Name: willyt

Most Recent Reviews by willyt

The Book of Eli

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Reviewed by willyt

This is a very well stylized film from the Hughes Brothers who directed the 2001 flick, "From Hell" with Johnny Depp. "Eli" doesn't have a genius story but the symbolism and messages are really what got me into it. The dim lighting and Matrix-like camera angles in a post-apocalyptic world make for fantastic action scenes. The performances from Gary Oldman as the villain and Mila Kunis as the naive female follower are good but Denzel Washington once again kicks butt. He's an awesome actor. My favorite scene in the movie is the last. The movies creates this incredibly happy, almost fantasy world that is completely real. I'm not going to spoil anything but if you've seen the movie you know what I'm talking about.

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The Wolfman

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Reviewed by willyt

In 1941 Universal Studios released a film called "The Wolf Man" starring Lon Chaney Jr. It was a hit, advancing acting, makeup, and sets. The Wolf Man is the only Universal monster to be played by the same actor in all of its 1940s film appearances. Chaney was very proud of this as he claimed in interviews that the Wolf Man was "his baby." Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro was chosen to play this year's hairy creature because many said that he looked like Chaney. But is he as good?

The movie starts when Lawrence Talbot is taken back to his family home after his brother disappears. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers and that a suspicious Scotland Yard inspector named Alberine has come to investigate.

The sets and the makeup have a really fake yet interesting look to them. I like the fact that the atmosphere was sort of tacky like Universal's old films. The trees look fake in the forest, the fog looks like it's coming from a fog machine, and the makeup resembles a lot of the look of the 1941 film. Some may see these elements as stupid ones but I think they're fun to be around along with the black and white Universal title at the beginning. There is one scene that has true quality to it. Towards the middle of the film, we see Lawrence Talbot transform for the second time into the monster. He ends up running from the Scotland Yard inspector atop London's rooftops. The music and cinematography are very well done in this sequence and blend fantastically together.

In the 1941 version, Lon Chaney had to perform with only makeup on and nothing else. He had to act, show emotion, and find depth in his character. Here, in this definite modernized version of the story, there are only a few valuable shots of the Wolf Man in makeup. The rest is CGI. Benicio Del Toro doesn't have to act much as the fully transformed creature. It is controlled by a computer now, not an actor. We don't get that true, raw, elegant character performance as much today which is unfortunate because this is part of movie magic.

The cast is not as great as you would think. Anthony Hopkins isn't that good, just annoying. And Emily Blunt's performance is one note. Overall, this is a bland movie. The pacing is what makes it poor and it's very predictable. It's only interesting when the Wolf Man transforms and when there are guts flying on the screen. I honestly don't think this movie could've been scarier than it is though. Nothing, no matter what you do, can make a scary "Wolf Man" movie because he isn't a horrifying character and he is not real, as opposed to a movie like "The Strangers" which could really happen. Do you think anything can be made into horror? This remake could’ve been worse but I suggest you wait for the DVD.

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Sherlock Holmes

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Reviewed by willyt

Guy Ritchie isn't your typical director. He's very gritty. Known for his style, he has made films that are similar to Quentin Tarantino's work. His movies are original which is another word for different and wacky. But does "Sherlock Holmes" live up to Ritchie's other movies? Nope. Fortunately, the two main actors add charm and wit to their characters making this a fun ride.

The villain here is Lord Blackwood. After finally catching the serial killer, Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson think they've closed yet another successful case. But when Blackwood arises from the dead and starts his killing spree again, Holmes must continue his search.

The atmosphere of the movie is awesome. I've always been a fan of movies set in London during the Victorian Era. There's something very intriguing about the style, the amenities, and the clothes worn back then. Ritchie's style of camera work and England's 18th century style combined make for some very cool set decorations. But Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are really the ones that flow the movie. First of all, they've got the accents down pat. Secondly, when they're together they make the audience want to hear what they have to say. The two make us want to follow them on their journey as if it's real instead of just sitting and watching a movie on a screen. Law is smoothly calm and relaxed in his role and it's understandable that Downey was nominated for a Golden Globe because of his role due to his comedic timing and facial expressions.

The story here is stretched out way too far though. The first 20 minutes is so slow and I thought this was going to be one of the worst movies of 2009. The movie is too long and it spends way too much time on finding out the little details within the plot. I know this is a mystery and Sherlock is a detective and I agree that for a mystery to work we need to know small plot points. But a lot of the details are farfetched and unrealistic which weighs down the movie's authenticity. Also, Rachel McAdams is only in the movie for eye candy. Her performance feels tacky and immature.

But once again, Guy Ritchie's great style of editing shows here and it works. The music in the movie is one of the best scores this year as Composer Hans Zimmer uses a banjo, cimbalom, squeaky violins, and a broken pub banjo to bring out his notes. Downey and Law help bring out the feeling of the film and I think it's safe to say that Robert Downey Jr. has made the biggest career comeback in actor history. He’s come a long way from "Weird Science" to "Tropic Thunder" and I'm looking forward to "Iron Man 2" this summer.

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New Moon

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Reviewed by willyt

So why would I want to go see a movie like this, the biggest chick flick of the year? Why would I go see a movie that has two guys shirtless and a girl stuck in the middle who doesn't know what to do? Well, because "Twilight" wasn't bad and this one, "New Moon," turns out to be good. Guys, I'm serious. It's really not terrible.

The story is a love triangle between Jake, Edward, and Bella. Bella is a normal (i guess) girl who is just turning 18. Edward is a vampire dude who leaves her because he wants to protect her. Bella starts crying like a little baby and starts sulking in her chair while staring out the window for four months. Then she finds Jake who is able to turn into a warewolf. Jake basically replaces Edward for a while until Bella misses Edward and tries to save him from killing himself because he thinks Bella is gone.

The main reason this girly vampire flick is actually good is because Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson are so good together. They have great emotional chemistry throughout and help fill the movie with depth. I'd have to say Pattinson is a little better than Stewart because when she is acting by herself her real talent doesn't show as much. She's always shaking her head and blinking her eyes really fast. Taylor Lautner is good as Jake even though he can over emphasize his words at times. The special-effects are way better than they were in the first of the series. The way the warewolves transformed really caught my eye. In fact, almost everything about the movie is a notch or two better than the first one. The writing, especially. It's not as "mushy gushy" or "lubby dubby" and I wasn't rolling my eyes as much. I think this film is a lot more mature along with the supporting cast. The entire ensemble was still trying to figure out how they should act in "Twilight" but in "New Moon" they finally sink into their roles.

The first 30 minutes of the film are pretty slow and depressing. Especially when Bella is at the window and there's that creepy voice singing "There's a possibility." Again, when Stewart is by herself a lot towards the beginning of the movie her acting is not as good as it is with other people supporting her. The actor who plays her dad is terrible. I felt like like I was watching a badly made for T.V. movie when he was on screen. The atmosphere of "New Moon" isn't intriguing until after the first half hour when emotion starts to build up and a interesting conflict starts.

You've got to hand to Pattinson here as he is the key actor in this series. He knows his role well and really helps flesh out the movie. I thought the Volturi at the end of the film was intense and smartly written. Dakota Fanning is surprisingly good along with Michael Sheen despite their roles being relatively small. All in all, any guy or anybody who hasn't seen this should give it a chance. If you don't try to fight the fact that it's a chick flick you'll probably end up liking it.

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Avatar

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Reviewed by willyt

James Cameron has made the most expensive movie ever with a reported cost of nearly $300 million. But could a bunch of Smurfs running around speaking a dorky language really pay off?

The film focuses on a man named Jake Sully. He is a paraplegic marine who is dispatched to the planet Pandora on a unique mission. Jake becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world that he feels is his home.

Some say that there wasn't enough time spent on the script of the film. I actually like the premise of it. The idea of people living in this alternate world and controlling these blue creatures with only their mind is really intriguing. But the expense of the film shines through and that's what the production is all about. Everything seamlessly blends into the screen. The tone, lighting, and texture of the movie made me wonder if this is what heaven looks like.

There are slow patches during the second half that have to do with the romance of the lead character and a creature on Pandora. It tries to make the audience feel sentimental at times but ends up being overly tender. Also, some of the anti-war elements and the messages of staying green are a bit too heavy handed at times.

Overall, I think Cameron has made one of the best technical breakthroughs in a while, but this isn't one his best screenplays. I think you should try to see this in 3-D because I bet it would be really cool with all of those creatures flying in your face. One other thing that's great about the movie is the sound. I truly felt immersed in the film's atmosphere for over 2 and a half hours. This is a good, solid movie that definitely should be seen in the theater due to its incredible technical achievements.

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