Monday, April 27, 2009

Tony: No Country For Old Men Review

Holy mother of wow... Let me start off by giving you a warning: this is not an action movie. This is one of the purest drama's to ever be made. "No Country..." is one of those "hard to explain" movies... "you just have to see it". But I'll try my best.
The movie is dark... real dark! The Coen brothers are remarkable. They also wrote the script which is amazing. The dialogue in this movie will be studied for years to come, it's that good. Speaking of dialogue, Tommy Lee Jones gives a performance that will be remembered as his best since "The Fugitive" in which he won an Oscar for.
All the acting is phenomenal in this movie. I was scared of the scary characters, and I cared for the "good guys". How long has it been since you were literally "on the edge of your seat" in a movie? Well I was during "No Country...". The cat and mouse game is so good, it's uncomfortable to watch sometimes. It's uncomfortable because you never know what's going to happen, and that my friends is the entire concept of the movie. Not theme, but concept. There are many themes in the movie, just read the title. But the primary concept is unpredictability.
Remember "Forrest Gump"? My cousin Mat and I have a perfect example of the concept of a movie: In "Forrest Gump", the concept was coincidence. Everything amazing that happened to Forrest Gump was pure coincidence. If things were just the tiniest bit different, he wouldn't have been a war hero, or met all those presidents or been a world ping-pong champion. In "No Country..." nothing is predictable. The best parts are when you start to get cocky and think you've figured it out... you haven't figured out a damn thing.
There are no cliches throughout this movie that helps you predict the ending, it's all about unpredictability. The ending will be talked about for years... you will see why if you ever watch it.
There are other techniques in the movie that lend themselves to the dark feel. For example, there's no sountrack... let me say this again, there's NO music throughout the entire film. You may not pay attention to the music in the movies you watch, but its the music in certain scenes that create emotion. You hear happy music in a scene when a family is at the park, you feel happy. You hear a symphony playing during a scene where someone dies, you feel sad. There's no music in "No Country..." you will feel nothing. And the absence of emotion is what lends to the darkness of the film. Another technique is the lack of color. Everything is so plain, even ugly at times. Dirty browns, greens, etc. also create a cold mood throughout the movie.
This movie was just nominated for 8 Oscars, and it's not for being an average movie. But you have to watch carefully, or you will walk out of the theater cheated, but it will be your own fault. Pay attention to the dialogue, pay attention to the sites and locations, pay attention to the mood the directors have setup for you. If you do these things, I'm telling you, "No Country for Old Men" will be one of the best movies you ever see. What if you don't like the movie? It's ok, because that means we just Agree To Disagree.

Tony: There Will Be Blood Review

Hey Everyone,

Ok, so the big debate this year, as far as the Oscars are concerned, is the "Best Picture" category. "No Country For Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" seem to be the front runners. After seeing "No Country..." I thought I had it figured out, I knew it was going to win best picture, even WITH all the hype behind "There Will Be Blood". So, let's review the movie...
Again, I'm not gonna tell you word for word what the movie is about, just basics... Daniel Day-Lewis is Daniel, "an oil man". His business is just beginning to boom when a boy comes to him and tells him of a place that has tons of oil. He goes out to California and the movie mainly takes place there, covering most of Daniel's life.
The movie is completely centered around the Daniel character... and who better than Daniel Day-Lewis to take on the role? The guy is amazing, brilliant, astonishing! This man loses himself in the character he plays. He has said he needs months, sometimes years to recover from the rigors of playing certain characters, that's nuts! His methods of preparing for a role will seriously shock you. In "There Will Be Blood", he BECOMES the character. Who/what is this character all about?....
Daniel is a deeply troubled man; but he presents himself well, for the most part. He takes care of himself physically, dresses decent, and speaks intelligently; but it's the emotions boiling underneath that shows great acting. Day-Lewis makes it uneasy to watch him, he makes it uncomfortable to be in the same theater as the character. You feel like he's going to explode with anger at any given moment... and when you think it's about to happen... he has a moving scene with his son in the movie, the character is human again, not just an oil machine. The movie shows a person's battle with his/her inner demons. Greed, envy, anger, and other emotions are also explored throughout the movie.
The movie has somewhat of a surprise ending that I will not spoil. If you pay attention throughout the movie, the ending will mean that much more to you. Blink, and you could miss the setup to the ending. For the most part, the movie has a conclusion, there is some room for the audience to make their own conclusion, but not much.
Overall, I would recommend this movie to anyone who truly enjoys an epic film, which is exactly what this was, EPIC. It follows the life and times of a man who is truly battling his own demons. Don't go watch this with people looking for an "action" film, but I guess the marketing shows that this is not that type of movie. Do I think it will beat out "No Country..." for the "Best Picture" Oscar? No, I don't think so. Daniel Day-Lewis will most definitely win the "Best Actor" Oscar hands down, his performance alone is worth the 10.50 ticket price, and the great story and dialogue are just the icing on the cake. This is a must see!

Tony: Dark Knight Review

It's been awhile since I posted a review, and since I've seen "The Dark Knight" about 5 times since it's release, I will explain my thoughts on the movie. Let me start with a little background information. Louie (my brother) and I loved superheroes like a lot of kids do. He was ALWAYS a Superman fan and I loved the X-Men comics/cartoon for as long as I can remember. But the Batman Animated series and Batman movies were kinda secondary. I liked Batman the superhero, I liked the bad guys/girls, but wasn't a "hardcore" fan.... untill now.

The Dark Knight is obviously a sequel to 2005's "Batman Begins". "Batman Begins" did a lot of things that no other Batman movie did before. It took a detailed look at the origin story and how this billionaire named Bruce Wayne decided he would beat up bad guys in a bat suit. The second thing Christopher Nolan did differently was keep the movie "reality based". He makes the audience feel as though this could happen! "Batman Begins" was a great leap for "superhero" movies. The Dark Knight carries on the same reality based tone.

I don't want to talk about plot details, thats why you watch the movie. But I will say this; the story is very original and beautifully written by the director Christopher Nolan and his brother. Christian Bale is magnificent as Bruce Wayne and a very fitting Batman. It's too bad... he's magnificent but Heath Ledger is even better! All the buzz about this movie has always been around Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker. And it's all deserving! The way they re-invented this character, this iconic character is amazing. I loved the new look: the new clothes, the new makeup, the new hair, attitude, the deep and high pitched voice, the way he arcs his back, all of it! My cousin Matt said it best, "Heath Ledger is not in this film, The Joker is".

I think what also adds to the effect of the Joker is that the movie is based in reality. "This could happen" is what takes over your mind and it makes the Joker that much scarier. If Heath Ledger doesn't get nominated for an Oscar, it would be such a shame. It would only be because critics and writters are scared they'll get complaints that they only voted for him out of sympathy. Well the truth is, he deserves the nomination if not the win, whether he was still alive or not. He is brilliant by every definition of the word in the Dark Knight.

What most people don't understand about the Dark Knight, and what I've argued many times is: the entire movie revolves around Harvey Dent/ Two-Face. He is played by Aaron Eckhart who does a great job! The reasoning of my argument: "Batman Begins" dealt with the idea of fear. This notion that you can overcome your fears and do great things in life. Dark Knight's overal idea is "duality". Having two sides to every person. Bruce Wayne/ Batman, Harvey Dent/ Two Face, good/ evil, life/ death. They talk about Batman's only rule being not to kill; well the Joker kills throughout the movie. They talk about life/ death; and not to give anything away, but society sometimes has tough choices they have to deal with. The rise of Harvey Dent, the fall, and the outcome are the backbone of this movie.

Emotionally, the movie is fantastic, and may be nominated for Best Picture; we'll have to wait and see if the people in charge feel like rewarding this film the way they rewarded The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. The writing is unlike any other action movie you'll see. Again, maybe a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for Christopher Nolan and his brother. The action is unbelievable. You know how you see an action movie and notice nothing new, nothing you remember when you walk out of the theater? That is not the case with the Dark Knight. There are two scenes specifically that will blow your mind: one involves a semi-truck and the other a balloon and airplane. Trust me, just watch it.

Overall the movie is fantastic, there are some plot holes in the movie but nothing to complain about. The acting is amazing; including Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Cain and Maggie Gillanhall (spelling?). The action and story are unparrallel and the directing is top notch. GO SEE THIS MOVIE. There's very few times in a generation where a movie becomes a cultural event. The last one was The Passion of The Christ and Titanic before that. Appreciate the acting, believe the buzz, cheer the caped crusader and just admire the joker! 5 Stars, 9.5/10, two thumbs up and has officially taken the number one spot on my all time favorite movie.