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The Bond Franchise is reminding just how old I am. To counter, this film also is fresh and reminds me to be so myself, despite that we're both 50 this year.
It's a pity at a runt is replacing him in the IMAX at the formerly Sony Metreon because the cinematography is wonderful (and apparently specially made for IMAX). Gosh, when did Shanghai get so lit up?
It's wonderful to see so many references and just plain symbols in a film. Old friends brought back, although they would be spoilers on how. The Golden Globes should have given a bunch more nods to this film than the one they did (which if they'll do on sales, they will win).
Issues: Sony tried to hard to showcase their electronics in this film. Compare it to the first Bayformers where they use Panasonic SD Cards and reduced sized PCMCIA devices to move their data around instead of a hard drive, broken out of a shattered plastic Windows system. That won't work with a sculpted Aluminum or Polycarbonate Mac laptop (although removing the HD from MacBooks only requires removing the battery, three screws, and a plate).
It's a pity this is Dame Judi Dench's last appearance as M. IMHO, it is her best, but at 77 to do this much physical work was a challenge. "Licensed to Thrill", a Bond Motion Simulator ride, probably gave her the second most amount of screen time, although I haven't seen it at California's Great America in years.
I found it very odd last Thursday to see this film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. By last evening, I understood why, but the reasons "I can neither confirm nor deny."
Disclosures: Our family fortune is WAY over-weighted on Apple, Inc., but it starts from my being a long time fan. My screen saver is another Aston Martin because I have a family - The Rapide. Photos by Me.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Wonderful Movie for PG Family Members
I'll start this review with this: Know your young children before you see this movie. Gunfire, alcohol references, and beating on objects. I don't want the "Cars 2" reaction.
Wreck-It Ralph is villain to hero movie, a division of Fish Out of Water. A Ludicrous number of game and movie references fill this movie, but understanding them wasn't necessary for my twelve year old daughter.
The arc of this story is a good reminder that every hero needs a great villain to bounce against. The movie has happy, funny, sad, and scary moments, put together like they should be. (I think they read "Save the Cat", a great book on screen writing.)
For the bizarre, Gameinformer, Game Stop's house gaming magazine, recommends this movie for the respect it gives to gaming characters.
I'm not sure about the music. A piece like Shrek's "Hallelujah" would have been nice, but the piece was OK.
I'm hopeful that Disney will convert the DCA Video Arcade *back* into the retro place they had for TRON. They now know what to put in there, including Rampage.
Red Tails (2012)
Reduction in Showings Too Early
Attended the 4:35 showing yesterday at the Daly City 20, which they cut to two showings a day. The theater was almost full, where we rearranged my row to accommodate everyone.
The Fandango "Must Go!" is much closer than the 5.9 now given here.
Just like "Top Gun", this movie is really for the flight sequences. The gun film replays of the CGI work is fun.
Better than that movie, though, the non-flying stories especially the discrimination replaced by welcome work, but they are light.
Oddly, the German is subtitled, but the Italian is not, presumably so we get the same confusion as the character.
Someone did ask me about the early HBO movie, but I didn't catch is as I don't do cable.
Fun film well worth my $6.50.
The Muppets (2011)
The Muppets Get Enchanted
I hope my review doesn't have any spoilers, aka, punchlines, but I'll do the check anyways.
Summary: The Movie Just Works
With Amy Adams, the star of Enchanted leading the way, The Muppets enter a new era. The movie still have several dance numbers like the old ones, but they're done in the grandiose fashion like Enchanted (and with humans).
Speaking of Fandom, that's another theme for this movie. What fans will do to help the family of their affection.
Instead of aspects of characters, this film shows how they have drifted apart and in a vein of Nostalgia, how getting back to recreate when they were great and famous brings their family and strength back.
This movie will join the DVD sets of the first three seasons in my home. I hope they'll put out the fourth season soon to join them all.
Disclaimer: I own Disney stock (formerly Pixar) because I'm a fan. You and your ho-mies make your own choices not based on mine, OK? I have a picture I'd like to add, but I need IMDb Pro for that.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
TinTin comes to the Big Screen
My younger daughter is really the TinTin fan, but I'm not sure I could have gotten her to write this review. (it's hard enough to get her to do her homework.)
The modern version of Rotoscoping is done well enough where on occasion I could suspend noticing it was animation and not live action. In fact, this movie could have been done live action save for the search for an actor to play TinTin.
The movie does earn it's rating. Someone early in the film is shot dead in a hail of gunfire, but the impacts are shielded from the viewer and TinTin by the front door of his apartment building. My daughter wanted to duck out before this scene because she is enough of the TinTin fan to recognize the level of gunfire and the results in his stories.
Daniel Craig, who we're now conditioned to seeing as a hero (Cowboys and Aliens, Mr. Bond), is the villain here. In a complement on voice acting, to me he does not sound like James.
It may have been the theater, but for a children's series it was dead quiet at the beginning and quiet (almost except for my daughter, who tends to make a running commentary). When the lights went up, I found out that most the audience was adults, especially groups of adults. One group included an elderly lady with a French accent to whom I commented that she probably read the stories in French and not the ugly English translation.
The film works well enough to earn an eight in my book.
Cars 2 (2011)
Spy Thriller in the Cars Universe
Take the Cars characters, place them in "Wacky Races"-style races, mix in a healthy dose of Bond (including physically impossible gear), shake (don't stir) and you get Cars 2. Finn McMissile is Bond and Sir Miles Axlerod is Dominic Greene. A character who has already given surprises us shows them in spades in a fun globe-trotting adventure.
The Michael Giacchino soundtrack, just like his work for The Incredibles, invokes a number of spy themes. "Collision of Worlds" by Robbie Williams & Brad Paisley hits the combining of Cars and Bond.
Cats and Dogs 2 has numerous Bond references - this film has an absolute ridiculous number of them, starting from the Aston Martin DB5, Bond's iconic vehicle (FYI, they're listed in the credits). For a Bond fan like me, they're fun, but the family-film only people will be confused and angry (unless they watch the Spy-oriented family films like Spy Kids).
Lightning McQueen grew up in the first film - this time it's Mater's turn.His country hick persona and inability to keep a secret hide his strengths. How everyone grows I'll leave for you to discover (and some folks seem like they didn't). A hint: Think Columbo and Matlock.
Lots of guns, explosions, and numerous understood deaths of vehicles. (Don't the 80''s Transformers do this?) Fortunately, nothing as cold as Bond killing a henchman. Also, aren't kids often playing with cars hitting each other and shooting?
Including the closing credits, this film borrows from numerous films in an interesting concoction (shaken, not stirred) worthy of the professional critic rating it has been getting. My daughter is awaiting its arrival on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Copy to see it again and again. Myself, I'll be getting the soundtrack once I put enough in iTunes cards together...
Disclosures: I own Disney stock which was originally Pixar stock. A relative of mine, Michael Fong (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0284591/), works at Pixar. Finally, my screen-saver is a collection of photographs of Aston Martin Rapides I took at a special showing at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 2009 and the 2010 San Francisco Auto Show.
I Want CANDY
Visual effects will get Academy nominated, story borrows from the various Christmas movies, live action acting is OK, but the music is great. Never heard the Blind Boys of Alabama until yesterday, with E.B. as their stand in drummer. I Want Candy from Bow Wow Wow in a big number upstaging Fred's sister intentionally bad singing. Rockband drum set (not positive what piece they were playing).
** SPOILER **
Straight out of "Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow" by Marsha Sinetar (next on my reading list, borrowing my wife's unopened copy), Fred gets to do what he has loved to do since he was a young boy. (Obtuse spoiler, but for those who were *paying attention* to the movie may catch it.) His position is mentioned in the front, but you only understand this at the end.
Oh, and as I push my daughter to do, *stay to the end* (and I will leave it up to you to see what happens).
We'll be watching this again, again, again...
My younger daughter and I saw this for the second time, now, at her request. On opening night it was a replacement for her running out of Sorcerer's Apprentice, on which she ran out (spoiler) after seeing the villain made out of cockroaches. (This for someone who likes playing with live insects, gently enough to catch a bee in her fingertips.) Oddly, both nights had about the same theatre audiences, very light. I did not see anybody run out of the theatre, as some of the one star reviewers have noted.
I did not see the first one (unlike several of the one star reviewers, who seem to love *that* one and hate this one for not being the original). The Bond references start from the villain's name in the title, upon which Jay Leno does a routine which is likely based on personal experience. If you know which Bond flick involves a red Mercury Cougar, you'll do fine... :)
The numerous external movies references keep the adults awake (if you care). The not so cute animals add reality. (Spoiler: The cute puppy some of the one star reviewers want is a disguise for Kitty Galore - so there! :) )
In animal treatment obsessed San Francisco, I guess they had to give some Peta bread... :) Other than a flavored iMac, the product placements are kept to a minimum (a Moto phone, too). The San Francisco Bay Area location selections are interesting (and may have been a source of ire to the one star folks) (Spoiler) The only one that came from pure cloth was Playland at the Beach, which has been gone for almost four decades, plus never existed in the form depicted in the movie. (Spoiler) The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk currently has the same model of attraction as used in the movie (next to the Rock and Roll cars), except their operational one has many old photos of the Boardwalk.
With the number of one and two star reviews, I would expect a piece of cow manure I would never own. Instead, just as noted in the SFGate review (which the low reviewers will probably hate), I found a decent movie the family (including our rescue cat) can sit down and enjoy.
P.S. Kudos to the staff of the Century Tanforan who were willing to switch us out of the Sorcerer's Apprentice to this movie at no cost.
P.S.S. I don't see in the trivia whether some of the animals were rescue animals. I'm curious to find out.