The Grey Movie Review

the-gray-movie-review-liam-neeson In Alaska, an oil drilling team struggle to survive after a plane crash strands them in the wild. Hunting the humans are a pack of wolves who see them as intruders.
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The Grey is not “artsy” enough to be nominated for an Academy Award, but it was most likely the best movie I have seen all year. What makes the movie stand out is its balance. The movie manages to be a thriller, drama, action flick, and dialogue-driven all-in-one. An impressive feat considering most movies that try to incorporate multiple elements end up falling flat.

Like many critics, I was very surprised by the movie. The Grey was marketed as a pure action movie – Man vs. Wolf. It was refreshing to see that there was much more to it. The movie explores various aspects of life and death, fear and survival. No movie, to this point, has made me think of death in the way that The Grey did. There are scenes that are so raw that you can’t help but feel really uncomfortable. The movie is also punctuated with action sequences and gore, but it is used somewhat sparingly – adding to the intensity of the scenes when they occur.

Liam Neeson always demands attention on-screen, and The Grey is no exception. He excels at playing intense characters and can usually be found in intense action movies kicking some serious ass. In The Grey, however, he shows off more of his acting skills and has much more depth to his character. Although he plays an intense character, he also engages in a lot of deep dialogue relating to life and death. His character is also highly believable in the sense that, although his character was a badass, he also showed signs of weakness and openly admitted his fear in their desperate situation.

The movie takes place in the Alaskan wilderness, adding to the movie’s intensity. One thing this movie will do is destroy any desire you have to visit Alaska – if you had any to begin with. The premise of the movie (I know, I’m describing it really late in this review) is a number of oil drillers get stranded in Alaska after their plane crashes. They must then survive the elements as well as a number of angry wolves that are hunting them down one by one.

Overall the movie is well balanced, highly intriguing as well as intense and exciting. Add it to your list of must-sees. You won’t regret it.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Movie Review

sherlock-holmes-game-of-shadows-movie-review Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.
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Despite being a bigger fan of the recent Sherlock Holmes TV series, I still find the movies brilliant in their own right. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, raised the bar for the movie franchise.

The movie had a well thought-out storyline that was made apparent about halfway through. As usual, the audience is deliberately left in the dark for the first half of the movie. With that being said, the movie was a little longer than it otherwise needed to be – the fun really beginning once the main plot had been revealed.

As for the individual characteristics:

– Comedic timing was great with humour used to break up and lighten the movie nicely

– The plot was both straightforward and elaborate (the big picture was straightforward with intricate details that will take several viewings to piece together fully)

– Moriarty is a particularly great character in this movie. So perfectly sinister and brilliant. Sherlock Holmes seems to have truly met his match in Moriarty with each taking turns at winning at their favourite game – a grand game of chess.

– The use of slow motion action was more prominent than in the first movie but added greatly to the movie. Unlike most Hollywood action movies where action sequences are deliberately edited to be blindingly fast, the slow motion sequences in Sherlock Holmes were a really neat effect allowing a better glimpse of the action and another angle on Sherlock’s brilliance (fighting).

– The witty and fast dialogue can be compared with the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (before the franchise dropped witty dialogue to focus on special effects and action). Any movie with this type of dialogue is an instant winner with me and I was very impressed.

In Summary

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, was predictable at times (understanding the typical Sherlock Holmes story twists) yet overall extremely entertaining. This second film built on the first and added to it in many ways. I certainly hope they continue to make sequels if they can maintain this level of quality.

And for those of you who enjoy Sherlock Holmes and have yet to check out the BBC series – what are you waiting for?!? It is by far one of the most accurate depictions of Sherlock Holmes with the added bonus of being set in modern times with brilliant ways to integrate the old stories into modern times.

Muppets Movie Review 2011

the-muppets-movie-review-2011 With the help of three fans, The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon.

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The Muppets movie was incredible. Done.

Okay, I have more to say than that but considering my expectations were fairly low, I was truly surprised. The movie was legitimately funny, not just for kids but had a variety of clever references. The majority of the comedy was not just low-brow kids comedy but rather unexpected and fairly clever – at least at times.

Why the Muppets movie was great in 3 reasons:

  1. Surprisingly clever
    I felt as if some of the jokes would go over straight over children’s heads but that is fine by me! Specifically, The Muppets took advantage of “calling itself out” and making reference to itself. I am personally a big fan of fun movies that can point out some of the clichés in movies. The Muppets did a great job of incorporating clichés for comedic effect – not because they are unimaginative.
  2. Lots of Amazing Cameos
    Almost every scene in the movie had a cameo of some sort and they were great. They were incorporated into the movie and weren’t just fully thrown in for fun which was great. I could go on about the cameos but I don’t want to ruin the magic.
    For a full list, see the spoilers below.
  3. Great music
    Some of the songs were a little lame but most were very good. The song “Man or Muppet” [YouTube Link] was my personal favourite. It was not just the song itself but the accompanying hilarity that made it so great along with the great cameo . . . it is really hard not to give anything away in these reviews! I have to be so cryptic. Anyways, after watching the movie you will see what I mean.

Overall, the movie was great and I highly recommend it. You have to be in a happy-go-lucky mood though or you might not appreciate it as much. Also, disclosure: my view may be elevated because of my initially low expectations of the movie. A great movie for a night in, or out, with the girlfriend or family.

Warning Spoilers Below!

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Full Cameo List:

Emily Blunt, James Carville, Leslie Feist, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, Judd Hirsch, John Krasinski, Jim Parsons, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey Rooney, Kristen Schaal, Sarah Silverman, Ken Jeong, Donald Glover.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-movie-review An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

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Despite being a movie fanatic, I often find myself being very cynical with certain movie ideas. Although I had not seen any of the original Planet of the Apes franchise, the concept always seemed very cheesy to me. It seemed like a concept that they would not be able to get by with today. As such, I did not have high expectations for the movie but I must say, I was blown out of the water. The realistic modern take on the concept made the story believable and engaging in ways that the original franchise likely did not.

To put it into perspective, you may remember a time when comics, cartoons and movies were almost entirely held in fantasy. There were many loopholes in logic but it was “okay” because it was pure fantasy. In cinema today there is a much greater emphasis on realism – even when the movie is based in fantasy. Personally, I love it.

I think the best examples of this are the original Batman movies (everything before Batman: Begins & The Dark Knight). Most people would agree that those original movies were quite cheesy and lacked the serious and realistic focus of the new iterations by Christopher Nolan. In his take on the Batman franchise, characters are well-developed and their back-stories explained well. Nolan focused less on the superhero aspect of the movie and more on the story itself and it pays off big time. It is always effective to increase believability for an audience – we can believe in a Bruce Wayne, someone who has access to a lot of resources – it’s a lot harder to believe in Superman. But that’s enough about Batman.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes combines these somewhat indescribable characteristics that make it a very compelling movie. They pulled off a “smart animal movie” in a way I did not think possible. You will feel sorrow, anger and happiness – for an ape. So watch the movie and enjoy.

P.s. stick around at the end of the movie – there is a surprise ending that is sure to please.

Fast Five Movie Review

fast-five-movie-review Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.

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I am going to keep this movie review very short. There are only a few things you need to know about Fast Five.

1. This movie is by-far the best of the series

2. It has some of the best action sequences I have seen in a long time

3. It has “heist movie” elements which are amazing (particularly if you like heist movies)

4. The story is nothing special but the movie is thoroughly entertaining and an absolute must-see

Mindless but mind-blowing entertainment

If you were getting bored of the “Fast” series, do not worry. Although the movie contains many common elements of its predecessors, it also introduces a number of new elements. Introducing heist components works well with the successful series and fans of movies like The Italian Job will enjoy the style of this movie.

The acting leaves a lot to be desired but remains bearable – even pretty good at times. Re-introducing old cast members adds to the experience and nostalgia. The support casts serves as one of the strongest points for the movie.

Although many of the action scenes remain over-the-top, their entertainment value cannot be denied. The stunts and effects in Fast Five are among Hollywood’s best. Few straight-up action movies are worthy of a 5 star rating but Fast Five earns it for its improvement over its predecessors, its heist-movie elements and its ultimate entertainment value.

Oh, and stay after the credits. Trust me. – D. Michaelangelo

Once you’ve seen the movie, come on back and we’ll chat about the ending.

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I could not believe what happened after the credits!!! Letty is alive??? Although I will miss the series, I was excited for this movie because it was a nice ending/wrap-up. Unfortunately it looks like they will be continue to milk the series (either that or the Letty thing completely throws off the neat ending). I am a fan of tidy endings. What do you think?

Source Code–Movie Review

source-code-movie-2011 An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

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Source Code, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan, is “an action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.” I cannot describe the movie much more without ruining the plot so I will leave the overview at that.

I disagree to an extent about the movie being classified as an action thriller. There are certainly action and thriller elements to the movie, however, the movie is primarily dialogue driven with action sequences kept to a minimum. This might be bad news for those looking for nothing but action.

I’ll start by saying that the movie was extremely good. It might even have made it into my Top 5. The storyline was original – and so was the “gimmick”. In my books, uniqueness is weighted heavily and certainly helped boost my rating. The dialogue was also one of the best parts of the movie, although I have seen a lot better (think The Taking of Pelham 123).

There was a distinct humanistic element of the movie – seemed a little tacked on near the end but did help to develop the characters and add charm to the movie. Usually these elements are added to appease the critics – whom seem to be won over almost entirely by the amount of human emotion in a movie. Unlike some movies that overdo the love story, this movie kept a delicate balance between nauseating emotion and emotionally devoid.

I saw the movie in AVX (better sound, bigger picture) but it wasn’t necessary. The movie is story and dialogue heavy with little action and special effects to make use of AVX. Although, in general, I do recommend AVX as it is a great experience – just choose the movie wisely. I will say that for this movie, you will enjoy it just the same in a regular theatre (or even at home for that matter).

Overall, the movie was fantastic and definitely worth the watch. There was essentially a two-part ending – with the second part being completely unnecessary. In fact, I think the movie is a lot better if you ignore the last 5 minutes and just pretend it ended at the “first ending”. For those who have seen the movie, you probably know what I mean. 5 out of 5.

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The first part of the two-part ending that I described above is the happy scene when everyone is on the train happy and laughing and the lead actors kiss. It would have made a fantastic ending to finish off the movie with them kissing and then have time stop. Or, alternatively, for Jake to realize that time had not stopped and he had beat the system. Unfortunately they decided to continue the movie past that part and add in a twist that was completely unnecessary and I believe really hurt the ending of the movie. He should have died happily after having accomplished his goal.

Reliving the memories of another individual through a computer program is a neat concept. For a while I was confused by the fact that he was able to act outside those memories. I later determined that anything that happened outside those memories were an extrapolation performed by the Source Code “software” – the calculus that was referred to, although I cannot be sure.

I do have some questions for those who have seen the movie:

Why were the memories changing each time he went in? Perhaps more extrapolations made by the software depending on slight variations in his behaviour? That is one thing left open in my mind. Otherwise the movie made a lot of sense (excluding the ending).

Can anyone explain how it makes sense that he was then able to influence reality from within a computer program? I presume it was just an artistic twist they decided to add that I believe really took away from the movie. Ending was garbage in my opinion. Felt tacked on just to add another twist and something to think about. Not all movies have to leave you guessing – it would have been perfect to leave it as it was.

What did you think of the movie? Any help interpreting it Is welcome.