Ted Review

Upon first hearing the premise of Ted, I was very intrigued. Just based on the idea, I felt as though it could be enjoyable and I was very interested to see where they would go with it. Fortunately, Family Guy creator didn’t get too repulsive of vulgar with the story he was telling and actually surprisingly enough seemed to care about the story almost as much as the jokes he was making. All around there were some dry spots, but it was an alright film.

Ted tells the story of a boy who wishes his teddy bear to life and the friendship that has lasted even into adulthood. The idea is that the main character, John (played by Mark Wahlberg) is getting too old for his teddy bear and he should move on with his lovely girlfriend (played by Mila  Kunis). This is supposed to make for some type of drama as he’s always choosing between the girlfriend and Ted.

The storyline doesn’t make much sense to me because I don’t see why someone can’t have a best friend and a girlfriend, but it is what it is. There is more to the story as a creepy father and son who are obsessed with the talking teddy bear get involved. It is first and foremost a comedy and there are a good amount of laughs, but it certainly left you wishing there had been more antics thrown in involving this sleazy, talking teddy bear.

It attempts to pull at your heart strings, but at the end of the day I don’t know what you could’ve done with this story, but they choose the comedy route and it felt as though it was missing some comedy in place for a alright story that was very inconsistent at times. It was as if the story was fighting the comedy when most good comedies find a balance between the two. It wasn’t a bad movie. It did its job for the most part, I just easily could’ve seen it being done better.

Grade: C+

Top Six Paul Thomas Anderson Movies

With just the creation of six films, Paul Thomas Anderson has solidified himself as one of the greatest directors in existence. If his career in filmmaking were to end right now it would still be one the most enigmatic, beautiful, poignant and spectacular careers that will have ever been crafted. I could watch any one of his six films at any time and be completely happy. He’s made six spectacular films, five of which I would consider masterpieces and that’s all there is to it. This is a list celebrating him and his illustrious career.

6. Hard Eight

It just amazes me that I’m putting Hard Eight last on my list. This is how you debut a career in filmmaking. Anderson regular, Philip Baker Hall, gives his career best performance as protagonist Sydney with John C. Reilly doing just as great as usual. It’s completely consistent of Anderson to have rich and incredibly-well written characters. You’ll find exactly those kind of characters in Hard Eight. I would expect nothing but a truly spectacular movie from Anderson and that’s exactly what my least favorite Paul Thomas Anderson movie is.

5. Magnolia

Paul Thomas Anderson was quoted as to saying that for better or worse Magnolia will probably be the best film he’ll ever make. Where as I hate to disagree with such a genius, I do. Magnolia is just as much of a masterpiece as my top three on this list, but I did have to decide on an order and this is where Magnolia falls for me. This examination of life and the oddities there in is nothing short of breathtaking. The film offers one of the greatest ensemble casts ever and it goes without saying, but the direction is outlandishly good. Magnolia simply proves that Anderson is a director without boundaries.

4. Boogie Nights

With Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson offers a movie that is as character-driven and riveting as Raging Bull, almost as epic as Apocalypse Now and as fun as your average Quentin Tarantino movie. That’s quite a feat on its own, but when you add the fact that it’s a film tracking the rise and fall of the porn industry between the 70s and 80s, the idea of it is rather ridiculous. Boogie Nights tells a timeless tale and does so with unrelenting gusto. It’s hard not to be seduced by the world that Anderson has laid out in front of you and once I was consumed by it, I was left speechless right up until the credits rolled. Boogie Nights is an extravaganza of the things that make for a truly classic film and the best way to describe the experience is unforgettable.

3. Punch-Drunk Love

Punch-Drunk Love offers up one of the greatest cinematic love stories ever told and one as only Paul Thomas Anderson could tell. It definitely does not need to be said, but I’ll say it anyways; this is by far Adam Sandler’s best performance and none of his movies even come close to being as fantastic. Punch-Drunk Love tells such a beautiful story of contempt and the defying ability of love, that the idea of  artful direction could fall as a moot point. Instead Paul Thomas Anderson takes the beautiful story he’s crafted for himself and creates the masterpiece that it truthfully deserved to be. Punch-Drunk Love usually falls by the wayside and is eclipsed by his other films, but I love the film and I always will.

2. The Master

The Master tells the tale of a confused and troubled man, a drifter, who’s looking for his way after World War II. The drama ensues with a chance meeting with Lancaster Dodd. That is his name, but it becomes apparent that the title more often used to refer to Dodd is “Master”. He is an enigmatic man, he’s likable, he’s articulate, and there’s a sense of power to him. He is the master of his own religious movement. However, this eloquent tale deals with a lot broader themes than just religion.

The Master is a masterpiece. It’s Anderson’s sixth and latest film and at this point it’s as if I can expect nothing less than a masterpiece from this brilliant artist. The always spectacular Joaquin Phoenix gives his career best performance as Freddie Quell, while Lancaster Dodd is also portrayed flawlessly by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film centers around the relationship of these two characters. One is a leader and one is a follower and the two characters are utilized to tell a chilling and beautiful tale of obedience and control.

1. There Will Be Blood

Paul Thomas Anderson is a master of his craft and one of my favorite directors working today, but it’s with There Will Be Blood where he proves himself to be one the greatest directors of all time. Some may call Punch-Drunk Love his best and I could see a lot (or most) of people calling either Boogie Nights or Magnolia his best. No matter how much I love Anderson’s other masterpieces, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would call There Will Be Blood his best film.

In Paul Thomas Anderson’s magnum opus you’ll find the greatest character study ever put on film. The word ruthless was never as evident than when the character Daniel Plainview was on screen (which was practically the entirety of the film). He’s conniving, cruel, vindictive, monstrous, and he’s the protagonist. Daniel Plainview is a character so gloriously layered and so distinctively dissected that only a truly masterful performance would have sufficed. Daniel Day-Lewis offers that and more in one of the greatest performances in the history of film.

There Will Be Blood is extraordinary in every sense of the word. It is the most flawless film in Anderson’s career of spectacular movies. Every detail is meticulously slaved over and what results is a film that is gorgeous in its scope and a masterpiece that showcases film as the art form it is. There Will Be Blood is above all else, a perfect movie that serves as a testament to the true prowess of its creator.

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The Fighter Review

The Fighter was a pretty great film that brought you on an emotional ride to say the least. It was a film that I didn’t have much interest in because I’m not a huge fan of sports movies for the most part. The film kept getting hyped, as did Christian Bale’s performance so I felt the need to get out there and see for myself. The Fighter certainly got it right in the way that it focused not only on the main character’s triumphs in the ring, but also his intensely dramatic family life due to a mother who fails to let go of her children and his brother who can’t seem to stop screwing up.

So, yes, The Fighter did offer a little bit more than the average boxing movie, but at the end of the day. Its really nothing I haven’t seen before. The Fighter really just offered the same underdog story that’s been trampled over thousands of time. Don’t get me wrong, it was done well, but it’s definitely been done better in the past. Some might argue that its different because this movie delved into his personal life as well. It certainly did, but that’s also nothing new. That being said, The Fighter as I said before was a pretty great film. It just wasn’t amazing.

One thing that was amazing about it was Christian Bale’s performance. I’ve always been a Christian Bale fan, but his performance in this blew me away. He was phenomenal. Without a doubt, this is one of the greatest performances he’s ever given. The rest of the cast did a bang up job as well. I was never a big Wahlberg fan, but he did pretty decent and the supporting characters all held their own and very well for that matter. Christian Bale was the real treat though.

There were particular moments in this film where you were very moved on an emotional level by what was going on, on screen. Some would include the main character getting beaten by the cops for attempting to help his brother or when his sisters come to attack his “MTV” girlfriend. The parts that didn’t really move me were the actual fights. I was moved by the outcome and what was occurring during the fights, but not by the way the fights were shot.

A movie such as this one should capitalize on its fights, and shooting one should be an art form all its own. Just look at Scorsese’s work in Raging Bull. Thirty-years-old and those boxing matches are still just as breathtaking today. The fights in The Fighter however, were a bit dull. I want to feel more involved in a boxing movie and with this one I wasn’t really given that chance. I felt like the director was aiming to show the fights as if they were on T.V. and it didn’t work for me.

All and all, I could truly understand why people might fall in love with this film based on its content. Its just not the most enjoying thing for me to watch especially since I can be enjoyed in the same way with better movies. However, I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. I’m not trying to trash The Fighter. It was a good movie, it just wasn’t spectacular.

Grade: B

The Lovely Bones Review

I went into The Lovely Bones with high expectations, very high expectations. I hadn’t read the book, but I was quite interested by the plot. I was also very excited to see Stanley Tucci in the role of the twisted serial killer, but most of all I was excited to see another masterpiece by the fantastic director Peter Jackson. His name assured me that I would love this movie. He is the man behind The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, he is at a point in his career where he can make anything he chooses. There is no possible way this movie can’t be great. Well, I was wrong. It is possible, very possible unfortunately.

The Lovely Bones was huge disappointment. I did not enjoy this movie nearly as much as I hoped I would. I was disappointed pretty much by every aspect this film had to offer except one, Stanley Tucci’s performance. He did a fantastic job, he fully embodied the life of this menacing and lonely serial killer. It was legitimately disturbing at times to watch. He was nothing short of perfect. He chewed up every moment he was on screen, which wasn’t nearly enough. Other than Tucci’s performance and the scenes he his character were involved in, I can’t name a single thing I enjoyed about the movie.

The acting in this film was pretty awful and that’s putting it lightly. It’s not even that everyone else was just being overshadowed by an amazing performance they were truly doing bad. It just didn’t make sense to me. It really seemed as though every scene with Stanley Tucci was directed by the great director Peter Jackson and the rest was directed by some amateur they picked off the street. It really saddens me to say that too, it doesn’t make a bit of sense to me that this movie was created by the same mind behind The Lord of the Rings.

The effects felt extremely corny and flashy, he was able to do a much better job with the CGI in King Kong and that was made four years earlier. The effects truly felt like they were from the 90s and I usually don’t care about effects… at all in fact, but this seemed like a movie that was attempting to pride itself on its effects. I don’t doubt for a second that Peter Jackson will redeem himself soon, but unfortunately at this point in time, this is his most recent movie and I did not enjoy it.

Grade: C