Thursday, March 31, 2011

Movie Review: Unstoppable

Director:  Tony Scott
Cast:  Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson
Genre:  Action/Drama/Thriller
Running Time:  98 minutes
Released 2010

An unmanned freight train picks up speed as it heads toward a city with cars containing toxic chemicals. Based on a true story, a seasoned engineer (Washington) and a young conductor (Pine) attempt to do what everyone else had failed stop an increasingly speeding train before an unthinkable tragedy occurs.

Fast moving and action packed, this movie will have you cheering on the unlikely duo as they attempt what everyone says is impossible.  If they fail, the death toll will include not only them.  A great rental for an evening and likely one you will add to your library. 

Rated 5/5

Movie Review: The Tourist

The Tourist
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast:  Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany

PG-13 for violence and brief strong language
3 Golden Globe Nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Picture
In theatres December 2010

Johnny Depp (Frank) stars as an American Tourist travelling abroad when his path is crossed by beautiful Angelina Jolie (Elise).  As the two travel in Paris and Venice, intrigue, mystery and danger ensues.  Things are not, however, as they necessarily seem.

This film received some mixed reviews but I quite liked it.  I saw it in the theatre where the large screen enhances the beauty of the scenic shots of Venice and Paris.  Cinematography is superb.  Angelina played the role of the mysterious beauty with class and Depp was fine cast in his role as Frank, the tourist.  If I have one complaint, it is Depp's hair.  Long, stringy, curly, not exactly an attractive draw.  Actually, I would have thought someone like Pierce Brosnan or someone equally tall and attractive would have made a good match against Angelina here.  Or maybe that's the magic.  They are unmatched.

Recommended as a rental.  Who knows, you might just decide to add this to your collection.

Rated 4/5

Movie Review: 127 Hours

127 Hours
Director: Danny Boyle (also of SlumDog Millionaire)
Cast: James Franco
Release Date: January 2011 to DVD
Genre: True Life/Action
Rating: R (graphic scenes, suggestive scenes)
94 Minutes
Nominated for 6 Oscars

Based on the true story of Aron Ralston who was for 127 hours trapped in a rock climbing accident.  With his arm pinned under a rock, Aron had little water and food and noone knew where he was. The movie is based upon the book called Between a Rock and a Hard Place. James Franco plays the voracious adventure seeker and outdoorsman, Aron. What starts as a routine expedition in the rocky formations of Utah, becomes a nightmare for Aron within a few hours.  The viewer is there with Aron as he tries without abandon to extrapulate himself.  Day becomes night and then day until five nights and six days have passed.

127 hours pass and we see the stages of dehydration and solitude take its toll.  Aron is seen going through a gamut of emotions including laughter, tears, self-recrimination, hope, frustration and sorrow and it's recorded on his video camera. On the sixth day, all but the last ray of hope is gone and Aron must make a live or die decision.

James Franco delivered an Oscar worthy performance in 127 Hours.  It's a must-see.  You will be awestruck by the physical beauty of the area, the grimness of the situation, and the indelible will to survive.  It should have won several awards.

Rating 5/5

Movie Review: Hereafter

Director:  Clint Eastwood
Executive Producers:  Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Peter Morgan
Cast: Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cecile de France, Jay Mohr, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren
Written by Peter Morgan
Released:  October 2010 in theatres   DVD March 15, 2011
PG-13 - mature themes, brief language
Genre:  Thriller/Suspense
Running Time:  129 minutes
Academy Award Nominee 2010 for best visual effects

George (Matt Damon) is blessed or cursed, depending on how you look at it.  By grasping another's hands, George can "see" the dead loved ones of the individual concerned.  Draining and disconcerting to be sure, George doesn't want to "see" any more.  He quit that life of making a living from this communication.  Normalcy is what he sought.

Marie (Cecile De France), is a French journalist, who survives a near-death experience in a tsunami.  She continues to have visions of her experience, remembering her close call, and it changes her life. Marcus, a London schoolboy, can't move on.  He is in continual mourning over the loss of his twin brother and desperately seeks answers.

As Marie and Marcus seek answers their paths intersect with George.  Can he help them seek that which alludes them?  Can they find the answers and the peace desired?   And what becomes of George?

The movie began in a great wave of tsunami horror and the audience is washed along as we watch the waves pummel a small village, destroying everything, sparing few.  A great beginning, but then the movie loses momentum.  It drags a bit.  Intentional?  I don't know.  The three characters' lives seem to take forever to take hold and to intersect.  Perhaps this is to create a sense of wonderment and mystery in the topic of afterlife?  It just seemed too slow and long.  At 129 minutes, it dragged.

The casting is excellent and I really liked Cecile DeFrance as Marie.  The McLaren brothers portrayal of Marcus was on the mark.  The special effects were breathtaking.  I thought for sure the tsunami was from actual footage, it seemed so real. 

Rated 3/5  Rent if for yourself and decide.

Movie Review: Battle Los Angeles

Battle Los Angeles
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo , Michael Peña

Release date:March 11, 2011
Running Time:117 minutes
Rating: 14A

For years, there have been documented cases of UFO sightings around the world—Buenos Aires, Seoul, France, Germany, China. But in 2011, what were once just sightings will become a terrifying reality when Earth is attacked by unknown forces. As people everywhere watch the world's great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. It's up to a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his new platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they've ever encountered before.

Excellent cast, script, action!!  You'll be on the edge of your seat!
Five of us attended this movie Tuesday night and all enjoyed it immensely!!  When it is available on Blu-Ray/DVD,. we are definitely adding this action packed film to our collection.  I'd even go see it again in the theatre!! 


Movie Review: Due Date

Due Date
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx
Runtime: 95 mins
Rating: R
Released: November 5th 2010

Robert Downey Jr. stars in this comedy alongside Zach Galifianakis as two men who meet up at an airport and travel across country by car in an effort to get home before Downey's on-screen wife gives birth.  One catastrophe after another ensues with hilarity as these two men, who would never be friends under different circumstances, cope with one another's shortcomings and one's penchant for disasters.

The DVD copy we had indicated a PG13 rating but the movie itself is rated R18 with good reason.  There is a lot of profanity and sexual references within that warrant the rating.  It is funny but definitely not a buyer for me.  Had we (my family) known it's correct rating, we would not have bought (nor rented) it.  We gave it away.

Rated 3/5


Tuesday, March 29, 2011