July 31, 2012


I feel like I should tell the story of what happened when I saw this movie. I have just arrived in another country and met with my sister. We went straight to grab some lunch and go around town. Then at midnight, they decided to watch this movie. At the time, I had absolutely no idea what the movie was about, or how the story would go. I was dead tired and I had no strength to even question the movie. When we went inside, I fell asleep almost immediately, coming from a long flight, and hours of touring, I just couldn't resist. Fortunately, I woke up just minutes into the film. Nothing more than 5 minutes I think. The movie started late so I was able to nap and wake up in time for the movie. Within seconds, my body forgot all about how tired I was or how much I needed to sleep. I became wide awake, energy rushing through my body because it was impossible not to be pumped by it.

There's a little story I thought I'd include here. Nothing to do with a movie review but I thought it was a nice story to share. Moving on, here's the start of the review. As mentioned, I found the movie energizing, mostly because of the thrills that came along with it. To give a brief background, although I'm sure most, if not all, of you are familiar with it, the movie was about a man who went on a quest to save his daughter from the men who abducted her while she was visiting Europe. Being the aweome kick-ass secret agent that he was, he was able to locate the whereabouts of the culprits, although (SPOILER) of course, they had to wait til the end of the movie before he could see her daughter. To be honest, I wish it took just a little bit longer. I did want the girl to be saved, but Liam Neeson was just doing well in defeating every member of the gang that I wanted to see him in action more. He was fit for the role and he did what the visionaries conceptualized justice. He embodied that vision.

Right after watching the movie, still without proper sleep, I spent hours on the internet trying to find fun facts about the movie, researching every single detail about the movie, including the actors, and reading tons of articles about it. I was addicted to the movie and even though my body was begging for rest, I just couldn't give in. I was really getting my self drowned with all the info. It's amazing to look back to that film and see how much Maggie Grace has evolved. She's not the same girl now. She's had a great transformation and I found her more appealing now, and I'm not just talking about her extremely good looks. But she's more mature now and it's very evident that she's honed her talents to become a better actress.

Liam Neeson was perfect in every single aspect. He was believable as a worried father, but at the same time he also embodied the true spirit of a man of action. I liked the element of the film that made him a standout individual.The movie built him up as a first-class spy, and throughout the movie, he constantly proved it. Usually with spies, we think of gadgets and guns. He's not that kind of spy. He's one of those hard-hitting, intelligent, and motivated spies who didn't need to have huge toys to eliminate the enemies. With all the movies I've seen of Liam Neeson, I've never admired him more than I did in Taken. I respected him as an actor, as a man, and as an all-around individual. He became the definition of a believable performance. His tough appeal worked very well with it, but it was his delivery of the action scenes just made me pity those up against him.

The plot of the movie moved forward with its own pace. It never rushed anything to a point that the audience would no longer savor it, but not too slow either that the audience might get bored. It made sure that as the film was developing, the members of the audience are aware of everything. It kept a little mystery to spice things up, but made everything clear for the audience to maximize the enjoyment. If you thin about it, there's nothing exceptional with the general plot of the movie. Any other movie could have used the plot. In fact, I'm pretty sure a lot of movies had used it. What set this movie apart was the execution and the directing. Pierre Morel had a plan, and he stuck with that plan and everything worked. It was organized, but it was still dangerous. It also featured some scenes I never thought I'd see in a movie which made me appreciate what I was watching even more.

The movie was a little too violent, but with that level of quality, it's a little hard to care. I was just too focused on how the story was developing and how the father was trying to save his daughter. I think that's the thing. The movie demanded attention and focus from the viewers by presenting an undeniable presence. Every single second of the movie mattered. Every single second of it was planned. Every single second of it was amazing. The movie didn't have a single flaw in my perspective because it was able to deliver. The direction of the whole thing, and the choreography of the action sequences seemed like it was spoiling me with all the good stuff. Maybe that's the word. This movie spoiled me with its incredible cinematography and relentless effort to satisfy its viewers. I feel like this movie achieved everything it set out to do.

I know there will be a Taken 2 and no one can imagine my excitement for this movie. I would say that 2 is the farthest I can see them go. Anything beyond that, I feel, will tarnish whatever the first two films will build. I've seen the trailer of the sequel and I am still impressed by it. If a trailer can impress me that much, I just know the movie will be good. Right after watching the movie, I hoped there would be a sequel, and now it is finally happening and I can only do so much to contain my excitement. I'm thinking if it's possible to surpass what the first movie has done. It is possible bu tit will be tough. If the second movie turns out even greater than the first, I just know it will be one of my all time favorite movies. After a very long review, my main point is: the movie is exceptional, phenomenal, and very practical. It was great! As I typed that, I realized how calling it great is such an understatement. It was more than great. It was a one of a kind experience.

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July 30, 2012

Friends With Benefits

Friends With Benefits was a 2011 romantic comedy movie starring Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Woody Harrelson, Jenna Elfman, and Richard Jenkins with the appearances of Emma Stone, Andy Samberg and Bryan Greenberg. It was directed by Will Gluck, who also co-wrote the screenplay with three other people. The movie was well-received, and became a box-office hit earning almost 150 million.

I had 5 reasons to watch this movie: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, and Bryan Greenberg. I've seen the works of these 5, and although I liked JT as an artist, his performance Social Network really impressed me. Mila Kunis gained widespread recognition for her role in Black Swan, or at least that's when I frist heard her name, and when I saw her I realized how charismatic she is. That charisma made me want to watch her other movies, icluding this one. Jenna Elfman was part of one of my favorite movies, Keeping the Fait. It was nice to see how she's transformed nearly 10 years after the release of Keeping the Faith. Woody Harrelson made me a fan in Zombieland and The Hunger Games and I don't think I need to explain why he's awesome. As for Bryan Greenberg, I've also seen some of his work, both in film and television. I would have included Emma Stone in te list, but I didn't know she was part of the cast. 

This was one of the few romantic comedies that actually had a lot of comedy. Usually rom-coms would be funny the first 15 minutes then become overtly dramatic/romantic from that point forward. At least this one waited til the last 20 minutes to become all cheesy. But Mila Kunis had that brand of cheese I'd take any day so I was good with it. Patricia Clarkson and Woody Harrelson made up most of the funny skits with their wit and undying humor. It was actually very impressive. Woody Harrelson was the best part of the film, and I'd be ready to defend this stand against anyone who could think otherwise. He was just freakin' hilarious. He really put himself in character and delivered one of his finest performances. Well, probably not the best, but it was still pretty funny.

This movie had one point of marketing: sex. It's not a bad thing especially since they delivered on their promise to explore the sexual tensions between two friends. It also managed to show the complications that could go along with it. Sure they made it in to a sweet love story, but we all know that it doesn't always end that way. That being said, the movie still did well in portraying the kind of scenario their target market would enjoy. It was sweet but it was also sensible and rational. It was sexy and raunchy, but it was also smart at the same time. It was an enjoyable movie, basically.

While the story was one big cliche, having probably the most used generic plot in the entire industry, the movie found its way to distinguish itself from other movies belonging to its genre. Charsima was the biggest factor of the movie in my opinion. With talented and charming people playing the characters, who could ever resist such a movie? I actually thought the movie was pretty good. 

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July 29, 2012

A Few Good Men

I first encountered this movie in Justin Halpern's new book, "I Suck at Girls," which was a hilarious, page-turner book. Just to provide a background why watched this movie, I'll tell you how exactly I came across this movie. A few weeks ago, I saw Justin Halpern's first book, "$#*! My Dad Says," which I immediately found entertaining. I also found out that he released another book which I mentioned in the first sentence of this entry. I finished the first one in one sitting, and wanted to read the second one right after. I decided to let a week pass before I started reading the second one. Then in one of those stories, Halpern mentioned this movie which was playing when a significant event, as some would say, was happening. He claimed that it's one of his favorite movies, so I decided to check it out. I don't know why I told this story, but hey at least you know why I decided to check it out. Also, I wanted to promote his books because I thought they were ingenious, and incredibly hilarious, and actually inspiring. Not for the conservatives though, but these books are really worth checking out.

On to the movie. Another reason why I wanted to check it out was because I read that it's a courtroom drama. As you might have read, I do enjoy courtroom dramas. I enjoy learning things and details about how the proceedings happen, how the lawyers prepare and how intense cross examinations can e. Every time I watch a courtroom drama, or a courtroom scene, I pick-up and learn something new. I just enjoy the practice of law in movies, and even in television (which reminds me of the television show Suits - an excellent TV show and something you also should check out. Proceed with caution though because it could get you addicted). To Kill A Mockingbird's one of my all time favorites and the reason I appreciate court room dramas a lot. It's the movie I compare other courtroom dramas against.

A Few Good Men was not To Kill A Mockingbird, but it was damn close to being one. You'd have to sit through a gruesome 45-46 minutes before it gets good, but just suck it up cause once you hit the 46 minute mark, there's no getting out of it. The start was really slow and boring, and it wasn't driving or marketing the movie as something exciting or anything. It was just a series of scenes that should get people intrigued but it wasn't working for me. But when it got good, it really got good. I couldn't even stop to grab a drink because I was into it. I didn't want to stop cause I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I joined their preparation by speculating how they should approach the case. Once you get past that 46 minute mark, there's no turning back. That was the hook, and trust me, you wouldn't want to let it go.

It had all the elements of a good courtroom drama. It had competitive and diligent lawyers, it had villains you just want to punch over and over again, it had a legitimate conflict worth discussing and worth fighting for. The story was really inspiring and at the same time a little disturbing. Actually, I understood why the first portion of the film seemed irrelevant. I thought it was just a light preparation of what was about to hit me. Tom Cruise was very effective in portraying his character. Cocky but also doubtful. It took me a while to warm up to Demi Moore's character. While she was excellent in it, her character was a bit annoying at first. Kevin Pollak was another stand out in the movie. He was subtle but he also made sure his presence was known. Jack Nicholson literally gave me goosebumps especially in his last scene. It was really intense and really well-played. I also wanted to add how weird Kiefer Sutherland looked in this movie. If I saw this before (probably not 1992 cause I wouldn't have remembered watching it as I as still a baby), I wouldn't have imagined that the guy would go on to be Jack Bauer. Jack Bauer and Jonathan Kendrick, his character in the movie, were the opposite ends of a spectrum. Lastly, I wanted to include my admiration for the performances of Wolfgang Bodison and James Marshall as the two navy men accused of murdering their fellow marine. They also had two of the best lines in the movie; incidentally, they were their last scenes as well.

It wasn't as revolutionary as To Kill A Mockingbird. However, it doesn't take away the fact that this movie had a lot of substance. It had the proper atmosphere for a hardcore courtroom film. The actors had the appropriate portrayals of each character. The direction was nothing short of brilliance. Everything about it, at least after the first 46 minutes, was just breath-taking. I understood how Justin Halpern could consider it one of his favorite movies, and I understand the level of success the movie achieved. It's been 20 years since the movie was released, but I do think that it is the kind of movie that will still do well today. I really do.

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Across The Universe

This will be a short one. Hopefully it will still give you an overview of what its about.

A lot of you may know Across the Universe as a Beatles song. However, some of you may also be familiar with the movie of the same title. If you belong to the later group, good for you. The movie was a 2007 musical drama movie starring Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, T.V. Carpio, Dana Fuchs, and Martin Luther McCoy. It was written and directed by Julie Taymor with Dick Clement, and Ian Le Franais helping with the writing stage. 

I personally liked it. I am a Beatles fan, although probably not as huge as some of you. I have a lot of songs on my player and I used to listen to them everyday on my way to school. Their songs are all so catchy and always have a good message. It's also always a lot of fun to walk to the train station with them in the background. It's a very good way to start a long day. It's always soothing and relaxing.

I also thought it was ingenious to use names from Beatles songs as the name of the characters. Of course that opened the door for the cast members to perform specific Beatles songs to each other like Hey Jude and Dear Prudence. I also thought the whole idea of it was just great. It's like a tribute to one of the world's best band, a legend in their own right. The employment of the Beatles songs came together with the story Julie Taymor had created. It was well-thought out and I thought the whole thing was actually pretty good.

Not a lot of people liked it, but my friends and I had an absolute blast watching it. We liked the story and we even lived the fact that we were able to sing along more. It was interesting and a smart movie. Sure the execution could have been better, but what they came up with, I thought, was still pretty solid. Julie Taymor did a magnificent job at this movie. Haters can hate, but I will still enjoy the movie over and over again. 

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July 28, 2012


Wanted was a 2008 action movie starring James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. It was written Chris Morgan, Derek Haas, and Michael Brandt and was directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Other cast members who were included in the movie were, Thomas Kretschmann, Common, Konstantin Khabensky, Marc Warren, Dato Bakhtadze, Terence Stamp, David O'Hara, Chris Pratt, Kristen Hager, and Lorna Scott. It was well-received by movie-goers and also impressed greatly in the box office, earning more than 4 times its production budget. 

This was the first movie of James McAvoy that I saw and this was the reason I looked forward to his next movies. He was just really good. I've seen him in some movies but he never stood out for me until now. He got me invested in this film and the partnership he had with Angelina Jolie gave me even more reasons to appreciate this fantastic movie. He was sharp and he was quick and matched the daredevil inside of Angelina Jolie. I desperately wanted the film makers to create Wanted 2 just to see this tandem again. It was weird however to see Morgan Freeman as a villain. He's always on the good side and it was a little strange to see the man who played God play a notorious killer. Showed his versatility though. Then again, we really don't need to see his versatility as we are sure he's a great actor. But there! The movie had an awesome cast and that's just one of the reasons to love this movie.

I'd go on and say that the three people behind the writing process of this movie should receive recognition. It's one of the best screenplays written. That's probably overselling it but while watching I kept thinking just how much thought and inspiration the writers needed to produce this movie. It had action, it had drama, but it also had that driving force that made me connect to it instantly. It was moving, yet repulsive in a way that it invited me to take part in the journey but at the same time cautioned me of the dangers that went along with it. It had a very, very good story line. The way it started to the way it ended was very different and that just showed how dynamic and well-thought it was. The twists that came along with it were unexpected and intellectually brilliant!

It also had some of the best tricks I've ever seen in a movie. We always see guns in action movies. It's a staple to have a gun, unless it's a combat-action movie. But in a typical movie, we always see people shooting at one another. The different thing in this movie was how they chose to revolutionize the use of a gun, implementing different ways of using it. It wasn't straight on shooting, but they created a choreography for it. It had rhythm and direction and that was one of the most impressive things about the movie. I think the action parts always were engaging and exciting and made me hold my breath because of the anticipation and anxiety. The action sequences had great transitions, both in and out. The actors also did a fine job kicking each other's ass.

The one thing I'd say was how depressing the movie got after the first half. It was when the emotional side of it played along with the gun-firing, face-hitting side of the movie. I even got depressed and thought about one particular scene for days. But again, it just made me realize the extent the writers went through to produce not only a powerful story, but a meaningful one as well. I would not say what scene it was but I'm pretty certain and I'd even bet on it that people would understand which scene I'm referring to.

It's no wonder people loved wonder. It got everything right, and the people involved in the movie managed to create a masterpiece, one that will be remembered by people for a long, long time, hopefully. I know I will. It's been 4 years since I saw the movie and I can still recall the moments of the movie. I even wrote this without re-watching it. That's how vividly I remember the scenes, the actors, and the story of the movie. That doesn't happen a lot, so that must tell you something.

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July 27, 2012


I just posted the review for Law Abiding Citizen http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/07/law-abiding-citizen.html and I decided to go on and write about Gamer cause I saw the two movies at the same time some time ago.

Gamer was a 2009 sci-fi action movie starring Gerard Butler. It was directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. The screenplay was written by both Neveldine and Taylor as well. I assume they really worked on the project together from the start. Also part of the cast were Michael C. Hall, Amber Valleta, Logan Lerman, Terry Crews, Chris Bridges, John Leguizamo and Kyra Sedgwick. Not the most popular cast but a pretty good one, I thought. Unfortunately they failed to impress the critics, and also wasn't able to earn back their budget. It only earned a little over 40 million against a budget of 50 million.

It's about a man, Kable, a prisoner in the death row, who participates in an online game as a character being controlled by another person, a 17 year old named Simon. The idea was to use real people to be the characters in the game "Slayers". This was done by genetically altering the motor abilities of the prisoners and programming it to a point that they lost control over their own bodies. The main concept of the game is to win until you reach a certain number wherein the prisoner would be set free. Kable was one win away but that one win would drive the story forward to a much bigger battle.

To put it in a more popular context, it was like The Hunger Games except this one's more focused on the game. Also, in this one, someone controls the players. However, everything else seemed identical. Both movies featured involuntary participation in a game of death (and no, Katniss shouting "I volunteer as tribute" would not count as voluntary under the circumstances she was in). It featured people who had to kill in order to achieve freedom, while people in a remote location control their fates by being in control of the game.

If you watched it in a movie house, you probably thought you should have just waited the DVD and rented it instead of shelling out a few bucks to pay for the ticket. In other words, some of you might have regretted going to the cinema for this movie. If you, waited for the DVD and paid a much less amount to see the same movie, you probably found the movie decent, and quite enjoyable. These are just two assumptions based on the reaction of the people. Actually, a lot of people didn't enjoy this movie, and critics gave it negative feedback.

As for me, a person who waited for the DVD, I found it quite enjoyable. I liked the idea behind it. I thought the concept alone was already a good starting point. However, the development of that idea faltered a little bit. The movie had a lot of rough edges and I thought the editing team of the movie could have done a much better job at polishing it. But at the sae time, I was pleased by it mostly because of the action part, and well the conceptualization. I think Neveldine and Taylor had an amazing idea, but somewhere it didn't quite make it. Having said that, I still enjoyed the movie. It still had that intensity the movie required, and still delivered an action-packed sci-fi flick.

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July 26, 2012

Law Abiding Citizen

The main story revolves around a man who lost his family when they were killed by two armed men. The conflict begins when Nick Rice, the prosecutor, made a deal with one of the culprits in order to increase his stats as a lawyer. This did not sit well with Clyde Shelton, the man who lost his family as he felt betrayed not only by Nick Rice but by the whole legal system itself. After a some time, Clyde returns to exact revenge to those involved in the case, killing every single one in a unique unconventional manner.

It was an intense movie and actually a very smart one. Each plan was carefully laid out, and intricately executed. There was a mystery of how Clyde was being able to pull off each murder, and the race against time made my heart beat faster and faster. It was a constant anticipation of what would happen next or who would die next. The movie was able to maintain the energy and the intensity despite it having a very fast pace. It didn't lose breath and continuously impressed throughout the movie.

The actual development of the story was as amazing as one would expect it to be. From the point the problem was revealed to the point where Clyde found solace in everything, it was great. I think the message behind it quickly turned from revenge to sending a strong message. It wasn't about the murder of his family anymore. It was becoming more and more about the fact that Rice made a deal with the criminal. The justice system should not be about raising the stats of prosecutors, or satisfying the qualms of the media. It should be about going through due process and actually convicting the criminals the way they should be. As Clyde said, he would have accepted the fact if Rice lost the case but fought the right way. Of course that's easier said than done. But I thought that was the whole idea behind the movie.

The best part of the movie was still Clyde's brilliant plans on exacting his revenge. While trying to show Rice that he shouldn't bargain with criminals, he managed to eliminate a lot of people who had something to do with his case. It wasn't just about the killing, it was about toying with the mind and emotions of the people. He didn't kill people just to kill people, I thought. He killed to get on the nerves of the people he hated, and send them the message. That was, I thought, pretty genius. It also didn't hurt that the film captured the great moments of his almost flawless plan.

Law Abiding citizen is my favorite Gerard Butler movie. I haven't seen 300 but I'm pretty sure I'd still like Law Abiding Citizen more even after watching it. That's how much I liked it. It's the kind of movie I would still appreciate 10 years down the road because it had a strong core, and a stronger cinematography. It was just perfect. This movie had one of the best memorable endings, one that tied the knots and gave an exceptional movie a proper goodbye.

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July 25, 2012

American Mall

American Mall was a musical TV film released in 2008. It starred Nina Dobrev and Rob Mayes, with Autmn Reeser, Bianca Collins, Neil Haskell, David Baum. Al Sapienza and more. It was written by several writers and directed by Shawn Ku. The film produced a few singles after its initial broadcast.

The story follows the life of the employees in American Mall who got intertwined by their passion for music. As one would expect in a musical, there were a lot of song and dance numbers, some of which were really good. It also involved a love story, which I thought was a little too much. I get it, movies like these need the love story arc. But the way it developed was too much and to be honest, a little bit dragging. Good thing Nina Dobrev was still able to demand attention, and my attention was just focused on her.

This was the first movie, or anything really, I saw Nina Dobrev in. Right from the get-go I wished she'd have more movies because not only did I find her incredibly stunning, she also had a great, inviting voice. Now she's the lead of one of the more successful TV shows currently on air, The Vampire Diaries. The way she registers in front of a camera is already a sight to see, but hearing her sing was just a treat for my ears, and myself in general. I'm glad she's enjoying her success now, which I actually hoped for upon watching America Mall.

Rob Mayes was a different story. I just didn't think he matched the passion being solicited by Dobrev. He could have done a lot more to be present in the movie. He just fell flat on some of his scenes, not being able to project the appropriate emotions. He did have a great voice though and he nailed every single song he did. However, everything else just failed in my opinion, especially since he's standing next to the awesomeness that is Nina Dobrev.

The members of the supporting cast were the most entertaining, particularly Neil Haskell and David Baum. Incidentally, they were also phenomenal in all of their numbers, both singing and dancing. Bianca Collins was another one that I thought stood out. These three brought life to the movie, and made the dull moments tolerable. They were exciting and I looked forward to seeing what they would do next, and what performances they would next tackle. If they ever make a sequel (though that is highly improbable), I hope they'd stick with these three and Nina Dobrev, of course.

It didn't have the best ratings, and not everyone liked. I liked it for the most part, but even I must admit that there were some completely unnecessary parts. Some parts were really impressive, some not so much. However, I would say that I did enjoy most of the songs. I liked majority of the songs they wrote for this movie, and thought the songs actually coincided with the movie's plot.

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Despicable Me

This will be a short one as I'm running late to work but I wanted to post something. So I apologize. I'll try to edit this one when I get back home. Hopefully, that's fine.

For sure a lot of you have seen the trailer for Despicable Me 2 but for now let's take a look at how it all started. Despicable Me was a 2011 comedy animated movie starring Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand and more. It's about the life of a villain who got caught up in what matters most in life.

It was a little boring at the beginning but it really became a lot more interesting after the first 20 minutes. It became increasingly entertaining and freaking hilarious. Well, after all, it did star Steve Carrell. From that point forward, I really started enjoying it, and as each second passed, the movie became funnier, and at the same time a little touching. It had an amazing story line, and the way it translated to the screen was even more impressive. It's also, I thought, unique to have a self-confessed villain to be the protagonist. That's a change I welcomed.

I highly recommend this one. I'm now excited about the sequel. I really didn't care aboutit until now because I didn't understand the hype surrounding the movie. I didn't think the movie was actually good until I saw it. It was funny, entertaining, and as all animated movies are, heartwarming. It's a great choice for your children, if you have some.

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July 24, 2012

Notting Hill

When this movie was released in 1999, my family deemed me too young to watch it. Hence, I was left in the house with just my dad when they went to watch it. I wanted to go with them because we saw the trailer of it, and we were all amused by Rhys Ifans, who, 13 years later would play the villain in The Amazing Spiderman. Also, 13 years later, I finally saw the movie. It was exactly what I expected it to be. Ok maybe not. It was a lot cheesy than I expected, but t was all good. Let me first introduce you to the movie.

Notting Hill was a 1999 romantic comedy movie starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Also part of the cast were, Emma Chambers, Hugh Bonneville, Tim McInnerny, Gina McKee, James Dreyfus, and of course, the reason why we all wanted to watch the movie to begin with, Rhys Ifans. It was directed by Roger Michell and was written by Richard Curtis. The film went on to enjoy receiving positive reactions, and an impressive box-office performance earning almost 364 million dollars.

The movie's plot wouldn't be as extraordinary now as it probably would back then. I really couldn't know but I assumed it was something unique then. The basic premise of the story revolved around an actress who went to Notting Hill where she met a man. The story then followed how the two developed a relationship which can only be described as a push-and-pull situation. It involved a lot of romantic scenes, and even more funny ones. It was a very simple story actually, and I did wonder why the movie was such a success. I came into the conclusion that while the story was generic, Grant and Roberts had the appropriate chemistry to pull off the film. Their connection was undeniable and was very present.

It was a typical rom-com, and I believe I have experience now to identify such movies as I've seen a few now. The thing that greatly worked though was the cast that pulled it off. And also the amazing direction of Roger Michell. It was a little too sweet for my tooth but I'm sure a lot of people, particularly the ladies, would love this one. To the guys, you might want to get this one on one of you indoors dates. You might even like it. I know I did.

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July 23, 2012


50/50 was a 2011 comedy-drama movie about a man facing cancer. That's right. Even I didn't think I'd use the words comedy and cancer in the same sentence, but I did. It starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston. It was written by Will Reiser and directed by Jonathan Levine.

The premise of the story was serious, one that had instantly encouraged sympathy from other people. One that had always made people cringe. Despite having such a touchy subject, the movie tackled it in a comical, calm manner. Movies about illnesses tend to dramatize the situations, and for good reason because these life events are dangerous, and painful. Having cancer is something we all don't want to go through. This film however showcased another side of the story. It was about a man's fight against death, with an attitude that differs from probably most of cancer victims. Gordon-Levitt's Adam was one that was filled with frustration and despair, but also of a positive outlook, and hope.

If you saw the movie, you'd realize that the movie was anything but dramatic. Sure, there were scenes when it became heavy, and heartbreaking. But just as I was getting into it, something or someone would break it. Most of the time it was Seth Rogen's Kyle offering some sexual, nasty joke in light of Adam's situation. Even Adam took things lightly, until the reality of the gravity of his situation really dawned on him. But for the most part, the movie remained calm and collected.

Actually, the core of the movie could be found in its dialogue. While the movie offered up some hilarious scenarios, one must listen to the lines being thrown by these actors to fully grasp the true message of the movie. It wasn't about not caring. It was about accepting and learning. It was about knowing that people would be there for you when you need them. It was about not giving up hope that someway things would get better. It wasn't about disregarding fear as it was about acknowledging it and putting up a fight. The movie seemed like an anti-thesis to what we normally see in movies with a similar premise. However, if you listen closely, it said the exact same things, only in a different manner.

This was also the movie wherein Joseph Gordon-Levitt showcased and boasted his range and versatility as an actor. His role here demanded a variety of emotions, of feelings and actions. He nailed every single one of them. Seth Rogen was also very commendable as he portrayed a funny, yet sensitive guy. The movie showed his character as being the goofy, horny person, but deep down inside he just really cared for his friend. Anna Kendrick was very convincing indeed, both in her role as a young therapist, and as a lover of Adam. She looked stunning and her talent just came through. Bryce Dallas Howard was also great in this, as she as dynamic.

I really recommend this movie. 50/50 was a genuinely heartwarming comedy movie. I'm glad it got all the recognition it deserved and actually fared well in the box office considering its budget. I do hope that more people would be able to see it. It was touching and highly entertaining at the same time. And it also features Joseph Gordon-Levitt at his best.

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July 22, 2012


I remember wanting to see this movie but then getting discouraged after people told me I wouldn't like it. Then I told myself I'd rent the DVD to just check it out, but I probably forgot and just accepted that it wasn't a good movie. Then a few days ago, I got a request to review the movie. As I've said before, I like getting requests 'cause they also serve as a recommendation or a validation to watch a movie. An excuse, basically. I still doubted it at first but decided to take the plunge anyway.

Unfortunately I really couldn't disagree with what people had told me. Look, it was not a bad film overall, but the execution of the movie really lacked something. Let me explain. The idea behind the movie was great,  it was like X-Men met the Avengers, or something. I liked how there were different categories of special people, from watchers to movers to pushers to sniffers to a whole lot more. The movie had a lot of potential as an idea, as a concept for a movie. I really believed that the conceptualization of it was really good. It would have worked especially at a time when moviegoers worship superhero movies.

Unfortunately, this great idea wasn't exactly translated into the movie. While the movie was decent, it didn't tap into the movie's potential. I think there was something about how the movie was constructed that bothered me. The editing of it also felt awkward in some parts. As a member of the audience, I shouldn't notice or feel when the scenes were taken or cut. The transitions should have been smooth. There were times when the camera angles were also not helping. The fight scenes were a little too rehearsed that it didn't feel real or exciting. I guess my concerns were all directed to the technical side of the movie. I thought that if the technical side were polished a little bit more, the movie could have gone to great success.

It really wasn't a terrible movie. It just had some issues, issues that they could have worked on. At least it had a competent cast. As you all know, I am a fan of Chris Evans so seeing him in the movie was a good enough reason. Also, I got excited to see Dakota Fanning in it, and rocking a different role. Camilla Belle was also OK in it; not the most effective actress, but she got the job done.

While I agree that it wasn't the best of movies, and a little let down, it did have its good points. It wasn't as terrible, but it just wasn't great. It was decent and tolerable. If you feel like checking it out go for it. I'd recommend that you do. Thank you to the person who requested it. I like getting requests and emails or anything. You can follow me on twitter @sirfilmreviewer or email me at mrfilmreviewer@yahoo.com. You can also follow this blog by checking the right side of the page.

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer was a story about a boy who met a girl. But you should know upfront that it wasn't a love story. It was an independent comedy-drama film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Also part of the cast were Chloe Grace Moretz, Clark Gregg, Geofrrey Arend, Matthew Gray Gubler, Ian Reed Kesler, Rachel Boston and Minka Kelly. It was narrated by Richard McGonagle. It was directed by Marc Webb and was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Fox Searchlight distributed the movie. The film became a huge hit critically and commercially, being nominated for different awards and receiving widespread recognition.

As avid readers would know, I like movies narrated using a nonlinear narrative structure. In my opinion, it's smart, although it might be tricky pulling off this kind of film style. 500 Days of Summer didn't have any problem pulling it off. Actually, employing this strategy escalated the cinematography of the movie. It's not a typical story to begin with so it was a really good move to use an unconventional way of relaying the story. Also, they picked a great person to be its narrator. I thought Richard McGonagle was a very good choice indeed.

It's a little cheesy at times but it was the kind of cheese I appreciated. It was funny even when it's dramatic, if that made any sense. I remember watching it the first time when it was released when a friend of mine invited me to go see it with her. I didn't want to go at first, but decided to come along anyway. It just wasn't my kind of film. But I still found it amusing and found myself enjoying it. A rainy afternoon brought the idea of watching the movie again, just to remind me what was it about that made it amusing, aside from Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I think it's the simplicity of it all, and the authenticity that went along with it. Every single event in the movie pertained to everyday, normal occurrences. From the situation in work, to one's relationship, to one's friends, to one's willingness/unwillingness to cope. These were average things we have all witnessed. The only thing different was how the movie collated it into one hilariously depressing movie.

My favorite scene was probably the one where the movie compared the expectations of Tom against the reality. It perfectly showed how we always wish things to go right, for fate to be in favor of us. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. It was a very, very smart thing and it made the audience, for sure, connect to the movie even more. It was also smart to play the two scenes side by side, and make a juxtaposition of the two.

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were just phenomenal in this movie. They had the perfect chemistry to pull off this kind of story. They do "dramedy" really good. And it helps that Zooey Deschanel is very irresistible with her charms. Chole Grace Moretz was the other star of the move. As a young kid, she already showed her capabilities as an actress. This girl has a bright future in the industry because she actually has what it takes to make it big, much bigger than she is now. I look forward to seeing a lot more of her. I was also surprised to realize that Clark Gregg was in this movie. I only really noticed him in the Marvel movies as Agent Coulson (one of my favorite characters, especially in The Avengers) so I was surprised to see him in another kind of movie.

This movie had one of the best soundtracks, I thought. It had a great list of songs, and it was diverse and offered a wide range of variety. I even searched for the list of songs and tried to listen to every single song again. I think it helped that Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are both musically inclined that they were able to contribute to the film's soundtrack. My favorite among the songs was Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap. That was really good. I also enjoyed She's Got You High by Mumm-ra a lot.

I thought the movie remained smart from start to end. It developed its characters rather well and maintained the flow of the story even if it wasn't told in a chronological order. The story in itself was exceptional and the telling of the story was even better. The movie was really good. Although I;'m not the most romantic person,. or the best person to watch romantic films with, I could still say that I liked the movie, and I was completely amused by it.

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July 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises is the third and final installment for the Batman franchise. After Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, it's time to conclude a dynamic, diverse franchise with The Dark Knight Rises. It was still directed by Christopher Nolan, who also wrote its screenplay with Jonathan Nolan, his brother. Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman all returned to reprise their roles. IT also introduced new characters: Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, Mrion Cotillard as Mianda Tate, and Tom Hardy as Bane. Pretty impressive cast, huh? The cast wasn't the only thing impressive in this movie.

I saw The Dark Knight Rises yesterday but didn't have the time to write about it because of work and other factors. I know a lot of people just spent their night waiting in line for it in the cinemas, and I do think it will all be worth it. I think the movie really delivered, for the most part. I got mixed reaction watching the movie, mostly positive but there were definitely issues. There were things I didn't think would shock me, and there were things I wasn't shocked about even though I thought I would be. Let me start with the not very positive ones.

Some parts of it were a little bit underwhelming. It's a fantastic movie, but somehow I didn't feel like it fully lived up to its potential and hype. There were a lot of sub-plots, and a few of them weren't really going well and flowing along the main plot. Some of it were actually very smart, and the addition of it greatly helped the movie as a whole. These scenes brought variety to the movie. Some, however, were dead weight, I thought and not that necessary either. There were scenes that made it a little confusing, more than it should. However, the development of the story still had a clear, concise direction and tackled loose ends. The development, not only of the story, but of the characters as well, was actually pretty brilliant.

Also, I read an article online comparing Tom Hardy's Bane to Heath Ledger's Joker. I've mention it before in my review  of The Dark Knight that it would be difficult to top Ledger's performance. I didn't read the whole thing but from what I got, it was saying that Tom Hardy's Bane could be compared to Heath Ledger. To that I strongly disagree. While I did think he was exciting as the evil, sadistic Bane, I didn't think it matched Ledger's Joker. I'm not trying to take anything away from his performance which was truly commendable. It's just that, in my opinion, Heath Ledger's Joker is way up there and just really sends shivers to one's core. Hardy did capture the strong, powerful essence of Bane, and translated it very well to the big screen. To be honest, I didn't think I'd enjoy Bane as much. But I'll also be honest that Joker was just a much better villain for Batman. In fact the only thing that didn't sit very well with me was how some of his lines couldn't be understood, but that's probably just me. Other than that Hardy's Bane was really good.

More than Christian Bale as Batman, there were two people that became the highlights of this movie for me. One was Michael Caine as Alfred, Batman's trusted assistant, and the other was Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Everytime these two were on screen,I gave my 100% focus because I didn't want to miss anything they might do or say. They both commanded attention because they gave a strong presence. There was a strong familiarity with these two, even though this was the first time Gordon-Levitt appeared in the Batman series. Actually, I think that's the biggest disappointment - the fact that he only joined the cast on its last installment. I'm still debating whether he was better in Inception or in The Dark Knight Rises.

Anne Hathaway was a delight in this movie, a witty sexy woman. For some reason though, I kept picturing Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow from the Avengers when they showed Anne Hathaway in her Catwoman suit. She was the perfect conclusion to Bruce Wayne's self-torture about the death of the woman of his dreams. The vehicles featured in the movie was also spectacular. It's one of my favorite things about the movie, how the gears, gadgets and transportation modes reflect the sensibility that Batman's supposed to have. I liked how every single detail, the vehicles for example, is unique to the movie in itself. It carefully crafted several key features that would always distinguish the movie from the other Batman movies, and from other films in general. It's really amazing to notice these small details and just take in the craftsmanship.

This movie also had more of a hand to hand combat, although guns and explosives were still present. It was a nice change, and a nice balance. The riots scenes also felt real authentic and I attribute it to Tom Hardy's Bane. I think Tom Hardy was the perfect actor to play Bane. I spent sometime who else could have pulled it off and I came up with a few names, although no one would be as perfect as Hardy.

I still think it was a very good conclusion to the franchise and I still think Christopher Nolan created a magnificent movie. I think this is the right time to say the franchise ended with a bang, and yes, the pun's intended. The ending sequence of the movie was one of the best ways to end a well-loved franchise. What I appreciated greatly was how they showed what happened to each character during the aftermath of the events. I saw where people ended up, and what they tried to do. Given the issues I noticed, I still felt satisfied and remained a fan of Nolan's work. It probably wasn't as good as The Dark Knight but it's definitely something worth seeing, something worth enjoying. I'll be watching it again Saturday night, and I'll update this post in the event that I feel differently about certain matters.

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July 18, 2012

The Shawshank Redemption

It all started when I asked my brother to recommend a movie. I wanted to see something I would not normally see on my own and wanted to ask for another person's opinion. Immediately, my brother came up woth two titles, one of them was The Shawshank Redemption. I chuckled a bit because I thought the title was funny, especially Shawshank. I had no idea what it was, what genre of movie it belonged to, which actors were in it.

For those not familiar with the movie, please allow me to introduce it to you. The Shawshank Redemption was a drama film released in 1994. It starred Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Red.  It was directed by Frank Darabont and was written by Darabont as well. By that I meant to show you how insanely brilliant and talented the guy is. The screenplay was based on "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption," a novel written by Stephen King. You'd understand the role of Rita Hayworth after watching the movie. It had a production budget of 25 million dollars and had a revenue of only a little more than 28 million dollars. A sad number for such a revolutionary movie. But we all know the movie has enjoyed a lot more fame and success since then.

After watching it, it became one of my top 5, even top 3, movies of all time. It caught me by surprise how profound and how delicate the movie was. Sure it was a bit predictable, and I already figured out how the story would develop and end around the halfway mark. But it wasn't so much about the ending that mattered. It was the journey the protagonist took to get there. It was breathtaking, and left me complete in awe. There was constant tension in the air even though the moments were just silent and idle. There was always a feeling even though nothing extreme was really happening.

The story was about a man who was accused and persecuted for the murder of his wife and her lover. It's a simple start, and no one saw him kill anyone, but he ended up in jail anyway after a court hearing, which neither proved his guilt or innocence. Actually the courtroom scene was one of my favorite parts of the movie, mostly because of the conversation that went on between Andy, the protagonist, and the prosecutor. Andy claimed that he did think about shooting the couple, but didn't proceed to and just tossed the gun on the sea/lake. The prosecutor then proceeds to torment Andy and claim that nobody could find the gun and that it was very convenient for Andy. Andy then responded, "Since I am innocent of this crime, sir, I find it decidedly inconvenient that the gun was never found." That single line alone made me realize how great the movie would be. I don;t know why but I found this line to be one of the best, smartest, and face-slapping line in the movies I've seen. I think that line alone showed me the horizon that the movie will cover, how the protagonist would struggle while maintaining a certain cool and calm. 

It mostly showed the issues surrounding the prison setting. You know the jokes about prison, this movie tackled them, in a heartbreaking manner. There was violence, corruption, the never-ending game with the wardens whether or not a person deserves to be part of the society once again, the issue of being rehabilitated and what the hell it should mean. There were a lot of layers to this rich, creamy plot. It's like a delectable cake wherein each layer tastes delicious, but digesting it as a whole would be even more scrumptious. I felt that way, it was delectable! 

I didn't even realize the magnitude of this movie until I went to the internet and searched about it. I've said it before, but again, out of the 3 1994 movies in the AFI top 100, this one takes the cake of being the best. It's a shame the movie didn't enjoy the level of fame and success it;s enjoying now before. The movie didn't impress in he box-office before, and did not necessarily win the hearts of people when it was first released in 1994. But looking at it now, and realizing it's become part of our culture, maybe even having its own cult following, it's amazing how successful the movie had become. People from all generations are talking about it, talking about the issues presented in the movie.

I wasn't sure if now's the right time to write about this. To be honest, I've always been scared to write about it for two reasons. First, I consider it one of the best movies ever created that I really wanted to do the film justice. I wanted to make sure that what I'd write would be an accurate depiction of how great the movie experience was for me. Second reason was the apprehension of not knowing whether the people would identify with everything I'd be writing. I know that's a lame reason but I just didn't want to taint the movie because for me it was perfect and flawless. 

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July 17, 2012

Happy Feet

I thought I'd make a short review of an animated movie, just to ease things up after Tom Hanks week. I had a bit of a tough time choosing which movie I wanted to write about, but ended with Happy Feet. I'll probably write about the other options/movies I was choosing from later, and by that in a few days/weeks?

Happy Feet was a 2006 movie and by writing that I just realized how long it's been. I was just 16 When it was released! The movie was directed by George Miller and written by Warren Coleman, John Collee, George Miller, Judy Morris. It starred Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving and more. The movie received positive responses, even winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. To top things off, it was a box-office success, and that most surely made the producers of this movie very happy.

The first Happy Feet movie was really good! Although this sounds lame to other people, I actually enjoy dance movies, because I too dance here and there. However, I never enjoyed tap dancing until I saw this movie. That's when I started to appreciate the "art" of it, as some people would call it. But it's hard not to appreciate the detail in the choreography, the sound it produced, and the intricacy of the movement of the feet.

I also liked the ease of the movie. It was very relaxing and humorous. And because it's a children's movie, it also had a value behind it and that value was relayed through the structured development of the plot. It wasn't just about the dancing, the music, the wits, but it's also a well-developed story. Although I'm pretty sure the dancing scenes were the highlights of the movie. I wonder who among the people behind it thought of this idea first. I assume it;s one of the writers, but it could also be anyone else. But whoever conceptualized this movie is a genius.

I've seen the first few minutes of Happy Feet 2 and was not all that convinced. I will save my judgment until I've seen the rest of the movie. I'm sure it's a good one as well. The beginning of it was just ok, so hopefully the rest of the movie will be better. I did enjoy the song and dance number. Sadly, I assume that that will be the last of Happy Feet since it almost failed to earn in the box-office. According to Box Office Mojo, it only earned over 150 million dollars on a budget of 135 million dollars.

I plan on checking out the sequel. But for now, I'll be contented with the pure awesomeness of the first movie. It was an absolute delight to watch the penguins dance around creating magical music through movements. I hope they credited the people who actually did the tap dancing though.

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July 16, 2012

The Last Airbender

As with any other movie with Asian origins, The Last Airbender stirred some controversy when it chose Caucasians as the lead characters. Let me address this in two parts. First, while I wasn't one of the people protesting, I do understand the outrage it caused. I didn't really mind that the actor portraying Aang was not Asian, but at the same time I understood the sentiments of the other viewers. For starters, you don't see any Asian American actors riding horses in a Mid-West cowboy kind of movie. As always pointed out, the opportunities Asian American actors have are far more limited compared to Caucasian actors. So I guess since this already had an Asian origin, it must have been proper to cast Asian Americans to make the film as authentic as possible and also to give them a chance to star in a movie.

On the other side however, the producers might have thought, and I am just assuming things here, Asian Americans  are not exactly known for carrying a movie. Or maybe it's just as simple as Noah Ringer outshining the other actors who tried out for the role. We'll never know. Let me also take this opportunity to say that I did not go to the internet and find out what the director, or the producers had to say about the matter. I'm just recalling the outrage that happened when the casting was announced before.

Honestly, I'm not one to care about the race of the actors I'm watching. As long as they're great actors and do the job properly it can be an Antartican/person from Antartica, if there ever was one for all I care. It's 2012, race should not be an issue anymore. But again, I understood the sentiments of the different parties. But let's now focus on the movie itself.

It wasn't the ethnicity of the stars that made the movie, should I say not work. The actors in the movie were ok, but the rest of the movie was not as good. The actors did well for what they were given. Noah Ringer was convincing enough as Aang, and was actually pretty good, I thought. Actually, I thought the cast was one of the better things about the movie. Dev Patel and Nicola Peltz were also good at portraying their roles. One of the bigger problems for me was the effects. This movie's marketability, I thought, was the use of the special effects, especially on bending. However, some of the editing of the effects were just horrendous. Some effects were spectacular, but some were really disappointing. There was one point in the movie when the people in the movie house just laughed, and not because they were pleased with that particular scene. I'd rather not mention the scene, but even I was surprised when people started laughing at it because it was just bad, and I'm using the word "bad" to downplay their reaction a bit.

The development of the story was also not as strong as it could have been. It felt a little chaotic at times at the wrong moments. I think if the rough edges of the movie were straightened out, this movie could have been a lot better, and the minor changes could have had greater impacts. I'm not claiming that it was a bad movie, cause to be honest, I did enjoy the movie a little bit. However, this movie had so much potential and it wasn't maximized. It's a little wasteful since it could have been a great movie.

Overall, the movie was ok for me. I did not hate it, but I also can't say I absolutely liked it. Let's just say that if there really would be a sequel, I'd still go and check it out, but I'd be wishing that it would be 10 times better than the first movie. The funny thing was I wasn't even a big Avatar fan to begin with, and I was still disappointed. I could only imagine the reactions of those who were really into the anime. Actually I had an idea cause I went with some friends who were really huge fans of the series, and they weren't as pleased as I'm sure the people behind the movie hoped for.

July 15, 2012


I've always considered Inception as one of the most intellectual, visually creative movies ever created. I remember watching it for the first time and being extremely impressed with just about everything about the movie. First of all the idea was very unique and intriguing: a dream within a dream within a dream and so on. It's quite a simple idea if you think about it since everyone has dreams. However the way they challenged the simplicity of a dream defied logic and rationality, and that in itself is a sign of brilliance.

The way they transformed this rather simple idea into a feature film is even more amazing. The plot was rich and every layer of the dream had a different way of telling the story. The attack that they had was really present and really felt. There's a simple plot to it - get the job done. Then they made a spider web from this simple plot to branch out to different possibilities that will make the movie exciting and even more intriguing. There was an element of a broken relationship between the protagonist and his wife, one that constantly posed a problem for their mission. There's the factor of totems to distinguish what's a dream from a reality. There's also that fact of creating multiple layers of dreams, and the ways one could snap out of it.

We haven't even gotten to the visual effects the movie employed. I've said it before and I'll say it again; I'm a visual person so a movie with that amount of incredible visuals was perfect for me. From the way the water flowed to the way the locations were built or to the scenery they chose to shoot in, it was visually orgasmic, if there ever was such a thing. That's one of the best parts of the movie for me, to see how they used the sets and how they used special effects. The funny thing is, I read on the internet that my favorite scene, the one where everyone was floating around getting to the elevator, was not created with CGI. My mind was blown away when I read that. That showed me the level of intricacy the director and the crew had to create this masterpiece.

It was a very, very good experience, and still as exciting as the first time around when I saw it again a while ago. It reminded me of every single reasons why I wanted to watch this movie again. It's a movie that makes me want to jump and run along with the flow of the events. I know that sounded weird but I didn't mean that literally. I'm sure you got what I meant. But it's just the bottled up intensity that brought the movie to an extraordinary level.

I also thought this was one of the best ensembles assembled for a movie. While I generally like all of the cast members of the movies I watch, this particular group was exceptional and downright phenomenal. Leonardo DiCaprio has the talent to capture weird and quirky personalities, just like in Shutter Island. He's probably the king of mindf*ck movies. (sorry for the expletive word). But aside from him there were three other people that made left me in awe. Those three were Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, and Tom Hardy. Special mention as well to Ken Watanabe. But as I've said, every single one here was really just talented and brought something to the table.

Inception has become one of my favorite movies of all time mostly because it was intellectually stimulating and also visually satisfying. It had a rich story and plot line, and the direction of the movie was flawless. Each scene was flawless! Christopher Nolan is a walking legend. With his work in the Batman series, whose last installment, The Dark Knight Rises, being released in a few days, he has really set his mark as an asset to the film industry. With Inception, which he not only directed, but also wrote and produced, he has sealed himself as Hollywood gold, and someone very valuable in the industry. I know I;m in no position to claim these things, but that's honestly how I see it and how I see him.

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Larry Crowne

I wasn't going to include this one but since it's a a real Tom Hanks movie, I thought Tom Hanks week could not be completed with this. I refer to this as a real Tom Hanks movie because not only did he star in it, he also wrote, produced, and directed this movie. That's the whole Tom Hanks soul right there. It's like Citizen Kane where Orson Welles did the same things in a single movie. It's probably good to include this one. I also thought this would be a good conclusion to Tom Hanks week since this movie really is Tom Hanks at his own element.

Larry Crowne was a 2011 comedy movie, as mentioned above, written, directed, produced by Tom Hanks himself, with help from a few other people. It starred himself, and Julia Roberts as his love interest. The cast also featured Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, Bryan Cranston, Pam Grier, Rami Malek, Maria Canals Barrera, and many more including Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson. It did not get the best reviews, but had a decent box-office performance.

I'm not gonna lie. This wasn't the best Tom Hanks movie, but it's definitely far from a disaster. While I've liked some of his movies more, I also could not agree with the people saying it was a bad movie. It wasn't, I assure you. I thought the problem might have been that a lot of things were happening and the movie was just over 90 minutes. Maybe the development of the premise should have been given a little more time as to not look convoluted. There were a lot of layers to the movie's plot and not all elements were stretched out to its potential. That's what I thought and that's probably a reason why some people didn't like it.

As for me, I still liked it. It was a decent movie and was a lot of fun. The movie had a lot of quirks as well that gave opportunities to me as a viewer to appreciate it. I had a few laughs, and at the end of it, I was feeling pretty good. That's a huge thing for me as someone who watches a lot of movies. I want to feel satisfied and joyous after watching something, especially if that's the goal of the movie. The movie succeeded in that aspect for me.

It also did have a good soundtrack. The songs played were catchy and lively, and I think that helped in the movie. Another good thing was the ensemble. It has Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in it! But the supporting cast was just as good. I also liked the transformation the characters had throughout the movie. As I've mentioned a while ago, the movie could have developed some of its elements more. However, what I didn't mention before was how the story line managed to develop each character.

There are a lot of reasons to like this movie; much more than the reasons not to like it. I guess this is a hit or miss movie, either you'll like it or you won't. We can discuss things about it, ad that's one sign that the movie did its job - when people can discuss and express different opinions about it. That has to count for something.

For all the Tom Hanks related posts check out these links:
Big http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/07/big.html
Turner & Hooch http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/07/turner-and-hooch.html
Toy Story http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/07/toy-story.html
Forrest Gump http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/07/forrest-gump.html
Saving Private Ryan http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/07/saving-private-ryan.html
Cast Away http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/05/cast-away.html
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close http://mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com/2012/05/extremely-loud-and-incredibly-close-is.html


I will be writing the last few Tom Hanks related entries. I'd probably still write about his moviews here and there, but I'd probably be writing a couple more entries just to wrap up Tom Hanks week at mrfilmreviewer.blogspot.com. I intended to write a lot more but with work I wasn't able to do so. I apologize for that, but hopefully what I've done did Tom Hanks week justice.

Apparently, a person transforming into an older/younger verion of him/herself has been a trend for a while now. While the present generation had 17 Again with Zac Efron and 13 Going 30 with Jennifer Garner, several age-changing movies were released in the 1980s like 18 Again (yes there's a movie called 18 Again which makes me wonder if 17 Again was meant to be related to this one), Like Father Like Son, Vice Versa and so on. One that was released in 1988, which also turned out to be one of the more successful ones, was Big.

Big was directed by Penny Marshall, and was written by Gary Ross, the director of The Hunger Games, and Anne Spielberg, sister of Steven Spielberg. It starred Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Jared Rushton, Robert Loggia, John Heard, and David Moscow as the young Josh Baskins. Out of everyone, aside from Tom Hanks, who got an Academy Award nomination for his performance, Jared Rushton was the star of the movie. I just found out that he's also the kid from "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," which I absolutely enjoyed when I saw it a long time ago. He was great in Big, and it's a shame he stopped acting. Robert Loggia was another awesome person in the movie. He wasn't shown a lot, but his scene with Tom Hanks playing the keyboard was probably one of the most memorable moments of the movie.

As a movie, I couldn't help but just smile throughout the movie. It's lively and funny, and entertaining the whole time. Again, probably because it's from another era, it's a different kind of comedy. Turns out Tom Hanks was quite the comedy actor in the 80s. Maybe his roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump put him in the drama category, but it's enlightening to know he could do comedy quite as impressive as his drama movies. I'll try to look for a recent Tom Hanks comedy movie just to see how that will work. With the minds of Gary Ross and a Spielberg on the works, it should not be surprising they came up with such an incredibly smooth movie.

This is a movie for the kids, and the kids at heart. I greatly enjoyed the experience and found the movie a very entertaining old movie. If you want to see the range of Tom Hanks as an actor, you probably might want to see this one as I think this was very different from his normal roles. Good scrpit, good directing, good cinematography.

July 14, 2012

Turner and Hooch

I decided I'll just make this a short one since this is still part of the Tom Hanks week.

Turner and Hooch was a 1989 comedy movie starring Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T Nelson, and Reginald VelJohnson. It was directed by Roger Spottiswoode and written by a number of writers. It had a modest income, but I guess during that time, it's already considered a good one. Factor in inflation and other factors, that amount of money had a lot more value.

The movie was more of a situational comedy than a witty script funny. While it still employed various ways of comedy, like sarcasm, it stuck with situational comedy for the most part of it. And to be honest, I still liked it. I thought this kind of comedy wouldn't work, especially since Tom Hanks is not exactly known for being a comedy star. However, the interaction of Hanks' character and Hooch, the dog, still created fireworks.

It's one of those light feel-good movies. It had one very serious moment and I would not spoil the movie for you. But it had one heavy moment that made me forget it's supposed to be a funny movie. Other than that, the movie provided a variety of hilarious moments. Similar to Marley and Me and other movies that get animals as part of the cast, I'm impressed at how they actually trained these dog actors to be right where they needed to be, do what they needed to do and be a natural in front of the camera. If anyone of you knows how they do this please let me know.

But yeah, definitely a good choice of movie tonight. It's also good since this is a comedy movie, different from the other Tom Hanks movies. It's nice to see another side of the incredible actor.

July 12, 2012

Toy Story

Toy Story was a 1995 animated movie by Walt Disney Pictures. It was directed by the awesome John Lasseter while the screenplay was written by the equally awesome Joss Whedon and three others. I singled out Joss Whedon cause a lot of people know him now as a fantastic director and it's nice to remind everyone that he's also a writer. It starred Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as Woody and Buzz respectively. It also starred several stars such as Don Rickles, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, Jim Varney and more. It's a highly successful movie, still being talked about by the younger generations. By that I mean, the kids today, I think we still belong in the same generation.

I was just 5 years old when this movie came out, but somehow I have a very vivid memory of the movie. Probably because I've watched it again when I was probably 8 or 9. I was still a kid that time, but old enough to store memories. I remember wishing my toys could really talk and move (yeah I was weird and freaky. But, honestly, who didn't? Didn't we all want our toys to be just like Woody and Buzz) But I was really fascinated with the idea that I really hoped I'd wake up one day and have the coolest toys. It took me a while to really digest what the movie was trying to get across. It wasn't about the toys, it was about valuing something, that friendship that bonded them.

It's a wonderful story of friendship. Sure they used toys and inanimate objects, but I think we all got the message of the movie. The way they utilized the toys, their characterization and incorporated it into the movie was beyond amazing. It's a truly flawless execution of a simple yet fascinating idea. It actually accurately portrays the stages of friendships. The initial discomfort of being with a total stranger, someone you have no idea about. The effort to build a friendship with the stranger. The good and bad times, the highs and lows. It's a dynamic realistic story using unrealistic methods. It mashed up extremely well.

This is a movie I could "gush" about all day. To say that it's an excellent movie would still be an understatement. I just really liked it. Well with that amount of talent bringing these characters to life, who wouldn't? It's one of my top animated movies, and I;m pretty sure it will remain in that spot for a long, long time. Toy Story is still one of the best animated movies ever created in my opinion. It's a movie I highly recommend. If I had my own top 100 films, this movie would be in it easy. Hey I'm actually making this Tom Hanks Birthday gift/tribute work! Sort of. I hope you're enjoying my first "blog event". Sort of.

You can follow me on twitter @sirfilmreviewer or email me at mrfilmreviewer@yahoo.com. You can also follow this blog by checking the right side of the page.

July 10, 2012

Forrest Gump

In continuation of Tom Hanks week (because this is the week of his birthday), I'll be writing about another one of his movies. I decided to go with Forrest Gump for a couple of reasons. First, it's one of his critically acclaimed movies, and a successful one at that as well. Second, I think this was the movie that really showcased the range of Tom Hanks as an actor. 

Forrest Gump was one of the biggest movies in 1994. In reality, it still is a big movie up until now with people watching or re-watching it until today. Even schools use the movie, or at least clips of it, for their class discussions. The movie was written by Eric Roth and was directed by Robert Zemeckis. It starred Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, Sally Fields and more. It won several awards, including 6 out of the 13 Academy Awards nominations. That's pretty impressive if you think about it. 

It's a story about Forrest Gump but I read that it deviated from the novel it was based on, so we really could not take anything in the movie as fact. However, they probably still kept the spirit of Forrest Gump's life in the movie. Maybe they just changed the details for its cinematography. I must admit that I got really involved in it that I was a bit disappointing to find out it really wasn't as loyal as it could have been. Then I just didn't care because the movie was really powerful that nothing can taint it. I think it's because the structure of the movie and the narration of the story was really great, I just focused on the movie itself. 

I've always been vocal that out of the three 1994 movies in the AFI 100, Forrest Gump will only be my second, after The Shawshank Redemption. But as I always say, I do not intend to take anything away from Forrest Gump because it really was a great movie. It was one of the most soothing movies I've seen. I meant that in a way that in a sense that there's a breath in the movie. Nothing too extravagant, but it definitely had impact. I knew that it had a great impact on me because I had to re-watch almost the entire movie as soon as I finished it. 

Watching it, the most insane part of it for me was how rich and eventful Gump's life was. From the war to starting his business to searching for the woman he loves to running across America. It's that kind of movie that made me wonder what I'm doing with my life. He achieved a lot, and made a whole lot of something out of his early hardships. It was carefully then narrated on the big screen. Although the movie featured several stages of his life, they kept a sense of continuity. From childhood to adulthood and every thing in between. It just flowed. 

The movie showed the range of Tom Hanks in that he was able to embody and effectively portray the character. The character was not the most intellectual person and Tom Hanks delivered that on screen. He captured the essence of a great success story in the form of Forrest Gump. He was flawless, basically. I've seen the movie quite a few times, and still can't pinpoint anything wrong with his performance. He did the movie justice and maximized its potential by delivery a fine performance. The screenplay itself was great, but I thought the actors escalated it. 

You can follow me on twitter @sirfilmreviewer or email me at mrfilmreviewer@yahoo.com. You can also follow this blog by checking the right side of the page.

July 09, 2012

Saving Private Ryan

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOM HANKS! Today, July 9, 2012, is his 56th birthday. To celebrate his pure awesomeness, I've decided to make this a Tom Hanks week. I'll try to write as many Tom Hanks related movie reviews/commentaries this week. I've planned this a long time ago, and thought it will be a nice way to pay tribute to one of the best actors in the industry, and also my favorite. I hope I can keep it up considering I now have a job. But, I'll figure something out.

I decided to start with Saving Private Ryan, the movie that really made me a fan of Tom Hanks. It's one of my favorite movies and one of my first answers, if not the first, when someone's asking for a good movie to watch. I was literally amazed by it, and I became a huge Tom Hanks fan because of this.

Saving Private Ryan was a 1998 war film about the invasion of Normandy. However, the main idea of the film was the search for Private Ryan. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg, and was written by Robert Rodat. This movie validated that Spielberg is really one of the best directors for me. He became one of my favorite directors because of this movie, though I've been a fan of him ever since he made Schindler's list, my first Spielberg movie. The film was both critically acclaimed and a commercial success, earning more than 410 million dollars in profit. It starred, of course, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, and more.

A team was commissioned to find him after all his brothers died during the war. As the last remaining/surviving son of the Ryans, the team was tasked to locate the Private to be brought home to his family. Tom Hanks played Captain John Miller, who led the team for the search. They encountered and battled enemies along the way, lost some of his men, but he still stood by his orders. That's the basic plot of the movie. Simple enough? Don't worry, the execution of the entire movie would erase every ounce of doubt you have. I can bet you now (but of course, I won't) that you will find the movie one of the best films.

The first 27 minutes were the most intense 27 minutes of any movie I know. It was a hardcore depiction of the the events that happened that day many years ago. As a big fan of the movie, I've done a lot of research about the movie, and I've read a lot of positive feedback about the start of the movie. If you've seen the movie, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven;t seen it, you're going to have to see it to fully understand the gravity of the beginning of the movie. That scene itself brought me to that historic moment because the depiction was really realistic, and it begged the viewer's sympathy. It's clearly one of the best scenes to start off an epic movie. I was really left in awe when I saw this part alone, and I was not even halfway into the movie.

The rest of the movie, though not as bloody, was still intense. It focused more on the bulk of the plot which was about the attempt to locate Private Ryan and to bring him home to his mother. There's the formation of the team, the orders being given, the great lengths this particular team had to go through. It was filled with firing guns and deaths, which led it to being a sensitive dramatic movie. Steven Spielberg crafted the movie to be as authentic as possible, which was probably the reason why there were really nothing too overdone about it. It was as natural as it possibly could be.

The cast was also stellar and gave the finest performances this movie could ask for. Tom Hanks as the lead was commanding, firm, and still had that sensitivity to his men and comrades. There was also a great dynamic going on among the members of the team. The chemistry was so present that whenever someone got hurt, or anything, I could feel the tension. I could feel the paranoia, anxiety and suffering. The actors complemented each other very well and it all worked out well. I honestly can say that I can't see any other actor playing one of the roles in the movie.

There are not enough positive words to describe the movie, the performances and the brilliance of Steven Sielberg. At the end of the movie, there was nothing left to do but to take in the whole experience, be appreciative and be grateful that such a movie could be so inspiring. It's truly one of the best movies I've seen, and Saving Private Ryan will always remain as one of my top movies. In one of the scenes, Captain Miller said,"Things have taken a turn for the surreal. " It's the best culmination I could think of for this post, cause after watching the movie, it felt so surreal to have had the opportunity of watching this exquisite movie.

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July 08, 2012

Vantage Point

Vantage Point was an action/drama 2008 movie directed by Pete Travis. The screenplay was written by Barry L. Levy It also had a political side to it as it focused on an attempt to assassinate the President of the United States. It starred Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Edgar Ramirez, Eduardo Noriega, Ayelet Surer, and more. Every single one them was amazing in the movie, really investing themselves to their roles. That's already one thing I liked about it.

I got chills minutes into the movie. Literally having goosebumps while watching the first part of the movie. It was the atmosphere of the movie that was really intense and shocking. Maybe it caught me off guard cause usually, the movie spends the first part of the movie laying the ground of it, introducing the characters, setting the premise etc. Vantage point was not one of them. Right at the get go, guns were being shot, bombs were exploding, and people were dying. The whole mood was somber and pretty scary, especially if you imagine yourself in that scenario.

The energy of the film died down midway. It was around the 4th or 5th perspective that it started lose steam.  It suddenly became dragging in a sense, and I thought they were repeating scenes not really necessary for the construction of the movie. However, things started to pick up again towards the end when everything started coming together. In the last perspective where it was revealed who wanted to kill the president, the steps they took to ensure chaos, it all started to pick up again. While the movie died down a bit in the middle portion of the movie, the ending more than made up for it. The mystery was beginning to be solved and it ended with a thrill.

It's been compared to Rashomon, a 1950 Japanese movie by Akira Kurosawa. I've seen Rashomon and I think people are comparing the two movies because both employed the same style of film making. Rashomon used 4 perspectives to tell the story of 2 men and a woman, and how the two men fought for the woman. The 4th perspective cam from a person who witnessed everything. To be honest, aside from telling a single story using different perspectives, I didn't think the movies were the same. It had similar ideas, but I thought the attack Vantage Point had was different from that of Rashomon. Although, after reading some of the comments, I understood where these people were coming from.

Overall, I thought the movie was still pretty good. After watching the movie, I forgave that tiny bit in the middle of the movie that got me thinking the movie, which had a great start would end badly. It's probably something I'd watch again, and maybe the second time around, I'd appreciate it even more. But I still found it enjoyable and entertaining. I think that's what matters at the end of the day.

Marley & Me

Marley & Me was a 2008c comedy-drama movie starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. It was directed by David Frankel, who also directed The Devil Wears Prada. The story was based on the work of John Grogan which had the same title as the movie. Owen Wilson played Grogan and Aniston played his wife, Jenny. Also part of the cast were Eric Dane, Alan Arkin, Kathleen Turner, Nathan Gamble, Finley Jacobsen, and Lucy Merriam. The film went on to break records on its Christmas day release and became a hugely commercial success.

The first part of the movie was filled with laughs while the second half dabbles on serious matters more. It still had funny bits, but that's really when the drama started settling in and overtaking the comedic side of it. The transition however is remarkable. It flowed really smoothly and it had a clear direction. It started lightly, then introduced the people involved and how the couple got their first dog. Then it continued to follow the couple's joyous moments with the newest member of their family, and the struggles that went along with it. It escalated even more when the couple started having children. It's a great narration of a beautiful story.

Another thing I liked about it was the music. It had great songs, great melodies for the movie. Appropriate and still catchy. Right from the beginning, I already noticed that the movie had very good songs, songs I would actually search for, and listen to.

This movie was right into Jennifer Aniston's wheelhouse. She's really good at this dramedy movies cause she's a very talented actress. She's funny but she also knows how to handle melodramatic scenes. I guess she already showed us her range in the television show FRIENDS. There's also no question about Owen Wilson's comedic side. This movie was probably a little different from his other movies, but still pretty good if you ask me. Eric Dane was also excellent in this, although he really did not have a lot of screen time. The children also were fantastic. I only included the names of the actors who played the couple's children towards the end of the movie. But these kids were seriously unbelievable.

It's a heartwarming story of friendship, family, and as cheesy as this sounds, love. It's an inspiring and touching story about a family and a dog, and the strong bond that connects all of them together. The joys, the tears, the fun of it. It's a great exploration of every single element revolving around the family. Now I know why people are still taking about it years after its release.

You can follow me on twitter @sirfilmreviewer or email me at mrfilmreviewer@yahoo.com. You can also follow this blog by checking the right side of the page.