February Blind Spot Review: Moon (2009)

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moon poster

“Gerty, is there someone else in the room?”
– Sam Bell

SYNOPSIS: Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems. – via IMDB

moon sam bell

GRADE 8.5So I decided to check out Moon this month because I have very little time on my hands, the movie didn’t have a long run time, and I am so involved with the whole X-Files thing at the moment that space just ticked my boxes. Space and conspiracy, and I got both, which was highly unexpected. Sam Rockwell, right off the bat, deserves all the praise heaped upon him for his performance as Sam Bell. I mean wow. I went into this movie as blind as I could, and thought I was seeing a movie about a man who was losing the plot, having fallen out of touch with reality after almost three years in isolation on the moon. Instead, I got this great story that you are constantly wondering about – what is real, what is in his mind, what is going on? It is not as straightforward and simple as you would initially think. Rockwell carried the majority of the movie MINOR SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS and I was quite a fan of the way that he portrayed two Sams, both who had things in common, and yet on the other hand were so completely different that you could tell on sight which Sam we were dealing with. Not only that, but the fact that he managed to make both Sams work together is another thing, too, that was impressive. Kevin Spacey voicing Gerty was fantastic. His voice made Gerty creepy (because seriously, who the heck is this robot?!) and soothing and calming all at once, so Gerty’s character successfully keeps you on edge, and you never really know how you should feel about the robot. Considering all that is done with a voice alone and then the emoticons displayed on Gerty’s screen, credit is due. Moon looks beautiful and is shot well, and has a score that complements the movie every step of the way, making it an experience, but never taking over or missing a beat. I really, really enjoyed this movie and I think that it was crafted well. The pacing was great and the story moved along, never losing you along the way, but never getting bland, either. When the movie brought the heart to the game, it did so with finesse. Moon is a thought provoking affair, no doubt, and while a small, simple film on the surface, it is merely the tip of the iceberg at the end of the day, there is so much more to this. Also, the miniscule touches of humour thrown in at times were so well implemented that they never felt forced or out of place in such a dramatic movie. Wow, this is actually a lot to say about a movie you can’t really say anything about in fear of spoiling too much. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Moon and would highly recommend it if you have not yet seen it, it’s truly a solid sci-fi drama.

Review: The Way Way Back (2013)

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kinopoisk.ru

“You’ve got to go your own way, and you, my friend, are going your own way.”
– Owen

Duncan (Liam James) is fourteen years old and incredibly awkward. As though things are not bad enough for him, he is dragged out with his mother Pam (Toni Colette) on summer vacation to Cape Cod with her new boyfriend, Trent Ramsey (Steve Carell) and his daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). Trent is not a really nice guy, and is pretty nasty to Duncan, speaking with him in ways that can only be construed as emotional abuse, truly being cruel, mean and demeaning. Duncan sucks it up and Pam turns a blind eye. When they arrive, they are met by alcoholic like Betty (Allison Janney) and her children Susanna (Anna Sophia Robb) and Peter (River Alexander), who has a lazy eye, and they are their neighbours. Duncan is not feeling the summer vibes, and is awfully unhappy.

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“I think you’re a 3! Since I’ve been dating your mom, I don’t see you putting yourself out there bud! You could try getting that score up at my beach house this summer!” – Trent

Soon they meet Kip (Robb Corddry) and Joan (Amanda Peet), a married neighbouring couple, and the two older couples spend a lot of time together. Desperate to get away from his mother and the dreadful Trent and bitchy Steph, he takes a look in the garage and finds a terribly bright and sparkly pink bike with streamers, and starts to explore the town. One day his explorations take him to a pizza place where he meets Owen (Sam Rockwell), the manager of Water Wizz, the local water park. Owen obviously has more to say than the socially awkward Duncan, and then he is gone just as fast. Duncan continues his stunted forays into trying to have conversations with Susanna while still avoiding her mother and brother, Peter. Owen discovers Duncan at the Water Wizz, and takes the dejected boy under his wing and introduces him to the rest of the staff: Caitlyn (Maya Rudolph), whom Owen is in love with though she cannot stand him and his juvenile ways, Lewis (Jim Rash), who is always threatening to leave the park, and Roddy (Nat Faxon), who mans the tube slide and is a master at getting the hot girls ready to be scoped out. By the end of the day Owen offers Duncan a job for the summer, should he wish to take it, and Duncan agrees.

THE WAY, WAY BACK

“Oh, the park? Um, I’ve always been there. Ever since I was a small Cambodian child. Of course, that was after ‘Nam.” – Owen

Duncan is unhappy with his mother partying and smoking weed and all that, and finds refuge in his job at the water park. Owen is urging Duncan out of his shell more, and it seems to be working wonders for the kid and his self-esteem. Duncan is learning loads about himself, and Owen is there every step of the way, encouraging. Duncan keeps his job a secret, and is upset one night when he finds Trent in a very compromising position with Joan, and the two are too cosy, and realises that Trent has been cheating on his mother. He will not tell Pam, but sees that she works it out for herself soon enough, though it appears that she is doing nothing about it. Duncan really wants to go see his father, whom he misses a lot since his parents’ divorce. The water park keeps him busy though, and even gets him chilled out enough to start spending a little time with Susanna.

THE WAY, WAY BACK

“I wish I could stay here forever.” – Duncan

Will Duncan finally break out of his shell? Will Trent continue to bully Duncan? Will Pam never step in and put her foot down to defend her son? Will Duncan even make a move on Susanna? How will Duncan feel about going home at the end of the summer now that he is starting to change and grow as a person? Will Trent continue his relationship with Joan on the side? Will Pam stand by and allow that?

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“Don’t die wondering, man.” – Duncan

A solid 8.5/10 for The Way Way Back. This movie just knocked my socks off. I read so many good things about it, but was not necessarily sold on it, if you know what I mean. I am not the world’s biggest coming of age movie fan, so this was destined to be just average in my eyes, or so I thought. The movie started and instantly pulled me into the story and the characters. Liam James was so bloody well cast to play Duncan, and I think he was the perfect choice. I am a fan of Sam Rockwell, and I read a hell of a lot of good things about his performance, but damn I was not expecting what I got! He stole the show every time he made an appearance, and had me in stitches time and time again. He was just amazing to watch. Steve Carell irritated me intensely in here, but for a change not as a two bit actor. He was just such a douche, and worked on my nerves endlessly. People like that are cruel and I cannot stand them. Duncan’s borrowed little pink bike really had me laughing a whole lot. My cheeks ached by the time this was over. It was such a wonderful journey to undertake with Duncan, who is ridiculously awkward and sweet, and to watch him grow into himself a little more. It is definitely nothing new or unheard of, but it was strung together well and the story was tight, the soundtrack perfect and the camera work smooth, really making this film into something that was just fantastic! I had tons of fun with this and cannot recommend it highly enough!

Review: Seven Psychopaths (2012)

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Seven Psychopaths Poster

“You didn’t think I was what? Serious? You think I’m not serious just because I carry a rabbit?”
– Zachariah

Marty Faranan (Colin Farrell) is a struggling screenwriter that has been trying to write a movie for ages titled Seven Psychopaths. He is having no luck, and his best friend Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) decides to step in and take the reigns, and starts off by feeding Marty some stories about some crazy people. What Marty doesn’t know is that Billy is so intent on helping him write the screenplay that he has gone far enough as to place a classified ad in the paper calling for all psychopaths to contact him and share their stories so that Marty may find that bout of inspiration that he is so desperate for. This way there will be a real inside look, an undeniable link to something that Marty cannot wholly understand or identify with without an inside scoop.

Seven Psychopaths Christopher Walken

Have a beer. Relax. It is only a crazy gangster’s Shih Tzu!

His first visit is from Zachariah (Tom Waits) who tells him that they were serial killers that hunter serial killers, but that his wife Maggie (Amanda Warren) had left him years ago when he could not assist her in murdering some hippy perceived to be the Zodiac killer. Meanwhile, Billy’s associate in crime Hans Kieslowski (Christopher Walken) is running their business of kidnapping and returning dogs to their owners for hefty rewards. Hans has kidnapped a Shih Tzu named Bonny from her overprotective and psychotic owner Charlie Castello (Woody Harrelson). This helps them nothing when they realize Castello is not looking to give a reward to whomever may return his dog, he is out for blood, and wants to murder the perpetrators.

Marty is rapidly pulled into the Los Angeles underworld due to his friends and their retarded decisions, and his drinking ultimately leads his girlfriend, Kaya (Abbie Cornish), kicking him out. Out of a place to live, and his movie not coming along as famously as he had hoped, the psychopaths start coming to him with their stories, and soon he has enough to fill the book with. He finds out that the stories that Billy has been feeding him are not about fictitious people, but real bona fide people in the world, which unnerves Marty just a bit.

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Such a handsome cravat of a time long past

Hans’s wife, Myra (Linda Bright Clay), is fighting cancer in the hospital, but is murdered by Castello when he makes the connection between Hans and his missing pet, Bonny. Hans no longer has anything to lose, and soon he, Billy and Marty flee to the desert, and the two become very involved with helping him to write his screenplay, and make it a success. Naturally, they grow closer, and though Marty cannot believe that he was sucked into all of it, he is still enjoying the thrill in one of those worrywart manners.

Seven Psychopaths desert

The normal and the psychos

Stuck out in the desert with a stolen pet, are they able to avoid Castello and return the Shih Tzu and get away with it, or are they going to go down in an emotional shootout like Billy wants them to? Will Marty ever finish his screenplay and have it become a crazy big movie, all the while kicking his alcohol habit?

Seven Psychopaths earns a 7/10. I enjoyed sections of the movies, while at times I sat there, mouth agape. It is sharp and smart and most definitely weird, and Christopher Walken delivers another solidly amusing character. You can actually have a look at a “psychopath” in this film, and while it leaves you feeling a little strange at times, at others it is simply hilarious how it all goes down. Woody Harrelson just cracks me up, and the logic of these people in this movie was absolutely absurd, no matter how you look at it. The film jumps between the story as it is happening, the psychopaths and their antics, as well as the screenplay that everyone is assisting Marty with. It was a very good watch, and it was a load of fun, though I don’t feel it deserved to be hyped up as much as it was.

Review: Iron Man 2 (2010)

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iron man 2 poster

“I’ve successfully privatized world peace.”
– Tony Stark

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is back, six months after announcing to the world that he is Iron Man. This announcement was not taken lightly, and as much popularity as Tony has gained, he has made enemies, and the American Government is getting slightly antsy by his unwillingness to turn over his Iron Man technology to the military. Lieutenant Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (Don Cheadle) steps up to assist Tony, who has other plans.

Ivan Vanko

Nothing quite like whipping up a Grand Prix track

Tony has discovered that the mini arc reactor that he built to keep the shrapnel from the explosion in Afghanistan from reaching his heart is slowly but surely killing him. The palladium, to be precise. That which is keeping him alive will also cause his slow and excruciating death. Tony appoints Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwenyth Paltrow) to be the new CEO of Stark Industries, which she finally accepts. Naturally, her position needs to be replaced, and Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johannson) steps up to the plate. Rhodey knows that Tony is dying, a fact that he is not willing to share with anyone, and soon he is off the rails, thinking like a dying man, and a selfish one at that. A Russian by the name of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) builds his own arc reactor to power his very own version of a suit… one with whips. He enters the States, not to kill Tony, though it surely would have been a bonus, but to prove that gods, too, bleed. He wishes to shake the faith of the nation.

Iron Man 2

“You’re out of control, okay?” – Pepper

Hammer Industries CEO, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), assists Vanko is escaping authorities after his capture in hopes that he can make a deal with him: perfect his useless Iron Man suits. The two come to an agreement, and Vanko begins work immediately, all the while everyone outside of Hammer’s immediate crew think that Vanko died in a bombing in his prison cell. Hammer hopes to present the new suits at the Stark Expo as soon as possible. Vanko, however, has plans for automated drones, not suits. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) of S.H.I.E.L.D steps in to tell Tony to get his act together and to do so, soon, and puts Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) on the case to keep an eye on him. Tony finds out that Natalie is actually Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. The Avengers Initiative is brought up again, but more so to prove to Tony that his father was a greater man then even Tony gave him credit for. Delving into the past, Tony discovers new things about his father, who gives him the technology to create a new element. This element will save Tony, and stop the poisoning of his body while simultaneously keeping the shrapnel from reaching his heart.

Iron Man 2 fight scene

They have the moves

Will Tony be able to hang onto the Iron Man technology without sharing it with anyone, including the military? Will Vanko build Hammer the suits he so sorely wants,  and what will Tony do with his new found health, step up to the podium as Iron Man successfully, get the girl and put a stop to the weak imitations of his suit that are rapidly gaining momentum?

A 7/10 for Iron Man 2. It was so damn entertaining. I laugh all the time at how Pepper can royally freak out at Tony, but he does not seem to mind (let’s chalk it up to the textbook narcissism, shall we?). But she doesn’t even do it lightly, either. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is absolutely brilliant, sweet and crazy all at once, and it is nice to see him have a larger role in this film. I was very sad to see Terrence Howard replaced as Rhodey, but Don Cheadle does a fine job. I really loved the way the whips looked in this movie, they were done so well. Was a pretty cool concept, I will grant that. I was particularly amused by the court opening in the beginning, and could not stop laughing at the Monaco Grand Prix track, the reactions were simply stunning. The humour was pretty sharp in this one again, and Gwenyth Paltrow is such a perfect fit for Pepper. The cast is really put together well, and I like the way you get a little inroads to War Machine. Pretty cool. Two down, one more to go as soon as it touches down here!

Review: The Green Mile (1999)

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the green mile poster

Now here is a classic. I feel that everyone should at least watch this film if they are not prepared to read the masterpiece that is its father. The Green Mile is my rendition of bringing a book to screen. As always, only Stephen King could produce such a story, and bring it out so successfully, and harness all the elements that make this story magical. Alright, enough gushing, let’s get right down to it.

Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks) is a prison guard on death row, and they call their cell block The Green Mile. Paul is suffering from an extreme urinary infection, and refuses to see his doctor about it, convinced that the infection will pass in due time. On one fateful day, a prisoner by the name of John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is brought onto the Mile for raping and murdering two little sisters.  He is a giant of a man, and all the inmates and guards are stunned by his sheer monstrosity, and confused by his seemingly gentle nature.

the green mile john coffee brought in

John Coffey

Life is mostly peaceful on death row, as it should be, yet there is a young, cruel and insolent man working with a fine group of men, Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison). Percy is everything that you would never want to be in life, and is incredibly inhumane. Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Harry Terwilliger (James DeMunn), work together effortlessly and close together to maintain the block and keep it tended. One day, Paul’s infection almost cripples him after a new prisoner has been brought onto the Mile, a crazy loon by the name of “Wild Bill” Wharton (Sam Rockwell), who promptly gives his package a good kicking. John Coffey calls to Paul, and when Paul goes there, John heals him. This confuses the guards, as someone that can work such miracles, and that has such a great gift could not possibly be all the things that he is accused of. The men deal with major moral conflicts. A mouse shows up on the block, and everyone takes a liking to it, and soon one of the inmates, Eduard Delacroix (Michael Jeter) adopts and names him Mr Jingles, which only serves to aggravate some situations more.

The Green Mile  is a solid 9/10. It is an intense story, told exceptionally gracefully, and that has characters that you fall in love with. Their fates become so entwined with what you are viewing, and they become a part of you. The movie touches deep parts of a person, and again I was astounded by how close to the book they kept the film. Stephen King felt that this movie was the truest depiction of his work into a movie, and for good reason, too.