May 30, 2010

Gamers of the World: REJOICE!!

The "Almost Dead Zone" is in full swing right now my friends. Sorry about not posting anything last weekend; I was embroiled in my school's One Acts Festival. I was directing one of the plays, so, I kinda had to be there. Mine was sort of a parody of heist films, that saw a group of incredibly incompetent people attempt to rob a bank. It was apparantly very funny! But, I digress; where were we? Oh, right! "Almost Dead Zone". So, yeah, nothing huge has been coming out lately, nothing to really write home about, but, I'll be honest, there has been some stuff worth checking out. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is such a film. At long last, after years, nay, decades of waiting, we finally have a movie, based off a video game, that doesn't suck harder then Mega-Maid! Is it spectacular? Hell no! Is it awful? Not by a long shot! What we have is a well made piece of popcorn that is marred by a dumb script and some hammy acting. But, in no way does that spoil the fun.

Dastan suddenly realizes that he left his effective armor at home!

May 29, 2010

May 26, 2010

27 Greatest Movies That Made Going to the Movies Suck - #4

What follows is my entry into an event that Mike Lippert over at You Talking To Me? is heading up. If you're in need of a refresher, here's the deal. We are counting down the 27 Greatest Movies That Made Going to the Movies Suck! The idea is that myself and my fellow film junkies would each pick a film that we love and write about how it has influenced the movie industry in a bad way, i.e: how a really good movie "inspires" directors to make cheap, soulless knockoffs of it. The countdown to the number one worst offender has been going steady all month. The film I have the privilege of writing about settles in nicely at number 4.

So, Pulp Fiction. It is a title that is synonymous with wit, absurdity, violence, vulgarity, and all around brilliance. A film this original, smart, and consistently entertaining only comes around every so often, and when it does, it ignites a firestorm of praise and mayhem! Quentin Tarantino's meisterverk did just that. Before Pulp Fiction, no one had really seen anything of the sort. Characters had never talked that way; events like that had never occured. Plots were a strictly linear affair, and changing it up and going back and forth in the timeline of the film was unheard of. The vulgarity was never so vulgar, the violence was never so violent, and the comedy was never so comic, as it was in Pulp Fiction. It proved to be uber popular, winning the Palme d'Or at that year's Cannes festival, raking in tons of cash, and winning the Best Original Screenplay oscar. It took the world by storm, which, depending on how you look at it, was a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, Tarantino had ushered in a new era of moviemaking, one that celebrated the conventions and reveled in prolonged, elaborate stories. On the other hand, it quickly became apparent, as various writers and directors attempted to emulate this style, that filmmakers like Tarantino were a rare breed. To this day, he is still the master of his craft. No one has come close to touching him.

"Do you know what divine intervention is?"

May 19, 2010

Looking Ahead: Summer 2010

If you've been a close follower here from before I joined the LAMB, you'll know how big the summer season is. We (royal we) take the summer season very seriously here at DC. This is mostly due to the fact that I'm still in high school, and the summer is the time when I get out and see movies most often. However, I take it seriously for another reason, that being, it's the time when the most exciting, engaging, and fun movies of the year come out. We're two weeks in. We've already had what might be the biggest hit, and another one that took a risk, didn't pull it off, but is still worth your time. What's to come? That's why you're reading this, so sit tight!

The Ones To Watch

Toy Story 3: I'll admit, I'm a little apprehensive about this one. How could Pixar possibly capture the magic of Woody, Buzz, and crew a third time. But, then I slap myself in the face and remember that I thought the same thing when Toy Story 2 was released, and we all know how well that one turned out. Pixar has ruled the animation scene for the last three summers, with Ratatouille, then WALL-E, culminating their streak with Up last year. Can they do it again? I really hope so. I will be very sad if Toy Story 3 doesn't at least live up the legacy of it's older brothers, but, thankfully it looks like it will. 

Inception: Did you read my last post on this film? That pretty much sums up what I'm feeling. Forget that it's an original idea from the guy who gave us the best superhero movie ever made. Forget that it has a cast to die for, including some of the best character actors working today. Forget that it boasts visuals that absolutely must seen on the IMAX screen. I'm sold on the premise alone. I still don't quite get it, but that's what I love about it. That, and it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I'm there! This is the movie to watch this summer! Like I said to Hatter a week ago, if this movie is anything less then brilliant, I just might go punt a puppy off a bridge!

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Michael Cera falls in love with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, except, before he can do the dirty deed, he needs to defeat her seven evil ex boy/girlfriends in an all out battle to the death. Weapon's of choice? Laser swords and bass guitars. I'm so down! Cera looks like he'll be putting a fresh spin on his usual hipster thing, and the action looks to be pretty over the top and awesome! Oh, and Edgar Wright is directing. More please!

See it! That's an order!

Umm... That's all I can think of for this category. Sight unseen, this summer does look a lot weaker then previous ones. Hopefully, a lot of the next ones prove me wrong. 

The Ones to Watch (With Reservations)

The A-Team: Ok, it stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, and Sharlto Copley. That's good! It has wonderfully over the top action. Also good. It looks to retain the campiness of the original show, while injecting a good deal of snarky humor. That's really good. Why should your expectations be low going in? Well, Joe Carnahan, who gave us the much-to-be-desired Smokin' Aces a couple of years back is taking helm on this one. Uhhh, ok. And, they got an UFC fighter instead of a legitimate actor to play BA, and we all know that never ends well. 

Knight and Day: Ok, look, I like Tom Cruise. He can be really good in some stuff, when the material allows it. Thankfully, the material this time seems to be up to snuff. Cruise is playing a funny, sillier take on his Ethan Hunt character, and it looks really cool. Also, James Mangold, the director behind such awesomeness as Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma is behind the camera, which gives me a lot of hope. The one caveat here is Cameron Diaz. Ok, she may be good, but, she is clearly the weak link in this triad. If anyone brings it down, it's her. 

Prince of Persia: Movie Going Rule of Thumb #75: Stay far the hell away from movies based on video games. There has not been one good film adaptation of that beautiful hobby. In fact, some of the worst movies ever made are video game adaptations. That being said, Prince of Persia looks like it will be the one to break the cycle. It's being made by the same team who gave us Pirates of the Caribbean; it stars Jake Gyllenhaal, and it seems to stay more or less true to its source material. That's all well and good, and this movie very well might turn out to be awesome! However, the legacy it is inheriting would suggest otherwise. Be wary!

The Last Airbender: I've never seen the show, nor do I intend to. The trailers are making this out to be a kick-ass, CGI fueled, action extravaganza. Ok, I'm down. We can never get enough of that! However, M. Night Shyamalan is directing. Mr. Shyamalan has not made an even close to decent movie since Signs, way back in 2002. In my opinion, he has passed his prime. Now, Airbender is a far cry from any other film that he has made, but, that may not necessarily be a good thing. 

Get Him To The Greek: Ok, a few early reviews say this is one funny piece of film. However, it's in the genre that is getting increasingly tired. Look, only Judd Apatow is the master of the genre he created. To it's credit, Get Him to the Greek does star Russell Brand, in a revival of his hysterical character from Forgetting Sarah Marsahll, and P. Diddy in a pretty funny looking role as the head of a record company. It'll probably be the best comedy of the summer, but, then again, there's not many comedies coming this season. 

The Expendables: The Good: Every single action star, (literally, ever single one you can think of) hams it up in this explosion filled romp through Latin America! The Bad: Sly Stallone is directing, and his last foray into over the top action was pretty much shit! Will it be good? Of course not! Will it be fun! God I hope so!

The Other Guys: The trailer makes this look pretty funny, but Will Ferrell just seems to be doing the same thing he's been doing for the last few years, playing a blissfully unaware idiot! Mark Whalberg looks like he may be able to pick up the slack, but, I'm not exactly counting on it. 

The Twilght Saga: Eclipse: I can't believe I'm putting this in this category, but the inclusion of David Slade as director and a significant dose of extra action has convinced me to give Eclipse a chance to change my mind on the franchise. If nothing else, it will provide some semi-entertaining vampire/werewolf action. 

It'll probably be good! 

Ones To Skip

Killers: It's Knight and Day, only worse and unfunny! 

Shrek: The Final Chapter: Shrek was out of gas halfway through number 2, and the third was simply abysmal! This new one doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table, and, as if that weren't enough, it cashes in on the 3D craze! God damn you Avatar!!!!!!

The Karate Kid: Well, actually, if you like big, Hollywood stars butchering a classic film, by all means, check this one out. If you are in the regular, sane group of people that I like to associate myself with, stay far away!

Grown Ups: Chris Rock and Adam Sandler are only sometimes funny these days, but Kevin James, David Spade, and Rob Schneider have not been funny in an extremely long time! Throw in a plot that sounds even more juvenile then what usually comes out of this crew, and some unfunny slapstick gags, and you have one of the sleeper hits of the season. NOT!

Step Up 3D: Really? Do I need to explain this to you?

Jonah Hex: This could have gone in the above category, but, on further reflection, the chances that this will actually be good are too low to risk it. And it stars Megan Fox. RUN AWAY!!!

Fear what it brings!

Ok. Hope that gives you some perspective on what's to come. Expect reviews on most of these films in the coming weeks. See you next time!

May 14, 2010

No Tights This Time

Now that the first BIG movie of the summer has reared its money guzzling head, we've entered the area of the season that I like to refer to as, "The Almost Dead Zone". For the next few weeks while we wait for the next BIG one to open, we are treated to slew of semi-big movies that were released at this time just so the studios could brag that they released a summer blockbuster. While we wait for Toy Story 3, we have to contend with MacGruber, Sex and the City 2, Prince of Persia, Get Him to the Greek, The A-Team, and The Karate Kid. However, before we get to those, we have to discuss the one that's leading this merry charge, Robin Hood (see what I did there?) After contending with the most deviously misleading marketing blitz ever, this Ridley Scott epic is here for our enjoyment. It boasts a sweeping story, a grand scale, and performances from two of the finest actors working today. What's the verdict? Eh...

Yes. It is as epic as it looks!

May 10, 2010

A Very Specific Type of Security

K, so. Now's about the time that of year where I start to obsessively follow my most anticipated movie of the year. In the past, I have stalked the progress of The Bourne Ultimatum, The Dark Knight, Watchmen, and Avatar. This year, it's all about Inception. No one has any idea what this Christopher Nolan mind trip is about, although the new trailer attached to Iron Man 2 does offer more insight into the plot. Here's what I know so far. Leonardo DiCaprio plays a man named Cobb who specializes in a very specific type of security, the subconscious kind. In this world, the technology exists to invade a person's dreams, and Cobb is a man who makes a living off entering an individual's subconscious and stealing their secrets. Ok, I'm confused, but, I don't really care. Let me break down for you what me and my mind discussed when this movie was first announced.

Me: So, what is this?
Mind: It's the new movie from Christopher Nolan.
Me: Really? Sweet! What's it about?
Mind: No one knows.
Me: Ok. Who's in it?
Mind: Leonardo DiCaprio. Joseph Gordon-Levitt...
Me: STOP! I'm sold!

Nolan seems to have tapped into my own, personal fantasy (by way of dream invasion, no less), because he has assembled a cast to die for. Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Tom Berenger, AGHHHHHH!! Never before have I seen a cast filled with so much promise! DiCaprio looks like he will turn in an Oscar ready performance yet again, Page is doing an adult movie for a change, Cotillard is branching out, bringing her amazingness into blockbuster territory, Murphy and Watanabe both impressed the last time they worked with Nolan in Batman Begins, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks absolutely badass in what appears to be a villainous role! Throw in some gob-smaking visuals, a script written by Nolan, and more mystery than surrounded Cloverfield, and Inception looks to be a serious contender for one of the year's best films. God, I can't wait! There will be more coverage on this as we get closer to July 16. Keep in touch. 

May 9, 2010

Quality Begats Tripe

Mike Lippert over at You Talking to Me? is hosting a little event. He gathered a bunch of bloggers, and together, we are counting down a list of the 27 Greatest Movies That Made Going to the Movies Suck! Each writer gets a top tier movie that is widely regarded as good, in some cases, excellent, and then writes about it and its bad influence on modern day cinema. The event started on May 2 and will go until the last entry, the write up on biggest culprit of them all, is posted on May 29. So far, articles discussing the legacies of It Happened One Night, Gladiator, Spider-Man, Trainspotting, Terminator 2, Toy Story, Deliverence, and a damn good write up on Scream have been put up. My film is ranked pretty high on the list, so you won't get to see my contribution until late in the game. Check it out. There's been some great stuff already, and more to come! Comment. Agree. Disagree. Be good little worker bees! See ya next time!

May 8, 2010

Heavy Boots of Lead

Let the mayhem begin! The summer movie season has officially started, and all the wonderful craziness and explosions that comes with it will be here in full force. If you follow my madness, you will know that I formulate my opinion on the summer based on the first BIG movie of the season. Last year, the season began with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. As such, my opinion on the summer was decidedly cynical. This year, we have Iron Man 2. In my opinion, this summer will be damn good!

Don't mess with this!

May 3, 2010

Stuff You Only Learn Over Drinks

I know, I know. I'm late to the party on this one. There was meme going around the blog sphere, requiring you, in the event you get tagged, to write down ten interesting facts pertaining to your experiences with film. I was tagged by Dylan over at Blog Cabins, so, here goes, I guess.

#10: The first R movie I saw in the theaters was The Matrix Reloaded. I thought it was a big deal at the time. In retrospect, I probably could've done a lot better.

#9: Titanic came out when I was, oh I don't know, seven. When my parents purchased it on VHS, they only let me watch the first half, i.e, the bad half, and even then, they fast forwarded through the more, uhh, revealing scenes. What? It wasn't my choice. I was seven, and my mind was still fragile.

#8: Jumanji scared the shit out of me! It still does.

#7: I can't handle anything with big bugs in it. The spider scene in Jumanji. That whole sequence in King Kong. Hell, even the machines in The Matrix gave me hard time for a little bit.

#6: I don't like popcorn. I just don't like it. I never get it when I go to the theatre.

#5: Top three movies I can recite from with no time to prepare: The Dark Knight, Pulp Fiction, and The Departed.

#4: When we used to get the New York Times on Sundays, I would grab the Arts and Leisure section, and spend about twenty minutes looking at the movie posters in the back. It's one of those childhood antics that you quickly dispose of when you want to start looking mature and dignified, but you always look back on with fond memories.

#3: My favorite movie is The Godfather. My least favorite movie is Armageddon.

#2: I tried, just a few weeks ago, to watch Oldboy. I had to turn it off, not because it was bad, but because it was simply too hard to watch. I'm not one to easily admit defeat, but that was one film that beat me into the ground and just did not let up.

#1: I have never seen (prepare to shun me) The Sound of Music, Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, Night of the Living Dead, The Seven Samurai, Vertigo, Taxi Driver, Dr. Strangelove, Casablanca, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Graduate, On The Waterfront, Chinatown, Gone With The Wind, or Unforgiven. I know. It's bad.

Well, that was emotional. Ummmm... This is the part where I'm supposed to tag someone else to keep the chain going, but, all the people I read have already taken part in this, so... I don't know. If there's someone out there who hasn't been tagged, give me a shout. If not... I guess it ends here.