7.31.2008

P.E.S.T.

Is it really that time again? I guess so. Pre-Emptive Strike Thursday it is!

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Title: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

Pre-Thoughts: Well, this is obviously the big-name movie coming out this weekend. I'll admit, I'm a fan of the first two movies. I think they're a lot of fun. However, this one seems like it might suffer from, as I've stated before, SequeLItus (when a sequel of a movie adds Jet Li and a mostly unneeded Kung Fu element to whichever series it is... usually ending up with a bad and/or mediocre movie). The movie also looks to rely heavily on a rather pathetic attempt at CGI. I'm really not sure about this movie at all. However, the Half-Blood Prince teaser trailer is premiering on the big screen before it, so I'm going anyway.

Pre-Score:
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Stop Saying Okay! Okay.



Title: Swing Vote.

Pre-Thoughts: This is the other 'big' movie coming out this weekend, although it really only started its advertising process about a month ago, it seems. It looks cute, though predictable (I figure he'll tell the other guys to forget it and run for office himself. Either that, or Kelsey Grammer wins). Overall, though, I think it'll be an interesting film, and Kevin Costner looks good in it. Not to mention that the child actress seems like she can act, and she'll probably become the next Abigail Breslin (or, to a lesser extent, the next AnnaSophia Robb).

Pre-Score:
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I Am McLovin!


Title:
The Midnight Meat Train.

Pre-Thoughts:
Seriously? That's the best title you could come up with? I know it's based on a Clive Barker story and all, and the man is respectable, but that's just lame. And the movie looks equally lame (another tiring slasher flick to add to the list). However, it's only limited release, so it's not coming out here. Even if it were, I'd probably skip it.

Pre-Score:
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The Zed Word

7.30.2008

R2D2... The One With Two.

Got two totally awesome things to discuss! Oh yeah!

First, and most importantly, THE HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE TEASER TRAILER HAS FINALLY BEEN RELEASED (Just a few hours ago as this is posted)! Oh man, I'm excited. Pumped. Totally ready. BRING ON THE MOVIE! OH YEAH!





Second, and not as important... some of you may or may not be aware and/or fans of the 2-year-long web show Lonelygirl15. Well, it's finally coming to a close on Friday, sadly enough. It's been a good two years, with ups and downs like any show, but still pretty fun overall. So yeah... just showin my support for the show by advertising the finale! It outta be awesome (not as awesome as the HBP teaser trailer... but awesome nonetheless).

7.29.2008

North: So Ridiculous It Has To Be Seen.

So I saw this movie over the weekend and just had to comment on it. I missed the first 15 minutes, but don’t really think I missed anything important. The premise of the movie is thus: North is a young boy who, after feeling unwanted and unloved by his own parents, has it set up by court order to travel the world in order to find new parents who can appreciate him.

But every place North visits (Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, China, Amish country, etc.) is so over-the-top in its stereotyping that it’s ridiculous. Everyone in Texas is a horse-riding, ranch-owning, cowboy hat-wearing sharpshooter who likes big things. Everyone in Hawaii is a mainland-US-hating native. Alaska is more like Antarctica, and all houses are Igloos (I’ve been to Juneau in the summer, and I can say… it’s nothing like that). China is apparently still in the Ming Dynasty, and everyone is something like Buddhist Monks. You get the point. It’s just so ridiculous, but it’s so laughably bizarre, at the same time. And it doesn’t help that Bruce Willis magically appears as a different character in almost every place.

Now, speaking of Bruce Willis, I should discuss the cast. The cast of this movie is just about as insane as the movie itself. Every frame there’s like another big name (either for back then or now): Elijah Wood (North), Jason Alexander (North’s dad), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (North’s mom), Bruce Willis (numerous), Jon Lovitz (lawyer), Alan Arkin (Judge, the best character), Dan Aykroyd (Texan father), Reba McEntire (Texas mother), Keone Young (Hawaiian father… you’d know him if you saw him), Graham Green (Eskimo father), Kathy Bates (Eskimo mother), Abe Vigoda (Eskimo grandfather), Richard Belzer (A ferryman-type guy), Ben Stein (Curator), Robert Castanzo (hitman-type guy), John Ritter (final father)… and the one to put the cherry on top of this insane list… a 9-year-old Scarlett Johansson as John Ritter’s daughter in her first movie. A few of those actors are on the ‘That Guy!’ list, but there’s some other big names in there, as you see. Seriously, when I noticed the little girl was Scarlett in the very last frame you can see her face, I knew this movie had officially hit my list of things to talk about.

The acting was silly, like the rest of the movie, but I have to give a shout-out to two characters in the movie: Alan Arkin’s Judge and the Amish father. Arkin stole the movie, for me. Imagine this: Alan Arkin looking like Harvey Keitel doing a Robert DeNiro impression as he acts like a courtroom Judge. It was hilarious. And then the Amish father, for the brief scene he’s in the movie, has one of the best lines in the movie. It literally had me laughing out loud (mostly due to the delivery): “Greetings, North, I am thy new father and this good woman who art my wife, is thy new mother. And these are thy new brothers who art named Ezikeo, and these are thy new brothers who art named Art.”

To top the bizarreness of this movie off, there’s even a random song-and-dance number via Reba and Dan Aykroyd in Texas. There’s some hilariously random dialogue in this movie, as I just showed, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface. This movie can’t really be explained in its ridiculousness. It’s just something you have to witness on your own. If I tried to explain it or list other ridiculous things, I’d be giving a frame-by-frame of the whole movie. Let me put it this way: back in 1994, when the movie was released, Roger Ebert gave what is supposedly a famous review: "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."

So if it can bring about such a reaction from Mr. Ebert, it just has to be seen. If you like movies that are so-bad-they’re-good, you definitely need to check this one out. You’ll have a great time, I’m sure. Oh, and did I mention it’s directed by Mr. Rob Reiner? You know, of The Princess Bride and Spinal Tap fame? Yeah, I couldn’t believe it, either.

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WTF

7.28.2008

DVDs Or Death!

Dum da dum! DVDs Or Death! (Man, if feels like I JUST did this...).


The Lost Boys: The Tribe.

Brief Synopsis: Follow-Up To Nearly 20-Year-Old Vampire Flick.

Comments: So THAT'S where the Corey's have been!

Viewing Option: Skip.


Doomsday.

Brief Synopsis: Ridiculousness On A Spoon.

Comments: Seriously, this movie was crazy bizarre. But I can't deny it was highly enjoyable.

Viewing Option: Tempted To Buy (Otherwise TV).


Never Back Down.

Brief Synopsis: Like Fight Club, But Lame.

Comments: My sister wanted to see this but... unlike the title suggests... I had to back down.

Viewing Option: TV or Skip.


Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay.

Brief Synopsis: Like The First One, But Lame.

Comments: I'd rather go to White Castle.

Viewing Option: TV or Skip.

7.27.2008

Update: Dean Koontz Confirms Odd Thomas Movie!

YES!

And here were my thoughts on casting/directing a while back.

Short Review: Training Day.

So I finally saw this movie. Granted, it was an edited version, but I still got the effect.

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Premise: Narcotics officer Alonzo takes a rookie, Jake, out on the job for a day of drugs, violence, and the inner-workings of crooked cops.

Starring: Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.

My Reaction: Holy crap.

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Royale With Cheese

7.26.2008

12 Movies Meme.

So... I've been tagged! Fletch over at Blog Cabins got tagged first by Piper over at Lazy Eye Theater, then, in turn, tagged me. So what is this tagging business all about? Well, it's this meme thing in which each tagged person must state what 12 movies they would play if they were running a theater for 6 days.

So what I get to do is choose 12 movies, themed or otherwise, and spread them out over 6 days as if I would be showing them at this theater. It took me a while to come up with any idea of how to incorporate some of my favorite movies... and while my list isn't tidied into one theme (Fletch, for instance, did a bunch of movies that deal with different vices), each day I'm showing movies has its own theme. So here I go!

Simon Pegg Sunday.













- Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies, and I would not be able to have a movie marathon without it. It made perfect sense to kick everything off with it, and when it came to choosing a partner movie for it, why not the movie with all the same people... Hot Fuzz?

Bank Heist Monday.













- Anybody who frequents this blog knows I like a good heist film, and these two just happen to be two of my favorites. It doesn't get any more classic than Dog Day Afternoon (and for fun, there's some Dog Day Afternoon references in Inside Man, which would be played afterward).

Foreign Film Tuesday.













- Relatively self-explanatory, I think. Let's give the people some culture, even if it can be disturbing. Pan's Labyrinth and Oldboy are two of the greatest foreign films to come in quite a while, and they're two of my favorites, as well.


Bang Bang Wednesday.














- Here we have two drastically different movies with somewhat similar titles. Bang Bang You're Dead is one of the most important and most powerful movies ever made (and should be shown in every high school across the nation). Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is just some fun comedy noir, and one of Robert Downey Jr.'s best movies this side of Iron Man.

Hitman Thursday.














- Again, Leon is one of my favorite movies (and I mean the director's cut, not the stupid American release dubbed The Professional). And it was Natalie Portman's first movie. So I decided to pair it up with another great hitman movie, and one of Tom Cruise's best performances, in my opinion, Collateral.


Romantic Fantasy Friday.














- I wanted to include The Princess Bride in this list because, well, it's one of the greatest movies ever. But I had trouble figuring out what to pair it with. I needed a movie that was similar in some way to it, so I had to think about what it was, exactly. It was a romance movie first and foremost, but it's also a fantasy movie. So then I had to think of other romantic fantasy movies, looked at my DVD collection, and saw Big Fish. It's definitely a romance with fantasy elements, and it's also a great movie (one of my favorite Burton films). They also both have an old man telling a younger person the story.

So there we are. That would be my 6-day marathon. I think it'd be super fun. Some runners-up included Equilibrium/The Matrix (awesome action), and the original partner with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was Who Framed Roger Rabbit until I realized I wanted to put in Bang Bang You're Dead (which I thought about partnering with American History X, but didn't want to part with any full day of choices I'd already picked).

Anyway, another part of this thing is that I have to tag at least 5 other people for this, so here we go...

1) Cinexcellence.
2) Rachel over at Rachel's Reel Reviews.
3) Kane over at Kano's Kogitation (even though he's not a total movie blog).
4) Daniel at Getafilm.
5) DJ over at Matte Havoc.

(And you guys don't have to do it if y'all don't want to).

That's it! So... who would go to my 6-day movie theater movie marathon thingy?

7.25.2008

I Can't Believe I'm Anticipating This.

Repo! The Genetic Opera has every reason to suck while simultaneously every reason to be awesome. Here are some facts about this movie:

- It's produced by the same guys who brought us Saw.
- It's directed by the guy who directed Saw 2, 3, and 4.
- The cast includes Paris Hilton.
- The cast also includes Alexa Vega, Bill Moseley, and Anthony Head (Giles from Buffy).
- It's a musical.
- It's very disturbing.
- It seems to be comic book-y and a bit cheesy.
- It's very B-Movie-esque.

It also has every reason to become a cult classic (as it even states in the trailer), and I'm sure it'll do just that. You can see the international trailer here. I don't know what it is about the movie, but it's got me all excited... regardless of the fact that one of its stars is Paris Hilton. And actually, a clip was just released that has Paris Hilton in it... and, I can't believe I'm saying this, she doesn't do half bad (and the song is catchy). The clip can be found here.

So yeah... am I alone here, or is anybody else anticipating this movie?

7.24.2008

P.E.S.T.

I know I'm a bit late in the day, but here you go! Pre-Emptive Strike Thursday! Not much to strike at, though... honestly, I think I'm just gonna go see The Dark Knight again... but here you are anyway.

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Title: X-Files: I Want To Believe.

Pre-Thoughts: I wasn't ever really an X-Files fan. I think I've maybe seen one episode, and I saw the first movie ages ago during a rental. I have to say, I'm not excited really one bit for this movie... and will probably take a pass. Though I'm sure it'll be exciting for X-Files fans everywhere (though about a decade too late). And I'm sure it'll be an exciting movie, even though I'd miss a lot of the nostalgic moments due to not being a fan. Also, I think the subtitle is stupid.

Pre-Score:
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Stop Saying Okay! Okay.


Title: Step Brothers.

Pre-Thoughts: It's Will Ferrell... doing the same character he's played in the past 50 movies (minus Stranger Than Fiction and Winter Passing, the latter of which I still need to see)... but continually stupider each time. Anchorman was the height of his comedy, in my opinion. There were moments of Talladega Nights that were pretty funny... but that's it. Jon Heder did better than him in Blades of Glory. I didn't even bother with Semi-Pro... much like I won't be bothering with this. Even the trailer looks as if the movie is trying too hard (except for that bunk-bed scene, which was funny the first few times, but now I'm sick of it having seen the trailer a billion times everywhere I look). Come on, Will... either do better comedy, or do more movies like Stranger Than Fiction (I'd prefer the latter).

Pre-Score:
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Feed Me, Seymour!

7.22.2008

The Dan Brown Formula: “Angels & Demons” and “The Da Vinci Code.”

Warning: Major Spoilers For Both Books.

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So, I just finished reading Angels & Demons (AD), and I’m quite perplexed. I read Da Vinci Code (DVC) first, a couple years ago, even though it’s technically the sequel. Let me just say this, as it really establishes everything I could say about the books: I couldn’t remember too much about DVC, as it’s been a while since I last read it; however, everything about AD was so similar that by the end of the book, I remembered basically every detail of DVC. Both books are so amazingly similar in both plot and characters that it’s ridiculous. I call this the Dan Brown Formula, and an interesting formula I thought it was. At least, until a wild variable slightly broke the formula, but I’ll get to that later. Instead, I want to use this space to discuss both books and review them.

The basic concept of both books is thus: A man is murdered while some kind of strange symbol is embedded into his skin. Robert Langdon is called in the middle of the night to supposedly examine this symbol further. While there, he meets the daughter of the murdered man (who is always native to whatever country he’s in, and can also speak fluent English). They are then caught up in an event that has time counting down to a zero hour in which they must discover something that should never be discovered before it’s too late. Along the way, a bunch of religious things are discussed, bringing in symbology talk, history, and sometimes science. That is the formula in its most basic form. To extend it further, in order to specify the controversy of each book, AD is about the Illuminati supposedly trying to destroy the Vatican, while DVC is about the Holy Grail (the fact the Jesus and Mary Magdalene hooked up and had kids).

To extend this formula further, let us look at the prime archetypes of the characters in each book:

The Symbologist: Robert Langdon in both books.

The Murdered: Museum Curator, Jacques Sauniere in DVC; Scientist, Leonardo Vetra in AD.

The Daughter: Sophie Neveu in DVC; Vittoria Vetra in AD.

The Killer: The albino monk, Silas in DVC; The unnamed Hassassin in AD.

Animal Nicknamed Tough Cop: Bezu “The Bull” Fache in DVC; Commander “The Viper” Olivetti and Rocher (I forgot the animal name) in AD.

The Cripple: Sir Leigh Teabing in DVC; Maximilian Kohler in AD.

Good Yet Dedicated Underling Cop: Collet in DVC; Chartrand in AD.

Ambiguous Religious Figure Who Controls The Killer: Aringarosa in DVC; The Camerlengo in AD.

Every character is highly similar to their counterpart with two (and a half) major differences. First I’ll discuss the lesser of the two: The Killer. In AD, the Hassassin was an incredibly boring villain. Sure, he was dastardly and evil, but he had no depth. He was what he was, and that’s all that he was. Silas, on the other hand, had a lot more depth and history, and the way he was written actually made the reader sympathize with him to a degree. Silas was one of the many improvements that DVC had over AD, in my opinion.

The bigger differentiation is The Cripple. In DVC, Sir Leigh Teabing is actually the bad guy all along. In AD, the book makes you believe, even up until the last 50 pages, that Kohler is also the bad guy (I even thought I had it pegged from about page 30). However, the book threw me for a loop when it announced that the Camerlengo was the bad guy all along. Kohler was actually good! He was an asshole, but he was still good.

This brings me to one of the points I have wherein I believe AD did something better than DVC: the twist ending. Even reading DVC, I remember seeing Leigh as the bad guy from far off. With the Camerlengo, on the other hand, I was caught completely by surprise. When he jumped out of the helicopter without Langdon and the only parachute, at first I was like “what a jackass.” Then it slowly hit me what was really going on. From that moment, I had everything figured out. But not until that moment. However, in the same vein, there’s a plot hole I still can’t figure out. When the Hassassin is talking to Langdon, he says that his boss, Janus, is currently flying in to Rome. But that couldn’t be true, as he was already there. Kohler was flying in. So either this was a major mistake that nobody seemed to catch, or one stupid, illogical attempt at throwing off the reader to the identity of the real bad guy.

On the subject of the end of the book, though, I felt that AD was ultimately weaker than DVC. AD just felt like it dragged on and on as if it were never going to end. And while DVC did something similar, it didn’t feel as tedious, because there were still important plot twists being revealed up through the very last pages. In AD, by the time there’s 50 pages left, there’s nothing left to reveal. It just drags and continues to give pointless flashbacks and such.

And speaking of dragging, I am brought to my next point of discussion. When I first read DVC, I was sucked into it almost immediately. It had me from page one and I never wanted to put the book down. AD, on the other hand, took me about a week to finish. I didn’t get interested until about page 30; I didn’t get hooked until about page 300; and I didn’t get to the point where I didn’t want to put the book down until about page 450. In a book that’s only 669 pages, that’s really bad. I think a lot could have been easily trimmed back to shorten the book’s overall length and pacing. A lot of it had to do with the fact that Langdon was way out of his element for the first 100+ pages of the book, constantly confused and having no idea what was going on as everybody constantly discussed scientific stuff.

With a couple exceptions (such as Silas), the characters in both books are relatively flat and static. The plots are linear and highly similar, though intriguing. The historical interconnectedness is fun, even though a lot of history or science buffs tend to complain about the inaccuracies. But I don’t really care about that. I read the books for entertainment, not to learn lessons in art or history or science. And were they entertaining? Yes. I often hear people arguing over which book is the better one. In my opinion, DVC is the more entertaining of the two, though AD did have its merits (such as the twist).

So what does this all really mean? Since both Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code follow The Dan Brown Formula so similarly, and because The Da Vinci Code movie, for all intents and purposes, sucked… it will be almost certain to say that the Angels & Demons movie will suck, as well… as it’s pretty much the same thing, different location and character names (except Langdon… who is still being played by Tom Hanks. Why?).

7.21.2008

DVDs Or Death!

Yeah yeah... DVDs Or Death! (Yeah... this week is kinda... lame, almost).


21.

Brief Synopsis: Smart Math Kid Counts Cards In Vegas.

Comments:
I thought the premise was interesting, but I never got around to seeing it. From what I heard, I was better off, as the movie apparently sucked... bad.

Viewing Option:
T.V.


Spaced: The Complete Series.

Brief Synopsis: British TV Series With Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz Crew.

Comments: I'm totally there. I saw a clip of this about a year ago and thought it was hilarious. I love these guys.

Viewing Option: Rent (There's very few TV shows I actually buy).

7.20.2008

Book Review: "Skulduggery Pleasant 2: Playing With Fire" by Derek Landy.

When I first got the book, I didn't want to put it down. Yet there was something different about it… something I couldn’t put my finger on. But we’ll get to that. First, the summary: Playing With Fire picks up one year after the first book, with Stephanie (now going by her taken name, which I won’t spoil for those who haven’t read the first yet) becoming better and better at what she does (though still the rookie). But Baron Vengeous, one of Mevolent’s top three soldiers (next to Serpine and Lord Vile) has somehow escaped from an inescapable prison cell. And everybody knows exactly what he’s up to: He’s going to hunt down Lord Vile’s body armor, which will give him the power of necromancy, and use it to help bring back to life the Grotesquery, a hybrid monster that will open a portal so that the Faceless Ones can come back to Earth once again.

The book is a whole lot darker than the first one. The bad guys are more hardcore, the violence is more violent-y, the gore is more splattery, and everything is just on a whole other level. The book still has the funny wit that the first one had, and I did find myself laughing aloud a couple of times. However, as previously stated, there was just something bugging me that I couldn’t put my finger on. And then, toward the end of the book, I realized what it was. Like the first book, there’s almost no character growth. It teases you, especially with Stephanie, but never follows through (at least in this book). I thought the book was really gonna go somewhere with the growth of the 'reflection' and possibly how it affects Stephanie, but it never did… but I figure that’s being saved for possibly the next book. Overall, the characters are flat. And while the humor is still very much there, it’s not as strong as it was in the first book (and the humor in the first is what really kept the book going). Instead, it was replaced mostly with the much darker tone. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter (and you should be), imagine starting off with book 1, but then the next book you read is 4 or 5 (but without the deeply involved characters).

Now I didn’t hate the book; far from it. I loved the book, its humor, its darkness. It just always felt like there was something missing. But the action was awesome. It really was a step up from the previous. And China Sorrows is much, much cooler this time around. There were some new characters with some cool action or funny scenes, too; though, like the others, they were mostly flat.

So yeah, if you were a fan of the first book, I’d definitely recommend this one. It’s darker, with cooler action, and still really funny. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but it’ll entertain. And that’s what books (like movies) are meant to do.

7.19.2008

Batman Begins 3: And The Villains Are...?

Warning: Spoilers if you haven't seen The Dark Knight.

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Now that Christopher Nolan has made the best Batman movie ever attempted, what's next? Another Batman movie, of course. Not only is Hollywood not going to pass on creating a sequel to what is most likely going to be one of the most groundbreaking movies of our age, but the actors are signed up for three movies, so...

But the big question is... who is going to be the next villain? Mr. Nolan has already used Ra's Al Ghul, Ducard, Falcone, and Scarecrow, and he's made the best incarnations of The Joker and Two-Face. So who will Mr. Nolan masterfully envision next? Well, let's check out a list of probabilities and the pros and cons of each. And with Christopher Nolan's apparent liking of using some lesser-known characters (Ra's Al Ghul and Scarecrow), we'll have to have quite a large selection to look at.


Name: Bane.
Information:
Incredibly strong convict most known for 'breaking' Batman... quite literally.
Pr
os: With the way the series is going, with Batman taking the fall at the end of The Dark Knight, and with Bruce Wayne's conscience playing a big role in the story, Bane's 'breaking' of Batman could turn the movie into a decent psychological movie with more time pondering the existence of Batman.
Cons:
The movie would probably be awfully boring. With Batman out of commission the entire time (or at least half the time), it would mostly be a Bruce Wayne story with very little action. It would probably be a failure, especially in comparison to The Dark Knight. Not to mention the time it would take Bruce to recuperate from the attack would be quite the time-waster on film. Also, Bane is kind of boring in comparison to other villains.
Probability:
15%


Name: Catwoman.
Information:
Anti-hero/villain with a jaded relationship with Batman.
Pros:
She's one of the more iconic roles, along with The Joker, to come from the Batman universe. And after the horrid Catwoman movie that came out a few years back, it would be great for Mr. Nolan to rub his magic on the character. Plus, Catwoman was alluded to within The Dark Knight (There's the random line about the new batsuit being able to sustain attacks from a cat). Also, there's a spot for 'love interest' open now, so Selina Kyle could easily pick up that role. And if she's in the next movie, Catwoman would make the appearance of wanting to be a kind of anti-hero that Batman has become, especially at the end of The Dark Knight (there were already 'copycats' in The Dark Knight... so yeah... get it?).
Cons:
People could still have the bad taste in their mouth from the previous Catwoman movie. Not to mention the character was done pretty darn well in Batman Returns. However, even if she is a villain in the next movie, she wouldn't be alone. Even The Joker didn't get his own movie (though, for all intents and purposes, he did).
Probability:
90%


Name: Clayface.
Information:
Think of Spider-Man's Sandman, but with clay.
Pros:
A formidable foe for Batman, and apparently a fan favorite, but otherwise not very much.
Cons:
Again... think of Spider-Man 3's Sandman. Remember how much flak that guy got for being in the movie (regardless of the awesome special effects). Also, Mr. Nolan wants to keep his movies grounded as much as possible in reality, which removes the more fantasy-type villains, such as Clayface.
Probability:
2%



Name: Harley Quinn.
Information:
Psychiatrist who becomes lover of The Joker.
Pros:
With the success of The Joker in The Dark Knight, and the capture of The Joker at the end of the movie, Dr. Harleen Quinzel would have been a good villain to portray in a similar vein to Harvey Dent (build it up until the end). There's only one little snag...
Cons:
...Because Heath Ledger died, Christopher Nolan would be an idiot to bring The Joker back in the third movie with another actor. It would be a disgrace to Heath's name and performance. I think Mr. Nolan knows this, as well. And if you're gonna have Harley, you've gotta have The Joker. Without one, you can't have the other. So in other words...
Probability:
0%


Name: Killer Croc.
Information:
Another formidable foe to Batman, Killer Croc is a man turned evil due to a mutation into a giant humanoid Crocodile.
Pros:
Like Clayface, he seems to be a fan favorite.
Cons:
Like Clayface, he's too into the realm of fantasy for Mr. Nolan.
Probability:
2%






Name: The Mad Hatter.
Information:
A man obsessed with Lewis Carroll that uses brain-control devices.
Pros:
He's a fun character, and he is grounded in reality... for the most part.
Cons: I'm afraid the machine to control the brain will be quite reminiscent of The Riddler's machine in Batman Forever. We all know how that movie went.
Probability:
10%




Name: Mr. Freeze.
Information:
In an attempt to cryogenically freeze his wife so that he had more time to search for a cure for her disease, an accident occurs which makes it so his body can't perform unless below freezing point.
Pros:
He's a fun character...
Cons:
... but after Ah-Nold, I don't think Mr. Nolan would attempt the character again. Plus... his name is Victor Fries. How lame is that. And the character really borders between science and fantasy, much like some of the aforementioned villains.
Probability:
5%


Name: The Penguin.
Information: A penguin-looking man who is a dastardly criminal and popular foe of Batman.
Pros:
As I said, he's popular. But Tim Burton really did him well the first time around. Then again, a lot of people loved Tim Burton's Joker, as well, and look what Mr. Nolan did with him. And I'm sure that in a Nolan movie, The Penguin with all his umbrella goodness would be quite awesome.
Cons:
Like I said, people liked the Burton Penguin quite a bit. And I'm not exactly sure how one of Nolan's movies would work with The Penguin.
Probability:
50%




Name: Poison Ivy.
Information:
A scientist with the ability to manipulate plants.
Pros:
Adds the sex-appeal to the movie. And like Selina Kyle, she could fill the spot of the 'love interest'.
Cons:
Again, the character borders on the fantastical instead of the realistic.
Probability:
5%







Name: The Riddler.
Information:
A criminal mastermind who leaves clues and riddles behind to challenge Batman.
Pros: A huge fan favorite, up near the top of the list. Mr. Nolan could work wonders with the character, especially after the Jim Carrey incarnation. I can totally see Nolan making the character incredibly dark and twisted, and his riddles sadistic. Even The Joker had a few Riddler-esque moments in The Dark Knight, and we all know how awesome that turned out. And, there are no fantasy aspects toward the character. And The Riddler in the next movie could play on the questions behind the importance or purpose of Batman now that he's 'on the run'.
Cons:
There really aren't many that I can think of. Well... none, actually.
Probability: 95%


Conclusion/Prediction: So, looking through all of the big villains of the Batman franchise, it is my belief that Christopher Nolan will most likely choose The Riddler and Catwoman to appear in the next film (he wouldn't do The Penguin and Catwoman, or it would be highly criticized as a ripoff of Tim Burton). So Selina Kyle would become the love interest, soon becoming Catwoman, while The Riddler begins puzzling his way to the top of the crime scene. In the end, Batman might need Catwoman's help to stop and/or figure out what's going on with The Riddler. So who would play these two new characters? There's a good casting idea for The Riddler going around that states Michael Emerson (Ben Linus from LOST). As for Catwoman... I've also heard Kate Beckinsale (and we know she looks good in black leather from the Underworld movies). What do y'all think (on everything)?

7.18.2008

THE DARK KNIGHT.

Short answer: Yes, the movie lived up to its hype. Now that Falcone is no longer running the mob, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) are trying to bring down the mob and all crime in general from Gotham. Meanwhile, the now head of Wayne Enterprises, Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), is working with Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) to help bring down a corrupt CEO, Lau (Chin Han), who is working to keep mob money safe in the banks. Similarly, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) is out to let the people of Gotham know that Batman is still out there somewhere, keeping the peace. However, a new guy in town who calls himself The Joker (Heath Ledger) begins to steal all this mob money and wreck havoc in Gotham. But that’s only the beginning of his plans. What The Joker really wants is to cause massive chaos by bringing together all criminals and luring Batman into the public eye. And it’s all very much taking its mental tolls on Bruce, who must continually seek advice from his butler, Alfred (Michael Caine).

Let’s just get it out of the way, first: Heath Ledger. Wow… just… wow. The trailers don’t even begin to scratch the surface of this performance. All of the best scenes in the movie were the ones that The Joker was in. Every time The Joker wasn’t on screen, I (im)patiently awaited for the next time he would be. It’s unlike anything Heath had ever done before (and, unfortunately, will ever do again), but it was one hell of a role to end with. Before I saw the movie, I kept wondering if or how they were going to explain The Joker’s origins this time around… and I’m actually really glad they did what they did (not to give anything away). And that interrogation scene was just… wow. Really.

As for other acting performance, Aaron Eckhart did an amazing job. I really felt for Harvey Dent (and believed in him), and by the time you-know-what rolls around, I just felt horrible for the man. It’s rare these days for a character whose fate ends up as such garners so much sympathy from the audience. And while I can definitely see Ledger getting an Oscar nom, I’d also like to see Mr. Eckhart get one, as well. Oh, and not to mention that his ‘look’ was totally disturbing.

All other acting was about where it should have been. There was a lot more Batman than Bruce Wayne this time around, which made the 2.5 hour movie go quickly, unlike the previous installment (which has a tendency to drag at times, in my opinion). But this is also one of my negative (yes, I said it) comments about the movie. The beginning of the movie made me feel as if I had missed something. For the first 30 or so minutes, it just felt as if things were going by too quickly, scene after scene, some of which was confusing at first (like the ‘copycats’. Oh, and how they brought back in the Scarecrow was kinda lame). But all of this is quickly overshadowed as soon as The Joker starts to shine (he had me with the disappearing pencil).

The cinematography was great, too. The first movie was more dark and gritty, and this one had a lot more daylight. However, while there was more sunshine, it made up for it with darker characters/villains, as well as some great camera shots that weren’t exactly there in Begins. There were just some beautiful shots that caught my eye in the movie, such as the rotating camera around the characters in a couple scenes, or the movement/focus of the camera on an upside-down character. Some good stuff.

While the first movie had its theme of fear, this movie had its theme of chaos and order, and there was plenty of both. And not only was it evident in the story, but with the camera movement and the music. Everything played its rightful role in the movie, and the movie deserves every praise it gets. Heath Ledger deserves all the praise he gets. And I honestly didn’t watch the movie and try to make parallels between Ledger and The Joker to find how disturbing the role became. Instead, I sat and enjoyed the movie. I didn’t have time to think about those kinds of comparisons. From the awesome opening bank heist to the ending monologue, the movie had me hooked, every minute of it (even when the stupid projector cut off for about 5 minutes during the last five freakin minutes of the movie). It brought out so many different emotions: it was sad, dramatic, action-packed, hilarious, slightly romantic, and disturbing. And I plan on seeing it again. This is one of the best superhero movies ever made, and it’s one of the best movies, if not the best movie, of the year.

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Royale With Cheese

7.17.2008

P.E.S.T.

It's finally here! The shadow of The Dark Knight has passed, and the main event has arrived! Wait... what? There's other movies coming out this weekend, too? Huh... well... sucks for them. I guess I should take a look at the movies of the weekend... Pre-Emptive Strike Thursday style!

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Title: The Dark Knight.

Pre-Thoughts: Nothing more needs to be said that hasn't already been a million times already everywhere else.

Pre-Score:
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Royale With Cheese


Title: Mamma Mia!

Pre-Thoughts: This is the other 'contender' for the weekend, though I seriously think it'll bomb in comparison to The Dark Knight. I like musicals, and my mom really wants to see this, but we all know what takes first priority. I've not seen the play, but to me it's like taking Definitely, Maybe, putting it on a magical island, making it into a musical of ABBA music, and removing the charisma of Ryan Reynolds. In other words... it feels like a mixed bag to me. I'll eventually see it, but not immediately. Who knows...

Pre-Score:
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Stop Saying Okay! Okay.


Title: Space Chimps.

Pre-Thoughts: Ha... hahaha... I almost feel bad for this movie. And I really would, had I not immediately thought the movie looked incredibly stupid anyway. Though I do like the part of the trailer were the monkey throws the banana peel and makes the other one slip on the treadmill... Otherwise, dumb.

Pre-Score:
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The Zed Word

7.16.2008

R2D2... The One With Trailers.

Just wanted to give a quick update on some random thoughts. I'm working on a new article that I'm too lazy to do right now and put up, but it's in the formation process. So here we are. I just thought I'd give some random comments on some trailers (all available trailers are linked, for those who haven't seen some that are mentioned).

-The brand new teaser trailer for Terminator Salvation has gotten my hopes up a bit. And it is Christian Bale, so that automatically boosts it up quite a few notches. Looks epic and cool.

-When the hell are they going to release the bloody trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince already? The movie comes out in 4 months, and they haven't even released a teaser yet. It's ridiculous. The teaser for Twilight (which is awesome, by the way) has been out for about 2 months now, at least, and it comes out in December! Though rumors are flying that a trailer, whether it be teaser or full (hopefully full by this point in the game), is to come out with The Mummy 3. There were also rumors, though less reliable than the ones for The Mummy release, of it being released with The Clone Wars, but I wouldn't even grace that movie with my presence just to see the trailer (which I have done with movies before for a Harry Potter trailer). Whatever... just release the damn thing already.

-Speaking of Twilight, a second teaser (or at least new footage) was shown on Entertainment Tonight... it's not high quality or without narrative voice-over from the ET host, but it's still cool.

-I'm not one for political thrillers, but Traitor actually looks pretty good.

-I want to stab (in as many inventive ways as possible) whoever came up with the idea for Beverly Hills Chihuahua... and then stab them some more for putting it with that horribly so-annoying-it's-catchy song in the teaser trailer.

-Say what you want about Vin Diesel, but I'm really excited for Babylon A.D. It just looks like one awesome movie. He might not be the best actor in the world, but his action movies are always fun. This movie looks like what would happen if you mixed The Transporter with Children of Men (if the future of CoM was more high-tech). And then throw in some other awesome looking stuff...

-And some people thought Wanted looked like a Matrix rip-off? Just check out the teaser trailer for Eagle Eye. However, now that the full trailer is out, almost all similarity goes out the window, and the new trailer is awesome. I so can't wait.

-Blindness. Wow. This movie looks amazing. I'm tempted to check out the book. Spanish literature is always poetically beautiful, and the trailer for the movie alone gives that same feeling. I really can't wait for this one.

-Once again I'll mention Quarantine. The movie is a remake of [REC], an amazing Spanish horror movie, and this movie, at least from the trailer, looks like it's taking [REC] and making it even better... so here's to hoping. Though... if the ending is the same as the original movie (and they don't add to it), they totally gave the ending away in the trailer.

-Is it just me, or does it seem like the trailer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button tells the entire movie just within its small time frame? Still, it looks good.

-The Tale of Desperaux, on the other hand, will probably be a skip for me. I attempted reading the book a while back and couldn't. I honestly couldn't get into it... though it was mostly due to the writing style (there were only a few words on each page, though the book made it feel like it was a bigger story than it really was). From my literary opinion, I don't think it's worth all the praise it's been getting. And I have no idea how they turned it into a movie... don't think I'll find out, either.

-While it is a little kid's movie (and starring the voice of Miley Cyrus), for the most part, Bolt actually looks like it could be funny... specifically the hamster in the rolling ball.

-Disaster Movie. One Word: WHY? Seriously, those movies don't even make money anymore. They're almost as bad as Uwe Boll. And none of the movies that are ever portrayed in them, or at least shown to be portrayed in them via the trailers, are even remotely close to being what the title of the movie implies. Since when were Enchanted, The Incredible Hulk, Sex and the City, Iron Man, or Juno disaster movies? The only disaster that I know of being portrayed here is The Love Guru.

Anyway, I think that's about it... all I really wanna talk about for now. Later!

7.15.2008

Book Review: "Skulduggery Pleasant" by Derek Landy.

I've read both books in this series thus far, but I'll just post the review for the first book now. Maybe the second one later this week. The book was written by the same guy who wrote the movies Dead Bodies and Boy Eats Girl. This book is also in the process of becoming a movie, though it probably won't be out for another year or two.

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After Gordon Edgely mysteriously dies, he leaves his entire house to his 12-year-old niece, Stephanie. In doing so, he also leaves her an open door into a world of magic and mayhem. Enter Skulduggery Pleasant, a witty, wise-cracking, fire-wielding, magical detective… oh, and a living skeleton. He reluctantly teams up with Stephanie to solve her uncle’s supposed murder and introduces her to a dangerous and magical world that was right under her nose the entire time. And when Skulduggery’s arch-nemesis threatens to break a Truce created long ago after a secret war had ended, it is up to both of them to figure out what is going on and how to stop it from happening before it’s too late.

I've read this one twice (the first time a while back, and the second not too long ago before the sequel came out), and it really is witty fun. Although it’s a (400 page) children’s book, it has some pretty hardcore action in it. And while the action is fun, the best part of the book is its dialogue (whether actual or internal). It’s quick and witty, like it came right out the mind of Joss Whedon (or the people who make Gilmore Girls). And it’s truly hilarious. This was one of the first books that has ever really had me laughing aloud the first time I read it (after Odd Thomas).

But it does have some downsides to it. Because the book is mostly dialogue instead of descriptions and such, there’s not a lot of character growth or attachment. Stephanie stays a highly intelligent wise-cracking 12-year-old and Skulduggery stays a highly intelligent wise-cracking skeleton detective. You do learn more about personal histories, but you might not feel anything in particular about it when it happens. Also, there’s a lot of clich├ęs within the story (though that’s not necessarily a completely bad thing). It also strongly follows the Chekhov’s Gun rule (introduce a gun in act 1, it better be used in act 3). In other words, anything barely mentioned at the beginning is of some higher purpose toward the end, which makes the book mostly predictable.

But that’s not to say the characters are unlikable. While Stephanie is your average preteen heroine, Skulduggery is smooth and funny, and Tanith Low, a character introduced a bit later, is really cool (even though she has a semi-personality change towards the end). Tanith was the one big character I actually cared a lot for, because she was awesome and had a fun personality, not to mention she wasn’t one of the two main characters, which meant she could easily die at any time.

Anyway, I would really recommend this book to people who love fantasy-type books (or detective novels and don’t mind a fantasy element)… or people who just love funny, witty characters and dialogue. It isn't the best-written book ever created, but it's good for a brief bit of entertainment. So go read Skulduggery Pleasant. It might be 400 pages, but the print is huge, so it's a super-easy read.

7.14.2008

DVDs Or Death!

There's a lot coming out on DVD this week. That's right, it's time for DVDs Or Death!


The Bank Job.

Brief Synopsis: True Story Of A Bank Robbery Gone Bad.

Comments:
Saw it in theater, and it irked me then. I'm a fan of heist films, as I've said numerous times already, but there was just something about the movie I didn't care for.

Viewing Option:
T.V.


Penelope.

Brief Synopsis: Girl With Pig Nose Discovers True Love And Inner Beauty.

Comments:
I just thought the movie looked weird. It didn't come to my theater, and it got a bunch of bad review, so I dunno...

Viewing Option:
T.V.


College Road Trip.

Brief Synopsis: A Girl's Overprotective Father Takes Her On College Road Trip.

Comments:
Didn't care to see it in theater, don't care to now.

Viewing Option:
Skip.


Step Up 2 The Streets.

Brief Synopsis: Dance Movie With Cool... Dancing.

Comments:
I was interested when it came to theater, but never saw it. This isn't the kind of movie you see for the plot or characters, but for the choreography and dancing. And I am a fan of watching dancing, and the trailer showed some really cool looking stuff.

Viewing Option:
Rent.


Shutter.

Brief Synopsis: Yet Another Japanese Horror Remake. They're All The Same. (Bad).

Comments:
Didn't care when it came out, and I don't care now.

Viewing Option:
Skip.


Secretary.

Brief Synopsis: Re-Release Of Cult Classic That Has Maggie Gyllenhaal Naked A Lot.

Comments:
Who wouldn't want that? I still have yet to see this movie, though, and I'll check it out at some point, but I'm in no rush.

Viewing Option:
T.V.

7.13.2008

2 In 1: Stark Raving Mad and Dead Heat On A Merry-Go-Round.

For this 2 In 1, I'm focusing on heist movies (which I've done before). But for this one, it's heist movies in which the heist relies upon an occurrence not entirely up to or controlled by the robbers. For the first movie, Stark Raving Mad, the robbers rely on the loudness of a rave. For the second movie, Dead Heat On A Merry-Go-Round, the robbers rely on the arrival of a Russian Premier at the airport. So here we are.

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Stark Raving Mad.

This is one mind-freak of a movie. After his brother dies, Ben (Seann William Scott) is forced to pay off his debts to Gregory (Lou Diamond Phillips). He gets together a crew, including his best friend Rikki (Timm Sharp); a safe cracker, Jeffrey (Patrick Breen); an explosives expert, Jake (John Crye); and computer hacker/systems expert, Betty Shin (Suzy Nakamura). What they need to do is rob a bank that is right next door to a rave club. Unfortunately, the bank has three levels of security. Betty can get through the first two, but the third is a sound detector. Luckily for them, that third system can be nullified if there’s a certain degree of sound. So now they have to keep the rave as loud as possible while they attempt to break into the vault next door. But anything and everything continues going wrong, including a prying FBI agent, Roy (Dave Foley).

This movie is a mixed bag for me, and has been ever since I first saw it a few years back. I think it’s the tone of the movie that is the biggest issue. It seems as if the movie can’t decide whether it wants to be a dark comedy or some kind of quite-literal techno thriller. But one thing is for sure: this movie was made for people to watch while they’re stoned. From the constant techno music, the flashing lights, and any other kind of trippy addition to the movie (such as characters often breaking scene to turn to the camera and give a brief narrative metaphor… or maybe the transvestites… or even a scene in which a boa constrictor is beaten with a humongous rubber dildo). Though I did like the breaking of the fourth wall for the metaphoric narratives. Usually it was Seann William Scott, but there is a scene (in which the movie’s namesake derives) in which another character does it. But they often go off about something seen on the Discovery Channel or PBS, and it somehow connects with their current situation in a symbolic sense.

The acting was average at best, with two exceptions. This movie isn’t your typical Seann William Scott movie. In fact, his character is quite serious most of the time, and he pulls it off very well. He should do more serious roles. But the real standout performance of the movie, I think, was Timm Sharp as Rikki. It was a great character, the most relatable in the situation. Otherwise, as I said, the acting was anywhere between relatively decent (Dave Foley) to just pretty bad (Lou Diamond Phillips).

The visual style is chaotic, much like a rave. The editing style is very quick-cut and purposefully choppy, adding a sense of disorder and mayhem to every scene. However, there are some other shots that are actually quite brilliant to look at: the diamond-in-the-rough scenes, if you will. It’s just that, every now and then, a brilliant camera shot would show itself, making you wonder why the rest of the movie wasn’t equally as stylish.

I’m not sure how else to really explain this movie. It’s one of those that you really must see to understand. And the heist really is the epitome of Murphy’s Law. You’re constantly wondering just how it can get any worse for them, and it usually finds a way. But the movie as a whole still has an awkward feel to me, and I’ve never been able to put my finger on exactly what it is about it that bugs me. It’s still a pretty good heist flick, and unique at that, but it’s not the greatest I’ve seen. If anything, I’d just recommend it for Seann William Scott in a different kind of role. Though if you’re a big fan of heist films, you can check it out for that, too.

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I Am McLovin!



Dead Heat On A Merry-Go-Round.

A heist film with a fun title, but that’s about all it’s worth. Eli Kotch (James Coburn) is a con man on probation setting up the robbery of a Los Angeles airport bank on the same day that the Russian premier is arriving, causing boosted security, picketing, and chaos. But before he can even attempt it, he must first raise enough money in order to get the blueprints of the bank, so he cons his way into a bunch of ladies’ hearts, only to make copies of their keys and steal their things. Though he becomes a bit more connected to one of the women, Inger (Camilla Sparv), and ends up marrying her. But once he has the blueprints, he and his small group of co-robbers begin their master plan on pulling off the highly improbable.

I usually don’t watch too many older movies (this was made back in 1966), but the title caught my eye first, and when I read the description, I thought I’d check it out, as I’m a fan of heist films. Unfortunately, it only seemed to prove my thoughts on why I don’t watch too many older films. It was only 104 minutes, but it felt like 3 hours. It felt unnecessarily long, disjointed, sometimes confusing, and boring. In fact, the entire conning women in order to steal their things stuff would, today, be just written off as a montage, as it isn’t the point of the film. Instead, each woman gets at least 5-10 minutes of the film (and some of them are more annoying than others, especially the first one). All together, the conning stuff took up at least 30+ minutes of the movie at the least, and most of it was very dry.

The one fun thing about it was seeing the different personas that James Coburn pulled off. He was almost a master of accents in this movie, and it was always fun watching him pulling a fast one over on people. He was the best thing about the movie. Camilla Sparv was alright in her acting, but nothing especially noteworthy. Everybody else was relatively forgettable.

There were some great cinematic shots, though, especially toward the beginning. The movie starts off focusing on a group of shadows on the wall while a prisoner gives a monologue during a group therapy session. Later, when Inger is introduced, it begins with a beautiful shot of snow on tree branches, then pans down to show snow-covered everything.

When the big heist finally came, there was some suspense. I watched nervously, wondering if they were all going to get away with it and get to safety. It wasn’t the most amazing heist of all time (nothing like Inside Man or the Ocean’s films), but it was alright. But the real kicker is the twist ending in the last few seconds of the movie. It confused me at first, mostly because of the way the scene was acted, but then I realized what had happened. It was a fun and ironic twist.

Otherwise, it was just alright. It’s not up there on my favorite heist films of all time, and I probably wouldn’t watch it again (actually, I might if just to catch a glimpse of a young Harrison Ford, as this was his first movie, and he has a brief appearance as a messenger of some sort, though I missed it when I watched it… mostly because I didn’t know to look for it). But if you’re a fan of heist films, conman films, or James Coburn films, you should give it a shot. Otherwise, I wouldn’t really bother.

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Stop Saying Okay! Okay.

(P.S. And no, the title doesn’t really make much sense, except that it seems to be the title of an essay or poem Eli wrote, but the movie never goes into it. You just see it on the front of a page as it’s being read silently.)

7.12.2008

LKMYNTS: [REC].

So when I heard of a new movie coming out called Quarantine, I watched the trailer, was highly intrigued, and decided to look into it further. When I did, I found out it’s a remake of a Spanish film that was made only last year called [REC] (short for Record or Recording, in this instance), and all reviews I read stated how terrifying it was. I was more intrigued. And then I saw it was a zombie movie. I tracked it down as quickly as possible… which was very difficult, as it isn’t available for Region 1 DVD. Fortunately, albeit not in the most ethical approach, I found a copy uploaded on YouTube of all places. I’ll just leave it at that.

[REC] is about a young television reporter, Angela (Manuela Velasco), and her cameraman Pablo (never fully shown, but voiced by Pep Sais), who are filming a night in the life of the local fire station. She teams up with two of the firemen, Alex (David Vert) and Manu (Ferran Terraza), and discovers how firehouse life is actually quite boring on average. But when they get a middle-of-the-night call to an apartment complex about an elderly woman giving blood-curdling screams, Angela, Pablo, and their firemen acquaintances make their way to the building. However, upon reaching the place, they discover something else much darker than they were expecting is happening. The elderly woman bites a policeman and one of the firemen, and the entire complex suddenly find themselves in the middle of a government quarantine with no explanation as to what is going on or why. But all they know is that there are two dying men who need to get to a hospital and a very sick little girl who apparently has tonsillitis. And everything slowly becomes more and more chaotic from there.

I have to say, this movie was intense. It started off kind of slow, but once they reached the apartment complex, the pace picked up considerably before dropping off for a little bit, and then hitting hard again non-stop to the end. My adrenaline was constantly pumping, my heart going fast, and I even jumped a few times. However, one of the movie’s major downfalls is that it focuses primarily on the intensity and not the characters. The only characters I really had any kind of feeling for were Angela and Pablo. There are a few introductions to characters during the middle slow part of the movie, but not enough to really get a good feel for them. You know they’re just there to raise the body count. The movie would have been much better had they extended the incredibly short length of the movie (it clocks in, without credits, at less than 80 minutes) in order to focus more on character development.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this movie is shot in a similar fashion to The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, and Diary of the Dead (except it was out before the latter two). But as I said, it didn’t have the same character focus that, say, Cloverfield had. I didn’t care about Pablo in the same fashion that I cared about Hud. But enough about the characters.

The visuals of the movie are really good. There are some cool shots and angles, and quite a few less-is-more approach shots, in which you only see quick glimpses before the camera pans away, or you only hear noises. There are some great uses of the camera, as well, such as the night vision and the camera light (much like in the subway scene of Cloverfield). Though there was a rewind/fast-forward sequence that didn’t make sense, because as far as I’m aware (though I could be wrong), you can't record yourself rewinding and fast-forwarding.

As for the zombies, they look really creepy from what you see of them (like I said, quick glimpses). Though they’re almost more like The Infected from the 28 _____ Later films, except I would moreso argue that these are actually zombies, unlike the ones in those films. The origin of the zombies is somewhat attempted to be explained, but isn’t fully done so, which I think is nice. Movies that try to explain their monsters sometimes end up hokier than they would have been otherwise. Instead, it leaves it more up to speculation.

The acting is done really well, mostly from the lead actress, Manuela Velasco. I really didn’t notice many (if any) parts that really brought me out of the movie due to poor acting. The ending somewhat confused me, though I think I understood it for the most part. And it’s also a rather abrupt ending, much like Blair Witch and Cloverfield. I’m not too sure what else to say. From the Quarantine trailer, it looks almost identical to [REC], except in English. Even down to the position of the camera and the reaction of the character to certain things. Hopefully, though, this could be one of those rare instances where the remake actually builds on and makes better the original version. If the American version is longer than 80 minutes, I’ll start getting really excited. But until then, I’ll just anticipate both that version, and for whenever [REC] comes to DVD in the US.

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A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. I also just found out that my main man Doug Jones is gonna have a cameo appearance in Quarantine, so I'm there even more).

7.11.2008

HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY.

So, the first one was decent and entertaining. This one, on the other hand, was that and more. Hellboy II starts off with a young Hellboy being read a fairy tale by his ‘father’, Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hurt), about the Golden Army and its origins. Flash forward to present day, and Hellboy (Ron Pearlman) is having some issues with his new relationship with Liz (Selma Blair). But when they, along with fellow friend and teammate Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), get called in to look at a crime scene with no survivors, they soon begin to realize something dangerous is afoot. Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) is attempting to reassemble all the pieces of a magical crown in order to bring back and take control over The Golden Army, though not if his twin sister, Princess Nuala (Anna Walton), has anything to say about it. Though after a little mishap that reveals Hellboy to the public eye, the director of the paranormal agency, Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor), brings in Johann Kraus (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) to attempt to keep Hellboy in line.

As I said, the first movie was decent and entertaining, but this one takes it to another level. It’s not as dark as the first one, though. In fact, it’s a lot lighter with more fantasy and fairy tale aspects instead of the nitty-gritty demons, Nazis, and evil Russians of the first. In fact, there’s even a scene in a Troll Market that is somewhat reminiscent of mixing Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley with the Star Wars cantina. And the beginning with Abe and Manning walking through the department reminded me of something out of Men In Black.

The visuals are amazing, as per usual with Del Toro. There is some CGI, but there are far more puppets and costumes than computer graphics (at least from what I noticed), which is nice, because it’s not an overwhelming sensation of fakeness. There were even some really creepy parts, such as the Angel of Death sequence, which I loved. And one of the issues I had with the first movie was that it felt like I was cheated out of the battle scenes, especially the final battle. This time, I didn’t really feel like that (okay, maybe once). But the final battle was long, entertaining, and quite acceptable. Oh, and we finally got to see some cool moves from Abe at one point in the movie, though it’s very brief. Still, it was cool, nonetheless.

The humor from the first movie is still here, as well. In fact, there might be even more. The movie had me laughing out loud quite a few times, specifically the Hellboy/Kraus ‘fight’ and the Hellboy/Abe ‘moment’ (I don’t want to give it away, but you’ll know what I’m talking about).

The acting was a little stiff at times, but not too often. I was glad to hear Doug Jones’ voice for Abe. The villain of the movie, Prince Nuada, actually had some depth to him. He wasn’t just your typical revenge-seeking baddy. In fact, I could compare him (and a lot of the movie’s themes) to that of Magneto from X-Men. There were quite a few parallels, actually, to the themes of X-Men and the themes of this movie. And yes, when I said Seth MacFarlane, I did mean that Seth MacFarlane. But you really can’t tell (at least, I couldn’t).

Overall, I really enjoyed it. I found it much better than the first one, and I wasn’t left with a feeling that something was missing. Selma Blair still could have been given a bit more to do action-wise, though. She got some cool special effects with the fire, but that was about it. So she was nice to look at in more than one way. But yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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A Keanu 'Whoa'