Page-To-Film: Rashomon.

I know I just did DVDs Or Death!, but since it was relatively short, I figured I could hand out something of substance, as well. Not to mention the slightly ironic timing due to the movie coming out on DVD this week...


So yesterday, I finally got around to seeing my first Akira Kurosawa film, but not before reading the two short stories it’s based on. I read both stories, “Rashomon” and “In a [Bamboo] Grove” (depending on the translation) in roughly 30 minutes before moving on to the film. I must say that this is one of the closest adaptations to a work of literature (or works, in this case) that I’ve ever seen.

Kurosawa’s Rashomon takes elements from both stories: The location, descriptions, and tonal tidbits from “Rashomon,” and the plot and characters from “In a Grove.” There are only two major differences in the movie: First, the fourth ‘narrative/flashback’ in the movie was added (most likely to add more time to the film), and the baby in the Rashomon at the end was also added, but it was moreso taking the place of an old woman that the Servant finds in the short story of “Rashomon.” Otherwise, everything was almost word-for-word, dialogue and descriptions taken nearly verbatim from the text (even from “Rashomon,” although the plot and characters are from “In a Grove”). The only thing they cut from “In a Grove,” as far as I’m aware, is the woman’s mother’s testimony, which wasn’t really necessary to begin with.

To start with the acting, the only thing I didn’t care for was the immensely over-acting of the actor who played the criminal, Tajomaru. The excessive bouncing and hysterical laughing was even more outlandish than The Monkey King from The Forbidden Kingdom. And the woman who played the wife was good, but her crying quickly got on my nerves (not the fact that she was crying, but the sound of it). But besides the incredible amount of over-the-top laughter and crying, the acting was excellent, even from the previously mentioned characters (when they weren’t doing those things). I just felt that the character of Tajomaru, when reading the story, was more reserved and frightening in a quiet kind of way. The movie version was the exact opposite. I also liked how Kurosawa turned two of the smallest roles in “In a Grove,” the Wood Cutter and the Priest, and made them into central characters. And Kurosawa even went into more detail on who actually took the knife from the chest of the man, which the short story didn’t.

Visually speaking, the movie had some wonderful camera work and shots. I watched an introduction to the movie by Robert Altman, who noted that Kurosawa was the first person to ever point a camera directly at the sun, which I found fascinating. The mood set by the rain was also brilliantly done (even though the rain was taken from the “Rashomon” story).

But one of my favorite moments, both visually and acted, was the Medium channeling the spirit of the man. For an old black and white movie, that scene really creeped me out. It was just so well done with the wind blowing her outfit all around with her hair and covering her face, and the look on the face of the old woman… it was just really unsettling. Not to mention the man’s echoing voice on top of that coming from her mouth. It creeped me out more than The Exorcist ever did (which wasn’t much).

The thing that sets the story and movie off from others that pull this multiple-perspective narrative is that all the movies to come after it tell the exact same story as truth from multiple perspectives. This one, on the other hand, tells the same story in multiple perspectives, but treats them as lies. So by the end of the movie, instead of having something revealed to you, you’re left to think about which one was actually the true occurrence (or as Robert Altman put it, all of them and none of them were true). It’s a story to think about, where not all of the answers are just given up to you. And with a layer underneath that, you have the social commentary of the lies and lives of men and what is needed to be done to survive (this part of the story mostly taken from the “Rashomon” short story).

So while some of the acting could have seemed over-the-top at times, even though it’s most likely a cultural thing, it’s really overshadowed by the basic concept and theme of the film. And on top of that, it really was, as I said, one of the best page-to-film adaptations I’ve ever seen. Now I need to check out Seven Samurai

Royale With Cheese

DVDs Or Death!

Yup... that time again! DVDs Or Death! (of course I missed last week, an interesting week, and remembered this week, a boring week).

Vantage Point.

Brief Synopsis:
A Political Bombing/Assassination Attempt Told In Multiple Perspectives.

Well, I saw it in theater and... it was alright. It wasn't the best attempt at this type of chronology that I've seen (in fact, it was rather flawed). But points of it were entertaining, at least, specifically Forest Whitaker's story.

Viewing Option:
Buy or TV (If I buy it, it's because I'm addicted to stories with funky narratives).

Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns.

Brief Synopsis:
Um... Family? And Madea shows up at some point.

Comments: Tyler Perry is vastly overrated.

Viewing Option: Skip.



Wanted? Wow. Wesley (James McAvoy) is a nobody who works in a cubicle and whose girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend. His life basically sucks, and nothing special is coming out of it. Then, one day, Fox (Angelina Jolie) shows up and tells him that his father was a great assassin and has recently been killed by a man named Cross (Thomas Kretchmann). So Fox takes him to The Fraternity, a sect of awesome assassins led by Sloan (Morgan Freeman). There, Wesley must train to become a great assassin like his father in order to get revenge and kill Cross.

Let’s start off with the obvious: the action. The action was amazing, and it wasn’t all special effects and Matrix-like stunts. Some of it was just pure fist brawling. The blood was high and splattery, and the other action was intense. My adrenaline level almost never went down. And the big shootout climax reminded me a lot of the climax in Equilibrium in which Christian Bale makes his way through the government building in order to get to his final opponent. It was just plain awesome and fun. And some of the movie’s action was even so hard-hitting that it was cringe-worthy (most of those were in the training scenes/montage).

But one aspect in going into this movie I wasn’t expecting was the humor. This movie was really funny, specifically the voice-over narration from McAvoy. He pulled off the character very well. Whereas The Matrix’s Neo went from plausible badass to absolute badass, Wesley went from complete loser (and in no way badass) to absolute badass, which is a much cooler kind of transition (it isn’t that sort of She’s All That makeover in which the dorky girl is still very hot anyway). As a kind of side note, I thought a few times during this movie how McAvoy could make a really good Spider-Man/Peter Parker. But anyway...

Angelina Jolie was smokin hot in this movie. And the other visual stimuli were great, as well. The special effects were top notch, and while bullet time is no new thing anymore, it was used creatively and well for the moments it was there. The cinematography otherwise was also done nicely, making it appeasing to the eye and rather unique.

If there was anything of note that I thought could have been better, it would be reasonings behind transitional moments of character. For instance, Wesley is totally against The Fraternity, and after noticing a bump in his bank account, he suddenly gets a boost in self-confidence and decides to join in (though I loved the office scene that shows his new-found self-confidence. The end part with the… well… ‘Keyboard moment’… got applause in my audience). And then the next time he gets another boost of confidence just seemed a bit off to me. It just felt like there could have been more to some of those types of scenes. In other words, Wesley’s character development was slightly shaky a few times near the beginning. But I quickly just shrugged it off.

Otherwise, I’m not sure what else to say about the movie. It was super fun action, really funny, great to look at (in more ways than one), and although the ending was predictable (down to the final moments), it was still done rather well. I’d definitely see it again.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. Somewhat ironic rating, huh? Oh, and hooray! For the first time, my P.E.S.T. ratings have both been spot-on).



What can I say about WALL*E? Well, let’s start with the plot. 700 years after humans left Earth, one lone robot, WALL*E, is still active and roaming around with his cockroach buddy, making giant cities out of garbage and watching old musicals, hoping for a significant other of his own. But then, one day, a ship shows up and drops off Eve, a scout robot that is there to do a routine check for life of any kind. WALL*E immediately falls in love and spends the rest of the movie trying to hold Eve’s hand, even after following her back into space and to the space colony of the last humans, who have become beyond fat and lazy.

Pixar took a lot of risks with this movie, for numerous reasons:

1) There’s very little dialogue.

2) There’s mixing of computer animation and live action.

3) It’s relatively (and unexpectedly) dark with a high level of social commentary.

4) The story is primarily a love drama with some physical comedy thrown in.

And I have to say, they pulled each and every one of them off with flying colors. The small amount of talking works very well, and you get used to it immediately. It apparently did it well enough that it didn’t even bore the smaller children that were in my theater, because I never heard a peep from any of them. The mixing of animation and live action, though it’s not extensive, worked well. The last time I saw this was with Happy Feet, and it felt incredibly out of place. Here, it works very well and is almost seamless. The social commentary is very in-your-face, but I love movies with social commentary, so it was just another layer of awesome for me. Finally, the movie had the perfect amount of physical comedy to fit the tone of the movie. It wasn’t overdone at all. And the romance built up gradually, as the relatively uncaring Eve slowly begins to care for WALL*E. It was cute, funny, and warming.

The animation of the movie is amazing. It was simply stunning, really (well, the humans were average, but everything else was stunning). From the moment the movie opens up on the city made of compact garbage, placed against a desert landscape, I knew I was in for a visual treat. And simultaneously, as the view is on this, the music playing over it is so haunting. The soundtrack to the movie was almost as brilliant as the animation. It could go from haunting to whimsical to musical-soundtrack and back again, and it was just wonderful.

I cared for all the characters, including the more secondary ones like the cockroach and M-O. I also loved how, from the moment WALL*E gets onto the AXIOM space colony, every accidental thing he does ends up having some kind of huge impact. If the movie could have done anything better, I think it could have played up that aspect a bit more.

But otherwise, I think this movie is almost perfect. I tried to think, on my 20 minute drive home from the movie theater, of something negative to say about this movie… and I honestly could not. I think this movie will deserve the Oscar it will inevitably win.

Royale With Cheese



So it's that time again... and I remembered again! (Though I did forget DVDs Or Death! this week...).


Title: Wall*E.

Pre-Thoughts: I think this one looks to be awesome. It looks really cute, and it seems like it could be one of the best animated movies in a long time. And it's already getting some good reviews, as well. I'm seeing this at a midnight showing tonight, so I'll be back with a review pretty quickly, most likely. And I think it'll be great fun to have an animated movie with little dialogue. I'm not sure how much little kids will dig it, but I know I will. Can't wait.

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Title: Wanted.

Pre-Thoughts: I've been super-excited to see this for ages. Most people out there have been bashing it for ages, saying the trailer makes it look stupid. But the action looks superb (and it's been compared to that of The Matrix). However, early reviews are starting to trickle in, and, amazingly, most of them are incredibly positive. Rotten Tomatoes currently has a total of 61 reviews, and 43 of them are positive... so that's looking good. Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, before interviewing James McAvoy, began by saying "This movie should suck!... but it doesn't! It's awesome!" The action looks awesome, Mrs. Jolie looks hot, and I don't care what anybody says about it being the same role over and over again for Morgan Freeman... I can't wait. Will be seeing it tomorrow with my sister.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Book Review: "Set This House In Order: A Romance of the Souls" by Matt Ruff

I'm lacking in the movie reviews right now, so I'll hook y'all up with another book review.


This book is complicated. Very complicated. Andy Gage has Multiple Personality Disorder and has had such since ‘the body’ was repeatedly abused by ‘the stepfather’ through the years. With every traumatic event, Andy’s personality, or soul, split and split further until there were hundreds of souls living within the body. Aaron, the father, was put in charge of building a house in Andy Gage’s head, a house that would hold all of the souls (except one, who lives on an island in the middle of the lake) to keep them in order. Some of these souls include Jake, a young boy; Adam, a perverted teenager; Aunt Sam, a kind artist; and Sefaris, a giant protector. But Aaron created one in particular, Andrew, that would take control over Andy Gage’s body and run it, giving the other souls their own limited time every now and then.

Andrew works at The Reality Factory with Julie, an ambitious young woman that Andrew is in love with, though she doesn’t exactly return the sentiment. This becomes even truer when Julie hires Mouse, or Penny, as she would prefer (though is too scared to correct), another young woman that Julie seems intent on hooking up with Andrew. But the thing about Penny is that she, too, has MPD, and Julie (knowing Andrew has it, as well) hopes that he can fix her the same way he was fixed, so to speak. Because Penny doesn’t know she has MPD, her mind and her souls are in chaos, and she often has blackouts with other souls taking over. Some of these other souls include the incredible foul-mouthed and overly angry Maledicta and her twin sister Malefica, the shy yet protective Thread, and the highly promiscuous Loins.

Andrew denies at first, angry. It is a long and troubling process that should only be handled by a professional, but when Penny’s souls demand his help, he’s all but forced to oblige. Unfortunately, everything begins to snowball until the house in Andy Gage’s head is sent into chaos, and Andrew and Penny are forced into a cross-country journey of self-discovery.

And not to mention that the book flips back and forth between the first-person narrative of Andrew and the third person/present tense narrative of Mouse. As I said, it’s rather complicated. It actually reminds me a lot of the movie Adaptation with Nicolas Cage. It’s a real mind-freak, and the last 1/3 of the book is not where the rest of the story was leading you to begin with. And this is probably the biggest downfall of the book. The first 2/3s of the book or so is a mix of really funny humor and really disturbing descriptions of parental abuse, whether physical, mental, or sexual. Where the book is funny, it’s pretty funny. Where it delves into the abuse, it gets really disturbing and/or uncomfortable. But it’s all still working very well into a really great, original, and imaginative book.

Then comes the last part of the book. It starts going a bit downhill when the cross-country trip begins. The first half of the book was more like, as the subtitle alludes, a romance or drama. But, similar to Adaptation, it turns into a random murder mystery that just doesn’t seem to work with the majority of the rest of the book (though it really does work for Adaptation, because that was the entire point... but you get my drift). Though it’s not awful by any means. It’s still a good book for what it does. It just had potential to be great and falls just short of it, I think. The end just become too mainstream or blockbuster, which clashed with everything else (just like the movie Adaptation points out). I think what I was most upset by was the character of Adam, though. For the full first half of the book, Adam was always right next to Andrew, commenting or warning in the background as he stared out through Andy Gage’s eyes along with Andrew. You get really used to him, like he’s one of the main characters (such as Julie). But then once the chaos begins, with the exception of a couple scenes here or there, he all but disappears. And then Aunt Sam, who had barely been shown through the first half, becomes more important toward the end.

And the (incredibly lengthy) epilogue seems to be both good and bad. It proves that almost nothing in the first half of the book was even necessary except to trigger the events that cause the road trip. The character of Julie, as well as The Reality Factory and everything involved, becomes highly irrelevant aside from triggering the chaos. And overall, the epilogue seemed to just try too hard to wrap everything up neatly, and it seemed to drag in places (though there were numerous parts in the rest of the book that seemed unnecessary or dragged, as well).

But there were a lot of positives with the book. It was highly original and creative, and it was an incredibly interesting read. And, as I said, there was quite a bit of it that was funny (at least in the first half). And there was a twist about halfway through the book (right before the chaos ensues) that completely took me off guard, which is a good thing with me. I like when stories can surprise me. And I never knew which souls were going to take over next. With Andy Gage’s body, it could have been any number of them. With Penny, it was usually Maledicta, though it would go to somebody else on a rare occasion (such as Loins, or a guy named Duncan, which happened like… once). But Maledicta seemed to be the most common soul with Penny (meaning there is a LOT of cursing in the book, even in probably grammatically incorrect locations).

Overall, I think there is about an equal amount of things to either like or dislike about the book (at least for me). I think there were some things that could have been trimmed down on, such as the need to over-describe stuff. It just made certain places drag. Also, Matt Ruff really likes commas in unnecessary places (where somebody might pause in their speech, usually, which is not usually the grammatical place to put a comma). So yeah, if you’re up for an original or creative story and you don’t mind that it is rather heavy in child abuse of basically every kind, then I’d suggest it. And if you liked Adaptation (and/or it didn’t make your brain melt), then you could give this a chance, as well.


Short Review: The Big Lebowski.

Even though I’ve seen this movie a few times now, I’m still having trouble giving it a full-out review. So here goes with a short one…

Warning: The following review has been rated R by the MPAA… or something.


Premise: The Dude gets mistaken for a rich guy that has the same name, gets his rug peed on, goes to get a new one from the rich guy, and gets caught up in a kidnapping scandal… all right before the big bowling championships.

Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, John Turturro.

My Reaction: They peed on his fucking rug. ‘Shut the fuck up, Donnie.’ Fuck it dude, let’s go bowling. You don’t fuck with the Jesus. Fucking hilarious. Fucking weird dreams. Vagina.

Royale With Cheese

And to be more along the lines of this review:

And because this is hilarious (and I know it's longer than 5 seconds, but it's still funny):


R2D2... The One With More Blog News.

Alright... it's time for more random blog news!

-I decided to just go ahead and end the poll, because it's only had 3 people vote on it (one of which was me) since I put it up. The scores show that people like my R2D2 (much like this one) and DVDs Or Death! posts the most, each with 3 votes. All tied at second place with one vote each were Thoughts On..., LKMYNTS, Regular Reviews, and P.E.S.T. (which I missed this Thursday, sorry). Thanks to the two of you that voted.

-I would like to give another shout-out to the LAMB. I know there's a few new viewers to my blog, and I know at least one of you isn't a LAMB member yet, but you do have a movie blog. I really recommend joining up! It's pretty cool and fun being a LAMB member.

-I also wanted to give a shout out for fellow-LAMB Piper over at Lazy Eye Theater, who is about to start his Bizarro Blog-A-Thon on Monday. It should be fun.

-I've already gotten some good feedback for my first book review posted, so thanks guys and gals for the support!

-Speaking of books, now that I've decided to do book reviews here, I turned my The Missing Page blog from a book review blog into a blog about my own personal writing. If that interests you, you can check it out there. Also, I've added links on my sidebar to the left here that will take you to specific pages on that blog that will either give more information on specific novels, or will give a sample chapter for a specific novel. If anybody wanted to check any of that out, that's cool.

-I am now officially (and have been for a few days) a contributing member of Unheralded reviews. Though there's nothing over there of mine that you wouldn't find here, they also have plenty of other movies that they've reviewed with either different opinions than mine or movies that I have yet to cover. Check us out!

I think that's about it for now. Sorry I missed this week for P.E.S.T. but I had a huge teaching certification test this morning (Content English 8-12), and my mind has been elsewhere this week. So thanks to everybody who reads!



The movie is based on an old TV show of the same name, and I refuse to pun the name in this review (such as ‘Get Smart and Go See This!’) or whatever. So I’ll just get into i… wait, did I just pun the name in my explanation not to pun it? DAMNIT! Anyway… Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) is an incredibly smart desk-bound agent for CONTROL, head up by the Chief (Alan Arkin). After all the agents are compromised in names and looks, including Agent 23 (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), CONTROL is forced to make Max into a full-time field agent, Agent 86. Now in his dream job, Max teams up with Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway), who is able to work the job because she had recently gotten facial reconstruction, and goes to Russia to find out what the evil KAOS group is doing with some nuclear materials and stop them.

I have to say, this movie was pretty funny. The first half, though, tended to be either hit or miss. What I mean by that is, some of the jokes were set up to be great and then they ‘missed it by that much.’ They were still funny, but not as funny as they really could have been. However, as the movie goes on, it gets better/funnier. And while the majority of the jokes are predictable (because you know what to expect from a slapstick comedy), they’re still effective and funny. And I loved the entire bit with the plane bathroom and the parachute stuff soon after.

The acting was done pretty well, even by Miss Hathaway. And I must say, she’s a great deal of eye candy in this movie. Though The Rock’s character was a bit underused in the middle (I don’t care if he’s trying to be more serious by going by his real name… he’ll always be The Rock to me). Oh, and there’s a great small/secondary role by Heroes’ Masi Oka that’s really fun.

I actually don’t have much more to say about it. I thought the movie was really funny, and Anne Hathaway was really nice to look at. There are some cool action stunts toward the end, too. Overall, a really good movie. It’s pretty much what I expected it to be (a fun, goofy, slapstick comedy). Oh, and look for a brief cameo appearance by Bill Murray, too. It’s pretty funny.

I Am McLovin!


Book Review: The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer.

Alrighty... I originally had a review for all 4 books up separately, but I feel my opinions on the series would work better as one (especially since my opinions of the books in the old reviews didn't come out even close to how I truly felt about them). So I'm going to do a re-review, mish-mashing thoughts from the four reviews into one uber-review for the quadrilogy. So, needless to say, spoilers are abound.


The Twilight Saga is 4 books and around 2000 pages of absolutely nothing. It's pure angst written horribly through the eyes of who has to be one of the worst main characters ever conceived (with the exception of one epilogue and one section of the last book, which is through another character's POV... and, in my opinion, one of the few good parts of the series).

Let's set it all up. The first book, Twilight, is full of high school romance and seduction that focuses on the smaller, more insignificant characters of the series. Isabella Swan (Bella) has just moved from the big city of Phoenix, Arizona to a small town where everybody knows everybody called Forks, Washington to live with her dad, Charlie. Forks is a town of constant rain and other dreary weather, and Bella absolutely loathes it there. But she decided to stay there for a while so her mom, Renée, could travel with her step-dad, Phil.

Bella is the type of girl who could trip over her own feet walking down a perfectly paved road, so the constantly slick pathways of Forks don’t much help her situation. She starts up school at the local high school and immediately catches the attention of the local boys, much to her chagrin. She also begins the long road of romantic complexities: Mike has a crush on Bella, but Bella’s new friend Jessica has a crush on Mike; however, Tyler has a crush on Bella, almost in a literal fashion as his van nearly impales her body in an accident and he’ll do anything to repay her. Unfortunately, Lauren now hates Bella because she likes Tyler and would prefer the attention from him. Bella, on the other hand, would much prefer everybody leave her alone… except for Edward Cullen, that is.

Edward and his family, including Alice, Emmett, Rosalie, and Jasper, are all quite mysterious outcasts at the school, but they are also incredibly graceful and almost godly beautiful. And after Edward saves Bella from Tyler’s near-collision in a most unnatural way, Bella both realizes she’s become infatuated with the very breathtaking boy, as well as curious. But Edward is very curious, indeed, as his very first day around Bella, before he even speaks to her, he acts as if she has infuriated him and he wants to do nothing but attack her. And then at a beach party, Bella learns some very important information from a Native American boy, Jacob Black, that is friends of the family. And after having this information confirmed, there are “about three things [Bella] was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him—and [she] didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for [her] blood. And third, [she] was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” And the love is returned, quite ironically, as Edward explains that she is basically his favorite “brand of heroine.” So, in essence, “the lion fell in love with the lamb.”

But the Cullen’s aren’t your typical vampires. They, along with their adoptive parents Carlisle and Esme, refuse to feed on humans and simply prey on animals instead. But that doesn’t make it any less difficult for them, especially Edward toward Bella. Unfortunately, when a Tracker (a vampire who hunts humans for sport as well as food) shows up to town and narrows his sights on Bella, the Cullen family must do everything in their power to keep Bella safe.

This is the basic setup for the whole series. Everything rather snowballs from this event (which doesn't even happen until the last 100 or so pages of the book, kinda like Stephenie Meyer was like "I guess this book needs some suspense or a climax or something... oh, I'll throw in some bad vampires."). Edward gets nervous for Bella's safety after her near-death and, with only one more small occurrence within his own family, decides to leave for good. This causes Bella to turn to friend Jacob, who she uses and abuses like the selfish bitch she is. But Jacob is a werewolf and becomes a jerk himself, so it's all good. And then Edward tries to kill himself, which gets the attention of the Volturi, who keep an eye on Bella, who shouldn't know of vampires. Then the lover of the bad vamp in book 1 comes back and goes to kill Bella (though really just used by the Volturi as an excuse to get rid of Bella)... which spirals into this huge thing where Bella ends up pregnant and the Volturi come to massacre everybody but don't. There. I saved you 2000 pages.

Seriously, though, the best thing about the first book (and movie, really) was the relationship between Bella and her father (which I think Meyer really screws up later in the series). But let's get into the specifics of the series as a whole.

First... the vampires. Let's just get this out of the way first. They sparkle in the sun, are godly in every way imaginable (including breath), and (at least the main ones) don't drink human blood. Yeah... I know. Kinda takes away the cool or 'menacing' factor, huh?

But my biggest issues with the series, besides the horrible writing, really began with Book 2, New Moon. And they spawned from my realization that Bella is a horrible, horrible person. Just starting in Book 2, all of these things continue (and even strengthen) as the series goes on:

Because Edward leaves her early on (within the first few chapters), Bella becomes an inconsolable mess. To look at the first half of the book first (because there is a strong difference between the first and second halves), the following are traits of Bella:

1) She's selfish (which even she admits).

2) She has strong, obviously romantic feelings for Jacob, but stubbornly refuses to go with them.

3) She's just using Jacob and continues to string him along (which she's done since the first book).

4) After all this time (over 6 months), she still mopes around whining about Edward... which is highly annoying (and unrealistic), especially considering she obviously has feelings for Jacob.

5) She's superficial. She's constantly (both in this book and the last) going on about how gorgeous Edward is, and also about Jacob's looks (and sometimes how they don't compare to Edward's).

6) She's dependent to the point that she's, for all intents and purposes, a multiple-drug addict.

Now, I will expand a bit on this last point. Bella didn't just purely love Edward... it was more of an obsession... an addiction. Even the way the book(s) describe(s) is more like a drug addiction than love. Then Edward leaves cold turkey... and Bella curls up in the fetal position, shaking in the forest (withdrawal)... then only becomes a shell of her former self for months afterward, much more over-the-top and melodramatic than it would be in reality (especially for a relationship that only lasted a few months).

Then she rediscovers Jacob, who is like a less potent version of Edward-drug. It gets her by enough so she doesn't have to think about Edward-drug. And she just uses him, trying to tell herself it's because they're good friends but knows that it's really because he's a good 'replacement drug'. Then she discovers a way to experience Edward-drug again without him actually being there (adrenaline), so she scrambles like a crack addict in rehab who just got a recent taste. She'll do anything in order to experience even the littlest part of Edward-drug again, even if that means dying in the process (which, inevitably, is what she has to almost do in order to experience it). Not only is this a person that is highly unlikeable, but it's not a very good role model and/or lesson for the young girls reading this series (Become incredibly clingy and superficial. If and when you lose your first boyfriend, become a blithering idiot and use your best friend. When that doesn't work, kill yourself). Oh, and it's apparently better to love a stone-hard, cold-as-ice, pseudo-jerk, than a warm, soft, loving, compassionate, sensitive guy (though by the time the werewolf thing kicks in, Edward and Jacob are basically, for all intents and purposes, the same person... Edward just 'looks better').

And thus the second half of the book kicks in. First, I must say that I was a much bigger fan of Jacob/Bella than Edward/Bella (because Jacob feels real, and treats Bella realistically, and their interactions feel natural. The relationship with Edward feels forced and makes me continually wonder, along with Bella and Edward themselves, why one loves the other. It's just never explained, and given as pure, straight-up fact. It's also never shown realistically, either, like it is with Jacob). Jake just seemed like an all-around good guy, caring and loving and friendly. But then, out of nowhere, it begins to read like Stephenie Meyer realized she couldn’t have purely nice-guy love interests, so she changes his personality to an extreme so it’s almost like he’s
exactly like Edward (minus the godlike beauty). He’s secretive to the point he can be a jerk, he has anger issues, and he’s way overprotective of Bella. But then, once that begins, it seems as if Stephenie Meyer then realizes she can’t just change a character’s personality halfway through a book, so she starts to flip-flop back and forth between Edward-like personality and Jacob-like personality, and it just feels awkward.

And all of this just continues for the rest of the series. Jacob and Edward are assholes, and Bella is a selfish, superficial, anti-feminist bitch. Jacob continues to fall as a character, and Edward gets a bit more tolerable, but for the most part, both are insufferable. Even Charlie (Bella's dad) turns into a dick in Book 3. The only real constantly likeable characters are Alice and Emmett, two of Edward's "siblings."

And then there's the whole "marriage" issue. This made me want to slam my head repeatedly into something solid and painful. Bella will willingly turn herself into a vampire for all eternity (even though she's afraid of blood) to be with Edward, even if it means losing all of her friends and family forever. However, Edward suggests that he wants to get married first. Bella has a massive fit and thinks marriage is the stupidest idea ever and is too much of a commitment. Um... WHAT? Just even trying to complain about it again makes me want to hurt myself. So I'll just leave it there.But then comes the book that makes the (about) 1500 words we'd read thus far completely and utterly pointless. Let's start off by getting out of the way the whole "I'll show an incredibly descriptive and bloody birthing scene, but I'll constantly fade to black and refuse to show the sex scenes." Well... I think that about sums that up. Like I said earlier, if there's one thing that came from this, it was PART TWO of this book, wherein we get to see things from Jacob's point of view. It's kind of random and out of nowhere this late in the series, but I thought it was interesting. However, it then switches back to Bella... and everything falls apart even more than it already had.

Because then it drags. And drags. And drags. I mean, it was interesting. I wasn’t totally bored reading it. But it didn’t captivate me utterly and completely, either. All the major characters that aren’t Edward, Bella, and Renesme (worst. name. ever.) seem to take a back seat, including Jacob. Jacob’s just kind of… always around, but not overly important. Seth, Leah, and pretty much every Quileute character disappears from the story. Rosalie, who had such a large role in part two, is barely mentioned. I could keep going, but you get the picture. It just reads like everything is happening and nothing is happening all at the same time. And there were a couple moments that tossed in some conflict, but not much. And then the big conflict starts up, and everything starts to get set up for roughly 200 pages for this final ultimate showdown of awesomeness. And some of it continues to drag, but some of it is interesting (and a lot of it is repetitious), but it’s easy to get through knowing it’s all building up for this super awesome showdown as has never been seen before between vampire ancience and other vampires and werewolves and superpowers and a wonder baby.

And then the moment comes. And then it goes. No fighting. Again. Just like the last three books, Stephenie
Meyer has found a way to exclude an incredibly awesome battle sequences in the climax of her books, not allowing the reader the benefit of relief. I mean, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Twilight: Bella passes out and the reader doesn’t see the big fight.

New Moon: There IS no big fight (or much of any action whatsoever).

Eclipse: The major fight is happening elsewhere, and the action that Bella is around can’t be seen by her human eyes.

Breaking Dawn: “Oh, how about I build up the book for 200 pages in talks of fighting and training Bella to fight and how fighting is inevitable and how they’ll round up a bunch of vampires and such to be there as witnesses, but will be there in case of a war, too…. AND THEN HAVE THE BAD GUYS RUN AWAY BEFORE ANYTHING HAPPENS.” They stand around for 50+ pages, talking with their minds (so there can't even be the action of moving their lips), before they shrug and go home.

So… yeah, that bothered me. It was VERY anti-climactic and really seemed as if it made the entire last third of the book pointless and just filler to make for a longer book. Imagine, if you will, if everybody prepped for battle at the end of Harry Potter to fight Voldemort and all his Death Eaters… and after books of waiting and hundreds of pages of build-up and excitement and preparation for this major confrontation… Ginny or, say, Arthur Weasley walks out on the battlefield (before anything starts), talks with Voldemort for about 50 pages, and then Voldemort decides “What the hell, I got nothin'. Come on guys, let’s go home.”It's utterly ridiculous, and just makes reading the series pointless. And it's not as if reading everything that came before it was an easy task, either. Stephenie Meyer desperately needed a new editor, because these books had to have the single worst editing jobs I've ever seen. There were typos and grammatical errors galore. Not to mention just the horribly poor writing in general. There wasn't really enough story to warrant a 4-book saga. Hell, if she removed every time Bella worshipped Edward's godly breath, you'd probably remove at least 1000 pages (I'm not kidding. She was addicted to the dead boy's godly breath).

I'm probably missing quite a bit in this, but you get the picture. As a whole, the series is awful. There's no point to it, and it's terribly written. Stephenie Meyer doesn't deserve her popularity, and it literally makes me nauseated at all the preteen girls that worship these books (and especially those who say they're even good enough to at least rival Harry Potter). Don't get me wrong, there are some moments of suspense, as well as some moments of comedy. As such, there are the rare moments of entertainment value that the books do possess. But outside of a few side characters (such as Alice), all of the characters are awful. Bella is the single worst main character and/or role model to ever grace the pages of young adult literature. And although I've read all four, I wouldn't recommend them to anybody. In fact, I try to talk people out of reading them if they show any interest. So... there.

That's my opinion on The Twilight Saga, and I'd be happy to go over with you in any further detail in the comments if you so wish.


10 Reasons To Dislike AFI's 10 Top 10.

So, did anybody else watch this? And was anybody else as annoyed as I was with it? If you didn't watch it and/or don't know what it was... it was AFI's Top 10 Movies for each of the 10 biggest movie genres... or so it was supposed to be. Instead of going into it in a whole lot of depth, let me just recap some of the reasons this bugged me.

1) Neither Spirited Away, Aladdin, nor The Little Mermaid made the top 10 best animated films.

2) Star Wars (and A New Hope instead of Empire Strikes Back, at that) only made number 2 in best sci-fi.

3) The only actual fantasy movie on the fantasy list was Lord of the Rings (Fellowship... not Return of the King). And that wasn't number 1, either. Seriously, when I think 'fantasy', I think Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, not The Thief of Baghdad and Miracle on 34th Street.

4) How the hell does The Princess Bride not make either 'fantasy' or 'romantic comedy'... at all?

5) Since when are Gangster, Courtroom Drama, Sports, and Epic big movie genres? Where the hell are 'horror' or 'musicals' on this list? Or even 'comedy' besides 'romantic comedy'? Or 'action'?

6) How does The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly not make the 'westerns' list?

7) Should an old movie about pool players (which is stretching the 'sports' title) really be higher up on the list than Jerry Maguire (which got 10th place)?

8) Honestly, besides The Usual Suspects at number 10, the top 10 Mystery movies should have just been renamed 'The Best Alfred Hitchcock films'.

9) The person who chose these movies must be an old timer with little appreciation for newer movies, because out of 100 films, only 15 of them were made after 1990. (29 were made in 1951 or before, and 57 were made in 1971 or before... meaning that the remaining 28 films were made between 1972 and 1989, most of them in the 70s or early 80s).

10) You can give 2 'gangster' spots to the first two Godfather movies and two to both versions of Scarface, but you can't give 2 spots in sci-fi to Star Wars or 2 spots in 'fantasy' to... an actual 'fantasy' movie?


DVDs Or Death!

It's that time of the week again (and I almost forgot... again). It's DVDs OR DEATH!

Be Kind Rewind.

Brief Synopsis: Jack Black Erases VHS Tapes And He And Mos Def Re-film Them.

Comments: I was interested in seeing this when it was in theater, but, alas, it never came here.

Viewing Option: Rent.

Fool's Gold.

Brief Synopsis: Matthew McConaughey And Kate Hudson Search For Buried Treasure.

Comments: This one looked... alright. My mom really wanted to see it, so I'll probably end up seeing it on a rental.

Viewing Option: Rent or TV.

Under the Same Moon.

Brief Synopsis: Mexican Boy Goes Through Illegal Immigration To Find Mother After Grandmother Dies.

Comments: I like foreign movies, and this one looked really good. This one did come here, amazingly enough, but I never got around to seeing it. I definitely want to check it out, though.

Viewing Option: Rent.

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins.

Brief Synopsis: A Successful Martin Lawrence Comes Home To Small Town Family.

Comments: Um... no thanks.

Viewing Option: TV or Skip Altogether.

Short Review: Hellboy.

I saw this when it was in theater, and I think at least once sometime after that, but I saw it again tonight and wondered and wondered how to review it. So I realized a Short Review might do it best. And hey, it’s a short review that’s actually short.


Premise: Nazis and Rasputin open a gateway to Hell and accidentally release a demon boy (thus named Hellboy). Sixty years later, Hellboy, along with the other paranormal bureau agents of the government, face off against a reborn Rasputin who is attempting to accomplish what he failed to do years before.

Starring: Ron Pearlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Rupert Evans, Jeffrey Tambor, and Doug Jones.

My reaction: Sometimes good/most-times mediocre acting (the best from Ron Pearlman). Great effects for mostly people in suits. Great CGI effects, as well (especially the long-horned Hellboy with the crown of fire). Ron Pearlman was a great casting choice, and he was hilarious in the role (‘oh crap’). Cool premise. With the exception of the Sammael fights, the bad guy fights/deaths were too short for the build up, leaving an almost anti-climactic feel to them. Overall it was fun and had a lot of potential, but it could have been done a bit better (maybe if it was longer). Still good, though.

I Am McLovin!


Summer of the Unexpected.

It’s been about a month and a half or so since the summer movie season has officially kicked off (with Iron Man), and it’s been a weird summer experience thus far. Movies that were expected to be bad or mediocre at best turned out to be good or the best, while movies that were expected to be good or the best have turned out not so great. And I’m not just talking about box office revenue or critic appraisal or denouncement, but average reception.

For instance, Iron Man didn’t have a whole lot of hype around it before it was released, and it turned out to be the biggest and best movie of the summer so far. Similarly, Speed Racer, while it was a flop at the box office and had a bad reception from professional critics, was mostly loved by the people who actually decided to go see it. On the other side of the spectrum, Narnia: Prince Caspian and Indiana Jones 4 were two sequels that were widely anticipated, and both turned out to be relatively average at best (the latter moreso hated than loved). More recently, Kung Fu Panda was a hit, Zohan was average, The Strangers wasn't scary, and The Happening—which had so much potential—is widely loathed. And now The Incredible Hulk, which had received flak simply because of the 2003 version and was all but ignored by bloggers everywhere, turned out to be just as good as if not better than (but at least compared to the success of) Iron Man.

So what does this say for the rest of summer? Is this a foreshadowing of events that means the movies that look great won’t be, or the movies that look awful will be great? If this is the case, then that means the following:

(Edit: Because more than one person has seemed to not get the joke of this post... the following list is actually the OPPOSITE of what my current feelings are for the movies... because, as mentioned before this point, every other movie has done opposite of what I have expected... so without further ado:)

-Get Smart won’t be funny at all.

-The Love Guru will be the next Austin Powers (oh wait...)

-Wall*E will bore kids and will be terrible.

-Wanted will be boring.

-Hancock will be truly disliked.

-Hellboy II will be one of Guillermo Del Toro’s worst movies.

-The Dark Knight will be like Spider-Man 3 (a lot of money, but widely disliked).

-Step Brothers will actually be funny.

-The X-Files is actually going to have an audience.

-The Mummy 3 will be the best in the series.

-Pineapple Express will be the worst Judd Apatow movie.

-Star Wars: The Clone Wars is going to set Box Office records.

-Tropic Thunder will flop, regardless of Robert Downey Jr.’s recent Iron Man success.

I mean, I’m hoping this is all false, because I’m looking forward to at least half of these films. But the way summer has been panning out recently, regardless of the money paid or the professional critic hatred, movies have been seemingly the opposite of what has been anticipated. So what are your thoughts? Leave me a comment or two, let’s have a discussion!



I didn’t go into this movie super psyched, as you might have seen in my P.E.S.T. posting. But I came out pumped and excited. I’m not sure which one I liked more, this or Iron Man. The Incredible Hulk is a reboot after the awful Ang Lee version in 2003. This one stars Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, on the run from the military after his accidental transformation in which he killed and/or hurt a lot of people, including love interest Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and General Ross (William Hurt). Now the General is doing anything in his power to find this man, even if it means bringing in the best of the best, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), and turning him into some kind of super-human ‘Abomination’.

The acting in this movie was superb, for the most part. Edward Norton does it again and is a great choice for Dr. Banner. Tim Roth is as nasty and malicious as you’d want him to be, and William Hurt is amazingly dastardly and dislikable (in the good way) as General Ross. The only downside, much like in Iron Man, was the female lead. I think there could have been a better choice than Liv Tyler, though she does to the job decently enough. She’s just rather bland. And because of that, there wasn’t a whole lot of chemistry between her and Edward Norton. That’s really the biggest negative criticism I have for this movie.

The only other negative thing I could say would be that the movie is more action than drama, in that there was only a little character development and not much plot, but the movie was still damn fun, so I really didn’t care about that other stuff by the end. Though one thing I did like about the development of the characters was that they didn’t throw everything at you all at once. You don’t see The Hulk in full until at least 30+ minutes into the movie, as he’s always in the shadows or moving by too quickly, like something from Alien. And Tim Roth doesn’t just randomly become the villain straight-up and is therefore against the hero from that point on. His transformation into The Abomination takes over half the movie and is a nicely-paced process, which I really enjoyed.

And my biggest issue I thought I was gonna have was the CGI. Boy, was I wrong. The CGI was excellent, and it didn’t look over-the-top or fake whatsoever. It was amazing to look at, and even frightening at times (especially with The Abomination toward the end). The action was hard-hitting and awesome, as well. I loved the scene where The Hulk is fighting the still-human Tim Roth in the courtyard (or whatever that place was). But besides the CGI or the action, the movie looked great with normal visuals, as well (cinematography).

Some other random comments:

-The Stan Lee cameo was great, as usual. Though his role was more plot-oriented this time, which is cool.

-The music was amazing.

-The Robert Downey Jr./Tony Stark cameo was great, too, and I’m getting more and more excited for The Avengers.

-The climax was much more satisfying than the one in Iron Man.

There’s not much else to say about this one. I really recommend it.


A Keanu 'Whoa'



I really have no idea what to say. I was hyped for this movie for the longest time, then I started reading horrible reviews about it… and now that I’ve seen it… I feel somewhere in the middle. The Happening is about this event that happens only in the north-eastern United States that causes people to become disoriented before killing themselves. Everybody thinks there’s been another terrorist attack of some kind, but then the likelihood of that slowly starts to dwindle away. So when science teacher Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) hears what’s going on, he, his math teacher friend Julian (John Leguizamo), Julian’s 8-year-old daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez), and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel)—with whom he’s having troubles with relationship-wise—hop a train out to go out into the middle of nowhere where Julian’s mother lives. Unfortunately, the train stops in an even more middle-of-nowhere place because they lost contact with ‘everybody’. So now the gang has to try and find a way to get away from the north-east region of the US to where it’s safe.

So, yeah, not sure what to think about it. There were some tense moments, sure, and there was quite a bit of comedy (I think it was funnier than it was scary). In fact, if the movie hadn’t taken itself so seriously, it might have made a decent horror-comedy. The gore is there, yet it isn’t there. They typically cut away right before showing much of anything (though some stuff was showed). And some of it was more ridiculous than others (such as the lion cage one).

The actual cause, which is revealed pretty early on, is borderline cool and just plain silly. At first I thought it was a bit weird and absurd, but I eventually got used to it, and the movie did garner some good suspense. Either way you look at it, though, it’s rather unique and original. Did it work, though? Semi-sorta.

The movie’s biggest downfall isn’t really in the script or the directing, though (so it really isn’t M. Night’s fault). The biggest downfall is the acting. Mark Wahlberg can be a pretty good actor when he wants to be. I’m not sure he really wanted to be this time. And I usually love Zooey Deschanel (in a lot of ways), but even she was ‘blah’ in this movie. John Leguizamo wasn’t too terrible, though. And Jess, the daughter, was really good… though that’s probably because she has all of two lines or so in the entire movie. Even worse than the main actors was the supporting cast. They could be just downright awful. So really, I blame the acting more than anything in this movie, because acting can make a bad script good or a good script awful.

That’s about all I can say about it. The music was good, and the visual style is good, as it usually is with M. Night. There’s no water-love this time around, though, and don’t go in expecting a twist ending, because there isn’t one. But that’s not really a bad thing, especially considering that most people’s main dislikes for M. Night after The Sixth Sense was that he was too predictable. But whatever. The movie isn’t a masterpiece, but I personally don’t believe it’s as God-awful as everybody has been making it out to be. I think people are just out to hate on M. Night, really. It has its moments, but some of the moments can really be negated by the acting. In other words, it’s not a total failure, but it isn’t M. Night’s ticket back into good standing with Hollywood, either.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.



I know I just posted (and please check it out below, or here, because it's important info), but I totally forgot about Pre-Emptive Strike Thursdays! Darn those new thingies! So here we go for this week.


Title: The Happening.

Pre-Thoughts: I personally think it's gonna bring M. Night back into good standing with critics and such after his last few movies. I've heard it's supposed to be his best since The Sixth Sense. And it's rated R! I think it'll be pretty awesome. It'll probably have a lot of jump-scares, and while some parts of it might be slow (I feel it might be a slow-burn movie) that could turn people off, I really think it'll be worth it.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

Title: The Incredible Hulk.

Pre-Thoughts: The CGI looks as fake as it did the last go-round, but I love Edward Norton, and I think he could really pull through on this movie. I think it won't be nearly as boring as the last one, and it'll have more action, so that'll be cool. Overall, I think it'll be a regular summer popcorn flick. I don't think it'll be incredibly super awesome, but it'll be enjoyable. And Robert Downey Jr. will have a cameo as Tony Stark! That's gonna add some cool points to the movie.

I Am McLovin!

R2D2... The One With Site News.

Alright, so I have just a few random tidbits of news and such to give:

-Voting is officially over for the poll. The results? People want book reviews. So I'll give them book reviews! But how about this? I'll try to connect them to movies somehow. That'll make it interesting, huh?

-There's a new poll up now! Now that we have new types of reviews, I'd like to take an introspective look on the site as is. I have quite a few types of articles and review methods for this blog. Which ones are your favorite? Or do you not even care? Feel free to leave me comments of explanation if you feel the need! I do like comments! I won't bite, I swear! And it's up for multiple choices, in case you can't decide. Or if you have a clear-cut winner, feel free just to choose one.

-After this weekend, whenever it gets all set up, I'll also officially be a contributing member to the review site, Unheralded. But don't fret! All of my reviews there will still continue to be put here, as well. And some of them might even have minor differences, as my 2 In 1 themed reviews sometimes correlate with and expand on each other. And, generally, my Thoughts On segments aren't the typical format for Unheralded, so those will be specialized for here, as well.

-Speaking of other blogs, everybody should go check out the LAMB! I've been a member for quite a few months now (I was member number 17. We now have over 100 members). It's a super secret society (or not) of movie bloggers of varying degrees. We're a really friendly bunch (or are we?). So if you have a movie blog, and aren't already a member, head on over to the LAMB and join up! And if you don't have a movie blog, there's a bunch of good movie blogs there to choose from. Just don't leave me for them... please?

So I think that's about it! Thanks to all of my regular readers (and don't be shy! I love them comments!). So... yeah!


2 In 1: Sweeney Todd and Little Shop of Horrors.

If you can’t figure out the theme for this 2 In 1 just from knowing something about either movie, it’s a theme of romance, dark comedy, singing, and murder. That’s right! The dark romantic musical comedies of death and murder! Or something like that. Anywho, as stated in the title, I finally got around to seeing Sweeney Todd, and I’m pairing it up with one of my favorite movies growing up, Little Shop of Horrors. So here we go!

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Sweeney Todd is a revenge story about unrequited love with almost every character in the movie (at least the love part). And it stars at least a good fourth of the cast of the Harry Potter movies (okay, so that’s an over-exaggeration… but seriously, you could probably combine this movie with Gosford Park, and you’d have practically every important adult role in Harry Potter). But anyway, to the film: Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp), once Benjamin Barker, is a scorned barber whose wife and baby daughter were stolen away by an evil Judge (Alan Rickman) and his ambiguously gay sidekick (Timothy Spall). Over the years, he plots revenge before finally coming back to London to exact it. He meets Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), a meat-pie shop owner, and together they work together to help exact Mr. Todd’s revenge on those who have wronged him.

I have to say that the first half of the movie almost lost me. The music wasn’t overtly catchy (with a couple exceptions), and it was just kind of bland (no help to Tim Burton’s drab coloring scheme). But then the second half of the movie picks up once Sweeney loses it completely and goes utterly insane. The song immediately after that part, the one about how to get rid of the bodies, has to be my favorite from the movie. It was darkly hilarious and reminded me of something Stephen Lynch would sing. So yeah, the second half was much better than the first half.

On the subject of the music, the songs were either hit or miss—hit being the previously mentioned song, miss being the one and only song (albeit a short one) Timothy Spall attempts toward the latter end of the movie (unless I forgot another, but I think that was it). Some were catchy, some were just plain good, and some were either too weird (like Sacha Baron Cohen’s song) or too boring. And as the movie is almost entirely nothing but singing, that means the movie is really either hit or miss at times.

I think acting-wise, everybody did a really good job, even Sacha Baron Cohen (after I got over the weirded-out phase). Depp is brilliant as always, and Carter and Rickman were equally as good. Timothy Spall bugged me the most, but I think that was just the character, not his acting. He was just… odd. But the kudos’ for this movie go to the young Ed Sanders who played orphan-boy Toby. He did really well, especially the emotions on his face at the end of the movie.

Of course I have to mention the visuals. I sustain my thoughts that I had prior to seeing the movie: what was bleak and gray was very bleak and gray; what was bright and colorful was very bright and colorful. There was no in-between, and the majority of the movie had grays and blacks (and the occasional white to show off the blood red).

I’m not sure what else to mention about it. I think those were really all my major thoughts. The movie was pretty good, but it could have been better. Though, also to help me boost the score up to the point I do is not only because there were parts able to keep me on my toes, but I was caught off guard at the end with a twist I wasn’t expecting. I love it when movies can do that. It always makes me appreciate the movie more. And I really do appreciate what this movie did, even if it was disturbing (though I might have enjoyed it more had I not watched it with my mother, who was complaining about the blood and such for the entire last half of the movie).

I Am McLovin!

Little Shop of Horrors.

Back in 1960, Roger Corman made a cult classic in two days using left-over sets and such from a previous movie he had finished early (with a cameo by a very young Jack Nicholson). Years later, it was turned into an off-Broadway musical, which would later be adapted by Frank Oz and Howard Ashman into the 1986 musical extravaganza! Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) is a skid-row orphan working under Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) at Mushnik’s floral shop. He’s desperately and longingly in love with co-worker Audrey (Ellen Greene), but she’s shacking up with abusive and sadistic dentist, Orin Scrivello, DDS (Steve Martin). But after a total eclipse of the sun, Seymour discovers a fly-trap-esque plant and takes it in. He names it the Audrey II, and it immediately brings instant success to the bankrupt shop. But then Seymour discovers a deadly secret: the plant can only survive by drinking blood. So he feeds it his own blood until it gets too big and starts talking (voiced by Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops), requesting that Seymour go out and kill people to feed him.

This movie was my favorite growing up (which explains quite a lot, really). I’ve watched it an uncountable amount of times, and I know the words and lyrics backward and forward. It’s dark, it’s funny, it’s romantic, and it’s scary. This movie still creeps me out at times, and I hate being around plants in the dark. The one specific scene that will never ever stop scaring the crap out of me is toward the end when Audrey II calls up Audrey (who lives right across the street) and sings to her. Audrey slowly turns to her window and sees this enormous plant staring and laughing at her from across the street. God, just thinking about that scene creeps me out.

The singing is done very well, and Rick Moranis really has some pipes in him. Great voice. Really, every song is a classic with me, even if they aren’t my favorite (such as the more romantic ‘somewhere that’s green’. However, after I heard about the original ending and the irony around that song and its original purpose, I came to appreciate it much more).

And speaking of the ending, this movie has one of the most famous stories in cinema. They shot the original ending, the one taken from the stage play, where everybody dies and the plants take over the world, but it did poorly with test audiences. So they spent millions of more dollars to film a happier ending just to please the audience. That’s Hollywood for you. But I’ve seen the original ending, as well, and it’s pretty creepy (though the last frame of the happy ending is creepy in itself, too).

And this movie is cameo-central. There’s Bill Murray as the pain-loving dentist's patient (originally played by Jack Nicholson in Roger Corman’s version), and he has, hands down, the funniest scene in the entire movie. And he and Steve Martin improv’d the entire scene. Hilarity. There’s also Christopher Guest, John Candy, and James Belushi (also, as I just realized, for another Harry Potter reference, Miriam Margolyes is also in the movie (she was Professor Sprout in the first two HP movies)).

I really don’t know what else to say about this movie. I love every inch of it. I really recommend it to people who like musicals, dark comedies, or just anything twisted in general. It’s great fun (for the whole family!).

Royale With Cheese


DVDs Or Death!

I apologize for missing this feature for the past month or so, but it's back! So don't fret any more! It's time once again for... DVDs OR DEATH!

The Other Boleyn Girl.

Brief Synopsis: Natalie Portman And Scarlett Johansson Playing Slutty Sisters And Boning Eric Bana's Henry VIII.

Comments: I wanted to see this one in theater, but it didn't even come here. Though I mostly wanted to see it because I love both Natalie and Scarlett. But I've since heard this movie was pretty bad and rather boring.

Viewing Option: Rent or TV.

The Bucket List.

Brief Synopsis: Jack Nicholson And Morgan Freeman Do Things Before They Die.

Comments: I saw it in theater. It was pretty decent, though I probably wouldn't buy it. Sean Hayes (Jack from Will & Grace) was the best thing about the movie, and I didn't really care for Mr. Nicholson in it.

Viewing Option: Wait for TV.


Brief Synopsis: Kid Who Teleports Meets Other Kid Who Teleports And Fights Sam Jackson.

Comments: Again, saw it in theater... and it was a total let-down.

Viewing Option: Wait for TV (if just to see the teleporting scenes).

Funny Games.

Brief Synopsis: Two Guys Take Family Hostage And Do Torturous Things.

Comments: This was obviously too small of a movie to come here, though I've heard mixed reviews. Though I hadn't actually heard of the movie until I read reviews, and I've still yet to even watch a trailer.

Viewing Option: Rent.


Thoughts On The 28 _____ Later Movies.

I thought I should do a thoughts on on two of my favorite horror movies: 28 Days Later… and 28 Weeks Later. Unlike the previous thoughts on segments, however, this one will be both a discussion and a set of reviews (including scores). So why not just do a 2 In 1 you ask? Because there’s more I want to talk about than just the acting or cinematography or whatnot. Plus, it’ll be easier to focus on both movies simultaneously.

So first and foremost, I need to bring up the most discussed topic on these two movies: What, exactly, are The Infected? Well, they’re not zombies. I repeat:

They are not zombies.

I love zombies. I’m a zombie fanatic. I’ve studied them left and right, from the voodoo variety to the heights of George Romero and the lows of Uwe Boll. So I can safely say that to be a zombie, you must have the following three primary characteristics:

1) You must be dead.

This is key to being a cinematic zombie. You have to be a reanimated corpse, whether slow or fast for whatever reason.

2) You must eat human flesh.

This is second most important, and most obvious, trait of being a zombie. Zombies eat people. That’s why they’re so fearsome. They don’t just go for brains (as the awful Return of the Living Dead movies portray), but any bodily flesh.

3) You can only be killed via brain damage (such as a gunshot) or decapitation.

Shoot them in the knees, they’ll get back up and continue stumbling for you. Cut them in half, they’ll pull themselves with their guts dragging behind them. Set them on fire, they’ll keep on after you (at least until the fire damages the brain). No matter what, the only things to keep a zombie down is damaging the brain or severing it from the spinal column.

So, taking all of these three key characteristics into mind, let us look at The Infected:

1) They are not dead. They’re living people (albeit very angry living people).

2) They do not eat human flesh. In fact, they don’t eat period (they end up starving to death by the end).

3) They can be killed just like any other human being can be killed (as portrayed quite a few times in both movies).

The Infected follow none of the key traits of a zombie. Therefore, they’re not zombies. They’re highly enraged humans who have lost all other thoughts except for the primal urge to destroy. And that’s what they do. They use what they have (teeth, fingernails, etc.) to attack a person until they either die or become infected themselves.

So now that all of that is out of the way, we can get to my thoughts on the actual movies. I think both movies are extraordinary in what they do, and they both do different things. Days is the more philosophical one with strong characters and strong character growth. You really feel for the main group and their plight and journeys. And you feel awful when things happen to them. Weeks, on the other hand, focuses more on the heart-pounding, nonstop suspense and the family unit. But that’s not to say you don’t feel for the characters of the sequel. You do; just not in the same way. Days had a slow pacing with the suspense spread out, allowing you to really get some calm, character-knowing moments. Weeks, however, was almost non-stop action, so while you might have really liked a character and felt for them (such as Doyle), you really don’t get to feel you really know them, if that makes sense.

The next big thing to notice about each movie is the visual styles of each. Days has more of a grainy, hand-held, realistic approach, while Weeks is more mainstream high-def camera work. However, where Weeks loses in the grainy picture, it gains in the unique situations that the main characters get put into. When Andy gets stuck in the dark garage full of people, and they start becoming infected, you wonder how on earth he’s going to get out. Or when they go into the subway tunnels and it’s pitch black, so they have to rely on the night-scope and vocal orders to get through safely. Both movies have a unique style for what each does, and both work amazingly well. I would also like to take this moment to mention one of my favorite shots out of both movies, which just so happens to be in Days: When Jim first enters the church (and after passing the ‘the end is fucking nigh’ in blood on the wall), he looks down from the balcony to see a bunch of dead bodies sprawled out right underneath a painting/stained glass window of bodies sprawled out on the ground. It’s just beautiful imagery.

As for acting, Days is far superior. Cillian Murphy knocks it out of the park as Jim, and his character growth is astounding. He begins the movie as a nervous, naïve-to-the-situation, what-the-hell kinda guy. But by the end, he’s a badass, taking charge and wrecking havoc against the military guys. Naomie Harris as Selena probably has the biggest character change, though, going from heartless, tough-as-nails, take-no-shit, I’ll-kill-you-in-a-heartbeat kinda gal, to a caring, loving, compassionate individual (though still pretty tough). Brendan Gleeson as Frank the loving, though worried and protective father was great. You can’t help but feel for him and his dead-set mission on finding the military base so that his daughter can be in safe hands. If there were any downfalls in the acting, it would be Megan Burns as Hannah, Frank’s daughter, who talked really blandly half the time as if she were stoned (though, she is stoned for the entire climax, so that might be alright…).

The best performances for Weeks, on the other hand, were Robert Carlyle as Don (mostly because of his eyes and facial expressions)--at least early on in the movie, anyway--and, of course, Jeremy Renner as Doyle, who is the most likeable character in the movie. And I like him even more, as I saw in a behind-the-scenes that he shares the same opinion with me on the not-zombie issue. As for the kids… well, with real names like Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton, who needs anything more?

It really goes without saying that the winner on the suspense level is Weeks. I’ve said it before, but Weeks has one of the greatest and most suspenseful movie openings ever. And the openings for each movie really show the differences in the two movies. After the monkey sequence, Days has about 10-15 minutes of Jim walking around a beautifully desolate London all alone, slowly realizing that the entire city has seemingly evacuated completely. And then he reaches the church, has the run-in with the priest, and then is chased for about a minute or so before there’s a huge explosion, and that’s it.

Weeks, on the other hand, has a few first slow minutes before there’s a break for quick suspense, then another minute to catch our breath, and then about 5 minutes of non-stop, heart-pounding suspense. And not only that, but there’s so much emotion in that little time frame, especially with Don’s escape.

The two movies were compared in level of greatness with George Romero’s original films. Days was like Night of the Living Dead: classic and amazing. Weeks was like Dawn of the Dead: taking everything great in the first, and making it even better. I used to agree whole- heartedly with that statement, but I really think now that both movies really do two different things in amazing ways that it’s hard to say which is better than the other. The style of Days, uneasy and slow-moving, worked for the story it had to tell. But the style of Weeks, fast-paced and terror-filled, worked for its own story, as well. So in the end, they’re both great, and they’re both two of my favorite horror films. The third one better come soon. But for now, I have to give the two that are currently available both an equal score.

Royale With Cheese

(P.S. I totally forgot to mention this, but the main musical theme in both movies is one of my favorite horror movie themes ever. Purely amazing.)