Monday, March 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Plot: Directed by Tim Burton & Based on the books "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll, 19 year old Alice falls down the rabbit hole again (without any childhood memories of her first journey) to find a very altered Wonderland that she must save from the clutches of The Red Queen and return to its rightful ruler The White Queen

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, & Lindsay Duncan, featuring the voices of Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, & Imelda Stuanton.

Review: Although visually impressive, this film proved to be style over substance. It was beautiful. Everything from the costumes, (I wanted all of Alice's dresses) to the makeup, to the set design screams for 2011 Oscar nominations. However, what was missing was an interesting plot. Instead of focusing the writing by basing it on one of the Lewis Carroll novels, it diced and spliced two of them together, leaving out the best ingredients. How can you base a movie on "Through the Looking Glass" and completely leave the looking glass out? Uggh. Ignoring the pedestrian and very juvenile plot, the film was enjoyable. The acting was OK, with Helena Bonham Carter being the standout. Mia made a decent Alice though I believe Amanda Seyfried would've been much better. Johnny Depp was kind of disappointing. At times he was mad and at other times just sad. Did anyone else notice his accent kept alternating between Scottish and English? What was that? Anne Hathaway is a wonderful actress, but she just wasn't right for this part. The stylized nature of her character, always holding her arms up in this very "Glenda The Good Witch" sort of way, required stylized acting along with it. She's too natural for such a stylized role. Any moments where she was stylized came off forced and uncomfortable. Where she did shine, however, were the moments (like the kitchen scene) where she dropped the stylized behavior and just acted. See this movie in the theater so you can see the amazing visual style of Tim Burton in 3D. Just know this movie's all fluff, and I'm not just talking about that cute gravity defying cat.

Rating: Acting-C
Voice over: A- Best caterpillar voice ever.
Art Direction-A
Visual Effects-A

**1/2 Stars because style over substance is still enjoyable for me.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Plot: In his first term as the South African President, Nelson Mandela (Freeman), enlists the national rugby team to win the '95 Rugby World Cup in order to unite his country.

Starring: Morgan Freeman & Matt Damon

Review: Both a sports movie and a movie about politics, this film was able to be both an inspirational sports flick as well as a political study of Nelson Mandela in the early part of his first presidential term. Nicely acted (though the accent could use some work) by both Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, I felt Freeman got robbed of the Oscar whereas Damon wasn't strong enough to garner a nomination in my opinion. This was a smart film without much marketing, which is why it was a sleeper at the theater. The directing by Clint Eastwood for the most part was strong and a very different film for him. However, the final sports sequence took slow-motion cheesiness to an absolutely M. Night Shyamalan level (think The Happening). It felt like it would never end. I swear it was in slow motion for five minutes. Reign it in Mr.Eastwood. All in all though, it was a very strong and unique sports film.

Awards: Nominated for 2 Oscars: Actor:Morgan Freeman & Supporting Actor: Matt Damon

Rating: Acting-B
Editing-C -this is where the slow motion sequence could've been cut down
Art Direction-B
Visual Effects-A

**1/2 Stars

Monday, March 8, 2010

Independent Spirit Awards

I made some changes on here because of some opinion changes due to my seeing more of the nominees & winners. I didn't get to see the Indie Awards because I don't have the IFC channel, and for some reason they didn't play them on Bravo this year. However, I love the Indie Awards and always make sure to add all the noms and winners to my blockbuster queue to see all of them. In pink are my picks for winners.

Best Feature

Best First Feature

Best Foreign Film

Best Documentary

No opinion.

John Cassavetes Award

No opinion.

Humpday (2009)

Truer Than Fiction Award

No opinion.

Someone to Watch Award

Robert Altman Award

A Serious Man (2009)

Grand Total:


Crazy Heart-2

A Serious Man-2


(500) Days of Summer-1


An Education-1

Easier With Practice-1

Exploding Girl-1

Santa Mesa-1