Friday, December 28, 2007

Tons to review today

So we have a shitload of stuff to review today due to the fact that i gots lots of shit from christmas. So on the agenda today is Blood Diamond, Pan's Labyrinth, The Simpsons Movie, and Super Mario Galaxy.

Blood Diamond:
I have always liked Leo, except for the disaster that was Titanic, and I had high hopes going into this movie. What i got exceded my expectations. the plot line of the movie, for those who dont know, we are in Seira Leone in 1999 during the diamond mining led my the rebel group R.U.F. they drive into villages murder the women and children and take some of them men to work in the diamond fields. Our main character gets caught up in one of these raids and finds himself separted from his family who manage to escape, working in the diamond fields. He ends up finding a huge pink diamond and hides it in the bush and escapes with his life when the mining camp is broken up. Leo comes in as a diamond smuggler who hears about the pink and makes a deal with Solomon. He will help his family get out if Solomon shows him where the pink is. There is some fighting and explosions and a whole bunch of stuff. During this time Solomons son get recruited, forcefully, by the R.U.F. who give him heroin and alcohol and force him to kill. More and more people find about the pink and there ends up being a "race" to get to it first. This movie was absolutley amazing showing the depth of human emotion and the struggle to survive in a poverty ridden Africa. We can feel Solomons sorrow as he searches and mourns for his family and we see Leos cunning and deception in trying to get to the diamond first. Overall score 10/10 definatly see this movie ASAP.

Pan's Labyrinth:
Another great movie that i was really looking forward to seeing. This is the story of a girl who is forced to live with her mother and step-father in wartime Spain. Her step-father is the general of a branch of the Spanish army. She finds a Labyrinth behind the place where she is staying and going into the middle she finds a faun who tells her that she is really the daughter of the king of the underworld, not the hell underworld but literally the world under our world. She must complete three tasks in order to be let back into the underworld. It is a fantasy movie that also takes place in a real world which made it very interesting for me to watch. it is also a very violent movie, example the general getting his cheek sliced open from mouth the ear and then sewing it back together. at the end of the movie i was left a little confused as to whether or not what the girl was seeing was in fact reality. for example at the end she is talking to the faun when her father comes in and sees her talking to herself. but also she is in a locked room but ends up escaping by drawing a door on the wall. confusing. overall id rate this a 10/10 for total awesomness.

The simpsons movie:
I in fact didnt really want to see this movie but ending up watching it because my brother got it for me for christmas. i was not to thrilled with at all. there were some funny parts but overall i was extreamly disappointed. also i find it funny the double standards we have in our society today that were reflected through this movie. for example bart is skateboarding naked through town and we end up seeing a 3 second shot of his penis. how tru it is only a cartoon but is lisa had been doing the same thing and we ended up seeing her va-j-j i feel the most people would consider that child porn, now dont get me wrong im not asking to see it but just pointing out the differences that occur in movies. overall a 6/10 for not living up to expectations.

Super Mario Galaxy:
Holy shit. Im not even done with the game but i thought it would appropriate to review it now. I LOVE THIS GAME. I cant stop playing it. it is the best mario game of all time. the story has you flying through space and exploring different galaxys for stars. now each galaxy is made up of different shaped planets that are often very close to each other. so close sometimes that you can jump between them. the gravity cna be a little screwy as can be the controls when going from right side up to upside down of vice versa, but overall what a great game. 10/10

-So your telling me that if i put these guys in hot water they scream, turn red and die? Yes sir that is correct. ........ That is the most brutal thing I've ever heard.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Am Legend

Can a zombie movie win the Best Picture Oscar? I Am Legend might be that zombie movie. Unfortunately, that's a "might" and not a "will". Legend was fantastic movie, but there are a few things holding it back from being an Academy-caliber film.

First of all, it's a zombie movie. It feels very painful to write Legend off simply for that fact, but at the end of the day, despite having a powerfully moving story, the conflict revolved around creatures who shuffled around New York City looking for brains. Granted, they were a fair bit more intelligent than your usual zombies, but except for the head zombie, they were about as three-dimensional as a piece of paper. It also didn't help that about three-fourths of the way through, the movie abandoned drama and emotion for gunfire and explosions. Yes, the ending shifted back, but too much of the emotional weight had been lost already for it to be truly moving. I think Lanzador put it best--as we were leaving the theatre, he said (SPOILER ALERT) he was more moved when Sam (Will Smith's character's dog) died than when Robert (Will Smith) did (END SPOILER ALERT), and I had to agree.

Also, Will Smith did an amazing job as Robert Neville, but he seemed a little "too cool for school". It's hard to say that a better actor could have been found to play the role--I bounced this point off Lanzador and neither of us could think of someone else who would have been nearly as good--but I thought Will Smith seemed a bit control, I guess, considering he had survived the zombocalypse. I wanted to see someone a little more world-weary, someone I could tell was bearing an enormous weight on his shoulders, someone like Tommy Lee Jones or Clint Eastwood, but with the tough-guy persona turned way down. I liked that Neville talked to mannequins, going so far as to give them names and worry about their safety--it successfully showed the mental toll that being the last surviving human would take on a person, and I wanted to see more of the same, to get more of a sense that Neville was barely clinging to his sanity.

The ending was good and it made sense for the story, but I wasn't quite sold on it. Maybe it was the whole explosion thing, but it just seemed a little too...convenient: (SPOILER ALERT) Neville finding the cure, the butterfly, the restoration of faith, and the self-sacrifice (END SPOILER ALERT), it just seemed like too tidy a package. I know, all movies need satisfactory closure, but that was the first time it felt like I was watching a movie, as opposed to being immersed and surrounded by it. Of course, the obviously CGI zombies didn't help either.

Despite all of this, Legend was the best movie I've seen in a very long time, and I highly recommend it to everyone, whether you're looking for heart-wrenching human emotion or some good old-fashioned zombie killing.

Grade: B+

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This Christmas

I went out to see This Christmas with a bunch of my friends here at home and I wasnt expecting much when i went in and it pretty much fulfilled my expectations to a T. The movie started off really odd because the main kid was calling his dad Joe and we didnt know if he was just informal or what but we find out about half way through the movie that he is in fact his step dad. As the movie progressed we meet more and more of the family as they come home for Christmas. There is some family fighting and some other nonsense and then another brother comes hoe followed by two thugs who owe him 25,000 dollars. The mom lets the thugs stay in the house and have Christmas dinner with them, What?? That is so absurd, I thought the premise was a realistic Christmas movie with comedy but that was ridiculous. The movie goes on and on and it very well could have ended in 5 places but something else had to be resolved as soon as the first thing was resolved. The plot line was very straightforward in fact me and my friends got so bored that we were guessing what would happen next in the movie with almost 100% accuracy. There were some funny parts but most were accidental such as a white guy in the front row of a black choir looking absolutely ridiculous. The movie was probably 20 minutes too long and shouldve stuck to realism instead of ridiculousness. Only redeeming feature, two hot chicks as two of the sisters.
Overall Rating 3/10


Friday, December 14, 2007

I Am Legend

This afternoon I got the chance to go see I Am Legend with Bear. WOW! What a movie. As you can expect there was not that much dialog seeing as Will Smith was alone, save his dog. But this worked out very well. The movie really didnt need that much dialog to further it. Will Smith plays doctor Robert Neville the last human on earth. He is living in NYC and trying to find a way to cure the mutated humans around him. Neville has free reign during the day but when night comes he must barracade himself in his house in order to keep from being eaten. The dark seekers, as they are called can only come out during the night as UV rays harm them. As the movie progresses we feel that the dark seekers are unintelligent zombies only searching for flesh, a la dawn of the dead, but they are actually able to learn from there surroundings. At one point Will sets up a trap so that he might experiment on one of the dark seekers and another dark seekers sees how this trap works. Later in the movie Will is tripped up by the same trap set up by the leader of the dark seekers. The movie is filled with suspense and also very gripping emotions, I almost cried at one point because I could feel what he was going through. The movie never loses its touch and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It uses flash backs very appropriately to explain exactly how the virus got released and what happened to NYC. The ending was very touching and makes me appreciate Will Smith more for his acting abilities. Definitely go see tis movie as it is not like other zombie movies. We actually get to see an emotional character and sympathize with what he is going through, other than those shoot em up zombie flicks that have become popular lately. Overall score 10/10. I will be picking this movie up on DVD the day it comes out.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Golden Compass

Earlier this evening, I had the...experience of seeing The Golden Compass with Lanzador. As you can probably already tell from my use of ellipsis, I was less than pleased with the outcome of said experience.
First of all, TGC already had a strike in my book for toning down the anti-Christian metaphors. I can understand the desire not to offend anyone--a film is much wider reaching than a book (except perhaps a certain book series about a certain boy wizard that is certainly much better and more popular than anything I've ever written), and must be much more careful about crossing controversial line. But Philip Pullman wanted to get a particular message across, and quite a thought-provoking one at that, and I cannot stand it when someones work is bastardized for the sake of box office gross.
I will not blame Chris Weitz (who directed TGC in addition to writing the script) for this cheapening, however--he did what he could with what he had, and what he had was, admittedly, some rather thorny material. I blame the closed-minded Christians (a very small portion of Christians, but ones that always seem to speak the loudest) for decrying anyone or anything that would dare to question their belief system. I didn't hear many Atheists protesting The Chronicles of Narnia, or even The Passion of the Christ for that matter. The Jews did, but--and call me a hypocrite--I considered it perfectly acceptable. They protested because they were being portrayed as murderers, not because someone provided an intellectual alternative to their religion. I could go into my feelings on this much further, but this is neither the time nor the place. And despite my great love for Pullman's trilogy, the loss of his message was not my biggest criticism of the film.
First of all, the movie moved far too fast. There were so many scenes that could have taken their time and allowed the characters to develop. Time and time again a scene would take place that was one I particularly enjoyed from the book, and I couldn't wait to hear snippets of some of my favorite conversations or see some of my favorite character nuances, only for the dialogue to consist of just enough so we could follow and the plot and realize where we were going next on our whirlwind adventure. The book was very meaty, and I don't think anyone could have fit that much material into less than two hours and expected anything much better, but I just wanted a chance, just one, to really be able to see into the souls of these characters. Going to a movie isn't cheap these days, and I like them as long as possible. Making a movie is expensive, I know, but call me naive: if making a film longer will make it better, then whatever you spend will be recouped from the box office. I have read (on IMDB) that Chris Weitz's original script was much longer (and better for it, I am not shy to speculate.) If he helms the next film (or two,) I sincerely hope that New Line realizes the errors they made with TGC's final cut and give Weitz more directive control.
TGC also broke one of my cardinal sins of filmmaking: they treated me like I was stupid. I know I act stupid a fair share of the time, but I like to think that I am a pretty intelligent guy. And considering the controversial, thought-provoking subject matter of the book, I imagine that at least some of the target audience for the film would be intelligent as well. So why, WHY did the movie insist on spelling so many things out? I think I must remind myself that a) not everyone has read the book, and b) TGC is a kids' movie. But if I had to hear Lyra say a character's name one more time, I would have torn my hair out. Yes, we can see that a polar bear is coming to rescue you! We know that it's Iorek!
And then there was the ending. Um, what? According to a review of the film in Entertainment Weekly, the ending to the book is going to be the beginning of the second film (if it ever gets made.) Sorry, that does not compute. As feel-good as the ending was (or tried to be, if it hadn't brought the movie to a screeching halt), it was not the real ending. And tacking the ending onto the beginning of the next one will feel even worse. Again, kids' movie, but after dragging us through a whole lot of fluff, I think the least we deserve is an ending with some meaning to it. At least the film was consistent though--a sugary end to a movie as substantial as cotton candy. It looks like there's a lot there, but bite into it and it just melts away.
As for what I did like, there wasn't much. Sam Elliott was great as Lee Scoresby, the Texan balloonist. His soothing drawl slowed the film down to a comfortable pace, at least for the few scenes he was in, and in contrast with many of the caricaturesque characters, he provided an emotional subtlety that was positively charming. I also enjoyed when Lyra destroyed the intercision machine. I didn't think the film gave Lyra quite enough bratty cleverness--she was often bratty, and often clever, but rarely the two at the same time, as I think children at her age often can be. Other than those few points, however, a rather disappointing film.
(Oh, and the whole Northern Lights thing: that was the British title. Just a little FYI.)

Rating: C-

The Golden Compass

Let me preface this by saying I have not read the book. So to go from there I went out and saw The Golden Compass with Bear today and I feel like telling you about it so listen up. The movie started out at a rather fast pace with a "chase" scene almost right off the bat. As the movie progressed there was a couple of scenes where the background of the world was explained, which I found very helpful, and then the main antagonist was introduced. Playing a facade she took away young Lyra. After she escaped she somehow managed to travel up north to save a bunch of children who got kidnapped by the organization, I cant remember the name right now. Along the way she joins of with a group of Gyptians which to me would be really fucking weird just going with a group not knowing anything about them. Thankfully we find out later that one of Lyra's friends is the son of one of the Gyptians she goes with. Anyways she makes a bear friend, who was played by none other than Ian McKellen, and he helps her out in the movie. Oh and as a side note Christopher Lee makes an appearance as one of the higher up bad guys. When ever these two are together in a movie they are always on opposite sides of each other, weird. So the bear fights another bear and rips his jaw off, holy crap that scene was violent for a PG-13 movie, damn. So we go through some happy stuff, yay!!!!!! and some sad stuff, boo!!!!!! and some suspenseful stuff, ahh!!!!!! and some fighting, rargh!!!!! and the end, uhh..... What a shitty ending to a movie. It just kind of ends. F that. After talking to Bear he told me that the book actually continues on after that to a sad ending, but the director wanted to end on a happy note, what the fuck? If your planning on making books into movies, especially a trilogy of books where the ending of one affects the beginning of another dont pussy out and end it how you want to do the damn thing correctly. Apparently he deviates from the book a lot. Ive heard that there are very anti-christian undertones that affect the book, but Pullman didnt want to put them in because he didnt want to offend his audience. Oh boo hoo, if your offended by anti-christian topics then dont watch the fucking movie and let us who know how to have a good time do so. Plus he wrote the fucking book for that reason and then he doesnt want them in the movie. F that. At the end of the movie when the credits rolled it said based of the book The Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman. Uhh What??? Last time I checked it was based of the book The Golden Compass which is why the movie was named The Golden Compass. Maybe it was just an error but thats a pretty big error. Anywho it left me with a bunch of questions, for example what happens to deamons when they die? Hmmm. Maybe Im not supposed to know but it would help. Now for the actually critiquing. The animation was done superbly and the movie really flowed from one point to another. The one big fault that I found with the movie is the supreme under use of Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. With all the commercials I would have thought they would have had a bigger role but combined they were in maybe 3-4 scenes. Disappointing to say the least. I thought that the cast was put together excellently and that they couldnt have done any better if they tried. But of course they tried you say, well fuck you, its a saying, ass-hat. The ending was left open, obviously, and I would hope that they make the rest of the trilogy but with the way the movie turned out they are gonna have to pull something magical out of their ass to pull it off. Overall Id give a meager 7/10 for a shitty shitty ending and leaving major parts of out the movie that were in the book. Other than that I like how it turned out, I wasnt too disappointed and am looking for the rest of the series. On tomorrow agenda look for a review of the new film I Am Legend, looks to be, but of course I havent read that book either, oh you didnt know it was based off a book did you, well it was, you learn something new everyday dont you. Goodnight to you all and dont let the door hit you when your stupid.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here Goes

I'm not gonna long winded about this as my fellow blogmates have. I'm planning on writing and ranting on a number of television and film aspects, so I look forward to reviewing and writing about all the different things that are around.


Well hello there and welcome to the greatest tv/movie/video game/comic/insert your own here blog in the universe. As one of your critics I hope to take you on a whirlwind adventure through the great trappings of today's society. Alright screw this thats too hard to keep up. I am one of three web-masters of this page and will be critiquing what I want when I want. I'm not gonna worry about spelling, it's over rated anyways, and I'm probably gonna be crass at time. (If you don't like that go the hell away this place isnt for you) I consider myself a movie expert and will mostly be focusing on that as well as trying to help solve the mysteries of the universe in my spare time. If you want something reviewed or you want my esteemed opinion on something important to you( I consider myself an expert on the anthropological and sociological endeavors of the Dodo bird) ask me and I'll attempt to answer, but dont expect anything helpful. Anyways, welcome, and as soon as break starts you can expect a multitude of postings from me because I will have nothing better to do anyways.

-There are three types of people in this world. Those who can count and those who cant.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


In light of my recent success as a television critic for the local Syracuse newspaper, the Post-Standard, I have been inspired to begin my own blog where I can critique to my heart's content. All of the opinionatedness without the pesky, 300-word-count limit.
Of course, it would be my luck that I become a TV critic and all the writers go on strike, but, as always, the world goes on. Now, as a television fan I am of course lamenting the fact that this strike has lasted more than...oh, about 12 seconds. But as an amateur (I wanted to use the phrase "up-and-coming", but I thought that sounded a bit arrogant) television critic and blogger, I will be taking advantage of the strike in several ways:
1.) I will take the time to find my voice: the only thing I know about this blog is that it's going to be about TV. But there are tons of other areas I want to explore: movies, music, video games, you get the idea. So while TV is in recession, I am free to unleash my critical fury on some other forms of media and discover which ones I can write about as an informed voice and which ones are just me blowing smoke out of my ass.
Also, as you can probably tell, I think my sense of humor makes me the sharpest wit since Jim Gaffigan, but it is often misunderstood. My brain works in very mysterious ways, and it's hard to communicate with a large audience when they can't understand what language you're using. So until I manage to get ahold of a Whatever-The-Hell-I'm-Speaking-to-English dictionary, I'll just have to keep practicing and hope that, like an American in Paris, I can pick up enough of the local vernacular to get by.
Then there's my serious voice. It's a voice I don't use too often, but sometimes the situation calls for it. Serious fare has never been my forte, but I cannot call myself a true writer unless I am willing to tackle any subject. Thus, I will spend some of the upcoming TV-less months practicing my gravitas.
2.) It's easier to write a bad review than a good one: The best television shows (or movies, or music) all have a certain indefinable quality that makes them great--what the French call a certain "Je ne sais quoi". But when a show sucks, o-ho-ho man, it's easy to see why it sucked. Human beings are interesting in this way--we have a million and one ways to describe what bugs us, but ask one of us why something makes us happy and we clam up like a Buddhist monk. Just call me a slave to trends, I guess. And let's face it--there are few experiences more satisfying than just ripping apart something (or someone) that irks you to no end.
So with all the "good" programming on forced hiatus, the crap quotient on the boob tube is going to skyrocket as reality shows, game shows, and whatever-the-studios-can-get-people-to-watch-that-doesn't-have-a-script shows will flood the airwaves. And while a few hidden gems may emerge from this desperate treasure hunt, those pearls are going to be few and far between--most of the next few months is going to be nothing but mud. And who doesn't love getting a little dirty?
3.) I ain't in this thing alone: My roommates are probably gonna hop on board the blogtrain along side me, and the three of could use the time to coordinate our efforts and see if we can't make the whole greater than the sum of our parts (and considering what our parts look like, that would be a pretty poor sum indeed.)
So willkommen, damen und herren, to my humble little blog in its tiny corner of the internet. Perhaps one day it will grow into so much more, but until then, may you be entertained and amused (though not necessarily in that order.)