There is a scene in “Repo Men” where a nine year-old girl pulls a mechanical body part out of a living human being… and it is one of the sweetest and cutest moments in any film from 2010.
That should give you a taste of “Repo Men”, a film that acts as a drama, a comedy, an action flick, a slasher movie, a romance and a sci-fi adventure. It has elements of “Blade Runner”, “Running Man”, “Children of Men”, “Total Recall”, “The 6th Day” & “Minority Report”. If those films were in your range of acceptability, then you should definitely give this one a chance.
Jude Law and Forrest Whittaker play skilled hunters in a futuristic cityscape whose prey are those people who have purchased replacement body parts rather than wait for human donors. The ones that have defaulted on their loans and have gone beyond their three-month grace period are subject to repossession of their organs by lethal means.
Complications arise when Jude Law suffers an accident while on duty, requiring him to undergo a heart transplant. Needless to say, he soon defaults on his loan and has now become one of the hunted. Even his best friend begins to track him down. His only hope is to hide out in the “junkyard” — a deserted part of the city filled with others like him.
I really enjoyed the schizophrenic energy of this film. Perhaps it can be accused of trying to be too many things at once. However, I appreciated the effort. I never once felt that it bit off more than it could chew.
Law and Whittaker are both in fine form. I was thrilled by the presence of Carice van Houten (my favorite actress), albeit in a pretty small role as the estranged wife. The film looks fantastic and, for a sci-fi movie, felt entirely plausible. I also found the conclusion to be original and intelligent. I couldn’t ask much more from a film like this. “Repo Men” is one of the more entertaining films of 2010. It cannot be accused of a lack of effort.
This superb movie really hooks viewers from the very first scene and doesn’t let go until the fade to black. It is all done on a very modest budget — managing to excite us with brilliant writing and intense performances throughout. Considering that this film hardly saw a theatrical release, it is quite easily one of the best surprises of 2010.
Michael Sheen plays an American citizen who has converted to the Islamic faith and now threatens to commit acts of terrorism on the United States. He has placed three nukes somewhere in the country and then turns himself in for interrogation. Carrie-Anne Moss is an FBI investigator who is called in to help find the explosive devices. Sam Jackson is brought in to extract information from the prisoner using whatever means are necessary. The dynamic between the three is electric and it fuels the majority of the running time.
I loved many aspects of this film. It is morally ambiguous. It is relevant and current to the world we live in. It is very difficult to determine what is going to happen next. It is skillful and intelligent. “Unthinkable” is the very best film that it could have been, given the subject matter. I highly recommend seeking this movie out on DVD.
A film that is considered one of the ten greatest of all time by Pulitzer Prize winning film critic, Roger Ebert.
From the opening shot of a thousand men descending a mountain, in single file, ominously weighed down by a heavy fog, to the closing 360 degree sweep around the devastated raft of Don Lope de Aguirre, this film is packed with images that are impossible to forget.
This film is concerned with the oppressive nature of the world and the struggle of humanity, in the face of insurmountable odds, to chase after their illusive dreams. Aguirre leads his troop down the Amazon river to inevitable doom, full of arrogance and wrath. It is impossible to take your eyes off Klaus Kinski, who embodies the tyrant and is a mirror to the indomitable human spirit.
“Aguirre” is about the grander scheme of the world and how it works against us if we are greedy and overly ambitious. With gorgeous cinematography, a poetic grandeur, and in spite of a deliberately slow pace, this film is a celluloid fable that is impossible to forget.
A man and a woman meet through a personal ad and agree to a sexual liaison every Thursday afternoon where they are free to explore a specific fetish with one another. Will their feelings get in the way or will they allow themselves to disassociate those feelings from the intimacy?
Lopez and Baye find these characters with pinpoint accuracy as they weave in and out of a very strange situation. They both teeter their emotions on the edge of love without actually falling. These are the kinds of performances that should surely be recognized at the Oscars if it weren’t for the fact that filthy foreigners aren’t welcome to win those awards too often. It is a shame really because these two deserve praise.
This is a beautiful film of need and desire between two lonely adults. They dare to say to each other the things that most of us fear to admit… but they cannot confess the simplest thing of all, their love for one another. This is a French film that deserves more exposure than it will ultimately get, but if you can find it… watch it.
Roger Ebert said of this film…’it is, quite simply, one of the most absorbing, tantalizing and intelligent movies I’ve ever seen about sex.’ …and I cannot agree more!
This movie is about the process of writing the script to the movie you’re actually watching… it’s quite an astonishingly ingenious film that never failed to surprise me and never let my attention wane. Charlie Kaufman, the great screenwriter of the equally fresh and inventive 1999 comedy ‘Being John Malkovich’, is the real star here. He consistently presents intriguing scenes that beg to be thought about in great depth.
The cast is littered with phenomenal talents. Nic Cage delivers his best performance since the Oscar winning role in 1995′s ‘Leaving Las Vegas’. Meryl Streep is her usual solid self in a role one wouldn’t normally associate with her… the character is very quirky. Chris Cooper will assuredly be up for a lot of award show hardware this Spring as the toothless Orchid collector. And the supporting cast all performed admirably.
The one disappointment was the direction. Spike Jonze helmed Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Being John Malkovich’ and burst on to the scene as one of the best young directing talents in cinema. But this time around he seems a tad lost. Although each scene is beautifully written, they don’t really flow together with any cohesion or rhythm. Perhaps that is also the fault of the editing team… but I always blame the directors when a film feels disjointed.
However, there is always something interesting happening on screen and the film has enough going for it to be considered one of the most thought provoking and amusing of the year. ‘Adaptation’ is easily the most original movie to come down the pike in a long time.
“Inception” is desperately close to being a great film without ever quite making the final sacrifice required to complete the jump. The fatal flaw that keeps it languishing in the “merely very good” category lies in its inability to abandon the James Bond action sequences in favor of a little more heart and soul.
Visually, the movie is stunning. Despite the labyrinthine plot and huge scale, “Inception” manages to juggle everything to give audiences a clear and riveting narrative. I never felt overwhelmed by the excess. Director, Christopher Nolan, takes a lot of credit for not delivering a cinematic mess.
If Nolan had humbled himself a little and done away with the majority of the purposeless snow chase sequence and replaced it with more of the emotionally powerful scenes involving the central couple (Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard) – well, perhaps then I would have truly cared about this film, rather than admiring its skill from arm’s length. “Inception” teases us with grand emotion, only to yank it away in a sea of CGI and spine crushing bass notes. It is technically brilliant, but emotionally stunted… a very worthwhile watch, but an ever so mild case of what might have been.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, “Never Let Me Go” is a delicate and understated film set in a dystopian 1994, no so different from our own world. Only in this one, life expectancy is over 100 because of the use of clones to harvest as organ donors. It may sound like an epic sci-fi adventure, but in actuality, this movie is much more of an interpersonal-relationship and period-piece drama. It is an actor’s film, reliant on subtlety, nuance and elegance.
The story is narrated by Kathy as she reflects on her life over three acts. The first act returns back to 1978, as she and two friends, Ruth and Tommy, attend Hailsham — a school where they are prepared for an inevitable destiny. This is where a life-long love triangle starts to form. Kathy likes Tommy. Tommy likes Kathy. Their friendship is truly touching as they navigate the early stages of their relationship. However, despite being Kathy’s best friend, a jealous Ruth steals away the young Tommy and they stay together for years while Kathy sits patiently and quietly as the odd one out.
The second act takes place at The Cottages, a remote waiting station for these cloned human beings. Here, Kathy decides that she wants to become a carer — one who looks after the donors as they are slowly parted-out until “completion” (Ishiguro’s word for death). The three friends all go their separate ways, as is typical in most of our lives.
The final act is a haunting reunion ten years later. I will not detail too much of the plot, as it is best left experienced first hand. However, the film poignantly deals with the notions of limited-time, destiny vs free-will, redemption, naivety, true-love, self-worth and loneliness. It is a story with grand themes.
I loved it. It is so wonderfully performed by the three leads. Carey Mulligan (“An Education”) is a gifted young woman who already has two masterpieces under her belt. There is something so serene and delicate about her performances that it becomes impossible to turn away. Keira Knightley is fast becoming the most underrated talent in the industry. Sure, she is a megastar and renowned as one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the silver-screen. But with “Pride & Prejudice”, “Silk”, “The Edge of Love”, “Atonement” and “The Duchess”, you would be hard pressed to find anyone with a stronger résumé in recent years. Andrew Garfield (the new “Spider-Man”) adds to his impressive 2010 collection, which also includes “The Social Network”, with a powerful effort as Tommy.
All things considered, “Never Let Me Go” is one of the most memorable films of 2010. It is the kind of film that will have you pondering its complexities for days, maybe weeks. It will compete for a place in my year-end Top 10 List. I urge you all to seek it out, despite the typically horrendous distribution by the studio and cinema chains. Films like this should be playing on 3000 screens on opening weekend. Instead, you will probably be forced to seek out this one on DVD.
With “Greenberg” Noah Baumbach directs his third great film in recent years — after “The Squid and the Whale” and “Margot at the Wedding”. All of them combine heartbreakingly vulnerable characters with painfully observant humor. His films almost make you feel guilty for laughing. I love them all. Very few directors are as truthful and honest about the flawed human race as Baumbach.
In this effort, Ben Stiller, usually known for his all-out comedies, revisits a darker side of his repertoire as the title character. I haven’t seen a performance like this from Stiller since his great turn in “Your Friends & Neighbors” back in 1998. He plays Roger Greenberg, a self-consumed depressive, recently institutionalized, who is aimlessly floating through a middle-aged crisis. While house-sitting in Los Angeles for his brother, he meets a young woman (Greta Gerwig), fifteen years his junior, who has issues of her own. Over the course of a month, they navigate the mundane and awkward moments of life together. What results is a touching and brutal relationship — often hilarious and always interesting. Both Stiller and Gerwig deserve to be considered during the next award season.
“Greenberg” is one of the better films of 2010. It will likely end up on the cusp of my year end Top 10 List. If you have any appreciation for Baumbach’s “Squid” or “Margot”, then you simply have to take a look. If you are new to his work, I urge you to take a chance and add them all to your must-see list.
The Coen brothers have crafted yet another superb film with an epic remake of John Wayne’s 1969 classic western, “True Grit”. It really lives up to its name, taking all of the polish of the genre and fully realizing the unbearably rough nature of life in the old west. The story remains true to the original as the 14 year-old girl, Mattie, hires grizzly Marshall Rooster Cogburn to hunt down the outlaw who killed her father. The two of them team up with Texas Ranger LaBoeuf and set out across the rough terrain in search of their prey.
To be honest, I don’t remember the original very well. I saw it as a teenager and have never revisited the film. I do, however, recall that it was far less “gritty” than this one. John Wayne’s Cogburn was more John Wayne than anything else. The Duke is a legend in many people’s eyes, but I have to say that I found him to be more of a movie-star than a quality actor. The same cannot be said of Jeff Bridges. This latest version of the one-eyed lawman is a memorable creation whose alcoholic breath almost reeks through the screen. His tattered clothes, we imagine, have not been washed or changed in many months. His speech is that of a gruff veteran who knows the way of the world and doesn’t much care about the people in it. Jeff Bridges completely immerses himself in the character in one of the best acting examples of 2010.
Hailee Steinfeld is nothing short of magnificent as Mattie, the plucky and eloquent girl who manipulates the adults around her with a sharp tongue and a keen wit. She is tightly wound and fiercely determined to track down the murderer. Her performance is at the heart of the story and she helps to elevate the material from a simple remake to a new classic in the genre.
Matt Damon is also in fine form as LaBeouf. He is fast becoming one of the elite actors of this generation, continuously choosing challenging and original material. This role is no exception. He is a vital component in this heroic trio. It ranks as one of the best supporting performances of the year.
The dialogue is quick-witted and intelligent. There are laughs to be found throughout this weighty material. “True Grit” represents one of the finest examples of screenwriting I have come across. The landscapes and the cinematography are all rather spectacular and the direction is the work of seasoned professionals who are confident and assured of what they want to deliver. Everything about this remake demands Oscar consideration.
I have to confess that I was underwhelmed by the ending. Something about its brevity left me hollow. I suppose I just wanted a little more time with Mattie and some more meat on the tired bones of Rooster and LaBoeuf. Other than that minor quibble, I have to say that this is a great movie in virtually every way.
I really wanted to like “The Human Contract”. It marketed itself as a sexy thriller with Paz Vega strutting around in Cosabella lingerie. How could it fail? All you have to do is give me Paz and a run-of-the-mill story, and I am sold!
Unfortunately, Jada Pinkett-Smith’s film is so convoluted and unsure of its identity that it dribbles miserably to an insufferable conclusion. On top of that, the film is presented with such a cocky and distasteful attitude, as if it is somehow delivering profound material that we should all bow humbly before. In actuality, it is nothing more than clichéd ramblings and unsavory characters.
The film’s greatest flaw is that the protagonist is a worthless jerk. We are asked to care about a millionaire asshole who resorts to violence in every situation… even against women. Admittedly, the movie does try to give reasons for his behavior — but they are grossly insufficient. All we are really left with is a despicable character who lives a life of luxury and screws gorgeous women right before beating the crap out of them. Nice.
Paz Vega is the only good thing about this movie. She is wonderful eye candy and she does supremely well with awful material. However, even one of my favorite actresses in films cannot rescue this abysmal story. It is no wonder that Sony decided to bury this effort in a straight to DVD release. They should have skipped DVD and gone straight for the garbage.