To read about my thoughts on the movie before actually seeing it, check out this super long complicated post I wrote right here. I saw this film in theaters but I just never got around to finishing my review, what better time to finish than now when the DVD/Blu-ray release is next week?
Russ Fischer of /Film.com described this film as the paranoia of Contagion mixed with the duplicity of The Informant! and I think he’s spot on. The movie feels cold and clinical like Contagion and much like The Informant! I had no idea where the story was going at first. It’s a bit difficult to get into the movie without spoiling it, but I’m going to try my best not to reveal anything.
This is a small character driven film that does posit bigger ethical questions about the pharmaceutical business and where the responsibility lies between doctors and patients as far as medication goes. It shows how easily the system can be taken advantage of and looks into the grey areas of medication.
The four main actors are all in top form. Can I just say that I think Steven Soderbergh revived Channing Tatum’s career? Haha, at least acting-wise because his recent output has been so great and I think his collaborations with Soderbergh started that trend with Haywire, Magic Mike, and now Side Effects. Rooney Mara is continuing to show that she is a versatile acting threat and has a bright future. I can’t remember the last time I loved Catherine Zeta-Jones in a movie, but she pulled it off here. Jude Law has some really great moments as he tries to figure out what is going on in this film.
I love the way the movie changes in tone/genre. At first it’s a more of a character piece and you’re watching the Rooney Mara character try to work out her depression. By the second half it turns into more of a procedural thriller as you try to unwind the mysteries. There are a couple of moments that literally took me - and my audience - by surprise. It wasn’t like there were a couple gasps (I’ll never forget that screening of The Ides of March where some lady gasped at the most obvious reveal ever lol), numerous times throughout the film there were audible gasps from a majority of viewers in the audience.
If I have a knock on the film it’s that the second half feels a lot more standard whereas the first half was content to just do its own thing and leave the audience wondering. I suppose at some point you do have to unravel the mystery box, but there was nothing that new or innovative brought to that process.
This is a complete nonsequitur so I put it at the end of my review, but I got an added thrill at being able to keep up with most of the medical terminology as well as the protocols one follows for psychiatric disorders. At the same time the movie scared the shit out of me because I thought to myself “Oh dear God! What if I get put into that kind of situation???” lol.
Side Effects is a great thriller and one that I can’t wait to revisit again. The performances are great and the story has a multitude of twists and turns. I hope this isn’t Steven Soderbergh’s last film because he’s one of my favorite filmmakers. If this is truly his swan song then make sure you do not miss Side Effects in theaters.
I generally enjoyed the first Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes film that came out in 2009. While it had a ton of flaws and was lightweight on the detective work, it was still a fun popcorn flick and I thought that the Downey/Law chemistry as Holmes/Watson was pitch perfect. The first film was a huge success so of course they immediately greenlit a sequel. Would the sequel improve upon the negatives of the first and deliver the same goods that made the first such a crowd pleaser?
Unfortunately, this is probably one of the most brainless movies I’ve seen in a long time. There is very little going on in the intellectual department of this film. This film suffers from even more of the problems from the first film which was too much action and not enough detective work. Off the top of my head I think there were about 6 or 7 action set pieces and while they were fun to watch at times, they became tedious, repetitive, and tiresome very quickly.
On a popcorn “turn off your brain” level Sherlock Holmes 2 is a fun romp. This movie is unfortunately what you get when you let Hollywood run rampant with the “Sherlock Holmes” name: a ton of action and barely any detective work.
Guy Ritchie kind of goes off the wall with his trademark use of rapid editing and insane slow motion. I thought his direction was one of the weaker parts of the first, but in this one he goes all out (for better and for worse). I dug the fact that they used “Holmes vision” more than twice (which was all they did for the first film). The action set piece in the woods was pretty phenomenal stuff. I’m very surprised that Warner Bros. didn’t force Ritchie to shoot in 3D, because that set piece would have been INSANE in 3D the way that he was zooming in and out of the woods and the way that the depth of the field/focus was employed. Many times the direction was completely headache inducing though. Rapid cuts with about 30 different shots all in order will do that to you. This film did seem to bear more of Guy Ritchie’s personality than the first film, whether you enjoy that or not is up to you.
What I disliked the most about this film, besides the fact that it felt really dumb, was how impersonal the whole affair seemed. The action of this film could have really driven the plot forward had they established a greater emotional connection between the characters at hand. Instead it sort of just feels like we’re trying to create an excuse for the next action set piece.
The detective work in this film is a joke. At least in the first film they go around and inspect environments for clues and try to piece the mystery together. In this movie Sherlock Holmes literally just looks at some stuff, cut to close up of item, and then later on in the movie he explains the relevance of it. That is on some National Treasure “the protagonist knows everything but you don’t” bullshit, and it doesn’t make for a compelling mystery because you can’t put those clues together yourself. The evidence he brings into play all require additional knowledge that the audience simply doesn’t have. The first film’s detective elements were weak as well, but at least they kept us informed about what each clue meant and didn’t just save it for later explanations.
Every character outside of Holmes and Watson feels wasted. Well, Jared Harris actually has some really nice moments as Moriarty, but other than that no one else in this film mattered. Noomi Rapace was merely okay as the female sidekick. Her character doesn’t really add anything to the film and while her performance wasn’t bad, it wasn’t anything noteworthy. Oh yeah, Stephen Fry does get to have some comedic relief moments, which was nice.
This film is basically the Bad Boys II of this Sherlock Holmes series. I love Bad Boys II unabashedly for the insane action, but almost everything else about it is stupid and I can fully admit that. Sherlock Holmes 2 takes everything from the first film and amps it up. More Downey/Law bromance, more insane editing/slow motion, more ridiculous action, and even less intellect than the previous film.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a crowd pleasing popcorn film, but I was certainly expecting much more than just mindless action and explosions from a film calling itself “Sherlock Holmes.” If you go in with the notion that this is just a fun flick to turn your brain off to, I think that you will find a lot to enjoy as I did, but if you go in expecting something more in the vein of Sherlock Holmes and detective work you will be very disappointed.
Hugo is Martin Scorsese’s first foray into 3D and a children’s movie. I’m a huge fan of Scorsese (what cinephile isn’t?) and I was curious to see what a family friendly movie would look like coming from him. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive: 94% with an 8.3/10 average rating from RottenTomatoes and 83/100 on Metacritic. The film is already garnering a ton of awards and has a lot of Oscar buzz around it. Could this movie possibly live up to the hype?
My concise answer is yes, and this is one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen all year. I do have to stress that even though this is a family friendly film, I’m not so sure how kid friendly this movie is in the sense that I think kids would probably be bored during this movie. It’s over 2 hours long and the movie doesn’t cater to kids at all with the story or humor. I would recommend that everyone see this film, but if you have a particular fascination with film then you will get even more out of Hugo.
Hugo is a movie that is made for film lovers, period. If you have an appreciation for the history and craft of movies, this movie will definitely pull at the heart strings. Those of us who have fond memories of movies and what they can do for us will undoubtedly enjoy this film.
The 3D in this film is probably among the best films I’ve ever seen in 3D (up there with Avatar, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Adventures of Tintin). It’s Martin Scorsese so you expect greatness, but he still manages to unquestionably deliver. The way he uses 3D is something we haven’t seen before and is quite different from James Cameron’s use of it in Avatar or Steven Spielberg with Tintin.
I found the story to be quite powerful and emotionally resonant. The film ponders big questions like what our purpose in life is and accepting your past instead of hiding from it. I don’t really want to get too much into the story because it isn’t even hinted at in the trailer and I think that if you go in fresh without expectations, you will be even more pleasantly surprised.
I will say that there is this one bit where Chloe Moretz says “You don’t like books!?” And I just have to say that I can’t wait until someone makes a GIF of that line of dialogue because I just felt that that line represents me so much and my general thoughts on the lack of reading in our generation.
The one knock that I have against the film is that it feels like it takes a bit too long to set up the story and while I was never bored during this film it did seem to lack a “hook” at the start. Also, for a “family film,” I would say that this movie would definitely put most kids to sleep. That’s not a huge knock against the film because the end product is fantastic, but do not see this movie if you are looking for an enjoyable time at the theater where you can turn your brain off. This movie constantly engages you on a visual and narrative level.
Hugo is cinematic marvel that anyone with an appreciation for film should love. Martin Scorsese’s use of 3D is wonderful, the story is unique, and the themes are quite deep as well. Definitely make sure you see this over the holidays!
I heard of Contagion a very long time ago, I think maybe 2 years ago? The amount of Academy Award winners and nominees in this movie is absolutely ridiculous. Winners: Steven Soderbergh, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet; nominees: Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, John Hawkes, Eliott Gould. Plus Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston. So we know the talent was immense, but how was the movie?
What’s odd about this film is that I usually bash films that introduce a multitude of characters and create short arcs for them, but for some reason it works in Contagion. I don’t know if it’s the cold, calculating manner that the stories are handled with or the nice little subtle nuances, but a lot of this movie works for me. I suppose having a great director and a top flight cast doesn’t hurt. There are so many characters here that the fact that there’s so many great names attached almost feels like a deliberate attempt to cash in on our feelings for those actors in general to skip out on character development, yet at the same time I don’t feel like the film was disingenuous.
I’ve heard people make comparisons to Soderbergh’s film Traffic, and I think the comparisons are apt. Whereas that film had a wide scope on the world of drugs, Contagion does it with an infectious disease. I love the realism of this movie. There are certain moments that could have been played up for dramatic effect that are instead just done in a matter-of-factly way because that’s how it would happen in real life. When someone dies, they often don’t get to say this huge speech or convey a life lesson, they just die. The coldness of this film helps separate it from other films of this ilk.
The execution of this film is definitely what separates it from the rest. There are so many small little real life touches that make each character feel real. I never thought that anything that happened in this film was preposterous or stupid. Each character has their own personality and deals with this epidemic in their own way. Sure, there are subplots that don’t feel as satisfying as others, but what works generally outweighs what doesn’t.
Contagion works as a sprawling thriller that takes a serious look at how the world would cope with a widespread contagious disease. There is so much that is covered in such a short amount of time, but the film does so much well. It hits on many themes and explores the shortcomings of society. Do not go into Contagion for a “movie” movie. By that I mean I don’t go in expecting shocking plot twists or many movie-isms. Contagion is a well executed movie about how we would realistically deal with an epidemic and everything that comes with that.
Edit: Special shout out to Jude Law as the crazy blogger. I can’t stop quoting his line from the trailer with his accent in this film “On die wun dare wuz tew peeple, end den for, end den seexteen. In three munths it’s a BEELYUN! That’s-ware-wee’re-hetted!” LOL!
So I recently watched the 2004 film Alfie starring Jude Law, Marisa Tomei, Susan Sarandon, and Sienna Miller. The way I would describe this movie is “a mediocre version of High Fidelity.” You have the breaking the fourth wall aspect of the film, you have a man reflecting on his relationships, and you have the main character searching for some meaning in his life.
Unfortunately, Alfie doesn’t have nearly as much depth or insight into relationships as High Fidelity. Jude Law is charming as the titular character, but wholly unsympathetic. It’s hard to feel sorry for a narcissistic womanizer, Law tries his best but there’s just not enough there. I will say that it was awkward seeing Law and Sienna Miller go through their arc because that must’ve been what it was like in real life lol.
The movie zips along at a quick enough pace, but the screenplay feels so messy, it’s all over the place. You go from one woman to the next, one life altering insight to a complete contradiction the next scene, contrived plot devices, there’s just too many storylines and themes packed into one film and done unconvincingly.
I’ve heard the original 1966 film starring Michael Caine is quite good so I’m interested in seeing if that film could competently pull off the same premise. I didn’t know this film was a remake and, no joke, while I was watching the movie I was thinking “I could see a young Michael Caine as the main character,” lo and behold, he was in the original haha.
Steven Soderbergh you brilliant bastard! This cast is ridiculously stacked too with Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, and Kate Winslet. The imagery from the trailer alone is haunting, let alone the idea of some contagious virus spreading all over the world. I’ve always had a fascination with post-apocalyptic movies where everything in the world goes to shit, so I’m definitely there opening night personally. 2011 in film keeps looking better and better.
Just watched this movie again for the first time in a while… I saw it in theaters and Chris let me borrow it one time last Fall and I watched it with my ‘rents. I picked it up last week b/c the Blu-ray/DVD combo set was only 8 bucks at Target. I have to say that the movie still holds up as a fun romp.
I love Guy Ritchie’s first two films, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Out of respect for those two films I didn’t watch Swept Away or Revolver, both of which were destroyed by critics and audiences alike. I really dug 2008’s RocknRolla, even though critics weren’t as smitten with it. I remember thinking it was kind of odd that Guy Ritchie was tackling a new adaptation of Sherlock Holmes because he’s really only done good London gangster films with interweaving storylines.
The main strengths of the film are the excellent score by Hans Zimmer (how many times do you hear that?), the two fantastic leads of Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock and Jude Law as Watson, and the overall sense of fun that the movie has. It’s a nice light-hearted film that is extremely enjoyable.
Without Downey and Law though, this movie would completely fall apart. I love the banter between the two of them; the bromance is just so damn palpable. You really see that Watson is basically all that Holmes has and how he thinks that Watson’s impending marriage is going to potentially doom their relationship. You get the sense that these guys are two best buds who go back a long way and would do anything for the other. Like I said, the bromance is just burning through the screen haha.
As far as the sequel which is wrapping up, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which is set for a December 2011 release, I’m definitely excited to see the Downey/Law duo back in action. The addition of Noomi Rapace is interesting because I’ve heard nothing but good things about her acting abilities. It’s a little disappointing that the Brad Pitt as Moriarty rumors weren’t true. How amazing would it have been to see Brad Pitt and Guy Ritchie team up again after Snatch? Mickey was easily one of Brad Pitt’s best performances ever, and considering his extensive filmography, that’s saying something.
If you want to read my thoughts on Rachel McAdams in the film, hit “read more” because I kind of delve into minor spoilers for the sequel.Read more