Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3
Directed by: Lee Unkrich
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen

Why does Disney want to hurt us? Disney films have a long history of psychologically scarring movie goers across the globe with moments like Dumbo being taken from his mother, Bambi's mother being shot, and Lady getting shipped off to the pound. Now Disney has teamed up with another master of traumatization, Pixar, to really devastate us. Well congratulations Disney/Pixar, you've done it again, luckily it's nothing a few weeks of intense therapy wont fix.
Right from the get-go with Toy Story 3 I was misty-eyed, throughout the film I found myself constantly on the brink of tears, lucky for me every time the levy was about to break Disney pulled me back with a quick joke to calm my nerves. Though the movie is ultimately a drama, several comical scenes stand out, like the "spanish Buzz" scene, and just about every scene with Ken. Also a few new characters are introduced, including a depressed baby doll and a sociopathic teddy bear, antics ensue (of course).
Aside from costing me hundreds of dollars in countless therapy sessions, Toy Story 3 delivered. It took me back to when I was just 8 years old, sitting in a dark theater, being introduced to a silly cowboy named Woody.
What made Toy Story 3 so good, in my opinion, is that it tapped into the human experience; eventually everyone must grow up, we all lose friends and loved ones. The world changes, and our lives change with it.

Four Stars

On a totally unrelated topic, I will soon be posting the occassional short short review on the blog "Quickies for Commoners", which was created by my friend ZaxxonQ. So feel free to check that out.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Written and directed by Christopher Nolan
Leonardo DiCaprio
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Ellen Page

I'd like to start by saying this:
Dear Mr. Nolan & Mr. DiCaprio, thank you for blowing my mind.

With movies like Memento, The Prestige, and The Dark Knight to his credit I think it's safe to say that Christopher Nolan knows what he's doing. That said; Inception blows them all out of the water (with the possible exception of Memento [which is better than excellent]).
Everything about this movie is great, the story, the writing and dialogue, the special effects, the acting; everything! I was very pleased with the novelty and originality of Inception; the concept of being able to consciously enter an unconcious state is in itself mind boggeling, as if that wasn't enough this movie delves into dreams within a dream within a dream within a dream and so on and so forth. Then, as if to put the icing on the cake while our heros are layers down into all these dreams their mission is to plant the seedling of an idea in the subject's subconscious! By now you might be thinking "what the hell, this is confusing!" but it's not, I promise. One of the great things about the film is that it's deep and interesting without being confusing to the average viewer!
Another great thing is the effects, the special effects are fun and cool without being over the top (ie: Matrix, I Am Legend). The movie utilizes subtle special effects in an interesting way, it doesn't become unbelievable or fake looking. My favorite scene(s) effects-wise is the scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the hotel alone, specificall when the hotel loses gravity and Gordon-Levitt has to fight some projections in that rumbling, rip roaring, gravity losing hotel of fun; those are some of the most fun scenes in a movie I've ever seen!

Now it's time for me to spoil the ending for you.

As with DiCaprio's last mind-fuck, Shutter Island, the ending is a bit vague, perhaps intended to confuse the viewer or to let you draw your own conclusion. Lucky for you I'm here to clear things up for you.
The final scene of the film has DiCaprio's character, Cobb, leaving the L.A. airport with his father, and returning to his home, he spins the top to see if he is indeed in reality, but before he can see it drop his children run to him & welcom him home. The camera focuses on the top still spinning and just before it might topple over cut to black. the end.
Clearly Cobb is still in his dream-reality, and here's why: 1) His father meets him at the airport, this doesn't make any sense because it's already been established that his father lives/works in Paris, why would he be in L.A.? 2) The children are at Cobb's old house, when it has already been established that they live with their grandmother. 3) The children have not aged. 4) The children are in the exact same clothing and position as we have seen in Cobb's dreams/memories. 5) By the time the camera pans back over to the top it has already been spinng for over a minute; that is, in my opinion, too long for a top to spin without falling.
What I find interesting about this ending is that Cobb abandons the top before waiting for it to fall, this to me said that he no longer cared about true reality; he resolved to remain in the reality his mind had created. Cobb abandoned reality in order to be with his children, which is both heartening and heart breaking because, in doing so he has ensured that he will never see his real children again.

Post Script: After seeing this film a 2nd time I feel the need to come back and clarify that in the end it is irrelevant wether or not Cobb is dreaming. The story is concluded regardless of wether he is awake or not. The discussion over how much of the film is reality and how much is Cobb's dream is just an interesting conversation topic.

Five Stars

Friday, June 18, 2010

Shutter Island

Shutter Island
Based on the novel Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, screenplay by Laeta Kalogridis, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Leonardo DiCaprio
Mark Ruffalo
Ben Kingsley

The first thing I took note of while watching Shutter Island was that it is shot beautifully, the overall cinematography is fantastic. My first thoughts on the movie were "well, if nothing else at least it's pretty", lucky for me it's more than just pretty.
Shutter Island centers around U.S. Marshal, Teddy Daniels who has been called to a mental institution to investigate the dissapearance of a patient. Or so he believes. As the film progresses you learn about Teddy's tragic past and his growing suspicions that someting sinister is happening on Shutter Island.

(I'm about to 'spoil' the ending)

Eventually you find out, through a series of bizarre yet beautiful dream sequences and various odd encounters, that Teddy Daniels is not a U.S. Marshal, he is not at Shutter Island on an investigation, he's not even Teddy Daniels. His name is Andrew Laeddis, and he is a patient. Laeddis came home one day to find that his wife (Michelle Williams) had drowned their three children in the lake, and he shot her. Unable to live with what had happened his mind fabricated a new reality. It turns out that the doctors have been experimenting with a roleplay technique to break Laeddis out of his delusion, this is their last chance to save him and if it doesn't work he will be lobotomized. The final scene of the film shows Teddy/Laeddis talking to his partner/doctor, and right before he walks into the open arms of a group of doctors and guards Teddy says "Which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?"
For those of you who were left confused , what has just happened is this; Laeddis remembers everything, he has completely broken through his delusion, but upon deep reflection he came to the realization that maybe the delusion was better than reality. He knew he couldn't live know what his wife had done and in turn what he had done, so he would rather die, or in this case be lobotomized.
This is not open to interpretation. It is what it is.
In my opinion this ending is what makes Shutter Island so moving; Laeddis made a choice to give up life as he knew it to escape what he had done. This film makes you contemplate the actions and choices that we make and the effectiveness of mental rehabilitation.
Breath taking cinematography, an interesting story, outstanding direction and heart breaking performances from Williams and DiCaprio make this an excellent film. I was rivited from start to finish.

There is, however, one scene that I have yet to make sense of, the scene in which Teddy is interviewing the patients. At one point he is interviewing a female patien who asks for a glass of water, here is where I get confused - Ruffalo sets down a full glass of water, the patient picks up an imaginary glass (there's nothing in her hand) with her right hand, she drinks from the imaginary glass (still with her right hand), then sets down an empty glass with her left hand.
The only thing I can think of is that this is supposed to signify Laeddis' delusion and reality overlapping, but it was so strange and so fast that I really didn't know what to make of it!
5 stars.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Youth in Revolt

Youth in Revolt
Based on the novel Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne, screenplay by Gustin Nash, directed by Miguel Arteta.
Michael Cera. Portia Doubleday. Zach Galifinakis.

Let me begin by saying that I have never been a fan of the "immature adolescent attempts to engage in sexual intercourse", I have also never been a huge fan of the "Michael Cera"; however, despite those flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed Youth in Revolt.
I think that what makes this movie different is that it is intelligent. While most teen comedies seem like they are written for pixie-stick snorting cromagnons, Youth in Revolt manages to break the mold with clever quirky jokes, obscure film and music references and dialogue sporting big words, like "unsolicited" and "arson" (just kidding). Another great thing is that the movie utilizes a mostly indie soundtrack that (unlike films like Juno) actually makes sense and sets a mood.
The only downside I can think of at the moment is that the teens speak like 48 year old british aristocrats, which was annoying for the first 5-10 minutes, but it grew on me and became comical as the movie progressed.
I have no intention of revealing any plotlines or jokes in this review, but I will tell you; go watch this movie, it's good. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Youth in Revolt, and Francois Dillinger is quite possibly my new favorite person.
3 1/2 stars!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Hello, this is my blog. I intend to watch movies and write short sweet reviews of them here. This first blog is just the introduction.
I love watching movie and talking about them, so i suppose this blog is a great idea for me, right?
A few things you should know about me:
I am 23 years old, I work in a movie store and I also wait tables. I am in college at the moment, my major field of study is art.
I generally stay away from "scary" movies because, they tend to suck. So if that's what you're looking for you've come to the wrong place.