splice

this movie asks the question 'what if you created a new life form a la frankenstein, and then as it grew to maturity, you kinda thought it was hot?'  yes, its creepy and kinda skeevy, but that's the premise.  where it goes from there has some scary moments, but for the most part it falls flat and is relatively bland for such a dark and twisted premise.

bridesmaids

a very funny gross-out comedy from a woman's perspective.  the story follows kristen wigg as she attends a friend's wedding as a bridesmaid and has to come to terms with the place she is in her life at her age.  the interpersonal relationships are funny and capture a perspective we hadn't really seen much of until this point.  most comedies are about infantalized men as they realize their age, but this one takes that same journey from a woman's perspective.  seems simple enough, but its done with such heart and interesting characterization that it becomes noteworthy for presenting something different.  and its super funny!

moneyball

a fantastic film about baseball.  now, there aren't many of those- i can probably count them on 3 fingers, but his one is quite remarkable.  what is really interesting about this one is that it's not actually about the game of baseball, rather, its about the numbers and stats of the players.  to be honest though, as soon as i knew it was written by aaron sorkin, i knew i would love it!  i'm a big sorkin fan going back to sports night and have loved everything he's done since, so it's not a real surprise that i loved this film too.
this film on paper sounds terrible: its the story of a guy who manages a baseball team based on numbers.  boring.  except that the writing and acting take this one to a most amazing place- its interesting and compelling in a way that i would have never expected.  the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes are what really make this film crackle and come alive with energy.  pitt, hill, hoffman, and pratt make this one come alive with so much heart and interest that i couldn't help but get drawn in and cheer when they found success.

knight and day

a kind of lame take on the secret agent and the girl who gets caught up in the latest assignment.  cruise and diaz are great together, as they have shown before in vanilla sky, but even the good acting, competent directing, and beautiful locations can't save this stinker.

repo men

the premise of this sci-fi story is that in the future you can buy new organs when yours goes bad.  the problem is that its really expensive and if you miss a payment, well, the repo men are coming to take that organ back.  jude law and forest whitaker are the guys who come to take back the organs from those who are past due.  sure, this removal usually results in death, but that's just part of the job.  for an interesting concept, it really falls back into the tropes and cliches of an action/sci-fi film.

timer

a light sci-fi romantic film that adds an interesting element to finding your soulmate: you can get a digital implant in your arm that is a countdown clock to when you will find the love of your life.  sure, it hopes you don't ask any big questions like 'how could it know the future?', but don't worry, you can look past it pretty easily.  we follow a woman who decides to get the implant and when she turns it on she finds out that its blank!  what does that mean and how does she deal with that is where the film goes.  its more interesting than it is good- a great premise, but not that great of a follow through.

hit and run

is this a great movie? no, but it sure it a lot of fun!  there is no pretense in this one, it just simply meant to be a good time.  this one is the passion project of dax shepherd- it was written by, co-directed, and stars dax and his wife.  there are some great chase scenes and funny bits along the way, but this one is just pure fun!

movie 43

the marketing for this movie is definitely correct: this one is very outrageous.  its a sort of series of short stories linked together, each story is filled with famous people doing really gross-out and crude things.  now, is it funny? some of it is, but not enough to make it worth the effort.  its mostly just gross for the sake of being gross.  for as much talent as there is in front the of the camera, that same talent is missing behind the camera.  the farrelly brothers really dropped the ball on this one.  some of the stories have good elements, but they just weren't crafted enough to make them actually good stories.

Lone survivor

ugh.  my dad really wanted to see this one in the theater, i knew it wasn't exactly my style, but it's not like i'm going to turn down an invitation to the movie theater!  its 100% one of those 'rah rah merica!' type movies and doesn't really dig beyond that level of depth.  its a perfectly fine and well made movie, the roles are well acted and the whole thing is very competently made, its just that it was so hollow and predictable.  you know exactly how its going to end- just look at the title!  as i was watching it i realized that this movie is basically a horror film.  it follows all the tropes of a horror film: we are introduced to some young beautiful people, we get to know them while their defenses are down and they are joking around with each other, but once the terror begins, they each get killed one by one by a faceless killer until the last remaining person has to face them and defeat them.  oh, and its super gory.  i'm not usually interested in war movies, and i have very little patience for patriotic garbage.  this one fits exactly into all the stuff i do not like.

jiro dreams of sushi

this is the kind of documentary i love: a look at someone who does something very specific, but does it really well.  this film follows jiro, a man in japan who owns a small sushi restaurant who has worked over the course of his lifetime to make the best sushi he can.  and apparently all that work has paid off: his food has earned three michelin stars- one of only about 120 restaurants in the world to earn this prestigious ranking.
the film looks at all the elements that go into jiro making his perfect sushi, all the steps along the way like making the right rice, picking the perfect fish from the fish docks, and everything else you could possibly imagine.  an interesting element in the documentary is the relationship jiro has with his son and the other workers who have dedicated their lives to making this food.

the killer elite

this one should have been really cool: the staith, clive owen, and de niro.  now thats a pretty cool tough guy cast!  unfortunately the whole thing is very lame and convoluted.  i basically love anything with the staith, but this one was rough even for him!

50/50

a look at what its like to face your death when your life has hardly even begun.  the film looks at a young man who is diagnosed with cancer and must deal with the repercussions of the news.  at times funny, other times moving, the whole thing is a great study of the struggles someone would have if they are told they might die in their mid 20s.

scott pilgrim vs. the world

a fun movie based on the indie comic book of the same name, the story follows scott pilgrim as he must defeat the seven previous loves of his soon to be girlfriend before he can claim her for himself.  the whole movie is set up like a video game, through its editing and end of the level boss battle set-up.  the effects and style of the film perfectly capture the fun of a video game, which creates a really interesting and fun world that the film takes place in.  sure its totally an example of style over substance, but oh what style!

predators

following the cue from its sister series, this one takes the name of the original and just adds an 's'.  we hadn't seen this series outside of the 'avp' films in 20 years, so it was time for a follow-up to the terrible 'predator 2'.  this one takes our heroes to another planet where the predators come to hunt them.  as the name would suggest, there are multiple creatures coming to take down our human crew this time.  as the humans are taken down one by one, there are some plot twists and reveals that keep it interesting.  i wouldn't necessarily call this one a good movie, i would say that its a lot of fun, and compared to the other films in the series, its pretty good.

green hornet

was it a good idea to reboot this series? yes.  was it a good idea to get seth rogen to play the title character? no.  but they do a valiant job trying to overcome that obstacle.  granted, this is not a good movie, but for what it is its a lot of fun.  rogen does his best, despite the miscasting, chou is great as kato, who is the real star of the series anyway.  they clearly did the best they could with what they had, so i don't fault the film for coming up short- its not nearly as short as i was expecting!