Sunday, May 27, 2012

Star Trek (2009)

Directed by: J.J. Abrams (1)

Written by: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (2)

Cast: Chris Pine (3), Zachary Quinto (4), Karl Urban (5), Zoë Saldana (6), Simon Pegg (7), John Cho (8), Anton Yelchin (9), Eric Bana (10), Chris Hemsworth (11)

My Favourite Quote: "Spock, you are fully capable of deciding your own destiny. The question you face is - which path will you choose. This is something only you can decide."

Did You Know? - The man who played George Kirk, James T Kirk's father, Chris Hemsworth, also played Thor in the film of the same name and in The Avengers (2012). The mother of James T Kirk is played by Jennifer Morrison, who currently plays Snow White's daughter in the television series Once Upon A Time

Fate and destiny. I love the concept of 'what if'. Unfortunately, at present, we cannot prove or disprove that such a thing as destiny or fate exists. However, we humans love to speculate about it. 

Time travel is not a new concept. However, I greatly appreciate the creative and smarts of the producers and writers who have used this concept well in this film. Destiny, to believe that no matter what you choose to do, even if the journey is different, the end point remains the same. What is your stand on this matter? I think that while we may choose paths that steer us from heading towards our destined end path, we will still end up there. As they say, all paths lead to Rome. Though while I believe this, I also like to hope that we are the masters of our own destiny.

Besides having a great interest in the concept of fate and destiny, I realise now that what I enjoy most about the television series I follow is the development of its characters. Star Trek has given us many great characters to love. I like to understand the history of how things came to be. And this film really is about two men and their connected destiny. I think at the heart of it, Star Trek is a 'bromance'. The story of how two men first became friends. Trekkers know of the brotherly bond and close friendship between Kirk and Spock, but none of the previous films or series ever focused on how they came to be friends.

There are plenty of things I love about JJ Abrams' Star Trek. When I first watched the film, I was expecting plenty of heart pumping action and awesome graphics. What I didn't expect when I first watched the film in the cinemas, was to throughly enjoy the humour littered throughout the film. The witty exchange between various actors made me laugh out loud, even now after watching it countless times. The film has a lot of heart on top of being a great action film.

The casting of these beloved characters was also spot on. Chris Pine's James T Kirk was a good combination of charm and confidence. I believe that we are shaped by the things that happen in our lives. And I could see the growth of the character of Kirk and Chris Pine's delivery of that growth was subtle but spot on. I have already seen how great an actor Zachary Quinto is from his performance in the television series Heroes. So his wonderful turn as Spock was no surprise to me.

Although the story revolved around Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto's characters, Star Trek has always been a story about the entire crew of the Enterpirse. The remaining actors featured in the film all played a big part in making this Star Trek a great film. I especially liked Simon Pegg and Karl Urban's great comedic timing in the film. Some of the best lines of the film were delivered by these two actors.

To be honest, there are so many underlying messages in the film that I feel overwhelmed to have to put it all into this one review. One day when I watch the film again, and if something else struck a chord with me, I would add on to the review. But for now, all that's left is to wait patiently for the sequel to be released.

2013, please come sooner. 

(1) Director J.J. Abrams  has directed films like Mission: Impossible III (2006) and Super 8 (2011)

(2)  Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman has written films like The Island (2005), The Legend Of Zorro (2005), Mission: Impossible III (2006), Transformers (2007), Watchmen (2009), and Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009)

(3) Chris Pine has acted in films like The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), Just My Luck (2006), Blind Dating (2006), Smokin' Aces (2006), Unstoppable (2006), This Means War (2012), and Magic Mike (2012)

(4) Zachary Quinto is well known for the role Syler/Gabriel Gray in the television series Heroes. He also acted in the film What's Your Number? (2011)

(5) Karl Urban has acted in films like The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King (2003), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Dredd (2012), and The Loft (2012). He also acted in the series Xena: Warrior Princess

(6) Zoë Saldana has acted in films like Center Stage (2000), Get Over It (2001), Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003), The Terminal (2004), Avatar (2009), The Losers (2010), Death At A Funeral (2010), Colombiana (2011)

(7) Simon Pegg has acted in films like Shaun Of The Dead (2004), Mission: Impossible III (2006), How To Lose Friends And Alienate People (2008), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

(8) John Cho has acted in films like American Pie (1999), American Pie 2 (2001), Evolution (2001), Down To Earth (2001), Big Fat Liar (2002), American Wedding (2003), In Good Company (2004), Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004), Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008), A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011), American Reunion (2012) and Total Recall (2012)

(9) Anton Yelchin has acted in films like Along Came A Spider (2001), Hearts In Atlantis (2001), Charlie Bartlett (2007), New York, I Love You (2009), Terminator Salvation (2009), Memoirs Of A Teenage Amnesiac (2010), Like Crazy (2011), and Fright Night (2011). He also voiced Clumsy Smurf in the film The Smurfs (2011)

(10) Eric Bana has acted in films like Black Hawk Down (2001), Hulk (2003), Troy (2004), Munich (2005), Lucky You (2007), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), The Time Traveller's Wife (2009), Funny People (2009), and Hanna (2011)

(11) Chris Hemsworth has acted in films like Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Snow White And The Huntsman (2012), Red Dawn (2012), and Thor 2 (2013)

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… JJ Abrams' Star Trek strikes a wonderful balance of action, comedy, and drama. And it does so while managing to thrill non-Trekkers, as well as to please those who hold dear to their hearts creator Gene Roddenberry's Trek. There are some seemingly unnecessary lines in the dialogue that I feel would have been best left unsaid and would have been better if relied on the actor's performances. However, those lines are few and do no permanent damage to the overall enjoyment of the film. Now I only hope for the sequel to match its near-perfection or surpass it. (4.8 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

Click here to follow Entitled to Opinion on Facebook!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Born Yesterday (1993)

Directed by Luis Mandoki (1)

Cast: Melanie Griffith (2), John Goodman (3), Don Johnson (4)

* Sorry that's the best trailer I could find at present. 

My Favourite Quote: "Being smart isn't just about books, it's about asking questions, it's about finding out why things are they way they are."

Did You Know? - This version of the film was a remake of a 1950 film of the same name (directed by George Cukor). And that version of Born Yesterday was based on a play of the same name written by  Garson Kanin.

"Without knowledge, you are less than everybody." - I think this quote mentioned in the film is a very sweeping statement. But I do believe that it holds some water. This is a film that makes me want to improve myself and to become a better person. It makes me want to pick up the many books I've started reading but never finished. 

I do think that if I am more aware of everything happening in the world around me and if I had an opinion and understanding of the world I would be a better person. Or at the very least, a person who looks past the end of his/her nose. It is a fact. There are many people in the world who don't care about anyone else but themselves. Money does seem to make the world go round and because of that, a lot of people have become so obsessed with making more money that they forget to slow down and appreciate what they do have instead of constantly chasing after something they want. 

In Born Yesterday, John Goodman's Harry Brock is so bent on making money that he bends others to his will and crashes through all the roadblocks without caring who he hurts. Melanie Griffith's Billie Dawn shows us how nothing is impossible and that if you are determined to change and improve yourself, you can. Nothing can stop you from being who you want to be except yourself. It won't always be easy, you might want to quit more than once or twice, but if you buckle down and keep pushing yourself to achieve what you set out to do, you will get it done. 

The 3 main actors in the film John Goodman, Melanie Griffith, and Don Johnson did a great job playing their characters. It is tiring to be an angry man and even more tiring to play an angry man. John Goodman took on the character of Harry Brock so well that I found myself empathising with the sad life he led and disliking him for the arrogant and self-absorbent man he was. He was the stand out actor of the three. Melanie Griffith played the ditsy Billie Dawn to a tee and made her transformation to a wiser and smarter woman quite believable. But I do admit that I found it a little strange that a woman as beautiful as Billie Dawn would stay with a man like John Goodman's Harry Brock. Don Johnson played an adorably bookish yet astonishingly charming Paul Verrall and he managed to strike a balance between those two opposing characteristics so well. 

This is not the first time I've watched the film Born Yesterday but each time I watch it, I love it all over again. Watch it and let me know if you like it too. But in the meantime, remember to find out why things are they way they are instead of just accepting it as the way it is. You can do better, you can be better, if you just put your mind and heart to it.

(1) Director Luis Mandoki has directed films like When A Man Loves A Woman (1994) and Message In A Bottle (1999)

(2)  Melanie Griffith  has acted in films like Working Girl (1988), Now And Then (1995), and Lolita (1997)

(3) John Goodman is best known for his role as Dan Conner on the television series Roseanne. He's also acted in films like Arachnophobia (1990), The Flintstones (1994), The Big Lebowski (1998), Coyote Ugly (2000), Evan Almighty (2007), Speed Racer (2008), Confessions Of A Shopaholic (2009), The Artist (2011), Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close (2011), as well as voiced characters in animation features like The Emperor's New Groove (2000), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Cars (2006), and The Princess And The Frog (2009)

(4) Don Johnson has acted in films like Tin Cup (1996) and Machete (2010)

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Born Yesterday teaches you a thing or two about how you should live your life and how important it is to be aware. To understand and not just know, to listen and not just hear. Is ignorance really bliss? This film doesn't think so. (3 of 5)

MoviePoster from Wikipedia

Click here to follow Entitled to Opinion on Facebook!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

Directed by Andy Tennant (1)
Cast: Reese Witherspoon (2), Josh Lucas (3), Patrick Dempsey (4), Candice Bergen (5), Fred Ward (6), and Dakota Fanning (7), Ethan Embry (8), Melanie Lynskey (9)

My favourite quote - 
"You see the truth is, I gave my heart away a long time ago. My whole heart. And I never really got it back."

My favourite scene -

Melanie: Hey cowboy. You owe me a dance.
Jake: Nice dress. Where's your husband?
Melanie: I'm lookin' at him. Apparently you and I are still hitched.
Jake: Is that right?
Melanie: Yeah. Why didn't you tell me you came to New York?
Jake: I needed to make something of myself.
Melanie: About done?
Jake: What is it about you southern girls? You can't make the right decisions so you try all the wrong ones?
Melanie: At least I fight for what I want.
Jake: What do you want Melanie? I don't even think you know.
Melanie: You're the first boy I ever kissed Jake and I want you to be the last.
Jake: Maybe you and I had our chance.
Melanie: Fine! Have it your way you stubborn ass.
Jake: What do you wanna to be married to me for anyhow?
Melanie: So I can kiss you anytime I want.

Soul Mates (The One)

Personally, I feel that the best person to spend the rest of your life with is someone who would make you a better person. He may bring out the worst in you at times, but he also brings out the best in you. Can you ever forget your first love? Do you believe in soul mates? Sweet Home Alabama is all about first loves and soul mates. 

"Nobody finds their soul mate when they're ten years old... I mean where's the fun in that right?"
I’ve heard of a few real life stories where people re-marry someone they’ve divorced before. Or even someone who used to date in the past and broke it off but re-connected again later in life and then got married. Some people think that the past is best left there, in the past. And with the film What’s Your Number?, I agree that the men in the lead character’s past should be left in the past. 

However, one shoe doesn’t fit all. And sometimes, people just need a little time apart to figure things out and grow before they can be together again. Of course, the best case scenario would be that the two individuals change and grow together side by side weathering everything that comes at them. 

Sometimes, people just need time and space to grow up on their own. Just like you have to allow your child to make his or her own mistakes so that they learn from them. Sometimes, when you love someone too much, it clouds your judgement about what is good or bad for her and for the relationship. There is a great big world out that besides your relationship with someone. Your world can’t just revolve around the person you love. That is highly destructive. 
Thinking about my first love, and mind you I don’t mean the first guy I dated but the first guy I fell in love with, I ask myself if I would want to be together with him again or whether I still loved him. The answer is no. But there have been others who would probably forever be to me ‘the one who got away’. And maybe to Patrick Dempsey’s Andrew Hennings in Sweet Home Alabama, Reese Witherspoon’s Melanie will be ‘the one who got away’. However, the focus is on Josh Lucas’ Jake and Reese Witherspoon’s Melanie. 

Meant To Be

Do you believe in soul mates? I hope that soul mates exist. Cos that would make life so much more interesting and perhaps more meaningful. But I wouldn’t dare claim I know what having a soul mate is like. Perhaps when I do find mine, I will know it for sure. This film resonates with me because despite the fact that Jake and Melanie brought out the worst in each other, they also brought out the best. They were able to change and become more focused in their lives, but still at the core of it all, they loved each other. When you love someone, fight for it. 

Lurlynn: You know, he went up there.
Melanie: Who? Jake? When?
Lurlynn: About a year after you left. He doesn't know I know, but Clinton let it slip once.
Melanie: Jake was in New York?
Lurlynn: He told Clinton he'd never seen anything like it. He realised straight off he'd need more than an apology to win you back. He needed to conquer the world first. He's been trying ever since.
Melanie: That's why he kept sending the papers back.
Lurlynn: Yeah, it's funny how things don't work out.
Melanie: It's funny how they do.

A song comes to mind right now that echoes these thoughts. Click here to listen to it. Listen to the lyrics and you will see what I mean. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

In Time (2011)

Written and Directed by Andrew Niccol (1)

Cast: Justin Timberlake (2), Amanda Seyfried (3), Cillian Murphy (4), Alex Pettyfer (5), Johnny Galecki (6)

(Watch the trailer)

My favourite quote - "We're not meant to live like this. We're not meant to live forever. Although I do wonder Father, if you've ever lived a day in your life."

My favourite dialogue - 

Henry Hamilton: How old are you? In real time?
Will Salas: 28
Henry Hamilton: I'm 105.
Will Salas: Good for you. You won't see 106 if you have too many nights like tonight.
Henry Hamilton: You are right. But the day comes when you've had enough. Your mind can be spent, even if your body's not. We want to die. We need to.
Will Salas: That's your problem? You've been alive too long? You ever known anyone who's died?
Henry Hamilton: For a few to be immortal, many must die.
Will Salas: What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Henry Hamilton: You really don't know do you? Everyone can't live forever. Where would we put them? Why do you think there are time zones? Why do you think taxes and prices go up the same day in the ghetto? The cost of living keeps rising to make sure people keep dying. How else could there be men with a million years while most live day to day? But the truth is... there's more than enough. No one has to die before their time. If you had as much time as I have on that clock, what would you do with it?
Will Salas: I'd stop watching it. I can tell you one thing, if I had all that time, I sure as hell wouldn't waste it. 

Sylvia Weis: What have we got?
Will Salas: A day. You can do a lot in a day. 

Time. The only thing we cannot waste because every minute and every second matters. Yet, we don’t really and fully appreciate time because we don’t realise how quickly time passes. The film In Time gives everyone up till their 25th birthday to enjoy timelessness. After that, you have to earn every minute and every second of every day. A frightful thought. Yet, I think that if we lived in a world with such rules as featured in the film, we might appreciate what time we have on earth more. I remember a favourite quote of mine uttered in Troy by Brad Pitt’s Achilles - “The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now, and we will never be here again.”

The film In Time talks about immortality, death, and time, among other things. Then comes another big question, would you prefer to know when you will die or to never worry about when you will die because it seems like a long way off. For those in the film who live in the ghetto, they die when they don’t have the ability to pay for more time. Isn’t this similar to the situation today? When a person is ill and cannot pay for the exorbitant medical bills to get better, you eventually run out of time because you don’t have a choice. 

Vampires and other fantasy characters who are immortal always face the unfortunate fact that they live forever, while their loved ones die and they can do nothing about it. Here that problem is non existent because the rich who are immortal can live forever with their loved ones. What about over population then? If everyone lived, wouldn’t there be the problem of overpopulation? I guess that is why the film mentions this phrase a couple of times: “For a few to remain immortal, many must die.” And in reply, Justin Timberlake’s Will Salas says: “No one should be immortal, if even one person has to die.”

I am on the side of Justin Timberlake’s Will Salas, pity the immortals who live so they may watch the people around them die. If one person needs to die, let no one be immortal. 

PS: It was very fascinating to watch Johnny Galecki play anything but deadpan funnyman Leonard Hofstadter, Alex Pettyfer play a gangster and all-around evil, as well as Justin Timberlake in a film with such a serious theme and so much action and emotion. Of course, Amanda Seyfried and Cillian Murphy both did excellent jobs in their roles. 

(1) Andrew Niccol has written films like Gattaca (1997) and The Truman Show (1998). He also directed the film Gattaca (1997)

(2) Justin Timberlake started out in the New Mickey Mouse Club then sang with the boyband N’Sync. He has since gone solo and has acted in films like The Social Network (2010), Bad Teacher (2011), and Friends With Benefits (2011). He has also done voice work for films like Shrek The Third (2007) and Yogi Bear (2010).

(3) Amanda Seyfried has acted in films like Mean Girls (2004), Alpha Dog (2006), Mamma Mia! (2008), Chloe (2009), Dear John (2010), Letters To Juliet (2010), Red Riding Hood (2011), Gone (2012), Les Misérables (2012)The Big Wedding (2013), and Lovelace (2013). She also played the role of Sarah Henrickson in the television series Big Love (2006-2011) and guest starred in television series like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Veronica Mars, House, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. 

(4) Cillian Murphy has acted in films like Girl With A Pearl Earring (2003), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Edge of Love (2008), Inception (2010), Tron: Legacy (2010), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

(5) Alex Pettyfer has acted in films like Stormbreaker (2006), Wild Child (2008), I Am Number Four (2011), Beastly (2011), and Magic Mike (2012)

(6) Johnny Galecki currently plays Leonard Hofstadter in the television series The Big Bang Theory and has acted in films like Bounce (2000), and Vanilla Sky (2001)

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… In Time has an interesting concept and enough action to keep the viewer’s attention but most importantly, it makes you think realise what is and should be important. Remember that time and tide wait for no man (or woman). So make use of each and every second you have on this earth. (3 of 5)

Click here to follow Entitled to Opinion on Facebook!