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Dany's RaaD Roundup

Knight and Day Review

There isn’t always a lot of incentive for adults to attend a PG-13 spy, action film normally… unless you put Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in the lead roles. The last film I saw with these two together was back in Vanilla Sky.

This film is just a ton of fun. It’s cliche, predictable and there are very few new things, BUT everything that is done is done so well and is so much fun that it shows that if you can execute correctly, you’re going to get a great movie. I had a great time watching this movie. The action is played almost completely for laughs. There is a lot of violence, but very little blood and guts. This is probably Cruise’s best performance since Collateral, another film where he played a killer, just a much more serious one in the earlier film. Is this a serious film? No, but it’s fun as hell to watch.

There are very few times that I like going to a PG-13 action movie, I usually look for that R rating, but this is a film that does exactly what it sets out to do and does it with style (not a lot of substance, but damn fun to watch). Although I must say, it was unintentionally funny in select scenes where they shot Tom Cruise (5ft7in) to appear taller than Cameron Diaz (5ft9in) as seen above!

Thanks to Killer Film for the above image.

Enjoy

Dany

July 6, 2010 12:20 am Posted by | guns, movie reviews, movies | Leave a comment

The Book of Eli Review

I just returned from a screening of The Book of Eli down here in Grenada and I was very surprised with what I found. I was able to keep myself pretty sequestered generally from what the movie was about, with my only exposure being the provocative movie posters in the NYC subway system that elicited vague religious undertones and starring Denzel Washington and Mila Kunis made me initially interested in seeing this movie. It was only as the movie progressed that I realized that the film also featured such famous names providing strong performances such as Gary Oldman, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon and Malcolm McDowell.

The biggest thing that needs to be pointed out before anything else is the violence in this film. To say this was a violent movie does not adequately put that into words. This is a hyperviolent film, which may have been filmed in muted colors, sometimes so washed out in white sunlight in a comic book sort of way, but nonetheless, EXTREMELY violent with heads and other body parts getting chopped off, many people shot to death and an impressive array of handguns all the way through a 50 caliber machine gun and rocket launcher. So, if that’s a concern, just file this movie away, it’s not for you.

OK, one thing I’ve come to realize is that there are very few actors I can trust the judgment of, but Denzel Washington is one of those actors that almost never steers his fans wrong, seemingly unable to provide a bad performance or picking an uninteresting project, but I am surprised with how good Mila Kunis‘ performance was, maybe I shouldn’t be though considering how much I liked her in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it took her taking her hair down for me to even recognize her in this world.

The film portrays a world approximately 30 years after the world has ended… or at least since nuclear war has ravaged at least America, if not the entire world and the only modern remnants that remain from that “before” are beaten up cars, a 3rd generation iPod, some KFC wet naps and a Motorola bull horn. Denzel plays Eli, a man on a mission, very much like from an old western to head out “west” for him to complete his mission: find a safe place to bring a sacred holy book. His entire journey shows us just how far the world has fallen because of the apocalypse, the most basic needs (food, water and maybe some of the more base needs) are just about the only things worth fighting for and all that’s left is to barter for them.

As long as you can stand the hyperviolence and are interested in seeing how faith could be used either as a club or a savior, go and check out The Book of Eli. After seeing this film I wish I could be coming home to Mila Kunis right now, but I AM very glad that I’ve got my warm bed and an apartment full of all my creature comforts to come back to at least, even if my air conditioner is currently broken!

Enjoy

Dany

March 9, 2010 11:33 pm Posted by | Grenada, guns, movie reviews, movies, New York, NYC, Religion | 2 Comments

Precious Movie Review

I was able to see the movie Precious last week once it opened here in Grenada. I wasn’t sure what to think about a movie produced by Opera and Tyler Perry. I must say, I was lucky to have avoided most of the details of the plot before watching the movie and I am glad I had that privilege. The film was not what you would call a happy movie by any means, but it was excellent. The performances by Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique and Paula Patton were excellent. Both Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz are also surprises in the movie, but neither is in the film for very long to really make much of an emotional impact compared to the first three actors mentioned previously. It is a very powerful film with a good story and as long as you’re not looking for light fare at the theater, go see this film.

Even with the heaping praise I just bestowed, the movie does have a few problems that took me out of the film. First, why was Precious and her mother watching foreign film La Ciociara? They found a way to make that scene very funny, but the idea of these two characters even watching this movie, seemed so unlikely in itself. There was no way these two would be watching an Italian film from 1960! On the technical side, there was one scene about halfway through the movie where I noticed a boom mic fall into the shot. Another problem seems to be one of how long ago 1987 was to today and how easy it is to forget how hysterical people get over certain problems that first hit the news, this film throws out a bombshell that I am not going to name that should and does rock the main character’s world, but no one else seems to have much of an outward reaction, even in a time when people were MORTALLY afraid once the subject came up. Lastly, there was one scene between Precious and nurse John where she takes him aside from a party and then NOTHING happens, we just end up cutting to another scene, which was very strange and jarring.

Overall, I thought this was a very powerful movie and I would be stunned if anyone beat out Mo’Nique for an Academy award.

Thanks to Real Movie News for the above pic

Enjoy

Dany

February 15, 2010 12:30 am Posted by | Grenada, movie reviews, movies | Leave a comment

Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel

After just watching Alvin and the Chipmunks on DVD, I just got back from seeing Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel which was surprisingly enjoyable. Consistency errors and cookie cutter high school drama storylines aside, the movie made me smile and laugh throughout. It helps that I grew up watching the chipmunks, but regardless, if a comedy makes me smile and laugh, I can overlook those minor issues when they don’t interfere with the overall enjoyment of the movie. Don’t expect much in the form of adult oriented humor, although I did lose count of all the movie references that were made throughout after the first 25 or so, but this light children’s comedy that is safe, family friendly and quite enjoyable.

I liked the original better, for it’s lack of high school drama and mainly for having more Jason Lee, even though he did get in a few good AAAAAALLLVIIIIIIIINNNNNNs in this squeakquel. The two films are basically on par, although I do wish they didn’t exactly match each of our favorite chipmunks with a virtual doppelganger chipmunkette personality or maybe change up the standard trope having Alvin attracted to the brainy chipmunkette with glasses for example instead of going with the standard of our glasses wearing Simon being instantly attracted to the chipmunkette with her own set of glasses (it reminded me too much of a relatively recent standard T.G.I. Fridays commercial that did this with interracial coupling), but David Cross really steps up the absurd funny, especially when thinking about his own personal light show scene.

Thanks to Crafty Internet TV for the above pic.

Enjoy

Dany

February 3, 2010 10:20 pm Posted by | movie reviews, movies | Leave a comment

Skin and Bone Review

I recently watched the award-winning short film Skin and Bone and thought it was great. Especially when I found out that it was made for only $500! The film spends a day in a hectic critical cardiac care unit in New England and ends up with some very surprising results along the way. I don’t want to give too much away, so if you want more, I’ve included the trailer at the bottom of this page.

The creators of the movie, Philip M. Magcalas and Lucy Harrison are medical students a little farther along than I am and the idea of filming, producing, editing and showing this kind of short film all throughout medical school just baffles my mind, both are very smart cookies.

I just got word that Skin and Bone has been released for sale on DVD now for only $7.99 and I wanted to help get the word out. I’ve already ordered my copy and with recent events regarding the Haitian earthquake, they have decided to donate a portion of all their proceeds to help bring aid to Haiti.

Thanks to Milk and Cookie Productions for the above pic.

Enjoy

Dany

January 22, 2010 3:17 pm Posted by | Boston, clips, Grenada, Haiti, medicine, movie reviews, movies, New England | Leave a comment

Avatar 3D Review

I watched the new movie Avatar in 3D recently (not the IMAX version, but the 3D digital version). I would have written this up earlier, but I’ve been having so much fun being back in NYC that this has been a bit delayed.

My initial response to this movie goes with pretty much all the other 3D movies I’ve seen in theaters, that the 3D was almost totally unnecessary and didn’t help put forward the story and I wish I had watched the film in 2D instead of watching the 3D gimmick. I went to this movie with a friend of mine and after she came back from going to the washroom within the first 5 minutes of the film starting, she just never put back on the 3D glasses and just watched the film in slightly blurry (because of the double imaged) 2D. I watched the whole thing in 3D because I couldn’t stand watching the blurred double vision from the screen when I took off the glasses, but I wish we had just gotten tickets for a 2D screening.

Now that I’ve gone over my 3D movie views, in regard to the movie itself, I really enjoyed the experience. The story wasn’t terribly original and the script felt a bit weak at times, BUT it was an immersive experience and was a fun ride with an entertaining story. There was some funny bits to this movie, including that the mineral that the humans were mining for was called unobtainium and towards the end of the film, it is hinted that Earth (our unshown home world) was a broken world that now lacks any traces of green anymore. I’ve said it before with other movies, but the effects of this movie were emaculate, it was almost hard to believe that the 8 foot tall aliens that the film revolves around were effects, especially when one of them almost has the face of Sigourney Weaver. I’d recommend that anyone who wants to watch a fun ride of a SciFi movie should plunk down the money to at least go to one of the 2D screenings. I don’t think this film has a whole lot to offer though on a small screen, so see it while it’s still in theaters. I don’t think that 3D is going away from theaters as long as it keeps bringing more people to the cinema (at ever increasing ticket prices as well), it’s just not my cup of tea.

I think that James Cameron with this movie, with all of the in-camera effects and the performance capture technology going into this film, was able to pull off what will be seen as a milestone of digital effects cinema.

Thanks to World News Blog for the above pic.

Enjoy

Dany

**Update 2010/1/19 – I just returned from watching the 2D version of Avatar here in Grenada and I think after tonight, if ever given the option, I will ALWAYS choose to see any movie in traditional 2D instead of in 3D. I realized just how much more I was into the movie without having to put on the glasses and manage objects flying out of the screen. The film’s story may be flimsy and unoriginal, taking much from Last of the Mohicans, but regardless, the movie draws me in, which is surprising since we are basically asked to side with an insurgent group trying to repel a contractor-based military force that is trying to obtain natural resources (sound familiar America?). All I know is, that the movie is compelling, visually stunning and 2D is the way to go!

January 3, 2010 8:51 pm Posted by | movie reviews, movies, New York, NYC, technology | Leave a comment

District 9 Review

District 9 is the latest Peter Jackson production, directed by Neill Blomkamp. It has gotten mixed reviews and after seeing the film, I can see why. If you have a faint stomach, I would skip this film, there are a lot of bodily functions on screen (vomiting and urinating) along with violently graphic death depicted with lots of goop.

On the other hand, those with fortified stomachs will find the film an interesting look at racism and inhumanity in the form of speciesism. It is interesting to watch the story unfold, especially throughout the beginning, where you’re just trying to figure out where the story is going and at the very end, where they really seemed to hit the right note on how the film should end. I also thought it was quite comical that they decided to include subtitles for a number of South Africans and Nigerians as they were speaking ENGLISH!

The special effects revolving around the “prawn” aliens is seamless throughout the film, but once the film got into more mechanical object related special effects, things seemed to get a bit less realistic. The other problem with the film, I thought was that it was shot in a documentary style, with interview footage, but there were so many scenes that were shot that could not have been caught by any documentarian, I wish that if they were going to film a movie in that way, they would keep a consistent style.

Thanks to A Subtle Knife for the pics.

Enjoy

Dany

October 6, 2009 11:59 pm Posted by | guns, movie reviews, movies, robots | Leave a comment

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

It might seem like a late review, but since I am currently in Grenada, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is still in theaters here and I just got back from watching it tonight. It’s OK though, I was a very late comer to the series in general, I only started the audio books this summer. This is the 6th movie in a franchise of Harry Potter films since 2001 and the first thing that is easy to notice is the amount of maturity it the visual effects over time. This is most advanced looking Harry Potter film. It helps that most of the film is cloaked in shadows and darkness, but the digital water and fire effects, things that used to be hallmarks in difficult to recreate visual effects were spectacular.

The 6th Harry Potter book along with the final book were my top two favorites from the series. I though they were the most mature and compelling of the bunch. I have not liked the films as much as the audiobooks, but a movie not living up to the original source book isn’t grounds for a bad movie. The movie itself has to be good or bad on its own (not considering the book) or better/worse than the previous movies, in my mind.

Let me just say, if you have not seen any of the preceding Harry Potter movies or books, just skip this film, as a stand alone film, my guess is that it would be extremely confusing since it does not do a great job of introducing a lot of the tertiary characters. Now, for most people, this is not a problem, because they wouldn’t go out to see the 6th film in a series without seeing any of the previous films. In relation to the other films though, I do think that this is the best of the 6 movies. There may still be a plot problem or two, like why does Dumbledore HAVE to drink that liquid, why not just dump it out?… it’s tough though since this was a problem with the source book, but there were certainly enough changes in the story from the book that solving this problem could have been done as well. The film does set up the final two films very well though.

I liked the way this film handled evolving relationship between Ron and Hermione and also that of Harry and Ginny. Oddly enough though, my favorite character throughout the films is Snape, Alan Rickman is great, even if he isn’t nearly as slimy or short tempered as his character from the books. I didn’t like his shushing Harry scene below the tower towards the end of the film (it didn’t feel like it worked) though.

Previous Harry Potter Movie quick reference dvd reviews:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – 2/5 stars
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – 2/5 stars
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – 4/5 stars
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – 4/5 stars
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 2/5 stars

Thanks to Boopis on Garena for the above pic.

Enjoy

Dany

September 9, 2009 12:07 am Posted by | audiobooks, books, dvd, Grenada, movie reviews, movies | Leave a comment

World’s Greatest Dad Review

I usually don’t review movies I don’t see in theaters, but I made an exception for World’s Greatest Dad, which is open in select theaters but I was only able to see this film on demand, but I was glad that I had the option to watch the move on demand. I only heard about this film after hearing the film’s writer/director, comedian Bobcat Goldthwait‘s appearance on the Adam Carolla podcast (iTunes subscribe here).

The movie stars Robin Williams as a teacher raising his teenage son and the film mainly revolves around the school that he teaches in and his son attends. I do not want to give too much away, but this is a DARK film and while I was watching it, once I got towards the end of the film, I was baffled at how Goldthwait would end the movie. The film is all about a horrible event that happens but then gets covered up and the cover up gets a ball rolling that Robin Williams quickly loses control of. The film is very creepy and interesting, but Robin Williams played his part in a very subdued way and those types of performances are usually his best. If you can find this small film, I would go see it, but just remember, it’s not a happy happy fun time movie, even though it is directed by and stars a comedian. It was also fun to see some of the minor roles in this film were played by some recognizable faces as well, Geoffrey Pierson from Dexter and Unhappily Ever After and Henry Simmons from NYPD Blue.

Thanks to Cinemafique for the above pic.

Get a taste from the red band (NSFW) trailer below

Dany

August 28, 2009 10:51 pm Posted by | clips, comedians, movie reviews, movies, podcasts | Leave a comment

NYC Movies – Transformers, Public Enemies, The Hurt Locker and Funny People

Now that I am back in Grenada for medical school, I realized that while I was in NYC on vacation, I saw a good selection of movies without talking about them here.

Transformers was a great summer popcorn movie. If you want to ogle the amazing special effects art, explosions along with the amazingly beautiful women (all of which Michael Bay is a master at shooting), then this film will be great fun. The story though is sparse and unimportant to the movie itself, the story is probably a bit deeper than the original film, but that’s not saying too much. This movie has gotten a lot of heat in the press for it being racist against black people for two of the new transformers: the twins, with gold teeth and talking street, but the flaw in the argument is that these are ROBOTS, they have no color, they are not segregated out in any way. In my mind it is those select reviewers and critics, not the voice actors or the digital effects artists creating the on screen portrayals that affiliate these roles with stereotypically racist African-Americans. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, just don’t expect story to triumph with this one.

Public Enemies – This film puzzles me. I liked it a lot and even though it was almost two and half hours long, it didn’t feel that long (there may have been a scene or three that could have been shorter, but that’s about it), but there was something about this film that just didn’t click with me. Johnny Depp‘s performance was great as John Dillinger, maybe it was Christian Bale (Melvin Purvis) or Billy Crudup (J. Edgar Hoover), since they felt stiff, boring and yet I wanted more screen time from them, especially more from Hoover. Maybe the action scenes needed to be grander, the way it was shot it might we might have been too close to the action to appreciate it, but whatever it was, I was somewhat disappointed.

The Hurt Locker – This small film might just be my favorite film this year! I didn’t know anything about it going into the film other than that it followed a US military regimen who were defusing bombs in Iraq. I was surprised when I saw who was directing the film, since I was unfamiliar with her work, but Kathryn Bigelow really framed the story and shot the piece wonderfully. I was engrossed throughout. I liked seeing the celebrity cameos from some very familiar faces (Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes and David Morse) along with the cameo from an actor that most people probably aren’t familiar with, but Christian Camargo will be instantly familiar to any fan of the wonderful Showtime series: Dexter. You would think that constantly seeing this military crew attempting to defuse bomb after bomb would get repetative, but the nuance and suspense that the actors (especially Jeremy Renner) and the director brought to it just kept me glued to the screen. This film is definitely a success, it was great!

Funny People – I was lucky enough to see a sneak preview screening of Funny People a few days before this film was released (Thank you New York Observer). Judd Apatow shows how strong he is when he gets complete control by both writing AND directing a film again. He has been involved as producer in many films, but when he isn’t both writing and directing, it really shows and it usually feels like something is missing. Apatow knows how to craft a mature story that is genuinely funny. Seeing Adam Sandler‘s early career compared to him late in his career was great, it must have felt eerily autobiographical (at least a little) for Sandler. This was also the first film where I thought Jonah Hill was funny, I didn’t like him in Superbad or Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but here he was hilarious here and right on the mark. I loved all the not fat anymore jokes about Seth Rogen. Most of the last 30 minutes at Laura/Leslie Mann‘s home felt a bit long in the tooth, but regardless this was a very funny film. I still feel that The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up were better overall films from Apatow, but regardless, this film was better and more enjoyable a film overall than most comedies I get to see.

Thanks to captainkrash, firstshowing, cinematropolis and hearsay for the above pictures.

Enjoy

Dany

August 14, 2009 5:39 pm Posted by | Grenada, movie reviews, movies, New York, NYC | 1 Comment