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Tag: movie reviews

[Movie Review] Kung Fu Panda 2

So, on this hot Tuesday, I ventured forth to the movie theater and grabbed an early showing of Kung Fu Panda 2 and had the entire theater to myself.
The first movie I found enjoyable and thought the designs of the characters were great, the Art Book is really something to grab if you’re into seeing character sketches.
But, #2, what happened with #2?
Nothing a good villain couldn’t have cured. Don’t get me wrong, Gary Oldman was a great quiet villain. But, a Peacock? Really? Psychologically he was a great, Ian McShane came off as greater threat in the first movie.
#1 was small movie w/ big characters. #2 was big movie, small characters and I think when the Furious Five are still not really fleshed out is a problem.
The bits and pieces of the movie that were hand drawn animation was enjoyable. And, the fact that Po is the only Panda in the last two movies was answered quite well I thought.
But, the movie was a little too dark for it’s own good.
I don’t mean Empire Strikes Back dark, the plot line regarding Po, his real parents and Oldman’s character is dark enough. It’s the fact that the last half of the movie is at night and parts of the action in 2D were hard to follow.
Overall, it’s a good movie but lacked what made #1 so fun and bright.

[Movie Review] Hunter Prey

I’m kicking myself for not seeing this at San Diego Comic Con last year.
Hunter Prey, directed by Sandy Collora, the director behind Batman Dead End is part Planet of the Apes, Enemy Mine, Pitch Black, Predator, Screamers, Twlight Zone and the Star Trek episode entitled “Arena” with the Gorn in the desert. And, for all intense purposes, it pulls it off quite well.
The plot is very simple: A ship transporting a prisoner crashes on a barren planet, convict escapes and the security detail chases after it until each of them are picked off until only one remains.
Hunter Prey has several things going for it: First, it has a good plot reveal at the end of each act. The acting is pretty good from everyone. The SFX while minimal is passable without being distracting. The desert while probably a absolute drag to film in gives the entire film an alien look, the latex make up is quite well done and the music is actually enjoyable. It never tries to be something it’s not.
The downsides: A few shots here and there don’t do the film any favors. And, it’s understandable, actors in full make up walking around trying not to teeter off rocks can be hard. I did it in hazmat gear for one episode of Brotherhood and boy was that fun. After all the good latex effects work, there’s no women aliens at all? Sure, there’s Erin Gray but she’s a voice of the computer. The sound sfx filters are almost too much in the first fifteen minutes.
Overall, it’s worth watching if you enjoy small science fiction and have 2 hours to waste and looking for a movie to spin on Netflix.

[Movie Review] Paul

Paul directed by Greg Mottala, written by and staring Simon Peg and Nick Frost along with Kristin Wigg, Jason Bateman and a slew of others is geared towards the geeks and nerds but keeps itself in safe territory so everyone else can enjoy it. Think of it like this year’s Galaxy Quest except with swearing, violence and drugs.
The plot goes like this: Two british nerds jaunt from Comic Con to the Arizona to visit UFO hotspots in the Southwest only to find their trip is sidetracked when a real live alien hitches a ride.
By now, Simon Peg and Nick Frost can almost do no wrong in my book and I cannot wait for Attack the Block to arrive since it’s getting excellent reviews at SXSW. While I missed the years Kirstin Wigg was on SNL, she was a great addition to the merry band of nerds being chased by federal agents played by Jason Bateman, Bill Hadar and Joe Lo Truglio. And, for the most part it works. Greg Mottala manages to handle all of these actors and the nerd speak/homages quite well and while sometimes the jokes fall flat it doesn’t feel like Edgar Wright-lite.
The SFX of Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen did not hinder the movie, many times the alien is make or break and daylight shots are even worse many times. But, the SFX of Paul looked good in my opinion, he felt real.
Overall, was fun movie to watch as a replay value like Shaun and/or Hot Fuzz, I think it’ll hold up.

A review of Daybreakers…

Who are we? We’re the ones with the crossbows.”
Daybreakers does not try to be Blade, Nosferatu or Dracula.
Instead, it tries to be a small film about what happens when the entire planet is inhabited by vampires.  Humans being hunted for their blood. Everyone works at night. Blood in your coffee and Chrysler daytime running black out windows. Everything is going along honky dory until, whoops, there’s only enough blood supply to last a month.
Edward played by Ethan Hawke is in charge of creating a substitute while the world around him slowly crumbles. Turns out Vampires when not getting enough blood de-evolve into sub-vampires not as gory as those portrayed in Blade II but harken back to the type of vampires we’re all used to with wings and such.  These sub-vampires could have been a great villain but instead their one appearance is kept to a small scale and instead hammers home the world Edward now lives in.
Unfortunately, Edward’s cure is not found in his lab, much to his dismay but once he meets a few remaining humans, he comes in contact with Lionel ‘Elvis’ Cormac played by William Dafoe. Dafoe is one of the brighter parts of the film since everyone is either a vampire or the character arcs are miniscule. Edward’s boss, Charles played Sam Neill arc of getting his human daughter to turn ends with bloody results and the non-romantic arc with Audrey played Claudia Karvan, there’s really not much to talk about. The plot of Edward’s brother, Frankie turning Edward was an interesting idea but we hear it we don’t see it and I think that’s what of the underlying problems, after a lovely start, Daybreakers doesn’t know how to end.
Once Dafoe’s character and his backstory is introduced the film either gets better or worse depending on how much you nitpick this film. I won’t ruin it for you but after reading the script first months ago and now seeing the movie I still have a hard time believing the Spierig Brothers idea of turning someone back. Thankfully it does not include killing the vampire who turned you since that’s been done, pardon the pun, to death.
Overall, the movie is still fun to watch once you realize the movie had turned into Star Wars with Vampires.

Review of The King's Speech…

“My husband’s work involves a great deal of public speaking.”
The King’s Speech is what a 90’s Miramax Movie was all about. A focus on the character themselves while history rolls by but not focusing on the history itself to make it seem boring or bloody.
The overall plot: Before King George VI played by Colin Firth became King George, he was Prince Albert, Duke of York. Prince Albert has a hard time with public speaking and is burning through coaches like Murphy Brown burned through secretaries. Until his wife, Queen Elizabeth played by Helena Bonham Carter is introduced to Lionel Logue played by Geoffrey Rush. Meanwhile, his brother, David played by Guy Pearce will soon be the next in line for the throne until an ailing King George V played by Michael Gambon dies and David takes the throne only to be told: Guess what, you can’t marry Wallis Simpson, the twice divorcee from the USA unless you advocate the throne. Throw in David Jacobi as Cosmo Lang and Timothy “Wormtail” Spall as Churchill for good measure and you have yourself a movie.
Everyone involved in this movie works. Everybody. The pacing is perfect without being slow and the history lesson is not boring.
I mentioned it not being bloody, the R Rating is for swearing during speech therapy lesson. No sex, no nudity and no violence. I honestly surprised The Weinsteins didn’t push for a PG-13 to get the butts in the seats. But, judging from the amount of people in our showing on a Saturday, it’s doing quite well for itself.
The only thing you’ll have to worry about is the poor sap behind you falling asleep and snoring throughout the entire movie which actually happened to us.
And, in case if anyone is interested in reading the script.

Review: True Grit

I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!
I went into the Coen Bros. movie entitled True Grit with no knowledge of the John Wayne movie or the book by Charles Portis. So, this review will not be in depth as much as it could be.
The Coen Bros. and westerns seem to go hand in hand and overall the movie wasn’t really a western it was more of a young adult book crossed with a road trip movie with smatterings of a Western thrown in for good measure.
The basic plot: Fourteen year old Mattie Ross’s father is gunned down by Tom Chaney played by Joss Brolin and she promptly decides to go after him enlisting the help of Federal Marshall Rooster Cogburn and Texas Ranger Leboeuf. Hallee Stienfeld plays Mattie Ross to a T and is highly enjoyable to watch and if anyone came out of Tron Legacy wondering if Jeff Bridges phoned it in, he’s the exact opposite here and puts a lot of weight into Rooster Cogburn. Matt Damon was fine as Leboeuf.
The beginning and middle of the movie are the strong points, dialogue, sets and acting is superb while the the third act and the end is uneven. Josh Brolin appears just long enough to show that Tom Chaney is not the smartest bulb in the bunch and there is no hurray at his demise. Once that plays out the rest of the movie takes an unexpected turn in Mattie’s direction. I don’t know how the book ended but the movie just sorta petters out and ends.
Overall, it was a good movie, replay value only to catch up on dialogue one may have missed.
Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Raising Arizona had better pacing and makes them the most enjoyable Coen movies in my mind.

A review of Salt with a side of spoilers…

Then, you are a Russian Spy.”
The plot for Salt should read something like this: Evelyn Salt played by Angelina Jolie is a CIA Officer accused of being a Russian Spy by a walk in Russian Defector. On the run from her own people she has to prove her innocence and find her husband before the President of the United States is assassinated.
Emphasis on should.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mini Review…

So, I went to go see Sorcerer’s Apprentice today.
Avoid this movie at all costs.
A movie that starts with a crawl and a Voice Over (even if it is Ian McShane) is a bad movie in my book just because the writer is me cringes at the short hand. Crawls should only be reserved for Sword and Sandal or Arthurian movies since nobody nowadays even remembers High School History Class except History Majors.
The entire movie boils down to this: Alfred Molina was one of Merlin’s three trusted wizards until he went off the rez and joined Team Le Fay and before Le Fay can do any real damage her soul is put into Cage’s girlfriend’s body and then put into a jar. Merlin places a spell on all three so they can do something and await Merlin to get re-incarnated or something.
Yep. I know, or something is not something you want the audience to say after seeing the movie. Unfortunately, this is not Pirates of the Caribbean.
The problem is: The script and why is Nic Cage the good guy in this movie? Molina is a wonderful villain and I’m sure the script started out well but there’s so much is glossed over that I almost fell asleep. The Criss Angel-rip off and the Salem Witch Trials Witch was perfect until they get tossed.
The whole science and magic plot line was great, Tesla Coils were cool and Jay Baruchel does a great job with what’s given to him and if the sequel ever rolls around with just him and no Cage, it might be worth seeing….on cable.
The roles needed to be reversed, Molina being the good guy and someone else being the bad guy would have been nice. I don’t mind Nic Cage’s acting, Raising Arizona is one his better works. But he did not work in this movie. One has to wonder if he was doing double duty between this movie and Season of the Witch since they really looked like the same movie there for the first five minutes.
The idea was there. They even paid homage to Fantasia which was fine and also a sore thumb. The execution and plot just sucked. Monica Bellucci not heaving out of her dress? I don’t care if it is Disney. Did we forget Rebecca DeMorney’s heaving D’Winter in The Three Musketeers? Some of us do remember movies from 1993.
I’m sure Alice Krige would have made for a great Morgana Le Fay but the info dump in the first five minutes (a similar problem arose with Salt) needed to be extended, it’s blink and you miss her. And, the final battle with CGI Le Fay is boring and tedious.
This movie trailer follows the one rule that all movie trailers do: Show all the good stuff.
Unfortunately the kickin’ music was nowhere near the movie. The movie plays it: SAFE. And, safe and magic don’t go together.
Wait for to come on cable.