| Funny games is a ruthlessly absurd, twisted, yet utterly brilliant piece of social commentary in the form of cinema. This picture is one of your critics' favorites. This film traps the audience in a circular maze that leads to no where but a state of angst, confusion, and intrigue. This film is definitely a hole in one. This film in no way is over easy, and it is sure to scramble your mind thoroughly. These two pristinely dressed young men at your left are our hosts for the most unconventional, unfair, wickedly sadistic games ever to be caught on camera. It is a game not with monetary compensation. In fact, the only compensation received is the privelege to continue living. These two youths, although dressed in an immaculate white, have hearts ss black as the night. Disregard their meek demeanor and undeniably innocent intentions. This film wonderfully stretches the minds of you, the audience, until they can be stretched no more. Talking to the camera often, our main host engages the audience directly asking for your input. This picture manipulates the fabric of what it really means to be human. We find ourselves questioning what it is that we want, why we want it, and what we will do to get it. Ultimately our protagonists, Watts, Tim Roth (notice the suppressed accent) and their child decide that a simple vacation is what they want, but our hosts, Tubby and Paul, certainly will not allow them this privelege. You, the audience loathe the hosts, despise their actions, yet can't look away. This film leaves you vulnerable and defenseless. Now doesn't that sound Funny? Trust us, you'll have an eggcelent time.|
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
What can I say about this year's remake of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. This film is really one of those films that has a lot of important implications in this nation's film industry. This film serves as proof of the fact that once you think that the bar has been set for how terrible movies can be, it can ALWAYS be lowered. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a sadistically corny variation on an all too familiar genre. The acting, despite what you may think, is first class, but such talented actors were unable to save such a ridiculous plot and ultimately I would deem this movie as unwatchable. Strange creatures take over the large home of a sub-par business man and investor(Pearce) , only to be met with open arms by a young girl with a morbid attitude and a questionable past. It's ironic that a movie containing gnomes and fairies brings out the troll in all of us. Katie Holmes's character was a transparent, one-dimmensional interior designer with little charisma. On the hole, the movie felt like a paranormal thriller with a failed attempt at being creative. Such creatures from Norse and European folklore should have remained on their dust-covered shelves, instead of being shamefully thrusted upon the big screen. Del Toro placed his name on a movie that will receive no accolades, and righfully so. Guillermo del Toro's film has a title that demands that we not fear the dark. Yet with his failure, we are forced to listen to these demands. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Oh, trust me Guillermo, we won't be. The only thing I became afraid of was any film with del Toro's name above it.
Apollo 18 is a film that looks vaguely familiar. This movie asserts itself as one of those "movies that really isn't a movie." The movie claims that all their footage was taken from http://www.lunartruth.com/. The film implies that all its content shows "real" footage of spacemen, lunar landings, and alien life forms. By providing a convincing backstory and an interesting post-film story, the film seems to be legitimate. However, I stuck around for the credits to see how "real" this film is, and I found it both funny and curious that a supposed "real-foootage" account needed the roles of a casting director and costume designer. I guess we'll never know the extent of the truth behind their claims, but I will say in an aggressively positive way that we don't need to. I don't think that it is necessary we know the absolute truth. The only truth we need to know is if this film is worth sitting down to watch for its short duration. The film starts off as any space documentary designed for eleventh grade biology class. It starts slow and has a "paranormal activity-esque" way of progressively increasing the duration and intensity of its action sequences. However, unlike Paranormal Activity, this film actually delivers. Despite the trite arachnid-type aliens that we have become all-too familiar with, this film takes the audience on a psychological journey that also starts to become very physical. The acting is surprisingly compelling, and the concept is highly creative. Apollo 18 is a movie that certainly has the wow-factor. The movie rips at your emotions in a way similar to how the creatures rip at human flesh. In my opinion, America is getting too familiar with this documentary-style approach to story telling. (Partially because people think it is intellectual to delve into this "non-fictional" type of entertainment. ) I typically think of this type of film as a weak attempt at captivating an easily captivated audience. But I felt that this movie was a good one. I think that this film proved to be 'out of this world.' Despite this pun or perhaps because of it, I gained new respect for psi-fy thrillers. And for that, kudos.
Little boy. Check. Concerned Parents. Check. Unexplained occurrences in a house. Ughhh.. Check. Alright, I see where we are going with this. Haven't I seen this one already. The concept does sound familiar. When given a cup of recent, contemporary horror films, any horror fan will immediately hand it back in a half-empty glass. We can't blame these junkies for not getting what they want. After all, these were people spoiled by The Exorcist, The Evil Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, the Halloween series...You know, films that actually mattered in the scheme of things. These are films that actually caused the movie-goer to contemplate, brood, and even pray. When it comes to people who have already seen what the best horror has to offer, films like The Grudge, The Ring, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, and Boogeyman are just not going to cut it. Nearly every horror flick that has come out in the last ten years simply falls short of the caliber of films of the not-so-distant past. I mean, we COULD sit down and watch a little kid tell his parents about "That Man" that comes to talk to him, and we COULD just watch that film about the computerized ghost that attacks a little girl full of one liners. But why would we subject ourselves to such nonsense, when we could just pop in A Texas Chainsaw Massacre from thirty years ago. You see, you may call me antiquated. You wouldn't be the first. But I would like to think of myself more as someone who has standards that are not so low that they are burning below the earth's crust. I actually expect quality out of the movies I see, especially horror movies. When done well, horror movies are the most gripping, intellectual, and entertaining type of movie to sit down and enjoy. They bring people's bodies, minds, and emotions to front and center. The best type of horror movie leaves the viewer with "no where to hide." My friends, we were looking for a film to redeem this horror slump of the new millenia. And I think we just found our golden boy. This masterpiece is Insidious. James Wan brilliantly orchestrated one of the most compelling, unique, and entertaining films I have seen in years. It is very rare that a film brings something new to the table. This film brought an entire new table with tablecloth, utensils, and all the handmade furnishings. Starting out the typical "haunting" type movie was the most wonderful trick played on an audience since David Copperfield feigned his way through the Great Wall. The film goads you into believing that it is one of the others. It deceptively disguises itself as a non-original film, and then surpasses all expectations. James Wan's use of camera work, score, and lighting causes the viewer to become entrapped in a world unlike any other film. This film is no "tiptoe through the tulips." Let's thank Tiny tim for this ruthless irony. The film masterfully tells one of the most original stories you will ever hear. Insidious shattered every expectation, and shamelessly changed my view of the future of the horror movie industry. I would like to thank Wan for such an undeniable contribution. Insidious is truly a gem of gems, a diamond in the rough. It has one of the most amazingly concise and brilliantly timed "plot summary monologues" of any film I have ever seen. Trust me, if you are looking for an amazing film with unprecedented originality, frightful engagement, and legitimate intrigue, look no "further."
Contagion is a 2011 blockbuster with a super-cast of A-listers. You know the type of movie where countless award-winners get together and do what they do. Contagion is a VERY well-made picture. You can tell that the budget is there. The acting was definitely there. The effects were there. The story was there. Everthing seemed to be exactly how the director, writer, and cast wanted. Then why do I walk away from the movie with mixed feelings? Why do I leave the theater with a feeling of something missing? I may be critical, but I always have reasons for the bold assertions I make. Let's start with an overview. The film begins with a robust Matt Damon having to cope with the untimely deaths of his wife and step son. This is heavy stuff, and the director certainly manages to make their deaths very raw. The audience is forced to do a double take at these disturbing images, indeed. What I was surprised by was the husky Matt Damon's reaction, or on the contrary, his lack thereof. I have heard of overacting and the plus-sized Damon is certainly not guilty of this. The only thing he is guilty of is stealing the cookies from the cookie jar. Anyway, large and in charge, Matt Damon masterfully portrays an all-american amid a world in which an illness is quickly becoming endemic. Seeing Paltrow next to such a chubby lead actor reminded me of Shallow Hal. So I guess that was entertaining. Lawrence Fishburne is full of no surprises playing his pseudo-sophisticate, always professional self. Just as this contagious disease seems to become widespread, rumors of a cure circulate in a chaotic american climate sparked by a money-hungry internet savy Brit with a snaggletooth. The movie plays like a series of news broadcasts. Let's thank the left-wing director for only including liberal news stations in the coverage of the illness. Apparently this virus wants taxes raised and a strong governmental economic presence. I guess this virus is pretty terrible and illogical in its approach to ruining the lives of Americans. All fall prey to this contgion, and kudos to the director for killing off an A-lister 5 minutes into the movie. I haven't seen such boldness in movie-making in a long time. Ultimately, our burly protagonist must come to terms with his issues, and must find a way to raise a daughter in such questionable times as these. The movie seems to accurately depict a world in which disease has become widespread, and at times, I felt that the movie was really a non-fictional piece. As to my feeling of longing as the credits rolled, I felt that the movie definitely maintained my interest, but really did nothing more than that. The director really thought he made something very profound, but I felt that his success was simply passing Movies 101. Holding the audience's interest is simply not enough any more in my opinion. No efforts were gone through to go above and beyond. I felt that the movie was EXACTLY how it was advertized. This is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, people don't go and see a Jason Statham movie for the eloquent dialogue. They want to see a crude, bald Englishman shoot Americans and drive fast cars. Contagion will be highly acclaimed, and rightfully so. It is a real movie-maker's movie. It pulls out all the stops in terms of a prime-quality pictures. The movie was well-made, but with a large budget, how can it not be? I guess if you are into films simply meeting your expectations and not surpassing them, this movie is for you. The only thing about this movie that is contagious is the hype, unfortunately.
Fifty fifty was a movie about life, love, and loss. This film was a "dramedy" in every sense of the hybrid word. This film wonderfully fused comedy and drama to create a truly exceptional piece. This movie fantastically and most importantly, realistically, depicts a young man's struggle with cancer. Joseph Gordon-levitt masterfully depcts a twenty-seven year old in the prime of youth, whose world is turned upside down by one positive test result. Every character was very realistic, except Levitt's doctor, whose stoic indifference left me with a bad taste in my mouth. This film depicted doctors as an emotionally-disconnected breed with no patient empathy and questionable social skills. Although some may find comedy in the doctor's sub-par communication level and severe exterior, I for one did not appreciate this film's depiction of medical professionals. Be that as it may, the movie was truly first class. The acting was marvelous and the characters endearing. Levitt's hyper-sexual, plus-sized friend (Rogen) always served as much needed comic relief. I think that Rogen's "tell it like it is" attitude and brashness made him a truly unforgettable character. Rogen served as the voice of reason and the voice of the audience, who sees all and knows all. The chemistry between Levitt and Rogen was excellent, and the subject matter of the film tears at the heart-strings. As Levitt's condition worsens, he is faced with the realities of human weakness, familial breakdown, and his own mortality. Each and every moment that passes causes the audience to become more and more engaged in this gripping tale of woe. Some lovely cameos by some familiar character actors (Bookman from Seinfeld) are nice additions, and the director's approach to story-telling was truly unique. Although the concept of the film parallel's Funny People in several respects (Even Rogen's presence) , I thought the film was highly original and worth the trip to the theater. This film was highly gripping, touching, and emotional. It brings out the humanity in all of us, and intstills us all with a new appreciation for life itself. We haven't seen such masterfully developed plot and character development for a while. Such nuance could only be brought about by a truly adroit director. So on behalf of the cultured individuals who choose to appreciate this film, I'd like to thank the director for such a constructive offering to the movie business. Thanks a whole bunch.
Despite his better judgement, your humble critic went and saw Paranormal Activity 3 in the theaters. This movie serves as proof of the theory that Americans are beoming more and more desperate for some form of "entertainment" to latch on to. The film starts off very predictably. If you saw the first installment of this shameless franchise, you may find the structure very familiar. The movie begins, to put it frankly, in a very boring way. This boring approach may be the director's attempt to make the film seem "real" and "compelling," but we all know what is really going on here. There is no surprise why the movie has a frighteningly low budget, and boy does it show. The audience can only see life through the eyes of a curly haired, avant-garde photographer for so long before it questions whether or not the film was worth wasting the gas money to travel to go see. Despite this impossibly hard to get around fact, the film certainly provided its share of jump scares. By no means does the movie present any profound, terrifying, or intriguing concepts. The film itself is like a roller coaster at the county fair: it's too long, although jumpy, and the only real fear comes from your questioning if you locked the car door on the way in. The movie's action sequences were much improved and in terms delivery, well timed. I will never understand, however, why the director insists on putting such uncompelling, useless, footage on the screen. The line was passed and then exceeded for the conversion from "suspense" to "did the projector stop working?" And in the case of this film, we can only hope and pray that it did. Looking around and listening to the screams of fellow audience members is definitely a hoot. Especially when you hear them shout initially and then hear them afterwards talking to their friends outside, discussing how the movie did nothing for them. It is this type of movie that brings out the hypocrite in all of us. Because the truth is, we all want to be entertained at the movies. Why shouldn't these tweens over-react and over-analyze. We all want to talk about something, right? In terms of rating the film, I won't bother. But I'll let you know that the only person on the cinemaximus team to give this film a positive review was our new intern, Hellen. And it's a good thing that Ms. Keller doesn't have a site of her own.
J. Edgar is a film that tells the fascinating, yet somewhat tragic story of an important man in American History, J. Edgar Hoover. The movie plays like a documentary. It is sort of like a biography of this passionate, intriguing, yet misunderstood man. Leonardo DiCaprio sells the role flawlessly, and his portrayal of this psychologically tainted, antisocial man of the government is second to none. DiCaprio's acting shows nothing but pure class and professionalism, and only strengthens my opinion of fim as one of cinema's greats. This film was a feather in his cap in that regard. Armie Hammer (Social Network's Winklevoss twins) did an excellent job portraying Hoover's right hand man, a professional, intelligent homosexual with inherent lusful feelings toward the severe DiCaprio. The movie is filled with well-acted sexual frustration between the two of them, which finally explodes in a violent scene of mixed emotions. Naomi Watts (Funny Games) is Hoover's one-dimmensional secretary with a staunch disapproval for indiscretion and unusual courting habiits. Her presence serves as the only other feminine energy alongside Hoover's mother. Hoover's professional life is well documented and very structured in its portrayal. The film makes you think that you are reading the pages of a history text book: It is intellectually stimulating and makes you feel very cultured while watching it. This is one of those films that Americans will "love to love." The acting is second-to-none and the story is compelling. As the audience, we are taken on a psychological journey from youth to old age of an American icon. My only complaint is that Hammer's makeup in his old age was very unrealistic and over applied. It was actually somewhat disturbing every time he was on screen in this elderly visage. This is why, for me, it was much more compelling to see the characters in their youth, rather than in their somber, slow-paced, sickly elderly versions. I felt that the movie was fascinating, enthralling, and dangerous. The movie had some pretty large implications, that if unbacked, could be grounds for uproar. In my opinion, this movie was certainly a gem and an overall positive contribution to this country's film industry. At least after seeing this movie, we will no longer associate Hoover with the "vacuum guy" (thanks Culkin). I think that this film will cause a renewed interest in politics, which is a good idea as the country moves closer to an election. Hopefully, for this country's sake, the film will cause an invigorated support for a new political schema. We can only hope that it is a right wing one.
You know EXACTLY what you are getting into when you sit down to watch Adam Sandler's newest feature, Jack and Jill. It does not take a brilliant piece of theatrical analysis to realize that Adam Sandler has a formula to his success. But the thing is, it always works. Most of his films depict a likeable, successful, Jewish guy from Southern Clalifornia surrounded by zany characters, and this film is no different. Jack and Jill has a charming quality to it, evoking the unique relationship, chemistry, and rapport between identical and fraternal twins. Sandler plays Jack, a successful owner of an advertising firm in Los Angeles with loads of money and plans for business expansion involving Al Pacino and an all too familiar donut shop. The donuts aren't the only things dunkin' in this feature, for outrageously hilarious cameos by Shaquille O'neal and Bruce Jenner really hit the funny bone. I am not sure who played the character "Jill" from the feature, but I did see a slight resemblance to Adam Sandler. Interesting. Jill's cackling presence starts off rather annoying, but she grows to be an endearing character. This film is wonderfully wacky, remarkably absurd, and ruthlessly hilarious. It is a real "Happy Madison film" and has all of the earmarks of a successful Adam Sandler movie. Sandler's buddies are each doled out roles that add to this comedic gem. John McEnroe's heated presence is always a plus, and Americans will get a kick to see some pop culture icons (i.e. Jared the Subway guy) make their way to the big screen. Adam Sandler so generously gives his friends roles and so systematically generates a quality product that his pals ought to name wings of their homes after him. Adam Sandler has provided another gem in the comedy scene, and this film serves as further proof that Sandler will be providing us with entertainment for a very long time. I certainly agree with what the bearded golfer said at the beginning of the movie and the beginning of every Happy Madison production. Maybe it is an oracle. But the best word I can use to describe the film: "Terrific"