Let the Right One In (2008) review

Let the Right One In   [Låt den rätte komma in]    (2008)

Vampire movies come in a variety of styles; horror, action, comedy, and romance. Let the Right One In falls somewhere between horror and romance, but not in the sense of The Twilight Saga. Focusing on two preteens, childhood awkwardness and companionship take the place of romantic lust and passion. The outcome is a gratifying tale filled with tragedy, uncertainty, and hope. Read more of this post

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5 Actors who have lost their way

Acting is a very difficult profession for one to stay atop of and impossible to maintain a 100% record of success. Even the best produce the occasional flop or string of mediocre films; few have the ability to bounce back. Here are 5 ‘good’ actors in need of a reboot to kick-start their stalled, wayward careers.

Mark Wahlberg

Best Roles: Boogie Nights (1997), Three Kings (1999), The Departed (2006)

Upcoming: The Fighter (2010)

I’m actually kind of surprised he doesn’t get more flack for his very poor good:shitty film ratio. Although, he does deserve credit for rebounding his career after having starred in a string of flops; ‘The Perfect Storm’, ‘Planet of the Apes’, and ‘Rockstar’ all in succession. He’ll try it again with ‘The Fighter’ in 2010, this time attempting to recover from ‘Shooter’, ‘The Happening’, and ‘Max Payne’. Yikes.

Halle Berry

Best Roles: Monster’s Ball (2001) . . . The X-Men Trilogy (2000-2006) . . . ???

Upcoming: Frankie & Alice (2009) . . . *not yet released

Was it a one hit wonder with ‘Monster’s Ball’? She has had great success with the ‘X-Men’ films, but not much elsewhere. ‘Swordfish’ was an utter mess (topless seen aside), ‘Catwoman’ and ‘Perfect Stranger’ bombed hard, and ‘Die Another Day’ flat-lined the Bond franchise. I still believe her (deserved) Oscar win was a one-time fluke and her upcoming projects do not appear to offer anything to the contrary.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

Best Roles: Boyz n the Hood (1991), Jerry Maguire (1996)

Upcoming: Red Tails (2010), Sacrifice (2011); Sadly, a film co-starring Christian Slater. (Ouch)

Gooding Jr. as 'Radio'

Has any actor fallen from atop the summit faster and harder? He went from unmerited Oscar winner (Edward Norton should have won) to playing a ‘Radio’. His first comeback attempt failed with ‘American Gangster’, hopefully ‘Red Tails’ will succeed in reigniting his career. (Probably not) His noteworthy films between 2001 and 2007: ‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘Rat Race’, ‘Snow Dogs’, ‘Boat Trip’, ‘Radio’, and ‘Norbit’.

Natalie Portman

Best Roles: The Professional (1994), Garden State (2004), Closer (2004), V for Vendetta (2005)

Upcoming: Your Highness (2011)

Although I hate to put her on this list as she’s one of my favorite actresses, but it’s been five years since her last really good movie and performance. That is way too long for someone of her talent level and ability. Since 2005, her credits include ‘Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium’, a kids film, and ‘The Other Boyleyn Girl’, which flopped. However, her upcoming comedy ‘Your Highness’ looks very promising. Teaming up with Zooey Deschanel, James Franco, Danny McBride (also writer), and directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express), all the pieces are in place for a great comedy.

Edward Norton

Best Roles: Primal Fear (1996), American History X (1998), Fight Club (1999), 25th Hour (2002)

Upcoming: Stone (2010)

Although the quality of his performances hasn’t dropped, his choice of projects and roles has. Starting with ‘The Italian Job’ onward, his filmography has been polarized; either big-budget Hollywood or small-time Indie, while his best films have previously been somewhere in between. But my major gripe is his disheartened choice of roles; none of them have been complex or interesting like in his earlier works. I will forever be fascinated by Derek Vinyard, Monty Brogan, and “the Narrator.” Not so much with his Bruce Banner or whoever he played in ‘Pride and Glory’. Once considered one of the most promising actors of his generation, he is now in need of a late career defining performance.

Most Anticipated Movies: Second half of 2010

Ten movies I am looking forward to seeing in the second-half of 2010

*US release dates according to IMDB

Dinner for schmucks 7/30

Cast: Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifinakis

Plot: Tim (Rudd) must recruit the biggest idiot he can find for his bosses’ monthly dinner game.

Why it might be good: This appears to be the most (purposely) annoying film ever created. The only reason I want to see it is Paul Rudd as he’s my current favorite comedic actor. Regardless of the quality of the film, his performances as consistently funny and often memorable.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo review

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first of a trilogy based on the Swedish novels of Stieg Larsson. As I have not read the novels, I cannot comment on their transition to the big-screen. This film, however, is excellent as a stand-alone and is very well executed in nearly every aspect. I very much look forward to the rest of the trilogy which has already been filmed and released.

The story, set in Sweden, follows Mikael (Michael Nyqvist), a journalist facing prison after being set-up, and Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace), a hacker on probation with a mysterious and troubled past. Their paths cross in the quest to solve a 15 year old cold-case disappearance. Read more of this post

Top 10 Movies: 2007

Top 10: 2007

Honorable Mentions:

Ratatouille, Michael Clayton, The Simpsons Movie, 3:10 to Yuma, Planet Terror

10. Superbad

Very funny and often hilarious, no other movie better expresses the typical mindset of teenage boys.

9. Le Vie en Rose

Bio-pic capturing the life of singer Édith Piaf. Wonderful portrayal by Marion Cotillard, fully deserving of her Academy Award win. Read more of this post

Top 10 Movies: 2006

Top 10: 2006

Honorable Mentions:

Find Me Guilty, First Snow, The Illusionist, Talladega Nights, The Prestige

10. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Visually stunning, some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen. However, the ending is borderline ridiculous and the casting/acting is very disappointing.

9. 300

Another film where impressive visuals rescue an otherwise mediocre movie. Read more of this post

Top 10 Movies: 2005

My Top 10 Movies: 2005

Honorable Mentions:

Joyeux Noel, Tom Yum Goong [The Protector], Wedding Crashers, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Descent

10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Quirky space comedy with good performances by Sam Rockwell and Mos Def.

9. Serenity

“Firefly’s” transition to the big screen is seamless. All the characters and charm from the show are present with the addition of the always excellent Chiwetel Ejiofor. Also works well as stand alone film, entertaining even for those not familiar with the series. Read more of this post