Sunday, July 3, 2011

Inaugural Film Reviews

I always feel like I don't talk about films on this blog as much as I do TV shows or even tennis during its four big tournaments of the year. I mean I talk about bits of casting news, celebrating anniversaries, feature posters or films I'm looking forward to, etc. but other than my year-end list I don't often readily give my opinions on films I see. So starting now, I'm going to do my best to at least post something briefly on the films I see.

To start, I'd like to venture into my Netflix queue and briefly talk about the films I saw last month:

Made in Dagenham
- Sad that I miss this plucky film last year. It's a well-made piece of cinema serving as a bit of a love story to the brave women in Dagenham back in the 60s demanding equal rights/pay as the men. Sally Hawkins delivers a strong performance as the main driving force with some lovely support from Miranda Richardson, Rosamund Pike, and Geraldine James. The predictable story/ending doesn't hamper the film, mostly because Hawkins and the other women pulls you in with their struggles. B+

Release - This little-known gay prison drama felt laborious throughout, from its purposefully opaque beginning to its inevitable melodramatic end. I'm okay with the film's low production value, because the budget is obviously small, but good writing and characterizations are necessary and sadly this film didn't have that. Confusing, muddled, and disappointing. D-

The Mechanic - Here's the thing. I have a slight Jason Statham situation in which I just find him so damn watchable that even though 97% of his films are exactly the same and 100% he's playing the exact same character, that film and that character is kind of awesome. This is all to say that if you've seen one of his films, The Mechanic is more of the same though he does share some screen-time with the newly bad ass Ben Foster and they make quite a team. Fun if you like this sort of film, which I fortunately do. B

The Other Woman - Based on other reviews, I was prepared to hate this film, but I didn't. With that said, there are plenty of problems mainly the fact that this film has NO IDEA what kind of film it's supposed to be giving the film a fractured feeling. Frankly I think writer Don Roos just wanted to do too many things on screen. If he had dialed it back a bit, I think the film would've been much better. It also doesn't help that the protagonist, played by Natalie Portman, was bordering on unlikable for most of the film. C

Natalie Portman getting around

No Strings Attached
- Another Natalie Portman film and well this movie was not good. Like her chemistry with Ashton Kutcher in the film, it just lacked in every department. There are probably two scenes I loved from the whole film. One, when Portman's character yelled "I made the ball its bitch!" when they played mini-golf and the scene, which I've forgotten by now, where Kutcher actually looked like he was acting, making me feel sorry for his character. In the end though, I just felt sorry for me sitting through that. D+

Tron: Legacy - I'm a huge fan of the original film so my feelings for this film was always going to be colored by that. With that said, I liked it way more than I thought I was going to. First of all, I was shocked at how not at all incompetent Garrett Hedlund was in his role. Second, all of the "TRON" stuff was actually relatively understated. Third, Michael Sheen and Jeff Bridges looked liked they had a ball. Okay, the ending was lame and the CGI-young Bridges was hella creepy, but still a good time. B

Kaboom - Gregg Araki's latest film was a bit too out there even for me. Actually, to be more accurate, I was completely fine with everything else, from Thomas Dekker and friends' hypersexuality to the murder/hazing mystery. It was the last third of the film where the film lost me as it tried to put it all together and conjure some kind of final answer for it all. It all just felt flat after that. C+

Undertow - This Peruvian film revolving around a man with a wife and child who is also carrying on a secret affair with a man was a joy to watch. When you think you know where this age-old love triangle storyline is going, the film gives it its own fresh twist that is both inventive and emotional. Other than this twist, one thing I loved about this film is how we get into the heads of the three characters with all the pain and confusion inherent to this kind of drama. A-

A note on my review grades: I'm inconsistent--a B- film might end up higher than a B+ if I was forced to rank them. It's largely arbitrary--mostly encompassing my whole mess of feelings for the film. And finally, there's a curve--since I was raised by Asian parents, a C- has always equated as an F growing up. So make that as you will.


  1. MADE IN DAGENHAM is so...umm..sweet? No other words come to mind. The entire cast is excellent, but I especially love the performance of Rosamund.

  2. I'm glad more people are watching Undertow, I found it to be one of the most moving pieces of cinema in ages. I loved it but am afraid I'd fall into an eternal depression if I saw it again. Peru is delivering some class cinema right now!


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