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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tim Burton Street Juggling? "Mars Attacks!" Review

Just like my favorite director Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton has invented his own genre, and same as Quentin the best way to describe the genre is to simply say his name. If I was to describe the movie “Beetlejuice” to someone who hasn’t seen it all I need to say is “It’s a Tim Burton movie”. If I was a famous movie director I would take that as a major compliment but at the same time I would be upset because that would limit me to my own style. I like that Tim has his own style because I know I can count on him to stick to it and if I ever want to see a “Tim Burton” movie I can watch one.

The problem is that the style he has just cannot fit into some genres like he wants them to. “Mars Attacks!” is a terrible mess of a film that means well but fails even on paper. For starters it is a parody film, a genre that has only been done right once with “Airplane”. It then adds embarrassment to it by having such an enormous cast no one would be able to handle. Watching the film is like watching a street performer juggle too many bowling pins, he keeps dropping them and you feel sorry for him because you know he is feeling embarrassed. It is truly a pity that such talents as Jack Nicholson, Jack Black, and Michael J. Fox get wasted in a film that looks like a stupid B movie that should have never existed.

From the opening credits you see that there is an alien invasion with flying saucers. The Martians that attack look too silly even for a parody. In fact I even remember a picture of one of them being in one of my high school textbooks for some reason and when me and my friend first saw it we laughed so hard that our teacher got pissed and kindly asked us to shut the hell up. The plot then slowly evolves into a nonsensical cocktail of uninteresting stories involving the president of the United States, a talk show host falling in love with a scientist but getting her head stuck on the body of a dog, and a message towards the Martians which was either mistranslated or the Martians didn’t care and attacked anyway.

Tim Burton is not particularly known for being clever or witty with his films but he usually doesn’t dumb his movies down either. This time he makes a movie that feels as if prolonged exposure to it might cause a tumor. There might be a true sincerity in it in that Tim honestly wanted to make a good homage to science fiction B movies but it was a wrong choice from a director who I really admire and think that he is capable of doing much better.

4/10


Although I am tempted to say “Batman” I think his best film is “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” but what do you think? Do you prefer something more like “Edward Scissorhands”? or perhaps the darker “Sleepy Hollow”? Tell me in the comments below. Remember you can comment whether you have an account or not. Please start leaving me some comments, because they have been scarce.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Movie That Convinced the World it was Real. "The Blair Witch Project" Review.

This is not a horror film; in fact it’s barely even a thriller, and it is not really that good. I believe that this film is one that most people would find bad as well but a lot of people seem to like it and I think I know why. In 2009 when “Paranormal Activity” came to my area I somehow got misinformed and believed that the film was actual found footage. The experience of watching the film thinking it was real was a terrifying experience unlike anything I had ever felt while watching a movie. When I found out that it was actually just a fictional story told in the found footage genre, I did feel a bit disappointed but I didn’t really change my mind that much about the film. I still thought it was a great movie and it was still terrifying when I saw it again. My first impression of the movie has followed me to this day. So by now you might have guessed why people like “The Blair Witch Project” so much; first impressions.  When it came out, people were told that it was a documentary with real teens that got lost in the woods. Creepy right?

But what happens when you watch the movie knowing that it is just a fictional story made as found footage? Then you have a boring movie about 3 annoying people who get lost in the woods. Nothing remotely interesting happens in this movie; NOTHING! All they do is fight about whose fault it was that they got lost, why they went there in the first place, and cry really close to the camera. I think at some point they find a tooth or something but other than that I kid you not, there is absolutely nothing going on.

It is hardly a terrible film. You can do much worse especially since the acting is good enough to convince the entire world that they are for real even though they are full of shit, and it does provide with good buildup, but the entire movie is one big buildup. Imagine if a story was about 3 people hearing a noise in a closet and then discussing what could be behind it for one hour and just when they are about to finally open it to see what it was, the story ends. That’s “The Blair Witch Project”, a long boring buildup to nothing.

I think that anyone watching this film knowing that it is fake will agree with me because it is fundamentally bad filmmaking. So people reading this who saw it thinking it was real must consider the view of someone who was not fooled by the marketing. My rating of this film is pretty generous I think, considering how little this film has going for it but I do appreciate the road it paved for films like “Cloverfield” and “Paranormal Acvitity”.

6/10


What is your favorite found footage film? Let me know bellow in the comments. My favorite is “Cloverfield” but a close second is “Chronicle” a film that was on my 2012 best of list. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Halloween Has Come Early! "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" Review

Last year I was in a movie theatre with 3 friends of mine, 2 of them were girls and one was a guy. We were watching “Les Miserables” and towards the end the situation was as follows; I was contemplating suicide because of boredom, one girl was singing along quietly while a bit choked up, the other girl was crying like a little baby, and the other guy was asleep (lucky bastard). However that movie did have a silver lining, it taught me something that I had been wondering for years, why do I like musicals so much? The answer came to me because that movie was missing the one variable that I like about musicals, fun!

So with my new way of understanding musicals let’s talk about “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. For a movie that stars cross dressers, features a song called “Sweet Transvestite”, and has a large gay following, the movie is surprisingly masculine. A lot of people tend to dislike musicals just because they are musicals “People don’t spontaneously break into song” they tend to say while at the same time enjoying films with characters who are willing to risk their lives to save a building full of people they don’t know. Musicals are good as long as the music is good and Rocky Horror has got one of the best soundtracks I have heard from a musical. Songs like “Time Warp” “Hot Patootie” and “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” hit my ears wonderfully.

Tim Curry, And Susan Sarandon (the only two actors in the film worth mentioning) do a pretty fantastic job with the hard material. Not only do they have to act out incredibly complicated and weird roles but they have to sing too and they both do it well. Also worth noting is a funny cameo by Meat Loaf who I believe to actually be a good actor after seeing him in this film and “Fight Club”.

The film takes place mostly in one or two rooms of a scary house, evidence of its origins in theater, so that gives the audience time to get to know the surroundings as if they were another character. Everything is iconic in the film which may account for the enormous cult following this film has. Speaking of the cult following I have heard great things about Halloween midnight showings of this film so it might be worth going to one when Halloween comes along.

The plot might be simple but it is hard to understand through all the singing and dancing which makes for a very awkward experience. Janet and her FiancĂ© get stranded and go to a very creepy house where a crazy drag queen plays Frankenstein. There is not much to go on after that.  It is almost as if you are watching a concert because you are enjoying the music and you like the show but there isn’t much of a plot. It is a forgivable flaw in an otherwise very well made film.

8/10


What is your favorite musical? Remember animated films count. Mine would have to be “The Wizard of Oz” but I am a fan of musicals so many many movies come to mind when I think of that question.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I got in a car crash! "Death Proof" Review.

So I got into a car crash yesterday and to be honest I got pretty scared even though it wasn’t really a huge one. I was pretty shaken all day and felt upset even though I should have been happy I was able to walk away from it. So being the twisted cinefile that I am that got me thinking of what film I could review next that has to do with car crashes? I think I ended up with a splendid choice. Now remember do not watch this movie if you want to feel safe in a car ever again but if you like the idea then give this movie a go. You see “Death Proof” is one segment of the double feature “Grindhouse” and it stars Kurt Russell, Rose McGowan, Rosario Dawson, Zoe Bell, and many others. My favorite director of all time Quentin Tarantino directed the movie which is kinda poetic in a weird way if you think that if I had died in my accident I would have at least died in a way that Tarantino would find fascinating, because he clearly does by the looks of this film.

Like a lot of my reviews recently I won’t tell you the plot because that would spoil most of it. What I will tell you is that only one character ties the first half to the second half, because if you saw the two halves separately you might have thought that the second was a great remake of the first one with a small but critical change to the ending. Confused? I know I don’t blame you, but if you are into movies that look like they have been directed by Charles Manson then this is for you.

Even though it contains some heart pounding, hair rising, nail biting, edge of your seat, action set pieces, it is about 70% Tarantino-Style dialogue. Perhaps that number is too much though because the film does definitely get boring at some points. For anyone who hasn’t gotten the memo yet, Quentin is my favorite movie director so I wouldn’t say anything negative about his films unless I really meant it. The good news is that he apparently found his number and scaled it down for his next films.

This is the only movie of Tarantino’s which doesn’t get full marks for me because it is the one that went too far. Not with the violence, or the swearing, but with the self indulgence. It almost feels like he made this film so that he can watch it alone with the volume all the way up and his pants all the way down. It’s not for the faint of heart but shit if you are an adrenaline junkie, a car enthusiast, a B movie expert, or just a Tarantino fan like me then grab yourself a DVD, send any (straight) women to bed and then pop it on and you are in for a treat.

8/10



Who is your favorite director? Do you even have one? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Why Am I Reviewing a TV Show Anyway?" Whose Line is it Anyway?" Review

I know that my thing is movies. I have reviewed over 30 movies on this blog but not a single TV show. Why? Well I wouldn’t be much of a specialist if I focused on anything else besides movies but sometimes other fields produce work I admire so much it transcends my limit on movies.
I am of course talking about my favorite TV show ever: “Whose Line is it Anyway?” specifically the American version. Why do I like it so much? I don’t know, it’s not easy to explain what you like or dislike about a TV show because unlike a movie it’s not a onetime thing.  One day an episode can be great the next the episode is trash. But I suppose the best I can come up with is is that the concept is great but what really makes it excellent is the glue that holds it together. When a tv show is good but doesn’t dazzle you with anything that’s usually because it is only a set of great scenes after one another instead of a set of great scenes that are thematically or otherwise linked. Now Whose Line doesn’t have a story but it does have scenes and I know for sure that those scenes wouldn’t be the same without the gags about the points, the reactions from the studio audience, the pointless conversations between the scenes, the banter about how one was bald the other had weird shoes, the other was black, the other was fat, and of course the most contagious laughter of Drew Carey.

You might be thinking why after over a year I am only reviewing this now? Well the reason is because it is more relevant now. The show had been canceled years ago and was on reruns. There had been numerous attempts to bring something similar to TV like the shows “Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show” “Drew Carey’s Improvaganza” or “Trust us With your Lives” but none of them had the charm or the aforementioned glue.  The show had a cult fanbase that kept pleading for it to come back, writing petitions, creating facebook groups (Of which I was a member) and many others. Everyone knew deep down however that it was pointless because there was no way the show could come back. But behold one of the cast members sends a tweet that the show is coming back and everyone goes wild.

Everyone was excited even though Drew Carey was not going to be hosting but the regular performers all were back. So that’s why I am reviewing the show now. It’s back from cancelation and even though there are many parts that don’t measure up to the first run, like Aisha Tyler the host, the more promotional style of show, and the lack of some of the shows recurring performers, it is still my favorite show of all time.

Its funny how things work; even though I like movies way more that TV shows I would watch a new episode of this show over any movie ever, even my favorite “Pulp Fiction”, that’s how much I love this show. I watch at least one group of clips of the show every day on YouTube and they can be ones I have seen many times before and every time I watch them I feel great. The memories I have had watching the show are so great they can bring me up from the saddest of days.

Are you still wondering what the show is about? Well you know how sometimes you say something and then within a split second someone has a joke about it? They haven’t prepared, they have just made it up on the spot! Isn’t that such a great feeling when you know the joke was spontaneous? Well that’s what the show is. IMPROV! People try to make scenes, jokes, and songs about stuff they have never heard of until just before they have to start and hilarity ensues.  They play many games on the show and each of them puts different restrictions or obligations on the performers. The game “Lets Make a Date” has 3 performers take on an identity and the 4th player has to guess who they are by asking them questions”, the game “Irish Drinking Song” has all 4 players try to sing a song about a certain topic and they have to take turns singing one line at a time”. My personal favorites are the games “Sound effects with audience members” In which performers Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie act out a scene and two audience members have to provide the sound effects (Its almost always 2 women, and they never really make decent sound effects which is why it’s always funny), and “Hollywood Director” where 3 players have to act out a scene over and over using crazier and crazier advice that comes from the 4th player. But whatever your favorite game is, there is no denying that this is a great show.

10/10

Tell me what your favorite game and performer is in the comments.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Discovered Time Travel By Accident! "Primer" Review

I dare you to watch this film and not be scratching your head the whole time. Remember when “Inception: came out in 2010 and everyone felt so great that they could watch a movie that would make them feel smart? Well this movie makes Inception look like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” meaning it makes “Inception” look like a film you enjoy because you grab some popcorn turn off your brain and have some fun. “Primer” actually makes you feel stupid, so in a way it’s a little too clever for its own good, but it is still a great movie.
Do you know what it feels like to watch a group of people talk about quantum mechanics; you can’t understand a word they are saying but you are intrigued nonetheless. Now replace quantum mechanics with time travel and that’s “Primer”. I know I used the same analogy with my “The Usual Suspects” review but this time it really rings true The rules of time travel in this film (from the little that I understood) work in such a believably realistic manner that it would make Marty McFly say “Just when you thought you had seen everything”.

It is a very low budget film and that unfortunately becomes apparent throughout the film but it’s one of those times where you forgive the film. Normally when a film shows its low budget to the audience through mediocre special effects, cheap costumes, or a bad production, you wag your finger to them because you know it bit off more than it could chew, but “Primer” is a pistol that carries the ammo of a shotgun. Its script is so fascinating you forget that sometimes it looks like it has been shot with cameras of three digit value.

It reminded me a lot of the film “The Social Network” because it also was a film that had lots of jargon, fast talking, and a young pair of entrepreneurs who fall out over their invention.  The movie’s plot is key but I cannot tell you it. Not because it would spoil it but because it is simply not within my vocabulary to describe it and frankly chances are it’s neither in yours to understand it, unless you are any of the characters on “The Big Bang Theory”

Watch this film once to get the gist of the story, and then watch it about 3 more times to kind of understand how stuff works within the movie and then for good measure watch it one more time, and then you just might understand it. And by the way when I say watch it I mean WATCH IT. I don’t mean put it on and then have a crossword puzzle or a text message chain that you switch between. Heck I wouldn’t even eat anything because the 3 seconds it might take you to look down to your food you might miss some important information. Not that it would really matter because you won’t understand it anyway but still try to pay attention because it is one of those films that is so full of blink and you miss it moments you just have to suck it up and pay attention.

9/10


I think I might have asked this question before but just for the heck of it what is your favorite time travel movie? Post your thoughts below.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Best Films of 2012!

Yeah I know its June, and you have probably already forgotten about 2012 but I haven’t. I have been meaning to reveal the list of my favorite films of the past year but I have been wrestling around with other options first like a podcast, a collab with an online film critic, and other possibilities that never came through. But I guess that is my flaw really, I wait for other people when I should always take initiative and do things myself. After all this blog is the result of me waiting for people to start a film club or something similar then realizing that the only way to get the ball rolling would be to do the damn thing myself.

Last year was a great year for movies. There are so many films that fought to be on my list that my honorable mentions are almost as many as the entries on my list. You will see a wide variety of movies that I deemed worthy, from quirky comedies, to action blockbusters, to philosophical studies of human nature, to violent and offensive racial studies set in the old west. So 6 months too late here are the best films from the last year in order of preference.

10 Moonrise Kingdom

“Moonrise Kingdom” This is the film that surprised everyone by being such a big hit with audiences critics, and the box office while only being a small comedy film with an original script by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola. Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, are some of the talented people to be onscreen and they all give it their best. Go watch this movie if you are in the mood for a very quirky comedy film about a young boy and girl who run off together. You’d be surprised how good it is. 9/10

9 Skyfall

Next off “Skyfall” the James Bond film that gives Sean Connery and Roger Moore a run for their money. Who would have thought after so many years of evolving into action films that a James Bond film would suddenly return back to basics and focus on espionage and strange villains with physical deformities? The ending is possibly the cleverest and most interesting of all the Bond films as it makes you wish there was another Bond film being released next week. 9/10

8 Silver Linings Playbook

Jennifer Lawrence is building up a very impressive career. Two big action blockbuster franchises, two Oscar Nominations, one win, a golden globe, and an ever skyrocketing paycheck that is sure to be over 10 million just for her upcoming “Catching fire” film, and not to mention she is also quite the babe! “Silver Linings Playbook” Is a great film, and it is very impressive that a veteran actor such as Robert De Niro, was bested by Jennifer as she hit the ball out of the park in her role. Who would have thought that the little girl from the Bill Engvall show would grow up to be an Oscar winning actress who pretends to be a widow with “issues”? 10/10

7 Argo

If I didn't know any better I would have thought that “Argo” was made in the 70s. It is so classic in its film making style that you could watch it next to other political thrillers of the 70s and never bat an eyelid. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this film is that it is based on a true story. History has shown me that fiction might be very interesting if done with creativity but some stuff you just can’t make up. It is very unbelievable to witness the events of this movie with the thought that every plot point is inspired by a true moment especially the ones that you would be sure Hollywood had come up with; like the idea to smuggle Americans out of the hands of terrorists by pretending they are a Canadian film crew. Ben Affleck is a mediocre actor but as a director he has had 3 admiral attempts and this one is his best so far, I hope he makes more movies as a director. 10/10

6 Chronicle


This movie I am afraid a lot of people forgot about because of its early release date and because of its found footage format. I loved the concept and I especially enjoyed the presentation. It brings all the good things from the found footage genre and merges it with the more traditional live action format to remove the problems that can occur with found footage. You will know what I mean if you see the movie. “Chronicle was criminally overlooked during awards season because I thought it was a very intriguing take on the superhero genre, and showed a more realistic side of the acquisition of super powers. If superman really existed he probably wouldn't just fly around saving cats from trees, he would joke around moving cars around the parking lot and waiting for the reaction of the confused owners. 10/10

5 The Dark Knight Rises

My favorite film of 2008 was “The Dark Knight” and sure enough the director made another great film to end the saga. Anne Hathaway does great, as does Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Tom Hardy, but really the greatness of this film comes from it being part of the only superhero franchise that succeeded in being something more than just a comic book movie. As I said in my full review of the film I still think “The Dark Knight” is the best of the 3 films but they all are very special. 10/10

4 Prometheus

Not a lot of people liked “Prometheus” but I loved it. It was very frightening, and a worthy prequel to the “Alien” franchise with some great visuals and an interesting story that doesn't answer all the questions on the viewers mind essentially making it the antithesis of “Transformers”. Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender are very good in their roles, but Idris Elba and Charlise Theron do commendable jobs as well. “Prometheus” is proof that a science fiction film can be smart and scary at the same time. 10/10

3 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

You probably already know that I am a huge fan of the “Lord of the Rings” films from reading my reviews but I never reviewed “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. Truth is I think it is every bit as good as the “Lord of the Rings”. Sure I can’t judge it as a whole because after all it is only the first chapter in a trilogy but I like the way it is going so far. With the best 3D I have ever seen and the very impressive 48 frames per second I cannot wait till the next middle earth installment. 10/10

2 Django Unchained

I have said before that Quentin Tarantino is my favorite director, and that “Pulp Fiction” is my favorite movie, and I have Quentin on my full confidence list, and he did not disappoint with “Django Unchained”. It isn't as good as his previous effort “Inglourious Basterds” which was my favorite film of the previous decade, but I have to love this film for what it is; a classic violent, offensive, and clever Tarantino flick with nothing less than what you would expect from the master. 10/10

1 Cloud Atlas

And my favorite flick of 2012 is one that I would even place at the top of the decade so far. “Cloud Atlas” polarized opinions so good luck watching it. I loved it so much I felt like the film had been made precisely for me. Does reincarnation really exist? It doesn't really matter because this film makes you believe that for 3 hours your soul will move on and become a warrior, a politician, a journalist, or a writer. Tom Hanks proves once again why he is one the best living actors out there. It’s a shame that this film didn't make that much money because this was a real labor of love from the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer and without successes from auteurs like them; we are unlikely to see anything like that anytime soon. 10/10



Here are some of the honorable mentions that I liked but just couldn't be on the list. In alphabetical order:

Killing them Softly

Life of Pi

Looper

Safety Not Guaranteed

The Avengers

The Grey
The Hunger Games

The Perks of Being a Wallflower


The Woman in Black

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gimmie the keys you quantum physicist! "The Usual Suspects" Review.


Now here is a film that throws so many curveballs at you you won’t even know what hit you. Now I can’t guarantee that you will like the complicated plot as some like the late Roger Ebert disliked the fact that they couldn’t really understand it very well. I can understand why those people don’t like it; it is like watching two scientists talk about quantum physics. But hey I liked this movie.

An ensemble cast featuring Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, Peter Greene, and Pete Postlethwaite, this film noir relies heavily on its actors to do the storytelling and they do great (except maybe for Stephen Baldwin, but who gives a fuck about him anyway?). And when I say film noir, I mean it. This is not a film like Batman Begins where people can say that it has genuine film noir influences; this is a genuine noir film.

Five guys are in a police lineup. They are dicking around and having fun with each other because they are all just pals since they all have something in common; they are criminals. They laugh, they curse and they enjoy the fact that they are in a lineup. They really hit it off and decide that they might work well together on their next crime.

The story is told in “Forrest Gump” fashion where one character is sitting down telling people about his past, that character is played by Kevin Spacey who won his first Oscar for the role, a very admirable choice for the award. I’m not sure if I would agree since there are other performances that year that I really liked but regardless he was fantastic. The film also won an award for its screenplay, proving that there are plenty of respectable members of the industry who enjoyed the complicated twists and turns of the story.

It’s a shame that director Brian Singer hasn’t gone on to direct other film noir projects like this one. I haven’t seen his films “Apt Pupil” or “Valkyrie” but I doubt they match the style of “Suspects” and it really is a shame because he really really understands the idea of film noir, without making it into a caricature like “Sin City”. That’s not to say “Sin City” is a bad movie, heck I think it is a better film but “Suspects” is a more classic film noir while “Sin City is more of a neo noir.

I probably would have enjoyed the movie even if it were not for the great acting because I like the story so much. They say that the audience is always 5 steps ahead of the movie so anything the filmmakers want to have as a surprise must come at least 5 steps before it becomes obvious. This film is constantly 10 steps ahead of the audience so unless you have had it spoiled for you there is no way you will see anything coming.

Maybe it is a little too far ahead however which is why I am going to hold off from my top score. I do wish I could have understood just a little more, but trust me it makes you feel better  if you don’t by having one of the characters get fooled just as you did.

9/10

So tell me what you thought about this film in the comments and also remember to vote in the poll that closes this tomorrow at 10pm. Click here to read my post and here to read Thomas’ post.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Katniss Everdeen is lucky! "Bowling for Columbine" Review.


Let me first say that I don’t watch documentaries. They go against my belief of what a movie should be. That’s not to say that documentaries are bad, or that I advocate against them, it’s just that I value entertainment more than anything when it comes to movies and documentaries fail miserably to entertain because they are not even trying to, they are trying to inform you. That being said, I have watched a few docs here and there and I can appreciate when a good one comes a long even if I don’t enjoy it myself.

We all remember back when “The Dark Knight Rises” was coming out and everyone was so excited about it and then… All it takes is one person with a disturbed mind to destroy lives and make people live in fear. Then there was the Sandy Hook massacre. I keep thinking of the parents that had to open their child’s Christmas presents. I know that both incidents were terrible but for obvious reasons the Batman shooting in Colorado hits a little closer to home. What could we have done to stop them? Should we have taken away every gun from everyone? Should we have given guns to the teachers of Sandy Hook? Should we have made ushers at movie theaters carry special “Regal” AK-47s? I won’t even pretend to know what the correct answer is but I do know what my beliefs are. Before I give my opinion however I think what Michael Moore has to say on the matter is very interesting.

“Bowling” doesn’t exactly solve much with its commentary on gun ownership and massacres but it is a great study on some of the minds working to defend each side of the argument. For example there is a sequence in the film that shows many people trying to ponder the reason behind the shooting in Columbine, and how they had the balls to come up with an answer as ridiculous and facepalm worthy as Marilyn Manson, who makes an appearance in the film and makes a good point about influence “…the president is shooting bombs overseas, yet I’m a bad guy because I sing some rock and roll songs. And who is the bigger influence; the president or Marilyn Manson? I’d like to think me, but I’m going to go with the president.” If you think about it he is right on more than one level. Why don’t Americans care if people in other countries die but when a US citizen gets shot, their face is on your television for weeks?

Another big figure that makes an appearance in the film is the great actor Charlton Heston. Sure he is a magnificent actor but president of the NRA? I get that there are people who defend our right to own guns as stated in the U.S Constitution, but when people are so fascinated by guns that they want them for more than protecting their home and hunting, that’s where I call bullshit. A while ago I went to a shooting range where they have trapshooting to look for a job, and the place gave me the creeps. The place was repugnant; I went to the bathroom and I couldn’t tell if I was pissing in the sink or the urinal. And then everywhere I looked there was a guy cradling a gun like it was their dick. Not to mention the possibility that if I bumped into someone it could have been the exact moment where he decided that he had had enough and it was time to blast my head off.

Sure not everyone who owns a gun is like that, hell most people who own a gun I would say are ok but like I said before, it only takes one guy. Im I saying that I oppose guns? No, in fact we need guns; otherwise what are we supposed to hunt with, bows and arrows? We are not all like Katniss Everdeen. Im not saying anything really because the bottom line is, what is the two cents of a 21 year old white American film blogger going to do in the end?

Michael Moore whether you like him or not can make a very good documentary. He knows how to stage interviews, how to edit his information together, and how to show exactly what needs to be shown, but I still can’t enjoy him no matter how good he is because after all he is just a documentary filmmaker.

7/10

Where do you stand on gun control? Tell me in the comments below. Also don’t forget to vote for the Star Wars contest I am part of. Remember the poll closes June 9th. Click here to read my article and here for Tom’s.

Monday, May 27, 2013

"What we have here is a character on a stick" "Cool Hand Luke" Review.


What makes “Cool Hand Luke” such a special film? It is its relaxed tone, and friendly and inviting characters that you would welcome home. Sure they are criminals but what the heck, it’s not like they are murderers. That’s what separates “Luke” from other prison films, it’s not about violent criminals struggling to survive with life in the slammer, having to fear the showers; it’s just a bunch of friends hanging out in a minimum security facility because they fell on the wrong side as they were tap-dancing on the fine line between legal and illegal.

Paul Newman plays Luke, a guy who gets drunk one night and vandalizes city property; I say vandalizes but really all he does is cut the heads of some parking meters, and you know what? Screw parking meters. Anyway he ends up in a Florida prison, where he is given the nickname Cool Hand Luke after winning a game of poker with a cool hand (a bluff).

Newman makes acting seem so easy, and this isn’t even my favorite movie of his. There are a lot of heartthrob actors that I just don’t see the attraction to. But I can really understand the women being all over Paul. He exerts so much manhood through puppy dog eyes and a baby’s smile. In short he looks pretty damn awesome, and the way I see it, Luke is playing Paul, not Paul Luke.

Luke as a character is so much fun to witness. He is one of those characters you wish was your real life friend. One great scene showing the greatness of Luke as a character has him take a bet involving 100 eggs. The scene is easily the most memorable in the movie and I loved it even though it is a bit impossible to happen in real life.

The success of this film lies solely with Luke’s character and the actor who plays him, which is why this film isn’t excellent. I loved Luke and Paul, I really did, but other than that there wasn’t that much more to like. Thankfully the story is all about Luke so it succeeds on that point, but I can’t say I cared much about any of the other characters however colorful they were. Perhaps though if they focused a little more on the others instead of Luke, the protagonist would stop being so interesting. A lot of the scenes aren’t that memorable either. Aside from 2 or 3 of them the film just pushes through each scene like a woman going through contractions before giving birth. I’m not saying it’s a bad film, I’m not saying that at all. All Im saying is that during a lot of the movie, the only thing that keeps you interested is the great character that is Luke. Imagine the first chapter of a novel; imagine it is all about describing the main character in detail, and you are anxious to get to the story and then when you are finally done, you find out that there are no more chapters to the novel, and that is “Cool Hand Luke”: A well made description of a character with nothing else in it.

I still liked the movie quite a bit. You can do a lot worse as far as character dramas go and you definitely cannot pick a better actor to play the main character. If this movie doesn’t at least keep you stuck to your TV for 2 hours then we have a failure to communicate.

8/10

Remember my Star Wars contest is still going on. Read both of our stories and then vote because June 9th is the last day to vote. Read my version here and read Tom’s version here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Films with Friends" Star Wars Contest!!!


OK so what is this Star Wars contest all about? Well it’s more than just a contest; it is the beginning of a new chapter in my blogging life. In addition to this blog I am now going to be one of the authors of a new blog called “Films with Friends”. I started it with fellow blogger Thomas, author of The Oscar Buzz and Optigrab. In order to start of strongly we decided to both write articles about the upcoming Star Wars movie and include a brief plot summary of our ideal version. Now one of the stories is a lot briefer than the other but whichever one you like better must be accounted for. We have included a poll at the end of both of the posts to see which one is best according to the readers. It’s fun to think about being in a competition and I can’t wait for the results. Make sure to start reading from the very first post to explain the competition since we couldn't wait to start off. Click here to go to the first post.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Who let Robert do Animation? "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" Review


When people hate on movies like “Avatar” or “Independence Day” the main attack they have against it is that the special effects might be good but the rest is garbage. I tend to laugh at people like that because it seems like those people have this animosity towards special effects movies and automatically assume that it is bad without really judging it fairly. Those people also tend to think that the reason why people like those movies is because of all the effects and today I am going to have to be one of those people.

I tried. I really tried to like “Roger Rabbit” but I just couldn't get past the fact that it took itself too seriously. Does that really spoil the film? I say yes because everyone is acting like cartoons in a film that has a darker plot and grim characters.

Bob Hoskins I think can be a great actor given the right roles but in this film he just overacts in order to match the energy of the animated characters, something futile for anyone other than probably Jim Carey. The rest of the acting is not perfect either. Everything is centered on the special effects that make the toons interact with the humans.

It’s not a terrible film; it has plenty to like in it, like some of the humor that comes out of the animated characters. A particularly amusing and yet truthful line spoken mentions that cartoon characters can anything they want as long as it is funny. Just like Wild E Coyote can get an anvil anytime he wants as long as it ends up landing on his head, preferable squishing him down to a hairy pancake.

It is pretty convincing in putting the cartoons next to actors and most of it is welcome. But as I said before what really destroys the film is its unrelenting attitude. Robert Zemekis is a great director, but animation just isn’t his thing. He has done so many creepy animated movies like this one, “The Polar Express”, and “Beowulf” to name a few, but most of his live action films are home runs.

Don’t skip this movie as it is worth a watch, but don’t expect too much of it because now that the effects are dated there is not as much holding it together as it seemed when it was released in 1988.

6/10

Tell me what is your favorite movie that blends animation with live action? I myself prefer “Space Jam” as it succeeds at not only being a comedy but a good sports movie as well. Let me know.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Star Wars without the stars or the wars. "The Clone Wars" Review.

Where to begin? Back in 1977 “Star Wars” came out, and it happens to be 3rd on my all time favorite movies list. How did we get from a perfect movie that succeeds in every way, to a movie that fails in every way?

Normally I would tell you the plot here but I’m not going to bother, because there really isn’t one; only something about Jabba the Hutt’s son who looks like giant snot. This is the film that shouldn’t have been. What I mean is that there are plenty of films that people wish didn’t exist but this one was actually not even intended to be a movie, it was a TV show pilot. It’s bad enough that the TV show it was starting was terrible, but take a terrible pilot, stretch it out to feature length, and stick it on the big screen, is just plain insulting to us who have watched and loved the “Star Wars” saga.

Do I like the prequels? Yes and No. I don’t like “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones” but I sort of like “Revenge of the Sith”. Now are “Phantom” and “Attack” horrible? No they are just under my threshold for a good movie. What saved them was, some thrilling action packed scenes (however useless they might have been), some great creature and robot design from Lucas Arts, and ofcourse John Williams brilliant score, none of which were in “The Clone Wars”.

The animation is so clumpy it looks like claymation except without the haunting realism that it possesses. The voice acting is pointlessly driven to imitate the actors from the live action movies which makes it even worse when all of them fail.

The prequels were disappointing in their own right, but “The Clone Wars” makes “The Phantom Menace” look like “The Empire Strikes Back”. Why does this movie exist though? I mean beyond the obvious answer “Money” why would anyone make a film like this? Is there no other answer than financial gain? If that is the case though Im surprised George Lucas had enough soul left to sell to make this movie after making the prequels. Thank God though that Disney bought it back for 4 billion dollars, because that is apparently what a soul goes for these days.

Anyway I digress. This movie is beyond redemption. There is not much to say about it either; the plot is bad the voice acting is bad, the music is bad, the animation is bad… you get the idea.

1/10

Alright the reason I reviewed “The Clone Wars” is because soon I am going to be part of a contest. A “Star Wars” related contest. Don’t miss it. Its coming very soon! I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Tribute to Roger Ebert.


I may have not always agreed with him, I may have always thought that he was a bit full of himself; I may have thought that he favored dramas and indulgent 3 hour history movies over fun action packed movies but he was my favorite film critic and without him I wouldn't have a blog.

Roger Ebert shaped the way film criticism works today. Before him people would ask each other if they liked a movie or not and get a yes or no answer, but him and his partner Gene Siskel made talking in depth about movies cool. He made film criticism a respectable branch of journalism at a time when people thought of movie lovers as nothing more than couch potatoes. Of course today there is still that notion of laziness attached to those who watch movies all the time but at least because of Roger we film critics can defend ourselves.

All over the internet, film criticism is becoming more popular, with countless movie reviewers on youtube, all being respected by their viewers, myriads of blogs just like mine each devoted to a different field of cinema, and even shows like RiffTrax, all being influenced by the man that started it all.

He had a long and painful battle with cancer during which he had to have his bottom jaw removed. It was truly sad to watch him in that state as the prosthetic he used made him look very sick. He lost his ability to speak, he lost the ability to eat or drink, but he never lost his ability to be a film critic, and thank God for that. He still continued to do what his heart desired to do even at his state and his age.

I am happy to have lived during a time when he was alive and still posting reviews, because I rarely watched a new movie without reading his review. Like I said before, I think his taste was a bit questionable, and I never based my intention to see a movie based on his opinion but I always respected what he had to say of a film and I am honored to have been part of his staff of admirers.

Long Live the King

Roger Ebert









1942-2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Lord of the Rings" Part 3. "Return of the King" Review.

There is no reason to explain why I am apologizing to all my loyal readers (both of them) but nevertheless an apology is due. My last review said that the next should be out in about 24 hours, and you have now have to wait for about 24 weeks. Don’t be too hard on me, I am guilty of being that kind of person who can do stuff like that but I swear my heart is still very much in the movies. So here is the long awaited part 3 of my “Lord of the Rings” review.

“Return of the King” is a movie so dense, that even at a running time of over 4 hours we feel that there was more to the story that wasn't told. It is certainly the best in the trilogy but as I said before these 3 movies are best considered one very long movie that has been split into 3, a bit like when a DVD comes in 2 discs.

There is not much more to add to this movie that hasn't been said in the previous 2 except that the story finally reaches its climax and everything gets resolved. The ending leaves you with a lump in your throat and this blogger even had a mild depression after watching it for the first time. You see when the film ends you finally enter back into the real world, and after spending about 9 hours in middle earth, the world with all its flaws and your life with all the stress and responsibilities both seem too much to bear.

The special effects are just as good as the 2 other films and everything works perfectly filmmaking wise. I rarely use this term but I think the “Lord of the Rings” is a flawless film. There are only a handful of movies that I believe to be flawless and this is one of them. I came to that decision the last time I saw the films again a few weeks ago and I think it is a decision I had been meaning to make for years, but I just didn’t have the balls to. You see it’s easy to say that films like “The Godfather” “Citizen Kane” “Gone with the Wind” or “Casablanca” are perfect but in the eyes of today’s critics you get people who are not willing to accept that a movie that has come out in the past decade deserves to stand among giants. Anyone who is reading this, I dare you to go to your oldest living relative and try to teach them how to use your cell phone. Chances are that not only they won’t be able to use it but they will get mad at it after a few minutes. You know how good of a device it is but nothing is going to convince grandma that her old rotary phone is the best thing technology has to offer.

The reason why I think this movie deserved to be compared to the classics I mentioned is that it is probably the biggest movie ever made, and I am not talking about length, I am talking about scale. There is so much going on, filled with so many things, characters, events, themes, adventures, that it overwhelms anyone who watches it, and that’s whether they like it or not.

I remember when I was a kid and this movie was out I didn’t want to see it. It seemed way too dark for me especially compared to the other more child friendly fantasy movie series to come out during the same time “Harry Potter”. I tried to watch it a few times but I always stopped watching about half way through “Fellowship” it all just seemed way too complex for me and I couldn't understand. It took me to get to age 18 to finally watch the entire trilogy, and when that happened something changed in me. I realized what a film is capable of. This film is certainly not for children, I remember most of the stuff zoomed right over my head when I tried to watch it as a kid and when I finally started to understand a bit of it at age 15 I still felt confused by its adult presentation.

This is a movie for the ages. It remains one of my favorites and it won’t be knocked off there for a long long time I fear because I don’t believe that there is anyone willing or even able to make a film of this magnitude within my lifetime.

10/10

Tell me. Do you think newer movies deserve to stand among other giants like "Citizen Kane", or "The Godfather"?
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