November 22, 2011


Armageddon is a 1998 film starring Bruce Willis Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler, and directed by Michael Bay. I think a lot of you will be familiar with the film, as it was a box office success, earning more than half a billion dollars.

When I was watching the film, I had flashback of the movie "2012" which was released , I think, in 2010. I believe the premise of the two films are very similar in the sense that it tackles the issue of extinction of the human race due to the collapse of the planet earth. I must say, that out of all the films about "the end of the world," (I must admit that I haven't seen a whole lot of them) Armageddon provoked the most, let's say, emotions. I think Armageddon is one of the better films in this genre. According to my research, the film did not receive positive feedbacks from critics. Well, they are the experts; but, I didn't find that much fault in the film. To be honest, the only thing that bothered me, just a little, was some of the acting. I am not saying this because I thought the acting was bad, but some of the scenes felt awkward, or not as believable or effective as it should have been. But that constitutes a very tiny portion of the film.

As a whole, I thought the feel was superbly done. The effects, the lighting, the background sounds all worked well for a film. I am not claiming to be a real critic who is expert on such things. All I am saying is that the lighting and the sounds added intensity to the film. It worked very well especially in the scenes where it was most dramatic, in my opinion.

I've always been a huge fan of Bruce Willis but seeing his performance on this particular one made me respect him even more. I firmly believe that he is one of the best actors in the industry. I think if I didn't know how the story was going to play out, I think I might have felt a deep sorrow during the scene where he was "breaking his promise" to his daughter. As I have said two posts ago, in my entry regarding the movie "The Town," I am also a fan of Ben Affleck. It was weird but also interesting to see him act in this film because all of the movies I've seen that starred him were released in the 2000s. Although 1998 is very near the 2000s, one can still notice some differences in his performances. This is the first time I've seen Liv Tyler perform because I haven't seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy ( I know how sad this is). She's a very beautiful woman! Even the supporting characters were memorable for me. This does not happen often - me remembering even the minor characters. I specifically like how even the supporting characters have a definite background story.

If ever you read this, I suggest you buy the DVD of this film. It is very enjoyable, smart, and sometimes, dramatic (just the right amount though). It is also an interesting idea to see how disaster films were made more than a decade ago. If you are looking for a film to watch on a rainy afternoon, I definitely recommend this one.

If you have seen the film and have any thoughts, share them!

November 16, 2011

Tower Heist

I just saw Tower Heist. It's a movie about a building manager wanting to get the money of his staff back after a business man took their pensions, and for some, savings. I think more than a movie, it reflects certain conditions on society: people working hard to earn enough to get by or to support a family(as depicted by Casey Affleck's character), people taking advantage of other people (as depicted by Alan Alda's character) and the people stuck in between. It has a social, and maybe a political, sense to it.

The beginning of the film, I must say, was really boring. I know the story was just starting to build up, but I almost fell asleep. I was talking to some friends and we all agreed that it was not a good film. One even commented that it was a waste of money.

However, as the film progressed, I think we all felt a 180 degree turn and found ourselves amused, to say the least, by the film. Personally, I thought the movie took off once Ben Stiller started planning about the heist. It was a typical planning stage: round up the people, create a strategic game plan, survey the area of interest, etc. However, its the funny dialogues that made it very entertaining. I am easily amused, so even the slightest hint of humor makes me laugh. One of the funniest scenes in the movie was the part when Ben Stiller invited Gabourey Sidibe to join the heist.

Josh (Stiller): "It's time to talk about the elephant in the room."
Odessa (Sidibe): "What did you just call me?"

I think more than the humor itself, I think it was the delivery of the lines, combined with their facial expressions, that cracked me up.

I didn't understand half of the things Eddie Murphy said, but i still enjoyed the film. To be completely honest, I think Eddie Murphy was a lot funnier before. I remember being a fan of "The Nutty Professor," and laughing so hard because he really was a great comedy actor. Having said that, I think Murphy, looking at his recent works, is not as bad as other people perceive him. I still find him funny; maybe not as funny as before, but still funny. I just thought I'd put it out there.

After the movie took off, I found it highly entertaining. I was laughing out loud during some parts of the film. Overall, I thought it was a good film. Aside from a rather slow start, I really liked the film. I actually wish the movie was longer, as I thought the movie could have elaborated (in a film sense) more on some things. But, I guess it was still a good ending to a good movie.

November 08, 2011

The Town

I have just finished watching The Town, the 2010 film starring Ben Affleck; and I must say that I was very impressed. I knew I wanted to watch The Town the moment I knew about it. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch it on the big screen because of a whole set of factors; and now, I'm regretting it. I wish I was able to go to the cinema and watched it there. Ben Affleck, also the director the film, created an action packed film that also had a striking story line.

The film revolved around Douglas MacRay, a bank robber, and the conflicts surrounding his life in Charlestown. I was a little worried when I saw the opening scene because I thought that it would be just an ordinary bank robbery scene, just like in the other movies; and it was. However, although the scene was very predictable, I still did not feel like I've seen it before since it included other elements that established the main conflict of the whole movie in that scene. It is in this scene that MacRay met Claire, the bank manager. The aftermath of the opening scene is developed through the interaction of the different characters which created even more conflicts. There was a conflict between MacRay and his best friend, Jem Coughlin, when the latter discovered that MacRay was going out with Claire, the bank manager of the bank they robbed. There were also instances when MacRay wanted to quit and leave Charlestown, which, again, caused more conflicts when "the florist" threatened to kill Claire if Doug did not participate in another heist. The way the film made these characters interact, in my opinion, helped build a stronger story line and, in effect, a stronger movie. 

The drama/romance part of the film between Doug and Claire was well planned and executed. I did not think that it was overdone which made me appreciate this aspect of the film. The story lines and the dialogue had a continuous flow and had a clear direction. I think some scenes were a little predictable but it didn't matter looking at the movie as a whole.

The action parts of the movie were also intense and authentic. The thing that I noticed was the progression that happened in the three robberies they did. In the first one, the aim was to not hurt people and be as peaceful as possible. In the second one, guns were fired to escape, which signaled that the team was now ready to do whatever it takes. In the last one, there was a bloodshed where lives were taken. The last fighting scene was a highlight for me since it portrayed a realistic scenario in a very believable way. I was impressed how Affelck directed the action scenes and how each other played their part.

Speaking of actors, I think one of the big reasons why this film worked was the cast. They managed to assemble a very talented cast who were able to capture the essence of each character. The last movie I saw starring Ben Affleck was Daredevil, and this movie was a good way to see him on a film again. According to my research Jeremy Renner was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Jem Coughlin; and I believe he truly deserved the nomination. I recognized how evil Coughlin is, and that's a clear sign that Renner was able to portray the role in an effective manner. I did not know Rebecca Hall before seeing this film, but I am now looking forward to seeing her other films. I have to say that I did not like Blake Lively's performance in the beginning. I've seen Green Lantern, and, comparing her work there to her work in The Town, I found it odd that her performance was not working. However, towards the latter part of the film, she really did a convincing job, especially in the scene in the hospital where she talked to the FBI. Although they did not get much attention, I thought the performances of Slaine and Owen Burke as members of the gang were worth noticing.

I highly recommend this film. The film played with different elements throughout the film. I liked the concept of using the "sunny days" and Doug's father's line: "I'll see you again, this side or the other." When the father said it in the prison scene, I found it very smart. However, witnessing how they used it in the end of the film made me realize that the use of the line in the middle of the film was genius. That's the other thing about the movie, it had a stimulating ending that had an impact on me, as a viewer. If you're looking for a film to see, The Town is an excellent choice. I highly doubt anyone will be disappointed by it.

November 06, 2011

Citizen Kane

As a first entry for this site, I decided to share my opinions on the movie "Citizen Kane," which was released in 1941. The film is considered as the best film of all-time by the American Film Institute which placed Citizen Kane in the number one spot in its "100 Years...100 Movies," a list of the top 100 films which was released in 1998. In 2007, the film remained in the top spot in the updated version of the list during the 10th year celebration of the AFI ranking.

The film stars Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane, a character inspired by William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper publisher, businessman, and politician. Welles, who also served as the director and producer of the film, had the final cut privilege, which was unusual for new directors. Majority of the members of the cast in the film were also new in the business, as seen during the end credits when it was stated that Mercury Theater was proud to introduce their new actors. The film stirred controversy as Hearst prohibited theaters from running the film; which ultimately caused the failure of the film in the box-office.

The film revolved around the quest of Jerry Thompson, a reporter, to find out who "Rosebud" is after he found out that Kane's last word was "Rosebud." This was an interesting concept in my opinion as it provided the frame of the film without limiting it. Thompson conducted interviews with different people from Kane's life which opened the opportunity for flashbacks. The reporter's investigation reflected Kane's life from the latter's childhood, to his rise to power, to his last days. I found it pretty smart and realistic that the first person the reporter went to was Kane's second wife, Susan Alexander, since, theoretically. his wife would know a lot about Kane and might provide the answer who Rosebud is. (Kane's first wife was died in an accident with their only child.) What makes it smart for me was how the film decided to make it seem that Alexander did not want to cooperate at first in the reporter's quest. After Alexander's refusal to answer the Thompson's questions, he sought information through Kane's guardian during his childhood, which, in my opinion provided the film a better transition. It also allowed the film to explore the life of Kane as a child. The film then continues to develop by introducing the character of Kane and the influences that shaped him. The film showed Kane's ups and downs by projecting his success against his failures--his success financially and politically, and his failure in his love life and family, which I thought was a central part of the film. Thompson approached Alexander for another chance for an interview wherein the latter agreed to cooperate and revealed her perspective on Kane as a man and as her ex-husband. Xanadu, Kane's mansion, also appealed to me in a sense that it showed Kane's flaws. He was able to build a mansion and an empire, but was living in it alone, with only his servants. He had more than enough wealth but was not able to have anyone with him. As the song of The Beatles go, money can't buy anyone love; and it was reflected by the emptiness of Xanadu. The story of Kane slowly unfolded until the film revealed the twist concerning secret of Rosebud.

For a person who does not enjoy dramatic films, I greatly enjoyed the film. There were scenes which I thought were not too relevant, but as a whole, the film was well executed. The story line was also exciting, especially the revelation of Rosebud. I understand why the AFI named it as one of the best films of all-time; however, I do not completely agree with its position in the rankings. Although I found the film thrilling and refreshing since it provided a different kind of film experience, I still found it a little odd that the AFI named it number one. I could not think of a better movie to replace Citizen Kane in the top spot as of this moment, but I am sure I have enjoyed other films more than I've enjoyed Citizen Kane. However, again, I completely understand why the AFI placed it in the list because it really was a great film. The film played with different elements and created a balanced mixture of these elements. I do hope more people would know about the film and watch it. I am sure people will find it palatable, and would also recognize the merit and excellence of the film.