Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stand Up Guys: Trailer

This weekend marks the release of the Stand Up Guys staring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin. See the trailer below.

It follows Al Pacino, who has just been released from prison after taking a fall, and Christopher Walken, his best friend who has been tasked with killing him, on a night that they treat as their last hurrah.  Throughout this endeavor they are joined by Alan Arkin and they go about living it up and remembering their glory days.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Warm Bodies Trailer

This weekend the movie Warm Bodies comes out.  It is about a world infested with two types of Zombies, those who look like your standard slow moving, movie zombie and the faster moving, more vicious Bonies. Based on the trailer the Bonies are attracted to people because of their beating hearts (so are the Zombie creatures).  This story follows a Zombie (R) who starts to become more human due to sexual attraction and forming a relationship with a human.  I am looking forward to seeing if this concept is pulled off.  I think it is focusing on the comedy aspect.  We shall see.

Also available to watch are the first four minutes of the movie, which goes into more detail about the set up

What I have discovered:  There is a continuous voice over by the main Zombie, referred to as R, and he is talking about his day as it is to him.  That he doesn't remember his name, doesn't know much about himself but that he wishes to connect with others but cant because of the whole Zombie things.  It explains how the Bonies are created and that they are Zombies that give up and just become these creatures. 
I hope the the whole movie doesn't follow this slow of a pace and I think I will get sick of the voice over.  Hopefully it will pick up steam after the basic set up of the first few minutes. Turn in for my review over the weekend.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pride & Prejudice: Happy 200th

January 28th marks the 200th anniversary of the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.  Anyone who really knows me knows that this is one of my faviorate books and it is one of the things that truly ignited my love of the romance story. In homage to one of my favorite stories of all time I am reviewing my three standard Pride and Prejudice movies.  Although there are many movie and TV renditions of this story these are my favorites and the ones closest to my heart.
Pride and Prejudice is the most famous of Jane Austin's work and was first published two hundred years ago. It follows Elizabeth Bennet the second of five daughters of Thomas and Fanny Bennet, as she navigates her relationships with Mr. Darcy.  Mr. Bennet is the a gentleman who lives in a small town in Hartforshire, England.  His daughters are know as the local beauties of the area.  When a rich, eligible gentleman, Mr. Bingly comes into the area, he brings along his best friend Mr. Darcy.  Mr. Darcy finds himself drawn to Elizabeth Bennet but makes the mistake of getting on her bad side, both by calling her barely "tolerable" and separating Mr. Bingley from her older sister, Jane.  Throughout troubles and tribulations Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet discover their loves for each other.

Pride and Prejudice: BBC production (1995)
When I think of the ultimate Pride and Prejudice movie, I think of the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice staring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. This is the movie that catapulted Colin Firth into the role of male dreamboat. Even though it has been almost twenty years since this version had been made, it is still the one I chose and go back to when describing the true nuances of the story and because of the five hour running time, it has the time to really take its time.
When I watch this version of the movie, I think about college and my girlfriends.  We used to get together for romance movie night and we ultimately always ended up putting this version in at the end of the night. Usually breaking up the two half into different nights.  So not only do I get to fall into the joys of this classic romance novel, I get to remember the joys of having good girlfriends who will always be there for you. Something that Elizabeth Bennet knows enough.

Pride and Prejudice: (2005)
This version of Pride and Prejudice starts Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.  This is a more reasonable length movie and can be watched without giving up a whole day.  I was surprised when this movie came out that I liked it, as I was not sure how Kiera Nightly would be as Elizabeth Bennet, but I was pleasantly surprised by her portrayal and this was rewarded by her nomination for an Academy Award.  This version is pretty straightforward in story and sticks only to the main plot points.  Somethings are mushed together but overall it captures the reluctant tension and then surrendered of the tension between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.  I stop this movie before the last scene as it seriously irritates me. If only this movie ended with the double wedding of Elizabeth and Jane to Darcy and Bingly would it be one of my favorite movies of all time.

Bride & Prejudice (2004)
Bride and Prejudice is a Bollywood inspired version of Pride and Prejudice.  It follows the basic story line but transport it to modern day and replaces the Bennets of Hartfordshire as the Bakshi family of India. Mr. Darcy is an American who travels with his friend to India and meets Lalita.  The basic plot of Pride and Prejudice plays out but several secondary characters are removed.  I am a fan of the Bollywood flavor of this movie and I love how they breakout in song and dance throughout. I have the soundtrack on my ipod.

I recommend that everyone sees a version of pride and prejudice and I think that is culturally significance, let along it continued popularity over the past two centuries is enough to support my point.  I hope that anyone who likes a good romance chooses to see this movie.  And in my opinion it takes a lot for any other fictional male to live up to the most fabulous and illustrious Mr. Darcy.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Parker (2013): Review

Parker is a standard action movie, where there is nothing spectacular about it, but it keeps you going with the set up and fight sequences throughout.  It was good for what it is, an action movie released during award season, but it is better then the other movies released this weekend.
Parker, starts Jason Stathum as the title character, who is a thief who was double crossed by the team he works with to hit up the Ohio State Fair.  After coming away with the money and refusing to put the money in the kitty for the next big job the team of four, lead by Michael Chiklis, they decided to kill him.  Having failed to do this, Parker decides to seek revenge against them and steal their next score.  While doing this he runs into Jennifer Lopez's character, who felt like she was there only for a female presence. She was not the love interest that I was expecting, but that doesn't stop a scene where she gets into her undies. As the movie progresses, it is sprinkled with action and fight scenes that keep me interested and the plot movie along.  The plot was simplistic, but this wasn't expected.  All in all it was a fair action movie, with the focus on Stathum who seems to be the go to action guy right now.  I like him in this role.

My Rating: 2-

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013): Review

I hate to say it, because I wanted to like this movie, but it was complete and utter crap.  I went in expecting it to not be the best movie I have seen recently but I expected it to be better then it was.  As I was watching it, I was confused as to what it was trying to be and felt that this movies big problem was that it was having an identify crisis. It never pick a what it was going for and because of this it never really went anywhere.
Hansel & Gretel: Which hunter is based on the basic story of Hansel and Gretel and starts with their back story as the set up. The main difference is that there is no step-mother and that their father is obvious about leaving them in the forest.  The kids wander and find the candy house, but the witch is OTT definitely a witch.  Hansel is forced to eat and Gretel is treated by a slave.  They kill the witch and then go on to become witch hunters.  The main story is when they are hired by the major of a town that has had multiple children kidnapped by witches.  They utilize over the top violence and swearing throughout the movie, as they hunt the witches involved.  While doing this they stumble upon their past.
There was no real plot to this movie, and it seemed like they went in one direction for a little bit and then went in another one that didn't really go with the first one. By doing this neither was every really fleshed out or developed, so I found myself not really caring about any of the characters.  They only one who had an charismatic quality was Hansel, played by Jeremy Renner, and the only interesting character was Ben, a local boy who idolizes Hansel and Gretel. There was a lot of violence and it was obviously OTT, there was also a lot of swearing but this dint seem to go with the feel of the movie, which was more junior.  I think this movie would have been more successful, if they dropped the OTT violence and swearing and aimed for a younger demographic.  How it is it is too inappropriate for a younger audience, but doesn't have anything that an older audience can grab onto and enjoy.
Again, I didn't want to say this because I was looking forward to seeing this movie, but it is not worth seeing.  It is not the worse movie I have seen but there wasn't anything that I would have missed if I had not seen it.

My Rating: 1

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Parker Trailer

This weekend, the newest Jason Stathum movie Parker is being released.  See trailer here:

In Parker, Jason Stathum played the title character who is a thief with a set of rules.  Your standard criminal with a code that he wont break.  He is of course, is double crossed by the team that hires him, lead by Michael Chiklis. After failing to kill Parker, he decides to seek revenge and get back the money that is owed him. He plans to do this by letting them steal something big and then stealing it from them (I am assuming people will get their butts kicked by Stathum during this part).  To get an insider's view of what is being planned he get the help of Jennifer Lopez, who agrees to help him in order to get a cut of the money.  She will undoubtedly be the romantic interest of Stathum as it appears this is Jennifer Lopezs return to her sex siren role.  She has probably been waiting to get back at Chiklis due to some minimally fleshed out back story. 
Anyway, Parker seems to be a stereotypical action flick, but I am hoping is it full of lot of fights, shoot outs, and that it keeps me entertained throughout.  This is the type of film that I tend to enjoy, assuming they don't do something to irritate me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunter Trailer and Grimm's Fairy Tale Summary

This Friday, January 25th, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunter is being released and I am very excited for this movies, because one Hansel and Gretel has always been one of my favorite fairy tale and that in this movie they seem to kick some serious butt. 
Hansel and Gretel is a Brother's Grimm story first published in 1812.  It starts with Hansel and Gretel living with their woodcutter father and evil stepmother, because they are poor the stepmother convinces their father to take Hansel and Gretel into the forest and leave them their. Hansel and Gretel overhear this conversation, so Hansel sneaks outside and gathers pebbles that are easily seen in the moonlight. The next day when their father takes them deep into the forest, Hansel drops the stones, which the children follow back to their house after they are left in the forest by their father. The next night Hansel tries once to go outside and get some pebbles but the door is locked.  As they are taken back into the forest, Hansel drooped bit of bread on the ground hopping to follow them back home, but during the day they are eaten by birds and that they are lost in the woods.  As they wonder, they come across a house made up of gingerbread, cookies, and candies, which Hansel and Gretel start to eat.  They are caught by the elderly women who lives in the house, who offers the children a place to sleep but in the morning she locks Hansel in a cage in order to fatten him up before she eats him and makes Gretel work as her slaves.  Hansel eats only what he has to and convinces the witch that he does not have any meat on his bones, after several weeks she decides she is going to eat him anyway.  As she gets the oven ready to cook Hansel, she decides she wants to eat Gretel as well and tells her that she needs Gretel to get into the oven to see it if it is hot enough, expecting to shut her in, but Gretel pretends she doesn't know how and tricks the witch into demonstrating, when the witch crawls into the oven, Gretel shuts the door on her, and the witch screams until she is burned to ashes.  Gretel lets Hansel out of the cage, they find the witches treasures, and then return home to their father and a step mother who has died.
Growing up, I would watch the Cloris Leachman version of Hansel and Gretel (1987) over and over, and it was always one of my favorite fairy tales, especially because Gretel is the one who ends up tricking the witch.  When I think of Hansel and Gretel this is the version I think of.  Because I have always liked this story I was super excited when I heard that it was the latest story that was being updated with the current witch, vampire, werewolf craze. 

Watch the trailer for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunter here:


This movie picks up fifteen years after the Grimm's Fairy Tale but changes the ending.  Hansel and Gretel don't make it back home to their father, they become witch hunters, with a vendetta to kill all the witches they come across and seem to be in the business of being hired to come to a town to hunt and kill the raining witch.  They are hired to come to a town that is infested with a witch and discover that they are back at their old home and that they were not abandoned by their parents, but that they are murdered.  The trailer seems to focus on the set up of the story, but I have a feeling that the main witch the will be battling is the evil step mother.  I will see for sure this weekend, as I will be seeing this movie.  Stick around for my review.  I hope that it is awesome and with Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton I am expecting some serious butt kicking.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Review

Because of all of the award hype that I have been hearing about Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty.  From what I had seen of the previews and what the general response to this movie was that it was really good, so I wanted to see the if it was worth all the hype.  Well I was quite disappointed with this movie.  It had that potential to be great, it was well acted and overall had good filming but it was soooo slow. For the majority of the movie I just wanted it to get going and pick up the pace.  It seemed like it took way too long to go from one point to the other.  The points and overall acting scenes were good and I would have enjoyed this movie much better if it was about thirty minutes shorted.  There were also points where it was hard to see what was going on, as the movies was too dark, and these were at times where nothing violent was happening, so I didn't understand why it was so dark.
This movie is based on first hand accounts of the search for and eventually death of Osama bin Laden, it basically follows Maya, a CIA agent played by Jessica Chastain. It starts with her being reassigned to Afghanistan and end with the confirmation of the death of Osama bin Laden.
It was well acted and I liked the overall feel of this movie, but knowing what was going to happen (who doesn't) made it difficulty to get into the suspense of what happened.  It played up the is he/ isn't he there point but it is know by everyone that he was there and killed during this operations.  This movie is really only for people who like this documentary style movie.

My rating: 2

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Last Stand (2013): Review

When I was watching The Last Stand, there were parts that I really enjoyed and that met my expectations for this movie, but there were parts that I just wanted the movie to get through and get back to the over the top action and ridiculousness of Arnold Schwarzenegger back in film.  I think that overall it was what I expected, which was lots of shooting and violence (this was mainly in gun form), Arnold kicking some butt but not pretending that he is still a spring chicken, a huge focus on the guns, and how a few people with limited artillery can take out a trained criminal crew. I was kinda disappointed that there was no obviously Terminator reference but this wasn't that big of a letdown.
It almost seemed that this was two separate movies/storylines that never really gelled together.  The first one was awesome in an over the top, action and gun kind of way.  There was also a cast that were perfect for this type of B action movie.  It stared Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Sheriff of a small town on the boarder of Mexico, who get drawn into a fight for his town. This happens when a villain, who will kill someone as well as look at them, wants to make a way for an escaped convict to get across the Mexican boarder.  The Sheriff is assisted by the wacky townsfolk, which include Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzmán. This part was great and if it was the main focus on the movie, and focused on a better villain then the escaped convict, it would have been so ridiculously over the top that it was awesome.  Alas, there was then the second storyline in the movie, which focused on Forrest Whitaker's FBI agent, who is unable to keep tabs on the convict or do anything that does anything to help keep and capture the convict.  Whenever Forrest Whitaker was on screen, he overacted and it detracted from the movie.  It went from being the golden tones of the Sheriff's town to the greys of the incompetent agents that just are complaining, yet not doing anything to assist in the plot.
Besides my dislike of this second storyline I like the movie and there were some great points, and the characters were able to get me to relate and want them to succeed. I recommend this just for people who like action movies that just rely on over the top violence and wacky characters.

My Rating: 1+

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Battle of the Movies: Schwarzenegger vs. Stallone

It seems like recently there has been a resurgence of the older action stars and I have to say I am loving it.  This weekend kicks off what I like to think of the first official battle of these movies.  Arnold Schwarzenegger Vs. Sylvester Stallone.  I think that they are great to come out against each other because when I think of 80s action movies I think of these two.  With these two movies I think it is natural to compare the two because they are coming out within weeks of each other.  Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand this Friday on January 18th and Sylvester Stallone's Bullet to the Head on February 1st.  I hope that they are awesome and use lots of references back to the hay day of these the action movies these two were in.

First off- Released on January 18th  Arnold Schwarzenegger in

In The Last Stand is Arnold Schwarzenegger's official return to movie making after his stint as Governor of California and his recent baby scandal.  He is coming back as the Sheriff of the town that it standing between an escaped fugitive and the Mexican border.  What is Arnold to do about it, but go after him with guns and a take no prisoner's attitude.  I hope that it lives up to what I expect, which is lots of guns, shootouts, a few chases, and hopefully a couple blatant Terminator references.
Also starring: Forrest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, and Luis Guzmán

Next up being release on February 1st is Sylvester Stallone's
Bullet to the Head

Stallone has been a back a bit longer then Schwarzenegger with the Expendable movies, but with Bullet to the Head, he is more of a main focus. In this movie he still has a side kick, but this time it seems he is there for comedic effect not a ensemble to bring in a more nostalgic feeling.  I haven't seen as much press for this one but it seems like, Stallone is one of the best killers, someone wants to get him, so they go and kidnap his daughter (I hope it isn't too much like Taken) he proceeds to go forth and beat up kill lost of people to save his daughter.  It doesn't seem like they will be focusing on how he is now an older action star and are going for a more straight forward take, but a girl can still hope for some over the top reference to his action start prime.
Also Staring: Jason Momoa and Christian Slater

Well, if a few short weeks I will know which one of these two former action megastars will come out on top for this first edition on Battle of the Movies.  Which one are you looking more forward to seeing. I think I am leaving toward The Last Stand. Good luck to both of them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Lord of the Rings Journey

After watching and enjoy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I figured it was time to finally watch the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Prior to seeing the Hobbit I had only ever seen the first Lord of the Rings Movie, the Fellowship of the Ring when it was originally released in theatres back in 2001.  I went to see this movie with my family, it was before I really discovered my joy of sci-fi.  I didn't know what to expect and was not really that impressed. Going in I did not know anything about the story and I definitely was not expecting it to be a three hour movie (I blame this one on my mommy) and it just didn't grab my attention.  I have not seen the other two movies.
Anyway, I have decided that I need to let go of my aversion to Lord of the Rings, give the movies a chance and watch them.  I am going to blame this resistance on the teenage girl who didn't want to see the movie in the first place and didn't understand the joy of sci-fi. I also didn't want to be disappointed because of all the hype surrounding it. I will see what I think after I watch them.
Going in to watching these movies, I know what I do about Lord of the Rings is based on what it out there in general society and Pinterest.  I know that one does not just walk into Mordor (Pinterst) and that Frodo works to save Middle Earth by getting ride of the one true ring, by throwing it into Mordor.  That the ring is intrinsically evil and that it has to be destroyed for peace. I also know that Gollum is a great character and I am looking forward to learning more about his history.  At least that is what I hope. I am watching the extended edition DVDs.

Here we go....

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
I have enjoyed hearing the background of the basic story.  It has helped to have things make more sense, but I struggle with understanding who everyone is.  Characters seem to come in and it is like I should already know who they are.
I have found that I really like the three supporting Hobbits, Merry and Pippin are awesome, they are funny and kick some serious ass.  Sam is supporting and great, but at times a tad melodramatic.  It was not until this watching that I realized how often Frodo gets hurt and it seems like he doesn't really do what he can to not get hurt.  I don't get why they are so focused on how important Frodo is when the other Hobbits do not seem to be effected by the ring as the others are. 
I have noticed how much some of the actors have aged in the last decade, the only one who really seems to have gotten more beautiful is Cate Blanchett, she is definitely more ethereal now then she was back in 2001. Her age seem s to makes her more intrinsically wise.  She seems to embody her character the best out of everyone. 
I don't really get how easily Gandolf dies, he seems to just give into the fall, and how easily everyone else lets Frodo and Sam go off on their own.  I get why they so quickly go after Merry and Pippin and it would make more sense if they had that as the focus as opposed to we have to let Frodo go.
I don't get why the elves are leaving middle earth.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
I have discovered that Gollum is my favorite character.  He is great to watch and the internal conflict that is played out is externally fantastic to watch.  I think that they go into a bit too much depth of the supporting arcs and they could have been easily been condensed. I miss Pippin and Merry but they continue to be funny whenever they are the focus.  I don't really get the point of Legolas, and I feel as if I don't know any of his back story but I like the Gimli and his persona (it might help that there was a lot of Dwarf lore in The Hobbit).  I continue to think that Frodo needs to get a grip on what is going on, and I that Sam is being overly mean to Gallum because Frodo is being ridiculously short sighted.  This is obviously the middle of the journey and is drawn out. For being such a brilliant Wizard Saraman is too easily defeated by water and trees.

Lord of the Rings: The Return on the King (2003)
As I have discovered my joy of Gollum, I like that they show his background and how he got the ring. Although I had always imagined that the voice of Gollum came about after he started to physically change.  Pippin actually annoys me with grabbing the orb, but Merry continues to be great. As the battle begins I like that everyone is involved and that Legolas and Gimli continue their banters and that they finally admit that they like it each other openly.  I have grown to really like the interplay between these two.  I continue to be frustrated with what a sap Frodo is but I like that Sam continues to support him.  Gollum continues to be am enjoyable hot mess to watch.  At the end of the movies I would have liked to see more then just the Hobbits continued story and I want to know what the other characters have been up to, but I understand that it is about ultimately a story about the Hobbits.

Overall, I enjoyed watching the movies, but feel that there is so much you really needed to know to follow the story without scratching your head.  I would like to have been walked through some of the points better but I think that once I let go of understanding everything I was able to follow the general story. 

I would not say that I am a huge Lord of the Rings Fan but I am intrigued enough to want to learn more about the surrounding lore.  I guess I will have to read the books for that.

I would say that these are should watch movies, but they required your attention to follow what is going on.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gangster Squad (2013): Review

This weekend I went to see Gangster Squad and I was not disappointed in what I saw.  I really liked this movie and it was a joy to watch.  The Gangster Squad is set in 1949 Los Angeles and follows Sargent John O'Mara, played by Josh Brolin, and Sargent Jerry Wooters, played by Ryan Gosling, as they try and take down Crime Boss Mickey Cohen, played by Sean Penn.
Gangster Squad has what I love about shoot-um-up movies, lots of intense stand offs and lots of gun slinging. At times it was a bit caricatured but this added to the old world charm of the entire movie.  It was fun to watch the interactions of the police officers with each other and how the criminal network was trying to come out on top.  It was refreshing, after seeing all of the modern day criminal movies which use all of the most up to date technology, to see the foot on the pavement method utilized in the Gangster Squad.
All of the actors were fantastic in this movie, Sean Penn plays a great crime boss and ex-boxer.  I believed that he would act violently to get and maintain his criminal stronghold.  Josh Brolin is the dedicated police officer, who believes in doing what he needs to for justice.  As it was several years after the war, he is still struggling to deal with being back at home and how to balance out his desire to see Mickey taken down and to be there for his wife.  Ryan Gosling, once again, is very charming and plays the young gun well.  I believe that he would be able to charm Grace Faraday, played by Emma Stone, while hanging around the outskirts of the criminal underground.
As I watched this movie, I was drawn into the scenery and the environment of late 40's.  It seemed to fit into what I picture in my head of Los Angeles during this time, with the old world glamour and social interplay.  Although the plot was a bit simplistic and pretty predictable, I was drawn in for throughout the entire experience.

My Rating: 3-


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gangster Squad Trailer

I don't know if anyone else is getting excited but I plan to go see Gangster Squad this weekend.  I hope it lives up to my expectations or at least shows a lot of a partially dressed Ryan Gosling.  That in and of itself may save this movie. Anyway with Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin I am expecting it to at least be well acted. I really don't know much about the plot but it seems like Ryan Gosling is a cop who pretends to be a Gangster to infiltrate and destroy Sean Penn's criminal network, during which time he seduces Emma Stone.  I wonder how much double crossing, deaths, and crooked cops their are going to be.

Have a look, is anyone else getting excited for this and the star of a hopefully great movie year in 2013!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Impossible (2012): Review

I first saw the preview for The Impossible a few weeks ago and I wanted to see it.  I searched to see when it was showing and was disappointed to see that the closest showing was either in Canada or Chicago.  I wasn't going to travel that far, and was really disappointed.  I was glad when I found that it was just in limited early release.
So this weekend I went and saw The Impossible and I absolutely loved it.  The Impossible is the true life story of a family who suffered through the December 26, 2006 Tsunami.  It stars Naomi Watts (Maria) and Ewan McGregor (Henry) who are a married couple with three young sons who are vacationing in Thailand.  They are out by the pool when the Tsunami hits and Maria is swept away with her eldest son, Lucas.  They struggle to survive the aftermath of the Tsunami where Maria was injured.  Although this story is based on a Spanish family, for the film the family is British.
Right from the beginning, I was drawn into the family and liked how they interacted with each other.  They seem like they really are a family, and that they are on a normal vacation.  As they are trust into this tragic survival scenario, I am drawn into their struggles and rooting for them to survive. I cried throughout this movie, but there were some great scenes between these moments.  I think that it was wonderfully acted and the interactions between all members of the family felt genuine.  This is one of the best movies I have seen in a while.

My Rating: 4

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Django Unchained (2012): Review

For Friday Night Movie this week I went and saw Django Unchained, the new Quentin Tarantino movie.  I hate to say it, because I usually like Tarantino movies and I know that he likes westerns and this was his full fledged western movie, but it was not very good and overly offensive.  I know that Tarantino likes to push the box with what he can get away with in his movies, such as plot of the movie, over the top music, language, and dramatic violence, but I didn't like this one.
Django Unchained follows Django, played by Jamie Fox, a slave who is freed by Dr. King Schults, played by Chirstoph Waltz, a bounty hunter who needs Djano's help to identify his current targets.  After being freed by Dr. Schults, the two of them plan to rescue Django's wife who has been sold to Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. They do this by tricking Monsieur Candie into thinking that they are in the market to buy a top slave fighter.
When I think about this movie, I break it into three parts.  The first part I really enjoyed and was the part of the movie, where Dr. Schults teaches Django about how to be a bounty hunter and the focuses on the relationship between the two of them.  This is were what I really like about Tarantino films is hightlighted and as I was watching the beginning of the movie, I expected to like the entire much better (I actually felt quite disappointed with the rest of the film).  The second part is the overly offensive part of the movie, where the N word is used almost like a comma. I know that the story line itself was offensive, with the focus on slaves and fighting to the death (think underground cock fighting with slaves) but for me it was distracting with the constant use of the N word. I think that the point could have been made without this usage and I found it difficulty to get past.  This is probably due to my cultural conditioning to be socially correct and to not use this word as well as the general understanding that it is not okay to say.  The third part of the movie, was the standard Tarantino violence.  With lots of gore, over the top death kill, and with the over music that you expect from Tarantino.
The best part of the movie was Christoph Waltz, he was fabulous and I think that he is a great actor, who really hits the nuances of his characters, specifically when working with Tarantino.  The worst was Samuel L. Jackson, I just couldn't get past how I knew it was him but that he was badly made up to be older. He was very aggressive in the delivery of his character, but it didn't seem to work within the other character dynamics. 
This is only a movie to watch, if you like Quentin Tarentino and if you can handle the overtly offensive plot and language without getting upset.  This movie is definitely not for everyone.

My Rating: 1+

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Year in Movies: Family & Children

There were five new releases I saw this which I would classify as family affair or a children's movie.  I enjoyed all of them.  They were all very enjoyable and what you would expect for a family friendly film.  I few hidden jokes for the adults, some seeking of self and purpose, as well as just a hint of danger.

Brave- I liked this movie, but it was not what I was expected going in. I expected to see the classic girl and boy fall in love fairy tale, but instead it was focused around the relationship between a mother and daughter as the daughter moves into adult hood.  I was really glad that I saw this with my Mom and think that it is worth seeing for mother and daughter's of any age.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island- This is the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth but with The Rock instead of Brendan Fraser.  It was enjoyable but nothing over the top, as it is a family movie.  It has Josh Hutcherson before he really broke out in The Hunger Games and I consider it good Family Fluff for the younger action lover.

Mirror, Mirror- This was the other Snow White movie that came out this year, and I think that it was by far much better.  It embraced the camp and overtly costumed factor and I liked the switch up of Snow White being the hero and Prince Charming as the lad in need of a rescue. 

Monster's Inc 3D- This was the 3D re-release of Monster's Inc, a new trend in movies, leading up to Monster's University being released in 2013.  I loved seeing this movie on the big screen as it is one of my favorite Pixar movies, and I feel that it has held up through the decade since it was released.

Rise of the Guardians-  I loved this movie and it is on my list of movies to buy once it comes out.  I liked the reluctant hero in Jack Frost and many people can relate to the desire to know who you are, while going back into your childhood fantasies of Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy.

My Year in Movies: Drama & Comedy

This year out of the forty six movie I watched twelve that would be classified as drama, comedy, romance and one musical.  I enjoyed many of the dramas but was not impressed with the comedies.  It seemed like unless the comedies had an action factor to keep it going, it fell flat.  I am hoping that this upcoming year will be much better, as I enjoy a good comedy.  I just wish that movies would stop relying on lewd or awkward behavior for a nervous giggle, and go back to clever situations with wit and a heartfelt laugh.  Some of the best laughs I had in movies this year, were stuck within the drama's or action movies.

American Reunion- I remember thinking, when American Pie came out that it was over the top, but with the saturation of lewd and awkward humor out there, it now seems quite tame.  It was nostalgic to take a look back at the main characters of American Pie, and I enjoyed remembering referencing the original when it originally came out.

Dark Shadows- This seemed like a complete character and just another time for Johnny Depp to be kooky.  He does much better when he is not limited by the family fair of this movie (it could be considered family).  It did not live up to any of the expectations I had for it.

Pitch Perfect- This was my comedy of the year.  I love it and have watched it multiple times since its release on Blu-ray.  It is complete musical fluff but the entire experience is hilarious. Rebel Wilson was fantastic and I look forward to seeing her in more roles, hopefully where she is restrained as I feel like that is when she is her best. 

Rock Of Ages- This was enjoyable to watch but is not everyone's cup of tee.  It hits on the Hollywood stereotypes of the ridiculous rock star caricature. Tom Cruise was the best part of this movie.

Think Like A Man- This was a take it or leave it rom-com.  It was fluff but with nothing really stand out about it.  Nothing particularly horrible, but I do not have a desire to see it again. 

Good Deeds- Tyler Perry continues to make movies that star him as the front and center, Good Deeds is no exception.  Although it was way better the his action Alex Cross, it still was nothing special.  I just do not buy into Tyler Perry as the all around, likable, male lead that he is trying to tell me that he is.

Les Miserables- Was worth a watch, just for the cultural significance, but I feel it was over exaggerated at better than it really wast. The film making was jumpy and the scene scopes were claustrophobic.

Lincoln- Daniel Day Lewis was fantastic as Abraham Lincoln, but this movie was about 30 minutes too long.  They could have cut out moments and it would have been better.  I was bored when Lincoln was not being featured.

Magic Mike- It was nice to see men objectified as beefcakes but the storyline was really week. I found myself just wanting more stripper scenes as it was the only draw of this movie.

Silver Linings Playbook- I loved this movie and the play between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.  They play it on the realistic side of crazy and I found myself rooting for the two of them.  The drama of the year.

The Lucky One- This was the Nicolas Sparks movie adaptation of the year and I really liked it.  The interaction between Zac Effron and Taylor Schilling was good and this movie allowed Zac Effron to go from being the teeny idol to an attractive young man.  This was the romance of the year in my opinion.

The Vow- This movie was a fine romance but did not tug on my heart strings.  The chemistry between Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams was lackluster and did not leave any lingering impression with me. This means that it was not horrible but there was nothing special about it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Year in Movies: Action & Thriller

As the year 2012 started I was excited for many movies coming out, but also very apprehensive, as I was extremely disappointed in many of the movies of 2011.  I would become excited for a movie coming out and then it would in no way be up anywhere near my expectations/ This year I was ready for a change in tide with the quality and enjoyment of the movies released and I got more then I was expecting.  I loved the year 2012 when it came to movies and I sincerely hope that 2013 keeps it up.
When I think about the overall movie year of 2012, I think of it as a year of action, adventure, and thriller movies.  There were several huge action blockbusters that were released as well as many lower key but still very good adventure stories.  When it came to the new releases I chose to see this year the majority of them where action and adventure.  When I did the math I watched forty six new released this year and of them I classified twenty nine as action, adventure, or thriller.  I say that I classified them as action, adventure, or thriller because many of them could be dual classified as comedy or drama but that they had a component of action, adventure, quest, chase, thriller, or suspense and I consider these plot characteristic to be most significant in the overall movie classification.  There were also some of the family movies that could be classified in this category but I felt that they were more family affair then the movies I placed in this category.

The Big Blockbusters (Expected Blockbusters):

The Amazing Spiderman- I really enjoyed this spiderman reboot and this is coming for someone who is not a huge spiderman fan.  It is worth seeing for anyone who likes superhero movies. I am looking forward to the next installment.

The Avengers- The big movie of the year. The bringing together of Marvels Avengers who have all been introduced in previous movies leading up to their ultimate team up.  I really enjoyed this movie, and though it may not have been the best movie of the year, it definitely lived up to my expectations and I enjoyed every minute of it.  If you have not seen this movie, go see it.

Battleship- A navy battleship has to save the day when the aliens attack. This is another movie that got bad press this year but that I though was good enough. No it was not the best ever and had a minimal plot, but it had action and excitement that kept my interest throughout.

The Dark Night Rises- The third installment of the Dark Night trilogy and I it meet expectations.  I was not sure if I would like this movie, as I really wasn't a big fan of the second.  This one met all of my action movie wants and was well acted to boot.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey- The first installment of The Hobbit which is a prequel to The Lord Of The Rings.  I liked it enough to go back and watch the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which I have only watched the first movie when it was originally released in theatres. I am actually looking forward to seeing the next two.

John Carter- This movie was expected to be the first big action blockbuster of the year but is overall considered to be a bad movie.  I was not as harsh on it as others and I quite enjoyed it. It was no where near as fantastic as some of the other big budget movies of the year, but I think that it was an enjoyable few hours and kept my attention throughout.  I would completely dismiss this one, and if you like movies that are action, adventure fluff, you will enjoy this movie.

Men in Black 3- I am putting this hear because I had been waiting for this movie to come out since I heard it was being filmed.  I didn't know what to expect but I really enjoyed the whole movie.  Men in Black 3 takes the standard sci-fi third installment plot idea, which has the main character going into the past to save the day.  Will Smith continues to be a wonderful Agent J and Josh Brolin is wonderful as a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' Agent K.

Skyfall- Daniel Craig is back as 007 but is damaged.  I liked how this movie had call backs to past James Bond movies and continued to show the humanity of the Bond Character.  James Bond is definitely a modern day hero with Daniel Craig at the helm.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2- The conclusion of The Twilight Sage.  I liked how the series was concluded even though it broke from the book.  It added action and a fight sequence to the movie. It did so in a way that had me going "they cant be doing this" at the time but thinking "that was amazing" afterward.  There were all the standard complaints that go along with the Twilight Series but it is what it is and is made for those who enjoy it.

The Sleepers and Unexpectedly Enjoyable:

Argo- I didn't know what to expect with this movie, but was hoping that it would be good, I was blown away.  This is possibly my favorite movie of the year. I was on my seat throughout the whole thing, although I knew that everything was going to work out, I kept thinking, is it really?.

The Bourne Legacy- I liked this movie and hope that the series is continued with Jeremy Renner. He was the break out action star of the year and I like him in this role. Legacy starts with those agents who are effected by the actions of the last Bourne movie and goes off with it.  This movie felt very much as a set up and I hope that I get to see the continuation.

The Hunger Games- This movie was a surprise hit but easily fits into the role of young girl obsessed series.  I was drawn into this movie and really enjoyed it, but am not really excited for the second and third installments as the first book is by far the best. This one is definitely worth a watch, even if it is just for the importance within society.

Jack Reacher- I like Tom Cruise as the action star and he was able to keep me entertained throughout this movie.  I have not read these books so I did not have a picture in my head of who Jack Reacher is, but I think that overall this movie was an enjoyable action movie.

Looper- I love sci-fi and action movies and this was those two components put together, with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gorden Levitt thrown in for extra enjoyment.  This was very much on the sci-fi end, and at times didn't really make physic sense but who cares in a great sci-fi thriller.

Premium Rush- This was one of my favorite movies this year and when it is really looked at, it is complete fluff.  It has Joseph Gorden Levitt as a characteristic lead, and keeps you movie through the entire movie.  It jumps around, gives you snippets of information, and breaks into chases.  I loved it for a few hours of movie fun.

Disappointments and Duds:

Alex Cross- Tyler Perry continues to think he is a better actor then he is and tries to fill the shoes of legitimate franchise holder.  He fails miserably.

Lockout- Guy reluctantly tasks with saving girl, who get into a mess when she is in the wrong place at the wrong time.  She is resistant and defiant but they end up realizing then need each other, yada, yada, yada.

Red Dawn- A remake that was complete crap.  It had all of the things that I tend to like but I kept thinking "why did they even make this movie." Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth couldn't even help it.

Resident Evil: Retribution- This was one of my major disappointments of the year.  I kept thinking that it was basically the first movie, with the kid thrown in (this was used is more then one sequel this year).  She was stuck in an underground complete with the infected on attack.

Snow White and the Huntsman- With two snow white movies coming out this year, I was uncertain which one I would like better, this was not the one. It drags and there are moments where I go really, you are using that symbolism.  I could have done without this movie, although it was better then some others I have seen.

Wrath of the Titans- Nothing special, ancient demi god fighting Titans to save the world and the gods. Lot of fighting and special effects.

The Rest of the Lot:

Expendables 2- Follows with the basic idea of the first movie.  Take some getting older action stars, put them in a movie, have them fight and watch the awesomeness of old action cliche.  I loved the Chuck Norris appearance.

Haywire- This movie was neither hear or there. It was nice to see a female lead take of the role as a bad ass action hero, but she did not have the charisma or movie presence to create a new franchise.

Safe- Jason Stathum is the hero who becomes the protector of a young girl caught up in a conspiracy.  Standard Stathum stuff which I always enjoy.

Safe House- Ryan Reynolds is unexpectedly thrown into the role of having to decided is the bad guy really bad and are the good guys really good scenario.  Nothing too surprising but it has Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington as the main actors. 

Savages- Action, drugs, sex, and kidnapping.  This movie follows a expected storyline but the characters worked well with each other and there was action, drugs, sex, and kidnapping.

Taken 2- Nothing special but exactly what was advertise.  Liam Neelsen kicking ass as he thrawrts kidnappers.

Total Recall- A remake which got rid of the sci-fi craziness of the originals and made it more regular people in a post destruction world.  It was enjoyable but sci-fi fluff in it essence.

Underworld: Awakening- This movie was exactly as I expected it to be, with Kate Beckinsale looking amazing in black leather shooting up werewolves after her and her daughter.  It was enjoyable and I like this franchise.  I missed seeing Michale, as I feel that a key component of the series is the relationship between Selene and Michale.