Friday, January 23, 2009
MY favorite film of the year, which also happens to be the best rated film of the year, is WALL-E. The Dark Knight was amazing visually, and I DO think Nolan should have gotten something for Best Director. Best Picture? Eh... I haven't seen 3 of the 5 nominated films, so it's not fair to say. I'm not one of the crazy fans who's only ever seen The Dark Knight and nothing else, and STILL says it deserves to win because it didn't epically fail like stereotypical summer movies. But it was good, and was much more entertaining and creative than Benjamin Button. Button most certainly did not deserve 13 nominations. Brad Pitt with awesome make-up, Cate Blanchet, and too much hype are all it should have to its long name. Slumdog deserves its nominations, but... picture? Really? THAT's the best the film industry came out with this year? That's not very encouraging. Of course, the fact that the Academy is apparently run by ancient actors and close-minded executives isn't encouraging either.
There were some nods to lesser known actors, which was nice, but to be honest, all I care about this year is WALL-E. It's very difficult to see all the films before the awards because so many are only released in limited theaters until January or February, and even then, some are never wide released. Why televise an awards show for movies no one can possibly care about?
But to the only thing I can possibly talk about, WALL-E. It earned six nominations, putting it in 4th place for total noms, and tying it for the most ever nominations for an animated film. Four were expected, Best Animated, Best Original Song, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing. I mean, the entire movie was sound; it's hard to NOT get those ones. The four others we were all hoping for but you never know when the Academy's going to screw you over were Picture and Director, which fell short, but also Original Screenplay and Score. I personally thought the score was amazing (Define Dancing, anyone?) but that's an iffy category because opinions can be so varied on it. Also very surprising with the song was that only 3 were nominated, and both of the other nominations are from Slumdog Millionaire. Clint Eastwood wrote a great song for Gran Torino, and Bruce Springsteen won both the Critic's Choice and the Golden Globe for "The Wrestler". I'm secretly very happy about this, because it means "Down to Earth" might actually WIN, but Springsteen got shafted.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
My problem with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was that, while it was good, it reminded me too much of things I'd already seen. (Mostly Forrest Gump and a bit of Titanic). Slumdog Millionaire, also very good, did NOT remind me of any movies I'd ever seen before, and thus, is a better movie. (Absolutely no sex whatsoever and an awesome dance sequence helped, too).
Jamal Malik is a slumdog, one who comes from the slums, of Mumbai, India. He's been arrested for cheating on the Hindi version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?. He protests that he didn't cheat. He knew the answers because he is destined to win. "It is written", he says late in the film. We get some vignettes for each answer he knew, which add up to his life story. He and his brother Salim make their way in India through a number of dishonest yet amusing money-earning activities. (pretending to be a tour guide for the Taj Mahal was my favorite)
When they're young children, they meet a girl named Latika. Salim and Jamal are the musketeers Athos and Porthos; Jamal considers her the third musketeer whose name they don't know. They're separated from Latika, and Jamal dedicates himself to finding her. His reasons for going on the show aren't revealed until later in the film, so I'll leave them be.
The R rating is for some more creative adult things that you'd expect. There is just about no sex, though I just remembered, there is a scene where they walk through a... for lack of a better term, whorehouse, though nothing graphic is shown. (In fact, the only bit I can remember involved both people still being clothed) There's a bit of torture at the beginning when Jamal's being interrogated, but no blood. Also, no blood though a number of people get shot. So the rating is a very mild R.
The film extensively uses child actors, as even modern-day Jamal can't be more than 19. There are three actors for each Jamal, Salim, and Latika, and all of them are very good. I applaud Danny Boyle for getting such performances from all of them. Also, and I have never been able to compliment this in a film before, the subtitles were very well done. The characters learned English as they got older, and so the youngest versions of Jamal and Salim spoke no English at all. Instead of the standard subtitles at the bottom, the subtitles were centered on the character that was speaking, and there was a slight transparent bar of color behind the subtitle, to ensure the audience COULD SEE IT. I watch subbed anime. I have no problem with watching things subbed. I do have problems with subs that either block the picture or are blocked BY the picture. I've never even seen different subtitles before, so kudos Danny Boyle!
One other very different thing was the credit sequence. Even with the bit of epilogue in WALL-E, even with the bonus clips at the end of all three Pirates movies, I have never seen an entire audience stay for a credit sequence before. Do you want to know why? No credit sequence has had an AWESOME dance number before. For those innovations, and for being such a high-quality film with a creative plot, (not about politics, the military, the CIA, FBI, NSA, etc--thank my father for spoiling those films for me. WE'LL SEE WHOSE FILMS ARE BETTER WHEN WALL-E KICKS FROST/NIXON OUT FOR BEST PICTURE!) and presenting it in such a way that I've never seen before, I think it certainly deserves to beat the majority of films out there: Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, definitely. Though I dislike Frost/Nixon because it was a good play, and should stay a good play. The last thing I want at the Oscars is another political directed-by-some-famous-guy-in-this-case-Ron-Howard to get nominated. Milk, The Wrestler, Revolutionary Road, The Reader, The Dark Knight, and Doubt... well, it was good, but I haven't seen most of those, so it's hard for me to pass judgement. Perhaps it won't win the Academy Award? But I find that unlikely, because...
Slumdog has now won both the Critic's Choice and Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture, as well as every other award it was nominated for at both of those ceremonies--save Best Song at the CCAs, which went to Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler". While it impresses me that they made such a good film for $10 million, as opposed to however much they threw at Benjamin Button, it's still not my favorite film of the year. I wanted it to be my favorite, so I wouldn't be as disappointed when it wins the Oscar. But, tragically, my favorite film is still WALL-E. Andrew Stanton, I take my hat off to you, sir. You have won my heart over critically acclaimed Best Picture frontrunner. (though, according to Rottten Tomatoes, WALL-E's even MORE critically acclaimed, with the coveted "Golden Tomato" award and a whopping 96%.)
It's a great film. Beats ANYTHING in theaters right now. Loved every minute of it. I have nothing bad to say about it.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Finally, after 5 long months, I watched The Dark Knight. Is it TEH BEST MOVIE EVAAHHH!! ? No. Is it the most surprisingly good movie of the year? HECK YES. The last thing you think would be breathing down the Academy's neck is this movie. While Heath Ledger's unfortunate death DID bring some good publicity, there was a viral campaign in place long before that, banking on his amazing performance. And it is amazing. Not even an amazing supporting cast of Aaron Eckhart (who was also very good, let me tell you) Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Channeling-the-spirit-of-comic-book-Gordon Oldman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal (so much better than Katie Holmes) could eclipse him. Christian Bale was looking more and more like the secondary character whenever he shared the screen with The Joker.
As a superhero sequel, it shares many plot points with, say, Spider Man 2. Batman runs into a new, crazier (to say the least), more powerful villain. But on his side is Harvey Deny, District Attorney extraordinare. Between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Dent, half the city's criminals are behind bars. Also between them is made-up love interest Rachel Dawes, Bruce's childhood friend, and the only person besides Alfred and Fox that knows his identity. He struggles over wanting to be with her but her refusal of him so long as he is the Batman. Then people are killed because he won't reveal his identity, and he considers giving it up and letting Dent clean the streets.
You're missing on a cultural phenomenon if you don't see The Dark Knight. "I can make a pencil disappear" and "Let's put a smile on that face" are going to be the new "I'm king of the world!" since TDK has the highest gross since Titanic.
It didn't the nom for the Golden Globes, but can it pull it off with the Academy? It's got no chance of winning, not next to Slumdog, but to be one of the top 5, it could put up a good fight. I would see it again over Benjamin Button, but not over WALL-E, (my pick for best movie of the year) and I'd see Slumdog Millionaire a first time before rewatching TDK.
Great movie, amazing cast on the whole, the best supporting acting since Anton Chigur--oh wait, that was just last year, wasn't it? Go see it. Right now.
After all the hype, I thought it would be the best thing since... well, since The Dark Knight. To be perfectly honest, my favorite movie of the year is still WALL-E. Benjamin Button was certainly a good movie, but not the best.
Running even longer than Australia, the story of Brad Pitt's backwards aging takes a whopping 2 hours and 48 minutes. We start not with Benjamin Button, but with some old dying lady in a hospital hours before (what I assume to be) Hurricane Katrina is set to strike. Then she tells the story of a clock in a train station that takes a good five minutes and I have no idea how it relates to her. Eventually, her daughter reads a journal that is not hers, and we get Benjamin's story. I'm very curious to read the SHORT story the film is based on now, and see just how much of the clock and Daisy's story was there.
While it certainly is interesting to see the daughter's reaction to the odd tale, and we couldn't have gotten the end of the story without Daisy, I question the necessity of the other storyline. I personally didn't like Daisy, so seeing more of her didn't do much for me.
Brad Pitt, on the other hand, did an amazing job. I know technical awards always feel like a gyp, but they should get something for the makeup. He spent barely ten minutes of the movie looking like himself, the rest of the time either being drastically older or younger. He played Benjamin all the way down to around 18 years old. (Ladies, you like 45-year-old Brad Pitt? Look at EIGHTEEN-year-old Brad Pitt)
It's a good movie. It really is. But it feels a lot like Forrest Gump (with a touch of Titanic from old Daisy), in narration, the love story, and the fact that the protagonist is a man-child. (at least for half of Benjamin Button) I would wait to rent this, and go see something like Gran Torino or Slumdog Millionaire. At the very least, see a matinee and don't pay for snacks. It's good, better than 90% of what's in theaters now, but I don't think it's going to be the one that people remember 10 years from now. That honor still belongs to The Dark Knight.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I know I'm very unhelpful reviewing all these movies that have been out for years, but hey, it's what I'm watching. Library movies are a heck of a lot cheaper than going to a theater. (and frankly, the only thing I'm remotely interested in is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
I'll be reviewing a slew of Pixar movies, but before I get to them, here's a Tim Burton stop-motion gem: Corpse Bride. Nominated for Best Animated Feature in 2004, it lost to Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. (I like to believe they gave them that award simply because it was 'owed' for all the outstanding shorts they've made, because I enjoyed BOTH other nominees much more)
The premise, while not entirely original, is certainly not the typical Hollywood based-on-something-with-an-established-fanbase format. The ideas of a corpse bride and the butterfly spoiler-y thing at the end of the movie are based on Russian and Jewish folktales. Victor, a young, nervous, yet very handsome (because he is voiced by Johnny Depp) fishmonger's son is set to be married to Victoria, a young woman (voiced by Emily Watson, not to be confused with Emma Watson, thoughyou certainly won't once you hear her voice) of a noble yet penniless family. The marriage is arranged, and neither have seen the other before the start of the movie. Johnny-- I mean, Victor is also a talented artist and pianist. Victoria is not, but he still manages to fall in love with her at first sight. At the rehearsal, however, Victor cannot managed to do a single thing correctly, and humorously sets Victoria's mother's dress on fire.
Victor retreats into the woods where he practices his vows. After many botched attempts, he finally gets them right, inspired by a flower given to him by Victoria. He places the ring on a branch which turns out to be the skeletal hand of Helena Bohnam Carter, whose character name is listed simply as "corpse bride" in the credits even though we know what her name is, and both Victor and Barkis even call her by name. (they couldn't even put it in parentheses? Really, Tim Burton. Not to mention your ego at insisting your name comes before the title. It's like Nightmare, where you created but didn't direct. You directed. You have your credit. AND it's based on folktales!)
Victor's unexpected marriage sends him to the world of the dead, where we are recounted with Emily's tale by Danny Elfman as Bonejangles, a gravely-voiced skeleton. Elfman's music is wonderful as always, but perhaps just a little too forgettable. You'll be humming "Halloween" more often than Victor's theme or "Remains of the Day". (It's seriously called "Remains of the Day"? But it's all about the corpse bride...?) But at least he helps bring back the movie-musical. Baz Luhrman deserves much, but not all of the credit. There's Disney and Burton, too, you know. (and I suppose Twentieth Century Fox, but who really remembers that Anastasia WASN'T Disney?)
A common misconception is that both Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride are claymation. They are, in fact, filmed using models, the latter with very advanced mechanical heads that change expression at the turn of a gear rather than the entire replacement of a head. There is a bit of CG mixed in, but it's been a few years since I've watched the special features and don't remember where and what.
Tim Burton certainly creates an original world with this movie, reminiscent of Nightmare, but completely different at the same time. His fascination with the dead is entertaining, so we'll overlook the borderline morbidity of it. It's a good film, with fun music and very unique visuals, but it's not quite at the level of Nightmare, though it's refreshing to have a much more active heroine. (two, if you count Victoria) Did I mention that I like strong female characters? I recommend it, but not over Nightmare.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
By far the best movie I've seen for a long time. It's amazing how much a character can be developed when he, for the most part, doesn't speak. Our friendly Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class says "WALL-E", "Eva", (a cute mispronunciation of "Eve" that may or may not be a reference to the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion) "Wow", "directive", and I swear I heard a "no" in there somewhere. Eve is a bit more talkative (a whole word more) and much easier to understand.
Pixar has always been on top of the computer animation field, which is one of the reasons I dislike Disney's animated movies so much. Disney jumped on the bandwagon. In fact, just about everyone except perhaps Dreamworks jumped on the bandwagon, and no one can even remotely compare. WALL-E has some of the greatest computer animation I've ever seen. The detail in the garbage-covered Earth, including a stumbling WALL-E in the background, and a "camera" that changes focus between the two was (at least to me) a groundbreaking animation technique. This type of shot was repeated a number of times in the film, also when WALL-E was chasing after the spaceship. There may have been more, but unless you're looking for it, you really don't notice. The Earth sequences especially, but the whole movie was put together as though it was shot live-action, and indeed, this is the first Pixar movie to have any live-action at all. It blends so well into the movie, though, you don't really notice. I had to physically read the trivia on IMDB to think. "...huh. The 'Hello Dolly' parts were live-action".
Most reviews of WALL-E have been very positive, but a few concerns have been raised. Does lack of dialog make the movie boring? Honestly, American films could do without quite a bit of dialog. I wasn't bored in the slightest at any point during the film, but I also make a habit of watching everything ever produced by Studio Ghibli, who can be very sparse with dialog. Is it boring to an American audience? I think the animation alone ought to keep you entertained, not to mention WALL-Es garbage-searching antics, and his cute cockroach-like friend. (who lives in a Twinkie that is still intact in its wrapper after 700 years)
There are some very obvious environmental themes in the movie. Does this make it unsuitable for kids/do these themes dominate the movie? Hardly. The main plot is WALL-E and Eve's romance, followed by the fate of the Axiom. I don't believe Stanton necessarily meant anything by having the world covered in trash; it was simply the setting for his movie. Miyazaki's heavy influence on Pixar is certainly a factor, and yes, Stanton may share those views, but it seems that people's interactions with each other and their actions in their lives was a much larger theme--people relying on technology meant they never had to do anything for themselves, which led to what you see on the Axiom. The environment being completely destroyed was just the means to that end. Now, if the people had returned to Earth only to find it permanently uninhabitable, or found no other plant life, that would change things. But as it was, yes there are environmental themes, but no, they do not dominate the movie (unless you dwell on them, in which case, you're probably looking for them)
WALL-E and Eve's romance is now one of my favorite cinema romances, and I was watching Casablanca last night. I find it pretty ironic that the first Pixar movie where romance is the MAIN plot features robots. A Bug's Life I'm not incuding in that, because I'm pretty sure Flick's actions were driven by his want to set things right for the colony, while WALL-E's decisions mostly revolved around Eve. Chase after the spaceship and leave Earth? Trying to follow Eve. Rescue the plant? Most likely as a present for Eve, though it can be hard to tell with no dialog. ^_^;; Continue to give Eve the plant, even after the run-in with Otto? Trying to help Eve finish her "directive". Anyway, one of the cutest romances I've ever seen in a film.
I would recommend this film to anyone. It's rated G, so for once, it's entirely kid-friendly. There were no "adult" jokes, no innuendos, no pretty much anything bad at all. It was the best movie I've seen all year.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
It wasn't even like a normal scary movie with monsters and creepy things and phone calls in the middle of the night. It didn't have some weird twist at the end like most of his movies. But I am horrible at scary movies, and it freaked me out. I think it might have just been the way he did it, the music, and lack of music. I didn't look at half of it. When the guy was in front of the lawn mower, I yelled at my friends "I wanted to see WALL-E!".
But despite the various creative methods of death, it really wasn't that great of a movie. I didn't like any of the main characters. The trigger for the mass deaths was very easy to figure out, and doesn't even entirely make sense. (why would the bees vanish? bees pollinate plants, so plants need the bees, right?) I still don't understand why the old lady freaked out a couple of times. But it was entertaining, and scared the heck out of me, so I guess it was good enough. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, though.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is an outcast cop close enough to the streets to feel a shift of control in the drug underworld. Roberts believes someone is climbing the rungs above the known Mafia families and starts to suspect that a black power player has come from nowhere to dominate the scene. Both Lucas and Roberts share a rigorous ethical code that sets them apart from their own colleagues, making them lone figures on opposite sides of the law. The destinies of these two men will become intertwined as they approach a confrontation where only one of them can come out on top.
This gangster movie does not have the usual extreme violence common in films such as Goodfellows and Scarface, instead it is more of a drama told through the development of characters. From what I have heard about the real-life Frank Lucas, an even more interesting story could have been told, but this film is definately worth watching. It is also a really neat look into the time period.
Ing's Review: My friend, a friend with excellent taste in movies I might add, recommended this film to me and so I was anxious to see it. This time my friend let me down! Of the three main characters, Cruise, Streep and Redford, only Streep makes an impression. Redford is easy on the easy and Cruise is, well, Cruise, but Streep really acts. Her part of the film would have made a good movie on its on, had it been fleshed out. That's the problem with the whole film, actually-- nothing is fleshed out. A bit of promise, but no delivery at all.
P2 starts off great with a fresh premise on the stalker story. The film moves quickly, with plently of jumps and scares, but it ends like a straight to video slasher. A weak ending ruined the film for me.
WARNING: May contain spoilers!
A fictionalized account of personal bravery and comradeship in the early days of the Viet Nam war. The story follows the experiences of Lt. Dieter Dengler whose plane was shot down over Laos and taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. In a story that should not be classified as either pro or anti war, it explores the tragedies of war for all involved.
Terrific! Terrifying! By now you have probably heard about the shocker ending-- or at least that the ending is a shocker. Ending aside, this is one film that you will not forget. It is more about the monsters inside the grocery store than the monsters from the mist. A neat character study and plenty of gross-0ut as well.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I'm not a big fan of Christmas movies, but this one made me laugh! Very funny, very orginial and I don't care what the other critics say, this one is worth seeing this season.
In my opinion, this movie has the best special effects I have ever seen. Also, the actors in this movie were phenominal. All in all, I definatelly encourage you to rent this movie.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Brad Pitt plays Achilles, the legendary Greek warrior. King Agamemnon's army reveres Achilles as their greatest fighter, faster, stronger, and deadlier with a sword then all others. As the Greek's army champion, Achilles has won many battles by defeating the other country's champion. The Trojan War begins when Prince Paris of Troy (Orlando Bloom) takes his lover, the beautiful Queen Helen (Diane Kruger), the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta (Brendan Gleeson), back to Troy. All the Greek armies unite under King Agamemnon (Brian Cox), a total of 50,000 soldiers sail to Troy in a thousand ships. The walls of Troy are invincible to an invading army, so Troy has never been defeated in battle. The battle begins with Achilles and his men reaching the Troy beach first and taking the beach almost by themselves. Achilles captures Prince Hector (Eric Bana) in the temple, but he lets him go free for another day. King Agamemnon does not honor Achilles for his victory, and Achilles' pride is hurt. Achilles and his men stayed out of the next battle, and the Greeks are beaten badly. Achilles is about to return home when Hector kills his cousin in battle, thinking it was Achilles. Achilles challenges Hector, and they fight to the death. Achilles wins and drags Hector's body away. Hector is returned for a proper funeral, which includes a 12-day truce. During this time, the Greeks build the Trojan Horse and leave. The wooden horse is taken into the city, and the men inside open the gates of Troy.
I personally felt that this movie is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It very well directed and well casted. This movie also has beautiful scenery. And on top of that, the fight scenes in this movie were very well choreographed. For example, in the opening scene Achilles fights the champion of another army invading Greece. In that battle, Achilles kills the man with a single stroke of his sword. All in all, this movie definnately gives you a bang for you buck.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Since I just reviewed Cars, I might as well review the movie that beat it for the Best Animated Oscar this year. Take a dancing penguin, Elijah Wood, and as many social/political issues that you can cram into a 2 hour movie, and you have Happy Feet. Those filmmakers were smart. They could've gotten plenty of other actors to voice Mumble, but they got Elijah Wood, which drew in the Elijah Wood fangirls. (I got dragged--erm, went along with a friend who went for that reason.) The dancing penguin factor brings the kids in, and the social/political issues keep the parents from falling asleep, and then it makes them want to buy it so their kids can watch it over and over and learn about enviornmental issues.
In the world of Happy Feet, all penguins sing with beautiful, professional quality voices and have a "heart song". When they find another penguin whose song fits with theirs, it means they're supposed to get married. Mumble (Elijah Wood) can't sing and doesn't have a song. Instead, he tap dances. So all the penguins pick on him. Except of course, for the most beautiful girl penguin, Gloria (Brittany Murphy). She likes him. (*cough*Pebble and the Penguin*cough*) Meanwhile, all the fish are dissapearing, so the old penguins decide to blame in on Mumble, who, by their logic, must be causing all the probelms since he's DIFFERENT! Also, Mumble's dad, voiced by Hugh Jackman, hates him.
One day, Mumble winds up meeting a bunch of adelie penguins, most of which are voiced by Robin Williams. He dances, and they like it, so he ditches his family and becomes friends with them. (can you tell that I don't like this movie?) More dancing, more singing, more Mumble trying to get the girl. Mumble finally DOES get the girl by dancing to her heart song, but then he tells her to leave because he's going off on a dangersous quest to find the fish. Another hour of enviornmental issues, Mumble comes back, we get to see thousands of tap-dancing penguins, and then everyone lives happily ever after.
The only reason this beat Cars is because the plot was different. The only reason the plot was different was because they couldn't pick just one issue to address. The only thing I really liked about the movie was the animation. I honestly don't know if they filmed real people or animated them. The landscapes of antartica made me think I it was a live-action movie at times. The penguins were animated very realistsically, except that they were tap-dancing and singing. It's one of the greatest animation jobs I've seen in an American movie. The only, and I mean ONLY animated thing I didn't like was Mumble. When emperor penguins are born, they have lots of fuzzy white feathers. When they're around a year old (I think...) they have completely lost their feathers. The ENTIRE movie, Mumble had his fledgling feathers. He spent weeks, if not months trying to get the fish back and talk to the people, and he still had feathers! I know that the filmmakers did this so we could tell Mumble apart, but if they made no attempt to give the other penguins special features, why only do it for Mumble? Maybe they thought it would be too stereotypical. They could be right, but to me, it just looked stupid.
Rating: 2 and half stars because that was some of the best animation I've seen since FF7: Advent Children.
The only thing original about Cars is... well, the cars. It had the standard plot of a hotshot young rookie, Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) who thinks only about himself and has no friends. One night, on the way to the tiebraker for the coveted Piston Cup, Lightning falls off of his truck, gets chased by a cop, and destroys the road in a little town in the middle of nowhere. The citizens of the town punish him by forcing him to fix the road he destroyed, a job that, according to the town leader, Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman) will take 5 days. But Lighting must get to California in... atually, I don't remember them saying how long he had to get to California. Just that he really had to get there, and apparently didn't have 5 days. To make a long story short, Lighting learns lots of life lessons, becomes friends with a tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, falls in love with a cute porcshe named Sally (Bonnie Hunt), and helps the little town of Radiator Springs. It's everything the previews made it out to be, and nothing more. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the film, but I did expect a little better from Pixar. The animation was very well-done, but in Pixar's style, which isn't the most realistic I've seen. That may also be a reason Happy Feet won over Cars. Still, overall it was cute and worth the 116 minutes I spent to watch it.
Rating: 2 and a half stars. The plot was just too predictable. Sorry, Pixar.
If you like this: A Bug's Life, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
As I watched Babel at the bargain cinema this weekend, I had a strange sense of deja vu. Make no mistake-- I enjoyed Babel. I even found myself tearing up at the end of the movie, which rarely happens, but as many reviews (reviews far more skilled than I) have said, Babel is Crash on an international scale. Babel begins in Morocco. We meet a family of goat herders who purchase a rifle to help defend their herd from jackals. The rifle becomes the weapon that critically wounds an American tourist (Cate Blanchett), traveling with her husband (Brad Pitt) on a tour bus. Blanchett and Pitt have two children, living in San Deigo, who are being cared for by their nanny, Amelia (Adriana Barraza). Naturally because of the incident, Pitt and Blanchett will not be returning to San Deigo as expected. Amelia however, wants to return to her native Mexico to attend her son's wedding and decides to take the children across the boarder with her, for the celebration. The movie then takes us to Japan and a young teenage girl, Chieko (Rinko Kikuchi). Chieko lives with her father (Kôji Yakusho) and is still grieving the loss of her mother who committed suicide. Needless to say this is a complex movie! Not only does it skip around the world, but it skips back and forth in time as well. It is a bit preachy, but I still found it definately worth the watch.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Howl's Moving Castle is Miyazaki-sensei's most recent film. Other movies he dircted include Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and the 2002 Oscar winner for Best Animated, Spirited Away. I HIGHLY reccommend all of those movies. The library owns all of them, and you can even have them shipped to you! catalog.einetwork.net. All you need is your library card.
Anyway, on with the review! Howl's Moving Castle is the story of 18-year old Sophie (voiced by Emily Mortimer) who gets cursed by the Witch of the Waste (Laruen Bacall). The curse turns Sophie into a 90-year old woman. (now voiced by Jean Simmons) Sophie goes out in search of the Wizard Howl (Christian Bale) to help her break the curse. She goes to Howl's "castle", which is actually just a magic pile of junk that moves, where we meet Calcifer (Billy Crystal) a fire demon that moves the castle, Markl (Josh Hutcherson) Howl's apprentice, and a scarecrow with a turnip for a head that Sophie aptly names "Turnip-head".
If you've read the book, you're going to spend the whole movie going "That never happened!" and "Markl is supposed to be 10 years older!" and "wasn't Suliman a man?" . What you need to do is forget everything from after page 20 of the book, THEN watch the movie. I guarentee you will love it. Miyzaki-sensei is literally the greatest animated movie dirctor in the world. This movie has some of the most beautiful animation that I've ever seen. Seemlessly combinging 2D with 3D effects (the castle) , and a 3D program that makes things look handrawn when they're really not (the blob-men), this movie is visually perfect. Also, it has one of the greatest composers in the movie industry, Joe Hisaishi. (Who also scored almost all of the Studio Ghibli movies)
Rating: 3 and a half stars. It's good, but Miyazaki has better.
If you like this: Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Whisper of the Heart.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Saturday, February 17, 2007
See Pursuit of Happyness at the Internet Movie Database