Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friends With Benefits (2011) review


Why can't there be friends and relationships like this anymore? Though it adds nothing much new to the same rom-com formula, it's still a pleasure to watch.

PLOT:Dylan (Justin Timberlake) is from L. A. and has just been through a rough break-up that leaves him emotionally damaged. Jamie (Mila Kunis) is from New York and has also just been through a break-up and has given up on relationships and the whole deal. However, when these two meet due to Dylan moving jobs from his popular blog page to a spot in G.Q., they instantly click. They only become friends and agree to stay that as well, until they come up with this crazy idea to have sex with each other with no emotional impact whatsoever. Needless to say, things don't work out well for our two "friends with benefits". It's a simple plot executed actually pretty well.

ACTING:The performances in here were pretty standard aside from our two leads: Justin Timberlake as Dylan and Mila Kunis as Jamie. The chemistry these two develop throughout the movie is almost magical. They truly keep the movie going with each line and joke. The other ones I'd count as shiners would be Patrica Clarkson as Lorna, Jenna Elfman as Annie, and Woody Harrelson as Tommy with an honorable mention to Shaun White as himself.
SCORE:The soundtrack is mainly made up of a few well-placed pop and rock songs, such as "Closing Time", "Pumped Up Kicks", "Magic Carpet Ride", "Hey Soul Sister", and many others. The soundtrack was actually pretty well put together in my opinion.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie really adds nothing new to the worn-out, rom-com idea of two friends agreeing to have sex but wanting to stay friends (When Harry Met Sally, No Strings Attached), but this one is actually entertaining and funny. The script is pretty cleverly written and the chemistry between the two leads is what keeps the movie moving in full speed toward the good end of the rating meter. This is just one of those movies that is not new and nothing special, but is actually fun and entertaining to watch. It's just an ordinary movie.
OVERALL,a good comedy with a simple plot, standard acting aside from the leads, a well put-together soundtrack, a cleverly-written script, and great chemistry between the two leads that nearly carries the movie on its own, but it's really nothing new and is just an ordinary movie.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) review


The much-anticipated conclusion to Nolan's Batman trilogy is almost all the fans could want, but it lacks a concrete ending.

PLOT:It's been about eight years since Batman's last appearance and also since Harvey Dent's death, and Gotham City has been pretty much in peace since his criminal act has been put to action. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), meanwhile, has holed himself up in his mansion with only Alfred (Michael Caine) being his outside contact. One day, things start to spark back up when a "cat-burgling" spy named Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) robs Wayne in order to obtain a special weapon that could erase the background behind any person in seconds. Also, a new villian named Bane (Tom Hardy) is beginning to let himself be known in Gotham and setting special plans in place to control Gotham City for good. Obviously, these two new threats are connected in some way. Now, Bruce Wayne must come out of retirement and once again don the Batman suit, if he can regain the spirit he once had, with his only true allies being the police detective, John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Comissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), and a new ally in charge of Bruce Wayne's enterprises named Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard). However, Bane is a strong enemy who's been trained by Batman's old mentor in the past, and there is also another secret spy on Bane's side that no one knows about. How will this all turn out? I'll leave you there. It's a great plot executed brilliantly.

ACTING:The acting is great as well. There isn't a dry performance in here. Every character is played with the most emotion possible for them. Christian Bale's reprised role as Bruce Wayne/Batman is still as mysterious and well done as ever. Tom Hardy does a brilliant job of playing the new, misunderstood villain of Bane. He really tries to be as wicked and evil as he possibly can, while still being mysterious. Anne Hathaway's role as Selina Kyle/Catwoman is also very well played and also very sexy, as she plays it with the top priority of keeping mysterious. The other shiners besides these three are Michael Caine as Alfred, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Detective John Blake, Gary Oldman as Comissioner Gordon, Morgan Freeman as Lucious Fox, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, and Liam Neeson with his cameo as Ra's al Ghul (Batman's trainer). Each of the old roles come back as strong as ever and each new one shines some new light into the final installment of the Batman trilogy.

SCORE:The score was made up of many different, beautiful themes done by the great Hans Zimmer, along with a haunting rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner". I really liked it.

EFFECTS:The effects of the machines, the explosions, and all of the action looked great and realistic to say the least.

OTHER CONTENT:This final installment to Nolan's great Batman trilogy is just as suspenseful, thrilling, intense, and violent as the last with some more stacked up on the side. This film comes off as a very great ending to brilliant superhero trilogy. There are even a few scenes in which I can find a great bit of underlying beauty only a true cinephile could spot. The only flaw I could really find in this is the end. I'm not going to spoil it, but it can come off as confusing to some and it doesn't seem to completely tie off the trilogy for good. It almost spoiled a good bit of the film for some. However, this is still a great film, and Batman will live forever in the hearts of those everywhere.

OVERALL,an awesome Batman film with a brilliantly executed plot, great acting, beautiful score, realistic effects, some underlyingly beautiful scenes, and almost just as much suspense, thrills, intensity and violence as the last one, but the ending ruined it a little for me.

(P.S.: I'd like to give my condolences and respects to the victims and families of those who were killed and injured in the Colorada shootings during this film. God rest their souls in hope something of this type may never happen again.)

Friday, July 27, 2012

No Time for Sergeants (1958) review


Aside from the series, this is the first Andy Griffith work I've seen, and it was pretty funny for its time.

PLOT:Will Stockdale (Andy Griffith) is a simple-minded, country bumpkin that lives with his pa near Tobacco Road in Georgia. When he's picked for the draft and nearly arrested (thanks to his pa tearing up his draft letters), he's shipped out to the Air Force barracks, where he befriends the small and jumpy Ben Whitledge (Nick Adams). They both realize later on in the movie that they both want to be transferred to the infantry, where the real heroes are. When Stockdale asks his sergeant, Sergeant King (Myron McCormick), King puts him on latrine duty and makes him PLO (Permanent Latrine Orderly). However, when the colonel find out, King has to get Stockdale classified or lose his job.  So now, Stockdale must find a way to get classified fast and also be put in infantry with Ben. If you know Andy Griffith by now, you know this isn't going to work out well. It's a simple plot executed pretty well for its time.

ACTING:The acting is actually pretty great. There really isn't a bad performance in this movie. Griffith, Adams, and McCormick come out to be a different type of three stooges; a screwball trio, if you will. They all play their parts well and to the best. The other shiners are Don Knotts as Corporal Brown, James Millhollin as the psychiatrist, and William Fawcet as Pa Stockdale. The only performance that I felt fall a smidgeon short of great was Murray Hamilton as Irvin Blanchard.

SCORE:The score was mainly made up of big band music and military themes such as "Taps", "The Star-Spangled Banner", and "When the Saints Go Marchin' In". It was pretty standard, but not bad.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie was pretty great considering how the times were in comedy and such. It was a pretty funny film all around. However, I felt that it fell a little in humor from its time of release. It is just a simple screwball comedy set in the military, but I think that kind of helps its fall a bit, for the jokes don't live funny as long as the more clever laughs. Some scenes still did come off as clever and stole the humor away from some of the simple stuff, however. I also felt that the first half of the movie succeeded way over the second half from when they leave the barracks. It's still a pretty funny little movie even now.

OVERALL,a great screwball comedy with a simple plot, great acting, typical-yet-good score, some clever scenes, a great first half, and great humor for its time, but it's a little too simple which causes it to fall in funniness from its time.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tornado Alley (2011) review


I was able to catch this at my local IMAX theater, and I have to say that it was money well spent. This really delves into the nature of tornados and their power.

PLOT/SUBJECT:In this documentary about tornados, we follow two teams of tornado scientists in their journeys. We follow one team called V2 and their mission to capture more information about tornado origin, and we follow another team called NIV(?) and their mission to drive their armored vehicle into the center of a tornado and capture the intense footage. It's a good subject executed pretty well.

PEOPLE:The whole documentary is narrated by Twister's Bill Paxton (of course) and it stars one of the guys from Storm Chasers, Sean Casey. Paxton's narration was pretty good and legit and Casey's dedication to capturing his vision on film was very honest and intense.

SCORE:The background score for enhancing the intensity of the violent weather was pretty well composed. I liked the ending theme.

OTHER CONTENT:This IMAX documentary on the intensity of tornados was pretty intricate and very entertaining. It gave me chills at times and backed up a lot of their findings with scientific facts. However, there were a couple flaws I found with it that brought it down. Firstly, there were a few times where it tended to drag and get a little boring. Secondly, when we finally get to the intense conclusion of NIV's mission, it seems to pass faster than we expect, and it kind of becomes a let down when we find out that it's not as intense as we hoped. Nevertheless, it was still a very entertaining little film, especially with the IMAX film experience.

OVERALL,a great IMAX documentary with a good subject matter, good narration, honest dedication, well composed score, a pretty intricate study, overall entertainment, and scientific facts to back it up, but it dragged a good bit and the end is kind of a letdown.

The Three Stooges (2012) review


I only watched this because my nephew made me. It doesn't breathe a lot of new life into the age-old comedy trio, but it does give a decent try.

PLOT:Larry (Sean Hayes), Curly (Will Sasso), and Moe (Chris Diamantopolous) grow up in an orphanage under the care of nuns after being left on a doorstep, driving everybody crazy with their usual antics. One day when they're adults, they are told that unless they raise a large amount of money, the orphanage they grew up in would close down and all of their young friends would distributed to foster homes across the states. Well, the dimwitted trio won't stand for it and set out on a mission to raise enough money to save the orphanage. However, they get theirselves into some deep water when they are hired for a job to murder someone's husband and end up screwing it up for the better. Now, they must get to the bottom of the whole murder mystery and save the orphanage still. It's an ok plot executed in only the way the Stooges could pull it off.

ACTING:The acting was pretty good considering it was a movie involving the three stooges. The Stooges themselves did a pretty good job of acting. I believe Will Sasso did a great job as Curly, Chris Diamantopolous added some emotion to Moe's character, and Sean Hayes was just a typical Larry. The other shiners in this would be Jane Lynch as Mother Superior, Kirby Heyborne as Teddy,  and Skylar Gisondo as Young Moe with a humorous cameo by the entire cast of Jersey Shore. Some of the performances were either unneeded or just got on my nerves, such as Larry David as Sister Mary-Mengele. A nun played by a male? REALLY? That's a cheap shot. Also, I didn't care for the villainous characters of Sofia Vergara as Lydia (though sexy) and Craig Bierko as Mac. Not really a good pair going there.

SCORE:The score was mainly made up of a few well placed songs, and then a few annoying originals. I enjoyed how they used some of Foster the People's music in the mix.

OTHER CONTENT:This re-vamp of the Three Stooges does its best to breathe new life into the nearly-forgotten trio of comedy, but it just barely does that. The movie's full of the usual simple slapstick mixed in with some clever jokes, but after a while it just gets boring and juvenile. Fans of the original Stooges will more than likely be pleased, but this will win no converts and will more than likely bore the ones not as interested. The best part of the movie is probably the first 30-45 minutes, or until they set off on their journey. After that, it starts to get monotonous with a few clever jokes thrown in. I laughed only a few times, but when I did, I couldn't stop myself. However, it's stil just a goofy movie fit for the fans and children only.

OVERALL,a not too bad but not really good movie with a decent plot, pretty good main acting, some well-placed songs, simple slapstick, some clever jokes, and a strong beginning, but the villains were sucky, some songs were annoying, it gets monotonously boring and juvenile after a while, and it's only for children and the true fans.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Thoughts on the Upcoming Animated Films

There are a lot of interesting animated films coming out later this year and possibly next. I'm only doing the ones which have already had a trailer released. We have more from Pixar in the future and even some stop motion from the likes of Tim Burton. So, without further ado, here's my thoughts on the future animations.

Release Date: August 17th
Directed by: Chris Butler

This movie from the creators of Coraline (one of my favorites) is about a boy named Norman. He's always been the weird kid in school, but there's a reason for that. Norman has the spectacular power to see ghosts and the dead. One day when he's warned by one of the dead that something bad's going to happen, he must band with a few unlikely heroes to save the town from an evil witch. This one looks like it's going to be pretty good. The animation looks just as good as it did in Coraline, but it may be better. It looks like it might be a little more juvenile, however. I have high hopes for it, considering the fact I loved Coraline.

Release Date: September 28
Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky

In this creature-themed movie, we learn that all monsters, from Frankenstein to the Wolfman, all go to one place to rest up and that's Hotel Transylvania, owned by Count Dracula (played by Adam Sandler). On this particular night, it happens to be a celebration for the daugther of Dracula, Mavis's (played by Selena Gomez) 118th birthday. However, the unlikely happens and a human wanders into the castle. To keep things cool, Dracula tries to give the human room and board, as promised. Yet, the human starts to fall in love with Mavis. Obviously, things don't go too well. This looks ok. It really is a great idea, but it looks like a hit-or-miss, especially with Adam Sandler doing the voice of our lead. Along with the two I mention, the other celebrity voice talents are Kevin James, Fran Drescher, David Spade, Cee-Lo Green, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, Andy Samberg, and David Koechner. If the all-star cast can't make up for the mistakes this might make, than it's obviously doomed. However, I still have some high hopes for this one as well.

Release Date: October 5th
Directed by: Tim Burton

Tim Burton decides to revisit his days of animation in this adventure about a young boy who develops a friendship with his dog. However, one day the dog dies, and he's left sad. He gets an idea later on to try a Frankenstein move and bring his dog back to life. He succeeds and now he must keep it secret from his friends and neighbors. Of course, somebody finds out and everything goes wrong. This one looks very retro in its looks, for it's all in black and white and the trailer advertised it as that of a midnight horror movie in the '50s. The voice talents are laced with some of Burton's usuals: Winon Ryder and Catherine O'Hara. However, there are a couple newer faces, such as Martin Landou and Martin Short. The animation brings back the feeling of the Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas quite well, for Burton's animation is quite distinctive. I believe this one is a true hit-or-miss, but with all the retro-hype surrounding it, and the seemingly-improved animation, I expect it to be loved by a good audience.

Release Date: November 2nd
Directed by: Rich Moore

Disney tries again with their own brand of computer animation with this tale about a classic '80s, video game villain, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), getting tired of always being the villain in the game and not being loved by the kids who play these games. So, he sets out game-jumping to find a game he can stay in and be the hero. However, this is not easy with today's games, considering he gets stuck in a kind of war game that's completely new to him. It sounds like a great plot idea, and it looks like it's going to be pretty clever from the trailer. In the trailer, we see villain-cameos from that of Bowser (Super Mario), Dr. Eggman (Sonic the Hedgehog), and the ghost from Pac-Man as well as others. Besides Reilly, we also have voice talents from Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman. The animation actually looks pretty good too. I have high hopes for this one, but I'm a little worried about it considering that Disney's last new idea for a new animated film, Mars Needs Moms, fell flat. I still am looking forward to this one greatly.

Release Date: November 21st
Directed by: William Joyce & Peter Ramsey

In this animated film, the beloved guardians of childhood, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost, and the Sandman, all band together to protect the children of the world from the nightmarish ways of the boogeyman known as Pitch. It's a very good idea for a plot, but it could easily fall flat on its face. However, with voice talents of Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, and Chris Pine and with Guillermo Del Toro producing it, I believe it's going to be quite epic. The trailers are making it out to look epic anyhow. The animation looks pretty stunning just from looking at the trailer, also considering they gave some of the childhood icons a new look. I'm looking forward to it, but who knows how good it's going to be? It's still a DreamWorks movie.

Release Date: 2013
Directed by: Dan Scanlon

The much-awaited sequel for the 2003 hit, Monsters Inc., has finally arrived. However, it's not in fact a sequel, but a prequel. This movie documents Mike and Sully's college days: how they met, how they became friends, and how they became the top scarers they are today. This one is another true hit-or-miss. I don't think a prequel would've worked as well as a sequel. You had more to do with a sequel than you would with a prequel to the original Monsters. Of course, we still have our two lead voices coming back to reprise their roles as Mike and Sully, Billy Crystal and John Goodman, and we also have Steve Buscemi, Dave Foley, Jennifer Tilly, Frank Oz, and (of course) John Ratzenberger. If they do this right, it could be a pretty good sequel. However, this could suck a lot if they don't put in the right amount of spirit as they did in the last one. Come on, Pixar, let's do this right!

Release Date: May 2013
Directed by: Chris Wedge

This is the one I know the least about, for I only saw the trailer in the new Ice Age movie, but from what I've gathered, it's about a herd of bugs that have summoned these small people called Leaf Men to protect them from an evil spider queen. This one, like Rise of the Guardians, was based on a book series written by William Joyce. The animation looks quite dazzling to say the least, but is it going to be good? Well, it's from the makers of Ice Age and Rio, so it's another hit-or-miss. It's really hard to tell how this one's going to be, but I predict that it's going to be quite magical. The voice talents in here are pretty diverse, including Beyonce, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Knoxville, Aziz Ansari, Pitbull, Jason Sudeikis, and even Steven Tyler. With that voice cast, what could go wrong? Lots, if used wrong.

Release Date: September 14th
Directed by: Andrew Stanton

This one's really not new, I just wanted to include it because I'm also looking forward to it. I saw the 2D version in theaters when I was a little kid and I always wonder what it'd look like in dazzling 3D, with all the colorful reefs, menacing sharks, a sharp-toothed barracuda, and even a scary anglerfish. The animation has and always will be magical, stunning, and brilliant, but in 3D, unless the go all digital wash-out on it, it'll be even better. Those are my hopes, at least.

...And there you have it. Those are my thoughts on the upcoming animated films in this year and early next year. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on each. Thanks for reading and stayed tuned for reviews!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Scary Movie 4 (2006) review


This one has always been my favorite in the series, but I still wouldn't consider it a good movie.

PLOT:When an alien menace attacks the city due to an unforgivable grudge, Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris), Brenda (Regina Hall) and their newfound freind Tom Ryan (Craig Bierko) must band together to break the grudge and save the world, once again. However, Cindy must keep Tom safe, and Tom must keep his negligent kids safe.  It's a simply-spoofed plot executed somewhat better than the past movies, but still badly.

ACTING:The acting was its usual for the past performances, but some of the new characters weren't that bad. The shiners would be Anna Faris as Cindy (just barely), Craig Bierko as Tom Ryan, and Anthony Anderson as Mahalik with honorable mentions to Charlie Sheen as the other Tom, Phil McGraw as himself, and the Girl's Next Door. I believe Hall's acting fell a lot throughout the series and Leslie Neilson's role as the President seemed more sarcastic in here.

SCORE:The score mainly played for dramatic effect, but some songs on the soundtrack were ok and well-placed. Of course, does it really matter?

EFFECTS:The effects actually weren't that terrible for a mere spoof movie. Sure, they were bland, but they weren't completely dreadful as one would expect. Then again, does it really matter?

OTHER CONTENT:This installment in the Scary Movie series mocks the likes of War of the Worlds, The Grudge, The Village, Saw, and Million Dollar Baby among others. Compared to the others, this one is actually a bit funnier in my opinion. I found myself busting out laughing at a handful of parts. However, there were some parts that I just found myself sighing and shaking my head. It still recycles quite a bit of unfunny jokes from the past few movies. In my opinion, the movie's pretty funny until about halfway through, then it starts falling more and more down the drain. I do like how the blended all of the movies together, however. One thing literally led to another.

OVERALL,an alright spoof movie with a somewhat better-executed plot, decent new performances, typical score, not too bad effects, and a handful of laughs, but the plot's still pretty bad, the usual performances seem to fall, and lots of recycled material.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) review


Throughout the years of its release, I believe this is still one of the funniest comedies of all-time.

PLOT:It's the 1960's at Faber College, and we follow the college lives of mainly Larry Kroger (Tom Hulce) and Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst) as they first start looking for a fraternity to join. They try getting into the top house, but are just shunned. So, by being a legacy, Kent and Larry are able to join the Deltas, which happen to be the worst house on campus. Parties every weekend, loads of beer, and sucky grades are this house's forte. There they meet the obnoxious drinker, John Blutarsky (John Belushi), the leader, Eric Stratton (Tim Matheson), reckless "D-Day" (Bruce McGill), and "Boon" (Peter Riegert) among many others. We follow their college lives and how they always keep the party going. However, Dean Wormer (John Vernon) is planning on shutting the house down and kicking them out. The Deltas must show the dean some potential to keep their house or be expelled with hilarity sprinkled throughout. It's a good plot idea executed hilariously and outrageously.

ACTING:The acting in here is pretty great. I believe Belushi stole the show as Bluto; his character was truly memorable in every way. The other shiners were Tim Matheson as Eric "Otter" Stratton, Stephen Furst as Kent "Flounder" Dorfman, Donald Sutherland as Prof. Jennings, Mary Louise Weller as Mandy Pepperidge, Bruce McGill as Daniel Simpson "D-Day" Day, Mark Metcalf as Doug Neidermeyer, Karen Allen as Katy, and Verna Bloom as Marion Wormer. I didn't believe John Vernon played that good of a villain-character; he just seemed like a tired hothead. I'm also sure I forgot to mention some performances, because just about every one in here is great.

SCORE:The score is mainly made up of upbeat oldies music, such as the now-iconic "Louie Louie" and the even more iconic "Shout" by Otis Day and the Knights. The soundtrack is pretty rockin'.

OTHER CONTENT:Every scene of this movie is iconic, to say the least. Every scene is memorable for something, whether it be funny or ridiculous. In my opinion, there's never a dull moment in here. This movie's hilarious, outrageous, true to some college cliches, and overall fun. The only problem I seemed to find with it is that I believe it would have done a little better with some character development with certain characters instead of just plunging us into their lives unexpectedly. Also, some say one of this movie's downfalls is its overloading crudeness, but I disagree, saying that's what makes the movie all the more fun. This movie practically invented the Roman toga party and the beer can smashed-on-the-head move. This was truly the milestone for every college movie.

OVERALL,an awesome comedy with a hilariously executed plot, great acting, rockin' soundtrack, every scene being iconic, no dull moments, outrageous hilarity, some true college cliches, overloading crudeness, and overall fun, but I believe the movie would have worked better with some character development.

Monday, July 16, 2012

UHF (1989) review


This is one of my guilty pleasures, for I love "Weird Al" and simple, weird slapstick.

PLOT:George Newman ("Weird Al" Yankovic) has always been a screw-up and can never keep a job; his creativity has always kept him from acheiving a true business. After he and his best friend, Bob (David Bowe), lose another job, George's uncle Harvey wins the deed to a small, down-the-drain UHF station in a poker game and is convinced to let George manage it. Now George must liven up this station with more interesting shows and compete with the top nework, Channel 8, led by the mean-spirited R. J. Fletcher (Kevin McCarthy), not to mention keeping his love life alive with his girlfriend, Terri (Victoria Jackson). Nothing goes well until the goofy, newly-hired janitor (who was fired from Channel 8), Stanley Spadowski (Michael Richards), is put on-air. He instantly livens the station up and becomes the number one TV icon; this puts the UHF station at the top. In an evil change of events, George must save the station from being bought out and demolished by Fletcher by raising $75,000 and the crew from Channel 8 will do anything to stop it. It's a decent plot executed very comically.

ACTING:The acting in here was pretty decent for a goofball comedy. Yankovic did a pretty funny job as George Newman by just being his goofy, natural self. McCarthy actually did a sucky job of playing the villainous R. J. Fletcher in my opinion. The shiners aside from Yankovic were David Bowe as Bob, Michael Richards as Stanley Spadowski, Gedde Watanabe as Kuni, Fran Drescher as Pamela Finkelstein, and Vance Colvig as the bum with an honorable mention to the cameo of Dr. Demento.

SCORE:The score is mainly made up of "Weird Al"'s parodic songs, from the title track to a parody of "Money for Nothing". The soundtrack was pretty decent.

EFFECTS:There were a few effects in here used for comical measure that were pretty ok, but I mainly liked the effects in one scene were one of the characters turns into an alien and warps off the outer space. The claymation effects of the face molding into an alien were very well done.

OTHER CONTENT:Some might say this movie is stupid, unfunny, and dreadful, but I found more than that in here. The simple slapstick, raving weirdness, and cleverly-placed movie references made this movie just worthwile. This movie mocks many classics such as Indiana Jones, Close Encounters, Rambo, and even Gone With the Wind, and it mocks them pretty well. However, there were some jokes that just fell flat and were too bizarre to enjoy. "Weird Al" definitely has a unique personality and sense of humor, and that's saying a lot.

OVERALL,an ok goofball comedy with a decent plot, decent acting, decent soundtrack, well done claymation effects, loads of simple slapstick, raving weirdness and cleverly-place movie jokes, but some jokes fell flat and were hard to enjoy, not to mention the unconvincing villain.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ice Age 4: Contintental Drift (2012) review


It's been a family tradition since the beginning to see the Ice Age movies in theaters, but this one seems to speak for the rest with it's recycled material and more juvenile material.

PLOT:When the continents start splitting apart and floating away (due to a clever turn-of-events involving Scrat), Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), and Deigo (Denis Leary) are separated from the main strip of land via iceberg and must get back to the mainland where Manny's family, including teenage Peaches (Keke Palmer), and the rest of the ice age animals are. However, there are many dangers that are that rush things, including a wall moving to cover the mainland and a gang of animal-pirates led by a yeti-like monkey (Peter Dinklage). It's a good plot executed decently.


VOICES:The voice acting in this installment was overall pretty good. The usual leads were their usual selves, but didn't seem to add anything new to the series. However, the new faces seemed to do a pretty great job with their roles. With that being said, the shiners are Ray Romano as Manny, John Leguizamo as Sid, Sean William Scott as Crash, Josh Peck as Eddie, Jennifer Lopez as Shira, Peter Dinklage as Captain Gutt, Wanda Sykes as Sid's grandmother, and Keke Palmer as Peaches, with honorable mentions to Drake as Ethan, Nicki Manaj as Steffie, and Aziz Ansari as Squint, not to mention a cameo by Simon Pegg as Buck. I believe the voice of Dinklage worked very well as the voice of the villain. I also believe this was one of Wanda Sykes' best voice roles to date. Every line she said made someone in the crowd laugh, me included. Strange enough, I believe Drake and Nicki's characters fit their personalites quite well.

SCORE:The score was mainly for mood done by the usual John Powell with a couple well-placed song and a cheesy, new song at the end about family by all the characters. The soundtrack overall was just ok.

ANIMATION:I saw the 2-D version of this, so don't expect me to talk about how "stunning the 3-D was." The animation has improved a good bit compared to the past few, but I believe it almost, if not, ties with the third.

OTHER CONTENT:This installment of the Ice Age series isn't as good as the previous ones in my opinion. Most of the material is recycled from the past three and some of the new material is even more juvenile than the past few. However, this movie did have s few jokes that worked and some that were pretty clever, specifically the whole beginning sequence involving Scrat. I also did appreciate the underlying meaning of family, being there for a friend you love more than a friend, and choosing the right crowd to hang out with. I could relate pretty well.

OVERALL,an alright Ice Age movie with a decently-executed plot, pretty good voice cast with a great villain and Sykes' best role, ok soundtrack, improved animation, and recycled and more juvenile material, but it did have a few working jokes that were clever and worked and a good underlying message I could relate to.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) review


I honestly didn't think this could top Thor for me, but it did with all the action and retro feel it could!

PLOT:In the days of WWII, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has always been a puny weakling bullied excessively and has always wanted to enlist in the military, but they would never let him in. When a powerful scientist (Stanley Tucci) enrolls him in search of an experiment, Rogers becomes the first breed of super-soldier. He's now strong, tall, and four times the man he ever was. Now he must stop the powerful Nazi organization, Hydra, led by the evil Johann Schmidt a.k.a. Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and his new power force that can evaporate any man. However, he must prove himself a soldier and not let the government control him as either a lab rat or political propaganda. It's a well-thought plot executed very well.

ACTING:The performances in here were pretty great to say the least. Chris Evans owned the role as Steve Rodgers/Captain America; he did brilliant. Hugo Weaving played a pretty convincing villain as well. The other shiners were Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Phillips, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, and Toby Jones as Dr. Zola with an honorable mention to Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury (cameo).

SCORE:Not only was the score bold and heroic, but it also fit the mood very well. I enjoyed it.

EFFECTS:The effects in here I found to be cheesy at times and great at others. In the action sequences, they just looked so fake that it came off as cheesy. However, the effects used for Red Skull were pretty great, not to mention the explosions.

OTHER CONTENT:This was a pretty good Marvel film! It was exciting, creative, retro, and even emotional at times. The only problems I had with it were that it followed a familiar formula and it grew cheesy at times. Yet, the cheesiness worked along with the film to help it feel like the comic it once was.

OVERALL,an awesome Marvel film with a very well-executed plot, great acting, heroic and mood-fitting score, some cheesy effects, cool explosions and villian effects, lots of excitement, creativity, a retro feel, and some good emotion, but it had a familiar formula and a certain pulpy cheesiness.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Up (2009) review


Even the second time through, this is one of Pixar's I can truly call flawless.

PLOT:Carl Fredrickson (Ed Asner) has always been an adventurer. Alongside his best friend Ellie, he explored and conquered lots. Later on they marry and plan to go to Paradise Falls, the land that time forgot in South America. Their inspiration, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer), lives there in his blimp, The Spirit of Adventure. They save up their whole lives to go to Paradise Falls until Carl finally gets enough money to buy tickets there. Unfortunately, something unexpected happens and Ellie passes away. We know this early on in the film, for in present day, Carl is old and retired, living alone in the same old house which is awaiting to be bulldozed. After an accidental attack to save his house, he's almost forced to move to a retirement home. However, his spirit of adventure drives him to fill up a million or so balloons so that he can finally fly to Paradise Falls. A pesky hitchhiker has hitched a ride, however: a pesky, young boy scout by the name of Russel (Jordan Nagai). In an unexpected turn of events, they end up just hours from Paradise Falls and have to walk there with the house, yet the meet some weird characters, such as a giant, colorful bird named Kevin and a talking dog named Doug. This all links together in a creative story we find out later on. It's a very creatively-written plot executed brilliantly.

VOICES:The voice acting in here was pretty well done. Ed Asner and Christopher Plummer both did a great job as Carl and Charles. Jordan didn't do anything special, but he did a good enough job to be considered less than annoying. These are the shiners, with the honorable mentions going to Bob Peterson as Alpha and John Ratzenberger as Construction Foreman Tom.

SCORE:The score was very well done by one of the greats, Michael Giacchino. The theme was very light-hearted and the more intense score fit the moods very well.

ANIMATION:Just as Pixar always does, the animation is simply beautiful. The characters have a bit more realistic detail, however, and the backgrounds and objects seemed way more colorful. This one definitely showed respect to the Pixar name.

OTHER CONTENT:This film would be perfect with or without the animation. The story is unique and creative, the emotional impact was great and brilliantly introduced, and the charm and wit was enough to win any casual moviegoer over. I seriously couldn't find a fault in this film!

OVERALL,an epic Pixar film with a creative and brilliantly-executed plot, well done voice acting, well done and fitting score, beautiful animation, a unique story, a great emotional impact, and plenty of charm and wit.