Category: Movies


Moon

Directed and Written by Duncan Jones

Starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey

2008, Rated R

95/100

It isn’t everyday that a mind bending sci-fi movie is released. Sadly, most of the science fiction movies released today are big, brainless Hollywood blockbusters (Transformers!!!!!) and aren’t complicated in the least. Out of all these science fiction movies, only few really good and smart ones are released. For 2010 it was Inception, For 2009 it was a tie between District 9 or Star Trek, and for 2008, it was Moon.

Moon takes place in the future, centering around one person for the entire movie. This person is named Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) and he has a 3 year contract to work on the other side of the moon, collecting a clean energy called Helium-3, and sending it back to earth for energy uses.He is accompanied only by a talking robot named GERTY, who is voiced by Kevin Spacey. Only with two weeks to go, some very weird things start happening to Sam, starting with him crashing his vehicle into a space station after seeing another one of himself. To say any more would ruin the movie for you, so I will not go any further.

Moon is triumphant in a very many ways. First off, it has a compelling and interesting plot, filled with elaborate and eye opening twists. Second, for being an independent movie, it has great special effects, and has no trouble convincing you that this is actually happening on the Moon, in the future. Third, it features a career-best performance coming from Sam Rockwell. If you don’t know who he is, Sam Rockwell is known from being the ever-so annoying Justin Hammer from Iron Man 2 and Zaphod Beeblebrox from the movie adaptation of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy . After seeing this movie, I found that he is one of the less appreciated actors in Hollywood as every movie I have seen him in, he hasn’t failed to impress me. In Moon, he does an intense, heartfelt, and excellent performance that carries the entire movie. Once he gets noticed, he will have a heck of a career. Finally, Duncan Jones does a great job in the directors chair, giving off one of the best debuts i have ever seen. I am excited for him to make another movie, as he will have a promising career.

The only thing that could have been improved about this movie is if it had a clearer ending, because i couldn’t fully understand what ended up happening in the last few seconds.

Overall, Moon is a smart, compelling, and engrossing movie that is definitely among the best science fiction movies i have ever seen.

Yoni Gottlieb

2/10/11

Here is the trailer for the movie http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi843186969/

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L.A. Confidential

Directed by Curtis Hanson

Rated R, Released 1997

Starring Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce and Kim Basinger

97/100

It is really kind of sad that Titanic won Best Picture in the 1997 Oscars for many reasons. First off, it makes one of the most serious events to happen in the 20th century into a melodramatic love story that contains a bunch of characters (at least for me) that you don’t really care for, and a love story that you cannot really care for either. The biggest reason why it is sad that Titanic won Best Picture is the other movies that it beat out. The nominees started out with As Good As It Gets and The Full Monty, both which weren’t going to win anyway, but then there was Good Will Hunting, which is an outstanding movie (you can see this by the fact it is in my top 20 favorites, and the fact that it has a 97 percent on Rottentomatoes) and most of all, L.A. Confidential.

L.A. Confidential focuses around 3 cops. First, Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) who is the kind of cop who yearns for the spotlight, then Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) who strives to be ahead, and finally Wendell ‘Bud’ White, a violent cop who will break the rules to serve out justice. After a shootout at a 24 hour diner, they each investigate together, using their own unique ways to find who actually is the bad guy.

This film is excellent in so many ways. First off, Almost every performance is memorable in this film. The most memorable performance in fact comes from Guy Pearce. When watching him, you have trouble believing that he is only an actor, as he perfectly captures the man striving to get ahead. Russell Crowe also gives one of his stronger performances of his career, as this is a role that fits him perfectly and his talent is put to its full extent, which is in fact pretty high. Finally, Kevin Spacey does a great job as usual, but it isn’t his career best for a few reasons. First, it isn’t as strong as a character compared to some other roles that he has played or won awards for, such as his career best performance in American Beauty or his outstanding role as Verbil Kint in The Usual Suspects. This is due to the fact that the character that he portrays isn’t a conflicted one, and is more of a showoff, which doesn’t leave off as much leverage for a strong performance than his other roles. In conclusion, he does a great job with his material he proves that he remains one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. Kim Basinger, on the other hand, gives off her best performance (granted i haven’t seen her in many other movies) and fluently gives personality and power to her character. She fully deserves the oscar given to her for her performance in this movie.

Another excellent part of this movie is its script. The script is filled with strong dialogue and clever wording throughout the entirety of the film. Another great part about this script is its story, which is of more thanks to the book that this film is based off, yet it is thanks to this script that this film had such a naturally flowing story line. I also thought that this screenplay was very clever in the way because instead of having a normal flowing plot line like other movies, which tend to focus on one main character and other minor characters, this movie focuses on three different main characters, and intertwines their stories throughout the film. This type of plot could be compared to the movies of Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction) except for the fact that it is all one story and all of the main characters know each other from the beginning of the movie. The format for a traditional Tarantino movie would include a few different stories of people who start out not knowing each other, and then a series of events that end up intertwining each story together. Overall, this movie has an excellent screenplay which definitely deserved the Oscar given to it and the transition from book to movie is basically flawless, making off for a great movie that stays true to its book.

In conclusion, this is an excellent movie that both captures the dark essence of crime in LA, and makes for an engrossing murder mystery filled with great performances, direction and sharp dialogue.

Yoni Gottlieb

1-24-11

Shaun of the Dead

Shaun Of the Dead

2004 Rated R

Directed by Edgar Wright

Written By Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield and Bill Nighy

98/100

Around now, there are few directors that have consistently made good movies in their career. One of the only few directors that have accomplished this so far is Edgar Wright. So far, he’s had Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz (which is a brilliant cop comedy), and his newest Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, which made my top 5 out of my favorite movies of 2010. Out of all his movies, my personal favorite is definitely Shaun of the Dead.

Shaun of the Dead is about a 30 something year old slacker named Shaun (Simon Pegg), who after his girlfriend breaks up with him, zombies start appearing in London. He takes it upon himself, and his friend, Ed (Nick Frost), to save his mom and his girlfriend and take refuge in the local pub, the Winchester.

With his debut, Shaun of the dead, Edgar Wright has completed the rare feat that is rarely seen in parodies; He managed to make a hilarious spoof of zombie movies and in the meantime made an awesome zombie movie.  There are many great components to this movie. First of all, the scares and the jokes are evenly timed perfectly with each other, making the mix of genres even and at no point weird. Second, it has extremely likable characters including Shaun (Simon Pegg) who is that likable, funny, and even slacker who takes advantage of the Zombie apocalypse to be a leader. To put it in short, Shaun is the type of character that you would want to be friends with in and out of a zombie apocalypse. The other lovable character in this film is Ed (Nick Frost) who is Shaun’s jobless best friend who is a video game lover. Even though he is easily the laziest out of all the people in this movie, he is funny, filled with witty dialogue and a good person at heart. Third, this film has one of the greatest re-watch values out of all the movies you can watch, due to the amount of jokes written into its script that you find on second and third viewings. Due to this, it becomes a better movie each time you watch it. Finally, its ending is both unpredictable and satisfying, and it is a great way to finish off the movie.

Overall, this is both one of the best horror movies i have ever seen and one of the best comedies I’ve ever seen.

Yoni Gottlieb

9-27-10

Here is the trailer for the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfDUv3ZjH2k

Best Movies of the Year

Well the year is winding up and i thought i would share my favorite movies that this year had to offer.

1. 127 Hours-96/100- This is definitely not the most fun I have had in a movie theater, but it sure as hell was the most rewarding and inspiring movie i have seen this year. Filled with mind blowing direction from Danny Boyle, and a terrific performance from James Franco, this movie takes the story of a man with his arm stuck under a rock with no one to find him and manages to keep you on the edge of your seat even though it only takes place basically in the same place throughout the whole movie. Best of all,  the character development that goes through this lonely man as he deals with his situation in a realistic fashion is extremely rewarding and teaches you a lesson or two about life in the process.

2. Inception-95/100- Inception is probably one of the best experiences I have had watching a movie because unlike most dumb hollywood movies, Nolan’s are very smart and very creative. Inception is a rare experience where it creates a whole new world of the dream, filled with a whole array of rules and things that the characters can do that are equally awesome, creative and smart. It’s special effects are amazing, the action is amazing, its dialogue is sharp, the characters are likable and feature memorable performances (mostly from Leonardo DiCaprio) and overall, Inception is one of the most mind blowing experiences you will ever have in a movie.

3. Kick Ass-94/100- Kick Ass is probably the most fun I have ever had watching a movie. It is hilarious, its violence is over the top, it is one of the most well stylized movies I have ever seen, and the teens in the movie are people that I can relate to in one way or another. The best part about the movie is definitely the scene stealing performances from Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl for reasons you can only see in the movie, and Nicholas Cage is also amazing. Overall, this is a highly stylized, violent, profane, raunchy and one of the best superhero movies you will ever see. Thank You Mathew Vaughn for this movie. Here is my full review:http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/865540/reviews/?movie=770786150

4. Scott Pilgrim -93/100- Edgar Wright has had an amazing career so far: Shaun of the Dead for starters, which was an extremely funny and smart comedy (one of my favorites) and still managed to be a bloody good zombie movie, then Hot Fuzz, which repeated the feat, except this time being a buddy cop movie, and now Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Scott Pilgrim is a hilarious movie that is filled with comedy, romance, action, an extravagant amount of comparisons to video games, some pretty cool special effects, and funny characters. Like Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, this movie has a screenplay filled with funny and quotable lines. This may be one of the weirdest movies i have ever seen, but in the end, i really didn’t care. Here is my full review: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/865540/reviews/?movie=770782775

5. The Town- 93/100- The Town succeeds on many levels. Ben Affleck’s direction is great, his screenplay features solid and smart dialogue, it is intense, its action is awesome, and the cast and performances are amazing. I mean, if you look at this cast! It has Ben Affleck (as Doug Macray), who isn’t a great actor, but he definitely showed a lot of potential behind the camera and writing the screenplay. It features a showcase of great performances coming from John Ham hitting a FBI agent rock solid, Blake Lively shows that she can act, Rebecca Hall does Afflecks girlfriend with power and grace,  Chris Cooper has a memorable cameo as Macray’s dad, and my personal favorite was Jeremy Renners performance. Jeremy Renner is well known from his groundbreaking Oscar-Nominated role from the Hurt Locker last year, and in this movie he really nails it as Macray’s wild and crazy lifelong friend who robs banks with him. He is not the nicest person, but he does the feat of making you hate him while still remain interested in his character. Overall, this is a top notch crime drama that excels everywhere but Afflecks ok performance; But when the worst part of a movie is when an actor isn’t oscar bait, it is definitely a very good movie. Here is my full review: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/865540/reviews/?movie=770814363

6. The Social Network 93/100- The Social Network is an incredibly well made movie from one of the best directors out there, David Fincher (Fight Club). Its direction is outstanding, the script from Aaron Sorkin is amazing, it is tense, and it is filled with a boatload of great performances, coming from Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and more. The Social Networks only flaw is not the fault of Fincher and company: It is the fact that the characters in this movie are very mean people, which isn’t fun to watch because you can’t connect with these people; but you can still admire them. This isn’t Finchers fault because it is a true story. Overall, The Social Network is a well done time piece with an excellent script, cast and direction from Fincher. Here is my actual review of the movie: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/865540/reviews/?movie=770857927

7. Buried 92/100- To put it in short, this is the most intense movie I have ever seen, and it features a great performance from Ryan Reynolds. It also makes amazing use of its premise, and it has a shocking yet breathtaking ending. Like 127 Hours, this claustrophobic thriller is definitely worth seeing

8. The Ghost Writer 91/100- This is a lesser known film that came out on independent release earlier this year from director Roman Polanski. Even though he might not be a great person, he is one heck of a director. The Ghost Writer is one of those kinds of thrillers that really takes you into the movie, and puts you on the edge of your seat throughout the movie. Pierce Brosnan does a top notch job getting out of his James Bond uniform by playing a stressed politician who is getting insulted by everyone out there and McGregor gives us one of his best performances of his career by playing the “Ghost Writer” for Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). Overall, this isn’t Polanski’s best movie by a long shot, but it sure is a excellent thriller.

9. Shutter Island 90/100- Shutter Island is a very well made psychological thriller from director Martin Scorsese. Granted, it came from great source material, as the book Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite books. This movie has a great storyline, direction, visual effects, and performances from Leonardo  Dicaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingsley. It also has a great ending that requires a second viewing. Overall, this isn’t Scorsese’s best, but it is still a great movie.

10. Red 88/100- This movie is just pure fun. It has a great cast, funny dialogue, and a smart plot, which doesn’t usually come out of Hollywood these days. Here is my full review:http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/865540/reviews/?movie=770860164

Well there you have it. Have a great New Years, and vacation and have a great end of the year everyone.

P.S. I did not put Toy Story 3 on this list because I categorize animated movies much different than real movies. Here are my favorite animated movies of the year that i saw: 1. Toy Story 3     2. Megamind

Here are the top 20 movies in a short list judged by number rating

1. 127 Hours 96

2. Inception 95

3. Toy Story 3 95

4. Kick Ass 94

5. Scott Pilgrim 93

6. The Town 93

7. The Social Network 93

8. Buried 92

9. The Ghost Writer 91

10. Shutter Island 90

11. RED 88

12. The Other Guys 87

13. City Island 86

14. Harry Potter 7 86

15. The A Team 84

16. Cyrus 83

17. Date Night 80

18. Megamind 79

19. Due Date 76

20. She is Out Of My League 71

The Departed

Movie Review This Week

TheDeparted.jpg

 

The Departed

2006, Rated R

Directed By Martin Scorsese

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg and Martin Sheen

85/100

It is ridiculous to see that it took close to 40 years for Martin Scorsese to win his first Academy Award and yet he is such a talented director. Now, the movie that did this for him was, as you know, The Departed. Even though he probably should have won due to his amazing array of fantastic movies, such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas. Yet out of his best movies, The Departed is definitely one of the best.

What mainly helps this film is the fact that it has a very intriguing plot. The Departed is mainly about the Irish Mafia in Boston. It starts out with the head of the mafia, named Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) giving a monologue over how he took over his share of Boston. He reminisces that the way he got his power was by realizing that “No one gives it to you-you have to take it,” a quote that i found sad but true if you think about it. The movie continues by introducing Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) who as a kid, becomes friends with Costello, and then grows up to be a State Officer who is a rat (tells Costello what the police are doing) for Costello’s mafia. The other big character in this movie is Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) who comes from a bad family filled with crime. Unlike his family, Billy is training to be a cop when he gets put undercover into Costello’s mafia. As Costigan starts to gain trust from Costello, the police start to realize that they have a rat, suspecting anyone but Sullivan. At close to the same time, Costello realizes he has a rat in his group and he starts searching for him. To reveal any more would spoil the movie but the rest of the movie is breathtaking, entertaining, violent and shocking and is capped off with a very good ending.

My personal favorite part of this movie wasn’t a surprise; It was its exceptional script from William Monaham. This film is filled with sharp, realistic and memorable dialogue from each character. The second best part of this movie is its exceptional ending and twists. This is due to the 2002 movie “The Departed” is remaking: Internal Affairs. The movies greatest triumph is probably the fact that its storyline has the kind of story where you want to know what happens next. Another part of this movie that was good were its performances. The most memorable performance probably comes from DiCaprio as Costigan. It is by no means his best performance (I prefer his performances in Catch Me If You Can and The Aviator) but he definitely does a great job portraying the pained undercover cop, suffering from the things he does and sees along with his panic attacks. He is easily the most likable and human person in this movie, due to most of the other characters in this movie being mafia subordinates, or trashmouth cops who also aren’t too nice. Damon does a solid job portraying Sullivan, its just you can’t help but really hate his character. The only other character that is likable is Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen), who is in charge of Costigan. Queenan is the good cop when the cops play good cop/bad cop and he does a excellent job doing it. Also, Scorsese’s direction is not the best of his career but it is neverless breathtaking.

Overall, this is a very engrossing crime drama in which the few flaws that it obtains are overshadowed by its excellent script, cast, and direction from Martin Scorsese.

Yoni Gottlieb

12-28-10

My top 20

Here Are My Top 20 Favorite Movies

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark

2. On the Waterfront

3. Seven Samurai

4. Fight Club

5. The Usual Suspects

6. Casablanca

7. The Matrix

8. Star Wars

9. Die Hard

10. Inglourious Basterds

11. Good Will Hunting

12. The Empire Strikes Back

13. Kill Bill Vol. 1

14. The Shawshank Redemption

15. Catch Me If You Can

16. The Bourne Trilogy (all are way too good to seperate)

17. Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

18. Memento

19. Shaun of the Dead

20. Hot Fuzz

Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite movies?