Author Topic: Jon's Random Reviews  (Read 62097 times)

Offline Dragonfire

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2009, 08:34:50 AM »
I need to watch L.A. Confidential again.  I just got the newer 2 disc version that came out earlier this year.  I can't even remember how many times I've watched the movie now.

I remember when I first saw the trailer I wasn't sure what was supposed to be going on, but I was sure I didn't want to see it.  I even stuck by that for a while, but I started to change my mind...I'm still not sure why.  I did end up seeing it after Titanic.  At the time, I thought Titanic was better.  Now, I know L.A. Confidential is the better movie and it definitely should have won best picture.  It's just a better movie all around.
I saw Titanic 2 times in the theater...and I haven't watched it again since. I have probably seen L.A. Confidential at least 15 times.  I had it on VHS and now I have 2 DVD versions.

Offline Achim

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #61 on: August 17, 2009, 10:45:31 AM »
I own the Blu-ray of L.A. Confidential. I had it on my Wish List for ages and when I finally decided to go ahead and buy it I didn't want to buy the rather ol DVD and waited for the announced Blu-ray. My friend and me enjoyed it very much; the interogation scene in particluar.

Najemikon

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Taken ***
« Reply #62 on: August 29, 2009, 04:55:49 PM »
Taken ***
3 out of 5


Taken is a solid, unambitious thriller with plenty of bone-crunching action. If you love action movies, then this is for you. It's pacy and violent, with none of that pesky plot stuff to get in its way and if it did, Liam Neeson would just cut its balls off. That's the kind of straight-forward film this is.

Ok, if you want to get picky, then the script is lazy, convenient and predictable, almost insultingly so in the last act where it resembles a typical cathartic game plot, with a daft escape from certain death and a string of bad guys leading up to the "boss". It's got the style of The Bourne Identity, but filtered through black and white 80s brutality. Typically for that era, it's also reassuringly xenophobic. This is doing for France what Hostel did for Amsterdam and Slovakia; American kids are fair game, apparently!

I don't give a damn though. It steams through the plot holes with glorious, vicious momentum. It's great, nasty fun and if Parisian producer Luc Besson is happy to reduce his home town to a tourist hell-hole, then we shouldn't mind watching. The pedigree of the modern Euro-thriller can easily be traced back to Besson's Leon, but recently he seems content producing old-fashioned stuff like this and Transporter. Taken owes a lot more to Bourne than anything else, with good solid car chases and fist fights.  It takes itself very seriously, with no trace of irony and it works because of Liam Neeson. He is fantastic as a cold-hearted arse-kicker. In fact, get him in Bourne 4! He could take that wuss Matt Damon, no trouble! ;)

Offline goodguy

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Re: Taken ***
« Reply #63 on: August 30, 2009, 07:43:35 AM »
Taken ***
...
It steams through the plot holes with glorious, vicious momentum.

As I said in my comments, I found the first half hour (of 90min total) tiresome. I felt like Willow at Graduation Day (Ascend already). I understand that the writers wanted to setup the character in some way, but it really doesn't work at all.
Matthias

Najemikon

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #64 on: August 30, 2009, 12:18:01 PM »
Taken ***
...
It steams through the plot holes with glorious, vicious momentum.

As I said in my comments, I found the first half hour (of 90min total) tiresome. I felt like Willow at Graduation Day (Ascend already). I understand that the writers wanted to setup the character in some way, but it really doesn't work at all.

I thought it did though perhaps not as they intended. The clumsiness suited the out dated plot. On a related point I saw a review where a lady felt seriously offended by the flippant treatment of sex trafficking. She's right, but that's these films all over... I enjoyed it for the bad-film nostalgia as much anything else!

Najemikon

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #65 on: August 30, 2009, 02:41:52 PM »
Right. Time for a catch-up...  :training:

Najemikon

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Hot Rod ***
« Reply #66 on: August 30, 2009, 03:05:48 PM »
Hot Rod ***
3 out of 5


Andy Samberg is Rod Kimble, a deluded stunt-man. Deluded, because he is crap! All he really wants is respect from his step-father Frank (Ian McShane) by beating him in a fight, but then Frank falls ill and without a heart transplant, will die. Rod can't stand the thought of not having the chance to beat him fair and square so with help from his gang and Isla Fisher, sets out to raise $50000 by staging a huge stunt.

Hot Rod is very silly, but very funny too. Produced by Will Ferrell, his touch is all over it. In another film, say Step Brothers, Ferrell himself would have unwisely taken the lead role. In fact, this is the film Step Brothers should have been. While Rod is a complete prat, Samberg manages to get you rooting for him. It has a lot more heart than many similar comedies.

That includes Anchorman, to which this seems to get unfairly compared. That film is considerably funnier than Hot Rod (and most others, to be fair!), but crucially, it can generate a lot of its humour from not being in any way realistic. Hot Rod, although clumsy, is easier to identify with. I knew kids like Rod Kimble, and who hasn't had scraps with their dad that border on domestic abuse? Especially with Sissy Spacek as Rod's mum, completely ignoring the violence! :)

The humour is very slapstick, with the funniest scenes usually ending with Rod in a crumpled heap. The soundtrack is great, all 80s power ballads, and there's one inspired moment where they rip-off Kevin Bacon's "punch-dancing" from Footloose. Despite being childish and criminally underusing the wonderful Isla Fisher, it's great fun and very watchable.


Najemikon

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall ***
« Reply #67 on: August 30, 2009, 03:31:59 PM »
Forgetting Sarah Marshall ***
3 out of 5


Peter (Jason Segel) is dumped by his girlfriend of five years, TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) and goes to Hawaii to forget. Unfortunately Sarah is at the same resort with her new boyfriend, a British pop-star (Russell Brand)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the closest yet that the Apatow run of comedies (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) have come to the Kevin Smith brand of heartwarming romantic comedy via outrageous gags, and while it's more the quality of Mallrats than Chasing Amy, it's a very well written and faithful script by star Jason Segel. Part of me wishes it was funnier, but maybe that would compromise the characters.

They are all very believable. Each person has their good and bad sides; nobody is perfect and everybody is in for criticism. That's important because they feel real whereas normally in a rom-com, lead characters go on "journeys" while the supporting cast don't change at all and it's vomit inducing. Here they are all well rounded. Segel in particular is nakedly honest (literally so in a couple of unfortunate scenes!) and his Dracula The Musical moments (apparently a genuine project Segel wrote years ago) work as both poignant and possibly the funniest thing in the film. Kristen Bell perhaps has the hardest job, because she's the villain of the piece, so putting across her point of view is an uphill struggle. Far better is her new boyfriend. Russell Brand plays himself really, but is far more than a mere cameo and he is excellent at portraying several layers. If anything, he is the most grounded. I know Brand in real life is Marmite to many people, but even if you detest him, don't let him put you off because not liking his character can reap rewards. Mila Kunis is adorable (oh, the irony of her voicing Meg in Family Guy!), while Jack McBrayer almost steals the show with his attempts to consummate his recent marriage. "God put our mouths on our head's for a reason!" :laugh:

The middle section is very messy and seems to waste time, but it comes good in the end by continuing to surprise, even when resorting to predictable convention. Even then, I thought they'd written themselves into a corner, but it resolves gracefully. Overall I think Segel has a better ear for dialogue than the other Apatow films have showed, as they occasionally lapse into moments of being too clever for their own good. Still, they are much funnier.

Note: like any Apatow DVD, this is stuffed with extras, but personally I'd avoid them. I ruined Knocked Up for myself by watching the hours of deleted scenes, gag reels, abandoned ad-libbing, etc. The Line-O-Rama feature is a case in point; take one scene and show the 20 or so alternative lines in quick succession. Argh!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2009, 03:43:43 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Juno ****
« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2009, 03:59:34 PM »
Juno ****
4 out of 5


Juno (Ellen Page) is 16 years old and pregnant. She can't bring herself to have an abortion, so she decides to continue the pregnancy for a childless couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman).

This isn't the sort of film I'd normally go for, but I've heard so much about Diablo Cody's script that I wanted to see it. I really enjoyed it for that reason. It's humble, but very sharp, unpredictable, smart and frequently funny. I don't know any 16 year-olds, let alone pregnant ones, but I think the average teenager should be pleased by this adult representation. It doesn't feel as accurate as a John Hughe's Breakfast Club, but if all teens were this well grounded, even while experimenting against better judgment, the world would be a happier place. Perhaps it's a bit of a fantasy in that respect, but a fun one at least.

Ellen Page is particularly good. She's a smart-arse and every other line is quote worthy, but while any decent actress can deliver a zinger or ten, Page also puts across the emotion and the story has a poignancy because of that. Juno, both character and film, never get too clever for their own good. The rest of the cast are all solid too, well served by characters that refuse to be conventional. And it's reassuringly positive; J.K. Simmons is great as Juno's dad anyway, but the moment he finds out about the pregnancy is fantastic. Michael Cera is great too. The overview calls him "charmingly unassuming" and I can't think of a better way to put it.

In keeping with the overall tone, the ending is realistic. It isn't a neat, happy ever after fantasy, but dependable optimism. It is a wonderful example of a very good script being brought to life by brilliant, honest acting throughout.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2009, 04:02:38 PM by Jon »

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2009, 04:30:35 PM »
I been considering to get Juno for a while now... just wasn't sure it would be my type of movie. May have to get it a chance.
Pete

Offline goodguy

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Re: Juno ****
« Reply #70 on: August 30, 2009, 06:22:58 PM »
Juno ****
...
This isn't the sort of film I'd normally go for
...
Ellen Page is particularly good.

You should definitely give Hard Candy a try, which was the first movie that got a her a somewhat wider attention. It probably also is more up to your alley. And if you are feeling really adventurous: The Tracey Fragments, which I reviewed here some time ago.
Matthias

Najemikon

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Re: Juno ****
« Reply #71 on: August 30, 2009, 08:08:27 PM »
Juno ****
...
This isn't the sort of film I'd normally go for
...
Ellen Page is particularly good.

You should definitely give Hard Candy a try, which was the first movie that got a her a somewhat wider attention. It probably also is more up to your alley. And if you are feeling really adventurous: The Tracey Fragments, which I reviewed here some time ago.

I've been meaning to. Catch Hard Candy for some time, but I'll certainly look out for the other one too, thanks, Matthias.

I've a feeling you'd like Juno, Pete. Jennifer Garner is in it too and she's very good. Tough role actually and it develops nicely.

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #72 on: August 30, 2009, 08:14:21 PM »
Jennifer Garner is also in it?.... SOLD!  :P

I will definitely have to remember to pick it up some time soon.
Pete

Najemikon

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Lethal Weapon ****
« Reply #73 on: September 13, 2009, 09:05:53 PM »
Lethal Weapon ****
4 out of 5


This is one of the best buddy cop thrillers, with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover forming a great odd couple, obviously relishing Shane Black's great dialogue. Along with Richard Donner's sparky direction and the jazzy, Christmas-y soundtrack, it makes for very solid entertainment. Gibson is central to it with an incredible performance; more Mad Max than anything, but he makes it poignant too.

It's these elements that help it hold up over the years, but what doesn't is the dreadful ending. The plot seems to completely lose it's way once it reverts to a predictable thread of putting Murtaugh's family in danger, and it lazily ignores any form of logic to end up in a silly fight on a front lawn, after they destroy the front of Murtaugh's house when there really wasn't any need. And the way L.A.'s finest just gather to watch the scrap is slightly worrying.

Maybe that's what Black and Donner were after, considering the L.A.P.D.'s history, but still, it is at odds with the much slicker first half. Overall Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a finer film, but ironically, this has the bigger bangs by some considerable margin. The action never lets up and is rightly a classic of the genre for it. Giving the characters ex-military backgrounds meant they were never going for subtle!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2009, 09:08:17 PM by Jon »

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Jon's Random Reviews
« Reply #74 on: September 14, 2009, 11:32:09 AM »
I haven't watched the Lethal Weapon movies in a long time! I really enjoyed every one of them.  :)
Pete