Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2011

Just so you know, I didn't include my Sam's movie The Debt on this list because technically I saw it at a film festival last October. Otherwise it would have defenietly been on here. Same with The King's Speech (which got a limited release I beleive it was last December).

10. The Help

·         This was a surprise hit this year. While the movie started off a little slow, I really got into it in the second half. You really get a sense of what it was like living in the south in the 60’s. Amazing act by all. I particularly enjoyed Jessica Chastain’s performance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her and a few others from this movie get Oscar nominations.

9. Paul

·         I love a good comedy. Paul had me laughing so hard my stomach hurt. This was a really fun road movie/spoof of other alien movies. Seth Rogen is the voice (he also did some performance capture for this) of the title character and he was really good. So were Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. My fellow nerds will love this.

8. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

·         I always enjoy watching Robert Downey Jr. He and Jude Law were my favorite parts of this entertaining mystery. Sure it’s flawed (the slow motion action scenes might annoy some people) but you can look past it. The soundtrack was really good. Guy Ritchie did an amazing job with the look of the time period.

7. The Descendants

·         I had a chance to see this back at a film festival in October. It’s a well done dramedy starring George Clooney as a man who must keep his family together when his wife is in an accident and is basically a vegetable. A shocking secret is revealed that he also must come to terms with. You wouldn’t think a movie like this would be funny but I found myself laughing out loud more than once. At the same time, I also cried. I really think George Clooney will win a Best Actor Oscar this year. He gives an unbelievable performance.

6. Breaking Dawn Part 1

·         I know people are going to think I’m crazy for putting this on my list but so what. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Twilight fan. I know they’re not the best movies out there (far from it) but I enjoy them for what they are. Breaking Dawn part 1 is probably the best one so far. The acting has actually gotten better. It’s nice to see Robert Pattinson show some actual emotion. This movie has Edward & Bella getting married, going on their honeymoon, Bella getting pregnant and giving birth in one of the most disturbing birthing scenes I’ve ever seen in my life. I wasn’t sure if this book would be possible to make into a movie, but I think Bill Condon did a really good job. He certainly did the best he could with the shitty script that was given to him. I still don’t think it needed to be split up into two movies though. I think they could’ve done just fine with one long 3+ hour movie. Still, I liked it.

5. Anonymous

·         Another great movie I saw at the local film festival this year. It goes with the idea that Edward DeVere was the real author of all those plays and not William Shakespeare. Is it true? Who knows. But the director argues his points well and I found the whole thing fascinating. The cinematography was beautiful. Amazing acting as well, especially by Rhys Ifans.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

·         David Fincher has done it again. This time he’s taken on an American adaptation of Steig Larson’s best-selling novel. It’s very a very faithful adaptation, with the exception of a slight change to the ending that I’m not crazy about, but I understand why he did it. Rooney Mara completely transforms herself and does it very convincingly as troubled young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Daniel Craig was just perfect for the role of Mikael Blomkvist. As people who’ve read the book or are familiar with the story know, things get EXTREMELY graphic, including two rape scenes. This movie is not for those with a weak stomach. Despite cringing in my seat a few times, I still enjoyed this well done mystery/thriller. I enjoyed the music as well. Although, I’ll never be able to listen to Enya’s “Sail Away” the same way again.

3. Fast Five

·         Easily the best in the franchise since the first movie. It includes the usual cool cars and chase scenes, but they added a heist theme to this one which I found really enjoyable. Vin Diesel & Duane “The Rock” Johnson’s bad ass fight scene alone was worth the price of admission.

2. The Hangover Part 2

·         While not as good as the first movie, I still loved this one. It’s always great to see the Wolf Pack (played brilliantly by Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms) in action. Yes, it’s pretty much the same movie as last time, only now it’s set in Bangkok and this time Stu is the one getting married. Still, the chemistry between the three main actors and the crazy things they get into makes for a good time.

This was a really difficult decision, deciding which movie would be my number one. I was very close to having just Harry Potter be it and making Warrior a very close second. But in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to make Warrior anything less than number one. I love both movies so much, for different reasons. So it’s a tie this year J

1. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows part 2

·         As I think back on this movie, I can’t help but feel a little sad. This is it. The final chapter in the epic Harry Potter franchise. My childhood is officially over. I’m so glad my friends and I decided to go to the midnight premiere. We dressed up as various characters and had an amazing night hanging out together and enjoying the movie. David Yates did an amazing job capturing the action, emotion, and just everything we all loved about the last book. It was a pretty faithful adaptation for the most part. Unlike Breaking Dawn, this definitely needed to be split up into two movies. There was just so much material to cover. As with most book to movie adaptations, some things were changed or left out altogether. Nothing major though that I can remember. Everything that I and many other fans wanted to see was included. My favorite scenes were Snape’s memories. Alan Rickman was so amazing in this. I had hoped he might have a chance at a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but that doesn’t look likely now. Such a shame. Anyway, I can’t think of a better way to end this franchise. Well done by everyone involved making the movie. It’s weird not having any Harry Potter movies to look forward to anymore. But it’ll be okay. These books and movies will definitely be enjoyed by many generations to come.

1. Warrior

·         Being such a huge Tom Hardy fan, I knew I had to go see this. Words can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoyed Warrior. You don’t have to like MMA (I actually do though) in order to like this movie. It’s an amazing, emotional family drama that just happens to include MMA. It tells the story of two brothers- Tommy (Tom Hardy), the youngest who’s a former Marine and an Iraq war hero with a lot of issues, and Brendan (Joel Edgerton), a married school teacher struggling to make ends meet and is about to l have his house taken away. They’ve been estranged for 14 years because of their alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte, giving an Oscar worthy performance). Paddy wants desperately to reconnected with both his sons but (for good reasons) they want nothing to do with him. Both Tommy and Brendan enter the biggest tournament in MMA history. They each have their own reasons for needing to win the big 5 million dollar prize. Of course, it ends up coming down to a fight between the two of them. What I love most about what Gavin O’Connor (the director) did was he made you like both characters so much that you have no idea who to root for. That’s usually not the case with sports movies. So how does it end? I’m not going to tell you. But they made it work and you realize it was the only way it could of ended. Although there were a few rough spots with the dialogue, it was such a great movie that you can look past that minor flaw. The fight scenes were brutal and have you on the edge of your seat during the last half of the movie. You lose all track of time. It sure didn’t feel like an almost two and a half hour movie. Tom Hardy & Joel Edgerton are very convincing as MMA fighters, especially Tom. He’s huge and scares the shit out of you. Anyone who doubts he’ll make a great Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, should see him in this. I know he’s going to be amazing in it.

So there you have it! I want to thank all of you for taking the time to check out my blog and read my reviews. It really means a lot to me. I hope everyone has a great New Years and I look forward to discussing with you all the movies coming out in 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (IMAX)

Just to let you know, I haven't really seen any of the previous Mission Impossible movies except a few scenes here and there. If I mess anything up, I apologize.

Here it is! My last review of 2011. And what a movie to end the year with.

I admit that at first, I had no desire to see this. But then I heard some IMAX theaters were playing a 6 minute preview of The Dark Knight Rises before it. Sadly, as I found out tonight, my local IMAX theater wasn't one of them. But they did show the latest trailer which was pretty bad ass. But lets move on before I get carried away with my Batman obsession.

I'm glad I decided to go. This movie was a lot of fun. I can see why it's getting good reviews. Was it perfect? Of course not. I don't think anyone really expected it to be.

What can I say? It's Tom Cruise (back of course as Ethan Hunt) literaley running around various countries while he and his team (Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Paula Patton) save the world using cool gadgets. Oh, and occasionaly crap blows up.

As far as a "plot", from what I can understand, has Ethan and his team framed for a bombing in Russia. So then they must stop Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist, best known for playing Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), the man actually responsible, before he launches nuclear weapons and goes through with his plan to wipe out everyone on Earth and start over.

I know it sounds ridiculous and beleive me it is, but all the action and scenery more than make up for it. It's not one of those movies you go into expecting a great plot. Like I said though, it was fun.

Tom Cruise was really good. I had almost forgotten how great of an actor he was. I liked the cast as well. Especially Simon Pegg, who provides the comic relief.

If you're going to go see this, defenietly go see it in IMAX. There's certain scenes that to me just wouldn't look the same on a regular screen. Especially the scene where Tom is climbing up and then running down this huge, 100+ story building. It was such an incredible moment and felt so real that it scared the shit out of me. Everyone in the theater seemed to be gasping at that moment too.

Even though it felt more like a summer type movie to me, it's doing really well right now. I'm glad. It's very entertaining. Had me on the edge of my seat. Hope you guys get to see it if you get the chance :)

My Rating: 8/10

Just one more thing- For those that are interested, I'm going to be posting a list of my top 10 favorite movies of 2011. Be sure to look for that sometime tomorrow.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Let me start off by saying that (contrary to what some people think) this is NOT a remake of the brilliant 2009 Swedish film staring Noomi Rapace. It's simply a different adaptation of Steig Larsson's best selling book.

But I admit to being a bit skeptical when this project was first announced. I loved the 2009 film and didn't see much sense in another one. But I decided to give it a chance, especially when I heard David Fincher (The Social Network, Fight Club) had signed on to direct. I'm glad I did :)

The movie is about a disgraced journalist named Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig). He's hired by the wealthy Henrik Vanger to investigate the dissapearance of his grandniece Harriet, which occured 40 years ago. Mikael is aided by a very troubled young computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara, who gives an unbeleivable performance).

For those not familiar with the book, I must warn you that this movie is EXTREMELY graphic. Not only the violence and torture, but there's two rape scenes that (even though I knew they would happen) had myself and pretty much everyone in the theater cringing.

This movie had me on the edge of my seat. I love a good myster/thriller. David Fincher did an amazing job setting the tone. The musical score (done by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, who also did the score for The Social Network) was really good. Will have to download it at some point.

But my favorite part of the movie was the performances. I'm a huge fan of Daniel Craig and think he was perfect for the role of Mikael Blomkvist. But of course the real star of this movie is Rooney Mara. She completely transformed herself for the role. I'm glad Fincher decided to go with a relatively unknown actress for the role of Lisbeth. Rooney was nominated for a Golden Globe for this and it was well deserved. I wouldn't be surprised if she gets an Oscar nomination as well.

I really don't have anything negative to say about the movie. Not that it's perfect by any means. If I had to pick something, I'd say that I wasn't too crazy about how Fincher changed the ending. It's not a major change or anything, but it's different from the book. That's really the only change that I can remember. The rest of the movie was a very faithful adaptation, even more so than the one from 2009.

So which version of the film was better, this one or the one from 2009? I really hate to compare them. They're both so good. Noomi Rapace was an excellent Lisbeth but I think Rooney Mara did just as good of a job. Although I must admit Rooney's version was more how I pictured Lisbeth when I read the book. And Daniel Craig was a much better choice for Mikael. Not to knock the actor who played him in the Swedish film. He was good but not at all how I thought Mikael should look.

As long as you have a fairly strong stomach, I would say go see this film. You don't necessarily have to read the book first (although I highly reccomend you read it and the other two books anyway). As I said it's a very faithful adaptation for the most part. Much credit to David Fincher for creating another amazing film. He's really proven himself to be a top notch director.

My Rating: 9/10

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Finally! A really fun, action packed movie that makes you think. I can't even begin to tell you how rare that is in movies these days. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was brilliant.

I would love to tell you the plot but I'm still trying to figure it all out. It's one of those movies you have to pay attention to every detail and most likely see a couple of times in order to understand. But this time around, Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) is investigating various crimes throughout Europe that he believes are connected to Professor James Moriarty played very convincingly by Jared Harris). Of course Watson (Jude Law), who's just gotten marrieds, gettting involved.
Alon the way homes encounters a gypsy named Sim. Sim is played by Noomi Rapacd, who's best known for her rolls as Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of The Girl With the dragon tattoo (and its two sequels). She was amazing those and you should definitely check them out I you haven't already done so. While Noomi has a decent sized role in A Game of Shadows, and she plays the part well, it certainly isn't her best work.

It goes Withou saying that Robert Downey Jr. Was amazing. I've really enjoyed seeing him develop this character. Very charming and funny. And you get to see him in drag which to me alone was worth the price of admission. I loved seeing him interact with Jude Law. The two of them have great chemistry. It was one of the things I loved best about the movie. I really hope they both cd back for a third.

Guy Ritchie is back as director. I think he's really good and making you feel like you're in the time period. Of course, as wiu the first movie, there's a bunch of slow motion action scenes. And while normally that kind of thing really annoys me, it works here for the most part. There was only one of those scenes that I wasn't crazy about and that was when Holmes. Watson, and Sim were being chased in the woods. It was kind of stupid to be honest. That's really my only complaint. Everything else from the cinematography to the soundtrack were good. Guy is a really good director.

If you liked the first movie than you'll love A Game of Shadows. Although you don't have to have seen it (the first one) in order to watch this. I have unfeeling that A Game of Shadows will make lots of money. I had a blast and I hope you guys do too :)

My Rating: 9/10