Category Archives: Movie Review

Movie Review: Choke

Mood: Umm…err…

It’s been ages since I wrote a movie review. The last movie I reviewed was way back in February, for Taken. Since then, we have seen seven movies, so get ready for a deluge of movie reviews.

The next movie we saw after Taken was a black comedy called Choke. Emily organised a night out for us at the Moonlight Cinema at Centennial Park, and the movie that most people agreed on was Choke.

Prior to going to the screening that night, I had no idea what this film was all about. By the end of it, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know any more. Let’s just say this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the film: Victor Mancini is a sex-addicted med-school dropout who by day works as a historical re-enactor at a Colonial Williamsburg theme park to keep his increasingly deranged mother Ida in an expensive private medical hospital. At night, Victor supplements his meagre income by running a scam to deliberately choke in upscale restaurants to form parasitic relationships with the wealthy patrons who "save" him and con money out of them. When he’s not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action. In a rare lucid moment, Ida reveals that she has withheld the shocking truth of his father’s identity, which sees Victor enlist the aid of his best friend, Denny and his mother’s beautiful attending physician, Dr. Paige Marshall, to solve the mystery before the truth of his possibly divine parentage is lost forever.

I distinctly remember not really liking this movie, although I did enjoy the performances by Sam Rockwell and Angelica Huston as Victor and Ida. I also thought Kelly Macdonald did a great job as Paige – she was endearing in a weird sort of way.

I will honestly admit that I "didn’t get it". It was really dark, and some of it was funny, but the story required too much thinking for my liking. I thought the twist was well done, even though in hindsight, I was kind of expecting it. But really, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Rating:

So to continue on with the Kevin Bacon game, here are this film’s Bacon numbers.

Sam Rockwell has a Bacon number of 1.
* Sam Rockwell was in Frost/Nixon (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Angelica Huston has a Bacon number of 2.
* Anjelica Huston was in Martian Child (2007) with Oliver Platt.
* Oliver Platt was in Frost/Nixon (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Kelly Macdonald has a Bacon number of 2.
* Kelly Macdonald was in Choke (2008) with Sam Rockwell.
* Sam Rockwell was in Frost/Nixon (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Brad William Henke (who played the role of Victor’s best friend Denny) has a Bacon number of 2.
* Brad William Henke was in Hollywoodland (2006) with Joe Spano.
* Joe Spano was in Frost/Nixon (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Next movie I saw was Confessions of a Shopaholic with Suz, who got free VIP movie passes and decided to share them with me!

Movie Review: Taken

Mood: A Bit Scared

The second movie we watched last Friday night was Liam Neeson’s action movie Taken. When the movie first came out in the cinemas, J and I had some desire to see the movie. However, when the movie was released in Australia way back in August last year, there were a lot of other movies that we also wanted to see, so Taken was relegated to the Rental / Download pile.

When Ian suggested we watch Taken on Friday night, the whole group eagerly accepted. The official movie synopsis is below.

Liam Neeson stars in this action packed international thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. When his estranged daughter is kidnapped in Paris, a former spy (Neeson) sets out to find her at any cost. Relying on his special skills, he tracks down the ruthless gang that abducted her and launches a one-man war to bring them to justice and rescue his daughter. –© 20th Century Fox

The movie was definitely suspenseful and thrilling. It was a bit slow and meandering to start with, but once the chase was on, I was hooked. Liam Neeson is not a young man, yet he rose to the occasion in terms of throwing his body into the movie. His brooding portrayal of Bryan Mills, a man desperate to find and save his daughter from a horrible fate was spot on – you could hear the frustration in his voice and see the desperation on his face. And the way Bryan treated the bad guys assured you that you did not want to mess with him or his – ever.

In all honesty, Liam Neeson was the movie. The supporting cast was pretty limp and didn’t really offer that much. Then again, there really was nothing substantial for the supporting cast to do other than stand around and occasionally break into tears or tantrums. Maggie Grace as the daughter Kim and Famke Janssen as Bryan’s ex-wife Lenore were not much more than eye candy. Even smaller a part was that of Lenore’s wealthy new husband Stuart (played by Xander Berkeley) – all he really did was offer a private jet.

What we didn’t expect was to see a familiar face in this movie. Holly Valance, aka Felicity "Flick" Scully from Neighbours, played pop diva Sheerah in this movie, who Bryan was tasked to escort to and from her concert. Holly’s air time amounted to about 5 minutes in total, and every time I saw her face pop up, I giggled a little while singing Kiss Kiss in my head.

Rating:

And so the Kevin Bacon game continues.

Liam Neeson has a Bacon number of 2.
* Liam Neeson was in Rob Roy (1995) with John Hurt.
* John Hurt was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Famke Janssen has a Bacon number of 2.
* Famke Janssen was in Rounders (1998) with Goran Visnjic.
* Goran Visnjic was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Again, who in Hollywood wasn’t in this New York, I Love You movie???

Maggie Grace has a Bacon number of 2.
* Maggie Grace was in Suburban Girl (2007) with Sarah Michelle Gellar.
* Sarah Michelle Gellar was in Air I Breathe, The (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Xander Berkeley has a Bacon number of 1.
* Xander Berkeley was in Apollo 13 (1995) with Kevin Bacon.

Holly Valance has a Bacon number of 2.
* Holly Valance was in Taken (2008/I) with Xander Berkeley.
* Xander Berkeley was in Apollo 13 (1995) with Kevin Bacon.

Next up: Choke.

Movie Review: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Mood: Pleased

Last Friday night, Anna and Ian hosted a Night In for a small group of friends. Emily, Penny, Lissy and I were invited, as were Paul and Ian’s friend (whose name escapes me) for a night of movies and cheap and cheerful Thai food.

The evening was a great idea for one and all – Anna and Emily were trying to save money for their impending trip to Vietnam and Thailand, Ian needed a quiet weekend after the Australia Day Long Weekend when he went from music festival to concert to way too much partying, and I wanted a night out but a night in, if you know what I mean.

Ian has an awesome collection of movies, so we knew we weren’t going to be short of entertainment at his and Anna’s place. Stuck for the first movie to watch, Ian suggested that we take a look at a little flick called Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Ian’s recommendations are usually pretty good, so we settled in for the movie.

Below is the official synopsis from Sony Pictures.

“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” is a comedy about two people thrust together for one hilarious, sleepless night of adventure in a world of mix tapes, late-night living, and, live, loud music. Nick (Michael Cera) frequents New York’s indie rock scene nursing a broken heart and a vague ability to play the bass. Norah (Kat Dennings) is questioning pretty much all of her assumptions about the world. Though they have nothing in common except for their taste in music, their chance encounter leads to an all-night quest to find a legendary band’s secret show and ends up becoming the first date in a romance that could change both their lives. –© Sony Pictures

I thought it was a very cute movie. The leads worked well together and their chemistry was one that was easy and comfortable to watch. The jokes worked on all levels – even the visual one involving a piece of chewing gum. I would have paid good money to watch the movie just to see the treatment of that piece of gum.

Michael Cera is such a terrific actor – I have loved him since Arrested Development and he continues to shine in breakout roles in movies such as Juno and Superbad. He is just so believably gorky!

Kat Dennings was gorgeous on screen, although the costume designer should be shot for putting her in that awful dowdy outfit which she had to wear for the duration of the movie. The wise cracking ball of spitfire Norah provided a good balance for the mopey laidback introvert Nick.

The supporting cast provided a great laugh. Norah’s best friend Caroline (Ari Graynor) and Nick’s bandmates Thom and Dev (Aaron Yoo and Rafi Gavron) and random pickup Lethario (Jonathan B Wright) were hilarious, and Nick’s ex-girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena) was deliciously bitchy. Jay Baruchel as Norah’s oil slick egotist, on-again-off-again love interest Tal rounded out the great cast.

Rating:

And now, the Bacon numbers for this fine young cast.

Michael Cera has a Bacon number of 2.
* Michael Cera was in Juno (2007) with Olivia Thirlby.
* Olivia Thirlby was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Kat Dennings has a Bacon number of 2.
* Kat Dennings was in Charlie Bartlett (2007) with Anton Yelchin.
* Anton Yelchin was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Ari Graynor has a Bacon number of 1.
* Ari Graynor was in Mystic River (2003) with Kevin Bacon.

Aaron Yoo has a Bacon number of 2.
* Aaron Yoo was in Disturbia (2007) with Shia LaBeouf.
* Shia LaBeouf was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Rafi Gavron has a Bacon number of 2.
* Rafi Gavron was in Breaking and Entering (2006) with Robin Wright Penn.
* Robin Wright Penn was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Jonathan B Wright has a Bacon number of 2.
* Jonathan B. Wright was in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) with Adam S. Phillips.
* Adam S. Phillips was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Alexis Dziena has a Bacon number of 2.
* Alexis Dziena was in When in Rome (2009) with Loukas Papas.
* Loukas Papas was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Jay Baruchel has a Bacon number of 2.
* Jay Baruchel was in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008) with Adam S. Phillips.
* Adam S. Phillips was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Makes me wonder who in Hollywood did not work on New York, I Love You.

We watched two movies last Friday night, the second movie being Taken. Up next: my review for that movie. (PS – the review for Choke will follow after Taken.)

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Mood: Inspired

My movie reviews dropped off at the end of last year, mainly due to my sheer laziness. Then there was that whole "got made redundant" thing, and then there was that whole "had to have some hip surgery" thing.

My last review was for WALL•E, which we saw way back in October last year. In that review, I noted that we saw Journey to the Centre of the Earth in 3D after WALL•E. I remembered that movie being fun – I love Brendan Fraser and seeing the movie in 3D was fun, although the extra costs they slugged us for the 3D experience was something I’m unlikely to want to revisit again any time soon.

I can’t remember if we saw another movie between Journey and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. And again not sure whether we saw something between Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Bedtime Stories. In any case, both were good and both were seen with J and M.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa had a lot of catchy tunes and was fun enough to keep everyone entertained. Bedtime Stories was a nice little flick as well – I enjoyed Adam Sandler playing an almost straight character. But at 99 minutes, it was a little bit long for an almost 4 year old, who in the final 10 minutes of the movie very loudly asked Daddy "Can we go now? I don’t think I can sit here any more."

Somewhere in the haze, I recall seeing the new James Bond flick Quantum of Solace. I loved that movie – it was Bond at his brooding best. Loved the action. Loved the cinematography. Thought Daniel Craig was fab.

J and I resumed our Tuesday Movies routine this week with Slumdog Millionaire. Below is the synopsis written by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Each chapter of Jamal’s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its storytelling lies the question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love.

This has to be one of the best movies I have ever seen. I will openly admit that I cried in this movie. Not just the polite sniffle as tears gentle cascade down my face – the all encompassing, body shaking, ragged breathing, loudly wailing kind of crying. From about half way through the movie. Yes, it was a joy to be seated next to me that night.

One of the truly amazing things about this movie is the steeliness of Jamal’s character and resolve. Life did not exactly deal him a fair hand, and every time he was kicked and stomped to the ground, he would pick himself up and dust himself off and try to make the most (if not a better situation) out of it. It was with a sense of triumph that I watched Jamal face adversity upon adversity, and still remain a fairly grounded, mostly sane young man who never lost sight of his ultimate prize.

I loved the relationship between Jamal and Salim. Although Salim did not always make the best choices, he always had Jamal’s best interest at heart. Salim was a constant guide and leader and protector for Jamal throughout their youth, and even after a period of estrangement, Salim returned to his role as protector by way of apology.

The power of first love was beautifully illustrated by Jamal and Latika. Jamal’s devotion to Latika knew no bounds, and his relentless efforts to be with his one true love deserved gold medals.

Jamal was played by three very talented individuals – Dev Patel as the adult Jamal, Tanay Hemant Chheda as the adolescent Jamal and Ayush Mahesh Khedekar as the child Jamal. All were completely utterly brilliant.

Salim was also portrayed by three talented actors – Madhur Mittal as the adult Salim, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala as the adolescent Salim and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail as the child Salim. The camaraderie and the closeness that existed between the pairs of actors throughout the three stages of the brothers’ lives was easy and totally believable.

Latika was very much a supporting character, but a pivotal character nevertheless. The three actresses who gave Latika life were Freida Pinto (the adult Latika was luminously beautiful on screen), Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar and Rubiana Ali as adolescent and child Latika respectively.

Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan played key roles in the film as the host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and the Police Inspector interrogating Jamal throughout the film respectively.

Rating:

This year, I’m going to play the Bacon numbers game only. Most of the cast has a Bacon number of 2, as Kevin Bacon was in New York, I Love You with Irrfan Khan. Nevertheless, the Bacon numbers for the main cast members are below.

Dev Patel has a Bacon number of 2.
* Dev Patel was in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Irrfan Khan.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Madhur Mittal has a Bacon number of 2.
* Madhur Mittal was in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Irrfan Khan.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Freida Pinto has a Bacon number of 2.
* Freida Pinto was in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Irrfan Khan.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Irrfan Khan has a Bacon number of 1.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Anil Kapoor (I) has a Bacon number of 2.
* Anil Kapoor (I) was in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) with Irrfan Khan.
* Irrfan Khan was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

We are due to see Choke next Tuesday at the Moonlight Cinema. I will definitely try to put up a review as soon as I’ve formed an opinion.

Movie Review: WALL•E

Mood: Woo Hoo!

I now know why my parents only ever took my sisters and me to one movie at the cinemas when we were growing up, and why after my mum braved the expedition a second time (on her own), we never went again.

Here are a few things I discovered when J and I took M to see WALL•E a few weeks ago.

1. It’s bloody expensive to take the whole family to the movies. Not only do you have to pay for the movie tickets, you also need to have enough snacks to last the duration of the movie in order to keep the kids happy. And snacks cost a fortune.

2. Kids will only sit still for a short period of time. When they feel they’re done with sitting still, they will wriggle like they have ants in their pants.

3. There is only so much water you can feed a child before she needs to go to the bathroom. And when she needs to go, she needs to go.

It’s just as well that M is so darn gorgeous and I love her to bits. Little Miss was actually very well behaved on the day, considering some of the stories her Daddy had told me of their previous movie expeditions. It may have had something to do us letting her have as much sugary coloured popcorn as she could eat, or me letting her climb all over me during the movie, but the fact that we stayed to the end of the movie was a huge achievement. Well, I stayed to the end – Daddy had to take M to the bathroom in the last 5 minutes of the movie. Let’s just say Daddy was not the most favourite person in the eyes of the young family he climbed over twice.

The synopsis of the movie appears below.

What if mankind had to leave Earth, and somebody forgot to turn the last robot off?

Academy Award-winning writer-director Andrew Stanton ("Finding Nemo") and the inventive storytellers and technical geniuses at Pixar Animation Studios ("The Incredibles", "Cars", "Ratatouille") transport moviegoers to a galaxy not so very far away for a new computer-animated cosmic comedy about a determined robot named WALL•E.

After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, WALL•E (short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) discovers a new purpose in life (besides collecting knick-knacks) when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. EVE comes to realise that WALL•E has inadvertently stumbled upon the key to the planet’s future, and races back to space to report her findings to the humans (who have been eagerly awaiting word that it is safe to return home). Meanwhile, WALL•E chases EVE across the galaxy and sets into motion one of the most exciting and imaginative comedy adventures ever brought to the big screen.

Joining WALL•E on his fantastic journey across a universe of never-before-imagined visions of the future, is a hilarious cast of characters including a pet cockroach, and a heroic team of malfunctioning misfit robots.

Filled with surprises, action, humor and heart, WALL•E was written and directed by Andrew Stanton, produced by Jim Morris, co-produced by Lindsey Collins and features original and innovative sound design by Academy Award winner Ben Burtt ("Star Wars", "Indiana Jones", "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial").

After so much hype, I’m really glad that the movie lived up to my expectations. It was a very cute movie – child friendly, but also adult friendly. The animations were so well done. There was enough on screen to keep everyone entertained – even those big people, like J, who saw the movie twice in 2 weeks. You felt WALL•E’s loneliness just as if he was human. You smiled at the blossoming relationship between WALL•E and EVE. It was genuinely heart-wrenching when EVE’s programming shut her down for retrieval and WALL•E is trying everything under the sun to interact with EVE again.

The triumph over trials and tribulations was well done. And as one would expect with a Pixar feature, there would be a happy ending – but the movie did keep you guessing till the end. For a second there, the movie could have ended without the happy ending – or at least a different ending, but then, the warm and fuzzies come through in the end.

And the movie made you think a little about the impact we have on our environment. The not-so-subtle message of “Recycle or Bust” is very prevalent. It may be too little too late for some of the older audience in the theatre, but if the message can be passed on to the little ones, they may think twice about what they should do with the packaging that comes with everything these days.

Rating:

Continuing with the Six Degrees game, I was surprised and amused I was able to discover direct links! There are 3 direct links between The Bank Job and WALL•E.

1. Saffron Burrows was in One Night Stand (1997) with John Ratzenberger.
2. Saffron Burrows was in Nevada (1997) with Kathy Najimy.
3. David Suchet was in The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) with John Ratzenberger.

And Bacon numbers:

Ben Burtt (WALL•E) has a Bacon number of 2.
* Ben Burtt was in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) with Natalie Portman.
* Natalie Portman was in New York, I Love You (2008) with Kevin Bacon.

Elissa Knight (EVE) has a Bacon number of 2.
* Elissa Knight was in Cars (2006) with John Goodman (I).
* John Goodman (I) was in Death Sentence (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Jeff Garlin has a Bacon number of 2.
* Jeff Garlin was in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) with Steve Eastin.
* Steve Eastin was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Fred Willard has a Bacon number of 2.
* Fred Willard was in The Year That Trembled (2002) with Marin Hinkle.
* Marin Hinkle was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

John Ratzenberger has a Bacon number of 2.
* John Ratzenberger was in Cars (2006) with John Goodman (I).
* John Goodman (I) was in Death Sentence (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Kathy Najimy has a Bacon number of 2.
* Kathy Najimy was in Bam Bam and Celeste (2005) with John Cho.
* John Cho was in The Air I Breathe (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Sigourney Weaver (Axiom‘s computer) has a Bacon number of 2.
* Sigourney Weaver was in The TV Set (2006) with Kathryn Joosten.
* Kathryn Joosten was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

We saw Journey to the Centre of the Earth (in 3D) after WALL•E, so that will be my next review. Stay tuned!

Movie Review: The Bank Job

Mood: Relaxed

This review is long overdue – considering we watched this movie in mid-August!

After a break in the Date Night pattern due to illness, J and I resumed our Tuesday night ritual on 19 August. Considering I wasn’t feeling very well that night, having already spent Monday and Tuesday at home in bed with my own bug (no thanks to being forced to stand in the freezing cold for 2 hours waiting for a sleepyhead forgetful golf pro to show up at the golf course for our 7am tee off), I was more than happy to do something that was relaxing.

The movie we settled on was The Bank Job, mainly because we both like Jason Statham and it looked like a bit of fun. And, at the time, it was the best film being shown. Synopsis below:

A car dealer with a dodgy past and new family, Terry has always avoided major-league scams. But, when Martine, a beautiful model from his old neighbourhood, offers him a lead on a foolproof bank hit on London’s Baker Street, Terry recognises the opportunity of a lifetime. Martine targets a roomful of safe deposit boxes worth millions in cash and jewellery. But, Terry and his crew don’t realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets–secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal that spans London’s criminal underworld, the highest echelons of the British government, and the Royal Family itself–the true story of a heist gone wrong, in all the right ways.

I thought the film was quite well executed. It was a fun romp and all the actors did a good job with their parts. I thought there would have been more car chases, explosions and running around on the parts of the bank robbers, but that wasn’t the case with this movie. The storyline was intelligent enough that it didn’t need blockbuster action sequences to pad it out. And I loved the juicy scandals – royals and members of parliament in sex scandals, militants holding the British government to ransom, police corruption, and MI5 tripping over themselves to cover up the mess. One would be forgiven for mistaking the movie for a documentary!

Jason Statham was broody in a good way. He is such a hunky man! Saffron Burrows was gorgeous on screen. Richard Lintern was calculating as the MI5 agent who forced Burrow’s Martine into recovering the scandalous material from the safe deposit boxes. And David Suchet’s Lew Vogel had just the right amount of titillating deviousness to spice up the film. All the supporting actors all gave spot on performances as well.

Rating:

Continuing with the Six Degrees game, there is 1 direct link from Wanted to The Bank Job:

1. James McAvoy was in Bright Young Things (2003) with Stephen Campbell Moore.

Jason Statham has a Bacon number of 2.
* Jason Statham was in Transporter II (2005) with Ernest Harden Jr.
* Ernest Harden Jr was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Saffron Burrows has a Bacon number of 2.
* Saffron Burrows was in Reign Over Me (2007) with Robert Harvey (I).
* Robert Harvey (I) was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Richard Lintern has a Bacon number of 2.
* Richard Lintern was in Syriana (2005) with Steven Hinkle.
* Steven Hinkle was in Loverboy (2005) with Kevin Bacon.

David Suchet has a Bacon number of 2.
* David Suchet was in The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) with George Belanger.
* George Belanger was in The Air I Breathe (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

We took another break from the movies after The Bank Job, but then managed to catch two flicks in the past two weeks. Next up: WALL•E.

Movie Review: Wanted

Mood: Squee!

Is it just me, or are there a lot of superhero films around this year?

Ok, so the protagonist isn’t exactly a superhero, but he does have extraordinary skills, and ways and means to rapidly heal his battered and bloodied body, so I’m going to call him a superhero for the sake of a name.

And how could I say no to a film that has lots of explosions and car chases / crashes and lots of guns and shooting?

Based upon Mark Millar’s explosive graphic novel series and helmed by stunning visualist director Timur Bekmambetov—creator of the most successful Russian film franchise in history, the Night Watch series—Wanted tells the tale of one apathetic nobody’s transformation into an unparalleled enforcer of justice. In 2008, the world will be introduced to a hero for a new generation: Wesley Gibson.

25-year-old Wes (James McAvoy) was the most disaffected, cube-dwelling drone the planet had ever known. His boss chewed him out hourly, his girlfriend ignored him routinely and his life plodded on interminably. Everyone was certain this disengaged slacker would amount to nothing. There was little else for Wes to do but wile away the days and die in his slow, clock-punching rut.

Until he met a woman named Fox (Angelina Jolie).

After his estranged father is murdered, the deadly sexy Fox recruits Wes into the Fraternity, a secret society that trains Wes to avenge his dad’s death by unlocking his dormant powers. As she teaches him how to develop lightning-quick reflexes and phenomenal agility, Wes discovers this team lives by an ancient, unbreakable code: carry out the death orders given by fate itself.

With wickedly brilliant tutors — including the Fraternity’s enigmatic leader, Sloan (Morgan Freeman) — Wes grows to enjoy all the strength he ever wanted. But, slowly, he begins to realize there is more to his dangerous associates than meets the eye. And as he wavers between newfound heroism and vengeance, Wes will come to learn what no one could ever teach him: he alone controls his destiny.

Believe me when I tell you that this is an awesome movie. In my books, it rates right up there with Iron Man as almost the best movie I’ve seen this year.

To use someone else’s words, as Todd Mccarthy said in his movie review for Variety.com, "Like it or not, Wanted pretty much slams you to the back of your chair from the outset and scarcely lets up for the duration." That’s how chock full of action this movie was. So much so I had to keep reminding myself to breathe throughout the movie.

Look, let’s be honest, this movie is fluff. Pure, unadulterated, adrenaline rushing, heart pounding, CGI enhanced fluff. No one is going to win an Oscar for their acting, nor for their scriptwriting. But I did love seeing it on the big screen, and wished the volume had been louder. I definitely would have jumped more if the volume was louder!

James McAvoy would not have been my first choice as the hero, but after seeing his very buffed physique, who am I to say no?

And Angelina Jolie … well … let’s just say I would turn for her.

Morgan Freeman did the best he could with what he was given. I wasn’t completely convinced, but then, I have to remind myself that this movie is fluff. Terence Stamp’s appearance about two-thirds of the way into the movie added another big name presence on the screen, and he too did the best he could with what he was given. Support players Thomas Kretschmann as Cross and Common as The Gunsmith were also entertaining.

The special effects were great! Oh, and I nearly drew blood from J as I dug my fingernails in so hard at all the jumpy bits!

Rating:

The movie actually deserves a rating of 4¾ stars as well, for the same reasons as The Dark Knight. This movie will definitely become part of my DVD collection when it becomes available.

Continuing the Six Degrees game, from Fight Club to Wanted, there are 3 direct links:

1. Brad Pitt was in Se7en (1995) with Morgan Freeman. (Yep – back again!)
2. Brad Pitt was in Full Frontal (2002) with Terence Stamp.
3. Brad Pitt was in Mr and Mrs Smith (2005) with Angelina Jolie. (Duh!!!)

And Bacon numbers:

James McAvoy has a Bacon number of 2.
* James McAvoy was in The Last King of Scotland (2006) with Forest Whitaker.
* Forest Whitaker was in The Air I Breathe (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Angelina Jolie has a Bacon number of 2.
* Angelina Jolie was in Sledge: The Untold Story (2005) with Jim Cody Williams.
* Jim Cody Williams was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

Morgan Freeman has a Bacon number of 2. (Already established in the review for The Dark Knight.)

Terence Stamp has a Bacon number of 2.
* Terence Stamp was in Bowfinger (1999) with John Cho.
* John Cho was in The Air I Breathe (2007) with Kevin Bacon.

We had a week’s rest last week – J was so sick he could barely get himself out of bed. So we resumed our viewing this week with the Jason Statham flick The Bank Job.