[Movie Review] The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The works of Philip K. Dick have been adapted to the silver screen for over two decades, ranging from Blade Runner to A Scanner Darkly, Dick’s work has often succeeded in creating a completely new world based on reality. Does The Adjustment Bureau, the most recent of Dick’s works to be adapted, merit to shift to the big screen?

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[Movie Review] Blue Valentine (2010)

Blue Valentine is a film that centers around a contemporary married couple in a struggle to keep the relationship afloat amidst a dimming romantic  flame between them. The film is raw, unflinching, and boasts two of the most intense, brave performances from leads Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

The film portrays the relationship by cross-cutting between the present as a struggling married couple and their initial meeting and subsequent courtship. The film is such a roller coaster of emotion that it’s almost  unnerving at times.

Gosling and Williams deliver two of the most powerful performances in recent memory, as the film forces the two actors to balance equal parts optimism and dejection, a rare feat that allows each of them to rip your heart out and put it back time after time.

The two burst off screen with Gosling channeling the intensity of Robert De Niro with Nicholas Cage’s ability to completely delve into the character like a chameleon. Williams is just a powerful, but her performance might be just slightly more impressive just because of how amazingly brave and one of a kind  it is.

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[Movie Review] Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan is one of the most unique films I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s a well crafted, menacingly dark, vividly imaginative movie that coasts on a strong central performance from Natalie Portman and some voyeuristic direction from Darren Aronofsky.

The movie follows Nina (Portman), a young prodigy ballet dancer getting the biggest break of her career as the lead in a newly-imagined version of “Swan Lake”. It’s a pretty simple film, but one that handles the simplicity with such boldness that the film evolves into one of the most finely crafted films of the year.

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[Movie Review] The Fighter (2010)

Hollywood produces, on average, about one boxing movie a year. Boxing. This year’s installment, The Fighter, might just be the best one ever. And yes, I know it’s lame to proclaim that after seeing a movie once, but The Fighter packs a hell of a punch all around, and also boasts 2010’s best performance: an enigmatic turn from Christian Bale as boxing prodigy/crack addict Dicky Eklund, while also elevating itself as being traditional, and unique, at the same time.

The Fighter centers on the improbable rise of “Irish” Micky Ward through the boxing ranks, despite having a ridiculously dysfunctional family in his corner. Ward is from Lowell, Massachusetts, and director David O. Russell does a great job right from the start of highlighting the pressure on the shoulders of Ward (Mark Wahlberg) to do something with his boxing career, and also the pressure on Dicky to return to his former glory in the ring while battling a severe crack addiction.

Lowell is portrayed as a locked door of a town, with Micky potentially holding the key to escape. As the movie develops, Micky becomes involved in a relationship with a dive bartender named Charlene (Amy Adams) who urges Micky to focus on his career without his family.

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[Movie Review] True Grit (2010)

True Grittakes a unique approach to the modern western, trading in the traditional solemn, dry, overly serious tone for a darkly comedic, impeccably acted one that really allows it to differentiate itself among its peers in the genre as a film that bucks trends rather than embrace the status quo.

True Grit is a fine film, boasting tremendous performances, a compelling narrative, and plenty of gunfire to satisfy almost every movie goer. It’s not a flawless movie, but in a weak year, it’s likely to be adorned with plenty of accolades, many of which will be directed toward the stellar cast.

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[Movie Review] Tron: Legacy (2010)

I would have a hard time naming more than ten movies off the top of my head in rapid succession that are as visually stunning as Tron: Legacy is for the bulk of two hours.

Unfortunately, I could also lump Tron: Legacy into the large group of films that succeed almost solely based on their jaw-dropping special effects while providing little to care about in terms of characters, or plot.

But even with it’s slight deficiencies, Tron: Legacy can still be considered a success. The movie is a visual feast with an amazing soundtrack, mediocre acting, and a swiss-cheese level plot. So what if it’s only entertaining, and not an awards contender.

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[Movie Review] I’m Still Here (2010)

For those unfamiliar, I’m Still Here is the much discussed, yet virtually unseen documentary chronicling Joaquin Phoenix’s departure from acting into the world of hip-hop, which was proceeded by a string of bizarre public appearances, leading some to believe the movie was a hoax.

It turned out they were correct, as shortly after the film’s release, its director, Casey Affleck, revealed the film to be a fake. Despite knowing this, I still went into the movie with an open mind and tried to judge it on its own merits, ignoring that it wasn’t real.

Unfortunately, I found this to be impossible.

Knowing nothing was real made it seem like nothing was at stake. Whether its several failed attempts to get P. Diddy to produce his album, or him freaking out and crying about his infamous Letterman interview from 2009, how are we supposed to care about how devastated he is?

That’s not to say this couldn’t have been a good film, but the primary storyline which needed to be compelling for this to work simply wasn’t.

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[Movie Review] Zombie Town (2006)

I’m not very good at running a website.

Why? I’ve had Zombie Town in my Netflix instant queue since well before Halloween, along with a handful of other zombie movies — all of which I planned on reviewing before the October 31st. Obviously, that didn’t happen. However, I did manage to view and review Gangs of the Dead before my self-imposed deadline, meaning I’m not completely awful at running a website.

Zombie Town is not a very good zombie movie. It attempts to accomplish feats such as scaring you, making you laugh, and forming a bond between the viewer and the film’s characters; all of which are necessary for a successful zombie movie, none of which the movie accomplishes. Zombie Town did manage to impress me with buckets of gore, some cheesy one-liners, and a Romeronian portrayal of the living dead, meaning it isn’t completely awful.

I also expect at least three people to read this, meaning I’m awful at getting my hopes up, just like I am at running a website.

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[Movie Review] Batman: Under The Red Hood

First of all, I’m a comic fan from back in the golden age of comics. No, I don’t mean the 50’s and 60’s. I’m talking about the 90’s, the span of time in which comics really grew into their own and started becoming a mainstream and respected medium. A time when Marvel and DC started taking chances with their golden characters, and upstart companies like Dark Horse and Image, independent publishers both, gave the big two runs for their money by publishing books that were risky, adult and contemporary.

Since that time, Marvel and DC grew up drastically, telling stories like The Death of Superman and The Age of Apocalypse, where beloved characters, staples of the their respective universes died, tragically and heartbreakingly.

Even though I was always a marvel fanboy (DC characters were too flawless, too perfect), around that same time, Tim Burton directed the legendary Batman movie, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. This led to Batman: The Animated Series, a series, though produced certainly for children, had very adult themes, artwork and sensibilities. From this point, DC seemed to take a great deal of pride in its animated works, producing the amazing Adventures of Superman, The Adventures of Batman and Robin, Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited. That tradition is continued in DC’s latest feature-length animated batman movie, Batman: Under the Red Hood.

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[Movie Review] The Social Network (2010)

David Fincher has a real penchant for telling thoroughly engrossing stories. His filmography reads like a Dean’s List of phenomenal films, stuff ranging from the dark and moody Seven, to the super-charged and testosterone-filled Fight Club, and the cerebral and tension-filled Zodiac, Fincher has repeatedly told stories that feel like events.

The Social Network is no different. In fact, it could perhaps be Fincher’s greatest overall work, as it both captures and transcends the creation of popular megasite Facebook.com (speaking of which, be a fan of our page).

The film is the true story revolving around the creation of the incredibly popular website, and the main character of the film is the infamous Mark Zuckerberg, creator and founder of the famed social networking website. Zuckerberg is played by Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale, Zombieland), and we are immediately thrust into a conversation that on the surface could be just like any other disagreement a guy and a girl have had at a bar. Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg comes off as condescending, if not creepily confident in himself and his skills.

The film is a fascinating, at times tremendously engrossing, portrait of a brief period of time in recent history that has made a surprising impact in pop culture worldwide. Fincher lets the tension build and build throughout the movie, and the structure of the film was somewhat surprising to me.

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