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Friday, August 12, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens


"God doesn't care about who you were son... He only cares about who you are"


      The title turns a lot of people off, I understand that.  Roberto Orci [producer] felt that the title would 'raise interest', make people curious about the film.  Well it certainly did for me considering I'm not the 'western film type.'  Though I have an open mind about all genres of film especially Sci-Fi, I couldn't help but be a little curious about the integration of the two.

     For the second time this week Hollywood got it right and another A film is born.  I really and earnestly try not to give out too many A's.  I definitely don't want to dilute the A grade but when a story is done and the director captures it just right and there's nothing else that could be done to make the film better then I have to award it as such.  Do I think Cowboys and Aliens is going to be a classic... maybe, maybe not.  It depends on how the people feel about it.  It's just too bad that most will never view it because of the title.

     Jon Favreau is quickly becoming legend.  Who does a the voice of a Bear from The Zookeeper and then directs such a thrilling movie like this in the same year?  Impressed is not the adjective I'm looking for but something greater than that.  I remember the first time I saw him was in Very Bad Things (1998).  He was funny to me and now it's even funnier how far he has come in his career.

        My position on westerns hasn't changed. A brief overview can be found in my reviews for Rango and True Grit [<-----click titles for reviews].  This western had a certain allure from the opening scene.  Maybe it was the quiet that gets disturbed by potential 'western' danger.  Perhaps it was the  MacGuffin [shackle of technology on his wrist] that perplexed Daniel Craig's character from the opening scene which, in turn, confused us (the audience) because really.... That tech-bracelet thingy is what brought us in the auditorium in the first place.  WHAT IS IT!?!?  Could have simply been the charm that good westerns throw on you. With great landscape shots and an array of colorful to dry characters with simple lines like:

" I don't know much about boats, but I would say that one's upside down."
Whatever the manipulative charm  is it worked, and I watched and ultimately... I loved it.

     Daniel Craig was incredible even though his role was reserved for Robert Downey Jr.  He has this fierce stare that speaks volumes.  He's not animated at all which works because when he does have to become.... violent, the action is unsuspecting and magnified.  It works for him well with the 007 movies and speaking of 007.... This makes Harrison Fords second former/current 'James Bond' that he shared the big screen with.  The first being Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Harrison Ford makes for a perfect cowboy with his uncanny ability to be grit tough and sincere at the same time.

     All the moments were captivating, stuff that really makes you think/reminiscence  on the ride home.   Certain parts, especially this one particular scene including Harrison Ford and his Indian servant, made even me feel salt swelling up in the ol' reservoir.  [Didn't let them go though... too hard for that :)]

   As stated earlier, I give this movie one of the highest marks that I can give it [A] and I only hope the masses will give it a chance... Definitely a movie worth watching.

   As with most films distributed by Universal Pictures, there is a brief promo after the end credits for Universal Studios. However, the promo used at the end of this movie uses the decidedly 1960s era ad to promote the Universal Studios back lot tour in Hollywood, California. This promo was replaced in 1990 when Universal Studios opened a second location in Orlando, Florida and changed its logo.  


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes


Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes - Teaser Site

" No! "


      Not being a fan of the franchise curiosity, plus an incredible teaser, made this movie not really a 'must-see' for me but a 'would-really-really-really-like-to-see".   Turns out that not only was Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes arguably one of the best movies this summer but maybe this year!

     If your not familiar with the Planet of the Apes franchise that's okay. ROTPOTA stands on it's own two feet and the action doesn't drag it's knuckles at all.

    What awed me the most was the emotional attachment to the Primates.  By the end of the movie a lot of us wasn't sure who to root for or whom we should be rooting for.  The journey of Ceaser [the star of the show] was at the least intriguing.

     The Oscars need a new category: Best Animated actor/actress.  The amount of talent that goes on behind the digitally mastered ape/Orangutan/Gorilla  is astonishing.  For those that might not know, Andy Serkis is the person behind/in the ape from this movie [Ceaser], King Kong  (2005), and Gollum from The Lord of The Rings.

   John Lithgow  (plays Will's father Charles Rodman ) does an extraordinary job of acting.  This performance could define his career even though his role was very limited.  In the short amount of time and lines that he was given he was able to communicate hurt, love, joy, the point of break after confusion and ultimately loss.
   James Franco ( Will Rodman ) gave a really good performance too.  Frieda Pinto is still and probably always be incredibly fine, I just wish her role could of played a bigger part in the overal story.

Oh well, that's not at all an issue with a dang-near perferct movie.

    Oh yes, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes receives an A from this reviewer fighting the urge to give it an A+.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love.


" Oh  my God, you did Miyagi me. "


     Must admit that I was watching this movie with a bad attitude complete with my arms crossed and my bottom lip poked out.   Apparently, Cal's[Steve Carell's character] wife, asks him for a divorce very curt, very cold and apparently from out of nowhere. This is not a spoiler because this is in the trailer.  Next thing I know  Steve is moving out the house. What!? She should be the one grabbing an apartment and busing it to work since she's the one that wants to leave.  What is this world coming to!? tsk tsk

     So the movie is going right along like I though it would with one exception, I thought it would be a tad bit funnier. I find myself rooting for Cal hoping he can bounce back while his son is in a dilemma of his own. 

     About 3 quarters of the way through, there was an ordeal that pleasantly caught me off guard.  Right then[!] is where the  movie started to get really good.  I found myself trying to remember to close my mouth and my eyes stayed peeled to the screen.  The jokes/gags were funnier to edgier and I really started to enjoy myself.  The story line really impressed me as we approached the conflict resolution.

    Not to mention the lessons learned were genuine, smart and very well done.

     Steve Carell has an uncanny ability to express authentic emotions very efficiently and seemingly effortlessly.  His situational comedy is among the best I've seen, ESPECIALLY when the situation revolves around love... I guess that's why the Office did so well.  Most people can relate to his style/brand of comedy.  I'll never forget this episode where David ( the CFO) made Steve (Micheal Scott) go on this business trip to Canada right after he got his heart broke (pretty much by the same person) and he fell for this concierge.  They had a great time until she kicked him out of her room the next morning or later that night.  A moment passes and she cracks the door to put his shoes in the hallway... His face, his body language, the silence that followed, that whole scene screamed 'hurt' and he never said a word.

     I enjoyed this movie a lot. I grade it a very strong B.