Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Psycho (1960)

Rating: 100%
Yeah it's Halloween and as such, it is logical to review a classic or two. And with the Hitchcock movie coming up soon, what movie from that brilliant director would do the trick more this semester then Psycho.

Plot: Marion is a secretary who is in need of money to help her boyfriend pay off his debts. When she is sent to deposit 40,000 dollars to the bank by her employer, she instead takes the money and starts to drive off to Phoenix, Arizona where her boyfriend is on a business trip. If you want to know the rest...WATCH THE MOVIE!!!!!

I meant what I said from the end of the plot paragraph. If you haven't seen this film, then it's kind of my duty if you will as a fellow movie goer to see to it that you still don't know what happens until you have. I mean what can I say about this movie that many film reviews before me haven't' already said? It's just a very well done movie. The script, the characters, the editing, the music, it's all done so brilliantly. It's filled with so much excitement, mystery and suspense in ways that really take part in this film making both horror and film history.

Anthony Perkins/Norman Bates: What can I say about this character without giving anything away. He's just a brilliant psychotic character that was well written and well acted and it's little wonder he's # 2 on AFI's list of top villains.

Editing: I'm just going to confirm that the editing in the shower scene worked very well in creating the suspense and mystery.

Music: Now everyone has heard of the track where the violins are screeching at least dozens of times in their life even if they haven't actually seen the movie. And that worked very well with the movie and it's so big and unique that it's little wonder everyone's heard it even if they haven't seen the film. The rest of the soundtrack was very well done and I guess I would roughly agree with Alfred Hitchcock when he said that 33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music"

And that's my review for Psycho. I know I'm not giving much away for those of you who haven't seen it, but rest assured that it's for your own good and that for now you should just trust me and make sure that you don't wait much longer to see it for yourselves and know what I mean when I say that it's a total masterpiece straight off the bat.

The Lost Boys (1987)

Rating: 80%
It is Halloween again ladies and gentlemen. Specifically, the very last Halloween before the finally witness the very last Twilight film at long last. But the very sad thing about it aside from the fact that Twilight ever existed is the sheer fact that because it exists, all most of us are going to think of when we hear the word 'vampire', are going to be about Twilight vampires with the expressionless acting, super pale faces and most of all...the sparkling. So I'm going to try to rescue as many people's Halloweens as I can with this review to remind you of a time where there were movies with REAL vampires filled with actual blood-sucking, acting, action and real teenage romance that we can dig. So THIS is a vampire movie you should see this Halloween. THIS is a tale with REAL vampires. THIS is The Lost Boys!

Plot: Michael and his younger brother Sam move to Santa Carla with their recently divorced mother to live with her father. While they are hanging out at the amusement park Broadwalk, Michael becomes interested in a girl named Star who lives with a local gang leader named David who convinces him to a motorcycle race. David later invites him into the gang's lair where he makes him part of the gang by drinking an ornate bottle of wine. But afterwords, Michael and Sam notice that Micheal's reflection in a mirror is barely appearing and he starts to accidentally fly. Michael comes back to the gang to find out that they're all vampires and because he drank the wine (which was actually David's blood), he is a vampire too. So Michael, Sam, Sam's friends who are self-claimed vampire hunters, and Star who is revealed to be a half-vampire, work together to find a way to be cured from Michael and Star being vampires.  

Now to be honest, the first...28 ish minutes of this film wasn't that enjoyable for me, mostly in the sense that since this is a Joel Schumacher film, it did have crazy lights and some motorcycle race and things like that that made me think a little too much about Batman & Robin. I mean I honestly wonder if the motorcycle race in that film was there just so Schumacher could do the exact same thing he did for this film. But once Michael turn into a vampire, the rest is real teen-horror film history (or may as well be in my opinion.) It's dark, it's suspenseful, the action is awesome (for its time) some of the comedy is cute, and the story just plain works in terms of the fact that this is what vampires should be about and what kind of story it should be when it's a vampire story involving teenagers. Just horror, action, little bit of teen romance, and actual vampires that sleep during the day, fly around killing people and sucking their blood at night, no sparkling, no looking at expressionless girls weirdly, no baseball or anything else that has to do with Twilight!!!

So that's my review for The Lost Boys. It acts too familiar to some of the things that make you think Batman & Robin or maybe even Batman Forever just because it's a Joel Schumacher film at first, but once the actual vampires kick into the picture, it gives you an actual teen-horror film with actual vampires that is easily an entertaining movie that you can enjoy for yourself this Halloween.   

The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Rating: 70%
Now I've been meaning to review this movie for a while with the whole deal of going through a bunch of musicals to prepare for Les Mes. So here's basically my review for the film adaption of one of my favorite musicals during my middle/high school years: The Phantom of the Opera.

Plot: Christine is a chorus girl for an opera house in Paris where its previous manager is retiring and is being replaced by two men named Firmin and Andre. But on the night of their introduction shortly before the night of a production, the main female singer leaves after an accident that is believed to be caused by the "Opera Ghost", so she takes her place and becomes a hit that night. Afterwords she reunited with Raoul her childhood sweetheart, but when he leaves to fetch a carriage for them, the "Opera Ghost" (whom Christine thinks is an "angel of music" who was sent by her father to give her her singing voice after he died), comes into her room and bring her to his lair.

As I've said, I'm a fan of the musical itself, and I think this is an enjoyable adaption of it. It was loyal to the story most of the time, the acting was good, and the scenery really works with telling this particular story. But some of the things that happens are a little...out of place I think I should say. I mean the singing was good in a general sense, but I think the issue most people will have that are fans of the musical will be that some of the choices of singers when it comes to some of the characters of the film to not be the most ideal choice. That might be a biased thought considering most of us who feel that way probably do because we're so used to the original soundtrack to the musical that we may have issues just because the actors in this film don't sound just like the ones from it. I mean that's partly what I feel when it comes to the singing with this movie, but it's also the fact that they changes some of the music in a couple of ways that I find unnecessary. My main examples are how there are points where they might just say the lyrics rather then sing them and also that sometimes they change the lyrics. Now with changing the lyrics, it makes a little amount of sense a couple of times during the second half of the movie because one or two of the things that they sing about didn't happen in this adaption. But after that, the fact that they do that as well as sometimes saying the lyrics instead of singing them in my opinion was generally very pointless without a doubt. But all the same, I think that whatever problems it has, I still think it's good enough in the sense that it gives us a well done adaption of the musical through and through making the film a nice time at the least.

Gerard Butler/The Phantom of the Opera: Now most people nowadays particularity make fun of Gerard Butler for his singing as The Phantom of the Opera. Would I agree to what they say?...well sure. I mean in all fairness, the guy can sing, heck, he probably pulls off being The Phantom better then some of us (at least me for sure). But does that make him the perfect person for the role? No. He can sing, but not exactly well enough for the role and...personally I didn't like how he sounded. I mean that in the sense that while even when we was singing fine, he didn't sound evil or menacing or all around convincing to the The Phantom. He sounded more like a normal kind of guy who's just singing songs from The musical. But I think he did...decent for what it's worth and he did look cool at times as the phantom (mostly with his cape on)

And that's my review for The Phantom of the Opera. In terms of singing, change of lyrics or saying the lyrics instead of singing them and with the all around choice of person to play The Phantom, it's not the greatest version of The Phantom of the Opera ever made, but I think it's enjoyable enough primarily as being a film adaption of the musical in particular.   

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mean Girls (2004)

Rating: 65%
This was a film I remember seeing only once through the dish at home during... I think my sophomore year of high school. I kind of wanted to watch it again to see if it really is as nice of a film as I remember it. Now I have just done that, so here's my review for Mean Girls.

Plot: Cady is a 16 year old girl who has been home-schooled all her life due to her parents' work in Africa. But her parents have decided to get her to interact with with kids her age so they send her to a public high-school. She has trouble fitting in the first day, but she then eventually befriends a Gothic girl named Janis and a gay guy named Damien who help her understand the society of high school. They particularly warn Cady about going anywhere near the trio of popular girls called The Plastics. But when The Plastics take an interest in her and accept her into their group, Janis and Damien decide to use the oppertunity to spy on them and get revenge for the things they're done to them. Cady isn't too much into their scheme at first, but when the lead Plastic, Regina deliberately steals back her ex-boyfriend knowing that Cady has a crush on him, she decides to take part in Janis and Damien's plan.

Now this movie isn't entirely as good as I remember it, but it's at least a nice film still. Part of the matter I think is that this film is not really for everybody due to how it's solely just showing the life of girls that think they're all so popular or otherwise just another film that really displays what life is like in high school...even if it's a bit exaggerated at points in my opinion. But that aside, while the story has a few cliches, it did have a couple of things that where creative or at least clever that helped make the movie more enjoyable. Some of the comedy was cute, the characters were alright, and...well it's definitely nice to see Tina Fey and that woman from Park & Recreation in the movie (I mean I never really bothered to see that show but I'm sure some of you who have will like seeing here there.)

Lindsay Lohan/Cady: Entertainment Weekly stated once that there was a time where Lindsay Lohan was best known for her acting rather than her party-hopping. Sadly I have to agree. I remember a time when I though Lohan was an enjoyable young adult actress to watch with this movie and also the reboots of Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap. (both of which I might eventually review soon) All the same, she was enjoyable in this film and...for old yet mostly forgotten times sake, let's pray that maybe one day looking at gossip and news of her being arrested or on trial is somehow no longer all we hear anymore about Lindsay Lohan.
Rachael McAdams/Regina: She was good too. Thought I have a hard time she's the same woman who plays Irene Adler in the Sherlock Holmes movies. *shrugs* just comes to show that she can be totally different characters when it comes to her being a 'queen bee' in this movie and Iron Ma- I mean Sherlock Holmes' love interests in two others.

And that's my review for Mean Girls. It's not as good as I remembered, but it can still be good as far goes as some nice story telling and comedy, a fair interpretation of what life in high school can be, and a monument if you will, for what Lindsay Lohan once was. 


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

Rating: 35%
I've reviewed the first movie, now it's time for the second one...nuff said really.

Plot: The zoo animals along with King Julien and Maurice repair the crashed and fly off back to New York. But then the plane starts working to they crash into Africa. There Alex finds his parents who lost him when he was kidnapped by hunters which eventually lead him to live in the Central Park Zoo, Marty meets a herd of zebras who appear and sound just like him, Melvin becomes the witch doctor for the entire reserve, and Gloria becomes attracted to a smooth-talking hippo named Moto Moto. But then Alex has to do a ritual to earn his right as the son of an alpha lion, but is lead to believe that it's a dance competition, and Melvin starts to reveal that he has feelings for Gloria.

This wasn't all that better. I mean I understand that critics at say it's "an improvement on the original, with more fleshed-out characters, crisper animation and more consistent humor,". And...well I do agree that the animation was better. Are the characters more fleshed-out...I guess...well I think the better thing to say is that they are more fleshed-out compared to the first one, but not by much. The humor...I honestly think is just the same it was from the first movie. Not as clever, but it did have some cute comedy still. But what really makes this movie not that grand was the story. It just was generally less as original as the first movie because it was roughly similar to films like The Lion King and Happy Feet (again, RT) and while the Melvin-Gloria romance might seem interesting, when I think off it, all I think about is the romance between Ross and Rachel from F.r.i.e.n.d.s. and how there's the fact that David Schimmer (who played Ross in the show) voices Melvin on top of the fact that the romance is pretty much the same exact thing. All in all, it's the same thing, it's just a little worse in terms of the lack of originality with the story.

So that's basically my review for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. You might enjoy it for how things with the animation and characters are slightly better and enjoy the comedy, but it really is just the same thing only that the plot takes things from a couple of movies and kick-a tv show. (sorry I just had to put it that way. I's F.r.i.e.n.d.s. for heaven sakes.) 

Madagascar (2005)

Rating: 60%
Okay so I recently decided that I wanted to take a look at the third Madagascar movie soon since it so surprisingly well at the box office, but then there's the fact that I have yet to review the first two movies. So here's my review for Madagascar.

Plot: Marty is a Zebra who lives in the Central Park Zoo with his best friend Alex the lion, Gloria the hippo and Melvin the giraffe. During his tenth birthday, Marty begins to dream that he goes to the wild. His friends think he's crazy and love their lives in the zoo. But then Marty escapes and his friends go after them but are captured and are sent off to be transferred. But while they're being shipped, a group of penguins from the zoo who are also being transferred take over the shop which results in the other animals falling off the ship and being washed ashore to Madagascar.

This was just an okay movie. The story is not all that original, but it manages to be entertaining to have some really cute (and sometimes clever) jokes, and characters that are a fair/okay amount of fun. The animation is okay, but I think they give... I don't want to say too much movement but with cases like Marty and Alex especially I feel like they're giving the characters too much energy and speed...i don't know if that makes sense to you guys but that how I feel.

Music: I enjoyed the soundtrack to this movie. I mean it has a fair lot of songs that everyone knows like "Chariots of Fire", "Stayin' Alive" and "What A Wonderful World". But what makes the soundtrack, and probably the whole film in general memorable in anyway is the films version of "I Like to Move It". I mean I've heard of a couple of other versions and they're...okay I guess, but it's this version  that really makes the song big, fun and very catchy. This version is just very enjoyable and...admittingly, Sacha Baron Cohen did a good job in really making this song more known.

And that's my review for Madagascar. It's not the most original animated film you'll ever see, but it at least gives us some nice characters, enjoyable comedy, and a soundtrack that has a version of the song that might be more memorable then the movie itself, that makes it an okay animated movie to watch. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Forrest Gump (1994)

Rating: 95%
You know, there are a lot of movies that you never want to forget seeing for the first time. Most of them in our modern time would be big movies that we go to the midnight showings of like The Dark Knight Rises and the last Harry Potter film. But some of the ones we don't want to forget seeing for the first time aren't as big as that. Some can be cases like for me with this movie where I roughly had just gone home from school back in the 5th grade and my mom was soon to play this movie. So without much left to say about that for right now, here's my review for Forrest Gump.

Plot: Forrest is a man with a sort of learning disability who is waiting for the bus at the bus stop and is telling some other people who are waiting for the bus the whole story about his life with how had had to wear leg braces as a kid, became a college football star, was in the Vietnam war, and all sorts of things while thinking about his childhood friend that he immediately fell in love with named Jenny.

What can I say? I really like this movie. The story is well written, the characters are lovable and well acted and it's a very innocent and adorable movie that has a few cute comedy moments, the soundtrack gives us some pretty memorable songs from all those eras like "Fortunate Son" and "Hound Dog" may seem a little too innocent for some people, but a very well done film. Now there's a fair amount of people who believe that Shawshank Redemption should've won best picture instead of this film. I've only seen that film once a couple of years ago, but based on what I remembered about it, sure, I can understand their opinion. Shawshank Redemption was a very well made dramatic film with very well done acting (I mean one of those actors was Morgan Freeman for...well...Morgan Freeman's sake). But personally I like this one better because it's much more touching and moving and it's a movie that possibly is one that more people can enjoy a little more then Shawshank Redemption. And even if it isn't, at least Shawshank Redemption - much like The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring when it came to A Beautiful Mind - lost to a respectable movie... unlike some OTHER movies *glares at Out of Africa and Shakespeare in Love*

Tom Hanks: Now I know some people are probably over this character because in a way it's like Titanic, you've heard/seen it a million times and whole the whole basis of the story/character. BUt that doesn't excuse that Hanks still did a brilliant job. His performance was well made, original, innocent and was just so believable and his emotional moments were so well done. I don't know about his performance in Philadelphia, but I know deep down that he deserved his memorable performance as Forrest, Forrest Gump.

And that's my review for Forrest Gump. It's a cute innocent, happy yet very sad movie was well written, beautifully acted, and while Shawshank Redemption possibly should've won instead that year, it's still a wonderful movie and a respectful one for Shawshank Redemption to lose to.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Sting (1973)

Rating: 95%
So originally I planned to review Braveheart, but due to a couple of things, I felt more into finally reviewing this movie. So here's my 350th review: The Sting.

Plot: Johnny Hooker is a con artist who works with his partner Luther. He cons an unsuspecting victim with Luther where they gain $11,000 dollars in cash. But then the victim turns out to be a number racket courier for a crime boss named Lonnegan who has Luther killed and begins searching for Johnny. Johnny comes to a once-great con artist named Gondorff who was a friend of Luther's to learn from him and also ask him for help to make a big con against Lonnegan to have his revenge.

This is a very clever and light-filled movie. I mean it is slightly told in a way that's complex enough that you probably have to watch it more then once to make sure you understand everything, but that could just be the case for me. Either way, it is still a well-written film, with characters that are fun to watch and are well acted (particularly with Paul Newman and Robert Redford), and a story that's cleverly written and is told very well. Plus, while it does a nice job displaying how times where hard during the events of the film, it still manages to make things feel fun and light-hearted.

Music: If there's one thing I'm sure you're probably familiar with from this movie, it's the music. And when I say music, I especially mean the track "The Entertainer".  It's just a fun and classical tune that is well known most likely more then the movie itself. If you haven't heard of this song, you should check it out. If anything, it's one ragtime song that should be very well remembered even today.

And that's my review for The Sting. It's a clever and well made, light-filled film that is a fun movie to enjoy, simple as that.

Grand Hotel (1932)

Rating: 70%
Alright so next for best picture winners from the 30's is Grand Hotel. So here's my review for it.

Plot: The story is set at this grand hotel in Berlin where Baron Felix von Geigern is there to steal a necklace from a Russian ballerina named Grusinskaya. But while he is planning this, he befriends a very nice old man named Kringelein who is dying of an illness and his spending his money on the hotel to make the most of life, and also becomes interested in a stenographer named Flaemmchen who is assisting her boss in a business deal. But one night while Felix is trying to steal Grusinskaya's necklace, she comes to her room unaware of him and is stressing about her career and is tempted to commit suicide, but he stops her and they engage in conversation overnight and become attracted to each other to the point where she decides to offer him to come with her to Vienna. Felix agrees and so decides to find a way to get the money to go.

This movie I thought was just nice. The story was good, the characters have a nice amount of charm (especially Kringelein), and it was just nicely acted. I think my issue with it was that it didn't cling on too me as much as I would've hoped on a whole. I mean I'm not saying it's bad, I mean I know it's a good film, that's why I'm rating it a 70%, but somehow I wasn't as appealed as I wanted to. I have no idea why, but that's just me. But I will say that what happens roughly close to the end of the movie did make it much more interesting. Because while possibly not everyone will like what happened, that's roughly when I started to be more interested in what was happening to these characters. In fact, I wish there was more to the story then what they gave us considering certain characters. But I digress.

So that's basically my review for Grand Hotel. It may have taken a while before I could really get into it and even, I wish there could be more, but it's still a nice movie with good story and characters and is all around a good best picture winner to watch from those days...I mean it definitely beats the crap out of Cimarron and Broadway Melody (I know that's from the 20's) if not anything else.

Won't Back Down (2012)

Rating: 65%
Okay so a couple of weeks ago, this friend of mine had a birthday party that was basically going to the movies and then going to Red Robin. So this is the review of the movie we saw: Won't Back Down.

Plot: Jamie is a single mom who works at two jobs while her daughter is going to a failing school. Eventually she has enough of how much the school is not taking the need for giving the children's education seriously, so she along with one of the teachers of the school, Nona try to round up the parents and the teachers and try to change the educational system.

Now I saw a trailer to this just one time, and I thought it was going to be a movie that's full of cliches. And yes this movie is indeed full of cliches but I think it gets away with it. I mean while the beginning and end is full of the more common cliches it's the middle of the film that makes it a nice movie because with it, we get more story and character development that -while isn't too big - does pull your heartstrings enough that you will possibly get a little emotional and altogether care for what is really happening to these characters and start to care more for what is happening to them.

Maggie Gyllenhaal/Jamie: Energetic would be the right word to describe her performance. I mean she did have her serious side with how much she really cared for her daughter and how she was willing to go the distance, which is part what made this a nice movie. But at the end of the day, what really stood out with her character was how she was so full of energy.
Viola Davis/Nona: Nona was the character you can eventually care for the most in this film. I mean she wasn't into it right away but when she is, she brings out a performance that's just wonderful. I mean she's just an excellent actress all around. (and that's the thing; she should've won best actress at the awards this year for The Help instead of Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. I know it's Meryl Streep, but in my opinion, there's no point in even nominating her when an actress like her may as well be above the Academy Awards when it comes to her reputation.)
Holly Hunter/Evelyn: I was surprised to learn that she was in this movie. I mean I haven't seen her in a recent movie since...The Incredibles I think. But all the same, she also did a very good job and I did like the monologue she had about the story about her family.

And that's my review for Won't Back Down. It's a very cliche movie but it has enough development and characters that pull your heartstrings that makes it a nice movie to watch...maybe just once.  

Frankenweenie both (1984) and (2012)

Rating: 65%
Okay so this past Monday, one of my best friends who is a big Tim Burton fan and I went to see Frankenweenie in theaters. But shortly before he picked me up for that, I found a youtube link were I could quickly watch the short film that it's based off of. So here's my review for both the short and full-length films of Frankenweenie.

Plot: Victor Frankenstein is a young boy who has a dog named Sparky who is also his best friend. But after Sparky gets hit by a car, Victor is left heartbroken and is wishing nothing less then to have Sparky back. So when he learns a few things about electricity in his science class, he gets the idea to take Sparky's body and create an invention to bring him back to life. He succeeds in resurrecting him, but he wants it to become a secret for fear of how people will react. But eventually Sparky is discovered and that's where things get out of control for him and Victor.

Now the short film I thought was just nice. It was cute and fun and is easily a kind of film for kids to enjoy. However one issue I have is how similar it is to Frankenstein. I mean I know that's the idea, but they set the story to make it a little too similar, particularly when it comes to the climax of the film. But all the same it's still a cute, simple short film that is a nice little time for kids to enjoy.

Rating: 75%

Okay now I'm going to be completely honest; when I first saw the trailer to this film, I didn't think it was going to be all that great. I just thought it was going to be cheesy plain and simple and that while it wasn't going to be Razzie worthy, it still wasn't going to be that great. And by the time I finished watching the short film, I felt that way a little more because it made it seem like the idea of the story was too simple to actually work as a full-length movie. But surprisingly, I was proved wrong. I mean the first half of the movie was generally predictable considering how much it was basically most of what happens in the short film. But what happens in the second half- while not too incredibly original - actually made the movie a whole lot better. I mean during the first half of the movie, Burton did give us a fair amount of supporting characters that were pretty good, and then what he ends up using them for in the second half of the movie - I won't give anything away to those who haven't seen it of coarse - I thought was a really clever. The idea may not have been entirely explained per say, but altogether it made me go "...okay...I can dig this. This works as a full-length film." And also the animation was really good, particularly with Mr. Rzykruski, who both in terms of being a character but mostly with his appearance was creepy as frick.

So that's my review for both the short and full-length films of Frankenweenie. The short film may have been a little too similar to Frankenstein, but it was a nice simple fun film. And while the full-length film had his predictability due to mostly the first half, the second half makes up for it with good supporting characters and a climax that makes the idea of Frankenweenie as a full length film far more interesting. Both are good, the full-length one is better, but you'll probably have a nice fun time watching either one.

True Romance (1993)

Rating: 95%
Okay so when I posted my review for Top Gun to my Film Buffs group on Facebook, one of the guys in the group, Mina (or Marshall as I tend to call him) agreed with what I said and also suggested that I take a look at another Tony Scott (Requiescat in pace (Rest in peace in Italian)) movie that he considered to be a really good movie, particularly since it was also written by Quentin Tarantino. So I just watched it a couple of nights ago, so here's my review for True Romance.

Plot: Clarance is a comic book store clerk who meets a woman named Alabama while watching a triple feature in the theaters on his birthday. They seem to hit it off, but after sleeping with each other, Alabama admits that she actually is a call girl who was hired by Clarance's boss as a birthday present to him, but she admits that she actually really is in love with him and he admit that he feels the same for her. So they get married and start to live happily, but then Clarance decides to kill Alabama's pimp, Drexel, who is also a drug dealer so Alabama can be left alone and then steals the coke that Drexel have leaving him and Alabama to plan to go to L.A. to sell it. But they eventually are being chased by a Detroit mafia boss who owns the cocaine that Drexel actually stole.

Mina was totally right. This was a really, really good movie. I mean the story was very well written but it's all the other stuff that really makes this movie interesting. I mean the romance is good...if you like that kind of romance that our modern society likes...which I'm not into, but if you do, you'll probably enjoy it. The action was very well done and was really suspenseful and even really deep at some particular moments. And the casting and acting is awesome. I mean my main issue with this film is that some supporting cast members are not in the film as often as you would love to such as Samuel L. Jackson, and Val Kilmer. But some are there for a decent about of time like Brad Pitt and also Christopher Walken who both did some pretty good jobs. But my favorite performance in the film bar none was Gary Oldman as Drexel. I mean I knew he was a good actor before, but holy cow did he really prove how far he can go into being a completely different person. It was pretty remarkable and I wish I could've seen more for him in particular.

And that's my review for True Romance. It's a well-written and acted romantic crime film filled with an awesome cast, plenty of romance (or at least romance as far as our modern world goes), action-packed and is all around a very good time and I side with Mina that as far as I know, this is probably the best movie that Tony Scott came up with hands down.     

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

American Beauty (1999)

Rating: 100%
I've been waiting probably too long to see this movie. I've always wanted to know what was so big about it to win best picture along with being one of my brother's favorite films. But now I have finally seen it, so here's my review for American Beauty.

Plot: Lester Burnham is a middle-aged magazine writer who has a bland marriage with his wife and has a high school daughter that barely talk to him anymore. But when he comes to his daughter's cheer-leading performances, he notices her friend Angela and becomes entranced by her beauty to the point that he wants to sleep with her.

This film turned out to be a lot better then I thought it was going to be honestly. I mean I was concerned that I wasn't going to think that it wasn't all that great because I already knew what it was generally about, but thankfully, it didn't turn out that way. I mostly say that because this film didn't focus so hard on Lester wanting to have sex with Angela, it also gave us all these side stories and characters like Lester's family and their neighbors and so on which were very enjoyable - and in the case of Jane and Ricky, fascinating. Also the acting is extremely well done. And the cinematography is beautiful, and you can also enjoy the symbolism that this film gives us - particularly when it comes to using roses or rose petals.

Kevin Spacey/Lester: He gave an excellent performance. Just displaying how much Lester went though and how he kept changing as a person throughout it was very well done. And while not telling you what happens during the end, I thought what he did was fairly noble.
Wes Bentley/Rickey: I really liked how unique his character was. I mean while we got to know Rickey more he became so much more fascinating to watch in a way that made me care more and more about what he's going through and with what might happen to him. Bentley really did an terrific job in his acting.

And that's my review for American Beauty. It's a beautifully put together film with fascinating stories, interesting characters, excellent cinematography and symbolism and just a perfectly done movie all around.      

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crash (2004)

Rating: 90%
Okay so up to a couple of days ago, I never fully saw this movie up still the last...half hour or so. But now I have and here's my review for Crash.

Plot: The film is set with all these stories that kind of mash together. They're mostly about a Persian shop owner who can't read English but his daughter does, a detective who is looking for his missing brother, two African Americans who carjack a district attorney and his wife, a hispanic locksmith who is trying to make his 6 year old daughter feel safe, a police man who molests an african american's wife while he and his partner pulls them over, and his partner who wants to transfer from him because of it. During the events of the film all these people are facing all these problems; mostly problems with racism.

Okay that's not too much of an explained plot, but I think that's the best way to explain what the movie is generally about with all of these characters to focus on. Anyway, this was a very nice movie. It was beautifully acted, some of the stories were really emotional, it did give a good message that - while it could've over done it somewhat as some critics have felt - I think was something that we should still keep in mind even today. But what really makes this a good movie was some of the scenes during the second half of this film. I won't tell what happens of coarse but these scene are darn powerful. You will get scared, you might cry, you might manage to to be happy at the end of one particular scene, they're 

Sandra Bullock/Jean: Okay so I guess I was wrong in the sense that she didn't entirely turn out to be a spectacular actress until The Blind Side. Sandra Bullock wasn't in this movie a whole lot but she did a great job as Jean whenever she was.
Michael Pena/Daniel: I think he gave out the best performance in the entire movie. I mean what happened to his character a little close to the very end was powerful and how the performed it was just perfect. Nuff said really.

And that's my review for Crash. It's a powerful movie with brilliant acting and some of the most powerful and emotional scenes you'll probably have ever seen in your whole life.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Not Forgotten (2009)

Rating: 35%
Okay so earlier this week I was in my Film/Video Business class and our professor planned for us to watch this movie because one of the...producers I think it is for this film, is going to guest star if you will on our class on the 17th. So here's the film we saw: Not Forgotten.

Plot: Jack Bishop is a loan officer in Texas who is also the Soccer coach for his 11 year old daughter, Toby's team and is remarried to Amaya. One day during soccer practice, Toby is found missing and presumably kidnapped. So Jack and Amaya along with the police start looking for Toby and to try to arrest the kidnapper, but while this is happening, Jack starts finding her with his own investigation where we begin to know more about his life.

Now this movie go very low reviews because critics find it very predictable. Do I agree? Yes. While I didn't find it too predictable, there were a couple of things that I did figure out where going to happen. Although personally, I kind of liked the story anyway. It was predictable for sure, but it was also unique and kind of interesting. I mean what we later find out about Jack and all of this other stuff may not have been the most brilliant thing I've heard, but...I don't know I guess I just ended up enjoying the story that they were telling anyway even though it was predictable. Plus this film does have Chloe Grace Mortez who wasn't there as long as I would've liked but she was still there and eventually turned out to have a decent cool character which is always a plus.

And that's my review for Not Forgotten. I might've enjoyed the story personally, but it's still very predictable and altogether not the most remarkable movie ever seen.

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Rating: 100%
Million Dollar Baby...what more do I need to say?

Plot: Maggie is a waitress who shows up in a Los Angeles gym called the Hit Pit in hopes to be trained by its owner, Frankie to become a professional boxer. Frankie doesn't want to train her because of her age and gender, but she keeps working out at the gym tirelessly even when he keeps trying to discourage her. Eventually after finding a trainer that turn out to not be very helpful for her, he agrees to train her and work on making her way to welterweight boxing division.

This is a spectacular movie. The acting is brilliantly done, the story was well wrote, it was full of drama, action and even some cute moments of comedy, all that good stuff. Now most critics seem to not really care for what happens around the second half of the film, and sure I can respect that. What happens is not for everyone, but to me, while I still don't like what happened, I also think it works when it comes to telling a dark, dramatic and slightly unique story.

Clint Eastwood/Frankie: Now I can't really say how Clint Eastwood was as an actor because I haven't seen much of his fact I think this is the only one I've seen. (Yeah I know, I'm living under a rock) But he still gave us a really good character. I mean what I particularly liked about him the second time I watched this film that I didn't the first time was how he was always just being careful in a caring sort of way when it comes to who he trains and who the person he trains fights. I know that's meant to be his weakness of sorts but I liked that anyway, especially with just the way he displays it.
Hilary Swank/Maggie: Yeah. She deserved the Oscar win. Just the way she was acting with how she had gone from just a waitress to being a boxer and then go to what happens during the end was just beautiful, realistic-looking, and just so well done.

And that's my review for Million Dollar Baby. While some my not like the second half, it's still a wonderful, dramatic film that is easily a masterpiece.    

Cimarron (1931)

Rating: 50%
So next on the list among best picture winners is Cimarron's my review for that.

Plot: Yancy Cravat is a man from around the late 1800s who moves his family to the Oklahoma territory where he eventually becomes a lawyer and a newspaper editor. Over the years he becomes a leader for the town of Osage, but eventually he decides to disappear and settle in Cherokee Strip leaving his wife to fend for herself back at home.

...meh. That's all I really feel about this movie. The acting is fine and things like that, but the story doesn't really cling on to me. Sometimes it's interesting to see what Yancy is going to do and how he does it. I mean I thought the character was very interesting whenever he would make these big speeches and quote all these bible verses and stuff like that, and with that you can at least like how he is something of a noble and wise man deep down. But when you look at the big scale of what he does, it's all just about conquering and having a stupid big empire or be practically the king of the world, roughly somewhat similar to Charles Foster Kane and Willie Stark in Citizen Kane and All The King's Men respectively. And the whole deal with him disappearing all the time during the second half of the film makes the movie drag a lot throughout the remainder of the film and kind of ending it that way without much of a climax or really any sort of big conflict for that matter.

So that's really is all there is to say for my review for Cimarron. The whole thing just gives you an okay story with a semi-interesting main character that may have been spectacular during its time, but in today's standards is not really the most memorable best picture winner. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)

Rating: 60%
Okay so I'm finally at the last of the High School Musicals so...let's just get this over with so I can review something else musical related to prepare for Les Mes.

Plot: Well all the Wildcats are in their senior year and have recently won the basketball championship game a second time. But now the theater teacher Mrs. Darbus is making a musical that's all about the seniors and has also announced that Troy, Sharpay, Ryan and Kelsi all have a spot in the Julliard School (even though Troy didn't apply). Troy is having trouble to know which school to go to because his family and Chad have all originally planned to go to the University of Albuquerque to major in basketball, while Gabriella is secretly considering going to Standford early which will result in her missing the musical.

This is not that grand of a movie just like the rest of them, but it's SO much more bearable. I mentioned in my review to the second film that my friend Kabrina who's a HSM geek thinks that this one was the worst while I KNOW that the second is the worst. Her basic argument is that this one is the worst because it doesn't really have a plot. And yes, I can agree that the plot - while also still being cheesy and all that jazz - is thinner then the plot of the first two movies because while it's there, the things that the characters face aren't as conflicting as it has been for them in the first two films. But to me, the plot being that thin is one of the best parts of the movie. Part of why the first two were bad - second one especially - was because of the conflict that was not only cheesy but just so. plain. fricking. stupid. Here we can watch HSM without a whole lot of that and mostly just have a lot of big musical numbers that help actually make this film bearable. Because another reason why this movie is much more bearable then the first two will ever be are the musical numbers where the songs were bigger, the choreography was actual, well-thought of choreography (well...when it's not a Troy and Gabriella song anyway.), and it had big sets, choir/dance members, and all around felt like this was and actual musical which - if you like musicals - altogether made this movie much more entertaining. So yes, it's still cheesy, doesn't have all that grand of characters and the plot is still thin to the point where even some HSM geeks like Kabrina know to not be all thrilled with how the movie turned out. But if  you're like me and you want less story considering what the first two films gave us and would like to see an actual fairly made musical (or at least as much of a musical as it can possibly despite still being HSM) then you may agree with me that this movie turned out to be something of an 'eh' kind of movie.

Music: Alright final round in judging these HSM songs. First there's the songs that I rank Bland and Forgettable: "High School Musical", "I Just Wanna Be With You", and "Walk Away". Then there's the rank that I have adjusted to to Just So Fricking Catchy: Which is just "Now or Never".  And the only songs I would rank Bland but Guilty Pleasure: would be "Right Here, Right Now" and "Can I Have This Dance" After that, the soundtrack has songs that I actually consider to be all around really good songs. "I Want It All" may have a general message that's not unexpected to be there when it comes to Sharpay, but the song was so big and energetic and the scenery and choreography was not that bad that it's still a fun song. "The Boys are Back" is also very energetic and brings a lot of excitement with the setting, the choreography which I thought it was the best that they have come up with, with any of the High School Musicals. And "Scream" I thought was the best song all around. While the message was not too original, it can relate to people from High School or maybe something else entirely who don't know what to do with their life. And I thought the music was very deep and kind of worked for the semi-dark setting (and I do mean just semi). Personally I would've liked to have seen it with bigger facial and body movements from Troy and also lose some of the choreography that I found unnecessary along with having each part of the scene shot in a whole bunch of angles to make the editing bigger, faster, and more suspenseful in a way that's similar to the editing and cinematography in Black Swan. Because if they did do something like that, then I think maybe even some of the most skeptical people who watch this this movie would really find "Scream" to be incredibly awesome to watch.

And that's my review for High School Musical 3: Senior Year. It barely has a plot and still is plenty cheesy just the way we know the entire HSM trilogy, but if you didn't want much story and you want to just see a lot of big musical numbers with some much more thought of choreography and things like that then you're likely to have a nice time watching this movie. So now I'm finally done with reviewing the HSM trilogy. Next?...I'm thinking probably Phantom of the Opera.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Rating: 95%
Ugh. I've been trying to get myself to watch this movie again and finally review it a couple of times by now. It wasn't until around when I saw my sister watching it when she got sick last week that I finally decided to do this. But enough about what kept me, let's get all my praises out of the way concerning Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Plot: Ferris Bueller is a senior in high school who fakes a sickness to ditch school and go embrace the day throughout much of Chicago with his best friend Cameron and his girlfriend Sloane. But while that is happening, Dean Edward Rooney is trying to catch Ferris ditching school so he can make him take another year of High School, while his jealous sister Jeanie is also trying to catch him as well to show to their parents who adore him, that he is not a perfect as they think he is.

Alright., what is there to say that hasn't been said? This is an awesome movie. It's clever, it's funny as heck, and the characters really pull off displaying the world that they live in, in a way that really makes it a memorable sort of coming-of-age film. I mean I may not have had the kind of high school experience that the characters experience, but for plenty of other people, I'm sure this movie for high schooler and former high schooler's alike is something they can relate to when it comes to the world of high school. Plus you also have to like the message that Ferris gives about life especially with how he felt about Cameron and all that, and also some of the cool things you see in his adventures with Cameron and Sloane like the Ferrari, and all the stuff that they saw in the Art Museum.

Matthew Broderick/Ferris Bueller: He was a very enjoyable character. I mean he was funny, smart, and - as Cameron pointed out very well in the film - crazy. I mean you never know for sure what he's going to do and it often seems like he always knows what he's doing despite when things would get a little out of hand.
Alan Ruck/Cameron Frye: He was hilarious. I mean I still remember the first couple of times I saw this film and how much my siblings and I loved his impersonation of Sloane's dad which was just funny straight off the bat. *WARNING SPOILERS* Now I have heard that the story was originally going to be planned that everything that happened in the film turned out to be all in Cameron's mind or something like that. The people who told me that thought it would've been interesting, but in my honest opinion I thought that would've been really stupid. I don't think it would've turned out so well especially with the message in it (if they were going for that particular message even when they were considering this idea). And plus, I honestly think the world has enough of those kinds of stories with that kind of a twist with films like Fight Club and A Beautiful Mind. *END OF SPOILERS*

Music: The soundtrack to this movie is lovable. I mean it has all these lovable songs from back in the days of this movie that you have to love, most notably "Twist and Shout" from The Beatles and of coarse the moment when they played the main theme of Star Wars.

And that's my review for Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's a clever and memorable comedy with a good message, relatable world and for many people, as kind of film that you want to watch again and again. Until the next review, this is H.A.K. saying SAVE FERRIS!!!   

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ella Enchanted (2004)

Rating: 30%
Well considering the only reviews that had to do with looking back at Anne Hathaway's career after her lovable performance as Catwoman has only been both Princess Diaries, it's high time that I get back to that a little with another one of her less as good films Ella Enchanted.

Plot: Ella is a young woman whose obnoxious godmother Lucinda gives her the "gift of obedience" which becomes more of curse throughout her life as she is forced to obey every command no matter what. After her stepsisters make her do something that gets her arrested and eventually forces her to stop being friends with her best friend Mindy, Ella decides to go off into the fairy tale world and try to find Lucinda and ask her to take away the spell.

This mostly works as a kids movie. I mean it's light, it has a lot of childish cliches and it kind of takes a couple of ideas from Shrek when it came to mixing things from both medieval and modern and I recalled finding a little cool when I saw this as a kid. But again, it is a kids movie, which means for people who are older, it's not that grand of a movie. It has cliches, the effects are nothing special, the characters aren't all that good and personally, I think the make-up is stupid particularly with the ogres. (I mean seriously they looked like they weren't entirely trying.) And it's just silly all around.

Anne Hathaway/Ella: Yes this wasn't anything spectacular for her, but she did act out the part fairly well for what it's worth, and she still give us some charm that all around made the film worthwhile as far as she went.
Cary Elwes/Sir Edgar: Now much like how it was for Johns Rhys-Davis, he was a very cheesy villain, but at least also like him, he did perform the character in a way where eventually the was a little fun to watch particularly with his voice.

Music: Now most of these songs are just a bunch of songs that a lot of people know like "Respect", "Somebody to Love" which can be a little nice. And I thought they did an alright job with performing "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"... or at least they did it in a way that's more bearable and made more sense then when Chicken Little did it.

And that's my review for Ella Enchanted. You could enjoy it if you like cheesy kids styled movies, but at the end of the day, it really is just a kids movie filled with cliches and not that well done special effects and make-up.