Category: Movie Review


I would not have seen this movie because it is just not one of those that grabbed my attention because it is not a full drama. I was mistaken.

This post was inspired by Crystal Tyler who left a comment asking if I had heard about the twists in this movie and if I had seen it.

Well, I have now and it blew me away. I liked the movie. I would watch it again if I had two hours or more to spear. The film could have been shorter but maybe it needed that time to tell the story. My head is spinning just recollecting all the twists in this movie. I hope I will do a good job because this is a movie you can’t sleep in, no bathroom breaks either. If you do, you would have missed out on a piece of the puzzle.

Shutter Island

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kinsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, Max Von Sydow.

It’s 1954 and U.S Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are being sent to investigate the escape of Rachel Solando played by two women (Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson). Do not be confused everything is explained. Rachel, a young woman is convicted of killing her three young children and has escaped from her cell, she is considered dangerous. Shutter Island is a federal maximum security hospital/prison for criminally insane patients.

The movie begins with Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule in a conversation. Truth be told, this is their first meeting which is revealed closer to the end of the movie. So their role is to solve this big mystery of the missing patient at Shutter Island. There is no way off the island, only a ferry seems to have access to it. Upon their arrival they are briefed and reminded of all the rules that govern Shutter Island.

The cops are introduced to Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) who thinks everyone is a potential patient at Shutter Island. He is good in the film, very serious and seems to be in all the right places at all times.

There is no way to escape Shutter Island which leads Teddy Daniels to think Rachel is still on the island. Teddy Daniels is being haunted by his own hallucinations of his wife Dolores (Michelle Williams) who haunts him constantly. He is still in love with his wife, who appears to be helping him solve the case as well – giving him directions.

After the hour mark in the film the pieces all fall into place with an ending no one could imagine. Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie is at his best. His co-star Mark Ruffalo sometimes is shaky but he holds up to the calibre of DiCaprio. The different juxtapositions in the film are not to confuse the viewers but help in some way. Some roles are doubled with conviction. It leaves the viewer in a position where you become a lost person in a maze and just wants everything to be solved. At the end of the movie you wonder if it was all necessary but it makes the movie what it is – a good watch. If you love movies and I mean love movies then you will want to see this film over and over again. I don’t think the first watch will explain all the twists the movie had but it certainly was entertaining. The movie is also a period film –great set design. You cannot ignore the choice of music for the film. As you hear it you think it was deliberately chosen. It is not sweet and calm but to create a particular effect.

I could not end though without sharing that an encounter Teddy Daniels had with a patient at one of the wards places everything in perspective. It took a storm, cutting electricity for that to happen. Just to say, the conversation revealed who Teddy Daniels was and who he was searching for – himself. The movie is so good that it makes the viewer become Teddy Daniels and allows you to feel the pain he struggles with caught between hallucinations and his own reality. It is revealed to Teddy Daniels the truth that everyone at the facility knows about him and his problem.

If you want to read how the movie really went, continue. I know you would want to read it.

Essentially Teddy Daniels lived a happy life. He came home one evening to see his three children all lying dead in the lake behind their house. In grieving, he shot his wife, killing her. Apparently at this point he went bizarre and had to be placed at Shutter Island – which takes us to the beginning of the movie. Understanding who he is, they tricked him into thinking he is going to Shutter Island to solve a mystery – the missing patient but instead he was there for his own treatment.

In all of this, he figures out he is not there to solve the mystery of the missing girl (they found her) but he becomes the 67th patient at Shutter Island.

There are even more twists in the movie. His pal Chuck Aule is revealed to be his doctor and he has been treating him for 24 months.

When the truth is finally revealed to Teddy Daniels at the end, he is flabbergasted because it is turning out to be true. Therefore everything we saw in the beginning is now false.

Advertisements

The movie Extraordinary Measures is an inspirational movie about a father and his quest to find the right medication for his two children that are suffering from Pompe disease.

This is a genetic disease that affects children that disables the heart and muscles. Because of the underdevelopment of the muscles it leaves them confined to a wheelchair. Children with this disease normally die at around age nine, at that stage the organs enlarge. You can imagine the shock and the despair John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen Crowley (Keri Russell) parents of the children feel when they are told their young children have less than a year to live.

The family leads a pretty normal life, a working dad, stay at home mom with three children to care for. The father, a leading corporate executive is faced with a dilemma; to stay at his job and enjoy the perks of promotions – increased benefits, meeting deadlines and to watch his kids die from a disease that will rob them of a future before they are teenagers or leave the job and find the cure.

Directed by Tom Vaughan, the movie’s cinematography is not only good but shows his experience. The scenes in the movie are amazing; they will grip you from the beginning to end. The characters all have personalities that make you connect more with them. The daughter Megan is full of personality, a typical 8 year old who desires a future. She likes pink and loves to play.

John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) decides to fight the battle with his kids and leaves the state to the University of Nebraska where he meets Dr. Stonehill (Harrison Ford). Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) is a scientist who has explored the area of Pompe and has developed what he thinks is the cure. Leaving his wife behind with the children, John Crowley meets with Dr. Stonehill after chasing him down in the wee hours of the morning from his university office to a bar. At the bar, a relationship develops between the two. It leads to a business relationship, with both men partnering to find a cure to help the children, Megan Crowley (Meredith Droeger) and Patrick Crowley (Diego Velazquez).

To make John Crowley’s dream a reality of not only benefiting his own children they meet with executives from drug manufacturers. With this new partnership there are other issues that arise which make the movie even more exciting to watch. Extraordinary Measures is a true story and is an adaptation of the novel The Cure by Geeta Anand.

The movie also explores at length the politics, tribalism, materialistic goals of drug companies. I understand this is a moral dilemma for them and the company executives from the drug company kept emphasizing the importance of objectivity. Because, dealing with drugs, medicines and treating people if you are caught up with the Utilitarian Principle (doing good for the greatest number of people) you may not have a successful company at the end of the day. Drug companies are in business to make a profit and not primarily to save patients at the end of the day.

In the movie John Crowley, the father of the children is caught up emotionally with finding a cure that there is a huge disagreement between him and the company executives. When the company had completed the process and it was time to test the medication, it caused a major conflict of interest. There was a conflict of interest because John Crowley had a vested interest in the company and he also had an interest in the success of the product. Of course he wanted his children to have the medication first. To solve the issue, he was fired from the company. It was sad to see him go but the drug company maintained their strict adherence to policy.

His children did receive the needed medication. The testing worked and they responded well. The movie ends on a good note. Extraordinary Measures will not have you crying but its emotional journey will have you supporting these parents that placed everything on the line – their relationship and jobs to fight for a cure to save their ailing children. You will be cheering on these parents.

I only wish that you will get a hold of this movie and see it. It is worth your time. I yearn for the will that I might have the same fervour and strength these parents had in their darkest moment. The strength to fight on till the desired end is attained.

This post is dedicated to a blogger and a friend of this site who revealed that he has cancer. All of us here wish him the very best and a speedy recovery. I trust that he will not only have the audacity of hope but the certainty of faith that he will get better. Read his updates on his blog. http://jammer5spolyrant.wordpress.com/

I wanted to watch this movie because of its biographical nature. I thought it would have been great, stellar, and an amazing movie. I should have watched this movie days ago but somehow I just got around to it.

Amelia Earhart

Hilary Swank as Amelia

Amelia Earhart born on July 4, 1897 was declared legally dead on January 5, 1939. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and was a noted American aviation pioneer and author. All of what she accomplished was in the era of pre-feminism, the turn of the century. In the movie, she failed at one attempt to lift the plane off the runway because of some mechanical problems and the men who saw what happened laughed her to scorn with all the media coverage.

Half way in the movie I was disappointed. I did not know the movie would have turned out the way it did. There was no build up. The movie reminded me of Jamaican journalists who put together News Year in Review and begin in September. The movie hinted at her childhood and I will tell you what happened. All you see is Amelia in a field (country) looking up at an airplane in the sky and says “I will fly one day”. She went from that to being the commander and flying aircrafts across the world.

I am no movie critic but I would have loved to see Amelia’s training, a look at her childhood, or take it from where she graduated. The movie started with her flying all over the place and the recognition she received early on.

In the beginning George Putnam (Richard Gere) who plays her promoter and husband did a creditable job at his role. This is the second movie I am watching in recent times with Richard Gere and he is a fantastic actor. Read my Hachiko: A Dog’s Story post to view that review. Back to the movie – In the beginning, in the twinkling of an eye George Putname (Richard Gere) plants a huge kiss on Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank). Again, no build up, no flirting, nothing to show he was interested but they got hitched and later got married.

Amelia Earhart in the movie continues to fly all over the place, breaking records and embarking on new frontiers. There is a total difference in the first half of the movie when compared to the second. I wished the first half was as fun and exciting as the second. The first half was not slow but everything just happened and that took away from the movie.

The challenges she faces as a woman is inspirational I would imagine for the female audience who would see this movie. All in all it is an inspiring movie. She grew up at a time when women were not allowed to do certain things. For her to be flying an airplane was new. I read her Biography online and her childhood was not poor. Her parents were established citizens in Kansas. Her dad was a judge and a banker. Of course she would have some ambition in life, seeing that everyone around her did well.

Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank) and George Putname (Richard Gere)

The cinematography in the movie was good. The shots of her flying the aircraft – those experiences were great to see. I loved the casting for the movie. Hilary Swank looks just like Amelia Earhart, although that was expected, the resemblance was close. Did she get into the character? That’s another case.

With the publicity of Amelia Earhart, there must have been challenges. Of course men were attracted to her, but more than that it caused a strain on her relationship at one point. Her husband, very protective of her became insecure when a friend Gene Vidal (Ewan McGregor) started to show interest. Amelia’s husband found a love letter she received from him. It could have ruined their relationship but it didn’t.

Amelia Earhart is portrayed as tom boyish in the movie. While this does not suggest she was a lesbian, her frequent comments about the beauty of the women she encountered leave this question wide open. Her androgyny fits in perfectly with her image as a woman like no other. It is not surprising that Hilary Swank, an actress celebrated for her androgynous beauty and her award winning role in Boys Don’t Cry (the story of transsexual Tina Brandon aka. Brandon Tina), was cast as Amelia Earhart.

What the movie explores also is her success and her final flight where she went missing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I particularly liked the way the movie ended. It brought closure in some way mainly from the husband’s perspective.

Would I recommend it? Watch it if you want to see a diluted biography.

Friendships are important to our own growth and development. In our personal lives I am sure we can list all the friends we could not live without. It is the same in the blogging sphere I could not be inspired if it were not for some of the viewers who continue to share with this blog and I enjoy returning the favour to see what you are thinking and posting.

Growing up I always wanted to attend boarding school. To do so, I had to pass the Common Entrance Examination (National Test) which I did and I was able to attend the top boys’ school in Jamaica for high school – Munro College. There is a certain level of independence that you develop in such an environment. I am grateful for the many lessons I learnt because of that period in my life. My first semester back in 1998 I remember it vividly, it was horrible. Although I had always wanted to be there nothing could prepare me for it. I went from chasing the car when they were leaving in first form to being comfortable with them leaving me behind. By the end of the first year I was running them off the campus. Leave!

What made the experience unforgettable was that I had friends who I could count on. I was not the popular student but I was indeed a great friend. I can recall people would feel secure in sharing their deepest concerns with me. In the earlier years I became my class representative on the Students’ Council – which I enjoyed. Today, some of those friendships continue.

What I have found interesting about myself is that I find it hard to revisit the places in my life that have impacted me. I struggle to visit my high school and other places. It is not like I don’t want to be there or I am ungrateful in anyway; I love these places so much that I prefer to reminisce on all the memories than to walk up the long drive way and remember all the buildings I called home. I remember distinctly years ago returning for a graduation ceremony and because it is a traditional school everything was the same. The buildings had their antique look and the boards still creek.

I watched a movie a few days ago by the name of Hachiko: A Dog’s Story and it is one of the most tear dropping movie I have ever seen. I have watched movies with animals before but this dog deserves an award. The cinematography and the way the camera captures the dog’s emotions is very captivating and it makes the viewer connect with the movie on a level that makes this movie memorable.

It has become cliché to say a dog is man’s best friend – this movie proved more than that. I do not think we understand the relationship and influence we have on our pets. I pick up the cat I live with at home and hear her purr and wish animals could talk or we could interpret in some way what they are thinking because they have their own personalities that make them unique.

Hachiko: A Dog’s Story is a true story of a Japanese dog named Hachiko and his master, a professor. The movie is an American adaptation of a legendary Japanese tale.

The movie begins with the college professor heading home from school and sees this puppy on its own by the train station. Because it was so late he picked up the cute Japanese Akita and brought it home for the night with the intention of taking to the pound or to find its rightful owner. His wife Cate Wilson (Joan Allen) is not happy that he brought the dog home and later agreed that the dog will be there for the night. One night turns into weeks, months and years. Everyday the dog would follow Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) to the train station, walk home and then return to welcome him off the train. The movie sets you up for a huge disappointment because it chronicles for years where this would be the routine of the dog and the college professor.

So you’re expecting something and it happens!

Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) suffers a heart attack while at school and dies at hospital. Back at the train station Hachiko waits and waits and waits, no Parker Wilson. Hachiko repeats this routine for more than nine years until his own death. This dog’s unwavering loyalty to its master makes you emotional – might make you sob watching this movie.

I love drams, but this movie takes it to another level. I remember right after the movie I couldn’t do anything else but rush to my bed to lie down, my head was just giddy – not to say that will happen to you, but this movie will have an impact on you. Normally I returned to my blogging or to watch something else on television but not that night. The movie was directed by Lasse Hallstrom who has worked with animals before on other projects.

Each one of us expresses their loyalty in different ways. Certainly Hachiko’s expression of his loyalty and devotion to his lifelong friend can teach us all a lesson or two. I do not think I will forget this movie. It has made an indelible mark in my mind.

This post will look at two movies, Avatar and Up in the Air.

These are the hottest movies to start the year with. I watched Avatar last week and saw Up in the Air a few nights ago. Two very different movies, totally different budgets, and will receive two different classes of ratings – both rated among the best. I am no movie critic but here is my take on the movies.

Up in the Air

If you were ever to hear the words “You’re fired” who would you want to hear it from? The famous Donald Trump, Ashton Kutcher, your company’s CEO, or your direct manager/supervisor. Imagine a stranger entering your firm to deliver the bad news. The movie Up in the Air directed by James Reitman is about Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) whose duty is to travel across the USA delivering the sad news to employees who have been ‘let go’; by their managers. Interesting job, Isn’t it? Achieving 10 million flier miles just by his job he doesn’t see the importance of relationships and rightfully so, Ryan Bingham has no time to date and cannot devote his attention to anyone because of his busy schedule. Interestingly, he meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga). They have a great chemistry, similar job – travelling and falls in love – well Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) does. The movie reveals a damning revelation which ends their relationship. A little secret – Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) took relationships for a joke and the one person (Alex Goran) who he took seriously was playing him for a joke. How this was revealed is sad so that is another reason to watch the movie.

Clooney is great in the movie. I do not particularly like the second half of the movie. It became slow. The first half was fantastic Clooney was at his best and I believe that’s what people/critics will remember – acting was great.

Up in the Air has received awards and nominations including six Golden Globe Nominations – Best Picture, Best Director and Lead Actor for Clooney. The movie will certainly do well this award season – expect some Oscar buzz of course.

Jason Reitmam who directed the movie did an awesome job. The cinematography was good. I liked the first ten minutes of the film – just great on film – not your normal introduction.

However, before I watched the movie I checked out the movie trailer. I must say if George Clooney wasn’t in the movie I wouldn’t have watched it – going by the trailer. However watching the movie now makes perfect sense why that script made the trailer.

Up in the Air deserves a watch for sure. I don’t think I would watch it again – it’s not memorable.

4 out of 5.

Avatar

James Cameron

I watched Titanic and didn’t know the name James Cameron. Dumb! The movie Avatar will make you remember him for his stellar work in this film. You have amazing and awarded directors but this guy will receive all the accolades and deserves them this time around. He has no competition.

Avatar has grossed over $1 Billion already and it is the second highest grossed movie of all time. Titanic is the highest in history and grossed $1.842 billion. In the weeks the movie was released Avatar has done so well already. Will it beat Titanic? Duh!!!

That goes to show how good this film is. Do not read the reviews for the film, well you can. Set a date, you will need almost 3 hours – not as bad as Titanic (in hours) – and enjoy the movie. We always hear about movies with great graphics, this is real graphics – $500 million alone on graphics. From start to finish the movie is captivating. If you’re into politics you will love it, movie haters will love it, move lovers will be addicted to it, bloggers will watch it because they read it here. Lol  The movie is that good.

Watch it also because they film had no sex scene. I sat in my seat and wondered how these people who make out. Well Avatar did film a sex scene and it will be on the DVD. If someone asks you what you did to start the new decade – say you watched Avatar. This is the movie of the decade – it is beyond it’s time.

Avatar will be nominated at all the award shows this year. Expect Oscar buzz and expect the movie to win big and to be a major contender in any category. Can I say Avatar is nominated in the same categories with Up in the Air? Avatar steals the show for me.
Avatar – unrated. Perfection for what it is.

Invictus Review

Growing up, I heard about the life of Nelson Mandela. Although movies have been made showing his life I have not seem them. Hearing about Invictus, it renewed and I was determined to watch it.

The movie is about Nelson Mandela and his struggles to unite South Africa after apartheid. Apartheid according to Wikipedia was a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government in South Africa between 1948 and 1994, under which the rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and minority rule by white was maintained. Invictus documents Mandela early in his Presidency with aggressive measures to inspire and unite the country around the country’s rugby team and their quest to win the tournament.

The lead actors in the movie Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon were outstanding. To think that these actors are American and were able to reproduce the respective South African accents (both black and white) with such clarity speaks to their depth as actors and their ability to tell the story. That is one thing you have to take away from the movie Invictus. The acting was classy and they did bring the story to live.

The cinematography of the movie was awesome. The camera angles showed throughout the movie were from a spectator’s view at times – as if it were an eyewitness capturing an event. This may have been deliberate because it allowed the viewer to be captivated. If you watch the movie there is a particular scene with an aircraft that is simply fantastic.

Invictus also attempted to show different views from South Africa. You saw the metropolitan areas and we could not escape from the more destitute areas – what I call the face of Africa. It was refreshing to see the developed areas. It actually has inspired me to visit South Africa – only if I could afford it. I have watched many events from South Africa and the packaged televised programs make you want to wake up there. South Africa is big on fashion and I just hope the country continues to show and inspire other African nations to do well. If you haven’t heard, South Africa will host 2010 World Cup, look forward to a world class event as they are capable to deliver just that.

Invictus is big on rugby, big on acting, big on Mandela but Invictus tackles issues that many countries still face today. There is a point in the movie where it shows thousands of people in long lines waiting to cast their votes. Of course, this would be the first time they would be voting since black people were not allowed to participate in elections. It brought back memories of Obama’s campaign and the energy that captivated the entire country and indeed the world. Racism is front and centre in Invictus. It goes to show how divided the country was. One particular scene from the movie shows the new security detail for Mandela not wanting to accept white security guards for the new President because of the effects of apartheid.

This movie is inspiring to watch, it will make you cry and it will make you hungry for something better. It is definitely a movie that will leave you satisfied and wanting more.

Go see Invictus today! I give it 5 out of 5. I love a good drama.

After seeing Emily Blunt on The View discussing her role in the new movie The Young Victoria, I simply had to see the movie.

Watching the period film, I was in awe. I will give this movie two thumbs up for its delivery. From the styling, to the production (set), the acting was simply flawless. The movie suffers from what I call the slow syndrome. It is not slow to the extreme where you are annoyed and want the pace to be increased. However, I like the fact that it goes slow because I am not a 40 year old who would have known the full Queen Victoria history – I’m bad on history I might add.

The movie starts with young Victoria as a child in the palace and the movie chronicles her life and enduring romance with Price Albert.

Highlights

What stood out for me particularly was the way she handled relationships. I would say Queen Victoria knew how to play her cards just right. Many of her own critics expected her to fail but she blew everyone away. She also married the perfect guy. When you watch the movie you may not like Prince Albert’s way of courting the Queen but it worked and in the end he got his dream of marrying her. His expressions were always on quality instead of quantity which was not always great to see.

I really appreciated the term he used in referring to his wife. He always said ‘my wife’ in reference to Queen Victoria. It was the sweetest thing to watch their relationship grow and their uncountable sessions of showing their love to each other. In the end they had nine children together.

The chemistry between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert was great to watch. The actors on a whole delivered; from the accents to the fashions were on point.

In any relationship there are struggles especially when an individual matters to the world – like Queen Victoria. Prince Albert wanted his voice and the struggle to achieve that voice and his space in Queen Victoria’s life was notable. Watching the movie you want the best for them. There is a moment in her life which you have to see – which really places their love and relationship in perspective. Leaders can take away messages from the life of Queen Victoria in the way she honoured her husband. That was great to see the gesture of love, care and thought.

If you like all things elegant, you will love this movie. I could not end this unconventional review without mentioning the relationship the Queen had with her own mother. Family relationships are not always the best. Queen Victoria was a victim of this and the way her own mother handled the situation when she should have stood up had ramifications for her own family – which was only sad to see play out.

I am sure you might have heard or seen many period films that focused on royal families. I have to admit that this is not the heavy royal film that will leave you lost in the dialogue. The Young Victoria is simply stellar, light, has a youthful touch, easy to follow the story line and the movie delivers a class satisfaction that many films of this genre fail to offer.

I have seen reviews that give this movie a D+. Go out and watch this movie, you will love it. I dare you!

This is a review from a normal guy who is not into movies but was impressed with the movie The Stepfather.

stepfather-poster-0

The movie is directed by Nelson McGormick who turns out to have directed the movie Prom Night.

“The Stepfather” was captivating from the start, with unexpected twists which leads to a riveting end. The Stepfather deserves a “thumbs up” and a rating of four out of five ( in my book).

The movie begins with David Harris (Dylan Walsh), a father who killed his entire family. He moves to Portland and meets a divorcee Susan Harding (Selah Ward) who falls in love so fast, she is blinded by his violent and secretive life.

MOVIE-REVIEW-THE-STEPFATHER

One of the reasons I like this thriller is because it moves pretty fast with interesting twists. Kelly Porter (Amber Heard) and Michael Harding (Penn Badgley) the son shares a beautiful relationship. There are some sexy scenes with Kelly that I’m sure every guy would enjoy. I mean she’s always in her underwear. The styling was average, I wanted Susan Harding, the divorcee to be more of a diva – but it works.

On the reality side of things, I thought the wife would have been more critical. She was too easy but guess what; it’s a movie so expect that – dumb things happen. The movie was not as bloody like other horror films (which I liked), very conservative on the bloody side. The music was great though, scary at most points and I felt the gruesome passion involved.

THE STEPFATHER

The ending is not what I had anticipated; but it works. It ends with a message of continuity, or it hints at it.

This blog endorses The Stepfather. Love it.

Watch the trailer below.