Tuesday, August 28, 2012

High School Musical (2006)

Rating: 25%
Well with Les Mes coming I decided to get a couple reviews of some musicals out of the way starting with some of the worst. So without further ado, here's my review for High School Musical.

Plot: Troy and Gabriella are two high schooler who meet in a new years eve party at a ski lodge during winter break. They sing a karaoke song which helps them start becoming interested in each other, so they exchange number before parting. But on the first day back to school, Troy finds out that Gabriella has transferred to his school. While Troy shows Gabriella around, they come across the sign-up sheet for auditions for the winter musical that the drama club is holding and eventually they both decide to try it and end up getting call backs much to the dismay of the Drama Club president, Sharpay Evens. So Sharpay devises a plan to stop Troy and Gabriella while the callbacks confuse Troy's basketball team and Gabriella's decathlon team who want both of them to focus more on the championships that both teams are trying to win.

So what's bad about this movie? Well for starters, it's cheesy as heck particularly with how most of the story is similar to the story of Grease. A couple meets and falls in love during vacation before school, there's a main guy group and a main girl group in the school, the guys at the least have a sort of rival against a gang (or school in this case), and so on and so forth. And even then the whole thing is just cheesy with its bland characters, and bland music (under a couple of exceptions), and the actors don't often do a grand job in trying to make it look like they're not lip-syncing. It is entertaining if you like musicals in general or just like this sort of childish and bland kind of movie, but otherwise it's not worth watching.

Zac Effron/Troy Bolton: I really don't care for this character. Because like I said with Grease concerning Danny Zuko, he was being a total moron when it came to some of the choices he makes considering his love interest. But at least Danny had more believable and realistic ways of being moronic to his love interest, but Troy...wasn't. So...dislike the character plain and simple.

Music: To me, there's usually three kinds of rating that I feel are right to describe what I feel about the music for this film and probably the other two. First, there's "Start of Something New" and "Breaking Free" which I would rank along the lines of bland but guilty pleasures...cause yeah, they're dumb and all but they somehow manage to be enjoyable anyway. Second there's "All in this Together" and "Get'cha Head in the Game" that I label along the lines of annoying because they are so fricking catchy. Everything else I label as just bland an forgettable. 

And that's my review for High School Musical. You may enjoy the music or just that it's a musical in general if you REALLY like that genre, but it's filled with bland characters and a story that's very similar to Grease and is cheesy even then so it just isn't that good of a movie all around.   

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Twilight (2008)

Rating: 35%
Well this movie is the only Twilight film I have yet to review. So with the last one coming, it's time that I get this little bugger out of the way. So here's my review for Twilight.

Plot: Bella is a 17 year old girl who use to live with her mother and her step-father in Phoenix, Arizona, but has just moved to Forks, Washington with her father, Charlie. On her first day of school she meets a boy named Edward who acts strangely to her and tries to stay away from her. But after he rescuers her from a van that almost hit her my stopping it with his bare hands, she researches about how he could do it even though he denies it and eventually begins to realize that he is a vampire.

Well it's a Twilight movie, so naturally it's bad, but this one...is sort of acceptable if  you've read the book. I mean the acting from the cast was generally terrible (in fact I think it was really just the supportive cast such as charlie and the kids at school that were actually acting for the most part), it was way too quite and slow which made it boring most of the way, the effects for the vampires were awful (I mean seriously, vampires are suppose to be like as fast as Neo from the Matrix from whenever he would fly, and be like really bright when sparkling or something like that) and really the color and the atmosphere of almost the entire movie was just dull through and through. But if you've read the book you can kind of appreciate most of the loyalty the movie has to it. I mean personally, I thought the first book was a little enjoyable even though it was still ridiculous as heck (being Twilight and all) and while this movie hardly brought the entire book to life even with scenes like the baseball game, it...still works in a way. But again, that's only if you've read the book and thought it was roughly enjoyable like I did.

Kristen Stewart/Bella Swan: Okay so obviously, she was bad. I mean she did pull off something of actual emotions from time to time but other then that she was expressionless, she was roughly taking in the same old tone, and...well since it's Stewart as Bella, you know the rest.
Robert Patterson/Edward Cullen: Well he was the same as Stewart but he had a little more effort into it. I mean he did give us the times where Edward would give a small smile over something Bella said and he didn't do too bad when it came to trying to avoid attacking Bella and drinking he blood and stuff like that. So he was bad but he was better then Stewart.

Music: now most of it is very dull and quite, but I will say that I do like the song that Edward was playing to Bella on his piano, it just a decent pleasant melody.

Editing: Most of it is pretty slow and when it comes to even the most exciting scenes, some of it was big suspenseful quick cuts for suspense but the rest of the time it was really just a lot of slow motion shots and that was it.

And that's my review for Twilight. It has it's points for loyalty to the book at some particular areas, and not all of the acting was terrible the way we all know it, but it's still a bad movie just the way we all know it is. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Rating: 85%I first saw this movie like 8 years ago when a neighbor had a sleepover at our house. I've been looking forward to see it again while doing this little Miyazaki marathon, so without much left to say, it's time to review it.

Plot: Ashitaka is a prince of an Emishi village who fights a giant-boar demon that was attacking his village but get a curse casts into his right arm in the process. The curse gives him superhuman strength but will eventually kill him, so Ashitaka leaves his village to search for a cure. He makes his way to a place called Iron town where the people destroy the forest for ironsand and advanced weapons and learns that the people in Iron Town are at war against the beast of the forest, particularly with a clan of wolves that are partly lead by a woman raised by them San, but is refereed by the townspeople as Princess Mononoke.

I can see why there was no Disney version to this movie unlike the rest of Miyazaki's films; it's a little graphic and incredibly dark at a lot of scenes. Which comparing to all the other Miyazaki films, that is REALLY saying something. I mean there was some violent death, there was destruction and a lot of the evil ish stuff where pretty creepy at some points. But that aside it was a very well done movie. The world that they created was very creative and the animation and story was very well done, and the story and the characters are very interesting and it still gives us some cute comedy that you' d normally get from a Miyazaki film. I do however think that the voice acting was just okay, didn't think they were very big on it, but I digress.

Ashitaka: I thought Ashitaka was pretty cool. While the violent deaths are pretty big for being a Miyazaki film, it still was cool that could kill those samurai guys in that way with his super strength. Plus you have to like him anyway with how he's a hero with caring for other people and wanting to protect the forest and all of that.
San/Princess Mononoke: She was pretty cool too. She was tough, smart, and focused as heck when it came to protecting the forest. Personally I think her voice actress was one of the big reason why the voice acting all around was just okay. It's just that I remembered San having a lot of expression in her voice when I saw this movie years ago and I have to admit that It wasn't as big as I remembered it when I saw this movie a second time. But she still was cool.

Music: Like most Miyazaki films, this movie wasn't exactly exploding with music per say throughout the movie. But what they gave us was pretty enjoyable. I think my favorite piece was the song that was played when San and Ashitaka were sleeping in that cave...I guess it's just because it had a nice melody that really stood out to me.

And that's my review for Princess Mononoke. It's much darker and more graphic then a normal Miyazaki film but it still was creative, adventurous, interesting and altogether gave us a totally entertaining film from Miyazaki just the way the like it.     

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)

Rating: 35%Alright so my looking back at Anne Hathaway's career has meant looking at some of her...less then big movies. Really I watched this after watching the first movie, I just kind of ignored it until now to review it. So here's my review for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

Plot: It's been five years since the events of the first movie and Mia has just recently graduated college. The then returns to Genovia where her grandmother Clarisse plans to step down and let Mia replace her a Queen of Genovia. During Mia's 21st birthday celebration, she dances with all of the bachelor's in Genovia to try to find a husband and along the way meets a charming man named Nicholas. The next day Clarisse and Mia find out while the parliament of Genovia is in session that  Viscount Mabrey reveals that his nephew Lord Devereaux is another heir tot he throne and that by law, Mia must find a husband in 30 days or give up the crown. So Mia, Clarisse and their friends try to find a husband for her while Lord Devereaux stays in the castle and turns out to be Nicholas himself.

This was hardly as good as the first one. I mean it had its nice and cute moments with Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews just like the first and some of the cast is more interesting with Chris Pine and John Rhys-Davis, but otherwise the plot is made and structured to be more cheesy then it was doing the first film. Part of that is that it has a lot of scenes where it acts more like it's made from Disney Channel instead of Walt Disney studios. I mean that because while the first movie is known as a chick flick, it still had some cute moments and nice charm that can make it a nice movie for guys to watch too. The second movie on the other hand mostly just makes it perfectly clear that it's a chick flick and especially for little girls with scenes like the sleepover, the parade (though I admit that putting the kids in the parade and the whole shelter thing afterwords was pretty cool on Mia's part), and putting Raven-Symoné in the film (I mean no judgement on her as an actress since I've only seen her in this film and stuff like that, but having her in the movie, however brief she was in it, just made it feel more like this was a Disney Channel movie which I consider it something of a downplay compared to the first film). So at the end of the day, you can still enjoy some of the charm the movie will have with Hathaway, Andrews and maybe even Pine and Rhys-Davis at some point- and heck, you even get a Stan Lee cameo out of watching this movie (I know right!?! I was freaking surprised at that too!!!), but it still is made more to its primary audience then the first one was including a story and also characters that are not as uncheesy as you would probably like.

John Rhys-Davis and Chris Pine/Viscount Mabrey and Lord Nicholas: Well both of them had characters that were mostly bland. I mean you know Nicholas is being the charmer and you know what happens in the end with him and Mabrey...was not exactly what you call a subtle villain, you know he's evil you know he really wants his family to have the crown (which is what makes this character so particularly blunt) and really seems dumb at some points that Nicholas sides with him at some points. Although you HAVE to love Mabrey at the end because of how he gets all pissed of Gimbli style the moment he shouts "LOVELY ON A POSTAGE STAMP!?!?!"

Music: While the score wasn't much I did think it was nice that this movie did have "Breakaway" from Kelly Clarkson, and at least a brief mandarin version of "Miracles Happen"

And that's my review for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. It had some of the charm that made the first movie a nice one, but after that, it's more of a cheesy film with some bland characters and was just made more for its original audience then I for one would've liked after the first one.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Slumdog Milionaire (2008)

Rating: 90%
We all remembered disliking how The Dark Knight wasn't even nominated for Best Picture when it rightfully should have and maybe even won. Which is the reason why we are not able to nominate more then five movies for Best Picture. So let's take a look at the movie that did get nominated and won Best Picture along with a couple of other Oscars: Slumdog Millionaire.

Plot: Eighteen-year-old Jamal Malik is an assistant at a call center who is currently playing an Indian version of Who Want to Be a Millionaire. He is currently a question away from winning the game but before he does, he is currently being interrogated by the police because they suspect him of cheating. But throughout most of the film, Jamal explains to the police that he has conveniently learned the answers from through out his life as he tells his story about him and his brother and a girl he has fallen in love ever since he was a street child.

This was a clever movie. The story is very interesting and well thought of, the characters are nicely developed and the setting seems to be very accurate when it comes to the life that some people in India live(d). Though during the middle of the film I felt+ like not every single answer was explained in terms of how he got them right. I mean most of them are because he actually knows them thanks to his past, but I don't know how he got some of them right. Maybe he was guessing or maybe they did explain it and I just missed it. I don't know which one is the case so I digress over the matter. Slumdog Millionaire was still a very interesting and sometimes suspenseful film for people to enjoy.

Music: I enjoyed the music a lot. I mean the score was very well done and the songs by A. R. Rahman are very well done. I especially enjoy "Jai Ho" because it's just a very light-heated and altogether fun song to sing or just listen to. "Jai Ho" definitely deserved best original score if it couldn't be "Down to Earth" from WALL-E.

Editing: The editing was very well done. I did like how it was done when it came to explaining how he knows the answers and all that. And personally, I thought adding some shots of the little kid versions of Jamal and Latika during the end credits when they were playing "Jai Ho" was an adorable touch during that part of the movie.

And that's my review for Slumdog Millionaire. It was a clever movie with an interesting story and some nice characters and while it may not have explained everything, it's still a very fun movie to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

David Copperfield (1999)

Rating: 90%
Well I've been curious about what's the story of David Copperfield for a while ever since I heard of the title. I was a little more interested when I heard that there was a film version of the book where Daniel Radcliffe first appeared in film just a couple of years before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. So eventually I decided it was time to settle the matter once and for all and get this movie from the library and watch it. So here's what I thought about it.

Plot: David Copperfield was born shortly after his father passed away and was raised the first eight years of his life by his mother and their maid Peggotty. Then one day his mother marries a man named Edward Murdstone, whom David becomes afraid of and takes a disliking to David. Murdstone whips David for falling behind on his studies one day which leads David to bit his finger, and as punishment, he sends David to a boarding school owned by an abusive friend of Murdstone's who is cruel to David at his request. Eventually, David finds out that his mother died at home where shortly afterwords, Peggotty is fired as his maid and he is sent to a black ink factory where a series of adventures and tragedies follow afterwords.

This was an entertaining movie. The characters were enjoyable and the cast was more interesting then I thought. Because all I knew about it before watching it was that it contained Daniel Radcliffe and Maggie Smith. But it turns out that there are many other familiar faces in this film, some are also from the Harry Potter movies. For example we have Ian McKellen (Gandalf from Lord of the Rings) and Magneto in the X-men movies), Tom Wilkinson (Carmine Falcone from Batman Begins), Bob Hoskins (Edward Valiant form Who Framed Roget Rabbit and Smee from Hook), Zoe Wanamaker (Madame Hootch in the Harry Potter films) and even surprisingly Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter films). As for the story...it was enjoyable and I liked it a lot, but I had one main issue with it. Primarily that it seemed to be a lot like Oliver Twist when it comes to the main character meeting all kind of people good and bad and things like that. In a way I thought the first half to be Oliver Twist and the second half to be something of a Oliver Twist the sequel. But I still like the story because it had more stuff then Oliver Twist did, especially with the second half of it. So it may not be totally different from Oliver Twist but it is a little bigger then it with giving us more characters, and therefore more interesting sub plots.

Daniel Radcliffe and Ciaran McMenamin/David Copperfield: Now the guy at the end of the film did talk about how this book was more about the supporting characters then the main one because he was a little bland which was why Charles Dickens improved when he wrote a similar book years later. And as much as I hate to admit it with this character being half played by Daniel Radcliffe, I will admit that I can see where David can be viewed as a bland character. I mean like I said, he wasn't too far apart from Oliver Twist in the sense that he is something of an innocent, friendly boy who meets a lot of people both good and bad or somewhere in between. But I think he was a little more developed as the story went on and either way, I thought both Radcliffe and McMenamin gave good performances and that it makes it little wonder that through this film, Chis Columbus watched Radcliffe in it going "This is what I want. This is Harry Potter".

And that's my review for David Copperfield. The story may not be too different from Oliver Twist in a generalized sense, but it still gives us an enjoyable story with very good acting and amusing characters.

The Hurt Locker (2009)

Rating: 95%
Okay so here's the second movie that I was borrowing from my youngest brother along with Gladiator. So without further intro, let's get into The Hurt Locker.

Plot: Sergeant First Class William James becomes the leader of a  Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit during post-invasion Iraq after the units former leader was killed by a bomb. Throughout the film, the other members of the unit, Sanborn and Eldridge become concerned about James because his methods in how he does his job as they try to find and disable or destroy bombs, and encounter other missions and danger in Iraq.

This was a very well done war movie. And I actually have a friend who was in the military who has told that this movie really hits it pretty accurately with the war in Iraq. It really displays the suspenseful things that soldiers out there face out there with the hard relationships between the troops and the Iraqis, how hard some of the choices they make can haunt them, and altogether trying to survive long enough to go home. The actors really do an extremely good job at giving us these characters and what each one of them goes through throughout the movie.

Jeremy Renner/Sergent James: James was a very interesting character. He did have an interesting sort of 'I prefer my own way' kind of methods with disabling or destroying bombs, and I especially liked his line "If I'm gonna die, I want to die comfortable." But he did have his more serious side where he was determined to get the job done and he did really care for his unit and some times was dramatized about some pretty harsh stuff that was happening and Renner displayed all of that really well which makes it little surprise that he was nominated for Best Actor at the oscars and has make a breakthrough in his career since this movie.

Editing: I particularly liked the editing from the first scene of this film. Mostly because during one editing class I took at film school a couple of years ago, the teacher showed that particular scene and roughly took it apart and showing how every since choice of shot and time of cutting from one shot to another worked really well and I liked how much sense that makes even watching it not sometimes.

And that's my review for The Hurt Locker. It's an excellent Iraq war film that displayed a lot of things that happened around that time with very well made and acted characters that makes it probably the best Iarq war movie ever made.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gladiator (2000)

Rating: 65%
Well there a lot of Best Picture winner that my brothers own that I wanted to watch and review before they go back to college for the fall. And since the younger brother is going back sooner then the other, I thought I'd get his Best Picture movies out of the way. So I'm starting that with Gladiator.

Plot: Maximus is the general of the roman army in 180 A.D. where in the beginning of the film, he had just finished a battle against the Germanic. Shortly after the battle, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, asks Maximus to temporarily leadership of Rome when he's gone and to use it to return power to the senate of Rome, despite the fact that he has a son named Commodus. When Commodus find about about this, he murder his father and claims the throne, and then orders his men to kill Maximus and his wife and son back at his farm. Maximus escapes, but he rides home to find his family already dead and crucified. After he buries them, he is found unconscious by slave-traders who take him to Zucchabar, where he is forced to fight as a Gladiator.

Now I thought this movie was pretty darn good when I saw it a few years ago. But seeing it again...it's entertaining but it's still not that spectacular. I mean they seem to do an alright job in giving us the world of Rome from that time and some historical accuracy on a few levels for characters like Commodus and Lucilla, and the action was entertaining and more or less realistic looking. But the story was not all that impressive and most the characters were possibly a little too serious. I mean it had one light moment that I can think of, but it was all that big. I know it's a drama, but most of the dramatic stuff was not displayed all that well outside of just being serious as they say their lines.

Russel Crowe/Maximus: Of the actors that was a little too focuses on just being so serious, I would say Crowe did that the most. I mean sure he goes through a lot of stuff that are the whole reason for why he does that, but I think there were point where he could've done more then that. Like when he was crying when he saw the crucified bodies of his family; I liked one or two things he did to show Maximus' pain over the matter but on a while, I thought he was mostly displaying the same serious face only that he had his mouth a little wider or something around that.
Juaquin Phoenix/Commodus: I thought he was the best in terms of acting honestly. Because even though he was mostly serious too, he displayed much more emotion and sometimes even movement that helped him really display how Commodus is cowardly, ruthless and power hungry.

Music: I enjoyed the music a lot. My favorite tracks would be in most of the action music. I use to on soundtrack all the time when I was a kid long before I first watched this movie and it's just has a nice sense of adventure when it plays. 

Editing: Most of it is okay but there were a couple of things that I didn't like. Mostly how in a lot of the action scenes, especially in the first battle of the movie, there would be times where they're randomly showing a shot that's kind of in slow-motion or would keep cutting to shots where they're way too close up and the camera is shaking a lot. They have their points with stuff like that but I think it was a little much for both the slow-motion and the shaking cameras.

And that's my review for Gladiator. It's not the best with acting or story, but you can still enjoy it anyway with some decent history accuracy and some good battles scenes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Troll in Central Park

Rating: 0%
I just...I mean...I guess I used to see a trailer to this a lot on the VHS copy of Thumbelina when I was a kind and just always wanted to see it just do that I have and... I heard it was really bad, but it sometimes even practically astounds me how this movie really is bad. So to let's get on with me reviewing this movie and then let everybody move on with their lives.

Plot: In an underground world called the Kingdom of Trolls, flowers are banned by the evil queen Gnorga. But a kind troll named Stanley loves flowers and has the power to create them with his magical thumb. The queen find out about this and decides to turn him into stone, but then her husband suggests to send him to a place where "everything's rock and steel so he can't grow anything" (or something like that). So Gnorga agrees to his idea and banishes Stanley to Central Park. Stanley is miserable in Central Park until he comes across two children named Rosie and Gus and befriends them.

Ugh, I don't know where to begin outside of just plain saying that it was a horrid movie. Well let's start by putting it this way; during the beginning of The Nostalgia Critic's review for this movie he called it a parody of an actual kids movie. And he's pretty much right. The animation is not terrible but it has some pretty bad moments, the characters are stupid, the plot is cheesy and we are surrounded by things that come out of the blue that are weird or just don't make sense at all. I mean I'm sure this is film is innocent and cute it you're a 2 year old or something but after that it's a terrible movie that is filled with dumb/weird plot holes or stuff that's just plain dumb such as *WARNING SPOILERS...I MEAN YOU REALLY SHOULDN'T CARE BUT IF YOU DO...HERE'S THE WARNING* Gnorga somehow knowing exactly where to banish Stanley even though Llort didn't tell her exactly, Stanley's cave somehow turning into a place where dreams become a reality, Gus' dream was weird especially how that big pirates ship randomly blew up, no adults noticing anything that happen in central park even if it gets destroyed, the destroyed central park seems to have a castle or something even though it's central park, Gus' reaction to Rosie's "death" was just plain stupid...the list just goes on and on. *END OF SPOILERS* So really I'm just mentioning whatever plot holes or other issues are popping into my head but know that there are countless more. It's just a horrid movie and I do not recommend it.

Stanley: The one time dear Dom DeLuise (may he rest in peace) is the hero of a movie, and this is what happens. Stanley just was not entertaining. I mean I had to ask my friend Meg for help to find a descriptive way to explain why he's bad, and she said, and I quote; "He is one craized-up fruit loop that made any mythological characters want to kill themselves since all he wants is to make our planet green." And for the most part, she's right. I mean it's fine to want to go green for the sake of our environment, but if you're going to give us a character that's suppose to send that message, that character must be entertaining, which he's not. He was just cheesy, he created plants and stuff that were a little bit if not completely weird, and there's plenty of other reason that I can't think of right now as to why you just. can't. get. into. this. character.   

Music: The music was terrible, I mean both of Stanley's main songs were just terrible. I mean part of it is that they were a little too...lightly toned and the messages to them where just plain bland. Gnorga's villain song was just as bad because the melody and the lyrics and all that stuff just did not make it impressive at all as a villain song.

And that's my review for A Troll in Central Park. It's just a horrible kids more - if you'd even call it that - with bad story, bland characters, plot holes and stuff that's just plain weird. So if I were you, I'd stay away from this movie and pretend it doesn't even exist. Now if you need me, I'll be working on reviewing actual movies that are entertaining like Gladiator and The Hurt Locker.

Marty (1955)

Rating: 95%
Well almost exactly a month ago, we lost Ernest Borgnine which has been a terrible tragedy for many fans and film buffs who know his work. Sadly, I have hardly seen a thing from him besides voicing as Mermaid Man in Spongebob Squarepants. So after hearing his tragic death, I decided that it's long time that I take a look at what he seems to be best known for; being the star in the 1955 Best Picture winning movie, Marty.

Plot: Marty is a 34 year old Italian-American man who works as a butcher living with his mother. He's known to be socially awkward yet good-natured and his family and friends keep nagging at him over the matter that he hasn't gotten married while all of his siblings are married and some even have a couple of kids. Marty wants to get married but is tired of always being let down whenever he's interested in a girl. But one Saturday night, he and his best friend Angie go to a ballroom to find dates and along the way he meets this girl named Clara and they start to spend the evening together.

This is a very charming movie. The comedy is cute, the characters are entertaining, the story has been herd before, but you don't really care since it feels like this is the first time anyone has told it more or less and the way they tell is has some pretty good charm. I think my only problem would be that certain parts of the dialogue keep repeating just about every single time throughout the movie. I mean it's fine when it's done for comedy or something, but even when it makes a little bit of sense it seems a little off when it's happening even in the most dramatic parts of the movie. But I guess that's just the kind of world that the characters live in and sometimes such as during the very end, it can turn out to be utterly awesome.

Ernest Borgnine/Marty: Borgnine was excellent in this movie. He perfectly displayed this really kind - hearted guy that really has it hard socially and with trying to date women. I mean his performance from when he's finding out he's not getting a date from a girl earlier in the film is so perfectly done. You really care about what this guy goes through and with the situations that he's facing and Borgnine makes that happens very well.

And that's my review for Marty. It's a charming movie with a simple story, fun characters, splendid acting and just an excellent movie to watch that I think deserved to win Best Picture during its time.       

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Rating: 75%
FINALLY!!!! It took me long enough to finally watch this movie. Practically everyone's talking about how this movie is ssssssoooooooooo wonderful or something around that and telling me to watch it and I haven't really given myself the time up till about a week ago. So let's finally look into my thoughts about How to Train Your Dragon.

Plot: Hiccup is the son of a Viking chieftain in an island where the village is constantly attacked by dragons. Hiccup is considered a disgrace in the village because he can hardly do anything useful let alone kill dragons like everyone else. So during a dragon attack, Hiccup uses a cannon to capture a dragon that no one has ever seen called a Night Fury to try to no longer be an embarrassment to his father. But when he finds the dragon, he decides to set it free. But the dragon's tail is injured, keeping if from properly flying so slowly but surely, Hiccup begins to earn the dragon's trust and along the way names it 'Toothless' and invents a prosthetic tail for it and begin to learn to fly it.

Now I'll admit that this movie is not spectacular, but it still pretty good. The world's a little creative with the locations and the different kinds of dragons, the characters are good, and the comedy has some cute parts. The animation is also very good and the process of Hiccup and Tothless' relationship is interesting. My main problem would be the structure of the movie. I mean with Hiccup having his crush on Astrid, his secret about Toothless, his relationship with his dad and how it turns out in the end, it's roughly no different then a couple of other films. But it's still a good movie on how it's entertaining and while the way it's structured isn't great, it at least has a couple of things go differently, which I liked.

Hiccup: Well he was a nice characters but he wasn't all that unique. I mean he's trying to be a somebody and trying to get his dad's approval and all that jazz. So while he was still entertaining, that didn't stop him from not exactly being the most unique character in the film.
Toothless: Now I've heard how Toothless was suppose to look a little like Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, and...yeah I can see that. But honestly, whenever I saw Toothless I kept thinking of my dog Saddie. I know that sounds weird but as the movie progressed, Toothless had this sort of cuteness and just friendly animal personality that makes me keep thinking of my dog...that and they're both black I mean Toothless is a Night Fury and Saddie's a Black Lab. But anyway, Toothless was a pretty fun and likable character and I did like how he bonded with Hiccup.

And that's my review for How to Train Your Dragon. It's not structured super well, but it's still a little creative and has stuff that makes it a fun film to enjoy. So I only mostly agree with practically everyone who says that this movie's super awesome or whatever.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Porco Rosso (1992)

Rating: 80%
Alright so a little after seeing Ponyo, I got to this Miyazaki film. So here's my review for Porco Rosso.

Plot: Porco Rosso is a man that has been cursed which turns him into a pig. Since then he has become a famous bounty hunter in the Adriatic Sea in the interwar period, defending people from airborne pirates. One day the pirates hire an American fighter pilot named Curtis to help them get rid of Porco. Porco tries to fly away from them to Milan for repairs to his plane but Curtis shoots his plane down and leaves believing he's dead. So Porco has to sneak to Milan despite the fact that he's wanted all over Italy to repair his plane and get back at Curtis.

I think I'm starting to make it officially my point of view that a very well done Miyazaki film is a film that gives us a world/story that is so unique and creative and sometimes complex that I have to watch it twice to make sure I understand everything before reviewing it. So that would fall in line to part of why I particularly like Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service... maybe it's that way with Spirited Away (I am not sure if the times that I saw it years ago would really count for a couple of reasons) and I expect to feel the need to do that for that when I get to Princess Mononoke. Porco Rosso was a movie that I had to watch twice before reviewing it so, yeah it's a good movie. The story is creative, the setting is pretty cool particularly when we get more into Porco's past, the comedy if enjoyable and the characters (especially the Mamma Aiuto gang) are very fun to watch. There are a couple of things that I wish they got into more like how exactly Porco got his curse and all of that, but at the same time I'm kind of alright with it because that kind of makes the world of Porco Rosso still something of a mystery more or less which make it a little more interesting. Plus, (as per usual) we get a nice cast in the Disney version to this film with Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Susan Egan, Brad Garrett and David Ogden Stiers.

Porco Rosso: Normally I wouldn't be too big about a bounty hunter with a dark past or something like that since character more or less like that has been done plenty of times before, but I admit that this was not the case here. I think that's mostly because his past is more unique with the fact that it's mostly about him being turned into a pig and how we don't find out about every single thing about who he was before the events of the film. So that helped me care more about Porco and therefore be more willing to enjoy how he's a guy who looks after himself and yet has a sort of soft side about him.
Mamma Aiuto Gang Boss: Personally I liked the Mamma Aiuto Gang Boss the best because he was really hilarious. It seemed like everything was going wrong for him and he'd keep yelling at the top of his lungs over it and combining that with the animation to this movie made him a lot of fun to watch.

Music; Short answer. Well done just like any other Miyazaki film.

And that's my review for Porco Rosso. It's a creative, funny and all around an entertaining film though and through.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ponyo (2008)

Rating: 70%Alright so after this movie, there's only two movies left to review from Miyazaki from movies he did in Studio Ghibli. So let's move on to one I've been really curious about from looking at posters and stuff for, Ponyo.

Plot: Brunhilde is a fish-girl that lives with her magical father in his underwater aquarium. One day she sneaks out and floats away in a jellyfish to see more of the world. She then comes across a little boy named Sōsuke who rescues her when she gets stuck inside a class cup. But in the process, he cuts his finger from the glass and Brunhilde licks the cut healing him. They become attached to one another and Brunhilde starts talking, and Sōsuke starts to call her Ponyo.

Well I will admit that this is a very nice movie. The characters were pretty nice, the animation and all around world is pretty darn creative as it should as a Miyazaki film should, the cast is awesome with it containing, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, and Betty White. But while the story is nice and creative, it has its odd points. *WARNING SPOILERS* My main example is how there's the whole situation about the moon and the whole thing about the balance in the world. Then there's the something of a subplot with Fujimoto hating humans or something like that. Both of them were very odd because I don't think they went very far on which made both parts of the story kind of off. But by biggest issue was that they made the whole test over Sōsuke's love for Ponyo that is also deciding the fate of the earth really stupid simple: asking him if he loves her either as a fish or a human. I mean sure this movie is probably a little more intended for little kids around the age of the main characters of this film, but considering that this is about the fate of the earth and that they're testing Sōsuke's love for Ponyo, I thought it was a little too simple. And on top of it, Granmamare and especially Fujimoto seemed to take it a little too well that they're letting a little boy decide whether or not to have their VERY young daughter be human for good. I mean I'm sure his love is true and he means it that he'll protect her and he has his mom to help, but... I don't know, to be that big of a change for such young kids. Frankley, it kind of sounds more concerning then teenagers falling in love and getting married in most of the Disney film. But that's my opinion. * END OF SPOILERS*  But I digress, Ponyo is a very fun creative film to enjoy.

Sōsuke and Ponyo: They are very lovable characters. I mean that probably goes without saying since they're like, only 4 or 5 years old, but they do display that very well with the animation and the voice acting that makes them very fun to enjoy and make the film all around enjoyable for kids around that very young age.
Lisa: Well firstly, it was awesome to hear Tina Fey in one of the Disney versions to these films, but secondly, Lisa was kind of a strange character. I mean she was a crazy driver, and she kind of adapted to believing that Ponyo is what she really is surprisingly quickly. I mean she had her conversaion with Ponyo's mother about what was going to happen at the end of the movie, I bet rather then being concerned she just more or less went "Okay" and there you go.

Music: The music had a much more cheery tone then most Miyazaki films do which I think turned out very nicely to set up how this film is mostly set for very young kids.

And that's my review for Ponyo. I have a few issues with the story and the ending especially, but it's still a very fun, creative film from Miyazaki for people of all ages to enjoy.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Astro Boy (2009)

Rating: 20%
So...yeah I was looking for movie to put on hold at the library website and all of the sudden I thought of this movie and went, "what the heck" and decided to see it...so...here's my review for Astro Boy.

Plot: Toby is the son of Dr. Tamna who has trouble spending time with his son because of work for the president of the floating city, Metro City. Wanting to see his dad after school, he goes to his lab to watch what his father is doing. But Dr. Tamna's experiment goes wrong which results in getting Toby vaporized. Over come with grief, Dr. Tamna build a clone robot of Toby that is powered by one of the energy spheres that he's been working on called the Blue Core. The robot clone, while having Toby's memories, turns out to be much smarter and have more physical powers then the original Toby. So Dr. Tamna, tormented as to how the robot is not really Toby, he tells the robot Toby that he's not the real Toby and so it run away only to be chased by President Stone who is after the Blue Core that's keeping it alive.

Yeah...this is not a good movie. I mean sure, the animation is good and I thought the design for the villain during the final battle and all of that was kind of cool. But it's generally predictable, the characters are from okay to you've seen these character before countless times, and the voice acting - under the exception of Bill Nightly more or less, Nathan Lane and Samuel L. Jackson - was not that spectacular. If you're a fan of Astro Boy or just like these same kind of story that this movie tells, you're probably going to enjoy this anyway. But if you're like me and you find this to be plain cheesy and predictable you're only going to enjoy this because of some of the cast and the cool animation.

Astro: Like the movie itself, Astro (or Toby, whatever you prefer) was pretty cheesy and predictable. You know what he is, you know what heroic thing he's going to do, he just wasn't much of a character.
Dr. Tamna: Now I have to admit it, while Nicolas Cage wasn't much in terms of voice acting, I did like how this character was a little more realistic halfway through that movie. Cause when I was seeing trailers and tv spots for this film, I thought he was going to be this two-dimensional character who is giving Astro just undying love and encouragement. But then he starts realizing how this robot is not his real son and I liked that because that made him a more realistic character. It's a shame as to how he progresses as a character during the climax which I won't spoil for people who haven't seen it, but still, I liked how things were starting to go at first with this character.

And that's my review for Astro Boy. It has nice animation and some good casting in a couple of areas, but at the end of the day, it's just a predictable movie and I don't recommend it unless you're a die hard fan of Astro Boy.

Monster House (2006)

Rating: 80%
Oh my gosh did I hate that this movie did not win best animated feature at the Oscars. I mean Cars was just okay, hardly one of Pixar's strongest, and Happy Feet was cheesy and had a couple to adult content stuff that were surprising to find in a kid's movie, and it really won just because of it's environmental message to me. But this film was actually good and I find it an outrage that it didn't win. Why is that? let's find out.

Plot: DJ is a 12 year old boy who spies on his elderly neighbor, Mr. Nebbercracker who keeps taking toys that lands on his front lawn. While his parents are out to a convention, He plays some basketball with his best friend Chowder until the ball accidentally lands on Mr. Nebbercracker's lawn. They try to get it back until Mr. Nebbercracker chases them until he gets a heart attack and is sent to the hospital leaving the kids to believe that he's dead. But then the house comes alive and tries to eat Chowder and later a girl named Penny. So it's up to the three kids to figure out how to stop the house from eating the entire neighborhood.

This is a very nice movie. The characters are fun, the story is very nice and it gets much more interesting as the movie goes on, and most of the animation is pretty good. But I will admit that there's a very good reason I said most of the animation was pretty good. I do think they didn't go very big on quite a few facial expressions and body movement at some points in the movie. I mostly say this with DJ and Chowder during the first half of the movie where they lack a good amount of expression, and sometimes the body movement was so poorly done that there's been points where DJ's suppose to be so made that he kicks a piece of furniture, but really just touches it with his foot even though he's suppose to act mad over what had just happened. But otherwise, the animation is good. I especially like what they did with animating the house during the second half of the movie.

Music: It was pretty good. It had a decent Halloween tone to it that worked well in setting the movie.

And that's my review for Monster House. It's a fun animated movie that may have some issues like with facial expressions and body movement when it comes to the animation, but it's still a nice movie and it really should've won best animated feature instead of Happy Feet.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Robots (2005)

Rating: 60%
So I was looking at movies I could watch to make a nice head start of reviews after 300 besides Princess Diaries and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And then I decided to take a look at a movie I haven't fully seen since I saw it in theaters at a best friend's birthday party. So here's my review for Robots.

Plot: Rodney is a young robot who becomes an inventor who dreams of making the robot world a better place. He eventually decides to go to Robot City to show his latest invention - a robot named Wonderbot - to his idol, Bigweld, owner of Bigweld Industries. But when he gets there, he finds out that Bigweld is no longer in control of his company and that it is now controlled by Ratchet who stops manufacturing spare parts for old robots and decides to manufacture upgrades instead. An if robots can't get upgrades, they will end up in the under ground chop shop where they would be shredded and melted by Ratchet's mother, Madame Gasket. So while trying to find Bigweld and try to ask him to stop Ratchet, it's up to Rodney to keep older robots fixed before they end up in the Chop Shop.

Now for the most part, the story is not that original, but at least some of the other things in this movie were alright. The characters were fun, some of the comedy was fairly funny and even memorable at some particular points, and the animation was very good when it came to giving us a very creative world that these characters live in. Plus the casting is pretty cool with Mel Brooks, Robin Williams, Ewan McGregor surprisingly pulling off an American accent, and more surprisingly, we have Jim Broadbent (Horace Slughorn in the Harry Potter movies and Professor Kirkein the Narnia movies) turned out to be Madame Gasket. All around, Robots is an okay movies that you'll mostly enjoy because of it's cast, characters and the creativity they put into the world of this movie.

Rodney: Well like I said before, hats off to Ewan McGregor for pulling of an American accent for this movie. Otherwise, while Rodney is a fun character he's not terribly original like the plot itself. He has his dream, he's really good at something, and he just happens to come up with things that help everything to work out in the end. So while he is a fun character, his part in the movie isn't to creative.
Fender: Well he may not be The Genie or Adrian Cronauer, but for the most part he still was funny. Bringing us some good ol' Robin Wililams charm whether he's just using a really thick accent or referencing a movie or song like Braveheart or "Singin' in the Rain. Just a fun character all around from the guy. One of the very few he's given us in the very recent years.

Music: Most of the music in not that bad. I mean the score isn't swell but there's some points. Like the track for when we first meet Madame Gasket may not be swell especially with the singer who I thought sort of killed the move for the song. I mean he's not a bad singer or anything but I think it would've worked more it he was a little deeper. But otherwise found it to have a very nice rhythmic tone to it that if it just had one or two tweaks (such as the singer) it would've been probably awesome. As far as actual songs, the movie did have some nice moments. My personal favorite in both song and really moment in the film all around was when all of the sudden they were playing "Hit Me Baby One More Time." It was at such a random part of the movie which made it so, freaking, hilarious that when I saw it in theaters, I just could hardly stop laughing.

And that's my review for Robots. It's not much in story, but it's characters and the all around world still gives us a nice movie with some nice comedy and fun that you can enjoy.