Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Switch: An Enjoyable, Humorous take on modern romance

By: Da’Mon Guy
     The Switch is an entertaining, touching story that intertwines elements of comedy, romance, and drama to tell an enjoyable tale about missed opportunities & the long indirect journey that unites two people. The film is a clever, witty approach to modern romance. The movie stars Jason Bateman (Paul), Jennifer Anniston (Just Go with It), Patrick Wilson (Insidious), Jeff Goldblum (Morning Glory), Juliette Lewis (Due Date), and Bryce Robinson (Valentine‘s Day).

The Switch is a story that entertainingly embraces many of the stereotypes about dating and the romantic state that comprises today’s modern society. Click the link below for the full review:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thor: A great performance that highlights a mediocre story

By: Da’Mon Guy

     The Hollywood love affair with superheroes and comics commences with the summer’s first superhero flick, Thor. Thor is an entertaining addition to the ongoing surge in movies adapted from the pages of Marvel Comics. This is the latest character to leap from the pages of comics and progress to the silver screen. The film is highlighted by an outstanding performance by Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek), with Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Anthony Hopkins (The Rite), Tom Huddleston (Archipelago), Kat Dennings (Defendor), and Stellan Skarsgard (Angels & Demons). It also features supporting roles by Idris Elba (Takers), Ray Stevenson (The Other Guys), Renee Russo (Yours, Mines, & Ours), Jamie Alexander (Rest Stop), and Clark Gregg (Iron Man 2).

     Thor is one of the longest tenured characters created by Marvel comics, he is also one of its lesser known characters. Thor has been around almost 60 years but this is the first attempt to bring the character to the big screen. He briefly appeared in a made for TV movie with the Incredible Hulk in the 1990’s.

           The Marvel comics superhero, Thor, debuted in the science fiction/fantasy anthology title Journey into Mystery #83 (cover-date Aug. 1962), created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry lieber, and penciler Jack Kirby. (Wikipedia). The film is another addition to Marvel's attempt to franchise its character in an effort to grant exposure th the characters that will comprise its upcoming super team extravaganza, The Avengers.

     The film is actually two movies that are merged into one to try to establish a human element to the larger than life character. The film is a fantasy/ sci-fi film that showcases the God of Thunder in his true element as the heir to the throne of Asgard. This was one of the best parts of the movie where we see Thor’s power and his warrior-like ways. The special effects and cinematography are great as they are incorporated into the story to visually bring the other realm to life. The second sub-story of Thor is the tale of Thor after he is cast out by Odin. This part of the story is the backbone of the film as Hemsworth really displays the human side to the character and opens the door for more of the humorous aspect of the story. As Thor struggles to fit into the modern world, the audience is amusingly entertained by the conflicted ways of modern times as opposed to Thor’s Viking-like approach to life.

     The film is a visual extravaganza filled with tremendous special effects that highlight a mediocre origin story. The cinematography and most of the special effects are done extremely well. The portions of the film that takes place in the other realms are visual marvels. Most of the effects look fantastic, with the exception of a few of them which look cartoonish but they add to the nature of the movie.

     The film isn’t all true to the original character of Thor as this incarnation of Marvel's god of thunder more resembles the edition that was used in "Ultimate Avengers." However, Chris Hemsworth does an excellent job as the son of Odin. He nails the character perfectly, almost as if he were born to play it. Hemsworth’s portrayal of Thor is as impressive as any actor to transition a character to the big screen. Hemsworth delivers one of the best interpretations for a comic book character. Probably in the top three with only Christopher Revees (Clark Kent/Superman) and Robert Downey, Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man) ahead of him. Hopkins was impressive as Odin, adding a nice performance as the “All Father.” Kat Dennings (Darcy Lewis) has a number of witty lines that add humor and increase the enjoyment of the film. The other actors in the film were less than spectacular. Natalie Portman is a far better actress than what she was within Thor.

     The main detractor with Thor is that there’s no villainous performance to offset Hemsworth’s great portrayal of Thor. Any comic book movie is only as great as the villain that opposes the hero. All of the great movies have them (The Dark Knight, Spiderman, Superman). No matter how great the hero is, there has to be an equally or greater performance by the villain. Thor doesn’t have that. The biggest disappointment in the characters of the film was the character of Loki, Thor’s half brother. This particular incarnation of Loki (Huddleston) is no where near what he could or should have been. Loki is Thor’s quintessential arch-nemesis. Despite this being an origin story, the character was no where near as malevolent or devious as he should’ve been. This was one of the reasons that the film didn’t hit the upper echelon reached by other great comic book movies. There was no villain to match Hemsworth’s great performance as Thor.

     The second detractor is as with most of Marvel's attempts to transition its characters to the big screen is the climax of the films & Thor is no different. The film’s climax doesn't compliment the film the way that it should. Just like the its predecessors, Thor doesn't contain that great climax that makes us want to cheer for the end. Instead, it tries to piece together some huge finale that doesn't equate to the character.

     The problem whenever a movie debuts, is that it will be compared to others in its genre. With the recent abundance of superhero/comic book inspired movies, Thor will be measured against its predecessors and there lies the problem. Thor is a good movie. It’s not a great film nor would I consider it a blockbuster. It doesn’t contain that attention grabbing effect that some of the other recent superhero flicks have had. A good movie but not a great one.

Monsters: A Creative Usage of Sci-Fi to Relay a Profound Message

By: Da’Mon Guy

     Monsters is a creative, artistic introspection into the ideals of "big bad" America. The film implements a sci-fi theme as subterfuge to hide the true message that it has embedded within it. It is an alternative perspective on the effects of war that has been perpetrated by the American government/military on other cultures. The movie stars Scott McNairy (In Search of a Midnight Kiss) and Whitney Abie (All the Boys Love Mandy Lane).

     Monsters is not what you think. Some of the early advertisements for the film labeled it as a cross between Cloverfield and District 9. Monsters is neither. click for the full review:

Limitless: A Great Concept that is Wasted in a Mismanged Story

By: Da’Mon Guy

     Limitless is moderately entertaining film that intertwines elements of sci-fi with suspense to produce a silver screen manifestation for the power of the human mind. The movie stars Bradley Cooper (The A-Team), Robert DeNiro (Everybody’s Fine), Abbey Cornish (Sucker Punch), Andrew Howard (I Spit on Your Grave 2010), and Anna Friel (Land of the Lost).

     A down on his luck writer discovers an experimental drug that has the power to unlock 100% of the brain’s abilities. After he takes the drug, he begins to see the world in a new light.
Limitless is a moderately entertaining misuse of a good concept. The movie cleverly intermingles the idea of a intelligence boosting drug with the with some impressive visual effects to effectively create a great showcase for the positive and negative effects of drugs usage.

     One of the best aspect of Limitless is its visual effects. Limitless does a terrific job at establishing the level of euphoria that is induced by the NZT drug. The cinematography and visual effects are used effectively to externalize the effects of NZT and place the audience into the state that mind becomes influenced by the drug. The director uses a number of subtle nuances to immerse the audience into the world of Eddie’s drug induced level of consciousness.

     Limitless comes up short in terms of the story. The story isn’t very entertaining. The movie is supposed to be a compelling suspense story but the movie doesn’t effectively establish the plot. The movie tries to infuse a level of suspense that it never truly creates. The details that are associated with the telling of the story are better than the story itself. The film seduces the audiences with a shallow showcase of Eddie’s newfound abilities but it never develops a real story around these larger than life abilities. Instead it whizzes through too many of the details that would make the suspense aspect of the story effective.

     Bradley Cooper is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. He has been terrific in a number of roles and this one is no different. Cooper gives an excellent portrayal of the drug induced Mora. Cooper basically plays two characters. Eddie, the underachieving slob who is completely inept and then he transforms into the Eddie, the limitless conversationalist who can do anything. He exquisitely handles them both. He single-handily carries the film. Abbey Cornish does an mediocre job as Mora’s love interest, Lindy. Robert DeNiro makes an appearance, however, he is nothing more than a name drop to draw viewers. His role as Carl Van Loon is nothing special.

     Limitless is a movie that is all fluff. The film is highlighted by a number of good details to marginalize the lackluster story that it really is. The film is a mismanaged suspense story that races through to many details to be effective. The first 35-40 min of the plot of the film is completely wasted. It’s a bunch of rambling around and watching Mora’s drug induced state. The story really isn’t established you’ve sat through a third of the movie. The film is far too superficial as it wastes the tremendous potential of its concept. The film tries to keep you engaged by some fluff and visual effects to sugarcoat the shortcomings of this debacle. By the end of the movie, you will fill like you are coming off of some drug induced high much like the characters in the film. It’ll will take you to a high and then quickly dissipate as if you never even saw it. This is best served as something to absorb some time on a dreary night at home. It would serve you best to just rent it from Redbox or get on Netflix.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fast Five: The Best Fast and Furious Yet

By: Da’Mon Guy

     Fast Five is an exciting, action-packed adrenaline rush that creatively intertwines intense action with elements of comedy. The film is the entertaining fifth addition to the Fast and Furious franchise. Fast Five is the first in the series of films to implement nearly all of the characters that have made various appearances in the other four films. This exciting continuance returns “Fast” veterans Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious 1,3, & 4), Paul Walker (Takers), and Jordanna Brewster (Fast & the Furious 1&4). It also features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (Faster), Tyresse Gibson (Transformers 1&2), Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Gamer), Matt Schulze (The Fast & Furious), Sung Kang (Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift), Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious).
Fast five is the exciting continuation to the story of Brian O’Connor (Walker) and Dominic Torretto (Diesel).

     The latest addition picks up immediately where Fast & Furious left off. The action of Fast Five is almost non-stop as ...for the full review, click the link below: