Month: February 2009

I Am Legend (2007)

Who would have thought that The Fresh Prince of the music industry, and a well known T.V. show would be an upcoming star.  I don’t think that I have seen too many Will Smith movies that I didn’t like.  This Action packed film by Francis Lawrence is about a virus that plagued New York, and whoever contracted this virus turned into some kind of super human zombie of sorts.  Will smith play a scientist who is trying to find not only survivors of this virus, but also a cure for it.   Robert Neville(Will Smith), is the last man in New York, and maybe even all the world.  He is trying to find a cure to the virus that plagued most of the citizens.  Partnered up with his faithful canine Sam, they hit the streets looking for answers.  He does a variety of things day to day, to help himself cope with the fact that he is his only company, like vising the neighborhood music store, and video store.  He has mannequins placed around the city and pretends that they are other survivors.  During the day, one of his priorities is to hunt the infected so he can capture a subject for a series of tests, trying to find an antidote and cure everyone.  He gets caught up a couple of times being out on the streets at dusk when the...

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Surf’s Up

Ever since the documentary “March of the Penguins” captivated audiences in 2005, it seemed that Hollywood just couldn’t get enough of the loveable creatures, at least in animated form. One year after the aforementioned documentary was released, some audiences delighted to the musical/dance themed animated movie “Happy Feet”. This brings us to the 2007 release of “Surf’s Up”, which served as a different kind of animated fare for the tuxedoed creatures. The reason being is that it was more of a sports themed mockumentary of sorts that focuses on penguins (go figure) who love to spend their days surfing. It’s a surprisingly original idea, and one that grabbed my attention more effectively than any of the other penguin-centric movies being released, not to mention the terrific voice cast (which I will grant “Happy Feet” boasted great vocal performers as well), and what appeared to be a more fast-paced, fun, and less politically motivated movie than some of the other entries of its kind. “Surf’s Up” is the tale of a young penguin named Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf) who dreams of one day competing in a surfing contest named for his idol, surfing legend Big Z (Jeff Bridges). After gaining acceptance into the competition, Cody quickly discovers that his quest for winning may just be more difficult than he thought, and that the only way for him to truly become...

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Sexy Beast (2000)

In the interplay between consciousness and subconsciousness lies that zone in awakened state where we fantasize in reverie what sleep thankfully forgives our nightmares. This film, screen-written by Louis Mellis and David Scinto, and wonderfully directed by Jonathan Glazer, mixes these two worlds with a craftsmanship and delivery highly suitable to its storyline. For English mob handyman Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) is about to be brought out of retirement by the very man most likely to be able to mix both for him, psychopath mob enforcer Don Logan (Ben Kingsley.) Kingsley’s performance is incredible, riveting the viewer to every line he delivers, the slightest move he makes. Winstone’s role is exceedingly well served as well and its complexity made convincing only through his exceptional acting ability. It is his two worlds of consciousness/subconsciousness played with. Amanda Redman as Deedee Dove, former good time girl turned Dove’s devoted lover, gives a sterling performance that elevates a supporting role to the status of lead, a rare attribute only occasioned when we see superior casting. Ian McShane is Teddy Bass, mob boss and “project organizer” who has been virtually dared by a high society financier to crack the vault in which the elite entrust their most valued items. The “job” thus becomes “personal”. And pressure is placed on Logan to exercise his demonic skills in recruiting the best, even out of retirement...

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Titanic (1997)

In 1997, James Cameron’s “Titanic” was released after a great deal of publicity. There were delays over the release date and it went way over budget. As it turned out the movie broke numerous records at the box office and won a record tying 11 Oscars including Best Picture. “Titanic” would become the “Gone With the Wind” of its generation. Cameron sets up the movie in the present day as a crew led by Bill Paxton is searching for the hope diamond in the wreckage and comes across a drawing of a passenger wearing it. We discover that the woman in the drawing, Rose De Witt Bukater, is now 101-years-old and a survivor of the sinking. She joins the crew to relive the events of the disaster. A clever device is used that is the key to setting up the whole movie. Cameron shows us via computer graphics what happened when the ship struck the iceberg and how it split apart before sinking. We also see footage of the ruinous ship as it looks today before Cameron dissolves to images of the Titanic as it appeared during the 1912 voyage. Rose (played as a young woman by Kate Winslet) is about to embark on the voyage with her scion fiancée, Cal Hockley (Billy Zane). At the same time there is a poor young artist, Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), who...

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The Princess Bride (1987)

The Princess Bride is often noted as a “classic,” yet not in the traditional sense. In addition to being humorous, it includes an outstanding cast of characters that are developed and amusing in classic Rob Reiner style.   Peter Falk, as the grandfather of young Fred Savage, narrates the ideal love story jouney of Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) and Wesley (Cary Elwes) as they embark on the true love story journey of a relatively privileged young woman and her loyal servant. Life circumstances initially draw them apart, yet ultimately they come together in fairy-tale romance style through a series of clever trials and tribulations. Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) excel as supporting antagonist characters, contributing to the witty performances that ensue throughout the film. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane make superb cameos as “Miracle Max” and his wife, as they attempt to revive Wesley after he is tortured and supposedly dead (a sub-storyline that I’ll leave to the viewer to discover).   Reiner’s cinematography isn’t particularly notable, yet fits the storyline with its castles and villages that are characteristic of centuries ago. The viewer flows easily through the film; each drama that unfolds isn’t an extreme tragedy or marvelous feat – it is just simply engaging, with a surprise around each corner.  For over 20 years, a few of the film’s certain repeated lines have been embedded...

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