Fish Tank(2009): Review

In an ocean of independent films about troubled teenagers, Fish Tank truly sets itself apart from the pack. This a movie that I fell in love with progressively as it went on. Fish tank is a film I’m going to shower with praise because I really just can’t any faults in it.The best word to describe certain aspects of the film Fish Tank is authentic.

I sat there watching certain parts of the film, simply admiring how grounded the world seemed. It felt like I was looking outside of a window in  East London and spectating the lives of these characters.Camera work is phenomenal in this film.  The imagery isn’t the usual pretentious indie affair. There’s actual meaning for what the audience is allowed to see. The way the cinematographer selected what he should focus on was genius and allows for some great symbolism.

The director did a great job with the pacing in Fish Tank. A lot of independent movies end abstractly and almost feel completely detached from the rest of film. Fish Tank starts, progresses, and ends in a satisfying manner. It’s helped even further with fantastic writing.  The characters in Fish Tank are extremely well done. The performance by Katie Jarvis as the character Mia was really gripping.The dialogue was very well thought out for all of the characters. The dialogue almost seemed to give off the vibe that it was improvised for some sections of Mia’s scenes. That statement isn’t a criticism though; it’s just a testament to how absorbed I was in the world that Andrea Arnold had directed and penned.

Fish Tank is a forceful  drama that mesmerizes you by doing everything right. It’s a moving  piece of British cinema that works because its characters are convincing. It boasts a fantastic supporting cast and a real winner with a break out performance and debut from Katie Jarvis. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more work from Andrea Arnold. I recommend this film if you like your heart strings being played on.

Transcendence: Review

Transcendence wanted so bad to prove to you that it wasn’t mediocre. It sports a great cast, great special effects, and  the premise of the story had so much potential that I almost had a semi reading the plot summary. Hollywood needs to learn that you can’t just throw money at a project and expect for the best.

The plot seemed like it was trying to do too much with too little time. A little more focus on the science behind what was happening on screen could have been beneficial. On the other hand, it also could have highlighted how ridiculous everything in this film actually was. We get a ton of run-of-the-mill performances from big name actors but the only real stand out is Paul Bettany. Maybe they should have thrown a couple more smooth talking English actors in the mix to give the illusion that the dialogue wasn’t uninspired.

Sentient artificial intelligence is a topic that I’m very attracted to. I am a great supporter of the Mass Effect series. This is a franchise that really shows how well a story about artificial intelligence can be done. In the universe of Mass Effect Artificial Intelligence is outlawed due to the dangers they present to organic beings.The basic premise of the plot in Transcendence is a bunch of religious nut jobs in an organization called R.I.F.T attack a scientist named William Castor. He is a man who is researching and developing a sentient machine. He is gravely injured and his grieving wife decides to take their research to the next stage by “uploading him”. The plot is a convoluted mess and the actions of the people on screen make little to no sense. In fact I think some characters roles in the film are so insignificant, I ponder why they even made it pass post production.

Wally Pfister who received well deserved attention for his cinematographic  work  on the movie Inception, made his directorial debut on the film. He did a  fair job but to be blunt I think this film needed him more in the cinematography aspect. Characters move around the screen in Transcendence like they don’t know what they are doing or where they are going. It just felt really sloppy and awkward at times to watch.

Transcendence is mostly horrible. Avoid it, unless you like blockbuster mediocrity.

Locke: Review

Skepticism is the first feeling that rose in me upon deciding if I should watch the film Locke. A drama which follow the story of a construction worker in his car. The entirety of the film takes place in his car, with only the main character Ivan Locke ever getting any screen time. How in the world would this movie work? So many things could make this movie be a disappointment but in the end Stephen Knight did an admirable job directing this piece. What kept this movie interesting was the constant flow of dialogue and story.

You’re witnessing the movie as if it’s in real time. You aren’t bombarded with too much artsy overdone cinematography or wide shots. You’re literally being taken on a ride with Ivan. I really enjoyed Ivan’s character. Even though Tom Hardy’s character has done wrong by his wife and he has royally screwed up in his professional career, he goes over and beyond to make things right. The feelings of empathy I felt for his character actually surprised me. I know he did some things that would be very hard to be forgiven but I’d have to actually think about how I would feel if I was him. Tom Hardy really makes you want to forgive him. His actions can’t be undone but he hopes that he can redeem himself and prove to himself  and possible to his father that he  is a good man.

A pretty  good indication of acting quality can be derived from how well an actor can bring forth intense feelings without any other real actors/actresses to physically relate to. This was  a great job for  Tom Hardy and a great casting decision as well.  Just him,the camera, and raw emotion. Movies like this do wonders for actors. Of course he could do super fun and high paying jobs like being Bane in the Dark Knight but taking a role in a independent film like Locke is just as important. It’s much more challenging and rewarding. Locke actually exceeded my expectations. I found myself almost cheering for the cheating British lad and that says a lot. Or maybe it says nothing at all. Maybe I’m just brainwashed after all the film business is an industry dominated by male protaganist who can literally get away with anything. All I know is, it was really interesting to watch and I’d go as far as recommending it.

The Counselor: Review

From the writer who brought us The Road and No Country for Old Men, comes the tale of a naive lawyer who tries his hand in the dangerous but lucrative business of drug running. This is a film that had sparks of brilliance but ultimately failed due to having a  plot that doesn’t effectively translate to the big screen.

The screenplay is full of witty and intelligent dialogue. Sadly it was hard to suspend belief while watching because this attribute applied to almost  every character. Almost  every member of the cast was too smart for there own good, It was bit hard to follow the narrative when you are bombarded with long winded conversations. These extended scenes of dialogue paid off at times but on the other hand it just seems as if the characters were just going off on tangents. This really threw off the pacing of the film.

The focus on the characters of the story is trademark Ridley Scott. His direction in the film really allowed for the development of some interesting personalities. We are treated with some some impressive lighting and camera work. The dark scenes set in mexico offer a great visual and atmospheric contrast to what is happening under the surface.

The movie sports an impressive and ensemble Cast. Javier Bardem, is always an interesting guy to watch on screen. Bardem plays the role of Reiner; a drug dealer who invites the counselor in on some of the action.  He  brings a unique flare to the characters he portrays. He exudes an exotic essence of culture and his personality was one of the more memorable in the film. And he also manages to bring to the film what is becoming a signature attribute of his; his knack for having the wildest hair-dos. The most technically impressive acting which shouldn’t come as a surprise, was the performance from Michael Fassbender. He has an ability to portray some varied and powerful emotions.

Brad Pitt gives a good performance but I think he needs to work on a new accent because it seems like its been dragging on for a couple films now. One of  the biggest surprises for me though comes from the casting decision of Cameron Diaz as the antagonist. I have to give it to Diaz. She really portrayed the cold and calculating girlfriend of Reiner expertly. My blood was boiling just about every moment I saw her on the screen. She might be known for more lighter  roles but she definitely has more potential then being the usual pretty face in romcoms.

The Counselor is a clever and sexy drama but probably won’t provide enough thrills to keep the average movie-goers attention. The film has moments of suspense but it is overshadowed by some bad decisions in its pacing. With all the talent attached to this film Its surprising this film wasn’t better. The pieces just didn’t fall together. The dialogue occasionally felt like the characters were showing off. The story was convoluted and ended in a somewhat abrupt manner. The Counselor was saved by splashes of humor, violence, and some utterly superb writing for most of the dialogue. In the end, I’d say definitely pass on this one until the Blu-ray or digital release.

Score: 6/10

The Conjuring | Review


This film succeeds where many other horror movies fail at miserably. This creepy story is  based on true events. The story revolves around the haunting of a house recently purchased by the Perron family. Two paranormal investigators, Ed Warren and Lorrain Warren reluctantly take the case. The Warren’s find that this is not the typical hoax they usually receive and is actually one of the worse cases they have seen in a long time.

When I think of today’s horror movies, I automatically get bad ideas.  I just imagine cliche scenes of cheap scares from ridiculousy loud and shrieking bass with monsters magically appearing. That’s why I usually stray away from the horror genre unless I hear some good word of mouth.  The Conjuring is a film that redefines my idea of what a horror movie should be.

The movie manages to flow very naturally and keep up the suspense to the very end. It helped a lot that the cast of the movie, all had solid acting abilities. Vera Farmiga’s portrayal of the clairvoyant Lorrain Warren was uncanny. Some scenes she didn’t even need to say anything. Just the look in her eye often showed many emotions and depth.

This film touches your primeval fears of darkness which everyone had growing up as kid. It becomes really easy to relate to the Perron family, when you yourself are kept wondering if any shadow in this film could hold a possible demon.  The young actress Joey King played the part of a terrified young girl to the tea.

In addition this film had some excellent special effects. The camera work and costume designs of the dead in this film helped me stay immersed into the movie and kept the hair on my arm raised. I haven’t watched a horror movie in a long time; that actually had me second guessing and left in anticipation after almost every scene. So If you’re sitting there about to put another random modern paranormal activity in your Blu-Ray player, Stop. Give this movie a try and you won’t be disappointed.

This movie is the definition of a good horror movie and solidifies my review score of

9.5/10

What did you think of the film? Leave a comment Below.

Carrie (2013) |Review

Sitting through this film was extremely hard. I seriously considered walking out the theater during this abomination but taking into account the ridiculous movie prices nowadays, I decided to sit it out for the  giggles.  This was seriously a movie that shouldn’t have been made.  With so many things wrong with this film, I think I’ll start first with the couple positives of the movie,  then go from there.

Julianne Moore plays the part of the religious and abusive mother of Carrie. Her representation of the devout and somewhat psychotic nature of Margaret White was disturbing and pretty much on par from what I expected from this Stephen King character.  The scenes of self mutilation were particularly disturbing,  Gabriella Wilde actually surprised me in her portrayal of Sue Snell. She didn’t have much dialogue in the film but her character actually did evoke some sympathy from me.

Stephen King said something along the lines of “why remake the film, when the original was so good?”. Why can’t Hollywood let good films and franchises die? This film didn’t add anything  substantial to the previous movie. What we do get is a performance from Chloe Moretz that is overacted and downright awkward. Yeah, shes supposed to be the kid that everyone hates but I haven’t watched a film and shook my head in embarrassment this much, since the first G.I Joe movie released.

The use of special effects was distracting to the story. The flashy Hollywood effects were decidedly unimpressive and pretty much ridiculous at times. It’s sad that the people who made this film focused so much on transforming Carrie into something that the masses could relate to.  More work should have been done on the casting and cinematography.

The direction of the film was pretty sloppy. Portions of the film just fall flat. Queue scenes of Carrie at the library watching a boy type at impossible speeds on a computer. Additions of modern day bullying and technology appear to be an after thought.  Even after everything that happened to her, the buildup to the finale was somewhat of a let down. While watching, I felt  that somehow she was overreacting to the whole situation.

All of this is from a woman who directed Boys Don’t Cry. I’m  pretty much dumbfound at her work here. She managed to take the beloved and tortured character, Carrie, and somehow make her motives seem flawed. I went into the film with a neutral state of mind and left somewhat irritable but mostly disappointed.  All things considered it could have been worse. Lindsay Lohan was actually considered for the role at one point…

Score: 3/10 – You’ll Cringe… for all the wrong reasons.

Spring Breakers| Review

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Just from the opening scene of Spring Breakers, I had this feeling that I would be watching a over sexualized teen-college film. I wasn’t entirely wrong. While the movie had some redeeming quality and acting moments,  the story wasn’t substantial enough for me to take seriously.  If I have to give this movie anything, it had some really visually stunning colors and of course plenty of eye candy to go around.

The cast of the movie includes four beautiful ladies(Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Corine) with a surprise role from James Franco as rapper and gangster.  The premise of the movie is a group of young girls head out on a journey of self-discovery and find themselves thrown into a world of crime and luxury. As the story unfolds, you are revealed how each of the girls deal with immersing in this new life. Selena Gomez perhaps played the best role out of the girls. That not being much of a compliment, considering…

But the girls all played their roles pretty good. If they were aiming to be superficial promiscuous Americans  than they hit the part right on the head. Ala- Some of these scenes were a bit cringe worthy, it seems they were aiming to teach some type of lesson from the mindless parties. I have a feeling some people will just find half this movie to be an overload to the senses.

I actually feel bad for James Franco. I was hoping to see him in some more serious roles that would broaden his acting spectrum. But not this one.., His portray of rapper and gangsta was actually enjoyable to watch. He brought some charisma even through his evil nature. Which made you kind of confused of how to react to his manipulation of the girls. He took on the role like a champ but even that  wasn’t enought to be the saving grace for this film.

The last strike for this movie would have to be the ending which was too ludicrous to appreciate. And that brings me to my review score of

6/10.