Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Summary to end all Summaries

Felipe M.

The following is a recap of movies that have been reviewed on this website (by yours truly) along with the score given to each film and a quick synopsis:

Ninja Assassin-- 1 Star (out of 5): Marketed as a blood bath, you get exactly what you pay for--and not much of anything else.

Sherlock Holmes-- 2 Stars: Robert Downey Jr. takes a break from being a robot to portray the world's most famous detective--in the vision of director Guy Ritchie. Think an ultra-intelligent person with the fighting skill set of an MMA fighter.

The Princess and the Frog-- 4 Stars: Charming, old-fashion, hand-drawn animated feature from the Disney company full of memorable characters, toe-tapping musical numbers, and inspiring images of New Orleans in full nostalgic form.

Up in the Air-- 4 Stars: Basically the biography of the country we love in post-911 era.

Avatar-- 5 Stars: After seeing Oscar nominated films, District 9 and The Hurt Locker, I am more and more convinced that James Cameron was robbed big time from getting the Best Picture award for this film.

The Lovely Bones--1.5 Stars: This film was better off left to be showcased on the small screen, preferably on an obscure cable channel (coming up next after Project: Runway, it's the Lifetime Channel Movie Event of the Week: The Lovely Bones).

Shutter Island-- 3.5 Stars: Solid effort by legendary director Martin Scorsese and great performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, but the suspense/mystery genre is unfortunately over-saturated with films just like this one.

Alice in Wonderland-- 3 Stars: See Tim Burton and Johnny Depp running all the way to the bank with this one.

The following are movies yours truly has watched at the movie theatre, but has yet to review along with their scores and a quick summary:

Death at a Funeral-- 3 Stars: It is full of cheese, but the acting cast is a phenomenal collection of talent that overcomes Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence's blase performances.

Iron Man 2-- 3 Stars: Robert Downey Jr. was great as Tony Stark, but not as interesting when he was Iron Man. On the other hand, Don Cheadle, without much effort by the way, was outstanding as War Machine. The disappointment came with the inclusion of Mickey Rourke as Omega Red as he didn't have many lines in this film and most of the things that came out of his mouth were Russian grunts. Makes me wonder what the point was of getting an actor of Rourke's caliber if all he was going to do was just make grunting noises. They could have just gotten some no name Eastern European male to do the same thing and the movie still would have made a killing at the box office. Besides the acting, the storyline was dull and something about robots fighting other robots is such a major turnoff, but the great acting from the two headlining actors makes this, at the very least, much better than Transformers and proves to be this film's saving grace.

Shrek Forever After-- 3.5 Stars: I had my doubts when I first heard that there would be a 4th installment released this year. Even though this film is still full of cheese and unnecessary "awwwww" moments, the fantastic voice-over acting and dialogue among characters, the solid visuals, and the endearing (though far-fetched) storyline was enough to overcome my doubts and made for a great movie theatre experience. Of course, the best part about this film was falling in love with the Shrek series all over again!

The following films are movies that were watched much later than their original theatrical release along with score and short synopsis:

District 9--4.5 Stars: Amazing Sci-Fi film, but I'm not buying the parallels with South Africa's Apartheid era as I refuse to make the comparisons to human lives with those of insect-looking aliens that we gleefully were cheering for their destruction in such Will Smith films as Independence Day and Men in Black. I'm not even convinced it should have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, but regardless, in terms of acting, character development, storyline, etc., this film deserves all the high marks and praise it has received thus far.

The Hurt Locker--3.5 Stars: Even though I enjoyed the political and social commentary that this film was extrapolating, after watching this film after it had won the Oscar for Best Picture, I still didn't see the hype that was surrounding this movie.

If this film is Oscar-worthy, then other war films such as Blackhawk Down and The Kingdom should be nominated as well, right? I appreciate the first-hand look that this film gives the viewer to the current state of foreign affairs, especially in Iraq (better than anything Fox News Channel or CNN can muster up when reporting the Wars in the Middle East), but it just didn't feel like we were watching the reincarnation of Platoon and even the overt message that this film was trying to send didn't not have the same bite or venom as Full Metal Jacket.

The characters were expendable and even the most interesting character, Staff Sgt. William James (played by Jeremy Renner) was hit or miss in terms of war film characters. The fact that this film won the Best Picture Award is leading me to believe that the only reason it won was because it dealt with the hot topic issue of the past 5-7 years--should the U.S. launch a war against Middle East nations who are accused of harboring terrorist groups who were held responsible for the Twin Tower Attacks of 2001? The answer is a complicated one, but the question about this film's win for Best Picture can be answered with one word: no!

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