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Chloe (2010)

This business transaction, which is what this was, is over!

— Catherine Stewart

I have heard of Atom Egoyan’s latest movie, Chloe earlier this year when I saw the trailer for it. I wanted to see the movie, but it never came around my area. When it finally came out on DVD, I had to end my Julianne Moore bender with one of her latest movies. I knew that the basic premise of the movie was taken from a 2003 French film called Nathalie… This movie tried to be Fatal Attraction, but failed miserably.

A marriage that seems to be in disrepair when the wife, Catherine Stewart (Julianne Moore) is suspecting that her college professor husband, David (Liam Neeson) is cheating. She comes up with this because he misses his flight to come home from a guest lecture on his birthday. The next morning when he finally does come home, he tells her that he would be working late.

Her suspect ions grows when David accidentally leaves his phone behind and it rings. Curious, Catherine checks the phone to see a suspicious email from a woman thanking her husband for the good time last night. She is devastated and tries to put on a brave face to keep up the charade. Catherine meets up with a young beautiful call girl named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) who she has seen coming out of the hotel across the street from her OB-GYN office. She hires Chloe to try to seduce her husband and see what he would respond.

After the first meeting with David, Chloe reports back to Catherine about going to David’s favorite lunch spot. Chloe pretends to be David’s type, a student that is studying language. She tried her feminine wiles on David, but he was just friendly, nothing more.

Catherine is not convinced that David was not incapable of going further. She asks Chloe to go a little further with her husband and she would pay her. After the next meeting, Chloe say that David and her went on lunch date where he asked her to kiss him. Catherine’s suspicions are confirmed and doesn’t want to involve Chloe in their lives anymore. Chloe has another motives to involve herself in both of their lives.

I understand that Egoyan wanted to make a movie about longing and desire, but then it descends into another woman scorned movie that we have seen a billion times. The movie felt vapid. Devoid of any kind of depth of the subject. The biggest selling point of the movie is the pivotal sex scene. It certainly was titillating, but I thought it was tacked on. I understand that Catherine was having a thrill on the lurid details Chloe told about the trysts with David, but it was like a romance novel nightmare.

Judgment: It’s a movie with cheap twists and turns and leaves you unsatisfied.

Rating: **

Clash of the Titans (2010)

Only you can save them…

— Io

Upon hearing that Clash of the Titans was being remade, I thought it would be a great thing to update a so-so movie with great special effects and sticking with the same story. The movie came out right when I was going to leave for boot camp. After coming back, I heard nothing but terrible things about this movie. I was thinking how bad it could be. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either.

Raised by mortal parents, reluctant demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington) curses the gods for giving him up when he was a baby. Perseus’s mortal family travel to the city of Argos to talk to the gods about the way their homeland and livelihoods are destroyed. When they do, the island is in a full scale war. The Argonauts are fighting against the gods. A flock of furies descend of the city and destroys the boat drowning the family, except Perseus. The furies merge to form Hades (Ralp Fiennes) and disappear.

At Mount Olympus, Zeus (Liam Neeson) and the other gods discuss how humanity Zeus created is turning against them. They question what can be done to make the human subservient again. Hades appears to tell his brother that the only way to get mortals in line is by using an upcoming solar eclipse to unleash a dread beast called the Kraken.

The Argonauts regroup as they see the lone survivor of the encounter Perseus sitting alone. They urge him to come with them to the palace of King Kepheus (Vincent Regan) and Queen Cassiopeia (Polly Walker) when they are having a feast for the returning soldiers. During the festivities, the Queen blasphemies the gods by comparing her daughter’s Andromeda’s (Alexa Davalos) beauty to that of Aphrodite. Hades shows up during the legion and warning the mortals about their upcoming doom in ten day’s time or sacrifice Andromeda to save Argos.

Hades lets it slip that he is the son of Zeus, which has the King begging for the demigod to help them save the kingdom. Perseus is unwilling to take the monumental task until he is visited by an immortal, Io (Gemma Arterton) who tells him that he is the only one that could save Argos. This fisherman has to take up a sword and shield to go on a perilous journey to save the mortals.

What I can say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? I enjoyed the original movie because it deals with a demigod trying to save the woman he loves from a jealous god. The claymation dates that film to 1981, but it was an enjoyable story. This movie obliterated everything good about the original movie. You have a grown man whining and complaining about seeking petty revenge and refusing to embrace his godlike powers. Give me a break!

I was bored throughout most of the movie. I didn’t care about the journey Perseus has to undertake. The few action sequences that were in the movie were either cut way too short or were completely pointless that I didn’t care. The callbacks to the original film made me cringe of how they made fun of it. The comic relief in the movie was unnecessary. This entire movie was unnecessary as well.

Judgment: A full length movie about a demigod with daddy issues will get annoying real quick.

Rating: **

The A-Team (2010)

I love it when a plan comes together.

Col. John ‘Hannibal’ Smith

The A-Team is a modern update to the 80s action series. I heard of it because of Mr. T. I knew the basic plot of the series. A bunch of wronged guys try to clear their name by blowing shit up anyway that can without killing anybody. I did my Compare and Contract with this and The Losers. Who knew that I would enjoy this movie better?

This is origin story of sorts where it starts with Col. John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson) carjacking Cpl. Bosco ”B.A.” Baracus (Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson) put in the Mexican desert. Nobody goes off on anybody, because they both share the brotherhood of the Army Rangers. They go to rescue Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck from the Federales who are torturing him for rescuing a damsel in distress.

In true to form Alpha Team style, there is a crazy escape sequence that leads the newly formed team to nearby medavac hospital where they go to get the best pilot in the land, “Howling Mad” Murdock who is a raving lunatic. Who would anybody trust this guy in a helicopter much less in uniform in beyond me? The team hijacks a helicopter to get the Federales into US air space where they are promptly shot down.

Back at the base camp in Iraq, a former flame of Face’s, Capt. Charisa Sosa (Jessica Biel) comes into the camp to make sure the guys are on their best behavior after the stunt they pulled. A CIA agent, Lynch (Patrick Wilson) propositions Hannibal to pull a covert operation to steal a package of Iraqi currency plates that were about to be sold on the black market.

Hannibal goes up to General Morrison (Gerald McRaney) to talk about the mission, but Morrison will not allow it to happen on his watch. Hannibal decides to go behind the General’s back to steal the plates using The A-Team’s help. They have an elaborate plan to gather materials together from the camp for the mission. Nobody was watching these lunatics to see what they were up to?

When the guys successfully recovered the plates, they want to celebrate. Their joy is short lived when the General’s humvee was bombed by a group of militia men called Black Forest headed by their leader, Pike (Brian Bloom) to make it look like The A-Team did it. Subsequently, the team is promptly court-martialed, stripped of their ranks and are sentenced to jail for ten years separately.

Six months later, Lynch visits Hannibal in jail to discuss a way to get the team of jail, clear their names and recover the plates. In true fashion, the team comes up with some bat shit crazy ways to break out of jail and get revenge on the person that set them up.

Going into this movie, I knew it was going to be stupid fun from the get go. Sometimes, you need to have mindless entertainment. I had a fucking ball with this movie. Granted the action sequences where incomprehensible. Enough with the fucking shaky cam already!

The Scooby Doo moment at the ¾ mark of the movie I saw from a mile away. Personally, I thought why Jessica Biel was in this movie. She was terribly miscast. A paper bag could take over that role. It was not good to begin with and Patrick Wilson reminded me of Timothy Olyphant’s character  in Live Free or Die Hard to me. Otherwise, I had a huge smile on my face especially when the classic theme song came up.

Judgment: Turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.

Rating: ***1/2

Gangs of New York (2002)

I took the father, now I’ll take the son.

— Bill the Butcher

I have been meaning to watch Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, but I didn’t want to devote the time to it. When I saw the “Top Five Irish Films” on Matt’s site, CyniCritics, I thought I would visit this movie. It stirred up controversy when it was campaign to pick up any of its ten Oscar nominations in 2002 when it something happened to make it shut out in every single category. I felt bad that it went home empty-handed. Looking at it now, I kinda see why.

Taking place during Civil War era New York City, the film focuses on Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man returning back to his old stomping ground at the Five Points. where sixteen years earlier, he witnessed his father, Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), the leader of the Dead Rabbits get killed by a rival gang leader, the head of the Natives, William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis).

An old friend of his, Johnny (Henry Thomas) tells about the disintegration of the city. The name “Dead Rabbits” was never spoken of again. The members of the Dead Rabbits integrated into the Natives. The city has been divided with no clear leader to rise up against Bill and his regime. The climate of the city is ripe with tension from the Natives having boatloads of Irishman coming to the city, blacks being somewhat free and Abraham Lincoln being vilified as a traitor.

After the duo loots a house where rival fire bridges are fighting to see who would put out the fire, they bump into Bill. Bill doesn’t know anything about the son of Priest Vallon coming back, even though his gang sent him away to Hellgate: House of Reform. Every year, Bill pays tribute to the anniversary of killing Priest in a ritual every year, which he relays to his new protégé, Amsterdam that he lets him run his shady dealings.

Amsterdam tries to live out the adage, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” As an assassin tried to kill Bill, Amsterdam stops him for succeeding in what he wanted to do. They become closer. When an ally betrays Amsterdam, he is forced to regroup the old gang to rise up against Bill.

I know that Scorsese wanted to make a movie that chronicle the shaping of New York City the way that is today. I get it, but I thought this movie did not get the point across. I did not care about any of the characters. It was a typical revenge story set in the 19th century. I spent almost three hours of buildup to get premature ejaculation. What I mean by that is that I thought the big showdown was anti-climatic. Shit. It was literally two minutes. What a disappointment.

Judgment: Have you read my last paragraph?

Rating: **1/2

Taken (2008)

You don’t remember me? We spoke on the phone two days ago. I told you I would find you.

— Bryan

First, I want to say, “Fuck, yeah!” Okay. I’m done.

Taken is a movie that is finally getting a release here in the States while it played everywhere in the world for months now. It’s even on DVD in Europe. Some of my friends have seen the movie in DVD form from their friends in Europe. I was so jealous. I heard about the awesome kills. Yes, there are some awesome kills in this movie.

All right. Before I have a mind-gasm over what I saw, let me set up the movie.

While on the phone with his daughter, a former CIA “preventer” Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) overhears a kidnapping taking place in an apartment in Paris where Kim (Maggie Grace) sees her friend, Amanda (Katie Cassidy) being taken.

Bryan instructs her that the same action is going to happen to her. It does. With only a couple of days to find his daughter goes to different places to find the Albanian people that have his daughter before she is sold into prostitution in France.

I didn’t much for the dialogue that much. The dialogue was stilted. It’s a typical action film. It’s in the same vein as Commando or Die Hard. There is no big spoilers here. Same basic plot.

Liam Neeson would like older version of Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum mixed in with — as friend called it — taking Jack Bauer, age him twenty years. That is so true.

There is one scene that is worth the price of admission. There is an interrogation scene dealing with metal stakes, exposed wounds, jumper cables and electricity. Classic.

My judgment: If you are looking for a big dumb action movie with creative kills, watch this movie.

My rating: ***1/2

Schnidler’s List (1993)

After the endless craptastic movies that I have seen over the past couple of days, I wanted to see a GOOD MOVIE. I realized that my mother has a copy of the #7 movie from IMDB 250 list, Schindler’s List on tape when it was shown on NBC back in 1997.

I sat down and watched it. Is it me or is this film terribly overrated? Okay. Before you harp on me, hear me out.

My problem with the movie is the lead character Oskar Schindler’s personality. He is an unscrupulous character that when he sees the atrocities on the Holocaust, he tries to save the Jews. I don’t buy that.

I thought that the pace at the beginning of the film was very slow. The only way that saved it was when Ben Kingsley came in.

I have seen so many Holocaust movies that I am getting sick of them. I believe that if I have seen this film when it came out in 1993, I would have thought that it was best movie ever. I think this is just my bias that Hollywood is draining the well dry. Just beating a dead horse. We get it. Holocaust, bad. Jews, good. Nazis, evil.

I will say that I loved Ben Kingsley as Oskar’s accountant, Itzhak Stern. He was wonderful. He deserved a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Liam Neeson was fine as Schindler. Ralph is Ralph. Nothing special.

The crispness of the cinematography. I loved it. It felt like a noir film. The lighting, the shadows. Great.

I just have to say that my tolerance for these movies is waning. I have seen so many that it’s like it has been done before.

Maybe the film is showing it’s age. Maybe it doesn’t hold up. That’s my opinion about this movie.

My rating: *** stars. (Up to review at a later date.)

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