Black Swan (2010)#

Black Swan is an exploration into one's struggle for search of perfection. Are you willing to lose yourself completely for the sake of your art and passion? Take your body and mind to limits you never dreamed were possible? Natalie Portman gives a brilliant performance as a young aspiring ballerina given a chance of a lifetime to play the lead role in Swan Lake. Portman's portrayal of Nina the ballerina is what makes this movie so captivating. The entire movie depends on Natalie Portman's performance and Darren Aronofsky couldn't have picked a better actress for this film. Her transformation into a ballerina is one of the most compelling performance by an actor I have seen since Robert de Niro's role as Jack LaMotta in Raging Bull. You can see the physical and mental training she put herself through in order to get ready for this role.
The use of various camera techniques and well as the imagery of mirrors create a very personal atmosphere. You can literally feel her pain, fear, self-doubt, and mounting paranoia as she prepares for her role as the Black Swan. All I can say is that Natalie Portman really showed her range and maturation as one of the best young actresses around today. This is a mature film intended for an adult audience, so just keep that in mind if you do decide to watch this movie. This film was much darker than I expected it to be, and if you don't mind some graphic images, Black Swan is definitely a film worth checking out. How far are you willing to sacrifice your body and mind to achieve perfection?

#IMDB-8.8/10 (#55 on Top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 88%, Audience- 90%
Yong's Rating- 9.5/10 (Highly recommended)


When in Rome (2010)

When in Rome is a romantic comedy featuring Kristen Bell. This movie is exactly what you'd expect it to be. It's an average romantic comedy at best. Bell plays Beth, a career oriented woman who only cares about her job. Guess what? She's a gorgeous woman who has bad luck with relationships. Where have we seen that before? Pretty much every generic romantic comedy out there. When Bell accidentally steals some coins out of the fountain of love in Rome during her sister's wedding, she unknowingly casts a love spell on a group of guys. Apparently its a common knowledge in Rome that if you take coins out of a fountain you make the person who threw in the coin fall in love with you. With a group of love crazed suitors following her, Bell must decide whether the man she fell in love with is really in love with her or just under a spell.
The only thing that may have saved this movie was Kristen Bell's charisma and charm. But, her talents as well as that of the cast seemed wasted due to the poor writing and bad premise. There isn't much to see in this movie that you haven't seen before. Skip this one unless you are a big fan of Kristen Bell or some of the cast members.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 16%, Audience-44%
Yong's Rating- 5/10 (Skip it)


Mother (2009)

I was pleasantly surprised by Mother. It was one of the best movie I've seen recently. Mother is a thriller about a desperate mother trying to prove the innocence of her mentally challenged son. A gruesome murder of a high school girl in a small Korean town shocks the community. The blame falls on a mentally challenged young man who doesn't have an alibi for the night of the murder. Without much resources, the mother does everything in her power to save her son. The film goes much deeper than its simple premise. It is sure to keep you well entertained. The best part about this movie is the performance of Hye-ja Kim. It was one of the best performance by an actress I've seen in a long time. Her portrayal as the desperate mother is so real and you can literally feel her love for her helpless son. So if you are in a mood for a smart and mature thriller, go check out Mother.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-95%, audience- 84%
Yong's rating-10/10 (must see)

Grown Ups (2010)

What can go wrong with a buddy comedy featuring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider? These guys are all funny, and can each carry a movie all by themselves. What can go wrong? Well, how about lack of effort. It almost seemed like these guys just met up for a weekend and put in just enough effort to come up with a decent buddy comedy. With the amount of talent in this movie, maybe I expected a little too much.
Death of a mentor and childhood basketball coach reunites a group of buddies for the first time in many years. The funeral provides a chance for the friends to reminisce about their childhood and rekindle their friendship. It also gives them a chance to form a stronger bond with their family. Grown Ups does have a lot of laughs and can be quite enjoyable. If you are looking for some light comedy and physical humor, this movie has plenty of it. I felt there was just a lot more potential for this movie with such a talented cast.Well, if you are fan of any of the comedians in this movie, it may very well be worth your time. Just lower your expectations a tiny bit.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-10%, Audience-61%
Yong's Rating- 6.5/10 (worth a look)


Yong's Fantasy Football Studs and Busts

Here's recap of best and worst of this year's fantasy football season.

Fantasy STUDS

Philip Rivers
Mr.Rivers has had a ridiculous year. An absolute fantasy stud at the qb position. This guy was out of his mind throwing to anybody filling in as his receivers.

Arian Foster
Foster rode his hot preseason streak into the regular season. With his breakout first game, some experts called his performance an one time thing. But, Foster proved his critics wrong with his consistency. Available in many wavier wire, one of the best pick-ups of the season.

Mike Vick
No one saw this coming. Kolb was suppose to be the main man in Philly. An early injury gave Vick a chance and he never looked back. Even though ribs injury caused him to miss some time, Vick rewarded his owner who picked him up and stuck with him.

Peyton Hillis
Another player who came out of nowhere. Hillis quickly established himself as a solid RB #1. Hillis was a beast on the field as well as one of the best surprises of the year.

Roddy White
White was Matt Ryan's favorite target and for good reasons. White was one of the most reliable wr this year whether in ppr or non-ppr format.

Antonio Gates-
Mr. Gates was the definition of absolute fantasy stud this year while he was healthy. I'm sure he made his owners very happy when he was productive and carried them to victory on his back for a couple of weeks.

Fantasy BUSTS

Ryan Mathews
Experts were really high on Mathews as the rb to take LT's spot. Some were even calling him the next AP. Boy, were they wrong. Sure, he was slowed down by some injuries but his production did not live up to his high 1st-2nd round draft pick status.

Shonn Greene
Another big disappointment at the rb position. With the departure of Jones, Grenne was suppose to be the man in the strong Jets running game. But, his trouble with holding onto the ball and early emergence of LT significantly cut into his playing time.

Randy Moss
One of the biggest bust at the wr position has to be Mr. Moss. Many had Moss as a top 5 wr going into the season, but he just didn't play up to the hype. Since being traded from the Pats, he has literally disappeared while the Pats has become one of the top teams in the NFL.

Carson Palmer
The Bengals has been one of the most disappointing teams this year coming off of last year's good run. Palmer can't be blamed for all of their troubles, but he sure didn't help with his poor play. He hasn't been the same player since his injury.

DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart
The entire panthers offense can be include in this category , but none has been more disappointing than the Williams and Stewart combo. It seems this will be Williams last year with the panthers.

Beanie Wells/ Entire Cardinals offense
Some slow down was to be expected with departure of Warner but come on! The qb position was horrific, which really hurt Fitzgerald's value. Beanie Wells was projected to be one of the bright spots in this offense but he was a big bust. His health didn't help, but he's making the list anyways. Only bright spot for Cardinals in fantasy- picking the defense that was playing them.

So how was your fantasy season?

Schindler's List (1993) *#@

Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List doesn't attempt to explain or provide answers to how something as horrific as the Holocaust could take place. There is no way any single movie can effectively tackle the immense issues of morality and tragedy brought on by the Holocaust. Spielberg simply uses World War II as a backdrop to tell the compelling true story of Oskar Schindler. The war provides the perfect opportunity for Schindler to make a big profit running factories for the war effort using Jewish workers. At the start of the film, you get a sense that he is simply a manipulative businessman only out to make money. However, as the movie progresses you can see that he truly feels compassion for his workers and the suffering of the Jewish people. Schindler goes out of his way to provide refuge for his workers by using his factories as a safe haven for them. Schindler's (Liam Neeson) compassion and kindness to the helpless workers show the goodness that a person is capable of even in the darkest of times. On the other hand, General Goeth (Ralph Fiennes) personifies the evil that we are also capable of.
Schindler's List tells the story it intends to tell very well and provides an emotional authentic experience for its viewers. It moves slowly and builds up to an emotional climax. The use of black and white for this film perfectly serves to show the gritty and dark nature of the time period. The true legacy of Oskar Schindler is passed on through the Jewish survivors that he helped to save and the future generations of their family.

#IMDB-8.9/10 (#7 on the Top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-97%, audience- 96%
Yong's Rating- 9/10 (highly recommended)
@- One of Ebert's great movies.
*One of 1001 movies you must see before you die


Love Actually (2003)

When is it more appropriate time for a heart warming film than the holidays? If you are looking for that feel good movie for this time of year, look no further than Love Actually. This British romantic comedy revolves around the lives of a group of individuals from all walks of life searching for love during the holidays. Whether it is a young shy boy worrying about his first crush or a man being madly in love with his best friend's girl, there's sure to be a storyline that will capture your attention.
This movie is smarter and funnier than the majority of romantic comedies out these days. Even those of you guys who dread rom-coms may find this watchable. The cast is excellent with extremely likable roles. The overall message of this film is that love actually exists everywhere and all you have to do is just look hard enough. Whether you believe that or not, it's good to feel that people are capable of so much love especially during this time of the year.

Rotten Tomatoes- critics- 63% audience- 71%
Yong's rating- 8.5/10 (recommended)


Elf (2003)

Elf is another one of my favorite movies to watch during the holidays. If you still haven't seen Elf yet, just turn on USA network sometime this month. I'm betting there's about 50% chance that it will be playing. Will Ferrell is at top comedic form with his role as Buddy the Elf. If there was some kind elf oscars, he would've won it easily. I mean I was certain that smiling was indeed his favorite. The rest of the cast does an excellent job of supplementing Will Ferrell and setting him up for his jokes.
Elf tells the story of Buddy the elf, who grows up with Santa and the elves on the North Pole without realizing that he is human. Then, one day he learns about his real identity and that his real father lives in New York city. Buddy decides to go on an adventure to meet his father and tell him that he loves him. Buddy soon learns that NYC is a long ways from the North Pole. Even through the tough times, Buddy manages to spread the Christmas cheer and even fall in love with a lovely girl ( Zooey Deschanel).
Elf is just a really enjoyable holiday movie you can watch with everyone in your family. This movie is filled with laughter and a good clean message. Perfect for the holidays. Just remember the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 84%, Audience- 73%
Yong's rating-8/10 (must see for the holidays)


Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)*

There are certain movies I always like to watch during the holiday season. I'm going to review some of those movies in the next few week. I'm starting off with Hannah and Her Sisters, written and directed by Woody Allen. I believe that Hannah and Her Sisters represents Mr. Allen at the top of his game. The writing, cast, acting, music, and cinematography are all excellent. It is the perfect combination of comedy, drama, and intellect. The film is composed of series of vignettes surrounding a group of characters. It flows effortlessly, thanks to the brilliant screenplay, perhaps Allen's finest.
There is Hannah and her sisters, played by Mia Farrow (Hannah) , Dianne Wiest (Holly), and Barbara Hershey (Lee). The relationship between the three sisters is much more complex than it seems at the beginning and as the film progresses the nature of the complexity is explored. Michael Caine plays Mia Farrow's husband, a glorified accountant who lusts after his wife's sister, Lee. Woody Allen plays Mickey, who is Hannah's ex-husband. He is semi-successful television producer. Allen plays the character that he has perfected, a nervous, neurotic hypochondriac. After having to face his own morality, he goes on a search for the meaning of life. It was his search for answers for a reason to continue living through books and religions that I found most interesting and entertaining. And in the end maybe he does find some closure just as he suggests in the movie, "Maybe the poets are right, maybe love is the only answer."
If you are only going to watch one Woody Allen movie, then I highly suggest you make it this one.

IMDB- 8.0/10
Rotten tomatoes- Critics- 93% audience-88%
Yong's rating- 10/10 (must see)
*(one of 1001 movies you must see before you die)


Get Him to the Greek (2010)

Get Him the the Greek is a comedy featuring Russell Brand and Jonah Hill. Brand plays a narcissistic rock star, Aldous Snow. If you are familiar with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it's the same character he played in that movie. Coming off of a bad record and a break-up with his wife, Aldous stops making music and retreats to alcohol and drugs. His best years are well behind him. A record company worker played by Jonah Hill comes up with an idea to revive Aldous' career and make some money for his ailing music company. With the blessing from his boss, the plan is in motion for a 10 year anniversary show at the Greek theater in L.A.. The only problem is getting the rock star from London to L.A. on time for the show.
Jonah Hill and Russell Brand share good chemistry and provide several enjoyable scenes. There are definitely enough jokes and funny songs to make you laugh. I also thought that Diddy was funny with his portrayal as the boss of the music label. Majority of the comedy tends to be over the top, physical humor. One problem I had with this movie was that it made the mistake of trying to take itself too seriously along with its type of humor. I just felt that there was just too many awkward moments that really didn't make much sense. If you are looking to just have some laughs, and you are a fan of over the top, physical comedy, then this movie is definitely worth your look.

IMDB- 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 73% audience- 65%
Yong's rating- 6.9/10 (worth a look)


L.A. Confidential (1997) #

I've always heard good things about L.A. Confidential and I finally got a chance to watch it recently. Set in the city of Los Angeles during the 1950's, the movie explores the role of police corruption and organized crime on the city. A brutal killing at a diner gives three very different cops an opportunity to search for the truth. Russell Crowe plays Bud White, a good cop with a good heart, with a tendency to let his anger get the best of him. Guy Pearce plays Ed Exley, a clean-cut, young rising star in the police department willing to do anything within the rules to get ahead. Kevin Spacey plays Jack Vincennes, a sleazy cop willing to do anything to get his name in the papers and in the circles with the celebrities. All of them may have started out with their own selfish motives, but the search for the real truth behind the killing brings these unlikely cops together to unravel a conspiracy.
L.A. confidential is a smart crime thriller with an excellent cast and storyline. The three actors I already mentioned all give a very good performance. As well as Kim Bassinger, who steals the scene with her portrayal of a high end Hollywood prostitute. I'm always glad when a movie is as good as it is advertised. So, if you are looking to watch a well-made crime thriller with a top-notch cast and storyline be sure to check this one out.

# IMDB- 8.4/10 (#65 on Top 250)
Rotten tomatoes- Critics- 99%, Audience- 90%
Yong's Rating- 9/10 (highly recommended)


Garden State (2004)

Zach Braff showed so much potential with Garden State, I was ready to consider him as one of the best young directors working today. Except, he hasn't done much since then. I hope he continues to make good movies. But then again, if you are going to go out with just one movie, Garden State isn't too bad at all.
Garden State is a modern love story starring Zach Braff and my favorite actress, Natalie Portman. Braff plays Andrew Largeman, a withdrawn small time actor who comes back home for his mother's funeral. Portman plays Sam, who is a complete opposite of Braff's character. She is full of life and affection. Her character complements Braff's character very well, and helps to bring him out of his shell. From the beginning of the movie, you get a feeling that there is something a bit off about Braff. From his immense amount of medications and his unhappy job, you see a man who is numb, with no emotions simply going through the motions of life. Things start to change when he meets Sam and just learns to let things go and starts to feel life for the first time.
What made this film so great for me were the small idiosyncrasies of the all the scenes that just added to the overall experience of the film, as well as the great soundtrack. My favorite scene was at the pool where Braff talks about the idea of home. I have gotten to that point in my life where the place I grew up doesn't really feel like home anymore. And maybe the idea of home really is a group of people searching for the same imaginary place they can claim for their family. Garden State is quirky and surprisingly insightful movie that is definitely worth your time. You gotta go watch this one. It'll change your life, I swear.

IMDB- 7.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 86% Audience-87%
Yong's Rating- 10/10 (Must See)


How to Train Your Dragon (2010) #

Dream Works Animation shows that Pixar isn't the only company capable of making visually stunning animation entertaining for both children and adults with How to Train Your Dragon. The movie takes place a long time ago, on a Viking island where dragons roam free terrorizing the people and their livestocks. Our young hero is Hiccup, who just doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the Vikings culture. Desperately seeking approval from his father and the village, Hiccup is determined to catch the only dragon that has never been captured. His encounter with the mysterious dragon turns into an unlikely friendship, and Hiccup realizes that everything he has ever learned about dragons are not true. I really enjoyed this movie and it has the cuteness factor, comedic timing, and a good light-hearted message that every good animation must have. How to Train Your Dragon is very entertaining animation that everyone can enjoy, even if you don't have kids to watch it with.

# IMDB-8.2/10 (#171 on Top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 98%, Audience -90%
Yong's Rating- 9/10 (Highly Recommended)


Everyone Says I Love You (1996)

Do you have a movie you like to watch whenever you are having a bad day or a week to help cheer you up? For me that movie is Everyone Says I Love You. Watching this musical romantic comedy about a quirky upper class New York family always has a way of brightening my mood. This is one of those special movies that I can watch over and over again and it makes me smile every time. The dance scene under the bridge by the moonlight is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time, it's just magical. I think that's what draws me to movies so much, it's for those magical scenes and moments in films that just grabs you and makes you forget about all your troubles even for just a few minutes or even seconds. So, what movies do you like to watch to cheer up?

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 78%, audience -63%
Yong's Rating- 10/10 (must see)


Dear John (2010)

Dear John seemed like a typical average romantic drama. And for its own sake, I wish it was. It stars the handsome Channing Tatum and the beautiful Amanda Seyfried. It starts out as a romantic vacation fling that turns into a long distance relationship. Then, it starts to forcefully throw different layers to the story. Just for the sake of adding more drama to the storyline. What you end up with is a jumbled mess. I just wanted to yell at the screen and ask, What are you trying to get at here?!?
I don't mind movies with various themes. In fact, I enjoy them, but as long as they are done well and actually add to the overall experience of the movie. The only thing that may have saved this movie was Amanda Seyfried's on-screen presence. I'm sorry, but Channing Tatum just can't act. At least he's still got his good looks. He basically had two modes in this movie.
1.Sad/angry John-which he showed by raising his voice or crying.
2.Not sad/angry John- which he showed by not raising his voice and not crying.
Anyways, just avoid this movie if you want to save yourself with the frustration of having your intellect and emotions toyed with.

Rotten Tomatoes- critics-28% audience- 66%
Yong's rating- 2/10 (Stay away)


Karate Kid (2010)

I've always been a huge fan of Jackie Chan. I even went through a Jackie Chan phase when I was younger. I must've rented all the Jackie Chan movies at the local blockbuster. So, I was a bit excited when I learned that Jackie Chan was going to be in the new Karate Kid remake.
The 2010 remake basically follows the similar premise as the original. Just switch NJ to Detroit, California to China, Daniel Larusso to Jaden Smith, and Mr. Miyagi to Mr. Chan.
Well, if you haven't seen the original. Mother and son moves into a new neighborhood and the kid gets picked on by the local bullies. He is helped by a mysterious maintenance man to defend himself from the bullies. He must enter a local karate tournament in order to prove to himself and the bullies that he can stand up for himself. Along the training, the master and the student go on to learn valuable life lessons from each other.
After watching this remake, I just didn't feel that magic that made the original so special. There are some funny scenes, but overall I just didn't think a remake was necessary. It may just be best to skip this one and go with the original.

IMDB- 6.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes- critic-67% audience- 75%
Yong's rating- 5/10 (Skip it)


North by Northwest (1959) *#

North by Northwest is my first Alfred Hitchcock movie, and yes I have a lot of catching up to do. North by Northwest is an excellent action thriller starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. A mistaken identity leads an unsuspecting man to be thrown into the world of spies and government agency. When Roger Thornhill (Grant) is mistaken for a government agent by a gang of spies, he finds himself in a situation where he can't talk his way out of. Suddenly he is on the run from both the spies and the government across the country in an attempt to clear his name and figure out what is really going on. Along the way, he gets a little help from a beautiful stranger (Saint), who also becomes a part of his adventure. Hitchcock truly knows how to build up suspense and keep you entertained throughout the movie. Most of you probably have already had the chance to see this classic film. If you haven't, be sure to check this one out sometime. Any recommendations on which Hitchcock movie should be next on my list?

#IMDB- 8.6/10 (#38 on Top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 100%, Audience-93%
*(One of 1001 movies you must see before you die)
Yong's Rating -9.5/10 (must see)


The Chaser (2008)

In the spirit of Halloween, I am going to review an excellent thriller from Korea, The Chaser. This film isn't filled with flashy graphics or fancy chase scenes. In fact, most of its important chase scenes all develop slowly and occur on foot. Surprisingly, they were some of the most intense and suspenseful chase scenes I've seen in movies. Its simplistic style gives it a realistic gritty feel which is common feature found in a lot of good Korean thrillers.
Kim Yun Seok plays an ex-cop turned pimp. You can tell by the way he treats others that he is not a pleasant man to be around. When he suspects that someone is kidnapping and selling his girls, he relies on his police instincts to attempt to track down the creep. Little does he know that the creep he is after isn't a simple kidnapper. Ha Jung Woo plays the sadistic killer who poses as a client to lull escorts into a trap to use as his gruesome killing experiments. Some of the torture scenes are brutally real and graphic. Let's just say his main weapons of choice are chisel and hammer. (what is it with Korean movies and hammers?) Just a warning to the squeamish. When the Kim Yun Seok character finally catches up to the killer, the entertaining and thrilling chase ensues. This films features great character development and all the right ingredients that makes up a classic first class thriller.
The film rights have been bought by Warner Brothers and it will be getting the Hollywood treatment that many foreign thrillers seem to be getting these days. I doubt the Hollywood version could fully capture the suspense and the shock this film offers. So, go check this out if you are in a mood for a thriller this Halloween.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 81% audience-88%
Yong's Rating- 9.5/10 (Highly recommended)


You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is Woody Allen's newest work, which centers around a dysfunctional family looking for love and happiness in all the wrong places. As a typical Woody film, the cast is excellent. It features top actors like Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Lucy Punch, Freida Pinto and Antonio Banderas. This movie touches on themes all familiar in other Woody Allen movies, yet there isn't that special magic to make it stand out among his best works.
The movie starts out as we watch an older woman (Gemma Jones) heartbroken and lost after her husband (Hopkins) dumped her after 40 years of marriage, because suddenly she has gotten too old for him. Then, there is her daughter (Naomi Watts), who wants nothing more than to start a family and have a successful career. Her plans, however are stymied by financial troubles due to her struggling writer husband (Josh Brolin). All the characters in this movie, desperately seek out their passions and happiness through any means they see fit. Whether they be spiritual, magic, lust, adultery, or even deceit. Whatever they see is necessary to bring them happiness. The narrator states this Shakespeare quote at the beginning of this movie,

"It is a tale told by an idiot,full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

And as this quote suggests, it seems no matter how hard these characters struggled to change their fortunes, in the end, none of it really matter much at all. Even though this isn't one of Woody's best work, I still found it refreshing and it kept me interested throughout the movie. If you are a Woody Allen fan like me, then I think you can expect a good time at the movies.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-48% Community-39%
Yong's Rating-7/10 (worth a look)


Big Fish (2006) #

Today, I wanted to review one of my favorite movies, Big Fish. Directed by Tim Burton, it tells the story of Edward Bloom, who as everyone knows is a very sociable person. Bloom is a wonderful story teller with a larger than life personality who just draws everyone to him. However, over the years, his son has gotten tired of all the silly stories and wants to learn about the man behind the stories. The relationship between the father and son has gotten to a point where the two stops communication. Edward's failing health brings the two together for the last time and a final chance to renew their relationship.
The majority and the best part of this film are the flashbacks of stories of most eventful moments in Edward's life. These stories are mixture of facts and fantasy and reveal the type of person Edward Bloom is. A big fish in a small pond. This film has a wonderful cast and storyline. It is a must see for any movie fans who just love a good story. After all, who are we if it isn't for our stories.

# IMDB- 8.1/10 (#203 on top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-76% Community- 86%
Yong's Rating- 10/10 (must see)


The Wrestler (2008)#

In The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke plays an over the hill wrestler, whose body is beginning to break down. Randy 'The Ram' Robinson's best days of professional wrestling are long gone. A man who used to headline at Madison Square Garden is now fighting at small local auditoriums with fighters young enough to be his kids. I think this movie does an excellent job of realistically portraying the behind the scene action of professional wrestling. I haven't watched professional wrestling since elementary school days, but I still have a lot of respect for all the wrestlers for the way they sacrifice their bodies to do what they love to do.

From the start of the movie, you can see right away that wrestling is the only thing that The Ram ever knew how to do and the only thing he truly feels comfortable doing. Mickey Rourke plays a man who is full of character flaws. He lives his life carelessly, just as his persona in the ring. But, even with all his flaws he is just so charismatic and likable that i just couldn't help but cheer and pull for him.

Marisa Tomei also shines in her role as Mickey Rourke's love interest. She plays a stripper, who like The Ram, is also past her prime. And maybe this is why Mickey Rourke's character is so drawn to her. The ram gets an opportunity to relive his past glory one last time with a dream re-match, and also another chance to make amends with his daughter (played by Evan Rachel Woods). However, as with any good wrestling match, nothing ever goes as smoothly as planned.

# IMDB-8.2/10 (#151 on Top 250)

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 98% Community- 86%

Yong's Rating 9/10 (highly recommended)


New in Town (2009)

New in Town is a romantic comedy featuring Renee Zellwger and Harry Connick Jr. The premise is pretty simple, an independent business woman from the big city gets transferred to a small town and falls in love with the town cutie and the town, and becomes a better person in the process. There isn't anything ground-breaking about this movie. In fact, you can pretty much guess what is going to happen. Maybe I was in a good mood, but I thought this was a very sweet movie that is worth watching if you are in a mood to just relax and have a few laughs.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-28% community- 40%
Yong's rating- 6.9/10 (worth a look)


Into the Wild (2007)#

Into the wild chronicles the true story of Christopher McCandless, who upon graduating from college decided to give up everything in society to go on a journey to be one with nature. Emile Hirsch does an excellent job in this movie, and shows a lot of potential. This movie also features a very good soundtrack. Frustrated with the society's obsession of materialistic goods and the hypocrisy of his parents, Chris leaves his identity behind and hits the road away from society. His main goal is to spend time in the wildness of Alaska and survive off the land. Along the journey of self-discovery, Chris comes across wonderful group of people who he develops lasting relationships with, and discovers some valuable life lessons as well. This movie is a touching personal look into one young individual's search for true happiness. Watch it and you just might learn something from it as well.

#IMDB-8.2/10 (#144 on Top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- critics-82% Community- 90%
Yong's rating-7.8/10 (worth a look)


The Road (2009)

Based on a novel, 'The Road', tells a haunting tale of a father and son's survival in a post-apolyatic world. The film really doesn't explain what exactly happened to earth, but there is only remnants of civilization remaining. It is a cold and harsh world filled with darkness, ash, and little to no signs of life. Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smith-McPhee play the father and son on the road in search for a anything better. The journey on the road is very difficult as they make desperate search for food and shelter. There are even occasional dangerous encounters with group of wild cannibals. The entire atmosphere of the movie is very gloomy and dark. Just as you would expect the end of civilization to be like. I recommend this movie to anyone who are fans of the end of world movie genre. If it's a happy Hollywood ending you are looking for, then you should stay clear of this road.

Rotten Tomatoes-critics- 75% community-64%
Yong's Rating- 7.5/10 (worth a look)


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

My review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button from when i first saw it back in 2008.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, reunites director David Fincher with Brad Pitt. I believe this movie is as good as it's advertised and if you are looking to watch a movie during the holiday season, you should strongly think about putting this one at the top of your list (just a warning, this movie is close to 3hrs long). there are several odd aspects to this movie which i think makes it even more special. it is simple and deep at the same time. it is a big hollywood film with a feel of an independent film. it moves slow and fast at the same time.
the main premise of the film is about a man who ages backwards and his remarkable journey through life. Benjamin (Brad Pitt) is brought into the world physically resembling a man well into his eighties. he is given a very poor chance of surviving by doctors and everyone who sees him, but to everyone's surprise he continues to live. and as he gets older, benjamin slowly realizes that he is changing, that he seems to be getting younger while those he love around him are growing old. the curious medical condition is just a backdrop to the remarkable life that benjamin leads and the wonderful relationships he makes with his friends. brad pitt and cate blanchett really bring their characters to life with their strong performances. the film is beautifully shot and the special effects are simply amazing. the film reminds us that time doesn't last whether it is going forward or backwards. and it undoubtedly triggers our deepest insecurities and fears about ourselves and life. one of the messages that i got from this movie is not to stress over the forces that are out of our control and learn to appreciate and savor every moment of time that we have with people who you love and care for while you still have time.

Rotten Tomatoes-Critics-72%, community- 81%
Yong's Rating- 10/10 (must see)


Alvy napping.

Quick picture of Alvy getting some good use out of my perio book.


Short Story about Love...

Hello there. I know we’ve just met, and that you don’t know me very well. However, I feel that I’ve known you my entire life. Don’t ask me how, but it just feels that way. Well, I just have some things that I want to tell you before I left. Here it goes…
How do you tell someone how you feel when you’re not even sure if you can even describe the feelings or the thoughts that you have? I once saw a little boy playing with a puppy, and anyone who saw that boy could not have missed seeing the joy radiating from the little boy’s face. Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that being around you makes me feel like that little boy… too touchy?
Let me start over…
I have always felt this emptiness in my life for as long as I can remember. I want to be optimistic about life, and believe in the goodness of humanity. But, just seeing the extent that people put themselves through in order to cause each other pain, and the creativity we use to hurt one another makes it hard for me to be optimistic about the world. Just when I was at my lowest, and thought everything was lost, I witnessed a glimpse of hope. I could not take my eyes off of your beautiful face. I never thought one person could light up an entire room. The entire world! Seeing you made me realize that there are still some good left in this world. Maybe, that life isn’t all that bad… too philosophical?
All right, I’ll get to the point…
You are the most beautiful girl that I have ever laid my eyes on, and I just wanted to let you know that I will always love you and be there for you for as long as I live. Oh, I could stare into your eyes all day. I hope you never lose your innocence or your lovely smile, because when you smile, the whole world smile with you.
(from outside the room a voice calls out)- Honey, are you in the baby’s room? (the wife enters the room) Oo. Here you are. What are you still doing in your shorts! Come on, get dressed, the babysitter will be here any moment. What are you waiting for? We’re going to be late for the movie.
-I’ll be out in a sec. (wife leaves the room). Don’t tell your mom about what I just told you, she gets very jealous rather too easily. I’m sure you’ll have plenty of time to find out about that. Good night, and be nice to the babysitter. Love you!

Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Stranger than Fiction is another wonderful film directed by Marc Forster. Harold Crick (will ferrell) is a lonesome and quiet IRS agent who suddenly starts to hears his own life being narrated by a very well spoken british woman. Unknown to Harold and the author is that he is a main character in a novel being written by the author (emma thompson). Along with help from an English professor (dustin hoffman), Harold is forced to find out the identity of the mysterious narrator and whether his story is a tragedy or a comedy. In the process, harold learns to appreciate all the little things that have been missing or simply being unnoticed in his life. it is never too late to pursue your dreams and passions no matter how silly they may seem. i mean, isn't life rather too short to fill it with regrets and what-ifs? all the actors give a very solid performance and the writing is excellent. go check this out if haven't yet.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-72% community-82%
Yong's Rating- 10/10 (must see)


Date Night (2010)

Date Night is a really cute movie that's hard not to like. Perhaps it's because it stars two of the most likable people in Hollywood, Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Now that i got that out of the way, i gotta be a little critical with this movie. I just didn't feel there was much chemistry between the two. They seemed like two really good comedians at a improv class playing a boring couple looking for a little excitement to spark their marriage. Except it's on the big screen. Fortunately, the two stars have enough charm and charisma to carry this film and make it enjoyable. It was just too hard to dislike steve carrell and tina fey, and in the end i was won over by their cuteness. I'm sure they will get to you too.

Rotten Tomatoes-critics-67% community-59%
Yong's Rating-7/10 (worth a look)


The Social Network (2010)#

At its launch, facebook's exclusivity and its simple, sleek design helped to distinguish itself from other social network sites. It may have lost its exclusivity, but now it is the biggest social network site in the world with about 500 million members and an estimated value of $25 billion. Directed by David Fincher, The Social Network tells the story behind the drama of creation of facebook. Its central character, Mark Zuckerberg is played by Jesse Eisenberg, who does a great job of portraying him as a narcissistic computer genius, who is also a kind of a big asshole. The movie is centered around the legal battles between Zuckerberg and a few enemies he's made along the way to establishing facebook. Fincher does a great job of adding drama and creates a very interesting and engaging movie experience. Also, I thought Justin Timberlake stole a lot of the thunder with his portrayal of Sean Parker, the founder of napster.
By now, almost everyone you know probably has a facebook page, and some of you have even had that awkward dilemma of having to decide whether or not to accept a friend request from your parents or even grandparents. In my case, I don't think I will ever need to worry about making that choice. For one, I don't think my mom knows how to turn on a computer, and secondly, there was that one time my dad called me all freaked out because everything was typing in CAPITAL letters. Describing the cap lock button in Korean is harder than it seems. All in all, there is enough interesting characters and storyline to keep you engaged and if you have any interest in learning about how the facebook phenomenon all started, go check this out.

#IMDB-8.6/10 (#151 on the top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- critics-97% community-81%
Yong's Rating-8.7/10 (highly recommended)


Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

What do you get if you mix in a broken down hot tub, a group of middle aged losers, and an exotic energy drink? A time machine, of course. Hot tub time machine is a better movie than its title suggests, but it doesn't really bring too much to the table. It stars John Cusack, Criag Robinson, and Rob Corddry as three buddies facing a huge mid-life crises. And a magical hot tub time machine is exactly what these guys needed to re-examine and restart their lives. Overall, this movie does have its funny moments, but just don't expect too much. John Cusack seems really out of place in this movie, and you can tell from his performance that he may just be thinking the same thing. If you are in mood to just sit back and watch a silly movie and not have to think too much, then this might be what you are looking for.

Rotten Tomatoes- critics-64% community- 58%
Yong's Rating- 6.5/10 (skip it)


Man on Wire (2008)

There are those of us who only dream but never act upon it, and there are few like Philippe Petit who does everything within his powers to achieve it. Man on Wire (2008) is a documentary about the daring French wire walker, Philippe Petit. he is a true thrill seeker who loves what he does best, putting himself within inches of death in order to entertain the audience and prove to himself that he can do anything he puts his mind to. One day, Philippe stumbles upon the challenge that he's been waiting for all his life; the twin towers. The twin towers never leave his mind, constantly taunting him, and daring him to conquer it. The documentary chronicles philippe's exhilarating chase to conquer his biggest challenge. This is a truly inspiring documentary that is sure to entertain you.

Rotten Tomatoes-Critics-100%, community-88%
Yong's Rating-8/10 (worth a look)


Departures (2008)

Departures is a Japanese film about a young cellist who returns to his childhood home from Tokyo after losing his job with the orchestra. Unable to afford the expensive life style of the big city, Daigo has to take his wife back to his hometown in hopes to get his life back on tract. Back home, a fateful encounter with a newspaper ad leads Daigo to a career that seems as if he was meant for all along. Departures is truly one of the most beautiful film I've ever seen. The acting as well as the beautiful cinematography draws you in and leaves you with a sense of peace. So, if you are looking for a film with genuine human emotions then consider checking out Departures.

Rotten Tomatoes-critics-81% community- 87%
Yong's rating-8.8/10 (highly recommended)


Shutter Island (2010)

In Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese creates an atmosphere of going on a thrilling roller coaster ride. Set in the year 1954, the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as US marshal Teddy Daniel sent to a mental hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island in order to investigate the mysterious disappearance of one of its inmates. During the investigation you get to learn the past behind its central character, and the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. While the story was adopted from a novel, Scorsese shows his master touch as a film maker. Leo provides another stellar performance under the direction of Scorsese and the rest of the cast is full of wonderful actors and actresses. The film starts out with a bang, and whether you love or hate this film will depend largely on how you feel about its ending. Personally, I liked the ending. This is a well made film by a great director and it's a film anyone looking for a good thriller should check out.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-67% Community-73%
Yong's rating- 9.3/10 (highly recommended)


Before Sunrise (1995)

A guy on a trip to a foreign country meets a girl on a train, hits it off, and spends an amazing romantic day with her in one of the most romantic cities in the world. Sounds too cliche to be a believable movie? Well, you would think so on the surface. However, Before Sunrise is a very intelligent and intimate film that takes a close look at the nature of relationships and life. Ethan Hawke plays Jesse, a free-spirited American on a trip to Europe, and Julie Delpy play Celine, a neurotic French grad student. The two meet by chance on a train and strike up a conversation. Jesse has only one day left to spend in Europe and persuades Julie to spend the day with him in Vienna before he has to leave. When the two gets off the train together, we are treated to watching the two strangers find out more about themselves and each other through series of engaging conversations behind the backdrop of beautiful Vienna streets. The film is very slow-moving, but it does a great job of creating character development and i genuinely felt interested in hearing their opinions. This movie may not be for everyone. It is a very refreshing take from the everyday romantic movies, that anyone interested should watch.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-100%, community-92%
Yong's Rating-8.3/10 (recommended)

Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland is a fun and very enjoyable zombie comedy. While it is not as good as Shaun of the Dead, it is definitely worth a look if you are looking for a fun zombie-bashing time at the movies. It stars Jesse Eisenberg (who basically plays the same character he played in adventureland), woody harrelson, emma stone (the hot girl from superbad, and yes she is still hot), and abigail breslin (little girl from little miss sunshine). The movie takes place in a world where mysterious brain disease has quickly spread, turning humans into zombies. the movie follows the two basic zombie rules: number one, you get bitten, you turn into zombie and number two you must blow up the zombie's head to make sure it is dead. Bascially, blow off their head before they bite and devour you. Zombieland tells the story of the four surviving outcasts' struggle to survive and find the joy in the little things along the way.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-89%, Community- 87%
Yong's Rating-8.5/10 (highly recommended)


The Other Guys (2010)

I saw this movie during summer break, and i meant to review it earlier. Well, here it is. The Other Guys is a buddy cop comedy starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. The two unlikely partners stumble upon a lead to a series of crimes and it is up to them to find the bad guy. These two guys definitely share a good comedic chemistry and know how to carry a movie like this one. Will Ferrell is his usual funny self and his fans are sure to enjoy his performance. Wahlberg plays a more serious role to the funny Ferrell and provides a good balance. This movie delivers what it is meant to deliver; a light, fun getaway for a few hours. So if are in a mood for some silly laughs, you should check this out.

Rotten Tomatoes- critics-78%, community-63%
Yong's rating-7/10 (worth a look)


Moon (2009)

If sci-fi movies are your thing, then Moon is definitely a movie you should consider adding to your must see list. It takes place in the future where the world's source of energy is harvested on a station on the moon by a single astronaut commissioned for 3 year contract. Sam Rockwell delivers a brilliant performance as the astronaut on the verge of finishing his contracted time and longing to get back to earth and his family. Basically, Sam Rockwell steals the show, because, well, he's pretty much the only person in the movie. And, that's a good thing in this case. I'm not going to get into too much details of the movie. the less you know about the movie, more you'll enjoy it. So if you are looking for an engaging, thrilling, and well-made sci-fi film, go check out Moon.

Rotten Tomatoes- Critics- 89% community-95%
Yong's Rating- 8.5/10 (worth a look)


Wild Strawberries (1957)*#

My personal experience with films in general can be divided into before and after I was introduced to the works of Ingmar Bergman. I've always been a casual fan of movies and knew that certain movies were better than others. But, as I got older I began to notice that certain directors made the movie watching experience much more special. They had a way of reaching me in a personal level that I never realized movies were capable of doing. Bergman uses his films to explore the deepest fears and desires of the human condition with such honesty. Wild Strawberries is one of my favorite Bergman films because it is so personal and I feel that I can watch it at different points in my life and learn something new from it every time. Here is my review of Wild Strawberries. Before I continue with the review, I just want to add that I was very impressed by the performance of the beautiful, Bibi Andersson. Also, Victor Sjostrom's portrayal of Dr. Isak Borg is one of the most authentic performance I have ever seen in movies.
This film is told from the perspective of Dr. Isak Borg, who we are introduced to as an old man being haunted by vivid nightmares of death. Isak is about to receive a honorary emeritus degree from an university. He decides on a whim to take the long drive to the university instead of flying. During the drive, Isak is haunted by visions of his past, feelings of emptiness, and realization of a life wasted away. Bergman's use of imagery in the dream sequences in this film is just amazing and sets a groundwork for future film makers to emulate.
Even with his numerous achievements and good standing in the community, Isak is all alone, resented by his son and those who are closest to him. Isak's self-reflections into his past and visions of haunting nightmares causes him to examine himself for who he really is and how he has hurt and alienated those closest to him throughout his life. Even though he has already spent the better part of his life, mostly in bitter solitude, there seems to a glimpse of possibility of hope for a change for the better for the old professor.

#-IMDB-8.3/10 (#153 on top 250)
Rotten Tomatoes- Critics-94% Community-94%
Yong's Rating- 10/10 (Must see)
* One of 1001 movies you must watch before you die.