going crowds of this generation. Did it at least live up to my expectations? Hit the jump to find out if it did!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ted (2012)

Seth MacFarlane has firmly established himself as a definitive comedy magnate in today's entertainment industry, as he is mostly known as the creator of the hit animated comedy series "Family Guy," "American Dad," and the "Family Guy" spin-off "The Cleveland Show." Through the creation of those shows, MacFarlane has had a progressive period of time to increase his profound talent in voice acting, which of course comes from the fact that he voices numerous characters in each of those three aforementioned shows. However, MacFarlane has now made the expected transition to adding the job of feature film director to his extensive resume, as he debuts his infamous comedy brand to the mainstream movie crowds with "Ted." Is the long-awaited hype worthy of being approved by his substantially prodigious fanbase, or does it fall flat like an episode from the past few seasons of "Family Guy?" Hit the jump to find out!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Safe (2012)

Since "The Transporter" franchise kicked off by releasing in 2002, Jason Statham has been heavily typecasted in lead roles for action movies as the obligatory "macho man who kicks ass." Since the typecasting began, he's had a fair share of success with the "Crank" franchise, but hasn't found that same acclaim with any other film he's done besides those two aforementioned franchise. However we now have "Safe," which from the trailers just looked like "Jason Statham with his fists and guns Part 39." Surprisingly though, "Safe" is actually one of the much better action showcases for Statham, and it brings me one step closer to forgiving him for his latest duds such as "The Mechanic" and "Killer Elite."

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

In the earliest days of cinema, one of the first innovations in animation came from stop-motion claymation. However in today’s age of cinema, its relevance has rapidly gone downhill, but there is one filmmaker every few years that takes the bold challenge to show that the subgenre isn’t dead.

Furthermore, what better way for the person to bring it back again than the present day stop-motion master himself, Peter Lord. The latest release that he and the hugely underrated Aardman Animations Studio bring us is “The Pirates: Band of Misfits.”

Saturday, April 7, 2012

God Bless America (2012)

If there’s anything in this world that I’ve grown to hate over the past few years, it’s the downward spiral that the American popular culture scene has taken. And for awhile, I had been waiting for a bold filmmaker, especially one that has previous experience as a satirist to end up making a movie on the subject. Thankfully, one has been able to take on the controversial challenge of doing so, and that film “God Bless America” turns out as one of the most defining satires of our time.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

American Reunion (2012)

Finally after nearly ten years of waiting, the most likely final entry in the cult "American Pie" series has arrived. Before seeing this film, I had only seen 1999's "Pie" and nothing else. However a week after attending an early screening for this film, I had caught up by viewing the whole series of films beforehand in only a matter of hours. Now with a full knowledge of the entire original trilogy, I can safely proclaim that the original "American Pie" series is the ultimate knife in late 1990s to early 2000s nostalgia for the best reasons. And thankfully, "American Reunion" ends as what should be the best way possible imagined for the series to close on both a very raunchy but still lighthearted note.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games (2012)

To make a quick disclaimer, I'm not a die-hard fan of "The Hunger Games" novel trilogy. I've read half of the first book that this film adapts to the big screen, but what I did read in those first 12 chapters was quite thrilling and enthralling within its immense detail. However, it did put me into place of the insane hype surrounding the film's release, and that feeling did create some doubt on whether the overwhelming amount of hype will lead to a certain amount of disappointment in the end. In the end though, I feel like I made the right decision on leaving off on the point that I was in the book because no matter what, this is the first solid blockbuster of the year.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Project X (2012)

Party movies have been a dying breed in cinema, and the last film that really hit home with the majority of audiences was the beloved summer 2007 hit “Superbad.” Arriving to try and steal its thunder though, is the raunchy found footage party movie “Project X.” Vastly marketed as “the party movie to end all party movies,” Project X though is a tragic portrait of the stupidity of certain teenage demographics that really shows how downward this current generation has gone in terms of both culture and intelligence.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Trio Review: Act of Valor, Wanderlust, and Goon

During the last weekend, I didn't have time to write three separate reviews, so here's a new structure where I'm low on time for that: a trio review. This last weekend, I saw Act of Valor, Goon, and Wanderlust, so I'm going to break up my thoughts on these three movies into much shorter reviews than my familiar reviewing style. Without further to do, enjoy the first edition of the Trio Review.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

No matter what you can say about Nicolas Cage, he manages to entertain you in some way whether he's in a good or bad movie. Even when you watch him in an awful film like The Wicker Man, his over-the-top acting entertains the hell out of you. The first Ghost Rider movie didn't really showcase that exquisite talent of Cage's, but it's sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance certainly showcases it! Directed by the frenetic style of the cult favorite Neveldine/Taylor duo, does this sequel fire on all cylinders, or should it have been extinguished before production went underway?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Means War (2012)

The romantic comedy-action genre blend has been one that is very tough to pull off, unless it's handled by a competent crew of filmmakers. The two films that have gotten it the right way are 1993's True Romance and 1994's True Lies. However since the 1990s decade, there hasn't been a film of the same genre mash that's had the ability to stand alongside those two. This time around, director McG tackles on the challenge with the star power trifecta of Tom Hardy, Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon in the newest of several new releases this week titled "This Means War."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Safe House (2012)

Denzel Washington is one of the few actors left that has been able to put on incredible performances for almost every new generation of cinemagoers since the beginning of his career. Lately though, he has been starring in movies where his credibility as an actor is in fact too good for the movie itself. He hasn't worked with strong material since emulating infamous drug kingpin Frank Lucas in "American Gangster," and has since then starred in roles that have sadly misused his true talent as one of the finest actors in movie history. This time around, he stars in "Safe House," which is sadly yet another film that is too good for Denzel Washington's acting.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chronicle (2012)

*Apologies for the different font used.
The found footage subgenre is one that has steadily gone downhill since several filmmakers attempted to cash in on its popularity since the release of 2009’s “Paranormal Activity.” Some of those films just used the technique with a static execution, while others tried to shamelessly make us think what we saw was actually real (cough…Apollo 18). However, fear no more, because the genre can still live on if it’s in the hands of a smart director, and the newest movie “Chronicle is certainly that.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Grey (2012)

Usually when we come to a close on the month of January for movies, there isn't a whole lot that's really worth reflecting upon where we end up saying "oh yeah, that film was really good!" Surprisingly however, Steven Soderbergh managed to make me say that after seeing his stylish action flick "Haywire," and now writer-director Joe Carnahan has made me do the exact same thing with his latest production titled "The Grey," a film about the survival of men in the midst of harsh mother nature and unrelenting, intimidating forces of the wilderness.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Movie Marathon #1: The Films of Wes Anderson

During this past week, I decided to embark on a five day marathon of a famous filmmaker in cinema. To keep it contemporary as well, I chose to watch all of director Wes Anderson's films this week. In order to keep this post short, I have written short one paragraph reviews written for all of his films, and finish them all off with most to least favorite rankings of the movies reviewed below. Enjoy...

Bottle Rocket (1996)
Anderson released his debut film "Bottle Rocket" in 1996 (which is also adapted from his 1994 short film of the same name), which stars Owen Wilson (also co-wrote the script), Luke Wilson and Robert Musgrave as a trio of friends trying to pull off a simple robbery and go on the lam. Even though it may be classified as a crime film, it's also a smart comedy infused with moments of hilarious yet sophisticated moments of humor. The three leads are all terrific, but Owen Wilson is the true scene stealer as the trio's leader Dignan. Beautifully directed by Anderson, in addition to constructing the most hilarious "robbery gone wrong" I've seen so far, "Bottle Rocket" is a very solid debut for both Anderson and the Wilson brothers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Haywire (2012)

You know the archetype of there being one film released during January that actually turns out decent? Well look no further, because Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" perfectly fits that description. This has been my most anticipated film for the month of January, and I had the special privilege of seeing it at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. So does it stand alongside other great femme fatale action films like "La Femme Nikita" and the "Kill Bill," or is it a rugged entry in director Steven Soderbergh's lengthy filmography?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Contraband (2012)

January releases are typical every year as they derive from repetitive cliches, generic characters and lifeless direction. When I first saw the trailer for "Contraband," those three aforementioned phrases immediately popped into my mind. Mark Wahlberg is one of the most talented actors of this generation, but I strongly question some of his career decisions, hence the infamous movies he starred in during the year 2008, and now this film.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Enter the Void (2010)

What the hell did I just watch? I mean I know I finally watched the infamous 2010 film "Enter the Void," but I'm still stuck between choosing whether I was in more of a state of hallucinatory awe or complete shock from some of the beyond graphic scenes I witnessed. It's a rare occurrence where I'm so conflicted on a film where I don't know whether to rate it average, or just grant it a grade that's slightly above passing. However, I'm going to try my absolute best to pour out my extremely conflicted thoughts on this mindf*ck of a film.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Artist (2011)

Back in the year 2005, an independent movie titled “Brick” helped both resurrect the fading neo-noir genre and serve as a strong tribute to the genre’s most notable conventions.  Last year in 2011, the previously well-known silent film genre was brought back from the dead by up-and-coming French filmmaker Michel Haznavicus’s “The Artist.” As a long-time film buff, I’ll admit that I surprisingly have never seen a silent film in my life, but “The Artist” was quite the experience for an introduction to the famous genre.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

World's Greatest Dad (2009)

Ever since his bravura underrated performance in 2002's "One Hour Photo," Robin Williams seemed to be back on track to delivering dramatic performances. Unfortunately though, his career took a steady downturn by starring in supremely mediocre comedies including "RV," "Old Dogs," "Man of the Year," and "License to Wed." However in 2009, Williams returned to his dramatic roots in 2009 with "World's Greatest Dad," a dark comedy indie that was a festival hit, but didn't get a whole lot of attention during its theatrical run. Fortunately however, the film has attained a cult following over the years, which it highly deserves because of its no-holds barred approach to the dark comedy subgenre.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Everyone is aware that the romantic comedy genre has turned into the biggest cliche in Hollywood over the past few years. However once in a while, there's at least one movie a year that attempts to do something new with the fledgling genre, and surprisingly ends up succeeding with it's innovations. The most important example of that kind of film is 2004's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," which not only added a science fiction/fantasy twist, but also now stands as one of my favorite movies of all-time, too.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Trailer Time #1: ATM, Goon, Silent House, Thin Ice, and Wrong

Welcome to Trailer Time, the segment where I take several trailers released from this week, and give my review on them in addition to my anticipation rating, too.

First up is "ATM," the newest thriller starring Josh Peck, Alice Eve and Brian Geraghty. The plot is three friends out at late night in town but one of them needs cash, so they stop at a dimly lit ATM. However when they're about to leave, they see a man outside that's staring them down and it turns into a game of surviving in the cold in addition to trying to outwit the psychopath outside. I'm one that's usually up for a people-trapped-in-a-place thriller movie, but this just looks so silly! The three lead actors are all talented, but they look completely wasted of their potential. If these characters had their phones on them, then none of this would ever happen. I expected a better sophomore feature for writer Chris Sparling (2010's Buried), but he has stopped down so low considering the material shown in the trailer along. Overall, "ATM" has forgettable thriller written all over it, so my anticipation is...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

The classic form of espionage films have withered away in today's generation, and have mostly been portrayed in over-the-top manners in several blockbusters over the years. Leave it to the British film industry though to deliver us a spy film of complexity and class with the newest adaptation of John le Carré's classic spy novel "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," which was originally a seven part BBC miniseries that starred Alec Guinness as British intelligence officer George Smiley. This adaptation though, takes what is quite possibly the greatest British cast ensemble in quite some time and a director climbing the ranks of the greatest current international filmmakers, which turns into what has to be one of the most overlooked potential award-nominated films of last year, and the perfect kickoff to my awards season catching up marathon.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Being John Malkovich (1999)

In the present day, Charlie Kaufman has become one of the most well-known screenwriters in Hollywood for his brisk originality and high concept themes. Whether it's a satire of Hollywood cinema conventions in "Adaptation," or a scientific study of the human memory and love in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Kaufman has created some of the most original movies for almost a decade and a half. However, his true introduction into the face of cinema was with the contemporary classic "Being John Malkovich."

The Devil Inside (2012)

Well we have officially embarked upon a new year for cinema. Unfortunately though, we have to begin with the first week of January, a month that is infamous for usually releasing movies that are either made for mindless entertainment or just plain generic to the genre being portrayed. Over the past years, several films have defined that archetype, which include 2011's "Season of the Witch," 2010's "The Book of Eli" and 2009's "Bride Wars." To kick off this new year, we have the exorcism horror film "The Devil Inside."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brick (2005)

Looking at today's brand of cinema, we have seen many classic genres wither away over the last decade. However last year, hope was brought to old school film buffs with "The Artist," a silent film that payed tribute to the once famous, but fading genre. Another genre that has faded over the past few decades is the neo-noir hardboiled detective film. Back in 2005 though, a first-time filmmaker and relatively unknown cast made the acclaimed indie "Brick"  that payed tribute to the genre, in addition to partly resurrecting interest in the genre, too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

About Schmidt (2002)

Alexander Payne is a director that has really grown upon me over the past few months since seeing "The Descendants." Lately, I have decided to watch the other films he's won acclaim for in the past decade (except Sideways; Already saw it). "About Schmidt" is one of his lesser known films alongside "Election," but don't let that deter you from experiencing this genuine, heartfelt independent dramedy.