Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mini-Movie Reviews

That means the review is brief, not the movie.

Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans, a relative unknown. Which just means I haven't seen him in anything before. This movie is a good, solid family movie. You wouldn't be jeopardizing your children's morals by taking them to see it. It's a good old fashioned, patriotic, war story with a squeaky clean, pure as the driven snow, love story mixed in. For most people this should be a Netflix movie. I liked the the transformation at the beginning and the twist at the end the best.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, and John Lithgow as the three main human characters. It also stars Andy Serkis as the hyper-intelligent ape, Caesar. Serkis doesn't get top billing apparently because his acting was morphed in with a computer, however, the computer generated morphing mimicked Andy's facial and eye features which is mostly how we come to understand and relate to Caesar. Caesar is the star of the show really so I believe Andy should have gotten top billing. Anyway, on to the review. There are great special effects, but I don't think you have to see them on the big screen to appreciate them. The story is good background for how the story of the Planet of the Apes came about. It ties up loose ends, answers questions, and takes a playful poke at the original movies by having them playing on a t.v. in the background and also by having characters use lines from the original movie. It's a good movie but doesn't rise to excellent. If you've seen the other movies in the series, see this one and if you've never seen any of the other movies, see this one, it might get you interested in seeing the rest. This is a good one to Netflix.

Cowboys & Aliens is a good old fashioned western except that the bad guys are aliens. It stars Daniel Craig who makes a _really_ good brooding cowboy. Think "the strong silent type" on kung-fu steroids. It also stars Harrison Ford who does the crotchedy old man part with a soft spot for children and honor. It also stars Olivia Wilde as a lone woman in an Old West town with a secret and who also seems to know something about Daniel Craig's character when he can't remember himself. I pegged the plot twist for her character when I saw the trailer. M was very impressed that I figured it out so quickly. Anyway, this is a very good western and alien thriller movie. I would recommend seeing this on the big screen to get the full impact of the special effects and the jolt in your seats when you first encounter the aliens up close. The story was interesting without being too complicated. The one negative is that there are so darn many cliches in this movie along with a bit of racial insensitivity. But hey, this is supposed to be a period western and they weren't PC then, right? Go to the theatre to see this, if you have to Netflix it, see it on a big screen t.v. with the volume up loud.

Now I've saved the best for last and I'm quite surprised by that too. Crazy, Stupid Love stars Steve Carell. I'm not a fan of Steve's. In a lot of the movies he's chosen to do, his humor is too juvenile for me and he's too typecast for my liking. I had no expectations of him in this movie and was pleasantly surprised. His annoying bits were muted down and he became more genuine on the screen. That was a first for me, no, make that a second. When he starred in Dan in Real Life he also gave a realistic performance of a character you could love. So now I know he's capable of good acting given a good script and a good director. Crazy, Stupid Love also stars Ryan Gosling. No offense to Mr. Gosling, but I've seen him in Lars and the Real Girl and The Notebook and I didn't even remember having seen him in anything before. Either his performances were forgettable, or he so inhabits a role, he completely disappears in it. Thinking back on those movies and other bit parts I now know I've seen him in, I think he disappears into the roles. When I saw the body on Ryan in this movie I was stunned! I now remember seeing him shirtless in other roles and he was definitely not ripped like he was for this role. So this tells me the actor prepares to become the character he's playing. That said, I think Ryan's character was the most complex, heartbreaking and loveable in this whole movie. There's a twist in the movie with his character that I never saw coming, and I'm good at picking up twists in movies before they happen. I think his performance is the best in the film. I was very pleasantly surprised and totally taken in by his performance. This movie also stars Julianne Moore and I found her performance flat and tired. I don't think she really brought anything to the role. That was disappointing because I've seen her do good work in the past. The last main character in this movie is Emma Stone. I've liked the roles Emma has chosen and enjoyed her performances in past movies, so I was hoping to see a lot of her in this movie. She wasn't in that many scenes, however, when she was in group scenes, her performance was just so-so, when she was in a one-on-one scene with another character, she shined. I can't say anything more without ruining the movie for you. You don't need to see this movie in a theatre even though it's worth the ticket price, so if you Netflix it, move it to the top of your list. It's a very good movie, maybe not good for younger kids, but teenagers and older should enjoy it. Happy viewing!


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I certainly wish I could see the last picture right away--but, since I depend on Netflix, I won;t get to see this for many many months. Same is true of COWBOYS AND ALIENS....Thanks so much for these reviews. I
n all honesty the first two films hold no interest for me, watsoever---But that's just me. I really would like to see the last two.
Hard to believe Julianne Moore was not all that good---She is such a truly fine actress, who always gives her all to any role she commits to and she always delves deep as an actress, in whatever part she plays. I'll have to see what I think when I finally do get to see this film.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

Hi Naomi, yeah, I agree with you on Moore and that's why I was surprised. I don't know whether it was how she chose to deliver her lines or if her character wasn't that well written. I didn't care for the character or her performance, tied as it was to the character it just fell flat for me. I couldn't like her or dislike her. I couldn't identify with her or pity her. Something about that character or the way she played it just didn't deliver for me. It will be interesting to hear your views after you see it to see if I was having an off-day, or if there really was something missing.

CyberKitten said...

Saw Captain America a few week ago. Thought it was pretty good for what it was.

Just got back in after seeing Super 8 which did exactly what it said on the tin.

Will be seeing Apes next week and Cowboys & Aliens the week after... then Conan [phew]. Nothing for ages then 4-5 films come out all at once... [grin]

Vancouver Voyeur said...

I enjoyed both Apes and Aliens. M drags me to so many movies. I had no interest in Crazy, Stupid Love and enjoyed that one tremendously. Go figure.

wunelle said...

I've been wanting to see the Apes movie. It was playing in Sydney, but we didn't have enough time to see it there. Nothing (well, nothing useful to me) plays in China.

I was doubtful about Crazy, Stupid Love, but will put it back on the list of consideration.

As for Cowboys and Cpt. America, I find I have less and less tolerance for the Big American Blockbuster the older I get. I guess that's just me. I do like Daniel Craig, tho, so maybe I should cave here as well. ;-)