Post Apocalyptic Season: On the road again

John Hillcoat may not have directed a lot of films, but The Road is definitely one to remember him by. Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Charlize Theron star in this stunning interpretation of Cormac McCarthy‘s book. Robert Duvall also has a small role, I should mention that since he is somewhat known actor.

Now this film is not a film set in post apocalyptic hell, telling a story about something else that could be set in any other place, like usually is the case. This film is set in this type of hell for a reason. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee are the stars here and they do a great job with their performances. They are both amazing and the story is heartwarming and heartbreaking and powerful, although pretty slow paced and again there’s not that much happening really, it’s more about what’s going on in the characters’ heads.

There’s the usual post apocalyptic stuff too, but it all holds together quite well. Somehow the good characters of Post Apocalyptic films are always on they way somewhere whereas the baddies are happy where they are.

There’s been some discussion about the ending and comparing it to the novel, but I haven’t read the book and would like to think that the film makers have a right to add their own interpretations and offer their own options to the viewers as well, regardless if it’s something or other explicitly or implicitly in the original novel.

Post Apocalyptic Season: Mad Max the Book Worm

Surely Denzel Washington is one of those actors who don’t end up in bad films? Well he is absolutely great actor, but you must admit Denzel Washington is a very busy actor and nobody can pick the winner all the time. Although even in  a bad film he’s still the best thing about it. And I thought American Ganster is beautiful, amazing really. But there’s a couple of films nobody ever seems to remember. And for a reason.

I have a feeling The Book of Eli will become one of those for Denzel Washington. What’s the Book of Eli and what’s it for, where is it going? Can anyone guess?

It’s a shame really as the Hughes Brothers have done a couple of decent films in the past. The film has it’s moments, the fight scenes are fairly graphic, but that’s about it. Denzel’s character isn’t very interesting, Gary Oldman doesn’t seem all that interested. Gary Oldman is Gary Oldman, he’s just doing what he does best, which isn’t bad, but it’s not really memorable as such, not the way his Dracula or act in Leon was. Mila Kunis is cute but remains in the background. The story itself is just pretty pointless. There’s a couple of funny moments, but really, compared to Mel Gibson, Denzel isn’t really that funny. Nor is he trying to be. It’s very dry. But then again, it’s mostly taking place in the middle of the desert.

Post Apocalyptic Season: Woody the Zombie Killer

I tell you, it’s no winter wonderland, it’s Zombieland. In Zombieland there’s no snow, no Santa Claus, but nonetheless a clown or two. Or three, if you count Jesse Eisenberg.

Now don’t get me wrong, Zombieland isn’t all that bad. It’s actually quite funny, if not even a little bit clever. And have you seen a bad film with both Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray in it. Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray? Ok, so they’ve both made quite a few films. And Bill Murray mostly good ones. Well, Kingpin? Anyone?

It’s not Dawn of the Dead, it’s closer to Shaun of the Dead. There’s this weird adult comedy genre where you can splatter the blood and gore all over the place and swear all you want, but the content is still more or less the stuff an average teenager would find tacky and childish. It’s just missing sex really. But I can think of a couple of reasons for that. Cute girls though.

So maybe I’m not a fan of Jesse Eisenberg or the type of films he does. And maybe nobody’s ever heard of Ruben Fleischer, the director, and maybe there’s really not so much going on in this film (that couldn’t have been shown in 30 minutes or less), but it’s still ok when you’re in need of brainless popcorn filled entertainment. There’s obviously lots of brainless activity in this film.That’s zombieland, that’s why it’s called Zombieland.

And it is, as it should, quite different from the other post apocalyptic season films here. It’s the dessert. Let’s try some starters next with Denzel and The Book of Eli, followed by main course, The Road. I’m not sure this will stay three course meal.

I just really don’t understand who likes these nerd/geek type of films. Can anyone please tell me?

There will be no blood

Absolutely amazing cast, what could possibly go wrong? My high expectations of Nine were crushed.

If you consider this an original piece of art, there’s quite a few things to point out, but I think we’ll have to stop there. If something has been done well, should it not be left alone? One of the writers (it’s a joke really that there should be several writers behind this film), Anthony Minghella, is working on The Lives of Other, which is most likely a remake of a very very good German film by the same name. Can’t you just leave the good films alone. Can’t you come up with your own good ideas? Or at least combine ‘your’ good ideas from several other films, like Quentin Tarantino does. I’m still not convinced musical is a genre that’s actually working. There aren’t many good examples of popular musical films in the last ten to fifteen years or so. Daniel Day Lewis and his bad Italian accent don’t exactly inspire me, Judi Dench has done better, Fergie should stick to what she knows best. Nicole Kidman at least appears to have realised what’s best for her, so we don’t get to see her for more then a minute or so. Penelope Cruz is the only bright star shining here, her performance is as good as it can be. But no one can save Nine. But I can tell you the film is very ironic. Which kind of makes it funny. But not funny enough to actually enjoy it.

The American Dream, by Jim Sheridan

Now this is not a new film – every now and then I find a film I shouldn’t have missed when it first came out.

I recently watched Brothers, which reminded me that there’s a very good director called Jim Sheridan, and I decided to check what films by him I might have missed. So I came across In America, done before Sheridan’s next ‘hit’ or miss, Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Very powerful and heartwarming story with two simply adorable child actresses who completely steal the show, literally, all the time. Samantha Morton plays mum, and Paddy Considine plays dad, and they are both very good too giving great performances. And Djimon Hounsou‘s character is the finishing touch.

The story is simple, but on another level very fulfilling, and clearly very personal to Sheridan himself. In America is not the latest blockbuster, but there haven’t been many better films in the last couple of years.

Let the wild rumpus start!

Like most good movies for children, this is also for adults. Have you ever longed to those care free days of childhood? I bet you have and I also bet you have sometimes wished you could still imagine all those places and things you played within your imagination when you were a child. Well worry no more, because Spike did the job for you – well actually Maurice Sendak did, but Jonze beautifully realized it on the silver screen. And that’s enough of Sendaks original picture book, because I don’t remember if I ever red it. I remember the wild things but that’s it. So this is a brand new story for me.

This one might cause some hiccups to follow through and I have a feeling it’s because it really doesn’t have a straightforward structure. But what did you expect from Spike. Though I think it is he’s most straightforward movie, it still isn’t plain “story of crowing up” nor doe’s it have great character development or  some arc that starts from somewhere and and up in another through obstacles and realizations. Its characters are portrayed in child’s perspective, their logics are more or less child’s logic and things that happen are portrayed in a way that they are seen through the mind of a child. But don’t get scared. Grownups will also have things for them, and you shouldn’t be afraid to jump in to a viewing point of a child. It starts from a certain setup and ends up in pretty much the same. And I think telling you that really isn’t spoiling it. Lot’s of things and emotions happen during the film.

And again we are beautifully reminded that CGI isn’t a necessity when you are dealing with things of imagination. The creatures are amazingly real and create true emotions. Music is a treat for those ones of you who like the softer independent side off of the mainstream. I liked it. At least it keeps the movie more in the right mood than blazing orchestra would have done.

What did we learn from here? Well I think at least some things about friendship, being a king, forgiveness, anger, love, imagination, playing it too rough, holes in the trees and other important things.  What it got me thinking is that we should remember that child is just a child, we shouldn’t expect our children to be ready for this world before they’ve seen enough of it.

Avatar Dances with Space Wolves in 3D

Avatar 3D

I’ve finally seen it. By now everyone must have seen it. Or maybe not, it’s still showing in the cinema near you.In 3D. And 2D if you don’t want to see it in 3D. If you don’t, please tell me why? I didn’t think the 3D was that special though. I’m sure 3D will soon be the industry standard, let’s hope so.

James Cameron somehow always manages to make sure people are anxious to see his latest film. While a good thing, the high expectations may put some pressure on a film maker. Or so I would’ve thought. Who knows, right? For once, even mentioning the director seems a bit silly as you all will know who he is and what he’s done.

If you’ll have a look at the end credits of Avatar, you’ll see that he didn’t do it all by himself though, he had to involve a number of people from pretty much all over the world and to me it looks like he pretty much used everyone he could get. It’s like watching the end credits of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or something. If not more.

Amazing look and feel, amazingly realistic characters and the whole world where the film is set, brilliant machines, weapons, everything. There’s been lots of comments about the plot being somewhat disappointing, but I thought it’s not quite right to say that. A story may be simple but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. A story might be the same one told million times before but that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with it, does it? I’ve seen simpler stories than Avatar and I’ve seen more original stories than Avatar, and I’ve seen pretty similar stories to this one before as well, and probably told better too. But I thought that in this world, with these characters (did you actually see the character Colonel Miles Quaritch? – he’s like he’s straight out of Sin City or Small Soldiers or G.I Joe or something), the acting and the story fit together perfectly. If you saw Sigorney Weaver’s first scene, that should be enough. It’s more or less the same as with Titanic – the acting and dialogue are just silly, but it all somehow fits (I still wouldn’t watch that one again, apart from maybe the ship sinking). OK, I’ve mentioned Titanic, but I don’t really need to start talking about the references to earlier James Cameron films – like Sigorney Weaver being in the film (or a few other more obvious things).

It’s a shame Zoe Saldana can only really be heard, while less of Sam Worthington would have been enough. It’s an OK and truly beautiful film. I wasn’t carried away let alone blown away (you don’t have to keep telling yourself “it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie”), but it was enjoyable and one of those films you don’t mind being a bit long, could keep on watching it all day really, if I had enough popcorn. Who knows, maybe there’ll be a TV series coming, Jakesully’s Chronicles or something. With James Cameron, absolutely anything is possible… At least on screen.

I’m not sure James Cameron really cares about Oscars. I’m sure he’s got his share of awards already, including an Oscar or two. Regardless, he’s in it this year, with an Oscar nomination in various categories, along with Hurt Locker (also with 9 Oscar nominations, Precious, Inglorious Basterds and the rest.

What is so mystic about this river?

Clint Eastwood directs

Now why didn’t I know about this film? It’s got Sean Penn, It’s got Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Lawrence Fishburne and it’s directed by Clint Eastwood. It’s won awards and all. And I had not heard about it until a couple of days ago. And it’s been out there sine 2003. I blame the marketing machine. I hope you don’t have to. It’ grim, it’s Clint Eastwood. It’s not the happiest film I’ve seen and it definitely didn’t make me feel very good. But I did like it. Very cold, very dark, very emotional. Clint knows how it’s done. And I can’t believe he can do so many things so well. He just can’t leave anything to anyone, he’s even doing the music himself. And not just in this film. Check out Changeling and Gran Torino too. Mystic river is just another proof actor turned director can get it right more than once. Now that doesn’t sound right does it. I guess What I’m trying to say is, Clint is great.

Hurt Locker

Now here’s a film I somehow knew was going to be good. And I watched it without knowing who’s in it, who’s directed it or anything. And then of course at the end it says Kathryn Bigelow. Nice. And the next review will be the ex-husband James Cameron‘s Avatar. So that’s how it is, a small family business over there in Hollywood. Well maybe these two aren’t exactly the Hollywood film maker type. Kathryn is not the kind of person to get stuck to one type of film, there’s Point Break and Strange Days (and about a dozen other films) and then there’s Hurt Locker. Well there’s two film makers with their films both having loads of Oscar nominations as well, but who will get the most Oscars? Oscar here, Oscar there, who cares. A precious little prize it is…

Imdb had some funny information saying the film was to star Colin Farrell, Willem Dafoe and Charlize Theron. While they’re all great, I’m glad it didn’t because the cast is just great. It works perfectly and I don’t remember any of them from any previous films either. Most of the actors appear to have a strong TV background, there’s even Evangeline Lilly from Lost.

Great script, amazing acting and powerful emotions at work here. Not quite as simple as a jack-in-a-box.

Hurt Locker
Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie keep the story together and the rest while ok, are just helping to move the story forwards. But Jeremy Renner is the star of this one. Anthony Mackie is one busy actor as well, but if you don’t know him too much, check out The Manchurian Candidate (Jonathan Demme’s and Denzel Washington’s version) and Million Dollar Baby. After Hurt Locker he was also in Eagle Eye and Notorious (playing Tupac Shakur). Jeremy Renner did one episode of House M.D. and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and 28 Weeks Later, and he also played Jeffrey Dahmer in Dahmer – I haven’t seen that and it might be unwatchable as most films about real serial killers are.

Enough facts and background, it’s pretty pointless anyway. As usual, not much to say about the story, I’m afraid the picture already says too much. Beautifully shot and directed, though I hear they wasted enough film on this one. Documentary style, they say. Locations look authentic, but then again, it’s actually right next door to Iraq. Best war film of the decade. Now then, go and watch Hurt Locker.

And bear in mind either Hurt Locker or Avatar will get loads of Oscars…

Lots of days of Summer

500 Days of Summer

Are you looking for an off beat romantic comedy? If not, then maybe you’d better skip this one. It’s not your average Hollywood rom-com romantic romp. But otherwise you might actually find it pretty funny. And you might find you’re not the only one finding life on this planet confusing and difficult. But remember, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie…

But it’s still just a romantic comedy, so don’t expect too much.