I've been on break for almost 3 months now and I am deeply upset with myself. In an attempt at redemption for those lost months, I'm going to write brief reviews of most of the films I've seen in that time. I promise, full reviews will follow.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Talk about starting the Summer off with a whimper. This much awaited prequel to the popular X-Men franchise had so much going for it on paper, but failed to produce anything worth watching. The most disappointing aspect of Wolverine was the shoddy special effects that looked like they were borrowed from an episode of "Smallville". Obvious green screen usage made multiple scenes irritating to watch. There was even a point when my girlfriend, who had slept through half the movie, woke up and immediately said to me, "I can see the green screen". You literally could see where the floor was ending and the green screen was beginning. This is inexcusable for such a highly anticipated summer blockbuster. Hugh Jackman gave his all as the title character, and I applaud him for that. As his brother and nemesis, Sabretooth, Liev Schrieber also delivers a pretty good performance, though was under-utilized. This trend continued with most of the supporting characters in the film as well. Ryan Reynolds, who appears on screen for all of 5 minutes, steals the show as Deadpool, the mercenary famous for breaking the fourth wall. No other performance is really worth mentioning other than Taylor Kitsch, as Gambit. Ever since the X-Men franchise began, fans have wanted to see Gambit on the big screen, myself included. When the time finally came to see the universal favorite, we were handed a terrible performance by an actor who couldn't keep his accent straight. In one sentence, Gambit would be from Louisiana. Then in the next, France. Then just American, but with a speech impediment. All in all, disappointment, thy name is X-Men Origins: Wolverine. My rating (4/10)
Star Trek- This is what summer is about! Though I knew absolutely nothing about the original series, this film version of Star Trek was still thoroughly enjoyable throughout. JJ Abrams, of "Lost" fame, handles the material as a seasoned professional, perfectly balancing cheesiness with tense action. Perhaps the most surprising thing to come from this film was the plethora of great performances. Chris Pine plays James T. Kirk, a young womanizer born from a former Starfleet Captain. Pine does a surprisingly good job as Kirk, fitting the part as if it was tailor-made for him. The most exceptional performance belongs to Zachary Quinto as Spock. In his first big screen outing, Quinto shows an impressive aptitude to really dig into a role. The half human-half Vulcan Spock is a volatile character, and it is shown clearly by Quinto. And since Star Trek is after all summer fare, let me talk about it's blockbuster qualities. Unlike Wolverine, this movie knows how to properly use special effects. As characters fight hand-to-hand with enemies on the hood of a ship, it never even crosses your mind that the scene has been altered by computers. Though the film has some flaws (in it's script especially), it is still a thrilling ride and probably one of the best films of 2009, thus far. My rating (8/10)
Up - OK so, me and Pixar have a bit of a beef. Since I have "grown up", I have failed to be impressed by the movies Pixar released year after year. However, year after year, movie critics from coast to coast praise their films as being amazing and then complaining that animated films don't get nominated for Best Picture. It never fails. I didn't care for The Incredibles. I HATED Ratatouille. I thought Wall-E was OK. When would the time come when I finally agreed with those gushing critics? With Up, that time may have, not arrived, but gotten much closer than before. Finally, I genuinely enjoyed a Pixar film for the first time since A Bug's Life. Not only did this film look amazing (which is usually the only compliment I give to their films), but actually made me laugh and stay interested in the characters. Though the main character was a grumpy old man, I found him to be one of the best characters Pixar has made. The gold star of this film which cemented it's place as a great film for me was a cute talking dog named Dug. Words can't explain how cute and hilarious Dug is. You'll have to see it for yourself. My rating (8/10)
Brick - This film was not released this year, but I just recently watched it. It was a film noir set at a modern high school where Brendan (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a loner, goes deep into the world of drugs and mayhem to solve a murder mystery. The film was written and directed by Rian Johnson, and then edited on his home computer. Even with the noticeably small budget, Brick was shot very impressively and was in all an entertaining film to watch. The screenplay, which can only be described as clever, may have been too smart for it's own good. Johnson, who wrote the film as an homage to film noir, got a little too carried away, having his modern teenagers talk like Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. This was the only part of the film I didn't really care for. I liked how Johnson didn't hold onto the film's secrets for very long. We find out halfway through what is going on, and I appreciated that. I can't stand when films make you wait until the very last scene to wrap up EVERYTHING. Throw in a very good lead performance by Gordon-Levitt, and you've got yourself a pretty good film. My rating (7/10)
That's all for now. A review of Public Enemies will be up shortly. I'm back!