Monday, July 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises review

I very much enjoyed "The Dark Knight Rises". It was a fitting conclusion to Nolan's Batman story. His trilogy has set a new standard in the superhero movie industry where he successfully built a world around Batman, not Batman around a world. I highly recommend seeing it in IMAX. 4 out of 5 stars.

Princess Mononoke review

Last week, there was a brief discussion where a few people were praising and recommending "Princess Mononoke" in a forum I frequent.  While it was a movie I've heard nothing but good things about, it wasn't until tonight where I finally got to sit down and watch it.

Initial thoughts:  While I understand the whole industrial verses nature aspect of the movie and the animation was gorgeous, the movie didn't "do it" for me, in other words, it didn't move me emotionally.  In an animated feature, like Disney films as a child, and now, later in life, where Pixar has far surpassed Disney in the movie making industry, BOTH have done great things in touching my heart and pulling at those heart strings.  Unfortunately, I didn't get that experience from "Princess Mononoke".  I was really hoping to and it just didn't happen.  I didn't care about the princess at all and maybe it could have been partly because I didn't care for Claire Danes voice acting.  I thought the beginning was fantastic and the whole theme of battling your inner demons was well done.  In the end, I think the movie should have been called "Prince Ashitaka".

Overall, I'd have to say that there was a lot to like in this movie, but there was a lot that I didn't like.  Some of the concepts were way out there.  The box art claims that it's the Star Wars of anime and while I can put myself in the shoes of the person that said that, I'm more on the opposite side where in Star Wars I actually cared about all the characters, even the villains, and in "Princess Mononoke" the only person I really cared about was Ashitaka.  2.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oscar's 2012 Best Picture nominees reviewed

The 2012 Oscar nominees for Best Picture were:

War Horse
The Help
The Descendants
The Artist
Extremely Loud & Incredible Close
Mignight in Paris
The Tree of Life

"The Artist" won.  I don't agree with that, yet I do think it was a good film, but I will elaborate on that later.  So if I didn't think the "The Artist" deserved best film of the year, which film should have?  Well, for starters, please refer to the list above.  I have ordered them in the order from best to worst, in my opinion.

"War Horse" had heart, humor, and I thought the cinematography was fantastic.  The movie spanned many periods of time, and the attention to detail for each period was done magnificently.  The movie had a few surprises along the way as I never knew where the horse would end up next and ::SPOILER ALERT:: I was truly surprised that he survived in the end.

A close second was "The Help".  It was hard deciding to make this number two instead of one as it was great and I thought was going to win the Oscar.  I'm glad the actress that played Best Supporting won as she played an excellent role, but so did the lead and she didn't win which upset me.  This movie was a great demonstration of women coming together to fight for their rights against the worst kind of odds, the odds where your life could be taken as you had no rights to protect you.  It was a great story and I think it was based off true events.

"The Descendants" has earned its third place spot as it was the sleeper hit for me.  Clooney has bored me in his roles of late, but thankfully he did not disappoint in this film.  He was very entertaining and funny.  I really enjoyed the humor throughout and the underlying heart for his sick wife who, because of her illness or accident, didn't have a voice to defend herself, but her honor was maintained though George Clooney's character's honor.

I can kind of see why "The Artist" won.  It was just as good as last year's winner, "The King's Speech", but in my opinion, it shouldn't have won either, but I understand why it did.  "The Artist" was silent throughout and some of the speech was shown via title or intertitle cards to help explain what was said.  The intertitle cards didn't happen throughout and I'm not the best at reading lips, so that was slightly frustrating.  I will say that you had to watch and really pay attention which was easy as the movie was engaging for the first half an hour and then kind of tapered off and I feel didn't end very strongly.  With it being silent, I think the story was simple enough to follow making it predicable at times thus taking away from the overall enjoyment of this film.

The star of "Moneyball" was Brad Pitt's character's daughter.  She had a great singing voice.  I would have liked to see more scenes involving the players and their stories rather than Brad's and his assistant who never seemed worried about losing his job when he should have been as Brad's was threatened constantly.

"Extremely Loud & Incredible Close" or in other words, intentional sad story was sad.  While their were some great moments with the child actor and his parents and grandfather, the red herring of the key being used to help the child actor cope with the loss of his father was great for him but not so great for the audience.  This is one of those movies you watch once and never again.

The most frustrating thing about "Midnight in Paris" were the characters.  You hated all of them save for Owen Wilson's character and even he and his "imaginary" friends weren't enough to save the movie.  The scenes with his fiance and her parents were so painful that it took the joy out of the cool scenes where he was meeting and speaking with artists, authors, and people long gone.  I may have enjoyed this movie more if they spent more time on those people from past and their stories since I'm not an expert on all things Paris during the 1920s.

What the heck was "The Tree of Life"?  I almost didn't make it through this one.  I shut it off and happened to make it through on second watch.  The visual effects in the first forty minutes of the movie had what to do with the plot?  I was so lost with all the meaningless visuals and tiny bits of dialogue with no context.  Maybe they would make more sense after another watch or with subtitles (which I did turn on at one point to help me understand what was happening) but I have no desire to give it another try.

I don't know why "Hugo" won so many awards at the Oscars.  I didn't enjoy this movie at all.  The few comedic elements of this film were very slap stick and I hate that.  The movie didn't move me nor did I care about the main child actor, his toy nor its connection with the silent movie film maker.  I'm trying to recall my frustrations about the film, but it's just that forgettable.

Ted review

I have my reservations about Ted.  I consider myself a very big Family Guy fan as I continue to watch the show and buy the DVDs even though I complain that the show hasn't been funny since Season 3.

To my surprise, Ted was actually funny.  I'd say it's on par with The Hangover.  It definitely has Seth MacFarlane's touch with the slew of 80s references.  There's also two 9/11 jokes and if you watch Family Guy, you know that Seth loves a good 9/11 joke.  One small compliant is that the movie had too many characters, characters that didn't really add anything to the plot.  One example of this would be Laura Vandervoort.  Sure, she's great to look at but she was just there, she says her lines to console the main character and that was it.  I didn't think Joel McHale's character was needed either and probably could have been rewritten.  Regardless, I'm happy to have been proven wrong and I hope Seth takes some of this movie creativity and puts it back into Family Guy to make that show funny again.