Friday, June 29, 2012

The Artist (2011) review


A worthy Oscar-winner, but not the best of 2011. Either way, it's still visually pleasing, artistically filmed, and full of classic charm.

PLOT:George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the Hollywood-hit silent film star in the late 1920s. Everybody loves him and he is rich with a wife and a dog which appears in the pictures with him. One day after the premiere of one of his films, he "runs into" a young lady named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) and immediately starts to joke with her. During the filming of another of his works, he finds Peppy being cast as an extra. While they're filming, Peppy keeps messing up and George just keeps playing along. George meets her in his dressing room and gives her a little pep talk on her acting career. After this, her career starts to soar from extras in his movies to even bigger parts. All is going great for them until one day when Peppy gets into a film with sound, or a "talkie". That is the day where everything turns around. George, being an expert silent actor and not letting go of his art, is fired from his current studio and forced to make his own living, but with the talkies being the new thing in Hollywood, his career starts to fall. Because of his pride in his art, his life starts to change drastically. It's an interesting plot idea executed artistically.

ACTING:I mentioned before that acting in silent films has to be done carefully considering there's no dialogue. Well, the acting in here is brilliant for a modern-day silent film. Everybody did a pretty great job. Jean Dujardin played a brilliant and accurate role as George, capturing his laughs to his roles to his stresses. Berenice Bejo also played a well-done part as Peppy. I could really sense her feelings. The other shiners were John Goodman as Al Zimmer, Penelope Ann Miller as Doris, and Malcolm McDowell as the butler with honorable mentions to Bill Fagerbakke as the tuxedo policeman and the dog, Uggie, as himself. This animal was actually pretty well-trained.

SCORE:The score was mainly made up of mood-fitting piano and string tunes that fit the era, plus a fitting song. I believe it was pretty well composed for a film of this type.

OTHER CONTENT:This film was very well-made. It was charming in the same old way, visually pleasing in matching the time, and film with an artist's style and hand. I have to give credit to the director for filming this with such a vision and interest that it all comes together magically. The only problem I found with this is that for a silent film, it's too long. It starts to lag in the middle and lose a bit of its wonderful, nostalgic magic. I also kind of thought the character development had a flaw or two, but I just let it go. It was a worthy Oscar-winner, as "The King's Speech" was, but I believe there was a better of 2011. (HP7.2, Tree of Life)

OVERALL,an awesome silent film with an interesting plot, brilliant silent acting, well-composed score, similar charm, pleasing visuals, and artistic execution, but it lags a bit in the middle and loses its nostalgic charm.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Salvage (2005) review


Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with these independent, low-budget horrors. Almost none of them are good anymore.

PLOT:Claire Parker (Lauren Currie Lewis) is a normal, 19-year-old girl. She works as a night clerk at a convenience store, goes to school in religious study, can't drive, lives with her mother, and has a jerky boyfriend (Cody Darbe) who works down at the salvage yard. One day, when Claire's waiting for her boyfriend to come and get her from the store, a strange man named Duke (Chris Ferry) pulls up in her boyfriend's truck. She reluctantly accepts the ride, but this guy starts to give her the creeps. When she gets home, she locks herself in her house, but Duke tries to get in to return an earring she "left" in the truck. After a brief argument, he sets it down and goes away. Everything's back to normal until Claire notices that she forgot to lock the back door. In a scramble, Duke sneaks up behind her, knocks her down, and drags her into the basement. We then cut to the next morning at the store; Claire believes it all to be a dream. However, each day starts to go the same and she keeps having visions of this Duke guy killing her and her boyfriend. Little does she know, she's reliving a memory. It's a decent idea for a plot executed horribly.

ACTING:The acting in here was purely terrible. Every performance was overracted as it seemed. Lauren C. Lewis' acting sucked, but she looked great. I think she would have worked better as a model than an actress. As for the other two leads, they sucked as well. However, a few of the minor characters did a decent job, such as the male convience store clerk.

SCORE:The score was just generic. It sounded like it tried to copy and mesh that of other horror films altogether. For example (I know it's not a horror), I could sense a mockery being made of the theme from "Eyes Wide Shut" in one scene. The score? Truly generic.

EFFECTS:The effects were pretty bad as well. It looked just like strawberry jello spread all over the place. It aggrivates me when even a low-budget movie can't even get the effects right.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie's formula is that of a psychological horror. The twist in it not only doesn't make sense, but is muddled and confused within the whole generic-horror formula. There's almost nothing good about this movie except for the couple minor characters and the humor. This supposed horror movie actually had a few clever jokes intertwined with in the failed terror. The right word to describe this movie is either terrible or horrible.

OVERALL,a horrible psychological horror with a horribly executed plot, terrible acting, generic horror score, pretty bad effects, an illogical and confused twist, and failed scares, but there were a few decent minor roles and a few clever jokes snuck in.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hide and Seek (2005) review


This one almost won me over, but the whole twist in it just doesn't seem to click with me.

PLOT:After his wife commits suicide, psychologist David Callaway (Robert De Niro) and his daughter, Emily (Dakota Fanning), decide to move to a new neighborhood to try and "start over", in the words of Emily's doctor, Katherine (Famke Janssen). There is a problem, however, with Emily. She hasn't been the same since the death of her mother, and seems to act a bit disturbed. In fact, she even ditches her favorite doll for a new, invisible friend named "Charlie", but this "Charlie" seems to be more than invisible. Strange things start to happen in the Callaway household and it all links back to Charlie. It's a good yet cheesy idea for a plot executed decently.

ACTING:The acting in here can range from great to bland. Robert De Niro always does a great job in whatever role he plays, and in here, it shows. De Niro plays emotion real well as if it were a piano. Dakota Fanning also does a great job as Emily. For a child, she knew how to act disturbed and scared. I liked her part quite a bit in here. The other shiners besides these two leads were Famke Janssen as Katherine, Amy Irving as Alison Callaway, Melissa Leo as Laura, and David Chandler as Mr. Haskins. As usual, Elisabeth Shue fails to play a convincing part. I don't get why I just don't like her that much.

SCORE:The score in here is very creepy and very well done by John Ottman. I love the main theme with the child singing along with it. It's definitely a creepy and well composed theme.

EFFECTS:These don't seem to matter much, but of what is there looks pretty creepy.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie isn't all that bad. Aside from the plot idea and the brilliant lead performances, it has a very creepy atmosphere. It's kind of impossible not to feel the least bit unnerved by the suspense in it all. Still, this movie does have some fatal flaws that keep it from being a good film. The premise is a cool idea, but it's also a bit cheesy if you think about it. I mean, an invisible friend starting all the trouble? Not to mention, the twist reveals that it's not even the problem. The big twist in the movie, in my opinion, wasn't that good. It was a bit illogical, executed poorly plotwise, and just didn't seem to click. The director could have at least made the reveal of the big twist more epic-looking instead of bland. Lastly, I believe the ORIGINAL ending (I say this because there were four alternates) ruined the rest of the movie. It was a slight bit predictable, but turned out cheesy and ruining. I would watch it again, but I wouldn't call it good.

OVERALL,a neutral suspense/horror with a decently executed plot, great lead roles, haunting and creepy score, creepy effects, and a really creepy atmosphere, but it's a bit cheesy, the main twist is illogical and poorly executed, and the original ending ruined the movie.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shark Tale (2004) review


This is one of DreamWorks' flops that reassures me that Pixar's tons better.

PLOT:Oscar (Will Smith) has been a nobody his whole life: broke, ridiculed, and working at a "Whale Wash", the fish paralell to a car wash. One day, when Oscar's boss, Sykes (Martin Scorsese), tells Oscar he needs five grand that he borrowed within 24-hours, Oscar must get it. With the help of his friend, Angie (Renee Zellweger), he gets it and squanders it, leaving Sykes and his jellyfish minions (Doug E. Doug and  Ziggy Marley) to take drastic measures. Meanwhile, the sharks are at the top of the food chain and rulers of the ocean. The lead shark, Don Lino (Robert De Niro) tells Sykes that he's retiring and leaving his rule to his two sons Frankie and Lenny (Jack Black). The flaw in this is that Lenny is a vegitarian shark that can't kill a fish. Lino then tells Frankie to go out and show Lenny the ropes. Well, these two storylines meet when a fatal mistake klls Frankie and Oscar is blamed. Due to a white lie, he is now known as the shark-slaying savior of the reef. This, of course, can't last with the sharks after him, Lenny on the loose, and the fact that it's all a lie. It's a cleverly-thought plot executed pretty badly.

VOICES:The voice cast is mainly all-star, inlcuding the voices I've listed above along with Angelina Jolie, Michael Imperioli, Peter Falk, Katie Couric, and Bobb'e J. Thompson. However, this experienced cast is squandered; even the most expert voice talents, such as Jack Black, fail and become annoying. The only voices that actually did a pretty great job with their roles were Robert De Niro as Don Lino, Martin Scorsese as Sykes, and Doug E. Doug as Bernie with an honorable mention to Katie Couric as Katie Current (a clever play on words). Renee Zellweger did okay, in my eyes, but she still was pretty annoying, as the others were.

SCORE:The soundtrack is actually pretty upbeat and fun. It includes songs by artists such as Christina Aguilera, Missy Elliot, Ziggy Marley, Sean Paul, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, India.Arie, Pussycat Dolls, D12, and way more. Not to mention, this has one of the most memorable compositions by DreamWorks beloved Hanz Zimmer.

ANIMATION:This is the highlight of the entire movie. If it weren't for the colorful and detailed animation, this movie would have been even more of a drag.

OTHER CONTENT:This is definitely one of the worst DreamWorks movies. It's generic, unfunny, and at times, boring. This does have a few good things, however. There were times when it was clever and a lot of fun, and some jokes actually did inspire a chuckle or two. Still, it's pretty bad.

OVERALL,a not-bad-but-not-good DreamWorks movie with a pretty badly executed plot, squandered voice talents, fun soundtrack, detailed animation, generic style, unfunny jokes, and boring moments, but it can be clever and a lot of fun with its moments.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mortuary (2005) review


Tobe Hooper gave us two really great horror films, but in his more modern attempt, he gave us something really bad.

PLOT:A small family that has just experienced a loss moves to a new town and into what used to be the Fowler Funeral Home as a job opportunity. As the family is looking around, they notice the house is disgusting with an overflowing septic tank and mold growing on the walls. Things go normal for a while until the son, Jonathan (Dan Byrd) finds out about the legend of the inhabitants that used to live there, and how they tortured their son, poor Bobby Fowler. They say he's still alive today and roaming through the grave yard, not to mention there are weird things starting to happen already. Also, the fungus that has been growing on the walls has been becoming more lively and widespread these days. Are these two connected? What will happen? I'll leave you there. It's an interesting plot executed horribly.

ACTING:The acting for the main characters was actually pretty good, but all minor characters sucked big time. The shiners were Dan Byrd as Jonathan Doyle, Denise Crosby as Leslie Doyle, Stephanie Patton as Jamie Doyle, and Lee Garlington as Rita with an honorable mention to Courtney Peldon as Tina. Byrd might actually have a future in acting, for he was pretty good. Though Patton was just a little girl, she acted pretty well. Everyone else sucked horribly.

SCORE:The score was nothing special. It was just generic horror-score.

EFFECTS:The effects were ok. I've seen tons better, but they weren't the worst I've ever seen. Half is done with computer and half with make-up and props. Most of the props looked like Halloween decorations out of a bargain bin, but the make-up and computer effects actually looked pretty cool at times. At others, they looked cheap, but it wasn't the worst I've honestly seen.

OTHER CONTENT:If you don't know the great horror director Tobe Hooper, he's the one who gave us "The Texas Chainsaw Masssacre (1975)" and "Poltergeist". With these two fine films under his belt, you'd expect this to be great. Alas, this movie is real bad. Besides the acting and plot execution, all the twists are cheesy, the storyline is often rushed and jumbled up, and the ending is illogical and a true downer. Hooper must have somewhere in between lost his mind. This isn't all bad, however. Besides the worthy performances and the effects that weren't totally squandered, this might have worked as one of two things: a book or an attraction. The story would probably sound better on pages than it would look on-screen. I even had a few ideas. It also could have worked as a haunted attraction with all the Halloween decorations, hidden passages, and chasing zombies. Yet, this movie could not be passed off as a zombie film by far.

OVERALL,a bad horror movie with a horribly executed plot, sucjy acting for the minor characters, generic horror score, ok effects, cheesy twists, a jumbled storyline, and an illogical downer ending, but the main characters were acted rather well, and this might have worked as a book or attraction.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jaws (1975) review


Steven Spielberg definitely has a knack for horror as well as drama. In fact, he came up with the acknowledged best horror film of all-time.

PLOT:It's summer on Amity Island and everyone's getting ready to have beach parties by the water. That is, until talk of a huge shark killing people starts buzzing around. Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) starts getting nervous and protective about the citizens and tourists of Amity Island, so he calls up oceanologist, Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), to help gather information and convince the mayor to close the beaches and send someone out to kill the shark. The mayor says no, until another fatal attack occurs. The mayor succumbs and hires expert shark-hunter, Captain Quint (Robert Shaw), who goes for a high price. Now the chief, oceanologist, and Quint must go out on the ocean and catch the beast. It's a good plot idea executed brilliantly.

ACTING:The performances in here are all great and memorable. The three main characters definitely clicked somehow and stole the show. The shiners, including the three main characters, were Roy Sheider as Chief Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper, Robert Shaw as Quint, Murray Hamilton as Mayor Larry Vaughn, Susan Backlinie as Chrissie Watkins, and Lee Fierro as Mrs. Kintner. Each played a truly memorable part.

SCORE:The score is brilliantly done by the great John Willams. The score is not only memorable, but iconic, as everyone remembers the Jaws theme.

EFFECTS:The effects of the blood, remains, and the shark itself are still today haunting and as scary as they were. They also looked more real than any blood effects you might find today. If you didn't know, they used a mix of stock footage and a mechanical shark to make "Jaws" real. The result (though in behind-the-scens interviews, they say the shark was malfunctioning) was a violent, scary, and harrowing trip into the water and back out.

CAMERAWORK:The camerawork in here was actually pretty good. Spielberg caught some amazingly creepy and artsy shots. I didn't think Spielberg was that much of a camera expert.

OTHER CONTENT:This film is iconic to everyone who has seen it. No one can forget such a memorable film. If you ask someone, "What's the movie with the shark?", they'll most likely say "Jaws". Everything is memorable in here, from lines, to characters, to certain scenes, and to even the music! More importantly, today this is still extremely scary and can make more than one person scared to get in the water, and can fill just about anyone with undeniable terror. Even more importantly than that, it's so scary because it's real. This monster isn't a regular Frankenstein or zombie, it's a real-life, natural animal. The same goes for the characters. Everything in here could very well be true. That's what makes it so good. Spielberg's sense of perfection came out in a different form, but it was definitely there.

OVERALL,an epic horror film with a brilliantly executed plot, great acting, iconic score, haunting effects, good camerawork, extreme terror, real events, and everything about this film becoming memorable.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) review


They were right about this being the best of the series: colorful, funny, and actually touching, but it's still just a cliched kid's movie.

PLOT:In this third installment of the Madagascar series, we follow Marty (Chris Rock), Alex (Ben Stiller), Gloria (Jada Pinkett-Smith), and Melman (David Schwimmer) as they travel to Monte Carlo to reunite with the penguins and chimps (who flew away to gamble in a casino with lots of money). When they get there, of course, their plans fail and they end up on the run from evil, French animal hunter, Chantel Dubois (Frances McDormand). To escape her grasp, they hitch a ride aboard a circus train which the chimps (disguised) were able to buy from the owner. Not only must our heroes run from Dubois, they now notice that they have to train the circus animals to actually do well so they can get travel back home to New York. It's a great plot executed pretty well.

VOICES:The voice acting in here is better polished from the last one. All the original actors from the first two come back to reprise their roles and seem to outdo themselves compared to the last two. The shiners besides the four main characters are Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julien, Andy Richter as Mort, Frances McDormand as Chantel Dubois, Martin Short as Stefano, Jessica Chastain as Gia, and Bryan Cranston as Vitaly. The ones with accents put so much detail into them whether they have them or not in real life. Cohen seemed to do better in here than the others for some reason.
SCORE:The score was mainly mood-fitting mixed in with a few well-placed songs, including Katy Perry's "Firework". It was pretty good.

ANIMATION:The animation in here is great! They have definitely improved over the past two movies. The characters are animated in the same manner as the past two, take away the people. There was way more detail in the moves and especially the colors. The colors! They made this movie about as worthwhile as the use of colors in "Toy Story 3".

OTHER CONTENT:This addition to the Madagascar series is definitely the best out of them all. It's more clever, funnier, more meaningful, and is just something pretty much new. However, this movie does fall in a couple areas. Though the humor is better than the past two, it is also somewhat more juvenile. Don't let it fool you, this is pretty much just another kid's movie. The sillier jokes ensure you of that. Also, it seems like DreamWorks threw in all of the cliches it has used in their past works to make the story of this. The story is pretty formulaic and cliched. For example, it uses the cliche of the characters telling a lie to get out of trouble and bonding with the other characters and then them finding out the horrible lie and turning their back on them. It also uses the classic movie-villian cliches. It is a kid's movie at heart, but albiet, it's a good one.

OVERALL,a great kid's movie with a great plot, polished voice acting, pretty good score, colorful animation, more cleverness, funnier jokes, more meaning, and something just plain new, but it's just a silly kid's movie at heart, and it's very cliched.

Live Animals (2008) review


Just another, twisted, low-budget, Saw-wannabe that isn't even good.

PLOT:A group of teens go out partying at the lake and are suddenly ambushed and tranquelized in the night. When they wake up, they find themselves in a stable chained to the wall. As it turns out, an evil livestock baron (John Still) has captured them and is planning on selling them in the human-trafficing business to the white trade, like cattle on a farm. It's an interesting horror plot executed horribly.

ACTING:The acting in here was purely mediocre. I could hardly believe anyone's screams or terror. The only actors that I believe did a pretty good job are John Still as the livestock baron and Christian Walker as the main guy character. No, names do not seem to matter that much in here.

SCORE:The score was mainly to set the mood, but it was more dramatic, so it wasn't terrible. I liked it a little bit.

EFFECTS:They could have paid ME to use better effects than they did in here. Each bit of blood and gore was cheap and over-the-top and NOT in a good way. They made a simple cut look like a rotten burn. The low-budget feel in here is VERY easy to see..

CAMERAWORK:I have two things to say about the camerawork, and they're a bit more constructive. They got some good shots and angles in here, but the camera's own quality was so low everything looked digital and lagged. If you're going to be artistic and attempt to capture some good angles, at least use a camera fit for the job.

OTHER CONTENT:This low-budget, indie horror is just another "Saw" mock-up with a different plot to make it seem new. There's hardly anything good about this movie except a couple performances and the plot idea. Besides all I've named, it's also pointless, has no character development whatsoever, steps over the line of horror by killing off a young child, and has just stupidly cheesy twists. This is definitely just a regular, wannabe indie movie.

OVERALL,a sucky indie horror with a interesting but horribly-executed plot, mainly mediocre acting, dramatic score, cheaply overdone effects, good shots yet bad camera quality, pointless violence, no character development, a step too far over the line of horror, and stupid twists.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Secondhand Lions (2003) review


Disregarding the many criticisms over the squandered talents and schmaltz they believe this movie to contain, I believe it was a well-told story.

PLOT:When his unreliable, lying mother drops him off for the summer at his crazy uncle Garth (Michael Caine) and uncle Hub's (Robert Duvall) house, young weakling, Walter (Haley Joel Osment), must learn to bear with their crazy ways of shooting off salesmen and even ordering a lion to fight with, but he doesn't know the story behind these two souls. He had heard his uncles had a million bucks stored away on their property, but he didn't believe it until he starts to find out his uncles' wild, amazing past. It's a basic plot executed pretty well.

ACTING:The acting in here was decent, but nothing spectacular. Veteran actors Michael Caine and Robert Duvall do as well as they can, but this is easily said to be one of their worst movies. It's not that their talents are squandered, it's just that they have done so much better in other films. Osment was a little too young for the role in my opinion, for he seemed pretty bland throughout the whole movie. Even when the time came for him to show emotion, he was simply a child. Besides Caine and Duvall (and yes, even in here they shined), the shiners were Emmanuelle Vaugier as Princess Jasmine, Christian Kane as Young Hub, and Josh Lucas as Adult Walter. Kyra Sedgwick got on my nerves as Mae.

SCORE:The score didn't have much of an impact, but it was pretty good.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie isn't really as bad as they say. It tells a strong narrative, contains a warm feeling, and is quite inspiring. The flaws to this movie besides the acting are that it can at times come up as cheesy and overly familiar. It's not that bad, it's just standard.

OVERALL,a good movie with a basic plot, decent acting, pretty good score, a strong narrative, a warm feeling, and lots of inspiration, but it's cheesy and overly familiar.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) review


This sequel is better than the original in just about every aspect of comedy, action, storyline, and animation, but the ending ruined it for me.

PLOT:Po (Jack Black) and the Furious Five are back at it again when an old enemy (Gary Oldman) comes back to retake his rightful place on the throne of all of China using a secret weapon he invented. This should be easy for our panda and clan, but Po is held back when he starts to remember tidbits about his past: his mom, his dad, and the loss of his village. Along with all of this, Po must learn to find his inner peace to defeat the new villain. It's a great plot idea executed epically, for a kid's movie.

VOICES:The voice acting in here was just about the same greatness as in the first. Some roles were better in the last than in here though. Jack Black still dominates his role as Po and ensures his name as the voice of the kung fu panda. The other shiners are Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu, Gary Oldman as Lord Shen, Jackie Chan as Monkey, Lucy Liu as Viper, and Victor Garber as Master Thundering Rhino with an honorable mention to Jean-Claude Van Damme as Master Croc. I believe not only that Lucy Liu did a better job of voicing in here than in the first, but I also believe that Angelina Jolie had a better and more leading role.

SCORE:I believe the score in here was better than in the last one though still done by the great Hanz ZIMMER (corrected name). It was still epic, haunting at times, and detailed.

ANIMATION:The animation in here I believed to be better than the last one because of more detail and precision, making it come off as beautifully done.

OTHER CONTENT:This seqeul is one of the rare ones that are better than the first by far. This had better comedy, a stronger storyline, and even more thrilling action. As embarrassing as it is to admit it, this was actually sort of a tearjerker to me because of the stronger storyline. That means something. This could alternate as an animated comedy, a thrilling action movie, and a compelling drama. This is definitely a well-crafted film thanks to the new director. This one also had a more threatening and interesting villain than the last one. I enjoyed that. The only flaw I found in this movie was not that the storyline was familiarly arched (I didn't see it), but that they ruined the ending. Not to spoil it, but they left it open for another one. All loose ends were tied up; they should have just ended it here! It kind of ruined the movie for me.

OVERALL,an awesome animated film with a great plot, similarly great voice acting, better ZIMMER score, beautifully done animation, better humor, thrilling action, a stronger storyline, tearjerking moments, and an interesting new villain, but it left it open when it should have tied off all loose ends.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pink Floyd - The Wall (1982) review


It's all Pink Floyd's music and style, but it leaves you feeling like your brain exploded.

PLOT:In this cult classic pulled directly from the mind of Roger Waters, we follow a rock star named Pink Floyd (Bob Geldof) and his life. We learn that his father died in the war, his mother overprotected him, he was sent to a rough boarding school as a child, and than his wife cheated on him. He calls each issue "another brick in the wall"; the wall he refers to is the mental wall isolating himself from the outside world psychologically. Now, he's sitting in some hotel in L.A. steadily losing touch with the outside world. This doesn't end real well. It's a great plot idea executed crazily, which I'll get into later on.

ACTING:There really isn't that much acting to be seen here, but of what there is, it's pretty good. The only true actor is Bob Geldof as Pink. Geldof does a pretty great job of conveying Pink's emotional and non-emotional moments. The other shiners besides him would be James Laurenson as Pink's father, Eleanor David as Pink's wife, Kevin McKeon as young Pink, and Alex McCoy as the teacher with honorable mentions to the cameos of Bob Hoskins as Pink's manager and Nell Campbell as a groupie.

SCORE:The soundtrack is the complete album of Pink Floyd's The Wall (except maybe for "Hey You"), so needless to say, the soundtrack is beautiful, rockin', and unique.

EFFECTS:There are a few effects of blood and make-up, and they look pretty cool, but they aren't the absolute best I've seen.

ANIMATION:There are several sequences of animation used to either get a point across or illustrate an event that can't be seen by the eye, and they are very well done. The animation I believe is extremely unique and detailed. I loved it.

OTHER CONTENT:This film is a trip through Roger Waters' imagination that you probably won't be soon forgetting. It is psychological, trippy, dramatic, confusing, and even somewhat scary. It is a Floyd masterpiece, but it has a few flaws. All of the metaphors and illustrations make the plot vague and difficult to determine, and they are so unnecessary at times that it's easy to become confused to the point of utter disorientation. If it didn't stray so far from the point, it would be so much better, but it comes off as a heart attack for the brain.

OVERALL,an ok Pink Floyd film with a great but crazy plot, good acting, rockin' Floyd score, pretty cool effects, unique and detailed animation, and an overall trip, but all of the powerful imagery and illustrations make the plot difficult to determine and the whole thing's confusing and difficult to follow.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dirty Dancing (1987) review


It's not really that bad, but it is pretty standard for the '80s.

PLOT:It's summer 1963 and Frances "Baby" Houseman (Jennifer Gray) and her family are taking a trip to Kesserman's summer resort. She's supposed to go to college after this, for her parents, her doctor dad (Jerry Orbach) especially, expect great things out of her. While there, Baby decides to take dance lessons with greaser and lead instructor, Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). When his female partner gets pregnant, Baby decides to step in and learn all the moves in time for the big show at the neighboring resort, but can she do it? Will her father be proud of her hanging around with this guy? Will they even fall in love? I'll leave you there. It's a decent plot executed pretty well.

ACTING:The acting in here was better than I expected, but still not top of the line. Jennifer Gray as Baby and Patrick Swayze as Johnny steal the show with their great chemistry. I believe they each played a great performance. The other shiners are Jerry Orbach as Dr. Jake Houseman and Cynthia Rhodes as Penny Johnson. I don't think Rhodes that great of a job playing regular parts, but when it comes to putting out a certain emotion, she does pretty well. It kind of gets on my nerves.

SCORE:The soundtrack is one of the best parts about the movie. The soundtrack includes a bunch of oldies and a few new themes. It matches the decade almost correctly, subtract the newer themes, the main theme especially ("(I've Had) the Time of My Life").

OTHER CONTENT:This movie actually isn't that bad. It's romantic, passionate, dramatic, and even somewhat fun. I don't know why it's that hated for being a chick flick. It does have a few major telltale flaws though. The whole movie seems like a fantasy story written by a teenage girl about her and a guy she likes. It just seems so typical: love on vacation, bad boy meets good girl, forbidden love. That all brings along its second flaw: it's extremely cheesy. That's kind of easy to tell anyway since it's an '80s romance, but that doesn't change the fact of the matter. The last flaw I was readily able to spot was that it was supposed to take place in the 1960s, but it contains enough of the '80s music, wardrobe, and formula that it forgets itself for a while. It gets on most people's nerves, mine included. This is just another cheesy '80s romance, but it's not the worst.

OVERALL,a good '80s romance with a pretty well executed plot, decent acting, a great soundtrack, romance, passion, drama, and even a bit of fun, but it seems like it was written by a lovestruck teenage girl, it's the same flavor of '80s cheese, and it doesn't match the decade it is set in 100% of the time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) review


This peculiar, Coen brothers take on Homer's "Odyssey" is a lot of southern fun.

PLOT:After breaking out of a jail line-up, Everett (George Clooney), Pete (John Turturro), and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) head on a journey to find a foretold treasure in a valley that is about to be flooded. Of course, things aren't going to go all according to plan. They'll have to flee the law in every direction they head in, but they just might become celebrities along the way in this early 1900s, Mississippian film. It's a well-adapted plot executed quite uniquely.

ACTING:The acting was alright considering most of the characters were either uneducated or painfully cliched southern folk. The shiners were George Clooney as Everett, John Turturro as Pete, Tim Blake Nelson as Delmar, Charles Durning as Pappy O'Daniel, Ray McKinnon as Vernon T. Waldrip, and John Goodman as Big Dan Teague. I believe with out Clooney, this film wouldn't have been as good as it really was. Turturro did a pretty great job too. I particularly didn't care for Holly Hunter as Penny. This wasn't really a good role for her.

SCORE:This is also one of my favorite soundtracks. All of the music matches the time period that this was trying to recreate perfectly, plus some of the songs are either beautiful ("Down to the River to Pray") or toe-tappingly catchy ("I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow"). It's all of the same certain feel.


OTHER CONTENT:This film was fun and had clever twists, accurate history, and an interesting story overall to be told. The Coen Brothers always come up with great films, and this one is no less. The only flaws in this are that there isn't much of a true plot and there are times where this can get a little jumbled up/confusing for the viewer. It's not everyone's type of film, but it's good.

OVERALL,a great Coen brothers film with a uniquely executed plot, alright acting, good matching soundtrack, fun, clever twists, accurate history, and an interesting story, but there isn't too much of a plot, and things can get jumbled up sometimes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jackass: Number Two (2006) review


The things you can find while channel-surfing these days.

PLOT:There isn't really a plot, it's just a group of crazy friends (Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Ryan Dunn, "Wee Man", Bam Margera, and Chris Pontius) doing a bunch of outrageous, sickening, painful, and stupid pranks and antics on each other and those around them. From sticking a hook through your lip and swimming with the sharks to getting stuck in a limo full of angry bees, there's nothing these guys won't do. It's a bunch of stupid ideas executed hilariously and unbelievably.

PEOPLE:Since this is all real, there's no acting. These guys are brave, daring, and willing to do almost anything, yet they are also pretty darn stupid. I believe the most daring of them all (shiners, if you will) would be Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O. All of the guys with them were brave and stupid, but those two were the most outrageous.

OTHER CONTENT:I haven't seen the first movie, but I've seen and heard tidbits of the TV show. I literally channel surfed and stopped on this, knowing what stuff these guys were famous for. This movie overloads on creative (yet stupid) ideas, unbelievable situations, and painful hilarity. With some of the stuff these guys do, is impossible NOT to laugh. The flaws in this besides its raving stupidity are that there are a few jokes that aren't really funny and the gross-out level is set pretty high-too high for me.

OVERALL,a good documentary with hilariously unbelievable execution, brave people/characters, creative ideas, and overloading, painful hilarity, but there's times where stupidy reigns, the jokes fail, and the gross-out level is raised a smidge too high.

Kung Fu Panda (2008) review


It's just another DreamWorks movie, but this one actually works.

PLOT:Po (Jack Black) is a fat, lazy panda that works at a noodle shop with his father; he always dreams of being a respected kung fu warrior fighting among the Furious Five. One day, it is declared that it's time to choose the Dragon Warrior. In a crazy chain of events, Po is chosen instead if any of the Furious Five. Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) doesn't believe Po has the potential to be the Dragon Warrior and tries to make him quit, but with Shifu's former student gone bad, Tai Lung (Ian McShane), on the loose, he has to try. It's a good plot executed well, yet a bit formulaic.

VOICES:The voice acting in here was pretty good. Jack Black makes Po, as he does with all of his roles, his own. Black has a certain style which all of his characters seem to follow. The cast was pretty much all-star with those said above, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, and David Cross. The shiners out of this whole bunch are Jack Black as Po (of course), Dustin Hoffman as Master Shifu, Ian McShane as Tai Lung, Angelina Jolie as Tigress, Seth Rogen as Mantis, David Cross as Crane, and Jackie Chan as Monkey with an honorable mention going to James Hong as Po's father, Mr. Ping. I believe this had to be one of McShane's best voice roles, if he has any more. I like his creepy voice.

SCORE:The score was pretty well composed, as it almost always is by Hans Zimmerman. I liked a good bit of the themes in here.

ANIMATION:The animation in here was very good for a DreamWorks movie. It was very detailed and at times quite beautiful.

OTHER CONTENT:This isn't the best DreamWorks movie out there, but it's pretty good. The jokes were only sometimes funny, the combat sequences were well executed and intense, and the story, though formulaic, came off as pretty epic. The only flaw I noticed besides the formulaic familiarity was that it often stuck to one subject for a long period of time making it tired and monotonous. This movie truly goes to the kids, but if the adults can notice some of the smaller (or bigger) things, it can be an enjoyable film.

OVERALL,a great DreamWorks movie with a well executed plot, a pretty good voice cast, well composed Zimmerman score, detailed and beautiful animation, sometimes funny jokes, well executed combat sequences, and an epic story, but it's overly familiar to the DreamWorks formula and it sticks to one subject at times too much, making it tired and monotonous.

Monday, June 11, 2012

(500) Days of Summer (2009) review


This has to be one of the most charming films of the 2000s.

PLOT:Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been a lonely man for a while. He works at a greeting card factory, wants to be an architect, and is really into brit-pop such as The Smiths. One day, his boss hires a new assistant from Michigan named Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). Her beliefs are very deep, her favorite Beatle is Ringo Starr, and she also likes The Smiths. As soon as Tom sees her, he falls in love with her. However, we know from the start that this is not a love story and that this potential love doesn't last, and depression sets in pretty quick. It's a very simple plot idea executed wonderfully and uniquely.

ACTING:Every performance in here was great without a doubt. Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel have such chemistry in here that it's impossible not to want a relationship like they had until the breakup came. The other shiners are Geoffrey Arend as McKenzie, Matthew Gray Gubler as Paul, and Chloe Moretz as Rachel Hanson. For a kid, Moretz did a hilarious jon as Rachel.

SCORE:The soundtrack is made up of many alternative artists such as The Smiths (of course), Regina Spektor, Feist, Wolfmother, to classic rock such as Hall & Oates and Simon & Garfunkel. It's one of my favorite soundtracks. I love how they seem to effortlessly match the mood of the film at the right time as well.

OTHER CONTENT:This film is charming, deep, meaningful, hilarious, realistic, and overall just well done. I believe I'm new to Marc Webb's direction style, but from this I can already tell that I love it. Every scene and all the organization is filmed in such unique ways that it comes off as artistically beautiful. I might have to look into some of his films. Not to mention, I can relate to this film in the way of losing a crush/love and being ultimately friendzoned. I found a great connection with this film, and that's one of the main reasons why I liked it as much as I did.

OVERALL,an epic breakup film with a wonderfully executed plot, great acting, one of my favorite soundtracks, overflowing charm, lots of meaning and realism, a good bit of hilarity, unique direction, and a spiritual connection to which I can relate.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Toy Story (1995) review


The film that started it all: nostalgic, innovative, and great entertainment for all.

PLOT:Cowboy toy Woody (Tom Hanks) has always been the leader of Andy's Room and all of his toys. One day, Andy gets a Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) spaceman action figure for his birthday and immediately falls in love with him. He starts to play with Buzz more than Woody, making Woody jealous; in turn, all of the other toys start to like Buzz better and start to do more with him than Woody! One day, Woody says that he's had enough and sets in a clever plan, knocking Buzz out the window. Now Woody must get Buzz back to relinquish the shame this deed has brought him and set things back to normal all before the big move. Not to mention Buzz actually believes he's a space ranger instead of a toy. What can come of this? It's a very good plot idea executed excellently.

VOICES:I believe this film contains some of the best voice casting I've seen for an animated film. Every voice did a great job with their role. The ones I want to mention specially are Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex, John Ratzenberger as Hamm, R. Lee Ermey as Sargeant, Jim Varney as Slinky, and Joe Ranft as the binoculars. I believe Hanks and Allen shined very well in here as one of the perfect buddy teams. I actually didn't think Varney didn't go as far out in here as he does the Ernest movies, but that doesn't really matter.

SCORE:The score is composed of songs and pieces by the great Randy Newman. It was all very good, including the memorable songs. My favorite is "Strange Things".

ANIMATION:The animation in here is a milemark in the world of animation, for this was the first computer-animated film the world ever saw. The animation was very simplistic, but today it comes off as nostalgic, bright, fun, and even beautifully executed at times.

OTHER CONTENT:This film made up the obsession and joy of most of my young childhood, considering this came out the same year I was born. It was this and Star Wars that vied for the top spot of my childhood movies, but this was it. I had all the toys, all of the film nostalgia, and knew almost all of the lines. This film brings back not only memories, but creates feelings of childhood whimsy, everlasting freewill, and nostalgic joy. This, though it's a children's film, is one of the most perfect film's I've seen from the plot twists down to the animation. No one can hate this film.

OVERALL,an epic animated film with an excellently executed plot, some of the best voice casting, good Newman score, nostalgic animation, childhood whimsy, the feeling of everlasting freewill, and all the ingredients it needs to be a perfect film.