Project 100 movies in 2011
1795 7.8 81. Let the Right One In (2008)
"You have to invite me in"
I like horror movies. Something on the attempt to make the audience scared makes me curious to see this kind of movie. That's not the point in "Let the right one in". Somehow this is what makes it so unique.
Oskar is a sweet 12 year old boy that is very lonely and it is constantly humiliated and bullied by classmates. The story revolves on his relationship with a new neighbor: a 12 year old mysterious girl called Eli. She is a vampire and eventually encourages Oskar to stand up to the boys in his class.
This movie is special in so many ways. First you can see the changes happening in Oskar becoming more comfortable with the idea of revenge. Also there is the relationship between Eli and her "father" Hakan. I'll not discuss here all the possible meaning of Eli's relationships but it is suffice to say that it keeps you wondering.
In addition there is the constant fear from Eli that Oskar will reject her. Initially the viewer may think that is only because of the fact that she is a vampire but there is more. You can see her confusion and fear in the scene where Eli enters into Oskar's bedroom by the window and when they talk, she says that she is not a girl. It is very sweet and emotional.
The other two awesome scenes (this time for a much more gore fan) are the scene where Eli enters Oskar's home without being invited and the final scene at the pool. At the end of both situations you can see Oskar's sweetness surfacing again.
The movie has very beautiful scenarios and the sound is something else. I'm not talking about soundtrack. Watch it with the volume high. The sound effects in most scenes featuring Eli increase the perception of the film.
Overall, I think that it is a pity that Eli's past is not explored. But it doesn't compromise the movie at all. To me, "Let the right on in" is a masterpiece. Watch it at night with the lights off just to create a more immersive experience. But under any circumstances, this movie is a 10.
3408 8 8.12. Black Swan (2010)
"Black Swan" tells the story of Nina Sayers: a professional dancer working at a New York city company which is preparing the production of Swan Lake. Nina lives under constant pressure from herself and from her mother to become a perfect ballet dancer. In addition, Nina has to fight the competition of a new and reckless dancer in the company. As a consequence of this pressure, Nina starts to develop strange visions.
I have to say that I thought that this would be another overdramatic movie. But this film is so much more than this (in a good way).
First let me talk about the ballet parts. I don't think that it was the point of the film but the moviments are beautiful. The synchronism with the camera is perfectly done.
The other point is the symbolism in the movie making an analogy with the story told in Swan Lake. The effects are breathtaking and there is something "Shyamalanesque" in some of the scenes, something that I haven't seen since "the village". There's all this tension amazingly built and the viewer is always concern about Nina.
Talking about Nina, let me say something about the acting. Natalie Portman is stunning in this movie. She's as beautiful as ever (even after losing 20 lbs). Also, it seems that she really embrace the character. Give her the Oscar already. It will be well deserved. Now, Natalie earns a special place in my heart. :-)
Overall, Black Swan is one these movies that will be timeless. People will be emotional, scared and amazed watching this. You will feel hostage of the artistic performance of Natalie Portman and the direction of Darren Aronofsky. Hands down, this is the best movie of this year for me, so far. Black Swan is a complete 10. Do yourself a favor and check. it. out.
2248 7.7 83. Star Trek (2009)
"Space. The final frontier..."
Star Trek! Booyah! Well, like a good nerd I used to watch reruns of star trek, the original series. It was awesome! I didn't really care about the bad special effects and the not-so-convincing fights. I think that the things that I liked the most were the sci-fi plots and how honorable and courageous the characters appear to be. And guess what: this new Star Trek took good care of those things.
This Star Trek movie shows us the early years of the USS enterprise crew. It begins with the Romulans leaded by Nero attacking the USS kelvin where the mother of James Kirk was. Through the bold acts of the capitan of the USS kelvin (Kirk's Father), the mother and son could scape alive. Years later, Kirk joins the Federation and after a surprise attack on the Vulcan planet the newly formed USS enterprise crew jumps in the hyperspace to face the danger brought by the same Capitan Nero!
As I said before, the character's construction is very good. As the main crew is introduced, you can almost few like they are old friends that you didn't see in a long time. That look of epiphany that Kirk had in the series (when he suddenly figure it out a way to solve the problem) is there. The cold and logical thoughts of Mr. Spock, the grumpy but loyal Dr. Leonard McCoy and the talky but hard-worker Mr. Scott.
Also, the way that they came up to do this reboot is really original because it does not destroy everything that the previous series/movies have built with these characters (always nice!).
In the end, Star Trek is a good movie for non-fans and a REALLY good movie for fans of the old adventures of Jimbo, Spock and Bones. For me, this is a well-deserved 9!
2009 7.5 7.54. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the world is a film adaptation of a comic book series. As an orthodox Nerd/Geek, I love comic books. I love the structure of the medium and how awesome the storytelling can be. Thus, I look forward to see every comic book-based movie. This one was no different.
Scott Pilgrim is a 22 years old guy that plays in a band and it's trying to recover from a major break up by dating a high school girl. He meets Ramona a amazon.ca delivery girl and falls in love with her in a kind of obsessively manner. The problem is that Scott has do defeat her 7 evil ex-boyfriends in order to date her.
Comic book-based films are very hard to make because of the differences between the media and because of the hardcore fans (:-P). But I have to say it: I think that this Scott Pilgrim movie is the best comic book adaptation that I've ever seen. It's so graphical! The exaggeration of the movements and fights, the use of motion lines (technique used in comic books to give the impression of movement), also the use of gaming references. Graphical bonus points, getting a life and the use (right at the beginning, after a 8-bit version of the Universal studios' theme) of one of the best soundtracks in the history of games: Zelda.
The story is really evolving and doesn't drop the ball in any moment with all the fights. Talking about the action, I particularly liked the battle against the third evil boyfriend (played by Brandon Routh). The special effects are very well done here.
I have to make a comment about the sound. I know that the lyrics and even the chords are in the comic books but to listen to them for the first time in the movie is awesome. They set the mood throughout the film and play (ha!) a role in two of the fights.
Last but not least, the acting. I've to agree with a friend of mine (Miklecio) that says that Michael Cera has no expression. He seems to have the same face in every situation. Either the characters he plays are all emotionless, or there is something wrong. Playing Scott Pilgrim, he is a little better though. I think that the part fits well for him. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is great playing Ramona Flowers. I think she was good on setting the grounds of "normal" and "cool" that contrast well with the craziness of Scott.
In the end, I think that "Scott Pilgrim vs. the world" delivers what the hardcore fans expected. If you like comic books, games and/or music (and for God's sake, who doesn't?!) this is a must watch! The movie telling the story of Scott and his gang earns a 9 in my book. Check it out!
2121 7.9 8.15. The King's Speech (2010)
4201 8.2 8.46. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Usually I start my review describing the plot shortly. But that's one of the things that most caught my attention about reservoir dogs: how simple the plot is.
The story is about a robbery that goes wrong. That is it. It's like a tale (it even reminded me a little of twilight zone). It's straightforward and it would be very succinct if wasn't for the way it is told. Essentially, the film takes place in a shed after the assault and the rest of the story is told through flashbacks. Even the flashbacks are usually compartmentalized telling how each of the main characters got involved in the robbery.
The shed is the center stage of the story, leaving the robbery in a secondary role (the robbery itself is not even shown!). The shed serves as a sort of mechanism to isolate the characters from the world. It's very clever! Only a few times (except for flashbacks), the characters come out of the shed. Somehow it highlights the difference between calm of the outside world and the tension of what is happening inside the shed.
The camera movement, the constant openings to introduce new characters in the scene and closes to catalyze the tension of a given character also stand out in the film. In particular, it is interesting to see the camera moving during the scene where Mr. Blonde is doing his "work" on the policeman. It focus on the wall where it reads "Watch your head." Perhaps a lightweight black humor.
The process of telling the story through flashbacks causes certain reactions in the viewer that couldn't happen if the film was told in the correct chronological order. I don't want to spoil anything, but just imagine how the end could be avoided if Mr. White just took Mr. Orange to the hospital as he wanted. Mr. Orange didn't care about getting arrested. why?? Well, if you saw the movie, you know why. :-)
That kind of mystery wouldn't be a mystery AT ALL if the movie were told in the right chronological order.
Well, in the end, I think that Reservoir Dogs is a very good movie and it seemed very well planned. I'm not saying that all other movies are not planned. But in this case you can see it. Clearly.
If you like Tarantino and didn't saw this, something is wrong with you. If you don't like him, give the guy another chance and watch it! :-) This one is a solid 9.
1315 6.9 7.17. Super 8 (2011)
1631 8.2 8.78. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
219 6.8 79. We Are Marshall (2006)
The film tells the true story of a College Football program that was almost shutdown due to a tragic airplane crash that killed most part of the players and coach staff. The movie shows the effort to re-establish not only their football team but also to make a whole town move on from the tragedy.
This is a beautiful movie with emotional scenes and great acting. McConaughey is really good and the unorthodox way to do things of his character helps do dose out some comedy and make the film emotional but in a very easy way. Fox is also very good and he is responsible for some touching scenes. In a funny note, I have to say that it is a bit strange to see Matthew Fox calling someone else "Jack".
Overall this is a very well performed film with awesome soundtrack (70's just rock!). Even if you are not into football I would say that this is a must watch! The story of Marshall's Football rising from the ashes deserves an 8. Check it out!
4048 7.3 7.610. Juno (2007)
Juno depicts the story of a teenage girl who finds herself pregnant of her best friend. This plot could lead to a really cheesy movie but that's not what happens here. Juno is not a girlie girl and Ellen Page does an awesome job acting. The main character is comfortable with her life style (funny part in the beginning when she apologizes for talking in her "hamburger-phone" in a very natural way).
In the end, Juno has very few clichés which is refreshing in this kind of movie.
In a curious note, I've notice in two scenes that Juno has some name tags sticked in some boxes and in her locker. One of them says "Zeitgeists". I don't really know what that means.
Overall Juno is a solid 8 movie and it is worth to watch in a lazy Sunday afternoon just to match its "easy going" style.
552 6.9 7.111. It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
In my point of view, expectation is an important element regarding the experience of watching a movie. In the case of "It's kind of a funny story", the audience, after watching the trailer may have the sense that this is a superficial movie. That is not really the case.
The movie tells the story of Craig, a teenager on the verge of deciding his career (college application) and after having suicidal thoughts he checks himself in a hospital's psychiatric floor. Once there, he bonds with some of the other patients. Eventually, Craig feels better about himself after take a look at life through the eyes of his new mates.
The central theme of the film is very deep as something like "how do you want to live your life versus how the society compels you to live it". Some of the characters presented in the movie simply didn't know how to react in the society at some point. They have that in common.
There's when the film gets really meaningful. If you think about it, they really get better inside the facilities of the hospital because a new artificial society (composed by the patients) is created. It is a very simple one. Manageable.
The movie also have some comic relief and well dose out. Zach Galifianakis is something else in this movie. The only other movie I've seen featuring him was "the hangover". When I found out that he would play a mentally disturbed character, I thought "again??". Here, is a little different: Galifianakis' character shows bits of drama, comedy and, yeah, dumb crazyness. All well performed.
I've never heard of Keir Gilchrist but he seems a nice actor and he is very good in the "flashback" scenes.
Two last thoughts: the Queen musical scene is cool and Emma Roberts is very pretty.
So, "It's kind of a funny story" is a very fluid movie to watch and has a meaningful message. The acting is very good and probably will please different kind of audiences. The movie deserves an 8. Check it out.
1595 7.2 7.112. Easy A (2010)
The story of "Easy A" is very simple. It depict Olive Pendergast, a high school girl that tells a lie about losing her virginity and suddenly everybody in the school knows. This leads to a series of other lies told by Olive throughout the movie that culminate in a situation where everyone thinks that she is a slut.
The movie is a comedy about high school life. Everybody knows how it is and there's a lot to relate to. The mechanics of storytelling (where the protagonist tells the story through a webcast) is very good and opens space for a lot of good jokes.
Olive is an awesome character. I don't know if it was build up by the writer, the director or by Emma Stone, but it works! Whatever it was, Emma Stone delivered it very well.
The film is full of elements that will probably remind you of classic romantic comedies from the 80's and some of them are actually mentioned in it. Particularly, I don't think that this makes the movie unoriginal.
"Easy A" has it's cheesy moments but is part of the genre. I must confess that it is much better than I expected and I'll be looking for other movies featuring Emma Stone. If you like romantic comedies with more comedy than romance, check this one out. "Easy A" is an 8!
703 6.1 6.513. Youth in Revolt (2009)
805 8.5 8.514. Paths of Glory (1957)
1053 6.4 6.915. Adventureland (2009)
In adventureland, James is a recently graduated student who sees his trip to Europe going by the drain after his parents tell him that they are broke. In order to maintain his goal to go to a graduate school in New York he finds a job in an amusement park (called Adventureland) in his hometown. Also, James is an ideological virgin in a sense that he only wants to have sex with someone he loves. Working in Adventureland he meets a co-worker called Em and they rapidly fell attracted to each other. The problem is that Em is already sexually involved with Connell, the handyman.
The film is really fun to watch and the workers in the park have very solid personalities. It is also interesting to see that James get to know most of them once they know that he has a stash of pot. Most of the intimate conversations are developed while smoking weed.
In addition, I have to say that Kristen Stewart is not a bad actress herself. She is also very pretty (maybe I'll watch Twilight someday).
The movie does not have that much to offer, but it is fun to see the characters evolving through their experiences with each other. Also, the comic relief presented by Bill Hader as the park's assistant manager fits well.
At the end of the day, Adventureland is good movie and as it is set in the 80's, the soundtrack is cool to. Watch it just to pass the time. It deserves a 7.
885 6.9 6.916. Whip It (2009)
When I watch a movie that I really like, sometimes, I have the urge to see the scenes I liked the most again or even see a movie very similar with the same actors. Well, I watched Juno and already liked Ellen Page so, I when to see if there was another one starring her. This movie is the result of this search. And it was surprisingly good!
Whip it is the story of a 17 year old girl of a small city in Texas. Her mother pushes her into those beauty pageant but clearly it is not her cup of tea. One night she and her best friend drive to Austin and end up in a Roller Derby exhibition and she gets interested (I got to be honest here: I've NEVER heard of Roller Derby before in my life. But it's awesome!). She gets into a Roller Derby team and really enjoys herself but eventually her parents find out.
The rest of the movie is really obvious but the Roller Derby scenes are very funny. The underworld of an obscure girls-only sport (always nice!) is very interesting to see.
The acting is very good by pretty much everyone here and the film is really enjoyable. Also, there is very good soundtrack. The Ramones with "Sheena is a punk rocker" kick ass!
If you like Ellen Page and easy going movies, this is a must-watch. If not, check it out just to see the first film with Drew Barrymore as Director and the Roller Derby scenes. It is worth it.
Whip it is a 7!
2934 7.3 7.617. 28 Days Later... (2002)
To me, zombie movies are very good. They have some kind of urgency in the chaos that other movies do not. 28 days later is yet another (kind of) zombie movie. The story revolves on a young man (Jim) that has been in a state of coma for a while and during this period, some virus has been spread throughout the world causing the infected ones to become murderer animals. Pretty much like our classical zombies. Not much of a difference (I'll call them "zombies", hereafter. Bear with me). Jim eventually encounter other people trying to survive like Selena, Frank and Hannah. The group tries to find some place safe from the "zombies" since Frank heard a broadcast informing that Manchester has a cure for the virus.
However, I have to say that this movie does not focus much on the "zombies" as on how different people react to such catastrophe. Selena initially is moved only towards survival without any real meaning until she meet Jim, Frank and Hannah. The real villains of the movie are the "Brigade" settled on Manchester that initially welcomes the group but in the end tries to maintain the girls as hostages and possibly rape Selena and Hannah. Honestly, the major message of the movie is that no matter how bad is the situation (calling for union and etc), human beans can be very despicable. That's not much of an original message, but it is well presented.
On a personal note, I must say that Cillian Murphy looks like a psychopath all the time. That fits well in a certain scene of this movie.
Well, I have to say that "28 Days Later" is a well performed movie to watch in a friday night (with an easily scared girlfriend, perhaps :-p) just to pass the time. Is much of the same, but if you like this kind of movie, this is a good one. In my opinion it is worth a 7.
883 5.9 6.118. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)
704 8.1 8.119. Network (1976)
Ok, before you read this review I should remind you that everything written here reflects a very personal opinion(how presumptuous of me to assume that anyone will read this...).
"Network" is a satirical movie that depicts the corporative backstage of television networks. The story revolves around a nervous breakdown of a longtime anchor (Howard Beale) of the Evening News after being told that he would be cut from air due to low ratings. This breakdown leads to a series of shocking statements including a warning that he will kill himself during the next broadcast. The rest of the movie is about the network trying to exploit the anchor straightforwardness as long as the ratings continue high.
Let me say the good things first. The main theme of the movie is good and it does very elaborated critics to the broadcast companies and how the TV has been brainwashing people over the year. At some point the owner and the producers try to brainwash Beale into say that the excessive capitalism is part of democracy and on the other hand Howard's inflammatory speeches are more brainwashing towards the viewers. Overall everyone is trying to manipulate somebody.
Also, the acting (here I am trying to get technical again) from Faye Dunaway and Peter Finch are awesome. Both of them really know how to be crazy. In addition, I have to say that I really like the lines of William Holden's character, who always seems to be the voice of reason.
What I didn't like about the movie is that it can be really confusing and sometimes you may find yourself trying to understand the point of some parts. I dare to say that some points of the movie are unnecessary (you can cast stones now, if you want).
I get it. The movie suppose to present the ups and downs of a tv show and highlight the reaction of the network producers. But the side effect is that sometimes it becomes boring.
Overall, I personally think that "Network" is a good movie. But I guess you have to be on the mood for such film and be able to get the subtleness of the black comedy presented in it. If you are a BIG fan of satirical movies featuring an elaborated critic to society, I would recommend it. For me, "Network" is a 7.
1504 7.5 7.720. True Grit (2010)
7 7.5 6.921. The Glass Menagerie (1950)
794 6.1 6.222. The Karate Kid (2010)
I remember watching the original Karate Kid movie a few times when I was young. It was a good and inspirational movie. It shows the story of a boy who meets a girl and they both seem to like each other, but there's a jealous ex-boyfriend and his gang to bully the kid. The kid meets a Japanese man that teaches him Karate and eventually he enters a Karate tournament to face the guys that use to torment him. It shows a good story about facing your fears and realize that you have in yourself the power to overcome it.
The story of this new Karate Kid movie is similar but instead it shows a boy that moves with his mother to china and instead of Karate, he learns Kung Fu from a strange handyman form his building.
I guess that this movie is a little bit less emotional than the original one. The main character does not seem to be as scared with the situation as Daniel San and there is much more comic relief.
Jackie Chan is awesome. Everybody knows that. But I guess that a lot of people expected a little more of his famous moves in this film. The kids in the Kung Fu tournament are good but there's only one Jackie Chan in this world :-)
In a more technical observation (I'm not comfortable doing it, but what the heck...): Jaden Smith shown again that people can expect good things from him. I liked him in "The Pursuit of Happiness" and in this one he had good acting and commitment with physical preparation for the part. Good one!
Don't miss the scenes in the Wudang Mountains. It has a very beautiful view and the cobra lady is interesting.
I don't really like to talk about the bad things in a movie (unless is REALLY bad) but I have to say two things: first, this remake was a little bit too similar to the original in some aspects. I mean, just because the scenario has changed (Los Angeles for China) and the martial art (Karate for Kung Fu) it doesn't mean that you have enough differences and can't change anything else. I little more insights would be good. I'm just saying :-)
Second, the final hit on the final fight of the tournament was a little too much don't you think? wow. That was almost DragonBall-like kick. Again: just saying.
Finally, "The Karate Kid" kept the spirit of facing and overcoming fear from the original movie, which is always nice, and deserves a good 6!
557 5.9 6.423. She's Out of My League (2010)
"She's Out of my League" tells the story of Kirk, a security officer at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Kirk is man who has very low self-esteem, partially because of his family that seems to aways mock him or not take him seriously. One day, at the airport, Kirk meets Molly, a successful, intelligent and very beautiful woman and they eventually start to date. The story revolves around the conflicts of Kirk trying to overcome his insecurity due to the fact that he (and everybody else) thinks that she's out of his league.
The story is well told, although it has the famous recipe of a couple knowing each other, liking each other, something happens to break them up and in the end they get back together.
The movie is funny, specially in situations where people see Kirk and Molly together and seem to not believe it. The concept of assigning points to people in order to see if they can date each other is also very amusing.
Jay Baruchel is very good in this kind of part. He seems naturally shy, clumsy and not having the way with women. Also, he is very funny with his nasal voice.
In addition, I have to say that, for the part of an amazingly beautiful women, there are few other actresses like Alice Eve. She is gorgeous!
Overall, the film is, for the most part, a traditional romantic comedy with a clumsy anti-hero as leading role. If you are seeking for a movie to watch with your girlfriend after a nice dinner, go for this one. "She's out of my league" deserves a 6.
2602 8.2 8.524. Toy Story 3 (2010)
1159 6.9 7.325. Limitless (2011)
1336 6 626. Sucker Punch (2011)
2347 6.4 7.227. Knocked Up (2007)
1056 5.8 5.828. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning... (2010)
302 4.7 5.229. The Dilemma (2011)
924 6.7 730. The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
835 6 6.131. I Am Number Four (2011)
499 6.2 6.332. Going the Distance (2010)
386 5.7 5.633. You Again (2010)
Ok, I'll be honest. The only reason I watched this movie was because of Kristen Bell (always nice!).
The movie is about a girl (Marni) who is coming back home for her brother's wedding only to find out that her future sister-in-law (Joanna) is the girl that use to bully her in high school (oh, high school... good times, right?). Marni realizes that the girl that is marrying her brother didn't really change and then she decides to break them apart. In addition, Joanna's aunt was in high school with Marni's mother and they have the same situation as Marni and Joanna (yeah. I know, I know).
Somehow the plot seems like something that you already saw somewhere and it is not hard to figure out how is going to end. There is a few laughable parts and I like Kristen Bell acting (see? I don't think that she's JUST beautiful!) and somehow she is really good as this kind of clumsy character.
Overall "You Again" is a very "more of the same" movie and I would only recommend it if you wanna see a movie in bed to sleep over it OR if you love to see Kristen Bell moving and talking :). This is a 4.
810 5.5 5.834. Grown Ups (2010)
2879 6.4 735. Wedding Crashers (2005)
820 6.1 6.336. Just Go with It (2011)
870 5.8 6.437. Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
Hot Tub Time Machine. If you think that the title is stupid, wait to see the movie itself. This suppose to be a comedy movie right? Well, it didn't make me laugh that much and I have to say that I'm used to laugh about almost everything. Ok, let's start: in the film, three (now) old friends get together in a resort and after too much drink in a hot tub they found themselves in 1986 (wtf?) and have to relive all the experiences that happened that night to maintain the natural order of things.
Ok, let me tell you: the only guy that made me laugh was Nick (Craig Robinson). Also, the story is completely stupid. Not crazy. Not wild. Not funny. Just stupid.
Some of the scenes are really gross like the blowjob bet.
Funny part: when Nick looks at the tub and says "it's a... HOT TUB TIME MACHINE" and looks at the camera breaking the fourth wall as if saying "did I really just said that?!"
Look, I like funny movies and I REALLY like time traveling movies. But this one is bad. Watch it if there is nothing else to do AND you have insomnia.
706 5 5.438. Couples Retreat (2009)
Yeap! One more Kristen Bell movie. Sorry. I'll try to stop...
Couples Retreat presents four couples and one of the couples, with some marital problems, suggests a week in a couples retreat spa-sort-of-thing. The others accept it but just because of the fun features of the resort. Once there, they find out they had problems all along and never realize it.
The movie is very boring most of the time and only two or three of scenes are funny. The end is very cliché and you know it even in the middle of the initial credits. Vince Vaughn is responsible for most of the funny parts (2 out of 3 to be precise) and only because he can make me laugh when he argues with someone else. I don't know. It's something about he starting to talk faster and faster as the arguing progresses.
Well, Kristen Bell is beautiful as always but overall the acting is not really convincing. My guess is that the actors realized that the movie was not that good in the middle of it. :-)
There is not much left to talk about since the movie does not offer anything new at all. Watch it if you are drunk or simply brain dead. This is a 2.
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