Friday, December 5, 2008

Twighlight 2008 Movie Review

Twighlight 2008 Movie Review

Teen girls, please don't be satisfied with these crumbs Hollywood is tossing you in the "Twilight" movie.

is a flatfooted, pedestrian, earthbound, dull movie. This is odd, because it's about a teen girl who falls in love with a vampire. I mean, The Exorcist, about a teen girl who turns into Satan, was so incredibly exciting, scary, and controversial. Is this movie so bad because Hollywood underestimates the intelligence of teen girls? Hollywood cranks out blockbuster after blockbuster for teen boys, all with huge budgets, innovative art design, and high production values. Twilight is a dull little trifle that could have been shot by an amateur cast and crew with hand held cameras. The soap opera, Dark Shadows, had more going for it than this. In fact, skip this non-entity and watch Dark Shadows on YouTube, or Death Takes a Holiday, starring Frederic March. That handled the "young girl wants to have intimate relations with really bad boy" so much better than this movie does.

Not much of anything happens. Kirsten Stewart is Bella. Stewart may have given the single most annoying, PMS, chronically depressed and droopy teen girl performance in film history (and that's saying a lot). Even in a scene meant to be romantic, where her boyfriend plays piano for her, she has a look of vague disgust and catatonia on her droopy face. Be honest - don't you just want to slap some life into this chick? At her high school, Bella stares at a guy named Edward. Edward is very pale, wears heavy lipstick, and tweezes his eyebrows. By staring at him, she falls in love with him. Nothing happens between them before she falls in love. No witty repartee, no heroic deeds, no sharing of day to day life, no thrilling, teasing competition to see who wears the pants in the relationship, no heartwarming discovery of shared interests and goals. She just stares at him, and that's it. So much for sweeping us off our feet and what blank romance.

Edward and Bella have endless, dull, flatfooted conversations. "Oh, you are a vampire." "Yes, I am a vampire." "Do you drink human blood?" "No...tofu metaphor." I wish she had AT LEAST asked for recipes.

No mystery. No magic. No imagination. No cool special effects. No haunting evocation of the wilder, darker side. Just the most boring, lifeless - in all the wrong ways - movie.

Teen girls, please don't be satisfied with these crumbs Hollywood is tossing you. Demand better.

Twilight is a flatfooted, pedestrian, earthbound, dull movie. Which is odd, because it's about a teen girl who falls in love with a vampire. Hollywood cranks out blockbuster after blockbuster for teen boys, all with huge budgets, innovative art design, and high production values. Kirsten Stewart is Bella. Edward and Bella have endless, dull, flatfooted conversations. No haunting evocation of the wilder, darker side. Teen girls, please don't be satisfied with these crumbs Hollywood is tossing you.

Twighlight 2008 Movie Review

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tropic Thunder - Worth the hype? Best Comedy film for 2008

Tropic Thunder - Worth the hype? Best Comedy film for 2008

A group of self-absorbed actors set out to make the most expensive war film. But after ballooning costs force the studio to cancel the movie, the frustrated director refuses to stop shooting, leading his cast into the jungles of Southeast Asia, where they encounter real bad guys.

Genres: Comedy
Running Time: 1 hr. 47 min.
Release Date: August 13th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references, violent content and drug material.
DreamWorks Pictures
U.S. Box Office: $110,268,794

Kenneth Turan

Opposites do attract more than in Ben Stiller's unapologetic R-rated comedy Tropic Thunder - they are strong and defiantly collide. Simultaneously smart and dumb, mixing clever satire on the way over-the-top raunch and nonstop profanity, the equal opportunity offender risk running off some of the real people who appreciate it the most.

In his first turn in the starring, directing and co-writing since 2001's memorable Zoolander, Stiller is taken as his target all things Hollywood, including the treason of producers and agents, and self - participation of Actors say things like "I don 't read the script; the reading of the script to me."

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But because the world of contemporary show business, from the bloodletting of the slasher franchises to Britney Spears without underwear, often so excessive, parody necessitates more excessive, leading to this case to a severed head and blood that spurts like Old Faithful as well as language and situations that give new meaning and dimension to the notion of going too far.

Not only is Tropic Thunder guaranteed to offend, it already has. One of the mock movie this reference, Simple Jack, and the story of a developmentally challenged young people to speak to animals, uses Tagline "If a time ... There was a retard." This is so upset advocacy group of news reports say the union is planning to call for a nationwide strike to boycott "the movie of open ridicule of the intellectually disabled."

But it would be regrettable if Tropic Thunder's undeniable excesses, including the availability of an actor indulge in the 21st century version of blackface, blinded viewers to the fact that, like it or not, there is genuine humor and artistic feelings satire goal under the unnerving waves of bad taste and political incorrectness.

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Not only from the script (written by the team of Stiller and Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen), but from the movie promises and very funny Actors, that the characters are presented in a particularly clever way.

Since Tropic Thunder is the story of a group of thespians to unite a star in the Vietnam War action film, Stiller chooses to introduce them with Mock trailer from their last film, or, in cases of hip-hop star turned actor harp Chino (Brandon T. Jackson humorous), with a garish theatrical ad for his hot new energy drink, sweat booty.

Then comes Tugg Speedman harp, played by Stiller. When the world top action star, Speedman's Rambo-type action epics hit a wall in scorcher VI: Global meltdown, and an attempt on the aforementioned sensitivity Simple Jack is not very good either.

Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) is also looking for a change of pace after the play, Eddie Murphy-style, all members of a whole brood of gas-obsessed behemoths ( "America's favorite family obese") to The Fatties and the next can 't be mentioned in a family newspaper. At least not yet.

Then there are five-time Oscar winner church Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.), an Australian actor, so getting to the characters he insisted on a "color change" operation to play the African American soldier Lincoln Osiris. A trailer for Lazarus' last film, the controversial Satan alley, we see him back in history "a time when the variety is damned" and play a monk passionately attracted to someone disciples heard in by Tobey Maguire.

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As the trailer remind us, Stiller has a gift for a take-no-prisoners sketch humor that goes all the way back to his short-lived, Emmy-winning TV series "The Ben Stiller Show." Though it has a certain framework, Tropic Thunder is best approached as a series of skits stretched to feature length, a movie so easier for those appreciate its parts clever than any kind of coherent whole.

The four Actors, including young newcomer Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel), may be lost on location in Vietnam to film the patriotism of memoirs John "Four leaf" Tayback, a gnarled veteran with prosthetic hands and a brooding presence ( who else but Nick Nolte).

When the director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) starts to lose control of his high-powered Actors, it's four leaf that suggests getting them into woodland and shot the entire movie guerrilla-style until, in director of the memorable words, "you'll be begging for a body bag if it means a ride home."

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Lurking in the jungle, unfortunately, is a Vietnamese heroin-producing plant run desolation flaming Dragon organization, and the fact end up changing for all cast and his Hollywood support team. With Speedman's agent, Rick "the penis" peck (Matthew McConaughey), and certifiably insane producer Lee Grossman (not a full and undeniably wild and crazy Tom Cruise.)

Actors such as stranded in forest, patrons of Tropic Thunder must ready for whatever is thrown at them by a film with a feeling that the Three Stooges look like Faith, Hope and Charity. With a memorable conversation between a downcast Tugg Speedman and begging church, determined to stay in the African American character, and perpetuate the ghetto his mannerisms until after the DVD commentary is recorded, about the Pitfalls of an actor going "full impede" in search of an Oscar nomination.

It would be easier all around, obviously, if we lived in a culture where the potential opensiba and the undeniably comedic is not linked to close them, but contemporary moviegoers no longer selected. You pays your money and you takes your chance. It is as simple and as complicated as that.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Dark Knight Movie Reviews by critics - awesome and lives up to the hype

The Dark Knight Movie Reviews by critics - awesome and lives up to the hype

Below are 3 of the top movie critics reviews for the Dark Knight movie

'Dark Knight' Enthralling, Satisfying
By Justin Chang,

Having memorably explored the Caped Crusader's origins in "Batman Begins," director Christopher Nolan puts all of Gotham City under a microscope in "The Dark Knight," the enthralling second installment of his bold, bracing and altogether heroic reinvention of the iconic franchise. An ambitious, full-bodied crime epic of gratifying scope and moral complexity, this is seriously brainy pop entertainment that satisfies every expectation raised by its hit predecessor, and then some. That should also hold true at the box office, with Heath Ledger's justly anticipated turn as the Joker adding to the must-see excitement surrounding the Warner Bros. release.

With the Bruce Wayne/Batman backstory firmly established, "The Dark Knight" fans out to take a broader perspective on Gotham City -- portrayed as a seething cauldron of interlocking power structures and criminal factions in the densely layered but remarkably fleet screenplay by director Nolan and brother Jonathan (stepping in for "Batman Begins'" David S. Goyer, who gets a story credit).

Using five strongly developed characters to anchor a drama with life-or-death implications for the entire metropolis, the Nolans have taken Bob Kane's comic book template and crafted an anguished, eloquent meditation on ideas of justice and power, corruption and anarchy, and, of course, the need for heroes like Batman -- a question never in doubt for the viewer, but one posed rather often by the citizens of Gotham.

Indeed, with trusty Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman, superbly restrained) and golden-boy District Attorney Harvey Dent (a cocksure Aaron Eckhart) successfully spearheading the city's crackdown on the mob, even Wayne himself (Christian Bale) figures his nights moonlighting as a leather-clad vigilante are numbered. The young billionaire hopes to hang up the Batsuit for good and renew his relationship with assistant DA Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, an immediate improvement over Katie Holmes), who has taken up with Dent in the meantime.

But Batman's stature as a radical symbol of good has invited a more sinister criminal presence to Gotham City -- and, as seen in the crackerjack bank-robbery sequence that opens the pic, one who operates in terrifyingly unpredictable ways. Utterly indifferent to simple criminal motivations like greed, Ledger's maniacally murderous Joker is as pure an embodiment of irrational evil as any in modern movies. He's a pitiless psychopath who revels in chaos and fears neither pain nor death, a demonic prankster for whom all the world's a punch line.

After Ledger's death in January, his penultimate performance (with Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" still to come) will be viewed with both tremendous excitement and unavoidable sadness. It's a tribute to Ledger's indelible work that he makes the viewer entirely forget the actor behind the cracked white makeup and blood-red rictus grin, so complete and frightening is his immersion in the role. With all due respect to the enjoyable camp buffoonery of past Jokers like Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson, Ledger makes them look like ... well, clowns.

The pic shrewdly positions the Joker as the superhero-movie equivalent of a modern terrorist (one of several post-9/11 signifiers), who threatens to target Gotham civilians until Batman reveals his identity. Batman, Gordon and Dent uneasily join forces, but the Joker seems to have the upper hand at every step, even from a jail cell; the city, turning against the hero it once looked to for hope, seems more fractious, vulnerable and dangerous than ever.

Though more linear than "Memento" and "The Prestige" (two fiendishly intricate thrillers also co-scripted by the Nolans), "The Dark Knight" pivots with similar ingenuity on a breathless series of twists and turns, culminating in a dramatic shift for Eckhart's Dent. While this subplot represents the film's weakest link, packing too much psychological motivation into too little screen time to be entirely credible, Eckhart vividly inhabits the character's sad trajectory, underscoring the film's point that even symbols of good can be all too easily tarnished.

From Wayne's playful debates with faithful butler Alfred (Michael Caine) about the public perception of Batman to the Joker's borderline-poetic musings on his own bottomless sadism, the characters almost seem to be carrying on a debate about the complicated realities of good vs. evil, and the heavy burden shouldered by those fighting for good. One of the few action filmmakers who's capable of satisfying audiences beyond the fanboy set, Nolan honors his serious themes to the end: He bravely closes the story with both Gotham City and the narrative in tatters, making this the rare sequel that genuinely deserves another.

Viewers who found "Batman Begins" too existentially weighty for its own good will be refreshed to know that "The Dark Knight" hits the ground running and rarely lets up over its swift 2½-hour running time. Nolan directs the action more confidently than he did the first time out, orchestrating all manner of vertiginous midair escapes and virtuosic highway set pieces (and unleashing Batman's latest ooh-aah contraption, the monster-truck-tire-equipped Bat-Pod). In a fresh innovation, six sequences were shot using Imax cameras, and will presumably look smashing in the giant-screen format (the pic was reviewed from a 35mm print).

Though not as obsessively detailed as "Batman Begins," "The Dark Knight" shares with that film a robust physicality and a commitment to taking violence seriously; a brief shot of bruises and scrapes on Bale's torso conveys as much impact as any of the film's brutal confrontations. Bale himself is less central figure than ensemble player, but the commandingly charismatic actor continues to put his definitive stamp on the role, and also has devilish fun playing up Wayne's playboy persona.

The tech work is at the first entry's high standard, with many artists reprising their contributions here -- from Nathan Crowley's imposing production design, shown to flattering effect in Wally Pfister's gleaming widescreen compositions, to the propulsively moody score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. Perhaps most impressive is Lee Smith's editing, confidently handling multiple lines of action and cutting for maximum impact.

Exteriors were filmed in Chicago aside from an early scenic detour to Hong Kong, which marks the first time a Batman film has ventured outside Gotham City.

'Dark Knight' Nearly Lives Up to the Hype
By Christy Lemire, Associated Press

It's difficult to separate the movie from its mystique.

Even under ordinary circumstances, "The Dark Knight" would have been one of the most hotly awaited movies of the summer blockbuster season. The loss of Heath Ledger to an accidental prescription-drug overdose in January has amplified the buzz around the film — and his crazed performance as the Joker — to extraordinary levels.

Nothing could possibly satisfy that kind of expectation. "The Dark Knight" comes pretty close.

Christopher Nolan's film is indeed an epic that will leave you staggering from the theater, stunned by its scope and complexity. It's also, thankfully, a vast improvement over his self-serious origin story, 2005's "Batman Begins."

As director and co-writer with his brother, Jonathan (David S. Goyer shares a story credit), Nolan has found a way to mix in some fun with his philosophizing. Ambitious, explosive set pieces share screen time with meaty debates about good vs. evil and the nature of — and need for — a hero.

Batman (Christian Bale) has been that guy. Now, he's not so sure he should be anymore. He's protected Gotham fiercely (and with some fierce toys), but the new district attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), seems to be putting a dent in organized crime with help from Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman). Perhaps Batman should return to his "normal" life as billionaire Bruce Wayne and leave the clean-up work to the professionals. Maybe he can even rekindle his romance with old flame Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, taking over more than capably for Katie Holmes, although she doesn't get much to do, either).

And so "The Dark Knight" presents an existential crisis — what comic-book hero doesn't suffer these? — but does so in a totally different way from its predecessor. Whereas "Batman Begins" felt too solemn and introspective, this installment might actually be too fast. Like the Caped Crusader himself, speeding through the streets of Gotham City on his tricked-out Bat-Pod motorcycle, Nolan moves breathlessly from one scene to the next.

Trouble is, he's got such great vision and is so adept at creating a compelling mood, it makes you wish he'd held some moments for a beat or two longer, just to savor them — and to let us do the same. A couple of scenes in Bruce's stark, crisply lit Bat-bunker come to mind, as does Batman's nighttime flight over a glittering Hong Kong. (Wally Pfister, a longtime Nolan collaborator who also shot "Batman Begins" and "Memento," returns as cinematographer. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard once again teamed up to compose the huge, sweeping score.)

Nolan was wise enough, however, to give Ledger plenty of room to shine — albeit in the actor's indelibly perverse, twisted way. There's nothing cartoony about his Joker. Ledger wrested the role from previous performers Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson and reinvented it completely.

Yes, he's funny, wringing laughs from both clever one-liners and maniacally grand schemes. He can be playful, finding unexpected avenues into the character: "You complete me," he purrs to Batman, mockingly borrowing Tom Cruise's classic line from "Jerry Maguire" and dashing all possibilities for the Caped One's imminent retirement.

But because there's no logic behind his mayhem, he's also truly terrifying. The terror he inflicts on Gotham is meticulously planned (the opening bank heist, shot with IMAX cameras, is a marvel of timing) and yet his sole inspiration is to create chaos, then watch the city squirm and burn.

That his attacks grow larger each time, regardless of the collateral damage, makes him so genuinely disturbing. Ledger seems to have understood that, and brings an appropriate — and riveting — unpredictability to the role. It's also a neat touch that his makeup, which looked like a slapdash effort from the start, steadily deteriorates, streaking, cracking and peeling away as the film progresses; it's an outward manifestation of his psychological spiral.

Back to Batman, though — because theoretically, it is his movie, right?

Bale seems more assured than ever, now that he has more facets of Batman/Bruce's personality to reveal than he did in the last film. He's consistently proven he's capable of going to dark, scary places for his characters (see: "American Psycho," "Rescue Dawn") and this is no exception.

Also returning are Michael Caine as Bruce's butler, Alfred, and Morgan Freeman as gadget guru Lucius Fox. Both veterans help anchor the movie with a wisdom and calmness that's crucial when everything (and everyone) is in a state of turmoil. As for Oldman, he disappears into the role of Lt. Gordon and makes it look so effortless, he makes you forget he's acting.

Eckhart, the snarky star of "Thank You for Smoking," may seem an unusual choice to play a law-and-order kind of guy. Here, he's subtle enough to keep us guessing until nearly the end as to where his morals and allegiances truly lie (though eventually he will become the villainous Two-Face, as we know).

But the key showdown, of course, is between Batman and the Joker. Theirs is a relationship that's strangely symbiotic — you could even call it codependent. Or as the Joker puts it, "You and I could do this forever."

If only.

AMG Review

Jeremy Wheeler
The caped crusader gets a stunning dose of hardcore dramatics in The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan's ambitious follow-up to Batman Begins. Hailed as the first real big screen adult take on a popular comic mythos, the film goes to great lengths to show that costumed characters can indeed exist in genres outside of their comfort zone - which in this case, spells gritty crime drama. Nolan's Gotham City might be beautiful, but it's decaying from the inside out - as are most of the people in control of it. So at what point do the efforts of a costumed vigilante cease to have an impact on the society he vows to protect - and when does his mere presence present a detriment to them when it's all said and done? It's these kind of hefty issues that embody what could accurately be touted as a reinvention of the entire superhero film altogether. Thick with rich dramatics, daring performances and a few knockout scenes of action gusto, The Dark Knight strives to not only one-up its precursor, but also lay down a measuring stick of quality for the rest of Hollywood to live up to.

The casting will no doubt have a lot to do with the strong reaction to the picture. Heath Ledger's sad passing gives his fearless performance - and in effect, the movie - a sense of importance that is hard to counter. For his part, the talented performer gives a full-on show each time he is on the screen. His approach to this anarchist embodiment of The Joker is something truly special to behold and easily one of the boldest portrayals in comic-to-screen history. Take him away and there's still plenty of A-game being brought to the screen, thanks to the talents of Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhall, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart, whose solid performance as Harvey Dent makes up the tragic backbone of the film. For his part, Christian Bale does a fine job at embodying the lonesome hero of his city; even if he persists in giving Batman's voice the same guttural growl that hurt his performance the first time around. Thankfully, the costume has been given an overhaul to address a bit of the "rubber suit" issues that have plagued the franchise since its Tim Burton days.

Yet just as Burton reshaped the character to fit his own gothic tastes, so does Christopher Nolan paint a picture all his own. By luring audiences in with a consistently light first half and then turning things bleaker as the movie progresses, the filmmaker has created a truly engrossing tale of modern decay. By the end, much has changed and no one is left unscathed. It's not an easy story to either tell or sit through. There are casualties - and this most certainly is not a crowd-pleaser in the typical sense of the word. By eschewing what many others in his field are doing with similar comic properties and seeking out his inspiration elsewhere, Nolan shows that mature thematic material can have new life when adapted for even the most beloved heroes of the printed page. Critically, he does overshoot things a bit by bringing in slightly heavy-handed messages into the final chunk of the film - and it seems that a few characters really got the short end of the stick (Scarecrow, anyone?). Perhaps the rumored 3-hour cut would iron out a few of the film's issues, including rushed character arcs and especially one seemingly needless late set piece. The action, while improved in this installment, also is a bit hampered by some confusing techno-gadgetry (in one of the only moments where the action is dictated by fantastic spectacle).

Still, with its virtuoso vision and near avant-garde score from James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer fueling the picture's ever-growing dread, The Dark Knight stands on its own in a world full of easy entertainment. Perhaps someday someone will be able to happily marriage the best that both Nolan and Burton brought to the screen -- until then, this remains an impressive feat of studio-backed artistry. Like it's own crime fighter, the movie is a symbol that aspires for greater things; where it will lead is anyone's guess.

~ Jeremy Wheeler, All Movie Guide

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My Blueberry Nights DVD review

My Blueberry Nights DVD review
My Blueberry Nights

DVD Review
by Sean Axmaker, Special to MSN Movies

The English language debut of Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai ("In the Mood for Love") is a road film starring Norah Jones (in her film debut) as a spurned lover traveling through a movie-made America of damaged loves, broken romances and wounded hearts. The script, co-written by Wong and American crime novelist Lawrence Block, is more a suggestion of stories than actual drama, always threatening to dissolve in the woozy, color-saturated images, but the sensuous texture and rich atmosphere holds it together.

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This is a movie about moments captured in time, about the sensuality of image, about the overwhelming emotional assault of loving and living. Jones may not be a great actress, but her face, all doe eyes, lush lips and melancholy yearning, is the most expressive landscape in Wong's movie-fantasy recreation of America. Jude Law plays a New York diner cook

who offers Jones a sympathetic ear and a slice of pie, and Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn and Natalie Portman co-star. Includes the featurette "Making My Blueberry Nights" and an 18-minute "Q&A With Director Wong Kar-Wai" (shot at the Museum of the Moving Image in 2008).

PG13,1hr 30min
April 4, 2008
Wong Kar-Wai
The Weinstein Company
Starring: Norah Jones, Jude Law, David Strathairn
DVD Info
Released:July 01, 2008
MPAA Rating:PG13
Distributed By (Studio):Weinstein Company
DVD Sides:1
DVD Features
Making My Blueberry Nights
Q&A with Director Wong Kar Wai
Still gallery
Theatrical trailer

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nicolas Cage newest movie as cast of Astro Boy Live

Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland Join CG Astro Boy Cast

IMAGI Studios has announced that Summit Entertainment (Michael Clayton, American Pie, Babel) will release its 2009 computer-graphics film adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy manga worldwide except in Japan, Hong Kong, and China. IMAGI itself will handle the distribution in those three regions.

IMAGI Studio also announced that the cast now includes Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas, The Rock, National Treasure), Donald Sutherland (M*A*S*H, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Dirty Sexy Money), Nathan Lane (The Lion King, The Producers, The Birdcage), Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Underworld, Pirates of the Caribbean) and Eugene Levy (A Mighty Wind, American Pie, Curious George). As previously announced, Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Arthur and the Invisibles) will play the title role of Astro Boy, a robot abandoned by its inventor and raised by a kind professor to protect the world.

Space Jam's Timothy Harris is writing the film, and Flushed Away's David Bowers is directing. Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Company were previously announced as the film's global distributors, but no new word has been given on their current status on the project.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

DVD reviews for Rambo IV - a soon to be classic war movie

John Rambo has retreated to northern Thailand, living a solitary and peaceful life in the mountains and jungles. A group of human rights missionaries search him out and ask him to guide them into Burma to deliver medical supplies. When the aid workers are captured by the Burmese army, Rambo decides to venture alone into the war zone to rescue them.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Thriller and Sequel
Running Time: 1 hr. 31 min.
Release Date: January 25th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: R for strong graphic bloody violence, sexual assaults, grisly images and language.
U.S. Box Office: $42,724,402

Rambo is back and better than ever!, 22 January 2008
Author: Norse_Sage from Akershus, Norway

I saw this at an advance screening in Oslo, and going in, I didn't expect it to be any more than a cheesy and somewhat gory tribute to eighties actioners by a star/director/producer/writer who was desperate to relive past glory. That latter may or may not be true, but my former assessment was plain wrong. This movie is authentic, shocking and unlike any other comparable movie.

Given its genre, the movie is a masterpiece. The story is simple but solid, and works on several levels. The action scenes are unparalleled, more intense than "Black Hawk Down", "Saving Private Ryan" and "Stalingrad" put together. The level of brutality and gore will shock and fascinate, and no doubt cause some level of controversy.
Stallone proves himself to be an excellent director, as well as in excellent shape for his age. I had little faith in him going in, and I stand corrected.

This is a Rambo who has come to terms with who and what he is, in a movie that holds up when compared with the original "First Blood". Well done, Sly. Well done indeed.

Stallone is still here!, 20 January 2008
Author: misel982001 from Greece

During his career, Sylvester Stallone gave the audience many great times to remember him.From Rocky and Rambo, to Demolition Man and Shade, Stallone was always a true super star. As an almost exclusive action films actor, he brought to the audience for over three decades, high quality action movies. However, aging is always a problem for such actors and Stallone could escape it....a little though! His physical condition is tremendous! Let's not forget that he is almost 62. It is a fact that his last films did not manage to reach the quality of his previous successes. Driven, D-Tox, Avenging Angelo and Shade, were really good films indeed but their shine was not as big as Rocky or Rambo. That is why Stallone returned with his major two success roles. Rocky Balboa was excellent and meaningfull. Now it is time for...John Rambo! This film is simply excellent. Although it is mostly an action movie it has also deeper meanings such as ethical values and political messages. Just like Rocky Balboa, John Rambo uses the formula of the first movie mixed with this of the forth!Monosylabic dialogues from Rambo meet the political messages of the activists, The violent reaction of Rambo towards the brutal soldiers is justified by his ethical code with a deeper meaning that oppresion and injustice generates strong reaction! Acting as a whole, is very good and convincing. Stallone is really born to be Rambo and the supporting cast is made by young actors who meet the quality standards of Milo Ventimiglia. The project budget is 50m so as you understand there are many real-like explosions and effects. What is new is the ultra violent death scenes. They really look true!The story is interesting although ,as you expect, not complicated. To summarize, John Rambo is one of the best action movies that 2008 will probably bring to us.Also it is a must to see because not only it is a really good movie but also because it is the last Rambo film. Stallone even if he is 62, looks no more than 45 and his condition is impressive. A must for all action film fans and not only by them, Rambo is a really good film and you should not miss it.

Rated "R" for Rambo, 26 January 2008
Author: Ryan Neighbors from United States

OH the Haustacity. Yes...I will say it again, HAUSTASTIC!!!! Rambo at his best...I don't care, he may be old, but crap man. This movie is awesome.

Stallone definitely took a step towards the Mel Gibson approach in making it realistic. That is what a .50 caliber round does to a man. The genocide scenes are rough and graphic...definitely not for young audiences, but for everyone else. HAUSOME!!!

The story is solid. It doesn't take long at all to get to the action. This is a must see for any person looking for some great action.

Rated "R" for Ridiculous, rampaging, reoccurring Rambo

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Pure action!! Solid Movie., 25 January 2008
Author: chrisalsop1213 from Canada

Rambo is without question a sick action movie and Stallone has proved himself again as an intense actor and as a solid director. This installment combines elements from all three previous movies but this one had a much more realistic feel. Yes some dialog is questionable and there are a few, albeit brief, scenes that don't quite work, but make no mistake, this movie takes no prisoners. Stallone slips back into the role with ease and his supporting players do an admirable job. Critics will whine as they always do about the excessive violence, gore and lack of story. (Stick to giving awful movies like The Skeleton Key thumbs up guys). The ironic thing is that Rambo actually gives a vivid and some would say accurate portrayal of war. It has a similar feel to Black Hawk Down and borrows its chaotic action. Rambo pulls no punches...It's brutality, violence and gore are rooted in reality. Gone is the "fun" action of 2 and 3. It is replaced with realism which amounts to some of the best and most intense action sequences I've ever seen. My only real gripe with the film was scenes that were sped up in post. (No big deal)

Finally, the integrity of the series as a whole has been kept in tact. Everything from the music, to the action to the character to the final scene. An extremely well crafted movie. Rambo/action fans will not be disappointed...And neither will the critics who rave about The Princess Diaries

MeaningFULL Violence at its most horrific.
by (movies profile) Jan 25, 2008
213 of 223 people found this review helpful

This is the most meaningful and heart felt Rambo film ever made, let alone the most savagly vicious and ferocious.

Rambo films were not tremendous examples of subtle art. Life's realities arent art work either, they are explicitly horriable in many ways, and the enormously brutal nature of RAMBO 4 perfectly displays this reality. And anyone who writes it off as "mindless", are most definatly absent of a mind or a heart. The graphic depictions in RAMBO are so horrific, i think its the closest any film out of
Hollywood has gotten to showing the truth in crimes against humanity.

This movie is a wake up call....but yet isnt a public service announcment, nor is it preachy. Make no mistake, it does remember its a movie and its an entertaining one.

Some of the best action ive ever seen in a film. Mix the explosivness of 80s blockbusters with the reality and heart of a 'Saving Private Ryan' brutality, but pushed to the MAXIMUM.

Youve never seen anything like this before.

Now lets talk about acting and plot.

The acting is nothing special. Nope. But it gets the job done. Again, what are you expecting from Rambo? The fact that Stallone injects lots of heart and honesty into this film is enuff i think for its genre.

Stallone acted better in pervious Rambos perhaps, but thats all. In every other catagory, as far as the sequals go, RAMBO 4 blows them all a way...leaving only the first Rambo, 'FIRST BLOOD' as the superior work in the collection.

The plot is a worthy story, about a group of missionaries who wanna give a loving and peacefull message to a people that are in the middle of genocide, and in the midst of that, they get into trouble, and Rambo has to help them out of harms way.

And Slyvester Stallones story has GREAT meaning becouse its about true events happening in the country of Burma that never gets any news coverage, and is the least publicised atrocity in the world. So Stallone revolved this Rambo film around it to bring attention to the utter carnage happening in Burma.

It isnt executed with the most depth, but i dont expect too much from an action film. People who are sipping wine and nibbling on cheese, need not apply. And why the hell are you watching Rambo in the first place? Unless your going to leave your ultra politically correctness at the door, you might as well skip RAMBO, becouse this will prove as too big of a dose of reality for you.

Now if youre strong. Defiantly see this film.

Monday, May 26, 2008

300 The DVD review - a must buy or a DVD let down

Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West
Director: Zack Snyder
Genre: Action / Drama / History / War
Rated: R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity.
Duration: 1hr 57mins

Plot: With the mighty Persian army, under the command of the Great King Xerxes, poised to sweep in and conquer Greece, a small band of 300 Spartan warriors - under the command of their King Leonidas - must hold the pass at Thermopylae at all costs.
Notes: This is a fantastic film and I’m definitely going to be picking this up today. 300 will be available on standard DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray. Check out my movie review of 300.

The Spartans inspect each baby born to ensure that it is - if it is defective, the baby is destroyed. They raise their boys in the school of hard blows - training in combat, a small boy who lost his weapon wins a bloody lip at the hands of his own father. At the age of 7 years, each boy is torn from his mother and made his own way in the desert, back to a man. Even King continues this rite of passage. At the age of 15 years, be young King Leonidas (Tyler Max Neitzel) drew a wolf in a narrow passage so that it could kill him. He returns to civilization as a king.

A Persian emissary visits Sparta. The king Leonidas (Gerard Butler) refuses to be part of Sparta King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) empire, and kills the messenger. Later, while Xerxes army approaches, Leonidas must consult the oracles to get their support before sending the Spartan army in the battle. He explains his strategy (to repair the wall and defend at Hell's Gate) to the negligence of priests. The word of the oracle (a drugged teenager who spoke in languages for the priesthood) is not favorable. Leonidas leaves angry, and we learn that priests were bribed with Xerxes "or via the Spartan traitor, Theron (Dominic West), give a negative answer.

Leonidas reluctant to defy corruption pure and simple clergy, but his wife (Lena Headey) encourages him to get off the beaten track. Leonidas chooses to take 300 men as his "bodyguard" to the strategic location. His wife said goodbye, telling him to return with his shield or on it, and give him a necklace.

On the road they meet certain allies, who are shocked that the Spartans are sending such a small force. Leonidas requests related professions of the army, who are the artisans and craftsmen. He said he has given more than they soldiers.

They arrive at Thermopylae, severe storms and destroy some fleet of Xerxes. However, it is only a small percentage of the vast army, they will face.

Ephialtes (Andrew Tiernan), a man horribly disfigured, comes to see Leonidas to warn of the goat path to the back of his position. Ephialtes argued that his parents fled Sparta to save his life child, and hopes to exchange them by fighting for Leonidas. However, it is unable to lift his shield high enough to properly defend his fellow warriors. Leonidas gently told him to take care decreased. Ephialtes fondest hopes are crushed.

An emissary arrives, and noted that the organs of the previous party now screening is part of the great rock face. The Persian their arrows blot the sun, and the Spartans agree, they will simply fight in the shade. The emissary of the party is killed. The next visitor is Xerxes himself, but Leonidas refuses to bend the knee and his cult "divinity".

Xerxes sends his personal guard masked "Immortals", which name the Spartans also be false. However, some of the brave warriors are killed, and it becomes clear that others will follow. Ephialtes goes to Xerxes, and agrees to show them the goat path in exchange for a uniform, as well as promises of women and wealth.

When they learn they are betrayed, they know that their struggle is doomed to failure. Leonidas sends a man home to Sparta say what happened.

Back in Sparta, Queen Gorgo tried to convince the Council to send aid to Leonidas. A friendly take the necessary steps to advise his word, but says she will Theron on its sides. Theron agrees to help if she goes to sleep with him - so it does. Of course, in the Council Chamber, it does not support it, but instead accuses her of adultery. However, it gets its revenge.

Surrounded by the Persian army, Leonidas withdraws its head, drops his shield and fell to their knees. It seems he has given. Suddenly he gets up and launches his hurls to Xerxes. It is tearing the side of the cheek. Leonidas dies in a hail of arrows.

A year later, Sparta sends thousands of men and Xerxes is managed by Greece.

Now Unto the reviews

A two-sided piece of art, 31 March 2007
Author: gus495 from Netherlands

This film isn't for all people. That's to say about a lot of movies in general of course, but this one in particular brings up a big clashing point between critics; What do we want to see in our movies? What is more important, to portray a fictional setting for the sake of giving people a mind blowing visual experience or to amuse and amaze them with clever plot twists and intelligent dialogs?

First lets analyze what exactly this film is made of. Basically, the whole thing is just one epic fighting scene after another. Most noticeably is the camera work and the visual effects. Every shot seems like it was intended to be a work of art. The colors, the characters, the costumes, the backgrounds... every little detail has been given so much attention. During the big fights you'll also instantly notice the unique editing. There are a lot of "time slowdowns" throughout the battles which show what exactly is happening. Fatal wounds that slowly leak blood spatters in the air, decapitated heads traveling in slow-motion across the screen... it's all there.

The story on the other hand isn't very complicated, in the sense that the whole movie could probably be described in a sentence or two. The dialogs are simple and most often talk about moral values like freedom and honor. If you would look at the script, it would probably look like another movie that has nothing more to offer then idealistic visions of how life should be.

Reviewers of this title seem to be split up in two groups. They either love it with passion calling it an epic movie of the 21th century, or hate it even more and throw it off like a piece of garbage consisting of mindless action and silly cliché phrases. I feel reluctant to take a position in this argument. Normally it's tolerable to weigh out both sides of this matter to result in a fair judgment about a movie. Not in this one. On the one hand the visual are surely among the best to be witnessed in a movie. Every detail, every background, every special effect set to the scenes are so mindblowingly stunning. On the other hand the plot and dialogs are of the most simplistic and quite frankly dumb kind. "I fight for freedom! I'd rather die in honor then live in shame!" Sounds familiar?

Of course it could be debated that this movie was never intended in the first place to have a unique plot that makes your head spin. But from an objective point of view it's still lacking in this department, so it should be noted.

Now that's fine and all, but does that all make of the film? Is it worth watching or what? I think it is. For me the good outweighs the bad by miles. From the second the movie started it grabbed me and didn't let go. Every battle, every scene of the movie had me at the tip of my chair. Everything from the strong acting to the wondrous visuals to the war-shouts of the soldiers was just so stunning... it was truly a wonderful experience.

I did not one single moment felt like the movie lacked anything. But I could imagine why other people did.

So here's the deal.

If you are easily impressed by beautiful landscapes, wonderful camera-work and editing and powerful acting then go see this. Right. Now. You'll be missing out if you don't. There is so much to see, so much power in the way this comic is translated to the big screen... It'll leave you in awe.

However, you are looking for a good story, clever plot twists, some innovating to the world of the movies then skip this. 300 contains nothing of this, nor does it wants to give you this.

I enjoyed this movie so much, but I know there will be people that will pass of as rubbish, and that's understandable. Just be sure to make up your mind about what you want to see when you go to the theater yourself instead of being drawn into bias by the tons of reviews this site has to offer.

Chills!, 13 March 2007
Author: deadmonkeys from Ottawa, Ontario

After I saw the teaser for 300 I knew I HAD to see this movie! From then on I avoided all other previews, reviews, etc. as not to influence my expectations of the movie. I then went into the theater on opening night with no knowledge of the plot... only that it had something to do with Greeks and Frank Miller! Ignorance is bliss! I was absolutely blown away. I'm a 26 yr old female who generally doesn't watch violent films... but I found the battle scenes so well done and breath taking. I had chills and goosebumps virtually the entire film. I'm with many other reviewers, who felt like they had to contain themselves from shouting "yeah!" at times. Maybe I'm crazy, but I thought the whole movie was very sexy and passionate, whether it was the sex scene, a battle scene, or Leonidis addressing his men.

I think it is a shame that so many people are condemning this movie for it's historical inaccuracies, or it's "racism", etc. People are reading far too into this movie. Whatever happened to enjoying a movie simply because it is entertaining and pleasing to to the eye? Don't people watch movies anymore to escape from the daily grind of life? I know I'm not as well spoken as many who have posted here. I just think this was a fantastic movie. I didn't go see it to learn anything! I just wanted to be entertained! And boy was I!

Much worse than the trailer, 10 March 2007
Author: EdWont from Youngstown, Ohio

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

In a word: disappointment.

I was one of the fanboys who loved the graphic novel, and watched the trailer on repeat for months. I'm half Greek and love action and comics, so I was superbly amped. Sadly, the movie fell so short of the mark that I was immediately reminded of how I felt after watching Star Wars: Episode I for the first time. I left it thinking, "I liked it? It was good? Right?" But I knew that it wasn't. Here are some of the ups and downs.

Let's start with what's good in the feature. The battle scenes are spectacular. The choreography didn't hinge on speed as much as it relied on visually stunning, artistic brutality (it sounds like an oxymoron, but it applies in this context). The timing during these scenes was unique, too. The motion sped up and slowed down in a way that really complimented the film. Of course, the entire movie is a mindblowing visual experience: The art direction and cinematography were stunning. This is especially true of the costuming and "creature" effects. My favorite aspect of the art direction was this profound grittiness (manifested in the dirt, bloodshed, contrast, and other details that were brought forth because of the filming technique) that almost became a character in itself, contributing to the harshness of the plot. All these things were simply standout.

Now, for the reasons I gave this film 3 out of 10 stars. The plot aspect of this film was practically nonexistent. In terms of character development, not only was it predictable, but almost tragic that they didn't pursue other avenues. I especially mean this when referring to the Queen Gorgo subplot that wasn't bound by Miller's original concept. There were a variety of plot holes including, but not limited to, the end of Gorgo's subplot in which it's revealed that a traitor was carrying evidence of his crimes on him for what we can assume was the entire movie, when there's no plausible reason as to why he'd be carrying the evidence. Given the precious little plot in the film, it's sad to say that any plot holes exist. The acting was pretty terrible, spare the less demanding guttural shouting of the Spartan warriors, but I can't really fault the actors given that the writing was so, so painfully bland. Even when there was a "rallying, morale boosting" speech, as is a staple for these films, it was so upsettingly cliché' that I found it agitating to watch. What was most troubling was that the entire movie was seasoned in an all-to-blatant hyper-nationalism. It was hard to enjoy this film without examining it from a modern context because of the frequent use of the word "freedom." It was being thrown around like it was conservative talk radio. At one point one of the characters even said, "freedom isn't free." I have no problem if filmmakers wish to make patriotism a theme in their film (indeed, the historic events lend nicely to such a theme). However, they did it so straight-forwardly that it dumbed the movie down a great deal. And yes, the Spartans founded the term "laconic" but they were at least witty. Had it been more subtle or brought about in a more refined way (as opposed to the hero simply spouting about freedom and its virtues repeatedly throughout the film) then it probably would've contributed a great deal to the movie.

All in all, this has a lot to offer in terms of eye-candy. But, it has so little substance that it's aggravating to watch. Something didn't click, and it's apparent. It feels like they could've done more with it. That's why it's aggravating. That's why it's a disappointment.

A let down and I wasn't expecting much., 23 March 2007
Author: idw42 from United Kingdom

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

OK the first thing to realise with this film is that thinking about it in historical terms is a bit of a waste. So I'm going to skip over that, even if Zack Snyder is on record saying it's ninety percent accurate. I went on it's release yesterday expecting a cheesy yet entertaining action flick.

I was sorely let down. First the good points, well point. It is visually well conceived in a limited way. The contrast in colour between Spartan red and the Persians and so on is well played with. Likely down to Miller's original work. The action was also well choreographed. Gerard Butler was also very good at Leonidas.

OK that's the good points. As for the bad: It's 117 minutes long, played at normal speed I'm estimating there's about 65 minutes of footage. It was really over doing the slow-mo. Fair enough in battles or to add emphasis to important moments, but it was used for literally everything. I'm walking somewhere, oh add some slow-mo. I'm thinking hard, yeah that's some slow-mo. I'm looking at the ground, what's appropriate? Slow-mo? The emissary is riding into town, you got it, in slow-mo. Then there was the slow-mo sex scene which was just embarrassing to watch.

The dialogue is just the cheesiest I've ever heard. It's not even entertaining in an Arnie kind of way. It's just bad. "I never had a chance to tell my son I loved him" being a real low point. Any scene that wasn't a fight was poorly done and just made to divide the fights up a bit.

The soundtrack was incredible. It fluctuated from industrial metal like the trailer's use of Nine Inch Nails to flat out stealing parts of the Gladiator soundtrack. Seemingly at random. Some of the acting was pretty bad, the Queen's speech to the council standing out as unbearable. That might have just been the dialogue she was given though. Or the voice that David Wenham(Faramir in LotR) was doing. Speaking of which I'm sure Ephialtes was meant to sound identical to Gollum. Some of the plot was really badly explained. If I wasn't a history buff the mere fact that Persia was invading would likely be confusing. Though I guess it's just good vs. evil. Or why on earth the Persians didn't destroy Sparta but waited a year. It was the naval battle of Salamis in history obviously, but it's not explained at all in the film. Or that they spend time setting up that Spartans fight in phalanx formation and are dependant on the men to their sides, yet spend the whole film fighting in very elaborate loose formations so they can show off. It also makes a joke of Leonidas' reasoning for turning away Ephialtes. Or the fact that the last speech about fighting mysticism and tyranny sits ill with a nation who apparently didn't fight because their gods said no and were ruled by a king. It just doesn't make any sense.

OK that's what the cheesy action film loving part of my brain had to say.

The more serious critical part can't really complain as it's a comic adaptation, which I assume like Sin City is frame for frame identical. But it does make me think; what on god's green earth was Frank Miller thinking when he wrote this?

I just can't see it. He's taken the Spartan's and twisted them into paradigms of human virtues while utterly dehumanising the Persians. There just seems to be no reason for turning the Persians into zombies and monsters, or for setting out that the Spartan's had some form of democracy. The Ephores weren't priests they were veteran Spartan warriors who were over 60 and voted in for year long terms. Sparta had 2 kings and no council could over-rule them except the Ephores(which is debatable). The Spartan life was dependant on the subjugation of a huge slave class. To try and add western values of liberty and freedom is just crazy. Especially to make a set of two dimensional characters which are essentially just mouth pieces for modern western values. It also seems bizarre as the Athenians who at least embody some of our values are quite shabbily treated by the story. As the whole campaign hinged on them and their sacrifices, not the Spartans who were being quite selfish about not defending their fellow Greeks. There's no mention of the thousand Thespians who fought to the last along side the Spartans, or all the Helots(Spartan slaves) who were forced to fight to the last with their masters. The treatment of the Persians is just shocking, they're either not human, horribly deformed or more alarmingly simply just Asian, oriental or African. I just can't see why he chose Thermopylae or why he chose to leave it so shallow.

Small details like fighting in thongs is forgivable as it's just a stylistic choice, mimicking renaissance art especially. But this stuff was really thematically crazy stuff.

Yeah so it's bad from a more critical point of view as well, it's also kind of worrying and disturbing from this point of view.