Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Movie Review: We Own the Night

We Own the Night stars some of Hollywood's heavy hitters like Robert Duvall, Joachim Pheonix, Mark Wahlberg and Eva Mendez. It takes place in the late eighties where Bobby Green (Joachim Pheonix) manages the El Caribe nightclub in Brooklyn. Unlike his brother Joe (Mark Wahlberg) and father (Robert Duvall) who's the deputy police chief he's chosen a much different life, he lives for the excitement that comes with the nightlife, the women, the booze and drugs and the shady people who go along with that lifestyle. Bobby has embraced the lifestyle and is a shrewd business man looking to expand into NYC and shares his plans with the owners, a Russian family that he has befriended.
Events are set in motion when his brother raids Bobby's club in an attempt to catch a ruthless gangster who is frequently dealing there. Later a hit is put on Joe and is gunned down in front of his house. Bobby feels responsible and offers to assist in an undercover sting operation that his father is not aware of, the plan goes south and Bobby barely escapes with his life. Now Bobby must be put in protective custody until he can testify, but the drug dealing Russian gangster escapes and finds out where Bobby's hiding. After a deadly car chase/shootout Bobby decides to switch sides and joins the NYPD.
This sounds like an amazing story with plenty of opportunity for drama, but the movie dragged in many places for me, like the scene when Joe returns home from the hospital or the Q Motor Inn scene, the final minutes of the film were a snooze fest for me. I wasn't to crazy for the role Mark Wahlberg played in this movie, I liked his character much better in The Departed. Joachim Pheonix seemed more comfortable playing the club manager and did well with it but seemed lethargic and borderline bored playing the cop. He didn't seem very energetic by the end of the movie. There were some great moments of tension like the scene where Bobby is brought to the secret location blindfolded and the car chase scene with Robert Duvall but the momentum always seemed to be broken by Bobby's friends, Amanda or NYPD. A perfect example of the flow of this movie is at the very beginning when Bobby and Amanda are making out in his office, that was a great scene but was interrupted by the phone! Another thing, I didn't see the brotherly chemistry between Wahlberg and Pheonix either. And the surprise revelation at the end about who was trafficking the drugs was apparent from the beginning....to me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Movie Review: The Kingdom

I dragged my wife to see The Kingdom, she hadn't heard of it, and if it weren't for word of mouth at work I probably would've overlooked it also. After checking out the 4 minute intro at [url=http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/thekingdom.html?showVideo=1]Yahoo Movies[/url] I was really interested to see more. The story takes place after terrorist attack inside a Western housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jaime Foxx) assembles a team Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and Chris Cooper and negotiates a five-day trip into Saudi Arabia to locate the people responsible for the bombing. Once there they find their efforts hindered by the local protocol. With the help of Colonel Al-Ghazi (Ashraf Barhoum) the team begins their investigation.
I really liked this movie, it felt very similar to Black Rain, Cops/FBI go to Japan/Saudi Arabia to solve crime. Fueled by anger looking for revenge their progress is hindered by local authorities modus operandi. They team up with Masahiro/Al-Ghazi to solve the crime. This is not a bad thing as I really enjoyed Black Rain.The movies intro is interesting and helps set up what transpires next. The attack on the compound will grab the audience I guarantee it! The movie does a good job of keeping the audience on their guard, throughout the movie there's a sense of danger where ever Jaime Foxx and his FBI team are. The sets are very impressive, you'll be hard pressed to tell the movie wasn't shot in Saudi Arabia....if it weren't for common sense. The compound scene is eerily similar to many locations we've seen on TV that have been attacked by terroroists. I haven't seen too many movies with Jaime Foxx but I was genuinely impressed with him in this movie, Chris Cooper had a background role, Jennifer Garner more than redeemed herself for Elektra, one fight scene she's in was just as crazy as any fight scene in any of the Bourne movies, and Jason Bateman supplied the laughs and the horror....you'll understand what I mean if you watch the movie.The last 30 mins of the movie is balls to the wall intense! That's all I'll say, go see for yourself! What I really liked was the message that the movie gives us, violence begets violence.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Anime Movie Review: Appleseed

Before Major Motoko Kusanagi and Bateau there was Deunan Knute and Briareos from Shirow Masamune's manga Appleseed. The story revolves around the couple who are members of ES.W.A.T, Olympus's special forces that protect the surreal peace and tranquility of the city state.
The story takes Deunan from the war torn badlands where a war that has ended years ago still goes rages on. Brought back to Earths last remaining city, Olympus. Here she is reunited with her ex Briareos who is now seventy five percent machine. Olympus appears to be paradise, a utopia of sorts, but all is not as it seems in Olympus. The story begins to unfold when Hitomi, a Bioroid, explains that the half the population of Olympus is actually bioroid to help qwell human emotion and maintain the peace and tranquility. But there are some who resent the bioroids intervention with humanity and stage a terrorist assault on the bioroid care center where bioroid life extention is administered, thus causing bioroid genoside. After a special session of congress is assembled Prime Minister Athena declares marshal law without the assistance of the Olympus regular army lead by General Uranus an avid anti bioroid supporter.The only way to save the bioroids now is to unlock the secret of Appleseed.
Shirow Masamune once again pushes the limits of CG animation, the visuals of Appleseed are simply amazing, the first few minutes of the post apocalyptic fight scene alone rival that of top hollywood blockbusters such as Terminator. The story isn't childsplay either, this anime deals with aspects such as racism, human preservation and evolution, fate, love, trust and betrayal and even has shades of Issaac Asimov's I robot and the laws that govern all robots.
The Appleseed soundtrack has some sweet tracks from world famous DJ Paul Oakenfold, the Basement Jaxx, Boom Boom Satellites rocking track I will dive for you and others. The movie is rated R and has a running time of an hour and 45 minutes. Appleseed features Dolby Digital 5.1 and is presented in anamorphic widescreen, extras include commentary by Director Shinji Aramaki and Producer Sori, Staff profiles and music/scene cues. Check out http://www.appleseedthemovie.com for more.
Also check out the upcoming Appleseed ExMachina DVD website http://www.warnervideo.com/appleseed/