Archive for the ‘Current Movies and Reviews’ Category

How to Train Your Dragon

March 31, 2010

Rousing. Like ET in some ways.

I rose from my seat, slow, deliberate. I moved outside, my head in a fog and can hardly remember my walk from the theatre to the train station, except for seeing a billboard high above the Hollywood city streets with a young man riding atop a dragon as they burst through a circle of fire with the title scrawled above it How to Train Your Dragon.

It’s true. I have an affinity for fantasy, but a very grounded fantasy. Rules have to exist as do emotions. Simply because you carry a sword and wear a loin cloth doesn’t mean I’m automatically going to love you. In fact, I love fantasy so much, it has to work even harder to impress me. I feel that I can continue now with this review with absolute sincerity.

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Mother

March 31, 2010

That's some strong medicine.

Joon-ho Bong, the Korean writer and director, likes to write about inadequate people finding themselves in situations they aren’t exactly clever enough to figure out, which makes the journey for the audience that much more enjoyable and that much more tragic in the end, because we might be able to see a way out they cannot.

In his film Memories of Murder, we follow a group of incompetent back water Detectives as they try to find a rapist-serial killer before the next victim is taken down. In The Host a family of dunces bands together to save the youngest daughter from a bio-chemically created monster. In both instances (both great movies, by the way) Joon-ho tells his stories with a healthy dose of biting satire, ever growing dread and a cinematic eye rarely found in America. With his newest thriller Mother, Joon-ho continues his steady climb as one of the best International directors by following the same guidlines.

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The Ghost Writer

March 31, 2010

Even he thinks it's a bit of a stretch.

Ghost writers are rarely thanked for their work and quickly forgotten. I have a friend that does this as a profession. They do the work, their job, and disappear to work on the next project. Shifting from one patient to the next, like Doctors, uninvolved emotionally; they are out for themselves, which is not a bad thing. Such is the case of the character played by Ewan McGregor (who does a really fine job here), who is simply referred to as The Ghost on IMDB.com, in Roman Polanski’s newest bit of cinematic story trickery The Ghost Writer. In fact, at one point when our hero is asked which side he’s on, he simply says his own.

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Avatar: The Journey

December 24, 2009

The beginning of the Journey

I will be talking about plot in this post more than in my last. So if you want the initial reaction to the film, which hasn’t changed (only become stronger), go to my previous post.

Now…

For Avatar, James Cameron has plugged his leading soldier Jake Sully, a good hero’s name without being brazen, directly into the Hero’s Journey. Like a chord into an outlet its the energy that makes this bulb glow.

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Avatar

December 24, 2009

Wow

In three hours James Cameron has restored what the last five years have taken away from my childhood. I’m not even sure where to begin. In fact, I’ve started and stopped this review several times.

There’s nothing clever about the story Cameron tells. He’s not hiding behind plot devices. He’s not even hiding behind the special effects. His story is simple, straight forward. It’s a story you’ve heard a million times, but guess what, so is every story. Who cares.  So all I can do is be as honest as he was…even down to the stock romantic song that starts the credits at the end of the film. This story is James Cameron.

This review is me.

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(500) Days of Summer; or Did Someone Copy and Paste Their Personal Journal?

September 20, 2009
Of course they sell the movie with "happy".

Of course they sell the movie with "happy".

(500) Days of Summer is not the movie to take someone to if you have just started dating them. This is not, as the voice over claims in the first few minutes of the film, a romantic comedy, i.e. a film in which the couple ends up happily ever after. It’s fun, funny, in fact it’s a pure joy to watch. It so eloquently captures the ups and downs of a relationship that isn’t meant to be that it draws out of you every doubt in your mind that you could possibly have with the person sitting next to you. And gives you hope in the potential…for the next one…alas not the one you’re with. Ouch.

Now, if you’re pretty confident in your relationship, or have just gotten out of one, you should then, without a doubt, see this film.

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