Monday, July 19, 2010

not 250- Inception

Ten Things I Absolutely Loved About Inception Without Giving Away One Thing:

1. i haven't heard this many conspiracy theories since Kennedy was shot.

2. that I believe Christopher Nolan is smart enough not to screw this up with sequels like the Wachowski's did with The Matrix.

3. that sometimes taking chances works.

4. the best director Academy Award was decided in July.

5. visual effects that served a point, other than just to look pretty.

6. no political agendas.

7. people clapped at the end like it was a theater prodcution.

8. that during the film you could hear a pin drop as far as the audience was concerned.

9. james cameron will learn what a real game changer looks like.

10. that i cannot wait to see it again.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

183. In Bruges

In Bruges (2008)

Director: Martin McDonagh

Starring: Colin Ferrell
Brenden Gleeson
Ralph Finnes

IMDb Rating: 8
My Rating: 8.5

"Ken, I grew up in Dublin. I love Dublin. If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me, but I didn't, so it doesn't."

After a fatal mishap during an assassination attempt, hit men Ken (Brenden Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Ferrell) are sent to Bruges by their boss Harry Waters (Ralph Finnes). Ray immediately finds Bruges to be boring, but history lover Ken encourages him to come along to see the sites. Early in their hideout, Ray meets drug dealer Chloe and the two embark on a very unique relationship. While Ken is given a troubling assignment from Harry while hiding out in Bruges. When things don't pan out how Harry wants, he must make a trip to Bruges to take matter into his own hands.

This film might sound like some ultra serious drama, but it's actually darkly hilarious. There are of course those serious moments in the film, especially with the final showdown on the streets of Bruges. Although, this film at the heart is a comedy, mind you a dark one, but a comedy none the less. Colin Ferrell brings a good majority of the humor to the film, in what is hands down my favorite of his performances. His comedic timing is perfect, proving why his Golden Globe for Best Actor was well deserved. Another great contributor to the comedic value of the film is Jordan Prentice who plays a foul mouth drug addicted dwarf.

As I have said in past posts, one of the keys for me to a great film is a solid screenplay. Writer and director Martin McDonagh brings forth both a clever and original script. It rarely falters in weaving together witty one liners and tragic moments. This film finds strength in it's script knowing what the appropriate line or event that is suitable for the moment. Also, the creative and almost poetic ending is the perfect final touch to such a great film.

Overall, I remember being pleasantly surprised by this film. This was my second viewing and it stands up just as well as it did the first time. It's not too complicated of a film, so it makes for an easy watch for a group of friends. While the Adam Sandler-esque comedies might have become outdated for some, films like In Bruges pave new roads for comedy. If you liked movies like Burn After Reading or Trainspotting you would greatly enjoy this film.

184. Grave of the Fireflies

The Grave of Fireflies (1988)

Director: Isao Takahata

Voice Talent: Tsutomu Tatsumi
Ayano Shiraishi

IMDb Rating: 8
My Rating: 7.5

"Why must fireflies die so young."

Before the 1980's animation in the United States was pretty much solely intended for children. The few animated films that were intended for adults like Heavy Metal and Fritz the Cat, also lacked any type of cinematic depth. Although in Japan directors like Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata were using animation to craft amazing films. Once such film from Takahata, Grave of the Fireflies, stands as one of the first animated films from Japan to really break ground in America.

The story of brother and sister Setsuko and Seita who lose their mother during World War II is just as touching as many other live action war stories. After their mother's death, the siblings move in with their aunt. Although problems soon arise and the two soon venture out on their own. Now they must leaning on each other to find food and shelter. When all else fails for them, the two find joy in the evenings were they get to watch the fireflies.

This film is by no means a happy one. It is actually mighty depressing. Although, at the conclusion of the film, you do find some inspiration. Almost immediately you forget the film is animated, as it's rather violent and raw tones bluntly burst onto the screen leaving the viewer caught off guard. Unlike a film like Toy Story 3, this film's effects take a much more authentic and somber tone. So much in fact that at the end of the film, I actually found myself a little fatigued.

Personally, I liked this film. I wouldn't say that I loved it though. It's story is definitely it's strongest element. I am not sure how much replay value there would be in this film. While I enjoyed it, it would be one of the films that I wouldn't really need to go back and see. That being said, If you enjoyed films like Empire of the Sun or director John Boorman's Hope and Glory, you would probably really enjoy this film.