Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Black Swan

I honestly can’t remember when I first heard about Black Swan.  Really all I knew about the movie at first was that Natalie Portman was in it and ballet was involved in some way.  Even after I started to see some trailers and read some things about the movie, I still wasn’t that sure what the movie was about.

Black Swan isn’t one of the big budget movies.  It first opened in limited release and then spread out to more theaters.  Many times, the theater around here doesn’t get the movies that open in limited release.  Sometimes they eventually turn up months later, usually if they are nominated for an Oscar or two.  I was a little surprised that Black Swan showed up at the theater here in town not long after it had a wider release.  I ultimately decided that I wanted to see the movie.

Black Swan is definitely different and it isn’t a movie for everyone.  A lot of people will probably be turned off by different things that happen in this movie.  It is dark and twisted, sometimes extremely so.  I do think it is a very well done movie and it is entertaining.  I’m still not sure exactly how much I really liked it though.  Right now I don’t think I want to see it again, but that doesn’t mean I think it is a bad movie.  It is just one of the movies that seeing once will probably be enough for me.

Black Swan is described as a psychological thriller and I definitely see those elements in the movie.  It is interesting to watch Nina slowly crack up and spiral into insanity.  With the way things are presented in the movie, it isn’t always clear what is really happening and what is a hallucination.  Since things aren’t clear cut with this movie, that might bother some viewers.  A few scenes have violence in them, one or two of which are rather gory.  Some shocking things happen and there is a decent amount of suspense to what is going on.

Ballet plays a huge part in Black Swan.  The main characters are all connected to ballet in some way and the movie is focused on a new production of Swan Lake.  I have heard some of the music before and seen little bits in other things, but I am not familiar with the story of that ballet.  I’m not sure how accurate the dancing is in the movie, though some of it does look accurate from what I’ve seen in other movies.  It does sort of downplay ballet related injuries, like how badly a ballet dancer’s feet can be hurt. 

A lot of the talk about Black Swan has been focused on one particular scene involving Nina and Lily, a ballet dancer who has just joined the company.  The scene in question is a lesbian sex scene that involves oral sex.  The scene doesn’t last that long and it really doesn’t show that much, but it is very clear what is going on.  The scene probably makes some people uncomfortable.  In some ways, I see the scene as part of Nina’s character growth, but in other ways, it sort of seems like it is just there to shock and titillate.  Nina is rather repressed and she is pushed by Thomas, the director of the ballet company, to let go.  So it sort so of makes sense that she would be more open to exploring with Lily. 

The acting is amazing in Black Swan, especially by Natalie Portman.  I’ve liked her in other movies, but I’ve never see her in a part like this before.  She is completely believable as the troubled Nina and I do think she deserved to win the Golden Globe.  The movie only has a few characters.  Each one of them has some kind of issue.  The cast all does a wonderful job.

Overall, Black Swan is an interesting, entertaining movie that is probably too dark and twisted for some people. 

I did get a review posted on Epinions.

Black Swan

Blades of Glory

I first saw Blades of Glory in the theater when it originally came out.  I picked up the DVD when it was released and I’ve watched the movie a few more times since then and still enjoy it.  I recently watched the movie again for the first time in a while. 

Ice skating is about the only sport that I do like, so the fact that ice skating plays a huge part in the plot of Blades of Glory is a big reason why I wanted to see the movie to begin with.  I also like Will Ferrell and tend to watch his new movies at least once.

The plot for Blades of Glory is pretty simple and rather silly.  I do think it is an interesting idea for two men to skate as a pair.  Things would have to be done differently with two men skating together instead of a man and a woman.  Different things related to ice skating are shown during the movie.  Some of it seems realistic and other things are exaggerated.  Some of the exaggeration does add humor.  Much of the humor is silly in some way.  A few things done to add humor are more gross and may turn some people off.  I could have done without seeing a few things.  The humor isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but I do think the movie is funny and entertaining.

The characters in Blades of Glory are interesting.  The development could have been stronger for most of them, but they are still interesting characters.  Chaz is very unique and a bit wild.  That does make him entertaining, but some people may not care for him.  Jimmy is a calmer character and more likable in some ways.  He has his own issues.  I do like how Chaz and Jimmy interact for the most part.  The other characters are also interesting, though exaggerated.

The DVD for Blades of Glory has deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a behind the scenes featurette that are entertaining.  The movie is available on Blu-ray, though I don't know what kind of extras are on it.

I do enjoy Blades of Glory, though I know it isn’t a movie for everyone.  Fans of the cast should definitely check it out.

I did get a longer review posted on Epinions after I first saw the movie in the theater.

Blades of Glory

Down Periscope

I first saw Down Periscope in the theater years ago.  I’ve seen it several more times over the years and I still enjoy it.

The plot for Down Periscope is rather simple and definitely silly.  This isn’t a movie to take seriously in any way.  A few complications do pop up over the course of the movie, but that still doesn’t make the movie complicated.  The plot probably isn’t that realistic, but it does end up being entertaining overall. 

I find Down Periscope funny, but the humor may not appeal to some viewers.  Most of what is done for humor, along with the plot in general, is more silly than anything.  I enjoy the movie when I’m in the mood for a silly movie.  Things are probably too silly for some people.  I can understand some people not liking the movie, but I don’t think it is as bad as some people have thought it was over the years.  I think it works as an entertaining comedy and is worth seeing for people in the mood for a funny movie.

There is a somewhat large group of different or even odd characters in Down Periscope.  Just about all of the characters have some sort of quirk that makes them different in some way.  Those quirks help to make the movie more entertaining.  The cast all does well with their parts.  I’m fairly sure that this movie was intended to help Kelsey Grammer start a movie career, but things didn’t work out that way.  He hasn’t had much luck with most of the projects he’s tried that haven’t involved Frasier. 

Down Periscope is available on DVD.  I picked it up for about $5 and I’m glad I did.  There aren’t any extras on the DVD. 

Down Periscope is an entertaining comedy that I think is worth watching.  It may be too silly for some viewers.

I did get a longer review posted on Epinions.

Down Periscope

Monday, January 17, 2011

True Grit (1969)

I can’t remember for sure now, but I think I saw the 1969 version of True Grit years ago.  After seeing and enjoying the new version of the movie, I ended up watching the 1969 version again.

The plot for True Grit is fairly simple even though a few complications pop up.  There is a tiny bit of mystery tied to what is going on.  Some suspense does turn up in a few scenes without making the movie suspenseful overall.  Action is in a couple of scenes, mostly from some shootings that happen.  Those parts do add a bit of violence to what is going on.  The violence is slightly more extreme in one scene, though it isn’t that graphic overall.  I could have done without the snake that turns up later in the movie.

True Grit (1969) is based on the book of the same name by Charles Portis.  The 2010 version of the movie is based on the same book.  Both movies tell the same main story, though there are a few minor changes here and there.  Mattie, while still important to what is going on, ends up having a slightly smaller part in this version. 

The characters are still very entertaining, though they are slightly different.  Rooster is still more likely to shoot someone than arrest them and he likes to drink a lot.  His drunken antics do add some humor to a few scenes.  Those humorous moments do help to lighten the mood a bit.  I do like John Wayne in the part.  Mattie is still very determined to get things done, though I like her better in the 2010 version of the movie.  La Boeuf and Rooster still have issues and conflicts.   The cast is very good in their parts. 

True Grit (1969) has been released on DVD a few times and was recently released on Blu-ray.  I know there are some new special features on the Blu-ray since I looked at it in the store, but I can’t remember what those features are.  The DVD that I watched doesn’t have any extras.

True Grit (1969) is an entertaining movie that has held up well.  Fans of westerns or who enjoyed the new version of the movie should check it out.

I did get a longer review posted on Epinions.

True Grit (1969)


True Grit by Charles Portis

It was only sometime within the last few months that I learned that both True Grit movies were based on the book of the same name by Charles Portis.  Seeing and loving the 2010 version of the movie caused me to watch the 1969 version, which I also really enjoyed.  One day I happened to spot the book when I was out shopping and I bought it on a whim. 

The plot for True Grit is the same basic plot that the movies have.  The plot is fairly straightforward and really not that complicated, but it is still a good, entertaining book.  A little bit of suspense does turn up in a few spots.  There are things that happen in the book that didn’t make it into either movie.  I don’t think there was a drastic change for anything in either movie.  The book is a bit bleak at times, but I think that fits for the story and everything going on.  I don’t consider the book to be that violent, but there is violence in a few scenes. 

True Grit is told in a way so that it seems like Mattie, the young girl at the heart of the story, is retelling what happened later in life.  That is what was done with the 2010 movie.  I like that Mattie is such an important part of the story.  Cogburn is another strong character.  The fact that he and Mattie are such strong characters helps to make the book stronger and more entertaining. 

True Grit is a well done, entertaining book that is definitely worth reading.  People who have enjoyed either movie version should give the book a chance.

I did post a review on Epinions.

True Grit

The book is available to buy at different places, including Amazon.com.
True Grit

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sherlock - Season One

Sherlock Holmes is a very popular character.  In the last few years, I have started to pick up more movies featuring the character.  I have also picked up a collection of the stories.  When I heard about Sherlock, a new show from England featuring the character in modern times, I was intrigued.  I eventually decided to pick up the first season on Blu-ray.

Sherlock is based on the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, though they are updated to work in modern times.  I think that does add an interesting element to the series.  The first episode of the series does seem to be based on the one story featuring Sherlock that I’ve read.  Sherlock still relies on his observation skills and deduction ability, but he also uses modern things like computers, cell phones, and the internet.  John Watson is also around, helping on the cases.  He does end up doing some odd jobs for Sherlock, but he isn’t a bumbling idiot like the character has been portrayed in other movies.  John is writing about the cases on a blog. 

The episodes in Sherlock each feature a different case that he works on.  By the last episode - there are only three in the first season - things from the first case are mentioned again.  The mysteries are interesting and done well.  Suspense does turn up in various scenes, including the final scene of the last episode of the season.  I have read that a second season is planned.  I’m sure I’ll add it to my collection once it is released to own since I enjoyed the first season so much.

Sherlock originally aired on BBC.  I knew it was a BBC show when I ordered it, so I did expect the season to be short.  I just didn’t expect it to only be three episodes.  They are 90 minutes long though.  While it would be nice if there were more episodes in the season, they are all very interesting and entertaining.  The characters are a lot like they have been in movies, though they are each tweaked a bit.  I like that John is more of a partner than comic relief. 

Sherlock - Season One is available on DVD and Blu-ray.  Since it was only a few dollars more than the DVD, I decided to get the Blu-ray.  The first two episodes are on one disc and the last episode as well as a few extras are on the second disc.  The extras, which are focused on the making of the show, are interesting and worth watching.

Sherlock is a great show that deserves to be seen.  Fans of the character should definitely give it a chance.  Sherlock - Season One is a good choice for fans of the show.

I did get a longer review posted on Epinions.

Sherlock - Season One

Yogi Bear

For many people, Yogi Bear is a character they fondly remember from cartoons.  I have seen the cartoons over the years, though it has been a while since I last saw one of them.  I wasn’t sure what to think when I learned that a big screen movie was being made, but I ultimately decided to go see it.

Instead of being just an animated movie, Yogi Bear uses a combination of live action characters and animated characters, like has been done with some other cartoons turned into movies.  Yogi and Boo Boo look fine and interact with real items fine overall, though somehow I think the movie would have worked better if it was animated instead of the blend. 

The plot for Yogi Bear is fairly simple and very straightforward.  Yogi is obsessed with stealing picnic baskets in Jellystone Park with the help of his friend Boo Boo and Ranger Smith keeps trying to keep him under control.  A nature film maker, Rachel, shows up, wanting to film in the park.  Things get more complicated when Ranger Smith learns that Mayor Brown plans to shut down the park for financial reasons.  Most of what happens is focused on attempts to save the park. 

Most of what happens in Yogi Bear is rather silly.  I’m sure that the movie is too silly for some viewers.  I fully expected the movie to be silly before seeing it, so I wasn’t bothered by the silliness.  The movie could have been better, but it isn’t horrible.  It is just a cute, silly family friendly movie.  Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake do fine with the voices.  Children will probably like the movie more than adults.  If expectations aren’t too high, I think the movie can be enjoyed. 

I did get a longer review posted on Epinions.

Yogi Bear

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Little Fockers

Even though Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers were popular movies, there wasn’t any reason for a third movie to be made.  I wasn’t surprised when I found out that Little Fockers was coming out though. 

I was ambivalent about seeing Little Fockers.  I liked Meet the Parents all right when I first saw it, but it was much less entertaining to me when I saw it a second time.  It just doesn’t hold up that well.  I haven’t watched it again in years and haven’t wanted to watch it.  Meet the Fockers was somewhat entertaining, but once was plenty for me.  It was just too much of a rehash of the first movie.  Given how I felt about the first two movies, I wasn’t expecting a lot from Little Fockers

It has been six years since Meet the Fockers came out.  There really wasn’t any need to make Little Fockers after so long.  It seems to be more of an attempt to grab cash than anything.  The name is very misleading since the kids - the little Fockers - really don’t do much of anything.  They just turn up briefly in a few scenes and then fade away while all the focus is put on the antics of Jack and Greg again.  If the movie had truly been about the kids, it could have been something a bit different.  Instead, we just have Jack spying on Greg while he acts like a bafoon again.

The plot is paper thin and really nothing interesting happens.  Jack wants Greg to take over as the head of the family.  Jack and Dina arrive for the twins’ birthday and Greg is asked to do some sort of promotion work for an erectile dysfunction drug by a beautiful, but dumb, woman.  The humor is very crude and downright gross at times.  Much of what is done to add humor just falls flat.  Seeing Greg get puked on or Jack going off the deep end just isn’t funny. 

Jack has not evolved as a character in any way since the first movie.  He’s still a control freak who goes way to far with things.  Greg is no better, acting like an idiot when Jack is around.  Pam and Dina are barely in the movie.  It is like they are tossed in just to observe the insanity between Greg and Jack.  Roz and Bernie, Greg’s parents, are barely in the movie, so Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand are horribly under used.  There was no point to them even being in this movie.  Jessica Alba is the main new addition to the cast.  Her character, Andi, is one of the worst characters I’ve seen in a movie in a long time.  She comes across as a sex obsessed dingbat.  It isn’t believable at all that the character is a former nurse. 

Little Fockers has a few amusing moments, but the movie is a huge waste of time overall.  It is pointless and unnecessary.  People should go see True Grit instead.

I did get a review posted on Epinions.

Little Fockers

Sunday, January 2, 2011

True Grit

I haven’t liked that many westerns, though I haven’t watched many in recent years.  I will still give them a chance if I think they look interesting, which is what I did with True Grit.  I really liked the movie. 

I probably saw the John Wayne version of True Grit at some point, but I honestly couldn’t remember anything about it before seeing the new version.  Once I saw this one, I ended up watching the older version.  The main plot is the same, though a few little things have been changed here and there.  Both movies are based on the book by Charles Portis.  I haven’t read the book, though I’ve heard that this version stays closer to the book.

True Grit begins by setting up the situation and explaining how Mattie Ross decides to deal with her father’s killer herself.  The pace is a little slower while that is going on and the characters are introduced, but it doesn’t take that long for more to start happening.  The plot is very interesting and I was surprised by several things.  I’m thinking that I wouldn’t have been as surprised by a few things if I had seen the previous movie.  The plot is very entertaining and it is definitely worth watching. 

Most of what happens in True Grit is more serious.  Mattie’s father has been murdered and Mattie decides to track him down herself since the authorities don’t seem to be doing much.  She hires Marshal Cogburn because she hears he is the most ruthless.  He isn’t interested at first, but she keeps after him and gets her way.  There is violence in the movie, though it isn’t too graphic.  There are just one or two scenes that are a bit disturbing.  There is a decent amount of humor in the movie, mostly from things that Cogburn says at times.

A lot of True Grit takes place when Cogburn and Mattie are on the trail, searching for her father’s killer.  The landscape is a bit bleak and colorless, but that fits in well with the movie.  Things look wonderful.  There are a few gorgeous, and even powerful, shots in the movie. 

Mattie is a wonderful character.  She is a very determined young woman.  She takes on something that many adults wouldn’t in deciding to go after her father’s killer.  She is very intelligent, and she is frequently able to get her way.  I love how she deals with a merchant early in the movie.  Rooster Cogburn is a complicated character.  He isn’t fully a hero type character, though he isn’t really a bad guy either.  He does use questionable methods at times, and he tends to get drunk.  Jeff Bridges is wonderful in the part.  Le Boeuf is a Texas Ranger also looking for the same man.  He teams up with Cogburn, though the men don’t get along that well.  Matt Damon does really well with the part.

True Grit is a wonderful movie.  I do think it is one of the best of the year and it is definitely the better than many of the other movies currently in theaters now.  Fans of the cast or of westerns should give it a chance. 

I did get a review posted on Epinions after seeing the movie in the theater.

True Grit

The Fighter

I don’t know much about boxing, but I decided to see The Fighter, a movie about real life boxers Micky Ward and Dickie Eklund.  The movie is really well done and entertaining, though a few scenes are more difficult to watch. 

I am not familiar with Micky or Dickie, so I have no idea how accurate The Fighter is.  The movie only covers a specific time period in the lives of the brothers.  For me, since I didn’t know anything about the real men, it was hard for me to know for sure how much time passed over the course of the movie.  It does seem like some things receive more attention than others.

Much of The Fighter is focused on Micky’s training.  That does add some violence to the movie.  A few scenes are more graphic than others, though the movie isn’t overly gory.  The plot does sort of follow a formula, but it is done well and ends up being entertaining.  Some of what happens is predictable, but that didn’t bother me.  Some complications are added, mostly through how the family deals with each other.  That family - at least the movie version of them - has a lot of issues. 

A lot of time in The Fighter shows things tied to Dickie and how his life has spiraled out of control.  He once fought Sugar Ray Leonard, and he is still living off that former glory.  After that fight, nothing much happened with his boxing career.  By the time the movie is set, he is a drug addict with delusions of staging a comeback.  Their mother ignores the problems that Dickie has, while praising him and not really supporting Micky. 

The acting in The Fighter is wonderful.  Mark Wahlberg does a really good job as Micky.  He spent several years training for the part, even before he knew for sure it was going to be made.  Christian Bale is the real stand out as Dickie.  Bale lost a lot of weight for the part.  That does give him a more realistic drug addict look, but he’s also creepy looking.  Bale just doesn’t look good that thin.  The freaky, creepy look works for the character.  Amy Adams turns up as Charlene, Micky’s girlfriend.  It is a different sort of role for Adams, but I think she does well with it. 

The Fighter is a very good movie and definitely worth watching.  The cast is outstanding and I can see why they have been receiving award nominations.  Fans of the cast should give it a chance.

I did get a review posted on Epinions after seeing the movie in the theater.

The Fighter

The Tourist

Johnny Depp is one of my favorite actors.  I will usually make an effort to see his new movies.  I have also liked several movies that I’ve seen Angelina Jolie in.  When I saw the trailers for The Tourist, the first movie they’ve made together, I thought the movie looked interesting.

The Tourist hasn’t made a lot of money, and I know that some people have said it is a really bad movie.  I don’t agree with that.  It isn’t exactly what I expected from the trailers, but I do think that the movie is entertaining and worth watching.  I really enjoyed it. 

The plot for The Tourist is interesting, though it could have been a bit more original.  I do think there are a few surprises to what happens.  Things are slightly more complicated than they seem at first.  After seeing the movie, I discovered that it was based on a book.  I have no idea what has been changed for the movie.

I’ve read that some people have felt that the pacing is too slow in The Tourist.  I didn’t feel that way at all.  The movie has been promoted as a thriller and I can see some thriller elements in it even though the movie isn’t that suspenseful overall.  For some reason, the movie has been nominated in the comedy/musical category for the Golden Globes.  While there are some funny lines and moments, the movie is far from being a comedy and it definitely isn’t a musical.  There is some action in a few scenes, though the movie really isn’t action packed.

There are only three main characters in The Tourist.  Frank, a math teacher on vacation, probably receives a bit more attention than the others.  He ends up in a somewhat odd situation that he manages to deal with fairly well.  I think Johnny Depp did a very good job with the part.  Elise is a mysterious woman who pulls Frank into the mess he ends up in.  She looks elegant and refined, but it is quickly clear that she can take care of herself.  Inspector Acheson is the last character that receives much attention.  He is a detective with Scotland Yard and he’s investigating something that is tied to Elise and Frank.  Paul Bettany does fine with the part.  Timothy Dalton has a small part as Acheson’s boss.

I really enjoyed The Tourist and think it is better than a lot of people have said.  Fans of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie may find something to like about the movie.

I did get a review posted on Epinions after seeing the movie in the theater.

The Tourist

Burlesque

I’ve been interested in seeing Burlesque for a long time.  It did take me longer than I originally intended to see the movie.

The plot for Burlesque, dealing with a young woman from a tiny town in the middle of nowhere going to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming famous, isn’t the most original.  Despite that, the movie is still very entertaining and I think it is worth watching.  Things are a little different since Ali, the woman with dreams of being famous, is happy performing in The Burlesque Lounge.  She isn’t trying to break into movies or anything like that, though she is determined to get on stage though.  Her determination ends up helping later in the movie as well.

Ali, played by Christina Aguilera, has a beautiful and powerful singing voice.  It makes sense that she would become a popular performer at the club.  Burlesque is a musical, with all the songs being numbers performed at the club.  Characters don’t just break out into song like happens in a lot of other musicals.  The songs are done well and help to make the move more entertaining.  The women do wear some revealing outfits while performing, though they are never naked.  I loved all the singing, but some people may not care for that aspect of the movie.  People who don’t care for musicals may want to pick a different movie.

Most of what happens in Burlesque is tied to the club in some way. There is an attempt to add one or two complications.  The movie isn’t exactly serious, but it really isn’t a comedy either even though there is humor in the movie.  Romance turns up as well without being the main focus.

The characters in Burlesque are interesting, though many of them are rather flat.  Ali receives the most attention.  She is likable and Christina Aguilera does a very good job in the part.  Tess is the woman who owns the club.  She acts tough at times, but she has a nicer side as well.  She is protective of the women who work at the club.  Cher does really well with the part and she also performs a few new songs.  Most of the other characters are the other performers.  Nikki stands out the most because of her attitude, but Kristen Bell is kind of wasted in the part. 

Overall I really enjoyed Burlesque and think it is worth watching.  Cher and Christina Aguilera are wonderful in their parts and there are some great songs in it.

I did get a longer review posted on Epinions.

Burlesque

Tangled

I still love animated movies and many of the Disney animated movies I saw when I was younger are still among my favorites.  I have been interested in seeing Tangled since I first saw a trailer for the movie.

Tangled adds Rapunzel to the line of Disney princesses.  I’ve thought that Disney should do a Rapunzel movie for years, so I was happy when I found out they were making out.  The title was changed and I have read that it was in an attempt to attract more boys to watch the movie.  I don’t know if that is why or not.  The main male character, Flynn Rider, receives more attention than the male characters have in many of the other Disney princess movies.  That does make it a little different.  In other ways, it is more like the earlier Disney princess movies.  The characters are interesting and the voices fit them all very well.

It has been years since I last heard or read the Rapunzel fairytale and I had forgotten most of it before seeing the movie.  Really all I could remember was that she had really long hair and was stuck in a tower for some reason.  After seeing the movie, I did look some things up and know what was changed for this version of the story.  The main story is pretty much the same, though some of the details are different.  I really like this version of the story and think it works very well to make an entertaining movie.

Tangled is in 3D in some theaters.  I did end up seeing the 3D version, mostly because of the timing.  The 3D effects are well done, though mostly subtle.  The effect is done amazingly well in a later sequence involving floating items.  The movie has a beautiful look for the settings.  Rapunzel’s hair is very impressive.  She utilizes it in some unique ways that help make the movie more entertaining. 

The plot for Tangled is interesting and entertaining even though it is somewhat simple.  I was surprised by a few things that happened.  I may not have been surprised by those few things if I remembered more from the original story.  I do think there is a good amount of humor in the movie, much of which is provided by Rapunzel’s pet chameleon Pascal and Maximus, a horse who acts like a dog.  In addition to the humor, there are a few more serious moments in the movie as well.  There are songs, and while they are done well, none of them are as strong as ones from earlier Disney movies.  A bit of romance turns up without it being the driving force of the movie. 

Tangled is another wonderful Disney animated movie.  It is one of the better animated movies I’ve seen in a while.  It is definitely worth seeing.  I know I’ll be adding it to my movie collection.

I did get a review posted on Epinions.


Tangled

Faster

Since I usually like Dwayne Johnson movies, I decided to see Faster.  Based on the previews, I wasn’t expecting a lot from the movie, but I was entertained.

A man gets out of prison and starts killing the people involved with the murder of his brother.  The police investigate the murders and someone hires a hitman to go after the killer.  That is really it for the plot.  The name of the main character and one of the cops is used during the movie, but they are only identified as Driver and Cop in the credits and the hitman is listed as Killer.

The plot for Faster is very, very simple and thin, even for a revenge type movie.  The motivation is shared for why Driver is killing.  He kills several people, but since he is only targeting certain people, I don’t really think of it as a killing spree.  I was entertained by the movie, but it would have been nice if there had been a little more substance to the plot.  A few attempts to add complications by sharing some information about Killer and a bit of backstory for Cop just don’t work that well.  One development was probably intended to be a surprise, but I saw it coming way in advance.

There really isn’t any mystery or suspense to what is going on in Faster, but there is a lot of violence.  It doesn’t take long for Driver to start killing.  The deaths he is responsible for are violent and bloody.  At one point, there is a flashback that shows the murder of his brother, another scene that is violent.  Things aren’t that gory, but they are probably too graphic for some viewers.

Faster has minimal character development, one of the things that makes the story weaker overall.  A little bit of background is shared about Driver, Cop, and Killer, and that is really it.  Most of the characters are rather flat, and not as interesting as they could have been.  The acting is fine, but nothing special.  Dwayne Johnson doesn’t even have that many lines.  He just goes from place to place killing with a ticked off look on his face.

Overall, Faster is a fairly simple movie that does manage to be entertaining.  It isn’t a favorite, but I have seen worse.

I did get a longer review posted on Epinions.

Faster

Megamind

I was interested in seeing Megamind after I first saw the trailers for the movie.  It is a fun entertaining animated movie.  Some theaters did show the movie in 3D.  I did see that version, mainly because that is the one that was showing when I was able to go see the movie.

Megamind lands on Earth when he is sent away from his home planet by his parents when he is eight days old.  The planet is being destroyed.  Another baby leaves a near by planet.  The other baby has a good life and becomes Metro Man when he is older.  Megamind grows up in a prison and it basically Metro Man’s enemy.  After years of facing Metro Man and failing, Megamind comes out on top.  He is happy for a while, but he ends up deciding that he needs someone to face off against and comes up with the idea to create a new hero to battle.  While doing that, he also starts spending time with reporter Roxanne while disguised.

Megamind is a fun, entertaining animated movie that I do think is worth seeing.  The plot is interesting enough, though it isn’t the most original.  There are definite similarities to Superman.  While it would have been nice if the story was more original, the movie is still very entertaining.  Children may end up enjoying the movie more than adults, though there are a few things tossed in for adults to enjoy as well.  The biggest is probably the music.  There is a good amount of humor to what is going on.  Much of the humor comes from how Megamind’s various plots go wrong.

Megamind is an interesting and entertaining character.  It seems like he is intelligent, but he doesn’t manage to accomplish anything with his intelligence.  Things keep going wrong for him.  Even though he is a super villain, he does have a good side and isn’t all bad.  Will Ferrell does fine with the voice of the character.  Metro Man isn’t around as much, so Brad Pitt doesn’t get as much to do.  Roxanne is also an interesting character and Tina Fey’s voice works well for her.

The animation is done well and looks good, though it isn’t as good as what Pixar does.

It would have been nice if Megamind had a more original plot, but the movie is still very fun and entertaining.  I do think it is worth watching and I’ll more than likely add it to my movie collection.

I did get a longer review posted on Epinions after I saw the movie. 

Megamind

 

Harry Potter Film Wizardry

I love the Harry Potter books and movies.  I also enjoy books that are about the making of movies.  I have been watching for one about the Harry Potter movies for years.  When I found Harry Potter Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley, I quickly got it.

Harry Potter Film Wizardry is a little different form other books.  It is the only book I’ve ever bought that was come wrapped in shrink wrap.  Something else that makes the book different is the fact that it includes replicas of different props from the Harry Potter movies.  It does have a higher list price, but I was able to get it for about half off by ordering it online, so I do suggest comparing prices.

Harry Potter Film Wizardry shares information about the making of the Harry Potter movies up through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 as well as sharing a little general information about the plots of the movies.  The last few pages have pictures of a few things from the last movie without any details being shared.  There aren’t technically plot summaries in the book, though certain things are mentioned that will be spoilers for people who haven’t seen the movies or read the books.  The information is shared mostly in order, though a few things are briefly mentioned out of order.  The organization could have been slightly better, but the book is still very entertaining and worth picking up for fans of the series.

There are several replicas of various props in Harry Potter Film Wizardry.  I have several books tied to the making of movies, but this is the only one that has props.  I love the prop replicas.  They are included in the book where the object is being discussed.  The replicas look like the different things from the movie.  Most of them are in a sort of clear envelope that protects them.  Some of the items include the letter that Harry receives about going to Hogwarts in the first movie, some of the educational decrees, a flyer from the Quidditch World Cup, and a sales flyer from the store that Fred and George open.  Some of the items were only briefly seen in the various movies, but they are incredibly detailed.  I love the prop replicas.

Harry Potter Film Wizardry has all sorts of information about the movies.  The book is really aimed at people who are fans of the movies.  There are sections for each of the movies, which helps the organization.  A few items aren’t brought up until later for some reason.  There are illustrations throughout the book tied to different things as well as pictures taken during filming and pictures that look like they were pulled from the movies.

Overall Harry Potter Film Wizardry is a wonderful book for fans of Harry Potter.  It is definitely worth getting for fans Potter fans.

I did get a review posted at Epinions.

Harry Potter Film Wizardry