VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: S1m0ne (2002)

Clint: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: IMDB: 6.1/10. Netflix: 3/5 stars.

Watched this to see the remaining unwatched Andrew Niccol-directed movie, after really loving In Time, The Truman Show, and Gattaca. (Though I liked Lord Of War way less than the other 3.)

What a great post-modern idea: Computer-generated actors becoming popular without the public realizing it — and of course between when the movie came out and now, it’s happened in real life, at least once, specifically in Japan with a pop singer who turned out to be a computer-generated composite of several band members: http://gawker.com/5814822/japans-newest-pop-star-revealed-to-be-computer+generated-fake .

A great idea, but this movie didn’t explore the technosociological implications of the idea as much as I hoped. It was more about Al Pacino getting in over his head (“Say hello to my cgi friend!”), and how crazily the public can be easily manipulated. That made it not quite fulfill my own made-up internalized potential hope for what this movie should be (somethign I always advice against people having in the first place). Carolyn wasn’t bothered by that as much. Maybe I shouldn’t be.

Still a good movie.

Very interesting that Andrew Niccol married the woman who played Simone — who was not originally credited in the credits, leaving people to think she truly was computer-generated in the movie. (They were going to do it, but the Screen Actors’ Guild pressured them into not doing it, for fear that it would be the end of all actors, much like what the movie depicted.) This movie also has Catherine Keener (surprisingly playing a light, non-bitchy, warm person), Winona Ryder, and a way-younger Evan Rachel Wood.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0258153/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Lazarus Project (2008)

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 8/10.
Native rating: Netflix: 4.5/5 stars. IMDB: 6.0/10.

Redemption.
Forgiveness.
A quite interesting movie that threw us for a loop not once, but twice.

The ultimate message is about if someone involved is in a murder, especially indirectly; It is that Maybe society should just let them get on with their life, instead of punishing them and making them feel the consequences of their crime for the rest of their life, making recidivism very likely by reducing their future choices. If you serve your time, you shouldn’t be forced into a lower caste. You should either get a life sentence, or not.

Also that the death sentence is a savage way to deal with things and not necessarily the best. When your car stops working correctly, you don’t destroy it to keep it from hurting you again–You fix it.

Laws also need to be applied properly. If you didn’t pull the trigger, you’re not the murderer, and shouldn’t be treated as one for the rest of your life. Laws equivocating one action with another are not justice.

Ultimately, forgiveness is the message of this movie — one that’s lost to most of our society. Especially Texas, and especially conservative Christians.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0464041/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: In Time (2011)

5/5 stars from both of us, 9/10 from Clint, 9.6/10 from Carolyn.
6.6/10 on IMDB.

Written & director by the writer/director of The Truman Show and Lord Of War — who also directed Gattaca.

This movie wins based solely on its incredible concept — a world where everyone has a 1-year death-clock countdown starting at age 25, and the only currency used to buy things is time. More time to be alive.

People in the ghetto with one day left to live, struggling to earn another day. Muggers who steal your time. Rich people who have thousands of years of time. There’s a metaphor for Occupy Wall Street in this, and this movie also has some parallels to The Hunger Games: A future, freedom-crushing society that benefits some at the expense of others.

Like the real world. But with a currency based directly on consequences, rather than hiding behind the complication of dollars-and-cents currency.

Also, it’s neat to see Amanda Seyfried as more than just a ditzy blonde… Here she looks like a red-headed girl from Tron. Didn’t even realize it was her. She rocks the medium-red hair!
And Justin Timberlake has slowly become tolerable, which is in itself an utterly amazing feat.

In the end, never in my movie-watching life have I seen so much macroeconomic justice dispensed by two people. Yay.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1637688/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Source Code (2011)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 3.7/5 stars (Netflix’s guess for us=4.4!), 7.5/10.

From the director of Moon (which is better than this film), this movie is basically a “poor man’s 12 Monkeys”.

It was interesting.  Not much happened, but interest was held.

It was a unique way of looking at time travel.

But I just can’t help but think of it as being derivative of 12 Monkeys, which pulled it off much better. I don’t mind derivative works, but this just wasn’t as brilliant as 12 Monkeys.
Still as good as any blockbuster movie, though.

A lot of people have problems with the ending scenes (after the kiss).
I don’t.
They are hard to understand, and I had to read about them on the forums to fully grasp it myself, but everything actually makes sense, and the critics of the final scenes are largely divided between those who get angry when they don’t understand something right away, and film snobs who hate happy endings and assume they are tacked on by film executives mucking with the plot.
Reading the complaints of those people is frustrating!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0945513/

VIDEO: REVIEW: MOVIE: Micmacs (2009)

Clint: 3.8/5 stars (which is the exact Netflix average AND it’s recommendation for us), 7.4/10 (a high 7–IMDB gives this 7.2/10).

Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.

I like Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie), but I definitely prefered him more back when he is collaborating with Marc Caro, who made his movies dark fairy tales (City Of Lost Children) or black comedies (Delicatessan) instead of whimsical comedies (Amelie).

He’s too whimsical now.

Jeunet has amazing directorial skills, yet I am starting to get tired of his Rube-Goldberg devices that he seems to want to use in every movie.

That being said… By virtue of receiving 4 stars, this movie is about 50th percentile for us.

We really liked it, but I liked it slightly less than most movies I really like.

It certainly LOOKS better than most movies, and is way more interesting than most movies.

We also found some similarities between this, and the new comedy Wanderlust (2012)

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1149361/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Spy Kids 1 (2001) – Machete’s first appearance

2.8/5 stars, 5.8/10 from both of us.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 (Netflix guess for us=3.2/5), 5.5/10 IMDB.

This could have been better, but some of it was waaaaayyyyy too convenient at times.

Still worth it to see the first film appearance of Machete, who was a character in the Spy Kids movie before he had his own movie.

Also cool to see Cheech Marin.

But yeah. Even with low expectations, this was a slight disappointment. It was still entertaining and enjoyable, just not very much.

I mean, it’s the same director as Sin City, Planet Terror, and The Faculty. Robert Rodriguez apparently has a decent range for directing different kinds of movies.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0227538/

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Goon (2011)

3/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.

Native ratings: 3.7/5 (Netflix guess for us=3.6/5), 7.0/10.

So for once, we rated lower than average. Probably because we despise sports. Yet, this was a quite serviceable sports comedy, and I have no regrets watching it. We laughed. And apparently it’s a “true” story, albeit turned into a comedy. A bloody, bloody comedy.

However, the ONLY reason I convinced myself to watch this was that it was co-written by a  writer who worked on Pineapple Express, Superbad, Da Ali G Show, and The Green Hornet. And the other co-writer? Jay Barchel, the gangly kid from Undeclared, Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Fanboys, & The Rules Of Attraction.

Actores include Seann William Scott (Stifler from American Pie) — who seemed to be breaking his previous acting range, playing a soft-spoken, humble character, instead of a full-of-himself asshole. His acting was actually a treat. Also with Alison Pill (Kim Pine from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), Liev Schrieber (Sabretooth from the X-Men movies, Cotton Weary from Scream 1-3), and Eugene Levy.

Yea, this was an enjoyable sports comedy. And most people seemed to like it even more than we did.

“Two rules, man: 1) Stay away from my fuckin’ percocets; and 2) Do you have any fucking percocets, man?”

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1456635/