Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Mod Squad (1999)

Julie Barnes, Peter Cochran and Lincoln Hayes are all delinquents of the law; Julie for assault, Pete for robbery and Linc for arson. They are recruited by Police Captain Adam Greer to go undercover at a local nightclub otherwise they have to serve jail time for their crimes. But when they discover that Adam has been killed, they believe it was a setup so they go investigating on their own to find out who did it. As much as critics hated this and it bombed at the box office, this film for me is still a guilty pleasure, despite the lame dialogue and the uninteresting plot. The only thing that is worthwhile to watch is Giovanni Ribisi's eccentric performance. Starring Claire Danes, Giovanni Ribisi, Omar Epps, Dennis Farina, Josh Brolin 5/10

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Maverick (1994)

Gambler Bret Maverick is determined to go to St. Louis for the poker tournament game, where you can win half a million dollars; only problem is he's three-thousand dollars short of the entry fee. And he wants to show how good of a card player he is, so he goes to the town of Crystal River to collect the money that is owed to him. There he meets a man named Angel, a woman calling herself Mrs. Annabelle Bransford, whom he discovers that she is quite the sneaky con-artist, and lawman Marshal Zane Cooper. Bret, Annabelle and Zane share a stagecoach and head to St. Louis but Bret doesn't realize they're some shady characters that don't want him in the game. A terrific blend of action and humor, along with a charming Mel Gibson makes this film a real treat. Based on the 1950's television series of the same name. Starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Graham Greene, Dan Hedaya, Danny Glover 7/10

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

It is Harry's third year at the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there is a new replacement for Defense Against the Dark Arts Class, a man named Remus Lupin. Harry also finds out that a prisoner by the name of Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban prison and is after him, so security is high at Hogwarts. What Harry discovers later on is that Sirius Black is his godfather and despite him being friends with Harry's parents, he apparently betrayed them because of his loyalty to the dark Lord Voldemort. By far my favorite of the Harry Potter series; with quick-witted humor, the build-up of suspense leading to the appearance of the infamous Sirius Black (who is wonderfully portrayed by Gary Oldman) is utterly brilliant. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Pam Ferris, Gary Oldman, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Richard Griffiths, Robbie Coltrane, Pam Ferris 8/10

Friday, August 26, 2011

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002)

It is Harry's second year at The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there's a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher named Gilderoy Lockhart. But Harry Potter is not safe at Hogwarts; he starts to hear voices, and the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. So Harry, along with his friends Ron and Hermione set out to find the heir of Slytherin house so they can discover who has been attacking the students. The magic and wonder continues in the second film of the Harry Potter saga, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Isaacs, Julie Waters, John Cleese, Richard Griffiths, Richard Harris 8/10

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Harry Potter seems to be an ordinary boy, living with his dreadful Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon and their horrible son Dudley. Until on his eleventh birthday when he gets a visit from a man named Rubeus Hagrid and finds out that he's really a wizard who despite his aunt and uncle's objections, has been accepted to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry learns that he is famous in the world of wizards, having survived being attacked when he was only a baby by the evil Dark Lord Voldemort that killed his parents. Harry meets Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, along with Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. While at Hogwarts he plays Quidditch (a game that involves flying on broomsticks), takes down a mountain troll, and discovers the Mirror of Erised where he sees his dead parents. Harry, Ron and Hermione find out that someone is out to steal the Sorcerer's Stone, which has powers that can make a person immortal. A wonderfully imaginative fantasy story that is such fun you can't help but see it more than once. Based upon the novel by J.K. Rowling. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris, John Hurt, Julie Waters, Alan Rickman, John Cleese 8/10

Monday, August 22, 2011

Braveheart (1995)

A Scotsman by the name of William Wallace, who in the 19th Century rebelled against England's King Edward the Longshanks when he tried to take control of Scotland. It starts off when William is a small boy, and his father and brother are murdered. He travels to Europe with his uncle Argyle where he teaches him how to use the sword. William becomes a man and returns home, where he falls in love with Murron, his friend from childhood and marries her in secret. But when she is tragically murdered, he takes his revenge by fighting against the English and going on a mission to free Scotland. Braveheart is in my humble opinion one of the most grand and exhilarating historical dramas ever made; Mel Gibson gives a most extraordinary performance in the film, in which he also directed and produced. One of the best scores by the great James Horner. Starring Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Partick McGoohan, Catherine McCormack, Brendan Gleeson, Brian Cox 9/10

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Box (2009)

The time is 1976, the place is Richmond, Virginia. Arthur and Norma Lewis receive a box on their doorstep one early winter morning with no idea what it is or who it's from. Arlington Steward, the man who left it shows up unexpectedly at their house and says he has an offer for to make them; if they push the red button on the box that two things will happen: they will receive one million dollars in cash but someone, somewhere whom they don't know will die. The general premise of the story is good, but as the film goes on it gets more and more confusing and complex when all these other factors come into play, so you can't entirely understand what is going on. Starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella 6/10

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Against All Odds (1984)

Terry Brogan is a football player who has been cut from the team and needs money. Luckily his friend Jake Wise, a nightclub owner comes in and hires Terry to find his girlfriend Jessie, who apparently stabbed Jake and stole money from him. Terry ends up finding Jessie in Mexico City and not long after falls in love with her. The lovers plan to flee so Jake won't find them but before they do, Hank Sully, one of Terry's coaches shows up and tells them that Jake sent him to take them back. An interesting and complex tale of betrayal, lust, corruption and greed. Starring Rachel Ward, Jeff Bridges, James Woods, Richard Widmark, Alex Karras, Swoosie Kurtz, Saul Rubinek 6/10

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Road (2010)

A father and son struggle to survive in a world that has been destroyed by an unexpected cataclysm; crops are gone, there's scarcely any food, trees are falling around them, and you can't trust anyone for fear of cannibalism. The boys' mother abandoned them so it is only the two of them as they travel on the road, their destination; the south. From the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel by author Cormac McCarthy, Viggo Mortensen is remarkable in this sad, terrifying and suspenseful story. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Robert Duvall, Kodi Smit-McPhee 8/10

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tequila Sunrise (1988)

Dale McKussic, aka "Mac" is a former drug dealer who's trying to get away from that life and go straight. Nick Frescia, who in spite of being Mac's close friend is a detective lieutenant and he'll probably have to bring him to justice if he is in the drug dealing business again. DEA Agent Hal Maguire hears around that Mac is going to personally move kilos of coke with drug kingpin Carlos, who is supposedly coming to town soon. So Hal wants Nick to use his relationship with Mac so he can get close to Carlos. Mac becomes attracted to restaurant owner Jo Ann Vallenari, while Nick gets chummy with her to find out if she's involved with Mac. Russell is tough, Gibson and Pfeiffer are sizzling together but it's Raul Julia's character that really steals the show. Starring Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Michelle Pfeiffer, Raul Julia, J.T. Walsh, Ayre Gross 7/10

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Moon (2009)

Sam Bell works for a Japanese company called Lunar Industries and has been on the Moon for three lonely years in a Sarang lunar base. He has an robotic assistant named Gerty 3000 for company, but wants to go back home so he can see his wife and baby daughter. A few weeks before he is supposed to return home, he is distracted by a young girl who isn't really there and burns his hand. Then not long after he sees a figure when he goes outside for a routine rover drive, and accidentally crashes his rover vehicle and loses consciousness. He awakes but can't remember what happened. Gerty tells him he is not allowed outside the base and that a rescue team is coming to repair a damaged harvester. Against his orders, Sam heads out there anyway and discovers someone inside the rover he crashed: himself. In the style of 2001: A Space Odyssey, an intricate and fascinating story that is driven mostly by Sam Rockwell's remarkable performance. Starring Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott, Robin Chalk, Benedict Wong 7/10

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Conviction (2010)

Betty Anne Waters is a single mother working her way through law school so she can become a lawyer and help get her brother Kenny out of prison. Kenny has been in prison for twelve years, convicted of a murder he didn't commit. So with the help of The Innocence Project, a non profit organization that's dedicated to overthrowing wrongfully convicted cases, she tries to prove her brother's innocence, but only if she can find DNA evidence that can exonerate him. Based on a true story that began in 1980 in Ayer, Massachusetts, Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell both give powerfully emotional performances in this truly inspiring story. Starring Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis, Peter Gallagher, Clea DuVall 8/10

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Choke (2008)

Victor Mancini is a sex addict. He works with his best friend Denny (whose is a reformed sex addict) being tour guides, or historical interpreter of life as Victor calls it in life in Colonial America. He meets a young doctor named Paige Marshall when Victor visits his mother Ida; who is in the hospital suffering from dementia. Victor pays for his mother's hospital bills by pretending to choke at restaurants so he can con people into giving him money. Paige thinks she might've found a way to save Ida; by trying an illegal experimental operation but she tells Victor she needs his help; she needs a compatible donor. Only problem is his attempts to help her are unsuccessful, despite the fact that he hasn't had any previous trouble doing it with practically the entire female hospital staff. Sam Rockwell is just great in this hilarious dark comedy based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk. Starring Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald, Brad William Henke, Gillian Jacobs, Joel Grey 7/10

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mrs. Soffel (1984)

The place is Pittsburgh, the time is 1901. Peter Soffel is the warden of the Allegheny County Prison. Edward Biddle is one of the prisoners in the prison that is scheduled to be hanged, along with his younger brother Jack for robbery and murder. Mrs. Kate Soffel, Peter's wife visits the brothers twice a week to read to them from the Bible, and while doing so finds herself attracted to Ed. Unbeknown to anyone, she secretly helps to set them free, ends up falling in love with Ed and abandons her husband and children to leave with him. But being an accessory to a crime has its consequences. Based on a true story, this is a heartbreaking tale of love and two people who are desperate for their freedom. Starring Mel Gibson, Diane Keaton, Matthew Modine, Edward Herrmann 8/10