Apocalypse Now

May 7, 2012


One line review: Apocalypse Now does a fantastic build as the audience goes on the voyage into the darkest part of the human psyche.

Movie Title: Apocalypse Now

Actors: Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Albert Hall, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper, G.D. Spradlin, Jerry Ziesmer, Scott Glenn, Bo Byers

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Year: 1979

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 99% – Francis Ford Coppola’s haunting, hallucinatory Vietnam War epic is cinema at its most audacious and visionary.

My rating: *****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): I had actually read Heart of Darkness before watching this movie, but didn’t realize that Apocalypse Now was more or less a modern update of Heart of Darkness until Walter E. Kurtz’s character showed up with a bald skull. Once that connection was made it all synced up for me and I realized what I was watching. This movie does a fantastic job of building up the suspension and fear, all the while delivering a message about the humanity of man. This is one of the few dramatic movies I’ve found where I completely agree with the critics. A fantastic movie.

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The Departed

April 29, 2012


One line review: The Departed is a gritty film that’s constantly changing and forces you to hold on for the ride.

Movie Title: The Departed

Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Corrigan, James Badge Dale

Director: Martin Scorsese

Year: 2006

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes:93% – Featuring outstanding work from an excellent cast that includes Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon, The Departed is a thoroughly engrossing gangster drama with the gritty authenticity and soupy morality that has infused director Martin Scorcese’s past triumphs.

My rating: ****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): There is so much plot and character development stuffed into this movie that it’s difficult to keep track of. The constantly shifting perspectives leads to sharing the same chaotic feelings that the main characters have. Unfortunately that also ends up being my biggest complaint for the movie. Edits are thrown at the user so fast that it’s hard to catch up when you’re in a new scene. This is especially difficult early on in the movie. Everything about this movie was impressive, if it weren’t for the difficulty with following the edits and time jumps, I’d consider it a perfect movie.


Fargo

April 15, 2012


One line review: Fargo is well loved by many fans but it simply didn’t click with me.

Movie Title: Fargo

Actors: William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Kristin Rudrüd, Harve Presnell, Tony Denman, Gary Houston, Sally Wingert

Director: Joel Coen

Year: 1996

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 94% – Violent, quirky, and darkly funny, Fargo delivers an original crime story and a wonderful performance by McDormand.

My rating: *

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): A dark comedy has to hit a very fine line to succeed. In my opinion, Fargo wobbles all over that line. At times the comedy is so odd and jarring that I just end up staring at the movie trying to figure out if that was supposed to be a joke. Other times I’m amazed at how dark a scene will be and wonder how this movie is supposed to make me laugh. The most aggravating part of this movie was the accents, which made me want to punch the screen. This movie just hit all the wrong notes with me.


No Country for Old Men

January 22, 2012


One line review: No Country for Old Men provides a gritty drama with a fascinating villain.

Movie Title: No Country For Old Men

Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Barry Corbin, Stephen Root, Rodger Boyce

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Year: 2007

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 95% – Bolstered by powerful lead performances from Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones, No Country for Old Men finds the Coen brothers spinning cinematic gold out of Cormac McCarthy’s grim, darkly funny novel.

My rating: ***

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): I realize it’s one of the most critically acclaimed movies, I realize it has a near perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I just don’t see what people are talking about. It’s a gritty, real drama, but it’s also a bit of a mess to follow who is killing who. The character of Anton Chigurh is very interesting, but he honestly seems like just another horror villain who loves killing. The acting is pretty good, but it doesn’t bring me into the story. Something about the heavily southern accents throws me off. It just seemed like an okay movie to me.


Goodfellas

August 20, 2011


One line review: Goodfellas takes the seemingly glamorous life of a gangster and brings in real humans to create a dramatic and exciting movie.

Movie Title: Goodfellas

Actors: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low, Frank DiLeo

Director: Martin Scorsese

Year: 1990

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 97% – Hard-hitting and stylish, GoodFellas is a gangster classic — and arguably the high point of Martin Scorsese’s career.

My rating: ****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): GoodFellas deserves it’s high praise mostly in part to the performances of it’s stars. You want to find out more about these characters, you’re fascinated by their tweaks and simply want to see what happens to them. Part of the fun with the ending is thinking that you might have met one of these guys before, that your next door neighbor might have been someone big. The plot spans such a long time that I’m not even sure it matters as much. It’s not so much a plot as it is watching the evolution and corruption of the characters you love.


Million Dollar Baby

August 15, 2011


One line review: Million Dollar Baby gives a brutally harsh story of boxers at the end of their rope or just struggling to make a life for themselves.

Movie Title: Million Dollar Baby

Actors: Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Lucia Rijker, Brían F. O’Byrne , Anthony Mackie, Margo Martindale, Riki Lindhome, Michael Peña

Director: Clint Eastwood

Year: 2004

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 92% – Clint Eastwood’s assured direction – combined with knockout performances from Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman – help Million Dollar Baby to transcend its clichés, and the result is deeply heartfelt and moving.

My rating: ****

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): There is a rather large spoiler that I will more or less gloss over, but I will say that I had the movie spoiled for me before I watched it and seriously regret it. The end point is that this film breaks a lot of cliches which is refreshing and manages to get you to care for the characters in an incredibly short amount of time. Something within you will immediately have you fighting for the characters, making the impact of the events of the third act that much more powerful. While not one of my favorites, and extremely good film.


Man on Fire

August 7, 2011


One line review: Man on Fire seems to start out as a dramatic, heart-felt story, then suddenly turns into a precursor of Taken for the 2nd half of the movie, leaving the entire movie as a confusing mess.

Movie Title: Man on Fire

Actors: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Marc Anthony, Radha Mitchell, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Giannini, Rachel Ticotin, Jesús Ochoa, Mickey Rourke, Angelina Peláez, Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Gero Camilo, Rosa María Hernández, Heriberto Del Castillo

Director: Tony Scott

Year: 2004

Genre: Drama

Method of Viewing: DVD

Location of Viewing: Home

Viewing with: No One

Rotten Tomatoes: 39% – Man on Fire starts out well, but goes over the top in the violent second half.

My rating: ***

My assessment (the first 101 words at least): I have no idea what this movie wants to be. It might just be an action movie that wanted to give their characters more than two dimensions. It might be a drama that had the action cranked up to try to bring in more viewers. The mental unstability of Creasy is handled very well, and certainly makes you care for the character, the action in the second half is pretty enjoyable too. However, because the two halves of this movie are so far apart it leaves you completely confused when they try to fuse the two together. It’s an okay movie.