Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Grey Zone (2001)

I generally steer away from Holocaust Movies. I used to think the genre should have ended with Schindler's List. Defiance proved me wrong.  So when I picked up the DVD of The Grey Zone with Steve Buscemi and Harvey Keitel I was hoping for the same experience. The Grey Zone makes every other Holocaust Movie you have ever seen look like a Disney Film. Its pure unadulterated Holocaust Porn Horror. What makes it so disturbing is that it is the true story of a group of Jewish SonderKommandos. There is no propaganda, no spite, in fact considering the German Commander is a ruthless psychopath he is given a relatively sympathetic portrayal. The movie is based upon a stage play and the direction leans towards stage emoting which initially I found disconcerting. As a movie it was not a finely crafted masterpiece, but as an examination of the human condition it cuts to the soul with surgical precision.  As the biggest not feel good movie of all time not surprisingly it bombed at the box office, taking in just over a half a million. Rotten Tomatoes loved it. If I was king everyone would be compelled to watch this movie when they turned 18, if you only watch one Holocaust Movie, watch this one.

Five Stars

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Purge (2013)

If not for the "Stand your Ground" justified homicide it would be easy to lampoon The Purge as left wing propaganda. Events make it one of those movies that defines its time by accident.  The best way to describe it would be Panic Room meets Funny Games during a 12 hour window of the holocaust. I liked the movie, Ethan Hawke and Lena Hedley carry the movie which raises serious doubts about America's grasp on morality. James DeMonaco adds to his reputation for being a director both the industry and audience can bank on.  Rotten Tomatoes hated it, the public gave it $64 mill domestic on a $3 million budget. If you remotely enjoyed Red State, this movie adds more color to that portrayal of modern day USA.

Three point seven five stars

Friday, 26 July 2013

Oblivion (2013)

The most original pure Sci Fi movie I have seen in a long time. Original is a good way not a art house way like Cloud Atlas. Original like Planet of the Apes was.
Tom Cruise  checks his ego for this one and puts in a compelling believable performance. Olga Kurylenko who we loved in Hit Man and to a lesser extent the Bond Movie is also credible but her role is mostly to look worthy of Tom's affection. Morgan Freeman adds a certain gravitas. Also a shout out to Andrea Risebourgh who makes the whole premise real. But the man mostly responsible for this triumph is the creator/director Joseph Kosinski. Expect him to become a force of cinema.

 I was totally engaged. Usually I have a movie figured out in the first quarter, I did not figure out the big reveal until it was shown. While the ending was predictable it was also satisfying closure.

I really had low expectations for this movie, it had very little buzz, and was a moderate ($89 mil) draw at the box office for a film that cost $120 mill. Rotten Tomatoes was only 54%. Furthermore the things I liked best about the movie, the plot, and great direction were identified by most critics as its weaknesses. Wrong again RT, do not miss what may be the best Sci Fi movie of 2013.

Four Stars
(I strongly recommend you do not watch the trailer, to many reveals revealed)

Monday, 8 July 2013

Olympus has fallen

They had me at the title.  Every character in the movie is a retold version of Under  Siege, except this time its under siege in the White House. In the Stephen Segal role is Gerard Butler. He is both a better actor and better screen fighter than Segal. The rest of the movie not as good as the original, and no where close to meeting the standard set by the early Die Hards. Antonie Fuqua of Training Day glory knows how to direct ,and that's what puts this formula flick into suspend disbelief territory. It also helps that at this current time its one of the best new action movies out there. Rotten Tomatoes was on the fence, the public loved it, expect a sequel.

Notable there is another identical move now in the theaters thats bombing called White House Down. A nice summary of similar twins.

Three Stars