Ice Spiders

"Where Nature Stopped. Science Evolved"

I was just sitting here writing and watching the Sci Fi channel, when this movie came on. Now I expect very bad, very corny things from ole' Sy Fy but this has got to be one of the most ridiculously cheesy movies I have ever been exposed to. As a result I will now expose you to it.


Special Post: Bad Advertisement Part 2

Last time I talked about bad advertisements, today I want to talk about weak ass taglines that find their way onto the slipshod DVD boxes for movies. Now I would have to figure that most of the time, if you're at the point of picking up the DVD box, you've already decided to buy the movie, but if you hadn't decided say to buy the movie Push, this tagline probably wouldn't encourage you to buy it:
"HANG ON TIGHT as a gang of superpowered paranormal operatives takes you on a white-knuckle thrill ride."

....what? I'm of the understanding that the back jackets of these are typically written by people who otherwise have nothing to do with the movie or its production, but still, it might be a good idea to watch the movie... or maybe a trailer before you start writing about 'white-knuckle thrill rides'. I was convinced I was buying a movie, not a roller coaster. This line manages to take what I think is a pretty original movie, and make it sound like the most played out, utterly lame movie ever. The entirety of the back jacket is either misleading, stupid, or just plain untrue.

This is probably not a decisive factor in buying a DVD, but I just found the description of the movie so devoid of content, that I felt it deserved inclusion in my little report. My next entry will return to movie reviews. Look forward to the white-knuckled thrill ride!


Special Post: Bad Advertisement Part 1

So recently I saw the movie Knowing, which if you haven't seen or heard of is about a guy who discovers a piece of paper in a time capsule that has predicted every world disaster for 50 years. It predicts 3 more, one of which is 'everyone else'. Now I'd pretty much avoided this movie because I thought it had looked completely idiotic and generic in the previews I'd seen constantly on tv. I found when I watched it that it was actually an ok movie, and not a generic disaster movie, ala Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, etc.

So that got me thinking, the idea behind advertising is to encourage people to see a movie, but to what degree do advertisements sometimes hurt the movie's chances of being watched? I'm going to first look at trailers. Later we'll move on to other forms of advertisement or promotion.

I've already mentioned Knowing, I had a similar experience with Paranormal Activity, which I only ended up seeing upon urging from a friend. While the movie was one of the scariest I've ever seen, and makes brilliant use of its tiny budget, the trailers look entirely hokey. They use this one 3 second clip (which is from the very end of the fucking movie, more on that later) and then the audience being all scared, and that's supposed to make me think 'ooh spooky!' What it looks like, in the trailer, is a body on wires being carried into the room, and big fucking deal. I'm not sure how they could make the trailer more enticing, but that was definitely not the way. While I didn't know that this shot was the very end of the movie, I still found it irritating after the fact, just like in Surrogates where the trailer also uses footage from the very end of the movie. You have a whole movie to choose 20 seconds from, and you feel driven to use the climax? Just terrible.

Another similar issue that leads to me not wanting to see a movie is bombarding me with 8000 trailers every day showing the movie over and over. I recall at one time the same Transformers teaser being played 3 times consecutively. Even more annoying than this was the 2 weeks leading up to the release of Jennifer's Body. I got so sick of Megan Fox asking me if I wanted it, and I could recite the clips from that stupid trailer for you. I wasn't really hot on the movie to begin with, but I sure as hell didn't go see it after that. I wanted nothing more than to forget about the damned movie for months, so that I could enjoy what my tv looks like without devil megan leering at me and then trying to eat me.

So what have we learned? Choose your footage carefully, choose what you say carefully, and dont say it on the same channel more than 50 times an hour. And watch out for Megan Fox, because she will eat you.


Paranormal Activity

" Don't See It Alone"

That's good advice tagline, that's why we keep you there. I've seen a lot of horror movies, and I usually think very
little of them. Most horror movies are intensely gross, but also stupid and not frightening. Saws one through eight million only scare me because someone actually continues to give some director money to make these fucking things.

This movie is, suffice it to say, different. Shot on an 11 million dollar budget in the directors own house, Paranormal Activity uses a 'found footage' style to draw you in, trap you in this house, and scare the ever living shit out of you. I think the style in which the movie is shot is really what does it. There are no special effects that look 'special', no cinematic angles, there is music after a fashion, a sort of "DOOOOM" sound effect, but they effectively blend it so you can't be sure that's what it is. The movie's close up, hand camera style creates a kind of claustrophobia, as does the situation. Through the events that happen, it becomes increasingly clear that there is no escape, for the viewers, and certainly not for the characters. The only thing that sort of bugged me is the stubborn refusal of the guy to admit that the situation is beyond his control. I suppose that might be how someone would react if they didn't believe in the paranormal. I don't want to give anything specific about this movie away, but suffice it to say the instant ouija board bursts into flames while I'm not home, my ass is calling in every psychic, priest, and paranormal expert on the fucking planet, and I'm moving into the biggest church i can find, and filling it with those individuals, and devoting my life to prayer.

I can't say much more without giving anything away, but I think I've told you what you need to know. This movie is hell of scary, you should see it if you like that sort of thing, and Katie Featherston is probably gonna have a rough time finding dates from now on.

Now where was I? Oh right. Our father, who art in heaven...



"How do you save humanity when the only thing that's real is you?"

I'm sure the above is a problem that Bruce Willis has been grappling with for a long time. Despite this hardship, he still seems to be saving humanity just fine. I decided that after The Fifth Element we deserved a look at what Mr. Willis has been doing lately. Evidently pretty much the same thing he was doing back then.

Based on a graphic novel of the same name, surrogates is a story about a world in the near future where everyone lives their lives vicariously through robots that are essentially idealized versions of themselves. Bruce Willis is a cop who is beginning to have doubts about the goodness of the surrogate lifestyle that the world has adopted, and then shit hits the fan.

Visually I was pretty impressed by this movie. They managed to convincingly CG a bunch of individuals to look both super perfect in their surrogate bodies, and alternatively made a bunch of movie stars look absolutely horrible in their 'human' bodies. Aside from that this is a movie that manages to not be TOO obvious, and packs in plenty of Bruce Willis kicking ass and also getting the shit beat out of him, in classic Die Hard fashion.

My biggest problem with this movie isn't actually the movie itself. I have a serious issue with the fucking trailer. I won't link it, but if you watch it and then see the movie you might note something. The end of the trailer uses footage that is essentially the entire climax of the movie. Now you might not remember it, and sure it doesn't necessarily ruin the movie, but still, this movie has plenty of action in it, what possesses you to reveal the very end of a movie?

But that isn't what's most important. The movie is presented stylishly, and presents and engaging plot that actually twists a fair bit. And we still got to enjoy Mr. Willis doing what he does best.

Be Awesome.


Fifth Element

"There is no future without it."

Let's get rid of that nightmare exploration in boredom and replace it with something a little classier. This movie has everything you could possibly want. Chris Tucker as a fruity pop star, Bruce Willis as a ex-military cab driver who kills people, and Gary Oldman as an evil rich guy. Also its in the future. Mostly in space and full of alieenns! Dancing, singing, Opera performing aliens. This is also a very special movie, a science fiction movie with Milla Jovovich in it that doesn't suck! Back then Ultraviolet was just a distant nightmare. Let's talk about why this is a great movie!

First off, this movie is unapologetically weird. There is a battle sequence played against a rock opera sung by a blue alien. Bruce Willis refers to himself as a 'meat popsicle' at one point, which I'm still not really clear on the meaning of. I mean, what the hell is that? xD There is some evil force trying to destroy the whole world, and it makes people drip octopus ink out of their foreheads! I don't honestly get everything that happens in this movie but the point is clear. Milla Jovovich is evidentally the '5th element' that has the power to save the whoooole universe, but to be a real girl she needs love. The kind of love that only Bruce Willis can give.

So is it 'THE RIDE' as the cover art suggests? Maybe not for everyone, but I find it has just the right mix of sort of goofy sci fi tropes, gunfights, explosions, and boobs. Also it introduces us to the marvel of future identification known only as: Multipass.



This looks... maybe ok?
"Many saw evil. They dared to stop it."

Looks like it could be fun right? That's actually sort of inaccurate. It's more like "Many saw evil. They sort of dared to try and stop it, but failed miserably because they were all such fuck ups."

I didn't exactly expect great things from this movie, but I did sort of expect some amount of entertainment. I mean this is a movie you could pitch by saying "Tom Cruise is a nazi with an eyepatch, trying to blow up Hitler." That should at the very least be the funniest movie ever. Instead I think despite the hundreds of movies I've seen, this may very well have been the most boring movie I have ever watched in my entire life. Absolutely nothing ever happens in this movie. A cast of nazis who are all inexplicably British actors spend the whole movie dicking around and talking about whether or not they will really TRY to kill Hitler. Then at the end, they go off half cocked, fail and die. At the end we're supposed to be like "oh man, not ALL Nazis were bad guys! They tried but died, oh how brave!" All I thought was "man I'm glad they died. Dumbasses." I was sort of expecting an at least decent movie, what with Bryan Singer behind the helm, but evidently if the movie doesn't involve mutants he just doesn't know what to do with himself anymore.

Do you remember seeing the commercial for this movie? You remember there were people running around, explosions STUFF THAT HAPPENED? Yeah well that's actually all of this movie you need to see, because they used up the only two minutes of action in this whole movie in that trailer. The rest is guys standing around, talking about mostly NOTHING. Take a good look at the poster I for the movie. See how it says 'from the directors of The Usual Suspects and X-Men.'? Those are some good movies that you could watch, instead of this piece of crap. Next post I will alleviate the pain of Valkyrie with the best cure for sadness...
Bruce Willis.



Resident FUCKING Evil

I'm going to try and stay calm. Try.
"A secret experiment. A deadly virus. A fatal mistake."

Yeah, that's the God's honest truth man. Let me clear those things the FUCK up.

"George Romero writes a script to Resident Evil. Paul W.S. Anderson writes one too. They scrap Romero's script and go with the much more idiotic one."

So let's talk about that. We can assume, from the title, that Resident Evil is a movie based on a long lived, and relatively acclaimed game series of the same name, which basically started the survival horror genre of video games. Sounds ok so far. Video game movies aren't exactly known for being... less than the worst crap ever, but still, we can be hopeful. Then, something that is similar to God reaching down and slapping Hitler in the face happened. Capcom and Sony Greenlit a Resident Evil movie with GEORGE FUCKING ROMERO writing the script. For those of you just joining us on the planet earth, George Romero is the man responsible for Night of the Living Dead, and the subsequent movies. That's right, the guy who gave us the modern zombie movie, and also the premise around which THE ORIGINAL RESIDENT EVIL GAME WAS BASED. This could still go bad if the script didn't really follow the game. I mean, Romero is known for his movies having strong social commentary in the undertones, maybe he'd go overboard with that? No kid, he wrote a script based around the Arklay Mansion incident, which was the basis of the first game. It included Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine as the main characters (same as the game) and such characters as Barry Burton, Ada Wong, Rebecca Chambers and Albert Wesker (All of whom were present during these events in the game). This sounds great from where I'm sitting. But no. That movie never did, and never will happen. Why? According to the Capcom producer, "Romero's script wasn't good. So Romero was fired".

Well la dee fucking da. I'm not ruling out that possibility, but if the final movie directed by Anderson is a reflection of what they think is good well maybe Romero's script was the best script ever written. Let's talk about that. Instead of the earlier mentioned script, we get that world viewed through the lens of a TOTAL MORON. There's still a mansion, only it has a ABSURD JOKE CITY UNDERNEATH IT. Ok Resident Evil is replete with shit like that, so we can forgive it. Umbrella still controls this facility. Fair enough. All the original characters are axed.

um... ok.

Instead we have Alice. Milla Jovovich is Alice, a lady who wakes up in said mansion, which is not actually all that big. She has no memory and everything is dreeeaammlike. She accompanies a team of the Umbrella Corporation's Commandos into their compromised facility, along with some other guy who also doesn't remember who he is. The facility is controlled by a evil little girl hologram computer... thing, called Red Queen. You guys following this clever subtext? ALICE IN WONDERLAND IF YOU ARENT GETTING IT. So the team enters, seemingly totally oblivious to what the hell is going on in this place, and they meet some zombies. Like 8 million of them. In the ensuing sequences, some of the dumbest crap happens. These guys suffer from the standard 'no one in a zombie movie ever saw a zombie movie' problem.

"hey Im rough and tumble latina michelle rodriguez. Theres a survivor!"

-obvious zombie-

"Fuck she bit me!"

-surrounded by zombies-

"Im the stupid team captain, AIM FOR THEIR KNEESSS"

I'm not kidding he really gives that suicide order. Way to go champ. Then plot twist WOO Alice and other Amnesia Guy were both working for Umbrella! Only Alice was gonna betray evil Umbrella, and Other Guy was going to kill her. Slowly they remember, and then he tries to screw everyone over. Only he dies cause he's a jerk. Everyone slowly dies over the course of the movie, except for Alice, and cop Matt Anderson, who's looking for his sister in some demented inverse Ada Wong situation. The one guy who almost survives, struggling all the way, BAM killed by a licker right at the end of the movie. Super time guys, glad we were waiting for the end of the movie so he could be killed like a punk. That's how I felt at the end of the movie to be honest. sort of like this:
     Thanks a lot fot the awesome movie guys. I had a great time, and an even better time imagining the great movie that could have not involved half an alice in wonderland allegory, part of a 2001: a Space Odyssey reference, and a lot of supremely dumb plot. A+ assholes.


100 Sad Little Hits

I've been watching my analytics like a hawk, and I see the number of hits has finally stumbled bleary eyed over the 100 mark! Thanks to the people who visit my site! All like, 6 of you xD



"Welcome To A World Where Anything Is Possible"

Fishy Fishy in the sea.
      They aren't kidding either. This is a world where anything can and does happen!  This is the story about a little boy, who meets a little fish, that becomes a little girl, and her dad is Liam Neeson, a magical sea wizard. This boy lives on a terrifying cliff near the ocean, with his mom, who I suspect was actually a street racer. It is very possible she was a character in Initial D that I forgot, I'm not ruling out that possibility. Anyway, this movie focuses mostly on the Sosuke finding Ponyo, and the ensuing adventures they have. This movie is the world viewed through the lens of happy magic, but lets not miss out on how frightening this movie would be otherwise.

     A huge deathstorm strikes around where Sosuke lives, which is incidentally next to the freaking ocean. So that's cool. When I say he lives next to the ocean, I mean on a cliff right next to it. So after the storm calms down a bit, Sosuke's mom decides its cool to leave a strange girl from the ocean and her son, who is about 5, and to rush off into the storm. When Sosuke and Ponyo awake, she is still gone, and the whole of the surrounding land is submerged in water. Water full of terrifying Cambrian aged sea creatures, brought back by the sea wizard who wanted to wipe out mankind (but changed his mind halfway through the movie). Well I guess this is a Miyazaki happy movie, so an ending that turns the planet into waterworld is probably unlikely. 

      Visually this movie is soothing and very pretty. The hand drawn scenes are something you really notice and appreciate over the maybe cleaner, but more... empty looking computer drawn animations. You can expect lots of cute moments and a lot of beautiful art out of this movie, but don't expect profound introspection or anything. Just a movie about a kid who falls in love with a fish girl.

A different fish girl.


New Moon Trailer 3: Pectoral Party

So while I was looking at new movies that are out this week, I saw this new trailer for the next movie in the TWILIGHT SAGAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaa. behold: The Magic.

       This trailer tells me that good times are on the horizon. Kristin Stewart is looking to still be in top form, and she comes complete with her own pack of badly CGd wolves! I think the thing that struck me most though was the number of topless, rippling dudes in this trailer. They managed to pack like 400 Calvin Klein ads worth of topless man into something like two minutes of video footage. I'll give them this much, the promo guys seem to have a clean grasp of their target demographic. Still I think it makes for an interesting view of this movie. Will we be graced with an almost entirely topless movie? Will any girls be topless? Probably not, but there did seem to be more flesh bared in this trailer than in the entirety of the first movie. I anticipate another 1-2 hours of terrific acting, great directing, and general quality cinema. Three cheers to Stephanie Meyer for brightening up another movie season for me.

Mystery Men

"They're not your average superheroes."

Look at this cover. Good times will ensue.
   Mystery Men is a fine example of a movie that never even sort of had a chance of being successful (I'm not saying I don't like it. I do a lot). This is a movie, that looks like it was made for tv, based on comics that were largely unheard of. Most people I know who have seen this movie aren't even aware that its based on a comic at all. Despite the cruddy and dated CG effects, and the utterly goofy tone the movie strikes, this has a lot to offer. This is for instance one of the few movies I can think of that features Ben Stiller prominently without me wanting to never watch the movie ever. It is also the second greatest use of Kel Mitchell (the first is obviously Good Burger).  There are lots of great moments to experience. Paul Reubens being humped by a skunk for instance, or watching Greg Kinnear die!

      It is true that these are not your average superheroes. As a matter of fact, they aren't super at all. One guy hits stuff with a shovel. he shovels well. Another throws forks and speaks in a british accent. Paul Reubens farts at people. I think more than anything this movie gives a good retrospective. Mystery Men hit in 1999, one year before the first X-Men movie, and it shows. We are living in a movie climate that is dominated by and large by remakes, and more importantly movies based on cartoons and comic books. They made a movie based on the Watchmen, and it was the most hugely serious, raging comic erection-fest I have ever born witness to. If someone had tried to make a Watchmen movie before X-Men, I'm not saying it would be Mystery Men, but I think that a lot of people would have treated it like it was. By the same token, I think that Mystery Men would have been a much different movie if it were made now.
How could you not love a movie with disco thugs?

      I think we should all be grateful it was made when it was though, because otherwise we might have been deprived of certain gems such as a gang of disco thugs who work for a supervillain, lead by a dude with an afro. Cmon, tell me you aren't afraid of this guy!


Spotlight: Movie High School

Is anyone ever in class?
So this is a little bit different from my normal entries, but I was watching Charlie Bartlett and a thought occurred to me. What the fuck is up with movie high schools? I mean, maybe this place really exists, but  I've never been there. In movies, there's always parking right the hell in front of school, and people seem to show up around like noon. Everyone is hanging around outside, and there are lots of places for them to hang out in. Actually it seems like all most everyone does is fucking hang around outside. Now at my school, I actually did get there about a half hour early, because that was when my mom dropped me off. I sure as hell didn't hang around outside though. Two good reasons spring to mind. 1) Most of the school months are pretty cold. 2) it was 6:45 in the morning, so even if it wasn't winter, it was still pretty damned cold. There was a handful of burnouts hanging around sneaking smokes, but mostly they were hanging out away from the school itself. Inside, those people there before school started were grabbing late breakfast, or hiding in the library napping before class started
      Speaking of people driving, all students also seem to be seniors. There are no 13 year olds who look like they should be in elementary school, there are just rebellious looking quirky seniors freaking everywhere.  They spend their time just hanging out and not doing anything else except maybe bullying other kids, or giving therapy and drugs to other students while hanging out in the boys bathroom (see the above picture).
This isn't the best part though. By and far the best part of movie high school is the raging parties and better yet SUPER COOL SCHOOL DANCES. These dances all feature tons of kids dancing, which is how you know it isn't a real dance. Better yet, these are carefully designed elaborately lit dances, with live
Man, my school got screwed for prom.
performances usually by relatively practiced acts. Sometimes these are even FAMOUS PEOPLE. Well I obviously went to the wrong fucking school. My prom was held at a hotel, not in a huge dance club palace where a whole bunch of bands performed live. I'm thinking about complaining to my local board of ed about how i never received any of the things movies tell me I should have. Like a parking space in the school parking lot. I had to park across the street. Bastards.



"When you can live forever what do you live for?"

I wish he just jumped into the river and never surfaced.
Evidentally, you live for repeating high school forever and dating girls who are a century younger than you. Doubtless you've already heard plenty about this movie. I'm late to the party, but I couldn't pass up the chance to say a few things about what a spectacularly hilarious movie this was. Without trying, this movie had me shaking with silent laughter in the theatre, laughter that then became quite audible. I'm asking myself where exactly I should start. Wisdom might dictate some cheapshots at the source material, but I don't think that's really necesary. Suffice it to say, girl moves to new place, girl starts school and meets boy, boy is vampire. luvs ensue lolz.

      Now that we've gotten that thrilling setup out of the way, I can talk about the movie itself. Catherine Hardwicke directs, and if you haven't heard of her, that's because this is one of maybe three movies directed. This is to her credit, as this movie is composed like a high school A/V project. Now I don't think movies need to jump around at the speed of light, but the scenes in this movie slog on and on for agonizing minutes, while the characters do what barely qualifies as interacting with the most awkward dialogue possible. Bella is the most appalling Mary Sue character imaginable, a pale sort of standoffish girl who for some reason has a billion friends, and as many boys trying to be her boyfriend. The rest of the characters are equally cookie cutter. But what about the actors portraying them? surely they must have some redeeming qualities.

This is her expression. Forever.
Well... no not really. The only actor in the movie who seemed to act like a real person, and not a incredibly simplified and stupid caricature of a person, was Billy Burke, who plays Bella's dad Charlie. Now this might be because Charlie is a generally laconic fellow who doesn't appear too much, but I think that he is generally a likeable guy, albeit not very interesting. Robert Pattinson does a reasonably bad job, but I forgive him because of his open contempt for the whole project. Kristen Stewart delivers the performance you'd expect, what with her being a completely zoned out weed fiend. One particular quirk of hers that I really enjoyed was her method of emoting. Whenever Kristin thinks it's time to show emotion, then what it's actually time for is lots and lots of blinking.In particular there is one scene very near the end of the movie where she suffers some sort of verbal seisure, which is accompanied by the most furious bout of blinking I have ever borne witness to.

    So I've explained why the movie is bad, but why go see it? It's the seriousness with which this movie executes its absurdities that makes it entertaining to watch. Marvel at subtle questions you might have, like why it isn't creepy to Bella that some hundred plus year old bloodsucker watches her sleep at night, or how stupid a whole scene devoted to vampire baseball is! If you can live forever, is this really the best you can do?  Dazzle high school girls in Gloomville, Washington?



"In a future where freedom is outlawed outlaws will become heroes"

          That line is total bullshit. Outlaws do not become heroes in this movie. What happens is Christian Bale goes completely berserk and kills everyone in the movie, more or less. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean this wasn't an awesome action movie, but this is not a story about the underdog. 

          In the future, after world war who cares, emotions are bad and so the whole population of the last real bastion of civilization is dosed with 'prozium' a drug that keeps them from feeling emotions. It also makes them really easy to control. Not hard to see where this one is going. So Christian Bale is a grammaton cleric, which is a fancy way of saying that he uses two handguns and the fictional 'gun kata'  martial art, to kill the crap out of the rebel factions who are trying to preserve culture and stuff like music and art and novels. One day after he kills Sean Bean (who is totally under-utilized in this movie) Christian Bale drops his dose, and then starts to feel stuff. Then he decides that the government and prozium need to go after some lady gets incinerated for being a saucy harlot. Or something. Also apparently she was Sean Bean's lady.

         Its really difficult to say how true that is though. As nearly as I saw, Bale goes from being an unfeeling killing machine, to a killing machine who feels only two emotions. Rage and Violence. I don't think violence is normally an emotion for people, but for this guy it definitely is. Bale goes on a warpath through the dystopian society he was upholding only hours before, and doesn't stop until he gets to the top. 

       The action sequences in this movie are pretty top notch, and the only instance of 'gun kata' that you're going to see in a movie that isn't utterly retarded (see Ultraviolet to get what I mean. That's the same director). There's a lot of cool gunfighting, a little bit of swordfighting, and some good old fashioned beatings going around. The major problem with this movie is that at no point does Bale ever encounter anyone who is remotely his match. He lays waste to everyone who gets in his way, and no matter how many people there are, and how tought they're supposed to be, They all get cut up, beat up, or shot down. Taye Diggs is supposed to be some tough guy, and he gets sliced up into cold cuts in all of five seconds. The movie is still fun, but I feel like if Christian Bale ever felt the emotions of like... doubt, or fear, that might have been interesting too. 

      I can't talk about this movie without mentioning the puppy scene. See there's one point, after Bale's revelation about life, that he goes on a raid. They find a puppy! So he decides he's gonna hide the puppy, but at a checkpoint he gets found out. So rather than let these guards take the puppy, he brutally beats, shoots, andkills no less than SIX HUMAN BEINGS, to preserve his puppy's life. I think this says a lot about our society that this is supposed to make sense. Sure they're people, but they're jerks and they want to kill a puppy! So fuck those cute animal haters.

         This is worth a watch for the gunplay alone, but it fell short for me because there's never really a sense of danger. Christian Bale is the fucking Terminator, and he just goes around fucking everyone up. But at least like the cover says, it will help you forget the Matrix.


Dragonball: Evolution

"Master your destiny."

    Ah Dragonball: Evolution. This movie  was one that I walked into with absolutely no expectations. I mean I personally was never a huge fan of Akira Toriyama to begin with, and a movie adaptation of a manga about a monkey boy who goes on wacky martial arts adventures? Doesn't exactly sound like academy material. Despite that, This movie ended up being pretty entertaining. It was directed by Steven Chow, who you may be acquainted with as the guy responsible for Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer. The result is a movie with a similar, if slightly less silly tenor. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously, but doesn't completely ham it up either, making for a movie that is mostly light in attitude, but still serious enough to be enjoyed as an action movie. Let's talk about its merits!

      The movie looks its best when it's relying on makeup work and martial arts, and not special effects. They obviously didn't have a huge budget, because a lot of the special effects really blow. Not all of them, but most of them are pretty weak. The acting isn't great, but it's not so ridiculous that you can't suspend your disbelief. Choreography of the fight scenes was pretty tight from where I was sitting, and the script was better than a lot of action movies I've seen (I know that isn't saying much). What made the movie for me? Well like any movie with Chow directing, this movie is endlessly charming. It didn't have the biggest budget, or the biggest named actors, but it didn't squandor what little good faith it had. This is a movie that can be enjoyed if you don't set unfair standards for it. As for those 'fans' of Dragonball and Dragonball Z, I have one question to ask you all if you didn't like the movie. What would the movie you would have liked been like? How could this movie have possibly lived up to your expectations? Just be glad it isn't Cowboy Bebop with Keanu.


Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince

"Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry"

  Truer words never spoken. Everyone is asking too much of the poor bastard. To say what I really want to in regards to this movie, first I need to talk about the 'fans' of the books/Harry Potter franchise. These folks tend to have a serious issue with 'movie differences' in the film adaptations of Harry Potter. I think that this is a patently foolish bent to take on any movie that is based on a book. Of course its different, it has to be no more than 3 hours long, and its an adaptation of a like 800 page book. This brings up the question: what is a good movie based on a book? I think that it should capture the theme and style of the book, while maintaining the overall plot. This is just what Half Blood Prince does. It omits things, it restructures in minor ways, but in the end, everything important happens. I don't think anything important was different, there were horcruxes, ron and lavender, then ron and hermione, harry and ginny, and snape blew dumbledore off the high freaking tower.  That being said, now i want to actually talk about the movie!

      David Yates also directed the 5th Harry Potter movie, in my opinion the only one that is a really good movie out of the first 5. Just like Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince is a movie that is composed of sharp, dramatic scenes, strung together one after the other with pretty superior pacing. The effects are stunning, the cinematography is beautiful, and the costume design is markedly improved from earlier installments. My only qualm with the whole experience was the goober who raised an actual wand in the theatre at the end of the movie. The ending was also a bit abrupt, but otherwise I thought this movie surpassed the last in every category. It's worth watching, but its good to take it for what it is. A film adaptation of a book. Not a film reenactment of a book.



"An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets."

         Ah yes Coraline, the story of an 'adventurous girl' that finds another magic world! That tagline more or less sums up the original story "Coraline" which was written by Neil Gaiman. I'm less sure it's an accurate description of the movie. From a plot perspective, I think the movie was really successful, more or less following the path of the book, it's the characterization in this movie that sort of weirds the crap out of me.  So let's talk about that:

       I read a review on a fundamentalist Christian site's review of the movie, and I found, underneath the preaching about 'a woman's place' that there were some sort of creepy vibes coming off the movie. One wonders why Coraline really needs to go to some other world where everyone worships her, because in this world, she can apparently do whatever she wants. Her dad is a huge wiener, who answers to Coraline's mother as if he is some sort of slave. Honestly, Coraline's parents seem pretty indulgent of her, making her seem like nothing more than a snooty little bitchling. Worse yet we have the insertion of a character not in the book, Coraline's 'friend' Wybie, who is also for some reason the only character in the movie who isn't as white as the driven snow. Yes, the only black character in the movie is Coraline's personal punching bag, who she doesn't treat like a person at all. To the contrary, she calls him 'why were you born' and yet for some bizarre reason he seems to enjoy her abusive treatment!  This could all be a lot of coincidence, but the movie certainly injected some things into Coraline that I didn't remember in the book.

     So in short, Coraline was a movie that entertained me with it's plot, and otherwise generally creeped the hell right out of me with its matriarchal and racist undertones.


"Two young Americans with special abilities must race to find a girl in Hong Kong before a shadowy government organization called Division does."

     I first saw this movie when it was in theatres this past winter, and recently picked it up on DVD. So for those of you who don't know, this movie is about rogue psychics trying to evade "Division" and more specifically about Nick (Evans) and Cassie (Fanning) trying to keep each other from ending up very dead. The movie takes place in Hong Kong entirely as indicated above, and involves a lot of gunslinging, psychic battles, and destruction throughout Hong Kong. The title of the movie comes from the nickname for one type of psychic, Pushers. Pushers can 'push' people they make eye contact with, altering their memories and making them believe things that aren't true. Kira, Nick's old girlfriend, is one such psychic, whereas he is a mover (telekinetic) and Cassie is a watcher (can predict the future). I won't go through the whole plot, but it's full of twists and turns and honestly does a good job of being clever (in my opinion).

    I know a lot of people who had nasty things to say about this movie, about how it was boring, or stupid, the usual fare that doesn't seem to pick at anything specific. I personally thought it was a pretty good movie, for a few big reasons.

      The first is that it was an original intellectualy property. It wasn't a remake of a tv show from the 70s, it wasn't a reimagining of some other movie or a sequel and it wasn't a freaking comic book movie. Don't get me wrong, some comic book movies are pretty damned good, but movie makers have discovered that everyone is bonkers for comic book movies so lets make nothing but those!

     Anyway I felt like there was pretty decent screen chemistry between the characters, just not the characters that I think the movie intended. Camilla Belle (Kira) and Chris Evans (Nick) have pretty much zero chemistry. They're romantic interests and the movie is clearly trying to imply that the two are soulmates or something, but you get the impression that Carver's push was the truth, and they met each other at the beginning of the damned movie. Nick and Dakota Fanning's character Cassie on the other hand have a whole lot of screen chemistry. They have a kind of little sister/big brother thing that works really well. 

     Besides that I found the idea of the movie well executed. The psychics use their powers in interesting, creative ways, and despite all the science fiction, no one does anything totally stupid in this movie to break the illusion. The same goes for the plot: it succeeds in being both original and coherent, and I honestly was surprised by the ending the first time I saw it. I can easily recommend this movie, and suggest going into it with an open mind. At any rate it's a movie with Chris Evans in it that isn't Fantastic Four, so that's pretty great all by itself.

Why Not Right?

Just a short intro post here to talk about what I'm going to use this space for. I watch a whole lot of movies, play a lot of games, and read a lot of books. In short, I make it a point to consume as much media as I can. Sometimes I have strong opinions about said media, so I'm gonna talk about it here. If someone else finds it intersting and decides to read along, then that's great. Feel free to comment, disagree, whatever. Or just watch and read. 
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