2010 films

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "THE A-TEAM" BRINGS ITS A-GAME

 

By Brian Lafferty

June 11, 2010 (San Diego) -- I strongly believe in approaching every movie I review with as neutral an attitude as possible, with no preconceived notions as to whether or not I will like it. The A-Team made it simultaneously difficult and easy. It was difficult in the sense that I’m a huge fan of the original series and easy in that the show was not a work of art. The episodes followed a strict formula and contained mindless action, yet it worked because it was entertaining, energetic, and fun. This movie works because it follows in that same spirit that made the show fun to watch.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "GET HIM TO THE GREEK" WORTH GETTING TO THE THEATER TO SEE

By Brian Lafferty

June 4, 2010 (San Diego) -- Maybe Hollywood should focus on making comedies instead of romantic comedies. After enduring such sludge as When in Rome and The Bounty Hunter earlier this year, it has, in the past few months, been a welcome relief to see laugh out loud films like Death at a Funeral and Get Him to the Greek, which opens today.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "SHREK FOREVER AFTER" AN UNHAPPY ENDING TO ILLUSTRIOUS FRANCHISE

 

By Brian Lafferty

May 22, 2010 (San Diego)--In 2001 Dreamworks released Shrek. Based on a children’s book, the movie was an inventive, clever, and witty satire of fairy tales. It was a huge hit and spawned three sequels, the last of which being Shrek Forever After.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "ROBIN HOOD" LESS THAN MERRY

 

By Brian Lafferty

May 14, 2010 (San Diego) -- Robin Hood is the year’s first big disappointment, considering the people involved in making it. Directed by Ridley Scott, it stars Russell Crowe as the title character and fine actress Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian. As always, Scott demonstrates his ability as one of the most visual directors out there today, teeming with expertly crafted shots that nearly give the film an epic feel. Crowe and Blanchett do not disappoint in the acting department. It is not a bad movie by any means but rather aggressively unsatisfying; to paraphrase Sean Connery from the 1976 film Robin and Marian, (a better film than this incarnation) instead of getting red meat I wound up settling for only bread and cheese.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "IRON MAN 2" A MOVIE OF STEEL DESPITE SCRIPT FLAWS

By Brian Lafferty

May 6, 2010 (San Diego)--When I saw Iron Man two years ago, I left the theater feeling it was a great movie but functioned more like a set-up for a better and bigger story. It raised my expectations for the sequel, which is out in theaters today. Iron Man 2 is bigger and better but not by much; it suffers from two major story flaws. Yet, I walked out of the theater feeling much more satisfied because everything that did work more than made up for what didn't.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "ELM STREET" WORKS AS RE-IMAGINING, NOT REMAKE

 

By Brian Lafferty

April 30, 2010 (San Diego's East County) -- Re-imagining a classic movie like A Nightmare on Elm Street is very risky, primarily because there will be constant comparisons to the original. Wes Craven’s 1984 masterpiece has garnered a spot in the pantheon of horror films and spawned numerous sequels with varying degrees of quality. I happily report, however, that the reboot, directed by music video director Samuel Bayer, is a solid piece of filmmaking.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "THE LOSERS" ANYTHING BUT A WINNER

 

By Brian Lafferty

April 23, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- The Losers is an action movie that had no effect on me except for making my eyes glaze over. It stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Watchmen, TV’s Supernatural) and Zoe Saldana. There are moments of great inventiveness, which include grabbing an armored car using a magnet attached to a chopper…taking place in broad daylight in front of downtown commuter traffic. The problem? This film is nothing special. I just didn’t care.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "KICK-ASS" A UNIQUE TAKE ON THE SUPERHERO GENRE

 

By Brian Lafferty

April 16, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- Kick-Ass is not your typical superhero. He doesn’t have any special powers and he lacks strength. His costume is a garish green wet suit with yellow stripes. He is deathly afraid of heights. This movie is one of the more interesting of its kind: an existential portrait of a tortured superhero.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: ALL-STAR CAST PROVIDES HEARTY LAUGHS IN "DEATH AT A FUNERAL"

 

By Brian Lafferty

April 16, 2010 (San Diego's East County) -- As I walked out of the theater after watching Death at a Funeral, I was reminded of something the great director Howard Hawks once said about what makes a good movie: three great scenes, no bad ones. There are three hilarious, uproarious scenes which had me literally gasping for air from laughing so hard. At the same time, there was not a single scene that didn't work.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "THE RUNAWAYS" ROCKS AND ROLLS

 

By Brian Lafferty

April 9, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- Watching The Runaways was like going to a fun party; you have the time of your life before you spend the next day recovering. The energy this movie generated resulted in a nonstop simultaneous feeling of euphoria and heartbreak. It is a rollercoaster of a movie, one that constantly engaged me on an emotional level. It is a film that will stay with me for a long time.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "TITANS" BENEFITS FROM EQUAL BALANCE OF ACTION AND STORY

 

By Brian Lafferty

April 2, 2010 (San Diego's East County)--Clash of the Titans is the newest in a seemingly neverending long line of Hollywood remakes. Directed by Louis Leterrier (director of The Incredible Hulk two years ago) it is a splendid remake of the 1981 classic of the same name. That movie starred future L.A. Law actor Harry Hamlin and was the last to feature special effects master Ray Harryhausen’s famous stop-motion animation. This time Perseus is played by Sam Worthington, coming off of last year’s megahit Avatar.  The stop-motion has been replaced with CGI.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: DESPITE BAREBONES SCRIPT "THE LAST SONG" HAS ITS STRENGTHS

 

By Brian Lafferty

April 2, 2010 (San Diego's East County)--The Last Song is one of those films I call a “Hit and Miss” picture. Movies that fall under this category typically have as many elements that work as those that don’t. One scene may be wonderful, the next may be forgettable. Some characters are great and some are not so desirable. This is basically how The Last Song works. It is not a bad movie but it isn’t great, either.

 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: "HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON" FIRES ON ALL CYLINDERS

 

By Brian Lafferty

March 26, 2010 (San Diego's East County) -- After I saw Avatar back in December, I was sure of one thing: there is no longer any excuse for filmmakers to skimp on 3D. Avatar, for me, established several precedents when it comes to the quality of these movies. It demonstrated that a 3D flick can have outstanding image quality, that the medium is best when used to increase depth, and that it can really make you feel like a part of the movie’s world. How to Train Your Dragon, the newest animated feature from Dreamworks, grasps these three notions. The result is a fantastic cinematic experience for both adults and kids alike.