Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: Final Destination 5

I really didn't have much hope after The Final Destination. As I mentioned in that review, they were totally out of ideas. But you know what, Final Destination 5 is actually good! Hooray!

Our lead is Sam, played by the charming Nicholas D'Agosto (Fired Up, Heroes). Sam and his co-workers are on a bus, off to their team building retreat. And like team building isn't bad enough, Sam gets a premonition when the bus is on a bridge and, as you may expect, it ends with lots of dead people. So Sammy freaks and several co-workers get off the bus, including his ex Molly (Emma Bell) and his boss Dennis (David Koechner), while the rest plummet to their death. Oh well, at least everyone got out of that team building retreat.

And then it kinda goes into standard FD mode, but with great death scenes, Tony Todd's return and an ending they put more thought into than part 4 as a whole.

Let's talk about that ending.


How awesome was that? I loved it! I must admit, I didn't see the twist coming. I did wonder for a moment if the film took place earlier, because I noticed the championship banners at the gym were old. But then I shrugged it off, thinking, you know, maybe they sucked the past ten years? And I noticed the date on the gift certificate but didn't think anything about it at all. So yeah, I was really surprised with that ending!


I loved the cast. I'm surprised they got better talent for part 5 than for part 4. Besides D'Agosto there's Emma Bell (Frozen), Arlen Escarpeta (Friday the 13th) and Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order: Criminal Intent). I'd love to know how they actually got Vance to be in the movie.

Overall, one of the better FD films! A must see if you're a fan of the series. A 3,5/5.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Poster: Contagion

It's a nice coincidence that Gwyneth Paltrow's version of Forget You starts playing while I'm about to write this post. Anyways, Steven Soderbergh has a new film coming up and it's called Contagion and stars a whole bunch of people we all know: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, John Hawkes (okay, I know him and other Buffy fans too so it counts) as well Miss Paltrow.

So, on one hand, I'm really digging this Contagion character poster featuring Gwyn. The film's about an outbreak of a disease, and Paltrow's look here really captures how scary such a situation would be. On the other hand, it's a really ugly poster. At least Marion looks nice in her poster.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Revisiting The Ruins

The Ruins was on TV last night and while I own it on DVD, I still ended up watching the whole thing. And I loved it! Again!

In case you've never heard about this horror gem before, The Ruins is a 2008 film starring Jonathan Tucker, Jena Malone, Shawn Ashmore, Laura Ramsey and Joe Anderson. It's based on the novel bij Scott B. Smith, who also wrote the screenplay. It's about a group of friends vacationing in Mexico, who along with a fellow tourist (Anderson), end up trapped in (or on?) the ruins. Think survival horror, not slasher.

The film looks great. I love the use of color. Obviously, they're out in the sun a lot so the colors are bright, but not in an unnatural Resident Evil: Extinction kind of way. It's similar to the colors in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes remakes as well as All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.

Also, the cast bring their A-game. There isn't a weak link here and I'm usually not a fan of Jena Malone, so if she sucks, I would tell you. While her character, Amy, is very annoying, Malone plays her very well. My favorite is Laura Ramsey as Stacy.

SPOILER ALERT Stacy believes there are vines moving around inside of her and she plays her character's breakdown beautifully. END SPOILERS

This is a horror film, yes, but it's more psychological than it's horror in the sense that someone or something is out to get them. Sure of course that is the case, but that's also what's so great about this film. While it may be about monster plants, the film plays it straight. There's no nudge nudge, wink wink humor here. Just people trapped in a horrible situation. What would you do? A 4/5.

Burlesque thoughts..

So I saw Burlesque a couple of weeks ago and I still can't get over the fact that they barely used Alan Cumming at all. It's ALAN CUMMING. The man is an award winning stage actor. He did Cabaret! If you somehow get him to participate in a movie starring Christina Aguilera, give him something to do!

Overall, I didn't think Burlesque was a bad movie. There was just nothing original about it. But Christina did fine. Cam Gigandet made me realize not all Twilighters are bad actors. Stanley Tucci is awesome, because he is Stanley Tucci (even if he played a role similar to the one in The Devil Wears Prada). Peter Gallagher is also awesome. And Kristen Bell, well, stay blond. It's a great look for you.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review: Scream 4

It’s been 11 years and now Ghostface is back. While I’m a big fan of the Scream trilogy and the first two in particular, I really had my doubts about part 4. For one thing, it’s part FOUR. How promising could a part four be, specifically one that is made a decade after the third outing's been released? But when it was announced Kevin Williamson would write the screenplay, Wes Craven would direct once again and stars Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox signed on to reprise their roles, the fangirl in me had hope. After all, it was Ehren Kruger who wrote part 3, which by far, was the weakest of the trilogy. How could you not get a bit excited for a fourth installment written by the original writer?

But then Williamson dropped out and Kruger came on board again (WHY HIM?). A far too famous cast signed on. Reshoots happened and recasting. Lake Bell and Lauren Graham came and went. I didn't have much hope left. But then the trailer managed to get me excited again. And as the release date fast approached, I was my 13-year-old self again, waiting for Scream 2 to be released.

I saw Scream 4 today (when I wrote that, now that I'm posting it, like 2 weeks ago), and 26-year-old me didn't exactly have the same reaction walking out of the theater as 13-year-old me did all those years ago. While I was very positive walking out of Scream 2 (and positive walking out of part 3, which I came to partly dislike over the years), I walked out with mixed feelings.


I mean, what kind of opening sequence was that? They should've gone for the real scare and not make it look like the opening for Scary Movie 5. Seriously, why are Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell in it? POINTLESS. If they wanted to have a fake opening, they should've expanded their scene and ditched Shenae Grimes and Lucy Hale. I'm not a fan of Scream 2's opening with Jada Pinkett (because she's awful), but this was even worse.

Other dislikes include the lack of Nick Cave's Red Right Hand. The different font used in the credits. The lack of character development of Anthony Anderson and Adam Brody's deputies. Mary McDonnell being in it and not getting anything to do.

But, all of that makes it seem like I didn't enjoy the film. I did! I prefer it over part 3. And it was great seeing Neve, Courteney and David again. It was like seeing old friends! Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Erik Knudsen and Aimee Teegarden were good additions. I'm not the biggest fan of Emma Roberts, but she did well.

Overall, a must see for the fans and the people who grew up in the time when the Scream films were popular. I wouldn't recommend the film for the newer generation (typing that makes me feel really old). A 4/5.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Uhhmm.. really IMDB?

So what's with the Super 8 ad on IMDB? It's says the film's release dat is August 11. It's APRIL! Go promote Scream 4 or something!

Btw, doesn't Ryan Gosling look yummy in the Crazy, Stupid, Love trailer?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Frozen

I watched Frozen with boyfriend last night. And while we were sitting on his comfortable couch in his warm home, we had a terribly uncomfortable feeling watching the film. Even 15 minutes after it ended, we were still feeling tense. And that's a huge compliment.

Frozen is about 3 college kids stuck on a chairlift in a ski resort that has closed for several days.

That may sound like a boring premise, but it's not. Kevin Zegers, Emma Bell and especially Shawn Ashmore make it work with their sometimes emotional performances. Even if their characters are unlikeable in the sense that they put themselves in that situation and you kinda think they deserve what's coming to them. Okay, not always. But sometimes! They convinced the dude at the closing ski resort to let them go one last time even when he warmed them for the bad weather. Yes, very smart.

But besides that, it's pretty great. Well played, Adam Green. A 4/5.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Scream 4 poster

Credit: BuzzFeed

I love this Scream 4 poster. It's gorgeous! If this poster is fan made, well, Dimension should buy it and hire the designer for future projects. It's a nice spin on the old design and I think the old vs new cast thing is handled here very well.

I can't believe Scream 4 is only a month away!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: 127 Hours

I sort of have a love-dislike relationship with Danny Boyle. Shallow Grave, A Life Less Ordinary, 28 Days Later and Sunshine are some of my favorite films, but I haven't even bothered to watch Boyle's other films as they don't appeal to me at all.

Now here's his latest film, 127 Hours. On the one hand, we have an interesting story. On the other, James Franco. While I know very well that he is a good actor. I knew that long before I saw 127 Hours as I've been following his career for about a decade, since he became one to watch with roles in Freaks and Geeks and James Dean. Over the years, I just feel he's becoming more and more pretentious. Basically my love for James Franco the actor transformed into a strong dislike for the person these past 10 years.

So James Franco carrying an entire film? Oddly, it kinda works here. Let's face it, Aron was kinda stupid. Yes, go climbing without a buddy. Yes, go do that without letting anyone know where you're going. I sighed to my sister, so this is what people who don't have enough stress in their lives do? They are bored and seeking adventure and think they can just do it all. In that respect, James Franco is perfect for the role. And I swear, he gives a beautiful performance. But really, is it a better performance than Ryan Reynolds trapped in a box in Buried? In my opinion, no. I could feel Ryan's frustration and desperation. Franco's not so much. So why is James getting all the love and is Ryan overlooked? Probably because 127 Hours is based on a true story, it ended on a positive note and is helmed by an Academy Award-winning director.

As for the film, I wasn't fond of the use of splitscreens. I felt it was unnecessary. It's a simple film based on a true story. No splitscreens, this isn't 24. While I'm totally on board that this is a good film, I think an Oscar nomination for Best Picture is a bit too much. I don't think it's anywhere near as good as Boyle's other films I mentioned earlier. A 3/5.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jeremy Renner, awwww...

Despite all his recent success, I will always fondly remember Jeremy Renner as the guy in Pink's Trouble music video.

But wake me up in the middle of the night and ask me which movie I associate Renner with the most and I will say Dahmer. That's the first time I ever heard of Renner. I think all the success this guy had these past years is well deserved.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Black Swan

I've been thinking a lot about Black Swan these past few days. I finally saw the film with boyfriend on Valentine's Day (romantic choice, huh?) and we loved it. The 108 minute running time flew by.

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of Darren Aronofsky or Natalie Portman. It's not that I dislike them, I just don't appreciate their work as much as others do. I've only seen Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, and while great, it simply made me want to kill myself. None of his other films have appealed to me. Portman, I always felt, peaked in her youth with wonderful performances in Léon and Beautiful Girls. And then made a career of taking things too seriously (except for the Star Wars films). While talented peers Kirsten Dunst and Anna Paquin (already an Academy Award winner) were off doing Bring It On and She's All That during the teen movie craze, Portman did Where the Heart Is, in which she played a pregnant 17-year-old. It makes me wanna tell her to lighten up (which she eventually did with No Strings Attached). But I guess that makes her seemingly perfect for the lead in Black Swan.

Now you might think I'm gonna bash her performance, but that's far from the truth. Portman's performance in Black Swan was, well, it was perfect. For someone as beautiful as she is, she really transformed herself from woman to girl. Her Nina was so fragile, not just her frame (so petite!), but also in her behavior and mental state. It made me forget I was watching Natalie Portman. All the praise and all the awards she's been getting, well, she deserves them. She deserves that Academy Award as well. So if this is the new era of Natalie Portman, then I'm welcoming it with open arms.

Supporting players Vincent Cassel and Barbara Hershey gave great performances as well. While I love Mila Kunis, I didn't think her performance was that special. Of course she was good and all the hard work on the ballet training is admirable, but I felt Hershey, with her complexer role, was more deserving of the Golden Globe nomination that Kunis received.

Black Swan is a beautiful film as a whole. I wasn't too crazy about the camerawork. I understand that it represents Nina's mental state, but especially in the beginning, I found it distracting. And it reminded me of why I gave up on Friday Night Lights and thus taking me out of the film for a moment. But overall, one of the best films of 2010. A 5/5.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Golden Globes afterthoughts

The good:
- Chris Colfer's supporting actor win for Glee! There's no doubt about it that he deserved the win. He's near perfection every single episode. Glee may not be a good show (come on, let's be honest, it's entertaining, but the writing is flawed. And that's an understatement), but Colfer is always great.
- Jim Parsons's Best Actor award for his hilarious role on The Big Bang Theory. The guy shows real commitment every single episode.
- Toy Story 3 Best Animated Feature. Despicable Me and How to Train Your Dragon are great too, though!
- Natalie Portman and Colin Firth. Was there any doubt?
- The Kids Are All Right wins Best Musical or Comedy. I think I would've murdered someone if this didn't win. The others don't even deserve to be nominated.

The bad:
- The Social Network wins Best Motion Picture Drama. Come on, it's not THAT good.
- The Social Network's Best Screenplay win. While I don't like Inception, at least it's original.
- Glee's win for Best Musical or Comedy. Both The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family deliver better quality.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Scream 4 trailer!

I love the music used in the trailer. Very old school Scream! But other than that, doesn't it look like the trailer spoils a lot?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review: The Social Network

Some thoughts on The Social Network. I finally saw it and I will start by saying that I think it's a good film. However, I'm not getting all the awards love the film has received. Besides the Jesse Eisenberg praise, though. He was fantastic.

To me, The Social Network just is what it is: a film about Facebook. When the credits rolled, it didn't leave me with any kind of particular feeling. Not the OMG-what-did-I-just-watch-it-was-awesome feeling Kick-Ass left me with. Or the emotional state Toy Story 3 left me in. Or that devastated feeling I had while watching Buried. I can´t imagine TSN is a film that will hold up well in time. When the Facebook craze dies down, will people still be interested in this film? How many people will watch this film over and over in the years to come?

While I digged the film's dialogues, in particular all of Zuckerberg's belittling comments, the film is long and at times, moves too slow. Like I want to see the Winklevoss twins rowing. Yes, very vital part of the film. The film is at its best when the focus is on Zuckerberg and his dying friendship with Saverin (Andrew Garfield).

I mostly enjoyed watching Eisenberg at work. I remember watching him in this TV-series called Get Real as Anne Hathaway and Eric Christian Olsen's little brother about 10 years ago. Eisenberg has become a one-to-watch talent since then with roles in Roger Dodger and Adventureland, but I never expected he might be getting an Oscar nomination soon. Good for him.

Andrew Garfield and Max Minghella are two other talented young actors and it was great seeing them all onscreen. Even Rooney Mara didn't suck as bad as she did in the Elm Street remake. Justin Timberlake however.. well, I think Brian at Dark Horizons put it best when he called his performance artificial. Whenever he talks, it just doesn't sound realistic. Shame.

Overall, it's a good film, but the topic has to interest you. I couldn't even convince boyfriend to watch the film so he could check it on A 4/5 (and only because 3,5/5 is too low and I don't want to give it a .75 rating).

Monday, January 10, 2011


I love Minion!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Review: Buried

Buried is an impressive little film featuring a strong performance by Ryan Reynolds. Why he isn't getting any recognition for his role is beyond me. Reynolds is always a solid actor, and here he proves he can do more than play the funny and charming guy. I refuse to believe that James Franco in 127 Hours really is any better than Ryan here and James is getting love from the people who give out awards. Not that I have seen 127 Hours, but I'm pulling James into this, because I hear he also has to carry lots of screentime all by himself.

Buried is about a truckdriver named Paul Conroy, played with effective desperation by Ryan, who wakes up trapped in a coffin with a lighter and a cellphone. And that's basically it. That's the story. The film works better if you don't know more.

I, of course, want to talk about some other stuff as well, so consider this your SPOILER ALERT.

The great thing about Buried here, is that the only thing we get to see is Ryan trapped in the coffin. There are no outside shots. We don't see his kidnappers. We don't see how Ryan got into the coffin. It's just Ryan, the coffin, the phone and his lighter. And it works. I felt Ryan's desperation and frustration. There's a sequence somewhere in the film where I felt they were stretching it a bit, with the sudden appearance of a snake. It was a bit much, but other than that, the film kept it small and plausible. /END SPOILERS.

It's not a perfect film, but pretty damn great. A 4/5.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Round Up!

Crap! I'm late posting this list. So I'm making this the first official post of 2011. I've seen a lot of films this year, compared to previous years, yet I still managed to miss the big one: The Social Network. I also haven't seen Black Swan yet, damnit!

Movies I've seen (in chronological order):
Valentine's Day, Alice In Wonderland, Kick-Ass, The Crazies, Hot Tub Time Machine, Shutter Island, Cop Out, Clash of the Titans, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, She's Out of My League, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Centurion, Toy Story 3, Vampires Suck, Tooth Fairy, The Expendables, Grown Ups, Piranha 3D, Iron Man 2, Unthinkable, Predators, Machete, A Nightmare on Elm Street, How to Train Your Dragon, Monsters, Despicable Me, Resident Evil: Afterlife, When In Rome, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, The Other Guys, Inception, The A-Team, Shrek Forever After, Red, The Reef, Skyline, Jonah Hex, The Town, Easy A, Dear John, Buried and Saw 3D.

Movies I wanted to see, but didn't get around to seeing (in alphabetical order):
127 Hours, The Back-Up Plan, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Devil, Eat Pray Love, The Experiment, Frozen, Going the Distance, Gulliver's Travels, The Kids Are All Right, The Killer Inside Me, Killers, Knight and Day, Leap Year, Letters to Juliet, Life as We Know It, The Losers, Love & Other Drugs, Repo Men, The Romantics, Shelter, The Social Network, Somewhere and Tucker and Dale vs Evil.

My Five Favorite Films of the Year (notice how I say favorite and not best):
1) Toy Story 3
Unlike last year, I didn't have a clear favorite this year, but looking back at everything I've seen, I have the most fondness for Toy Story 3. It's not a perfect film, but I did enjoy and love it a lot.
2) Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Along with Piranha 3D, my most anticipated movie of 2010. Edgar Wright managed to deliver an energetic, fun and original film, which is quite the accomplishment these days. I'm just sad it hasn't appeared on a lot of critics' best of the year lists.
3) Piranha 3D
What I loved about this film is that it doesn't take itself seriously. It's a fun summer flick with a nice ensemble cast.
4) Kick-Ass
I'm sure this will end up as boyfriend's #1 pick of 2010. Kick-Ass was way more brutal and realistic than I expected it to be. I guess for me, this was the biggest surprise of the year.
5) Machete
It's Danny Trejo kicking ass. 'Nuff said.

My Least Favorite Movies of the Year:
1) Vampires Suck
No, I didn't pay any money to see this flick. It's awful. Why Ken Jeong and Arielle Kebbel are in this, I have no idea. Friedberg and Seltzer, please just stop.
2) The Reef
Yeah, I'll just go watch Open Water again.
3) Clash of the Titans
It just wasn't very good, was it? I'm having a hard time remembering what I disliked about it. I think the CGI bothered me.
4) Monsters
I can totally appreciate and respect what Gareth Edwards did here. I just wasn't feeling it. It didn't keep my interest.
5) A Nightmare on Elm Street
A very unnecessary remake. Visually, it was pretty good, but the rest of it was quite a mess. I had quite a problem with Katie Cassidy, a capable actress, being set up as the lead and then getting Rooney Mara instead. Plus, Robert Englund is Freddy. Period.

Ten Favorite Performances of the Year (in alphabetical order):
1) Channing Tatum (Dear John)
2) Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass)
3) Danny Trejo (Machete)
4) Emma Stone (Easy A)
5) Jay Baruchel (while nothing stands out, he had a solid year with She's Out of My League, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and How to Train Your Dragon)
6) Jerry O'Connell (Piranha 3D)
7) Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs the World)
8) Michael Sheen (Unthinkable)
9) Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
10) Whitney Able (Monsters)

Movies I'm Looking Forward to in 2011:
30 Minutes of Less; And Soon the Darkness; Bad Teacher; Battle: Los Angeles; The Cabin in the Woods; Captain America: The First Avenger; Ceremony; The Change-Up; Contagion; Country Strong; Crazy Stupid Love; The Darkest Hour; The Devil's Double; Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules; The Dilemma; Drive; Drive Angry 3D; Dylan Dog: Dead of Night; The Eagle; Every Day; Everything Must Go; The Factory; The Fields; Final Destination 5; Flypaper; Friends with Benefits; Friends with Kids; Fright Night; From Prada to Nada; Goon; The Green Hornet; Green Lantern; Hall Pass; The Hangover: Part Two; Hanna; The Help; Here; I Am Number Four; Jeff Who Lives at Home; The Other Woman; Red State; The Ward.