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Columbiana: A Revenge Film, As One Might Expect

Director: Olivier Megaton Screenplay: Luc Besson, valeologist Robert Mark Kamen Release Date:August 26, diabetes and pregnancy 2011 Actors: Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan and Callum Blue All the previews for “Columbiana” look exciting and intense. When I first saw the trailer to the film at a showing of “Thor”, I was instantly intrigued. A girl getting revenge, by way of skill and execution? That’s different. My favorite revenge film by far is the Korean gem “Oldboy”. It was uniquely disturbing on not only a physical level, but a psychological level. I didn’t find there to be anything unique about “Columbiana” at all, but I got exactly what I expected, which was a nice surprise. Zoe Saldana plays Catalia, a young Columbian girl who sees her parents get killed in front of her by Dom Louis. In the midst of the chaos, as the young Catalia, she manages to survive and flees to Chicago to meet up with her uncle. Little detail is given about what information her father gave to his boss, and what exactly is Dom Louis’ profession except for a few soft mentions of the exchange of drugs is all that is revealed. The purpose is that her parents […]

The Tree of Life: Beautiful, Frustrating, Sad but Flawed

Director: Terrence Malick Screenplay: Terrence Malick Release Date: July 8, generic 2011 (Wide Release) Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki Actors: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Laramie Eppler, Tye Sheridan Quite honestly, I wanted to love this film. I love films that challenge my thinking, send me to self reflection and offer some deep meaning. However, despite all its abstract images and beautiful cinematography, I walked out hating it. Possibly Malick’s most personal piece, with similarities into his own childhood, “The Tree of Life” is a film that challenges the film industry and will be recognized for taking huge risks. I’ve allowed a few days after seeing the film before writing this review so my thoughts could sink in and I could give a more fair review than my initial reaction. “The Tree of Life” tries to ask questions that are bigger than itself, and is the depiction of Jack’s internal struggle with life and the meaning of his life, love and death. The overall theme of the film deals with living either the way of nature or the way of grace, and how despite taking either path, the lord will giveth and the lord will taketh away (aka “Why […]

Something Borrowed: Unexpected

Director: Luke Greenfield Screenplay: Jennie Snyder Release Date: May 6, more about 2011 Actors: Ginnifer Goodwin, therapist Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, Jonathan Krasinski, Ashley Williams, Steve Howey Based on the book of the same name by Emily Giffin “Something Borrowed” is written by Emily Giffin, the first book in the “Something” series that focuses on best friends Darcy and Rachel, who have been best friends from when they were kids. The film is an adaptation of this book, which follows Rachel and Darcy around. I have not read this book, so I can only write what I see in this film, and not how it differs or not from the original. I was lucky enough to see a test screening of this movie almost five or six months before its release, so when I had a chance to go again to an advanced screening of the film, my friends and me decided to go again and see what changed. Needless to say, we prefer the original, though the main story of the film was the same. Rachel, played by the talented and adorable Ginnifer Goodwin, is a mousy, brunette who works for a law firm. She is about to turn […]

Source Code: Intelligent and captivating mind bend

Director: Duncan Jones Screenplay: Ben Ripley Release Date: April 1, sales 2011 Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright When I first heard there was a movie called “Source Code” hitting the theatre, I was super excited. As a self acclaimed nerd, the title got me interested right away. Alas, there is no source code to be found in this at all, save a string of “1”s and “0”s scrolling on the screen for about a couple seconds. Once I got over that fact though, what remained was a fairly interesting science fiction thriller that captivated my attention. Going into the film, all that I knew was what the poster and what little I had read. Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Colter Stevens, is running amidst a bunch of pictures and trying to stop a bomb from happening in order to save an interesting woman from dying. He only has 8 specific minutes to figure out who caused the bomb, and they are 8 minutes he lives over and over again. Stop reading if you want to be completely surprised by the film, because even when summarized can ruin the wonder of the film. The source code the title […]

Insidious: There’s Something in the House

Director: James Wan Screenplay: Leigh Whannell Release Date: April 1, rubella 2011 Actors: Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor Tired of the endless string of bad horrors and thrillers that we’ve been assaulted with as of late? Hollywood seems to be churning out plenty of no-so-scary horror flicks, and from the sounds of “Insidious”, I thought that it would be another horrible horror film. Never being all that fond of scary films – either from being too scary, or lately finding them poorly executed, I came in not expecting Insidious to be any better. Boy possessed by a demon and haunts their own family? Haven’t we already been there, done that countless of times, by way of movies like “The Omen”? In “Insidious”, we are introduced to Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne, most recognized from the series “Damages”), who has just moved into a new home with her husband Josh (Patrick Wilson – mmm mmm!) and three children Dalton, Foster (Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor) and baby daughter. One evening, as Dalton falls off a weak ladder trying to turn on an attic light, he bumps his head and witnesses something scary, […]

Sucker Punch: A Visual Feast for the Eyes

Director: Zack Snyder Screenplay: Zack Snyder, health Steve Shibuya Release Date: March 25, 2011 Actors: Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Oscar Isaacs, Carla Gugino, Gerard Plunkett Ever wonder what it’s like to watch a visual art piece created on the screen? “Sucker Punch” is as close as it gets. From director Zack Snyder, most well known for his creative use of visuals in films such as “300” and “Watchmen”, comes his new film “Sucker Punch” that pushes his visual creativity in film even further. “300” brought a whole new level of ‘beauty’ to the screen, combining violence with an odd sense of aesthetics, slowing down the movement right before making a kill or a slash and then speeding up the motion once the kill is made. In addition, a brown-hue like filter was added, with an impressionist-air brushed quality that made you feel as though you were watching a water color painting depicting war come alive. “Sucker Punch” delivers on similar visual traits, this time with a blueish-brown filter and slow motion action. “Sucker Punch” centers around Baby Doll (Emily Browning) who finds herself in a hospital for the mentally ill after recently losing her […]

Limitless: Be All That You Can Be

Director: Neil Burger Screenplay: Leslie Dixon Release Date: March 18, information pills 2011 Actors: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Robert de Niro, Anna Friel, Andrew Howard, Johnny Whitworth, Tomas Arana, Robert John Burke Based on the book by the same name by Alan Glynn If you could use 100% of your brain 100% of the time, what would you do? “Limitless” explores these exact questions with leading actor Bradley Cooper, who plays Eddie Morra in this fun and entertaining science-fiction thriller, which is based on the book “Dark Fields” by Irish writer Alan Glynn, which has now been reissued and retitled “Limitless: A Novel”. Eddie is a washed up writer who drinks too much and has difficulty putting his ideas together. One day, by chance, he runs into his ex-wife’s brother whose former job used to be in dealing drugs. His brother-in-law claims that he’s gone legal now, working in Pharmaceuticals, and he’s got this top-secret drug named NZT that the FDA just approved and is about to go on the market. The drug, he claims, will allow all the synapses of one’s brain to continuously fire, essentially allowing Eddie to use 100% of his brain 100% of the time. Deciding […]

Paul: A Road Trip Not Forgotten

Director: Greg Mottola Screenplay: Simon Pegg, order Nick Frost Release Date: March 18, 2011 Actors: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristin Wiig, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Signourey Weaver, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, Jesse Plemons, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner Have you ever had a dream to befriend an alien? You haven’t? Okay, so maybe this dream is only for nerds, or perhaps it was sprouted from E.T.’s first appearance on the big screen, but was much too creepy for this chick. Paul would either be your new annoying pal or your new best friend. He will outdo you in everything though, including turning invisible and having the tiny gift for healing animals and human ailments. He however, can’t drive worth a lick. If this doesn’t give you a quick idea of what kind of comedy Paul is, here’s a quick summmary. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play best buddies Graeme and Clive from London, England who have made the long flight over to San Diego to attend the Comic-Con convention. (And for this Comic-con goer, it was a lot of fun seeing these scenes of them at the Gaslamp Quarter, crossing the road to the convention center!) […]

Win Win: A Winning Combination

Director: Thomas McCarthy Screenplay: Thomas McCarthy Release Date: March 18, buy more about 2011 Actors: Paul Giamatti, malady Alex Shaffer, Amy Ryan, Melanie Lynskey, Bobby Canavale, Jeffrey Tambor As opposed to the earlier Fox Searchlight comedy “Cedar Rapids”, “Win Win” is a breath of fresh air. Starring Paul Giamatti, and newcomer Alex Shaffer, “Win Win” is a story about struggling attorney Mike Flaherty, who is trying to take care of his family who also coaches the high school wrestling team. Due to his inner struggle and stress as a result of his lack of clients and needing more financial help, he ends up appointing himself as his client Leo Poplar’s guardian, with less than moral decisions. Mike ends up running into Leo’s grandson, Kyle, who has left his mom and wants to get to know his grandfather. With bleached blond hair, a quiet straight faced demeanor, and a surprising interest in the people around him, Mike and the rest of his family quickly grow fond of Kyle, after allowing him to stay in their home. Complications arise when Kyle’s mom (Melanie Lynskey, “Two and a Half Men”) comes around looking for Kyle and her father. I was really impressed by […]

Battle: Los Angeles: Ooh-Rah

Director: Jonathan Liebesman Screenplay: Chris Bertolini Release Date:: March 11, drug 2011 Actors: Aaron Eckhart, physician Ramon Rodriguez, cost Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Pena, Cory Hardrict, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Will Rothhaar, Gino Anthony Pesi, Ne-Yo, James Hiroyuki Liao, Neil Brown Jr., Taylor Handley The last time we saw Los Angeles being invaded they were done by huge tentacle-like aliens who had blue lights that detected human being activity. They did this by detecting light and their goal was to collect the brains of humans. Remember? Oh yeah, that was a different movie, called Skyline. That was out last November when Los Angeles was last invaded. I guess we were safe then, but I think Los Angeles is in trouble again. In “Battle: Los Angeles”, the invasion occurs yet again, but instead of following a group of partying civilians stuck in a fancy apartment building, we’re introduced a group of Marines. We’re shown a bit of their backgrounds and have a chance to get to know them, however briefly, in the very beginning. Their mission is to find the civilians in a police dept and bring them back to the safe zone before Santa Monica is leveled to the ground. Straight […]