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Haywire (2012) review
01/19/12 at 12:52 PM by EvilButters
Steven Soderbergh's outbreak thriller Contagion was one of the biggest sleeper hits of last year. The film made a respectable amount at the box office and was critically praised, but if you're like me then you may have written off seeing it in theaters since most films in the same vein weren't so great, but Contagion broke the mold you may have thought it fit into and some of the credit can be attributed to the rather phenomenal ensemble cast. I'm behind with much of Soderbergh's work, but the general consensus is that he's always able to put together one hell of a cast for nearly every one of his feature films. His latest effort Haywire is no exception.

I don't follow MMA, so I had no idea who Gina Carano was going into Haywire. After it ended though, I certainly wanted to see more of her especially with how beautiful she is. Carano handles herself extremely well on-screen and is a fairly solid actress. The fact that she's able to kick ass and at least appear to have acting range is a serious plus. Despite the incredible cast, you're left wishing that the majority of them were around longer than they actually are. I'm looking at you, Michael Fassbender. Channing Tatum seemed a little less annoying than he usually is in his on-screen efforts while Ewan McGregor stepped outside of his comfort zone a bit and played for the opposing team for once. There was a lot of potential for Michael Douglas' Coblenz character, but he's used so sparingly as he's only in three scenes or so. Antonio Banderas appears on-screen about as often as Douglas, but plays a bigger role in the storyline as far as who's pulling the strings on who betrayed whom as far as Mallory's (Carano) mission goes. The only person who's somewhat forgettable is Bill Paxton. There's an amazing scene that takes place at his house, but he doesn't really contribute and is just kind of there.

One of the interesting things about Haywire is that nearly every scene that takes place inside of a building has this yellow filter to it. The hum of fluorescent lighting makes a scene that is otherwise just talking a bit more memorable. It's more than likely a Soderbergh trademark as I seem to recall the same technique being used in Contagion, as well. As Mallory tells her story to Scott (Michael Angarano), we're shown what transpired in Barcelona which is what sparked the events to come. The set up process is fairly meticulous and feels somewhat similar to the preparations a team would have to make to pull off a successful heist. There's this well executed montage in Barcelona with no dialogue and a killer soundtrack that is incredibly memorable. The soundtrack is really fantastic anyway as it has this bluesy jazz kind of feel to it that is really exceptional. When the action gets heavy though, the music disappears and you're left with the loud clamoring of two or more individuals beating the snot out of each other. Those sound effects along with seeing opponents’ skulls bounce off counter corners and being thrown through windows are perhaps the greatest moments the film has to offer.

Haywire establishes this feeling that Mallory is being followed at all times, which is a must because she basically is. The way the camera shows how she's being tailed and those over the shoulder shots to show how she slipped behind a wall just in time to escape their line of vision is pretty extraordinary. The film takes us all over the world as we see the likes of Barcelona, San Diego, New York, Dublin, London, and New Mexico. One of the issues though is that despite a slight change in setting, every place feels exactly the same because a similar sequence of events occurs in every city. I overheard some people saying there were quite a few holes in the film, but I felt like the screenplay was incredibly solid. The spoken dialogue did a really superb job of reeling the viewer in while mostly feeling very natural. With that said though, it would have been nice to have a bit more action to compliment all of the talking.

Haywire is an energetic powerhouse of an action thriller with a fantastic ensemble cast, a story that throws you right in the middle of the action, and an absorbing script. The sensational soundtrack compliments the film in the best of ways. Just keep in mind that while Haywire is pretty good, it's nowhere near as good or as epic as the beard Antonio Banderas shows off in the film. That Peter Griffin beard of his is certainly something grandiose to be proud of.

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Tags: Haywire, review, action, thriller, Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Steven Soderbergh
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Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos (2012) review
01/19/12 at 10:08 AM by EvilButters
I have been following Fullmetal Alchemist since 2002. In college, I used to read scans of the manga translated into English by fans before it was picked up for U.S. distribution. I became addicted to the original series and blazed through its 51 episodes in less than a week (I went through "Brotherhood", a 64 episode series, in five days). The first movie Conquerer of Shamballa didn't exactly sit well with me in the long run though. It wasn't because the film was bad or of poor quality (in fact it was very much the opposite), but seeing the adventures of Edward and Alphonse Elric finally come to a close and live in a world without alchemy was extremely bittersweet. "Brotherhood" seemed to correct every misstep the original series had though while also offering better animation and was much closer to the manga it originated from. "Brotherhood" is more emotional than the original series and the conclusion just feels so right. I consider "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood" to be one of the best anime titles of all time. So imagine the excitement when news of a new movie being in development finally reached this fan's ears. Maybe it's just because I've been on a Fullmetal Alchemist kick lately anyway, but The Sacred Star of Milos is everything I wanted it to be and then some.

The Sacred Star of Milos is a stand-alone animated feature much like Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven's Door and Trigun: Badlands Rumble. This means that as long as you have a basic understanding of the characters and the alchemy they use then you'll understand everything in the film and more than likely enjoy it thoroughly. Bones returns as the animation studio for the film (credits include the original "Fullmetal Alchemist" series, "Wolf's Rain", and "Cowboy Bebop" among many others), which is fantastic for us. The animation is so crisp, smooth, and seems so naturally fluid while everything is overflowing with color and appears to be an incredible series of paintings brought to life. The action sequences are illustrated so vividly and are so detailed. The alchemy battles along with its dynamic use of perspective never really let up. If the movie isn't impressing you with its animation or its eyecatching action, it reels you in with its story. Interesting and complex without crossing over into convoluted territory, The Sacred Star of Milos is a perfect addition to the Fullmetal Alchemist universe.

Stand-alone anime films based on well-known anime series always seem to include the coolest and unrelenting villians. The Sacred Star of Milos introduces Ashleigh Crichton and his sister Julia. The town Milos is located at the bottom of a valley directly in the middle of a rising rebellion. Julia feels like she owes an obligation to the people of Milos and looks to help restore the glory the town once had. Little does she know that her quest has her being drawn to the Philosopher's Stone. Ashleigh breaks out of prison six months before his parole and uses a mysterious alchemy that even the Elric brothers don't recognize. His motives are unclear right from the start. Then there's the wolf chimeras (along with their incredible transformations) and the mysterious masked man. All of these characters play intricate roles in the storyline.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos introduces some fantastic new characters wrapped up in an elaborate and intelligent storyline while delivering the exceptional animation you've come to expect from both series. Having such a sensational film be released in this time frame of the year almost seems blasphemous.

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Tags: Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, anime, animation, action, adventure
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Carnage (2011) review
01/17/12 at 10:49 AM by EvilButters
I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to Roman Polanski films. Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist are all patiently biding their time in my Netflix queue waiting on me to get around to them and watch them for the first time. The Polanski films I have seen had the potential to be great, but kind of let everything they had going for it slip through the cracks as the film went on. I remember being fascinated by The Ninth Gate, but was extremely disappointed once the ending rolled around. There was also quite a bit of praise being thrown around for The Ghost Writer last year and it just didn't affect me the way any of that praise did for other critics. So while Carnage has gotten many accolades as one of the funniest movies of last year, I took it with a grain of salt. People seem to generally love Polanski and that's fine. His films are genuinely a pleasure to look at as the cinematography is always fantastic, but it certainly seems as though he may not be as great as everyone makes him out to be.

Carnage is basically a 74-minute discussion between two couples whose eleven and twelve year old sons got into a fight. Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael Longstreet's (John C. Reilly) son Ethan was struck in the face with a stick by Zachary, the son of Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan Cowan (Christoph Waltz). The parents get together to try and find a way for Zachary and Ethan to talk things out, but everything eventually falls apart and the two couples are eventually at each other's throats.

This was not the hilarious movie it was made out to be. While the other people in the theater seemed to be howling at everything on screen, it mostly just felt slightly snicker worthy at times. John C. Reilly is pretty funny. His views, the things that come out of his mouth, his character, and his performance are probably the closest thing to hilarious Carnage has to offer. "Is cobbler cake or pie?", the flush mechanisms conversation, "You certainly perked up after...", the hamster story, the doodle nickname being ridiculous, and "YOU'RE BLOWING THIS OUT OF PROPORTION!" are all mostly entertaining thanks to John C. Reilly’s over the top performance. Michael Longstreet is probably the closest you'll come to relating to one of the on-screen characters, as well. The film is mostly a competition between four egomaniacal individuals competing for the spotlight though. Christoph Waltz's "god of carnage" speech is pretty amazing as is the "disfigured his schoolmate" conversation, but you want to slap the hell out of Alan Cowan the minute you realize he cherishes his phone more than anything else in the world. Kate Winslet is mostly nauseous and drunk the entire film and you probably won't walk away from this without thinking of Jodie Foster's bulbous, veiny, pulsating neck. Seriously, that thing will probably haunt your dreams the night after seeing this.

Carnage is very short. It feels like it ends as soon as it begins. It's like Cloverfield length. It also has one of the worst endings ever. How many films can you name that stop with a phone call? Nothing is resolved. Everything just stops. Despite a wonderful cast and a few chuckle worthy moments, Carnage mostly falls flat. It comes off as more of a contest between two married couples that become more interested in pointing out the flaws of their marriage rather than the task at hand. Maybe it's because I work in retail and I witness these kinds of conversations on a daily basis, but it just wasn't very entertaining at all. Carnage stumbles on the thin line between being extremely annoying and being mildly amusing.

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Tags: Carnage, review, movies, comedy, drama, Roman Polanski, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly,
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) review
01/06/12 at 04:35 PM by EvilButters
There was much to be excited about when it came to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. It may have been a remake, but it also featured the likes of Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, and Mark Strong in a spy movie. Odds are that you're a fan of one of those actors and who doesn't love a film about spies? Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy are what initially attracted me to the project and Mark Strong was just a pleasant surprise, so the anticipation was very high. Unfortunately, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is basically a waste of two hours.

A press screening for this was held nearly three weeks before the film’s limited release date. Everyone who attended was handed what was referred to as a "cheat sheet," which not only helped describe the film but also went into detail about "The Circus" along with definitions of code names and terms that were used throughout the film. This is being mentioned because unless you've read the book, have seen the original 1979 film, or receive this "cheat sheet" and go over it in great detail then you will more than likely be lost throughout most of the film. Five years ago, Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly released a film called Southland Tales. The unusual thing about it was that the movie was actually episodes 4-6 while a prequel graphic novel contained episodes 1-3. It's an interesting approach that deserves credit for trying something different, but the bottom line is that most people won't and don't read up on a film before it's released.

With that said, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy isn't completely incomprehensible. You still know what's going on, but you just don't care. It's a very slow moving film that relies on dialogue more than anything to tell the story. Its nonlinear sense of storytelling isn't a smooth transition and is a bit difficult to keep track of at times. Didn't this character die earlier? Wasn't he working for somebody else like five minutes ago? Wait wait wait...WHAT? Who the HELL is that guy? These are the types of questions you'll probably be asking yourself. The majority of the characters seem very similar to one another and even share similar hairstyles. So everyone basically comes off as old, bitter people working for the government that are paranoid about a mole and probably should have retired ten years ago, which is kind of odd since the film revolves around retired agents attempting to be pulled back into the service.

Gary Oldman puts in a fascinating performance as George Smiley, but it fails in comparison to most of the other film characters he's known for. Smiley doesn't even speak for a good while (Oldman is probably shown on screen for at least a good ten to fifteen minutes before he actually says anything) and the fact that Oldman went through such precise detail just to pick out the appropriate pair of glasses for the character is admirable. He has one magnificent scene in the film, which occurs in his office with Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he tells the story of how Karla never returned his engraved lighter. It's easily the best scene in the film. Tom Hardy is also fairly fantastic in his role as he shows quite a bit of emotion in the film and Mark Strong offers the type of solid performance you'd expect from the English actor.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does have a few redeeming qualities that mostly lie within the performances of Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy. Its decorative setting and use of unique perspective automatically makes the film appealing to the eye. The film is really bland the majority of the time though and is extremely uneventful. Even when something violent does occur, it fades into obscurity rather quickly and is covered up by the gargantuan amounts of jargon that's constantly regurgitated amongst everyone on-screen. So despite a few semi-decent performances and an experience that's at least visually intriguing, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a thriller that never really gets thrilling. Your constant uphill battle to stay awake until the film ends is far more exhilarating.

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Tags: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, review, thriller, remake, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy
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Albert Nobbs (2011) review
12/30/11 at 03:48 PM by EvilButters
Albert Nobbs is the type of film I knew nothing about going in. I hadn't seen trailers or any sort of promotional materials beforehand, but everything can be summed up in one simple sentence: Glenn Close is portraying a man. That's pretty much the entire film in a nutshell. In the early 1900s, Albert Nobbs (Close) disguises herself as a man to be a butler in Dublin at a rather extravagant hotel. She has been hoarding her money like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter and she has some rather elaborate plans for her money; plans that would be a bit more difficult for a woman to pull off. Nobbs is completely content with her facade until she crosses paths with a painter named Hubert Page (Janet McTeer) and eventually craves more of a normal life because of their encounter. Nobbs is in love with Helen (Mia Wasikowska) some of the hotel help, but Helen is in love with Joe (Aaron Johnson) who dreams of taking Helen back to America. Nobbs must choose to either go all in and go for her dreams or continue living a half-hearted existence.

Glenn Close is obviously the heart and soul of the film. The message the film delivers becomes its main objective, but Close helps hand-deliver that message straight to each and every individual in the audience. Her performance is brilliant. Nobbs is a completely reserved individual who's almost completely devoid of emotion; not because she's incapable of feeling but because it's been a part of her charade for so long that it's kind of become habitual and it's almost as if she's forgotten how to feel. Nobbs spends the majority of the film talking to herself and thinking out loud. She is absolutely driven by this dream of hers. Janet McTeer comes along to kind of add a glimmer of hope to Nobbs and her quest; not to mention more than a little mutual understanding. I hadn't seen Mia Wasikowska in anything other than Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, but this was such a departure from that role. Helen is very outspoken, coldhearted, and completely blinded by love. Aaron Johnson took a rather obscure detour from Kick-Ass, as well. Joe wants nothing more than to get to America that when other obstacles present themselves he basically flips out in frustration. He seems more than willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, but also isn't afraid to beat any man or woman that gets in his way either.

With the majority of the story focusing on women in drag trying to find a wife, it's kind of a chore to try and mention anything else positive about the film in comparison because where do you go from there? Most of the film is very charming. Just about anything with Page and Nobbs gives you something to smile about, but the film's awkwardness becomes kind of charming as well. Nobbs eventually comes back around to her natural roots for one scene in the film and while it should be something to celebrate it's obviously very weird and unusual for the characters. It's kind of funny, but Glenn Close has a striking resemblance to Robin Williams in this film. It becomes almost uncanny by the time the film reaches its peak.

As one final note, the set pieces are absolutely fantastic. The atmosphere of the late 19th century is captured to perfection. The film also has some of the most effective use of snow in recent memory. Any scene featuring snow is something you should take note of.

Albert Nobbs is kind of incredible on one hand. The entire cast is filled with nothing but stellar performances, the set pieces are extraordinary, and the story is at the very least rather interesting. Trying to delve further into the film is a bit difficult though. I can guarantee I never would've seen this film if I hadn't been invited to a screening and while I don't regret attending I feel like a film like this isn't the reason why I go to the theater. Maybe it's because it's about women trying to be independent in the late 19th century, but it just isn't my type of movie. It's easy to admire the film's several strong points such as Glenn Close's amazing portrayal of Albert Nobbs and the solid script, but at the end of the day it just doesn't speak to me the way that it should. That doesn't necessarily mean that either side is to blame just that all films can't cater to everyone's tastes all the time; no matter how good or bad they may be.

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Tags: Albert Nobbs, review, drama, Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson
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Hugo (2011) review
12/25/11 at 11:14 AM by EvilButters
Martin Scorsese is a well respected director known for R-rated films usually revolving around crime or gangsters in some capacity. Saying the F-word nearly 300 times in one movie, stabbing someone with a pen, flushing a stash down the toilet, getting whacked, getting blown up, and getting your mind blown to such extremities in the last twenty minutes of a feature that you win an Oscar for it even though somebody already made that movie before; these are the things that come to mind when you think of Scorsese. Scorsese hadn't really worked with children much over his career or at least not to this extent. So that was interesting to keep in mind when Hugo started making the rounds. A family friendly Martin Scorsese film seems so surreal, but is more than a worthy addition to an already overflowing resume full of fantastic cinema.

It takes a while for Hugo to really get going, but it's certainly beautiful in the meantime. The film is a visual spectacle while each frame is an absolute joy to look at. You're taken through the intricate insides of various clocks at a train station; seeing their gears move as the use of steam adds just the right amount of mystery. It's not so much the fact that Hugo is slow because it isn't. There's this veil of mystery that isn't lifted until Hugo (Asa Butterfield) finally caves and tells his story. The various clocks and train station setting keeps you occupied and the long introduction with no dialogue is extremely noteworthy. It's just for nearly half the film, you have all these elements (clocks, the train station, a notebook, an automaton, and Hugo's father) without much of a connection. But it does all come together in extraordinary fashion.

The cast is really superb. Asa Butterfield is so passionate and emotional. Those blue eyes of his tell the story better than words ever could. Chloe Grace Moretz is so optimistic and eager for a chance at an adventure. You can't help but adore the Isabelle character. Sacha Baron Cohen seems to step way out of his element here. The Station Inspector seems like a complete 180 from Bruno or Borat, but his sense of humor is still in his performance. He just happens to have a bit more depth in comparison. Ben Kingsley's Georges Méliès goes through such a transformation in the film though that he's able to display such a wide range of emotion. He plays the broken old man impeccably.

There are times when movies affect you in a way that let you know they are special. For me, it's like I'm suddenly overcome by a wide range of emotions that make me want to laugh, cry, scream at the top of my lungs, and the overwhelming sensation of never wanting that moment or the movie to end. I'm not ashamed to say I felt that a few times during Hugo. James Cameron called Hugo a masterpiece and it's really difficult to argue with that. There isn't a weak point in the cast, the visuals are outstanding, and you find yourself connecting to the story. You're sucked into this world right from the start. Hugo is one of the most beautiful and charming films of the year.

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Tags: Hugo, movie review, review, adventure, drama, family, Martin Scorsese
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War Horse (2011) review
12/23/11 at 03:30 PM by EvilButters
I was one of the people not anticipating War Horse before actually seeing it. I joked before the movie started that if it wasn't a mash up of "Mister Ed" and Saving Private Ryan, then I'd be extremely disappointed. But I was also unfamiliar with the original novel and play, so who was I to judge? The only logical thing was to give it a shot anyway. If you want to be taken seriously as a critic, then you have to try and see as much as you can even if you don't think you're going to enjoy whatever you've just sat down to see. The final result is something visually beautiful that is completely blinded by an overdose of melodrama.

Ages and ages ago when the show was still relevant to people other than white trash and rednecks, there was this episode of "Jerry Springer" where a man came on the show wanting to marry his horse. The horse was on stage with him and the man even kissed it at one point. Not like a peck on the cheek. Heavens no, this was like a full blown sloppy tongue everywhere type of kiss. This was all that came to mind seeing how Albert and his horse Joey were so close in the film. To make matters worse, the very first shot of the film shows Joey being born but before you realize a mother horse is giving birth it kind of looks like two guys giving a horse a red rocket, which immediately brought Cartman training the pony in the Scott Tenorman Must Die episode of "South Park". So a minute and a half into the movie and I'm practically laughing like crazy for all the wrong reasons.

This horse Joey is the star of the film though. We follow him as he is too wild to tame until a boy named Albert (Jeremy Irvine) steps in, bonds with him, and they accomplish the impossible together. That relationship drives the rest of the film. Joey is eventually trained and begins plowing fields before being sold to a soldier to try and save Albert's family's farm. We then follow Joey's adventures in World War I as he goes owner to owner, serves each side of the war, and is even owned by a young girl and her grandfather at one point. But Albert is convinced him and Joey will be reunited again and will stop at nothing to make that happen.

Do you ever see an actor or actress in a film for the first time and remember that actor or actress as that particular role for the rest of their career? That issue came up a lot in this film. Albert's parents included the guy who went crazy in Session 9 (Peter Mullan) and the woman who groped a tiger in Red Dragon (Emily Watson, bonus points if you also remember her as the woman who was burned alive in Equilibrium). Their landlord was Remus Lupin from Harry Potter (David Thewlis) and the soldier who bought Joey was Loki in Thor (Tom Hiddleston) whose major was the guy assisting Gary Oldman's glasses in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Benedict Cumberbatch). The list is endless. The weird thing though is that none of the performances really outshine any of the others. They're all fairly solid, but none of them really compare to Joey who seems to take on human characteristics at times and is able to say so much with something as little as a look over his shoulder.

War Horse is very much a Steven Spielberg film. It wants and practically begs you to realize this throughout its duration. So much so that it's crammed down your throat on countless occasions. The film looks exceptional. There's beautiful scenery, everything is so rich and green, and the cinematography is pretty breathtaking. Everything else kind of falls by the waste side though. The events depicted in War Horse have to be so dramatic and when it's not it's so corny that it makes you want to barf. The wire cutters scene illustrates this point to perfection. World War I could have ended with something as simple as a conversation over a horse and wire cutters. Who knew? Oh, and apparently every German has a pair of wire cutters on them at all times. That's sure to come in handy, hm? It certainly does seem like you're watching a horse run around aimlessly the majority of the film, as well. "Maybe the horse will explode," I said. "Step on a landmine or something." Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

War Horse does feature a strong cast, an incredible horse, and fantastic cinematography. It unfortunately also shuffles with feeling too long, dripping with melodrama at all times, wrestling with corny dialogue, and being easy to predict from very early on. War Horse is basically a big budget Lifetime movie revolving around a boy and his horse. If you're trying to decide which of the two Steven Spielberg films you should see this year, The Adventures of Tintin is definitely the adventure you should choose to take.

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Tags: War Horse, review, drama, war, Steven Spielberg
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The Adventures of Tintin (2011) review
12/21/11 at 09:01 AM by EvilButters
The Adventures of Tintin was a film I wasn't sure what to think of. Another motion capture CG animated film? Haven't we gotten enough of those from Robert Zemeckis? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull really soured my opinion of an already faulty foundation known as Steven Spielberg's more recently directed films. However there was an upside: both the outstanding Edgar Wright and writer/director of Attack the Block Joe Cornish contributed to the writing of the film. The cast was also incredible and the film had a reputation amongst critics who had already seen it as being this nonstop action adventure. Tintin sounded like money going into it; BIG money. The final product turns out to be rather good, but isn't quite as spectacular as the hype lets on.

You're pretty much thrown into this mystery right from the start. This isn't an origin story. It's a continuation of a character most people either are already familiar with and/or immensely love. Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) buys a model ship at an outdoor market known as The Unicorn, but things become strange very quickly. Two men try to obtain the ship from him right after he purchases it: the first one warning him to get rid of it as soon as he can and the other, a man named Ivanovich Sakharine (voiced by Daniel Craig) offering him any price he'd like. Politely declining, Tintin takes the ship home and eventually discovers that something is hidden inside the ship. As a journalist always hungry for a story, Tintin embarks on an incredible adventure accompanied by his dog Snowy and a sea captain named Captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis).

The opening credits are amazing. It's traditional 2D animation, so it stands out from the rest of the film. There's this mini mystery solved during the duration of the opening credits. The pace is perfect and it's easily one of the best film openings of the year. You'll probably also notice the incredible score by John Williams right out the gate. It captures the atmosphere of crime and noir films perfectly and makes full use of a wide range of orchestral instruments. It’s just an extraordinary score all around.

Peter Jackson once described the film's look as "photorealistic; the fibers of their clothing, the pores of their skin and each individual hair. They look exactly like real people – but real Herge people!" This is a really exceptional quote to fall back on when trying to describe how the film looks. Textures, hair, and the way character's mouths move are all very realistic. Despite sharing motion capture qualities with recent Robert Zemeckis films such as A Christmas Carol, Beowulf, and The Polar Express, Tintin looks better. It could be due to the characters looking more like the actual characters and not the actors who portray them, but Tintin pays ridiculous attention to detail which is probably just as much a blessing as it is a curse.

There are two action scenes in the film that are worth the price of admission alone; Captain Haddock's pirate flashback and the motorcycle chase scene. The pirate ship battle makes it seem like the Pirates of the Caribbean films failed miserably at anything remotely resembling action. Tintin has this fantastic use of perspective in that it's dynamic, but it doesn't get too experimental or crazy. It's like you're always in the right place at the right time. You can clearly make out what's going on at all times, which is something Michael Bay isn't able to claim the majority of the time. The motorcycle chase is my favorite of the two since it's nonstop. The pirate scene cuts back and forth between what Haddock is remembering and what's transpiring in the real world. The motorcycle chase is just in your face the entire time, lasts around six minutes, and puts you on the edge of your seat.

Tintin does have its shortcomings though. It does feature two of the year's best action scenes, but it also drags quite a bit in the middle. You get a little bored at times watching Tintin and Haddock be stranded out at sea, stumble through the desert, and Haddock's incessant rambling of never having enough booze. It results in the film feeling longer than it is. There was also a big deal about seeing this on screen. "It MUST be seen in 3D," is what we were told. As you can imagine, the 3D isn't really mandatory for enjoying the film. Aside from one scene, I don't recall a huge use of it anyway. A lot of the action was also extremely unrealistic, as well. I know, it's Hollywood, it's Steven Spielberg, you're supposed to already have this suspension of disbelief anyway. If I get to the point where I notice that this couldn't happen in reality though, then I feel like the movie hasn't effectively done its job; not completely anyway. That feeling was almost overbearing at times with Tintin.

The Adventures of Tintin does seem to fall a bit short of the painting critics have painted for it, but is still well worth the price of admission. This year has also been an amazing year for movies featuring dogs: The Artist had Jack, Beginners had Arthur, and Tintin has Snowy. Snowy is easily the most entertaining of the three, but he's also the most animated and the most fictional. Tintin may be a bit slow at times, but visually it's freaking spectacular and the score is an easy contender for one of the best of the year. As far as animated films go, it's films like The Adventures of Tintin that movie lovers live for.

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Tags: Tintin, movie review, animation, action, Andy Serkis, Steven Spielberg
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Young Adult (2011) review
12/16/11 at 11:11 AM by EvilButters
Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody have been kind of hit or miss for me or at least that's what I like to think. I didn't enjoy Juno nearly as much as everyone else seemed to while Jennifer's Body, while not great, may have been better received on my end than what most give it credit for mostly because I have such a soft spot for horror. On the other hand though, Up in the Air was fairly fantastic all around. With that said, the main thing attracting me to Young Adult was the fact that Patton Oswalt had a rather big supporting role. Despite the fact that Charlize Theron has done so many things since and has won an Oscar, films like The Astronaut's Wife and The Devil's Advocate only come to mind whenever she's featured in anything which isn't flattering at all. So there was kind of this sense of dread going into Young Adult, but was it justified? The short answer is no, but it doesn't completely blow you away either.

There was an Entertainment Weekly article a few weeks ago where Theron said she aimed to not only be a mean-spirited individual, but also easily relatable as well. That's the trickiest part with a character like this. Anyone can be cold or act black hearted, but doing that while also displaying qualities that make you feel sorry for them and/or feel like something you went through in your life is something special. Imagining anyone else in this role is practically impossible, as well. The entire premise seems to be built around Theron. She seems to be playing herself or at least a slightly exaggerated version of how she is in real life. That more than likely contributes to the movie working as well as it does.

One of the other great things about the movie is that it's mostly unexpected. Young adult fiction writer Mavis Gary (Theron) currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota but decides to return to her small hometown of Mercury after receiving an email from her high school boyfriend Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) welcoming his first child into the world. Mavis somehow thinks that her and Buddy are meant to be together and despite Buddy being happily married and having a daughter that he loves dearly, Mavis thinks they can work past that to make things right between them. The outcome of the events is probably pretty predictable, but the relationships in between unfold in a way that you probably don't see coming. I'm mostly referring to Mavis and Matt Freehauf's (Patton Oswalt) friendship as it goes in a direction that feels far too human for such a superficial individual like Mavis. Oswalt also seems to be playing an exaggerated version of himself as well as he makes full use of his geekiness. The Pixies shirt was also a nice touch. But Young Adult is mostly entertaining due to the way it feels genuine despite revolving around somebody who is as harsh and selfish as Mavis Gray is.

Young Adult is very dark and downright bleak at times, but that's one of its most distinguishing traits. You'll more than likely find something to relate to in Mavis Gray whether it was you who was the popular kid in school, are just as depressed as she is, think you may be an alcoholic, or you're a writer, Mavis isn't really in the right frame of mind and maybe that's the most relatable part of her character. Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt share a kind of twisted chemistry that involves some fairly witty dialogue at times, but is mostly them dragging the other one through the mud with their words, which strangely only illustrates how miserable and similar their two characters are. Young Adult is a very fascinating dark comedy that is laugh out loud funny at times due to its cruelness, but shines thanks to its authenticity.

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Tags: Young Adult, comedy, drama, movie review, Houston, Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt
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Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) review
12/16/11 at 09:52 AM by EvilButters
The fourth paragraph of this review contains some minor spoilers

Mentioning Tom Cruise or the Mission: Impossible movies during a movie conversation with me would be very similar to picking up dirt or sand and throwing it in my face during a fight; even though it's smart and will result in you getting the upper hand it's still dirty and nobody really likes it. Mission: Impossible II is the only part of the franchise I've seen and despite being directed by John Woo is just all kinds of awful. I tend to not like most of Tom Cruise's work though outside of The Last Samurai and Collateral. Ghost Protocol at least had a few redeeming factors; Simon Pegg is usually pretty awesome and Jeremy Renner has been solid in his last few efforts. Not many people can claim they aren't huge fans of the animated films Brad Bird has directed over the years, so they'd have to be interested in seeing his first live-action film. The final result is a very loud movie that only manages to be lukewarm at best.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol starts off really strong. The skyscraper sequences and extravagant action scenes look really amazing on an IMAX screen and the movie is practically all action the first half; you barely have time to breathe. The opening is also probably one of the best executed of the year, as well. Something as simple as the combination of a very long fuse being used in a unique way, that familiar theme music, and an elaborate title sequence somehow make all the difference in the world. The storyline is fairly intricate in its details, but everything seems to add up in an impressive way and the gadgets Ethan and his team use are spectacular. Those moments when they use this amazing technology pretty much make the movie. But somewhere around the time Jeremy Renner's character gets introduced is where things go downhill.

In an Entertainment Weekly article a few weeks back, they went into pretty good length about Mission: Impossible 4. A fairly big deal was placed on Renner's character. "There's more to his character than he first lets on," is what the main point was. But once Agent Brandt (Renner) goes into detail about his past, it's fairly underwhelming and everything remotely connecting him to Ethan Hunt's team is completely contradicted in the ending. So the Agent Brandt character mostly just feels like filler and a waste of time. While the movie does go to great lengths to inject as much action and excitement as humanly possible into its 133 minute running time, there's this part in the middle that's fairly slow in comparison. There's a segment with a suitcase that goes on far longer than it should, Brandt tells his story, Ethan briefly goes solo, and a Russian agent named Sidirov (Vladimir Mashkov) begins tailing Ethan. Then there are the few attempts at humor that just aren't very funny at all and one-liners that are kind of obnoxious.

One of the things that bothered me the most about Mission: Impossible II was the amount of unrealistic stunts that were pulled off and the way action seemed to defy logic. The problem is that same issue is still there two movies later. After seeing Ghost Protocol, I was almost convinced that Tom Cruise couldn't die. Maybe after seventeen years, Cruise decided to show the world he really is Lestat de Lioncourt. In the span of this film, Ethan Hunt is hit by a car, is inside of a car as it is riddled with ongoing gunfire before flipping over and landing in a lake, dives out of a car, barely dodges a car that flips into the air and lands beside him, and survives a 100-meter vertical drop among other things. Most of these don't even faze him other than being out of breath as he tends to just get back up and chase after his suspect again. I know "Impossible" is in the title, but does it have to be the guideline in every action sequence, as well? Lastly, the "blue/glue red/dead" scene is filmed superbly. If you're afraid of heights, I could see this scene possibly getting to you especially in IMAX. But it just seemed like an excuse for Tom Cruise to play Spider-Man. "Oh, nobody's even going to consider me for a superhero film? Well let's just develop some new technology in the next Mission: Impossible to make me feel better!"

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol showed quite a bit of potential early on, drops the ball somewhere in the middle, tries to regain the momentum it lost during its second act, but is never really able to. There is a ridiculous amount of action at the beginning and ending of the film with a rather large segment sandwiched in between that drags quite a bit. The attempts at humor were mostly very groan-worthy. The formula is basically action, action, action, explosions, long boring streak, stupid jokes, lots more action, and a very expected ending. The gadgets and storyline are a lot cleverer than you may anticipate, but then slowly unravel into pretty much what you expect a Tom Cruise movie to be like. While it is very disappointing on one hand, it at least deserves some credit for breaking the mold of cliché action movies. It's as if Brad Bird started writing a letter to Michael Bay that started off like, "You see, Mike? THIS is how you make an action movie both intelligent and fun for audiences," but then realized halfway through that he was basically following in Bay's footsteps, crumpled the letter up, threw it away, and breathed an exasperated sigh before saying to himself, "Oh, nevermind."

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Tags: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, movie review, Houston, action, Tom Cruise
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Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2011) review
12/01/11 at 10:54 AM by EvilButters
I wasn't even aware there was an original Elite Squad until after I had heard about and had access to Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. The Enemy Within has been receiving rave reviews from pretty much everyone who has seen it. This is the type of movie that sucker punches you in the gut and you never see it coming, but all you can do is smile because that rush is unlike anything else you've ever experienced. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within makes full use of the term, "thriller" before turning it upside down and inside out and doing it all over again in a two hour time period.

Some rather interesting camera work is utilized throughout the film. You take notice of it in the very first scene as the camera catches every crack and break in a pane of glass as a car is riddled with bullets. Slow motion is also used in a refreshing kind of way mostly because slow motion has looked the same way since 2006 when Leonidas kicked the messenger into the pit in 300. While this was probably done in a cheaper way since the budget wasn't nearly as big as it was in a film like 300, the fact that it was done differently is what makes it noteworthy. This feels more raw and less polished. The "size of a tangerine" scene is fairly awesome, as well. The scene is frozen at one point, but you see that scene from two different perspectives.

Taken, Man on Fire, and The Man From Nowhere; these are a few of the films the action scenes in Elite Squad: The Enemy Within may remind you of. Those scenes when everything hits the fan are the main reason to see this film, but everything in between is so tense that you find yourself easily getting absorbed into all of the events that are going on. Corruption is fascinating in a very disturbing kind of way. This is Nascimento's (Wagner Moura) story, so he's pretty much your guide through this journey as he's removed from BOPE (the Special Police Operations Battalion of the Rio de Janeiro Military Police) and struggles to survive in Rio, but the way his story ties in with the stories of Matias (André Ramiro) and Fraga (Irandhir Santos) is rather brilliant as they're both involved with Nascimento in more ways than one. The bloody brutality of the film seems to be lurking around every corner even when things may appear calm.

In The Boondock Saints, Paul Smecker (played by Willem Dafoe) yells, "There was a firefight!" during one the most extravagant shootout of the film. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within almost seems to redefine that term. While there isn't a lot of property damage in the film, people get wasted left and right and blood sprays into the air whenever a gun is drawn. People get the hell beaten out of them before being lit on fire and dead bodies are burned as their teeth are pulled to hide their identities. There's a grittiness to Elite Squad: The Enemy Within that many films have barely scratched the surface of.

Remember when you first saw The Empire Strikes Back where you had this fairly awesome movie on your hands that left you with this rather huge cliffhanger ending? Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is similar in that aspect. Elite Squad is obviously going to be at least a trilogy, but it'll be one of those things that will be less of an issue when you don't have a long wait between films. In the meantime though, it feels a little cheap.

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is a lot like City of God if it was on steroids; there's more action, more intensity, and bigger payoffs. Its biggest flaw is that it doesn't end and is obviously just building toward the next sequel. With an excellent cast and eye-catching cinematography, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is a compelling look at the underbelly of society that's a must-see.

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Tags: Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, movie review, crime, drama, thriller, sequel
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My Week with Marilyn (2011) review
11/25/11 at 01:18 AM by EvilButters
As of this writing, I have never seen a film featuring Marilyn Monroe and if this film has any sort of credibility to it than that isn't something that's going to be changing any time soon. My Week with Marilyn is the type of film that generally doesn't really seem all that titillating to me, but considering the amount of building Oscar buzz around Michelle Williams’s performance and Williams’s recent appearance promoting the film on "The Today Show" swerved my decision on the matter and at least piqued my interest. While the film was a bit better than expectations predicted it would be, My Week with Marilyn still doesn't seem very memorable and fails to stand out in comparison to some of the other incredible films that have been released this year.

The music will entrance you right from the start. Michelle Williams seems the most comfortable in Monroe's shoes while she's singing and it just shows. The song and dance numbers feel like they're straight out of the 50s, which is surely a high compliment. The set pieces, cars, and costumes all capture that time period incredibly well, too. The way Williams puts her own spin on such a well-known actress is highly respectable. Eddie Redmayne is completely enamored with not only the film business but Marilyn as well as Colin Clark, Kenneth Branagh spits out more than a few hilarious one-liners as Sir Laurence Olivier, Judi Dench is so calm, kind-hearted, and respectable that you can't help but love her as Dame Sybil Thorndike, and Emma Watson (in her first non-Harry Potter role) is kind of a voice of reason for Colin as Lucy. I was one of the people who didn't think The Tree of Life was all it was cracked up to be, but the film certainly looked spectacular. Certain scenes in My Week with Marilyn were reminiscent to The Tree of Life in how they were shot; in beauty and technique.

I've never been a big fan of blondes and this film doesn't really help the matter. Marilyn was absolutely perfect on-screen, but what was left on the cutting room floor and what took part behind the scenes illustrated the fact that she was a very flawed individual. She was a complete airhead, was full of self-doubt, couldn't stay off pills just to accomplish any sort of daily function, and was basically a complete train wreck. Everyone catering to her and worshipping the ground she walked on just seemed like a joke because of it and mostly came off as annoying, whether it was true or not. A woman sitting next to me at the theater mentioned how she didn't really feel like Michelle Williams portrayed Marilyn Monroe properly; she didn't see Monroe on the screen she just saw Williams. Maybe that's why it felt like something was missing from the film like that extra spark that helps flip that switch inside you to let you know you really love something. While the film was funny at times, charming at others, and downright depressing in between, it never really felt like it hit it out of the park. It was more like a good effort with disappointing results.

My Week with Marilyn is an astounding representation of the late 1950s, is shot beautifully, and features a talented cast that delivers some exceptional performances. This is arguably the best performance of Michelle Williams’s career. The drama eventually gets emotionally powerful, but seems very flirtatious when it comes to the storyline. You’re basically teased the entire film concerning Marilyn's true intentions, mental state, and well-being. The conclusion felt like more of a reach around that stopped before you had the chance to climax and didn't feel fully gratifying. Aside from Williams’s performance, the incredibly lush jazz soundtrack took hold of your senses in ways the movie only dreamt of doing.

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Tags: My Week with Marilyn, movie review, drama, Michelle Williams, Emma Watson
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Blu-ray review: Rushmore (1999)
11/21/11 at 01:23 PM by EvilButters
Rushmore is a fantastic film for many reasons. As someone who lives in Houston, it's still amazing to think that a big portion of Rushmore was shot here. This little independent gem was more than likely your introduction to both director and Houston native Wes Anderson and actor Jason Schwartzman and what an introduction it would turn out to be. Anderson would go on to continue giving us quirky yet extremely heartwarming films while Schwartzman evolved into a very talented actor and worked with Anderson on several other occasions. Once you hear Bill Murray say, "Yeah, I was in the @#$%," you know you're in for something special. Rushmore is just what every comedy, independent or otherwise, should be.

The love triangle between Max Fischer (Schwartzman), Herman Blume (Murray), and Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) is one of the things that makes Rushmore so good. Each character brings out the best in the others while their flaws only seem to strengthen the performances of those around them. Max is devoted to so many activities and clubs around Rushmore Academy that he finds himself on the verge of expulsion from failing grades, Ms. Cross is still grieving her husband who only passed a year ago, and Mr. Blume is one of the richest guys around, finds himself in a failing marriage, doesn't know how to act around people, and has a drinking problem. The rivalry that develops between Max and Herman is just extraordinary. Nearly any scene featuring Bill Murray is incredible anyway, especially the hospital scene where he shows up with flowers and rides with Max in the elevator. The restaurant scene where Max is drinking and confesses his love to Ms. Cross is really exceptional, as well. Mostly because all three of the of the main cast have the chance to shine.

There's this sense of quirkiness to a Wes Anderson film that you can't find anywhere else and that's its charm. Anderson also has a knack for picking some pretty memorable soundtracks and knows how to make a scene look better than it should, but his writing is what stands out the most. Flawed people and unusual dialogue and situations; that's a Wes Anderson film at its core. Maybe that's why his movies are so easy to relate to since nobody is perfect and everyone finds themselves slipping up from time to time.

There's just something about Rushmore that speaks to you whether you relate to one of the characters, love Bill Murray, or have a thing for independent film. It's awkward and touching when things get heavy and hilarious and lighthearted when things are more laid back. It's well-written, you actually care about these eccentric characters, and the performances are top notch all around. Rushmore is one of those films you just have to see; you HAVE to. It's the type of film that latches onto you and never lets go while you're more than willing to let it stay as long as it's willing to stick around.

Rushmore isn't loaded with special features, but there is some really great stuff in what is included. The Making of featurette and MTV Movie Awards Shorts are the must see features. The Making of "Rushmore" is the lengthiest (around seventeen minutes) and is mostly just a brief behind the scenes documentary shot by Eric Chase Anderson, Wes Anderson's brother that includes interviews and a rundown of the cast. The EPK (Electronic Press Kit) was shot for something like five months, when most films shoot them in a matter of days. When you consider that bit of information, it's kind of surprising that the footage they shot wasn't used to make a full-length documentary. The MTV Movie Awards Shorts are brief (three segments, each about a minute long, and a thirty second introduction), but are just fantastic. The shorts are theatrical adaptations of films from 1999 including The Truman Show, Armageddon, and Out of Sight. If you liked Max's plays in the film, you'll enjoy these.

Other special features include cast auditions, a film to storyboard comparison, storyboards, an episode of The Charlie Rose Show Featuring Wes Anderson and Bill Murray, the theatrical trailer, an image gallery, and audio commentary by Anderson, co-writer Owen Wilson, and actor Jason Schwartzman (which was recorded in 1999). There's this pretty incredible collectible poster included inside the case and an essay by film critic Dave Kehr included in the liner notes, as well.

Criterion Collection, as you've come to expect by now, has made Rushmore look and sound better than it ever has before. The Blu-ray is a digital transfer of the director's cut, which was supervised by director Wes Anderson with a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The film is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 5.1 surround sound and is approximately 93 minutes long. The Rushmore Criterion Collection Blu-ray will be released in stores and in most online retail outlets on Tuesday, November 22nd.

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Tags: Rushmore, Blu-ray, movie review, comedy, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wes Anderson
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The Artist (2011) review
11/14/11 at 10:09 PM by EvilButters
The Artist had quite the reputation going for it before it debuted at the Cinema Arts Festival in Houston, Texas. Early reviews were already very positive and many Houston critics were talking about how much they were anticipating getting the chance to see it. I purposely went in blind and only found out just moments before I entered the theater that it was a silent film and was not only shot in but would be presented in the now practically ancient 1.33:1 aspect ratio. A black and white silent feature film made in modern times; what's not to like about that? Truth be told, nothing can really prepare you for how extraordinary The Artist really is.

George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the king of silent movies in Hollywood in 1927. Audiences just adore everything George is a part of. Along comes Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) who you just know is going to be a huge star some day. George and Peppy work together on one film as George not only takes her under his wing, but an undeniable spark develops between the two. Over the course of the next few years, silent movies fade into obscurity as talking pictures or "talkies" explode onto the scene. George finds himself struggling for not only work, but a purpose to live as Peppy becomes the next big thing overnight.

The Artist is funny and charming right out the gate. Jean Dujardin really plays to the crowd and appears to love nothing more than catering to the people who come to see his films. George's dog Jack might be the biggest form of comic relief in the film. The way he plays dead and covers his head with his paws are always both presented in a way that is fresh and laugh out loud funny each and every time they're utilized. Once Bérénice Bejo enters the picture, the film begins to evolve into a type of romance. It's odd though because to my recollection George and Peppy never kiss. Peppy seems to steal the spotlight in the same way George does as soon as you see her dance for the first time. The laughs are there, the charms are there, The Artist has a firm grip on your heart and your attention and never really lets go.

The film eventually begins to get a bit darker though as silent movies wither away and talking pictures take their spot. George's downward spiral is really fantastic to watch. It's mostly due to not only Dujardin's superb performance, but also the way many of these scenes are filmed. There's a scene where George is sitting down at a mirror table drinking whiskey. You see nothing but George, his reflection, and the alcohol. He pours the booze on the tabletop as the look of disgust becomes more chiseled on his brow. That scene is so beyond amazing. The brilliant music used in the film also just captures the time period perfectly. There's also this dream that George has right before he's let go from his contract where he can't speak, but everything around him has sound. That sequence is really spectacular, as well.

The Artist can get a little dark at times, but for the most part is extremely lighthearted and feel-good at its core. Never have I wanted a movie to end on a happy note so badly in my life. Through the highs and the lows of George Valentin and the depressing outcome of his career along with the heartwarming sensation you get from nearly everything in between, the entire experience just feels so real; so genuine. The Artist is just pure perfection, a masterpiece, and an instant classic.

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Tags: The Artist, movie review, comedy, romance, drama, Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo
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Here (2011) review
11/14/11 at 08:19 PM by EvilButters
What initially attracted me to Here was Ben Foster being involved. I remember watching "Flash Forward" when I was in seventh grade and even though I can't remember much about the series, it must've made a long-lasting impression on me because I've followed Foster's acting career fairly closely ever since. But Here was a bit of a gamble since I wasn't familiar with anyone else in the cast (even though Lubna Azabal was also in Coriolanus, which I saw earlier the same evening) and Braden King was a director I was completely unfamiliar with. In the end, Here isn't exactly a film that demands to be seen but is still able to pique your interest at times if you find yourself watching it.

Will Shepard (Foster) is a cartographer who currently finds himself in Armenia. He drives all over the country for his work and eventually crosses paths with a photographer named Gadarine (Azabal). They feel connected to one another right from the start and eventually start travelling together. A relationship of sorts develops and while the two of them thoroughly enjoy the company of one another life steps in to take them in opposite directions. Both Will and Gadarine find themselves at a crossroads and must decide where to go from Here.

Here is full of some absolutely breathtaking scenery. It was actually shot on location in Armenia and the country is almost overly-beautiful. Everything is so lush and green. It's almost overwhelming. You'll also notice the film's prominent use of long shots. Most of them take place in the middle of nowhere, are roaming shots, and usually slowly rotate in a nearly 360 degree angle. It gives you this sense of what's going on in this world around the actors rather than what's just transpiring during their story.

The most intriguing aspect of Here is that every so often it takes a time out from telling Will and Gabadine's story while a narrator steps in (Peter Coyote) and talks over some rather abstract visuals that include shots of nature and city life. The narrated scenes are written really well and it just took me back to the more abstract animated shorts that Chuck Jones did (Now Hear This, The Dot and the Line) back in the sixties. The Tree of Life almost comes to mind, but Here doesn't have half a dozen storylines competing for your attention and doesn't feel nearly as pretentious as The Tree of Life did. Into the Wild is probably the most obvious comparison, but I was left thinking of a Joseph Gordon-Levitt film not many people saw called Uncertainty. The films aren't even all that similar, but both films take something like a character study and make it more important than the actual storyline.

Here is a pretty unique experience. It's not the typical type of film that acts like it demands your attention, but is a journey you won't regret taking when it's over. Conceptual ideas are interjected amongst a blossoming and intimate love story. Everything the story stands for rides on the last few precious moments of the film, which takes something so simple and gives this incredible meaning to it. Here comes off as more of a traveling journal or moving photo album rather than the typical story driven cinematic fare.

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Tags: Here, movie review, adventure, drama, romance, Ben Foster
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