Archive for the Movies Category

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2011

Posted in Movies on January 6, 2012 by bigdaddygouda

If nothing else, I’ve been consistent with My Top 10 movie list since 2005.

10. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL – Hands down the best action film of the year.

9. THE MUPPETS – This one made me feel young again and I even got a little misty eyed when the original theme played prior to the big finale at the end of the film. With The Muppets the message always comes across the screen loud and clear: “Life’s a happy song, when you’ve got someone to sing along.”

8. CONTAGION – What would happen if a virus struck and wiped out half of the world’s population? This was the scariest movie of the year if you ask me.

7. MONEYBALL – This film was so good it was easy to overlook the fact that the villians in the film were The New York Yankees.

6. THE DESCENDANTS – George Clooney is perfect as a grieving father whose wife lay dying after a boating accident. He, along with his two daughters, takes a road trip to find the man who was sleeping with his wife behind his back. Sounds fucked up huh?

5. SUPER 8 – A film anchored by great acting performances by a bunch of middle school-aged kids coming of age in the 197os. The character development was so good I actually forgot I was, in fact, watching a “monster movie.”

4. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO – This film is better than the Sweedish version and that is saying a lot. Rooney Mara is perfect as Lisbeth Slander, the titular character and Daniel Craig holds his own as Mikail Bloomqvist. Dark and suspencefull with a kick-ass original score from Trent Renznor makes this a near-perfect film.

3. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 – While there were some obvious changes from the beloved book, I have to say the final Potter film stuck the landing and provided a satisfying conclusion to the decade old franchise.

2. 50/50 – The always reliable Joseph Gordon Leavitt plays a cancer victim who is given a 50 percent chance of beating the disease. Seth Rogen, in one of his best roles, plays the wing-man. The film is sad, funny, touching and timely. And how could any film that ends with the Pearl Jam gem Yellow Ledbetter, blasting through the movie theater speakers not earn a spot on this list?

1. DRIVE – There were a lot of good movies in 2011. Some were even great. But Drive, with Ryan Gosling, was special, unlike anything I’ve seen on film in years. Here is my original review of the film: WORTH THE DRIVE

 

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Worth The DRIVE

Posted in Movies on September 17, 2011 by bigdaddygouda

Once in a great while a film comes along and blows the doors off your movie going experience and makes you wanna burn the house down. I mean this in a good way, of course. Drive, the new film staring Ryan Gosling, was that film for me.

First of all the original trailers are misleading. The movie has been marketed as a Fast and Furious type film. It couldn’t be further from that. And let me say, if you like the Fast and Furious movies, and I do, but go in to Drive expecting to seen Vin Diesel rippin shit up then you will be disappointed. This film is more like a cross between The Transporter and Michael Mann’s Heat with a touch of Pulp Fiction thrown in.  Yup, it’s THAT good and worthy of those comparisons.

The film is set in Los Angeles and it looks and sounds like it belongs somewhere in the world of 80s cheese, but it clearly does not. The soundtrack is littered with synthizer driven poppy songs sung by women, that fits the mood perfectly.

Ryan Gosling plays the lead character. His name is never given. I’ll call him the driver.  A stunt-driver by day and a getaway driver for hire by night. It’s apparent from the get go that Gosling’s character is a tortured soul. But why? We are never given his back story. Maybe his parents abused him. Maybe he lost the love of his life to cancer. Or maybe, it’s simpler than that. My theory, the guy is just lonely.

The film begins with the driver on the job. He’s driving two men away from a robbery. The scene is perfect. Minimal dialogue. The speedy cat and mouse chase with police says more than words ever could.

Eventually Gosling meets his sexy new neighbor played by Carey Mulligan. He falls for the woman and bonds with her young son. Things get bad for all characters when Mulligan’s boyfriend is released from jail. His actions put her along with her son in danger. With simple facial expressions and body language it is evident you don’t want to mess with people the driver cares for. And when shits hits the fan and he starts kicking ass, those with weak stomachs may be forced to turn away from the violence.

Supporting characters in this film are a virtual who’s who of TVs most talented stars. Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad plays Gosling’s mentor. Ron Pearlman from Sons of Anarchy is terrific as a sleazy Jewish gangster and Christina “Big Red” Hendricks from Mad Men shines as a pawn store robber. The best performance in the film however, (besides Gosling) goes to comedian Albert Brooks. He plays a sadistic ex movie producer who kills men in ways you’ve never seen on the big screen.

Get out there and see it. It’s the best film I’ve seen this year.

Oscar Picks 2011 (better late than never)

Posted in Movies on February 27, 2011 by bigdaddygouda

Would you believe I forgot, up until this very moment, that I had neglected to do my annual Oscar column? Ever since this blog’s inception 5 years ago I have attempted to pick the winners in the Top 6 Categories at the yearly Academy Awards.

As always, my goal is 4 outta 6 correct.

BEST PIC: The Social Network was praised as the film to beat when it was released in October. It was sweeping nearly all the pre-Oscar award shows . Then The King’s Speech was released and has been winning everything in site. BUT, the bottom line is, as good as King’s Speech is, Network is an overall better film and I don’t think the Academy will forget that when it comes to giving out the year’s top award. Therefore Social Network wins Best Pic;

BEST DIRECTOR: 90 Percent of the time, Director goes along with Picture so I’m picking David Fincher for The Social Network, however, even if King’s Speech does end up winning the Best Pic award I still expcect Fincher to win here.

BEST ACTOR: Colin Firth for The King’s Speech. It’s a sure thing

BEST ACTRESS: Natalie Portman is basically undefeated in pre-Oscar wins for Black Swan. She won The Golden Globe, The SAG, The British Oscar etc. I hope her water breaks while she’s giving her acceptance speech.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: It’s gotta go to Christian Bale from The Fighter. His portrayal of washed-up, crackhead boxer Dicky Eckland is the best supporting performance since Heath’s Joker. Nuff said.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: I’d be happy if either woman from The Fighter won, either Michele Leo or Amy Adams. Leo has been winning the pre awards so I expect that to continue tonight. Though watch out for the teenager from True Grit.

So, for those of you who care, there ya go: Social Network, David Fincher, Firth, Portman, Bale and Leo for the wins!!

Top 10 Films of 2010

Posted in Movies on December 30, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

I’ve done this every year since this blog began in 2005. So, Here-We-Go!

10. WINTER’S BONE: The story of a brave girl searching for her missing father in the heart of redneck America. The performances by the backwoods raggies were so genuine that the film felt more like a documentary than an actual movie with paid actors.

9. GET HIM TO THE GREEK: In a year of pretty lame comedies this film was actually funny with many laugh-out-loud moments. Worth it for Puffy’s performance alone.

8. HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (part 1) This is not a kids series anymore. Harry Potter is all grown up and so is the movie. It’s dark and brutal, filled with death and partial nudity. The best and most adult Potter film yet.

7. SHUTTER ISLAND: This movie was actually better the second time around because when you know the twist you realize just how brilliant the film is leading up to that. “Who is patient 67?” I figured it out. Can you?

6. TOY STORY 3: This film contained the single best movie scene of the year, where the toys, seemingly all out of tricks, hold hands, ready to meet their maker…together. Thank God for The Clawwwwww.

5. THE TOWN – If you had told me at the beginning of the year that Ben Affleck would not only star in but direct one of the best films of 2010 I would have called you a lying scumbag.

4. TRUE GRIT: I never saw the original. After seeing The Cohen Brothers version of the classic western I don’t think I need to. Jeff Bridges on the top of his game. Nuff said.

3. LET ME IN: A truly great horror movie about two lonely kids. One happens to be a vampire. Suspenseful, great acting and bloody.

2. INCEPTION: A trippy movie from the mind of one of my favorite directors, Chris Nolan. I thank Nolan’s The Dark Knight for this film. If Batman hadn’t made a billion dollars two years ago I don’t think the studios would have let him make such a crazy film. Thankfully they did. It will make your mind work overtime but it’s totally worth it.

1. THE FIGHTER: I said all I need to about this film in my review that you can read HERE.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

BEST PURE ACTION MOVIE: Unstoppable

BEST NON-PIXAR KIDS MOVIE: How To Train Your Dragon

BEST SUSPENSE: Buried

BEST CRINGE WORTHY SCENE: James Franco sawing off his own arm in 127 Hours

GUILTY PLEASURE: Eclipse

5 AWFUL FILMS. AVOID THESE AT ALL COSTS

1. The Tooth Fairy. Aidan apologized to me for asking me to take him.

2. Meet The Fockers: Pure Garbage!! Not Funny. At All

3. The A-Team: I would have rather paid to watch two hours worth of repeats of the original series from the 80s.

4. Salt: It’s a good thing Angelina Jolie is hot.

5. Megamind: (see the tooth fairy from above)

The Fighter

Posted in Movies on December 20, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

The Fighter is not a movie about boxing. It’s a movie about a family of fighters. And in this family there are two brothers who happen to be boxers.

Because there are a lot of clichés associated with boxing movies please forgive me and allow me to use some: The Fighter is a knockout! It packs a punch!

Simply put, The Fighter is the best movie I’ve seen this year.

The Fighter is the powerful true story of professional boxers Dickie ( Christian Bale) and Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg).

Although they are half brothers, their careers take very different courses. Older brother Dickie does not suffer from a shortage of talent confidence, but his lack of judgment and humility lead him down a path of self-destruction. After blowing his shot against one of the greatest fighters of his generation, Dickie descends down a dangerous road of drug addiction that robs him of his career, alienates his brother, and eventually lands him in jail.

Let me just say, if Christian Bale does not receive the Oscar for best supporting actor then why even hand out the award at all? His performance really is one of the best acting performances I’ve seen in years. He nails the role of a  “crack addict” and as compelling as he is to watch, at times, you also may find yourself wanting to turn away.

Everyone in this film deserves a nod for their work. From the people you’ve never heard of before, to all of Mickey and Dickey’s sisters with some of the best hair-dos on screen ever, to Melissa Leo (their mother) , to Amy Adams (smoking hot) playing a role that we’ve never seen her in and blowing down the doors on a whole new cinematic future for herself. Yes, everyone deserves a nod for their phenomenal work in this film.

There are three key scenes that are still burnt into my mind.

A scene where Mickey Ward (Wahlberg) hits another fighter with a shot to the kidneys that makes me wince just thinking about it. Yeah the fighting scenes are remarkable.

A second scene involves Mickey and Dickey warming up for “the big fight.” They are standing in a dark hallway, shadowy  silhouettes illuminated only by faint light creeping in from the sold out arena. Ward is practicing his punches while Dickey holds out his hands as targets. It’s a perfectly shot scene that, if frozen, would make an awesome photograph that I’d want blown-up, framed and hanging in my living room.

And thirdly, if the speech that Bale gives to Wahlberg during his final fight don’t bring a tear to your eye then I deem you a heartless bastard.

Go see it. You’ll love it. I promise.

Know Your Movies

Posted in Movies on July 26, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

It’s the trailer that gets us into the theaters.  The better the preview the more likely we are to slap down our hard-earned money for a movie ticket.

Ya know what I, an avid movie watcher, can’t stand? Misleading trailers. You think you’re paying for one thing, only to find out you were duped. Tricked by studio heads just to get your ass in the theater.

Remember how cool Where The Wild Things looked in the previews. Come to find out it was frikin awful. One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Ditto for Alice In Wonderland.

I mean, did we know from the previews that Wild Things was not really based on our beloved childrens book but was in fact a story about dysfunctional jewish monsters tryiing to decide whether to eat a 9 year old boy? And who knew from the trailers that Alice And Wonderland should have been called Alice In Wonderland: 10 Years Later.

Or how about when a comedy trailer looks absolutely hilarious. Only to realize later that the funniest parts were in the previews and the rest of the movie shits. Love Guru? Dukes of Hazzard?

So below I have a little quiz. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen trailers for the below Summer Movies. I bet, based on those previews you think you know what the film is about.

Thinking ONLY about the trailers you’ve seen, can you match these actual plot summaries with the titles below them? Betchya can;t

A: Man tries to come to grips with his wife’s suicide that he feels responsible for.

B: Alcoholic business man tries  to live up to his dead father’s expectations.

C: Group of friends attempt to escape from a prison run by an evil dictator.

D: Young record executive tries to help aging rocker overcome his heroin addiction

E: A pack of loners must set aside their differences and depend on one another if they want to survive.

F. A stressed out family man has but one day to realize everything he’s ever wanted in life is right in front of his face.

G: Brainwashed orphans are turned into assassins by evil Russians.

H: Pack of serial killers set their sights on a peaceful family.

I: As he embarks on the crime of the century the life of a world-class criminal is turned upside down by three homeless girls.

J: The death of a former mentor causes a group of friends to examine their own mortality.

————————————————————————–

1. IRONMAN 2

2. SHREK 4

3. TOY STORY 3

4. TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE

5. GROWN UPS

6. PREDATORS

7. DISPICABLE ME

8. SALT

9. GET HIM TO THE GREEK

10. INCEPTION

The Courthouse Critic

Posted in Movies on April 27, 2010 by bigdaddygouda

At my paper, The Middletown Press, we as reporters are encouraged to blog. At a staff meeting last month our Editor, Viktoria, encouraged us all to contribute to the various blogs housed at the paper.

We have a photo blog,  a book review blog, a food blog and many others. What was missing?

A movie review Blog!!!

Of course, with film being my passion, I asked my boss if I could start my own blog and, of course she said yes.

Which brings me to The Courthouse Critic. My very own online movie blog.

Since I cover the courts for the paper I had to think of a blog name that ties in my job and my two favorite hobies: Movies & Blogging.

Although it’s housed under the umbrella of The Middletown Press, it really is mine, all mine!!!

So, from this point on, all my movie reviews will be stationed over at The Courthouse Critic. I put a link to the site over in the corner under my blog roll. You can also link to directly from the Middletown Press website under blogs.

So check it out if you could. I’ve already posted a few reviews.