Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mary Poppins (1964)

Rating: 100%
Alright, thanks to Saving Mr. Banks, I have borrowed Meg's copy of Mary Poppins, so here's my own review for this film.

Plot: Jane and Michael Banks are two children who keep running away and cause their parents to keep losing a nanny to take care of them. Eventually, while looking for a new maid, their father, Mr. Banks finds himself hiring Mary Poppins who turns out to be a magical nanny that is everything the children wanted in a nanny and then some. This leads the children to many magical experiences with Mary Poppins along with her friend Bert and many other people.

Okay everyone get ready to hate me. No seriously, get ready to hate every inch of my existence for what unholy thing I'm about to confess. *The audience does nothing* Okay very well, here it is: when I was growing up... I did not give a flying feather about Mary Poppins. *The audience starts taking out guns and firing at H.A.K. who barely manages to not get hit* THAT DOESN'T MEAN I DON'T LIKE IT NOW!!!! *The audience continues to fire* I DIDN'T KNOW BETTER!!! *The audience keep trying to gun him down* WILL YOU JUST STOP SHOOTING AT ME AND LET ME EXPLAIN ALREADY!?!?!?!?! * The audience begins to stop shooting and begins to wait patiently* THANK YOU!!!!! Okay so here's the thing about that statement; it's not that I thought it was horrible or in any way bad. Far from it. It's just that growing up, I didn't really care for anything that wasn't animation. Once in a while I would start to like something that was live-action, but it was often something that had more fantasy, action and adventure to it like Hook or the Star Wars films. So whenever my mother popped in Mary Poppins, I would enjoy at least the animated they had a third into the movie, but everything else left me dying for it to end and for mom to get on with putting in Winnie the Pooh or A Goofy Movie. However, that doesn't mean I felt that way my whole life growing up. As I got older, I began to steadily feel more comfortable watching it whether there was animation or not. And as I said on my review for Saving Mr. Banks, the things that they were talking about when Disney was trying to create the film helped me understand it more. But first, let's get on with what's talking about what makes this movie so good that even I have come to give it a good score. Well one obvious reason that instantly comes to mind is that it's creative. The world of Mary Poppins is very colorful but also very mysterious with how magical it can be. From jumping into the world of a chalk drawing to floating around from laughter, we are gives all these magical things that you don't even question how it works in any way. You don't question why it matters what you have to do to jump into the world of a chalk drawing or why laughing so hard will make you begin to float, it's just there and you having fun with what you have. And of coarse, Mary Poppins herself is very creative but mysterious. She can sometimes be having a lot of fun, but most of the time she will also be strict and even act like some of the magical stuff never happened. Julie Andrews obviously played Mary Poppins and she brings her to life without fail, resulting in her well deserved Oscar for her work.  You also have Dick Van Dyke as Bert and while I can see how some people would have a problem with his accent, he still is a very likable character.  He just had so much fun being so happy about everything and you just have to enjoy all the energy and all of the kind of dances and other physical movements he keeps making throughout the entire film. He even played Mr. Dawes of the bank, and he did a great job playing the character very differently. Granted, some movements or ways he talked may have made it a little too clear that it's the same guy, but the whole he still did an excellent job being a completely different character. The rest of the cast did very well like the children, and the maids, and of coarse the parents. And do I even need to bother talking about the songs? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, A Spoon Full of Sugar, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Step in Time, so many of these songs are just fun, catchy, and will likely always be remembered even in the deepest parts of your brain. But watching it again now that I'm older, I also really like what it was doing around the second half of the film. Without spoiling anything for the very few who have never seen the film, it's very smart with how deep and serious they get when reflecting about things like life and how Mr. Banks has done with his life. Doug Walker has already reviewed this movie a couple weeks back, and he's already talked about how powerful one of the last scenes was, and I've begun to see it too. It did get very emotional with what was happening and the cinematography and especially the musical score really captured it.

And that's my review for Mary Poppins. I realize now how it really is a great film and why people will find it nothing short of timeless. It's fun, creative, mysterious, filled with so many songs you'll never forget, but will also have it's deep and serious side to it that's done very well. I may have never experienced it the way so many people have during their childhood, but I think we can all be happy that I now understand and agree with what makes it loved by many people now and probably will still be loved so much in the future. Wouldn't you agree? Audience Member #1: His childhood is still ruined! Audience Member #2: Kill him! Kill him! Put him out of his misery! *The audience start firing at H.A.K. all over again* H.A.K.: OH FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE!!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (2004)

Rating: 15%
Well after seeing Saving Mr. Banks, Meg too me to her house for some hot chocolate, exchanging Christmas gifts, and watching this movie. Since I reviewed Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas, Meg thought I really should watch and review this movie too. So...yeah, here's Mickey's twice upon a Christmas.

Plot: Just like the last movie, this movie contains short stories of Mickey and his friends during the Christmas season. The first story has to do with Minnie and Daisy rivaling in an ice skating competition, then we have Huey, Dewy and Louie trying to breaking to Santa's workshop in attempts to be in his good list, Max trying to avoid being embarrassed by his dad, Goofy in front of his girlfriend Mona, Donald failing to get into the Christmas spirit, and Pluto deciding to run away after Mickey gets mad at him for destroying his Christmas decorations.

I realize after looking at the review to the previous film that I wasn't very specific as to what possibly made it good or bad in any way, so let me briefly try again here while comparing it to this film. While Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas is by no means a classic like A Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life (oh yeah. I planned to finally review that this year didn't I?), it was telling us these nice stories of Mickey and the gang that did have a decent heart to it for the family to enjoy whenever it was Christmas time. Mickey's Twice upon a Christmas on the other hand - while gave us more stories, was practically lower then lazy with its writing. The result is a film that is not only cheesy, but was also unbelievably rushed and even disturbingly forced when it came to what some of our most loved characters are doing in this film. I think my biggest example of the actions of the characters being forced for me personally was with Huey, Dewy and Louie's story. It's not a surprise that they can be very rowdy boys, as some of you can be aware from the previous film and especially some episodes from Ducktales. But how they were being naughty and where trying to help themselves get presents just seemed kind of carried away and out of character. As for being rushed, Minnie and Daisy's story was gives too bluntly, but even that wasn't as bad as Max and Goofy's story with how almost the entire thing was told through a less then four minute song. Plus - and this is just a personal problem from growing up with A Goofy Movie, what in the heck was with Max now dating this totally different girl? HE'S SUPPOSE TO BE WITH ROXANNE!!!!!!! GGGAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! BAD FORM MAKERS OF THE FILM!!! THAT'S VERY BAD FORM!!!! The rest of the stories where just cheesy and had no real effort to them.

And that's my review for Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas. While the first film did manage to have some heart to it, it sequel clearly was not really trying to anything in particular apart from being effortless, rushed and sometimes forced, making it a boring movie that is not recommended for even the youngest of children.   

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Rating: 85%
Well one of my best friends Meg always loved to bring this movie up non-stop when it was just coming out, what with her being a bigger Disney nerd then I will ever be. So it seemed logical that we saw it together when it came out, so here's Saving Mr. Banks

Plot: For the past 20 years, Walt Disney has been trying to gain the rights to make the movie Mary Poppins from the author of the books P. L. Travers. Eventually Travers agrees to take a trip to meet with Disney (or just Walt) and hear out his plans for an adaption of the film. Meanwhile the film gives a series of flashbacks showing Travers' childhood.

While I didn't love it as much as Meg predictably did, I would stand by with saying that it is a good movie. It was very enlightening to watch them try to tell this story of what was happening during the making of Mary Poppins. How Walt Disney and his team we're trying to come up with all these ideas and how they slowly collaborated with Travers despite their very separate visions on the project. But at the same time they're trying to show us part of how the Mary Poppins books had to do with Travers' childhood with her relationship with her father. And that's what makes the film enlightening more and more as the film goes on. Even if it takes a while before they begin to give us what Disney and Travers where trying to ultimately do while working on the film, it pays off very, very well when you begin to grasp the meaning of the title of this film. In fact, it's inspiring me to watch Mary Poppins again and use what I learned from this film to help me see it in a completely new light. The cast is entertaining to watch; Tom Hanks - while doesn't quite look the part of Walt Disney (or at least not for me personally) but he held his own pretty well in trying to bring the character to life. But the real focus is really on Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers. True, there were a lot of references to Disney and his films from his studio, to some of the music playing some familiar Disney tunes, to even Disneyland itself. But at the end of the day this was Travers' story more then it was both her and Disney's story, and Thompson did a great job giving us the character. Even though I can't see her winning, I don't think if would be much of a surprise if she at least was nominated for her role. My only really big problem with the film is that it is a little predictable. Not to the point that it was completely cheesy, but it was giving us some very familiar beats in telling a story. But again, none of it was done in a way where it ruined the film. In fact, on top of having some decent funny moments, it was also kind of heartstrings-pulling at times. There were a couple times where my eyes where getting watery from some of the scenes during the very end of the film.

And that's my review for Saving Mr. Banks. It has it's predictability, but it's nevertheless a good film that was very well acted and smartly constructed with who to really focus on, and gives us a very enlightening point of view of the making of Mary Poppins and what Disney and Travers tried to do with it. It certainly has encouraged me to watch Mary Poppins again and look at it in a completely new light then how I've ever looked at it before. How does this turn out? Join me in the review after the next one.    

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Song of the South (1946)

Rating: 50%
So Doug Walker is bringing back Disneycember at thatguywiththeglasses.com and this time is going over the live-action movies from Disney this time. His first one is on Song of the South, and this is a movie that I've been wanting to see for a while. On one hand I've had a book-on-tape when I was a kid about one of Br'er Rabbit's adventures, and have gone on Slash Mountain at both Disney Land and Disney World so I've been interested to see it. But on the other hand, it seems like whenever people get the chance, they ramble about this film declaring it one of the most racist films ever and that makes it such a huge embarrassment for the Walt Disney Company. So before watching Doug's review for it, I found it online and took a look for myself.

Plot: Johnny is a young white boy who is sent to live in the country with his mother and grandmother while his father is working at his controversial newspaper. Johnny is upset about his father's absence but he then befriends an old African American man named Uncle Remus who tells him these stories about Br'er Rabbit and his encounters with Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear whenever Johnny is going through some problems.

So is this move worth being considered the most racist thing Disney has ever produced? Well...not really. In fact I had to look up what exactly was considered racist about it, and a lot of it seems to come from Disney failing to make certain things clear about certain things. The best example is how the stories that this is based on were during the end of the Civil War where the African Americans where no longer slaves and so the white and black people weren't really divided in that way. But for whatever reason, Disney didn't say any of that for the audience, so despite how the majority of the film did have most of the white people being good friends with the black people, people didn't know that they were no longer slaves and so took offense to it as how it was making the whole slavery thing look so happy and light. Now this isn't the only reason this move is considered racist. There's a lot of other reasons such as how the black people in the film were being very stereotypical throughout the film and things like that. But honestly - coming from a 23 year old white man mind you - none of it was done in a way where it was being especially insulting. I mean focusing on stereotypes is bad, but none of it was done in a way where it was done worse then what we've seen in other things like Gone with the Wind or Family Guy. So maybe it was more racist then it looks now back in it's time, but by today's standards, it's not really anything special (so to speak) with whatever racism it had. But even with that said, not even the movie as a whole was something special. Where it really falls flat is where it was live-action and it focused on Johnny and Jenny and their families and things like that. None of them were interesting, and apparently their all around story was really bland and cliched even by the standard of when the movie came out. But at the same time, it does have some very enjoyable moments. "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" is of coarse one of the most infamous Disney songs that also won an Oscar for Best Original Score, the animated characters were very fun to watch - I would sometimes play back some of the really funny moments with Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear, and then you have James Baskett as Uncle Remus was very delightful in his performance. I was especially impressed with his performances whenever he was in the animated world. Just how he moved, expressed and interacted with the cartoon characters, just even by today's standards of how actors interact with what isn't really there, it's really impressive. Maybe that's going a little too far, but at the same time, I feel that exaggeration is a little justified based on well he interacts with the animation world and characters.

And that's my review for Song of the South. It does have some little problems with racism, but I think most of it has to do with its time and from some misunderstandings of what was happening with the black people back during its time, and containing some stereotypes. So honestly, anyone who keeps pointing at it as a reason to hate Disney really calm down and consider how there are more terribly racial films out there then this one really is. But even if you take that away, Song of the South is best when it's giving us that Disney animation with funny animated characters and just Uncle Remus in general, but weakest when it uses most of the movie focusing on Johnny and Jenny and anyone else in the life action scenes that's not Remus. Altogether, it's really just a meh kind of film that is worth checking out to enjoy what little is good about it and how exaggerated everyone's take on the film is. 


Friday, November 29, 2013

Gravity (2013)

Rating: 95%
Yeah I know this movie has been out for almost two months and it's kind of old news, but I never got a chance to see it when it came out. But it's thanksgiving, my family and I wanted to do something, so since only my parents have seen it, we went to watch it, and here's how that went.

Plot: This is another one of those times where I keep my plot paragraph completely short because with this kind of film I really have to. But basically, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (yeah I know their characters have names but let's face it, most of us are only going to know them as just Bullock and Clooney) are these astronauts in space on their shuttle, the Explorer. But when a chain reaction from a missile strike causes a cloud of debris to hit their shuttle, Bullock and Clooney are left trying to find a way to find a station and find a way down to Earth before they are killed.

I'm going to start of pointing out that in terms of story and characters, this is an extremely simple film. In fact, before I saw this movie, my Editing Aesthetics teacher talked about how he really hated that there was hardly any really deep development in Bullock or Clooney's characters in the sense that they're giving us reason to relate to them or try to make them really stand out or likable as characters. And he does make a very strong point, because the main reason I'm calling these people by the names of the actors and not the characters is because they hardly give us any reason to think of them as characters. For the most part - with Clooney especially - they kind of appear like they're just the actors and not really anybody else. But as much of a negative thing as that can be for some people like my teacher, the fact remains that they're not necessarily suppose to be. Because as Doug Walker put it in his own review, it's more of an experience then anything else. But boy does it do a great job at bringing that experience to life. They do a terrific job at making it feel like it really is in space with how they're floating and there's no sound out there and how everything that is especially happening to Sandra Bullock makes space totally scary. The first 20 minutes or so really set the mood for this film especially on how so much of it was done all in one shot. In fact, this film was kind of made so that cuts would only occur more and more the closer you get to the climax. The effects were great, the way they used a lot of the music and their occasional sound effects were really well played, it had great cinematography, and it was interesting it the symbolism they were using throughout the whole movie. Bullock gave us a terrific performance on what her "character" was experiencing. And while Clooney wasn't bad per say, he was really just...well...George Clooney and nothing else. Now if I can think of any real close to problems with this movie, I would say that during the second half it did kind of act more like a movie then an experience in the sense that Bullock has this monologue during the very end and things like that. And...I feel they overdid it a little with the building suspense music. I mean I know they need to use it - heck, my brother Tommy said "How else where they going to make it suspenseful" and I agree. But I'm just saying they could've tried to have given a little more variety of the same music. But regardless, both issues are very small nitpicks and neither of them are done in a way that really makes a dent in this movie. Plus, when the music isn't building up suspense, it's great.

And that's my review for Gravity. If you don't like films where there's little character development and not a whole lot of story, you'll probably not like this film. But it's otherwise a great film with excellent effects, terrific acting, and great cinematography that altogether makes Gravity a great film to experience the horrors of space. I don't see it winning Best Picture despite its HUGE publicity, but it's definitely going to win a few Oscars when it comes to the technical stuff. If you haven't seen it in theaters yet, it's worth trying to see it now.  


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Frozen (2013)

Rating: 90%
At last we have the 53rd theatrical animated film from Disney: Frozen. It's about time.

Plot: The film is set in the kingdom of Arendelle where we have two princesses who are sisters named Anna and Elsa. Elsa has the ability to create snow and ice, but after a childhood incident is forced to be shunned from Anna as they're growing up. But then they meet again when Elsa is crowned queen and they get into an argument that causes Elsa's powers to get out of hand and so she runs into hiding while also triggering a magical, eternal winter that freezes the entire kingdom. So Anna leaves trying to find her to bring her back and save their kingdom.

If this film doesn't succeed where Wreck-it Ralph didn't when it comes to winning best animated feature against Pixar, there's something very, very wrong with the people in the academy...well even more wrong then there already is with not letting Wreck-it Ralph win. When it comes to the fantasy and/or the princess films from Disney, this film goes even smarter and bigger then The Princess and the Frog and Tangled. The animation is gorgeous. The landscapes, scenery, even the dresses that Anna and Elsa wear have such a wonderful design to them that is really wonderful to look at. And much like Tangled, it sets us with a very clever story - though sadly the origin of the powers are never explained - and it does the princess thing much more differently then the Disney princess films in the past. I mean to start off, we have two princess and they're siblings. We've never had a Disney film where there's more then one princess or any of them having siblings (I'm not really counting Merida and her little brothers in Brave). Anyway, the characters themselves where very good. Neither princesses (yeah I know Elsa's a queen but she's a princess turned to a queen.) were bland or unlikeable. Anna especially was very funny, independent but also has her human side. The supporting characters were also very fun...even Olaf...as hard as that kind of is to say. When I say that, I didn't have high hopes for this character, and the general concept of who he was and how he sounded just kind of spelled annoying comedy relief to me...but at the same time he was funny. I mean I want to say that he's super annoying and forgettable because that's what I expected as a whole from him from the first couple of minutes that he appeared...but he actually was funny. Some of the comedy was more for the children and their parents in the theater I was in to laugh at, but the rest of the time, he actually had some smart and clever jokes that I just did not expect from him. It's screwed up to me because I expected him to be the most negative thing about this film, that unless you were a little kid, this guy was going to fall flat, and fall flat hard. But while he would fall flat on occasion on a whole he really was actually funny. So props to the the makers of the film to prove me wrong like that. And it wouldn't be much of a review about a Disney princess movie if I didn't talk about the songs. So how were they? Well while I cant' say all of them we're extremely original by Disney Renaissance standards, they were still very enjoyable. "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" was very nice, "For The First Time in Forever" was very fun, but easily the one that will probably go down in Disney history and maybe even become nominated for an Oscar is "Let it Go." It doesn't completely matter that it sounds so familiar to "Defying Gravity" from Wicked (especially with Idina Menzel singing it) It was grand, it was powerful, it was emotional, it's just a song that's worth remembering.

And that's my review for Frozen. I would probably have to watch it again or something to see if I'm as on board as a lot of people seen to be, to call this film that declares it as the return of Disney as it should be, but it still does a terrific job in going even deeper then Tangled or Wreck-it Ralph with it's animation, songs, characters, and all around story that makes Frozen a great film to be added into the Disney collection and is worth checking out if you haven't seen it yet.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Rating: 85%
Okay everyone has is all super excited for this movie and I have succeeded where I did not from the last film in reading the book first long before the movie came out. So here's how The Hunger Games Catching Fire.

Plot: A year has past after the last Hunger Games and Katniss has become an icon for the remaining districts after her defiance against the Capitol with Peeta. As a result, President Snow is making this year's Hunger Games a Quarter Quell where the contestants are past winners from previous games. So Katniss and Peeta are sent back to the Capitol where they have to fight the other victors while Snow plans to use it to kill Katniss as a way to end any rebellion against the Capitol.

Now this is what I call improvement. In fact, it's a big enough improvement that it actually got me truly invested in what was happening. Because for those of you who have not read my review for the first film or may not have remembered it if you did, I basically said it was just a nice film and hardly anything more then that. And as much as people are probably not going to like what I'm going to say next, the books didn't do a whole lot for me either. They're not horrible or anything, but at the end of the day, all they did for me was just tell me the entire story and then for me to go "Well okay then. Good to know." So the books didn't do a whole lot more for me then the first film did. But Catching Fire surprised me by actually getting me invested in what was happening. Everything made more sense, we saw much more of what happens in both the all around world and The Hunger Games then we did before, heck even the characters and the relationships between them were done so much better. Bringing back my review to the first film up, I did talk about in my spoiler section (*chuckles* does anyone remember when I use to do that for practically all of my reviews?), I said that the relationship between Katniss and Peeta were sudden and didn't make a lot of sense. And how it seemed like she was more into Gale during the beginning of the movie and things like that. But here, these relationships are more developed to the point where - while it isn't perfect, it shows more of what Katniss feels about both Peeta and Gale and ultimately which side to root for. But that doesn't quite stop there. We also got a little more into the main characters' relationship with some of the supporting characters like Prim, Effie, Haymitch and so on. The visuals are also a ton better. I mean they were good in the last film too, but I feel they did a much better job here. And best of all as those of you who have seen the movie have probably been waiting for me to mention this, wide shots and no shaky cams. I thought at first that the director and editor of the previous film just learned from their mistakes, but it turns out they got totally a totally different director and editor who seem to have a better way at showing what is happening on screen. And they did. And the results are great. Seeing the environment, characters and especially the action with these wider shots makes Catching Fire one of those recent films like The Avengers and a fair bit of The Dark Knight Rises that really show how great action in these kinds of films are when you clearly see what's going on frame by frame. Now as great as it is, it does have some minor problems. But the biggest one that comes to mind is one that this one video review Movie Bob point out, which is how they introduced some of the other contestants with their abilities and stuff like that, but they get killed off without their deaths ever shown. Now I understand why considering that's basically what happens in the book (at least as far as I remember it) but when you think about it, that can bring something of a let down for people like Movie Bob who wanted to see more of those particular contestants.

And that's my review for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It has better camera work and editing, better development of the characters and the relationships, improving visuals and storytelling and a film that for me personally, greatly succeeded where neither the previous film or any of the books did in getting me truly invested. It's definitely the best so far in the film franchise and I hope they can somehow get better and better despite the fact that they are spitting the third book into two films. (seriously guys, just stop.) So if you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it. If you weren't all that much into the first film, you should at least find this one to be a much bigger improvement.        

Friday, November 15, 2013

This Is the End (2013)

Rating: 60%
Okay so I recently went to my friend Blaine's house to see the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which I definitely want for Christmas now), and after words he showed me a couple more films. So here's my review of the first movie he showed me, This Is the End.

Plot: The apocalypse has happened and so James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill are all stuck in James Franco's house trying to survive. That's pretty much it.

Some people are probably not going to like what I'm going to say...but this was just meh for me. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad. Because it does have a brilliant concept of actors playing fictional versions of themselves and pulling a few jokes about themselves as they encounter the apocalypse. And when they are making all these jokes about themselves and what they're experiencing in this post apocalyptic world, it is funny. On top of that, it's just great to see a lot of celebrities we know. I mean you do have the ones that are the main characters like James Franco and Jonah Hill, but then there's a couple more that I kind of wished we saw a little more of like Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mindy Kaling and ESPECIALLY Emma Watson who was awesome during the short time that she was in the movie. Heck, even The Backstreet Boys made an appearance, and that was pretty fun with how they played that out. But when it came down to the comedy as a whole, I found the ones that had to do with making fun of the actors very lacking. In fact, I felt that very few of them were used, let alone made some particularly funny references like James Franco being The Green Goblin or Jonah Hill starring in Moneyball. While we did get these jokes sometimes, the rest of the comedy seemed to contain more sexual jokes, namely penis jokes. From practically every actor talking about their own penis or each other's penises, to even a giant demon showing his junk in plain view without a care, this movie was throwing penis joke after penis joke throughout an awful lot of its dialogue. I do not care for those kinds of jokes to begin with, but I've heard other people review it and confirm that they did way to much of it. And while the story itself was good, it did have moment of predictability at times, especially when it came to part of the friendship between Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel.

And that's my review for This Is the End. It didn't really go the distance with its concept in my opinion and had more jokes on penises then ones that actually had to do with the actors. But at the end of the day, it still had some decent jokes and played out the premise well enough that I'm glad that I eventually saw it...but don't really plan on watching it again.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

Rating: 90%
Alright so I said I was going to review this one right after Digimon The Movie, so let's not waste anytime and talk about Thor: The Dark World!

Plot: It's about one year after the events of The Avengers and Thor has managed to bring peace back to the nine realms. But when Jane becomes possessed by a weapon called the Aether, Thor takes her to Asgard to try to heal her, only for Asgard to be attacked by an army of Dark Elves lead by Malekith who intends to use the Aether to cover the universe in darkness.

For me, this hit a lot of the beats for me as to what makes a very good sequel. Thor: The Dark World goes much further into the story and the all around world of Thor and Asgard then the first Thor film did with new twists and turns, and raising the stakes higher then they were before. If you were among the people who complained about Thor not being Thor in the first film, chances are, you're going to enjoy this movie. Because not only do we have Thor throughout the film, but we have him seeing Jane and her friends again, we have more of Loki being...well Loki, we go even further into the world of Asgard and its mythology with both the Asgardians and the Dark Elves and the action just gets bigger and better. The story was particularly impressive in terms of making things darker as well as giving us some decent twists during the second half of the film. I also really liked how we went deeper into a lot of the characters. Now granted, that doesn't mean there aren't some like Sif and at least a little bit Frigga could've been given a little more time. But it was great how we got so much from a lot of the other characters like Thor, Loki and Jane. My personal favorite example would be Odin considering how we got a little into how despite his wisdom and leadership, he does have the problems of also being over-confidant, stubborn and altogether foolish at times. The comedy is also very well done. Just like Iron Man 3 the humor became a very fun factor of the film, except this movie might've done better...at least in the extent that it had the kind of jokes that started to make me say "If I didn't know any better, I'd say the makers of these phase 2 films have learned a thing or two from Joss Whedon." Now the film does have some problems such as the main villain being one-dimensional, some scenes might've been a little to slow, and there was at least one subplot that went nowhere. Plus I do have one nitpick with how Asguardians generally use medieval weapons and yet have a couple of weapons that are more sci-fi in a way that makes me think of Return of the Jedi or Star Wars: The Old Republic. But when you look at this movie as a whole, you can easily look past all of that and see a sequel that does a great job at going bigger and better then the first while also giving us one or two reasons to look forward to one of Marvel's next films, Guardians of the Galaxy.

And that's my review for Thor: The Dark World. It raises the stakes higher, goes further into the characters and the mythology, has bigger action, and altogether just does all the great things that make a particularly good sequel while also getting us excited for the next Marvel film. It's a very fun and enjoyable Marvel film that I will probably get when it comes out on DVD and Blue-ray, if you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Digimon The Movie (2000)

Rating: 20%
Alright so I'm just going to say that I never really watched Digimon growing up. I had at least seen parts of a couple of episodes from various times, but for the most part - as my family and plenty of people from my elementary school could tell you without a care, I was one of those children who was more or less dangerously obsessed with Pokemon to seemingly no end. But then one of my best friends, Meg would sometimes bring up Digimon and how 'I must see it' and how 'it's soooooooo different from Pokemon'. Eventually she showed me a couple of random episodes from season 1 which convinced me to go through all of that season. Then shortly after watching Thor 2 with her (which I'm reviewing right after this one), she decided to show me a bunch of certain episodes of season 2 to show me how the story of the characters from both seasons end. But about halfway through that, she showed me Digimon the Movie. So here's how that turned out.

Plot: This is something of a package film in that it contains three different stories all in one movie. The first one has to do with two of the original main characters, Tai and Kairi discovering a Digi-egg that hatches into a Koromon which somehow leads to a battle in which the Koromon digivloves (the Digimon term for evolving or transforming if you will) into Greymon and is fighting this...supposedly evil parrot-like Digimon called...Parrotmon. Then we move to a story that is set four years later where both characters along with the original cast have already become the DigiDestined (think Pokemon Trainers if you can), and they are trying to destroy this Digimon who is also a virus that is trying to destroy the internet/all technology (take your pick). Then we get the final story that has to do with a boy named Willis who was mentioned in various times in the first two stories, who is trying to defeat one of his two Digimon who has been corrupted with the help of the main cast from season 2.

Okay so before I start reviewing this film - similar to what I did when I reviewed Hey Arnold: The Movie, I'd like to point out my thoughts on the show itself before talking about what the movie did wrong. Now I honestly think that even if my parents (but mainly my mom) did let me watch this show, I probably still would've preferred Pokemon because of how it has a more fun world that influenced you to want to be a part of catching and evolving these certain creatures while reaching for the ultimate goal to become a Pokemon Master. But even with that said, I did enjoy most of the show for what it was worth considering how it truly was very different from Pokemon. It had its own unique universe, it had some really cool creativity with a lot of the different kinds of Digimon, an extremely catchy theme song, and it did have some likeable characters...for the most part. But when it comes to a first movie...it's not hard to see where this movie is pretty inferior to the first Pokemon movie. You no doubt noticed that I had trouble explaining the stories in what is happening in this film. Now granted, part of that is because most of you probably don't know a whole lot about Digimon as the gist of it would probably take more time to explain then most of you would care to read. But even then, it's hard to explain what is happening because it's so confusing with these three stories that were poorly paced, sometimes didn't make any sense even with my knowledge about Digimon, and above all, neither of them made any connection at all. It tried to do that when it came to bringing up Willis, but aside from one brief clip, we don't see him until the final story. From the point of view of someone who has watched the first two seasons of the show, most of these stories would've made a lot more sense if these were actual episodes instead of being crammed into each other to try to be a movie. (Oh and I'm not saying anything about the Angela thing in the beginning of the film, because Meg was kind enough to skip to just Digimon) Actually, I take that back, that's true for just the last two stories. The first one was really just giving us something of a 'full tale' of this flashback Tai and Kairi had later on in the show, which still wasn't needed. Even if they were showing us more then what the flashback gave us, there was still little to no story or character development to carry it on enough to be really worth something for both fans and non fans alike. Which brings me to my other problem; they didn't make the film so that even non fans can get into it. Part of why the pacing was bad was because they don't explain what Digimon is about. Even all of the exposition that was trying to explain/connect the three stories was hard to understand unless you have subtitles because of the speed that it's being explained. So all your seeing is mindless action and exposition you can't understand and jokes that don't work if you're watching this as a non fan...or maybe if you are a fan. Who knows? And the soundtrack also has a bunch of pop culture songs that are just played throughout the film such as "All Star" from Smash Mouth and "One Week" from Barenaked Ladies, that while are fun songs they served no purpose to what was happening in the film. The best part of the film was the animation and the action, but after that, this film falls flat hard.

And that's my review for Digimon The Movie. If you grew up with Digimon, you may be a little more forgiving with what happens, but in the reality of things, it's a terrible film that had horrible pacing, character development, and had little to no connection to the stories it was trying to tell. I'm glad I watched the first two seasons when it comes to finally discovering what Digimon was, but this film seems to make a terrible mark on the franchise making Digimon The Movie a movie I would avoid seeing.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lost in Translation (2003)

Rating: 85%
As some of you probably know, Sophia Coppola seems to be more commonly known for her very well hated performance as Mary Corleone in The Godfather Part III. Now why that's the case I'll save for if I finally get around to reviewing it myself to finish that marathon of reviewing all the best picture nominees from 1990. Now this is something that is very well known to me, which is where I was intrigued to learn that while she's terrible as an actress see seems to also the known to be very good as a writer and director. So with that said, here's what I thought of her most well known film that she both wrote and directed that got so far as becoming nominated for best picture: Lost in Translation.

Plot: Bob Harris is an again American actor who is visiting Japan to shoot a commercial. He's experiencing a midlife crisis where he feels tired and is not really going anywhere with his marriage with his wife. But then he meets a young college graduate named Charlotte who also feels stuck as she is also visiting Japan because her neglectful husband who is a celebrity photographer is a assigned in Tokyo. The two people start to form a friendship as they start to hang out and explore Tokyo while trying to forget about their lives.

Alright. Now I pretty much see how people see a new light about Coppola after this film despite Godfather Part III. I mean it's not the most original film I've ever seen, but for what she gave us, it was still original enough that I can see why she won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. It wasn't really predictable, the characters were believable, and I think Doug Walker said it best on his list of his personal top 20 favorite movies that it's not really telling a story so much as taking you on an experience. Billy Murry and Scarlett Johansson gave some very good performances. While I do honestly find it hard to believe that Murry was considered good enough to even be nominated for Best Actor, I will agree that it is nice to see him in a more serious role then what we usually get from him. Scarlett Johansson also gave us a very likable performance...but if there's one issue I had with her, it would be how practically every other scene is having her in her hotel room wearing just her underwear and her shirt. I guess the distraction primarily comes from how Johansson is getting a ton of publicity about her body after The Avengers, and it's gotten to the point where I probably would've believed it if this film was actually made right after that particular film. Especially with how the beginning of the film surprisingly starts with just this sort of medium close-up of just her rear while the intro credits play. Just why? What kind of purpose was that trying to carry out while you're about to tell us a story about these two people? I'm sure she had plenty of publicity long before Avengers, but I really so no other reason why to have that as a film. But considering I'm a guy who prefers not to stare at women's rears either in film or in real life, I guess I could be making a bigger deal about it then what most people would care to, so I digress with that being said. So anyway, the film is also very fun to see when we're looking at all the different things to look at in Tokyo from the people, music, food and especially the different kind of places they come across. I think the most memorable scene for me would be when they're just lying down on top of the bed and just reflecting what is going on with their life. A lot of what Murry says there sound like a very good way to look at a lot of things in life both the positive and the negative...at least as far as I can tell despite being just a 23-year old film student.

And that's my review for Lost in Translation. I may have my own goofy issue with what they do with Scarlett Johansson, but it still is a very good that had original writing, great acting, and just took you on an experience with Tokyo and looking at life from the two main characters. It's not so good that it really stood a chance against The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King for best picture (*snickers* the very idea...), but it's still a very good film that I would recommend.

Poltergeist (1982)

Rating: 70%
When it came to figuring out what horror movie to watch for my Editing Asthetics class, both the teacher and my fellow classmates couldn't think of a good one to watch that does actually scare people. In fact, I eventually had to text my brother, Tommy who is very knowledgeable in horror films, to give us some films that were actually scary that we could watch. He gave us almost a dozen good films, but the one that the teacher decided was the best one to look at, was Poltergeist. So considering that I have never seen the movie until the day we saw it as a class, here's what I think of Poltergeist.

Plot: Steven and his family live in a nice, quite community where he's a real estate developer. But things start to become uneasy for him and his family when strange things start to happen in their house from his young daughter Carol Ann claiming that she's heading people inside the TV to these mysterious storms that start to really concern both of his younger kids. So he and his wife find a group of Parapsychologists to try to find out what is happening to their house.

I'm sure there's a fair amount of film geeks who are wondering why I gave this movie a 70% despite it being a classic horror movie. Well to put it bluntly, this movie was spoiled for me long before I even touched the DVD. The film is so commonly known that I kind of already have the main gist of what happens just from what I saw from TV shows that referenced/parodied the movie in some ways or another such as South Park and especially Family Guy. Even if I didn't know every single thing about the movie from top to bottom before we saw it, I still knew enough that a lot of what the main plot points were. And on top of that...my teacher would tell us whether or not a certain scene was suppose to be scary or if something is going to actually happen. So even if I didn't already know those certain big plot points, I still didn't have much of a scare from this film thanks to him. But I still think it's a good film because even if I didn't get scared, somewhat similar to what I found when we watched Duel, I clearly saw why people would be scared and what other aspects of the film made it so memorable: that being the film as a whole was structured very well when it came to building up the suspense while also getting us to know our main characters, which helped us become invested in them as these mysterious things where happening to them. And most of the times where something really scary did happen, they did play it out very well in a way that makes it very scary. And they're doing all of this without a whole lot of blood and gore that we see in a lot of horror films today. They did have one particularly gory scene that was a little creepy, but other then that, it was more the emotion they created in the scary parts and the timing they used to play it out that makes it intimidating. Plus it does have that classic line "They're here" and has some memorable acting moments, particularly from Zelda Rubinstein as the spiritual medium Tangina Barrons.

And that's my review for Poltergeist. I am unable to truly think highly of it considering how it's been spoiled for me for all the reasons I mentioned, but that thankfully hasn't stopped me from seeing why it's considered to be a very good horror film to the point where it's ranked as a complete classic. I don't plan on ever really seeing it again considering how my experience was ruined on top of the fact that I'm hardly much of a horror guy like Tommy anyway. But if you haven't seen it and don't really know what happens, I'd say go see it and may you get a much grander experience then I did in getting scared from this particular movie.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Duel (1971)

Rating: 75%
Well I may not have been as active as I was last year with reviewing movies that have to do with Halloween, but while that holiday has passed, I'd still like to share my take on a thriller and a horror movie that I saw in my Editing Asthetics class. (I know I'm bringing up that class a lot, but hey, there was a fair amount of movies I just have never seen before there.) And I would like to start reviewing them with the rather unique thriller, Duel.

Plot: David Mann is a salesman who is driving to a business trip on a two-way highway in the California desert. But during the trip a mysterious large gas trailer truck seems to pester him but later on begins to chase him and apparently try to kill him. Hardly anyone he comes across believes him, and so he is left alone to try to find a way to either avoid the truck or fight back.

Just from explaining the plot, you could probably see why I find this movie to be rather unique for something that's a thriller. What's even more interesting is that this film is actually Steven Spielberg's second movie that he ever directed. And for what it is, it carries out what it's trying to do very well. Dennis Weaver does a great job in showing how scared David really is and is always trying to figure out what to do whenever he keeps finding the truck. And while we see tiny glimpses of the truck driver himself such as his boots or his hand on the crutch, at the same time, we see Spielberg play out the Truck to the point where it seems to have its own menacing and powerful character all on its own. Now the only real down I have with this movie doesn't really hold up for me as actually being scary. I mean come on, a truck trying to kill a guy just from saying that alone doesn't sound quite as intimidating as zombies, evil forces or psychopathic serial killers. But even with that being said, it does keep you interested at what is going to happen, the climax was very exciting to watch and... I'll admit that it did make me jump a little during one or two well timed moments.

And that's my review for Duel, it's a little odd to view it as a thriller considering the story, but it's done in a good enough way where you could be on the edge of your seat with what is happening between the main character and this big menacing truck. It's not particularly scary, but it plays out well for what it is to make it an entertaining movie to enjoy watching at least once just so that you have.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Rating: 95%
So I was taking my Editing Asthetics class, we eventually went on to take a look at the genre of westerns. And in the eyes of my teacher, there was little to no better western to show us then the one that is said to be the last great western before the genre was replaced by Star Wars; Once Upon a Time in the West.

Plot: A former prostitute named Jill comes to a town called Flagstone to meet her new husband and his family. But she learns that the whole family has been killed by hired gunman and thus is the owner of her husband's land. Eventually, she finds out that a railroad tycoon is behind hiring the men that killed her husband and his family and ends up allying with a bandit named Cheyenne and a mysterious gunman whom she calles 'Harmonica' to find out why he had them killed and stop them.

Okay what can I say about this movie that probably hasn't been said to death from people who've seen this movie years before I did? Even if it probably is longer then it should be by today's standards, they make all the moments where there's hardly any dialogue work with all the emotions from the actors and the music that's playing throughout the film. It has some of the known cliches in westerns such as the hero wearing white and the villain wearing black, but the actors do an excellent job in giving us reason to root for them. It's my understanding that this is the only time Henry Fonda is a villain where he's a hero in just about everything else he is in, and while I can't say I'm familiar with his career, it's clear to me that he does a great job in showing that his character is a cold-blooded killer. My teacher particularly praise Claudia Cardinale a lot for her performance as Jill, and I have to agree that she did give some very good acting moments...even when her goals and alliances seemed rather fuzzy at times. And while, this movie didn't exactly have a ton of action, it still gave us some exciting moments at the time where we did have gun fights. And finally, this movie had some great cinematography and was very well edited. Again, it may be considered too long today, but it's clear that they made it work with what scenes they had that made it so long.

And that's my review for Once Upon a Time in the West. I admit that I'm not so knowedgable about westerns to begin with that I can agree with what is commonly said about it, or about Henry Fonda, but with what my teacher explained and what I found for myself, it is a very good western that has great acting, wonderful cinematography, and good action that may justify the claim that it really is the last great western before Star Wars. If you haven't seen it, I'd say it's worth a shot to watch and get to know what many filmmakers/geeks before me love so much about it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Magnolia (1999)

Rating: 80%
Well since I am finally finished with my Editing Asthetics class, I should hopefully have more time to review much more movies then I recently have been able to. (sorry about that.) Now there's been a couple of movies that I've watched in that class that I haven't seen before and thus would like to share my thoughts about them in my next couple of reviews. And I would like to start that with the last movie we saw in class which is also by far the most peculiar out of all the movies we watched and possibly one of the strangest movies I ever seen: Magnolia.

Plot: Magnolia contains a series of stories that are connected, roughly like in Cloud Atlas and Love Actually. The main stories have to do with a police officer who begins to fall in love with a drug addict, the addict's father who is dying of cancer, a boy who is in a game show, an old man dying who is trying to reach his son whom he left a long time ago, and his wife who married him because of his money.

What really makes this movie so enjoyable are the stories and the characters. While I was preferring some more then others, there is no denying that almost each and every one of them does a great job at getting you hooked and wanting to see more of the story and what happens to these characters. That's not to say some stories/characters could've had more work then what they gave us. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character Phil for example debatably didn't have a whole lot of clear motivation to help Earl find his son, and this young African American kid ESPECIALLY gave a mixed message as to what his goals where and how he achieved what we partially think those goals are from what little we saw from him. (at least in the view of me and my fellow classmates who have only seen the movie once as of now.) Anyway, the acting in this movie is terrific. This film has a great cast, with actors like Julianne Moore, Phillip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (as I've already mentioned) and even Tom Cruise who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. In fact, a good portion of the editing has a lot of moments where they mostly don't cut at all whenever an actor or a pair of actors give a very deep and emotional performance and the editor was right to do that. The most notable performances to me seem to be Julianne Moore and Tom Cruise. With Moore, she probably had the most time in the film to express how tortured her character is about how she feel about her husband dying and how she takes a look back at all the years she's been married to him. This also suggests for me that there's just much more to this actress then what I already know from Crazy, Stupid, Love and her brief role in 30 Rock. So maybe I'll look more into her career to see how much more. Now Tom Cruise...probably gave the best performance that I've ever seen him do. And that's saying a lot. Now that's not to say I haven't seen him give some good performances before, but I guess with this movie, I feel I got to see him go all out and really, truly act in possibly the best way that he can. All the different kind of emotions and body movement he did, he gave his all at and it was very enjoyable to see that...even if the beginning of his breakdown later in the film kind of made him sound like a panting dog. *audience boos* I'm really sorry but he did. He was still great and all, but that was still a little distracting. Anyway, with all this said and done, this makes the film very enjoyable...but then we have the problems that make it very strange. Without giving too much away, the movie takes a completely different turn rather then gives us a genuine climax and after that turn, they kind of just give us the ending of the stories. Even before that, the first 5-7 ish minutes tells us these stories that have little to do with any of the characters throughout the rest of the film. I know I'm not entirely saying a lot about what happens, but these certain things become a problem because when you think about what the movie is trying to do on the grand scale of things is not very clear. My professor and classmates have their own opinions like  the film was just 'trying to be symbolic' or that it was 'like Love Actually but with no message' or as my professor bluntly put it, 'life sucks, and then you die'. So it varies as to what you may see in this movie in what it was trying to do as a whole.

And that's my review for Magnolia. You may have trouble with it with what the meaning of it was and might not really like it as a whole, but what makes it enjoyable despite the confusion is the great acting and interesting stories that it's giving you throughout most of the movie. It's not a great film, but for the kind of certain entertainment it gives, it's worth a try if anything.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Frozen Ground (2013)

Rating: 60%
So a couple of weeks ago, one of my best friends Candra found this movie and recommended that I go watch it. So after I got home from class, I took a look and here's how it turned out.

Plot: Based on true events, Sgt. Halcombe has been working on a case trying to catch a serial killer named Robert Hansen. He has trouble trying to arrest him until he comes across a 17-year-old prostitute named Cindy Paulson who managed to escape from Hansen and agrees to try to help Halcombe bring Hansen to justice.

Now where the film sadly falls flat is the fact that it is for the most part predictable. It hits many familiar beats and you have an idea how things will work out for the most part. But what really draws you into this movie is the fact that it's actually based on a true story unlike most mystery and suspense movies that roughly fall into this plot line. So because of that, the story becomes more interesting and you begin to care more for what happens to the characters and it helps you becomes better aware of the terrible fact that there are horrible people like Hansen who do these things. And the acting is surprisingly very good. John Cusack does an excellent job in bringing us this psychotic killer underneath a man who is publicly appearing as a model citizen. Some say that this film was a big improvement for Nicolas Cage in terms of acting and...I don't feel capable of believing that. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't annoying or anything, but I personally have yet to truly get a good idea of what makes a truly good performance from him outside of what I know from his performances in Raising Arizona and Kick-Ass. Guess this leaves all the more reason to watch Leaving Las Vegas sometime soon considering how the won an oscar for his role in that. But the most impressive performance to me was Vanessa Hudges. Considering I only know her from all three High School Musicals, this was an impressive change of pace with her acting. No happy singing along bullcrap, just a performance of a tormented and frightened young woman that is done extremely well. So it was very nice to see her show how great of an actress she can be and here's hoping we can see more performances like that in the future.

And that's my review for The Frozen Ground. It's hardly the most original mystery and suspense film, but it's worth giving a try with the events based on a true story, and the great performances from the main cast.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

Rating: 80%
I know this movie is also a while ago, but I haven't had the chance to really review it because of school and work. So here at last is my review for Kick-Ass 2

Plot: Dave and Mindy has long retired from being Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, but has inspired other ordinary people to become other superheros and help people. But when Red Mist returns and builds an army of supervillains under the named of the MotherF*cker (yes that's really his villain name). It's up to Dave and Mindy to put their masks back on and stop them before they destroy the city.

One of the things that I liked so much about the first Kick-Ass movie that I eventually bought it on blue-ray was how they changed things from the graphic novel. What made many people who loved the comic love the movie even more was how they made changes that made Kick-Ass contain adventure, fun, and comedy whereas the book is more dark and just gives a much more negative look at the genre of superheroes. I can see what they were trying to do when they write these books, but there were a lot of points where they were contained things that went too far just to try to give us their message. And that's where my expectations for this film came in. When I read the graphic novel for Kick-Ass 2 I had a less then pleasant time considering how they went even more too far then the first book with things like the Mother F*cker gunning down little children and things like that. So while I knew this movie wasn't going to be as good as the first one (not that I really wanted it to anyway), I still expected changes that made it more fun action, adventure and comedy unlike the book that still made it a very enjoyable movie to watch. And I'm happy to say that, that's exactly what I got. Not only did they make these changes while still being loyal to the book of Kick-Ass 2, but they also gave us some parts from the book Hit-Girl - which is a book that went between the events of Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2 - and they also gave us less dark moments from those parts from the book and just focused on how Hit-Girl is having a hard time trying to adapt to normal life. The action was awesome, the comedy gave us some pretty cute moments, the different directions they gave us - while questionable at some areas that even created some plot holes - where great, and we got some very fun performances from the MotherF*cker, Kick-Ass, Jim Carry as Colonel Stars and of coarse, Hit-Girl. So with all the things there are that make me consider maybe buying it when it comes out on Blue-Ray and DVD, you could imagine my shock over how it currently has a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes. Again, I did not expect it to be better then the first movie but... 30%? Seriously? I've brought this up to one or two of my friends and they all felt the same way. The most reasons that the critics would give seems to be just how they find it witless and doesn't grasp the beauty of violence or...somewhere around that. I guess with them, it's just a matter of different points of view. As for other people who gave their two cents at it, the worst they said was that it just wasn't as original and creative as the first and focused too much and Hit-Girl's drama on trying to adapt to normal life. And that much I can partially agree with. After all, it is a little hard to beat the first one as far goes as killing bad guys with something more crazy and over-the-top then a jetpack with Gatling guns and a bazooka. And while I don't think the Hit-Girl drama went that terribly long, I can see where people would think it went too long.  

And that's my review for Kick-Ass 2. It has the adventure and comedy that may not be as great as the first movie but still gave the right amount that left me especially satisfied with what they did compared to the book. There is no denying that it has its flaws, but I think it's very easy for me to say that giving it such negativity as ranking it a 30% at RT is going very too far. It's not better then the first Kick-Ass movie, but similar to how a lot of us feel about The Dark Knight Rises compared to The Dark Knight or even The Legend of Korra compared to Avatar: The Last Airbender, it isn't something that I wanted to be better then the first to begin with. I wanted it to be a sequel that did a lot of things right and was enjoyable to watch and that's just what I wanted. You may have your own reasons for liking, disliking or feeling mixed about this movie, but for me, I think it's an underrated movie and I'm still thinking about buying it on Blue-Ray & DVD combo someday.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Wolverine (2013)

Rating: 70%
Okay  this will be the second to last been-in-theaters-for-a-while movie to review since I have also seen Kick-Ass 2 but also have not come around to reviewing it with school starting and things like that. But anyways, some of you have read my X-men reviews building up to this film more or less, so let's finally get on with my own review for The Wolverine.

Plot: Set after the events of The Last Stand, The Wolverine has gone into hiding and has been summoned to visit Yashida whom he rescued years ago and is currently dying of cancer. Yashida offers  Wolverine a chance to give his healing abilities to him so he can finally eventually die of old age and have a normal life while Yashida lives forever. Before he considers that offer, Yashida dies and his granddaughter Mariko has been put into a hit list and so Wolverine has to protect her while finding out who is trying to kill her.

Now at the end of the day, this is a good Wolverine movie. And a giant improvement from Wolverine Origins. While that film focused on the action and giving us a story everyone who's seen X2 already knows, this one gives us a story that only the comic book readers would know and focused so much more on that and the characters then with all the action, but still give us a good amount of action for us to enjoy. And many Wolverine and/or X-Men fans couldn't be happier after Origins. This is specifically based on a limited series titled Wolverine where basically everything that happened there happens in this film. And while I cannot say I have read it for myself, I know a couple of people who have and they have said that for the most part it was bringing the entire comic to life which is always a good thing when it comes to adaptations. And most importantly the story is good. Just like with what they more or less did with The Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3, this film went a little into the different between the hero and the powers when Logan questions whether or not to give up his abilities. Plus like some other Marvel film nowadays, it has a scene during the middle of the credits and I can assure you that you do NOT want to miss it. But as good as all the things that have been said are, everything else was just...mediocre. Aside from Wolverine himself, not to many of the characters really stood out - not that any of them where really bad, but they didn't leave a mark. One characters that comes to mind as an example is the villain Viper. For the most part she played her part well enough to actually be the Viper as some of us know from the comics. But when you compare her to many other villains that have hit the silver screen, she wasn't anything unique. At the end of the day, she was kind of just there just so that Viper has made a theatrical film appearance and that was kind of it. And when we come down to the question as to how The Wolverine stands out from the other Marvel films or superhero films in general, I would have the say that it doesn't do much. It will definitely be a film to treasure for years to come for Wolverine/X-Men fans or people in general who want something better then Origins, but after a while when looking back at what an impact it had for me and probably others, it only has a very small part for Marvel's phase 2 with slightly building up for X-Men Days of Future Past, which when I think of it that way, it may not make such as impact as we would like for years to come. But I certainly hope I'm wrong, because I would like to think this movie will hold up as at least fairly memeorable.

And that's my review for The Wolverine. It's mostly mediocre as a film by itself and possibly not that memorable when you look at the grand scheme of things with what Marvel is doing, but it's still a big improvement for origins with it's more story heavy setting and it's fair amount of action and further development to Wolverine itself while building up to the next X-Men film that makes it a nice film to watch and definitely one to check out as we wait for Days of Future Past. (man I hope that one turns out awesome!)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)

Rating: 65%
I know this was about a month ago and most of you guys have probably forgotten about it, but I've seen it myself and I want to give my two cents about it. So here's my review for The Transformers vs. Cloverfield. *audience boos* Okay fine! Pacific Rim!

Plot: The world is being attacked by these giant alien creatures called Kaijus and their only defense has been by creating giant robots that have to be piloted by two people called Jaegers. The story mainly focuses on a pilot named Raleigh who lost his brother during a Kaiju and Jaeger fight and is recruited by his commanding officer, Pentecost to come back and find another pilot to assist him as they make their final stand. So Raleigh tries to get back in the game while he tries to have Pentecost's assistant Mako to be his co-pilot.

Now what really makes this movie is in fact the action and what they come up with for the aliens and at least some of the robots. When it comes to the cinematography, the choreography in the fighting, and with the creativity that they did with some of the features that the robots and mainly the aliens had, Pacific Rim stands as something Michael Bay and Hasbro can learn from for if they ever wanted to actually try to make a Transformers movie that works to go with good story and character development. (That’s the only time in this review that I’m bringing in my personal feelings about how The Transformers has been majorly raped. I promise.)  The movements were slow to show how big and massive the robots and aliens were, the camera movement was very still, you can basically see every single thing that was happening. And I really liked what they did with the aliens - especially with how they gave some of them some different abilities. There was one especially that had three different abilities and how they surprised you with its third was is probably the bestpart of the movie in terms of having a very good sense of timing and illusion. I actually saw this movie again with one of my best friends only in IMAX 3D and it came out as one of the VERY few movies like Avatar and Titanic 3D where the 3D really made it a very fun experience. On top of that, it actually had some funny moments. That’s not to say that any joke that was made was beyond hysterical or anything, but it did manage to have a few jokes – usually the ones pulled by Charlie Day - that actually did come out a little funny. I was not really interested in the idea of comedy relief in this movie, but for what they had, it was actually nice. But what really drags this movie are the main characters and the subplots and dialogue that goes with them. Granted, not every single thing about them was a complete cliché, but a lot of what they did was very cheesy and frankly ridiculous in some areas.  The first time I saw this movie was with my dad and my youngest brother and the first thing that my dad said after the movie ended that he even put up on Facebook was “Please, oh please, film makers, stop trying to put dialogue in action movies!!!”  Now that’s not to say that there aren’t action films that have genuinely good dialogue and characters. I know there are good films that have good dialogue. But sadly, they didn't create characters that were different from the kind of characters you've heard of before and some of the things they say and do you can just predict without a care. I mean Pentecost made this big speech that was just so cliched that it particularly left my brother snickering. All around, they need to actually have truly creative, and memorable characters and dialogue to go with them, or otherwise people who make films like these need to bear in mind my dad's request and close to never bother with them at all.

And that's my review for Pacific Rim. It's by no means memorable with its characters, but it proved to have very smart action, the right kind of cinematography, actual comedy here and there, and some fairly well thought of creativity with creating the design and features of the Jaegers and especially the Kaijus that make it a nice film worth watching at least once or twice.