Thursday, June 24, 2010
Directed by Chris Columbus
Starring Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Keener, Uma Thurman, Kevin McKidd, Steve Coogan, Rosario Dawson, Melina Kanakaredes, Joe Pantoliano
A flaccid film. Look, the comparisons between this and Harry Potter are inevitable. Two reasons: they are both based on popular book series and they are both directed by the same man, Chris Columbus. But where Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone fell flat, well, so does Percy Jackson.
Percy Jackson is regular student who one day discovers that he's actually the son of Poseidon and that there's a whole lot of trouble coming his way. Zeus' lightning has been stolen and everybody assumes that Percy's behind it. A war between gods is imminent unless the lightning is returned to it's rightful owner and Percy sets out to discover it with a help of two friends who are also descendants of gods.
A film like this is a hard thing to pull off and they might've had a chance in hell if Columbus' direction wouldn't have fallen flat and the whole film didn't reek of desperation to copy the success of the Harry Potter franchise. Lerman (Gamer) gives it his all, but the supporting cast doesn't and the worst of the lot is the stereotypical and unbelievably annoying character of Grover (Jackson). At least Steve Coogan brings some working comedy momentum as Hades.
Percy Jackson: Salamavaras on keskinkertaista, joskin hyvin toteutettua perhehuttua, jonka kuvittelisi lämmittävän perheen pienimmät, mutta aidon seikkailun nälkäiset vanhemmat saattavat joutua turvautumaan jonhonkin selvästi laadukkaampaan, kuten esim Kadonneen Aarteen Metsästäjiin. Paljon tapahtuu, mutta entä sitten jos tunnelma on lattea kuin pannukakku?!
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief at IMDb
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, William Hurt, Max Von Sydow, Eileen Atkins, Mark Addy, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes, Danny Huston, Oscar Isaac
This incarnation of Robin Hood is not the traditional tale of the man and the myth, but rather the origin story of how he came to be the man who steals from the rich to give to the poor. Sort of first part of the myth and not the whole.
Richard Coeur de Lion (Huston) is returning defeated from his 10 year crusade to Jerusalem with a man named Robert Longstride (Crowe) among his soldiers. The king is killed and Longstride returns to England with the crown which is passed to Lionheart's less than noble brother. The new king's close friend Godfrey (Strong) is in alliance with the French and what ensues is the backstabbing scenario in which Longstride is caught in the middle.
Ridley Scott now directs these historical mammoths with an ease and it's no wonder since he's been behind the camera on such masterpieces as Gladiator and Kingdom Of Heaven. Crowe is a good choice to play Robin Hood (which the character is called only in the last 10 minutes of the film) and the supporting cast does what it can with the material that is left over. A special commendation must be given to the legendary Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist, Minority Report, Flash Gordon) who again painfully remainds us Finns that the Swedes are accepted into Hollywood and not us. Though judging from his performance in Robin Hood and countless other outings, that is fair to say the least.
Robin Hood on jälleen uusi todiste Scottin vankkumattomasta lahjakkuudesta luoda mahtipontisia ja tyylikkäitä historiallisia elokuvia (Gladiator, Kingdom Of Heaven) ja jo vakioksi miehen ohjaamissa filmeissä juurtunut Crowe on oiva valinta nimikkorooliin, mutta vaikka elokuva ei ole huono millään muotoa, niin se ei ole se klassinen kertomus Robin Hoodista vaan enemmänkin vain näkemys myytin alusta eikä sen kokonaisuudesta.
Robin Hood at IMDb
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany
Thank heavens. I will now let out an official sigh of relief because Iron Man 2 is a very succesful sequel. The success of the first one was a happy accident because nobody expected it to mount to anything other than standard summer fare. Iron Man of course turned out to be a huge sleeper hit of 2008 and it also catapulted Downey Jr. back to big leagues and A-list stardom. And rightfully so.
Iron Man 2 picks up six months after the first movie and Tony Stark is being pressured by the government to turn over the Iron Man technology. At the same time an enemy from the past (Rourke) is gathering momentum to crush him for vengeance and a rival arms developer Justin Hammer (Rockwell) scheems up his own ploys to take over the spotlight.
Downey Jr. is Tony Stark and the role comes naturally for him just like it did in the original, but the true delights of this particular cake are Rourke and especially Rockwell, two unforgivingly talented character actors having fun with their bad guy roles. The film is not complitely without hitches though as the first half is spent searching for the easy going vibe that made the first Iron Man so enjoyable. Stark as a character is overconfident and self absorbed but where the original film made it look weirdly endearing, here he almost comes off as a real prick. Luckily this is fixed skilfully and the rest is business, not as usual, but as we wanted it to be.
And people please, stick around for the credits, eh? When I went to see this to the theater with my friend, EVERYONE else walked out as the credits rolled, but at the end there was a tasty treat of the upcoming Avengers film which combines the Marvel-heroes. It's just like most of the people who've seen the first Iron Man don't have any fucking idea that Samuel L. Jackson is actually in it.. his small, but crucial part comes after the credits and my question is.. what's the goddamn hurry anyway?! Get a nicotine patch and hold your calls for additional 3 minutes!
Iron Man 2 on kuin onkin odotusten veroinen jatko-osa alkupuoliskon kankeudesta huolimatta. Downey J. jatkaa riemukasta comeback-kulkuaan, mutta siitä huolimatta tämä filmi on Rourken ja etenkin Rockwellin juhlaa, jotka repivät pahisten rooleistaan jokaisen herkullisen tipan irti. Ja oli Johanssonin kyvyistä mitä mieltä tahansa, niin voi kilin kellit mikä misu! Saisi luvan rökittää allekirjoittanutta vaikka joka päivä.
Iron Man 2 at IMDb
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Directed by Joe Johnston
Starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Art Malik
The Wolfman is one of Universal's three legendary film monsters along with Frankenstein and Dracula. The ill-fated Van Helsing (2004) tried to share a film with all of them and the result was only embarrasing. The individual remakes however have proven to be quite succesful with Kenneth Branagh's reimagination of Frankenstein in 1994 and Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula back in 1992 (in which Hopkins also played a key role). Now comes Johnston's (Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo) version of The Wolfman and thankfully it is wonderful. Against odds, I must add.
Del Toro plays Lawrence Talbot, a stage actor who learns of the violent death of his brother back home. He makes his way to his childhood home and wows not to leave before who- or whatever killed his brother is captured. Soon he is attacked by a beast and is bitten by it with legendary results. Danny Elfman's haunting score plays in the background as the story deepens and the conflict between Lawrence and his father, John Talbot (Hopkins) comes to a fever pitch. Blunt plays Talbot's brother's widow who is caught in the middle of a monster hunt and develops a romance with Lawrence while Weaving's det. Abberline (note: the same character Johnny Depp played in the terrific From Hell) is sent into the small town to capture the beast and solve the mystery behind it.
The Wolfman is extremely stylish and beautifully shot horror fantasy. It isn't necessarily as scary as it want's to be, but what The Wolfman lacks in chills, it makes up for it in substance and beautiful visuals.
The Wolfman on upea, visuaalinen kauhufantasia perheen lahoamisesta sisältä päin. Siinä sivussa lentää verta ja sivullisille käy toki huonosti, mutta vaikka elokuvassa onkin näitä elementtejä hetkittäisen jännityksen lisäämiseksi, eivät ne ota filmiä haltuunsa ja mene ratkaisevan roisisti yli. The Wolfman ei kenties ole niin pelottava kuin se haluaisi olla, mutta se mikä jää uupumaan pelossa korvataan ruhtinaallisesti taidokkailla näyttelijäsuorituksilla ja onnistuneella visuaalisella toteutuksella.
The Wolfman at IMDb
Frankenstein (1994) at IMDb
Dracula (1992) at IMDb
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Kelly Reilly
First off, I've never read a single book by Arthur Conan Doyle and I've never really seen any portrayal of Holmes before this picture, so I have no comparison, but I did't see what all the big fuss around this film has been about.
Holmes (Downey Jr.) is a legendary detective working out of London and he solves any crime and problem with his trusty and loyal companion, Watson (Law) and his uncanny ability to detect the smallest clues. Now he's up against a diabolical adversary, Blackwood who, it seems, posesses magical powers of the dark kind.
The plot is quite well thought out and the cast does wonderful work under Ritchie's energetic direction. But something is missing. Sherlock Holmes should sweep you off your feet and carry onto an adventure of a case, but the mystery itself, while well thought out, is utterly forgettable. A lot of things are constantly happening, but it was all for a mystery I didn't end up giving a damn. Maybe this film was made for a different target audience, one that has previous knowledge of Holmes' cases and the man himself. All of which I know nothing about.
Sherlock Holmes on Downey Jr.:n show alusta loppuun ja käypä käyntikortti miehen karismasta ja taidoista, mutta itse elokuva on jokseenkin turhauttava, sillä vaikka ratkottavana oleva mysteeri on monimutkainen ja hyvin mietitty, ei se ole millään muotoa muistiin painuva. Kuten koko elokuvakaan. Pieni pettymys odotuksiin nähden.
Sherlock Holmes at IMDb
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Directed by John McTiernan
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary, Faye Dunaway, Ben GAzzara, Frankie Faison, Mark Margolis
I love this 1999 remake. When this came out, it had been a good while since an original heist film had been seen on the silver screen. Don't get me wrong, Heat for instance is a legendary classic, but it is a very traditional and linear film, whereas The Thomas Crown Affair treats the heist with style and intelligence, but is mainly about the relationship between the two leading and rival characters played here by Brosnan and Russo and in the original from 1968 by Steve McQueen and Dunaway who plays a supporting role here.
Thomas Crown is a brilliant business man with an empire built around him, but he lacks the one thing money can't seem to buy: true excitement and rush. He steals a priceless painting in broad daylight, but arranges it so brilliantly that he doesn't get caught and isn't even a suspect afterwards. Russo's Catherine Banning is the insurance detective who comes on the case, but her and Crown's relationship deepens as they start a cat and mouse hunt and play off of each other with a flirt.
Brosnan's and Russo's chemistry works wonderfully and McTiernan (Predator, Die Hard) does wonders with the look of the piece with his trademark tracking shots and beautifully lit backgrounds. This is still his last great film to date since what has followed in a little over a decade has been horrible junk such as Basic and the pointless remake of Rollerball. The new Thomas Crown Affair could rightfully be described as the Ocean's Eleven of the art world.. that's how stylish and smooth it is.
Tämä vuoden 1999 uusintaversio Seikkailija Thomas Crownista on tyylikäs ja näyttävä todiste siitä etteivät uudet tuulet vanhoissa purjeissa ole aina huono asia. Brosnanin ja Russon kemiat pelaavat yhteen upeasti ja ohjaaja McTiernan ei enää ole tähän mennessä pystynyt parempaan. Seikkailija Thomas Crown on kaikin puolin verrattavissa Steven Soderberghin näkemykseen Ocean's Elevenistä.. molemmat leffat päivittivät materiaalinsa tyylikkäästi ja kunnialla.
The Thomas Crown Affair at IMDb
Friday, June 11, 2010
Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons, Danny McBride, Sam Elliott
Some will no doubt crucify me for saying this, but Up In The Air is a wasted opportunity. Now, this is by no means a bad film, in fact it's very much the opposite, but the first half was the most brilliant and clever writing I've seen on film in years, but the second half unfortunately is disappointing.
Up In The Air centres around Clooney's Ryan Bingham who works in a human recources firm. The film takes place in the real world so the economic depression has been built into the story and very rightly so. Bingham is an isolated workaholic who travels the country giving people the bad news that they've been fired. He meets Farmiga's Alex who gives him the human contact he never realised he needed at the same time his firm assigns him a rookie collague played by Kendrick.
Like I said, the first half is constructed brilliantly as Bingham makes his way through company after company giving the news. These moments are brilliant and written very intelligently with dialogue and the performances going hand in hand while on the other hand we're shown masterfully his life revolving around this job and nothing else. The addition of Farmiga's and Kendrick's characters to the mix brings the perfecting spices to the film, but right then things start to follow other, redundant and familiar patterns. Clooney's and Farmiga's relationship deepens and you start to wonder.. why? Must there always be some kind of romance between characters? And if so, then I must ask again, why? The film was doing so well without the romantic plotline and it was an important and above all topical look into the hollow and heartless business of these human resource companies. Ok, granted, the romantic story is a good one if you look at it like there had to be one, but that's the point, it really needn't. Up In The Air is a brilliant movie, but it could've been even more, a complete whole instead of a mixture of certain elements that didn't need to be there at all.
Up In The Air on voimakas ja taidokkaasti toteutettu katsaus sellaisten ihmisten elämään joiden työtä on ottaa toisten pois. Tällaisena tutkielmana elokuva olisi saanut pysyäkin loppuun asti, sillä alkupuolen käsikirjoitus on mitä nerokkaimmin kirjoitettua konfiktia, kunnes sekaan miksataan hyvin kirjoitettu, mutta täysin turha romanttinen alajuoni, joka syö tehokkuutta lopulta filmiltä. Loistava elokuva, muttei nerokas joka se olisi voinut olla.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Directed by Michael Patrick King
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, Jennifer Hudson, Candice Bergen, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Mario Cantone, Jason Lewis, Willie Garson
Well.. decided to give this first film another go now that the second one has just hit theaters. And it isn't a disaster by no means, although it does have strong flaws. Based on a TV-series which was based on a book series, Sex And The City the movie has lost a crucial amount of edge in this incarnation. The series was truly groundbreaking, daring and original when it came out because it showed it's target audience, women, that it's OK to be OK with their sexuality and to embrace it. The story picks up a few years after where the series ended and revolves around Parker's Carrie Bradshaw who is finally getting married to mr. Big played by Noth. Everything goes to shit when he stands her up at the altar and Carrie sinks into depression and her trusty girlfriends (Cattrall, Davis and Nixon) set out to bring her out of it.
Anybody who's watched the series (which ran for six seasons from 1998 to 2004 on HBO) knows that Carrie's relationship with his Big has been an on-and-off-one from the start and all they thought this time around was "well this time it's a movie, what shall we do.. oh hell, let's just do what we've always done, but on a bigger scale" and it's not very interesting. Especially when she turns into that annoying friend who just keeps talking and talking and talking about the man she lost, you know what I mean? We all have those friends. Hell, we've likely been those friends somewhere down the line, who just keep going on and on about some douchebag who you know is a piece of shit and thus don't have any interest in listening about, but you have to because in order to be a good friend you have to listen and be that shoulder to cry on.
The other girls have their own little storylines, but they're ultimately nothing to pay any attention to, not that the main plot device was that much more interesting either. The main problem with Sex And The City is the same that lurked behind the sholder of the series and it's that the whole world these characetrs live in and adore is so shallow, superficial and hollow that you have to almost stand in awe that it doesn't implode. The message is clear.. you're nothing if you don't have designer shoes, a Louis Vuitton bag and a reservation to a hot restaurant. These fucking people. Beg your pardon if I sound harsh, but it really is all for nothing.
There are some redeeming factors and those are compliments to the fine photography and some real and clever moments in the script. The spirit may have suffered along the way, but the ladies do try their best with the material that's given, although Davis maybe a little less than her co-stars since couple of times her efforts reach over acting and not of the flattering kind. Put it like this, this film was a balancing act with lots of eggs and most of them fell and were shattered because there were too many eggs to handle.
Sinkkuelämää-leffa on väljähkö ja ennen kaikkea melko turha lämmittely TV-sarjasta, joka oli aikanaan oikeasti rohkea ja rajoja rikkova. Kaikki toivo ei onneksi ole menetetty, sillä käsikirjoitus onnistuu ajoittain liikuttamaan ja jopa olemaan nokkela ja keskeisissä rooleissa olevat naiset ovat kelpo terässä.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Directed by John Hillcoat
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Garret Dillahunt, Guy Pearce
The Road takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a father and his son try their best to survive the desolate and dangerous landscape that has survived. The Road must be the toughest film to watch since Michael Haneke's Funny Games because there is no hope. And what little hope comes, it's swiftly taken away.
The world where they travel is dirty, depressing and unforgiving. Most of the people still alive have turned to cannibalism because the crops and animals have died long ago which obviously makes survival harder for the rest, not only in terms of the physical threat, but also the psychological.. would you even want to endure in a world like that? Is the constant struggle for survival enough to keep one going? All the characters in The Road are nameless. Mortensen portrays The Father, Smit-McPhee The Son and Robert Duvall plays Old Man.
Mortensen has said that he was considering retiring from acting at the point this script arrived and that it was the thing that changed his mind. Looking back on the end result, it's easy to see why. The Road is not an easy film to watch, but it is rewarding.
The Road on aidosti synkin post-apokalyptinen filmi, joka on tullut ulos moneen vuoteen. Aito epätoivo ja masennus seuraavat keskeisiä hahmoja kaikkialle ja vaikkei The Road olekaan kevyttä viihdettä ja siten helppo elokuva katsoa, niin se on palkitseva.