Rocky

February 28, 2010

One line review: It’s a tale that’s been told a thousand different ways, and yet Sylvester Stallone manages to make it entertaining.

Movie Title: Rocky

Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Thayer David, Joe Spinell, Jimmy Gambina, Bill Baldwin, Al Silvani

Director: John G. Avildsen

Year: 1976

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: Netflix Instant Watch

Location of Viewing: Work

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 93% – This story of a down-on-his-luck boxer is thoroughly predictable, but Sylvester Stallone’s script and stunning performance in the title role brush aside complaints.

My rating: ****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): This movie surprised me in it’s ability to make me fascinated with it’s characters. In the end, there’s probably only 15 minutes of actual boxing in this movie, and yet I wasn’t bored in between. The characters of Adrian and Rocky fascinated me, and I enjoyed watching them evolve and change as the movie went on. I still feel that this movie isn’t as epic as people seem to remember. It actually feels completely inappropriate to be to call it epic, because this movie tells the incredible story of a nobody who became a somebody through his own will and strength.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Super Size Me

February 21, 2010

One line review: Morgan Spurlock combines humor with shocking facts and results to make an extremely impressive documentary about McDonalds and the fast food market in general.

Movie Title: Super Size Me

Actors: Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, Lisa Ganjhu, Stephen Siegel, Bridget Bennett, Alexandra Jamieson

Director: Morgan Spurlock

Year: 2004

Genre: Documentary

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 93% – Entertaining doc about the adverse effects of eating fast food.

My rating: ****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): After watching and enjoying several episodes of 30 Days, I figured I should watch the movie that launched Morgan Spurlock’s career. I was pleased to find the same combination of fascinating information and humor was in the original project, just as I found it in the TV series. This isn’t just a documentary that tries to tell you fast food is bad, it breaks down how food, exercise, and advertising affect the lives of all Americans and the world. I strongly suggest everyone watch this movie, not just for the information, but because Morgan Spurlock managed to make it rather entertaining.

Read the rest of this entry »


Avatar

January 31, 2010

One line review: A film that may have pushed the envelope in visual techniques, but does not fully live up to it’s sky high hype.

Movie Title: Avatar

Actors: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel Moore, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, CCH Pounder, Dileep Rao, Matt Gerald, Sean Anthony Moran

Director: James Cameron

Year: 2009

Genre: Action / Adventure

Method of Viewing: Theater

Location of Viewing: Theater

Viewing with: Family

Rotten Tomatoes: 82% – It might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but Avatar reaffirms James Cameron’s singular gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking.

My rating: ****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): This film has both been praised for it’s fantastic visuals, and lambasted for it’s basic plot. I fall somewhere in the middle. I feel that while the visuals are some of the most impressive 3D and CGI I’ve ever seen, it was still an artificial effect that felt like a gimmick. As for the plot, the basic idea may have been stolen from Dances with Wolves, but Avatar adds a few twists of it’s own to make it feel like a unique story. This film has earned it’s place in history, and I will be fascinated to see the upcoming sequels.

Read the rest of this entry »


Psycho

December 5, 2009

One line review: A haunting little tale that seems to build moment by moment.

Movie Title: Psycho

Actors: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam, Vera Miles

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Year: 1960

Genre: Horror

Method of Viewing: Television

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 98% – Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn’t just create modern horror, he validated it.

My rating: ****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least):
This movie manages to start at a strangely peaceful and quiet pace and keeps slowly ramping up the tension and paranoia till it reaches a haunting conclusion. The actors manage to convey so much with only their reactions, and each scene convinces you that death is just around the corner. My only frustration with this movie is a handful of overly long silent scenes. This is probably because I lack the patience necessary to appreciate parts of the movie, but it still did disrupt the building tension. Even with the occasional disruption, this movie deserves all of the credit it receives.

Read the rest of this entry »


Halloween

November 2, 2009

Halloween_Poster

One line review: It’s a film that has managed to find the perfect balance between suspense, atmosphere, and shock value.

Movie Title: Halloween

Actors: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis, Tony Moran

Director: John Carpenter

Year: 1978

Genre: Horror

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 93% – Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween set the standard for modern horror films.

My rating: **** – A Legendary movie, but with some flaws

My assessment (the first 101 words at least):
This may cause some people to be absolutely shocked, but I believe this is the first horror movie I’ve ever watched. This leaves me with no set of previous movies to compare this film against. However, even a complete amateaur horror film viewer can recognize a well executed film. It’s a simple concept, that slowly builds to an exciting conclusion. Though I wasn’t actually scared by any of the scenes (perhaps less shocking 30 years later) I still enjoyed the story. I think I’ll enjoy these original horror movies much more than the remakes that are being spat out right now.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Princess Bride

October 19, 2009

princessbride

One line review: A magical fairytale full of spirit, humor, and action.

Movie Title: The Princess Bride

Actors: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Fred Savage, Robin Wright Penn, Peter Falk, Peter Cook

Director: Rob Reiner

Year: 1987

Genre: Adventure / Comedy

Method of Viewing: Netflix Instant Play

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: Friends in #Jazzmess

Rotten Tomatoes: 95% – One of Reiner’s most entertaining films, effective as a swashbuckling epic, romantic fable, and satire of these genres.

My rating: **** – A Legendary Movie, but with some flaws

My assessment (the first 101 words at least):
The Princess Bride is another book turned into a movie. Nearly every time a book is turned into a movie, fans of the book are annoyed that the movie cannot capture the entire scope of the book. However, this movie did exactly what it should. It pulled me in, made me fascinated to find out more about the characters and back story, and made me want to go and buy the book. Each character, from the major to the minor, seem to have their own spirit about them, and the world they live in is full of magic and wonder. Fantastic!

Read the rest of this entry »


The Deer Hunter

October 16, 2009

Deer_Poster

One line review: A crushing look at the impact of the Vietnam War on a small group of friends.

Movie Title: The Deer Hunter

Actors: Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, George Dzundza, Chuck Aspegren, Shirley Stoler, Rutanya Alda, Pierre Segui

Director: Michael Cimino

Year: 1978

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No one

Rotten Tomatoes: 91% – Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film’s weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino’s sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.

My rating: **** – A Legendary Movie, but with some flaws

My assessment (the first 101 words at least):
I can’t help but feel that I’m completely incapable of properly appreciating this movie. I have never been in a real fight for my life, much less a war. I am reviewing a movie over 30 years old about a war that started nearly 50 years ago, it’s very difficult to relate. However, as I’ve allowed the movie to sink in, the images and the themes presented still ring with me.  Despite my distance from the Vietnam War, this movie managed to capture a small slice of the pain it caused. Still, the message is dulled by the movie’s length.

Read the rest of this entry »