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I have nothing against cooking. I’ve seen countless episodes of Iron Chef. I think Alton Brown is nothing short of amazing. I dare Bobby Flay to throwdown in tuna melts. And I have a crush on Giada De Laurentiis. Well, except for any time she talks. That all said, I found Ratatouille relatively weak. The story is charming enough in theory, but the execution was lacking.

In my mind, Pixar’s ability to make entertaining movies is nothing short of staggering, given the impossible broad audience they attempt to reach. Our entertainment options are increasing at a rapid rate, and most often in an attempt to capture all sorts of niche markets. Which, in many ways, is a good thing. But I’d argue that with Ratatouille, the broad brushstrokes weren’t filled in with the usual detail that has made Pixar films so good in the past. Read the rest of this entry »

As I was telling someone, a film like A Mighty Heart is a tremendous benefit of an endeavor like ours.  I most likely would never have seen the movie if not for our shebang, and while I didn’t like it quite as much as Brian or John, it is definitely an above average movie.

As a general rule, I don’t like documentaries, so it is perhaps surprising that I liked A Mighty Heart at all.  But as with United 93 (which Brian touched on in his post), I found the film incredibly taut, for the most part.  I thought the movie started sagging a bit over the last quarter or so.  Also, it isn’t as big a deal, but that little child they kept showing creeped the heck out of me.  Not that I don’t understand some reasons she was in there, but I thought the movie would have been better off without her.

I still need to see most of the films being discussed in the Best Actress race, so I can’t really speak yet to whether I think Angelina Jolie should be nominated.  But I agree with John and Brian that she gives a very fine performance.  And for her to justifiably not receive a nomination, it would probably take a very strong year for actresses, if not an extraordinary one, I feel.

To be blunt, I really liked this movie. For what it aimed to accomplish, The Savages was close to flawless in its execution. Everything from the writing, the acting, the tone, the camera work, hit the right note, which is somewhat ironic as the music choices were at times bizarre, and thus the only minor criticism I’d make. As two siblings forced to deal with their father’s rapid downward spiral towards death, Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman are so genuine in their conflicted emotions and seem so true to real life.

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After throwing John a bone with Talk to Me, I can now criticize his opinions to my heart’s content (that’s how it works, right?). I really liked this movie. In fact, if you have been reading religiously to all the posts (so, really I’m talking to the three other guys who right for this), you’ll notice that it was in my original top 5 movies of the year. I thought it was a great character study with some very memorable performances. And, this is where John and my opinions diverge.
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Talk To Me is a decent movie and interesting to watch, but not necessarily anything special.  I honestly don’t think it should be in the running for any award.  That is not to say it is a bad movie, or that the acting in it isn’t good.  Both Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor do terrific jobs – as usual.  I think that both of them are two of the most consistent actors in Hollywood.  Their performances are constantly top-notch.  I was also a fan of Taraji Henson’s performance.

For a brief synopsis of the movie, you can check out John’s post.  I also agree with the points John makes in regards to this movie (and only this movie, unless otherwise noted).  In fact, I would recommend you just read John’s post and forget about this one.

First off, let me preface this post by saying that I’m not a big fan of musicals. I’m usually fine for a little while, but after about 30 min the constant singing, dancing, and complete lack of plot movement really starts to irritate me. So, I’m going to do my best to objectively review this movie, but probably end up failing miserably.

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I don’t really have much to say about this movie. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, but, in all honesty, it would have been hard not to be. My idea of an ideal plotline does not have a French rat as the main character. However, the movie was decently entertaining.

One reason for this is Pixar itself – which has a stranglehold on the CGI/animated movie market. The reason for their dominance is that they put out good movies. I thought it was better than Cars (which, admittedly I didn’t even finish), but fell well short of The Incredibles and Finding Nemo. The only other thing I can think of to mention was the complete lack of French accents in the movie. The only two characters that had even a shred of an accent were the villain chef and the love interest. That in itself made me like the movie more.

I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie (which also brings up the point: Always go into movies with low expectations.). It had a decent plot that moved along while “moving” the audience; the performances by the main characters were, in my opinion, terrific; and the supporting pieces of the movie (scenery, music, supporting cast) along with the camera work were very well done. All-in-all a good, solid movie (not Best Picture quality, but good).

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Atonement pivots around a letter that should never have been written, and I wouldn’t go nearly as far as saying that this movie shouldn’t have been made, but its existence seemed rather irrelevant. Having not read the Ian McEwan novel, I still felt the distinct sense that I was watching a film adaption of a very lyrical novel. Apart from one sequence, which I’ll get into later, I never felt invested in the movie; it lacked the epic qualities I’d expect of a period piece. Not all great stories make great movies, and Atonement is no exception. Read the rest of this entry »

So with yesterday’s killing of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, I was inspired to jot down my thoughts on A Mighty Heart, a film about another episode in the all-too-recent history of terrorism in Pakistan. It would be an understatement to say that I was shocked by how much I liked this movie. After opening to generally positive views, but amidst the clutter of the summer blockbusters, I probably would never have even considered seeing A Mighty Heart had it not been for the Golden Grouches endeavor. But I’ll blame the advertising campaign from Paramount, which as I recall, pushed the film more as an Angelina Jolie drama about lost love than a taut docudrama about the fight against terrorism.
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