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Summer Movies ’11: The Geek Edition

May 1, 2011 1 comment

So apparently Fast Five has officially kicked off the summer movie blockbuster rush (although I really think they just need to stop with that series already. Enough is enough). As per usual, the summer is going to be full of geek movies geared to me and my kin, a.k.a. comic book, superhero and sci-fi thrillers. So I figured I would take the time to go through the big box office movies that interest me and that I think nerds nationwide will pay attention to and give my opinion and hype factor on them.

The movies that I’m going to talk about are as follows (in order of release): Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Green Lantern, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Cowboys & Aliens, and Rise of Planet of the Apes. As you can see, this summer is going to be packed with movies that are catered to the nerds of the world (and I’m pretty excited). So, without further adieu, let’s begin.

*Before I start, I would like to mention that these are my opinions on these movies and how much I believe they will either live up to their hype or please the geek crowd.

Thor (May 6th) 

(Directed by Kenneth Branagh; Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins)

What’s It About?: Thor (Hemsworth) is the third Avenger to make his movie debut (Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk being his predecessors). Thor is the God of Thunder who lives in the city of Asgard. He is extremely arrogant and violent and ends up reigniting a long forgotten war. As punishment, he is sent down to Earth to live with the humans. After befriending Jane Foster (Portman), Thor learns from his mistake and helps defend Earth from enemies sent from Asgard to cause havoc on the humans.

What Do I Think?: The first thing I notice when I see the information about this movie is, no joke, the director. Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter series, director and star of Hamlet) is one of my favorite people in the movie industry. I just love a lot of the work that he does, and I especially loved his version of Hamlet. Besides the director, I very pumped for this movie. It’s something we haven’t seen yet in the super hero movie industry: a God. I am extremely excited to see how well Chris Hemsworth pulls off the role. If you don’t count his short appearance as George Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek, this is Chris’ first big time role on the silver screen. Hopefully Thor will be for Chris as The Hurt Locker was for Jeremy Renner. He looks promising and I honestly can not wait to see this movie.

Hype Factor: 9/10

EDIT: Go see this movie. I saw it about a week ago and it is an amazing Marvel film. It lives up to the Hype Factor.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20th) 

(Directed by Rob Marshall; Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Geoffrey Rush)

What’s It About?: In the fourth Pirates movie, Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) finds himself running into a woman from his past on his way to find the Fountain of Youth. Entranced by what he thinks may be love, Sparrow is brought onto the ship of the most feared pirate in history: Blackbeard (McShane). The race goes on to beat Blackbeard to the Fountain and possible discover if his love is true.

What Do I Think?: First reaction? Is this necessary? This spin off story is just a ploy to milk the Pirates series for all its worth. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, the other two main stars besides Johnny Depp, both quit the series after the third installment. Now it’s up to Depp to hold up the entire movie and, to be honest, I am tired of Jack Sparrow. He was amazing in the first movie, still pretty funny in the second, got repetitive in the third, and now after watching the trailer for this film, it just seems like they’re trying too hard. His act is old and repetitive and I’m tired of seeing the pirate in a drunken stupor running around like a chicken with his head cut off and acting completely scared around all the big bad guys: it’s overplayed.

Hype Factor: 4/10

X-Men: First Class (June 3rd) 

(Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence)

What’s It About?: A precursor to all past X-Men films, this movie tells the story of Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) during the 1960’s. In the beginning they were two young men with great powers and became great friends as they helped the nation with their abilities. As time goes on though, the void between them grows and they eventually become the enemies that they are today.

What Do I Think?: When I first heard that this movie was coming about, I immediately thought “Oh great, another X-Men movie”. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original trilogy and I didn’t even bother to see Wolverine’s spin off movie Origins (I think he is severely overrated). After watching the trailer and digging into this movie, however, I feel that it is actually going to turn out to be a great superhero movie. I’ve always like Magneto and Professor X a lot and it will be cool to see how they started out and how their friendship turned into a hatred. Although I will miss Ian Mckellan as Magneto, I’m getting good vibes from this movie. I just hope I don’t see too many more X-Men films.

Hype Factor: 8/10

Super 8 (June 10th) 

(Directed by J.J. Abrams; Starring Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, and Kyle Chandler)

What’s It About?: A group of kids, while filming a movie, witness a horrific train accident. What they don’t know, however, is what was being transported on that train. With mysterious military undertones, the citizens of one town start to notice disappearances an the deputy tries to pry some answers out of the government. The truth that they discover may be more shocking than they ever imagined. 

What Do I Think?: Like with Thor, the first thing I noticed was (a) J.J. Abrams wrote and directed it, and (b) Steven Speilberg produced it. These are two very good things. When I watch the trailer for this movie, I get a mix of Cloverfield, E.T., and The Goonies. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just what I pull from the trailer. Just by the way the movie was filmed it illicits a sense of wonder from me and makes me deeply interested in what exactly is on that train. I am very excited for this movie and the fact that J.J. Abrams is so good at keeping things secretive only makes my excitement even greater.

Hype Factor: 9/10

Green Lantern (June 17th) 

(Directed by Martin Campbell; Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard)

What’s It About?: Hal Jordan (Reynolds), an over-the-top jet pilot, is selected to join the Green Lantern Corps., a group of warriors from all different races in the universe that help keep peace and balance. He is given a ring that grants him superpowers that he must use to defeat Parallax, a new enemy that is threatening the Green Lantern Corps. in a way they have never been attacked before.

What Do I Think?: Cliche. I know that these superhero movies are already pre-written and their stories already exist, but I still can’t help but feel like I’ve seen this so many times before. I get a very strong “Tony Stark” vibe from Ryan Reynolds character, and although that works for Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), I don’t know how well it’s going to work for Reynolds. It’s going to be the same old thing: eccentric protagonist gets super power by some means and learns the values of life and what’s really important as he grows with the power. 

Hype Factor: 6/10

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1st) 

(Directed by Michael bay; Starring Shia Labeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, and Josh Duhamel)

What’s It About?: The Autobots and Decepticons are back for a third time as they get involved with the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. A space craft from Cybertron was discovered on the moon and now a race between the Autobots and Decepticons has begun to reach the ship and learn its secrets.

What Do I Think?: After the catastrophe that was Revenge of the Fallen, I am not expecting much with this movie. I know that it’s going to be exactly the same as the other two: explosion after explosion within an explosion. It’s a Michael Bay movie; what else would you expect? Probably the biggest complaint I have is the replacement of Megan Fox. Now I wasn’t really a big fan of Fox herself, but I wish Bay would have kept her on board for the sake of the “plot” (I used quotations because the “plot” of the Transformers series is so convoluted and disorganized that it can hardly be called a “plot”). I mean, after two movies of Sam chasing after Mikaela and developing their love life, it seems incredibly stupid to just erase her from the picture and have Sam fall in love with some new girl (who is played by a Victoria’s Secret model with no previous acting experience). All in all, I will be seeing this movie for two reason: to see how they manage to explain Fox’s departure in the movie / laugh at the new girls most likely horrible acting and to see all the robot fighting action (I’m a guy; I’m allowed to like explosion and action).

Hype Factor: 4/10


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15th) 

(Directed by David Yates; Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint)

What’s It About?: Harry (Radcliffe), Ron (Grint), and Hermione (Watson), as well as the entire Hogwarts gang, are back for the finale to the Harry Potter series. The second half of the Deathly Hallows book, this movie depicts the final fight between Good and Evil, Harry and the students of Hogwarts against Voldemort’s army. Answers are given to all of the most pressing plot points and the series finally comes to a close.

What Do I Think?: Being the Harry Potter junkie that I am, I am already pre-disposed to love this movie. Putting all bias aside, I still believe this will be an amazing movie for those who have seen the rest of them (obviously). The movies don’t stand a chance against the books of course, but as long as nothing big has been changed drastically, I feel this will be a quintessential summer movie. Unlike the first half of the book, which was more of the trios quest to find Voldemort’s Horcruxes, this movie is going to be an all out action flick, which is a nice relief from the previous installment. I have high hopes for this movie, but I have a small tinge of apprehension as well; I just feel like something will be changed from the books that I could never forgive Yates for.

Hype Factor: 9/10

Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22nd) 

(Directed by Joe Johnston; Starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, and Richard Armitage)

What’s It About?: Set during WWII, Steve Rogers (Evans) is an eager man who wants to fight for his country but is denied because of his small body size. He opts to be part of a government experiment to create super soldiers. After a successful transformation, the army turns Rogers into a spokesperson for the army, making tours to different conferences and press events. He is given a patriotic uniform and paraded around to show the armies strength. The Nazi’s, on the other hand, employ an evil plan that requires Rogers to step up to the plate and fight for his country.

What Do I Think?: It’s completely ironic that the “First Avenger” is the last one to see their movie debut, but I have to say that Captain America seems to be the Avenger that I am going to like the most. I love learning about WWII and any story based off of that time period is bound to catch my attention. I am a fan of Evans’ character, who is just an honest guy trying to fight for his country. Another thing I am excited about is to see how the other Avengers get incorporated. If you notice in the trailer, right before the experiment begins the one scientists tells ‘Mr. Stark” to start it up. This is Howard Stark and is just another way in which the lives of the four Avengers are intertwined. Just think back to how many references there were in Iron Man 2. I think I’m really going to like Captain America.

Hype Factor: 9/10


Cowboys & Aliens (July 29th) 

(Directed by Jon Favreau; Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde)

What’s It About?: A mysterious stranger named Jake Lonergan (Craig) is found in the town of Absolution with no memory of his past, he quickly becomes unwanted and must come under the orders of Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford). A sudden alien invasion of the town requires the townsfolk to forget their fear and hatred of Lonergan and create a team of men to fight off the aliens. Lonergan holds the key to the towns survival in a shackle-like device on his wrist that can help save the town.

What Do I Think?: When I first heard of this movie, it sounded like the dumbest thing I had ever heard. “Cowboys & Aliens” just sounded so weird to me. But then I watched an interview with Favreau, the director, and realized two things: (1) this is actually a comic book, and (2) it has never been done before. I had never heard of this story before, so finding out that it was a comic book came as a shock to me. I thought it was just some random idea. Secondly, Favreau questions why we can’t have an alien invasion movie set in the Wild West. Just because we think we see aliens now doesn’t mean they didn’t see the same types of things back then either. I took this to heart and decided to give this movie a shot. Also, I just like Harrison Ford a lot. He may be old, but he’s still got what’s needed to be a badass action hero. It will be cool to see him work side by side with Daniel Craig, who I have not seen outside of James Bond

Hype Factor: 8/10


Rise of Planet of the Apes (August 5th) 

(Directed by Rupert Wyatt; Starring James Franco, Andy Serkis, and Freida Pinto)

What’s It About?: Will Rodman (Franco), who is a scientist, experiments with genetic engineering on apes in San Fransisco. What he ends up doing is creating a whole new race of super intelligent monkeys that create a fight with the humans for supremacy.

What Do I Think?: Dumbest nerd movie of the summer. I never liked Planet of the Apes and I never will. The whole concept just seems so stupid to me. Just another “lab creation gone wrong” movie. And the fact that the trailer boasts that it used the same visual effects team as Avatar just made me even more mad considering I really did not like Avatar. So its visuals are all it’s got going for it, huh? That means the story must really suck. No thanks.

Hype Factor: 1/10

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My thoughts on Inception and the Golden Globes

January 19, 2011 1 comment

The 2011 Golden Globes have recently passed, airing just last Sunday. The Social Network, the drama about Mark Zuckerberg and how he came to create Facebook and the fallout that followed, got the most awards with a final total of four which included Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. Meanwhile, the miracle that is Inception received zero awards. None. Zip. Nada. Nothing. I didn’t personally watch the awards, but once I found out that Inception didn’t get a single award, I honestly became upset. For any of those who read my post on my Top 5 movies, Inception rings in at number 3. It is that damn good. Here’s why.

(Two disclaimers I want to make first: 1) there may be spoilers in here, so if you don’t want anything ruined, don’t read…or read cautiously at least. 2) I HAVE NOT seen The Social Network. I am very interested in seeing it and I’m sure it is a great movie, but I have not gotten the chance. I’m not going to compare the movies or blatantly trash-talk The Social Network, I simply want to explain why I think Inception is truly innovative and deserves the recognition.)

Why did you have to take all the awards!?

First and foremost, Inception is original. It is an original concept created by Christopher Nolan himself. Never has there been a movie like it. The complexity behind the dream state and the idea of being able to enter that state to steal ideas (or plant them there) is astounding, and Nolan seems to have every prospect of this idea thought out. The Social Network, though, is the first time anyone has every told the Facebook story, yes, but a movie idea that has been rehashed time and time again. Detailing the rise of a popular figure and the trials and tribulations they go through to get there. It’s been done before. The classic underdog story. They always make for a good movie and I enjoy them, but it was so refreshing to get something that had literally never been done before.

Secondly, Inception has a bad-ass cast. Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, et cetera, et cetera. Christopher Nolan picks the best of the best, which is why his movies see some similar actors in each (Murphy and Caine were in The Dark Knight). DiCaprio does a fabulous job as the Dominic Cobb, (Spoiler alert!) successfully portraying his guilt for killing Mal (Marion Cotillard) and his gradual acceptance that he needs to let her go. Each actor fully does there part to become their character, displaying the emotions and actions that you would expect from each.

From Left to Right: Nolan, DiCaprio, Cotillard, Page, Watanbe, Caine, Gordon-Levitt, Murphy, Hardy

Last, but not least, this movie made me think. No, it made me care. Like the majority of moviegoers, when I first saw Inception, I was pretty confused, but I wanted to figure it out. And that right there is what makes this movie so good. It was so convoluted at first, but it managed to make me want to decipher the movie. I ended up seeing it five times in theaters (I was just in love with it too much, it didn’t take me five times to figure it out. And I work at the theater as well). I had detailed discussions (and some arguments) with friends and co-workers about what we thought happened at different points in the movie. We had several well thought out theories to explain what happened at the end. I was literally talking about this movie months after it came out. Too few do this for me. Christopher Nolan had grabbed my attention, wowed me, and left some food for thought; that is the main reason why I believe this movie deserves recognition.

Was it real or not?

Top 5 Foreign Films That Americans Would Love

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

As a movie buff, I absolutely love sharing a great movie with anyone. An excellent film isn’t just for the simple purpose of entertainment, it can also be an experience. One of the main problems is that American movie-goers aren’t very inclined to view a movie that they have to READ. Sure, there are many movies that are dubbed, but as “convenient” as dubbing is, all it really does is mask the actor’s true talents.

Hollywood has done nothing but perpetuate this horrible trend, but they are not entirely to blame. American audiences just don’t want to go into a movie theater and read subtitles. Perfectly understandable. However, if one limits his/her movie viewing experiences to Stateside releases; then that person is likely to miss out on some very memorable films. It does take some time to glance back and forth from the text to the on-screen action, but if you endure it you’ll end up with some very rewarding movie experiences OUTSIDE of Hollywood. So if you fall into the category of finding subtitled movies unbearable, these five titles will surely make you reconsider your movie-viewing habits.

#5  La Femme Nikita

Director Luc Besson is the man behind notable action movies such as Fifth Element and The Professional. Before he shot those iconic films for Hollywood, he directed a little known action flick called La Femme Nikita (no, not the silly television rehash). It is a French action film that stars Anne Parillaud as the title character. While Nikita is a dangerous assassin, she only became one to escape a life of destitute and drugs. Many American action flicks released at the time often portrayed a manly man taking on terrorist while spouting lame one-liners. Nikita on the other hand is a vulnerable woman who is not only forced to kill, but reluctant in doing so. Throughout the film she comes to terms with her past and strives for a life of normalcy amongst the bloodshed.

The entire movie is of course in French, but Luc Besson’s cinematography and Anne Parillaud’s performance keeps this film endlessly enthralling. If you have a Netflix account you can watch this action gem instantly. Plus, Jean Reno makes an appearance and everybody loves Jean Reno, even if you don’t know who he is.

#4  Lady Vengeance

Chan-wook Park is big on revenge dramas. Lady Vengeance is a film for those who really like to see the antagonist get what’s coming. Throughout this film, actress Yeong-ae Lee plays the role of a girl that is completely stripped of her innocence. She was constantly abused by her lover, framed for murder, and sent to jail. On top of that, while she was imprisoned her daughter was taken from her. She’s got plenty of reasons to be pissed. Did I mention that her lover was also her former high school teacher? Awkward. As you watch Lady Vengeance you really see Yeong-ae’s transformation from a sweet, kind-hearted school girl to a revenge-hungry woman in black garb.

Director Chan-wook Park’s work is often filled with symbolism and this film is no different. Lady Vengeance is just as thought provoking as it is gruesome. The film’s story builds up as Yeong-ae’s character plots for the perfect revenge on the man whose wronged her. If revenge is a dish best served cold, then Lady Vengeance’s plate is a sheet of ice. This guy really gets it.

#3 Rec

What happens when the Blair Witch Project makes love with Dawn of the Dead? Essentially you get Rec. This Spanish film takes the shaky cam concept and infuses it with elements from the zombie-horror sub-genre. While some people want to throw up when watching a movie made to look like it was shot on amateur video, Rec does a great job of preventing that. It never makes you feel sick, but at the same time it maintains a true to life grittiness that is often missing in horror movies.

Rec is all about in-your-face horror. Literally.

It has to be seen to be believed. There’s always a feeling of “being there” in the character’s shoes, and for good reason as this film is entirely first-person. You never once see the character’s face who is recording this zombie outbreak, which I think is a nice touch. It’s not too long of a movie as it only has an 80 minute run time. But those eighty minutes are filled with plenty of blood and clever scares. No other film had me clenching my fist in suspense quite like Rec. If you’re a fan of zombie movies and don’t mind the heavy Spanish definitely check this one out.

#2 Old Boy

Yup. It’s another revenge drama from Chan-wook Park, but this one is often considered his masterpiece. You wouldn’t know it just by watching it, but Old Boy is actually based on a Japanese manga. It tells the story of Oh Dae-su, a Korean salaryman who is one day kidnapped and imprisoned for reasons unbeknown to him. He finds himself locked up in a one bedroom apartment for 15 years but, unlike Lady Vengeance, Oh Dae-su doesn’t have a clue as to who destroyed his life. One day he finds himself mysteriously set free and thus begins his sweeping journey of revenge. This movie is not for the squeamish. It is unforgiving in it’s brutality and tone. It has certainly made me view a hammer differently for the rest of my life. It’s theme of all-consuming vengeance is prevalent throughout the film.

Old Boy isn’t just one of the best films to come out of Korea, it is also one of the best films across the globe. It has received nods from Quentin Tarantino himself and CNN has called Old Boy one of the 10 Best Asian films EVER made. Plus, it arguably has one of the best plot twists in any film, one that you won’t forget for the rest of your life.

#1  Hardboiled

Chow Yun-Fat has epitomized the image of a high-octane Asian action star. You might be thinking, “But what about Jackie Chan and Jet Li?!”. Sure they can fight, but they can’t handle a piece quite like Chow. Chow Yun-Fat is very much a part of the action movie thread as much as Bruce Willis was during his John McClane days. Hardboiled proves that. Hardboiled is easily the most action-packed film ever. John Woo’s beautiful cinematography shines through in this masterpiece of flying lead. Chow stars as Inspector Tequila, a cop bent on bringing down a gun smuggling syndicate. Yes, gun smuggling. So that concept alone warrants shootouts throughout the entire film. While the storyline may not be as cerebral as all the other ones on the list, it is a damn good action flick that Americans are sure to love. It is a beautifully shot movie with relentless non-stop action. It’s that simple.

Chow Yun-Fat. The only Asian member of the NRA.

This list isn’t about who’s getting the Emmy, it’s about foreign films that folks in the States would LOVE and Hardboiled gives them that. Literally, about 3/4 of the film is nothing but shootouts. Even the film’s trailer is roughly three minutes long with NO dialogue whatsoever and just full of gun fights. No story is explained AT ALL (not that there was one really). Forget about those “action” movies Hollywood cranks out that are loaded with CG effects and green screen acting. Here’s a heavily armed badass Asian guy surrounded by plenty of bad guys. Go. If you’ve never seen Hardboiled then you’ve never watched a real action movie. Period.

A Nerds Favorite Movies

January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

This time around I figured I’d lay off the ranting and Hollywood-bashing for a change and bring to you my personal Top 5 movie list of all time. These are the movies that I have enjoyed watching the most and could never get tired of watching…ever. These five movies are amazing in my eyes and send chills down my spine every time I watch them. So, without further adieu, I present to you my Top 5…and no, The Godfather is not on here, so you can just kill me now. That movie seems to be in everyones top movie list, but not mine.

Number 5: The Bourne Ultimatum

Paul Greengrass blew my mind when he first brought Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series to the big screen with The Bourne Identity. He the proceeded to do it again with The Bourne Supremacy. And just when I thought I couldn’t take any more, Greengrass rolled out The Bourne Ultimatum and I witnessed my favorite action movie of all time for a couple reasons. First off, Matt Damon is easily the perfect actor to play Jason Bourne, as you can see by this performance. He brings a “bad-ass” vibe with him that fits the character perfectly. Secondly, there is so much action, suspense, and drama in this movie to keep you hooked for the entire ride. The story throughout this series is amazing and the ending to it all is shocking. I sadly do not know how it compares to the source material because I have not read any of Robert Ludlum’s books, but I know that what is shown is amazing. Thirdly, I really loved the soundtrack; John Powell did an amazing job orchestrating this. And Finally, I love Greengrass’ style of film-making. The shaky-cam style that he employs makes me feel like I am right there next to Bourne as he chases someone down or is beating the snot out of someone.

Number 4: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Oh Star Wars, what a classic series you are. No one can ever replace you in the hearts of nerds worldwide. And especially not Return of the Jedi which is, in my opinion, the best of the series. Now we all know that IV-VI are much better movies than I-III, but Return of the Jedi takes the cake for the whole thing overall. Lucas does a fabulous job of bringing what us nerd want: space fights, lightsaber duels, and a young Carrie Fisher in a metal two-piece. All joking aside, Return of the Jedi is an amazing piece of cinema and brings all the deeply detailed characters of the universe together for the climactic end. The story of Luke Skywalker, who is played amazingly by Mark Hamill, is an exciting and tumultuous ride. Also, Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, becomes an even more memorable character as he does an amazing job in this movie. ON the sound side, John Williams is, as always, amazing and creates a soundtrack like no other for this film. All in all, this movie is a must for all nerds like me.

Number 3: Inception

“Your mind is the scene of the crime” I remember being at work (I work at a movie theater) and seeing this poster about 4 months before it was supposed to come out and thinking “What is this? What does this mean?” Time rolled by and eventually the movie came out and, after hearing rave reviews from my co-workers, I decided to see what this was all about. I did not expect what the next two and a half hours brought me. I clearly remember walking out of the theater saying “What the F@#! just happened?” I wasn’t mad though, I was intrigued. This movie had me going back to the theater multiple times until I had every detail worked out. I would have detailed conversations, and in some cases arguments, with my co-workers about what really happened. This is the sign of a good movie. One that keeps me talking well after the show is over. And talk I did. Christopher Nolan is nothing but a genius and the world that he created is amazing. An all-star cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Paige, and Marion Cotillard just to name a few, brings this movie to life with superb acting. The trombone-heavy score, orchestrated by Hans Zimmer, is easily one of my favorite movie soundtracks ever, creating a unique sound unlike any I’ve heard before. This movie is the whole package: action, suspense, romance…it has it all. I even chuckled at a few comedic lines. My favorite part of this movie is that you really can’t be sure what happened. Like Mal, Marion Cotillard’s character, says, “You keep telling yourself what you know. But what do you believe?”

Number 2: The Dark Knight

Before Christopher Nolan blew my mind (literally) with Inception, he took me for a spin with The Dark Knight. After a somewhat disappointing start to the reboot with Batman Begins, Nolan managed to completely turn the tables to bring this movie to the people. Now this movie is on my list for two main reasons. The first reason is that it is the best comic book movie ever created. Period. End of story. No other comic book movie can even come close the the gritty and dark world of Gotham City that Nolan had created. And the other reason is the late Heath Ledger. Never in my life had I seen such a well-developed, well played character than Ledger’s take on the Joker. This movie is his final film (I’m not counting The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus due to the fact that he died mid-production and wasn’t able to finish the film) and he does a stellar job. Ledger’s version of the Joker is my favorite movie character of all time. He made the Joker seem so real, so believably insane, that I couldn’t help but think that he WAS real. This is why this movie ranks so high. Christian Bale does a well enough job as Batman, although I just don’t care for his raspy intimidation voice he does whenever he dons the Bat suit. I can still watch this movie again and again; it never gets old.

Number 1: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Ta-da! Was this what you were expecting? Well here it is ladies and gentlemen, my number one movie of all time! The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is three and a half hours of climactic fight sequences, amazing sceneries, groundbreaking effects, and a moving story that literally had me to tears (yes, I actually cried a little the first time I saw this movie; few movies manage to do this to me). Although I have never been able to make it through J.R.R. Tolkein’s original masterpiece, Peter Jackson did an amazing job of bringing this world to life. The entire series is a beautiful one, with the crew spending multiple years in New Zealand to film it to its entirety. Not to mention this movie features the most advanced character ever created by computer: Gollum. Never before had such an intricate character been designed. Although this movie runs long, it was necessary to fit in all the finite details that Tolkein uses in his books. The cast of this movie is amazing as well, featuring Sir Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, and Elijah Wood. Now that I think about it, I haven’t sat down to enjoy this movie in a long time. This will soon have to change.

A Detailing of Hollywood’s Infatuation with Comic Books

December 20, 2010 1 comment

Batman. Superman. Spider-Man. X-Men. Iron Man. The Incredible Hulk. Captain America. Green Lantern. Thor. Fantastic Four…I could go on for ages. But do you know of Runaways? Iron Fist? Deadman? Fire? I pretty sure only the hardcore comic book enthusiast will have even heard of these books. Why bring this up? Because Hollywood has decided that comic book movie adaptations are the greatest things since sliced bread. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good superhero movie/movie based off of a comic book, but when does it become too much?

Superhero movies have been around for ages, but only recently has it become a major portion of all the movies being produced. It seems like now that movies are either comic book movies, remakes of old movies, normal book movies, or real life stories. Nothing original. But that’s besides the point. Comic book movies are huge, and I love some of them. The Dark Knight is my second favorite movie ever (mainly because of Heath Ledgers performance) and The Watchmen is pretty high up there for me too. I loved that book and I like Zack Snyder and felt he did a great job with it.

I’m getting off track. I really don’t have a problem with comic book movies in general, it’s just the multitude of them coming out. Now I didn’t expect Hollywood to stick with the mainstays like Batman and Superman; they’re old hat. I just want them to calm down on the number of movies coming out. Is it really necessary to have three Iron Man movies, three Captain America movies, at least one Thor movie, another possible Hulk movie, and three Avenger movies (which all four are a part of)? Do we really need the three X-Men movies plus the movies that are being developed for individual X-Men? Plus we have Dark Knight Rising, Green Lantern, Green Hornet, Cowboys and Aliens, Scott Pilgrim, Kick-Ass, et cetera.

Am I the only one who thinks this movie looks f***ing retarded?

This brings me to the biggest bone I have to pick: remaking superhero movies when they were just released not too long ago and constantly changing actors. I really started to get mad about this when I heard that they were rebooting the Spider-Man series. Really? Raimi and Maguire left the series after the third one so they couldn’t continue on, so maybe it was time to give the spider a rest for awhile instead of instantly rebooting the series. It’s too freaking soon! The reboot is planned to be released on July 3, 2012, a mere 5 years after Spider-Man 3. People are still going to remember him as the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man by that time. And then there is Superman. We all know that Superman Returns was sort of a flop, but to already get another reboot? That guys had more movies than any other Superhero ever, except maybe Batman. I’m not nearly as mad about this one though because Zack Snyder’s directing it, so this time around it’ll actually be good.

Another series is the Incredible Hulk. Can you guys just not get a good actor for that guy? They had Eric Bana in 2003, then REBOOTED the series with Edward Norton and changed the story. And now Norton’s been replaced with Mark Ruffalo for The Avengers movie and any possible sequels. That’s just terrible planning there boys. Same sort of deal happened with the Punisher. The Punisher with Thomas Jane came out in 2004 and then they rebooted the series in 2008 with The Punisher: War Zone with Ray Stevenson. I don’t know about you, but I really liked the first one and would have loved to have seen a sequel to that, but they just can’t seem to keep continuity in Hollywood. Another up for the reboot treatment is The Fantastic Four, and well…I can’t really argue with that one; those movies just plain sucked.

All I’m trying to say here is that Hollywood just needs to calm down a bit here. I love me some good-vs-evil comic book greatness, but too much is too much. Just take a step back Hollywood. Oh yeah, and if you want to see a list of just about every whisper of a rumor of a comic book movie ever, go to IGN’s Ultimate Comics-to-Film Guide. It’s full of everything nerdy.

…And for the record, I’m more of a DC fan. Marvel is good, I just like DC more.

My “Anti 3-D” Rant

November 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I briefly mentioned in my Harry Potter post my serious distaste for 3-D movies. I decided now to take the time to give a full on rant as to why I hate it. Put simply, if I had my way, James Cameron’s Avatar would never have existed (let’s be honest, it wasn’t that good anyways).

First off, 3-D is NOT a new concept, so Hollywood needs to stop treating it like one. 3-D has been around since the late 19th century and it’s technically called stereoscopy. All movies before Avatar that were 3-D were “anaglyph” and we watched them with those headache-inducing red-and-blue glasses that we all remember. It was exceptionally popular in the 1950’s, but eventually died down. 3-D got a little more street cred in the 90’s thanks to IMAX and Disney making special features and shows that used polarization, which is the 3-D tech we use today. Then came along James Cameron with his pockets full of cash and his fancy new cameras (that look like they’re eating the cameraman) and introduced us to a way to actually film in polarized 3-D. Little did he know that he would kick start the newest fad in Hollywood. He is now in my shit list along with George Lucas and everyone at Warner Bros.

Now, why is 3-D not good. Well readers, there are many reasons why is no good. Firstly, because Hollywood is using it as both a ploy to get more people and come to the theater and to get those swarms to pay more as well. You see, Hollywood faces a struggle now that it never had to face before. Home television setups are getting so advanced that they can seriously rival the movie theater experience. Hollywood needed to get people to come out and spend their hard earned cash. 3-D was the golden answer (but it won’t be for long seeing as 3-D televisions are well on their way to becoming halfway decent). After the runaway success of Avatar, more and more movies were being converted into 3-D and studios started switching movies that were about to begin production into the 3-D world. Now let me get this straight: post-production 3-D looks like complete shit. Don’t deny it. Clash of the Titans is prime example of this. Clash was one of the first movies to be struck with Avatar fever. Needless to say the quality was terrible, the 3-D was unnoticeable at best, and half of the movie wasn’t even altered. I hated it.

This leads me to post-production versus actually filming 3-D. I really can’t stand either, but if I had to choose I would go with actually filming in 3-D. Nothing bothers me more than taking perfectly good, 2-D splendor and turning it into 3-D shit. This is where I want to strangle George Lucas. Many directors and producers are taking movies and converting them to 3-D and many are taking them from the past, but Lucas has taken it to a whole new level. Not only is he converting all the past Indiana Jones movies to 3-D, but he is also converting one of the most beloved and cherished film series of all time: Star Wars. George, Star Wars is superb how it is (except maybe Phantom Menace), you don’t need to add ANYTHING to it. Especially not 3-D. The original three movies were made with really old movie tech, and I’m pretty sure mixing those classic animations and effects with 3-D tech will not look good at all. While I’m on it, I may as well talk about another beloved series that is being converted to 3-D: Harry Potter. This one hits close to home. You can have Indian Jones and Star Wars if you must, but 3-D, keep your filthy paws off my Harry Potter! No matter how “cool” you may think it would be to see spells “flying out” at you, it WON’T. It will ruin the experience. Do you know why? Because those series weren’t meant for 3-D!

What do I mean by “meant for 3-D”. Well the answer is simple really. A movie is “meant for 3-D” if they plan on it being 3-D from the get-go, before filming even starts. But what happens then? What happens when producers and directors plan on filming in 3-D? Then they fill their movies with those stupid freaking “look! it’s popping out of the screen” effects that add no value to the movie whatsoever. James Cameron did one thing right: he actually made a 3-D movie the right way. If i’m going to have to live with this stuff (because it’s obviously not going away anytime soon), Avatar is the role model for all 3-D movies to come. The story might have been shit, but the effects were amazing and the 3-D was used in such a way that it wasn’t a complete nuisance.

Well, this has been an exceptionally long post, but I got my main points across. I hope I have shone a light on what 3-D truly is.

It All Ends Here

November 16, 2010 2 comments

It’s that time of the year again: Harry Potter fever is in full swing, and I’ve caught the fever once again.

My interest in Harry Potter could most likely be referred to as an infatuation, but I personally don’t see anything wrong with it. Although I am in the middle of a movie marathon of the past six movies and I am re-reading the last book in preparation for my grand adventure to the midnight release, I am not nearly as obsessed as others. Feeling the need to spread this HP love, I’ve decided to get you up to date on the details of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One (Some spoilers ahead for those who haven’t read the books).

For those who are not avid readers and/or watchers unlike myself, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One is the first half of the last Harry Potter book. This was smart move number one: there is just too much information in this novel to fit into one 2 and a half hour movie. To be specific, the first movie ends around Chapter 24, which is where Voldemort acquires the Elder Wand. This was smart move number two: it’s a tricky play when deciding where to split the book and I feel this part works well because David Yates, director, will be able to end the movie well enough so it doesn’t just stop but leave the audience thirsty for the next movie (which happens to come out July 15th, 2011).

Now this movie has had fan worried for a couple reasons. One reason is because this story is unlike any of the other books. No longer are Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the enclosed world of Hogwarts; now they are introduced to the harsh, real world. This involves a whole new filming style to go along with the change in atmosphere. Another concern was the fact that someone along the line had the brilliant idea of making the last two movies 3D. I, personally, am anti-3D and can’t stand the fact that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to make an extra buck (I’m looking at you, George Lucas). It bothers me even more because none of the other six have been in 3D and it wouldn’t even be the “good” 3D, it would be the post-production “slapped on” 3D. Not what I want from my Harry Potter movie. Thankfully, someone at Warner Bros. had two braincells to rub together and they cancelled the 3D treatment for Part One. Hopefully this will make them realize that Part Two doesn’t need it either.

Getting back on path, Part One just recently had its red carpet premiere and the reviews are starting to pour in. As of now Part One currently stands at a solid 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite some sour reviews, the majority are saying that Part One gives enough action to entertain while building up nicely for the grand finale in July. Music to my ears.

Needless to say, this is a pop culture phenomenon and everyone needs to get out and catch Harry Potter fever.