Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Last Airbender

No matter how bad M. Night Shyamalan has disappointed us in the past, we seem to continue to have high hopes for every movie he releases, as if it will once again astound us the way The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village did. But alas, that has yet to come to pass.
One of the main things I heard about this movie before I saw it was that it was boring. That didn't bother me. I have seen movies that were really boring for the most part, but still had a great finish and left you satisfied. So I went in with low expectations, but high hopes. Well, it was boring. And the reason that it was boring was because it was so very poorly acted. Everyone seemed so emotionless and robotic. The lines were spoken, but the emotions were lacking or wrong. The wrong words in a line were emphasized, and you knew that because you could tell from the line what the emotion was supposed to be, yet the actor was acting out a completely opposite emotion. I will say that Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel did a decent job, but even he could have done more with the character than what we saw.
At first, I thought that maybe the movie was just poorly written, but in listening to the words, the script could be pulled off well if the actors were good. But the actors were just horrible in this film. I don't understand what happened. Shyamalan did some amazing work with the young actors in Sixth Sense and Signs, what happened to that ability? Where was his focus in this film?
Other than the acting, the film had good effects and fun fight scenes. But the movie was slow and anti-climatic. The film had awesome potential, but it was just so poorly crafted. I would say that this movie was really not even worth seeing once... well, maybe if it was free... and it was really late at night... because everything is better late at night... and we don't know why... but that's the only time I can really watch movies like Strange Brew and Monty Python and the Holy Grail... they're so much funnier late at night... anyways...

P.S. - The image used in this post is copyrighted by Paramount Home Entertainment.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Crash The Superbowl...

Here is the link to one of the entries we submitted for the "Crash the Superbowl" commercial contest.


"Get Some More"

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Time for Similarity Showdown!...

Competition has always been big in Hollywood. But then it seemed that at least two movies would be released near the same time that almost seemed identical. And it just kept going and going and going. So we're going to take a look back at some of the most popular twin film competitions and discuss who the winners were in each fight. Let's get ready to rumble!

ROUND 1:

Volcano VS. Dante's Peak

LOSER
LOSER
Ever Since Twister was released, natural disaster movies began rising in popularity and have yet to fully calm down again. The next disaster films released after Twister were Volcano and Dante's Peak. Sadly, both are marked as "Losers" because neither one really exploded for the audience. Volcano sported big names like Tommy Lee Jones, Anne Heche, and Don Cheadle. Dante's Peak had Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton. The special effects were intriguing, but both movies lacked in everything else. If you were to ask someone if they remember either of these movies, they may remember that there was a movie about volcanoes, but not much else. Sadly, these movies will float into the world of film limbo and eventually be forgotten while other movies rise to classic status.

ROUND 2:

Deep Impact VS. Armageddon

LOSER
WINNER
When these two films were released, there was a huge battle between the fans. You were either a Deep Impact fan, or you were the enemy Armageddon fans. Both movies did fairly well in the box office and both have lived on quite prosperously. I believe that Armageddon is marked as the winner mainly because it conquered Deep Impact with it's awesome soundtrack and its hit-Aerosmith-song, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." But I also think that Armageddon won out because the story was less about destroying the earth and more about preventing it. While it can be fascinating to watch Earth's monuments explode from asteroids and deadly floods, the story of a group of men traveling into space to destroy a meteor before it destroys earth makes for a stronger and more unique story. Both films were led by some very impressive actors and both had dazzling special effects. But in the end, bigger patriotism and rock n' roll will rule the day.

ROUND 3:

Antz VS. A Bug's Life

LOSER
WINNER
Antz was DreamWorks' first computer-generated film and the beginning of a rough hit-or-miss course for their animation department. A Bug's Life was Pixar's second computer-generated feature film and probably one of the least popular for them. Either way, A Bug's Life squashed Antz big time. While Antz was comprised of a fairly large celebrity cast, it suffered from poor storytelling, foul language, and cheesy animation. A Bug's Life on the other hand had likable characters, very impressive animation, and a great adaptation of "The Ant and the Grasshopper" fable. Pixar still trumps DreamWorks in computer-animated films, but their quality is improving. DreamWorks has now begun to stand on it's own two feet with original ideas, but Antz was the first of many identical-movie-competitions that they had with Pixar/Disney. Keep reading.

ROUND 4:

Mission to Mars VS. Red Planet

LOSER
LOSER
Ah, Mars, the perfect planet for havoc and chaos. Mission to Mars was a terrible movie. The action was ridiculously unbelievable and the whole movie just seemed tossed together into a random mess. Plus, the ending of the film was stupid; it just ended suddenly without any real closure and left you saying, "Wait. What just happened?" The film earns a "Loser" spot for that. Red Planet on the other hand was more intriguing and very much like a modern 2001: A Space Odyssey mixed with Lost in Space. The problem was that it did very poorly, never taking off in the box office, and pretty much stayed grounded after that. I liked Red Planet a lot more than Mission to Mars, but both films lacked the ability to shift our interest from our own planet.

ROUND 5:

Finding Nemo VS. Shark Tale

WINNER
LOSER
Let the battle between DreamWorks and Pixar continue... well, let DreamWorks vainly attempt to supersede Pixar by doing similar themed movies. Finding Nemo is considered one of Pixar's best films and certainly earns that spot. The film has excellent voice acting, a powerful and engrossing story, amazing animation, wonderful character development, well-timed humor, etc., etc., etc.. Finding Nemo is an awesome movie. Shark Tale came out a little over a year later and went belly-up because of Nemo's popularity. The film never recovered and rests in a watery grave of forgotten DreamWorks' films. It's too bad really. I always hoped that Will Smith's first real voice-acting film would be a fun one. Oh well, I guess I'll just go watch Finding Nemo again.

ROUND 6:

Madagascar VS. The Wild

WINNER
LOSER
Now this was where DreamWorks finally beat out Disney (not Pixar). I don't particularly like Madagascar, but it was much better than The Wild. Madagascar was a love/hate film. You either adored it, or you completely despised it. I despise it, but it was popular enough to spawn small spin-off videos and a sequel. It didn't help that it had Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, and David Schwimmer - all of whom I find really annoying. But many people were pleased with it and I hear a lot more people liked the sequel. The Wild arrived about six months after Madagascar and it was liking having bad déjà vu. The story was too similar to it's predecessor and attempted to replicate The Lion King's father-son relationship, but failed miserably. William Shatner was not helpful to the film in any way. The graphics for Wild were quite impressive, but certainly not enough to save the movie. I doubt anybody really even remembers it. Anyone? Anyone?

ROUND 7:

Happy Feet VS. Surf's Up

LOSER
WINNER
Now, many people may not agree with me in this round, but you'll still have to hear me out anyway. Happy Feet may have won the Oscar for Best Animated Film and had a pretty good soundtrack, but Surf's Up was definitely the better movie, in my opinion. Happy Feet was overrated and the last half-hour "Save the Penguins" PA was terrible to endure. Robin Williams was hilarious and Hugh Jackman's Elvis impression was fun, but the film's end was both unnecessary and non-fitting. It was like they got to a point in the script and didn't know how to end it, so they just wrote an evasive ending and called it good. I hated that! Happy Feet gets a "Loser" stamp for that. Then there was Surf's Up. Surf's Up was a very different penguin movie with a different overall style, a killer soundtrack, some powerhouse voice-acting, and a satisfying ending. The film was passed up because most people were tired of penguins when it was released, but it is still a great film that should not be missed.

ROUND 8:

The Illusionist VS. The Prestige

LOSER
WINNER
I will begin by saying that both films were fairly good films. The Prestige gets the "Winner" mark because The Illusionist just can't compare with the quality and overall impact that Prestige carried with it. If you are going to see both films, watch Illusionist before Prestige so that you won't be disappointed. The twists and turns and climax of The Prestige crush anything the Illusionist conjures up. Both films contain incredible actors and great storytelling. The Prestige is a much darker film than Illusionist, but you certainly can't argue the results.


I know that there are probably a lot more twin-films out there and I would love to hear what they are. So leave a comment with more films and I'll add them to this post.

P.S. - The images in this post are copyrighted by DreamWorks Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, Yari Film Group Releasing, Freestyle Releasing, Buena Vista Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Village Roadshow Entertainment, and Columbia Pictures.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Toy Story 3

I think that this movie went a long way in proving the ability of Pixar to make outstanding films and never cease to amaze their audience. This film had a lot of people worried and had a pretty big wall of expectation to overcome. I know that I personally was groaning at the idea of ANOTHER Toy Story film. I liked the first film, and the second film did a good job of topping the first one. But I felt like I had been to the world of toys enough after the second one and was not impressed with the idea of a third part in the franchise. The first few previews for the film did not help convince me either. It was not until it came out and started getting excellent reviews that I began to think differently. I have always liked Pixar, but as Pixar is teamed with Disney now, Disney has a horrible track record with sequels. I think the success of this film really rested upon the direction they took with it story-wise.
In this third installment, Andy is packing up for college and most of the toys assume that Andy doesn't want them anymore and donate themselves to Sunnyside Day Care. Upon arriving at Sunnyside, they realize that everything is not as sunny and bright as they first thought.
I think this film answered a lot of questions brought up by the first two films and really takes a deeper look into the emotions of the toys when they feel that the one they loved so much no longer loved them. This idea leads to some very strong character development for not only the toys, but Andy as well. While the film remains humorous and fun throughout, it definitely has a more serious and emotional side to it than did the previous films.
Pixar has always risen above the odds and I hope to see this tradition continue, especially since the next film they're releasing is Cars 2. That will have a lot of hurdles to overcome. I felt that this was a very well-done film and really took us to new heights and new lows with the toys we have grown to love since 1995. The film was handled very carefully by Pixar and they made sure to make it a new and exciting experience for us without making it a different world all together. I also think that Pixar ended this film and this franchise perfectly with all the pieces placed exactly where they should be.
A big shout-out for Pixar in this film and their ability to surprise and delight us over and over and over again.

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

How to Train Your Dragon

I think most people were skeptical about this film when it came out because it hadn't been advertised very well and the title doesn't exactly strike a person as appealing. I wasn't at all interested in this film when it came out until some trusted associates began telling me how much they enjoyed the film. My curiosity was piqued and I rented the film and watched it with somewhat low expectations.
The story is about a group of rising vikings that are being trained on how to kill a dragon. When scraggly, odd Hiccup manages to injure a dragon outside of school, he finds that he is unable to kill it as taught. He instead becomes determined to help the dragon recover and fly once more.
This was a very good movie, and I'm not saying that because I had low expectations. DreamWorks seems to be a real hit-or-miss company with their animated films and this was the best one I've seen since Kung Fu Panda. The story was a lot more interesting than expected and the blend of humor and action was very well played. The characters were likable and had believable personalities and development, and that goes for the dragons as well. The animation style was a bit different and I heard some people say that it was too much of a video-game look to be enjoyed, but there were still some stunning visuals in the film and some very creative moments. The voice acting was very well done and the musical score for the film was amazing! You can't go wrong with John Powell; that guy is an amazing composer.
Overall, the movie was a perfect mix of fun and comedy and should not be missed, whether you like the visual style or not.

P.S. - The image in this post is copyrighted by Paramount Pictures.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

While Don Knotts is not the prettiest guy you've ever seen, his ability in humor is astounding. You can't help but laugh at how expressive and kooky his faces can be as well as how likable he can make his characters.
Probably one of Knotts' more popular films, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken follows an aspiring reporter into a haunted house where he witnesses horrific supernatural evidences of past murderings in the home. His admired ability to spend the night in the house draw the attention of the town as well as the home's chiseled owner. Things get chaotic when the owner threatens to sue Knotts for libel.
This film has both its comedic and frightening moments and there are times where you wonder if you are supposed to laugh or jump. I think that this film takes full advantage of Don Knotts' comedic genius and he cooks up some hilarious moments for the film. This is a movie that should not be passed up because it's out-dated. I think it's a fun film for Halloween or anytime you want to laugh at a goofball in action.

P.S. - The image in this post is copyrighted by Universal Pictures.

The Karate Kid (2010)

To cut straight to the point, I really liked this film. I felt it paid nice homage to the original Karate Kid without attempting to replace it. Jaden Smith is becoming a very strong actor; and who can't love good, ol' Jackie Chan?
Karate Kid is the story of Dre (Jaden Smith), a Detroit-bred 12 year-old, who moves to China and attempts to overcome his fear of being different by challenging some local karate bullies in a renowned karate tournament.
The story went a long way farther in character development and motive than did the original 1984 classic. Instead of a white kid moving into the wrong part of another white-dominated town, a young black family moves to China. If there is anything that could be called a culture clash, that is it. Not only does Dre look different, but he acts different, he talks different, and to make things more complicated, he doesn't try to fit in. The film has a perfect setup for the progression of the rest of the film.
While no one can replace Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi, Jackie Chan does a excellent job in filling his shoes as Mr. Han. If anyone is known as a karate master in our culture, it's Jackie Chan. And I think the aging Chan did very well at playing his part as an old, embittered man that's conflicted in helping young Dre while attempting to be distant.
The karate moves in this film are levels above those seen in the original and it's a lot more exciting to watch. While I hoped to see the legendary movie moments reappear in this film (catching a fly with chopsticks, "wax on" and "wax off", final crane kick) I was glad when they never showed. That allows the two films to be just as different and memorable in their own ways and both remain enjoyable to watch. The film tends to be a little longer than expected, but it still keeps you involved and interested throughout.
This was a fantastic film and it was very well done and very entertaining.

P.S. - The image in this post is copyrighted by Columbia Pictures.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

If you're in the mood for non-stop action and adventure and little in the way of character development and plot, then this is your movie.
Now, giving credit where it's due, they did try to make a sensible and well-developed film. The characters had interesting stories and the actors did well, but it just didn't come together in the end.
The film follows an adopted prince of Persia as he and his brothers conquer a holy city and take possession of a magical, time-altering dagger. After being blamed for the murder of his stepfather, the prince must discover the true murderer before his angered brothers have him killed.
Being that this movie was based off of a video game and that the script for the film was conceived by the video game-series writer, it played out very much like a video game would. There are some cheesy lines, some obvious statements and redundancies, and it all went on a little longer than it should. The point of the film (as was with the games) was to be drawn into the action and see some pretty cool things while doing it. The action scenes were well played and enjoyable to watch, and the special effects were stunning. You can tell that this film had a lot of the crew from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; it just had such a similar feeling to it.
Now, let us jump deeper into the technicalities of the film. Number one, Jake Gyllenhaal. The guy is a good actor, no fight there. But he is not an action star, nor is he a convincing Persian prince. He just does not look the part. While he did a decent job, I just think it was a poor casting decision. I had a hard time watching him play a part that just was not him. Number two, the princess was a bit of an annoyance. Yes, I understand that if you pull someone out of their environment and place them in an opposite one, they will react in an odd and uncharacteristic way. But, being that this princess supposedly was wise beyond her years and lived through some very enlightening and mind-boggling moments in her young life, you think that she would have kept her head on a little straighter when she left her kingdom. She traversed between a winy little girl and a teenager attempting to be smart a little too often and it was unconvincing and annoying. You expected more from her; or at least hoped for more. And maybe it was just me, but did any one else see Sheik Amar as a Jack Sparrow rip-off? Just me?
The ending was interesting, somewhat bold, but interesting. That's all I'll say there. But overall, the movie was fun too watch - a little too long - but entertaining to say the least.

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