27 January 2013

The Last Man(s) on Earth (2012)

          Essential plot rundown:  A group of survivalists must stop the end of the world.  So, there is this guy on the internets and he told me to come see this movie.  So I did.

          But before I did, I checked out the trailer.  And I thought it looked pretty stupid.  But, it also looked interesting; I wanted to see where they would go with it.  So, that's why I went.  And I was pleasantly surprised.  It was actually pretty funny; there were a lot of good one-liners and amusing moments.  As the young kids would say, I LOL'd a lot.

          The actors were good enough.  The acting was kind of campy sometimes, but it totally fit with the style of the movie.  Though, I had a really hard time understanding them a lot of the time.  (But, that might just be due to the bad audio).  But, by far the best part was Rick Macy as the Oracle.  Macy is an LDS actor best known for being Joseph Smith, Sr. in a lot of LDS film productions and Helam in The Testaments.  It was a lot of fun seeing him do something different from what one is accustomed to.

          While being funny, the movie also had a lot of flaw.  The cinematography was atrocious.  Every time there was a white background (which happened quite often) it was whitewashed; everything seemed over exposed.  And the color looked weird.  I'm not an expert on the subject, but it looked like they had their aperture open too much, letting in too much light.  Then they tried to fix it in post by darkening the blacks.  It was very distracting.  The audio was also bad.  Some parts you can't hear the actor over background noise.  In others the audio doesn't match up and obviously came from different sources.

          But, overall, it was pretty entertaining.  I laughed a lot, which is a good thing when watching a comedy.  There were a lot of technical things wrong with it, but they still get props for making a feature length movie.  If you can get over the bad quality, it's worth checking out.

     But that's just my opinion...

25 January 2013

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

          Essential plut rundown:  A group of reporters investigate an ad about time travel posted by Aaron Eckhart.  This movie was inspired by a similar ad placed back in 1997.  So, that's kind of cool.  But it turns out the ad was faked by an employee of the magazine.  So, that kind of sucks.  But it makes for a good premise for a movie.

          Safety Not Guaranteed was a really good movie.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The plot was interesting.  It kept me engaged and invested the entire time, waiting to see where it would go next.  And the characters were good.  All of them were likable and relatable.  The actors did an excellent job of bringing them to life.  It was also pretty funny.

          There were also a lot of really good quotes.  But, in particular, the quote at the end would have to be my favorite.  And speaking of endings, I liked how it ended; but I could easily see it ending it different ways.  And I wonder if they would have been better or worse.  But that doesn't matter, the ending worked good.

          And I also hated this movie.  It played at Sundance last year.  I went to Sundance last year.  And I went this year.  And neither one of the movies I saw were as good as this.  I need to find a better way of choosing the movies I go see.  But, that actually doesn't have anything to do with this movie.

          So, overall, this was a great movie.  Good everything.  It also had some good messages/themes.  I'm mad at myself for having seen it sooner.  I would recommend it to anyone.

     But that's just my opinion...

13 January 2013

Upcoming Sequels

          So, a lot of people have problems with sequels.  Me, as I have explained, not so much.  But, that doesn't really have anything to do with this post; I'm here to report some news.  And all of these newes all have to do with upcoming sequels.

               Transformers 4

          So, as we all know, Transformers 4 is happening.  I have already talked about it here and here.  But here is some more news.  Mark Wahlberg is attached.  And now some guy named Jack Reynor is also starring.  Marky Mark seems like an odd choice to me; and I know nothing about Jack.  But, what I am excited for is the context of the new movie.  It's going to be same universe, different story.  And that just makes me happy.

     Head over to Michael Bay's WEBSITE to check it out.

               The Host 2

          Yea, they are making a sequel to this too.  When I watched the first one, I didn't think much of it; but I keep hearing a lot of people praising it.  So, I think I need to re-watch it.  But anyways, the sequel will have a different writer and a first time director.  And it will have 2 monsters instead of one.  I'm interested to see how this turns out, so I'll be keeping an eye on it.

     Read the article HERE.

               The Raid: Berandal

          I new they were thinking about a sequel when the first came out; they changed the name from The Raid to The Raid: Redemption.  But, I thought they were just planning ahead for a possible sequel;but apparently they've been working on it the whole time.  So, I'm a little surprised.  I'm curious as how this will play off of the first one.  The Raid: Redemption didn't really have a story or characters to continue with: it was 100% fighting with no plot or character development.  I wonder what the connection will be.  But either way, I thought the first one was amazing, so I'm excited for anything else by the same creative team.

     Learn more HERE.

               Jurassic Park 4

          There have been rumors about JP 4 for a while.  But it is finally official; and I'm pretty excited.  It has been a while since I've seen some good dinosaur-eating-people action.  The first JP was incredibly well done; and the others, while they progressively got worse, were still entertaining movies.  But, the part that got me the most excited was this statement, made by one of the producers:  "the movie would still rely on animatronic dinosaurs, despite the advancements in visual effects technology in the intervening decade."  The phrase 'animatronic dinosaurs' makes me as giddy as a school boy.  I think JP (and Terminator 2: Judgement Day) are perfect examples of how VFX should be done: using mostly practical with CGI to accentuate.  They could have easily gone for 100% CGI, but that would be dumb.

     Look at THIS.

          So yea, that is a lot of sequel news to come out in about a week.  And I'm excited to see them all.  Which ones are you most looking forward to?

Hopefully JP 4 will look like this.

     But that's just my opinion...

10 January 2013

Cloud Atlas (2012)

          Essential plot rundown:  6 different stories are loosely connected.  Yea, thats about as simple as I can put it.  I've been wanting to see this for a long time, ever since I saw the trailer about 5 months ago.

         Cloud Atlas is more like 6 mini films all edited together.  There are 6 different stories that transverse time that all star the same actors in different racial and gender roles.  It's suppose to play on reincarnation, but I'm a simple minded person who likes simple things; I didn't catch the overall theme.

          But, I'm getting ahead of myself.  I really liked this movie; it's probably one of the better ones that I've seen from 2012.  It's interesting and engaging; I never got bored during the 3 hour runtime.  And it seems like the type of movie that will make more sense the more you watch it.

          Like I said, the 6 stories are loosely connected.  I had a hard time understanding all of the dialogue (I want to re-watch it with subtitles); therefore, I had a hard time following the details of each story.  But the basic concept of each was easily grasped.  So, I'm not exactly sure how each story connects with the others.

          I found each story (well, 5 out of 6 really) to be really interesting.  I was engaged with each plot, wanting to know what happened next.  I think that they could have easily taken any of those and made it into its own feature film. And if they did, I would go watch it.

          But, the biggest thing about this movie was the choice of casting the same actors in different racial/gender roles.  I understand the purpose, about how all things are connected or whatever; but I did find it really distracting.  After a while, I got a little use to it, but it was still kind of distracting.  And some makeup jobs were better than others.  This chinese actress was transformed into a caucasian:

And I thought they did a pretty decent job.  It took me a while to realize that it was makeup.  Though, the white character totally looks familiar.  Hugo Weaving is a very ugly nurse and Halle Berry makes for a strangely attractive jewish woman.

And make sure you stay for the credits, they show who was who.

          So, overall, I really enjoyed this film.  I was engaged throughout.  The acting was good.  The story was will written.  (Though, it is a weird movie).  And that's all I have to say.

     But that's just my opinion...

06 January 2013

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

          Essential plot rundown:  A group of friends get massacred in Texas by a chainsaw.  Just finishing off my kick.  After watching 3 TCM movies in 3 days, I think I'm all wore out.

          This isn't a bad remakes.  Still not as effective as the original, but it works.  My number 1 thought going into this was how it was going to compare to Texas Chainsaw 3D.  And I can't decide which I like better.  This one isn't as scary (or bloody) as TC 3D, but I also didn't have as many complaints with it.

          I also think that this movie should have followed the "less-is-more" rule.  But not so much in the gore department, but with Leatherface.  We see him without his mask on; he is also shown sewing a new mask and other things out of skin.  I feel by seeing this stuff, it takes away from the mysteriousness of the character.

          And when Leatherface is first shown, it isn't nearly as scary as the original.  However, later, he gets a "proper" introduction that is pretty chilling.  If that happened to me in a haunted house, I would wet myself.  But, the worst thing about Leatherface is that he is completely overshadowed by the sheriff (played by R. Lee Ermey).  The sheriff steals the show from Leatherface; they could have easily written Leatherface out of the movie and just focus on Ermey's character.

          One thing that really bugged me with this and TC 3D is people seem to have a hard time grasping the concept of a chainsaw.  There are multiple times when people would close a wooden door and try to barricade it, hoping to keep Leatherface out.  But, he just uses his chainsaw to cut through the door.  But the one time when the door is not wood and could possibly hold up to a chainsaw, they don't even bother to try and close it; they leave it wide open.  And on the other hand, in all of these movies, Leatherface seems to not understand how doorknobs work; but I guess using a saw works just as good.

          Overall, it is a good movie.  It is not nearly as chilling or effective as the original, but it is worth checking out.  And as far as I can tell, the original TCM had the best Leatherface costume; none of the others look as good.

     But that's just my opinion...

05 January 2013

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (trailer)

          So, I've kind of been on a Texas Chainsaw Massacre kick recently.  After I watched the original, I watched the trailers for the sequels.  And the one for Leatherface: TCM 3 looked awesome.

     HERE it is.

          First of all, this trailer is ridiculously cheesy.  Comparing Leatherface to King Arthur?  C'mon!  And why does Leatherface have a mullet?  It did come out in the early 90s and I guess that mullets were still cool then.  And why does he look more like Michael Myers than Leatherface?

          I haven't seen this one yet (but I have to now, after seeing this trailer). I just wanted to share the love.  This is one of the greatest trailers I have seen in a long time.  Oh, and Viggo Mortensen is in it.  So, I guess that is cool.

     But that's just my opinion...

04 January 2013

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

          Essential plot rundown:  A girl who looks really young for her age discovers a secret past.  So I just saw this and I am torn about how I feel.  There were some good things and some things that really bothered me.  So, because of this, I will be talking about specific things and there will be spoilers. But they won't come till later and I'll warn you.

          Ok, let's start with the good.  I really like the beginning.  The opening sequence was pretty sweet.  It totally seemed like something that would happened in Texas during the 70s.  It recaps the events (mainly the deaths) of the original film and then depicts what happened immediately after.  And the film itself was scarier than I was anticipating.  There were some good jump scares and a scene or two that was kind of tense.  But that is about all that is good about it.

          Ok, now on to the bad.  *SPOILERS*  In the beginning they pick up a hitchhiker.  But the whole picking him up part didn't feel natural.  It seemed really forced.  Then they leave him (who they've only know a few hours) alone in the house; he then proceeds to steal their stuff.  I mean, really?  You're going to leave a complete stranger alone in your house?  No one is going to stay behind to supervise?

          Then there is this stupid cop.  He follows a trail of blood down to the basement where (obviously) he is subsequently murdered.  I can understand a cop, who stumbles upon a random trail of blood, following it to investigate.  But here, he knows Leatherface is out and about killing people.  And he is using facetime to show the sheriff and mayor what is going on.  Why does he go down by himself?  Why don't they send back up?  They know he is there and dangerous.  But, if you could get past his stupidity, it is a pretty intense scene.

          But the worst part is how Leatherface is depicted and his relation to our protagonist.  In the beginning, the towns folk kill Leatherface's family and burn down the house; but miraculously, he escapes.  Then the rest of the movie tries to convince us that he was a victim.  Granted, the people shouldn't have killed them and burnt down the house, but let the law take care of it.  But, they did it because Leatherface killed a bunch of people!  You can't be a victim if people get mad because you kill people; that's not how life works.  I'm not going to feel bad for someone who insists on bludgeoning people to death for no more a reason than trespassing.  However, while it does not work, I kind of, maybe applaud the filmmakers for trying something different(?)

          And throughout the whole movie, there are things that foreshadow the protagonist's tendencies to be like her family.  At the end, she sides with her "cuz" even after seeing him murder all of her friends!  She doesn't even know him.  And the cop lets him go?  Why doesn't he arrest Leatherface for murdering at least 8 people?  Leatherface and the girl just move in together like nothing happened.  WTF?

          One last thing.  In the original, there is Leatherface and like 3 other people in the house.  But, in Texas Chainsaw 3D, which literally begins 5 minutes after the original, there are suddenly 15 people in the house.  Were they just hiding in the back room?

          *END OF SPOILERS*  And this movie, obviously, is a lot gorier than the original.  But, I feel that less is more.  I'm personally not a big fan of blood and I think it can be just as scary without showing everything.  And for some reason, our female friend likes to reveal as much midriff as possible.  Somebody gives her a button-up shirt and she only uses the two buttons around her bosom?  I don't think showing off her body will stop anyone from killing her.

          Overall, it is an ok movie.  I thought it had a decent amount of scares in it to make it worth watching; but I had a lot of problems with it.  There were too many people doing stupid things.  I didn't like how Leatherface was portrayed.  And the main character's arch didn't make any sense.

     But that's just my opinion...

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

          Essential plot rundown:  A group of friends get massacred in Texas by a chainsaw.  I'm planning on seeing Texas Chainsaw 3D tomorrow, which is a direct sequel to the original, so I thought I'd better re-watch it.

          I watched this once in high school (which was a while ago) and didn't think too much of it.  But, upon watching it a second time, my thoughts completely changed.  This movie was terrifying.  I had butterflies in my stomach most of the movie.  The mood, the atmosphere is chilling and there are a few effective jump scares.  I found this much scarier than other classic horror movies.  It was kind of disturbing and made me feel a little queasy inside.  I could easily place myself in the position of the characters and see how truly terrifying it would be.

          A huge difference between this and modern horror movies is the amount of gore.  Movies now-a-days are filled to the brim with blood and gore. TCM not so much.  There is very little actual blood.  However, instead of being bloody, it is brutal.  There were several scenes that made me cringe in pain. There is this part with a hammer...yea, painful.  But not graphic or gory; a lot of the stuff happens off screen.  There was this one part that reminded me of those torture porn movies.  But, instead of physical torture, it was psychological.

          The most brutal, chilling part was when Leatherface was introduced.  That was a very memorable scene.  However, not all was daisies and gold.  There were a few parts that dragged on a little too long, and therefore, lost their thrill.  And there is this random black guy that shows up that makes you go What?

          Overall, a scary, disturbing movie.  While not a splatterfest, it is brutal and painful to watch.  I have not seen a lot of horror movies, but TCM is one of the few that actually scared me.  And the moral of the movie is: don't trespass.

     But that's just my opinion...