Melina Gunnett

October 17, 2012

Review – Alex Cross

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 8:23 PM

If you are going to watch this movie, I recommend arriving early enough to get a good seat somewhere in center and not too close to the screen. This is an action movie and there is always something moving on the screen. The director has unfortunately chosen to compound this by using hand held “point of view” shots during fight scenes, making it difficult to follow the action from close up.

Detective Doctor Alex Cross is Detroit’s Sherlock Holmes, picking up clues by observation and psychological profiling, but this isn’t a who dun-it movie. We know who the bad guy is. There is some slight suspense in what he is going to do next, but for the most part, this is an out and out revenge flick.

Tyler Perry held his own as Alex Cross, not an easy feat since the part was previously played by Morgan Freeman. Edward Burns also did well as Tommy although it would have been nice to see him with a bit more dialog, I get the feeling that a bit too much was left on the cutting room floor. Actually, most of the movie felt a bit rushed. It was almost seemed like they director wanted push past all that pesky dialog as quickly as possible so he could get on with the action scenes.

If you enjoy action films, this is worth seeing. I’ll give it a B-. It wasn’t great, but I would be willing to see it again.


October 11, 2012

Review – Here Comes the Boom

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 8:51 PM

I’m going to give this movie a 7 out of 10 and not just because I was feeling a bit nostalgic when them movie opened by taking a motorcycle ride through my old neighborhood. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. I didn’t think I would like it much more than the Nelly song it is named after. (I should clarify, since I know that Nelly has a lot of fans. – I’m not one of you. – Sorry, just not my thing.) but I ended up both laughing and crying before I left the theater.

Maybe I just need to stop watching trailers. I had expected this to be a mostly physical comedy about a buffoon pretending to be a wrestler to try and raise funds for his school. Instead I found myself watching a heartwarming tale of a teacher who had lost his zeal rediscover his love of teaching by helping to raise funds to save another teacher’s (Henry Winkler) job.

It isn’t all heart tugs, although there are plenty of them, as they are what motivate Voss (Kevin James) throughout. There is also a lot of humor and, for those of you looking forward to seeing Kevin James flattened, several cage matches and a fist full of training scenes.

The lovely Selma Hayek plays Bella, Voss’s futile love interest and Greg Germann (Who, even though he has played dozens of roles since then, I will always remember as Richard Fish from Ally McBeal) plays Voss’es nemesis  Principle Betcher. Germann isn’t the only supporting actor in this film from my favorite TV shows. Charice (Glee) plays one of Voss’s students and sings a wonderful version of Neil Diamond’s Holly Holy and Reggie Lee (Grimm) plays her father.

October 9, 2012

Review – Seven Psychopaths.

In theatres October 12th, 2012

Seven Psychopaths movie posterAfter watching the trailer, I expected Seven Psychopaths to be about the zany antics of a group of dog nappers as they are pursued by the psychopaths they stole their dogs from. While dogs were napped and antics did ensue, that was only part of the plot.

The real story is that of Marty (Colin Farrell), a writer, struggling to finish his screen play which is, not coincidentally, titled “Seven Psychopaths. Billy (Sam Rockwell), Marty’s dog-napping best friend, wants to help. Unfortunately, his help just might get Marty killed.

Seven Psychopaths was written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Six Shooter). The films style reminded me of Quintin Tarantino’s movies, especially in McDonagh’s use of the aestheticization of violence throughout, and I would not be surprised to see McDonagh list him as one of his influences.

The characters in the movie balance between the uncaring psychopathic ruthlessness and devoted dedication to the things they have decided to love and McDonagh has gathered an all star ensemble (Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko) to portray them. Harrelson is at his psychotic best and Walken’s dead pan performance was ideal for the role of Hans, Billy’s dog-napping partner.

Seven Psychopaths is the story of the story being written and it is done well. McDonagh allows Marty’s life to become a mockery of the script he is trying to write without turning the film into a complete farce. Each psychopath has their own tale and they are all brought together in, sometimes, unexpected ways. While the movie is filled with chaos, all the pieces are also brought together and somehow, it all works and works well.

I enjoyed Seven Psychopaths and suspect this film will be finding a place on my video rack when it comes out on DVD.

Review – Argo

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 7:46 PM

I expected Argo to be a good movie, but I did not expect it to be an enjoyable one. I was pleasantly surprised.

I am old enough to remember the Iranian Hostages being taken and the countdown that appeared every night on the evening news for over a year. I am not old enough to remember the details. The only rescue mission I remembered was the spectacular failure of Operation Eagle Claw and that is what I had thought this movie was going to be about.

Instead the movie was about a crazy plan to to rescue the six Americans that had escaped from the Embassy and had hidden themselves at the home of the Canadian Ambassador. I didn’t remember anything about anyone having escaped the U.S. Embassy as it was taken over and for that I am thankful. It allowed me to fully appreciate the suspense as the rescue was attempted.

This plan didn’t involve special forces and/or helicopters., but it was pure Hollywood. They CIA set up a movie company, backed a B-movie Science Fiction film and created positions for each of the six trapped Americans as part of the crew sent to scout locations. The plan was to simply fly them out of the country as part of the crew. Of course nothing is every quite that simple…

Argo was the name of the movie they were theoretically there to scout for. I did a quick search, but it does not seem that the script was ever made into an actually movie (Although there are three other films with that title.). Sad, I would have found in amusing to watch after having heard bits and pieces about it throughout this film. Perhaps the CIA still holds the option on it, or it really was bad enough that no one was willing to produce it.

While the never made Argo may have been a “B” movie at best, Chris Terro’s script was anything but bad. He masterfully mixed humour and tension to keep everyone in suspense throughout the movie. Will they or won’t they make it. You can probably find the answer on the Internet, but if you don’t already know how it ends, I recommend waiting and seeing the movie first.

August 28, 2012

Review – Inanimate Objects

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 12:16 AM

This has been on my reading pile for a while. I bought it because I like the author, as a person, and hoped that her writing was as interesting and she was.

Inanimate Objects begins as a series of seemingly unrelated vignettes. When I picked the book up to read, I was hoping for a story. I probably would have sent it back to my “to be read” pile 30 or pages in, but each little scenario was well written and captivating, even if I couldn’t see any connection between them.

I am glad I hung in. The characters continued to captivate me and, as I read on, began to connect up. Eventually the pieces came together, like a mosaic, each beautifully crafted tidbit fitting in among the others to create full picture.

A muse has found the young street artist, Leonidas Bondi, or has he found her? Matilda, the muse, lives her life vicariously through her patrons, molding and shaping them to fit her own vision. Leo has his own ideas and the magic that is his artwork. Then there is her son Elisha, immortal, bored and disillusioned with life. Elisha has his own obsession, but is still drawn to the beautiful, pragmatic Helena Bondi.

While the characters are what make the book, what completes the book is the way Saunders ties all of their stories together, slowly revealing an unexpected narrative. To say more is give away too much and this is a book worth reading for yourself.

August 14, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom – Review

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 5:37 AM

Moonrise Kingdom movie poster

Quirky is the best way I can descrbe Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

 This movie is full of almosts; the writing is almost bad, the acting is almost overdone, the costumes are almost silly. Almsot is the word, because while it tiptoes on the border of all these things and could have easily been a disaster, it never falls over the edge. Somehow it all works.

 Books are a continuous theme throughout the movie. Suzy, one of the main characters is an avid reader. She loves books, hauling a suitcase of them on her journey and sharing them with others along the way. The director takes this theme and uses is as part of his stylistic aproach to the movie. He manages to capture the feel of a children’s story being lived out in ‘real life’.

The world (set in 1960’s America) is created as though it is all viewed through the eyes of a child. It story begins with a scene introducing us to Suzies family, all viewed as though we are looking a living dolls in a giant doll house. This type of perspective continuse thought the story through the climax that ends in a scene that could have been an illustration directly from a book.

Everything that happens has an exaggerated, larger than life feel, as though we are seeing the story as it has been recalled from a child’s memories. The tree house is set 40 feet high, the 12 mile island is a vast forest that takes days to transverse, and the adults are all well meaning, but clueless.

The basic story is of that of Suzy and Sam, two preteen misfits that meet at a play and form a pen pal love relationship. They hatch a plan to meet up again and run away together, sending the entire island (where Suzy lives and Sam is staying at a ‘Khaki Scout’ camp) on a hysterical search.

If you ever felt out of place and misunderstood this film will resonate with you. Wes Anderson did a brillant job caputring the intensity, honesty and absurity that comes with the transition from childhood to adulthood.


July 22, 2012

A Dangerous Method – Review

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 7:51 PM

I watched a dangerous method last night. When it was over I wasn’t sure exactly what to think, so I decided to sleep on it. Now that it is a new day and I have had time to think about it, I still don’t know what to think.

I really should like this movie, it seems to be rather well done and the characters are interesting, but I kept getting distracted. I probably missed something important at the beginning of the movie because I was staring at Keira Knightley and wondering what the hell happened to her. For some reason the normally beautiful Keira was transformed in to an cadaverous caricature for this film.

I did find her disturbing, if that was the goal (she was playing a mental patient at the beginning of the film) then kudos to the director, he succeeded. Personally, I think she is a good enough actor that she could have managed it without the being changed into a coat hanger and I doubt it as the reason anyway. They did not have her character gain weight to a healthy level as she got better.

The biggest problem I had with the movie is entirely my own. It was my own internal struggle of myth versus reality. I spent some time this afternoon researching Sabina Spielrein, she is a real person as are Jung and Freud and most of what took place is the movie appears to have really happened.  I was hopping researching the truth would help me resolve my own conflict, and while it did help me clarify what was causing my visceral reaction, it did nothing to resolve it.

When I picked the movie I knew that it as about a psychoanalyst that got involved with a patient, I just had not realized that it was Carl Jung – the Carl Jung, Sabina was one of his first patients and he was very young at the time. All excuses, although even he admits (as much as he actually admitted anything) that he knew better. While Sabina freely admits to the affair in her letters and diaries, Jung is always circumspect, even in his letters to her.

Jung has, in my mind become an archetype of a psychoanalyst. This is where I run into issues. I don’t want to see him as a human, complete with faults and weaknesses. I want to see him as the brilliant mind that understood the depths of our psyches and helped us develop a way to communicate with and understand them. At the same time, the movie (and the letters it is based on) also gives insight into how he came to have these understandings.

Perhaps I would be more understanding if he (Jung’s character) was not portrayed as such a distant, cold person. From everything I can find he was such a person, but could he not have let down his guard a bit in private with is wife or lover? It is a hard dose to see someones humanness without getting to a chance to see their humanity.

That said, the move does portray and accurate look at the relationships between the three primary characters, at least from the correspondence we have. While parts of the movie made me uncomfortable, it also made me think. It made me contemplate the characters, their actions and my reaction to them. I don’t think Freud, Jung or Spielrein could have ask for a better tribute to their work than that.

August 2, 2011

Review (movie) – The Devil’s Double

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Melina Gunnett @ 4:13 PM

This is the story of Latif Yahia during the period of his life when he was forced to play fiday (body double) for Uday Hussein. The extreme power, wealth and privilege of the Hussein family stands against the backdrop of a war they started (the Gulf War between Iraq and Kuwait). At it’s heart this film is about the fear generated by one powerful, violent and insane man and how people must adapt and learn to live with him

Dominic Cooper played both of the lead roles, Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia, and was amazing. His performance was so exceptional that it made me really, really want to like this movie. Unfortunately, Copper’s performance aside, the best I can say was not bad.

The film starts out with a montage of real life war clips from the Gulf War, interspersed with clips of Latif being taken to see Uday. Sadly, it then jumps straight into him being forced to work for Uday as his double. It didn’t give much of a build up or give me much of a reason to care about Latif beyond him being a fellow human in a bad situation.

Uday is excessive in every way. Drugs, sex and violence are the norm in his life and he leaves a tail of damaged people and bodies wherever he goes. Most of the sex and violence in the movie is to portray this extreme but the viewer should be warned that there is a lot of it.

All in all, this one gets a “wait for the video” from me.

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