Archive for November, 2010

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back [1980]


Also known as the best sequel of all time, this chapter has more excitement and more dazzling special effects than any other “Star Wars” movie. The rebels are still pursued by Darth Vader, but the story focuses more on Luke Skywalker, who receives a posthumous command from Obi Wan Kenobi, ordering him to travel to the Dagoba system to find the mystical Yoda (voiced by an amazing Frank Ozz) who will eventually train him to become a real jedi warrior. The movie ends with a startling revelation from Darth Vader (and quite shocking if you’re a first time viewer), in one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history. Everyone is in fine form, but it’s Harrison Ford who steals the show yet again as Han Solo. Die hard fans might argue which “Star Wars” movie is the best, I’ll go with this one; it’s one the most entertaining films I’ve ever seen. It can’t get any better than this! Special edition runs 3 minutes longer.

Rating: 4/4

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Airplane! [1980]


Remembering funny man Leslie Nielsen who died at the age of 84 on sunday.

 “Airplane!” is probably the funniest movie Nielsen has ever starred in (unless you’re a die hard fan of his “Naked Gun” trilogy). His role in the film may have been a supporting one, but I can’t remember the last time he made me laugh so hard. The movie spoofs all airport type pictures, and it’s about an ex-fighter pilot who is forced to take over the controls of a plane when the flight crew succumbs to food poisoning. And that’s just the beginning! Full of gags, laughs and an all star cast,”Airplane” was one of the most succesful comedies in the early 80’s, and it’s easy to see why. It’s also the movie that introduced Nielsen as a funny actor, which lead him to star in such hilarious movies as “Dracula: Dead and Loving it”, “The Naked Gun” trilogy, “Wrongfully Accused”, and more recently “Scary movie 4”. He will surely be missed.

 

Rating: 3/4

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Shrek Forever After [2010]


A domesticated Shrek finds himself bored with the same routine and longs for his days as a frightful ogre. One day, he meets deal-maker Rumpelstiltskin, who makes Shrek an offer he can’t refuse, promising him to make him feel like a real ogre again. Shrek gets duped, and is sent to an alternate universe, which is also a twisted version of far far away. There, Rumpelstiltskin is king, ogres are hunted, Puss in boots is overweight and lazy, while Shrek and Fiona (who’s also the leader of the resistance) have never met. Fourth (and hopefully) last chapter of the series, “Shrek Forever After” might not be as original and clever as the first two, but still delivers an entertaining premise and some very funny moments. It might definitely appeal more to kids of a certain age, but overall, it’s a solid family movie. Antonio Banderas has never been funnier as Puss in boots, but it’s Walt Dohrn who steals the show as evil mastermind Rumpelstiltskin.

 

Rating: 2.5/4

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The Evil Dead [1981]


Five friends travel to a cabin in the mountains where they find evil spirits lurking around in the forest. One by one, they become possessed by the demon and develop the ability to chop each other to death! With only one of them still standing, it’s up to him to survive the night and defeat the evil dead. Made by college students, this ultra cheap but chilling horror movie has got to be the grossest thing I’ve ever seen. It was made on a budget of just $ 375,000, but still manages to provide a violent and gruesome  roller coaster ride for those with strong stomachs. Director Sam Raimi succeeds in creating a claustrophobic atmosphere for everyone watching; he wants us to think about a situation where we’re trapped with nothing but blood and death surrounding us, and I loved that about it. “The Evil Dead” never tries to be original or anything (in fact it borrows a lot from “Night Of The Living Dead” and “The Exorcist”), but still succeeds in being scary as hell (and that’s all I was asking for). One of the best of its genre.

Rating: 3/4

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Easy A [2010]


“Easy A” offers an interesting theory that says:  Don’t sleep with anybody but pretend you did. It all starts with a small white lie about a young woman named Olive saying that she lost her virginity to an older guy. Of course it isn’t true, but rumors spread fast in highschool and the clean cut girl who used to be invisible in the eyes of everyone else will soon become the talk of the town. What seemed to be a nightmare at first will later become a source of inspiration, as Olive decides to use the rumor to advance her social and financial standing. “Easy A” is a funny and intriguing movie that can easily be distinguished from all the other “teen flicks” we see nowadays. The idea is fresh, and it completely avoids the usual cliches. It’s also a great showcase for the talented Emma Stone;  she’s been really good these past few years (recall her in “Superbad” and “Zombieland”), but this is the movie that will definitely put her on the map for good (Jesse Eisenberg did the same earlier this year in “The Social Network”). The movie works because it’s funny, but also because its smart; it cleverly pays tribute to some of the best teen comedies of the 80’s (“16 Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”), and I liked that about it. It borrows a little bit from those classic movies, but what makes “Easy A” a winner is the fact that it doesn’t add insult to inspiration, and manages to stand on its own. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are both terrific and delightful to watch as Olive’s parents.

Rating: 3/4

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(500) Days Of Summer [2009]


Smart romantic comedy (or is it one?) takes us back and forth in time to trace the relationship between a young man (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and his co-worker  (Zooey Deshanel). He’s crazy about her, but she doesn’t believe in love or a serious relationship, even though she likes him. Tom and Summer become more than just friends, but eventually real life will get in the way. Funny and sweet, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie as fresh and clever as this offbeat romantic comedy. The two stars are delightful to watch, especially Gordon Levitt, who’s never been more tender on screen. An endearing film that takes a familiar premise and turns it into something unconventional and unforgettable. One of my favorite movies of 2009. The soundtrack couldn’t be better.

Rating: 3/4

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Due Date [2010]


Disappointing (to say the least) road comedy about a father to be Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) who finds himself hitching a ride with a wannabe actor Ethan Chase (Zack Galifianakis) in order to make it on time to his son’s birth. Peter is a serious kind of person, while Ethan couldn’t be more annoying. If you’re a fan of John Hughes’s movies, then you will instantly notice that “Due Date” is actually a rip off of “Plains Trains and Automobiles” starring Steve Martin and John Candy. Im not sure if this was supposed to be a tribute to the classic 1987 movie, but either way, the result is mediocre at best. The actors give it their best, but the material is so predictable and pretty lame actually. Im sure some people will find this comedy funny and satisfying, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s a complete misfire. Still a huge fan of Robert Downey Jr. though.

Rating: 2/4

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