Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Filed under: Movie Review

Last night my wife and I watched a movie we have had from Netflix for over a month. Wedding planning had taken over our lives for a while and we just never got around to watching the off-beat and interesting Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang stars Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michele Monaghan. This movie was the start of the rebirth of Downey, culminating recently with Iron Man and Tropic Thunder. It was also the breakthrough for Monaghan that propelled her into Mission Impossible III and Gone Baby Gone(which I reviewed HERE).

This movie offers a very different take on a murder mystery, with Robert Downey narrating, and telling you he is narrating. It is meant to be a little off kilter, and he was the perfect guy to star in this vehicle. He provides not only great acting chops, but he can easily lighten a scene with just a little subtle delivery. It is what makes him so good. Monaghan and Kilmer were solid, as was the rest of the cast.

Though this movie is odd-ball, you really do have to pay close attention to know what is going on. It isn’t a movie you can just watch in the background and then jump in with 10 minutes left and know what is going on. The story is surprisingly good, quite clever actually, and it keeps you guessing til the end, as you never really have a solid grasp as to what exactly is going on.

There are many laugh out loud moments, and the back-and-forth between Downey and Kilmer will keep you chuckling throughout. This is one of those rare comedic murder mysteries that actually works, and doesn’t just come off sort of ham-handed. The story is good enough and the cast is talented enough to make it work beautifully.

If you are in the mood for a light-hearted but somewhat complex murder mystery, check out Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, you won’t be disappointed.

Posted on October 26th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

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Gone Baby Gone

Filed under: Movie Review

I know my first blog posts of the week are usually about a particular food and it’s unique health benefits, but…I watched an incredible movie this weekend that I just wanted to share. I haven’t done a movie review in a while so bear with me, this might get long.

I am not gonna lie, I was absolutely blown away. I had heard really good things, and I had wanted to see this for quite some time, but Ben Affleck absolutely shocked me. He has really been coming around the past few years, not that anyone is willing to admit it. Still, this was a HUGE step up for him. I felt like the first hour of the film was good but not great, but the second half is taken to a whole new level, as Affleck really tightens the screws, always leaving you wondering what is really going on. I hope that this isn’t a one-hit wonder for him, if he is actually this good of a director he could become the next Clint Eastwood. That might be a bit much, but seriously, a decent actor (usually) turned brilliant director. That is Clint, and might that be in Ben’s future as well?

Alright, enough about the direction, the acting in this was sublime. Casey Affleck was simply superb, it just seemed effortless. Combine this with his wonderful work in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (for which he was Oscar nominated) and 2007 was a hell of a year for Ben’s little brother. As good as Casey was, the rest of the cast kept pace. Amy Ryan was absolutely mesmerizing as a Southie mom. She nailed the entire role, not just the accent, but the expressions and the nuances. Hence why she was nominated for an Oscar for the role. Morgan Freeman was his usual self, he is just in complete command of his craft. Ed Harris was intense, sly and just perfect for the role. I’m telling you, the ensemble cast was incredible and the acting reflected it.

Much like Mystic River (both based on books by the same author) this movie stays with you long after the credits roll. It is haunting, and it makes you wonder about what choices you would have made had you been in the same situations. The way the story unfolds is fantastic, never revealing its secrets to early, never giving itself away (I hate when directors and screen writers feel the need to spoon-feed me information) and I give full credit to Ben Affleck. Along with directing the film, he co-wrote the script, and again his work was superlative. Even with the dark and gritty plot and backdrop of Dorchester, MA, you don’t walk away feeling depressed, just reflective, and that was Ben’s ultimate achievement.

I went into this movie with high expectations and not only were they met, they were exceeded. I actually didn’t know a ton about the story going in, and I would highly suggest not researching the plot too much, as the story is the driving force behind this tale. Overall I would give this a 92/100. Getting in the A range from me is a very rare feat, so that speaks volumes to how much I truly enjoyed this film. Rent it today.

Posted on June 9th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

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Pride and Glory

Filed under: Movie Review

For those of you who read my Friday blog last week, I promised to actually get back on the wagon and do a movie review. So this weekend I actually got off my ass and went to the movies and saw the big Oscar winner Slumdog Millonaire. I am a huge fan of Danny Boyle and I have been meaning to see that since before it came out, but I have somehow not managed to get to the movies lately. That movie was awesome and you should all see it, but I think that is already a given. I am not here to discuss this fantastic fim though.

This weekend I also saw another film I had wanted to rent. I am the world’s biggest fan of Edward Norton and I try to see everything that he makes, as he always gives a solid effort and rarely makes a poor movie. Lately though, Im not sure where he is going, and Pride and Glory does nothing to change that.

Though there is nothing inherently wrong with this film, it just always feels like it is trying so hard to be something more than it is. It is trying to be this really smart, dark, complex police drama with a lot of turmoil simmering under the surface. Instead it is just a moderately smart, quite dark police drama that just looks like it is trying to make a case for underlying themes that just really aren’t there.

The direction was pretty good, the acting was solid all around, though no one gave an A+ effort (with a cast of Norton, Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, and Noah Emmerich you expect a little more) no one disappointed either. I felt the same about this movie as I did about Black Hawk Down. Looked good on paper, good cast, good director, should be a good story, and they were both just eh. It is entertanining, and might be worth a rental if you are a fan of anyone in the movie (like me), but other than that it is just another movie on the rack. Overall I would give this movie a C+, probably around a 77/100.

Posted on March 5th, 2009 by Brian St. Pierre

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Planet Earth = Awesomeness

Filed under: Movie Review

OK, so this is going to have nothing at all to do with training or nutrition. As much as I love it (some might call it an obsession, semantics) it can be great to get away and focus on something else for a while. I am supposed to be studying for my CISSN test that is on Saturday to be a certified sports nutritionist, but instead I am holding study papers while being enthralled by an absolutely amazing show called Planet Earth.

I know Planet Earth is not new, coming out almost 2 years ago, but it never ceases to blow me away. It shows the staggering beauty, creativity, and fragility of our world. If you have never seen it I highly suggest you buy it for yourself for Christmas (or buy it for a loved one, and then “borrow” it). I got the DVD set last year at Christmas and it is one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received. I have probably seen each episode 5 times, but I get something new or something I hadn’t noticed or remembered from each viewing.

The earth is made up of some completely amazing creatures that have adapted to their environments in extraordinarily fascinating ways. It is actually mind boggling how nature does what it does. I may not be the world’s greatest conservationist, but I still appreciate the importance we must place on saving our planet. So, I am not trying to preach, and I hope it doesn’t come across that way, but definitely just check out Planet Earth, and prepare to be awed.

Posted on December 4th, 2008 by Brian St. Pierre

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Wednesday Movie Review

Filed under: Movie Review

So since everything I have written so far has been almost completely “educational”, I thought I would have a little fun with this one. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a movie fanatic with a rather large dvd collection. And yes, it’s alphabetized. Though there are some director based groups at the bottom, like the Coens and Tarantino. Once in a while at CP we will get into a movie discussion, with Tony and I usually agreeing, Eric offering nothing, and Kevin having the worst movie taste I have ever seen.

Today I wanted to review a great movie I just watched the other night called the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Not gonna lie, Casey Affleck is becoming an absolutely incredible actor. He is fantastic in this very subdued and nuanced role, giving a haunted and beautiful performance. Sam Rockwell also gives a very strong performance, and I feel he is a very underrated actor, who consistently gives solid effort. Brad Pitt is very charismatic and is also very strong as Jesse James, but it really is Affleck who steals the show. Ever since Good Will Hunting, where he stole every scene he was in, Casey has been absolutely phenomenal. It amazes that he is finally getting his chance to take on some bigger, meatier roles. Did it really take big brother Ben casting him in Gone Baby Gone to get his career as a lead role started?

This is a movie that certainly requires patience. It is a slow burn, that stays pretty consistent. It takes its time and is never in a rush to tell the story, letting everything take its proper course. The original cut was 4 hours long, and I heard it was even better, but the standard version is 2 hours and 40 minutes. This is a movie made for movie lovers. The cinematography is gorgeous, obviously the acting is excellent, and Andrew Dominik gives a great directorial effort, doing a great job of keeping the focus on the actors and the story and letting that speak for itself.

This movie is certainly a little slow, and is that odd western without any real action, but if you are willing to take the time to really get into these characters and the underlying stories, then you are in for a great ride. Overall I gave this movie an 82/100.

Posted on November 12th, 2008 by Brian St. Pierre

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