Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Invisible

I'm just going to jump right into this one feet first. I didn't like the film. David S. Goyer has his shining movie moments (helped pen movies like Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) but leaves something to be desired with his directing. My main problem with this film is how illogical it all was and how I was left with a lot of unanswered questions. It seems that the main character is surrounded by jerks and cowards as well. His friend is a jerk, his mother is a jerk, the girl he likes is a jerk, so on and so forth. But let's start at the beginning:
The basic idea of the story is about a spoiled, rich kid who gets blamed for something he didn't do (nice friend he's got) and is nearly beat to death. While his body remains alive, he moves around the rest of the movie as a spirit and tries to get someone to find his body so that he can be saved before dying for sure. The story is intriguing, just not well played out. One of the first things that threw me off was after he has been beaten and left for dead, his spirit walks out of the forest in the morning and his first instinct is to... go to school? Even if you don't remember being beaten up, why would you walk out of a forest in the morning and say to yourself, "Why am I here? Oh, it's morning, I better get to class." Um... okay.
Anyways, aside from that, I didn't like how the movie attempted to make you have pity on Annie, an evil girl who is responsible for nearly killing Nick, the main character. This girl steals, she cuts people's fingernails off, she kills people, she's a freakin' jerk to everyone she meets, she runs from the police several times in several ways... and we're supposed to like her somehow? They attempt to make you feel sorrow for her situation because her mom left when she was young and they show all these scenes where you are supposed to be sad about her predicament (even Nick pities her and begins to like her), but I felt no sympathy or remorse for her. Even when she is supposed to do something redeeming in the end, I still didn't like her or think any higher of her. And the fact that they kept trying to make me feel pity for her just made me dislike her more. But I'll stop ranting on her for now. Let's move on to the cops.
The cops in this film seemed intelligent at times - they knew where to look for evidence and who to keep their eye on - but did nothing to solve the case. The main cop knew who was guilty and never did a thing about it. He would walk up to each guilty person and say, "I know what you did." The person would deny it and he'd say, "Okay, call me if you want to confess," and just walk away. He had all the evidence that he needed, he just never used any of it. Plus, the cops weren't very proactive in catching anyone. Several times, Annie would be in a position where she logically would have been caught and taken to jail, but she would just run away and all the cops would slothfully attempt to catch her but, "Oh, shoot. We missed her. She's just on the other side of this fence, but we'll never catch her. I guess we'll just try again tomorrow." Right. If our police were that useless in the real world, no one would ever get caught.
As far as loop holes go, there are way to many to discuss; this post is already becoming a novel. One of the main ones that irked me was how no one could hear or see Nick, not even Annie. But suddenly, without any catalyst that we know of (no near-death experience, no electrocution from a hair-dryer), Annie suddenly has the ability to hear Nick. Why? This leads into the worst love story out there. Suddenly, because she can hear his voice, she begins to fall for Nick, even to the point where she randomly sneaks into his house (without checking to see if someone was home) and begins going through his stuff. And then, suddenly, she is the only one who can bring Nick back to life for reasons that we don't know...

**Spoiler Alert**
She doesn't even do anything to save him but confess to his body that she is a bad person; how does that bring someone back to life? Also, are we supposed to assume that Marcus just died after getting shot?
**Spoiler Alert End**

...Yeah, doesn't make any sense. So, overall, this movie was not worth it. And so it was, that the writer ended his post with bemoanings of a lost and wasted two hours.

The End.

P.S. - The image used in this post is copyrighted by Buena Vista Pictures.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Princess and the Frog

First of all, I just have to say that I am glad that Disney is returning to its roots. The guy who said, "Hand animation is old-fashioned, let's toss out everything that we're good at and go to CG," was an idiot. I didn't see a single CG Disney film that wasn't made by Pixar that I liked. Now, whoever said, "Gee, we're no good at this CG thing, let's go back to what we were good at," was smart. Because this was one of the first animated Disney-minus-Pixar films that I have liked since Brother Bear. Now, even though I liked it, I still don't think it was up to the quality of previous Disney animated films. When I say that, don't think I'm referring to the quality of the animation, because the animation was excellent in this film; but I just didn't enjoy it as much and I didn't have that good ol' "love it" feeling afterward. But, I still liked the film a lot.
The villain in this one was certainly darker than any other Disney villain I've seen; not the coolest or most evil of the Disney villains, but certainly the darkest. They did a good job at adding to his creepiness with the way his shadow acted and certainly gave you that dark feeling when he did his voodoo stuff.
There were some really funny moments in the film and I think the voice acting and music were elemental in the success of this film. The lasting message of the film was inspiring and the movie was good fun for everyone. Thank you, Disney, for bringing the magic back from where it originally came from.

As far as questionable content:
Some of the scenes dealing in voodoo might be a bit scary for children. Just a head's up.

P.S. - The image in this post is copyrighted by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Second Chance for the Undervalued...

This post may be the first of many concerning the topic of movies that I believe got shafted by the audience and never given a second chance. Because these movies are not well-critiqued, many people may disagree with me on these movies, but I hope that many of you will give these movies a second shot, knowing what to expect this time, and watch them with an open mind:

  Cars - This Disney/Pixar film has been coined by some as the worst of the Pixar films. I think many attribute this to the fact that it lost the Academy Award® for "Animated Feature Film" to Happy Feet (a wreck of a movie if you ask me). This happens to be one of my favorite Pixar films. I think the voice acting is perfect and very well played. Owen Wilson is not one of my favorite actors, but he does an excellent job in this film. Paul Newman is a nice treat for the film as well; and while I am certainly not a fan of Larry the Cable Guy, he does a great job giving Mator his Podunk, redneck attitude. And I can't leave this post without mentioning the animation. The animation is absolutely gorgeous in this film. Pixar did an amazing job with taking an inanimate object and giving it life and personality. Not even the Chevron© Cars have a believable personality compared to the cars in this film! Pixar was able to take a car and make it point at something, shrug, jump from fright, slouch, crawl, etc. It is amazing! It really is! Now, I'll admit that I like every single Pixar film, but if I had to choose a least-favorite (which is still better than most movies I've seen), it would be A Bug's Life.

  Speed Racer - Being that this film was made by the Wachowski brothers and based on a semi-popular Japanese anime cartoon with a catchy theme song, I don't think anyone knew what to expect with this film and many walked away a bit overwhelmed. The visuals in this film pay perfect homage to the cartoon, but it's not a style that you are used to seeing in a live-action film. It even took me a half-hour or so to get past the brightly colored, cartoony environments before I could just watch the film; but once I did, I really, really enjoyed this film. It's a fun, family-friendly film that rivals other top racing movies, if not placing as the best racing movie. I think most people walked away because of how in-your-face the colors and style was in the movie; but knowing now what you are going to see, I say take another gander at this film and I guarantee you'll enjoy it more than you thought you would have. (I mean, even my wife likes this movie, and that says a lot!) Also, this is one of those movies that has to be seen on Blu-ray© in order to appreciate the visuals.

  Super Mario Bros. - Now, I know a lot of people are going to have something to say about this film. I think people's main disagreement with this film was the style-difference between this movie and the games, not the quality of the movie itself. As one of the first game-to-movie adaptations, this is a very touchy film for people because of the lack of previous game-to-movie comparisons and how well loved the games are. I believe that most people were expecting something quite a bit closer to the bubbly, goofy fun displayed in the games and cartoons where two overall-bearing Italians fight off turtles (not the ninja type) and other shelled villains to eventually make battle with a giant, spike-shelled turtle/dragon named Koopa in order to save a princess. I'd say that people were most upset about the costume change of overalls being replaced with coveralls in the movie... or not. I think the movie turned out to be a bit darker and less kid-friendly than audiences expected. Plus the story was given a greater touch of reality with the adventure taking place in a Brooklyn-like city where dinosaurs are the villains in human form (minus the goombas). People seemed to be shocked at how different an approach this was to the Mario game franchise and how very different the tone of the film was. True, it is a very different world. But I like it. I like how they translated everything for the film into something more realistic and a tad more believable. Plus, you can't argue with the casting choice for this film: Bob Hoskins as Mario, John Leguizamo as Luigi, Dennis Hopper as a spiky-haired Koopa. Unarguable. Yes, it has its cheesy moments, but I think it's still a fun movie for all ages. So I say, try it again. And if it's too much of an assault on your childhood memories, watch it as a movie unrelated to the games and I still think you'll enjoy it.

  Surf's Up - I think the main ordeal with this movie was the timing of its release. This movie came out at the tail-end of a series of penguin movies and I think we were done with penguin stuff by then. Being overshadowed by March of the Penguins and Happy Feet, I think this movie deserves a lot more applause then the aforementioned predecessors. This movie was very well cast and I think one of the shining movies for Shia LeBeouf. It is smart, funny, and the water effects are the best I've seen in a CG movie! Incredible water effects! Plus, the tiny little things that are always happening in the background of this film are hilarious. I don't think critics disliked the film, I just think it got passed over by a lot of people and needs a first chance more than a second chance. The movie also sports voice-power from Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, and Jon Heder. It's a fun movie, so give it a shot.

Well, that's my opinion for now. I look forward to everyone's comments about this post.

P.S. - The images used in this post are copyrighted by Buena Vista Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Columbia Pictures.

"Stranger Tides" Stranger Still...

This is the teaser for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film that debuted at Comic-Con:


Also, Disney has decided to do a reboot of their Eddie Murphy comedy failure, The Haunted Mansion, based on the theme park ride. This remake will be helmed by Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth master, Guillermo Del Toro. I'm pretty excited about it.


P.S. - Image copyrighted by Buena Vista.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Avatar

I know it's been a while since I've posted a review, but here it is. I had to see this movie twice because the first time I saw it, I didn't like it. I know I'll probably be flogged for saying that because everyone loves Avatar and I'm a heathen because I didn't fall in love with it the first time I saw, bla bla bla, yada, yada, yada. Anyways, to be completely honest, I like it, but don't find it absolutely amazing. The graphics are incredible, I agree on that. But the story was just not that captivating to me. While watching the movie, my mind kept floating back to FernGully and how Avatar was basically a live-action version of it, with a little Pocahontas tossed in there. The story just wasn't original enough to match the graphics and make this a truly great film. The acting was good, but still only second to graphics. This film was basically devoted to CGI and everything else took a backseat to it. Still an enjoyable film, but not a great film.

**Spoiler Alert**
I also felt that bad guy Colonel Quaritch lasted way too long. Yes, all the things he did were meant to give you the feeling that this guy was invincible and a quality enemy, but he should have died long before he did. Getting to his death dragged on for a little too long for me. Plus, that guy basically never breathed in this movie. Every time you see him, he's holding his breath while trying to kill something... and he can hold his breath for a really, really long time - and never turned purple (or even red) once! HISHE killed him off right:

Also, that avatar almost-sex scene was bit awkward. And that's all I have to say about that.

P.S. - The image in this post is copyrighted by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.