Write-Ups / Reviews: Films

The Hurt Locker

 (via movieinframes & google)



The Hurt Locker
dir: Kathryn Bigelow
cast: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Evangeline Lilly, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Guy Pearce

my 2nd time to watch it, finally got to finish it till the end. the film was released in ‘08, picked up in ‘09 and nominated by ‘10. allow me to rave about this film. nothing but good notes on this one. these are just my opinions so please respect mine as i would yours. cheers.

thoughts:
– the film was suspenseful from start to finish. the plot was interesting and the pacing seamless. no dull moments here.

– great writing. had a lot of heart. it tells of a team of intense complex characters facing war and their own individual battles. the story tackles ideas of life, family, courage and the perils of war.

– remarkable acting from the lead cast – Jeremy, Anthony & Brian. Jeremy deserved his Best Actor nod at the Oscars. convincing and heartfelt. as the audience, you would want to root for them. cameo appearances – Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes & David Morse did standout jobs. their presence were noticed yet didn’t upstage.

– cinematography was creative. handhelds & steady cams were used to have that guerilla-esque raw quality. the sporadic use of high-speed camera shots amongst the shaky shots were visual accents, if you will. i was glad to see there shots of simple intricacies in some scenes – a fly on an eyelash, droplets of water, extreme close-ups of actors’ eyes. beauty is in the details.

notable scene: the opening scene where 2 of the main characters help their leader disarm a bomb. compelling acting & heart-stopping cinematography – incredible.

– big whoop for Kathryn Bigelow. she’s the first woman to ever win Best Director at the Oscars & BAFTAS. *hollywood slow clap* she even beat out ex-husband (James Cameron) for the awards. talk about ex’s revenge. classy. haha.

recommendation: ★ this film will keep you at the edge of your seat. intense yet poetic. it’s not a war movie, but a movie about war and its in-betweens. watch it to see why it won numerous Academy Awards & BAFTAS including Best Cinematography & Best Picture.

Clash of the Titans / Dear John

Clash of the Titans
dir: Louis Leterrier
cast: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson, Pete Postlethwaite, Ralph Fiennes

my thoughts:
(no comparisons to the original movie)

i watch all kinds of movies. i don’t care if its action, comedy, horror, drama – as long as its a movie i’ll watch and analyze it. but i gotta admit, i just got throughly excited to watch this cos of the hot men. (just like when i watched Troy). there was nothing to analyze here. just. so. much. eye. candy. lol. Sam Worthington *starry eyed* oh my word.

this review didn’t take a long time to process but here are some of my more serious notes:
the stunts were okay, had i watched it in 3D, it would’ve been better, yes, but that doesn’t make up for the lackluster storyline & acting. i think that’s the trouble with watching a hyped up film, most of the time, it falls flat story-wise. with known acting veterans like Neeson & Fiennes matched up with rising stars Worthington, Arterton i was expecting a lot more from the acting. respectable efforts but it was a bit dull.

as far as the Greek mythology aspect of the story, it seemed to me that it was used only a backdrop for the whole story as opposed to being woven in to the story itself. my statement sounds a bit ambiguous but what i’m trying to express is that the film didn’t delve into the whole history of it. mythology can be beautifully intricate at times yet fully interesting but i didn’t get that vibe from the movie.

recommendation: ✔ great to watch with friends during one of your marathon night-outs. a summer popcorn movie, definitely.

Dear John
dir: Lasse Hallström
cast: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Henry Thomas, Richard Jenkins

(no comparisons to the novel)

before i watched this, was pretty skeptical because the last Nicholas Spark movie that i watched – Nights in Rodanthe, was quite a fail. but it’s good to know that Lasse directed the film. he’s known for directing critically-acclaimed What’s Eating Gilbert Grape & the Oscar-winning The Cider House Rules. both movies are poignant coming-of-age films about friendship, love, and family. so this movie is right up his alley.

the whole film was light in nature. it wasn’t really portrayed as an epic kind of teenage love story. had it been like that, i think it would’ve been too mushy of a love story. and it didn’t come across as obvious nor vague as to how John & Savannah’s relationship unfolded. but when it came to the dramatic scenes, the emotions were palpable.

one notable scene: John reads a letter to this father. that scene had me weeping.

respectable performances from both Channing & Amanda. the great thing about their chemistry was that it felt real. Richard Jenkins always impresses me. i’m also happy to see Henry Thomas again. you may not remember his name, but he’s the cute older brother of Drew Barrymore in E.T., it’s been years since i’ve seen him last in a film.

i absolutely fell in love with the soundtrack. with songs from Joshua Radin, Fink, Rachael Yamagata & Snow Patrol. just lovely.

recommendation: ♥ watch it when you’re in the mood for a bit of drama-romance and a bit of war action.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

dir: Terry Gilliam
cast: Heath Ledger, Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole, Verne Troyer (with Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell)

set in modern day England, Doctor Parnassus and his traveling theater group beguile their audience to enter a magical mirror and step into their own imaginations.

the story was intriguing and unpredictable. what is mainly dubbed as a fantasy film revealed itself to be dramatic yet very comical. with a group of quirky characters to portray, the actors served great performances.

Heath Ledger’s performance was outstanding. he captured the humanistic side of Tony. he varied his characterization of his role. in my observation, he even changes his accent almost every scene he’s in.Christopher Plummer & Tom Waits were such a joy to watch. i love their characters’ relentless rivalry. Andrew Garfield & Lily Cole’s performances were honest and comedic.


i was skeptical about Verne Troyer’s performance but he proved me wrong, he did good.

Johnny, Jude & Colin did Heath’s performance and role justice. well done.

the production effort – a wower.  art direction, set design are lush with deep hues & striking odd images. very creative. 

the camerawork, lighting, wardrobe, make-up. fantastic.


i would compare this to a live-action cartoon. at times, you’ll be amazed and other times you’ll question what the eff? but Terry’s world does not disappoint. Imaginarium has got the Gilliam stamp embossed on it. great casting, visually stunning and narratively interesting. he has outdone himself with this film.

if what i have said hasn’t convinced you enough, with a string of dashing talented men as the lead, who wouldn’t want to watch this film?

recommendation: ★ joking and fangirling digression aside, watch this if you want to take a visual-comedic-dramatic adventure. it’s not for everyone though. but i loved it. if you’re a fan of films, Terry Gilliam and/or Heath Ledger, best you see this. just excellent.

watch it up to the whimsical end credits roll.


bless your hearts.

these are just my opinions so please respect mine as i would yours. cheers.

The Uninvited / Orphan / The Great Buck Howard / Winged Creatures / The Cell


The Uninvited
dir: The Guard Brothers
cast: Emily Browning, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Banks, Arielle Kebbel

A Tale of Two Sisters? um, not so much. it was dull and dragging, and the thrill wasn’t really effective. so-so performance from Emily Browning. i think the only redeeming quality in the film was Charlotte Gainsbourg’s song was featured in one of the scenes.

on a side note, i think that Asian horror/thriller films (this past decade) are the best at the genre. but these American remakes… oy vey. but i do understand the want for the remakes but, somehow the horror gets lost in translation so to speak.


Orphan
dir: Jaume Collet-Serra
cast: Isabelle Furhman, Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard

this was better than watching The Uninvited that’s for sure. though the storyline was predictable and the twist was, well, pretty twisted, but the acting was fantastic. Isabelle as Esther scared the shit out of me.


The Great Buck Howard
dir: Sean McGinly
cast: John Malkovich, Colin Hanks, Emily Blunt,

it was so fun to watch John playing a quirky washed out mentalist magician. the film is charming and endearing. i’m not much of a fan of Colin Hanks’ movies, except for Orange Country and this film.


Winged Creatures
dir: Rowan Woods
cast: Dakota Fanning, Forest Whitaker, Guy Pearce, Kate Beckinsale, Josh Hutcherson, Jennifer Hudson, Jeanne Tripplehorn, James Jackie Early, Embeth Davidtz

good ensemble cast. the story was compelling though the film wasn’t.


The Cell
dir: Tarsem Singh
cast: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio

this was visually-stunning in every sense of the word. twas like moving art. cinematography, production design. just… ugh. wow.

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
dir: Isao Takahata

older brother Seita takes responsibility and care of little sister Setsuko as they struggle to survive in war-stricken Japan during the 1940’s.

thoughts:

this is the first animated war film i’ve ever watched. i was very impressed with the way this film had an effect on me. and what was most surprising to me, as a war film, it didn’t capitalize on exploiting violence or gore. it remained its focus on the lead characters. (did some research on the genre, it’s called Anti-war).

i liked the simplicity of the main characters and the direction of the story. the complexities came in the form of their drastic situations & the people Seita & Setsuko encountered.

the best moments of the film were of Seita & Setsuko enjoying life and each other’s company. enjoying simple pleasures – like catching fireflies or eating Sakuma candy drops.

  

notable scenes: Setsuko digging up a grave for the fireflies. at the police station when Setsuko consoles Seita.

being that this film was made in 1988, the animation was way ahead of its time (which is expected of Japanese animation – brilliant pioneers). the film felt natural in way. twas like i was watching actors portraying characters who just happen to be animated.

a beautifully scored soundtrack by Michio Mamiya. the placement of compositions were effective in heightening pivotal scenes.

recommendation: ★ a beautiful and poignant animated film. it reminds you of the power of perseverance, persistance & pure love. whether you’re a fan of animated family dramas or not, this is a must watch. if those Pixar films have made you cry, i’m pretty sure this will have you bawling like a baby.

thanks to Ian for recommending this to me. i love it! let’s watch Waltz with Bashir, next.

these are just my opinions so please respect mine as i would yours. cheers.

Brothers / She’s Out of My League / The Machinist / Brideshead Revisited / Sherlock Holmes

Brothers
dir: Jim Sheridan
cast: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman

the cast was great but what an outstanding performance from Tobey. i dont know how he could have internalize so much without being affected by it. deserved his GGlobe nod.

a surprising performance from young Bailee Madison who plays Isabel, Sam & Grace’s older daughter.

the pacing was slow at first but picked up soon enough. i wouldn’t say this is Jim Sheridan’s best cos i still prefer his old stuff – specially In The Name of the Father. but his storytelling style and themes are still there.

notable scene: when Sam (Tobey Maguire) goes ballistic in the kitchen.

soundtrack by U2. most notably a lovely song called “Winter”. which also received a nod

recommendation: ☹  touching yet intense drama. watch it if you feel like having a cry.

———————



She’s Out of My League
dir: Jim Field Smith
cast: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve

Jay Baruchel was adorable. loved him ever since back in the day.. Popular Mechanics for Kids, anyone? haha. he plays shy guy airport security officer Kirk who meets Molly (Alice Eve). didn’t realize that Alice Eve starred in Starter for 10 too.

anyway, back to the movie.. the dialogue was absolutely hilarious. i loved the quips. there a lot of funny quotable one-liners from the movie.

the character i liked most was Devon – Kirk’s friend who likes to make references to classic Disney movies.


“You know what this reminds me of? The moment where Aladdin meets Princess Jasmine.”

a cute love story without it trying hard to be laugh out loud funny. it just is. i love Stainer’s Hall & Oates cover band called “Adult Education” hahaha. what a winner.

notable scenes: the “fuck you!” family dinner w/ Kirk & his family. and the scene when Kirk met Molly’s parents for the first time.

soundtrack is a good mix of bands/artists – Bill Withers, Tal Bachman, Black Kids, James Morrison

recommendation: ☺ great fun. if you wanna have a laugh with your friends, watch it.

————————


The Machinist (El Maquinista)
dir: Brad Anderson
cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh

finally got to watch this film after wanting to for um… 6 years.

the unrecognizable Christian Bale gives a well done performance, as usual, in this film. i bow to his dedication to lose a lot of weight (60+ lbs i think) for his role. he was so creepy.

notable scenes: Trevor Reznik (Bale) is in the bathroom poking fun at his weight.

the pacing was gradual. good cinematography. i like the muted palette.

the film is gritty & perplexing. the story, gripping. the reveal at the end gave me goosebumps. i love these kinds of films. i love when i go “ahhhh…” while watching them.

recommendation: ★ great psychological thriller. watch it if you’re not feeling sleepy.

————————


Brideshead Revisited (2008)
dir: Julian Jarrold
cast: Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Emma Thompson, Hayley Atwell, Michael Gambon

i haven’t watched the tv series version of this yet which came out first before the film. the story reminded me of Atonement. but the thing is, Brideshead lacked story depth to make me empathize with the characters. since it was a series previously, i think the film tried to compress (and omit parts of) the storyline so that it would still be cohesive for a feature film.

great acting from the cast. cinematography, costumes, locations – i love.

recommendation: ♛ watch it if you like period films. if not, then rather you skip this one.

———————-


Sherlock Holmes (2009)
dir: Guy Ritchie
cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong

RDJ was brilliant in this. then i thought – Chaplin, Iron Man, Kirk Lazarus.. the man could do no wrong. love him.

the Holmes-Watson bromance was funny and charming.

the Guy Ritchie style is very much apparent and embedded in the whole film. the best Sherlock Holmes version i’ve watched so far.

 

bare-knuckle boxing, so Guy Ritchie. the action in any of his films is packed with awesomeness, this is no different. the high-speed shots as always, brilliant.

great end credits. good scoring.

recommendation: ★ a thoroughly enjoyable movie. RDJ is the definition of a very sexy Sherlock Holmes. watch it when you need a dose of Downey Jr & Ritchie.

Inception





dir: Christopher Nolan
cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Dileep Rao, Tom Berenger & MIchael Caine

quite delayed but obligatory post. will keep my thoughts short and sweet cos to understand and fully appreciate the beauty of this film, one has to watch it.

great directing, cinematography, casting, screenwriting, acting and musical scoring, wardrobe, editing, special effects.. (basically, the whole lot).

the attention to detail is brilliant – narrative, dialogue, choice of shots, etc.

cinematography – Wally Pfister, you do not cease to amaze me.

scoring – gave me proper chills. it embodied and enhanced the film in so many ways. yay for Mr. Zimmer!


ensemble cast – love them! i’m glad all of them performed well as expected.


oh how i love you. good god Chris how do you do it? i’m so intrigued with what’s going on in your head. well whatever it is, keep thinking it.. makes for amazing films. godlbess you and your sexy intricate mind.

recommendation: ♥★ absolutely breathtaking. whether you’re a fan of the people involved in this film or not, please do watch it. the film is richly insightful and engaging. you’d be a fool to miss this in the cinema.


omg so cute. happiness!

Public Enemies / City of Ember / Primal Fear / Bonneville / Ne Le Dis A Personne (Tell No One)


Public Enemies
dir: Michael Mann
cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard

as expected, great acting from the lead & supporting cast. i like the cinematography & editing. the film has an emotional core that surpasses John’s infamy and would make you care about the characters. a notable scene for me was the last scene with Billie (Marion’s character) crying when she learned what had happened to John.

recommendation: ★ watch it if you want to learn about John Dillinger.


City of Ember
dir: Gil Kenan
cast: Saoirse Ronan, Bill Murray, Harry Treadway, Tim Robbins

the film had a great concept. the production design was the standout in the film. unfortunately, the storyline failed to impress. the acting was sufficient, it sort of redeemed the dragging story and kept me interested.

recommendation: ☁ watch it if you’re a Bill Murray fan. he’s pretty funny in this one.


Primal Fear
dir: Gregory Hoblit
cast: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand

i couldn’t remember if i have watched this already or not. when i did get a chance to see it again, it refreshed my memory — Richard Gere is good in portraying sly criminal defense lawyers. Laura Linney is still one of those should-win-more-awards-but-flies-too-under-the-radar actresses. last but not least, Edward Norton’s performance was phenomenal.

recommendation: ★ watch this to see Ed Norton’s acting.


Bonneville
dir: Christopher N. Rowley
cast: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen, Tom Skerritt, Christine Baranski

the story & characters were mediocre. the direction of the storyline was predictable. this film had the acting assets, but wasn’t utilized in the right way. it lacked depth, respectable efforts though. but the film just didn’t keep me interested.

recommendation: ☁ watch it if you want you have nothing else to do.

Ne Le Dis A Personne (Tell No One)
dir: Guillaume Canet
cast: Francois Cluzet, Marie-Josee Croze, Andre Dusollier, Kristin Scott-Thomas

been wanting to watch this film for about a year now. well, it was definitely worth the wait. the film was clever and intruiging. the story was compelling. great acting from Francois Cluzet — he’s like the French Dustin Hoffman. he managed to show sincerity & honesty in an action/thriller film. reminded me of Dustin in Moonlight Mile. i love the cinematography & musical score.

recommendation: ★ watch it if you like intelligent thrillers.

Gran Torino



dir: Clint Eastwood
cast: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley, John Carroll Lynch

i accidentally got to watch this last night cos my tv was on as background sound. i must admit, was pretty skeptical about watching this. my friend, Pat and i dubbed Clint’s his fairly recent directorial films (namely Letters from Iwo Jima & Flags of Our Fathers) as “Snoozefests”.

a brief synopsis of the film:
Walt (Eastwood) is an impertinent widower war veteran who’s recently coming to terms with the loss of his wife & burdens of his past. due to a sudden turn of events that occur involving his Gran Torino, he slowly becomes friends with his Hmong neighbors Sue (Her) & Thao (Vang) in a growing Asian neighborhood. things turn for the worst when Walt’s new friends are forced into gang-related violence and decides to take action as revenge while putting a stop to more bloodshed.

thoughts:
a bunch of surprises.

– surprisingly, i didn’t sleep while watching movie. perhaps it was also cos i was busy working on something while watching.
– the subject of the film is quite heavy in nature – it deals with racism, gang violence, generation gaps & unlikely friendships. but some dialogue & scenes are light and quite funny.

one notable scene: Walt teaches Thao how to talk like a man with Martin in his barber shop. it goes…
Walt: [to Thao] now you go out and come back in and talk to him like a REAL man. come on! get your ass outta here. come on back now.
Thao: [to Martin] what’s up ya old Italian prick?
Martin: [points rifle to Thao] get out of my shop before i blow your head off, you goddamn dick sucker!
Walt: [to Thao] have you lost your mind?
Thao: but that’s what you said. that’s what you said real men say.
Walt: you don’t just come in and insult the man in his own shop! you just don’t do that.

– acting was surprising as well – young actors Bee Vang & Ahney Her gave good performances. Clint as usual was great playing a grumpy washed up old man. i dunno why but he’s good playing those kinds of roles lately.
– at first you’ll see the storyline is quite simple. but further on into the film, the characters and relationships are revealed to be complex.

recommendation: ☹ a bit of a tear-jerker. Clint is a badass with a heart of gold. watch it if you want some heavy drama and some “awww” moments.

these are just my opinions so please respect mine as i would yours. cheers.

Nine



(photos via Tumblr)

Nine
dir: Rob Marshall
cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Fergie, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman & Sophia Loren

was excited to watch this cos i’m a fan of musicals, Rob Marshall and the whole cast. now with Rob at the helm + a stellar cast who can all sing and dance, you’d think this’d be the makings of movie musical gold. darnit, it breaks my heart to say but i was quite disappointed. first time i watched it, i got bored halfway. then i tried to convince myself to like it so i watched it a 2nd time. and i did kind of change my mind about it.

overall, i liked the film. at the start, it looks captivating but as the film progresses, it got monotonous – in pacing, dialogue, acting. i say this with no disrespect to the late great Mr. Anthony Minghella (who co-wrote the screenplay). it was tolerable for the most part, but some parts were just bland for my liking. though i was highly amused with the flamboyant musical numbers.

i think Daniel Day-Lewis wasn’t the best choice to play lead Guido Contini. yes he understood and expressed the struggles of the character (even pulling off a convincing Italian accent) but he lacked that charisma that made Guido irresistible to his women. would’ve loved to have seen Antonio Banderas play him instead (he starred in the broadway revival).

notable acting performances: Marion Cotillard who plays Guido’s resilient yet long-suffering wife. Penelope Cruz who plays his lovestruck mistress. Judi Dench who plays his wise friend and film costume head. surprising musical performances from Kate Hudson (plays an American writer) & Fergie (plays a whore).

cinematography, amazing. i was in awe. every shot was a portrait. i loved the black & white cutaways thoroughly woven into scenes and musical numbers.


production design – costumes, make-up, theatrical lighting. hands down, soo effin fabulous.

notable scenes: musical numbers that had the most pizzazz and style

“A Call from the Vatican”

“Cinema Italiano”

“Be Italian”

recommendation: ♬ the concept of a highly stylized movie musical was realized. watch it if you are a fan of musicals. like it or not? guess you just have to watch it to judge for yourself.

these are just my opnions so please respect mine as i would yours. cheers.

Atame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) / Cache


Atame! [Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!] (1990)
dir: Pedro Almodovar
cast: Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril

the film has a subtle sinister tone to it. a clever mixture of dark wit and sensitive passion. Pedro wrote a brilliant character in the form of the disarmingly charming Ricky, portrayed brilliantly by none other than Antonio Banderas. this role truly shows his intensity and talent. on a technical note, i love the lighting used in this film. reminds me of theater lighting.

recommendation: ★ if you like Almodovar’s work and are aged 18 on up, its a must-watch. it’s a sensitive thriller (if that even makes sense) and Antonio Banderas is captivating to watch.


Caché [Hidden] (2005)
dir: Michael Haneke
cast: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Maurice Benichou

the film is eerie and haunting in a how-did-i-get-scared-when-there’s-nothing-to-get-scared-about way. the plot is greatly intruiging. it delves and discusses society, our mistakes and frailties.

the great aspect about the film is that it forces you to pay full and utmost attention so that you can understand it as a whole. you can’t really miss a beat because you’ll be losing valuable evidence.

after watching, some of the questions i had in my mind remained unanswered. it baffled me. was analyzing every single detail. the film was very effective in that sense. it definitely leaves room for relentless discussions.

recommendation: ★ most definitely everyone must see this. another intelligent thriller. it may or may not be to everyone’s liking but it will keep you thinking.

Things We Lost In The Fire / Remember Me


 (photos via tumblr & google)
Things We Lost in the Fire
dir: Susanne Bier
cast: Halle Berry, Benicio del Toro, David Duchovny

was kind of half-watching this on HBO cos i was working on something but nevertheless here are my (very) quick thoughts:

– film was slow paced but generally the performances carry it through
– it was dramatic but not to the point of melodrama
– notable acting from Halle (as Audrey) a widow whose husband, Brian (David Duchovny), was best friends with recovering addict Jerry (played by Benicio). great acting from Benicio.

notable scene:  Jerry helps Dory put his head underwater, something the boy has feared since he was very young.

recommendation: ☹ a touching family drama. watch it for tender scenes between Jerry & Audrey’s kids.

———



Remember Me
dir: Allen Coulter
cast: Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, Ruby Jerins

chose to watch this out of random selection. my thoughts:

– a character-driven story about love, tragedy, longing and dysfunctional family relationships. the characters are not sugar-coated nor exaggerated. they’re relatable and endearing in way.

– notable acting from Rob’s. it’s a step up and a far cry from being the glazed Edward character in Twilight. i’m not a Twilight fan. but there’s potential in Rob’s performance in this film.

– Pattinson (as Tyler) & de Ravine’s (as Ally) chemistry is believable. those moments between them were more sweet than mushy, and at times intense.

– supporting cast: Cooper, Brosnan were commendable, as expected. Chris plays Ally’s uptight and over-protective father. Pierce as Tyler’s workaholic absentee father.

– i liked the character of Caroline (Ruby Jerins) – Tyler’s sister & confidante. a kid with an old soul. i saw much of my childhood in Caroline.

notable scene: when Tyler walks in and interrupts his father’s business meeting to show him a portrait that Caroline drew of him.

– as for the ending, some people disliked it. yes it was quite the twist but i think that event at the end linked the event that occurred at the start of the film. it may have been too profound, and not the best ending, guess that’s the way the story had to go to reach a compelling conclusion.

– i didn’t expect myself to cry but by the end i was bawling.

– must not forget to commend the soundtrack. tracks from the likes of Sparklehorse, Sigur Ros, Ani DiFranco. awesome.

recommendation: ☹ personally, some of the elements in the story are closely parallel to my past life experiences. this movie now has a special place in my heart. watch it if you’re feeling pensive and slightly bruised.

Shutter Island


Shutter Island
dir: Martin Scorsese
cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow, Emily Mortimer, Jackie Earle Haley, Ted Levine, John Carroll Lynch, Elias Koteas, Patricia Clarkson

– Marty (may i call you that, dear sir?) Scorsese has put together good character actors. great acting from this ensemble. i particularly commend Leo’s acting in this film. he’s one of those almost-there-but-not-quite-enough-to-win-an-Oscar-but-really-deserves-to actors. he did a respectable job in carrying this film. he’s also one of those adept actors when it comes to accents. in this case, it was a thick Bostonian accent. i don’t know about you but that accent is pretty hard to pull off. his performance here is an addition to his already established resume.

– the story line is intriguing cos bit by bit you get lured into trying to figure out what’s the story is really about and where it’s going. halfway (err, not even) into the film, if you don’t ask yourself, “what’s going on already? i really wanna know!” then the film hasn’t really affected you and prompted you to think. just like the story line, the dialogue was also perplexing at times.

– there are moments in the film that are so subtly creepy. the acting together with music & eerie sounds gave me goosebumps.

– cinematography (by Robert Richardson) brilliant work. the production design, in particular, in the dream sequences were fantastic, so were the special effects.

notable scenes: Teddy’s (DiCaprio) dream sequence of his wife (Williams) in the living room. also, the raid of the office of a Nazi general.

recommendation: ★ watch this if you want to get your mind thinking and get creeped out at the same time. he’s not Martin Scorsese for nothing. and this film does not disappoint. brilliant.

Kick-Ass


Kick-Ass
dir: Matthew Vaughn
cast: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz, Nicholas Cage

– the actors were hilarious. i ♥ Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass). he is sooo adorkable. cos i’m used to seeing him play more serious roles and he did a good American accent. Christopher “McLovin” Mintz-Plasse (Red Mist) is funny playing the eloquent yet goofy Chris D’Amico. Chloe Moretz (Hit Girl) is a tween badass. only realized later on that she played Tom’s sister in 500 Days of Summer, she was funny there too. Nicholas Cage (Big Daddy) has his funny moments and did an okay job all-around. i say this because i think he could’ve done a bit more with his character.

one notable scene: Hit Girl’s blackout fight scene. wow. may i be so bold as to say that that was one of the most theatrical fight scenes i’ve seen yet. it’s right up there with John Woo’s, Guy Ritchie’s & Tarantino’s fight scenes. Hit Girl was like the mini-version of The Bride (Kill Bill), in for the kill. Quentin would be proud. haha.

– the stunts were bloody, gritty and raw. combined with the cinematography, it reminded me of Ritchie’s style in Lock, Stock.. and Snatch. which incidentally director Matthew Vaughn produced. technically, the cinematography was good. some of the scene transitions were clever.  the comic-book 3D thingamajiggy animation scene was cool. loved the comic book-ish swooshy sound effects they used in particular scenes.

– speaking of sounds, the soundtrack is stellar. featuring old & new acts – The Prodigy, Primal Scream, Elvis Presley, Ellie Goulding, Mika & The Pretty Reckless. the placement of songs in the movie is notable as well.

recommendation: ★ this movie is a whole batch of awesomesauce. it had a clever balance of action and witty yet endearing comedy. if you don’t have a really sensitive gag reflex for violence, gore & explicit dialogue, knock yourself out with this one. haha. it lived up to its movie title. best to watch with friends.

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