Nov 21, 2014

Review: Nebraska (2013)

Alexander Payne has got to be one of the most consistent directors in the business. Excluding the few things he's directed and written before 1999, he's directed some really good films that all deserve recognition. I've noticed that a lot of them have to do with traveling and road trips and I suppose that's his way of having his characters embark on personal journeys of self-exploration. I can count About Schmidt, Sideways and Nebraska as part of this pattern. It's important to note that Payne didn't actually write Nebraska and he apparently didn't want direct the film right after Sideways because of that similarity.

With Nebraska, Alexander Payne has made the choice to film everything in black and white, despite studio opposition. B&W always seems to be a controversial thing for people these days and it has no business being. Movies filmed in black and white always seem to be automatically associated with boring which is dead wrong. That's how you miss out on gems like Nebraska. From a business standpoint, the studio probably wasn't wrong though. I bet that the decision to do black and white is probably why Nebraska only made a little over $17 million worldwide.

Nov 20, 2014

Review: The World is Not Enough (1999)

Now into the third Pierce Brosnan James Bond film out of four, this is where things really start to get problematic for this era. Interestingly enough, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were the writers for The World is Not Enough and they remained so all the way until Skyfall. Fortunes really can change can't they? To think that they're responsible for some of the biggest successes and duds of 007 is pretty impressive. It's important to remember that box office success has never been a problem for them though.

The World is Not Enough is probably most famous for the failed attempt at having Denise Richards as a Bond girl. She's definitely pretty bad and ill suited for her role but she's not the worst Bond girl there's ever been either. I still give that honour to Halle Berry who's so lifeless you might think she's in a zombie movie. We'll save that for another time though once I actually review Die Another Day.

Nov 18, 2014

Review: Dirty Dancing 3: Capoeira Nights (2010)

I'm going to make a pretty big confession here: I love Dirty Dancing. That's with zero sarcasm. It's for sure one of my guiltiest pleasures out of the movies that I like and I can't help do anything about it. I love Patrick Swayze, I love Jennifer Grey, I love the song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" and I love every single stinking montage. Don't even talk to me about the climax because I just love it too much.

Now for the 2004 prequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, I prefer to just ignore it. It can be summed up as a transplantation of Dirty Dancing's story into the past with the Cuban Revolution in the backdrop. It's nothing special and it didn't need to be made at all. Six years later in 2010, Website Funny or Die saw the need to make a comedy short on Dirty Dancing. I can't kill the completionist inside of me so I just had to see it.

Nov 17, 2014

Review: Pleasantville (1998)

Gary Ross is the kind of guy who regularly alternates between director, writer and producer roles. Sometimes he does all three, sometimes he only does one. Not all his movies are that great but he's got enough to his name that makes him a guy to look out for. Out of all the movies he's worked on and that I've seen, I'd say Dave is my favourite in which he was the writer.

Pleasantville is one two movies that Gary Ross acted as director, writer and producer, the other being Seabiscuit. Both movies star Tobey Maguire so he must have a thing for him. Nothing wrong with that because I like him myself too. He's got this kind of innocence and vulnerability about him that I like.

Nov 16, 2014

Review: 9 (2005)

I saw 9, the feature length animated film that is, quite a few years ago. Without a doubt, its biggest strength is its rich, visual details and animation. In that sense it's a good film with a really well constructed and unique world. It's also quite gloomy to say the least.

What I missed those years ago is that 9 is based off of a short film that was created by the director of 9, Shane Acker. Apparently he made this film as his UCLA animation thesis project. Acker made the most of his four and a half years of work by doing the film festival rounds. His hard work didn't go unnoticed because he managed to get Tim Burton's attention as well as a nomination for best animated short film at the Academy Awards.

Nov 15, 2014

Review: My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

My girlfriend really likes Julia Roberts, so here I am once again with another movie of hers that definitely falls in the "chick flick" category. Wish there was a better term than that because I hate using it. Not that I give my girlfriend any grief though, we're totally even when it comes to what movies we choose so there's no hard feelings. Plus I watch anything anyway and My Best Friend's Wedding is meant to be one of Julia's top movies, so I was curious to see it.

Truth be told, I'm not really sure where I stand in terms of my like for Julia Roberts. Without a doubt Erin Brockovich is my favourite performance of hers that I've seen, bar none. But then she has roles in movies like Runaway Bride and Valentine's Day that I don't find very good. I think my problem is that I never really like her in romantic comedy roles. Notting Hill is the only rom-com I've seen her in that I actually liked. One thing you can't deny though, she's always been a big box office draw. That time is probably coming to an end though.

Nov 14, 2014

Review: The Bling Ring (2011)

Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring was a pretty good movie but lacked depth in actually exploring its characters. It made for a pretty good satire of celebrity worshiping culture though. One thing I can say is that it was a pretty film that had the benefit of being able to actually shoot in Paris Hilton's real house. It also had some pretty tense moments. 

Anyway, when I found out that there was a Lifetime TV movie version of the Bling Ring that came out before Coppola's effort, I just had to see it. It's pretty much just a case of wanting to be able to say that I've seen it though, as a completionist. I definitely wasn't watching it and expecting it to be better than the 2013 version. Good TV movies do exist, but they're pretty rare.

Nov 13, 2014

Review: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

I didn't think that Bridget Jones's Diary was the greatest romantic comedy ever made or anything like that. Despite some predictability, it's quite funny, it's cunningly biting and contains a great Renée Zellweger performance. It's no small feat to bring such a popular book character to life. No doubt about it though, Renée gets the job done despite the early criticisms to her casting announcement.

The other way in which BJD was a huge success was at the box office. We're talking almost $300 million worldwide off of a $25 million budget. That's impressive stuff so no wonder a sequel makes sense. Author Helen Fielding had written a sequel to her original book anyway so the material was there. However I've read though that there are some pretty big differences between this adaptation and Fielding's novel which isn't usually a very good sign.

Nov 12, 2014

Review: The Lucky One (2012)

You know, I don't think Zac Efron is that bad a guy. Most of his success came from the High School Musical series, but so what? He was just a heartthrob that Disney was able to milk for a while. Who wouldn't want to be paid to play that role for a while? It's true that he's maybe not much of an actor, but he just seems like an alright guy. I think that's because he's had personal problems recently that he's tried to fix and I admire that. Hope everything works out for him.

Anyway, Zac stars in what is the seventh Nicholas Sparks adaptation with Taylor Schilling. She doesn't have much to her name but has a few roles between TV and movies since 2007. She's now mostly famous for Orange Is the New Black. With Scott Hicks directing, will The Lucky One offer anything new as far as Nicholas Sparks romances go? Judging a book by it's cover is usually wrong but I'm sure you can already guess the answer.

Nov 11, 2014

Review: Nazis at the Center of the Earth (2012)

Although you might not think so at first, I think that The Asylum has made a very educated decision with pretty much everything about Nazis at the Center of the Earth. The title is a clear indicator to anyone that it's not a movie to be taken seriously. It's not a movie that's out trying to trick you as being the recent blockbuster you'd heard about either and best of all it's got Nazis in it. Is there a more classic group of bad guys more adored than Nazis? I doubt it.

It's not exactly clear but I'd surmise that NatCotE is a combo of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Iron Sky. Not a bad idea really because both movies are pretty much guaranteed to do well in their respective fields. You might be wondering which actor or actress The Asylum managed to cast, probably under duress for this film. That would be Jake Busey this time, famous for, well being the son of Gary Busey.