Sunday, November 28, 2010


Unstoppable is as action-packed as its title suggests. The story, inspired by true events, centers on an unmanned freight train which has been accidentally unleashed on the main track. The problem is, the train is carrying 8 cars full of hazardous material that could result in a devastating catastrophe if not stopped.  Chris Pine and Denzel Washington develop excellent chemistry as the plot unfolds. It is thrilling to watch the attempts to stop this runaway train while also quite suspenseful if you don't know how the story goes. Overall, I thought the film had good character development, mainly the characters played by Pine and Washington. Plot is somewhat predictable and mostly only touches on one note (not a lot of variety to this movie). While not a great dramatic piece of film making, Unstoppable is very entertaining and I got a kick out of it! I give it a solid three stars (out of four).

UNSTOPPABLE is rated PG-13 for profanity, some violence, and some scary moments.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Morning Glory

Morning Glory is a very good comedy. I'm one of those people who is getting tired of all the formulaic, redundant, and completely improbable rom-coms that are coming out these days. The funny thing is, I'm actually a fan of good romantic comedies! I love While You Were Sleeping and You've Got Mail, but films like You Again and The Bounty Hunter still leave a bad taste in my mouth. Morning Glory isn't a perfect movie by any means, but the great performances (particularly from McAdams and Harrison Ford) made up for much of what the narrative was lacking.

The story centers on a young lady named Becky (McAdams) who has a lot of enthusiasm, but keeps getting the short end of the stick in her career. After being fired from a job at a local TV station, her mother tells her how her relentless talk of one day being a big-time TV producer isgetting "embarrassing". With her confidence having seen better days, she applies to several different places (sometimes sending in multiple resumes and following-up a little too frequently) and eventually gets a position as Executive Producer of a morning television program called "Daybreak", which is notorious for its terrible ratings, sinking morale, and high turnaround. She makes a name for herself the first day on the job by publicly firing the extremely self-centered and inappropriate male anchor and now faces the dilemma of finding a replacement on a virtually non-existing budget.

Luckily, she discovers that celebrated news anchor Mike Pomeroy (Ford) is currently under contract with the news station and if he doesn't perform any journalism duties for a 6 month period the remainder of his $6 million dollar salary will go unpaid. Left with little choice in the matter, Pomeroy grudgingly accepts the position with pretty hilarious results.

Despite how much this movie had going for it, though, it definitely did have its ups and downs. For instance, I felt that the romantic story could have been completely left out as it didn't really add much to the story, and I didn't particularly like the chemistry between them. I also feel like the movie could have involved Becky's relationship with her mother more, as that aspect seemed a little under-utilized. However, I did thoroughly enjoy the old curmudgeon Harrison Ford was channeling as well as the bright and perky Rachel McAdams as she tries to make this very diverse and largely dysfunctional crew work together as they attempt to increase their ratings.

Sometimes in movies like this there's a raunchy/socially inept person who's temperamental transformation seems to happen way too abruptly to believe, which definitely takes you out of the movie. That being said, I thought they handled Ford's character arc with some much-needed subtlety that is seldom seen in this genre. Overall I found this movie very funny and would definitely recommend it! Lara didn't exactly agree with me on this one so it may be more of a guy movie, surprisingly, but regardless I really liked Morning Glory! I give it a solid three stars.

MORNING GLORY is rated PG-13 for some language and mild sexual content.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


INCEPTION was a movie I had been looking forward to since I first saw the teaser trailer in theaters. Going into the film I really didn't know that much about it, other than that it dealt with dreams and corporate espionage. The film takes place in a contemporary setting where the technology is available to share dreams. In this world corporate thieves are able to steal ideas from competitors by using the dream-sharing device to delve into the subconscious of the target. The movie drops you right into an action-packed and intriguing dream sequence in which Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is attempting to steal corporate secrets from a powerful executive named Saito (Ken Watanabe).

The mission does not go according to plan, but Saito is impressed with Cobb and his team nonetheless and offers him an opportunity at redemption with a new mission - instead of stealing an idea, Saito wants Cobb and his team to plant an idea into someone's mind instead.  This process is called Inception. Cobb, though an exceptionally gifted dream builder (architect), cannot trust himself to create the dreams and must hire architecture student Ariadne (Ellen Page) to create the dream levels for him. Why he can no longer build these shared dreams is just one of the brilliantly crafted sub-plots to this wholly original screenplay.

While the story is fairly complicated, with the first half hour or so only fully understood upon repeated viewings, director Christopher Nolan lays the plot out in such a way that we can still understand and completely enjoy the film. This is a masterful piece of film-making. The story is emotionally gripping, the special effects groundbreaking, the score unforgettable, and the cinematography beautiful! There is a scene where gravity goes berserk that is absolutely spell-binding! Christopher Nolan is famous for using practical effects as opposed to relying heavily on CGI, and some of the action set pieces leave you baffled as to how it was achieved.

Leonardo DiCaprio did a fantastic job of playing the tortured hero who is trying to hide from his past, while supporting characters like  Eames (Tom Hardy) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt) really add to the ensemble in a realistic and extremely likable way. Playing the difficult part of Mal Cobb, Marion Cotillard gives a heart-breaking performance as Cobb's wife who he can only see in  his dreams. I am not ashamed to admit that I did tear up a few times in this film. I absolutely loved this movie and recommend it to anyone who wants to be dazzled and have their mind blown by a complex but rewarding narrative. I give this movie four stars!
INCEPTION is rated PG-13 for intense action sequences, some violence, and some scary moments.