Category Archives: Five Stars

Five Stars

Five Stars: Inception

When the mind is the crime scene anything is possible. When its somebody else’s mind however, it gets a bit more complicated.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception is a Sci-Fi thriller that tries to get you to remember how you got to where you are. From the start of the film you’re cast into a beautiful world of paradoxes, a castle by the sea, children playing, men with assault rifles. Then the world is explained to you, multiple people are able to coexist in a specific dream. This dream is in the head of a specific person and that person’s subconscious might (read: will) try and get rid of the intruders.

How do you stay focused in such a world? How do you know which world is real? What evil lurks in the deepest of dreams of those around you and is the risk worth the reward?

Even here I feel like if I’ve said too much and should just tell you the following:

Inception was written and directed by Christopher Nolan, it is brilliant, the acting is top-notch, and it is the only movie I am able to recommend so far this summer.

Five Stars : Hot Tub Time Machine

A few days ago I started a Five Star review of Los Abrazos Rotos. This is not that review. Again a John Cusack movie that surprises me, this time in a good way.

The movie is called “Hot Tub Time Machine”. There are no surprises here, just fun. A coworker said it best when she asked “is it just like making fun of old John Cusack movies?” In a sense, yes.

The fact is this movie borrows a lot from many 80s movies. There’s definitely references to Better Off Dead but it’s not just that. It’s the spirit of the eighties seen through today’s eyes. More than once, the characters are mortified that the worst thing that could happen to them is having to live the 80s again.

I have not seen a movie as consistently funny as this one since last year’s The Hangover, which is no easy feat.

“Yea but, five stars?” I rate movies based on what I would like to see again and what I want my friends to experience or talk to them about. When I got out of the theatre I immediately called people to tell them that they had to spend money in this movie. It’s that funny.

I would honestly not mind a movie like this every year.

it’s like the white buffalo.

Five Stars: Up in the Air

You may find it appropriate that I am writing this while alone in my apartment during christmas eve. It is not lost on me.

This movie was never in my radar, in the last few weeks it came to my attention and I was actually amazed that I did not know about it earlier. The movie follows Ryan Bingham as he flies from city to city performing a task that makes most people he meets hate him or at least dislike him. He preaches about how to let go, and how every connection you have weighs you down. He lives disconnected, he feels at home in the sky.

Being a metaphor for all of our complex lives, the jet setter fits the bill. He might be a caricature of people but we are all too busy to stop and look around. A theme that has been around ever since Ferris Bueler asked us to do it all those years ago. Life is passing us by, and we keep setting dates for when we are going to do something and then just hearing the swoosh as the deadlines go by.

I completely understand all the award buzz that it has. The movie is funny and real. Clooney is brilliant, as always, but its the women who shine and carry this film. While many older people can see themselves in Clooney’s or Vera Farminga’s (Alex) characters, younger moviegoers will find their voice on Anna Kendrick’s character Natalie.

If you’re looking for a film this holiday season and you’re already tired of silly comedies and want something new. In my opinion Up in the Air is a great film to start the year off with.

Five Stars : Ponyo

After I published my first Unwatchables post many of my friends agreed with my observations and some disagreed. In the end the fact that it was replaced in the box office by the less publicized District 9 told me everything I had to know about G.I. Joe. The question remained however, why hate? Aren’t there some movies I love? I really dont want to start a movie review site but I think its only fair that I make a post about every movie that I rate 5 stars on Netflix. I decided to do some of two movies I saw in the past few weeks because they deserve the praise and those will be published sometime this week (500 Days of Summer, Away We Go), but first is Ponyo. Again this is not a fair review in the traditional sense of the word since the movies I feature are movies I absolutely loved, although that in itself might be my review.

Miyazaki is a god. The scenes that he crafts in his mind are amazing, whimsical and magical. There’s few movies that have made me want to really try and see them through more innocent eyes. This is one of them. There is really something that I love about hand-drawn animation and how it reminds me of simpler times in a way. The only argument that I had about the film going in was the simplification of the title from ‘Ponyo on the Reef by the Sea’ to ‘Ponyo’, but honestly, who cares? This movie fits perfectly amongst Miyazaki’s earlier works and follows the same themes that those do as well. The main difference in this one however is that the overall story is rather simple so even young children should be able to understand it. This is not my favorite of his movies, but it took me to such a wonderful place I couldnt help but smile the whole way through. I would love to see more children’s movies just like this one.

My girlfriend said it best as we were leaving the theater:
If I were five or six years old this would be my favorite movie ever.