Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

The second installment in the Indiana Jones series and prequel to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" has as many pros as it does cons. The action sequences are much more explosive and thrilling, but this outing doesn't seem to have a heart (no pun intended). It was thrilling for the sake of being thrilling, with very little relevance to the story. Annoyingly no other reprising characters aside from Ford, who is still the awesome archaeologist, on an adventure to return a sacred precious stone that was stolen from a village that believes evil spirits have taken their children away from them. You can see where this story tries to prevent itself from falling after slipping on a banana peel, right? And its self-awareness of the dreadfully annoying love interest (Capshaw) and sidekick (Ke Quan) doesn't pay off in any way. From the start, the film is doomed (again, no pun intended) during the opening credits playing over a corny Capshaw performing Cole Porter's 1934 classic "Anything Goes", its presence in this film unnecessary in every single form. But this film is saved by the beautiful setting of Indian, and a ritual scene about an hour into the film which caused so much controversy that the MPAA created PG-13!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Raiders of the Lost Ark

The first installment into the Indiana Jones Series, which follows the archaeologist/adventurer to Nepal and Egypt for the search of biblical artifact The Ark of the Covenant. Groundbreaking picture; a roller coaster ride of a movie, with premium action sequences—but it fails to give the viewer any room to breathe. Ford is absolutely wonderful and irreplaceable as Dr. Jones, but neither Allen or her character Marion Ravenwood can earn the same keep as the main character. While the film succeeds in fun and thrilling entertainment, there's no excuse for the action in your climatic sequence to be far more inferior than the nail-biting close-calls that preceded it. Denholm Elliott and John Rhys-Davies are SO underused.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Wrestler

After being forced to retired, wrestling star Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Rourke) finds difficulty in building and rebuilding a life outside of the ring. Rourke fits the role perfectly, and is one of the best performances of his career. Tomei and Wood are also great in their supporting roles as the lover-interest stripper and Robinson's distantly neglected daughter, respectfully. It may be all six "Rocky" films rolled into one, but it's certainly touching to say the least. The ending may not be the most original, but there was no better way to end this story. Aronofsky makes another classic.


Cliché and predictable mystery/thriller about ten strangers stranded at a desolated motel in Nevada during a nasty rainstorm. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist (Molina) is trying to save a convict (Vince) from the death penalty by proving him insane, supported by new evidence of a recovered journal. The intersection of the two plots can only lead to one conclusion, unless you fail to realize that there's a reason these two stories are within the same film. Despite all the failed surprises and twists, the plot at least delivers the payoff the story has built up; and you'll find satisfaction in the film if you can shrug off the countless flaws with the realization that it never really hinders the progression. Cusack and Liotta are as good as always; Peet delivers an impress performance; and Hawkes is underrated as usual. If anything, it will entertain.

La Femme Nikita

Parillaud delivers a breakthrough performance as the title character, a convicted murderer whom the government gives a second chance in exchange for using her as an assassin and spy. The action scenes are memorable and top-notch. It's hard to know whether to like or dislike the characters, since they're not quite three-dimensional enough to feel something for nor are they that unlikable to despise. The romance may be appropriate to establish feeling, but the characters' interaction with each other seems dry and lacks chemistry. Jean Reno is extremely underused as Victor The Cleaner. Very stylish to say the least and is a good enough film to make the must-see lists of anyone who likes action and/or foreign films. Remade as "Black Cat" in Hong Kong, and "Point of No Return" in the USA.