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Shutter Island (2010)

I wonder, is it better to live like a monster, or die a good man?

— Teddy Daniels

Martin Scorsese’s latest movie Shutter Island, which stands as the 197th movie on the Top 250 of All-Time on IMDb, has been getting a bad rap since its studio, Paramount decide to move the release date of the movie from October 2009 to February 2010, because it couldn’t afford the Oscar campaign for the picture. I call bullshit on that. This could mean certain death for a film not being remember a whole year from now. This is the fourth collaboration of Scorsese and lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Even though the movie is highly predictable, I still enjoyed the majority of the ride.

Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, former WWII soldier/U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) travel by boat to Shutter Island, which is a home of Ashcliffe, the prison for the criminally insane. They are met by Deputy Marshal McPherson (John Carroll Lynch) who them that they have to surrender their firearms. They take a tour of the complex which has separate wards for men, women prisoners and an old Civil War era, Building C that houses the most dangerous criminals.

The team meets the head psychiatrist of the institution; Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) to investigate the disappearance of a patient that mysteriously escaped from her cell, who killed her kids, Rachel Solando. She is loose somewhere on the island, because there is no way for her to escape the island without drowning.

Searching through her cell, Teddy fines a piece of paper in her room that has “The law of 4. Who is 67?” scribbled on it. In order to try to find out the circumstances surrounding the escapee, Teddy and Chuck want to interview the staff. Dr. Cawley and Dr. Naehring (Max von Sydow) doesn’t want the investigators to rummage through the staffs personal files. Teddy wants to leave immediately.

The more time that Teddy spends on the island he has flashbacks of an incident when he was a soldier in WWII liberating a Dachau concentration camp or his life with her wife, Dolores (Michelle Williams) that was killed years earlier.

A massive hurricane hits the island and the prisoners try to escape the island, Teddy comes to realization when Rachel is found that they are 66 patients on the island, but Rachel implies there is a 67th patient. Who is that patient?

I thought the performances were very good, especially DiCaprio, Jackie Earle Haley and Patricia Clarkson.

I thought that the score was unnecessary in the beginning segments of the film. I guess, Scorsese wanted to set the mood. It was ear deafening. The biggest problem of the movie is the twist. Watching the trailers lately, they talk about the twist ending. The twist you could predict thirty minutes into the movie. I wasn’t a surprise at all, but I was half right about it. There was another sharp turn that I didn’t see coming.

Judgment: This movie was mess with your mind until the very end.

Rating: ****

Watchmen (2009)

I caught a 10:15 matinee of Watchmen. This is one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of 2009. After the hoopla with the Fox lawsuit over the rights, this movie was on the top of my radar. Why was this film in production limbo for over twenty years before Warner Bros had the balls to make the film?

I have to have major gripe before the movie started. I went to an AMC 30 to watch this movie. They were so many previews, that I was about to “Button out” when people had their cell phones out and little kids seeing this movie were screaming. Also, there were at least eight trailers, including Observe and Report, Public Enemies, Terminator Salvation, Up, Star Trek and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The audacity of Fox.

Background. I have never read the original source material prior to watching this movie. I think it was a good idea that I didn’t. I wouldn’t be as nit picky if I did.

The plot takes in an alternative U.S. in the year 1985 where Richard Nixon (Robert Wisden) is in his fifth term as president. The world is in a state of nuclear annihilation between the Soviets and the US. The movie chronicles the Minutemen, a vigilante group disguised as superheros from 1940 to 1985 where one of the original Minutemen was killed in the beginning sequence of the film.

The remnants to the governmental disbanded group have to rally together to solve the murder of the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). (It’s not a spoiler. It happens at the beginning of the movie.) Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) tries to warn the others about their safety. He searches to some of the deepest, darkest parts of NYC to find answers.

He meets his old comrades like Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson), Silk Spectre II (Malin Ackerman), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode) and Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup).

Rorschach tries to find out who wanted to kill the Comedian.

I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed with the movie. The action sequences were few and far between. I wish there was more. Rorschach can kick some ass. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre are not too bad either.

I have to say that the soundtrack of the movie, puzzled me. It was so jukebox. The women didn’t have much to do in this movie, except bend over. Wow. When I saw 300, Queen Gorgo was much more fleshed out then either of the Silk Spectres in this movie Ackerman and Carla Gugino. I really didn’t like Matthew Goode. Something was a little off with him.

I liked to way that they changed the ending. It was more believable to me than in the graphic novel that I heard.

Judgment: This movie is endless rewatchable, but felt lacking.

Rating: ****

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