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8 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.6

Published by marco on

Argo (2012) — 6/10
Ben Affleck directs and stars alongside John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin and Zeljko Ivanek in this movie about the CIA pretending to make a movie in order to smuggle US-embassy employees out of Iran during the hostage crisis. The cast is good and the idea isn’t bad but the execution is a bit slow, especially in the second act, where I felt that they didn’t sustain the suspense well at all. The direction and cinematography were quite good, but not exceptional for... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.5

Published by marco on

Alien (1979) — 9/10
The classic film, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Sigourney Weaver (Ripley), John Hurt and Tom Skerritt. It documents the journey of a commercial deep-space mining ship on its way to investigate an S.O.S. call from a distant planet. The ship lands and sends out a landing party, which discovers an even larger, alien craft that seems for all intents and purposes to have crashed long ago. Something survived, though and it wants to breed again. And for that, it needs a... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.4

Published by marco on

X-Men: First Class (2004) — 9/10
Possibly the best of all of the X-Men movies so far, with Jean Grey coming from the dead as Phoenix and fighting with Professor X himself for supremacy. They took out Magneto—made him human—and man was I rooting for the Phoenix to make a clean slate of things at the end. Mainstream movies always cop out when it comes to destroying the world, though. Still recommended, though, and highly recommended for fans of comic-book movies.
Kill Bill Vol. I (2003)... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.3

Published by marco on

Blade: Trinity (2004) — 7/10
Wesley Snipes stars as the daywalker in the third film of the trilogy. Instead of just Kris Kristofferson’s Whistler, he’s aided by the Nightstalkers, a band of vampire hunters comprising Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel and Patton Oswalt (Oswalt was clearly thrown in for balance because Biel and Reynolds were apparently way too much eye candy). Parker Posey (Louie’s girlfriend in the TV show Louie) is off the rails as the leader of the vampire gang, which comes up... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.2

Published by marco on

Tangled (2010) — 5/10
Disney’s take on the story of Rapunzel, done in modern, 3d-animated style. The characters are unsurprising: there’s a beautiful virginal girl who sings, a young handsome rogue who sings and an evil old witch. The story is only tangentially related to the original Grimm’s fairy tale: in the original, the witch was initially the wronged party; in the Disney version, there’s no gray area and the witch is evil from the start. There were no real star voices and only a... [More]

9 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2013.1

Published by marco on

Manufactured Landscapes (2006) — 9/10
This is a documentary about manufacturing—mostly in China—about the world that humanity creates for itself and about the lives that people live in this world. The film starts with a long, slow pan along a factory floor that seems to last for kilometers. It is equal parts horrifying to think of how people can live and work in places like this and awe-inspiring to think what gigantic structures man has created. The documentary also acknowledges its own... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.9

Published by marco on

Joe vs. the Volcano (1990) — 8/10
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in a movie that starts off like Brazil, depicting the life of a wage-slave—an empty, meaningless and mind-numbingly boring life. The kind of life that probably more rather than fewer people live today than in 1990 when the film was made. The entrance to the company where Joe works—which manufactures rectal probes and lube (really subtle)—is a jagged, winding path cut into what looks like volcanic, blasted terrain. The atrium... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.8

Published by marco on

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009/se) — 8/10
This is the original Swedish filming of the book by Stieg Larsson with Noomi Rapace in the eponymous role (she went on to star in Prometheus) opposite Michael Nyqvist, who’s got this utterly believable early-Gerard Depardieu vibe to him. Just as in Prometheus, Ms. Rapace is in phenomenal shape; seriously, she’s ripped and way more buff than in the book, where The Girl is described as a stick. She looks good doing it though, and it’s completely... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.7

Published by marco on

Johnny English Reborn (2011) — 8/10
A surprisingly amusing and refreshingly good sequel to the original Johnny English. This one drew the line farther from slapstick than the original—and skirting entirely the scatological humor that induced squirms. The story was decebt and the cast was good (Gillian Anderson and Rosamund Pike were both very welcome additions). English, as played by Rowan Atkinson, is even more skilled than in the first film, though he still swings between utterly... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.6

Published by marco on

Crank (2006) — 6/10
Grand Theft Auto started out by copying action movies and now the circle is complete as movies like Crank are copying the cinematic style of GTA. It does a great job of raising adrenalin levels. About halfway through the movie, he’s even dressed as Nico from GTAIV (when he visits his girlfriend). As a concept, it’s quite a bit of fun, although it drags a bit toward the end. In that way, it emulates the feeling of having stale adrenalin in your veins, so that’s good I... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.5

Published by marco on

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) — 5/10
This sequel, worse than the original, is, on top of it all, showing its age. This time, Max cynically helps a settlement try to get petrol while the forces of Humungus (the evil, Bane-like leader of the marauders) try to destroy them and steal all of their supplies. Everything is very post-apocalyptic and the final half of the film is an interminable truck chase across the Australian wastelands. Not really recommended; watch the first one instead.... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.4

Published by marco on

Contraband (2012) — 5/10
Mark Wahlberg does his level-best to save this flick, but it drags on and only the last half-hour or so is anything like exciting or worth watching. The attempt to make it look like Kate Beckinsale shared any genes whatsoever with Caleb Landry Jones was a lost cause from the very start. As the screwup/plot-driver brother, Jones’s face seems perfectly designed to express an utterly self-centered vacuity and “douche-bagginess”. With all of his Macgyver-like cleverness,... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.3

Published by marco on

The Adjustment Bureau (2009) — 7/10
Matt Damon stars as a congressman from Brooklyn whose future is bright. On the eve of his first election bid, though, he stumbles and loses to a stronger opponent. The woman who inspires his offbeat concession speech disappears soon after. He spends years looking for her as he ramps up his next campaign. It turns out that neither their initial meeting nor her subsequent disappearance were determined by fate. They were determined by the Adjustment Bureau.... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.2

Published by marco on

Observe and Report (2009) — 2/10
Seth Rogan stars as a bipolar mall cop. It’s as bad as it sounds. Written and directed by someone named Jody Hill, it’s hard to believe that the ordinarily quite genial Rogan was in this movie for any reason other than that he lost a bet. None of Rogan’s fellow mall cops are in any way endearing. His quote-girlfriend-unquote is appalling and nothing recommends this film.
Cowboys & Aliens (2011) — 5/10
Daniel Craig stars as an alien abductee from the old... [More]

10 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2012.1

Published by marco on

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) — 9/10
This movie is dedicated to Heath Ledger—he died halfway through the filming—who stars alongside Christopher Plummer as the eponymous Doctor Parnassus. Ledger was very good; Plummer was spellbinding. The remainder of Ledger’s role was filled seamlessly by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and finally Colin Farrell, who played the character in the “imaginarium” scenes, where reality was slippery anyway. It’s never possible to predict how a Terry... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2011.8

Published by marco on

Machete (2010) — 6/10
This movie is—and I never thought I’d use this phrase—a Danny Trejo vehicle directed by Robert Rodriguez (of Once Upon a Time in Mexico fame), so it’s got lots of blood, lots of flying appendages and lots of buxom, armed babes. Machete continues Rodriguez’s homage to Russ Meyers and proves relatively entertaining, no thanks to Jessica Alba’s wooden acting. Good thing Lindsey Lohan was also in the flick or Alba might have looked bad. Lohan plays a tweaking daughter... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2011.7

Published by marco on

Talking Funny (2011) — 8/10
A four-person round table about comedy starring Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Louis C.K. Lots of laughs and some interesting points made—though Gervais seemed to be far ahead of the others in pure erudition, trying to delve deeper into the philosophical and perhaps philological implications of humor and what it means to say that something’s funny. The others seemed more into gut feeling that something was funny and weren’t too interested in... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2011.6

Published by marco on

My Life in Ruins (2008) — 6/10
A cute comedy about tour guides in Greece. Almost totally formulaic but still somehow entertaining.
Crimson Tide (1995) — 8/10
An excellent submarine thriller with Denzel Washington as Captain Gene Hackman’s executive officer as their sub heads toward a showdown with Russian rebels with their fingers on the nuclear trigger. Viggo Mortenson is excellent as well, and James Gandolfini plays a small-minded kowtower so well that one wonders whether he’s acting at... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2011.5

Published by marco on

Changeling (2008) — 8/10
Angelina Jolie directed by Clint Eastwood about a woman’s struggle to find her abducted child. However, the struggle is more against a patriarchal and corrupt LA police department, who cover up their ineptitude by returning to her the wrong child and then commit her to an insane asylum when she refuses to accept that the child is hers. She was clearly suffering from “the vapors”. Dark, infuriating and very well done.
Black Dog (1998) — 4/10
Patrick Swayze is a... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2011.4

Published by marco on

Fireflies in the Garden (2008) — 8/10
A decent film with a strong cast—Willem Dafoe and Ryan Reynolds are very good, with Carrie Anne Moss and Julia Roberts in smaller roles—about a family with an overbearing (asshole) patriarch (Dafoe) whose son (and wife, actually) has eluded his grasp. Think Death of a Salesman where Loman has a sadistic streak and a wicked temper instead of a pathetic air about him. Ryan Reynolds is more subdued, adapting his trademark rapier wit and coolness to the... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2011.3

Published by marco on

Salt (2010) — 6/10
Angelina Jolie (or what’s left of her after what seems like an exceedingly strict diet) stars opposite Liev Schreiber as a deep-cover Soviet/Russian agent. It meanders along predictably, jolts you with a couple of neat plot twists and then ends predictably (with a mini plot-twist right at the end again). It’s a pretty uneven movie overall, with a lot of gung-ho bravado and idiocy as well as seemingly pathetic aim on the parts of the antagonists (read: police, naturally).... [More]

11 years Ago

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2011.2

Published by marco on

Goodfellas (1990) — 8/10
I finally saw this mob movie after all these years of hearing it quoted again and again and again. Though it was nice seeing the origins of the quotes, it kind of took the edge off of the surprise a bit. I don’t know what I was expecting and the film wasn’t bad, but it didn’t blow me away like The Departed. In a way, I felt like I’d already seen part of it in Blow.
Cop Out (2010) — 5/10
Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan, with a nice smaller part by Seann William Scott... [More]

Capsule Movie Reviews Vol.2011.1

Published by marco on

Late December/early January are what I call “guy movie month” here because the wife is away.

Inception (2010) — 9/10
Fantastic film from start to finish with an exceedingly interesting storyline and well-put-together concept. Excellent effects, excellent cast and challenging material make for a film that you’ll want to watch again.
Zombieland (2009) — 8/10
Woody Harrelson is always entertaining, but the kid doing the Michael Cera schtick of being absolutely pathetic and neurotic got old... [More]