Monday, January 30, 2012

The Artist (2011)

Rating: 90%
Well guys, last week I finally saw this movie for myself. I was lucky enough that they picked a random time right before they declared the nominees for the Oscars to all of the sudden start playing the movie at the Hollywood Theater. So without further ado, here's my review of the one movie every movie geek such as ourselves has heard and been talking about for quite some time: The Artist.

Plot: The films starts out in 1927 where we are introduced to George Valentin who is a famous silent movie star that is attending the premiere to his latest film. Afterwords outside the theater, a fan named Peppy Miller accidentally bumps right in front of Valentin while he's taking pictures for the newspapers where he decided to make a show out of it and allow her to join him. Later, Miller auditions as a dancer for Valentin's next film where he gives her advise on how to succeed. Which leads Miller to slowly but surly makes her a star.

Okay, let's get one thing straight: say what you will about this movie being used just to get an easy Best Picture Oscar (which I have everyone's back on) But for what it's worth, it's a very nice film at the least. The comedy was cute (especially with the dog (duh)), the acting was well done, it was a nice touch to set this film on full screen like in those days. Now obviously the story is not the most original for our time but I think we can accept that. Because all around everything was just to - in a sense - just relive movies of that time. Is it good enough to deserve a Best Picture win? eh, I would like to say that it's one of the strongest of the bunch of this year (as far as I know. I have yet to see Midnight in Paris and The Help) But personally, I would prefer more if it was Hugo that wins. Cause as good of a film as this is, I'm not comfortable with the idea of this movie winning just because it's pressing the right buttons for the Academy, any more than I'm comfortable with the idea that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close got nominated and Ides of March and Girl with Dragon Tattoo didn't.

Jean Dujardin/George Valentin: While his character was not terribly original, it was still very entertaining. But like the film itself, I don't think he did enough worthy of winning an oscar for his performance.
Berenice Bejo/Peppy Miller: She was a cute character. Again, not very original from the story or Dujardin's character, but she still brought out a very well done performance.

Music: The music was enjoyable. It was mostly nice just because of how it played its part in setting the movie to look like a movie from way back then.

Editing: My one issue with the editing was how earlier in the film they were showing Valentin's latest film and the audience while at it. It was a very good idea, I'm just saying that they did it a little longer than they should. Other than that, the editing was very good.

And that's my review for The Artist. It's a very entertaining film, but in my opinion, it's not enought o win best picture.    

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

Rating: 90%
FINALLY!!!! I've been trying to see this film for months! I mean it got really good reviews and I even was told some story about how it was made. Apparently, what happens was that after the writer wrote the script, he gave it to some produces to try to make it a film. A month later he asks what's the status on his script only to find out that the film has been already casted, shot, and was in post-production. Or so the story goes. With all that said, it somewhat comes to little surprise that a couple weeks ago I couldn't take it anymore so I rented the film on Blue-Ray online at Blockbuster and finally saw the darn thing. And boy am I happy that I have.

Plot: Cal Weaver, a man in his forties finds out that his wife wants a divorce and that she has been sleeping with a man from her work. So he moves to an apartment and starts to hang out at this bar where a womanizer named Jacob Palmer helps him try to pick up woman. Jacob also has his eye on a woman named Hanna who is going to a law school and is hoping for things to go far with her relationship with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Cal's 13 year old son, Robbie is in love with his 17 year old babysitter Jessica and continues to confess his love even though it makes her uncomfortable.

Now I'm just going to say it loud and proud. I. Love. This. Movie. The story keeps you interested all the way, the jokes are just awesome, and I especially love the subtext to the film. I mean  *WARNING, SPOILER* you had the intro with all the shots of just the feet of all these couples and then it gets to Cal and Emily's feet to introduce the situation with their relationship. Then you have Robbie pulling up his chair to go higher when he's talking to David and then he puts the picture of his parents back up. I will say that it has it's little cliches and some of the things Robbie and Jessica are a little far sexual content wise, but there's very little of it.

Steve Carell/Cal Weaver: Now at first, I didn't really like Carell in this movie at all. When he started going to that bar, he was just his old, Michael Scoot self. Extremely painful moments and all. But after he starts hitting women, he's a different character and you know what, I loved that character. He did a very good job with being Cal Weaver.
Ryan Gosling/Jacob Palmer: He did a very good job too. Personally I really loved his scene where he's just talking and doing all this stuff with Hannah. I mean to me that made his thoughts about her very believable.
Emma Stone/Hannah Weaver: Oh man I really like this actress. I mentioned how much I enjoyed her before in Easy A, and now this. She did a spectacular job and my expectations are just as high as they were after Easy A with he being Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man.
Jonah Bobo/Robbie Weaver: I really liked his character. He may have been a little weird at times but I thought he was fairly original.

Music: I thought the music was very enjoyable.

Editing: I enjoyed the editing. The one problem I had was that they included a shot of Jacob eating cereal when it was raining after the parent-teacher conference. That just didn't make any sense. But it was still good all around.

And that's my review for Crazy, Stupid, Love. I an extremely enjoyable movie and I for one love it to death.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Rating: 70%
Well everyone tomorrow, I'll finally see The Artist and find out what's all the hullabaloo about that film. But while I wait for that day to arrive, I decided to settle the matter once and for all to finally see another film. A film that a man has greedily used to rob Best Picture from one of the most spectacular films ever known to man. An evil event that has made this film winning Best Picture THE biggest Oscar screw up ever. It goes without really needing this kind of intro, that I am talking about Shakespeare In Love.

Plot: William Shakespeare is currently writing a comedy called Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate's Daughter for Philip Henslowe who owns The Rose Theater. But when his lover cheats on him, he burns the script and starts to write the tragedy Romeo and Juliet. While he doesn't complete the script yet, he puts up auditions for Romeo where the only actor that stands out is a mysterious boy named Thomas Kent. Shakespeare eventually finds out that he's actually Viola de Lessep, a daughter of a wealthy merchant who dreams of acting which leads them to fall in love.

Okay, before is start injecting my fair share of venom on this movie I will say that it is a fairly good film at the least. The idea is cute, the story concerning how he writes the play is nice, and some of the acting was very well done. And I did find it a nice touch how they were saying lines from some of Shakesphere's plays, even some things somewhat similar to Romeo and Juliet in particular. But it's not super original. In fact it's really just a prequel for Titanic. I mean the girl is rich, the guy is poor, the rich guy trying to get the girl tries to get rid of the poor guy, really it's just Titanic with way more nudity and sexual content. Not to mention cross dressing. Now before I get to Actors/Characters, I better get on with giving this movie my venom * clears throat* Best Picture? That seriously won Best Picture? They SERIOUSLY GAVE THIS BEST PICTURE OVER ONE OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR MOVIES OF OUR TIME BY MAKING PEOPLE THINK PRIVATE RYAN'S NOT HISTORICALLY ACCURATE!?!?!?! YOU FRICKING IDIOTS!!!!!!!! THEY LET HIM GET AWAY WITH LYING TO THE ENTIRE WORLD FOR AN OSCAR!!!!!! THOSE DASTARDS!!!!! FIRST I WITNESS RANDY NEWMAN WITH "WE BELONG TOGETHER" AND SOCIAL NETWORK WITH EDITING, NOW I WITNESS THAT THEY SERIOUSLY CHOSE THAT OVER PRIVATE RYAN!!!!! YOU MONSTERS!!!!! YOU IDIOTS!!! YOU IMBECILES!!!!! HOW DO YOU GUYS LIVE WITH YOURSELVES!?!?!?!!? *take a deep breath* *clears throat* If necessarily, I apologize for that outburst.

Joseph Fiennes/William Shakespeare: I thought he did a good job. I thought it was good how he was fairly focused on his work at least with giving people and answer like "It's all in here." when they're talking about the script.
Gwyneth Paltrow/ Viola de Lessep: SHe did a good job with her acting, but there's no way she deserved to win best actress. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen the other nominees, but considering what I've heard about this film before I watched it, I think it's best to assume everyone's right it was a screw up as well for Paltrow to win.
Judi Dench/Queen Elizabeth: She was awesome. She just did a brilliant job portraying this character to the point where I think you should see this film just for her alone at the least. She just gives this character that's clever and strict that all around showed that she had it coming with Best supporting actress.

Music: The music was nice. The main score did have a nice romantic tune to it.

Editing: The editing was good.

And that's my review for Shakespeare In Love. It is a very nice enjoyable film, but like everyone else, I draw the line in beyond disbelief with it winning Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan.   

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sucker Punch (2011)

Rating: 30%
Well about a year ago, I tried to see this movie in theaters. However, I was a little concerned with the things I thought I was going to see in this film so I went to see Rango instead.

Plot: A girl only known as BabyDoll is sent to an institution by her sexually abusive stepfather after he blames her for the death of her younger sister. Her stepfather bribes the doctor of the institution to forging the signature of the asylum's psychiatrist to have BabyDoll lobotomized. As this happens to BabyDoll she begins to imagine the asylum as brothel where the doctor is envisioned as a mobster. From there the story is about her trying to escape the brothel with some of the other girls through her dance to all the men of the brothel where she imagines her and the girls in these fantasy worlds.

This may be a little more enjoyable than Rango (OH MY FREAKING GOSH MORE ENJOYABLE!!!) But it's still not that good. Some of the things are a little hard to understand right away, the action is not all that good, all around it wasn't very well put together. When I heard about this movie, I thought it was going to be a movie with a decent plot, and some really awesome action in some fantasy worlds. In a way I got that, but at the same time, not enough. The story did turn out to be decent, and the acting was okay, but...I don't know. It just did not deliver in being as big as they said it was going to be. In my opinion, the concept of the film was fine, but I would've liked to have seen more of the fantasy worlds BabyDoll imagines when she dances - maybe even as a separate film.

Emily Browning/BabyDoll: She did an okay job, but my one really big problem was that when it came to action, she didn't seem to have done a good job with the choreography. With killing the giant samurai with the stan minigun just didn't look very believable. She got better later on but still.
Abbie Cornish and Jena Malone/Sweat Pea and Rocket: I thought they were alright. They did a decent job with showing the relationship between the two sisters.

Music: I had mixed feelings about the music. None of it really comes to mind, but in general, some of it worked, some of it didn't.

Editing: Eh, same thing as the music. It had it's good and bad points.

And that's my review for Sucker Punch. I can't really describe why it's bad other than it just wasn't as big as it really should've been.

Angels and Demons (2009)

Rating: 50%
Well I've been trying to get myself to write my review to this movie for a while but have never really succeeded until now. Now with this film, I saw most of it when I went to my grandparents' house last Labor Day and they told me how much the book was better so they let be borrow their copy of the book where afterwords I fully saw this. So here's my review for Angels & Demons.

Plot: Shortly after the an organization for nuclear research called CERN creates three containers of antimatter, an assassin kills a member and cuts his eye out to use it to steal one of the antimatters. Shortly afterwords, the Pope dies which leaves the papal conclave of Rome to vote for a new one. But then the preferiti (the four cardinals that are viewed to most likely to be the next pope) become captured supposedly by the Illuminati who intend to kill the preferiti one by one for each hour the night they declare who is going to be the pope and afterwords deactivate the container for the anitmatter thus destroying the Vatican. So the church relies on Professor Robert Langdon to investigate and use his knowledge to try to rescue the preferiti and spot the antimatter from destroying the city.

This is just and okay film. The book is so much better as I'm sure you have heard. But even then, it's a whole lot more interesting than the Da Vinci Code. The concept between church and science is just way more interesting. The book has more things explained and is even more suspensful. But it does make sense that they leave out a fair amount of stuff in the movie. But my biggest issue is how they changed or got rid of some of the side characters. For example, the Camerlengo is named Carlo Ventresca not Patrick McKenna. The commander's name is Olivetti, not Richter. And I think the biggest problem is that they completely got rid of the character Maximilian Kohler who is the director of CERN. Really having him as one of the good guys (roughly) works in the book because it kinda balances out with the fact that some of the people trying to stop the Illuminati were scientists as far as side characters go (so I mean outside of Vittoria.) But in this case, all the side characters were just members of the church or are trying to protect the church. So in a way - at least to me - this movie made all the good side characters just the church guys. I mean I don't have a problem with that, but personally I think the idea that there were good side characters from the church AND the scientist made it a little more complex.

Tom Hanks/Robert Langdon: Hanks did an okay job. He did better than Da Vinci Code for sure. I would've liked to have given him more to do from the book.
Ayelet Zurer/Vittoria Vetra: She wasn't very good. The real problem was that like Hanks, they didn't give her enough from what's in the book. Langdon and Vetra actually start having a spark with each other in the book and they didn't really have that in this film. So in a way she was really just there.
Ewan McGregor/Camerlengo Patrick McKenna: *WARNING THIS IS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SEEN THE FILM ONLY* All I want to say is that it's a surprise that we actually have McGregor as a villain. Maybe he's done that before, and I know he's going to be one in that one action film coming up, but I just want to say that I was surprised to see that when I saw this film.

Music: It was nice. I did enjoy the exciting song with the chorus, I don't know which part exactly but yeah.

Editing: I thought it was okay. nothing much.

And that's my review for Angels and Demons. While they couldn't have done everything from the book, it doesn't make the movie any less good that they changed a few things from side characters to the relationship between Langdon and Vetra.

Casablanca (1942)

Rating: 100%
During the conclusion for my review for Lawrence of Arabia, I said that shortly after finishing my Disney Marathon I would start focusing on many other films - particularly best picture winners and nominees. And I stand by what I said starting with one movie that I've failed to see for a very long time. One that I had finally saw only two days before finishing the marathon. One of the big ones. one of the top guns. The movie that has been said to be one of the most romantic film, and it's characters, dialogue, and music to be very iconic. It goes without saying that I am of coarse talking about the Best Picture winner of 1943: Casablanca.

Plot:  Rick Blaine is an American currently residing in Casablanca in his night club "Rick's Cafe American". But one day, a dear old flame from Paris named Ilsa Lund comes back trying to explain to him why she didn't join him when he was leaving for Casablanca when the Nazi's invade Paris. 

I know that's very brief, but I'm sure it works considering we don't want me telling too much for those of you who still haven't seen this film. But anyway, I have to admit this is a very good film. I enjoyed some of the subtext that there was to this movie, the story was very well done, and I"m glad I understand where some of the dialogue and stuff that have been spoofed in other films have originated from. I don't really find it as romantic as some people claim it is but my dad did say that it most likely is that case considering it's time and frankly I'm good with that opinion. I mean I won't deny that it is a romantic film that's very well done, but I don't think it's the most romantic movie I've seen. But still, it's an enjoyable film.

Humphrey Bogart/Rick Blaine: He did an excellent job. I do admit that when it comes to the very end of the movie, I can clearly see why he's # 4 on the AFI list of top heroes.
Ingrid Bargman/Ilsa Lund: She did a very good job. too. Nuthun much else to say about that.

Music: The music was very enjoyable.

Editing: I liked the editing.

And that's my review for Casablanca. I hope it's not too long that I find the time to watch this film again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

Rating: 80%
Well everyone, I've made it. I wish I finished it than sooner than the night before I go back to college for the beginning of the new semester, but it's done. So behold; Disney review #51 and my 200th review: Atlantis: The Lost Empire.

Plot: Thousands of years ago, there was a mighty island called Atlantis that was suddenly struck by great wave and sank beneath the sea. The movie then moves to the year 1914 in Washington D.C. where a cartographer and linguist who works in the boiler room of the Smithsonian Institution keeps attempting the board to give him funding to start an expedition to find the Shepard's Journal - the guide to Atlantis - and to use it to find it. The board shuts him down believing that he's only chasing fairly tales. But later that night, Milo finds a woman named Helga Sinclair who takes him to her employer named Preston Whitmore. Whitmore turns out to be a friend of Milo's grandfather who was also searching for Atlantis before he died, and gives him a package that was from his grandfather that is revealed to be the Shepard's Journal. Whitmore reveals that he had already funded an expedition to find the journal with Milo's grandfather and he asks Milo to me the translator for the journal as he starts the expedition to find Atlantis.

Now I actually loved this movie to death as a kid. I might've loved it a little too much I have to admit. Watching it again, it's definitely not as good as I thought it was. It's still good, but I do see one or two points on how it's bad. Some of the dialogue doesn't make much sense, the general concept of the story is not very original, there were a couple of plot holes and it's most likely a little too violent to actually be a Disney animated film. But I still like it. I mean the action is cool, some of the stuff about Atlantis and it's culture is clever, and I though the Ulysses submarine and the Leviathan both just looked really sweet. And you can at least like it for some of the stars in the movie with Michael J. Fox, Leonard Nimoy and this is actually one of the very last films of Jim Varney.    

Milo Thatch: Milo was always my favorite. I admit growing up that his dialogue goes a little to fast so you can't always tell what he's doing. But I love him anyway because how the turns out to be the total hero of the day.
Lyle Rorke: Now he was not the most original villain ever, but you have to admit *WARNING SPOILER* that his death in the movie was pretty cool.
Kida: Well she definitely wasn't the most attractive of the Disney Princesses, but she definitely not the worst. I mean she was smart, skilled and did have a thirst for knowledge. I don't see at least that much character development in Aurora or Snow White.
Packer, Vinny, Mole, Sweet and Audrey (the side characters): They're pretty good side characters. some of them are pretty funny and even then, you have to enjoy the scene where they're all talking about their different lives.

Music: The musical score to me is very good. as far as other songs...well there's that one song that they play during the end credits. I finally decided to listen to that when the movie was over's okay. Nothing original but it was alright.

And that's my review for Atlantis: The Lost Empire. It's not the best movie, but I love it anyway. And so that's my 200th review and that concludes my marathon of reviewing all 51 theatrical animated Disney films. I'm glad to have finally done it and I hope I can put my full knowledge of Disney to good use for whatever future movies they will make. Until then, here's to another 100 reviews, and I hope to make another post containing the links to all of the 51 reviews of Disney. Thank you for reading.

The Prince and the Pauper (1990)

Okay so now that Snow White and the Seven Dwarves is out of the way, all that's left for the Disney Marathon is Atlantis: The Lost Empire which will be made my 200th review tonight. But before I get to that film, as my 199th review, I want to share with you all a very underrated animated short. One that was one of my oldest friends movie wise growing up to the point that when my dear mother found it only about two weeks ago, all I could do as she gave it to me was make a silly excited squeal as I hugged the tape. So before we say our farewells to the 100's of my reviews, let me introduce to you an animated short that you never even heard of and is super underrated and one I highly recommend:  Disney's The Prince and the Pauper.

Plot: A wise and good king of England lies dying, leaving his ruthless and evil captain of the guard, Pete to steal and terrorize the people of England in the name of the king. The one day, a Pauper named Mickey chases his dog Pluto all the way to the King's castle where he is captured by Pete and ordered to be brought to the prince. But when he meets the prince, they find out that they look and sound exactly alike. The Prince who dreams of life outside of the castle, comes up with the idea of trading lives with Mickey. So as Mickey discovers the life of royalty, the prince wanders outside the castle where he discovers the terror that Pete has done all over the kingdom in the name of his father.  

I'm just going to say it straight and true. This is a wonderful film. Ever since I was a kid and even now I found every single thing in this film to be just undoubtedly awesome. The characters were lovable, the animation was excellent, the music was spectacular, the comedy was funny a heck, everything was just well done. The only weird thing was *WARNING SPOILER ALERT! DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT LOOKING AT THIS ONE UNLESS YOU'VE SEEN JUST BECAUSE I SAID SO* that there was a door in the castle that lead nowhere which the Prince, Donald and Goofy used to get rid of the guards. That didn't really make sense. But that's doesn't ruin it for me even now that I've grown up.

Mickey and the Prince: Now of all the original Disney characters, Mickey was always my favorite because he was the hero and the leader. Now in this one there are two Mickeys that give us the same fun we can get with just one. They were so much fun.
Donald and Goofy: Now I may not be an expert in Donald and Goofy, but for me this is where I thought Donald for sure was at his funniest in this film. I just love his parts in the film from beginning to end. Goofy may not have gone that far for me but he's still just as lovable.

Music: Like I said, the music is spectacular. "Like a King" and it's reprise was fun and you can't tell me that the score isn't just very well done.

And that's my review for The Prince and the Pauper. If you've never seen it, you should check it out. Because for me, it's another underrated film that I want to be shown to my children and their children just as much as I do with Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Disney in general, Harry Potter, The Lord himself and so many others. 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)

Rating: 90%
Now we only have two Disney films left. This movie and Atlantis: The Lost Empire. And I"m down to only having three more reviews to make before I reach a total of 200 reviews. Now there's another film that I'm going to review after this one as review # 199 but before that, let's get into the one film that started it all. Here's Disney review # 50: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Plot: Snow White is princess who lives with her evil stepmother, The Queen who makes her a scullery maid for the castle. One day, The Queen asked her magic mirror who is the fairest one of all and the mirror tells he that it is Snow White. So she orders a huntsman to kill her but the huntsman can't bring himself to do it and instead warns Snow White to run away where she finds these little critters that take her to a cottage. The Cottage belongs to seven dwarfs who agree to let Snow White stay in exchange for her to clean the house and cook.

Now one thing I gotta say right now is that as I watched this film, I could only help but wonder what's in store with that Snow White and the Huntsman movie with Kristen Stewart. But anyway, this is a very likable movie. It's been a very good way for Disney to start making movies that are colorful, happy, dark musical, comedic and so much more.

Snow White: She's a nice character but a little in between in terms of what's considered Disney's best and worst princesses. She's not the best but really I don't think he could've expected too much on Disney character wise with Princesses as far goes as the very first movie. Practice makes perfect and she was only the beginning.
The Dwarfs: The Dwarfs were the best. They were funny, they each had their own crazy personality, they're just good characters. I'm pretty sure as a kid I thought Doc was my favorite just because he was the leader of the group. Dopey was especially funny with all the silly stuff that kept happening to him. Grumpy I also like but...I'm not sure I can explain why. I guess it's just how he stands out to the rest of the Dwarfs.
The Queen: Well she is not the best villain there is but for sure, she was pretty evil for the movies time. She was so determined to be the fairest of the land and she even wanted Snow White's heart to know that she is the fairest in the land. All around, very good villain.

Music: The music is excellent. I admit I'm not too big on "One Song" or "With a Smile and a Song", But I love the rest. "Whistle while You Work" is fun, "Heigh-Ho" you just want to sing again and again and again, and "The Dwarfs Yodeling song" and "Some day my prince will come" were nice too.

 And that's my review for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Stick around today to keep a good eye for the next review along with Atlantis: The Lost Empire as my 200th review.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Rating: 100%
Well everyone,  I've done it. I've finally seen this film. It took longer than it probably should have but I've done it.

Plot: In 1935, T. E. Lawrence dies from a motorcycle accident. A reporter tries to find out more about him at his funeral which then takes the movie back all the way back to World War I which introduces Lawrence himself as this optimistic and clever soldier who becomes assigned to assess the prospects of Prince Faisal concerning his revolt against the Turks.

I thought that it definitely is a nice movie. It had very good cinematography with giving the idea that they really are in the desert where it all seems so endless. There wasn't as much action as I thought it would have, but that's alright. And the story was pretty interesting all around with telling all the things that this man did.

Peter O'Toole/T. R. Lawrence: Now if there's one thing that has left me a bit relieved to see this movie aside from that fact that it's just a big deal, it's that I finally discovered what is it that Peter O'Toole is so famous for. I mean I only know him in much more recent things like The Nutcrakcer Prince, Troy and Ratatouille. And I can see why he's such a big deal from this film. He played such an interesting character and I can see why he's # 10 in AFi's 100 years, 100 Heroes and Villains.
Alec Guinness/Prince Faisal: He played an interesting character. I would've liked to have seen more of him but...that's just because it's Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Omar Sharif/Sheriff Ali: I liked this character. I thought he as going to be an archenemy or something like that after how they introduced him but what he became instead was pretty good the way he was being the supportive friend and things like that.

Music: Well duh that it was good. I've heard the main theme too many times even before I saw this movie to know that it's suppose to be spectacular. And well I can understand why that is so.

Editing: The editing was very good. Although I wish I wasn't told about the blowing candle then cut to sunrise cut before I saw the movie I would like to have known how I would've thought of it by myself.

And that's my review for Lawrence of Arabia. And I declare now that as the Disney Marathon soon comes to a conclusion, that this will only be the beginning of me seeing many films - primarily Best Pictures winners and nominees - that are long overdue in seeing.   

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

Rating: 70%
Now I'm counting on the fact that pretty much none of you have ever even heard of this film. In fact, when I was talking to my grandmother that this was one of the few Disney films I had left to do, she just went "huh? I never heard of it." But anyway, there's only three movies left, so here's Disney review #49: Fun and Fancy Free.

Plot: This is the very last package film for me to cover with these 51 Disney films. (FINALLY!!!!) This one only has two stories. Both in a way have to do with Jiminy Cricket's message of generally being all "full of fun and fancy free"
Bongo: This is the story about a bear who is the star of the circus who one day escapes to the wild to live freely. It becomes very hard to live in the wilderness until he meets and falls in love with a female bear named Lulubelle.
 Mickey and the Beanstalk: It's pretty much Jack and the beanstalk only that it's with Mickey, Donald and Goofy.

Well it may not be the best Disney has. Most people seem to only find it okay at best. But while I can kinda see that, I still find it a fun movie. The stories where nice, I enjoy the comedy particularly when it came to Donald and Goofy, all around I just find it a nice fun film all around with what they were giving us with both stories.

Bongo: Bongo I thought was a nice character with what he was facing throughout his story. And it was fun to listen to all those sound effects when he was getting ready to charge at Lumpjaw. I just thought they were funny.
Willie the Giant: I thought he was a good character. As a kid, it looked cool to me that he was able change himself into anything on top of being a giant.
Mickey, Donald and Goofy: What's to say? they're awesome! Mickey with being the hero, Donald being the stubborn one and both him and Goofy being, again, funny.

Music: The actual "Fun and Fancy Free" song was nice. It was a good way to set up the mood of the film all around. "Too Good to Be True" I thought was an okay love song. "Fee Fi Fo Fum" I thought was a nice song that had a fun rhythm.

And that's my review for Fun and Fancy Free. It's not one of the best, but it's a fun enough film to enjoy. 

The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)

Rating: 30%
I borrowed this movie ages ago and I had yet to review it. so here's another one of the Muppet's films: The Muppets Take Manhattan.

Plot: The Muppets graduate from college with their musical production, Manhattan Melodies. They become confident enough that they decide to try to actually go to Manhattan and try to get their show on Broadway. They find no success at all and so everyone except Kermit leaves to find their own jobs all over the United States. Kermit ends up working at a diner in New York for it's owner Pete and his daughter Jenny while he tries to work on the script for the show.

There are no sections for characters and music for this reviewbecause the fact of the matter is, all I generally have to say is that I really did not like this movie at all. The whole thing about The Muppets being disbanded and the way things worked out just was not very entertaining for me in anyway whatsoever. Most of the time it was just Kermit and Jenny trying to promote the show while Kermit tries to encourage Jenny to try to become a fashion designer. And they did have a little bit of Miss Piggy along the way but there was nothing really special about that. I don't remember a single thing about the music so I think it's a safe bet that the music is not worth it. The only things I really enjoyed were the ten ish seconds of some of the characters from Sesame Street being in this film. But it's really boring aside from that.

And that's my review for The Muppet's Take Manhattan. I know I'm being very general about what I thought about the film, but to me there's nothing else to really say except that if you want to see movie anyway just because it's The Muppets, that's fine, just don't expect it to be one of their very best.

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Rating: 80%
I remember that I use to see this movie a fair amount of time whenever my siblings whenever  I went to visit my grandparents for the least until we got our own copy. So we only have four movies left to go with, so let's not waste anytime as we get into Disney review # 48: Alice in Wonderland.

Plot: Alice is a young girl in England whose mind is always in the could wishing she would live in a crazy world of her own. But all of the sudden she sees a white rabbit nicely dressed panicking that he's running late. She chases the rabbit all the way through a rabbit hole where she falls into wonderland, were she meets all sorts of crazy people and creatures as she continues to curiously find the white rabbit.

Well I think it goes without saying that it's one of Disney's best. It certainly one of it's most creative in a messed up sort of way. I mean you have all the ridiculous stuff the Mad Hatter and the Hare do with all there teapots and cups, the card men, all of those creatures when Alice decided to go home, I can just go on. My one thing *SPOILER ALERT* is how the story about the walrus and the carpenter ends sadly. But it's still a very good film all around.

Alice: Alice is a little bit a silly character in terms of how much she lets curiosity get the better of her and doesn't even use her own advise. But she's still a likable character and all that is just being loyal to the book as far as I can tell. (I don't know, I never read the book.)
The Mad Hatter and the March Hare: I think it goes without saying that they're the best. It's they're just characters to remember through and through. The unbirthday celebration, always changing the subject or doing something random like the clean cup thing, they're just crazy as heck. (I do wonder how exactly a Raven is like a writing desk)
The Queen of Hearts: She's a nice villain. I mean she's so much into power that she always gets what she wants and she has quite the harsh way to deal with it.

Music: I thought the music was nice. Very fun and exciting a lot of the time. I think the only ones that stand out to me because they were me most fun/memorable were "Very merry Unbirthday" and "Painting the Roses Red"

And that's my review for Alice in Wonderland. It's a very fun Disney film that's definitely did it's job well in terms of giving us quite a version of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. 

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Rating: 60%
There's only five movies left. So let's get ready to finish this with Disney review # 47: The Little Mermaid.

Plot: Ariel is a mermaid who secretly hangs out at shipwrecks to collect human items. Her father, King Triton is highly against her even thinking going there but she does it all the same because of her big dream of knowing life outside of the sea. One night she bumps into a ship where see sees a handsome prince named Eric whom she rescues when his ship is hit by a hurricane. So her dream of going out of the sea goes even bigger by dreaming of being with Eric. This leads her to strike a bargain with the evil sea witch Ursula granting her wish to be human on the conditions that she has to give up her voice, and that she has three days to kiss Eric to become human for good or otherwise become a mermaid again and belong to Ursula.

Now why did I give this a 60? well I admit that it's a good film. Some of the music is spectacular, good story, nice comedy, pretty good villain, I all around can see how it started the Disney Renaissance. But I have a few personal issues with this film that had to do with how I viewed it even a toddler. I thought a fair amount of things were just weird such as Ariel's sisters at that orchestra with what they were wearing and one or two other things that I can't remember right now. But the biggest issue I have is when Triton was destroying Ariel's stuff. It kind started this little habit of mine for when I want to avoid watching a film or tv show where the main character is getting into big trouble or doing something really stupid. It's something that lives on still with stuff like The Office with all the really painful things Michael Scott does. So I believe I never exactly got really comfortable with this film just because of that. I know it's really ridiculous and just messed up beyond belief which I'm not arguing against, but it's just my own personal problem with this film that may never go away.

Ariel: Well even without the whole deal with Triton destroying her stuff, I'm not a big fan of Ariel. I mean she is a total rebel and she does end up getting what she wants.
Sebastian: Sebastian was funny. I do enjoy his scenes with that chef.
Eric: Eric was an okay Disney prince. I mean at least the was development in him. BUt his part in the climax is pretty cool.
Ursula: She was a good villain. She's not my personal favorite, but you do have to enjoy how she uses the power she gets in the climax.

Music: Now even without the weird ways Ariel's sister's dress, I didn't really care for "Daughters of Triton." But the rest of the songs I enjoyed. I mean "fathoms below" is pretty nice,  and "Under the Sea", "Kiss the Girl  and "Part of your World" are unforgettable.

And that's my review for The Little Mermaid. It's a movie I don't really want to see a lot now or ever again, but fact is fact that it's still a good movie.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lilo and Sitch (2002)

Rating: 70%
Ah yes. I remember this film. Nuthun much left to say for an intro so here's Disney review # 46: Lilo & Sitch.

Plot: Out in space, Dr. Jumba illegally creates a monster that he calls "Experiment 626". The galactic alien government arrests Jumba and attempts to send 626 to an asteroid in exile. But 626 escapes on a police cruiser and crashed on Earth in one of the islands of Hawaii. An expert on Earth named  Pleakley stops the galactic councilwoman from destroying the planet which eventually leaves her to order him to collect 626 in secret with Jumba in exchange for his freedom. Down in Hawaii, there's a little girl named Lilo who lives with her older sister, Nani, who is her current guardian after their parents died. Lilo has trouble fitting in with the other girls her age and the social worker Cobra Bubbles begins to question Nani being a guardian and give her three days to stop him from taking Lilo to foster care. So since Lilo has no friends, Nani decides to adopt a dog for Lilo and she ends up picking 626 who ended up in the shelter shortly after his escape and named him Stitch.

Well one things for sure, we can definitely respect Disney for not trying something from a book or fairy tale for once. And I think for what it's worth, I thought they did a good job. I loved it as a kid just because of Stitch. I thought he was just plain awesome. And I loved that I am actually capable to impersonate him. However, to tell you the truth, unlike any of the rest of the Disney films that I've grown up with, I've actually grown out of this film. It's not that it's terrible or anything. I mean It was creative, the action was nice, it had its weird moments, but it's a lot of fun nonetheless. But I guess I've become over it from particularly Stitch himself. In a sense, I gave that character all the love I could and have moved on ever since. It's still a very good Disney film, I'm just over it personally.

Stitch: Like I said, Stitch was awesome. He was crazy, he was maniac, he has his silly at times and his abilities were just cool. I mean he was indestructible, he was super strong, could use himself as a speaker for a record player, and thought faster than supercomputer. And even though I'm over him, I still loved him when he shot himself as a rocket with the gas truck and the volcano when I saw it again last night. Even after all this time, I still found it funny is a crazy sort of way.
Lilo: Lilo was kind of a weird character. But that's to be expected. I mean she was friendless and stuff like that, but some of her hobbies like shooting pictures of fat people and stuff like that were pretty weird. But I thought it was nice that she seemed to be some really big Elvis fan.

Music: well some of the music was good automatically either way because a fair amount of it was some of Elvis' music. And even though I'm older, I admit I still really like the A*Teens version of "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You."

And that's my review for Lilo & Stitch. I may be over it, but it's still a pretty good film.

Mulan (1998)

Rating: 80%
Ah I remember only two well how much I loved this movie as a kid. Here's Disney review # 45: Mulan.

Plot: The film is set in the Han Dynasty where the Huns have recently invaded China. So the emperor orders that one man from every family has to fight in the imperial army. But a girl named Mulan is worried about her father who is too old to fight so she disguises herself as a boy to take her father's place despite the law declaring that a woman must die if she pretends to be a man. So her dead ancestors' ghosts summon a small dragon named Mushu to awaken a guardian to protect Mulan. Mushu accidentally destroys the statue that the guardian was suppose to have transformed from so he decides to secretly be Mulan's guarding instead.

I loved this movie as a kid. I enjoyed the action, I loved the songs, and I thought a whole bunch of the dialogue was as funny as heck. And I thought some of the stuff like the ancestors' ghosts was pretty cool. And I thought the movie was at least decently educational in terms of what life was like in China back then. I mean they're showing a lot about the culture with food, art, way of life, and stuff like that. I know it's not going the whole extra mile with that, but in my opinion, it's good enough to at least give kids a fair start about learning about China at least based on my experience growing up.

Mulan: Mulan I liked. She was brave, smart and had a way of really doing the best she could to not give up at all.
Mushu: Oh my gosh. Boy did I love this character to death as a kid. He's so funny. Calling Kahn a cow, making a big deal over how Mulan "missing" Shan Yu, I remember only too well how I loved "Well then let's go kick some hunny buns!" as a kid. He's just an awesome character.
Shan Yu: Now he may not be one of the best Disney villains, but I thought he was cool. He had a cool voice, he was strong as heck, and I thought what they did with his eyes was interesting. At the least in my opinion, he's a decent villain.

Music: I liked a lot of the music. I always liked the musical score in the scene when Mulan runs away. As a kid, it just made what was happening exciting and it made me all of the sudden want to go on an adventure (again, as a kid). And like everyone else, I enjoy "I"ll Make a Man Out of You". I also really like "True to your heart" and "reflection". 

And that's my review for Mulan. It may not be the very best of Disney, but to me even after growing up I think it's a very fun film.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Aladdin (1992)

Rating: 100%
Ah. Now here's an old favorite from the past. Here's Disney review # 44: Aladdin.

Plot: Aladdin is a street rat in the city of Agrabah who steals food with his monkey Abu. One day he comes across a girl named Jasmine and saves her from a man in the marketplace. They begin to discover that they have a lot in common, but then they are caught by the city guard where Jasmine turns out to be the princess of Agrabah. Aladdin is locked in the dungeon where he comes across an old man who helps him escape in exchange for Aladdin to go into the mysterious Cave of Wonders to find a lamp. He succeeds, but then Abu touches the forbidden treasure which causes the cave to collapse on them. But then he rubs the lamp and out comes a powerful Genie who is able to grant Aladdin three wishes.

I enjoy this film. The action is fun, the characters are memorable, and the music is catchy as heck.

Aladdin: Aladdin is one of my favorite Disney heroes growing up. He's a bit of a romantic idiot when it comes to his case of lying but at least he does good in the end.
Jasmine: Well she is a very smart and someone not to be messed with, so that definitely make her one of the better Disney Princesses.  
Genie: Do I even have to bother with him? We all know that Robin Williams did a wonderful job with Genie. He was just a fun character through and through.
Jafar: Jafar is oneof my favorite Disney villains, mostly because he is pretty cool as a sorcerer.
Abu, Rajah and the Cave of Wonders: Spectacular job to voice actor Frank Welker. Nuff said.

Music: Um, try awesome. When I saw this movie again a couple of nights ago, I couldn't help watching the scene with "One Jump Ahead", "Friend Like Me" and "Prince Ali". And "Whole New World" is pretty unforgettable too.

And that's my review for Aladdin. It's an excellent film and a fine collection among Disney's classics.

Never Let Me Go (2010)

Rating: 80%
Well I finally watched this. I've been wanting to for over a year now to see it ever since I looked at the poster for it at the break room in the film school I go to and it was just last night that I saw it.

Plot: The film is about a girl named Kathy who goes to a boarding school called Hailsham with her friends Tommy and Ruth. But it turns out according to a new teacher, Miss Lucy that all the children in the school are raised just to become organ donor to the point where they will likely die in their late twenties. As they grow up Kathy begins to fall in love with Tommy but he suddenly forms a relationship with Ruth.

I thought this was a very clever film. It's creative, it's pretty well made, and you really want to know what happens to these characters.

Carey Mulligan/Kathy H: I thought she did a very good job. It's just really sad what this character goes through.
Andrew Garfield/Tommy:I thought his acting was very well done too. Nice to get to know a little more of Garfield's work before we see him as The Amazing Spider-man. *excited squeak*
Keira Knightley/Ruth: She did a very good job with her character. It's really in her last scene where you really begin to actually care for the character.

Music: I thought the music worked with what they were doing in this film.

Editing: Most of the editing I thought was fine, but some of it I thought wasn't that good. My main issues were how when young Kathy and Ruth were talking about Miss Lucy coming to the school, the next shot is a wide shot where we can't really see her and Miss Emily because they're also showing a whole bunch of other students playing. So I thought that was not a good choice of shot for that moment. There was also a shot where Tommy was drawing and then a door we don't see open which makes him close his book. They don't give us an idea why he does that. I can assume that it's because Kathy came into the room because the next shot is them walking in the woods, but we can't really tell what's the point of that shot for sure.

And that's my review for Never Let me go. It's a nice film that I think is worth your time seeing.

Bambi (1942)

Rating: 80%Here's Disney review # 43: Bambi.

Plot: It's the story of a young fawn who grows up learning about life in the forest with his mother and his friends, Thumper and Flower.

Now as a kid, I never really like this movie at all. I just didn't find it as appealing as the rest of the other Disney films are. But now that I'm older, I've come to respect it a lot more. I mean it's really cute when the main characters were kids, and yet it has a huge amount of really dark drama especially when it came to Man being in the forest and is hunting all of the animals. Especially *WARNING SPOILER* the little scene everyone knows about which was the death of Bambi's mom.

Bambi: Bambi's a pretty cute character.
Thumper: Thumper's my favorite character. I mean he's a cute character and even then, he is a little bunny which makes him an even cuter character.
Man: what's to say? Man is EVIL!!!

Music: The music was very good. they pretty much deserved wining for best score and song.

And that's my review for Bambi. While it's not may favorite Disney film even as a kid, I have come to respect it a lot more since then.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999)

Rating: 70%
Well my family had this movie when I was a kid so sooner than later I would want to see the movie again after so many years. And while it's been a couple of weeks since Christmas I figured better late than never with watching and review this film.

Plot: This is a package film containing three stories.

Stuck on Christmas: Huey, Dewey and Louie, enjoy a wonderful Christmas day. So when it was over, they began to wish on the wishing star that it was Christmas everyday.

A Very Goofy Christmas: Goofy's son Max begins to doubt that Santa Claus is real after talking about him to their next-door neighbor Pete.

Mickey and Minnie's The Gift of the Magi: Based on the actual story "The Gift of the Magi", the story is about how Mickey attempt to get Minnie a chain for her watch while Minnie tries to give Mickey a Case for his harmonica all on Christmas Eve.

Now this movie isn't be best direct-to-video movie that Disney has, but in my opinion it's a good enough movie for kids like me from back when I had it to enjoy.

Donald: Donald was funny as usual.
Goofy: He was funny too. I didn't notice until now how it's kinda cute that he always calls Santa "Santy"
Max: I don't know why, but I kinda always like Max. I guess as a kid I was able to relate more even if he was a teenager like in A Goofy Movie.
Mickey: I thought Micky was good too.

Music: A lot of the music was just reciting Christmas Carols. Although personally I liked the version of "Deck The Halls" from SHEDAISY. I just think it's a pretty fun way to sing the song. And as cheesy as the music video is, I actually find it pretty cute.

And that's my review for Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. It's not much, but to me it's a nice Christmas kids film to enjoy.  

It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas (2002)

Yeah I know, it's been a couple of weeks since Christmas, but this film along with the one I'm going to review next too a while to finally be ready for me at the library. So here's It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

Plot: The Muppet's banker recently dies leaving his job to his very greedy wife, Rachael Bitterman. While her husband agreed to extend the Muppet's contract, Mrs. Bitterman takes advantage of the fact that he really didn't and so threatens The Muppets to pay her or she will foreclose their theater. So the Muppets attempt to keep their theater by attempting to make a very huge Christmas show.

It's an okay movie. If anything, it's enough that it's The Muppets. I mean you just have to love how they spoofed Moulin Rouge, Steve Irwin (The Lord rest his soul) came in being the crocodile hunter, there were actual Whos who were very pissed of at the Grinch, I like that. And I like their choice of guest stars like David Arquette and the cast of Scrubs (that was cool). The downs that I have to this movie was that it was roughly the same plot as the latest movie, and that I didn't entirely care for the climax to pretty much be It's a Wonderful Life. But that doesn't make it any less of a decent movie.

The Muppets: They're awesome...i mean they're The Muppets so duh.
Joan Cusack/Rachael Bitterman: She was an okay villain. It's really the end that was bad about the character, it was a little carried away. I'm sure it works for kids and maybe adults and that's fine, but still.

Music: I thought it was nice.

And that's my review for It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas. It's not the best The Muppets have but it's enough that it's The Muppets in the positive sense.

Dinosaur (2000)

Rating: 60%
Okay let's get this one over with. Here's Disney review # 42: Dinosaur.

Plot: The story starts when a Iguanodon egg losses its mother and eventually ends up in a middle of a pack of lemurs where it hatches and becomes raised by the Lemurs and is them named Aladar. Years later, an asteroid hits near where the lemurs and Aladar live, eventually destroying their home. Aladar and his Lemur family wander in the wilderness were they eventually bump into a pack where they are making a Journey into the nesting grounds where they will be safe.

Eh, it's an okay movie. What really does it is the visuals. I may nto have really noticed it when I watched it as a kid, but now that I"m older, all I have to say is "Wow, the animation for this film is extremely well done". It just looks really super realistic. The problem is pretty much the story and the characters. It's not terrible it's just that it's not very spectacular.

Characters: They were all just okay. There wasn't really anybody that truly stood out.

Music: The music was nice. I have to admit that "The Egg Travels" song was pretty good.

And that's my review for Dinosaur. It's definitely not one of Disney's best but not entirely one of their worst.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

War Horse (2011)

Rating: 70%
Well now that I've made my Girl with Dragon Tattoo review, let's get on with reviewing this film.

Plot: Ted Narracott buys a young thoroughbred foal as his plowing horse for his farm. Despite the horse's apparent lack of fitness to be a plow horse, his son Albert begins to train the horse where he bonds a friendship with it and names the horse Joey. But then the farm's crops become ruined and so Ted sells Joey to the military where it becomes a war horse for a kind Captain named Nicholls.

Now while I had some pretty high expectations about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo based on it's first trailer, I thought based on the trailers to this film, that it was going to be an ultimate piece of crap. I mean the whole story about the bond of friendship between a kid and his horse just looked like the cheesiest thing ever. And it actually turns out that as far goes as the main story of the film goes, I COULD HARDLY BE ANY MORE RIGHT!!! I mean the whole time that Albert is training Joey was just so predictable that the movie started out becoming utterly boring. I mean it made it look like I should've waited until the movie is out on DVD so I could just half-watch it while playing video games or reading comics. I mean Twilight is more original than the story between Joey and Albert (oh yeah, I fricking went there!) But what saves this film is after Joey gets sold. Then the movie gets more focused on some mini-stories that are more related to what times were like back in World War I which mostly turned out to be really good stories. In a way it's a bad thing because there's so much more of these stories than they were ever focusing on Joey and Albert. So even if the main story wasn't cheesy, the movie still wouldn't really be that good because it went very far from the main story that if might be confusing for some movie watchers. But for me, I'm happy for that because at least with a horrible main story, there was all these little stories that made the movie good anyway.

Jeremy Irvine/Albert Narracott: Well it's not like he himself did a bad just but just because of his whole story with Joey, I just really hated the character.
Tom Hiddleston/Captain Nicholls: Now him I really liked. His character really in a way is just what saved the movie for me. I didn't expect there to be any actual characters throughout Joey's experience in WWI that anyone would really care about. But then Captain Nicholls came along and I found him being this guy who becomes compassionate and decides to really look after a kid's horse during the war after his father sells the horse was extremely more interesting than what was going on between Albert and Joey.
Niels Arestrup and Celine Buckens/ Grandfather and Emilie: I liked them too.

Music: Well it was John Williams so it was good.

Editing: I thought it was nice. I personally liked the cut between the British Calvary charging and the Germans firing at them. It was just so cool how while there's the Calvary charging on one side, only the horses are passing by on the other and I thought that was pretty cool.

And that's my review for War Horse. If it's going to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, I think it's going to be one of the middle/weakest of the nominees in that category.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Rating: 80%
Well today I went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and War Horse. Now this one I was interested to see pretty much right away because of how the trailer I first saw looked interesting and it wasn't even telling anyone a thing about this film. And while there's some little downs about this movie, the main thing was that I was very far from disappointed.

Plot: Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist who is gets attacked publicly after losing a case that has left him and the magazine he works for disgraced. But then he gets offered by Henrik Vanger, who's a retired CEO of his family's business to write about his family's history and to try to crack the case about his niece, Harriet who disappeared 40 years ago. At the same time, the story is about Lisbeth Salander, a researcher and computer hacker whose legal guardian has recently had a stroke and has gained a new one who unlike the last one, gets control of her finances and gives her monthly allowances in exchange for sexual favors.

I was pretty well into this movie. The mystery was interesting, some of the characters were very clever and in some cases unique, and there was PLENTY of suspense, at least to me. It's probably a movie that you may have to see more than once to roughly understand everything, but only seeing it once doesn't make it any less good.

Daniel Craigg/Mikael Blomkvist: I thought he did a very good job with his character.
Rooney Mara/Lisbeth Salander: Now this character I really liked. She just showed through and through that she was not someone you should ever mess with. The only thing is that, when I looked at other critics' reviews tot his film, some of them said that the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael, doesn't make a whole lot of sense...and for the most part, yes, they're right. Looking back, she did have more of an attitude where she could've barley have cared about helping Mikael much less starting a relationship. But otherwise I thought she was a pretty good, unique character.

Music: I thought it was very well done. It really worked with what was happening throughout the movie.

Editing: I thought the editing was well done too. The only thing I had with it is that there seemed to have been one or two things like the framed flowers and stuff like that, that to me were kinda lead to believe that the were somehow a big part of the story when they were hardly there after the first 40 minutes (give a take). Maybe they do have some big importance that is explained in the book that they just didn't really get into or something, I don't know. I may need to watch this movie again to see but that what I think.

And that's my review for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Despite having a few things that just hardly made any sense, I thought it was an excellent film that kept me interested pretty much the whole time. Tune in, in about an hour or so for my review for War Horse.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Ides of March (2011)

Rating: 90%
Alright. I've finished the review for Moneyball, so let's get to The Ides of March.

Plot: This is the story of Stephen Meyers is the Junior Campaign Manager for Democratic presidential candidate, Govennor Mike Morris. During the events of the film, the Morris campaign is competing against Senator Ted Pullman for in Ohio in attempt to win the Democratic nomination for presidency.

Now I know I'm hardly saying a darn thing, but in the case of this particular movie, that is very much for the best and just say "this is a very well done movie." You just have to really appreciate how it's trying to give us a clear dark view about the world of politics. I also find it really fascinating that George Clooney wrote, produced, directed and starred in this film.

Ryan Gosling/Stephen Meyers: He did a very good job with his role. You really do get attached to what happens to this character.
George Clooney/Mike Morris: He wasn't as big of a character as I thought he would be, but at the same time i really liked that. Good performance all around.
Evan Rachel Wood/Molly Stearns: I thought she did a pretty good performance.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman/Paul Zara: He did a very good job with character. He made very sure that Zara was basically the superior one.

Music: I can't remember a whole lot of it, but I thought it was nice.

Editing: I thought it was very well done.

And that's my review for The Ides of March. It's a very well done film that I won't be surprised if it gets nominated for best picture.

Moneyball (2011)

Rating: 90%
Now a couple of months ago I finished a couple of classes halfway through the fall semester that gave me the time I needed to go to the theaters a little more. So one day I went to go see Ides of March and Moneyball. And while I saw Ides of March first and Moneyball second, I decided to write the reviews that I've finally gotten myself to write in reverse order. Why? Just because I feel like it. So here's the first one to review: Moneyball.

Plot: The movie is based on the true story about Oakland Athletes manager Billy Beane. It starts off at the end of the 2001 MLB season where the Athletes say good-bye to their three star players, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, and Jason Isringhausen. This leaves Beane to search for new players that fit the budget for the Athletes in time for the 2002 season. Along the way, he comes across a young economics graduate from Yale named Peter Brad who gives him a set of ideas of how to judge what players to use for the season in a way that saves money. Considering these ideas, Beane decides to hire Brad as the new assistant general manager and uses his ideas to attempt to make the Oakland Athletes a winning team.

Now I had some very low expectations for this movie just from seeing the trailer alone. It looked like that while it was taking a different turn in the sports movie cliche, it was still going to be a complete, utter cliche. Now in some points as the movie goes on, it does have its very cliche moments but they are generally very few and some of them you can really enjoy anyway. And what really made it better was that it wasn't really focusing on the game. Almost the whole movie was more focused on either what Beane and Brad where doing, or about Beane's past or his relationship with his daughter. And whatever scenes did have actual baseball in it were generally very short. To top it all, the ending was very unique. I won't give anything away, but basically it was very clever.

Brad Pitt/Billy Beane: I thought he did an excellent job. His character was very interesting.
Jonah Hill/Peter Brad: I thought he did a very good job too. I think my favorite part with his character was his last scene which turned out to be very entertaining and moving.

Music: It was pretty nice.

Editing: I thought the editing was very good. I think my favorite scene by far was when they were taking down those posters or whatever they are called of their three former star players. I just thought it worked in terms of how things were taking a completely different turn.

And that's my review for Moneyball. It's probably not going to win best picture, but if it gets nominated, I think it'll pretty much be one of the strongest nominees of that category.

The Nutcracker Prince (1990)

Rating: 40%

Now I'm very sure you've never heard of this movie in your life. And you could even be really wondering why I even bothered to watch this movie in the first place. Well, it basically goes something like this: when I was around 3-5 years old, there was one year during Christmas time where my mother was switching the channels and I was sitting next to her when we suddenly came across the last 20 minutes or so of this film. I remembered a fair bit of it and how I liked it, and so I wanted to see the whole movie. The bummer thing is I never really got the chance. So while I've been going to school, making friends, getting a summer job, graduating high school, getting the job I have now and taking classes from two colleges at once since then, I've been haunted in a sense over wanting to fully see the movie. So it wasn't until last year that I found it and borrowed it from the library. From there, I have found myself fully relieved to have completed that little boy's mission after 15-18 years. And after a little more than a year from that ultimate relief, I've finally gotten myself to review this film.

Plot: Set around the 19th century, the movie starts with a young girl named Clara and her family celebrating Christmas Eve. During the Christmas celebration with many of the family's friends, the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeier gives Clara a Nutcracker that she becomes very fond of. Uncle Drosselmeier tells Clara the story of how the Nutcracker was his nephew who was transformed into a nutcracker by the Mouse Queen for revenge over breaking her spell on the princess of a far away land. Later that night, Clara sneaks into the toy cabinet to play with the nutcracker while everyone is asleep. But suddenly Uncle Drosselmeier appears and uses magic so that the Nutcracker and all the other toys come to life to fight the now dead Mouse Queen's son, the Mouse King.

This is not really a good movie, but it could've been much better. What really killed it for me was when Uncle Drosselmeier was telling Clara the story about the Nutcracker and the animation was completely different. Basically the movie all of the sudden started to focus more on making Looney Toons kind of comedy. In a way it kind makes sense in terms of trying to get it into the younger crowd, but it's already an animated film so they don't need to go that far. There's plenty of cartoon humor even after Uncle Drosselmeir tells the story. So they should've stuck with the animation from the movie in general rather than make a whole total change of animation and style for just that particular part of the movie. And there were quite a couple of lines that just really didn't make sense. So the really good parts were just the last 20 minutes. I mean it may not be spectacular, but to me they set it up well enough to really work as a climax in my opinion. Plus what's kind weird yet interesting is that some of the voice actors are Peter O'Toole, Phyllis Diller and even Kiefer Sutherland.

Clara: Clara was an okay character. In a way they did a good job with her character, but at the same time, they left you with things about her that you wish they got more into such as her view about growing up.
Hanz/Nutcracker: He was good. Nuthun really stood out when it came to him. Really he was another one of those title characters where all the other characters in the film are shown way more than he is.
The Mouse King: He was decent villain, you have to like how they at least try to make him both evil and funny. Though apparently in the book, the Mouse King had seven heads so I wonder what it would've been like if they went with that.

Music: What mostly made the music good was that a lot of it was the score from the actual ballet of The Nutcracker. But the problem was that there was also music during the story Uncle Drosselmeier told that also didn't really work.

And that's my review for The Nutcracker Prince. It was not well made because the change of animation and style earlier in the film kinda ruined it. But the last 20 minutes was good enough even after 15-18 years of my view of film growing that I find it to be good enough to be one of those movies that I have a guilty pleasure over.

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

Rating: 90%
Now I've at least been a little interested to see this movie before I went to check it out from the library. But what started to really get my attention was when one of my best friends wanted me to see it and even suggested that we would watch it at the same time even though we actually live pretty far from each other. So after a couple of weeks I finally got my hands on it and we set the date where we would both watch this very interesting movie: Howl's Moving Castle.

Plot: Sophie is a hatter who works in her late father's shop. One day on her way to visit her sister, a mysterious man named Howl comes to save her from some guards and a group of blob men and along the way, begins to take a liking to her. This comse to the attention of the Witch of the Waste who casts a spell on her that turns her into an old woman and keeps her from telling anyone about it. Sophie runs away to find a life more suitable to her old age and along the way helps a living scarecrow who in turn, takes her to the legendary Howl's Moving Castle where she becomes the cleaning lady for Howl and his apprentice, Markl. 

This is definitely a creative movie. I mean you really have to like how they take a whole different view about witches, wizards and spells and what other fantasy stuff that was in the film. The world in this movie in general is very fascinating. And there's some pretty good lines. The thing is that it's one of those movies that you really have to watch at least twice in order to understand what's happening right away. But as far as explaining goes, the one issue I have is that there's some things you can't understand right away. My best example is over how while there's a whole war going on, you can't really notice until the end to know why there's a war. I mean after watching the movie again, I can think of only one time where they actually mention why the war is there, but it was being explained to us by characters who were talking about it in the background. They really should've been more up front on why the war is there and why Howl and some of the other magical characters find it completely stupid. I mean there was no way most of us could've been paying attention to the characters in the background who were talking about it because I believe the movie lead us to be way more focused on what Sophie was doing at that time.

Howl: Howl was a very interesting character. I mean most of the time he was this person who was in a way courageous and optimistic even when things were looking terrible, and even had a big friendly heart. yet at the same time there's this serious side considering the war, then he's all of the sudden actually a coward, and at one point there's this really crazy time where he was just being over dramatic. I thought that made him a really creative character. Plus, it was interesting that he was voiced by Christian Bale. (Never really thought I'd see him in an anime. Go figure.) 
Sophie: To me what really helped especially when it came to the connection between Sophie and Howl was the spell Sophie was into. I mean it was hardly ever the usual boy meet girl story when a lot of the time, Sophie's an old woman. I mean in a way they do it too well in terms of how old Sophie and young Sophie are totally different characters. I mean in a way it makes sense, but they kinda make it so that they were almost too different. But at the same time, I thought it really worked in terms of making the story all the more really original.
Calcifer: You know what's interesting about this character? He was voiced by Billy Crystal. Seriously. I mean when I was first watching the movie my dad was walking by and then he went "Is that Billy Crystal?" and then looked at the back of the DVD case and hey, it is. Even that aside, he was an a cool looking creature.

Music: I thought the music was very nice.

And that's my review for Howl's Moving Castle. You most likely have to watch it more than once to fully understand it, but it pays off with being a really good film to enjoy.

Super 8 (2011)

Rating: 80%
Well I finally saw this movie. My youngest brother got it for Christmas, so a couple of nights ago, he, my other brother and I got to see it with our grandfather who's currently staying with us. Now I didn't have a whole lot of high hopes for this film right away because it didn't look like it was going to be much of a creative movie. Now while it's true for the most part, it still turned out to be a really darn good movie.

Plot: Joe Lamb is 13-year-old boy who has recently lost his mother to a factory accident. The summer after his loss, he starts to help his best friend Charles make his movie for an upcoming film festival. One night, Joe and his friends sneak out to shoot a scene at a train depot. But as they're shooting, a train passes by and then all of a sudden a pick-up truck starts driving on the train tracks heading right for the train causing it to crash.

Now even if you haven't seen this movie, you may have guessed that this movie was a bit more like E.T. and maybe even The Iron Giant. I would say that at the very least, the setting is Iron Giant in some rough points while the climax is a bit more E.T. But all around, it's still a very well done movie. I think what mostly makes this movie good to me is that while the situation after the train crashes is certainly there, there are these nice side stories that go with it that were in the movie a pretty big amount. To me, that worked more. I mean it's not just about the mystery behind the primary story, it's also about these other things that are happening to the main characters that I got pretty well into. And while you couldn't completely see the alien, the little bit that you see seemed to have been really creative.

Joel Courtney/Joe Lamb: I thought Courtney did a pretty good job. His character was definitely someone you were interested in watching.
Elle Fanning/Alice Dainard: I thought she did a pretty good job too.
Riley Griffiths/Charles Kaznyk: I thought he was a pretty good character. I liked how he was more trying to be the leader and all around was one of the really smarter characters unlike most fat kid characters.

Music: I thought the music was pretty good.

Editing: I thought the editing was good too.

And that's my review for Super 8. While the concept is not all that original, it makes up for it with good acting and making the concept not always the main focus of the film.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Rating: 100%

When it came to this movie, my brother absolutely forbid me to even look at the back of the DVD case because it basically spoils it for people which he wishes he knew before he got the film. To put it simply, he had a heck of a pretty good reason to do so.

Plot: On a ship where there seemed to have been a big gun fight, a mysterious figure only refereed only as "Keyser" talks to a wounded man named Keaton shortly before destroying the ship. The next day, the police talk to a con artist named Roger "Verbal" Kint who they make him tell his story from before and during the events of the night before.

This was a very clever movie. I mean you just have to love it. The acting is very well done, the story is creative, and you just have to love the last 20 minutes of it.

Gabriel Byrne/Dean Keaton: *WARNING THIS CONCERNS JUST PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN THE MOVIE*He did a very good job with his character. You have to like how he's portrayed at first throughout most of the movie.
Stephen Baldwin/Michael McManus: He did a very good job too.
Kevin Spacy/Roger 'Verbal' Kint: Now he did an excellent job. He totally deserved that Oscar for best supporting actor.

Music: The music was nice.

Editing: I thought it was very good. I especially loved the very end.

And that's my review for The Usual Suspects. If there's anything to take for those who haven't seen it, it's that if I were you guys, I would avoid any contact whatsoever over the back of the DVD case to this film as long as you haven't seen so much as...well...all of it.

Bolt (2008)

Rating: 60%
Nothing much to say right now except here's Disney review #41: Bolt.

Plot: Bolt is a dog who is raised to believe that he has super powers in order for him to star in a TV series along with his owner, Penny. Then the show is set so that Penny gets captured in one episode leaving Bolt to believe that she's really in danger. This leaves Bolt to escape from his trailer and accidentally knock himself unconscious into a box going to New York. He bumps into a cat named Mittens who he believes is in league with the main villain of the show which brings her to be forced to take him back to Hollywood. So the two make the journey to Hollywood where they befriend a hamster named Rhino who joins them.

If Walt Disney Pictures had their own version of Cars even without the 3-D animation and the fact that both main characters have a lightning bolt as their symbol, this would be it. I mean the main character is trying to get home, he's a superstar, was raised as one kind of person until the journey and his new friends change him, etc. But like Cars, this was an okay movie. I mean like Cars, the journey the main characters take isn't very original, a good amount of what happens was predictable, some of the comedy was pretty cute to be fair, but all around, it's just okay.

Bolt: Bolt himself was just okay. I mean again, his journey was predictable. I mean the only good things I can think of was that he at least wasn't arrogant like Lightning McQueen in Cars and that he did look like a really cute fluffy dog.
Mittens: Like Bolt, she was just okay. I mean to be fair, while her back story is not creative, it works a little bit at least.
Rhino: Rhino I liked a little more. He just had the cuter moments out of the three characters.

Music: It was nice. Nothing really stood out.

And that's my review for Bolt. It's just an okay film that's pretty much the same thing as Cars only that it's Disney and not Pixar.   

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Rating: 100%
FINALLY!!! I've been waiting to see this movie again. I made myself wait until I can make it my 175th review, but I couldn't wait any longer to see it again. So last night I stopped over halfway through my Make Mine Music review and watched the movie! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!  I'm SO glad to be done waiting for so long...the only thing is I want to watch it again...guess I know what I"m going to do before bed tonight. So here's Disney review # 40 and my 175th review: Beauty and the Beast.

Plot: The was a young prince in a far away castle who was very selfish and cruel. Then an ugly old woman came to his door asking for shelter from the cold in exchange for a rose. Disgusted by her ugliness, he turns her away. But then the old woman reappears as a beautiful enchantress who saw the princes' cold heart and as punishment, turns him into a beast and turns his servants into furniture and other household items. The Enchantress gave the beast until the last petal of the rose she offered falls to love another and to earn her love in return to lift the enchantment or he would become a beast forever. Meanwhile, Belle, the daughter of the inventor of a village not far from the castle, yearns for life outside of the village. But then her life changes completely when her father gets lost and ends up in the castle of the beast leaving Belle to find and rescue him.

Well there's no doubt about it. I love this movie. The animation is spectacular, the songs and score are wonderful and memorable and memory comes, the characters are fun, and there's plenty of darkness and suspension to go with all the happy a joy stuff. What more do I really need to say about this movie? It was just a wonderfully done movie.

Belle: If I had no choice as a guy but to choose which Disney princess is my favorite, I'd have to go with Belle. She's smart, brave, patient. I"m actually curious as to how old she is. Because I think she's the oldest Disney princess (it's probably either her or Tiana that's the oldest) which I like a little more because finding true love at a much older age than 16 or 18 or somewhere around that makes her all the more a better influence to girls as far as Disney Princesses go. At least to me.
Beast: I thought he was a cool character. I mean being a beast to begin with kinda made him a bad-a in a sense, and you have to like how the character changes throughout the film.
Gaston: He was a pretty good villain. Everything usually goes his way and when it doesn't, that's when he really become evil in a slightly crazy sort of way. Plus I just love that "Gaston" song.
The servants (primarily Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Chip): They are a lot of fun. Especially Lumiere and Cogsworth always fighting. I do find it weird that the castle apparently has so many servants that so many of them at turned into things that aren't even useful like those suits of armor. I mean what were those particular servants' occupation before the enchantment?

Music: Do I even really have to bother with this one? I mean "That Belle", "Gaston", "Madame Gaston", "Be our Guest", and of coarse, the winner for best original song of that year: "Beauty and the Beast". And the movie doesn't need the Oscar for best original score for you to know that it is just spectacular.

And that's my review for Beauty and the Beast. It's a wonderful film and a fine choice to become my 175th review.