VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Imaginaerum (2012)

Clio & Carolyn: 2.8/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Native ratings: 5.7/10 IMDB. Not available on Netflix.

This will be the 2nd time we watch a movie based on a concept album we’ve never listened to, performed by a band we’ve never listened to. The last one was Marillion:Brave, by Richard Stanley, director of the movie Hardware (1990). This one is based on an album by the Finnish metal band, NightWish. We mostly watched it for the visuals, which were pretty cool, but we were not as impressed as we were hoping.

The story was a bit lacking. The sound mix was surprisingly bad (though that is a distribution problem). It was overly-dramatic and kind of full of itself. But of course, it’s a video for an album, and music videos are sorta-kinda SUPPOSED to be like that — all grandiose and shit. So I might be faulting the genre for its own self-definition here. It also got a lot less exciting (and a lot more depressing) near the end. The acting wasn’t the greatest, but this also wasn’t a movie with very much acting in it.

In the end, this was style over substance. Some pretty awesome visuals. Definitely a great movie to watch — not as great to listen to, or think about. But visually, it was an 8/10.

Directed by: Stobe Harju (who directed Nightwish’s “The Islander” music video).
Written by: Stobe Harju & Mikko Rautalahti (Alan Wake video game), and Richard Jackson.
Story written by Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish songwriter and band member) & Stobe Harju.

Starring Marianne Farley (Undressed, 2001: A Space Travesty, 6 eps of Vampire High) as Gem Whitman.
Quinn Lord (young boy in The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus–is he now typecast to only be in movies with Imaginae?rium in their title?, 2 eps of Smallville) as Tom Whitman – age 10.
Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish song writer and band member) as Tom Whitman – age 47.
Francis X. McCarthy (BASEketball, 7 eps of Melrose Place, 4 eps of the original 21 Jump Street, Alien Nation, 2 eps of The Greatest American Hero, 1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of Cheers, 1 ep of ALF, 1 ep of The A-Team, 1 ep of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose) as Tom Whitman – age 70.
Joanna Noyes (Grandma Thora Read in Arthur) as Ann – age 73.
Anette Olzon (Nightwish band member) as Ann.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959409/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Mr. Nobody (2009)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jesse: 5/5 stars, 10/10. (I made this rating up for Jesse, based on him saying it might be his favorite movie of all time.)
Native ratings: 4.2/5 stars Netflix, 7.8/10 IMDB.

Cloud Atlas, The Fountain, Click, Benjamin Button, Ink (2009), Inception (a bit). Smush them all together and you get this movie. I was hooked in the first 20 seconds. This was awesome.

Basically, this movie is about making choices, and the parallel universes that arise with each choice that is made. Hell, they even touch on string theory, chaos theory, and the butterfly effect at points… It is also about how it’s better to make a decision than it is to stand there scared of the various consequences that may arise.

The structure of the movie is pretty amazing, and the cinematography is 10/10 for sure. Over 500 visual effects.

It also had a better than average soundtrack. Mr. Sandman … used even more than in 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag!

The plot synopses on IMDB is pretty good, and though it has minor spoilers, you could simply stop reading the summary when you get to the words “at the end”, and it would not affect enjoyment of the movie (and in fact, this is part of how I was enticed to finally obtain this movie): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485947/synopsis … If you want a total-spoilery version, one better to read AFTER watching the movie, check out the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._Nobody_(film)

This was awesome, yet I have a weird cognitive dissonance where I don’t QUITE want to rate this 5/5 stars. My IMDB rating (film quality) is not affected by this dissonance, by my Netflix rating (emotional response) is for some reason. Maybe if I had watched it in a state other than sobriety… I’d have had that “OMFG THIS IS SO AWESOME” feeling. But it WAS awesome. I just didn’t FEEL it like I often do. In part this is because I am anti-spirituality. I can’t help but feel that the message was a bit trite and cliche in the fact that it basically boiled down to “seek happiness”, which we all ALREADY KNOW.
However, this message was done VERY VERY VERY well! Just like Cloud Atlas‘s trite “fight for what is right” message, which was also done VERY well.
I’m so confused by my 5-star resistance here. But I”‘l go ahead and give it 5 stars anyway.

Political side-comment: It’s bullshit that USA typically won’t play this movie due to there being sex scenes with underage people (even though Juno Temple was fucking 20 in this!). Fucking Puritans! The Europeans should have persecuted The Puritans much harder. Seriously: The longest IMDB thread is about a nipple, and not the actual movie! Fuck us! Fuck us up our censored asses!

Written & Directed by Belgian filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael (this is his first English endeavor).

Starring Jared Leto (My So-Called Life, Requiem For A Dream, American Psycho, Fight Club, Panic Room, Girl Interrupted) as Nemo (adult/old).
Sarah Polley (Dawn Of The Dead, eXistenZ, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Go, Splice, 1 ep of Friday The 13th: The Series) as Elise (adult).
Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, Troy) as Anna (adult).
Linh Dan Pham (Dante 01) as Jean (adult).
Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Conners in The Amazing Spider-Man, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) as Nemo’s dad.
Natasha Little (we haven’t seen her stuff) as Nemo’s mom.
Toby Regbo (uncredited as Young Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1) as Nemo (age 15).
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises, Kaboom, St. Trinian’s, Small Apartments, The Three Musketeers, Year One) as Anna (age 15).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485947/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Side Effects (2013)

Clio: 3.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.6/5 stars Netflix, 7.2/10 IMDB.

Slightly creepy movie with a message about how broken our mental health & pharmaceutical systems are. But just when you think it’s a political drama…. It turns out to be more of a mystery/thriller than you expect.  The twists in tone made the “fucked up”-edness feel that much more sinister. Briefly confusing, with everything making sense in the end.  Things do not go where you’d expect; I was actually reminded of the feeling of watching the end of Wild Things when this movie ended — everything not quite being what it seemed.

Watched this with Jesse, who seemed to enjoy it a lot, though he had some problems finding Catherine Zeta-Jones‘s character/acting believable.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh (The Informant!, Contagion, Erin Brockovitch, Sex, Lies, & Videotape, Ocean’s 11, Solaris, Full Frontal).  Soderberg is a major hit-or-miss director with us — I flat out hated several of his films, and only really liked 50% of them. But I keep coming back for more because of the better half of Soderberg films — and this was in that half.

Written by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!, The Bourne Ultimatum).

Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander in the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo movies, Youth In Revolt, The Social Network) as Emily Taylor.  Clio got us all thinking this was the girl from the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. She convinced us and everything. Nope! That would be Noomi Rapace! Duhhh!
Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Parnassus, eXisitenZ, Lemony Snicket, Gattaca, Contagion, Repo Men, Rise Of The Guardians, and many more) as Dr. Jonathan Banks, the psychiatrist.
Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask Of Zorro, Ocean’s 11, Traffic, Rock Of Ages) as Dr. Victoria Siebert, the former psychiatrist.
Channing Tatum as Martin Taylor, the husband who was just released from jail.
Polly Draper (1 ep of The Larry Sanders Show) as Emily’s Boss.
David Costabile (Gale from Breaking Bad) as Carl. Totally didn’t make the connection.
Vinessa Shaw (Eyes Wide Shut) as Dierdre Banks, the wife of the psychiatrist.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2053463/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Pacific Rim (2013)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10. 
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8.4/10. 
Jesse: 4/5 stars, 7/10. 
Jsun: 3.6/5 stars.
Evan: 3.2/5 stars.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 7.1/10 IMDB.

Watched in 3-D with Jesse, Jsun, and Evan.

I really liked it. Almost loved it. But there were generic aspects. It was good and bad at the same time. But definitely the amusement park ride I was expecting and asking for.

I mean… I barely remember there truly being a story. They fight monsters, then oh no, boss monster! So they fight ’em.  And oh, they came from a portal to another dimension that just happens to exist in a crack in the sea, so that we can have fights in the ocean where there are less expensive things to CGI.

But really… It was an awesome action movie, slightly held back by cheesy dialog and formulaic tropes.  A good choice to watch in 3-D, because it looks awesome, but is lacking in dimension.

Carolyn’s thoughts: It was entertaining. Pretty cool action monster vs. mecha suit movie.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663662/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: John Dies At The End (2012)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9.6/10.
(4/5 stars, 8/10 after first/too drunk viewing)
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 10/10.
Native ratings: 4/5 stars Netflix, 6.9/10 IMDB.

Holy fuck, this is the most unique movie I’ve watched in awhile.

A supernatural fantasy/psychological horror/drug comedy that does not take itself too seriously.  This movie is WEIRD. SO WEIRD. And kind of confusing.

The first time I watched it I drank too much leftover New Year’s champagne and was a bit too out of it to fully comprehend everything, so I knew I liked it, but I couldn’t really remember any of the plot points, or what the hell had just happened. I watched it again about 4 days later with John The Canadien; Autumn left in the middle of the movie, while Jesse, Melanie, Randy, Chablis, and Steve stopped by mid-movie and watched most of the rest with us. They all kinda loved it or really liked it.

It’s based on a book (that Chablis had read, and Carolyn now wants to obtain).

Anyway, Paul Giamatti & Clancy Brown were welcome additions to the mostly-unknown cast. The screenplay adaptation was done by a screenwriter of Bubba Ho-Tep & the Beastmaster movies.

The movie definitely had its cheesy moments. It was pretty much on purpose. Regardless, this is NOT a movie that you can guess what is going to happen next on. It is a wild ride. It is pretty much impossible to guess where the plot is going. That makes this very charming.

Anyway… Great fucking movie! SEE IT, SEE IT, SEE IT!

Carolyn: Slightly confusing, but thoroughly enjoyable.  Based on a book, which apparently people liked better than the movie.  Be careful when injecting unknown drugs.  They might be part of an alien infection from a parallel universe.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1783732/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1