Posts Tagged ‘exceeds expectations’

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#8: Saw

January 14, 2011

Yeah, so somehow I managed to see the third one, but never saw the movie that started it all!

So what’s it about?: Two strangers wake up on opposite sides a room, padlocked to pipes, and a dead guy in the middle of the floor.   As the two set out to play the game they’ve been forced into by an unknown outside party known only as the Jigsaw killer, chaos ensues.

The Good: Okay, so this film is actually not horrible.  The idea of such a creative serial killer who gives his victims a chance to fight for an escape is actually kind of cool.

The Bad: Well, sure, the acting is over-the-top, but that’s to be expected.  My biggest qualm was that the coolest things about this franchise are the traps, and there really aren’t many in this film!  Though that does give the movie a plot instead, which is definitely better in the long run.  Ah well, the price we pay for a story.

The Verdict: As far as slasher films go, this is actually okay.  It’s not scary, it won’t stick with you, but it will entertain you with enough blood and gore and thrills for a whole 90 minutes without you groaning over how intensely bad the production is.

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#68: Crazy Heart

December 20, 2009

So what’s it about?: A post-famous alcoholic country singer struggles to travel from crappy gig to bar to crappy gig when he meets a journalist and her son and ensues some chaos.

The Good: Naturally a movie about country has an awesome soundtrack.  But this also has a touching story and SUPERB acting.

The Bad: This is basically The Wrestler.  And I don’t mean they’re similar, I mean they are the exact same movie, only Crazy Heart has music and a tangible ending.

The Verdict: Yeah, it’s worth seeing, though yet another film you don’t need to see in theaters.  But sure to get some noms for acting and a guaranteed Best Original Song win.

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#66: The Princess and the Frog

December 20, 2009

2004: A little movie called Home on the Range was released and managed to not only flop at the box office but end all traditional 2D animation coming from Disney’s doors… until now!

So what’s it about?: A New Orleans girl is working hard to start her own restaurant when she meets a talking frog.  Cue ensuing chaos!

The Good: Oh Disney, it’s good to have you back!  For years we’ve had to be content with the Meet the Robinsons and Bolts of the past five years, and even went so far as just relying on Pixar for our yearly Disney, but no more!  This film is every bit as charming and smart and fun-filled as the 90s were.  Yeah, okay, it’s no Beauty and the Beast (despite many similarities, especially between Belle and Tiana) or The Lion King, but it’s right up there with Pocahontas and The Little Mermaid.  It’s just an outrageously fun ride that the whole family can go on and hopefully will lead to more films just like it.

The Bad: Okay, there are a couple bothering plot holes in it (though maybe I was just so overjoyed with seeing a classic traditional animated film I missed something).  And the music is more 70s Disney memorable than 90s Disney magical, though undeniably New Orleans.

The Verdict: Go see it.  Please.  So that it may make lots of money and Disney can realize they need to make more movies like this in the future.

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#64: Bolt

December 20, 2009

Well, in probably the best year as a whole for animated movies of the decade, I decided to take a return trip to the dark ages of 2008 (oh Wall*E, how much better you would have enjoyed 2009).

So what’s it about?: A TV superdog thinks he’s a real superdog, and goes on a mission to rescue his person when they are seperated after filming a cliff-hanger.  With the help of his fellow talking animal friends, chaos ensues all the way to Hollywood.

The Good: It’s cute.  And, while not a fantastic family film, it’s still good enough to entertain the whole family and maintain my theory that kid movies don’t have to be stupid to please them.  And it has some classic moments.

The Bad: You have to listen to Miley Cyrus’s voice for a good third of the film, and that’s enough to drive some people over the edge.  And sadly it gets a little too sappy at times.

The Verdict: A great movie to rent with the kids a good enough addition to the okay collection of Disney 3D animated movies.  But not anything worth writing home about.

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#59: Pirate Radio

December 20, 2009

or The Movie Formerly Known As The Boat That Rocked

So what’s it about?: 1960s England.  Pirate radio stations broadcast illegal music from off-shore.  Uptight politicians would rather listen to elevator music.  Chaos ensues.

The Good: This movie is HILARIOUS!  Like, really, really funny.  It’s basically Love Actually on a boat in the 60s, and of course it would be seeing as how Richard Curtis wrote and directed both films.  While not as touching as Love Actually, and not nearly as good of a film, it’s still charming and in the end has you rooting for all of its five bajillion characters.  And naturally, for a movie about rock and roll, it has a killer soundtrack.  Plus bonus points for great opening and closing credit sequences.

The Bad: There are a lot of characters, which results in not a lot of development.  Some plot lines just get dropped to the wayside never to return.  And some scenes are just plain filler.

The Verdict: It’s certainly not a classic, award winning, memorable enough to even be talked about come 2010, but hey, it’s a fun movie, and if you ever find yourself looking for something to watch it sure won’t disappoint!

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#37: Primer

November 1, 2009

primerSo what’s it about?: A couple of friends unlock the secret to time travel in their garage.  As they experiment with new found technology, chaos ensues.

The Good: If Time Traveler’s Wife is the stupidest film about time travel, then Primer is hands down the smartest.  This was the first film that actually made me feel time travel is possible.  The script is undoubtedly genius.

The Bad: This film is a low budget indie film, and it shows.  The acting is lacking.  The camera shots are in the vein of we-have-to-make-this-interesting-so-let’s-chose-the-weirdest-angle-possible.  And the story gets to be a little confusing at times, and in places it shouldn’t be.  The characters just all begin to run together to where it becomes a major detriment.  In the end, though, this seemed like a really smart film student project.  And maybe that’s all it was.  But it really could have been a lot more.

The Verdict: I usually don’t like remakes, but this story is ripe for the taking.  Should a studio pick it up and do it right, this movie could be fan-freaking-tastic.  In the meantime, I still recommend the film for the story alone, because it’s really, really good.

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#36: Let the Right One In

October 29, 2009

lettherightoneinI’d heard great things about this movie, but with the onslaught of vampires in the past couple of years, I was hesitant to watch.  But who can say no when it’s available to stream on Netflix?

So what’s it about?: A 12 year old boy doubles as a punching bag at school when he meets his new neighbor: a little girl with a taste for blood.  And then some chaos ensues.

The Good: In a world of sparkling vegetarian vamps it’s nice to see a very realistic depiction of vampires (if there can be such a thing).  No special mystical powers, no underground society, and though we presume they are there, these vamps don’t even show fangs!  But one of the highlights of this film is that even without the added gimmick of a vampire character, there is still a haunting tale of child bullying and friendships underneath it all.

The Bad: For a film labelled under the “Horror” genre, this film is not scary at all.  But even as a drama, this film suffers from the same problem as most teenage dramas on television: the adults are boring and take away from the root of the story.  Some adult characters like the parents are somewhat necessary, but anybody not related to a main character seemed to take away from the story.  And apparently the DVD subtitles aren’t as good as the Theatrical subtitles.  Sadly I never saw this in theaters, but I could definitely see how some of the lines seemed a little dumbed down.  I would def like to see the original translation.

The Verdict: A great movie for Halloween if you want to be able to sleep at night.  And if vampire movies could go more in this direction in the future, that would be greatly appreciated.