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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

‘Revenge of The Fallen’ Only Manages to Transform Into a Shell of Its Former Self

June 25, 2009

Hot babes with hot bods. Sick cars and huge bots. Mind melting visual effects and heart shaking soundscapes. Sun destroying ancient alien technology and Matrices of Leadership? Pause for a moment to imagine the sound I am about to make… Pffwhat? Tonight I attended an IMAX screening for three of the previous four reasons inherent in the Transformers canon, but one of these seems fairly foreign to me. What is a Matrix of Leadership? I didn’t know before I entered the theater and I’m still only half sure now. Yet this, along with countless other plot defying tricks, was the way the 2nd Transformers story was told and after 2.5 hours of head scratching and laughing out loud (at all the wrong times) I have to say I’m a bit shocked. At one point I laughed so loud at one of the many sharp turns the story took, that the teenager next to me looked at me like he must have looked as his father during the 1st movie: “What’s so funny, Dad?”

Keep reading!

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Haiku Review: ‘Drag Me To Hell’

June 23, 2009

Even though I’m practically a professional apologizer, I figured I’d dispense with my usual song and dance and just hop right to it. So let’s hop right to it!

hr_drag_me_to_hell_posterI laughed, I screamed, I
Wet my pants a little bit.
That entertaining!

So Drag Me To Hell. The concept is pretty straightforward: ambitious loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is determined to win a promotion at work and, trying to prove to her boss that she can “make the tough decisions” denies an old gypsy woman a third extension on her mortgage. Big mistake! Shamed and outraged, the woman places a curse on Christine – the curse of the Lamia, a powerful demon who will drag her to Hell in three days’ time. Boner kill! Along with her boyfriend, college professor Clay Dalton (Justin Long) (Editor’s note: I know!) and seer Rham Jas, she must find a way to dispel the curse. And that’s it. Drag Me To Hell is not a metaphor for sexual awakening, or a high-concept rumination on American foreign policy (I wish!). Nope, Hell delivers exactly what it sells: outlandish horror-comedy with no pretense toward anything but fun. In a box office crowded with indulgent, over-reaching tripe, that’s sort of awesome.

Drag yourself through the rest of this review, painful as that might be!

‘Away We Go’ Is A Great Example of Insightful Indie Film

June 15, 2009

I have to admit that after seeing the trailer for Away We Go before a couple of recent movies, I wasn’t entirely sold. While the trailer wasn’t awful, it certainly didn’t seem like anything more than a here-we-go-again indie movie featuring a pregnant chick and cartoon inspired graphics. Checking out the Full Cast and Crew page on IMDb revealed much more: top notch director Sam Mendes and a couple of other Michel Gondry film alums worth noting (i.e. cinematographer Ellen Kuras). After seeing the movie on a delightfully pleasant Sunday afternoon, I have to say I think the trailer sells the film short.

That’s why you never trust the trailer. ‘Year One’ anyone? Keep reading!

“Up” Tackles Issues of Life, Death, and Fufillment With Animated Majesty

June 2, 2009

The definition of majesty (according to my Mac dictionary) is this: 1. impressive stateliness, dignity, or beauty. Without knowing the specific definition of the word, my use of “majesty” to describe Pixar’s latest installment Up couldn’t have been a better choice (besides scrumtrulescent). My enjoyment of the film should be fairly self-evident, but what may not be is the lengths to which Up displayed supreme artistry and storytelling throughout. Helmed by first time director, but former Pixar writer, Pete Docter, Up may not serve as a typical example of Pixar’s silver screen magic formula. Going into the movie, I had little knowledge of the story and its characters beyond the few scenes I had seen in the trailers/teasers. Walking out of the movie, I was surprised to discover how little actually transpired over the hour and a half adventure epic. However, so much occurred on an emotional level, that it’s hard to say that it wasn’t as big of an adventure as Finding Nemo or Wall-e.

Hold onto your balloons and keep reading!

Origins May or May Not Contain Any Elements of X-Men Lure From Your Childhood

May 1, 2009

First and foremost, I want to start off this post by defending myself. Never a good place to start, I know, but I want it to be made clear that I am in no way an expert on a) films or b) the X-Men canon. That being said, I went to the midnight screening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine tonight like a good geek and walked away looking for a drink. A drink to forget, not remember, Logan (fanboys are with me on this one, right?). Despite the film having been widely released on the internet 3 weeks ago via BitTorrent sans completed VFX shots and proper score, there was still a large, rowdy crowd, pumped to get the first taste of a nerd stacked summer movie roster being rolled out by the 5 families. It’s been a long time since I was last disappointed by an X-Men film; the perfect amount of time for most filmgoers to ponder, “Wait, was X-Men: The Last Stand awesome or terrible, I can’t remember.” I’m pretty sure it was terrible, but after leaving the theater tonight, I’m also pretty sure that Origins made The Last Stand look like Godfather II. Frank language and straight talking from here on out. (more…)

Haiku Review: ‘I Love You, Man’

April 6, 2009

We brought you ‘Rachel Getting Married’ four months late; ‘The Reader’ three. Not a great record. But Lifting Fog is a paragon of self-improvement, our lag time now reduced to just TWO WEEKS as we bro it up with the latest Apatow-ish (but not Apatowian) offering, ‘I Love You, Man’. LET’S DO THIS.

i_love_you_man_posterHetero dude love
Mellow and real, no forced quirks
(Sorry, Seth Rogen)

When we go to the movies these days, we’re hard-wired to deliver one of two reviews: love it or hate it. “That was seriously, like, the best movie I have EVER seen!” you said after watching Slumdog Millionaire. “That was seriously, like, the biggest piece of sh*t I have EVER seen!” you said after Paul Blart: Mall Cop. While this binary rating system is occasionally valid (hi, Ain’t It Cool News!), enough movies exist in that “good, not great” or “well… satisfying” range to necessitate a less extreme response. Happy Gilmore. Dave. Meatballs. Forrest Gump. These are the movies you reach for on a sick day or watch on a bus – fun, harmless and easy enough to tune in to or out of at will. Eminently watchable; comfort cinema. What’s wrong with that?

Nothing, clearly. And I’m obviously trying to say that ‘I Love You, Man’ is exactly that kind of movie.

Haiku Review: ‘Watchmen’

March 31, 2009

You would see (or not see) this movie with or without two Lifting Fog reviews, but ours is still an important voice in American film criticism and worthy of scrutiny. Or so my grandmother says. Don’t worry, this review is free of bright blue genitalia!

watchmenfinalposterImperfect – I know.
Makeup and music – I know.
But HERE. And not bad!

A loyal patron of arthouse cinema, I saw Watchmen three weeks ago when it first opened. It hardly moved me, and I left fully prepared that weekend to offer a perfunctory “it is what it is” review with a clever title like “Don’t Watch The Watchmen” or “You’ll Be Watching Your Watches Instead.” As great as either of those would have been, I didn’t get around to the review.

One week later I sat down to watch the movie again, this time in IMAX. (You say “sucker”; I say “generous soul.”) It seemed right to offer Watchmen, a film so unavoidably tangled in decades of hype and expectation, a second chance. And sure enough… I sort of didn’t hate it. In fact… I kind of sort of liked it. Don’t worry – my fanboy license is already in the shredder.

Defense of an unpopular position after the jump!

Haiku Review: ‘The Reader’

March 24, 2009

With all the hours of community service I’ve been putting in, dedicated blogging time has been sparse. Affected most, it seems, has been my continually delayed review of The Reader. Most of you won’t even remember this movie existed, but I assure you it did. The pain it caused was very real.

The ReaderNazis, evil and…
She can’t read? Really? That’s it?
Best rom-com ever.

It’s a long running and mostly lame joke of Hollywood that all it takes for your movie to rack up Oscar nominations is some combination of the Holocaust, slavery, or mental retardation. (Preferably all three if you’re really shooting for the stars.) What’s disappointing is when that joke is actually proven true; the latest proof Stephen Daldry’s The Reader, which garnered five nominations at the 81st Academy Awards. On paper – where it started as a 1995 novel – the story’s interesting enough: a young man falls into a sexual/literary (hot!) relationship with a mysterious woman, discovering years later that she was a Nazi and attempting to come to terms with the revelation. Translated into film? Umm…

In short: This movie sucks. Don’t see it. But read our review!

Who Will Watch the Watchmen? After Opening Weekend… Probably No One

March 10, 2009

Consider this one of the most obvious posts ever written on Lifting Fog. While it’s unclear how many people were as excited to see Watchmen this weekend as The Fog’s senior staff, I assume at least a few other people also went to go see it. Everyone has their opinions on how the film most considered un-makeable turned out. This is just one man’s opinion, but perhaps it will offer some reflection not previously blogged or written about in the last few days. (NOTE: My goal was to make this as long-winded as the film, so buckle up and bunker down if you are so inclined as to keep reading. I focused on the negatives here, although I found positives as well which I did not list.)

Onward!

Haiku Review: ‘Rachel Getting Married’

February 19, 2009

Sorry for the delay! Lifting Fog continues its sprint to the red carpet with a close look at Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married, a true independent film (i.e. not merely “offbeat” or “quirky“) recognized in the Best Actress category for Anne Hathaway’s lead performance. A wedding toast, below.

rgmposter1A private home movie
Messy and authentic
SO not Hollywood

Rachel Getting Married is not your mother’s wedding movie. (Do people say that?) On the other hand, and despite what the adjacent poster suggests, it’s not a “lost soul finds redemption” movie. In fact, it’s not so easily defined as ANY particular movie. Comedy. Drama. Coen. In a way that’s neither pretentious nor inappropriate, it defies easy categorization and just exists as an authentic portrait of a broken but loving family. It’s your worst home movie, starring the girl from The Princess Diaries. Oh, and it’s fantastic.

Really, I mean it. Find out why after the jump!