Tag Archives: reviews

REVIEW – Sherlock Holmes

  As a Christmas gift, my bro got me a set of tickets to this.  And while it’s not everything I had hoped, it’s still enormously entertaining and worth a glance, if you’ve got the time.  I know RDJ is up for the Globe here, so keep your fingers crossed, eh?  Globe nods two years in a row – that’s something to get excite d about.  Anyway, here’s the quick and dirty review for your viewing pleasure:

Not outstanding, but very entertaining. An A++ for Mr. Downey, as per usual, for his slick yet conflicted Holmes. The action was actually pretty good… except when it wasn’t, of course. Perfect example: What should have been a creative, 4-minute tussle between our heroes and 3 baddies turned into (what felt like) a half-hour dissection of all the ways you can use a hammer and a ship. Still, the film benefits from a smart script (with a few exceptions) and an interesting plot you can’t fully predict. In essence: It’s *almost* there. *Almost* great. Hopefully, a sequel will give the creative boys and girls a chance to get it really right.

4 STARS 

 

So Merry Christmas!  I’m in the process of catching up on reviews, as you may have noticed from the “Frrrrrrresh!” section, so bear with me while I get my rear in gear.

As always, feel free to comment below on this or any other review you’ve seen here or in the “Frrrrrrrresh!” department.  Let me know how tired you are of me and my rants or how glad you are there are like-minded people in this world.  Just comment.  Do it.

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REVIEW – The Soloist

  After finally watching this film sans potty breaks, I got down to work on this review.  I just had so much to say about it, seeing as Downey, Jr. is my favourite actor of the moment.  Is there an Oscar nod in his future?  I can’t say.  But what I can say is that his performance here would take Pacino any day of the week.  Hence follows my humble opinion. 

So close. Sooooo close. I first had misgivings about this film when Paramount pushed back the release date from Oscar-friendly November to the no-man’s-land of April. Some of my misgivings were justified. Most were not. While the narrative thread is strong and well-told by Downey’s Lopez, it feels slightly choppy. The story’s arc gets lost in a few places, partly because of the directorial decision to insert flashbacks to Ayers’ (Foxx) childhood. It does give us a feel for his tumultuous past, but it also disrupts the story somewhat.

And speaking of Mr. Foxx, I must admit myself disappointed. I am Sam this is not. Though his delivery seems by-the-book Oscar-worthy, there’s no connection to his character, as if he’s holding it at arm’s length. Just going through the motions of what a paranoid schizophrenic might do. The direction doesn’t help, either. What was intented to be a Fantasia-like moment was really just an overly long eyesore. On the other side of the spectrum, Downey’s performance is a triumph. And I say that with as little bias as humanly possible for a fan like myself. Compared to Foxx’s slightly-overdone character, his understated, desperate portrayal is wonderful to watch. Besides this, the other strong point in the film is the gritty honesty of street life in LA and mental illness. It’s frightening and slightly disturbing, offering a nice contrast from Lopez’s professional lifestyle. While the melodrama does tend to creep into the script, especially near the end, those moments of immediacy and reality make it all worthwhile. So close to being great.

3 1/2 STARS 

 

And that’s that.  The latest and greatest RDJ film in my review books.  With Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man 2  well underway, I look forward to spending some more time at my computer, completely geeking out.

Did you see The Soloist?  Did this change your mind?  Confirm what you had already suspected?  Make you believe in my awesome power of judgement?  Comment below!

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REVIEW – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

I finally got out to see this the other day.  We were stuck at the bottom, left-hand corner looking up at the gi-freaking-normous screen watching gi-freaking-normous over-glorified battle bots slug it out.  Yeah.  So here follows the (decidedly tongue-in-cheek) review of the latest and greatest summer blockbuster.

I must say, I’m very taken with one British critic’s review: "It’s like be smashed over the head repeatedly with a very loud, expensive train set." Preeeeetty much sums it up. I wish I could be more favourable, I do. It’s just… [sigh] It seems like the entire plot serves the sole purpose of setting up the action sequences. And those moments that could have been funny and witty were delivered at a lightning-fast pace and given no weight at all. Oh, Shia. This is not a very good representation of what you can do. [nods pointedly to A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints] And Fox is there to look nice and take up space, as usual. The new additions to the cast were rather annoying, especially Rodriguez’s character

Nasty bits aside, the action is truly eye-popping and well-choreographed, if predictable and pointless. Sorry. Nastiness creeping in there again. That’s the problem – the nastiness seems to permeate through the film, leaving one to wonder what its soure might be… then, of course, the answer becomes clear. Bay. Michael Bay. No *wonder* the pacing is so lousy and the weight so unevenly distributed. It was directed and edited that way. So in short, if there is to be another Transformers movie in the future, the Paramount bigwigs better keep the Bay-nastiness well away from it if they want a positive review from *me*. [humph!] Not like they care – with such big box-office bucks, they’re bound to give everybody a nice bonus and sign them on for another Bay-driven schlumph-fest. [shakes head]

2 STARS

 

So there ya have it!  One more gigantic, action-packed train set bites the dust.  You feelin’ me?  Disagree?  Shout out below!

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REVIEW – Inside Hana’s Suitcase

Yup, you guessed it, the very first exclusive review!  This won’t make it to Flixster because it isn’t listed, unsurprisingly.

I saw this with Portia, a friend of mine, at the Victoria Film Festival a few weeks ago and have been itching to let people know about this fantastic film.

The story of Hana Brady is one that transcends most other documentaries I’ve seen based on its simplicity and classic story-telling style.  The stories of Hana, killed in Auschwitz as a girl, and her brother George are intertwined with that of Fumiko Ishioka, a Japanese school teacher who comes to possess Hana’s suitcase.  Driven by curiosity, she not only discovers Hana’s fate, but also that of George’s, who lives in Toronto.  He visits her and her class, The Small Wings, to see and touch one of the most precious of Hana’s belongings.  This blending of past and present is captured in an interesting way, combining both candid interviews with fictional flashbacks.

George’s honesty and Fumiko’s tireless drive are really captured well, as well as giving the audience an unprecedented glimpse into the life of a victim of the Nazis.  From the magic tricks their father used to perform to the bottle full of a young girl’s frustrations buried in the back yard, the film is incredibly intimate.  Yet at the same time, it takes a global scale when Hana’s story travels beyond the Brady’s home in the Czech Republic to Japan to Canada and all across Europe.  It’s a tragic story, to be sure, but it’s full of hope and loving memory.  The music, I felt, really reflected all those tones, though it could be a bit overwhelming in certain scenes.

The message comes through loud and clear – this must never happen again.  Because Hana’s story is only one of millions.

What really made this film come alive for me was that after the screening, Larry Weinstein, the director, introduced us to George and his daughter, who had attended the premiere.  I must admit, seeing him there after being given such a penetrating look into his suffering and his family, I broke down in tears, like many others.  It was a complex mix of deep respect, gratitude, and pride in his courage.  And it’s a feeling I won’t forget.  I can only hope that Hana’s and George’s story will continue to touch lives as it has mine.

Copyright:  Brady Family, 2004

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