Monthly Archives: July 2009
Yes, I am cheating again. Soon people will wonder why we even have the Devil’s Advocate stipulations for reviewing movies if we’re not going to follow them. Well, I reviewed multiple films this week so I’m giving myself a pass.
500 Days of Summer is a cautionary tale. The moral of the story? Don’t date cool, interesting people. They always wind up way too cool and interesting to stay with you. Actually, if anything, the film warns against building your life around a relationship, versus simply building your life. And it turns out that this is a powerful and effective message.
Tetro is the second film of this new millennium from Five-time Oscar winner Francis Ford Coppola and marks the first time he has written a screenplay since 1974’s The Conversation. I have to admit it, when it comes to movies filmed in black and white the nostalgic part of me says; “This is how films were meant to be seen.” If you happen to be among the lucky few that are able to find Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro playing in a movie theatre, I will tell you that you will not find another movie this year that was shot as beautifully as this one. Simply put, the use of the black and white medium gives the movie life. From his use of lighting to visual foreshadowing, Coppola shows us that he has not lost any of the tricks of the trade he has honed over the last half century.
This review is not only later than I had intended, but I’m also cheating. I couldn’t find a single positive in Disney’s new live action/CGI hybrid, so I’m writing a Lil Devil so I’m not shackled by the regular Devil’s Advocates restrictions.
G-Force is Disney’s latest foray into the live action arena, and it is successful in one respect. The film ventures into territory that actually displays a middle ground where the story is too complex for kids to enjoy and far too simple for the adults. A complicated web of intrigue and espionage is in the forefront, with lots and lots of fart and poop jokes in the background. Lowest common denominator jokes and gags, disguised as family entertainment.
Matt Damon has always been a favorite of mine. He seems to really understand what it takes to be an actor. As opposed to his counterpart who seems to just want to be a movie star. (Ahem* Ben Affleck) Take him, a cast of great actors (Danny Devito, Claire Danes, Mickey Rourke, Jon Voight, Danny Glover), and Francis Ford Coppola and you will have the makings for a great movie.
Wow…for one, it has been a long time since I’ve tapped the keys for the Devil’s Advocates, and I would like to say it’s a much enjoyed feeling to return to the blog. I missed the challenge, and effort to figure why would you want to, or want not to see the blockbusters for the big screen.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by far is one of the best adaptations of the franchise. David Yates again distances himself from Chris Columbus in his second of four Potter films (The Deathly Hallow’s is going to be a two part release). Taking us into the darkness as he captures the essence of the book’s theme and focuses on the main storyline, Yates effectively streamlines the books volume into an easy to follow movie. While purists will have wanted more of the subplots and may miss the Chris Columbus vision of focusing on the magic; the tone of the movie is in perfect alignment of the book.
Apocalypse Now is the classic 1979 Vietnam War movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The movie follows a Special Forces officer named Willard (Martin Sheen) as he is sent up the Nung River through Vietnam and into Cambodia to hunt down the rogue Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Willard is told that Kurtz has gone mad and taken an army of natives deep into the jungles of Cambodia to wage his own personal war against the U.S. and Vietnamese governments. As the story unfolds, we see that not only are Kurtz and Willard very much alike in terms of who they are and how they got to be who they are, Willard might be just as crazy as Kurtz’ supposed to be.
Where do I even start with this film…
Oh, right. There’s a lot of penis in this one. If you mind that, don’t see it.
Nevertheless, it’s an extremely entertaining movie. You don’t have to be studying it as I was or just looking for something to make you laugh: with 82 minutes, there is guaranteed 82 minutes of constant fun and fascination.
The Hurt Locker is an action-packed yet serious look at the war in Iraq as seen through the eyes of a military bomb squad. In it, we follow a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit (EOD) as it gets a new leader for their last month in Iraq. That’s how we meet James (Jeremy Renner from 28 Weeks Later), the new EOD squad leader. He’s been transferred to Iraq from Afghanistan and immediately starts to do things his way. Like, stopping a speeding taxi while on his way to inspect IED’s by standing in it’s way and shooting out the windows when the driver refuses to obey orders. “If he wasn’t an insurgent he is one now.”, James says as Marines yank the driver out of the taxi.
Well it’s all official Marvel’s sweetheart Ryan Reynolds, is playing both sides of the fence. With rumors like Bradley Cooper and Justin Timberlake, it turns out they were all wrong. Ryan Reynolds will be the Green Lantern. I for one am stoked. I dig Reynolds; he was most likely the best part of Blade 3. Well besides Jessica Biel in tight spandex…nothing beats that. This announcement gets us one step closer to a movie about one of the coolest, and most overlooked super heroes.
I am giving the full frontal, Devil’s Advocate review of Bruno. That’s right, I’m putting what I really thought at the front of the review and then doing the full DA critique to follow. Why…what did you think I meant?
Push gives us something seldom seen in a film about superpowered individuals. We get a fresh perspective, with individuals we have never seen before. The abilities are nothing new. The characters however are and we get to see them from start to finish (finish, if there are no sequels that is). And it is a good feeling, because now the anticipatory aspects (when will Wolverine pop his claws or will the Hulk yell out “HULK SMASH”) that come with watching an already “established” superhero film are gone.
Next up on this month’s Director’s Spotlight of Francis Ford Coppola is 1974’s The Conversation.
What’s that, you say? You’ve never heard of it? The Godfather, Part II was released that year?
I’m loving those red band trailers. Especially when we get footage like the kind we see in the trailer for Jennifer’s Body.
In Johnny Depp’s latest film Public Enemies, we get another great performance from an actor who oozes charm and charisma into yet another role. Here he gets to play John Dillinger, the 1930’s bank robber/gangster. The movie is Michael Mann’s latest addition to a string of films of the law and lawless that started from his 1981 film Thief to such films as 1995’s Heat to 2004’s Collateral.
This is my second film this week exploring the criminal element on screen and why we are so fascinated by wrong doers and the wrong they do. Now, with The Godfather all I had to worry about was the mafioso banging down my door for retribution if I didn’t give it a favorable review. This time around I’m treading lightly, because the much more dreaded Bank Robbers Association Of America is lurking about and I don’t want to step on their toes.
With Public Enemies on the loose starting today,we thought we’d explore the public’s fascination with the criminal element, by reviewing The Godfather.
Now I’ve watched this film more than once and I can honestly say it is the most overrated piece of…sorry there was just a knock at my door.
Well, two gentlemen in Armani suits just convinced me to think twice about what I’m writing.