Tag Archives: movie reviews

The Artist (2011) Movie Review

Disclosure #1: I watched The Artist for the first time in the middle of a 14-hour trans-Pacific flight. I didn’t even have an aisle seat. Not the best conditions for enjoying quality film, but do not be mistaken–The Artist is certainly a quality film.

Of course, the Oscars have come and gone, and The Artist won basically everything. Naturally, the usual backlash against the film occurred before the ceremonies were even over.

Disclosure #2: I wasn’t rooting for The Artist. My personal favorites were Midnight in Paris and Tree of Life, but the French tribute to silent film was a shoo-in. Now having seen the film (finally!), it’s clear to me why it won. Not that I have anything against horses or baseball.

Much has been said about the sound–or lack thereof–in The Artist. As a silent film about silent film, the choice of background music and sound effects shines through each chiaroscuro scene.

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Beautiful Lies (De Vrais Mensoges) Mini Review

Ah, love. There’s nothing else the French are more known for, especially in cinema. De Vrais Mensoges (Beautiful Lies for North America) is a cute romantic comedy, starring Audrey Tautou and Sami Bouajila.

The movie itself isn’t particularly clever or insightful, but romantic comedies don’t need to be. Tatou plays Émilie, a streetwise salon owner, who receives a note from a secret admirer. Unbeknownst to Émilie, that admirer is none other than the salon’s janitor, Jean (Bouajila), who also has a few surprises up his sleeve. Continue reading

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) Movie Review

A Fish Called Wanda is a rollicking, madcap crime comedy that is only slightly dated in tone and 80’s soundtrack.

The London setting provides an interesting cultural backdrop for the movie’s main characters–two Americans and two Brits. Jamie Lee Curtis plays a femme fatale who falls for her mark, an unhappy barrister played by comedy giant* John Cleese. Both Curtis and Cleese are excellent in their roles, as is Michael Palin (who plays a stuttering, animal-loving criminal). However, the standout scene stealer in this film is Kevin Kline, as the dimwitted, jealous, and very dangerous Otto.

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Thor (2011) Movie Review

After a ten-year break from directing, Kenneth Branagh has scored big with international hit Thor.  The movie retcons the history of Marvel’s Thor, key member of the eponymous team in 2012’s The Avengers. The action/superhero film stars Chris Hemsworth‘s abs*, and has been #1 for two weeks in a row here in the U.S.

As an early runner for this summer blockbuster season, Thor has set a high standard for the next few months. The movie was fun, energetic, visually arresting, and adequately epic in nature. It ran light on emotions, but there really wasn’t time enough for too much depth.

The purpose of this film was to set up the backstory for Thor, the character, so that audiences would understand, recognize, and automatically invest in the character when he appears in The Avengers.

Well, that was one of the purposes anyway. The other purpose was to make an obscene amount of money for everyone involved. Purpose fulfilled on that front. Continue reading

Avatar Movie Review

Do I need to spoiler-alert when the movie’s two years old? I assume most of you have seen this film, given it’s astounding blockbuster numbers.

I was late to the Avatar party, and I might have gone my entire life without seeing Toruk, the great leonopteryx.  I do admit, it would have been quite an empty life.

Sometimes, I lag in seeing new films. It took me months to see Inception, though I loved it from afar since the first preview. Unlike Inception, Avatar never quite captured my interest. Pocahontas with aliens? Fern Gully, but the trees are replaced with magical unobtanium? Color me unimpressed.

Having finally seen James Cameron’s science fiction fantasy, I can safely say that, while I didn’t love the movie, I liked it.

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Hanna Movie Review

Hands down, my favorite movie of 2011 so far. Of course, it’s only April, and I am, admittedly, a sucker for well-made action movies with female leads.

The movie is gripping, suspenseful, and I must commend The Chemical Brothers for sound mixing in this film (the latest in the trend of successful artists creating film scores–see Daft Punk, Trent Reznor, et. al).The pulsing, driving techno beats make the action sequences–especially the escape from a government facility–heart-thumpingly intense.

The entire segment conducted in the government facility is one of my favorite parts of the film, and not only for the music.

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The Kids Are All Right Review

So is the alt text.Hats off to Ms. Cholodenko for managing to create a film that dealt with many LGBT issues without being a movie solely focused on LGBT themes.

The kids are all right have two mothers, and it is refreshing to see the family act completely like the rest of mainstream America. There are arguments at the dinner table. An overachieving first child, a troublemaking younger child. Tension in the bedroom. An embarrassing and hilarious scene involving gay porn.

Then the children reach out to the sperm donor their mothers used to conceive.
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