What, did you think I forgot Musical Monday? Well... I kinda did. But let's get into it now. This is the last one for a while where I don't care for the actual movie. This film is basically a really long music video for Daft Punk. It takes a bunch of their songs and puts a sci-fi story behind them. Unfortunately, there is no dialogue outside the songs. Normally, this might not bug me too much. However, it makes it incredibly difficult to follow the story and characters in this particular case, and it really drags after a while. But the music itself is good, and there's one song (and music video) in particular that made me want to see this film in the first place so that I could see the full story around it. And that song? Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. The animation is great. The song is awesome. The story and video of this song alone is worth checking out.
This particular episode shows the aftermath of the Season 1 finale, but doesn't really reference anything else from the first season.
Last time on The Vlog: Throughout the season, DPR has been working to stop a bunch of crazy (sometimes magical) things plaguing the apartment. He's even gotten a bit of help here and there from a mysterious figure known only as RT. In the previous episode, we saw what went down behind the scenes in the Season 1 finale and ending where Nick stabs DPR, leaving him for dead. However, Bill--owing DPR a favor--comes in to help.
I suppose to make up for the fact that my last few have been longer than usual, this one is shorter than usual. However, we also finally get to see our next guest character, the mysterious "RT" who has been helping DPR throughout the season. Besides that wonderful performance, it's not too big of an episode on my end. It's mostly setting us up for the finale, which is coming in 3 weeks. That's right, folks. There are only 3 episodes left of the season! And I promise you, it will be a finale you won't soon forget. I already have some footage, and it's flippin' amazing. Everything is being kept top secret, even from those participating (their scripts were edited to include only what they needed to say, sometimes even removing the identities of those they're supposed to be talking to. And if anything was revealed through their own dialogue, they've been sworn to secrecy). It'll be a star-studded cast including not one, not two, not even three or four... but FIVE guest characters. Plus myself... and a few other surprises. So keep watching!
I am a fan of Danny Boyle. 28 Days Later... is one of my favorite (not-zombie) films. Sunshine and Slumdog Millionaire are both great, too. Boyle has a very stylish visual... style... and you can really see his vision at work yet again. The editing is sharp, and the angles he takes with the camera are really fascinating.
Of course, at the heart of the film is James Franco's performance. Sure, there are others in the movie, notably two other amateur adventurers played by Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn. But Franco is the one that sells it. It's all resting in his hands... (OK, OK, I'll stop). His performance starts out relatively average, but by the end, you can really see how Aron is snapping from lack of food and water (not to mention his situation)... and I can definitely tell how, for the awards season, Franco made the cut (sorry).
If I saw anything negative about it, it was the fact that there were just some truly strange moments. Certain flashbacks and/or hallucinations are thrown in, and it makes moments feel either choppy or surreal--sometimes in a good way, sometimes not. But honestly, when has a Danny Boyle film ever not had something strange and experimental? Some people have complained that the film was too slow and boring. There were some moments soon after he first gets stuck, I suppose. But the pace picks up pretty fast, and you're just left wondering what's gonna happen (regardless of knowing how it ends). And yes, I almost got a little emotional at the end.
Overall, it was a fascinating movie. I don't have a terrible lot to say about it, though. The actual scene is pretty intense and visceral, and it doesn't shy away from showing you anything. Between breaking the bone or cutting the nerves and whatnot, it's gut-wrenching. Strangely, I didn't hear anyone hit the floor cold during this scene, but a woman did gag when he had to start drinking his own urine. So yeah, it's not one to miss. I think what got me at the end was that, truly, this actually happened. The gravity of the situation just hit me full force at the very end, and no "true story" movie has ever done that before. It's really good.
This one, however, is mostly interviews. Director Pablo Pappano interviews a virtual cornucopia (no pun intended) of people who have tried, are trying, or have general opinions about online dating. I believe it was Pappano's goal to make a film that explored and showed the ups and downs of online dating, particularly since he himself found love through the medium. There are plenty of fish to choose from in this doc, from a girl named Rain to an older woman named Judy Garland... and even a middle-aged man who lives and breathes swinging and sex.
First I'd like to talk about the cast of characters. There are probably 4-5 main people with a few others sprinkled in throughout. To me, the majority of these people were pretty unlikable, unfortunately. At the very least, they were unstable, which doesn't shed a positive light on online dating, which I think is the opposite of the point trying to be made with the doc. The Asian guy was borderline offensive. Audrey, I believe her name is, was kinda crazy (like... crazy crazy) and not really allowing me to feel for her. Judy was actually the most likable of the cast. She was just a total sweetheart and I really felt for her story. But the one that stuck out to me, and probably will always stick out to me, is the swinger, Marty. Marty was disgusting yet oddly fascinating and quite funny in an over-the-top caricature kind of way. For the first half of the movie, I found myself just trying to get a handle on this guy. I couldn't believe half the stuff coming out of this guy's mouth, especially in comparison to everyone else. By the time he pulls out the sex swing or the black book, I'm trying not to laugh hysterically at just how absurd he really is (and I mean that in all the right ways, Marty, if you ever read this). The dude is a total hoot and is really one of the most memorable parts of the whole documentary.
There's another guy, too, I wanted to mention. I can't remember his name, but there's a narrative sprinkled throughout the movie of a guy using internet dating for the first time. He just got out of a relationship and wanted something easy. He gets on craigslist and finds a girl where the same thing has happened and she wants something easy. Despite the whole thing being kinda creepy, I really think the movie could have used a lot more of this narrative more often. Like I said earlier, I like my documentaries with fuller narratives. Had there been more of him maybe juxtaposed with the questions and scenarios being asked of the interviewees (kinda like them discussing their experiences and then us seeing one happen first-hand), the movie could have been much tighter.
Another thing I could have used more of was the animated sequences. Around the middle, there were about 2-3 animated flashbacks that reenacted moments that the interviewees discussed. This was a really great idea, and one that really got me excited even in the trailer. But it was horribly underused, and I wish I could have seen more of this.
The way questions are introduced, too, is very creative. Sometimes the questions are typed onto the screen (this was the most common way). Then later, a TV interview is introduced, and the interviewee discussions are based on comments the TV guy mentions. Those, I felt, was really creative and fun. And they were really consistent.
Overall, the cast of characters were insane (literally), and some bizarrely funny. The first 30 minutes are kinda slow, but it picks up after that. Unfortunately, the movie seems to lose purpose for a while, turning from a study of online dating to a focus on the personal lives of these people. While fascinating in most cases, it made the documentary feel unbalanced. The uneven quality either with the scattered narrative case, the coming-and-going of certain interviewees, the unfortunate lack of more animated bits, among other things made it sink ever so slightly for me. However, all that being said, it was all quite entertaining and definitely held my attention. And while the end product could have been a bit tighter, for what it is, I definitely think it's worth a look.
(P.S. I love how the final "where they are now" bits at the end were fun in how they kinda poked fun at these people, showing that the director did realize how strange his cast actually was.)
(P.P.S. For more information you can check out the main website: Clickin' For Love.)
(P.P.P.S. I made a name mistake. I called Audrey, Colleen. That has been fixed.)
I knew going into this movie that it was a strange dystopian film. But that's about all I knew. But when I fell asleep for about fifteen minutes (tiredness, not boredom) and woke up to see a guy in a suit of armor with wings running from zombie-esque creatures and fighting a giant samurai, I was really like... WTF? Of course, I rewound it and caught what I missed and then finished the movie. But still, overall, the movie is a total mindfuck.
For those that don't know, Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) works for a world-running corporation that, due to a clerical error, makes a mistake and takes away (and eventually kills) the wrong man. Who they meant to take was Tuttle (Robert De Niro), one of many terrorists who fight against the oppressive government. Sam must also deal with his overbearing mother (Katherine Helmond), who is getting a major reconstructive facial surgery from her doctor (Jim Broadbent). He also has to deal with other people who work for said corporation, like his boss (Ian Holm), a couple workers (including Bob Hoskins), and a friend named Jack (Michael Palin). Sam ends up in the middle of a conspiracy when he sees a woman of his dreams (literally) named Jill (Kim Greist) and tries to figure out who she is.
That's the sanest way to describe this movie. Visually, it's fantastic. The basic visual style alone looks much more modern and clearer, especially considering this was made in the 80s. But then there's all the special stuff, like all the set designs and the fantasy sequences where Sam imagines himself flying and all sorts of things happen. It's a wonderful film to look at.
It's also pretty funny. Most of its entertainment comes from some wacky comedy. The characters can be a hoot and are written well. And the actors do well to show this. Though the whole thing isn't a comedy. One of the strange things about the film is its inconstant tonal shifts. Sometimes its funny, sometimes absurd, sometimes dead serious, sometimes freaky... it just depends on how it feels at the moment.
I don't necessarily have any major issues with the film. A lot of people complain that the movie takes forever to go anywhere and they get bored. I can honestly say I wasn't really ever bored with it, and it didn't bother me that it didn't seem to go anywhere at first (OK, so the first 30-45 minutes or so did drag at times, but it didn't bug me too bad). I can't even say that the movie eventually went off the rails; the movie was never on the rails. It's just insane through and through.
I honestly don't know how to review this movie. It's... too strange. I think I liked it. I know I didn't dislike it. It's been a day since I've watched it, and I still can't wrap my head around it. I know everything was metaphorical and/or allegorical and whatnot... but yeah. I really have nothing else I can say. So I guess I'll just leave it at that. It's an entertaining and well made yet thoroughly bizarre film.
The first thing I need to mention is that this movie is unnecessarily complicated. The first thing that makes it complicated is on a plot level--unlike Oldboy, the revenge plot of this film has no need to be drawn out in this complicated fashion. The plan was very simple, but it was done in a way that just overcomplicated an otherwise simple idea. The other thing that makes the film complicated is on a storytelling level--I had a hard time sometimes figuring out whether what I was watching was real time or a flashback... or even a dream sequence. It was all very confusing for the first half of the film.
Otherwise, I think the basic idea and story is fantastic. The mystery behind why revenge was happening and then how she plans on performing it is very good. The last half of the movie with all the parents and family members of certain people is a fascinating and powerful sequence.
I really don't have a lot to say about the movie, honestly. It was good. The cinematography was good. The acting was good (primarily by its main actress). How everything connected together, especially with the flashbacks and how she met people and used them to their advantage was good. I just think it was very strange at times and everything was presented a bit too complicatedly. But otherwise, it was quite a fine film, and I enjoyed it immensely.
Now we're headed back into "Don't care for this movie as a whole"-ville. I like the music of Tenacious D, and Jack Black can be great. A student last year actually gave me a copy of this movie (he had two copies or something and wanted me to see it, so he gave it to me. When I tried to give it back, he just said to keep it). So anyway, the movie itself is kinda WTF most of the time, and it just flat-out lost me come the mushroom hallucination scene. But like I said, I do enjoy the music of Tenacious D. Looking back, I'm not sure how much I agree actually putting this so high on the list (even if it's just number 49). But anytime I hear these classic songs now, all I can do is try and refrain from singing along with Black's rather inappropriate lyrics. So here it is, the moment Jack Black meets Kyle Gass. It's so simple and basic, especially compared to most of the other songs/moments in the film. It's just easy fun.
This particular episode references the Season 1 finale. If you need a refresher on how things went down, I'd recommend re-watching it (I know, it's a long one...) but if you don't feel like doing that, here's some info that might help.
Previously, in Season 1 of The Vlog: Nick wakes up in his dark bathroom and discovers he's being held captive by somebody named JS, as shown to him through some audio on his laptop. Meanwhile, DPR is reading something from Nick's own blog. Nick ends up escaping the bathroom with a knife and tries to say something nice about another blogger. Unfortunately, he "can't do it" and rushes off to his room, where he freaks out when he sees the penguin hanging from his ceiling fan. Thinking someone else must be behind this, Nick leaves and heads for his dining room, freaking out. As he does this, the laundry closet opens to reveal DPR, and Nick realizes he must be behind this. Nick stabs DPR, apparently killing him, but finds that DPR was just another pawn of JS.
Last time on The Vlog: DPR found out information on JS and his "plans," but he's been able to thwart them, either by things like magic counter spells or--in one instance--just counseling Bill (who feels he 'owes' him now). But DPR is attacked by the penguin after hearing some information about Plans 6, 7, and 8.
This was a complicated one to film. I had to check a lot of continuity bits throughout, making sure that even my toothpaste was in the right position. If the Season 1 finale is SAW, I suppose that makes this that one part of SAW 3. I splice in footage from that finale in with this episode, adding some new parts from DPR's perspective (which is why I think it might be more fun if the finale is fresh in your mind). It was a lot of fun putting together, despite the difficulty in getting it just right. It's slightly longer than usual, but not by too much.
The main discussion consists of the mentality behind watching classic films today, as well as (and mostly involving) my 60/60 Project (see the left side bar for reference). Hatter interviews me about anything and everything involving the project, as well as some thoughts on watching classics in general.
But then it's time for some classic revenge. Hatter takes his turn at The Tower, even going so far as to make a prediction that he will push Jess down to 4th place. But does his prediction ring true? Let's just say... he does pull off a 'first' during his climb. Listen to find out all the details!
Also, I apologize for Hatter's audio changing every now and then (it's mostly consistent, but alters here and there). Skype wasn't being friendly with me during the recording. (And there's a slight Easter Egg at the end.)
Current Leaderboard (The Demented Tower):
1) Rachel - 179 Points
2) James - 135 Points
3) Jess - 95 Points
4) Tom - 92.5 Points
5) Jason - 33 Points
6) Travis - 32.5 Points
You can listen to this episode on the player below or by subscribing through iTunes.
That being said, enjoy! Thanks goes out to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech website for great, royalty-free music. And thanks to Google for helping me find a website that will give me free video game audio samples.
So this movie has apparently become some kind of modern classic or something. Directed by the same guy who did The Host, Mother tells us the story of Yoon Do-joon (Bin Won) and his mother (Hye-ja Kim). Do-joon is a mentally handicapped young man who is arrested for the murder of a girl, and his mother goes out to find out the truth and who really committed this crime. In the process, she finds herself in a circle of conspiracy and shame (not her own... other people's).
This is a very strange movie. It starts off with Mother dancing in a field and then flashes back to the beginning. It took me a while to realize her son was mentally handicapped and not just socially awkward. This is a serious story, but it's mixed with a lot of strangely comedic moments. It wasn't a tone I was expecting going in. There's also an ambiguous undertone of whether or not Mother and her son are a little incestuous or if it's really just innocent and misconstrued discussions.
There is a lot of suspense in the film, though, too. Even from the beginning, I got so nervous with her and the blade as she was chopping (really, anytime she was doing that). And then there were other instances, like Mother hiding in the closet and sneaking out of that house, etc. And then all the times she wants to do her special acupuncture, leading up to the moment at the end...
The mystery of the film was good, and it was really interesting watching her go around trying to figure out what was really going on. Of course, when this major twist happens and you realize what is going on... there's a slight stretch you have to go with, but it works overall. Besides the twist, there were some good, unexpected moments. You find some information out about their personal history, as well as the whole acupuncture bit I already mentioned.
I'll just give a warning not to even look at the imdb comments section prior to seeing the film, because even topic titles will spoil some things. I wasn't spoiled, thankfully, but I just wanted to give a bit of a warning. This movie is hard to talk about without giving things away. If you like mysteries, you'll enjoy this. It's a pretty entertaining movie, and it's very well made. The cinematography is very nice. There's just a bit of a lighter tone than I expected, and it has some strange moments. But overall, it's a pretty dang good flick.
For those of you who don't know, the film stars Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin as King Arthur and his knights who go in search of the holy grail. Wackiness ensues.
The best thing about the movie is the writing. The dialogue in the film is fantastic. Between conversations running in circles, getting off track by talking about sparrows, being meta and/or self-referential, or... really anything else, the movie is very funny. It had me laughing in the opening credits with just fake subtitles. That's how crazy good the writing is.
Where the movie loses me, however, are the little animated interludes. After a while, they really started to bug me. I didn't think they were particularly funny, and some of them just seemed to drag (the painting one in particular with the 'weather' stomping). There's one meta joke that comes out of it near the end that's kinda funny, but otherwise, I felt they pulled the movie down a bit.
Also on the down side is the ending. I'm not sure how much I liked the 'modern day' scenes tossed in throughout, especially since they seemed so random. And then the ending comes... and the movie just ends all anti-climactic. I know that's part of the joke, but I didn't care for it. I'm sure that's blasphemy of some sort, I'm sorry.
I think this is a film that I'll enjoy even more once I think back later on all the lines of dialogue or discuss it with friends. As of now, I really liked it, but I think my expectations were set at an ungodly high place for me to have loved it upon a first viewing. I know I haven't really said much here. This was kind of a lame review for y'all. But that's just kinda how I feel. Great dialogue. Fun characters. Definitely check it out.
Of course, I'd known of this movie for years, especially since it's referenced in half the kung fu films and TV shows ever. It's also directed by Woo-ping Yuen, who was the fighting choreographer/director for such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. For those of you who don't know what it's about, it's about Wong Fei-Hung (Jackie Chan), a cocky adolescent with some good kung fu skills who keeps getting in trouble. But after he beats up some members a high-brow family while protecting a street vendor, Fei-Hung's father brings the boy's uncle, Su Hua Chi (Siu Tien Yuen) to teach the boy some respect. So the old man ends up teaching him a new, masterful style that requires you to be drunk. After a year of training, Fei-Hung must use his new skills in order to protect his family.
This is probably, so far, hands down, the most entertaining movie I've watched for a 60/60 Review, despite it only being an Extra. Don't get me wrong... it's not a masterpiece of filmmaking like Seven Samurai, but it's a hell of a fun movie. First off, it's totally bizarre seeing Jackie Chan so young, but you can still see Chan's whimsical style, even this early in his career.
So let's start with the action. There's a ton of it in this movie, and all of it is unique and entertaining. It's not the high-flying kung fu like in Crouching Tiger, but more in a style of most Chan films. You see all the hits, all hits are quick and chaotic (yet somehow perfectly placed), and all whimsical and humorous. Truly some entertaining action.
Being a comedy, the film is pretty dang funny, too. I actually laughed out loud frequently. If you know Chan, you know it'll be a lot of physical humor, a lot of slapstick. But what else helps the comedy is the incredibly bad dubbing. It reminded me, somewhat, of the dubbing in Bio-Zombie. It's strange to the point you're sure they did it on purpose (but I'll get into some REALLY bad dubbing in a minute).
Overall, a fantastically entertaining movie. If you like Jackie Chan at all or his style of kung fu, I highly recommend this one. It really was a blast, and I can't really say all that much else about it.
Now, this one you might be able to argue isn't really a foreign film... I didn't really do the research, so I can't tell you. But since about 2/3s of the film is dubbed over, I'm going to count it just for the heck of it. Keung (Jackie Chan) has come to America--specifically the Bronx--to his uncle's (Bill Tung) place and supermarket to be at his wedding. But when his uncle goes on his honeymoon, a local gang starts causing trouble, and Keung finds himself trying to keep the peace, getting himself involved with one of the girls in the gang, Nancy (Francoise Yip) and her wheelchair-bound little brother, Danny (Morgan Lam). He also tries to deal with his uncle's store parter, Elaine (Anita Mui), who is struggling running the place on her own.
Dear holy God, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and all the Saints... this movie is awful. But it is so awful that it is amazing. Let me put it this way. I'm sure Tommy Wiseau looked at this movie and thought "Wow. What amazing acting, writing, and voice-over dubbing. Now if I could make a movie of this caliber, but just remove that silly action stuff."
The acting and dubbing are both beyond awful. They're truly stuff of legend. I can't even begin to describe it, really. You can't really separate them from each other. First you have Jackie Chan, who actually dubs over his own voice. That's right. He speaks Chinese in the movie, but then dubs over it in English afterwards. Boy, was that confusing. Then there's Danny, lovingly called "wheelchair kid" by fans. The strange thing with him is that his lip movements are very close to what's being said most of the time, so it looks like he's saying something, but it's just off. Oh, and it's god-awful with some horrendous dialogue. The dialogue doesn't help matters much. It's painful, but the bizarre, over-the-top delivery by either the English-speaking actors or the dub-artists makes it hilariously bearable.
The action, on the other hand, is what makes this movie worth watching (outside of the so-bad-it's-good quality of the rest of the film). I don't find it to be your typical Chan flick, though. It's much more hard-hitting and faster-paced. It's almost as if Jackie Chan was attempting to be more like Jet Li, but he still threw in some of his characteristic whimsy. The strange part is, though... while Chan would use his surroundings to help him in his fights, the music used during the fight scenes made them way too serious, making you take them too seriously. Usually, watching Chan is like watching one of the three stooges do kung fu or something. That's not typically the case here.
Regardless, this film is something to be seen. If you've not seen it, you definitely need to check it out. Watch it with friends if you have to. You'll probably die laughing from how absurd practically everything is in the film. The action is a lot of fun, everything else is awful, but so great because of that.
I think it's about time I do one of these for a movie I actually like all of. I know a lot of people thought this movie was just OK, but I really enjoyed it... much more than I thought I would. I've always felt the villains of Disney animated musicals always get some of the best songs, and it was no different for The Princess and the Frog. The moment the prince is turned into a frog by the voodoo witchdoctor is fun, stylish, and creepy. Sure, it's not the best villain song out there (hence why it's so low on the list), but it's still a good one.
This particular episode references basically the entirety of Season 1. It also refers to the week-long break in between episodes 7 and 8. This is what you need to know...
Previously, in Season 1 of The Vlog: Nick has faced many obstacles: the loss of his voice in a silent movie skit, being stuck in a never-ending time loop, having to face a lava-covered floor while speaking in a Japanese-style dubbing, dealing with Bill becoming depressed over breaking up with Sookie, and taking a week-long break off from The Vlog. And when he returned, he started being attacked by a stuffed penguin that led up to a big showdown...
Last time on The Vlog: Throughout the season, DPR has been taking care of strange occurrences, even getting a little help here and there. Forced into an unpaid break, however, DPR contacts a super-hacker to look into someone named JS--a set of initials that had been written on his hand when he woke up in the apartment at the beginning of the season.
For the first time on The Vlog, I'm hardly in it! This episode is actually largely consisting of not one, but TWO guest characters. The episode is slightly longer than usual, but it goes by really fast. Both guests gave me multiple takes of everything, so I got to have a lot of fun mixing and matching in editing, which was excellent (so even they don't know exactly how it's gonna go). Not to mention they only got their halves of the script, so they have no idea what the other is gonna do. And I might say, it turned out fantastic. Coincidentally, if you place the DPR segments of this season in the timeline of the first season, this one falls directly in the spot where I took a week break, so it makes a strange kind of sense that I'm not in this episode much, and when I am, it's just as DPR (it's almost like "Nick" is taking yet another break).
Special thanks to my guests and their wonderful improv skills, even adding bits of their own here and there.
Anywho... I'll stop talking now, so... enjoy!
There's probably even more I'm leaving out, but I'd learned from Snatch. how involved and confusing Ritchie's plots could get. (That's not a complaint, though.) If I did have a complaint, it was that I did get confused frequently at the beginning... maybe up through the card game. I was having a hard time following along with who was who and what was going on. There were so many characters and scenarios being thrown at you at once that it was just a wee bit tough keeping track. But I started to manage after a while.
The acting was great and the characters were a lot of fun. My favorite was probably Vinnie Jones' Big Chris. He's essentially a hitman who takes his son around with him and is always polite and patient. The dialogue was fun, too. Sometimes it was hard to follow, but I stayed with it for the most part.
I do really enjoy these types of stories. It isn't exactly an anthology, despite it being a collection of multiple, interweaving stories. It's similar to Pulp Fiction where just a bunch of random stuff is happening to different characters, but they all affect each other (here much more than Pulp Fiction). Really, when you break it down... all it is is that four guys owe money to a dangerous man, another set of guys need to sell some weed, and the aforementioned dangerous man wants a pair of antique guns. But when you mix all of those together, chaos ensues.
I found it an interesting directorial choice to have those kind of grayish tones and shadows throughout the whole film. It gave the whole thing a kind of wet, gritty, grimy feel to it with just the color. Otherwise, I don't have a hell of a whole lot to say about the movie. I need to rewatch Snatch. now that I know what I'm getting into (that one was my first, and I was really left like WTF afterwards). Right now I like this one a little better. I watched it last night and thought on it, and the more I think about it, the more I think I like it. So before I get on rambling too much, I'll just go ahead and stop here.
Yeah, that's about it on the plot. They have to escape before the time window closes. There's a little subplot about perfect beings and destroying everything bad about the real world, but it's the one thing about the plot I didn't feel should be spoiled (if you want any kind of surprises, that is). The main problem? This movie is slightly over 2 hours long. That is definitely not enough plot to require that length. There should have been at least 30 minutes trimmed off. Around the middle or so, I actually felt so bored I wanted to fall asleep.
Besides that, though, there's not a whole lot that bugged me. To be honest, I was never a huge fan of the original movie, and those visual effects are so dated it's ridiculous. And considering the visual effects is what it's all about, it makes the original very difficult to watch at times. However, I always felt that if they attempted the film today, it would help tremendously. And you know what? It does. The visuals for this film are gorgeous. They really are outstanding. Everything is a lot of fun, and there is just a detail to everything that is amazing.
To add to the visuals is the awesome action. The movie starts as somewhat of a heist film in the real world which is fun. But once you get into the Grid, that's when things really get fun. From light cycle races to the ring destructo game and more, the action (well, and the visuals) is truly the reason to see this movie.
Acting-wise, everybody did a fine job. The only person to really bother me was actually Michael Sheen, who was a bit too crazy and over-the-top for my tastes. Though that's probably more of a directorial complaint than an acting one. And Olivia Wilde is gorgeous as always. Also... random Cillian Murphy appearance, WTF?
The only other thing I wanted to bring up was the fun soundtrack by Daft Punk. Sure, a lot of it seemed to be the same song on repeat, but it did vary it just enough to be good. Otherwise, I think it's clear what word best describes the movie for me: fun. It's not a great film, particularly thanks to the lackluster plot that tries to stretch itself out over 2 (at times quite long) hours. But the visuals and action are great and are really the main reasons to see this movie.
Yet another number from a film I don't care for, Time Warp is easily the best and most memorable song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie is definitely an acquired taste, and (believe it or not) I actually enjoyed the Glee version of Rocky Horror better. However, I do--as most do--enjoy this one particular number. It's fun, it's catchy, and it's totally bizarre. And there's just something about those high pitched voices that would make a dog's skin crawl that are so captivating. So here it is...
And just for fun, despite me actually enjoying the original version more in this particular case, here is the Glee version:
This episode actually does not reference anything from Season 1 except for the fact that DPR is not in any of the latter episodes prior to the finale.
Last time on The Vlog: DPR is on an unpaid, extended vacation after Nick blames him for all the crazy stuff happening. That's pretty much all you need to know.
This is probably the only episode this season that doesn't blatantly reference Season 1. But don't take that to mean there's no plot continuance. Actually, this episode introduces us to my next guest character! It also introduces a new character of my own. It's strange--last week I thought I was gonna have too much footage and would have to scale back, but I ended up being short. This week I didn't think I was gonna have enough and I ended up almost at limit. Strange how that happens. Anyway, this is the episode that really kick-starts the plot... or at least turns on the engine. Starting next week, things will slowly start being revealed up through the finale.
The Challenge is up next, where I think Tom had a bit of a hard time getting through without laughing. And then we go to our main discussion, our Top 5 Most Anticipated Films For 2011. It's not too long of a conversation, but it's certainly a good one.
And then we wrap things up with The Demented Tower. Tom tries to do his best impression of James from a couple episodes back... but does he succeed? Listen and find out!
Current Leaderboard (The Demented Tower):
1) Rachel - 179 Points
2) James - 135 Points
3) Jess - 95 Points
4) Jason - 33 Points
5) Travis - 32.5 Points
You can listen to this episode on the player below or by subscribing through iTunes.
That being said, enjoy! Thanks goes out to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech website for great, royalty-free music. And thanks to Google for helping me find a website that will give me free video game audio samples.
For those not in the know, it's tells the story of two warriors--Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) and Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). Li is a master warrior who owns a 400-year-old powerful sword, and he's decided to get out of the warrior life. He gives the sword to Shu Lien to give to Sir Te (Sihung Lung), but it ends up stolen by an old adversary named Jade Fox (Pei-pei Cheng) and her protege, Jen (Ziyi Zhang). Jen also happens to be the daughter of an aristocrat who is forcing her to marry, but she's really in love with a desert bandit named Lo (Chen Chang). However, Jen is stubborn--and very skilled--and her ego gets a little too big for her to handle. So Li and Shu Lien must go after her both to tame/train her and retrieve the sword (and find Jade Fox to defeat her once and for all).
For some reason, this movie was simultaneously disappointing and exactly what I expected. I don't think that's possible, but it's how I feel. I think it's because that, maybe, I hoped it would be better than I expected, but it turned out just the same. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I expected some pretty big things out of it. First, I want to begin with the negative.
The story was relatively thin and boring. There wasn't much there except a stolen sword and a couple love stories. Normally this wouldn't be an issue. However, this movie is two hours long, and that's the only plot there is going for it. The two love stories are decent. Li and Shu Lien are two that are in love but can't do anything about it because Shu Lien was originally engaged to Li's best friend who died in war. Then there's the parallel relationship between Jen and Lo. I thought both were endearing relationships, special in their own way, but after a while I felt really bad for Lo because Jen is such an unlikable person.
On the other hand, the action is effing fantastic. Of course, this is to be expected. The choreographer is the same as The Matrix Trilogy and, hell... almost every awesome kung fu action movie ever made. And thankfully, there is a lot of action. It's gorgeous to watch--truly stunning at times. That's really all I can say about it, though, without getting redundant.
I do appreciate the movie's themes, too. Between the parallel love stories and the more obvious "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" theme of hiding your true potential, it was really clever. I didn't hate the story as much as I made it sound I did. I just thought for the time span, there wasn't enough plot to fill it up, stretching it a bit thin at times. But the action scenes more than made up for everything, balancing it all out nicely. So in the end, it gave me exactly what I expected--a thin story yet strong themes and amazing fighting sequences.
The way I choose will involve a few different variables. First, of course, I have to like the song. Second, the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun. Third, both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. All of these things (and probably a few more) work together in creating what I feel are good-to-great musical numbers. That being said, the numbers at the top of the list are less exciting for me--but they might not be for you! It's also possible (as I know there are a few) where I don't actually care for the movie, but I just like or love that particular number. Now, let's get into the first number on the list.
Coincidentally, this is one of those I just mentioned where I don't particularly like the movie, but I enjoy the moment. It's a very sad and powerful moment that could almost be a short film unto itself on the pains of war and violence. It's a great song, of course, originating with The Beatles. But the visuals of a war-torn town and the deaths of those involved, then turning the song into a gospel type is appropriate. And here it is...
This particular episode references Episodes 6 and 7 of Season 1.
Last time on The Vlog: DPR is on a bit of a hiatus from The Vlog after being put on mandatory, unpaid vacation, being blamed for all the bad stuff that'd been going on lately. So now he doesn't have all that much to do...
If you'll notice, I didn't put up a 'previously on' for the last season episodes, mostly because I want the intro to be a surprise. But if you really wanna know, you can check here. Also there, you'll find an updated list for the rest of the episodes of this season with a few hints and what's to come.
I actually thought this episode was going to be overly long, so I didn't script a whole bunch. Instead, it turned out to be a bit short, so I had to go back in and add a couple things. It's still about 40 seconds shy of the new maximum time limit, but overall it's the same length as most of the older vids (this one just includes credits time). And the end joke is one I've been waiting to do for at least a couple months now...
But before I do that, I want to get this out right off the bat: there are some films I haven't seen (*gasp*)! Of note (read: possible award films and/or films that I think I might love), the following have not yet graced my eyes and ears: 127 Hours, The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, Cyrus, The American, The Kids Are All Right, Buried, and The Fighter.
So what movies of 2010 have I seen? The following films are 2010 films I've seen either in theater or at home:
**2009 Film Seen In Theater In 2010
After.Life*, Alice In Wonderland, Black Swan, The Book of Eli, Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Clash of the Titans, The Crazies, Date Night*, Daybreakers, Defendor*, Devil, Dinner for Schmucks, The Disappearance of Alice Creed*, District 13: Ultimatum*, Easy A, Exit Through The Gift Shop*, From Paris With Love, Get Him To The Greek*, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Hot Tub Time Machine*, How To Train Your Dragon, The Human Centipede*, Inception, Iron Man 2, The Karate Kid, Kick-Ass, The Last Airbender, Legion, Let Me In, Machete, Monsters*, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Paranormal Activity 2, Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, Predators, Prince of Persia, Repo Men, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Restrepo*, Saw 3D, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, She's Out Of My League*, Shutter Island, The Social Network, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Splice, The Town*, True Grit, Twilight: Eclipse, Up In The Air**, When In Rome*, Winter's Bone*
Total Theater Visits (not including repeat viewings for same movie): 35
Total 2010 Films Seen: 51
Note: As of this post, I have not actually seen Date Night, but it will be viewed by the end of the day, so I put it on the list.
Now it's time to get to the only part people care about: the lists! First up, I'm going to talk about my favorite movies of the year. These might not necessarily be the best movies of the year, but they're the ones I liked the most. So without further ado, here are my Top 10 Favorite Movies Of 2010.
10) True Grit
Not usually too big on westerns, but the Coen Brothers' dialogue totally made this movie. It wasn't perfect and suffered in its third act, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. Not to mention it had some excellent performances from its three leads.
9) Let Me In
Yes, I've seen the original. Yes, I still really liked the remake. In fact, there are some aspects of this remake that I think are better than the original (while there are some aspects of the original that are better than this remake). Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee do very well with their roles. It could have used a bit less crazy CGI with the vampire freak-outs, but otherwise it was a very well-done film.
8) The Social Network
Like True Grit, this movie shines in its dialogue. But this movie also has some truly unlikable characters that you somehow can't stop watching. A truly fascinating film that I really need to see again.
7) Easy A
I love movies like this, where they take a classic story and modernize it, especially when they do it very well. Thankfully this one is done very well with special thanks to its great cast. Emma Stone is hot and nerdy, her parents are dorky and funny, and her English teacher has a dry wit that makes it a lot of fun.
This movie split a lot of people. But for me, it's the second Chloe Moretz film on my list. Sure, it's gritty and hyper-violent. Sure, the movie is more about Chloe Moretz and Nic Cage than Aaron Johnson's Kick-Ass. But the dialogue is fun, the action is fun, and the overall film is pretty, well... kick-ass.
5) Black Swan
The most recent addition to this list. As I said in my review, this is a visceral and sexy film. It can be hard to watch at times, yet you can never take your eyes off of it. Masterfully shot with fantastic performances and a great score make this not only one of my favorites of the year but one of its best.
4) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Was there any doubt this would be here? My current favorite of the series (which has changed practically every time David Yates released a new one). It's a much more quiet, internal film than any of the others. It has some beautiful cinematography. It also has some of the best performances from any of the Trio, particularly Emma Watson.
I'm not gonna spend long talking about this one. It's been talked to death by this point. But it has some fantastic action and some of the trippiest and wonderful visuals I've ever seen.
2) How To Train Your Dragon
Some people adore this movie. Some don't see the big deal. But I rode with Toothless in 3D in theater, and it was one of my favorite 3D experiences I've ever had. But does it hold up without that extra dimension? It sure does. With fun characters, a good story, and a shocking ending, this becomes one of the funnest and one of my favorite films of the year.
1) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
This is no surprise to anyone. I've been saying this for quite a while now. With its quick wit, video game and comic book humor, and over-the-top action, this is hands down not only my favorite movie of the year, but my new favorite movie, barely edging out Shaun of the Dead... by the same director!
Honorable Mentions: Exit Through The Gift Shop, The Karate Kid, Monsters, Predators, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Town
Now that I've covered my favorites, which do I think are actually the best of the year? What I mean by best is this: best overall made and best performances... mixed with enjoyability factor. I believe that a film isn't worth considering as "best" unless you can actually like or enjoy it. It might be a stroke of genius cinematically, but if there is no entertainment value, the film is useless for me. Of course, for these films, I put the focus more on the first two elements instead of the latter, because "best" does require a sense of greatness first and foremost. Also, keep in mind those films I have yet to see. So the following are what I consider to be the Top 10 Best Films Of 2010.
I'm not usually bit on documentaries (or war films), but this film was pretty dang powerful. The decision to tell stuff rather than show stuff at times was good. I did have some issues with it, however, which you can read in more detail in my review.
9) The Disappearance of Alice Creed
It's almost impossible to talk about this movie without spoiling something. After about 30 minutes, there starts to be twists and turns all over the damn place. It's a nontraditional kidnap movie, focusing only on the two kidnappers and the kidnapped. You don't see or hear anyone else. They even make calls to the cops and parents off screen and come back to talk about it later. It has a slow start, but about halfway in, it really picks up and is really captivating... no pun intended. Not to mention it has one of the best uses of a title card, I think (though I can't get into why without spoiling it).
8) True Grit
I've already talked about this movie in the previous list, so I'll just leave it at that.
7) Exit Through The Gift Shop
It could be a documentary... it might not be. Who knows? Banksy does. This was a trip of a movie with one of the most idiotic focal characters ever. It was very meta in nature, and we all know how I love meta stories. And if it's all fake, then this film really is a masterstroke (again, no pun intended). Regardless, it was made in such a way that has spurred controversy about its legitimacy either way, which makes it good in and of itself.
6) Let Me In
Again, I've talked about this film in the last list. The use of camera and music alone makes this film worthy of the list.
5) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Yes, I am including this in my Top 5 Best of the Year. Regardless of the subject matter or what you thought of the story, it was masterfully made. The cinematography is gorgeous. The acting is superb. The film is very introverted with its characters this time around, taking a lot of quiet moments just to see the internal struggles of these young adults. The action, when there, is thrilling. And... I could just keep going, but I won't. Wonderfully made and highly enjoyable. I think it deserves this spot easily.
4 & 3) Tie: Winter's Bone and The Town
I know, a tie is kind of a cop-out, but I was literally stuck trying to figure out what order to put these in. To me, Winter's Bone is the better-made film, but The Town (for me) is much more enjoyable. Winter's Bone has some amazing acting. The Town is a gritty heist film, and we know how much I love my heist films. Both films are dark and gritty and involve poor people and drugs. They both have pros and cons, and in the end, they equal each other out. That's why I had to put them in a tie.
2) The Social Network
This is probably the number 1 on a lot of people's lists. I did really enjoy the film, but it didn't resonate with me as strongly as it did with most people. There were amazing performances all around. The fantastic script flowed off the actors' lips and through the camera's lens wonderfully. It was a greatly made film that was just as enjoyable to watch. But I think there was one film that was better this year.
1) Black Swan
Visually alone, Black Swan tops every other film on this list. I know I keep harking back to those mirrors, but that was damn impressive. I won't talk about this movie anymore. Over the last couple days, you're probably tired of hearing me talk about it. So... visceral and sexy. Yup.
Honorable Mentions: Inception, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Monsters
OK, so I've talked about my favorites and the best. It's time to venture into the opposite spectrum. These are the movies from 2010 that I've liked the least. Some of these might actually be the worst of the year. Some might be decently made, but I just did not like them. Some might be somewhere in the middle. Because I don't go out of my way to watch bad movies, there are very few I actually went to go see or have seen since. So here are my Top 5 Least Favorite of 2010.
5) Resident Evil: Afterlife
I didn't actually dislike this movie a whole lot. The series has been on a steady decline in quality, though I do think this one is better than the third. Regardless, I needed to fill this spot.
4) Hot Tub Time Machine
Probably the only controversial pick on this list. A lot of people really love this movie (I know Dylan put it on his favorites of the year). But it just did not resonate with me. I laughed a couple times, but that was it. I just did not enjoy this movie. Sorry.
3) District B13: Ultimatum
A vastly inferior sequel in all ways. Usually in sequels to action flicks, they amp up the action. This time I can honestly say the action was better in the first film. It's not unwatchable, but you can see the first film and get a better version of exactly the same thing.
An end-of-the-world movie with angels being the cause. What's not to love about that idea? Oh well. While it was a decent idea, the execution was poorly done.
1) The Last Airbender
The single most disappointing movie of the year. I love the series, and M. Night doesn't bother me as much as he bugs other people. But this movie really was awful. It was so bad that, at the time of my review, I was still trying to talk myself into finding good in it. It took the heart and soul of the show and just smashed them to tiny pieces. This is in serious need of a reboot, hopefully this time keeping the feel (and characters, honestly) of the show.
Now that I've talked about the movies, what about performances? The Oscars are coming up quick, so I wanna briefly detail what I think were some of the best performances of the year (in no particular order):
Best Supporting Actress
1) Mila Kunis - Black Swan
2) Emma Watson - Deathly Hallows Part 1
3) Ellen Wong - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
*As you can tell, this was a difficult category for me... outside of Black Swan, I haven't seen any of the films where the actresses in this category came from (the ones being talked about in awards circles, I mean). And I don't count Hailee Steinfeld as supporting.
Best Supporting Actor
1) Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
2) John Hawkes - Winter's Bone
3) Jeremy Renner - The Town
1) Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
2) Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
3) Natalie Portman - Black Swan
1) Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
2) Jeff Bridges - True Grit
3) Leonardo DiCaprio - Inception (or Shutter Island, really...)
*Because I haven't seen either 127 Hours or The King's Speech, this category is difficult since James Franco and Colin Firth seem to be up there for their roles (respectively).
And I think that'll about do it! I'll soon be posting my most anticipated for 2011, so keep an eye out for that. If there is anything else from the previous year you'd like me to give my thoughts on, just post a comment. Got beef with one or more of my choices, or do you actually agree with some of these? Post a comment!
Happy New Year!