While he may not have been the most popular General of World War II there is no denying his effectiveness and contribution to the campaign. Patton has become one of the benchmarks for character biographies and George C. Scott's Oscar winning performance is nearly one of legend. The film does a great job showing both sides of Patton's personality and leaves it to the viewer to decide his own opinions on the man's methods and ideas.
Last time we saw this couple together they were trying their best to lose each other while falling in love at the same time. This time isn't too different except the couple is already married and in the process of a divorce. I guess treasure hunting doesn't keep the thrills alive like it used to. Fool's Gold is a fun ride that is good brainless fun with a little bit of action flare. The film is set in the beautiful Caribbean and balances a good mix of adventure, flirting and romance. While I wouldn't put in the same category of adventure as National Treasure or the Indy films, it is still good popcorn fun with a good cast and gorgeous scenery.
This film didn't seem to get much buzz at the box office despite the popularity of the leads. I didn't have high hopes going in because of this but really ended up enjoying this one. The chemistry between Freeman and Nicholson was great and this one had my wife and I laughing out loud quite a bit. The first half of the film is great and sets up the characters perfectly but I didn't think some of the journeys they took were as involving. But the director brings it back together by the end and tugs on the heart strings. Overall this is a heartwarming film ended up being a really fun ride.
Gus Van Sant has been working on some great independent titles and forgoing the usual mainstream route. Paranoid Park reminded me a bit of his earlier film, Elephant, and takes the same route of hiring non-actors and using a low budget. Despite this approach Van Sant still delivers a very strong story with good character development. The film follows a high school skater who's involved in an unfortunate accident that costs a security guard his life. The film focuses on how this affects the boy's life and trying to figure out what to do. The narrative is weaved from different timelines allowing you to get a feel for the character before plunging you right into the events. I'm glad to see notable filmmakers start to go against the mainstream Hollywood feel with their films. Films like this show you don't need big names or high budgets to make an effective film.
Independent thrillers and horror films have become the leaders in innovation and original concepts these days. While Hollywood looks to mass produce and remake everything that already been done, independents are fueling the fires with new ways to provide chills. The Signal reminds me a bit of the zombie genre in the way 28 Days Later did but with a new twist. Instead of an infectious disease we have a signal being broadcast through TV and phones that causes mass hysteria and unexplainable rage. The film focuses on a small group of people caught in the horror and is divided into three main acts all written and directed by different people but using the same characters and time line. I must say I really enjoyed the first and last act but found the second act to be a bit disappointing. This writer/director took the tone of the movie in a different direction and added a lot of dark humor that just didn't work for me. Thankfully the third act is strong enough to erase most of the issues and I finished the film with a positive outlook on the work as a whole.
Extras: 2.5/5 Step into Liquid is one of those films that can just blow you away with the things that people can do. To me surfing is one of those sports that is full of breathtaking beauty and awe. The film is basically a documentary on what surfing is and the way it is done by those around the world. You see big wave surfing (and I mean BIG waves), pipeline surfing and creative surfing (take the Great Lakes for example). But the underlying theme is that the experience is really the same no matter where you're from or how you do it.
Farrell plays a M.I.T. graduate who is recruited by the CIA to become one of their spies. Pacino is brilliant as the recruiter as well as the school's lead instructor. This is the first film that the CIA has actually consulted on with regards to their training program and according to their liaison it's pretty accurate. Farrell's character shows promise throughout the entire school but also finds himself emotionally involved with one of the students. This becomes his Achilles heel and eventual undoing. Or so he thinks. After being kicked out of the school he finds that his dismissal was a front to place him as a deep undercover operative. But the target ends up being the same girl he was falling for in school who is actually a mole that the CIA is onto.
I can't count how many times Men In Black was released on DVD in one form or the other, but based on this presentation we shouldn't see it released on Blu-ray again. Sony has brought their popular sci-fi catalog favorite to the new format but surprisingly they didn't opt for the sequel as well. I'm not going to get into a big descriptor of the plot since I don't think there are many out there that have missed this one but I will say this film is just as much fun now as it was when it was first released.
There were quite a few films last year that really resonated with me and by year's end it was a tough call on which was my favorite. P.T. Anderson's newest film was one of them and probably his strongest offering to date (and that's saying something). There Will Be Blood is a haunting look at the early oil industry and namely one oil prospector who is at odds with society around him. Daniel Day Lewis delivers one of the best acting performances of recent memory and continues to solidify his reputation as one of the best in the business. His work here is truly haunting and never lets up throughout the film, despite its long run time. While this film didn't win Best Picture last year it had to have been one of the toughest years for the Academy voters considering the strength of the titles.
There has been a dearth of romance or "chic flicks" on Blu-ray. I know that new formats usually cater to big special effects and loud soundtracks but I also think film lovers like breadth of catalog and this is a genre with some solid offerings. P.S. I Love You is definitely not a classic for this genre but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I am not a fan of Hilary Swank and she doesn't win me over at all in this performance but the story and the supporting cast make up for it. Instead of your typical love story here you follow a woman on her journey of recovering from the loss of a loved one. Her deceased husband has decided to send her random notes after his death to try and bring her back into the world and get on with her life.