Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph

I love having an 8 year old nephew that I get to go see all these animated movies with. You all should know that my nephew is very big into video games. He loves them and has been playing them since he could walk. He also loves playing my old school Nintendo, so the kid has played a little of everything. As soon as he heard about this movie he asked me to take him. How can I say no to such a cute kid with big brown eyes?!

The movie is about Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly. He is a character in an old school arcade game that breaks a building every game and then Fix It Felix, voiced by Jack McBrayer, comes in and fixes it with his magical hammer. Ralph does not like being a bad guy and he is lonely. He just wants to be a part of the group and not have people hate him. One day he decides to go into the other games and try and be a hero. He wants to prove to the people in his game that he is more than a bad guy.

The movie is super cute and shows that who people are is more important than what they look like. If you have played video games at all in the past 25 years you will love this movie. At one point we see the Mortal Kombat guys, Mario, Pacman, Sonic, and many many more.Part of the fun is trying to figure out who all of the game characters are.

In part of Ralph's journey he meets Calhoun, voiced by Jane Lynch. She is from a fighting game called Heroes Duty. As Ralph game hops she gets pulled into the other games with Felix. Together they are trying to clean up the mess that Ralph is making. We also meet Vanellope voiced by Sarah Silverman. She is a racer in the candy racing game. She is considered an outcast just like Ralph and together they form and amazing friendship.

I have to say that this movie was very cool. There was no nasty adult humor that is sometimes hidden in these kid movies. It also is such a great lesson for kids not to judge a book by it's cover. Be open minded to new people and value the friendships you have. I even had tears in my eyes at one point. I say if you are looking for something to do this weekend, take the kids to go see it. It's family fun with a classic videogame twist. ENJOY!

Over All-A-

Breaking Dawn Part 2

Alright Alright we go the final film the the Twilight series. I have read all the books and seen all the movies. Actually this is the first Twilight movie that I didn't wait in line at midnight for. I guess I felt too grown up for that....that being said I did see it judgement.

Ok here we go I have to say they FINALLY got it right with this one. As always it had a few cheesy moments and one or two lines that were so terrible you can't help but roll your eyes. The movie starts with Bella waking up as a vampire and getting all PDA with her husband Edward. They go out on an awesome hunt and we see what a predator Bella really is. We also get a chance to see Reneesma their daughter. Here is my beef with that creepy CGI baby...IT LOOKED SO FAKE! I kept thinking it was going to ask me to switch to esurence! The baby looked so fake that is was distracting. This is a million dollar movie, you couldn't have put a little more effort into making the baby look real. It was obvious that it was a real baby with a computerized face. ICK!

Ok I got that out, I feel better. So the movie continues and we see Bella get all mad that Jacob Imprinted on Nessie, it's not as dirty as it sounds. Basically there is a strong connection between them and all Jacob wants is her to be happy.

One day Bella, Jacob, and Nessie are outside and Irina sees them. She thinks that the Cullens made a vampire child, which is illegal. She runs away and tells the Volturi that there is a vampire child. Now remember the Volturi want Alice and Edward as apart of their guard because of their special abilities. Aro takes this as his chance to take what he wants. The Cullens must scramble to find witness to prove the Nessie is not a vampire but half human and half vampire.

The best part about this movie was all of the new amazing vampires we get to meet. We finally get my favorite vampire Garrett played by the lovely Lee Pace. He has humor, charm, and and that whole bad boy thing going for him.....swoon! We also have Maggie Smith as Irina the troubled and confused Cullen Cousin. Mackenzie Foy plays Nessie and she is adorable. She is a beautiful child that you can not help but adore. She brings this pure innocents to the film that is desperately needed.

We have all the traditional cast returning to the film but I must say that Elizabeth Reaser as Esme stood out among the crowd. We finally got to see the compassion and fabulous acting of Elizabeth. In the other films she was not used as much as she should of been. It's like not playing a great hand in poker....what a waste! I feel like I should mention Michael Sheen as Aro is both creepy and amazing. He scares you because you can tell behind those eyes there is such pure evil. Gives you chills just thinking about his creepy laugh! Also Dakota Fanning as Jane is as always fantastic. A brilliant actress playing playing an evil deadly vampire with no mercy in her cold heart.

Over all if you like the series you will love this one. It has everything and it leaves you wanting more!

Over all- B-


Right away I should warn you all that I am a big history buff. I am always worried when I go see historical movies because I want them to be true to history. The people of the past deserve that respect. That being said I had high hopes for Lincoln. I must say Steven Spielberg delivered on every level of the film.

I thought the movie was going to be a biopic on the life of Lincoln and I was wrong. The movie takes place during the two or three weeks before the signing on the 13th Amendment ending slavery in America. The Civil War is nearing an end as the South is weary from years of fighting. Now is the time that Lincoln wants to fight for the rights of Slaves.

We see Lincoln, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, as not only a President but as a father and a husband. We see his relationship with his young son Tad Lincoln, played by the adorable Gulliver McGrath. We see the tarnished relationship with his oldest son Robert, played by the talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Robert wants to fight in the war and feels like he is dishonoring the men fighting by standing aside and doing nothing. We also see Mary Lincoln as she tries to keep herself together. After loosing their youngest son she has been an emotional train wreck. She doesn't know how to deal with the loss and even thinking of losing her other son brings her to a panic attack. This character is brilliant played by Sally Field, she brings such a compassion and sadness to Mary that you feel in every scene.

This film is filled with amazing actors that bring such passion and life to these historical men and women. Tommy Lee Jones plays Thaddeus Stephens a man who has been fighting for African American rights for years. The 13th Amendment is something he feels is long past due. James Spader is W.N. Bilbo a man hired to try and find  more men for the 13th Amendment. He is not afraid to take less than legal ways around to get what he wants. David Strathaim plays William Seward a man that believes in Lincoln and will support him publicly till the rapture. Even if he doesn't believe in it privately he supports his command in chief. I think my favorite character is played by the always surprising Lee Pace as Fernando Wood. Mr. Wood is against the 13th Amendment and is incredibly verbal about it. Lee Pace brings this despicable man to life and he is very charismatic. It is not surprising to see people follow his policies because he is a great politician.

The cast goes on and on with Oscar winner and nominees galore! The movie is historic and is fully dependent on the dialog. The movie does get a bit slow and a little long. Still a great movie that I encourage you to try and watch.

My favorite part about the movie is how human it man Lincoln. He wasn't this purified vision of what Lincoln was but the flawed and human man fighting for what he believes in. You see him playing with his son and telling dirty jokes to his cabinet. You see the troubled pain in his eyes and the fear in his voice. You see how much he wants equality and how far ahead of his time he is. Daniel Day-Lewis makes Lincoln Human again. He is not this idea of a perfect martyred man, he is just a flawed as the rest of us.

I must say that this movie came out at the perfect time. This is a time in our country where change is in the air and no matter who you voted for, it was historic. In the movie there is an African American soldier that says in a few years they will have freedom, in 50 years the Vote, and in a hundred maybe someone in office. It gave me chills just thinking how backwards it all seemed. How sad it is that way of thinking was held on for so long. It makes me wonder in a hundred and fifty years what will they think of us. We need to learn from the past to give hope to our future.

Over all -B+

Life Of Pi

So here I sit at my local coffee shop trying to stay focused on writing. My house has too many awesome more movies! This was a very eventful holiday week for me. Not only did I see family and friends but I went and saw 5 movies in 7 days....I'm that awesome. So here we go!

I have not read the book Life Of Pi, part of me feels like I should have. At the same time Director Ang Lee paints a better picture than my mind ever could. This film is like a lovely piece of art, moving motion pictures. The colors are vibrant and take your breath away. The cinematography is captivating, there are these huge empty spaces that make you feel so alone and small. The images Ang Lee filmed in India are full of the passion and grace that show what a rich culture India has. You can feel the breeze in your hair and the spices in the air. Not many directors can take you to a new place but Ang Lee does in Life of Pi.

The film is about a man named Pi. We meet Pi as a grown man, played by Irrfan Khan living as a Professor in Canada. One day an author comes to visit Pi. The writer, played by the amazing Rafe Spall, was just in India and met Pi's uncle. The uncle told the writer that Pi's story would make him believe in God and Magic. Pi tells his story for when he was a young man. The younger Pi is played by Suraj Sharma, an actor that is years ahead of his age.

We hear about life growing up in India. Pi's father ran a Zoo and a botanical garden. When Pi get's older his family must move to Canada and sell the zoo animals. Among the animals is a Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. This tiger is dangerous and a predator, Pi has seen what this Tiger can do.

While on the boat the ship sinks and Pi ends up on a life raft alone with a zebra with a broken leg, an organutan, a hyena, and Richard Parker the Tiger. Ok there are going to be some spoilers....I'm warning you........
Right away animal instincts trump reason and the hyena kills the Zebra and the organutan. After Pi screams at the hyena Richard Parker jumps out of the boat and kills the hyena. Pi can no longer stay on the boat because Richard Parker will kill him. Pi makes a raft out of life jackets and floats behind the boat, every once and while going to the boat for supplies.

The rest of the movie is about survival and seeing what we are capable of. We see the bond between Richard Parker and Pi grow as they try to survive together.

The film is unlike anything I have ever seen. The special effects are so real that I could not tell what was real or CGI. I'm still not sure if Richard Parker was real or if they were ever really in the water. Ang Lee did an amazing thing and mixed the CGI in with real images to make the scene more powerful. The colors of the fish and the look of the sky are like pieces of art in a museum. If this director does not get nominated for an Oscar I will be shocked. I also think that this film should win for best special effects because they are stunning and ground breaking.

The acting in this film is the stuff of history. Rafe Spall as The Writer is a small but important character. He brings this childlike curiosity and desire for truth and God to the film. He wants to believe in magic and I honestly think, he wants to believe in God. Irrfan Khan brings so much heart, pain, and truth to the adult Pi. Suraj Sharma is an actor with a long career ahead of him. I won't spoil the ending but there is a scene at the end where we see all the pain, suffering, passion and loss that Pi has endured. The acting was so raw and it stays with you long after the movie is over. I still get goosebumps thinking about the pain in his eyes.

Over all if you are looking for a beautiful film to see, go see this movie.

Over All - A

Monday, November 12, 2012

Taken 2

Ok people here is the thing....Liam Neesen is the voice of God, he trained Batman and Obi Wan, and he is Zeus!! Do we really think that he can't beat up a few guys in Europe to save his family...come on! Ok I must say I went into this movie with very low expectations because I heard it was only so so. I must say I enjoyed the film for what it was. It's not the same as the first, which I liked. This time we got to see how Bryan acts in the time of crisis when he's the victim. We also see how Kim is doing after her traumatizing experience in Paris. We also see the compassion that Bryan and Lenny used to have for one another. You really do learn alot about people after dealing with a traumatic experience.

Bryan is in Istanbul for work protecting a diplomat. As a surprise Kim and Lenny show up to spend quality family time together. We find out that the fathers and brothers of the men that Bryan killed in Paris are coming for him. They are really mad and they are coming to take his family and experience pain like nothing else.

I really don't want to ruin the movie for you....hmmm what can I say? Kim is fantastic and clear headed in a time of crisis. Lenny falls apart and freaks out.....shocker. Bryan is brilliant and super smart with every move, he thinks ten steps ahead. There is everything from gun fighting, car chases, bombs, and explosions.

The casting is great, Liam Neesen is perfect as the compassionate father who will do ANYTHING to keep his family safe. Maggie Grace is charming and lovely as the maturing Kim. Famke Janssen is great as the flighty and confused Lenny. You feel for her, Lenny is not mean for a life of guns and violence.

Do not go into this movie expecting it to be better than the first. It is a completely different film and is not trying to out do the first film. It is showing how the characters have grown and progressed over this time. You will be able to enjoy it a little more if you go in and just enjoy the ride.

Over All -B

The Man With The Iron Fists

Oh boy, yes I went and saw The Man With The Iron Fists. My aunt has a thing for Asian kung fu movies. Alright let's just get into this. What can I say about this movie? It is like every 14 year old kung fu boy's wet dream! There is everything from fighting, to sex, to weapons, to more sex. Ok I'm being a little harsh with this movie. I'll try to be better.

The story starts with the Emperor sending a large amount of gold through the mountains and all of the criminal groups come looking for it. We have several different kung fu clans killing each other for a chance at this gold. All of these horrible characters invade this small mountain village and wreak havoc.

The film is directed by RZA a singer/actor/director. My problem is not with the directing at all, he had an amazing eye for color and angles but HIS acting was bland and surface. He had no real emotion and I was not invested in the character's story. RZA played Blacksmith who is in this Asian town after he runs away from America fleeing slavery. He is in love with a lady of the night named Lady Silk, played by Jamie Chung. Lady Silk works in a whore house run by Madam Blossom, played by Lucy Liu.

One day during all of this chaos a man from England named Jack Knife, played by Russell Crowe, shows up to the whore house looking for entertainment. We find out that Russell Crowe is a dirty old man!! Haha just kidding but he does sleep with alot of women in this's crazy! Once we get over the shock of his sexipades he does a very good job with this film. He takes bland dialog and turns it into meaningful moments. I must say, he saved the film for me.

The rest of the movie is filled with some really AWESOME fight scenes. I will give RZA credit, the action scenes are amazing. The fighting is like a dance, it's graceful but deadly! The costumes in this film were stunning in color and original is design. The costumes helped display the emotions of the characters but added to the life of the film. The sets were vibrant and lust in texture and color. Sorry to bust out the Masters in Film but the Mise En Scene in this fill was to die for. Every piece in the shot was there to add to the picture.

Over all I can't decide if I liked the movie or not. The movie was trying to be a traditional kung fu film and at times cheesy but enjoyable. If you like those types of movies you will love this.

Over All - C+

Cloud Atlas

I went into Cloud Atlas with such high hopes. I wanted this movie to be great because it was such a different and risky story. I'm proud and excited to say that this movie exceeded all of my expectations. Every detail of this film is art....moving images as art. I'm sorry but the film scholar in me came out watching this movie. A sensational cast that had heart, emotion, love, pain, hate, and all of it done so smoothly. Nothing was forced you just believe in the magic.

The film is basically a story within a story within a story ect...ect. It's the idea that we are all interconnected in life over and over again. That our lives are not our own but we are apart of a bigger story. Our souls connect several times over different lifetimes. We are naturally connected to specific souls, they fulfill our lives.

The story is a little difficult to follow in the beginning but once you get the flow of things it becomes easy to hop from story to story. You get involved in one story in the 1970's and then jump back to a tale from 1930 and then forward to 2128. Each story just as interesting as the last.

Let's get into the a word....pure. Tom Hanks plays everything from a scientist, to a criminal author, an Actor, a corrupt doctor, and a future village man just trying to live his life. Each role is so pure with emotion and fear. You believe every character and you no longer see him as Tom Hanks, you see Dr. Henry, Isaac, and Zachry. Halle Berry is also closely connected to many of Tom Hank's characters, although you might not recognize her. She plays a young tribal boy, a white woman married to an author, a young journalist and an Asian male doctor of the future. Each character is wonderful and is proof that she is an Oscar winning actress.

We also have Jim Sturgess as the biggest surprise of the film. This film shows that Jim is going to have a long and very successful career. He has two big characters in this film Adam a man sent to the tropics during the 1900's for slaves. He ends up befriending a former slave and we see how every kindness is important in keeping us connected as humans. He also plays an Asian rebellion fighter of the future named Hae-Joo. Hae-Joo is trying to save Sonmi-351 played by Doona Bae. Sonmi is a clone worker of the future that stands with Hae-Joo to show that just because you were not born in a womb does not mean you do not have a soul. 'From womb to tomb we are all connected' Jim shows that he could be an action leading man in no time. He is running and fighting with ease and comfort. A truly talented actor that I can not wait to see more from. There are several other great actors like Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, James D'Arcy, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent, Keith David, and many more. I could write an entire book on this film....don't worry I won't...yet!

One other thing I must write about is the amazing make up effects of this film. Each character is different in each story. The make up is so naturally that you find yourself not even realising that the wife is Halle Berry or the old man is Tom Hanks. If this film does not get an Oscar Nom for best make up I am going to be pissed. It was amazing.

Also the special effects were smooth and believable. I found myself unsure what was real or what was CGI. That is the way that special effects are suppose to be. We are suppose to believe that this is the world and they belong together.

If you like a great story with heart and soul you will love this movie. It is a little long but I promise if you stick with the film it will be worth it. Allow yourself to go on this amazing ride and enjoy the lovely story telling. It will remind you that we are on this earth together to share love, pain, fear, joy, angry, and everything else. Enjoy!

Over All: A