Movie reviews: 07/2014
Movies seen this month: 10
Page # 1
  Title: The Filth and the Fury
Genre: Documentary  Year: 2000  Country: UK  Rating: Starring: Paul Cook, Stewart Copeland, Stephen Fisher, Bill Grundy, Billy Idol  Director: Julien Temple

My Review: The Filth & The Fury: A Sex Pistols Film - 2000 (Documentary, biography, music) Directed by Julian Temple. This documentary (not a rockumentary) delivered a socially indexed examination of the Sex Pistols. The band members (Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon), Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Paul Cook, Sid Vicious), their manager (Malcolm McLaren), the groupies, family members and the fans. These revolutionary rockers were born in the crucible of post-industrial England. The band was formed in London during an economic depression and the socio-political climate helped to define the band, the members, their message and the tragic tale that is the Sex Pistols. Officially, they only recorded one album (Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols), but their influence on other bands, the music industry and an entire genre is legendary. Here was an out of control group of adrenaline and hormone fueled young men who hated the climate of political and economic repression that brought so many British citizens to the very brink of destruction. They reacted by doing something - They wrote lyrics, poems, anthems. They expressed themselves and the angst of their fans. They put words to music, and motion to a movement of social upheaval. While some might say they made things worse, in a very real sense they provided a pressure release valve for young Britains who were teetering on the edge of destruction - Self destruction, societal destruction and the economic collapse of their nation. The footage of the Sex Pistols performing on stage makes one want to dive off a stage head first into the swirling crowd of chaotic, clashing limbs that are the masses. Hated, banned, alienated, chaotic, aggressive and opinionated - The Sex Pistols were expressing the angst of their generation, and the audiences couldn’t get enough. This documentary does a damn good job of covering all aspects of the band. Focusing on the band members, the social climate, interviews with various personalities and the band’s television interviews, we get a terrific view of all that was ‘The Sex Pistols’. I give it a 4 out of 5.

Summary: A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

  Title: The Pacific
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, History, War  Year: 2010  Country: USA, Australia  Rating: Starring: James Badge Dale, Joseph Mazzello, Jon Seda, Sebastian Bertoli, Ashton Holmes  Director: Jeremy Podeswa, Timothy Van Patten, David Nutter, Carl Franklin, Tony To, Graham Yost

My Review: The Pacific - 2010 (Action, adventure, drama) An HBO original mini-series. 10 episodes stretching across 530 hours (8 hours and 50 minutes) beginning in March of 2010. This epic mini-series took a lot of work to produce ($200,000,000.00), and it takes a long time to watch the entire ‘show’. The Pacific can only be compared to 'Band of Brothers' another (earlier) HBO mini-series about World War II. Here is another series of true stories, based upon a couple of books (Robert Leckie's 'Helmet for my pillow' and Eugene Sledge's 'With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa). The books were re-released when the HBO series was aired. Unfortunately, this series of stories doesn't compare favorably to 'Band of Brothers'. This series doesn't focus on the characters in the way that 'Band of Brothers' did, and the show suffers for that. While the technical aspects of the movie are commendable, and the writing was very good, the acting and direction weren't quite as good. The lack of character development and intimacy leaves the viewer detached and less invested in the movie. It becomes a typical hollywood blockbuster, with plenty of action, special effects, explosions and a patriotic soundtrack. Lacking in the human interest and personal touch that made 'Band of Brothers' so exceptional. The best parts of the movie were the examination of post war lives and how the Marines were expected to 'get over it' when they came back from the carnage. I give it a 4 out of 5.

Summary: The Pacific follows the lives of a U.S Marine Corps squad during the campaign within the Pacific against the Japanese Empire during WW2. Made by the creators of Band of Brothers, it follows a similar line of thought to outline the hardships of the common man during war. The Pacific is in parts a fast paced war series that can be enjoyed by action lovers whilst containing a more sensitive side when projecting the relationships (brotherhood) of Marines on the battlefield. Where The Pacific takes a new direction from its "older brother" is in its depiction of the lives of soldiers who were picked to return home to increase the sales of war bonds. In doing this it also depicts the life cycle of returned soldiers from initial joy to the eventual feeling of regret and to a certain extent shame felt by soldiers wanting to return to the war in service of either their comrades or nation.

  Title: R.I.P.D.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi  Year: 2013  Country: USA  Rating: Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak  Director: Robert Schwentke

My Review: R.I.P.D. - 2013 (Action, Adventure, Comedy) Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds play a pair of pseudo-undead cops in the ‘Rest In Peace Department’ - Reminiscent of Men in Black and Ghost Busters; this cop buddy movie features a supernatural bent, where the crime fighting duo themselves are dead, but not quite undead. They’re living in purgatory, working to solve crimes before they’re ‘judged’. As Jeff Bridges (playing the 200 year old Cowboy/Marshall ‘Roycephus Pulsipher’ ) puts it: “Our job is catching bad souls that hide out among the living” - Reynolds and Bridges pursue the “Deados” to exact a semblance of justice. Eventually they find that their work is leading them into some sort of ‘Apocalyptic’ scenario. That’s it. Lot’s of CGI, explosions, hot women, fast cars and a script that must have taken a full 30 minutes to construct. Generic, predictable, summertime entertainment. It was entertaining, it was exactly what the previews demonstrated. Jeff Bridges provides a stellar performance while Ryan Reynolds stuns us with a lackluster slack-jaw walkthrough. Poor CGI, highly predictable plot lines, and barely tolerable acting are pilled onto a movie that’s lacking in character development and pumped out at breakneck pace. This movie is basically an extended preview. I give it a 2 out of 5.

Summary: After Nick is murdered by his own partner, he joins the Rest in Peace Department to protect the world from the undeads. While working with his new partner, many undeads are seen gathering in Boston. Soon he realizes that someone close to him is behind all a plot to bring on the apocalypse.

  Title: Adult World
Genre: Comedy, Drama  Year: 2013  Country: USA  Rating: Starring: Emma Roberts, Summer Shelton, Chris Riggi, Shannon Woodward, Catherine Lloyd Burns  Director: Scott Coffey

My Review: Adult World - 2013 (Comedy, Drama) Starring Emma Roberts, Evan Peters and John Cusack. This comedy follows the aspiring (but naïve) poet Amy (played by Emma Roberts) as she struggles to survive in the 'Real World' as a recent college graduate and young independent woman. When her parents cut off her cash supply she's forced to make it on her own. She runs away from home, lives with friends and eventually has to get a job - at 'Adult World', a shop that sells erotica and rents adult videos. While struggling to pay her share of the rent, she also stalks a reclusive poet (played by John Cusack) to gain his acceptance and absorb his knowledge. She even ends up writing erotica to make ends meet. Emma Roberts is sometimes funny and sometimes bumbling fresh off the boat college graduate who has her whole life ahead of her. John Cusack was quite good in his washed up beat-punk poet role. It seemed to suit him well. Good pacing, a fair script and a well matched cast made for an enjoyable movie. I give it a 3 out of 5.

Summary: A naive college graduate, Amy, who believes she's destined to be a great poet, begrudgingly accepts a job in a shop while she pursues a mentorship with reclusive writer Rat Billings.

  Title: Heavy Metal 2000
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi  Year: 2000  Country: Canada, Germany  Rating: Starring: Michael Ironside, Julie Strain, Billy Idol, Pier Paquette, Sonja Ball  Director: Michael Coldewey, Michel Lemire

My Review: Heavy Metal 2000 - 2013 (Comedy, Drama) Voice talent included Michael Ironside (as Tyler - Possessed miner), Julie Strain (Adult and B-Movie actress, playing Julie (herself)), and Billy Idol (as Odin). The story is a loose anthology of mini-stories tied together by an immortality thread and a glowing green orb made of pure evil. After surviving the invasion of her homeworld, Julie vows to avenge the attack as she pursues Tyler, the possessed psychopathic agent of evil. He must be stopped before he reaches the fountain! Animation in the style of the Heavy Metal magazine, but somewhat tamer - While the Heavy Metal magazine sometimes features nudity and adult imagery (Not the same as Porn mind you), the movie was rated R, but the imagery wasn't as 'adult' as the previous movie (Heavy Metal) or the magazine. The movie also featured an excellent alternative, industrial, hard rock sound track, with bands such as: Insane Clown Posse, Pantera, Bauhaus, KMFDM, Machine Head, System of a Down, Billy Idol, and many others. The movie is an entertaining romp, but lacks serious story or character development, and it's only remarkable within the narrow nitch that it occupies. 3 out of 5.

Summary: In ages past, a malevolent race called the Arakacians discovered a place where space-time leaked an immortality water. The Arakacians conquered the known universe for centuries, and were finally vanquished after the fountain chamber was sealed by freedom fighters. Upon discovery of a shard of the Loc-Nar (the evil orb from the original movie), a miner named Tyler becomes possessed by an insatiable hunger for power and a thirst for immortality. On his way to a planet which has the immortality fountain, Tyler makes a brief stop on F.A.K.K.² (Federation-Assigned Ketogenic Killzone) because its inhabitants carry some immortality water in their bodies. Tyler invades the space colony, wipes out most of the inhabitants, and kidnaps a beautiful woman named Kerrie. Enraged by Tyler's careless rampage, Kerrie's beautiful sister Julie vows to avenge her family and wipe out Tyler before he reaches the fountain.

  Title: Enemy
Genre: Mystery, Thriller  Year: 2013  Country: Canada, Spain, France  Rating: Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Peace  Director: Denis Villeneuve

My Review: Enemy - 2013 (Thriller, Mystery) Based upon a novel (The Double) by Jose Saramago, directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Sara Gadon and others. Here is a dark and somber mystery with psychological overtones. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a sedate college professor (Adam Bell) living a comfortable life of routine boredom in Toronto. He's turned on to a movie which features an actor that looks exactly like him. Who is this actor? Adam must meet this man, must know what is happening. Why does he have a double? Twisted and mysterious filled with moody, bleak atmosphere, and surreal imagery. Subtle undertones and hidden agendas make the movie a bit inaccessible for the casual viewer. While the movie clearly hints at deeper meanings, the obtuse way in which the character's motivations are depicted leave most viewers a bit frustrated. I give this movie a 3 out of 5.

Summary: Adam Bell is a Toronto area History college professor. He is a rather somber man, largely because he is stuck in a routine, which includes a relationship with his live-in girlfriend, Mary. While watching a rental movie, he spots an actor in a bit part that looks like him. He becomes obsessed with finding out about this double of his. He learns that the actor's stage name is Daniel Saint Claire, whose legal name is Anthony Claire. Claire is a Toronto based actor with only a few on-screen credits, and is married to a woman named Helen who is currently several months pregnant. Adam then becomes obsessed with meeting Claire, who he learns upon first sighting that they look exactly the same, from the facial hair to a scar each has, but Claire who outwardly is more "put together" than Adam. Their lives become intertwined as Claire himself ends up becoming obsessed with Adam, but in a slightly different way.

  Title: Pather Panchali
Genre: Drama  Year: 1955  Country: India  Rating: Starring: Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee, Chunibala Devi, Uma Das Gupta, Subir Banerjee  Director: Satyajit Ray

My Review: Based on a novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyah this movie was written (screenplay) and directed by Satyajit Ray. It is considered to be one of the best Indian movies of all time. It's the story of Apu, a young boy who lives in a small, inconsequential village. His parents are dirt poor and his life is a series of bad news after bad news. This drama follows his life as he leaves home and his village in search of work and a better life. It is a simple story which focuses on the family life of one particular poor family living in rural India in the early 20th Century. Excellent lighting and screenplay. The acting is quite good and the story is utterly compelling. A superb drama. I five this movie a 4 out of 5.

Summary: The story of a young boy, Apu, and life in his small Indian village. His parents are quite poor - his father Harihar, a writer and poet, gave away the family's fruit orchard to settle his brother's debts. His sister Durga and an old aunt also still lives with them. His mother Sarbojaya bears the brunt of the family's situation. She scrapes by and sells her personal possessions to put food on the table and has to bear the taunts of her neighbors as Durga is always stealing fruit from their orchard. Things get worse when Harihar disappears for five months and Durga falls ill. Even after Harihar returns, the family is left with few alternatives.

  Title: I Am Number Four
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller  Year: 2011  Country: USA  Rating: Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Agron, Callan McAuliffe  Director: D.J. Caruso

My Review: I Am Number 4 - 2011 (Action, adventure, sci-fi) It's a pretty simple sci-fi flick, featuring fresh new talent (young actors) in an overblown, special effects laden movie that lacks substance. There's a group of aliens (Who look just like humans) hiding out on Earth, so that their evil enemies and the intergalactic bounty hunters (who look almost exactly like humans) won't find them - but they do, of course! The next alien on the hit list is the fourth victim (Number 4). Even the title is lame… Heart throb John Smith (played by Alex Pettyfer) and his guardian (Timothy Olyphant) were hiding out in a small Ohio town, but now they've got to deal with the bounty hunters and John's galactic responsibility - Just when John was falling in love… Bad guys in make up, good guys in tight shirts, hot gals in bikinis, lots of explosions, sounds just like a Michael Bay movie / damn, I thought I'd avoid the spoilers. I give it a 1 out of 5. …Wait a second. How did I get suckered into watching this a second time? I saw this movie back in 2011. Here's what I had to say back then: So much for the preview… I sure got suckered by this one. I thought this was going to be a serious sci-fi thriller. Actually, it was a teen romance with a supernatural sci-fi flavor. The casting was horrible. Alex Pettyfer - at 21 years old - looks like he's in his late twenties as he plays the tormented teen alien (John Smith). His love interest, Sarah (played by Dianna Agron) - at 25 years old - is smoking hot, but still not convincing in the role. This movie had zero originality. It's a 'twilight meets 'terminator' summer time waster. The best acting came from Timothy Olyphant. The first half was incredibly slow and boring. Designed as nothing more than a template for character development. The second half was derivative but slightly more interesting and better paced. The writing was filled with cliches and stereotypical characters. Typical high school. Typical persecuted teen boy. Typical family background. New to school. Typical hot girl who's alone. Typical ex-boyfriend. Typical confrontations. Typical jealous rivalry and love-triangle story. Mix that in with a typical alien refugee story. Typical last of his kind. Typical persecuted and hunted story line. Typical good guys vs bad guys characters. Typical chased by the cops for crimes he didn't actually commit subplot. Typical lines from the bad guys. Typical action scenes. Typical choreography. This movie should have been titled 'The typical teen romance alien refugee craptastic movie'. The aliens are all style and no substance. The costumes, effects and cgi were all in poor taste and poorly done. Hold on a second… Produced by "Micahel Bay" - That explains everything. I sincerely hope they don't make the sequels they're obviously poised to do. I give this move a 1 out of 5. Yes folks, I watch the bad movies, so you don't have to.

Summary: Extraordinary teen John Smith (Pettyfer) is a fugitive on the run from ruthless enemies sent to destroy him. Changing his identity, moving from town to town with his guardian Henri (Olyphant), John is always the new kid with no ties to his past. In the small Ohio town he now calls home, John encounters unexpected, life-changing events-his first love (Agron), powerful new abilities and a connection to the others who share his incredible destiny.

  Title: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy  Year: 2013  Country: USA, UK  Rating: Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly, Kathryn Hahn, Terence Bernie Hines  Director: Ben Stiller

My Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - 2013 (Adventure, Comedy, Drama) An adventure like no other. Starring Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Jon Daly and others. Walter Mitty's life is 'unremarkable'. His day job in a typical office is less than satisfying, and he often finds himself day dreaming about a more exciting life. Walter embarks on a journey when fantasy becomes reality and he goes on a quest to make his story more remarkable and recover a missing photo by the renowned photographer Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn). A thoroughly thrilling piece of escapism with breathtaking cinematography and superlative direction by Ben Stiller. I give it a 5 out of 5.

Summary: The manager of the negative assets sector of Life magazine, Walter Mitty, has been working for sixteen years for the magazine and has a tedious life, not going anywhere but from his home to his job and vice-versa. He is an escapist, daydreaming into a world of fantasy many times a day. Walter has a crush on the recently hired Cheryl Melhoff but he is too shy to invite her on a date and he is trying to contact her via online dating. The magazine is preparing to release its last printed edition and the loathsome manager of transition Ted Hendricks is preparing an inevitable downsizing over the next few days. Walter has been the liaison between the magazine and the mysterious independent photographer Sean O'Connell who has sent to him a package of negatives and a wallet as a gift for his work. Sean also suggests to the senior management the use of negative 25 for the cover of the last edition. However, Walter cannot find the negative that is missing. Walter has no means to contact Sean ...

  Title: Invasion of Astro-Monster / Kaijû daisensô
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi  Year: 1965  Country: Japan, USA  Rating: Starring: Nick Adams, Akira Takarada, Jun Tazaki, Akira Kubo, Kumi Mizuno  Director: Ishirô Honda

My Review: Invasion of Astro-Monster (aka Godzilla vs. Monster Zero) - 1965 (Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi) A Japanese production from the 60s. The 6th Godzilla movie. Here our loveable hero (Godzilla) and Rodan (another mutated giant flying dinosaur-like creature) are transported to Planet-X (on the far side of Jupiter) in order to fight the destructive Monster Zero (aka King Ghidorah - Yet another mutated giant dinosaur-like creature, with wings and three heads); a creature who's been laying waste to Planet-X for many years. Little do the people of Earth realize, that the Xiliens are planning the enslavement of Earth. If the Humans don't agree to subjugation, the Earth will be destroyed by the combined destructive force of all three monsters! With an unknown cast and low production value, this movie made up for its shortcomings with excellent monster attack footage. The miniature models, lightning effects, massive explosions, flying saucers and stomping monsters were well edited and there was some pretty good camera work to capture the action in all its glory. Godzilla gives an excellent victory dance at the end. As usual, the corny dialog and preposterous plot must be overlooked in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the movie. I rate it a generous 3 out of 5.

Summary: Aliens from the mysterious Planet X, which resides on the dark side of of Jupiter, come to Earth asking its people to help them save their world from the dreaded King Ghidrah by letting them "borrow" Godzilla and Rodan. The aliens are actually planning to use the three monsters to take over our planet.


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