Friday, January 23, 2009

Review: Defiance

Powerd by IMDb

Title: Defiance
Distributor: The Bedford Falls Company (Paramount Vantage)
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer(s): Clayton Frohman (screenplay), Edward Zwick (screenplay))
Staring: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence and language.
Running Time: 137 min (2hrs and 17mins)
Synopsis: Three Jewish brothers escape from Nazi-occupied Poland into the Belarussian forest, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and others in danger."

Other Reviews


Roger Ebert:
2 ½ Stars
Michael Phillips: 2 ½ Stars
EW: Owen Gleiberman: B-

Other Sites:

At The Movies: Ben Mankiewicz: Rent It, Ben Lyons: Skip It
Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 52% (Rotten), Top Critics: 50% (Rotten), RT Community: 83% (Fresh)
Metacritic: Critics: 58 out of 100, Users: 4.5 out of 10
Yahoo Movies: Critics: B- Users: A-

My Review

Source Material: An Adaptation of Nechama Tec's Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, which is based on the true story of the Bielski partisans.

Acting and Dialogue: B, Great cast with good performance...this is what you get when you mix James Bond, Sabretooth, and A Jumper.

Art Direction: B, It had it's beautiful moments, I like the camp set up.

Cinematography: B, It had it's beautiful moments, the winter screens turned out the best

Direction: B-, Slightly above average, the repetitiveness of the story brought down the direction.

Sound and Music: A+, Where it lacked in cinema it gained in the score.


Overall: B, somewhat slow and repetitive but over all it is a good movie.

Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Powerd by IMDb

Title: Slumdog Millionaire
Distributor:Celador Films (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer(s): Simon Beaufoy (screenplay), Vikas Swarup (novel)
Staring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some violence, disturbing images and language.
Running Time: 120 min (2hrs)
Synopsis: Slumdog Millionaire is the story of Jamal Malik (Patel), an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out.

Other Reviews


Roger Ebert:
3 ½ Stars
Michael Phillips: 2 Stars
EW: Owen Gleiberman: B

Other Sites:

At The Movies: Ben Mankiewicz: See It, Ben Lyons: See It
Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 95% (Fresh), Top Critics: 94% (Fresh), RT Community: 92% (Fresh)
Metacritic: Critics: 86 out of 100, Users: 8. out of 10
Yahoo Movies: Critics: B+ Users: A

My Review

Source Material: Based on the Boeke Prize winning novel Q and A by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup.

Acting and Dialogue: B, For first time actors not bad.

Art Direction: B, the cinematography drives the art direction but I do give props to the location scouts.

Cinematography: A-, It had some cool camera shoots and beautiful locations

Direction: A+, Can you say Oscars .

Sound and Music: B+, It had a very memorable score and catchy sound track


Overall: A-, I am glad that my local theather got this film...finley...great film.

Award Season: Oscar Nomination

Red --- Prediction Academy Vote
Blue --- My Vote
Purple --- Both

Best Picture

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

Actor in a Leading Role
Richard Jenkins “The Visitor”
Frank Langella “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn “Milk”
Brad Pitt “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke “The Wrestler”

Actress in a Leading Role
Anne Hathaway “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie “Changeling”
Melissa Leo “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep “Doubt”
Kate Winslet “The Reader”

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Eric Roth "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
John Patrick Shanley “Doubt”
Peter Morgan “Frost/Nixon”
David Hare “The Reader”
Simon Beaufoy "Slumdog Millionaire"

Sound Editing
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

Animated Feature Film
“Kung Fu Panda”

David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader”
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Josh Brolin “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr. “Tropic Thunder”
Phillip Seymour Hoffman “Doubt”
Heath Ledger “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon “Revolutionary Road”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams “Doubt”
Penelope Cruz “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei “The Wrestler”

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Courtney Hunt “Frozen River”
Mike Leigh “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Martin McDonagh "In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black "Milk"
Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon "WALL- E"

Sound Mixing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

Short Film (Animated)
“La Maison de Petits Cubes”
“Lavatory - Lovestory”
“This Way Up”

Foreign Language Film
“Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (The Baader Meinhof Complex)”
Entre les murs (The Class )
Okuribito (Departures)
“Vals Im Bashir (Waltz with Bashir)”

Film Editing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

Visual Effects
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”

Costume Design
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Duchess”
“Revolutionary Road”

Music (Score)
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

Documentary Feature
“Nerakhoon (The Betrayal)”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“The Garden”
“Man on Wire”
“Trouble the Water”

Short Film (Live Action)
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)”
“Manon on the Asphault”
“New Boy”
“The Pig”
“Spielzeugland (Toyland)

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

Art Direction
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“The Duchess”
“Revolutionary Road”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

Music (Song)
"Down to Earth" "WALL-E"
"Jai Ho" "Slumdog Millionaire"
"O Saya" "Slumdog Millionaire"

Documentary Short
“The Conscience of Nhem En”
“The Final Inch”
“Smile Pinki”
“The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306″

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

REVIEW: Gran Torino

Powerd by IMDb

Title: Gran Torino
Distributor: Matten Productions (Warner Bros.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer(s): Nick Schenk (screenplay), Dave Johannson (story)
Staring: Clint Eastwood
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language throughout, and some violence.
Running Time: 116 min (1 hr and 56min)
Synopsis: Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) has just lost his wife and his children want him to move out of the old neighborhood and move into a senior citizens' home. Walt doesn't want to move even though more Asian people live in his Detroit neighborhood than Americans. Walt has a problem with Asians ever since he fought them in the Korean War. This prejudice explodes when Thao, the teenage son of the Hmong family next door, tries to steal his mint condition 1972 Grand Torino car. Thao (played by Bee Vang) was pressured by an Asian gang to steal the car as an initiation rite. To regain the family's honor, Thao is forced to work for Walt. Walt begins to protect Thao from the gangs and soon he becomes a target.

Other Reviews


Roger Ebert:
3 ½ Stars
Michael Phillips: 2 Stars
EW: Lisa Schwarzbaum: A-

Other Sites:

At The Movies: Ben Mankiewicz: See It, Ben Lyons: See It
Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 77% (Fresh), Top Critics: 69% (Fresh), RT Community: 91% (Fresh)
Metacritic: Critics: 72 out of 100, Users: 8.5 out of 10
Yahoo Movies: Critics: B Users: A

My Review

Source Material: Original written Nick Schenk (screenplay), Dave Johannson (story)

Acting and Dialogue: A-, Clint Eastwood was amazing but the Asian actors were good but not great.

Art Direction: B-, nothing that stood out but since it was a great film so I give it some props.

Cinematography: B+, it put up a great effort like most of Clint Eastwood movies (him as a director)

Direction: A, for me Clint Eastwood has been a better filmmaker than actor but I did grow up on him like my parents. Number fiver best direction nomination for the Oscars possibly.

Sound and Music: A-, I like the score and the song in the credit “Gran Torino” wasn’t bad either.


Overall: A-, I great film. I would recommend to the older crowd just because Clint Eastwood is in the movie and everyone else because it such a great movie.


If you are a regular reader then you know I like to reform the look of My Review a lot. I also change the context of the review. This time is no different, here is the NEW format:

Powerd by IMDb

MPAA Rating:
Running Time:

Other Reviews


Roger Ebert:
Michael Phillips:

Other Sites:

At The Movies:
Ben Mankiewicz:, Ben Lyons:
Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: XXX% (Rotten), Top Critics: XXX% (Rotten), RT Community: XXX% (Fresh)
Metacritic: Critics: XXX out of 100, Users: X.X out of 10
Yahoo Movies: Critics: Users:

My Review

Source Material:

Acting and Dialogue:

Art Direction:



Sound and Music:



Most of you know and that all X's will be replace the numbers. In the "My Review" section it will assign a letter ( A, B, C, D, F) with the appropriate pluses and minuses and an explanation as to why.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

FYI: If I am Not Here

If I don't post for a while it will because I am busy doing school work. I have a hardcore Interpersonal Communication class ( a lot of paper) and simple Intro to Graphic Design class (a lot of projects) this semester. So don't worry. If you need a movie blogging fix just visit one of my linked sites from the list to the left.

Look For:

Film Junk
In Contention
Slash Film
The Movie Blog

Thanks and Happy Movie Hunting

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009 Studio Release

Major Film Studio (Parent Division)
Major Studio Subsidiary/Other Mainstream Subsidiaries
Arthouse/"Indie"/Genre/B movie Subsidiaries

Bold: Looking Forward To Watching

Walt Disney
A Christmas Carol
Princess and the Frog
Race to Witch Mountain
Toy Story (Rerelease for 3-D)
When in Rome

Miramax Films


20th Century Fox

Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakuel
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Jennifer's Body
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Street Fighter: the Legend of Chun Li
X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Fox Searchlight Pictures

500 Days of Summer
My Life in Ruins
Fox Atomic
12 Rounds
I Love You Beth Cooper
Miss February

Paramount Pictures

Case 39
Dance Flick
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Imagine That
Lovely Bones
Shutter Island
The Soloist
Star Trek

Dreamworks SKG

Hotel for Dogs
I Love You, Man
She's Out of My League
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Paramount Vantage (Paramount Classics)

Goods: the Don Ready Story
Revolutionary Road

Sony Picture


Columbia Picture

Angels & Demons
Pink Panther 2
Ugly Truth
Year One

Screen Gems
District 9
Fired Up
Mardi Gras
The Stepfather
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans


Perfect Getaway
Poughkeepsie Tapes
Youth in Revolt

Weinstein Company
The Road

Warner Bros

The Box
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince
Ninja Assassin
Sherlock Holmes
Terminator Salvation
Under the Sea 3D
Where the Wild Things Are

New Line Cinema
17 Again
Friday the 13th
He's Just Not That into You

Universal Pictures
Fast and Furious
Funny People
Inglorious Bastards
Land of the Lost
New in Town
State of Play
Wild Child

Focus Features

Away We Go
Taking Woodstock

Independent Films


Crank: High Voltage
Haunting in Connecticut
My Bloody Valentine 3D
Saw VI
Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail

IFC Films

Medicine for Melancholy

Summit Entertainment
Astro Boy
The Brothers Bloom
New Moon
Next Day Air
Sorority Row

Great Movies In 2008: By Genre

1. In Bruges
2. Burn After Reading
3. Definitely, Maybe
4. Nobel Son
5. In the Name of the King: a Dungeon Siege Tale

1. Tropic Thunder
2. Role Models
3. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
4. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
5. Step Brothers

Comic Book:
1. The Dark Knight
2. Iron Man
3. The Incredible Hulk
4. Wanted
5. Hellboy II: the Golden Army

1. Wall-E
2. Kung Fu Panda
3. Bolt
4. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!
5. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Sci-Fi/ Fantasy:
1. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
2. The Spiderwick Chronicles
3. Journey to the Center of the Earth
4. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
5. Twilight

1. Never Back Down
2. Leatherheads
3. Step Up 2 the Streets

Best of 2008: That I Have Seen

Now that 2009 is well on its way and award season is inching closer to its end, I decided to make my best of 2008 list. Since I didn’t have the opportunity to see the entire list of movies that have been featured in this years “Award Season,” I can’t tell you the best of the best. So I will do the next best thing, take the top categories and a few of my favorites and tell you what I think is the best of the best from what I have seen.

Best Picture: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Actor in a Leading Role: Clint Eastwood “Gran Torino” but I give kudos to Robert Downey Jr. for “Iron Man” &“Tropic Thunder”
Actor in a Supporting Role: Heath Ledger "The Dark Knight"
Actress in a Leading Role: Angelina Jolie "Changeling"
Actress in a Supporting Role: Elizabeth Banks (All Around)
Directing: I will give it to David Fincher "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" but Christopher Nolan "The Dark Knight" would be a close second.
Cinematography: TIE: The Dark Knight & The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Visual Effects: The two big summer comic book movies: The Dark Knight & Iron Man, I thank Iron Man has more of an edge over The Dark Knight.
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Make-Up: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Costume Design: Changeling, I would give it to The Dutchess but I didn’t see this movie.
Animated Feature Film: WALL-E

Award Season: Golden Globes

Golden Globes Winners

Best Motion Picture - Drama:
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama:
Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama:
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy:
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy:
Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy:
Colin Farrell – In Bruges

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Best Animated Feature Film:

Best Foreign Language Film:
Waltz With Bashir (Israel)

Best Director - Motion Picture:
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture:
Slumdog Millionaire – Written by Simon Beaufoy

Best Original Score - Motion Picture:
Slumdog Millionaire – Composed by A. R. Rahman

Best Original Song - Motion Picture:
"The Wrestler" – The Wrestler – Music & Lyrics By: Bruce Springsteen

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Filmmakers


20 June 1968, San Antonio, Texas, USA

I give straight up give kudos to Rodriguez as a filmmaker. He knows it all, hint why he is call “the one-man film crew”. His studio, Troublemaker Publishing, is located in his own house. Seriously, his living room and garage make up Troublemaker Publishing. He also has a knack to make films cheep and fast a quality learned from his first film, El Mariachi.
"He calls his style of making movies "Mariachi-style" (in reference to his first feature film El Mariachi) in which (according to the back cover of his book Rebel Without a Crew) "Creativity, not money, is used to solve problems". Stu Maschwitz coined the term "Robert Rodriguez list", i.e. you make a list of things you have access to like cool cars, apartments, horses, samurai swords and so on you and people you know own or have access to and then write the script based on that."
Mix the "Mariachi-style” with the large number of collaborations with Quentin Tarantino and you have yourself a classic case of Robert Rodriguez.



They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Award Season Updates

As the Award Season has wined down and we draw closer to the Oscars, I have done my homework...As of late I have spending most of my time researching this topic at a few different sites but the one I spend the most time is at In Contention.

This is what i have found:

VFX Nominations Narrowed
Bold is the narrowed list

“The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“The Day the Earth Stood Still”

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

“The Incredible Hulk”
“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”

“Iron Man”

“Journey to the Center of the Earth”

“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”

“Quantum of Solace”
“The Spiderwick Chronicles”

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Anticipated Films of 2009

Anticipated films of 2009 in order of release dated. The bold movies are my most anticipated films of 2009.

1. Inkheart (New Line Cinema) --- Jan 9
2. Defiance (Paramount Vantage) --- Jan 16
3. Watchmen (Warner Bros) --- Mar 6 (for now)
4. The Soloist (Paramount) --- Apr 24
5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (20th Century Fox) --- May 1
6. Star Trek (Paramount) --- May 8

7. Angels & Demons (Columbia) --- May 15
8. Up (Pixar) --- May 29
9. Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (Warner Bros) --- July 17

10. 9 (Focus Features) --- Sept. 9

REVIEW: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Synopsis

"I was born under unusual circumstances." And so begins 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story, set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918 to the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man's life can be. Directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett with Taraji P. Henson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Julia Ormond, Benjamin Button is a grand tale of a not-so-ordinary man and the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time.

Other Reviews


Roger Ebert: 2 1/2 Stars
Michael Phillips: 3 Stars
EW: Lisa Schwarzbaum: A-

Other Sites:

At The Movies: Ben Mankiewicz: See It, Ben Lyons: See It
Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 73% (Fresh), Top Critics: 77% (Fresh), RT Community: 82% (Fresh)
Metacritic: Critics: 69 out of 100, Users: 7.0 out of 10
Yahoo Movies: Critics: B+ Users: A-

My Review

Source Material: Based on short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Action: Brilliant: Even with being a drama with little to no action sequences this movie draws you in, It is a pushing three hours but it sure don't feel like it.

Acting and Dialogue: Oscar Worthy: Brad Pitt could pull off a win at the Oscars this year with his performance. Cate Blanchett also did what she did best. I also thought it was a very good over all ensemble cast.

Cinematography: Oscar Worthy: Very Beautiful

Direction: Oscar Worthy: David Fincher at his best. He should get nominated if not win.

Sound: Brilliant: The score was magnificent.

Special and Visual FX: Amazing: I not only give props to the make-up crew on the aging proses of Brad Pitt but also the FX crew for pulling off an old four foot Brad Pitt.

Overall: A-, Very good movie, hope wins some Oscars.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Filmmakers


19 October 1977, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Jason is one of the only directors that became an instant favorite. As soon as a saw Juno I looked up Jason to see what else of his I liked; quite frankly I never have heard of any of this film in his filmography except for Thank You for Smoking. Juno was great so I gave him props and he became one of my favorites. I hope he produce more great movies like Juno and stays in my favorites. Until he seen as a great from the world stand point I will cherish the moments he brings to us film fans. With how much he has already done; he made my top five indie filmmakers, falling somewhere behind Gus Van Sant and Wes Anderson.



They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?