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Ronen's Rating System:

***** A must watch
**** Worth seeing
*** If you must watch a movie and there is nothing else out there
** Don’t bother
* It’s so bad its almost good... not... These are films I walked out on, or just fell asleep
(K: stars) Rating by my children. As they are easy to please, would typically be higher than mine...


From monthly archives: January 2009

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'January 2009'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Movie Review: It’s Complicated (2009) ***

There are several very funny moments in It’s Complicated, but what really makes this movie bearable is the ever-shining Meryl Streep, who successfully brings credibility even to the most pathetic of characters… Yet, a Nancy Meyers fan I am not. I find her films to be schmaltzy, corny and expected. Yes, there are worse films than hers out there – hers at least have a decent line of plot, typically good casting, and enough occasional comic situations to deem it a three star versus a two star rating on my scale. But much like the fake tears her cast sheds at exactly the right moment – a cast partially made of all perfect children, in a perfect little world - made of Better Homes and Gardens looking houses, where money is never an issue nor any of the other trivial issues of existence that may bother us commoners, much like those tears, this movie too will dry and be forgotten shortly after you’ve left the theater. But for most movie goers choosing to go see this film, that’s okay. It provides short-lived entertainment. By the way, did I mention already how wonderful Meryl Streep is?.....

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Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes (2009) ****

Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” could have been a decent action-packed detective film, if only it was not titled Sherlock Holmes… That a filmmaker would feel a need the rely on Arthur Conan Doyle’s name characters, is plain silly, or highly commercialized, especially with such well-branded cast. Either way, I personally would have enjoyed it much more if this film would have been more uniquely titled something like “James Princely and Dr. Wilson”... As it is, I was hesitating between 3 and 4 stars rating, but ended giving it four stars, partially because of the excellent chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law that made their characters believable, as well as a very good performance from the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong). The other noteworthy elements include very good visuals – sets, costumes, effects, choreography and music. The plot is engaging but inferior to the original stories. And so is Ritchie’s Holmes’ sharp logic, which seems to come as an afterthought to his physical punches…
The sequel is sure to come – looks like between Iron Man and this new Holmes series, Downey Jr. will be quite busy the next couple of years…

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Movie Review: Avatar (2009) ****

Marrying Pocahontas with the Matrix, using cutting-edge computer-generated footage, some Terminator and Abyss references, and adding a splash of politics mixed with eco-awareness, Cameron, playing the role of a film God, breathes life into his latest creation – Avatar. It’s one of those films I dreaded going to see, yet went to see anyhow, as how could I not… Which brings up the question of how much of its box-office success should be attributed to its marketing and people’s curiosity, compared with genuine interest. But this question aside, the computer-generated footage is indeed splendid and the film overall, despite its 2 hours and 40 minutes, is very engaging. Whether the film as a whole will stand the test of time, is yet to be seen. After all, if I recall correctly my film history classes (thanks Gene), the first talking films attracted people even if only to hear the sound of frying bacon… And I reckon that to the audiences the original 1933 King Kong, the scenes were as real as Avatar is to us; but when we look at that King Kong today, it looks, well, effects-wise, a little lame. Still, given that I expected much worst, I cannot say I didn’t enjoy the film and appreciated the craftsmanship behind it. Hopefully there will be no Avatar II… The four star rating is because its one of these movies better seen on the big screen.

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Movie Review: Up in the Air (2009) *****

If you were going to see only one more movie before 2009 is out, Up in the Air should be it. Besides all the other good things I can say about this film, it sums up a somewhat dark period in the recent history of this nation – a period of despair, downsizing and layoffs, a period we hope is soon to be over. Yet this film does it with a warm heart, and an amusing one at times, beating right inside the film’s lead character, wonderfully played by the fantastic Mr. George Clooney. So prepare to laugh at some sharp screwball-style dialogues, while sympathizing with situations plenty. Because aside from using the bleak economy as its backdrop, the film covers lightly, but without mercy, other issues of our times, including the use of technology over personal communication, and the place of traditional relationships at our time and age. Touche' Jason Reitman to a job well done, continuing with your excellent directorial work from Thank You for Smoking and Juno.

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Movie Review: Invictus (2009) ****

Dramatically played, as it should, by Morgan Freeman, and well under-played, as it should, by the talented Mr. Damon, Clint Eastwood, yet again, works his wonders in this worthy biopic. Portraying a somewhat critical moment in the history of South Africa – shortly after the end of apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela to power – the film presents an Eastwood favorite: a man of strong will facing a crisis. How does one overcome decades of hatred in need of fast reconciliation? And maybe even more difficult – how does one show it in a 2-hours movie? One really can’t, but that does not stop one from trying… And Eastwood, as skilful as ever, does not attempt to cover a too wide scope of the torn nation’s story but rather focuses his spotlight at one specific place: the rugby field (with a few related sidelines). I enjoy seeing Clint Eastwood picking topics that interest him , and how he constantly reinvents himself.

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Movie Review: The Princess and the Frog (2009) ***

What do you get when you take a bunch of past Disney movies and mix them together? You get The Princess and the Frog…. Though somewhat original in its story line compared to "The Frog Prince" (which I understand was not the inspiration for this animated flick but rather the E. D. Baker's novel The Frog Princess,) it has elements plenty from past Disney movies and a well-chewed up theme. I will save you listing here all the elements reused from those past films, and just say that this flick is at least tolerable compared with a disaster kids’ flick such as Alvin and the Chipmunks, a film I was forced to sit through last year, reaching the conclusion that if there is a movie-lovers’ hell, it probably includes repeat screenings of Alvin… It seems the only decent animation studio these days is Pixar, where films can still be original and have enough whit to satisfy adults as well as their young companions. But back to The Princess and the Frog – my kids still liked it. On a scale of 1-10 they gave it as low as 5 and as high as 9. In my book it gets three stars: for beautiful animation (in traditional animation technique, Disney are the masters), some originality compared with the original tale, and for not being as bad as Alvin…

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