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Should have been a more serious adaptation

Posted : 7 years ago on 4 July 2011 05:55 (A review of The Green Hornet)

After the sudden death of newspaper editor and owner James Reid, his only son Britt is thrown into the cooperate world without any clue of how to run a business. When Britt meets Kato, a disgruntled and mysterious employee of his father they form an odd friendship which results in Britt becoming a masked vigilante in the city of L.A known simply as the Green Hornet. With Britt now running around the city causing havoc for gangs and drug dealers, he draws the attention of a ruthless drug dealer named Chudnofsky

The Green Hornet is a film written by comedian Seth Rogen, and right off the bat that is the biggest downfall the film has. Rogen is very talented comedian, but this film should have never been a comedy. This film could have easily been better had it taken itself seriously at times. Rogen could have thrown in some very good themes had it been a drama. There were some serious scenes, but most of them either awkward because they did not fit with the overall mood or they eventually turned into a joke. Had Rogen taken the time to sit down not as a comedian but as a writer, he may have been able to produce a good script, because the final product which he produced seemed like it was written by a 10 year old.

Now with that being said Rogen does not even do a good job of acting out his own written material. We have seen this type of performances from Rogen many times, but this time it was just too tedious and overwhelming. The material which he performed for his character was terrible to begin with, so no matter how Rogen tried to present it for acting purposes it would have been dull and boring. Which brings up the rest of the actors, Jay Chou was expressionless as Kato and Cameron Diaz did not fit the role of Lenore, she was too upbeat and cheery the entire time for me to buy into it. There was one lone bright spot for the acting and pretty much the entire film and that was Christoph Waltz as Chudnofsky. He played the villain the way he should have been played, cold and ruthless. Waltz was brilliant; his character was insane right from the badass opening scene (featuring a very clever and downright awesome cameo from James Franco) up until the final battle scene between The Green Hornet and himself.

The Green Hornet is far from an enjoyable flick, it was boring and drawn out. Rogen was certainly not the person who should have been in control of this adaptation. It should have been handled by someone who was willing to add more seriousness and take out many of the unnecessary stupid lines. For the first time really in his career thus far it seems Rogens usual over the top delivery and his crude humour did not serve him well. People have caught on to this being a regular muse for Rogen, and would like to see him try and take things seriously for once. It was obvious that Rogen was trying to bring a new spin to the superhero genre, which features many dramatic adaptations of famous heroes, but it sticking with the drama proves to be a more efficient and audience friendly way of making a superhero/vigilante flick.

As far as films from 2011 go or even to clarify that even further, as far as superhero films from 2011 go there will be much better. In fact Green Hornet may be at the bottom of the all time list of Superhero films to grace the big screen. This is certainly far from one of the best films of 2011. Even if you are a huge fan of Rogen this film simply does not work. Watch it for a few laughs maybe and too see a badass Christoph Waltz, but other than that, do not expect to be wowed by this film.

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The Bang Bang Club

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 16 June 2011 04:50 (A review of The Bang Bang Club (2010))

Kevin Carter: They're right. All those people who say it's our job to just sit and watch people die. They're right.

Four war photographers capture the uprising in the final days of the Apartheid in South Africa. For photographers Greg Marinovich, Kevin Carter, Ken Oosterbroek and Joao Silva it was about getting deep within the action and getting a photograph that captured the inner struggle and the ruthlessness of the rebellion. The story of The Bang Bang Club is not just about them going out to find these photos, but it is also about the emotional toll
their jobs took on them as human beings.

Director Steven Silver did such a masterful job of bringing these four people to life. For an hour and 40 minutes my eyes were glued to the screen, watching them get deep within the action, watching them as they narrowly escaped death numerous times and still had the will to carry on. They were fearless it seemed, and for the first bit of the film their uncanny ability to get the shot and move on was captured brilliantly. As the film got deeper and deeper it become evident that even those who have the strongest of wills can be broken, and this is where The Bang Bang Club really became such an emotional film to watch.

The Bang Bang Club is an emotional rollercoaster to say the least; these four men had you on the edge of your seat as you watched them tear through battlefields and willingly took the photos and got recognized for doing so. At times The Bang Bang Club plays at your emotions but they also show you that hard work in the end does pay off. The Bang Bang Club works because it captures their highlights and lowlights, without skipping a beat as a film.

Wonderfully written, crafted and shot the Bang Bang Club is a film any person associated with the media should take a look at. There are only a few films out there that master the art of storytelling more then the Bang Bang Club. Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch are perfect in their roles. Both bring realism and honesty to their characters, making them real people with real feelings. In a film like this it is easy to forget yourself and make the main characters seem indestructible, but never did Phillippe or Kitsch make their characters seem that way.

It was Kitsch that sold the movie for me. Kevin Carter was a phenomenal photographer who slowly lost himself to drugs. Kitsch played him with a soft subtlety that never slowed down all the other elements. When Kevin Carter delivered a powerful line as it seemed he was the one that did through out the film, it always seemed like there was much more to Kevin Carter on the inside that he was afraid to let be seen. Kitsch has proven that he is a talented actor on several occasions in the past, but when playing Kevin Carter you see a new side to Taylor Kitsch as an actor. You get the sense with The Bang Bang Club that there is not a character Taylor Kitsch cannot play because he shows that he is willing to bring out every emotion he has an actor and explore the vulnerability of his character, and go deep within in himself to show how the character his feeling.

The Bang Bang Club is certainly one of the better all around pictures to be released in a long time. Usually most movies lack either story or emotion or the actors cannot capture their emotions properly. The Bang Bang Club goes above and beyond what you expect from a modern day movie of its nature and it proves to be one of the better films one can watch. I recommend it to anyone who likes journalism, war films or movies to do with conflicts in Africa. It will not disappoint.

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Enjoyable and Engaging Prequel

Posted : 7 years, 1 month ago on 13 June 2011 04:39 (A review of X-Men: First Class)

When Charles Xaiver meets a shapes shifting girl named Raven Darkholme in his kitchen at age 12 they realize that genetic mutation may be happening and the world should embrace it. At the same time Erik Lensherr is being ruthlessly tortured in a Nazi concentration camp. As they grow older Charles goes off to explore the idea of genetic mutations while Erik vows to exact revenge on the man who killed his mother. The year is now 1962, and the Russians and the Americans are on the brink of war, and Sebastian Shaw captures this as an opportunity to try and kill the human race and let the world be run by those who are deemed different by humanity. Xavier with the help of Lensherr and the CIA put together a team of “Mutants” to help stop the threat of war.

The X-Men universe has always been such a diversified world, with many different mutants coming from many different backgrounds all of whom have their own exceptional gift. When the original X-Men was released back in 2000 we were treated to a blockbuster delight of the original players we had grown up with including Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm. A long with them you had the Brotherhood consisting of Magneto, Toad, Sabretooth and Mystique. When they had a string of mildly successful sequels and a Wolverine spinoff, it was essentially a matter of time before they made another. When the concept of X-Men first class was released, going back to pre first film dates it was a bit of an iffy idea because everyone believed it would be a direct lead in to a series that grew increasingly worse as it went.

However, the final product that is X-Men:First Class has the potential to become either a direct lead in or another series all together, and I would much prefer it to become its own series. The main reason it would work much better as a new series is because it would be cool to the same mutants re-used while adding more as they go. Instead if they lead into the old series they have major plot holes to overcome, like the brotherhood and the first class already have been formed with different members. What X-Men first class does rather well, which the previous films failed to do was establish the connection between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr before the events of the first film.

MacAvoy and Fassbender had chemistry that the multi talented Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen never seemed to have. They acted like brothers, a bond that was unique and fragile but a bond none the less. Their performances capture much more emotion then those of Stewart and McKellen which is a tough thing to do. Where McKellen and Stewart drew the crowd and gave good performances, X-Men first class drew the crowd because it was an honest and true adaptation featuring many talented young stars. Nicholas Hoult provided a well rounded depiction of Hank McCoy/Beast, a very true and real transformation took place through out the film and it worked rather well. Jennifer Lawrence replaced the beautiful Rebbeca Romijn-Stamos as Mystique and proved that Mystique is a beautiful character in her natural and human forms. Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw was such a fun character to watch take form on the screen. Bacon fit in with such and ease that his villainous Shaw was grand and portrayed the way villains should be. January Jones was exquisite as Emma Frost, who had the least affect on the films overall plot, but to see her in diamond form was just another piece of eye candy in a solid flick.

Perhaps the one thing that really brought the film down was the slightly cheesy cameo from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, rather unnecessary and did not make any slight difference to the plotline. In fact it brought back memories of the horrid conclusion to the original trilogy and the spinoff that destroyed many of the cool characters found in the comic books. With this film, Marvel had a chance to begin what could be a lengthy but well developed X-Men series, and cameos likes the one here bring down hope slightly down that they can maintain quality films without just cashing in for money.

Second thing that really got me down was the ending; it brought us back to what we had already established about the X-Men universe. Xavier was going to teach, and Magneto was going to call himself Magneto, we really did not need cheesy lines to tell us this was going to happen. As X-Men fans, it was safe to assume this was going to naturally happen. With the old X-Men films as mentioned, there was the standard core of the well known X-Men.With this series quality and well developed characters may be the driving factor instead of what is the obvious choice. It would be cooler to see Mutants we haven’t seen before then to see a terrible rehashing of the same old mutants from the other movies.

Marvel has a tendency to follow up with terrible sequels, Including Iron Man 2 and Fantastic 4: Rise of Silver Surfer. Heres to hoping that we are about to see a brand new take on the X-Men universe as well as some of the lesser known characters and storylines from such a diverse world. X-Men: First Class proves that telling the story from beginning to end is the only way to tell a story. Capture everything that happens a long the way and it will be one magnificent story.

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Posted : 7 years, 2 months ago on 15 May 2011 07:30 (A review of Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

When musician Peter Bretter breaks up with his long time actress girlfriend Sarah Marshall he decides to take a rewarding trip to Hawaii to let loose and start over. When Peter learns that Sarah and her new boyfriend Aldous Snow are staying in Hawaii (at the same resort he is) things begin to get awkward for Peter and Sarah, but with the help of Rachel the hotel receptionist and different island locals Peter may be able to get over his break up with Sarah before the end of the trip.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall has the Apatow Productions tag on it, and it looks and feels very similar to a lot of other Judd Apatow produced films. The storyline is a well established; it is a break centered story about two characters that were no longer meant to be together. Forgetting Sarah Marshall as a film does a good job of telling its stories, with a few great laughable scenes as well as some very emotional moments between Peter and Sarah

Written by How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a realistic spin on the romantic comedy genre. In most romantic comedies the couple is breaking up but it is strictly a result of one of the parties involved. With this film it is much more than that, we see during one of the many tense scenes between Peter and Sarah that they both had faults and there was stuff going on in their relationship that they both were unhappy with. It made the film feel that much more real and engaging simply because you realize that despite the fact you want to see Peter rebound and figure his life out, he is not perfect and could have tried a little harder at times.

Jason Segel who both wrote and starred in the film, proves that he is more than just a great comedic actor, he is also an off the wall comedic writer. He proves that you can get rid of some of the old adages of a certain genre while keeping the core foundations of a good film to fit into said genre. Segel makes the dramatics of the break up in what is classified still as a romantic comedy.

Segel also proves to have great chemistry with his cast mates, most notably, Mila Kunis. At times it may be a stretch to believe a romance can fully blossom over a week or so, but in this case it seemed legit. At first it was different between the two, she was the girl who worked at the hotel and did not want to see him sad or weeping anymore and so she hung out with him offered him companionship. The relationship between Peter and Rachel on screen is one that makes sense, despite the fact you know that the relationship may end up going a little faster than most. It is easy to believe in Jason Segel and Mila Kunis falling for each other on screen because it comes off as natural and charismatic between the two of them. None of their scenes seem forced or unbelievable, so kudos to both of them to making what has become a cliché of the rom com genre not so tedious and apocryphal.

Like most other comedies, Forgetting Sarah Marshall has that set of supporting characters that are far more memorable than any of the leads. Russell Brand is whacky and off the wall; his character of Aldous Snow is definitely memorable. Brand plays the self indulgent rock star perfectly; Snow is a man who tries to give people life advice when he really does not have a handle on his own life. Brand is good in the role, because he has that rock star image himself. Paul Rudd does a good job as Chuck the surfer dude, he has a very small part, but there are a few scenes involving him that are funny. However it was Jonah Hill as the awkward restaurant waiter that got a few good laughs. His awkward attempts to be recognized by some one of Aldous Snow’s stature was interesting and funny.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall does have its flaws, but for the most part it does a good job of remaining another solid addition to Judd Apatow’s long list of raunchy comedies in the past few years. Forgetting Sarah Marshall also proves for the Apatow production company that is always good to add fresh faces to your long list of possible casts, which they did in this film when Russell Brand and Mila Kunis were cast. Forgetting Sarah Marshall also proves that comedy does not have to be about the name behind the film, it does help to be produced by Apatow, but getting people there is only half of what needs to be done, you must provide people with entertaining comedy and that is what Forgetting Sarah Marshall does.

A very well written comedy, Segel proves he will be a major comedic factor if he continues to write films similar in structure to this one. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is one of the better films released by the Apatow crew

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Your Highness

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 23 April 2011 03:09 (A review of Your Highness)

After prince Fabious returns home from a quest he announces to the kingdom that he has found a love along the way and plans on marrying her the next day. He asks his brother Thadeous to be the best man. Thadeus runs off before the wedding, which does not go as planned. Fabious’s love Belladonna is kidnapped by the evil wizard Leezar and taken to his lair, where he plans to mate with here when the two moons unite. Fabious and Thadeous must go questing in order to bring Belladonna home.

Your Highness is an action adventure comedy penned by Danny McBride and Ben Best and offers an interesting look on the epic genre. They down play the seriousness and bring forth the sexual tension jokes, a lot of over the top sexually bases jokes are what Your Highness is all about. The thing that doesn’t work is that most of the great jokes are featured in the trailer so they are spoiled kind of when you see the film because they don’t elaborate any further. McBride who also stars as Prince Thadeous could have probably worked on a better script, or at least had more humour in the film than what was shown in the trailers.

There was a lot going for Your Highness based on the trailers. You have the reteaming of James Franco and Danny McBride who were both downright phenomenal in Pineapple Express. They had good chemistry again playing brothers, but it did not seem to flow as naturally as Pineapple Express did. Portman plays the most serious of characters and gives off the best performance in the film. She is well portrayed, it does not at all seem forced and Portman is right for the part. Portman seemed to fit the role of the revenge filled feisty female warrior. She could easily portray such a character in a much more dramatic setting and it may work better.

The gags and sexual humour in Your Highness grow to be rather tedious as the film drags on. There are only so many times Leezar can joke about taking Belladonna’s virginity and impregnating her with his seed. It just grows rather boring to hear the jokes with different wording every time. Belladonna is however the innocent girl who has been a hostage her whole life only to find Fabious and fall in love with him. Perhaps a different gag about her life and her innocence could have worked, but they way it was did not work all too well. Belladonna is a good character that adds to the story, but not to the comedic portion of the story. The naturally beautiful and multitalented Zooey Deschanel does a good job in the role that gets the smallest amount of screen time of all the characters. There is a funny scene early on, where Belladonna sings and it sounds beautiful and ravishing and then Fabious joins in and it is very much the opposite. This was a good joke because it played on Deschanels experience as a singer and Franco’s lack of experience singing.

As much as Your Highness tried openly to be an absurdly funny comedy, the dramatic parts and the love story seemed to flow naturally, where the humour seemed choppy and forced. It was clever to have the bumbling buffoon of a character Thadeous come into his own, that worked from a comedic stand point as well as dramatic stand point. The same old dick jokes run over and over in films have become the standard for Hollywood comedies. It is much harder to go out and write an honest comedy without any blatant jokes about dicks or sex and have it just be situational humour. There is a lot of humour and jokes to be made at the expense of the medieval quest type films, which is why it makes it that much more awkward that the only thing McBride and Best went for was the awkward sexual joke.

The natural and most rewarding jokes were the ones that were not necessarily spelled out for the audience. Probably the best joke in this film is when Fabious and Thadeous visit the wise Wizard at his home. It is so funny because you only catch a glimpse in the trailer and there is so much more to this scene that makes it awkwardly funny. I won’t spoil it, but if you get the chance, watch that scene, it will make you laugh, and the rest of the movie may not, but hopefully if any scenes will it would be this one.

It is not fair to say Your Highness is a terrible flick, the jokes are funny, and it is just extremely unfortunate for movie goers that all the jokes are in the trailer. The acting is good for a comedy, Franco is a good lead, McBride is awkwardly funny and Portman and Deschanel do a good job as the main female characters. There is a lot worth liking about Your Highness but it is the stuff that did not go right that you end up thinking about after you see it. I would say to fans of Franco and McBride that Your Highness may be worth checking out, because everyone will see it differently.

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Paul Review

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 21 April 2011 01:38 (A review of Paul)

Two British nerds decide that after going to ComicCon in San Diego they are going to go touring America’s UFO hotspots. As they drive down the open road in Nevada they are passed by a car and witness a high speed wreck. When they inspect the wreck the run into Paul an alien who has escaped the government and wants to find his way home, the two nerds decide to help him on his journey to get back to his people.

Paul is a hipster, pot smoking, and beer drinking alien voiced by the incomparable Seth Rogen. How is this not a recipe for instant success? You have perhaps the most unique comedic actor of this generation playing one of the most unique characters in a long time. It was an instant success; the humour in Paul is off the charts. This movie is beyond anything you could have imagined. Paul is one awesome character, and the references to other pop culture are all over the place (just need to make sure you catch them, because at times they are not blatantly obvious).

Initially as expected the two nerds played brilliantly by the comedic duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are sceptical of Paul, as anyone would be if they just stumbled upon a UFO who is claiming he has been around since the late 40’s. Pegg and Frost are good because it is any fan boys dream to run into an alien and help on a journey, and they made it seem real. The dynamic between Pegg, Frost and Rogen is why comedy can be so impressive at times. They never skipped a beat, they all seemed to be perfectly in synch with one another and it worked. Paul transformed from a nice little flick about an alien to one of the best comedies Rogen has ever done, right up there with Superbad and Pineapple Express.

It was a complete cast however; they had Jason Bateman, Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio as FBI agents trying to stop Paul from making his way back home. This film had Kristen Wigg playing a religious girl seeing the world for the first time and enjoying herself. John Carroll Lynch played her crazy father. Other cast members included Jane Lynch, Jeffrey Tambor and a few other notable actors that you must see the film in order to fully enjoy.

For a film with such a simple plot Paul does a fantastic job of leaving you fulfilled and happy. The story is fun, the characters are fun, and the jokes are relevant and even take a spin on the old alien adage that they are green and have big heads. There are a few unbelievably funny pop culture bits, like Paul on the phone with the man himself Steven Spielberg talking about E.T. There is also a bit where Paul says he created the character of Agent Mulder on the X-Files. As mentioned there are many more subtle references to pop culture, some that will be picked up instantly and others that may need further research in order to understand.

Paul most certainly is not a film for everyone, despite the crude humour, at times they delve into the religion vs. evolution idea, which may be offensive to some people viewing the film. For me it was easy to pass off, because it was only a fleeting moment of the film where they discuss it. For some people who are completely religious, I understand how this could be offensive.

I say don’t miss out on the hilarity that is Paul, it is a downright funny and a well written flick. It is the way comedy is supposed to be, insulting, crude, off the wall all the while maintaining an interesting premise so that no one is confused by it

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The Experiment

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 8 April 2011 01:57 (A review of The Experiment (2010))

After being laid off from his job, Travis sees this add in the newspaper looking for subjects for a science experiment. He applies and learns that the experiment is simulating 14 days in prison where there a set of men who play the guards and set of men that will represent the prisoners. All in all 26 men are chosen, and divided up. Quickly there is some tension and it begins to escalate out of control.

The Experiment is well thought out film based on true events. The story is well written, the characters are developed and each character is unique and at some point humanized. As the tension within the mock prison begins to escalate their human like qualities begin to disappear and out come the animal like instincts and the will to survive.

What appears to be the central driving factor of the Experiment is the lack of human emotion and morality when given a position of power. These men instantly became the part of the prison system they were playing. They became ruthless and forgot all the things they had learned in the outside world as far as treating people with respect. They were willing to push the limits the boundaries that were originally enforced, all the while it seemed like nothing was being down about the escalating violence. As the film progressed it became a power struggle and a struggle to be the alpha male essentially. When you are looking to portray such a broad spectrum of emotions, you look to fill the lead roles with actors who are more then qualified to play any part. Forest Whitaker and Adrien Brody are more then capable actors who play these parts honestly and brilliantly. Forest is the type actor who can tear through any character and essentially make the character more menacing then anyone that possible. Whitaker when first appearing on screen seems like a humble gentleman, but we learn later on he thrives off the power and it gives him pleasure to see these “prisoners” suffer. Whitaker shows the ruthless of certain human beings as they begin to seize more and more power, while giving off one of the best performances I have seen from him. Brody is fierce as well but for different reasons all together, he is focused on getting through the days, but when things tend to stand in his way he stands his ground and doesn’t let people walk all over him. Brody is good when his character is being the leader of the “prisoners” and stands up for their rights and freedoms.

However the biggest flaw is the quick transformation of these characters. Whitaker and Brody may have done great jobs playing these characters, but they went through rapid transitions all too quickly. In the span of two days they were literally at each others throats threatening to kill one another. These characters seemed to lose all shred of humanity in less then 48 hours, which to me was a bit of a stretch. It seemed to forced and way to quick, build the tension a little bit more, let the audience get a feel for the tense moments and then have a explosion of a climax that sets the standard for the entire film. The Experiment exposes the core of its story way too early on leaving the audience with just more images of violence.

The Experiment is a good film, it has a lot of messages embedded within it, and they do make sense, there are just a few flaws that take away from the ultimate message. Some of the characters fit way too stereotypically into being either a “prisoner” or a “guard” and perhaps had it been the other way around the tension could have been even that much more awkward.

In the end what ultimately saves The Experiment from being a total bust of a film is the fact that Forest Whitaker and Adrien Brody can steal scenes and command the screen.

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Source Code

Posted : 7 years, 3 months ago on 4 April 2011 02:39 (A review of Source Code)

Colter Stevens wakes up on a train, sitting across from a woman he has never met before. She claims to know him, but he has no idea what is happening. He races around the train, looking at himself in the mirror and seeing a different face. After 8 minutes the train explodes, sending Colter back to a capsule in which he is greeted by Colleen Goodwin. She tells him that he inhabits the last 8 minutes of someone else’s existence. She also explains to him that the train exploded early that morning and his job is to find out information to stop a terrorist attack that will be happening later that day.

Colter is left baffled like most people would be. He tries desperately to find the bomber amidst a mass of people. He then tries to alter reality by getting off the train, but each time the train explodes or he is killed. As he goes back and forth from the train to Source Code he retains the info he learned. The more he visits the train, the more he falls for Christina ultimately wishing he could save her, much to the chagrin of Sources Code’s creator and operator Dr. Rutledge.

Source Code is essentially a pulse pounding race to beat the clock and save the city of Chicago from impending doom. Colter Stevens must piece together the mysteries of the train as well as the mystery of Source Code and why everyone on that train must be subjected to death. Gyllenhaal is fantastic in the lead role. He is very good at showing the desperation and confusion of Colter Stevens, as well as making Stevens an interesting lead character, and one that audiences can indentify with. Monaghan does a good job in her simple role as well, Christina has no idea what is happening and Monaghan does a great job of portraying her innocence. The rest of the cast does a good job, Jeffrey Wright as the bitter Dr. Rutledge is a fantastic role. There are many secrets behind Dr. Rutledge it seemed which go way beyond where the story went (or so it seemed anyway, would love to have seen some backstory on this guy). Also I must mention this specifically because many people failed to grab it in my theatre, but it was awesome to see Canadian comedian Russell Peters have a role in this film. He played a very sarcastic stand up comedian and at a later point in the film we get a glimpse of what his humour is all about. Russell is one of the top comedians here in Canada and it was awesome to see him grab some great screen time.

This movie becomes much more then what seemed possible. With pulse pounding action all the way through and twists involving Colter Stevens, it becomes a very honest and engaging thriller from start to finish. You will be amazed by the secret that accompanies Colter Stevens and the reason he is in Source Code to begin with. It added a complexity far beyond what originally Souce Code was all about. For a film that ran at only 1 hr and 34 mins it packs a serious punch and leaves you guessing right up until the end.

It ultimately questions changing fate and dealing with alternate realities. It brings the old adage of time travel back, and that is if you go back in time you must be careful not to alter the events of history.

What was so engaging about Source Code and elevates it beyond the status of other films of the same nature is the inclusion of not just the sci-fi plot line but a love story as well. Colter Stevens falls in love with Christina, but unless he can change the course of history he will only ever have 8 minutes to spend with her. A very interesting plot device is to keep the audience hoping that he can change the fate of the Commuter train heading towards the city of Chicago, not just to prevent a future attack but to save many lives.

Source Code is a very fun movie to watch, certainly better then what I expected. So far Source Code is one of the better releases from 2011 that I have seen.

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Decent Action, Good Acting, Predictable plot

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 8 March 2011 02:47 (A review of Unstoppable (2010))

After rail workers lose control of a train and it begins barrelling down on rural towns in Southern Pennsylvania veteran rail worker Frank Barnes and Rookie Will Colson are the last hope in tracking it down before it destroys towns and becomes the biggest tragedy in rail history.

Unstoppable is what I would define as a standard action flick. You know the premise, you know there will be tense moments and you know that are only two real possible outcomes. Why I say standard action flick, is because there are going to be attempts mid way through the film to stop this runaway train, but because this plot is focused on the train and it being on the run, you know these attempts are more then likely going to fail. It’s the industry, it is how movies like this play out because there storyline is too predictable and concrete that there is no open space for having a shocking plot device thrown in the middle. Now this is not a bad thing, because films like this are often what they appear to be, suspenseful and nerve racking.

We have Frank Barnes and Will Colson, the last two people who can stop the train attempting to do so. They speed through towns and farm land in order to catch up with this train, and during these moments they begin to tell their life stories. Both characters are going through rough patches, and are opening up because they have no idea what the final outcome will be. This becomes another standard aspect of the action flick, two characters that see themselves facing impending death so they reluctantly begin to accept the others faults. Unlike many action flicks, however, this flick has two lead actors capable of keeping the dialogue about life and its hardships simple and authentic. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine build this relationship between Frank and Will that is a bit on edge at first. Frank seems to be this bitter veteran and Will seems to be this overconfident rookie. We learn some things about Frank later on and Will reveals some things about himself as well that bring their relationship to a new level.

Unstoppable goes the way everyone thinks it will, right from start to finish. You see the worry, you see the brute force of the train as it does damage, and we see a bit of the impossible as Frank and Will try and stop it. There were a few things that were completely unnecessary at points in the film. Director Tony Scott attempted to get the shot from above and it was played off as news choppers covering the action. Not a bad decision, but they had all these faux news reports from the ground saying somewhere along the lines of “Breaking news, Runaway Train is barrelling towards Stanton” and yes it may have added realism, but I think that you run one or two of these and show Frank and Will’s loved ones realizing what is happening and then be done with it. They had one of these faux reports atleast every 5-10 minutes, and it got really annoying. After a while it seemed like the production team was trying to remind us what is happening, but the storyline was not at all hard to follow. It was a simple plot, and it should have had simple shots to show it unfold. The chopper shots were good at times, but even the news action cop out got a bit old after a while.

Don’t get me wrong, Unstoppable is one of the better action flicks I have seen in the past couple of years, very much because Tony Scott got Denzel Washington to star in the film. Other than just Denzel, for the most part Unstoppable does not have too much unbelievable action, but it does have the inevitable it will come down to the last minute suspenseful ending. What bothers me is that with action flicks it all just resolves and then everything is happy with the main characters like their was no issues with their lives before this event took place. Yes I understand that these situations that take place would be eye opening experiences and make you appreciate life, but I don’t understand how everything goes from being challenging to it all being so easy for these characters. Maybe I am reading too far into it, because it really just a simple flick.

I recommend Unstoppable to anyone who likes a simple movie with a great cast and engaging and suspenseful action. It is a good movie despite the flaws that are associated with it.

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Never Let Me Go Review

Posted : 7 years, 5 months ago on 17 February 2011 04:04 (A review of Never Let Me Go)

Tommy, Kathy and Ruth are students at Hailsham boarding school. Hailsham is an unusual school because the students there are going to have their lives tragically cut short. They are not like every other child, they do not get to grow and become doctors lawyers or whatever they want to be. Their destinies are predetermined, they are clones of people somewhere out in the world and when they reach the age of 25-30 they will begin to donate their organs. Tommy, Kathy and Ruth are forced to make the best of what the have and live and hope that there is a possibility that true love can be the one thing that saves them.

Never Let Me Go is a very emotional and engaging film. With the plotline already established and the ending seemingly inevitable, what we witness is these young people who are their own individuals live what little life they have. We see them struggle as kids, and then watch them grow into fine young men and women. What Never Let Me Go does so well in terms of plot is show their entire lives, from the time they are eight or nine until the time they complete their final donation.

Much like the youth of the real world, they are drawn to try new things and strive to be all they can be. The become curious about life, about sex,about travelling and seeing who their originals are. Never Let Me Go is a journey, it and is so well told because of its fine young cast. Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield have such great chemistry and Keira Knightley fits well with them. These three actors show their raw talents, and give off some of the finest performances in a long time. Garfield and Mulligan’s Chemistry is severely underused for the first half of the film. The final act is one where these two really begin to show their acting abilities, as their worlds come crashing in around them.

This is a beautiful and enriching film. The cinematography and the beautiful landscapes help add to the inevitable heartbreaking ending that is waiting for these characters. With their travels and their struggles we see their ability to live as humans, and to be happy. The saddest thing about Never Let Me Go is that we know these wonderfully developed characters are never going to live full and happy lives. This story is an easy one to get attached too simply because it is simple story being told in such a unique and emotional way. We as the people watching this movie begin to hope that True Love is the one thing that can set them free, and very much like these characters we are forced to see that not even the notion of True Love is enough to get us through everything.

Never Let Me Go will forever be one of the films that has been hugely overlooked. It has powerful and real messages. These people were real and felt the same way we did, and it was shame that they had to be used as sacrificial lambs so to speak. This movie works so well with the times we live because we are on the verge of so many medical break through, but are they worth it? This film should be getting major attention; it is one of the better films in 2010 and proves that the art of character development is not dead. In fact it proves that creating real life like characters is still the best way to get a message across.

Kathy: It had never occurred to me that our lives, so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed. If I'd known, maybe I'd have kept tighter hold of them

Never Let Me Go is a brilliantly shot and brilliantly executed film, one of the better from the past year. The acting is as good as it gets.

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