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In 1998, for the first time since the days of Errol Flynn, Hollywood
gave us a swashbuckling epic which did something that no similar film
has done since. It managed to deliver all the goods without being
heavily dependant on a dumbed down story or heavy use of clichés. While
the formula is somewhat schematic, it has a real sense of romantic age,
glamour and historical accuracy to it as well as fully rounded,
non-artificial characters, and a story that combines
humour/action/emotion perfectly, never too little or too much. This is
probably the best post- Flynn swashbuckler, and while plenty of similar
films have come out since, there is something about The Mask of Zorro
which so far it has not been parallelled.
After being jailed for twenty years, by former California Governor Don Raphael Montero, Don Diego de la Vega (once Zorro) breaks out. At the same time Montaro has just returned to California from exile. One morning diego meets young Aleandro Mureta. As kids he and his brother were Zorro's biggest fans. Since the recent murder of his brother by Captain Love of the U.S. Army (Montaro's right hand man), he has become a drunk, and wants revenge. Diego gives him that chance when he offers to train him to be a new Zorro.
The Mask of Zorro blew me away when I saw it in theatres as a kid. It truly is the perfect film to capture the imagination. To this day I never tire of it. Well photographed, well edited, artistically scored, cleverly written and ambitiously directed, not to mention featuring the best swordplay that cinema can offer.
I was fourteen when I saw this movie. I thought it was cute on the
first time, but I quickly grew out of it, not because I got older, on
the contrary, I still get a kick out of Spongebob. If the film was
being released this year, I would be just as eager to see it. Since
graduating high school I have chosen to invest my life in movies (which
I am studying in University needless to say.) also needless to say, I
have since been able to recognize good filmaking from bad. The sponge
bob squarepants movie is not bad, and I'll give credit to Stephan
Hillenberg for being able to stretch out a half hours worth of material
into ninety minutes, but it comes which a big problem. The story
Spongebob is in a race of time on a quest to recover King Neptune's crown from the forbidden Shell city. He has his starfish buddy Patrick along side him. there is never any sense of adventure to the story, because the movie throws out way too many coincidences for comfort. Every time Spongebob is in jeopardy, there is some form of Deus ex Machina which comes to the rescue. I am not at all comfortable with the manner in which sponge bob is made to look so incompetent, which brings me to my next point.
In the Show, sponge bob is neither kid nor adult (nor is he an adolescent). Actually he is a combination of all three. I suppose he is a bit like Forrest Gump in that regard, which is one of the reasons he is so lovable. Here is pushed too in the direction of a kid persona. I'm sure all the little kiddie fans will get a kick out of Spongebob's love for a bubble party or the urging temptation to sing the utterly sappy 'goofey-goober' song, even in a situation when his life depends on him not singing it. I think I recall even laughing a bit myself, but when you stop to reconsider the aftermath of the scene, It comes across as annoying.
The movie is not completely unsatisfying. it is funny at times, but not to the best of it's abilities. As much humour as one could argue the film may have, it is almost bone dry of wit, the kind that we see plenty of in the show. even the climactic scene, which is a flimsy satire of a rock concert video, feels far more corny and out of place than appealing.
When all is said and done, the Spongebob Squarepants movie, is one that may appeal to young audiences, but some people are smarter than that. It doesn't recapture the show well enough for me to recommend to older fans, and it certainly not a good family feature, because it has little or nothing for adults. The sponge bob Squarepants movie ends up feeling like little more than a novelty item.
I'll give James Wan and Leigh Whannell credit for one achievement in
Insidious: Chapter 2; if nothing else, at least they didn't mail it in.
When it comes to plotting, some follow ups are pure repeats of their predecessors, but for Insidious, Wan and Whannell have managed to build upon some of the makings of the first instalment. In doing so, they have shed a little bit of light into the darker and unexplained portions of the Lambert family's story, and elect to give it the conclusion that the characters deserve; a noble development in a genre where the audience is often un concerned about what becomes of protagonists. Here, unfortunately is where the success of Chapter 2 ends.
The second Insidious is one of those films where you can't immediately decide whether it features too much story material, or too little. There is a lot going on in this film, but none of it ever seems to have a focal point. It is a dense film, chaotic and rushed, it features too many figures (both living and dead), flirts occasionally with the dangers of triple timelines and gives its characters almost no breathing room. The film is more concerned with their back stories than it is with their present ones, leading me to think that Insidious: Chapter 2 may have actually worked better as a two hour feature. The climax is especially hectic, and disorienting because of it's pacing and choppy editing.
If this wasn't enough, Insidious: Chapter 2 is further crippled by its lack of genuine suspense. The movie is far less scary than it is borderline humorous. Even if Wan has once again respectably avoided copious bloodshed, There is no subtly in either the direction or the script, creating 'boo' moments that might cause laughter.
Insidious: Chapter 2, is a sequel that appeals because it promises to build upon its set up, rather than repeat it. Only occasionally does it fulfil this promise. I won't say it was an unnecessary sequel, but there is simply no way it should have been this disappointing.
Why is Hollywood so desperate to tell origin stories? Does the Wizard
of Oz really need that treatment? Why should the audience care about
his origin? After all, he is one of the less likable characters in the
classic. He is a liar and a phony, and an unsympathetic human being
with no power or magic. It should be no surprise then that Oz the Great
and Powerful has no magic either.
This is the story of a travelling circus magician in Kansas, nicknamed Oz who ends up in a land that just happens to have that same name. Suddenly the people of the land of Oz believe him to be the wizard who will save them from the tyranny of the wicked witch.
What we get is the classic tale of mistaken identity that leaves no cliché unturned. It is chaotic and restless, and offers no breathing room for character development. Instead, all the air is given to over sized computer generated flowers and singing water plants. The entire cast should be ashamed of themselves for this series of non- performances. Nobody in this movie looks involved or committed. James Franco is playing his obnoxious self, and he doesn't even do it well. I wont even begin do describe how unconvincing all the leading ladies are. If I wanted to be nice, I would say they were all subject to casting errors. Mila Kunis as the Wicked Witch (when you think about it) does not even sound right.
There are times when the movie is so close to a parody that you'd think it was directed by the Seltzer/Freidberg duo (Epic movie). Most of the script is laughable, but it is not always easy to tell when this is intentionally so. I did like one character's remark about 'yellow brick potholes'.
I suppose one could argue the visuals are competent, but I wasn't impressed. Everything in this world is something that we've seen before, and done better. The color temperature is overwhelming and at times causes motion blur and pixelation in the CG. When a world is as fantastical as this, then it bears no resemblance to reality, and you become aware of the need for green screens. In fact, I cannot think of a single moment in the film that looked like it was on location. There was not even a single cloud or piece of yellow brick that didn't look like the product of digitization.
This entire production was a mistake; a film that makes its actors look bad, and tells a story that is neither entertaining nor enriching as family entertainment. It only serves to reminds us that the land of Oz is one for the history books. It had its day, and should not have been rejuvenated
42 has a handful of memorable scenes, a credible period feel, and
moments of compelling acting; but somehow, the picture as a whole falls
a little short of a home run.
The word I would use to describe 42 is 'safe'. While I wasn't looking for an Oliver Stone, hit-me-over-the-head with brutal honesty kind of motion picture, I found the drama of 42 to be a little bit muted. This is a respectable and educational bio-pic for a mass audience; but strong film making, it is not.
There is another problem I had. Harrison Ford gives a hammy and unconvincing performance that borders on caricature. Everyone else in the cast performs very naturally, while Ford relies more on overly theatrical mannerisms than emotion to give us a character.
42 seems a little bit short in length for comfort. It is obvious that certain scenes were cut, scenes which I would have liked to see. For example the relationship between Robinson and his wife is virtually non existent. He proposes to her in the first act, and their chemistry pretty much ends there. The film chose a good place to end its story arc, (when taking real history into account) but the ending itself feels a little rushed.
42 is a noble film, and a mostly accurate one. It is a film that many people aught to see, but not all of them will like. I believe that the story of Jackie Robinson deserved a bit more dramatic momentum and a bit less sentimentality than Brian Helgelands bio pic provides. This is a medium good film, that should have been a great one.
Of the first four Pokemon feature films, Pokemon 4ever has the
strongest Disney vibe, and I feel like it is a good choice for the
youngest pokemon viewers. For the more adolescent fans (however many
there are), I am more dubious to recommend this. Pokemon 3 may have
been dark, but the story was imaginative and had some wisdom and
emotional depth. Whereas Pokemon 3 could almost have been a family
movie, Pokemon 4ever is easily just a kids movie.
Pokemon 4ever takes Ash and friends out of the darkness and back into sunlight. As beautiful as this fourth entry is, it is also quite corny. All pokemon movies integrate a new legendary pokemon into the story. Pokemon 4ever showcases Celebi; a forest spirit who is chirpy, but nothing more. Celebi has about as much personality as the sugar fairies in Fantasia. She may be a pokemon, but a character she is not. Equally unmemorable is the cackling antagonist, who dresses like the terminator's second cousin and behaves like a shallow Disney villain.
Pretty much the entire film takes place in the Johto region forest, (having been aired at the end of the fourth season) This is a visually spectacular piece of landscape, which becomes the setting for a less than spectacular storyline. Pokemon 4ever, may be concise and simple in plot, but not only is it rather shallow, but it feels strangely rushed.
Pokemon 4ever also has the kind of syrupy ending that tries to pull to emotions out of us which it has not earned. The pokemon world can offer a variety of strong story possibilities, but this movie does not exploit them. This is essentially a Disney movie, that has pokemon in it. My conclusion is that Pokemon 4ever is a visually strong but thinly written entry in the adventures of Ash Ketchum.
People going to see Sinister are most likely doing so because they are
fans of the genre, and have likely seen dozens of such films.
Sinister's greatest trick is that for a while, it convinces you that
you have NOT seen this kind of movie before. It will have you hooked
from the first shot, and for about an hour, Sinister is just as
suspenseful as it is intriguing. Unfortunately, like so many movies do,
the final act falls short.
Sinister runs out of steam in the last half hour. The ending is a problem, for not only does it come with a sense of anti-climax, but it is almost absurd enough to pass for genre parody. It leaves behind an abundance of red herrings, and you come away feeling a little bit cheated.
Another problem with Sinister is that it sweeps two or three potentially interesting sub-plots under the rug; something that would have given the movie more interesting characters. There is a sense that too much story material was left behind in order to make this a more direct and unfaltering ghost story.
Perhaps more than any other genre, horror movies demand very manipulative interior cinematography, and Sinister doesn't seem like it was lit properly. Even for a horror movie, the shadows are surprising heavy and overwhelming, and there are moments when it is too dark to see anything. This is not a complaint I make frequently about movies. More impressive in Sinister, is the sound design. which is full of subtle contributions. I cannot remember the last time I was spooked by the sound of a film projector's motor and claw.
I wish I could recommend Sinister, but I cannot. Even if it is a scary movie, it is one that initially appears to be smarter and more original than it actually is.
I'll give credit to Snow White and the Huntsman where I think it is
Like all proper fairy tales, this one is certainly unafraid to get dirty, dank and even grotesque, which includes covering Kristen Stewart in lots of mud. Indeed, Snow White is sometimes Snow Brown in the first half of the film. At the same time, it also doesn't hesitate in bringing some some Disneyesque innocence, joy and sunshine into the picture, and it does so without being cheesy.
Rupert Sanders' directorial debut starts like a fairy tale, progresses like a fairy tale, but it ends like a Hollywood movie, and one that is is eager to wrap itself up. The last half hour feels like something half baked in comparison to the more rounded and patiently paced preceding hundred minutes. This visually stunning motion picture is almost visually humorous near the end. For the record, let us not forget that Snow White is a princess ...NOT a warrior. She doesn't wear a full suit of armour, ride strait saddle and fight with a sword and shield which she could never lift. Being a fantasy film, doesn't strike me as an excuse to stray from historical accuracy when you are mimicking a historical time period like the dark ages
I also didn't like the ending at all. I was impressed that the movie was able to give so many supporting characters some story, but the ending kind of leaves them all dangling. Snow White and the Huntsman needed another ten minutes to achieve a better sense of closure.
Kristen Stewart is not someone I would have picked for the role. While she is not terrible, she is not quite at home here, because she lacks charm. Meanwhile Charlize Theron is almost perfect as the wicked queen. She is pure evil, almost to the point of being cartoonish (which actually feels appropriate here)
Snow White and the Hunstman entertains in various ways, but there is work to be done. There was a point where I could no longer suspend disbelief, and from there, things wen't downhill. This is a medium good film at best.
The Expendables are the dream team of action heroes, but what they
amount to is a fighting machine that lacks character. Or at least that
was the case with the first film.
The Expendables 2 is no less noisy than its predecessor, but it shows improvement as a movie. What elevates this sequel its ability to wink at itself. It does this frequently enough to make the uncontrolled violence a bit more endurable. There is enough self-satire to the appearances of Schwarzenegger and Norris to make their presence quite worth while. The principle characters feel much less interchangeable in personality than they did in the last movie, partially because there are fewer of them. The working of a principle female character into the script is another nice touch, and I like that the movie doesn't make here a superficial bombshell in the way that other movies do.
The intended audience is going to be well satisfied, but I'm not sure how Jean Claude Van Damme's fans will take it. The problem is not that he is a villain, but rather he is a lame villain. The few lines he has are poorly scripted, and his face is somehow always in shadow, leading me to the conclusion that he did NOT need to be in this movie. Anybody else would have been well at home in that role, provided that they could tackled Stallone.
In a strange kind of way, Sylvester Stallone seems a bit more endurable in his old age. beneath his brawny facade, there is a small sense of melancholy to the guy. Maybe it's just because he is the star, but he always seems a tad bit more human than his colleagues.
In the end though, it's just entertainment. A lot of bullets/knives go flying, a lot of vehicles get flipped, a lot of one liners get delivered. It's probably a bit overwhelming for most, but it's better than the first movie.
Through a combination of sloppy, inconsistent storytelling, incapable
direction resulting in no suspense, anti-climax, and an ending that is
too clean for a story as messy as this one, Intruders falls apart
before your very eyes.
Nothing about this movie comes together. From a horror buff's point of view, the worst the thing about Intruders it probably that it throws a lot of shadows at the viewers but never succeeds in being scary or clever. From the beginning you kind of suspect that this is going to be a twist ending film, and the twist itself is not unpredictable at all, but it is presented very absurdly and fails to bring the scenario to a satisfactory conclusion.
If you thought Killer Elite was a waste of talent for Clive Owen, you haven't seen anything yet. Wait till you see him in Intruders (although I'm not suggesting that you do). Owen's performance is so savagely underplayed and lacking charisma that Steven Seagal could've just as easily filled the shoes of this movie's protagonist. Considering that the character gets to fist fight a ghost two times, At least Seagal might have been a little more endurable to watch. There are moments when Indruders may provoke more laughs then scares.
Everybody stay away from this movie. It's a failure on almost all fronts. Parts of it are well scored and photographed, but that's really just gloss to attempt polish a giant pile of dung.
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