Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

I’ve never read the books and I only just saw the first Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law about a week ago. Guess what… you don’t have to be a total nerd to like this movie! I’m not saying that I’m not a total nerd. I know like three words in Elvish and I enjoy reading books about sharks, but when it comes to knowing everything about Sherlock Holmes, it’s not at all necessary for enjoying this Guy Ritchie joint. Not everyone who watches this movie has read all of the books six times each and knows all of the other movies and so on and so forth. Some of us just have giant, raging crushes on Robert Downey Jr. cinema.Read More »

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Drive

Duhhhhh...

Why was DRIVE my favorite movie of 2011? Was it Ryan Gosling’s awesome satiny scorpion jacket that I now have my very own hoodie version of? Was it the totally boss soundtrack? Was it Albert Brooks’s complete lack of eyebrows? I would say it was a grand combination of these things and more. Ever since THE NOTEBOOK hit theaters I have always said to myself “Gee, I’d really love to see Ryan Gosling kick some guy’s head in. Just stomp it to pieces.” The story is a simple one that really just brings the awesome. Basically Driver (Ryan Gosling) does stunt driving for the movies. Malcolm in the Middle’s dad AKA Breaking Bad AKA Bryan Cranston plays Shannon, Driver’s boss at a garage where they work and his pseudo manager for his movie career. Shannon borrows money from Bernie (Albert Brooks) for a race car that Driver is to race. Are you keeping up with me here? Nino (Ron Perlman) is Bernie’s business partner and is also a real nasty gangster type.

Then there’s Irene (Carey Mulligan). She is Driver’s neighbor. Driver and Irene totes have crushes on each other and so he helps her out with things and looks after her son. When Irene’s husband is released from prison, he comes home and promises to make a better life for his family. Like ten minutes later he blows it and is a bloodied mess in the parking garage. Driver happens by and presses him for information. Anyone with half a brain – which may be more than Driver has – can figure out what is going to happen. Driver has to help Irene’s husband get some mob guys off his back so they won’t kill him or Irene and the kid. Did I mention that Albert Brooks has NO EYEBROWS?Read More »

The Artist

The name’s Miller. Peppy Miller.
 
Was becoming a siren of the silver screen ever as easy as being in the right place at the right time? It was for Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). When Peppy goes down to Kinograph Studios in – where else – Hollywoodland, she has a fateful drop of a pocketbook and literally bumps into handsome silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin).  A brief moment of mortification turns into a laugh and a laugh turns into front page news. A more realistic idea takes place after this meeting, as it really is who you know and not what you do when it comes to getting into show business. Thankfully, Peppy’s wild curls and pearly whites were enough to catch the eye of George Valentin and she gets her first role in a big screen picture. The on-screen chemistry flows over into real life chemistry. George’s wife is nonplussed with all of this and not even his adorable antics with his faithful pup can get him out of this one.
 
Aside from his marital troubles, George has an even bigger matter keeping him up at night. Talkies have just been introduced as the next big thing. Now, I don’t understand why George wouldn’t just make the transition myself, but the film makes it incredibly clear that he is quite proud of his silent films. Fortunately for Kinograph, the wildly adorable Peppy Miller isn’t afraid to get on camera and speak. Speak, sing, whistle… she’ll do it all. Guess this means they don’t need George anymore. Cue sad, washed up musicRead More »

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the man with the baboon face.
 
 
Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO follows Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, a co-owner and writer at Millennium Magazine. Mikael seeks to escape the public eye for a while after a blunder of epic proportions. Lucky for him, Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) is looking for someone to write his memoirs. Oh, and to uncover the mysterious death of his great-niece Harriet Vanger. How does Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) tie into all of this? Well, if you’re like me and you never read books that movies are based on you might not know. Lisbeth is enlisted to do a background check on Mikael before Henrik will take him on. Blomkvist is involved with his married colleague at the magazine, Erika Berger (Robin Wright – who, by the way, looks like an old catcher’s mit these days) and with a world of trouble on his shoulders, he ventures out to the island. When he realizes that he is getting in over his head, he insists that he be given a research assistant. He gets the brilliant mind of Lisbeth to assist in all of his research needs.
 
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s talk about how excited I was for the last month and a half. My suspicions were that because David Fincher (The Social Network) was behind this film with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on the turntables, this movie was going to — for lack of a better term — blow my fuckin’ mind. The story is an excellent one. Intriguing, smart, well done. However, I was not as impressed as I was with, say, THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Now, this is apples and oranges, really, because the two movies are entirely different in nature. So why was I checking my phone in the theater? Why did I leave to go to the bathroom when I didn’t even have to go that bad? Perhaps it was the extra 45 minutes of unnecessary movie in there that turned me off. Read More »

HMAA: Horror Movie Addicts Anonymous

I have a strange obsession. For the last, oh… 16 years, I’ve had an affinity for horror films. Good, bad, terrible… I love them all. It’s funny because my parents wouldn’t let me watch anything scary when I was younger. They wouldn’t even let me watch Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. And they were right to be so cautious with my young mind. To give you an idea of just how bad it was, picture an 8-year-old girl who couldn’t walk down a dark hallway because Darth Vader would surely be waiting in the bathroom. STAR WARS isn’t even scary! Skip ahead two years. My father sits me down to watch JAWS. In the weeks that would come I had stopped going in our swimming pool and I can vividly remember my dad standing outside the bathroom door shouting “No sharks are going to come up out of that shower drain, now take a Goddamn shower!”

After that I would sneak peeks at scary movies when they were on television and regret it later under the safety of my blanket in the dark. Not much has changed. I still watch scary movies, but now I do it frequently and with reckless abandon. I think I’ve seen every scary movie that has come out in the last five years. I guess I never understood why so many of my friends wouldn’t watch them with me. Then I saw movies like 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and THE STRANGERS and it hit me: a lot of scary movies are just horrible! That’s why there are so many of them. They are – for the most part – low-budget, they are easy to make, the acting is almost never good. The makeup for these movies isn’t complex at all. So why am I so compelled to watch them? Read More »

Trailer Court: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This post comes from the blog I operate with MiracleFrank and 1989Cubs. That blog can be found at www.filmorjive.wordpress.com. Come by and check us out.

Because if there’s one thing Hollywood is in need of it’s a little justice.

Case #006: The People vs THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

Opening statement: I’m always a fan of movies that come from real life experiences, but this one is harsh. Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson, wrote the book – originally titled Men Who Hate Women – because of a gang rape he witnessed as a teen. The victim was Lisbeth. Evidently Larsson felt so guilty for not helping Lisbeth that he went and wrote a book. My word.

Prosecution: If you’ve read what I’ve written about Daniel Craig previously, then you know that the man has yet to impress me. His performance in COWBOYS and ALIENS was decent, but he didn’t speak all that much. So he kind of gets a pass for that one. Then there’s DREAM HOUSE and what a puke-fest that was. Jesus. I just don’t know if I can take him seriously. As far as our leading lady goes, Rooney Mara just hasn’t been in much. Her most famous role to date comes from another Fincher film. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. A little flick called THE SOCIAL NETWORK. That’s right. That’s her. Zuckerberg’s ex-girlfriend. Perhaps she’s very lucky that she has a connection with David Fincher. Who knows, maybe Fincher knows something we don’t.

Defense: I have a feeling that this film is going to have Oscar buzz. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be some TREE OF LIFE piece of shit that leaves you feeling like you’re coming down from a bad trip. That means that it’s actually going to be good. David Fincher was behind my second favorite film of last year. I believe he wants that golden man. I also believe he wants to make this movie a worthwhile cinematic experience. It’s nice to see a movie coming out this time of year with a bit of an edge to it. Not to mention Christopher Plummer who may just get some Oscar buzz himself. If not for this film, then perhaps for BEGINNERS. We shall see.

Closing Statement: Even though we have a leading lady who hasn’t seen much screen time and Daniel Craig again, I trust David Fincher. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will compose the soundtrack and as you may remember, they DID take home an Oscar for THE SOCIAL NETWORK. The trailer makes me think it’s going to sound very similar, which is okay by me. Christopher Plummer is here. If all else fails, Christopher Plummer is here to save the day.

Verdict: I could’ve settled this one out of court. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be worth my $12. My advice to you: see this movie. See it – as Bill Paxton says in WEIRD SCIENCE – ASAFP. You got Fincher, you got Plummer, you got Trent and Atticus, you got what looks like incredible cinematography, you got a story strong enough to keep your attention, and WE’VE got movie sign!