Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Footloose (1984) review


Call me crazy, but I loved this movie.

PLOT:Ren McCormick (Kevin Bacon) is a teenage kid who has just moved to a small town where dancing has been abolished and named unholy by the town's priest, Shaw (John Lithgow), and because the kid wants to play his music and dance, he is labeled as a troublemaker and a punk by the whole town. With the help of his new friend, Willard (Chris Penn) and the preacher's daughter, Ariel (Lori Singer), they try to get the town to cut loose and let the senior class have a dance. The plot is a cheesy-yet-interesting idea executed to the feel of an 80s flick.

ACTING:Some might say the acting was cheesy, but it was fine with me. The only actor I considered to be the least bit cheesy was Chris Penn as Willard, and I believe it kind of fit his character. The shining performances are Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormick, Lori Singer as Ariel, and John Lithgow as Reverend Shaw. There was one actress who I thought didn't do the best job I've seen her do in here, and that was Dianne Wiest as Vi Moore. I've just seen her use more power and emotion than she did in here.

SCORE:The score is one of the most memorable things about the movie. The soundtrack is composed of memorable '80s hits such as "Metal Health" and "Waiting for a Girl Like You" and even some of its own score became memorable, such as Loggins' "Footloose", the love theme "Almost Paradise", and the pop-girl hit "Let's Hear It for the Boy".

OTHER CONTENT:I know this movie is looked down on by a good bit of critics, but I could not help but love it. It was fun, energetic, inspirational, and I could even relate to it! Though I am a religious follower of Christianity, I have some beliefs that aren't considered the best. I can relate to Kevin Bacon's character in here because he is somewhat religious, but he believes in a separate philosophy than his town. The only couple things I found wrong with this movie are that there wasn't enough dancing for this to be a "dancing" film, and I will admit that it was a bit of a cheesy film. I just looked past it most of the time and thought of the fun and inspiration I got from this film. Call me crazy, but I loved the original Footloose!

OVERALL,an awesome '80s movie with a pure '80s plot, mainly fine acting, toe-tapping score, a philosophy to which I can relate, fun, and inspiration, but there was lesser dancing than required and it was a bit cheesy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Winnie the Pooh (2011) review


Ruin or strengthen my childhood? I choose strengthen.

PLOT:Winnie the Pooh (Jim Cummings) and his friends are living their everyday lives when they realize that Eeyore (Bud Luckey) has lost his tail. Owl (Craig Ferguson) organizes a contest in which the natives to the Hundred Acre Wood go out to find Eeyore a new tail. In all of this buzz, Pooh finds a letter at Christopher Robin's house that Owl interprets to say that Christopher has been kidnapped by an imaginary creature named the "Backson", and so they set out to catch this creature and get Christopher Robin back. It's a very simple plot executed simply right.

VOICES:The voices kind of threw me off a little because of the ones I have been used to in the older movies/series'. Some fit well, some were pretty awful. The best replacements were Jim Cummings as Pooh, Craig Ferguson as Owl, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez as Kanga. There was only one voice I couldn't get into, and that was Tom Kenny as Rabbit. It was a good try and good idea, but it didn't work out.

SCORE:The score was mainly made up of cute little songs put in between to maximize the children's movie theme. They were cute and entertaining, but nothing more.

ANIMATION:The animation was one of the best parts of the movie. They went on odds end to make the animation as nostalgic and whimsical as it used to be in the old days. I loved it; it made me feel like I was a carefree child watching the show with my mom again. The days...

OTHER CONTENT:This movie was really made for nothing more but to re-vamp the old franchise of Pooh and bring back memories. Though some consider it unnecessary, I liked it. The movie isn't anything spectacular, it's just a fun-to-watch, cute, remniscient kid's movie. I admit that I expected a little more out of it (especially running time wise), but it was fine the way it was.

OVERALL, a good children's movie with a simply executed plot, mainly decent replacement voices, cutely entertaining score, nostalgic animation, and too short of a running time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011) review


I've never seen such an animated short with such power.

PLOT:Mr. Morris Lessmore is just an average guy who reads a lot. One day, a hurricaine hits his town and blows his house and all of his books away. He starts to go into depression, but then a mysterious fairy with flying books comes by and sends a magical copy of Humpty Dumpty down. This book guides Morris to the house of the flying books, where he becomes the new reader and caretaker of these books. It is a very unique plot centered around reading. The theme of the short may seem cheesy, but the plot is executed to its absolute best.

SCORE:The score is what kept this film going, for the directors decided to make it a silent film. The score is inspiring and only there when it needs to be. For this short, it was perfect.

ANIMATION:The animation in here is wonderful and quite detailed. I expected it to be sloppily done, but it was actually very detailed with each motion while still keeping a cartoonish spirit. This surprised me.

OTHER CONTENT:This definitely deserved to win Best Animated Short Film at the Academy Awards. Though the plot is centered around reading bringing a person to "life", this film had an unexpectedly great emotional impact combined with a whimsical fantasy plotline. This film also contained a few references used in the right places (Wizard of Oz, Buster Keaten). All this drew it in to make a nearly perfect short film.

OVERALL,an awesome short film with a unique plot with a somewhat cheesy theme, inspiring score, detailed yet cartoonish animation, a great emotional impact, whimsical fantasy plotline, and references in the right places.

Tommy (1975) review


For being a rock opera, this wasn't bad at all!

PLOT:Tommy (Roger Daltrey) is unfortunate when he witnesses his father's death and goes deaf, blind, and dumb. His mom (Ann-Margaret) and his dad (Oliver Reed) try every possible thing to cure him, but they all fail. One day, the couple find out that Tommy has a great skill for pinball. Tommy instantly becomes the famous pinball wizard of the world and to some, a religous icon. Will Tommy ever regain his senses? Will he continue to be famous? I'll leave you there. This is a very unique plot, executed pretty well.

ACTING:Some acting was overdone, but I felt it needed to be since this was a "rock opera". Like silent films, any kind of opera needs to be dramatic. One thing that made me question the acting in this movie is the presence of Ann-Margaret, whom I despise for most of her talents. She was decent in here, but my opinion of her hasn't changed. The shining performances are Roger Daltrey as Tommy, Elton John as the Pinball Wizard, and Tina Turner as the Acid Queen. I keep debating on whether or not Reed's performance is good or not; he plays a unique role, but it sacrifices some of his showmanship. I'd say overall, he did pretty good.

SCORE:The soundtrack is a complete musical adaptation of The Who's album Tommy with the same backstory. The score/soundtrack ranges from the weirdest tracks ("Fiddle About") to the most rockin' songs I've heard in a musical ("Pinball Wizard", "Listening to You/See Me, Feel Me", "Eyesight to the Blind"). Overall, I'd say the soundtrack was pretty rockin'.

OTHER CONTENT:The movie is quite unique. If the plot doesn't trip you up, then the visuals will! The visuals take you on a ride through a bad trip that ends up looking so good. This film is quite a fun ride. For being one of the few 70s chrome rock operas, this is pretty brilliant.

OVERALL,an awesome rock opera with a unique plot, some overdone acting, rocking score, and a visual trip to elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Take Me Home Tonight (2011) review


A coming-of-age party or dreadful and generic comedy? Hint: it's not the first choice!

PLOT:Taking its place during the 1980's, Matt Franklin (Topher Grace) is a graduate of MIT that has decided to work at local Suncoast Video Store in the L.A. mall until he figures out what he wants to do with his life. When he runs into his former high school crush, Tori Frederking (Teresa Palmer), he lies that he's an associate at Goldman Sachs and ends up getting invited to popular guy, Kyle Masterson's party. Franklin goes out later that night with his sister, Wendy (Anna Faris), and his nobody best friend, Barry (Dan Fogler) to get the girl, hopefully find out what he wants to do with his life, and try to let loose and have a great night. It's a basic teen party plot that takes place in the 80's (but only refers to it in visuals and soundtrack) and is executed quite dreadfully.

ACTING:The acting had its ups and downs. Grace did a sloppy job of playing a socially awkward guy. Fogler had his moments, but was mainly dreadful. Faris was also pretty dreadful, and this is coming from one who actually likes her acting. Palmer was decent; you heard the emotion in her voice, but her facial expressions didn't match. Every other performance was either decent or dreadful.

SCORE:The soundtrack is made up of a mix of 80s gems and B-sides as well as a new cover by Atomic Tom. I had to have liked this best about the movie.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie was mainly just another teen party movie that they tried to put in the 80s. It would've been better if they hadn't tried to rip-off other certain movies and if they would've referred to the 80s more actively instead of subtlely (movie titles, soundtrack, fashion). The jokes this tried to pull off as a comedy didn't take either. They just came off as dreadful and awkward. I laughed a total of four times throughout the movie, and I'm easy to laugh at things! There were times where it tried to be a drama with Matt's chasing of Tori and his decision in life, but it also fell flat on its face because of the plot idea being so generically executed. I really wanted to like this, but everything in it just weighed it down for the worse.

OVERALL,a bad movie with a dreadful and generic plot, mainly bad acting, good soundtrack, dreadfully awkward jokes, and generic scenes of drama. The two words that describe this movie: generic and dreadful.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Knowing (2009) review


I don't know why some many people hate this so much.

PLOT:50 years ago, there was a young girl named Lucinda who heard whispers in her head and put what she heard on paper. This paper was part of an assignment to be put into a time capsule. Later when the capsule is unearthed, the young son of John Koestler (Nicolas Cage), Caleb, recieves this peice of paper with numbers scribbled all over it. John decides that they must mean something, so he researches and discovers that each number is a date, time, death count, and location for every major disaster that has happened throughout the years and that will happen. He does more research and locates the daughter of Lucinda, Diana (Rose Byrne) and her daughter, Abby. Little do they know that they all are involved in the mystery of when the world will end and how it will end. The plot is an interesting idea, but it is executed a little more serious than it needs to be-turning it silly.

ACTING:The acting is very well done in my opinion. I'm a decent fan of Nic Cage and I think he did pretty well in here. Byrne did a decent job as well. They almost reached the point of overacting, but they toned it well enough to make it through. The child actors were pretty good too; they expressed emotion well. Either way, the plot brought them down.

SCORE:The score was just a filler, but it got the job done.

EFFECTS:The effects were all computer generated, and it shows. They were easy to tell as fake, but the movie is so unreal that it's kind of needed.

OTHER CONTENT:The plot had potential as a great sci-fi film, but it fell to unreasonable silliness in some parts. In some parts, though, it was clever and done well. The movie wasn't a total fail because it reached more emotional ground than I expected it to hit, but only enough. This movie is mainly a semi-religious, sci-fi mess, but it had its clever moments and emotional (not to mention psychological) impact.

OVERALL,a good sci-fi with an interesting but absurdly executed plot, very well done acting, filler score, effects that appear too fake, some silly and some clever moments, emotional ground I didn't expect it too hit, and a slight psychological impact.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Courageous (2011) review


I watched this with my church group, and I have to say that it's not as bad as the critics say it to be; that is, if you are in the right mindset.

PLOT:The four best men on the force, Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick), Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel), David Thomson (Ben Davies) and Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes) all have loving families and a strong faith, but when tradgedy befalls Adam's family, all men are thrown into questions of their duties as fathers and strengths of faith. Not to mention, their close friend Javier Martinez (Robert Amaya) is having trouble finding a job and there's a strong drug circulation running around town. Will the four cops learn to be better fathers? Will Javier find a job worth keeping? Will the cops get to the bottom of the drug circulation in town? I'll leave you there. It's a pretty basic plot executed weakly yet unpredictably.

ACTING:This is the low point of the film. Most of the acting was full of weak performances and Hollywood cheese. The shiners in this were Alex Kendrick as Adam, Ken Bevel as Nathan Hayes, and Robert Amaya as Robert Martinez. The worst actors were almost all the minor actors and Kevin Downes as Shane.

SCORE:The score was only made for effect, but I believe it is an improvement from the typical mood scoring from other Christian films.

OTHER CONTENT:I know most (not all) critics aren't impacted by religion, especially Christianity, so they won't care about the message in this. This has a pretty good message though I am not a father. It makes me think of my dad and his issues as a father. The movie itself, aside from its message, is pretty cheesy. The humor comes in as a comic relief as the seriousness builds up afterward. I do give this movie credit for having more unique laughs than the other Christian movies I have seen, but they kind of distract from the central meaning of the film. They are supposed to keep the audience entertained, but it all winds up coming off as a tactic. The times it is serious, it's not half bad and even good, but at other times it ends up being cheesy since it has to be Christian, thus family friendly, and not relate to real life. It still does a pretty good job of being real, but it tries to be so friendly that it feels like Hollywood taking over. I did love the twists it inserted to the movie, however. This isn't a bad film; it just has its moments of cheesiness and Hollywood masking.

OVERALL,an ok Christian movie with a basic yet cheesy and unpredictable plot, weak acting, improved score, unique yet distracting comedy reliefs, lost realism, and unique plot twists.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006) review


This is somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine, but then again, it's not.

PLOT:Larry (Larry the Cable Guy) is a health inspector. He always ends up screwing up or breaking a rule, making his hot-headed boss Tatlock (Tom Wilson) furious. This time he's partnered with the formal, socially-awkward Amy Butlin (Iris Bahr) on a case where all the big name restaurants are being poisoned majorly before the big cooking contest. Will they get to the bottom of this without getting kicked off the health biz? Will Larry juggle it all with trying to woo his new girlfriend, Jane (Megyn Price)? I'll leave you there. The plot is an interesting idea, but executed to absolute silliness and absurdity.

ACTING:The acting was pretty bad. Larry did his traditional redneck comedy style so I can't really say anything to that. Every performance was horrible, especially Tom Wilson as Tatlock, Iris Bahr as Butlin, and Lisa Lampinelli as Jane's Mom.

SCORE:Nothing to see here. The only thing it has is a funny theme song by Montgomery Gentry and then filler score.

OTHER CONTENT:Now, most have given this movie a lower score than I have. Did I decide to be generous? No. The movie has some little high points to it. There are some jokes that Larry delivers that are pretty funny and not as juvenile as his usual stuff. Plus, I'm a pretty big fan of Larry the Cable Guy. Though his jokes are idiotic, juvenile, and redneck-oriented, I find them quite funny at times. I appreciate some of the following he has. On the darker side, the lesser jokes and ideas were juvenile, stupid, and just plain disturbing at times. This is definitely for the mindless Comedy Central viewer who only watches bad stand-up.

OVERALL,a sucky comedy with an absurdly executed plot, bad acting all over, unimportant score, and juvenile jokes, but some of the jokes weren't half bad and I am a fan of Larry the Cable Guy.