30 June 2009

Public Enemies

Public Enemies

"I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars and you. What else do you need to know?"

As portrayed by Johnny Depp in Michael Mann's Public Enemies, Depression-era criminal John Dillinger was efficient in everything he did, whether it was a bank robbery, jailbreak or sweeping a lovely young woman off her feet—in and out of a bank in one minute, 40 seconds; calmly walking to a getaway car while bullets fly around him; winning the heart of Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard, the French Oscar-winner looking quite at home in 1930s Chicago) with simple, direct statements like the one quoted.

With Depp's star power behind him, Dillinger is a sort of prince of thieves, a hero to the public who steals from the banks that they believe stole from them. A frightened teller empties her pockets during one robbery. "We're here for the bank's money, not yours. Put it away," Dillinger instructs her.

26 June 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

With the possible exception of Spice World (1997), I cannot think of a movie that launches a more brutal assault on the eardrums than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

The scraping and screeching of metal on metal is the pervading sound, interrupted only by an endless barrage of gunfire and explosions, punctuated by a bombastic musical score and a few bad rock songs. Characters don't talk; they shout and scream and occasionally bellow—they have to, to be heard over the deafening soundtrack.

There are no quiet scenes, not even a moment for the audience to catch its breath.

The Proposal

The Proposal

The romantic comedy is perhaps the most formulaic of all movie genres. Boy meets girl. One annoys the other, they bicker constantly and manage to fall in love at the same time. An obstacle presents itself, but they overcome it to live happily ever after.

In The Proposal, nothing happens that we don't see coming.

Though aspiring writer/editor Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) loathes everything about his demanding boss, Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), we know—without the slightest doubt—that they will be in love before the credits roll.

03 June 2009

The Hangover

The Hangover

Three men wake up in their Vegas hotel room—no, make that their luxurious, $4,000-a-night Caesar’s Palace suite. The carnage is complete: Piles of empty beer cans and bottles. A smoldering leather chair. Plastic blow-up dolls in the Jacuzzi. An ottoman hanging from the ceiling. A wandering chicken. A tiger in the bathroom. And somebody put a baby in a corner.

Sounds like one heck of a bachelor party.

Stu (Ed Helms), a dentist, is missing a tooth. Phil (Bradley Cooper) is wearing a hospital bracelet. Alan (Zach Galifianakis) has no pants, though, unfortunately, this is not so uncommon an occurrence.

A problem: Doug (Justin Bartha), the groom, is missing.

A bigger problem: None of the other three remembers what happened last night.

02 June 2009



No one in the history of film—not an actor, director, writer, studio or production company—has a track record to match that of Pixar Animation Studios. Ten feature films, 10 huge successes, racking up nearly $5 billion (and counting) in worldwide box office grosses and near-unanimous praise from critics. They should give the Academy Award for best animated feature to Pixar as soon as it releases a new movie—no one else stands a chance.

Feature No. 10 is the newly-released Up, perhaps the most unlikely animation blockbuster yet.

Up tells the story of Carl Frederickson, of how, as a young boy, he meets Ellie and they bond over their shared admiration of the famous explorer Charles Muntz (voice of Christopher Plummer). We see their life together in a stunning, heartbreaking sequence (accented by Michael Giacchino's tender score) full of more love, joy and sadness than most other movies fit into their entire running times.