Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dances with Wolves (1990)

Rating: 90%
Alright so finally we reach my 400th review: Dances with Wolves. I decided to go with this one for 400 because when I reach some in the hundreds, I want my review to be on a film that's either a big deal at that time or one that have a personal meaning to me. So like when I made Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Atlantis: The Lost Empire my 100th and 200th reviews respectively, I did that because they were among my favorite films of all time. And when I made The Dark Knight Rises my 300th review, it had just hit the theaters at the time and it was such a big highly anticipated film. This falls into a personal meaning because according to my parents, this actually is the first film I've ever seen in my life. Like their basic story was that they brought their three months old into the theater and the three month old got into watching it as it played. I know it sounds silly and it probably isn't much of a reason to count as the first film I ever saw, but all the same I find this a big enough deal to eventually be one of my bigger reviews. So here at long last is my 400th film review: Dances with Wolves.

Plot: First Lieutenant John Dunbar is transferred to the western frontier after helping the Union army of a battle against the confederates. When he gets to his post, Fort Sedgwick, he finds it abandoned and in disrepair, but he decides to repair it and enjoy a simple quite life manning the fort by himself. But then he encounters a village of Sioux Native Americans living near the fort and begins to become fascinated with their lifestyle and customs while trying to form a friendship with them.

Now for quite a while, I've heard people say that this film winning best picture was a big screw up for the Academy Awards because everyone felt that Goodfellas should've won without a doubt. Now I've only seen a little more then half of Goodfellas, but from what I've seen, sure, it look like a really good fun film. But does that make this film the worst film to win if not Goodfellas? No. I honestly find it to be a really well done film. It has a really nice story, likable characters, I liked how it was very slow-paced even if it might've dragged a tiny bit, Kevin Costner did a great job as John Dunbar/Dances with Wolves, I find it really impressive that he also directed this movie on top of acting in it, and it has a really good message about the life of the Native Americans at that time. In fact I can agree that despite being a good film, Dances with Wolves really won just because of its political statement. I wish that wasn't really true, but ultimately it is. But I think that even through that's the case it's still does a great job at displaying who these people are and about their language, culture, traditions and so on. And having not seen the other nominees from that year aside from The Godfather Part III (you know, that one movie that doesn't exist...) The only other real problem that comes to mind when I was watching this film is that some people might not like it since Avatar pretty much took its story. But if some people feel that way, I'll argue that what makes this film better is that it has more of a historical and educational value and that they use it very well with primarily their characters rather then the visual effects. So with that said, I'd like to think you can enjoy it anyway whether you basically know the story already because of Avatar or not.

And that's my review for Dances with Wolves. It may have wrongly won best picture because of its political statement, but I for one still think it's an enjoyable movie that has a good story, good characters that gives us some very well displayed historical value. It most likely shouldn't have won, but at least it was hardly the worst movie to win best picture. So now I have finally reached 400 reviews. I want to say thank you for reading my reviews and also thank you again that thanks to all of you, my blog has reached a total of more then 10,000 views. I plan to have the next 100 reviews to finish my little quest of watching and reviewing all the best picture winners along with a few franchises an things like that, that I haven't touched yet. Until then, yay that I have now reached 400 and here's to eventually one day reaching 500!    

My Fair Lady (1964)

Rating: 70%
only two more reviews until I reach 400. So why not make one of them probably the last musical best picture I wanted to see before Les Mis comes out? So here's my review for My Fair Lady.

Plot: The film starts out introducing Professor Henry Higgins who believes that a person's accent and tone is what determines a person's part in society. When he meets Eliza - a flower seller from the slums who as a strong Cockney accent - he decides to make a project out of her by proving that within 6 months, he can make her speak 'properly' worthy of her passing as a duchess. So Higgins gives Eliza speaking lessons with his new friend Colonel Pickering.

This was just a nice movie to me. It's not bad or anything, I mean it has a good story and some likable characters. And while I don't love the entire soundtrack, it does have some songs that are memorable like Wouldn't it be Lovely, With a Little Bit of Luck, and I Could Have Danced All Night, along with some I haven't heard before that I thought were good too such as Show Me, and Get Me to the Church on Time. The characters were also well acted, most notably Audrey Hepburn with how she displayed how much Eliza changes in this movie and Stanley Holloway with being the comedy relief as Alfred. But ultimately, I think the musical itself is just nice. It's not bad or spectacular, but it's more like musicals like White Christmas were they can be enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.

And that's my review for My Fair Lady. It's a nice film that was well done for the most part, but it is not a musical film that I consider to be particularly memorable
.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Rating:100%
Only three more review to go and I'll reach 400. So how about I talk about a much more deep and serious best picture winner like Kramer Vs. Kramer?

Plot: Ted Kramer is a workaholic who is working on a big deal at his job when his wife Joanna decided to leave him along with their son Billy. So Ted has to take care of Billy while trying to do his job. Eventually, this leads them to become closer together, but then Joanna comes back a while later deciding to want to take custody of Billy.

I wasn't exactly kidding when I said this film was deep. I mean the whole concept of having to raise a child on your own after your spouse leaves you out of the blue is obviously a really big deal. But how they do it in this film is pretty powerful. The relationship between Ted and Billy went off great. It was very believable and both actors did spectacular jobs in their roles. Meryl Streep did a good job too...but I didn't feel too convinced that she deserved to win best supporting actress. I mean she had some really good moments, but...I don't know, I didn't feel like it was enough to win per say. But that's just my highly biased opinion about that. And in any case, it's still dramatic, sad, happy at some points, and really deep and powerful all around. What else is there to say, except that Kramer Vs. Kramer is a really good film to enjoy, little to no doubt about it.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Rating: 90%
Okay so I only have a couple of reviews left before reaching 400, so I decided to get closer to that with this review for The Bride on the River Kwai.

Plot: After surrendering during a battle in Singapore, a unit of British troops are sent to a Japanese prison camp where the camp commandant orders them to work on a railway bridge on the river Kwai regardless of their rank. Lt. Colonel Nicholson refuses to allow him or his officers to take part of the bridge even after the commandant's use of torture against him, but eventually agrees as a way of boosting his unit's morale. Meanwhile however, an American soldier who is also a prisoner at the camp named Shears escapes the camp and is eventually rescued and taken to a hospital. But then British Major Warden asks him to come with him and some other men to a commando mission to destroy the bridge.

Okay so what makes this movie memorable? The story for one is rather unique and it gives a very interesting second half. The action was well done and looked very realistic considering its time. But I think the most memorable parts are pretty much anything with Alec Guinness. Why? Because it's a fricking younger Obi-Wan Kenobi being another brave hero and a really good leader again and then some. We was being noble and always caring more about his soldiers no matter what the Japanese did to him and having no trouble expressing how he felt about being in the army. Everyone else did good too but I think even if you're not a film buff like me, I am you'll want to see it anyway just because it pretty much has one of everyone's favorite Jedi. I mean heck, that's mostly how I felt when I first saw this film years ago.

And that's my review for The Bridge on the River Kwai. It's a well done film with good story and action that has Alec Guinness because he's also the original actor for Obi-Wan Kenobi. But even if that's not the case for you somehow, it's still an enjoyable WWII film that give you little wonder why it won best picture during its year.  

Rebecca (1940)

Rating: 100%
Decided to see a best picture winner that I had no idea whatsoever what it was about...so I ended up watching Rebecca.

Plot: An unnamed woman who is 21 years old is currently working as a paid companion to a wealthy old woman when she meets a rich widower named Maximilian de Winter in Monte Carlo. Over a few weeks, they fall in love and decide to get married. Maximilian (but is named Maxim during the film) takes her to his country home where the servants accept her, under the exception of the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers who was very fond of Maxim's ex-wife, Rebecca. As Maxim's new wife settles in, Mrs. Danvers' talk about Rebecca and what some of the other servants felt about her makes the new wife feel unworthy to have married Maxim. 

Okay so like I said in the intro, I had little to no idea what to really expect. I mean my brother said it was good and as I watched it I learned that it was done my Alfred Hitchcock, but that barely meant anything. But after watching this film I have to say - regardless of if you think this film sounds good or bad from reading my plot paragraph, YOU SHOULD WATCH IT!!!! This film was interesting when it started but halfway in, it left me really caring for the leading characters and had an unexpected yet remarkable ending, it was that good. And the acting was also very well done. Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers gave us one heck of a character, George Sanders as Jack Favell was really interesting with how he sounded charming yet menacing during the end of the film, and the Second Wife I liked the most because they did such a good job at making you care for her and hope that things end happily for her. It had happiness, romance, suspense, and drama all mixed in this film really well.

And that's my review for Rebecca. It's a classic film that left me really entertained with the story, lead female character, excellent performances, and is just a really well done film, probably is easily now one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films, that I recommend that you see if you haven't seen it already.   

Friday, December 21, 2012

Rocky (1976)

Rating: 65%
Rocky....nothing much to be said.

Plot: Rocky Balboa is a small-time boxer and collector for loan shark Anthony Gazzo. One day, undefeated heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed is planned to face another boxer on New Year Eve, but Green drops out due to an injury, so Creed decides to give a local underdog a shot at fighting him. And because he likes Rocky's is nickname "The Italian Stallion," he decides to select him for the fight. So Rocky has to train to fight Creed while the film also focuses on how he develops an interest in his friend, Paulie's shy sister, Adrian.

To me, this was a nice movie...but it was not great. The story was nice and the you are left caring for some of the characters - mostly Adrian with her relationship with Rocky and of coarse Rocky himself with how he doesn't give up and how deep down he does mean well and is a caring guy. And the fight was well done and did leave me wanting to know how it ends. But I honestly find most of the movie just...boring. I mean I'm all for a good amount of dialogue packed scenes to develop the characters and all, but I honestly think they over did it a lot. I think a lot of scenes were better off with little to no dialogue because it seemed like most of what anybody did was just talk.

And that's my review for Rocky. It's a little boring due to how they had a little too much dialogue scenes, but otherwise, it's a nice story with characters to care about and a finale that was fairly suspenseful that altogether makes this just an okay movie to me.

West Side Story (1961)

Rating: 90%
Well I don't have a lot of big musicals to review before Les Mis hits the theaters. So let's get over with in reviewing another musical film classic, West Side Story.

Plot: Based on the story of Romeo and Juliet, the film starts in Manhattan there are two gangs that are in rival with each other: the white American Jets and the Puerto Rican immigant Sharks. After a fight between the rival gangs that are eventually broken up by the police, the leader of the Jets named Riff asks his best friend tony - a co-founder of the Jets who has since left the gang - to take part in a challenge of territory against the Sharks at a dance. But once there, Tony find and falls in love with a girl named Maria who happens to be the sister of the leader of the Sharks, Bernardo. So the two are left meeting each other in secret while both gangs prepare to fight each other.

  
Well this is another one where I have to ask: "what can I say that hasn't already been said?" It's a really good musical film. It's big, happy, funny, tragic, it has well made color and choreography, classic choreography (even if some of it is done in unnecessary times...st least that's how I felt on one or two moments during the beginning) memorable moment, ( I mean come on, who has seen this film and doesn't remember the signature Jets snapping fingers thing?), and of coarse some music that many musical geeks know/love. After all, while some if them aren't the best songs you would find memorable - like for me I'm not big about Something ComingMaria, and Tonight - there are some song that are very fun and memorable that any musical geek (Rachel Hills) should know like America, Gee, Officer Krupke, Jet Song, I feel Pretty and Cool. In fact, according to my sister who's seen the actual show, the show is not quite as enjoyable since some of the songs are more in Spanish then an English which may throw things off for people who don't speak it. The characters were mostly easy to detect as far as who they were based on from Romeo and Juliet and were more developed and likable then in Romeo and Juliet...I mean sure that's a given, but still.

And that's my review for West Side Story. It's a well done film that has some classical choreography, songs, more developed characters then in Romeo and Juliet and is all around a well done film to enjoy and definitely a film to remember if you are into big musicals.     

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Day (2000)

Rating: 20%
Well now that it's Winter/Christmas time again, I decided to watch a film that I went to see in theaters with my siblings and aunt and uncle when I was a kid. I particularly remember this one because of how it had all these TV spots that were played all the time whenever my siblings and I watched our Saturday cartoons back then. So here's my review for Snow Day.

Plot: Hal is a high schooler who dreams of winning the heart of the popular girl from school, Bonnie who has recently broken up with her boyfriend Chad, while his best friend Lane is in love with him. Meanwhile, his sister Natalie is wishing for a snow day despite the fact that it looks like it won't happen. But then their father Tom, who is a meteorologist in rival with the popular meteorologist  from the other news station, discovers that it's going to snow overnight. Sure enough, it snows very hard with all schools closed and everyone is out to enjoy their day off. But they all face problems throughout their snow day as the rival meteorologist takes the credit for discovering the snow, every guy along with Hal tries to win Bonnie's heart, and the evil Snowplow man tries to ruin Natalie and her friends' snow day.

Yeah. This is a movie that was meant just for kids. It has a number of cliches, the characters are unoriginal, and the acting - most notably from the teenage characters - was weak and the jokes you are most likely to enjoy if you're a kid...maybe not even then. At best, you might like some of the cute moments it has on how it's structured to kids like with how Natalie and her friends have that igloo with the tv and all that, and with their little war against the snowplow man, but at the end of the day, this is a very goofy yet bad film that was meant for kids and is much more enjoyable if your a kid or a kid at heart in some aspect that works with you watching this film.


Gone with the Wind (1939)

Rating: 100%
Well I don't have much best picture winners to review from the 30's, but even then, I suppose you can't say big hits from back hits from those days without mentioning this classic. So here's my review for Gone with the Wind.

Plot: The film starts in 1861, where Scarlett O'Harra - a daughter of an irish immigrant who is part of an aristocratic French ancestry in Tara, Gerogia - finds out that a man that she secretly loves named Ashley Wilkes, plans to marry his cousin Melanie. She tries to convince him otherwise by confessing her love, but he refuses. Meanwhile, she becomes admired by a man from the northern side of America named Rhett Butler who find out about her secret and agrees to keep it a secret. But shortly afterwords, the Civil War breaks out and as it goes on, the life Scarlett and her family and friends have known falls apart.

Well what can I say that probably as already been said about movies like this? It's a very well done film. The cinematography and the colors are beautifully done considering its time,  it was very well acted and the first 2/3rd of the film really displays what life in the south was and how it horribly changed the moment the Civil War began. It similar to Mrs. Miniver in that way, of how their lives change during both wars, but Gone with the Wind is much more dark and serious in how things have gone from happy and simple to everything that once was blown to hell and then some. And then there's of coarse the romantic couple in this film to top it off. Clark Cable of coarse was playing the charming guy who has faults but is also caring and often willing to help making it little wonder that he was at least nominated for best actor. But the main performance to talk about is Vivien Leigh as Scarlett. Now a year before I decided to watch this movie again for the first time in years and the review it, I met this girl at film school who told me that on top of Gone with the Wind being her favorite film, she also said that her favorite character is Scarlett, but she also hates her. I don't specifically remember why she feels that way, but watching this movie again, I can see why. On one hand, you want to care for what she's going through with a man she loves marrying someone else, being scared for all the terror and loss she tragically faces during and after the war and how she can be caring for some people. But at the same time, she's also just simply stubborn, selfish, greedy and even cruel. You may still wish things got better or that she reaches her goals, but deep down you know she gets what comes to her. If that's that way Scarlett was intended to be - which she probably was - then that just given us all the more reason to find it little surprise that Leigh won best actress for her performance.

And that's my review for Gone with the Wind. It was a beautifully done movie with really well done cinematography and color, excellent acting and displaying what life was like back then, and a romantic couple that gave out great performances- most notably Vivien Leigh, it's altogether an enjoyable film to continue remembering.
   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No Country for Old Men

Rating: 75%
Okay so finally I am reviewing the last best picture form the 2000s to date. So without much more to be said, here's my review for No Country for Old Men.

Plot: The film starts with Llewelyn Moss hunting Pronghorn but while doing so, eventually comes across the aftermath of a drug deal that went bad and finds two million dollars in a satchel that he takes home. Eventually people find out about it and so a hitman named Anton Chigurh is hired to recover the money from Moss. But this also leads Sheriff Bell to investigate about this and try to find and protect Moss from getting killed.

In my opinion, this is a sort of film that you have to watch twice just to make sure you understand everything. I mean it may have been years when I saw it the first time and I had just saw it a second time, but it's a very slow paced film that you might not completely understand. But even if you get it all from the first or second time, fact is fact; it's a nice film at the least. They story is slow but simple, it had good cinematography and the characters were well acted. But I think what really stands out in this film is Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh. Chigurh was a really fascinating character - you could say that he's the prologue before Heath Ledger's Joker. Because The Dark Knight came after this film and both of them won best supporting actor for playing a psychotic character who has little to no past, as a certain style for killing people, is smarter then the good give them credit for, and both actors did brilliant jobs portraying them. But while Ledger's character was more energetic and mysterious as The Joker in himself is suppose to be, Bardem portrayed Chirgurh to be much more silent and at least having one little itty bitty connection to what he's done before the events of the film. The result was that it was no surprise that he won best supporting actor. Tommy Lee Jones also gave a good performance as Sheriff Bell and with displaying the meaning of the title of the film with what was happening to his character.

And that's my review for No Country for Old Men. It's doesn't blow me away personally, but I'll admit that it is a well done film and that it's Javier Bardem as Chigurh that specifically stands out in this film. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Rating: 85%
*singing* Far over the Misty Mountains cold, to dungeons deep and caverns old, the pines were roaring in the height, the wind were roaring in the night, the fire was red it flaming spread, the trees like torches blazed with light.

Plot: Bilbo Baggins once was a popular and respected hobbit before the wizard, Gandalf comes to him asking to come on an adventure. Eventually this leads to thirteen dwarves lead by Thorin Oakenshield asking Bilbo to specifically come on their adventure to try to face the dragon Smaug and regain their kingdom. So Bilbo eventually agrees which starts his many adventures toward the Lonely Mountain. 

Okay I'm going to start this reviewing with just saying the two billion, zillion dollar questions. 1) Is this a good movie - is it generally well done and enjoyable and all that jazz? Yes. 2) Is it as spectacular and classic as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy? No. I mean most of it is what things are suppose to be when it comes to Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit were Peter Jackson is concerned. It's mostly slowly paced, the visuals (despite having maybe too much CGI) were beautifully done, the characters were a lot of fun - Thorin was very well set up, Gandalf was a little more of a bad-a, Martin Freeman was a good Bilbo, and Gollum was possibly even better in both acting and visuals then he was in the Lord of the Rings trilogy - and it had an interesting way of giving us different places, different versions of wargs and orcs, and even some new creatures that were awesome. And I can never get enough of the song "Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold". And they also bring up a couple of things outside of the story of The Hobbit that might be connected with The Lord of the Rings or just brought up to learn a little more about Middle Earth. But there are some flaws that must be pointed out. Firstly, I say MOSTLY slowly paced because the first... half hour or so was a little forced and had a couple of scenes that either had the be quickened or not there at all. Also there were a lot of things that were too similar to The Lord of the Rings when it came to things like action and some of the music. But I think the biggest thing that kind of ruins this film is if you see it when it's 48 frames per second. In some ways it's cool but it just kills some of the magic that this film's trying to bring. I mean I saw it in 48 frames and now I want to find a good time soon to see it again only this time with it at 24 frames. And without giving too much away, after seeing the film you will end up curious yet nervous at the same time with where they're going with the other two films.

And that's my review for The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey. It has a number of flaws that keep it from being as majestic of a film as the Lord of the Rings trilogy are, but it still is an enjoyable film that I liked enough to want to own it on DVD or Blue-Ray. If you haven't seen it yet but you're going to, make sure that you see it on 24 frames per second and NOT 48, and if you did see it on 48 frames, I recommend you should see it again on 24. Otherwise, just enjoy what this movie brought and hope with all your might that the next two will at least be roughly just as good as this of not much better. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

10,000 views!!!!!!!!

After 389 reviews and 4 lists, I at long last I have reached having at least 10,000 views total on this blog!!!!! I just want to thank everyone who has followed me either through Google or through e-mail or Facebook or whatever for following me and for reading my reviews. I'm glad to have finally make this accomplishment. Just thank you again and here's to maybe reaching another 10,000 more!

until then,
-H.A.K. 

Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Rating: 65%
Alright so here's the final movie that I wanted to finally see this week: Rise of the Guardians.

Plot: The Guardians - Santa Claus, Toothfairy, Sandman, and the Eater Bunny - are tasked with protecting children and creating joy to the world as long as children believe they exist. But then their old foe, The Bogeyman return to try to bring fear into the children, so the mysterious 'Man in the Moon' declares to make the spirit of winter, Jack Frost, a new guardian to take part in defeating the Bogeyman.

This was actually just okay. The animation is well done and stuff like that, the idea is nice, and despite whatever problems I have the characters were fairly fun. Plus it has a good cast with having Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine and Jude Law. But what really makes this movie not as great as people say it is is A) the story was predictable on quite a few areas, but B) the somewhat bigger issue is that I felt that the development of the world, the story and the characters were left only between partly to mostly done. Let's talk characters first. Some of the characters were developed to the fullest like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus which is part of how they were pretty fun. But as far as development went, I feel like they focused on it a little too much on Jack Frost. Granted that's not entirely a bad thing. I mean he was really clever, fun and he had a well thought of story. But with so much focus on him, I felt that other characters didn't quite get the attention I thought they should have. My two main examples are the Tooth fairy and the Man in the Moon. The Tooth Fairy I thought they could given her more background with her character to the point were they even could've given us who she was before she became the Tooth Fairy. As for the Man in the Moon, I understand how he's suppose to be this big mysterious being and all, but with a concept like that, I honestly thought was maybe a little too mysterious. I think they could've given us a little more then that. Other creatures and stuff like that from this world I thought were left unexplained, most notably those big furry creatures at Santa's workshop. I thought they gave us so little about them that I think they didn't tell us what they were even called. But I digress from all this and just face that whatever faults I can find about this film, it's still pretty enjoyable. Some people even comment that it's basically The Avengers for elementary school kids. And I can get that1 I mean it's basically all the lovable characters from our childhood saving the day and all that. Though I don't know about it working as being The Avengers for children personally because as Jeremy Jahns points out, probably most kids have actually seen The Avengers, so that might not completely work. But even then, kids can enjoy this film all the same because it does have some nice 3D animated action to go with everything else.

And that's my review for Rise of the Guardians. It's a little predictable and I for one felt they left some thing incomplete development wise with some of the characters and some of the creatures and stuff like that in the world that they live in. But it still have and a fairly creative world with fun characters, enjoyable action, and just a nice film to enjoy all around. So that concludes seeing all the animated movies that I wanted to see this year. I still think Wreck-it Ralph is the best, but altogether I thought this was a very nice year for animated films.   

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lincoln (2012)

Rating: 95%
Alright so yesterday I finally saw Lincoln...took be long enough.

Plot: the story is set around early 1965 where Abraham Lincoln is trying to get the 13th amendment that is meant to abolish slavery. The problem is that not all the congressmen (primarily the democrats) are in favor of passing the amendment. So Lincoln along with the republicans  work on trying to convince people to vote for the 13th amendment to pass while also trying to end the war.

Good grief was this movie well done. I mean for one thing it does a particularly good job at displaying the world that they live in...even if that world is the world of politics. *Rim shot* And it's a story that's just well told. In fact it's so good that I want to find a documentary from the history channel or something like that to find out how much of this really happened and maybe know some of the people the supporting characters were based on as well. Because firstly, this film as a pretty big cast. I mean Daniel Day-Lewis goes without saying, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (which I didn't know until just now. Stupid long hair and mustache for throwing me off razza frazza ...), Hal Holbrook, and kind of my personal favorite, Tommy Lee Jones. Secondly...it's just a certain piece of history that I didn't really get to any depth into when I was in school but now I kind of do thanks to this film. And what's to say about the performance aside from the fact that they're great? I mean I though Daniel Day-Lewis was portrayed an excellent performance even by his own normal standards as Lincoln with how he looked, how his posture was, and the voice most of all. I mean the voice just...holy crap did I not see that coming. The voice was just so unique and so unexpected from Day-Lewis that I sometimes even wondered if it was just all voice-over from a different person. This guy deserves a Best Actors nomination, possibly should even win, he just executed it wonderfully. Tommy Lee Jones's performance was probably my second favorite partly because of all the people I had not idea where in this film, he was the biggest surprise, but his character was just fascinating during the second half especially that I hope to know about the actual person he played more after seeing this film.

And that's my review for Lincoln. It was an excellent movie, plain and simple that just told the story so well with such good performances that it left me wanting to know a little more about the actual real event. Most likely going to be nominated for best picture, and it would be one nomination that I would have no problem in hoping that it wins.   

Oliver! (1968)

Rating:80%
Okay we're only less then two weeks away from Les Mis. So with that said, it's time to review another musical best picture winner. So here's my review for Oliver!

Plot: Oliver Twist is a young boy who grows up in a workhouse. One day the other boys make him ask for more gruel which causes him to be kicked out of the workhouse and sold to work fora children's funeral. Eventually he escapes however, and comes to London where he meets another boy named Dodger who takes him to Fagin who trains him to become a pickpocket.

This was a well done movie as an adapted musical. I mean I've seen the actual show so I know, and comparing that to this film, they adapted it pretty well. The setting was well done, it had some fairly nice and cheery choreography, and the characters were very well displayed - most notably Ron Moody as Fagin hands down. I mean If you enjoy the story of Oliver Twist and are also a fan of the musical, then you'll enjoy this. It does leaves out a couple of songs that are from the musical and some songs are played at different scenes then were they are in the musical, but most of the ones that are left out aren't that big anyway and how some of the songs are placed aren't that important. Besides, when it comes to this musical, the important thing is that it plays is bigger numbers such as "Consider Yourself", "Pick a Pocket or Two", "Oom-Pah-Pah", and of coarse "Reviewing the Situation". Now does this movie deserve to have won best picture during its year? I don't know since I haven't seen all of the other nominations from that year, but from what I understand, no. The one argument I've heard is that 2001: Space Odyssey was the real big deal and that Oliver! only won because people really liked musicals back in the 60's. Would I agree? Mostly. I mean the only other nomination I've seen form that year was the second half of The Lion in Winter which was pretty good from what I remember so that one at least possibly should've won . But with 2001: Space Odyssey - now bear in mind that I've only seen that movie once and that I apparently have to see it a second time to get it according to my brother - I think what really kept that film from even being nominated was how it was really slow and not everyone was going to get it, especially if you have not read the book. So really it's just a matter of dumb luck that that film just didn't get the buzz that it gets today which is why this film won.

So that's my review for Oliver! It probably should not have won considering the other films from that time, but even if it shouldn't have, it's still a very enjoyable film that was an excellent adaption to the musical, I hope that Les Mis is just as good of an adaption at the very least. ...Well actually that's not true. I want that film to be super, ultra loyal to the musical and be so awesome that I want to buy it the moment it comes out on blue-ray...or else...  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 (2009)

Rating: 5%
Well with the so-called 2012 apocalypse suppose to supposedly happen in the next ten days, I decided to take a look at the 2009 film where they decided to make a movie out of the disaster that probably just 6 people in the whole world right now somehow still think is going to happen. So here's my review for 2012.

Plot: In 2009, this geologist discovers that a solar flair is rupturing earth's core leaving them to know that Earth is going to be destroyed. So they decide to create ships to rescue as many people as they can to prepare for this event. Meanwhile in 2012, science fiction writer, Jackson learns about this when he takes his kids from his ex-wife for a camping trip were they meet a man named Charlie Frost who informs them that the world is coming to an end. So after eventually hearing about the ships that the government are planning to use to save people, Jackson takes his family along with his ex-wife's boyfriend to try to get into one of those ships before they get killed.

Ugh. Thank The Lord that I was smart enough to make sure I was playing a video game on the computer so I could stay entertained while watching this film. I mean how can you tell that that it's going to be a cliche heavy movie? And when I say that, I'm taking about aside from the fact that you can smell Independence Day with a hint of the first Transformers film all over this movie before you're even ten minutes in. Because this film is crawling with cliches it's not even funny. The characters backgrounds, the romance, the main characters relationship with his family - I mean frick, Michael Bay has no part in this film whatsoever, and yet they went with some of the poor choices of comedy relief that he tends to do. But there are two things that drive me crazy the most about how bad this movie was. Firstly was how long it was. When I got this film from the library and looked at how long it really was, I was shocked. I mean I thought it would be just 2 hours and a couple minutes long at best. But nope, this film is almost 2 hours and 40 minutes long. I mean even with my video game to give me comfort and entertainment, I felt bored and down in the dumps at how this film just kept going. I mean it doesn't even need to be 2 hours. I think it would've worked better if it was around an hour and a half. My second issue is with Jackson's relationship with his family and his ex-wife's boyfriend. *WARNING SPOILERS* This has to do with Jackson's family's relationship between him and the boyfriend. Now naturally the wife cares for the boyfriend for sure, but I really liked how the kids explained how they felt. They said that they found the boyfriend to be a good guy in a honest respectable manner. And Jackson was very accepting that they all made that choice and it seemed like if the boyfriend survived, that's how it would've gone. If they did, I would've enjoyed that. I mean it's not super unique, but they were taking a different take on the cliche with the kids and that was nice, so if they went all the way with that, I would've given the film the respect for that. But of coarse they not only didn't, they even gave the boyfriend a rather abrupt death in a way which I just thought was a dumb way to throw away an okay oppertunity. *END OF SPOILERS* After that, the one good thing about the movie were the effects for all the destruction despite being unrealistic in some areas.

And that's my review for 2012. It was a horrid movie that was as cliched as you'd expect, way longer then it should be, it screwed up on an okay oppertunity concerning the main characters, had some nice destruction scenes, but otherwise was a really bad movie plain and simple.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Life of Pi (2012)

Rating: 95%
FINALLY!!! I've been meaning to see this film for a while with how its getting its praises and how both of my parents tell me I should read the book and all that good stuff. Well I've finally found the time to see it this morning so here at last is my review for Life of Pi.

Plot: Pi is a man from India who meets this writer who is looking for a story to tell. So Pi tells him about his life in India before his family decided to ship to Canada. But then the ship sinks killing his family, leaving Pi with a tiger named Richard Parker on a lifeboat both trying to survive.

Yeah. This was a lot better then I thought it would be. The story was very well told, it was nicely paced, and the acting was very well done. What really makes this movie good particularly was the relationship between Pi and the tiger. I mean I was going to enjoy this movie anyway just because the tiger was there just because they're my favorite animal, but how they structured their relationship was extremely well done. It wasn't cheesy or anything, just a matter of trying to survive without killing another, and I was hooked on how they did it. Another really good thing is the visual effects, partly because they were beautiful, but what was mostly a good thing to me was that the big visual moments weren't at a big amount. Because as a guy who hasn't read the book and only knew about this film through one poster and one trailer, I thought this film was going to practically be swarming with huge visual as if it's Avatar without all of the major CGI stuff. But thankfully, they kept the big visual moments at smart and reasonably placed. The only problems I really have with this movie is that there were a couple of things that happened that were particularly odd or didn't make sense and they left out a lot of philosophical stuff from the book which from the sound of it, would've been nice to have been added considering how Pi was taking about God at some parts of the story, that's it.

And that's my review for Life of Pi. It's a very well made film that is visually stunning but wisely stayed more on the story and with the relationship between Pi and the tiger. So with that said, Life of Pi is an enjoyable movie, deserves to be at least nominated for best picture, no doubt about it.
     

The Lord of the Rings (1978)

Rating: 60%
Oh my gosh! only days left until The Hobbit! I really need to finish reviewing the animated films! So my doing that, here's my review for The Lord of the Rings.

Plot: In the second age of Middle-Earth, the Dark Lord Souron forged the One Ring to rule them all. But then Isildur cut off the ring from his finger and took it for himself. Over the years the ring passed into legend when Isildur lost it and then was eventually recovered by Gollum. Then Bilbo found the ring in Gollum's cave and took it as his own but 60 years later was forced to leave it behind by the wizard Gandalf. Gandalf then learned about the ring being Souron's ring, and so sent Bilbo's nephew, Frodo on a quest to find a way to destroy the ring.

Okay I'm going to do my best to talk about what's good about this film without just plain preaching that Jackson's version is better (even though it's beyond true). So what's good about it? Well firstly, there the plain fact that it was telling the story of the first two books for all intents and purposes. It may not take its time like Jackson's films, but I thought with going through Fellowship of the Ring especially, they can across pretty well with telling the story. Another good thing is that it has some dialogue and a couple of particular moments from the book that weren't in the live-action trilogy. And the design for pretty much everything Lord of the Rings were interesting to the point were they make this film a nice way to interpret or imagine J.R.R.Tokein's world differently. But then there's everything bad but mostly just mixed feelings with everything else. First example are the characters. Some of them are done well with cases like Frodo being a little more heroic, Boromir appearing more of a dear friend for the fellowship, and Aragorn looking a little more like him and his clan of rangers have gone downhill tremendously after their kingdom fell in my opinion. But at the same time, there's a lot of room for improvement for actually developing characters, mostly because some of these characters were close to not developed at all. I mean Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pipin along with practically any main character from Rohan were hardly given any development. Most of them were just there to appear and say a couple of lines just for the sake of some loyalty to the books. Another example of things turning out mixed is the animation. You see some of the animation was specifically made were they used live-action footage that was then 'rotoscoped' to produce an animated look. This was made to save production money and to give characters a more realistic look. They were so confidant at this idea that they even publicly claimed that it was "the first movie painting" and that it was "an entirely new technique in filmmaking." So what it? In a way yes. I mean editing between shots of actual animation and this realistic looking take of animation could make mixed results with how different both type of animation are. But for all intents and purposes, the animation was well done. It wasn't as much of a ground breaker as the makers of the film seemed to think it was, but it was a really fun and a very fascinating take on animation as far as trying to take it to the next level. But when you get to some of the actual animation, I thought the movement of the characters was a little silly. But the main issue is the way they paced this movie. Now I still stand by what I said about them altogether doing a nice job at telling the story in the amount of time. But some scenes went a little too quick. The big example is when they got to The Two Towers pretty much everything went by really stupid fast. It was like they weren't really trying to do all the big stuff that happened during most of that book without really developing anything. In fact some thing were just introduced and never mentioned again. I don't know how people who haven't seen Jackson's films will interpret this film, but I'd like to believe that they'd have a problem with how they were trying to do so much stuff and leave some of it hanging.

And that's my review for The Lord of the Rings. It's a nice interpretation of the first two books as far as imagining Tolkein's brilliant world differently then what most of us are familiar with. But most of what they do with some of the animation, characters and pacing of some of the story just mixed things up that make it an okay film to watch, but - let's be honest - not even as close to as epic as what Jackson did.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Rating: 70%
Okay I've heard good things, and I've heard bad things about this film. So now I've finally seen it and here's what I have to say about it.

Plot: Years before the events of the first film, a peacock named Lord Shen was the son of a clan that ruled Gongmen City who figured out to to use fireworks as a weapon and so was prophesied that a 'warrior of black-and-white' will defeat him. So he attacked a panda population and was then banished by his parents. Now he has come back after now inventing a cannon were he intends to destroy kung-fu with it. So it's up to Po and the Furious Five to stop him, but along the way, Po is having flashbacks that lead him to want to know who his parents are.

This movie is roughly everything that the first film was...only it was more predictable. I mean while I didn't expect every single thing to happen, most of what was going to happen to Po personally was more obvious which despite how much I liked that they now have something about Po's parents since we've been in the dark with the first one. Other then that, I thought some of the jokes that they pulled were quite as cute as they were in the first. But other then that, this film is just as enjoyable and even a little more so with the fact that they expanded this world a went even bigger and better with the animation. The action especially is much bigger and what's even better is that we have much more of it.  I also really enjoy that Po has finally learned kung-fu and now is officially friends and a valuable teammate of The Furious Five so that we have almost all of Po being just some kung-fu geek out of the way and just focus on him now living his dream to the fullest. He wasn't always doing something embarrassing as often as I was concerned that he would in this film, just kicking rear with his heroes which suits me just fine. As for Lord Shen, I kind of liked him. I mean firstly, I didn't expect him as a peacock 'cause when you think evil villain after Tai Lung and especially when the villain's voiced by an actor like Gary Oldman, you'd think that he's some really evil and cool looking wolf or something like that. But instead he's a peacock, which i'm alright with that because I thought that was a nice way of going a little different. As for the character itself, I thought he wasn't all that developed. I thought he was just being something of a pain old evil villain that wants to rule something. But at least compared to some over villains Goldman's played in the past like in Lost In Space and Quest for Camelot he was more exciting and was slightly more bad-a and cold-hearted.

And that's my review for Kung Fu Panda 2. It's a little more predictable and not quite as cute, but it takes advantage of Po fully knowing kung fu making the action bigger and better with a decent villain and a nice side story. So this just leaves me with one question as far as best animated feature went for 2011: WHY DIDN'T AT LEAST THIS FILM WIN COMPARED TO RANGO!?!?!?!?!?! THAT FILM IS TOTALLY OVERRATED!!!!!

Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Rating: 95%
Alright so along with It Happened One Night, I also saw Mrs. Miniver again. So here's my review for that.

Plot: Mrs. Miniver is a middle-class woman in England who lived a very happy comfortable life with her family. She lives his her husband, Clem and their youngest children Toby and Judy, while their son, Vin is home from going to his university and is also starting so fall in love Carol, the granddaughter of the Lady Beldon. But their lives begin to change when World War II starts and Clem and Vic sign up to fight.

Quite simply, this is a film that displays the joys and sorrows of life in England back in WWII. And boy  do they show it. The first half of the film or so just develops the characters and displays how happy and simple everyones lives are. But then you get the second half were they get more into what happens to England during the war, and that's when this really becomes a good film. The suspense is pretty big, the  tragedies will leave you utterly sad, it just leaves you giving a harsh but true idea about how their lives were and how hard things changed once the war began.

And that's my review for Mrs. Miniver. It's a well made film that really moves you into the idea of how harsh the change of english life was when World War II came, and is easily an enjoyable film and I think was right to have won best picture.

Titan A.E.

Rating: 55%
Alright so I wanted to do this Don Bluth film for a while but I haven't been able to do it due to problems at the library, but then I found it on Netflix and so I was able to see it last night. So here's my review for Titan A.E.

Plot: In the 31st century, an energy based alien species called the Drej declared war on humanity and so destroys Earth. But shortly before that, a young boy named Cale is given a ring from his father before he leaves on a ship called Titan. 15 years later, Cale meets a man named Korso who knew his father and reveals that the ring Cale's father gave him is a map to find the Titan and use it to create a new planet for humans. So Cale goes with Korso on his ship,Valkyrie to find Titan and his father before the Drej get do it first.

Alright so part of what made me a little more eager to see this again was when an anonymous commenter commented on how on my review for Atlantis: The Lost Empire, I said that one if it's flaws was how it could be a little too violent for children, and so he pointed out that this film was - and I quote: "probably way too violent to be a cartoon period. My friend Keith even said that it should've been rated PG-13 and I tend to agree." So what he right? Very much so. In fact, this film has been commonly known to be a financial failure because they weren't really clear on what was its target audience. They tried to give some cartooony supporting characters and stuff like that which is where it seems like it's for kids, but then you have all this violence with it being a post-apocalyptic story and you have a fairly big amount of blood and animation that is designed to look realistic then cartoony and some deaths that are not for kids- most notably, a part during the end where a character snaps another one's neck. I mean even if this was meant for teenagers to adults, none of that really sounds like something you'd witness in an animated movie no matter who it's aimed for. But even then, the movie falls due to having a number of cliches - most notably, the hero starting out as some bad boy or whatever after his father's death. And even if that's not the case for Cale, altogether, I just don't think they developed their characters well enough for them to really stand out and make them likeable let alone memorable. I mean I mostly acknowledge the supporting characters and just 'this short alien that's the scientist' or 'that chick that's obviously Cale's love interest', that kind of thing. But at the very least, this film doesn't manage to have some enjoyable things to it. The animation considering its time was good, some of the designing of the ships, aliens and stuff like that were pretty clever (mostly with the Drej leader. I thought he looked really cool.) The story and the setting was a little enjoyable considering  the general take they had for Earth being destroyed hasn't been done before (at least with the whole deal with Titan and all that).

And that's my review for Titan A.E. It's very disorganized with trying to display who it's meant for and doesn't do a good job with some of it anyway with the number of cliches and lack of development for its supporting characters. But the whole idea to it along with the design and animation is enough in my opinion, that it's something of a 'meh' movie. Definitely something to watch if you're flipping through Netflix and you don't really care what you watch as along as it's fairly entertaining.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

It Happened One Night (1934)

Rating: 100%
Alright. At last we come to a particular classic that has won Best Picture back in the 30's. So here's my review for It Happened One Night.

Plot: Ellie is a spoiled heiress who marries a fortune hunter named King against the wishes if her father. Her father has the marriage annulled so she run away and hops on a bus stop heading to New York to reunite with King. But along the way she meets a reporter named Peter who agrees to help her with her financial troubles on the condition that she helps him make a big story for his newspaper on her whole situation between her, her father and King. 

Okay what can I say that hasn't already been said about this particular film? It's fun, it's creative during it's time- heck, plenty of romantic comedies since this one have come up their idea that is in some way similar to what this one is. Some of it has even been spoofed during the movie Spaceballs (also a classic). Why is it so good? Because it's one of the few films nowadays that actually live up to both being romantic and a comedy. Cable and Colbert play their roles very well and their characters' relationship works easily. And the comedy was also very cute and enjoyable which made the film fun to watch.

And that's my review for It Happened One Night. It has wit, it has charm, it's a classic plain and simple that you will definitely enjoy without a doubt. And if you feel that you've heard the story before...blame it on any of the movies you've seen that have taken the structure to it.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Top 5 Happy Endings

Ah of coarse the happy endings. The points in movies or TV shows and what not that can either be some of the most powerful and also depressing points of the story. I mostly say depressing because some endings are so powerful that they leave you to be just like Pooh in the end of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh who would say "Goodbye? Oh please Mr. Narrator, can't we go back to page 1 and do it all over again?" But in any case, if an ending is done right, it can be the most moving part of the story that really brings the satisfaction that the journey, or the war is over and the goal is completed or whatever sort of happiness is finally brought to the characters we love with all our hearts and with whom we've been through every single thing that's happened in the story. So I've decided to officially make my list of favorite happy endings. So this is My Top 5 Happy Endings.



#5 The Ending of Return of the Jedi (DVD version specifically)

Okay now here's the thing; I'll agree with almost anything you have to say about all the remastering they've done over be past few years. I mean Vader going "NOOO" in the blue-ray version goes without saying, a lot of the CGI stuff from New Hope are unnecessary, and for the love of Frank Welker, Han totally shot first. But if there's one change from the original versions that I willingly accept, it's how they ended Return of the Jedi. I just felt that the way they ended it in the DVD version was much bigger and made a lot more sense. I mean with the original version, they were just celebrating with the Ewoks with that "Yub-Yub" song which may be fine for some people but doesn't work to be as far goes as a big finale. I mean this whole thing is a big deal. Palpatine's gone, Vader went back to the light side before dying, balance is restored in the force, and the Empire for the most part is in ruins with the second death star and most of its fleet destroyed. And ending for just a huge victory like that as they bring this trilogy to such a conclusion should be big and grand, and quite frankly, I find just celebrating with the Ewoks and singing "Yub-Yub" makes it seem like the rebel alliance is just celebrating a generally small victory with some of their allies then just taking it as if they just about finally won the war. So with that I consider the original version of the ending a downplay about what happened. But with the DVD version, we see all of these celebrations - not just on Endor, but also on Tatooine, Bespin, Naboo, and Courasant. And then there's that old guy being replaced by Hayden Christensen as Anakin's ghost. I mean I know that we all hate him and that he would've made more sense if Anakin looked burned and armless in his Jedi ghost form, but I think this made more sense at least compared to giving us some old guy we've never seen except from the original version. And then there's the music to top it all. I mean it's generally quiet and not too big, but it does give a sort of happy/finally-at-peace sort of feeling as everyone's celebrating that the whole thing is over. So while no one likes change - especially where Star Wars is concerned, I consider this bit of change to work better as an ending to this wonderful, classic trilogy.


#4 The ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

okay, there are plenty of issues I have when it came to loyalty to the books and all that when it came to the last three films. But at least with all that aside, they still gave us what made Deathly Hallows quite the finale in the book. I mean you have so many characters that you really, really, really, care about getting killed. And the final battle was really well done in both how big the action was (loved McGonagall's "I always wanted to use that spell" moment) and how messed up it is that they destroyed so much of Hogwarts. I mean they set the Quittitch stadium on fire, and I thought it was sad how abrupt they all of the sudden even blew up the clock tower. I mean that wasn't even the main focus of the camera shot when that happened. But after all that, things get really happy in the end, Neville kills Nagini with the Griffindor sword, Ron and Hermione kiss, Mrs. Weasley kills Bellatrix (with that ever so awesome "Not my daughter you b*%#&" line) and of coarse at long last, Harry finally kills Voldemort. Finally we finish with all of them grown up and happily married and have kids and all of that jazz. The whole things a big deal because it's so happy but at the same time it's stupid sad for all of us. I mean some of us had Harry Potter as quite a bit of our childhood. And for some of us that have become young adults since then, that film series was kind of all that was left of our childhood that wasn't completely finished if you will because they were still making movies. And now that they did finish it, and now some of us may have lost what's left of our childhood. So this is one of the best because Deathly Hallows in general, either book or film really did the job in keeping us in the suspense and giving us a big ending to say tragic yet happy farewell to what was left of our magical childhood.

#3 The ending of The Color Purple

Holy crap is this a big one. I mean the film itself is great to the point were- again, the fact that Out of Africa beat it for Best Picture...that was just wrong. The Color Purple is about this African-American girl named Celie who lived with their father that has abused her to the point of having two children with her and taking them both away from her at childbirth. Later her father forces Celie to marry a local widower named Albert who treats her like a slave and also abuses her. Her sister Nettie is banned from coming to visit after Albert tries to rape her and over the years, Celie continues to be abused while she, and some of the people she knows face terrible things with racism, sexism and poverty. But then you get to roughly the end of the movie. Celie finally decides to leave her husband, and from there everything just clicks. Her father dies but turns out to actually have been her stepfather the whole time and she inherits a shop from her REAL father. Her only friend Shug finally reunites with her father who's a pastor, after years of shunning her for the mistakes she made. And finally you get her Albert who out all the guilt from what he's done, decides to take all the money he's saved for over the years to arrange for Celie to be reunited with Nettie and also both of her children who are all grown up and all so eager to finally meet her. The entire remainder of the movie starting from when she leaves Albret just moves you as everything just gets better and better for her and her friends as it goes on. And when we get to the reunion...it's just moving. I mean it makes my mom cry every time, I try not to cry, the whole thing is just powerful right off the bat.

#2 The Ending of Toy Story 3

Yeah. You know I had to bring this one up. Deathly Hallows may have finished our childhood, but it sure as frick didn't make us think about our childhood to the deepest parts of our memory and mess with the very core of our hearts and made us think of all the toys we've loved so much since the days of kindergarten and a fair bit of elementary school or farther, like Toy Story 3 did. I mean first you have the suspense where you think they're going to die and how they expressed that was just too much. But then they make it back and so Andy decides to give them all to this little girl and before he leaves for college, he plays with them one last time with that girl. And then finally Andy takes one last look at all of them and says "Thanks guys" and as he drives off, Woody says "So long partner" and then it faced to black with the sky having clouds shapes like the ones from Andy's room in the first film. Now it probably goes without saying that this was a moving ending in a really epic way. I mean when this film hit the theaters, everyone was crying. I mean even my dad cried. And my dad's a pretty skeptical man when it comes to film. I've also heard some of my friends from film school say that they're seen gangsters in the theater cry their heart out when they saw the movie. It just moves you completely. And it also makes you think about all the toys you use to play with all the time when you were a kid. I mean mom felt that way when it came to a doll from when she was a little girl, and when I saw this film, I for one couldn't take it anymore and unwrapped some of my old toys from a big black trash bags and held them one more time...Snoopy....Hobbess....Pikachu...*snaps out of it* So this one is obviously one of the best because it was a great ending of this spectacular trilogy that touched the child at heart in all of us.

#1 The Ending of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

 Oh my gosh this ending gets me every time. Yeah I know that the various blackouts get annoying the first time but still. Right from the moment Souron and the Ring are destroyed; both you and the characters get a major feeling of joy after everything you’ve seen through this whole trilogy. Frodo remembering the shire, the eagle’s rescue, the Fellowship reunited, Aragorn crowned king of Gondor and finally together for good with Arwen. Then the camera changes to the map which goes from Gondor to the Shire, showing all those places have been with all sort of adventures and battle of Helm’s Deep to staying in Bree. And that sight for you just as much as the hobbits when you finally see The Shire again from that one hobbit that was raking the leaves to the Green Dragon where Sam finally makes his move on Rosie and marries her. Then you see Frodo back at Bag End almost done writing the entire story on Bilbo’s red book. And from there the Hobbits along with Bilbo and Gandalf go to the Grey Havens where Frodo says his goodbye to Merry, Pippin and mostly Sam before he goes to the Undying Lands with Gandalf, Bilbo, Elrond and Galadriel. Then it moves to Sam coming home with his wife and children saying “Well…I’m back” before he closes the door and then the screen goes black with the words The End appearing. I just found the whole process moving with all the happiness that's happening after all the horror and darkness that was going on from facing Souron and his forces. I mean it's so happy that there's not a cloud in the sky over at Mordor. And finally, what I think was the most powerful of all was the end credits with the song “Into the West” It’s powerful just out of hearing the first few lyrics alone: “Lay down your sweat and weary head. Night is falling, you’ve come journey’s end.” And while it’s playing, drawn images of places of Middle-Earth and several characters are shown continuing to make you think back from the entire trilogy.  I actually find it so powerful that I want "Into the West" to be one of the last if not THE last song I hear before I die. Because it’s talking about the end of the road and resting and all around living happily ever after while showing all those characters and places from Middle-Earth. I find that song to be just the thing for me for thinking about my life and getting ready to die before “I come to the house of my father, and in his mighty company I shall not be ashamed.” (Theoden’s last words revised) And even if I don’t make it one of the last songs I ever hear, I want it to at least be one of the songs played at my funeral. Which is something one of my best friends from high school wants for his funeral too. And that’s why the end of Return of the King is - and hopefully always will be - the most powerful ending I have ever seen.
 
 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Rating: 90%
Now up until I saw this again just a couple of days ago, I saw this film only once during...I think it was like the 3rd or 4th grade, maybe farther then that. And when I saw it, I didn't really understand much of it outside of what happened in the bottom line with the beginning and end and some little moments in between. So for a while I've been wanting to see it again to kind of settle the matter of what it even was about along with finding out if it is a good movie and stuff like that, but I would keep forgetting to do that before I would have a chance to try to borrow it from the Library. Luckily, my friend Andrew recommended a couple of films for me to see that I thought I'd enjoy when it comes to their creativity and all that, and The NeverEnding Story just happened to be one of them. So that helped me finally get into seeing this movie again (with the advantage of having a computer at the time I got his message on Facebook.), so now I've finally seen it again at long last, and here's my review for it.

Plot: Bastian is a quiet boy who likes to read and is often bullies by his schoolmates. One day he hides from the bullies in an bookstore where the owner has a book that he warns is not safe. But Bastian 'borrows' the book anyway and starts to read it in his school's attic where he gets drawn into a story about a world called Fantasia that is being destroyed by something called The Nothing and it's up to a young warrior named Atreyu to try to find a way to stop it.

So was this a creative film? Um...pretty much. I mean while the name of the fantasy world makes you think of the Disney movie Fantasia, it still left me with a bunch of creatures and points in the story that I liked for their creativity. I mean for its time, they really did a good job for their choices of design, makes up and costumes for all these different kind of creatures. The story was very enjoyable and it kept me interested in what was going on, and how it ended was very nice. So with all that said, yeah, Andrew wasn't kidding that this was a film to check out when it came tot he creative aspects.

So all around, this is a fine movie to watch if you want to see a fantasy that has some creative creatures and a fairly unique story, then this film is for you. Even if it isn't, I'd say that this film is an enjoyable film altogether.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Rating: 90%
Alright so I finally got my hands on the version of Mutiny on the Bounty that DID win best picture back in the 30's. so here's how that turned out.

Plot: The Bounty is making its way to Tahiti under the command of Captain William Bligh. It's mission is to transport breadfruit to Jamacia. But the journey becomes difficult when Bligh's choice of discipline and lack of care for the lives of his crew disgusts his second-in-command, Fletcher Christian. Eventually this leads to the crew wishing to start a mutiny against Bligh.


Okay, so what makes this version better then the Marlon Brando one? Well firstly, it's shorter which means it doesn't drag so much as the other one did. But it's mainly because the characters are much better in this one. I kind of began to care for the supporting characters a little more then the ones in the Brando version because I thought they were somewhat more developed and more caring that some of them like Thomas would turn out alright. As for Clark Gable and Charles Laughton being Christian and Bligh respectively, they were much better then Brando and Howard. Gable was more of the kind and caring Fletcher Christian that made him appear more of a hero then Brando by comparison. As for Laughton, he had more expression with how evil Bligh is. I mean with Howard, you see Bligh as just the captain during a fair portion of the first half our or so from the Brando film, which means it's not until they're a ways into the sea that you start to get a hint that the guy's evil. But Laughton knows that Captain William Bligh is evil and once he first appears in the film, he doesn't hesitate to practically shove that fact right in your face. In fact the was probably more evil then possibly Howard's Bligh ever could, which is what clearly makes Laughton's worthy of being one of the top villains in the AFI list of heroes and villains.

And that's my review for Mutiny on the Bounty 1935. It's pretty much the same thing as the 1961 version, but it's shorter and the they made the characters much better which makes it a more enjoyable movie then what the Brando film gave us.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)

Rating: 80%
Here's the last film that my family and I watched on Black Friday and the one I enjoyed the most. I did say in my review to the first film that I wanted to see this film considering how well it did int he box office.

Plot: The film starts off with the penguins flying off to Europe with the intention of coming back to bring Alex, Marty, Melvin and Gloria back to New York. But after a while, Alex feels that they are getting old, so they decide to head to Europe so they can retrieve the penguins and go home. But things don't go so well as while they find the penguins, they are being chased by Animal Control officer Captain DuBois who has a special desire to have the head of a lion as a trophy. They escape in a circus train claiming to the circus animals that they are also from the circus. When the gang finds out that this circus is trying to impress a promote in London so that the circus can go to America, they try to work together with the circus animals to try to create a completely different circus that would wow the promoter.

This was actually a really enjoyable movie. I mean my main issue is that the story was predictable on some of the main areas. But it easily made up for it. The animation was SO much better particularly in the second half where we see how the circus turns out, the jokes were an awful lot of fun and the characters were very enjoyable. I mean you have Vitaly who is a russian tiger (which is where he automatically gets points since that's my favorite animal) who was the inspiration to the entire circus, and then there's that bear that King Julien has that weird romance for, (though I probably liked her just because she was voice by Frank Welker) but my absolute favorite was Captain DuBois. Holy frick was this woman messed up. Her energy, her movement, her strength, her undying determination to have Alex's head is just one of the craziest things you could see in a film like this. And my family and I (or at least I for sure) enjoyed all of it. But what I also really enjoyed about this movie is how they were trying to take things completely different with the idea of being of a circus. I mean just that main idea of trying to take things differently and just how they did it was just amazing to me.

Altogether, I still have my hopes for Wreck-It Ralph winning best animated feature this year, but this was a hilarious, fun enjoyable movie that certainly wouldn't be the worst thing for Wreck-It Ralph to lost to if it doesn't win.    


21 Jump Street (2012)

Rating: 75%
Okay so here's the second movie I saw with my family on Black Friday, 21 Jump Street.

Plot: Morton and Greg are former classmates from high school who eventually become best friends at their police academy. They have trouble trying to arrest criminals due to Greg not knowing the Miranda rights so their chief transfers them to 21 Jump Street where they are to go undercover as high school students trying to find the person who supplies some new drug that high schoolers are using.

Okay I had zero confidence in this film. I mean I just thought that the whole thing was going to be completely stupid and that were wasn't going to be a darn thing that could change my mind without seeing it no matter what my friends in film school say. I mean it looked stupid and that it would have a lot of cliches. But I turned out to be half right with this particular film. I mean the story isn't structured too creative but they did have some pretty funny and clever jokes...even when some of them were the kinds that I hate thanks to my experience with the second Hangover film. Really it was the second half of the film that really made this film fun with all the action, jokes and some parts of the story that was awesome. The main characters were more fun then I thought they would be even when sometimes the things they did didn't always make a whole lot of sense.

Altogether, 21 Jump Street may have its cliches and stuff that some people like me would be more disgusted then amused with, but they still gave us some smart and well thought of jokes and points of story that actually makes the film an enjoyable time.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Rating: 15%
Alright so this Black Friday, my dad has rented a bunch of recent movies for the family to watch. So here's the first one we saw; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Plot: Back in 1818, Abraham Lincoln was only a boy when his mother was murdered by a man named Jack Barts. He comes back to his old home years later to try to avenger his mother's death but Barts overpowers him and is about to kill him when a man named Henry rescues him. Henry reveals himself to be a vampire hunter and agrees to train Abraham Lincoln to become one himself so he can kills vampires and work his way to get another shot at Barts.

Yeah. It's pretty bad. I mean when we were only about 4 minutes into the film, my mother was already saying "Abraham Lincoln must be in Heaven with his hand on his face." I mean as if the concept wasn't a big enough gamble as a film, then there's the fact that it does bring up dozens of the biggest cliches you can think of, while the action looks cool, it's also very unrealistic and silly in a fair amount of areas, there was a fair share of plot holes and I think what my brother's friends said when they were telling him about it  before we saw this film brought out the best point when they said that it takes itself too seriously. I mean when my friends and I were hearing about this film, I imagined that the whole time, Lincoln would already be an expert vampire hunter in the film and that part of this film is just about a young man who has the hots for some cute brunette is just learning to become one from him and a bunch of other guys. I understand that this is actually how it's written in the book, but I think this would've made it better is with was more silly light-hearted then serious. Because honestly, that's more the kind of film I imagine most people (particularly around my age) would think, when they hear "a movie where Abraham Lincoln is fighting vampires." I mean this take on it is okay, but it destroys whatever suspense or drama they were trying to give when we know that pretty much all of the main characters will live thanks to knowing our history.

And that's my review for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. It's a nice time at least if you like mindless entertainment, because that's really what it is: mindless entertainment with cliches and plot holes and a story that wouldn't exactly make our great late President's day, let alone ours.  

Braveheart (1995)

Rating: 90%
Well I've finally come to it at last. Reviewing Braveheart as my 375th review. Nuff said.

Plot: In the 13th century, King Edward I of England (but really known in this film as Longshanks) invades and conquers Scotland. As a result, young William Wallace faces the death of his father and brother who were leading a rebellion and was taken to be educated by his uncle. He comes home years later where he marries his childhood sweetheart Murron. But when he tries to rescue her from a couple of English soldiers that result in her being publicly executed, he kills all of the soldiers in the village and rounds up fellow Scotsmen to start a way for independence against the English.

Straight off the bat, I like this movie. I enjoyed the story, I liked the characters, it was big, dramatic, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and gave us one of the most epic, realistic, and graphic action scenes ever made. Now I have somewhat heard that this movie isn't getting as much praise as it use to, to the point that it's been viewed as the number 1 worst best picture winner as of 2005 according to Empire magazine. Although personally I don't think they really know what they're talking about considering that this is actually a good movie and that as far as their list goes, they don't even put in some of the actual worst like Cimmaron, Out of Africa and Shakespeare In Love. So in my opinion, their argument is invalid. But this film also has a lot of issues with historical inaccuracies. I mean not having some inaccuracies is something that's going to be hard to do anyway since most of what's really known/possibly known about William Wallace is in legend or from the epic poem from 15th century minstrel, Blind Harry. But even I have to admit that some of the inaccuracies make me think "Okay, this is what was actually going on at the time with this character. This movie is pretty misleading that way." But despite that, it's still an enjoyable movie that is still telling us a good story That was well put together.

And that's my review for Braveheart. So I'm getting close to reaching 400 reviews which is exciting. Till then, watch out for some other reviews over the weekend as my family and I are soon to rent a couple of films and take a look at that. So see you then.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

Rating: 90%
Okay so today I finally found myself the time to see The Life of Emile Zola. So here's my review for it. Nuff Said.

Plot: Emile Zola is a french writer who eventually starts to become famous when he writes his first bestseller; Nana, based on the stories told from a street prostitute that he rescued from a police raid. Over the years he writes many bestsellers and as he gets older, he starts to retire and enjoy the comforting life of living in his mansion with his wife. But when a secret french agent steals an important document that is meant for a military officer in the German emissary, the top french army staff decide to accuse an innocent captain as the traitor and imprison him in Devil's Island even when they find the real traitor. So when word gets out to Zola, he eventually tries to make a case to set him free.

Surprisingly, I actually liked this movie. I mean I enjoyed it a lot more then what I was hoping I would. The story was very interesting and very well paced particularly with the first half. I mean the first half of the movie is what got me really invested in this main character which made me even more into this film once the main story kicked in. As the movie went on I just became more and more curious as to what was going to happen. And I didn't expect that to happen to me in the slightest. I mean I was hoping for a good film, but I didn't expect for me to practically be on the very edge of my seat (so to speak) before I was probably even 15 minutes into the movie. But the face of the matter is, who can blame me? On top of the story we get some really good acting, - including a really nice monologue from Emile Zola - well written dialogue and really displays the marveling history on how bad things were with the legal system and the view of the main staff of France. And that's what makes Zola a really good character. I mean he was interesting already when we were getting to know the guy, in the beginning of the film, but when he tries to set this captain free that's when you start to root for the guy.

So all around, this best picture winner is easily a really enjoyable movie to watch and one that I would definitely recommend.   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Legend of the Titanic (1999)

Rating: 0%
*sigh* yes everyone I actually saw this film...well technically. I mean when I say that I saw this film, I mean I really just watched my brother's commentary video on youtube where he plays the entire movie while making fun of it via voiceover. Sadly, however often my brother did commentary throughout the film, i basically saw and heard enough where it basically counts that I actually watched it. And even if watching his commentary doesn't count somehow, it is still more than anyone should ever see of this movie unless you're watching it through Doug Walker's video review for it. Anyway, let's get this over with.

Plot: Conners is an old mouse that lives in New York who is telling his grandchildren the "real" story of the Titanic explaining that no one actually died when it sunk. ( for those of you who don't know about this film at all until now, you have my permission to take as much time as you like to process what I just said...if you can...before reading the rest of the review.) So the rest of the film goes into a flashback were Conners is a young sailor for all of the mice that are sailing the Titanic. Meanwhile, a woman named Elizabeth is sailing on the titanic while her father plans to force her to get married to an evil whaler. But then Elizabeth befriends some dolphins who can talk to her after one of her tears falls on one of them giving her the power to speak to them through moon magic and find out that they are on a crusade against whalers.

Is this completely confusing you everyone who's reading this review and have never heard of this movie? IT SHOULD! I mean the main thing that's wrong with this movie is that in this "version" of the story of the Titanic, the Titanic hits the iceberg because a group of evil sharks who are in league with the evil whaler, trick a giant octopus to throw the iceberg right in front of the ship, and then the octopus realizes what happens and so saves everyone on the ship (yes I mean EVERYONE lives. as in nobody dies. Not even the band or Captain Smith died.) and then it seems that the octopus dies doing this but then he turns out to be alive along with another mouse that was believed to be dead and everybody lives happily ever after with everybody alive. I know! What is wrong with these people!?! And the things is, when you look at this movie as a whole, they didn't even need to say that this is the actual ship or the actual event into this film to begin with. With the kind of stories that they were telling and with the fact that they were trying to tell it as an animated movie with mice that are often talking about protocol, a war against whales, dolphins and moon magic and stuff like that, I think saying that this was on the Titanic was forced. It would've made much more sense if they just made the movie without even really giving the ship the name or say it contains the same event. They could've just made the film more their own thing rather then a loose 'adaption' of the story of the Titanic and just say that they got the concept for the movie from James Cameron's film. I mean if you want to make a movie based on the concept of another film or event, that's fine. But part of the idea to that is that you leave that actual event or film out of your movie. I mean the thing is that nothing really 'says' if you will, that it's the Titanic. I mean at least with the first animated Titanic film they had the animation of the ship and the passengers and stuff like that make it look like it's from that actual era. Here, they don't even really clue in any famous people from the Titanic or make us believe it is. The band is there for three seconds and are playing in a LIFEBOAT when they are shown and Captain Smith just has a mustache instead of a beard. The whole thing is just unnecessary. Of coarse even if they did do that, it's still a horrid movie. The animation is horrible to the point where they don't really even really bother in trying to make anyone's mouths move, the characters are terrible, the whole organization of the way they're telling all these stories is beyond sloppy, the voice acting is bland and out of place, it- it's just a terrible movie to the point that the way they made it was less then amateur.

All around. This is one of the worst 'movies' ever made that was just poorly done whether they brought up the ship or not. But the fact is they did and ended it with such an ending that utterly dishonors and insults not just us, every every single person who died on the Titanic.