My Two Cents

Movie Reviews

Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths (2012) Seven Psychopaths
Might you know someone as your friend by day who is also a murdering psychopath by night? Don’t be too quick to answer that question. The main character of this movie finds himself surrounded. And they help him write his book!

I thought the story progressed too slowly. But I liked all the actors and enjoyed the parts they played. Christopher Walken’s brilliant soliloquy at the end makes the movie. Lots of blood – but what else did you expect from such a title?

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Eastern Promises

Eastern PromisesEastern Promises (2007)
An unwitting nurse and her family become targets of the Russian Mafia in London when she cares for the infant of a prostitute who dies in delivery.

A very satisfying, somewhat edgy story of intrigue about the Russian mafia in London. It was a good story with some great actors. Viggo Mortensen’s subtleties really carry the movie.

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The Town

The TownThe Town (2010)

Set in Boston, the feds slowly and inextricably draw a net around a group of bank robbers.

Tension is pretty high throughout the movie. It is interesting how antagonistic the relationships are between so many of the criminals. An impossible love interest complicates matters. A lot of blood and bullets.

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Les Triplettes de Belleville (The Triplets of Belleville)

The Triplets of Belleville (2003)Les Triplettes de Belleville
A Tour de France contestant is enslaved by the mafia, and then rescued by his grandmother – with the help of three weird sisters.

This French anime is woven with French culture throughout. There is great heart in the characters and grand whimsy in the sets. A well-crafted little story. I will never forget the sound of Madame Souza adjusting her glasses, nor the Triplets’ penchant for frog’s legs!

I really enjoyed the interview with the director and cartoonists included with the version of the movie I viewed. It was surprised to learn how much painstaking work is required from every member of the crew and how long it took to finish this project.

Beware! Viewing this anime from start to finish puts you at risk of indelibly imprinting your brain with the catchy tune “Belleville Rendez-vous”.

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Trial by Jury

Trial by JuryTrial by Jury (1994)
A juror is threatened by the defendant in a murder trial to vote against conviction. In this simmering thriller, the juror is presented with new dangers at every turn. The personal character of the threats made them palpable. The mobsters were unusually creepy, their slime insidious.  Joanne Whalley and William Hurt gave especially good performances. Gabriel Byrne was also especially convincing. I’ll never forget Hurt’s line when pleading with Valerie to follow his instructions, “The name of the game, Valerie, is not who dies but who dies first.”

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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

The Three Burials of Melquiades EstradaThe Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Enraged when a border patrol officer cavalierly kills his illegal alien friend, an old ranch hand abducts the patrolman and forces him to assist in taking the body back home across the border.

The jumbled manner in which the story is told is interesting and effective. The cleverness of the old man is surprising. The storyline is believable. The movie is peppered with the curious culture one might well find in a small community near the Texas/Mexico border.

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The Tempest

The TempestThe Tempest (2010)
This is Shakespeare’s original play bolstered by bits taken from other of his works – and a female lead. Exiled to an island after her evil brother usurps her rightful position of ruler ship, Prospera uses magic to bring an appropriate marriage prospect to her maturing daughter.

This film presented Shakespeare’s story more intelligibly than any production I have seen heretofore. And it is an amazing work of art! I can hardly believe that the diverse landscapes filmed all came from a private island in the Hawaiian chain. Black barren beauty, desert, forest, bog and cliff! I have never seen anything like it. Amazing! Great attention was paid to bringing life to Shakespeare’s original lines and retaining drama throughout the movie.

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Source Code

Source CodeSource Code (2011)
The military uses a cash of short term memory stored in the corpse of a serviceman to send him to a time and place of their choosing in order to solve a mystery they hope will prevent a catastrophe. As the military manipulates the serviceman over and over again, he struggles to understand his experiences.

Great movie! Original idea. I like how the viewer must struggle to figure out what’s going on right along side the main character. And then there is a little mind-bending ending. Nice.

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Total Recall

Total RecallTotal Recall (2012)
A guy suffering from insomnia tries to relieve some stress by getting a false memory implant. In the process he discovers a former identity locked in his brain along with amazing survival skills. That’s a good thing since now the whole world government has declared him most wanted. Which team does he truly belong to – the rebels or the establishment?

It was a pretty good sci fi action flick. The whole chase thing didn’t entirely hold together. But if you simply figure that the pursued has to have nine times more lives than the pursuers in order to make it to the end, then the main character’s die-hard abilities weren’t too distracting.

I liked how the story line in this film was only loosely related to the 1990 original. It had its own merits and up-to-date special effects. But the vision of this story was much simpler than the original. A lot of the acting was formulaic and a few of the stunts were down right tired out.

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