The Savages: 7.5 out of 10.
I'm not capable of disliking a Philip Seymour Hoffman movie. He's so good, his presence elevates a film. He's definitely in my top five - the man can act.
Throw in a great Laura Linney performance, and you can't really screw it up. "The Savages" is a little slow in parts, but overall a bittersweet film about a sister and brother who begin to care for their ailing father.
If you're interested, I once ranked my five favourite Philip Seymour Hoffman movies.
Twilight: 5 out of 10.
My wife loves the Twilight books. She's read them all, and raves about them. My only exposure to Twilight was all the awards the movie won at the recent MTV Movie Awards, and that's usually the kiss of death for a flick. Still, I was optimistic when we slipped the Twilight DVD in last night after a very disappointing hockey game.
Twilight is probably really deep and intense for the 17-year old crowd, but for those of us twice that age, it's a slow, boring piece of melodrama that leaves you wondering what all the hype was about. I kept waiting for the movie to actually start, then I realized it was almost over.
I watched True Blood from HBO and found it to be far more interesting, sexy and worthy of attention. In fact, Twilight felt like Dawson's Creek meets True Blood, only not nearly as good as that sounds.
In the words of Roger Ebert, Twilight will mesmerize its target audience, 16-year-old girls and their grandmothers.
Up: 9 out of 10.
When I saw WALL-E last summer, I called it my favourite film from Pixar, and that was really sayin' something. All the Pixar films are pretty damn good. Last night, I saw Up in 3D and I'm ready to declare it my new favourite Pixar movie.
It's totally hilarous, tender and sweet and it looked great. I saw Bolt in 3D and left feeling it was okay, but there's Pixar and there's Pixaren't. This is Pixar, and there's a world of difference. A great movie like this doesn't need 3D, but that extra depth was pretty cool as we drifted through the clouds.
Not only did I absolutely adore Up, but the opening short, Partly Cloudy, was tremendous as well. Funny, sweet and great looking.
I didn't think Pixar could top Wall-E but they did. I smell a best picture nomination, unless that's my post-viewing buzz talkin'.
The Incredible Hulk: 6 out of 10.
Only five years after Ang Lee's Hulk, we get Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk starring Ed Norton as Bruce Banner and the University of Toronto as Culver University.
Torontonians will enjoy spotting parts of our city with lots of scenes of Convocation Hall and University College at U of T and the climatic scene taking place on Yonge Street. It's fun to see the Zanzibar Tavern marquee and THE BIG SLICE so prominent, and It's now the only place you'll see the old Sam the Record Man neon sign still spinning away.
As far as the movie goes, it was okay. The highlight might just be the Tony Stark cameo.
Next up: The Dark Knight.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 6 out of 10.
The whole family watched "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" last night. It was strange at first to see Indy as an old dude, and I found it opened a little slow, but once it started rolling it actually exceeded my expectations.
I should preface that statement by telling you my expectations were pretty low. This was a movie I didn't think needed to be made in the first place. And all because it exceeded my expectations, doesn't mean it's a great movie. It's just a sliver better than half decent.
Next up: The Dark Knight.
Iron Man: 8 out of 10.
Like the rest of you, I thought I'd see Iron Man before I saw The Dark Knight.
I didn't know Jon Favreau had it in him. This is quite a step up from Elf. Iron Man is precisely the kind of action movie I like. It's smart enough to be interesting, funny enough to induce a few chuckles and not so inside that non-comic book fans can't enjoy the ride. You can rank this up there with Spider-Man II and X-Men II as a great comic book adaptation.
Next up: The Dark Knight.
Layer Cake: 7 out of 10.
Outside of revisiting some old Indiana Jones flicks with my son, Layer Cake is the first movie I've seen since The Love Guru exactly one month ago. That's partly because The Love Guru was so disappointing it took a month to get the taste out of my mouth, but it's also because I was so immersed in The Wire there was no room for other escapes.
During one of my Wire rants at work, a guy who hadn't seen The Wire suggested I watch Layer Cake. I had never heard of Layer Cake, but it had Daniel Craig and Colm Meaney in it, so I gave it a shot.
It's actually pretty good. It's got a good style, nice soundtrack and an interesting enough drug caper premise. It's directed by Matthew Vaughn who produced Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and this film reminded me of those.
Layer Cake is the kind of movie Guy Ritchie would have made if his talent wasn't devoured by that woman.
The Love Guru: 3 out of 10.
I've finally seen my beloved hockey team win the Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, it was embedded in this steaming pile of elephant dung that I watched last night.
I'm thoroughly disappointed. Mike Myers gets to make amends for our game seven loss to Gretzky and the Kings back in '93 and this is the best he can come up with. It's dick joke after dick joke and it's embarrassing.
Here are a few scattered thoughts on The Love Guru, a movie I desperately wanted to like.
- Our Stanley Cup drought is blamed on the curse of Hank Bullard, who bought the team after the 1967 season. I wonder who Hank Bullard is supposed to represent? Hmmmmm....
- Ben Kingsley is way above his humiliating role in this movie. I cringed every time I saw him.
- It was nice to hear the hockey song opening Hockey Night in Canada again.
- I'm guessing Andy Frost wanted too much coin to reprise his role as ACC in-house announcer, because they went with someone else.
- The best part of this movie is Stephen Colbert.
- You'd think a hockey nut like Mike Myers would see that this movie was true to the rules. First we see the ref issue a game suspension on the ice, later upgrading it to a two game suspension, and later we see him blowing the whistle to stop the game because a coach called a timeout. It's not basketball!
- And what was with Rob Blake taking a faceoff for the Kings?
- Like Slumdog Millionaire, this movie ends with a Bollywood-style dance scene - other than that, there are absolutely no similarities.
- Even Celine Dion had the good sense to stay out of this trainwreck.
At least the Leafs won the cup.
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song: 8 out of 10.
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song is one of three amazing music docs I've seen over the past six months. first there was Joy Division, then there was Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten and now there's Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.
Pete Seeger is the genuine article, and I've got a lot of time for him. He reeks of sincerity and integrity and even at the age of 89, he's as sharp as a tack. If you're at all curious about the man or interested in music as means of protest and a vehicle for change, this is a must-see documentary.
The Visitor: 8 out of 10.
I hadn't heard of this film until its star, Richard Jenkins, got nominated for Best Actor at last weekend's Academy Awards. I've always thought Jenkins was one helluva character actor, but I had never seen him carry a film or show on his own. I had to see this...
It's a charming film with something to saw about the way America treats immigrants. Jenkins is excellent as a professor who seems to have emotionally withdrawn from the world. The film is compelling with a shoe-string budget and the single recognizable face. Catch it if you can.
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