Movie Review – Brick

Look, I did what she said with the brick.  I didn’t know it was bad, but The Pin’s on it now for poor Frisco, and they’re playing it all on me.  — Emily from the movie Brick.


farrah and I watched this movie last weekend.  I’ve wanted to see it ever since I saw it’s preview during another DVD we watched several months ago.  It looked like classic film noir set in high school. 

It took a while to get into the nuances in the the dialog, but once you got into the rythym it was easy to follow.  In a way it was sort of like watching Trainspotting for the first time, not knowing what is being said.

I enjoyed the movie overall, giving it four stars.  I like the characters and the look of the film.  The pace of the story was spot on, moving from scene to scene at a good clip.  I figure if Sam Spade went to high school, he Brendan, the lead character in the film.

Go add this movie to your Netflix queue (or rent it at Blockbuster if you must).

Aeon Flux

I have an observation that seems to rarely fail me: action movies that are around ninety minutes in length rarely work.  The problem I have with this timeframe, in this genre, is the fact that there is usually more action then story development.  I like to be entertained as much as the next guy, but at least put a coherent story together, ok?

The only movie that comes to mind that works within this criteria is Under Siege. Yes, this film does star Steven Segal, but he is only on screen for half of the movie.  The other half is taken up by Tommy Lee Jones, who eats up each scene he is in.  There is also Big Trouble in Little China with Kurt Russell.  Big Trouble’s major problem for me was too much story in 99 minutes, but it was an entertaining film.

But now on to Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux.

Aeon Flux

The Netflix summary:

In the 25th century, a rampaging virus has forced the remnants of humanity into the seclusion of a last redoubt. But political conflict swirls within, and the climate is ripe for revolution. Aiming to hasten an uprising, the leader of the underground rebellion (Frances McDormand) dispatches acrobatic assassin Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) to eliminate the government’s top leader in this futuristic thriller based on the popular animated MTV show.

What I liked about the movie: The sci-fi / future slant.  I probably only watched one episode of the MTV cartoon, so I am by no means a Aeon Flux expert.  But I found the setting, and the sparse sets, to be beneficial to the movie’s flow.  Oh, it also doesn’t hurt the film seeing Charlize Theron in several tight-fitting costumes.

What I didn’t like about the movie: Very predictable.  After the first 15 minutes you are able to tell where certain characters are going to end up, and of course, what the eventual outcome will be.

Aeon Flux: ** out of 5


“She is startin’ to damage my calm.”

— Jayne Cobb from the movie Serenity

We are constantly threatened with television shows being re-conceived and passed off as movies.  Most threats are in the form of remakes, such as S.W.A.T., Bewitched, and Dukes of Hazzard, trying to get a few bucks in the name of nostalgia.  There are a few attempts to extend the magic of a successful series onto the big screen.  There has been talk of putting Sex and the City, The Sopranos, and even The Simpsons on the big screen.

One attempt at extending a series into movie format was the X-Files. I only watched a few episode of the X-Files, so watching it translated to film format wasn’t as an exciting prospect for me as it would be for some.  To me, X-Files: The Movie didn’t work for me on a lot of levels.  The main problem I had with that film was it was drew a lot from the show’s mythos,  which other viewers were aware of but I was not.  This left me feeling out of the inner circle. Oh well, not much of a loss in my opinion.

Serenity Movie Poster

Now comes Serenity.  The movie is based on a cancelled television show called Firefly. As I understand it, this was not any ordinary cancelled series, but one with a huge fanatic fan base.  Here’s the //Netflix summary:

Picking up where his cult show “Firefly” left off, writer-director Joss Whedon’s tale of galactic unrest follows Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), captain of the transport ship Serenity, and his scrappy but loyal crew. When the ship picks up two new passengers — fugitives from the powerful coalition ruling the universe — “Mal” and his mates find themselves at the center of a cosmic conflict, pursued by military forces and space-roaming savages.

What I liked about the movie: The movie is very well written.  The characters are well rounded, dispensing smart and witty dialog in tense and quite moments,  never slowing down the movie.  It is a testament to Joss Whedon’s writing skills that I was able to identify with the characters, and follow the story, even though I was not a viewer of the television show.  It’s clear that “Mal” is molded after Han Solo of Star Wars, but that’s forgivable.  It makes it easier for the uninitiated to identify with the character quickly.  The space combat scenes, even though at times they involved large amount of ships, wasn’t as disorienting as those in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.  George Lucas should take note.

What I didn’t like: Acutally, I couldn’t find much fault with the movie, other than I wish it wouldn’t have ended.  I would like to see where the characters can go from here.  But I do not think the movie was successful enough to spawn a sequel, which is a shame.  We get sequels to some pretty crappy movies (e.g. Bad Boys II), but not to well made films such as Serenity. Oh well, such is the wisdom of Hollywood.

Serenity: **** (out of 5)

“Saving Face” & “Rent”

Saving Face

The //Netflix summary for Saving Face:

Dutiful daughter Wil (Michelle Krusiec) sidesteps her mother’s (Joan Chen) attempts to marry her off in Alice Wu’s romantic comedy set in New York. At 28, Wil’s the old maid of her traditional Chinese family, so there’s no way she can tell them about her budding romance with Vivian (Lynn Chen). But there’s no avoiding mom’s meddling matchmaking when she shows up on Wil’s doorstep looking for a place to stay.

What I liked about the movie: The acting is very well done, cast with very attractive leads in Lynn Chen, Michelle Krusiec, and Joan Chen.  The story is as tight as it can be, moving at a brisk pace at 91 minutes.

What I didn’t like: I would have liked to see more character development between male and female characters, to help underscore the role of women in Chinese culture.


The Netflix summary for Rent:

Members of the original 1996 Broadway cast star in Chris Columbus’s adaptation of the award-winning musical set in New York’s East Village. Based on Puccini’s “La Boheme,” the story follows a group of bohemians through life’s ups and down as they face true love, broken hearts, HIV, drug addiction … and of course, paying the rent.

What I liked about the movie: The music done by the original cast members.  Chris Columbus does a fine job of adapting the play to film.

What I didn’t like: Rosario Dawson appeared to be out of her league compared to the other performers.  It appears that the studio wanted a named actor or actress in one of the roles.  Unfortunately, her signing is only as good as an American Idol semi-finalist.

Saving Face:*** (out of 5)

Rent: ***

“Just Like Heaven” & “Elizabethtown”

I don’t know if other people have the same problem I have, but I sometimes get Reese Witherspoon and Kirsten Dundst mixed up.  I don’t get confused when I see a photo of either of them.  The mixup happens when recalling movies they may have done.  I know the Reese Witherspoon has had memorable roles in Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, Highway, and the recent Walk the Line. I know Kirsten Dundst is known for the Spider-man movies, Jumanji, and Bring It On.  Come to think of it, maybe I don’t have a problem recalling what roles they have done.  I think I just may have had a blonde moment or I’m not sure how to start a review for two of their movies Farrah and I just watched on DVD.

The first movie is the light romantic comedy featuring Reese W. called Just Like Heaven. The //Netflix summary is:

Shortly after David Abbott (Mark Ruffalo) moves into his new San Francisco digs, he has an unwelcome visitor on his hands: winsome Elizabeth Martinson (Reese Witherspoon), who asserts that the apartment is hers — and promptly vanishes. When she starts appearing and disappearing at will, David thinks she’s a ghost, while Elizabeth is convinced she’s alive. Their quest for the truth ultimately leads to love in this spectral romantic comedy.

What I liked about the movie: Reese Witherspoon did a fine job as the career driven, yet lovable, doctor.  I also liked the fact the story was set in San Francisco, though it didn’t really play any major role in the film expect some shots of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Just Like Heaven

What I didn’t like: Mark Ruffalo isn’t romantic lead material.  I think he’s more suited for dramatic roles.  He reminds me of Vincent D’Onofrio, who isn’t romantic lead material as well, though he is a very fine actor.

The story follows the romantic comedy formula to the “t”.  How can you have a romance when one of the character’s is dead?  Well, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

For Elizabethtown, the //Netflix summary goes:

Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is fired after causing his shoe company to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. To make matters worse, he’s also dumped by his girlfriend (Jessica Biel). On the verge of ending it all, Drew gets a new lease on life when he returns to his family’s small Kentucky hometown after his father dies. Along the way, he meets a flight attendant (Kirsten Dunst) with whom he falls in love. Cameron Crowe directs.

What I liked about the movie: The actors are very likable, with good supporting roles for Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon.  You can recognize Cameron Crowe’s words, who has a good ear for dialog, coming out of the actors’ mouths.  He captures a portion of America I’ve never personally experienced, and one that Orlando Bloom’s Drew hasn’t either, and manages to make the discovery a shared experience.  I enjoyed the road trip portion of the movie.  The music is on par with other Crowe movies.  He writes so well, though….


What I didn’t like: …some of the editing in the movie I didn’t like.  I understood, as I was watching the movie, that there was more to background on why the shoe failed and was recalled.  This bugged me throughout the movie, even though I understand the specific fact of why it failed wasn’t important as much as the failure itself.  There also didn’t seem to be enough development in some characters, such as Jessica Biel’s as the girlfriend, and development in relationships, such as between Orlando Bloom’s Drew and his mother played by Susan Sarandon.

Just Like Heaven: ** (out of five)

Elizabethtown: ***1/2