Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Newsroom

TV Show: The Newsroom
Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: MA
Length: 60 min
Film Genre(s): Drama.
Director(s): Various
Producer(s): Various
Writer(s): Aaron Sorkin
Jeff Bridges as Will McAvoy
Emily Mortimer as Mackenzie Machale
Sam Waterson as Charlie Skinner
Plot:  Will McAvoy is a popular nightly news anchor who returns from vacation to discover that his staff has deserted him for another show. To add insult to injury, his boss hired his ex-girlfriend as his new executive producer.  Unlike his other shows, Aaron Sorkin wanted The Newsroom to feature real life news.  The show does an amazing job placing it's characters into the middle of real news stories, like the BP oil spill, creating amazing tension and drama.
Acting: Jeff Bridges and the cast have an amazing chemistry!  I was captivated by the Will McAvoy character in the first 10 minutes.  The relationships between Will and Mackenzie, Maggie and Jim and Charlie and Will have this authenticity to them that makes their interactions fun to watch.
What to watch for: Did you like The West Wing?  How about Sports Night?  If so it is a safe bet you'll like this show.  Is it a cop-out to say watch the show?
What to watch out for:  It's on HBO.  Honestly, the worst thing to watch out for on this show is the language.
IMDB User Rating: 8.8 out of 10
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 9
I loved Sports Night and The West Wing and I thoroughly enjoy The Newsroom.  It's like Aaron Sorkin put both of his previous shows in a blender and turned it on high.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Shaun of the Dead

Film Title: Shaun of the Dead
Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 99 minutes
Film Genre: Comedy / Horror
Director: Edgar Wright
Producer: Tim Bevin, et. al.
Writers: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
Simon Pegg as Shaun
Nick Frost as Ed
Kate Ashfield as Liz
Plot: An outbreak of the walking dead disease has struck Britain. A five-star posse holds up trying to survive the milieu. Brilliant comedy ensues.
Acting: It’s British humor. The acting has to be bad. Actually, it is quite good, though the great majority of the cast is a horde of groaning, bloody masses of dead flesh.
Cinematography: Much of the camera work adds to the already funny screenplay.
Visual: Perfect mimicry of classic zombie movies. Scene change montages are funny.
Audio: Good. A fast-paced soundtrack compliments the action of the movie.
When I watched it last: Two days prior to review
What to watch for: Hilarious British antics, the awesome duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
What to watch out for: Language, copious amounts of alcohol, comedic gore
IMDB Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; “a send-up of zombie movies, but in an unexpected way: Instead of focusing on the Undead and trying to get the laughs there, it treats the living characters as sitcom regulars whose conflicts and arguments keep getting interrupted by annoying flesh-eaters.”
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.2 out of 10; Along with Hot Fuzz (Pegg and Frost's latest), Shaun of the Dead is one of the funniest comedies to come out in the past 5 years.
--Reviewed by Brady

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Film Title: Transformers
Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 144 minutes
Film Genre: Action / Adenture / Sci-Fi / 2007
Director: Michael Bay
Producer: Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, et. al.
Writers: John Rogers (story), Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman (story and screenplay)
Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicki
Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes
John Voight as Defense Secretary John Keller
John Torturro as Agent Simmons
Plot: Alien robots have come to earth to find the power of the lost All Spark and have no problem leaving destruction and death in their wake. A band of heroes has also come to save the people of earth.
Acting: The thespian efforts in the film could certainly be better, but story, action and effects make up where acting is lacking. Not one of Torturro's best.
Cinematography: Good. The first time the audience sees Optimus Prime transform, one might hear a cheer from some (coming from a fan of the original show).
Visual: Incredible visual effects throughout, if maybe too much.
Audio: Very good
When I watched it last: A few weeks prior to review
What to watch for: Awesome special effects, Optimus Prime, 2008 Mustang GT and 2009 Camaro.
What to watch out for: Some language
IMDB Rating: 7.7 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; "It's goofy fun with a lot of stuff that blows up real good, and it has the grace not only to realize how preposterous it is, but to make that into an asset."
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.2 out of 10; Transformers is a fun, action-packed adventure to save the world. Don't miss one of 2007's best.
--Reviewed by Brady

Monday, April 30, 2007

Deja Vu

Film Title: Deja Vu
Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 128 minutes
Film Genre: Action / Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Director: Tony Scott
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer, et. al.
Writers: Bill Marsilii and Terry Rossio
Denzel Washington as Doug Carlin
Paula Patton as Claire Kuchever
Val Kilmer as Agent Pryzwarra
Jim Caviezel as Carroll Oerstadt
Plot: ATF agent Doug Carlin (Washington) investigates a ferry explosion and finds a secret government experiment that allows investigators to see the past. An obsession with one victim propels Carlin to attempt to change it.
Acting: Denzel strikes again as an enforcer of the law. One would think that he had oversaturated the genre (Out of Time, Training Day, Inside Man, etc...), but once again he impresses with his characterization. None of the other actors are particularly outstanding in Deja Vu, but the sum total of acting is superb.
Cinematography: Good.
Visual: One of the movies strong points. The Special FX in Deja Vu are phenomenal. The explosion of the ferry in the beginning is one of the best ever seen in a film. The digital aspects of the movie are mesmerizing at times. In order to not spoil the film, it will be left at that.
Audio: Good.
When I watched it last: One day prior to review.
What to watch for: Denzel, an awesome plotline, edge of your seat action and suspense, the discussion that will inevitably occur after the movie.
What to watch out for: Language, intense drama, very brief nudity, some violence.
IMDB Rating: 6.9 out of 10
Chicago Tribune Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; "It's an almost overwhelmingly professional picture, murderously fast, slick and full of outlandish notions, painstakingly realized...surprisingly satisfying -- thanks to Washington, a good cast, Tony Scott's swift direction and that unyielding professionalism" (Michael Wilmington).
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.7 out of 10; A thrilling ride like you've never seen before...or have you?!
--Reviewed by Brady

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Movies of the Millenium

The following is a list of personal favorites made since the turn of the millenium:




The Patriot

Remember the Titans



Harry Potter Series and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Monsters, Inc.

Moulin Rouge!

Ocean's Eleven



Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Pianist

The Ring

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Ying Xiong (Hero)


Finding Nemo

The Italian Job

Kill Bill: Vol. 1

The Last Samurai

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl




Finding Neverland

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Kill Bill Vol. 2

Million Dollar Baby

Shrek 2


Batman Begins

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Cinderella Man

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


Sin City

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Wallace & Grommet: Curse of the Were-Rabbit



Casino Royale

The Departed

Flags of Our Fathers

Little Miss Sunshine

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The Prestige

Rocky Balboa

The Pursuit of Happyness

Laberinto del Fauno, El



Amazing Grace

Movies that probably should be on the list, but which I never saw:

Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)

Cidade de Deus (2002)

Untergang, Der (2004)

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Night at the Museum (2006)

Blood Diamond (2006)

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

The Last King of Scotland (2006)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Movie in a Minute: The Departed

What happens when an undercover cop poses as a Boston mafia member and a Boston mafia member poses as a cop? The Departed happens, that's what. This film marked a cinema milestone as Martin Scorsese bagged his first Oscar. The rumors of a snub are finally put to rest and the statuette made its way into Marty's grip. With that said, The Departed stands as a testament to what a great crew can accomplish. Look for a moment at who worked on this film: 1) Scorsese as director, of course [Casino, Goodfellas, Raging Bull]; 2) William Monahan wrote the screenplay [Kingdom of Heaven]; 3) Brad Pitt as a Producer; 4) Music by Howard Shore [Lord of the Rings trilogy] and 5) actors DiCaprio, Damon, Nicholson, Wahlberg, Sheen and Baldwin. This is, arguably, DiCaprio's best and a great performance by Nicholson and Damon. With four Oscars total (Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Directing and the coup de grace Best Film), The Departed cements a spot in the chronicles of crime drama.
Warning: This film contains crude language, violence and extreme awesomeness.
The Cinema Standard "Movie in a Minute" Rating: 8.8 out of 10; If you're a fan of Scorsese, DiCaprio, Nicholson, Damon or crime drama, please get this movie for your collection.
- - Reviewed by Brady

Monday, April 02, 2007

El Laberinto del Fauno / Pan's Labrynth

Film Title: El Laberinto del Fauno / Pan's Labrynth
Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 112 minutes
Film Genre: Art / Drama / Fantasy / Thriller
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Producer(s): Belen Atienza, Elena Manrique
Writers(s): Guillermo del Toro
Ivana Baquero as Ofelia
Ariadna Gil as Carmen Vidal
Sergi Lopez as Capitan Vidal
Maribel Verdu as Mercedes
Alex Angulo as Dr. Ferreiro
Doug Jones as Pan / Pale Man
Plot: A young girl in Fascist Spain intertwines the real world with a fantasy world where she is a long-lost princess.
Acting: Baquero steals the show, at least among the human characters. Doug Jones as Pan (the faun) really makes the movie.
Cinematography: Oscar for Cinematography, check!
Visual: Oscar for Art Direction, check! Pan looks awesome!
When I watched it last: Two days prior to review
What to watch for: Awesome visual effects and cinematography; a world just beyond our own.
What to watch out for: Some disturbing violence; language in another language.
IMDB Rating: 8.5 out of 10; #50 on the Top 250 Movies of All Time as voted by users.
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) Rating: 4 out of 4 stars; "Pan's Labyrinth is one of the cinema's great fantasies, rich with darkness and wonder."
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.6 out of 10; Dark and mesmerizing! A fairy tale not intended for kids.
--Reviewed by Brady

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness

Film Title: The Pursuit of Happyness
Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 117 minutes
Film Genre: Biography / Drama
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Producer(s): David Alper,
Writers(s): Steve Conrad
Will Smith as Chris Gardner
Jaden Smith as Christopher Gardner
Thandie Newton as Linda
Brian Howe as Jay Twistle
Plot: The true story of Chris Gardner, a down-on-his-luck entrepreneur who wanted a better life for his family. With no qualifications, he attempted to become a stock broker on Wall Street. His struggles and victories are chronicled in The Pursuit of Happyness.
Acting: Though the acting is superb thorughout the film, Will Smith does continue to lock himself into one roll - the dramatic. No complaints to be heard though, as Happyness introduces the father-son duo of Will and Jaden. A bond of love that is shared by few (especially a 7 year old) is witnessed in the film and is a credit to the young Jaden's talent.
Cinematography: Good
Visual: Good
When I watched it last: Three days prior to review
What to watch for: Will and Jaden's performances; a heart-tugger.
What to watch out for: Some language; intense drama.
IMDB Rating: 7.4 out of 10
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) Rating: NA
Outside Review: "Inspirational...the word that best captures Will Smith's powerful portrayal of real-life father and pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps worker Chris Gardner" (Adam R. Holz, Plugged In).
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.3 out of 10;
--Reviewed by Brady

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Batoru rowaiaru (Battle Royale)

Film Title: Battle Royale
Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: N/A
Length: 114 min / Japan:122 min (director's cut)
Film Genre: Action / Drama / Thriller
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Producer: Kenta Fukasaku
Koushun Takami (novel)
Kenta Fukasaku (screenplay)
Tatsuya Fujiwara as Shuya Nanahara - Boy #15
Aki Maeda as Noriko Nakagawa - Girl #15
Taro Yamamoto as Shougo Kawada - Boy #5
Chiaki Kuriyama as Takako Chigusa - Girl #13
Sousuke Takaoka as Hiroki Sugimura - Boy #11
Plot: At the dawn of the new millennium the Japanese government is near collapse. Unemployment is at an all time high and the violence amongst the nations youth is running rampant. In an effort to combat this problem the government introduces the Battle Royale Act. Each year a class of high school students are selected at random for a "field trip". They are kidnapped and taken to a deserted island where they are forced to participate in a fight to the death, the last one left alive is allowed to return home. The "game" is used as the ultimate sign of what the government will do to punish disobedient youth.
Acting: A bunch of teenage kids. Nothing really top notch. One thing is worth mentioning Chiaki Kuriyama plays Go-Go Yubari in Kill Bill Vol. 1
Cinematography Great overhead shots and great close-ups
Visual: The island is gorgeous with very elaborate sets pieces.
Audio: Standard. Nothing spectacular
When I watched it last: An hour ago
What to watch for: Crazy Story, Social Commentary
What to watch out for: Subtitles, Language, Gory Violence (At times), Sexual overtones
IMDB Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: N/A
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.4 out of 10. I have wanted to see this film for a long time, it is interesting to say the very least. Japanese films tend to be over the top when it comes to violence and this one is no exception. This story accurately depicts the reality of sin and the violent nature of man. Kill or be killed is the law and friend quickly becomes foe in the world of the Battle Royale.
--Reviewed by Jason

Monday, March 12, 2007

Movie in a Minute: Babel

Babel comes from the director/producer of Amores Perros, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The 2006 entry by Inarritu was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, two Suporting Actress nods and other nominations, plus a win for Best Original Score. Babel is an obvious social commentary on the language barrier: the problems it creates, the triumph over it. The film follows four interwoven stories of families in Morroco, America, Mexico and Japan. After the first five minutes, this story quickly becomes tense and never lets up until the credits roll. Relative newcomer roles by Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza (Best Supporting Actress nominees) in addition to star performances from Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett make Babel a movie definitely worth seeing. Warning: Moments of nudity; language; tense drama.
The Cinema Standard "Movie in a Minute" Rating: 8.0 out of 10...look for Dakota fannings little sister, Elle, as Pitt and Blanchett's daughter Debbie.
- - Reviewed by Brady

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Frank Miller's 300

Film Title: 300
Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 117
Film Genre: Action / Art / Drama / History / War
Director: Zack Snyder
Producer(s): Frank Miller, et. al.
Writers(s): Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad and Michael Gordon (screenplay); Frank Miller and Lynn Varley (graphic novel)
Gerard Butler as King Leonidas
Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo
David Wenham as Dilios
Dominic West as Theron
Vincent Regan as Captain
Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes
Plot: The mighty Persian Empire demands defiant Sparta's allegiance, but King Leonidas will not bow to King Xerxes rule. The million man Persian Army marches against tiny Sparta and King Leonidas takes 300 of his bravest men to challenge them. Loosely based on the true story of the Battle of Thermopylae which took place in 480 BC.
Acting: The acting is certainly over-dramatised in 300, but that is expected (if not necessary) in the portrayal of a graphic novel. Butler, Regan and Wenham stand tall above the rest of the cast as the three main Spartan warriors.
Cinematography: Amazing! See Visual.
Visual: One of the grand visual spectacles of cinematic history! Blood looks like paint on a canvas, helping to drop the uber-violent content. The use of slow-motion and high-contrast desaturation make this movie a heart-pounding thriller and a stunning visual masterpiece. Costume was - for the most part - incredible, especially the many cultures represented in the diverse Persian Army (Chinese, Arab, African and European warriors were all represented). Surreal backgrounds and sets help maintain the feel of a graphic novel. A grainy film technique finishes off the visuals, solidifying 300 as the new benchmark for FX techniques.
Audio: Very good.
When I watched it last: One night prior to review.
What to watch for: Jaw-dropping visual effects; a great story told in the most incredible, sensory-numbing fashion.
What to watch out for: Nudity; Sexual Content including one sex scene and an implied orgy; Surprisingly goes without cursing; Blood and Gore with several decapitated bodies and severed limbs.
IMDB Rating: 8.4 out of 10
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) Rating: 4 out of 4 stars (Richard Roeper); "This is a film that never, not for one second, considers taking its foot off the accelerator."
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.5 out of 10; Without the nudity and sexuality, I would consider this one of the best films I've ever seen. If blood and sex bother you, don't watch this one. If you love graphic novels and can handle the rough nature of the film, this is the movie for you.
--Reviewed by Brady

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Amazing Grace

Film Title: Amazing Grace
Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: PG
Length: 111 minutes
Film Genre: Drama / Biography / History
Director: Michael Apted
Producer(s): Jeanney Kim
Writers(s): Steven Knight
Iaon Gruffudd as William Wilberforce
Ramola Garai as Barbara Wilberforce
Benedict Cumberbatch as Pitt the Younger
Rufus Sewell as Thomas Clarkson
Michael Gambon as Lord Charles Fox
Albert Finney as John Newton
Ciaran Hinds as Lord Tarleton
Plot: William Wilberforce, a young and ambitious member of the Parliament, comes to a moral dilemma in his life: should he follow the will of God or continue in politics? The striking answer is yes, on both counts. Wilberforce would go on to challenge the British Parliament for years in the fight against slavery.
Acting: Some of the best. Gruffudd is incredible in this film. His portrayal of the ever-tormented Wilberforce is the epitome of great historical drama acting. The supporting cast helps make this one of the year's best.
Cinematography: The camera work was very well done. It is often overlooked in historical dramas.
Visual: Very good.
Audio: Good.
When I watched it last: Less than a week ago
What to watch for: A moving account of the fight against the slave trade in Brittain; Gruffudd and his supporting cast.
What to watch out for: Some language, opium use for medicinal purposes.
IMDB Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: N/A
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.3 out of 10; Well made and worth seeing. If you have any interest whatsoever in the history of slave abolition, you must see this film.
--Reviewed by Brady

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Movie in a Minute (or less): Epic Movie

Horrible. Pitiful. Worst movie EVER. These don't come close to describing Epic Movie. If you're considering watching this film, please...PLEASE, don't do it. This movie is the equivalent of Ralphie's Christmas present from his aunt (A Christmas Story). The wrapping might be nice, but there's a pink bunny suit inside...and you're gonna have to wear it for a while - shame and embarassment accompanying the event. Just...don't. Save yourself $8 if you're going to the theater, $3 if you're going to rent it or lots of pain and disappointment if you're going to watch it. DISCLAIMER: This movie may cause permanent brain damage, nausea, vomiting, uncontrollable drooling, bowel spasms, coma or death.
The Cinema Standard "Movie in a Minute" Score: -2.3; #25 and moving toward number 1 on the IMDb Bottom 100 worst movies of all time as voted by users.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Movie in a Minute: Rocky Balboa

Another Rocky movie? Are you serious?! YES, I am! Thank you Sylvester Stallone for not leaving it at Rocky V, one of the biggest disappointments in all of filmdom. Written, directed, produced and starring John Rambo, Judge Dredd or whatever stereotypical Stallone action hero you choose. As is very evident in the film, Stallone has aged quite a bit, but still holds his own. Nearly everything about this movie was good. Nearly everything. There were the now cliche lines one would hear from Balboa, but you almost come to expect them. The acting in the film was as good or better than most of the other films (excluding possibly the original). The cinematography made this movie, along with the seemless interspersion of flashbacks from the previous movies. This movie has heart - and a lot of it - which is tough to come by in a film these days. Two things I must mention: 1) The use of black and white with color accents is great and 2) the fight is filmed as if it were a PPV fight (with the exception of the final round, of course) with info boxes and commentary. Awesome job, Sylvester Stallone...just don't make anymore please. Don't judge this movie until you've seen it!
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.3 out of 10
--Reviewed by Brady

Children of Men

Film Title: Children of Men
Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 109 minutes
Film Genre: Action / Drama / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Producer(s): Armyan Bernstein, Thomas A. Bliss
Writers(s): Alfonso Cuaron, et. al.
Clive Owen as Theodore Faron
Claire-Hope Ashitey as Kee
Julianne Moore as Julian Taylor
and Michael Caine as Jasper Palmer
Plot: For reasons unknown, humans have become sterile and to make things worse the youngest person in the world - an eighteen year old - has just died. In the chaotic world of not-too-distant-future England, a refugee girl has turned up pregnant and a few brave people must attempt to get her to scientists who can figure out the "cure" to infertility.
Acting: Children of Men is a good movie and better thespian efforts (along with some plot adjustments) could have made this a great movie. Clive Owen is a great actor, but he cannot hold this one up on his own. Julianne Moore proves, yet again, why she should not be allowed to have any serious roles: uninspired and unconvincing come to mind.
Cinematography: Some blurry camera work makes for headaches, almost literally at points, escpecially during close-ups and zooming shots. Otherwise, the cinematography is good. Minus a few easliy recognisable set-up shots, the filming draws you into the story in a very "real" way.
Visual: Settings were often reminiscent of Orwell's descriptions in 1984 and Equilibrium's Libria: the wealthy in their beautiful Greek and Roman inspired neo-cathedrals and the poor or middle class, as it were, in chaotic slums. Scenes of confrontation with police and government authorities are brutal and graphic, many victims with missing limbs and bloody wounds.
Audio: Sometimes the sound seems to come from places it should not, like in a conversation including several persons. The voices come from every direction, but often from the wrong side. A tad bit confusing (and frustrating) for audiophiles, like the author of this article.
When I watched it last: A few hours ago
What to watch for: A good story (maybe poorly executed at times, but still a very good story), a sometimes-exciting thriller
What to watch out for: Language, Strong Violence, Momentary Nudity, Some Drug Use, Julianne Moore
IMDB Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: NA
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 7.1 out of 10; Some may find it entertaining, but not a great movie by most any means, but a decent film nonetheless.
--Reviewed by Brady

Friday, December 29, 2006


Film Title: Munich
Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 164 minutes
Film Genre: Action / Drama / History
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy, Barry Mendel, Steven Spielberg, Colin Wilson
Writers: Tony Kushner and Eric Roth (screenplay) / George Jonas (book)
Eric Bana as Avner
Daniel Craig as Steve
Ciaran Hinds as Carl
Plot: 11 Israeli Olympians died in a hostage crisis at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. A team of mercenaries was assembled by the Israeli government to "take care" of those responsible. Flashbacks of the hostage situation are interspersed with the assasinations of the Palestinian conspirators.
Acting: Munich stars several up and coming actors plus a few seasoned veterans. The great character alchemist Spielberg creates another incredible ensemble. Bana is a great lead man - belonging with the likes of the also young Christian Bale (Equilibrium, American Psycho, Batman Begins). Daniel Craig, the new and improved 007 (Casino Royale), shows his blooming potential in his protrayal of the ever-abrasive and sometimes comedic David. Hinds' Carl reminds one of a past nearly forgotten in his classic style and demeanor.
Cinematography: You average Spielberg shots - some of the best. A vintage feel with its slightly desaturated color palette.
Visual: Some disturbing usage of explosives (a charge planted in a man's bed, for example), but some of the best witnessed in a film. They are believable and powerful at the same time - a feat hard to come by in a movie.
Audio: Great! Great! Great!
When I watched it last: An hour ago
What to watch for: Performance by Bana, the oh-so-real feel of the film (due in part to clips from actual 1972 news programs and spot-on creations of other broadcasts), a story of Avner's family so many miles away in Brooklyn and finally the madness of a man driven to guilt and paranoia.
What to watch out for: Language, Violence, Mild Sexual Content, Nudity (a woman is shot and left naked)
IMDB Rating: 7.9 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 4 out of 4 stars; "Munich is an act of courage and conscience...As a thriller, Munich is efficient, absorbing, effective. As an ethical argument, it is haunting."
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.2 out of 10; The content of the movie may split some opinions of the movie, but it is a striking success of a film. Watch this one.
--Reviewed by Brady

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Movie in a Minute: The Polar Express

Robert Zemeckis' Polar Express is a fun-filled adventure to...where else, the North Pole. Tom Hanks plays the main character, a boy who has doubts about Santa Claus and Christmas magic. Hanks also plays the conductor, a stern man who - according to himself - "has never been late". To top it all off, Hanks also voices four other characters in the film. Digital motion capture was used for the entire film, and while from-scratch animation is more desirable (according to this article's writer), the film looks pretty good overall. This children's-classic-to-movie hit will take you on a round trip journey to the North Pole, where magic abounds and all one is asked to do is...believe.
The Cinema Standard "Movie in a Minute" Rating: 7.6 out of 10

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Right Stuff

Film Title: The Right Stuff
Year: 1983
MPAA Rating: PG
Length: 153 minutes
Film Genre: Adventure / Drama / History
Director: Phillip Kaufman
Producer: Irwin Winkler
Writers: Phillip Kaufman and Tom Wolfe (book)
Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager
Scott Glenn as Alan Shepard
Ed Harris as John Glenn
Dennis Quaid as Gordon Cooper
Fred Ward as Gus Grissom
Lance Henriksen as Wally Schirra
Plot: The Right Stuff chronicles the origins of the United States Space program. It begins with Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier and continues the story through the Mercury 7 space program.
Acting: The acting in this movie was superb. John Glenn is played by Ed Harris who always has the ability to communicate raw emotion on screen. Sam Shepard plays a very determined and proud Yeager, who was not accepted in the space program. My favorite was Scott Glenn's portrayal of Alan Shepard, his hi jinks and his launch sequence scene are classic. Quaid plays the arrogant Cooper, who brags he is the best pilot he's ever seen. His Mercury mission was the last solo space flight of any American astronaut. Ward delivers a great performance as the tough and hardworking astronaut Gus Grissom. If you watch Apollo 13, it opens with the story of Grissom's death in the Apollo 1 fire.
Cinematography The cinematography is as good if not better than some modern space/action films. Launch sequences are shot very much like modern launches are filmed. The placement of a camera in a low position in the space capsule was genius. It captures all the drama and emotion of the pilot's flights.
Visual: The flight / launch sequences and spaces scenes are amazing when you remember this movie was made in '83 and special effects were not all computer generated.
Audio: The sound of engines roaring and fly-bys are as good as modern flight or space movies.
When I watched it last: Last night
What to watch for: The competition between the astronauts, hilarious hi jinks and amazing action sequences.
What to watch out for: Language, Length of film (3+ hours)
IMDB Rating: 7.8 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 4 stars (makes Ebert's Great Movie list)
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 9.0 out of 10. The Right Stuff is a great movie, full of great story telling and action. This movie also affords us the opportunity to see Harris, Glenn, Shepard and Quaid before their careers took off. If you like movies about the US Space program and the history of flight this movie is for you.
--Reviewed by Jason

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Riding Giants

Laird Hamilton being towed into a wave

Film Title: Riding Giants
Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 105 minutes
Film Genre: Documentary / Sport
Director: Stacy Peralta
Producer: Paul Crowder
Writers: Stacy Peralta and Sam George
Jeff Clark
Darrick Doerner
Laird Hamilton
Dave Kalama
Greg Noll
Plot: A look into the origins and history of surfing.
Acting: No real acting. Riding Giants features conversations with many world famous surfers. This film is the telling of their stories, of their surfing exploits and details how surfing evolved and became what it is today.
Cinematography Interviews accompained by surfing footage.
Visual: Some of the footage is just sick. When you see Laird Hamilton drop on a 60+ wave you will have to pick your jaw up off the floor.
Audio: Good soundtrack featuring old beach music and modern alternative.
When I watched it last: 10 minutes ago
What to watch for: Many comedic moments, crazy waves, spectacular wipeouts and amazing stories.
What to watch out for: Some language
IMDB Rating: 7.6 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 3 and 1/2 stars
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.5 out of 10. I got into surfing this past summer and fell in love. This movie tells a captivating story with great footage of gnarly waves and nasty wipeouts. Whether you are into surfing or not this documentary is entertaining and full of interesting and colorful stories.
--Reviewed by Jason

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Film Title: Eragon
Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: PG
Length: 104 minutes
Film Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Director: Stefen Fangmeier
Producer: John Davis, Wyck Godfrey, Adam Goodman
Writer: Christopther Paolini (novel), Peter Buchman (screenplay)
Edward Speleers as Eragon
Jeremy Irons as Brom
Sienna Guillory as Arya
Robert Carlyle as Durza
Garrett Hedlund as Murtagh
John Malkovich as King Galbotorix
Plot: King Galbatorix has reigned as tyrant over Alegaesia for many years, ridding the land of the famed Dragon Riders. A young boy named Eragon steps forward to take hold of his destiny as the next - and possible last hope - of the riders.
Acting: A poor rating is probably giving too much credit to most of the actors in this film.
Cinematography: There are few scenes which show any real cinematographic merit. A few of the wide landscape sweeps are nice, but overall it is an average action adventure film.
Visual: Some of the flight scenes are good. Galbatorix's castle/hall/room/whatever you would call it is a poor job of design. It's just sad. I don't think there were actually any walls, it must have been an open set with a cloth map on one side and a big throne on the other.
Audio: A decent soundtrack.
When I watched it last: Two nights ago
What to watch for: Saphira and the incredibly beautiful Guillory as Arya.
What to watch out for: Dark magic, not much else. The acting and screenplay is bad enough. Thanks for ruining an incredible story!
IMDB Rating: 5.0 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 2 out of 4 stars; "Tales of flying dragons and sword-wielding heroes are grand indeed, especially when the child in each of us can find a world of enchantment therein. Eragon could have, and should have been such a tale." (Miriam di Nunzio)
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 5.6 out of 10. As Durza, the Shade, relates Eragon, "I expected you to be...well...more." I couldn't have said it better myself.
--Reviewed by Brady

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)

Film Title: Joyeux Noel (French) / Merry Christmas (USA)
Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (originally R, but was changed on appeal)
Length: 116 minutes
Film Genre: Drama / War / History / Foreign
Director: Christian Carion
Producer: Christophe Rossignon
Writer: Christian Carion
Benno Furmann as Nikolaus Sprink
Diane Kruger as Anna Sorensen
Guillaume Canet as Lieutenant Audebert
Alex Ferns as Gordon
Daniel Bruhl as Horstmayer
Gary Lewis as Father Palmer
Plot: The recounting of a Christmas truce on the front lines of World War I. Scottish, French and German soldiers share the joy of Christmas, much to the chagrin of their commanding officers.
Acting: The three unit commanders - Scottish Gordon, French Audebert and German Horstmayer - are a superb onscreen trio, but one character stands out from the rest. Gary Lewis' Father Palmer is the true hero of a story filled with heroes.
Cinematography: Not much to brag about, but there is nothing to complain about either.
Visual: There are not a lot of special effects, but probably because the movie is set in World War I.
Audio: Sweeping war-movie music with ebbing symphonies are interpersed throughout the film. The singing in the film steals the show though. Sorensen and Sprink make up a performing duo on and off the stage. The couple are a soprano and a tenor in German opera and share a love interest. They entertain the amassment of troops and bring an emotion to the front line that has been suppressed by the hate which surfaces in war.
When I watched it last: Last Night
What to watch for: Lewis' sermon.
What to watch out for:
A bedroom scene with very brief nudity; some blood (it is a war movie, or at least a movie that occurs during a war).
IMDB Rating: 7.7 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; "[T]his moment of peace actually did take place, among men who were punished for it, and who mostly died soon enough afterward. But on one Christmas, they were able to express what has been called...the brotherhood of man."
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.3 out of 10; Though I didn't write much on this film, it is definitely a must see, especially near Christmas time.
--Reviewed by Brady

Monday, December 18, 2006


Film Title: Brick
Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 110 minutes
Film Genre: Crime / Drama / Mystery / Neo-Noir
Director: Rian Johnson
Producer: Norman Dreyfuss, Ram Bergman, Mark G. Mathis
Writers: Rian Johnson
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Brendan
Nora Zehetner as Laura
Lukas Haas as The Pin
Noah Fleiss as Tugger
Naoh Segen as Dode
Matt O'Leary as The Brain
Emilie de Ravin as Emily
Plot: A girl mixed up in the drug world of an average high school dies mysteriously. Her ex-beau decides to find out who is responsible. Welcome to the neo-noir detective movie.
Acting: The acting in the movie is strange to say the least. Every character is played one step beyond normal - an oversaturation of reality, or absurdity at times. I like it for the most part. Gordon-Levitt was a perfect cast for this role and Zehetner's Laura is the epitome of the beautiful femme fatale (it's even mentioned by Brendan in the movie).
Cinematography: The cinematography is nice, but not ground-breaking. Scenes at a tunnel were shot well with some of the action shot outside looking in and some of the action shot from the inside looking out, creating silhouettes.
Visual: When Brendan is punched in the face, a fast white flash (almost comic book starburst style) fills the screen. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but it's a cheap effect to accomplish and at least adds something to the action. Another cheap, but very effective, visual is the way that Johnson transitions from Brendan's dream sequence back to reality. A piece of black plastic moves up a waterway, slides up and covers the camera. Then it is quickly pulled off Brendan's head like the covers of his bed. The plastic coming up the water was actually filmed backwards with Emilie walking backwards as well, so that when played forward the plastic would flow up the water beside the awkwardly walking Emily.
Audio: Slow moving songs with odd sounds - interjected during periods of the film that are devoid of dialogue - match the movie's odd plot and action.
When I watched it last: Last Night
What to watch for: Gordon-Levitt's Brendan, the incredibly beautiful Zehetner, Tugger's Mustang, the Pin's cane, the Pin's mom and any scene involving a fight.
What to watch out for:
A shot to the head with much blood, reference to drug use, language.
IMDB Rating: 7.8 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; "The story is never clear while it unfolds, but it provides a rich source of dialogue, behavior and incidents."
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10; I liked the movie but was confused for the most part and still had many questions at the end, but what mystery movie doesn't and shouldn't leave you questioning things?
--Reviewed by Brady

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Top Movies

So, you can’t figure out what movie to watch tonight?

How about watching one of the greats – those classic movies that define their respective genres? So here’s a list of 50 great films that everyone should see at some point in their lives. These are our picks for making a great movie night!

Secondary genres are listed in parentheses.

Action: The Matrix (Sci-fi) / Die Hard (Thriller)

Adventure: Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade (Action)

Animated: Toy Story (Comedy) / The Lion King (Drama)

Comedy: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Historical, or Hysterical) / The Princess Bride (Drama)

Comedy – Romantic: You’ve Got Mail (Drama)

Comedy – Dramatic: Forrest Gump (Historical)

Comic Book: Batman Begins (Action)

Courtroom: A Time to Kill (Drama) / A Few Good Men (Drama)

Creature: Jaws (Action/Adventure) / Jurassic Park (Action/Adventure)

Crime: The Untouchables (Drama/Gangster) / The Godfather (Drama/Gangster)

Documentary: Ken Burns’ The Civil War (Historical)

Drama: The Shawshank Redemption (Crime) / Schindler’s List (Historical)

Epic: Gladiator (Drama)

Experimental: Memento (Suspense)

Fantasy: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Drama)

Foreign: Leon: The Professional (Crime/Drama)

Heist: Ocean’s 11 (Crime/Thriller)

Historical: Gone with the Wind (War/Drama)

Horror: The Shining (Thriller) / The Ring (Thriller)

Indie: Pulp Fiction (Crime/Thriller)

Mini-series: Band of Brothers (War)

Musical: The Wizard of Oz (Adventure) / Moulin Rouge! (Comedy/Romance)

Sci-fi: Star Wars: A New Hope (Drama) / 2001: A Space Odyssey (Experimental)

Sci-fi – Alien: The Abyss (Drama/Thriller) / Alien (Thriller)

Sports: The Natural (Drama) / Remember the Titans (Drama)

Suspense: The Sixth Sense (Drama/Thriller)

Thriller: Se7en (Crime/Drama) / Collateral (Crime/Drama)

Thriller – Psychological: The Silence of the Lambs (Crime/Drama)

War – Civil War: Glory (Drama)

War – Foreign War: Braveheart (Drama/Historical)

War – Revolutionary War: The Patriot (Drama/Historical)

War – Vietnam: Apocalypse Now (Drama/Psychological Thriller) / Platoon (Drama)

War – WWII: Saving Private Ryan (Drama/Historical) / Patton (Drama/Historical)

Western: The Outlaw Josey Wales (Drama) / Unforgiven (Drama)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale (2006)

Film Title: Casino Royale
Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: P-13
Length: 144 minutes
Film Genre: Action / Adventure / Thriller
Director: Martin Campbell
Producer: Barbara Brocolli
Writers: Neil Purvis, Robert Wade and Ian Flemming
Daniel Craig as James Bond/007
Ava Green as Vesper Lynn
Mads Mikkelson as Le Chiffre
Judi Dench as M
Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter
Plot: The very first assignment for MI6 agent James Bond. Bond's mission: To stop international banker/terrorist Le Chiffre from winning a high stakes poker tournament at the Casino Royale.
Acting: In my humble opinion Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery. I stated many months ago that this Bond movie was not going to be anything like the others, and that much like Batman Begins, was going to revitalize the dying Bond movie franchise, I was definately right (I love it when I'm right).
Cinematography This is Campbell's second Bond film (directed Goldeneye) and he does a fantastic job directing this one. This movie is not like Goldeneye or really any other Bond film for that matter. The first 10 minutes of the film are black and white, it really added to the feel that this movie was going to be dark. The movie is definately darker than any of the other movies (which is what I predicted), it has some of the comedic elements of the others films and carries the classic Bond elements but takes it up a notch. The darker feel in my opinion is the way it should be. Bond: "So you're telling me you want me to be half monk, half hitman". James Bond is a series about a spy with a license to kill, this movie is the first time you really see this played out to the extreme and it is awesome.
Visual: Awesome action, camera work is great, gritty, the black and white beginning is awesome.
Audio: Chris Cornell (Audioslave/Soundgarden) does the opening song.
When I watched it last: Last Night
What to watch for: If you like James Bond movies then this one is for you. It is not all gadgets and guns, there is a good deal of hand to hand combat. Watch for the random moments of classic Bond comedy.
What to watch out for:
Hmm....torture scene...just wait for'll understand. Pacing is slow at times and it is a little long.
IMDB Rating: 8.1 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 3 out of 4 stars
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.7 out of 10. This movie is just plain great. In high school I was a huge Bond fan, especially of the Connery and Moore ones. Goldeneye was alright, but after that the Bond franchise tanked. This movie is the re-invention of a cinematic icon, kinda cool they are starting at the characters beginning.
--Reviewed by Jason

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Godfather

Film Title: The Godfather
Year: 1972
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 175 minutes
Film Genre: Drama / Crime
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Producer: Albert S. Ruddy
Writers: Mario Puzo (novel); Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola (screenplay)
Marlin Brando as Don Vito Corleone
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
James Caan as Santino "Sonny" Corleone
Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen
Plot: As the Don of one of the five mafia families of New York, Vito Corleone must somehow prep his reluctant son into taking the family "business".
Acting: With this cast, a director would have to be an idiot not to succeed. The talent in this movie is enough for five blockbusters. Every character was perfectly cast. Brando and Pacino are a duo that simply create magic.
Cinematography: Coppola is a director not afraid to let the camera sit still. The slow (but perfect) pace of the film is dictated by the camera.
Visual: Notice the lighting in the film. Scenes that involve happy moments for characters are shot during the day in well-lit areas with bright colors all around. Scenes involving murder or other shady activity are shot in dark rooms, sometimes in near pitch black with dark furniture and dark walls and often at night.
Audio: For 1972, you won't get any better. In fact, for 1982 you won't get any better. A strangling is not a pleasant thing to hear.
When I watched it last: In the theater (!!!) two weeks prior to review
What to watch for: Brando, Pacino, Duvall - - simply amazing. Add Francis Ford Coppola and an amazing supporting cast...voila! Great movie!
What to watch out for: Violence, Blood, Death; Momentary nudity; Language.
IMDB Rating: 9.1 out of 10; #1 on the top 250 movies of all time as rated by users.
Roger Ebert Rating: 4 out of 4 stars; "[The Godfather] brushes aside the flashy glamour of the traditional gangster picture and gives us what's left: fierce tribal loyalties, deadly little neighborhood quarrels in Brooklyn, and a form of vengeance to match every affront."
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 9.4 out of 10; it's easy to see why some have called it the greatest film of all time.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Magnificent Seven

FilmTitle: The Magnificent Seven
Year: 1960
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 128 minutes
Film Genre: Western / Adventure / Drama
Director: John Sturges
Producer: Walter Mirisch
Writers: Williams Roberts (Seven Samurai: Akira Kurosawa)
Yul Brynner as Chris Adams
Eli Wallach as Clavera
Steve McQueen as Vin
Charles Bronson as Bernardo O'Reilly
Robert Vaughn as Lee
James Coburn as Britt
Plot: A small Mexican village is oppressed by the ruthless bandito Calvera. Fearing the worst the villagers hire seven gunfighters to defend them.
Acting: Some pretty good acting out of some of the most famously rugged men in film history. The actors do a good job of mastering the mannerisms of the characters they are modeled after (Seven Samurai). The actors really add so much to this film, creating characters that you really like and can't wait to see how the movie plays out.
Cinematography Good camera work, the angles and action sequences are well done.
Visual: The set pieces are great and the villages have a classic western feel
Audio: Nothing special
When I watched it last: Last weekend
What to watch for: Good acting, a good story (a western remake of Seven Samurai). some really funny comedic moments
What to watch out for:
IMDB Rating: 7.8 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: no review available
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.1 out of 10. A great remake of Seven Samurai set in the West, full of action, adventure and comedy. If you liked Seven Samurai and like westerns this movie is for you. "What's my name?" "Bernardo" "Dang right!"
--Reviewed by Jason

Nochnoy Dozer / Night Watch

Film Title: Nochnoy Dozer (Russian)/ Night Watch (English)
Year: 2004 (Russia) 2006 (America)
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 114 minutes
Film Genre: Action / Fantasy / Horror / Fiction / Foreign
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Producer: Varvara Avdyushko
Writers: Timur Bekmambetov
Anton Gorodetsky: Konstantin Khabensky
Boris Gesser: Vladimir Menshov
Zavulon: Viktor Verzhbitsky
Svetlana: Mariya Poroshina
Olga, sorceress (owl): Galina Tyunina
Ignat: Gosha Kytsenko
Yegor: Dima Martynov
Larisa: Anna Dubrovskaya
Kostya: Aleksei Chadov
Bear: Aleksander Samojlenko
Plot: The forces of Light and Dark have been waging an eternal war. Known as the Others these two factions create a truce and as part of this truce create policing units called Night watch and Day Watch. The Night Watch is the police unit of the Light and enforce the rules of the truce and make sure that the Balance is held.
The acting in this movie is good, nothing spectacular
Cinematography The cinematography is pretty standard nothing too fancy. However, the interlacing of the subtitles into the movie itself is shear brilliance.
Visual: Amazing special effects (over 400 in the movie).
Audio: The audio is about as good as the special effects, it really helps to emerse you in the film.
When I watched it last: Last night
What to watch for: Amazing and unique special effects. Interesting twist on an age old story. Awesome subtitles (you just have to see it for yourself)
What to watch out for: Language. Lots of blood. Slow at times
IMDB Rating: 6.4 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: 2 stars
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10. An interesting concept. Special effects are amazing. Subtitle animation is unique. This movie is the 1st in a trilogy, and a good builder movie. Worth buying if you like these sort of movies.
--Reviewed by Jason

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Shining

Film Title: The Shining
Year: 1980

For production credits see Jason's post on this movie:
Cinema Standard - The Shining by Jason Williams

Acting: Jack Nicholson is the perfect person in the role of Jack Torrence. Between The Shining and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest we see the remarkable Nicholson at his finest - in the flawless execution of a mental crackpot.
Cinematography: This film is a milestone in camera work. Kubrik is at his best, as usual. The slow pace of the film is exacerbated by the incredibly slow pans and zooms. The camera work causes unease for the viewer and a tense mood of anticipation for some absolution of action, which always comes just after you have told yourself it will not happen.
Visual: The hotel is strikingly grandiose and immensely cavernous. The interposed snapshot scenes of the tenants visions are masterfully interwoven to cause the leap-out-of-your-seat scare and the anxiety for what is to come.
Audio: Eerie music and sound effects make your skin crawl. One can see and hear Danny Torrence (Danny Lloyd) riding his trike down the long corridors, the modulation of sound between loud and soft as he traverses the hardwood floors and large carpets. Lack of musical action also increases the tension of the movie.
What to watch for: Jack Nicholson and Danny Lloyd, a great onscreen father/son duo.
What to watch out for: One scene of prolonged nudity which then turns pretty gross; some blood and gore.
When I watched it last: A few days ago.
IMDB User Rating: 8.4 out of 10; #64 on the top 250 movies of all time as rated by users.
Roger Ebert Rating: Included in his list of Great Movies (his top honor); "The movie is not about ghosts but about madness..." (
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: 9.2 out of 10; This is the hallmark of psychological horror.
- - Reveiwed by JB

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Shichinin no Samurai / Seven Samurai

Film Title: Shichinin no Samurai / Seven Samurai
Year: 1954
MPAA Rating: None
Length: 3 hours and 27 minutes
Film Genre: Action / Drama
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Producer: Sojiro Motoki
Writers: Akira Kurosawa

Takashi Shimura as Kambei Shimada
Toshiro Mifune as Kikuchiyo
Yoshio Inaba as Gorobei Katayama
Seiji Miyaguchi as Kyuzo
Minoru Chiaki as Heihachi Hayshida
Daisuke Kato as Shichiroji
Isao KImura as Katsushiro Okamoto
A village of poor farmers is attacked and plundered each year by bandits. Fed up and scared the villagers recruit seven samurai to defend them.
Acting: The acting is very interesting. As you watch this film you being to love each and everyone of the samurai, the movie is long and allows for the characters to really develop. You also develop a severe dislike for the gutless farmers and their fears. This is the second film that Shimura and Mifune work with Kurosawa, their first being Rashomon.
This is the beginnings of action film making and it really is amazing to look at this film and see how far we have come. The camera work is really cool and Kurosawa uses some techniques that become staples in many modern movies.
This is a black and white film yet at the same time it does not detract from the movie.
Good audio nothing special but also remember it was made in 1954
When I watched it last:
3 days ago
What to watch for:
Everything, it is a great film any cinema lover should see. Acting is great, story is great, and the humor is hillarious. Watch out for a random farmer who gets smashed when a bandits horse comes riding can't be scripted cause he gets nailed!
What to watch out for:
3 hours long. Slow to build up to the finale. Black and White. Japanese subtitled
IMDB Rating:
8.8 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating:
Great Film (4 stars)
The Cinema Standard Overall Score:
8.8 out of 10. A true classic, this film should be watched at least once by any film enthusist. This movie has inspired countless adaptations and spin offs including the western the Magnificent Seven. Akira Kurosawa is one of the most masterful story creaters and tellers in all of cinema history.
--Reviewed by Jason
Brady's Review of Seven Samurai

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Shining

Film Title: The Shining
Year: 1980
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 2 hours and 22 minutes
Film Genre: Horror / Thriller
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Producer: Robert Fryer
Writers: Stephen King
Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrence
Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrence
Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrence
Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann
Plot: Jack Torrence is a ex school teacher working on a book deal. He agrees to take on the responsibility of winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel high in the Colorado mountains. Isolated with his wife Wendy and their son Danny, the winter begins to draw long and the isolation begins to take its toll. Not to mention the mysterious history and activity that is going on in the hotel.
Acting: Jack Nicholson will freak you out! Nicholson is one crazy actor and in this movie his crazyness really shines. Danny Lloyd plays well against Nicholson as his slightly unhinged son. This movie consists of 5 major characters, Jack, Wendy, Danny, Dick and the Overlook Hotel/the Shining. The acting in this movie is top shelf considering there are only 5 major players, they all give performances that will stun you.
Cinematography Visual: Kubrick is brilliant with the camera, it is unfortunate most of his movies are for the most part completely strange. The camera angles and use of what i'll call the chase view are amazing. In this film the camera follows the actors several paces behind them, giving us the feeling that we are walking right behind them. The angles he uses to shoot close ups and the action really allows for the raw-ness of what is going on to come through. Also the use of colors adds alot to connect characters and set the tone of certain scenes.
Audio: When I watched it last: 2 days ago
What to watch for: Acting is great. The set is amazing (Overlook Hotel and surrounding grounds). The story is crazy and twisted which holds your attention. Watch out for little hints in the dialogue and other little details that make this movie stand out.
What to watch out for: Language, Nudity (really gross nudity, it is in the chapter called Room 237 for those wanting to avoid it altogether) slight gore and violence.
IMDB Rating: 8.4 out of 10
Roger Ebert Rating: Great movie (probably 4 stars)
The Cinema Standard Overall Score: I am in no way a fan of the modern Horror genre for its love of senseless violence and gore. However, with that said this movie is the measuring stick by which all Horror/Thriller movies should be measured. It will mess with your mind, your emotions and your view of reality and it does it all with limited gore and limited violence. 9.0 out of 10. Watch this movie!
--Reviewed by Jason

Cinema Standard - The Shining reviewed by Brady