Monthly Archives: December 2007

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead review

Before the Devil Knows Your Dead – for those not familiar, this is the latest Philip Seymour Hoffman movie. He stars along with Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, and Albert Finney. It was directed by the legendary Sidney Lumet (Network, Dog Day Afternoon, and Serpico).

The acting, as you would assume from a movie with Hoffman, Tomei, and Finney, is outstanding. Hoffman, in my opinion, is one of the best actors going today. He is amazing with emotion, and when he is given a character with depth, he becomes that character. Marisa Tomei is 43 years old, according to imdb. I can’t believe that after seeing this movie. She looked absolutely stunning, and was shockingly very topless in multiple scenes. Albert Finney, who was also almost topless in one scene, brought exactly what I expected from him, that being some classicness (which is a word I just made up to describe Albert Finney being Albert Finney). Also, this was the best performance I have seen out of Ethan Hawke, however I have only seen a handful of his other performances and wasn’t as into Training Day as everyone else seemed to be.

The story, not to give too much away, involves a robbery of a jewelery story that doesn’t go quite as planned, which leads to a tragic chain of events. The story is told in a non-linear fashion that reminded me quite a bit of the way 21 Grams was presented. Also, it lead to the use of the uber-cool and unique cuts from one part of the story to another. Its hard to acually describe the cuts that lead to flashbacks or flashfowards, but if you see the movie you will know exactly what I am talking about.

This movie isn’t in wide release as far as I know. So, you might have to search around to find where it is playing, or wait for the dvd release. Either way, I highly recommend seeing it the first chance you get. One of the best films I have seen this year.

Rating: 8.5/10

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I am Legend review

I saw I am Legend on its opening night. Here is my review:

I am sure everyone knows it stars Will Smith. I have never been a huge fan of his. I did enjoy Independence Day, but never got into the Bad Boys series. He and everyone attached to Wild Wild West should never be forgiven for that movie. I have yet to see Ali, so I haven’t really seen what would be considered his ‘best’ work. That said, I thought his performance was above average in this movie. He showed decent range. I didn’t necessarily laugh at most of the jokes, but I don’t blame him; I think it was the script’s fault for that.

The movie did contain about 4 legitimately good scares, which come out of nowhere and almost have you jumping out of your seat. There were a few really great shots in the movie as well. Specifically, there is the shot a bunch of spotlights are turned onto what I will call for the purposes of not spoiling anything ‘the evil creatures’ and you just see the shadows, which are extremely enlarged due to the angle of the lights. This shot is in the trailer, and is one of the coolest things I have seen on the big screen this year. One more thing I really enjoyed, the pacing during the first half of the movie. Very slow pacing used to build up to the action sequences.

However, I did have some problems with the movie. There is a deal with the evil creatures that I feel wasn’t explained very well. I won’t say what as to avoid spoiling anything. Also, I didn’t like the look of the evil creatures. It was far too CGI-rific for me. I could have done without the religious undertones, which went from subtle to extremely in-your-face.

Overall it wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t as great. If you are a fan of Will Smith, you will probably really dig it. If you don’t have any problem with a movie that is 85% CGI than you will probably dig it. If neither of those applies to you, than you will probably still be ok with the movie; you won’t hate it, but you won’t love it.

Rating: 6/10

American Gangster review

Recently saw American Gangster, here is my quick review:

I must admit I am not big on Denzel, or as big as everyone else in the world seems to be. I really liked him in Glory and Philadelphia, and I didn’t find any other performances of his too special. However, I am a huge fan of Crowe. I really liked his performances in Master & Commander, The Insider, 3:10 to Yuma, Cinderella Man, and LA Confidential. In my opinion, he has can best be described as tremendous screen presence. Anyways, they were both brought solid performances to this movie. The supporting cast was very good with James Brolin, Ted Levine, RZA, and others (others includes a small role for Cuba Gooding Jr who somehow picked the script of a good movie for the first time in nearly a decade).

The movie takes place in the 70’s. It also fealt very much like a 70’s movie with its muted tones and realistic tendencies. I enjoyed it, and don’t really have much else to say about it. The ending seemed a bit convenient. Still overall it was quality.

Rating: 7/10

A Clockwork of Kubrick

Since I just rewatched Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, and have now seen 9 of hisĀ final 10 movies, I have decided to rank my topĀ 8 favorite Kubrick films. These are just based on my enjoyment of them, not really ranking them based on their merit as films or historical importance or what-have-you. Why a top 8? Because I have enjoyed 8 or the 9 Kubrick movies I have seen, so really its more of a ranking of how much I enjoyed each Kubrick movie I have seen. Keep in mind, I haven’t seen his any of his first 6 movies, and that I was not really a fan of the softcore porn known as Eyes Wide Shut. If I am going to watch porn, I would prefer Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman aren’t in it, and it doesn’t involve crazy parties with elaborate masks. Anyways, onto the list:

1. Dr. Strangelove of How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

2. The Shining

3. A Clockwork Orange

4. 2001 A Space Odyssey

5. Full Metal Jacket

6. Spartacus

7. Paths of Glory

8. Barry Lyndon

As always, comments encouraged.

Mr. Brooks a Re-review

I reviewed Mr. Brooks previously, maybe not here but somewhere. Anyways, I made the mistake of rewatching it. Onto the re-review:

Obviously, we all know this is Kevin Costner’s lastest attempt to revive his career. Originally I thought his performace was very inconsistent, ranging from good to awful in different scenes. After seeing it again, even the parts I thought were good in a unique way were just plain corny. In other words, his performance was far more consistent than I first thought, consistently poor that is.

I stand by my statement that Dane Cook wasn’t as bad as I feared he would be. However, I advised those that were fans of his to see the movie to see his not-as-awful-as-feared performance, but now I have completely soured on Mr. Cook. His baseball commercials were insanely annoying, he is trying to claim he is a Red Sox fan and yet is seen wearing a Yankees cap (why not just wear a pentagram and crucifix on the same necklace Dane?), and his HBO show was not at all funny.

In my first review I didn’t mention that Demi Moore was in this because I think I might have been blocking it out like I try to do with all horrific memories. On a side note, can anyone name Demi Moore’s best performance? This was tried recently, but no real answer was thought of. It can’t be Striptease, can it? Also, there is a whole plot line revovling around here character that is completely unrealistic, completely contradicts the style of the rest of the movie, and frankly pointless.

William Hurt plays Mr. Brooks’ conscience, and I stand by my previous statements that I don’t understand why he is there, and when Brooks is talking to him can other people hear Costner or is that in his mind or do they just see him sitting there pondering things?

The plot was even more ridiculous the second time around, and I still hated the ending. I have decided to change my original recommendation of ‘See it at the cheap theatre if you are curious about Dane’s performance’ to ‘avoid unless you want to watch falling stars (Costner, Cook, Hurt, Moore)’.

Rating – 3/10