For those of you not keeping track we are about to enter the second half of the year, full of just as many exciting things as the first half. So far some entries have disappointed, some have surprised, and some have lived up to and surpassed expectations so far, so lets keep our fingers crossed that there will be more of the latter options in the months to come. So what are you excited for? Let’s give you some options to consider with this list of what the writers of HST can’t wait for. [Read more...]
Two seconds prior to the movie starting a man to the far right of where I was sitting starting hacking, as if on cue. This was followed by a sporadic slew of coughing throughout the film, followed by a general ill feeling moving through my body, throat to stomach. These are the things you are going to notice while watching Contagion, but other than this effect on my life (and how I now notice when I unnecessarily touch my face) the movie was lost on me. [Read more...]
With the success of a film like Inception last year that perfectly blends action and a thinking man’s story, it isn’t hard to fathom that many more films will attempt to beat this same path. At least a girl can dream. Though it is by no means as high concept, The Adjustment Bureau is yet another step in this direction that will further inspire more films like this to come. Or at least inspire people to bring back the fedora. It could go either way…
Keeping that in mind, The Adjustment Bureau is definitely a film in which the less you know going in the better. So here’s to keeping it vague: The story follows David Norris, a young politician running for senator. Along the way he meets Elise Sellas and the sparks fly instantly. However, even an instant and deep connection such as this can be tested by forces much greater. Vague enough? Good. [Read more...]
Just a week after I wrote about probably the Coen brothers film with the most mystery and depth in A Serious Man, I watched the extremely straightforward Coen brothers version of True Grit. Despite their deviation from their usual eccentricity, I loved the film. The Coen brothers like Tarantino have a knack for propelling a film with a screenplay’s dialogue, rather than the film’s action. The humorous and compelling discussion makes this film. With fantastic performances from the main three actors, I was completely swept up in the journey. This short, straightforward film seems to have found a wide appeal, and the huge box office revenue is the evidence. By the way… was anyone else disappointed that ‘LaBoeuf’ was not spelled ‘LaBeef?’ Just me?
Not to age my dad or anything, but westerns are a very generational thing. Heck, the last time I really watched a western by choice was when I became obsessed with one scene in McLintock! after accidentally opening the gifted VHS copy meant for my dad on Christmas as a child. And in all honesty, if it wasn’t for last year’s ridiculously addictive video game Red Dead Redemption, the trailer for True Grit probably wouldn’t have peaked my interest as it did. Well, it may not have all the violence, horse racing and addictive Oregon Trail hunting, but True Grit still manages to reach a larger audience than just those who were alive for the John Wayne original.
The looser laws of the Wild West create the perfect setting for a classic story of good old revenge, which is exactly what we have here. The difference is this story’s point of view doesn’t come from a hardened, stiff-jawed gunslinger. As a 14-year-old Mattie Ross may not be able to stay standing after firing a pistol, but she is just as strong willed as the men she comes across, with the determination necessary to hunt down the man who guiltlessly gunned down her father. [Read more...]
The latest from the Coen Bros., True Grit, is their least odd and most straightforward film to date but there is still plenty of weirdness, laughs, and amazing performances that we expect from these guys in this great film.
The film is not a remake of the 1969 John Wayne film of the same name but is instead a re-adaptation of the Charles Portis source novel from 1968. The Coen’s wanted to do this to put the point of view back through Mattie’s eyes and re-instill some of the humor in the novel. The result is fantastic as the film is surprisingly (though not really, it is a Coen Bros. movie after all) hilarious; especially considering the tone of the TV spots I have seen. The film also delivers on the tone it is selling though and features heart pumping moments and plenty of drama.
The story follows the fore mentioned Mattie as she recruits a local U.S. Marshal, Rooster Cogburn, to hunt down and capture the man who killed her father in cold blood. [Read more...]
Following the disappointment of the film adaptation of The Lovely Bones last year I was looking for a new film about life after death to invest my hopes in. Following first seeing the trailer for Hereafter it quickly became that film for me, and I expected that it would do what Bones was unable to as long as it didn’t go all Ghost Whisperer on us. Unfortunately I once again found myself with a lackluster film unable to fill the void in my checklist.
Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon team up once more in this film that tries to connect three different stories together through each separate characters connection to tragedy and the afterlife, including a French reporter who has a near death experience when she is swept away in a tsunami, two English twins whose lives are forever changed following an accident, and a psychic who has trouble coping with his understanding of the hereafter and its effect on his hopes for living a normal life in the real world. [Read more...]
The film follows three thread lines of different people that have had a recent connection with death and/or the “hereafter.” One is a French reporter who has a near death experience in a tsunami, a pair of twins in England that run into family tragedy, and an ex-psychic in San Francisco who is trying to reconnect with the real world. The reporter is trying to understand what she experienced, the twins are trying to connect, and the psychic is attempting to leave the world of the “hereafter” behind. All these threads serve as fairly interesting character studies but they never blend together all that well. The characters are obviously disjointed and unconnected to one another and you are left to watch them move parallel through life.
This week’s Suggestion Box contains trailers for the movies Hereafter and Priest, my brief writeup for some of the premiered shows this fall, and then videos for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and Portal 2 in games.
Hereafter Trailer - The newest film paring Clint Eastwood as director and Matt Damon has Damon cast as a genuine psychic who has trouble living with his ability connected to the afterlife, interweaving stories of those who come into contact with him, bringing questions of their own about what lies ahead due to personal experiences. Not to put too much into the trailer, but the brief clips alone of the acting shows a glimmer of the performances ahead, which will hopefully live up to what comes in the film.
Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass have teamed up on an adaptation of Imperial Life in the Emerald City and the result is a decent political action hybrid that runs into some pretty big third act issues that really hurt the picture.
The story follows Chief Miller a WMD team leader for the Army and is coming up empty repeatedly on sites that are supposed to be legit and he begins to wonder why the hell he is over here in Iraq if there are no WMD’s. After getting a tip from a local citizen, Freddy, who sees some top officials ducking into a secret meeting, Miller, is pulled into a chain of events that might uncover one of the government’s biggest secrets about the war. Miller then starts to get pulled from both sides by a pair of clashing department heads for the White House and the CIA and he has to sort out whose intel he will believe to actually making a difference here in Iraq.
Clint Eastwood’s latest is an unoriginal and uninspired affair, that while holding a fine performance from Morgan Freeman and some rewarding moments, is too flawed in too many areas to really excel.
The story revolves around the work of Nelson Mandela from the end of South Africa’s apartheid and through the first year or so of his presidency of the country. More specifically his work with the national rugby team, the Springboks, as a way to bring blacks and whites together to bond while trying to put years of oppression behind them between the once white controlled minority government in the predominantly black country.
As the native population finally achieves an equal status in the country, they instantly want to change things to their tradition and ridding themselves of any British ties. Mandela knows this is not possible if they are to succeed, and his strategizing and posturing to keep the peace and bring people closer together rather than father a part are the highlights of the film. These actions are even more powerful as this story and this man are real, making the work he does truly remarkable and inspiring. Morgan Freeman and most of his work and scenes in the film are what makes the film viable and one of the only real reasons to see this film; luckily he is in a lot of the picture. [Read more...]
Clash of the Titans Trailer – Yay violence, mythology, creatures and CGI. Check it out here.
Date Night Trailer – Two of TV’s best comedians finally come together for this film. Should be great. Check out Tina Fey and Steve Carell here.
Green Zone Trailer – Matt Damon doing what he does best. Check it out here.
Leap Year Trailer – Who knows if this film will move beyond the usual romantic comedy, but I am pretty much willing to watch Amy Adams in anything, so here’s to high hopes. Check it out here.
Steven Soderbergh’s latest is a unique picture that spins a pretty serious and messed up character study into a comedy by applying a silly tone and ramping up the absurdity that this actually happened and the results are pretty good for the most part.
Mark Whitacre is a bit out of his element. He is a PHD in biochemistry but was promoted to an executive level at his company ADM and quickly became a valuable asset to the company and began making large sums of money in his new role. One day he receives a phone call from an employee from a rival Japanese company that claims they have a mole in ADM’s midst and he is sabotaging their lysine production and that he needs ten million dollars to make this problem all go away. When the FBI is brought in to assist with the embezzlement proceedings, Whitacre begins to get nervous and he decides to turn informant on his own company as he is afraid that the FBI will uncover the company’s price fixing frauds. From here, the film dives into Whitacre’s exploits as an informant as the story around the man slowly gets weirder and weirder. [Read more...]
Hayao Miyazaki’s latest is given the A+ voice over treatment for American audiences with the help of John Lasseter and the results are a beautiful looking animated tale full of wonder and imagination that is a bit all over the place and can’t sustain it’s full run time.
Sosuke is a young boy that lives on the top of a hill of a port town. His mother works at retirement community and his father is a boat captain that docks in and out of their local port. Sosuke loves the water and one day when playing by his house he discovers a small red fish like creature with a rather human face. This fish he names Ponyo turns out to be on the run from an underwater sorcerer of sorts who begins to pursue Sosuke and his mother as the boy takes Ponyo down to school with him. Ponyo seems to be an unusual fish, as she can speak and apparently heal people, and Sosuke bonds with her immediately. When the sorcerer gets his hands on Ponyo again, Ponyo begins on the path back to Sosuke with the help of a little magic that will allow them to bond even further. [Read more...]