Friday, February 24, 2012


Goon is one of those movies that comes out of nowhere and simply blows all of your expectations out of the water. This movie is vulgar, gritty, and insanely funny. This has to rank pretty high up there in terms of sports movies and comedies in general. Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, and Jay Baruchel absolutely kill it in this movie, and it definitely signals the comeback of Seann William Scott who has had some career trouble ink the last few years. This movie also surprised me because it was coming from the mind that brought us Take Me Home Tonight which was one of the worst movies of 2011. I promise you that this movie will make you laugh out loud at least 5 to 6 times throughout the course of the movie.

Seann William Scott and Jay Baruchel form the heart of this movie because Jay's character, Ryan, is there to support Scott's character, Doug, as he is trying to find his path in life. Where as Doug protects Ryan from any outside physical harm. Doug is not a smart individual and he finds that fighting is his calling and that is what he focuses on after being hired by a local minor league hockey team. He is a very nice and polite guy trying to find his place in the world and he really enjoys the fact that he is good at something and part of a team. Scott really does show off the ability to act subtlety which you rarely see from him in any movie. This is a welcome change of pace from his Stifler character which became kind of grating after the second American Pie movie. I really hope that this movie leads to bigger and better roles for Seann William Scott because he really does have a great amount of talent but he gets typecast as "Stifler" type characters most of the time. Liev Schreiber also deserves a lot of credit for his role as an older "enforcer" in the league. His character is just a mean son of a bitch who has been doing what he is doing for most of his life. His major goal is to not go out like a pussy and he will go through anyone to make sure that this does not happen. It was also surprising to see Schreiber in a comedy because I am so used to seeing him in dramatic roles. He does not have much in the way of a comedic role but he does play a huge part in the movie as the lead protagonist.

This was also Baruchel's first feature length writing gig and this was quite the debut. You can see that he has taken a lot from the movies that he has appeared in that have been produced by Judd Apatow. He is going to be a successful screenwriter if he is continues to grow and learn from his first script. I hope that this movie leads to more independent comedies like this being made in the future because this was really a gem.


This is a sports movie that really needs to be given a larger opening so it can get to the masses. Goon is one of the funniest comedies that I have seen in sometime and this is the best movie that I have seen all year and it will probably take a while for something to make me laugh as much as I did during this movie. It is certainly the best Hockey movie ever made and that is coming from a fan of Slap Shot and Miracle. Rent this one on any VOD service and you will not be disappointed. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Take Shelter

After seeing Take Shelter, I really need to re-evaluate my Best of 2011 List. Everything about this movie is unbelievably high quality and features two of the best performances in movies this past year. Michael Shannon gives an amazing performance that is easily top 3 of last year and Jessica Chastain continues her incredible year after performing in The Help and The Tree of Life. For such a low budget movie this is packed with quality special effects and is also shot in a really high quality manner. This movie is a stark portrayal of mental illness and the movie really sucks you in to this one man's quest to find out what is wrong with himself and fix it.

Michael Shannon fully engrosses himself in this role and you believe that he is really going through this horrific ordeal. His performance is impeccable, for every moment of the movie you believe that he is this man experiencing schizophrenia. The way his character morphs over the course of the film is just incredible. He goes from being a loving family man to being this incredibly paranoid individual experiencing these overly vivid nightmare and visions. You see everything as he sees it and at points you don't know if it is mental illness or actual visions of an upcoming catastrophe. This movie could have easily been a disaster but Shannon's portrayal keeps the movie grounded and allows the movie to flourish.

This is an absolute must watch for movie fans. Every aspect of the movie is just fantastic and was easily one of the best movies of 2011. Shannon was robbed this award season and it is a disgrace that he was not nominated for any major awards. This is also a movie that needed to be nominated for every major award as well. It is sad that this move was criminally overlooked by everyone this award season. I hope this movie allows Shannon to do more and more larger scale roles because he has certainly paid his dues to this point in his career. This is a 10/10 and was one of the top 3 movies of 2011.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hard Boiled

I consider Hard Boiled to be in the same tier of action movies as Die Hard, Predator, and any of the Bourne movies. The quality of this film really is that good and as a result John Woo has cemented his place as one of my favorite movie directors of all time. Chow Yun-fat also plays a complete boss in the movie and commands every scene that he is in. His character, Inspector "Tequila" is one of my favorite action heroes of all time and that is saying something because of all of the movies I have seen in my life. This is a fast paced and frantic action movie and it delivers from start to finish.

The action in the movie is a sight to behold. Woo, along with his stunt coordinators, craft action sequences that almost play out like dances with so many things happening at the same time and the sequences are masterfully choreographed. The tea house shootout is just an awesome sequences and when that is paired with the hospital shootout you have two of the best action sequences ever filmed. The hospital shootout is one of my favorite sequences of all time because of the brutality and the tracking shot used to create the sequence. The inclusion of the most powerful shotgun in recorded history is also a welcome addition to the movie as well. There is a 3 or 4 minute sequence where there is no cuts and the action flows so naturally and is shot so well that it is mind blowing.

This may not be the most well acted movie as Hong Kong productions have much different standards than most large Hollywood movies, but the main cast delivers knockout performances. Chow Yun-fat is great in his role and this is one of the roles that cemented his place in the action star hall of fame. You believe for every minute in the movie that he is this haunted, tough cop who will do anything to bring justice to the men he is after. He essentially plays the same role in most of the American movies that he is in but this seems much more natural than the American roles that he is in.

This is one of the best action movies ever created and has become one of my favorite action movies of all time. This is an essential Hong Kong movie and one of the best from the collection of John Woo features. The fluid action throughout the movie is very unique and the movie features some of the greatest action scenes of all time. Watch this if you love action movies or movies in general. 10/10

Friday, February 3, 2012


Independent filmmakers should take notice of this movie. Shoestring budget+good acting+great story= success. That is a formula for success in my honest opinion, and Chronicle followed through in every way according to the formula. The found footage concept of the movie could have come off as contrived and played out, but this was just awesome. It was also great that the audience got an explanation as to why everything was being filmed by the characters. This placed right below the mother of all found footage movies, Cloverfield, in my opinion. That is not taking anything away from this movie when you consider that Cloverfield is up there in terms of my favorite movies.

My favorite aspect of the movie was the evolution of the characters over the course of the film. None of the developments felt forced and they really did act like most high school kids would if given the same powers. You get to see how each kid is changed by the power that has been given to them. Steve isn't changed at all, he is still the determined one and is still friendly. Matt understands that the power is a big deal and tries to not abuse them. Andrew on the other hand is the opposite of Matt. He embraces the powers a little too much and starts to believe that he is a more highly developed human being than the rest of the world. When he starts mentioning the concept of the "apex predator", you know that he has gone completely off the deep end. There is no coming back from that type of mind set, and couple that with an abusive home situation and you have a recipe for disaster. You as the viewer gets to see how absolute power corrupts people from all different upbringings in this movie and it was by far the most interesting aspect of the movie to me.

On a less serious note, the special effects in this movie are pretty boss. They might not have the polish of higher budget movies but what they lack in polish they make up with brutality and originality. The ending fight sequence is just awesome, and I'm not going to spoil anything so don't worry. The flight sequences are well done as well due to some well timed comedy and creative effects. All of the effects had to be well dome in order to sell the movie to the audiences because the characters have a power that is invisible to the viewer unless the power is being directed on a certain item.

This is the best superhero movie that I have seen in the last couple of year. People might not consider this a superhero movie at first but watch it then tell me what type of movie you think it is. This is a great debut for the director as well as for the three lead actors who will undoubtedly find future success in Hollywood. This is also a movie that does not need a sequel. That is not a bad thing at all, it just means that this was a fantastic story that can be contained to one movie. The ending is a great and fulfilling conclusion to an absolutely fantastic movie. I wish all movies were this original.



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

This is one of those movies that you have heard about for such a long time but you have never gotten around to seeing it. Fear and Loathing is based on the experience of Hunter S. Thompson on a drug fueled writing assignment with his attorney along for the ride. Johnny Depp is excellent in the movie in one of the only roles that I can actually watch him act in. He really is not a favorite of mine but he was excellent in the movie. Benecio Del Toro turns in a really odd and strange performance where 90% of his dialogue is inaudible. He makes almost no sense throughout the entire movie because his character spends most of the time tripping on LSD. This is definitely the best "drug trip" movie that I have seen in a long time. Terry Gilliam is a visual genius and shows it once again in this film. He does amazing work when the characters are hallucinating and he tries to make the hallucination as real to the viewer as it is to the characters in the movie.

There is no real story or conflict to the movie other than the fact that the two main characters are getting demolished on every drug that they can while covering some obscure dirt bike race in Las Vegas. There is no evil bad guy in the movie, just the drugs that are eating away at their sense of what is real and what is not. Some of the parts are kind of sad when you realize the characters have absolutely no idea what is going on and have no control over their own actions. Gilliam tries to blend the world of the hallucination and the real world together to give you one cohesive experience. Elements of the hallucination will be on screen as well as elements of the real world, so at times it is very difficult to determine what is from the hallucination and what is not. This was my favorite aspect of the movie, because there were just so many weird images that popped up on screen and it was awesome seeing some of them for the first time after reading the book.

My main issue with the film is that with a lack of conflict the movie begins to drag at a certain point. With the book, I felt like I was along for the ride and I was experiencing all of the events first hand because the writing as so detailed. The movie wasn't able to fully capture all of the detail of the book and it was slightly disappointing. Also after watching the Criterion Collection version of the movie, I found out that the movie was originally supposed to be an animated movie. That would have been something magical because there would have been no bounds as to what you could put or animate on screen. Gilliam did the best he could with monetary limitations and working from a script that he wrote in just 10 days. Still turned out to be a pretty good movie overall.

This is a movie that could be classified as an experience. There is something about the movie that just sucks you in and never lets you go. Also after seeing this film, I am fairly certain I will never try and drugs that they did in the movie because it seems like kind of a shitty time. Watch this movie if you want to see the work of a visionary director and the last time that Johnny Depp was bearable. I gave this movie a solid 7/10. It just really wasn't my style of movie.