Lists  Reviews  Images  Update feed
MoviesTV ShowsMusicBooksGamesDVDs/Blu-RayPeopleArt & DesignPlacesWeb TV & PodcastsToys & CollectiblesComic Book SeriesBeautyAnimals   View more categories »
Listal logo
All reviews - Movies (125) - Music (1) - Games (1)

127 Hours Review

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 19 January 2011 06:27 (A review of 127 Hours)

Aron Ralston heads off an adventure in Canyonland, USA. He brings with him the standard camping essentials, because he doesn’t feel like anything will go wrong. Aron meets these two girls who he takes on an adventure of a lifetime sliding through the tiniest cracks within the canyon and plummeting into a spring below. Aron then takes off on his own and while trying to manoeuvre through tight canyons he slips pinning his arm against the side of the canyon.

Ralston is essentially trapped within his own mind for the entire film, trying desperately to hold onto life, we get a glimpse of his past, and the things that have gone right and the things that have gone wrong for him. Boyle beautifully captures Ralston going in and out between a dream state and a state of reality. Ralston through out his time trapped is frantically trying everything he can to free himself from what is certain death when he runs out of supplies. Boyle captures the frantic realism of Ralston’s dire situation.

Aron Ralston is trapped deep within the heart of America for a little over 5 days with only a bottle of water, a video camera and some snacks. What we see is a character so determined to remain alive that he limits his resources and chips ever so desperately away at trying to free himself. James Franco's performance is what makes this film come to life. His performance shapes the film as not only a story, but a 5 day journey of survival and the will to live. Franco commands his screen time in a way he has not done before in his career. He lives and breathes Aron Ralston in every scene through out this movie. He makes Ralston’s pain and suffering seem like our own, or that of a best friend. What Franco and Boyle are able to do, is take us with Aron and make us question what would we do if we were stuck in that situation.

Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn have very little screen time in this picture, but they as well bring a sense of realism to this film. Ralston met them and briefly changed their lives only to disappear and run off alone on his grand adventure. What the inclusion of these two young girls does is remind us that this was just an ordinary day in the life of Aron Ralston. Tamblyn and Mara are brought back later on in the film, for a brief moment when Ralston reviews the video he made of that day. Perhaps this is along with the brief flashbacks of Ralston’s past break up and home life are the scenes that make the audience admire Boyle’s artwork. What Boyle does for these moments of the film is he takes as away from Ralston’s predicament and brings us to what he has done and who he is as a person.

When taking us back through the life of Aron Ralston, Boyle sets us up for the final fight between Aron and nature. This brings me to the scene where Aron amputates his own arm, allowing himself to be free. There is about a 4 to 6 minute span in this film that is unnerving not because people are being blown away in a hail of gunfire of stabbed through the throat but because this man is fighting through pain and desperation that he is willing to sever his own limb to survive. Franco is so deeply focused on portraying Ralston’s will and determination, but his screams because of sheer pain are a bit too much to handle even for those people who have seen the most disturbing of horror films. This scene is much more graphic in nature than anything I have witnessed in a horror flick, and made me close my eyes numerous times. This scene defines this movie and the graphicness of the scene is just the essence of Arons struggle. I suggest that if you are faint of heart that you turn off this scene once it begins and return to the movie after it is over. You can still grab the meaning of the scene and the meaning of the entire film without watching this scene.

127 Hours is one hell of a movie, the acting is top notch, the layout of the film is wonderful and it keeps you hoping. Very well made, definitely one of the best from the past year in films.

0 comments, Reply to this entry

“Hate got me into this place and love got me out”.

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 14 January 2011 11:38 (A review of The Hurricane (1999))

Rubin Carter was about to be on top of the boxing world when it all came crashing to a halt. Carter was out driving around with a friend after a fight and was stopped by the cops. That same night in Paterson, New Jersey there had been a bar room shooting in which the perpetrators shot and killed three people. Carter and his friend were brought in for questioning and ultimately they were identified by a man who could barely see. Carter was sentenced to three life sentences in Federal Prison. A young man named Lesra happened to stumble upon the book Carter wrote during his stay in prison and was moved by what he read. Lesra was moved so much that him and a group of friends vowed to prove Carters innocence.

There is a certain amount of emotion already generated in a film when you know the story is clearly dealing with social injustices of the past. What a lot of films fail to do is humanize these injustices. The Hurricane tells the story from start to finish of Rubin Carters life. Carter grew up in Paterson, N.J and knew that the cops were corrupt and he had trouble with them at a young age. The Hurricane captures the mystery of what actually happened while clearly letting us know that Rubin Carter was in fact innocent. There was never a doubt about Carters innocence, but there was doubt as to why everyone lied and what the actual story behind the crime was. The Hurricane as a film does a good job of setting aside the idea of the crime for the middle act and it deals with Carter and how he is coping with life in prison.

In comes the subplot of Lesra being connected to Rubin. What this did for the film was bring in a brand new human element to the film. Until this point what we had on film was cops vs. supposed criminals and social injustice. The introduction of Lesra brought faith and hope to a story that seemed like it had no light at the end of the tunnel. Lesra and his underlying faith in Rubin and his love for the man is enough to give anyone hope. This was captured with such brilliance on film. When Rubin and Lesra began to interact we forgot about the social injustices, the montages of rallying in support of freeing Rubin (very affective in a film) but what we were witnessing was a man who had seemingly lost all hope rediscovering what it means to believe in something and someone.

What this film does probably better then anything is capture the inner struggle of Rubin Carter. During the scene that Carter spends his 90 days in solitary confinement we see him break down into almost multiple personalities and we see him convincing himself to get through the sentence he has been handed. This in itself was Denzel Washington on set in a darkly lit chamber channelling his inner Rubin Carter and showing exactly why films can be much more than just Hollywood creations. Washington shows us with this scene that real stories can be told through movies, real emotions can be captured and movies can help us become aware of how much some people have struggled.

As previously mentioned during the middle act of Rubin’s stay in prison we got a montage of protests and even a video of Bob Dylan singing his song “The Hurricane” which he wrote to try and help gain support for Carter and help prove his innocence. It was particularly effective because at times while watching we forget that there is an outside world, because we see Carter cooped up in this 10 foot cell trying desperately to remain sane. This look into the outside world reminds even further of how social injustice can change everyone. Despite the mass amounts of protests, the singing the rallying The justice system turned down Carter numerous times for appeal simply because there was “evidence” to support the fact that he was guilty.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was imprisoned for 20 years, and his final appeal which was successful was captured wonderfully on film. Washington was through out the film convincing but he stepped it up during scenes that captured desperation. There were certain scenes in which everything was on the line for Carter, the first one being the one where he stands up to the guards. The second being him standing up to himself, the third being him standing up to his lawyers saying he has had enough.

Director Norman Jewison downplayed Liev Schreiber’s ability to come in the scene and steal the thunder away from the star. Schreiber is known for his high end performances that are a delight to watch, but unfortunately his character seemed toned down and didn’t allow me to feel like Schreiber had much to contribute. That would be the only real criticism on this entire film. As a director you line up the cast so that you have a lead who is clearly defined and very much the focal point and the cast around them is supposed to fall into place, but when you have an actor who steps into a supporting role who has the ability that Schreiber has you expect there to be a dynamic with the lead that makes the film memorable. That connection never got going in this film and too me that was wasting the potential to have explosive scenes between Liev Schreiber and Denzel Washington.

A film like The Hurricane is a clear identification of what is wrong with society and what we need to change within it. The Hurricane shows you a lot of social injustices and makes you think, that is the sole purpose. Despite all the criticisms one could and might make they all get shifted too the background because of the ultimate message. As Rubin “Hurricane” Carter once said “Hate got me into this place and love got me out”.

0 comments, Reply to this entry

Good remake

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 29 December 2010 01:30 (A review of True Grit )

14-year-old Mattie Ross (Steinfeld) enlists the help of U.S Marshall Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) to help her track down her father’s killer. Mattie insists that she accompany Cogburn and Texas Ranger Labeouf(Damon) on the journey to capture the group of fugitives.

The Coen Brothers had a daunting task to live up to the 1969 original, but for the most part they do it justification. There remake is very similar in style and layout to the original. The Coen’s manage to stick to the Grit and the odd blend of comedy and drama that the original displayed. They do a fantastic job and a much better job of capturing the landscapes then the original did. There was a much better atmosphere in this one then in the original.

Another thing that the Coen brothers were able to do was grab much more dynamic performances from their supporting cast. Damon added a new layer to the character of Labeouf, originally played by Glen Campbell. This time around Labeouf played a significant role, he didn’t seem as expendable and annoying as the original. Damon throughout the beginning sequences of the film plays the character as mysterious but as the film goes on he makes the character human. In the original Labeouf seemed to be forgotten, but the Coen brothers seemed to beef (pun intended) up the role for such a talented actor like Matt Damon.

Even if you were completely impressed by the original, as I was when I watched barely a week before checking out the new one, you must admit one thing, and that is Hailee Steinfeld does a much better job in the role of Mattie Ross then Kim Darby did. Darby was close to twenty playing a 14 year old, Steinfeld however was the exact age of 14 when she made this film. Darby had nearly 6 years to gain the maturity and the practise to play a young character, Steinfeld however channelled her young emotions and gave the best performance of the film.

It would be easy to sit here and say John Wayne or Jeff Bridges did a better
job. The thing is I will not do that, they both played the same character and they both did a good job. Bridges has more of an accent then Wayne did in the original but that does not make him better. These films are too similar for one to stand above the other. In both films Cogburn was a drunk, very indecisive about allowing Mattie to accompany him, and both films captured that almost perfectly. I’m not here to say one of these actors is a better actor, both have proven themselves countless times and both Rooster Cogburn performances will go down in the books as stellar performances.

The Coen brothers have a knack for writing quality scripts and they do that once again, but they have one major flaw in this one that needs to be addressed. The ending was very different from the original and not in the way that helps make the film better. The original may have had a bit of a cheesy ending, but I was hoping the Coen brothers would have had something similar to that just maybe taking out the cheesy bits. To go where the Coen brothers went with this made no sense; it was a storyline all in itself that really did not need to become part of the films message. Steinfeld gave such a good performance that the Coen brothers should have given her the chance to conclude a film she shines so bright in.

There is a very good chance that the Coen brothers will get a nomination for best adapted screenplay, and it is deserved, but True Grit is not the best film of 2010. It is a good remake, with a solid cast. The Cast deserves the accolades more than the whole film. As an entire film there have been better, but if the academy wants to recognize the wonderful performances from this film from Steinfeld and Damon then I will not argue with that.

A very enjoyable and engaging remake, but honestly not the best from the Coen brothers. True Grit was the most predictable film yet from the Coen brothers and did not stray in any way from the direction in which you saw it going. True Grit carries heavy set emotions which are very well portrayed, but a lot of the action and the scenes are too predictable. The action scenes seem to die right when they are getting going, or are over way too soon. This is a western and from Westerns I expect a lot of confrontation but there was very little action, and all of it was predictable.

0 comments, Reply to this entry

Epic and Emotional

Posted : 7 years, 7 months ago on 12 December 2010 06:58 (A review of The Patriot (2000))

Benjamin Martin (Gibson) vowed he would never fight in another war, but after the British army arrives at his South Carolina home and threaten what he holds most dear Benjamin decides that fighting may be his only option. His son Gabriel (Ledger) has already enlisted and he makes sure that he fights alongside his son. Benjamin leads a group of brave men into battle against the English Army

This film has a well structured plot and the dialogue is very well written compared to most films of this nature. The early portion of the film has a bit of humour, but ultimately this film is a very dramatic. Most films of this nature, lose their ultimate focus around the mid way point, but this one does not. It stays rigidly structured to the original reason Martin joins the conflict in the first place. There are three or four subplots that build around this, and all of them get the proper treatment they deserve as well as conclusions that help set up the final shots of the film.

When you look at the cast of this film, your standards are immediately set. It is impossible not to set high standards. Films that do this can sometimes let you down, because when you set unbelievably high standards no film can live up to that. However, both Gibson and Ledger live up to the hype, Gibson trying to keep quiet in the beginning but ultimately letting his emotions get the best of him as the film goes on. Ledger is fantastic the whole way through as well, you can see his characters bravery all the way through, he is young and wanting to make a difference. Gabriel’s subplot of falling in love just allows Ledger to show his youthful charm. The rest of the cast as well including Jason Isaacs and Tom Wilkinson played their respective roles wonderfully. They all made this film a little deeper and all of these performances drew in you and grabbed your attention.

A film which grabs your attention by its thrilling performances as well as the epic war scenes that are presented, The Patriot is one of the better war films in the past decade. There was some over the top violence as well as some violence that sent chills down your spine. The Patriot goes beyond where it needed to go in order to keep the audience engaged. The scenes of violence were as mentioned a tad explicit, but they added the substance that most films lack. When you watch the soldiers go all out to win the war and you watch the violence you get a feel for what went on. The reason these films must have one or two scenes of unnerving violence is to help you realize the ruthlessness of some people involved in the war. These filmmakers don’t add gratuitous violence just to see how many people will squirm, but they do it to add depth and emotion to a story that has already captured many peoples attention.

There were scenes in this film that had grabbed my attention because of their dramatic effect and there were scenes that had my attention because of their ability to lighten the mood in a film that was intended to be dramatic. There are scenes where Ledger is able to play up the comedy a bit, especially since his character of Gabriel is full of youth and full of energy. The best scenes are the interaction among the characters. Yes the war scenes capture the essence of what is happening, but the most powerful scenes come from emotional interaction between the characters. Benjamin and Gabriel were always away, and when they came back to be with their family or even got a moment to talk together, you were instantly paying attention to their thoughts and feelings that are left unexpressed during their long war scenes.

The Patriot is a solid film from start to finish. Watch it, Mel Gibson is fantastic and so is Heath Ledger.

0 comments, Reply to this entry

An A+ Effort

Posted : 7 years, 8 months ago on 21 November 2010 05:10 (A review of Easy A)

After Olive Pendergast (Emma Stone) tells her best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) that she cannot go camping with her family because she has a date rumours begins to spread. Olive becomes known as the school skank and is approached by guys to have sex with them. Olive comes up with a plan where she fake has sex with guys for payment. But soon the rumours become more and more vicious and Olive becomes hated by many in the school. She tries to find a way to figure everything out before she loses everything, including her education.

Easy A is one of the best comedies to be released in quite a long time. There is a unique feel to it. Emma Stone helps make this movie believable and fresh. Her down to earth charm plays a huge factor in the success of this film. Emma is one of the premiere leading ladies in Hollywood. She has the potential to star in comedy and dramas or do a brilliant mixture of both. Emma is accompanied by some surprisingly good performances in this film. Amanda Bynes is beyond hilarious playing an ultra religious girl who boycotts Olive after the rumours spread. Alyson Michalka plays Olives jealous best friend Rhiannon. Penn Badgely plays Todd, a guy who Olive has known forever, and sees past her little game. This cast does such a wonderful job of being exactly what they are, young and enthusiastic.

The elements of Easy A that make it an attractive film is the cast, the plot and the social commentary. A very good balance of saying what has already been stated many times in a new and refreshing way. Easy A finds the balance between cracking a joke about what is relevant in today’s society and flat out telling us something it feels is wrong. It makes a comment about people judging others by making it seem a little over the top. The thing about Easy A is that is all a big joke until people start to get hurt by what is happening, and that is when this movie transcends the barrier from being just another teenage sex comedy to a full fledged mature adult film. Easy A takes the necessary steps to be liked by many, but it also takes the steps to be noticed by many who would just simply disregard it as just another raunchy comedy.

Easy A is one of the better films I decided not to pass up in recent months. I liked the happy-go-lucky beginning the wonderful flow and pacing it has through out the middle. Most of all it had such an interesting conclusion, where the jokes and the light heartedness of what really is a touchy subject took a backseat and the realization of how many people were now intertwined in this web of lies took the forefront. Easy A deals with many issues that young teens face and for the most part handles them well, but took it that extra step to make sure we fully understood the intentions.

Easy A really is one of the best teenage years set movies since the John Hughes era of films. It makes a reference to Hughes when Olive mentions her life is not a John Hughes film. For this film the references to pop culture really serves a major purpose. There had to be a decent level of pop culture references because this film is a modern take on the Scarlett Letter. They tied that aspect in very nicely. The filmmakers took into account that many people may not know of the Scarlett Letter and so they made it so Olive’s class was studying it in the movie. This idea helped the audience get a general understanding of what the Scarlett Letter was about, while still making the modern jokes about pop culture.

Easy A is an Easy film to buy into, there are a lot of really funny jokes, a lot of over the top antics involving teenagers and a few dramatic bits that help sum up how hard growing up can be. In the end Easy A is a film I really enjoyed because it went where it should have. Easy A is a film worth watching. Emma Stone and the rest of her cast mates deliver such wonderful performances that it helps make the film so much more engaging. Easy A has further made me a fan of Emma Stone, and has made me a fan of Amanda Bynes. Don’t pass up Easy A, watch it and enjoy it.

0 comments, Reply to this entry

Another Brilliant Horror Flick from Rob Zombie

Posted : 7 years, 8 months ago on 14 November 2010 10:56 (A review of The Devil's Rejects)

Sherriff Quincy Wydell gets his men to lay siege on the Firefly home. During the Siege however the Firefly family decides they will not go down without a fight. Wydell is only able to arrest mother Firefly, while Baby and Otis are able to escape. Then they meet up with their partner in crime Captain Spaulding as they try and stay alive.

Very similar in style to its predecessor, Devils Rejects is much more refined and focused. The visuals don’t seem so all over the place and there is much better pacing and transition from scene to scene. Rob Zombie returns to writing and directing chair in a film that is a solid conclusion to a film that left such an open ending.

However, Rejects may not be the film many people were hoping for. It is less focused on so much gore and more focused on the psyche of its main characters and showing exactly how messed up they are. Many of these scenes involve much more suspense and less killing then Corpses had. Zombie seems more focused on leading up to the Brutal scenes then just placing them through-out randomly.

Zombie gets much more menacing performances from his actors. Where Corpses relied on making them seem downright sadistic, Rejects focuses more on them desperately trying to remain alive. They are no longer in the comfort of their own home and they are no longer in full control and Zombie captures both the performance aspect of this as well as the atmospheric portion of it. What I think Zombie does here more then in Corpses is he captures the performances based on the atmosphere in which his characters are surrounded. Corpses seemed confined to the emotions of the victims, where as Rejects tries to capture both the emotion of the victims as well as the Firefly family themselves.

Sid Haigs little screen time in Corpses is more then quadrupled in Rejects, but this time around he does not give the best performance in the film. William Forsythe is ruthless as Wydell in his pursuit of the Firefly family. His driven revenge is capture so well. You can see clearly he will stop at nothing, even willing to eventually take the law into his hands to get things done. I think even Bill Moseley and Sheri Moon Zombie stepped up their game and Leslie Easterbrook didn’t miss a beat stepping into replace Karen Black as mother Firefly. All these actors either came in strong or stepped it up to help propel Rejects into what could be described as horror genre excellence. Most sequels drop off in quality, but the second and final part is better then Corpses and is a stand alone atop modern day horror.

What honestly draws people to a Rob Zombie film in the first place is the knowing that there will be the classic horror elements mixed with an odd blend of modern horror. Rob Zombie is the definition of modern horror. His flicks are moody, gory, unpleasant and many other things, but ultimately they are horror unlike anything we have seen in recent years.

0 comments, Reply to this entry

A Great Horror Flick

Posted : 7 years, 8 months ago on 14 November 2010 05:14 (A review of House of 1000 Corpses (2003))

Four friends are on the search of a lifetime. They want to write a book about all the offbeat roadside attractions they can find. They meet Captain Spaulding where they learn the legend of Doctor Satan. While on the search to find the tree that Doctor Satan was hung from they pick up a hitchhiker named Baby. After their car breaks down Baby invites them back to her house and this is where they meet the Firefly family, a bizarre and off the wall family. After a series of horrific events take place, will the four friends survive the House of 1000 corpses or will they just become four more victims.

This film is a brilliant horror flick. Rob Zombie masterfully mixes humour and horror. Spaulding is the perfect balance, a small character, underused but every scene he is featured in has a humours feel to it. Zombie creates the perfect setting, the perfect mood and the perfect gore fest. House of 1000 Corpses is the epitome of modern day horror greatness.

The one thing that Rob Zombie did so well with this flick was get intense performances from all the actors involved. Rainn Wilson was fun to watch, even though he had very little screen time and was killed off near the start. Karen Black gave an interesting performance as Mother Firefly. Sheri Moon Zombie not only makes her character of Baby a complete psychopath but she nails the over the top spine chilling laugh that would cause anyone to cringe. Still though no one is better than Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding, his character is witty, dark and obviously messed up.

Personally horror is usually lost on me, its gore something I don’t really buy into. I have heard mixed things about this film. Some people really love it, they believe Zombie has created a horror film for this generation, and other people believe it is a mindless plot less gore fest. Counter argument presented, there is no real plot in any slasher flick. Its all about the gore and the over the top killings. Since when has horror pretended to be anything different? How is this any different from Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Friday the 13th? People are mad that Zombie did not include factual background on the Firefly family, yet we follow these four innocent victims on this journey. Having a detailed scene about the Firefly family’s history would not have fit well with the layout of the film. It was clear that over the years things had happened to the Firefly family that drove them mad.

House of 1000 Corpses is a horror flick, and it is one of the better ones I have seen. It does not pretend to be this bold new brand of horror. It returns to the bloody disgusting roots of horror. Kudos to Rob Zombie for writing and directing such a messed interesting film. The thing that impresses me about this film is that it is nothing more than it needs to be. It is gory, it is off the beaten path, it is suspenseful and it is horror. Why is there so much being read into it being more then has to be? It is a genuine, well acted, psychotic look into a messed up world. Who doesn’t like those kinds of films?

0 comments, Reply to this entry

Act 1= Amazing. Act 2=Boring.

Posted : 7 years, 8 months ago on 1 November 2010 03:54 (A review of Blindness (2008))

Spoiler Alert

After people start to lose their sight, the government sets up a special quarantined zone so that it will not spread. After an eye doctor goes blind, his wife (who still has her sight) says she has gone blind as well. She becomes the primary caregiver of these people. The conditions in which they live become poor as the days drag on. People began to take control, proclaiming themselves to the appointed king of the quarantined people. What ensues next is chaos. People will do whatever they can to stay alive.

Blindness is particularly effective during the opening hour. We see all these people mysteriously going blind, claiming to see white light. Then we see them struggle to cope with it, relying on the people they are now housing with to help them out. We see them desperately trying to find some way of life, some understanding of why this is happening. Most of all we these people trying to maintain any shred of humanity they possibly can. The opening act was full of interesting dialogue, interesting events and damn fine acting.

Act 2 however, becomes more of a power struggle between different groups of the blind. What is lost upon act 2 is that Blindness does not have to be a pandemic; there are still ways of living with blindness. This movie became almost like a blind zombie flick without the zombies. People were losing their minds, acting out selfishly. The transition from smooth act 1 to over the top act 2 was too much. It became a mass jumble of people living in desperate conditions, bowing down to one man going through the same thing they were. The one that made it even more on unbearable is that the good side supposedly had an advantage. One person in the entire complex can see, and what does she do she waits until it was far too late. Typical cliché, the hero only becomes the hero after something bad happens.

Blindness is a film that genuinely had my attention. There was much worth praising about the opening hour. It was mysterious; the camera shots were in and out of focus to help us understand what the blind people were feeling and going through. The acting on all fronts was top notch. Ruffalo and Moore were awesome, bringing to life the pain both their characters felt about being divided by something they had no control over. Alice Braga plays an interesting part. Her character admires Moore’s character for what she is doing, but is also so drawn to her husband because they can relate to each other.

Many people will disagree but the scene of passion between the doctor and the woman with dark glasses was necessary. The use of white light and out of focus shots is what sold the scene for me. They knew nothing about each other really, yet the doctor and this woman were drawn together because of what was happening to them. His wife could see and he points out during the middle that she is more like a mother to him then a wife. The only thing that sort of lets me down after this scene is that they all go back to living in order and stay together as a pack of friends. Perhaps this could have brought a better tension to act 2 then fighting amongst other blind prisoners. After this scene and then the escape from the compound it becomes the clichéd march through wasteland. There was no reason the world became a destroyed mess, blindness is not a viral outbreak, people can still go on with their lives. Perhaps showing how the whole world would adapt to living blind would have been a better film to watch.

Shut the film off with 10 minutes left. If you were disappointed with the second act, then stop right before the not so interesting conclusion. It is boring and serves no purpose to the story. It makes the entire film seem pointless and random, so if you love the entire film I suggest not watching the last 5-10 minutes.

0 comments, Reply to this entry

Defining A Generation

Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 11 October 2010 04:22 (A review of The Social Network (2010))

Mark Zuckerberg sits opposite his girlfriend Erica Albright, both very intelligent people. Mark seems to be rambling pointlessly about getting into a finals club and about intelligence. He fires on and on, speaking in what becomes almost a code like language, and deep within this language he directs an insult in the direction of Erica prompting her to break up with him. Mark heads home that night, angry a bit confused maybe even a little drunk and decides to blog about it. Mark then comes up with what he believes is a brilliant plan, a website where you rate two girls based on their hotness without knowing anything about them. The mass influx of visits to the site causes Harvard’s servers to malfunction. Flash ahead a few years, Zuckerberg now a part of two lawsuits. One from his best friend Saverin and the other from twin brothers who claim Mark has stolen their idea for a social networking site. Through flashbacks we see Eduardo putting money into what is now known as Facebook, we see Mark putting in many long hours to develop this site and we see the Winklevoss twins debating whether or not suing Mark is a good idea.

Erica Albright: You're going to be successful, and rich. But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a geek. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole.

Perhaps the best opening scene in a film in a very long time. The back forth between Mark and Erica was brilliant, it captured Mark and set the tone for the entire film. He has this face paced way of talking, and at times you become lost in the overall idea of what he is even speaking about. Erica even points this out that it is impossible to know exactly what he is asking because he changes the subject numerous times and then poses a question. What impressed me the most about this shot was how simply it was filmed. Three shots, one a wide of the table and the two of them sitting there, one a close up of Erica and the other a close up of Mark. It was a simple shot, one that probably took a while to shoot, simply because of the complex lines being spoken by Jesse Eisenberg.

Sean Parker: One suggestion: Get rid of the "the". Just *Facebook*. Flows better

As the flashback scenes continue, and we see Eduardo and Mark opposing each other on certain ideas we get to where it becomes time to make Facebook a corporation and make money or just keep it a simple cool website. Mark doesn’t want to water it down with ads and Eduardo wants to have corporations attach their name to this creative website. In comes Sean Parker an overconfident young individual who created a free music downloading site called Napster. Sean actually went broke through Napster yet somehow still managed to come out clean from all of it. Eduardo takes an instant disliking to Sean Parker, because their initial chat was all about him and his business transactions not about what Mark and Eduardo were there to talk to him about. Mark however immediately likes the tenacity of Parker and decides to bring him on. As it continues we see Parker take a larger role and thus begin the money making of Facebook and what we know Facebook as.

David Fincher sets up such a crafty film because you can end up taking from it what you want about Mark Zuckerberg. He at times makes some of the things Zuckerberg says and does about his passion towards the creation of facebook. You can also take from this film that Mark was all about making it for himself, his way not really caring what other people thought. Perhaps you can take a little bit of both even, because obviously Mark was passionate about the work everyone contributed to facebook, yet at times he answers in such a condescending way that you cannot help but have a negative reaction to what he is saying. Fincher creates a film that accurately depicts the social aspect of this generation. The new age of people relies so heavily on access to facebook and now Twitter, that without it we feel bored and lost. Zuckerberg changed the generation, Facebook has many users in many different locations that span the globe, all because he had the will to spend the time in his dorm room figuring out codes and creatively figuring out what people want.

There are times through out this film where the insanity of today’s world is captured perfectly. We live in a fast paced, take no prisoner’s kind of world. We live in the type of world where people get left behind as Mark says to Eduardo. Fincher creates a film about university students, living the life working towards something, but he also captures the downright nastiness of people these days. Mark was even willing to stab his best friend in the back to make what is essentially his idea become a reality, even though Eduardo had been there with him the whole way. Fincher not only creates potentially a candidate for best picture at next years Academy Awards ceremony, but he creates a film that in 10 or 15 years time will be the film that defines this generation.

Take what you want from the Social Network, perhaps it will turn you off of social networking, but for me all it does it is reinforce how dependent we all are on having these means at our disposal. In the end the Zuckerberg that is displayed on screen will not change my views on Facebook, it shows me that there was a lot of hard work and dedication involved in making the website. We cannot hate it for becoming a means to make money and a corporation, because that is the intent of everything we use in our day to day lives. There is no point in boycotting facebook for doing what every other corporation does.

Everything about this picture is definitely flat-out awesome. Eisenberg is ferocious as Zuckerberg, he creates a character that is interesting and engaging. Garfield plays Saverin wonderfully as well. Eduardo seems to be the innocent victim in Marks grand scheme of making all the profits of facebook. These two have such an interesting dynamic on screen. You can instantly feel a connection through the flashback scenes, yet in the dramatic interrogation scenes you can see that there is something that tore them apart, and you are dreading watching it happen. This film breezes by, it is starting and finishing before you even know it. Enjoy the entire film. The Social Network is definitely a film going experience you do not want to pass up.

Gage: Mr. Zuckerberg, do I have your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: [stares out the window] No.
Gage: Do you think I deserve it?
Mark Zuckerberg: [looks at the lawyer] What?
Gage: Do you think I deserve your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: I had to swear an oath before we began this deposition, and I don't want to perjure myself, so I have a legal obligation to say no.
Gage: Okay - no. You don't think I deserve your attention.
Mark Zuckerberg: I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try - but there's no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention - you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing.
Mark Zuckerberg: Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

0 comments, Reply to this entry


Posted : 7 years, 9 months ago on 8 October 2010 11:14 (A review of Chloe)

Catherine (Moore) plans a surprise birthday part for her husband David (Neeson) to which he calls and says he has missed his flight and wont be home until the morning. The next day Catherine looks at his phone and he receives a text from a girl thanking him for the previous night. Catherine is furious, but still does not quite know how to approach the situation, that is until she meets the mysterious and sexy Chloe (Seyfried) and she asks Chloe to see how her husband acts. Chloe comes back saying David was more than a little flirty but wouldn’t go through with anything. Catherine asks Chloe to keep meeting her husband and eventually Chloe tell Catherine very descriptive sexual encounters between her and David. Catherine becomes drawn to these tales as the only form of sexual contact with her husband and Chloe becomes drawn to Catherine in what becomes an unhealthy manner.

Chloe is a film where the plot is centered on human emotion being trust. Catherine does not trust her husband, which is evident when she gets Chloe to seduce him over and over. What takes it one step further is Catherine does not seem to be completely angry with these stories but aroused by them. Chloe has a lot of sexual tension, a lot of graphic description as well as many sex scenes. This movie combines sex with plot and substance as well as development. For a film that is about 80 % sexual description and or sexually based scenes this film has a surprising amount of plot development and character movement. These characters are far from bland, for from one Dimensional. They feel what these actors are able to show as genuinely real emotion.

Chloe is displayed as a mysterious sexual person. We know little about Chloe, no background information, no current information other than she is rather sexual in her day to day life. As the film progresses and Chloe begins to fall for Catherine, which is where the film takes its turn.Catherine and Chloe begin to see each other in a different, and Chloe makes a move on Catherine who initially rejects the move but ultimately succumbs to Chloe’s seduction.

What this film does so well is make the build up real as well as suspenseful, leaving some room for creativity. It takes us in one entire direction only to throw us for a complete loop, a loop that eventually does become visible if you watch closely, but still intriguing none the less. This film keeps you engaged with the struggles of these characters, their inner emotional struggles. It has a mixture of romance and lust if that is your cup of tea, and if you like detailed descriptive sexual scenes, this film is definitely for you. It could be considered a softcore porn, as there is enough fake looking sex scenes through out the run time.

Liam Neeson was a bit underused until the final confrontation, where his character has a chance to explode emotionally giving Neeson full usage of the emotional range scale. But at times his meagre attempts to act all innocent seem doomed to fail (yet we get it only after the final outcome). Moore does a fantastic job, playing the confused, angry wife. Her chemistry with Seyfried was what made the film watchable. The interactions between the characters was at first mysterious, interesting to say the least and then after a while it became something more, a story of two people who embrace each other. These characters were exactly what they needed to be, nothing more nothing less and that’s acceptable for todays standards.

Chloe: I guess I've always been pretty good with words. In my line of business. It's as important to be able to describe what I'm doing as it is to do what I'm doing. When to say what. What words to select.
Chloe: Some men hate to hear certain terms. They can't stand specific moves and then they can't live without others. It's part of my job to know where to place my hand, my lips, my tongue, my leg and even my thoughts.
Chloe: What kind of pressure, for how long, when to stop. I can become your first kiss... or a torn out image from a Playboy magazine that you found when you were 9 years old.
Chloe: Am I your secretary or am I your daughter? Maybe I'm your seventh grade math teacher you always hated. All I know is that if I do it just right, I can become your living, breathing, unflinching dream, and then I can actually disappear.

Chloe is a lot more likeable than initially thought, at first I watched this simply to pass the afternoon away, but before long I was drawn to the film, to the characters, to the emotions and most of all to the performances. Watch it at your own discretion, because this film has a lot of sexual scenes, but they do help further the plot which is one thing beneficial about them.

0 comments, Reply to this entry

Insert image

drop image here
(or click)
or enter URL:
 link image?  square?

Insert video

Format block