Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Review - The Amazing Spiderman, Ted, The Hunter

Employment has taken its toll on my movie blog life so I have been a bit behind but here are some reviews on movies I have recently watched. Enjoy, comment and subscribe :)

The Amazing Spiderman (2012)
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Denis Leary.
Directed by Marc Webb.

After only 10 years, Spiderman is rebooted. A fun reboot at that. Sam Raimi's original Spiderman was good but it was way more serious. 'The Amazing Spiderman' features more comedy, action sequences and dazzling 3D effects. With a different cast and different villain, Webb's adaptation is actually much closer to the comics than the original movie. No Mary-Jane this time, instead we meet the beautiful Gwen Stacy played by Emma Stone. Andrew Garfield plays a goofy Spiderman, sometimes a bit too goofy but nonetheless he was fun to watch. Even though I found this Spiderman film to be fun, I felt it was a little too long and I wasn't really feeling some of the characters at all. That is where the original movie is a step ahead of its reboot - character development. Anyways, The Amazing Spiderman is a fun film to watch with impressive action sequences. 
Rating: 8/10

Jeff, Who Lives At Home (2012)
Starring Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon. 
Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass.

Clever, funny and serious is what can be used to describe 'Jeff,Who Lives At Home'. We meet Jeff (Jason Segel) who is a bum living in his mother's basement. He firmly believes he will find his destiny from random occurrences. We meet Jeff's brother Pat (Ed Helms) who suspects his wife of cheating. We also meet Jeff and Pat's mother Sharon (Sarandon) who basks in the disappointment of Jeff and her life. We basically get to know more of each character as the film goes along and in one day we witness random happenings and unexpected meetups which brings the family together and shows Jeff the meaning of his life. 
The first thing you'll notice about this movie is how pretty it looks, in terms of cinematography. The characters were really fun and at one point I thought thought it would be a movie of just comedic nature but the story allows it to be much more than it is. 'Jeff, Who Lives At Home" is a fun and creative journey of a family's self realization. 
Rating: 8.5/10

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Christopher Abbot and Sarah Paulson. 
Directed by T.Sean Durkin

If you're a fan of psychological films then 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' is a good treat for you. After disappearing for a few years to join a cult, Martha flees the cult to live her with her sister and try to fit into society again. However this poses a challenge for Martha. She is plagued by constant hallucinations and paranoia which starts to seriously affect her relationship with her sister and brother-in-law.
'Martha Marcy May Marlene' follows along the same line as 'We Need To Talk About Kevin'. What I mean is that both movies feature a disturbed individual and a pretty tense atmosphere and script. Many praises to Elizabeth Olsen on a great performance as a withdrawn Martha. The film effectively uses flashbacks so we can get an idea of what happened at Marcy's cult. Marcy's behavior becomes so erratic that her sister resorts to taking her in for treatment. What I really like about this film is that plays mind tricks on us, not only on Marcy. We get drawn into her hallucinations and at the end of the film, we are unsure if it was all real and we don't know what became of her. Rating: 8.5/10

Beastly (2011)
Starring Alex Pettyfer, Mary-Kate Olsen and Vanessa Hudgens. 
Directed by Daniel Barnz.

Popular jock Kyle Kingson (Pettyfer) is conceited and a meanie to all the ugly girls at school, one in particular is Kendra (Olsen), a weird looking individual. So one day Kyle embarrasses Kendra which causes her to get super mad and put a curse on him which causes him to look hideous. Unfortunately for Kyle if he does not find someone to love him, he will stay ugly forever. WOMP. Throughout the movie, we see Kyle bond with Lindy (Hudgens), a girl who he totally ignored at school and I'm pretty sure you'll know how this movie will end. 'Beastly' is really a bad version of 'Beauty and The Beast' with a plot similar to a million other films. Not to mention Kyle's maid with her horrid annoying Jamaican accent. Ugh. Poorly written and acted, Beastly is a terrible movie. 
Rating: 0/10

Ted (2012)

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Seth MacFarlene. 
Directed by Seth MacFarlene

"From the makers of Family Guy"...... Seth MacFarlene makes his debut as a director in this crude yet funny film of love vs friendship. The star of the show however is TED, a cute little teddy bear who was brought to life when a young John (Wahlberg) wishes for his teddy-bear to come to life. They form a special bond and decades later, John hasn't grown up at all. His close relationship with his thunder buddy has started to affect his four-year relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis). Eventually John is pushed to choose between the love of his life and his thunder buddy.
'Ted' suffers from predictability,  but in terms of dialogue/script that's the movie's biggest attribute. With pop culture references and raunchy humor, Ted definitely surpassed my expectations. Can you imagine Ted being featured in the Toy Story movie? Not the funniest movie ever but with Ted, you'll definitely fall in love with that bear and get a few laughs.  
Rating: 7/10

Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter (2012)
Starring Benjamin Walker, Anthony Mackie and Dominic Cooper. 
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

So I dragged myself to the theater to watch this movie and it was pretty much what I expected it to be. 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' highlights president Abraham Lincoln, as an achiever in American history, and also as a vampire hunter.
Okay so Honest Abe witnesses his mother being killed by a vampire and seeks revenge on the blood thirsty creatures. He is trained by Henry Sturges (Cooper) who hunts vampires. However it is revealed as the story goes along that Sturges is himself a vampire whose girlfriend was killed by a vampire. Seeing that he cannot kill vampires, Sturges trains vampire hunters in hopes to have Adam killed (the vampire who killed his girlfriend - Rufus Sewell).
The positives of this film? Well we learn a little about America's history, well towards the ending anyways. Abraham Lincoln is an adored figure so it's obvious that director Timur brought-forward this story line so it will appease to the crowd as vampires and werewolves seems to be the "in-thing" these days. In the climax scene, we see historical references to the 'Battle of Gettysburg' and 'Underground Railroad' which were cool. The negatives? the acting and script were pretty poor and the action sequences were lame and looked outrageously fake. Then I thought the scene where Abe confronts the vampires would be the climax but then it just switches over to the character of Abraham Lincoln, not as a vampire hunter but now as a president. The transition from being a serious vampire revenge flick to a history lesson didn't play out too well.
Overall I think the idea of mixing a vampire revenge story and aspects of history was not a bad idea but the cast, script and execution failed. 
Rating: 4/10

The Hunter (2012)
Starring Willem Dafoe, Francis O'Connor and Sam Neil. 
Directed by Daniel Nettheim.

Martin (Willem Dafoe) is sent out on a hunt to find a Tasmanian tiger which is believed to be extinct. He is to retrieve tissue samples, not knowing that the Red Leaf company who hired him plans to use the samples for military means. Martin develops a bond with the Armstrong family who he is staying with. As the movie goes along, we find out that the head of the Armstrong household (who is presumed dead), was sent out on the same hunt as Martin but had a change of heart and was killed because of it. Thinking that Martin is no longer good for his word to capture the tiger, Red Leaf sends out a replacement for Martin, who Martin kills. Things get further out of hand and some of the members of the Armstrong family are killed.  Now aware of Red Leaf's plan for their own purposes and stricken with grief, Martin kills the tiger.
At first you may think this film is about survival but it pretty much flip flops with that concept just like Sam Neil's character, who I thought was a villain but turns out to be just a jealous friend. It gets a bit emotional down the stretch which gave the film quite a soothing ending. 'The Hunter' was well acted, led by Willem Dafoe. Even though it starts out pretty predictable, it gets better as it goes along.
Rating: 7/10

Movies also watched:

The Rosa Parks Story (2002)
A look into the life of civil rights activist Rosa Parks and the challenges she faced before and after her famousback of the bus" incident. Angela Basset played a good Rosa Parks but the pacing of this film was off, hencethere was little to no character developments. Still a decent watch and insight into an era dominated by racism.
Rating: 6.5/10

28 Weeks Later (2007)
Sequel to '28 Days Later', the deadly Rage virus had swept across Britain and turned the population into zombies. The zombies have died and Britain is rebuilding. However the virus resurfaces and the survivors will have to fight for their lives again. Not as great as its predecessor but 28 Weeks Later has a cool plot, decent characters and satisfying action scenes.
Rating: 7.5/10

Leon: The Professional (1994)
A hitman and an orphan forming a unique and somewhat pedophile-like bond. Well maybe it wasn't pedophile because Leno thought Mathilda was 18 although she was only 12. Anyways,a solid breakout performance by Natalie Portman and Jean Leno was just adorable and bad ass at the same time. Enjoyable action and storyline not too sappy.
Rating: 8.5/10

Requiem For A Dream (2000)
Intense and disturbing is the perfect words to describe this thriller. 'Requiem for a Dream' is a disturbingly good film highlighting the hallucinations of a mother and son addicted to drugs. The movie runs parallel stories, showing how each character ascends into chronic drug abuse and crazy hallucinations and insanity. As the movie goes along, it gets more and more disturbing and the film's bleak cinematography makes it much more intriguing.
Rating: 9/10

Cabaret (1972)
One of the best movies I have ever watched. Adorable and stylish, 'Cabaret' is a spectacular musical classic. Not only were the characters warm and splendid but the musical numbers were really well done. 'Cabaret' also gives you a look on German society ascent into the Nazi era and a rowdy Carbaret life. Not only is it fun but it is also driven by excellent performances especially from Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray. The musical numbers coupled with its interesting story makes 'Cabaret' a sure hit for musical lovers.
Rating: 10/10

The Machinist (2003)
A suspenseful and creepy thriller about a man terrorized by guilt, hallucinations and paranoia. But when the movie starts, you may not realize. The plot leads you on one pathway of suspense and surprises you at the end. Very unpredictable and creative story and my favorite and arguably the best performance by Christian Bale. You are lead to believe that Bale is experiencing frightening effects of chronic insomnia but no, the story is much more deeper than that. My only issue with 'The Machinist' is that I think the character Ivan (John Sharian) and some scenes could have been executed better. I mean, how many persons actually realized that Ivan was Bale's conscience?
Rating: 8/10