Reviewing and Previewing the World of Film

Archive for October, 2011

Review: 50/50 is Not Just Another Cancer Movie

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hate to uses clichés but I have to on this one, “50/50” is an emotional roller coaster. At the beginning I was laughing, I was a complete wreck, as if my eyes were faucets. Needless to say the movie did exactly what it was supposed to, but unlike most cancer stories with the perfect ending, this film keeps the positive message throughout even in the hardest of times.The story is based off Seth Rogen’s real life friend, Will Reiser. In the film he is renamed Adam Lerner, played by Jospeh-Gordon Levitt, and Rogen plays himself but is named Kyle. Lerner is healthy guy, who runs, eats well and is genrally fit. But one day he goes to the doctor for a xray, because he has intense back pain. He is then diagnosed with a rare kind of back cancer. He is then placed on a strict chemo regiment. And if the poor guy didn’t have enough on his plate he has to deal with an over protective mother and a father who has Alzheimer’s.

Due to his situation the hospital assigns him a therapist so he can cope with his diagnosis, although Adam seems to be just fine. His therapist, Katy (Anna Kendrick), is working on her doctorate and is Adam is only her third patient. But even though she is inexperienced she becomes Adam’s greatest supporter in his worst moment.

The film features some amazing performances, mainly from Gordon-Levitt and Kendrick, but the supporting roles do a great job of providing a good amount of laughs, mostly just Rogen, keeping the film a little lighter which makes it one of the most watchable cancer movies.

The film also has a great soundtrack, featuring songs from Radiohead, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Bee Gees, and more. The cinematography is nothing special but it captures the essence and mood of the film perfectly.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the best actors today his versatility, likeablility,and keen acting skills are on the forefront i n most of his movies, but “50/50” may be one of his best yet. Don’t go to the film expecting a gut crunching comedy, or an emotional roller coaster that leaves you destroyed, rather aim for the middle of those two extremes and you may just hit the mark.


“The Trip” is slower, but smarter than most comedies

Impressions can be funny, yet most fall flat. But “The Trip” feautures some of the best and funniest impressions I have ever heard. Who does them you may ask? Enter Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan. These two friends make you roll with laughter as they transverse northern England in one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time.The story deals with the real life people of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as the travel northern England in in search of  great restaurants. Coogan, a famous actor, is working with a popular English magazine for a while to do restaurant reviews. He planned on bringing his girlfriend along on his restaurant escapades, but she bailed, and he was left with his short Welsh friend, Rob.As the two amble through the hills and fields of Northern England, they do impressions of Michael Cain, Sean Connery, Liam Neeson, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, along with others (my favorite being Woody Allen). Not only do you die from the impressions, but their constant banter back and forth is just as good.

Although the film is hilarious it also features a sad picture of an aging actor struggling to find work and worth in a tough climate. Rob Brydon is famous for his impressions but was never much of an actor. Where as Coogan was, and in some regards still is, a huge actor, though struggling to come to terms with his age and the horrible movies and shows that are pitched to him. Not only that, if he is ever to make it big again, says his agent, he will have to move to LA, leaving behind his children from a previous marriage.

This film is surprisingly beautiful. The landscapes of Northern England are lush and green, yet with a muted palette of colors. The score is not much  but is quite content to sit idly by in the background.

If you are looking for a film with loads of unintelligent humor “The Trip” is not for you. If you know nothing of the actors aforementioned, then you will also not enjoy this movie either.  But if you are ready for a trip through England, filled with humor and spot on impressions, than this film may just be worth seeing.

Preview: Norman

Over the years we have seen multiple teen dramas about various subject matter, kids getting bullied, troubled family life, love stories, but “Norman” gives something that many try for yet never reach, reality. The story is focused on Norman (Dan Byrd), who has a mother who just died, and father who is dying of stomach cancer. Norman although is a little different in his approach, like some teens he subconsciously strives to be different. He starts to mimic his fathers changes due to the cancer. He shaves his head in response to his fathers chemo, just so he can experience his father’s pain. Norman isn’t suicidal, although he claims to be self-injurious, just confused and searching for the answers to his own pain in his own unique way. And in all this hardship he finds love with a girl and his school, but the best moment can come at the worst of times. This movie is sure to be an emotional roller coaster, and is worth checking out. The movie  also features a soundtrack by Andrew Bird.

Preview: Premium Rush

Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems to show up in every movie these days, and to be honest I have not been disappointed with any of them lately. He has a very interesting repertoire of characters, from his punk rock angel in “Hesher” to his calm cool and calculating Arthur in “Inception.” “Premium Rush” offers another interesting character to Levitt’s already huge catalog: Wilee a New York be messenger who is pulled into a devious plot involving a corrupt cop (Michael Shannon). The trailer features an impressive set of bike tricks that quite frankly amazed me. In one scene he bikes under a flat bed truck by holding his weight all on one side of the bike, literally levitating just inches off the ground. The story may seem a literal cliche, but the setting and the topic of bike messengers will add a fresh look to the contrived corrupt authority figure genre.

Preview: Immortals

When “The Fall” came out in 2006 I was in awe of how the director, Tarsem, was able to find the most amazing landscapes from all around the world and weave them together to create an engorssing story with amazing characters. In directing his 3rd movie, Tarsem is shifting his focus, and moving to the ancient greeks. This story is based loosely on the ancient myths weaving two stories together. The story revolves around Theseus (Henry Cavill), a mortal known for his incredible strength and resolve, and King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), a greedy king prepared to take over the world. Tarsem’s manipulation of characters and his wild imagination may turn this from a cliche myth movie to a fresh new take on the ancient tales. And with the same producing team as 300 the movie will likely feature intense fighting sequences.