Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fever Pitch (2005) review


This cute romantic comedy actually wasn't that bad. The chemistry between the two leads pretty much kept the movie going and made it worth watching, as well as a few small, good laughs.

PLOT:Ben Wrightman (Jimmy Fallon) has been obsessed with baseball his whole life, specifically the Boston Red Sox. He's been to every game since his uncle took him to his first when he was a child. However, Ben's attention starts to be swayed by a new love interest, Lindsey (Drew Barrymore). Ben met Lindsey on a school field trip with some of the kids he teaches and has been in love since. The couple seems to only rise higher until Lindsey finds out just how obsessed Ben is with the Red Sox. He wouldn't miss a game for anything. This obsession with the game worries Lindsey and threatens their relationship. It's a good plot executed very well.

ACTING:The acting in this movie is really good. Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon play a very romantic and realistic couple as the sensitive Lindsey and the obsessed Ben. The chemistry these two had in this movie is what kept it going. Without these two, it wouldn't be worth much. Though most of the other performances were fairly forgettable, the other shiners would be Jack Kehler as Al, Lenny Clarke as Uncle Carl, and Ione Skye as Molly.

SCORE:The score is mainly made up of randomly recorded songs, some good classics, and some background score. It was pretty good.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie was just a fun, cute little romantic comedy. I enjoyed the story and chemistry between the two leads. It was just very entertaining overall. I don't think it was anything spectacular or outstanding, but it was still good enough to be considered worth a watch.

OVERALL, a good romantic comedy with a good plot, really good acting, pretty good score, great chemistry between the leads, an interesting story, and just cute entertainment.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tarzan (1999) review


This well-known Disney movie was a major part of my childhood. The detailed jungle animation, touching story, great soundtrack by Phil Collins, and fast action made this movie a win for kids and adults.

PLOT:Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn) is a man that's been raised by a family of gorillas. Shortly after his parents washed up on the shore in a lifeboat and built a home in the trees, his parents were attacked and killed by a leopard. A female gorilla named Kala (Glenn Close), found him and took him back to the family. Against the will of the leader, Kerchak (Lance Henriksen), who is still sore from the loss of their child, Kala takes Tarzan in. Tarzan grows up to be a strong man, along the sides of his best friends, Terk (Rosie O'Donell) and Tantor (Wayne Knight), the elephant. Things are going fairly normal for the family until Tarzan discovers a group of humans, including the beautiful Jane (Minnie Driver), the inquisitive Professor Porter (Nigel Hawthorne), and the brutal Clayton (Brian Blessed). The rest of the gorillas are wary about accepting the humans, but Tarzan tries and tries, learning about them and seemingly falling for Jane along the way. However, Clayton's forcefulness seems to get worse and worse, for he has a plan for these gorillas. It's a good plot executed greatly.

VOICES:The voice acting in here is really good. Tony Goldwyn played a great part as Tarzan, the ape man. Minnie Driver and Nigel Hawthorne also played memorable parts as Jane and Professor Porter; not to mention, Rosie O'Donnell and Wayne Knight also played a couple of really great parts as Terk and Tantor. There really wasn't a bad part in the movie, aside from the child voices. The other shiners would obviously be Brian Blessed as Clayton, Lance Henriksen as Kerchak, and Glenn Close as Kala.

SCORE:The score in here is brilliant. The score and soundtrack is mainly done by Phil Collins and Mark Mancina. They go together to create some fun, beautiful, and fitting themes and songs. Phil Collins did some great work on this soundtrack, from "Son of Man" to "You'll Be in My Heart".

ANIMATION:The animation in here is pretty good and detailed. The animation of the jungle itself was actually way better than the characters. It wasn't Disney's best animation, but I enjoyed it.

OTHER CONTENT:This Disney movie is a great addition to the Disney canon. It was a big part of my childhood movie collection. Along with the soundtrack, spirit, and story itself, there were a lot of touching aspects to the love story and some great action in here. The love story seems more touching and the action is just vibrant and active. However, I didn't seem to like how abruptly the transitions between the gorilla language and the monkey language took place. It was actually kind of confusing in a way.

OVERALL,an awesome Disney movie with a greatly-executed plot, really good voice acting, brilliant score, pretty good and detailed animation, some touching love scenes, and great action, but there were a few abrupt shifts that I didn't like.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chicken Run (2000) review


This movie was a great part of my childhood. The humor is clean and funny, the voice choices are great, the animation is good for its time, and it's very entertaining overall.

PLOT:Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) is a tough, greedy owner of a chicken farm. These chickens have pretty much dedicated their boring lives to laying eggs for Mrs. Tweedy, except for one brave chicken named Ginger (Julia Sawalha), who constantly tries to escape and lead the other chickens to freedom. No attempt has ever been successful, however, because of Mr. Tweedy (Anthony Haygarth) and his dogs constantly watching. Ginger's just about ready to give up when she meets an American circus rooster named Rocky (Mel Gibson), who flew into the farm and hurt his wing. At this moment, Ginger convinces Rocky to stay and teach them to fly. However, there seems to be something fishy about this rooster; not to mention, egg sales are going down so Mrs. Tweedy might have to resort to drastic measures to make a profit off of the chickens. It's a good plot executed greatly.


VOICES:The voice acting in this movie is great. Mel Gibson and Julia Sawalha play a great pair as the American rooster, Rocky, and the dedicated rebel, Ginger. Miranda Richardson and Anthony Haygarth also played a couple of great parts as Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy. There really wasn't a bad voice in here. The other shiners would have to be Jane Horrocks as Babs, Lynn Ferguson as Mac, Imelda Staunton as Bunty, Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler, Timothy Spall as Nick, and Phil Daniels as Fetcher.

SCORE:The score was pretty good as well. The score was simple but matched the moods of each situation and reminded me a lot of Aardman's previous works (the Wallace and Gromit shorts). There were also a couple memorable musical numbers, including a rather entertaining scene with "Flip, Flop, Fly".

ANIMATION:The animation in here was really good for its time. The claymation was fun and very cartoonishly detailed. However, compared to today's claymation marvels (Coraline, Corpse Bride, Curse of the Were-Rabbit), it seems a tad outdated. It's not as detailed.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie is just an entertaining treat. There's plenty of charm to go around as well as mostly-clean slapstick humor. It was a lot of fun. This movie has enough charm, humor, action, and slower moments to have the spirit of a great variety show. The only flaw I had with it is that the animation kind of took me out of it. Though memorable and a great part of my childhood, now it just seems outdated. However, I still love the spirit of this movie. They just don't make them like this anymore.

OVERALL,an awesome animated movie with a great plot, great acting, simple yet fun score, memorable animation, good slapstick, plenty of charm, lots of action, and a handful of slower moments to balance it out, but the animation is getting a little outdated and took me out of the experience a little bit.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

9 (2009) review


This post-apocalyptic animated film from the likes of Tim Burton and Shane Acker is a visual treat that sucks you into a whole other world, but it may seem a little too bleak with trouble deciding its target audience.

PLOT:The future is bleak. Due to the creation of machines with great minds, mankind has become extinct. The robots have taken over. The only living thing left in the area is a group of little beings made out of cloth and spare parts with ordered numbers painted on their backs. One in particular, number 9 (Elijah Wood), wakes up in a lab next to a dead scientist with no clue what's going on. The only thing he finds interesting is a talisman with strange markings on it. 9 goes out scavenging and meets another being like himself numbered 2 (Martin Landau). After a big fight with one of the fierce machines, 9 meets the rest of the group, including the mean-spirited leader, number 1 (Christopher Plummer). Against 1's orders, 9 sneaks out and attempts to save 2, who got kidnapped in the fight. However, 9 only awakens an even more evil monster. It's a good plot executed almost greatly.

VOICES:The voice acting in this film was very good. Elijah Wood played a great part as the brave and adventurous 9, as did Christopher Plummer as uptight 1. The cast is nearly all-star aside from these, including the shining stars of John C. Reilly as 5, Crispin Glover as 6, Jennifer Connelly as 7, and Alan Oppenheimer as the Scientist.

SCORE:The score was very well done and intense by the team efforts of Danny Elfman and Deborah Lurie. It matched the intense and thoughtful themes of the film.

ANIMATION:The animation in this film is beautiful and detailed. Some of the aspects of the animation (fire, the cloth, dead bodies) seemed almost real and the rest was just purely beautiful and well done.

OTHER CONTENT:This film gave me something to think about. I liked the apocalyptic aspect of it involving the humans and the robots, though it was fairly familiar. This film had a way of trapping you in its story and keeping you involved in its world and how things are in it. However, this post-apocalyptic film might seem too bleak for some audiences to handle. All humans are gone, and the only beings left are artificial ragdolls bent on saving what's left of the world; not to mention, (SPOILER) they kill off over half of the cast. Also, I believe this film had a tough time finding out its target audience when it was released. The trailers advertised it as being for pre-teens and the animation suggested it was for some younger audiences, but this film has way more thought and frightening situations. This film enhances the feelings of despair, desolation, horror violence, death, and lack of hope, so it at least involves an audience that can fully comprehend it. Aside from the targeting errors and bleak outcome, the film was very involving.

OVERALL,a good animated film with a good plot, very good voice acting, intense score, beautiful animation, a good post-apocalyptic aspect, and an involving story, but it's a little familiar, the outcome may be a little too bleak for some, and the film has trouble deciding its target audience.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Watcher in the Woods (1981) review


This sad attempt by Disney to make a horror movie didn't go over so well. The plot was predictable, the acting was bad, the execution was cheesy, and it wasn't scary. It was hardly even suspenseful.

PLOT:Jan Curtis (Lynn-Holly Johnson) and her family have been house-hunting for quite a while now but have finally found a secluded, English mansion in the woods. The mansion was previously owned by a creepy old lady named Mrs. Aylwood (Bette Davis) who's daughter disappeared near the property. Things are going fairly well for the family until creepy things start happening to Jan and her little sister. Jan catches wind of the story of Mrs. Aylwood's daughter eventually, and then starts to investigate her disappearance as it has a strange effect on her and her family. Little does she know that there's a dark history behind a few of this area's residents. It's a decent plot executed horribly.

ACTING:The acting in this movie is pretty bad. The only decent performance was Bette Midler as Mrs. Aylwood, and that was just decent. The rest of the acting was purely bad. The worst performances would have to have been by Carroll Baker as Helen Curtis and Lynn-Holly Johnson as Jan Curtis. There were a couple of okay performances by the likes of Ian Bannen and Eleanor Summerfield as Mrs. Thayer. They weren't too bad.

SCORE:The score was decent. The themes were pretty unique and creepy. They kind of reminded me of an early Argento-type score.

EFFECTS:The effects were pretty cheesy and cheaply used. The effects probably would've been better if used wiser. However, their use was lame and cheesy.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie was just a failed attempt for Disney at trying to make a horror movie. Firstly, the plot was shallowly predictable. I saw almost everything coming. Secondly, most of the twists in the movie were just as cheesy as they were predictable. I found myself either bored or laughing at the things that happened, up until the end where it just seemed tired and overbearing. Thirdly, the movie was neither scary nor very suspenseful. Nothing but maybe a miniature jump scare in the middle scared me. I found myself waiting for something to happen when nothing ever did. As for suspense, there was a good bit, but it didn't lead up to anything interesting so it was just wasted time. I found myself wondering why I even wasted my time on this. It had the spirit of an old, cheesy horror flick, but it didn't add any style to make up for it.

OVERALL,a sucky horror movie with a horribly-executed plot, bad acting, decent score, cheesy and misused effects, shallow predictability, cheesy plot twists, no scares and wasted suspense, but there was one good performance, and the score seemed to be the only thing with potential.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) review


This classic film favorite is a unique fantasy loved by families everywhere just because this film has what it takes to be a classic. However, there are a few scenes that just don't seem to fit into place with the rest of the film.

PLOT:Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) is the mysterious and proud owner of the Wonka Candies Chocolate Factory. His chocolate has become loved by kids and families everywhere, seeming to be magic in a wrapper. One day, Mr. Wonka announces that he's holding a contest for five lucky people to get a tour of the factory. However, the only way to get into the factory is by winning one of five golden tickets randomly placed inside any of millions of Wonka bars. One specific, good-spirited child named Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) has his eyes on one. His family is terribly poor and they barely have enough to keep going. However, Charlie keeps on pressing. As golden tickets are being found around the globe, Charlie keeps trying. Will Charlie pick up a ticket? If he does, will he be able to get past the raving wackiness of Mr. Wonka himself. It's a great plot executed brilliantly.

ACTING:The acting in this film is very good. Gene Wilder plays an excellent part as the eccentric and sarcastic factory owner, Willy Wonka. He played the role in a very entertaining and unique way. One good thing about this film is that the child actors aren't half bad either. They actually match their roles very well, especially good-natured Charlie Bucket, played by Peter Ostrum. The other shiners would be Jack Albertson as Grandpa Joe, Julie Dawn Cole as Veruca Salt, Roy Kinnear as Mr. Salt, Denise Nickerson as Violet Beauregarde, Leonard Stone as Mr. Beauregarde, Paris Themmen as Mike Teevee, Dodo Denney as Mrs. Teevee, Diana Sowle as Mrs. Bucket, and Gunter Meisner as Otto Slugworth.

SCORE:The score in this film is very uplifting and catchy. The songs in here are very inspired and fun, from the touching ballad of "Pure Imagination" to the well-known tune of the "Oompa Loompa" songs. The soundtrack was just very fun.

EFFECTS:The effects in this film are very fun and well done. The visual effects used for most of the technology in the factory were dated, but still very cool. The make-up effects are also pretty memorable.

OTHER CONTENT:This film has a lot of aspects to it that make up a great film. The musical numbers are fun and catchy, the acting and mood for most of the film is light and uplifting, the comedy behind Mr. Wonka and the situations is still pretty funny today, and the fantasy behind it is still pretty wonderful. However, there were a few scenes in the film that just didn't fit in with the rest. For example, the scene with the paddle boat on the chocolate river. A lot of creepy stuff was going on at that time and could scare some younger audiences and even creep out some older audiences. I love the scene, but compared to the rest of the film, it just doesn't fit in, and it almost turns the film into a cult classic kind of thing. Aside from the couple abrupt tonal shifts, the film was pretty awesome.

OVERALL,an awesome fantasy film with a brilliantly-done plot, very good acting, fun and catchy score, cool and memorable effects, fun musical numbers, uplifting moods, funny moments, and wonderful fantasy, but there are a few odd moments that just don't seem to fit in with the film.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stand By Me (1986) review


This summer adventure flick about a group of friends going on a journey is heartfelt, sentimental, nostalgic, and a lot of fun as well. The plot and some of the twists may bizarre, and some of the acting may get annoying after a while, but it's still a great movie.

PLOT:In 1959, a group of young boys including invisible kid, Gordie LaChance (Wil Wheaton), tough kid, Chris Chambers (River Phoenix), spontaneous nerd, Teddy DuChamp (Corey Feldman), and wimpy guy, Vern Tessio (Jerry O'Connell) go on a journey across their town in search of the long lost corpse of a boy around their age who was hit by a train. The journey isn't easy, however. The boys must deal with the older kids and their emotions on the way there, for each of them has a troubled past. It's a great plot executed very well.

ACTING:The acting for the most part in this movie is very great. The four young boys played great parts. They still had a twinge of inexperienced child acting, but Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell still succeeded to play a fun part of preteen adolescence. The other shiners would be Richard Dreyfuss as the writer, Kiefer Sutherland as Ace Merrill, and John Cusack as Denny LaChance.

SCORE:The score in this movie is simple but very much inspired.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie brings back many feelings of my younger preteen days. My friends and I used to go out and explore what seemed like the world, hoping to find some kind of interesting thing in the woods. The feelings of adventure and a good time evoke old feelings in me, and makes me miss my older days. I love watching these kids get together and have a good adventure and open up. It's nostalgic to me, even though I didn't grow up in those times. However, the plot and some if its various twists seemed a little too bizarre for me and the child acting got a tad annoying after a while.

OVERALL,a great movie with a great plot, great acting, inspiring score, feelings of nostalgia, and the ability to evoke several younger memories for me, but some of the plot twists were just bizarre and the child acting got a little annoying after a while.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) review


This addition to the famous franchise is almost just as funny as the first. A lot of the jokes are just hilarious; however, a good bit of the jokes in here are borrowed or more crude than usual. Did I mention that I didn't like the whole time travel aspect as well?

PLOT:Super spy and sex magnet, Austin Powers (Mike Myers), is back and single again in this comedy adventure. Dr. Evil (also Myers) is also back with another evil plot to take over the world, only this time he's thought of disabling Powers from stopping him. Dr. Evil and his crew build a time machine to take him back to the 1960s and steal Powers' "mojo", the stuff that keeps him going, while also taking over the world. After Austin Powers notices his mojo gone, he also travels back in time to stop Dr. Evil and get his mojo back, all the while trying to woo the new female spy accompanying him, Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham). It's a great plot executed fairly well.

ACTING:The performances in here are pretty good, and for the most part, just like the first one. Austin Powers still plays an excellent and memorable set of roles as Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, and the newly introduced Fat Bastard. Heather Graham also played a great part as smooth female agent, Felicity Shagwell. Most of the roles are just as equal to its predecessor, but some have been newly introduced or are just better. The other shiners would be Michael York as Basil, Robert Wagner as Number Two, Rob Lowe as young Number Two, Seth Green as Scott, Verne Troyer as Mini-Me, Will Ferrell as Mustafa, and Mindy Sterling as Frau, with honorable mentions to Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, and Jerry Springer as themselves.

SCORE:The score in here is similar to that of the original, keeping the original theme, but adding an even better soundtrack. The soundtrack includes classic rock and other stuff from the likes of Steppenwolf, The Guess Who, and more.

OTHER CONTENT:This installment to the popular franchise is almost as good as its predecessor. Most of the jokes are hilarious and clever just like the original, but some of them are also too much like the original. A few of the jokes in this addition are either borrowed from the first or more crude than the past. I also didn't really care for the whole time travel aspect in the plot. I know this movie's supposed to be just a lot of fun, but I can't help but hate the fact that the time travel has little to no sense in it.

OVERALL,an okay movie with a great plot, pretty good acting, great score and soundtrack, and a lot of new and hilarious jokes, but some of the jokes are borrowed or more crude, and I didn't care for the time travel aspect of the plot too much.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) review


This classic movie is a lot of fun. It's hilarious and pokes fun at the spy films and flower-power feel of the past.

PLOT:Austin Powers (Mike Myers) is a level-headed, goofy super spy and sex magnet for women all around in the '60s. He was always going against the notorious Dr. Evil (also played by Mike Myers) and his tricks of trying to rule the world. However, both end up being frozen for 30 years by their staff and then brought back in the '90s. Austin Powers, after being unfrozen, meets and falls for Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley), who was sent to bring Powers up-to-date with the world. When Dr. Evil's unfrozen, he immediately hatches a plan to take over the world yet again, and it's up to Austin Powers and Vanessa to stop him. It's a good plot executed greatly.

ACTING:The acting in this movie is very good. Mike Myers plays a funny and entertaining role as Austin Powers and Dr. Evil. This has to be one of his most memorable performances. Elizabeth Hurley also played a pretty good part as Vanessa Kensington. The cast is nearly all-star and delivers a great comedic performance. The shiners besides these two would be Michael York as Basil, Robert Wagner as Number Two, Seth Green as Scott, Mindy Sterling as Frau, Will Ferrell as Mustafa, and Joe Son as Random Task.

SCORE:The score was pretty good. It had a few memorable themes and some familiar songs. The theme song to Austin Powers has also become quite memorable.

OTHER CONTENT:This movie is a lot of fun. The humor is very creative and goofy. I like how this movie makes fun of the majority of older spy films and just pokes fun at the genre. This movie has become one of the most iconic comedies to date because just about everyone I know recognizes the name Austin Powers. This movie is just a lot of fun and isn't really meant to be taken seriously, so kick back and lose yourself in it.

OVERALL,a good comedy with a great plot, very good acting, memorable score, creative and goofy jokes, an accurate parody of the spy film subgenre, an iconic comedy name, and just mindless entertainment.

The Raven (2012) review


This movie would probably be a guilty pleasure of mine because I loved it so much when I saw it. I actually liked the script, acting, and story. However, I don't believe it actually could have happened.

PLOT:Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack) is a famous poet down on his luck in the papers. He's lost his inspiration and a lot of people ridicule him for his arrogance and drinking problem. He's in love with Emily (Alice Eve), the daughter of a rich man who hates Poe's guts. One day, a series of killings start to occur strongly and mysteriously based on Poe's work. Clever detective, Emmett Fields (Luke Evans), recruits Poe to help them solve the mystery. Even worse, Emily is kidnapped by this killer, so now it's up to Poe and the detective to decipher the clues left by the copycat killer. It's a pretty good plot executed very well.

ACTING:The acting in here was pretty good. John Cusack played an excellent role as Edgar Allen Poe. I don't think I've seen him played quite this well. Luke Evans also played a pretty cool part as Detective Fields. Not all of the performances were that good though. Alice Eve played a bit of an uneven part as Emily, as well as Sam Hazeldine did as Ivan, Poe's sidekick. Aside from all of these, the other shiners were Brendan Gleeson as Colonel Hamilton and Kevin McNally as Maddux.

SCORE:The score was done fairly well by Lucas Vidal. It set the mood and got the song done, not to mention a cool ending song called "Burn My Shadow".

EFFECTS:The blood and gore effects for this movie were pretty cool and well done. The effects were CG for the most part, but they still looked pretty cool, especially in the "Pit and the Pendulum" scene. I really liked them.

OTHER CONTENT:Now, I couldn't help but love this movie. I liked the murder mystery and how it related to Poe's work, and I liked the script, but I do admit there were a few major problems I had with this movie. Firstly, how do they expect us to believe that all of this happened? In a way, it disgraces Poe's history, for it adds too much of a modern twist to an older time. Secondly, a few of the twists in the story seemed very impractical and unbelievable. I did get into this movie, but it just didn't seem believable to me at times. I don't really get if they're trying to convince us of this happening or if this is purely a work of fiction bent on focusing Poe into modern times. Either way, I did like the movie, and I would watch it again.

OVERALL,a good movie with a pretty good plot, pretty good acting overall, fitting score, cool CG blood effects, a nice murder mystery, and a good script, but there was a bit of uneven performances, it seemed too unrealistic for its time, and some of the twists seemed too unbelievable as well.