Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2011 Summer Movie Recap

I was just going to say by favorites and least-favorite films of the summer, but, I figured why not just talk about all of the movies that came out this summer that I saw, starting with...

THOR: A truely fantastic superhero movie with a great cast boosted by one of the best story adaptations ever. 5 out of 6.

KUNG FU PANDA 2: Talk about a surprise! This is the perfect example of how to make a sequel. It's bigger, riskier and, above all, better than the first. 6 out of 6.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS: While easily the best of the X-Men movie, the film lacks something to truely maki it memorable. Still, a great movie in a weak series. See the full review at my blog. 5 out of 6.

SUPER 8: Man was this a great movie. The action was great, the characters wer great. Overall, this is a very underrated film. 6 out of 6.

CARS 2: Pixar may have focused too much on humor and too little on story, but this film was just a lot of fun. Full review at blog. 5 out of 6.

TRANSFORMERS: DRAK OF THE MOON:  The first Transformers was great, the second was good, but the third is the same as all of the other and is really uninteresting. Full review at blog. 2 out of 6.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2: While yes, the film is a fitting end to the series, it isn't very accessable to those who haven't read the books. Full review at blog. 4 out of 6.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER: Easily the best superhero film of the summer, the movie was just awesome from start to finish. Full video review on blog. 6 out of 6.

COWBOYS AND ALIENS: Firefly is an example of western/sci-fi merging gone insanely right. This film is an example of western/sci-fi merging gone horribly wrong. A major bore. 3 out of 6.

CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE: A sweet, very funny movie that balences a large cast nicely.Full review on blog. 5 out of 6.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES: Another big surprise, the film managed to be a great action movie and a great drama at the same time. 6 out of 6.

Overall, this has been one of the best summer for movies in a long time. And now, let me give out my top 3 best and worst list of the summer.

1. Super 8
2. Kung Fu Panda 2
3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
2. Cowboys and Aliens
3. Green Lanturn (I didn't need to see it to know it sucked.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chapmaniac Crossover: High School Musical 2 DVD Review

    Yesterday, when The Chapmaniac went on vacation, I filled in for him and wrote a review for the High School Musical 2 DVD: http://videogamaniac.blogspot.com/2011/08/but-theres-no-high-school-in-this-high.html. Because, as you know, while the critics are away, the cinemas continue to play!

Mini-Reviews From the Archives

    Okay, so I know I haven't been very good about posting lately, but we've been redoing our house so our computer has been boxed away for a while. I've been making due on library computers, like this. Now, next week I will hopefully have my computer back and will hopefully start posting again. However, school is also starting soon and that might put a dent in what I can post when.
    And since I don't have much time to do anything today, I figured I would feature with you so reviews I posted on my Facebook page that haven't been on this blog yet, starting with...

All Girls Are Evil: Odd Girl Out Review:
    WOW! I mean WOW! This is bad. REALLY BAD. This film made me physicaly ill. Now, don't get me wrong. I truely appreciate the message this film is saying. But, from a filmmaking standpoint, it's just terrible. The main character tries to be a female role model, but instead comes off as a bloody idiot. After she attempts to kill herself over her former best friend bullying her, SHE DECIDES TO BECOME FRIENDS WITH HER AGAIN. The film is very poorly edited, dropping and introducing stories at the drop of a hat. Part way through the movie, the main character's mother finds mean messages from the bullies. The bullies are brought in to see the principle where she gives the bullies a decison: either fess up to the messages and get a weeks suspension (So a girl tries to kill herself because of them and all the get is susspended?) or get expelled. What happens? I don't know. The bullies are at graduation with no explanation of what optition the chose. The film is so heavy-handed and so mean-spirited it's unpleasant to sit through. Also many people told be that the almost pitch-black lighting of the school is to show the dark atmosphere, but honestly it just looks like the budget was so low the couldn't pay for lighting. Overall, Odd Girl Out is heavy-handed, mean-spirited, poorly edited and unpleasant. Even a good message can't save this flop. 1.5 Out of 6.

Runaway Train of Boredom: Unstoppable Review:
   I know I may be going against the grain on this one, but I for one found Unstoppable to be a cliched, boring film. Unstoppable never seems to get going. I was waiting for the action to ramp up but it never did. There is no tension in this film, because the cliched script is so predictable. The film has so many false endings that it gets to be annoying after the tenth time. The only thing that saves Unstoppable from being a total failure is the fine performances of the cast. Overall, Unstoppable just never starts.  3.5 out of 6.

This Is One Wierd Episode of Glee: I Am Number Four Review:
     I Am Number Four is an entertaining, yet flawed, movie. It stars Alex Pettyfer as Number Four, AKA John Smith as he tries to take down the evil Mogadorians. Overall the plot is nothing special, but competent enough to keep the film together and make you intested in the characters. However, like any other generic action movie, an modest moviegoer can guess what going to happen before it does. Pettyfer sometimes can't handle the lead role by not given the more emotional part enough emotion, but he is a competent lead. Dianna Agron play Sarah, Pettyfer's love interset. She holds her own, however she fail to make the character memorable. (Although that might be the writer's fault.) Teresa Palmer play fellow alien Number Six and does alot better with her role than Agron. Kevin Durand play the film's villain, Commander. He does fine, though sometimes he gets hilariously over the top. But, by far the best actor is Timothy Olyphant as John's mentor and protecter Henri. He's the most entertaining and intesting character thank in no small part to Olyphant performance. However the best part of I Am Number Four is definately the action. While at times it can be tough to see, it is extremely entertaining. The end is easily the best part thanks to this, though it not without it's share of problems. (Like a villain being defeated because he slips in a puddle.) The worst part is that the film , much like the new Harry Potter movie, sets up a sequel that sounds way more interseting than the film we just watched. So, overall, I Am Number Four is an entertaininh movie, but scattered performances, dull moments, weak plotting and stupid moments wiegh down water could have been a fantastic film. 4.5 out of 6.

Spitting Bullets and Drinking Cactus Juice: Rango Review:
    Rango follows a story that we've all heard at one point or another. Hero lies about who he is to become popular. Hero gets a big head. Hero is found out to be a fraud and leaves. Hero then returns to save the day after a moment of reflection. And yet, Rango is a highly enjoyable movie elevated by a great script and a great cast. Johnny Depp is very good as the immensely likeable Rango. Isla Fisher is good as Rango love interest, Bean. And everyone else is usually entertaining. The humor and story could have been dumbed down for kids but it's not. In fact, if anything, Rango is not a movie for kids. People die at the drop of a hat and the language may be too much for 7 or 8 year olds. Another good thing worth noting is a wonderful cameo moment that ranks up there with Zombieland's awesome cameo. Overall, Rango may not be for kids, but for everyone else, it's one fun and exciting ride, however on is left with a sour taste in their mouth after watching this film. 3 out of 6.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Who Let the Cat Out?: "Catwoman" Review

INTRODUCTION: Catwoman is an in-name-only-adaptation of the DC Comics character. Hallie Berry stars as the title "hero", with Sharon Stone as the "villian" and Benjamin Bratt as the love "interest".  The film also stars Lambert Wilson and Alex Borstein.

THE REVIEW: Catwoman is a remarkable film, not for what it does right, but for the fact that it does almost everything WRONG. Take Catwoman for example. The film makes it's first mistake by giving the powerless superheroine al of the super powers... of a CAT. If that weren't bad enough, the film keeps giving her powers that just don't make sense. Like freaking BASKETBALL POWERS. And if that wern't bad enough, she starts to behave like a cat too. Like, imagine, if in Spider-Man, Peter Parker not only had spider powers, but also spun webs and ate bugs. It be pretty freaking stupid.
    Plus, the whole film follows the story behind a supposedly toxic beauty cream. Yes, the magic item that starts the whole story isn't the Ark of the Covenant. It isn't an alien spaceship. No, it's a FREAKING BEAUTY CREAM. And the film  doesn't even know what the cream really does. For Stone's character, she says that if she uses it it turns her skin to marble, and if you stop your skin disintagrates. However, the best friend (Borstein) uses it all of the time and then stop using it... and nothing ever happens to her.
    The film also can get it's message right. The whole "female empowerment" theme is lazily forgotten during most of the movie. Not that if it was given more time it would be better. Catwoman was a timid woman who only begins to feel confident after she become a leather-clad, oversexed crime fighter. The only other female main characters are the cat lady, a woman whose willing to horribly disfigure other women for no good reason and a best friend that will have sex with anything that moves.

THE VERDICT: Catwoman fails on almost every concivible level. The message is lazy, the acting is phoned-in, the title character is a joke and the plot is an aboulute mess. The adaptation not only manages to ingnore everything the original charcter was while being a completely terrible movie in the process. Overall, it made me go 1.5 out of 6.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Happened to Ocean's 1-10?: "The Ocean's Trilogy" Review

INTRODUCTIONS: Ocean's 11, 12 and 13 are a series of films directed by Steven Soderbergh and follow the heists performed by a group of thevies that were released in 2001, 2003 and 2007. Ocean's 11 is made up of George Clooney (as Ocean), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Scott Cann, Casey Affleck, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison and Shaobo Qin. The series also stars Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vincent Cassel, Eddie Izzard, Ellen Barkin and Al Pacino.

THE REVIEWS: Ocean's Eleven is easily to best of the series. This comes mainly by the fact that here is where the large cast is used the best. Each characters has their own personality, story and moments to shine. The heist is also the best, with the whole thing coming together nicely at the end. However, the film is not very memorable. Nothing in the film really goes above and beyond. This however might work to the film's advantage, as it increases the replay factor of the movie.
    Ocean's Twelve is very good at doing the opposite of what made Ocean's Eleven good. Taking a large cast and making them each memorable? Na, let's only focus on Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. Pretty sad when the character your movie is named after is the fourth most inportant character. A pace that makes the movie feel just right? Nope, Ocean's Twelve overly breezy pacing makes the film feel shorter than it actually is. And that's not a good thing. Have a heist movie with ACTUAL FREAKING HEISTS? WRONG. GUESS AGAIN! The film has not one, not two, not even three, but TWO heists and somehow they forget to talk about them. Remember how Eleven's one heist took up almost the last hour of the film. Twelve's TWO heist take up about ten minutes of the 125-minute movie. The one thing that keeps this movie from absolute failure is an hilarious extended cameo by Bruce Willis.
    Ocean's Thirteen is a thankful return to form for the series. The cast is all giving their A-game yet again. The heist is different and entertaining. Al Pacino serves as a great new villian. And yet, the film can't help but feel unneccesary. No matter how fun the proccedings get, the film still feel like a rehashing of the first. Maybe it's returning to the Vegas setting. Maybe it's Andy Garcia's entirely unneeded role in the film. I don't know, but at least Thirteen is fun and memorable.

THE VERDICTS: In the end, Ocean's Eleven is the first and the best. The large cast is memorable and well used and the heist is extremely well-done. However, the film's lack of memorablility leave the movie 5 out of 6.
    Ocean's Twelve makes the most out of a Bruce Willis cameo, but, when alls said and done, the overly quick pace and mistake of not using much of the cast leaves the film struggling to keep things fun. Especially when the film decides Brad Pitt's melodramatic love life is more entertaining that the film's heists. Overall, 2 out of 6.
    Ocean's Thirteen brings the series back from the dead by actual having heists and using the talented cast. The new players are a welcome edition, even though the film feels like a rehashing of the first. 4.5 out of 6.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cinema Wins and Cinema Sins: Volume 7

- Director Robert Rodriguez annouced several of the new project he wants to begin working on. First up are two sequels to Machete. The first sequel, Machete Kills, will feature a trailer for the third film, Machete Kills Again... In Space! The film is said to feature "space babes and a lightsaper-like weapon" His other project is the long talked about Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For. Rodriguez has stated that the film could start filming as early as this year, with the film involving two new stories written by Frank Miller. He stated he also wants to remake both Fire and Ice and Heavy Metal.

- Relativity Media has picked up the rights to make the long-awaited Voltron movie. They have taken over for Atlas Entertainment (Get Smart). A win because it Voltron.

- After Kenneth Branagh was reveled not to be return as the director of Thor 2, many wonder who would take over the Asgardian-reigns. Now, we know that Brain Kirk will be Thor 2's director. Kirk previous claims to fame include directing episodes of Dexter, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones. It was also stated that the sequel may spend more time on Asgard than the first film. Thor 2 is set to be released on July, 26, 2013. In other Marvel news, both Doctor Strange and The Guardians of the Galaxy have been reveled as the next possible Marvel series.

- The world of DC Comics films have some news this week as well. The Man of Steel has added to it's cast Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, Diane Lane as Martha Kent and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. Also, the first photo of Harvey Cavill as Superman as well as Anne Hathaway as Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises were released on line this week.

- Reese Witherspoon has signed on to star in Walt Disney Pictures's Wish List. Witherspoon will play a woman who, when she was ten, tossed a coin into a fountain and made ten wishes, that now, after 15 years, are starting to come true all at once. A sin, because the writer Randy Mayem Singer's other film, is Tooth Fairy.

- The cast of The Expendables 2 has expanded this past week as both Chuck Norris and John Travolta may be staring in the sequel, which is being released on August 17, 2012. A sin, because, well, The Expendables just wasn't very good.

- Director Tim Hill is in talks to direct to new movies. The first is a remake of Short Circuit. While Short Circuit is not a bad film, Tim Hill is a bad director, placing the remake in the Sins catagory. Hill's other film is going to be the epic adaptation of children's book masterpiece, Walter the Farting Dog. With a title like that, you just can't go right!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back to the 1940s: "LA Noire and Back to the Future: The Game" Review

INTRODUCTIONS: LA Noire is Rockstar Studios newest game. The gmae follows Cole Phelps, an LAPD detective as he solves cases and catches criminals. Back to the Future: The Game follow Marty McFly as he goes back to the 1930s to rescue Doc Brown. This reviews the PS3 versions.

THE REVIEWS: LA Noire is obviously drastically different from Rockstar's other games Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto 4. In those games, for the most part, you played what many people would think as "bad guys'. In LA Noire, you play as a police officer, which is clearly a welcome change. Long story short this game is good. Noire does an expert job at actually making you feel like a detective. The graphics, especially the famous face animation, is fantastic. The characters are likable and the ending is quite possibly Rockstar's best yet.
    However, the game does have some major flaws. Like, even though the characters are good, they are definately the least memorable protagonists in a Rockstar game. The game may also be Rockstar's shortest. With 21 cases to do, all at varying lengths, the games, while a decent size, does feel a little short. However, that may be because the sandbox in this game is not very interesting. There just isn't enough to do. The game also has problem with variety. The game tends to have you work basically the smae cases over and over with only minor differences.
    Back to the Future: The Game was somewhat cleverly broken up into 5 downloadable chunks. The good news is that the game feels like the long-lost fouth movie. It's every bit as smart, funny and exciting as the other three films. However, gameplay-wise, the game can be a little to boring and repetitive to satasfiy some gamers.

THE VERDICTS: LA Noire is one of the most gripping and fun game when it's good. However, when it's bad, it's boring and lazy. Overall, it's THEATER-WORTHY. Back to the Future: The Game captures the spirit of the movies very well, but faulters when it comes to gameplay. Overall, it's Recommended (Just Not At Full Price).

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Crazy, Crazy Movie: "Crazy, Stupid, Love" Review

INTRODUCTION: Crazy, Stupid, Love follows married man Cal (Steve Carrel) whose life is turned upside-down when his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) tells him he cheated on him and wants a divorce. While drinking at a bar, Cal meets ladies man Jacob (Ryan Gosling) who helps Cal become a ladies man himself. The film also stars Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon and Marisa Tomei.

THE REVIEW: Crazy, Stupid, Love may not be the movie I normally review, but the trailers look funny so I figured I'd give it a shot. And while, yes, it did have it's fair share of problems, in the end, I liked it. Let's get the good out of the way first, shall we.
    The best part of this movie is the cast. Everyone brings their A game. The movie accomplishes one of the hardest things to do in film well, and that's having a large cast of A-list actors and develop each one to the point were the audience actually really cares what happens to them. It also help that the film is very funny. Scenes like when Cal first meet Tomei or the backyard scene at the end are turely hilarious.
    However, when it comes to cliches the movie does faulter a little. Some cilches are humorously turned on their heads, while other are played straight. There is no real surprises as to how this movie will play out. And while all the characters feel developed, that doesn't mean the movie shouldn't have been cut down. The film is overly long. It's 107 minutes long, but the film could have easily been cut down to 90 minutes. The whole story between cal's son and his babysitter could have been cut out and the film would be no different.

THE VERDICT: Crazy, Stupid, Love too long, cilched and a little cluttered. However, the film is undeniably funny and sweet, with a great cast and developed characters. Overall, Crazy, Stupid, Love is 5.5 out of 6.

The NEW New Ratings System

Now, I know I said that I wouldn't change how I rate things anymore... but I did. The (hopefully) final ratings system is basically a scale of 1 (the worst) to 6 (the best).

1 is OH GOD, MY EYES!- This is given to a movie that is not just bad, but painful to watch.

2 is JUST PLAIN BAD- This is given to the movie that's, well, just plain bad.

3 is WELL AS LONG AS IT'S FREE- This is given to a movie that is watchable, but paying any type of money for is not advised.

4 is RECOMMENDED (JUST NOT AT FULL PRICE)- This is given to the movie that is worth see, but at matinee price or off of Netflix.

5 is THEATER-WORTHY- This is given to the movie that not only is worth paying to see in theater, but may even be worth buying.

6 is REFUND PLEASE, MY MIND WAS BLOWN- This is given to the movie that is so good, you may buy it then buy another copy for your friends.