Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Movie Review: Dear John

This was a wonderful and heartbreaking story. It wasn't perfect - far from it actually - but I fell in love with it immediately.

I haven't read the book - written by Nicholas Sparks - but the plot, I thought, was absolutely stunning and fairly unpredictable. The storyline was engaging and somehow took me on an emotional journey from start to finish. I also loved the touching subplot, which made the movie that much more interesting.

The narrative was also good at the beginning although as the story progressed, it started jumping into scenes that I lost track of its essence including the awkwardly-executed twist that lead the film into a murky second half. Having said that, the love story at its core was charming and endearing.

The two leads, Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfriend, did surprisingly well in their roles. I have to say that the chemistry between them was believable, intense and undeniably noteworthy. I thought that it was certainly the best thing about this film. Individually, Tatum came through pretty well. He emerged as seething with emotion, but strong in holding back. Seyfried, on the other hand, wasn't distinctive but adequate and very sincere.

The real remarkable performance, however, was given by the incredible Richard Jenkins as Tatum's father. He delivered a remarkable performance that, though limited in duration, was packed with emotion and honesty. I thought that his powerful performance resonated in every single second he was in.

Yes, it may have been a little dramatic at times and the feel-good ending was a bit far-fetched and trite, but everything else considered, this was worth seeing. Maybe not as good as The Notebook but it has its own charm to boot. I was satisfied - to say the least.

RATING: 7/10

Movie Review: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Oh my Gods and Goddesses! Haha.

I've never been a big fan of Greek mythology, so based upon that criteria I've never been a big fan of movies about the subject. And although it did have its fair share of plot loopholes for me to ridicule, I thought the movie was decent - at the very least. Not bad but far from excellent.

Plot wise, it was extremely straight forward - though it was nothing I would not expect from a movie like this. The story, I thought, was a bit thin, flat and two dimensional. I was told that this was an adaptation from a book but the screenplay was lacking. The whole 'demi-god camp' with hundreds of God offspring seemed a little peculiar, considering the limited amount of Gods to begin with. And the fact that the whole thing took place in the United States ALONE struck me somewhat odd.

The action and fight scenes left much to be desired. So much potential wasted from start to end. To say that it met the basic action fight scene requirements for a movie in this genre would be somewhat of an insult to its contemporaries. I thought that the choreography of the 'sword fighting scenes' for instance were a bit disjointed thus allowing it to feel staged.

On the other hand, the visual effects, while nothing groundbreaking, were done to an acceptable level. I was extremely impressed with the mean looking design of the Underworld. The scoring wasn't overbearing but nothing memorable aside from the misplaced Poker Face and TikTok. Haha.

The casting ensemble was done correctly. I thought Logan Leman did a fantastic job as the lead. He was certainly convincing enough and he kept things moving along over some rough spots with plenty of charisma and twinkle. Also, the veteran actors were well within their comfort zones so they did okay. Believable but sorely lacking in depth and emotions.

As a single movie for a bit of Hollywood entertainment, it was fine. It did feel a bit empty with some cheap thrills and cheap laughs but that didn't surprise me at all. Simply put, it was a mind-numbingly raw experience from beginning to end.

 RATING: 6/10

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Movie Review: Valentine's Day

On paper, a lot can go wrong when you have too many A-list actors and too many parallel stories to deal with. Much to my surprise, this was actually a good movie. It was entertaining and not overly schmaltzy!

Frankly, the film was so predictable, contrived and cliched that it probably described the celebration of Valentine's Day itself. And while the story may be a little too common - what movie isn't these days? - it was only fair to say that it had a few nice surprises up it's sleeves too.

I thought that majority of the movie was cleverly written with the storylines segue into each other effortlessly. It was littered with fantastic humor and kept me laughing all the way. Yes. The story did move around a lot from character to character - thus less character development - but I felt that there was a decent effort to get that coherent story where the parts add up to a whole.

The cast, obviously, was the strongest thing about this film. I thought that almost everyone gave compelling performances, apart from Jessica Alba who looked bored and unenthused in the movie, thankfully, she only had a small part. Ashton Kutcher was very good and he pulled off one of the bigger roles really well. I fell in love with Jennifer Garner all over again and Jessica Biel had charisma to spare. I loved Bradley Cooper and Julia Robert's storyline. Taylor Swift was surprisingly funny and annoying, although I think she was supposed to be. Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and Topher Grace weren't so bad either. Sadly, Taylor Lautner and Kathy Bates were underused. Also, Hector Elizandro and Shirley Maclaine's storyline should have been fleshed out a bit more, I think.

Overall, a definite guilty pleasure. I found just about everything I expected to find in a movie of this sort. It's more meaningful to reiterate that this flick was well made, capably acted, plenty of good laughs with some tender moments and sweet poignant surprise twist at the end. Quite well done!

 RATING: 8/10
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