24 December 2012

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

          Essential plot rundown:  Being a martian sucks so they decide to kidnap Santa Claus.  I got this thinking it was going to be some cheesy, campy fun.  But it wasn't fun, not at all.

          A lot of movies are so bad that they are good, they are fun to watch.  But this one was just flat out bad; I've had more fun clipping my toenails.  There were only a few parts that that made me laugh and now I can't even remember what they were.  And one of the martians reminded me of Rob Schneider.

          Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is in the public domain, so anybody can make copies and sell it.  And the version I got was horrible; everything was basically one color.  And for only being 1 hour and 20 minutes, it felt as long as An Unexpected Journey; I was bored about 10 minutes into the movie.  But, on the plus side, it ended in a type of sing-a-long; so that was kind of cool.

This is cool, right?

          So, overall, don't watch this movie.  I personally like watching bad movies and laughing at them; but SCCtM was just painful.  Well, I guess if you're a sadist, buy this movie for some kid for Christmas and then watch their delight turn to horror.  Actually, that doesn't sound like a bad idea...

     But that's just my opinion...

19 December 2012

Dune (1984) (Theatrical Version)

          Essential plot rundown:  Young Paul Atreides must lead a planet's locals in revolt against their unjust rulers.  I recently finished reading Frank Herbert's Dune (which was a really good book, by the way) so I had to check out the movie, which I hadn't seen in a long time.

          And I would have to say that this was not a very good adaptation.  They try to jam way too much of the book into this 2 and a half hour film.  The whole thing feels very rushed.  It jumps from event to event, with no buildup or transitions.  And there is no character development at all; the film is too busy plowing through the events of the story to flesh out characters.  In fact, there are several characters that are only in one or two scenes and then never seen again; they could have easily been cut without changing the story.  The only reason they are in the movie is because they are in the book.

          The filmmakers also use a lot of voice overs, whether someone's thoughts or a narrator.  These are generally used just to explain things to the audience.  Because there is a lot going on in the book that needs to be crammed in here, I figure they thought voice overs would be the best way to keep the audience up to date.  It is a little weird hearing people's thoughts all the time.

          The SFX are also bad.  All of the compositing looks horrendous; it is completely obvious that there are two different images combined into one.  And the CGI is atrocious.  There are a few scenes wear people use a personal force field, and it looks ridiculous.  They literally look like block people.  But you don't have to take my word for it...

          But, while the FX department didn't do a good job, I give props to the art department.  The costumes and sets looked cool.  Overall, the film had an authentic, interesting look to it.  Also, the Lady Jessica, played by Francesca Annis, was attractive.  Even when she was all decked out in her weird Reverend Mother garb, she was beautiful.

And the music was pretty epic.

          There were also some changes made from the book that were a little odd.  The guy must milk a cat to survive?  When somebody uses the 'voice', they sound like demons?  The weirding way is now a glorified megaphone?  (Though, in the movie's defense, that was pretty cool to watch).

          Overall, I'd say check it out because it is kind of a classic; but don't get your hopes too high.  Too many things happen in not enough time; the acting is not too good (have I mentioned that yet?); the FX are not the best.  But, it is still worth watching.

     But that's just my opinion...

16 December 2012

The Hobbit (1977)

          Essential plot rundown:  A hobbit goes there and back again with a band of dwarves and a wizard.  I grew up watching this animated version of The Hobbit.  But, since I haven't seen it in a while, I thought I'd watch it in light of the new Peter Jackson movie.

          And needless to say, I really like this version.  I actually prefer it over An Unexpected Journey.  The film is just shy of an hour and a half, so it does movie pretty quickly; only briefly touching on important events. They are in Rivendale for about 3 minutes and with the forest elves for less than that.  So, there's not a lot of development.

          But that's ok because this movie is a lot of fun.  I love the animation style; it looks really cool.  And I think Smaug looks awesome!  I love the fur and catlike features.  To me, this is how Smaug looks; so I'm a little worried  as to what he looks like in the new trilogy.  (But sadly, Smaug doesn't do much here.  He's pretty badass when we first meet him but then his screen time ends rather quickly).  And I think Gollum looks pretty sweet too.  I just really like the look, the detail, of this movie.

          And the music is pretty cool.  When, in An Unexpected Journey, the Orcs trap our heroes in the trees, I couldn't help but imagine this song while I watched it.  I also liked the talent they got to do the voices.  I actually prefer Brother Theodore's interpretation over that of Andy Serkis.  Bilbo, Smaug, Gandalf, all great.

          So, overall this is a fun movie.  While the short running time makes for a relatively weak story, the cool animation and songs make up for it.

     But that's just my opinion...

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

          Essential plot rundown:  A hobbit goes on an unexpected journey.  So, this is arguably one of the most anticipated movies of the year, along side The Avengers and TDKR.  Expectations who pretty high for this film, and I think it disappointed a little.

          It is a good movie and definitely worth watching; but I don't think it was as good as it could have been.  And I think the problem comes in when it was made into a trilogy.  I have not read the book, but from what I understand, it's not that long.  So, the movie feels like it's being stretched thin.  There doesn't seem to be enough material for 3 movies.  Or, if you really want to make it a trilogy (cuz that kinda makes sense), don't make each movie 3 hours long; 2 hours would suffice.  The first installment is too long and kind of boring.  But, I do have high hopes for the next two movies, as we will see Smaug and the Battle of 5 Armies.

          There are also a few other complaints.  It felt like to me that there were too many CG characters.  It seems like where in LotR they had a guy in a costume, in The Hobbit they used CGI.  And the orcs here look way different than in LotR.  Like I said, I have not read any of these books; so as far as I know, there may be different types of orcs.  The orcs in The Hobbit are a lot bigger and beefier than the ones on LotR.  It had this weird disconnect for me. And the fighting sequences didn't feel very intense.  I never felt like the heroes were ever in any real danger.  But, I did like Martin Freeman as Bilbo.

          So overall, it is an ok movie.  It seems to suffer from what a lot of superhero franchises do: the first one sets up the world and characters and is kind of slow, while the other ones are more action driven.  But, it doesn't really matter what I say; if you're fans of LotR, you'll see this and if you're not, then you won't.

          Also, I saw this in 2D at 24 fps.  I'm hoping to see it in 3D at 48 fps (hfr) when I go back down to school.  (There's no place nearby that is showing it).  And when I go, I'll update this comparing the two.

     But that's just my opinion...

13 December 2012

Pacific Rim (trailer)

          I've known about this film for a while.  But, all I knew was that Guillermo del Toro was directing a movie about giant robots fighting giant aliens.  And that very much appeals to my inner 12 year old.  But, now a trailer has finally been released!!

     Watch it HERE

          And I think it looks awesome!  Growing up I loved kaiju, such as Godzilla and Mothra.  Actually, I still love that.  And I love giant robots, such as the Transformers.  So, from the get-go, this has a high level of interest.  And it is directed by del Toro.  I have only seen one of his movies, Pan's Labyrinth, and loved it; so, I'm excited for him too.

          But, one thing stood out to me and brought me down a little.  I was expecting the monsters to come from outer space.  But, they come from some crack in the bottom of the ocean?  Seams like an odd choice.  But, in the long run, that doesn't really matter.  They could come from Canada, but it wouldn't change the fact that they are giant monsters fighting giant robots.  I just like me some destruction!

          So, I'm really looking forward to this film.  Looks like a lot of fun.  And HERE is a cool little vid to introduce you to some other kaiju movies.

     But that's just my opinion...

09 December 2012

Movies: A Quadruple-Bladed Sword

Ok, this is something that I've been wanting to write about for a while, but have never gotten around to it for being lazy. But today I finally will (mainly because I'm really bored). This is mostly a response to stupid people complaining about movies. Many people don't seem to understand movies; so I feel the need to give forth my opinion.

What people fail to realize, I think, is that there are different types of movies for different reasons. But, I'm going to classify movies into two groups, each with polarizing ends. These two groups are Business vs Art and Visual vs Dramatic. So, let us begin with Business vs Art.

Probably the number one complaint I hear about movies today is the lack of originality. People always complain about the increasing number of sequels and remakes. There are seven movies in the Saw franchise and Kung-Fu Panda, at one point, had four more sequels planned. And people complain about this a lot. But, the thing they don't understand is that Hollywood is a business. They need to make money. Have you ever stayed to watch the closing credits after a movie?

I think this is from a Star Trek movie.
Do you seen all of those names there?  They all need to get paid; they are not working for free.  And the reason that Hollywood keeps making sequels/remakes is because people keep seeing them.  And if people are seeing them, then they are making money and can afford to pay the grip to put up a light.  The top 9 movies of 2011 were sequels and only 2 of the top 10 movies of all time (not judging for inflation) were not sequels.  Hollywood keeps making sequels because people keep seeing them.  It is a business.

          Then again, movies are also an art.  Some people are interested in telling new stories and doing something different.  These movies aren't meant to make billions of dollars.  And because of that, they don't need to reach the widest audience possible; thus allowing the filmmakers to do what ever they want.  And sometimes these movies don't do well at the box office; but that is ok because they are art and having deeper motives.  But yes, original movies can make lots of movie.  However, when they are dealing with billions of dollars and hundreds of workers, it can be better to stay on the safe side.

          The other forces at work on movies are the visual and the dramatic.  Literature is a dramatic form.  Paintings are a visual form.  Movies are both.  And the complaint here commonly is how such-in-such action movie had a stupid story.  And yes, I agree that all movies should at least have a decent plot; but with many of them, the story is not the most important thing.  Some movies exist mostly for their visual aspects and aren't trying to tell a story.  Movies like the Transformers franchise just want to show giant robots destroying each other; the plot is just an excuse to have them do so.  While other movies, such as 12 Angry Men, focus solely on story and less on visuals (the entire movie essentially takes place in one room).  There is a spectrum and movies can fall on either end or somewhere in the middle.  And some do find a good balance between the visual and dramatic.  But yes, all movies should have a a decent plot, but sometimes that it not the important part.  Nobody complains about the Mona Lisa not having a story.

          Like I said, not all movies are created with the same purpose in mind.  Some are created to make money, some to tell a great story and others to show us something never before seen.  So, basically, what I'm trying to say is enjoy the movie for what it is; no creation is perfect; and if you still need to complain, I would like for you to do better, make you're own damn movie and I'll tell you everything that's wrong with it.

I found this short article on movie theaters while looking for pics

     But that's just my opinion...

06 December 2012

Die Hard (1988)

          Essential plot rundown:  A cop learns the true meaning of Christmas.  Considering it is the Christmas season, I figured I better watch, what many people consider, the greatest Christmas movie of all time.

          Die Hard is a pretty awesome movie.  It is all around a good time.  The story works; the characters are like-able (except for the one, but he gets what he deserves); the pacing and action are good.  Really, the only thing that bothered me was how they used their walkie-talkies.  I'm not a doctor, but I don't think people can talk to each other at the same time on them.  But 'tis a small thing.

          However the important thing here is, Die Hard is more than your average action flick.  As all Christmas movies that come out in July do, it focuses on the real themes.  Themes such as camaraderie; forgiveness; love; and appreciating the small things, such as shoes.  It made me thankful that I own a pair.

          Overall, Die Hard is a moving action movie that reminds us of the important things in life.  Not only does it entertains, but it teaches.

     But that's just my opinion...