December 31, 2013.

This blog is now closed. After three years and 311 posts, I have decided to end this blog. I have enjoyed watching the films, reviewing them, and interacting with global readers.

If you are interested in contacting me, you can do so by commenting on any of the posts. The blog will remain live on the web.
Thank you to all the readers for your comments, ideas, and thoughts. They were helpful, stimulating, and enriching. This is Alene, signing off.

January 30, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Sweden (2009)

When it's over, the movie gave me chills.  It was creepy, disturbing, and downright deserved the "R" rating it received for language, sexual violence, and morbid perversity.  Having read the book, I had hoped the movie would not stray from its origin, and I'm glad it didn't.  In fact, I think the movie gave the story the images that the book failed to transcend.  This is one of those movies that work well as a companion to the book.  From the book, I got the story, the thoughts of the characters, and the emotional tone; from the movie, I got the images which really brought the horrific details to life.  The story's about a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, who is in search for a woman who has been missing, or dead, for forty years. He enlists the help of a female hacker named Lisbeth Salander, portrayed brilliantly by Noomi Rapace.  Salander is tough, she's raw, and she's mental at times, but she still manages to exude a sense of vulnerability that makes me want to root for her.  If you can sit through subtitles, this movie is a gem of a thriller.

My rating: 4 out of 5

Tron Legacy 3D (2010)

When it's over, Tron Legacy's visually stunning special effects makes it worth the extra few bucks in 3D, and honestly, I don't think there's a better way to tell this story except in 3D giving the illusion of being trapped inside a digital game.  The story starts off where the original Tron of the 80's left off, however, it's not necessary to watch the original to understand the story.  Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner reprise their roles as Kevin Flynn and Alan Bradley, the two friends who originally started the game.  It's 20 years later, Sam, Flynn's son, finds his way into the game and is forced to fight for his life.  Sam's only way out will be to find his father, who's been trapped in the game for the past 20 years.  There's a lot of great action which makes up for the simple storyline.  I think the love story between Sam and Quorra, the last of her kind born within the game, could have been more developed to make Sam's character stronger and to give the story an emotional lift.  Overall, the movie was entertaining and actor Micheal Sheen's flamboyant portrayal of Zuse was a pleasant surprise.

My rating: 4 out of 5

January 27, 2011

Kick Ass (2010)

When it's over, I have to admit, when the movie first came out, I thought it was all kinda silly with a boy wearing a funky green suit and saving people, but after I read the comic, I was really blown away by the story and the inner thoughts of a teenager who wanted to "make his mark."  So, after the comic, I decided to watch the big screen version.  It was funny, violent, and cheesy at times, but still entertaining.   Nicholas Cage was great as Big Daddy, and newcomer, Chloe Moretz, was amazing as Hit-Girl.  Watching her jump, flip, and kick some serious butt was so much fun, especially since she's half the size.  British actor, Mark Strong, always makes a great baddie. 

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Trade (2007)

When it's over, Trade is the type of movie that I know even before I see it that it'll make me sad, but yet, I watch it anyways and I'm literally glued to the screen.  The realism is disturbing and the sheer unfortunate fates the characters suffer make this movie compelling.  The story's about sex trafficking and it follows the abduction of a 13 year old Mexican girl who is to be sold via internet by the highest bidder.  The victum's brother enlists the aid of a Texas cop, played by Kevin Kline, to save his sister before she is sold.  No matter how the story ends, which I won't say for those who might watch it, the movie, to me, really is about loss.  This movie's similar to the miniseries Human Tafficking starring Donald Sutherland and Mira Sorvino. 

My rating: 4 out of 5

The Fighter (2010)

When it's over, I had to ask myself if that was really Christian Bale playing the character of Dickey.  I mean, he's so good at playing Dickey that you have to wonder how this loose talking crack addict Dickey was actually the same actor who played the suave and pumped up Batman.  It just proves that Christian Bale's simply a wonderful actor, and without him in this movie, it just wouldn't have been as good.  Mark Wahlberg performed well, but Bale does steal the show. 

My rating: 4 out of 5

January 26, 2011

Gloria (1980)

When it's over, Gloria was a movie of its time (1980) about a down and out woman, played by Gena Rowlands, who suddenly is responsible for her neighbor's child after the family is murdered by the mob.  There's some great acting and dialogue between Rowlands and the mouthy child named Phil.  This was a simple story and it would've been just that if it wasn't for the tension filled directing of Nick Cassavetes, son of Rowlands.  Ending could have been more polished, but like I said, for its time, it's a decent ending.  Worth a viewing if you like older movies driven by character, editing, and style.

My rating: 3 out of 5