Elysium-A Movie Review

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Jun 012014

Still catching up on movie reviews


We saw this one at home thanks to Redbox. We both liked this movie. I might have liked it a little better than Lay. It was actually a bit thoughtful and thought-provoking. Not outstanding, but it was definitely worth watching.

Elysium: “any place or state of perfect happiness; paradise,” as defined by Dictionary.com. 

Based upon this definition, you can somewhat gather what the premise of the movie is. The year is 2154 and Earth is overpopulated, disease ridden and in disrepair. The world’s wealthiest live in a fortified space station above earth called Elysium. There they enjoy every luxury including mechanisms that will cure them from almost, if not every, illness or injury. The people of Earth want to be there and the people of Elysium definitely do not want the Earth dwellers coming to their abode. Continue reading »

Argo – A Movie Review

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Oct 282012

ARGO Movie PosterThe true story of the life-or-death covert operation to rescue six Americans, which unfolded behind the scenes of the Iran hostage crisis–the truth of which was unknown by the public for decades. In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans are taken hostage. However, six manage to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA is eventually ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devises a daring plan: to create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves.

Release Date: October 12, 2012; MPAA Rating: R (for language and some violent images); Genres: Action/Adventure, Adaptation, Comedy, Drama; Run Time: 2 hours.

Director: Ben Affleck

Cast: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston, Taylor Schilling, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina,     Zeljko Ivanek, Titus Welliver.

Lay and me saw this movie last weekend. Continue reading »

Inception-A Movie Review

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Jul 202010

Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible — inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Thriller; Running Time: 2 hr. 28 min. Release Date: July 16th, 2010 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout.

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Marion Cotillard, Pete Postlethwaite, Michael Caine, Lukas Haas

Director: Christopher Nolan

Lay and me went to watch this Saturday night at the AMC Theater in Brandon. The theater was somewhat crowded, but for once, the crowd was quiet and respectful. We enjoyed this movie, but you’d better be paying attention. Nolan uses the construct of showing the story in bite-sized pieces, and in no particular order. I often find this style annoying, but this movie shows there are situations where it is an appropriate approach, and it does add to your experience by keeping you a little off-balance. (Use the restroom right before the movie starts, and don’t drink the large soda…you will miss something.)

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a security agent of the most unconventional kind — he guards people’s subconscious thoughts. Wealthy clients pay him to make sure their dreams remain uncompromised, since the dream realm is where we all hide our deepest, most valuable secrets.

Cobb, an expert in dream extraction, also pilfers ideas from his clients on the side. He hates to live so unscrupulously but he’s running from a horrific incident in his past that leaves him unable to return home to his family and work a normal job.

Now, suddenly, a wealthy Japanese client, Saito (Ken Watanabe), is willing to grant Cobb his ultimate freedom, so that he can be reconnected with his children. All he must do in return is something infinitely more difficult than dream extraction: dream inception. Specifically, he must plant an idea in the head of the heir to the world’s largest energy fortune, an idea that will allow Saito’s own business empire to thrive. But dream inception requires not just a dream-state, or a dream-within-a-dream state, but a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream state. Not easy.

I found the concept interesting and a bit creepy, as a week or so ago I awoke one night realizing that I had experienced a dream within a dream myself. I’ve never been any good at remembering dreams, and don’t remember these, but I did repeat to myself on waking the experience so I could at least recall that. I don’t recall ever having that experience before.

To do this, he recruits a team of veteran dream thieves, along with a precocious young architect (Ellen Page), and sets about entering the mind of the heir (Cillian Murphy) during a cross-Atlantic flight. But just 10 hours, you say? That can’t be enough time to implant an idea in someone’s head? Ahh, but in Nolan’s dream world, one hour of real-time is like 10 hours of dream-time. And one hour of dream-time is like 10 hours of dream-within-a-dream time.

From there, things get tricky for our thieves, as layers upon layers of dreams start piling up, and the integrity of the dream system they’ve created becomes increasingly fragile, with potentially devastating effects.

It’s great entertainment, but far too busy, and still ends up slightly incoherent.

To be clear, that idea is amazing, the product of a capable, fertile mind. But like all dreams, the vision seems to have been hard for Nolan to reproduce and convey while still making sense. That’s Inception itself: a breath-taking kaleidoscope of fractured, fragmented emotions, thoughts and images, but with a few loose ends here and there.

Another problem is that, at times, the film feels like it’s been neatly cleaved in two — the story about Cobb and his wife, and the larger heist story. While the narrative works to bring the two together, they each could serve as the basis of separate films. In fact, we found the scenes involving Cobb’s personal story a bit annoying.

Leonardo gives a fine performance. While the rest of the cast performs as expected, it must be said that Ellen Page disappoints as the architect student. The character’s just a bit too flippant and immature.

The visuals are first class, and Nolan has convincingly played around with things as fundamental to our universe as gravity and time, all without relying too heavily on CGI.

It’s a fantastic effort, and a sure-fire blockbuster. Lay said it was the best film we’d seen this year, and as I thought about it, he may be right.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10)

The Road-A Movie Review

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Jun 182010

An epic post-apocalyptic tale of the survival of a father and his young son as they journey across a barren America that was destroyed by a mysterious cataclysm. It imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of — a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Adaptation; Running Time: 1 hr. 53 min.; Release Date: November 25th, 2009 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for some violence, disturbing images and language.;

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker

Directed by: John Hillcoat

Lay and me had wanted to see this movie, but didn’t make it to the theater, and I’m glad we didn’t spend the money, having watched this as a TIVO download.

I keep reading reviews about this being an uplifting movie, a story of hope, yadayadayada. After watching that movie, we concluded that these reviewers either were completely high, wandered into the wrong theater by mistake, or thinks that Schindler’s List was a wacky comedy. The Road has to be one of the most depressing, pointless, excruciating movies you could ever see. It will make you want to go stick your head in the oven.

The first 7 hours of the movie contain an endless slog through a desolate landscape bereft of plant and animal life. Only bugs and humans remain, somehow. Everything else on Earth has been burnt or smashed by some unacknowledged Doomsday Event. The director leaves it up to the audience to somehow figure out what kind of reasonable scientific explanation could account for anyone surviving for any amount of time after all the oxygen-producing plant life plus everything else in the food chain between bugs and people bit the dust.

Apparently the wife, prior to offing herself early in the movie (I can’t really blame her), urges them to go south, and the planet is apparently cooling. Well, that makes sense, but going south seems to turn into heading for the ocean, and I am yet to figure what that accomplished, other than giving Mortensen’s character an appropriate place to die.

Dad also seems to make poor survival decisions. The poorest decision comes when the two find a friggin’ BOMB SHELTER FILLED WITH FOOD AND WARM BEDS, but after a couple days they need to abandon it because they heard somebody walking around up top. Apparently this is the only bomb shelter in existence that didn’t come with a lock on the hatch, and everyone knows how easy it is for a starving bum to breach a cement bunker with a steel trap door on it. It’s much easier to pile a bunch of crap in an old push wagon and hit the road again to defend it in the open air against every marauder and sneak thief that walks by, while you slowly die from exposure. The apocalypse happened six or more years ago, but once arriving at the beach, Dad has to swim out to “check it out,” because, you know, no one else would have though to over those six years.

Once the Dad has died, just coincidentally, an oily dangerous looking guy brandishing a gun comes walking up the beach. He’s subsequently joined by his family, and the Mom tells him they have been following him. I never figured out why. Then the music soars, and even though the world continues to slowly die, somehow everything is now supposed to be OK.

This movie was a big disappointment. There were attempts to create scenes for the Oscar voters where the writer and director tried to raise moral points, but they all fell flat. The acting wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t spectacular either, as the parts just didn’t call for any great acting. I guess I wouldn’t say don’t watch it, as it apparently appealed to a lot of people, just be prepared.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 3.00 out of 10)