Tag Archives: drama

Prometheus: Astounding

Astounding is the only word I can think of and use to describe this movie. It has stunning visual effects (didn’t see it in 3-D, didn’t need to), gut wrenching gore and horror, and this air of mystery that hangs over the whole film. It is a part of the Alien series (5th installment) but at the same time it is set apart completely as its own film. A great cast was selected and an amazing backstory/ prequel was born and thus named Prometheus.

In this epic tale of just what happened before the Alien films, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) are two archaeologists who have stumbled upon something fantastic. In different locations all around the world,

It all begins here.

spanning centuries, the same symbol of a gigantic man pointing to a specific star region, as if to say “Come find us.” Interested in this speculation, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) finances the whole thing with his massive amounts of dough and creates a ship, named Prometheus.

Janek and Vickers. Opposites attract?

Piloted by Janek (Idris Elba) and watched over by the android David (Michael Fassbender), after two years of flying, the crew lands on the distant planet the star map told them to come to. Under Meredith Vickers’ (Charlize Theron) watchful eye, the crew must find what they’re looking for, even if what they’re looking for is no longer around. What they find is more than they bargained for, and the must stop the deadly trap from making its ways to Earth.

Where should I begin in my shining review of Prometheus? Well, I think that finally technology in special effects has made its way up to Ridley Scott’s vision of what he has wanted the Alien films to look like. It’s space agey, cold and

An unknown marvel awaits.

clinical, and full of wonder and horror all at the same time. The planet storm was breathtaking, the creatures and surreal caverns were creepy and mammoth sized, this movie incorporated everything you wanted to see in our race discovering a planet in… 70 years.

Noomi Rapace, giving her heart and soul to Prometheus, as only she can.

This strong cast of actors all did their jobs in developing their roles in what you would expect of a spaceship crew. Idris Elba did a great job as the ship’s commander. Slightly minor, but he didn’t take shit from anybody as you would expect. Charlize Theron (in one of the only roles I applaud her in) plays the oddly robotic and bitchy overseer of the entire operation. She tows the line between sci-fi amazonian and unemotional human in a very convincing performance. Michael Fassbender stole the show again as the android, fully immersing himself in what Theron had to hint at. His intrigued and distanced character embodies what sci-fi novelists and movie makers have seen as a human robot for years (think Ian Holm in the original, but add the quirkiness of Jude Law in A.I.) And then there’s Noomi Rapace. This Swedish actress from The Dragon Tatoo series put her heart and soul into the part. She tired herself out, did some terrible yet necessary things to her body, and did it all with a British accent she had a coach for. Seeing her dive into a character that has to deal with all these terrible revelations was both disparaging and inspiring. She didn’t let what was happening put her down or stop her from her end goal.

The only true scene I wanted to see in 3-D.

One person I was particularly impressed with was Guy Pearce. I’ve loved him since The Time Machine remake (and Memento, of course) and think he was born to play in sci-fi films. His air of bravado and poise resonates in entitled sci-fi characters. And not to mention he’s playing an old man for 15 minutes of the film that you would barely recognize. And a great little cameo from another one of my favorite actors (since Watchmen), Patrick Wilson.

The music was orchestratedly stunning. At all the moments you feel fear or exhilaration in this newly discovered planet, it fills in with the proper soundtrack. Much as Gabe would describe it as a soundscape

No words can describe it.

that fills in all the spots of your imagination, this soundtrack did that for me. (Was it similar to the other Alien films? Let me know.)

Another thing that was so great about this film (haven’t I said enough?) is that you don’t have to be a die hard Alien fan to watch this movie. This movie itself can get you hooked in (being a prequel and all). I’ve only seen the first Alien and the AVP series (always been more of a Predator fan, sorry), and this movie makes me want to watch all of them. This movie tackles the mythology and world of a film that is also a film! Something made up and fantasized analyzing something else in the same manner? That’s wild! And I thought it was so well done and handled from such a organic and basic place that it made itself into this mythological God that could spark films and analysis for years to come. Until it becomes a reality.

… What started it all.

With all this ranting and raving about the film, why haven’t you X-ed out of my blog and already started up your car to go see this in theaters? You need to see this in order to boost the ratings and maybe someday prove that a genre other than drama can win the Oscar for best movie of the year. Because I would argue that this film is in the running for 2012. Just saying. I have no complaints and was mesmerized from the start of the film. Go see it. Now. 10 out of 10.

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Killing Bono (Not Literally)

What would it have been like growing up living in the shadow of Bono and U2? Well Neil McCormick, author of Killing Bono: I was Bono’s Doppelganger knows exactly what that feels like. And his book turned out to be quite a good movie based on his experiences. With a huge interest in seeing Robert Sheehan in a role other than Misfits, I sat down to check out Killing Bono. In an odd turn of events, this is one of those films of one-upsmanship. I find McCormick’s character to be intriguing and tragic, especially with his circumstances and the adversity he faces. So let’s blast out to some U2… and Shook Up.

In the late 70’s, Paul Hewson, soon to be known as Bono (Martin McCann) and his friend David Evans (The Edge) would form a band that would sweep the world, in a similar fashion to The Beatles. Neil McCormick’s brother Ivan (Robert Sheehan) was recruited at first by Bono, but it was Neil’s (Ben Barnes) decision to keep him from the band. Holding this secret inside, Neil will do anything in his power to beat Bono and his fast rising star. With travels to England, a few

A little bit of Martin McCann as Bono.

relationships, and some fiddling around with record producers, It is up to Neil to prove to his brother and everyone that his mistakes were made for a reason.

And it’s a long journey from the bottom to the top (or as close as it gets). This movie has some twists and turns (on a downward spiral), and leaves you realizing that it doesn’t matter if Neil succeeds, it is up to him to do what he thinks is best for himself, and realize he cannot choose for others. He can only  be as good as he himself can be. Now there’s a bit of some moral wisdom to dish out at the end of a film.

A little taste of the McCormick brothers!

I had only seen Ben Barnes in a few things before he burst onto the scene in this film. Stardust and Prince Caspian in the Narnia series to name the few. But this is one of those out there roles for Barnes. He’s all over the place, he’s ecstatic, he’s cocky and ready to roll at any moment. This is a hard role to pull off if you don’t have the personality for it, but Barnes does a good job of it. I wouldn’t have minded to see Robert Sheehan in the pivotal role, but this was all good all the same.

But my what a young actor Robert Sheehan is turning into in the world of movies. First there’s his strange appearance in Nic Cage’s Season of the Witch, and then followed by this movie? Soon he’ll make a name for himself as a period piece actor in the American film world. And I hope his unforgiving comedy will be able to come across the “big pond” in order to become a mainstay in America. I see big things for this young star, and I wish him the best.

Pete the ridiculous record exec.

It is rather unfortunate that this is Pete Postlethwaite’s last performance before his death. This actor who I will always remember as the whimsical man who gave James the seeds that would send him on his journey in James and the Giant Peach. In this film, he’s a bit of a different character. Pete plays a garishly homosexual landlord with a penchant for large parties. Helping Neil and Ivan along the way in London, it is Pete who brings together Gloria (Krysten Ritter) and Neil as Karl, Gay Landlord Extraordinaire.

That’s some great hair there, Robert.

And you can’t forget Peter Serafinowicz as Hammond, the ridiculous record producer. First he was Pete, the dick roommate in Shaun of the Dead, but he has gone on to do some great T.V. work Look Around You and various other writing and starring in British television. He was the voice of Darth Maul for god sakes! What an accomplishment! This strangely wonderful man is just the kind of quirky actor this film needed.

Oh, and we have to talk about the soundtrack! This movie didn’t directly feature any U2 tracks, this features all original (or did Neil make it?) music for the film, or something or other. And I really enjoyed the music. Ben Barnes had a great musical performance and really captivated what it meant to be a popular band in the 1980’s. Couple this with a combo of darkish humor and drama, and you have a film about triumph and revenge. I’d give this film a watch for any U2 fans. 6.9 out of 10.

Let’s get some dark eyeliner on and hit up this club.


Dance Moms: My Only Reality T.V. Obsession

I have to admit here at the very beginning that I, for some strange reason that has sucked me into it, love Dance Moms. I can’t get enough of the fighting, the drama, and all the strange and delirious opinions that Abby Lee holds inside of her enormously inflated head. I’ve watched every episode, enjoyed the dance segments (as small as they are) and analyzed them with my long time dancing girlfriend and before mentioned, Kim. We had caught an episode or two in the past and I had tuned in and out with my mom and sister to see what all the fuss was about.

At first, I hated the crap out of it. I found it to be degrading, conflict infested, and just downright train wreck level television. I thought there could be no way this would ever catch on. Something I still don’t understand is why any of those upset women wouldn’t just stage a walkout and tell everyone not to go to

The wonderful children of Dance Moms:
Nia, Paige, Chloe, Maddie, and Kendall. (There are more)

Abby Lee’s Dance Company. If they all did, she loses business and gains a reputation as a terrible woman. That’s something this show has done for her, but that’s besides the point. She should realize even she’s replaceable. Three girls on the show have shown that so far. But this show has caught on, and its won my heart.

The beast rears its ugly head!

Should I even divulge any of the premise of this show to those of you who unfortunately happen to come across this blog in my post? Let’s see…. Well, the show starts off with the degrading pyramid. Although most of the girls at some point made it to the top, Maddie erroneously held the top for far too long. I don’t want to degrade any of the girls because they are all wonderful little people. But Maddie (the “star” of the show) has to realize that saying arrogant things on camera and crying when you don’t win are things you learn when your mother tells you not to cry in the meanest tone and you always win. Anyways, this whole post is gonna be one long rant.

Next comes a confrontation between one of the moms and Abby Lee or another mom. They train, for 5 days it always seems, and then comes the competition. In between that comes some of the most

The guns, one of Abby’s questionable decisions.

incredulous backstabbing, loud and obnoxious drinking, and one of the most refined, well spoken, and intelligent women I’ve seen on T.V. Nia’s mother, Holly. For that show, Holly is a godsend. She is a rock among the turbulent tides that is the other Dance Moms. And her daughter, although not treated as well as the other girls because she struggles to keep up, still wins when she is given the chance and helps the group win. She wouldn’t be included if she didn’t have the potential and the talent.

All too common in Dance Moms…

Then the competition comes. Maddie (or Chloe) wins and the group comes in 3rd to 1st. And if they don’t, it’s the girls’ faults, not Abby Lee’s. Watch some of these episodes. Marvel and wonder at how she never blames herself, knowing we are all humans and people make mistakes. Every episode, this woman makes mistakes. She is just such a ridiculous woman, I am awestruck at every turn and utter from her croaky voice (what speech problem does this woman have? Or does she just yell all the time because she’s so unhappy with everything?) and the morbidly obese body that at one point performed dances. She has her extreme faults and her struggles with her “nemesis” Cathy from Candy Apples in my home state of Ohio, which is somehow stupidly depicted as farm country. She lives in Canton, a suburban/city town next to Akron. Get your stuff right Lifetime.

There’s a final confrontation, sometimes between moms and who should have won, and then the show ends with the best cliff hangers I’ve ever seen provided from a show. That’s where I’d give the Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore! in this. And that’s it. Take that formula and repeat 13 times each season. And then what?!?!? Abby Lee gets put in her place and leaves on hiatus? This is perfect. If I, at any point in this show, could have sat Abby Lee down and shown her every time she was wrong or a Hitler himself in this show, she probably wouldn’t change, but I’d feel better. That woman needs to learn.

And she will never learn. These wonderful children will never know a more enjoyable dance experience. These moms (the few who just don’t understand) will

The best episode of all time. This is all that needs be shown.

never learn. And the cycle will continue. And I will continue to watch. I can’t get enough of this car accident dance television. And it’s not that the show, from a filmmaking standpoint is any good. Who knows if it’s scripted. But, in the end, the show is only good for human’s sick addiction to reality crap television. As much as I’ll fight it, this will be around for a while. God save us all. Overall, this show gets a 3.5 out of 10. May good things always be on these girls, and karma prepare a slap for everyone else. Me as well.


Clannad: After Story

This is the one where the water works are gonna start. Taking place a few months after the first series, Clannad: After Story is about two high school sweethearts, Tomoya and Nagisa. This series goes farther than the other series by setting events as far as 7 years after the first. This allows Tomoya and Nagisa to develop into a wonderfully loving couple, scraping through their lives right after high school. All of the characters have parted ways and Tomoya has gotten himself a little apartment with a meager paying job. In a slice of life anime/drama, this focuses on the lives of those people trying to develop a life for themselves, if they can.

And, boy oh boy, you’re gonna feel your heart out for Tomoya and Nagisa. You’ll root for them and cry far more than you

Ushio, the cutest of babies.

thought you ever could. I don’t want to reveal too much, but this one is better than the first, if you haven’t seen either, it’s time to start now. Clannad is used as a springboard for After Story and creates a sound basis for you to connect with them in later life. For the younger viewers of this anime, it may become hard at this point to relate to characters who are growing up faster than their own legs can carry them in 20+ episodes. Starting a life and making a career is realistically portrayed in this anime more than I’ve seen in most T.V. show dramas here in the states. This is refreshing to see on a lot of levels and makes it all the more real with all you’ll see over time.

The wonderful, loving family.

I would urge those of you who read my blog and who will take my advice and watch this anime to take it slow through the anime. Yeah sure, watch the first one faster than After Story. But realize, when you get into Clannad, you may not want it to end so quickly. And you may need some time to dry your tears. That’s some real truth coming from this guy over here. I would probably give this anime a spot in my top 20 and that’s no joke there.

The wonderful cast, and an X-mas to remember.

There’s a baby, and some wonderful father and daughter love. Tomoya has a wonderful support network and flourishes under the pressures that are placed on him. This show is really about the triumph of the will and the importance of family and love. Because, in this anime, the dividing line between distance and connection is the finest of lines. With a wonderful Japanese voice acting cast and tears hidden around every corner, you won’t know just when to be happy or sad. Oh, and that robot and the girl? That’s all explained in After Story. So grab your tissues for this 8.7 out of 10 anime.


The Conspirator: 19th Century Courtroom Drama

I didn’t know much about this movie as me and my family sat down to watch this Robert Redford film of drama. I thought, “Hmmm, James McAvoy? Courtroom drama? Civil War Era? I’m in.” Always having had an interest in the courtroom (I love The Rainmaker.) and becoming a lawyer, fighting for equal representation, this movie piqued my interest once again. And the injustice of another trial was the perfect setting for this film of one of the biggest conspiracies in American history.

Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) is a hardened Civil War

Never stop acting, you lovely man you, James McAvoy.

Northerner that has found his place in the martial court of the newly reunited United States of America. Prejudiced like so many against the South, Frederick hesitantly walks through a newly formed Union, as if on eggshells. And then one night it happened.

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell) the man who pulled the trigger, escaped on the only bridge opened that night in D.C., and

Some wonderful images from The Conspirator.

was subsequently shot by his pursuers. It was not this man alone though who crafted one of the worst killings of all time. Also implicated were a dozen other men, including one Mrs. Mary Surratt (Robin Wright). It was at her boarding house that those men, with or without her knowledge, plotted a beloved President’s assassination.

In conjunction with Mary Surratt’s case, Aiken must defend a woman who he finds detestable, a Southerner, and do it with all the equality he can muster. With inner turmoil, a D.C. village who outcasts Aiken for his ability to abide by justice for all citizens, and a government attempting to hang a woman out to dry for her boarding house/son’s doing, this film full to the brim with injustice. And like it or not, the ending with frustrate the shizz out of you. And, despite this harrowing fact, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.

Just some of the great cast from the movie. Chillin'.

Why, you may ask? The actors. And surprisingly, a bunch of English actors parading about as Northerners and Southerners of America. It appears as if Robert Redford found their caliber of acting to be far better than that of an equally good American counterpart. But that’s besides the point. Let’s talk about James McAvoy. This wonderful actor really took a role that spoke to me and my own beliefs. He attention and hold to justice was admirable and honorable all in one. Despite the persecution he felt from his contemporaries, he fought fairly for Mary Surratt and her unfair incarceration and foreboding hang date. And Robin Wright herself was a beauty to watch on film. Her prim and proper character fought for her son and daughter and the injustice that was done to her was denied until the end.

Other notable people? Of course there are lots. Kevin Kline played a key, behind the scenes role as

Wonderful scenes happened here.

Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War and initiator of the Mary Surratt trial. He knew his Northern counterparts demanded a scapegoat, some form of justice, and he gave it to them. Tom Wilkinson played the helpless Southern Marlyand lawyer in charge of Mary’s case who had to decline taking it on the grounds of his bias. His noble stature as Reverdy Johnson stood out to me, despite his cowardice. Evan Rachel Wood played a solidly respectable Anna Surratt, the daughter and poorly mistreated girl that Aiken came to respect despite her ability to turn in her brother. And Danny Huston played a fantastic antagonist as Joseph Holt, the prosecuting attorney and lowlife scoundrel.

A film to be remembered.

The list goes on as is expected from a Redford backed film, and I appreciated the attention to detail in costume, characters, and time period. For the love of God, we must talk about the lighting! It was superb. If any detail in a time period without electricity needed paying attention to, it was this. The lighting in this film blew me out of the water. It literally blew my mind how a film could still function with minimal lighting and dust floating through the air, and make it seem so so so so so authentic. It was superb and caught all of my attention, as if the trial was taking place just right in front of me. The town felt like a suburb of D.C., and all actors carried resemblances of their Civil War characters. If any period piece film about the Civil War need be watched other than Glory (that most important #1), it should be this one. 9.5 out of 10.


I Saw the Devil: South Korea Does it Again!

So recently in the past few years, I’ve been really getting into South Korean films. And not just horror, but action, drama, and

Byung-hun Lee. Complete badass.

suspense/thriller. It all started with The Host (starring my favorite South Korean actor, Kang-ho Song) and has branched into similar movies by director Jee-Woon Kim. And this includes The Good, The Bad, The Weird, A Tale of Two Sisters, The Uninvited, and A Bittersweet Life. And I have just recently added I Saw the Devil, Je-Woon Kim’s latest masterpiece. And I loved every minute of it.

This latest film by Je-Woon Kim is a suspense/thriller with a few elements of twisted gore and horror, the perfect mix if you ask me. Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee), a special agent/detective, has just recently lost his wife was to a brutal murder, not knowing she was pregnant. Upon discovery, Soo-hyeon decides to pursue this serial murderer and get revenge. Once he finds Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi), Soo-hyeon goes hardcore after Kyung-chul with a fury and vengeance that almost seems unfair.

Using his secret agent skills and the aide of a tracking device, Soo-hyeon proceeds to beat the living crap out of Kyung-chul and then admitting him to a local hospital after every beat-down. With no idea why this is happening, a cat and mouse game comes about for the ages. Who will prevail?

Min-sik Choi. Sick and fantastic.

There are some freaking great aspects to this movie. First of all, the mind game that’s created echoes another film that Min-sik Choi starred in, Oldboy. Without a rhyme or reason to this menacing, violent game, people are killed left and right in pursuit of justice and cold-blooded revenge. What’s nice though, is that there’s a clearly defined line between good and evil. You know for certain that Kyung-Chul is evil and Soo-hyeon is good. What changes is the blurred line between the two and who becomes more evil in the end, and also, more importantly, who has the last laugh.

With the pain and emotion behind the actors, both for different purposes, the hidden killer inside

Thank you for a fantastic movie, Jee-Woon Kim.

everyone is unleashed and survival becomes a determining factor after all. With sick and subtle gory scenes, an occasional bare hands brawl, and even some hack and slash action, this movie goes places where normal cops can’t go. To bring in the bad guy and exact your revenge, just how far would you go to do the deed? A definite 10 out of 10.


The Fighter (AKA, Christian Bale)

So I’ve had this desire to see The Fighter (2010) for a while, and just recently, I saw it. It was one of David O. Russell’s first movies I’ve seen, and I was impressed from beginning to end. I know this movie is getting Oscar buzz and it’s up for quite a few categories. I saw it for many reasons, but I won’t go into those just yet. Let’s go over some other things first.

This movie is about Micky Ward, (Mark Wahlberg, funny, M.W., huh…) a boxer in the 1980’s who fought as a welterweight and made it big training with his older brother, Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale). You may be wondering, why not the same last name? Different guys, different dads. Now, Dickie Eklund was the guy who knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard. Some say he tripped, but it’s up for those who see it to judge. In the movie, Dickie has fallen in hard times after his race for the championship title, and now he’s down on his luck with a kid, no wife, and a massive drug addiction to cocaine. While all this is going on, Dickie and the boys’ mother, Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) are trying to fix Micky up for some fights, all the while, Micky gets destroyed. Literally, worked. As the movie goes along, Micky finds a girlfriend, Charlene (Amy Adams) and goes on his merry way to winning the welterweight title. Very uplifting and quite moving at the end.

The meat and potatoes (forgive my Irish reference) comes from the acting chops and superb way that the movie was filmed. I always appreciate cinematography, but when you can make a movie feel like and look like the era it came from, bravo. Mark Wahlberg was great, going back to his roots. beating the living crap out of people, but not getting thrown in jail for it. (No offense, he did beat people up in Boston though…) I’ve always thought of him as exceptional, and I found this to be another Invincible role for him. The real acting came from Christian Bale, my favorite actor. Ever since his role in Empire of the Sun, I’ve been hooked to his work (Pocahontas as Thomas, Mary, Mother of Jesus as Jesus, American Psycho as Patrick Bateman, quite a versatility as my friend said.) and this movie is no different from anything else he’s done. He goes into the job, fully focused and literally nails the part he’s given. There’s nothing more to say then that Christian Bale is an A-List, top-shelf actor.

So, now that you know my love of Christian Bale, you know why I went to see this movie. The acting was great, the cinematography, especially the scenes where they switch it to late night 1980’s boxing style filming, was fantastic, and the story was moving. It reminded me of a modern day Cinderella Man, another boxing movie that I’ve come to really appreciate. Amy Adams really stepped it up from the only other movie I’ve ever seen her in (Enchanted) and I found Jack McGee, who played Micky’s father, George, was quite good. The sisters were a laugh and the mother was aggravating, all of it came together, and this movie deserves a solid 9.5 out of 10. (The played a Red Hot Chili Peppers song in there too, Strip My Mind. Out of context, but sounded great. Kudos.)