Monday, December 31, 2007

I Am Legend

This is definitely Will Smith's masterpiece. I have never seen finer acting from him, and he's a legend in and of himself. Very, very well done. For two hours the camera focuses on him, his face, and pretty much nothing else. It is difficult to captivate an audience for that long, particularly when the only source of interest is Smith's face. But he really does pull it off.

A cancer wonder-drug backfired, went airborne, and wiped out all of human existence. Save for one man. Dr. Robert Neville, a brilliant scientist, for some reason survived the onslaught and lived to fight back. He is the last human on Earth, but he is not alone. Mutated humans, little more than animals now, now roam the streets at night looking for a snack, sniffing for blood, hungry. For three years Neville has been searching for a cure, desperate, and hoping that he's not alone, but for three years he's been utterly disappointed. How long can he hold out? How long can the last human survive in such hopelessness, such madness, such fear, and so hunted? Every day is a fight for his life.

Brilliantly directed by Francis Lawrence, Legend really takes the cake as one of my favorite movies this year. Excellent, really excellently done on Smith's part. You truly believe in Neville, his character. And you see yourself in his place and wonder what you would do in his position. Of course, all zombie movies, even the glorified Will Smith versions, must have ubercounts of jump scenes, but it really adds to it all. It makes you just as paranoid as Neville. Give yourself a good scare without the horror of something like Saw. It's fun.

Conclusion: If you're looking for a good scare without the blood and gore of a normal movie like this, then Legend is right for you.

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.


  • The studio spent an estimated $5,000,000 for a 6 night shoot in New York involving the Brooklyn Bridge. To film in this location, the producers needed the approval of up to 14 government agencies. The producers had to bring in a crew of 250, plus 1,000 extras, including 160 members of the National Guard in full combat gear.

  • In the scene in Times Square, there is a billboard for the fictional "Superman/Batman" movie, slated to open 5/15/10.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Winter Films

These are the films I most look forward to seeing this December, January, and February.

The Golden Compass Release: Dec 7
Director: Chris Wietz

Starring: Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, with the voice talen of Freddie Highmore and Ian McKellen

Synopsis: In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.

Based on the children's series His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

Tag: There are worlds beyond our own - the compass will show the way.

I Am Legend Release: Dec 14, 2007
Director: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Will Smith

Dr. Robert Neville must find a way to reverse the effects of a virus that has turned everyone on earth except him into mutants.

Tag: The last man on earth is not alone

Charlie Wilson's War Release: Dec 25, 2007

Director: Mike Nichols

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Phillip Seymour Hoffman

A drama based on Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

Tag: A stiff drink, a little mascara, a lot of nerve. Who said they couldn't bring down the Soviet Empire.

Cloverfield Release: Jan 18, 2008
Director: Matt Reeves

Starring: Nothing definite

Synopsis: A small group of people must survive a monster attack on the city of New York.

Tag: 1.18.08

The Spiderwick Chronicles Release: Feb 15, 2008

Director: Mark Waters

Starring: Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger

Synopsis: Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.

Tag: Their world is closer than you think.

The Other Boleyn Girl Release: Feb 28, 2008
Director: Justin Chadwick

Starring: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johanssen, Eric Bana

Synopsis: The story of two beautiful sisters, who, driven by their family's blind ambition, compete for the love of the handsome and passionate King Henry VIII (Bana).

Tag: The only thing that could come between these a kingdom.

Rescue Dawn

Full of utterly raw emotion, Rescue Dawn is absolutely breathtaking. Fantastically directed by Werner Herzog, Rescue Dawn is the true story of Dieter Dengler, an American polot shot down over Laos during the Vietnam War. He is captured and taken to a POW camp. There he meets Eugene DeBruin and Duane Martin, two other pilots also shot down over enemy territory. Starving, the cadaverous pilots plan a daring escape.

Dieter is beautifully portrayed by actor Christian Bale (Batman). Steve Zahn (Sahara) is his surprising companion as Duane Martin. Zahn does an incredible job, expressing utter desperation, embodying Tragedy itself. The part of Eugene deBruin is brilliantly, brilliantly done by actor Jeremy Davies().

This phenomenal cast coupled with the cinematography and the story being told makes for a truly incredible film. Realistic, raw, painful, Rescue Dawn tells a story of courage, optimism, self-reliance, and loyalty in a whole new way.

Conclusion: This isn't your everyday, run-of-the-mill war movie with lots of explosions and guns. It is just as frightening but with more thought behind it and a more artistic storyteller.

Rated: PG-13 for some sequences of intense war violence and torture. Do not take small children to see this movie.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Moulin Rouge!

No Laws. No limits. One rule. Never fall in love.

Gorge yourself on the spectacular spectacle that is Moulin Rouge! It’s a feast of color, a banquet of beauty, the heartbreaking tale of two doomed, forbidden lovers. Starring Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge! is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It is a breathtaking psychedelic adventure of beauty, freedom, truth, and love.

Set in 1899 in the heart of Paris, a young penniless writer named Christian (McGregor) meets the beautiful Satine (Kidman), a promiscuous dancer, through a case of mistaken identity. They fall in love and would like nothing more than to live happily ever after, but for a man named Zidler and a repulsively evil duke. The Moulin Rouge is a seedy dance hall turned theater that could give Satine everything or ruin her. Will Christian and Satine overcome, or will the evil forces at work destroy their happy ending? Find out behind the red curtain of Moulin Rouge!, “A spectacle beyond imagination, a fantastic world where nothing is forbidden and everything is possible!”

An incredible musical by Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge! cannot be missed. Both Kidman and McGregor perform their own songs (impressively well, I might add), and I have never seen a better acting performance by either.

Conclusion: Stop reading this, go rent it right now and experience the Moulin Rouge!

Rated: PG-13 for sexuality. Kids under 13, maybe even 15, shouldn’t see this movie. It could be hard to explain.


  • Filming was halted for two weeks in November 1999 after Nicole Kidman fractured two ribs and injured her knee while rehearsing a dance routine for the film. Many of the scenes where she is seen only from the chest up were shot while she was in a wheelchair.

  • The necklace worn by Nicole Kidman was made of real diamonds and platinum and was the most expensive piece of jewelery ever specifically made for a film. The Stefano Canturi necklace was made with 1,308 diamonds, weighing a total of 134 carats and was worth an estimated US$1 million.


Find out which films to absolutely skip and which you can't miss. THese are my opinions on current films and timeless classics