We forget that some animated films are for adults only. We are use to the animated films that are mainly for kids, and sometimes for both kids and adults. But Waltz with Bashir is for adults only and it should be because of the story it tells. The amazing story it tells. The story is about Ari Folman, who is also the director, and the past he has forgotten. Ari was a part of the Israeli Army during the first Lebanon War that took place in the early eighties. And there is a mission that he took part in, but cannot remember it. He has blocked that time in his life out of his mind. However, one of his old friends explains a nightmare that he has and it starts to make Ari curious. So, he starts to wonder why he cannot remember anything about the war and the part he played in it. Soon, he starts to visit people from his past who were in the Israeli army and maybe fought along side of Ari.
The animation that is used in this film is great. And its necessary to tell Ari FolmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s story. This film is almost an animated documentary. There are interviews of old friends that Folman does, and trying to put that part of his life together. But it is all animated. I think the use of the animation really affects the story in how its told. Animation is a way to show whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going on inside their mind and experience their nightmares. This approach lets Folman tell his story without any boundaries and be creative in the process.
There are animated films like this one that have a powerful message, but use the craft of animation to tell it. Persepolis was last years and I believe Waltz with Bashir is this years. This film focuses on the quest of a man trying to deal with his own demons. It involves going back to his past and uncovering what he did during the first Lebanon War. And the whole time you have to keep in mind that Folman was only 19 years old. Too young for some of the stuff he saw during that time. The end is very powerful because Ari Folman reminds you that this war was real, and the people involved, like Folman, were affected forever.
I always have worries about a horror movie being PG-13. These movies seem to go for cheap thrills and are not willing to show anything. The movie company wants to water down the movie so more people will go to it and the movie can make more money. Well, The Uninvited is PG-13, but it does not go for cheap thrills and shows more than I thought a PG-13 movie could show. Now, the movie is not scary. It has some creepy moments, but it is really a murder mystery. A pretty good one I might add.
The story is about a girl who gets to come back home after spending time in a hospital following her motherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s death. However, the home she comes back to is not the same. Her father is now engaged to her motherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nurse, Rachel. So, after some visits from her dead mother warning her about Rachel, Anna and her sister do everything they can to make sure Rachel does not marry their father. Or what else she might do. This is the story about the Ã¢â‚¬Å“evilÃ¢â‚¬Â step-mother for sure.
The people in this movie give it more credit. David Strathairn plays the father and he is very good. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Good Night, and Good Luck. Elizabeth Banks plays the step-mother and she had quite a year last year after being in W. and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. She really plays up being the Ã¢â‚¬Å“evilÃ¢â‚¬Â step-mother. Strathairn and Banks play minor roles. The two major players are the sisters, played by Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel.
These two girls make the story believable. They make you believe in the fear they feel. This movie is not really about ghosts, but about a murder that cannot be figured out. As the movie goes along you can piece a few pieces to the puzzle. And the movie keeps the story suspenseful, and even throws a twist in there that you may never see coming. The only way I can explain it is the movie has you going down this one path and then it gets completely turned upside down. After the movie was over, I was surprised on how good it was and how the director kept it from being cheesy or just plain stupid.
I must admit I have never been a fan of Mickey Rourke. Not because I did not like him, but I never really knew about him. He was most popular in the 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and and early 90Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, and I was born in 1986. So, I have not really seen his good filmsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦..until now. I knew about Mickey Rourke, but not really about his acting. But this film makes him shine the whole time. And now I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be more happier for the guy. This has been a hell of a season for him with the recognition and award nominations. But what I like most is how humble he is. I think Rourke really appreciates where he is at and that he may not get another chance.
The story is about a has-been wrestler who reaches his peak in the 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and has gone downhill since. Unfortunately, this resembles RourkeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own life and personal struggles. However, I think that is why he is so perfect as Randy Ã¢â‚¬Å“The RamÃ¢â‚¬Â Robinson. Their lives have many similarities. Once Randy has a heart attack, it puts a halt on his wrestling career. Due to the heart attack, he starts to look at his life and tries to fix it. He is forced in to retirement, but it may be a positive thing. He can finally put his focus on more important things like his family. He tries to reconnect with his daughter (played by Evan Rachel Wood). And give love another shot by starting a romance with a stripper named Cassidy (played by Marisa Tomei). But the real question is can he patch things up and confront his demons or will he fall back in to the world of wrestling? Wrestling is the only world he knows after all.
Mickey Rourke is great in this film. Earlier, I said he was perfect because he and Randy Ã¢â‚¬Å“The RamÃ¢â‚¬Â Robinson almost share the same experience in their profession, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s true. It had to take a character that Rourke could really relate to for him to have a comeback like this. The story of The Wrestler is too familiar with the story of Mickey Rourke, and audiences are captivated by it. Originally, Nic Cage wanted to do it and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m glad he did not. This film was made for Rourke. He can be tough when he has to be, but he also brings a lotmore to the character. Rourke lets himself be vulnerable and is not afraid to let his emotions show when he has to. Whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in the ring or not. Randy is a broken down man and life has beaten him up a little bit. But itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the recovery that is important. Randy tries and Mickey has. Rourke deserves all the attention he is getting. And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m rooting for him at the Oscars.
Now I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to leave out the director, but Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood are fantastic in this as well. Wood does not have many scenes in the film, but the ones she does have are very emotional. You know that her father has hurt her more than heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll ever know. And she is scared to let him back in her life because he may break her heart again. And Tomei plays the only character that Randy can talk to. The friendship they have is the only real relationship Randy has with anyone. Sure, she is a middle-aged stripper that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t bring in the money like the younger girls, but Randy likes her. She plays more of a role in his life than she knows. So, these women are important for this film. They make Randy work harder in order to gain their affection.
Lastly, Darren Aronofsky is the director and does a great job capturing RandyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s journey. He has directed Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain. He crossed in to a few genres with his film work. He basically uses a hand-held camera to shoot this film and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so appropriate. This film is in your face and raw. It feels like you are really in the thick parts of RandyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life. The hand-held approach makes the audience feel closer to what Randy is going through in his life. It is more personal it seems. Darren has not been getting a lot of acknowledgement like Rourke has, but he did a great job. And he has become one of those directors that people will watch out for because he can do a lot of things behind the camera.
The Wrestler is such an amazing story about a man who has tasted fame and wants it again so badly. Randy Ã¢â‚¬Å“The RamÃ¢â‚¬Â Robinson has a passion and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrestling. He has made a lot of sacrifices to live his dream, but it comes back to haunt him. I think a lot is said in the last few scenes of the film. You truly know where he stands and how far he is willing to go to live his dream.
Horror movies go through the same routine year after year. There are some that make an impression, and others we just laugh at. We hope for the thrills and suspense, but they are not always there. Through the past few years, The Ring and SAW have been the main two successful horror movies. Last year two good ones come to my mind: Quarantine and The Strangers. My Bloody Valentine 3D is good, but let me explain.
This movie follows the same routine as most. However, a few things stick out that makes this one more enjoyable than others. One is the end. A lot of times the end makes up for the rest of the movie. The ending to this film is pretty good. It has that mystery element of who is the actual murderer. So they do keep you guessing. It seems clear, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not. The second thing is the 3D technology. This movie contains gore, nudity, and blood. Lots of it. And all of it can be seen in 3D. They use this technology to the best of their ability. They (the filmmaker) throw things right in your face, making the experience more up-close and personal. Now I can say for the people who did not see this in 3D, it probably was not that enjoyable. It was a good decision to make this 3D because if it was not there would not be much interest in this at all.
The third thing is that I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to pay for it. A 3D costs about $10 and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a matinee price. I can definitely say I liked it, but if you had to pay you probably left feeling like you didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get your moneyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s worth. But I will end on a positive note. There are certain expectations you have for movies. These type have a low expectation. So it is what you see is what you get. But you will get more out of this movie if you are able to see it in 3D. It will make a big difference in your theatre experience. That rhymed.
There are times where the actors make the movie. This is one of those times. The film has a fairly simple story. It consists of a guy named Harvey Shine and a woman named Kate. Harvey goes to London for his daughterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wedding. It feels like like work has always controlled his life, and it has cost him his family. Harvey has made sacrifices, but is paying the consequences. Kate is stuck at the airport asking flyers questions as soon as they get off the plane. Her mother is always calling nonstop because she is lonely too. The worst part of it is she gets set up on blind dates that never turn out good. Never. So, after Harvey misses his plane, it costs him his job. By the way, his daughter wants her step-father to give her away at her wedding. So on perhaps the worst day of his life, Harvey meets Kate.
It is the chemistry between Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson that makes this film enjoyable to watch. Hoffman is a charming guy and he brings that charm to the character of Harvey. He knows he has not been a great father, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s trying. Thompson always has this innocence about her. She comes across sweet, but rational. Of course, they were both blessed with a sense of humor. The story itself is a lot like the romantic comedies we see. And the story is pretty cliche and can be predictable. However, you find yourself paying more attention to what Hoffman and Thompson are doing and not worrying about how it will end, or you just do not care. The performances in this movie make it better than it should have been. But that says a lot about Hoffman and Thompson and how good they really are.
Charlie Kaufman has a creative mind. A unbelievable mind of creativity. This is his directorial debut, but you know his work. He has become a name in movies because of his writing. He wrote Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Being John Malkovich, and Adaptation to name a few. All of the films he is a part of have a message that is not so clear at times. They are a little crazy and unique. But his films are always fresh and original. However, Synecdoche, New York is not able to reach the heights of the others I have mentioned.
The story is about a a theatre director named Caden Cotard. His wife and daughter leave him and he finds there is something going on with his body, and he could die any day. So, he decides he is going to put on the biggest, most truthful play the world has ever seen. How does he do it? He gets a huge warehouse and re-creates New York City, and eventually his life and all of the people who are a part of it. Unfortunately, this creation of his is never complete. The pre-production takes all of his life. He spends the rest of his life trying to get it right and in the end has nothing to show for it.
Now the performances are good. Philip Seymour Hoffman is always fantastic. He breathes life in to Caden Cotard. Samantha Morton plays his love interest, and she is very talented as well. She is not a big name, but always does good work in the movies she is in. I have to give credit to Charlie Kaufman. He really tries to push the envelope in this. He is a creative, intelligent guy. The only problem is he makes films that he only understands and no one else might.
Now, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not saying every person will not understand it. Every person will come out of this with a different conclusion. KaufmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a guy who wants to make you think. There is nothing wrong with that. But by the end of this film I simply donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care anymore. It drags on for too long and I feel like IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m aging while Caden Cotard is. Also, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s depressing. Too depressing. It is not a rule that every film must have a happy ending, but there is really no sign of hope anywhere in this film. Maybe the end. Maybe. I read where some critics say you may have to go see it a second time to really grasp it. Maybe thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s true. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think so. And if that was the case, I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be able to sit through it a second time anyways.
This movie is what you expect. Well almost. What you might not expect is this movie being funny with only a PG rating. Now Kevin James has a fan base due to Ã¢â‚¬Å“King of QueensÃ¢â‚¬Â television show. He has been in a few movies, but never the star. This role is perfect for him. James plays a mall security officer at a New Jersey mall. His most powerful weapon is his segway. It is also his way of transportation. On Black Friday, a group of thieves take over his mall, and he is the only man who can stop them.
Now keep in mind this movie is PG, so it is clean and has a predictable story. Everyone knows how this will end. But the movie becomes clever in keeping the audience entertained and laughing. Some funny moments are slapstick, but not all of them. The way Paul Blart gets the bad guys and how he goes from a joke to a hero are the highlights of the movie. I think anyone who enjoys Kevin James will like this movie. This role really makes him shine. More importantly, his humor is funny and he does it without the use of f-bombs. It would have been easier to make this no holds barred and have an R rating. However, the filmmaker decided to make it a family movie without being too cheesy and having Kevin James really take hold of this movie. It really becomes his movie in the end.
I never thought about this before, but Notorious is the first biopic of a Hip-Hop artist ever. We have seen films about country singers, rock nÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ roll singers, and even films about record companies. But Hip-Hop artists were missing until now. This film is a surprise that was released at the very beginning of 2009. Of course, the film is about the rise of Christopher Wallace (aka Biggie Smalls aka Notorious B.I.G.) and the rap icon he became. We start out seeing B.I.G. as a child growing up in Brooklyn. Notorious B.I.G.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s son actually plays his father as a kid. And it was a good choice because he resembles his father quite a bit. Size and all. We see the troubles he gets in to with drugs and how Sean Ã¢â‚¬Å“PuffyÃ¢â‚¬Â Combs (played very well by Derek Luke) helped pull him out of it. We all know how NotoriousÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life ends due to a West Coast vs. East Coast rivalry. And the war cost Tupac and B.I.G. their lives.
Jamal Woolard plays B.I.G. and does it so well. He captures how Notorious appeared to others dressed in his fancy suits and shiny shoes. Also, in the way the rapper carried himself and spoke. Woolard became Notorious B.I.G. I think what is even more amazing is that Woolard has never acted in his life. For the director to cast a guy who looked like B.I.G is one thing. But to find a guy who can become him on screen who has never acted before is amazing.
George Tillman Jr. directed this biopic and did a good job doing so. He focuses on NotoriousÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rise in the Hip-Hop industry and the legacy he left. However, we also dive in to Christopher WallaceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s personal life involving his relationships with various women and what kind of father he was and tried to be. He loved women, perhaps even too much. But he was a smooth talker and a charming guy as well. No matter what he did to the ladies, they always seemed to give him another chance. Being able to see the different aspects of his life that made him who he was is why this film works so well. We learn about his career, but also the rest of his life too. If you thought you knew who B.I.G. was you should see this. If you have no idea who he is you should still see this. Either way, you will leave knowing much more than you did before. Oh and the music is good too. This biopic may not get the attention Ray or Walk the Line did, but it should.
There are plenty of films about WWII, and specifically the Holocaust. There are films like Valkyrie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, The Reader, and Downfall that all focus on terrible times for the world in the 1940s. Like the ones I have mentioned, this film focuses on three individuals that ended up saving thousands of lives. Defiance is about three brothers whose family is killed, so they go in to the woods that they know so well. At first it was to hide, but soon the woods became much more. The Bielski brothers started to take more and more Jews in to the woods and made it in to a community.
They were all looking for freedom. Everyone wanted the chance to live like human beings. Not only do the brothers try to protect all of the Jews and themselves, but they also had to provide and care for everyone as well. It was a big responsibility to take all these people and reassure them they were going to be okay. The Jewish people trusted them with their lives. But because of the courage of these three brothers, soon everyone played a part in order to survive. They just needed someone to look up to and their answer were the Bielski brothers.
Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell play the three brothers. They each are fantastic and really played off each other. It was good casting on the filmÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s part to get three talented guys to play important roles. Of course, Craig has come to fame due to the Bond films, but he sheds that image quite well in this. You almost forget he ever played such a character. He has done well by picking roles that are different than the James Bond role that everyone knows him from. Of course, these guys had some help from a good director that knows how to tell a story, but also can mix it with some action as well.
Edward Zwick has directed films like The Last Samurai and Blood Diamond. He knows how to create a film that can entertain with all of its action, but also show depth in the characters. Zwick cares about his characters and how they affect the story. He mixes a lot of genres, but he never loses his focus and neither does the film.
Everyone probably knows by now that it has been 12 years since Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have been on screen together. Of course, I am talking about Titanic. And finally they decide to do this film. There is a lot of pressure on these two because of the success of their last one together. But I believe it was important to tell a different story this time around. And they did just that. Whatever relationship Jack and Rose had in Titanic, Frank and April WheelerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s relationship is the complete opposite in Revolutionary Road.
The story is about this couple, The Wheelers, in the 1950s. In this era, men earned the money and the women stayed home. It was a life of conformity. However, the Wheelers wanted to be different. They wanted to be special. But soon they find themselves in the same situation as everyone else. Some may be happy with that, but not Frank and April. So, April comes up with this idea of Frank and her escaping to Paris. This gives the couple hope for a while. Without giving anything away, due to certain situations Frank and April never make it to Paris.
This story really is about a couple desperately trying to keep their marriage together, however, it is slowly dying instead. DiCaprio and Winslet are amazing in this film. They are good friends in real life and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good thing. Some of the scenes they have together seems like pure hate for another. But they are just great actors. They are able to leave all of their emotions on screen. Winslet has already been in a great film this year called The Reader, and she does not disappoint in this either. April is a completely different role, but Winslet nails it. But DiCaprio stands toe-to-toe with her. They drive this film and I think their reunion was worth the wait. As they have matured, so have their material.
I have to acknowledge two other key players in this film. The director, Sam Mendes, does a great job showing true suburbia in America. And it does not matter if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in the 1950s or in present time like in his directorial debut, American Beauty. He is able to show how people really are and the conversations they might have behind closed doors. Everything may seem perfect, but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not.
The other person is Michael Shannon. He plays weird characters and this one is no different. However, he is the only person who sees the truth. His character is considered to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“insaneÃ¢â‚¬Â, but is actually the most sane person in the film. Everything he says has truth to it, and may hit too close to home for Frank and April. He brings up the subject of emptiness and hopelessness that haunts these characters. Sam Mendes loves a story about people. Real people. But he also enjoys a tragedy. There is no happy ending in American Beauty. There is no happy ending in Road to Perdition. And guess what? There is no happy ending on Revolutionary Road.