Notorious East Coast


Nowadays, you have to be careful when you go watch a movie of a certain type. Maybe similarly to the movie with 50 Cent. I thought that since it’s directed by Jim Sheridan it should somehow be worth watching. And even then you can go wrong.  But I did think Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was ok. Notorious is directed by George Tillman Jr. whose not the most productive director around – I mean quantity, not saying anything about the quality. He’s directed Men of Honor before, about 8 or 9 years ago.

I wrote in some earlier post about a certain structure in films where you know what’s going to happen. I think that was the post about Milk. Here we get that again. They all seem to be the same. I think I’ll have to watch a few more just to make sure it’s a common way of dealing with this kind of situation. It’s probably the way American film studios try to solve the problem of not-so-happy ending that cannot be re written to be a happy ending. I’m not giving anything away, you should know what happens to ‘Biggie’.

Jamal Woolard is amazingly good. As is most of the cast. Naturi Naughton is probably my favourite after Jamal. She’s brilliant. Although I believe Lil Kim had boob job after she became famous…

As a film it’s maybe average, but good looking flick. Entertaining enough. I thought it has a strange feel and approach to some issues it’s dealing with and maybe that makes the movie worth watching, although it does occasionally make the film feel less well figured out and shallow. Not that there’s anything wrong with shallow necessarily. But to me it did seem like the emotional and other parts of the films would have been written and directed by different people and are completely different level. But well worth watching. more so than Be Kind Rewind which I won’t even bother writing about. Mind you, a true Jack Black fan will disagree.

Another American Treasure

National Treasure - Book of Secrets

Ok, so maybe it’s not the smartest film around. But I suppose it is obvious what kind of film we’re talking about here. It’s a sequel after all. And it’s a Disney film. More of an action film than a comedy. Packed with action, occasionally funny. Nicholas Cage keeps trying to be funny. Justin Bartha maybe doesn’t do that well.  And if you like Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger or even Justin Bartha for some reason, then this younger version of Indiana Jones will entertain you for the duration of the film. I did see the first National Treasure first and thought that was ok. So was this one. I don’t have anything very clever to say but surely you woudn’t expect that from a film like this. Something tells me to keep quiet about even having watched this.

Theoretical interest…


Venus was perhaps likely to be one of those films I judged too quickly and wouldn’t bother to watch. Well, luckily it just appeared from nowhere when I had nothing else to watch. I’d blame the marketing. And perhaps the idea can sound somewhat less exciting than some other films. It is, however, a marvellous film. It didn’t do too well at the time in the BIFA awards, but it did have a nomination or few, and even won some. But then again it was up against a nice stack of films – The Last King of Scotland, The Queen and This is England. Written by Hanif Kureishi (My Son the Fanatic) and directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill), Venus is a gripping and well written little comedy starring Peter O’Toole and Jodie Whittaker.

Peter O’Toole is absolutely brilliant, but then again he has done some acting before. And Jodie Whittaker is like a breath of fresh air. Perfect casting. Regardless of anything, this one made me smile all the way through.

Ben Stiller’s Platoon

Tropic Thunder

I’m not a huge fan of Ben Stiller,  I  don’t think he’s a very reliable director or a versatile actor and find he most of the time looks fairly annoying. Nevertheless he’s usually perfect for the roles he plays. I’m a bigger fan his father, Jerry Stiller really.

I have to say Tropic Thunder is Ben Stiller’s best to date. Action packed and clever comedy. Spoof is the word I suppose. Obviously a spoof of war films. But not quite to the extent that Hot Shots and the likes go. But that’s a good thing; there’s a bit of originality left. Most of all I was amazed to see Tom Cruise‘s face too. I didn’t know he’s in this movie and then he turns up and goes on to deliver probably one of his best on screen performances ever. Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr. and Brandon T. Jackson have decent roles to act as well, while Downey’s one is probably the one most talked about. And he even has an Oscar nomination for the role.

So, this was ok. Almost funny at points. And so it should, it’s a comedy after all.  I just wish Tom Cruise’s part was bigger.

Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – That’s a great name for a film. Or a short  story. I haven’t read the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I’m sure it’s very good.

Although perhaps not like many of David Fincher‘s films, somehow the looks of the film is very much like many of his other films. Interestingly, the cinematography of Benjamin Button is by Claudio Miranda, who’s not shot Fincher’s previous films, but done the lighting on many of them. So that could explain why the cinematography is different but somehow looks similar.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Cinematography is Beautiful, Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt (and the rest of the Benjamin actors) do an amazing job throughout, and probably the make up and special effects departments have created most amazing realistic effects for the film. Taraji P. Henson who plays Queenie must be one of my favourite actresses in the film.  And I was a little bit surprised to see Tilda Swinton in the film as well.

Any make up used, or 3D effects, or 3D camera systems used have worked perfectly for the film and it is amazing to watch how the passing on time shows on the cast’s faces.

I still cannot believe this movie has collected almost all the nominations possible for all possible awards. 13 Academy Awards nominations is quite an achievement, I think. And it is a good film. Maybe just the kind to get a load of Academy Awards. I didn’t think it’s anywhere near Fincher’s best film though. But perhaps this film is the kind to attract huge mainstream audiences and still prove to be a decent film and not just pointless waste of time. And let’s not forget Fincher’s not even directed that many films. Still, I’d say I’d easily prefer watching Fight Club or Se7en again rather then this Curious Case of  some Button.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you might also want to see Forrest Gump, another film written by Eric Roth. Forrest Gump seems to follow similar structure to Benjamin Button, for better or worse. Not surprising maybe, and to me it wasn’t obvious either, but I guess you could watch them both to compare. Or skip both and watch something else. But Benjamin Button is beautifully cinematographed.

Step Brothers-ly love

Step Brothers

Ok, so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. And it’s rated R or 18 or unrated… for a reason.

It made me laugh though. Eventually. I’m not the biggest Will Ferrell fan, but I do think John C. Reilly is a really good actor. And I thought Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby was really funny. So that’s another film by Adam McKay.

Maybe not something I’d watch again, but it was a good laugh. I thought it was even better when a friend of mine started vividly describing these characters and their behaviour to me – only he was talking about a real friend of his.

It’s probably a must for Will Ferrell fans, it’s his type of comedy. Quite different from Stranger Than Fiction. And by the way, watch the unrated version if you can.

Harvey Milk

Who’s he then?

It was one of those occasions of going to see a movie you absolutely have no clue about. I’d never heard about Harvey Milk. I saw the poster of Milk. I read somewhere it’s good. It’s directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn so I didn’t need to know more and I prefer not to know too much about a film before seeing it.

Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk

Although I must admit I’m not a big fan of Gus Van Sant really…

Milk, the story of Harvey Milk was a surprise to me though. Brilliantly acted. And captures the era perfectly. Sean Penn is amazing, as is the rest of the cast. The structure of the film works nicely, even if it does keep everything nicely predictable throughout the film. But I suppose that isn’t really an issue with a story based on real events and fairly famous public figure – even if I’ve never heard of him. Then again there are many completely fictitious films that aren’t based on any facts that follow a similar structure.  And then there are films that claim to be based on a true story and are not- I need to watch Fargo again.

Sean Penn has proved himself to be a very versatile actor who can cope with any kind of role and create very touching characters. The movie is slightly long though and occasionally appears to repeat itself a lot. And it’s certainly not your average Saturday night action packed blockbuster entertainment package.