Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review - Cosmopolis, Red Lights, Resident Evil: Retribution

Cosmopolis (2012)

Starring Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche and Paul Giamatti.
Directed by David Cronenberg.

This is the first time I'm watching a Robert Pattinson film in which he is not totally annoying. Based on a novel by Don De Lillo, Cosmopolis is one of those movies that you will either be intrigued by it or you will totally hate it. Basically we follow a young billionaire name Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) as he rides in his high-tech limousine to the barber. Many persons may not even notice that this film takes place in the course of 24 hours because of Packer's interesting interactions and behavior, mostly in his limousine. The main topic of the film? Capitalism and the world around them. Packer is seemingly going bankrupt due to currency exchange and he also suspects someone is trying to kill him. It becomes an emotional journey for Packer. The real strength of Cosmopolis lies in its dialogue. Even if you have no idea what they are talking about, you are still drawn to their intellectual conversations regarding modern day capitalism. The characters were so cold and seemed like robots and the film's grim cinematography contributed to that monotonous feeling in Cosmopolis, which I liked. I enjoyed the interactions, the dialogue and Pattinson was not too bad as lead. Only issue I had with Cosmopolis was it's pretty dry ending. 
Rating: 7.5/10

People Like Us (2012)
Starring Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks and Olivia Wilde.
Directed by Alex Kurtzman.

A charming story about a man who finds out he is not an only child. Sam (Chris Pine) had a strained relationship with his deceased father and following the funeral, he is shocked to find out he has a sister Frankie (Elizabeth Banks). Throughout the film we see Sam, Frankie and also Frankie's son Josh (Michael Hall D'Addario) bond on a family level, even though it is hinted that Frankie may have developed feelings for Sam. Though a bit predictable, I didn't find the storyline cliched. It dared to be different. This film is driven by adorable and enjoyable performances by the cast, light humor and decent writing. People Like Us is a fun family flick.
Rating: 7/10

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (2012)
Starring Steve Carell, Keira Knightley and Adam Brody.
Directed by Lorene Scafaria.

An interesting storyline accompanied by charming on screen chemistry from the leads made this film enjoyable, well for the beginning of the film anyways. The world is ending and Dodge is heartbroken and alone. He meets Penny and they go on a journey to reunite themselves with loved ones, thus becoming close in the process. Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World is overall an okay movie with good acting and character chemistry, even though it became very predictable. Where it really fell down is the ending, I hated the ending. Why did it have to be so corny and dry? 
Rating: 6/10

Bait (2012)
Starring Julian McMahon, Xavier Samuel and Sharni Vinson.
Directed Kimble Rendall.

When Jaws and Deep Blue Sea meets Australia, you get this formulaic shark film called Bait.
Okay so this small town is hit by a Tsunami which brings the shark infested water on land. So of course, the sharks are going to have a field day. And as usual a group of individuals are stuck somewhere being terrorized by the said sharks. Usually these Shark attack films are corny and terribly acted but Bait actually surprised me a bit by not being horrible. The characters were cool and the writing was fine. The movie starts out as something else with a robbery/shoplifting scene and then shifts into the shark attack theme. It was predictable but a much more decent shark movie than what we're accustomed to.
Rating: 6/10

Red Lights (2012)
Starring Cillian Murphy, Robert DeNiro and Sigourney Weaver.
Directed by Rodrigo Cortes.

The movie Red Lights is what happens when a very interesting story is executed poorly. A decent beginning but it later shifted into mediocrity. We follow a group of University researchers Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Tom Bunkley (Cillian Murphy) as they uncover fraudulent cases of supernatural happenings. However they meet their match, a retired psychic name Simon Silver (Robert DeNiro). They try all they can to undercover him as a fraud but things turn out quite differently for the crew.
The moment Sigourney Weaver died in this film is the moment Red Lights died for me. Afterwards the plot became so transparent and silly. Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy were great but the rest of the cast and the movie overall lacked energy, especially in the second half of the film. The film would have been better off without the Buckley twist, it just didn't serve any relevance to me. A few scares here and there but this is a film that left a lot of questions unanswered.  Red Lights is a forgettable thriller.
Rating: 4/10

Take Shelter (2011)
Starring Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain and Tovah Stewart.
Directed by Jeff Nichols.

Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) lives with his wife and daughter and they seem quite happy. However Curtis begins having recurring nightmares of a strange storm and occurrences that he cannot explain. These nightmares start to affect his behavior and interactions which were quite intriguing. Take Shelter is a simple movie that has so much going on it. Michael Shannon was splendid in his role and the rest of the cast was just as good. A strong script and great direction, at instances I felt like I was watching a horror movie. It transitions from being of psychological nature to social behavior. Michael Shannon's explosive scene will be something to remember. Throughout the film, the concept of Schizophrenia and premonitions are toyed with and for most of the film, we try to understand Curtis.
Rating: 9/10 

Six Bullets (2012)
Starring Jean-Claude van Damme, Joe Flanigan and Bianca Bree.
Directed by Ernie Barbarash.

After playing villain in The Expendables 2, Jean-Claude van Damme tries to furthermore rejuvenate his career in this action flick Six Bullets. This time he plays hero and tries to a save a kidnapped ex wrestler's daughter from the human trafficking industry. Sounds a bit familiar right? Van Damme plays an ex-mercenary who is stricken with guilt after one of his assignment failed and young girls were killed. What I found a bit unexpected in this film were the haunting experienced by Van Damme.  Unusual for a action flick of this nature. Anyways, as expected Van Damme is contracted to save the girl but this time, the parents join in on the fun. Six Bullets boasts decent actions sequences. Van Damme shows us that he still got his bad ass moves once again although he cannot act to save his life. He tried so hard to be emotional but it just didn't work out for him.  The storyline seemed all too familiar; I felt like I was watching the movie Taken for most parts. However, the action gore sequences made up for everything. A familiar story yes but at least they tried to deviate from being too cliched. The ending scene was enjoyable. Van Damme's comeback doesn't seem so bad afterall.
Rating: 6.5/10

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
Starring Mila Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez.
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.

The fifth installment of the Resident Evil film franchise is here and it was pathetic. I can remember at the end of Resident Evil: Afterlife that the Umbrella corporation airplanes were approaching the ship ready for warfare. Now all of a sudden the movie just shifts to an underground Umbrella facility where Alice is held captive AGAIN. I was not amused. So yeah Alice (Mila Jovovich) is captured again. This time her enemy Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) seeks to help her to escape the red queen and the facility. The Resident Evil films aren't known to have strong plots but in this film, I think writers definitely ran out of ideas. The movie is so CGI-laden that it became annoying and sickening to the eyes. It drowned the action sequences so I did not find it exciting at all. Anyone noticed that Ada Wong was dressed just like Alice was in the first Resident Evil film? Strange. Being a fan of the video games and previous films, I was very disappointed in this installment. The plot was all over the place, it just didn't make any sense as the movie went along. We should have at least seen a decent battle onboard the tanker in the first scene. This franchise drifts further and further away from the concept of zombies which is what made it enjoyable for most fans in the beginning. Oh yeah and the franchise isn't done yet. It is hinted at the end of the film that there will be another installment. Poor writing and effects, Resident Evil: Retribution was just ridiculous.
Rating: 2.5/10

Other Movies Watched: 

Oslo, August 31st (2012) 
A touching post-rehab story of a man as he tries to overcome his past and fit into society again. Oslo was sympathetic with mesmerizing performances from the cast especially the lead Anders. - 8.5/10

Mr. Nobody (2009)
I didn't like it this film too much despite its interesting concept and art direction. The movie was all over the place. - 5/10

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Perhaps the best English dialogue I have ever heard in a film. A Clockwork Orange was simply amazing - driven by outstanding performances and memorable punchlines. - 10/10 

Hesher (2010)
A strange man takes residence into a grief-stricken home. Hesher is a mysterious film boosted by good performances from the cast and especially Joseph Gordon Levitt but it left me with a few unanswered questions. - 6.5/10

The Graduate (1967)
The Graduate features an unforgettable score, impressive script and movie performances for the ages. An enjoyable comedy-drama of the post-college life of Benjamin Braddock. - 10/10

Mysterious Skin (2004)
A gloomy, well put together and thought-provoking film concerning child abuse. It was fascinating to see how everything came together within the plot and delivered an emotional ending. - 8.5/10

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