Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Critics criticize. It's what they're paid to do. So when a film as good as The Lincoln Lawyer is released – it's time to scour the critique handbook. Hmm let's see... how about the classic good movie critique? “It's too smug and full of itself...” Oh wait it's not. Okay, how about “Oh it's not as good as its source material...” Oh wait it is. Alright, let's just say it doesn't add anything to the courtroom genre. Don't buy it. In a world where the Transformers movies make over 400 million (in America) sometimes you just have to sit and enjoy a good film; even if you're frowning at the injustice of it only making 13 million. Oh and apparently I missed the memo about courtroom becoming a genre, but I digress.

We're introduced, over the beats of throwback motown music, to Mickey Haller. He operates out of the back of his classic Lincoln Town Car, he looks suspiciously like Matt McConaughey, and he is a damn good defense attorney. Haller is a slick player: he has connections with everybody from a biker gang to a camera man, and isn't afraid to bribe a bailiff. In the midst of some of his typical defense work, Haller lands the case of a lifetime. A spoiled playboy, named Louis Roulet, played by an effectively menacing Ryan Philippe, has been accused of a beating a prostitute (with intent to kill) and he appears to be on his way to a life sentence or worse, the death penalty. Roulet initially, adamantly maintains his innocence. Despite his catchphrase “There's nothing scarier than an innocent client,” Haller takes the case. This is where the twists and turns begin. Haller begins to see parallels with an old client and discovers that Roulet is not as innocent as he seemed. Haller is trapped by attorney-client privileges and must maneuver through potentially deadly territory within the constraints of the law. The film maintains a brisk pace, and McConaughey is electric as the charming but increasingly troubled lawyer with a soft spot for the bottle. The rest of the cast is absolutely fantastic, with fine actor after fine actor showing up for the ride. Marisa Tomei shines as Haller's ex-wife, a prosecutor that he remains friends with, and the likes of William H. Macy, Josh Lucas and Bryan Cranston fill spot-roles.

The Lincoln Lawyer is the epitome of a thriller done right. It's exciting, engaging, has excellent pacing, and is filled with riveting performances. While it may have one too many fake endings, it ultimately comes to satisfactory, if not quite epic, conclusion. While 13 million is nothing to sneeze at for an opening weekend, this is one of those films I wish everyone saw instead of the other garbage plaguing theaters these days. And to the critics who say it gives nothing new to the genre, how about Matt McConaughey? I mean, who knew this guy had any talent? He's found his niche with Mickey Haller, and I hope that this is the beginning of a franchise.

Grade: A-

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love, and "the mouth."

I will not be seeing Eat, Pray, Love this weekend. Why? I'm not sure...sort of in the same way I never saw "Duplicity," "Charlie Wilson's War," or "Mystic Pizza." They have Julia Roberts. I'm not sure what it is about Julia Roberts. Usually that phrase has good connotations. Like "I'm not sure what it is about her, but she's growing on me." Nope. Exact opposite. I don't like her dumb hair, enormous mouth, her voice, or the movies she's in. If Eat, Pray, Love had Natalie Portman, or hell, Jessica Alba, I would be there. It's about food right? Just not Julia Roberts. Please.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iron Man 2.

I'm going to keep this brief.

The original Iron Man was a breath of fresh air in the superhero genre. Robert Downey Jr. was awesome, it was snarky, fun, and well cast. Iron Man 2 retains some of the positives from the original but also suffers from a lot of sequel fever. First off, there are waaaay too many characters going on here. Scarlett Johansson is hot but completely unnecessary, and gives a stiff awkward performance. Gwyneth Paltrow is lovely as always, and is one of the only characters in the movie that really works. Then you've got Don Cheadle stepping in as Tony's bff "Rhoadie." Note to blockbuster movies; Never ever ever ever ever switch actors midway through a series. The audience notices. Duh. You just don't do it. Look at how crappy the Batman franchise got after they ditched Michael Keaton. Now I could forgive this but Cheadle also gives a crappy stiff performance. Should have brought back Terrance Howard...just sayin'. So basically the plot goes as follows, the world is now aware that Tony Stark is Iron Man and the army wants to weaponize the suite. Tony doesn't. Then we have a vengeful Russian (Mickey Rourke) out for Stark's blood. Said Russian creates sweet whiplash suit in his little basement laboratory, and somehow it's actually believable. Nice touch. Rourke actually pulls off the roll with some grace, and I realllly enjoyed the badass character. The action sequences are excellent, and I think every guy out there will be drooling over all the sweet technology. Overall, Iron Man 2 makes a few missteps but nothing huge or unforgivable. Robert Downey Jr continues his unprecedented career resurrection and I really hope he keeps it rolling. The guy is crazy likable. Decent flick.

Grade: B-

Monday, January 25, 2010


Well here I am again after a long hiatus. I know that my cult fan base has just been dying for some new material, so here I am obliging them.

Being the movie buff that I am I saw Avatar on opening weekend, needless to say, I was extremely disappointed.

James Cameron's film Titanic holds the record for largest grossing film of all time, somewhere around a ridiculous 600 million in the States alone. Since that enormous success he's kept quiet save for some tooling around with the Terminator franchise. Obviously, his 15 years in the making space opera/special effects bananza had people excited. The movie is said to be the most expensive film ever made to date, and boy does it look it. The lushness of the universe, the texture of the alien characters, the spot on 3d effects...it's a beautiful movie. It's truly a shame that the stories and characters are a cliche fest. Basically, in the story's undeveloped back story (thank God they didn't develop it or the movie would have been 5 hours) earth is dying. And there's this enormously valuable rock that ambitious albeit douche baggy earthlings are dying to get their hands on. There is an enormous deposit of these rocks on the distant plant Pandora, which is inhabited by a bunch of weirdy tree hugging blue aliens. To make an extremely long story short, the humans hook up handsome paraplegic marine, Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington ( in a definite star turn) to a machine that allows him to take control of an alien body. He enters into the alien tribe to learn their ways and pass their tests to become an honorary member of their tribe. The marines do all of this in hopes that Jake, once he's a member of the community, can convince the aliens to move away from the rock deposit so that the humans can swoop in and take it. Unfortunely, the deposit sits right under the aliens large tree that stands as sort of a god/goddess mother nature figure. Here's where the movie gets cliche and boring. Sully enters the foreign culture, struggles at first, falls in love with beautiful alien trainer, switches sides, warns aliens of impending human attack...I don't even have to say anymore to give away the movie, I'm sure you can fill in the blanks. Not only is the whole hero-falls-in-love-switches-sides story so cliche it's almost a subgenre, but the characters right down to Sigourney Weaver's envirnmentalist are as well. Oh and one more thing. James Cameron needs to find a damn good editor before he tries to make another one of these epics. He really needs it. The two bright spots of the film are obviously, the gorgeous special effects, and the surprisingly strong script. Yes, horrible story, done with a good script. It's possible, so shut up. See it if you have to, but just for the special effects, they're the only thing that kept me from napping for 3 hours.

Hey, please excuse the poor grammar and overall poorness of this review, I can do better I just had to write this in 5 minutes! Thanks for bearing with :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My absence. And a brief rant about "New Moon."

Yes, it's been a long month since I wrote my review for "Cirque Du Freak: The Vampires Assistant," and since that mediocrity I really haven't seen many movies in the theater. None in fact. So my apologizes for not updating this blog but I just haven't had anything to review! "New Moon, " was released this week (much to my disgust) and it hauled in an almost unprecedented 140 million. The movie just goes to show that nobody really cares what critics say...as long as you have the screaming tweenage girls on your side, you're good. In my humble opinion the whole Twilight series is a poorly written ripoff of superior material (Tuck Everlasting anyone?) and is basically just an excuse to get good looking people in a dramatic love triangle. Of course, brace-faced, screaming tweens, who like to text and hang with their "besties" ate this crap up and made a lot of people millionaires. Yes, Rob Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are smoking demi-gods, but 140 million, really? I haven't been this disgusted since Transformers 2, which I wasted a hard earned 10 bucks on. I implore you, save your money or see something worthwhile, don't contribute to the manipulative delinquency of the American cinema.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

"Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" looked like the perfect film to catch around this Halloween season; but the film's promising plot is dragged down by stiff Hayden Christensen-like performances, bad direction, and some twists that are downright dumb. The cold opening of the movie is done perfectly, introducing our protangonist Darren Shan, played by newcomer Chris Massoglia, showing his funeral-where he's actually playing video games in his coffin. The opening draws you in but when it cuts to the lame and overly-long credit sequence, I already had a bad feeling.

The premise plays out as your basic kid-dragged-into-something-bigger-than-him archetype, with the cracks of the story filled in by the flavor of the day vampire garbage, and various grotesque circus freaks. Basically, while Darren and his troubled best friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson) are bitching about how boring and predictable life is, a limo drives up and gives them a brochure for a one night only freak show. Happens all the time. Anyway, Like any self-respecting teenage boys, they sneak out at night and go to the show. After a bizarre series of events our young lads end up on either side of two warring vampire clans. The vampires merely sedate their prey, while the vampeneze kill their victims. Why they can't just live in harmony is beyond me. On the good side we have, Larton Crepsley, played by a hugely miscast John C. Reilly, and Darren, who, after some freaky circumstances, is made half vampire by Crepsley. His friend Steve is drawn to the dark side, and vampire action/humor ensues.

"The Vampires Assistant," struggles to find its tone throughout the entire film. While there are some yuk-yuk moments it isn't consistently funny enough to be a comedy; which is almost a shame considering Reilly's considerable comedic chops. On the other end of the spectrum, it's not a good action movie either. Not that much happens, and the special effects are not all that special. In the end it just feels like an uneven, miscast, botched opportunity. It's watchable, but not worth seeing.

Grade C-

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Top Movie Endings! (I'll try to have no spoilers)

1. The Illusionist

Reason: the ending of this movie was beautiful, happy, and best of all, totally unpredictable. When was the last time you saw a movie that had an ending that was beautiful, happy, and unpredictable? It almost never happens. Savor it.

2. Rocky (spoilers)

Reason: This movie could have easily gone cheesy-Hollywood and made Rocky won, but instead they made it more realistic and gritty, and yet also created one of the most moving and inspirational endings of all time. This is the only movie that has ever made me want to get up and go for a run. Ever.

3. The Sixth Sense (spoilers, we all know what happens though right?)

Reason: Right off the bat let me say I do not like this movie. I'm not a big fan of Bruce Willis (or I should say, not a fan of Bruce Willis in lead roles) and while the plot of this film is riddled with holes and cheap scare tricks-it's still thought provoking. Any ending that actually creates cliches I can respect, which is why this made my list. Show me someone who claims to have predicted he was dead the whole time, and I'll show you a liar.

Others that could have made this list...Lucky Number Slevin, Unbreakable, Psycho, Fargo, Fight Club, Matchstick Men.