Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Get Low

Get Low is a movie that didn't get much attention while it was in the theater. I had not even heard of it until it was recently released to video. It stars Robert Duvall as a mean old hermit who lives on the outskirts of a small Tennessee town during the 1930s. He gets the idea to plan his funeral and have a giant funeral party for himself while he is still alive. Since the town hates and fears him, he entices them to attend by having a raffle to win his property after he dies.

Duvall enlists the help of Bill Murry, who plays the local funeral home director along with Lucas Black who plays his assistant. Together they help plan the event. I was expecting more of a comedy, but this movie is not a knee slapper. Get Low has a few funny scenes and some dry humor that makes you smile, but it is definitely a drama, not a comedy.  This movie slowly reveals the mysterious details behind the hermit until we finally understand what happened 40 years ago in his life that caused him to live a life of self imposed exile.

The acting was top notch. Bill Cobbs and Sissy Spacek also have good performances. The pace is kind of slow, but overall it is a nice production. I give Get Low 7.3 stars mostly because I think Duvall is such a great actor.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Favorite Actors

Over the years I've seen many movies and have enjoyed many fine performances from a variety of actors. Below I've made a list where I have ranked my top 20 favorite actors.

Russell Crow *
Robert Duvall
Charleton Heston
Liam Neeson
Harrison Ford
Mel Gibson *
Paul Giamatti
Denzel Washington
Bruce Willis
Tom Cruise *
Tom Hanks
Matt Damon
Robin Williams*
Anthony Hopkins
Sean Connery
Samuel Jackson
Christian Bale*
Jeff Bridges
Pierce Brosnan
Sean Penn*

* This list is only for their work as an actor. I am not factoring in off screen activities such as drunken outbursts, abusive behavior, physical altercations, obnoxious/hyper real life personality, religious or political rants, or just being an idiot in real life.

In case you are concerned that I have ignored the fairer sex, I will soon be releasing my list of favorite actresses which I'm sure will need fewer disclaimer asterisks.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles

I recently saw Battle Los Angeles and I have mixed feelings about this movie. The action and special effects were the main reason I went and I'm pretty sure that's why most people will want to see it. It has a similar storyline to War of the Worlds and Independence day so that's nothing original, but I did like the aspect of showing the invasion from the point of view of a marine platoon.

What bothered me even more than some cheesy dialogue was the drawn out emotional aspect of the film. I liked Aaron Eckhart's performance, but I was kind of shaking my head during some of the dramatic scenes. Some scenes reminded me of Bill Pullman giving his speech in Independence Day complete with the Jerry Brookheimer feel with flags waving in slow motion in the background accompanied by dramatic music. It was a little overkill. 

I'm also getting tired of Michelle Rodriguez type cast in the same role. She always plays some tough as nails chick in everything and I'd like to see a new face sometime or at least make her wear a dress and be in a Victorian era BBC film once for every 5 action movies she does.

The aliens rocked. You don't really get a good look at them since they are usually dressed in armor, but their ships and technology were pretty cool and there were a few times I felt like I was watching a horror or zombie movie instead of just a science fiction movie. I guess that's what happens when you let the director of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre direct this film.

I know this movie has it's weak spots, but I still give it 6.8 stars due to the intense battle scenes and great special effects.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau encompasses several genres. It starts out as a political drama but then quickly becomes a romance. It then turns into a thriller laced with science fiction.

Matt Damon plays David Norris who is a New York politician who is campaigning for the Senate. He meets a free spirited young woman (Emily Blunt) who he falls in love with. Shortly after meeting her, a group of mysterious men who work for the Adjustment Bureau do all they can to keep the two of them from ever seeing each other again.

This is an original movie that makes you think about fate, choice, freedom, and destiny. It's also a love story. I am usually cynical of people who fall madly in love with each other after spending only 5 minutes together since they really don't know each other, but the performances by Damon and Blunt were pretty convincing.

The bureau members who are always monitoring people behind the scenes reminded me of the concept used in City of Angels. I didn't care for their retro style clothing and hats, but I'm sure someone in the wardrobe department had fun with this movie.

The Adjustment Bureau is subtle and mysterious. It doesn't rely heavily on special effects and it leaves some unanswered questions. It never really explained if those working for the bureau were aliens, angels, or something else. I give it 7.4 stars. I think any women who like Matt Damon (probably all women) will like this movie since it has more romance to it than your average sci-fi flick.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2

I am not going to review Jurassic Park 2 since it's so old, but I just have to share a couple comments about it. Today I was literally forced to watch this movie. I was donating plasma and they were showing The Lost World on the screen across from me so I couldn't get up and leave or change the channel.

The Lost World actually has some pretty cool effects in it, but there was one particular scene that just made me shake my head in disgust. At one point in the movie, Julianne Moore and a young girl she was with were trying to escape from some Velociraptors that just broke into the building the were in. The women climbed up into a loft to avoid them. While up near the rafters, the girl who just happened to be a gymnast noticed some uneven bars hanging from the ceiling. She proceeded to do a gymnastics routine about 20 feet above the floor but instead of doing a dismount, she kicked one of the dinosaurs out of the window. What the crap?

It reminded me the scene in Gymkata when Kurt Thomas just happens to come across a stone pommel horse and then proceeds to perform a gymnastics routine while he beats up hundreds of villagers who are trying to kill him. In case you have not seen this gem, I have included the clip for you.

I can handle a gymnastics routine that is forced into a movie as long as it doesn't take itself too seriously. Andy Samberg's Dance scene in Hot Rod which made fun of Footloose was great because it was funny, but beating up a dinosaur during your uneven bars performance? Come on! How did Spielberg let that scene stay in the movie?
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