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Turkey Month Trailers

I haven’t posted any new trailers in a long time. FilmIntel posed this question to me on Formspring  what is the best trailer?

Green Lantern

 

Cowboys & Aliens

 

Your Highness

or Red Riding Hood?

 I am learning towards the Your Highness trailer. Not because it was a red band trailer, but it was hilarious and different. Green Lantern has the Iron Man factor (The coolest thing I ever seen), Cowboys & Aliens has Harrison freakin’ Ford and Red Riding Hood has a dark tone to the tale like a Brothers Grimm version. What do you think is the best?

Knight and Day (2010)

Someday. That’s a dangerous word. It’s really just a code for “never”.

— Roy Miller

After the miasma that was Vanilla Sky, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz reteam for their latest effort Knight and Day. First of all, I hated that the studio changed the title from “Wichita” on the original script to this. It’s so plain. Looking at the promos for this movie, I was unimpressed with it, but people seem to be digging this movie. What the hell! Give it a try. Take a gamble. You know what I rolled snake eyes.

This action flick starts with Roy Miller (Cruise); a FBI agent is going to Boston for a little R&R when his flight is delayed. He continues bumping into a random woman, June (Diaz) who is going on the same flight. When they are about to board the flight, she is told by the ticket taker that the flight was full. Roy goes on the flight.

Meanwhile, another agent, Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard) is watching Miller’s actions with June with Director George (Viola Davis) try to keep tabs on Miller from their headquarters. They have reason to believe that Miller has gone rogue, because he has been displaying erratic behavior of late.

At the last moment, June is let on the plane, which is strangely not full. This realization goes over June’s head who thinks it was the carelessness of the airline. Roy, on the other hand, knows better. The flight is plagued with massive turbulence that leas June to spill his drink on herself. When she excuses herself to go to the bathroom, Roy takes on the other passengers who turn out of the assassins.

June coming back to see the plane full of dead people, she panics. Roy flies the plane into a cornfield where Roy drugs her. Before she loses consciousness, Roy quickly explains to her that if anybody from the FBI come looking for her, she doesn’t know Roy.

The next day, June wakes up in her house in Boston where she thinks that everything was a dream, but Roy leaves post-it notes for her around her house. As expected, Fitzgerald comes to talk to June about her relationship with Miller. He tells her about the fact that Roy is losing his marbles and should stay away from him.

For her safety, she is transported to a safe house where the convoy is under attack by a mystery shooter. Turns out to be Roy. June runs for her life thinking that he would come after her. She seeks shelter in a firehouse where her ex-boyfriend, Rodney (Marc Blucas) is at. Over lunch, she tries to explain to him about the past 24 hours. He doesn’t believe her until Roy comes in to take her away. They go on a ridiculous adventure that tests loyalties.

This movie started out like a bumbling romantic comedy then you have to throw some guns and preposterous action sequences to keep the audience intrigued. Actually, I got kinda bored with it. How many times does June need to be drugged in this movie? I’m surprised she didn’t have permanent brain damage.

The MacGuffin of this film was so asinine that I fathom why anyone would give two shits about it in the first place. I understand that the toy knight had to be symbolic of something in his past. When that was revealed, I went with a resounding, “Duh!”

The movie was supposed to keep you guessing about whom to trust Miller or the FBI, but I didn’t buy it for a second. It was going to end up the same way. It is just another throwaway movie that could have been great if it wasn’t handled so poorly.

Judgment: I wish that someone would chloroform me to forget this movie.

Rating: **

Jarhead (2005)

Every war is different, every war is the same.

— Anthony ‘Swoff’ Swofford

During my subscription of Details magazine circa 2003, I passed by a blurb for Anthony Swofford briefly discussing his memoir about his time in the Persian Gulf War called Jarhead. Sam Mendes directed the big screen adaptation of his story. I loved that the story is not a war movie, but a movie about young soldier’s journey.

Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a Marine recruit that is trying to find himself. He thought that the military was the best decision, but he regrets it. He is introduced to his platoon, Gulf Company. His initial reception does not turn out why the way that he thought. They tried to initiate him with a mock branding of the USMC.

Pretending that he has a stomach virus, he meets Staff Sgt. Sykes (Jaime Foxx) in the crapper. Seeing that Swofford is not as dumb as he thinks he is, Sykes wants Swofford to train as a scout sniper. Swofford jumps at the opportunity. He is teamed up with Troy (Peter Sarsgaard).

As the Iraqis invaded Kuwait, Second Platoon is deployed to the battle zone. The Marines think that they would be there a maximum of two weeks, but things changed. As part of Operation Desert Shield, their orders from their battalion leader Lt. Col. Kazinski (Chris Cooper) are to guard the oil fields that are a constant target of the Iraqi militants.

The platoon has to learn is about to the harsh conditions of the desert, how to survive the insurmountable boredom of non-combat conditions. As the days turn into months, Swofford’s mind begins to unravel as he learns that his girlfriend is cheating and he is not seeing any action.

Everybody knows how much of a “Gyllenhaalic” I am. I remember taking my ex-boyfriend to see this movie in the theaters. I was engrossed in the movie and I looked over to see that he was sleeping. That’s why he became an ex-boyfriend.

Sam Mendes has a way to make a monochromic setting into a thing of beauty. You see sand blackened with soot and ash from fireballs or burning oil wells in the distance. It’s like the screen is inverted.

Judgment: If you are the kind of person that doesn’t like gory war movie, you would enjoy

Rating: ****

An Education (2009)

education

If people die the moment that they graduate, then surely it’s the things we do beforehand that count.

— Jenny

When I posted the trailer for An Education a couple of months ago, I eagerly anticipated this movie. I mentioned on my Oscar Watchers group when I posted the release dates of film that I was so excited that I could pee. This movie has a Metacritic score of 85. It’s a fantastical account of a girl that is not having an academic education, but an education of life.

Newcomer Carey Mulligan gives an Oscar caliber performance as Jenny, a 16-year-old private school girl living in 1961 Twikenham, London. On a rainy walk home from school orchestra practice, a car pulls up.

A suave real estate agent, David (Peter Sarsgaard) offers her a ride. She gladly accepts it. In the car ride, they chat about Jenny’s plans to be an independent woman when she gets her grades up to attend Oxford University. They strike an immediate accord with each other.

Jenny’s father, Jack (Alfred Molina) wants to know where his money is going for her education. That is his only intention in her daughter’s life. Bumping into David around the neighborhood, David wants Jenny to meet his friends, Danny and Helen (Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike), but the problem is that Jack wants let her out. David comes by to sweet talk Jack and Marjorie (Cara Seymour) into their little adventures. David is Jenny’s outlet in having the freedom that she wanted.

As Jenny and David’s relationship continues to grow, Miss Stubbs (Olivia Williams) and Headmistress (Emma Thompson) become foils for Jenny when she talks about her budding relationship with David. She tries to warn Jenny not to be caught in the ways of love. She needs to educate herself first, before pursuing the life of a wife and mother. Soon, Jenny’s world is turned upside down when she learns that David is not what he appears to be.

It’s a bubbly romp that transported me to that time with the music, the fashion and the locales displayed on screen. The performances were solid from most of the cast. Carey Mulligan gives off an Audrey Hepburn vibe when she was dolled up. The movie’s plot is typical with a May/December relationship. You could guess what is going on.

Judgment: This movie should not be missed. Watch out for star being born.

Rating: ****

Underrated Actors Spotlight #1

I would like to start another running feature on this blog. Highlighting those actors that delivers outstanding performances in each one of their movies, but nobody in Hollywood would give them a chance to showcase their full potential. You have hacktors actors and hacktresses actresses out there that are getting the good roles and the accolades for mediocre work. I want to talk about one actor and one actress in each subsequent post.

Peter Sarsgaard

Peter Sarsgaard

Peter made his big screen debut in Dead Man Walking. He got his big break in Boys Don’t Cry, playing John Lotter in 1999. Afterward, he starred is mostly supporting roles in Garden State, Kinsey, Flightplan and Jarhead. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role of Chuck Lane in Shattered Glass. He is currently in the movie, Orphan with another actor spotlight, Vera Farmiga. He is also starring in the upcoming movie, An Education with Carey Mulligan.

With every role, you believe that this person existed. There is never a false note with his portrayal. If he plays a killer, a bisexual assistant, a damaged Iraqi soldier, an adoptive father of an evil child, you believe everything about his performances.

Check out Peter’s IMDb profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0765597/

vera_farmiga261

Vera Farmiga

Vera has been in the acting game for over a decade. She made a big splash on the national stage with her role in Oscar winning film, The Departed. She also starred in Iron Jawed Angels, the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate, Never Forever, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and aforementioned Orphan. She was nominated for Critic’s Choice Award for role in Nothing but the Truth. She is co-starring in Jason Reitman’s follow-up to Juno, Up in the Air with George Clooney.

Vera delivers a raw, enriched performance in every role that she plays. If you she is playing, the clueless wife of Nazi sympathizer, the tortured psychiatrist, a member of the suffrage movement or a CIA agent whose cover in blown, she brings and intensity that no other actress could ever do.

Check out Vera’s IMDb profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0267812/

These are great actors. They don’t need to be mediocre drivel like Orphan to get their name out there. Give them a chance to shine and they will blow you away.

FB Recommendation: “Shattered Glass (2003)”

shattered_glass

Are you mad at me?

— Stephen Glass

It has been a long time since a FB Recommnedation was written. Having a busy weekend with Dtv switch, preparing for a family vactation and celebrating my baby brother’s birthday, I haven’t watched any movies.

I would like to suggest writer/director Billy Ray’s debut film, Shattered Glass; starring Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsagaard, and Hank Azaria.

Based on a 1998 Vanity Fair article by H.G. Bissinger, this movie recounts the true life story of Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) that is caught fabricated numerous articles during his time at the New Republic. He is found out by two journalists from a rival web magazine.

Released in 2003, it generated some buzz from Sarsagaard’s performance as the editor of the New Republic that is betrayed by Stephen Glass fabricated articles that he thought were fact.

Judgment: If you want to see a solid movie about journalism, rent this movie.

Rating: ****

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (2008)

mysteries_of_pittsburgh

Sometimes life leads you to the most mysterious places.

I first heard about writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh from the Bens from At the Movies. I cannot recall their exact review, because it was so unmemorable. I know that they said to skip this movie in a nutshell. Wow! Very articulate critique there, guys.

Anyway, this movie has been in limited release since last month. I was intrigued to see it. After I did, this movie reminded me a lot of A Home at the End of the World. I think that movie is better than this one.

Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Chabon, the story takes place in the summer of 1983 where a yuppie college graduate, Art Bechstein (Jon Foster) is spending his last summer of “freedom” before he has to take a stockbroker job in September.

Art has a monthly dinner with his overprotective father, Joseph (Nick Nolte). Art doesn’t want to be a stockbroker, so he takes  a shitty job working at the Book Barn. He has a sexual relationship with his boss, Phlox (Mena Suvari). Sidebar– who the fuck is called Phlox? That is the doctor in Enterprise! See, trekkie coming out.

At a house party, his incomprehensible friend, Momo (Omid Abtahi) introduces Art to his beautiful violinist friend, Jane Bellwether (Sienna Miller). They began to have a kinship over pie when they wax philosophic over life and the uncomfortably of small talk.

One day, a mysterious man on a motorcycle pulls up to the Book Barn and asks Art to get on the back with him. It turns out to be Cleveland (Peter Sargaard), a lackey crook that works for Art’s uncle and is also, Jane’s boyfriend. It turns out that Art’s family is part of the mob.

From that day forward, the trio have a wild adventure of sex, booze and punk music. Art struggles to fulfill his father’s wishes and his desire to be his own person.

The movie was supposed to take place in the early 80s, but it didn’t feel like it. Just because you can saturate the scene with golden colors, doesn’t make it eighties-ish.

The friendship with three friends did not gel. The dialogue at times entered into melodrama. Some plot developments that felt too contrived to be taken seriously. Nick Nolte’s character was very one note. The last couple of scenes  felt very forced and I didn’t feel satisfied with it.

Judgment: In my heart, I cannot suggest this movie to anyone.

Rating: ***

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