Toon’s Review: Valkyrie – 7/10

Who wants to hear a story about a hero that failed?

The one who hoped, and died hoping. The one who sacrificed his life with cause yet without result. I don’t think I do, nor do most other people who wish to have the light of a better world shone upon them. ‘Valkyrie’ is such a story, a true story that I had the chance to study as a child, and see it vividly come to life in this adaptation about the men who tried to save the world from a monster. I do not want to look at this like a movie, what happened in this series of events is a very serious matter.

Tom Cruise plays the commited Colonel Stauffenberg in this true story about the men who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

Tom Cruise plays the committed Colonel Stauffenberg in this true story about the men who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

For the sake of informing, ‘Valkyrie’ is the story of Colonel Stauffenberg leading a resistance against Adolf Hitler with a plot to assassinate him and subsequently seize control of Berlin with the reserve army. Within the ranks of the resistance were promising politicians and many fine Generals of Hitler’s army that sacrificed personal gain for the greater good. I do not need to tell you that this did not end well, I knew full well that this would not end well yet with perception of a Hollywood gloss, throughout the movie I kept hoping. I hoped that that this movie would give me hope, but it sucked it from my lungs just as Hitler did so with all those who transgressed against him.

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Toon’s Review: The Departed – 7/10

Great film with a solid central conflict personified by the ever perfect Leonardo Di Caprio. However, the movie ends lacking any fulfillment, with deft voids of logic and senseless vulgarity driving this Scorsese flick to the edge and over.

Maybe it is just me, maybe I just can not understand these “gangster flicks” and their immense irrational stupidity and masochism. These characters seem irrevocably shallow, repetitive in their floundering for sex and power. Gangsters are idiots, and to be impressed by their mannerism is equivalent to entertaining yourself with an autistic person, it’s just not right. However I can understand that this piece, ‘The Departed’, by Scorsese is a very deep study of his past and his influences growing up around the mob and their conflicting Catholic sentiments of guilt and redemption.

Leonardo Di Caprio as Billy Costigan, talking to an Irish goon

Leonardo Di Caprio as Billy Costigan, talking to an Irish goon

The setting for this tale of conceit is Boston, Massachusetts, home to the unreasonably vulgar Irish populous. At its core ‘The Departed’ follows two young cadets in the Boston police academy, strikingly similar in some ways, as we watch them head off in completely opposing and soon to be conflicting directions. Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) is a bright and cockeyed young man raised in the mob, who sweet mouths and sharply makes his way straight up as a detective for the Massachusetts State Police. Billy Costigan (Leonardo Di Caprio) on the other hand, a starkly intelligent and emotional intellect who aces his way through the academy only to be thrown out by Capt. Queenan (Martin Sheen) & Sgt. Dignam (Mark Wahlberg).

Marin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg play Capt. Queenan and Sgt. Dignam respectively. Dignam is a potty mouth.

Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg play Capt. Queenan and Sgt. Dignam respectively. Dignam has a serious potty mouth.

So begins the premise around Frank Castello (Jack Nicholson), the most wanted criminal in the state of Massachusetts. Sullivan is almost a son to Frank Castello, as the opening ten minutes of the film show how he was nurtured and raised away from the Catholic church by Castello. In this vain, Castello has long wished that Sullivan go to Police Academy and eventually become an informant inside the State Police for him. On the other side of the road, Costigan is later called up by the State Police due to his family credibility in crime to be their informant inside Castello’s gang. So begins the State Police hunt to find Castello’s rat, while Castello begins his hunt to find the State Police’s rat. Que absurdly masochisitic bang, a superflous amount of testosterone and voracious amount of cursing and death and you have yourself a movie called ‘The Departed’.

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Toon’s Blu-Ray Review: TMNT – 7/10

“Why do ninja’s love smoke pellets?”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Oh how long has it been since those wonderful days I would be shouting “Heroes in a half shell, Turtle power!” every morning. Okay I wasn’t that sociopathic but I, as most other children during late 80’s and early 90’s, grew up with those brotherly four turtles and their ever wise sensei, a rat! Aside from Michelangelo being responsible for making pizzas my favourite food (similar to how Popeye made me eat spinach), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were really cool cartoons with a great cast of villains to go along with the ride. With that we come to ‘TMNT’… does it have lots of pizzas? No, does it have the coolest villain of the 90’s in Shreddar? No, does it have the iconic theme song and anything to do with those amazing cartoons? No, nothing at all, ‘TMNT’ might as well stand for Tomato Munching Nugget Traffickers.

The Gang pose for a shot, Shredder never got the memo.

The Gang pose for a shot, Shredder never got the memo.

This review is heading down a negative slope, but to be honest and surprisingly, the negativity ends there. This was a very cool movie, no other adjective for it. For those familiar with the ‘TMNT’ lore will know that it revolves around four turtles and their sensei who were accidentally mutated a long, long time ago… the sensei’s genes mixed with a rat’s whilst the genes of four turtles mixed with humans’. All in all this resulted in a family of ninjas that fight the evil foot clan of ninjas led by the sensei’s  life long rival named Shredder. ‘TMNT’ picks up years after Shredder has been defeated and finds the brothers divided with nothing to do, however an event occurs revolving around some ancient warriors and intergalactic monstrosities that simply serve to unite these gang of brothers and reignite their purpose to be heroes. Silly story, but what else could you possibly expect four ninja turtles led by a rat to deal with?



Where this film succeeds is in its excellent execution, watching the film on Blu-Ray was an absolute treat that exemplified gorgeously detailed animations and rendering bringing to life these infamous four ninja turtles like never before. The accompanying soundtrack was astutely uplifting and ‘ass-kicking’ at best, supporting some greatly choreographed fight scenes, which mind you there are plenty of. The characters themselves are covered with great moral values and by the end of the film come around to serve a great family oriented lesson that I would want to share with my younger kinship. More of this is what the kids need to be influenced by, and less of  the “Michael Bay” plodder of psychopathic pornography feathered with MTV capitalism.


As a child or an adult, this movie is highly recommendable popcorn affair. Surprisingly entertaining characters with continuous dashes of creative fight scenes keep the film moving along briskly in its short and effective running time of 87 minutes. I feel like this movie stands out as a good movie simply because it never slows down to the point where you have to think about what is actually going on. And it is best I don’t either, good movie, great values.

What did you think of the movie?

Toon’s Review: Knowing – 7/10

A through and through solid film that shocks, awes and then some, it’s an intelligent and thought provoking twist on a tired apocalyptic genre where Proyas’ skills as a director shine through in a very engaging experience. However, personal derivations of the very peculiar ending and lack of emotional credibility pull this back from being a great movie.

Review

I am still not sure what I would rate this movie out of my usual ten point scale; however what I am certain of is how good this movie felt. Watching ‘Knowing’ was simply a superb experience, it was genuinely enticing, intriguing, thrilling and thoroughly ponderous at just the right times. Alex Proyas, responsible for directing the cult hit ‘Dark City’ as well as the futuristic thriller ‘I, Robot’, was on his finest form here delivering an exciting thriller that will honestly have you at the edge of your seat with your spine tingling in curiosity and uneasiness. Simply a very well made film.

Nicholas Cage plays a very deep character; an MIT Professor entangled with thoughts of his family and the determinsim of the universe.

Nicholas Cage plays a very deep character; an MIT Professor entangled with thoughts of his family and the order of the universe.

‘Knowing’ follows a somewhat classic end of the world plot, which contains the typical “prophecy” sort of material falling in to the hands of an unassuming intelligent man. I do not wish to reveal much because what makes the film feel so brilliant is the sense of discovery that you are engaged in throughout along with the characters. The prophecy in this case is a piece of parchment filled with numbers written in the 1950’s by a very disturbed young girl named Lucinda Embry who was haunted by unbeknownst whispers in her head. The parchment, along with many other drawings from children in her school was locked away in a time capsule. Opened fifty years later, the parchment falls in to the hands of young boy named Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), who’s father John Koesler (Nicholas Cage) comes across the meaning of the numbers by chance. The seemingly random numbers correspond to every major disaster that has taken place in the world in the last 50 years, and as John finds out, in the upcoming days as well.

The film from the start sets itself apart from others in this genre by taking a philosophical and intelligent route, posing the question of whether the universe acts in a deterministic or random manner. Read the rest of this entry »

Toon’s Review: Aeon Flux – 1/10

Do not watch this movie.

I have seen some bad movies in my life, real bad ones but most of these I expect to be as such. Although there are times where my expectations are so bloody low that I could care less what entails a movie, I just watch it for the sake of some usurpation in that it may not be so bad. This is not one of those times, I am so bored of watching Aeon Flux I wanted to stop watching it, and in fact I have because I am writing while in the corner of my eye I am watching a lady gallop through a vegetable garden with pineapples that fire bullets like machine guns.

A very good looking woman in a very bad movie.

A very good looking woman in a very bad movie.

Read on after the break… Read the rest of this entry »

Toon’s Review: Spy Game – 7.5/10

An old school gem of a spy flick with an intense soundtrack and brilliant chemistry between Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.

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Many people underestimate how important the soundtrack of a movie is, in my opinion it is equally as important as the vision of the film. Actors and images can portray the most dramatic of moments, but the intensity of any given moment is only captured through its acoustic presentation. The music and sound is the atmosphere and the mood of the film, without it being perfectly executed I am sure that half of the greatest cinematic moments in recent times are stagnant images. I need to point you no further than reminiscing sweeping landscapes and warzones from Lord of the Rings supported by that epic theme composed by Howard Shore, or the countless moments in The Matrix where Neo’s suave demeanour is sustained by heart thumping bass and guitar riffs from Rob Dougan. The music is half the movie, no exceptions.

So I come to Spy Game, a movie starring the ageless Robert Redford and his soon to be protégé Brad Bitt. Without giving much away, the story revolves around a C.I.A. veteran Nathan Muir (Robert Redford). On the verge of his retirement, he is tipped off that a former friend and apprentice Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) was captured in a Chinese prison on a mission not sanctioned by the agency. Realising this, Muir’s superiors set out to disown and burn Bishop fearing his personal espionage mission would damage Chinese and American trade relations.

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Toon’s Review: Speed Racer – 9.5/10

Enjoy absurdity, because it has never looked so awesome. Oh and take your kids and younger siblings, make sure they are paying attention.

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Let this not defeat you, nor phase you for that matter, Speed Racer is audaciously and foremost based upon a 1960’s anime depicting the future of racing and conglomeration. So excuse the imagination of humble minds some 50 years ago for making some absolutely absurd predictions about the future of automobile racing. That being said; commend them for depicting a moral tale of family over fame and fortune. That being an irrevocably relevant topic to today’s society where heart and soul have been defeated by finance and logos. This is a PG movie, and such by all constitutions this must have an important and positive message for our younger minds. And by God do the kid these days need some humility, apologies but that’s a conversation for another weekend.

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