30 May 2012

The Woman in Black (2012)

          Essential plot rundown:  Harry Potter gets scared in a haunted house.  The trailers made this movie look really scary.  Unfortunately, it was not.    I'm tired and it's late, so I'm going to make this quick.

          While the overall idea was interesting, there was nothing special about this movie.  The towns folk warning Potter to leave seemed too cliche.  And the scares were too repetitive.  There was essentially one type of scare that they used over and over again.  There were a couple of scary parts and creepy moments, but overall it was kind of bland.  I liked the conclusion of the film, but not the ending, if that makes sense.  It didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the movie.  If they had cut off the last minute, it would have been a lot better.

          The best part of the movie was the opening scene.  That was pretty creepy.  They should just have just released that 2 minutes as a short.  That would have been sweet.

          Overall, it's a mediocre film.  There were a few scary/creepy moments but they weren't enough to carry the film.  It's not a waste of time to watch but it's also not worth seeking out.

Look out behind you!!

     But that's just my opinion...

29 May 2012

Thor (2011)

          Essential plot rundown:  After being banished from Asgard to Earth, Thor must confront his brother Loki and redeem himself.  Before I saw this, I knew nothing of Thor other than he was an Avenger.  And I also thought he looked stupid.  Boy, did this movie prove me wrong.  Thor is actually a pretty sweet character.

          I thought the casting and acting was great.  I had never heard of Chris Hemsworth (Thor) or Tom Hiddleston (Loki) before watching Thor, so I did not know what to expect.  And I was not disappointed.  Each actor completely becomes their character and brings them to life.  I believed that Thor was an arrogant, well intentioned person from another world.  Hiddleston did a great job portraying Loki as a complex antagonist with internal struggles and motives.  I could totally sense Loki's inner turmoil.  They both did a good job.  The supporting characters were good too.  Except for Darcy's character.  She's just dumb and annoying.

          The story was well written as well.  It's a little bit more complicated than your average action movie, which is nice.  The inclusion of S.H.I.E.L.D. was handled properly.  Their involvement felt like a natural part of the story as opposed to only being included as a precursor to The Avengers.  (Which was a problem I had with Iron Man 2).  There was also good balance between Earth and Asgard.

          I've heard some people complain about the opening battle sequence against the frost giants.  Typically, the action getters bigger throughout all the movie, building up.  But this fight was the biggest of the whole movie and happened right at the beginning; thus going down hill from there.  But I was ok with that.  I saw this fight more as character development than an action scene.  It portrayed Thor's arrogance and hot headedness.

          I didn't really have any complaints with Thor.  However, the camera work did bug me a little.  It seemed like every establishing shot was framed as a dutch angle; so everything was tilted.  I never really saw the purpose to this other than to mix things up a little.  It didn't seem motivated to me.  But that's just a small thing.

          So overall, Thor is a great watch.  Great acting, good story, good SFX.  It is a lot of fun.  Out of all of the The Avengers precursor movies, I can't decide if I like this or Iron Man the best.

     But that's just my opinion...

24 May 2012

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

          Essential plot rundown:  Bruce Banner searches for a cure while eluding the military.  For the next Hulk movie, Marvel completely redid everything, making it more compatible with the Marvel Universe.  While not a bad movie, it doesn't hold up with Marvel's other installments.

          The story I liked.  It was interesting seeing how Banner kept the Hulk under control and the lengths he was willing to go through to cure himself.  The plot was all good.  And that was the best part of the film.

          I understood Blonsky's (Tim Rother) role in the film and liked the idea behind the character.  I just didn't like the way he was portrayed.  I didn't really see a motive for him wanting to fight the Hulk, other than he keeps losing.  But, then again, that might be the only reason.  But it seems like a stupid reason to want to fight the Hulk.  Of course you lost.  He's the Incredible Hulk.  

          Some of the fighting scenes were weird.  Like the canons that shot sound waves or something.  They looked like something from a 70s Godzilla movie.  Also, using the police car as boxing gloves just looked dumb.  It might have been a cool idea; but it didn't translate to the big screen.  And putting out a fire by clapping?  You've got to be kidding me.

          While I personally don't like Liv Tyler as an actress, I did like the scenes between her and the Hulk.  (Not because of her, but because they existed).  It added to their characters, with him protecting her and her trying to calm him down.  It did create some nice moments, something that Hulk was lacking.

          Overall, it is an entertaining film.  But it is not on par with the other Marvel films.  It is worth checking out but it's nothing special.  Also, soon (hopefully within a few days) I'll be doing a comparison of the 3 different Hulks.  So, that may or may not be of interest.

     But that's just my opinion...

23 May 2012

Iron Man (2008)

          Essential plot rundown:  Iron Man flies around being awesome.  So, this was the first of Marvel's 5 movie lineup, preparing for The Avengers.  And it is a really good movie.  (Was my favorite superhero movie until The Dark Knight came out).

          Marvel got it spot on with their first endeavor.  It's just an all around well made movie.  The story is good.  In a few short scenes, we quickly get to know Stark.  And we can see his growth as a character.  (And a lot of that has to do with Robert Downy, Jr's performance).  I thought the choice of villain was good.  By having his business partner become the bad guy, it made for a more natural and better flowing movie.  Also, because they know each other, it made the climax deeper, as opposed to just "I must stop you because you're bad."  The pacing of the movie was good, never staying on one thing longer than needed.

          The acting was well executed.  This was the first RDJ movie I had seen, so  I had no preconceived notions.  So, when I saw him, he was Tony Stark.  And he still is today.  He gives a superb performance, making an arrogant prick into a likable guy.  Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) also does a good job.  They had good chemistry.  Everybody else delivered as well.

          The music was good.  The SFX were good.  The Iron Man design was awesome.  The suit looks sweet.  Everything was good.  Well, except one thing.  The movie did feel a bit dated (even though it's only 4 years old) when he mentions Myspace instead of Facebook.

          Overall, this is good stuff.  Good writing, good acting, good SFX.  It was a great was to start the Marvel universe.

     But that's just my opinion...

22 May 2012

127 Hours (2010)

          Essential plot rundown:  Aron, an experienced outdoorsman, gets trapped inside a canyon.  So, this is the second time I have seen this.  And I had read the book in between the viewings.  So, I'll try to incorporate my initial reactions with those I had during my second viewing.

          This is a good film.  I think James Franco did an excellent job in this role.  Franco essentially has to carry the weight of the whole film himself and he succeeds.  He gives a strong performance.  And he kind of looks like Ralston too, so that's kind of cool.

          The first time I saw the film, I really liked the score.  I thought A.R. Rahman wrote some interesting pieces.  However, when I watched it for the second time, the songs felt redundant.  Now, I'm no musician, but it sounded like it was essentially the same song used throughout the whole film with some variation.  So, it got a little repetitive after a while.

          In my Hulk review, I commented about how I like it when directors do something stylistic with their films.  Danny Boyle does that here as well.  However, I found it kind of distracting.  I couldn't tell if I liked it or not.  I liked the stylization but felt it didn't really match the film.

          After viewing it again, I was kind of bored at first.  It wasn't until about halfway through the movie that I started to get interested.  127 Hours is a good movie, but I'm not sure how much re-watch value it has.

          *Spoilers*  While he is trapped, Ralston has a vision and sees his son.  I didn't know this happened before I watched the film.  So, when I saw it, I thought it was his younger self.  I thought that boy Ralston was like "So, this is how I end up?  Dead in a canyon?  C'mon man.  I don't want to end my life like that.  I want to live and grow old.  Get out of there."  But, at the end it says that it was his son, so I was confused.  *End*

          I also thought it was interesting the changes they made from the book.  The book (as most books do) focuses on Ralston's thoughts.  But, that can't be conveyed on screen; so they had to do something different.  I was actually surprised at what they changed and the amount of changes made.

          So, overall, this is a really good film.  I would recommend it.  Though, I don't think it will have a lot of re-watch value.

     But that's just my opinion...

21 May 2012

Hulk (2003)

          Essential plot rundown:  Bruce Banner must face his past as he changes into the Hulk.  I know a lot of people didn't like this movie.  But I rather enjoyed.  I thought it was well made and entertaining.

          I thought the acting was good for the most part.  Everybody performed their parts well.  I thought that Sam Elliot (Ross) did a really good job.  (Though he over acted sometimes).  And Jennifer Connelly is very sexy.

          I also liked the visual style.  Director Ang Lee used multiple panels in the frame to represent a comic book.  Personally, I like movies with a unique style.  I find it interesting when movies go beyond the norm and do something different like this.

          The story was well written too, I thought.  I'm not too familiar with the Hulk's original origins from the comics; I just know that gamma radiation was involved.  So, I don't know how "true" they stayed to the comic.  But I liked the fact that his father did experiments on himself, which in turn, affected Bruce.  It made for a deeper, more complex story.

          Which brings me to my only real complaint.  While I liked having Bruce's father as part of the story, I think they took it too far.  They should have just had him sneaking around, spying on Bruce or whatever.  I don't think they should have had him transform and fight in the end.  They should have saved that for the sequel and let the Hulk's main enemy just be the army in this one.  Also, the mutant dogs were just dumb.  Dogs can't climb trees and it was too dark to really see anything anyways.

          And, on a side note.  When I first saw The Avengers, I noticed that Hulk was small.  (Well, it was pointed out to me actually).  And at first I  thought That's dumb.  He's the Hulk!  He should be big, not small like everyone else.  But, it worked out.  If they made him too big, he wouldn't have fit in.  (I don't know how big he is in the comics).  So, when I saw Hulk again, when he first shows up, he looks comically big.  But, after a while, I got use to him and his size seemed ok.  So, there's just a thought; take it was you will.

          Overall, I really liked it.  I thought the acting and story were strong.  I really liked Ang Lee's choice of visual style.  And for being the Hulk's first CG performance, I liked how he looked.  I honestly don't see why everybody seems to hate this movie.  If you do, make a comment down below and let me know why.

     But that's just my opinion...

17 May 2012

Midnight in Paris (2011)

          Essential plot rundown:  A writer travels to 1920s Paris every night at midnight.  I'm not too familiar with Woody Allen movies, considering I've only seen one other one.  But I had high hopes for this movie, after it was nominated for and won several academy awards and it's Woody Allen's most successful movie.  However, I was disappointed.

          I didn't like the story; I thought it was boring.  By day Gil (Owen Wilson) hangs out with a bunch of unlikeable people and by night he hangs with a bunch of famous dead people.  But there was no forward motion, no story progression.  Sure, at the end he realizes something about himself and his relationship, but that only happens because of what occurs at the end of the movie.  I didn't see any growth in the character.  I wasn't invested in anything happening on screen.

          And Gil accepts the fact that he travels to the 20s too nonchalantly.  He was like "Huh, that was kind of weird, but oh well."  Personally, I would be totally freaked out and wouldn't act like him.  But, that is a minor detail.

          So, yea, I thought it was really boring.  I remember looking at the time and seeing that an hour had passed by and thinking It's been an hour already and nothing has happened?  I don't know, maybe I'm missing something, but I didn't like it.

     But that's just my opinion...

Silent Hill (2006)

          Essential plot rundown:  A mother takes her adopted daughter to an abandoned ghost town to cure her sleepwalking.  I was expecting something entertaining and creepy, but that's not what I got.  Instead I got a...actually, I don't even know what I got; I think it was a movie though.

          This movie made no sense what so ever.  Nothing at all happened that resembled a coherent story or plot.  Then again, I have never played the games (on which this movie was based), but I shouldn't have too.  I was confused the whole time I was watching it.  Then, at the end, there is the traditional "I'll explain to the main character what really happened so the audience can know" scene but that didn't help at all.  From that scene, I understood this: *Spoilers* A little girl gets raped causing the radical religious group to burn her.  And this causes monsters to overrun the town at night. *End*.  So yea, absolutely nothing in this movie made sense.

          And, then to add injury to insult (or however the old proverb goes) nobody could act!  I didn't get a believable performance from anyone.  And the main character (played by Radha Mitchell) was the stupidest person ever.  Now, I know characters in horror movies always make stupid decisions, this she really takes the cake.  Nothing she did was logical.

          Interestingly enough, the best part of the movie was the score.  And if I understand correctly, that wasn't even made for the movie; it was taken from the game.  But a lot of the songs are really pretty and others are really creepy.  I thought the music was well done.

          Oh, the Pyramid Head character was cool looking too.

          Overall, this was a mess of a movie.  I'm just going to take a guess that it makes a lot more sense after playing the game.  But I haven't; so it doesn't.

     But that's just my opinion...

Between a Rock and a Hard Place (2004)

          I finished reading Aron Ralston's memoir yesterday, and though I'm no book expert, I thought I'd write a little something something about it.  Essential plot rundown:  Aron, an experienced outdoorsman, gets trapped inside a canyon.

          This was a really good book.  It's amazing that he remembered enough of what happened to write about it.  Ralston does a good job describing his situation and bringing his audience into his world.  I was excited when he finally freed himself and super relieved when he finally found some people to help; it felt like a burden was lifted off of my chest.  And his description of his surgery is cringe inducing.

          I really only had one complaint about the book.  Every other chapter, Ralston switches from describing his current predicament to talking about some other adventure he had had.  And I found that a little distracting.  Now, don't get me wrong, I liked the other stories, but felt that there was too much.  They were interesting and added to his character but what I really wanted to read about was him being stuck in the canyon.  Thats cool that you went hiking by yourself, but what are you going to do to free yourself?!?  If he had cut half the stories out or made them shorter, I think it would have been a lot better.

          But, overall, it's well written and worth reading.  I'd recommend it to anyone.  I saw 127 Hours little over a year ago, but I'm going to try to re-watch and write about it soon.

     But that's just my opinion...

16 May 2012

Ernest Goes to Jail (1990)

          Essential plot rundown:  Ernest must find a way out of jail while an impostor has taken his spot.  This was not the best made film; but it was entertaining.  This film is not for everyone; it has a kind of a humor that some may see as stupid.

          Ernest, along with his security guard buddies, are funny characters and the best part of the movie.  The lines they deliver, the way they move make me chuckle.  They are quirky, memorable characters.

          While the above characters are good, that's really about it.  The story is nothing we haven't seen before and some of the actors are sub-par.  The guards at the jail wear these weird purple jackets.  And the climax is dumb, to be honest.

          So, overall it's not a bad movie.  If you like the Ernest character, you'll like this.  It's funny; but not a laugh out loud funny, more like a chuckle funny.  The plot and everything else is really just there to give a context for these characters to be funny in.

     But that's just my opinion...

13 May 2012

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

          Essential plot rundown:  Perseus must stop Hades from releasing Kronos.  So, this movie was not what I was expecting.  And actually, I was disappointed with it.  It has been a while since I've seen Clash of the Titans (2010) but I think I may have liked it a little bit better.

          The plot seemed a little wierd.  At first, Zeus says that because mankind had stopped praying, the gods were losing their power.  And this is causing a bunch of monsters to be released.  So I was expecting Perseus to go around fighting these monsters and getting people to pray again.  But, no, the movie had nothing to do with that.  It was actually about Hades trying to use Zeus' power to release Kronos.  So, the whole plot flowed kind of wierd.  And there were parts where the people wanted to pray to Ares, the god of war, for help during their battles.  But Perseus stopped them.  And I thought it was because praying would give him strength and he was a bad guy.  So, I was thinking Why don't they pray to Zeus instead to give him some strength?

          I also didn't find any of the actors believable.  I didn't care for any of them and they all seemed out of place.  I just didn't like them.  I thought they messed up Hephaestus.  Instead of being the god of fire, he was just some crazy old man.  And there didn't seem to be a reason for Ares hatred for Zeus or Perseus.  He's mad that Perseus stole Zeus from him.  But we only know that because he says so.  There is no back story or action or anything that shows us that; Ares just says so.

          And I didn't really like the action.  I never felt like the characters were ever in danger or anything.  It was more like "Well, they've done some talking.  So, let's do some fighting now."  I thought they were all kind of boring.

          Yea, so overall, it's not a good movie.  Not even entertaining.  But then again I drank some "Rockstar Relax" right before I watched it, so maybe that made me too tired to enjoy it.  (But I don't think so).

The trident, you're using it wrong.

     But that's just my opinion...

07 May 2012

The Avengers (2012)

          Essential plot rundown:  A group of superheros must band together to protect earth from an invading army.  Ok, I've been waiting for this movie for a long time now and I'm a little mad at myself for not seeing it at the midnight showing.  But, such is life.

          I really enjoyed this movie.  It was a lot of fun.  However, I was anticipating the climatic fight at the end so much that I wasn't really caring about what was happening before.  I felt the build up was a little slow.  I just wanted to it to move along so I could see some Avenger action!  I felt the opening scene was a little weak and was kind of disappointed.  It trudges along but once the team finally gets together, it starts picking up.

          There was a certain part of the story that surprised me.  A certain someone dies.  I didn't realized how much I liked the character til I saw him sitting on the floor dying.  It actually brought a little tear to my eye.

          I liked the dynamics between the characters.  I thought it was well written.  I also thought they did a good job of brining in Thor.  While I was watching it, I was thinking Ok, they have everybody.  But what about Thor?  He's over in Asgard.  How are they going to contact him?  I liked how he got involved and the fight scene between him and the others actually makes sense.

          Ok, let's talk about a couple of bad things real quick.  I was a little confused about the whole invading army thing.  I didn't know who they were or anything.  And I also didn't really like Captain America.  I thought his movie was the worse of the lot and seeing him in The Avengers didn't help any.  He just seemed out of place.  He's just a big, buff guy with a shield; he doesn't have any super powers or anything.  He spends most of his time with Hawkeye and Black Widow.  Tony Stark drops a line about him not doing anything and I totally thought it was true.  He doesn't bring much to the table compared to the others.
          Let's move on to the Hulk, starting with the bad.  I didn't like Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner.  I talked about this when I discussed the trailer, but I don't believe that Mark Ruffalo is Bruce Banner.  All of the others I believe, but not him.  It might be because he is the third actor to play Banner; but I didn't even like him from the trailer.  He doesn't seem like a very good actor.  Also, he kept refering to the Hulk as "the other guy" which bothered me.  He's not a different person, just a different part of you.

          But the Hulk wasn't all bad.  He was actually one of the best, if not the best, part of the movie.  I was totally expecting Iron Man to steal the show but I thought the Hulk did.  The two best scenes of the movie involved him.  The part in the climax when he first changes into the Hulk literally gave me goosebumps, I thought it was so awesome.  And the part when he fights Loki was hilarious.  I hadn't heard a theater out open laughing like that in a long time.  It was awesome seeing him smashing things on the big screen again.

          Overall, it is a really fun movie.  The best was the Hulk and the worst was Bruce Banner and Captain America.  The action was great, the story was good.  There were a few small complaints, but nothing that really distracted from the awesomeness of it.

     But that's just my opinion...

     *authors edit (19 May 2012)

          So, I saw The Avengers again today and thought that I'd add a couple more things.  Mainly, I was impressed with the acting of Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Stellan Skarsgard (Selvig).  I thought that all gave great performances.  I absolutely believed that they were their characters.

          And another thing.  I realized that what they did to win was quite simple.  If they were prepared, they could have did all of that and saved the day in like 5 minutes.  But that would have made for a very lame climax for a movie.

          One final thing.  In the movie, a certain character dies.  It did make for a somber moment and motivate the team, but it seamed a little unnecessary.  They could have probably found another way to achieve the same thing.  But I wonder why? Did they kill him off strictly for plot advancement?  Or was that just a way to write the character off?  Maybe the actor or the studio wanted a separation.  I know that Nancy Allen only reprised her role in Robocop 3 only if her character was killed towards the beginning, for personal reasons.  I don't know.  It just seems weird to me that they would kill off that character solely for story.  I want to think that there were ulterior motives.  But I'm rambling now.

     *authors edit (31 May 2012)

          So, I've been thinking about the aforementioned character's death.  And decided I don't like it.  I'm just going to assume that you have already seen it.  (I mean, seriously, who hasn't?)  Agent Coulson dies.  Fury then uses his death to motivate the Avengers.  But, the problem is that only two of them knew he died.  Thor and Hulk were elsewhere when this happened.  They didn't even know.  So, was he planning on just motivating whoever was there?  Also, none of the characters really had a relation with him.  (I'm judging this purely on the movies.  There may be some other sources elsewhere that establish relationships but the movies don't).  The only one who really knew him was Iron Man.  Thor was interrogated by him.  And Cap' and the Hulk didn't meet him 'til The Avengers; though Cap' knew that he was a huge fan.  So, I don't see how his death would be any more motivating than anybody else's or the end of the world.  Yea, so now I'm just mad that he died.