Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bring out your Dead......And let them Walk

A Walking Dead Update:    Season 1 started out and while I was excited that there was a Zombie show on TV I wasn't sold yet.  The plot moved a little too slowly for me.  The Zombie scares were few and far between, but I stuck around for some reason letting the show develop.    By Season 2 the show was hitting its stride and I sold hook line and sinker.  By season end it had reached the quality of  X-Files at its peak...(before Mulder left and the show stayed past its welcome and became a mess).   When X-Files was clicking on all cylinders it was better than any horror or thriller movies in the theater.  Why go and see a horror movie it the theater when X-files delivered every week.   The Walking Dead at the end of Season 2 hit that same stride... There are no horror movies and especially no Zombie movies that have come out lately that can match the intensity and excellence that The Walking Dead has achieved by the first couple of episodes of Season 3.  

 Season 2 ended with  a bang ....Season 3 started with a full scale prison invasion and Zombie take down...followed by a thrilling Zombie clear out and showdown with surviving prisoners.  The show is a tour de force at this point...each episode is thrilling and shocking and a great look into the breakdown of humanity during the Zombie Apocalypse.  Despite the  buckets of gore and Severed heads rolling around it is much like Battlestar Gallactica or other good Sci-fi where it really digs into the human emotions and points of view --both good and bad.  The decisions  the characters must make to survive and how those decisions shape and change them.   As a TV series the characters have had the time to develop great depth and you realy care for them at this point.  The show keeps you on edge because main characters can die at any moment and with over 2 seasons behind them you have much more emotional attachment to the characters than you ever could in a single movie.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman 2012 4 out of 10

Snow White and the Huntsman 2012  4 out of 10

I was really looking forward to finally seeing this movie.  In the year of the  battling Snow White films and show......this looked like it would be the most exciting of the bunch.   The Julia Roberts movie doesn't even look watchable....Once Upon a Time had a really strong Season 1 -but seems to be hitting a 2nd Season slump.   This was the big epic Snow White adventure from the producers of Alice in Wonderland.....and I can firmly say for me a real big disappointment.   

 First of all  Kristen Stewart as Snow White is one of the worst miscasting in recent movie history.   Not since Keanu  Reeves bad  British surfer dude accent in Bram Stoker's Dracula has someone been so miscast.    I know she is popular from the Twilight movies  (which after this I will probably never see) ---but she in no way is a good choice for Snow White.  She has no screen presence at all and looks like she should be passed out in the background of some druggy movie instead of playing the lead character in Snow White. She added absolutely nothing to the movie with her lackluster performance.  Charlize Theron on the other hand was excellent and in a better movie would have carried the film,  unfortunately this film suffered from a dull pointless plot and uninteresting action sequences mixed in between random acid trip scenes in the dark forest. The only good segment was the scene with the Troll.

This was definitely not the Snow White you remember from your childhood.  I don't remember the   Shattering black crystal army or  Dwarves with Mohawks or the magic Gong?  The movie was like a poorly executed Krull rather than a big budget Snow White.
Magic Gong on the wall who is the fairest of them all the queen asks  of   the liquid gold Terminator?  I nearly cried at the death of Gus the Dwarf.......Gus remember him for Snow White don't you?  There was Grumpy and Dopey and Gus.....right???  The only Gus I know is the Mule that used to kick field goals in some old Disney movie.

Chris Hemsworth who has a chance to the next big thing in action movies coming off of Thor, The Avengers and Cabin in the Woods is also wasted in the this poorly crafted fantasy film.  I guess the director was too busy banging Kristen Stewart to make a good movie with a plot that flowed or made sense.   (Spoiler---it is his true love's kiss that wakes Snow White---a plot point that is quickly forgotten and never returned to).

This movie just really disappointed and only made me long to watch the best of Fantasy movies ---The Lord of the Rings trilogy again.   It made me want to see how a Fantasy film should be done again ---well I wait for the Hobbit to come out.   Fairest of them all?   Stick with the Classic Disney animated feature instead of this Fantasy adventure wannabe.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hunger Games 2012 6 out of 10

The Hunger Games  2012   6 out of 10

I found The Hunger Games to be a little underwhelming. I put off seeing it in the theaters because I felt it was a theme that I've seen before in a more exciting format.   I did a  little blog about the movies that came before it that obviously influenced the writter of the book series.   After seeing it I found it too be interesting obviously in it subject , but a little to slow for my tastes.  I can see where it made an interesting book--but I didn't feel like it translated into an exciting movie on screen.   I liked Running Man better....I liked Battle Royale better.....The Hunger Games felt more like a pilot for a TV Series to me slowly developing its characters and taking forever to get to the actual Games and then once it did the Games themselves didn't entertain me as much as I had hoped them to.    There was a lot of hiding in trees and dropping bee hives on people as they ran around Lord of the Flies style in the forest.

Espionage Agent 1939 4 out of 10

Espionage Agent  1939    4 out of 10

Espionage has never been  this dull a preachy before. This slow moving spy movie that deals with the U.S. and Nazi spies pre- entry into World War II plays more like a piece of propaganda then a movie.  The movie takes over a half hour to even get into what could be considered the actual plot and then mainly talks its way through the rest of the film.  Nothing exciting or thrilling to see here.

Animated Movies: # 4 Rango 2011 8 out of 10

Rango is not your typical Animated movie. I couldn't really place how I felt about it half way through the movie. The characters are all quite ugly. Normally animated movies try to make their characters visually appealing (It sells more toys). I don't see many kids falling in love with an ugly lizard with bent neck like the Sloth out of the Ice Age movies.....I can't really say if I think all kids will love this movie as it is a departure from what you normally expect in a kids movie. I personally liked it. Despite the off putting looking characters the film itself was quite solid.

Johhny Depp as Rango was great as were much of the voice acting. This movie is basically an ode to Spaghetti Westerns. A little bit Clint Eastwood a little bit Bug's Life (The circus bugs as Warriors) A little bit Three Amigos where as Rango claims to be something he isn't -but steps up to the plate when push comes to shove. Being a spaghetti western ode it has some great music by Hans Zimmer.

So in summary it was an odd and interesting animated treat. I can't say whether your kids will like it--but if you love Spaghetti Westerns and can get used to the look of the characters it is a really fun ride. Some of the action sequences were stunning (after all it was directed by Gore Verbinski of the first 3 Pirates films). And the look and style of the film really grew on me by the end of the flick

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Heads will Roll: Severed Heads on TV

I know Halloween is just around the corner, but the severed heads are already rolling all over the place.

Don't get me wrong....I'm not anti severed heads.....I expect severed heads when I go to the movies to see the new Conan The Barbarian movie......Game of Thrones could just as easily be called Severed Heads the series---but that is on Cable.....The Walking Dead  just started season 3 and heads are rolling---being skewered and stabbed all over the screen.   Then I turn into Hawaii 5-0 one of my favorite shows on broadcast TV  (despite its unbelievable story lines and predictability)  and what do I see....A guy riding a horse playing polo and getting his head chopped clean off.  On CBS....The Murder She Wrote channel.    I personally wasn't shocked by it visually --even when they   found a way to show it twice during the episode (since I've seen so many horror movies and I'm pretty much not easily shocked by anything anymore on screen)  but I was shocked that to see something ---that I usually think of as Cable TV viewer warning  rolling around on the polo grounds in the middle of Hawaii 5-0.   There were Headless Horseman jokes and jokes about the other half of his body being over there all so casual.     Again I'm not anti severed head  (I've written Pineappleman stories where the heads roll freely)....but just a little shocked that broadcast TV is now okay with severed heads???  When did severed heads become okay for the broadcast networks?    Sex and drug jokes became okay with Charlie Sheen and 2 and 1/2 Men  and the vile things that are considered jokes with the behavior of  John Cryer's character which is basically a human Golem.   When did I blink and things once reserved for Rome on HBO are now okay on CBS?    

So beware of the severed heads---they are apparently here to stay.

American Horror House 2012 5 out of 10

American Horror House....2012   5 out of 10
Starring Alessandra Torresani  (Zoe from Caprica)  I knew I recognized her from something .... and Morgan Fairchild
(still looking good). 

The movies title is a cheap attempt at tricking someone into thinking it has something to do with the tv show American Horror Story......It should be called  Just Another Sorority House of Death.

The movie was a typical sorority house with a dark secret.   I could  have sworn that this is a remake of another haunted sorority movie that I saw a couple of years ago.   It had some slight differences , but was mainly the same film.  The sorority girls are pledging of course---a halloween party happens and a bunch of people die.  Some cheesy effects including ghost lighting and a mystical border that surrounds the house and a bunch of bad death scenes are the norm in this so so horror flick. 

Below is a list of Sorority horror movies that AMC has collected....The movie that this seems a rip-off of wasn't on this list

Haunted High (AKA Ghostquake) 2012 7 out of 10 (so bad it's good)

Haunted High...aka Ghostquake 2012  SO bad its good.
Starring Danny Trejo (well sort of) and featuring Charisma Carpenter....(for about 1 minute).  I decided to watch this movie for Charisma Carpenter since she was one of my favorites from her days on Buffy and Angel and even her guest spots on Veronica Mars.  Well she was only actually in the movie for one scene which didn't end well for her character.  The movie by Active Entertainment was horrible....I mean really bad ---the dialogue was bad....the story was bad.....the acting was terrible especially the super sweaty fat guy with the bowl haircut.   A really cheesy bad horror movie about a demonic ex headmaster of this school gets unleashed from a demonic coin and terrorizes the school with corny lines and silly death scenes.  Still upset over being fooled by Charisma Carpenter's actually not really being a part of the movie....I quickly went to commenting about how bad the film was....then it turned the corner ......The magical corner where a film becomes so bad that it is enjoyable....The scene that crossed the mystical border into SO bad it is good....The dead dissected frog attack.   "What the hell was that?"   "Franken Frogs".... and from there the cheese continued to please.....The music teacher has a cheesy battle with a suit of armor and is crushed by the bleachers...His music student that has the hots for him is tricked by a ghost of him taking a shower and wandering into her death after a cheesy line.   The acting in this movie is Troll 2 level...not sure if that was on purpose or whether this movie was just that bad.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tower Heist 2012 6 out of 10 (Not enough Heisting)

Tower Heist 2012   6 out of 10

Basically it took too long to get to the Heist.  I love the concept  which is to take the Ocean's Eleven Heist movie and cast a bunch of comedy stars in it.  The only problem is the Ocean's Eleven type movies usually have enough comedy in them that in order to pull this off, I think they needed to go much bigger.  The film took too damn long to get to the Heist portion of the movie and Eddie Murphy wasn't on screen as much as he should have been.  At moments he showed glimpses of his brilliance in scenes that were throwbacks to Trading Spaces or 48 hours and even Beverly Hills Cop.  I wanted to see more of this Eddie and felt like a great opportunity was wasted.  Ben Stiller (great in many comedies) and Matthew Brodrick didn't seem to add much to the film which was a waste of their talents.  I guess I may be being too harsh on the film--but when I think a movie concept doesn't live up to the potential of its own concept I often left wanting to see the film that it could have been.  They really should have taken advantage of the movies plot and written a better and funnier script, or let the actors improv and play off each other more.  I'm thinking about a better comedy dream team Heist movie in my head write now.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

For the Love of Scooby Doo: Part 2 Big Top Scooby Doo 2012 7 out 10

Big Top Scooby Doo  2012  7 out of 10
A typical Scooby Doo direct to DVD movie. Which usually means an enjoyable Scooby Doo adventure.  This time Scooby and the gang do undercover with a circus to foil a werewolf mystery.   At this point Scooby Doo has become quite repetitive and yet I find myself always coming back for more of Scooby and the gang.  I mean  how many different episodes have they faced off with werewolves or been to the circus???  Quite a few times I'm sure,  There is just something about  this  "Bunch of meddling kids and their dog"  that I love.  The coolest Great Dane ever!.   So even though there is nothing new about this Scooby case...It was still fun and action packed getting there.  

One thing I find weird is that they continue to make direct to DVD Scooby movies with the gang in one style of animation while at the same time producing the fun new version of the gang in the cool Mystery Inc. TV show.  I try not to worry about the 2 separate incarnations running at the same time and just enjoy Scooby and the gangs mystery solving abilities, but it is strange that they would basically have 2 different versions at the same time.

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Animated Movies # 3: The Lorax 2012 5 out of 10

The Lorax  2012  5 out of 10

I really enjoyed the last Dr Seuss CGI adaptation which was   Horton Hears and Who,   so I had high hopes for this movie.  The Lorax however let me down and the reason was the musical numbers.   I can't say I liked them ... No Not at all.   Not a single bit... They were painful to my ears....Like someone with no musical training playing a Zim Twit.    I didn't like the song about Tweeds and who really needs one to do various deeds.   I especially didn't like the rock song they played while cutting down trees.  In the book this scene is sad and it makes one feel quite bad....while this upbeat rock song just completely took away the feelings that the book gave me.  It should have been the strongest scene in the movie--but lost its strength by being buried behind bad music.    The songs in the movie just seemed ill advised and not only didn't add to the film, but took away from it.   It was still visually interesting after all all the colors and angles of a Seuss book were brought to life....Trying to make a short and sweet message book into a feature length movie just didn't work for me.  I felt the same way about some of the Live Action Grinch movie.  All the scenes that weren't in the book or animated short just felt like filler.  And in the case of The Lorax the filler was some really bad musical numbers.  

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Shutter Island 2010 6 out of 10

Shutter Island  2010   6 out of 10

Shutter Island had a really interesting plot.  A movie that was a homage to Hitchcock and some Twilight Zone episodes or horror movies like Carnival of Souls.   Leonardo DiCaprio was great in the film as the main character trying to solve a mystery on an Island for the insane.  His acting was top notch as usual.   The movie itself  just fell a little flat for me.   I figured it out a little too early  in the film  and as a result the movie seemed a little slow to me,  waiting for what I knew was true to be revealed.  It was still a good film --just not as good and it was nice to see  Martin Scorese do something a little different for a change.    I'm sure the movie would have been a little more interesting if the twists weren't too obvious.  I love movies with twists like those revealed in  sci-fi movie  Dark City or The Spanish Prisioner.  Shutter Island just was  too easy to figure out I guess.

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All through the Night 1942 8+ out of 10

All Through the Night  1942   8+ 0ut of 10
A great 1940's movie about a NY Gambler who gets involved in and uncovers a deadly web of spies  as a result of his favorite cheesecake baker getting killed.   (His character supposedly had cheesecake for several meals a day....The cheesecake diet and yet isn't fat ---go figure....but the story isn't really about cheesecake.) 

  The film is Humphrey Bogart at his best in a fast paced, action packed and comedy infused murder/spy adventure.   There are numerous gun battles and chases and even when the film takes a minute for a bit of dialogue the dialogue is well written and interesting and moves the movies along.   The cast is littered with talent --that includes the always interesting Peter Lorre and many other great actors of the time period.    I had honestly never even heard of this movie before I recorded in on TCM one day.  I found it a much better Nazi spy movie than Bogart's own overly talked about Casablanca---which is overated in my book.

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