Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
"I'd raise to be able to tell the difference between a good
movie and something drudged up from the cinema cemetery,
thrown in the blender with some schlock, eaten and
subsequently shat onto film by an incontinent rhinoceros."
-28 Days Later... -300 -(500) Days Of Summer -Akira -Alien -Aliens -Army Of Darkness -Back To The Future -Back To The Future, Part II -Back To The Future, Part III -Batman (1989) -Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm -Batman Returns -The Beach Party At The Threshold Of Hell -Big Fish -Blade Runner -The Boondock Saints -Bowfinger -Casablanca -Cecil B. Demented -Cinema Paradiso -Cowboy Bebop: The Movie -The Dark Knight -The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) -Dick Tracy -Die Hard -District 9 -Doomsday -The Empire Strikes Back -Escape From New York -The Evil Dead -Evil Dead II -Evolution -Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas -Forbidden Planet -From Dusk Till Dawn -Ghostbusters -Ghostbusters II -The Good, The Bad & The Ugly -Grave Of The Fireflies -Hellboy -Hook -How To Train Your Dragon -The Hunt For Red October -In Bruges -The Incredibles -The Iron Giant -Juno -Jurassic Park -The Last Boy Scout -The Last Temptation Of Christ -The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou -Life Is Beautiful -Lilo & Stitch -Lucky Number Slevin -Mars Attacks! -The Mask -Men In Black -Monty Python And The Holy Grail -Mystery Men -Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist -The Nightmare Before Christmas -The Notebook -Once Upon A Time In America -One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -The Princess Bride -Pulp Fiction -Raiders Of The Lost Ark -Return Of The Jedi -RoboCop -Rob Roy -The Rocketeer -The Rocky Horror Picture Show -Running Scared (2006) -A Scanner Darkly -Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World -Secondhand Lions -Serenity -The Seven Samurai -Shaun Of The Dead -The Shawshank Redemption -Sid And Nancy -Small Soldiers -Sneakers -Spaceballs -Spartacus -Spider-Man 2 -Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan -Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country -Star Trek (2009) -Star Wars -Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze -The Terminal -The Terminator -Terminator 2: Judgment Day -Titan A.E. -TMNT -Toys -Transformers: The Movie (1986) -True Romance -The Truman Show -The Untouchables -V For Vendetta -Videodrome -Wall-E -The Warriors -Watchmen -Who Framed Roger Rabbit? -Wrongfully Accused -Zombieland
Jonah Hex (2010)
Not the most intelligent movie, but a stylish enjoyable ride.
Comic book movies are all the rage these days. Ever since Spawn, Blade and X-Men hit it big in 1997, 1998 and 2000 (respectively), it seems like one or two or sometimes more new comic-turned-films come out every year. This year, we had Iron Man 2, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Kick-Ass, Red, Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night, and Jonah Hex. I had just watched Jonah Hex this morning, after previously putting it off under the impression that it was going to be a terrible. After all, reviews were dismal, and most audiences avoided it. The reason for this I think is that, like the previously mentioned Kick-Ass, Jonah Hex is an amalgamation of different genres and styles to produce a sort of cinematic conglomerate.
The story revolves around the title character of Jonah Hex, a former soldier of the Civil War who betrayed his superior officer under moral principles. This general, one Quentin Turnbull, in turn scarred Hex for life and left him near dead. Because of this, Jonah becomes a loner bounty hunter who discovers he can speak with the dead (this last bit is partly due to the help of Native Americans). After he spends his life afterwards hunting down thugs under the assurance that Turnbull died in the last days of the war, he discovers that Turnbull is in fact still alive and planning to annihilate the American populace, and sets out to stop him as both a 'favor' to the country and a personal vendetta.
Jonah Hex is supported by two things: Its style and its characters. As I said before, the film is a combination of styles. Here we have a healthy chunk of gritty 1960's western, a dose of self-aware comic book sensibility, a bit of modern era actioneering, and a nice touch of personal struggle. At any given time, we can see masked riders overtaking a steam engine train, men coming to terms with their own faults, and heroes shooting dynamite-launching crossbows. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, and it can be overwhelming to those who don't like it or expect it, but I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable.
The acting and characters can be said to be both good and poor. The most impressive acting in the film is by far by lead actor Josh Brolin. Brolin IS Jonah Hex. This is one of those rare performances where you barely recognize the actor, because they literally become the character. In a sense, Brolin carries the whole movie with his performance. Opposite of this are John Malkovich as Turnbull and Megan Fox as a sort of love interest for Hex. I found Malkovich to be disappointing here. He usually gives such an impressive performance, but here he just seems to be going through the motions, barely putting effort into it. Megan Fox is arguably the weakest link in the movie, serving no purpose other than brief instances of shoddy eye-candy. Unlike all the other characters, Fox's has no motivation, no reason, and no background. It's as if she was the token girl of the movie. Her acting here is even worse than in the Transformers movies, and that's saying something. However, practically all the minor characters, particularly weapon-maker Smith and Irish maniac Burke, are always competently and usually enjoyably well-performed by their actors.
It could be said that Jonah Hex is boring and silly, which was indeed what most people said when it came out. Its plot is rather paper thin, often branching off into minor events of introspective scenes for Jonah, and it adopts the 'turn-off-your-brain' attitude at certain points to make way for action sequences. However, the core of the movie still rests on the focus of its unique style and Jonah Hex as a character, both of which work well. And considering that this is meant more for entertainment than art, and the entertainment delivers, the movie's flaws are forgivable.
Overall, Jonah Hex makes for an enjoyable movie if you go into it with an open mind. The story and execution could have been better, but the nice group of styles and Josh Brolin make up for this. It's no high-quality cinematic work to be sure, but it's damn fun and quite cool.
One of the most terrible movies of 2010.
Recently, I finished watching Devil. I say 'finished', because at one point I literally had to stop watching. It got to be just too dumb and awful for me to take at the late hour I had been watching it. By the end, I honestly felt as if the filmmakers had been laughing at me behind me back the whole time.
The basic 'plot' (what there is of it) revolves around a small assortment of people who become trapped in an elevator. After security guards and the police become involved, we learn that The Devil is actually amongst them in the elevator. And that's pretty much it.
To be fair, this isn't such a bad concept - even with little actual plot, this could have been an entertaining story with the use of implied plot occurrences and extensive character development. But Devil offers neither of these.
Nothing is shown to ever actually happen in Devil, nor is anything really implied. The cause of this is the quickly-tiresome methodology of turning off the lights in the elevator and supplying the pitch darkness with barely audible shuffling. And when the lights come on, we see that either someone is dead, or they're not. If that sounds lazy, it's because it is. This sort of thing happens constantly throughout the movie, removing all sense of tension from it and making it an expected thing (the exact wrong thing to do in a suspense film), and after the third time, it just becomes tedious. Aside from that, the plot never really goes anywhere, or has any sense of succession. People die, the cops are trying to get it but can't, people die, and on and on and on.
And even with those flaws, the movie could still have been salvaged a bit if the character development had just been well done. But again, Devil fails horribly through laziness. Throughout the movie, we learn snippets about the characters through throwaway dialogue between policemen, concerning crimes they've committed. None of this is very memorable, however, as these pieces of character information seem to become irrelevant. We spend so little time with the police, who figure these facts out and then seem to promptly forget they matter, and most of the time with the elevator folk, who don't know these facts about each other and just act against each other out of fear and spite as they die off one by one. The movie doesn't care why these people are bad (aside from the final person), and doesn't give us any reason to.
Other aspects of the film fail as well. All of the acting feels like performances out of a student film. There's no musical score to speak of, and when you do hear any music, it's usually very monotonic or exploitative. The cinematography of the film is often uninspired and repetitive, and it lacks any sort of visual flair whatsoever.
And then there's the ending. This is perhaps the point of the movie that causes the worst taste in my mouth. Some may remember that the story was written by M. Night Shyamalan, famous for his 'surprise-ending' movies, such as The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village, and The Happening. As such, one would expect Devil to have a twist ending. But no. Oh, no, my friends. Devil, in point of fact, has about six ending 'twists' from what I can judge. I won't spoil them for you, but suffice to say that each 'twist' becomes more senseless and silly than the previous one.
Overall, Devil is a poorly, poorly made movie. It's boring, it's dumb (Jelly toast landing jellied side down is used to establish that The Devil is in the elevator. Seriously.), and it's far too long for its lack of substance. If The Devil ever comes for me, I hope to God he picks a way of doing it that won't put me to sleep.
And incredible film and a worthy sequel.
I was among the many devoted, excited fans to see Tron: Legacy on opening day/weekend. Afterward, I felt like shedding tears of joy over how brilliant, wonderful, incredible, and fulfilling that movie is. From the first sights of the digital world to the end credits, I was literally shaking with awe and amazement.
Revolving around Sam Flynn, the son of the original film's main character, the story follows him as he enters a digital world in search of his father, who has been missing for a little more than twenty years. Come to find out, the digital world that had been set free of the power-hungry Master Control Program in Tron is still besieged by a totalitarian threat, this time in the form of the familiar program CLU. (although this is a new incarnation compared to the one fans will remember). After finding his father, the two Flynns set out to once again free the digital world from its tyranny and spare the 'User' (real) world from a complete takeover.
While this may sound like typical Disney movie fare, Tron: Legacy is incredibly faithful to the storytelling style of the original film in the sense that it executes its uniquely heroic storyline with a more mature and intellectual/philosophical methodology. Yes, there is family-friendly conflict, and yes, there is a romantic subplot, and yes there are many more points that are staples of Disney cinema, but like the original Tron, there is a deeper substance here that is very rare to find in other films, Disney or otherwise. Also incredible is the visual design and splendor of the film. From the intense lightcycle and disc battles to the sweeping digital landscape vistas, there are countless sights and scenes you will see in this film that you have never, nor likely will ever, see anywhere else (at least, outside of the possible sequel).
I know there has been a lot of negative feedback from critics and the major public. I personally find this to be unfounded. When Tron was released in 1982, it was unlike anything anyone had ever seen in movies, and didn't really follow typical movie entertainment formulas, so most people either disliked it or ignored it. Thus, Tron has never been the most widely seen film, and since Tron: Legacy depends largely on one's knowledge of it, most people who have seen it recently will tell you that it doesn't make any sense. Do not anticipate such an expectation - the film is intricately and subtly told, but if you remember the basis of the original movie, you will do fine here. As far as current critical opinion goes, most critics have hated both films and thought them to be dense and unintelligible (read: they didn't know anything about computer technology, thus they didn't understand or appreciate most of what was going on, thus they thought it was stupid and childish), as well as saying there is no character development at all. I would personally ignore them as well. Both Tron and Tron: Legacy not only have well-written dialogue (if you understand a little bit of technology/pay attention), but they are also more about philosophical exposition and discovery than typical movie development. Tron is a series that has almost never gotten respect from 'intellectual' film critics, because it doesn't follow their understanding and opinion of how film should be. Nor does it want to. Tron: Legacy, like its predecessor, strives to be its own experience and succeeds grandly, and for that it deserves to be seen and respected.
Overall, Tron: Legacy is not only the sequel fans have been waiting so long for, it's brilliantly well thought out with excellent character development, accompanied by the most astounding visuals in years. It's an incredibly intelligent, philosophical, and captivating work, and I am beyond pleased that i've had the chance to see it. End of line.
A pretty, if pointless, experience.
Alien-invasion movies. They're essentially a staple of science fiction cinema, dating back all the way to the 1950's. From numerous versions of The War Of The Worlds to Independence Day to Invaders From Mars to Mars Attacks!, the concept of aliens showing up to kick our butts has been no surprise storyline to audiences. Thus enters Skyline, the newest flick to spin this particular kind of story.
Kicking off the attack right in the first scene, Skyline concerns a small group of people who find themselves trapped in an apartment complex as aliens begin sucking away people, either to their massive ships in the sky or into themselves as they patrol the ground and air.
That's pretty much it for the whole movie, in a nutshell. The characters don't really do much at all. Of course, they try to escape early in the movie, as one would expect, but when it fails they essentially just sit around and talk (or scream) until the final moments. This wouldn't be such a problem if there was captivating dialogue or interesting character development, but sadly, Skyline holds neither.
Skyline falls into the common trap of effects-driven movies of either ignoring or de-stressing everything else. The characters are generally one dimensional. Two male characters are hinted at having previous partnerships in early scenes, but no explanation of detailing is given as to what, as if the movie simply forgot. Outside of this, there is almost nothing to give any sort of relevance or connection to any of them. The characters rarely have anything interesting to say as well, generally spouting something along the lines of "They're out there" or "What are we gonna do?". This is made even worse by the terrible, terrible acting in the movie. Almost every single actors delivers dialogue or reacts to things in the least effective manner. It's as if a cheesy 50's monster movie and a Sci-Fi Channel original movie got together, made babies, and those babies were these actors. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the final third of the movie becomes ridiculously silly and hammy. And as if THAT wasn't bad enough, the very final moments of the movie become so absolutely bonkers that the movie becomes beyond any sense of redemption.
There is some light of value to Skyline, however. The visual effects are absolutely top-notch. From the image brilliant blue orbs raining from the sky to that of alien ships sucking up thousands of people, the alien sights of the movie never disappoint. The aliens themselves are fascinating as well, taking a number of different forms. And if one chooses to enjoy the movie as a source of unintentional humor (Who doesn't love watching bad movies with friends every once in a while?), I can't currently think of a more perfect modern movie to watch and laugh at.
Overall, Skyline is a disappointment compared to other films of its sub-genre, unless it was intended to be so silly. Had their been a better script and more competent set of actors and director, this could have been a truly terrific movie. But in the end, this invasion doesn't impress.
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
one of Scorcese's hidden gems
Between the critically and commercially successful "Casino" and "Gangs Of New York", Martin Scorsese directed a still relatively unknown film called "Bringing Out The Dead". There are two reasons this movie started and continues in this way. Firstly, it released in the year 1999. This end of a decade was quite the year for movies, with such highly popular or critically acclaimed as "American Beauty", "The Blair Witch Project", "American Pie", "Fight Club", "The Green Mile", "The Mummy", "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me", and "The Sixth Sense", not to mention the international blockbusters "The Matrix" and "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace".
The second reason is that "Bringing Out The Dead" is one of those rare films that causes viewers to be unsure of how they're supposed to feel about it. It is a difficult film to appreciate. With a title inspired by a skit from "Monty Python And The Holy Grail" and a number of scenes joining desperation and death with humor and an easygoing nature - a scene involving a suicidal man with a broken battle played to a popular radio tune from R.E.M. comes to mind - the film often seems to want us to see the hope in hardship, and sometimes vice versa.
The story revolves around Nicolas Cage's character, a paramedic, serving calls of distress and medical attention across New York City. There is no real sense of a story, but instead a progression of Cage's mental condition as he strides and shambles through his life. The chief accomplishment and enjoyability of "Bringing Out The Dead" is in it's characters and their dialogue. Aside from Cage, who arguably gives the best performance of his career, every actor gives their best. The only performance that seems off is that of Patricia Arquette's as Cage's 'romantic' interest. In turn, however, this could be argued as purposeful, since the entire relationship between the two may have been meant to be slightly 'off'.
one of the film's strongest points is its thematic elements. Humanity, being the most central theme, is given a unique perspective. while there is a strong emphasis on pain and regret, much of the time the film keeps a balance with less heart-wrenching scenes. Often, the role of the supporting cast leaves opportunity for laughter (or at least a smile) when the dramatic moments aren't taking place, effectively helping to create a film of close opposites. The other point of strength is its visual power. much of the film creates an atmosphere of gradual depression mixed with slight insanity. For example, in a fantastic segment played in pseudo-reverse, Cage's character is seen pulling seemingly dead people out of the ground.
Despite some minor suggestions to the incredulity of New York's residents, the film never truly goes over the top, or bottom out. Easily one of the best films Scorsese or Cage has ever done.
The Dark Knight (2008)
An outstanding installment of the Batman legacy.
today was an amazing day. I managed to see The Dark Knight, the newest Batman film, on opening night with a good group of my friends. excitement buzzed through the air in a packed theater as we awaited what so much buzz and expectations had led us to feel. needless to say by now, none of us were disappointed.
The Dark Knight follows some time after Batman Begins, where the Caped Crusader has made a name for himself and acquired some new technology for fighting the bad guys. all the old faces from the previous film return (except for Katie Holmes', who was replaced excellently by Maggie Gyllenhaal), and most perform even better than before. notable newcomers are of course The Joker and district attorney Harvey Dent (most well-remembered as the villain Two-Face). after some exposition and a few dramatic scenes, the action steps up to the plate and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the final frame. the special/visual effects here are spectacular, and the cinematography is top-notch. however, what really shines here is the character development, wonderfully brought forth by Oscar-worthy acting. Heath Ledger deserves all the hype he's getting, an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (or possibly even Best Actor), and his very own spot on the landmark road of fantastic film performances. very rarely does an actor and character fascinate and astound with their believability and raw emotional power, but Ledger has it here in spades. Christian Bale gives no slack as Batman, and brings forward a new sense of character study with his conflicting choices in the storyline. believe me when I say this, there will be times when you laugh, shudder, gasp, gape, cheer, and clap for everything you are seeing on screen. truthfully, I was left trembling for a good while after the credits started rolling. that's how phenomenal The Dark Knight is.
of course, there has to be something wrong or amiss in any film, since no movie is perfect..however, like the previous comic-adaption 300, I feel that this film is practically flawless. the only time one can see a continuity error or realistic problem is when one fails to suspend their disbelief, which honestly won't be too hard for you while watching The Dark Knight (a fine characteristic, considering how comic-book movies have been the last few years).
Regardless, The Dark Knight is a superb film, and will likely excite watchers for years to come.
Not the most involving movie, but highly enjoyable nonetheless.
I got to see Transformers....not to be confused with Transformers: The Movie, the 1986 animated film that leaves a couple of continuity mistakes with this recent flick (as does the original show and comics). headed by Michael Bay as director and Steven Spielberg as exec. producer, this recent summer blockbuster is a modern day "rebuilding", if you will, of the 80's cartoon many of my generation loved as a child (and still do today, in some cases). some changes have been made to bring this concept in the real world, yet the general love for the Transformers remains intact. even if the intentions were higher than the result.
Transformers' storyline follows around a teenage boy (Shia LaBeouf) leading a normal teenage lifestyle while trying to woo the girl of his dreams (Megan Fox), or, more likely, his fantasies. his dad buys him a car from a used car dealer (a small cameo by Bernie Mac). the car he ends up getting turns out to be a giant robot, which engages in a battle with another robot. eventually, more robots land on Earth and meet up with the boy to find a pair of glasses that may hold the key to the planet's future. the leader, Optimus Prime (brought to life once again by Peter Cullen) explains that there are two races of robotic beings: the benevolent, heroic Autobots and the evil, destructive Decepticons. Prime explains that the source of all their power comes from a cube called the AllSpark, and that the Decepticons plan to use it to conquer everything. meanwhile, the Decepticons have already crept into disguise amongst the human world and are seeking to release their tyrannical leader, Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving, of V For Vendetta, The Matrix, and The Lord Of The Rings).
and so and so forth continues into some of the most eye-popping CGI action scenes we've seen to date. seriously, the special digital effects for Spider-Man 3, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End, and Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer combined don't even hold a candle to the sheer amazing attention to detail put forth in Transformers. I still revel in the fact that we've brought cinematic technology into reality as far as we probably can since seeing this movie so many days ago. i'd always wondered what real-life version of my favorite cartoons would look like, but i'd never have believed that it was going to be like this. the characters are also as interesting to watch as the CGI that brings them to life. the Autobots (namely Optimus Prime and Ironhide) have some really great characterization, and the Decepticons (or rather, Megatron and StarScream) act just as one would imagine them. one by one, the action scenes blast you out of the seat. there's also some really good humor here, as well as some fine voice acting. and trust me, it could have been bad. don't complain about Frank Welker not doing a voice-over. what might be most appealing to some fans is the dialog that parallels the mood and memorable moments of the original cartoons and movie. overall, the best features about this film are the CGI wonders and the tiny details they put into the film. what's really excellent though, is the film's instrumental score. i'm not sure who wrote or composed it, but it's nigh perfect in compliance with the movie's atmosphere.
but, like every other movie, it has it's bad points. where Transformers really suffers is strangely enough in it's concept execution. now, i'm not saying that this wasn't a good movie. I think it's a great movie. it's just that this is a realistic version of a 1980's cartoon about cars and jets and other machines that turned into giant robots with laser pistols. it's not exactly the kind of flick you'd think was a surefire thing. because of this, everyone is going to go into this movie - hardcore fans, casual fans, newcomers, nostalgics, people who couldn't give a sh*t about anything Transformers-related before this movie - with something different in their minds. not necessarily expectations, but more of what they want this movie to be. in turn, this mind frame is going to cause of a lot of disappointment for a lot of people, in various ways. for me, Transformers was a little too "open". it leaves lots and lots of space for the already-in-production two sequels, but I don't think that that's such a good thing. sure, it means more robotic butt-kickery, but do we really need another good-movie-turned-franchise to wear down into the ground until there's nothing left? weren't Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Jurassic Park enough? another bad point about Transformers is the human acting. sometimes it's very good, sometimes it's too cheesy for it's own good. sometimes we get some good characterization, sometimes we get a throwaway character with no substance or value to the film (i'm thinking directly of the pointless jab at George W. Bush and Jon Voight's all-commanding Secretary of Defense). overall, the acting is inconsistent. Shia's very good, and fun to watch, but Fox provides nothing more than a tantalizing body to drool over. there are some minor annoyances of mine, but I won't go into them since they'll probably be mine alone and don't really take away from the film. except for the fact that the movie ends with Shia making out with Megan on top of Bumblebee, who's pretty much his best friend by the end of the movie. way to let your pal in on the action, there, kid. cue Prime's excellent ending speech.
basically, Transformers is a fun ride, well-worth the admission price (or possibly even two or three) and by far one of the best films of the summer. a welcome change from all the lackluster disappointments of other summer blockbusters this year, and without a doubt one of Michael Bay's best.
4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
An embarrassment on many levels.
the original Fantastic Four was tired and clichéd, but there was a certain charm to it. Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer doesn't fall too short from the tree, but it doesn't quite live up to the fun of the first one either.
the (thin) storyline follows around the sudden appearance of strange phenomenon around Earth. the Fantastic Four have settled into their lives, and have been comfortably embraced by the citizens into their normal day-to-day lives. the military soon comes calling, and right as Reed Richards and Sue Storm are about to tie the knot at the alter, the Silver Surfer shows up. Johnny Storm has an encounter with him, and it leaves The Human Torch in a bad fix: when he touches another member of the team, the powers are switched. the Four struggle to settle their differences, public and private, as they try to uncover the mystery of this new threat. meanwhile, Victor Von Doom has (rather inexplicably) returned, and sets up his own schemes for the Silver Surfer.
I have to admit, I had low expectations for this movie. I went to see it only so that I could set up an opinion of it that's actually based on how I took the film. I'm sure most comic fanboys won't bother seeing the flick, but will set up their own opinions of it anyway. but I digress. the storyline is very, very, VERY poorly put together. we're talking worse than Ghost Rider here. the special effects are quite good, and they definitely raise the film for me. the visual fun and intense special effects are what makes this movie so damn fun in the first place (as was the case for me with the original). the characters are very badly done here, though. I wasn't too pleased with how they were played out in the first movie, but they're even worse here. Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards serves no real purpose outside of lame dramatic relationship material, and he doesn't even have the gray sideburns that he gained mysteriously in the first movie. I realize that's comic-book-geek-nitpicking, but hey, it's still really stupid. Jessica Alba as Sue Storm once again remains only to flash cleavage (and her naked body in one scene) and wear entirely too much makeup. Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis don't serve up the playful banter as well as in the previous adventure, but their separate performances aren't too bad. Julian McMahon as Von Doom is little more than a throwaway character, but who really shines in this movie is the character of the Silver Surfer, largely thanks to voice-over work of Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus from the Matrix films). however, it turns out the Surfer isn't the real villain here, and fans of the comic will know why. this villain, though, is very poorly conceived. you never really see him for what he really looks like, and the way he is dispatched in Rise Of The Silver Surfer is completely ridiculous. it's flashy and cool-looking, but illogical.
one really nice point about this movie that i'm sure most people won't think of: the score. it's simply wonderfully. it's well written, it follows with the appropriate scope of the film, and it sounds amazing, much better than the "insert music here" soundtrack of the first Fantastic Four. Stan Lee also makes the best cameo here out of all comic-related films (outside of Mallrats, of course).
overall, it's a mediocre flick, one not to think about so much. especially you, comic book fans. if you all think about it, you'll be sorely disappointed with all the writing mistakes that have been made.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
A disappointment, for Spider-Man and Raimi fans.
Spider-Man was widely anticipated, especially by comics fans, but it finally arrived, promising to be even more epic than the previous films with its three enemies and symbiote storyline.
almost all of the starring actors from the past films have returned along with some interesting new faces. Tobey McGuire turns a new leaf as Emo Spidey with a chip on his shoulder, Kirsten Dunst struggles with Peter's habit of letting her down as well her own troubles, James Franco finally acts upon his father's death as the New Green Goblin (rather than the Hobgoblin, as he was known in previous incarnations), and we meet new stars in Thomas Haden Church (who gives a fantastic performance as The Sandman) and Topher Grace (Eddie Brock/Venom). familiar faces come back to bring up support as well. J.K Simmons returns to give another outstanding performance as J. Jonah Jamesson, William Dafeo and Cliff Roberston make an appearance once again as the mental flashbacks, and Rosemary Harris makes you love her grandma-like nature once again. all of the main acting is generally good, ranging from acceptable to cosmic. hell, even the small roles of the scene extras weren't half bad (though nothing as wonderful as "HEY! he stole that guy's PIZZA!!!"). the special effects from the movie have heightened and what was previously unthinkable in live-action cinema has become a reality in terms of bringing such villains to life. the cinematography is even better, and the fantastic feeling of really swinging with Spider-Man is even more captivating now. often the effect of the camera-work and CGI left my mouth wide open. but for me, the best things about this movie were the little things: namely, Bruce Campbell's hilarious spot-on comedy, and Stan Lee saying "nuff said" (though i'll admit it was a forced performance).
now, that being said, there's many points about this movie that seem ridiculous. one is the pacing for the whole movie. it's on and off like an overworked hooker on a steam engine, and runs through like the chaotic fantasies of an ADD kid with a 36MM. ever see Spidey swing into action, pausing only to strike a pose in front of a huge American flag? trust me, as awesome as it sounds, it merely comes off as misplaced patriotism here. another bad point is the arrival of the Symbiote substance. not to spoil anything, but it lands in a meteor. am I the only one who thinks the original appearance (crawling out of a fallen space shuttle Spidey had kept from crashing) would have been much more impressionistic on the film? and to think that Parker, with his heightened senses, wouldn't notice a meteor crashing not 50 meters from him? I mean, I realize he's making out with Kirsten Dunst at the time and more enticing things are..ahem.."at hand", but gimme a break. another flaw is the whole appearance of Gwen Stacy. sure, comic fans might find this a nice nod to one of Peter's pre-MJ girlfriends, but she serves no purpose through the movie. Peter never once shows that he cares about her in any way, he merely uses her to make Mary Jane feel bad, who fusses over it like a child. to me, the entire conflicting love triangle between him, Gwen and Mary Jane seemed pointless and tragically high school in a sense. Venom is another character who was poorly constructed. he's more of a sniveling, scheming, whiny-voiced skinny guy rather than the conniving, intensely frightening brute we all know him as. he doesn't even really catch the attention at all until the climax. ah, the climax. like the pacing, it's on and off. Sandman redeems himself in an excellent fashion, but then provides a "wtf?" moment when he simply leaves, leaving no real ending for him. my friend and I literally said "sooo.....he..flew away?" "uh...yeah...but why?" "fuck if I know". as for Venom and Harry...well, i'll leave that up for you to see yourself. if you want to hear my thoughts on that then message me, because I won't go into it here for those who haven't seen the movie yet. i'm thoroughly disappointed with Raimi on this outing, i expected more from him than this sort of Hollywood summer name-brand blockbuster
A fun piece of storytelling.
you know, I think it's been some 14 years or so, if my memory serves correctly. yeah, that's it. 14 years since we've seen a Ninja Turtles flick. the time seems like forever, but finally we have a new one. the trailer had me hooked from the moment I saw it, and the anticipation was massive, but the film definitely delivers. I was in amazement the whole time. I was so blown away that TMNT could bring back that feeling I used to get whenever I saw the turtles kicking butt of whatever crossed them while spouting lines I'll forever remember. I must say that this is not what many Turtles fans will be expecting, but I will talk about that later the plot follows up some time after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. if you haven't seen any of the previous films, I'd recommend watching all three so you can better understand the character strife and some key plot elements. it's not necessary since there is a recap at the beginning, but it's required to get the full impact of the movie.
anyway, the turtles find themselves with no Shredder to fight, and no large villains to do battle with. thus, they are forced to find some purpose with which to continue their lives. Leonardo leaves for training, Donatello becomes a telephone technical service adviser (I personally thought this was hilarious), Michelangelo becomes an entertainer for parties, and Raphael go about his own business, which he never discusses with the others. Splinter goes about his meditating and another activity that, if I revealed it to you, would ruin one of the best jokes in the movie. April O'Niell and Casey Jones have decided to shack up together as well, but what fan didn't see that one coming? meanwhile, the Foot Clan is in shambles, but still operating, and is led by a mysterious female ninja named Karai. there is also a wealthy business man who is purchasing stone statues of great warriors for suspicious reasons. soon into the film, Leonardo returns to find that the group has strayed from it's brotherly bond, and must be brought together once again under Splinter's direction to fight against a group of monsters and new enemies who have arisen out of the darkness.
for me there was not one moment of the storyline that had me bored or confused, it's so well-crafted. it's a simple storyline meant for children to be able to follow, yes, but it's well told and with enough serious drama to entertain the older members of the audience. the story is mostly moved through the dialog, which is often fantastic and memorable. the action take up a good portion of the film too, and it's sometimes quick enough to leave you going "whoa, what?". normally this would hinder a kid's movie, but in TMNT it actually works to the advantage. every Turtles fan imagines the heroes in the half-shell as swift and very ninja-like, rather than the plodding, slow-kicking creatures the older films made them out to be. and that's another great thing about TMNT, the way they fashioned the turtles. here they are slim and stealthy, swift and ready for battle. the only time the Ninja Turtles ever move clumsily or non-ninja-like is when Mikey is providing the comedic relief. the computer animation is the one to thank for this, and it's really amazing to watch at some points. it's arguably more capturing and detailed than any we've seen yet. the music is also quite good. it's mostly tracks from modern bands, but it actually helps to set the mood of the film whenever they play. don't worry though, there are scores to keep the dramatic bits in a serious tone.
and with that, let me address my complaints. I have to say, they are few. this not because i'm a Turtles fan, it's just that this is a really well-done film. my first complaint is with Splinter. I thought the choice of Mako as Splinter's voice-over was a bit off....he reminded me of a drunkard doing a bad Mr. Miyagi impression. I mean, I realize he's a Japanese-American, but in TMNT, it seems as if he's been directed to speak in the clichéd, stilted speech one would expect from an 80's martial arts flick. my other is that Casey Jones seemed like he was just thrown in, much like in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and he never really does much besides beat up a few bad guys and make jokes. I know some people will complain about April training as a fighter, but let me assure you that this does make sense if you know the storyline. there are some minor notices, like the way the turtles' mouths move comes off sometimes as a little odd. for some reason, also, all of the human people looked reminiscent of the character design of The Incredibles. these minor things didn't really bother me in slightest, and I can look past Casey being an excuse to make another action figure. the real thing that bothers me about TMNT is how they messed up Splinter's voice. sometimes, it's downright grating. it's interesting too, since Mako died recently, and so they'll have to figure out what to do about Splinter for a sequel.