Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscars 2011

We're going to do something a little different on the bucket this year. We're here at home watching the Oscars with my wife, myself, her dad and her mom and we're going to make our comments about the big wins. Not a full play-by-play of the evening but a reaction to the winners in each category and give our candid and unbridled opinions about the event.

So here goes--

Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland wins for Art Direction--they love them some Tim Burton and his team. The only response from the peanut gallery here is--"Really?" I mean, it did look good but that's probably about it--it certainly wasn't a good movie.

Cinematography: Boo-yah! Although I feel bad that Deakins got snubbed again, but Pfister did do an amazing job on Inception, so pretty pumped that Inception gets something substantial.

Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo--hmm, I really thought she shot herself in the foot with those ads but I guess no one really gave a shit. She did do a great job, but man, I still think that Hailee Steinfeld was awesome and I know we'll see her again. Wow, Mrs. Leo is losing it--she just dropped the bomb, I guess they are on a delay cause they just bleeped it. Gotta be an even bigger thrill that she got the award from Kirk Douglas, that guy is still pretty sharp and funny.

Best Animated Short: The Lost Thing? Don't know much about the shorts except for Night and Day, the Pixar short in front of Toy Story 3. It was a pretty awesome short, so who knows, maybe Lost Thing was pretty extraordinary too.

Best Animated Feature: Well, as predicted Toy Story 3 won--not a big surprise. But it was a pretty awesome film, if you haven't see it you definitely need to. Not much to say about it--looks like folks around here are getting sleepy. So far not too many surprises here.

 Adapted Screenplay: BOOM! Sorkin first time win and there it is! Yeah, he went on a bit too long but damn he didn't skip a beat he didn't stutter. Love that guy! Is it just me, or do Bardem and Brolin look like a couple of waiters in those tuxes?

Original Screenplay: So King's Speech is beginning its run--Seidler seems like a decent guy, but damn I wanted Chris Nolan to get it for Inception cause he's probably going to get snubbed for Picture. My mother in law is schooling me when I asked her thoughts about the win for King's Speech: "What are you asking me for, I haven't seen that movie."

Best Foreign Language Film: Yay for In a Better World from Denmark--the third movie from Denmark to win in this category--yeah, I don't know about this movie. But I'm surprised the one movie I knew about in this category, Biutiful, didn't win. Seems like a nice lady--no comment from the peanut gallery here, guess no one else here knows about this movie either--and since they are more worldly than I am I don't feel so bad.

Best Supporting Actor: As it should be, Christian Bale gets the award. He's an exceptional actor and he totally earned that, but all my wife can say is that that beard is hideous. FIL (Father-In-Law) concurs that the beard is horrible. FIL can't fathom how this guy can pull off such a flawless American accent. Bale forgot his wife's name--ouch, but I have to admit it's always a tough thing to get up there and do that.

Best Original Score: I figured Trent Reznor would get and it is well deserved. FIL is surprised that Reznor was in Nine Inch Nails--he said that is pretty amazing. That's a pretty big win. The guy is  musically gifted so it seems like a pretty well deserved win.

Sound Mixing: My wife is bugging me to inform her when something interesting is happening. Well here it is: Inception bags another one. Congrats!

Sound Editing: Richard King and Inception again! So that is three for Inception, not too bad. But it's starting to look like Inception is getting the pity fuck awards. It's starting to become clear that they are gearing up to give the big ones to the King's Speech.

Makeup: Rick Baker the best in the makeup business. My wife and Cate said that the clip for Wolfman was gross at the same time. Yeah it's hard to compete with anyone else when he's on the ballot the guy is just that good.

Costumes: No real surprise there that Alice in Wonderland took the costumes award. It's hard to compete with that I would think given the crazy whacked out things the characters were wearing in that movie. So the wife is now inspired to look up what the internets are saying about Anne Hathaway's outfit changes. What saith Google? Anyone care to know the tricks to managing your breasts in plunging gowns?

Best Documentary Shorts: Strangers No More, interesting--don't know much about that one. FIL is snoring. Everyone is wondering how long are these shorts, 30 minutes? Now FIL, who is suddenly awake, says he wants to see it cause he heard the lady was from Israel--hmm.

Live Action Short Film: God of Love. Wow, look at this guy's hair--Jewfro. And he comments about getting a haircut, nice. Oh, this guy went to NYU Film school, why is that not surprising?

Best Documentary: "Good," says FIL, "Phenomenal movie." Inside Job just won for Best Documentary. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm kind of scared to 'cause I feel like I'm gonna be pissed the whole time. Charles nailed it: none of these bastards that railroaded our economy are in jail right now, and that is a shame. FIL is still glowing about Inside Job: "It's mesmerizing." He's now saying, "They are all crooks, it's terrible." That it is, my friend.

Visual Effects: Inception, as it should, gets the Visual Effects award. I would have been pissed if it went to Hereafter.  So up to 4 now--not so bad.  How the hell did Tron: Legacy not get a nomination but Hereafter did, there is definitely something wrong with this picture.

Film Editing: Social Network got editing--nice, it was a well put together film, so good job. I was talking over this one at first so I didn't even realize which one was on. But my wife was very impressed by one guy who thanked his wife for allowing him to have a passionate role with his family and his work. She doesn't usually get so excited about a thank you speech, but she's been getting annoyed with these guys who thank their beautiful and hot wives. She'd rather they say what this guy just said, or use the word intelligent before calling them beautiful. I smiled and said of course they should, my dear.

Best Original Song: FIL thought they were all pretty bad except for Randy Newman's. He's been grouchy about these "terrible songs" all night. Ah, thankfully Randy Newman won for Toy Story 3, 'cause that is the only one FIL thought was any good, so maybe we won't hear much grousing about it anymore. Randy Newman the cutup. What a funny guy.

In Memoriam: Fucking Celine Dion has to sing the song to remember those that have passed? Tacky. She's so fucking melodramatic with her facial contortions--ugh--just pull away to a clip already. John Barry, best Bond songs ever! Billy Fraker, guy was an incredible cinematographer--Sally Menke- Tarantino's right hand in the editing booth, Leslie Nielsen you will be missed, very sad...okay, get off Celine's stupid face. Arthur Penn: man, I didn't realize he had died. Irvin Kirshner: saved Star Wars for all time with The Empire Strike Back- I don't have the words; Dennis Hopper: that crazy bastard will be missed. Nice special tribute to Lena Horne.

Best Director: No surprise Tom Hooper won Best Director for King's Speech, even though it should be Fincher or more importantly Chris Nolan. Hooper is a good director but fuck, I don't understand how he won this award. They are sitting down half the damn time in the film. There were some odd angles and maybe that's why--but even fans of the film call it square for the obvious reason. But he seems like a nice guy, thankfully. Otherwise worst pick by far.

Governor Awards: Eli Wallach, Godard, Brownlow and Francis Ford Coppola for the Governor Awards. It's always great to see Eli Wallach get some love, yeah I know he was a little weird in Wall Street 2 but that doesn't take away from his great body of work. Magnificent Seven, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Mackenna's Gold, How the West Was Won and many more. And of course Coppola too, his stuff hasn't been as good of late but his classics are just that. I really shouldn't have to list them here. Not a big fan of Godard but the guy is a true artist and deserves to be awarded for his hard work. Don't really know much about Brownlow, it looks like he's got some interesting documentaries about Old Hollywood. Have to check those out.

Best Actress: Again, no surprise, Natalie Portman got the win for Black Swan. But she's great--I haven't seen the flick yet but I'm sure it's well deserved. Everyone is now asking who is this guy she's maybe married to, is he French. Yeah, he's got a French name.

Best Actor: So my wife is telling us that apparently Hershlag is her original name. My mother in law thought she was asking if it was presenter Sandra Bullock's original name, but it is actually Natalie Portman's real name. And now you know. The group is now recognizing that Jesse Eisenberg is from East Brunswick; I wish I could record the reactions 'cause this is funny. FIL is yelling at Colin Firth to "move it along 'cause we all know you won!" And no surprise, it's Colin Firth for King's Speech. He's been due for a little while so it's no biggie. And he's a pretty good guy, and he did a great job in the film. He played a very convincing stutterer, which I'm sure is no small feat.

Best Picture: Man, they got Spielberg. Nice, maybe it'll finally go to the most worthy film which is of course Inception. But I doubt it. By the way I did see King's Speech this afternoon, so I can make my criticism about it plain. I'll be posting my review sometime later this week, so stay tuned; also going to do one for The Kids Are All Right. Just realized that they are making it so obvious that it's going to be The King's Speech: they are showing all of the nominees but we only hear that damn King's speech over everything. Way to go to build up the suspense---Yawn. Yes we know The King's Speech is going to win. Ugh, what a fucking crock--we knew it was going to be this movie for weeks now--no surprise.  I want to say it was a good movie it really was but Best Picture--Fuck no. Not even close. But what are you going to do. This guy accepting the award is saying it's not an obvious film to back, are you fucking kidding me, this film has had Oscar winner stamped on it since the first draft.

Well that was an okay evening, the best films get snubbed for the big awards yet again. But what are you going to do, the old farts are still running things and giving awards to the most ordinary and obvious films like the King's Speech. If there are British aristocrats in your film and especially if it's a period piece then you've chalked yourself up to at least a nomination, and in most cases a win. Overall Hathaway and Franco did ok, even though he seemed to not really care to be there and she seemed like she was sniffing glue or something before the show. She took goofy to a whole other level. But it did seem to move along a bit better this time, not as much starfucking but there was still plenty to go around. I hope going forward they will get the monarchy films out of their system for a while and we don't have to see one of these stuffy-ass Brit films for at least a few years.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oscar Picks 2011

Well it's that time of the year already and at first it was starting to look like the competition would be fast and fierce since there were quite a few great movies this past year. But Big Harv has seemingly spoiled the competition as it appears he has bought his way, again, into the hearts of the Oscar voters. As of this posting on Saturday, the King's Speech's Tom Hooper has now somehow won best Director at the DGA awards today. I haven't seen the film and I'm trying not to judge, I know the film has already made over 100 mil at the box office which is kind of unheard of for a square film like this. And everyone I know seems to think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Apparently even my folks are drinking this kool-aid. But I am going to try and see it tomorrow so I can put all the hype to bed. But in the meantime we can go through the big awards and talk about who is going to win. Again, this isn't about whether the film is truly good or not it's about star fucking and no one star fucks like the Oscars. Shall we begin?

Best Picture:   There is a possibility that there could be a surprise here, there are after all a lot of great films here. So far I've seen six of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture: Inception, Toy Story 3, The Fighter, The Social Network, True Grit and just yesterday The Kids Are All Right. The remaining 4 I have yet to see are The King's Speech, 127 Hours, Winter's Bone and Black Swan. I really enjoyed the Fighter, and I wouldn't mind if it won but I didn't feel like it was the best of this bunch, as far as I've seen. It's a great character study and Christian Bale is certainly due his for his role but I don't know if it should get more than that. Toy Story 3, however, could take the prize and I would be pretty excited. It's certainly the best of the three previous films and that is no small feat. I've seen it three times and it still gets me choked up at the end. Personally, I'm rooting for Inception, it's the most original and entertaining film I've seen in a long time and it truly deserves the win. But for some reason the Academy seems to hate Nolan since they snubbed him for Director and now it looks like he's not even close to front runner status in this category. According to the recent reports it's a toss up between The Social Network and The King's Speech, with the latter as the front runner. If I were to put money on the event I would place my bet with King's Speech. People are slobbering all over the damn thing and when you have Harvey Weinstein shamelessly promoting your film there really isn't much of a chance for anyone else. So we'll see if my prediction is true about the obsession with British Royals/Monarchs and the Oscars.

OSCARS: The King's Speech
MY CHOICE: Inception

Best Actor: The nominees are; Javier Bardem for Biutiful, Jeff Bridges for True Grit, Jesse Eisenberg for the Social Network, Colin Firth for the King's Speech & James Franco for 127 Hours. Again this one seems to be a lock for the King's Speech, and Firth probably is deserving, I'm willing to concede that. The guy is talented and I'm sure he's due. Although I hate it when they vote that way. I loved Jeff Bridges in True Grit, and I would love for him to win again but he didn't steal that show that was Hailee Steinfeld. Also thought Eisenberg was good in Social Network but he was still playing the nebbish Geek he always plays. Not sure if he warranted a nod there. His buddy Andrew Garfield was the one who really got snubbed for the supporting role in that film. Life imitates art I guess.

OSCARS: Colin Firth
MY CHOICE: Colin Firth

Best Actress: The nominees are; Annette Bening for the Kids Are All Right, Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole, Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone, Natalie Portman for Black Swan and Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine. Now for this category I'm really behind because I've only see one of these films and frankly as much as I love Annette Bening I just don't understand how she was nominated and Julianne Moore was not. I mean, Julianne Moore killed it, I was totally engrossed in what she was doing on screen in that movie. Again I think that Hollywood has snubbed Annette a few times and they are now looking to make up for it even though her performance was just ok.  But it's pretty clear the front runners here are Natalie Portman and Annette is nipping at her heels. I already know how great Natalie Portman is and I'm quite positive she is great in this, so I feel pretty good about throwing the ball in her court. I really want to see this Winter's Bone because it's getting a lot of good press, but it probably won't happen before tomorrow, so sorry Jennifer Lawrence.

OSCARS: Natalie Portman
MY CHOICE: Natalie Portman

Best Supporting Actor: The nominees are; Christian Bale for the Fighter, John Hawkes for Winter's Bone, Jeremy Renner in the Town, Mark Ruffalo in the Kids are All Right and Geoffrey Rush for the King's Speech. This one seems pretty locked up for Christian Bale and is much deserved. He really is at the same level as Daniel Day Lewis, say what you want about his serious and somewhat pissy nature the guy can fucking act. I also really liked Mark Ruffalo in the Kids Are All Right, as a free wheeling hippie. He gets blown away by Bale but in an off year the guy would really be a contender in that role. Jeremy Renner is always great but his tough guy criminal in the Town doesn't quite make the cut in my mind. He was really great in the movie but I thought the character has been done to death; likeable, angry/crazy crook with a sense of dignity.  I'm sure Geoffrey Rush is exceptional in the King's Speech and he's certainly in the race, but I just don't see him beating Bale.

OSCARS: Christian Bale
MY CHOICE: Christian Bale

Best Supporting Actress: The nominees are; Amy Adams in the Fighter, Helena Bonham Carter in the King's Speech, Melissa Leo in the Fighter, Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit and Jackie Weaver in Animal Kingdom. Both Amy Adams and Melissa Leo were great in the Fighter but neither one really stood out for me in this category. I was really blown away by Hailee Steinfeld, she verbally manhandled great actors like Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon without even blinking. I don't think she's going to win but I am really rooting for her. Some reliable sources who have seen the King's Speech seem to be perplexed that Bonham Carter was even nominated for her role. It was apparently tiny and not particularly memorable, but I'm sure that's just Harvey's influence again. It'll probably boil down to Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, but I think Leo shot herself in the foot with her weird and self-indulgent ad campaign for herself. Can't fathom that got her any extra votes. So we'll have to see how this goes down.

OSCARS: Amy Adams
MY CHOICE: Hailee Steinfeld

Animated Feature Film: The nominees are; How to Train Your Dragon, The Illusionist and Toy Story 3. Unfortunately I've only seen one of these but it's odd to me that they didn't nominate Tangled or Despicable Me. I've heard great things about the Illusionist and I'm really kicking myself that I didn't try to make time to see it. I really think Toy Story 3 should only have been nominated in one of these categories instead of both because it's clear that it will probably win here and lose in Best Picture.

OSCARS: Toy Story 3
MY CHOICE: Toy Story 3

Cinematography: The nominees are; Matthew Libatique for Black Swan, Wally Pfister for Inception, Danny Cohen for The King's Speech, Jeff Cronenweth for The Social Network and Roger Deakins for True Grit. Now I have been a fan of Roger Deakins for a long time and it's awesome to see him here. He shot the shit out of True Grit with it's vast arid landscapes that were just beautiful. Some of his favorites of mine; Hudsucker Proxy, Shawshank Redemption, Thuderheart (yes I said Thunderheart, it's a good movie and it looks awesome thanks to Deakins), The Big Lebowski, House of Sand and Fog, A Beautiful Mind, No Country For Old Men and the Assassination of Jesse James. And this guy has never won one? The guy has been nominated 8 fucking times just give it to him, and you can feel good about it because his latest work is just as exceptional. As a runner-up I really did like the way Inception was shot, the guy did a phenomenal job. If he were to pick it up I'd be sad for Deakins but Pfister is no less worthy for his work.

OSCARS: Roger Deakins for True Grit
MY CHOICE: Roger Deakins for True Grit

Director: The Nominees are; Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan, David O. Russell for the Fighter, Tom Hooper for The King's Speech, David Fincher for The Social Network and Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit. I liked David O. Russell for the Fighter, it could have turned into an annoying episode of Jerry Springer but he really got this best out of his cast and made the underdog story interesting with the help of the very colorful characters. I'm glad to see him on the list but this isn't his year. The Coens have been here before but they probably aren't going to walk off with a trophy either considering they've been here recently. I think they were at the top of their game with True Grit but Fincher really went against type and pulled off a great feat with the Social Network. Writer Sorkin sometimes has a habit of making his characters sound similar and I think through Fincher's direction was able to utilize that great dialogue to create some very unique and different characters. I honestly hope he gets it. It's between him and Hooper and Hooper walked off with the DGA award today so, it's looking more and more like a win for him.

OSCARS: Tom Hooper for King's Speech
MY CHOICE: David Fincher for the Social Network

Film Editing: The nominees are; Andrew Weisblum for Black Swan, Pamela Martin for the Fighter, Tariq Anwar for The King's Speech, Jon Harris for 127 Hours and Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter for the Social Network. Much like Directing I'm not sure why Lee Smith wasn't nominated for Inception. I mean that was a complicated film to shoot much less piece together, it's truly a crime that he got snubbed. I liked the pacing of Social Network it truly was put together well. Very fluid as we jump back and forth. Again the King's Speech is the one to beat again from what I hear. It's hard to say which way this will go.

OSCARS: The King's Speech - Jon Harris
MY CHOICE: The Social Network - Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Visual Effects: The nominees are; Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1, Hereafter, Inception and Iron Man 2.  Having seen all but one of these again I would have to say quality of script with awesome effects equals Inception hands down. I loved Iron Man 2 and Harry Potter and the great things they pull off but they just don't match the complexities of Inception. Alice in Wonderland wasn't very good honestly, so I just can't bring myself to give it anything. I love Tim Burton but this was not his finest work, not even close. And my only other question in this category is how did Tron Legacy get bumped off this list. Say what you want about the film, personally I really liked it, but you can't deny the effects were pretty damn impressive and certainly deserved a nod.

OSCARS: Inception - Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
MY CHOICE: Inception- Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

Writing Adapted Screenplay: The nominees are; Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy for 127 Hours, Aaron Sorkin for the Social Network, Michael Arndt for Toy Story 3, Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit and Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini for Winter's Bone. The Pixar folk really did a great job with their script and it is truly worthy as is the great western script by the Coen brothers but I'm gonna go with Sorkin for this one. He elevated this movie's status 100% with his involvement and with that smart rapid fire dialogue of his that is always fun to watch.

OSCARS: Aaron Sorkin for Social Network
MY CHOICE: Aaron Sorkin for Social Network

Writing Original Screenplay: The nominees are; Mike Leigh for Another Year, Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson for the Fighter, Christopher Nolan for Inception, Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumburg for the Kids Are All Right and David Seidler for the King's Speech. I haven't seen Another Year unfortunately so I can't make many comments on that one, but The Fighter was pretty great as well as the Kids Are All Right, but again in any other year they would be prime contenders but I just don't think they stand up to Inception. Although I'm not sure if Inception has a clear path here. I've been hearing more and more rumors that King's Speech is going to walk away with this one too. Given how much Oscar has screwed Chris Nolan this year I'm thinking that they are going to give him the pity fuck here.

OSCARS: Chris Nolan Inception
MY CHOICE: Chris Nolan Inception

Music - Original Score: The nominees are; John Powell for How to Train Your Dragon, Hans Zimmer for Inception, Alexandre Desplat for The King's Speech, A.R. Rahman for 127 Hours, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network. The scores for Inception and Social Network were really fantastic. Personally I was more affected by the Inception score, it just worked with the film so effectively that many times you didn't even notice it's impact. I thought that the Social Network score had a hard edge to it like in a suspense film, it honestly shouldn't work with the film but it really does bring a new element to the story that makes it far more interesting.

OSCARS: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Social Network
MY CHOICE: Hans Zimmer for Inception

Time is an issue so I just kind of breezed over the main categories if I missed one you love, sorry, I'll try to get them all next year. I wanted to put Foreign Films up there but I just hadn't had a chance to see any of the film in contention this year so it wouldn't have been a very interesting conversation. We're going to be putting up our thoughts about the Oscars tomorrow on the Bucket so you can check back either late Sunday night or Monday for our thoughts about the 2011 Oscars.

I Am Number 4

Based on the serialized novel of the same name that incidentally came out fairly recently. Even more interestingly the novel was ghost written by Jobie Hughes and James Frey under the name Pittacus Lore. If you know your books or at least your scandals you would have recognized the name, James Frey. He's the guy who wrote the semi-fictional-autobiographical book about his life as a man dealing with alcoholism and drug abuse and the 12 step program that brought him out of the mess called A Million Little Pieces. The book was huge and got a big boost from Oprah, but unfortunately he made a lot of it up, creating a scandal where Oprah was forced to unleash a can of shame on his ass. But since then I guess the guy has been busy, apparently I Am Number 4 spent 6 weeks on the NY Times Best Sellers list for young adult science fiction. I've never read any of his books or knew much about the guy, but I guess given the early hype for this movie, he's found a way to bounce back. Even if he had to use a pseudonym.
The story is about young John Smith (Alex Pettyfer), a young teen who looks normal but is in actuality an alien from another planet. He's one of nine special children from the doomed planet, Lorien that are being hunted down one by one by the Mogodorians. The evil aliens responsible for the destruction of their homeworld. These Mogodorians have found them on Earth and have killed the first three already. John is number 4. He is sheltered by another of his race, Henri (Timothy Oliphant), who isn't given much to work with playing the guardian/wise old sage role. But given that he's the only truly credible actor in this production, it's extremely necessary. So the two of them John and Henri move from place to place, try to keep hidden, in order to evade detection from the Mogodorians. They find themselves in Paradise, Ohio where John meets some new peeps, the local geek, named Sam (Callan McAuliffe) and the girl, John crushes on, Sarah (Dianna Agron). Of course the Mogodorians track him to Paradise and the battles ensue. But all this kid wants to do is live a normal life, unfortunately he has ugly fish face people trying to kill him and crazy hot light beams shooting out of his hands at random, what is a teenager to do?
I know I sound snarky about it but I had a good time with it, it made me feel like I was watching Smallville, which is probably a backhanded compliment. It's the same writers and it feels and sounds like a Superman rip-off. But the pacing isn't bad and the romance isn't too CW but it's pretty close. I hate to say it but I don't see this one making a successful series. Supposedly there are five more books in the works, and this movie left it wide open for more sequels. It just didn't feel original enough and I'm not sold on Pettyfer as a leading man. They should have given this to up and comer Teresa Palmer who fills in nicely as a bad ass number 6. She seemed to try a little too hard, but she has potential and did I mention that she's smoking hot. They left her backstory a bit of a mystery, although it could be more meat for the next one. It was frustrating that they didn't really give her more to do, but I guess the less is more approach is what made her interesting in the first place, so in hindsight it was probably a good idea.
For a simple serialized sci-fi story it wasn't too bad, but I wouldn't shout from the rooftops about it either. The special effects were ok, they were pretty much like Smallville in the first hour or so but the final battle was a little more impressive. I think the series as a whole could be interesting if they put a little more meat in there and they need to try and avoid the similarities between Superman and John cause there are times where it just looks so blatant it's almost criminal. The doomed planet stuff, the I'm different and don't belong thing.  The addition of learning powers, which he laments they aren't a gift--yada yada yada, you get the picture. If you want to see a fairly simple story with some pretty people and some decent action then I Am Number 4 is up your alley.
Grade: 2 Buckets

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Don't You Want Me-by Atomic Tom

Take Me Home Tonight opens on Friday March, 4th!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Mechanic

So yet another remake of yet another classic action film. I don't know what the tally is on remakes in the last two years or so but it's gotta be in the high 50's at least. Anyway, saw this one a couple of weeks ago. I'll be honest with you crazy busy season has set in here at the Bucket. (Hey if it were a full time gig, there would be more posts, promise.) But I've finally found a few seconds to sit down and give my two cents about the film. Just checked the grosses so far, and it kinda seems like a modest hit with about 26 mil in the tank. Not too bad for a small action film, or Chopper as my father in law likes to call it. Must be some Israeli thing, cause when I think of a Chopper flick I'm thinking about Hells Angels, jailhouse tats, boobs and a lot of blood. The Mechanic has about three out of four, so I guess it can qualify. It's a remake of a Chuck Bronson classic of the same name from 1972. It's not a bad update, Statham does his signature growls and then proceeds to kick the bad guys ass. It's not rocket science but it works.
Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) is the best assassin in the business. In fact he's so good he can, at times, make his kills look like accidents. He's sophisticated cause he only listens to classical music on vinyl and he's dedicated and loyal to his handler (Donald Sutherland). Did I also mention he beds a super hot model, Sarah (Mini Anden). But things go south when he starts to have issues with his agency and it's top dog Dean (Tony Goldwyn) and he has to go on the offensive. To top it off he's tasked with training the loser son, Steve (Ben Foster), of his mentor and handler. All in a days work for the Stat.
It's a predictable, but fun action romp. The Stat says one step ahead of everyone in the movie which is par for the course for one of his movies. There are some really nice action pieces not unlike the Expendables. Personally I think the Mechanic is what the Expendables should have been with an ensemble, but what can you do. Ben Foster, however, is a nice addition to the mix. He stews nicely as a poor man's Ryan Gosling. The guy can sell intense I can tell you that, he's just so damn serious. And I think the Stat and Foster made a nice team for a while, I enjoyed their back and forth banter. It's also nice to have a solid actor in the mentor role and no one plays a mentor like Donald Sutherland, the guy is a master, literally. It's also a nice return for director Simon West who hasn't had a solid action flick in a while; since what, Tom Raider in 2001? So if you have a hankering for a hard edged, but slick action thriller, kind of a low rent Spy Games, then check this one out. But I'd do it soon, coming out this week is I Am Number 4 and that kick ass looking flick with Liam Neeson, called Unknown. It'll probably be tough to find the Mechanic after this weekend so go while the Stat is hot.
Grade: 3 Buckets