Friday, July 30, 2010

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT




Drama

PRINCIPAL CAST MEMBERS
Annette Bening: Nic, a physician
Julianne Moore: Jules, a fledgling landscape gardener
Mark Ruffalo: restaurant owner Paul
Yaya DaCosta: the restaurant’s hostess Tanya
Mia Wasikowska: 18-year-old Joni
Josh Hutcherson: her 15-year-old brother Laser

REVIEW
Modern day families have their own set of problems and serious issues to deal with. The intelligent, realistic dialogue provides a great deal of insight to relationships forged over the years.

The believable characters and fine performances all around make this an entertaining film for the mature viewer.

CLASSIFICATION
for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some teen drug and alcohol use.

FOR NITPICKERS ONLY
• Tanya’s glass seen from over her shoulder is almost full to the top but when viewed straight on it’s only half full despite the fact she never takes a drink from it.
• When his caller hangs up Paul hears “beep-beep”. In fact there is no sound once the phone call is terminated.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

INCEPTION




Science fiction

F.Y.I.
An extractor: someone who can enter into other people’s dreams
An inception: the implantation of an idea deep in someone’s subconscious
Two-dream layers: people dream that they’re dreaming
Three-dream layers: a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream

PRINCIPAL CAST MEMBERS
Leonardo DiCaprio: Dominic "Dom" Cobb, an extractor
Ken Watanabe: Saito, CEO of a Japanese energy company
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: Dom’s longtime associate Arthur
Marion Cotillard: Dom’s wife Mallorie "Mal" Cobb
Michael Caine: Miles, college professor and Dom’s father-in-law
Ellen Page: Ariadne, a brilliant young architect
Tom Hardy: Eames, a forger
Dileep Rao: Yusuf, a chemical genius
Cillian Murphy: Robert Fischer, Jr., heir to a business empire
Pete Postlethwaite: Robert’s ailing father Maurice
Tom Berenger: Maurice’s right hand man Browning

REVIEW
Too long (2½ hours), too confusing (at least for me) and too repetitive (car chases and gun battles go on forever).

Blurring the lines between reality and fantasy is a mainstay of science-fiction movies but sometimes they can go too far with it. Such is the case with this one: after a while it all becomes too much to keep track of what we are seeing.

Consequently about the midpoint I’d given up any hope of ever figuring it out so I occupied myself watching the movie's astonishing special effects and looking for Nitpicks, of which there are quite a few.

CLASSIFICATION
for sequences of violence and action throughout.

FOR NITPICKERS ONLY
• Cobb’s gun is slid across the conference table with the handle away from him but when he later grabs it he is able to shoot the gun without first having to twist it around.
• In the first car chase the grill of the yellow cab gets smashed in pretty badly. But in the next scene the grill is mostly intact and stays that way until the cab drives into the warehouse once more with a badly damaged grill.
• Like the other passengers Arthur puts on headphones when he enters the white van. During its fall from the bridge he no longer has them on until it enters the water and they reappear.
• A car explodes in a big fireball outside the Paris café followed by a lot of debris then another big explosion, this time with the same car that has already been blown to bits as well as others.
• While lying down after being shot Saito’s shirt is unbuttoned at the top and you can see the white sticky tape and part of his blood pack on his chest to create the illusion of being wounded.
• As Arthur helps the team members to the elevator the green EXIT sign is backwards.
• Arthur enters hotel room 491 and says it is directly below room 528. No where have I ever seen room numbers assigned in that manner.
• Arthur and Cobb leave their Tokyo hotel room and go up the stairs to the roof. It is clearly night-time as they get in the helicopter but in the next scene when it flies off it is mid-day.
• While Saito and Cobb are in another helicopter it is raining against the window behind them but seconds later when they are about to take off there is no rain to be seen anywhere.
• The Immigration Officer stamps Cobb’s passport after examining it. Passports of US Citizens returning from abroad are not stamped by US Immigration.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DESPICABLE ME




Animated action\adventure

PRINCIPAL VOICES
Steve Carell: Gru, candidate to become “the Greatest Villain of All Time”
Russell Brand: Gru’s mad scientist associate Dr. Nefario
Julie Andrews: Gru’s mother
Jason Segel: upstart inventor Vector
Kristen Wiig: Miss Hattie, owner of an orphanage
Miranda Cosgrove: Margo, a resident of Miss Hattie’s Home for Girls
Elsie Fisher: her tomboy friend Agnes
Dana Gaier: their young friend Edith
Will Arnett: the banker Mr. Perkins

REVIEW
The title gives a hint of what’s to come: a movie about an unpleasant, perhaps socially irresponsible person, who takes pride in being recognized as such. But what it does not tell you is that this is one witty, funny movie that is entertaining and heart-warming.

As with any good animated comedy geared to children there are references that only adults will understand such as the name of Gru’s bank. And there’s one joke for the Spanish speaking crowd and one for those old enough to know how to spell. But there are lots of other funny moments, some of them the laugh-out-loud sort.

Hans Zimmer, as Score Producer, is responsible for the wall-to-wall music. He remains my all-time favourite cinema soundtrack composer.

CLASSIFICATION
for rude humor and mild action.

FOR NITPICKERS ONLY
The carnival game operator has a soft drink on the counter with a short straw in it. Moments later he takes a sip from it but the straw is twice as long.

P.S.
I enjoyed the movie so much I saw it twice in both formats. To me this time it’s worth the extra few dollars to see the 3D version despite the slightly dimished brillance of colours.

P.S.S.
Stick around during the end credits to see some more antics of Gru’s little yellow minions who jabber away while getting into more mischief.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

KNIGHT AND DAY




Action adventure romantic comedy

PRINCIPAL CAST MEMBERS
Tom Cruise: Roy Miller
Cameron Diaz: June Havens, a vintage car restorer
Peter Sarsgaard: F.B.I. Agent Fitzgerald
Marc Blucas: firefighter Rodney, June’s ex-boyfriend
Paul Dano: boy scientist Simon Feck
Jordi Molla: Antonio, an international arms dealer
Viola Davis: F.B.I. Director George

REVIEW
It scores on all four counts: lots of action, limited adventure, plenty of romance and a sprinkling of comedy. The action sequences are short and sweet so you won’t get bored with them and the cinematography takes advantage of the locations so it is almost a travelogue as well.

The acting is fine, the story has the mandatory twists and turns but unlike most of this genre the plot is not too convoluted so it’s not too taxing.

CLASSIFICATION
for sequences of action violence throughout and brief strong language.

FOR NITPICKERS ONLY
• The flight attendant completely ignores passengers walking about the aircraft despite the fact the seat belt sign is on.
• While driving on the motorcycle Roy and June encounter the famous running of the bulls. Trouble is that takes place in Pamplona, not Seville.
• Cape Horn, Chile is approximately 11,105 km distant from Los Angeles not 3,976 as indicated on the beach sign post.

P.S.
The little souvenir Roy purchases in the airport gift shop accounts for the first half of the movie title but I have no idea what the “Day” part is all about.