Moonrise Kingdom-A Movie Review

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Dec 052012
 

Boy, am I way behind on reviewing movies. I’ll try to get caught up. We saw this movie back in June.

Two twelve-year-olds fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. As various authorities try to hunt them down, a violent storm is brewing off-shore — and the peaceful island community is turned upside down in more ways than anyone can handle.

MPAA Rating : PG-13 (for sexual content and smoking); Genres: Drama; Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Director:Wes Anderson

Writers: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Stars: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jared Gilman

Occasionally a movie comes along that breaks that pattern and changes our perspectives, The Artist being a fine example. Moonrise Kingdom not only takes chances, it does it with zeal. Daring is at the heart of this film. Start with the acting. Edward Norton is exceptional as the over-zealous Khaki Scout leader. Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand take infidelity to a new and hilarious level. And Tilda Swinton, what can you say about a character who refers to herself as Social Services? Every character makes us laugh, cringe, and simply, truly feel their personality. Now move to the screenplay, the use of maps, a narrator, impending hurricanes, social upheaval on a small island, and the anxious calm of young misfits running away from it all. Continue reading »

What Just Happened – A Movie Review

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Nov 102008
 

What Just Happened Movie PosterTwo nail-biting, back-stabbing, roller-coaster weeks in the world of a middle-aged Hollywood producer as he tries to juggle an actual life with an outrageous series of crises in his day job. Ben is besieged by people who want him all to be sorts of things — a money maker, an ego buster, a bad news breaker, an artistic champion, a loyal husband, an all-knowing father, not to mention sexy, youthful and tuned-in — everything except for the one thing he and all the preposterously behaved people he’s surrounded by really are: bumbling human beings just trying to survive by any means necessary.

Genres: Comedy and Adaptation; Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min.; Release Date: October 17th, 2008 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for language, some violent images, sexual content and some drug material.

Starring: Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Bruce Willis, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro

Directed by: Barry Levinson

Lay and I went to see this movie Saturday night. The reviews are definitely not outstanding, but it was hardly a terrible movie. It certainly moved slowly in places, and a few parts were over-played. De Niro did a great job as the lead character. They did use a technique of doing fast forwards in the film. I think I know why the did it, but it really didn’t add anything, as was overdone to the point of becoming a little annoying. All-in-all though, I’d say the film is worth watching, but probably not until its out on DVD.

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Live Free or Die Hard

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Jan 202008
 

Live Free or Die HardOn the July 4th holiday, an attack on the vulnerable United States infrastructure begins to shut down the entire nation. The mysterious figure behind the scheme has figured out every modern angle — but he never figured on an old-school “analog” fly in the “digital” ointment: John McClane. No mask. No cape. No problem.

Director: Len Wiseman

Genre: Action, Adventure

Other: Running Time: 2 hr. 10 min.; Release Date: June 27th, 2007 (wide); MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, language and a brief sexual situation.

Cast: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Jeffrey Wright, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

I downloaded this movie via Tivo from the Amazon unbox service to check out download speeds on my new fiber optic internet service. This movie was something of a let down from the others. The special effects received the majority of the directors attention. In order to heighten the drama and effect of the visual effects, the realism of each affected situation was compromised.

The McClain character has changed. He is no longer surprised that these things happen to him. In fact, he barely gets excited at all (akin to sleepwalking) the whole movie. This wasn’t bad acting, the story clearly called for a more dispassionate McClain.

Unlike the other movies, the story is massive in scale, a country wide calamity, with a villain that the Gruber family would scoff at. The story panders unfailingly to script kiddies and other techno-wannabe/conspiracy-happy very young adults. The reality of the story and of the actions of the characters was a bit too unbelievable. Watch for the multiple 3+ story falls onto pavement by multiple characters with zero injuries (must be low gravity in this movie).

If you watch movies only for special effects (but not fight scenes) then you will enjoy this movie.

If you are a true die-hard fan and wanted a story and villain as good as the first, then you will likely be disappointed.

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Lucky Number Slevin

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Dec 102006
 

Lucky Number SlevenA case of mistaken identity lands Slevin (Josh Hartnett) into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city’s most rival crime bosses: The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) and The Boss (Morgan Freeman). Slevin is under constant surveillance by relentless Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci) as well as the infamous assassin Goodkat (Bruce Willis) and finds himself having to hatch his own ingenious plot to get them before they get him.

Directed by
Paul McGuigan

Genres
Crime, Drama, Thriller

Cast
Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Michael Rubenfeld, Peter Outerbridge, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Chamberlin, Dorian Missick, Mykelti Williamson, Scott Gibson, Daniel Kash, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Sam Jaeger

I just really do not recall seeing the trailers for this movie, and we certainly didn’t watch it at the theater. However, we rented this movie last weekend. I didn’t get around to watching it until Thursday night. Lay had watched it the night before, and had really liked it.

Lucky Number Slevin – no, that’s not a typo – will easily be dismissed as Tarantino-esq. Starring Josh Hartnett as the unlucky title character, the film has more twists and turns than a high-tech roller-coaster, but it’s just as much fun.

Directed with breakneck technique by Paul McGuigan from a clever though highly implausible script by Jason Slimovic, the film is cast, with one minor exception, impeccably. It marks the first role that justifies Josh Hartnett’s hype, and bestows Lucy Liu the most normal – and incandescent – part of her career. It’s a bonus that they have palpable on-screen chemistry, as well as great foils in the guise of Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman (though Ben Kingsley’s high-strung performance as The Rabbi is a miscalculation). The film itself is stylized – written in high gumshoe/screwball mode, with a guided tour of ugly wallpapers throughout history as part of its hard-boiled milieu – though the actors’ convictions root the topsy-turvy narrative in recognizable human terrain.

At its best, Lucky Number Slevin has the feel of a minor John Huston caper directed, with prankish glee, by Brian DePalma. It’s a blood-revenge thriller with no depth, though there are reservoirs of feeling in Hartnett’s and Liu’s performances, as well as wit. Liu seems to the screwball manor born. And Hartnett prances around for nearly 30 minutes of screen time in nothing more than a long purple towel and a quizzical expression. He’s such a game actor that his performance is both a put-on and homage to the long line of Macguffins in film noir. With, of course, a twist.

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