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Monday, February 8, 2010

At the Movies!

Bolando checks in with a movie review...

Movie Reviews:

Role Models

You may have seen the promo's -- and maybe I'm just a fan of Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, but this movie is under-rated. It didn't get the notoriety that Knocked Up or Superbad, but it was funny. The supporting cast has all the good ones -- McLovin from Superbad, Jane Lynch (aka the Cheeleading coach from Glee), the Chinese guy from Knocked Up and the Hangover, as well as a couple of other recognizable supporters who deliver. Don't get your hopes up for a side-splitting scenes, but I enjoyed it -- and worth the 95 minutes. Compared to the recent review of "Extract" -- I preferred Role Models over Extract.

A Perfect Getaway

Ever since Deadwood, I can watch Timothy Olyphant (Seth Bullock in Deadwood) in almost anything. This is a rollercoaster suspenseful thriller of who is who. The movie doesn't waste too much time getting into and they don't drag it out. Steve Zahn and Mila Jovovitch play solid leading roles, and the movie plays itself out quite nicely. There are moments that made me jump and I hadn't seen one of these types of movies in a while -- trying to find out who the bad guys are. I wasn't thrilled with the whole ending and felt like it lost its momemtum -- but overall -- a nice change of pace for me. Another one that was only 100 minutes, so entertaining overall.

The Hurt Locker

So this one is up for Best Picture. A war movie that is all about a guy who defuses bombs in Iraq and the crazy chances he takes. With a cast of Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, and David Morse, I thought it was drawing some quality talent. Until I realized that all these guys are basically only in one scene each. Nevertheless, the action scenes are very intense. It has a "Syriana"/"Kingdom" Middle Eastern setting around it which has been done plenty of times now, but this movie barely slows down. I'm still not sure how I feel about it -- I didn't "love" it to think it was a Best Picture Nominee -- but it was all about the War in Iraq through the eyes of soldiers, particularly Jeremy Renner who you may recognize from smaller roles, and delivers a solid performance. He'll be one I take note of moving forward, kinda like I did with Terence Howard after Hustle and Flow. Although Renner is a part of the story -- whereas Howard was the story. The war is the story, Renner is the focal point. Sometimes good acting isn't about great lines, but immersing into the role. Renner delivers that. Looking back on it now -- the movie did a good job giving you the full story on his character. 130 minutes long

Revolutionary Road

This was nominated for Best Picture last year -- Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Quite frankly, DiCaprio is as good as it gets these days -- and Winslet is very strong in almost all her roles. So how can you go wrong with these two? To tell you the truth, not a lot happens in this one. This is really a time-piece movie set in the 50's of Americana, as DiCaprio and Winslet play a married couple struggling in the pursuit of happiness. If I can compare it to any movie, it reminded me of "The Hours" with Nicole Kidman, Ed Harris, and Julianne Moore. Which quite frankly was slow as well and one you may want to let your wife choose one night. Michael Shannon steals the show in Revolutionary Road and there simply wasn't enough of him in the movie. He will be someone I pay closer attention to. Keep your eye on him in the upcoming release of The Runaways which is based on the true story of Joan Jett, Lita Ford, and Cherrie Currie as the first all-female rock band.

The Taking of Pelham 123

I'm not quite sure how I feel about John Travolta as an actor. He's never really "blown me away" but it's not like I hate him either. I think he plays decent parts and seems ok. Denzel on the other hand, is one of those guys that always plays the same character -- but even still -- he's just plain good. Like Paul Newman or Jack Nicholson who always played the same guy -- Denzel does it as well. The movie was quick and jumps right into the thick of the story. Entertaining with a tip-top cast -- Denzel, Travolta being pretty good, while John Turtorro and James Gandolfini help make it strong. I will say -- I feel like ever since he's been Tony Soprano, Gandolfini has been taking roles that are anything like Tony Soprano. Almost as though he doesn't want to be type-cast. I miss the pre-Sopranos Gandolfini -- like a Civil Action, or True Romance. Only 100 minutes.

Inglorious Basterds

So the editor in chief of the BBB has already given his review of Inglorious Basterds, but this movie was so good, I had to second his review. This movie was fantastic. Warn the Mrs that it has some violent scenes -- but it's not an obnoxious amount. Tarantino has laid a mess of eggs, or delivered a series of mediocre movies since Pulp Fiction. But this one -- is right there with Pulp Fiction, maybe even better. Actually, given that Pulp Fiction was a timing thing with trendiness, etc. Inglorious Basterds doesn't have any trendiness. So it stands on story, and the acting itself. Brad Pitt is a better actor than he gets credit for -- and while I say what I do about Denzel playing the same guy, watch Pitt in Inglorious Basterds and watch him in "Burn After Reading" -- you'll see some range. But the best performance from an actor I've seen in all these movies listed is Christoph Waltz (aka the German guy). It gets to a point in the movie when he shows up and I just looked forward to the scene because how he entertained me. Prepare yourself for subtitles -- but it brought some legitimacy to the flick. Also brace yourself for a long one - 150 minutes. The best of the bunch by a mile.

Bolando is a contributor to the Bingo Bar Blog and long time journalist. He's made his bones covering the MVFFL as a beat writer and now enjoys a freelance career.

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